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.”
Girl Gone Nova by George Saoulidis. $8.99 from Smashwords.com
Handle the Most Difficult Girl in the Galaxy, or Everything Blows Up When an alien princess arrives, a jaded celebrity handler has to keep her happy. But will he manage to get through her visit, when catering to her spoiled needs is the only way to prevent her from exploding the Earth, when rebels are trying to assassinate her and when he starts to seriously fall in love with her?
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.
My book series The Atalante Chronicles is now live on Amazon for Kindle, Paperback, and Hardcover Print-On-Demand. Your support is greatly appreciated.
Blood And Stone, Book One in my series, is also available on Smashwords (Affiliate Link)
The Crone and The Curse, Book Two in my series, is also available on Smashwords (Affiliate Link)
Make a one-time donation
Make a monthly donation
Make a yearly donation
Choose an amount
Or enter a custom amount
Your contribution helps with covering the cost for this site. Give what you can and thank you.
Your contribution is appreciated.
Your contribution is appreciated.DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly