It’s Just Morbid Fascination at This Point – Review of “Star Trek: Picard” Season Two, Episode Nine “Hide and Seek”

If you go back and read my first review for Star Trek: Picard’s first episode, I was positively giddy at the prospect of this new season and the story it was going to tell. Now, after watching the penultimate episode of the second season, titled “Hide and Seek”, my positivity has contracted to merely morbid fascination. The confrontation between the crew of the La Sirena and the Borg Queen ends with a whimper rather than anything meaningful, deflating an already tired storyline.

Spoilers ahead, obviously, so don’t read if you haven’t watched the episode.

I’m going to get the positive out of the way first, since there was only one and it’ll be brief. We finally see the painful secret that Jean-Luc Picard has been keeping from himself and what has been slowly hinted at through the flashbacks this season. It’s been established at this point (primarily in the episode “Monster”) that Picard’s mother suffered from mental illness (most likely bipolar disorder). After an episode that nearly saw a young Jean-Luc abandoned by his mother in the tunnels under Chateau Picard, Jean-Luc’s mother was locked in her room. Picard let her out and his mother proceeded to hang herself in the glass atrium, where the two had spent time star gazing together. It was a predictable ending to this arc but that doesn’t remove the power of the moment, largely because of the fine acting on the part of Sir Patrick Stewart. While my distaste for the series as a whole has increased over the course of Star Trek: Picard’s second season, my deep, abiding love for Sir Patrick has not waned.

Now on to the rest of the episode, which felt like such a contrived letdown.

The culmination of the Agnes Jurati/Borg Queen arc could have been handled so much better if the writers had not decided to go with “The Power of Friendship” ending. It didn’t work with the series finale of Lost and it sure as hell felt as hollow here as it did then. The idea that the singular focus of the Borg Queen to assimilate other lifeforms would be suborned because Jurati gave an impassioned (serious credit should go to Allison Pill for performing this as well as she did) but ultimately lukewarm and sappy speech is laughable. If you thought Star Trek: Voyager had done irreparable harm to the image of the Borg as the single most terrifying entity in Star Trek, Star Trek: Picard gave us the storytelling equivalent of “Hold my beer”.

Note to future Star Trek writers that may see this review: The Borg are not meant to be good guys. The Borg are meant to represent the antithesis of the Federation. Write that down on a whiteboard with exclamation points and refer back to it any time a writer in the room says “Let’s make the Borg a force for good.”

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And much like the last few episodes, this episode dragged on far longer than it should have. There were some good moments with Raffi and Seven teaming up to take down the Borg and retake La Sirena (which became a moot point when they let the merged Jurati Queen fly off with it at the end). There was even a nice little nod to the absence of Elnor with Agnes creating an Emergency Combat Hologram of Elnor. While the sappiness of Jurati’s speech to the Borg Queen was cringeworthy, I felt that the moment between the Elnor ECH and Raffi was deserved and well-written, largely because Elnor’s death in “Assimilation” has been the proverbial albatross around Raffi’s neck this entire season.

Brent Spiner was largely wasted in this episode (which to be fair, most of the cast were). Adam Soong’s villain monologues felt trite and cliched, hardly worthy of the magnificent bastard of a character we’ve seen over the last few episodes. I’m hoping the writers give him a decent send-off in the finale for the season because this just doesn’t cut it. The ending of the episode is where I have to look at the writers and wonder what they were thinking. The Jurati Queen flies off into the universe with the La Sirena, stranding the remaining crew members on Earth. Before she leaves, Jurati Queen gives them a cryptic warning that one Renee Picard must live and another Renee Picard must die. There’s being oblique with your warnings and then there’s just being obtuse for the sake of generating “mystery”. I’ve had enough “mystery box” storytelling in Star Trek from J.J. Abrams and I don’t need more of it at this point. To say that I’m deeply disappointed in the second season of Star Trek: Picard would be an understatement. What started off as a promising story has devolved into something garbled and messy. I’ll watch the finale for season two but at this point, it’s just to complete my review of the series for this site rather than for any real affection for the series.

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4 thoughts on “It’s Just Morbid Fascination at This Point – Review of “Star Trek: Picard” Season Two, Episode Nine “Hide and Seek”

  1. The second season is so bad. That moment where the Borg queen is convinced to do good is so anti-climactic and frustrating, I had to go outside and go on a long walk. They took everything that makes Star Trek interesting out of the second season and it suffers for it.

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more. This episode should have felt like a climatic moment. Instead, it was a letdown and a massive one at that. The Borg Queen being convinced to do good in the universe instead of what the Borg are supposed to represent (which is the antithesis of the Federation) is a travesty.

      1. Exactly! I liked the first season, but this season is a mess. It doesn’t even feel like Star Trek. Like you have mentioned, it feels drawn out. The borg queen deserved a better ending, but I would have preferred if she were still in play somehow. That whole bit about the Borg queen being lonely was dumb.

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