**** (4 stars out of 5)
Enterprise is trying, much like an ant pushing a tricycle, to stop a moon from dropping out of the skies of Bre'el IV.
When who should suddenly appear but Q, nekkid as a jaybird.
Q claims the Continuum has convicted him as a spreader of chaos, and condemned him to powerless mortality. He reads to the tricorder as human, and to Troi's senses as terrified.
Q is desperate for sanctuary and, sickeningly, Picard is the closest thing he has to a friend. They still don't quite believe that he is merely mortal.
"What must I do to convince you?"
"Die," Worf declares, with Spockian logic.
"Oh, very clever Worf, eat any good books lately?" The ex-god of snark is tossed in the brig.
Data ends up as Q's chaperone as they attempt to integrate him into the crew. It doesn't go all that well: on their first stop Guinan stabs Q in the hand with a fork. To test his humanity, you understand.
The hostess is not especially ashamed of her action. "You're a pitiful excuse for a human and the only way you're going to survive is on the charity of others."
Almost immediately, something else comes after Q for revenge. A plasma people Guinan called the Calamarain attack him. Q thinks of them as humorless, at least when it comes to whatever joke (or torment) he put them to.
"It's hard to work in a group when you're omnipotent."
Data, trying to save Q from the Calamarain assault, nearly gets his noggin destroyed. Crusher and La Forge set to work restoring him.
Q realizes what Data risked for him, confesses that he is a miserable coward, and steals a shuttlecraft. Perhaps he was running away, perhaps he was committing suicide, but... just maybe...
Another Q (Corbin Bernson is a comedy god, by-the-by), something of a parole officer, claims this death is a little bit selfless. Eventually the Calamarain would've destroyed Enterprise and Q's sacrifice might have just saved them.
Re-frocked, Q the Incorrigible doles out fantasy women and cigars, and offers a particular reward to his 'Professor of the Humanities'.
"I would never curse you by making you human. Think of it as a going-away present."
The present for Data is a belly laugh worthy of Stan Laurel. "It was a wonderful... feeling."
Also, Q put the moon back to normal. Nice guy after all?
"Don't bet on it, Picard."
"Deja Q" is a brilliant comedy with some great stuff to say about who and what we are. Rage, fear and loneliness, justice and mercy, compassion and sacrifice. Things can look pretty bleak, (if, for instance, you're in caffeine withdrawl) but it might be all right in a universe where a droid and the god of chaos can find common ground.