Plot Synopsis: The Enterprise has a surprise visit from Q. He picks up on romantic tensions between Captain Picard and an old flame, transporting them and the senior officers into his representation of Robin Hood.
Plot A and B Analysis: The teaser is moderately promising. Picard is writing a speech for a symposium on archeology *yawn*, Troi tells him to knock off and go to sleep, and when he gets to his quarters he finds Vash, his sexual plaything/Lara Croft from Captain’s Holiday. Plot A doesn’t appear to have a lot to offer, with Vash roaming the ship and Picard feeling awkward about it. It’s not until Q shows up that our collective ears perk up. He feels he owes Picard a debt for saving is life a year ago and needs to repay him. This episode is really about Q putting the crew through a Robin Hood scenario straight out of Errol Flynn. The most interesting wrinkle is that Vash agrees to marry Sir Guy and betrays Picard. The whole scenario is pretty fun and ends with an unexpected love triangle between Picard, Vash and Q.
Favorite Scenes: Just about everything that occurs on the Robin Hood planet is great. The crew lounging in their “sylvan glade” has some nice moments, with Worf smashing Geordi’s mandolin and Troi accidentally shooting Data with an arrow. There’s a scene where Picard is fencing with Sir Guy (39th minute) and he tells him there’s something he should know about him. He says he’s not from Nottingham, but I keep expecting him to say “I am not left-handed!” Maybe the single best line is from Worf, unhappy when he starts to understand what’s he’s in for:
Worf: Sir I protest, I am not a merry man!
Use of Cast/Characters: I’m just going to sum it up by saying that pretty much the entire cast is used well here, and to good effect. The person who has the least is Levar Burton, but he’s still involved in one of the funniest scenes of the episode. Jennifer Hetrick as Vash is enjoyable and Q is great, as always. Jennifer will appear one more time on the DS9 episode Q-Less. Believe it or not Clive Revill, who played Sir Guy of Gisborne, was the actual voice of Emperor Palpatine in original version of The Empire Strikes Back!
Blu Ray Version: The picture is so clear you can easily spot the stunt double for Patrick Stewart right after he impales Sir Guy in the 39th minute. If you pause at about 2:09 you’ll see the Shakespeare book is open to a page that, if enlarged, shows Patrick in a production shot of As You Like It. You see it again in his quarters, and in the final scene. Pause at 19:18, when you see Picard walking in his quarters. Notice the mirror behind him, impossibly reflecting his feet. It was positioned so the mirror wouldn’t show the filming equipment used.
There’s a deleted scene that occurs toward the end, after Marian has agreed to marry Sir Guy and he sends her away as there are “important matters to discuss.” He asks Guy to keep the wedding a secret, as if ‘Robin’ didn’t believe her life was in danger there’d be no reason for him to rescue her. It’s not a bad scene.
Nitpicks: Picard has a concern at the end that Q would be “gloating over his victory.” I’m not sure I get what the victory was? He wasn’t willing to endanger his crew, they did that on their own. Maybe it’s that loving a woman almost got him killed.
Overall Impression: This episode is a fan favorite, and for good reason. It is a lot of fun, and I did enjoy it quite a bit. While this doesn’t scale the heights of the very best Q episodes such as Deja Q, Tapestry or All Good Things, it’s certainly one of the best episodes of season 4. The good use of the cast, the presence of Q, and Vash all combine to form quite the fun and funny ride. I rate this episode at least 4 out of 5 stars.
Behind the Scenes/Trivia: This episode has the first reference the Picard and Beverly’s morning tea/breakfast, which won’t be visited again for quite a while. The “Nottingham Castle” in this episode is actually Alnwick Castle. The only actors that actually knew how to fence were Marina Sirtis and Gates McFadden. But since they were girls they only got to break pots over people’s heads. The whole cast raves about playing this episode, and much of this section will be anecdotes from them.
Patrick Stewart is quoted as saying “I think that episode probably gave us as a group more fun than any other.”
Jennifer Hetrick (Vash) actually does trip in scene where she’s in a dress pacing back and forth in her room. They just kept it in because the producers figured Vash wouldn’t really be comfortable in that kind of wardrobe anyway. You may or may not know Patrick and Jennifer dated during the 3rd and 4th seasons of the show, and there were rumors they were engaged during the filming of this episode–which probably didn’t go over well with his wife at the time.
Frakes got injured in a fight scene with a bad guy who was bringing his broadsword down on him. “I’m supposed to push him back, knock him on his ass… We roll on the stunt–on the fight. The stuntman has been given an actual iron sword. I’m fighting now still with this balsa wood staff. So he hacks away at me once, he hacks away at me twice, and the third hack breaks the staff and he hits me in the eye, and my eye starts to bleed.” He goes to the ER and is waiting to be stitched up. “I looked down, I’m still wearing the silly little curly-toed shoes, and the felt hat. And nobody, in a Hollywood emergency room, noticed.”
Michael Dorn actually didn’t like the idea of doing a Robin Hood episode. He loved the original movie with Errol Flynn but didn’t think it was right for Star Trek. The idea of him smashing Geordi’s mandolin and then apologizing came from the movie Animal House.
Missable/Unmissable? This episode is a ton of fun, unmissable. The tone of the next one is completely different, but it’s just as good.