The Star Trek Universe is chock-full of alien species, but none have been more enigmatic than Q, the omnipotent rogue refugee from the Q Continuum. Capable of literally anything, Q has vexed three crews of Starfleet personnel. The character was so popular (due in no small part to the expert portrayal by the talented John de Lancie) he appeared on episodes of The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager.
The episodes the character appeared in were always eagerly anticipated by fans, but which ones were the very best? Without further ado, here are the 10 top Q episodes in the series, according to IMDb.
10 TNG – ENCOUNTER AT FARPOINT (7.0)
Q’s first appearance was in Star Trek: The Next Generation’s pilot episode, Encounter at Farpoint. Challenging humanity to prove itself as evolved beyond barbarity was to be a hallmark of the character, as he did here with the mystery of Farpoint Station.
Other character traits and relationships were also established in this episode such as his arrogance, snide demeanor, and antagonism with Captain Picard. His omnipotence was fully unchallenged, as he was able to effortlessly trap the Enterprise as well as transport individuals and alter space and time with the trademark snap of his fingers.
9 VOY – THE Q AND THE GREY (7.3)
Q made the bulk of his appearances on The Next Generation, but the character proved so popular, he made the jump to several episodes of Voyager. In The Q and the Grey, the Voyager crew had to deal with the fallout of a civil war in the Q Continuum that was having adverse effects on the fabric of reality. The episode was notable for casting Q in the role of a (somewhat) heroic revolutionary, as well as introducing Next Generation alumnae Susie Plakson (who played Worf’s girlfriend K’Ehleyr and Dr. Selar) as “Lady Q.” Their relationship would prove to be the catalyst for ending the Q Civil War.
8 VOY – Q2 (7.4)
Voyager’s Q2 episode introduced another member of the Q Continuum that spun directly out of the events of The Q and the Grey. As representatives of opposite factions in the Q Civil War, Q and Lady Q agreed to conceive a child to breathe new life into the Continuum and end their conflict. The result was Q Junior (played by John de Lancie’s son, Keegan), a petulant child who Q dumps on the Voyager crew to teach some responsibility. Captain Janeway admirably teaches both Qs a lesson in parenting by episode’s end, which would also mark the last on-screen appearance of the character.
7 TNG – QPID (7.4)
Among all the roles Q has assumed in his long history with the Star Trek franchise, matchmaker would have been the most unlikely. However, Q attempted just that (in a twisted and warped kind of way) in the Next Generation episode, QPid.
As a way of paying back Captain Picard for saving his life in a previous episode, Q thought it would be a good idea to show him the futility of his feelings of love for Vache, a less-than-reputable archeologist. Q’s scenario involved casting the Enterprise crew in the roles of Robin Hood and his Merry Men, in a truly bizarre but comical outing.
6 TNG – TRUE Q (7.5)
Exploring the old adage regarding corruption and power, the Next Generation episode True Q examined how Amanda Rogers, a young biology intern aboard the Enterprise, dealt with the revelation that she was actually a Q. As her parents were refugees from the Continuum that decided to explore a mortal life on Earth, Rogers began exhibiting fantastical powers that necessitated Q’s intervention in a mentoring capacity. All was not what it seemed, as revelations regarding the nature of Amanda’s parents’ deaths and her own fate were revealed in an episode that downplayed the comedic aspects of Q for his more chilling traits.
5 VOY – DEATH WISH (8.4)
One of the strengths of Star Trek has been its ability to deal with topical issues in a space-age format, and it continued to do that in the Voyager episode, Death Wish. Here, Captain Janeway and her crew stumble upon an imprisoned member of the Q Continuum. After countless millennia of existence, “Quinn” was unable to bear the burden of omnipotence and wished to die, but was stopped from doing so and jailed by the Q Continuum. The episode presented both aspects of the assisted suicide debate admirably, with Q advocating that Quinn remain alive and Tuvok advocating for autonomy in deciding one’s own death. Ultimately, the ordeal with Quinn forced Q to resume his role as a challenger of authority, and directly sparked the Q Civil War.
4 TNG – DÉJÀ Q (8.6)
Finally fed up with Q’s antics and his propensity to cause chaos throughout the universe, the Q Continuum de-powered and expelled Q from their assemblage. Realizing he’d need protection from all the alien races he’d tormented over the years, Q asked to be brought to the Enterprise, where he materialized naked on the bridge.
The episode is marked for several comedic scenes, including Q’s banter with Worf and Q2, Data’s first time laughing, and a Mariachi band appearing on the Enterprise bridge, but also delved into issues regarding what it means to be humans and the nature of mercy.
3 TNG – TAPESTRY (9.0)
One of the defining characteristics of the relationship between Q and Captain Picard has been a mutual antagonism. Picard resents Q’s misuse of his power and general disdain of humanity’s achievements, while Q seems intent on pushing Picard through his tests like a rat in a maze. However, in Tapestry, Q reveals a somewhat softer side to Picard, as in his own twisted way, he allows the captain to live some of the more tumultuous days of his youth. The choices Picard made as young ensign haunted him throughout his life, and having the opportunity to deal with them was a mercy Picard surprisingly conceded Q had afforded him.
2 TNG – Q WHO (9.0)
Perhaps one of the most influential episodes of The Next Generation was Q Who, which introduced the widely popular cybernetic antagonists, The Borg. Aside from becoming the perennial threat to the galaxy across two Star Trek series, The Borg becomes personally significant to Captain Picard, as they assimilated him briefly in the now-classic two-parter, The Best of Both Worlds.
However, it was Q who forced the introductions in the Enterprise’s first meeting with The Borg, snapping them light-years away into Borg space to prove a point to Picard and his crew: there are things in this universe humanity can’t handle.
1 TNG – ALL GOOD THINGS… (9.1)
Q’s proclivity to test humanity’s development as a species extended itself to the last episode of The Next Generation, entitled, “All Good Things…” Here, Q (at the behest of the Continuum) challenged Picard to solve a galactic puzzle that had the capability to wipe humanity from existence. Through three time periods, Picard worked frantically to solve the puzzle and succeeded, having learned to avail himself of the time he had to enjoy his friendships. Also, he learned that Q helped him along his quest with some well-timed hints, indicating that Q’s intentions may not have always been antagonistic in nature.
Q was quite the character and you can see his importance to the 'Star Trek' series by reliving these 10 best Q episodes in the televised sci-fi saga!