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Realm of Fear (episode)

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"Realm of Fear"
TNG, Episode 6x02
Production number: 40276-228
First aired: 28 September 1992
127th of 176 produced in TNG
127th of 176 released in TNG
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 176 released in TNG Remastered  
235th of 728 released in all
Transporter matter beam
Written By
Brannon Braga

Directed By
Cliff Bole
46041.1 (2369)
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Lieutenant Barclay faces his fear of transporting, but now he thinks that he's being attacked by a creature inside the transporter beam.

SummaryEdit

"Captain's Log, Stardate 46041.1. We have located the USS Yosemite, a Starfleet science vessel sent to the Igo sector to observe a remote plasma streamer. The ship has not been heard from in several days."

The USS Enterprise-D responds to the stricken vessel USS Yosemite. The crew of the Yosemite seems to have disappeared. As the landing party prepares to beam over, Transporter Chief O'Brien informs them that due to disturbances in the plasma field, they may be experiencing problems during transportation. When Lieutenant Barclay hears this, he becomes very nervous and refuses to transport over, rushing out of the transporter room.

Barclay, who is experiencing some form of transporter phobia, speaks to Counselor Troi about his troubles and she introduces him to a relaxation technique known as plexing. However, completely unconvinced and still tapping himself on the neck as he walks out the door he returns to the transporter room, preparing himself for the ride. He's comforted a little by O'Brien, who tells him about his fear of spiders, which he conquered by crawling past twenty Talarian hook spiders.

After collecting fragments, Commanders La Forge, Data and Lieutenant Barclay beam back to the Enterprise. During transport, Barclay has an awful vision of a worm-like creature swimming in the matter stream and touching his arm. He steps out a changed man, fearful – life will never be the same again. Plagued by what he saw, he is constantly analyzing himself by drinking lots of water and even going so far as to diagnose himself with transporter psychosis. Eventually he seeks out Dr. Crusher. Smiling, Dr. Crusher tells Barclay to stay away from the Starfleet Medical Database, assuring him that he does not have transporter psychosis.

Barclay is suffering from pain, with affected areas of his body lighting up in blue flashes as if they were in the transporter. Barclay ascribes this to his transporter psychosis and keeps quiet about it. Meanwhile, in Engineering, La Forge and Data run tests on the plasma, discovering that it contains quasi-energy microbes. They attempt to recreate conditions on the Yosemite. They first take the precaution of setting up a force field around the container. Once the plasma field is beamed aboard the Enterprise it explodes, though the explosion is contained within the force field. Barclay collapses, and is taken to sickbay. Dr. Crusher discovers that some of the quasi-energy microbes from the Yosemite have gotten into Barclay's bloodstream during transport back to the Enterprise and this is what has been causing him pain, and all the other symptoms.

La Forge and O'Brien decide that the transporter could be used, once proper adjustments were made, to remove the microbes from Barclay's body. Once Barclay is inside the beam, he sees the creepy creatures again. In a spontaneous act of bravery, the lieutenant appears to catch one of the creatures in his arms and doesn't let go. When he rematerializes, we see that he has another person in his grasp, one of the Yosemite crew members. Barclay tells the others that there are three more crew members caught in the matter stream. He sends a security team led by Worf in to save the rest of the Yosemite crew from the transporter. Barclay explains to La Forge and the chief that while the crew of the USS Yosemite was trying to cleanse themselves of the quasi-energy microbes, Human patterns got trapped in the transporter which didn't allow them to escape. Worf and the away team return with the other three members of the Yosemite crew.

"Captain's Log, Stardate 46043.6. The reprogrammed biofilter was effective in removing the alien microbes from Mister Barclay and the four crewmembers. The microbes have been returned to the plasma streamer."

O'Brien meets Barclay at Ten Forward, and shows him his pet Lycosa tarantula, whom he adopted after getting over his arachnophobia. He gets up to grab some drinks, while the tarantula crawls up Barclay's arm, who is nervously waiting for O'Brien to return...

Memorable QuotesEdit

"I'm sorry, I just can't do this!"

- Barclay refuses to use the transporter to beam over to the Yosemite


"I know, it sounds crazy, but..."
"It's not crazy at all. You are being taken apart molecule by molecule."

- Barclay discusses his phobia of the transporter with Troi


"I'm going to beam over there. I can do it!"

- Barclay, after Troi teaches him plexing


"See, sir? That wasn't so bad, was it?"

- O'Brien, after Barclay has his first encounter with a quasi-energy microbe in the matter stream


"Reg, transporting really is the safest way to travel."

- La Forge


"Commander La Forge said you seemed a little nervous this morning."
"I'm always nervous. Everybody knows that."

- Troi and Barclay


(Gentle ocean and bird noises playing)
"Mmm... computer, more birds."
(Loud squawking)
(More frustrated) "End stress reduction program. Water."
"Specify temperature."
"I don't care! Just give me water!"

- Barclay to the computer


"Chief."
"Lieutenant. Glad you could make it. You know, I think this is the first time we've ever spoken outside of the transporter room."
"Well, to be honest, I've always avoided you."
"Why?"
"Because you run the transporters, and I hate the transporters. At least, I used to."

- Barclay and O'Brien


"Uh, Chief?"

- Barclay gets nervous when O'Brien's pet tarantula crawls on his hand

Background Edit

Curry with Realm of Fear puppet

Dan Curry with the creature puppet.

Dan Curry filming Realm of Fear

Dan Curry in a green suit puppeteering the creature.

Story and production Edit

Props and settingsEdit

Continuity Edit

  • This episode marks the first appearance of the Admiral's uniform which would be used for the rest of the series and much of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, although inexplicably Admiral Hayes is seen here without the standard combadge.
  • O'Brien's collar insignia changes from lieutenant (two pips) to chief (one black pip) in this episode. According to the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, this was done to reinforce the plot point that lieutenant J.G. Barclay outranks O'Brien. See also: Miles O'Brien - Rank Inconsistencies.
  • Barclay mentions in this episode that he "never minded spiders". Later, in "Genesis" (also written by Brannon Braga), Barclay would de-evolve into a spider-like creature.
  • This is the first and only time O'Brien's pet tarantula, Christina, is ever seen or mentioned.
  • This episode is the first to show a first-person perspective of the transport process; the only other time this was done is in "Prototype".
  • While expressing his fear of transporting, Barclay asks La Forge, "Commander, has anything strange ever happened to you during transport... anything out of the ordinary?" La Forge answered dismissively, "No, not really." However, in an episode during the previous season, La Forge himself was involved in a transporter malfunction that transported him and Ensign Ro out of phase with the rest of reality. They were reported missing, and presumed dead. They ultimately rematerialized in the midst of their own memorial service. (TNG: "The Next Phase")

Reception Edit

  • Jeri Taylor observed, "This was an episode that a lot of people just didn't respond to and I don't know why. I thought it was a wonderful idea. I thought Brannon wrote a terrific script. It just seemed so perfect, Barclay with a transporter phobia just seemed like a marvelous marriage of something people can relate to today and in the future: technology. I just thought everything worked with the exception of the visual effects. The explanation by the end really got painfully detailed. And it's that fine line you try to draw, if we don't say this, is the audience going to be fairly confused and cheated because they don't understand it? But if we do say it, are they going to be overwhelmed by the words? We went one way in "Time's Arrow II," and maybe we tried too hard to explain things in "Realm of Fear," but it's hard to strike that back." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
  • Braga recalled, "I envisioned a scarier episode where the creatures in the transporter were a little more frightening, but then again what a tall order to the effects guys, 'Make it amorphous, but terrifying.' What does that mean? It's easy to write that, but difficult to visualize. I just wanted you to feel scared with this guy and you never really did." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)

Video and DVD releasesEdit

Links and references Edit

Starring Edit

Also starring Edit

Guest stars Edit

And

Co-stars Edit

Uncredited co-stars Edit

Stand-ins Edit

ReferencesEdit

2209; autonomic system; away team; biofilter; Cardassian; cardiostimulator; carotid artery; Christina; Counselor's office; Delinia II; distortion field; DNA; Ferengi; Ferengi freighter; Heisenberg compensator; Igo sector; imaging scanner; ionic interference; Jefferies tube; kiloquad; Lycosa tarantula; medical tricorder; multi-infarct dementia; neurochemistry; Olafson; pattern buffer; phased matter; plasma streamer; plexing; quasi-energy microbe; resonance frequency scan; sample container; Starfleet Medical Database; stellar cartography; systems engineer; Talarian hook spider; Titus IV; transporter; transporter psychosis; Transporter Theory; VISOR; Yosemite, USS; Zayra IV

External linkEdit


Previous episode:
"Time's Arrow, Part II"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 6
Next episode:
"Man of the People"

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