“Shut Up Wesley”
After several slow episodes, Picard returns with a filler episode. To be fair, the opening section of this certainly feels like the start of a Next Generation adventure, before devolving into a confusing narrative that contradicts itself and ultimately serves no purpose other than introducing us to a new character.
The episode begins on the Planet Vashti, 14 years ago during the Romulan Relocation program. Picard arrives on the planet and convinces the Romulans everything will be okay. After warmly greeting one of the families, he proclaims that he likes their son, Elnor. He teaches him how to sword fight and after reading a story together, he’s called back on-board the ship. It’s here Picard leaves the Romulans to their fate.
Back in the present on our current ship, Picard tells the crew about the Romulan and the Planet Vashti. Raffi implores Picard to stick to the plan but he tells her he needs to visit them, especially given he’s not going to pass through that way again.
Picard beams down and finds himself face to face with the boy Elnor – now a grown warrior. After storming off, he sits with Zani and discusses how peaceful things were before but now everything’s changed. Sitting in a bar alone, a Romulan senator berates Picard for Starfleet turning their back on him and throws a sword over, engaging him in a one on one fight. After dropping the sword and refusing to fight, Elnor jumps in and slices the man’s head off, prompting Picard to apologize for what happened and beam Elnor with him up to the bridge.
Meanwhile on the Borg cube, Soji investigates the triangular cards before sitting with Narek and talking. Partway through, he decides to take her deeper into the cube where they slide across the floor and start kissing… until Soji figures him out of course and pushes him away. There’s also a couple of scenes between Narek and his sister but ultimately this all feels like filler at this point during this subplot.
Picard and the others enjoy their brief respite of peace before they come under attack. With lasers flying around, Chris tries to outmaneuver them. Thankfully a rogue ship helps them out at the last second, a ship housing Seven, who’s beamed up to the bridge and immediately collapses where the episode ends.
Star Trek: Picard is a show that’s quickly becoming one of the bigger disappointments of the year. After several episodes of slow paced characterisation, the show turns to a filler episode involving the Planet Vashti and in doing so, raises some serious questions about the integrity of the show. The lore surrounding the Romulan relocation is contradicted, the Borg Cube scenes are filler at this point and the show’s dark tone is a far cry from the uplifting, hopeful tone of Next Generation.
Patrick Stewart is the real saving grace here though and he’s enough to stick with this one, even if a lot of the material around him feels light and lacking substance. Hopefully things improve next week but right now Picard is certainly a far cry from peak Star-Trek TV.