Images Source: TrekCore
Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch continues with the introduction of a rather awkward character in ...
Season 3, Episode 21
- The Enterprise experiences odd seemingly disconnected failures throughout the ship and Geordi assigns reclusive and non-dependable crew member Barclay to try and solve the problems.
- Reg Barclay is introduced and the focus of this episode. He's a diagnostic engineer whose performance continues to be below expectations, from being late to reclusive and making pretty much everyone feel awkward. He's also gets nicknamed Broccoli behind his back.
- Geordi has a lot of spotlight time as Barclay is part of his Engineering team and Picard decides that they aren't going to leave Barclay in the lurch so it's up to Geordi to really make him part of the team.
- As Barclay has an active holodeck life with alternate versions of crew members, we get to see all of them through his eyes, mostly notably with Troi in a holo-romance and Riker with a less-imposing stature.
Images Source: TrekCore
What I remembered about this episode:
- I actually remember the story of this episode more than the Barclay aspects, because I as fascinated by the quick witted process of elimination of the resolve what is causing odd reactions throughout the ship.
- I also, of course, remembered Barclay and most specifically his holodeck created versions of the crew, and how this feels so inappropriate.
- I remember very specific scenes of this one, including not being able to visuall understand both the finger impressions on the glass and that the holo-Riker appeared super-short. I guess that was before I learned forced perspective!
- They actually trick us out in this episode, in both the beginning and the ending with scenes that appear to be Barclay engaging with the real crew when in fact they are holodeck versions. This kind of "Gotcha!" moment is pretty rare in TNG.
- I wonder if Barclay intentionally didn't program a holo-Worf! And both Worf and Beverly were barely in this episode.
- There is an interesting look at tolerance in this episode, especially with how people react to their Barclay's holo-versions of themselves. It's very much like 'it's okay/normal as long as you don't take it too far', and they they see themselves and that idea is thrown to the wind. Except Riker, who is unimpressed with Barclay throughout the episode.
- I think this is the first time a regular crew member is shown with a problem as serious as possible addiction with Barclay to the holodeck. Usually these kinds of challenging are left to once-of characters of alien races like 1.22 Symbiosis. It's actually also the first time we see Troi counsel a regular crew member, although this is brief as Barclay runs like the wind!
- I'm a little more sympathetic to Barclay's character on this watch, and I love Guinan's notation to Geordi that if no one wanted to be around her, she'd be late and nervous too as well as the fact that Barclay is quite imaginative. I wonder how she knew that.
- I actually find it a little suprizing that you could recreate people of the crew on the holodeck for recreational purposes, but perhaps that goes along with the fact that holodecks are pretty 'new'. I could buy that.
- There is often a beauty in the simplicity of Barclay's character, especially when dealing with the initial issue of the anti-gravity devices that malfunctions and he simply says 'It shouldn't do that'. True. It shouldn't. :)
- I still loved the resolve of how quickly they paired down thousands of variables of the contaminate to 5, and then 2 and 1. Brilliant.
- The weirdness of Troi telling holo-her to muzzle it!
- The true horror when Picard accidentally calls Barclay 'Brocolli'. Ouch. Especially when you can see he is really trying to be supportive and positive.
- You can really see the active effort almost everyone makes to be supportive and encouraging of Barclay, and Geordi even mentions it to Wesley when he pretty much over-rides Barclay's theories without a thought.
- I think it was pretty cool to introduce a character that's a lot less than perfect on the crew, and they deal with the 'how did he get here?' if that's the case too. And I think it's important to note that he's not mean or malicious, just awkward and shy. Although the holodeck behaviour is of course still pretty weird, but having Geordi be his anchor here is perfect as he's too has had holo-issues and romance in 3.06 Booby Trap.
- It's a little strange to have back-to-back guys-who-make-other-people-uncomfortable with Barclay here and Tam in 3.20 Tin Man. It can be a touchy subject, because it makes the crew awkward and can make the audience feel uncomfortable, so 2 in a row is a bit of an odd choice.
- "Pardon me - but why is Lieutenant Barclay being referred to clandestinely as a vegetable?" - Data
- "Just shy... Sounds like nothing serious - doesn't it? You can't know." - Barclay
- "The idea of fitting in... just repels me."- Guinan
After Barclay and Geordi find out the cause for the malfunctions on the ship is a rarely used, old and almost untraceable substance they fix the contamination enough to avoid immediate danger. Barclay also says goodbye to his holodeck-created version of the crew and deletes all (but one) of his programs.
Images Source: TrekCore