Among the many things Star Trek the Next Generation did that made it especially cool was that beyond the main cast were a number of reoccurring supporting characters who often got episodes of their own. Many other shows might have just forgotten some of these as one-of characters, but not TNG.
Dwight Schultz played one such character, and he returns here for another episode. What will Jimmy and Tom have to say about his second appearance?
“The Nth Degree”
A strange probe increases Barclay’s intelligence. Is he now a dangerous threat?
jimmy: Part man. Part machine. All Barclay.
tomk: Man enough to get a date with Troi.
tomk: Riker was so interested in that part.
jimmy: And apparently you can blow off work and go on a date whenever you feel like it.
tomk: You can if it’s therapeutic.
jimmy: Doctors orders and all that.
tomk: It’s that or more plays.
jimmy: He can still play chess, maybe he retained his acting ability too.
tomk: Maybe he even retained all the other things he gained as the perfect human, like the strength of ten men, expert timing at video games, and a giant…um, I think I’ll stop there.
jimmy: You were going to say giant floating head weren’t you?
tomk: Like the Big Giant Head on 3rd Rock from the Sun?
jimmy: Who saw that crossover coming?
tomk: I don’t know. Someone might have.
jimmy: You win this round, Tom.
tomk: I can’t help it if I remembered the time William Shatner and John Lithgow appeared on TV together and referenced the fact they played the same character in different versions of The Twilight Zone.
jimmy: There’s….something on the wing!
tomk: And Barclay has…taken control of the…ship!
jimmy: To take them to visit the Tachyons, or whatever their name was, who would supply them with all the great technology that’ll never be mentioned again.
tomk: I think the idea was the ship could always do that, but there had to be someone at Barclay’s intelligence level to pull it off.
Which might mean a long flight back…
jimmy: And Barclay was probably in an unfortunate transporter accident after Riker found out about his trip to the arboretum.
tomk: Riker has issues.
Like, I hear he has Ryan’s copy of Amazing Spider-Man issue # 361.
jimmy: He should have sold it before Let There Be Carnage came out.
tomk: This is the future. The movie came and went.
Also, they don’t use money.
jimmy: Then how do you pay for the first appearance of Carnage?
tomk: Riker probably inherited it from a distant ancestor.
jimmy: Not as popular as Barclay’s ancestor, the TV actor. Ironically.
tomk: Well…if Riker inherited Ryan’s Spider-Man collection, that does mean he’s descended from Ryan. But his way with the ladies suggests there’s some Watson in there too.
jimmy: Maybe they crossed the genetic streams.
tomk: It is far in the future.
jimmy: Exactly. They might all be future Watsons and Garcias.
tomk: No future Impossibles?
jimmy: It’s not looking good…
tomk: What about other Impossibles? Like from the Moose or your cousin Marvin?
jimmy: Quite possible.
tomk: Like, maybe Dr. Soong is an Impossible, and your descendant is Data.
tomk: Or maybe Spock.
He’s half human.
tomk: Like giant floating space heads?
jimmy: That’s more on the disturbing/ridiculous side.
tomk: In this case, I am going with ridiculous.
jimmy: I agree. For a super technologically advanced race, that sure what a strange way to make contact.
tomk: Maybe they’re just homebodies.
jimmy: Stereotypical nerds, living with their Moms in the middle of the universe.
tomk: You have a better way to save money for probes that make people smart enough to find your homeworld?
tomk: That’s a scam and in the 24th century, they know it.
jimmy: Well, your case seems iron clad on this one.
tomk: Ferengi still take the things, though.
jimmy: So is the no money just a Starfleet thing? Federation thing? Obviously currency of some kind is still in use across the galaxy.
I mean, you want me to explain how Sisko’s father runs a restaurant when no one pays for anything, I don’t know that I can. Next you’ll ask me how Bashir buys drinks at Quark’s bar.
And that’s a whole different Trek show.
jimmy: Are you saying there might be things on these shows that might not make sense at times?
tomk: That depends. Are you into that level of uncertainty on your show about futuristic space exploration where everybody always gets along?
tomk: Good. Have a chocolate milkshake.
jimmy: Can I drink it on a date with Troi? I mean, if Barclay can get one, I must have at least a chance.
tomk: Are you in the future?
jimmy: Compared to yesterday? Yes.
tomk: How about three centuries or so?
jimmy: Compared to three centuries ago? Definitely yes.
And the Ms.?
jimmy: Same. Uh oh.
tomk: Small problem there then. Unless Riker can distract her…
Or she gets super smart after an alien probe hits her with a beam of weird light.
jimmy: The Riker thing is more likely.
tomk: I hope she likes jazz.
jimmy: She hates jazz.
tomk: Might not be much of a distraction.
But Barclay got by with plenty.
Like, everyone goes to chat with Picard while Barclay hooks himself up to the computer.
jimmy: Still a step up from Creepy Holodeck Barclay.
tomk: He’s a different kind of creepy now.
jimmy: I’m sure they’ll go into his changes more in depth in his next appearance.
tomk: Hey, Barclay is one of multiple characters who seems to get a spotlight at least once a season that aren’t in the main cast like Chief O’Brien, Lwaxana Troi, and Q.
jimmy: Exactly. So, more to come!
tomk: Speaking of, Q may be hiding somewhere nearby.
jimmy: He’s not in my shed too is he?
tomk: That’s Malin Ackerman.
jimmy: I’ll…be right back.
tomk: Q is probably in the kitchen with the Ms.
jimmy: Uh oh.
jimmy: Shall we see what Q is up to then?
tomk: He might not have come alone.
jimmy: Alone is bad enough.
tomk: No, but Picard might want to see the other one.
tomk: Curious enough to ask the giant disembodied head in your den what that means, or would you rather watch the episode?
jimmy: That giant head is a jerk. Better watch the episode.
tomk: In that case, let’s find out who’s a merry man.