Star Trek: The Next Generation

"Hide and Q"


Air date: 11/23/1987
Teleplay by C.J. Holland and Gene Roddenberry
Story by C.J. Holland
Directed by Cliff Bole

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

In the first episode of TNG I can finally actually endorse, Q returns while the Enterprise is on a mission of mercy to rescue the survivors of an explosion on a Federation colony. Q interrupts with a new series of games, and snatches most of the bridge crew (less Picard) from the ship and puts them on the surface of a planet where an approaching platoon of deadly nonhuman soldiers close in on their position. Q offers Riker the power of the Q in the hopes that Riker will join the Q Continuum. Riker at first refuses but then uses his new power in a moment of desperation to save his shipmates.

The show's early dialog is lively, thanks to Q's nonstop condescension and his amusing verbal barbs. "Hide and Q" benefits from being a follow-up to "Encounter at Farpoint" because this time Q is a recognizable nemesis who immediately comes across as an intellectual opponent rather than a physical threat. There's a method to his madness, as evidenced in the scene where he confesses to Riker that the reason the Q want Riker to join them is so they can learn about humanity's rare hunger to learn and grow.

The story's second half centers on Riker's new powers and his promise to Picard not to use them (not even to save a young girl who dies in the explosion). Interesting how Riker's new gifts, despite his every effort to remain a humble human, insidiously turn him toward an arrogance he doesn't even recognize. ("Have you noticed how you and I are on a first-name basis?" Picard asks him.) Riker attempts to give all his friends miracle gifts — granting them a literally magical wish — and I liked the way this backfired; apparently humanity has advanced far enough to recognize rewards do not come without an ethical cost.

Yes, the story reduces omnipotence to an almost absurd simplicity (would anyone really give up such a gift?). But what works here is the story's trust in its extended (and effective) dialog scenes that debate and wrestle with the matter at hand — scenes that would be practically unheard of on television today because no one would have the patience for them.

Previous episode: The Battle
Next episode: Haven

◄ Season Index

25 comments on this review

Sat, Sep 10, 2011, 7:49pm (UTC -5)
Having Wesley still have his "teen" voice as a grown man in "Hide and Q" was utterly ridiculous...why would he choose to stay that way in that case?...if he did presumably that would be his voice forever.

Definitely the worse Q episode of all Trek, and that includes Q-pid and DS9's Q-less and VOY's Q2, which all also stunk.
Latex Zebra
Fri, Mar 30, 2012, 4:55am (UTC -5)
I know the use of first name was a device to show that power corrupts but it doesn't ring true as I see Riker as having more respect for Picard than that.
Mon, Jun 25, 2012, 1:21am (UTC -5)
Meh, I'd have rated it with only 2 stars.

I love every bit of Q I could get, but still this time around he acted a bit more immature than in "Encounter...". Just look at his final scene, he was like a big old baby (That's more of a problem of the script than the marvelous John De Lancie, of course)

And the Alf-like creatures were so bad to look at. I celebrated Wesley's temp-dead but I didn't celebrate his acting. Gosh.

But my biggest gripe against the ep is how they solved Riker's superpowers. I've always found annoying that type of show that magically fullfil the lifelong wish of some characters, only to find out 5 secs later than it's actually a bad thing and you should left them unchanged. Because, face it, there'll always be some chars that'd really benefit from that kind of magic (Date would never find another way to be a real human, for example), but NO, you can't alter the status quo my boy. Just tease at the idea of change, but never change.

@ Jay: LOL, you're right. I laughed my ass off when I heard that adult guy speaking with teen Wesley's voice. Wth were they thinking? It wasn't like we could he was someone else, as everyone else stayed the same :P
Van Patten
Sun, Sep 23, 2012, 6:45pm (UTC -5)
Probably not as enthusiastic as Jammer about this one, although I agree it is watchable. Q returns to the Enterprise once again, this time to offer Riker the option of joining the Continuum.

The episode is again somewhat faster paced than evident missteps like 'Code of Honour' or 'Lonely Among us', and the dialogue between De Lancie and Stewart is once more entertaining. However, the scenes involving the Aliens dressed in Napoleonic costume are at best tiresome, (although seeing Wesley killed off no doubt made many fans days, even if it wasn't real) - however, for me the episode feels rushed. There was no real tension in the scenes at the end and the outcome was fairly predictable. By no means a terrible episode but ultimately unsatisfying. 2.5 stars from me.
Mon, Oct 29, 2012, 11:35am (UTC -5)
I don't get. Why didnt Georgi accept Riker's gift? What would have been the ethical cost if he had accepted it?

The scene where Tasha is crying and Picard tries to comfort her is just embarrassing. She acts so bad, nevertheless, I guess most TNG characters (besides Data and Picard) act wooden in season 1.

Worf was killed way too easy by those "pigmen". Also, Wes death was cheesy and Picard shouting at that moment "Wes" was out of tense.

Other than those, not a bad episode. 2 stars.
Tue, Nov 13, 2012, 8:08pm (UTC -5)
It's not perfect ("penalty box", anyone?) but DeLancie, Frakes, and Stewart definitely up the ante in this. Which is not to disregard the other actors; everyone pulls in a good job, and for the Yar/Picard penalty box scene, the fact neither of them goes OTT or corpses is a testament to their abilities, even under the absolute worst of conditions.

"Hide and Q" is a mix of what made TNG season 1 work and fail, all rolled into one. Which is odd to say, since it lacks the juvenile sexuality, Data's use of contractions, and cornball extremes that would pretty much hamper and/or ruin any number of other episodes... But half of season 1 is definitely better than the reputation it's been accorded, and the Blu-Ray restoration only makes it more compelling to re-watch.

Riker being turned down by the crew was a tad forced, especially after Geordi's scene with vision (LeVar Burton has fantastic, expressive eyes, which nailed his scenes beautifully and perfectly), but I could still buy his reasoning (Q was always a horse's hind toward them from day 1, and what was going on was not out of sincerity by Q.)

In the end, it was slightly cornball, and Q does make the story both more fun, yet more bland as we know the big rescue mission isn't going to be so drama-driven after all, and what time was allocated to that was pretty much a cliche driven at warp speed.

3 out of 4 for me as well.
Wed, Nov 14, 2012, 11:58am (UTC -5)
Oh, the blu-ray has a problem:

They had to recreate the whole scene from scratch, with the Q forcefield disappearing. The Enterprise's lights come on slowly, and then Picard and crew state how everything's acting as if they never stopped. So why the CGI that shows the ship in a powered-down state, with lights coming on in sections, and the ship being the wrong color as well? It's the only real nitpick I've got for what is otherwise a fantastic remastering process. And the nitpick is there mostly for plot logistics, but I've not seen the old DVD or VHS copies in years -- if the same issue is there then the remastering team stayed true to the original team's mistake. :)
Sat, Dec 15, 2012, 4:06am (UTC -5)
I really don't understand all the love for this episode. It basicly says, that if you are somehow special and can do things others can't, you need t give it up and don't anything, even if it means inocent people will die. And why? Well.. eh...

Now that think about it... This episode makes a lot more sence, if you realise, that Enterprise crew was just following teachings of great Federation hero from the past.

Fri, Jan 11, 2013, 7:53pm (UTC -5)
I have three words about this episode. "Vicious animal things." Please. Weakest Q episode of all, and not too high overall.
Fri, Jan 11, 2013, 8:03pm (UTC -5)
It is at least miles better than "The Q and the Grey" and "Q2". This was frickin' James Joyce compared to those two duds.
Sat, Feb 23, 2013, 10:43pm (UTC -5)
Another winner, this time providing some good character development for Riker, who since the pilot has been rather a bland cipher. As much as I thought Q was kind of hokey in the pilot, he worked wonders here. They should have made John de Lancie a regular, so far he just outshines everyone else! (Kind of like How I Met Your Mother where Barney Stinson naturally steals the show from Ted Mosby, supposedly the 'main character'.)

Anyway. I liked the philosophical aspect of the ep even if didn't really reach the potential it had in my mind. Kind of like TOS's "Where No Man Has Gone Before" - the same theme of Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely, oversimplified in parts but conveyed pretty effectively as a whole.

"...scenes that would be practically unheard of on television today because no one would have the patience for them."

I really wish more shows would tackle themes like this...unfortunately all we get on TV are "dark", "gritty", "down-to-earth" shows consisting of 99% mindless explosions and shootouts, while shows that at least try for larger themes are cancelled prematurely. BSG kind of falls into the former category, but the action always has real meaning and the series does try to pose some good questions so I won't complain about that. Still, I really think a lot of folks out there are hankering for some brighter, more optimistic sci-fi that actually tries to make one ponder.

Anyhow, 3 stars, easy.
Sun, Mar 31, 2013, 1:50am (UTC -5)
And I hate the "power corrupts" bullshit. It was NOT using the power that got Riker to loose it. This episode says that when you have power to do something great, you shouldn't use it? That's horrible and disgusting message. This episode sucks.
Shawn Davis
Mon, Oct 14, 2013, 5:30am (UTC -5)
This is not the best of the Q episodes, but it's not the worst either. This episode was interested at the start of the show when Q gave Riker the powers of the Q and during the middle of the show when Picard and Riker gets into a interesting philosophical argument about using the Q powers. However, the final act of the episode where he grants the crew some special gift to prove Picard's point about power corrupts was handled very poorly. I'd give this episode at least 2 1/2 stars not three. However, I do agree with one of the poster about this episode being better than any of Q's appearances on Voyager (and the one episode on DS9).
Sat, Jan 11, 2014, 2:51pm (UTC -5)
While much of the script and most of the acting was still wooden (except the superb DeLancie), I did like the nuanced theme of why the Q Continuum was interested in humans. Was it just curiosity as in Farpoint? Or was it a new concern of jealousy or feeling threatened by this human race that showed signs of evolving some day into a competitive species? Let's make Riker one of us so we can "know the enemy" or simply assimilate humans like the Borg will eventually try. The scene with Picard and Q quoting Shakespeare back and forth on these ideas was excellent.
Wed, Jun 25, 2014, 11:30am (UTC -5)
@Mad :

The message is not "when you have power to do something great, you shouldn't use it", just that power has to be earned in order to be properly wielded. The implications from the first half of the episode (and the TNG Q arc in general) are that humanity's evolution is accelerating and that eventually, humans will rival the Q in power. Once this is achieved, the wisdom which comes with a shared evolution will be the means of negotiating when and how to use that power.
Fri, Oct 10, 2014, 5:30pm (UTC -5)
The episode *does* emphasize that superior power must be earned. But, in this case, I'm not so hot on letting the little girl die. It makes our characters look dogmatic to that belief to a fault. I can live with Geordi giving back his eyesight and Data refusing to become literally human - a very nice thematic touch on the episode since his journey to becoming human is more important than the goal. But letting the girl die is senseless. It raises a lot of uncomfortable questions about characters who are willing to let someone die right in front of them because humanity hasn't filled out its evolutionary paperwork yet.
Thu, Dec 18, 2014, 3:51pm (UTC -5)
The thing that bother's me most about this episode...Is that Q is dressed as a British general (mostly), yet everyone identifies him as a French Marshal? French Marshals dressed in blue, white and gold, with maybe a red sash. Q is dressed in red and white, the colors of the British, France's sworn enemy! That's be like Q dressing in a SS uniform, and everyone referring him to an American general. Just how lazy is their custom department? The French soldier uniforms look terrible, but at least they got the general color scheme right.
Tue, Dec 30, 2014, 2:28am (UTC -5)
I'm feeling a comic superhero message mixed up somewhere in this episode. That message still makes sense but it is lost in the myriad blender of equally good and bad exposition throughout. I generally enjoy the episodes of Star Trek concerning Q but this one just falls flat in one too many scenes to really recommend it.

I would like to point out something based on a couple of above comments concerning the little girl. She was already dead when they got there. Riker didn't "let her" die. Either way, the point is moot. Is Riker eventually supposed to go willy-nilly throughout the galaxy and beyond to bring back to life every single loved life-form back to life because he can?

This episode is, even with the good parts, too big for itself and tries too much while saying very little (or at least saying what's already been heard). I commend the writers with the attempt here; the execution is just not there.

1.5 stars.
Diamond Dave
Tue, Aug 11, 2015, 1:55pm (UTC -5)
A simple enough premise - how would you act if you had the powers of a god? And I suppose this had some potential - without John De Lancie chewing the scenery and 'vicious animal things' in Napoleonic dress. But ultimately it feels perfunctory because the high concepts of the limit of unearned power can't be explored in true depth, but through a series of convenient steps that lead Riker to enlightenment.

We did, however, get to see Wesley impaled screaming on a bayonet, and what's not to like about that. 2 stars.
Kia may
Sat, Sep 5, 2015, 10:44am (UTC -5)
Notably absent from this episode was the presence of Troi. If she was around, this could have been a more solid character study for Riker. I can imagine the scenes and dialogue between them. We could have avoided the conscious animal things and reached further into philosophy & ethics and developed both Riker and his relationship with Troi. Someone please rewrite this, if it hasn't been done already.
Tue, Sep 8, 2015, 1:13pm (UTC -5)
Troi was lame and useless. I choose to believe Q was so annoyed with her that he erased her from this episode.
Tue, Sep 22, 2015, 8:02pm (UTC -5)
Another of the early absurdities of TNG in dialogue here...this time that the Federation and Klingons are allies because Starfleet "defeated" the Klingons.
Sat, Nov 7, 2015, 6:07pm (UTC -5)
I'm not a fan of the first season of TNG, but this has to be one of the worst episodes of the season.. when Yar starts crying on the bridge and picard consoles her I could only roll my eyes, and that wasn't the worst part in my opinion, just the most notable. Q was the only character which was passable in this episode.
After watching the whole run of 7 seasons and then going back the first season is almost un-watchable in its cheesiness and the wooden script reading... feels like drama school acting.
Sat, Jan 23, 2016, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
I was more forgiving of the episode when i first watched it in the nineties just because Q was in it, it is a bad episode but i did like the scene between Q and Picard when they quote from Shakespeare.
Jason R.
Mon, Jan 25, 2016, 11:53am (UTC -5)
Awful. Just awful. It screams TOS, and not in a good way. That planet they get transported to and those dog creatures are basically cut and pasted from a hodgpodge of terrible TOS cliches. Even Delancy's overacting can't save this wretched episode. Tasha Yar crying has to be one of the worst moments in all of Trek. Just embarrassing. Even Patrick Stewart was helpless to salvage that scene.

I would give it 1.5 stars, with a full star awarded purely to account for Wesley being stabbed through the chest with a bayonet.

Submit a comment

Notify me about new comments on this page
Hide my e-mail on my post

◄ Season Index

▲Top of Page | Menu | Copyright © 1994-2016 Jamahl Epsicokhan. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication or distribution of any content is prohibited. This site is an independent publication and is not affiliated with or authorized by any entity or company referenced herein. See site policies.