the story: Q has a dilemma when he's forced to decide the fate of a girl whose parents quit the Continuum.
similar to: "Death Wish" (Voyager)
my thoughts: "True Q" has long been considered one of the weaker Q episodes, since it doesn't really focus on Q himself, but on a human who turns out to be a Q. The thing is, in hindsight it looks like a prelude to "Death Wish," one of the few Voyager episodes fans generally get behind, the one where a Q not only wants to quit, but commit suicide (thus being that rare thing: a Q episode that's also a social message episode). And the other thing: "True Q" is all about two other Q who decided to quit the Continuum.
We'd already seen Q himself suffer from the consequences of his actions ("Deja Q"), kicked around by the Continuum and exiled, so to see it happen not once but twice more creates a chain, a bona fide arc, beyond the trial narrative presented in Next Generation's first and last episodes. "True Q" becomes an important part of Q lore in that regard. So you can forget, for the moment, that it's not nearly as good as the other sixth season Q episode ("Tapestry"), or entertaining like the third Q episode that TV season (Deep Space Nine's "Q-Less"). At its heart, it's another sappy Riker romance. (Don't get me wrong. I fully appreciate Riker's addition to the Kirk legacy. But it never worked as well on Riker, that ladies man reputation. It always seemed forced. Well, except maybe in Deep Space Nine's "Defiant." But that was, technically, his transporter duplicate.)
It also serves as a nifty follow-up to yet another Q episode, "Hide and Q" from the first season, the first time we see a human get the powers of a Q. It's also, more than "Hide and Q," the Q variant of one of the franchise's very first episodes, "Where No Man Has Gone Before" (original series), where Gary Mitchell gains god-like powers.
Bottom line, "True Q" is not the waste-of-a-Q-episode its reputation suggests. It's actually pretty significant, and not a bad episode, either.
criteria analysis: franchise - series - character -
John de Lancie (Q)