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Star Trek TNG - Season 1 - Episode 12

Star Trek TNG - 1x12 - The Big Goodbye

Originally Aired: 1988-1-11

Picard and crew are trapped on the holodeck. [DVD]

My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 5.11

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Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 25 11 5 8 15 17 25 27 20 14 8

Filler Quotient: 2, filler, but an enjoyable episode nevertheless. You can skip this one, but you'd miss out on some fun.
- While this is the first episode to feature the Dixon Hill holodeck program, watching it is not necessary to understand the context of the program's reuse when it recurs in later episodes.


- This episode won an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Costume Design for a Series" and was nominated for an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Cinematography for a Series."
- This episode won the 1987 George Foster Peabody Award for excellence in television broadcasting. It was the first hour-long production to win a Peabody Award in that category.

Remarkable Scenes
- Picard doesn't know what Halloween is.
- Picard's fascination with holodeck detail, such as the cars and his excited ranting about the experience afterward to his senior staff when they're supposed to be having a briefing about their diplomatic mission.
- Everyone reacting to the holodeck so carelessly until they realize things are messed up.
- Beverly swallowing gum.
- Picard with a cigarette.
- Data with a lamp not realizing he unplugged it. When it gets plugged back in for him, the look on his face suggests oblivious self-satisfaction and a belief that he fixed it himself. Hah.
- Picard's last minute performance in insectoid language is fantastic.

My Review
Encounter at Farpoint teased us with the promise of a real holodeck adventure someday and we finally get one here. In many ways this episode feels like a mostly successful rehash of TOS: A Piece of the Action, but the holodeck definitely puts a different spin on it. It was certainly intriguing that the characters in the holonovel were capable of becoming aware of their status as fictional characters, or at least their status as existing in a world that is layered atop another world.

But while that stuff was definitely solid, the episode missed a huge opportunity with the alien subplot. The alien of the week was a pretty unique concept and it's a real shame we didn't get to spend more time with them, or even see them. An insectoid alien (finally an alien that doesn't look like humans!) that has a unique language the universal translator can't deal with? Or perhaps the aliens insist that the universal translator be shut off as a weird gesture of respect? That sounds like a great story by itself, but it was totally an afterthought here.

That said, the enthusiasm the characters had for the fun romp they were having was infectious. As such this episode is pretty good fun to watch.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-05-30 at 2:41am:
    - The crew works the whole time trying to get the doors open to the holodeck. Does it have some kind of shield or force field? Why can't Picard and the others just be beamed out of the holodeck?
    - Matter created on the holodeck cannot exist outside the holodeck. However, during Picard's first visit, he is kissed by a woman. When he leaves the holodeck and goes to the bridge crew briefing, the lipstick remains. Shouldn't it have evaporated?
  • From Bernard on 2008-09-01 at 4:37pm:
    The very first 'holodeck episode'! Certainly a landmark, but is this what we want to be watching? Star Trek OS used to just do parallel earth episodes to tell this kind of story.

    I would rather have seen one of the other characters being the subject of this episode as Patrick Stewart seems to have had the monopoly on most episodes upto this point.

    Where this one really falls down is the virtually non-existant B plot, so the A plot has to hold our attention...
  • From Jeff Browning on 2011-09-19 at 1:33pm:
    Another problem. Picard is kissed by a woman in the holodeck and has lipstick on his face after leaving the holodeck. Not possible.
  • From Kethinov on 2011-09-20 at 3:18am:
    Not necessarily, Jeff. It's possible the lipstick was real, replicated matter. There has always been speculation for some time that the holodeck combines both photons and forcefields with actual matter produced via replicator technology to enhance the realism. This hypothesis goes a long way toward explaining any number of similar continuity errors across a number of other episodes as well.
  • From g@g on 2012-02-07 at 7:02am:
    I have to comment on the humour in this episode, which was top notch. Data was maybe a little over the top (although his scene at the very end, esp. Picard's reactions was amusing), but Beverly was pretty much hysterical. As soon as she put on "period dress," everything she did and said had perfect comedic timing.

    A small criticism is that perhaps this entire episode, main plot included, was just a little too funny, a little too light-hearted. Comic relief is good, but it would've been nicely contrasted against something more serious. As it was, with the mysterious "insect species" that never made it on screen, talked with a strange pseudo-Japanese accent about pseudo-Japanese honor and greeting rituals in its funny native tongue... well, it was all a little too much like a parody of itself.

    But I enjoyed it nevertheless.
  • From Bronn on 2012-12-19 at 7:16pm:
    Anyone else thing it's weird that this won a Peabody Award for 1987 when it didn't air until 1988? I mean, that's not a typo, and I can understand why things like this sometimes happen, but it sure is awkward.
  • From Dstyle on 2013-08-06 at 1:11pm:
    So if there's a small army of engineers sitting outside the holodeck, desperately trying to get it open and get Picard out, where are they when the doors open and the holograms walk out? And why doesn't Picard hurry out of there to get to the bridge once the doors open?

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