Plot Synopsis: Q is seeking asylum on the Enterprise, claiming he has been thrown out of the Continuum and stripped of his powers.
Plot A and B Analysis: The teaser here is killer, it sets up the plot of the episode and tells you almost everything you need to know. The Enterprise is trying to help the residents of a planet that have one of their own moons beginning to fall toward their world. Their first attempt to help fails right when a nude Q arrives. Plot A is about Q, and I suppose a background-type plot B is the increasingly precarious situation of the planet Bre’el. Q explains that he has been stripped of all of his powers (not to mention his clothes) and he chose to come to be on the Enterprise as an ordinary human. The crew have to figure out how to deal with him while trying to solve the problem of the moon, and just to make things interesting before long an unknown alien species shows up to kill Q. Everything about this episode is a lot of fun, it’s one of the funniest episodes in the series. While there is some drama here and there, you always know things will turn out alright in the end.
Favorite Scenes: “In all the universe, you’re the closest thing I have to a friend, Jean-Luc.” This is just one of the many great lines of this episode. In fact it’s somewhat difficult to write favorite scenes because virtually every scene is great. Most of the scenes with Q and Data are nice, particularly one that immediately follows Data saving his life. Of course when things turn out peachy at the end there’s a wonderful scene too, but one of my favorite things about this episode is all the great lines! Here is a sampling:
Q, trying to convince us he’s human: What must I do to convince you people!?!
Q: Oh, very clever Worf. Eat any good books lately?
Q, giving his solution to the problem with the moon: This is obviously the result of a large celestial object passing through at near-right angles to the plane of the star system. Probably a black hole.
Data: Can you recommend a way to counter the effect?
Q: Simple. Change the gravitational constant of the universe.
Guinan, upon first meeting the now-mortal Q: I hear they drummed you out of the Continuum.
Q: I like to think of it as a significant career change.
Guinan: Just one of the boys, eh?
Q: One of the boys with an IQ of 2005…
Data: The captain and many of the crew are not yet convinced he is truly human.
*Guinan grabs a fork and stabs Q in the hand with it*: Seems human enough to me.
Data: To function aboard a starship, or in any human activity, you must learn to form relationships.
Q: Ugh, it’s so hard!
Data: And of more immediate importance is your ability to work within groups.
Q: I’m not good in groups. It’s difficult to work in a group when you’re omnipotent.
Use of Cast/Characters: Wil Wheaton had this episode off. Picard is here, but he’s on autopilot again, giving commands and having two brief conversations with Q and that’s about it. Riker is about the same, carrying out the captain’s orders and not doing a lot else. Data is showcased in this episode along with Q, and he does a wonderful job. He’s about the only crew member we can imagine who can stand to be around Q that long and he only gets more sympathetic by saving Q’s life–wonderful performance. Geordi has a few good lines, and he feels actively involved in the plot. Worf, Crusher and Deana all have a couple of good lines but don’t really do much this episode. John DeLancie as Q turns in one of his best performances ever, and really delivers everything we could want. I love watching this guy work! Whoopi returns as Guinan and has one good scene, but not a lot else–still, I’m glad she’s there.
Blu Ray Version: The planet looks gorgeous here. The Calamarain in particular are beautiful, and the detail is spectacular.
Nitpicks: If anything the danger to the planet is underplayed. According to this episode the planet is in trouble but some people would live, but an actual moon-sized asteroid would obliterate all life on the planet IMO. The only other thing I can point to, is where did Q’s guard go after he talks with Data? He just walks to a turbo lift and gets on a shuttle by himself? Explanation might have been helpful, but it’s a minor quibble.
Overall Impression: This is the fourth Q episode, and it’s one of the very finest. Frankly it’s one of the most enjoyable episodes of the entire Star Trek franchise. I’m not sure if there’s a lot I can say about it, except what a great story! A god losing his power and having to cope is a wonderful premise, and doing it in the context of comedy–how often have we ever seen that? A beautifully written and acted episode, and it gets my highest rating. I rate this episode 5 out of 5 stars.
Behind the Scenes/Trivia: According to Michael Piller this show was originally about Q only pretending to lose all of his powers. It is a wild goose chase and they thought it would be fun and cute, and then they ran into Roddenberry. This is one of the best examples of Gene’s ability to turn a bad script into a good one.
I think it was the most meaningful meeting I ever had with Gene, because he looked at me and he said, ‘well, what’s it about?’ And I said, ‘well it’s about a wild goose chase, Gene. He says ‘no, but what’s it about? If you really want to tell a story about a god who loses everything he has and has to discover his true humanity, well that’s about something.’ At that very moment it all clicked in for me about what Star Trek was about. What Roddenberry was all about. And that’s the story we did.
When Q appears naked in the teaser, he actually is–they couldn’t figure out a way to shoot it with him in clothes. This episode marks the first time we see another Q, as well as learn that they all call each other by the same name. This episode was also nominated for two Emmys, one for outstanding editing and another for outstanding visual effects.
Missable/Unmissable? Are you kidding? Everyone who watches Star Trek or TNG owes it to themselves to watch this episode! But do yourself a favor and skip the next one entirely.