Q returns! It's odd and appropriate for that to have happened so quickly, considering he was an afterthought inclusion for "Encounter at Farpoint," created to fill out Paramount's desire to expand the first episode into two hours. "Hide and Q," then, may represent one of the first moments where The Next Generation started reshaping itself into something better.
I should note, however, that while it does feature Q and by definition is must-see, it's also almost painfully like much of the early episodes of the series, trying to do character development by pointing out what makes the characters unique rather than writing the characters themselves.
Basically, Q comes back to pester Picard (the general synopsis for basically every appearance), but instead ends up choosing Riker to join the Q Continuum, and in a weird sort of way attempts to drag Q into the very original series mold he shattered in his first appearance. From Gary Mitchell to Charlie X, that's what a lot of those characters did when they encountered godlike power, as Riker struggles to retain his humanity while examining the possibilities of his newfound power.
The oddest but most notable instance of Riker doing this is aging Wesley to adulthood, which just goes to show that even the writers knew that the boy wonder was probably annoying as he was.
One of the things I remember best about "Hide and Q" is the awkward moment where Worf refers to a band of alien soldiers Q has just conjured as "vicious animal things." Yet another instance where the supposed enlightenment of Starfleet perhaps not being all that it appears to be.
The best part of Q's visit this time is allowing Picard, and Patrick Stewart, to begin voicing his enthusiasm for Shakespeare, which also helps shape the dynamic between our good captain and his true rival (sorry, Bok).
Other than all that? It's up to you to determine how good this episode actually is. Because pretty much every other appearance by Q, in any series, is better. This one still smacks of the deficiencies inherent to most of Next Generation's first season.
franchise * series * essential * character
John de Lancie
Memory Alpha summary.