“A Fistful of Datas” was written by Robert Hewitt Wolfe and Brannan Braga. It’s the 8th episode of the 6th season. This is a fun episode and with many laughs.
Geordi is performing an experiment with Data to test if Data could be utilized as a backup and repair for the ship’s computer in case of a malfunction. Meanwhile,
Worf’s son has written a holodeck program, with the help of Mr. Barclay (who doesn’t appear in this episode, only mentioned) based on Earth history of the old West.
Pretty soon, the ship’s replicators are producing cat food. Data had been working on “nutritional supplements for Spot.” Musical compositions are playing tunes produced by Data and plays are being replaced by poetry written by Data. On the holodeck, Troi joins Worf and Alexander as the mysterious stranger who rode into town. They’ve arrested a gun slinger named Eli. In retaliation, Eli’s father abducts Alexander, looking for a trade.
Trouble is, Eli’s dad, who introduces himself to Worf, is the spitting image of Data. The supporting players also become twins of Data, including Eli. The safety protocols on the holodeck are off and the Data-like characters posses Data’s traits of speed, strength, and ability, meaning the gun slinger has quick reflexes.
Data’s behavior begins to meld with the characters from the old West. He tells his cat to “vamoose varmint” and uses phrases like “I reckon” and having the work done “in time for supper.”
Troi determines that they need to play out the scenario on the holodeck before the computer ends the program. It’s up to them to stay alive during this time. Worf manages to create a temporary shield using materials in the holodeck program and survives the shoot out with the gun slinging Data.
Back on the ship, Geordi and Data realize that Data’s brain and the computer have swapped memories and work on repairing it. Worf, Alexander, and Troi see the holodeck program through and it fortunately ends before Worf needs to give barmaid Annie, now another twin of Data, a kiss for all her help.
This episode was funny and suspenseful, but in a good way. Brent Spiner gets to do a bit more here than his usual mechanical mannerisms of moving and talking. It’s a real treat for his fans.