Star Trek Picard: Watcher

With his team still missing in LA, Picard decides to take matters into his own hands and seek out The Watcher himself. But when he arrives at the designated coordinates, he finds an old friend – albeit one who doesn’t remember him. Meanwhile, Seven and Raffi attempted to rescue Rios before he gets deported.

Having spent an entire episode chatting with Agnes and the Borg Queen on Rios’s ship, Picard realises that a TV show named after him really should have more Picard action. After a quick trip to the ruins of Chateau Picard – complete with flashback to his mother – Picard heads off to LA, where he happens to find his old friend Guinan. Only, this isn’t the Guinan we know and love – instead of Whoopi Goldberg being calm and enigmatic in an oversized hat, we have Ito Aghayere playing an angry, disillusioned, hatless Guinan. Due to timeline shenanigans, she doesn’t remember Picard, and she has to be coaxed into helping him find The Watcher.

I’m ambivalent about these changes. This version of Guinan is a decent character in her own right, but she doesn’t feel like ‘our’ Guinan at all. I can understand the desire to pack this show with as many references and comfortingly familiar faces as possible, but I would have preferred it if Guinan-2024 wasn’t actually Guinan, but perhaps a relative or friend.

Anyway, after spending most of the episode being unwilling to help this random human who showed up in her bar, Guinan finally gives in when she realises that this is Picard, and the name of the show is Star Trek Picard. She takes him to The Watcher, a being who ultimately seems to be a human version of the Romulan Laris. Along the way we learn that Watchers appear to be galactic guardian angels, whose duty is to watch over certain individuals and make sure that history proceeds the way it’s supposed to. I can’t say I’m thrilled with this turn of events – didn’t we have enough of the science-fantasy bullshit last season? Do we really need yet another powerful alien race watching over the integrity of space and time?

Raffi and Seven, on the road again

Meanwhile, everyone’s favourite lesbian power couple are attempting to rescue Rios, who is due to be deported to a Sanctuary District. Fortunately, Raffi’s tricorder has special sonic screwdriver properties, enabling her to hack a laptop and also steal a car. What follows is then the tired trope of “character from the future can’t drive a car”, which, quite frankly, is pretty painful to watch by this point.

But what of Agnes, I hear you ask? She’s still stuck on the ship, verbally and mentally jousting with the Borg Queen – something which we can only expect can’t end well. Everyone keeps telling us how clever Agnes is, but her abilities seem entirely driven by what the plot needs at any point in time.

Notes and References

  • Q appears to be losing his powers, but why?
  • Guinan’s bar is at 10 Forward Avenue.
  • In the original timeline, Guinan met Picard and crew in the 19th century during the events of Time’s Arrow. But since the changes in the timeline mean that the Enterprise-D never existed, the events of Time’s Arrow didn’t happen. Thus the altered future retroactively affected the past, and this version of Guinan didn’t meet Picard before 2024.
  • The punk on the bus listening to loud music is a callback to a similar scene in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. In fact, it’s the same actor, and he’s listening to what seems to be a remix or follow-up to the original song.
  • At the end of the episode, Q is sitting in Jackson Roykirk Plaza. Jackson Roykirk was first mentioned in TOS episode The Changeling, as the designer of the Nomad space probe that launched in 2002.
  • Apparently Chateau Picard was abandoned for at least a century after the Nazi Occupation of France.

Summary – Watcher: Picard is a destined main character! Who would have guessed it?

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