Star Trek: The Most Toys

I just rewatched TNG's third season episode "The Most Toys."

Boy, what a great, great episode. This is one of those character pieces in Star Trek that I love so much. There's almost no action, but it doesn't matter, because this is basically a duel between the two characters of Data and Fajo. Of course, it's also an acting showcase for Brent Spiner and Saul Rubinek, who's probably best known for the role of the reporter in Eastwood's "Unforgiven." Rubinek pulls off the perfect balance between entertainingly whimsical and maliciously psychopathic. You can't pull your eyes away from him because you never know just what he'll do. There's an explosive spark beneath the surface that could go off at any moment.

They really started to get Data just right in the portrayal here in the third season, and The Most Toys is probably one of the episodes where Data is perfectly realized. Spiner does just enough to convey the turmoil and conflict of the situation, while retaining the fact that he is, after all, "just an android", as he says in the final shot. There's none of the stupid and inane buffoonery that we've had to endure in earlier episodes where he asks, "Burning the midnight oil? Gee whiz, better not do that!" Those sorts of dumb questions that make you wonder how such a retarded android ever rose to become second officer aboard the Federation flagship.

The last third of the episode really brings everything together and heightens the danger and intensity to a fever pitch. Fajo ends up murdering Varria and finally, we can see this series escape out from under the shadow of its predecessor to stake out its own legacy. Fajo has fully turned into this monstrous being and we can see that he's not just a Harry Mudd, a sort of huckster and thief. He's much darker then that. It inevitably takes the episode to a conclusion that can leave you profoundly disquieted or entirely satisfied, depending on your own views. Or, you can find yourself in deeper contemplation of Data's true self and whether your beliefs about him have changed. The episode really works on all cylinders and gives us a better understanding of the character, while not forgetting to tell an engaging and dramatic story in the process.

There's a few scenes of Wesley and his whining over Data's demise, and that's just annoying, but what can ya do?