*** (3 stars out of 5)
I know, I know, it's not the GOOD Avatar. No Na'vi, no Sigourney Weaver, no battling mech suits.
But it's got a little CGI and a little woodsy charm!
Then, six minutes later, it doesn't anymore.
All kidding aside, that is one kick-butt pre-credits teaser. Idyllic colony world Melona IV, where Riker hits on pioneer Carmen 'San Diego' Davila, is a midnight snack for the Crystalline Entity. The whole world, not Carmen. Oh, and also Carmen.
The Federation's foremost expert on the Giant Snowflake of Horrors rushes in to take notes, wave tricorders randomly, and have a complete mental breakdown. Dr. Kila Marr is showcased in this mostly bottle show. She's prejudiced against Data as the brother of Lore (the Snowflake collaborator who got everyone on Omicron Theta killed).
Including and especially Dr. Marr's sixteen year old son Raymond.
Echoing Picard's empty threat in "Clues", Marr quite sincerely threatens Data with disassembly if he turns out to be a traitor. It's difficult to like a bully. But of course, you gotta feel sorry for the driven career woman who doesn't take time to grieve. Or toilet breaks, one would imagine.
She's on a completely different page from Picard when it comes to the Crystalline Entity. She's fiercely hunting her deadly white whale and he's intent on treating it like some endangered white whale.
"The sperm whale on Earth devours millions of cuttlefish as it roams the oceans. It is not evil."... "It has as much right to be here as we do."
Dr. Marr learns that Data's head is full of the dead: even her son's journals and voice patterns and brain scans. "All I have left of Renny... is there, inside your head..."
Pause to insert request to take the head home with her... maybe propped up above the fireplace...
The tormented specialist comes apart while Data talks to her in her dead son's voice.
But not as much as the Entity comes apart when she shatters the hell out of it with a graviton beam on the pretence of 'communication'. "It will never hurt anyone again."
Dr. Marr begs Data for the gift of absolution: but Data extrapolates that Renny would only have been sad that she destroyed her career for revenge.
"Silicon Avatar" makes me wonder: was Jeri Taylor only accepting scripts where clever women go crazy?