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Qpid (episode)

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(written from a Production point of view)
TNG, Episode 4x20
Production number: 40274-194
First aired: 22 April 1991
93rd of 176 produced in TNG
93rd of 176 released in TNG
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 176 released in TNG Remastered  
200th of 728 released in all
Picard and Vash
Teleplay By
Ira Steven Behr

Story By
Randee Russell and Ira Steven Behr

Directed By
Cliff Bole
44741.9 (2367)
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Q picks up on romantic tensions between Captain Picard and an old flame, transporting them and the senior officers into a representation of Robin Hood.



The entire senior staff of the USS Enterprise-D is attending a lecture on archaeology, presented by Jean-Luc Picard. It is held in orbit over Tagus III, a planet with extensive archeological ruins that have been closed off to any excavations or study for a number of years. Picard is nervously reviewing his speech when Counselor Troi walks in and reassures him that his speech is fine and he should get some sleep. When Picard returns to his quarters and dims the lights, one light remains on, shining on a horga'hn sitting on his table. When he picks it up, Vash reveals herself and they kiss.

Act One

Vash and the captain discuss why she is at Tagus III over tea the next morning. Vash's responses are vague, not admitting to being a member of the archeology council, but Picard is pleased to see her. Then, Doctor Crusher arrives unexpectedly. Picard is caught off-guard and stammers when introducing Vash. Beverly is surprised that Jean-Luc never mentioned that he met Vash while on vacation on Risa. (TNG: "Captain's Holiday") Crusher offers to give her a tour while Picard is busy. Picard reluctantly agrees, and Vash promises to "behave herself."

Crusher takes her to Ten Forward and, while getting them drinks, Commander Riker makes a pass at her. She turns the tables on him completely and introduces herself, but is disturbed that neither Riker nor Crusher knew of her or of the captain meeting her on Risa. Riker agrees to continue her tour, which takes them to the bridge, where she runs into Picard again and promises to see him at the reception later.

At the reception, it is obvious that no one in Picard's crew knew of her or her involvement with the captain, particularly when even the ship's counselor knew nothing about Vash. She confronts Picard about this. He insists that it wasn't appropriate for him to discuss their involvement, but she accuses him of being embarrassed by her presence. Picard returns to the bridge and angrily goes straight to his ready room, where Q is waiting for him.

Act Two

Q reveals that he has come to repay his debt to Picard for helping him when he was stripped of his powers. (TNG: "Deja Q") Picard tells Q it's unnecessary, but Q insists. After refusing Q's offers to help him with his speech, take him to the Taguan ruins, and take him to the ruins back before the official sanctions were in place, Q vanishes. Picard informs Riker that Q is around.

Picard goes to visit Vash and apologize, but when he enters her quarters he finds maps of the ruins and mining equipment. When he confronts her about her habit of robbing archaeological sites, Vash states it's simply who she is and she can't change that. Picard agrees with the sentiment and they say they have nothing more to say to each other. Picard leaves, but we see Q stick his head in through the wall.

Q confronts Picard in his quarters while he is trying to sleep, gloating because he finally figured out why he noticed something different about Picard, then reveals that he observed Picard's "spat" with Vash and regrets not appearing as a female initially. He warns Picard that love is dangerous and offers to get rid of Vash for him. Picard reacts strongly and Q brings up his debt again, which Picard dismisses. Q vanishes.

At the speech the next day, the senior staff are all sitting in the back row as Picard starts speaking. Something is wrong however: Dr. Crusher and Troi acquire triangular hats, Commander Riker suddenly is holding a quarterstaff, and Data acquires a monastic robe. The changes cause a buzz in the audience and when Picard stops speaking, he is suddenly wearing a period costume and they all vanish and reappear in a woodland.

Act Three

The senior staff quickly recognize that they've been cast in the guise of Robin Hood and his Merry Men, and identify Q as the culprit. Before they can guess further, a noble figure arrives with troops and confronts them. Worf attacks him and is wounded, while the others retreat into the forest. After eluding their attackers, Q arrives in the guise of the Sheriff of Nottingham and explains that he set all of this up and it is quite real and beyond his control, except that Maid Marian will be executed unless Robin comes to save her. Picard realizes that Vash has been drafted by Q to play the role of Marian.

In the castle, Vash is angry and confused, ignoring her lady in waiting who assumes she is ill and insulting Sir Guy of Gisbourne. He asks once again if he will marry her, and she slaps him hard across the face. Sir Guy is about to storm out of the room but mentions her execution. After that revelation, she becomes more amiable to him.

Back in the forest, some of the crew try to fit into their roles with mixed success, including Data being accidentally shot with an arrow by Troi. The captain tells Riker that he will attempt to rescue Vash on his own, despite Riker's protests.

Act Four

At the castle, Q is surprised and frustrated at Vash and Sir Guy being so agreeable to each other. When Sir Guy dismisses her back to her chamber, we see Captain Picard disguised as a hooded worker in the castle. Back in her room, Picard climbs in through Vash's window and briefly explains the situation. However, Vash is reluctant to escape with him when she hears he has come alone. She says she will stay and marry Sir Guy if it comes to it, but Picard picks her up to carry her. When guards burst in, she pulls his sword on him, causing his capture. Q looks on in amusement.

That night, Vash calls her maid in and tells her to deliver a letter to Robin's men in Sherwood forest. The maid is reluctant and stalls until Q interrupts and reveals that he is intrigued by Vash's actions, leading her to deduce his identity. Then he reads her letter to Picard's crew and complements her for her duplicity, admitting she fooled him. Despite saying she's worth further study, he calls the guards and declares Vash will be executed.

Act Five and Finale

On the morning of the execution, Vash and Picard go to the block arguing about who was more foolish in their actions. Q asks Picard if he's learned anything and Picard demands Q set Vash free. While all of this is going on, it is revealed that Data, Geordi, and Riker have disguised themselves and are in the watching crowd. Geordi declares that there are too many guards and Riker asks Data for a diversion. Data removes a component from his arm and tosses it into a nearby torch.

Meanwhile, Sir Guy calls for the execution to proceed. Momentarily shocked that Q is going to allow it to go on, Picard places his head on the block. Just as the headsman is going to bring the axe down, however, the torch explodes and the Enterprise crew attacks. Picard gets drawn into a duel with Sir Guy, eventually defeating him and going to the tower to find Vash. Picard calls for an end to the charade and Q appears and congratulates him on his performance, assuring him that his crew are all fine, but berates him for allowing Vash (the metaphor for love in Picard's case) to expose negative qualities in him. Vash disagrees, saying it brought out the best in him. Q dismisses them back to the Enterprise, though Vash doesn't reappear.

Returning to his ready room, Vash appears in safari garb and explains to Picard that she and Q had things to discuss and that Q had proved he still cared about her. When Picard asks where she's going next, Q appears and reveals that they've decided to partner with each other. Picard objects, listing Q's negative qualities, then realizes that Q and Vash are more alike than he'd realized. Picard tells Q that he can repay his debt by guaranteeing Vash's safety. Q agrees, then leaves to give them a moment to say goodbye (although he briefly reappears, claiming to have forgotten his hat). Vash and the captain kiss, say goodbye, and Vash vanishes.

Memorable quotes

"Nice legs... for a Human."

- Worf, of Vash

"Without your assistance on our last encounter I would never have survived. I would have taken my own life but for you."
"We all make mistakes."

- Q and Picard

"Tell me what is it you wish, and I'll be gone."
"Just be gone. That'll do nicely."

- Q and Picard

"Some other time Q, right now, I have other matters to attend to."
"Oh yes, your speech. I read it, it's dull, plodding, pedantic, much like yourself."

- Picard and Q

"I've just been paid a visit from Q."
"Q? Any idea what he's up to?"
"He wants to do something nice for me."
"I'll alert the crew."

- Picard and Riker

"I knew there was something different about you. You seem tense, preoccupied, somewhat smaller. At first, I thought it was that horrible lecture of yours, but I was mistaken."

- Q, to Picard

"I had such high hopes for you, Picard. I thought that you were a bit more... evolved than the rest of your species but now I realize you're just as weak as all the others. Still it pains me, to see the great Jean-Luc Picard brought down... by a woman."

- Q, to Picard

"She's found a vulnerability in you... a vulnerability I've been looking for years. If I had known sooner, I would have appeared as a female."

- Q, to Picard

"Sir, I protest! I am not a merry man!"

- Worf

"I will not play the fool for Q's amusement!"

- Worf


- Worf, after smashing La Forge's lute.

"I'll have you know I'm the greatest swordsman in all of Nottingham!"
"Very impressive. There's something you should know."
"And what would that be?"
"I'm not from Nottingham!"

- Sir Guy and Picard

Background Information



Burton filming qpid

LeVar Burton on set

Cast and characters

Stewart and Hetrick

Patrick Stewart and Jennifer Hetrick



  • Director Cliff Bole remarked, "It had everything that I liked as a director. It had Q, who's a very entertaining guy and character. What more would I love to do than Robin Hood: The Movie? Here I was able to do that. I stepped back in time, there was sword fighting, some boisterous 12th century characters and also the spaceship. What more can you get? That's the ultimate as a director. Some guys like to do the man in the gray flannel suit, and I like to do fantasy. It was a show where Picard falls out of character a little bit. He's not as stoic as he usually is and falls for a beautiful women, who was raised to do that." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
  • Patrick Stewart commented, "I think that episode probably gave us as a group more fun than any other. We got to dress up for one thing. And the whole Robin Hood myth and the way the familiar characters of Robin Hood were divided among the regular characters was very entertaining...It was light-hearted and romantic and sexy and we got to wear these fancy costumes." (Mission Overview: Year Four, TNG Season 4 DVD special features)
  • Marina Sirtis remarked, "Any time a woman sees a man in tights, all bets are off. We just had such a blast. I loved some of the one-liners in that show from Michael [Dorn]. Just brilliant. The writing was really good on that show." (Mission Overview: Year Four, TNG Season 4 DVD special features)
  • A mission report for this episode by John Sayers was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 17, pp. 7-12.

Video and DVD releases

Links and references


Also starring

Guest stars


Uncredited co-stars

Stunt doubles

Stand-ins and photo doubles


47; Alan-a-Dale; American Continent Institute; archaeology; bow and arrow; Earth; Federation; Federation Archaeology Council; Friar Tuck; Guy of Gisbourne; horga'hn; Klabnian eel; Klarc-Tarn-Droth; Little John; long sword; Maid Marian; maiden; Merry Men; Q; Robin Hood; Sarthong V; Sheriff of Nottingham; Sherwood Forest; Switzer; Tagus III; University of Alpha Centauri; University of Betazed; Vulcan Science Academy; Vulcans; Will Scarlet


22,000 years ago 
Beginning of archaeological study of the ancient ruins of Tagus III
Medieval era 
The milieu of Robin Hood, summoned by Q's power
Vash and Picard meet on Risa for the first time
The archaeology conference

Previous episode:
"The Nth Degree"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 4
Next episode:
"The Drumhead"

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