Enlightenment > Star Trek > TNG
TNG 3-21

TNG 3x21
"Hollow Pursuits"

Original airdate: 4/30/1990
Rewatch date: 10/12/2011

A new engineer, Lieutenant Barclay, has trouble fitting in with the Enterprise crew and becomes addicted to the holodeck. Meanwhile, a series of odd occurences tests his diagnostic talents.

Spoiler-free notes:

I wonder how the computer knows when somebody is talking over the intercom and when somebody doesn't want to be overheard. In the beginning, Barclay is flirting with fake Troi when he is called to Cargo Bay Five. He tells Troi, "It'll have to wait till later, Darling," and then says to whomever called him, "Be right there!" Good thing the computer didn't get confused, because that could have been awkward.

It's interesting seeing Riker be strict with a subordinate. We usually don't see that side of him.

I love that Barclay mistakenly calls it a "flux capacitor" instead of a "flow capacitor."

Data's finally starting to learn when to shut up.

What's with Guinan's puffy, orange, creamsicle dress? Looks like it was made out of a 70's discotheque carpet.

It can't be polite to enter somebody else's holodeck program without permission, but I guess it's within the purview of a commanding officer. Still, I find it hard to believe this is the first time something like this has happened.

It's like they're not even trying to find good stunt doubles.

I'm glad La Forge mentions falling in love in the holodeck, referencing the earlier episode "Booby Trap." It's further evidence that the writers are keeping track of everything and maintaining arcs for their characters and plots.

This is a neat episode that probably speaks to plenty of people in the audience. The writers have sworn up and down that this episode isn't meant as a statement about Trekkies, but it sure seems like it. Still, even if you take that out of the equation, Barclay represents something different for the show. While the last episode, "Tin Man," also dealt with a guest star who had a hard time integrating socially with others, "Hollow Pursuits" manages to keep it in the context of our other characters, specifically La Forge. We are given a new way of looking at the regular stars, and at the same time, this episode extrapolates on some of the possible consequences of holodeck technology to give people a relatable everyman. It's definitely a light episode--with at least one really funny scene--but it has the power to be poignant for people who have something in common with Lieutenant Barclay, whether it be the social awkwardness, the problems integrating effectively in a work environment, or the difficulty separating fantasy from reality. Even though they say this episode's not about them, most Trekkies can relate to it.

Spoiler section:

This is the first, but certainly not the last, time we see Lieutenant Barclay. In season 2, the writers tried to create a similar character, Sonya Gomez, but after her two episode run (in "Q Who" and "Samaritan Snare"), she's never heard from again.

TNG 3x20
"Tin Man"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
TNG 3x22
"The Most Toys"
Copyright 2011 e. magill. All rights reserved.