Star Trek: Voyager
“The Q and the Grey”
Originally Broadcast November 27th, 1996
Reviewed by Chakoteya
The senior staff are all on the bridge to become only the third StarFleet crew ever to witness a supernova actually take place, and the first to see one quite this close up. Kes, the EMH and Neelix are also present, and the phenomenon has got Kes interested in learning more, although the EMH claims that the real action will always be in sickbay. Janeway has just put in a fourteen hour shift, so she gives in to Chakotay’s suggestion that she rest while he and Harry analyse the data.
At her quarters, Kathryn walks in to see a rose-red bed in the main room, and Q in a dressing gown waiting for her. Her attempts to contact security fail, and her rebuffs of his attentions simply result in her uniform being exchanged for a nightgown. He assures her, however, that this is not just a one night stand. Out of all the females of all the species in all the galaxies, he has chosen her to be the mother of his child. Kathryn is adamant that as far as he is concerned, she is impossible to get. Q accepts the challenge of ‘playing hard to get’ and leaves her alone to inform Chakotay of her visitor and give orders that she is to be notified if he returns or if anything strange happens.
Next day in the ready room, Janeway admits to Chakotay what Q wants, and he confesses to her that, although he has no right to feel that way, it does bother him. Then Q reappears and assumes that the Commander is his rival for her affections. Is it the tattoo, because his is bigger. Not big enough, comes Janeway’s rebuff.
‘Captain’s Log, Stardate 50384.2. Q’s unannounced visits continue. Since I suspect he’s up to something more than pursuing me, I’ve instructed the crew to take every opportunity to uncover his true motives.’
Tom and Harry are doing crew evaluations at the Paxau holo-resort when Q stops by to ask their advice on how to woo the Captain. They tell him not to bother, and Neelix tells him that she appreciates qualities like respect, loyalty and sincerity, none of which he possesses. So Kathryn finds a puppy in her ready room, and still turns Q down, but she does agree to talk. He tries to be sincere, and share his true feelings with her, claiming to be lonely and in need of a relationship. It doesn’t work, so he reminds her of her own dream of having a child. Then a female Q turns up, and asks him what he is doing with that dog. Not the puppy. She is, apparently, his girlfriend of about 4 billion years and somewhat annoyed about Q’s interest in Janeway. The Captain is called to the bridge.
Against all probability, two stars are about to go supernova nearby, and quite correctly Janeway deduces that there is a connection with Q. She appeals to him to help save Voyager from the multiple approaching shockwaves – and the two vanish from the bridge.
Kathryn finds herself in a colonial manor house. Q walks in wearing a Confederate blue uniform and tells her that this is the Q Continuum in a way that she can relate to more easily. From being a boring way station by a desert road, the Q are now in the middle of a Civil War because of Quinn’s suicide on Voyager a year ago. His followers have rebelled against the status quo, and part of the cross fire of their war are the supernovas that Voyager has been witnessing. Q wants her help to end this war, by mating with him to create a new kind of Q, incorporating human DNA. Then an explosion hits the house, and he is wounded.
Voyager is badly damaged, with a big hull breach and no warp drive, but only minor casualties. The female Q is still on the bridge and Chakotay guesses that the only reason she is still there is that she has somehow lost her power. So she explains about the Q war and then is forced to concede that this ‘rickety barge and half-witted crew’ are her only hope of getting home, and reluctantly agrees to assist them in getting their Captain back.
In the Continuum, the attacking forces offer a truce and Janeway urges him to accept. Q’s reply is to fire his revolver, and point out to her that if Q weapons can make him bleed, what does she think they will do to her. They make their escape from the house.
‘First Officer’s Log, Stardate 50392.7. While we don’t fully understand the astrophysics underlying her plan, the female Q has suggested several modifications which may allow Voyager to enter the Continuum.’
Miss Q is impatient with Torres and how long it takes mere mortals to make the necessary adjustments in order to get her to the Continuum. They trade insults then Q admits that she’s always liked Klingon females – they have such spunk.
Q wakes in a rebel encampment, his life saved by Kathryn. She has been thinking about his idea of creating a new race of Q, and suggests that he mates with his lady friend instead. He rubbishes the idea. The Q don’t copulate, and he certainly has no intention of caring for an infant. Kathryn patiently explains that the best qualities of humanity are not genetically inherited but taught by parents to their children. If he wants offspring to share his ideals, he’ll have to teach it himself. She is tempted by the idea of exploring whole new galaxies, but she has her responsibility to her crew. Q meanwhile has to try and work out how a Q can mate with a Q, while Janeway takes a while flag and visits the opposing camp.
‘First Officer’s Log, supplemental. We’ve laid in a course for the point in space where the female Q says we can enter the Continuum and find the Captain.’
The way into the Continuum is through an imploding star, provided they time it perfectly and can make the enhance the shield bubble by a factor of 10 according to Miss Q’s specifications.
In the Union camp, the Colonel agrees that the fighting must stop soon, before the damage to subspace is irreparable. Kathryn tries to persuade him to listen to Q’s plan, but soldiers have captured him in her absence, and they are both to be put to death as enemies of the Continuum.
Next morning, Q and Kathryn are lead out of the tent, tied to trees and asked if they have any last requests. Kathryn uses the opportunity to plead with them to stop using force to resolve their differences, to set an example to the rest of the galaxy, while Q accepts his fate for his fight for freedom and individuality but asks that Janeway be set free. The Colonel turns down their requests, and gives the firing squad their orders. Shots ring out, and Q believes himself to be dying, but Kathryn points out that the soldiers are not firing at them. Voyager’s crew have taken the offensive, with Q weapons, and Miss Q runs to free her love. He tells her of his plan for them to become Parents of Peace. A cease fire is called while the pair work out how to perform the deed and invite Kathryn to watch as they touch fingers then sigh deeply with satisfaction.
Back on board Voyager, sensors show calm space ahead. All crew are accounted for so once the systems have been checked out, Janeway orders warp 6. In her ready room, Q is bouncing his son on his lap. He invites her to be the godmother and warns her that babysitting could be a hazardous task. Then the pair pop out of her life. For the time being?
It’s a sequel – to Death Wish. It’s a comedy, because it has not just one Q but two, with the splendid Suzy Plaxton playing opposite John De Lancie with style and relish. It’s a sort of moral tale, that love conquers all and violence solves nothing, really. Yet the whole thing skips along very well, with minimum technobabble and plenty of engaging, occasionally self-referencing dialogue. If you’re wondering where you’ve seen Miss Q before, she was Worf’s love, K’Ehleyr (Alexander’s mother) way back in The Next Generation. Hence her liking of Klingon women.
It’s always interesting to see how events play out from earlier stories. Quinn’s suicide has shaken the Continuum up a lot. Instead of terminal boredom at a remote way station, everyone is dodging bullets in the American Civil War, status quo versus the rights of the individual, and the resolution, apparently, is to have a baby Q to replace Quinn. One has to wonder if this is the middle part of a Q trilogy for Voyager – will Aunty Kathy get asked to babysit? How will she stop an unruly toddler from knocking small planets out of their orbits?
This is a Janeway show, and the rest of the crew only get a small look in, although Chakotay does get a chance to be sarcastic back to Miss Q once he’s in charge, as a small revenge for Q’s earlier comments. We also get to hear the line that throws all those J/C post Resolution relationship dreams out of the airlock – he has no right to feel jealous of her being with someone else. There is nothing going on between Commander and Captain except a professional relationship now. Her early intent to maintain some sort of emotional distance from the crew is firmly in place, and shows no signs of softening.
All in all, a fun way to spend time in front of the television screen. Nothing desperately deep and thought provoking, but not dull and boring either.