June 19, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Weekend Trek “Death Wish”

Q shows up on Voyager to stop a suicidal member of his own kind.

Garrit Graham, one of those “That Guy!” actors, pops up here as another Q.  That does make a certain amount of sense.  John De Lancie’s Q is something of a fan favorite and a character who could easily pop over to the Delta Quadrant and annoy Janeway the same way he annoyed Picard (and Sisko one time) whenever he wanted.

Hopefully he doesn’t overstay his welcome.

There’s a good chance for that.  Voyager comes across a comet that’s acting weird, and when they beam a core sample on board, there’s a Q in there.  Janeway and many of the higher-ranking Starfleet personnel on board have heard about Q, but it’s not the Q they know.  This is a different Q.  This one seems nicer, all told.  But it’s not too long before De Lancie’s Q shows up, there’s a chase from the Big Bang to a microscopic size, and then the guy the close captioning on my AppleTV+ service referred to as “Q2” does something entirely unexpected and requests asylum.  Q2 is as good a name as any, so I’ll call him that too.

However, there has to be a reason that Q2 was in a comet.  Apparently, he was being punished for the crime of wanting to die.  There’s the dilemma for Janeway:  if she denies Q2 asylum, the Q Continuum will lock him back up in that comet prison of his where he spent the last 300 years, but is she agrees, he’s just going to kill himself.

All things being equal, it’s not a terrible episode, but it also doesn’t quite hit the heights of some of the earlier episodes of the season.  Nothing here really digs into the series’s main characters.  If anything, it digs into the Q, and Q isn’t really a Voyager character.  His interplay with Picard is usually good, an annoyance who can often be helpful in a backhanded sort of way.  With Janeway, he adds “sexist jerk” to his repertoire to annoy, appearing in Janeway’s bed and suggesting they have sex or something.  I suppose Q could have hit on Jean-Luc, but he likewise never hit on Troi or Crusher or even Yar when he had the chance.

Granted, he doesn’t hit on B’Elanna or Kes here either.  Kes intrigues Q2 a bit since she has a short lifespan and he wants to die.  Q2  also does a smart thing by asking Tuvok to represent him.  Vulcans do believe in suicide for the very old and infirm, but that doesn’t mean Tuvok really agrees with Q2’s desire to die.  That said, Q has never really faced Vulcan logic before as far as I know, and Tuvok makes him look awfully silly during the trial, even when Q summons a second version of himself as a witness.

Then again, he also summons Sir Issac Newton, hippie Maury Ginsberg, and a very surprised Riker, none of whom will remember what happened later.  All of them were helped by Q2, or more accurately, they saw him because Riker’s Civil War-era ancestor had his life saved by Q2, and as such, Riker exists because of that guy.  Why does he want to die?

Well, he’s a philosopher, the Q Continuum is essentially unchanged, and he wants to experience something new.  It’s not the usual reason for any culture Janeway or Tuvok knows of to commit suicide in a socially acceptable manner, and the only reason the Continuum cares is because, well, they’re a continuum.  Change isn’t really their thing.  Sure, they’ve executed Q criminals before, and Q2 even notes Q has been rendered powerless as punishment in the past.  In fact, Q inspired Q2 by being a rebel.  But ultimately, the Continuum isn’t about change.  That might make them, all told, rather dull as a species considering how flamboyant De Lancie’s Q has always been.

Then again, this episode is also one where Janeway and Tuvok actually visit the Q Continuum, and sure, Q says it was not really an accurate look at things since that was just how a human or Vulcan mind would perceive it, but it sure does look rather boring.  That, apparently, is Q2’s problem.

Janeway was never going to sentence a guy to the inside of a comet, but she can try to talk a now powerless Q2 into staying alive because, well, as a mortal, he can experience new things like he wanted to.

Or not.  Q gives him poison, and he dies gratefully.

I’m not 100% sure what to make of something like this.  The Q as a race are something that Star Trek probably should dig deeper into, but Q somehow seems, well, worse with Janeway than he did with Picard.  I think it may be because with Picard (and Worf and a few others), Q had a really good antagonistic report, but with Janeway, it seems somehow more archaic, like I would expect better than for Q to just do some half-assed flirting with Janeway.  That seems, well, below a guy like Q.

Then again, I suspect he’ll be back for more, so maybe that will improve.