Every good series has a returning foil that shakes things up and makes things interesting. In Star Trek The Next Generation that foil for Picard is the omnipotent being known as ‘Q’. Played by John DeLancie, this character is one that would appear in several episodes in addition to other series. This adventure marks Q’s second appearance on the show. Originally airing on November 23rd 1987, let’s explore Hide and Q.
Stardate 41590.5 Hide and Q
The Enterprise is on an emergency mission to rescue the colonists of a nearby Federation colony when they are interrupted by none other than Q. Q reveals that the Q Continuum has taken notice of the Human race since their first encounter and wants to offer the crew the ‘realization of impossible dreams’. This realization results in a game in which the prize is a great future for Mankind but if they lose, disaster will befall them all.
After being refused his offer, Q challenges Riker and the bridge crew (save Picard) to a ‘Deadly Game’. He promptly whisks them all away to a desolate planet and tells them that they will face a deadly game in which their very lives are in danger. Dressed as a Napoleonic Marshal, Q sets the game and soon Tasha is given a penalty for speaking out in protest against the situation. He then reveals that if anyone else is given a penalty, Tasha will vanish into nothingness. I kinda wonder if this is foreshadowing…sorry you’ll understand later.
Picard hangs out on an empty bridge, which turns out to be the very penalty box Tasha is sent to. She gets a little inappropriate with him but Q shows up so nothing happens. Seriously, when a subordinate officer says ‘If you weren’t a Captain’…yeah..
Meanwhile, the bridge crew is attacked by ‘Animal things’ and Q gives Riker the power to save them all. Riker returns his officers to the Enterprise and remains behind to deal with Q and explore his newfound powers. The Enterprise leaves to continues its mission to save the colonists.
Riker has some heavy choices to make and when he flat-out refuses Q’s gift Q pulls the crew back down to the planet where Wesley and Worf are killed. Riker saves them all with a wave of his hand…again. I swear they just keep popping back and forth.
Anyhow, Riker gets the ultimate test when he starts giving really nice gifts to his crewmates. Geordi gets eyes, Worf gets a mate, Data
gets a heart is offered humanity and even Wesley gets to be an adult. I did notice that Tasha and Picard weren’t offered squat. hmmm. What a dick. I bet if he had offered Picard a new head of hair and Tasha a chance to stay on for more than a season, we would have Super-Riker. Then again, this is beardless Riker so yeah he had no chance.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
It’s a great episode and is easily on of the top ones for me in the many Q-centric episodes. This is an episode that not only gives Q some great background but allows some serious character development.
The ultimate question in this one is What would you do with the chance to have ultimate power? With that,we get to see Riker make some heavy decisions and very nearly give into the temptation of this very thing. Riker even refers to the crew as Picard’s ‘Staff’ and calls him ‘Jean Luc’ which directly shows how far his corruption has gone. Even a man as good as Riker appears to be can still be tempted by the devil. At one point he offers each crewman a ‘gift’ and realizes that these gifts are not what his friends and crewmates want, they want him as a fellow officer and commander. Jonathan Frakes does an amazing job as the power mad Riker and plays an incredible balance between a benevolent God and a madman with ultimate power. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
DeLancie is also just as amazing in his role as Q and really presses the madness that is Q. Every facial twitch and vocal tone makes you love his character all the more enjoyable. This, by far, is the episode that cemented his character in Star Trek lore.
La Forge also gets a moment of sight for the first time in his life which ends up being somewhat cruel of Riker. LaForge gets his ultimate wish but also declines the gift because the price is just too great. It will be another decade before he gets his real eyes again.
There is even a little more character development for Data as well. At one point Riker offers Data a chance to ‘be human’ and he declines the offer on the grounds that it ‘wouldn’t be real’.
Q was and is one of my very favorite characters on the series. I’ve had the chance to meet a few of the Trek actors including Nichelle Nichols (Uhura), Michael Dorn (Worf) and Robert Picardo (The Doctor from Voyager) and One day I hope to meet DeLancie before it’s too late.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
Wesley gets to be all grown up and looks nothing like how the actor would look in the future. heh.
Worf gets a brief moment where Riker makes him a Klingon mate. We then learn that Worf ‘has no place in his life’ for a Klingon Female as she is from a ‘world alien to him’. This is a foreshadowing to his lost mate K’Ehleyr whom we meet later in the series.
The episode starts off with the crew at red alert and really shows them pulling together as a crew. It’s really quite intense.
There is a scene where Q gives Riker an ‘old fashioned Lemonade’ to this day, every time I watch that scene, I crave a lemonade.
Despite the power of Q, Riker still has no beard.
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Late To The Game 01/19/18
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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