Q returns to the Enterprise to tempt Commander Riker into joining the Q Continuum with the lure of Q's powers.
This episode contains examples of:
- Absentee Actor: Counsellor Troi.
- Buffy Speak: It seems as though nobody can come up with a better term for "beast-men dressed like Napoleonic soldiers with nineteenth century muskets that shoot energy blasts" than "vicious animal things."
- Captain's Log:
"Starlog entry. Stardate...today..."
- While trapped alone on The Bridge, Picard complains that he can't even make a recording. Poor guy.
- Q then mockingly make his own log entry describing the Enterprise's situation.
- Deadly Game: Q subjects the crew to one, in order to test Riker.
- Deal with the Devil
- Destructo-Nookie: Worf and the Klingon woman provide a brief glimpse of this. No furniture-throwing, though.
- Drunk with Power: Riker, temporarily.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Worf tosses the drink that Q makes for him, which the latter says is due to the Klingon code saying "drink not with thine enemy." The "Redemption" two-parter would show Klingons more than willing to drink with their enemies.note
- First-Name Basis:Riker: Everyone looks uncomfortable.
Picard: Perhaps they're remembering that old quote, "Power corrupts—"
Riker: "And absolute power corrupts absolutely." Do you believe I haven't thought of that, Jean-Luc?
Picard: And have you noticed how you and I are now on a first-name basis?
- Humans Are Special: The Q believe this, and are afraid of it. The purpose (according to Q) of tempting Riker into joining the Q Continuum is to give the Q knowledge of humanity's special qualities, which they can use to head off humanity's advancement before the species surpasses the Q themselves.
- I Gave My Word: Riker promises Picard not to use his new powers.
- Infant Immortality: Averted, and Riker's promise ensures that it sticks.
- Large Ham: John de Lancie is particularly over-the-top in this episode.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Worf when he attempts to fight the Napoleonic soldiers, getting a bayonet in the gut and setting the stage for seven years of getting his ass kicked.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The aforementioned beast-men dressed like Napoleonic soldiers with nineteenth century muskets that shoot energy blasts.
- Oh, No... Not Again!: Geordi's reaction to everyone getting transported back to the planet with the "vicious animal-things."
- Patrick Stewart Speech: One of the best in the series.Picard: Oh, I know Hamlet. And what he might say with irony, I say with conviction: "What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculty! In form, in moving, how express and admirable! In action, how like an angel! In apprehension, how like a god!"
Q: Surely, you don't see your species like that, do you?
Picard: I see us one day becoming that, Q. Is that what concerns you?
- Precision F-Strike: Riker's exclamation of "Damn it! Damn it to HELL!"
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: "'Fairness' is such a human concept. Think imaginatively! This game shall, in fact, be...completely unfair!"
- Ship Tease:
- When Geordi is given his sight, he looks at Tasha and says, "You're more beautiful than I ever imagined."
- Tasha and Picard also get one when he comforts her while she's crying and she looks at him and says, "Captain. Oh, if you weren't a captain..." before Q interrupts.
- Shout-Out to Shakespeare: Several, from Q, Picard, and Data, quoting Hamlet, Macbeth, and As You Like It. For example:Q: Hear this, Picard, and reflect: "All the galaxy's a stage."
Picard: "World," not "galaxy"; "all the world's a stage."
Q: Oh, you know that one. Well, if he was living now, he would have said "galaxy."
- Shown Their Work: When Picard makes his Patrick Stewart Speech and quotes Hamlet, he notes that while Hamlet was sarcastic when listing humanity's virtues, he himself is being sincere, thus averting Analogy Backfire. Unsurprising given Patrick Stewart's Shakespearean background.
- Shut Up, Kirk!: Q's response to the Patrick Stewart Speech is to simply leave in disgust. As suggested by reviewer SF Debris, it's entirely possible that Q later throwing the Borg at the Federation, leading to Picard's assimilation in "The Best of Both Worlds" and vengeance-fueled antics in Star Trek: First Contact, were simply his counter-argument to Picard's pontificating, echoing his words with all the irony that Shakespeare had originally intended!
- Smug Snake: Q, in tempting Riker to hold onto his new powers and abandon his shipmates.
- Tempting Fate: Data notes how their phasers are vastly superior to French muskets. Turns out the "vicious animal things" are using energy weapons.
- Throwing Off the Disability: Riker gives Geordi actual eyes, which lets him appreciate Tasha's attractiveness, but Geordi asks to stay blind, saying "I don't like where it came from."
- Up to Eleven: Q adopts a French Field Marshal's uniform just because it lets him go one rank above admiral.
- What the Hell, Hero?: We know Picard hates children, but did he just give Riker a pat on the back for not using his powers to save a dying child?Riker: I could have saved that little girl!
Picard: You were right not to try!
- Written-In Absence: Troi has been left on Starbase G-6 to catch a shuttle home on leave, prior to the opening scene.