The Great Star Trek Voyager Rewatch: Death Wish

Whilst investigating an unusual comet, Voyager accidentally releases a member of the Q Continuum, who was sealed away for wanting to commit suicide. Q soon shows up to represent the Continuum’s position, leading to a hearing as to whether this second Q should have the right to take his own life.

A debate on whether someone has the right to take their own life is just the sort of thing that Star Trek should be tackling, but unfortunately, Voyager fluffs it by making it a Q episode. It’s been a while since I’ve had to complain about Q, but Voyager will be bringing that old habit back to the forefront. In fact, if anything, the Voyager Q episodes make me nostalgic for the repartee between Q and Picard.

it’s true that Q on Voyager works better than on DS9, but it’s still not great. For one thing, making Q’s relationship with Janeway focus purely on the fact that she’s a woman is both belittling and creepy. After all, if Q really wanted to be intimate with Janeway, he has the power to force her not only to do it, but to think she wanted it, and that in itself is unsettling. But more than that, this approach subsumes Janeway’s actual personality in favour of a relationship that could be with any woman who just happened to be captain. Besides, even if Q’s sexism is supposed to be ironically amusing and off-the-cuff, it’s a far cry from what one would expect from an enlightened 24th century.

And then there’s the fact that there’s so much at stake for Voyager – even though it’s clear that Q doesn’t send Voyager home because he doesn’t want to, the breadth of his powers just makes Voyager’s entire journey look stupid in comparison. With all this in mind, it’s no wonder that the main message simply gets drowned out.

Points of Note

  • This episode features Commander Riker, who is temporarily snatched from the Enterprise and returned with no memory. Apparently, Riker wouldn’t even exist if Quinn had not saved the life of one of his ancestors. What a cheap excuse for a ratings-boosting cameo.
  • This is our first look inside the Q Continuum, and although it looks quite mundane to our limited human eyes, presumably it’s much more complex and engaging to the senses of a Q.
  • Tuvok mentions the times when the Continuum has used capital punishment on its members. This includes the untimely deaths of Amanda Rogers’ parents.
  • I refuse to believe that Isaac Newton wouldn’t have come up with a theory of gravity without Quinn’s interference.
  • Q says that humans are not supposed to be in the Delta Quadrant for another hundred years. Not only have the descendants of The 37s been in the Delta Quadrant for centuries, but this suggests that the Continuum believes there is only a single, deterministic reality. What about quantum mechanics, temporal paradoxes,or even the mirror universe?

Lost shuttlecraft running total: 4

Possibly salvageable shuttlecraft running total: 3

Summary – Death Wish: I wanted to explore my thoughts on suicide but instead there was too much to say about Q.

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