Episode #42: Q Who?

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Episode #42: Q Who?

Post  BoG on Sun Mar 14, 2010 3:08 pm


Q WHO? episode #16 of the 2nd Season / Air Date: 5/8/89
Directed by Rob Bowman; written by Maurice Hurley

This one really stands out amid all the mediocrity of the 2nd season. The Trekmakers obviously were trying to impart an eerie, ominous tone to this episode; the important thing is - they succeeded and this episode made an unforgettable impression on most viewers. In the plot, Q (John de Lancie) returns for his 3rd appearance and wheedles his way aboard again, ostensibly to convince Picard to make him a part of the crew. It's revealed that Q and Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) met each other a couple of centuries earlier (there's an amusing bit of Guinan raising her hands in a defensive gesture - does she really have a power to ward off Q?). Seemingly annoyed by the smug, arrogant attitudes of the Starfleet officers, Q sends the Enterprise-D into an unknown region of space, 7,000 light years away.
It's not long before a cube-shaped ship appears on the scene and everyone is first introduced to the malevolent, frightening, relentless collective race known as The Borg - everyone except for Guinan, who is familiar with the Borg, as well (she sure gets around, eh?). Q spelled it out early in the episode: these Borg are step up from the usual hostile aliens such as Klingons & Romulans; the Borg cannot be stopped with Starfleet weapons & technology. And, the really chilling aspect of their threat is that they're not governed by such emotion as hostility; their robotic/cyborg emotionless drive is like some grotesque force of nature - from deep space. The suggestion here is that all else is overwhelmed by the Borg, including, eventually, the Federation. What a gloomy prospect.
This may also be Q's best appearance; he's not just a clown here and de Lancie has some good lines ("If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires, both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid").
The threat and danger are certainly not trivial in this episode. Perhaps the most startling sequence is when the Borg ship cuts into the hull of Enterprise-D and 18 crew members are lost (Picard does worse than Kirk in this regard - the amount of crew he loses). I was a bit stunned when I first saw this; the Trekmakers weren't fooling around in this episode and the Enterprise crew seem to be truly doomed for a brief period. The Borg are at their best here - truly alien and intimidating - and in their next appearance (The Best of Both Worlds); this is a true collective here, with no central control (no queen, yet). With no singular leader, just a group-mind, the Borg seem impossible to stop. There are also creepy hints dropped about them, such as showing a Borg baby. Unfortunately, the impression built here was not followed up on very well in future episodes.

There are also intriguing questions raised about Q's motivations. On the surface, it appears that he caused this traumatic incident for the Enterprise crew. However, it's possible that Q's actions were pro-active; without his interference, the Federation would have no knowledge of the Borg until it was too late. Finally, the conclusion here offers the clearest difference in approach between the 2 famed captains, Kirk & Picard. On TOS, I would expect Kirk to figure out a successful counter against even the unstoppable Borg; here, Picard ends up asking Q for help and is praised for his lack of pride - the sharp contrast between a militaristic & a pacifistic captain. BoG's Score: 9 out of 10

TNG Trivia: The Borg were originally conceived as an insect-like race but this was beyond even the large budget of the TNG series, so they became 'enhanced' humanoid cyborgs. Guinan's homeworld had been overrun by the Borg; we would see her and other refugees in the early scenes of Star Trek Generations (1994). The prequel to this episode turned out to be The Neutral Zone, the last episode of the 1st season; in that one, several Federation outposts were obliterated near the Neutral Zone and the culprits were thought to be Romulans; the outposts were even described as being 'scooped' away; we now know for certain that the perpetrators were the Borg.

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Last edited by BoG on Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:29 am; edited 1 time in total
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Q Who review

Post  BoG on Tue May 11, 2010 5:36 pm





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