Sep 18 2012 5:00pm

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: “Realm of Fear”

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Realm of Fear“Realm of Fear”
Written by Brannon Braga
Directed by Cliff Bole
Season 6, Episode 2
Production episode 40276-228
Original air date: September 28, 1992
Stardate: 46041.1

Captain’s Log: The Enterprise has found the U.S.S. Yosemite, a science vessel exploring the Igo Sector that has gone missing. They find it in a plasma stream between two suns. The Yosemite was examining that stream, but their closer look was apparently too close. Sensors and tractor beams aren’t working, and a shuttle’s too risky, but Barclay suggests bridging the Enterprise transporter with the Yosemite transporter to punch through the interference.

La Forge asks Barclay to be on the away team, which fills him with a nameless dread. O’Brien has to send people over one at a time, and the transport will take a bit longer and be “bumpy.” That last word sends Barclay’s apprehension into overdrive.

O’Brien beams Worf over first, then Riker, then Crusher (though there’s ionic interference in the matter stream for a moment). Barclay is now shaking with the sweats, and then declares that he just can’t do this and leaves the transporter room.

He goes to talk to Troi. She thinks it’s just that he was nervous about this particular transport, but it turns out to be more fundamental than that—he has a deep-seated fear of being transported. Troi, however, tells him that lots of people suffer this type of transporter phobia (for some reason, she doesn’t mention that the Enterprise’s former chief medical officer was one of them), and they can work on it. She starts with plexing, a Betazoid technique that involves tapping a nerve cluster near the carotid artery that releases endorphins into the brain.

Barclay tries it, and the endorphins get released a little too hard—he now insists that he has to work through his fear, and is gung-ho about it. He’s gonna beam over, dagnabbit!

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Realm of Fear

On the Yosemite, there are no signs of any survivors. They couldn’t have abandoned ship—the escape pods are all present, and there’s nowhere in range to transport to. There was an explosion on board that apparently happened in the transporter—yet the transporter’s still functioning.

Crusher, however, has found a body: Joshua Kelly, ship’s engineer, covered in second- and third-degree burns.

In the transporter room, Barclay prepares himself to transport. O’Brien bucks him up by telling him how he overcame his arachnophobia. After Barclay arrives, La Forge puts him to work. There are still four crew unaccounted for. La Forge also found some fragments from a container.

The away team returns. In mid-transport, Barclay sees some kind of creature with a large mouth heading right for him—but it disappears when he materializes, just as it was apparently biting his left arm.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Realm of Fear

In engineering, La Forge and Barclay work on trying to reconstruct the Yosemite logs (to no avail) and the container from the fragments they found. Reluctantly, Barclay tells La Forge about what he saw. They check the transporter, and everything’s working fine. La Forge and O’Brien also reassure Barclay that transporting is very safe.

Crusher and Ogawa perform the autopsy on Kelly—during which his heart suddenly starts beating. Then it stops, and his respiratory system starts working, and then it stops. She’s also found ionization on the body that indicates it may have been exposed to the plasma stream. La Forge theorizes that they may have tried to beam aboard some of the plasma stream and the container exploded.

Barclay goes to Ten-Forward, only to have his arm suddenly hurt and glowing purple—right at the spot where the whatever-it-was in the matter stream bit him. Rather than do the smart thing, like report to sickbay, he goes to his quarters to drink water and pace a lot and do some research on transporter psychosis. The list of symptoms the computer provides just exacerbates Barclay’s paranoia mixed with hypochondria, as does the computer’s statement that there’s no cure.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Realm of Fear

When he reports to duty the next day, he’s a mess: he’s carrying a water bottle around with him, he’s distracted in engineering, his attempt to take a nap fails, so he starts walking quickly through the corridor to exhaust himself so he can sleep. Troi follows him—comically trying to keep up with his longer strides—and finally removes him from duty. He returns to quarters and tries various relaxation techniques that do precisely nothing to relax him. He tries to sleep, but then his arm starts to hurt and do the purple glowy thing again.

Again, rather than report to sickbay, Barclay instead calls O’Brien to the transporter room in the middle of the night. There were ionic fluctuations during transport, including when Barclay was in the matter stream coming back. He orders O’Brien to transport him to the Yosemite and right back, while artificially re-creating one of those ionic fluctuations. (He makes it an actual order, too, likely the first one Barclay’s given in his Starfleet career.)

Sure enough, he sees the creature again. This time he reports to the senior staff. There’s concern that this is Barclay being crazy but he assures them that he wouldn’t have bothered them with it if he wasn’t absolutely sure.

Crusher examines his arm, and she finds traces of the same ionization that was on Kelly and the container. He definitely encountered something. Barclay goes back to work, but Crusher puts a monitoring device on his left arm.

Data, La Forge, and Barclay try to beam aboard a sample of the plasma stream into another container—this time with a force field around it. Data starts a standard scan—and it blows up. The force field keeps it contained, and La Forge’s VISOR picks up bio energy within the plasma matter. Barclay then collapses, the purple glow having extended further (the monitoring device on his arm remains quiet, however).

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Realm of Fear

Turns out there are energy microbes within the plasma stream. They got caught in the buffer of the Yosemite transporter, and got into the Enterprise’s when they linked systems. There were some in Kelly’s body, and there are some now in Barclay’s. The bio-filter can’t distinguish them from energy in the matter stream, so they need to reprogram the bio-filter, but they’d need to keep Barclay in the matter stream for 30-40 seconds in order to isolate them. That’s dangerous, as too long in the matter stream will result in signal degradation and he’ll be lost forever. But it’s the only way to decontaminate him.

They dematerialize Barclay and start the bio-filter. This time, Barclay is approached by the creature again, and there are two more behind it. Barclay suddenly reaches out to the creature and grabs it. O’Brien reads a 92% increase in mass—something’s in there with him. They call Worf and put up a force field, then rematerialize him—only to see one of the Yosemite crew with Barclay. Turns out that Kelly tried to do the same thing the Enterprise did, but something went wrong, and the plasma stream exploded.

After the other three Yosemite crew are rescued, Barclay meets up with O’Brien in Ten-Forward. O’Brien realizes that this is the first time they’ve talked outside the transporter room, and Barclay admits that he avoided O’Brien because he’s the transporter chief. O’Brien introduces Barclay to his pet tarantula, Christine, which goes about as well as you’d expect....

Can’t We Just Reverse the Polarity?: We get a history of improvements in the transporter that make them incredibly safe. Notably, all of those improvements are within a time frame that indicates that they were made since the time of the original series (viz., “The Enemy Within,” “Mirror, Mirror,” Star Trek: The Motion Picture). It’s also firmly established that leaving someone in the matter stream for too long will result in pattern degradation (something that will come up again soon in “Relics”).

Thank You, Counselor Obvious: Troi continues her ongoing project of turning Barclay into a human being, and he continues his tendency to take a relaxation technique used by her as a starting point and goes crazy with it. (He did this in “Hollow Pursuits” with the breathing technique Troi used on him, and again here with plexing.)

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Realm of Fear

If I Only Had a Brain...: Data notices Barclay’s preoccupation with his health in engineering, prompting La Forge to give him the day off and sic Troi on him.

I Believe I Said That: “Commander La Forge said you seemed a little nervous this morning.”

“I’m always nervous. Everybody knows that.”

Troi trying to get Barclay to open up, and Barclay responding with a nice bit of self-awareness.

Welcome Aboard: Like John deLancie’s Q, Barclay didn’t appear in the fifth season, and like Q, he will make up for it with two appearances in the following year, as Dwight Schultz makes the first of two sixth-season showings, the next to come in “Ship in a Bottle.” Recurring players Colm Meaney as O’Brien and Patti Yasutake as Ogawa fill out the guest cast, along with Thomas Belgrey delivering exposition at the end as one of the trapped Yosemite crew and Renata Scott as an admiral to whom Picard reports.

Trivial Matters: This episode is the first time transporting is shown from the point of view of the person being beamed. We’ll see it again in the Voyager episode “Prototype.”

Barclay asks La Forge if he’s ever experienced anything out of the ordinary while transporting, and La Forge totally fails to mention what happened in “The Next Phase.”

Troi will be seen to use plexing on herself in “Timescape.”

Picard’s conversation with the admiral includes a mention of Cardassian aggression, a nice bit of foreshadowing for the growing importance of Cardassians in general, both on TNG and the forthcoming Deep Space Nine (debuting four months after this episode), and the events of “Chain of Command” in particular.

O’Brien’s pet tarantula is never seen or referenced ever again. You have to wonder if he got it just for the purpose of freaking out Barclay—indeed, that the whole fear-of-spiders thing was just something the chief made up to make Barclay feel better.

Speaking of that, Barclay offhandedly says that spiders never bothered him, which is handy, as he’ll turn into one in “Genesis.”

O’Brien’s collar now has a single square pip, which he’ll keep for this season and when he moves over to DS9. Prior to this, he had the two circular rank pips of a full lieutenant, even though he was always called “Chief” and was specifically established as enlisted personnel in “Family.”

Make it So: “I’m sorry, I can’t do this!” There’s nothing I can point to in this episode that’s actively bad. It’s always fun to see Reg Barclay, and Dwight Schultz does an excellent job of showing that Barclay is better than he was in “Hollow Pursuits” but still with a ways to go. The conversations between O’Brien and Barclay—two recurring characters who’d never been paired up before—are actually quite nifty. And while it’s true that the episode’s a bit too technobabble-heavy, it’s at least technobabble about something that’s been a major part of Star Trek from the git-go, to wit, the transporter.

But the episode ultimately has little staying power. All of Barclay’s other appearances are more memorable for reasons good (“Hollow Pursuits” was a solid intro, “The Nth Degree” was quite fun, and “Ship in a Bottle” is one of the upcoming season’s gems) and bad (“Genesis” is a howlingly ridiculous episode that’s impossible to forget). This one just, I don’t know, sits there.

The bit at the end with the tarantula was pretty hilarious, though.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Realm of Fear


Warp factor rating: 5

Keith R.A. DeCandido does not fear spiders. Or transporters, for that matter.

Joseph Newton
1. crzydroid
I didn't get the impression that the plasma exploded when they went into the transporter...I thought it exploded when they did the scan, and they still had it in the transporter, which caused the infection. Then when they tried the transporter thing, they did some technobabbly thing where they pushed the dispersion thing past the point of molecular cohesion or something, and they got caught in the beam.

Anyway, I thought this episode WAS memorable, one, for seeing inside the transporter beam, and two, for Barclay's freaking out about the transporter.

I thought Dwight Schultz was really good in this one too. I like the part where he's listening to the calming sounds, and says, "Computer, more birds." At which point, the amount of birds added is way too many to be relaxing anymore.
Joseph Newton
2. crzydroid
Though, now that I think about it, it makes a certain amount of sense that whatever happened in the transporter also caused an explosion--it would explain Lt. Kelly's burns for one thing.
Margot Virzana
3. LuvURphleb
I am vEry afraid of spiders but fervently wish for a teansporter device everyday.
I love this episode. I dont know why. I guess its just a fun episode i like to watch whenever im sick or tired.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
4. Lisamarie
I have a soft spot for Barclay (as I am very anxious at times, and also think transporters sound really scary!) so I enjoyed this one. And I thought it was cool that he did manage to overcome his fear and even helped solve the mystery!

I never quite understood why the crew members looked like space slugs though...
Jenny Thrash
5. Sihaya
"You have to wonder if he got it just for the purpose of freaking out Barclay—indeed, that the whole fear-of-spiders thing was just something the chief made up to make Barclay feel better."

As the ship's botanist, I suspect Keiko could ask a small favor of the ship's zoologist if Miles told her what it was for.
Jenny Thrash
6. Sihaya
Oh also, I rather like this episode and tend to remember its high points when I think of Barclay episodes. It was a tight little thriller that, in spite of the babble, was a fine illustration of "Show, don't tell."
7. jlpsquared
Yeah, not bad is about the best I can say about this episode.

"Barclay asks La Forge if he’s ever experienced anything out of the ordinary while transporting, and La Forge totally fails to mention what happened in “The Next Phase.”"
The funny thing about this is that it wasn't even that long ago for Geordi, the time between "the Next Phase" and here is 45892.4 to 46041.4, or a bit over a month.
adam miller
8. adamjmil
This is Star Trek, where you Cannot Possibly Remember What Happened In Prior Episodes.
Christopher Bennett
9. ChristopherLBennett
Well, "The Next Phase" didn't really fit the question. Barclay wasn't asking about strange experiences as a result of transporting, but specifically about strange sensations or perceptions experienced while in the beam -- while in the dematerialized state when there shouldn't be anything to perceive.

And that's always been my big problem with this episode. You're supposed to be broken up into individual subatomic particles while being transported, so how can you sense or experience or do anything while in the beam? That just doesn't make any sense. The explanation I've come up with is based on the idea that consciousness is a matter of the pattern of our neural connections rather than their physical substrate -- that it's basically information. When a transporter dematerializes the particles in a body, it also thoroughly scans the information defining their structure and configuration -- the "transporter pattern" -- and encodes that information in the energy matrix of the transporter beam. And since that energy matrix contains the complete pattern of a person's mind and body, then that pattern effectively is the person, simply preserved in a different medium than the usual physical matter. Thus, even when the body is dematerialized, the consciousness could continue to "run" within the transporter pattern -- and since the pattern encodes the structure of the whole body, that consciousness would still perceive itself as connected to its body, like a phantom limb sensation. Hence, Barclay's consciousness hallucinated that he still had a body. And when he sensed the other crewmembers in the beam, he hallucinated them as slug things because he couldn't fully perceive what they really were.

This is also a handy rationalization for the original TOS-era explanation (sometimes repeated in the TNG era even after the tech was retconned) that transporters convert the body to energy, rather than breaking it down into a particle stream. Since the information defining the self continues to exist as an energy pattern within the beam -- and since, quantum-mechanically speaking, the information of a thing is the thing itself -- it's valid to say that the person or object is converted from matter to energy in a sense, even though the actual particles making up that person or object are not.

Still, it's a pretty silly episode conceptually. Most transporter-based episodes are, but this one really takes the cake. Barclay is kind of fun, but Schultz tends to be overly broad and exaggerated in his performances (although, as I may have noted before, his performance style and rhythms are uncannily like William Shatner's, as if he's intentionally modeled himself on Shatner). Being somewhat shy and insecure and phobia-prone myself, I would naturally tend to identify with Barclay, but it would be a lot easier to do so if Schultz hadn't made him such a caricature.
10. Llama
I have an anxiety disorder and this episode was so spot on, I found it genuinely moving. I have deep and profound love for Barclay (who I find one of the most realistic and sympathetic characters I've ever seen on television, excuse you) and the brilliant Dwight Schultz both, so maybe I'm biased. He's able to be very funny without ever making Barclay ridiculous and his delivery of 'Just shy... sounds like nothing serious, doesn't it?' made me tear up.

First run through the Barclay episodes, though, this was my favourite. His not going right to sickbay, still convinced something was wrong, and using the computer to self-diganose while trying to get on with work... perfect. That is exactly what health anxiety is like.
Alyssa Tuma
11. AlyssaT
I always thought it was a shame that Barclay wasn't part of the core crew. TNG badly needed a permanent "non-perfect" and I have no doubt that had he been part of the main cast, Schultz's performance would have just gathered nuance and layers and strength (although I am generally a pretty big fan of Barclay/Schultz as is). I like this episode well enough, but also don't find it quite as memorable as other Barclay outings. It seems to be always the one I forget about... maybe because it's a season 6-er, which is a season I don't tend to revisit all that often.
Keith DeCandido
12. krad
Christopher: Disagree -- Barclay didn't phrase the question that specifically. He just generally asked if anything weird happened when he used the transporter. The events of "The Next Phase" totally qualify as an answer to the question he actually asked.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
13. haggs
I always loved this epsiode. Maybe its just because its dwight, maybe its just my love of seeing cowardly characters having to step up and do what needs to be done, but it aways held a spot in my heart.
Christopher Bennett
14. ChristopherLBennett
@12: Barclay's exact words were "Commander, has anything strange ever happened to you during transport?" Not after transport, not as a result of using the transporter, but specifically during transport, i.e. while actually in the process of being beamed. Okay, maybe technically the event that sent Geordi and Ro out of phase occurred during the moments while they were being transported, but I think most of the strangeness he experienced was afterward, or at least I can buy that he'd think of it that way and not immediately associate those events with Reg's question.

Or at least he'd know that Reg was already aware of the events of "The Next Phase" and would draw the reasonable conclusion that Reg was asking about something else.
Mike Kelmachter
15. MikeKelm
@12 AlyssaT... Alyssa, I have to agree with you. The rest of the cast is just too perfect- we all seem to like the "flawed" bit characters a bit more. Barclay and his neurosis, Ro and her rebel streak as well as the one shot guest stars- heck even O'Brien for his "everyman" characteristics. But the core cast could use some flaws. Picard is the great leader/explorer, Riker the solid career man, Data the perfect android who saves the ship like alot, Worf the consummate warrior, Troi the caring counselor, Crusher the excellent doctor- none of these characters have a major character flaw to them or for that matter seem long term affected by what happens to them during the series. If you think about other long term shows, like say MASH, even the protagonist characters have issues. But what is Rikers issue- he likes his job too much and doesn't want to leave? That his hobby is a smart type of music like jazz? He ends up being bland.

Don't get me wrong, we get good character development from Worf and Data. Worf goes from the token alien used to show how inclusive he was to family man, Data aspires to humanity (by the way, brilliant explanation of Data's sudden lack of personality come season 3 Mr. Bennett in your lost era book after having some in season 1) and grows as a person. But character development is not human components, and as a result it's sometimes hard to relate to a perfect charachter like Riker in a way we relate to a flawed one like Barclay.
16. jlpsquared
@Christopher Bennet, you are taking it too literally, man. Unless the question was asked of data who would see it starkly as yes/no, and someone had asked me "Commander, has anything strange ever happened to you during transport?", and literally one month before I had transporter accident make me "phased", my answer would not be NO. This is simply the writers didn't think about it.

@Mike and Alyssa. As to the "perfect crew" problem, I disagree with you both. Although Dqight Shultz is delightful as Barcley, and very realistic, I don't think Roddenberry ever once claimed star trek was realistic. To him, star trek was the idealized version of the future. I am sure he probably would not love these episodes because we would likely have eliminated "major character flaws". It wasn't just societal flaws he was trying to move humans beyond, remember.
Alyssa Tuma
17. AlyssaT
@16 -- To me it's not so much a question of realism. And in fact, I think that a highly capable and efficient and behaved crew is actually probably MORE "realistic" than one peppered with goofballs and underdogs and rebels (sometimes, although I love Barclay, it's like, "Who let that guy in here?!"). It's a matter of connecting with the crew and finding their adventures interesting and compelling. Don't get me wrong, I love this show and I love these characters, and many of the core crew do exhibit flaws and growth (see Mike's excellent post @15), but there are times when it can feel, at worst, irksome and, at best, a bit boring.

I do agree with you that Roddenberry had a very idealized and positive vision of the future, and enjoyed creating characters who were heroes, something to aspire to. And I admire this deeply. I have no doubt that the perfection of the TNG crew reflects his vision. But by the late 80s, I think this attitude may have been getting a little stale, and it would have been fun to have a few more antiheroes in there. Or even just think how much more appetizing Wesley would have been if he had been framed as a smart kid with mortal flaws and struggles, instead of some icky "boy wonder."
Christopher Bennett
18. ChristopherLBennett
@16: No, you might not hear "during transport" as specifically as that, but you're not an engineer who works regularly with the technology. Barclay and La Forge both are. They'd both speak the same technical language when discussing transporter technology, and the phrase "during transport" may well have a very specific meaning within engineering jargon. After all, the periods before, during, and after transport would each offer their own distinct engineering issues and challenges. So as a fellow engineer, La Forge would understand Barclay's intention more clearly than a layperson like you would.

And I don't see why I'm the one with a problem of interpretation when I'm the one offering a solution to the apparent discrepancy. Since when was it wrong to try to solve a problem rather than just complaining about it? After all, as I said, the episode clearly shows that La Forge understands the question to be a reference to something happening while in the beam itself. I'm just offering an explanation for why that is.
"I don't think Roddenberry ever once claimed star trek was realistic. To him, star trek was the idealized version of the future."
Oh, that's completely untrue. Roddenberry was one of the first SFTV producers -- and, sadly, one of the few since -- who really made an effort to build a realistic future. He consulted with scientists and engineers and think tanks to help him build a plausible depiction of space -- something that only one other TV series, Tom Corbett, Space Cadet in the early '50s, had done before. He also strove for character realism in the original series, urging his writers to approach ST the same way they'd approach one of the naturalistic adult dramas of the day like Naked City or Gunsmoke. Realism was deeply important to him. He didn't always live up to that aspiration, having to make concessions for budgetary or dramatic reasons or just not doing as well as he would've liked, but he was always striving to improve the realism of the universe. It's true that by the TNG era he'd gotten more caught up in the view of himself as a visionary philosopher and tried to make the characters more idealized, but realism in other regards was still of high importance to him.
adam miller
19. adamjmil
In answer to Barcley's question, I think a real Geordi would have joked "You mean besides that whole phasing thing last month? Nah never"

But that didn't happen because either the writers didn't think of it or simply the episodic formula just about every TV show followed at the time.

I'll also concede that it's probably hard to write realistic dialogue. I would be terrible at it.
20. lvsxy808
@ #9: Christopher:
If you do indeed maintain consciousness during transport, doesn't that lead to the rather horrifying conclusion that Scotty continued to experience consciousness during his 70 years of transporter suspension before "Relics"? (Bearing in mind the non-necessarily-linear experience of the passage of time inside the beam as opposed to outside.) And the even more horrifying conclusion that the other guy from "Relics," the one whose pattern didn't make it, actually "felt" in some sense the slow degradation of his pattern and the resulting "death" it implies?

Start thinking about any of this too closely, and the worms just get everywhere.
Joseph Newton
22. crzydroid
I don't know that conciousness would be maintained during the entire transport cycle, or while in the buffer. Since Barclay's experiences were on the transporter pad, I got the impression that they happened during the rematerialization process. There is dialogue indicating that normal spatial relationships are distorted (so in effect, the mouth thing could be seen as a hallucination) and maybe perceptions of time are distorted as well. Barclay references phased matter all around, so perhaps there is a period where the body is mostly reconstructed but still out of phase.

In any case, I think you're right that the transporter is more complex than matter simply being converted to energy. It seems obvious that the particular energy/matter whatever is important, rather than just a computer-scanned pattern, as is the case with a replicator. If something happens to a particular energy stream, it is lost. Since tech manuals give the explanation that replicators can't replicate people because it doesn't operate on the quantum level, maybe there is something to do with the quantum states of the person being transported that is important for the process.
Christopher Bennett
23. ChristopherLBennett
@22: "I think you're right that the transporter is more complex than matter simply being converted to energy."

It's not "converted to energy" at all. That idea was retconned away decades ago, because it's silly. Convert the mass of a typical adult human male to energy and the result will be a 1500-megaton explosion -- 30 times bigger than the largest nuclear bomb ever detonated, 10 times bigger than the 1883 Krakatoa eruption. The first experimental transporter built on Earth would've devastated the country it was activated in and caused global nuclear winter. Even if a transporter could somehow contain and direct such insane amounts of energy, how stupidly irresponsible would it be to fire it in a beam toward a planet's surface? Just beaming down would be an act of war. Heck, if a civilization did invent a way to expose matter to a ray that converted it entirely to energy, they wouldn't use it for transportation, they'd make it into the ultimate weapon. Even if the Federation didn't, the Klingons and Romulans surely would, and the quadrant would be in ruins within years.

That's why TNG's technical consultants tossed out the whole "matter-to-energy" idea (though it still slipped into dialogue occasionally) in favor of the object being broken down into a particle stream which was sent through subspace and reassembled at the other end. What I'm saying is that the erroneous dialogue references to "matter into energy" can perhaps be rationalized by taking them as a metaphorical or inaccurate reference to the information defining a person being stored in the beam's energy matrix while the particles are disassembled.
Elizabeth Heckert
24. silhouettepoms
Or even just think how much more appetizing Wesley would have been if
he had been framed as a smart kid with mortal flaws and struggles,
instead of some icky "boy wonder.""

This brings to mind Topher on Joss Whedon's Dollhouse. (Although, while young, not a boy). Brilliant genius but... some definite character flaws.
25. USER
Well, I've read a number of synopses and reviews and comments for this number and I still haven't the foggiest why Murdock sees humans as giant slugs while he's in the Purple Transporter Zone. I don't think Braga knows either, prolly thought "hey it'd be cool if we had some floating slugs in the show." Truly one of the most random Trekisodes, which is no simple feat. The only thing worse than mucho technoblabbling is when it's mucho confusing to booter and in that regard, this adventure takes the QaplaCake. And hence Season 6 gets off to a 1-2 punch of Lameway. Stay tuned for Episode 3 tho, cuz that one combines the Mind Rape Trope / Negative Emotion Transfer Trick with the Rapid Aging Gimmick for to make the viewer start singing "Troi to the World" and how
26. Etherbeard
This episode may have had a lot of technobabble, but mostly it was good technobabble that you could imagine what they were talking about. All too often the technobabble is just a stream of scientific sounding words that don't even attept to make much sense... or even worse they incorrectly use terms describing actual scientific phenomena.
Dante Hopkins
27. DanteHopkins
Honestly I'll never know krad's problem with "technobabble." I agree you don't want to do it too much, but some "technobabble" just reinforces that they're in the future using highly advanced technology. What's the alternative to "technobabble'? "Well, reroute the doohickey to the whatchmajiggit, and rephase the whatsis through the thingamajig." Please, give me a good solid amount of "technobabble."

As for this episode, I was actually sick when this one first aired (somehow I remember that even though it was twenty years ago), and whenever I watch it I always have the same thought someone said above about watching it when they're sick or tired. I always want to snuggle under a warm blanket when I watch this one.

I think this was another solid Barclay episode, one I enjoy each time I see it. As before, Barclay's neuroses are so real and relatable, and the incomparable Dwight Schultz always does a superb job acting them out. I was glad we got so see O'Brien and Barclay together one time before O'Brien headed off to DS9. This was a neat sci-fi thriller, and I'm always glad when the neurotic nervous guy actually saves the day. As a shy, insecure nerd, its very satisfying. This one a solid 6.
28. WideAndNerdy
I agree with others here that Barclay always connected with me and as someone who has struggled with this kind of health anxiety in the past, this episode is special. It makes me laugh but its a "yeah I've been there" kind of laugh.

I just love how when Troi sees that Reg is agitated, she puts him on leave. This is a guy that spends most of his time alone has a racing mind, lots of imagination and gets nervous. What she's essentially told him to do (perhaps without realizing it) is to go sit alone with his thoughts so that they can fester and build up.

@27- There are ways to make the terminology more accessible. I like Grant Morrisons approach where he composites common words in trippy ways. Like a Martian database server is called a "neural orchard" (which when you consider that martians in DC comics are telepathic, makes sense they'd build their computers that way.) It gives it flavor and keeps it accessible while also stretching your brain a little bit with a trippy concept.

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment