***** (5 stars out of 5)It's the first appearance of the ship's poker game. Riker wins by bluffing Data. Data wins the moral victory with his totally shady hat. But the stakes are about to get higher...
Picard runs into old chum Captain Phillipa Louvois of the Sector 23 JAG office. She prosecuted him in the Stargazer court-martial. He thinks she enjoys the adversarial process too much, she thinks he's a pompous ass. But a sexy ass. Oh myyy...
An Admiral-In-The-Box pops up and tells us, "Commander Bruce Maddox is here to work on your android."
Commander Maddox was the only one vocally opposed to Data's entry into the Academy on the grounds that "it" was not a sentient being. Now he's eager to dismantle Data to learn how to make MORE Soong-type androids. When it grows clear from a brief conversation that Maddox is extremely vague on the details, Data resists and is therefore transferred to Starbase 173 anyway.
Maddox thinks he's better than your kids!
"Lt. La Forge's eyes are far superior to human biological eyes, are they not? Then why are not all Starfleet officers required to have their eyes replaced with cybernetic implants?" If nothing else, Data asks great questions. But it's not enough.
Louvois seems to think that Data's only recourse is to resign. "The Enterprise computer is property. Is Data?"
Twenty-first century law seems to state that yes, he is. And nobody's ever updated it. 'Data is a toaster' unless this hearing can prove otherwise. As Louvois has no staff, Picard must defend and Riker must prosecute. (Will was up for it until he realized she didn't say procreate!)
Riker demonstrates that Data is inhumanly smart, strong, modular, and in a final indignity, shuts Data off on the witness stand.
"And now he's about to be ruled the property of Starfleet. That should increase his value," says Guinan facetiously. Her 'whole generations of disposable people' scene still moves me.
'"You're talking about slavery," gasps Picard.
"I think that's a little harsh."
"I don't think that's a little harsh. I think that's the truth."
Picard's final cross examination of Maddox is awesome. You know...'The truth for all time' speech. He says 'crucible' in it and everything!
"Our mission is to seek out new life... well, there it sits!" Eating my popcorn!
'Are you prepared to condemn him and all who come after him to servitude and slavery?'
"The Measure Of A Man" is what this series can be when it really finds its voice. No flashy special effects except in the service of a riveting tale (about a guy with rivets). I enjoy the sight of Yar's tiny hologram bearing silent witness to Data's heart. Man, oh, man, I love 'The Measure of A Man'! But not in a gay way, you understand.