1.7. Q-Less

Q arrives on the station with Vash, Picard’s sometime flame. She’s got some relics, including one that’s a space alien that nearly destroys the station. Q gets punched in the nose by Sisko.

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Can you tell I’m getting bored of summarising these episodes? Because I can!

This episode actually annoys me on a number of levels. Firstly, let’s talk about Q’s portrayal. In TNG and again in Voyager, Q serves an interesting purpose – he is fantastically powerful and intelligent, and provides a foil for the Starfleet team. No matter how good they are, Q is always better. He introduces the Borg to the Federation, and all that that led to. There is fairly strong evidence that, beneath his chaotic ways, Q is actually acting in the interests of humanity.

Picard, who perhaps spent more time with Q than any other Starfleet officer, described him as: devious and amoral and unreliable and irresponsible and… and definitely not to be trusted.

Except here, when he’s pining after some girl. Hardly all-powerful, then, is he? I mean, Q is a selfish, arrogant pig – is it really such a stretch to think he might alter Vash’s mind to make her love him? I’ll accept that this might rob Vash of the independent spirit that attracted him in the first place, but, really, Q, this is just pathetic.

I’m also a little irritated at the lack of follow-through, which was actually a common problem in the first season. We never again hear from Tosk or the Hunters or this giant space-manta thing, or in fact hardly any of the Gamma races we meet in these early days. It’s as if the Dominion is waiting on the far side, burning down anyone who returns from the Alpha Quadrant.

But I can’t bring myself to hate this episode for a couple of reasons. First is the first moment when we can clearly see the difference between Sisko and Picard – when Sisko bops Q, an omnipotent being, square on the nose. Where Picard engaged with Q in a battle of wits, Sisko instead tackles the problem head-on. I’m not sure which is the best method – although Picard’s is certainly the more “Starfleetish” – but I still love the look on Q’s face when he’s lying there on the floor. The second reason is a single line, when Q mets Chief O’Brien – “Oh, yes, weren’t you one of the little people?”

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