I’m going through “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and reviewing every episode, complete with commentary and a grade from A-F. I’ve also included a score and comment from my wife, who has never seen the show before. There are SPOILERS for each episode below.
Picard is hosting a major archaeological conference on board the Enterprise and Vash–the woman from “Captain’s Holiday“–shows up. Q also peeks in. Q wants to do Picard a favor, because he feels he owes him after being reinstated into the Continuum. He sees the struggle Vash and Picard have hitting it off again and thrusts them into a Robin Hood scenario placing Picard as Robin Hood and Vash as Maid Marian. Picard saves the day after some difficulties, and Q whisks Vash away to explore more of the universe.
“Q wants to do Picard a favor.” Yep. This should be good. And it is! A reprisal of Vash as Picard’s love interest is just perfect, and to have Q try to set them up via making Picard Robin Hood? Genius.
Really, this is just an absolutely delightful episode. The Robin Hood aspects of it are just hilarious and clearly a play off the grand Errol Flynn film. This could have gone so poorly but it was pulled off with just enough of a combination of seriousness and tongue-in-cheek winking that it just works. Having the scenario play out in unexpected ways like Vash capturing Picard –and throwing Q off balance–is one of the thigns that makes the episode so good.
“I PROTEST! I AM NOT A MERRY MAN!” – Worf.
Yep, that kind of dialogue is so hilarious and it what makes this episode really click. They perfectly chose which characters would be which and then executed a fun plot to go along with it. Finally, the touch of reiterating Picard’s interest in archaeology helped maintain his characterization on the show.
“Qpid” is so fun. It’s the kind of episode that the Original Series almost always aimed for. TNG occasionally does it but generally maintains a more serious tone. Here, the silliness worked perfectly.
Grade: A “It’s just a really fun episode to watch. What more can you ask for?”
Wife’s Grade and Comment: A “A delightful blend of character development and Q-driven plot.”
A Klingon is caught sending information to the Romulans but a simultaneous explosion leads to a witch hunt aboard the Enterprise as a conspiracy is suspected. Even Picard is brought before the tribunal, but it is ultimately revealed as exactly what it is: a witch hunt with little basis in reality.
The episode is built upon an interesting premise: the notion that people will always have some built in conspiracy-mindedness that can bubble over into false accusations and absurdity. The problem is that the episode is built entirely upon that premise. There’s really nothing else here.
Picard gets some great dialogue about the travesty that is occurring, but even that ultimately gets dragged out too long and becomes entirely preachy to stay entertaining.
Another difficulty is that once Picard himself is put to the question, we as viewers know the stakes have been dissolved–they’re not going to remove Picard from the series, so we know we’re in for exactly what we get: Picard lecturing the silly people who have launched the witch hunt. When it was just the random medical officer, we were concerned with whether he would be unfairly found guilty, but with Picard it becomes predictable. I’m one who enjoys Picard’s lectures, because they are often quite moving, but here the predictability of it and the centering of the whole episode around it was just at little too much.
It’s not a terrible episode, but it needed much more to be great.
Grade: B- “Too preachy to keep a plot moving.”
Wife’s Grade and Comment: B- “The message was good but the story itself was not all that interesting.”
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