Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Lower Decks Reveals Why Q Left His Classic Foe

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 1, Episode 8, "Veritas," now streaming on CBS All Access.

Lower Decks has featured plenty of nods and Easter eggs to previous Star Trek series and films, but one of the biggest is the return of the omnipotent antagonist Q. With actor John de Lancie reprising his fan-favorite role, Q decides to target the crew of the U.S.S. Cerritos after previously menacing everyone from Deep Space Nine's Benjamin Sisko to Voyager's Kathryn Janeway.

As Ensign Beckett Mariner recalls leading the crew against Q, the villain reveals he has since deliberately stopped tormenting his usual mark, Jean-Luc Picard.

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Q was the very first antagonist encountered in Star Trek: The Next Generation, appearing in the 1987 series premiere, "Encounter at Farpoint." Q decided to put humanity on trial and selected Picard as its representative, while he took on the role of judge. Picard was able to impress Q enough to spare the species by rescuing a space jellyfish, but the omnipotent figure periodically resurfaced throughout the series as his judgement on the human race continued, often bending reality to challenge Picard and the crew of the Enterprise.

In the new episode of Lower Decks, when they are standing on an apparent trial with the rest of the Cerritos' officers, the junior officers cite an occasion when Q pulled in the crew for his latest bizarre game. The crew were brought to an otherworldly realm and transformed into chess pieces. They prepared to take on an intimidating army in a contest to determine if humanity should continue to exist, as Q watched. Initially shaping up to be a fight, the competition was revealed to be an apparent soccer match -- before the soccer ball itself came to life as another opponent.

The surreal encounter isn't the only time Q has confronted the crew of the Cerritos: He resurfaces after the crew returns to their ship. Confronting Mariner with the threat of a new test to see if humanity's continued existence should be permitted, Q reveals he has stopped annoying Picard.

He says he finds the venerable Starfleet senior officer unbearably boring. Citing Picard's tendency to constantly quote Shakespeare and his newfound interest in running a vineyard back in France, Q bemoans that his original target simply isn't as much fun as he had been during the events of The Next Generation.

Ever since Picard has taken command of the Enterprise, virtually every major Star Trek series -- with the exception of Star Trek: Enterprise -- has had its own encounter with Q. Sometimes appearing as a committed antagonist, sometimes appearing as an unlikely source of help to introduce humanity to the Borg so they better prepare, every time Q makes an appearance, it's memorable.

Q has selected Mariner as his latest representative for the entire human race, though she has already grown visibly exasperated by his reality-bending antics. While Q's return is apparently brief, whenever the omnipotent being takes an interest in a specific individual, he's been known to continue to pester them with his latest challenges to prove humanity's worth.

Star Trek: Lower Decks stars Tawny Newsome as Ensign Beckett Mariner, Eugene Cordero as Ensign Rutherford, Jack Quaid as Ensign Brad Boimler, Noël Wells as Ensign Tendi, Dawnn Lewis as Captain Carol Freeman, Jerry O'Connell as Commander Jack Ransom, Gillian Vigman as Doctor T'Ana and Fred Tatasciore as Lieutenant Shaxs. New episodes premiere Thursdays on CBS All Access.

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