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Star Trek TNG - Season 2 - Episode 16

Star Trek TNG - 2x16 - Q Who

Originally Aired: 1989-5-8

Synopsis:
Q hurls the Enterprise across the galaxy. [DVD]

My Rating - 9

Fan Rating Average - 8.11

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 4 2 18 4 4 3 6 7 21 55 94

Problems
- Not so much a problem but a nitpick. Geordi makes fun of his new officer for saying "please" to the computer when that is precisely what Data was doing in the last episode! I guess when Data does it, it's okay?

Factoids
- Ensign Sonia Gomez will appear on the show only one more time (the next episode). Seems her confrontation with the captain resulted in a dismal career!
- The Borg were originally supposed to be an insectoid species but such special effects could not be worked into the budget.
- The Borg ship was originally supposed to be a sphere, but the cube form was selected so the show wouldn't be accused of plagiarizing Star Wars' Death Star.
- This episode establishes that Federation shuttlecrafts of this time period do not have warp drive.
- This episode establishes that Guinan is at least 200 years old and is "not what she appears to be." She and Q also have had some sort of previous business.

Remarkable Scenes
- Guinan interacting with Q.
- The sight of the massive cubic shaped alien vessel.
- Guinan: "When they decide to come, they're gonna come in force."
- The Enterprise battling the Borg.
- Picard begging Q to end the encounter.

My Review
Meet: The Borg. Q demonstrates interesting character in this episode by introducing the Federation to the Borg "far sooner than expected." As Picard said, Q may very well have done the the Federation a favor. The eerie music played throughout the episode is entirely appropriate, complimented nicely by Guinan's fear and feelings of absolute hopelessness due to her people's history with the Borg. Indeed, this episode sheds a great deal of light on her character and her history. The idea that an entire society can be unified under a collective mind is fascinating at first, but then you have to wonder what happens to the individual. This episode doesn't quite dive into this, but it's not hard to imagine. The Borg are a well presented mystery in this episode and unlike TNG: Conspiracy, I look forward to this alien's return.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From JRPoole on 2008-02-18 at 2:21pm:
    This is perhaps the first truly important episode of the series in terms of long-term developments, and it's a fittingly good one.

    Some of Picard's best moments are when he's antagonized by Q. You can really see his frustration that he's being toyed with by a petulant child who happens to be endowed with omnipotent powers. It offends his sensibilities that he's subjected to this, and it shows in his demeanor with Q. Even his plea at the end, when he admits that the Federation is outmatched by the Borg, is spiked with contempt for Q.

    My only quibble with this episode is the interaction between Q and Guinan. I like that they know each other, but the way they raise their hands at each other like some kind of fantasy wizards seems out of character and rather silly. Still, this doesn't tarnish an otherwise excellent episode.
  • From JR on 2008-10-26 at 1:46pm:
    "This episode establishes that Federation shuttlecrafts of this time period do not have warp drive."

    Thad had been established in Time Squared.
  • From paidmailer on 2009-09-23 at 10:56am:
    Great episode, but isn't there one GIGANTIC plothole? If the planets destroyed look like the destroyed outposts in the neutral zone, then the borg were already there, so Q did not lead the borg to the federation, did he?
  • From Inga on 2012-01-03 at 2:01pm:
    "Q may very well have done the the Federation a favor" how is that a favor?

    Also, agree with paidmailer.
  • From Kethinov on 2012-01-03 at 3:15pm:
    Paidmailer, no, it's not a plot hole. Q was trying to warn them that the Borg were a yet-unnoticed threat that they should begin taking seriously.

    Inga, that's the favor that Q did for the Federation. He alerted them to the threat of the Borg that they had previously been oblivious to, but existed and was coming for them nevertheless.
  • From Ggen on 2012-02-26 at 9:06pm:
    This episode is superbly done and full of great moments, "both subtle and gross," to quote Q.

    It presents good continuity with events from last season, when both Romulan and Federation outposts were mysteriously "scooped up" by an unknown force. But most of all it brilliantly and seamlessly weaves together a number of great elements: the greenhorn Sonya subplot (itself useful in creating the social atmosphere on the ship, reminding us that there's a full complement of different characters, not just those we're most familiar with), Guinan's character development and history (with more background on the El-Aurians), the very first Borg encounter (and an exciting and dramatic one too), and a masterfully executed "Q returns" main plot.

    All of this is done well and nicely tied together. Sonya is convincingly overexcited and shaky under pressure, the Borg are perfectly cold, creepy, and confidently indifferent, Guinan is mysteriously wise, and Q is... well, Q ("next of kin to Chaos," according to Picard, and arguably at his best, with plenty of great lines of his own).

    This is exactly what a Q episode should be, and should've been all along. Less posturing and historical references, less "weird animal things" in costume dress, less inconsequential illusions and more serious threats, more real developments and dangers, including casualties.

    (I love how Q refers to the loss of several sections across a number of decks, along with 18
    crewmen, as "a nosebleed.")

    Finally, I love how Q is the archetypal "trickster" figure. Neither obviously good and beneficial, nor explicitly malevelent - and how his actions often have seemingly unintended positive consequence (in this case, giving the Federation a "kick in its complacency," to quote Picard).

    (From Wikipedia:

    "In mythology, and in the study of folklore and religion, a trickster is a god, goddess, spirit,
    man, woman, or anthropomorphic animal who plays tricks or otherwise disobeys normal rules and
    conventional behavior.

    The trickster deity breaks the rules of the gods or nature, sometimes maliciously (for example,
    Loki) but usually, albeit unintentionally, with ultimately positive effects. Often, the
    bending/breaking of rules takes the form of tricks (e.g. Eris) or thievery. Tricksters can be
    cunning or foolish or both; they are often funny even when considered sacred or performing
    important cultural tasks. An example of this is the sacred Iktomi, whose role is to play tricks and games and by doing so raises awareness and acts as an equalizer."

    - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trickster)
  • From Mike Chambers on 2013-10-20 at 8:51pm:
    "Con permiso, capitàn. The hall is rented, the orchestra engaged. It's now time to see if you can dance."

    Wow, what an episode! I can watch this over and over again, and not get tired of it. The only thing that I thought was stupid was when they went over to the Borg ship, and Data said something like "we were scanning for individual life forms" when Riker asked why their sensors didn't detect any life signs when there were that many Borg.

    That's one of the stupidest "technical" explanations of the entire series.
  • From Seven Inch Screw on 2020-09-17 at 7:24pm:
    One of my favorite Data moments is in this episode.

    LaForge: "He's got the straight flush, folks."

    Data: "Not necessarily. ::leans in intently:: Commander Riker may be bluffing, Wesley. ::Quietly folds, stares at Wesley::

    Hilarious.

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