After Picard and his new crew finally made it to space last week, episode 4, Absolute Candor, sees the Admiral round-off his colleague list with two new additions. But first, let’s check in with The Destroyer.
Soji spent some time watching an old video of a Romulan lady discussing ‘the day of annihilation’ this week. Of particular note was when the lady mentioned that the day would see the demons break free of their chains and obey the call of ‘the destroyer’. That piqued Narek’s interest too, and he ended up employing some fun corridor sliding – and kissing – to loosen her up a bit. When he mentioned that there was no record of her on the passenger list that came to the Borg Cube though, it all came crashing to a halt.
Meanwhile, his sister Narissa turned up while he was sleeping so that she could stroke his beard and ask if Soji is anatomically correct. Because incestuous undertones are the sign of a villain, I guess? Regardless, she ends up choking Narek until he admits that Soji is the destroyer, and gives him one more week to find out where the other androids are. If he fails, they’ll return to good old fashioned pain and violence.
This arc interests me. I’m still not 00% certain whether Narek is entirely playing Soji, or whether he’s genuinely falling for her. There’s a lot of potential for familial clashes there though, and plenty of intrigue around what role Soji is actually supposed to play. So, very little time was given to it, but this was effectively done.
The Past Haunts Us
We got a flashback to Picard delivering Romulan refugees to Vashti, and in particular, we got to see him interacting with a young boy named Elnor. This lad is temporarily staying with the Koat Milat, a group of warrior nuns who live by the rule of Absolute Candor. That basically means no white lies, you tell the truth of your emotions at all times. During his visit, the attack on Mars happened, and Picard left, never to return.
Until now, fourteen years later. When he returns to Vashti, in search of a Koat Milat to join the crew, he finds that Vashti has changed. It’s no longer peaceful and vibrant but full of racial tension and generalized hostility. His homecoming is not well received, and he is no longer viewed as a hero. As Zani, leader of the Koat Milat points out, he chose to abandon them. And Elnor? He’s now full-grown, and a great warrior. He can never truly be a Koat Milat as he’s male, but he could still be useful.
Picard is unsure what to do as he knows Elnor could die if he comes along. Zani convinces him that he will, but that it would warm her heart to see him live first. So, Picard speaks to him about all that has happened, with Data, Dahj, and Soji. But Elnor still feels like Picard abandoned him and thinks that he should, perhaps, do the same.
This part of the episode took up most of the run time. I was happy for it though. It showed what Picard was working towards and what potential was there before the attack on Mars. It also showed the consequences of his actions. Up until now, all he had to illustrate this was a memory of Raffi telling him what his resignation meant. Now, he’s witnessed it first hand. That’s a place to grow from and to ensure that Jean-Luc ahs a reminder not to be too reckless.
The Past Guides Us
All was not lost though. Picard attempted to bring some peace by removing a ‘Romulans Only’ sign from a bar and striding in. He was confronted by a former Senator, and the truth of the situation was given to him in a forthright manner: Romulans now view him as having taken advantage of them when they doubted themselves and scattering their race. Picard is then forced into a sword fight.
Reluctant as he was to take part, Picard’s involvement did draw Elnor out again, and the warrior soon dispatched the former Senator and swore his allegiance to Picard. The two beamed aboard the ship and Picard reprimanded him, getting him to swear that he would only fight or kill at Picard’s command. This was followed by a nice dose of realism from Picard as he stated that the Koat Milat only bind themselves as qalankhai when the cause is deemed worthy. The criteria for that? It has to be a lost cause.
As the crew tries to depart, a Romulan Pirate in a TOS era Klingon Bird of Prey attacks and they are forced into the first space battle of the series. Luckily for them, help is at hand as a mysterious smaller ship turns up and takes care of the Pirate. Unfortunately, his parting shot sends the saviour towards the kill net surrounding Vashti, and the crew has to act quickly to beam them aboard. It’s…Seven Of Nine! She tells Picard that he owes her a ship and collapses, ending the episode.
This was excellent. Elnor gives Picard another emotional foil to try to play off, and his sword skills will no doubt be useful going forward. Meanwhile, short as it was, the space battle was a welcome addition. I love that Rios has a ton of holograms based on himself too. When they say he prefers his own company, that wasn’t an exaggeration! And finally, we have Jeri Ryan returning to the fold. She’s a great addition to the cast, and I’m looking forward to seeing how she interacts with her new crew.
I thought this built on, and improved upon, the last episode. Introducing a new character and bringing back an old one was a nice touch. Also fun was seeing Jurati and Rios conversing. While very much a feeling-out scene, it’s the way that the crew interacts as a whole that often makes Star Trek so good to watch, so seeing the beginnings of that here made me smile.
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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