The following is a SPOILER Review. If you have not seen the episode yet and do not want to have the plot given away, stop reading now.
This is not just a review; it's a retelling of the episode from start to finish, limited only by my ability to remember the details. I do this for my friends in uniform and those living overseas or who otherwise do not have access to the episodes as they are aired.
Q wants to be a daddy, and attempts to add a new dimension to Action Kate.
Jump straight to the Analysis
Jump straight to the Analysis
Space...the peep show of the universe. In the silent vacuum of infinity, a star goes supernova. Less than ten billion kilometers away, the crew of the Starship Voyager applauds enthusiastically.
This is a banner event. Only two other Starship crews have witnessed supernovae live, and none as close as Voyager. Neelix, overwhelmed, says Wow! A bunch of times. He asks Tuvok if he feels similarly...Wow!? "Your inarticulate expressions of awe notwithstanding...aw, heck with it. Wow indeed." He and Neelix high-five each other and replicate some burritos.
Kes also gushes and thanks Janeway for letting her up to the bridge to witness it. She expresses an interest in the stars. "Just remember, Kes..anyone can stargaze on the bridge--even a hologram with a portable emitter--but the real action will always be in Sickbay." (What a stupid line! Ack!)
Janeway wants to get right to work, but Chakotay notices her rubbing her neck and falling asleep in mid-sentence, and orders her to bed. She leaves the bridge in the able and manly hands of her first officer (who doesn't offer her a neck rub this time).
Janeway returns to her quarters. But they sure don't look like her quarters. They look like the Motel 6 Honeymoon Suite. Soft Muzak, red roses, lit candles surrounding a bed of red satin sheets with two heart-shaped pillows, dimmed lights, windows unshaded to reveal the stars, ten-credit champagne, the telltale scent of Brut. "Janeway to bridge, intruder alert!" she calls into her combadge.
"There's no need to call room service, Kathy. I've already ordered." A familiar figure steps from the shadow of the anteroom.
"Oh, Q!" she whispers hoarsely, to provide the necessary line to be taken out of context for the shamelessly provocative promo. ("How's that for First Contact?") She buries her face in her hands. She repeats the Intruder Alert order. "I've taken the proverbial phone off the hook. After all...we don't want any interruptions."
They stand on opposite sides of the bed. He has on his best puppy-dog face.
"What are you doing here?"
Q raises a toast. "To us."
"There is no us, Q," Janeway snarls.
"The night is young, and the sheets are satin," he purrs.
"I want you out, but first get rid of this bed."
"I have no intention of getting between those Starfleet-issue sheets. They give me a terrible rash." He pouts the response.
"Since you won't be getting in the bed, I wouldn't worry about it."
"Oh, Kathy, don't be such a prude! Admit it! It has been a while..."
"And it's going to be a while longer. Now get out!"
"So tense! Why don't you slip into something more comfortable." A flash of light, and Janeway's Starfleet uniform has been replaced by her pink satin nightgown. Janeway looks down at herself in a mixture of shock and disgust.
"If you think that this puerile attempt at seduction is going to work, you're even more self-deluded than I thought!" I can see where Q is coming from, though; even her putdowns sound sexy. Rrrrowwrrrl.
She turns her back on Q. He grabs her arm and pulls her into an off-balance Tango dip. She looks up at him, he down to her, their eyes locked in mortal combat. "Oh, I see; you think interested in some tawdry one-night stand. That's because I haven't told you why I'm here yet! Of all the females of all the species in all the galaxies...I have chosen you to be the mother of my child."
Her mouth drops open in shock.
* * *
Sometime between Q's announcement and the commercials, he got her on the bed. By the time we cut back to her quarters, she has to scramble out from underneath his omnipotent pawing. "Augh!" she says in disgust as she heads for the other room.
Q lounges on the foot of the bed, kicking his heels lazily. "I know that you're probably asking yourself, 'Why would a brilliant, handsome, dashingly omnipotent being like Q want to mate with a scrawny little bipedal specimen like me?"
"Let me guess! no-one else in the universe will have you!" Janeway calls from the other room.
Q springs from the bed in mock outrage, rushing to the doorway where his twue wuv awaits. "Nonsense! I could have chosen a Klingon Targ! A Romulan empress! A Cyrillian microbe!"
Janeway appears wearing a Q-proof bathrobe. "Really? I beat out a single-celled organism? How flattering!" She tries to get past him, but he blocks the doorway with his arm.
"It's an overwhelming honor isn't it?" He says, missing (or ignoring) the sarcasm. "I can't get you out of my mind," he rasps. "You're confident, passionate, beautiful..."
"And totally uninterested." She sneaks under his arm and escapes into her room. He pursues.
"Kathy, you can't leave! My cosmic clock...is ticking. Besides...you have no idea what you're missing! Foreplay with a Q can last for decades."
"Sorry, but I'm busy for the next 60 or 70 years!" she says, ducking away from his advances yet again.
"Oh, I see, this is one of those silly human rituals! You're playing hard to get!"
"As far as you're concerned, Q, I'm impossible to get."
His face lights up. "Goody! A challenge! This is going to be fun!" He snaps his fingers, and the captain's quarters return to their previous monastic condition.
Janeway ensures that all is as it's supposed to be, and then hails the bridge. She tells Chakotay of Q's visit, sparing details, and tells the crew to be on their guard for anything unusual. Chakotay asks what his purpose was, concerned. "Let's just say he had a personal request," Janeway says coyly. "I have a feeling he'll be back."
The next morning, Janeway sits at her desk in her ready room, poring over reports, yawning her way through her sixth pot of coffee. Chakotay rings, bearing the data from yesterday's supernova. She takes it without even looking at him. He doesn't leave immediately, and she breaks out of whatever she's been thinking about. "Is there something else?" she mutters distractedly. He asks for details of Q's visit, knowing he's being nosy, but unable to resist. "He wants to mate with me," she finally says, and Chakotay seethes. "Of course it's out of the question," she adds; she figures Q has some hidden agenda he hasn't bothered to reveal yet (surprising, considering how much unwanted stuff he revealed the night before....) She senses Chakotay's reaction, stands and places a hand on his arm. "Oh, Chakotay..." she says, peering intently into his eyes, her hand still welded to his arm.
"I know I don't have any right to feel this way, but this bothers the hell out of me," he says.
"I do believe you're jealous," Q remarks, for once appearing silently. "Why didn't you tell me there was another man?" he demands. Janeway and Chakotay look at him, caught in the intimate moment.
"Because there isn't," Janeway responds, as she and Chakotay break contact. Chakotay falls on the ground in a puddle of rejection. "I'm just not interested in you." Chakotay manages to add, "any questions?"
Q insults Chakotay, asks what she could possibly see in the big oaf. "Is it the tattoo? Because MINE'S BIGGER!" He turns his face, the left half of which is now completely covered in elaborately detailed facial art, intended to emulate but surpass Chakotay's own. (How...wilderness of him.)
Janeway considers him. "Not big enough," she sniffs, then exits for the bridge with the upper hand. Chakotay stays a moment longer, as if to say something (tattoo envy?) But eventually follows the captain, leaving Q with ink on his face, thinking furiously.
Janeway's captain's log, stardate 50384.2, indicates that she's given the crew permission to chat with Q to uncover his real motives, should he approach them. Meanwhile, on the Holodeck, the latest Neelix/Paris/Kim slice of holo-Babylon is being enjoyed by...Paris and Kim, who work on crew performance reports, in off-duty shorts and tanktops, while the Swedish Bikini Team rubs their shoulders to programmed perfection. "Who says these reports should be a chore?" says a purple T-shirted Paris, kneaded by a buxom blonde in a too-small blue sports bra. Kim can only drool unintelligibly. "Sure beats working on the bridge," he moans, as a violet-garbed redhead makes him forget all about Libby. "Now, if only the captain would let us have our morning briefings in here," Paris says. "That'll be the day, says Kim.
The wimmen flash out of existence, only to reappear on a chair a few feet away--the redhead on Q's lap, held in place by a meaty hand to the upper thigh; the blond giving his omnipotent neck muscles appropriate attention. "Nice program, Tommy!" Q says approvingly. "But it's all just so much holo-pleasure, isn't it?" Yeah, but "so much" goes a long way in the 24th century....
Paris gets straight to work. "All right, Q, we'll bite; what do you want?"
Q sends the Holobabes away. His outfit, better suited to the original Enterprise--all primary yellows and reds--stands in stark contrast to the attire worn by others, but it's perfectly suited to his gaudy personality. "Guys...I just don't understand your captain. I've tried everything...filling the bridge with roses, wrote Vogon love sonnets, serenading her in her bath..."
"I bet she loved that one," Paris smirks.
"But no matter what lengths I go through to win her heart, she rejects me--me!--how, I ask you, is that possible?"
Harry asks the obvious. "Has it ever occurred to you that she just doesn't like you?"
Q turns slowly toward the young ensign. His face scrunches as if he's just eaten a lemon or listened to a Michael Bolton album. "No," he whines sarcastically.
"Look, Q, we've been told about your appearances on the Enterprise. We know your little visits usually turn out to be more than meet the eye. So save your broken heart routine, and tell us what you're really after?" says Paris.
Q grabs Harry and Tom in a conspiratorial huddle. "I just thought you could give me advice on how to break Kathy's icy exterior--you know, Man to Man." Q picked well; Paris is the only sentient life-form in the universe to successfully mate with the good Captain and produce offspring. And she even suggested it was her idea. (see "Threshold." Most folks will tell you to avoid "Threshold" like the plague. But dangit, I enjoyed it.) But perhaps the Lieutenant wants to maintain his monopoly, and suggests only that Q give up before he embarrasses himself further. He and Harry walk away. "We're not going to get any straight answers from this guy."
Alas, poor Q. You notice that love even turns the omniscient into lobotomized doofuses? No wonder the Greek gods kept getting into trouble.
Q sticks around the Holodeck, looking for someone else to talk to. He grabs a gourd-filled drink at the bar with a parrot garnish, where Neelix is mixing drinks. "You, Bar Rodent! Another one of these...fruity concoctions!" he says, his eyes momentarily distracted by passing Holobabes.
"Not unless you tell me why you're bothering Captain Janeway!" Neelix yaps.
"Captain Janeway--now that's a subject I wanted to discuss!" Q says cheerily. "Tell me...what are some of her favorite things? Chocolate truffles? Stuffed animals? Erotic art?" he wiggles his eyebrows salaciously.
"You can't bribe Captain Janeway!" Neelix retorts, outraged. "Oh no? Isn't that what you do?" "What are you talking about?" Neelix asks, suddenly doubtful. "I understand that you acquire things for her. Create little interesting diversions. Prepare little tasty treats. After all, why else would she be so fond of your fur-lined face." He plucks one of Neelix's Kentucky Headhunter sideburns, eliciting a grunt of pain.
"I'm respectful, loyal, and most of all sincere. And those are qualities someone like you could never hope to possess!" He storms off, and Q laughs delightedly. Neelix told him what he wanted to know.
In Janeway's quarters, there is a sudden mewling. Janeway rises from her research and coffee to investigate. It's a gorgeous red-haired puppy Labrador?) In its own basket. (Looks a lot like the dogs Janeway has at home, incidentally.) Janeway's face lights up--she loves dogs--and she pulls it to herself before acknowledging its likely donor. "This isn't going to work, Q," she says, her voice suddenly hard. But she doesn't relinquish the puppy just yet.
"How can you ignore that face?" Q says, leaning over the desk at her and the pooch. "He's adorable," she says, rising and handing it to her. "But this has to stop." "Please, accept him as a small token of my affection." "No."
The puppy looks to Q. "Keep talking," it seems to say, imploring him with its sad puppy-dog eyes. "I wanna stay with the nice lady." Q looks to Janeway. "Suit yourself. Can we talk? Just...talk." He and the puppy move to the couch by the window, and sit expectantly. Janeway raises a single finger, then silently moves to the couch, unsure what to expect. Her body language is as stiff as Al Gore in the Alps. Q is using the puppy as part of the game plan, emotionally double-teaming her. His eyes are as beseeching as the puppy's.
"I'm afraid that I haven't been sincere. When you first asked why I wanted to have a child with you, I made jokes, bragged about my prowess, engaging in sexual innuendo...I was using all that to cover up my true feelings....I'm lonely."
"Lonely?" She's incredulous.
"I've been single for billions of years...it was fun at first, gallivanting all over the galaxy, using my omnipotence to impress women of every species..." he laughs naughtily, until he realizes he's losing her patience-- "the fact is, it's left me empty. I want someone to love me for myself. I guess what I'm saying is...I want a relationship." Janeway looks amused. "I just thought if you and I had a child, it would give me the kind of stability and security that I've been missing." The puppy's now putting on the full-court press.
"Sorry, Q, I'm not buying it." Janeway says, picking up the puppy, hugging it close, cheek to cheek, petting it affectionately as she'll never touch him. (The tease!)
Q rises and looks out the window. "Okay, Let's see if you buy this...you're stuck out here, thousands of light-years from home, and you're not getting younger. All your hopes for home, hearth and family grow dimmer every day. Admit it, Katherine, you're lonely too. And you wonder if you'll ever have a child." By which he means, human children--not them adorable but slithery slug-things she had a litter of with Paris.
"You're right--I would like to have a child someday," she says, clutching the puppy maternally. He brightens. "But not with you."
"I'm just not the right kind of woman for you," she says.
"Truer words were never spoken!" Janeway and Q turn to face a new voice, belonging to a statuesque woman in a Starfleet Captain's uniform (the Q attire of choice, it seems), her deep, fiery red hair glowing with an aura of omnipotent condescension, hands on her hips, looking like she owns the place. I fall instantly in love.
"Q!" Q says. "How did you find me?" He seems unhappy at her appearance. To avoid a Bruce's Philosopher's Club state of confusion, let's call the newcomer...Suzie Q.
"Never mind that!" Suzie Q snaps, taking a few menacing steps forward. "What are you doing with that dog?" she demands. Q and Janeway look simultaneously to the contented little pooch, in the latter's arms, wondering why her ire would focus on it. It's adorable.
"I'm not talking about the puppy," Suzie Q purrs like a cougar about to eat a camper.
This time, Q and Janeway both give a look of slack-jawed astonishment. Q's eyes bug out like Marty Feldman's. It's getting to be a habit this episode.
* * *
I'm busy here; stop stalking me, rages Q. You should be back in the Continuum, says Suzie Q. Janeway asks who she is. "Kathryn Janeway, may I present Q," says Q. "Not just any Q, his Q." she drawls. "We were involved, for a while," he says.
"About four billion years," she says. "And now you desert me. To pollute the Continuum with the DNA of this...narrow little being." She regards Janeway with contempt.
"I never said it was exclusive," protests Q.
"Stay away from him."
Janeway protests that she has zero interest in Q. (The puppy remains silent throughout the exchange.) Q huffs; "See what you've done?" he says to Suzie Q. "And I was finally making progress." Janeway rolls her eyes.
Chakotay calls from the bridge. Janeway says she's on her way, and tells Q and Miss Q to take their squabbles off her ship. She hands Q the puppy, who now regards the thing as he would a soiled diaper. Suzie Q continues to regard him with regal contempt. Q makes the puppy flash out of existence.
Janeway enters the bridge, followed by the two Q's. Chakotay says there are two more supernovae building up, far nearer to their position than before. Too close, in fact, to warp away from. Janeway orders Paris to get them out of there at maximum impulse, but they know it's too late to avoid some serious stellar debris.
Janeway advances on Q. "One supernova every century is about average. We've experienced three in as many days. I suspect you have something to do with it." Suzie Q pipes in from her vantage point at the edge of the bridge, posing like the Venus de Continuum (with arms). "She may be a member of an intellectually challenged species, but she's right. Your irresponsible behavior is continuing to have cosmic consequences." Janeway asks if it's true. "Not exactly." He frowns as he regards Suzie Q. "Will you stop overreacting? Always nagging; you can see why I left her."
The shockwaves from the supernovae are coming in. Janeway demands that Q do something. He snaps his fingers, and he and Janeway disappear. "That two-timing toad!" Suzie Q shouts, then snaps her own fingers and disappears.
Voyager gets rocked, tossed, folded, spindled and mutilated in the wake of exploding suns.
Janeway finds herself in hoop skirts and her hair up, in an elegant sitting room. Q enters wearing the uniform of a Union general. "You're in the Continuum now," he says. The old representation of the Continuum, from "Death Wish," the dusty roadside shack...that was then. The current image is far more expressive of the Continuum at the moment. He, the dashing Northern officer, seeking the hand of the testy Southern belle in war-torn Georgia, despite her hatred for "Yankee interlopers."
Janeway's concerned about her ship and crew. Q says that the first officer--Chuckles, was it?--surely can handle the situation for now. He is still bantering, but his mood seems more somber, though subtly so at first. "This is beyond your ship. It's even beyond you and me. This is about the future of the Continuum itself." He pours himself a mint julep.
Janeway runs at him--not an easy task in full Southern Belle regalia. She demands to know what's going on. "I'll do better than that...I'll show you." He opens the shutters to reveal the horizon of night. Bonfires and gunfire light it with a surreal glow.
"The Continuum is burning," he says, all trace of irony gone. "The Q are in the middle of a civil war." Janeway's mouth stays shut, but her silent expression belies her third shock of the episode.
* * *
As Janeway stares out the window, Q reminds her of Quinn, the Q philosopher who sought asylum and committed suicide. "Do you recall what I said would happen?" Janeway remembers; a disruption in the Continuum, dire consequences. "I'd say a civil war is pretty dire."
Q himself had led the charge for greater freedom in the Continuum, more of what Quinn had argued for, causing the forces for the status quo to seek to quash them permanently. The battle spread throughout the Continuum, and even spread into the galaxy--the Supernovae are "galactic crossfire," he says.
Q also thinks that the Civil War could be a good thing--it could pave the way for a greater Q society. Janeway argues that the American Civil War was fought before her people had learned to resolve their arguments peacefully. (Tell that to the Maquis, Kathy.) Q wants her to help him transform the Q. "By mating with you?" "I know; brilliant, isn't it?"
Janeway still doesn't see how it will accomplish things, but Q explains. By combining the omnipotence of the Q with the civilized DNA of humanity, he thinks they can produce a better breed of Q--bred for peace, and wider understanding, and capable of leading the Continuum to a new and greater age. Janeway is still confused, but the passions of Q's argument do seem to be making her think about his arguments. She has her questions, but for now she listens as Q suggests their fruitful union would give rise to a new Messiah of Q, a Q of peace and intellect and enlightened immortality.
The window explodes. They duck. Q ends up on top of her. He asks her what she thinks. A bullet (or whatever in the Continuum is represented by a bullet) ricochets around the room, and Q collapses, a bloody wound in his right forearm. Q and Janeway seem equally shocked at the sight of the blood. The room continues to erupt in hot leaden death.
Aboard Voyager, electric death sparks from panels and access hatches. Crewmen lie unconscious or worse. But the cast members whose names we know are okay, and they're quickly up and barking status and damage reports. Warp's down, and they're 16 billion kilometers away from where they were. Suzie Q is also here, and she's got a head wound. She rises slowly, dazed.
Chakotay wants answers. He grabs her by the arm. "Let me go before I hurl this ship and everything on it into the Thorinian Ice Age!" "I don't think you can!" he says, letting go of her. "Don't be ridiculous," she says, snaps her fingers.
Chakotay suspects--rightly--that something happened to her powers, or she wouldn't be here wounded with the rest of them. HE threatens to hurl her into the brig. She lets that sink in; how the mighty have fallen.
A hastily-assembled staff meeting. Suzie Q tells them about the war in the Continuum, and its effects on her and the nearby stars. She was wounded in the process of returning to the Continuum. "The Vulcan talent for stating the obvious never ceases to amaze me," Suzie Q says in response to Tuvok's summary of consequences. She's a tall woman; she towers over even Tuvok and Chakotay, and no less daunting despite the loss of her powers. She continues to bad-mouth their species.
She's brooding about Q and Janeway, and the "irreparable harm" he's planning by polluting the Continuum's gene pool with her DNA. "Tossed aside," she sighs, "for someone five billion years younger....if it weren't so laughable I'd cry."
Chakotay suggests they work together. "There's gotta be some way of reentering the continuum besides snapping your fingers." "There's one possibility...but I doubt there's anything this rickety barge or your half-witted crew are up to the challenge." Tuvok notes that the rickety barge and half-witted crew are her only hope at the moment.
Q continues to bleed. "I didn't think you were capable of bleeding," Janeway says. 'They're merely a representation of what is actually happening," he says. "You'd be surprised at the ingenuity of an immortal being bent on destroying another."
The Q outside the house order his surrender. Q limps, bleeding, to the window, and swears never to surrender and fires back. He tells Janeway to grab a rifle from the wall and join in. "If their weapons can make me bleed, imagine what they'll do to you."
The room explodes; Q is hurled to the ground, unconscious. Janeway rushes to his side and helps him out of the room.
* * *
Chakotay's log, Stardate 50392.7. They're doing everything Suzie Q suggests to them in an effort to reenter the Continuum. They're retooling the ship's engines and other systems.
Suzie Q enters Engineering like a queen examining her subjects. She's as tall as a Wookie (and infinitely more as gorgeous), making Torres look like a relative toddler. (In terms of evolution, that may be appropriate.) She demands to know why the modifications aren't done yet. Torres mentions how involved the process is. "If you're in such a hurry, why don't you just snap your fingers and do it yourself," Torres says, then snaps her own fingers. "Oh, I forgot...they don't work anymore."
Suzie Q stresses the importance of entering the Continuum before Q mates with Janeway. (Much as I love Kathryn, I can't see why he'd dump this woman for her. Must be a mid-life crisis or something. A few billion years is a long time for monogamy...but still....) Torres says that Suzie Q isn't the first woman to get dumped by a man looking to trade up (man, is Torres lucky this Q is powerless....) "I hope you're not comparing some failed romance in your pitiful existence to my eternal association with Q!" Suzie Q scoffs.
Torres has had it with this superiority complex of hers. "It's not a complex, dear, it's a fact," she smirks. Torres provides another fact: if Suzie Q doesn't stop bothering her, she'll never finish the needed modifications, and the omnipotent prima donna can kiss her ass-ociation with Q goodbye.
Suzie Q considers this. "You know, I've always liked Klingon females. You've got such...spunk." Torres gives her a look that even a Q with powers might flinch at.
Yeah, well Spunk Q. (Sorry, I couldn't resist. I'll go spend my time in the Pain Cave to atone for that last joke.)
Night falls. "Shenandoah" plays on a lone harmonica (among the Union soldiers? Feh!) Janeway brings a cloth with hot water to the supine Q, who is more hurt than originally believed. She points out that she encountered some of Q's faction as they were fleeing the homestead. "It doesn't look like you're on the winning side."
Q notes she saved his life. "And now it's time to end all this," she tells him. "I knew you'd come around," he says, his voice hopeful. "I've been thinking about what you said," she adds. "That creating a new Q will bring about an era of peace." The ecstatic Q says she's fulfilled his wildest dreams.
"Oh, you're not going to mate with me. You're gonna knock boots with that charming lady friend of yours." Q recoils at the idea. "Ridiculous!" he says. She notes the longevity of their relationship. "It was never physical!" he protests. (You fool! Says I. What is this, Married...with immortality? Suzie Q is a redhead....) The Q have never mated with other Q; it's unprecedented; he's sure it must be done with a species capable of it.
Another argument ensues. I don't love you, she says; what does that have to do with anything? He asks. She wouldn't want to give up the child. Who else would raise it? Q responds. Oh, you want me to do all the hard work, she says. I'm an idea man, he says. I'd consider switching specialties, she says.
Janeway tries to tell him that the solution is not in genetics, but in environment. She urges him to consider the importance of raising the kid in a family environment, something that he and Suzie Q already have. Q really doesn't want to give up on the idea of mating with Janeway, and continues to bribe her with the thought of exploring galaxies and dimensions she can't even fathom (she's a scientist, after all) He'll send the ship and crew home. Janeway's tempted, but not much. She has sworn to get them home, but they'll do it her way--the hard way, earning the way home by grit and determination, sheer luck and the whim of the writing staff. No free rides for Kate and Company. (Since when? That's how they got out here in the first place. But I guess she doesn't want Q to be involved. She wants to sweet-talk a Caretaker into doing the deed.)
Poor Q. For all the infinite superiority of his species over humanity, for all his power, he still hasn't learned the fundamental truth of existence: Nobody, and I mean nobody, can figure out the mind of a woman.
Janeway's mind is set: Q ain't getting none from her. He's got a Q to call his own, he can bloody well figure out a way for them to do the Dance of Life and produce Q: The Next Generation. Meanwhile, she's ripping up parts of her petticoat to make a white flag; she's going to leap into the maw of the conflict and bring this battle to a swift and bloodless conclusion.
And you thought the Q were full of themselves....
"You! Helm Boy!" Suzie Q sits in the captain's chair as if it's hers by divine birthright, addressing Paris by a name he's never previously encountered. The look on his face suggests that there are worse names to be called by someone looking like her. I have a feeling a new Holodeck character may soon be forthcoming. I bet she'd look phenomenal in Lycra.
Suzie Q barks orders at Helm Boy, who looks to Chuckles for confirmation. He gives it. Harry notes the course will take them into the path of a supernova...something rickety barges like Voyager weren't designed to handle. Chakotay asks if she knows what the heck she's doing.
"Try to wrap your minuscule little minds around this," Suzie Q begins, rattling off a string of technobabble that would give Stephen Hawking headaches. Simply put, the supernovae are caused by the civil war in the Continuum. Each exploding star is actually resulting in matter being sucked into the Continuum. If everything goes right, some of that matter being sucked will include the (hopefully intact) Voyager. She hails engineering, and Torres is preparing to follow her instructions; she also confirms that the ship's modifications should protect them from the death-belch of a large exploding ball of nuclear fusion. Cocky or not, Suzie Q does know her stuff.
Paris notes they're 13 seconds away and asks if he should change course. Chakotay looks at Suzie Q and says, no, maintain heading, let's go for it. They ride into the wave of stellar annihilation.
Janeway appears in the tent of General Q, the leader of the Southern (status quo) Q faction. He is unwilling to negotiate, though he agrees that the war must end with utmost expediency. Janeway's happy to hear this ... until she hears his methods.
Executing Q and Janeway.
Janeway becomes protective of the charming little menace, but the troops have already captured him, and they're both taken away in chains to await execution.
* * *
It's morning in the Continuum, and while soldiers dine on mess, Q and Janeway are led to trees in clear view of a firing squad. "If it's any consolation," Q tells her, "there are those in the Continuum who will remember us as martyrs." "I'd rather skip that particular honor," she says." "Still, you have to admit, there's something romantic about going to our deaths together." She gives him the Skunk Eye o' Death.
General Q asks if they have final words. Boy, does Janeway have words. She implores them to stop using violence to resolve differences. She claims to be an outside being, who can lead them by the example of her people. And you thought Suzie Q was cocky.
And you, Q? He turns to look at Janeway. "Today I sacrifice my existence for the principles of freedom and individuality that I've fought for so long. But this woman is innocent, and what's more she saved my life. And she tried to save us from each other. Kill me if you must, but let her go." Quite a noble speech, I thought.
"A touching speech, Q, but as usual, your rhetoric fails to compensate for your irresponsibility." He calls for the firing squad. The drums roll.
Where's General Sherman when you need him?
Ready...aim... "I'm sorry," Q says. "I know."
Gunshots. "Fire!" Q falls as if hit. Janeway points out he isn't shot.
The Union has brought in reinforcements. They look like Voyager crewpeople. Even Chakotay is dressed in Union blue.
Suzie Q appears in hoop skirts of her own, her hair done up all proper like. (Rrrooowwwrrrll.) She brings the cavalry (Kim) to rescue Janeway, though she leaves Q tied up while she verbally smacks him around for chasing after the skirts of inferior bipedal species. He has a proposal for her that will reassure her of his devotion, he says. She sulks dramatically.
As the tide of battle turns and Bluecoat Paris captures the Q general, Q seduces Suzie Q with the concept. As the general appears, Suzie Q says that she and Q have a plan to call off the war. "They may be humanoids," she says, referring to the Voyager crew, "but they're using our weapons." Outnumbered, the General calls Cease Fire. Then so does Janeway.
Q and Suzie Q discuss ways to accomplish the act of procreation; "I've thought of nothing since you suggested it," she rasps huskily. She whispers into his ear, and he blushes and fidgets and laughs gutturally at the lasciviousness of her options. Janeway walks away in disgust. "What's the matter, Kathy, don't you like to watch?" Q calls after her. Apparently she does, but purely (I'm certain) in the name of science. This is one for the National Geographic videos--the Q mating in their native habitat.
Q looks into Suzie Q's eyes. They raise their hands, and extend one finger to each other. The fingers touch like ET to Eliot. A brief glow. (I'm writing a nasty letter to Steven Spielberg.) Q and Suzie Q turn away, flush with afterglow. "I was good, wasn't I?" Q asks in a vulnerable voice. "Very good," confirms Suzie Q, already basking in the flush of motherhood.
Janeway rushes forward, looking up at the two tall superbeings credulously. "That was IT?!?!?" she demands. "You had your chance," tells her.
A flash of light, and Voyager is once again outside the Continuum, fully populated by Starfleet uniform-clad crew. Q and Suzie Q and the rest of the civil-war-set continuum are nowhere to be seen; they're back where they were before the suns went Foom.
Janeway calls for a status report; the queen is on her throne, Voyager is at peace, all is right with the world. She retires to her ready room.
In her ready room, Q is there, back in his Captain's uniform...with a Starfleet-clad infant bouncing on his knee. "He's got my cheekbones, don't you think?"
"He's adorable; I'd say fatherhood agrees with me."
Q claims he's a transformed man already; he must consider the implications of his acts from now on. But he errs when he mentions that he has already taught the smart little tyke how to knock planets out of their orbit.
"What happened to teaching the kid about enlightened responsibility?" she scolds. Q says that's why he's here--to ask her to be the child's godmother. After a second's hesitation, she says she would be honored. Q has to return to the Continuum--"the ol' ball and chain hates to be kept waiting," so he flashes out shortly thereafter, leaving Janeway to smile with the way things turned out. ("Whew. A happy ending, and I didn't have to mate with anyone....")
I love watching episodes like this. I hate repeating them. It's a tough compromise between being true to the very impressive dialog...and getting something done during the week. I hope I struck the right balance between the two.
I tend to enjoy Q episodes. John de Lancie kills me; his delivery is perfect for the role. His lines are frequently hilarious (some had me giggling for minutes at a time) and the fact that he and Kate Mulgrew are friends means they can really have fun with the banter. Watching him put on the full-court press on the gates of her virtue, and watching her repel the invading one-man horde so masterfully, I actually lit a cigarette lighter and waved it around before the closing credits. It was a romping good time. He also had more to do than just mug for the camera and stalk the pretty wimmens and insult the lower life forms. He gets to be serious here, giving final words that were actually noble. Of course, he's not going completely straight on us--he's an imp to the last.
The innuendo did fly fast and furious (and I apologize profusely for adding to it) but despite Q's lack of success with Janeway, I thought he was a right charming guy at times.
Suzie Plakson as Suzie Q was also nice for the role. Few of the Q we've encountered have matched de Lancie for sheer Q coolness. But I thought she was perfect for the role; and I can imagine that after four billion years together, Q would be the way he is. Suzie, as you may know, played Worf's mate and the mother of Alexander, K'heylar, in two episodes of TNG. (She also plays the lesbian gynecologist girlfriend of Paul's sister on MAD ABOUT YOU.) She's an impressive looking woman, and I'm not just saying that because I'm addicted to red-haired women. She's larger than life here, in both body and ego. She's got the attitude to make it work, even bereft of her powers. And she coined the phrase I'll likely use for a while: "Helm Boy" in reference to Tom Paris.
The General Q was a bit hard to understand at times, but then again I don't speak Southern. (Have you noticed that I'm a bit surly tonight? It's been a long week. Again, my heartfelt apologies.) The representation of the Continuum as the American Civil war was interesting, and it allowed for quickie plot resolutions like all the Voyager crew pointing super weapons that can kill a Q, and the Q looking vulnerable. For an omnipotent species, they're pretty dang clueless at times. But civil wars rarely bring out the best in people.
I do appreciate that they followed up on the events of "Death Wish." One common complaint about Trek is how rarely actions seem to have consequences, for characters or the universe as a whole. It took them a while, but QED's (a.k.a. Quinn's) death did have consequences that we could witness. And they were as bad as Q said they'd be. Not only chaos for the Continuum, but death to stars in the real world as well.
The talk about genetics versus environment were also interesting, and Janeway did make some good points about how the heritage of the child mattered a lot less than the way it was raised. Having Janeway as a godmother and occasional babysitter is a nice excuse to bring back Q in future episodes. (Foreplay may last decades in the Continuum, but the gestation period must be measured in nanoseconds...that's one fast-growing youngin.)
A reader mentioned this before the review was completed, so I thought I should mention it. The ever-present YAATE (yet another abrupt Trek ending) broke records this time around. In less than a minute of screen time, we went from Janeway and Q on the verge of death, to Q bouncing his child on his knee after the rapid conclusion of the war, the mating of the Q, and the restoration of the ship and crew to status quo ante. You get up for snacks at the wrong time in this episode, and it's like you paid $50 for a Mike Tyson fight and showed up 90 seconds late. And since it was a deus ex machina, you wouldn't have guessed how this one turned out. I didn't notice it the first time out, but on subsequent viewing it was fairly noticeable. I got whiplash.
Dialog: phenomenal. Acting: when de Lancie is in the house, it always goes up several notches, and Mulgrew and Suzie Plakson ramped it up yet another level. Action: a bit confusing at times with the Civil War metaphors, but not too bad overall. Content: a bit racy at times, but mostly innuendo, and nothing offended me. (But I may not be the best benchmark; I have a world-view like Beavis and Butthead.)
On a 0-10 scale, I'll give this one a 8.25, or (* * * *). This is one I'll watch more than once. And I'm joining the Suzie Plakson fan club.
Next week: repeat of "Non Sequitur." Harry Kim wakes up at home in San Francisco next to his girlfriend, and visits a drunken Tom Paris at the real Sandrine's.