If nothing else, the first four installments of Picard have established that while Picard had the best of intentions in leading the effort to save the Romulans from their star going supernova, things really went sideways in a hurry. But I think we’re starting to see the Picard we knew on TNG slowly emerging and starting to find ways to try and make amends for his mistakes — both real and perceived.
That begins with the first mission in space. Instead of heading straight for Bruce Maddox, Picard orders the ship taken to Vashti, a Romulan relocation hub where Picard had a special relationship with a sisterhood of Romulan ninja nuns and the young orphaned man they took in. In a flashback, Picard promises to return and to try to find the young man a home.
And then, as we’ve seen in the first three installments, the synthetics went bonkers on Mars and Picard couldn’t return — for fourteen years. Elnor has grown up and harbors some resentment toward Picard for not coming back. Oh yeah, he’s also become a Romulan ninja who will join the cause because he thinks it’s a lost one.
While on the surface, Picard is able to confront some of the lines drawn in the town, including tearing down a sign that says “Romulans Only” and stepping across it. Thankfully, Elnor is there to save him from the various offended parties, though it is interesting to see Picard thrust into a sword-fight, given the times we’ve seen him sparring on the Enterprise during TNG’s run.
Meanwhile, Soji is also in search of answers and we’re given big hints that she and Daj may not be the only two human/android hybrids lurking out there. I will admit that parts of this plotline are starting to feel like we’re treading water a bit in terms of getting Picard to Soji and the Romulan plot to figure out what she knows without necessarily activating her. The implication that she is somehow a mythical Borg destroyer does hold some interest.
The episode ends with the least surprising big reveal in a while because of the opening credits. I find it hard to believe that we HAD to include Jeri Ryan in the opening credits if she’s only going to show up for less than a minute in the final moments and have one line. Imagine how much more surprising it would have been had we not been expecting her at every turn of the installment…
Stardust City Rag
“Stardust City Rag” offers us the most streamline plot for an episode of Picard, but one that has some fascinating implications for the rest of the season and series.
Now, I am in no way caught up on the on-going Voyager continuation novels, so I don’t know if what Seven is doing or has been up to all these years is detailed there (though it could be since writer Kristen Beyer oversees those stories). But I did find this episode an interesting character examination of the three women on board the La Sierna.
With Raffi, we find out just what following Picard in his crusade to save the Romulans cost her. Not only did it cost her professionally, but she’s now estranged from her son and husband (are we assuming ex-husband here?). Raffi’s choices led her down a path and while she’s trying to find her way back, it appears her son isn’t having any of that — just yet. Even the coming birth of a grandchild can’t necessarily work to repair the damage done, though it’s clear that Raffi felt like the olive branch might work. I can see that Raffi has had time to process her feelings and work on herself, but I can also see where the anger and resentment from her son might come from and that he wouldn’t be willing to let it go quickly or easily. I can only hope we’ll get to see their relationship thawing in the future.
Then we’ve got Seven of Nine, who is on a bloody crusade to avenge the loss of Icheb. The opening scene was harrowing enough as it was, but then to have it be Icheb being tortured for his implants…wow. The scene gets more harrowing as Seven had to use a phaser to finally free from the pain inflicted upon him. At that moment, you can almost sense the last of the humanity that Janeway was trying to reconnect within Seven dies. Certainly, Seven is able to lie to and manipulate Picard to get access to those who tortured Icheb and make them pay. And boy, does she ever going double-barrelled on the phaser rifles.
I did have to wonder what Janeway’s reaction to this might be. Or if we’ll see it or hear it. The novels have established that Janeway sacrificed herself to stop the Borg (at least that’s what I think happened…don’t quote me on that). I do think having her show up might be interesting.
Finally, we have Agnes, who has a connection to Maddox that she hasn’t revealed to anyone else. The two were romantically involved and we get hints that she may know more about the duplication of Data process than she’s letting on. Maybe it was just me adding things to the mix, but did anyone else feel like she might somehow be the “mother” of Daj and Soji? Or that somehow her biological material was used to help create them (and the others that may be out there)? She certainly seems to want to keep that connection a secret, even going so far as to kill Maddox.
I can’t help but think that the EMH is going to know what she did and report it to Picard and his crew.
But if nothing else, this episode shows us that all the women Picard is working with are keeping something from him — and that their agendas may be very different from his. While Picard is working on his own redemption, these other three may not necessarily have his ideals in play.