Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 2 Episode 6

The Schizoid Man

Aired Unknown Jan 23, 1989 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
235 votes

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Episode Summary

Stardate: 42437.5 Data is possessed by the consciousness of a brilliant scientist. However, it has a disturbing impact on Data's personality.

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  • The scientist misrepresented the song

    The song he was whistling was "If I only had a The scientist said it was sung by the Tin Man singing about not having a heart. It was sung by the Scarecrow who wanted a brain.
  • Enterprise receives a distress signal from a remote planet occupied by only the brilliant Dr. Ira Graves and his assistant. Data is part of the team that visits the planet. After Dr. Graves dies, Data starts to exhibit strange behavior.moreless

    This episode is, in my opinion, the best of the second season. Brent Spiner and Patrick Stewart are at the top of their game giving two great performances. The dialogue is also top notch here and adds to the episode's appeal. "The Schizoid Man" helped Star Trek: The Next Generation establish itself as it's own show and not just a continuation of the original series and was a foreshadowing of the great episodes that would follow afterwards. Don't miss it!moreless
  • Saved by good performances from Brent Spiner and Patrick Stewart....

    In the Star Trek: TNG season two episode "The Schizoid Man," Data is possessed by brilliant scientist Ira Graves who is trying to escape death. "The Schizoid Man" is an episode that starts off real bad, continues to offer a story with nothing of particular value, and is ultimately saved by expert acting from Brent Spiner and Patrick Stewart. W. Morgan Sheppard is a fine character actor, but his character, Ira Graves, is completely irritating and in no way likable (not good for a couple of reasons: 1) even the bad guys are supposed to be likable in some way and 2) it carries no weight at the end when the character gets closure). Personally, I do not like the way that the story calls for Data to be possessed - "Brothers," "Masks," "Powerplay," and other episodes would handle this in a far better way - watching Data simply act like a jerk is awkward in all the wrong ways. The great performances by Brent Spiner and Patrick Stewart throughout save an otherwise poor episode - I also rather liked Suzie Plakson's guest performance of the Vulcan doctor.moreless
  • Data's mind is commandeered in a patience and credulity-stretching episode that is partly redeemed by some nice flourishes

    'The Schizoid Man' starts and ends quite well, with the Enterprise going to the aid of a dying cybernetics scientist named Ira Graves (whom Pulaski calls the greatest mind in the universe. Last week we had the greatest mediator in the universe - the Enterprise crew really don't bother with mediocrity, do they?). The cantankerous old lech, not content to shuffle off this mortal coil, transfers his consciousness into Data.

    Of course, this isn't revealed until much later in the episode, but it's obvious right from the start that this is what has happened. And this is the episode's real, overriding flaw: it's just so painfully obvious and the fact it takes the crew so soooo long to catch onto the fact makes them look rather stupid and inept. It also drags the viewer's patience and credulity to almost breaking point.

    Still, despite it's resolved with a reasonably effective showdown (or, rather talk-down) between Graves/Data and Picard in which Graves realises himself how dangerous he has become (cranky old men just shouldn't be allowed to inhabit android bodies for many reasons, as elaborated here).

    All in all, it's a patience-stretching episode and hardly a ground-breaking premise, but it's bolstered by some good directing and lots of little touches, mainly involving Data and Brent Spiner's performance which manages to be amusing but slightly dangerous at the same time. Incidentally, I liked the Vulcan Dr Selar and wished we'd seen her again. Why couldn't she have replaced Pulaski in season three instead of wiggy Crusher?moreless
  • Not great, not terrible. There are enough good bits that make the weak sections worth sitting through.

    I think overall, this episode is OK. The plot itself is nothing special but (unlike many episodes in season 1) not a total waste of time. It runs a little slow until we figure out that Data is "possessed" by Graves. I also think that for all of Brent Spiner's gifts as an actor, his villains tend to be somewhat one-dimensional. He played "Evil Data" a little too often.

    I'll just focus on the good points:

    1) Data's beard in the teaser. This may have been a predictable gag, but it's still funny.

    2) W Morgan Sheppard was excellent as Dr. Graves. His few minutes on the screen were convincing enough that Data's transformation is plausible.

    3) Data's eulogy for Graves is hilarious; Wesley, in a nice turn, milks the humor for all its worth. "To know him is to love him is to know him."

    4) The final talkdown scene between Picard and Data/Graves is a great showcase for those two characters/actors' chemistry, and also some nice writing. It's easily the most substantial part of the episode.moreless
Patrick Stewart

Patrick Stewart

Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Jonathan Frakes

Jonathan Frakes

Cmdr. William T. Riker

Brent Spiner

Brent Spiner

Lt. Cmdr. Data

Marina Sirtis

Marina Sirtis

Counsellor/Lt. Cmdr. Deanna Troi

LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton

Lt. Cmdr. Geordi LaForge

Michael Dorn

Michael Dorn

Lt./Lt. Cmdr. Worf

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • This is the only episode where Doctor Selar actually appears on screen, even though she is referenced in several subsequent episodes.

    • When Dr. Pulaski enters the turbolift in the opening scene, she never says where she is going, it just magically transports her to the bridge.

    • The Stargazer model in Picard's office changes position each time someone visits him - facing right, then left, then right again.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Dr. Ira Graves: (inside Data) Data is not human. He is...
      Picard : He is different yes, but that does not make him expendable or any less significant. No being is so important that he can usurp the rights of another.

    • Troi: (Dr. Graves) was working on bridging the gap between man and machine.
      Picard: It appears he built that bridge. I may be forced to tear it down.

    • Data: I trust I did nothing unbecoming to a Starfleet officer?
      Riker: Does wrestling with a Klingon targ ring a bell?
      Data: Did I win?

    • Data: To know him was to love him and to love him was to know him.

  • NOTES (3)

    • The role of Dr. Ira Graves was written specifically for Patrick McGoohan, best known for his role as Number Six in The Prisoner. There is also an episode of that series entitled "The Schizoid Man". However, McGoohan was either unavailable or uninterested.

    • W. Morgan Sheppard would go on to play the Klingon Warden of Rura Penthe in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. He also played Qatai on Star Trek Voyager.

    • Suzie Plakson returns to TNG twice as Worf's lover K'Ehleyr in "The Emissary" and "Reunion." Plaxson appeared as a female Q in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "The Q And The Grey", and as an Andorian in the Enterprise episode, "Cease Fire."


    • Picard: So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
      These lines spoken by Picard in his ready room are from Sonnet 18 by Shakespeare, which begins "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"

    • The Wizard of Oz
      The song that Dr. Graves whistles about a mechanical man who wants a heart so he can be human is from The Wizard of Oz.