In the last review I mentioned that the series had finally gotten to the story and the story was good, little did I know that they really meant it and we were finally in the meat of this, the first season of Star Trek Picard. How good was this episode? Well, read on and see!
The Impossible Box
Now armed with the knowledge of where Soji is located, Picard and his crew must find their way on to The Artifact, a captured Borg Cube, in order to rescue her. There Picard finds that his past still hurts but he must push through it in order to save someone else’s future.
Is it a ‘Good’ Episode?
We finally get some solid Soji story and all it took was for the two story-lines to converge leading up to one pretty serious cliff hanger. Directed by Maja Vrvilo, this episode really dives not only into the story of Picard’s determination to save Soji but also deeper into the lives of a few of the characters themselves.
For Picard, this is a moment he has been dreading for most of his life, the return to a Borg cube and to the memories of being Locutus. Although Picard managed to defeat the Borg Queen in the events of First Contact, allowing him some reprieve from the trauma of being assimilated, with any personal violation the anxiety and fear never fully went away. In fact, as Picard got older and lost his support system in The Federation itself, that pain seems to have only grown. Now practically alone and facing odds like never before, we see a Picard who is suffering from some serious PTSD. I love how Patrick Stewart not only takes on this role emotionally but we see it in his physical presence as well. Throughout the episode Picard actually looked old which was a direct dark reflection of his previous appearances. In this mirror we see a physically and emotionally tired old man who is desperate to finish his mission despite the fact that he knows his days are numbered. Seeing this weakened and old Picard is shocking but really allows Stewart to add some previously unseen depth to this classic character.
This frailty is compounded when he finally comes face to face with the cube itself and his deep fears of being assimilated returning. It is an experience he can not get past no matter how hard he tries and it will probably be one he will take to his grave. I know this next statement is probably going to be met with some resistance but I have a feeling this series will end with the death of our favorite Enterprise Captain. I know…tough to think about but where else do you think they are headed?
Where Picard deals with his frailties, we finally get to the turning point on Soji’s story. Coming face to face with her true self she is beginning on the same journey that is taking Picard to his end. Is that the purpose of this series to give us a new ‘next generation’ to Trek though? I wont go into too much detail but, after the rather silly sock slide dance I was really ready to give up on Soji and her story. Now that we have finally reached that key moment in her character arc, I have a feeling she is about to get much more interesting. Actor Isa Briones finally gets a chance to shine and boy does she ever. I am seriously looking forward to what she brings in the next entry.
The rest of the cast continue to be solid through and through with
Elrond Elnor just being the awesome Romu-nun Warrior that he is, Captain Rios being…well..Captain Rios, Raffi being the killer hacker/drunk and even the vile Dr Jurati really showing her true uncaring colors, Picard’s crew just shines. Heck, even the rather incestuous Romulans along with the amazing Jonathan Del Arco as Hugh, there really is not a bad actor in the bunch.
Overall, this is more of the series we have been waiting for. Gone is the exposition and now we are in the full on throws of story telling at it’s finest. Not only does Picard come face to face with his old fear of being aboard a Borg Cube, but we finally see a brilliant reunion between Hugh and The Captain of the Enterprise. I love that the episode is one that really attacks several angles at once with PTSD, racism and self discovery among the more prevalent subjects. It may seem that they are tackling a lot on this series but man are they doing it well.
Observation Deck: Lots of SPOILERS HERE SO BE WARNED
- So it Soji now knows what she is, but not who she is yet. I know that is coming but I did find it interesting that she did not seem to have the programming to recognize Picard. Her sister did immediately when she was in danger but Soji truly did not know who he was even when he mentioned his name. I wonder if this was an oversight or a clue to her true origins…could she be more than she appears? Is she really Data’s daughter after-all? And really Narek, did you think she could be killed so easily?
- While we opened this episode with yet another flashback I have to wonder if that was really Soji as a child or just her false memory of her as a child. I have to believe she has been an adult for only three years as her scanning device suggested. Plus bravo on the Mom IA thing. Not what I expected at all.
- Speaking of Narek. Do we really believe he was just playing all along…I mean he is a much better Romulan than his sister but seriously this is clearly a love story playing out. He’s not done with Soji.
- The reunion between Hugh and Picard was incredible. The last time these two saw one another was in Descent parts One and Two when Hugh remained behind to help the disconnected Borg. I have to wonder what he has been doing since that time and before his work with the Borg Reclamation Program. It was also interesting that Picard did not tell Hugh who Soji was…would he have known that she was in fact Lore’s daughter?
- So the Borg Queen teleporter had a nice Voyager tie in. The tech was from the Sikarans from the Voyager episode Prime Factors. It seems the Borg had no qualms about taking the tech by force unlike some other Captain… Now, I wonder where they could have gone to? hmmmmmm
- Okay, we’ve got to talk about Doctor Jurati and her attempted seduction of Captain Rios. She literally just killed someone and now is trying to sleep with the Captain? Dude the Zhat Vash really know how to recruit them don’t they? I have a feeling her meeting with Soji is not going to be as pleasant.
- There is a heavy implication that Picard still has some implants in him despite his full reclamation. He remembers things about the Borg that he should not have maintained, such as the existence of a Borg Queen room. Could these implants be the cause of his medical issues…could they be used to heal him?
I guess we will have to wait until next time when we finally meet up with the Riker family! As usual, some screen shots of next weeks episode below!
Star Trek The Next Generation I Borg
Star Trek The Next Generation Descent Parts 1 and 2
Star Trek the Next Generation Best of Both Worlds Parts 1 and 2
Star Trek Voyager Prime Factors
Star Trek First Contact
You can watch this episode now on CBSAllAccess. Do it now. It is well worth it.
Thanks for reading the SciFi TV Review I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you!
If you would like to read more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and for more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here.
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Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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Late To The Game 2/27/2020
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