Monday, March 21, 2016

DS9: Q-Less

My wife has finished watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, and she's moved on to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. You can tell this series is less popular, because it hasn't been transferred to HD like the two previous Star Trek shows. Netflix airs it at the original VHS-level quality.

Trekkies say they don't like DS9 so much, because it's like a soap opera. Me, I love soap operas! I enjoy seeing interpersonal relationships, angry characters who fight with each other at the drop of a hat, and characters that sleep in buckets. That last one is totally a staple of the soap opera genre.

I just saw the episode Q-Less, the only episode of the series that features Q. Q is the most popular Star Trek villain; in fact, he's so popular, they made him a regular cast member in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Weird decision, I know. I'm in the minority of Star Trek fans who don't like Q. I find him more annoying than humorous, and I'm not sure why the characters openly dislike him, while at the same time letting him get away with whatever he wants. A typical Q episode plot looks like this:

Q: I'm going to do something bad.
Picard: You'd better not!
*Q does something bad. Picard is angry.*
Q: Now I'm going to do something even worse!
*Instead of getting even angrier, Picard has a change of heart for no reason.*
Picard: Okay. I have no problem with that.
*Q almost kills everyone*
*Picard saves the day*
Q: I blame you for putting everyone's lives in danger.
Picard: I'm so sorry, Q! I promise I won't do it again!

Switch "Picard" with "Twilight Sparkle", and that's basically every My Little Pony episode featuring him.

Given that I don't like Q, I was pleasantly surprised by Q-Less. It was a good episode, for two main reasons. Number one, the characters didn't pander to Q like normal. As I said, these are soap opera-style angry characters, who fight at the drop of the hat. So when Q tries to start something, Sisko calls Q's bluff and punches him in the face. It's a very different dynamic, and I liked seeing the new personality clash. Q/Picard fights are fine, but there are plenty of other interesting characters for him to clash with, too! I imagine a Q/Worf fight would end up in violence, just like the Q/Sisko fight did.

Number two, Q was better written in this episode. Normally, he acts like a vaguely disgruntled prop comic. Here, he acted like Hermes, the Greek god. In fact, maybe that's the personality the show was going for all along: an all-powerful person who likes to mess with humans for his own amusement. I was reminded of Hermes, because Q was kind of vulnerable and made mistakes, so he ended up losing the woman he's interested in. Classic Greek god mistake, right there.

I'd say Q-Less is the first Q episode I really liked, although I admit the one with Amanda Q was also entertaining. It's too bad that Q did not show up again in Deep Space Nine. There has to be an awesome fanfic where Q and Quark get mixed up together. Or Q messes with Dax by bringing back all the other Daxes. Something interesting like that.

1 comment:

Katie said...

I'm a huge DS-9 fan. TNG really pales in comparison, IMO, though I still enjoy it.