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L.I. Underhill is a media critic and historian specializing in pop culture, with a focus on science fiction (especially Star Trek) and video games. Their projects include a critical history of Star Trek told through the narrative of a war in time, a “heretical” history of The Legend of Zelda series and a literary postmodern reading of Jim Davis' Garfield.

3 Comments

  1. elvwood
    November 11, 2015 @ 5:41 am

    I like Q, even in many of the episodes you don't appreciate. So it's a bit of a surprise to me to realise that this is actually my least favourite episode of DS9 so far. There's nothing particularly offensive or unpleasant about it; it's just bland and meaningless. Going through the motions. We don't get to know any of the characters (or the setting) any better, nothing has changed by the end, and nothing in the 45 minutes' runtime has gone beyond mildly diverting. Still, the fact that those are the sort of complaints I'm making about my worst episode to date is kind of encouraging!

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  2. K. Jones
    November 11, 2015 @ 8:23 am

    Old Uncle Q, that irascible fellow.

    This is an episode where the subtext is far better than the episode presented, even though I didn't actively dislike it on rewatch. There's charm to be found in the interactions, whether it be O'Brien spotting Q and giving a quiet 'bloody hell' to the audience, or Quark meeting a kindred spirit and going full Ferengi (itself of course essentially just retreading ground covered in the Risa episode.) Q did almost, almost start a train of existential critique in Ops when he singled out Kira for being the feisty one and called O'Brien an 'extra'. What would he have thought of Dax?

    Anyway, the premise of Vash making it to Gamma is kind of like those two Ferengi from the other 'stable' wormhole who wind up in Delta in Voyager. So weak a crossover attempt it might as well not have been made. A reason to get Q here, something that takes away his own mysterious agency and agenda for why he might actually come here.

    But I did find it funny on rewatch to realize that Q was never on the Runabout and thus never actually passed through the celestial temple. My memory was that he'd been on the boat with Dax and Vash. It's not hard to imagine the Continuum being personas non grata in the temple, especially Q of all Q.

    Anyway, thoughts like that lead me to wonder if perhaps the El-Aurians had a relationship with the Q not unlike that of Bajor and the Prophets. If Bajoran religion is the result of a planet in close approximation to a stable nonlinear Deity effect, perhaps El-Aurian cosmic witchcraft is the result of frequent summonings and encounters with more capricious, more pagan-type spirits. I'll have to work overtime to hammer that reading home in this show's one guest appearance of an El-Aurian, though.

    One thing DS9 has done so far with the Bajorans is avoid a one-to-one 'Fantasy Race' application for the Bajorans. Certainly they're more of a mystic, shamanistic tribe, 'in the woods', compared to Earthmen, in the vein of "Othermen" from "Otherplace" who live nearer to the veil of the otherworld. Really, there's a stronger evidence for them being an Irish allegory from their proximity to Immram and Echtra sources than any of the occupation/terrorism parallels. But proximity to mystic sites seems to be a common thread in similar situations in Earth History.

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  3. Ross
    November 11, 2015 @ 8:44 am

    We all know that Q is never going to be taken quite seriously as a character, but it still rubs me wrong the way that in all of his extra-TNG appearances, the first reaction of any Starfleet officer when encountering Q for the first time is always "Oh, him. What a nuisance." and then to get all snotty at him to show just how not-impressed Starfleet is by the local goofy demigod.

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