TNG vets John De Lancie (Q) and Jonathan Frakes (Commander Riker) guest star in this high profile VOY episode thought up by Michael Piller's son, with VOY using the Q Continuum for a rare story where the protagonist fights for death and the antagonists fight for his life.
Frakes himself has only a glorified cameo (originally meant for LeVar Burton, though the latter's shaved head made him unusable as Geordi), and it's Mulgrew, De Lancie, and guest star Gerrit Graham doing the heavy lifting, with the real story being about Graham's character and the philosophical question of whether a person has the right to choose to die or not.
After beginning with some superfluous Q whimsy (including an inside joke where Voyager becomes a Christmas tree ornament), the episode settles into the weighty subject matter in a courtroom-like setting with the characters carefully positioned into their roles. Graham's character is the defendant, Tuvok serves as the defense attorney, De Lancie's Q is the prosecutor, and Janeway is the judge.
The case, of course, is shamelessly set up in the protagonist's favor, with no family or friends around to illustrate the selfish side of suicide. The trial, nonetheless, opens the door for some interesting questions about the matter, such as why a society feels it's okay to have a death penalty but wrong for someone to kill his or herself. (This has the double benefit of preempting longtime Star Trek fans from pointing out that the Q Continuum has killed its own in the past, debunking the idea that the Continuum can't survive a Q's death). And being tucked inside a Q Continuum story, it allows the writers to be creative, with the prosecution and the defense both presenting some unusual evidence. (This is where Riker comes in, with De Lancie's Q summoning several historically important Earth people to show how their lives have been touched by the defendant. It comes across like a Forrest Gump spoof and adds little to the episode, though thankfully Michael Jordan and Bill Gates declined invitations to appear). Probably most notably, the defense creates an abstract facsimile of the Q continuum, finally giving the race some depth. Recognizing the need to create a stark contrast to Voyager, the show spends money on location shooting, turning a road in Lancaster, California into a metaphor for the continuum's home.
Most people (and most television shows) try to dodge the hard questions about the right to commit suicide with an appealing alternative: the idea of some kind of help for the individual to find inner contentment. It's a win-win for the individual and society, with the individual enjoying life and society enjoying the individual; but it's also a bit of a cheat, eliminating the dilemma. To VOY's credit, the show floats this idea but doesn't use it as a cop out to avoid the original issue or to answer the question of what to do after you've done it all and there are no undiscovered countries left to explore.
Serving as a counterpoint to Da Lancie's Q, Gerrit Graham gives a poignant performance that cuts through the Q silliness and gives the episode drama and meaning. The other actors, probably recognizing a rich script, work hard as well. With the high profile guest stars, Paramount held this episode back to air during sweeps, plopping it into the middle of some episodes with a developing story involving Paris and Crewman Jonas. The story does not, however, contradict anything in the other episodes, so the show gets away with it.
Da Lancie's Q, who uses "Death Wish" to build a rapport with Janeway, returns in a loose sequel to this episode in third season's "The Q and the Grey".
I spent most of this episode wondering when Janeway would ask one of the two omnipotent beings hanging around if they would be so kind as to send her ship back to the Alpha quadrant. From the pilot episode, I'd been thinking the ship needed to come across a Q as a solution to get home. But no, instead Janeway is rude upon having unearthed a Q. He's trying to be nice, she's being a bitch, then she agrees to the trial without getting any concessions from either Q1 or Q2 about a reward for doing so (going
The euthanasia plot was interesting if/when I managed to set all that aside, but it was really difficult.
First of all, I don't like the Q in any of the Star Trek series. They're more magic/fantasy as opposed to science fiction/technology. Think "I Dream of Jeannie" or "Bewitched." In this episode, a Q has been imprisoned because he wants to use his "powers" to kill himself. (Sort of like can God make a rock too big for him to lift and we've got a guy who is about to try it). This sets off an episode based on one central premise: "Immortality is boring and what's a bored immortal to do about it..." Ho-hum for us mortals. Like we could care less. We get a lot of talking heads sitting around talking about life, mortality, and essentially continually restating the obvious.
To prove boredom, we visit a "representation" of the Continuum which is a way station (complete with mid-20th Century utility poles) and several people sitting around with nothing to do and nowhere to go. I'm sure someone thought this might be cute at the time but we don't need representations to prove boredom. We easily understand it. They could have just showed clips of this episode, for example.
Then, there is the horridly staged "journey in a comet." There's a small window for us the viewer to look in as Janeway experiences Q-Quinn's confinement. I thought the set was right out of the second season of Lost in Space. Totally cheesy. They could have done a much better job considering their series' budget.
However, the ultimate disappoint was what I felt was a total lack of the usual quick wit John de Lancie brought to the original SNG role. Like I said, I never liked the Q stories but at least his dialogue was entertaining. Here it's forced, as if the writers never bothered to review SNG episodes to get it right. A future episode will correct this problem but in this episode I found the character totally unlikeable and boring. Finally, let's talk about goals. In "Voyager," we have Janeway chasing around the Delta Quadrant looking for a quick way home. We've always had the impression she'd beg, borrow, or steal whatever is necessary to get her crew home. So, when offered a way home by the magical Q why doesn't she go for it? Or, make some other sort of deal with Q? That puts everything into the mindset of Major Nelson (I Dream of Jeannie) or Darrin Stephens (Bewitched). How can you believably turn down "magical gifts?"
Death Wish was a superb episode of Star Trek: Voyager and I really enjoyed watching because it had a great story involving a Q from the Q-Continuum who wanted to end his immortality. The ensuing trial with Captain Janeway presiding was fun to watch as both sides argued their points. I enjoyed the visit to the Q-Continuum, it was like Gods or Ascended Beings with nothing to really do. The croquet balls looked like planets or universes or something reminding me of the Galaxy marbles from Men in Black. There were important moral and ethical questions raised in this episode. I look forward to watching the next episode of Star Trek: Voyager!!!!!!!
You know, for near-omnipotent superbeings, these guys have some problems.
The Piller writing tag-team presents an interesting philosophical argument. If you're already seen and done everything that ever has or WILL be, is there any point to still living ? Well, of course there is, but if nothing else it's a reasonable basis for a "Q" episode and sets events into motion that will be seen in 'The Q and the Grey' later in the series. The episode has a TNG-type flair to it, probably due to De Lancie's usual excellent job. A nice comical episode in the spirit of the Q, but with consequences.
Disregarding for the moment how even an extremely powerful race such as the Q could keep a member of their own race anywhere he or she didn't want to be isn't explained, this episode does bring up an interesting ethical question: does an individual have the right to end his or her own existence if said existence has become intolerable. It also touches briefly on the rights of the individual v/the state. How far can a society allow its people the freedom to say what they wish, when the individual might be preaching something revolutionary and even dangerous to the status quo? The episode reached back to the original Trek's custom of dealing with very socially-relevant issues, something Voyager as a whole lost track of at times, but made it extremely good when it occasionally found it again. The two Q both were very eloguent when presenting their cases to Janeway, and John de Lancie delivered possibly some of his best lines in this episode. It definitely held the unusual occasion of a speechless Q once the final verdict was rendered. It's an episode that will, at least, give you a lot to think about. Definitely worth watching.
A sample from a comet is beamed aboard the “Voyager”. It seems like the sample was a member of the Q Continuum who has been imprisoned in the comet. May I remind you this is not the same Q you remember from the “Enterprise”.
A sample from a comet is beamed aboard the “Voyager”. It seems like the sample was a member of the Q Continuum who has been imprisoned in the comet. May I remind you this is not the same Q you remember from the “Enterprise”. Don’t worry you can call him Q2. The famous Q beams aboard the “Voyager” asking the other “Q” what he has done. Now Q ands Q2 are squabbling about the Q2 wanting to face death. Q says it will ruin the Continuum. Q2 wants to be granted asylum. Janeway says he must face a hearing.
Voyager encounters a member of the Q species that is imprisoned for being a danger to himself. Gerrit Graham guests stars as Q No. 1. John de Lancie makes his first appearance on Voyager as Q No. 2. Lancie's character has some classic one-liners in this episode.
(After Q No. 1 accidentally rids Voyager of all the men.)
"Say, is this a ship of the Valkyries, or have you human women finally done away with your men altogether?"
- John de Lancie
In the episode Q No. 1 is intent on killing himself. He has lived his life of accomplishment, and now there is nothing more for him to do. Voyager holds a trial of amnesty of Q No. 1. Lt. Commander Tuvok represented Q No. 1, and Q No. 2 represented the Q Continuum. Tuvok argued that it was not fair for the Q Continuum to force immortality on an individual.
This episode was the first time we saw the Captain Janeway that we were to see throughout the rest of the series. She really came into her own. Before this episode Janeway went back and forth on what kind of character she was, but this ended that debate. The episode was really about the right to choose. Overall the episode gets an A+. If you haven't already seen this episode, it is a MUST see.
This is a tearjerker really and the performance by: Kate Mulgrew, Tim Russ, John De Lancie and Gerrit Graham made this show better than it would have looked on paper and it would have looked pretty dam well and during the death seen (The death of Quinn) each time I see it I can barely hold back the tears it should be noted that Q (John De Lancie's Character) after he helps Quinn die he starts a war within the Q continuum
The episode "Q and the Grey" was born out of this episode as was "Q2" born out of "Q and the grey"
While examining a strange asteroid, Voyager accidentaly rescues an imprisoned Q. It turns out that this Q was imprisoned for having suicidal tendencies, and when Picard's favorite Q makes an appearance to reimprison Q, the formerly imprisoned Q requests asylum from captain Janeway. Any time John Delancie makes an appearance as Q, the episode becomes an instant classic. As with the best Q episodes, everything is done right, an interesting plot, lots of witty quips, comedy, sarcasm. Although this episode doesn't do anything to advance the storyline, it does develop the character of Q further, showing that his time spent among humans does seem to have changed him for the better. And besides, who cares if the Voyager storyline doesn't advance when you've got Q making an appearance.
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