Original air date: October 26, 1992
A young intern named Amanda Rogers boards the Enterprise while they're trying to alleviate the ecological woes of Tagra IV. As Riker leads her to her quarters, she wishes her three puppies were here as she makes puppy-dog eyes at the Commander...and when Riker leaves, three puppies appear!
The next day, we get more of Amanda's backstory: She's an orphan, her parents having been killed in an accident when she was young. Then, when she goes to the cargo bay, she sees a container fall right at Riker's head! But she moves her hand and the thing just barely misses him. Then after Techno Babbling a few solutions for Tagra IV's environmental troubles, the warp core breaches unexpectedly, as foreshadowed in the previous episode. As the core explodes, Amanda comes in to save the day! But how?
An A comes in the form of Q, who tells a stunned command staff that Amanda is a member of the Q Continuum. Her parents weren't human, but actually Q who decided to live like disgusting humans, including the abominably disgusting act of mating. The Continuum was unsure whether this foul act would beget an offspring with Q powers, so they sent Q to oversee her and make sure she doesn't destroy the multiverse with her newfound powers. He wants to take Amanda back to the Continuum for study, but she objects and throws him across the room. Picard suggests that he not do things like walk through a wall and inspect her like a human would inspect a bacteria, then tells Data after he leaves to look into her parent's "accident." Meanwhile, Q's shadow asks him for a progress report. He tells the Q he may have to "terminate the girl," but he may not.
Dr. Crusher convinces Amanda to talk to Q again. Amanda doesn't want anyone on board to treat her any differently from any other member of the crew now that she's a Q. Q takes a more conversational tack, telling her that the Q are indeed omnipotent, and she can do anything she wants, like see her actual parents again or speed up the process of the slow experiment Crusher has her doing. When Crusher complains, Q turns her into a barking dog, but Amanda changes her back.
Once again trying to alleviate her concerns, Q gives Amanda more Q lessons by playing Hide and Seek around the ship using teleportation. Q hides in the warp core and then on the outer hull of the ship. Amanda starts to appreciate the wonders that her powers make her capable of. Meanwhile, Data informs Picard that Amanda's parents were killed by a Suspiciously Specific Tornado, one that shouldn't have even happened thanks to the Federation's all-powerful weather control machine. It suddenly appeared over the Rogers home, demolished just that one building, and then vanished.
Later, Amanda's eating lunch in Ten-Forward when she sees Riker again, and whisks herself and Riker to a romantic gazebo. Unfortunately, this does nothing to woo Riker until she manipulates his mind to love her. But, of course, the artificial love proves unsatisfying, and Amanda puts him back the way he was.
Meantime, Q is summoned to Picard's ready room, where Picard berates him from hiding the truth from Amanda. Q admits that the tornado was the Q's doing. They let Amanda survive because she was deemed an innocent in all this, but now Q must determine if she's fully Q or some sort of human/Q hybrid. If she's not fully Q, she'll be fully dead.
On Tagra IV, Geordi, Riker, and the Tagrans have whipped up some Techno Babble that might work in their situation, and are going down to fix everything, just as Picard tells Amanda that the Q might have to kill her. Q shows up and says the Q are willing to make a deal: She can live as a human, but only if she agrees to never use her powers. She immediately chooses to live as a human, though Q warns her that it won't be as easy as she assumes.
Cue Tagra IV blowing up. Picard immediately accuses Q of rigging this catastrophe as a test, but Q pleads innocence. Needless to say, Amanda uses her newfound powers and saves the day. More than, in fact: she completely restores Tagra IV's ecosystem to peak condition. One crisis averted, another so very, very not. Q says he knew she would do it, and now she has to come with him. Amanda decides to accept her new status as a Q and go with them. And so, with a heart-felt goodbye to Dr. Crusher and her foster parents, Q whisks her away to the Continuum.
- Badass Adorable: Amanda. She may be new to the whole Q thing, but she proves herself a match for Q.
- Beware the Silly Ones: This is one of those rare times that Q isn't just goofing around being a nuisance but is acting as a direct agent of the Continuum on a mission of great importance. He still acts like his usual irritating self, but the episode is still another reminder of how dangerous it is to associate with a literally omnipotent being.
- Comically Missing the Point: Q explains thats he tampered with the warp drive to get Amanda to use her powers and fix it, before the ship got destroyed. Crusher, very concerned, asks, "What if she hadn't been able to stop it?" Q responds with, "Then I would know she isn't Q."
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: When Picard has had enough of Q's proclaiming The Right of a Superior Species, he delivers a Patrick Stewart Speech about how humans display far greater morality than he has ever seen from the Q. Q is impressed.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: While not evil, Q cannot grasp any Q would want to exist as humans.
- Foreshadowing: Picard recalls Q put humanity on trial in "Encounter At Farpoint". Q states, "The jury is still out on that." A few years later, the trial continues in the Series Finale, "All Good Things...". Although, in "Q Who", Q said that they'd been exonerated.
- Green Aesop: Amanda wonders why Tagra IV would go to such great lengths to remove pollution from their air rather than just stop polluting it in the first place. The representative of Tagra IV has a horrible hacking cough and wears an inhaler around his neck.
- Human Alien Discovery: Amanda comes aboard the Enterprise as a Starfleet intern to study with Doctor Crusher. During the course of the episode it's revealed that she's actually a Half-Human Hybrid, the product of two members of the Q Continuum conceiving a child while they were living human lives.
- Hypocrite: Picard accuses the Q of this with his talk of morality, pointing out that Q previously put the crew of the Enterprise on trial for the crimes of humanity.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Amanda would much rather lead a normal human life instead of whatever a Q does.
- I Meant to Do That: After Amanda throws him across the room for creepily observing her face, Q claims he'd been testing her powers. Picard snarks that she had certainly acted like a Q.
- Irony: When Q concludes that Amanda is indeed a Q and not some sort of Q-human hybrid, he gives her the choice of either joining the Continuum, or forswearing all use of her powers and living as a human. She insists she will do the latter, though Q tells her she'll find it hard to resist the temptation. What ends up proving him right, though, is an entirely human quality of Amanda's — her compassion for others, when she realizes she can't let the people on Tagra IV (especially not Riker) die, and fixes their environmental problem.
- Jerkass Has a Point: How Q justifies to Picard Amanda not actually having a choice in her future. Q even speaks from experience, given his prior punishment by the Continuum."Do you think it is reasonable for us to allow omnipotent beings to roam free through the universe?"
- Likes Older Men: 18 years old Amanda is very attracted to Riker, who is in his thirties.
- Living Shadow: The Q continuum take this form when talking to Q.
- Meaningful Look:
Q: There are those in the Continuum..(he rolls his eyes upward with obvious annoyance) who have an overexaggerated sense of responsibility.
- Q gets a nice one when he talks about how he normally wouldn't care about Amanda or the crew but...
- And when Q is asking if Amanda has used any Q powers, such as spontaneous combustion of someone you don't like. (looks at Picard)
- No Challenge Equals No Satisfaction: Amanda's realization after making Riker fall in love with her.
- Not Me This Time: Q claims this when Tagra IV is in danger. It's up in the air whether or not he's actually at fault.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Olivia d'Abo generally does a good job of hiding her natural British accent, though there are times where it does seem to slip through.
- Patrick Stewart Speech: Picard gives one on Amanda's behalf, which leads to a lampshade.Q: Jean-Luc, sometimes I think the only reason I come here is to listen to these wonderful speeches of yours.
- Precious Puppies: The first hint that there's more to Amanda than meets the eye is when a dozen or so of them appear in her quarters, and she's clearly not surprised by their presence. She then reluctantly tells them they can't stay and makes them all disappear again.
- One appears in the background in a later shot of her quarters, so she must have given in to a bit of temptation.
- Refusal of the Call: Amanda Rogers first decides she wants to be human rather than a member of the Q Continuum. She later changes her mind when she learns she will be killed if she doesn't become a Q.
- The Right of a Superior Species: Q says he has the right to judge Humanity due to "superior morality". That earns him a Patrick Stewart Speech.
- Screw You, Elves!: Picard does this with his Patrick Stewart Speech of the episode in response to Q's talk of The Right of a Superior Species saying that Q have power, but they do not display any form of morality. Q is impressed, and interestingly he doesn't fire back, as though on some level he actually agrees with Picard.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Picard makes a case that Q and the rest of the Continuum are this. He doesn't deny their power but points that their claims of morality are hollow based on what he's seen of them.
- Visual Pun: A two-in-one. Q temporarily turns Dr. Crusher into a bitch (a female dog). For bonus points, he turns her into an Irish Setter (Crusher has Irish ancestry).
- What Happened to the Mouse?
- Q was last seen with Vash in tow, but no mention was made of her here. "Q-Less" would explain her whereabouts, but that episode wouldn't air for another couple of months. This episode also takes place before that one because O'Brien hasn't yet been transferred.
- Amanda Rogers herself would become this for anyone who saw the Voyager-based Q episodes, all of which dealt with all of the problems tackled in this episode, but no mention of Amanda at all. This topic is eventually addressed in the The Q Continuum trilogy.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Inverted by Q, per usual. He's particularly disgusted that Amanda's parents conceived a child "and in vulgar human fashion became attached to it."
- With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: Q reveals that the Q Continuum actually do feel a great amount of responsibility for their powers and won't let an omnipotent being run amok in the universe without any restraint. Even though Q is an obnoxious prankster, he's never been nearly as malevolent as he could be, and he did get stripped of his powers for a while for abusing them.