128 – Realm of Fear

Grade: B-

Realm Of Fear (1992) on IMDb


The Enterprise has finally found the USS Yosemite. Now they need to rescue the survivors, if there are any. Lt Barclay has also been assigned to transport over to the other ship, despite his fears of the transporter.


These episodes with Lt. Reginald Barclay are usually among my favorites. Dwight Schultz really is a great actor – I’m actually pretty surprised that he hasn’t won more awards for his work. In this episode, he plays the part perfectly – I can’t think of anyone else who could have done this as well as he did.

The character development and the acting are by far the two best parts of this episode. Combine that with the with the fact that it’s a pretty entertaining show, and you’d think we’d have a winner here. Unfortunately, the storyline is rather mediocre and the climax is an enormous let-down. Just when Barclay is going to be attacked by these weird parasites inside the transporter, he grabs one of them and figures out the entire mystery in about 1 second. The payoff is lousy, but the last scene is pretty funny. Again, Schultz makes something out of nothing here.

Another scene I liked was when O’Brien talked to Barclay about how he got over his fear of spiders. Of all the characters in the entire series, I think O’Brien has the best stories. All of the writers have done a fantastic job with his character and how he tells others about his past experiences. Like when he mentioned creating ships in bottles, for example. The scene here with Barclay was just as good.

One major complaint with this episode is all the technical mumbo-jumbo that gets spouted off. This seems to be the beginning when Star Trek became way too technical. In some ways, I like it that these concepts have a basis in scientific fact, but that doesn’t mean I want to read an encyclopedia – or listen to someone reading it.

Finally, this isn’t one of the more memorable episodes of this series. I bet in a few months, I won’t even remember more than just a few highlights about this episode’s plot.

Of Note

This is the first time they’ve mentioned the Heisenberg Compensators, which are used in the ship’s transporters. Actually, this episode is really the only place we find out about transporters and how they operate. And it’s also the first (and possibly only) time we see a transport from the perspective of the person being transported. I got a kick out of it when LaForge said, “transporting really is the safest way to travel.”