Is ‘Q’ Terminally Ill or Sentenced to Death on ‘Star Trek: Picard?’

Picard, Q, and Q

Paramount Picard (Patrick Stewart), Q (John de Lancie), and Q (Gerrit Graham)

Since the start of Season 2 of “Star Trek: Picard,” fans have been speculating about what is going on with the god-like being, Q. The character, brought to life by actor John de Lancie, appears to be losing his powers or perhaps sick. There have been a few hints about what is going on with the omnipotent being.

In the second episode, entitled “Penance,” fans understand a little more about what is going on between Admiral Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and his old enemy, Q. In a scene at Picard’s chateau in La Barre, France, Picard asked Q if he was “not well,” but Q just ignored the question. This was just as Picard started to understand that he was not in the same universe he had been operating in since “The Next Generation.” This place was darker and filled with the skulls of notable characters from many eras of Trek.

Next, in Episode 4, Q attempted to use his powers again. This time, he watched Renee Picard (actress Penelope Mitchell) read a book in San Francisco. Q’s powers did not work, and he seemed frustrated. As a fun throw-back to some classic TNG episodes, Renee is reading “The Pallid Son: A Dixon Hill Mystery,” which was the character that Jean-Luc enjoyed portraying in the holodeck.

Episode 4

In the following episode, “Fly Me To The Moon,” Q must join forces with Dr. Adam Soong (Brent Spiner) to make his plans work. Q cannot use any powers to stop Renee from going to space. 

There are a few theories as to why Q is struggling. Some fans think that Q is dying, and this is his way of punishing Picard one last time. Some agree that while Q is dying, his real aim is to elevate Picard to god-like statusJohn Orquiola of ScreenRant thinks that Q cannot act against Renee because she is a “Picard.” Orquiola also believes that Picard could be somehow responsible for the illness, preventing Q from using those fantastic powers. 

Q, or rather de Lancie, told Decider that his power situation would be revealed, but not quite yet.

“It gave me a kind of a secret, and that secret, that’s what actors try to do oftentimes is find a secret because it energizes things a little bit without having to reveal anything,” de Lancie told Decider in a recent interview. “There’s a secret in there.”

Trek fans have seen the most powerful beings in the galaxy lose their powers before. Specifically, Q lost his powers once, and he ran to Picard and the U.S.S. Enterprise-D for protection. In the third season of “The Next Generation,” Q lost his powers because the Q Continuum felt he was not worthy of them, and he needed to be taught a lesson. By the end of “Deja Q,” the being did enough good to coax the Continuum into reversing their decision. 

‘Star Trek: Voyager’ – Death Wish

A more direct example of a member of the Continuum losing his powers was on the “Star Trek: Voyager” episode, “Death Wish.” This story involved another Q (Gerrit Graham) who no longer wished to live. Q (de Lancie) was involved as he was enforcing the will of the Continuum, who decreed that no Q could end their own life. According to the Continuum, all members must live forever. Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) had to hold an arbitration for the two Qs. Eventually, Q (Graham) was able to relinquish his powers. After he became mortal, Q (Graham) killed himself by ingesting a toxin provided by Q (de Lancie).

Q (Graham) was vulnerable to anything which could kill a human after losing his powers. He could have lived as a part of Voyager’s crew if he chose to. Instead, he decided to die. 

This situation is very similar to what Q (de Lancie) is experiencing in “Picard.” It could mean that Q (de Lancie) used the last of his powers to save Picard and the rest of his team from the explosion on the U.S.S. Stargazer and is now without them. While he relies on others to carry out his plans (like Soong), he is still in command of the massive memory and intellect from his days as an omnipotent being.

Deja Q

This is precisely what happened to Q (Graham), as Janeway planned to put him to work in the Stellar Cartography division on the Voyager before his death. Q (de Lancie) was able to create a serum that temporarily cured Soong’s daughter of her genetic abnormalities. That knowledge was beyond Soong, who is billed as one of the world’s greatest minds regarding genetics. 

Viewers might be seeing the last gasp of Q, not because of illness, but because the Continuum took his powers away, and he’s doomed to die as a mortal. And since he cannot transport Picard to the Big Bang (like he did to Janeway in “Death Wish”) or to his courtroom (as seen in “Encounter at Farpoint”), he must use only conventional means to teach Picard a new lesson.

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