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The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old November 18 2013, 07:10 PM   #1
Jeyl
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Episode of the Week: 3x21 "Hollow Pursuits"





Season 3 as a whole may not have fired on all cylinders, but so far it's certainly done a better job than the first two seasons of TNG by having smarter, more interesting stories and allowing our main characters to be more likable (despite Gene's best efforts). One thing that Season 3 does more effectively then its previous seasons is establish a ton of material that will go on to have relevance later in the franchise. And that's really about the size of it. Things we're shown in this season will be later expanded upon in later seasons of not only TNG, but in other Star Trek shows as well. "Hollow Pursuits" happens to be one of those episodes that introduces us to Reginald Barclay, a shy, isolated and nervous individual. Dwight Schultz impressed everyone with his portrayal of Barclay so much that he would continue to make appearances in TNG as well as being mentioned in Deep Space Nine, numerous appearances in Voyager and even appears in the feature film Star Trek: First Contact.

Our episode begins with Barclay in Ten Forward pushing Geordi over a chair and giving Riker a serious case of "Surprise! _____". It all turns out to be a holographic recreation of the characters and once Barclay leaves this fantasy, he's quite nervous and shy around everyone else. And Riker... Oh, Riker. For a character who has had good moments of command competence and sometimes being a moral booster, he sure jumps into a condescending jerk in this one. The way he talks down about Barclay in front of everyone, mocking Troi when she's bothered by her "goddess" rendition, and following Wesley's rude example in calling Barkley "Broccoli" to everyone, INCLUDING THE CAPTAIN! Really puts that whole "enlightened humanity" message of Star Trek on display, doesn't it?

It's interesting to note that since this episode's release, there has been some backlash about the depiction of Barcley. Specifically, being depicted as a "stereotypical" Star Trek fan. I can sort of see how some viewers would think that, but personally, I don't really see it. Barclay doesn't come off as some desperate fan boy who wants to be with his heroes. On the contrary. The Enterprise is still the flag sip of the fleet and he actually has a hard time working with others. He's just a guy who is burdened with his job and uses the holodeck as a means of escaping reality. And I think this episode plays that theme very well.

One area I'll give this episode credit for is that it doesn't look at Barclay's situation and comes up with an absolute solution by saying escaping into fantasy is bad. It strikes a balance between the two. That scene where he says his goodbyes to the crew on the bridge is a nice moment because it's a bait and switch. It's not the real crew, it's the ones he recreated for his fantasy. And when he orders the computer to erase all his programs, he finishes the episode with,
BARCLAY: ...except program nine.
And that's it. Barclay hasn't completely gotten rid of his fantasy escapism because he doesn't need that level of escapism anymore. He helped save the day on the Enterprise and he's now more open to the crew, as they are to him. And I just like that bit where he says "except for program nine" because at first it makes you think what could that program be, and than realize that everyone needs their own personal little escape from reality, and that's all that matters.

CONCLUSION:
While it's slightly above average, it's nice that we're at least introduced to a character who will be reoccurring throughout the series so it doesn't feel like a complete waste of time. And whatever you might think of Barclay, putting Wesley in such a laughable position in his own fantasy can't make him all that bad. As I mentioned before, I'm really glad this episode didn't go the "Fantasy is not real! Stop escaping to it!" route the way I was expecting. Everyone has their own ways of escaping reality, and if it starts to become a problem, you can work it out without completely eliminating it.

STINGER:

Last edited by Jeyl; November 18 2013 at 08:14 PM. Reason: Bah! No DS9!
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Old November 18 2013, 07:26 PM   #2
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x21 "Hollow Pursuits"

Barclay does not appear in DS9, however he is referenced once by O'Brien. He is also referenced in the maligned finale of ENT.
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Old November 18 2013, 08:15 PM   #3
Jeyl
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x21 "Hollow Pursuits"

jimbotron wrote: View Post
Barclay does not appear in DS9, however he is referenced once by O'Brien. He is also referenced in the maligned finale of ENT.
Thank you. Good to know my reviews are being read.
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Old November 18 2013, 08:19 PM   #4
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x21 "Hollow Pursuits"

I always thought Barclay was incredibly overrated by fandom. The episode itself was decent enough.

One thing that Season 3 does more effectively then its previous seasons is establish a ton of material that will go on to have relevance later in the franchise.
I disagree with this. Seasons one and two laid so much groundwork for the general Star Trek universe.
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Old November 18 2013, 08:24 PM   #5
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x21 "Hollow Pursuits"

I enjoy the Barclay episodes, except Genesis. As I recall, he's just in the beginning and end (not counting his spider cameo). Why bring him in just to make him a secondary character? Even in Ship in a Bottle, he wasn't the focus, but played a large role.
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Old November 18 2013, 08:40 PM   #6
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x21 "Hollow Pursuits"

BillJ wrote: View Post
I always thought Barclay was incredibly overrated by fandom. The episode itself was decent enough.
Same. I like Dwight Schultz's work, and Barclay was fine within the confines of TNG. But a little Barclay goes a long way. I didn't care for him popping up on Voyager at all.
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Old November 18 2013, 08:48 PM   #7
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x21 "Hollow Pursuits"

I love this episode. I remember being so impressed as a kid that they had gotten Murdoch from the A-Team to guest star and it's nice to see a different point of view from our heroes.

A couple of observations.

The trailer for this episode makes no reference of Barclay and it genuinely seems like you're watching a different show than advertised. The trailer seems to suggest Speed, but without Keanu Reeves.

Doesn't anyone knock in the future? Geordi just burts in on Barclay's holodeck fantasy where he could have been doing anything. And it's a bit rich for Geordi to tell him off about recreating real people, he does it with Leah which is just as creepy.

The look on Picard's face when he makes the mistake of calling him "Broccoli" after having told everyone else not to is priceless.
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Old November 19 2013, 03:37 AM   #8
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x21 "Hollow Pursuits"

jimbotron wrote: View Post
I enjoy the Barclay episodes, except Genesis. As I recall, he's just in the beginning and end (not counting his spider cameo). Why bring him in just to make him a secondary character? Even in Ship in a Bottle, he wasn't the focus, but played a large role.
Funny, Genesis was the only one of his episodes I can tolerate. When he is the center of attention, I groan because if there was a soldier on a ship or at a base now that was this seemingly incompetent, they'd be discharged. Somehow he sticks for at least five years on the Federation flagship?
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Old November 19 2013, 04:55 AM   #9
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x21 "Hollow Pursuits"

I liked the Barclay episodes because they address an issue that I think was always in the back of my mind...aren't there any misfits or square pegs for Star Fleet's metaphorical round holes? Ro was a misunderstood misfit, Picard in "Tapestry" was portrayed as an unambitious drone, but really if you think about it, everybody else in uniform was top-of-their-class brilliant, ambitous and on the fast track. Aren't there any dead-enders out there who got hosed by a bad evaluation somewhere along the line or desk tending time servers. Every posting is at least a potential step up, not a derailment of a fast track career. Not to say I think every Barclay episode was great, but I do think they at least tackle an issue that otherwise went pretty much ignored.
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Old November 19 2013, 02:05 PM   #10
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x21 "Hollow Pursuits"

BillJ wrote: View Post
I disagree with this. Seasons one and two laid so much groundwork for the general Star Trek universe.
Sure, but that groundwork would be retooled and/or forgotten. Season One introduced us to the Ferengi, but did they end up being the big threat to the Federation that they were originally intended to be? Thankfully not.
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Old November 19 2013, 02:16 PM   #11
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x21 "Hollow Pursuits"

BillJ wrote: View Post
I always thought Barclay was incredibly overrated by fandom. The episode itself was decent enough.

One thing that Season 3 does more effectively then its previous seasons is establish a ton of material that will go on to have relevance later in the franchise.
I disagree with this. Seasons one and two laid so much groundwork for the general Star Trek universe.
Absolutely, season 2 was great.

I tend to disagree with most of Jeyl's reviews, but then I guess that's what they're designed to do - generate discussion!

On this episode, I loved it when I first saw it. Schultz has been a fave since "The A-Team", and although this episode isn't quite as good as I remember, it's still a decent addition to what has been a stellar season.
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Old November 19 2013, 05:07 PM   #12
Jeyl
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x21 "Hollow Pursuits"

Trek Survivor wrote: View Post
I tend to disagree with most of Jeyl's reviews, but then I guess that's what they're designed to do - generate discussion!
Season 1 of TNG certainly laid the huge foundation on which the rest of the TNG era shows and movies would be built on, and Season 2 certainly did some memorable things like introduce the Borg and further progress Data's purpose as a character, but they still lacked that sense of commitment.

Seasons 1 and 2 do a lot of stuff that was intended to carry over into future seasons but were either reworked or completely abandoned. Even the Borg went through some changes from their first appearance in "Q Who" to their next appearance in "The Best of Both Worlds". If the show runners actually stuck to their guns, the Ferengi would still likely be the number one threat to the Federation. I for one would have loved seeing a follow-up to the "Conspiracy" story with those slugs, but nothing ever came out of it in the TNG era (outside of books, but come on).

Not saying that Seasons 1 and 2 didn't do things that weren't followed up on, I just feel that Season 3 was when the show started to commit to the big picture. The character of Barclay is a part of that big picture. Certianly more than Sonya Gomez (Darn you whoever said no to her!).
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Old November 19 2013, 06:23 PM   #13
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x21 "Hollow Pursuits"

I get what Jeyl was saying.

Season 3 is where the "mini-arcs" really took off.

Booby Trap led to Galaxy's Child
The Enemy led to The Defector, which sorta led to Unification
Yesterday's Enterprise led to Redemption
The Offspring followed MoaM, which was followed up in Inheritance
Sins of the Father led to Reunion, then Redemption
Captain's Holiday led to Qpid
Hollow Pursuits began the Barclay episodes
Sarek led to Unification, which then sorta led to Face of the Enemy
BOBW led to everything else Borg, and Family

The rate of self-contained stories went down as the new writing staff pushed for more episode-to-episode continuity, getting away from the TOS "norm".
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Old November 19 2013, 06:50 PM   #14
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x21 "Hollow Pursuits"

^ That is a pretty good rundown. I don't think I could have done that from memory.
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Old November 19 2013, 11:07 PM   #15
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x21 "Hollow Pursuits"

I love this episode and the character of Barclay. I'm a fan of episodes that use the holodeck to tell a good story - without malfunctioning!

Geordie in my opinion comes off as a bit a jerk in this episode. If the goal of people in the future is to "improve yourself" as Picard says, a lot of these people are certainly not supportive of this guy trying to improve. They just wanted to transfer him away.

Anyone who's been late to something because they were playing a video game can identify with this episode.
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