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The Trek Nation - Q2

Q2

By AntonyF
Posted at April 18, 2001 - 7:49 PM GMT

'Q2' - copyright Paramount Pictures Rating: 6/10
Episode: #265
Story By: Kenneth Biller
Teleplay By: Robert Doherty
Directed By: LeVar Burton


"It's sort of like a steady diet of dessert—which is fine, but pretty soon you want some meat and potatoes," uttered Harry Kim in season two. Ironically, many have used this line to describe Voyager itself, and I admit that at times it describes the show very well. But season seven has had a lot more of the 'meat and potatoes', making a desserty offering such as "Q2" all the more welcome. Or so I thought….

This episode has everything going for it before it even begins. Just the inclusion of John de Lancie as Q should send ratings shooting, if past performance is anything to go by. The previous two Voyager Q episodes showed a notable rise in viewing figures, and with any luck his third and final appearance will too. Add a dash of Seven of Nine nudity for a UPN trailer (and I admit, I still haven't seen the trailer to see if that's the case), a Borg invasion, and some mischief from Q junior, and you've got what should just be an entertaining ratings-winner episode. Well, theoretically.

I actually read and reported on the script for this episode before it aired, so already knew what happened. But you can't judge an episode until you see the final filmed product. Director LeVar Burton filmed the script at a brisk pace, and just two scenes were cut for time. The first to go missing was a scene showing Tuvok waking the young Q2 for his training, and in the other, Q2 tries to get to grips with the diplomacy program—with dead aliens lying at his feet. However the removal of these scenes didn't dilute the story at all, although the second would have been good to see.

The episode was of course mostly focusing on Q2, and Q senior was noticeably absent for the most part. Keegan De Lancie fulfilled the role adequately, but seemed to come across as too 20th century most of the time. Q2 in this episode was more like the Q of the early TNG days—mischievous, troublemaking and played for laughs. Scenes such as the alien party in engineering, with pulsating warp core and dancers, were good fun. The computer telling Janeway to get her own coffee was hilarious. Plus there were plenty of other little gags to amuse me.

However, the story then started to get a conscience, and therein lines a main problem. A rule for Star Trek stories, and I would imagine for any show, is that the story should be for the main characters, not guest stars. Guest stars should be catalysts. However there is no development for our crew, it just focuses on Q2 as he's stripped of his powers and has to learn how to be a good Q-turned-human. In principle this is rather similar to TNG's "Deja Q", but that episode had the wonderful chemistry between John de Lancie and crew. That was also about an old nemesis being stuck in their midst. "Q2" is about some petulant kid we've never seen before, and don't really care about.

The more you see Q senior in this episode, the more you realize he just can't be replaced and he shouldn't be underused. His scenes with Janeway sparkle, and the chemistry between John and Kate is wonderful. It just leaves this 'chemistry void' when his scenes finish. Why Q2 was used more at the expense of Q is beyond me. The episode needed to combine more of the Q we like, along with some solid development for a main character of the show. Janeway did at times portray empathy for Q2, but for a large amount time she was just shouting around as she would at any alien in any episode. If the episode had focused less on Q2's pedantic character-building scenes, and more on Janeway and Q being thrust into the role of "parents", then perhaps it would have felt a bit more centred on characters we know.

The story sinks lower as it tries to become some morality tale about good and bad that is quite honestly patronising to most viewers. I like a story to either deal with real drama, or tackling strong subjects that matter. A story about how a kid learns the errors of his way after a friend gets hurt, and then he must be a good boy from then on, is more like a story from a Disney kids' movie, not a top sci-fi franchise. All we needed was some dog in the script (make as many jokes with that as you wish) and we'd have been well on the way to a heart-warming family film. Oh, and "Itchy" and Q-Ball"? I thought it was Simpsons meets Sliders for a minute.

Of course, in the end the young Q learns his lesson and is a model person. Who'd have thought one can change their personality in just one week. But it's not over before some final visits by Q senior, and he once again steals the scenes.

A special mention must go to the end scene, for which I'm grateful. Many a time I've had to explain to people why Q snapping his fingers to get the crew home wouldn't make good drama. Well in this last scene, not only does he give them a nudge home, but he explains why he won't send them all the way. At least that might put those discussions to rest on whatever BBS I'm frequenting.

So overall "Q2" was an episode that should have just been played for laughs, but wasn't. It should also be about the main characters, not the guest characters. The effort to put some sort of meaning came across as forced and, quite honestly, insulting. However the moral story took up a large portion of the script, hence the empty feeling I had after watching this. It was wonderful to see John de Lancie again, and although Keegan made a commendable effort, his father naturally upstaged him. It seems I need it more meat and potatoes after all, well if I wasn't a vegetarian that is. Just a large portion of potatoes for me please. 6/10

Next week: Another Doc episode… we haven't had one of those for a week or two. Plus we get to meet some Alpha Quadrant family. Oh goody.


This is the first in a series of special guest reviews AntonyF will be writing of Voyager's 'Final Chapter'. Check back here soon for his review of 'Author, Author', the Voyager episode airing tonight.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


AntonyF is a freelance writer and interviewer, who will be known to some for running Star Trek Central until recently. He recently set up a new website, B5LR.com, dedicated to Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers.