The recent news of Q’s return in Star Trek: Picard was met with positive praise from fans and critics alike. Not only is Q one of the longer-serving characters in the history of Star Trek, but he’s also one of Picard’s most interesting acquaintances. The two have a storied history. Calling them friends would be a stretch, but they have a bond unlike any other in the Star Trek lore.
Q has his fair share of critics as well though. Some fans criticise his general awkwardness in those earlier TNG episodes, while others don’t understand his motivations behind toying with the crew. Whether you love or loathe him, Q was always one of the most interesting characters on screen during an episode.
With another year to go until we see John de Lancie reprise the role, we thought now was the perfect time to discuss why Q is one of the best characters in Star Trek.
He was always unpredictable
Whether it was flinging the Enterprise into the path of a Borg cube, or leaving his troublesome child with Captain Janeway, Q always brought an element of unpredictability to the show. Each one of Q’s 13 appearances across The Next Generation and Voyager are unique and memorable.
Star Trek: Picard could benefit from that element of randomness which Q brings to the table. It not only offers the creative team interesting ways to branch the story out, but there’s a great opportunity to further developer Picard through his interactions with Q.
He sits outside of conventional character writing
Q belongs to an omnipotent race of individuals who all go under the name Q. The race lives in an alternate dimension and can channel god-like powers. These powers make Q an unconventional character.
The typical motivations like success, health, safety and love are meaningless to Q, which makes him difficult to read. While some fans may consider it lazy writing to have someone so impervious to typical motivations, he’s a character that requires you to fill in the blanks yourself.
On a surface level, his focus on interfering with the Enterprise and testing the morality of humans seems mischievous. However, as the show progresses, like a dog owner trying to train their dog, Q wants to help improve humanity. He just does it in his own weird way.
An unconventional bond
The bond Picard and Q share is like no other relationship in the TV show. Whether it's waking up in the same bed together or appearing as god in the afterlife, screen time between the two was always entertaining.
While many doubt Q’s loyalty to Picard, it was his defiance of orders by the Q continuum while saving Picard that led to his powers being stripped. Feeling responsible for Picard’s assimilation into the Borg, Q helped Georgie La Forge develop a make-shift deflector dish that would ultimately save Picard.
There are no other characters in the Star Trek universe that Q has such an affinity with. Q even states so himself the episode Deja Q: “Because in all the universe you're the closest thing I have to a friend, Jean-Luc.”
He was effortlessly funny
Q played the mischievous role frequently. In the episode Qpid, Q transports the entire crew of the Enterprise to Sherwood Forest for a reenactment of Robin Hood. Picard takes up the character of Robin Hood, while Q of course plays The Sheriff of Nottingham. The entire episode is an exercise in off-the-wall comedy and abstract writing, but it works so well under the direction of Q.
Also, let’s not forget that time Q challenged Sisko to a boxing match in Deep Space Nine. If watching him get taken down with a single punch wasn’t funny enough already. The fake moustache he wore should be more than enough to get a giggle. He also tried to seduce Captain Janeway that one time, but the less said about that, the better.
John de Lancie is a brilliant actor
The primary reason behind Q being one of the best characters in Star Trek is John de Lancie. Ininitally brrought in for one episode, the directors soon realised the potential in the character and asked de Lancie to return. What makes de Lancie’s performances even more impressive was the fact he had dyslexia. Unable to rely on his lines during shooting, de Lancie would religiously practise his lines before a shoot. A level of commitment that showed his passion for the character, and Star Trek in general.
So there you have it, five reasons why Q is one of the greatest Star Trek characters. We can’t wait for season two of Star Trek: Picard. And we can’t wait to see how the writers develop Q as a character. Want to take a look at the Q teaser and reveal for season two of Star Trek: Picard? Click here.