Star Trek Guide

Star Trek Theory: Picard Gives Soji A DS9 Trill Ability

Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Picard Episode 8

In Star Trek: Picard, Soji (Isa Briones) is discovering she has many abilities, but is one of them the same as the Trills on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine? The CBS All-Access series led by Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard centers on Soji and her role in the struggle to determine the future of artificial lifeforms in the United Federation of Plants - a future the Romulan Tal Shiar wants to eradicate at any cost. Meanwhile, Soji is learning more and more things about herself as a synthetic after she was "activated" by Narek (Harry Treadaway) and one of her new talents is reminiscent of something DS9's Jazdia (Terry Farrell) and Ezri Dax (Nicole DeBoer) were known for.

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Soji (along with her twin sister Dahj) is the latest generation of synthetics built by Dr. Bruce Maddox (John Ales) from one of the late Commander Data's (Brent Spiner) positronic neurons - this essentially makes Soji Data's daughter. Soji theorizes she was built 37 months before the events of Star Trek: Picard, which is set in 2399, but she spent most of the last three years believing she was Dr. Soji Asha, her programmed cover identity. On the Artifact, which is the Borg Cube captured by the Romulans, Soji was part of the Borg Reclamation Project, where she worked as a therapist for the reclaimed Borg, known as XBs. However, Soji was targeted by Narek, who is a member of the synthetics-hating sect of the Tal Shiar called the Zhat Vash, and he tortured her until she inadvertently revealed information about her homeworld, where the other synthetics like her reside. Luckily, Soji was rescued by Jean-Luc Picard and his ragtag crew aboard the starship La Sirena have promised to take Data's daughter back to her homeworld.

As Soji struggles to cope with Narek's betrayal and the fact that her memories are actually implanted programs, naturally, she has trust issues, including towards Picard. However, at the urging of Kestra (Lulu Wilson), the young daughter of Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes), Soji is giving Picard a chance to earn her trust. In Star Trek: Picard episode 8, "Broken Pieces," Soji and the Starfleet legend had a heart-to-heart conversation about Data and Picard's relationship to him, which was one of the best scenes in the entire series. Soji pointedly asked Picard if he loved Data, to which the Admiral replied, "In my way." Soji then asked Picard to describe himself the way Data saw him, and as Jean-Luc spoke, Soji processed his words as if they were triggering Data's memories about Picard. Finally, Soji declared, "He loved you," as if she was speaking for Data.

For Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fans, what Soji did was similar to the Trills' ability to recall their past lives. A joined Trill has a symbiont in their bellies that contains their previous lifetimes of memories, all of which the current host has access to. Thus, Jadzia Dax had access to the experiences of the Dax symbiont's seven prior hosts. When Jadzia died and Ezri Tigan was joined to become Ezri Dax, she had trouble reconciling her true self from the personalities and histories of Dax's eight prior hosts, including Jadzia, who was married to Worf (Michael Dorn).

Similarly, via the single neuron of Data's that Soji was created from through neuronic fractal cloning, it seems like she can access Data's memories, albeit involuntarily. Additionally, Soji's memory recall also seems to apply to prior versions of her own synthetic line because Soji remembered an interaction a previous identical synthetic, Jana, had with Captain Cristobal Rios (Santiago Cabrera) in 2390 - six years before Soji was even built. Like a Trill, Soji appears bonded to the past lives of not just her late android father but also her synthetic predecessors, who are her brothers and sisters.

Soji has markedly changed since her forced activation; when she believed she was human, Soji had a more open and trusting personality (her "default"). Now, Soji has difficulty coming to terms with her true synthetic nature and the idea that she's descended from Data, whom she'd never even heard of. But with her more controlled presence and her occasional head tilts to express curiosity, Soji is persuasively invoking Data (albeit with emotional outbursts Data needed an emotion chip to display) while her memory recall echoes Jadzia and Ezri Dax, which feels like a subtle nod to DS9 by Star Trek: Picard.

Star Trek: Picardstreams Thursdays on CBS All-Access and Fridays internationally on Amazon Prime Video.


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