If you’re a Star Trek fan, this is the episode you’ve been waiting for since the previews. Nothing against Seven of Nine, but seeing Jean-Luc Picard reconnect with William Riker and Deanna Troi is just far more satisfying because of the long history we’ve seen these characters share.
Nothing against Raffi, but having Riker tell Picard he’s being arrogant and he might need to reconsider his approach to Soji is far more effective and carries more weight. It’s also exactly what Picard needed and hopefully, it’s inspired him more than just the guilt he feels for the death of Data and what happened to the project to relocate the Romulans.
The scenes with Riker and Troi just worked on another level, making me not only appreciate the longer run time but finding myself wishing for more. The backstory of losing a son who could have been saved if work on artificial lifeforms had been allowed felt like it was put there to provide some connection to the overall season plot. But, the entire connection between Soji and Kestra was something that worked extremely well and I almost hope that Soji can work her way back to the Rikers and have the type of family experience she’s only had in implanted memories.
Of course, having Riker and Troi on-hand and asking about Picard’s new crew doesn’t do many favors to the new crew of Rios, Raffi, and Agnes. Part of this comes from the series seeming to go retro-continuity by introducing a tracker inside of Agnes so the Romulans can keep up with where the ship is going. But another part of that is that we don’t have the same level of character investment in them as we do the former crew of the Enterprise. I realize that it is hard to do in just seven episodes, but I can’t help but think that other Trek shows gave us an investment in the crew over the first half-dozen or so episodes.
Agnes’ deception is something the audience has known about for a couple of weeks now. And her recruitment does bring up the question of just how far the Tal-Shir has infiltrated Starfleet. Watching as Admiral Oh forcibly mind-melds with Agnes reminded me of Spock and Valarius from The Undiscovered Country. And it also makes me wonder if the Tal-Shir used Spock’s attempts to reunify the Vulcans and Romulans to learn a few tricks from their Vulcan brothers.
Then we get the stuff on the Borg cube. I’ve got to admit that I’m starting to lose interest in the brother-sister villain duo at the heart of this. Part of it comes down to that they feel less interesting than Snidley Whiplash — merely put on screen to be evil and bad rather than actually giving us some motivation for them. The best villains are those who believe they’re the hero the show we’re watching — and I don’t get the feeling from these two.
Three episodes left in this season and I’m starting to think the early renewal for season two means we won’t get a lot what is unfolding resolved by the tenth episode.