Saturday, February 16, 2013

Exit Q, Inconsequentially, With “Q2”

The Good: Most of the acting, Moments of humor
The Bad: Very predictable plot, No lasting character development or plot progression.
The Basics: Janeway asks for nothing in exchange for taking care of the younger Q in “Q2.”

I respect shows that, as they know they are nearing an end, attempt to patch up loose ends, especially if they are a spin-off already and know that the next spin-off will not allow for the opportunity to revisit the dangling plot threads. Q, who was hardly a recurring character on Star Trek: Voyager with “Death Wish” (reviewed here!) and “The Q And The Grey” (reviewed here!), returned as the series was winding down in “Q2.” The producers of the Star Trek franchise knew that the next series was going to be a prequel at this point, so “Q2” wrote the Q-Continuum out and it is an unfortunate exit for the once-omnipotent species.

“Q2” sees the brief return of Q and the prolonged return of Q’s son, Q. It is, essentially, a recasting of “Deja Q” (reviewed here!). The younger Q is put in the same position that Q was put in in that episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. While it is initially humorous, it is yet another degradation in the original concept of the Q, though its familiar aspects do remind the viewer of how good the Star Trek franchise had been.

After Icheb delivers a long report on early StarFleet history, the young Q appears on Voyager, followed by Q. Q (the elder) quickly abandons the young teenager Q on Voyager. There, Q throws a party in Engineering, removes Neelix’s vocal chords, and provokes the Borg to chase Voyager and almost destroy it and its crew. Rescued at the last minute by the elder Q, Janeway tries to convince Q to pay attention to his son and discipline the boy. After only ten minutes of attempting to give his son order, Q surrenders.

After punishing the young Q by keeping him as an amoeba, Q restores his son and tells him he has one week to shape up or face eternity as a single-celled organism. His powers removed, the young Q is given tasks on the ship to accomplish, including a diplomatic simulation, cooking in the mess hall and learning consequences with Icheb and Seven Of Nine. Icheb does his best to befriend Q and in the process, the young Q learns compassion.

“Q2” is really just “Deja Q” recast, which makes fans of the franchise severely underwhelmed by the episode. The episode has its moments, though the humor of Q bellowing not to provoke the Borg and Q begging Janeway never quite rise to the level of humor of Worf suggesting Q die or Guinan stabbing Q in the hand with a fork. When the episode is not trying to be funny, it unfortunately fails to be original.

The main function of Q, senior, in the episode is to provide a sense of originality for the character and a stark contrast to the (mostly) human characters in the Star Trek franchise. Q, rather smartly, is surprisingly indifferent to being a parent and has no real fraternal drive. For a race that has never had children, this is a surprisingly insightful character trait and it makes sense for the always arrogant Q.

Unfortunately, Q – the younger – not only learns the same lesson Q learned in “Deja Q,” he does it in almost the same way. Q, apparently, have a penchant for running away.

Keegan de Lancie plays the younger Q and perhaps his most interesting moments of performance come when he is playing opposite his father, John de Lancie. At the outset of the episode, the de Lancie’s perfectly embody what is expected of the Q and it sets a high bar for the episode. Unfortunately, Keegan de Lancie continues to play the younger Q as an annoying, arrogant teenager with no flair or hint of the power his character had at the beginning of the episode. Manu Intiraymi plays Icheb as fairly stiff through much of the episode. The performance regresses Icheb and it is an unfortunate portrayal of the character. It is ironic because on his own and in one of the first scenes where Keegan de Lancie and Intiraymi play off one another, they have decent banter and on-screen chemistry. That fades, though, as the episode goes on.

“Q2” further undermines the character of Captain Janeway, though. When the Chakuzan Captain tells Janeway that she will bear the consequences of Q’s actions, she looks horrified instead . . . well, willing to take responsibility. That is unfortunate. The lack of originality of “Q2” is all that remains unfortunate for the episode.

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

For the other episodes in the Q Saga, check out my reviews of:
“Encounter At Farpoint”
“Hide And Q”
“True Q”
“All Good Things . . .”


For other Star Trek episode and movie reviews, please visit my Star Trek Review Index Page!

© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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