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While en route to Farpoint, Captain Picard and his crew encounter a god-like being called Q, who places humanity on trial for barbarism. Captain Picard has to prove to Q that the Human race is not barbaric; otherwise, the entire human race will be destroyed.
Meanwhile, on Farpoint, the newly assigned second-in-command, Commander William T. Riker, must solve the mysterious goings on, on the planet, before the Federation makes their decision on if they may join the Federation of planets.
Somehow, both Picard and Riker’s separate tasks become intertwined.
*Captain's log, Stardate 41153.7. Our destination is planet Deneb IV, beyond which lies the great unexplored mass of the galaxy. My orders are to examine Farpoint, a starbase built there by the inhabitants of that world. Meanwhile I’m becoming better acquainted with my new command: this Galaxy-class U.S.S. Enterprise. I’m still somewhat in awe of its size and complexity. As for my crew, we are short in several key positions, most notably a first officer. But I’m informed that a highly experienced man, one Commander William T. Riker will be waiting to join the ship at our Deneb IV destination.
*Captain's Log, supplementary. The frozen form of Lieutenant Torres has been rushed to sickbay. The question now is the incredible power of the Q being. Do we dare oppose it?
*Captain's Log, Stardate 41153.7. Preparing to detach saucer section so that families and the majority of the ship's company can seek relative safety while the vessel's stardrive containing the battle bridge and main armaments will turn back and confront the mystery that is threatening us.
*Personal Log, Commander William Riker, Stardate 41153.7. The U.S.S. Hood has dropped me off at Farpoint Station where I await the arrival of the new U.S.S. Enterprise to which I have been assigned as first officer. Meanwhile, I've been asked to visit the Farpoint administrator's office in the old city.
This episode marks the final television appearance of DeForest Kelley before his death on June 11, 1999.
Colm Meaney (Miles O'Brien) and John de Lancie (Q) are the only actors, besides the regulars, to appear in both this episode and the finale "All Good Things..." Denise Crosby (Tasha Yar), who left the cast in "Skin of Evil," and was therefore not a regular cast member at the time of the finale, also appeared in both episodes.
Industrial Light and Magic did the special effects only for this episode, but was also credited for the rest of the series because footage was continuously reused.
This episode is the first mention of the Ferengi Alliance on Star Trek.
Admiral McCoy: (to Lt. Data) I don't see no points on your ears boy, but you sound just like a Vulcan!
Lt. Data: I am an android.
Admiral McCoy: (grunts) Almost as bad...
Admiral McCoy: (to Lt. Data) You treat her [the Enterprise] like a lady, she'll always bring you home...
Captain Jean-Luc Picard: If we're going to be damned, let's be damned for what we really are!