5 comments on “Q Who

  1. The unspoken exchange between Picard and Geordi in the opening scene is great (and all the other engineers do a super job of not gawking or snickering at the new ensign’s faux pas). Also, I wouldn’t have noticed it had Derek not called it out, but these Sonya scenes do a good job of establishing Star Fleet as maybe too soft for the dangers they’re approaching.

    Picard: “Would you start as an ordinary crewman? What task is too menial?”
    Q: “I could tend bar! Or space out in the middle of a conversation to go gaze cryptically out a window. Take Tasha’s order and then, instead of filling it, go bus tables. Oh, and we can pretend I’ll be around enough to need my own office.”

    Memory Alpha says the pose Whoopi takes on meeting Q is almost identical to one her character used in The Color Purple when confronting her abusive husband–that certainly casts Gainan’s conflict with Q in a new light. It’s clever how the writers give her standing equal(ish) to Q and then make her openly afraid of the Borg; the Borg may not be godlings like Q, but they’re obviously further up the ladder than the Federation is. Given that Gainan and Q share some sense of how fast humanity is “expected” to progress, and supposing the two of them had a falling out two centuries ago, I wonder if they’d been collaborating to prop up humanity as a foil to keep the Borg from coming after the Continuum.

    I like how the presence of a “borg nursery” makes this cube almost completely analogous to the Enterprise.

    I suspect the Borg are called “the ultimate consumers” mainly to signal that they’ve supplanted the rapacious “Yankee Trader” Ferengi as the series’ primary villains. Geiger, cyborgs, distributed computing… I think TNG seized the zeitgeist at the right moment. Not sure the ’90s have anything to compete with that; if Voyager had tried, whatever they came up with would be immediately compared with the Borg and the Founders. Maybe the body-snatching bugs from TNG’s season 1 finale could’ve worked.

    • I’m no expert on Voyager, but I think that Q also had a healthy amount of discretion around the Borg (despite blatantly swooshing the Enterprise out from under their noses). But yeah, I like the theory that they’re using The Federation to solve their Borg problem.

      I hadn’t made the nursery connection, but I like it. It’s slightly harder to hate on the Borg for assimilating children when they’re raising Wesley to be a Starfleet officer. It’s a very different scenario, but the parallel is there.

      I thought he said, “ultimate user” because people in the 90’s didn’t understand how the word “user” worked. I don’t think either phrase really works; it’s a blatant, dramatic line that kinda feels like it’s of its time.

      Inevitably, Voyager’s villains were going to either be shitty and forgettable (Kazons and Vidiians) or stuck being compared to the Borg (Species 8472). I mean, the Hirogen were pretty cool. I never saw the episode with the Vaadwaur, but they had some potential. I guess “had some potential” is Voyager’s whole story though.

  2. I read the swooshing as deliberate Borg bait – “These organics don’t have the technology to do this. How are they doing this?” Risky to put Wesley in their reach though.

    I was thinking more of the Enterprise’s civilian school and families, but you’re right, Wesley’s the more direct parallel.

    I think Voyager also suffers from trying to move Trek into a new era, because that means resolving the Borg threat in some way, and resolving the Borg threat will – because this is Trek – inevitably mean some kind of alliance, which means the next villain has to be even more over the top than the Borg already were. Not everybody can be Gurren Lagann.

    • I’m sure I’ve gone on about it, but in “Descent,” it was heavily implied that the Borg were done. The TNG crew sent Hugh back and the Borg didn’t exist anymore; their cube was inoperable, they built a new ship, became the cult of Lore and no one came for them. No one was sent to find the lost cube. Hugh never said, “I guess I will lead this group of Borg, but the queen rest of the collective will come looking for us so…”

      Season 7 was all about wrapping up storylines and “Descent” fits that by putting the Borg to bed (and even having them ally with the Enterprise crew for a bit). The very next year, Sisko rolls up with a half-finished Defiant because “w/e bitches, The Dominion is the real threat.”

      First Contact changed that. I can’t even blame this one on Voyager. Voyager didn’t even start using the Borg until after First Contact did it and everyone conveniently forgot about “Descent” so they could enjoy a stupid action movie version remake of one of Star Trek’s finest hours.

      • Damn, forgot about that. I guess that answers the initial question then – to get something as iconic as the Borg you’d have to put a movie behind it.

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