One of the things that I really appreciate about Star Trek in all its forms is the belief in the goodness and rightness of humanity (given that we have the time to figure ourselves out). I find this refreshing in the face of so many shows that, particularly recently, revel in the uglier side of us.
The interactions with Q have a strong thread of “go humans” weaved through them. Here we have a member of a supposedly vastly superior race that continues to be one-upped by Jean-Luc and the crew. Q is one of my favourite aliens on Star Trek: TNG. Although all powerful, he is just like a kid playing with the ants on the sidewalk. He is curious, capricious and sometimes cruel but not in any intentional or thoughtful way. And he loves costumes. In this episode he was an Aldebarran serpent, a Starfleet admiral, a French Field Marshal and a monk.
Sure, the dialogue is a bit contrived, the defence of humanity a bit over the top but all in all this episode was fun. Even Riker got to smile and laugh, a big improvement over serious, dramatic Riker. There was some good character development. Picard is smarter than an all-powerful being and thoroughly understands his crew. His moment with Tasha crying was sweet and his judgement of Riker was spot-on. We found out that Riker is a bit looser and more daring than the captain but not really ready for power yet.
My ongoing complaint about this series and this episode in particular are the bits of racism, sexism etc. that continue to thread through what claimed to be a ground breaking series. You can see that the writers are struggling to make Tasha Yar strong yet feminine but then they conjure up a Klingon woman that Worf has no trouble back-handing. It was probably too much to ask at the time, but wouldn’t it have been cool if Tasha was gay or Geordi was the one who was crying on the bridge?
Bits and Pieces
The mine tragedy was just stuck into the story in an awkward way. All it served to do was to show Riker keeping his promise and allowing a child to die. Then all of a sudden he is giving out people’s greatest desires. That sequence could have used some development.
Riker and Wesley are friends. This is in direct contrast to Picard who tends to be awkward around children.
I appreciated Data's refusal of Riker's gift. A very astute observation for an android.
Wil Wheaton did not grow up to look like that.
Geordi's first comment on gaining full sight was how beautiful Tasha Yar was. Do they have a thing going on?
The Q Continuum must be pretty boring if Q has to keep popping into our dimension for fun.
Klingons don’t drink with their enemies. At least Worf sticks to his morals.
Q: “Your species is always suffering and dying.”
Q: “Macro head with a micro brain.”
Q: “Seized my vessel. These are the complaints of a closed mind accustomed to military privileges.”
Picard: “Don’t worry. There’s a new ship's standing order on the Bridge. When one is in the penalty box, tears are permitted.”
Tasha: “Captain. Oh, if you weren’t a captain.”
Riker: “No one has ever offered to turn me into a god before.”
Q: "Let us pray for understanding and compassion.”
Captain: “Let us do no such damned thing! What is this need of yours for costumes, Q? Have you no identity of your own?”