It’s the night before the Europa mission, and maintaining the course of history can only happen if Renee Picard is one of the astronauts on the spaceship. To that end, Picard and his crew infiltrate the pre-launch gala in order to keep a close watch on his illustrious ancestor. But Q has sent Adam Soong to disrupt proceedings, while Agnes continues to struggle with the Borg Queen’s presence inside her mind.
We’re entering the second half of a ten-episode season about saving the very course of history, so you might imagine it would be time to pick up the pace a bit. Not so, say the writers of Picard, preferring instead to devote an entire episode to a black-tie gala. Now, I’ll admit that the sight of Patrick Stewart et al in their evening wear is pretty swish, but it hardly makes up for the episode’s many flaws.
We start the episode with Jean-Luc Picard lying on the ground, seemingly bleeding and in some distress. But wait, you say, doesn’t he have a golem body? Why is he bleeding? We’ll come back to that point later – for now, all we need to know is that Picard is in trouble.
We then flash back to half an hour or so earlier, when Picard was hale, hearty, and about the engage in a battle to rival the likes of Wolf 359. On the side of good are Picard and his crew, who must infiltrate a gala to protect Renée Picard. On the side of evil are Q and his accomplice, Adam Soong. Their job is to persuade Renée to drop out of the Europa mission. To that end, everyone hangs out at the party, while Q texts Renée with messages of discouragement. It’s high tension, edge of your seat stuff. What will Raffi order at the bar? Will Picard manage to stop calling Tallinn Laris?
Anyway, Picard manages to track down Renée and deliver a patent Starfleet Captain Inspiring Speech, convincing her that she should go on the Europa mission after all. Renée is ultimately safely delivered to pre-flight quarantine, but Jean-Luc does not fare as well – he gets run over by Adam Soong.
Fortunately, Rios has just the thing – Dr Ramirez is back at her clinic, and despite the fact that Rios managed to get her arrested before, she can hardly turn away a badly injured old man. Picard undergoes treatment while the others prevaricate about his numerous “organ transplants”, in a scene which only raises further questions. What is Picard’s golem body? I thought it was something along the lines of the body Data and the other androids/synthetics possess, which would by no means pass for human. We know the golem body will die one day, but that was implied to be programmed obsolescence rather than actual mortality. Does Picard have organs that look and function sufficiently like human ones that they can be treated by 21st century medicine? Is anything meant to make sense any more?
- Poor Agnes – she’s made a deal with the devil and now she basically has to dance to the Borg Queen’s tune. That most fearsome of beings, the embodiment of an implacable force that has assimilated entire civilisations, clearly has some dark plans for Agnes – such as making her sing to a room full of people. Just wait until they hit up a karaoke bar.
- We get another flashback of Picard’s mother, seemingly being dragged away for the heinous crime of being mentally ill.
- Kore finds out that she’s the latest in a long series of clones by virtue of looking at some video files that Soong helpfully left on his computer for anyone to find.
- Tallinn appears to have various magical devices at her command, including one that will let her dive into Picard’s mind to restore his consciousness. Remember when Star Trek at least attempted a veneer of scientific plausibility? I almost miss the days of the psychotricorder.
Summary – Two of One: and half a quartet of the other. Will the pace pick up any time soon?