Star trek: Voyager 6.05b - Pathfinder
Stardate around 53330
Threat advisory: Severe - Severe risk of entertaining activities
In this episode which takes place on Earth, Lieutenant Reg Barclay (Dwight Schultz) becomes obsessed with making contact with Voyager. During his project to contact Voyager, Barclay becomes consumed with the holographic recreations of the Voyager crew. Barclay seeks advice from his old friend from the Enterprise, Counsellor Troi (Marina Sirtis), who helps him deal with his growing problem.
Persons of interest
- Kate Mulgrew .... Captain Kathryn Janeway
- Robert Beltran .... Commander Chakotay
- Roxann Dawson .... Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres
- Robert Duncan McNeill .... Lieutenant Tom Paris
- Robert Picardo .... the Emergency Medical Hologram
- Ethan Phillips .... Neelix
- Tim Russ .... Lieutenant Tuvok
- Jeri Ryan .... Seven of nine, tertiary adjunct to Unimatrix 01
- Garrett Wang .... Ensign Harry Kim
- Majel Barrett .... USS Voyager computer voice
- Dwight Schultz .... Lieutenant Reg Barclay
- Commander Troi .... Marina Sirtis
- Richard Herd .... Commander Peter Harkins
- Richard McGonagle
- Warren Munson .... Admiral Paris
- David Zabel .... Storywriter, Screenwriter
- Kenneth Biller .... Screenwriter
- Mike Vejar .... Director
Cinematic intelligence sources
- Studios and distributors:
Special Agent Matti
By the great bird, this is one of the best Star trek episodes ever. What's even more outstanding is that it stars Reg Barclay, engineer from Hell.
This is a new concept for Star trek, having a show which barely involves the people with their names above the titles, but Voyager is an innovative kind of show with an innovative story arc. Being lost in the Delta Quadrant has meant trial and hardship for the USS Voyager's crew. It has also meant a lot of pain and worry for those who were left behind. Some measure of this was reported in Message in a bottle when the EMH made a quick trip to the Beta Quadrant and a few lucky people received letters from home, but that's it. Now that you have reached the middle of the penultimate season it is your turn to actually see it for yourself. That's cool.
Pathfinder is a great Next generation tie-in, locating both shows in the same universe. Dwight hits centre screen running and never stops. His Barclay brand of insecurity has made him one of the most annoying characters in Trek but this episode redeems him completely. He is even more intense, more off beam than before. His neuroses have developed but so has his talent for seeing the world from a different perspective. This talent is probably the only reason he's had a Starfleet career.
Deanna (Marina is looking a little bit thin) serves as councillor, friend and sounding board for Reg, providing him with the freedom to be himself and giving him feedback in his quest to understand himself. She is more than a plot device, she is Reg's history: the only happy memory he has of Starfleet outside of a Jeffries tube. She is his link to humanity.
What's really funny is seeing Reg's holo-extrapolation of the Voyager crew. Not only have the Maquis remained separate from the Starfleeters, but, as with the Enterprise-D, everyone worships him. Sure, it's a sign of mental degradation but it's also damned funny watching the regulars fawn over him. What's more, it sets up the climax where Voyager actually receives his test signal:
This is Lieutenant Reginald Barclay... Suddenly the holo-charicatures have gone and the flesh and blood (and Borg) crew appear. This is not a game, not a meditation aid, but a starship full of people who live every day in danger of never seeing their home again.
It was at this point that I, watching the episode on the big screen at a Friends of Science Fiction convention, started balling my eyes out. I didn't stop until the last credit had rolled past. Admiral Paris makes contact with his wayward son, Janeway gains resolve to get her crew home, the entire crew of Voyager finds hope.
As a mark of how well made this episode is, even though they always manage to technobabble their way out of whatever the galaxy throws at them, with Pathfinder I did not know how it would end. The emotional investment of the past six and a half years is paying off.
Watch Pathfinder. That's an order.
Security censorship classification
PG (Adult themes)
Not for public release in Australia before date
VHS rental and retail: 9 June 2000