Star Trek 494: Death Wish

494. Death Wish

FORMULA: Hide and Q x-1, Half a Life + The Measure of a Man

WHY WE LIKE IT: A witty Q episode.

WHY WE DON'T: Gratuitous guest-stars.

REVIEW: Death Wish is a big surprise. A Picardless Q episode that's thought-provoking and witty, and doesn't waste my time. I can't even say that of all the TNG ones! But here it is. While John de Lancie puts in a fine performance, it's Gerritt Graham as Quinn who steals the show with a manic, bemused and sympathetic performance. He asks the question: Can an immortal commit suicide? It's an interesting SF dilemma that puts Janeway in a difficult spot. Indeed, at her level, the question is whether an individual's rights should include suicide.

But since Quinn is a member of the Q Continuum, that suicide becomes a radical act, a statement against society's stagnation. Death is change, and the Continuum has been static for too long, unable or unwilling to change because nothing endangers it. The representation of the Continuum we're taken to might've been the usual silly surrealism, but it's actually well done. Symbols we can understand, but also cryptic, absurd comments like "oh we've all done the scarecrow". This view of the Continuum also helps reconcile the many faces of Q, from rogue to toady and back again. (Also, why they have they all have the same name.)

In the end, despite being offered a bribe (chalk another one for Gilligan's Island Syndrome - at least the crew doesn't know this time), Janeway sees Quinn's suffering (immortality as a curse) and rules in his favor, hoping he will want to explore mortality instead of killing himself. But he has to sacrifice himself to change his society. It all sounds very heavy, and indeed it is, but the episode also has a number of very funny, clever moments that keep you smiling. Quinn's hiding places, like the big bang, a subatomic world and a Christmas tree are great fun, as is Q calling himself to the stand. Janeway's the second Starfleet captain to wake up next to Q, and her reaction isn't any better than Picard's.

If there's a weakness, it's the gratuitous calling of historical (and not so historical) figures to testify. Looks like a slim reason to make Riker guest-star (though Q's comment about him getting to captain Voyager shows he was keeping up with the Hollywood gossip), and a Woodstock roadie? Really? It's not like that sequence makes much of a point. Q's "behind the scenes" knowledge is often witty, but sometimes misapplied, such as when questioning Janeway's worth because she's a woman. But these are minor points in such a rich episode.

LESSON: Only people who can die care about living.

REWATCHABILITY - High: Quinn may be terminally bored, but I'm not. One of the best ever Q episodes.

2 comments:

mwb said...

Yes, it is one of the best and one of the really thought provoking Q episodes.

But it leads into some of the worst drivel. The "Civil War" one and Q baby... ugh.

Is it worth the price?

Siskoid said...

Don't blame the father for the son.

 

Blog Archive

Category

5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zero Hour Strikes Zine