Who Star Trek: Picard's Fenris Rangers Are (& What They Mean For The Federation)
Who are Star Trek: Picard's Fenris Rangers, and why are they bad news for the Federation? As the first season of Star Trek: Picard hits its midway point, the latest Star Trek series finds Jean-Luc's twilight space adventure in full swing, as his crew of mercenaries, spies and warrior nuns draws closer to its goal of finding Soji, one of Data's synthetic twin daughters. In "Absolute Candor," Picard returns to Vashti, a place where he once helped relocate Romulans during the evacuation and bonded with the locals. Upon returning, the former Starfleet Admiral is informed the situation has changed, and Vashti isn't as welcoming as it once was. Picard responds by asserting that Vashti is in Fenris Rangers territory and therefore should be fine, but Captain Rios reveals the Rangers haven't the resources to operate effectively against criminals any longer.Click the button below to start this article in quick view. Start now
The crew's ominous warnings come to pass when La Sirena is attacked by a stolen Bird of Prey, but the good guys are aided by a mysterious new arrival, who is eventually beamed aboard by Rios and revealed to be none other than Seven of Nine, with Jeri Ryan reprising her role from Star Trek: Voyager. Seven claims to have been working with the previously mentioned Fenris Rangers in recent years, and her employment reveals plenty about the current political landscape in Star Trek: Picard.
From what has been revealed thus far, it seems the Fenris Rangers were formed in response to Starfleet's decision to halt the Romulan evacuation, aiming to keep peace within a galaxy undergoing huge upheaval. Seven claims she and some others based on Fenris decided to start helping those the Federation left behind, and this appears to mark the origin of the Fenris Rangers. As Jean-Luc describes them, the Rangers are vigilantes unsanctioned by any official government, but he does also recognize their genuine desire to rescue those in need. Unfortunately, the Fenris Rangers have fallen on increasingly hard times, likely due to a lack of support from the Federation, and have very little money left to continue their job - so much so that Seven of Nine uses this as an excuse to steal two phasers from La Sirena. It's revealed that not only did the Rangers once patrol Vashti to protect the settlement from outlaws, they also helped the planet install a basic defense system.
Unfortunately, just as Batman's existence is a damning indictment of Gotham City's criminal justice system, the formation of the Fenris Rangers is demonstrative of an increasingly creaky Federation. Firstly, it becomes clear that Picard's openly-stated opinion that Starfleet abandoned their principles when they ceased the Romulan evacuation is actually more common than first suggested. In Star Trek: Picard's opening episodes, Jean-Luc's car crash interview paints him as a crusty relic with overly-optimistic ideals about peace and harmony among historically warring races, but the Fenris Rangers prove the former Enterprise captain does have like-minded allies. Consequently, it's all the stranger that Picard chastises Seven of Nine for taking the law into her own hands, as she clearly shares his reservations about Starfleet's crumbling morality.
Also concerning is that the Federation not only stopped evacuating Romulans, but now seem content to allow settlements such as Vashti to fall into lawlessness, where criminals can commandeer Klingon warships and attack civilian vessels freely without fear of punishment. It's hard to imagine such acts would fly back in Captain Kirk's day. Star Trek: Picard has made clear that Starfleet are no longer to be trusted and appear to have been compromised, and this may have directly impacted the Federation's decision to allow planets they helped populate to descend into chaos. Alternatively, perhaps it was the Federation's slipping standards that allowed corruption to creep in.
This increasingly divisive Federation could lead directly towards season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery. In the far future, the Federation's power and influence has been greatly reduced, with only a few member states remaining. It's possible that the current events of Star Trek: Picard could show the first steps of that decline, with the Fenris Rangers providing the first spark of disillusionment with the Federation, which could eventually grow into a full-on exodus.
Star Trek: Picard continues with "The Impossible Box" February 27th on CBS All Access & Amazon Prime Video the next day.