Star Trek: Picard S01E03 – Episode Review
Star Trek: Picard is a CBS All Access and Amazon Prime television series in its first season. This is a review of the third Picard episode entitled, ‘The End is the Beginning’ which was written by Michael Chabon & James Duff and directed by Hanelle Culpepper. It was released on 30th January 2020.
In the first episode, Remembrance we saw the character introduction and eventual death of Dahj at the hands of a hit squad seemingly made up of Romulans. Last weeks episode entitles ‘Maps and Legends‘ we learned about the Zhat Vash and that Daj has a twin sister.
Finally we get to see Picard do what he is famous for. By the end of the episode we will have a starship (not the Enterprise admittedly) and a crew all heading off for an adventure. The End is in fact the end of the setting up of the story. At the end of the episode, we will clearly understand the relationships with the main characters, why they are where they are in the Star Trek universe and have a couple of clear plots points set up for the rest of the series to explore. It was a nicely put together episode, I really enjoyed it.
Picard Episode Review: A Short Recap
Picard is slightly annoyed with Starfleet for refusing to take him back so that he can begin a mission to search for Dr. Maddox, a scientist with expertise in Artificial Intelligence and Synthetics.
14 years earlier, Mars was attacked by Synthetic Humans and many ships were destroyed (along with the Mars Space Shipyard). There was considerable loss of life (90,000 plus) and as a result, all synthetics were decommissioned and all research stopped.
Picard has two live-in staff that he is very close to and whom he trusts despite the fact that they are Romulans. They are called Laris (played by Orla Brady) and her partner, Zhaban (played by Jamie McShane). Laris believes that the Romulans have a secret organisation called the Zhat Vash. This secret group have a mission to safeguard a terrible secret and they killed Dahj because of it.
Soji’s Bonk Buddie
It seems that Dahj was the daughter of Data and she had a twin sister, Dr. Soji who is working on a Romulan Borg Reclamation Project. In fact, she is quite good friends (bonking buddies) with a Zhat Vash operative called Narek (played by Harry Treadway) that has been sent to spy on her.
The Zhat Vash have infiltrated Starfleet and have a senior operative, Commodore Oh. She is posing as the Vulcan Head of Starfleet Security. Picard is aware that the Zhat Vash have likely infiltrated Starfleet and is in the process of gathering a spaceship and crew to investigate this further and find Dr. Bruce Maddox and Dahj’s sister.
He meets an old colleague called Raffi who is not very happy to see him.
Star Trek: Picard – Episode 3 The End is the Beginning Review
The episode opens with a flashback to when Picard and Raffi worked together in Starfleet. Picard has just been presenting his case to get more ships (after the ones that were destroyed on Mars) to send out to rescue Romulans who are stranded inj the path of their supernova.
Apparently his arguments were practiced and well-articulated and he became aware that Starfleet’s intransigence was because of fear and loathing of the Romulans. In the end, Picard gave them an ultimatum and resigned.
Raffi couldn’t understand the Starfleet position. The whole Mars thing didn’t add up for her either. She was convinced that there was something more to the story than a whole group of synthetics going bonkers suddenly and killing everyone before killing themselves. She was actually convinced that the Romulans were behind it although Picard is convinced that it was implausible because Romulans would surely not sabotage an expedition to go and rescue them?
It was all a moot point though; Picard had resigned, and Raffi had become caught up in the backlash. She was fired – it wasn’t clear why, but it was clear that she blamed Picard. Worse still, Picard, her friend and mentor just faded into the background and wasn’t there for Raffi at a time when she needed him. That seems a little unlike Picard who is usually quite thorough when it comes to the emotional support of his close friends and colleagues. He apologises to Raffi but still has the nerve to ask her for her help. She refuses after getting irritatingly miserable – it was a poorly played scene. Picard begins to leave.
As he walks away, Raffi tells him she has a pilot and a ship for him a dude called Rios.
Establishing Her Credibility
Back on the Derelict Borg Cube Dr. Soji (played by Isa Briones) is discussing a request with the Director of the Reclamation project. He tells her he has granted her request to interview Ramdha. Soji’s job is to help reclaim members of the Borg collective that were trapped in the cube and who now have no collective to sustain them. Most seem to have been reclaimed successfully, but Romulans for some reason have had problems.
Soji is particularly pleased because Ramdha is an expert in Romulan Myths and shared experiences and this seems significant to her work (no idea why).
Meanwhile, back on Earth, Dr. Jurati has a visit from Commodore Oh (played by the lovely Tamlyn Tomita). She is asked about Picard’s visit.
Picard Episode Review: Rendezvous with Rios
Picard sends Raffi all the information he has on Dr Maddox and she goes through it meticulously. She finds something called Freecloud which seems significant.
Later, Picard visits Rios on his starship, it’s a very spacious, clean and tidy spaceship (actually, quite awesome looking). Picard certainly seems to have lucked out and you can almost see from the look on his face that he thinks so too. Though maybe not from this scene 🙂
Rios is seemingly alone on his ship with only a hologram to keep him company. The Hologram is a medic and treating him for a piece of shrapnel that is lodged in his shoulder. Is it me, or do you think it’s peculiar that the medic looks like him? If you can make a hologram doctors look like anyone you want, why make them look like yourself? Maybe he really likes the way he looks?
Despite his physical and mental state, Picard is almost enamoured with Rios, Seriously, even at Picard’s advanced age I was sure there was some mild flirting going on. Picard is particularly impressed with the way he looks after his ship although he also likes the fact that he doesn’t like Starfleet very much (jeez, get a room already!).
Everyone is in a Meeting
Commodore Oh meets with Dr Jurati. She is asked questions about Picard’s visit and the discussions they had.
On the Romulan Cube, Narek gets a visit from Commander Oh’s Romulan operative. She is checking up on her subordinate whom she refers to as brother. I’m not sure if they are brother and sister or if it’s some sort of Romulan comradery or even sarcasm. If they are siblings, they seem to be unfriendly to each other.
On the Cube, Soji is taken to meet with Ramdha. She seems to be playing a card game, but there must be more to it than that. Soji asks her questions about it but it’s heavy going. Eventually, after speaking to her in Romulan, she allows Soji to sit down to continue their conversation. Soji’s efforts don’t seem to be getting her very far but she is certainly persistent.
The Romulan Assassin Attack
Back at the Chateaux, Picard, Laris and Zhaban are chatting when there is suddenly an attack by five or six Romulan Assassins. (It’s quite a violent and frenzied fight where we see just how good Laris and Zheban can take care of themselves. Picard isn’t much use, but he does seem to be able to muster enough strength to shoot one of the attackers.
Interestingly, Picard seems to have several firearms taped to various parts of the furniture. These obviously come in handy although you can’t help wondering what sort of life they must have been living to feel the need for such precautions.
Retirement on the Chateaux doesn’t seem all it’s cracked up to be. Just as the fight ends, a last assassin is about to take a shot at Picard when he is killed with a single laser blast. Dr. Agnes Jurati walks in holding a gun. Where she got it, I can’t imagine. Maybe it was simply lying on the ground, maybe she disarmed the Romulan assassin, whatever, I guess we aren’t supposed to think about such things.
She saves Picard’s life and then explains that Commander Oh came to question her. She also tells him that she is going with him – whatever he is doing, wherever he is going.
Meanwhile, Laris and Zhaban attempt to question one of the assassins who doesn’t give them much. When Picard asked him why he killed the girl, Dahj, all he answered was that the girl wasn’t a girl. “She is The Destroyer!” He then chews on one of those ultra-acid pills and dissolves in front of their eyes.
Picard Episode Review: Soji The Destroyer
Soji continues her attempts to communicate with Ramdha. It seems that she has prepared and questions her about how she was one of the last people to be assimilated by the Borg. Her scout ship was captured and she was one of only 25 people on board. Ramdha begins to get agitated by the questions and suddenly recognises her from the future as ‘The Destroyer’.
Rhamda is also aware that Soji has a sister. She asks her pointedly, “Are you the one that lives or the one that dies?”. Then, in her agitation, she takes a gun from a nearby Romulan guard and attempts to shoot herself in the head. Soji manages to stop her and Rhamda is lead away.
This is quite a significant scene. It is important to note that Soji hadn’t actually done a large amount of reading, she assumed that she had. It seems that it was important (as a synthetic human) to question Rhamda. Soji needed to find out why she was on the Borg Cube.
Soji is distressed about the idea that her sister might be dead or that she or her sister will be killed. She telephones her mother who tells her that she was speaking to Dehj ‘only this morning’, clearly a lie. The mother is definitely in on this whole thing – she must be. As we know, the girls are only around three years old (i.e. since they were made) so mum must be in on the whole deal.
Peculiarly, while Soji is listening to her mum talk about Dahj wanting a puppy, she feels very tired and begins to pass out. Later, she is awoken by her deceiving lover, Narek. He enters her room and tells her that he thinks he is falling in love with her. Wadda git!
Picard Episode Review: Engagement
Picard leaves Laris and Zhaban behind at the Chateaux and he and Dr Agnes Jurati join Rios on his ship. There he meets up with Raffi who tells him that she isn’t joining his crew, simply that she is tagging along as she has other business.
They begin their trip with nostalgia as Picard issues the command, “Engage.”
Star Trek: Picard Episode Review – Conclusion
The development of the Romulans conflict with AI and synthetic technology is really interesting. You may have noticed that the reclaimed Romulans on the Borg Cube were having problems. They couldn’t seem to adjust back to simply being normal Romulans. It also seems that the Borg didn’t bother assimilating too many Romulans over the years.
The whole Gene Roddenberry idea that the future was through rose coloured glasses. The idea of people working together for a utopian ideal is severely tested in this series. I’m not sure Roddenberry would agree with the approach. I personally find the show much more interesting because of this. TNG was a little too patronising for me and this is much more fun.
Some of you may have recognised Huge from the TNG episode “I, Borg”. I’m not sure if this is intentional. His character, the director of the Reclamation Project on the Borg Cube, seems to play no significant part. At least so far. It may be a red-herring or could be significant in the plot later on.
Finally, at the end of the third episode, we see Picard captaining a ship. There are still irritating plot holes or omissions, but it was fun and in parts, pretty exciting. Personally, I thought this was the best episode so far.
I’d rate this a really good 8.3 out of 10. It’s getting better – Recommended!
This Picard Episode Review is copyright Tony Fawl and not for reproduction without permission.
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