Trekkers Only! : The Q and the Grey

The Q and the Grey

What are some of the thoughts from other fans about this Q installment? I get the sense, reading the entries on Memory Alpha, that it was generally liked by the writers, and many of the performers, but it just bugs the crap out of me for some reason; and I can't quite put my finger on why.

Don't get me wrong, I wasn't strictly opposed to Q having a child; as a matter of fact, about a year before this episode came out, my middle school English teacher gave us an assignment to write our own episode of Star Trek Voyager (yeah!) which not only threw me into the deep end of Star Trek fandom, but my story involved Q having a child. So I suppose part of it could be some latent resentment that they ran with the idea on their own, and in a different direction no less, but I still have some issues with the episode itself.

I'm ambivalent whether Q trying to romance Janeway is in character for him or not. He's always been bombastic and over the top, but given what's at stake, you'd think he'd be more intelligent and direct about what he's asking. It hardly seems like the same Q who put humanity on trial, or created the paradox for Picard to resolve in "All Good Things..." Plus, all things being equal among the Q, he could have just as easily asked Picard. He even pondered once if he should have appeared to him as a female; I believe when Q first met Vash.
His approach, and the entirely dialog between Q and Janeway about having a child, stems entirely on the conventional premise of her being the mother; and their offspring being a product of love and sex - the latter part being a drawn out setup to the punch line that the exchange wouldn't have been quite so tawdry as Janeway imagined.
I would have personally preferred they explore the idea of a perhaps more contrite Q, requesting that Janeway be something more along the lines of a surrogate or donor. It's still not a simple request, one she may still be inclined to turn down, but in that comparative sense, it's a very different sort of request; one people who, for one reason or another, can't have children of their own, regularly ask of others, and at times do find people who are willing to help them. Also, I think it would be amusing if Q in turn ended up the person carrying said child, on account that any theoretical child with even half the powers of a Q, would be too powerful for anything less than a full Q to gestate.
It also kind of glosses over Janeway and Paris having children after they mutated into lizard people, after experiencing Warp 10, but I can imagine the writers wanted to forget about that....

Then there's the other Q, or "Suzy Q" as some apparently call her, at least according to Memory Alpha. The sudden introduction of a long lost, never before mentioned paramour to Q, seems incredibly contrived. She'd been with him for billions of years, but without concept of mating or their equivalent of physical intimacy; and more importantly, not a word is spoken about her the entire time Q is stirring things up on the Enterprise, or cavorting with Vash in the Gamma Quadrant. She doesn't show up until Q begins pestering Janeway about having a child; and is just as conveniently out of the picture upon his return with said child in a later episode.
Suddenly now too, the Q are conforming to some sort of human gender identity amongst one another. The most annoying part is the assertion that two Q had never mated and produced a child before, which was the entire premise of a TNG episode; a fact that stands out even more after reading that Ken Biller, the writer of this episode, wasn't as familiar with the character of Q; and was said to have gone back and reviewed his past appearances, to better understand the character and get his personality down. Even if those two Q's who produced a child were living on Earth as humans, they evidently had their powers; and more importantly, so did their daughter, Amanda Rogers.

Then there's the depiction of the Q Continuum as the American Civil War. It's an interesting idea, I'll give them that; though in hindsight, I feel like a cosmic civil war among entities like the Q should have been bigger - arguably worthy of a two-parter - and perhaps closer to something out of Harry Potter. More to the point, I'm re-watching the episode right now, and the thing that stands out most is, which side should really best reflect the respective historical counterparts from the American Civil War? The Q we all know was in opposition to the status quo - which I supposed is meant to be a parallel to the Union abolishing slavery? That's the best I can figure. More specifically though, he's leading a band of Q into rebellion, and by some account appears to be losing the fight. I mean, I guess the obvious reason he's depicted as a Union soldier, is that he's meant to be identified as the hero, who will ultimate persevere and win the war; whereas the viewers would be less inclined to celebrate his cause if he were dressed as a confederate. All in all, it seems like a clumsy analogy.

And for something as epic as a war amongst the Q, it gets wrapped up very quick and tidy; with the aid of humans sent into the continuum, brandishing Q weapons no less.

"What's the matter, sir? It still tastes like cream of corn."
"Except it's deviled ham!"

Re: The Q and the Grey

Q could have any and all women in the galaxy, and yet she chooses the most awful one - Janeway. That doesn't make any sense.

"A voice from behind me reminds me. Spread out your wings you are an angel."

Re: The Q and the Grey

I don't necessarily have a problem with all the things you mentioned, but to me the whole idea of the Q being able to be physically injured (even by each other) is absurd given their nature and what we've learned about them previously on the show. I don't remember if there was an "explanation"; whether there was one or not it just doesn't feel right. Further, it also feels wrong when Tom and Harry and all the crew pull the Q weapons on the Q at the end and take them hostage. Weapon or no, shouldn't the Q just be able to think them out of existence or turn them into frogs or something without them being able to do anything about it? Like so much of Voyager the premise of the episode just feels lazy.

Re: The Q and the Grey

I mean, I do think there's rational to the Qs being able to injury each other. Quinn (in "Death Wish) said they weren't nearly all that they portray themselves as.
From previous TNG episodes, they'd established that Qs could have their powers stripped, and even be killed, like Amanda Rogers' parents. But that's also where I felt a war among the Q could have been more spectacular in display; almost closer in scope to Harry Potter's wizarding fights. I mean, these are virtual gods throwing lightning and all manner of power at one another. I liked the idea that part of this was manifesting through super novas, but that's about where it ended.
And yes, for that reason the idea that the Voyager crew could step in and hope to affect that, just because they were armed with "Q weapons", was silly. Tom trains one of them at an opposing general and tells him to freeze, but the truth of the matter was, Tom's entire perception of where they were and what were going on were solely for his benefit; and not a literal landscape of the Q continuum. Tom was holding that as much at that Q's head, as he was any other part of him, or nothing at all. And to that end, the weapons shouldn't be anything more than extension of the individual Q's powers, and not readily used by someone who doesn't have them.

Overall, I don't dislike Voyager; in fact there's a lot I like about it, like the way they explored the Doctor as an artificial intelligence and him embracing that, in contrast to Data never growing out from where he started, with the ultimate goal to be more human. Apart from "Death Wish" though, I find myself very disappointed by what they did with Q on Voyager; though I suppose in fairness, TNG also had their share of Q episode stinkers....

"You can lead a hearse to water, but you can't make it sink." The Cat