***** (5 stars out of 5)
Back on Earth, with the war won, a lot of time was spent replicating new lawns over the Breen Burns around Starfleet Headquarters. But no one spent enough time wondering where Voyager got to...
Except a familiar face, a certain staunch Voyager booster who's so lonely without the Enterprise he'll look almost ANYWHERE for new friends. Reg Barclay, who once shook hands with Zefram Cochrane himself, has taken a job with the Pathfinder Communications Project. First testing interpersonal skills on holograms, now reaching out and touching the galaxy. Is there a guy out there LESS suited to do these things?
Anyway, Counselor Troi flies in via stunt cast... uh, shuttlecraft to help Barclay over this latest bout of holo-addiction: he's taken to hanging out in a Voyager sim rather than even try to make friends with his new boss Pete or his co-workers.
Will anyone take our stuttering superhero seriously? Find out tonight: Same Barclay Time! Same Barclay Channel!
From the pens of future ER scribe David Zabel and Trek's veteran Ken Biller, "Pathfinder" is a story I always take deeply to heart. It must be painfully obvious that Barclay is pretty much meant to be the target audience. Missing the Next Generation crew badly, not exactly the most skilled socially, and, lately, one bad date from being a shut-in cat lady. Please consider this review on Barclay's loneliness from the excellent Jammer's Blog.
We love Reg, we want him to succeed, and he does. That's how it's done! (And, yes, his initial attempts to contact the ship were aiming 30,000 light-years too far back: that's just a measure of how imaginative Barclay really IS! When he didn't reach anyone with the first three LIKELY calls, he went for the hugely, optimistically, impossibly UNLIKELY- and got through.)