Ships Have Windows?!
For a show that was always about hope, the best of humanity and deep, thought provoking characterisation, Star Trek: Picard ultimately offers none of this. Thankfully, it’s not quite as bad as Star Trek: Discovery but the more episodes that tick by, the more Picard struggles to stand out next to so many other, better, Star Trek offerings. Given what we’ve learnt this season and the Mass Effect-esque apocalyptic prophecy now hanging over this, those die-hard Trekkies are likely going to end up feeling pretty sour over Picard overall.
After a bumpy journey through the portal, episode 9 of Picard sees the misfit group make it through to the other side, where they’re immediately attacked by Narek’s ship. Suddenly the Borg Cube follows them through the portal too, while they’re approached by five “bogeys”, giant flowers emanating from the planet’s surface.
After arguing about what to call these alien creatures, the ship crashes down to the planet’s surface along with the Borg Cube too, as Picard passes out moments before hitting the ground. Confused by the brilliant white lights beaming down on him when he wakes up, Picard asks what’s going on. “I didn’t know there were windows!” Agnes exclaims, as she stands on a spaceship surrounded by windows that can see into the vast expanse of space.
Picard addresses the ship’s crew and tells them he intends to bring Soji to her people, along with informing them that he’s not well. After some discussion, they make a plan and head out the ship with guns in-tow. Picard decides to take a detour first though and they head toward the Cube again in the hope of finding Elnor and Hugh alive.
Finding a gap in the hull, Picard reassures Soji that all will be well and as they continue on, Picard eventually does find Elnor, along with Seven too. He says his goodbyes after seeing that they’re safe, and the group carry on their way.
Picard and the others make it to the synth hideout and find a whole group of synthetics there. Soji warns them that Romulans are on the way to attack before he finds Dr Altan – a man who looks exactly like Data. Or at least the Data we saw in the first episode playing chess with Picard.
As they continue on, they find another synth, this one a lot less human-like but identical to Soji and Dahj. This earlier model is Sutra, a synthetic that contemplates with them over whether the Romulans are genuinely losing their minds.
Agnes decides to let Sutra share their thoughts and feelings together, where we learn that the synthetics have been watching over everything. This prophetic message sees more clarity for the synthetics, as they’re warned that the organics will turn on them sooner rather than later.
Rios says his goodbyes to Agnes as he heads off to fix his ship while the latter decides to help with Maddox’s research and stay behind. Raffi meanwhile tells Picard she loves him, which he deliberates over before saying it back, as this bizarre exchange juxtaposes the tone used in the rest of the episode.
Meanwhile, Narek manages to break free from his cell by manipulating Sutra. After stabbing one of the guards through the eye on his escape, Sutra holds a funeral and discusses this revelation with the group. Picard decides to step forward and discusses how he’ll take all the synthetics to a better place and speak to Star Command and try to make this happen. However, they decide to put Agnes and Picard under house arrest instead.
As the episode closes out, we see the Romulan fleet first-hand and see how many are coming through the portal.
Tonally, Picard has been a bit all over the place during its 9 episodes so far. There’s been pockets of jokes, bizarrely placed romance that have little build up and ebb-and-flow, while the duality of the two storylines lack substance and intrigue. The Borg sub-plot has all but dissipated now as we see the final fight for the fate of the universe develop, inevitably likely to result in a big, CGI-packed space battle.
Given the opening parts of this episode, complete with the deux ex machina of ships preventing the group from perishing, Picard has really struggled to steer clear of these cliches through the entire show. While the ideas surrounding racism are topical, the conflicting way this has been developed alongside the different alien races and Star Command is a little incredulous at times. That’s to say nothing for the one-note jokes and deadpan expressions that do little to elevate the material.
With the finale up next, Picard may just end with a roar rather than a whimper yet. Whether it’ll actually follow through with this and rise up though, remains to be seen.