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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.

2 Comments

  1. K. Jones
    October 2, 2015 @ 4:28 am

    I like True Q more than I thought I might on rewatch. Much of that hangs on DeLancie successfully balancing Q's playing of the game, with the crew, with Amanda, with the Continuum, and much of it hangs on Amanda herself who carries her weight quite wonderfully.

    But I think I like this episode as much for its unsaids! After all the dealings with Q, or generally all the dealings with actual (rather than faker) divine cosmic beings on this show, when you bring in a new one, specifically onto the Enterprise it's what you don't see that seems rather conspicuous.

    We don't see Amanda ever go to Ten Forward or meet Guinan. My, wouldn't that have been interesting?

    We don't see much motivation for why Riker is the bum note, but isn't it odd that another Q might take a vested interest in him for reasons she understands, but perhaps some reasons she doesn't? Or that he might find himself making the same arguments against Q-style scenery changes and fakery that he's been making since the beginning when he learned those lessons himself.

    What an amazing set of coincidences that an allegorical planet needs saving that Riker happens to be on as well. (With the Q, there are no coincidences.)

    What a statement for Q to make that the Continuum can't just allow omnipotent beings to roam the galaxy. What a statement to make a few weeks before Emissary. What a word to use, "roam", when the omnipotent beings we'll meet there are anchored (as is that show itself, somewhat.)

    What a thing for a god to take human form and to have human offspring that ends up being another god that needs positioning in the cosmos for highly coincidental grooming. You know, a few weeks before we meet Ben Sisko.

    And indeed what a thing to evoke the ghost of Leslie Crusher, too.

    And hey, cute puppies. It's 25 years later and that's still a pretty shameless and effective bit of instant character cross-appeal, right?

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  2. Daru McAleece
    December 8, 2015 @ 7:09 pm

    It's been a good couple of months since I commented and had enough time to read! Had work issues and a new job I needed to sort out, which I nailed yesterday, so that feels good. Looking forwards to catching up with where your work is at.

    "Q is an expert trickster and manipulator, setting up situations or positing himself in the narrative just so to test us to see if we've got what it takes to go the next step. In fact tester and experimenter (and performer!) might be a better metaphor to explain what he does on the show than judge"

    This above and the paragraph it's in describes how I think about Q now also. For me he is indeed the shaman-performer who mirrors to the world (and worlds) around them the levels of growth and change needed. The one also who challenges and pokes fun at pompous authority – that last part is one aspect I had always enjoyed in the interactions between Q and Picard, as Picard can have a need to be a little punctured at times, a bit like Pertwee's third Doctor.

    Great episode and don't have much time either for Riker's relationship which feels shoehorned in for false drama, and I can never stand cringeworthy scenes like Amanda's failure either. That sort of thing doesn't come across often as genuine for me.

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