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L.I. Underhill is a media critic and historian specializing in pop culture, with a focus on science fiction (especially Star Trek) and video games. Their projects include a critical history of Star Trek told through the narrative of a war in time, a “heretical” history of The Legend of Zelda series and a literary postmodern reading of Jim Davis' Garfield.


  1. Ross
    September 23, 2015 @ 9:40 am

    Even though the actual answer seemed kind of underwhelming, I liked that this episode was the first time they'd ever made a stab at addressing what the subjective experience of being transported was like. We'd never had a POV shot of someone getting beamed before, far as I know. I'd always kind of wondered if people were aware during the process, and whether the person getting beamed actually saw the transporter sparklies (Contrast with, say, Quantum Leap, where, and I don't think this actually comes up until the finale, neither Sam nor Al has ever actually seen what the audience sees when Sam leaps)


  2. K. Jones
    September 23, 2015 @ 11:19 am

    Of course the in-transporter effect actually kind of raises more questions than it answers and a sort of "take for granted magical future tech" thing by trying to be depicted 'on the inside' does change how I see it by overplaying it. But that's a tiny little nitpick for a stellar episode.

    This is my favorite Barclay Annual too, and it's obvious why because he's front and center in most aspects but it's still a total package ensemble. And this episode leverages the heck out of the previous episodes. You see proper progress – and not just from Reg, who is more assertive (if still unsure), grooves with the Enterprise vibe better, gets a big damn hero moment – but also from the rest of the cast, who now that they're done being arrogant bastards the first go round and concerned but starting to like the guy in Nth Degree, are free to actually just be friends with him. He's absolutely Enterprise material. And if it's a ship where people strive to better themselves then why in hell would you want it to be crewed only by "perfect" (loaded term, of course) examples?

    The transporter blob monster effect was another one that freaked me out in the good way as a kid. The show itself does monsters often enough that the ending, if tidy, was still a total surprise the first time I saw it. A proper "WAIT, WHAT?" moment and then the realization of Barclay's heroism.

    There's a weird disconnect for me here too as I realize that I'm pretty invested in the Engineering Team episodes. It makes me wish that all those commercial breaks – ostensibly used for the periods of time while the Enterprise is traveling great distances – were filled with just Engineering Team troubleshooting. Space politicking is great, sure, but seeing a Senior Chief who's seen a few things giving the benefit of the doubt to this Junior Officer Technician while their teacherly Engineer and Life and Technical Scienctists do their part is just good times. And ironically it's pretty categorically not Nuts & Bolts tech-centric sci-fi. The space jargon is just there to make these people look competent at their space jobs, it's the character beats that matter here.


  3. K. Jones
    September 25, 2015 @ 8:51 am

    One tiny thing I remembered today, as DS9 encroaches – ignoring the fact that any episode where Colm Meaney shows up is technically building to DS9, this episode still features that nice, short, unobtrusive bit of world-building where Picard talks to that admiral about the possibility of Cardassian involvement.

    Now, the Cardassians are certainly a discussion for about halfway through this season, but it is interesting to compare their arrival with how the Ferengi or Borg were introduced or the Romulans reintroduced. We met them fully formed and aren't sure what to think about them. And bless the creative decisions to be made, we never will be. But there won't be a lot of "Well, I wish it had been 'this way'" 20/20 hindsight could-have-beens in regards to their overall depiction.


  4. Daru
    October 15, 2015 @ 9:50 pm

    Love this episode too. The POVF shot was brilliant and great to have an episode where the team were supportive to Barclay.


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