Thursday, November 10, 2016

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 11 (Hide and Q)

Once again, the Enterprise is on its way somewhere. In this case, it’s a relief mission to a planet in dire need of aid. On their way there, Q decides to drop in. Q is that omnipotent being from the pilot that used members of the Enterprise bridge crew to hold humanity on trial for being a barbaric race. This time, Q is only interested in Commander Riker. During that encounter, the Q found Riker to be interesting and different.

Q decides to take most of the bridge crew (including Riker) to a mysterious planet. (Picard is left on the bridge to discover that nothing works.) On the planet, Q tells Riker that they’re going to play a little game. The purpose of this game is to study how everyone behaves. It seems simple enough, especially considering that their opponents seem to be these beasts with rifles. Riker thinks it’s too easy; he even tests his phaser out on a rock to make sure that they still work. When the beasts approach, the rifles shoot phaser blasts. They even kill two people

That’s when Q’s real motives become evident; he gives Riker all of the powers of the Q. Riker is able to send everyone back to the bridge and heal the wounded. Q and Riker discuss the possibilities. However, when Riker returns to the Enterprise, Captain Picard has him promise not to use his powers. This proves more difficult that Riker initially thought. In the end, Riker comes to realize what the price of omnipotence is. No one likes the man that Riker has become.

It’s a good story, even if it is a bit predictable. Q stories tended to be a little better; Q was one of the many Trek characters that I looked forward to seeing. It shows how power can corrupt and Riker was given absolute power. This is also the first reference to others like Q. There’s an entire continuum, where the Q exist. (I think that there were two other Q shown on The Next Generation, but it was better developed on Voyager.) This is also the first time that Q has to deal with responsibility. Q, having been defeated, was to leave humanity alone. Other Q step in and remove him forcibly.

Part of the problem with the episode was that Riker’s change from first officer to god-like being was very quick. I suppose that there are limitations imposed by the 48-minute timeframe imposed by television. The only other problem I found was a goof. Chief of Security Tasha Yar was sent back to the Enterprise to be put in a penalty box. After sending her there, Q explains to everyone else what happened to her. When Yar gets up there, she explains it to the captain. How can she be so certain what happened to her? Did Q explain it on the way up?

I’d say that this episode is worthy of three stars. You don’t really need to be a fan of the show to understand it, but I would say that only regular viewers would be interested. I could see a lot of non-fans not liking this episode. I’d recommend it, but it would depend on who I’m talking to.

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