Welcome, one and all, to my continued episodic reviews for Star Trek: Picard. With episode 6, Jean-Luc is returning to a place he never thought he would see again: A Borg Cube. Let’s see what happened.
Soji, Narek, And The Truth?
A good chunk of this episode was dedicated to the continuing saga of Soji and Narek. The key here is that Soji has the same nightmare every night, and though she wants to speak to her mother about it, she falls asleep every time she tries. Initially, Rizzo thinks that Narek is not doing his job with regard to getting what they want out of Soji, but he is insistent that dreams are important. Soji is faced with proof that she is not what she thinks she is on a daily basis, and the dreams are a way for her programming to reconcile the human and synthetic side of her brain.
So, how does he resolve this? He takes her to a Romulan meditation room – it’s taboo to bring a ‘round ear’ to one by the way – and helps her unravel her dream. The final step in that process is her seeing herself as a wooden doll on her father’s workbench and seeing two red moons and a permanent lightning storm in the sky. When she questions what this means, Narek tells her, “You aren’t real, you never were.” He then leaves her to face a heavy dose of radiation but her protection programming activates and she makes an escape by ripping up the floor.
This story arc was an interesting one. Narek continues to fascinate me as a character, as he seems genuinely quite conflicted. He clearly accepts that he has to not only manipulate but kill Soji but isn’t happy about it. The thing I thought was most noteworthy in that regard was that he openly acknowledged her protective programming when he spoke to Rizzo. So, when he released the radiation to kill her, you could look at it as a way to protect himself physically. At the same time though, his torn reaction means it could also be a way to protect himself emotionally. And to let her have a chance to escape. This whole story is far from over, and I’m loving it.
Jurati Is Suffering
After killing Maddox last week, Jurati was putting herself through the wringer here. When Picard mentioned that Maddox’s death was hard for her, she simply stated it was harder than she could have imagined. Then, later on, she sees Rios playing soccer by himself and the two shared a kiss. They considered sleeping together, and eventually seemed to, but not before Jurati declared that she had a superpower: sensing her mistakes as she’s making them.
Now, she may not have had that much screen time here, but boy did Jurati make good use of what she did get. It’s really quite clear that she regrets what she did, and that while she does think it was the right decision, she isn’t certain about that. She also questioned whether the Borg could have changed now that they’re cut off from The Collective, which may be a sign that she’s questioning whether Soji is really that bad. Jurati is a complex character, and one that really does add to the overall story, I think.
Picard / Locutus Of Borg
Picard too suffered. After gaining diplomatic credentials to enter the Borg Cube – a move which cost Raffi a long term friend – he was forced to enter alone. All through the build-up to this, he has been clearly hostile in relation to the Borg, even snapping at Jurat that The Borg do not change, they metastasize. When he does get there though, it gets rougher, at least initially. Plagued by flashbacks to his time as Loctus Of Borg, he nearly walks off a ramp into oblivion, only to be saved by Hugh.
There, Picard gets to see something to bring him hope. The work that Hugh and his team are doing is not perfect, but as Picard says, it doesn’t need to be. It’s good work that demonstrates something important: underneath all the machinery, The Borg are not monsters, they are victims. Anyway, Hugh has had some suspicions about Soji from the start it seems. He had a hunch about her, especially when dashing young Romulan spy turned up pretending not to ask questions about her.
By the time they reach Soji’s room, she has already fled with Narek to the mediation chamber and they are unable to find her. Eventually, she drops back onto the trackers as she tries to escape, and the pair rush off to find her. When they do, Picard gives her a quick-fire rundown of events to get her on side and, with guards in pursuit, Hugh leads them to a Queen Cell. There’s transporter there that will get them somewhere safe. In this case, that’s Nepenthe. Just as they start to escape though, the guards find them. Luckily, Elnor is on hand – having snuck in – to protect Picard. The young warrior sticks back with Hugh while Admiral Picard and Soji escape.
This whole thing was excellent. Picard had to face his demons once more and even – perhaps in an attempt at achieving normalcy retreated back to the simulation of his vineyard. He suffered through his memories and was then faced with the possibility that The Borg could be saved. Given his nature, that has to give him a real moral dilemma, especially when Hugh mentions that he could advocate for a Free Borg. In the end though, he did find the girl he came for, which means now, they start to get to the bottom of the synth attack. Good stuff.
This was a well-paced piece of storytelling that worked hard to bring several points together. And boy did it do that in style! Easily the best episode of the run so far, both for feeling very Trek, and for expanding the lore in a natural feeling way. Here’s hoping that continues.
Previous Episode Reviews
- Star Trek: Picard – Episode One
- Star Trek: Picard – Episode Two
- Star Trek: Picard – Episode Three
- Star Trek: Picard – Episode Four
- Star Trek: Picard – Episode Five