Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 4, Episode 11
Original Air Date: January 7, 1991
|via Memory Alpha
In this week's story, Data is composing a letter to Commander Bruce Maddox, a cyberneticist and Data's one-time nemesis. Data recounts a "normal" day in his life. I find it reminiscent of various M*A*S*H episodes in which one of the characters writes a letter home. Of course, it's not just an ordinary day. Data is to give away the bride at Chief O'Brien's wedding! Also, the Enterprise is bringing Vulcan Ambassador T'Pel to the Neutral Zone to negotiate a peace treaty with the Romulans and Data is assigned as her escort.
"Data's Day" is a strong episode for numerous reasons. Obviously, there's significant Data development and it's one of the funniest installments thus far. Data's dance lesson with Dr. Crusher is absolutely wonderful. Naturally, McFadden did the choreography herself, having an entirely separate career in that field. Both actors did most of their own dancing, too. The secondary narrative with T'Pel is strong, too - Romulan stories tend to be. The introduction of Keiko Ishikawa O'Brien (Rosalind Chao) will have lasting impact. She's an important recurring character on both Next Gen and DS9. And, of course, Data gets a cat: Spot.
Rosalind Chao was born September 23, 1957 in Anaheim, California. She started young in the business, performing with a traveling Peking opera company from age 5. Her parents sent her to Taiwan in the summers for actor training. She attended Pomona College but graduated from USC.
Thanks in no small part to her associations with Star Trek and the aforementioned M*A*S*H, Chao has been one of the most visible Asian-American actors in Hollywood for nearly 40 years. She had her breakthrough as Soon-Lee, Klinger's wife, married in M*A*S*H's legendary final episode. With Trek, she almost made the original Next Gen cast as she was considered for the role of Tasha Yar. Big screen stardom came with The Joy Luck Club in 1993. More recently, she played Hua Li, the title character's mother in 2020's live action remake of Mulan.