Enough with the all-powerful omnipotent God-like creatures in the Star Trek universe like Q and Trelane. Hopefully Discovery makes its own way.
After Trelane, in “The Squire of Gothos”, Star Trek fans weren’t subjected to such a silly magical alien until Q. From the beginning of The Next Generation, we had to accept Q. This almost omnipotent creature, his motives, his methods, and his cryptic non sequiturs became a staple of TNG, and teased viewers 4 more times across Deep Space Nine and Voyager.
“Temper, temper mon capitaine, I’m merely trying to assist a pitiful species.”
– Captain Picard and Q (TNG: “Encounter at Farpoint”)
Q was horribly arrogant, consistently insulting, a maliciously snippy gripe, and not a thoroughly believable premise. But, Trek is science fiction so as other fans, I have accepted him as a part of the Trek canon. Thankfully he was only ever in one DS9 episode.
Q never made it into any of the films featuring Picard and the crew of the USS Enterprise D or E. He also never made it into the Enterprise series, perhaps because of John de Lancie’s age, or maybe even a lack of interest. Well, the most likely answer is that the writer’s on Enterprise were different, and wanted to explore diverse ideas. Whatever the reason, this was – for me – one redeeming quality of ENT.
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Q was, by far, the most farcical character that ever graced the screen along side any Starfleet personnel. He is, indisputably a walking MacGuffin, and not much more. Star Trek has been, in so many ways, a scientific inspiration for generations. Computers, cell phones, touch screens, and voice activation, all things seen in Trek. But Q, on the other hand, would just snap his fingers and make people appear or disappear. He could toss the Enterprise across the galaxy, or give Data the ability to laugh with little more than a twitch of the nose, like Samantha from Bewitched.
As much as I might dislike the character, I must confess that John de Lancie was absolutely brilliant in his portrayal. And, yes, Q did bring forth a few pertinent philosophical questions (perhaps that’s what “Q” stood for), but overall episodes which involve Q are by far among my least favorite.
Discovery would do well to follow the precedent of Enterprise and not include any Q-like aliens. Not solely because it will very much be seen as a trope, or MacGuffin, but because Trek does better with science, even when it’s fiction. Q has never been science, and Discovery, even though it appears to be headed toward a darker tone, a somewhat harsher outlook, it needs to be about science, and aspiration.
Really, I hope to never see Q again, or another Q-like character.