Phenomenal Cosmic powers and a weak preachy episode. This episode could have had a lot going on for it. Q comes to a visit and gives Riker a taste of his powers, he is given the power of Q.
The trial of Q is “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men…” – But in this version of the future humans are apparently boring as hell – When Riker is given these powers he does nothing with them.
This episode has a weird structure and probably two stories that were mashed into each other, one is a deadly game with French monster soldiers on a distant planet (that basically has nothing to do with the rest of the story, just that Riker is given the power of Q and tricked into using it. – This would have been itself an interesting story as in War you dehumanize the other side that you are able to kill them, and the test could have been that the federation does not just slaughter beings that are alien…
He does try to gift everyone, their deepest desire – Wesley is grown up, Worf gets a Klingon wife (he doesn’t have time for that kind of nonsense… good thing the K’Ehleyr, Troy, Jadzia, Esri, storylines don’t happen) both reject them because they need to put in the effort to get there and they can’t be just handed to them, Data flat out rejects becoming a real boy for a similar reason “It might be real to Q but it would never be real to me – This above all: to thine own self be true” –
Jordy’s blindness is cured but he rejects it because he would have to thank Q for it, and that is a too high price to pay. While this is interesting as it is unexpected, the disabled rejects the magic healing… it is totally ok when magic space radiation does it in Star Trek Insurrection. Of course, there is also the problem with the visor that allows Jordy to see like a superhuman, which in itself just means he is not blind.
The oddest thing about Riker in this episode, is that he basically has no agency of his own, he has no personal dreams, he has nothing that he would like to change in the world. He first gets guided by Picard that his powers are dangerous, then tries and fails to fulfill the most superficial wishes of his crewmates.
While yes humans do not need to be given gifts by an omnipotent being, and there is value in working and spending time to achieve one’s goals, the episode did not have to be so preachy about it.