Best Q Episodes Of Star Trek

We count down the best Q episodes in Star Trek.

By Michileen Martin | Published

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Q (John de Lancie) and Picard (Patrick Stewart) in Star Trek: Picard

Star Trek: The Next Generation may be the most frequent visiting spot of John de Lancie’s Q, but the trickster space god has been all over Paramount‘s space-faring franchise. He messed with the lost crew of Voyager a few times, got knocked on his backside by Ben Sisko (Avery Brooks) on Deep Space Nine, returned for an entire season of Picard, and even had a cameo on Lower Decks.

Out of all those appearances, here are our choices for the best Q episodes in the entire Star Trek franchise.

6. “Q Who?” Star Trek: The Next Generation

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In what proves to be perhaps Star Trek’s most consequential Q episode, “Q Who?,” the trickster sends the Enterprise across the galaxy under the pretense of proving Picard (Patrick Stewart) needs Q in his crew. This leads to the beginning of the conflict between the Federation and the Borg — a conflict which has since spanned six Trek series along with the 1996 film Star Trek: First Contact.

While you could consider blaming Q for every way that the Borg has traumatized the heroes of Star Trek over the years, it’s difficult to not hear the truth of Q’s words towards the end of “Q Who?” When Picard complains about the deaths of eighteen of the Enterprise’s crew, Q responds, “If you can’t take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It’s not safe out here.

5. “Qpid” Star Trek: The Next Generation

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In “Qpid,” Picard is reunited with Vash (Jennifer Hetrick) who he enjoyed a brief romance with on Risa. Hoping to honor his debt to Picard from a previous Star Trek episode, Q transforms Jean-Luc and his senior crew into Robin Hood characters, while setting himself up as the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham. He holds Vash captive, giving Picard the opportunity to play the hero.

Qpid” survives as perhaps the funniest episode of TNG, with meme-making moments with Worf (Michael Dorn) complaining about not being a “merry man,” not to mention his ultimate handling of Geordi’s (LeVa Burton) newfound musicianship.

This story set up what would become the one and only Star Trek: Deep Space Nine appearance of John de Lancie — Season 1’s “Q-Less.”

4. “Death Wish” Star Trek: Voyager

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As Freddie Mercury sang, “Who wants to live forever?” In this Season 2 Star Trek: Voyager episode, we learn there’s at least one Q whose answer is “Not me!” Gerrit Graham plays a Q (who we’ll call “Quinn” to avoid confusion) who wants to die while the Q we’re more familiar with is dedicated to putting Quinn back in his prison. To avoid more inevitable chaos resulting from a duel between the Q, Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) agrees to hear Quinn’s request for asylum.

“Death Wish” features as much humor as most Star Trek Q episodes, but there’s a rare darkness to it as well. It also gives us our very first look at the Q Continuum, and considering the power of those who occupy it, it’s much bleaker than you’d expect.

3. “Deja Q” Star Trek: The Next Generation

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It turns out the heroes of series like Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager aren’t the only people who Q has driven to their absolute limits. In “Deja Q” we learn the Continuum has stripped Q of his powers, and now all the species the trickster has harassed over the years want to get back at him.

“Deja Q” gives us a rare chance to see Q without his near limitless powers shielding him. It also shows us — among other things — Worf getting the verbal high ground over De Lancie’s character.

2. “Tapestry” Star Trek: The Next Generation

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In the Season 6 episode “Tapestry,” Star Trek: The Next Generation uses Q to give fans an interesting variation on It’s A Wonderful Life. Told by Q that he’s died from a complication with his artificial heart, Picard takes advantage of the opportunity to go back and change his fate. Sent back to his time in Starfleet Academy, Picard strives to make sure he’ll never need an artificial heart.

The result is not what Picard expects. He succeeds in avoiding the fight that leads to his needing an artificial heart, but in doing so becomes a man far too unwilling to take the kind of risks that made him the captain of the Enterprise.

1. “All Good Things…” Star Trek: The Next Generation

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Just as Star Trek: The Next Generation begins with Q confronting Picard in “Encounter at Farpoint,” it ends with another such confrontation in “All Good Things…” What serves as arguably both the best series finale in Trek, and one of the best finales in TV, Q sends Picard back and forth between three timelines in the hopes of saving humanity.

Q’s final moments with Picard in “All Good Things…” proves to be one of the most memorable exchanges in the franchise. It makes it clearer than ever that in spite of his arrogance and his devilish demeanor, Q has grown fond of the Enterprise captain.