Star Trek: Voyager

“Inside Man”

2 stars.

Air date: 11/8/2000
Written by Robert Doherty
Directed by Allan Kroeker

"I'm not that gullible." — A Harry Kim lie

Review Text

In brief: A watchable but ultimately unfulfilling take on the "Voyager crew as saps" episode.

"Inside Man" has a few things going for it, but one of those things, unfortunately, is not the bigger picture. That is to say, when you have at your disposal the entire Alpha Quadrant guest cast that made "Pathfinder" such a winner last year, why waste it on a silly caper plot that doesn't advance Voyager along the lines of the continuing saga of its search for a way home?

Even worse, why waste it on yet another example of the crew being manipulated like sorry saps into believing that a shortcut home is actually going to work when in fact it would get them all killed, a la the deception in "Hope and Fear"? "Inside Man" is a collection of isolated bright ideas undercut by standard plotting and character stupidity.

And a show of hands: Do we really want to see the Ferengi again?

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The underlying premise is actually a very reasonable one — the idea that Reg Barclay would transmit a hologram of himself to Voyager as an interactive program to assist in future coordination between Voyager and the Alpha Quadrant.

Unfortunately, the problem with "Inside Man" is that it's heavy on gimmicks and alarmingly light on story. One admirable aspect of both "Pathfinder" and "Life Line" from last season — both which featured Barclay and Troi and other characters from the Alpha Quadrant — is that they were real stories with true appeal and meaning. They were not stunt episodes. "Inside Man," on the other hand, is just that — a stunt episode that doesn't mean anything to any of its characters ... not the Voyager crew members in the Delta Quadrant nor Barclay back home in the Alpha Quadrant.

The plot can basically be summarized in one sentence: Some scheming Ferengi intercept the transmission of Barclay's hologram and reprogram it to deceptively lure Voyager through a manufactured tech anomaly so they can get their hands on Seven of Nine's nanoprobes and sell them for huge profit. (No one on board Voyager, by the way, will survive the radiation when traveling through this anomaly, which makes me wonder if even Ferengi would resort to murdering 150 people to score a quick buck.)

Aside from following this premise through to its inevitable conclusion, the rest of the episode is either (a) filler scenes or (b) rehashes of Barclay's character theme that were already covered in the far-superior "Pathfinder."

Some of this is admittedly entertaining. For example, the most truthful and appropriate idea in the episode is the notion that the Reg hologram has such a confident swagger to him. It's a programmed personality that serves as the alter-ego to the programmer. (This is assuming its outgoing nature wasn't programmed by the Ferengi, of course.)

And even if most of this is rehash, I still have to confess to enjoying Dwight Schultz as Barclay. Here he gets two very different riffs on Barclay — as the real Barclay, and also as the holographic version he wishes he could be. The real Barclay is the same guy we knew from "Pathfinder" — always sure his ideas will work but unable to totally convince his boss Harkins (Richard McGonagle) that he's on the right track. But even though this may be fun, we've been here and done this. When you have a rare opportunity to use these characters, why waste time doing everything over again?

Sure, holo-Barclay is a personable fellow. But I still had to ask myself if having him do impressions in the Voyager mess hall was really the least bit necessary to the story.

And take, for example, the extended scene between Barclay and Troi on the beach. It very well might be the longest dialog scene in the episode, and yet it doesn't need to be. The amount of information we get here is secondary to the setting, as if the scene had to be drawn out unnecessarily in order to justify the expense of shooting on location rather than on soundstages. (When I'm thinking of things like that, it's an indication the dialog isn't holding enough of my attention.) And Barclay comes close at times to being reduced to the status of a cartoon character, decked out in a hat and sunglasses designed to make him look awkward. The character analysis in "Pathfinder" was far less forced, and more truthful.

The main drive of the plot hinges on some contrived facts that annoyed me. One is the idea that the Voyager crew, like brainless lemmings, would follow holo-Barclay so blindly. The proposed Instant Way Home™ in this episode is one mired in the typical invented technobabble, and one that would be very dangerous for our gallant Voyager crew. Radiation levels would be lethal, and yet the deceptive holo-Barclay explains away the danger as no longer a problem thanks to shield modifications and Doc's inoculations. Far too simplified, it seems the Voyager crew is prepared to follow Barclay straight to their doom. Meanwhile, we get the usual discussions among the crew about being excited about possibly getting home while also trying to keep optimism in check.

Back in the Alpha Quadrant, we learn that the Ferengi gained access to Barclay's hologram thanks to Barclay's ex-girlfriend Leosa (Sharisse Baker-Bernard), who had played Barlcay for a fool specifically to obtain information about his transmissions to Voyager. I would say "poor Reg" here, the way he's a victim of his own trusting nature, but unlike "Pathfinder" the writers don't seem to be sympathizing with him nearly as much as they seem to be laughing at him behind his back.

The conclusion is one of those races against the clock where Barclay must use his technical ingenuity to foil the Ferengi before the Voyager crew is lured through the anomaly and killed. Par for course (but I wanted a different course).

And, no, I didn't really need to see the Ferengi again. Does a single one of them as portrayed here look like he has the intelligence to come up with a plan as brilliant as this one? If not, the explanation may be that the plan isn't brilliant so much as the victims of the plan — in both the Alpha and Delta quadrants — are gullible fools. At the very least, I'll give Barclay and his team, including Admiral Paris (Richard Herd), credit for figuring out the Ferengi plot without too much slow-wittedness.

But that's not enough, because the bottom line is that "Inside Man" starts out as a promising idea that is quickly tossed aside in favor of something trivial and mundane. "Pathfinder" and "Life Line" showed true promise in telling a story arc that connected Voyager with the Alpha Quadrant, using Barclay as the common thread to hold it all together. "Inside Man" doesn't bother to be a story that we should care about; it seems convinced that Barclay and Troi are enough on their own to keep us interested. They're not.

As far as the Voyager-characters-as-saps paradigm goes, the last scene aboard Voyager is perhaps the show's most telling, in which Tom and B'Elanna pull Harry's leg with a far-fetched premise that promises another way home. And there he is, Harry Kim, still, after all these years and the immediately preceding events of "Inside Man," playing the part of the hapless chump — just as gullible and naive as he was when this series premiered nearly six years ago. Is this supposed to be a funny joke on the character? If we buy into it, I'm thinking the joke is on us.

Next week: "Being John Malkovich" — Voyager style! (In other words, "Being Seven of Nine.")

Junior-high question of the week: Why does a transwarp conduit (as depicted in animation in "Inside Man") look exactly like a condom?

Previous episode: Critical Care
Next episode: Body and Soul

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Comment Section

67 comments on this post

    I really enjoyed the portion of the episode where Tom is debating Harry, poo-pooing rather sanguinely the notion that Voyager will get home, enumerating several circumstances (i.e., prior episodes) where those opportunities either fell through or were wolves in sheeps' clothing. I think the writers were having some fun with us, the audience, on that one.

    Too bad that the notion of "Voyager getting home" is a big joke as well.

    As an aside, if Rom is any indication, the Ferengi are both stupid enough and clever enough to conceive of and execute the technical details of such a caper.

    I'm only 20 minutes into the episode, so take what I say with that in mind.

    Having said that, this episode is horrible. First, the plot starts off with yet another gimmick to getting home. Now, we know they aren't getting home... so the story's strength really depends on the execution of how they don't get home, and what the story is REALLY about. And when it come's to this story's execution... let's just say it's abysmal.

    How many stories do we need where the writer's tease the audience about getting home? Can't you think of something else? Even Tom seems to think so... as the character telegraphs that every plot to devise to getting home has been some sort of trap. It's like they are making fun of the concept... yet the story is treating it 100% seriously.

    As we watch, we realize all is not well after all - oh dear, like we didn't know! But the twist comes when we see that the Ferengi are behind it. Really now? The Ferengi?

    I am almost want to stop watching right now, as the story has gone into a direction that I would have thrown in the garbage once the writer pitched the idea, let alone put it into production.

    And now this is 2 episodes where the ferengi try and screw voyager over. My god, can't the writers think of something else?

    Holo-Barclay reminded me of 'Ace' Rimmer from Red Dwarf - "Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast..."

    I don't understand why the Voyager crew do not adopt the new uniform? Perhaps I'm missing something. They make no reference to it! Surely 'oh, the uniform has changed!'. Janeway should update the uniform on morale terms alone.

    Harry "Can't-Get-A-Lock" Kim: "This is the best opportunity [to get home] we've had!"
    Paris (deadpan voice): "That's why we'll probably end up in the Gamma Quadrant."


    It's a pretty good show though I agree that resuscitating the Ferengi (of all!) is bemusing.

    Great to see Troi again; she would've been close to 50 at the time of the airing of the show. Looks great though, which is a huge boon considering that otherwise her conversations with Reg about his FEELINGS (*puke*) would be excruciating!!

    The biggest surprise, yea shock, of the show: Harry "Can't-Get-A-Lock" Kim actually got a lock for once (on Seven and holo-Reg)!! Champagne for everyone!! He's still a schmuck though.

    Loved the last couple of minutes of the episode!

    Anyway, I'd give the show three stars; I quite enjoyed watching it.

    "Sure, holo-Barclay is a personable fellow. But I still had to ask myself if having him do impressions in the Voyager mess hall was really the least bit necessary to the story."

    Maybe not absolutely necessary, but it did establish the hologram's ability to do impressions, perhaps making the later scene in which he vocally impersonates Seven of Nine believable. Even without the setup, though, I doubt anyone would have been surprised by holo-Barclay's ability to do that, especially right after he fried Seven's synapses by putting his hand inside her head.

    I thought the final scene in the mess hall was terrible. Harry is a chump, but there's a difference between teasing and cruelty. I wouldn't value Torres and Paris's "friendship" much after that.

    After DS9's "Business As Usual", you have doubts that Ferengi would kill 150 people for enormous profit?

    @Jason: I LOL'd. Ace Rimmer is exactly who I was thinking of as well :)

    I didn't like the return of the Ferengi, mostly because they were the same sneering lot from TNG, not the more developed ones from DS9 (not that the Ferengi-centric episodes of DS9 weren't cringeworthy either mind you.)

    Harry's character got assassinated good and proper this episode (if it's possible to assassinate the lifeless). The guy FINALLY gets a lock and it's a) offscreen and b) quickly outdone by Paris's bullying. Poor guy.

    Another star rating I agree with. 2 for entertainment, but not really worth more than that - too much stupidity, too many Ferengi.

    Also it looks like Marina Sirtis alongside Dwight Schultz is in for the rest of Voyager as a recurring character. Well then we need a new excuse as it's getting as silly as seeing Worf in every TNG movie was getting. Chasing her out to her vacation is MUCH more plausible than the Enterprise happening to be in sector 001, but what next? I hope they reassigned her from the Enterprise in later episodes to concentrate on helping Barclay try and get Voyager home. Otherwise it'll just get ridiculous.

    I usually agree with Jammer's assessment, but this is one of those rare times when I don't. Honestly, he seems to be down on the episode primarily because it isn't the story he'd like it to be. I really don't think the Voyager crew are acting like saps here; I thought the deception was pretty believable. I'd give it three stars.

    And Paul, as far as the uniforms are concerned, I always assumed that acquiring the latest Federation uniform wasn't important enough to warrant that much use of the replicator, which we know required a significant drain on Voyager resources.

    This episode was a nice mixture: Star fleet HQ, , a beach resort, two Barclays and, perhaps best of all, Deanna Troi. The leadup of believability of the "barclay-gram" worked. But the quickness in which the real Barclay discovered the Ferengi was the problem, and how Voyager figured out what was wrong, leads me to bellieve a few scenes wound up on the cutting room floor.

    Nevertheless, a ege-of-the-seat and enjoyable episode. 3 1/2 stars.

    P.S. Re the comment above about (Troi) Sirtis' age: She was 45 when the episode was filmed.

    I liked it, though the Ferengi were not the adversary I was hoping for. I did feel really bad for Reg though. What I do find more than a little annoying is that his boss keeps pooping all over his ideas. What happens every other time you've done that? What...oh yeah, he was RIGHT! You'd think these guys would have learned by now.

    One thing that peaked my interest in this episode was the reference

    " the Romulans have been interested in voyager for years"

    This is probably a reference to 'Eye of the needle' which was the Romulan from the past. It looks like someone in the Romulan government read the messages and didnt tell, naughty, naughty!

    1. i agree with michael and some others. this was a fun episode.
    2. ferengi didnt have a big part in the episode, so i dont know why everyone is complaining (and i dont enjoy ferengi episodes)
    3. it was either them or the romulans wanting the ship.
    4. i did find the beach scene too long, and a bit boring. i guess they just wanted her in a bathing suit?
    5. i was frustrated that Barclays boss wrote him off again. really? again?
    6. i did like the ingenius way of fooling the ferengi.
    7. i always enjoy when the crew gives each other a hard time. i almost always enjoy the last scenes of voyager episodes.
    3 Star

    Best of all, the Starfleet guy (Barclay's supervisor who is still there despite being proven wrong time and time and time again) says it takes about 2 hours to go 7.8 light years. 30,000 light years away is Voyager. A high school algebra problem will readily prove it will take about 7692 hours to reach Voyager. Now I'm no expert, but 7692 hours does not translate into 30 years...

    The Ferengi reminded me of the ones in TNGs' early days when they were potrayed as an actual threat, mostly due to the fact they came close to successfully carrying out their scheme and apparently didn't mind the fact it left 150 people dead (including children)! In a way it was refreshing because they've rarely appealed to me as comic relief, but at the same time they're still the weakest part of the episode.

    I really enjoyed a lot of it, especially the focus on Barcley and the nice balance between excitement and character drama with genuinely amusing moments completing the package.

    Its just a shame there weren't any long term consequences for such an event of a show; a story crossing the audience to Earth and back deserves to go beyond a fun, well-rounded adventure even if it is still very enjoyable.

    I think the writers should have taken a risk and actually let Seven break through to the Alpha Quadrant alone and alive. That would have been interesting.

    A solid 3 stars from me.

    Seven in the Alpha Quadrant could only last for 1 or 2 episodes and still have been enough. She'd have to deal with her humanity, face her surviving family and go through a lot of painful yet ultimately beautiful growth and add to the stunning testament of Voyagers' journey. Her commitment to the crew and interaction with their loved ones would be enough to get her on the round back to the Delta Quadrant, sci-fi plotting could easily take care of the rest! I really would have liked the writers to go there, shows like Farscape prove what could be achieved with some daring.

    One last observation: why did Barclay have his nose painted blue on the beach scenes? I can only guess it was futuristic sun screen or fashion statement, it definitely made him look cartoonish as Jammer pointed out!

    Simply preposterous. Wherever you put Ferengi they are supposed to make you laugh (except in DS9, where in some episodes they are taken more seriously).
    Except that this is no laughing matter.
    Besides, how can an accomplished scientist like Janeway and all the others be so gullible?

    DPC - The admiral said it would take 2 hours to go 0.7 light years. That will be 2.86 hours (approximately) to go 1 light year.

    2.86 hours/lightyear*30,000 lightyears (or 35,000, depending on the episode) = 85714 hours

    85714 hours/24 hours day = 3571 days (rounded)

    About a little less than 10 years (about 9.8 years). This is at full speed for that ship. Not sure how fast that ship could go, but it is over 3 times as fast as Voyager. Has technology improved that much?

    Ok. Stop. Stop everything. I'm about a minute and a half in and I'm already pissed off. Harry "Can't Get a Lock Kim" says that the "transceiver wasn't designed to hold photonic data, we've got to get it out of there before it degrades." Just shoot me already. So you're telling me that when you sent the Doctor to Zimmerman and when he was sent back to Voyager, the transceiver was not designed to hold his program and so they had to pull him out quicly before he degraded? Did he know he was going to be facing such danger? I mean they treat him like a regular sentient being, so he should probably be aware of something that could potentially kill him.

    Ten minutes in and I'm pissed off again. Holo-Barclay says that everyone's looking forward to seeing Seven because she was Borg. Despite the odds she was able to re-claim her humanity. No one's every done that before. -_-

    Did this show seriously just forget about Picard? The Best of Both Worlds? Wolf 359? One of the best and most exciting stories of Star Trek ever? Was the beginning of DS9? None of this ringing a bell to any of you idiots writing this horrible excuse for a Star Trek show? No? Ok... moving on. >_>

    @Sean : To be fair, Picard was Borg for like a day, not his entire life. This episode is, however, one of the low points of the season, so I wouldn't expend much energy defending it.

    Also re: your previous comment: Doc was warned that his programme might be irretrievable by Janeway and that his going would be a great risk in "Message in a Bottle." In "Life Line," Doc is indeed pulled out of the buffer immediately on both ends.

    Oh ok. Good to know. I thought they were just pulling the "hologram isn't going to last long in the transmitter" thing out of their ass just for this episode.

    Well it's not a good episode, just that one comment rubbed me the wrong way. Since, you know, Picard's assimilation is one of the main story points of all of Star Trek.

    Also, it might be just me, but the Pathfinder cast seems like they'd make for a more interesting show then Voyager. Or at least a more interesting focus of the show then Voyager's main cast. They seem promising, if the show used them more. They're definitely the high point of every episode they're in.

    "(No one on board Voyager, by the way, will survive the radiation when traveling through this anomaly, which makes me wonder if even Ferengi would resort to murdering 150 people to score a quick buck.)"

    I get the impression from DS9 that the answer to that question is no. Unless they're an arms dealer or some other shady business like that. For the most part, Ferengi like people to be alive so they can make deals.

    "As far as the Voyager-characters-as-saps paradigm goes, the last scene aboard Voyager is perhaps the show's most telling, in which Tom and B'Elanna pull Harry's leg with a far-fetched premise that promises another way home. And there he is, Harry Kim, still, after all these years and the immediately preceding events of "Inside Man," playing the part of the hapless chump — just as gullible and naive as he was when this series premiered nearly six years ago. Is this supposed to be a funny joke on the character? If we buy into it, I'm thinking the joke is on us."

    Yeah, this one scene really does tell it all doesn't it? The Voyager characters and the show itself are just caricatures. They're not real people who change. The episodes are not things that really happen. It's just one caricature after another. It's what really disappoints me about the show. No character development, no attempt at telling a decent story, no real attempt at being a Star Trek show and living up the massive legacy left behind by TNG and DS9. It should have been good and it settled for less. It chose mediocrity when you knew that it had so much more potential. It had the premise, it had the writers, it had the concept. It should have been good, by all rights. But it settled. Played for the cheap seats. It's such a disappointment. A waste of seven seasons of Trek.

    I was just thinking regarding holo-Barclay referring to Seven as the only human to fully recover from Borg assimilation. 10 to 1 this was, in reality, just a tremendous goof on the writing staff's part. But maybe, just maybe, it was a clue the writers' included to tip off the viewers that perhaps there was something wrong with holo-Barclay. Surely the real Barclay would be aware of Picard's situation from BOBW. He was serving on the Enterprise-D at the time. This could have been something the writers cooked up to put the viewer on edge and suspect the supposedly benign motives of holo-Barclay. Just a thought.

    Hey, it's Troi and Barclay. Again. What is this, the third time now? We get it. Barclay is obsessed with Voyager and Troi is worried about his mental health. Didn't they already do this once?
    Well, except this time there's Ferengi around. To the satisfaction of absolutely no one.
    I'm not surprised the Ferengi would ruthlessly kill a crew of 150 people to set themselves up for life, but I am surprised that they are presented as gullible cretins who fail to see through Reg's lie, yet still smart enough to intercept a Starfleet hologram message (without Starfleet knowing they did so), alter it to serve their own purpose and then send it to the Delta Quadrant, again without Starfleet finding out about it.

    It could just be me, but I feel like they took the Barclay/Troi combo one episode too far. They should have stopped after the second time. I'm all for seeing TNG crewmembers on Voyager, but not when it's just a rehash of a former episode in which they also appeared. Nothing new going on here. This episode might as well not exist.

    Paris to Kim: "We can't go another month without mail."

    Since when did Tom Paris care about mail call. It's been established he doesn't care, and definitely not to the extreme he would say he can't live without it. What the hell did his dad say to him in his last letter? "Tom, I'm proud of you. Oh, and by the way, you have a new step-mom. She's 18 and has...." (Letter ends - cut off)

    It was nice to see some different alien races during the beach scene. Although, Barclay's disguise was stupid. Barclay lifts glasses and looks around - "Please, they might be watching". Reminded me of what Nedry said in Jurassic Park. Instead of Dodgson, I wanted Troi to scream "We've got Barclay here. See? Nobody cares."

    An extremely good first half, followed by the Ferengi reveal and a descending pathway for the rest of the episode. If we're going have the Reg and Deanna show again I suppose the holo-Barclay was a good twist on the story and considerably less insufferable than the real thing - the turn to evil-holo-Reg was also nicely handled. But I didn't really need a Ferengi caper at this point of the series.

    I also really didn't like the last scene, not only because it deliberately sets Harry up to be the chump (fool me once and all that), but once again makes Paris (and Torres this time) look like a bit of an asshole. Just not sure what it brings to the table. 2.5 stars.

    I don't necessarily disagree with the review, although I feel it was perhaps a little harsh. I agree with Diamond Dave; this was a solid 2.5 star at least. It was a flawed but entertaining 45 mins. Anything with Barclay in it is usually worth watching imo (just for the joy of watching Dwight Schultz).

    My main quibble is with the rating. How can this score only half a star more than the forgettably awful disaster (apart from the first 15-20mins) that was repression? I think 1 star for the latter, and 2.5 for this would be a more appropriate relative rating.

    Lots of goofy and unintentionally funny stuff about this episode:

    - After fake-Barclay explains his plan to send the ship through the geodesic fold, I nearly burst out laughing when Janeway said "We still haven't found a way to compensate for GEODESIC RADIATION !!" Because only on Voyager does everything down the very principles of geometry emit hazardous radiation. Too much gravity? Better watch out for gravimetric radiation. Too much light? Best raise shields to protect against the inevitable photonic radiation. Fish on the menu again? Don't worry, we'll contain the ichthyogenic raditation with a level 10 force-field!

    - So... after Barclay is being all creepy and stalkery and super-paranoid of everyone after obsessing for months over the problem of why he can't transmit a hologram to the opposite end of the galaxy....Deanna comes to the conclusion that the one person he's NOT being openly paranoid about MUST HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH THIS and this is considered probable cause to bring her in for questioning?

    - I like how readily the smart people at Starfleet HQ are able to piece together the Ferengi's super-elaborate plans involving twin stars and geodesic folds and borg nanoprobes like it's elementary my dear Watson, but then when it comes to speculating why Voyager would fly through such a phenomenon that would surely kill all life aboard, they are forced to conclude that someone forcing the entire crew of Voyager to do so against their wills is the only logical possibility! Well, that's only because no one let Starfleet in on a key insight that only we viewers at home are privy to: that the crew of Voyager are LETHALLY GULLIBLE MORONS for the entirety of this episode!

    - I like the sad, deflated music cue that plays when ever the Ferengi's plans are foiled -- it's like the symphonic equivalent of a "wah-wah" trombone. I wish we heard something like this every time Harry Kim is played like chump, too. Speaking of which, this episode ends such an epic Kim chumpage moment that it nearly threatens to implode into actual pathos, which for me at least, makes it all the more hilarious.

    This episode is like the DS9 mirror episodes.

    "Why are we doing this again?"

    Some comedic value. I thought the impressions were pretty hilarious.

    Deanna forceful?

    2 stars of blah for me.

    I liked this episode. Also, I think Barclay and Troi have some nice chemistry together and I enjoyed their scenes as well as the scenes onboard Voyager. I could have done without the Ferengi, though, as they have never been one of my favorites and I would have preferred some other race to have been involved.

    Regarding the uniforms and Voyager changing to the new ones, I'm glad they didn't. I much prefer the Voyager uniforms as I think the gray ones are boring and don't particularly flatter anyone.

    The only scene I didn't like was at the end. Harry was obviously very disappointed in not getting home and Paris and Torres simply rubbed salt in the wound which I think wasn't very nice and not very friendly either.

    May I also say I don't understand why some fans seem to dislike the Harry character so much. Admittedly, he isn't one of my favorites but I don't mind him either. And he is shown to be competent, hardworking, loyal and creative. And if he is unable to get transporter locks from time to time, there is always a legitimate reason for his failure to do so and anybody else working the transporter would have had the same problems.

    In any case, Harry's inablitity to get transporter locks is obviously for the purposes of drama as are Tuvok's sensible recommendations regarding courses of action, which also get ignored because if his recommendations were followed, the show would be over in five minutes. :)

    LOL, I thought of "Ace" Rimmer, too, but someone beat me to it.

    This episode plays like a parody. Overdrawn characters, silly mess hall antics, crew too gullible, Barclay too cartoony. It almost could have been Red Dwarf, but Red Dwarf did it so much better.

    For some reason the scene that bugged me is when Troi calls herself Barclay's therapist instead of his friend. Not sure why that bugged me, but it did. Also, it bugs me that after "All Good Things" it's like these characters suddenly changed from what we've seen before. But that could just be my opinion. I don't have any facts to back this up, just a feeling when I see them on screen via Voyager.

    Could starfleet open up the fold and send voyager supplies and technologies? Or once the gold is gone it's done idk.

    Kind of a goofy episode trying to capitalize on the good stuff "Pathfinder" started but it's pretty farfetched and seeing the Ferengi left a bad taste in my mouth. Overall, not great stuff here although there are a few good moments.

    I take it the Voyager crew is so desperate to get home that they turn into "saps" as Jammer puts it. I don't get a kick out of seeing our protagonists look like idiots. But holo-Reg seems convincing and part of his routine is to win over the crew with his impersonations etc. That Voyager could come so close to getting destroyed through their own naïveté (i.e. not under some alien influence) is worrisome.

    The good part about the episode is Dwight Schultz's acting -- showing the confident (and calculating) holo-Reg and the usual Reg we've come to know. Clear difference between the two came across.

    Can't not have some serious doubts about the geodesic / technobabble crap with the giant red star and creating a pathway with the Ferengi ship firing some kind of beam. Oh, and then there's the Ferengi. Like Jammer said: "And a show of hands: Do we really want to see the Ferengi again?" NFW! This is one thing VOY has going for it that DS9 doesn't -- almost no Ferengi.

    Troi wasn't bad in this episode although the scene with her and Reg on the beach dragged on a bit -- yes, it starts to paint the picture of Barclay's ex, which is another incident that sort of makes one take pity on him (not unlike Harry Kim in the final scene falling for Torres and Paris's dumb joke).

    2 stars for "Inside Man" -- moderately entertaining but enough about it I didn't like or that was just plain dumb. Barclay on his own with a bit of help from Troi couldn't carry this episode and Voyager narrowly avoids destruction from a Ferengi scheme -- would the profit-motivated aliens really go this far after all the relations built up with the Federation? One of a few poor decisions for this mediocre VOY outing.

    This episode has always struck me as really pointless, slowly sapping the goodwill from Pathfinder (and to a lesser extent Life Line) to no good effect. It's important to bring Barclay and Troi back but there's no particular need to, so this is what we get. In Pathfinder, Barclay and Voyager were paralleled as lost souls who could maybe find each other, and Barclay's ability to start a new relationship and the Voyager crew's connecting back to home were linked at the end (Hope!); here, they are paralleled kind of cruelly as chumps ready to be exploited for their loneliness. Ideally we should be sympathetic to Barclay and the Voyager crew, whose pain is real and whose desires are understandable and universal, but there's a vein of cynicism that runs through this episode that makes me feel like we're supposed to regard them as idiots for falling for these hucksters -- Leosa, who seems designed to appear to be out of Barclay's league and to make him look like a fool for trusting her, along with dialogue that suggests he spent the whole time yammering on about his project and should have known better than to think anyone would be interested in the minutiae of his program without seeking to exploit him somehow; "Reg" the hologram based on Barclay, who wins over the crew with promises of a trip home and then later with flattery, mean-spirited (and genuinely unfunny) impressions of the command staff and implausible tales of fame for Seven but who is apparently programmed with so much contempt that he can't even stand being around the Doctor in a golf suit for a few seconds without screaming at him. I can't shake the feeling that the episode's heroes are being attacked and criticized for falling for a deception, that they are a bunch of losers who were easy pickings for the dumbest and shallowest villains in Trekdom in early-TNG-style Ferengi (with a few references to dabo thrown in for good measure) because they are too pathetic to even know how worthless they are. This tone of smug condescension *to the show's own characters* seeps in all the way to the final scene, where Tom and B'Elanna respond to their attempt to get home being dashed and the Reg program turning out to be some sort of villain who zapped and kidnapped Seven by picking on Harry. That, at core, is what distinguishes this episode from previous Barclay episodes, even mediocre ones like Realm of Fear, and even from many of the previous "Voyager is about to get home" episodes. And to be honest, I might even be able to buy this episode if it were at least funny -- if they are going to cruelly take down their own characters, at least do it with some style -- but the whole thing is a lifeless, drudging exercise, even though Shultz tries his best.

    Now, one could say, "Hey, William B, aren't *you* the one being mean by describing the crew and Barclay this way? Haven't you ever been tricked or fooled?" And yeah, yeah. And this is all subjective. But I don't really think that this meanness toward the characters is my invention; I feel like it seeps through the episode's pores.

    It's also an idiot plot through and through. Leosa *tells Barclay explicitly* that there are Borg nanoprobes, and offers him some of them? And then Barclay *keeps this to himself* because he's afraid Pete will think his theories are crazy? BUT THE CRIMINAL JUST SAID THERE WERE NANOPROBES. BRING THEM UP. Then he tells Troi this, and *she* keeps it to *herself* rather than pointing out they should tell Pete and the Admiral? Meanwhile, on Voyager, the crew laughs about Reg's impressions of the captain and Tuvok rather than bothering to discuss between themselves whether or not the injections and shield modifications should actually be sufficient or not. No one suggests that maybe they should try sending a probe through this anomaly or whatever first? I get that Reg could provide a reason why it wouldn't work, but they should at least *consider* some basic safety. And of course, the *very last data stream they received* in Repression was corrupted with an evil signal, so maybe they should think for a second about whether they should trust that this hologram is uncorrupted?

    Anyway, Barclay eventually saves the day by pretending that Voyager is better than it is, playing the flattery that "Reg" used against the Voyager crew (and that Leosa used against Barclay) against his enemies, in what is at least something of a face-saving reversal. Notably, the Voyager crew remain basically clueless and don't really do much to get out of their situation; all they manage to do is for Seven to figure out that there are a bunch of extra radiation types and then to beam Seven and Reg back from the escape pod when he makes a foolhardy escape attempt, which is relatively little all things considered. That Barclay gets some mild cathartic hero moment at least makes some of his story slightly worthwhile, but man, the Voyager stuff is just a lot of nothing.

    Barely 1.5 stars.

    Ugh! A Ferenghi episode.

    I don't know if I can last through this one. I do love this beach scene, though. A nice change from the usual enclosed look of Voyager.

    But, enough already, I've enjoyed seeing Barclay and Troi in a few Voyager eps, but I don't watch Voyager to see Barclay and Troi.

    I can't stand watching much more of this, but I'll suffer through.

    It's just, no way there's going to be a decent payoff, here.

    Ugh, ugh, ugh. I hate Ferenghi. I think it's part of the reason I quit watching DS9 in the first season.

    I liked the clever way the real Reg tricked the Ferenghi. But still not a good ep. Why is Troi with Will? Blech.

    I enjoyed the episode. Reg is always great and holo-Reg was enjoyable. Deanna was great.

    I really felt it ended abruptly without any real explanations. I feel like I wasted an hour of my time for absolutely nothing at all

    I mean they don’t even show 7 of 9 getting back to the ship from the escape pod. They don’t explain what happened to the Ferengi. And how did an escape pod shake the Ferengi ship like that? Nothing about the ending made sense. Perhaps the reruns cut out scenes that aired during its initial run??

    I actually quite liked this one. Compared to the general boredom the Voyager crew often inspires at this point, it still feels like a breath of fresh air to get to see the Alpha Quadrant and Project Pathfinder and all the people involved. Reg was great fun as both his real self and his exaggerated hologram version, and Troi was used in a pretty enjoyable way as well (and actually used her empathic abilities in a meaningful way, which was great). From amongst all the "Voyager is going to get home! except not really" episodes, I'd say that "Inside Man" is up there with "Bliss" in terms of actually being enjoyable.

    I am with some who felt the ending was somewhat unsatisfying.
    For example, I like my characters in a story to have any hoax, deceptions, or naughty things done to them explained and cleared up at the end.
    Nor do I like loose ends not covered in some way. I suppose we can always use the rule of assumptions to cover such things but if there are too many holes...the story gets too piecemmeally (is that a word?). Gotta check on that.

    Not too bad. it had some good moments. Seven is so gorgeous!

    IMHO some of the best TNG episodes are those featuring Barclay. But everytime he shows up in VOY (his first appearance excluded), I get this uneasy feeling.

    Because it's always the exact same thing: he gets obsessed, his boss loses his patience, Troi offers some psychoanalysis ... Not exactly the stuff of legends; albeit, always at the least watchable.

    In "Inside man" they changed it up a bit, so that it at least didn't feel like a complete recycle. A part from making the mistake of choosing TNG Type Ferengi instead of the DS9 counterpart, they added enough to make it fresh and enjoyable. The imitations by the Barclay for example: that Janeway impersonation was spot on. Troi did not only had better lines, but seeing her on the beach was quite a welcome change of milieu, if I may say so.

    I'm a bit disappointed however, that we still haven't seen the Doc play golf.

    2,5 Stars.

    I was wondering how the third episode of Troi and Barclay would go. Turns out the writers did a great job of making things believable. Him following her to the vacation spot was totally him. And didn’t feel awkward at all. Loved the personality change of the hologram, too.

    I don’t understand the hate with the Ferengi. I think they’re funny. Mind you, I was unable to ever watch DS9 - too dramatic for my tastes. I really love the makeup for that species. Better than all the forehead bumps with no other features suggesting “alien”, races.

    So far the only episode I’ve greatly disliked this season is that “Muses” one.

    Everything about this episode is very stupid. I agree with William B's review. One of Voyager's bottom 10. The only good thing is Dwight Schultz's dual performance, and the fact Commander Harkins's character has been softened silghtly since Pathfinder. He's fair and understanding with Barclay here, yet still firm.

    The early-TNG-style Ferengi are nails on a chalkboard. Harry is out of character - maybe he was this credulous in S1, but not since. Tom and B'Elanna's mean teasing of him is also out of character. Admiral Paris and Troi are wasted. The score is really annoying - the episode seems to think it's much funnier than it is, and many scenes are scored cloyingly whimsically despite the fact that nothing funny or interesting is happening. (It's the worst Voyager score since the awful fake-Irish whimsy overkill of Fair Haven/Spirit Folk.) The beach scene is incredibly stilted, so singularly bizarre that it reminded me of the Crusher/Troi aerobics scene in TNG's The Price - the dialog, direction, performances and costuming are all weirdly off. And Troi is shot more exploitatively here than Seven ever was.

    I always mix up this one and Repression, because they're just two episodes apart, both remarkably bad, and both based on the monthly Starfleet data stream being hijacked and repurposed by a dire unconvincing one-off villain from the Alpha Quadrant. But this one is worse - it's the different between 1.5 stars and 0.5 stars. Repression at least has Tim Russ's fantastic performance, and an engaging mystery/thriller tone that sustains interest - it only totally falls apart in the final third. By contrast, this episode starts well but falls to pieces less than halfway through, then somehow keeps getting worse and worse.

    I was really excited for this episode, right up until the moment the Ferengi turned up. After a long groan I continued. Would this episode be worse than Repression?? Dear God. As it quickly degraded into another cringy Broccoli episode, I remembered why it was so hard to watch season 7 in its first run. Why was this made? It just seemed like filler. The only highlight was Sirtis looking better than she did in TNG. Such a pretty gal. But I DO keep asking, if Deanna's a decent counselor, how has Reg made no progress with his anxiety issues in the workplace?
    Marginally worse than Repression. Once again, so many great opportunities completely missed.

    Troi. She got way better lines in Voyager than in the whole TNG series. But this episode was not near as good as the first two, last season. 2 stars for me.

    Buried lead: the geodesic fold worked and an empty escape pod made it back to the alpha quadrant. And then was conveniently forgotten. What, they can’t try again next month or whatever?

    A waste of time in the worst way possible, one that convinces you of it's importance then pulls the rug out from under you, revealing itself as inconsequential nonsense.


    ))I nearly burst out laughing when Janeway said "We still haven't found a way to compensate for GEODESIC RADIATION !!" Because only on Voyager does everything down the very principles of geometry emit hazardous radiation.((

    "Geodesic" radiation is obviously (my "head canon") just shorthand for "all the various different kinds of radiation association with geodesic folds." Just as we, today, might refer to "Jovian" radiation to encompass a much broader set of radiations associated with the planet Jupiter.

    If I were Barclay I would resign from Starfleet. They always treat him like crap and never believe him even after he is proven right time and time again.

    The one thing I'm surprised at is that in over 20 years of comments I'm the first one to mention the parallel between Barclay and Troi ("Do you have any idea how inappropriate it is to follow your therapist on vacation?") and Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss in the classic, What About Bob? Giving credit where it's due, that was a fun scene.

    I think I like this episode a little more than Jammer, but it's certainly not great.

    Once again, Janeway is the worst captain of all trek.
    She was basically going to kill the whole crew. Difference here is that the rest of the crew can also be blamed for complete incompetence and stupidity.

    Some random hologram shows up, no verification that it is genuine starfleet approved, babbles some theory about getting home, many of the senior officers express concerns or even disbelief, but let’s go for it, sure, after all what’s the worst that could happen, we all die that’s all, let’s chance it.

    Belanna and Paris are actually mean to Harry in the closing segment. A-holes. Certainly wouldnt want these guys as friends.

    Ferengi willing to kill 150 people for profit. They are basically criminals, mass murderers. How about Starfleet hailing them and telling them that 1/ they stop right away and 2/ they will be brought to justice for attempted mass murder. No? Ok just let them go.

    Reg’s superior is acting just like in the previous Barclay episode, not taking Barclay seriously / treating him like he is deranged (hasnt he learned that Barclay is pretty much always right?). He should be demoted.

    Yeah really bad. The writers really have no respect for the audience at this point any more.

    Still enjoyed Schultz’ performance, but I dont know why it does not have the same impact as in TNG, it felt more contrived or just a bit used. I guess the issue is also that after the previous barclay episode, Reg should be at least a bit more confident. He found his place, was promoted, had a whole project to run, probably gained the confidence and trust of starfleet at the highest level, found friends with voyager, etc. But it just seems we are back to the old timid Barclay from the beginning of TNG. It’s frustrating and not interesting.

    I was sort of excited to see a confident version of barclay accomplish things on voyager, almost as if it happened in a dream or an alternate reality for the real Reg. But no, they had to make him evil.

    These writers are so lazy, or just not interested in the universe and/or the characters.

    {{ DPC - The admiral said it would take 2 hours to go 0.7 light years. That will be 2.86 hours (approximately) to go 1 light year.

    2.86 hours/lightyear*30,000 lightyears (or 35,000, depending on the episode) = 85714 hours

    85714 hours/24 hours day = 3571 days (rounded)

    About a little less than 10 years (about 9.8 years). This is at full speed for that ship. Not sure how fast that ship could go, but it is over 3 times as fast as Voyager. Has technology improved that much? }}

    It's established fairly well in various episodes of Trek that ships can't sustain the highest warp speeds indefinitely. The maximum distance you can travel in 1 year is less than 365x the maximum distance you can travel in one day.

    I liked this episode overall. I do wonder about some of the dialogue though. Admiral Paris referred to the Ferengi as Ferengay. It was so odd that i had to go back and listen to it again just to be sure. The exact line was " I think that some of your Ferengi friends found a way to profit from Lieutenant Barclay's work. " The pronunciation made them sound like a homosexual species. I wonder why they didn't do a retake.

    Pretty good....a bit better than Jammer gives it credit for. Holographic Barclay does a great Janeway impression...and a decent Tuvok as well in a fun scene in the mess hall.

    The basic plot was also interesting, and on a second viewing I could tell that it all basically made sense. Although, it was difficult for me to get past the idea that these wretched Ferengi were so greedy as to see nothing wrong with the deaths of an entire crew.

    Behind the comedy, I detected shades of JMW Turner's painting The Slave Ship (1840) and its tragic backstory.*

    *Full title: "Slavers Throwing overboard the Dead and Dying—Typhon coming on."

    Paris and Torres's humiliating poor downcast Harry at the end of the episode was really off-key for me, too. Paris acts more like a high-school jock showing off in front of his girlfriend rather than a supposed close comrade. High point was Deanna in that swimsuit. Dayum, girl!

    A bit dull for me but some fun bits.

    Barclay running in yelling "the Borg" (staged to appear as an answer to the question to the kids) was a bit of a chuckle, as was his "20 meters! Kind of close don't you think?!" even though the latter seemed out of character and maybe out of genre.

    (It is odd that his CO didn't think 20 meters was close. That's EXTREMELY close in astronomical terms, or hell, in real world terms now in a great many contexts.)

    At least Deanna mostly sounds like Deanna again, unlike her very British sound in Pathfinder (Sirtis' true accent).

    Ferengi, looking at image of Seven: "Look at her... hands!"

    Yeah, everyone's looking at her hands.

    More importantly:
    The Ferengi, of all people, can bring a vessel to the Alpha Quadrant by way of a geodesic fold, but Starfleet can't?

    The main thing that spoiled this episode for me was how many of the Voyager crew were acting out of character. After starting out sensibly suspicious, Janeway falls for Reg's technobabble and is all in. The Ferengi are back to the TNG cartoon version, after being treated with respect for 7 years on DS9. The EMH, who a couple of episodes ago was raising the roof about inadequate medical care, passively accepts Reg's non-explanation about the inoculations being ineffective. And at the end, when Paris plays his mean trick on Kim, I didn't believe Torres would so easily go along with it and simply objectify Kim the way she does ("You were right about him.") Paris has been an adolescent jerk for a long time, but I've never seen Torres take any pleasure in it.

    A number of other characterizations are too stereotyped. Barclay's boss is still dismissing pretty much everything B. suggests, making him seem stupid. Troi's awful, "How did you FEEL about that?" recalls the worst of her writing on TNG (though she had a better scene later). Paris, as mentioned, continues to show the maturity level of a preadolescent boy, and Kim continues to be a gullible idiot. This is especially unbelievable because a few episodes ago, a closeup of his face clearly showed his true age (over 30).

    The best part was Barclay, especially the zinc oxide on his nose and the ridiculous sunglasses, and the fact that "Reg" the hologram felt creepily wrong from the beginning. Then, his tour de force pretending to be his own hologram - and succeeding despite his anxiety - was cheer-worthy. Dwight Schultz is a very capable actor.

    The plot's biggest fault was that it was never clear why Barclay sent a hologram of himself in the first place. What was it supposed to do? Other than that, I thought it held together well until the end. The fact that Kim beamed Reg and Seven off the pod wasn't handled well, IMHO - I completely missed it. The ending seemed abrupt anyway, more interested in Paris's mean joke than in pointing out that Janeway et al. still didn't realize what had really been going on. Also, if Troi doesn't want her patients to stalk her, she should stop inviting them to dinner.

    A good plot in general, well acted by the main character, and I enjoyed the impersonation scene, but inconsistent in its quality.

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