Warning: SPOILERS for the Star Trek: Picard episode “Surrender” are ahead!
Like Patrick Stewart, Jeri Ryan and Michelle Hurd, Brent Spiner has appeared in every season of Star Trek: Picard, but going into Season 3, it was unclear which character he would be playing. Then in October 2022, it was revealed he’d be reprising Lore, Data’s evil twin (who was originally going to be way different), but now we know it’s a bit more complicated than that. Spiner is actually playing a golem android containing the personalities of both Lore and Data, and this latest episode, “Surrender,” featured a fight for dominance over the body between the two characters. A big part of this conflict involved mementos from Data’s The Next Generation days being shown off, as well as his pet cat Spot, and Spiner explained why working with a cat was easier this time around compared to on the Star Trek series that ran from 1987 to 1994.
Introduced in the Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 4 episode “Data’s Day,” Spot was portrayed by a variety of different cats over her eight appearances on the show, as well as the movies Generations (you know, the one where James Kirk died) and Nemesis. While Spot is obviously long since gone by the time the events of Star Trek: Picard unfold, a simulation of the cat was seen as Lore was taking Data’s memories. CinemaBlend’s own Mick Joest had the opportunity to talk with Brent Spiner, and he asked how working with a cat this time around compared to his earlier years playing Data, as Spiner has frequently mentioned how he was frequently frustrated by the cats used on The Next Generation. The actor responded:
The cats who played Spot on Star Trek: The Next Generation certainly earned their keep, as viewers would see them do things like repeatedly jump on Data’s desk and obnoxiously meow for food or to play. In contrast, all the cat in “Surrender” had to do was be picked up by Brent Spiner as the actor spoke as Data about how Spot taught him to love, and then continue being held by Lore. It’s a walk in the park for a cat to simply be petted and adored, as any feline owner will tell you.
Spot’s appearance in the newest Star Trek: Picard episode came at a particularly emotional juncture, as it was among the Data memories Lore seized for himself, and with each relinquished memory, it seemed as though the Data personality in the Daystrom Android M-5-10 was closer to be eliminated. Fortunately, Lore’s plan backfired, as the Data personality was instead able to use those memories to alter Lore’s programming and have them merge together. Although aspects of Lore remain in the android body, as well as the memory files from B-4 and Altan Inigo Soong also being present, it’s now Data who’s in full control. As he later told William Riker, he’s still mostly himself, “albeit with a dash of computational Joie de vivre.”
There are just two episodes left of Star Trek: Picard for Paramount+ subscribers to look forward to, but with all the talk among the fanbase and talent associated with the show about a potential spinoff called Star Trek: Legacy, this may not be the end of the road for certain Next Generation characters, including Brent Spiner’s Data. For now, Paramount+ (opens in new tab) is where you’ll find all the other Star Trek shows located, and our 2023 TV schedule is available to peruse if you’re curious about what other small screen entertainment is available to watch now.