In which Q shows his enthusiasm for cosplay, and Riker kinda shows his enthusiasm for Wesley.
Memory Alpha says: Q returns with a new test for the Enterprise. Can Commander Riker resist the power of the Q Continuum? (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)
This episode marks the second time we see Q, and that establishes a tendency that will grow more pronounced over the course of TNG until it eventually gets really awesome in DS9, towards greater continuity in Star Trek. That’s not to say there is no continuity in TOS; you get recurring outside characters like, um, Harry Mudd is the only one who comes immediately to mind (I’ve also found that a lot of people have trouble remembering that Cyrano Jones, from ‘The Trouble With Tribbles,’ is not Harry Mudd, because selling tribbles just seems like such a Harry Mudd thing to do).
This is one of the episodes that I really can’t remember watching, except a vague memory of Tasha saying she was in a penalty box. Is that this one? Well, I’ll find out, won’t I?
Look at that, Bev finally has people working for her! And she’s striding around being authoritative! Nice!
Sounds like we don’t get any Deanna this episode, because she’s on a visit home. Where presumably Lwaxana is pumping her for information about everyone she now works with – and maybe taking her for a girls’ day out at the spa, that seems like the kind of thing she’d like. Anyway, I do not mind this as much as an O’Brien-less episode of DS9.
‘Not now, dammit Q!’ I realise that right now you’re on your way to try to save people injured by an explosion, Captain, but is there any time when you would consider it acceptable for Q to appear? Would it help if he made an appointment?
‘Humans! I thought by now you would have scampered back to your own little star system.’ For an omniscient person, Q is kind of slow to catch up, I’ve always thought. It is more than a hundred years they’ve been tooling around the Alpha and Beta Quadrants.
Worf and Tasha vault down over the big wooden horseshoe in a way that, while jolly athletic and bouncy of them, just highlights how silly it is to have that barrier between them and the open areas of the bridge where trouble pretty invariably happens.
Does he ever explain why he wanted to appear as a glass ball with three cobra heads sticking out of it? What was the point of that, pray?
Still has the Caesar haircut, I see.
Oh my goodness, I had forgotten the tights that used to go with the dress uniform (and it does appear that Q’s ‘admiral”s uniform is just a dress uniform with extra gold braid). His little legs look so skinny sticking out of the long coat!
It’s also interesting to note that John DeLancie’s performance as Q is a lot more manic and bubbly than it was in ‘Farpoint.’ I always like watching the early versions of characters evolve (when I’m not bitching about it – I was thinking about my cavils about Early Data and Early Julian today and suddenly thought ‘You know, in early Peanuts strips Charlie Brown is quite a cheerful, cheeky little boy,’ and somehow that made me feel better about things, I can’t explain why).
Hurrah, a polystyrene rocks planet!
Poor Picard, alone on the bridge! I wish they hadn’t bothered with BGM for this scene and had just stuck with the eerie silence from the beginning.
More Q cosplay, this time Napoleonic. I’m sorry Picard is missing this, he would surely enjoy it, especially the blue, white and red cockade on Q’s hat.
What is that Q’s drinking? Lemonade? Yes it is. Why was Riker just thinking about old-fashioned lemonade, though? I have some in the fridge; I made it of course. Ha, even Data gets a drink – although he looks like he doesn’t know what to do with it, which is confusing given that Q said the others would have ‘whatever they’d like.’ Data’s looks fizzy, for what it’s worth, possibly Sprite. I really like Worf’s snottily pouring out his glass – presumably of bloodwine, since he doesn’t know about prune juice yet. Interesting that Q says the humans defeated the Klingons – was that canon at this point? I thought they reached a détente with them through the Khitomer Accords. Oh, but The Undiscovered Country wasn’t made until 1991, so I guess it was a foggy area at the time.
‘Of all the species, yours cannot abide stagnation.’ I’m always faintly irritated by stuff that makes humans out to be the Most Special in the Galaxy. We can stagnate as well as anyone; look at Voyager. I further adore Data, a not noticeably stagnant individual himself, for calling Q out on his tired truism.
Q and Riker totally like each other, either that or they are just very promiscuous with their eye-flirting.
Q’s hair is now as fluffy as I’m used to it being. HE IS EVOLVING BEFORE MY EYES. Even though having it brushed forward Caesar-style would be more appropriate for the Napoleonic era!
I love the fact that, when Tasha gets disappeared, Data and Geordi are still holding their drinks like dorks, evidently being too polite even to put them down.
Why in the world does Q use a 20th Century term to explain where Tasha is, other than for the audience at home? Calling attention to the fact that it’s a 20th Century term is just clumsy writing; otherwise we would assume that it’s still current and the scene would run more smoothly.
Oh and I believe I should have mentioned that Q looks really fly in his Frenchy uniform, fluffy hair and all.
Pscht, threatening to destroy Tasha is just not that worrying, but the boys are chivalrous enough to make concerned faces.
What are those big brown panels in the walls of the bridge? They look like lockers to me. Like important Space Gear is stowed inside that they’d break out in an emergency. Probably just computer crap, though, or extra rocks and C4 for the consoles.
Tasha out of nowhere! How does she know she’s in a penalty box? Could she hear what Q said to the others? I do feel her saying it’s frustrating to be controlled like this, but I don’t like her crying about it, even if Picard gives permission. It just feels like she’s got to the point of tears with too little provocation. And how exactly should we read her ‘If you weren’t a captain’? A, Tasha, you need to figure out where you stand re: screwing co-workers, I’m just saying it’s important to develop a consistent policy. B, I hope it was just ‘I’d give you a great big hug!’ because I like Picard being a father-figure to her.
Why is the penalty over? Just because Q got bored with it? Or bored with Tasha?
Although he called it ‘ridiculous,’ Picard totally digs that uniform and wishes he could try it on, especially the red ribbon round the neck with a gold sheep pendant. He knows he’d rock that gold sheep pendant. Sheep are in.
DATA DON’T SOUND SO SURPRISED SAYING ‘THE THIRD RIDGE.’ I know what I said before about Charlie Brown, but you shouldn’t have sounded so surprised even if you were human.
I love everyone else hanging back letting Worf do the shitty job. I suppose he volunteered, but I would also have sent Data, who is less likely to get hurt or tired, so they could spot each other.
And for no apparent reason the French soldiers have piggy-wig faces, which confuses me re: the Tellarites.
Look, I have to say that Q’s quotation of ‘The play’s the thing’ in answer to ‘Why these games?’ doesn’t make any sense. For one thing, that’s only half the sentence: ‘The play’s the thing/ In which I’ll catch the conscience of a king.’ In context, ‘play’ means stage drama, not playing a game. I hope he doesn’t say ‘Lead on, Macduff’ or I shall really have to get cross. I wonder if this made Patrick Stewart cross, too, since he must know most of Shakespeare backwards and forwards? I think Picard is trying to tell Q to beware taking lines out of context in a sentence Q doesn’t let him finish.
Any episode that lets Patrick Stewart shoot Hamlet at Q is okay in my book.
Picard’s book, The Globe Illustrated Shakespeare, has a really tacky black, gold and red cover. I think it’s kind of cute that he has an illustrated edition. I don’t; I have to use my imagination.
Riker is doing a fantastic Jaunty Captain Morgan stance against that rock. Seriously, his knee is higher than his waist. It’s a good thing there’s a lot of Lycra in those uniforms or his inseams would be straining something awful.
I think Data has failed to take into account exactly how much of a mess a lead ball propelled by gunpowder can make of your midsection.
In early episodes, Jonathan Frakes has this real thing of crossing his arms up high across his chest, and he always looks like he’s hugging himself. Based on the shot I have paused on, with his back towards the camera, he clenches his bumcheeks at the same time. Anyway, it’s an odd thing to do with his arms and makes Riker look kind of insecure and nervous, and I’m glad he later dropped it.
It is HELLA creepy to see Q in Data’s makeup. I wonder where he stuck Data while he was doing that. (If you said ‘Tasha’s box!’ you get ten perv points.)
Riker’s ‘using his power’ hand gesture is remarkably limp and unconvincing.
I’m interested to note that there are now little side-seats to the left and right of the first officer’s and counsellor’s chairs, which I don’t think were there in earlier episodes. Were these installed to give Wesley somewhere to sit? Did they, in fact, get him a cushion?
The whole Napoleonic adventure seems like padding before getting to the real STORY, ‘Q tempts Riker with magic powers.’ Here we see the show’s early problems with pace.
Data’s delivery of ‘You may find it aesthetically displeasing, sir; I could just file a computer report on that’ is very amusing to me, partly because it is still too human, partly because the poor boy is just trying to get it right regarding the amount of detail Picard wants from him, and he still can’t.
I never thought Q seemed particularly interested in Riker at Farpoint, so this is a bit retconny.
YOU ARE LAUGHING AT THE SKY, WILLIAM. You may be going a little fruity.
I feel irrationally fond of Q’s little tummy, poking out of his tight uniform.
More about what special snowflakes we humans are. Thrpptt. Cause it’s not like, say, the VULCANS are into exploration or self-improvement. I don’t mind being told I’m fantastic and shiny, but not in a way that implies all the other races of the galaxy are no big whoop. That’s insulting to my boy Spock, among other things.
Riker claims he doesn’t even like Q, but I’m not buying it. I think he thought Q would be a fun guy to hang out with, if he just wasn’t such a troublemaker.
Why the fuck is Wesley there now. Q, why would you drag Wesley into this? Is this an early sign of the writers’ recognition that the audience were not enjoying Wesley all that much?
WORF GOT BAYONETTED. Awesome. And why, in God’s name, does Wesley go ‘Worf! Worf!’ and run out to him, even though he’s a kid and there are adults all around him and for any plausibility he should have hesitated to see what they would do and they should have held him back if he tried to go? Since when does Wesley love Worf that much? Especially given that Worf thinks he sucks and is totally embarrassing! (Why, it foreshadows Worf and Alexander!) Anyway, the rainbow sweater gets wounded, and it upsets Riker, because he took him shopping to pick that sweater out and they had a really nice afternoon.
I have now fortified myself for the last quarter-hour of the episode by preparing a large glass of lemonade and wodka; both Riker and Chekov would approve.
Riker yells ‘NO! DAMN IT! DAMN IT TO HELL!’ and makes a HUGE EMPHATIC gesture and it’s just RIDICULOUS.
Back on the bridge, Wesley and Worf are both mildly surprised to find that their guts are intact, and Data is holding onto his console as if he’s terrified and it makes him feel safer. Seriously, Data looks more emotional about sitting at his workstation than either of them look about finding that they’re not mortally wounded after all.
Riker is so smug he is almost hovering.
I don’t think Riker needs help anything LIKE as badly as people injured by an underground explosion, but then, I am a New Zealander and we are kind of sad about that at the moment (Google ‘Pike River mine’).
Riker promises not to use his magic power, so obviously he is going to use it before the end of this episode.
I love how low-key Data is about opening the jammed door – and I really love the fact that they went so far as to flood part of the floor of the set. It looks like a lot of effort went into a set for a fairly short scene.
POLYSTYRENE ROCKS. He is flinging them with aplomb! JESUS CHRIST DATA, I know you have a soft spot for little girls, but don’t move her until Bev’s checked whether she has a spinal injury! Although it turns out she’s already dead, and honestly, Data looks pretty upset about it. How are you going to say no to Data, with big kitty eyes, asking you to bring the little girl in the pink dress back to life? HOW ARE YOU GONNA DO THAT, RIKER? Oh, like that. Well, this makes it pretty clear that Riker does not share Picard’s extreme susceptibility to Data Kitty Eyes. In fact, even though the reason Riker doesn’t do it is that he promised Picard he wouldn’t, I have a feeling that were Picard present, he’d be saying sheepishly ‘oh go on. Just this once.’
Where did Riker get this snotty attitude all of a sudden? And did they bring Wesley in just to guilt-trip him? And could they not use the conference lounge set this episode?
Of course everyone still looks uncomfortable, Riker, because you are acting like a jerk and doing Jack Nicholson Shining Eyes – and because you have positioned yourself on the opposite side of the bridge from them, looking adversarial. It’s just basic blocking.
MORE Q COSPLAY. Why the hell are you dressed as a monk, you utter, utter loony. ‘What is this need of yours for costumes, Q?’ Picard asks, awesomely. Well, a lot of the time it’s just because they make him look groovy.
Congratulations, Michael Dorn, you just made me LOL by muttering ‘flim-flam?’ and I don’t think the wodka even helped you.
I love how uncomfortable Q looks when Picard agrees to the ‘gifts of affection.’ He knows this isn’t going to work out.
‘Shall I guess your dreams?’ God he’s creepy, so no wonder Beverly wants to get Wesley out of here. It has just occurred to me how different this episode would have to be if Deanna were on board this week. Given how well she knows Will, there’s really no way she’d let him kid himself about any of this. Sometimes a chap just needs his imzadi to set him straight.
Okay, the scene of turning Wesley into an adult is pretty notorious as it stands (particularly Geordi complimenting him, oh Geordi, you still don’t get it), but my favourite part about it is comparing this with how Wil Wheaton actually grew up – perfectly acceptable, but nothing like the soap-opera hunk Riker conjures up. Therefore, retconaceously, it only makes sense to assume that this is not Wesley’s real future self, but Riker’s idea of Wesley’s future self, in which case it is even funnier that he is imagining Future Wesley like that. William Riker is so weird.
I like how Q starts looking worried as soon as Riker addresses Data, and I absolutely love Data to bits and pieces right up and down the line and around the corner and back again for the way he turns Riker down. Because you can’t bullshit Data, and he is clarity and humility and can be false to no other man. Data fans often speculate about a story in which he magically becomes human, and I remember reading a tie-in novel with that conceit (disappointed me, naturally), but I think this could really only be a dead end for Data. Imagine how mentally handicapped he would feel by the limitation of his memory, clarity and rapidity of thought; imagine how physically weak and clumsy and slow. Would he consider that a worthwhile trade-off for the emotions and sensory experiences, and the, uh, biology? I really don’t think so. It would just take one minor emergency for him, or maybe one bad trip to the toilet, to feel useless and helpless and ready to give it all back to be able to take proper care of his friends. Data is one very nice person.
So now Riker goes for the easy A and gives Geordi normal human eyes, and my GOD it’s weird to see just LeVar Burton’s face without a visor or weird contact lenses. He looks at Tasha and says she’s as beautiful as he imagined, which is a really sweet callback to their scene in ‘The Naked Now,’ awkward as that was, and I guess at least he didn’t direct that comment to Wesley. But Geordi has integrity! And he’d rather have a headache and not see how pretty Tasha is than be beholden to Q.
For some freakin’ reason, Riker is still not discouraged and decides to patronise Worf a little, and magic him up a girlfriend. This is so awful. Fuck you, Riker. This does show continuity from their (awful, inappropriate) conversation in ‘Justice,’ but for crying out loud! ‘I don’t think you’ll ever make it with a lady, so here’s a pretend one!’ Fantasy women, eh? I also really don’t like the fact that the Klingon woman is given no dialogue, and is just presented as, pretty literally, a sex object (with crochet fishnet stockings). The ghosts of K’Ehleyr and Jadzia are also pretty pissed off by this whole scene.
Actually, I think Wesley just doesn’t want to be a 14-year-old with a 24-year-old’s body, because frankly, he was awkward enough at physical 14. It is not easier, Q, and you only think so because you never had The Puberties.
‘How did you know, sir? I feel like such an idiot.’ So you should, dickbutt, and it should’ve started around the time Data turned you down.
Ha ha I love Q’s sandals!
So Q gets snatched away by his bosses with a melodramatic scream. I never really do know whether Q is one among equals or – and he’d hate me suggesting it – a lackey.
And everything’s back to normal – and it is surprising that Data is surprised that the Q handle humans poorly.
And JUST LIKE THAT Riker is back to normal and nobody holds it against him that he acted like such a jackass and it makes no difference to the way he thinks or feels either! ONWARD TO ADVENTURE!
I think the moral of the story is, Data is awesome, and all of us could totally have thought of cooler things to do with Q powers than Riker did.
Next time, ‘Haven,’ and I can’t remember what happens in that one either.
But before we go, let’s check in with O’Brien! What did you do this week, since we didn’t see you?
‘You haven’t seen me in ages, have you? D’you miss me? Go on, you can say you miss me. You miss your O’Brien, don’t you?’