Saturday, April 20, 2019

The Offspring

TNG Season 3 Episode 16
Air Date: March 12, 1990


Data has a daughter. After coming back from a cybernetics conference he has an idea and builds an android modeled after him, even using his memory and programs as a basis. He calls her Lal, after the Hindi word for beloved. Data takes on the role of parent as almost an experiment, letting Lal go to school and even letting her work in Ten Forward.

When Starfleet finds out about Lal, they send out Admiral Haftel to evaluate her education and development and if needed to bring her back to Starfleet for better training. When confronted about this, Lal ends up having a break down after feeling emotions such as fear. Haftel and Data try to fix the problem but eventually they have to shut Lal down.


I remember this episode as being pretty powerful as a teenager but watching it again today, it brought me to tears. Data was granted the rights of any sentient being in the episode The Measure of a Man but Starfleet still threatens his rights by trying to take his daughter away from him. Watching Lal realize that she was going to be taken away and going into what can only identify as an anxiety attack was heart breaking.


"Commander, what are your intentions toward my daughter?" - Data
"Your daughter?" - Riker

"The Admiral is taking the position that Lal's development should be overseen by the most experienced personnel." - Picard
"Then he is questioning my ability as a parent?" - Data
"In a manner of speaking." - Picard
"Does the Admiral have children?" - Data
"Yes, I believe he does, Data. Why?" - Picard
"I am forced to wonder how much experience he had as a parent when his first child was born." - Data

"Admiral. When I created Lal, it was in the hope that someday, she would choose to enter the Academy and become a member of Starfleet. I wanted to give something back, in return for all that Starfleet has given me. I still do. But Lal is my child. You ask that I volunteer to give her up. I cannot. It would violate every lesson I have learned about human parenting. I have brought a new life into this world. And it is my duty - not Starfleet's - to guide her through these difficult steps to maturity. To support her as she learns. To prepare her to be a contributing member of society. No one can relieve me from that obligation. And I cannot ignore it. I am, her father." - Data

"There are times, sir, when... men of good conscience cannot blindly follow orders. You acknowledge their sentience, but... you ignore their personal liberties... and freedom. Order a man to hand his child over to the state? Not while I'm his Captain." - Picard

"Lal, I am unable to correct the malfunction." - Data
"I know, Father." - Lal
"We must say goodbye now." - Data
"I feel" - Lal
"What do you feel, Lal?" - Data
"I love you, Father." - Lal
"I wish I could feel it with you." - Data
"I will feel it for both of us. Thank you for my life. Flirting, Laughter, Painting, family, Female, Human." - Lal

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