Plot threads begin to come together in “The Impossible Box.” Not only threads from the first five installments of Star Trek: Picard but also threads from the entire history of the Picard character.
While Picard has had encounters with the Borg since his assimilation in “Best of Both Worlds,” he hasn’t been back inside a Borg cube since them (you could debate that the Borg taking over the Enterprise in First Contact might have been a trigger like this one). Seeing Picard’s reaction to the news he has to go aboard the cube and that he when he is greeted by a former drone as Locutus was superlative work (of course) by Patrick Stewart. And I got chills the moment when Picard is looking back at other Borg encounters and come across his image as Locutus on the viewscreen. An extremely well-crafted and well-shot moment in this show.
And while Picard deals with echoes of his past haunting him, the episode also delves into the consequences of following Picard.
We see this best displayed in Raffi, who has and is burning a lot of bridges to follow Jean-Luc Picard. Last week, we saw that it’s alienated her from her family and this week we see that it’s alienating her from her friends in Starfleet. The price for Raffi has been a high one — her career, her family, and her friends. Little wonder she states that she plans to “drink herself to death” and that she is struggling with addiction. I know this is JL’s show, but an episode focusing on Raffi wouldn’t be unwelcome by this fan (though for all I know, this is what the tie-in novel “The Last Best Hope” relates. I’m reading it now and hope to report on it later).
We also see that Hugh and Elnor are going to face some fall-out in joining Picard’s “doomed mission.” It appears as if Hugh has sacrificed a lot of the goodwill he’s built up with the Romulans to help the man who saved him from the collective. And now it appears that Elnor and he might lose their lives or be tortured in order to ensure that Picard and Soji escape.
Speaking of Soji, we finally see her activated and joining paths with Picard. We also see the Romulan study and manipulation of her paying off — though it appears that Narek got a bit more invested in Soji that he could or should have. I do wonder if the dream she had might be a red herring (though with only four episodes left this year, I doubt it), intended as a security measure in case Soji is compromised. I do wonder if somehow Soji is “programmed” to trust Picard as her sister was — or if this is something that Picard will have to earn.
The only thread that bugged me a bit was Agnes’. I find it difficult to believe that there wasn’t any greater evidence that she killed Maddox. I also wonder if it’s possible she’s doing the same thing to Rios that Narek did do Soji — using seduction to make him an ally or throw him off the scent of what her real agenda is.
Only four episodes left this year and we’ve got a lot on the plate.
I’m really enjoying this show.
OH, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out how great the incidental music was this week. A real winner and I can’t wait until I can listen to it when the second half of season one soundtrack is released.