Friday, September 17, 2021

Star Trek: Silicon Avatar

Episode: "Silicon Avatar"
Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 5, Episode 4
Original Air Date: October 14, 1991

The Chrystalline Entity is back.  First introduced in "Datalore," the Entity is a space-dwelling creature that attacks planets, draining them of resources - not unlike Marvel's Galactus and sort of a precursor to the Borg concept.  In the earlier episode, we learned that the Entity killed the colonists on Omicron Theta, Data's "birth" world.  This time, it destroys Melona IV just as that world is about to be colonized.  Riker, Data and Crusher are all on the planet during the attack though mysteriously, they and most (but not all) of the colonists are spared.

Enter Kila Marr, a xenologist who has devoted her career to studying the Entity.  She is brought aboard the Enterprise in order to help pursue and investigate the Entity.  Turns out, she has a personal reason for her interest: the Entity killed her son, one of the colonists on Omicron Theta.  At first, she doesn't trust Data.  The fact of Lore's association with the creature and the fact that the Entity seems to continually spare Data leads her to suspect our favorite android of being in kahoots.  Eventually, though, she comes around, especially once she discovers Data has access to her son's memories.

In the end, the story is more about Marr's Ahab-esque obsession than anything to do with Data.  That's a shame because, it's worth noting, we never do get any resolution as to why the Entity never harms Data, despite having had the opportunity three times.  There are a few nice moments in the episode such as when Marr acknowledges the Entity's beauty upon first seeing it.  Otherwise, this story's a bit of a drop off after such a strong run immediately before it.

Acting Notes

Ellen Geer (Marr) was born August 29, 1941 in New York City.  Her parents, Herta Ware and Will Geer, were both professional actors.  Film credits include Kotch, Harold and Maude and Patriot Games.  She was a regular on The Jimmy Stewart Show but most of her television work has been guest appearances, including CHiPs, Dallas and Desperate Housewives.

Much of her most important work has been off-camera.  She's been the artistic director of the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum since 1978 and has taught acting at UCLA for many years.


  1. I did like this episode but I never caught on as to why it spared Data. I like how she slowly loses grip with reality..great actress and had no idea she was grandpa walton’s Daughter.

  2. Replies
    1. Agreed. Not as strong as the ones immediately before it but still good.

  3. On a somewhat side note about this episode, I got into a heated argument over the actions taken by the Enterprise crew during this episode.

    One of my brothers didn't like the episode because they didn't just blast the Entity with phasers and photon torpedoes. Good old me decides to try and explain why making contact with the crystal creature is better than just blasting it to subatomic particles.

    It didn't go well, but then again I'm the black sheep liberal of a typical South Carolina family.

    This was a decent episode. But I agree, sparing Data three times is weird.

    1. We've seen it in both this episode and the last one: even within Starfleet, there are both hawks and doves.