Data’s cat Spot appears in “Surrender,” the most recent episode of Star Trek: Picard.
Along with most of the lead crew from Star Trek: The Next Generation, the final season of Star Trek: Picard has seen the surprise return of Ro Laren (Michelle Forbes) and Tuvok (or at least a Changeling disguised as Tim Russ‘ signature character). But this week’s episode of Picard, “Surrender,” sees the return of the last Star Trek hero you would expect: Data’s (Brent Spiner) cat Spot. The orange feline appears as a memory of Data’s, and he isn’t there just for fan service.
In “The Bounty” we learned that the personalities of Data and Lore had been uploaded into a new body; some other personalities like B-4 and Lal are along for the ride, but the brothers’ are the most dominant. Desperately needing Data to help him retake the Titan’s computers back from Vadic (Amanda Plummer), Geordi (LeVar Burton) agrees to drop the partition between Data and Lore’s warring personalities in the hopes Data will come out on top.
Where Star Trek’s cutest cat Spot (followed closely by Star Trek: Discovery‘s Grudge) comes in is how the battle manifests in the shared mental space of Data and Lore. Representations of Data’s memories appear, like parts of his Sherlock Holmes costume or his hologram of the late Tasha Yar; one by one Lore steals them from him, thinking this will destroy his brother. The last memory to appear is that of Spot, of whom Data says:
“This is Spot. This simple creature managed something quite miraculous… something of which I did not know I was capable. In a way, he taught me to love. He is the best of me, the last of me.”
-Data in “Surrender”
Lore greedily takes the cat from Data, only to discover he’s been undone by his more noble brother. By taking Data’s memories, he is no longer Lore and is essentially absorbed into Data. It is Star Trek’s beloved Spot who is the final straw.
Star Trek fans haven’t gotten to see spot since 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis. In fact, a scene that was ultimately cut from the film shows Worf (Michael Dorn) becoming the kitty’s unlikely caretaker. The Klingon had previously shown a strong aversion to the cat when Data asked Worf to temporarily look after him in the TNG final season episode “Phantasms.”
Data’s old pet serves as proof that the franchise has always had a lot of cracks in its continuity. Different episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation seemed to disagree on Spot’s gender. For example, while Data refers to the cat as “he” in Picard, Spot gives birth to a litter of kittens in the Season 7 episode “Genesis.”
Only two more episodes of Paramount+‘s Star Trek: Picard are left, which the final chapters premiering on the next two Thursdays.