Oct 2 2012 6:30pm

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: “True Q”

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: True Q“True Q”
Written by Rene Echevarria
Directed by Robert Scheerer
Season 6, Episode 6
Production episode 40276-232
Original air date: October 26, 1992
Stardate: 46192.3

Captain’s Log: The Enterprise has taken on an intern named Amanda Rogers, along with supplies to aid in an ecological crisis on Tagra IV. Riker escorts her to her quarters, where she comments that she misses her dogs. After Riker leaves, several (incredibly adorable) dogs appear, and Amanda panics, and manages to make them disappear.

Crusher puts Amanda to work testing medical tricorders to make sure they work before being used on Tagra. They chat about stuff. Amanda’s been accepted into Starfleet Academy, and Crusher mentions that she has a son there, which leads to Crusher talking about her late husband, and Amanda saying that her birth parents died when she was a baby, and her adoptive parents are marine biologists in Starfleet.

Later, Amanda brings some containers to the shuttle bay. Tagra IV uses baristatic reactors to clean up their polluted atmosphere, and they prevent the transporters from working right, so the relief efforts have to happen via shuttlecraft. A self-righteous conversation between Amanda and La Forge about how the Tagrans should regulate their emissions is interrupted by Amanda noticing a container about to fall on Riker’s head. She gestures, and the container moves a few meters to the left, missing Riker, but scaring the crap out of everyone.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: True Q

While La Forge gives Amanda a tour of engineering, the warp core starts to breach, and nothing Data or La Forge can do will stop it. Just as it explodes, Amanda thrusts out her hands, which seem to stop the explosion, and then the reactor returns to normal. Picard meets with Riker, Troi, Crusher, and La Forge to discuss the situation, and Q shows up, revealing that he started the core breach to test Amanda. It turns out her parents were Q who assumed human form, and conceived a child. They later died in an accident; when the offspring started to display signs of being a Q, they sent Q—as an expert in humanity (“Not a very challenging field of study, I grant you”)—first to test her, and then, if she is a Q (which she obviously is), instruct her on the use of her powers before she does harm to herself and others.

After he’s instructed her, though, he intends to take her to the Q-Continuum where she belongs. Crusher is not happy about her being yanked away from her life, and rather than listen to her argue on the subject, Q teleports himself and Picard to the latter’s ready room. While Picard agrees with Crusher that she should make the decision herself of what to do with her life, he also agrees with Q that she needs guidance in her abilities. Picard is willing to introduce Q to Amanda, and also insists that he and Q not argue in front of her, but must appear to be—Q then puts his arm around Picard and finishes the sentence, “Pals?” Picard looks rather like someone put a fly in his soup and finishes the sentence more aptly: “Civil.”

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: True Q

Q disappears, and Picard instructs Data to do some research into the Rogers family—he finds it hard to credit that members of the Q-Continuum could die in an accident.

Crusher talks with Amanda, who says she’s relieved to know that there’s a cause for these strange happenings, where she wishes for something and it appears. Amanda agrees to meet Q, and he immediately enters the room through the bulkhead and starts examining her and questioning her about what she might have done—telekinesis, teleportation, or, while slowly turning to look at Picard, “spontaneous combustion of someone you don’t like.” But she never did anything deliberate until she stopped the container from falling on Riker—which, it turns out, was also a test on Q’s part. He announces that she’s ready to go back to the continuum with him, but she angrily says she doesn’t want to go, and punctuates her point by throwing Q into the air, sending him crashing into a bulkhead.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: True Q

Q insists that that was just a test to see how strong she was, which isn’t terribly convincing, and he says that she was impetuous and will have to learn to act like a Q. Picard comments that she just did, which earns him a dirty look from Q.

Crusher gives Amanda a pep talk, encouraging her (somewhat reluctantly) to let Q guide her. But Amanda insists that it not interfere with her duties as an intern. She still wants to be treated the same.

While on the way to see Amanda, Q gives the Continuum a progress report, saying that there’s the possibility that they won’t have to terminate the girl. Q and Amanda then talk for a bit, Q telling her about the Q, and asking her what her heart’s desire is. It turns out that she wants to see her birth parents—she wants to know what they looked like. With Q’s help, she summons an image of them holding her as an infant.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: True Q

Later on, Crusher has Amanda perform an experiment, and Amanda admits that she may not be able to handle being a Q. She asks Crusher what she would do if she could have anything she ever wanted. Crusher evasively says she would want to heal people, and Amanda then asks her the expected question: would she bring Jack Crusher back? Crusher admits that she couldn’t answer that until she was faced with it. Amanda quietly says she is faced with it.

Crusher goes off, and Q shows up (“I thought she’d never leave!”) for another lesson. She insists on doing the work Crusher assigned, so Q suggests combining them by her using her powers to complete the work faster.

Tagra IV contacts the Enterprise—one of their baristatic reactors is failing and they may need to take it offline, which would be very bad for the planet. They send the specs along in the hopes that maybe La Forge can play miracle worker. Meanwhile, Data has learned that Amanda’s parents were killed in a tornado in Kansas that was missed by the weather grid, and which was very compact and unusually strong.

Riker stops by the lab and is disgusted to see Q there—Q feels likewise (“Well, if it isn’t Number Two”). Crusher then arrives, and reveals that rushing the process makes it useless. The point was to learn the rate of mitosis, which artificially rushing the process has spoiled. Crusher starts to lecture Q, prompting him to transform her into a dog; Amanda changes her back.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: True Q

To help her with teleportation, Q suggests a game of hide-and-seek - he hides in various spots on the ship, and she has to find him. Troi and Crusher then take her to dinner. Riker comes in and Amanda invites him to join them, but he already has a date. Amanda is devastated, and then teleports her and him to a gazebo - he very fetching in top hat and tails, she in a lovely white dress. He resists her advances - until she makes him love her, at which point she realizes that Riker was right that none of it was real.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: True Q

Picard confronts Q about Amanda’s parents, accusing the Q-Continuum of executing them. Q admits it was true, and also finally tells Picard the truth: either she returns to the Continuum as a Q, or she will be eliminated as a hybrid. They can’t let omnipotent beings run amuck. Picard asks if she lives or dies - and Q says he hasn’t decided yet. Picard decides to tell Amanda the truth - all of it. She’s a bit pissed, and so is Picard, who rants for quite some time on how the Q has no business being moral arbiters of anything. Q smiles and, after saying that the reason he keeps coming back to the Enterprise is to listen to Picard speechify, says that they’ve decided not to kill Amanda. She now has a choice: go to the Continuum with Q, or refrain from using her powers.

Amanda is quick to take door #2, but Q points out that her parents were given that same choice, and they failed, which is why they were executed. But she’s sure she can resist the temptation.

Because this is television, that surety is tested right away. Riker and La Forge call from the surface to reveal that the failing reactor is failing a lot more than the Tagrans let on. The reactor’s about to melt down and kill a lot of people.

Then, suddenly, the reactor normalizes. And then the pollutants disappear from Tagra IV’s atmosphere. Amanda just couldn’t let those people die, prompting Q to snidely point out that he knew she wouldn’t be able to resist. She admits that she’s been avoiding the issue and admitting that she is Q, and—after summoning Crusher to the bridge in order to thank her and say a proper good-bye to her—agrees to accompany Q back to the continuum. First, though, she needs to go to her adoptive parents and explain what’s happening. With that, they both disappear in a flash of light. We then cut to the Enterprise warping through space, which is kind of odd, since they were in orbit with an away team on the surface. Hope they remembered to pick Riker and La Forge up before they left....

Can’t We Just Reverse the Polarity?: Tagra IV’s atmosphere has been so badly polluted that people wander around with inhalers around their necks. That, and Amanda and La Forge’s wow-they’re-so-primitive conversation (which is straight out of the moralizing seen all over first-season episodes) in the shuttle bay, is all the play this dig at current trends on Earth gets.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: True Q

Thank You, Counselor Obvious: Troi only appears in a couple of scenes and gets crap-all to do, since her usual role is taken by Crusher in mentor mode.

No Sex, Please, We’re Starfleet: Amanda totally has a crush on Riker, which disgusts Q (“How can you stand all that hair all over his face?”), but when she finally makes a move on him, aided by her Q-powers, she realizes that it’s hollow unless he legitimately returns the feelings. Which he so very doesn’t. Indeed, Riker very skillfully deflects Amanda’s attentions in such a way that doesn’t hurt her feelings. It’s almost like he’s done it before....

In the Driver’s Seat: Ensign Gates, one of the regular extras, gets to fly the ship this week.

I Believe I Said That: “It’s like the laws of physics just went right out the window.”

“And why shouldn’t they? They’re so inconvenient.”

La Forge and Q, with an amusing variant on Kirk and Scotty’s conversation in “The Naked Time.”

Welcome Aboard: Olivia d’Abo plays Amanda. She’ll go on to play tons of genre roles, ranging from voices on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Justice League, The Legend of Tarzan, Green Lantern: First Flight, and more, to playing Carter’s ex-wife on Eureka and, of course, her stellar turn as Detective Goren’s nemesis Nicole Wallace on Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: True Q

After not appearing at all in the fifth season, John deLancie makes the first of two sixth-season appearances as Q (he’ll also appear in “Q-Less” on Deep Space Nine, making a record three appearances in the 1992/93 television season). We’ll see him next on TNG in “Tapestry.”

Trivial Matters: When Picard makes reference to the events of “Encounter at Farpoint,” Q says that the jury’s still out on humanity. This is in contrast to Q’s insistence to Riker in “Q Who” that humanity was exonerated, and foreshadows the re-trial that will be seen in the series finale “All Good Things...”

Although Patti Yastuake is not in the episode, Crusher does reference Nurse Ogawa when talking to Amanda.

While Amanda’s not seen again on screen, she does show up in various bits of tie-in fiction that deals with the Q, among them “’Q’uandary” by Terri Osborne in New Frontier: No Limits, your humble rewatcher’s Q & A, and most recently in Voyager: The Eternal Tide by Kirsten Beyer.

Q says that “With unlimited power comes responsibility,” a cute riff on Spider-Man’s credo that “with great power comes great responsibility,” and Amanda’s parents’ death in a Kansas tornado is a less cute riff on The Wizard of Oz.

Although it’s not referenced, Amanda has the exact same inability to resist the temptation to use her Q-based powers that Riker had in “Hide and Q.”

Make it So: “I find it hard to believe that you’re here to do us a favor.” Neither the best Q episode nor the worst, this is an entertaining offering. It’s the only Q story written by Echevarria, and one thing he returns is sense of menace to Q that was diluted by Q’s being defrocked in “Déjà Q” and the fluff of “Qpid.” Q is just stringing the crew along when he pretends to acknowledge that Amanda has a choice, or indeed that he really gives a rat’s ass about any of them. His dismissive smile during Picard’s speech about morality is particularly telling, as is the complete lack of any indication that he’s joking when he makes it clear that he’d have let the Enterprise explode just to test if Amanda was a Q.

Having said that, John deLancie remains entertaining as all hell. The line about spontaneous combustion of someone you don’t like as he slowly turns to look at Picard may be the single funniest Q moment ever, and that’s against some stiff competition.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: True Q

The relationship between Crusher and Amanda is also nicely played, as Crusher takes a maternal interest in her—unsurprising, given that she’s already raised one transcendent genius—and proves to be a valuable sounding board. I particularly like the conversation they have about what Crusher would do if she had Q’s powers. You know that Crusher’s real answer has to be to bring her husband back, but she falls back on the safe, and evasive, answer of being able to heal everyone. Amanda doesn’t let her off the hook, and both Gates McFadden and Olivia d’Abo play the scene with magnificent restraint, letting soft, painful tones of voice and subtle facial expressions show their anguish far more effectively than clichéd histrionics would have. (That’s reserved for the later scene when Q changes Crusher into a dog...)

If the episode has a flaw, it’s that the conclusion is way too foregone. There’s no way that Picard and the gang would put up with Q simply killing Amanda, and we already know—from “Hide and Q,” just for starters—that the powers of Q are way too tempting for a mortal to resist. Still, her journey to that realization is a convincing one.


Warp factor rating: 6

Keith R.A. DeCandido had way too much fun writing the entire Q-Continuum in Q & A. His latest release is the story “The Ballad of Big Charlie” in the shared-world anthology V-Wars, edited by Jonathan Maberry, the audio version of which just went on sale this week.

Lee VanDyke
1. Cloric
My question was always why the Q couldn't just have stripped her powers like they did Q back in Deja Q. (wow, is that what recapping one of these episodes is like? It just FEELS wrong to type that many's q's.) The only time one of the Q episodes seemed to suffer from a lack on continuity, from what I can remember.
2. StrongDreams
If the episode has a flaw, it’s that the conclusion is way too foregone...her journey to that realization is a convincing one.

This should be tattooed on the back of the hand of every genre show writer ever. With the exception of explicity serialized shows, every show ends with a reset button. We know the Enterprise won't blow up, we know major characters won't die. The journey is more important than the destination, because the destination is almost always a foregone conclusion. So tone down the artificial danger plots that never succeed in giving a real sense of peril and make sure the journey is interesting. (Non-SFF shows already do this because there is rarely even an attempt to make us think that a main character could die or leave the show, unless its the end of a season or something.)

This was a pretty good episode overall.
Christopher Hatton
3. Xopher
I've never understood why they didn't kill Q when they could ("Deja Q"). He's a terribly dangerous enemy, even though he acts like he's just this guy, you know? Also, he's responsible for the deaths of millions of people, maybe billions (remember, he's the one who clued the Borg into the existence of the Federation, so all the grief stemming from the Borg belong to Q first).

I seem to be nearly alone in really hating the Q episodes. Infinitely powerful characters are boring unless they have some kind of constraint on them (moral, say, or unfathomable rules). Q has none.

As for this episode in particular, there's some fun acting in it, but the plot runs on rails, and nothing surprising happens at any point.
4. Erik Dercf
This episode use of the Q to tackle an environmental issue is short and sweet. It really makes me wish we could deal with how we pollute the Earth like the Q. As for Amanda's jounrey this episode screams Wizard of Oz. What would have been great is if someone threw a bucket of water on Q at some point.
Lee VanDyke
5. Cloric
@4 Erik Dercf

I meant to mention in my first post, but if you ever watched the series Charmed, it also reminded me mightily of the journey they went on, especially Paige (Rose McGowan), to accepting their "destiny" as witches. And Q talking to his shadow was exactly the same as Cole (Julian McMahon) to his demonic messenger in season 3. It made me wonder if there was a shared writer, or just coincidence.
Cait Glasson
6. CaitieCat
No, Xopher @3, you're not alone, I've never been a fan of any of the Giant Space Douche episodes, from the Whiner of Gothos through the "We Wuz Only Testing You" Metrons to the Q, I just don't find stories of all-powerful beings interesting.

Don't read Superman, either, so at least I'm consistent. :)
Jenny Thrash
7. Sihaya
Why do I not remember this one? I tend to really enjoy the Q episodes. The plot sounds a bit meh, but still it's Q chewing up scenery and effects budgets!
Kristen Templet
8. SF_Fangirl
Xopher @3, CaitieCat@6, I totally agree. Q episodes are consistantly silly and dumb. I cannot understand all the the Q-love. Just because the writers keep forcing it down your throat doesn't mean you have to like it.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
9. Lisamarie
This actually ranks kind of low on my list of Q-episodes. It's not the idea or concept, but I just don't enjoy Q as much in this one. Yes, it does (appropriately) highlight that he is pretty much a big jerkass and operating on a completely different moral plane...but I feel like other episodes do that and still manage to keep him on one side of the fine line of likeable characterness (likeable in that he is fun to watch, not likeable in that I would want to know him in real life). But in this one I just find him creepy and annoying. Not sure if it's a gender thing, or just the fact that Amanda is a little more naive about Q than Picard, but for whatever reason it's funny when he shows up in Picard's bed in Tapestry, but it just squicks me out when he is totally horning in on Amdanda's personal space. Also, I acutally don't think he's as funny in this one as some of the others. Even Qpid, which I mostly loathe, I think Q himself is pretty funny.

Not a bad episode, just not one of my favorites either.

I also find the Riker/Amanda scene kind of annoying, if only becuase I don't understand what about Riker is supposed to be so attractive and why all the ladies flock to him.
10. Lee Jamilkowski
Olivia d'Abo's credits, and no mention of her role as Karen Arnold on The Wonder Years?
Keith DeCandido
11. krad
Lee: I have to pick and choose what to include, and I figured if people wanted more, I provided a link to her IMDB page. And Nicole Wallace was 7% more awesome than Karen Arnold.....

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Phil Parsons
12. Yakko
Not my favorite Q outing either but I do love when he turns Crusher into a barking Irish setter. It was such a Bewitched moment!
Christopher Bennett
13. ChristopherLBennett
Nothing much to say about this one. It's kind of the "forgotten" Q episode, and not just among fans. The writers pretty much forgot about it too, particularly in Voyager, where they established that no Q had ever procreated before. (Although that can be fudged, since Amanda's parents were technically no longer Q when they had her -- though that doesn't explain how she got the powers.)
14. rewaters
Everytime I see this episode, I think of Harry Potter, and Harry's longing for his parents and how they died versus how d'Abo's parent's died. It just seems oddly similar to me. It's not a bad episode though. Not the best by any stretch, but I've enjoyed most Q episodes.
Jack Flynn
15. JackofMidworld
I agree with Xopher & CaitieCat about omnipotent beings (I even feel the same way about Superman and it's one of the reasons I actually prefered the WB Superman cartoon version, because even though he may've been uberpowerful, at least he still had some limitations and could actually be hurt from time to time). That said, John deLancie is always fun to watch, whether he's Qing up the joint or stealing a scene in Torchwood.
Alyssa Tuma
16. AlyssaT
Put me firmly in the category of "Q fan!" -- but this episode is definitely one I forget about. In fact, I'm realizing that a lot of these season 6-ers seem completely new to me. Clearly not a season I tend to go to when rewatching.

I am currently watching Buffy for the first time (and absolutely loving it), and I immediately equated the Spike character to Q in terms of "Why don't you kill him now!? Oh, because he's kind of fun. I think. Most of the time." But Buffy is a bit more cheekily self-aware of how ludicrous it is that this character is a horrible enemy, but kind of a pal, but kind of not...

@10 -- As someone whose childhood was largely 90s-based, Olivia d'Abo will indeed always be Karen Arnold to me (with David Schwimmer as her hippie hubbie, if I'm remembering right) -- that, or Steve Guttenberg's love interest in The Big Green.
Elizabeth Heckert
17. silhouettepoms
Maybe it's because I was a 9 yr old girl when it aired but I always loved this episode. I was DYING to be a Q!!!! LOL @AlyssaT, I am watching Buffy for the first time too. Only a few episodes into season 2, but yeah already been a few times where I was like WHAT ! WTH! Why did you not just kill him then??? Oh, so we can go on for 5 more years...
18. Don3Comp
Put me in the pro-Q camp (I also enjoy "The Squire of Gothos").

Aside from John DeLancie's acting, I think the reason I like Q is that he's a bit like the Genie from "Aladdin," albeit more menacing. Both characters always are able to use extremely visual aids to get their point across, which is very entertaining. The omnipotence factor arguably crosses the border from science fiction to fantasy, but given that the series' first story (which establishes the ground rules, as it were) was a Q episode, one can hardly cite this as a breach of contract with the audience.

I also like Q's snarky snideness. In a way, he often gets to voice what the audience is thinking (or at least what I sometimes thought), e.g. his comment in this episode on Dr. Crusher's "shrillness." (I like Gates McFadden as an actress, but my opinion that Crusher got excessively sanctimonious in season 5 has been documented elsewhere in this rewatch.) And yes, I too like the moment when Q turns her into a dog (nicely rounding out the puppy motif introduced in the teaser). Pretty obvious what Q was calling Crusher...

On a deeper thematic level, the Q are an interesting contrast to humanity, not to mention the ultimate pot calling the kettle black. The Q are just as much a "child race" as humanity, playing with a toy (their omnipotence) that is a bit too much for them to handle. The childish aspect of the Q is driven home in "True Q" when Q tells Amanda, "the universe will be your playground." Arguably the Q are more childlike than humanity, because their omnipotence renders them rather stagnant. Unlike humanity, they have little room to develop. Not to mention the fact that they don't perceive a need for self-development.

At the time this episode aired, I put it in the so-so camp, but having the Q dvd (did I mention I'm in the pro-Q camp?), I was able to rewatch the episode on my own. There are some nice touches. Being part-human, Amanda has a moral center to offer the hedonistic Q, encapsulated by her pointed question, "do you use your powers to help people?" Perhaps this has been covered in Amanda novels, but it would be interesting to explore, in future stories, whether Amanda's having "the best of both worlds" allows her to bring an ethical core to the Q--which, of course, is where their development as a species is weakest.

Having said all that, I would gladly join the Q continuum for the ability to stand on the exterior of a starship without a space suit.
Alan Courchene
19. Majicou
@3: Q clued the Federation in to the existence of the Borg, really. The Borg already had attacked the Federation and the Romulans ("The Neutral Zone.") While it's implied that Q's interference also caused the Borg to step things up regarding the Feds, it's also true that if Starfleet had been caught by the Borg unaware, everybody would be dead or assimilated.
rob mcCathy
20. roblewmac
i'm pretty pro Q myself if god's a dick at least he's funny.
Christopher Bennett
21. ChristopherLBennett
@18: "Perhaps this has been covered in Amanda novels..."

Amanda's only novel appearance, as far as I know, is a brief one in the just-released Voyager: The Eternal Tide by Kirsten Beyer. She was also mentioned in passing in Greg Cox's TNG trilogy The Q Continuum, but didn't appear. As I said, she's kind of a forgotten character.
22. Sanagi
I wonder if turning Doctor Crusher into a dog is the most politically incorrect Trek has ever been... On purpose, that is, not out of tone-deafness as in Code of Honor. Because it's really funny, but looking back, I find it amazing that they actually did it.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
23. Lisamarie
@19 -
Majicou, you beat me to it. Q did not clue the Borg into humanity, he clued humanity into the Borg. There was a previous episode in which they discovered an outpost that had been 'scooped up' in a manner similar to Borg assimilation.

One could argue that Q was doing them a favor and even trying to help humanity (althuogh in a very cavalier way that didn't really take into acount the preciousness of individiual human lives).

I am definitely pro-Q and it's mostly because of John deLancie. I definitely wouldn't want to know him in real life. Sometimes he lulls you into thinking he's a pal but every now and then you realize...not really. His fondness for humanity might be on the level a human may have for a bug or or a simple pet (such as a fish)...likes it, is interested in it but is not too overly hung up on what happens if it dies.

@18, I just wanted to say that I definitely agree with your comments regarding the Q.
24. archersangel
i don't remember her in Q & A. that's the problem with reading so many books, i guess.
Bastiaan Stapel
25. Stapel
I find this episode boring and predictable. Sounds a bit weird, when doing a rewatch, but it really felt far more 'duhuh' than most other episodes so far. Just a poor storyline imho. The actors get the most out of it though! I guess I like most Q-episodes, because of John de Lancie's acting anyway.
Keith DeCandido
26. krad
Amanda was mentioned in the interstitial bits in Q & A that filled in between Q's various appearances. And she also played a role in the short story "'Q'uandary" by Terri Osborne in New Frontier: No Limits, which was her most substantial appearance prior to Kirsten's new Voyager book.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Rob Rater
27. Quasarmodo
I'm a big Q fan, and I also forgot about this episode. I too am watching Buffy for the 1st time (currently midway through S5).
Christopher Bennett
28. ChristopherLBennett
@23: The Borg were aware of humanity at least as far back as their assimilation of the Hansen family in 2356 (and at least some portions of humanity were aware of the Borg as a legend even before then), and that may have been what prompted their survey of the region around the Neutral Zone eight years later (although ENT: "Regeneration" suggests that humanity came to their attention in a different way). So I figure what Q did by displacing a Starfleet capital ship to Borg space -- and then aiding its escape -- was to pique the Borg's curiosity about the Federation, and make them decide that it was worthy of more immediate attention than they'd previously concluded.
Christopher Hatton
29. Xopher
28: Which switches me back to blaming Q for the millions of deaths (and assimilations, which in most cases is the same thing) wrought by the Federation's interactions with the Borg.

He's apparently the Guy You Love to Hate for a lot of people. That explains why the characters are plot-stupid and don't kill him when they get a chance.
Joseph Newton
30. crzydroid
@29: I wouldn't call it "plot-stupid" that they didn't kill Q, though I'm not entirely sure what you mean by that. The entire point of "Deja Q" was to show that humanity, and Picard in particular, would show compassion even on an enemy. It was to show that Data would even go so far as to risk himself for Q (and honestly, Picard is pretty intolerant with him). Again, the point of the shuttlecraft scene was to show that they would still go out of their way to try and save Q. This isn't the new Battlestar Galactica where everyone is so "flawed" that they have no redemptive qualities, this is Roddenberry's Star Trek: The Next Generation. The point of this show is an optimistic future. It is not "plot-stupid" that they didn't kill Q--it would be entirely out of character if they did go around preemptively killing people because they posed a possible danger. Keep in mind that at the time of "Deja Q" the events of BoBW hadn't happened yet, so the Borg hadn't killed or assimilated anyone. It would be completely irrelevant for Q to even be considered on trial for those crimes (though honestly, we're not really sure what the ultimate fate of Q would've been in that episode; I think the Enterprise crew were intending to deliver him to a starbase and let Starfleet decide his fate, so maybe he would've received a punishment more to your liking after all). This was a time when Starfleet thought they would have a lot longer to prepare for the Borg and develop new defense technologies. If it hadn't been for Q, the Federation wouldn't even know they had to prepare for this Borg threat (and as has been pointed out, the Borg were going to come anyway). Even if the encounter accelerated the process of the Borg coming, the main reason for Q doing it was to show that they weren't prepared and to get Picard to acknowledge that he needs help. This ties in with the Farpoint theme of humanity not being ready to venture out this far, and I think it's a very acceptable interpretation to believe that Q was throwing them as much of a bone as he could/cared to, in that they would've been caught totally unawares when the Borg finally did come (for all the good it actually did them in the end).

Anyway, as for my actual thoughts on this episode: I didn't find this episode forgettable at all, and in fact remembered it quite well. Admittedly, that's because I watched this show as a teenage boy, and Olivia D'Abo had something to do with it. As a Q episode, I think this one is kind of weak. Perhaps the main reason I'm in the pro-Q camp is because of John de Lancie. I didn't find that there were as many snarky jokes in this one (although there are some good moments) and there are some creepy parts as well. In the upcoming "Tapestry," on the other hand, I find that he is spot on.

Interesting discussion on having all-powerful characters in a story...I don't think that I have an all-out opinion one way or another. For the record, I do enjoy Superman. I tend to dislike unstoppable bad guys (though I like the Borg). I don't get the whole zombie thing. I don't really care for the Replicators. So I think it's on a situation-to-situation basis for me. As for Q, I think the notion of Q in Farpoint as an ultra-powerful being putting humanity on trial fits very well with the conceptualization of the show at that point in time, so I think it fit. Likewise, I think his appearance in "Hide and Q" fit pretty well with the feel of the show at that time. I do like how Q evolved throughout the show though, and I think his experience in "Deja Q" had a lot to do with that. He originally came to put humanity on trial, and he ended up putting some parts of himself on trial, so to speak.
Christopher Bennett
31. ChristopherLBennett
@29: The problem with that argument is that the Borg were already killing/assimilating millions of people anyway. The Borg were already cutting a huge swath through the galaxy, and they would've gotten to the Federation eventually, after having destroyed thousands more civilizations. By introducing the Federation to the Borg early, Q gave them a chance to prepare and develop defenses, and that ended up causing the Borg some serious setbacks and probably saving trillions of lives in the long run (especially in the novel continuity). The galaxy as a whole is far better off because Q gave the Federation advance warning.
Juan Avila
32. Cumadrin
I liked this episode when I first watched it in reruns as a kid. This is also the post I noticed that eventually led me to start my own TNG rewatch, and I just caught up to here.

I just wanted to note that. Mostly to myself.
33. Ashcom
The biggest problem with this episode is the whole central issue is a non-issue. In real life how this episode would go is this. "Hi, I'm Q. You're a member of the Q continuum. That means you can have anything you want, any time you want it, and make anything happen any time." "Cool. Thanks." The End.
34. Etherbeard
@Xopher: you must have watched some alternate reality version of TNG if you think it's even remotely conceivable that they would simply execute someone.

@Ashcom: I totally agree. It seems a far strech that someone could be so idealistic that he or she could just throw away all the opportunities being Q would provide. The same goes for Riker in "Hide and Q". On that note it seems the Q finally got the human/Q they were looking for back in that epsiode.

At the end Q should have jsut smiled and vanished when Picard asked if he was resposible for the impending meltdown on the planet instead of insisting it was merely a plot contrivance.
35. Nandros
Arguing if they should had killed Q when they could and comparing that to new BSG is like complaining that WoT-series gave "plot armour to characters" while GOT had none (though it has but reversed in that goodies obviously don't know how to plot with assassins/executions unlike the baddies ... )

In other words there will always be a plot armour of somekind because writing a story demands it to be so, if for nothing else but giving the writer a some level of consistency to his world or because heroic scifi/fantasy need heroes to survive so they can be heros instead of mundanes.
36. Greenygal
Even from a purely practical standpoint, I don't see where killing Q in "Deja Q" would have accomplished anything. I mean, from the crew's perspective there are three possibilities:

1) Q's lying and he still has his powers. Trying to kill him will do absolutely nothing, and may be dangerous if he takes offense.

2) Q's human, and the Q Continuum is not going to take him back. In that case, he's not dangerous, and killing him gains you nothing except having executed a helpless person without a trial.

3) Q's human, and the Q Continuum is going to take him back. We know from "Hide and Q" that someone with Q powers can raise the dead, so if the Continuum changes their mind about him, his being dead probably will not be an issue. Yes, it's possible that they can't resurrect a depowered Q the way they can a normal mortal, but if I were the Enterprise crew I would not bet on this, especially when the alternative is an omnipotent being who's really, really angry about having been murdered by the people he asked for sanctuary. You want to avoid that, probably.

Of course the Enterprise crew was never going to execute Q, but it's not a case of choosing the moral option over the pragmatic option, because in this case they're the same thing.
Dante Hopkins
37. DanteHopkins
Only thing I disagree with in the review is that the conclusion is foregone. Whether or not the crew would tolerate Amanda being executed is completely irrelevant, as the crew would have no way to stop it from happening if the Continuum had ruled that Amanda die. Watching this for the first time, you really have no idea what will ultimately happen, as I was surprised and a little sad that Amanda ultimately decided to go to the Continuum. Still a nice little story, and Q is always fun.
38. David Sim
If there's one thing about True Q that I'd change, its the scene where Amanda snatches Riker into her romantic fantasy. I would have preferred if she had done that, only for Riker to relate to her dilemma of what to do with omnipotent power when its thrust upon you, as it was in Hide and Q.

But that never even comes up; there was a real missed opportunity there. Riker is the only member of the crew who knows what it means to be truly Q, none of the others do, as Q points out so bluntly (but rightly) to Picard in the ready room.

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