Star Trek: The Next Generation

“True Q”

3 stars.

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

Review Text

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 naivet� 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.

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100 comments on this post

    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?

    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.

    "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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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).

    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.


    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.

    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". :)

    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.

    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.

    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?

    @ grumpy above (a year later, admittedly), yes, the gods in mythology are frequently like that aren't they?

    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)

    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.

    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.

    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...!)

    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.

    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).

    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.

    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.

    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?

    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.

    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!)


    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?

    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....

    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.

    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.

    @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. :)

    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

    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.

    Random question that no one seemed to address yet. Amanda seemed to like Beverly so why not bring her husband back (I would SO ignore the med lab conversation cuz Beverly is just a mere human and has mental/emotional limits) before she disappeared? Just seemed like it would of been a nice thing to do more so then a "Gotta go...Bye" type attitude. You know or maybe ask anyone if they need/want anything before she goes?


    Beverly already has a thing going on with Picard. Besides, no one, including Amanda, wants to be responsible for potential siblings of Wesley.

    There were two things I liked about the episode. Seeing miss d'Abo all grown up after first seeing her in Conan the Destroyer (I's been a while), where she was a clueless barely teenager.
    Second. Dr. Crusher turned into a barking dog...I laughed so hard I cried.

    A good episode, however the ending leaves unsatisfied.

    here is my line of thinking : if I would discover I would have limitless power, but than would have been told I have not the freedom to use that power as I see fit, not even a small portion of it, would I not use that limitless power to destroy the very ones that prohibit me from expressing it the way i want?

    infinite times infinity does not equal more infinity, than 1x infinity..
    as such a single Q should be as powerfull as the entire continuem and able to block any decissions of said continuem you do not want to have imposed on yourself (like having your powers removed and such) One thought and you wipe the Q (exept yourself) out of excistance (though they can block that with a counterthrought, you get my point, they are unable to do anything to you if your not willing them to do so.

    What good are powers if you are forbidden from doing good with them, or live as a hybrid, or anyway you please.. and if they try to block that, hell has no fury!

    so her "ok guess I go, bye" attitude does not befit me at all.. would be better to have seen her again in voyager, at the Q rebels side.. "lock and load.."

    But thats my personality projected on this "gurl" oh no I would not want to be human, but I not would want to give up my normal life too, I would pick path 3 wage war against the continuem to defend my own freedom, or die trying (and take as many of them with me if I have too)

    But I guess thats why Q are so affraid of a Q-Human Hybrid... as it would I suggest do exactly what i just said -for freedom- burning halve the galaxy if needed - heck can recreate it afterwards if neccecary.

    Oh and about the people saying the Q somehow did not destroy the universe :

    1 how would you know they didn't? -> they could destroy it and recreate it, in the same second, no sweat and if anything was changed you would never know.
    The universe we percieve as ancient, may be just created by the Q, and cease to ecist in a fraction of a second (in fact we could be 20 gazillion universe reboots further before I finished this sentence)

    also why would Q even NEED a universe, as such, there is no sence to protect it, unless... my suspection is true : that the Q are locked in a corsality loop :
    -humans eventually evolve to become Q (the traveler story, showing an early example of it) (though not only humans are Q their may be multiple races eventually becoming Q at the universes end.
    -as such the Q influence their own origin, but also must protect the races they originate from, else their whole spiecies never excisted.
    in such a case, it would make it logic to not like to much tampering with the universe.. and while saving a planet full of people may seem harmless if a billion year in the future a decendant of those saved people does something you do not want (aka saving a young hitler, or as simple as trampling a plant or sneezing on something) it could lead to the Q never come to existance.. and that thats why they not want people doing it who cannot see the consequences of it during the entire duration of the universe.
    -> still that could not prevent a single Q from chancing stuff none the less.

    Interesting points, DutchGamer,

    If you're right that the Q are evolved from corporeal species it would explain why they're locked into protecting the status quo of the universe. It would also explain why they'd be so risk averse that they would be all but paralyzed to do anything significant with their powers, which might explain events such as we see in "Death Wish."

    However an alternate explanation of what their deal might be is that although they're the most powerful entities we've seen so far, there is no reason to believe they are *the most* powerful entities out there. They may even be taking their orders from higher up for all we know. It's not cannon yet at this point, but Q in "Death Wish" does imply that the Q are not omnipotent, even though they are masters of space and time. "The Q and the Grey" even posits that they employ technology to do what they do, much like Trelane did in TOS (suggesting to us that Trelane was a juvenile Q, maybe even Delancie-Q's son). Although these weren't cannot during TNG, they were always things I wondered about all the same.

    @Peter G.

    The word is canon. Cannons are things you 'asplode buildings with. 😉

    @ Chrome,

    Given what was done to the Q and the Borg in Voyager, I think "cannon" was the correct word choice :)

    It seemed odd that they were giving so much attention to an intern to begin with. The first thing the intern gets to do is meet with the captain?

    I can't believe that after the recent incident with a container falling on Worf, they didn't take steps to ensure it didn't happen again? Also, why couldn't Amanda have used her powers to bring back her parents? As for another poster "Troy" being amused that Riker would go for Soren but not Amanda, remember that Amanda is only 18 here, which is half Riker's age. She's young enough to be his daughter!

    "Also, why couldn't Amanda have used her powers to bring back her parents? "

    They didn't die from a random Kansas tornado. They were Q, killed by other Q. I'm pretty sure a complete novice Q can't resurrect a Q murdered under those conditions.

    They played it cute, when they coulda played it sharp.

    When I read the review and the comments, as always, I find them all so bright and insightful that I agree with every one of them. (It's the same in every episode review. Damn, Jammer and this show attract smart people.)

    But in the end I'm most with Mike. The word I'd use to describe Amanda is "generic". Or "nice." And I guess I get it: the writers were going for a story about an ordinary teen suddenly gifted - or cursed - with extraordinary powers. But an ordinary teen should still be portrayed as a unique individual. (TV examples: 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', 'My So-Called Life,' 'Firefly,' off the top of my head.)

    She's generic, and the situations she's put in are all yawners: She saves Riker from a falling barrel; she quickens a dull lab experiment; she wants a starlit date with the hunky first officer. The final test is "Can she resist the urge to be altruistic and noble?" Blech. It's bland. It's sweet. If it's meant to explore humanity's limits and human temptations, it does a poor job. "Oh dear, I am just so damn altruistic, I can't let a whole planet die! I will now abuse my omnipotence because I can't help saving folks." Right: the big danger with an omnipotent human is that she might screw up the universe with random acts of kindness.

    I know that we're supposed to be evolved past pettiness and bad behavior in Roddenberry's vision, but since the TNG characters so obviously aren't, I would have voted for a more realistic examination of what happens when a human - a teen human at that - can suddenly get everything she wants.

    I'd have liked her to have a recognizable personality as, say, an ambitious junior Shelby or a big-dreaming inventor or artist who creates problems by changing the world to suit her ideas and wants. I would have freaking loved to see a less family-friendly 'date' with Riker, in which he returns to consciousness to find his shirt off and his body being creepily used in ways he didn't consent to - resulting in him torn between beating the crap out of her or pressing assault charges or trying to make her see that people aren't suddenly her playthings.

    (Well, okay, they now ARE her playthings - that's the problem. Can Riker convince her that his rights should be respected over her desires, when she's ascending to godhood and he's still just a paltry mortal?)

    I would have liked to see a growing sense of threat; the Enterprise crew getting scared to death of the newborn monster in their midst. She's far more dangerous than Q. Q is distantly curious about humans and wants them to amuse him a bit, so he pokes at them when he's bored. Amanda, a brilliant orphan with the full palette of normal drives and desires, surely wants humans to provide her with a whole lot more than that.

    To those asking why the Continuum didn't just remove Amanda's powers, I'd suggest that they wanted to make it *more difficult* for her to make that choice by leaving her with the powers still intact. Not exactly playing fair, I suppose, but the Continuum obviously wasn't happy with her choice to remain human, so it figures they'd stack the cards a little.

    But, imagine the choice! If someone told you you could live your current life happily but you couldn't use your eyes or ears, imagine what great temptation you'd have to open them just a crack when a desperate need ocurred. Amanda was truly destined to be Q, but it is interesting to see that she preferred her human life, perhaps partially because of the fascination Qs have with humanity.


    I'm not a fan of unnecessary regulation, but I think in the case of environment it's warranted. Lots of people don't care about the environment because they're either idiots or they'll be dead before what they're doing has a big enough impact to effect them. I don't think holding manufacturers to a certain standard or even mandatory recycling is necessarily a bad thing. (You might be saying "whoa, what right has the government to tell me what to do with my garbage!?" but they already do tell you what to do with it, littering is a crime and it must be taken to the dump or gotten rid of some other way on your own private land. Requiring you to sort and place your trash in different areas of the dump is also required so having you place some of that trash in recycling instead isn't that much more work. Curbside recycling is just as convenient as curbside trash.)

    If Crusher is an Irish setter, which dog breeds are other Trek characters?

    Troi's hair!
    Troi's hair!
    Troi's hair!
    Troi's hair!
    What the......???

    Also, as a reply to Steven from 12-1-2016 regarding interns getting to meet a Captain.

    In any organization, an intern doesn't even get to meet a middle level manager let alone the CEO of an organization - on day 1 no less!!

    "Now make me 50 copies of this and get me some coffee!" That's probably more what a typical intern would experience.


    No real mystery here. Dr. Crusher took a shining to Amanda for her abilities, and since Crusher one of the few people who can twist the Captain's arm (see Wesley), he probably decided to meet her after Bev's recommendation.

    This episode had one of the funniest Q entrances ever-

    La Forge: "It's as if the laws of physics flew out the window!"
    (Q appears)
    Q: "And why shouldn't they? They're so inconvenient."

    Q understands why we watch TNG:

    "Jean-Luc, sometimes I think the only reason I come here is to listen to these wonderful speeches of yours." - Q

    Where do Q powers come from? A deeper understanding "the universe"? Then this episode fails as the girl has power before she has understanding.

    Or are Q be somehow born with their powers and wield them pretty much as we know how to lift a ball without necessarily knowing the underlying physics or calculating the desired results in terms of applied force, direction, resistance etc.
    In that case, their application of power would still be very crude, except in comparison with what we know and can do. Plus even the tiniest animal applies the same principles as we do to make changes in it's environment while the Q use entirely different means unobservable to us (the hand movements of the Q are ridiculous).

    All in all, the Q episodes are far less interesting philosophically than the TNG crew's encounter with different cultures and values and more open minded human reactions to it. A Q here is little more than an egocentric human with intense power whose universe and perception strangely changes over the course of a few years (TNG/VOY) after billions of years of life, making humans not only the center of our universe but giving us a huge significance in the ST universe as a whole. A step back in philosophy.

    "Where do Q powers come from? A deeper understanding "the universe"? Then this episode fails as the girl has power before she has understanding."

    I'm not sure how you came to that conclusion unless you're confusing the chicken and the egg here. Q isn't teaching Amanda to be a Q, he's teaching her what it means to be conduct oneself responsibly as a Q. "Responsibly" here meaning adhering to the rules of the Q Continuum, we can assume.

    Think of it terms of Star Wars and using the force. Yes, there are force sensitives like Anakin or Luke who can do incredible things without training, but once they receive training and know exactly what they're doing, the force users are capable of doing things beyond our imagination. Q powers must work in a similar fashion, as Amanda had powers she could use before she even knew what the Q were. Yet Amanda is capable of much more after learning from Q.

    As to your last point, you should consider for a moment that the Q are alien life forms with a different culture and values; they just take on human forms so they can interact in a way that humans (and the audience) can understand. While it is interesting for humans to encounter very different aliens of the week like the Sheliak who act completely foreign to us, it's also interesting to see omnipotent beings who behave in some of the childish ways that humans can or have behaved in the past.

    Chrome, while the notion of a being with "powers" essentially grafted on a human body with a human personality and intelligence is a well worn scifi trope, one must acknowledge it is a crock. It is as ridiculous as imagining an amoeba with the capacity to sing opera. The idea that such beings might "present" as human for our benefit is an adequate plot device I suppose, but sidesteps, rather than solves, the inherent absurdity of beings like the Q.

    @Jason R.

    I'd have to disagree as there's definitely some meat in the question of what people with great power should or should not do. This episode in particular is a great example because it takes an average and innocent person and confronts them with the possibilities of having everything but with the frightening consequence of losing themselves and their very humanity as a price for such power.

    The episode's concept itself is not just a sci-fi trope, for I'd say it at least encompasses some of the same themes of omnipotent power visited in older fictional stories like The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish and Aladdin.

    I don't think there's anything ridiculous about asking what the Q are like or how to manage someone with sudden incredible powers. Charlie X was a great treatment of someone with powers going out of control, and Where No Man Has Gone Before was another great treatment of a highly intelligent person gaining powers and slowly losing his humanity (as Chrome put it).

    What's ridiculous in this episode is the idea that a child of two Q (wtf already) somehow looks like a human without specifically choosing that form, and doesn't begin to register significant powers until she's a teenager. I would imagine the reality to be more like an infant in a nursery teleporting the milk around and making the other babies stop crying when they're annoying. Even if the abilities were instinctive you'd think it would happen right away. The whole "powers emerge at the point of maturity" trope here is like something out of the X-Men and it's plain silly. As a Q Amanda should have an IQ of around 2,000 (as Q put it), which means that even as a toddler she should have been the smartest person on Earth by a longshot. Knowing how to use her powers is a side issue compared to that.

    What we're left with is that Amanda is literally a human, and magically has Q powers now. I don't know why this would happen, and the episode says nothing about it. Could we imagine that the Q-parents turned her into a real human, just like the Continuum did to Q during Deja Q, but that this effect has a shelf-life to it? Maybe it would be done to protect her from the other Q, but now they see through the cracks?

    Maybe some of this is hinted at, but even as a human Q still has his original intelligence. Amanda seems like little more than a bright girl by human standards with some powers. I dunno, it seems not to add up to much.

    As a side note, I don't understand what the difference is supposed to be between a "true Q" like Amanda, versus Riker turned into a Q in Hide and Q. In Riker's case he had difficulty refraining from using his powers when it mattered, but ultimately he saw Picard's wisdom and renounced them. Are we supposed to infer here that Amanda had the same choice to make as Riker, but that she was too weak and failed? If so they didn't tell that story at all, and focused too much on the minutiae of the temptations. We didn't need that because - duh - we already know what the temptations would be, What we needed to see was how her character coped with the idea of giving it all up versus doing whatever the heck she wanted all the time. And further, if Amanda failed where Riker succeeded, does that mean...that the trait best suited to a Q is...weakness and lack of discipline? I dunno, something about this outcome rankles. Between the two of them it seems that Riker would be the better candidate, and I've never accepted the narrative ultimately pushed by VOY that the Q are basically like a bunch of powerful children. I don't believe that for a second. And I'm still on the fence about whether De Lance-Q was ever really a trouble-maker in the first place. All of his encounters with the Enterprise could be explained away one way or the other as tests of various kinds; "The trial never ends."

    Peter I think the issue with Q and other beings of that nature is it's pretty much a conceit in the first place to imagine a human anything with that level of power.

    An IQ of 2,000 cannot adequately address a being that can casually change the laws of physics to its will. Such a being would be to humans what we are to an amoeba, and so grafting such abilities onto a human or a human like entity (while leaving the human traits essentially intact) is as absurd as grafting the ability to, say, build a football stadium onto said amoeba.

    The fraud is imagining that power of that nature could come with no apparent change in insight, perspective or appearance. The Dr. Manhattan character in Watchmen is probably the best portrayal of what a super being would really be like but even that only scratches the surface.

    Chrome I agree this theme has been utilized before. But the concept is inherently nonsensical - like a child flapping his wings around pretending to be a bird and thinkimg he understands the bird's perspective. I agree super entities and humans with super powers can make a nice morality play or exploration of the corrupting influence of power, but as a scifi concept it's baloney. A human with that power wouldn't be recognizable as a human, any more than my hypothetical opera singing amoeba would be recognizable as an amoeba.

    @Peter G.

    Yes, I was thinking about Riker’s test in “Hide and Q” and how it compares to Amanda here. But it’s almost certain the writers created this show with the hindsight of Hide and Q in mind. I think the key difference is that Amanda was born Q and was suppressing her true nature by staying within human limits, whereas Riker was born human and suddenly granted Q status. Using Q powers diminished the integrity of the man Riker was, as we see him become corrupt and arrogant. What’s more, Riker didn’t pass the test on his own, but needed Picard to point out the emptiness of the path Q put Riker on.

    Amanda, on the other hand, realized quickly on her own how empty human trappings were as a Q, and ultimately she decided she needed to be Q because it would fulfill her need to be an important caretaker of the galaxy. Indeed, Amanda had tried to achieve this goal the human way by excelling at school and working on the Federation flagship, but even so she never settled in, showing us she never felt fulfilled. Being on Enterprise as a human set the bar too low. Amanda strived for a greater responsibility to the universe than the one an artificial human limit could offer.

    OK except for the last 5 to 10 minutes. Q is either a bully, or completely amoral - either way, a repulsive character. The ending was completely the wrong one. 2.5 stars seems fair. It was a pity to see the same trope being trotted out, as when Riker was tempted to become a Q, of testing characters by letting something happen that they would want to correct.

    Q has the same failing as the Greek gods, only more so: because he do anything, Q has no capacity for, and no understanding of, tragedy - his existence is fundamentally frivolous, because it is totally devoid of risk; and it is not based on goodness, but on egotism; so ultimately, it is hollow and selfish. That sounds pretty much like Hell to me. To be bamboozled into choosing that kind of existence, rather than the friendships Amanda could have had, turns the end of the episode into something very like one of the grimmer Twilight Zone episodes.

    “It was a pity to see the same trope being trotted out, as when Riker was tempted to become a Q, of testing characters by letting something happen that they would want to correct. ”

    It’s actually an inversion of the concept. Riker was granted Q powers but he couldn’t deny how empty the powers felt to a human who was used to working to obtain goals. Amanda was asked to forsake her Q-ness, trying to be completely human but she couldn’t deny she was Q at heart.

    I like good Q episodes and this is definitely one of them. Reminds me of "Charlie X", "Where No Man Has Gone Before", "Hide and Q", and "Death Wish". Of course the possibilities are endless with the omnipotent Q and trying to use the human framework to understand the Continuum isn't supposed to lead anywhere. But it's a fun exercise. So Picard's typical moralizing speech "Morality, I don't see it," while speaking for us, should be sneered at by Q. Humans should not be able to comprehend Q's motives, but I think the Continuum's actions were right in that having omnipotent beings running around freely shouldn't be permitted (though it sometimes seems that de Lancie Q indulges himself).

    What quite doesn't work for me is Amanda, like Charlie Evans, developing phenomenal powers as a young adult after being born human. I think Amanda right off the bat should be a being of pure energy or something. But it's a small nitpick and gives the story its plot.

    As for Q testing Amanda -- his description of joining the Continuum may be to entice Amanda as she's young - "universe can be your playground". That's clearly not totally true. What's disappointing is he doesn't speak of the Q's responsibility to her-- surely the writers could come up with something that appears to transcend human thinking (or maybe not). Instead the Continuum's responsibility is only touched on slightly later-- which is probably fine to keep some element of mystery of something that should be unfathomable to us mere mortals.

    The part about killing Amanda's parents -- maybe the Continuum deemed this a mistake and took a different tack in VOY's "Death Wish" with the renegade Q?

    The ending was predictable -- of course the B-plot with the ecological disaster and reactor overload would test Amanda and she'd use her powers and realize she's Q and say good-bye to Crusher etc.

    3 stars for "True Q" -- nothing that hasn't really been done before but it's a compelling story and de Lancie is awesome in this one. He has the Continuum's agenda and it slowly gets revealed, the humans don't like it but he's right. The actress playing Amanda did a reasonably good job -- she has her crush on Riker, likes puppies etc. but ultimately realizes what she must do. Nice also to get a bit more about the Q Continuum.

    I really do like this episode, Amanda is very much a motivated and driven young woman. Who wants the gamut of respectable and desirable things(TM). Problem is her very nature makes her and those things impossible for her.

    Her struggle is realizing that she isn't human and won't ever be able to fit into human society or within human constraints.

    Very much the opposite of leaning to accept your humanity or develop as say Seven goes through.

    What a bore. Nothing to see here, move along.

    Why didn't they just take away her powers?

    Why not just take away her parents' powers?

    They do know what its like to have Q powers--Wesley or Riker had the powers briefly in an earlier season.

    The power of Q is simply too much power, it's ridiculous.

    My favorite scene in this episode was when Q appears in the observation lounge to join the discussion about Amanda...

    Troi: Amanda's a Q?

    Crusher: How is that possible? Her biological parents were human!

    Q: Well, not exactly. They had assumed human form in order for visit Earth, I suppose for amusement... but in vulgar human fashion, they proceeded to conceive a child. (Winks at Crusher, who then rolls her eyes) ... And then like mawkish humans they became attached to it. What is it about these squirming little infants that you find so appealing?

    Crusher: I'm sure that's beyond your comprehension, Q.

    Q: I desperately hope so.


    LaForge: Are you saying that you created a core breach just to test this girl?

    Q: Uh-huh.

    Troi: What would have happened if she couldn't stop it?

    Q: Then I would have known she wasn't a Q.

    Great stuff. I couldn't stop chuckling for minutes.

    About as original as Dolly the Sheep this is just another version of Charlie's Law from TOS with precisely the same ethical dilemma about allowing an undisciplined super being free reign.
    John de Lancie almost saves this ZZZ fest but even he can't redeem it.
    Garbage ending-and the beginning and middle weren't much to write home about either.
    Half a star is too generous.


    I know Q caused the core breach but it struck me how often some technological fail or experimentation is introduced so cavalierly as a plot device. Even without Q's interference, their change management processes suck!

    And we have Crusher take on the motherly role with Amanda. Amanda is an adult, young yes, but starting out on a life of adventure, exploration and development. Obviously smart and finding it hard to narrow down her interests. Why wouldn't she want to go back to the Continuum. Pulaski wouldn't have held her back. Crusher later changed and encouraged Amanda to spend time with Q. It was a bit bizarre to be honest.

    Does Q have to sit so close to Amanda (and others too if memory serves.) I guess he doesn't understand or respect personal space and neither did the director of this episode. Note to Q: the way to get someone over to your side is not by invading their personal space and breathing in their ear. The way he was all over her back in the laboratory. It was creepy as fuck. Did it add to the story? Was it directed? It doesn't actually fit with Q's personality: he isn't touchy feely in general so where did it come from? Would the director had done the same if Amanda were a young man?

    And where does Amanda get over her nervousness around Riker and tries to seduce him in the moonlight? At least her base personality came back to remind her it wasn't real. It was weak and clunky,

    Its funny how the Q are omnipotent as we describe gods but they aren't considered gods here. Why not? because there is no group worshipping them? shouldn't there be? begging for good deeds? I always thought the Q were a real weak point of TNG and this episode just brings it forward. A non religious future with unworshipped but proven gods.

    Zero stars. This gave us no new insight to the Q, and who cares if it did. This was poorly written and acted. Boring beyond description. One of the worst episodes ever. Deep conversations about nothing. Rascals is a much more entertaining episode than this snooze, and you gave it a lower rating.

    First of all,,,,,,,Amanda grew up on Earth with human beings for parents never having known her own true parents. Her powers would have been so recessed that nothing would have awakened them. Let's say this. suddenly she did a miracle: ha ha, somebody would have scooted her to the nearest doctor for help!!

    I hated this ep and I have never liked John deLancie from the moment I first saw him on t.v. in the 1960's. When I saw him show up on TNG the pilot ep .....Farpoint......I was aggravated.........

    As for Amanda, the scenes where she decides she can become Riker's whatever buddy is disgusting. As for scoring the eps, my day for that thing is way past. However, I give it a 0. Maybe 00.

    I can't remember where I've read it, but I've heard one of the first rules Michael Piller laid down when he became a showrunner was that each story has to be in some way about one of the main characters. "Tin Man" for instance is primarily focused on the guest character, but it's also about Data and what his situation and their relationship say about hi,. Here, it really is just about Amanda. And while the characters do actually play a role and have moments unlike in "Too Short a Season", the whole thing does feel like a self-insert fic. Not an awful one, IIRC, but I think the story would be better if it was in some way relevant to Crusher or Picard, or even Q.


    “I can't remember where I've read it, but I've heard one of the first rules Michael Piller laid down when he became a showrunner was that each story has to be in some way about one of the main characters.”

    I’d like to see the source for that just out of curiosity, but I think that’s more of a guideline than a hard and fast rule. “The Defector”, for example, is mostly about Admiral Jarok but it tells a gripping story about Cold War tensions. And to this episode’s credit, we do learn that Q still works for the Continuum’s interests and also that the trial for humanity isn’t over. Those developments make a good setup for the Picard and Q characters in the finale.

    @Chrome I didn't think it was a hard mandate, but I was reminded of it, because to me this episode shows why it was made. The Defector is great, and even if Barclay never appeared again, Hollow Pursuit would still work, but here it feels to me something is missing.


    It sounds like you didn't like the guest character this time but in the episodes where you did like the guest character you didn't mind when TNG focused on a guest character.

    Personally I quite enjoy this one. There's something poetic about being unable to deny one's own nature. There's also an interesting metaphor about a post-graduate with unlimited potential not having that full potential realized on a starship. The Enterprise is great and all, but Starfleet can't be the end-all, be-all for everyone in the universe.

    @Chrome I don't know if that's the case, at least not all of it. I find Amanda Rogers inoffensive. But still, in case of Hollow Pursuits, the crew dealing with Barclay has more weight on the story and their interaction with him influence his behavior, same in Defector. Also, there is a bit of perspective flip as to how they look to regular officer. Here, in the end, they seem completely inefffectual to anything. It's closer to Q-Less in that matter IMO. Again, these are not HUGE issues, I don't think it's a bad episode. It just feels like there is one thing that needed to be there.

    This isn't part of my problem with the ep, but I actually feel the whole "can't escape your nature" gets progressively more uncomfortable the more times Trek gives that lesson.

    Perhaps I'm just too moved by DeLancie and d'Abo's performance, but I don't see the need for it to be about the main crew. On the contrary, TNG has an ensemble cast where there isn't a single protagonist, so there's no need for the story to be mainly about any of them for it to work. Also, take account that it's season six episode so the viewer is pretty familiar with the main cast. If this episode focused more on Beverly Crusher's workday, for example, it might be downright boring.

    "This isn't part of my problem with the ep, but I actually feel the whole "can't escape your nature" gets progressively more uncomfortable the more times Trek gives that lesson."

    I'm not sure where you're going with this.

    @Chrome I think we are just repeating "I don't like it" "But I do like it" at each other. I don't really get why it being ensemble should mean it shouldn't focus on any part of the ensemble though. I'm not saying it has to, just not sure why would that mean what you said. And sure, maybe. Or it would make the story more engaging.

    Look, I understand you just want a friendly discussion but I don't really dislike the episode enough or have specific problems to argue with you or to let you change my mind. I have no problem with you or anybody liking it more than I do. Sorry, I know I might look like an idiot, but there just isn't much for me to say. Try me over on Enterprise reviews, I'm much more invested in my belief Night in Sickbay is a crime against humanity :-)

    Where would I be going with it? I said what I meant. Trek repeatedly has an episode with a character accepting their nature in some way, about how even if they don't like their people's culture, it's part of who you are and they are your people and I feel that gets uncomfortable after certain point, even if few other stories go against it.

    "Trek repeatedly has an episode with a character accepting their nature in some way, about how even if they don't like their people's culture, it's part of who you are and they are your people and I feel that gets uncomfortable after certain point, even if few other stories go against it."

    Ah, but I wonder if Amanda really didn't like being Q or if she was just put off by Q being his obnoxious self. It seems like that scenes where she could really use her powers to do things beyond human imagination where scenes Amanda really enjoyed herself. Being a human was stifling to her, even if that was understandably hard to accept given that her life up until a certain point was a human one.

    "I don't really get why it being ensemble should mean it shouldn't focus on any part of the ensemble though."

    I'm just curious because you keep on deferring to a Michael Piller mandate about main character development needing to occur in an episode for it to be good, but I'm at a bit of a loss as to how it would work in this episode. I brought up Crusher, Picard, and Q who have pretty sizeable roles as it is. I don't know what else this episode would need to do for those characters to make it work in the Michael Piller "let's tie everything to our leads" sense. I can imagine a few scenarios that might include the main cast better, but I'm not sold they would work in this particular episode. I don't mean to say Michael Piller is a hack or anything, but by the same token I don't want some interview of his to become the Sine qua non of TNG.

    "Try me over on Enterprise reviews, I'm much more invested in my belief Night in Sickbay is a crime against humanity :-)"

    I haven't seen it, or most of Enterprise really. I always hear bad things about the show even from *fans* of it. My limited exposure to the show makes me think it might be fun in a campy "let's see some silly sci-fi" type of way.

    Well, this was definitely a better "what if human Q" episode than Hide and Q. It could've drawn in some of Riker's experience with sudden godlike being powers, but eh, I'm fine with forgetting all about that episode.

    Still didn't have too much going for it. I don't think Amanda ever got elevated far above "generic", and you'd kind of hope a character's going to be a little more than just "generic" if you're going to give them godlike powers. (Sudden Q puberty. Quberty.)

    Didn't get me laughing as much as Deja Q did (though John de Lancie is always compelling), didn't get me thinking or empathising as much as... any number of other episodes have. I'm gonna give this one a solid "eh, it was alright" -- a rough two and a half stars.

    I like how everyone forgot that Riker once had the Q power and should have been the one coaching Amanda instead of Crusher. Actually, I was wondering if Marina Sirtis was pissed that, finally, there is a legitimate need for a counseling role and it goes to McFadden. Also, the medical busy work scenes were pretty stupid. No one is going to force her to do that kind of stuff after such a life-changing event, especially when Crusher noticed she was too distracted to proceed.

    Finally, Olivia d'Abo is very cute, but her wardrobe was horrid.

    One thing that I think Star Trek writers overestimate is the need for something to be natural in order to be appreciated. I say this because often we hear “but it isn’t real” as a reason for rejecting something tempting (like Picard rejecting the Nexus in Generations). Similarly here we are supposed to believe that this girl would much rather have her powers go away and things go back to normal, vs becoming like a Q (and learning all of their knowledge of the universe). But no, we are supposed to think that she would rather be an ordinary human. Perhaps some people would, idk, but after they showed her coming to enjoy using her powers I didn’t buy it when she said she just wanted this to end. I know the human condition in Star Trek is much better than it is for us but still think about what she is turning away... she could never feel pain, make herself feel euphoric (manipulation of your own brain chemistry), be able to get anything you want and on top of that Learn cosmic truths about the nature of existence... but nope, for this episode to work the way it does she has to want to be a normal girl again. That is “jumping the shark” to me... way too much of a reach. It’s funny how TNG’s writers decided normal humans would react to a god like entity like Q... and the answer is treating the entity like it is a pest or something you just want to go away lol. Personally I’d treat Q with way more respect.

    ... but that’s not how Q is supposed to function in TNG. As far as the show is concerned it is best that Q functions as it does because it needs that given the way they want the characters to react to Q, it’s funny how the show insists humans would show no wonder or awe at a being with god like abilities and knowledge and comprehension of things far beyond what Our feeble mortals can understand. But to me TNG is almost like Sci Fi Fables or something, and I like and accept it for what it is. Still though it shows how Star Trek can be overly humanistic in having its characters treat what is basically a minor diety as though it is an annoying pest lol. Sorry I don’t but it, but when I maintain my disbelief it does work well within the context of TNG.

    @Brian I like your idea that the TNG introduced ideas packaged as "sci-fi fables".

    A brief separate comment:
    Sure Q is irritating as all get-out. However Picard, no matter what god-like level of restraint shown toward practically every other life form, including the crystalline entity, the Borg, that awful fake Vulcan ambassador lady, and the yuckiest of Cardassian torturers, shows no, absolutely no, patience with Q. None.

    He needs a counselling session with Troi.

    There's so much wrong with this one, but despite its flaws, I really liked it.

    To start with : Q. Omnipotent, or near-omnipotent beings make no sense at all. How do they wield these powers - magic? The original series has plenty of it I admit but I just don't like supernatural powers in sci-fi.

    And how could a human-dominated Federation of Planets amount to anything in a galaxy where beings powers like that exist?

    On a similar note, the way that Picard addresses and relates to Q, a being against whom he is utterly defenceless and who has the capacity to grant any wish he might think of, is stupid. As soon as Q turned up, Picard should have been asking for help with the Polluted Planet. And would you mind making our warp engines 10 times more efficient? Thanks!

    Despite that, I was delighted to see Q pop up in this one, simply because I enjoy the character.

    The backstory for the girl who becomes a Q doesn't sound entirely convincing, I must say. And why would the Q need to summon up a tornado to perform the execution of her parents? Surely with a snap of a Q's fingers, they could simply vanish out of existence, or never have existed.

    But - the girl accepts her powers with considerably more grace and humility than Riker did, when he had a go at being a Q in the first series (or was it the second?).

    I thought the bit where Q talks to his superiors in the Continuum was hilarious, intentional or not. Reminded me of Mork and Mindy.

    The conclusion surprised me - I would have put money on the girl choosing to become mortal. But like Kal-El in Superman II, it would have been a mistake.

    Despite my misgivings, it plays out nicely. Interested to see that the Q girl is a British actress; I watched an interview with her from 2012 out of curiosity.

    A good one.

    In general, I don't like Q. He's an arrogant twit toying with humans for his own amusement. This episode was ok in its exploration of what a human would do with such powers. BTW, the whole concept of an "omnipotent" being is absurd. The very idea of being able to do "absolutely anything" is self contradictory. Could a Q make square circles? Make paradoxes non paradoxical? In short, make A not A? Obviously not. The Q we see obviously ISN'T omnipotent, else he couldn't have had his powers removed, as we saw in Deja Q.

    This an odd episode for a number of reasons, one that writers have been pretty much been content to ignore. It has Q acting explicitly as an agent of the Continuum for the first time since "Hide and Q," though I guess he does the same in "Death Wish." It doesn't mesh with what we hear about the Q and reproduction on Voyager. It implies Qs have been hanging out on Earth long before "Encounter at Farpoint." It even makes the Q mortal. And its version of [de Lancie] Q is distinctly more malevolent in this episode than in hardly any other episode post "Q Who."

    Now, you can come up with justifications for some of these if you like, but it all adds up to a decidedly anomalous episode. And then there's the fact that it really sidelines all of our regulars and gives a one-shot guest character the character arc, which precisely is what all the guidelines said not to do. It's a good thing Olivia d'Abo is so likeable, because her character could be unendurable in the wrong hands.

    It would have been nice to build up Amanda's relationship with Crusher and make it into more of a Beverly episode.

    Q turning Beverly into a red haired barking dog was pretty funny, and I wonder if that would have been cut if this show had been subject to network censors of the era.

    I agree with Top Hat, this girl character could have been detestable with a less charming actress.

    It's true that Q is explicitly working for the continuum in this episode. That makes its place in the continuity a bit weird. That said, Q is not limited by time and thus his appearances in TNG aren't necessarily in the same order from his point of view.

    I don't think they exactly made Qs mortal-- that is, they won't grow old and die. They do, however, have the ability to execute other Q.

    Having Qs being on Earth before Farpoint isn't a problem. (Voyager has them on Earth for Woodstock, etc.). If we completely take Q's statements in Farpoint as factual, they are objecting to how far outward humans have gone and are going.

    As for Voyager and how Q reproduce-- that was years later and arguably a retcon, but Voyager's work with Q was pretty lousy anyway.

    Though I do think Q's weird desire to somehow mate with Janeway could fit into what we see here. Clearly the Q can't know everything about other Q, and apparently don't know entirely how this girl came into being, and they might well be worried the girl's parents did some weird things with actual humans to make it happen. They're explicitly worried she's some bizarre hybrid.

    ...aaaand that's Riker getting violated again. Seriously, go back and count how many times Riker gets raped on way or another. When I watched the show during its first run, I thought of him the way most people do: as the womanizing, creepily aggressive throwback. But now, I kind of pity him.

    An intriguing take on the usual Q story: what if a human, unaware of the Q, develops Q-like powers before she learns of the Continuum? Then finding out, is given the choice between joining the Q or staying human and renouncing her powers? Which choice will she ultimately make?

    The heart of the story is what makes this a good episode: what if an unknowing Q who has been brought up with human emotions and morality decides to join the Continuum… she could then bring that moral compass to the Q and maybe change their normal arrogance to something more compassionate and… human!

    Obviously there are limitations to what can be encapsulated in 45 minutes. For example, would it really be so easy to renounce your entire life and join an alien species? And the scene where she kidnaps Riker into her fantasy was a too-obvious device to show the struggle between getting what you want artificially conflicting with a different reality; that scene made me flinch, it was so contrived. As for the B story of the Tagrans, the vaccine, and the planetary pollution - that never felt anything more than an afterthought.

    But on the whole it was a good exploration of the Q. 3 stars.

    I like this episode a lot, but it doesn't age very well because of how sci-fi universes are now being portrayed in increasingly complex terms.

    My initial thoughts are similar to others. Why doesn't the Continuum just strip Amanda of her powers rather than consider killing her? Why weren't her parents stripped of their powers - even temporarily! - while they chose a human lifetime? For that matter, why would a Q chose to become human? That more isn't explained about the Q is frustrating.

    But this is what puzzles me...

    For omnipotent beings who have such mastery of the universe, why do they display such petty egos? You'd think beings with such vast conscious awareness would manifest themselves in wiser ways. Though TNG exists in a rationalist universe, there are present-day human beings on Earth who display an incredible level of enlightenment that would be better rivals to Q's behaviour.

    And what about other powerful beings, like the Douwd in "The Survivors", who, while not as powerful as Q, is still pretty darn powerful! Powerful enough to genocide a whole race spread out throughout the galaxy with a single thought, and powerful enough to control space and matter. Why are the Q not stepping in to stop someone like that?

    From what evidence we have seen, the Q are just another race, albeit a very advanced one that has self-appointed themselves as some kind of guardians of the universe. But the fact that we have seen examples of other species with incredible power, and those species don't take a similar level of interest in humans, implies that the Q's interest in humanity is somehow special. In the TNG finale, it is implied that humanity will one day rival the Q... so perhaps it is the Q exploring the past of their own rivals. Don't forget, the Q can go anywhere in time. They've already seen humanity's ultimate outcome of evolution. The fact that Q first reveals himself to the Federation in the 24th century implies that he is aiding a crucial point of development. This is also why Amanda's parents chose to become human within the same time frame.

    In reality, Q is just a plot device that can get away with a lot without the need for excuses. He is the deus ex machina to make impossible plots possible. I just wish they would give a lot deeper thought to his role and portrayal. Q isn't God but he's close to it. It makes no sense that any beings could make it to that level without their consciousness being radically high level, anymore than it would make sense for a species to become a space faring society without overcoming their material problems and working together. There is a formula to evolution of life in sci-fi universes and there's nothing to explain how someone as capricious as Q could exist.

    The episode was okay though not three stars.

    What I find thought-provoking--and I have a feeling I wrote (about) this at a previous juncture so apologies if I'm repeating myself--is the whole notion of omnipotence and, with it, immortality.

    The mystery of life is a well-know conundrum. The futility of life goes hand-in-hand with it. We spend 70-80 years being alive, accumulating all the experiences and memories, all the good, bad, ugly, we form all these close relationships, go through great elations and soul-crushing sorrows, etc. And all for what: So that it dissipate when we close our eyes for the last time? Or for some of it to continue in some kind of an afterlife, be it also time-delimited or infinite? Just... - WHY? It makes no sense. It has no purpose, no reason, no logic... Hence, it's futile.

    And yet, Q (and, by extension, God/god/gods) is immortal and omnipotent. Does that kind of an existence make any more sense than the mortal human one described above? Does it have any more meaning or purpose? If you are eternal and can do anything, then you have done everything. What's the use of that? Is eternal existence really more desirable than one limited by time? I submit it's not. Plus, such an existence would not answer the big question "WHY?" either.

    So, yadda-yadda-yadda, the existence and character of Q is just as vapid and devoid of meaning as the existence and character of us, "mere mortals."

    P.S. I have to add, which some have opined on here, that an omnipotent being voluntarily limiting its powers does not address the underlying question of, you guessed it, WHY? Why does that being exist in the first place? What is its purpose? What is the meaning of its existence? There's no answer to any of those questions.

    I don't understand how in one breath Q says that the Q are omnipotent beings who can do anything they want, fulfilling all of their hearts desires. Then, in the next breath, he offers Amanda a choice where she can only stay where she is if she refrains from using her powers.

    It's said that letting omnipotent beings roam the universe unchecked is unacceptable to the Q, yet Q himself talks like they can do whatever they want. So which is it?

    Furthermore, even though I understand what Q is saying, doesn't Q already know what Amanda will do since he has unlimited control of space, time and matter? He could examine the outcome of either choice. And why would Amanda do something destructive when it's apparent that she is a soft, gentle, person?

    My issue with this episode, like all Q episodes, is that the writers don't fully consider the weight of what "omnipotent" means when they depict Q's intentions. Although Q always tells the truth and never lies, he still sometimes contradicts himself.

    Jason - it seems apparent that one Q cannot know what another Q may ultimately do in the future. Q isn't omnipotent in respect of another Q. Q is effectively omnipotent when it comes to mortal beings w/ limited conceptions of space/time/universe. Though even this last point isn't clear since the Q are apparently "worried" with humanity's progress. Surely the Q can see what humanity will become in the future. So, why a trial in the first place?

    The truth at the heart of the episode is this line by Q to Picard, which reveals all of his motives: "Don't be naive. You have no idea what it means to be Q. With unlimited power comes responsibility. Do you think it is reasonable for us to allow omnipotent beings to roam free through the universe?"

    We know from other TNG episodes that the Q Continuum has the ability to remove a Q's powers and make them human. So it seems very cunning that they gave Amanda a choice to remain human while retaining her powers, yet be expected to never use them, knowing full well that they could have simply made her a powerless human instead. It was a false choice, really. Either decision she made (remain human or rejoin the Q) would've led her back to the Continuum, which is what ended up happening.

    The entire episode grappled with the ethics of Amanda's choice. Humanity strongly supported Amanda's free will to choose. In reality, as Q put it to Picard, Amanda had no choice because of her immense powers. Her real options were to join the Continuum or be snuffed out of existence. Q actually saved her by giving her the illusion a choice, one that would force her to rejoin the Continuum willingly either way.

    This gives us a very subtle hint at just how powerful Amanda is and how the Q worked hard to secure her. If the Q tried to force her to leave outright, she would've used her immense powers to resist him and likely cause a lot of damage on an unpredictable scale. Instead, Q pacified her by claiming he was there to observe and train her, while entertaining the idea that she had free will.

    The Q really are guardians of the universe and they always tell the truth, but they move in very subtle ways that are difficult for viewers to see because we are usually distracted by their pompousness and grandiosity.

    To me this episode felt too much like just doing a Q episode to do a Q episode, and when the writers were already getting bored with, too comfortable with him. And it's particulalry bothersome that the other episodes in TNG do make a nice arc that this just seems at best not part of if not against, with no reference to "Qpid" or as I said before "Hide and Q". It's kind of interesting that most of the crew are now, in contrast to earlier, not really hostile to Q but it just doesn't come off as quite believable enough. And despite those lack of references it almost makes sense as a penultimate Q episode but I also like/prefer the penutlimate Q episode being "Tapestry" (and it and "AGT" being) with just Q and Picard.

    And it is striking though great how nicely soon after "Tapestry" then near-ignores this and without directly referencing, really working as follow-up to the rest and acting as prelude to the finale.

    "Tapestry" makes the lack of direct reference to predecessors (including all that surprisingly happened in "Qpid" particularly its ending), focus on its own story, work while also feeling very satisfying in following-up and furthering the general relationship between Picard and Q, it was strong-enough story, portrayals and relationship that it made it being pretty self-contained work and feel justified.

    I thought it was kind of amusing that as a first test Q threw a barrel on Riker since he was one of the first to reject Qs offerings.

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