12 – The Big Goodbye

Grade: C

The Big Goodbye (1988) on IMDb


The Enterprise is on its way to meet with an insectoid-type race. Their language is very difficult for humans to learn, and they are very offended when they hear people who can’t speak it. Picard has been working very hard to learn the language, and Troi suggests he should relax on the holodeck. He sets up a gangster story, and of course, everything goes wrong, since this is a holodeck episode.


This episode isn’t great, but it’s certainly better than the last one. The acting is still mediocre – take a look at how Patrick Stewart and Whoopi Goldberg struggle to say their lines in the first part of the episode. It’s almost painful to hear Stewart try to sound like a gangster. The storyline isn’t much to write home about, but at least we have a decent introduction to the holodeck. Several episodes later will build on this one, and in fact, Picard uses the Dixon Hill character again in the First Contact film.

It’s odd that they meet this insectoid race and then we never hear from them again in the rest of the series. At least I never remember hearing about them again. Maybe this was the inspiration for the insectoid Xindi race in Enterprise – who knows. But the crazy thing is that this is potentially a very interesting alien, but we spend the entire episode messing around in some meaningless detective story on the holodeck.

One last thing about this episode – don’t they have universal translators? Well, that would have ruined the opportunity to hear Patrick Stewart make up jibberish in the last scene. Brent Spiner salvages the episode a bit with his impersonation of a 1930s – style mobster.

Of Note

I thought it was pretty weird that Picard agreed to waste time on the holodeck so quickly. It seemed out of character for him. Also, having watched many of the episodes in this series several times, it seems very odd to see Picard so thrilled by the holodeck.

Is it just me, or does it seem that every time they’re on the holodeck, the thing always has a problem?