May 27, 2020
Star Trek: Voyager “Q2”
We have now come to the final installment of…
…and boy, does it suck!
This episode aired in the latter half of Voyager‘s final season. By this point, the show had already given up on its premise and decided to become a strict adventure show. On top of that, they ended up ruining the Borg through overuse and cliche-ridden dramatics.
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So, I suppose it’s not surprising that Q would end up meeting a similar fate at the show’s hands.
The show begins with Icheb, one of the Borg children previously discovered by the crew in the episode “Collective”. He would go on to become a recurring character while the other Borg kids were dumped off at a nearby planet because they were smart enough to get off Voyager while the getting was good. Icheb is in Janeway’s ready room preparing for his career in Starfleet by giving her an oral report about James T. Kirk’s exploits, and in the process reminding us of a better show we could be watching. She gives Icheb high marks thanks to his presentation which ends up going well over the planned 20 minute mark.
After he leaves, Janeway is startled by a kid (Keegan de Lancie, real-life son of John de Lancie) dressed in a Starfleet uniform and saying that Icheb’s report was boring. Janeway unsuccessfully calls for security before Q pops up and introduces the kid as his son, who I will refer to as Qunior because, like his mom, this kid annoys me. After the title sequence, Q tells Janeway that he’s dropping Qunior off on the ship for a few days in order for him to get experience with humanity. Q departs before Janeway can object. She attempts to tell Qunior that there are some ground rules, but he scoffs at that and vanishes.
Janeway goes to the bridge, where Qunior shows up and says that everything is monotonous on this ship. No argument there. He vanishes again when Janeway shoots down his ideas for blowing up omega molecules or fighting Species 8472 (I guess that’s that species’ name, even though you would think it was simply the designation the Borg gave it). Torres calls Janeway to Engineering, where Qunior has basically turned it into the Mos Eisley cantina. He sends Janeway, Torres, Tuvok, and Chakotay away when they object. Tuvok simply suggests ignoring Qunior so that with any luck, he may go away permanently.
The lack of Han Solo shooting Greedo must’ve caused Qunior to give up on his party, because we next see him in the cargo bay, where he quickly removes Seven of Nine’s clothing. While he clearly admires the view, Seven herself is undeterred and continues her work, which is basically pushing buttons constantly. He leaves again after putting her clothes back on.
Janeway goes to the mess hall, and in the only funny moment in this episode, the replicator tells her to get her own damn coffee. Neelix suggests he try to talk to Qunior. This is why what happens next, while satisfying, is not at all surprising. After Neelix suggests Qunior stop getting neighboring planets into fights, Neelix getting his jaw fused and his vocal cords removed.
Qunior next summons Janeway to the bridge. She finds the ship being chased by three Borg ships. The ship is captured and the Borg beam over. Janeway is about to get Borgified when Q shows up and ends everything. He chastises his son before Janeway’s anger prompts Q to whisk himself and the captain to her ready room.
Q explains that Qunior has been doing bad things such as “tampering with primordial gene pools” and “punching holes in the fabric of space time”. Janeway asks what Suzie Q has been doing during all this and he says she’s disowned her son (good for her!). As a result, Q feels a lot of pressure because he’s the first parent in the Q Continuum, further illustrating that Amanda Rogers is persona non grata.
Janeway points out that Qunior needs to be parented, and Q needs to set an example for him. He gives Janeway a quick lip lock, as sex was out of the question long ago, and happily departs.
Presuming that everything’s fine now, Janeway bathes in her ready room and is startled when Q pops up in the tub with her. He tells her that despite being gone for less than 10 minutes, years of Q time have gone by. During this time, Qunior threw a fit when the old man tried to lay down the law. Janeway tells Q that he has to show Qunior that his bad acts have consequences. Another ugh moment comes when Q kisses her foot as thanks and departs.
The two are next in Sickbay, with Q holding a green petri dish. He snaps his fingers and Qunior pops out, dismayed that he was trapped in that dish as an amoeba. Q tells him that he’ll be an amoeba permanently if he doesn’t straighten out in a week. As added incentive, Qunior gets his powers taken away and Janeway is drafted into watching him. After Q departs, Qunior tries to leave the ship, but Janeway calls security to stop him. She gives him quarters and tells him to prepare for the training she has planned for him.
The next day, Tuvok takes Qunior to the cargo bay, where Seven and Icheb are set to teach him about spatial causality. Qunior cuts to the chase by asking to see Seven in the buff again. Chakotay later takes him to the holodeck. A program is running in which various aliens are debating the mining rites to a planet. Qunior’s task is to resolve the issue before it leads to war. He tells Chakotay that he can do it by himself and Chakotay agrees to let him do so. He assumes that Qunior will soon be begging for help, but he returns and finds the aliens in agreement.
Qunior is later in the mess hall, where Neelix gets even with him by keeping his big mouth talking. Icheb arrives to say hello and Qunior turns down his invite to hang out, because Janeway wants him to write an essay on the Q. Icheb gives him ideas for the essay, and Qunior asks him to write those ideas down. Later on in her ready room, Janeway calls the essay impressive but figures out that Icheb wrote it. She also says that Qunior rigged the holodeck to make resolving that dispute easier. Janeway tells him to go to his room. But Qunior pleads with her since he doesn’t want to be an amoeba. If there’s one thing Janeway loves, it’s the stroking of her own ego, which is why she gives him another chance.
Her subsequent log entry states that Qunior seems to be improving. He even writes another essay to make up for the last one. After Qunior and Icheb take shuttle piloting lessons from Paris, Q shows up to see how things are turning out. Janeway has Qunior read his essay to his father, but Q is less than impressed. After Qunior leaves dejected, Janeway tells Q to cut his son some slack. But Q says that his son needs to prove he’s up to the standards of the Q. So why the hell did he dump Qunior on a shipload of people who aren’t Q?
Janeway goes to Qunior’s quarters and tries to cheer him up by saying that she’ll ask the Continuum to allow him to remain human and on Voyager if they don’t accept him. But Qunior says he wants to be like his dad. Given that his choices are Q or Voyager, can anyone blame him for choosing the former? This may be why Qunior decides to toss aside the good will he’s been earning by tricking Icheb into getting on the Delta Flyer with him. Qunior blasts through the shuttle doors, and using some technobabble bullshit that will never come up again, whips up a portal that takes them to another part of the galaxy.
As Icheb weakly protests, Qunior ends up provoking an alien ship. The captain demands they surrender. When Qunior doesn’t comply, the captain fires on them, injuring Icheb in the process.
Qunior quickly returns to Voyager and gets Icheb to Sickbay. The Doctor says that, for some reason, he can’t help Icheb unless he knows more about the weapon that injured him. Q pops up, and Qunior lies for a while but then admits to stealing the Flyer and asks his dad to save Icheb. But Q declines, reiterating Janeway’s comments that Qunior must realize there are consequences to his actions.
Janeway talks Qunior into going back with her to learn more info from the alien he provoked. He does so, but the alien captain demands that Janeway surrender herself, because his customs say that adults are held accountable for actions of the children they supervise. But Qunior says that he alone will take full responsibility. The alien laughs with approval and reveals himself to be Q. Appearing on the Flyer, he tells them that it was all a test that Qunior passed and that Icheb will be fine.
Q, Qunior, and Janeway return to Voyager where they appear before a trio of Q dressed, for some reason, as those 21st Century judges we saw in “Encounter at Farpoint”.
They announce that Qunior will not be turned into an amoeba. But because he still risked Icheb’s life, Qunior will remain human. They depart, soon followed by Q, who says he’ll be demanding an appeal.
Qunior soon appears in Janeway’s ready room asking her if he can continue his training. But Q appears, saying that he changed the Continuum’s mind and Qunior has his powers again. Qunior whips up a bunch of flowers to thank Janeway. Q tells him he’ll meet him shortly at some planet, after he has a moment with Janeway. Q tells her that he threatened to leave the Continuum if Qunior didn’t get his powers back, and they agreed on the condition that Q will permanently keep an eye on him.
But Q thanks Janeway by giving her info on a way she can shave a few years off their trip to home. This is when she asks what she should’ve asked in “The Q and the Grey”: why not take the ship all the way back to Earth? But Q says that he’d be setting the wrong example for Qunior by doing all that work for them. I’m so sure that the crewmembers who die over the course of the rest of this reason completely understand that sentiment.
Like “The Q and the Grey”, this episode is an unfunny mess. Even worse is that we have yet to see De Lancie play Q again. The actor is still with us, so he could conceivably pop up on Discovery, or more fittingly, Picard. But this doesn’t change the fact that the Q saga came to an abrupt, unsatisfying end.
The Next Generation saw the possibilities a character like Q presented and ran with them. This is a reason why his appearance on Deep Space Nine was entertaining. As the audience got to know the character more, one could say he emerged as an explorer of sorts, curious (if doubtful) to see what humanity was capable of. This explains the relationship he ends up forming with Picard, an explorer himself. The result were episodes that were watchable, with some achieving greatness. These ranged from dramatically fascinating (“Q Who”, “Tapestry”, “All Good Things…”) to harmless fluff (“Qpid” and “Q-less”).
But Voyager, despite the good ideas presented in “Death Wish”, would proceed to turn Q into just another alien indistinguishable from the others the crew encountered. This is why, like TNG itself, I continue to view “All Good Things…” as the true send off for Q.