The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: True Q

When the Enterprise welcomes new intern Amanda Rogers aboard, both they and she are in for a surprise. After Amanda demonstrates superhuman powers, Q shows up to inform her that she is a member of the Q Continuum, and that she should return with him to reclaim her true heritage. As Q teaches her how to use her powers, Amanda finds herself torn between the lure of omnipotence, and the life she’s always known.

This is the first of two actually decent Q episodes this season, with the focus being on a character who has always believed herself to be human, but must now come to terms with the onset of her amazing powers. It’s reminiscent of pretty much every X-Men origin story ever, but nonetheless makes for good viewing, with Q facing not only a verbal foil in Picard, but also someone who can counter his powers. Like any teen, Amanda struggles with figuring out who she is and what she wants to do with her future, but unlike a real human, she also has to learn how to use and control her powers – and decide whether to put them aside or embrace them fully.

Q versus Q

  • In Voyager’s The Q and the Grey, the apparent first child of the Q continuum is born to Q and his girlfriend, seemingly contradicting this episode. Perhaps Amanda doesn’t count as she was born to Q parents who were living as humans, rather than as Q.
  • Amanda’s parents had agreed never to use their powers in order to remain as humans, but later broke this rule. Why didn’t the Continuum just strip them of their powers entirely, as they did for Q in Deja Q?
  • Similarly, why wasn’t Amanda’s second choice to live as a human, similarly stripped of her powers? Maybe Q didn’t offer this because he wanted Amanda to slip and have to return to the Continuum with him.
  • All this raises an interesting question – if every Q is omnipotent, can an individual Q strip another Q of their powers? Is there some agreement only to do this by majority rule, to stop for example Q1 stripping Q2 of their powers, only for Q3 to come along, restore Q2’s powers, strip Q1 of their powers, and so forth?
  • Amanda’s parents were killed by a tornado in Kansas, and Amanda herself likes dogs. Wizard of Oz much?
  • The B-story about a planet contaminated with deadly levels of pollution seems to be the obligatory Earth allegory environmental story, including a “why don’t they just cut emissions?” line.
  • Why does the Enterprise have so few internships? It’s a large ship, and Starfleet really should be on a recruitment drive after Wolf 359, so why not take in lots of interns on pre-Academy programs?
  • Even though Q previously stated that humanity was exonerated after the trial in Encounter at Farpoint, here he says that “the jury’s still out” – and indeed, the trial continues in the series finale, All Good Things.

Summary – True Q: What would you do if you were a Q?

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