Recap / Star Trek: The Next Generation S3E13 "Deja Q"
So, yeah, this is a goofy one.
Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Episode: Season 3, Episode 13
Title: "Deja Q"
Previous: "The High Ground"
Next: "A Matter of Perspective"
Recapper: Koby_Fish

The Enterprise is preparing to help the planet of Bre'el IV; a moon is slipping out of orbit (no, it's not caused by the planet's inhabitants constantly lying), and if they don't do something, it will strike the planet and cause immense devastation. Suddenly Q appears, suspended high in midair and completely naked. He falls lightly to the floor and says cheekily, "Red alert."

After being given clothes to put on (which he whines about, since the gray-and-green jumpsuit is not the captain's uniform he usually adopts), Q tells them that the Q Continuum has banished him to a mortal form. Given a fraction of a second to decide what to be turned into and where to be sent, he chose human form and requested to be sent to the Enterprise. Since Q has toyed with the crew of the Enterprise on numerous occasions already, Picard is not convinced that this isn't some attempt by Q at a "puerile joke" and demands that Q fix the moon. Q insists he cannot, because he has no powers. Picard is still skeptical. When Q further insists, Worf quips that he should "die" if he is indeed mortal.

Picard has Worf escort Q to the brig after Q insists on being treated like just any other human. After spending some time there, Q begs Picard to let him out, telling him that he can assist him with the whole moon problem. Picard finally agrees to let him out, and puts Data in charge of him. While working with Data and Geordi, Q comes up with the idea of changing the gravitational constant of the Universe. Geordi scoffs that changing the nature of the universe is not within their power, but then realizes that proper application of the ship's power could create a local gravitational adjustment sufficient to solve the problem.

Q eventually gets hungry, and goes to Ten-Forward with Data, where he orders 10 chocolate sundaes after Data remarks that Counselor Troi often eats them when she's depressed. Here they run into Guinan, who decides to test Q's lack of powers by stabbing his hand with a fork. "Seems human enough to me." When the sundaes arrive, Q says he's lost his appetite.

While Q is in Ten-Forward, aliens called the Calamarain find and attack him. Guinan remarks that some of Q's old enemies found out he was now mortal and have come to "look him up." Raising the shields succeeds in discouraging the Calamarain. Q remarks that they have no sense of humor.

The presence of the Calamarain is starting to interfere with the Enterprise's mission, resulting in Data getting damaged after they attack Q again. The Enterprise is knocked into the planet's atmosphere and Picard gives Q a dressing down on how selfish he's been. After visiting Data in the medbay, Q realizes that he should probably leave. He takes a shuttlecraft out to distract the Calamarain so that the Enterprise can try another tractor beam on the moon. Against Picard's better judgment, the crew tries to rescue him, but finds that all of the controls that could retrieve or protect the shuttlecraft are suddenly non-functional.

Another Q joins him on the shuttle and explains that, due to the selfless act he just committed, the Continuum decided he could have his powers back. (Besides, if Q actually died, there would be questions and investigations for millennia.) Q snaps his fingers and gets his Starfleet uniform back. The other Q disappears. The Calamarain reappear, and Q gathers them into a tiny little ball that he can hold in the palm of his hand, and begins to say that if they thought he tormented them before... but then Other Q's head appears in the wall. "Just checking to see if you were still watching," Q says, then blows on the Calamarain as if blowing out a candle, sending them away.

On the Enterprise, they find no further reading from the shuttle, but then it's back in its bay and Q appears, with a Mariachi band accompanying him. Since he has his powers back, he's restored the moon to its natural orbit, and everybody gets cigars! Two women appear on each side of Commander Riker, fawning over him. Riker says, "I don't need your Fantasy Women, Q," to which Q replies, taken aback, "Oh, you're so stolid! You weren't like that before the beard!" Riker gives him a rather cryptic look, and in a flash, the same women appear next to a bewildered Worf. Picard gets angry and tells Q to get rid of everything, the band, the women, "ALL of it, Q!" and the cigars.

Q reluctantly complies, but then says he wants to give a special gift to Data, his tutor in the humanities. Data says, "If your intent is to make me human, sir—" and Q quickly says, "No, no, I would never curse you by making you human. Think of it as a going-away present." Q disappears, and seconds later, Data makes a snerking sound, like he's trying to suppress a laugh. He does it again, and then breaks out into full-blown hysterical laughter. Geordi asks why he's laughing; Data says he doesn't know, but it's a wonderful... feeling.

Soon afterwards, the inhabitants of Bre'el IV contact the ship and say, "Picard, you've done it!" Their moon is back in a stable orbit. Picard is naturally confused, but humbly accepts the credit for saving their world. Picard prepares to get the ship underway, and muses, "Perhaps there's a... residue of humanity in Q after all." He raises his hand to say Engage, getting as far as "En—" when a cigar flashes into his hand and Q's face appears in the smoke, saying, "Don't bet on it, Picard."

Tropes in this episode:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Riker has to hold back a laugh following Worf's single word Deadpan Snarker moment below.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Lampshaded by Q; Defied by the other Q. When the Enterprise tries to stop Q's suicide run, "Q2" stop them so the two Qs can have their conversation uninterrupted.
  • Big Eater: Q orders 10 chocolate sundaes, on the logic that since he's never eaten before, he must be very hungry. Guinan spoils his appetite before he can eat them, however.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": When Q really gets on Worf's nerves:
    Worf: BE QUIET! Or disappear back where you came from!
    Q: I can't disappear, any more than you could win a beauty contest.
  • Break the Haughty: Guinan, who has a unique history herself with Q, gets plenty of satisfaction from Q's mortality. She stabs him in the hand to make sure he is indeed mortal.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Q. He does not deal with it well.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Q on previously tormenting the Calamarain.
    Q: A subjective term, Riker. One creature's torment, is another creature's delight.
  • Cassandra Truth: Nobody believes Q after being told he's been thrown out of the Continuum and stripped of his powers. Of course, the last time Q showed up in "Q Who," he'd used the same explanation before introducing everyone to the Borg.
  • Contemplating Your Hands: The other Q does this a lot. Probably not used to even having hands.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Being Brought Down to Normal gives Q a crash course in humility and selflessness, after which he's welcomed back to the Continuum, however grudgingly.
  • *Crack!* "Oh, My Back!": Q experiences this in Engineering. Crusher treats him, but without any sympathy.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Worf gets his jollies with a single word.
      Q: I have no powers! Q, the ordinary!
      Picard: Q, the liar! Q, the misanthrope!
      Q: Q, the miserable! Q, the desperate! What must I do to convince you people?!
      Worf: Die.
      [beat as Riker tries desperately not to explode with laughter]
      Q: Oh, very clever, Worf. Eat any good books lately?
    • And at the end of the scene:
      Picard: Mr. Worf, throw him in the brig.
      Worf: Delighted, Captain.
    • After Q's powers are restored:
      Q: I'm forgiven. My brothers and sisters of the Continuum have taken me back. I'm immortal again! Omnipotent again!
      Riker: Swell.
  • Dirty Coward: Q acknowledges how he's this without his powers, and it actually disgusts him.
  • Driven to Suicide: Eventually Q realizes that he simply cannot stand all the limitations of being a human and that he will never be a good person, and opts to kill himself by hijacking a shuttlecraft and leading the Calamarains away from the Enterprise.
  • Entitled Bastard: Q asked his peers to drop him off on the Enterprise after depowering him because he figured that, despite all the trouble he's caused Picard & crew, they'd protect him when his other enemies come looking for revenge.
  • Epunymous Title: As is tradition with Q episodes.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Okay, Q's not evil, but he admits he just can't understand why Data would risk his life to save him. He does, though, admit he feels ashamed that he wouldn't do the same if the situation was reversed.
  • Facepalm: Picard is in the midst of one when Q tells him he's the closest thing Q has to a friend, causing him to look up in surprise. This is the source of the iconic "Picard Single Hand Facepalm Maneuver." Which should tell you a lot about this episode.
  • First Time Feeling: Q finds sleep and pain to be terrifying experiences.
  • Funny Background Event: When Q starts playing with the Mariachi band in the end, there is a wide shot of the bridge crew. Notice Worf just dropping his head down and shaking it in resigned frustration.
  • Gratuitous French: Despite the Mexican costume and the Mariachi band Q brought with him.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Surprisingly, the other Q manages to out-ham our Q.
  • Heel Realization: Q's confession to Picard in the ready room.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Subverted. Q almost made one of these, but his selfless actions impress the Continuum so much that they give him his powers back.
    • Data does one for Q; fortunately, he's Not Quite Dead.
  • He's Back: The ending. Complete with Mariachis.
  • Humanity Ensues: For Q. Even though he picked it among all possible mortal races, he soon finds that he's rather terrible at being human.
  • Humans Are Special: Why Q chooses to be sent to the Enterprise. Or possibly, "Humans are nice enough that they'll look after me and protect me when they realize I'm actually in trouble despite the fact that I've been a jerkass to them in the past." Either way, he's right. The second Q acknowledges his astonishment that they would still try to save him despite getting nothing but grief.
  • Irony: Q tells Data that there are beings in the universe who could consider him the ultimate achievement for not having the very emotions that he covets. Q also says Data is a better human than he'll ever be.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down:
    • The Calamarain. Riker predicts that a bunch more of Q's old victims would line up to do the same, to the point that protecting him would be a full-time job.
    • Also Guinan towards Q.
      Guinan: How the mighty have fallen...
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Riker orders Q to get rid of the women fawning over him, prompting Q to remark on his Character Development.
    Q: You're so stolid! You weren't like that before the beard.
  • Naked on Arrival: The Continuum doesn't see fit to provide Q with clothes to go with his new mortal body.
    Q: Red Alert...
  • Naked People Are Funny: The Q Continuum clearly has a twisted sense of humor.
  • Noodle Incident: How did the other Q misplace an entire asteroid belt?
  • Not Me This Time: The crew thinks Q is behind the moon's collapse.
  • Passive Rescue: Attempted. As Q attempts his Heroic Sacrifice, Picard, noting this "goes against his better judgement," decides to save Q... by focusing on saving the shuttle. As he notes to Riker, "It's a perfectly good shuttlecraft."
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Q tries to do this to the Enterprise crew after becoming omnipotent again. First, giving Riker some beautiful women fawning for him, then giving them to Worf when Riker turns them down. He finally succeeds, giving Data one brief laugh.
    • He does also fix the moon for them and let them take the credit for it.
  • Planet of Steves: This episode establishes that everybody in the Q Continuum is called "Q". However, for simplicity's sake, John de Lancie's Q is referred to as the Q. The script names the other Q "Q2".
  • Reality Warper: Q's solution for solving the falling moon problem is to change the gravitational constant of the universe, which he obviously can't do anymore (and which would mess everywhere else up!). Geordi realizes, however, that he can use the Enterprise's warp drive to do the same thing on a smaller scale.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Guinan gives Q a blistering one in Ten Forward, ruining his appetite.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Worf grabs Q this way when hauling him off to the brig.
    Worf: You will walk or I will carry you!
    Q: Given the options, I think I'll walk.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Q's reaction when Guinan shows up in Ten Forward and sees him as a mortal:
    Q: This is not a moment I've been looking forward to.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Picard's reaction to Q's request for compassion.