“Learning to Love Star Trek”
is a weekly blog series by Sci-Fi Block Editor in Chief Robert Ring, begun January 1, 2010. In this series of blog posts, Robert is endeavoring to determine whether he can make a Star Trek
fan out of himself through an exposure to a combination of episodes from Star Trek
the Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation
has now been replaced with Deep Space Nine
). Click here
to read his introduction to the experiment.
Coming off two disappointing episodes, I sat down to watch “Q-Less” this week, and I have to say I view it as another disappointment. This episode is slightly famous simply for having Q in it, but I find the story to be scattered and pointless. When it ended, I caught myself wondering what had just happened.
The archeologist Vash shows up on Deep Space Nine after a two-year stint acquiring artifacts from the Gamma Quadrant. One of these artifacts is a mysterious and very valuable crystal, which, unbeknownst to everyone, begins draining the station’s power. Also unbeknownst to everyone (except Vash), Q has followed Vash back to the station, as he seems to be in love with her — or something like love, at least. Vash finds him annoying, though (don’t we all?), and will have nothing to do with him. Eventually these elements lead to Vash and Quark auctioning off her artifacts, and Q playing his trademark pranks on the crew of DS9 while the increasingly powerless station drifts toward the wormhole.
An invaluable energy-sucking crystal, or a beehive from the year 5000?
I hardly know what to say about this one. There’s almost nothing interesting or dramatic about it whatsoever. We know the station isn’t going to be swallowed by the wormhole, so we just watch the crew run around nearly mindless trying to figure out what to do. Q presents something of a dilemma, but he hardly does anything other than pester Vash and force Sisko to box him. Usually you at least have the question of, “How do we keep this omnipotent being from causing us problems?” but the problems here are minor, so if we just go along with it, we come out okay. As far as the “Deep Space Nine might be destroyed!” plot, we can’t find excitement in trying to figure what the characters should do because it’s all crew members trying to do things that we can hardly even understand, and we know it’s going to turn out alright anyway. It’s pretty much wasted time.
Incidentally, there are two things I find interesting in this episode. Both are small. I like how when Odo tries proving to Quark how little he cares for material items, Odo is caught off-guard by Quark asking him how he would like a latiunum-plated bucket to sleep in. It is as if the writers are saying, “Yes, Quark’s extreme materialism may not be healthy, but we all value material items to some extent. ” Second, Q’s explanation as to why he is so infatuated with Vash is thought-provoking. You’d think a godlike entity would have little need for a human companion, but through her, he explains, he is able to experience feelings like wonder — things he can’t experience himself as an all-knowing being. I had to stop and give some thought to the concept of an omnipotent being lacking the ability to understand something that is uniquely human (or, in the terms of a world populated with hundreds of intelligent species, uniquely mortal).
Unfortunately, for the other forty-four minutes of the episode (commercial-less), I’m left with one question: What’s the point? Some bad stuff happens, they figure out what the problem is at the last second, and everybody comes out safely. Q isn’t the only similarity this episode shares with what I’ve seen of The Next Generation.