This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe. An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here.
Welcome back to Character Insight! This week, our subject is Q from The Next Generation and Voyager. (Samba Time)
Q is the most regular recurring character in The Next Generation, appearing in 8 episodes of that series. Q also appears in one episode of Deep Space Nine and three more in Voyager. Those appearances put Q alongside only Morn, Quark, and Evek as characters to appear in all three of these series.
Q serves as a recurring villain who puts humanity and the crew of the Starship Enterprise to various tests and games. In the end, Q turns out to benefit the Federation despite being terribly difficult to deal with. Underneath his pompous and obnoxious exterior, Q appears to have a hidden agenda to help the interests of humanity.
Q tried to get Riker to join the Q Continuum, and later tried to join the crew of Enterprise himself, but he was rebuffed on both occasions. Q introduces Picard's crew to the Borg nearly two years before the fatefukl encounter in "Best of Both Worlds," and he helps Picard realize the value of some events in his past that led him to have an artifical heart. Q insists that his trial of humanity is ongoing, probably evidenced by his continued appearances throughout DS9 and Voyager.
Q was the first character to use the word "trek" in an episode of Star Trek, doing so in the finale of TNG "All Good Things." He does not use the phrase "Star Trek" though. The name "Q" was used to honor the first president of the UK Star Trek fan club, Janet Quarton. It has been speculated that the Q character was based on an extension of the Trelane character seen in the TOS episode "the Squire of Gothos."
The best episodes featuring Q include Q Who, Deja Q, and All Good Things.
Our notable quote this week comes from the episode Deja Q:
"You're so stolid. You weren't like that before the beard."
Actor: John De Lancie played Q. He also played a long time role on Days of Our Lives, and recently appeared on Breaking Bad (insert Walter White).
Until next time, live long and prosper...