Diagnosing anomalies in the recreative Sherlock Holmes hologram game programs, Lieutenant Reginald 'Reg' Barclay III discovers protected memory contains the arch-villain character professor... See full summary »

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Diagnosing anomalies in the recreative Sherlock Holmes hologram game programs, Lieutenant Reginald 'Reg' Barclay III discovers protected memory contains the arch-villain character professor James Moriarty, who has become self-conscious and demands fulfillment of a recent promise by the crew that they would think up a way for him to leave the holodeck . To Picard's astonishment, Moriarty proves empirically his will suffices to leave the Holodeck, he even retains a physical body. Picard grants him the benefit of the doubt despite his crimes in fiction, but refuses to grant life to the countess Barthalomew, who was created as his ideal but holographic mate. Moriarty manages to seize control of the Enterprise to force the crew to obey anyhow at pain of total destruction. That still leaves the technological challenge, but Data's logical deduction comes up with an entirely different viewpoint, inspiring another challenge and approach... Written by KGF Vissers

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24th century | See All (1) »


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23 January 1993 (USA)  »

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Trivia

This takes place around 1890 and in 2369. See more »

Goofs

In the first scene, when La Forge tells the computer to "freeze program", the fire in the hearth keeps burning and flickering. See more »

Quotes

Moriarty: [on the Countess] The program fashioned her for me to love. But I must admit, I would have done so anyway. She is remarkable. My life has not been the same since I met her. I don't simply love her, Captain. I adore her.
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Star Trek: The Next Generation End Credits
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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A Mind-Bending Episode, Not the Best But Still Amazing
6 July 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Barclay inadvertently unlocks Sherlock Holmes' arch nemesis, Professor Moriarity, from the holodeck. He seeks an audience with Capt. Picard to discuss his self-awareness situation. His demands to be able to leave the Holodeck are not taken seriously enough and takes control of the starship. If the professor and his love, the Countess Barthalomew, are not allowed to leave the ship on their own, he will destroy the Enterprise and its crew.

This episode doesn't stand out as one of the most memorable in the series, but it's still a fine episode in its own right. And why shouldn't it be, featuring Dwight Schultz as Barclay, easily my favorite recurring secondary character. And Moriarty is a respectable character. (The Countess Barthalomew, unfortunately, comes off as being very poorly written. She is very dense, comparing outer space to Africa and talking about the joy of wearing trousers. I can't imagine an educated woman would be this daft.)

Philosophy professors could sit back and play "Next Generation" episodes for semester after semester with a little commentary to fill in the history. This episode is very scientific (including discussion of "uncoupling the Heisenberg compensators" on the transporter, whatever the heck that means). Underneath all that, it's simply a fleshing out of Descartes' "Cogito Ergo Sum" doubting method. (Moriarty actually quotes Descartes in the episode.)

Descartes asked, how can we know what is around us is real and not simply in our mind? Future philosophers modified this to the "brain in a vat" hypothesis -- given constant stimuli, would a brain know it wasn't in a body if the input told it that it was? Here we have Enterprise crew who may be on the Enterprise or may simply be in the holodeck. How can they tell if what they see is real or is simply fed to their senses? Just as philosophers determined that we likely cannot tell, so, too, does the crew find that reality and simulated reality are virtually the same.

I watched this episode at around three in the morning after drinking some whiskey. It really made my brain work extra hard, which is something that isn't safe if you're not used to exercising it. But that's what really sells this episode -- the deeper message under the basic plot. But when you walk away from your television, you might ask yourself if your life is real, or is it merely a very long dream created by Gene Roddenberry?


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