Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 2 Episode 16

Q Who?

Aired Unknown May 08, 1989 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (15)

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  • The debut of Trek's ultimate villain, and an always welcome appearance by Q.

    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.