Realm of Fear

"Realm of Fear" is the 128th episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation. It is the second episode of the sixth season.

"Realm of Fear"
Star Trek: The Next Generation episode
Episode no.Season 6
Episode 2
Directed byCliff Bole
Written byBrannon Braga
Featured musicJay Chattaway
Production code228
Original air dateSeptember 28, 1992 (1992-09-28)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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Star Trek: The Next Generation (season 6)
List of Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes

Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the Starfleet crew of the Federation starship Enterprise-D. In this episode, Lieutenant Reginald Barclay is having a paralyzing fear of the transporter and is convinced he's being attacked by a creature inside the beam.

The episode was written by Brannon Braga and directed by Cliff Bole, and was broadcast on September 28, 1992.[1] This episode focuses on a science fiction plot about Barclay, played by actor Dwight Schultz.[2] The overall mission involves the Enterprise 1701-D (Galaxy-class) encountering the starship USS Yosemite, which is trapped and missing her crew complement.[2] This provides a backdrop for the fears and experiences of Barclay to be explored and is noted as case of exploring a new facet of the character which was previously oriented towards comedy relief.[2]


The Enterprise comes to the assistance of the USS Yosemite, a science vessel where several crewmen have gone missing after a transporter accident. The Enterprise is unable to transport directly to the ship due to interference, but Lt. Reginald Barclay suggests linking the transporter systems of both ships, allowing them to transport one-by-one to the Yosemite albeit after a lengthy dematerialization/materialization process. Barclay, assigned as part of the team, hesitates on his turn and instead walks away.

Barclay discusses the matter with Counselor Deanna Troi, who teaches him Betazoid meditation techniques to help calm himself. Transporter Chief Miles O'Brien also provides Barclay with some advice on dealing with his fears, speaking how he overcame his fear of spiders, before attempting to transport him over again. Barclay is safely transported to the Yosemite and continues to help the other engineering crew investigate the disappearance. On his return trip, Barclay believes he sees wormlike-creatures in the matter stream that attempt to approach him and touch his arm, but he materializes on the Enterprise without harm. He decides that he is suffering from transporter psychosis, a rare affliction. His paranoia forces Troi to declare him unfit for duty. Barclay asks O'Brien to review the transporter logs, and O'Brien agrees there was a strange surge during Barclay's transport. Barclay asks O'Brien to transport him again, recreating the surge, and Barclay again sees the creatures in the matter stream.

Barclay calls a meeting with the senior staff and explains his observations. Captain Picard orders a thorough review of the transport systems and those that have used it recently. Barclay's arm is found to be out-of-phase, and further examination reveals microbes that were not detected by the biofilter. To remove the microbes, Barclay is put through the transport again, holding him in the matter stream for a longer duration to allow the biofilters to work. While in the stream, Barclay sees one of the creatures approach him, and at the last moment, he reaches out to grab it to his body. When he materializes, one of the missing Yosemite crew safely materializes alongside him. Barclay quickly explains that the other crew members are the remaining worm creatures in the matter stream based on their equivalent numbers, and soon they rescue the remaining crew. The Enterprise crew determine that an explosion near the Yosemite during the transport caused the people to become trapped. Later, Barclay and O'Brien meet at Ten-Forward to discuss the nature of fear, upon which O'Brien shows Barclay his pet spider Christina to share with a visibly frightened Barclay.


This episode focused on exploring the fictional transporter technology of Star Trek, and technological phobias[3] similar to original series character Doctor McCoy who also tried to avoid using it when possible.[3] Transporter accident episodes are a reoccurring plot device across the Star Trek universe.[3][4]


The episode was released as part of the Star Trek: The Next Generation season six DVD box set in the United States on December 3, 2002.[5] A remastered HD version was released on Blu-ray optical disc, on June 24, 2014. The most recent release was the first on Blu-ray disc, which took place on June 24, 2014.[6][7]


  1. ^ DeCandido, Keith R. A. (2012-09-18). "Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: "Realm of Fear"". Retrieved 2019-08-08.
  2. ^ a b c Clark, Mark (2013-06-01). Star Trek FAQ 2.0 (Unofficial and Unauthorized): Everything Left to Know About the Next Generation, the Movies and Beyond. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781480355019.
  3. ^ a b c Barrett, Duncan; Barrett, Michèle (2016-08-05). Star Trek: The Human Frontier. Routledge. ISBN 9781315516486.
  4. ^ Siegel, Ethan (2017-10-17). Treknology: The Science of Star Trek from Tricorders to Warp Drive. Voyageur Press. ISBN 9780760361757.
  5. ^ Ordway, Holly E. (December 6, 2002). "Star Trek the Next Generation – Season 4". DVD Talk. Retrieved February 28, 2015.
  6. ^ Marnell, Blair (June 20, 2014). "Exclusive Video: Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 6 Gag Reel". Crave Online. Retrieved February 28, 2015.
  7. ^ Lipp, Chaz (February 28, 2015). "Blu-ray Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season Six". The Morton Report. Retrieved February 28, 2015.

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