Caretaker was the series premiere of Star Trek: Voyager.
Caretaker created the entire premise of Star Trek: Voyager with the ship being flung seventy light years away from Federation space. So there was no hope of any type of help, leaving Captain Janeway and her crew fighting to survive in the Delta Quadrant and trying to get home.
That episode had some similarities with the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, “Q Who”, specifically with Q flinging the Enterprise across the galaxy to encounter the Borg. According to Whatculture, the script from that episode led producers to ask what if Q hadn’t sent the Enterprise back, and it had remained stranded.
The Caretaker had a lot of Q’s similarities.
The Caretaker and Q had a lot in common. Their powers were similar and both of them used those abilities to send a ship where it wasn’t supposed to go. But the greatest resemblance between the two was that they were actually trying to help. That might sound absurd with Q’s penchant for obnoxious behavior, but by sending the Enterprise into another part of the galaxy, he actually gave Captain Picard and the crew heads-up about the Borg which allowed them time to come to terms with what they would face in the future.
Voyager wasn’t helped by the Caretaker, but he was only trying to protect the Ocampa when he realized he could no longer watch over them. He felt he owed a debt to the species for turning their homeland into a desert which would kill them were they to surface from the city underneath. Even though Captain Janeway tried to convince him that the Ocampa could survive on their own even without him to look out for them, the Caretaker activated the self-destruct, leaving the crew stranded in the Delta Quadrant.
So, though both of these instances could be considered cruel, in the end, they served a purpose. And Q’s decision in “Q Who?,” thanks to the writers, gave the creators of Star Trek: Voyager the opening they needed to set the series into motion.