Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 132 (True Q)

In the Star Trek universe, little was known of the Q.  This was especially true during The Next Generation’s run. We had an omnipotent being who would just pop in to annoy the crew of the Enterprise.  The Q is a race, but we’ve mainly seen the one played by John de Lancie.  In True Q, de Lancie returns.  Does he antagonize the crew again?  Yes, but he’s on a mission.  Also onboard is Amanda Rogers, a young woman who is there as an intern before going off to Starfleet Academy.

It turns out that she can do things like affect the momentum of a falling object and stop a warp core breach.  Amanda isn’t really human, after all.  Her parents were members of the Q Continuum.  It’s up to Q to see how much she’s inherited.  If she has all of the powers of the Q, she’s to return.  If not…

Much of the episode is spent debating how much choice she has in the matter and what responsibility the Q have.  They can’t let an omnipotent being run around snapping things out of existence.  Then again, what right to they have to force her to do anything?  If she’s not fully Q, what can they do about it?

My one complaint about the episode is the extremes presented.  Either she goes back to the continuum or she’s destroyed.  She’s presented with the option of staying on the Enterprise and not using her powers, but it’s not long before she’s presented with an impossible choice.

On that note, it’s interesting to point out that this episode is the origin of two continuity errors for Star Trek: Voyager.  In Death Wish, a Q wants to commit suicide.  The continuum’s big fear is what the death of a member would mean.  Granted, Amanda’s parents were executed and possibly kept secret from the rest of the continuum, but any secret would be up once Amanda had returned. In The Q and the Grey, Q has a child, which he claims would be a first

Amanda Rogers was never brought up again.  This episode is basically ignored for the rest of The Next Generation and for Voyager..  I suppose it could be argued that the Q wouldn’t necessarily have linear lives that line up with ours.  Most likely, the writers of the Voyager episodes hadn’t seen this one.  Even if they had, her presence would have complicated the stories to the point that they might not have recovered.

If the episode comes on television, it’s possible to watch it without having seen any previous episodes.  The only thing that might be confusing is Q’s relationship with the crew.  For those that have seen the series and are fans of Q, it’s an enjoyable episode to watch.  It deals with the concepts of choice and responsibility pretty well without being overbearing.

IMDb page

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