Positivity and Curious
Star Trek: Picard returns this week with a continuation of our story and an episode that jumps between different tones across its 50 minute episode. From slapstick moments and jokes through to more poignant and reflective scenes involving our broken characters, Picard delivers another slice of dystopian sci-fi. We are given some crucial motivations for our characters in the process but now the story appears to be aligning itself closer to that of Mass Effect than an actual Trek story.
We begin on AIA, The Grief World 14 years ago as we learn more about the shadowy Zhat Vash who are trying to stop the second coming of the apocalypse. Unfortunately as the visions are presented, the Romulans – before we see them turned part-Borg in the future – start to lose their minds and commit suicide after seeing visions of the synths destroying the universe. The only ones left standing involve Narissa and Commander Oh.
Meanwhile onboard the Borg Cube, Elnor fights his way through a series of guards, killing them outright, before Seven of Nine returns and kills the others. Thankful for being saved, Elnor hugs her as he asks what’s going on. Together, they make it into the throne room where Seven manages to get the Borg Cube to start regenerating itself via thousands of mechanical insects that attach to the exterior shell of the cube.
As they do, Seven of Nine contemplates turning Borg drones against the Romulans as a means of escaping. Unfortunately Rizzo is wise to her trickery and opens the airlock.
On-board the ship, Raffi confronts Picard and questions whether Agnes is actually a Romulan spy, given all the evidence that lead to this assumption. Picard heads back to his Vineyard as the leader of Star Command tells him to “Shut the f up” when he asks for her help. Instead, he heads down to the canteen and sits with Soji where they talk about Data and the past.
Raffi talks to Rios but it turns out it’s actually one of his holographic AIs instead. She asks it about the symbols being drawn, showing the 8, and theorizes that it could be a new star system. Only, given the manner this has been constructed and the effort in bringing 8 stars together, it’s something that was clearly created to draw attention to it. This leads her around the ship where she talks to several different holos of Rios to try and learn more about this star cluster.
As Agnes awakens, Picard tells her they’re heading for Deep Space 12. When they get there, she’s going to be imprisoned when they leave the ship. Agnes admits everything and goes on to mention “the destroyer”, which is of course Soji, who stands behind Picard. Together, they talk about the AI advancements, with Agnes eventually calling her beautiful.
As the stories of this episode start to align, the group learn that Commander Oh is the one who gave the order originally to kill Soji. Even more alarming, it was actually the Romulans who staged the attack on Mars to force a galaxy-wide ban on synthetic life-forms.
In the aftermath of this, Agnes sits with the others and apologises for her part in what’s happened. As they go on, Raffi talks about what these 8 stars could mean but Soji is determined to see if the prophetic messages about her are true and uses a transwarp conduit to teleport to her home planet. Only, Narek happens to be in hot pursuit behind them where the episode ends.
With motivations for our antagonists now revealed and the end-goal finally a little clearer, Picard returns this week with another episode that lays the foundation for the final act while feeling very un-Star Trek in the process. Hearing Star Command cursing at Picard and the random bites of humour that mostly fail to land are added on top of this plot that doesn’t always hit the right notes. There’s an air of Mass Effect in the way this story is being set up now, especially with the prophecy surrounding Soji being the destroyer and this band of misfits being forced to try and save the day.
While the end-goal is now clear and what happened on Mars revealed, tonally the episode is a bit all over the place. The aforementioned humour doesn’t always work while the reflective, poignant sections stand in stark contrast and not always in a good way. Still, there’s a few more episodes to go and quite how this one will likely end remains to be seen.