Deals with the Devil – Review of “Star Trek: Picard” Season Two, Episode Five “Fly Me To The Moon”

After watching the latest episode of Star Trek: Picard, I’m stuck between liking most of the episode and disliking the rest. As I’ve done more and more of these reviews, it’s fair to say that not every episode of a given TV show’s season is going to be enjoyable. This isn’t to say the entirety of “Fly Me To The Moon” is trash but there are moments where I think the writers put themselves into situations they couldn’t come up with logical conclusions for, so they went with something more contrived and uninspired.

Spoilers ahead for the fifth episode of Star Trek: Picard Season Two.

Let’s get the main bone of contention out of the way first: Agnes Jurati and the Borg Queen. While Alison Pill and Annie Wersching are still enjoyable to watch together, the fact that Jean-Luc Picard and Jurati left the Borg Queen by herself on board the La Sirena is just an example of the Idiot Ball (description of which can be found on TVtropes.org here). In short, the Idiot Ball is when otherwise smart characters do something idiotic to further the plot. By leaving the Borg Queen alone, she is able to tap into the local cell network, placing a call to the French constabulary, who send an officer out to investigate. When the police officer finds the Queen, she uses him as leverage to force Jurati to free her or risk the cop being assimilated. When we get back to that scene, the Borg Queen’s body is dead, a gunshot to the neck. But, the stinger at the end of the episode occurs where we find out the Borg Queen managed to transfer her consciousness to Jurati before she died.

Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill) and The Borg Queen (Annie Wersching). Source

I’m all for the change in the story arc but I’m not a fan of how the writers accomplished it. The set up was already in place that the assimilation attempt in episode three (review found here) had progressed to a significant degree. With that in place, it would have been a hop, skip, and a jump storytelling-wise to have Jurati’s mind and the Borg Queen begin to merge. From there, the Queen could have just as easily disabled herself as a feint, a final thumb of the nose to Picard, and still reached the same conclusion of the episode. The entire b-plot of the episode felt contrived in that regard.

With that being said, the remainder of the episode was quite enjoyable. I have to give Brent Spiner credit for always finding new ways to portray members of the Soong family. In 2024 Los Angeles, Adam Soong is a disgraced geneticist who has lost all of his funding. The air of desperation around him is understandable when we meet his daughter, Kore Soong (portrayed by Isa Briones). I was hoping they’d find a way to have the core actors of the series portray characters in the past and they’ve found effective ways to do it. Kore Soong suffers from a rare genetic deformity that makes life outside a carefully controlled bubble lethal in the extreme. Something I caught during my initial view were the drones Dr. Soong used to protect Kore when she went outside to test the cure provided by Q. The golden/orange latticed network created by the drones is eerily similar to the planetary shields shown in the dark future of the Confederation of Earth.

Dr. Adam Soong (Brent Spiner). Source

The title of this review regards deals made with devilish entities. Jurati made hers with the Borg Queen as covered above. The other deal is Dr. Adam Soong and Q. John De Lancie continues to be one the bright spots in this series and his portrayal of Q is nothing short of devilish. By granting Dr. Soong a temporary cure for his daughter’s condition, he hooks the good doctor into serving his needs, which are focused on one Renée Picard, the young woman Q was observing in the previous episode (my review). Renée is meant to be part of the Europa mission for NASA. From what we learn during the course of the episode, Renée is destined to find proof of organic, sentient life during the mission, dovetailing in to the future where the Federation is born. It seems that Q is trying to prevent Renée from going on the mission but the reason for Q’s interference is still unknown at this point.

The other major portion of the episode is spent with Jean-Luc Picard and Tallinn, the Supervisor or Watcher from the previous episode. Orla Brady plays Tallinn as a no-nonsense but practical character, someone who is accustomed to watching but not acting. It takes some convincing on the part of Picard to bring her around but she joins the group in getting everyone in to a gala event to keep an eye on Renée. I enjoy watching Brady and Sir Patrick Stewart play off each other. Even though Brady is not playing Laris, there is still an easy chemistry between the two actors that is just so much fun to watch.

The shape of the divergence in the Star Trek timeline is beginning to take shape but why of it all is still in the shadows. In the past, Q made changes to things, such as when he flung the USS Enterprise-D into a confrontation with the Borg but he sent the ship back to safety when Picard asked him to. There’s something far more malevolent with Q’s mission in Star Trek: Picard. Even without his powers, he is still a dangerous individual and whatever game the formerly-omnipotent being is playing at, the reason for it all is still elusive. Despite my dislike of some of the storytelling choices in this episode, I’m still onboard with seeing how things play out over the remainder of the season.

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