Review: ‘Star Trek: Picard’ – Friends Old And New Provide Solace In “Nepenthe”


Star Trek: Picard Season 1, Episode 7 – Debuted Thursday, March 5, 2020
Written by Samantha Humphrey and Michael Chabon
Directed by Douglas Aarniokoski

Spoiler-Free Review

Picard and Soji escape to Nepenthe and the comforts of the Riker-Troi family, while the crew of La Sirena struggles to elude a ship in pursuit and Elnor stands his ground with Hugh on the Artifact.

Reunited, and it feels so good.


[WARNING: Spoilers from here on]


Episode Discussion

This episode is sure to be a favorite with fans and was one of the best to date, thanks to the arrival of Picard and Soji on Nepenthe, where they spend some quality time with Will Riker, Deanna Troi, and their daughter Kestra (named after Deanna’s sister who died as a child, as revealed in “Dark Page”).  Having heard Jonathan Frakes say that he and Marina Sirtis weren’t initially in the show and were added in later, I can’t help but wonder how they would have accomplished so much without them. It’s as important a visit for Soji as it is for Picard.

It was also (unsurprisingly) a tearjerker, from Troi being worried about Picard’s condition to their conversation about Thad, the son who died. (Loved the photo of Picard, in uniform, holding the baby with an expression of pure joy.) Troi and Riker have also also evolved, as Jean-Luc has, changed by events and time but still essentially themselves. Their beautiful home on an idyllic planet has all kinds of tech built in to keep them safe, and can even detect cloaked ships; we’d expect nothing less. And their personal story ties in perfectly with the larger one: the synth attack resulted in Troi and Riker being unable to save their son.

Star Trek doesn’t always get kids right, but the writers of Picard nailed it with Kestra. She’s exactly like a combination of her two parents, both adventurous and emotional. We get a little reminder of René, Picard’s nephew, in the way that Jean-Luc joins her “game” immediately, suggesting she aim at his head instead of his heart—also reminding us of his heart replacement in “Tapestry.” But it’s her connection with Soji that has the strongest impact. Her resourcefulness at tracking down Soji’s home planet was on point,  and I hope we get to meet this Captain Rupert Crandall; he sounds awfully interesting. As for Soji herself, the realization of who she really is has been a long time coming, and she finally gets a chance to have the depth she’s been missing. Isa Briones is doing a great job, playing her as guarded and yet completely vulnerable at the same time; she’s gone from an empty slate to someone rushed into an overwhelming level of self-discovery.

Soji and Kestra listen intently with childlike wonder.

Kudos to the writers and director for making this reunion as effective as it was. It hit all the right emotional beats, didn’t oversell, and was a perfect way to get Soji to reveal what she knew, to get her to trust Picard, to catch up on where Riker and Troi are in their lives, and to let everyone take a breather, among fresh tomatoes and bunny rabbits. I admit it; I wept a whole lot during these scenes, and may have burst into applause at our first glimpse of Deanna, even though I knew it was coming.

Back on La Sirena, Rios is worried that Raffi is being tracked (which would explain the presence of the cloaked ship)… or is he? Hard to tell if he really thinks so or if he’s trying to get Jurati to fess up, but by that point it’s finally been revealed what happened between Jurati and Commodore Oh (and her oversized ears) back at the Daystrom Institute. After a quick mind meld (remember how the first one Spock did on Dr. Van Gelder took half an hour?), Jurati is forced to see ALL the destruction caused by synths. Whether it’s real or imagined, we don’t know, but it’s enough to convince her to leave Earth for the first time, go on a dangerous mission with people she’s been told not to trust, and swallow (after chewing) a tracking device handed to her by someone she just met a few minutes ago.

Having Raffi treat her with such compassion and care was a perfect way to set up poor Agnes. When she vomits up that cake (ewww! and thank you for avoiding a close-up), she’s vomiting up everything: her betrayal and secrecy, her realization that she’s made the wrong choice and endangered others, and most of all, her murder of Bruce Maddox. Her foamy act of sacrifice shows that she’s realized all of this and wants to do the right thing.

Jurati gets manipulated via mind-meld.

Meanwhile on the Borg cube…

While it wasn’t entirely clear why Elnor didn’t just go with Picard and Soji, his instant bonding with Hugh gave me hope that Hugh was going to survive his confrontation with Narissa. When Narissa started shooting XBs, one at a time, the sheer brutality of it was horrifying. Hugh’s grief was beautifully played by Jonathan Del Arco.

I felt a little tricked by what happened here, though. Another TNG character bites the dust, and this one really stung. I suppose this is all to make Seven of Nine’s return more vengeful, which is by far NOT the most interesting aspect of her character. It’s Picard’s fault Hugh is dead, and it’s not sitting well with me. Honestly, I wish they hadn’t done it.

As for Elnor (aka “the kid”), it looks like he will be rescued by Seven in the next action-packed episode. Poor guy’s had a lot to deal with, all of the sudden; I hope we get to dig a little deeper into his story, because he hasn’t had a chance to do much beyond beheading people.

Overall, the pacing of this episode was perfect. Scenes were allowed to breathe, characters had moments, conversations that needed to happen weren’t rushed but didn’t linger too long, either. Well done.


Random Observations

  • The gormagander from Star Trek: Discovery got a shout-out.
  • Kestra mentioned Data wanting to tell jokes, dream, and dance, all referencing specific TNG episodes.
  • Some of the imagery used in Jurati’s mind-meld was first seen in Star Trek: Discovery when we saw what Spock learned about the destruction caused by the Control AI from his own mind-meld with the Red Angel. Let’s hope it was simply a re-use for budgetary reasons and not some bizarre link between the two stories.


New episodes of Star Trek: Picard are released on CBS All Access in the USA Thursdays at 12:01 AM PT/3:01 AM ET. In Canada it airs Thursdays on CTV Sci-Fi Channel at 6PM PT /9PM ET and streams on Crave. For the rest of the world it streams Fridays on Amazon Prime Video. Episodes are released weekly.

Keep up with all the Star Trek: Picard news at TrekMovie.

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Loved it. Hope we see the Troi-Rikers again.

It was a lovely visit, and I loved their cameraderie I even loved Kestra, though it took me a little while. When she sketches Soji, that’s when I began to love her.

For some reason I liked Kestra right away (and I can’t stand children [hahaha]). She is DEF a daddy’s girl. I remember Frakes saying in an interview once that one of the reasons Roddenberry hired him was because Frakes had a twinkle in his eye. I feel like the young actress has this, too, and was clearly the offspring of Will.

I’d watch a 6 episode arc with just them in the frame going about their lives. Maybe I’m just getting old but it would be nice to have something pleasant and simple to enjoy

SERIES GREENLIT! ( If I were in charge of course!)

Me too.

I am a huge Trek fan and will generally watch any series that was a Trek series… But that would be one that would require some heavy consideration before viewing.

I probably would too lol.

Nice to see someone on here who doesn’t hate everything. Loved it too. Loving all of it in fact.

This is the scorecard as I have it now:

Ghosts of Star Trek Past:

– Data – and he’s some phantasm in Picard’s head

Body Bags:

– Maddox
– Icheb
– Hugh (That was a dick move, Michael Chabon. If you wanted to kill someone off, you could have had a Tal Shiar fire a disruptor at someone off-screen as they said, “Shut up, Wesley.”)

Walking Dead:

– Picard

Shout Outs:

– Worf
– LaForge
– Mr. Mot
– Quark
– Spock (?)

Stunt Casting:

– Seven
– Data (minus Spot, so far)
– Both Rikers
– Maddox*
– Icheb*
– Hugh

(*character only)

Invited To Training Camp, Season 2:

– Guinan

Am I missing anyone?

Where’s Spock?

From the main original cast, we’re missing only Dr. Crusher.

Rios’s hero worship of Picard. He said, “He even worked with the great Spock”.

Ah, yes.

I think they’ve been very POINTEDLY not not mentioning Bev. Like, why did Picard call Dr. Benayoun? So SOMETHING’s up with Beverly, and we’re supposed to know that.

He was really upset at the interview talking about it being hard for those who died and harder for those left behind. I think she was one of those. Just my two slips.

I just chalked that up to Picard being closer to his Stargazer doctor than he ever was with Crusher. Made perfect sense to me. Especially since we got very little of anything between the two.

Or maybe he lived on Earth and Beverly doesn’t. The Rikers don’t live there so its not a shock others wouldn’t either. I don’t buy he’s closer to this doctor since he never even brought his name up in all the time we known Picard.

Crusher not being nearby is certainly possible. But just because a person was not mentioned to his crew doesn’t mean there was no close relationship. There is one guy I used to work with at another job years ago who is a pretty good friend today but I haven’t brought him up to any of my current colleagues. It’s completely purchasable Picard could have that situation as well.

Haha well done! Yes, I really hope we see Dr Crusher at some point …. it’s been nice seeing everyone else, and when do LaForge and Worf come into the picture? Or will they.

I don’t want to be “that guy” asking for everyone ever on TNG though

Robert Picardo has been in talks for season 2 as well

Now that would be interesting, considering what happened in “Author, Author”.

I sense a bit TNG and VOY stress here, as always. There’ve been a few DS9 references, but more would be nice.

Kirsten Beyer is a Voyager lit verse writer, so its not surprising that she’s contributed a lot of Voyager references

More DS9 references (and appearances) will most likely come Nachum, its just going to take longer to happen because it is only 10 episodes and they are already introducing so many new characters while in bringing other known ones. But I don’t think its an ‘if’ only a when at this point. This show is not really a TNG sequel (obviously) but a continuation of this era of Star Trek and Patrick Stewart made that clear months ago, so the door is basically open to anyone.

Before we saw the first trailer there were people convinced that we may not even see or hear about anyone from TNG itself, much less the other shows and now look where we are? They know hardcore fans want to see every show represented, or at least acknowledged, in some way but how they are doing it now is very smart IMO. I don’t know but I smiled so big when Quark’s name was actually said lol, but it tells the fans no one is forgotten at least. MAYBE someone from DS9 will pop in this season (don’t hold your breath thought) but I have a feeling it will come next season.

Robert Picardo was said to be asked back as well.

I didn’t realize that Robert Picardo was in their plans. His holographic doctor brought a dry and sardonic sense of wise-assery to Voyager. Might be fun to watch him and Seven shooting spitballs at each other again now that she’s more Annika than Borg drone. Even better, it would be fun to watch the doctor get knocked off his algorithmic kilter. LOL

Number of times Picard has been yelled at by an angry woman…

He was also told off by an angry man (Riker).

And finally, Troi and Riker are his old bridge officers and friends who he will actually listen to are take on board their feedback.

Absolutely spectacular! Frakes and Sirtis have never given a finer performance. There were nuances in their performances that I rewinded and watched five or six times.

I loved the “ready room” (dinner table) scene, and found it to be the finest singe moment in Trek since Wrath of Khan.

Yeah it was definitely some of their best work as Riker as Troi. Wonderful to see the three of them together again.

I wonder why Trekmovie didn’t have an article up on Thursday just for us to discuss the episode as in the previous ones.

Anyway, I agree that it’s almost impossible to not cry for any TNG fan whenever Troi, Riker, and Picard were in a scene together. Even on my second viewing I had tears almost the whole way through. While Stewart is always fantastic, I was just blown away by both Sirtis and Frakes. They really brought their A-game. This may sound lame, but there was Riker and Troi again. Wow.

I am upset about Hughs death. I asked Chabon on his Instagram story about any chance Hugh could be saved with Borg tech, and he just gave the crying emoji face. So I guess not. Bummer.

Some other things I loved:
-Frakes doing that hand movement when he’s explaining something is classic Riker. I was hoping to see the Riker-move in swinging his leg over a chair to sit down, but perhaps that would have been silly in this episode. At least he said “shields up!”
—When Picard instantly says “thoughts” to everyone at the table when presented with new information. That felt like they were back in the Ready Room or bridge on the Enterprise and Picard wanted to hear from his crew before making a decision.
-Troi was a huge standout. She was the MVP this episode. She helped Picard and Soji more than anyone else.
-That Kestra kid was awesome, but the offspring from Troi and Riker would have to be.
—I felt a LOT of Lord of the Rings here. From the made up worlds and languages that Thad and Kestra used, to how Nepenthe was like Lothlorien in LOTR: a beautiful place for refuge after coming out of a dark and dangerous place (the cube and Moria).
—it’s cool that the Romulan ship that Narek was in had some old-school panels for controls, along with the holographic ones. Just saying that actual panels are better than the see-through holographic screens.

The parts I liked the least were the La Sirena bits. It was ok, but meh. On future viewings I’m just going to fast forward those parts.

No worries, just curious. I appreciate all you guys do!

Laurie Ulster, I don’t know if this has already been done, if so I’ve never seen it and I’ve been coming to this site for like 12 years, but what do you think about making a series of posts introducing us to the Trekmovie staff? I was annoyed that there was no post about this episode sooner and then read this comment, and it occurred to me I was being an a$$hole. I was thinking of Trekmovie as a big media company that owes it’s customers a consistent schedule. I didn’t really think of it as a fan site run by fans who are dedicating a lot of time to Trek just for the love of it (ridiculous that i didn’t understand this — I know.) It made me realize that I really had no idea who was behind this site, and would be very interested in getting introduced to you all, so we can all thank you for your contributions in the comment threads. Just a thought.


I passed the suggestion along to the team. Thanks, guys. it’s nice to be appreciated and yes, we are all volunteers who do this because we love Star Trek, and we love to talk and write about it.

Thank you so much for having this site up and running!

You’re most welcome. We’re very happy people like it.

Only fault in the episode was Sirtis did not get “Special Guest Star” credit at the beginning. That was inexcusable.

Hear hear. Troi stole the show in my opinion. Sirtis’ performance was wonderful. Sirtis and Frakes should have both been ‘guest starring’ on the opening credits.

I was wondering the same thing. She was really given dialogue that showed what a skilled actress she is. It felt sooo good to see that.

And not only that. I also think the writing for the character of Troi might’ve been the best it ever got!

For me, this was amazing, but I’ve always felt the writers on TNG generally did not give Troi as challenging material as the character deserved.

The standout Troi episode, that made me feel Troi was a superstar, will always be ‘Face of the Enemy’ in TNG.

In his first writing credit, Naren Shankar showed how powerful Troi could be, not to mention that he was a champion for strong female characters.

He really seemed to be the first of their writers to ‘get’ Troi, and to give Sirtis the opportunity to really show her range.

As well, FotE also was the deepest dive into Romulan military culture in TNG in my view.

I really enjoyed Troi tracking the Shinzon Ship in Nemesis. That was very cool.

Unfortunately she also underwent a “mind rape” by the Reman, which seemed like a repeat of the mind rape that happened to her in TNG. But I guess it’s a danger for telepaths and empaths :^(

Jay, that seems to be the one and only time Troi actually did something useful.

TF47… But the tradeoff for Troi to say something semi-useful was only because Picard suddenly de-volved into an idiot. Had Picard still maintained his wisdom in this episode there would be no need for Troi to be useful to him. Is the price for making a weak female character stronger to make the main male character a stumbling clueless sitcom dad?

Sorry. Troi was weak when she was dreamed up by GR and remains the weakest link on TNG. The worst thing to ever happen to Troi was Wesley leaving. She went from the 2nd worst character to THE worst character.

ML31, Picard has been repeatedly showing low emotional intelligence throughout the series:

Episode 4
– his pitch to Elnor relies solely on his usefulness (and Elnor calls him on it
-his behaviour at the ‘Romulans Only’ cafe

Episode 6
-clapping when Raffi gets him credentials

The point is that Troi is the person he is willing to accept advice from on his emotional competence.

Well, there were plenty in times in TNG when Picard made the wrong decision in the teaser that led to the jeopardy experienced in the next 44 minutes. If that can be perceived as a lack of wisdom then I guess he never really had it. If one buys into the idea that those decisions were appropriate for their mission, then I think what the examples you just brought up would fit right in with that mold. Overall, I think most would think that Picard was a pretty sharp man. Sharper than anyone else he has ever met. But this last episode was the first time I really saw him behaving a bit dim. And that includes the examples you gave.


Totally agree!


The Kzinti get mentioned, their first since TAS.

Not their first, no.

What was the previous Kzinti mention, on-screen, after their TOS appearance?

I did get a charge out of that! Perhaps it was a bit cross polinization for Lower Decks?

The mind meld between Spock and McCoy in TWOK was super quick.

nomad was long

Nobody could do a mind-meld like Leonard Nimoy.

We only saw the beginning of that one. Just enough to show that it was happening.

I know many other posted their thoughts on other threads, but I waited to see the review. IMO for the second straight week, we got the best episode to date. Very nice to see because that opening to E5 was really somewhat troubling. For me it seemed perfectly natural for Picard to be completely out of touch with what Soji was going through from an emotional standpoint – perhaps he felt she would have no feelings so in the episode it was good to see Troi and Riker set him straight. Reunion scenes were great and the interaction between Soji and Kestra was well done. Kudos to the actors, I was particularly impressed with Sirtis. Her acting has come a long way since the Journey to Far Point.
Sad to see the demise of Hugh, but brilliantly portrayed by Del Arco and since this is science fiction, maybe we will see him again. Also thank you producers for once again giving us bonus time instead of the usual 42 minutes.
A few complaints like how did Picard get the coordinates for the projector to send them right to Riker and Troi’s house. I guess he gave Hugh the address/coordinates. Also the Romulan tracker could not have been more obvious, but I will give them a pass.
Overall a great episode and a proper reunion that was essential for the story. Too bad there are only three hours left to go in S1.

Agreed with everything you said DeanH, this was such a great episode on so many levels. I thought Frakes and Sirtis just both did a great job, especially given how long its been they played these characters. I mean its been 17 years since Nemesis and WE NEVER SAW THEM AGAIN UNTIL THIS EPISODE. I WILL REPEAT WE NEVER SAW THEM AGAIN ON ANY OTHER SHOW! ;)

In all seriousness I loved the entire backstory about why they were on the planet and what they been dealing with. They are obviously older but they are both the same characters so many fell in love with, especially Riker (and why I love Frakes so much!!). And you have to give the writers credit, they could’ve threw in all kinds of fan service to get people salivating. They could’ve had Riker on the Titan but didn’t. They didn’t even talk about Riker or Troi’s time in starfleet since we last saw them, it was all about dealing with Thad and where their life is now. They didn’t even throw in an Easter egg of a ship model in the background somewhere as a reminder to their former lives. In other words they were treated like real people and not just a set up to relive nostalgia. I thought that was all nicely played. We don’t need that kind of stuff all the time, just seeing those characters again are enough on their own and it paid off.

I also agree about Hugh. As much as it was a high it was to see Number One and Imzadi again, killing off Hugh was a big punch in the gut. I’m not mad about it but am disappointed. We were JUST getting reintroduced to the character again and then done. But Chabon HAS hinted that Hugh’s story may not be completely over yet so we’ll see. And I liked all the stuff on Rios ship and where Agnes is at in the story. You do feel sorry for her because clearly everything she is doing is severely weighing on her but she only did it because she thought it was necessary. And I just realized Agnes hasn’t been off that ship in a single episode since she boarded it in episode 3 lol. Everyone else has had some time somewhere else at least once.

So overall a really good episode. Again, I can understand how it may feel like ‘filler’ to some people but clearly things happened in it. We finally got a small glimpse why Romulans fear the synths through the mindmeld and the stuff on the Borg cube is about to get real now that Mama Seven is coming back with a vengeance. And like others I do have a feeling they may be setting up Riker to return to Starfleet, at least temporarily by the end of the season but we’ll see.

And yes it was great it was basically an hour episode. That’s another good point and what I tried to argue with a troll a month ago who was convinced all episodes would just be 40 minutes to sell the show to syndication once Amazon dumped it any day for being the total failure it was, blah, blah, blah. Hopefully the others from this point on will stay on the higher side at least.

Yes, Tiger, I really hope they’ll keep up the 50-+ minute model, because that’s more storytelling time!

My theory on Hugh: Seven still has all her Borg implants. She may be able to salvage some Borg tech and “re-activate” him, wouldn’t that be a hellofa story about uses and violations and volition and non-.


…ohhh! I see what you did there!

haha yes, totally agree. I still laugh when some fans think Berman was infallible. That finale was a complete embarrassment and I am glad he has essentially apologized for its existence. Ok let’s speak of it no more haha.
Btw I watched E7 again this evening before the hockey game and once again I have to complement Sirtis on her acting. When Troi enters her son’s room to speak to Picard, you can momentarily still see the pain that she will carry for the rest of her life. Also her dressing down AND build up of Picard after his attempt at sarcasm with Soji, was both well written and acted.
Oh btw MINOR SPOILER – E8 will also be around 55 minutes. There are legit credible details of E8 out on the interweb, but I managed to avoid reading them haha. Bring it on.

Yes, but again, and I think this needs to be made perfectly clear, had Picard kept the wisdom he has had throughout this series up to this point, he would not have needed any dressing down from Troi. The only reason that happened was because suddenly Picard became an imbecile. It felt like they dumbed down Picard just to give Troi something to do. Troi’s usefulness was manufactured. It was weak. Inorganic. And was a contributor to that side of the episode being the less interesting side. I perked up every time the show shifted to Rios and Co. They were the interesting people.

Yes we did! We saw them on Ent…NEVERMIND! 😱

Their acting there was like they were at gunpoint or something.. do this or else.. :D

Agreed with all points above, Tiger. I watched this episode three times, a personal record for Kurtzman-Trek! I do find Commodore Oh a pretty corny ‘villain,’ however.

Thanks Danpaine! And yes I’ve watched it three times too. This and the first episode are the ones I seen three times each, which is NOT common for me. For Discovery I’ve only watched one episode more than twice so far which was the Sanest man, although I’ve seen most of the episodes in season 2 twice at least.

For the record, I haven’t watched any of the Secret Hideout Trek episodes more than once. Even the good one I only saw once.

Regarding Hugh… It wasn’t the gut punch that losing Icheb was. The reason Icheb hit much harder was because of how it affected 7. By themselves both deaths really aren’t that big a deal as they are ancillary characters. Their job is to provide story movement for the main characters. If that means a death then fine. When Hugh got aced my thought was, “Aww… Anyway on with the story.” My feeling regarding the Rikers and the rest of the episode can be found elsewhere in the thread. Needless to day my reaction was different from most TNG fans.

”Star Trek doesn’t always get kids right, but Picard nailed it with Kestra.“


Tsk, blackmocco, get your mind out of that bad place!

Oh I didn’t mean it in that fashion, Maria!!! Lol. I was just laughing that people thought the kid was great.

Well Wasn’t She?

Yes, she was great. Reminds me of my own daughters

If you think she was, then you’re right. If I think she continues the long-standing Trek tradition of annoying kids who can miraculously save the day (via a 24th century phone) when the rest of the cast can’t, then I’m right too. We’re all right.

I loved the character… but… you’re not wrong. And it took your statement for me to realize that. Well played.

Totally, understand blackmocco.

Gifted kids can be annoying and irreverent, not to mention impatient with authority.

Why would we expect the kids of the best of the best of Starfleet to be otherwise?

The schoolrooms of the Enterprise and the Titan would have been full of young Sheldon types. Riker and Troi are fortunate to have a indulgent neighbour that their bright (now) only child can safely reach out to on speed dial.

And that’s a fine explanation, TG, although if she’d actually figured out the location of the planet herself, that would back up your point (and ensure I never, ever watched this show again! Lol) but she literally just called up someone on her phone and asked them! Stupid adults! It’s like they’ve never solved problems like this once a week for seven years before!

Also, this really is some riveting character study of Picard – he’s done nothing on this show so far! Everyone else has figured everything out for him! It’s like the opposite of Discovery where Burnham simply HAS to be the one with the answers, Picard’s completely useless! What’s season 2 going to be about? Picard needs help to find the La Sirena’s space toilet?

LOLOL!!!! I found that to be VERY funny!!!

Great episode and, yes, here’s hoping re-used footage and not a direct link to Discovery.

When I saw the ships in the attack on Mars I thought they looked familiar …. :^(

If they make anything more out of ‘control’ and this ‘evil A.I.’, I think it would be a mistake. Leave Discovery season 2 as a distant memory and never look back.

Amen to that.

Make that season 2 AND season 1 and I am on board.

The show itself practically did that since everyone pretended the ship was destroyed and any mention of the Discovery crew from this point on means treason. ;D

I’m thinking direct link. Which saddens me. There was also a fairly clear shot of an extremely Airiam-looking “something”. Not sure how she’d factor in.

Although, they are still using the same shuttles from Disco which is the epitome of lazy… could be rehashed footage for an entirely different thing… I just doubt it.

Why exactly did Frakes get a special guest star credit whereas Marina did not? That struck me as very odd and incorrect.

I knew the producers of this show wouldn’t be able to pass up on the opportunity to kill of Hugh and they delivered right on cue. It took away most of the positive feelings this show generated by bringing back Riker and Troi. And I hope they are not bringing them back any time soon because you know they will otherwise just suffer a similar fate. At this rate, I expect Seven the bite the dust as well before the season is over.

Another thing that struck me while watching this episode is that this show spends a large amount of screen time on making us watch characters figuring out things we as an audience already know. There were all these scenes on the cube leading up to Soji discovering who she really was. And now in this latest episode Riker and Troi were going to help Picard come up with a new plan but all they accomplished was managing Soji to tell her story. And so now Picard knows what we already all knew from the last episode. This show is just spinning its wheels. They took a story that TNG would have covered in a 2-parter and are now stretching it over 10 episodes.

“Why exactly did Frakes get a special guest star credit whereas Marina did not?” Simple, better agent. That’s not a joke and only one option. Here’s an excerpt from an post on Mark Evanier’s blog…

Once in a while, that kind of billing is dictated by the producers when they land a biggie and want to call a little extra attention to it. There was a point in the seventies when it was known throughout the business that Sammy Davis Jr. was willing to appear on anything (A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G) for any non-insulting money as long as you treated him like he was a big deal. I would guess he always got Special Guest Star billing.
But probably 80% of the time, it’s a case of they offer the actor X dollars, he and/or his reps want Y and they compromise on X dollars plus “Special Guest Star” status. Most famously, the late and lovely Jonathan Harris received “Special Guest Star” billing on every friggin’ episode of Lost in Space in lieu of higher pay.

And it isn’t always that the agent’s aggressive. Sometimes, it’s a matter of the producer doing the agent a favor. What happens is that they offer X and that’s final. The agent knows that his or her client will accept that rather than lose the job…but the agent also knows that the client will bitch and/or moan that the agent should have gotten more money and maybe hint at finding another agent who can. So the agent says to the producer, “Okay, but can you give me something?”

The producer — and I’m saying “producer” here but it may be a lawyer in Business Affairs or someone else negotiating — knows there’s a value in maintaining a friendly relationship with this agent and maybe being owed a favor. So they say, “Okay, tell your client you got them a star dressing room.” Or “Tell your client you got them their favorite hairdresser.” Or a frequent one is “Tell your client you got them Special Guest Star billing.”

Thanks for the background Douglass Abramson.

The actor credits on Discovery have been bugging me for some time. I thought it was mainly a guild hierarchy thing, so it’s helpful to know that there is some negotiation.

You’re welcome.

“Another thing that struck me while watching this episode is that this show spends a large amount of screen time on making us watch characters figuring out things we as an audience already know.”

I would add the following thing to your examples: We know what’s up with Agnes, yet on the episode we have to watch Rios to suspect Raffi. I’m aware that others assumed it’s just a ploy from Rios and Raffi who both suspect that something is wrong with Agnes. But there’s a scene with Rios and Raffi about throwing her (Raffi) out of an airlock which does not really fit because Agnes is not present at the time, so no reason to keep up the charade.

But to be fair we don’t know what’s going on yet – one of Chabon’s comments about the EHM implies that there is something more to it related to Rios what we don’t know yet. I just hope they have some good answers. Discovery did not for all the questions it raised, so I can’t say I’m really too confident. In any case, the gang over there didn’t do himselves any favor of releasing only one episode per week.

When Rios brought it up to Agnes I thought it a ploy to get her to confess. But when he spoke to Rafi about it I thought that it wasn’t and he truly did suspect her.

“Why exactly did Frakes get a special guest star credit whereas Marina did not? That struck me as very odd and incorrect.”

After the way Sirtis attacked and insulted CbsAA I’m not surprised at all. I think it is a very understandable and smart move from their side.

I’d love to hear more dirt on that…

The reports of 7’s impending death are greatly exaggerated. It’s highly unlikely they will knock off any of the new legacy characters this season.

I found myself liking Picard (the character) a little less in this episode. He swore he wouldn’t bring his friends into this quest to find Data’s essence and then he went to the planet where Riker and Troi went to try and help their dying son, but failed. Their son died because of the synth attack on Mars – that has something to do with the fact that mars was building ships to help relocate the Romulans. Because the Romulan star exploded.

Picard put Riker and Troi’s surviving child at risk rather than using the spatial trajector to go back to Rios’s ship.

Troi was used better than she ever was in TNG here too – she is right to tell Picard to stop being so sarcastic to Soji. He doesn’t know her at all. Why is he being like that to her?

Picard shushes Riker in his own house. I know he used to be his captain, but that was just rude.

Picard says he needs to feel useful again – he said that back in episode 2 I think. Hasn’t he come to terms with that yet? Or should Riker and Troi have appeared earlier? It feels like the latter should have happened before Picard left earth.

I enjoyed the stuff on Rios’s ship – except the dropping out of warp to elude Narek – why didn’t Narek’s ship’s sensors detect that they were dropping out of warp (as would be suggested by many precedents in Star Trek)? Narek wasn’t piloting by sight out of the shuttle window. He was flying at warp, so would have been working on sensors. I didn’t quite buy that Rios would be able to lose Narek by stopping for a bit. I also didn’t like the 3D printer replicator. What if they’d done that with a dot matrix printer in 1987? “Tea, Earl Grey, on fanfold paper…”

I hope when Seven of Nine inevitably returns she does more than terminate things. She was basically Voyager’s answer to Data – I’d prefer her to do some kind of awesome Star Trek thing using her massive intellect and skill rather than just go pew pew pew.

Unless… this is all something to do with Q, Picard’s irumodic syndrome, or it’ll be fixed with wibbly wobbly timey wimey things.

Soji may be older than 37 months. It may only be her memories and things that are 37 months.

I think she destroyed the Hobus star and the Zhat Vash know about it. That’s why they killed all the Martians.

Picard will have to stop Soji in the past and then the timeline will be fixed and everyone’s lives will be less bleak.

Frakes and Sirtis were *brilliant* in this episode, despite its issues.


Personally, I’m really happy for Sirtis – she really was underused in TNG. I recently started reading some old TNG comics and I was really impressed how good they are at using ALL the main characters on a regular basis, they have always something to do and step in the spotlight in a way it sadly never really was archieved on the show where it was usually the case of having the “Data-centric-episode”, next Picard, Riker and so on.

Anyway in one of these comic book compilations they did publish an interview with Sirtis made somewhere at the time the motion pictures were made and the TV show was already over. She said something along the lines of feeling very sorry and sad the show was over and she would love coming back to the movies of course, but the thing is on TNG she had the occasional Troi-episode while the movies would obviously always be about Picard and Data. But hey, since then she got some really great appearances in Voyager and now this.
As I said I’m really happy for her and I’m glad they still find some good use for her character.

Can’t really say I liked the episode as a whole (or the series so far) but they nailed Riker and Troi really well in this one and it felt just good to see them again, hanging around with them a bit, even if it did nothing at all for the plot. I’m wishing they would get rid of this “modern” approach that everything leads to the next and all is connected and whatnot – no problem at all with an overarching plot like they did on DS9 but they did manange to write episodes with beginnings and endings very well back in the day, and what I’m trying to say is that I would like this episode more if this would have been some stand-alone plot with just Picard visiting his friends for some reason. In the context of the overall plot it just felt silly to have this side-step, especially since they know the romulans are one step ahead.

Regarding season long story arcs… It’s hard to have self contained episodes that serve the season story in 10-13 episode seasons. You can do that in 20+ episode seasons. But in miniseaons you really don’t have time for such detours.

You seem to be liking Picard a little less because he turned into a moron in this episode as opposed to other episodes. And that happened it seems to me only because they needed to give Troi something useful to do.

The positronic “disease” resulted in a facepalm for me. It was so amazingly contrived and made zero sense. Obviously it was designed to get more audience on the side of anti-AI ban for those who may not be there yet.

I admit 7 was similar to data in that both were trying to discover humanity. However 7 was far more interesting in that she was trying to rediscover what she lost. Data was trying to achieve something he really never could.

@ML31 For me I think it’s that Picard literally went back on everything he said earlier in the season. Ok, he didn’t want to get his old crew involved, so why not just beam back to Rios’s ship using the trajector? The Romulans were after him whether he was on some distant planet or the La Sirena, so what difference did it make other than going to Nepenthe put Riker, Troi, and their surviving child in danger. Picard used to be a tactical genius, but now…

As for Seven, I was talking more about her intellectual abilities (although I agree with the quest for humanity comparison), since she had the knowledge of the whole Borg collective in her mind.

How has she used that on PIC? I guess I’m disappointed that she hasn’t. She’s basically a Nausicaan now.

And I think that’s a shame since Seven has the potential to be so much more than just a terminator.

This show has definitely been a mixed bag. I like it way more than I will ever like DSC, but it’s still lacking in a number of areas – notably the “science” part of its apparent nature as “science fiction”

Yes… At first I figured they would just walk back to Rios’ ship. But instead he decided to invade Riker’s retirement. You can see how the original mapping did not include him. Maybe that would have been the better way to go?

Yes, the show is a mixed bag. It certainly is better than Discovery has been (or likely ever will be possibly). But that is not a very high bar.

Even after my second rewatch I still can’t get over the fact how absolutely astonishing Alison Pill’s acting was in this episode! Her scenes with Michelle Hurd and Santiago Cabrera just blew me away completely.

I was getting fearful that Jurati might turn into the show’s token “quirky” character… turns out I was woefully mistaken.

Yes, thank Kahless they didn’t turn her into another Tilly which I was fearing at the beginning. She has a lot more layers to her.

I’d agree when it comes to her acting she did a hell of job – this episode especially. However, I hated the scene in the beginning where Oh says “Take it” and she IMMIDIATELY put this tracker in her mouth. I was like “What????”
Then I though “Ok I guess she knows what this is so she does not have to think about it” but then Oh says “You have to chew it” which Jurati appearantly did not know – I mean the tracker looked quite big to just swallow it, right?
Besides I’d imaginge that things like that would be much smaller in the future anyway. And more importantly: Jurati doesn’t know Oh at all, she just met her; an angry Vulcan with sunglasses for (as far as we know) no reason and yet she doesn’t hesistate to swallow the tracking device, she did not want any credentials, nothing. Blah. And I haven’t even mentioned that Oh forces her mindmeld on her, by the time she finished saying “Let me show you” she already had her hands on Jurati’s face. When Shinzon did something similar with Troi in “Nemesis” she considered it raping. In any way, this did not feel like “the Starfleet way” at all. Or is she Section 31? Tal Shiar? Zhat Wash? Or is she everything? Commodore Double-Oh Oh?

I dunno, it’s writing like this which makes this show hard to believe for me, and I have a hard time feeling for characters who appearantly act totally stupid.

I actually thought she was going to pretend to take it and dispose of it later.

In the last seconds of the preview of the upcomming episode it looks like Seven will become something like borg queen of that derelict cube. There are visible moving cables behind her. Similar to that things from First Contact.

It also looks like her eyes are taking on a metallic sheen

Yes. Totally! That is exactly what I thought. Not only that, Hugh saying they know how to take back the Cube means he and all the xBs have an Emergency Plan.

Jurati’s mind-meld was first seen in Star Trek: Discovery when we see what Spock learned about the destruction caused by the Control AI from his own mind-meld with the Red Angel. Let’s hope it was simply a re-use for budgetary reasons and not some bizarre link between the two stories.

I got a baaaad feeling about this

I’m sorry Picard is so … Tone deaf? Insensitive? Manipulative? First noted when he applauded Raffi, after she as good as lost another friend getting Picard something he needed for his mission [the applause was a brilliant bit suggested by Sir Pat himself], noted at Hugh’s sacrifice, and so on. I guess JLP will slowly come to a painful realization. I just hope it doesn’t take all his friends dying to get him there.

Picard really needed to see Troi and Riker to be called on his insensitivity and arrogance towards those he has asked to be under his command.

He wanted a crew that he has little emotional attachment to because he’s haunted by Data’s death.

However, his attempts to keep emotional distance is making him a poorer leader than he ever was on the Enterprise.

It will be interesting to see whether Picard, after his visit to Nepenthe, will baby step by baby step, recover some of the Captain Picard he used to be.

TG47, I sure hope so!

Couldn’t disagree more. All through TNG Picard kept an emotional distance from everyone under his command. Including is 2nd officer for Pete’s sake!

He’s like the head coach who is there to coach not be a friend. If they want a friend, talk to Number 1.

And he has been that way as long as we’ve known him. Including this show. The difference is somewhere in between the last episode and this one he was injected with some sort of intelligence inhibitor. Something tells me it only lasts for one episode. Next time he will be back to normal.

I’ve been reflecting further on how Picard is lacking attunement to those around him.

I believe, Marja, that Picard’s response to Troi, when she lists the competencies he needs to be the Captain Picard he used to be, is the key to understanding Picard’s insensitive mission focused behaviour.

He adds “And useful.”

For Picard, useful and capable are what he wants to be, what he wants to get back.

Part of it’s age and having felt powerless and incapable after the Mars attack. More than that however is that he’s given his life to Starfleet, on the command track, that defined success not in material wealth or social status, but in competence and effecting solutions to challenging situations.

So, Picard has been motivating people (Raffi, Elnor) by praising their competence and expertise, when they are looking for caring for their emotional needs, and evidence of attachment and attunement.

But, Picard told Zhaban in the second episode that he doesn’t feel he can cope with being attached to a crew he puts in harm’s way after Data’s death. Until Picard accepts that he has to risk those he cares for, he won’t be able to be the Captain he was.

TG47, I agree with this, especially needing to feel capable and useful. I’m assuming that in So, Picard has been motivating people (Raffi, Elnor) by praising their competence and expertise, [but not] when they are looking for caring for their emotional needs, and evidence of attachment and attunement. you meant to say what I inserted in [bold type] …?

Sort of Marja.

It might have better been said “when instead they are looking for Picard to show…” .

Essentially, the same meaning. Thanks for the catch.

Picard knows how to handle people. And has been capable of adjusting on the fly. For example, when Data whined about not being able to handle emotions Picard first treated him with kid gloves. Which seems to be his go to when he is unsure of what method will work. When that didn’t he turn to his cold and detached Captain mode. That did the trick and Data become more focused. But usually he reads people right the first time. For some reason in this episode Picard lost that. When it was obvious his light and sarcastic method was not working he would have immediately changed tactics. He didn’t need Troi to tell him anything. Except in this episode, since he took a dumb pill, he did.

So, for what it’s worth, here’s where I think we might end up…

Data’s memories are stored in B4, we know that much. Picard will now find a newly-created, and appropriately aged, Data’ body on Sodji’s home world.

Put the two together, and Brent Spiner can play Data once again! Ta da

Or it’s going to go all dark and weird, and have something to do with Control from Discovery. And then I’ll give up and try to forget it ever happened.

There is still all that “SHE IS THE DESTROYER!” stuff to be explained. How that would tie in with CONTROL, I can’t imagine.

I’m still trying to figure out how Commodore Oh seems to know the future and that Synths will destroy the galaxy (or whatever). I mean, she showed Jurati some imagery of planets going kablooey… where did THAT come from? Or did some planet get blown to hell by Synths who were stopped before they could move on by Rios’ USS Ibn Mājid, which was then swept under the rug? If Picard ends with Starfleet sweeping another conspiracy under the rug like Discovery Season 2, I’ll be disappointed. I really hope Chabon is smarter than that.

The trailer for episode 8 isn’t giving me a lot of comfort Thorny.

It’s hard to know what it will mean, as we’ve been misdirected by earlier trailers, but it’s clear, at minimum, that Picard will get the brief from Jurati on what she was shown by Oh.

I enjoyed the episode, but I can’t help but wonder if any of the TNG crew got a happy ending or if each of them has experienced a personal tragedy. So far no one has escaped unscathed.

Can’t wait to see if Geordi’s eyes exploded or Beverly lost an arm juggling chainsaws.

If so, we would definitely get to see it in a gory flashback!

Everybody who lives long enough experiences deaths of loved ones and other personal pain.

Thanks for that Salt (and good to see you back the last few weeks).

Picard is about an older person, and seems intentionally targeted at an older Trek audience. (Or, at least it seeks to include fans beyond their teens and twenties.)

Few of us get into our thirties without realizing that bad things happen to good people. How good people and those around them accept and overcome these events is the key thing, and optimistic Trek can address that.

As well, one of the challenges of late age, as Picard experiences, is that life can become too retrospective. For a person of power and action like Picard, that can feel like a death in itself. Unlike Riker and Troi, his retirement didn’t bring healing or contentment.

That said, it would be good to see Worf, who resolved and experienced a lot of tragedy through TNG and DS9, be the one main character that has moved beyond his personal tragedies and is successfully commanding his own ship.

Two points I’m trying to get across here (Well, one, plus another that I’m still trying to puzzle out): One, this is supposed to be a Picard-centric show. I know many of these returning characters are here to help build a plot, but there’s a danger of going back to the well one time too many. They’ve already held the door open for Whoopi Goldberg to return; if there’s one character from the past I’d like to see become an integral part of Picard’s life, who would be Picard’s guide, muse, conscience, and devil on his shoulder, it would be Guinan. They have a long history together. But the the appearance of these other characters returning in the first two thirds of the season, regardless how well the charactor is integrated into the larger storyline, it almost feels…………pefunctory. Step in, read your lines, step out. Seeing if and how they get killed is like watching a game of Wheel of Fortune. “Pat, I’d like to solve the puzzle……” which brings us to…….Hugh. Hugh, as accepted in the scene with Elnor on the artifact, is dead. Except for one little issue that way be a technical error – a scripting faux pas, overlooked by the secessive hands that it passed through, or a clue: Elnor cradled his head as Hugh was dying, but up close and as the camera pulled back, the blood from Hugh’s carotid artery was still spurting. His heart was still pumping as the scene faded. Given that they were on a Borg cube, Hugh still had remnants of Borg implants, it was the cusp of the 25th century and medical technology practially roams beside you, isn’t it feasible that emergency medical treament or stasis couldn’t have appeared on-demand to provide life-saving assistance? We don’t know what what systems may have activated or installed in those invening years.


I liked the episode a lot. A question though: Soji doesn’t trust Picard because of many reasons, but if she was Dahj’s twin, why didn’t she have the same Picard face flash/urge that Dahj had when she herself was in danger and sought Picard saying “everything tells me I can trust you”. Wouldn’t that trust also be pre-programmed into Soji?

good question

The programming was reinforced by the Mom AI.

We also know that the Mom AI had some communication back with Maddox. He knew that Dahj had been activated via the Mom AI. So, it may be that either the program or Maddox himself was pushing Dahj to trust Picard.

Recall that Dahj’s Mom pressed Dahj to return to Picard in the alley scene.

In Soji’s case, since she wasn’t sent to a mission on Earth, the program may have identified a different safe person in emergencies. If it was Hugh, he’s now dead.

More than that, Soji knows the Mom AI is a program and that she has embedded memories. Her embedded impulses, as part of the mission, likely led her to be curious about Narek and involve herself with him. She isn’t likely to trust embedded impulses.

That is a good question. Also… If there are two why can’t there be three or 4 or more?

I don’t think there was time for that. Soji had just escape death by drilling through the floor when she found herself facing Picard. The “find Picard” subroutine may have simply decided it was “overcome by events” and didn’t run.

Loved everything except offing Hugh. Come on, guys… this would be the second XB character killed within a couple of episodes to further Seven’s story. I’m hoping I’m not giving the showrunners enough credit and there’s a save in mind for the next ep (perhaps having to do with whatever the XBs were swarming around in the teaser?), but I’m not holding my breath.

But scenes with Riker and Troi and Picard? Kestra sliding past Soji’s shields? Even the tension on La Sirena? Yeah, that was really good. Got me misty-eyed in more than one scene. I’m really looking forward to next week.

Hugh’s death did nothing for 7’s story. Except to lead Legolas to tap the communo crystal she left behind.

Loved the Riker-Trois. It was like visiting old friends again, a little more weathered and world-weary but the same at the root. What they did to Hugh though is unforgivable in my opinion. Not only did they manipulate his childlike innocence but then to also unceremoniously kill him off. Not good. Come on you guys are working in a huge Science-Fiction universe, there has got to be other ways besides killing off older characters. Star Wars also fell to this trap in the sequel trilogy, I was hoping Star Trek wasn’t going to.

I understand your feelings on this alphantrion.

For myself, I could accept any one of the 3 deaths of guest stars or recurring characters as logical within the story, but 3 seems too many. (I note that one professional reviewer came out and asked if the body count isn’t getting too high, despite giving an otherwise very positive review.)

Hugh’s death also seems to lock in a pattern of bringing back minor characters only to use their deaths as motivation for the main characters.

I disagreed with someone on this board last week who was worried that they were only bringing back Hugh in a positive way in order to to kill him off. I thought that the poster was giving into the negative, but they were right. It will be hard to get fans enthusiastic about the return of other minor characters now that this pattern has been set.

I won’t call this lazy or poor writing, as the senior writers are all vsolid. However, it’s clear that the writers got caught in some groupthink on this. The writers wrote what made sense to them plot point by plot point, but they seemed to have struggled to see the overall effect. They either think too much alike, or for some reason they aren’t able to work through diverse ideas.

On the early Deadline podcasts, they talked about the difficulty in writing a new series without any feedback from the audience, especially a longstanding property. Goldman said that you didn’t know if half the audience would love it or hate it. It sounds as though they just went what they felt would work, and some strong balancing voices weren’t there.

It’s disappointing that the writers weren’t challenged to find another way. While deaths of existing characters should be permitted, TPTB should insist that this be done judiciously. Each existing character is part of the IP of the entire franchise. Each one is part of the value.

(I recall that there were some problems with this in the early Relaunch novels. They actually had a case where a character was killed off that another author was using in the following novel in a series. David Mack and Dayton Ward have said that the writers and Simon & Schuster worked out how to avoid that for later novels.)

As another evidence of groupthink in the Picard writers room, Chabon and Goldman have spoken about how great the chemistry between Peyton List and Harry Treadway was at the first table read, and how they expanded Narissa’s part to are advantage of this. They both keep saying “wasn’t Peyton List great?” (…and the Deadline reviewers agrees.). Otherwise, from what I’ve read and heard on podcasts, at most one or two professional critics have praised the Narissa-Narek scenes on the Artifact, but most found them to be dragging the episodes.

Kurtzman has said that he was concerned about splitting between Picard’s point of view and the cube, and from what we’ve heard there was more that was cut out either before or after filming. However, it sounds as though he wasn’t willing to say a hard no and veto the 3 deaths or the remnants of the Narissa-Narek dynamic.

Thanks for the in-depth reply and thorough analysis of the situation and I agree with almost all of the things you mention. I am wondering if the writers are this trigger-happy because they have a way to bring all these dead people at the end of the season somehow (those rumored Q appearances) but this could just be my wishful thinking.

That bit about Narissa and Narek truly surprises me. I find those two as the representative villains to be the weakest part of the show – two sacks of mustache-twirling tropes without a single original element to recommend them. Serviceable, certainly, but in no way memorable except that they call to mind characters that carried the present elements better.

Narek has at least a little more depth. I do believe he was actually falling for Soji, note his reaction when he was outside the room and she was inside with the radiation.

Narissa [?] such an unmemorable cardboard character I can’t remember her name. From the icky incestuous hints she keeps throwing Narek’s way to her awful, trite dialogue she could simply vanish and no one would miss her.

Along with the two baddies you mentioned, I’m going to offer that Commodore Oh is up there with being as shallow, one-dimensional and plastic as Narissa. She’s actually laughable with those glasses on, and not menacing whatsoever. And that mind-meld scene was jarring. Agreed that Narek offers a bit more depth, and I very much like Harry Treadaway from Penny Dreadful, but overall I was hoping PIC would feature some proper villains, not cardboard ones.

Danpaine, Yep, I agree. And didn’t she look super kewl with those classic Ray-Bans. [sigh]

I agree, I sure hope the “villains” will have more depth. I think Treadaway is trying to bring that energy to Narek.

And for all that they aren’t even a tenth as bad as MU Georgeau.

9/10… wow… i hope you are all enjoying this… the show started good but it has gotten exponentially better since… i keep saying best episode so far after each one at least since the first 3 which felt more like a three parter… everything worked here… the story for troi and riker was so beautiful and sad and incredibly well done… it was great they got the whole episode and not just cameos… sirtis is fantastic here… the three of them together felt perfect like yes time has gone by and everyone’s in a different place but they all belong together… their daughter is amazing… elnor on the borg cube was great though i’m saddened about hugh… the cake scene fantastic (i love cake)… the show has been picking up speed since episode 5… my only problem i guess is i kind of wanted more with elnor on the cube… more hugh… more everything… the hour went by so fast… and i hate that there’s only 10 episodes…

I thought the soji’s data head tilt was first seen in this episode, but after watching episode 4 again, I just noticed she did it after Narek told her about the borg ritual

Actually I’m glad you did say this – I only noticed this in this episode and it really felt like the lazy-writing-approach so that Riker could get what’s going on.
For example I hated it when in Voyager’s “Dark Frontier” Chakotay says to Janeway something like “You always play around with your communicator when you do…” well whatever it was. Fact is, we only ever saw Janeway doing this in that episode because it was written into that specific script. This wasn’t the “Janeway-manouver”, so Chakotay’s comment did not felt believable. At best, it implied that we (the audience) did miss a lot of what’s going on on that ship.

There had been a few folks on this board who pointed it out in episode 4.

I also noted that some of the stiffness in Soji’s very upright posture and walking style has echos of Data. Rewatching some of the earlier episodes it seems to have been there from the first scenes on the cube.

Anyone else think that Riker’s “active reserve duty” status foreshadows his appearance in another episode (a la Bones McCoy), possibly assisting Romulan refugees?

It felt to me they just kept their options open for possible future appearances of the character. If he lives retired on Nepenthe, it makes him hard to use in the future. So they would need a side-door. I did not get the impression it’s something they have made their mind on. After all, they said they did not have a “plan” for using Riker at all when writing startet, but along the way, they found a way, which I’m sure was this episode and that was it for the season.
It was a great idea for doing a filler episode, as they probably realised it’s hard to expand a story into a “ten hour-movie” when the plot you have would have made a engaging three-parter at best.

I agree Star Trick, that the writers were being careful not to close the door on Riker and/or Troi returning to duty. I note that Picard introduces Troi to Soji by rank, another indication that they are not retired.

But I don’t see this episode as filler at all. TPTB promised that this show would be more grounded, have more room to breathe, be more of a character study. I see this episode as essential for that.

Picard himself has been to some extent untethered since his retirement. He has been trying to treat his new crew as crew, and maintain emotional distance, and he doesn’t. He’s not handling his team well on an emotional level, and trying to motivate them solely with respect for there competence. He’s been roundly criticized directly by many, but really able to process that and adapt.

Troi and Riker were able to call Picard on his inappropriate reactions and he was able to hear it from them and take it on board. Visiting them was a crucial course correction for his behaviour. I don’t think that the writers could have found a better way to help the character of Picard take a course correction, that would be accepted by either the character or long time TNG fans.

No, I think Trick is right. This episode really had “filler” written all over it. So far it feels like this story could have been told in 7 or 8 episodes.

Or fighting off a new Borg invasion…

FYI, I did a little linguistic sleuthing that may give us a glimpse of what’s going on. “Qowat Milat” means “strength of the nation” in Persian, and “Zhat Vash” means “stranger” in Kazakh. (I’m going purely by Google translate for the latter.)


Great research River Temarc.

Interesting. I thought they went a little Hebrew with that. Yad Vashem sounds very similar to me.

I wonder who is the “stranger” — the synths or the Romulans who fight them?
I really hope we get to see the warrior nuns in action. I love Elnor.

I honestly don’t know if it is a good thing or bad thing that all the words they are coming up with are just from other Earth languages and not made up Sci-fi words.

Seeing Riker and Deanna and their daughter was great. But the episode didn’t seem to advance the plot very much. After 7 episodes, I keep wondering when it will get interesting.

I liked the episode and I loved the Troi-Rikers. I was very sad for their kid, I really wish they could do some time travel and save him, he seems awesome. And I loved that the planet were they live is so awesome and had such a LOTR feeling that fits with Thad’s stories. I actually want to read about Ardani. But what I hated was Hugh being killed. Icheb was not enough? Why ruining so much about the freed Borgs? I am not sure I will ever forgive them for all this. I am pretty sure there were no need for that, he could have been incapacitated (so the kid will still need 7of9)

did anybody understand what is this “condition of Picard” that Riker is talking about

They told us about it back in episode 2.

Basically, a variant of irumodic syndrome from “All good things.” A form of dementia, essentially, as I understand it. Picard’s in the early stages.

I’ve been thinking since the TNG finale that this parietal lobe problem, whatever it may be in whatever timeline, is a direct result of his assimilation and extraction from the Borg.

It would, in the context of the XBorgs as a suffering minority, be an interesting way for Picard to have a physical, if not outwardly visible, manifestation of his continued trauma.

If so, one hopes that it’s a syndrome that XBorg’s can eventually be treated for

TG47, I wonder if Picard’s Irumodic Syndrome can be cured somehow with all the research into reclaiming XBs …. and I agree, I think Picard’s trauma was so significant [him being a trusted captain with many colleagues and a lot of trust from others] after Wolf 359 that it will not easily go away.

I had a big grin on my face when Troi and Riker first appeared and I love Kestra, what a character. The group hug at the end had me tearing up. I agree, I didnt like seeing Hugh die and I hope there’s no tie in to STD. And I wonder if Elnor ends up joining Seven and her rangers.

What I liked about this episode

1. I think Frakes and Sirtis did a great job of introducing a believable conclusion to their stories in the Star Trek Universe. They have great chemistry and their daughter completes a well rounded trio of characters enjoying a well deserved break (shields and anti-cloaking scanners included) in a quiet and picturesque setting

2. Now Soji is away from Sir Creep-a-Lot her character seems more believable and she and the daughter cultivate a believable connection.

3. While the TNG music riffs were laid on a little thick, it was tastefully woven into the score I thought and the dialogue between Riker and Picard is good.

4. Only 7 or 8 people were murdered this episode so the body count is starting to plateau I think

What I didn’t like about this episode

The poor writing continues with plot contrivance after plot contrivance.
(a) Hugh was spared for a shaky reason so he can spill the beans on his plan 10mins later and be murdered 5 mins after that
(b) Rios accuses Raffi of being tracked for no good reason completely out of nowhere, just so we can have an emotional scene with the other girl (forgot her name) – again, not ‘earned’.
(c) Oh by the way, the doctor is being tracked – ret-con.
(d) Picard’s sarcastic outburst against Soji came out of nowhere and is completely out of character…just so we can have another episode of “Angry women yelling at Picard”
(e) The Mind-Meld scene….copied from Discovery (because everything has to be “world-ending” nowadays and of course it’s enough for the doctor to go postal, murdering her lover and literally swallowing whatever she’s given…. By a stranger…. Wearing sunglasses… with no ID…

I doubt (c) is a retcon. It looked like that whole scene was filmed at the same time back for Episode 3.

Isn’t (d) hinting that Picard’s Irumodic Syndrome (sp?) is starting to manifest itself? Same with his applause for Raffi and losing his temper on the TV news interview. I think this is all leading toward that.

Agreed Thorny.

I’d add that for (e) the uniform with rank insignia is legally viewed as a kind of ID.

That said, Jurati as a civilian should have requested to see ID, but like many civilians may have not thought to do it. Or, if Jurati was eating lunch on the Daystrom Institute campus, she would have assumed that security would have verified Oh’s credentials on arrival.

I think she felt that the mind meld was verification enough.


Thank you for the measured responses. I’d like to reply to some of the comments.

(c) I think it would have shown more confidence in the viewers if the whole scene was played out at the beginning. Instead, the assumption is made that you didn’t watch previous episodes so you need to be really explicit in linking everything together, which is a sign of poor writing. Ichebs murder HAD to be within 30mins of Seven-of-Nines murdering… The reaval that Jurati is bugged HAD to be shown 30mins before we realize the ship is being tracked…. It reminds me of the Disco episode where they killed that Android women, and we had to show her being all close and loving with her ship mates 30mins before it happened.

(d) The Irumodic Syndrome could be an interesting place to go in the series, I just don’t think the writers are good enough to pull it off. Like how they are dealing with Raffi’s alcholism? They wheel it on and off whenever the plot suits. And do we really want to be spending 1..2…3 seasons watching the main character cowering and confused while people yell at him?

(e) If security was that tight, then surely the rooftop scene in the pilot wouldn’t have occured.

(e). the rooftop scene was at a different facility, but agree that the lack of Federation or Starfleet security response is a question.

Certainly, the Khat Vash have the ability to penetrate the transporter inhibitors that should be around both facilities. (So that, transportation is limited to established gates.)

However, as we know Oh is head of Starfleet security, and was aware and an ally of the Khat Vash operations, she could have created a window for them to beam in and inhibited any security response until after the events on the roof. In fact, Oh’s dressing down of Rizzo/Narissa was a criticism that imagery had been left of the attack in the form of a reflection of a disruptor flash.

Your analysis of (d) is deep… too deep for the writers, I’d say.

Yes, they should stick to telling us about “The Destroyer of Worlds!!!!!!” I’m sure they can pull it off ;)

Picards behaviour (obsession over engineered AI life, more caring for loss of Data versus Riker’s child on his watch, hypocrisy on eugenics ban) I think this syndrome is better explained with Picard as a Borg sleeper agent. Also explains why in First Contact he seemed to know exactly where to target the Cube post loss of starships, was he being used to bring Data to the Queen??? If Picard sees engineered AI as better than organic life, why not the Borg (who may blame their failures on organic components now)?

OK then!

Haha good point…I think playing either card is more pallatable than just straight up admitting that, with just like Discovery, the writing staff has been chosen more for the sake of diversity than for quality.
– That being said, the TNG first few seasons had a huge problem with writer turnover, so do I have it all wrong? How did TNG, with 24 episodes to finish, no budget and not more lore to draw upon provide episodes which, while varying in quality of story, seemed to be edited correctly and make logical sense?

And the contrivance of Thad dying from some weird disease whose cure could ONLY have come from AI research. (eyeroll)

One thing is very wrong – dead rabbit. Citizens of federation would never hunt animals for food.
Another Star Trek that went off the original idea.

That never made sense. To me, it was like she had been raised to have survival skills. They seem to be living an idyllic life. They’re also using what they killed, it wasn’t for sport.

Kestra’s the child of two senior Starfleet officers and spent her early childhood in space on an exploratory ship.

She’s got an adventurous and imaginative temperament that she’s exercising on a planet instead of in a holodeck.

More, her parents seem to be aware that Kestra may wish to seek a life beyond her chosen homeworld. Riker has expressed that ignorance does not protect those we love from danger. Their retirement haven may be quite idyllic and secure, but neither he nor Troi are trying to shelter their daughter from the danger and violence of the worlds beyond. They are letting her learn about exploration from Crandall, a retired Starfleet captain of the old school.

So, letting her hunt unicorns, seems par for the course for the child of the officer who ate live g’rak during an exchange tour on a Klingon ship, and who bought fresh eggs during a planetary stop and attempted an omelet.

Last point: for canon on eating meat in the Federation, check out the TNG episodes with Keiko and O’Brien : she was shocked that O’Brien’s mother insisted on real, replicated meat when he was growing up.

..favorite scene..and you gotta think frakes was laughing, ok I’ll say it one more time for the fans..his inside joke bout his character..”shields up!” If he had followed with “red alert”, I woulda lost it! Classic Riker! I could comment on more but I’m still trying to digest the series as a whole. It just needs something and I can’t put my finger on it. Idk

I really liked this episode. Riker and Troi amazing, joy watching them together hugging each other! So nice to see them again! Finally seeing Picard with people who really love him. The interaction with Soji and Kresta is brilliant. For both old fans and newcomers.

Marina Sortis, I am so surprised she was not a special guest!? Why!?

For some reason, in this episode, I see a lot of the elements from “The Matrix”. Dr. Jurati taking a blue pill. Later going into comma. A bug tracking La Sirena. Soji and Dajh being “The Chosen One”, not knowing their super powers. I see “The Matrix”…

Absolutely loved this episode. Best episode of Picard to date.

Uhm, anyone else thinking that Captain Crandall may be a character created for Patrick Stewart’s good friend Ian MacKellen?

There seems to have been some profiling of their friendship by the Star Trek social media. As well, Crandall is a Scots name, so MacKellen could lean into it if he wished.

Crandall sounds like Gandalf!!

Hah! That’ll be too much!

That would be great. But I don’t hold my breath. Could result in a “Waiting for Godot” kind of situation.

Could be odradek.

I’d thought watching the episode that Crandall was an off-screen character that enriched the background of Kestra’s world. So, I’d no expectation of ever seeing him.

However, the detail that Crandall was an exploratory captain, even older than Picard must have been running in the back of my mind,

When I thought “Well, who would that be? : MacKellen seemed obvious. He doesn’t have a character in Trek, and if he were to have one, it would be in this show.

I agree that with the way they introduced him they will need someone with a lot of gravitas. MacKellen would be the perfect choice. I hope you’re right. You set the bar high for the producers. :D

I have noticed and been wondering why Mackellen has been so front and center with the team in pretty much all of the London event media

Because he wants to support his buddy Sir Patrick? I wouldn’t read too much in him being there.

They are very good friends! Will be hilarious if they choose McKellen to be Captain Crandall/Gandalf. The name is similar. We already have the elements from Lord of the Rings with Thad and Kresta, the languages, the maps. The necklace. Elnor. Having McKellen will bring big news and a new audience to Star Trek Picard!

For me, the funny thing is that actually McKellen adviced Sir Patrick NOT TO JOIN Star Trek!!! Live Long and Prosper!

Still believe they also have a lot of elements from The Matrix.

Wow that is a very good point! The name “Crandall” sounds like it was purposely supposed to sound like “Gandalf,” perhaps it originally had an “f” at the end. “Crandalf” was then TOO similar to “Gandalf” so the “f” was dropped.

AND Chabon is a big Tolkien fan, so why not? The entire Nepenthe sequence was also super-similar to Lothlorien in the LOTR story, so it has another LOTR connection.

If Ian MacKellen play Crandall, it would not only be perfect and sweet, but also make a nice connection.

BTW: IS Soji like Frodo? Her necklace has the two rings. RINGS! Lots of LOTR stuff here!

Yep. Also Elnor looks like he wandered off the Lord of the Rings set onto Picard.

Yes! His look totally throws any scene he’s in. I can’t stand it. I never thought of Romulans or Vulcans as elves, but I do with him…

The prosthetic makeup designer said in one of the videos that there was a fine line for each actor where if they pushed too far, the look could cross over to looking like elves.

He said that they relied on the prosthetic team to work it out individually for each actor.

Given Elnor is a major character and a co-star, one would think that they played around with different versions of his prosthetics.

Perhaps his features just push the look to the elvish? He was a model in his earlier days (although his degree is in dramatic arts).

I note that in the early days of TOS, there reportedly were concerns that Spock might look to much like a devil. So, the eyebrows and pointy ears definitely can evoke different archetypes depending on how they work with an actor’s facial structure.

Good points as always.

For me, it’s the combination of ears + long hair + robe + SWORD that all work together to make him elven. =P

Get it completely FASAfan. :)

On Jurati’s Mind Meld…
Based on this episode and next weeks preview, STD ‘Control’ is likely invading or being activated via EXBs and/or hidden Synths. It is not what I hoped for storywise and fear they may reveal that ‘Control’ was the origin of the Borg and traveling through different timelines or alternate timelines. I hope there is a Q twist in episode 10!

After playing the recent Star Trek Online 2-parter, the joining of Control and The Borg would be pretty terrifying

People seem to keep forgetting that established canon everywhere has stated the Borg delta quadrant origin, nearly 1,000 years ago.

But CJA in Discovery season 2, Controls existed in the future in almost every one of the Many Worlds timelines, and was able to exploit future time travel technology to eliminate threats to its agenda. Which means, Control could have created some kind of time loop that created the Borg.

I may loathe the idea of tying in a Borg origin story to this Picard plotline, but with time travel and a multiverse, I can’t say that they couldn’t find a way to reconcile such a thing with canon.

By the way, even David Mack’s Destiny trilogy’s Borg origin story involved some inadvertent time travel, and I think it’s fantastic.

It’s more that I would be annoyed if the Picard writers feel that they should be using up the potential of many of major toys in the Trek franchise toybox in a single premiere season of a new show.

More Picard insanity… holds baby of friends that ends up dying; obsesses about Data and Engineering perfect AI.

This show totally needs to end with Picard walking away from a victory party to wash his hands alone, looks up at the mirror and seeing the Borg Queen. “Well done locutis, the collective no longer need be held back by organic limitations. You have set up…. utopia.”

Fade to black, end with the best of both worlds music (the only memorable tune in TNG not stolen from TMP).


Before tossing this aside remember that the most beloved of TNG episodes (best of both worlds) had Picard working for the Borg.
This is also consistent with First Contact where Picard seemed to suddenly know exactly where to target the Cube post loss of starships, was he being used to bring Data to the Queen???
His medical scans might be detecting the influence of the Borg versus that syndrome. Picards behavior (obsession over engineered AI life, more caring for loss of Data versus Riker’s child on his watch, hypocrisy on eugenics ban) I think this syndrome is better explained with Picard as a Borg sleeper agent.
If Picard has come to conclude that engineered AI life is the way to go versus organic life, why would the Borg not? Perhaps they now blame their organic components for their failures and wish to go full engineered AI.

Bremmon, your comments bring to mind a fitting quotation:
“Huh?” -Chancellor Gowron

Reading a lot of Cmd. Bremmon ideas and theories about Star Trek in general, its safe to say he beats to his own drum here; this one a really strong example. ;)

I think he did a little too much LDS.

PaulB – FTW!

TIN MAN has awesome music, it was before the prods cut off the composer’s privates, metaphorically speaking.

I liked the Armas cue from Skin of Evil. That cue can easily be recalled even years after it.

That would be chilling

I was gutted that Hugh died, but it makes sense that it would happen and it’s nice to see there are no character shields beyond Picard and (probably) Soji.

It actually ups the stakes and makes the show a lot more exciting because now we can’t watch a scene without wondering if a character is safe or not – the problem with 98% of story arcs in the original shows.

It was great to see the band back together. The throwaway line by Riker about him being on active reserve for the right mission gives me high hopes for Season 2. This was my favorite episode yet.

LOVED this episode. To go off-topic for a moment—-is it just my eyes, or is that a weirdly Van Halen-esque(circa early 80s) finish on The La Sirena?. Beyond that, the episode was absolutely aces all around. Looking forward to next wqeek.

The Diver Down and Best of Both World albums! Nice call.

The images and in the anti-AI mind meld almost certainly are a conscious link between the two series. Something like the AI trying to destroy all life can be buried, but it won’t be forgotten by all. Not only do I predict that this will link up to Discovery Season 2’s story, I also predict that Discovery Season 3 will link up to Picard Season 1’s story.

I would also go out on a limb and suggest the possibility that Discovery Season 3 ends with them back in the year 2399 (or nearabout). From what we’ve seen of the Season 3 previews, things are not going well for the Federation in the 33rd century. Perhaps they come back in time to put right what once went wrong. We already see signs of the rot in the Federation in Picard, so this might be a good point in history to try and change things.

Moreover, coming back to 2399 gives them a chance to drop Empress Georgiou off at her new show – which may also pick up the threads from Picard and Discovery.

I really hope that Discovery season 3 can deliver a consistently good show. The last third of season 1 in the Mirror Universe was pretty good, and the first half of season 2 before it became an inane Terminator rip-off was good. Maybe this will be the season where they finally get their act together and get the creative turmoil behind the scenes straightened out.

Wow that’s exactly how I saw Discovery first and second seasons as well. First season the Klingon war was a total borefest for me and the only thing that saved that season from being worse was the MU story line, which still was far from perfect but it was at least fun and interesting.

LOVED nearly everything about the first half of season 2 minus the third episode (which felt like a holdover from season 1), up there with some of the best of Star Trek IMO (I’m not saying it IS the best people, but in that league) but once the whole reveal about who the Red Angel was and the motive behind it all was Control it took a big nosedive sadly. Still MUCH better than season 1 overall but a disappointment by the end. But it got us out of prequelville and into a future timeline, so that alone makes me happy. :)

Let’s hope it continues to get better in season 3 which I have faith it will.

I saw season 1 as near opposite as you. The first 2/3 of season one there was still potential. They had a fantastic character in Lorca driving everything. Then… The MU stuff and the entire show fell off the rails and plummeted to a fiery death. But season 2 started off promising. But after the first 2 episodes it did the same as season one. Only faster. And it had Pike all season long to be amazed with.

If this is true, then it may also be true that this was actually closer to the Bryan Fuller concept than we thought originally.

Can you elaborate? Or provide a link? I’m not familiar with the idea.

Supposedly Fuller wanted to do an anthology show that would take place in a different Trek time period each season. It wasn’t clear if it would have involved the same crew jumping into different time periods, but the current story model of Discovery suggests maybe it was, assuming that Fuller’s DNA is still in the show.

I would think that an anthology show would have featured a different cast each season.

By “anthology” he seemed to mean that each season would take place in a different era, but it was never really clear what that actually meant. Apparently CBS rejected the concept as Fuller presented it and he went forward to create what became Discovery. He confirmed in some of the early interviews that the “anthology” concept rumors had some truth, but never in any detail.

Based on the rumors though it was implied each season would be both a new cast and setting and why Discovery was first because that season was going to deal with the Klingon war pre-TOS, but then maybe the next season after that jump to a new crew in the TUC or TNG era and so on. I think that’s partly why it was rejected, everything would change wholesale every season. Jumping to different time periods doesn’t seem to be the issue.

In a way I guess Short Treks has become an anthology of sorts.

Liked the episode because of it’s slower pace but I’m not as convinced as others of the Riker/Troi cameo, it’s more Fan service than really necessary for the story, so in a way you can notice that the parts were added later after all. And maybe it has to do with the German syncronization but I’m also not convinced of Marina Sirtis acting, she has less facial expressions, seems a little bit cold to me.

As much fun as it was to see Troi and Riker again, once again the series came to a full stop. Almonst no story development – again. Why is Picard collecting a crew for 5 freaking episodes that he doesn´t need? Elnor is completely useless.
We have only 3 more episodes and it feels like we are storywise in episode 2 or 3. I don´t have high hopes that this will be resolved with a decent story in the last 3 episodes. I originally liked the series, but grow disappointed with each episode.

I figured TNG fans would love the episode for the Riker Troi stuff. It didn’t do much for me as I never fell in love with any of the TNG characters. All of them were just sorta… There. And I figured TNG fans would hate that Hugh got aced. Didn’t bother me in the slightest. Although I wasn’t expecting it I was not surprised at all it happened.

But I will say this episode was well put together. Probably the best directed of all the episodes thus far. The pacing was spot on. The cut from both stories worked great. The main issues I had were all on the Picard-Rikers side. The kid was kinda irritating. I know she performed her function but her locating the planet from using her 24th century iPhone was just too much. In fact, I found the entire sequence too syrupy. I’d much rather spent more time with Rios as that was FAR more interesting than anything going on on Nepenthe. Which has been part of the issue with the show. Picard is not the interesting part of it. It’s Rios and Rafi who are really carrying this show at this point. When we are around them the show has life. When they are gone, the show grinds to a halt.

Oh, and Laurie Ulster: Lest we get too warm and fuzzy about soft, cuddly wabbits, let’s remember this one had venom sacs and ended up as a pizza topping.

Dang, I bet that went good with sliced heirloom tomatoes, fresh chopped basil, and mozzarella balls. If you’ve never eaten wood-fired, brick oven pizza, you haven’t lived. And yes, it does taste like chicken.

From what I gather show runners and producers are being fired at Star Trek and Disney (Star Wars, Marvel) to bring back what the fans want. Now maybe I’ll start watching these shows again.

Hahahahahahahahaha, no. Where did you “gather” that nonsense?

Nice Kzinti Reference. Which are they, and which would be better: SFB Kzinti or confined-to-crap-little-saucer-ships Animated Kzinti?