Reginald Barclay

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Reginald Barclay
Species Human
Affiliation United Federation of Planets
Starfleet
Posting Starfleet Command (VOY)
USS Enterprise-E (FCT)
USS Enterprise-D (TNG)
Position Pathfinder Project (VOY)
Engineering Officer (TNG, FCT)
Rank Lieutenant Commander (VOY)
Lieutenant (TNG, FCT)
Portrayed by Dwight Schultz
First appearance "Hollow Pursuits" (TNG)

Lieutenant Reginald Endicott Barclay III, played by Dwight Schultz, is a recurring character in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation. He later had a recurring role in the last few seasons of Star Trek: Voyager where he plays a vital role in re-establishing regular contact with Voyager.

Overview[edit]

University of Rochester professor Sarah Higley created Reginald Barclay in her script for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Hollow Pursuits". According to Higley, Barclay is a satirical depiction of Trekkies and their excessive obsession with imaginary characters.[1] He has characteristics associated with many negative nerd and geek stereotypes. While possessing great technical skill and sincere enthusiasm, Barclay seems anxiety-ridden, socially awkward, and self-conscious in ways that may indicate Asperger syndrome, avoidant personality disorder or social anxiety disorder. He also displays stuttering and dysfluent speech behaviors, especially when nervous or anxious, along with some secondary gestures, such as facial grimaces and small head tics. He has an obsessive interest in fantasy, which seems to serve as an escape from personal interaction. Barclay's anxieties extend to idiosyncratic fears (such as fear of being transported) and hypochondriasis. The overcoming of his fears and social avoidance became a running plot point across many seasons in multiple Star Trek series.

Star Trek: The Next Generation[edit]

Barclay was an occasional character in The Next Generation as an engineer, often being used as comic relief. His holo-addiction is first seen in the episode "Hollow Pursuits", in which he creates holographic reproductions of the ship's bridge officers, who are completely responsive to Barclay's every whim. Being totally unlike their ship-board counterparts, they serve to bolster his self-esteem. With encouragement from Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge, however, Barclay redeems himself and helps to uncover the cause of a critical multi-system failure on the Enterprise-D in time to avert the ship's destruction.

In the episode "The Nth Degree", Barclay's brain is taken over by an ancient race from the center of the Milky Way galaxy, the Cytherians, radically increasing his intellect. Under their influence, Barclay seizes command of the Enterprise-D and brings the ship to a confrontation with the Cytherians, who explain to Picard that they only desire an exchange of information with the Federation. After the exchange, the Cytherians return the Enterprise-D to Federation space, leaving Barclay with the memory of his interaction and an enhanced ability at chess. This episode also sees Barclay try his hand at acting, performing the title role in Dr. Crusher's production of Cyrano de Bergerac. While his unaided performance was poor, his enhanced performance riveted the onlookers and greatly impressed Dr. Crusher.

In the episode "Realm of Fear", Barclay deals with his transporter phobia when assigned to an away team. Though he is capable of allowing himself to be transported, he believes that he sees large worm-like creatures while in transit. When no evidence of a problem is found, Barclay believes himself to be going mad. However, he later discovers that these are actually human survivors trapped inside the transporter beam. With Barclay's help, these people are successfully rescued.

In "Ship in a Bottle", Barclay unwittingly revives a sentient holo-simulation of Sherlock Holmes' arch-foe, Professor James Moriarty (previously seen in "Elementary, Dear Data") while performing holodeck maintenance. This results in Picard, Data and Barclay unknowingly becoming trapped in a Moriarty-created simulation of the Enterprise, and forced to research a method of making holo-simulations "real" outside of the holodeck through Moriarty's manipulations. When the ruse is discovered, Moriarty and a holographic companion are tricked into a simulation within the simulation, and stored in a computer where they will continue to exist, believing that they have gained freedom from the holodeck.

In "Genesis", Barclay's T-cells have a bizarre reaction to a medicine, creating an airborne virus that causes Barclay to de-evolve into a spider-like ancestral form, and its other victims to revert to their various evolutionary forms, after multiple dormant introns in his body are accidentally activated. Upon recovery, the disease is named after him as he was the first to have had contracted it: Barclay's Protomorphosis Syndrome.

Star Trek: First Contact[edit]

During First Contact Barclay remains under Picard's command after the destruction of the Enterprise-D in the previous film. When the ship travels back in time to 2063, Barclay accomplishes one of his lifelong dreams by simply shaking hands and speaking with Zefram Cochrane.

Star Trek: Voyager[edit]

Barclay appears as a guest character in Voyager. His first appearance is in the third episode of the second season, Projections, although this is as a holographic character. In this episode, it is claimed that Barclay worked with Dr. Lewis Zimmerman to develop the EMH doctor program, although since Barclay's appearance is actually caused by a holographic breakdown this may not actually be the case.

Working on Starfleet's "Pathfinder" project, Barclay becomes obsessed with the crew of the lost USS Voyager, which had been stranded in the Delta Quadrant for over five years. He once again creates simulacra on a holodeck, this time of the Voyager crew, but based on facts available to him about their true personalities (for the most part; because he named his cat Neelix, he makes the holodeck Neelix purr). With the help of these holograms and Deanna Troi - with whom he had developed a close friendship - he devises a method to use a micro wormhole to establish two-way communication with Voyager. This plan is initially shot down but Barclay defies direct orders and breaks into the laboratories successfully to make contact. During this incident, Barclay also works through his relapse into holo-addiction, as he reveals to Deanna, he had lost his 'family' after leaving the Enterprise and did not know how to cope except with fake people.

Barclay's work on the Pathfinder project earns him a promotion to full lieutenant (previously he had been a lieutenant junior grade). During this time, a hologram of him was sent to Voyager to help them find a way home, but the hologram was altered by Ferengi trying to acquire Seven of Nine's Borg nanoprobes. Barclay and Troi managed to work out what was happening, and Barclay was then able to dupe the Ferengi into abandoning their plan by posing as the hologram and claiming that Voyager was more heavily armed than they were.

An alternate future in the Voyager series finale "Endgame" shows an older Barclay teaching at Starfleet Academy, with the rank of Commander. By that point, Barclay has long since conquered his negative personal habits and is much more confident and secure of himself. The proper timeline's version of him is present when a transwarp aperture opens near Earth. Correctly deducing that it has been opened by Voyager, he witnesses the battle that follows with the Borg sphere and Voyager's dramatic return to the Alpha Quadrant.

In other media[edit]

Computer game[edit]

Barclay appears in the First Person Shooter video game Star Trek: Elite Force II, where he fills in as Chief Engineer for Geordi La Forge, when La Forge is away on another assignment. Barclay is confident in the game, and even helps the player fight off an attack on the ship's engine room. Dwight Schultz provides the voice. Barclay is also the first password given after completing the initial level for the Game Boy game Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Novels[edit]

In the Mirror Universe novel Dark Mirror by Diane Duane, Barclay is Captain Picard's personal guard. While on duty (and not knowing that his version of Picard had briefly been replaced by the one from the 'normal' Trek universe), mirror Barclay is murdered by that universe's counterpart of Deanna Troi. In David Mack's short story "For Want of a Nail" (part of the Shards and Shadows anthology, which takes place in a different Mirror Universe continuity than Dark Mirror), the mirror counterpart of Barclay is a technician working for the Terran Rebellion. He serves as a 'tech-controller' working with his partner, K'Ehleyr, who carries out covert missions for the Rebellion.

In the John Vornholt duology Gemworld Barclay becomes, through a series of incidents involving the planet's native species, the senior engineer on the ancient and crumbling planet of Gemworld. In the regular universe Trek novels, Barclay appears in the relaunch storyline of Star Trek: Voyager. He is an engineer assigned to the USS Galen, an emergency medical support vessel. The Galen is one of the ships assigned to the new fleet of which Voyager is a part.

Star Trek Klingon[edit]

In the novelization of the game, the story is told by Gowron, while Barclay has to make decisions throughout the story (similar to how the player had to make decisions in the game).

Other popular culture[edit]

Barclay has also appeared across several non-Star Trek media. The 2010 film The A-Team contains a reference to Barclay as a fictional cast member of a fake movie created by the team during one of their plans. This is an in-joke used to refer to Schultz, who played Murdock in the original television series and did a cameo in the scene. The 2011 video game also L.A. Noire contains a reference to Barclay in a piece of evidence in one of the later cases.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Joyrich, Lynne (Winter 1996). "Feminist Enterprise? "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and the Occupation of Femininity". Cinema Journal 35 (2): 61–84. doi:10.2307/1225756. JSTOR 1225756. 

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