130 – Pathfinder

Grade: A-

Pathfinder (1999) on IMDb


Back on Earth, Lt. Reginald Barclay has become obsessed with Voyager and helping them come home. He has been assigned to the Pathfinder Project, and he has come up with a plan to communicate with the ship. However, his unsupportive C.O. wants to prevent him from taking his idea to Admiral Paris.


There really aren’t very many Voyager episodes that I can watch over and over again, but Pathfinder is one of these. I’ve always enjoyed Dwight Schultz as Reginald Barclay. He’s really the character just about everyone can relate to. Certainly he’s smart, but he has such a hard time expressing himself – he’s too nervous all the time.

In this episode, he is the only one who believes there’s a way to communicate with Voyager. He gets zero support from his boss, who in fact wants him to stay away from the office. It’s awesome at the end of the episode when his idea actually works. And the ending with Admiral Paris finally able to get through to his son Tom is really touching. If you don’t feel anything when Admiral Paris tells Tom that he’s proud of him, then you need to ask the Wizard of Oz to give you a heart.

One thing I found very ironic, however, is that this is more like a TNG episode than a Voyager episode. All but just a few minutes of this take place on Earth and not on the ship. It’s a great episode, really, but in many ways, it isn’t a Voyager episode.

Of Note

The photo on Adm. Paris’ desk is actually of the character of Nick Locarno, from the TNG episode “First Duty.” What’s interesting is that the character of Nick Locarno has often been cited as the original inspiration for Tom Paris. Presumably, Voyager’s producers decided to go with a different character than Locarno for the series because they did not want to pay the royalties to the original writer of “First Duty.”