With The End is the Beginning, Star Trek: Picard shifts gears slightly, and spends most of its time setting up what we need to know moving forward. So, let’s talk about the third episode and how it presents the key players.
A good chunk of time is given to establishing Picard’s relationship with Raffi this week. This started with a flashback that explained why she was upset with the former Admiral. You see, during the mess with the Romulan evacuation and the Mars attack, Picard presented an alternate plan to Starfleet. This would have meant that the evacuation could continue. However, the plan was rejected.
Picard gambled hard and told them that they could accept his plan or his resignation. And so, he left Starfleet. The main consequence of this was that Raffi too was fired. Which, in present day, means she has slid further and further down into a pit of humiliation, rage and paranoia. Worst of all, Picard never once tried to contact her to see how she was doing. She was doing bad, by the way.
There were some interesting little things that came up when they finally discussed what was happening too. For one, Raffi claimed to have physical evidence that a high ranking Starfleet official was responsible for the events on Mars. She said that’s not like when people see ghosts or angels, it’s actual proof. I liked that, because the last Discovery arc involved the ‘Red Angel’, and the events were wiped from Starfleet records. That may have been a subtle hint at the Discovery’s deed echoing through in their absence.
The big takeaway though was that Raffi obviously still has some faith in the man she affectionately calls JL. She doesn’t want to help but puts him in touch with a Captain. Then, Picard picking up on her doing what she does, sent her information which led to her finding Dr. Maddox and hitching a ride with Picard and his new crew.
I like the difficult relationship Raffi and Picard have right now. There are clear indicators that they respected each other, and that there is still an underlying feel of that. Raffi appears to be the sort that looks deeply at things too, and picks up on things that others don’t that will no doubt be a huge asset to the team moving forward. The drama here will no doubt be the two learning to fully trust each other once again.
The pilot Raffi introduced Picard to was a man named Rios. Now, we don’t’ actually learn too much about him here. Captain Rios is somewhat prickly in nature. He’s brash and tries to keep things to the point by way of aggressions. Despite this though, Picard picks up on something. The way Rios organizes his ship, La Sirena, gives away that he is still Starfleet through and through.
The thing is, all we know about his exit from Starfleet is that he was part of a ship that has been erased from the records by Starfleet. The Captain on that ship? Dead, and Rios sees his blood splattered across the bulkhead every time he tries to sleep. I am assuming that he suffers from guilt relating to this, and it’s going to be interesting finding out why.
Also of note is that the ship comes with an EMH and ENH, and both holograms are built in Rios’ image. A sign that he no longer truly trusts anyone but himself, or an indicator that he doesn’t want to risk losing someone else? Time may well tell.
Finally, Jurati joins the crew officially. After being accosted by Admiral Oh, she turns up at Picard’s vineyard just in time to kill a Romulan who is trying to take out Jean-Luc and his staff. She honestly didn’t get too much time to shine this week and was mostly there to reiterate her professional qualifications. She’s a scientist, and she desperately wants to meet the impossible second android. That’s a good enough grounding for now, I think.
Picard himself, meanwhile, is facing his demons. He knows that he hurt Raffi and doesn’t really seem to know how to fix that. We also got to see that he gambled with his ultimatum because he never truly believed that Starfleet would take him up on the resignation. That one moment was enough to shatter him, I think. Before setting off, he did outright acknowledge that, for all his best efforts, he never truly belonged at the vineyard. He’ll miss Zhaban, Laris, and Number-One, but this was never his home.
He was responsible for one of my favourite moments in the episode too. With the crew assembled, he uttered on, familiar word. “Engage.” That queued the ST:TNG theme and the credits. That was beautiful.
Out o the Borg cube, the main story was nudged along with a whole lot of mysterious events. Soji’s research into helping the post-assimilation Romulans deal with their trauma led her to interview a lady named Ramda. Ramda was part of the crew on board the final ship that this particular cube assimilated. They were also deemed to be the only Romulans to have been assimilated, but this is incorrect, as is shown in the Star Trek: Voyager episode, Unity.
That minor slip aside, the main thing of note here was that Soji knew things that she was certain she didn’t know before trying to talk to Ramda. She was able to raise points and questions that she had no idea about before that moment and is only able to reconcile this by convincing herself she must have read it somewhere.
Ramda though was aware of the two sisters and couldn’t figure out whether Soji was the one that was supposed to live or the one that was supposed to die. In the end, she describes Soji as the ender of all, and the destroyer. That name was eerily echoed by the one survivor among Picard’s attackers.
Narek ends up placating Soji, telling her that he’s falling in love with her. From his cold tone with his sister Rizzo, it’s unclear whether this is true or part of the deception. One thing is clear though: Soji does not know what she truly is. It would seem that the Zhat Vash do though. Does that mean that Ramda was part of the Zhat Vash too? Would it also mean that the Borg either already know about her, or do now thanks to the assimilation? I expect things to get rough for Soji as we move forward.
This was an interesting one to review insofar as it was the weakest of the three episodes so far in terms of narrative. The Soji scenes do enough to keep things on track in that regard, albeit only in small increments. It really felt more like a set up episode though. This was designed to introduce us to those that Picard will be relying on, and leave us with a few questions regarding what is actually going on. It succeeds there, but it certainly wasn’t as strong as the first two episodes.
I remain full of faith though. Episodes like this are a necessity sometimes, and the final line of the show signifies a return to the stars. From here, we should be seeing JL in familiar territory, and that is where the story is really going to kick off. Things won’t be entirely familiar though. The crew is different enough from Picard’s old group that you can’t really draw too many comparisons as yet. That’s important. Nostalgia and copies are different things, after all.
So, those were my thoughts. But what about yourselves? Are you watching Picard’s solo series? Did you enjoy this episode? Let me know in the comments below.
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