Star Trek: Voyager: Q2   Rewatch 
July 16, 2018 8:01 AM - Season 7, Episode 19 - Subscribe

Facing his son's banishment from the Q Continuum, Q leaves him on Voyager in the hopes that he will gain self-discipline. Yeah, good luck with that, Aunt Kathy.

Memory Alpha throws the best raves in Engineering:

- Keegan de Lancie (Q (Junior)) is the real-life son of John de Lancie (Q). Regarding the experience of acting alongside his own son in this episode, John de Lancie said, "It was both great and... a lot of actors will understand this, but while part of acting involves being very attentive to the other people and what's going on, you have to keep some of your power for yourself, to do your job and maintain your presence. In the case of my son, the majority of my attention was, 'How's Keegan doing?' If I go on a regular job, where someone might have a cold or an actor doesn't feel well or there's just an upset in their family, I am very sympathetic. But when we were acting, it's real tennis."

- This is the last episode of Star Trek to feature either the Bajorans or the Q.

- This episode finally establishes in canon that James T. Kirk's five-year mission ended in 2270.

- Q tells his son not to provoke the Borg. It was Q himself who first introduced Starfleet to the Borg in TNG: "Q Who".

- Q makes a reference to Jean-Luc Picard when they doubt the choice of Janeway as Junior's godparent.

"Coffee, black."
"Make it yourself."

- Janeway and the Computer, after Q Junior "gives it a personality"

"Kirk may have been a lowly Human, but at least he had pizazz. That report made him sound as interesting as a Vulcan funeral dirge!"

- Q Junior, on Icheb's presentation on Starfleet history concerning James T. Kirk

Poster's Log:

So... this is the last appearance of Q in canon, and I gotta say, this episode did not leave me wanting more. I liked the first and second installments of VOY's Q mini-saga well enough, but looking back, I realized why these episodes have never been among my favorites: they're about the Q Continuum itself, not really about the ship and what Q will or won't do to/for them. And the Continuum isn't really all that interesting, the bits with the roadhouse in "Death Wish" or the reappearance of Q's fancy robes from "Encounter at Farpoint" on the review panel in this episode notwithstanding. And any interest in the Education of Young Master Q is hampered by his too-effective initial impression as an utterly obnoxious little shit. The conception of a Teen Q as the ultimate rich kid who doesn't care who he hurts because he doesn't have to is kind of inspired, but it also makes it harder to feel sympathy for him later. (It's really not-great that part of his short reign of terror on the ship included him bamfing away Seven's clothes; it's not only an unwelcome reminder of Seven's status as fanservice (and this an episode after she'd asked for a real uniform, albeit only in her holofantasy), but also reiterates the old man's popping in on Janeway's bath later, as if that's the only thing that Junior inherited from the old man. The only redeeming thing about that is Seven's refusal to sink to his level by showing him that she had Zero of Zero fucks to give.) To be fair, the episode sticks to the premise pretty well, since even after he has shown that he can care about people, or at least maintain a reasonable facsimile thereof, he thinks that it's OK to take an unwilling passenger along on his little jaunt. That aspect of the story maintained its integrity, even if the episode as a whole didn't stick the landing.

Poster's Log, supplemental:

Keegan de Lancie did a pretty good job, I thought, toggling between insufferable and thoughtful as the script required. He didn't act for long; he seems to have gone into the US Foreign Service, and was in Yangon in 2016, according to his father. Speaking of whom, I've mentioned this in these rewatches before, but John de Lancie had a stunning turn on Breaking Bad as a parent who has a really bad experience with a troubled child.

Also, I was a bit disappointed that, with Icheb talking about Kirk in the prologue, the problems with Junior weren't connected to Kirk's experiences with Charles Evans and Trelane. On the other hand, party in Engineering! OONTZ OONTZ OONTZ OONTZ
posted by Halloween Jack (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Particle of the Week: No strong contenders.
Pointless STO Comparison of the Week: Q shows up every Christmas season to offer holiday games and prizes, and the one who shows up is supposed to be Junior here, rather than the Q we know. He's created stuff like Snowconians and Kramp'Ihri.

Regrettably, the nature of Q's powers means this is all reasonable within canon.

Ongoing Counts:
* Maximum Possible Photon Torpedoes: -25.
* Crew: 137.
* Credulity Straining Alpha Quadrant Contacts: 15. Q can, of course, be encountered literally anywhere.
* Janeway's Big Red Button: 2 aborted self-destructs, 1 successful, 2 games of chicken, 1 ramming speed.

Notes:
* Another 'meh' from me.

Jack's already pointed out a bunch of problems I had viewing the episode: Junior is indeed an obnoxious little shit that it's hard to feel sympathy for. The sexual politics are terrible, (Q kissing Janeway without permission repeatedly was also pretty frustrating). The whole thing is pretty pointless.

More than that, the entire premise is basically a weak rehash of Deja Q: we have the same 'oh no Q has lost his powers and has to learn how not to be an insufferable jerk, and gets his stuff back after demonstrating rudimentary common decency.'

There's nothing really new here, unlike our previous outings: in addition to learning extra about Voyager, (I mean, of course they're annoyed by all this, of course Neelix makes a misguided attempt to help, etc.), we don't learn anything else about the Q Continuum either. Nothing about any of that has really changed, including that the plan to conceive Junior in the first place didn't help anybody after all.

So... yeah. This was a pretty weak final entry for the Q, and that's a shame. At the same time, it isn't really surprising after the last one, and as with the Borg, the decay on the Q started on TNG and just ended up finishing up over here.
posted by mordax at 10:08 AM on July 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


I think I'm just generally more forgiving of Q episodes than a lot of folks. I even like the DS9 Q episode just enough to watch it again on every rewatch (and man, as pointless as THIS one is? That one's WAY more). I think in part, it's because I interpret the whole Q concept as Trek's license to throw sense and consequence almost completely out the window; had Trelane returned for follow-up TOS episodes, I'm sure it would have turned out that way then, too. But more likely, it's because of DeLancie, who just steals every scene he's in.

At least usually. I felt like I perceived a bit less verve and investment from his performance here, and it may be because of this line from Jack's post:
"a lot of actors will understand this, but while part of acting involves being very attentive to the other people and what's going on, you have to keep some of your power for yourself, to do your job and maintain your presence. In the case of my son, the majority of my attention was, 'How's Keegan doing?'"

But Dad-Q here is still very much Q, and as for Q Jr., his performance was damn solid. You cringe when you first learn what the show's concept will be—really, you cringe whenever you learn that the special guest star is a kid—but Keegan held his own, to the point that I'd say he's probably the third-best Q performer after Garret Graham of "Death Wish." I credit some of that to the writing, too, which didn't fall into the saccharine trap and instead made sure to do that thing that all Qs should do where they kind of piss off the audience a little. Speaking of which:

The only redeeming thing about that is Seven's refusal to sink to his level by showing him that she had Zero of Zero fucks to give.

Zero of Zero fucks. Nice.

I should also mention this might be the only episode where I actively liked Icheb, because he and Q Jr. had some good space-schoolyard-chum chemistry here.

Now, all that said, it IS a pointless episode, and it's more than a little strange (A) that they essentially establish a brand-new potentially cross-series character, spending all episode on him, so close to the finish line (though maybe that was deliberate, but they didn't yet know that the next Trek would be a prequel series?); and (B) that Q Sr. didn't shove Voyager more substantially far down the line to the Alpha Quadrant. Now, emotionally, we can accept (B), but on a story-logic level, it calls into question the whole idea of bringing Q into this show in the first place.

Not to mention!: If Qs are supposed to be guardians of space and time, how come he's hands-off during the series finale?!

Speaking of whom, I've mentioned this in these rewatches before, but John de Lancie had a stunning turn on Breaking Bad as a parent who has a really bad experience with a troubled child.

I have only just started watching that show for the first time ever as of about last week; looking forward to this!
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 2:46 AM on July 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


I think in part, it's because I interpret the whole Q concept as Trek's license to throw sense and consequence almost completely out the window

Interesting. I hadn't really thought about them that way. Pondering what you said a bit:

To me, the Q started out as a connection to TOS, which featured at least two basic classes of cosmic entity:

A) Morally superior, meddlesome figures who sat in judgment of humanity and found them wanting. These guys usually represented advanced civilizations: (Metrons, Organians), etc. These guys are particularly interesting because they're depicted as both more advanced than the Federation, generally by aeons, but are also fine with direct intervention in 'lesser' civilizations, which is consistent with the level of interference deemed moral for Kirk, but weird in contrast to the later focus on the Prime Directive in the TNG era. (I mean, it's really interesting to me just how attached the Federation is to the Prime Directive when 'superior' cultures are sometimes much more interventionist than they are. In retrospect, maybe their attachment to the Prime Directive came from being on the wrong end of that one too many times in Kirk's era?)

B) Singular entities that were petty jerks, that sort of felt like a Take That at religion to me when I used to watch TOS. Like that time they literally killed the Apollo, or watched Trelane's parents come ground him after he used them for chew toys. It always seemed to me that this was a sort of... 'humanity has grown beyond the need to worship stuff' idea that is present in Trek.

So like, to me they were never about throwing the rules away, they were an attempt to consolidate the myriad cosmic beings that occupied TOS a bit better and make them more coherent?

Except that it got muddled because the Q were used both ways: in stories like Encounter At Farpoint and Tapestry, Q is taking on the role of a morally superior judge (and possesses characteristics consistent with group A, like coming from a civilization of cosmic entities who are supposed to fulfill a useful role in the universe), while in stuff like Deja Q and Q2, the Q are depicted as Trelane-ish jerkasses, and stories like Death Wish, True Q and The Q and the Grey sort of split the difference and made them just another kind of really powerful alien.

I was sort of irritated by the inconsistency, and I also don't much care for the jerkass version because deus ex machina stuff is low tension to me.

Which brings me to your question:

Not to mention!: If Qs are supposed to be guardians of space and time, how come he's hands-off during the series finale?!

I'd argue it's because nobody behind the scenes really agreed if the Q were supposed to actually be protecting stuff, or petty jerks who just said they were.

Anyway... hm. I can see why you'd be softer on these.

Oh, about this:

Now, all that said, it IS a pointless episode, and it's more than a little strange (A) that they essentially establish a brand-new potentially cross-series character, spending all episode on him, so close to the finish line (though maybe that was deliberate, but they didn't yet know that the next Trek would be a prequel series?)

I feel like S7 was about the writing team stretching a bit due to the reduced interference they experienced. Like, to me it feels a bit like TNG S3/S4 or DS9 S1, where they're sort of finding their footing and experimenting a little, which makes sense if they were stifled previously. (I also suspect Voyager could've been legitimately good by... dunno, a hypothetical S8 or S9 if they'd continued to go the direction they went in S7).
posted by mordax at 12:07 PM on July 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


I mean, it's really interesting to me just how attached the Federation is to the Prime Directive when 'superior' cultures are sometimes much more interventionist than they are. In retrospect, maybe their attachment to the Prime Directive came from being on the wrong end of that one too many times in Kirk's era?

Fascinating theory! There's a spin-off book to be written there! Call it Starfleet: Special God Squad. The subtitle of Volume 1 is "Let's Maybe Not Evolve into Huge Dickheads."

Analogously, the franchise itself suggests (and IIRC one of the Last Unicorn Trek RPG books explicitly stated) that the Temporal Prime Directive came about in response to one too many temporal shenanigans in the 23rd century (and, retconning ENT in, prior). And speaking of ENT, I explicitly remember Archer winkingly referencing the idea of developing "a directive of some kind" after fucking up a pre-warp planet somehow.

But really, the most direct roots of the Prime Directive seem to me to have always been TOS: "A Piece of the Action" and, to a lesser extent, "Patterns of Force." But you're right to bring up the 24th-century fixation on the PD. The Doylist interpretation would be that TNG got so much dramatic mileage out of PD issues, and was such a foundational show for DS9/VOY/ENT, that the writers just started leaning on it a lot.

It always seemed to me that this was a sort of... 'humanity has grown beyond the need to worship stuff' idea that is present in Trek.

IIRC that was a stated goal of Roddenberry's. (MA says that his mom "was a devout Baptist and dragged young Roddenberry and his younger siblings, Bob and Doris, to each and every religious gathering she was able to, with the consent of his father, who otherwise was anti-religious. Somewhat traumatized by the experiences, Roddenberry has cited this circumstance as the root cause for his atheistic world views.")

they [Q] were an attempt to consolidate the myriad cosmic beings that occupied TOS a bit better and make them more coherent? Except that it got muddled because the Q were used both ways

Very true. Maybe what really doomed the Q was using them in TNG's pilot in the first place. I mean, it's bold as shit when you really look back on it, but it forces the series to sort of play catch-up later. I often wondered if Q drifted into puckishness (he's much more serious and menacing in "Farpoint" IIRC) as a sort of indirect means of reducing his narrative influence and power, rather than having to rely too often on direct reduction of his in-universe powers, as here and in "Deja Q."

Now, all that said, I think another reason I'm forgiving of Q-Stuff is that TNG managed to handle this challenging concept quite well most of the time. "Tapestry" is a fantastic episode that could've been much tougher for the audience to swallow if they didn't have Q and his familiar traits at hand. (But they really should have stayed a TNG-only thing, IMO.)

I was sort of irritated by the inconsistency, and I also don't much care for the jerkass version because deus ex machina stuff is low tension to me.

No doubt. And speaking of inconsistency, did it bug anybody else that the Council of New Qs toward the end of this one were dressed like World War III magistrates? >:| I'd headcanon that it was an in-joke directed at DeLancie-Q but they didn't seem very jokey.

I'd argue it's because nobody behind the scenes really agreed if the Q were supposed to actually be protecting stuff, or petty jerks who just said they were.

That's plausible to infer about the VOY writers' room, and consistent with your summary of the series' divergent approach to the Q.

I also suspect Voyager could've been legitimately good by... dunno, a hypothetical S8 or S9 if they'd continued to go the direction they went in S7.

Quite likely, yeah. May the age of network interference kneecapping shows from the pilot onward be really, truly coming to a close.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 4:15 AM on July 18, 2018 [2 favorites]


Call it Starfleet: Special God Squad. The subtitle of Volume 1 is "Let's Maybe Not Evolve into Huge Dickheads."

I would totally read that book. Hahaha. :)

And speaking of ENT, I explicitly remember Archer winkingly referencing the idea of developing "a directive of some kind" after fucking up a pre-warp planet somehow.

Man, do I have an unkind essay all half-formed when we get to that one. ENT didn't make me want to drop it nearly as often as VOY did, but that one came close.

The Doylist interpretation would be that TNG got so much dramatic mileage out of PD issues, and was such a foundational show for DS9/VOY/ENT, that the writers just started leaning on it a lot.

Yeah. (Well, and the other thing going on there is, of course, that what constituted progressiveness changed too. I guess it was a bit of a case of Morality Marches On initially.)

Somewhat traumatized by the experiences, Roddenberry has cited this circumstance as the root cause for his atheistic world views."

That makes a lot of sense regarding TOS. Thanks.

Maybe what really doomed the Q was using them in TNG's pilot in the first place.

I hadn't thought of that, but you're right: it certainly didn't help. In retrospect, I think Q Who would've been a better intro for him because it leaves his intentions much more ambiguous.

I think another reason I'm forgiving of Q-Stuff is that TNG managed to handle this challenging concept quite well most of the time. "Tapestry" is a fantastic episode that could've been much tougher for the audience to swallow if they didn't have Q and his familiar traits at hand. (But they really should have stayed a TNG-only thing, IMO.)

*nods*

That's fair, and I'll concede that Q generally works on TNG. I definitely would've preferred they avoid DS9, (it seems to me that messing with anything touched by the Prophets might've been a bad idea for them). What's sad about Voyager's use of them is that Death Wish might be my favorite Q story, but they just couldn't quit while they were ahead.

I'd headcanon that it was an in-joke directed at DeLancie-Q but they didn't seem very jokey.

Right? That felt like another case of the Voyager guys maybe not understanding what they were calling back to.

May the age of network interference kneecapping shows from the pilot onward be really, truly coming to a close.

Amen to that. I really never thought I'd see TV mature the way it has. (Here's hoping video games catch up next.)
posted by mordax at 8:57 AM on July 18, 2018 [2 favorites]


Man, do I have an unkind essay all half-formed when we get to that one.

The episode was "Dear Doctor", from Enterprise's first season. It was heavily debated in various online forums when it aired. Some people loved it. Others loathed it.

I also have a lot to say about it.
posted by zarq at 10:59 PM on July 21, 2018


« Older Podcast: Hello from the Magic ...   |  Podcast: My Brother, My Brothe... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments