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The Nth Degree
Stardate 44704.2
Star Trek: The Next Generation, episode 93 (4.19)

Last Modified: 28 Jun 2006 13:30:03

         
Cast:
Patrick Stewart   IMDB   Captain Jean-Luc Picard
Jonathan Frakes   IMDB   Commander William T. Riker
Levar Burton   IMDB   Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge
Michael Dorn   IMDB   Lieutenant Worf
Gates McFadden   IMDB   Commander Beverly Crusher
Marina Sirtis   IMDB   Lt. Commander Deanna Troi
Brent Spiner   IMDB   Lt. Commander Data
Guest Cast:
Dwight Schultz   IMDB   Lieutenant JG Reginald Barclay
Saxon Trainor   IMDB   Lieutenant Linda Larson
Page Leong   IMDB   Ensign April Anaya
Jim Norton   IMDB   Albert Einstein
David Coburn   IMDB   Ensign Brower
Kay E. Kuter   IMDB   Cytherian
Music:
Ron Jones   IMDB
Director:
Robert Legato   IMDB
Author:
Joe Menosky   IMDB
Published
Laser Disc   ST:TNG LaserDisc Volume 47
DVD   ST:TNG DVD 4.5
VHS   ST:TNG VHS 4.7
Teaser
The Next Generation Teaser #093: The Nth Degree

A crew member is endowed with super human intelligence by an alien probe and threatens the fate of the U.S.S. Enterprise.
Synopsis
When the U.S.S. Enterprise sets out to repair the Argus Array, a telescope that has stopped relaying data for two months, the crew discovers an alien probe near the telescope. Geordi takes Barclay, a notoriously shy crew member, to investigate. As they near the probe, it emits an energy surge that knocks Barclay unconscious, and he and Geordi are transported to Sickbay. Meanwhile, the probe begins to follow the Starship, emitting a dangerously high energy level. When the crew is unable to evade it, Barclay amazes everyone by taking charge of the situation and eliminating the probe, saving the ship from destruction.

Turning back to the task of repairing the telescope, Geordi estimates the job will take three weeks. But Barclay, whose confidence and intelligence are continuing to grow, claims he can complete the job in two days. Geordi's pride in Barclay turns to concern, however, when he discovers his crewmate in the Holodeck arguing scientific theory with a simulated Einstein. Geordi insists to Barclay that the encounter with the probe must have precipitated the change and drags him to Sickbay, where Beverly's examination reveals an astounding change in Barclay's brain tissue that has rendered him the most advanced human being who ever lived.

Although the crew is frightened by the change in Barclay, the fact that they need him to repair the Array convinces them to leave him alone. As the repairs progress, however, the ship's computer is unable to work fast enough, creating the danger of a reactor failure in the telescope that could cause a deadly explosion. Picard orders an immediate retreat, but is informed that the Bridge has lost control of the computer. However, before panic can set in, the computer comes back on line and the crew learns the telescope has been saved. When Picard asks the computer to tell him how the disaster was averted, he is shocked when Barclay's voice answers.

Barclay explains that since the computer was too slow, he connected his brain to the computer to save the Array. Picard demands the engineer disconnect himself, but Barclay replies that this will cause his death. As the crew tries to devise a plan to regain control of the ship, Barclay propels the U.S.S. Enterprise to a point thirty thousand light-years away.

Before the crew can stop Barclay an alien suddenly appears on the Bridge, admitting that the probe transformed Barclay so he would bring the starship to him. The alien goes on to explain that this is his civilization's method of researching new races. Picard agrees to let him scan the brains of crew members if the aliens will transfer their knowledge of tens of thousands of civilizations into the starship's computer. As they talk, Barclay arrives on the Bridge, having been returned to normal by the aliens, but retaining a bit of the confidence and intelligence his experience gave him.
Reviews

By vsturkey on 10 Jul 2004 12:56:19
Sort of a bookend with first season's "Where No One Has Gone Before". Just as thrilling and mind-expanding, but more action and more fun and more drama. Definitely among the core episodes.

By Dark Materia on 14 Dec 2002 08:25:48
"I understand...Everything!" The finest of the (all very good) Barclay episodes. The tranformation he undergoes is remarkable, from a quivering nervous neurotic to a smug super intellect. Those Cytherians are phenominally ugly, aren't they?

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