Hollow Pursuits

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"Hollow Pursuits"
Star Trek: The Next Generation episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 21
Directed by Cliff Bole
Written by Sally Caves
Featured music Dennis McCarthy
Production code 169
Original air date April 30, 1990 (1990-04-30)
Guest appearance(s)
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List of Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes

"Hollow Pursuits" is the 21st episode of the third season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the 69th episode of the series overall. The episode introduces the recurring minor character Lieutenant Reginald Barclay.

In this episode, the Holodeck fantasy life of a crewman aboard the Federation Starship USS Enterprise-D interferes with his ability to deal with malfunctions which threaten the ship.


The Enterprise in the process of transporting Mikulak biological tissue samples intended for use in combating an epidemic of Correllium fever on Nahmi IV. The transport of the samples is delicate, and when they find one of the sample containers is leaking, they are forced to destroy it to prevent the contamination of the other samples. LaForge tells Riker he is concerned that one of his engineers, Reginald Barclay, has been underperforming and notes that he is late to help with the sample transport. What LaForge does not realize is that Barclay has been in the holodeck acting in a simulation of other Enterprise crew members, avoiding contact with their real counterparts. LaForge requests that Barclay be transferred from the Enterprise but Picard recommends that LaForge take Barclay on as a "pet project".

LaForge works at supporting Barclay as their team works to investigate the failure of unconnected systems around the ship. Picard invites Barclay to a bridge meeting to review the investigation, but slips up and accidentally calls him "Broccoli", a nickname given to him by the crew. Barclay later returns to the holodeck to seek refuge in the simulated version of the bridge members. In talking to LaForge, Guinan suggests that Barclay is simply imaginative and that LaForge keep a more open mind towards him. On her advice, LaForge visits Barclay on the holodeck and discovers the exaggerated simulation of the bridge crew. LaForge suggests Barclay get counseling from Troi, whose counterpart on the holodeck displays clear signs of sexual attraction towards Barclay. Barclay attempts to undergo a real counseling session with Troi, but freaks out when she tries to relax him with the appearance of actions his holodeck version of her would do, and ends the counseling session to flee back to the holodeck. When Barclay cannot be located to attend a briefing with Riker, Riker storms into the holodeck with LaForge and Troi to locate him. They find comical versions of the senior staff, with bumbling versions of Picard and LaForge, a slothful idiot version of Wesley, and an extremely short, comical version of Riker. Riker attempts to stop the program in anger, but Troi stops him saying it might traumatize Barclay and exploring this world can help them understand Barclay better. However, when they come across the sexed up version of her, it's her turn to want to immediately stop the program, but Riker stops her, sarcastically throwing her own words in her face. They finally locate Barclay sleeping in the lap of a fantasy Dr. Crusher.

Suddenly, the Enterprise mysteriously accelerates to warp speeds, and Riker, LaForge, and Barclay go to Engineering to discover the matter/anti-matter injectors have jammed; the ship will continue to accelerate until its structural integrity collapses unless the injectors are cleared. The team is unable to come up with any immediate solutions that will work in the limited time they have, but Barclay realizes all the failures they have seen have been connected by a human element: a member of LaForge's Engineering team has been present at each incident, so he surmises that somehow they became carriers of an undetectable contaminant. Using a process of elimination, they reduce the possible contaminants from 15,000 to 2. The contamination that has been interfering with the systems is quickly discovered to be invidium, which was used as part of the Mikulak samples. They are able to quickly repair the injectors, stop the ship, and set course for a nearby starbase to remove the rest of the invidium contamination. LaForge commends Barclay for his contribution in saving the ship. Barclay returns one more time to the holodeck and addresses the simulated bridge crew, believing it best he leave them, and then deletes all of his holodeck programs but one, program #9.


According to episode writer Sally Caves, Reginald Barclay (Dwight Schultz) is a satirical depiction of Trekkies and their excessive obsession with imaginary characters.[1]


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

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