** (2 stars out of 5)
Starship Vico is found damaged and drifting in the Black Cluster. (Confusingly, this Cluster was named for its mostly blue colour.) Somehow, mighty Enterprise is unable to download the stricken ship's logs though the emergency bulkheads (they block the wifi or something).
An away team braves the rumbling, crumbling vessel and returns with the lone survivor.
He had to be rescued from under a victurium alloy beam that blocked the transporter. I understand the necessity of plot devices, but I'm dubious. The boy is clearly visible. The troublesome alloy is only above him. Can't this marvellous teleporter get him out at another angle?
Anyway, heroic Data saves Little Orphan Timothy. Timmy relates a story of an attacking boarding party, but apart from his account, there's no evidence. According to this episode and the previous one, Kid Plus Dead Mom Equals Liar.
Also like Alexander, Timothy's desperate for a role model. His tormented mind concocts the solution of becoming an android just like Data.
As ever, procedure with trauma-shocked orphans is leaving them by themselves in empty rooms. Where the holy hell are Troi and the other counsellors? Wouldn't he need more attention than a daily appointment? 'Here's your quarters, there's the replicator. Now don't go anywhere, and be less sad. Later, 'gator!'
Anyway, Troi calls his condition enantiodromia: defined as something you say to remind people you have a psychology degree when they've lost faith in your general knowledge. Troi has Data play along with Timothy's android fantasy. Their antics include slicking their hair back, making bird-like head tilts, and field-stripping the engine nacelles while clinging to the outside of the ship.
Soon, Deanna has Data scooching Tim back toward humanity. The real android remarks with plaintive subtlety: "I cannot take pride in my abilities. I cannot take pleasure in my accomplishments... I would gladly risk feeling bad at times if it also meant that I could taste my dessert."
Some of Timothy's suffering stems from his mistaken belief that HE destroyed his ship. The true cause is discovered to be a reflective gravitational wave front that bashes ships harder and harder the stronger their shields. Only by lowering their barriers can they be saved.
METAPHOR! FACE-PUNCHING METAPHOR!
"Hero Worship" wraps up the destruction of a child's entire support structure and his speedy recovery in short order. Then it shoves him into the same Oblivion Closet as Worf's adopted brother Jeremy Aster and Riker's beloved fake son Barash. Or maybe Data sent him to live with the Rozhenkos. I understand they're not busy anymore.