Star Trek: Picard returns this week off the back of a stand-alone chapter that added another crew member to find… another episode that doesn’t move things along that quickly. While some of the drama is actually quite good, and the visuals are certainly stunning, the writing is just not up to scratch and the show struggles to really hold its own against some of the better Star Trek series out there.
Episode 5 of Picard begins on the Planet Vergessen 15 years ago. Seven arrives to save her friend from being tortured but it’s too late; he succumbs to his injuries and as she apologises, she blasts him in the stomach to save him from the pain.
We then jump forward to Stardust City 2 weeks ago, as Mr Vup arrives and informs his boss Jay that Bruce Maddox has arrived. She sits with him but unfortunately she’s poisoned him, and he collapses to the ground with a grunt.
Back at Picard’s holographic vineyard, Picard talks to Seven about the way she’s been acting and she asks him to drop her off at Freecloud. Before she goes however, he tells her what he’s actually doing out in the system – saving a girl that needs his help. Back on the bridge, they run some scans and find Maddox but realize they need to come up with a plan to get him out of the City alive. That plans comes in the form of trading Seven.
Rios makes it to the neon-lit city and puts on a flamboyant outfit to fit in. Mr Vup confronts him though, with specific sensors that can tell when he’s lying. With the help of the crew, he manages to outsmart the creature as Picard and Seven head down to the planet with our Romulan ninja, Elnor.
Picard puts on an accent and acts as the antagonist to trick Mr Vup into bringing Jay out into the open. While they do, Raffi heads back home to see her son, telling him she’s clean now. She goes on to tell him there’s a conspiracy at work but he bites back, refusing to listen and dishing out some hard truths to her. It’s a tough scene and one that sees her struggling to get to grips with what’s happening before being forced out of his house.
As Jay finally reveals herself, Seven breaks her facade and holds Jay up at gunpoint. Bruce happens to still be alive too and this whole elaborate scheme ties back into the opening scene of the episode where her friend was tortured. It turns out Jay was the one responsible for this.
Picard tells Seven revenge is not the way but before Mr Vup can fire, Rios kills him, leaving Jay to trade her own life for Maddox. With Agnes at the helm, Picard manages to get them all beamed back up to safety, although Seven changes her mind and beams back down again to the planet, guns in tow, as she holds Jay up at gunpoint once more. With the bar empty, she shoots Jay and proceeds to shoot the ensuing wave of guards that arrive in the room as we cut back to the bridge.
On the ship, Picard tells Maddox that Dahj is now dead. Agnes arrives in the room though and Picard gives them some time together. As she’s left alone with him, Agnee apologises before killing him in cold blood where the episode ends.
Slow paced, flamboyant humour and a plot that appears to be going nowhere, Picard has taken the idea of a methodically paced sci-fi adventure and taken the adventure out the equation. I’m not a massive Trekkie but this show does not feel like Star Trek of old. Even with a new, glossy dystopian facade, the show appears to be stumbling its way through the plot, moving at a snail’s pace and doing little to really inject the show with excitement. It’s such a shame because there’s certainly potential here but beyond the returning faces of old, there really isn’t anything else here worth getting excited about.
The fact that you could easily watch the “previously on” segment for almost every episode, without missing too much content within the 45 minute segments, really tells you all you need to know about how slow-paced this one is. Hopefully things improve next week with the upcoming Borg mission but right now Picard feels like it’s slipped into sticky tar and it’s going to need all of its energy to pull itself free from this slow-paced slog.