Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 2 Episode 16

Q Who?

7
Aired Unknown May 08, 1989 on CBS
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (15)

9.2
out of 10
Average
296 votes
  • The debut of Trek's ultimate villain, and an always welcome appearance by Q.

    9.0
    When people think about the Borg, most if not all will immediately think back to the classic "Best of the Both Worlds" two-parter. However, "Q-Who" is also a pretty damn good episode, and it is here that we see the Borg make their first appearance. And what an impression they make.

    Picard finds himself face-to-face with his old friend Q, who is apparently wanting to become a member of the crew. Worf is comically sent out of Ten-Forward by Picard, as Q gets under his skin. We find out that Q and Guinan had some "dealings" centuries ago, and she warns Picard not to trust Q. Picard needs no convincing; in fact, he tells Q that the Enterprise doesn't need his help. Q begs to differ, and decides to show them that there are dangers in the galaxy beyond their imagination.

    With a click of his fingers, the Enterprise is whisked away to a position where it would take about two years to reach the nearest starbase (not the Delta Quadrant, then). Guinan warns them to turn back immediately, but Picard feels compelled to explore the region of space. They enter a system called J25, where they find a planet that has had all the machine elements removed; similar to the attacks on the outposts along the neutral zone. Good continuity here, with previous episodes referring to such attacks.

    Then, along comes a Borg Cube. Its massive compared to the Enterprise but makes no threatening action; until a Borg transports itself into engineering. The being is part organic and part cybernetic; Geordi's reaction is great, as he doesn't know what the hell he's looking at. It studies the computer consoles and then begins to download the information. Worf manages to take out the Borg with his phaser, but a second Borg beams in and completes the task. Worf's phaser has no effect on it this time. The second Borg gives a cold stare, as if to say "you're nothing to me". Their quiet resolve actually enhances their menace. It removes a few components from his dead counterpart and then beams away.

    Both Q and Guinan reveal that the Borg are a collective consciousness; they work as a single mind and were responsible for scattering Guinan's people throughout the galaxy. Suddenly a tractor beam locks onto the Enterprise. We see "some type of laser beam" cutting into the saucer section and removing part of the deck. Picard orders Worf to terminate the beam from the Borg ship, and he does so with a few rounds of phaser fire. This is a good little action scene, and the damage to the Borg ship is quite extensive.

    18 people were lost in the attack, and Picard hopes that Q is just playing a game. Unfortunately, it isn't an illusion. Riker decides that they should visit the Borg ship to gather data, just like the Borg did to them. Riker, Data and Worf beam aboard, and find that the Borg survived the Enterprise's counter-attack. They also find that the Borg ignore them since they aren't posing a direct threat. While there, they discover that the Borg are given cybernetic implants from birth. Data discovers something alarming; the Borg have the ability to regenerate. The ship is actually repairing itself.

    This sets up one of the most thrilling sequences in a TNG episode, as Picard beams the away team back and wants Warp Speed now. "Let's get the hell out of here" Picard says, as the big dramatic music for the episode's chase scene begins. The Enterprise races off, with the Borg Cube in hot pursuit. I cannot describe how fantastic the music is here; it just really has you on the edge of your seat.

    Riker tells Worf to arm the photon torpedoes, but they cause no damage to the Borg ship. Q then appears to inform them of something; the Borg have adapted to their weapons, meaning that nothing the Enterprise can do will make a dent in the Cube now. The dialogue here really conveys the hopeless situation; that they're facing an enemy that is utterly relentless. The Borg unleash a weapon which drains the Enterprise's shields. Picard calls for another volley of torpedoes, but once again they have no effect. The shields finally fail, and the next hit takes the Enterprise out of warp. The Borg lock on with their tractor beam again.

    Q appears one final time to announce his departure. Picard reminds him that if they all die, he will not be able to gloat. He tells Q what he wanted to hear; that he needs Q to help them. Impressed with his comments, Q clicks his fingers and the Enterprise is right back where it started. Its interesting that Q was right in the end; Picard, and the Federation as a whole, had become arrogant and complacent. This encounter opened their eyes to what truly awaits them.

    The scene with Guinan at the end is very telling of the episode's impact; Picard realises that the Borg are aware of the Federation now, and that they'll be turning up in the future.
  • This is where all things changed. This is where we are introduced to the borg

    9.0
    This episode major significance is that it introduces the Borg. The Borg, half humanoid half machine, the species that in my humble opinion helped save a struggling show and fandom. The one thing Star Trek TNG lacked up to this point was a strong enemy. And the Borg became that enemy. So much so that they spanned two other shows. (Three if you count Enterprise), as well as being the major plot point of one of the many star trek movies.

    The Borg were major plot points in some of my favorite episodes of TNG, which include the must talked about “Best of Both Worlds” two parter as well as “I, Borg.” On DS9 Benjamin Sisco’s wife was killed during well….the Best of Both Worlds. And On Voyager, the fourth installment of Star Trek was given new life when Seven of Nine was introduced.

    It’s hard to imagine not having The Borg in the Star Trek universe, but this was the episode they were introduced. And it was Q who introduced the crew of the Enterprise and us to the species who would change the Star Trek Universe forever.
  • This is where all things changed. This is where we are introduced to the borg

    9.0
    This episode major significance is that it introduces the Borg. The Borg, half humanoid half machine, the species that in my humble opinion helped save a struggling show and fandom. The one thing Star Trek TNG lacked up to this point was a strong enemy. And the Borg became that enemy. So much so that they spanned two other shows. (Three if you count Enterprise), as well as being the major plot point of one of the many star trek movies.

    The Borg were major plot points in some of my favorite episodes of TNG, which include the much talked about “Best of Both Worlds” two parter as well as “I, Borg.” On DS9 Benjamin Sisco’s wife was killed during well….the Best of Both Worlds. And On Voyager, the fourth installment of Star Trek was given new life when Seven of Nine was introduced.

    It’s hard to imagine not having The Borg in the Star Trek universe, but this was the episode they were introduced. And it was Q who introduced the crew of the Enterprise and us to the species who would change the Star Trek Universe forever.
  • The entrance for Star Trek's version of Darth Vader - a relentless inhuman villian. Still the best Borg episode.

    9.5
    Introductions to dark and inhuman nemeses are inevitably going to be probably the best moment we ever see them. The fact we know so little about this unstoppable force is what makes them so fascinating and disturbing. The Borg cube is truly vast in scale and dwarfs the already enormous Enterprise. The Borg here are quite different to later versions. They have absolutely no personality, no interest in anything except assimilation and destruction- unreasonable and unstoppable. Later versions lose these brilliant attributes a little and as a result the audience loses that fear of the enemy. The nature of losing one's self to a machine and the surgical nature of the artificial implants all add to the horrific concept of a cyborg species bent on destruction. Superb stuff.
  • A new crewmember Ensign Gomez is so nervous she spills hot chocloate on the captain. He rides the turbo lift to the officer's quarters. He steps off the turbo lift only to find himself in a shuttlecraft with none other than "Q".

    10
    A new crewmember Ensign Gomez is so nervous she spills hot chocloate on the captain. He rides the turbo lift to the officer's quarters. He steps off the turbo lift only to find himself in a shuttlecraft with none other than "Q". The shuttlecraft is a long way from the "Enterprise". Picard suggest talking with "Q" on the "Enterprise". "Q" wants to be a member of the crew. Picard refuses, "Q" snaps his fingers and the ship is sent to another quadrant of the galaxy. The quadrant is Home to the borg. I rate this episode a 10.0 for adventure.
  • The Federations most dangerous enemy the borg finally appears!

    10
    In this episode Q tries to convince Picard that the Enterprise is helpless without him. To prove it
    After a first confrontation with the Borg is gets very obvious that he is was 100% correct.

    This episode does a great job introducing the Federations most dangerous enemy in the history of Star Trek.
  • Picard's archnemises Q returns requesting to join the starship Enterprise as a full officer. Picard of course refuses which results in Q proving to them that they need him by forcing them into a battle with the unknown and very powerful Borg.

    10
    It was a very cool episode, but then again all episodes with Q are. It was wierd how it said that the bartender Guinan knew Q very well and that they had gotten into a big argument two hundred years ago. The introduction of the Borg species was a cool thing star trek's creators did. However, it was very strange how after Picard admitted he needed Q's helpand Q saved them from the Borg Q didn't ask to join the Enterprise crew again, but instead just vanished like he usually does. I think it was an important Star Trek episode.
  • The omniscent Q teaches Picard a lesson in humility by introducing the Enterprise to a formidable new foe more dangerous than any other they have faced. The trick is will the Federation be ready in time to survive?

    10
    In a tense and riveting episode, Q taunts Picard for the third time in the series by hurling the Enterprise to the other side of the galaxy and introduces them to the Borg. Only Guinan has any experience in dealing with the half-humanoid, half-robotic hive intelligence. Working as a collective, they try to carve up the Enterprise like a roast before Picard realizes that he's in over his head and needs Q's help. In a moment of deep introspection faced by every commander of exploration from Christopher Columbus to Jean-Luc Picard, how does the captain's judgment effect the future of humankind? Wonderful episode!
  • Q sends the enterprise into the hands of the borg. the new race that we are introduced to.

    10
    Q arrivals back on the enterprise to see captain picard. while on the ship he see guinan. picards ask guinan do you know Q yes i do. Q then tells picard aboard a new race the borg. guinan tells Q they are not ready for them yet. Q hurdles the enterprise into the distant. where we see for the first time the borg. picard think is can talk to them where he later finds out that he cant. when crew start dieing he asks Q for help. the crew relises that when the incounter the borg again they are in for one big fight.
  • A very good episode which introduced a key villain and one that sets up "The Best of Both Worlds".

    8.0
    I will say it up front - I don't share the same level of enthusiasm for this episode that my fellow reviewers do. Yes, it's very good and introduces a scary new opponent, but the episode takes a while to get going, includes an uninteresting B-plot involving a new ensign, and overall the payoff wouldn't come until the end of the 3rd season. The shock experienced when first watching this episode doesn't persist (at lest for me) after repeat viewing. While it doesn't quite reach the level of "series classic", it does show the big leap forward the show took in the second season and where it would be headed in the 3rd.

    The Borg's effectiveness, at least through the end of "The Best of Both Worlds", was their image as a sinister, unstoppable juggernaut. That ultimately limited their usefulness as an opponent/villains, since their mystique faded once they were defeated for the first time. However, after this episode the writers seemed to become more comfortable presenting other formidable villains such as the Romulans and Cardassians.

    This was also among the best Q episodes. From this point on, Q would be presented largely as a sort of cosmic jester and a foil for Picard; but in "Q Who", he's a malevolent being and a clear danger to the Enterprise.

    The best scene in the episode is actually the concluding chess scene between Picard and Guinan - as they digest the horrific events of the past day and realize the menace that lies ahead.
  • The Enterprise's first encounter with the Borg.

    10
    One thing that disappointed me about all of the Star Trek series and movies is that there was so little wonder. The Trek world gives us ships capable of leaping across light years in a matter of hours, but instead of awesome encounters with the unknown, the crewmembers are mostly involved in diplomatic missions, rescue operations, etc. This, I believe, was largely due to budget restrictions and the fact that Trek is so character-driven. (And I must admit that I still enjoyed most of these stories.) "Q-Who" was one of the episodes that did give us wonder. The Enterprise is hurled into the path of a massive cube of a ship. Aboard are a cancerous race known as the Borg. They advance their knowledge by consuming other races, and they quickly identify the Enterprise as something they want to assimilate. The depiction of the Borg is haunting--soulless, cadaver-like beings with technology superior to that on the Enterprise. While Picard and crew eventually escape, they realize the Borg will surely follow them into Federation space. And that cast a chill over the series that lasted well into the next season. A masterful piece of storytelling.
  • Welcome to the Borg!

    9.0
    The episode where we first encounter the Borg. Logically therefore, it is a first contact type episode with the added complication of having the interfering Q expedite the encounter. So while some of aspects of the plot are typical others are not.

    It is an episode that has some combat, although its mostly smoke and mirrors stuff, with the Enterprise not having the technology to deal with the threat. We do however get to see how the Borg operate, from their initial unauthorised boarding, to the boring a section of the Enterprise containing 18 crewmembers. This is one of the aspects of the encounter that is dropped for more traditional site-to-site teleportation in later skirmishes.

    Another such facet of the Borg is when Cmdr. Ryker informs the bridge that the Borg appear to be primarily biologically grown beings with implants added later. This is also changed later as the prescribed approach is to assimilate and change existing lifeforms into Borg.

    The loss of the crewmen is one of the only (if the only) times when Federation vessels do not risk attempting to liberate captives taken by the Borg.

    We also have no experience with the Borg mantra that is to become so much part of their fearful makeup in the future - Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated.

    This is the first time that Picard relents to Q in their battle of wills and asks for Q to return them to the safety of the Alpha quaderant. There are two times when Picard is left helpless in this episode and sees a welcome change to the arrogance that the first season was full of.

    On a minor note we get introduced to a bitpart engineer (Ensign Sonya Gomez) whom has a few episodes.

    One of the most interesting scenes is where Guinan and Q square up to each other. We get another hint of past meetings and what each thinks of the other. Guinan does an impression of a cornered alley cat!

    Overall interesting enough, and should not be missed, but dont expect it to be filled with latter season impressive combat.
  • Imagine if TNG had been this good every week?!

    10
    The show's most memorably chilling villains, the Borg, are introduced in this riveting, genuinely scary episode which also sees the return of Q.

    Few episodes of TNG managed to make space travel seem as alien, momentous and downright scary as this. Most of the time the Enterprise was just a travelling hotel in space and most of the aliens and races encountered were rather blah. But this episode stands out as a stark reminder of how scary the unknown can be and is an all-too rare example of when the Enterprise really DOES go where no one has gone before.

    It's well-written and expertly produced, with a viscerally claustrophobic and intense tone throughout. The directing, music and production values are all first rate. Q's characterisation has rarely been better: funny, acerbic, but also dangerous and unpredictable - and I loved his rivalry with Guinan, which was an inspired touch. The Borg themselves are a brilliant creation: cyborg zombies that really did manage to strike fear into my heart as an impressionable young kid. I swear I had nightmares after watching this episode.

    Overall, this is a smash and deeply invigorated an otherwise lacklustre season. Brilliant.
  • Q introduces the Enterprise to the Delta Quadrant.

    9.0
    Half a decade before Voyager would become lost in the Delta Quadrant, the Enterprise makes its own unscheduled trip to this place, courtesy of Q. And they meet the Borg. The idea behind this show was to create a new villain to replace the disappointing Ferengi and to be to TNG what the Klingons are to the original series. The end result however, far surpasses these expectations. Much of the credit must go to the incredible writing of this episode, which builds the drama nicely, and credit must also be given to Maurice Hurley's for his basic "insect" idea for the new alien race. The resulting synergy gives us an episode that plays somewhat like the first Terminator movie, with all its strengths. The Borg would be back in later episodes (and a movie) but that only makes this gem even more special. A can't miss.
  • The only episode that used the Borg effectively - as totally mysterious, powerful, and alien.

    8.3
    Picard's boasts to Q result in the Enterprise being thrust into a conflict with a remorseless and extremely powerful adversary.

    To my mind, this is the Borg used to best effect - no "Queens", "Spheres", "fallen members", movie deals, etc. Just a totally different kind of opponent.

    As soon as the Borg were over-used in every series of the franchise, they lost all their impact. Here, it works, totally alien, totally un-interested in anything close to human motivation, completely mindless in the ability to scan and assimilate anything they come across. Lots of drama is built up in the plotting and execution of this episiode.

    And that's how this installment is written, with nice references to the Borg's past terror and visual examples of their invulnerabilty to the defenses of any opponents. Of course the temptation to use them over and over again would be great, but at least in this first installment, Q introduces the Federation to something that is seemingly horrific but at the same time is diabolical in that it DOES make sense in an impersonal way.

    A very clever idea in science fiction for television.
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