Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Q-Less written by Robert Hewitt Wolfe and directed by Paul Lynch

What’s it about: Vash returns from the Gamma Quadrant and she has a certain omnipotent lifeform in tow…

Single Father: Q asks Sisko in one of many hilarious scenes ‘is Starfleet penalising you or did you actually request such a dismal command?’ Q was hoping for a little witty repartee but obviously he has come to the wrong place. Sisko is absolutely terrifying when he realises his crew have all been whisked away; I hope we see more of this anger as the show progresses. ‘I’m not Picard!’ Sisko cries. Indeed not, Picard doesn’t look half as hot in wrestling gear. Looks like Q has hit a sore point when he pokes a finger in the wound by criticising the fact that Sisko isn’t running a Starship. Sisko's growth continues and I can't wait to reach a point where his boiling anger sees the light of day more often. 

Community Leader: So far Quark has slipped a sly hand on Kira’s thigh, tempted Dax through his door with a double whipped Idanian Spice Pudding and demanded sexual favours from one of his employees and but Q-Less gives perhaps the best evidence of what a horny devil this Ferengi toad really is as Vash ensnares him with her feminine wiles. She literally straddles him on a couch and masturbates him without shame to turn his head away from money. Is this the horniest character in all of Star Trek? When Q bids the impossible amount of a million bars of gold pressed platinum Quark begins stroking himself unconsciously. Quark's ‘select clientele’ are all ridiculously wealthy and not too bright. When Vash starts lecturing the bidders on the historical context of each artefact it gives Quark a chance to step in and do what he does best, whip up an atmosphere of profit.

GE Doctor: And Bashir is just a heartbeat away from Quark, attempting to woo Vash and romancing a cute Bajoran woman with stories of his Starfleet medical finals. He surely has the sleaziest one-liners in the history of Trek trying everything from ‘its sure to be a bestseller round here’ to ‘your excellent health has robbed me of any excuses to drop by.’ Q appears behind Bashir as he tries to charm Vash and starts making faces which is pretty much the go to response to Bashir at this stage. ‘My God you’re impertinent waiter!’ says Bashir in what is probably the most demeaning line spoken by any Star Trek character. Q gives the female population of DS9 time to rest by sending Bashir to sleep for a few days. 

Sparkling Dialogue: ‘And they weren’t exactly thrilled to see you on Brax. What did they call you, the God of Lies?’ ‘They meant it affectionately.’
‘The galaxy can be a dangerous place when you’re on your own.’
‘Picard and his lackeys would have solved all this technobabble hours ago!’
‘I’d keep my eye on this one, chances are she’s after your job.’
‘Quark, you obsequious toad!’ 

The Good: If you are going to bring in characters from TNG you may as well have some fun with continuity. We never hear anything particularly pleasant about the Daystrome Institute, do we? It sounds like a bunch of petty bureaucrats rather than scientists and archaeologists. Captain Picard’s dirty laundry gets aired in public (‘the Captain likes a good challenge, sir.’). It’s great to have some follow up to the frankly dismal TNG episode Q-Pid and for Jennifer Hetrick and John de Lancie to have some fun sparking off each other. The make up team once again prove they are the best in the business when Q forces the stages of a degenerating disease to show Vash that she would be dead without him. The shot of the hand with six fingers is delightfully silly. There’s something very sweet about Q telling Vash that through her eyes he was able to see the universe with a sense of wonder. It's when the character shows moments of depth like this that he really shines. 

The Bad: What a shame that we have to keep cutting back to Ops and the dull subplot about the station being sucked into the wormhole. It takes the writers a little time but they soon come to realise that backhanded TNG plots simply don't transfer well to DS9. Once Voyager came along they could all be passed thataway and DS9 could be left to get on with its own thing. The ending is precisely like that of Encounter at Farpoint but at least we don’t have counsellor Troi driving home the appalling sentiment of the moment ('I sense great happiness and contentment!'). But it is derivative all the same. 

Moment To Watch Out For: Q turns Quarks into a rowdy boxing ring in a very funny sequence that sees Sisko knock two tons of shit out of him. The outtakes of this sequence are as riotous as the scene itself. 

Foreboding: Q mentions that there is still the Delta Quadrant to explore and sooner or later he would be hounding Janeway’s footsteps when she is lost in that region of space.

Result: It’s not in the league of best Q episodes (those honours go to Q Who, Deja Q, Tapestry and Death Wish) and it certainly isn’t amongst the worst (Hide & Q, Q-Pid, The Q and the Grey and Q2), Q-Less is a disposable but occasionally very funny and enjoyable episode. John de Lancie is a delight as ever and has a hoot and a half poking fun at all the foibles of the newly staffed station and it's nice to finally see Jennifer Hatrick in a halfway decent episode that doesn’t involve Sherwood Forest or ridiculously characterised Ferengi’s. What I really enjoy about this episode is how it reaffirms this show as being the black sheep of the family with characters allowed to be sleazy and sex obsessed and revel in naked avarice. Its so refreshing after all the pompous do gooders on TNG to see some real people propping up the 24th Century. The main plot echoes Encounter at Farpoint in all the worst ways and really should have been dropped in favour of more throwaway antics because the stress here is on continuing and improving TNG continuity which to it's credit it manages to do very well: 7/10

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