Friday, January 09, 2009

Star Trek: TNG Season 1 – Hide and Q

Link to Episode Guide

What a brilliant move it was to create a recurring character who could pop in and out at will and cause all kinds of chaos! He really puts the Enterprise on the receiving end of a breach of the Prime Directive (well, I guess it’s only a breach if Q actually followed the Prime Directive).

On the surface the show is about temptation and the old saying that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. But Q’s return really provides a foil against which humanity can be measured. The undercurrent running through the episode is the human drive for change and self-evolution. At the heart of Star Trek is the drive for exploration, learning, change, and the human potential for limitless growth. Picard even hints that Q might feel threatened by what humanity might become in the future. With Q’s access to limitless power there is no motivation for change, growth, or improvement. But humanity has flaws and limitations which provide the impetus for change.

This episode provides another link between Star Trek and literature. This time delving into Shakespeare! Q is great for bringing out the literary elements as he is a character that embodies Drama. He is often ridiculous and goes over the top to illustrate his messages. So, it’s only fitting that he bring up one of Picard’s favourite authors and quote from Hamlet. One of my favourite Picard quotes: “Oh I know Hamlet, and what he might say with irony I say with conviction - What a piece of work is man. How noble in reason. How infinite in faculty. In form, in moving, how express and how admirable - in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a God.” The episode is worth watching just for that scene between Q and Picard!

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