Star Trek Picard: Monsters

Picard’s body has been treated, but his mind has retreated deep within itself. The only one who can save him is Tallinn, who puts together the technological equivalent of a mind meld to dive into Picard’s mind and guide him back to reality. Meanwhile, Seven and Raffi search for Agnes, who has almost certainly fallen under the control of the Borg Queen.

I had been pre-warned by my occasional viewing companion that the pace of this episode would be excruciatingly slow, and so I must admit that I went in with my expectations set low. It’s just as well, really, as it does feel we’ve hit a low point in terms of pacing and quality this season.

Let’s turn our attention first to the eponymous Jean-Luc Picard, who came off rather the worse from an encounter with Adam Soong’s car. Picard’s body might have been fixed easily enough, but his mind remains trapped within a traumatic past. Is he reliving the time he was assimilated by the Borg and forced to fight against the Federation at the Battle of Wolf 359? How about that time he was captured and tortured by Gul Madred? Maybe, at a push, that time he became an energy cloud in Lonely Among Us? Or any of the dramatic things that happened in the four TNG movies?

No, of course he isn’t. Just as earlier episodes teased, Picard is trapped in some kind of childhood trauma involving his mother, one which apparently has stunted his emotional development for the last nine decades. We’re given a bit of a bait-and-switch here – although we’re initially led to believe that young Jean-Luc and his mother were the victims of an abusive father, the truth seems somewhat more complicated. From what we can deduce here, Picard’s mother suffered from some sort of mental illness that led her to believe it was necessary to hide in some dangerous series of tunnels under Chateau Picard. Young Jean-Luc got trapped down there, and it was actually his father that saved him. Even then, it seems like there’s more to the story, but that’s all we get for now.

Fortunately, Tallinn came armed with some sort of magical MacGuffin device, which lets her dive into Picard’s mind and rescue him from his nightmare. Will there be a point to any of this? At this point, it’s hard to say.

And what of the rest of Picard’s trusty crew? We get a few scenes of Raffi and Seven searching for Agnes, but there’s not much development on that front either. If this is meant to be a key plot thread for the season, I wish it would be given better drama and pacing. So far, Queen Agnes has sung some karaoke and smashed a window – big deal.

While all this is going on, Rios makes some half-hearted overtures towards keeping Ramirez and her son in the dark about the fact that he and Picard are from the future. Well, at least until he gives up entirely and just shows them La Sirena and a whole host of future technology. Still, I’m sure there’ll be no lasting consequences, eh?

Notes and Observations

  • We already knew that Q was wary of Guinan back in TNG, but it seems like the El Aurians as a whole have been able to hold their own against a Q and even forge a pact of sorts. I know the El Aurians are long-lived and good listeners, but they hardly seem to be on the same level as a group of omnipotent, universe-bending beings.
  • Why is Picard’s brother nowhere in the flashbacks? Have we just forgotten about Robert entirely?
  • Rios’s line “I’m from Chile, I just work in outer space” is a nod to Kirk’s “I’m from Iowa, I just work in outer space” line in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
  • Tallinn turns out to be Romulan, so it’s likely that she’s an ancestor of Laris.

Summary – Monsters: I hate to overuse this, but when are we going to get to the fireworks factory?

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