Star Trek: The Next Generation “Qpid”
“Qpid”, the latest installment of…
…has the same lighthearted tone as the previous entry, “Deja Q”.
The episode begins with the Enterprise arriving at Tagus III, where Picard is set to give a lecture to a group of renowned Starfleet archaeologists. As he’s the archaeology aficionado, Picard is up in his ready room to the wee hours perfecting his speech, as well as wishing that the ruins on the planet weren’t closed off to the public. Troi comes in and politely tells him that his speech is fine and he should get his ass to bed.
Picard concedes, but upon arriving in his quarters, recognizes something on his table. That something is a horga’hn, which is basically a sex toy he bought for Riker when he went to pleasure planet Risa the previous season in “Captain’s Holiday”. Picard is also happily surprised to find that Vash (Jennifer Hetrick), a fellow archaeology buff whom he romanced in that episode, is in his quarters as well. I think it’s safe to say that Picard won’t be getting any sleep tonight.
We jump to the next morning as the two are having tea. Vash says that she’s part of the archaeology team that Picard is set to talk to, although her tone suggests that there’s something more to her appearance on Tagus III. But he basically freezes up when Dr. Crusher arrives for their morning tea. He stammers as he introduces the ladies to each other, with Vash noting that Picard told her about Crusher, but not vice versa. But this doesn’t stop the doctor from offering to give Vash a tour of the ship.
One stop on this tour is Ten Forward, where Vash meets Riker, and we get the awesome news that Picard does a great Riker impression. Crusher excuses herself when she’s needed in Sick Bay, so Riker continues Vash’s tour, which ends up on the bridge. After meeting La Forge, Data, and Worf, she briefly gets cozy in Picard’s chair, just as the captain comes out of his ready room.
Soon, at the reception in Ten Forward, Troi confirms that Picard told none of the other members of the crew about Vash. Pissed off about this, she confronts Picard, who says that it would be inappropriate, but Vash just thinks he’s embarrassed by her presence. This little tiff leads to him going back to his ready room. Alas, another headache is inside waiting for him: Q, who’s sitting at his desk and asks for a big hug.
After he gives the chair back to Picard, Q says that he’s back because he feels that he must somehow repay Picard for giving him a hand in getting his powers back in “Deja Q”. Picard just says Q leaving would suffice, but Q insists more is needed. He suggests helping Picard with his upcoming speech, which he tells Picard is crap. To that end, he offers to give Picard a look at the planet’s ruins, but Picard says that his speech will do the trick and tells Q to get lost. After Q vanishes, Picard alerts Riker, who in turn alerts the crew.
Later, Picard attempts to make amends with Vash, but those efforts are thwarted when he finds a map of the ruins as well as digging equipment. This lets him know that she plans to continue her pillaging ways, and once more they part, pissed off with each other.
Q happens to catch this argument and pops up in Picard’s quarters when the captain is going to bed. He says that Vash has brought out vulnerability in Picard that Q has been unable to, even saying that he would’ve appeared as female himself had he known. After this, and bringing up his need to repay Picard, the captain once again tells Q to piss off, which he happily does.
As Picard gives his speech the next day, the other regulars seated in the back row are slowly acquiring medieval attire that pops up out of nowhere. The rest of the audience is startled, as is Picard, whose own attire changes before he and the other regulars suddenly find themselves on Earth. They deduce that this is roughly the 12th Century and they’re attired like Robin Hood and his Merry Men, leading to Worf’s classic line, “Sir, I protest! I am not a merry man!”
That’s when Sir Guy of Gisbourne (Clive Revill) appears. Worf engages in a brief sword fight with him before reinforcements prompt Picard and company to take refuge in the forest.
Not long afterward, Q shows up on a nice looking white horse and claims he’s the Sheriff of Nottingham. He tells them that they’ll be returned to the ship by noon tomorrow. The catch is that Maid Marian is set to be beheaded at that time. Picard quickly realizes that Vash is playing Marian. Before vanishing, Q says that while he created this illusion, he’s as uncertain about how things will play out as the crew is.
At Nottingham Castle, Vash is understandably confused. But after her initial hostility, she starts to become more friendly to Sir Guy after hearing that she’s set to go on the chopping block.
In the forest, Worf emulates a classic John Belushi move by gently taking the mandolin La Forge is playing, and smashing it against a nearby tree. Troi likewise is trying to get the hang of using a bow and arrow, as one hits Data, although he’s fine. Picard decides to go rescue Vash on his own over Riker’s objections.
Q is astonished at how Vash is able to sweet talk Sir Guy into sparing her life. After she returns to her quarters, she sees Picard enter via the window. He informs her that Q created this fantasy, but for some reason, Vash decides to get pissed when she learns that Picard came to the castle all by himself. Naturally, this hinders their escape, giving Sir Guy a chance to bust them. Vash even turns Picard’s sword against him, pleasing Sir Guy more. This further astonishes and angers Q, who goes to Vash to introduce himself and give her his compliments.
But Q also finds a letter Vash was planning to send to Riker, and orders the guards to plan for her execution as well. And to think, this wouldn’t have happened if Vash had just kept her mouth shut as Picard was rescuing her. Heck, even Picard calls her out on this as they bitch to each other on their way to the chopping block. Despite this, Picard tells Q to let Vash go.
Fortunately, the other crew members are nearby dressed as monks. Data pulls some doohickey from his arm and tosses it into a nearby torch, causing a brief explosion. This gives our heroes enough time to begin the fight, as Q watches while stuffing his face with the buffet that I suppose is standard for executions. Of course, this includes the infamous bit where Crusher and Troi take out bad guys with pottery, while all the men get to use swords. Happily, future episodes would make this up to both ladies.
As Vash is dragged back to her quarters, Picard and Sir Guy fight, with Picard winning. After reuniting with Vash, Picard tells Q to end the whole thing. He does so, although he gloats that love has brought out the worst in Picard. Vash, however, states the opposite is true, which earns her more praise from Q.
Everyone is back on the Enterprise except Vash. But Picard isn’t saddened for long, as she shows up when he goes to his ready room. They make up before Q appears, with Vash saying that he’s her new partner and they plan to explore the universe together. Picard is initially dismissive, until Vash reminds him that she and Q pretty much deserve each other.
After assuring Picard that Vash will be safe, Q departs so they can kiss each other goodbye.
When all’s said and done, “Qpid” is more or less an advertisement for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, which was released a few months later. Still, like “Deja Q”, the episode is enjoyable, even though the storyline isn’t as sharp. This is probably because we know that things will turn out alright because the entire scenario is engineered by Q. Vash rubs some fans the wrong way, but it’s understandable that she and Q ended up viewing each other as kindred spirits. But I will say that this episode would certainly rank higher in my book if we had heard Picard’s Riker impression.