(written from a Production point of view)
Q returns to the Enterprise, testing Commander Riker by giving him the power of the Q.
Having dropped Deanna Troi's shuttlecraft off at Starbase G-6, the USS Enterprise-D is fortunately close to the Sigma III solar system, when its Federation colony transmits an urgent call for medical help. An accidental explosion has devastated a mining operation there. There are 504 colonists at the site.
En route to the mining colony at warp 9.1, the Enterprise is once again trapped in Q's force field grid. Q appears as an Aldebaran serpent on the bridge of the Enterprise, and informs the bridge crew that the Q Continuum, after studying their recent contact with Humanity, are mostly impressed by them and wishes to discuss it. Picard urgently asks to wait until they've completed their mission, but Q demands he abandon it. He then changes into a Starfleet admiral.
Picard again says that he will listen to Q's offer of the realization of their "impossible dreams," but only following their rescue mission. Q, however, disagrees, and turns himself towards Riker, asking what he finds of Q's offer. Riker says that they do not have time for Q's "games," which triggers Q's excitement. He transports Riker, Data, La Forge, Yar, and Worf off the bridge to a class M planetoid, appearing before them in the uniform of a Napoleonic marshal. Picard is left alone and unable to contact anyone in the ship.
Q colorfully engages them in a Napoleonic-era campaign tent, declaring that the point of his game will be to stay alive. He promises a great future for Humankind if they win, but something "disastrous" if they lose. Furthermore, the game will be completely unfair, brushing off fairness as a Human concept. Yar protests, and Q transports her away into a "penalty box," but, unbeknownst to the crew, she is really back on the Enterprise. He says, that if anyone else violates the rules of the game, he will be put in the penalty box, displacing Tasha into nothingness.
Back on the Enterprise, Picard paces around the bridge, powerless to do anything. He laments that even the log entry system doesn't work, as it feeds back and distorts his voice every time he tries to speak. Just then, Yar re-appears on the bridge and explains her situation to Picard. Being controlled by Q's whims has left her off-balance and she is so fed up that she is on the verge of tears. Picard tries to comfort her, but she is ashamed of herself for even thinking about showing weakness, especially in front of Picard. Picard reassures her that showing emotion is not a sign of weakness, and Yar hints at what their relationship could be if he weren't captain. Suddenly, Q appears before Yar and Picard, apparently bored with the display the two officers have made, and says that Yar's penalty is now over. While seated in the captain's chair, he makes a starlog entry for Picard, explaining that the real intent of his game is to test whether the ship's first officer is worthy of the greatest gift the Q can offer. They make a bet: Picard's command against Q's keeping out of Humanity's path forever. Q then promptly tells Picard that he has already lost as Riker will be offered something impossible to refuse.
Picard then confronts Q in his ready room. Q sits in his chair, reading one of Shakespeare's works. Picard asks why Q is demonstrating a "need" for Humans through this confrontation, instead of providing a simple, direct explanation, a statement of what he seeks. Through Q's recitation, Picard understands that how Humans respond to a game tells him more about them. Q proposes to continue and quote some Hamlet for him. Picard refuses, and quotes him instead: "What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculty, in form, in moving, how express and admirable. In action, how like an angel; in apprehension, how like a god…" Q stands up in objection from his chair, and responds that surely Picard doesn't see Humanity like that. Picard answers that he sees Humanity as one day becoming like that, and perhaps that is what the Q fear. Q, obviously irritated by Picard, throws the large Shakespeare book at him and then disappears.
Meanwhile, down on the planetoid, Riker, Data, and La Forge discuss the situation while Worf gathers reconnaissance. Apparently, aliens dressed in 18th century French uniforms are heading their way, armed with ancient muskets. Data explains that muskets are inferior to their phasers. The muskets, however, turn out to have phaser power. Q, appearing as Data before Riker, tells him that he now has the power of the Q, and is able to transport his crewmates back to the ship. He does so, and is amazed.
Back aboard Enterprise, all systems are again functioning, and the Q grid has disappeared. There is no sign anything happened, and no others noticed anything. Data, La Forge, and Worf appear back on the bridge, where Picard explains to them Q has shown some kind of interest in their first officer.
On the planetoid, Riker and Q discuss the powers Q has granted Riker. Interestingly, the rank insignia that Q now carries on his uniform is that of a Starfleet commander, implying they are now equals. Riker asks what Q wants from him. Q replies that the Continuum has granted them a gift, beyond all other gifts. He explains that, before Farpoint Station, they saw Humanity as savages only. However, they discovered instead that Humans are unusual creatures, in their own limited ways. He also states that since Humans are constantly evolving, they may eventually become stronger than the Q one day.
Riker rejects Q's powers, and Q disappears. Suddenly, the bridge crew, including Picard but also Wesley Crusher, appear on the planetoid's surface again, while they are approached by the soldier creatures Q created. Now unarmed, only Riker's powers can save the crew now. Worf is stabbed by a bayonet from one of the animal soldiers, and after Crusher runs to his rescue, the acting ensign is killed as well. Frustrated and angry, Riker uses his new-found powers to create a Q-style force field around the soldiers, and transports the crew back to the Enterprise, healing Worf and Crusher in the process. Picard is stunned.
The Enterprise, meanwhile, has arrived at the mining colony. In Picard's ready room, Riker guarantees Picard that he will be strong enough not to use the power of the Q. An away team beams down to the mining colony, and they find a small group of people seriously injured. They find a young child underneath some rocks. Dr. Crusher says it is too late, and that the child has died. Riker is faced with the dilemma of whether to bring the child back to life. He says that he is prevented from doing so by a promise. He shows his frustration to Picard on the Enterprise and surprisingly demands a meeting with the senior staff from him.
The senior staff, including Wesley, meets on the bridge. Riker explains that even though he has been granted unusual powers, he is not a monster, that he is still the same William Riker they know. Picard reminds him that he has already changed, for example, by not addressing him as captain. Riker doubts that his decision not to save the child was right, comparing it to when he saved the Enterprise crew earlier, however, Picard reminds him that that was a fiction Q created. He tries to convince Riker that the Q do not admire Humans, but that they have muddled Riker's mind.
Then, Q appears as a medieval monk on the bridge.
Picard furiously asks Q why he takes on so many guises, "Have you no identity of your own?" Q retorts, "I forgive your blasphemy." Riker asks to give each of the senior staff something they'd most like. Dr. Crusher asks Wesley to leave with her. Riker, however, knowing that his young friend wishes he was older, turns Wesley into an adult, aging him ten years in an instant. He offers to make Data Human, but the android declines, saying that it will never feel real to him. Data then quotes Shakespeare to drive his point home and says "this above all, to thine own self be true."
Riker then walks to La Forge, granting him his vision. After taking in the view of Quadra Sigma III (and taking a long look at Tasha Yar's "beautiful" face), La Forge also declines Riker's gift, telling the commander that "the price is too high" and he does not like who he has to thank. Riker then creates a Klingon female as a mate for Worf. Worf, however, says that there is no place for the female in his life. Wesley also asks Riker to make him young again. It isn't until Q says "But it's easier, boy! Listen to Riker!" that Riker realizes his mistake. He admits he feels like a fool, and Picard comforts him by confirming that he should. Picard then walks up to Q, pulls off his hood and tells him to uphold their wager. Q stomps around the bridge, recalling no wager. Picard replies that his fellow Q will remember that because he failed to turn Riker, he'll promise to stay out of Humanity's way forever. Thunder sounds on the Enterprise bridge, and Q is abruptly called back to the Continuum, screaming for a second chance.
For the Enterprise crew, it is as if they had just returned from their rescue mission, like no time had passed in between. Data asks the captain how the Q can handle space and time so well, while they handle interactions with Humans so badly. Picard answers that they may one day learn that space and time are easier to handle than the Human equation.
"Drink not with thine enemy. The rigid Klingon code. That explains something of why you defeated them."
- - Q
"I feel like such an idiot."
"Quite right, so you should."
- - Riker and Picard
"Macrohead… with a microbrain!"
- - Q, to Worf
"You're no Starfleet admiral, Q!"
- - Picard, when Q appears on the Enterprise dressed as an admiral
"Oh, your species is always suffering and dying."
- - Q
"Seized my vessel. These are the complaints of a closed mind, accustomed to military privileges. But you, Riker, and I remember you well, what do you make of my offer?"
- - Q, dismissive of Picard's complaints regarding his past actions, and trying to tempt Riker
"Q is nothing if not imaginative."
- - Riker
"No one has ever offered to turn me into a god before."
- - Riker
(referring to Tasha Yar) "Where is she, Q? You can forget your game if–"
"To use a 20th century term, she is in a penalty box. Where she will remain unharmed unless one of you merits a penalty. Unfortunately, there is only one penalty box. If any of you should be sent there, dear Tasha must give the box up to you."
"And where does she go?"
"Into nothingness. I entreat you to carefully obey the rules of the game. The only one who can destroy your Tasha now is you."
- - Riker, Q, and La Forge
"I'm offering you a bright future."
- - Q
"Incredible, Worf! You came out of nowhere."
"A warrior's reaction."
- - Geordi La Forge and Worf
"There's a new ship's standing order on the bridge: when one is in the penalty box, tears are permitted."
- - Picard, to Tasha Yar
"A marshal of France… ridiculous!"
- - Picard, upon seeing Q dressed as an 18th century French military officer
"Hear this, Picard, and reflect: 'All the galaxy's a stage.'"
"'World', not 'galaxy'; 'all the world's a stage.'"
"Oh, you know that one… well, if he was living now, he would have said 'galaxy.' "
- - Q and Picard
"Let us pray… for understanding and for compassion."
"Let us do no such damn thing!"
- - Q (disguised as a monk) and Picard
"I'm sure your fellow Q remember you agreed to never trouble our species again. Just as they're now aware that you failed to tempt a Human to join you."
(to the ceiling) "No! No, if I could do just one more thing…"
"Q, I strongly suspect that it's some explaining you have to do now."
- - Picard and Q
"Oh, thank you very much I'm glad you enjoyed it. Perhaps maybe a little… Hamlet?"
"No. I know Hamlet. And what he might say with irony I say with conviction. 'What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculty. In form, in moving, how express and admirable. In action, how like an angel. In apprehension, how like a god…'"
"Surely you don't see your species like that, do you?!"
"I see us one day becoming that, Q. Is it that which concerns you?"
- - Q and Picard
"But it's what you've always wanted Data, to become Human."
"Yes, sir. That is true. But I never wanted to compound one… illusion with another. It might be real to Q… perhaps even you, sir. But it would never be so to me. Was it not one of the captain's favorite authors who wrote, "This above all: to thine own self be true?" Sorry, Commander, I must decline."
- - Riker and Data
- First draft story outline: 30 June 1987 (Creating the Next Generation)
- Revised final draft script: 25 September 1987 
- Filmed: 28 September 1987 – 7 October 1987
- Score recorded at Paramount Stage M: 16 November 1987 
- Premiere airdate: 23 November 1987
- UK premiere airdate: 21 November 1990
Story and script
- This episode represented Maurice Hurley's first contribution to TNG. Gene Roddenberry gave him the episode as a rewrite assignment. However, Roddenberry was thereafter so disappointed with his work on the episode that he ignored Hurley whenever they passed each other in the hallway at Paramount, which was about four or five times a day. (William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge) Ultimately, the script was rewritten by Roddenberry to such an extent that Hurley requested the pseudonym "C. J. Holland" be used instead of his own name for the episode credits. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion 2nd ed., p. 42)
Cast and characters
- Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi) does not appear in this episode. This is her first non-appearance. The revised final draft screenplay submitted only three days prior to filming featured Deanna Troi which suggests that Marina Sirtis' sudden unavailability was the reason for her non-appearance. Her lines were eventually cut from the episode or transferred to other characters (mostly Tasha Yar) and Picard's log entry explaining her absence (a trip home) was written for the beginning of the teaser.
Costumes and sets
- Q is wearing a French marshal uniform. Many marshal uniform versions existed, so this version seems plausible. His bicorne holds a tricolor cockade from the French Empire era (blue in center, red in middle, and white outwards, a color order used until 1812).
- The musket-wielding aliens who attacked the crew of the Enterprise-D wear uniforms which seem a mixed version of an old British red coat and/or French royal army (these nations shared the same colors, blue being predominant in France and red in the UK). Furthermore, their uniforms even show a typical British crown on their hat. However, Data states that "muskets are appropriate to the 1790-1800 French uniform."
- Q's tent shows French royal arms with three fleurs-de-lis, which was the French national flag from 1376 until the French Revolution, when it was replaced by the tricolor (blue, white, red) of modern-day France.
- The illusory female Klingon seen in this episode is both the first Klingon besides Worf and the first female Klingon to appear on The Next Generation.
- This is the first appearance of Q since "Encounter at Farpoint".
- Q's force field grid is stock footage from "Encounter at Farpoint". This episode is the last time it appears in Star Trek, although it was mentioned in the finale "All Good Things...".
- Another scene from "Encounter at Farpoint" was reused for this episode, the scene at the beginning of the episode when the four officers are leaving the sickbay. A couch can be seen at the place where Crusher's office would be at this time.
- This episode marks the first appearance of a Starfleet admiral's uniform in Star Trek: The Next Generation, although the dress uniform worn by Q was never seen again. An actual uniformed admiral did not appear until "Too Short a Season", although Leonard McCoy did appear as a retired admiral in the pilot episode.
- The command division Starfleet uniform Q wears while talking with Riker on the planet has the rank pips of a commander, the only time Q ever appears in a command division Starfleet uniform without the rank of captain, aside from his admiral's uniform at the start of this episode. Q also appears in Data's operations division Starfleet uniform, marking the only instance that Q wears either the rank pips of lieutenant commander or a gold operations uniform. This is also the only time that John de Lancie wears the makeup and appearance of another character while playing Q on The Next Generation.
- The ready room conversation between Q and Picard references William Shakespeare's plays As You Like It, Hamlet, and Macbeth.
- This episode marks the first appearance of LeVar Burton without the VISOR or contact lenses. The second is in the fourth season episode "Future Imperfect" and the third and last is in the seventh season episode "Interface".
- Data's quote from Hamlet, "This above all, to thine own self be true", is the source of the TNG Season 7 episode title, "Thine Own Self", an episode in which Data figures prominently.
- The episode's score, composed by Dennis McCarthy, was recorded on 16 November 1987 at Paramount Stage M.  Cues M51, M51A, and M52 from the score (the first three cues from Act Five), totaling 5 minutes 24 seconds, appear on Disc One of the Star Trek: The Next Generation Collection, Volume One.
- The music, played during the fight scenes between the Enterprise-D crew and the illusory aliens, is the revolution song La Marseillaise, which is the French Republic's National Anthem since its adoption in 1792.
In the original episode, the desolate planet set was extended through use of video compositing, a difficult effect to recreate using the original components. CBS Digital created a new set extension using matte paintings for the episode's release as part of the TNG Season 1 Blu-ray collection. 
- Director Cliff Bole remembered: "I liked the episode but it wasn't one of my favorites." But Bole praises John de Lancie for his performance and mentioned that he is an excellent actor and he took him to Australia for an episode of Mission: Impossible. ("Cliff Bole – Of Redemption & Unification", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 17, p. 28)
- A mission report for this episode by John H. Sayers was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 4, pp. 39-44.
- The novel Q&A establishes that Q was sent by the Continuum to give Picard the power of the Q as a test of Humanity's ability to save the universe eventually, but Q disregarded their directive and gave the Q power to Riker.
Video and DVD releases
- Original UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 5, catalog number VHR 2396, 3 September 1990
- As part of the UK VHS collection Star Trek: The Next Generation - Q Continuum: 5 December 1994
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 1.4, catalog number VHR 4645, 15 June 1998
- As part of the US VHS collection Star Trek: The Next Generation - Q Continuum: 8 September 1998
- As part of the TNG Season 1 DVD collection
- As part of the Star Trek: Fan Collective - Q collection
- As part of the TNG Season 1 Blu-ray collection
Links and references
- LeVar Burton as Lt. Geordi La Forge
- Denise Crosby as Lt. Tasha Yar
- Michael Dorn as Lt. Worf
- Gates McFadden as Doctor Beverly Crusher
- Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data
- Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher
- James G. Becker as Youngblood
- Darrell Burris as operations division officer
- Steve Casavant as
- Dexter Clay as operations division officer
- Jeffrey Deacon as command division officer
- Nora Leonhardt as science division ensign
- Tim McCormack as Bennett
- Lorine Mendell as Diana Giddings
- Faith Minton as Klingon female
- Steve Reed as an animal thing
- Unknown performers as
- James G. Becker – stand-in for Jonathan Frakes
- Darrell Burris – stand-in for LeVar Burton
- Dexter Clay – stand-in for Michael Dorn
- Jeffrey Deacon – stand-in for Patrick Stewart
- Susan Duchow – stand-in for Denise Crosby
- Tim McCormack – stand-in for Brent Spiner
- Lorine Mendell – stand-in for Gates McFadden
- Richard Sarstedt – stand-in for John de Lancie
- Guy Vardaman – stand-in for Wil Wheaton
1790; 1800; 18th century; 19th century; 20th century; 21st century; ability; accuracy; acting ensign; admiral; adventure; affection; agreement; Aldebaran serpent; "all right"; All's Well That Ends Well; amber; amusement; angel; animal; animal thing; answer; apprehension; As You Like It; "at best"; athlete; "at least"; "at this moment"; "at your service"; author; ball; bayonet; Betazed; bicorne; blasphemy; blood; bridge; bridge crew; bridge officer; bridge staff; brother; burn unit; "by all means"; campaign headquarters tent; campfire; candle; cannon; Cargo Bay 6; century; charge; class M; colonist; "come on"; compassion; complaint; compliment; computer report; concept; confrontation; Constitution-class; conviction; coordinates; costume; couch; course; court; creature; custom; crying; danger; death; deflector; demonstration; dimension; disaster; discipline; dream; dress uniform; drum; Earth; emergency; emergency area; Emergency Manual Override station; enemy; evil; explanation; explosion; explosion site; eye; Farpoint Mission; Farpoint Station; fear; Federation colony; feather; first name; flags and banners; flim-flam man; force field; force field grid; "for example"; "for shame"; France; freckle; French; French Army; French Army uniform; French language; friend; friendship; fury; game; gas; gift; Globe Illustrated Shakespeare: The Complete Works, The; god; gratitude; gravity; gunpowder; Hamlet; happiness; harm; Hartley, David; heart; hour; Human (Humanity); Human condition; Human equation; Human history; Human philosophy; hypospray; idea; identity; idiot; illusion; immortality; "in fact"; information; "in reason"; insect; intelligence; interest; "in time"; irony; "I see"; jealousy; job; joke; "keep in mind that"; kligat; Klingon; Klingon mating rituals; lead; lemonade; lesson; library; lifeform; log entry; Macbeth; "macrohead"; marshal; medical tricorder; medkit; meeting; meter; methane; microbrain; Milky Way Galaxy; mind; minute; mistake; model; monk; monster; moon; musket; Napoleonic era; nature; nose; nothingness; number; number one; objection; "of course"; offer; online; orbit; "out of the goodness of your heart"; oxygen; path; penalty; penalty box; phaser; pity; place; plain; planning; player; plea; price; promise; proposal; Q Continuum; Q; Qo'noS; Quadra Sigma III; quality; question; rank; ready room; real life; reason; red alert; regiment; rescue mission (aka rescue operation); rescue team; ridge; ring; risk; rosary; rule; savage; saying; schematic; school; search; sex; shadow; Shakespeare, William; shako; shape; shield; Sigma III solar system; signal horn; sitting; skant uniform; skirmishing line; soldier; Sol system; sound; space; space vessel lifeform; species; speed; stage; standing order; Starbase G-6; strength; survivor; tale; teaching; tear; temptation; tent; term; theory; thing; time; "thank you"; tradition; tricorder; truism; truth; turbolift; Turbolift Control; Twelfth Night, or What You Will; type I phaser; type II phaser; understanding; uniform; universe; unnamed planets; unnamed plants; value; viewscreen; visit; VISOR; "what the hell"; warrior; weapon; wish; word; wound
- "Hide and Q" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Hide and Q" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Hide and Q" at Wikipedia
- "Hide and Q" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
|TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint" • "Hide and Q" • "Q Who" • "Deja Q" • "Qpid" • "True Q" • "Tapestry" • "All Good Things..."|
|DS9: "Q-Less"||VOY: "Death Wish" • "The Q and the Grey" • "Q2"|
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