Star Trek: Picard - Episode Guide - Season 1
No self-respecting Star Trek devotee would deny the awesomeness of seeing Captain Jean-Luc Picard – not to mention a handful of his Enterprise compadres – back in action after some 20 years (17 since the “real-world” release of Nemesis). In this respect, Star Trek: Picard season 1 seemed destined to succeed, particularly after the grandiose opening of colorful nebulae, camera sweeping over the USS Enterprise, NCC 1701-D.
Iconic stuff, and whoa does Picard season 1 enjoy dramatic peaks, excellent character moments and pepperings of action. However, this inaugural 10-epsidoe season simultaneously suffers from many of same bugaboos that trouble many a streaming-based series.
In the timing is this most evidenced: Each episode is written as more or less a bottle episode playing out under the rubric of the main story, yet few economically use script. Episodes 5 and 6 (“Stardust City Rag’ and “The Impossible Box”) feel padded, 2 and 9 (“Maps and Legends” and “Broken Pieces”) are rushed – particularly when compared with the finale, which included essentially everything the best ST:TNG episodes did.
The final verdict on Star Trek Picard season 1: Overall a nicely-done, if uneven, effort – but as previously stated, damn, it’s good to see Jean-Luc again. Not to mention Seven, Will, Deanna…
- Remembrance – As a news reporter takes Picard to task for controversially opposing the Federation for abandoning Romulan refugee efforts, a young woman named Dahj is attacked by Romulan assassins in her home. Dahj has visions of Picard and ultimately tracks him to his vineyard in France. In a visit to Starfleet Archives, Picard finds a painting by Data which appears to depict Dahj. Dahj is soon thereafter killed by the Romulans, and Picard seeks the expertise of Dr. Jurati; Jurati informs him that Dahj is a twin. ***
- Maps and Legends – Helped by the Romulans in the Picard vineyard’s employ, Picard tracks down the location of Dahj’s twin, Soji; he also learns that Dahj’s assassins are likely agents of the Zhat Vash, an even more extreme branch of the Tal Shiar intelligence agency. To Picard’s chagrin, Soji is working on “The Artifact,” a Borg cube under the auspices of the Romulans. Picard is denied assistance in his personal mission by the Federation, and so seeks help elsewhere…***
- The End Is the Beginning – Picard convinces his former first officer Raffi Musiker to join the rescue mission, and he scores a pilot and his ship as well in Rios and La Sirena. Picard and Jurati are attacked by Zhat Vash, but live to get onboard the Sirena and get on to Freecloud, where Bruce Maddox is believed to be. Meanwhile, revelations about Soji: Narek, a Romulan researcher on The Artifact, is a plant to spy on her, and more than Romulan identifies Soji as “The Destroyer.” ***
- Absolute Candor – In bagging directorial work on his fifth Star Trek series with “Absolute Candor”, Jonathan Frakes establishes himself as one of the franchise’s most important figures ever … and the episode itself is a goodie. On the way to Freecloud, Picard’s new ragtag crew visits Vashti, the last spot to which Romulans were relocated before the Federation withdrew from refugee support. There, Picard is reunited with the Romulan warrior sect Qowat Milat and a young man named Elnor, with whom Picard had been quite close. Lots of great righteousness by Picard and badass martial-arts stuff – all on a set that recalls Firefly…****
- Stardust City Rag – Seven of Nine, having saved La Sirena in a firefight at the close of episode 4, hitches on with La Sirena to Freecloud; there she seeks to exact revenge on the black market dealer Bjayzl despite Picard’s objections. In a completely unrelated (and mostly irrelevant) subplot, Raffi visits with her estranged son. And seemingly from out of nowhere Jurati ices Maddox.
- The Impossible Box – Picard gets onboard The Artifact and is saved from one bad trip by Hugh, the Borg re-individualized by the Enterprise-D crew back in “I, Borg.” Narek has meanwhile discovered the secret of Soji’s planet of origin and tries to kill her, but Picard and she manage to beam away to the planet…
- Nepenthe, where William Riker and Deanna Troi live with their daughter. The action is taken down a notch here as Picard and Soji deal with a few existential matters while awaiting a pickup from La Sirena. Elnor and Hugh attempt to fight the Zhat Vash agents seeking Soji on The Artifact before Elnor calls in the calvary, i.e. Seven’s Ferris Rangers. ****
- Broken Pieces – Mysteries resolved going into the season-ender: We learn why Rios left Starfleet, the true identity of Admiral Oh, and what precipitates the Zhat Vash’s androidophobia. Seven arrives on The Artifact in time enough to save Elnor, but not the remaining Borg drones, who are callously jettisoned into space by the fleeing Romulans. La Sirena and the powered-up Artifact warp to Soji’s home planet via Borg transwarp conduit. ***
- Et in Arcadia Ego, part 1 – Upon approaching the planet Coppelius, La Sirena is attacked by massive genetically engineering orchids which drag the ship as well as the Borg cube to the surface. There, Picard et al discover a colony entirely populated by synthetics. De facto leader is their co-creator, Altan Soong – unless it’s the android Sutra, who believes the Romulans’ story of synthetic life wiping out organic lifeforms through the galaxy to be good news for her people…***
- Et in Arcadia Ego, part 2 – This episode is what we love Jean-Luc Picard’s breed of Star Trek for best: Stirring stentorian speeches, Riker playing cowboy, shoot-’em-ups in space, the galaxy saved (once again), and delving into the meaning of existence – plus the (proper) return of Lt. Comm. Data. No matter how one feels about Star Trek: Picard’s first nine episodes, no ST fan should come away from episode 10 disappointed. *****