Star Trek

Star Trek

Monday, May 9, 2016

ST:TNG Season One, Episode Eleven "Hide and Q"

ST:TNG Season One, Episode Eleven "Hide and Q"
Production Order: 11
Air Order: 10
Stardate: 41590.5
Original Air Date: November 23, 1987

Are those med-kits actually painted Caboodles?

Picard's Log 41590.5: "We dropped off Troi somewhere, and we got this medical emergency call from nearby."

Sick bay is in an uproar, prepping for the emergency that they're flying toward. Crusher gets paged by Picard while in the corridor, but for some reason, she doesn't pick it up on her comm badge, going to a wall panel instead to answer him.
I feel like I've seen this a few times, so it's possible that in these earlier episodes, using a comm badge to communicate directly with someone might have been designated for away missions only.
Anyway, he tells her that the number of injured people involved in some kind of explosion is more than 500, and she says they can handle it. That makes me wonder how many medical crew they have on that ship. Data and Geordi report that they're a little over three hours away from the accident site when a forcefield goes up in front of them.
Dammit, is this some kind of Tholian web bullshit?
No, it's fucking Q again.
They recognize it immediately, because in a smart Budget move, footage of the ship and forcefield has been recycled from "Encounter at Farpoint."



Picard is pissed. He has shit to do.
This sparkly bubble-thing appears, sporting three cobras that I'm pretty sure were colored red in post-production.


Maybe the spitting cobra of Africa wasn't red enough?


Anyway, the bubbles and sparkles are weird here. If the cobras were smiling, and there were maybe some hearts thrown in, this could be a Lisa Frank poster.
So Yar and Worf get all bad-ass and hop the railing with their phasers drawn, but Picard waves them off like, "No, put that away. It's just Q being his usual douchey self."
"Look, we don't have time for your crap, Q," says Picard reasonably. "We're in the middle of something."
"Naw, bro," says the snake-bubble in Q's voice. "You're not doing that anymore. My shit is more important. We've been checking you out in the Q Continuum, and we're prepared to swipe right with humans. We can make all your dreams come true. Here's a dick pic."
And he switches forms back to human... in an admiral uniform.
Dramatic music...for some reason! Commercial break!

Unsolicited dick pic


Picard's Log, supplemental: "Recap, in case you were in the john."

Riker makes a joke about Q.
Q responds, "Ah, Riker, whom I noticed before."
Dude: harsh.
Worf steps forward again to move against Q, and again, Picard stops him. Q calls "macro head... with a micro brain."
Worf is pissed, and so am I: that joke was terrible. If Q is going to be funny instead of douchey, at least make him clever. Dude is omnipotent - he can't come up with something better than that?



Picard decides to reason with Q.
"Okay, look. I'll agree to hear you out, right after we finish out rescue mission."
"No, fuck that," says Q, who is acting like Veruca Salt. He mocks Picard. "Why don't you find me trustworthy?"
Dude, you got 92 minutes? Cuz that's how long the last episode was that you were in.
Q asks Riker what he thinks, and Riker replies that he doesn't have time for Q's games. Poor choice of words, Riker.


"A deadly game!"
And you groan inwardly, because you know that this now means that people will be hunting people, because like all good little teenagers, you sat through at least one English class where a teacher made you read this short story from 1924, and then you were forced to write some kind of paper on it, dissecting it, and hoping that your paper didn't sound like the millions of other papers on The Most Dangerous Game, because then you could get tagged for plagiarism. I love English class, you guys, but that's where good literature goes to die. 

So then all of the bridge crew disappears, leaving Picard on his own. They reappear on some planet with a mint-green sky.


The crew looks around and try to determine where they might be. They could be anywhere... if that planet even exists.
Meanwhile, Picard is standing by his lonesome in the middle of the bridge, trying to raise... anyone. Security is not responding, Engineering is not responding. He tries the conn, which does not work. He attempts to leave, but none of the doors open. Q Disabled the Ship, you guys!


Can we just pause to appreciate how sexy this bridge is? It's hella sexy. Sploosh.

Back on that unknown planet, our bridge crew has been beckoned over by Q, who is now dressed as a French marshal (because that outranks admiral, of course), and who invites Riker into his field tent. Between his love of costumes and the human past, this Q is starting to remind me of Squire Trelane. Riker sits and drinks from the glass he is offered (wtf, Riker?). Then he smiles and says he was just thinking about an old-fashioned lemonade, and it became that.


"What about my people?"
"Whatever they'd like," Q responds.
Glasses appear in each person's hand. Yar and Geordi take sips. Data simply wonders what the hell they'd offer an android to drink. Worf is having none of Q's shit.


Q lays out the game, even though he's completely vague about everything. He still says that the Q is interested in them, but he tosses in a few more insults for good measure. The rewards will be awesome, but if they lose, they're going to lose big-time. Yar gets angry and yells at Q, who makes her disappear.
"Where'd she go?" demands Riker.
"Penalty box," replies Q. "There can only be one person in the penalty box at a time, so if any one of you knuckle-draggers fucks up all of the shit, you'll have to take her place."
"And where does she go?" Data asks.
"Nothingness," replies Q.
Dramatic music! Commercial break!

I don't know if it's the original make-up they put on her, or if it's something that
went sideways during re-mastering, but when Yar shifts, her face looks grey in
some places and pink in others. It's really distracting.

Turns out, the penalty box is located on the bridge of the E, but I guess Picard doesn't count because he isn't playing? Yar re-materializes with the full knowledge that she's in the penalty box, and that if someone else ends up there, she'll revert to non-existence. She's frustrated and angry, and she starts to cry. I know that feel well - the feel of bursting into tears because you'd like to punch someone - but it reads oddly on the security chief. Picard comforts her. Perv Q shows up and teases Picard about consorting with lower-ranking crew members. But then he lifts the penalty, so what was the point of even sending Yar back? Now there isn't a reason to keep the others playing his game.
Picard is pissed that Q is dressed as a marshal. Q, sitting in the command chair, flips the log recorder on and makes an entry.

Q's Log, stardate Right the Fuck Now: "We decided that Picard is too Starfleet for us, so we're testing to see if Riker has what it takes."

"Ha!" says Picard. "You're taking on Riker? You're going down, suckuh!"
"Wanna bet?" asks Q. "Fine. Your command versus..."
"You leaving us the hell alone forever," says Picard.
And the wager is made.
Dramatic music! You know the drill!


Sassy Geordi Moment:
Riker: Geordi, can you see Worf?
Geordi: I'd see the freckles on his nose if he had them, sir. He's down at the third ridge.

Aw, sad. Now I want to see a freckled Klingon.

Anyway, it appears that Geordi's VISOR provides him with information at a crazy distance, and Worf has gone exploring, so he's watching our intrepid crewman walk around in the desert.


"Uh-oh... good, he sees them."
"Sees what?" asks Riker.
Why, a whole contingent of these nightmare-inducing monstrosities, of course.


They look enough like Tellarites that I shudder, but they keep referring to them as "monsters" and "beasts" and "animal-things," so I guess they aren't. Close enough, I say. 
These soldiers are all dressed in period clothing and carrying period weapons, but it's Q, so you know that's not how things are going to go down.
Worf runs back to tell the others.

The next scene between Q and Picard is pretty good. Q is lounging in Picard's chair in the ready room, flipping through the pages of some huge tome about Shakespeare. Picard comes in, because I guess when Q lifted the penalty, he made it so the doors would respond.
"Okay, seriously, what is your deal? You can't just talk to us?" demands Picard. "You have to play these games and tell us stuff in the most round-about way possible?"
"It's not what you play, but how you play it," responds Q. "All the galaxy's a stage -"
"It's world, you philistine. Not galaxy."
They have a Shakespeare-off, quoting some of my favorite lines by the Bard, and it kind of ends like one of my favorite Tumblr posts:



It basically ends with Picard saying that he thinks the human race will one day, millenia away, become something akin to the Q.


In response, Q literally throws the book at Picard and vanishes. Sooooo, yes then?



Back on the planet, Data discusses weaponry with Riker and Geordi. Riker decides to test his phaser out on a rock, and finds that it works just fine. Unfortunately, Worf is near enough that the phaser blast makes him jump like my cat does when the alarm goes off in the morning, and he springs forward, yelling and brandishing his weapon. He apologizes and tells them about the soldiers, which are actually coming up around that last ridge.
Riker asks Data for suggestions.
Data turns around.


Oh my fuck, that's disturbing.

The soldiers are carrying something akin to phaser cannons that look like muskets. Riker vaporizes two of them as they open fire. Data-Q tells Riker that his only way to save his friends is to send them back to the ship via Q-powers, which he has given Riker. He vanishes. Data reappears as Data. More soldiers appear on the horizon.
Despite the fact that Riker just proved that he could vaporize those soldiers in half a second each, thus saving his friends in another way and keeping him from having to choose between death for his crew or using Q powers -
Dramatic music! Commercial break!




Riker lifts his hand and sends his friends back to the ship.

The forcefield vanishes. Back on the E, Tasha is sitting on the bridge by herself when all of the panels light back up. Picard exists the ready room, sees that things are working, and calls Engineering to ask if everything is back online.
"Um, they were never off?" replies Engineering.
Tasha, at the conn, says that no time has passed. They're still on the same heading at warp 9.1.
Geordi, Data, and Worf reappear on the bridge.
Information is exchanged: Q is interested in Riker and is playing this game with him to see how Riker responds. The bridge crew were attacked by animal-things. Geordi falters for the right description to give to Picard, and when he asks for Data's help, the android pauses and delivers a Sassy Data Moment:
"You may find them aesthetically displeasing, sir. I'll just file a report."

Down on the planet, Riker has lost his damn mind. 



"What's so funny?" asks Q, reappearing.
"You," says Riker. "You want something from us, real bad, and instead of saying what you want, you pretend you're better than us and play these dumb games. Why don't you just spit it out?"
Q paces like a petulant child who is angry at getting caught, but then realizes that being an a-hole isn't getting him what he wants, so he lays it out on the line:


So it seems the Q and their immense powers have figured out that the human race will one day evolve past them, while the Q Continuum will stagnate, and it's all because humans have a yearning to be more, a curiosity to explore. The Q don't have this, so they want Riker to join them so that he can teach them how to get it too.
Riker balks at this idea.

Mmm. salty!


Q tries to brush off the butthurt with a smile and a jaunty, "You're gonna miss me!" before disappearing.
The bridge crew reappear on the planet, this time with Picard and Wes in tow.
Sassy Geordi Moment:
"Come on, not again!"
Picard and Wes are baffled. Then everyone realizes that they are no longer armed.
The soldiers advanced. Tired of waiting, Worf rushes forward to take some out with his bare hands, but these aliens have bayonets, and Worf gets stabbed. Foolishly, Wes rushes forward to tend to him, and an alien runs him through from behind.



Riker, instantly angry, throws up a Q forcefield between his friends and the rest of the aliens.
"What the hell?" demands Picard.
Riker waves his hand again, and everyone appears back on the ship, healthy and whole. Except for Riker, who is now a smug-looking mofo.
"Only the Q have those kinds of powers," says Picard.
Quiet, cautious music... commercial break.


Picard's Log 41591.4: "Dammit, we're about to help some people. but now Riker is a fucking Q. I did not need this shit today. I have to get my Gilligan back."

Picard has a frank discussion with Riker in the ready room. This time Riker seems more concerned about it than smug.
"This is weird. I don't know what to do. Nobody ever offered me godhood before."
"I have to use the Prime Directive against us," says Picard. "You can't use their powers to benefit us. It would fuck up our development. if you're going to turn him down, then you need to not use these powers."
"I can do it," shrugs Riker.
"You know it not's gonna be that simple," replies Picard. "Q plays mind games. He'll get you to do it."
"No, I'm cool," Riker insists. "No using the powers."
"I know what your word is worth," says Picard, satisfied.
Data broadcasts that they are in orbit of the disaster planet and ready to beam peeps down.




Riker beams down with Geordi (makes sense), Data (makes sense), Crusher and two Blues (makes sense) - why did it take Star Trek so long to figure out who should accompany an away team?
Anyway, when Riker can't pry a door open, he has Data do it rather than bust out Q Powers.
Behind the door is a larger room with equipment half-buried under rock, and about a half-dozen people who say that everyone else is "gone."
Geordi sees that someone is buried under a rockpile, and Data gets to work unearthing the person.
It's a little girl, but she's already dead. Data asks Riker if he will fix it.
"Surely, you can't bring her back to life?" asks Crusher.
"I promised I wouldn't," replies Riker.
Data and Crusher give him the side-eye.



Riker goes back to the bridge later, and boy is he pissed.
"This is bullshit. I could have saved that kid. Before, I saved the bridge crew's lives, but because I promised I wouldn't use those powers, that little girl died."
Technically, not true. That kid died before they got there. Riker sans powers could have done nothing, and would have felt bad because she had already died. Now, if Q had shown up and admitted that he had made it so that the kid died before they got there, to see if Riker would use those powers, then his inaction would have caused her death. But if he did, Q never admits to that happening, so we can guess that this girl died naturally.
"It's best that you didn't use those powers," starts Picard.
"When we're done with this mission, I want a meeting with you and your bridge crew," Riker demands.
Catch that? Not "you and the bridge crew," "you and your bridge crew."
Picard starts to agree, but Riker interrupts to turn and stomp petulantly into the lift.
Ouch.



Later, Riker exists the lift onto the bridge. Yar was walking up the ramp to her station, but slows way down and stares at Riker at she passes.
"I've called the entire staff," announces Riker.
"Nooo," says Picard. "I've allowed you to call this meeting."
Riker gives him the customer service smile. "Of course, Jean-Luc."
Shit, dude.


And oooh, Picard has a trick up his sleeve. The lift opens, and Crusher and Wes step out.
"Go away, Wes. This meeting isn't for you," says Riker.
"Why not?" asks Wes. "You helped make me a bridge officer."
Riker reluctantly agrees to let him stay. They all settle in, and he stands in front of the viewscreen like he's going to give a TEDTalk.
"I have powers now, but I'm still the same Will you've always known."
They clearly don't buy it.
"I saved the bridge crew," he tries again.
"From a threat that Q made up," Picard points out.
"The Q think we're animals, monkeys to dance for their amusement," adds Yar.
"No way, they think we're awesome," Riker defends. "We have qualities they admire."
"Or fear," puts in Geordi.
FUCKING THANK YOU. WHY HAS THIS NOT OCCURRED TO YOU, RIKER?
Riker falters.


"Are these really your friends, brother?" asks Q, reappearing in the same place he always does.
Oh, fuck this guy. Sideways. With a katana.

He's probably one of those monks that destroyed Mezo-America.

"What the hell is up with the costumes?" demands Picard. "Don't you have your own identity?"
No, not really. Like, how would you describe Q? "An omnipotent douchebag with a large wardrobe."
Q brandishes a cross on a rosary at Picard and accuses him of jealousy, and Picard starts laughing.
"Really?" he asks Riker. "You wanna be like this dude? He's a flimflam man!"
"Nooo, I have omnipotent powers," Q tells Riker soothingly. "And if you become part of the Continuum, you will, too."
Okay, so we're not set in stone yet.
"You should give your friends gifts with your new powers," Q suggests, and Riker asks Picard if this is okay.
"Fine by me," shrugs Picard. "But they might not want what you have to offer."
"Don't be frightened," starts out Riker, in a friendly sort of "nothing up my sleeve" tone.
Crusher begs Wes to leave, but Riker wishes to "bestow" his first gift on Wes.


EWW. Ewwwwwww. They couldn't find someone who looked like Wes? This guy looks like he came from that planet with the mostly-naked people. He looks like your average guy-in-the-future that TNG populates all of it's M-class planets with... like a living 80's era Ken doll. But notice what hasn't changed? Wes is now a 25-year-old acting ensign. That's a pretty lousy gift, Riker.
Riker turns to Data, but the android stops Riker in his tracks. Riker protests that Data has always wanted to be human, but Data gives the best answer ever:


""To thine own self be true"," Data quotes.
So Riker smiles at Geordi, and Geordi kind of squirms. "I know what you want." Ugh, why does that sound so rapey?
He waves his hand in front of Geordi's face like some kind of faith healer, then removes his VISOR. It's been so long since I watched Reading Rainbow that I've forgotten what LeVar Burton's eyes look like. He gets a good look at all of his friends, and says "You're more beautiful than I imagined. And more." I can't tell if he was talking to them in general, or Yar specifically, because he was looking at her when he said that. But then he tells Riker that the price is too high, "and I don't like who I'd have to thank." Damn. Riker waves his hand again, and the white contacts reappear, as well as the little blinking red lights on his temples that indicate where the VISOR plugs in.


He gives Worf a chick. There's no other way to say that: he just straight-up creates a woman for Worf. And what the hell is up with her costume? Crocheted top, leotard, fishnets, all under some kind of armor. This is the first Klingon female we see on TNG, and this is what we got:



Remember Valkris, our first female Klingon of the films? They did weird things to her hair, but at least she was clothed in a semi-normal way. 


So why does this female look like she's on her way to compete on the Klingon version of American Gladiators?



This woman never talks. She and Worf growl at each other - seductively, as the captions indicate. And she attacks Tasha when she catches the security chief staring at her open-mouthed (because who wouldn't, trying to figure out who the fuck designed that costume?). Worf knocks her the hell down the ramp, and they growl some more.
Geordi tries to shame Worf about what kind of boot-knocking he likes.
"This woman is from a world I no longer belong to," barks Worf. "Get rid of her!"
The Older Wes steps forward and says he'd like to "get there on his own", and to please change him back. I can't tell if they've hired a guy who has a voice that sounds like Wes, if they re-dubbed it in Wil Wheaton's voice, or if the remastered version combined the two voices to make it sound like an older version of Wes.
Riker smiles at Picard. "Man, how did you know? I feel like a douchebag."
"Good. You should. You are," says Picard.
He turns to Q. "Get the fuck off my ship, and pay up on your half of the wager."
"I recall no wager," sniffs Q.
Hit rewind, motherfucker. You made a bet to never hassle humankind again.
"Yeah, see, you might not remember, but I bet your people will, and also that you tried to seduce a human into becoming one of you, and straight-up failed. Go away."
Q looks to the ceiling and tried to appeal to a higher power in his monk robes as scary music plays.
Oh, damn. You in trouble now.



Q disappears, as does the Klingon female. Wes returns to normal, and everyone, including Riker, reappears in their own station.
Geordi reports that it appears that they just beamed back up from the planet surface again, like all of time and space had stopped for a chat with Q.
"How is it," asks Data, "that the Q can handle time and space so well, and us so badly?"
"Perhaps some day we will discover that space and time are simpler than the human equation," Picard answers.
Dude, nobody knows that better than Data.


Riker gives coordinates to Geordi, and they warp out of there to some new adventure.



So, did any of us really think that Riker was gonna take the bait? Like, seriously? Sure, he went from good guy to douchecanoe rather quickly, but the fact of the matter is, no matter how hard he tries, Riker cannot bring himself to become a complete douchebag. He has too many morals. And while I've read that a lot of female fans claimed that Riker, with his occasional wont to seduce a female guest star, was kind of a philandering a-hole and hark back to that good ol' boy of the 1970's, the fact of the matter is that even if he was having a bunch of one-night stands, you know he'd suit up not only for his protection, but for hers, too. Riker cannot rise to the level of assholishness required to be an omnipotent god-figure like the Q. Riker is too lawful good for that. Sure, he bends the rules at times, but Picard does as well. There's an interesting article from Gawker a few years back that caught my eye, concerning what kinds of insults work for white males (http://gawker.com/douchebag-the-white-racial-slur-we-ve-all-been-waiti-1647954231). It includes this specific example:

"Sam Spade is not a douchebag but John Wayne certainly was. Captain Kirk is a douchebag, but Spock, Picard, and Riker are not (though Riker sometimes wants to be). Peter Parker is not a douchebag, neither is Clark Kent. But Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark sure are. Cyclops is a douchebag whereas Magneto is not. Hal Jordan is a douchebag, but Captain America (perhaps surprisingly) is not."


And this is generally how I see Riker: not a douchebag per se, but a tower of that line, certainly. (A fun game I sometimes like to play now includes Who Gets Sorted into Douchebag House. Q is Head Boy of this house, as are several Klingons, and fuck-ton of Cardassians. I feel like Bones hits the same spot as Riker - he acts like a d-bag, but isn't really a true d-bag.)
While I'll grow to like Q eventually, he still has some clout with the Continuum, and to that end, he is still just a fly in the space ointment. Later, he'll develop a self-deprecating sense of humor that I like very much on him, making him not only more tolerable, but more sympathetic as well. I like my villains to be unapologetic assholes, yes, but they're not as enjoyable unless they have a sense of humor.
So this episode, like so many, was okay. Those animal soldier things didn't seem to pose much of a threat, because they were either imaginary, or easily defeated by Q skillz. There also wasn't much of a danger to the injured people waiting for treatment, because, as we learn, Q conveniently stops time and space for his games. (Hmmm, erase one tick mark from his Douche-count. That was rather charitable of him.) What is interesting about this episode is that it sets up more possible episodes involving the Q, which we now know are watching mankind. And yes, we can claim that Q made a wager that he'd never bother them again, but we all know what Q's word is worth. We're gonna see that a-hole again. This episode also reinforces the idea that man has come up to explain why being a god is a shitty job: omnipotence doesn't make you happy, nor does it make your friends happy. Being immortal kind of just sucks, because everyone you love will die slowly around you, and you have to carry their memories around forever.
In the end, Riker's gifts actually serve to reinforce what he discussed with Q: that humans have a need and want to learn and achieve things on their own. Wes requests that Riker make him a teenager again, so that he can do his own growing up, and earn his privileges as they come with time. Data's life would almost certainly fail to have a point if Riker made Pinocchio a real boy with the snap of his fingers. Geordi wants to see, yes, but not because of some creepy Q magic. And while we know little of Worf now, his remarks that the female was of a world to which he no longer belonged are rather telling.
So while it doesn't do too terribly much on it's own, this episode sets up what could be some good stuff in the future.

Fun Facts:

- A later script indicated that Troi was supposed to be in this episode, but that something changed last-minute, and Marina Sirtis became unavailable, leading to the odd addition in Picard's opening log, and the redistribution of her lines, mostly to Yar.
- This is the first time we see an admiral's uniform in TNG (Bones was not wearing a Starfleet uniform in the pilot). However, this is also the only time we see one of that design, as it will change the next time we see it.
- This is also the only time we see Q wearing a uniform of a lower rank than captain, when he wears both Data's uniform (lieutenant commander in gold) and a commander's rank when talking to Riker. Guess he wanted to appear as a buddy, rather than a CO there.
- "Hide and Q" marks the first time we see Geordi's eyes without the VISOR and white-out contacts. We'll see that twice more over the course of TNG.
- The Shakespeare plays that Picard and Q quote at each other are from Hamlet, As You Like It, and The Scottish Play. The Tumblr quote that I put up is from the opening scene of Romeo and Juliet. Data quotes Hamlet to Riker when requesting that Riker give him no gift.


*******

So my hacking cough returned after a multi-week hiatus (yay?), and I'm back to gargling with honey because nothing stops the cough for long.
"You should try this tea," says Roomie.
It was given to her by a guy friend who shares her same gender-neutral name, and OtherRoomie'sName has been pretty accurate in his choices. (He describes me as being "frowny and patient." Have you ever been described by someone and not realized that that description has fit you all along, and you've never known it? Yep. I trust this guy's opinion.)
I pick up the box. "Tastes like licorice." (hork)
I open the individual packet. Smells like licorice. (hork, hork)
I brew a cup and take a sip. Tastes like freaking licorice! (VOM)
But... it worked. By sip two, my throat no longer felt raw. Did it last forever? No. Thirty minutes or so post-cuppa, my cough returned. But it wasn't as deep or scary, and I no longer sounded like I was calling my elephant seal boyfriend.
Adding honey helped with the licorice taste. Like, it didn't give rid of it, but took the tang away and replaced it with something more akin to oatmeal (but just a tiny bit).
tl;dr: tastes like death, but worth it. Will be drinking more.










Blind feral Keller now lets humans pet her. <3

2 comments:

  1. Did you skip "The Battle"?

    I read "The Most Dangerous Game" in my ninth-grade English class. I didn't have to write anything about it as far as I recall.

    I don't get how Geordi could see freckles with his VISOR. I thought he was seeing heat with that thing?

    ReplyDelete
  2. QlyaH.
    Thanks for catching that. I totally wrote The Battle, set it to drop last Monday (the second) at midnight, and then forgot the most important part: I didn't hit the "publish" button, which actually tells the thing to drop it when the time comes. So it apparently looks like I published nothing last week. Lovely. I'm scheduling it to drop next Monday, and I swear, this time I absolutely hit "publish."

    I don't think Geordi can actually see freckles. It was most def a Sassy Moment. :D

    ReplyDelete