Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993): S01E07 – Q-Less


Introduction

“Q-Less” is the seventh episode of the first season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9).

Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures on Deep Space Nine, a space station located near a stable wormhole between the Alpha and Gamma quadrants of the Milky Way Galaxy. In this episode, Vash (Jennifer Hetrick), a former love interest of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, arrives aboard the Deep Space Nine station trying to elude her companion, Q (John de Lancie), and make a profit selling archaeological artefacts from the Gamma Quadrant, including a mysterious alien crystal.

“Q-Less” saw the return of Vash and Q, two recurring characters from Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG). It was Jennifer Hetrick’s final performance as Vash and John de Lancie’s only appearance as Q on Deep Space Nine.

Two former writers from TNG, Hannah Louise Shearer and Robert Hewitt Wolfe, wrote the episode. While it would be Shearer’s last Star Trek credit, Wolfe’s work on the script led to him joining the writing team on DS9. The producers wanted to introduce Q to the show in a seamless manner; when Shearer proposed a Vash-centric story, Q was added to the script.

“Q-Less” highlights the differences between DS9 and TNG by comparing the reactions of Commander Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) and Captain Picard to Q. On its first broadcast, “Q-Less” received Nielsen ratings of 12.8 percent, placing it as the fifth most watched episode of the season. Reception was mixed, with reviewers criticising the imbalance of time spent with Vash and Q in contrast to the rest of the cast, as well as the unnecessary technobabble in the story and the MacGuffin-like plot device represented by the alien crystal.

Outline

Lt. Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell) returns from the Gamma Quadrant in her runabout with a woman that Chief Miles O’Brien (Colm Meaney) recognises as Vash (Jennifer Hetrick) from his time on board the Enterprise. Although the crew is unaware of his presence, Q (John de Lancie) – a nearly omnipotent prankster – has also stowed away on the runabout. Vash explains that she has spent the past two years in the Gamma Quadrant, but she describes her method of getting there as a “private matter”. During their trip back to Deep Space Nine, the vessel undergoes a series of unusual power drains.

Soon after Vash’s arrival, the station begins to experience similar power failures. In the meantime, Q appears to Vash, apparently infatuated with her. Q was the one who transported Vash to the Gamma Quadrant two years earlier, but now she wants nothing to do with him, much to Q’s annoyance. When Dr. Julian Bashir (Alexander Siddig) asks Vash out for dinner, a jealous Q uses his powers to send Bashir off to sleep. Meanwhile, Quark (Armin Shimerman) arranges to auction off various items Vash has found in the Gamma Quadrant, including an unusual crystal that might fetch a high price.

Remembering Q from the Enterprise, O’Brien spots Q on the station and warns Commander Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks), speculating that Q may be responsible for the power drains. When confronted, Q denies any wrongdoing, although he offers no alternative explanation. As the power drains become more severe, an unknown gravimetric field begins pulling the station toward the nearby wormhole. Q challenges Sisko to a boxing match on the Promenade, and suddenly, they are both wearing antique-style boxing costumes. A few punches are thrown, and Q is shocked when Sisko knocks him down (“You hit me! Picard never hit me!”).

Vash and Quark auction the artefacts and the crystal receives bids in excess of one thousand bars of gold-pressed latinum. Casually joining the bid process, Q ups the ante on Vash’s crystal to 2501 bars before bidding one million. Soon after, however, the source of the gravimetric field and power losses is traced to the crystal itself. The crystal is quickly beamed into space before it can destroy the station. Once outside, it transforms into an alien life form and travels into the wormhole. After the incident, Bashir finally awakens from his slumber. Unaware of what has just transpired, he yawns and tells Dax that he feels like he has been asleep for days. A bemused Dax gives him a strange look to which Bashir replies “What–did I miss something?”

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Paul Lynch.
  • Writer(s): Hannah Louise Shearer.
  • Release Date: 07 February 1993.
  • Running Time: 45 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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