It occured to me while watching Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 4 that, even in the future, roadtrips can be super frustrating.
Picard’s crew has settled into archetypal roles pretty quickly with Dr. Jurati nervously nattering on aimlessly, Rios trying to find a quiet place to read, and Raffi raging at every change in the itinerary.
So what’s misisng on this crew? Some muscle with no tact. Yup, gotta have that.
Once again, we get a glimpse of what life was like before the synth attack on Mars.
Then-Admiral Picard’s in the middle of organizing the Romulan relocation and has made connections with the Qowat Milat, yet ANOTHER Romulan organization we knew nothing about.
To be fair, it makes sense that there’s SOMETHING to balance the Tal Shiar’s uber-secrecy and pretty much all the other secrecy involved in Romulan society.
And Romulan warrior nuns totally dunks the anti-AI Zhat Vash cabal, concept-wise.
Of course, the whole episode is both a literal and figurative detour.
In the flashback, we see Picard as the shining hero, arriving for a bit of a rest on Vashti, dressed all in white.
He is swarmed by Romulan refugees looking for news. He is calmly reassuring, confident in the Federation’s efforts in relocating the Romulans before the star goes supernova.
It is a stark contrast to his return in the present-day, dressed in black and reviled by the local populace.
Fourteen years makes for a lot of change especially on a planet settled by refugees of a culture which once dominated its neighbors with sheer might and ruthless ambition.
It’s a little odd that Picard is so unaware of what Vashti is like now. I know he was busy running a vineyard but the old Picard kept himself up-to-date on goings-on of the galaxy.
He obviously viewed Vashti as a sanctuary and even seemed to have bought into his own legend as “Saint Picard” based on his surprise that his name alone wasn’t enough to be granted access through the planet’s defence shields.
Picard: Call Central Station. Tell them it’s me.
Raffi: That was the first thing we did. Frankly, they were not impressed.
This has been a recurring theme. From his reception at Starfleet Command to how he is viewed and treated by the gen pop Romulans on Vashti, Jean-Luc is definitely realizing that many don’t value the good intentions he had fourteen years ago.
Those intentions have been dramatically over-shadowed by his failure to deliver on his promises.
People don’t remember intentions when the failed mission means hundreds of millions of their compatriots.
His relationship with Zani and Elnor is also curious. I’m not sure what the point was of telling the child he was making the admiral uncomfortable.
For one thing, on the surface at least, it didn’t seem accurate.
For another, it didn’t seem to change any of Elnor’s behaviors.
Zani’s statements to Picard, on the other hand, both in the past and present, are pretty spot-on.
There’s something pretty zen about Zani. She’s made peace with a lot of disappointments and, once it’s revealed how qalankhkai choose their quests, that seems to be a part of the vocation
Because you could not save everyone, you chose to save no one.
Elnor, on the other hand, may have completed his Qowat Milat training but he is YOUNG.
Since Romulans are nearly as long-lived as Vulcans, Elnor who is probably, at MOST, thirty years old, is really a toddler in Romulan terms.
In fact, except for the fact he can disarm two men and take a third man’s head off in three seconds, he comes across as a tall, long-haired version of the kid in the flashback.
I’m not a fan so far but I can see the potential for some entertaining conversations between him and Dr. Jurati.
After all, my money’s still on her to be the turncoat.
Anyone else think that the Way of Absolute Candor sounds potentially annoying?
Can we take a moment to talk about Rios and his holographic schizophrenia?
First, there’s the Irish-y EMH whom he’s fairly frank with.
Then we meet the solicitous hospitality holo whom he really hates.
Finally, in the heat of battle and in very real danger of being smooshed into a barrier of killer drones, we meet Emmet, a Spanish-only speaking holo Rios activates to operate the weapons while he concentrates on evasive maneuvers.
It was interesting that Emmet didn’t bother to do the shooting he was activated to do. Once he’d calculated the poor odds, it seems that he didn’t think it was worth the effort.
Keep in mind, he’s a hologram. Effort shouldn’t really be a factor in his decision-making.
In general, the captain keeps his own company.
So. Many. Questions.
I’m starting to form a theory that Rios himself is a hologram and the whole entourage is just a case of a ship’s computer manifesting multiple personalities after its captain died.
Maybe it even explains the Klingon opera. It definitely explains the reading material.
Meanwhile, the showrunners insist on shoving something romantic down our throats over on The Artifact.
I never thought about it before but a Borg Cube isn’t exactly set up for recreation.
They wouldn’t have holodecks or lounges like 10-Forward.
Borgs spend their time either fulfilling a mission or dormant in their alcove.
So where does a fella take a girl he’s trying to impress? A slippy-slidey ventilation return corridor!
Before I go any further, let me state for the record that I really like Harry Treadaway. I do. A lot. Loved him in Showtime’s Penny Dreadful as Victor Frankenstein.
But Narek is painful to watch, both in his scenes with Soji and with Narissa.
I’m not sure whether it’s how he’s written or if romantic entanglements just don’t work for me in the context of Star Trek.
(I still grind my teeth over the Michael Burnham/Ash Tyler waste of time on Star Trek: Discovery.)
Narissa’s obviously not likeable but at least she’s got crazy going for her. Narek’s just sort of enigmatically meh.
Soji: What are you doing, Narek?
Narek: The same thing you’re doing. Feeding an insatiable curiosity.
Anyone else a little thrown off by how the Romulans are made-up in this series?
Or maybe it’s the costuming that has me puzzled. We haven’t seen the traditional quilted armor, humongous shoulder-pads-you-need-to-turn-sideways-to-fit-through-a-doorway look.
Sleek-looking Romulans are an adjustment I haven’t quite made yet.
Anyhoo, the primary reason to watch Star Trek: Picard online this week is those final few moments when the hero who saves Picard et al from the Bird of Prey is revealed.
SEVEN. OF. NINE.
Boo-ya. Mic drop, baby.
Who wants to bet Raffi’s gonna be pissed?
Let’s see what sort of shenanigans you think this crew will get up to. Meet you in the comments!
And we sure would appreciate a follow of our new Twitter account as we work to rebuild our audience!
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.