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 the 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 calls her a mutt for wasting Amanda's time with trivialities...then turns her into one. A dog, I mean. Amanda, chagrined, turns her back.
Once again trying to alleviate her concerns, Q gives Amanda teleportation tips, by playing Hide and Seek, where Q limits himself to "Anywhere on the Enterprise". It takes Amanda awhile to figure out that he means that literally, and finally finds him on the outside hull. Meanwhile, Data informs Picard that Amanda's parents were killed by a Suspiciously Specific Tornado, one that shouldn't have 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 he 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...artificial...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, blinded by the shine, admits that the Suspiciously Specific 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 (since apparently the mere act of human procreation injects human DNA into a being). If she's not fully Q, she's 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; however, she can never again use her powers. She immediately chooses to live as a Human.
Cue Tagra IV blowing up. Q says he didn't do it, nobody saw him do it, you can't prove anything...but he might have had a hunch. 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, or else *splercht*. 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.
Incidentally, the story idea came from a 17-year-old Ascended Fanboy; thus, the slightly Sue-ish qualities of Amanda Rogers and the utter lack of her in any other canon.
- 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.
- Comes Great Responsibility: Though it's being said by Q, so take the sentiment with a grain of salt.Q: With unlimited power comes responsibility.
- 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 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.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: At one point, Q turns Dr. Crusher into a female canine...
- 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.
- 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?"
- 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.
- 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 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 he on some level he actually agrees with Picard.
- Shout-Out: The freak tornado incident in Kansas might possibly be one to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
- 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: Q turns Dr. Crusher into a bitch.
- 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.
- In fact she seems to have been declared Canon Discontinuity due to one of said Voyager episodes stating outright that no Q had ever reproduced before, and that Q's son was the first "new blood" the Continuum had ever received.
- This topic is actually addressed in the The Q Continuum trilogy, which includes a scene where Doctor Crusher talks with Q's wife about how her son is the first child truly born in the Continuum; when Crusher asks about Amanda, the female Q states that Amanda doesn't count as she was conceived and born in a purely human manner.
- 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."