VOY: S3E11: “The Q and the Grey”

In which Q offers to lay some pipe for Janeway. 

Strangely, Janeway does not seem interested in Picard's sloppy seconds.

Strangely, Janeway does not seem interested in Picard’s sloppy seconds.

The crew of Voyageris watching a star explode. And applauding. Voyager easily weathers the shockwave from their distance – it’s a little less than one Terran sea-level atmosphere of pressure, but they still back away from the remainder of the supernova that they’re the third Starfleet crew ever to witness. Now would be a good time to remember that, in terms of energy delivered to a human retina, a supernova observed from 1 AU distance is ‘brighter’ than a hydrogen bomb detonated against your eyeball. So they must be pretty far away, is what I’m saying. In fact, they’re about 66 AU away. A Starfleet record. Torres’ shield modifications worked well, and Chakotay gently suggests that Janeway get some sleep. Someone has been messing with her quarters, though, and it’s Q. And satin sheets and a silk nightgown. He’s not here for a one-night stand – he wants Janeway to bear him a child.

He’s incredibly incorrect about the nature of her objections, and oblivious to sarcasm. Although apparently Q sex can have foreplay lasting for decades. And even then, the Continuum has been around so long that it’s gotten boring. The good news is, he’s all about consent, at least inasfar as it’s challenging to achieve.

Size isn't everything, Q.

Size isn’t everything, Q.

By the next morning, Q hasn’t shown back up, and when Chakotay pries further into the matter, she tells him what’s up and that she suspects something else is going on. Chakotay might even be a bit jealous, which is when Q shows back up. Looking beyond the witty repartee (and realy, if you have the power to stop time, all of your dialogue better be witty) does tell us one thing, though: Q is pretty insecure. After the incident where he got stripped of his powers (assuming that wasn’t a lie) and then helped Quinn commit suicide, Q has to be at the bottom of the totem pole among the Continuum, right?

Over the next few days, he shows up like John Cusack, waving a boombox and declaring his undying lust for Janeway’s strong cheekbones to the entire crew, so she’s asked them to figure out what he’s up to. Q bothers Paris and Kim in Neelix’s holo-spa for romantic advice. They, and then Neelix, grill him and reject his own questions in return. And while I wouldn’t want to be the one to snitch on Janeway or feed false information to a Q, I do think there might be room in there to bargain with him for his real agenda in exchange for, say, her favorite flavor of coffee.

Upon talking to Neelix, Q decides to give Janeway a puppy. After all, that’s why she keeps Neelix around. It gets him in the door to talk, at least. He claims, “in all sincerity” to be lonely. After all, he’s been a roving bachelor for billions of years. When she shoots that down, he offers to give her ‘biological fulfillment’ and she, yes, shoots him down again. It is at this point that a female Q shows up, exceptionally cattily.

She turns out to be Q’s ex, with whom he had a four billion year relationship with. Fortunately, Janeway gets an exit strategy, in the form of Voyager detecting multiple supernovae in the area, too close for comfort and disrupting their ability to escape. This is an odd statistical unlikelihood, so of course Janeway blames Q. So does Q. This is definitely Q’s fault, and she demands he save them. He does not. He takes Janeway out and leaves the rest of the crew, and Q, to face the shockwaves.

If they skip the 'I don't give a damn' opportunity, I'm not sure whether I'll be relieved or disappointed.

If they skip the ‘I don’t give a damn’ opportunity, I’m not sure whether I’ll be relieved or disappointed.

Janeway appears in an antebellum estate, with Q in soldier’s garb. He assures her that this is the continuum filtered through appropriate metaphor. No longer the dusty waystation on the only road through creation, this is a representation of a civil war. A civil war between Q. At least it’s exciting.

Quinn’s death did what Q promised it would – interrupt the existence of the Continuum. His suicide made him a martyr, with the Q we know and… know… leading the charge against the forces of the status quo. This is echoing outward from the continuum, and the supernovae are collateral damage. Janeway is appalled that such an evolved species as the Q can’t solve their differences without violence, which brings us to Q’s ulterior motive. By creating a human/Q crossbreed species, he’s hoping to… uh… jingly keys. Something about creating a messiah. Before she can answer, Q gets shot, by Q weapons, and starts to bleed.

Voyager is not doing well, but it’s intact. The shockwaves have launched it across a Sol system’s worth of distance, over 100 AU. Moreover, Q is lacking her powers and has a bruise, so Chakotay successfully makes her explain. In bemoaning her fate, she casually mentions that Janeway is five billion years younger than she is. So now we have a ballpark for how old a young adult Q of an age appropriate to be a firebrand is. In Q terms, Janeway is basically zero. She eventually aquiesces to explaining a way for Voyager to access the Continuum.

Janeway is hiding behind a couch and bandaging Q’s wounds, because the Continuum is basically Faerie and the metaphor works both ways. The forces surrounding him call for his surrender, and he refuses. Q has created some modifications to Voyager that should help, assuming she doesn’t piss off B’Elanna so much that she blows the warp core out of sheer spite.

In the Continuum, the Union army (which Q has cast himself in) is in a tent city, and includes at least one soldier has lost his legs. Janeway joined up with them, and they’re not going to win. Her compromise idea is that Q doinks his girlfriend, which is a preposterous and unprecedented idea – which means that by whatever mechanism Janeway’s Q-baby would have helped, a fully Q-baby probably also will. Whatever you do at this point, it is imperative that you not stop to wonder where Q came from. Something about Prime Movers not needing a Causal Factor and William Lane Craig.

Janeway gives her version of the speech for this episode, notably that all the things that Q admires about humanity aren’t built into the genetics, but the product of hard work and cultural heritage. Q can’t instill those by knocking Janeway up and walking away, Which is why he needs her, and why her compromise of a fully-Q child won’t actually work. Incidentally, his offer sounds pretty amazing, and since he’d have to give her the powers of the Q in order to keep up with the child anyway she could easily use those powers to send Voyager home and take a sabbatical from Starfleet, thus discharging her other duties. But noooooooo…. Janeway insists that the crew isn’t looking for a ‘quick fix’ despite going out of their way to investigate every singularity, wormhole, Caretaker-being lead, and technological advance they come across. From this moment onwards, Janeway is to blame for every single crewman who dies on Voyager even more than she already was due to her role as captain. Having explained how she has no intention of doing anything remotely intelligent, she goes to negotiate a cease-fire with the other faction.


"Seriously? Helm-boy? I should have stayed in New Zealand."

“Seriously? Helm-boy? I should have stayed in New Zealand.”

Q, meanwhile, is presiding over Voyager‘s new modifications and steers Voyager into a star going supernova, because they’re being blown up by spatial rifts opening inside them. In theory, the shield modifications will protect them while they fly into the heart of the exploding star, through the rift, and into the Continuum. She’s taught B’Elanna how to increase the shield-power tenfold, which should come in useful the next time they run into the Kazon.

Janeway meets with the general of the Status Quo faction, who we’ll call Q. She tries to orchestrate a cease-fire, but at this point he’s refused so many times that all can do is gear up to execute Q. And Janeway as well, for collaboration, now that they’ve caught Q. Janeway gives one last plea, for the forces of the Continuum to live up to all their high-vaunted talk of superiority, while Q’s own last words are a request to let Janeway go. Neither have any particular effect.

I've seen Glory. Tuvok is not about to have a good time.

I’ve seen Glory. Tuvok is not about to have a good time.

We will not discuss the Dramatic Hamster zoom any further than to mention that we will not discuss it any further. I’d like to believe it’s a cinematic allusion and leave it at that. They are saved at the last moment by a side- offensive by the Freedom faction, led by the crew of Voyager armed with Q-weapons. Presumably, anyway. I assume they’re not firing phasers, which would in this metaphor look like throwing rocks.

Q now tells Q that he wants to try making a baby with her, and it’s sufficient for a cease fire. They fingerbang right there in the woods, in front of Janeway, and everything gets put back to rights. Back on the ship, Janeway orders some diagnostics and goes for a lie-down to find Q, here to show off his new son q in his little footsie starfleet uniform, and to ask Janeway to be the godmother.


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