Star Trek Guide

Lower Decks' Q Cameo Secretly Predicts Star Trek Picard

Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 1, Episode 8 - "Veritas"

Q (John de Lancie) appeared on this week's Star Trek: Lower Decksbut his unusual cameo seemed to predict Star Trek: Picard, which is set almost 20 years after the events of the Star Trek animated series. Star Trek: Lower Decks episode 8, "Veritas", was a Rashomon-inspired affair bursting with rapid-fire callbacks and easter eggs to the various other Star Trek series, while Q is the first fan-favorite Star Trek: The Next Generation character to appear on the CBS All-Access comedy. And, in typical chaotic Q fashion, he inadvertently told the crew of the U.S.S. Cerritos of future events.

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The omnipotent and mischievous Q debuted in Star Trek: TNG's series premiere, "Encounter at Farpoint", where he placed Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and humanity itself on trial. After Q met Picard, who he refers to as "mon Capitaine", the omnipotent being and the Q Continuum he hails from became standard knowledge for all Starfleet Captains. Q made numerous return appearances to irritate Picard on TNG, and he also popped up in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - where he was punched by Commander Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) - and Star Trek: Voyager, where Q made Captain Kathryn Janeway the object of his affectionate incursions. But sometimes, Q, was also helpful, in a way: the flamboyant prankster told Picard about the Borg, allowing Starfleet foreknowledge of what would become one of the United Federation of Planet's greatest enemies.

But mostly, Q is an irritant and this continues on Star Trek: Lower Decks, which revealed that he also periodically pesters the crew of the U.S.S. Cerritos. In "Veritas", Ensign Brad Boimler (Jack Quaid) described some past instances when Q appeared, like when he teleported the Cerritos' command crew into a bizarre otherworldly puzzle and challenged them to prove that humanity is worth saving. At the conclusion of "Veritas", Q randomly popped into the Cerritos again and challenged Ensigns Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome), Sam Rutherford (Eugene Cordero), D'Vana Tendi (Noel Wells), and Boimler to "a duel... of the mind!" But Mariner was having none of his "Q bull---" and told him to get lost. Q asked again politely in French, and Mariner told him that she's not French and to "go find Picard". Q retorted, "Oh Picard! He's no fun. He's always quoting Shakespeare, he's always making wine..."

Q's joke was hilarious but it was also an anachronism. Star Trek: Lower Decks is set in 2380, just a year after Star Trek: Nemesis, and at this point in time, Jean-Luc Picard is still Captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise-E, and will remain so for five more years in the canonical Star Trek Prime timeline. Indeed, in "Veritas", the crew of the Cerritos performs a black-0ps mission on Romulus, which hasn't been destroyed yet by its sun going supernova. But Q referring to Picard "always making wine" seems to be describing the retired Admiral Picard, who was relegated to becoming a winemaker at his family's chateau in La Barre, France after he quit Starfleet in 2385.

So, not unlike how Q gave the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise-D knowledge about the Borg in the Delta Quadrant back in the Star Trek: TNG season 2 episode, "Q Who?", the omnipotent being who can go anywhere (and anywhen) actually dropped a hint about Captain Picard's future fate to Mariner and the Lower Deckers of the Cerritos - and it fell on deaf ears. Q's offhand remark is also a clue that even during his retirement before the events of Star Trek: Picard, Jean-Luc may not have been free of being tormented by the eternally bored and troublemaking Q. And at least Q didn't tell Mariner and the Lower Deckers that Picard would become an android.

Star Trek: Lower Decks streams Thursdays on CBS All-Access.

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