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Recap / Star Trek Voyager S 6 E 10 Pathfinder

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"Starfleet Command to USS Voyager. Come in, Voyager. Voyager, do you hear me? This is Lieutenant Reginald Barclay."
"That ship, that crew, they're all I have."

No, not that pathfinder. Ahem, anyway, on Earth, former Enterprise crewman Reg Barclay is obsessed with Voyager while he develops an experimental deep-space communications device to find them and asks his friend and former Counselor Deanna Troi for help.

This episode provides examples of

  • The Ace: In his Voyager holoprogram, Barclay is the most popular and talented man on the ship, and everyone wants to be his friend. Holographic Janeway even defers to him on command decisions.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: During the celebration at the end of the episode the Doctor shares with the crew private information about Barclay's medical history from his records, a huge violation of medical ethics.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: When Harkins rigs the holographic Voyager to explode, Reg chooses to deactivate the program and surrender rather than see the ship and crew destroyed.
  • Call-Back: The holodeck reproduces the last known images of the Voyager crew, so as a result, Chakotay and Torres are in Maquis gear and Janeway, of course, rocks the Bun Of Steel once more.
  • Character Overlap:
    • Reg Barclay and Deanna Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation appear in this episode. Additionally, there are passing mentions of Picard, Riker, Geordi, and Data.
    • Deep Space Nine gets a brief mention as Barclay attempts to explain his plan to his boss.
    • In-Universe, Reg names his cat Neelix.
  • Continuity Nod: In addition to frequent references to Barclay's holo-addiction, his transporter-phobia also gets a mention. And Troi briefly cringes when he says that his problems started on the Holodeck, no doubt remembering his depiction of her in "Hollow Pursuits".
  • Continuity Overlap: Downplayed. This is the first glimpse of the Alpha Quadrant on VOY since the end of Deep Space Nine and the conclusion of the Dominion War. While the War's aftermath is not explicitly acknowledged, it's also not hard to imagine the Pathfinder Project's getting the resources and attention from Command that wouldn't have been possible at the height of the War.
  • Crying Wolf: Harkins refuses to authorize Reg's latest plan to communicate with Voyager, because Barclay's already pitched several other technobabble ideas that were a waste of time and resources.
  • Cutting the Knot: When Cmdr. Harkins fails to shut down Reg's holoprogram remotely, and when the security guards lose track of him inside the Voyager program, he enters the holodeck himself and sets the ship's warp core to overload, knowing that will cause the program to terminate automatically.
    Harkins: Computer, disengage primary coolant system.
    Holo-Torres: Are you crazy!? That'll cause a warp core breach!
    Harkins: Exactly. [shoots her]
  • Determinator: Reg is dead-set on contacting Voyager, no matter the cost to his sanity or career.
  • Dramatic Irony: The Voyager crew feels alone out in the Delta Quadrant, while Barclay is exactly where they want to be, and he feels very lonely himself.
  • Friendship Moment: About to explain this story, Barclay apologizes to Troi for turning a friendly get-together into a counselling session. She says it's fine and to tell the story.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The MIDAS Array, AKA the Mutara Interdimensional Deep-Space-Transponder Array System.
  • Genius Ditz: Barclay has come up with a revolutionary method for two-way communication across the galaxy, but when he tries to explain it to his superiors he can barely get three words out before stuttering and nervously freezing up.
  • "Get Out of Jail Free" Card: Reg avoids any legal repercussions for his actions thanks to successfully making contact with Voyager and Janeway.
  • Good Versus Good: In the last act, Barclay, who only wants to establish contact with Voyager, is at odds with Harkins and the Starfleet security officers, who are honestly concerned about Barclay's disturbed mental state and his illegal entry into Starfleet HQ.
  • Guile Hero: Klutzy engineer Barclay can't hope to go toe to toe with trained security guards. So he runs into his Voyager holoprogram and uses his knowledge of the ship's layout, help from the holographic crew, and a few tricks with the computer to evade security long enough to send his transmission to the real Voyager.
  • "Hell, Yes!" Moment: Just as his Starfleet career is about to hit the skids courtesy of Harkins and Admiral Paris, Reginald Barclay is vindicated forever:
    Janeway (through static): Starfleet Command! Come in! This is Captain Kathryn Janeway! Do you read me?
  • Here We Go Again!: When she hears that Reg has recreated Voyager and her crew in the institute's holosuite and at times sleeps in a holo-Voyager quarters bed, Deanna fears Reg's holo-addiction has relapsed.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Reg is willing to sacrifice his own sanity to help Voyager, and then puts his career on the line to make his idea work. Fortunately, it does, and he's a hero.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the warp corenote ."
  • Honorary True Companion: The crew dub Reg "the newest member of the Voyager family."
  • How We Got Here: In the opening, Barclay tells Troi that he's been taken off the Pathfinder project. The first three acts show us how that happened.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Barclay admits to Troi that his dependence on the holographic Voyager crew stems from loneliness and his lack of real friends on Earth.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Not knowing that the former Maquis crewmembers currently wear Starfleet uniforms, Reg's recreations of them feature futuristic leather type outfits as they were wearing during their Maquis period.
  • It Has Only Just Begun: In the end, when they have finally made contact with Voyager, Barclay is sad because he thinks the task is over. But Adm. Paris assures him it is far from over.
    Adm. Paris: Why the long face, Mr. Barclay?
    Barclay: Because... because it's over, sir.
    Adm. Paris: No, Lieutenant. I'd say that Project Voyager is just beginning. Thanks to you.
  • It's Personal: During the briefing Barclay snaps at the other officers, yelling that no one seems to care about rescuing the Voyager crew from the Delta Quadrant. Admiral Paris quickly corrects him on that;
    Barclay: I think we're forgetting that there are a hundred and fifty people stranded in the Delta Quadrant!
    Admiral Paris: I have a son on that ship, Lieutenant. I haven't forgotten that fact for a single moment.
  • Misapplied Phlebotinum: The idea of teleporting people through the wormhole is never brought up. They were able to do that with the micro-wormhole they found in "Eye Of The Needle". Admittedly, Barclay can only keep it open for about ten minutes and he has to find them first, so a mass transport on that scale is out of the question.
  • Moral Luck: By the end of the episode, all of Barclay's inappropriate behavior, from relapsing on his holo-addiction to violating his suspension and breaking into a Starfleet facility, appears to have been forgotten because his latest crazy scheme happens to have worked for a change.
  • No-Sell: Holographic B'Elanna's phaser does nothing to real Starfleet Security goons. Guess Starfleet Command's holodecks have better safety protocols than their starships.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Reg shouts "THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ME!" after Deanna refuses to vouch for his psychological health.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: From this episode on, the travels of USS Voyager will have the support of their Starfleet comrades in the Alpha Quadrant.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Every time Deanna and Harkins call out Barclay on his obvious holo-addiction, he insists that it's all work related.
  • Off the Wagon: Barclay is accused of relapsing on his holo-addiction. While he denies this, he does exhibit some of the same behavior (holodeck versions of real people thinking him to be The Ace, his much more assertive and confident attitude inside the program). He's also clearly struggling with his old shyness problems—saying he lost a surrogate family after leaving the Enterprise.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Commander Harkins tries to be a kind and encouraging boss to Reg, but his antics in the holodeck force Harkins to relieve him of duty, then sic Starfleet security on him when he breaks into the Pathfinder lab.
    • Admiral Paris is willing to listen to Reg's stammered explanation of how to contact Voyager and even offers Barclay's plan a fair review after he forces his way into the admiral's office. He then decides that Reg's plan is worth trying, and is disappointed to learn that Reg did so without authorization. Of course, when it proves successful, he quickly congratulates Reg.
  • Sadistic Choice: Cmdr. Harkins forces Barclay out of the holodeck in the climax by rigging the holographic Voyager's warp core to explode, forcing Reg to either shut down the program and surrender, or watch the ship and all his holographic friends be vaporized.
    Harkins: One way or another, Reg, this program's gonna end.
  • Saved by the Awesome: And at the last minute, too. Janeway's voice coming through the comm is very likely why Barclay ended up with praise rather than a court martial.
  • Scars Are Forever: Averted, if downplayed. From the establishing shots of San Francisco, the damage the Breen inflicted towards the end of the Dominion War have been repaired in the months since the end of DS9.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Reg violates his suspension and breaks into Starfleet Headquarters after hours to try communicating with Voyager.
  • Self-Insert Fic: An in-universe example, since Barclay not only inserts himself into an inaccurate recreation of Voyager, but he makes himself a Marty Stu (particularly a Black Hole Stu) to boot.
  • Singing in the Shower: Apparently, the only time Neelix doesn't sound completely hopeless at singing is when he's in the sonic shower.
  • So Proud of You: Tom Paris is utterly gobsmacked to hear his father tell him he's proud of him after all these years.
  • Subspace Ansible: The MIDAS Array can send a signal across the galaxy via hyper-subspace, though without knowing where to aim it doesn't help them in contacting Voyager directly until Reg figures out a way to make contact.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: Reg avoids punishment for misuse of resources because his plan to contact Voyager actually worked; Admiral Paris assigns him to a new "Project Voyager", implied to be focused on discovering a more permanent means of communication and eventually bringing them home, and this boost to his confidence helped Reg have an apparently successful date with his CO's sister-in-law.
  • Technobabble:
    Barclay: Has it ever occurred to you that a tachyon beam directed at a class B itinerant pulsar could produce enough gravimetric energy to create an artificial singularity?
  • We Named the Monkey "Jack": Barclay has a cat called Neelix.
  • Wham Episode: Barclay manages to establish a permanent method of communication between the Federation and Voyager.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Harkins chews out Barclay for using the lab's holodeck for his fantasy Voyager program while passing it off as work.
  • You Are Not Alone: Starfleet Command emphasizing in their message to the lost Voyager is that they are working to bring them home. It also applies to Reg, who felt he lost a family after leaving the Enterprise but can open up to his new co-workers.
  • Your Favorite: Reg gets Deanna chocolate ice cream. Neelix (the cat) tries to see if it's his favorite as well.