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.
Riker is having problems sleeping, and it begins to creep into his working life on board the Enterprise. He and others convene to share some of the strange experiences and discover they’ve been having the same “dream” that features some disturbing content, suggesting they might be kidnapped each night. La Forge, Dr. Crusher, and Data work together to find a way to track the people who disappear, and when Riker does, he wakes up and thwarts the aliens who have been abducting people from the Enterprise.
Okay, let’s just throw this out there (probably again): how the heck do they not just have a monitoring system on board the Enterprise that lets security know when someone just disappears off the ship or when someone comes on board? Seriously. They are able to track people at all points on board. How is this not a basic safety feature both for individuals and the ship’s security? Not having this stretches credulity quite a bit in many episodes, and this is one of the more blatant ones. It’s just hard to believe something like this could actually happen.
The scene in which the people who have been taken away describe their experience on the holodeck is also super weird in a number of ways. The weirdest thing is the unannounced and un-introduced random woman who is there. We know the other people, but who the heck is she? Why doesn’t she have a uniform? Or a name? We never find out. Oh well.
All of that said, there is a strong sense of creepy foreboding surrounding this episode that makes it somehow not terrible despite the aforementioned problems. Is it impossible to believe that this could actually happen? Yes. Is it still enjoyable? Yes.
Grade: B- “It’s pretty weird and it relies too much on me not thinking about it.”
Wife’s Grade and Comment: B “There was nothing wrong with it, it just wasn’t that great.”
Amanda is a young woman who has been offered the chance to join Starfleet and have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to trial run it on the Enterprise. However, she keeps making things happen, and it turns out Q is involved in testing her. She is actually one of the Q Continuum, and she must either decide to take on her identity as Q or give up her powers forever under penalty of death. Ultimately, she struggles mightily with the decision, but cannot give up her powers in the face of people who have needs. She goes to join the Q.
What would you do when faced with a decision like this? Give up the life you live and everything you thought was real and wanted to do in exchange for near-omnipotence? It sounds obvious that you’d pursue the omnipotence, but “True Q” makes a solid case for how difficult the decision would actually be.
It helps that Amanda was solidly acted. It would be hard to believe this was a dilemma at all if the actor hadn’t pulled it off, but she did. Q was his usual ridiculous self, and I also noticed yet again how uncomfortably close he gets to everyone. Is it necessary for him to creep so closely to Amanda as he trains her? Why are his hands always on Riker or Picard? He’s very touchy-feely. Maybe that’s what all Q are like. Weird.
I used to really not like Q episodes because I found him so annoying, but I’ve discovered as I watch these in order, several of the Q episodes are quite good. This is another entry in that string of success. It is well-written and well-acted.
Grade: A- “An interesting look at facing an extremely difficult choice.”
Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “I liked the way they dealt with Amanda’s self-discovery and personality, but Q was kind of a creep.”
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