The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: The Nth Degree

Whilst investigating damage to a Federation space array, Lieutenant Barclay is exposed to an alien probe that vastly enhances his cognitive abilities. As the shy lieutenant transforms into quite possibly the most advanced human than ever lived, the senior crew can only look on and wonder at the long-term consequences to the Enterprise, and to humanity itself.

Regardless of whether you found him annoying or sympathetic, Reg Barclay is back in this episode, and this time, he’s evolving. Whilst there are plenty of cringeworthy moments to be found, overall this is a decent episode, in which the usually brilliant and barely fallible senior crew must deal with the fact that an ordinary junior crewmember is swiftly surpassing them. It would have been interesting if the change had been permanent, and Barclay had become some kind of oracle housed in a dedicated supercomputer on planet Memory Alpha, but of course the somewhat silly ending sees the status quo nicely restored in time for the next episode.

The galaxy will come to you

  • Presumably the Cytherians are so advanced that they’re not worried about luring hostile alien races, such as the Romulans or the Borg, to their homeworld.
  • Advanced Barclay should get together with Wesley and The Traveller to discuss propulsion some time.
  • Geordi seems quite keen that Barclay remain in his place, and not become some kind of uppity advanced life form. Is Geordi really the nice guy we all thought he was? These last few episodes are making me doubt it, and that makes me sad.
  • Since the Cytherians appear as projected floating heads living near the centre of the galaxy, wouldn’t it be great if “God” from Star Trek V was actually one of their number, who was cast out for being a dick?
  • Riker is clearly jealous of the possibility that Barclay scored with Troi.
  • The senior crew consider Barclay “making a pass” at Troi to be non-serious. Surely that’s up to Troi to decide – in the event, it was pretty gentle, but it could have been aggressive or harassing. It’s the 24th century, guys, stop thinking it’s ok to foist your attentions on women.

Summary – The Nth Degree: “I quite liked that one until the weird floating head at the end”

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