Jammer's Review

Star Trek: The Next Generation

"True Q"


Air date: 10/26/1992
Written by Rene Echevarria
Directed by Robert Scheerer

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

The brilliant new intern Amanda Rogers (you didn't expect the intern selected for the Enterprise could be anything less than brilliant, did you?) comes aboard the ship and realizes that the secret abilities she's been experiencing for a while suddenly begin to manifest themselves more frequently and powerfully. When accidents start to occur around her, her telekinetic ability is able to avert disaster. First she stops a cargo container from falling on Riker. Later she stops a warp core explosion from destroying the ship.

Turns out Our Favorite Q was responsible for the "accidents," and was testing the abilities of Amanda (Olivia d'Abo), who is the offspring of two Q who years ago decided to leave the Q Continuum and live among humans. Q wants to see just who Amanda is: Is she a Q who could return to the Continuum, or some sort of hybrid who could potentially cause untold disaster?

"True Q" is an intriguing tale that provides a unique look at the Q. The issue of the Q's omnipotence has often been played as a joke in the past, but here we see the possibility that an undisciplined or uncontrolled Q with typical human emotions could possibly destroy ... well, the entire galaxy, I guess. Q is here to provide Amanda with some guidance over her newfound abilities and to convince her to join the Continuum. But he also has his own unrevealed mission — to play judge, jury, and, if necessary, executioner if Amanda is deemed too much of an uncertainty to the Q.

The Q are tricky story subjects, and there are at least as many questions here as answers: Just what is the nature of the Q Continuum, and what rules is it governed by? Given that Q could (probably) destroy the entire galaxy by simply thinking about it, what has kept them from doing so over the past few eons? Do they have their own Prime Directive that keeps them from interfering in the simple matters of life and death for the rest of the universe? And just why is Our Favorite Q always so interested in observing the "human condition" which, as a matter of his own existence, is about as relevant to him as an ant colony is to us? (To try to answer that last question: I suppose if we could walk as ants among other ants just to see what it's like, maybe we'd try it for a day or two.)

The main story point here is that Amanda must choose between being an omnipotent Q and going on with her life as a regular human. She at first just wants to be a regular human. And on that point, I must say I'm with Q — that seems to be such a naive and limited point of view when the alternative is limitless knowledge. I'm also with Q when it comes to the whole issue of Amanda's fate: If she could potentially destroy the entire galaxy, someone has to step up and make the call to end her existence if that's what it takes. Right?

And when Picard has a speech that lectures Q on morality, I again must also agree with Q: It's a great speech, wonderfully argued by the typically impressive Patrick Stewart gravitas, but I almost have to laugh it off, because it's so idealistic in the face of ultimate power that can't possibly be governed based on limited human perspectives. Clearly, the Q didn't not destroy the universe millions of years ago by having no rules.

John de Lancie is more menacing than usual as Q, exhibiting paternal and yet simultaneously dominating (in its quasi-sexual overtones) in his scenes with Amanda. Olivia d'Abo is effective in depicting a naiveté that must quickly adapt to the situation before her, ultimately choosing between a life as a human where she must never use her powers (like her parents, who failed, and were killed by the Continuum as a result) or joining the Continuum as a being that must leave more human trivialities behind. The end result is a solid sci-fi outing about a single choice.

Previous episode: Schisms
Next episode: Rascals

Season Index

35 comments on this review

Patrick - Sat, Jun 9, 2012 - 3:30pm (USA Central)
This episode is a solid outing and *greatly* underrated. Though, I did wonder why, if Amanda, wanted to stay with the humans, the continuum simply revoke her powers allowing her to live a normal human life. (They did it in "Deja Q" after all, and in VGR's "Death Wish").

This episode also has one of the greatest bits of (unintentional) foreshadowing ever with this exchange between Q and Picard:

Picard: "I remember your 'superior morality' when we first encountered you. You put us on trial for the crimes of humanity!"

Q: "The jury's still out on that, make no mistake."

Little did we know this would tie in to the final episode. Did the writer of this episode have some inkling?
Art - Sat, Jun 9, 2012 - 4:52pm (USA Central)
What's odd about this episode -- or more "Q and the grey" is that you'd think a Q being born already would make the ending of the later nonsensical.
JC - Sat, Jun 9, 2012 - 10:45pm (USA Central)
"Though, I did wonder why, if Amanda, wanted to stay with the humans, the continuum simply revoke her powers allowing her to live a normal human life. (They did it in "Deja Q" after all, and in VGR's "Death Wish")."

For that matter, couldn't the Continuum have just stripped her parents of THEIR powers, if they wanted to live as normal humans that badly, and couldn't be trusted not to use their abilities? Executing them seems harsh and unnecessary.

Nitpicks aside, I agree with the "underrated" comment. I REALLY like this episode.
David - Sat, Jun 9, 2012 - 11:09pm (USA Central)
This episode is no better than 2 stars--it is an utter bore--I barely sat through it when I watched it first run and every other time over 2 decades I tried to watch it I can't. It is just dull. The alien pollution plot is tired, the refular cast is MIA, Amanda is the focus and I don't find her that interesting. This was just pretentious TNG--which I rarely accuse the show of--but this episode epitomizes it.
grumpy_otter - Tue, Jun 19, 2012 - 7:37pm (USA Central)
I hate Q. I really hate Q. I can barely tolerate any episode he is in. (The only Q I liked was the one who wanted to commit suicide)

Seriously? An omnipotent being has nothing better to do than mess with humans? Yawn.

And the basic idea is so stupid--reminds me of most gods throughout history. Capricious, jealous, childish, vain, and blech.

Elliott - Wed, Jun 20, 2012 - 1:10pm (USA Central)
That's interesting, grumpy, I too dislike this episode, but find Q to be its only redeeming factor.

We're supposed to be on everyone's side but Q's, but each time one of the cast comes into conflict with him, I'm always cheering for him--the scene where Beverly becomes a real "bitch" is always a scream--she was really insufferable this episode. While I almost always enjoy Picard speeches, take note that here, he is not directly addressing the issue of the episode, but rather the issue of extinguishing that which one does not understand, out of prejudice and fear. That makes for a fine speech but it's only peripherally relevant to Amanda's problem.

Which brings us to Amanda herself--an absolute mess of a character and poorly portrayed to boot. One minute she's a sad orphan, the next a horny teenaged moron, the next she love PUPPIES!, and we're supposed to buy that she's some sort of Wesley-esque genius? Throwing a bunch of character traits into a shell does not constitue a character.

1.5 stars from me.
John - Fri, Jul 27, 2012 - 1:00am (USA Central)
I thought this episode was alright.

You can just see Rene Echevarria gleefully using Q to take out his frustration at some of the regular TNG characters. Turning Crusher into a baying dog mid-sentence, playing on Riker's whorish ways, and having Q just smirk condescendingly as Picard makes a bloated speech about morality.
Kevin - Wed, Aug 22, 2012 - 2:42am (USA Central)
I'm not a Beverly hater (except for any scene that involves Wesley - I despise Wesley), but Q's line is spot on.

"Crusher gets more shrill with each passing year."


I think you're right, this episode was really just a vent for the writers (and probably the actors too).
Mike Caracappa - Thu, Aug 30, 2012 - 4:06am (USA Central)
This is a very good episode. I think with what your saying Jammer about what the "rules" of the Q continuum are is that it's not really about rules. It's about perspectives. We've already learned from Q that there's no way to put a feeble human perspective on how the continuum works because our viewpoint is so limited compared to theirs. Why has no other Q destroyed the galaxy? Well, because for however it works for them, all we really know is that "rules" are a human concept. In this episode, the girl Q is a possible threat because she was raised with human emotions, and Q is right that her only way to survive is to grow beyond the limits of her human perspective. But her advantage over Q is that she has more of an understanding of the ways of humanity having grown up without knowledge of her powers. She can take what she learned in her life to help the continuum understand humans better. But apart from that knowledge because she's transcended and become a Q, all that knowledge will become no longer valid to her. Q had a limited perspective when he was made human in Deja Q. But once he understood the concept of compassion, he threw it aside once he got his powers back. Because compassion is a human trait, not a Q trait. The Q are cosmic and omnipotent, which goes beyond what any human can comprehend. To me it's what makes Q a great character (and yeah, I'm pretty much aware what I suggested means the writers can write their way out of any corner regarding the Q!). But they can do anything, and I always love it when Q shuts down Picards moralizing. Because really, compared to the Q, Picard knows nothing.
Patrick - Fri, Aug 31, 2012 - 2:47pm (USA Central)

I have to disagree with you. Q was never quite the same after "Deja Q". He demonstrated quite a bit of compassion to Picard and Co. in "Tapestry" and "All Good Things..." He's still a knave through and through, but he's not the same Q who froze Enterprise officers alive or had Wesley Crusher bayonetted through his mid-section by those 'vicious animal things'.

In both this episode and "All Good Things...", Q is following directives from the Continuum. Q wants humanity to succeed. He's like the playground bully who got punched in the nose by a smaller kid, and is actually impressed by the smaller kid's gumption.

If Q remained the same character from the pilot episode; a one dimensional tormentor--he wouldn't have been memorable at all. But, his character changed and evolved--as did Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Mike Caracappa - Fri, Aug 31, 2012 - 5:17pm (USA Central)
Hi Patrick,
I humbley agree with your assessment on Q's development, but I was speaking mainly about Q's perspective on the universe vs the human perspective, which is obviously far more limited. Q learns compassion as a human trait, and he obviously likes humans because he pokes and prods them to help them along and bring them up another level. He is in return compassionate in some cases because it's what he's learned is important to humans. But it's not really important to him. Compassion is a human trait. He's a Q. He knows humans like to be compassionate towards each other and its how he relates to them. How he relates to humans changes but Q himself doesn't change. If he did, it would go against his omnipotent nature. He does learn compassion from Deja Q (my favorite TNG episode btw), but your also forgetting the last scene where Picard says "Maybe Q has an ounce of humanity in him after all". But Q appears for a split second and says "Don't count on it, Picard". :)
Glenn - Fri, Dec 7, 2012 - 12:24am (USA Central)
I'd give this one 2.5 stars. Q episodes are tricky because we really have to suspend our disbelief that they aren't also omniscient in addition to being omnipotent. I mean, couldn't an omnipotent being command itself to become omniscient? And the idea that the Q haven't already become omniscient bothers me. It allows for TNG stories involving them to proceed, of course, but it also distracts me from the episode.
mike - Tue, Apr 9, 2013 - 4:44am (USA Central)
The dilemma is intriguing -- could you really restrain yourself if you could do absolutely anything -- but the examination of this quandary is a bit plodding and frankly under done. We spend our entire time wandering room to room around the ship doing pretty much nothing. Surely this theme could have been explored in a more dynamic way and with bigger stakes. Bad enough that we have to explore this issue with another Generic Youngster Aboard the Enterprise. Star Trek stories involving children are notoriously weak. Although Olivia d'Abo is almost grown, her concerns (and wardrobe) are too immature to give the plot the pace it really needs. What this episode needed was a touch of "Charlie X" from the TOS. Now there was a kid with some problems copying with power.

Ultimately Amanda is giving the Big Test to see if she can really refrain from using her powers but it feels more like a pop quiz. Save The Planet's Atmosphere (tm) is tacked on literally in the last four minutes. That's the big test? It's distant, impersonal and all too quick. Plus how do you explain to a few billion people on the planet below that somehow Starfleet has done such a God like miracle in a few seconds. And yet no one is impressed. Then Amanda just says "oops, I guess I can't help myself. Gotta go." End of story.

I rarely watch this episode and every time I do I'm reminded why. I give two stars at best.
T'Paul - Sun, Jun 16, 2013 - 12:31pm (USA Central)
My comment follows on Art's above... doesn't this negate the "we need to create a new Q" storyline on Voyager?

Also the comment that the crew is MIA is also spot on... why was Beverly counselling Amanda? Where was Troi?
T'Paul - Sun, Jun 16, 2013 - 12:38pm (USA Central)
@ grumpy above (a year later, admittedly), yes, the gods in mythology are frequently like that aren't they?
T'Paul - Sun, Jun 16, 2013 - 12:40pm (USA Central)
Ah and finally (sorry for the multiple posts) not sure if anyone has said it yet, but what is up with that hair (you know who I'm talking about)
mephyve - Sun, Jul 28, 2013 - 2:23pm (USA Central)
For me the story started with a bang with lots of action and humor but sometime after Crusher got turned into a dog (hilarious), I lost interest. Hey , the girl is a Q, cool.
William B - Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - 9:35pm (USA Central)
I like this episode okay, but I have a hard time getting excited about Amanda's dilemma and the most interesting things about it are less about the episode itself and more about its connections forward and backward.

For one thing, this is something of a remake of "Hide and Q," but with the ending changed: Riker rejected having Q powers, even when he had to let people die to hold onto his humanity; Amanda makes the opposite choice. The key reason is that Amanda is not a member of the crew, and is indeed a Q by birth rather than by arbitrary decision. And yet, I feel somewhat that the fact that Amanda chooses to accept her Q powers goes against and tempers Picard's speech about superior human morality. It's not that Q are better than humans, but there is something interesting about concluding that for Amanda at least, the life of a Q is a better fit than her human life, which would hold her back.

The second major thing is about Crusher. Beverly brings up Wesley in an early scene with Amanda, and Jack's death comes up. Jack's death affects Beverly, but despite Amanda bringing him up later in the episode as a parallel to Amanda's parents, the person Jack orphaned was Wesley. I don't know that I'd go as far as to call it foreshadowing, but hints had already been made in the Traveller episodes that Wesley's path might go somewhere other than Starfleet. Beverly becoming a surrogate parent to Amanda for a very brief time and accepting that Amanda's exceptionality will lead her not to Starfleet and to a life like Beverly's (or Jack's, or Jean-Luc's) but to something else entirely is perhaps some small manner of preparation for what will happen to Wesley.

As for Q himself, this is the only episode of TNG in which he appears for reasons not related to the Enterprise crew, and so it stands just a tad outside his arc for that reason. However, Q's tests do bring back a menacing dimension to the character that had been missing since "Q Who?" and pave the way for his Big Test in the series finale. De Lancie and Stewart are excellent as usual and their crackle is well worthwhile. I guess this is probably a high 2.5 stars for me.
Moonie - Thu, Jan 23, 2014 - 4:28pm (USA Central)
I *like* Q. And his line to Picard "Jean-Luc, ...sometimes I think the only reason I come here is to listen to these wonderful speeches of yours..." was one of those instant classics. Had me laughing out loud. (Q usually has a point...!)

Josh - Thu, Jan 23, 2014 - 8:48pm (USA Central)
That's probably one of my favourite scenes with Q. Picard is going off on his usual well-articulated soliloquy about morals and ethics and justice. Q sits patiently listening without saying a word - then responds with *that*. Classic.
Smith - Tue, Feb 18, 2014 - 12:37pm (USA Central)
Good episode... John wasn't a fan of this type of type of "babysitting" episode and wanted Q to be more "Mad, bad and dangerous". They came close to actually killing Amanda (which would have been a fun twist and reversed some of the anthropomorphism that had inflicted Q in later episodes).
DLPB - Sun, Mar 9, 2014 - 9:45pm (USA Central)
More dumbing down of Q and his race.
Andrew - Wed, Jul 2, 2014 - 12:49am (USA Central)
An ok episode, not really one of my favorite Q ones though. The scenes with Riker were amusing.

I just find it frustrating to watch a person teetering on the edge of having the Q's power and totally take it for granted. I'd rather watch someone just immediately take the Q power.

I mean come on, who in their right mind would turn down that opportunity. No one. It's way too much of a forced message, like I'm watching one of those "genie in the lamp" episodes where the moral is be careful what you wish for. The desire to be a normal human over having super powers seems to be totally exaggerated in stories IMO.

So yeah it's a solid episode, I'm just sort of past these kinds of stories.
Andrew - Wed, Nov 5, 2014 - 10:00pm (USA Central)
I didn't like this episode, in particular it demanded but didn't get direct comparison and follow-up to "Hide and Q," instead Riker was pretty wasted and both he and Crusher seemed very out-of-character in being so accepting and unconcerned about Q.
Peter - Fri, May 8, 2015 - 1:04pm (USA Central)
I find I like Q in spite of, or maybe because of, his hilariously overblown arrogance. In this episode, he also demonstrates that he has zero idea of what is meant by "personal space." He hovers over Amanda, his face just an inch or two from hers, was downright creepy.

This episode was easily three stars for me. The plotting was good, the actress playing Amanda was very good, and I really liked that Beverly got a larger than usual role in this episode.

Best line of the episode is when Q tells Picard, "Jean Luc, sometimes I think the only reason I come here is to listen to these wonderful speeches of yours." Those speeches often are one of the highlights of TNG, aren't they?
Troy - Mon, Jul 20, 2015 - 9:49am (USA Central)
This is probably the best Q episode 2.75 stars not quite a 3. I love Olivia d'Abo, and I'm glad they gave her a cuter hair style when she whisked Riker away. I had forgotten how the quandry was resolved until rewatching it recently, but a great and realistic resolution.
I know they were using Riker as a demonstration of how you can't Q yourself love, but was amused Riker would go for Soren but not Amanda.
I suspect this episode does give credence to some fan theories that the Q were once human, as you have Amanda's parents choosing to live as humans.
Luke - Thu, Sep 10, 2015 - 9:26am (USA Central)
Um, why is the dilemma presented as a choice between 1.) being a Human who refrains from using the power of the Q and 2.) joining the Continuum? There is a third option here. Why didn't the Continuum simply remove Amanda's powers? You know, like they did to Q himself back in "Deja Q"?!

But, leaving that nitpick aside, there is really a lot I like about "True Q." First and foremost, I love that is is, essentially, "Hide and Q" done right. Whereas that episode was about "enlightened" people jettisoning what made them special and conforming to the group (with a nice heaping dose of Season One douchbaggery thrown in), this one is about accepting who you are and seeing yourself as unique and with something to contribute for society's betterment. This is probably one of TNG's best shows on inclusivity and diversity, namely because it doesn't beat you over the head with it - it's okay that Amanda is a Q, she doesn't have to be Human. Second, there's some wonderful performances by de Lancie and Olivia d'Abo, which were absolutely essential since they have to carry this episode without a lot of help from the regulars. If you have a problem with either of these actors, then I can see why you might not like "True Q"; because, let's face it, Amanda's story just rushes in and displaces the regular cast. But, I don't care about that because.... Third, this is a damn intriguing story. From the use of Crusher as a sort of surrogate mother for Amanda (and again, my inner Beverly Crusher fanboy is always pleased to see McFadden get any chance to shine), to the use of Q as a guidance figure, to the wonderful, if hopelessly naive, Picard Speech, this was a riveting tale. For an episode that has next to no action in it, it's amazing how riveting it actually is. The scene that really stands out, in my opinion, is when Picard confronts Q over the death of Amanda's parents. It's just two guys talking, but when Q gives the "swoosh" hand movement with a raised eyebrow and Picard responds with "You would be so despicable?" - damn, I couldn't take my eyes off the screen! And fourth, there's some honest-to-God good humor - something Trek, and especially Q episodes, often struggles with. Q's joke about spontaneously combusting Picard was especially funny.

About the only thing I didn't care for was the B-plot involving the heavily polluted planet. Now, I don't want to get off on another political rant here.... well, okay, maybe a little one. *wink* TNG has, thus far, caricatured capitalists (the Ferengi) caricatured theists ("Devil's Due"), caricatured conservatives ("First Contact") and massively caricatured 19th and 20th century Humans ("The Neutral Zone" and "Time's Arrow, Part II"). Now, apparently, it's time for capitalism itself. So, these people are so consumed with their own self-interest that they polluted their planet right into an ecological catastrophe. Yet, they couldn't foresee the harm that would cause? In other words, they only care about their self-interest but are too stupid to see their self-interest. See the problem? The script calls for this to be a society of capitalist morons and there you have it. But, in the end, it's not that big of a problem for me with the episode as a whole. In fact, it's mostly based on just one line of dialogue early in the episode (I think from Amanda) about how they should just have regulated the problem beforehand - because, you know, government regulation has such a sterling track record of environmental protection ! Just remove that line and I probably wouldn't have such a problem with it at all.

So, "True Q" is, in my humble opinion, one of TNG's under-rated gems.

(Oh, and I just have to say - Olivia d'Abo, circa 1992 = just about my definition of "female physical perfection." GOD-DAMN!)

Elliott - Thu, Sep 10, 2015 - 10:52am (USA Central)
Luke : "In other words, they only care about their self-interest but are too stupid to see their self-interest. See the problem? The script calls for this to be a society of capitalist morons and there you have it. ... it's mostly based on just one line of dialogue early in the episode (I think from Amanda) about how they should just have regulated the problem beforehand - because, you know, government regulation has such a sterling track record of environmental protection !"

I know you think you're making a point here, but what exactly is it? So they shouldn't have regulated their businesses, but should have prevented environmental disaster another way? How?
Luke - Thu, Sep 10, 2015 - 2:08pm (USA Central)
Yes, I did think I was trying to make a point. But thanks for being condescending. I guess?

There are other ways to protect the environment besides government regulation. This isn't an either/or situation here (hmm, just like Amanda's situation with the Q - seems to be a recurring theme here). It's not a choice between simply unregulated catastrophe and regulated protection. Basic common sense would be enough.

Let me use an analogy.... If you owned a piece of land which was somehow earning you a living and someone came to you and offered you a lot of money to dump all sorts of industrial pollutants on that land, what would you do? I would bet you would turn that person down. Yes, you could earn a lot of money but there's long-term ramifications that you have to consider. There doesn't need to be a government regulation to prevent those pollutants from contaminating the environment. Your own self-interest would prevent it because you're an intelligent person who looks beyond the immediate moment. If you allow the dumping and polluting, chances are that land isn't going to make you money for much longer.

Here's another analogy.... Do you own a car? If so, have you ever gotten the oil changed? If you have, why? What government regulation made you do that? Exactly, none. You didn't need the government to enforce that kind of regulation on you because you understand that you need to take care of the car in order to enjoy the capital investment that it provides. How is the environment any different? If you don't take care of the environment, you can't enjoy the capital investment it provides. Well, okay, it is different - it's much more important than a car, meaning you would be that much more willing to examine the ramifications. Anybody with common sense understands this.

That's the problem I have with the episode (well, really that one line) - the aliens are written to have zero common sense. And why? Because people just never plan for the long-term and need the guiding hand of the government to do it for them? That's obviously not the case. People take long-term ramifications into account all the time, for all sorts of things (both trivial and important). But not these people. Apparently, they're the kind of folks who would put 40,000+ miles on their cars without an oil change because the government never told them that was harmful. But since we're talking about the environment, that's supposed to make sense? Sorry, it doesn't make any sense to me.

As for other ways to protect the environment without government regulation, here's a good introduction....

Elliott - Thu, Sep 10, 2015 - 2:22pm (USA Central)
First of all, I was not trying to condescend. I could tell you were trying to make a point but didn't see what it was--and to a degree still don't. I could and can tell that you are against government regulation of (at least) environmental standards, but not why.

If we take at face value the notion that intelligent, forward-thinking capitalists will self-regulate themselves into protecting the environment in order to preserve their self-interests, that still leaves two major gaps in the logic here :

1. What is the harm in government regulation if its goals and the goals of those capitalists are the same? Is redundancy such a burden?

2. What about the unintelligent, present-minded capitalists who don't consider the long-term ramifications of their actions? How does one prevent them from destroying the environment if not with regulation?

There's also the more likely scenario that capitalists will instinctively seek out the highest profit margin over the ethical method. If I can destroy our environment, whilst making a huge profit from the lack of controls I would otherwise need to pay for to protect it, THEN sell a product which mitigates or corrects the very problem I created for even more profit, I definitely don't want regulation because it hurts my bottom line. If I'm going to be dead before the effects of my wanton selfishness reach me, all the more reason to exploit my surroundings.
William B - Thu, Sep 10, 2015 - 2:45pm (USA Central)
There are several significant differences between self-interest as a useful philosophy to lead to people self-regulating upkeep of their car and and self-regulating upkeep of the environment.

1. A car is personal property. The environment is not.

2. The environment is a far more complex system than a car and thus much more difficult for individuals to take care of on their own.

3. Tragedy of the commons: because the environment "belongs" to all people, individuals who seek out profit at the expense of the environment are less likely to be dissuaded by the negative environmental consequences of their individual actions since the negative consequences are distributed over the larger population, and similarly, purely self-interested actors are less likely to sacrifice personal profits for a distributed good, even if everyone would benefit from a system in which people treated the environment more responsibly.

The environmental situation is essentially a game theory problem, like the prisoner's dilemma, one in which each person acting in self-interest as they perceive it can easily end in a worse result for everyone than if self- and group-interest are considered simultaneously. This is relatively easy for people to do in small groups but extremely difficult for very large groups.

As to whether government regulation is the answer... Well, that surely depends on the government's level of corruption, efficient delivery of information, etc. A free-market system in which consumers and businesses carefully weighed societal interests against personal self-interests, educated themselves carefully, worked to counter tragedy of the commons cognitive biases, and so on, would be...possible, though I'm not really very optimistic. I think the most important issue for me is not the mechanism of regulation (whether governmental or internal to individuals) but the recognition that self-interest is not sufficient by itself.
Robert - Thu, Sep 10, 2015 - 2:47pm (USA Central)
No fair, YOUR political argument looks like it's on topic :P
Luke - Fri, Sep 11, 2015 - 5:11am (USA Central)
@Elliott - In answer to your first question, if it's redundant I just don't see the point in having it. If there are other ways of protecting the environment that don't involve governmental coercion (and there are) then that's the ones that should be used.

As for your second point - well, those capitalists won't be in business very long, will they? Sure, some people might decide to make bad decisions and only focus on the short-term benefits. But, the only way you can stay in business while doing stupid things like that is if your propped up by the government (just like what happened with the supposedly "too big to fail" banks that crashed the economy back in 2007-2008). In a genuine free-market, those capitalists would quickly lose customers, thereby quickly losing money, thereby going out of business and thereby not harming the environment. The capitalists who don't go around destroying the environment would be the ones managing long-term companies and therefore the environment would be protected.

You also seem to be implying that the goals of government regulation are what are most important. Good intentions are all well and good, but there is an old saying about them and the road they lead to. The effects of government regulation also have to be taken into account - something the writers of "True Q" didn't seem to want to do; they just assumed that regulation would naturally lead to the best, most desirable outcome. I look at the track record of government attempts to protect the environment and I'm left rather unimpressed. The countries with the biggest governments tend to have the worst environmental protection - the case of the Soviet Union/post-Soviet countries and the Aral Sea are a classic example.

@William B - You make some good points about the tragedy of the commons. But, I would argue that is precisely the effect of governmental oversight of the environment. When the government is in control of something that means that nobody, personally, has a say in it. Maybe the environment should be "personal property" in some way - how that would actually work out or what it would look like, I have no idea.

Let me use another analogy - the American Buffalo and cows. The buffalo was never privately owned. As a result they suffered from the tragedy of the commons and were hunted almost to extinction. Cows, on the other hand, were always privately owned and have never once faced the problem of being an endangered species. That's because since buffalo weren't owned people could go out on the prairie and shoot as many of them as the wished. Try that with cows though. If you go out and start shooting a bunch of cows, chances are that what you're going to end up with is someone shooting back at you. Now, let's apply that to the environment. If someone goes out and harms some random part of the environment, who cares? It's not privately owned so it doesn't effect anybody directly and personally. But, if that part of the environment was, in fact, privately owned, chances are that, just like with the cows, the polluter will probably end up with someone shooting at him. Therefore, less people are going to be inclined to pollute.

@Robert - Hopefully this discussion doesn't veer off course (or at least not as quickly) as the "Who Watches the Watchers?" one did or I'll have to just back away slowly again. :)
Sketchee - Sat, Sep 19, 2015 - 6:20pm (USA Central)
I figure the reason they didn't just take away their parent's powers or Amanda's how this would just encourage other Q to leave continuum. Saying that anyone with all of the knowledge of the Q could just leave and do whatever they want isn't in line with the Q.

Remember that in this episode it's Picard who thinks that individuals should have the right to self determination. Q disagrees that this applies to the Q.

He was turned human as an ironic punishment. That's a big part of their culture that we've seen. Controlling their members and keeping them in line with the continuum
Diamond Dave - Sat, Oct 3, 2015 - 8:03am (USA Central)
A conceit that struggles to be fully examined within the hour format. Guess that's television for you.

Amanda's reaction to her new powers are cycled through much too quickly to carry much weight - at the end she resolves to not use her powers and 2 minutes later decides to. Let's face it, sex and smiting is all most people would initially be interested in, so at least we got a rather chaste examination of the first one I suppose.

For Q, at least this brings back some of his more sinister elements instead of the mugging and gurning we've gotten recently. Which is not to say there isn't some of that too, but it serves the story rather than driving it.

Solid rather than spectacular. 2.5 stars.

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