The Rewatch 118: Q Who

Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Episode: 2.16 Q Who (05-08-89)
Rating:  5/5
Redshirt Status: 18/18.5/21.5

Notable Guest Stars:
Lycia Naff – Ensign Sonia Gomez.  She will appear in one more episode, with the original intent that she should be another recurring minor character ala Miles O’Brien.  I wish they had continued that.

Review:

 This is an especially important episode, and not just for this series.  This episode introduces the franchise Big Bad.  While each show took on its own drama and tension between species, overall, the Borg are perhaps the longest lasting and the most seen of those chosen to be the villains.  They appear in TNG, Deep Space Nine (briefly), Voyager (as a major contender) and Enterprise.  Its also a major part of the film First Contact.

This episode also gives some backstory to Guinan, Whoopi Goldberg’s character.  I’ve stopped considering her a guest star as she features on several episodes over the years, so I consider her, like Miles O’Brien, to be a minor main character.

This episode’s opener seems like the episode, at first, is going to be about Sonia Gomez’s first day on Enterprise.  Instead she doesn’t feature much (or in the next episode she is in) and we find the episode is about a major player in future seasons – The Borg.

It takes awhile to get up to them, however.  A lot of time is given to making it seem just like a Q episode.  Apparently there is a history between Q and Guinan, and Guinan might have some powers like Q, but they never really develop that aspect of her character.  I’m not sure if its because they forgot, or believed her to be too minor a character to develop.  Although they do use her long life as a plot point several times over the series.

Here is one episode that shows the difference between Kirk and Picard. Kirk would not have sat there and let Q talk before telling him no. Riker might be more like Kirk in that regard. He certainly is not the same as Spock. 

You ever wonder about the people who have to read the reports on these episodes?  I bet at least one person is going to ask Picard why he didn’t immediately come back after Guinan told him it was a dangerous.

Also, they should have turned back when Data realized the connection with the neutral zone.  Or should have changed their mission to figuring it out.  But instead it seems like a off mention rather then an attempt to smooth out that plot hole.

This episode also has the largest death toll in the franchise so far.  18 crewmen were killed by the Borg’s interaction with the Enterprise. 

This was a rather good episode, both in writing (although there were some issues, as mentioned) and acting.

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by Maurice Hurley
  • Directed by Rob Bowman (I believe he’s done the most episodes of any director of this series)
  •  Introduction (formally) of the Borg
  • This episode went over budget, which is part of the reason Shades of Gray is in our future.
  • Originally the Borg were meant to be introduced in The Neutral Zone, the season 1 finale.  They were to be an insectoid race with a hive mind.  Eventually, due to various concerns including budget, they were transformed into The Borg, cybernetic beings of multiple species with a hive mind.  I do wonder if the Xindi Insectoids were inspired by this. They don’t have a hive mind that I know of, but the idea of a non-humanoid lifeform started in TNG.  They Xindi Aquatics are perhaps the only species that really does that but *shrugs*

Pros:

  • Introduction of the Borg
  • Picard seems to have no qualms about Riker being Captain.  It seems like he assumes Riker will take over him not just as interm Captain but as actual Captain.

Cons:

  • Introduction of the Borg.
  • Why have food dispensaries in engineering if you can’t have food in engineering?  Or at least make it in a container that is engineering department friendly? Give that mug a lid.

Screencap via CygnusX1.net

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