And here we are. The season finale of what was one of the most anticipated scifi tv series in the last decade. I honestly believe that the only thing that could get close to the anticipation for this series is if they announced a second season if Firefly…but that’s about as likely to happen as Half Life 3.
To say this was a worthy ending of a stellar season would be an understatement, so here we go. Allow me to present the season finale of Star Trek Picard.
Et In Arcadia Ego, Part 2
Picard and crew must find a way to stop the destruction of biological life and Soji must make a choice of her own.
Is it a ‘Good’ Episode?
As I said above, Holy crap, this was everything I wanted and more. From the story wrap-up to the emotional beats, there was not a wasted moment in the entire episode. I have to say that I am most pleased with the careful line of Nostalgia that Chabon and team tread throughout this episode and this series, never slipping too far in to fan service but also being poignantly aware of what the fans would want. It’s never easy for writers and producers to please everyone, and even this episode wont do succeed in that, but frankly, I don’t think they could have done better if they tried.
Before I really dive in, I have to say that my biggest complaint was that they announced Picard season 2 before this season ended. That in and of itself really diluted the emotional impact of a few of the moments because well…how can you have Picard season 2 without Picard? So, although it is conceivable that that was a red herring, a dangerous and sharp fanged Red Herring, it wasn’t likely to be. That being said, this episode is still one of the most satisfying finale’s of nearly any Star Trek series thus far.
Bottom line, this episode, and this series itself is simply one of the finest work coming out of the new CBS Star Trek team. The fact that this even exists is a testament to how beloved this franchise is, and how much we freaking adore Patrick Stewart as Jean Luc Picard. If you haven’t watched it yet, what are you doing here, Go watch it now! heck, go watch this entire season over again!
Okay, from here on out there be spoilers so lets take the turbo life to the….
Normally this is a place for speculation and observation but since we don’t have another episode behind this one, well, we will just dive into the episode itself and discus some of the key moments, including the one I refereed to above. Remember, this is spoiler central so this is your last chance to turn back.. Okay.
You were warned….
Picard Dies. Wait? WHAT? I wasn’t ready for that! Oh man.
No, really, it’s okay, because he gets better…
You see, this episode and really this season, is all about sacrifice and redemption, all about beginnings and ends. From the start, we saw Picard still suffering from the sacrifice of his career for the greater good and, ultimately his chance for redemption when the daughter of Data practically fell into his lap. Renewed with hope and a sense of purpose, Picard has a chance to not only redeem himself in his own eyes, but to possibly correct a grievous error caused by the destruction of the Utopia Planitia shipyards some 14 years prior.
This chance for redemption was not just another mission for Jean Luc, but a journey that could possibly be his final mission due to a brain abnormality that, he knew, could only lead to his death. While this has been a threat this entire series, no one, except Picard, really took this possible fate seriously…until it was. You see, Picard does in fact face his end after succeeding in his one wish through a final sacrifice, saving Data’s children and proving to the universe that Androids are not the threat that they are believed to be.
It is through this final sacrifice that Picard was able to finish one other mission, to finally come to peace with the loss of his best friend and confidant, Commander Data. Years Prior, Data sacrificed himself to save Picard and this was something that the Admiral never fully forgave himself for. You see, Picard imagined that Data would live long enough to be the human the android dreamed to be and, in his sacrifice he somewhat fulfilled that dream. When the Federation banned synthetics, this hit home even harder knowing that everything Data stood for had been forgotten and ignored. It is in Picard’s death that we finally get the resolution Jean Luc had always dreamed of. He is finally reunited with Commander Data in Data’s own memory engrams.
Reuniting with Data, Picard finishes the final part of this journey, to say farewell to his best friend. You see, Data had been alive this entire time in the memory engrams used to create Soji and her people. In a way, Data never got a chance to experience the final step in humanity, to have mortality, to be able to die. With Picard’s memories having be transferred to the Android Golem Body (from the last episode), Picard and Data finally get the closure they both desire. Picard get’s to say goodbye to his old friend and Data get’s to grow old and die. It is a beautiful moment and one that both Stewart and Spiner really bring home to a perfect conclusion for both characters.
Okay, so we get a heartbreaking and satisfying ending but what about that ‘Destroyer of Worlds’ stuff and the Romulan threat?
Yes, of course this is resolved, In fact it also fits in with the sacrifice and redemption arc Picard goes through, but this time for Soji.
From the start, Soji finds herself facing beginnings and endings time and again. From the death of her ‘human’ life the discovery that she is an android. Upon this discovery she is presented with one of the biggest choices of her life, to finalize the death of her humanity by killing all biological life in the galaxy or embracing the humanity her father once sought and choose to be better than her oppressors.
When faced with this, she finds that it is not an easy task, in fact at first she fails bringing about the entire Romulan armada down on her home planet. With Commodore (General?) Oh literally moments away from destroying everything she loves, Soji summons the beast they all feared bringing about what I can only describe is Robothulhu. In the 11th hour, it is through none other than Picard’s sacrifice that Soji realizes what must be done in order to be the person she was meant to be, not the Destroyer, but the Unifier of both Synthetics and Biological beings. It is clear it was not an easy decision, but in the end, the progeny of Data (and Maddox and Soong…heh, My Three Dads?) makes a decision that would make her Father(s) proud, she saves everyone trusting in the one person that has never lied to her, no not Picard, herself.
While early in the season I wasn’t overly impressed with Isa Briones’ portrayal of Data’s Daughters, I have to say she really came into her own in this last half of the season. Like I mentioned in previous reviews, there is something about Patrick Stewart that brings out the best in his fellow actors and boy did she shine once the two of them found one another. I look forward to seeing where this young actor goes and I hope that we see much more of her character in season two, whenever that comes.
The rest of the cast are phenomenal, and, while this end mostly focuses on Soji and Picard, their characters each get some key moments that really provide them all a chance to shine. Seven of Nine finally gets her revenge on Narissa for killing Hugh, Agnes Jurati redeems herself by choosing to save Picard (see redemption theme here) Captain Rios finds his place as the Captain of a rag-tag crew and even Raffi gets her moment in realizing she is part of a something bigger than herself. The only character I felt was short changed was that of our resident Romulan Elf, Elnor. I really hope he gets more moments to shine in season two as I really think he is underused despite being one of the most fascinating characters on the screen.
One of the biggest treats, to me at least, was seeing Captain Riker in the big chair in the final battle with General Oh and the Romulan Fleet. While I would have loved to have seen Captain Worf in this final episode, it only made sense for Picard’s own Number One to be leading the Calvary. Facing insurmountable odds, it was wonderful to see the former 1st Officer of the Enterprise show that he learned a lot from his mentor, friend and Captain. Honestly, from what we saw, I for one would not want to face Riker in battle. This dude is intense. I have to wonder how he convinced Deanna to let him go though…he must owe her BIG TIME! Nevertheless, that fleet standoff was something seriously incredible.
Finally, the small moments and loose threads.
- While Commadore (General?) Oh has been revealed to be a Romulan traitor she and her fleet get away leaving her to remain a threat in the galaxy. You can almost guarantee we will see her again…maybe even rebuilding the Romulan Empire itself now that the Synth threat has been…resolved?
- While Narek does end up helping the crew of the La Sirena in the end, we don’t see him after the final conflict with Robothulhu. I have to wonder where he ends up…seeing that he and Soji have a past I doubt he will be gone long.
- Speaking of Robothulu, it got a taste of our universe…do you REALLY think it’s gone for good? I imagine this game is far from over.
- We see a small moment between Seven and Raffi in the closing scenes implying that the two have found solace in one another. I have to wonder how this will play out. And if they actually played that game of Kal-Toh that they had between them?
- I also love how it looks like Seven is a permanent part of the crew at the end…does this mean we might find out what happened to more of the Voyager crew next season? Maybe some DS9’ers as well? Please?
- I am also VERY pleased that Altan Soong into a badguy, just a misunderstood mad scientist. As Data said..the Soongs are an acquired taste. Hopefully this means Brent Spiner will be back in season two as well. Even for a moment.
- Finally, what will become of the Android Race and Soong himself. Will we see more Androids in the future series? And how will being an Android himself affect Jean Luc? I guess only time will tell. Until then….
Thank you to the entire Star Trek team for such an incredible series. I look forward to whatever else you bring. Now to wait for Discovery Season 3…
You can watch this episode and the rest of Star Trek Picard now on CBSAllAccess. Do it now. It is well worth it.
Thanks for reading the SciFi TV Review I look forward to seeing you again.
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Late To The Game 3/26/2020
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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