Saturday, May 21, 2011

Q Tries His Hand At Romance In "Q-Pid"

The Good: Humorous, Good acting, fun, Worthwhile character development
The Bad: Upon its release, seemed exploitative
The Basics: A fun episode of Star Trek The Next Generation puts Q against the Enterprise crew in a Robin Hood fantasy. Fun for those who don't want to take Trek seriously.

Television often attempts to mirror the most successful elements of films whenever possible. One such example is how when Batman and Robin was released, The X-Files did an episode with people freezing, a la Mr. Freeze from the film. An even more obvious example was the Robin Hood episode of Star Trek The Next Generation roughly coinciding with the theatrical release of Kevin Costner's Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves. The episode is entitled "Q-Pid" and it does succeed at being more than a simple exploitation of an idea already released.

"Q-Pid" finds the stalwart crew of the Enterprise being visited by an archaeologist conference. This is a convenient chance to reunite Captain Picard with the rogue archaeologist, Vash from the episode "Captain's Holiday" (reviewed here!). Vash quickly learns that Picard did not tell anyone on board about their liaison and she's quite offended. Q uses this opportunity to appear to pay off a debt he feels he has to Picard. Picard wishes Q away, but Q decides the Captain's troubles with Vash are far more interesting, so he puts Picard and crew in Nottingham Forest in the roles of Robin Hood and his merry men. Once set into motion, Picard as Hood must rescue Vash, who has been made Maid Marion and even Q cannot predict the outcome.

The viewer, however, may easily see where this episode is going. As per usual, Q is playing tricks on the crew to teach us a valuable lesson. This time, Q's lesson is somewhat pessimistic; love, while a great and wonderful force, may be the ultimate undoer.

"Q-Pid" offers the fans of Star Trek The Next Generation a chance to see the crew in a less claustrophobic environment than usual. Out on the planet Q has selected as Nottingham, the crew has a very different energy from simple lighting to the space to move around in the full frame of the camera's eye. This is a welcome change of pace, especially following on the heels of such insular episodes as "The Nth Degree" and "Galaxy's Child."

Essentially, "Q-Pid" is a fun episode that's not terribly serious. It's not supposed to be. We get to see Worf in fantasy Renaissance costume and Geordi playing a lute. There's a particularly amusing moment as Deanna Troi attempts target practice with a bow and arrow. It's that kind of episode. As a result, when it was first put out, "Q-Pid" seemed like a silly way to exploit Robin Hood. Now, "Q-Pid" views better, as a silly, fun episode that plays comedy with more intelligence than usual and is an amusing way to get into Star Trek The Next Generation.

What endures here is the development of the characters aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise. While Worf doesn't move forward wearing a silly red Renaissance outfit, Captain Picard makes a rather large leap forward in how he expressed affection to his crew. Until this point, he has been a fairly reticent man, showing the most emotion to those outside his crew, for example, his family on Earth in "Family."

"Q-Pid" opens the gates for future Picard romance stories by bringing his most casual affair back in a setting where he is unable to deny its existence. The nice thing is that Vash continues to develop as a character and her arrival on Star Trek Deep Space Nine later on becomes more reasonable. Vash is not one to be denied by Picard.

In the end, Q returns as somewhat more villainous than he did in the last outing (see "Deja Q") and in the process, allows Picard to progress from a distant, stodgy individual into someone who is far more vital and realistic.

[Knowing that VHS is essentially a dead medium, it's worth looking into Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Complete Fourth Season on DVD, which is also a better economical choice than buying the VHS. Read my review of the fourth season by clicking here!


For other Star Trek episode or movie reviews, please click here to visit my index page!

© 2011, 2007, 2003 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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