by Alan Yudman
Time for some ABSOLUTE CANDOR about STAR TREK: PICARD.
I am enjoying the show and cannot wait for the notification that the new episode is available to watch. But some of the story telling devices are getting a bit tired.
Starting every episode with a “14 years ago” flashback that ends with the synth attack on Mars feels like someone plugging elements into an outline rather than natural storytelling. Like the producers have a formula and every script must fit it. This week’s plug and play scenario finds Picard on the planet Vashti where Romulan refugees have settled. All is well as he visits the Warrior Nuns and the young boy they are caring for when all of sudden he hears about the Mars attack and leaves… never to return for 14 years.
Checking in every week at the Borg cube is relatively pointless unless something actually happens. It is a slow drip as Narek slowly, excruciatingly slowly, blows apart the history she believes she knows. Narek’s sister shows up to be all menacing and alluring but adds nothing to what we already know. She is pressuring him for results. He is steadfast in his belief his is the right tack to take. She wants to make sure he hasn’t lost his focus so she chokes him until he calls Soji “the Destroyer”. Ok, we get it. Please, can we have a new character beat for Narissa? Please?
Despite that, there is a lot of good stuff in this episode. The banter on the ship between Rios and Jurati about the boredom of space travel is clever. The introduction of Elnor as a sort of Romulan Ninja was a great addition to our ragtag bunch. The hint that this may all be a futile quest gives it a La Manchian air that is interesting. And the dogfight between the Romulan Bird of Prey (yes, it’s not just a Klingon thing) and Rios’s ship was very cool… especially when a Ranger comes to the rescue and we get a classic re-introduction to Seven of Nine.
I want to see more of the Picard we see in this episode. He is daring and competent. He doesn’t seem as enfeebled as he sometimes feels. The ABSOLUTE CANDOR in the title is a reference to how the Warrior Nuns live their lives. I will try to live up to their example in my reviews (without the messy beheadings).