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The Big Goodbye (episode)

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
"The Big Goodbye"
TNG, Episode 1x12
Production number: 40271-113
First aired: 11 January 1988
12th of 176 produced in TNG
11th of 176 released in TNG
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 176 released in TNG Remastered  
116th of 728 released in all
Picard and Data (2364)
Written By
Tracy Tormé

Directed By
Joseph L. Scanlan
41997.7 (2364)
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Captain Picard and some of the Enterprise crew get stuck on the holodeck on their way to an important diplomatic mission.

Summary

Teaser

321 dixon hill private investigator
The office of Dixon Hill

The USS Enterprise-D is en route to a meeting with the Jarada on a diplomatic mission. Captain Picard has been appointed by Starfleet to attempt to establish a relationship with them; however, the captain must recite their greeting to them, in their native tongue, without any errors, or otherwise the meeting will fail. The captain and Deanna Troi have been practicing the speech in his ready room for hours. Troi says that the captain should take a break and suggests trying the new holodeck upgrades. Picard's face brightens when he remembers that he's been looking forward to trying out the new Dixon Hill holodeck program. After entering the holodeck, Picard is impressed by the upgrades. He is met by a lady, Mrs. Jessica Bradley, in Dixon Hill's office, who claims someone is trying to kill her – Picard has been hired.

Act One

As Bradley leaves Dixon's office, Picard turns to the window, and notices automobiles outside, a sight which seems to fascinate him. Just as he is leaving the holodeck, a Mr. Leech knocks on the door, and opens it, to find, to his surprise, that the captain has "vanished". Picard calls a meeting in the observation lounge with all the senior staff to discuss the holodeck upgrades. He invites Dr. Crusher to accompany him next time, along with Mr. Whalen (a 20th century historian). The conversation quickly turns back to the Jaradan mission, where Commander Data implies how important the correctness of the greeting will be for Starfleet, much to the captain's annoyance. Data and Geordi La Forge discuss Dixon Hill after the meeting, and compare him to Sherlock Holmes. This intrigues Data, and he decides to look up Dixon Hill. He then decides he should accompany the captain and Whalen on their holodeck excursion.

Act Two

The Big Goodbye holodeck
On a San Francisco street

They all enter the holodeck, kitted out in full '40s-style clothing, arriving in the middle of a busy San Francisco street. Data almost immediately attracts attention by not being "from around here", and Picard claims that Data is from South America, to which a near-by newspaper seller responds "Yeah, he's got a nice tan!". Reading a newspaper, Picard notes that Jessica Bradley has been murdered, and he feels sorry that he couldn't do anything to stop it, despite Whalen's remark that she's only a character from a story. Two police officers arrive, and accuse Picard of Jessica's murder.

Back on the bridge, the Jarada send out a long-range probe, and commence scanning the Enterprise, disrupting the ship's systems momentarily, including causing the holodeck's doors to open and close repeatedly. The Jarada then attempt to communicate with the Enterprise, more specifically with the captain, but they are offended to hear that only Commander Riker is available to speak to them. He tells La Forge to go find the captain on the holodeck.

Crusher and Picard on the holodeck
"You wear it well."

Dr. Crusher enters the holodeck, with some difficulty, but thinks nothing of it. She meets up with Whalen and Data in the lobby of a police station. Data confuses her with his newly-learned '40s accent. Dr. Crusher seems excited by the idea of her shipmates being "on ice" and wants to know why they're not all being interrogated. In a back room of the station, Picard is being grilled by the two officers, and loving every minute of it. Outside the holodeck, La Forge has discovered a problem with the holodeck controls, and cannot locate the captain or the rest of the team inside.

Act Three

Wesley Crusher and Commander Riker leave the bridge and join La Forge outside the holodeck to try to solve the problem. Meanwhile inside the holodeck, Picard realizes he's got to be getting back to the bridge soon for the greeting of the Jarada. He manages to worm his way out of the interrogation, and leaves the room. Back in the station foyer, Dr. Crusher is getting some unwanted attention from a desk sergeant. She's distracted from him by Picard's return, and they both look at each other for a lingering moment. At her request, they all head back to Dixon Hill's office. However, Leech is waiting for them when they arrive, and he pulls a gun on them.

Whalen shot
"But... they're not real!"

Back on the other side of the holodeck doors, Wesley and La Forge are searching for the problem. Wesley proposes the problem started with the Jaradan probe, which may prove difficult to fix. There has been no further communication from Torona IV. Back in the holodeck again, Leech continues to detain the crew members, and demands to know what Picard has done with a certain "object" Dixon Hill was hired to find. Whalen acts tough in front of Leech, and Leech fires a shot at him. Whalen falls backwards, and initially everyone thinks he's just acting. But everyone is shocked as Whalen is genuinely bleeding and turning pale; the holodeck safety protocols that prevent injuries must have been deactivated by the Jarada scan. Dr. Crusher rushes forward, and announces that if Whalen isn't taken to the sickbay immediately, he will die.

Act Four

Picard rushes at Leech, knocks the gun out of his hand and punches him, before he lets him run out of the office. The captain then tries to call for the holodeck exit, with no response. Data goes to try another exit point, but to no avail: the computer is not responding to their commands. On the bridge, the Enterprise has arrived at Torona IV already, without resolving the holodeck problems. Riker announces to the repair team that they're running out of time before the greeting will be expected to be given to the Jarada.

Cyrus Redblock
Cyrus Redblock

Back in the holodeck, Dr. Crusher is struggling to keep Whalen alive while Picard and Data search in vain for a solution from their side. At that moment, Leech returns with a thug and a large man announcing himself as Cyrus Redblock. Redblock proceeds to look around Dixon's office, searching for "the object". He tries to get Whalen removed from the room, but Picard objects. Leech strikes Picard on the face with his gun, cutting his mouth.

Officer McNary walks into the office at that moment, and is surprised to find Cyrus Redblock and his cronies there, too. He's quickly disarmed by the thug. Redblock then notices Data, and asks where he comes from. Picard decides to reveal where they all came from, but Leech is unconvinced. Data then exacerbates the situation by revealing that none of the others' characters are actually real, a comment that seems to enrage Leech. Redblock wants to test Picard's theory by shooting one of them. He instructs Leech to shoot Dr. Crusher.

Act Five

Just before Leech pulls the trigger, Picard says that he has the item. Redblock is intrigued, and calls off Leech. Picard then tries to bargain with Redblock to try to save Whalen. Back on the bridge, Commander Riker attempts to contact the Jarada, only to receive an earful of angry insectoid-buzzing sounds in return. Hoping for better luck with the holodeck controls, he contacts La Forge and Wesley. Wesley comments that the problem can be fixed, but if it is not done properly, the holoprogram could abort and everyone inside the holodeck could vanish. Riker gives the order to proceed with the repair.

Inside the holodeck, the Enterprise crew members are trying to explain their situation to Redblock and his team, however there are problems with the vocabulary. Leech is getting ever more edgy, and demands that he should be allowed to kill Data. At that moment, the holodeck scenery changes to a windy, snowy alien environment, much to the astonishment of the holodeck characters. Just as suddenly, the group are returned to the office, still shell-shocked by the sudden change. The holodeck exit appears and opens, revealing the Enterprise corridor. Picard remarks to Redblock and Leech that that is the way into their world.

Leech and Redblock dissipate
"Don't they know who I am? I'm Cyrus Redblock!"

Redblock and Leech decide to attempt to leave the holodeck, and dematerialize just outside the doors. Data picks up Whalen and takes him to sickbay, accompanied by Dr. Crusher. Lt. McNary, who has befriended Picard throughout the episode, realizes the possibility that his own reality is in doubt. He asks Picard, "When you've gone, will this world continue to exist? Will my wife and kids still be waiting for me at home?" Picard responds with the only honest answer he can find "I don't know...". Picard then rushes to the bridge, where he recites the greeting perfectly, much to the relief of everyone on board.

Log entries

Memorable quotes

"I lost a bet."

- Picard, explaining his Starfleet uniform to a bemused holodeck character


"You'll have to call again, I was just leaving. I'm uhh... not dressed properly."

- Picard, in response to a knock at Dixon's office door


"Hiya Doc. What's cookin'?"
"Y'know, I had some trouble getting through. Where's Captain Picard?"
"He's on ice."
"Pardon?"
"He's being grilled."
"What is he, a fish?"

- Data and Dr. Crusher


"Often a prime ingredient in teenage mating rituals."
"Teenage mating rituals?"

- Data and Wesley Crusher, discussing automobiles


"I can't communicate with them, I can't access the program and I can't open the doors."

- La Forge


"You better not leave town!"
"If I leave town, the town leaves with me."

- Lt. Dan Bell and Picard


"I am NOT Dixon Hill! I just look like Dixon Hill!"
"He speaks the truth, sir. From your point of view, he is only a facsimile, a knock-off, a cheap imitation..."
"...thank you, Data!"

- Picard and Data


"If you are going to go through yourself, sir that is not possible."
"One look at you, sir is proof that anything is possible."

- Data and Cyrus Redblock


"Helm, take us out of orbit. And Mr. La Forge?"
"Yes sir?"
(with gangster accent) "Step on it."

- Picard and La Forge

Background Information

Story and production

Continuity

Reception

  • "The Big Goodbye" received several awards:
  • TV Guide, however, criticized the episode as being too derivative of TOS: "A Piece of the Action", which concerned a planetary culture based on 1930s gangland Chicago. Tormé dismissed such criticisms as being based merely on the appearance of "three-piece suits". (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
  • Producer Maurice Hurley described the episode as being like a "breath of fresh air". He explained, "It was just fun to do. It's got humor and life to it. The thing is that Star Trek can't brood. If it broods, it gets self important and self-indulgent and preachy, like it has a tendency to do if it's not careful. But if it has some life to it, some humor, then it just jumps up and flies. It's different, but absolutely locked in the Star Trek format. Everything in there worked." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
  • In a 2007 online review Wil Wheaton gave this episode an "A". He remarked, "We'd done 12 episodes before this, which is half a season, and this one was our favorite to shoot at the time. There isn't an actor in the world who doesn't love playing a period piece, and I think our real joy in filming 'The Big Goodbye' cascaded into our performances. As actors, we're clearly enjoying ourselves, so our characters feel relaxed and unselfconscious (Except for me, of course, but I was supposed to be nervous and self-conscious in this one.) It's a subtle change from some of the earlier episodes, but this is one of the very first times where the audience could really feel the actors – and therefore their characters – coming together and settling in." [6]
  • A mission report for this episode by Will Murray was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 4, pp. 57-62.

Production history

Video and DVD releases

Links and references

Starring

Also starring

Guest stars

Co-starring

Featuring

Uncredited co-stars

Stand-ins and photo doubles

References

1924; 1931; 1934; 1936; 1941; 1944; 1946; 2026; 2344; automobile; baseball; bi-converter interface; Big Good-Bye, The; Bokai, Buck; Bradley, Arthur Clinton; British; California; Camden City; chewing gum; Cleveland; Cleveland Indians; c-note; computer; DiMaggio, Joe; Dorsey, Tommy; Earth; Esky; Fairmont Hotel; fish; French language; gangster; ghost; Halloween; Hill, Dixon; Hitler, Adolf; Holmes, Sherlock; Holodeck 3; Holodeck safety protocol; Jarada; Jaradan language; Jaradan probe; Jaradan sector; London Kings; Lord Halifax; McNary, Sharon; money; murder; Murray, Philip; Newton, Isaac; New York; NRA; "Out of Nowhere"; Roosevelt, Franklin D.; San Francisco; scotch; smoking; South America; Torona IV; Tormé, Tracy; United States dollar

Library Computer references

External links


Previous episode:
"Haven"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 1
Next episode:
"Datalore"
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