Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Picard Explains How Villain Commodore Oh Hid In Plain Sight

Star Trek: Picard has taken a deeper dive into the past of Commodore Oh (Tamlyn Tomita), the treacherous head of Starfleet security and secret Zhat Vash agent. Oh has been overseeing the Zhat Vash's interests in the Federation for years, preparing for the coming of a prophesied destroyer, which apparently decimates civilizations that create synthetic life.

Commodore Oh made her first appearance in the series' second episode "Maps And Legends," where she ordered Romulan agent Narissa (Peyton List) - disguised as Starfleet's Lieutenant Rizzo - to deal with Dr. Soji Asha (Isa Briones) before Picard (Patrick Stewart) could find her on the Borg Artifact. It turns out Oh was busy that day, as she also paid a visit to Dr. Agnes P. Jurati (Alison Pill) and convinced her she needed to go with Picard on his mission and destroy the young android.

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Star Trek: Picard episode 8, "Broken Pieces" reveals Commodore Oh's secret that allowed her to hide in plain sight as well as her connection to the Tal Shiar, the secret police of Romulan society. Oh is half-Vulcan, half-Romulan.

It's unclear if it's common knowledge that Oh is half-Romulan. The two races are physiologically the same, both tracing their origins to Vulcan; the Romulans left to start their own civilization hundreds of years ago when Vulcan society rejected emotion and became a logic-based society. Oh conducts herself like a Vulcan, seemingly suppressing her outward emotions at all times to maintain her cover. There have been other Starfleet crew with Romulan heritage - perhaps most notably Simon Tarses (Spencer Garrett) from the classic Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Drumhead," in which that secret ancestry puts his Starfleet career in jeopardy. The destruction of Romulus reshuffled the galactic order, but it's still hard to believe a Romulan would ever openly be allowed to hold such a prestigious position within Starfleet, certainly not so soon after their cold war with the Federation ended.

Commodore Oh used her Vulcan heritage to perform a mindmeld on Dr. Jurati, showing her the destruction wrought by the destroyer, resulting in Jurati's murder of Bruce Maddox, the cyberneticist who created Soji. Oh, embracing her Romulan side as a member of the Zhat Vash, saw that destruction for herself fourteen years earlier on Aia, called "the grief world." Here, in an artificially designed solar system, remains a receptacle of information called the admonition, left by a long gone ancient race, warning of the dire consequences the development of artificial life can bring. The admonition drives most people mad; only the strongest willed can view its horrible vision and not commit suicide. Narissa (Peyton List) endured the admonition, but it drove her aunt Ramdha (Rebecca Wisocky) insane. Ramdha was onboard the ship the Borg cube assimilated when it went haywire and lost its connection to the collective, suggesting the admonition is more powerful than even Narissa and Oh are aware.

Commodore Oh has been plotting to keep the galaxy free of synthetic life for decades, and even gave the order for Captain Alonzo Vandermeer - Cristóbal Rios's (Santiago Cabrera) commanding officer and father figure - to kill two suspected synths in cold blood. It remains to be seen if Oh has anymore tricks up her sleeve with Picard's crew on their way to the synth home world, but she's proved herself to be Star Trek: Picard's most capable and patient villain.