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Old March 13 2009, 11:41 PM   #1
Rear Admiral
The Nth Degree

Plot Summary: The Enterprise is sent to repair the massive Argus Array, a space telescope that appears to have been damaged by a mysterious probe. When LaForge and Barclay take a shuttle to investigate, the probe sends out an energy surge that knocks Barclay out. He comes to and immediately saves the ship from the probe's energy beam with brilliant engineering of which LaForge hadn't known Barclay was capable. Then Barclay develops a complex strategy to repair the Array - while also making medical breakthroughs, discussing cosmology on the holodeck with Einstein, teaching violin though he has never previously studied the instrument, and flirting with Troi. Crusher examines Barclay's brain and finds that since the probe shocked him, his brain has developed greatly. The ship's computer is unable to keep up with Barclay's programming and the reactor begins to go critical, but Barclay wires himself directly into the computer and saves the Array. He is then unable to disconnect, however, for his brain's development becomes integrated with the computer's systems. Picard orders him to give up control of ship's systems, but Barclay insists that he can now warp space and time to allow easier exploration. Though LaForge tries to disconnect him and Troi begs him to stop, Barclay takes the Enterprise 30,000 light-years away. An alien head appears on the bridge just before Barclay himself walks out of a turbolift, explaining that the probe transformed his brain so that he could bring the Enterprise to this spot and allow this civilization to meet its inhabitants. Picard agrees to a transfer of information with the aliens. Meanwhile, Barclay laments the loss of the genius granted him by the probe. Troi tells him to hold on to the newfound confidence and perspective instead.

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Old March 14 2009, 02:59 PM   #2
Chief of Staff, Starfleet Command
Re: The Nth Degree

No matter how much innate talent someone may have, the ability to move one's fingers across the strings or to modulate one's voice to convey emotion comes only with a certain amount of practice. I'm surprised the actors in the cast didn't object more to the idea that any idiot could be a great actor with a bit of cleverness, without the physical training and sense of one's own body as instrument that I'm sure they all studied.
I didn't feel the point was that the probe taught him to act, any more than aliens commanded him to hit on Troi. In both those situations, I think the idea is that he is more successful because of his greater confidence.
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