Star Trek: The Next Generation: True Q   Rewatch 
July 5, 2021 7:52 AM - Season 6, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Q once again graces the Enterprise with a visit, claiming that a young intern aboard is really a Q.

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Story and script
  • The story originated in a spec script submitted by Matthew Corey, who was then only seventeen years old. The premise was championed by René Echevarria, who discovered an intern reading the script. "I thought it was charming when she told me the nugget that a young kid finds out he's a Q." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 262)
  • Corey's script included Wesley Crusher, a teenage romance, and an unwanted pregnancy. While these elements were not used, Echevarria thought the script was "quite good". (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (2nd ed., p. 222))
  • Q had not appeared at all during TNG's fifth season. Two potential Q stories were developed during the fifth and early sixth seasons, but they didn't work out. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (2nd ed., p. 222)) Jeri Taylor recalled that one of these stories, "Q Makes Two", was a "debacle" which contributed to "Man of the People" being rushed into production. Accordingly, she was initially hesitant to consider another Q story. However, she found it to be a "high concept, wonderful idea", and bought the premise. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 262-263)
  • Echevarria saw similarities to the television series Bewitched. (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 278) As an in-joke, the young Q was named "Samantha" in early drafts of the script, after the main character of that series. Rick Berman insisted that this be changed. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (2nd ed., p. 222))
  • The subplot that Q might have to kill Amanda was added by Michael Piller after many key scenes had been filmed, including the fantasy scene with Riker. Piller felt that it was necessary to add tension. Accordingly, he created the scene where Q encounters a shadow in the corridor. Echevarria noted that had the writing staff thought of this earlier, it was likely that Act Four would have been written very differently, with more sinister undertones. However, he was not displeased with the final result. "It was pretty heinous of [Q] to be willing to kill this girl, but I think in a strange way it worked very nicely to have the audience have that knowledge and in the meantime they're seeing a very light, romantic story and are saying, 'Doesn't she realize what's at stake here?'" (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 263; Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (2nd ed., p. 222)-223)
  • The warp core breach was created using liquid nitrogen and specially-coated flashing lights. The effect was enhanced in postproduction with animation from Digital Magic. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (2nd ed., p. 222))
  • A deleted scene featured Deanna Troi bringing Amanda a dog named Henry to look after while its owner was away. While the scene was deleted, the dog can still be briefly seen in the final episode. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (2nd ed., p. 223))
Cast and characters
  • Michael Piller hoped that this episode brought back Q's malevolent tone from early episodes "so he's just not there for the jokes." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (2nd ed., p. 222)) de Lancie was also keen to have the character return to being "mad, bad, and dangerous to know", but felt that this episode fell short. "I tried to put malevolence in places there, but that didn't really lend itself again […] I can't do it within the context of birthday parties and babysitting and stuff like that. It's something you need to have the set-up for. I would have liked to have taken it one step further where [Amanda] was killed." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 263)
  • Doctor Beverly Crusher debuts a new hairstyle here which she keeps for the rest of the series. Gone is the long, curly wig, replaced by actress Gates McFadden's own straight, shorter hair. This is the first time since the first season where McFadden hasn't worn a hairpiece, with the possible exception of third season's "The Enemy".
Poster's Log:

Olivia d'Abo, guest starring here as Amanda Rogers, was already well-known to TV audiences as Karen Arnold, the hippy older sister on ABC's "The Wonder Years". Her cousin, Maryam d'Abo, was one of the Timothy Dalton-era Bond Girls.

Let me be the first to say that life on the Enterprise would be much better with a dozen puppies in your quarters.

Amanda is an honors student in, among other things, neurobiology, and doesn't know how to use a tricorder?

Why is Amanda carrying both suitcases of tricorders by herself? Didn't Crusher offer up Ogawa to help?

"Oh, those silly people, letting pollution get so bad" *looks directly into camera*

Data, you've been among humans long enough to know the difference between "quantifiable" and "imaginable".

I can appreciate the Crusher / Rogers mentorship, but I wish we'd seen the "I want to go to the Academy" scene with Guinan instead. Beverly somehow does not come across as sympathetic.

The denouement here, that Amanda has to use willpower to not use her Q powers, flies in the face of "Deja Q". Why doesn't the Continuum just take her powers away?
posted by hanov3r (15 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Olivia dAbo started her career playing Princess Jehnna in the (terrible) 'Conan the Destroyer.'

(metafilter blocked dAbo with an apostrophe between the 'd' and 'A,' complaining that dAbo without the d is a perjorative)
posted by porpoise at 10:56 AM on July 5, 2021

This is such a strange episode. Rewatching it, the actual story wasn't as bad as I'd recalled, but I could see all these odd choices and holes that maybe had always left me with the unconscious feeling that I didn't want to watch it again. This one was chief among my nitpicks: "flies in the face of 'Deja Q.' Why doesn't the Continuum just take her powers away?" Talking about killing her when the regular audience has already seen that it's possible to shun someone out of the Continuum is such a d'oh moment that I spent the entire episode waiting for that to come up.

Olivia dAbo is fine, but they've also put her up against two much older male actors, one of whom continually looms over her or pushes into her space in a threatening, sometimes suggestive manner, and the other they're trying to do some sort of weird "romantic" crush thing with (WTF, Michael Piller, you are so gross), and it was making my skin crawl by the end point.

"Oh, those silly people, letting pollution get so bad" *looks directly into camera* Hilar.

On preview, I'm having the same problem as porpoise--but it's not the d part of her name that's preventing me from using it correctly, it's the rest of her name registering as a slur.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 11:05 AM on July 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

I'm getting the warning as well; the A-word is I think a term of abuse in Australia.

I ended up liking this ep a lot more than I thought I would from the MA summary, although I went, "OK, in a future episode (VOY's "Death Wish"), the Q aren't supposed to want to die, but here, they execute two people when they just could have taken their powers away as noted; WTF, show?" Like time travel, the Q end up being whatever the plot of the week demands that they be.

But aside from that (Mrs. Lincoln), it was a fine show, making the point that, even though people have moral and ethical agency, that also mitigates the idea that they'll just sit on their hands when they could save lives. (Although that in turn puts the Prime Directive into question, doesn't it? WELL ANYWAY, MOVING RIGHT ALONG.) Olivia D'[redacted] is in very good form here, and Dr. Crusher also gets some good moments as well.

kitten kaboodle: yeah, even though Q kind of makes a point of disrespecting everyone's boundaries (Picard has gotten a lot of that in past eps), they could have had Amanda just go, "Dude, do you mind?" That would have been great.

Also, was the rainbow collar on Riker's Edwardian (if I'm getting that era right) outfit correct for that era, or was it supposed to be a 24th-century touch? It was quite striking.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:09 PM on July 5, 2021

Did she kill all those puppies at the end of the cold open? Because I don’t think she was sending them back somewhere, they weren’t from her zoo that she mentioned, there were only three dogs in that. So, unless there was a puppy farm upstate, I think she killed those puppies.
posted by skewed at 12:20 PM on July 5, 2021

I think she CREATED the puppies, so maybe uncreating them is ok-ish?
posted by hanov3r at 1:13 PM on July 5, 2021

It’s interesting that people are having issues posting the young guest-star’s name, while I didn’t get any warning about including it in the post itself. Something for a mod note, I guess.
posted by hanov3r at 1:14 PM on July 5, 2021

As an in-joke, the young Q was named "Samantha" in early drafts of the script, after the main character of that series. Rick Berman insisted that this be changed.

Rick Berman is a COWARD. That is all.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:35 PM on July 5, 2021

The puppies went to the same place those mariachis from the other episode went, along with all of the other people that Q conjures and then conjures away. That place

As an in-joke, the young Q was named "Samantha" in early drafts of the script

It would have gone over my head, but "Jeannie" should have effectively slapped everyone in the face.

I think sniper tornado is an interesting way to assassinate Amanda's parents. Besides just taking away their genie powers, couldn't the Qs have just snapped their fingers and they're dead/evaporated/whatever? I guess it leads to the question of whether the Qs give a damn whether the humans notice that an assassination has occurred via an extremely anomalous tornado.

The Greatest Gen had a good laff that, out of all the places in the universe, the Q parents decided to settle down in Kansas. However, I suppose we don't know what kind of excitement is going down in Kansas in the 24th century.

What happens when a Q gets in a fight with a Dowd? Could Kevin disappear all Qs everywhere?
posted by polecat at 3:09 PM on July 5, 2021 [3 favorites]

Cards of the episode in the Star Trek CCG:

Yeah this one's significant, in particular for Amanda Rogers, who can defeat an entire class of cards, more or less. The last of the 'Troika' cards along with Kevin Uxbridge and Q2. Impossible to overrate, really, a staple of most any deck. The Second Edition version bakes in a point cost to use it, so it's not nearly as ubiquitous. Better image, though.

Back to First Ed, Countermanda provides a 'silver bullet' type counter for no especially trek sensible reason. It's ok.

This episode is also the source for a whooole bunch of 'Q-cards' which you'd normally encounter using the Q-Flash side deck. The idea being you'd encounter a bunch of minor effects at once when doing a mission attempt as the Q tool around with your crew. From this episode alone we get Amanda's Parents, Into The Breach, Jealous Amanda, Scottish Setter, Trust Me, Incoming Message - The Continuum, and the standout of the lot, Hide And Seek. Whew!
posted by StarkRoads at 5:52 PM on July 5, 2021

On actually watching the episode:

Crusher is at her absolute best when taking on Q, and has never been more impressive. This might be her best episode so far. In contrast, you could jettison the subplot with Riker entirely and the conclusion of the storyline would change not a bit. Thematically it's a bit disjointed.

It's kinda too bad that when Amanda swears to not use her powers and live a normal human life, Riker doesn't get a 'lol I tried that once' moment. That would have been a way better use of him than the Mister d'Arcy stuff. This episode is quite haunted by the ghost of "Hide and Q" in more ways than one.
posted by StarkRoads at 7:40 PM on July 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

I am sorry, but you do not get to hang the Chekhov's gun of that massive Wizard of Oz reference on the wall and just let it hang out there
posted by phooky at 10:52 AM on July 6, 2021 [3 favorites]

I'm getting the warning as well; the A-word is I think a term of abuse in Australia.

This is correct, it's a racial slur.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:09 PM on July 6, 2021

This is a weird episode for Frakes' romantic acting. On one hand, Amanda forces Riker to love her. So Frakes' usual style of going overboard is acceptable within the episode. On the other hand, there is the fact that I will always regard Olivia D as teen-aged Karen Arnold from The Wonder Years. So Riker putting the moves on twentysomething Amanda, even if she's forcing him to, is kinda creepy. Frakes just can't win. It's terrible! :D
posted by Stuka at 11:38 AM on July 7, 2021

The puppies went to the same place those mariachis from the other episode went, along with all of the other people that Q conjures and then conjures away. That place

Sherwood Forest.
posted by EarBucket at 5:12 AM on July 8, 2021 [2 favorites]

I just tried to watch this one. It had the same problem this time it always has for me: it drags. I ended up skimming the episode for the better parts. Its conception of the Q Continuum vs. what has already been established is just so hard to reconcile and it makes watching Amanda's conflict so frustrating.
posted by Fukiyama at 9:04 AM on July 8, 2021

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