Star Trek 1014: The Gift

1014. The Gift

PUBLICATION: Star Trek: The Next Generation Annual #1, DC Comics, 1990

CREATORS: John de Lancie (writer), Gordon Purcell and Pablo Marcos (artist)

STARDATE: 43738.8 (between Allegiance and Captain's Holiday)

PLOT: Q takes Picard back in time to see his parents where he has apparently taken Jean-Luc's place. When Q proves callous about the death of one of the Picards' sons, they reject him and embrace Jean-Luc. Q then offers Picard the chance to save his brother's life, which Picard takes. However, little Claude Picard would grow up to be a psychotic agitator who perverts Starfleet to his xenophobic, warlike ends, with only the mutineering Riker to fight the good fight. Picard asks Q to restore the timeline, and Q reveals his gift to him was the hindsight and foresight necessary to free of his his guilt over his brother's death.

CONTINUITY: Q last appeared either in Deja Q (canonical) or Q-in-Law (non-canonical).

DIVERGENCES: The title was also used for a Voyager episode. At one point, Riker carries Data in like a limp doll, though other episodes have shown him to be heavier than humans. Picard's parents are identified as Claude and Christine; their real names are Maurice and Yvette (Chain of Command). They live in Paris rather than their vineyard in the country. Picard's LITTLE brother Claude (Jr.?) died falling down a well (there is no older brother in the pictures, if you're looking for Robert). In Tapestry, Q will offer pretty much the same gift.

PANEL OF THE DAY - Shameless plug for my other blog, Hyperion to a Satyr!
REVIEW: When you get a "celebrity writer", you tend to get two things - one is their getting their own character's voice spot-on. The other is none too solid plotting. And that's what John deLancie manages here. I'd call The Gift a scattershot effort. There are some brilliant images, especially in the use of Q's powers unfettered by budgetary considerations (the flies on the wall, the unraveled DNA, Q flying through space as a ball of fire), and I really like the scene where a young Picard won't abandon a sinking fishing boat. However, the story's uneven, with an early dilemma that serves no purpose and never pays off (the crew experiences memory loss), a front half that's a little silly (Q competing for the Picards' affections) and the back half requires a lot of suspension of disbelief (in one generation, Starfleet turns evil and subjugates all the non-human races, all because of one man). And of course, the details of Picard's family life completely contradict those later revealed on the show (and Family was just around the corner, too), which is the risk you run when revealing such details about characters in an ongoing program. One gets the feeling they wouldn't have let a staff writer get away with it, but celebrity writers get more leeway. Despite its flaws, it's an entertaining Annual.


Shiela Greer said...

God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame.


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