the story: Q's son proves every bit as out-of-control as his old man.
what it's all about: "Death Wish" was a Q episode every fan seemed to agree on as worthy of continuing the legacy. "The Q and the Grey" less so. "Q2" ended up being known, if at all, as yet another example of Voyager being somewhat pointless to the overall franchise legacy. And yet, popular opinion isn't always right. "Q and the Grey" was an episode that Next Generation never quite got around to, despite ample evidence that Q had represented the Continuum as less than a well-functioning machine, many times over. It presented these being as collectively identifiable, continuing the work of "Death Wish" in more ways than one. A lot of fans were just angry that Q cared at all about Janeway and her crew, that if he had anything to resolve, it really ought to have been done with Picard, his most famous rival. And yet, any cursory examination of Q and Picard's encounters will admit their intellectual nature, whereas Janeway, as she had with her crew as a whole, presented a familial quality. Long story short: Janeway stuck her neck out for Seven, the most obvious single example. Q figured, he could trust his problems with someone like that. And yeah, it made for a totally different storytelling dynamic, if he could have sexual tension with his sparring partner. (Sisko took sparring quite literally, you'll recall.)
Anyway, "Q2" is a revisit of the basic Q template, removing all the heavy implications of the two previous Voyager episodes and seeing what it looked like...from his son's point of view. This son was conceived in "Q and the Grey," remember, four seasons earlier. In typically sped-up Star Trek childhood fashion (and also, because he's a Q), he's a teenager now. So this is actually an Icheb episode, the last real opportunity, and really, the first time Icheb just gets to be a teenager, as Q's son bonds with him (odd couple syndrome), and they become entangled in Q's efforts to get his kid to...be less like him.
And that's really the strength of the episode. Q certainly could never admit that kind of vulnerability to Picard. Yet, all three Voyager appearances have him on the defensive, which arguably was Q at his best (see Next Generation's "Deja Q," the template for this one). But getting him to admit vulnerability? That was kind of the whole point of his Voyager arc, and why this culmination was actually necessary, as it gives him that chance, and being able to save face, too. Because it's, y'know, his son who has to admit it. Technically.
It can seem a little disappointing, that the last Q episode actually features someone other than John de Lancie as the featured Q. At least it's de Lancie's son, too. That counts for something!
- franchise - It's the last Q episode!
- series - The final of three Voyager Q episodes completes the arc nicely.
- character - It's actually an Icheb spotlight, and a welcome one at that.
essential- Of course, it's hard not to admit that in the best of all possible worlds, John de Lancie's final appearance in the role might have been a spotlight for, y'know, John de Lancie.
John de Lancie (Q)
Manu Intiraymi (Icheb)
Keegan de Lancie (Q2)