Captain’s Blog: 100919.7
Star Trek: The Next Generation - 110: Hide and Q
On a rescue mission to the Sigma III solar system, the Enterprise is stopped dead in it’s tracks by the omnipotent Q. This time, however, it is Commander Riker he is putting to the test. While the bridge crew plays out a deadly game on an alien world, Captain Picard waits alone, trapped on the Enterprise bridge.
By the Numbers
Stardate: 41590.5 (This one is also out of sequence with surrounding episodes)
Premiere Date: Nov. 21, 1987
New named crew: None
Character deaths: Worf, Wesley (for a minute), young girl at colony.
New Picard details: Well…the whole “love of France” thin didn’t pan out, so let’s embrace Stewart’s…er…Picard’s love of Shakespeare.
You can’t help but love the chemistry between Q (John DeLancie) and Picard (Patrick Stewart). There’s an electricity between both of them. Also, back when this first aired, there was no such thing as streaming, so a chance to see Q again at a time when we would have to wait for a rerun of “Encounter at Farpoint” was most welcome.
I couldn’t help but love this episode as a kid. Q’s antics heighten the energy and the stakes in a very tangible way, and he’s ridiculous enough to be fun while still menacing enough to create true risk. Also, he threatened the life of my favorite character, Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby), killed Worf (Michael Dorn) and Wesley (Wil Wheaton) albeit for just a minute, and put Riker (Jonathan Frakes) through the wringer.
Riker’s journey of accepting his powers and, ultimately, being defeated by them was compelling and, as a young boy, I got a kick out of seeing exactly how Wesley would grow up. Spoiler alert…they missed some details there. Overall as a kid, this was one of my season one favorites.
Sadly, there are many elements of this episode that don’t withstand the test of time. First of all, this episode drastically fails the Bechdel test. How? Well, for starters they can’t figure out how to write Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) so they sent her “on a shuttle visit home.” Dr. Crusher (Gates McFadden) is probably the most useful of the female cast when she’s doing her job as Chief Medical Officer, but all of that is undercut by her almost whining on the bridge to avoid Riker making Wesley’s dream come true.
And then there’s Tasha Yar. What I didn’t pick up on as a kid was that they took one of the strongest female characters and completely usurped any power she brought to the table. Putting her in the penalty box like a damsel in distress was bad enough, but then after she laments her frustration with Picard she says the one thing that makes no sense: “Oh if you weren't a captain…” Whaat?!?! She’s hitting on Picard?!?! Come ON!
And THEN there’s the Klingon woman that Riker conjures for Worf. She says no words whatsoever. She’s dressed in a macrame leotard thing, and then she lunges at her potential sex rival Tasha Yar. Messy.
Oh, and THEN when Riker is granting wishes at the end, he offers one to Wesley, Data, LaForge (LeVar Burton) and Worf. But not Yar or Crusher. Interesting.
Yes, there are definitely things that still hold up. All fo the stuff I loved about it years ago still works, and the episode is still a fun, well-paced, sci-fi romp. But between the “planet of the week” green backdrop, the “vicious alien things” on the planet (where the makeup artists forgot to match the neck to the face) and the not-so-subtle misogyny, this episode has a harder time translating to more modern times.
Rating (Ensign to Captain)
Captain (4 pips)
Commander (3 pips)
Lt. Commander (2.5 pips)
Lieutenant (2 pips)
Lieutenant, junior grade (1.5 pips)
Ensign (1 pip)
Riker: I might, if we weren’t on our way to help some suffering and dying humans who…
Q: Oh, your species is always suffering and dying.
Q (to Worf): Pity, you might have learned an interesting lesson…macro head…with a micro brain!
Q: Hear this, Picard, and reflect: All the galaxy is a stage.
Picard: World, not galaxy. All the WORLD’S a stage.
Q: Oh, you know that one. Well, if he were living now he would have said galaxy.
Riker: Something about us compels us to learn, explore.
Data: Sir, if indeed you have the power of Q.
Crusher: I don’t understand. Surely he can’t bring her back to life.
Riker: I can’t. I’m prevented from that by a promise.
Picard: Perhaps someday we will discover that space and time are simpler than the human equation.
Odds and Ends