Star Trek 168: Déjà Q

168. Déjà Q

FORMULA: Q Who? + The Squire of Gothos + The Paradise Syndrome + Lonely Among Us - Where No Man Has Gone Before

WHY WE LIKE IT: Quite funny. Guinan forks Q. Data's belly laugh.

WHY WE DON'T: The tetryon field effect. Ugly aliens of the week.

REVIEW: Never mind the MacGuffin plot about pushing a moon into orbit, it isn't really important, and the Bre'elians are bone ugly aliens with unworkable make-up and odd voices. That's just background to the real story of Q's few hours as a human being. And it's an excellent one! Comedy can be hard to work into the Star Trek format without seeming forced, but when it comes out of the characters, there's nothing to worry about. Here, Q's unfamiliarity wtih the human condition produces a few laughs, but the really funny stuff comes up when he's being sarcastic with the crew. "Eat any good books lately?" He and Worf make a great pair, don't they?

In fact, I quite enjoyed all the characters being mean to Q. As evolved 24th-century people, they don't often get the chance to show this much remorseless animosity and pettiness, but it's pretty fun to see them in that mode. Beverly's bedside manner, for example, or Guinan stabbing him with a fork, or even Geordi thinking he is in command ("and he is correct"). All great moments. And we can always count on Q to break the fourth wall in a sense, and make comments a fan might make, since in essence, he has been observing this crew just like we have. The one about Riker's beard stands out in my mind.

There's one character who cannot be mean to Q, and that's Data. So naturally, he becomes Q's only friend. Q telling the android that he's a better human than the former entity would ever be is a fine dramatic moment giving a bit more oomph to the episode, and Q's final gift of laughter is very well played by Brent Spiner and a wonderful ending. Fun to see Corbin Bernsen in an almost ADD performance as well. The Calamarain are a necessary plot point, though there's not much to say about this race. I liked Q blowing on them, but that's about it, and their tetryon weapon effect was pretty coarse compared to the series' usual standards. Still, the plot's fine, the actors are having fun, and the zingers fly.

LESSON: The only way to prove your mortality is to die. In effect, it has not yet been proven that you or I are mortal.

REWATCHABILITY - High: Q can be menacing, and Q can be funny. He can also be a little tragic. A fine showcase for both John de Lancie and the main cast. Loads of fun.


Matthew Turnage said...

One of my all-time favorite TNG episodes, easily. I still get a big laugh when Q celebrates the return of his powers at the end.


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