Star Trek: Voyager: Inside Man   Rewatch 
June 6, 2018 9:08 PM - Season 7, Episode 6 - Subscribe

A holographic version of Lt. Barclay is transmitted to Voyager from the Alpha Quadrant with an ambitious plan to get the ship home. Beware holograms bearing gifts…

If this were any other site, I'd have my doubts. But this is Memory Alpha, the Miracle Wiki:

- This episode marks the final appearance of Commander Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) on the series.

- Deanna Troi's seat contained a logo (as seen here) designed by Geoffrey Mandel of which he later used a variation in Star Trek: Star Charts as a logo for Risa. This might possibly imply that the beach was intended to be on Risa. [Ed.: Bernd at Ex Astris Scientia notes that "Riker is mentioned to arrive at the resort later - if he chose the place, it's absolutely certain that it's Risa. ;-)"]

- This episode references several past episodes: while listing past failed attempts to get home, Paris mentions Arturis from Season 4's "Hope and Fear" and the telepathic pitcher plant from Season 5's "Bliss". Also, Barclay mentions that the Romulans have "been curious about Voyager for years." This may be a reference to Season 1's "Eye of the Needle" or to Season 4's "Message in a Bottle". Once the nanoprobe plot is discovered, Barclay mentions that one of their uses is to bring dead tissue back to life, as performed on Neelix in "Mortal Coil".

- When reminding the holographic Barclay of their appointment for a game of golf on the holodeck, The Doctor suggests that they play "the back nine on Gedi Prime". The similarly spelled Giedi Prime is the homeworld of the House Harkonnen in Frank Herbert's Dune universe.

- The events of this episode represent the ninth time (aside from the series premiere) that the Voyager crew has a possibility of returning home. The other times occurred in the episodes "Eye of the Needle", "Prime Factors", "Threshold", "Death Wish", "False Profits", "Future's End, Part II", "Hope and Fear", and "Timeless".

- The Ferengi make reference to a ship with a metaphasic shield, appropriate given that such technology was developed by a Ferengi, Dr. Reyga, in the episode TNG: "Suspicions".

"Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that Lieutenant Paris had eaten all the scrambled eggs. It was pure, unadulterated gluttony. Gastronomic conduct unbecoming a Starfleet officer. He knows it's my favorite breakfast, but he ate them anyway. We have an egg-mergency here, people! I want to know what you plan to do about it!"
(Laughing hard) "Maybe I can replicate some more, 'Captain'."
"Do it!"

- Reginald Barclay Hologram and Neelix, as the hologram imitates Janeway's voice and manner, to everyone's amusement

"Your pessimism is illogical."

- Barclay Hologram imitating Tuvok

"Was everything that happened between us a lie?"
"Not everything. Just the parts where I expressed affection for you."

- Barclay and Leosa

"Captain Janeway knows better than to take her ship into such a dangerous anomaly!"

- Admiral Paris being unintentionally ironic

Poster's Log:
Barclay is a prime target for the Buddy Love treatment, and this is a fun way to pull it off. By this point, Dwight Schultz may be the most reliable recurring guest on this show, and this might be his VOY acting zenith.

We hardcore fans can also appreciate the good continuity in here, even as we grouse that VOY never handles Ferengi all that well…and as we wince and avert our eyes from Real-Reg totally stalking Counselor Troi. (Maybe they thought it would be cute, him following his therapist on vacation, like What About Bob?)

I also give the writers props for the Iconian fake-out with Harry, not only because it's good continuity and it's funny, but because it nicely lampshades this episode's well-worn "We're Going Home Except Not" story.

Poster's Log, Supplemental:
If the Ferengi Gegis looks familiar, it's because the actor was a Ferengi on TNG twice.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil (8 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Particle of the Week: Borg nanoprobes, what can't they do? (Apart from making someone immune to holographic shenanigans, I guess.)
Pointless STO Comparison of the Week: At least one Ferengi ship comes equipped with a metaphasic shield in the MMO, right out of the box.

Ongoing Counts:
* Maximum Possible Photon Torpedoes: -17.
* Crew: 137.
* Credulity Straining Alpha Quadrant Contacts: 14. I'm giving them a pass on this one because they actually showed their work: Leosa, using the established Pathfinder transmissions, referencing Barclay's hologram obsession... this didn't strain credulity in any way not acknowledged in the episode, IMO.
* Janeway's Big Red Button: 2 aborted self-destructs, 1 successful, 2 games of chicken, 1 ramming speed.

* Giedi Prime seems like a bad place to vacation.

The similarly spelled Giedi Prime is the homeworld of the House Harkonnen in Frank Herbert's Dune universe.

This isn't the first reference, and it gets me every time. 'Ya'll wanna go wherenow for fun?'

* This mostly works.

I guess before I lay into what didn't work, credit where it's due: this is a pretty decent story overall. As Cheeses already went over, it pays a surprising amount of attention to continuity in large and small ways, to a degree I'm genuinely impressed with (the shields were a nice touch). Dwight Schultz is also pretty great here, easily seguing from confident to creepy and so on. I'm also impressed that the plot actually makes coherent sense from start to finish. Pacing works.

Basically, S7 almost feels like a different show so far. (Kind of a 'grow the beard' time.)

I would like to acknowledge all this up front, because it's cool, and as negative about this show as I can be sometimes, I really wanted them to do well.

* Starfleet security still sucks.

I mean, in terms of social engineering, actual software protocols, the whole shebang is just unbelievably terrible. Holo-Barclay wasn't missing a watermark or something? The Pathfinder project doesn't have some kind of structure about what Barclay can or cannot blab about off-hours? I could go on about this at some length, and may later, but basically I'm coming back to 'I should've been counting the times Voyager got hacked.'

I was also disappointed by their interrogation procedures again: Troi resorted to a threat instead of using good technique here, similar to Tuvok floundering last time. I don't watch a lot of police procedurals, but I'm convinced they could've done something a little better both times.

* I totally had a What About Bob flashback too.

On a more serious note: mental illness is depicted very poorly here again. The way Reg is handled has been both scary and sad, and that trend continues in this story. There's no talk of therapy or medication, just bootstraps: Reg is told to sort it out on his own by taking some personal time. As a result, he behaves in creepy and boundary pushing ways. (To the show's credit, I was glad Troi at least called him out on the stalking.)

I think the most troubling part there is the recurring theme of trying to set him up with a woman to fix him up - that happened last time too. And I mean, that's what his highly decorated psychic therapist is pushing, not just his work buddies: 'a good relationship will sort this out.'

That's... not good. I mean, even for the time, and worse in retrospect.

So I guess my overall feeling is, for like the third time in a row: great progress, but I still have some pretty significant notes.
posted by mordax at 10:24 PM on June 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

The Doctor suggests that they play "the back nine on Gedi Prime". The similarly spelled Giedi Prime is the homeworld of the House Harkonnen in Frank Herbert's Dune universe.

Probably a lot of bunkers huh?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:13 AM on June 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

I guess the sand traps are easier than on Arrakis though, amirite?
posted by mordax at 7:50 AM on June 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

Maybe we're talking like actual military bunkers here, with lots of Harkonnen Cannons?
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:29 PM on June 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

I just finished rewatching the episode, and don't have a lot to add; I really did like the episode for a lot of reasons, although it wasn't perfect. I like the idea of them sending a hologram once in a while, just to be the New Kid in Town; it even sort of worked that it was an idealized version of Barclay, because that's who he'd want to send. I liked that Tom was a skeptic and cited past bits of continuity, although I would have liked him setting up something as a failsafe on Voyager's end.

Most of the stuff in the AQ was fine, although I agree about the What About Bob? thing not really being cute--I know/am related to some psychologists, came close to becoming one myself, and spent enough time on a crisis hotline talking to people with personality disorders who wanted/demanded 24/7 access to their therapists to have seen that this isn't really funny; they could have done the Barclay-Troi connection some other way, but there must be some staffer on the show who missed Club Neelix and wanted aliens in bathing suits. I didn't mind the crap security for once, since they used social engineering as part of it. Maybe they don't have adequate security protocols in place yet because so much of Project Pathfinder is experimental? Maybe they were counting on Voyager not expecting the hologram in the first place to get away with a non-watermarked version? I dunno.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:25 PM on June 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

This episode is such a powerful intersection of "Troi is not actually a good or responsible counsellor at all" and "Barclay is such a creep and it's extra creepy when the show tries to play it off as funny."

I was also bummed by how mental health care in the utopian future seems to be about as bad as it is now! However, it also feeds into the curiosity that Star Trek always evokes in me, about what people outside of the military are up to. Maybe other people have a better workplace mental health situation?
posted by ITheCosmos at 6:44 PM on June 9, 2018 [4 favorites]

You touch on a few interesting things there. First, as we've noticed before, just because Trek likes to do psychodrama doesn't mean that they are good at psychological realism. The Federation seems to have cured many organic forms of mental illness; the small population of the Elba II asylum in the 23rd century implies that some of the more extreme types might be all but gone. Also, the military/civilian divide reminds me of some military personnel that I've read accounts from online who fear that asking for help with psychological problems might affect (if not end) their careers.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:45 PM on June 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

The similarly spelled Giedi Prime is the homeworld of the House Harkonnen in Frank Herbert's Dune universe.

This isn't the first reference, and it gets me every time. 'Ya'll wanna go wherenow for fun?'

Well, obviously we're still years before the Butlerian Jihad, so it could have been a nice place before the Harkonnens went total evil.
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:49 AM on November 20, 2021

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