Series: The Next Generation
Air Date: May 8, 1989
Written by: Maurice Hurley
Directed by: Rob Bowman
Q returns and insists there are things for which humanity is not prepared. For example, space zombies.
The episode opens with a new officer, Ensign Sonya Gomez, getting a cup of hot chocolate from the replicator. Then after talking to Geordi in engineering for a while, saying how nervous she is and basically establishing herself as the comic relief, she spills that cup of hot chocolate all over Captain Picard who happened to come around to Engineering for... some reason. Doesn't matter what reason, though, because just as quickly as he arrived, he leaves to change his shirt. Only, when he steps out of the turbolift... he finds himself in a shuttle. He's confused for about thirty seconds until the pilot of the shuttle turns around and reveals himself to be Q.
Picard objects saying that Q promised to leave his ship alone, but Q counters saying that they are, in fact, nowhere near his ship. The Enterprise is lightyears away from their position in the shuttle. And then Picard refuses to engage Q in conversation. Which is really not a good idea since he's pretty much the only way he's getting back to the Enterprise. Meanwhile, back on the Enterprise, Guinan is having one of her moments. She calls to the bridge and asks if anything strange is happening because she feels... off. Riker insists nothing is wrong, but eventually they realize that a shuttle is missing from the shuttle bay and that Picard is not on the ship. So I guess something was wrong.
|Meanwhile, Riker wonders if he left the oven on.|
Turns out Guinan knows about the Borg, too, so she tells them all she can about them. She wasn't on her homeworld when they attacked, but she knows that they left nothing. All they want is to consume technology. And that's what the Enterprise is. A Borg cube comes into view and it doesn't take long for a drone to transport into Engineering and take a look around. Picard has Worf shoot at it and it takes some great power to take it down, but once it's down, another takes its place. When Worf shoots the next one, it's discovered to have shields. It's adapted. After the drones take what they wanted, they leave as suddenly as they came.
|Star-crossed Borg lovers.|
They immediately beam back to the Enterprise and warp away, but the healing cube follows them and matches their pace. The cube fires a weapon that drains the Enterprise's shields. Then it fires a weapon that drains the Enterprise's engines. The Enterprise is a sitting duck. And then Q shows up one last time. He taunts Picard saying that he can't outrun them or or destroy them. Picard has had enough and basically admits that, okay, fine, they're not ready for the Borg. With that admission, Q snaps them back into Federation space and congratulates Picard on being so humble. Another man would have died. And then, apparently forgetting about his insistence on being a part of the crew, Q leaves.
|Because all Q is good for is telling us how puny we are.|
Let's be honest, as a stand-alone episode, this wasn't that great. It was, however, wonderful as a setup episode. The original intention was for this episode to be connected with the episode "The Neutral Zone" in which starbases were mysteriously being destroyed. There was a passing reference to that in this episode, but no one really put it together that the starbases were, in fact, destroyed by Borg. The Next Generation features Star Trek's first foray into episode arcs, as I've said many times, and this represents a great part of an arc.