After fifty-plus years of the Vasquez rocks standing in for various alien worlds, it was fun to see Star Trek: Picard actually set a few scenes there this week and last week.
Beyond that, the third episode of Picard is all about moving all the pieces into place and getting us ready to move away from Earth. If the first two episodes were about establishing where Picard is now, this one is about establishing the new characters who will be his “crew” for lack of a better term.
It’s interesting to see Picard’s reputation precede him a bit — both last week and here. Last week, we see that’s he’s persona-non-grata with Starfleet. But this week, we meet Rio, who on some level seems to hold Picard in some kind of reverence. It makes me curious if Rio might be talked into making a questionable choice down the road due to his deference for Picard.
Meanwhile, we also get to meet Raffi, a woman that Picard’s insistence that the Federation do the right thing by their promise to the Romulans ending up costing her career. I do like that the show took a few minutes to fill in this backstory and create this tension between them. But I also found myself wondering if this might not have been more effective a conflict if were to cause a schism between Picard and, let’s say, Riker. I say this only because we’ve got an established history with the TNG characters and this schism would have a lot more profound impact and resonance with viewers (well, this one at least) if it’s a familiar face.
(Of course, that does raise the issue that springs to mind for the TNG movies — why don’t these people ever get assigned elsewhere?!?)
Back on the Romulan Borg cube, we get to see an old friend (making me glad I rewatched “I, Borg” before the show started airing). It’s interesting to note that the Romulans were the last group assimilated by this particular cube and the easiest to set free from the Borg (well, as easy as setting one free from the Borg can be).
And while the episode was enjoyable enough, I still feel like it was treading water a bit to get us to the big ending of Picard finally leaving Earth. I have a feeling we’ll be coming back to this episode and seeing seeds sewn for the series character and story arcs.
I do have to wonder a bit about having an EMH based upon yourself. Is that a cost-cutting measure or an ego one? Either way, it should prove to be fun as we get to know more about Rio.
I also can’t help but wonder what caused his exit from Starfleet…..