Star Trek: The Next Generation (1991) – The Nth Degree, and Qpid

Captain’s log: stardate 44704.2

Airing on 1 April, 1991, The Nth Degree, written by Joe Menosky, brought back fan favourite Reginald Barclay (Dwight Schultz).

Barclay is slowly finding his way out of his shell, working with Crusher (Gates McFadden) on some theatre workshops. He’s slowly finding his way.

The Enterprise arrives at the Argus Array that has ceased to function, the crew discover that a strange probe in the area and wonder if the probe may be the cause. When he is assigned the investigation of the mysterious probe, Barclay receives an electronic jolt that increases not only his confidence and his intelligence.

He starts to slowly increase the ship’s abilities, advancing its technology, and working on more all the time but will it grow too dangerous? And is there someway to save Barclay when Crusher realises his brain has been improved but without risk of permanent damage to the Starfleet officer.

After Barclay modifies the ship to travel where no one has gone before, the truth of the probe is revealed, and Barclay is returned to normal, mostly.

I do like the reveal of what is really going on, and how it is executed.

Barclay is a very relatable character and it is easy to see why he has become such a fan favourite, and we, as fans, always anticipate his next return. I always did.

barclay-the-computer-s4-the-nth-degree

Captain’s log: stardate 44741.9

The romp that is Qpid, seeing the almost annual return of Q (John de Lancie) first aired on 22 April, 1991, and was penned by Ira Steven Behr from a story by Behr and Randee Russell.

Vash (Jennifer Hetrick) returns to Picard’s (Patrick Stewart) life when the Enterprise arrives at an archaeology symposium. While Picard is happy at her return, Vash is less than impressed that none of the crew have even heard of her. This causes some consternation between the two, and Q sees a chance to do something ‘nice’ for Picard.

He wants to show Picard how much he cares for Vash, and throws him into an adventure to prove it… as Robin Hood. Q takes the role of the Sheriff of Nottingham, Vash is Marian, and his bridge crew form his band of Merry Men – allowing Worf (Michael Dorn) another moment for a deadpan delivery.

Vash isn’t one to sir and wait for someone to rescue her, and begins machinations of her own much to everyone’s surprise.

The episode is a bit of a romp, features a fun Princess Bride reference, and lets Stewart get in some swordplay and some delightfully uncomfortable moments for Picard.

The episode goes to show that now that the characters have developed, we can have an episode that is just plain fun, and for me, this one certainly is.

The Human Adventure continues Thursday…

Hood and Merry crew

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