And we’re off! The action picks up in episode 3 of Star Trek: Picard, with Jean Luc acquiring a ship and skeleton crew, then setting off into space. Before that happens, the Romulan assassins find him and Agnes, he and Raffi negotiate a delicate peace, and we’re introduced to the eccentric captain of the new ship, Cristobal Rios, and his look-alike EMH.
Over on the Borg cube, Narek’s sister, Rizzo, arrives in person, Narek and Soji continue to grow closer, and Soji is allowed to interview an important ex drone.
Every episode so far, including this one, has begun with a PTSD vision of the destruction of Mars in 2385, an event which, 14 years later, collectively haunts the Federation the way 9/11/01 haunts the US and WW2 haunts the entire world. Once the worst of the nightmare recedes, the scene changes to Starfleet Headquarters, not long after the attack on Mars. Picard’s personal nightmare isn’t over yet.
Raffi, who was Picard’s first officer on his last Starfleet ship, the Verity, waits for him outside. He walks toward her slowly, as if in a daze. He’s basically in shock.
She goes to meet him and asks how his confrontation went with the Starfleet CNC (Commander in Chief? This term isn’t defined, as far as I can tell.) She tosses out the various options they’d developed before he went in and asks how the CNC reacted to them. Picard describes how Starfleet rejected all of them, culminating with the ban on synthetic life-forms. The use of synths as crew had been Picard and Raffi’s ace in the hole should Starfleet balk at the use of resources.
Raffi is shocked at the extent of the ban, since synths, given the way they were built and programmed in the Federation at that time, wouldn’t have been able to suddenly turn homocidal and plan a rebellion.
Thank you. Finally, a character laid it out.
Picard: “They said it was a fatal code error in the operating system.”
Raffi disagrees with that assessment and senses a cover up. She thinks the Tal Shiar might be involved. Picard won’t even listen to her thoughts. The Romulans are his good buddies now. He can’t think of any reason why they’d sabotage their own rescue.
Raffi says that she doesn’t have the answers, yet, but she still wants to help the people who are stranded in the blast radius of the supernova. It’s not their fault that some A500s went rogue on Mars. Picard expresses his frustration that everyone has fallen into reacting to the tens of thousands of deaths on Mars rather than clear headed thinking and planning.
Many members of the group hadn’t ever wanted to help the Romulans to begin with, and now they’ve seized control. Jean Luc grew so frustrated that he told them they either had to approve his evacuation plan or he’d resign from Starfleet. They accepted his resignation.
Raffi is livid. She tries to get Picard to mount a last-ditch, desperate, wild solution, worthy of a feature film, but he tells her that threatening to resign was his big play. He never dreamed they’d accept his resignation.
Raffi: “Course you didn’t.”
There’s that hubris Admiral Clancy was complaining about. He thought he was so important to the Federation that they couldn’t survive without him, while many of them were tired of the way he threw his weight around and ready to get rid of him. He accuses the CNC members of refusing to listen, but it’s clear that he wasn’t hearing their concerns either.
Raffi sees it, too. She’ just starting to grapple with what comes next for each of them when she gets a message calling her inside to speak to the CNC. She correctly predicts that she’ll be fired in retaliation for Picard’s actions.
The scene changes to the present day, at Raffi’s house near Vasquez Rocks. Picard explains his current situation, then tells Raffi what he needs- a ship and a pilot. Once again, he acts as though he’s commanding a Starfleet vessel and the needs of his officers and crew are of little to no importance to the Captain of the ship.
Raffi disabuses him of that notion, and informs him that he’s now essentially a pirate, so it’s time he started acting accordingly. She points out that thanks to him, she lost her security clearance and without it she couldn’t get another respectable, well paid position, even in the private sector. She’s been on her own a long time now and has been living with her rage, humiliation and paranoia for just as long as he has, though she admits the paranoia is probably enhanced due to the snake leaf she smokes too much of.
She says that some things never change, implying that she’d struggled with drug abuse prior to the Mars attack, as well. Jean Luc reaches out a hand to comfort her, but she tells him not to touch her. He’s the symbol and cause of everything that was taken from her. She walks away. After a moment, he follows, realizing this is his last chance with her.
Of Pirates, Conspiracies and Security Clearances
The first rule of piracy in the Federation is that you don’t tell Starfleet what you’re up to, obviously. The next rule is that you don’t forget your friends or if you do, don’t flaunt your wealth in front of the people you’ve forgotten, when you want favors from them. On a pirate ship, ultimately everyone is equal, and drastic inequality might get you robbed or killed.
Raffi doesn’t put it in quite those terms yet, but I suspect we’ll get there. Jean Luc wasn’t just her commanding officer. He was supposed to be her friend and equal as a fellow Starfleet officer, when they were risking their lives together in space, the way he was a friend to Will, Geordi, Data, Beverly, and so on. Jean Luc still mourns the fact that he couldn’t save Data, yet Raffi’s right there, languishing, someone he could have helped years ago.
Since Raffi was in management/bridge staff and not in a hands on career track that can be transferred anywhere and is always in need, such as engineering, mechanics, medical or piloting, she was dependent on her security clearance and computer skills to get a job outside of Starfleet in the private sector.
(Trust me, this is true. Even in the 24th century, the trades will always be in demand, just as hereditary wealth is clearly still disproportionately held by white men while people of color are still overrepresented among the poor and lower classes. The Federation apparently made a brief show of creating an equal society while Gene Rodenberry was alive, then allowed things to settle back into the patterns of inequality rebels have fought against for centuries.)
Without the all important security clearance, the entry requirement for government contract work, Raffi was left to either compete on the black market with professional hackers who’d been in the business for years longer than her or to sign on as a general officer with whatever private ship would have an officer who’d been given a dishonorable discharge from Starfleet.
The fact that Raffi’s security clearance was revoked suggests that Starfleet might have charged her with treason or close to it. At the very least, she was blackballed. Picard was too well insulated for Starfleet go after him directly, so they probably went after his first officer instead and heaped negative charges on her record, making her as much the public scapegoat as him and rendering her unemployable.
Like I said, we’re in space pirate territory now, where the ships are on contract and don’t ask too many questions.
Which, when you think about it, is frequently where every version of the Enterprise has operated anyway, except the questionable contracts were called missions. It’s just that the staff usually had the choice of a respectable retirement with a Starfleet pension. Raffi’s on her own, while Jean Luc had a self-supporting estate to retire to, kept his pension since he resigned and wasn’t fired, and also had a community who stuck by him despite the scandal because of his long-standing reputation. Had he stuck by Raffi, he could have shielded her with his reputation and helped her start over. Maybe he could have fought for her to get some benefits back.
I don’t really blame him for not realizing what she needed- she could have showed up on his doorstep, like Dahj did, too. He was just as devastated as she was and they each retreated into themselves in their own way. Whoever engineered the conspiracy also wanted to keep them separated and silent for as long as possible and probably took steps to draw her back into addiction and him into solitude.
It would seem that someone else is drawing them back together now.
One of the reclaimed Borg watches a video of Soji speaking to the ex Borg at the end of the procedure in episode 2. It’s Hugh, the Borg drone who became self-aware while aboard the Enterprise in TNG episode I, Borg (S5E23), and then later helped lead a Borg rebellion in Descent Pt 2 (S7E1). This is another wonderful callback using the original actor, Jonathan Del Arco, which shows the depth and relative consistency of Star trek history.
Hugh approaches Soji and congratulates her on her outstanding work with the Nameless. Soji replies that she was only building on what he’s taught her. Hugh laments that the xBs are the most despised people in the galaxy, viewed either as objects who can be exploited at will or as hazards to be imprisoned indefinitely.
Either way, they have no rights.
But, he says, the Romulans have the most creative view of the xBs, having figured out how to imprison and exploit them. Soji hates it. Hugh agrees that she’s different from most people.
That’s an understatement. Wonder if he’s guessed anything.
Because he’s been so impressed with her work, Hugh’s decided to grant Soji’s persistent requests to interview a Romulan xB named Ramdha. But he wonders why Soji is so fascinated with her. Soji explains that before her assimilation, Ramdha was the foremost expert and author on Romulan myth. Soji would like to explore the potential therapeutic value of a shared mythical framework, since it’s showed some promise. Hugh tells her she’ll have 30 minutes for her interview.
Soji learned about Ramdha’s past by reading her Romulan dossier, an item Hugh has been unable to access. She says that she usually just has to ask nicely for something and the Romulans will let her have it. Hugh tells her, in the politest way possible, that her experience really, really isn’t typical.
Maybe Narek has quietly given Soji clearance to access whatever she wants for her research, since he’s interested in her? Or maybe the Romulans find her research promising for helping bring back some formerly prominent members of their community. There’s an outside chance Soji has the ability to glamour people into giving her what she wants or that she’s actually hacking into the system to get the files, then forgetting about it because of some weird protocol embedded in her code.
Picard climbs up to where Raffi is perched on a bench, finishing the wine. He tells her more about the Romulan death squads and says that they couldn’t operate on Earth without the cooperation of the Federation. He reminds her that she told him that there were conspiracies at play in the past involving the Romulans that he couldn’t see. She says that she’s not just a conspiracy theory nut. She has evidence of a specific plot, involving a certain Starfleet officer, who allowed the attack on Mars to go forward in order to stop the Romulan rescue mission, because they opposed it.
Picard insists that the Romulans couldn’t have been involved in any conspiracy which would have affected the rescue mission. Raffi insists that there was a coverup. Picard tells her that’s why he needs her, because she can see the things he can’t.
She tells him no and orders him to leave, but then stops him to say she’s arranged for a pilot she knows, named Rios, to contact Picard. Rios has his own ship.
Agnes eats lunch outside while Commodore Oh stalks her, wearing the very effective disguise of dark sunglasses. When Agnes spots her, Oh introduces herself as the head of Starfleet security. She wants to talk to Agnes about Picard.
When Hugh takes Soji to visit Ramdha they’re momentarily stopped by Romulan security, until he reminds them that he’s the Executive Director of the Borg Reclamation Project, and is the one with the authority to decide who comes and goes.
This ties in with Narek saying that he didn’t actually need permission from the Director to observe Soji at work in episode 2. The Romulans only nominally take orders from anyone who isn’t the secret police.
The guards let Hugh and Soji pass into the room which holds the Disordered. Soji is surprised to discovered that they’re all Romulans. Hugh tells her that these are all of the Romulans ever assimilated, to his knowledge.
The population of the room behaves in ways similar to the population of a psych ward: muttering to themselves, performing repetitive motions, doing simple tasks or art. Ramdha is laying out the triangular cards of a Romulan version of Tarot cards, which fit together to form a sort of mandala.
Raffi is on her own vision quest, sitting under the stars, smoking and researching Picard’s story. He calls her and guesses what she’s doing, since that’s her thing. She denies it, but he insists on sending her everything he and Laris have discovered, anyway.
Raffi and Laris are Picard’s two Data replacements.
Picard beams aboard a deserted ship and is met by a fast walking EMH (Emergency Medical Hologram) with a British accent. The EMH takes him to the ship’s captain, Chris Rios, who looks exactly like the EMH, but has a Spanish accent and a large piece of metal sticking out of his shoulder.
Rios has a dramatic streak which he tries to pretend is world weariness, while the EMH has the basic optimism and devotion to order covered by a perpetual veneer of exasperation which Robert Picardo brought to The Doctor in Voyager. The fun part here is that this doctor represents an aspect of Rios’ personality which he’d rather not acknowledge, but Picard pegs immediately. However, Rios pegs the pirate side of Picard on first sight, as well.
Now imagine poor Raffi, who just wants to get high, seek out cool information, then make the galaxy a better place, stuck between these two drama queens.
The EMH removes the shard of metal from Rios’ shoulder while Picard and Rios size each other up. Rios is reading The Tragic Sense of Life by Miguel de Unamuno. Written in 1912, it explores the tension between faith and reason, the inevitability of death vs the desire for immortality. Picard tells Rios that he generally doesn’t worry about whether he’s breaking the law before he acts. He doesn’t know where they’re going, but he wants to get going soon. Raffi told him Rios is the best pilot she knows.
Both men agree it’s best not to argue with Raffi. Rios was the XO (Executive Officer) of a Starfleet heavy cruiser, the Ibn Majid, which has been erased from the records in another cover up. Picard can see that Rios still follows Starfleet protocols for maintaining his ship and of course Picard approves. But he also sees the bitterness toward Starfleet that they both share. Rios acknowledges that he has a tragic sense of life, but tells Picard their relationship will remain all business.
Raffi is deep in her research when she finds a reference to quantum fingerprinting and Freecloud. She visits Freecloud’s welcome page, then angrily swipes it away.
Rios is reading his book when he’s interrupted by the ship’s ENH (Emergency Navigation Hologram, which has an Irish accent), who pops in to say he’s done fixing the navigation sensors, which had something stuck to them that was impeding their range of function. It scraped right off.
Sounds like someone knows Picard booked a flight on the ship and put a trace on the sensors.
The ENH goes on to ask if Rios is excited and starstruck to be working with Picard, then lists Picard’s accomplishments, including working with Spock. Double fanboy excitement by proxy. Rios tries to get rid of the holo, but the ENH tells him that Picard is a good man, on the side of the angels and it’s been a long time since Rios helped out someone like that.
Rios: “I already had one grand, heroic captain in my life. The last thing I need is another one. Ten years on, I still can’t close my eyes at night without seeing the last one’s blood and brains splattered all over a bulkhead.”
Rios and Picard are the same person, but the terrible thing happened to Rios when he was 30 years younger than Picard was. Cue the father-son relationship Picard has never truly had, since try as he might, Data never became a real boy. Plus, Rios and Picard won’t have the propriety of Starfleet regulations to stop them from indulging in their emotions and neither will really be each other’s boss or underling.
Just to make sure we understand the connection, Somewhere, Out There plays while Rios and Picard both look at the same set of stars and think about each other.
Laris joins Picard on the patio as he smells the ripening grapes and tries to care about the vineyard. He confesses that space has always been his true home, though he’ll miss her, Zhaban and his dog, Number One.
Soji observes Ramdha with her cards and notices one depicts a door. Hugh tells her it’s called shaipouin. Soji realizes it shows the false front door that’s built into every Romulan home, which is meant to fool visitors who mean harm to the residents. Instead, visitors enter through the back door.
Hugh gets a bit insulted that Soji stole his thunder, calling her a know it all, which is rude. She is an expert in her field and speaks Romulan, so yes, she is a know it all. Is there something wrong with that? I guess he was assimilated from Earth in the 20th century.
She sits behind Ramdha and asks if she can enter her home. Ramdha agrees.
Zhaban brings Picard some homemade French food for the road, better than anything from a replicator. As he’s going through his bag, a weapon fires into the study. The Romulan assassins have arrived. Laris, Picard and Zhaban take the team down, with Laris being the best fighter. Zhaban notably breaks a bottle over an assassin’s head, which was always the job of the female officers in TNG. At the last second, Agnes steps into the room to shoot a stray assassin who takes them by surprise.
Where did she suddenly come from? Last we saw her, she was being questioned by Oh.
Is Agnes a Romulan mole, now? There’s no way she arrived at that moment, gun in hand, by coincidence. Either the Romulans brought her as a hostage or as a mole. Plus, after all of the connections I made with replicators and synth attacks last week, Zhaban mentioned replicators like it was a code word telling the assassins it was time. I’m probably just paranoid.
One of the assassins is alive, so Laris and Zhaban prepare him for questioning while Picard talks to Agnes. Agnes is interrupted at a couple of key moments, which makes me question at least Zhaban’s loyalty again, after he distracted Laris and Picard while the assassins entered the house.
Soji questions Ramdha while Picard’s household deals with the aftermath of the Romulan attack. The scenes are intercut and if you watch carefully it’s clear that there’s subterfuge and distraction happening in both to keep the conversation headed in particular directions. Soji may have safeguards on her programming that move her away from certain subjects.
Soji introduces herself and asks about the cards, which are called pixmit. She wonders if the cards are connected to Romulan mythology. Ramdha says that the word mythology doesn’t exist in Romulan. Soji asks what would be a better word to use. Ramdha answers, “The news.” Soji is pleased with “the idea the former Borg might be able to create a mythol- a shared narrative framework for understanding their trauma, rooted in deep archetypes, but as relevant as the day’s news. That’s just what I’m hoping to do.”
Ramdha takes a good look at Soji and says, “I know you. I remember you from tomorrow.”
Soji insists they’ve never met, not understanding that Ramdha is speaking of prophecy or a vision she’s had. She asks Ramdha what she was doing tomorrow. Ramdha closes her eyes and sees a face pressed to a clay tablet with ancient writing and a Romulan guard manipulating what looks like a Romulan Rubik’s cube. Before Ramdha can go deeper into the vision, Soji continues to speak.
She explains that Ramdha was on the last ship ever assimilated by the Artifact, the imperial scout ship Shaenor, which had 26 passengers aboard. After they were assimilated, something went wrong. Soji grabs Ramdha’s hand and asks if she knows what caused the submatrix collapse.
Hugh didn’t know this information about Ramdha and asks how Soji found out.
Ramdha pulls her hand away from Soji. She turns over a card that shows twins and asks which sister Soji is. She’s becoming more and more agitated. She repeats, “Which sister are you? The one who dies or the one who lives?” Then she jumps to her feet and steals a gun from a guard. She points it at Soji, crying, “I know who you are! You are Seb-Cheneb. The Destroyer!”
Ramdha holds the gun to her head, but Soji throws herself across the room and takes it away, while everyone else just watches. Hugh makes sure that the guard who allowed Ramdha to steal his gun is punished, not her. He tells the other guards to secure their sidearms. The rest of the disordered Romulan xB who were on the Shaenor with Ramdha stare at Soji with looks that could kill.
Were they fulfilling a prophecy when they were taken by the Borg and are they still in the midst of the same prophecy?
Picard asks the assassin why the Romulan secret police are on Earth. Laris indicates that flat foreheads belong to southern Romulans and mounded foreheads belong to stubborn Northerners. Zhaban and the hostage are Northerners. The hostage doesn’t answer, even though Picard offers to release him if he does. This job was probably assigned as a suicide mission.
Picard asks why they killed the girl, Dahj. The hostage replies that she wasn’t a girl and she isn’t what they think she is. He says that Picard won’t find her before they do, then calls Picard what must be an insulting name, qeztihn, because Laris punches him in the face. The hostage yells, “She’s the end of all! She’s the Detroyer!” Then he bites down on a
cyanide capsule green acid capsule and disintegrates. The poison sprays onto Zhaban’s clothing, but the others pull his sweater off in time to save him.
The assassin is dead, right? That acid wasn’t an elaborate transport method? But more importantly, he didn’t sound like he was working for Oh and Rizzo, like we’ve assumed, since his people don’t know where Soji is. How many different Romulan factions are there? Did Agnes cook up this whole scheme to get herself on the ship? Were these assassins from the same faction who put the trace on Rios’ nav sensors?
And, once again, Zhaban was connected to the assassins by both the acid and Laris noting that they were both Northerners. It could be a pattern of red herrings or it could mean he’s a mole.
Soji rushes back to her room and calls her mom, the same woman who Dahj called. She asks if Dahj is okay. “Mom” reassures her that Dahj is fine and considering adopting a puppy to keep in her dorm room at the Daystrom Institute. Soji falls asleep as soon as Mom starts talking. While we all react to our mothers that way at times, I’m pretty sure that was something in Soji’s code being triggered, since “Mom” is a big fat liar.
Soji naps until her boyfriend shows up to check on her. Narek gently asks if she’s okay and what happened with Ramdha. She says that she doesn’t remember even knowing about the Shaenor or that Ramdha had anything to do with it, but she’s read every unclassified document on the history of the Artifact, so she must have seen it in one of them. She asserts that even Romulan censors have to slip up sometimes. (Doubtful.)
She asks Narek if he believes her. In answer, he sits next to her, takes her hand and asks if she can keep a secret. Then he whispers in her ear, “I may be falling in love with you.”
She doesn’t answer, but they hold each other.
After he leaves, Rizzo grabs him in a dark hallway for a sibling tete-a-tete. Her ears are pointy again, like a normal Romulan’s, which Narek is relieved to see. He reports that Soji doesn’t know what she is and hasn’t revealed anything yet, but given Rizzo’s huge mistake with Dahj, she’d be wise to back off and let him work. She reluctantly agrees, but reminds him not to fall in love for real.
Wonder if that’s been an issue in the past.
Once the mess in Picard’s study is cleaned up, he reminds Agnes that she was about to tell him the one thing about her previous conversations with him that she didn’t tell Commodore Oh. She replies that she’s coming with him to look for the other Dahj. They haven’t actually spoken about this directly before, but everything in their interactions was leading to this moment. Agnes says that Oh had also guessed the obvious about Picard, which contradicts what Oh told Rizzo.
Rios buzzes in to tell Picard that they need to leave early, because he’s gotten word that Picard’s about to have unwelcome visitors. Picard says they’ve already arrived. Rios says more are coming.
Agnes jumps back into the conversation, realizing she needs to make her case before he beams into space. Her reasons why she should go on the best field trip ever: A. She just saved Picard’s life; 2. He’s a good person and many other positive adjectives, while she’s a Scientist who was screwed over, big time, but she has one last chance at scientific happiness and Picard can make that dream come true; and Tres- Maybe tickets on spaceships are expensive, but she’s expensive too and a hard worker and he for sure needs a science officer who knows all about the very thing he’s looking for, no one seems ot have thought of that, did they, huh? HUH? She’s Dr Agnes P Jurati and they need her as much as she needs them, dammit, Jean Luc!
Laris is impressed, so Agnes boards the ship. Laris and Zhaban stay home to fight off the next wave of assassins and keep Number One company.
Raffi is already on the ship. She’s found Bruce Maddox on Freecloud and wants to hitch a ride. Everyone wants to know why Raffi wants to go to Freecloud. She refuses to tell anyone.
Sounds like a hippie drug commune to me.
Raffi is offended that Picard didn’t have her run a background check on Agnes before bringing her aboard, but I’m sure both Laris and Rios’ Security EH have already done that.
Pretty sure Laris has Picard microchipped and will be prechecking his every move and interaction during the entire trip, then faxing her instructions to the various EHs.
Rios is impatient to get going, so the ladies take their seats and Picard stands behind Rios’ left shoulder. Rios looks up at Picard, waiting. After a moment, Picard figures out what he’s waiting for and says, “Engage.” He points toward the stars.
Rios isn’t a fanboy at all.
This episode, as with episodes 1 & 2, was directed by Hanelle M Culpepper. The 3 episodes together constitute the pilot/introduction for the series. I love the set up for the series she’s given us. Great production design, complex characters, intriguing plot and conspiracy. The philosophical and moral dilemmas which the characters face and the introspection they tend toward fits a show built around the philosopher-poet-warrior Jean Luc Picard.
The casting for this show is especially stellar. 😉 Everyone is charismatic and talented and they all have chemistry together. I’d watch a show that took place either on Rios’ ship or the Borg Artifact, separately. The combination of the 2 makes for a complex mystery.
Harry Treadaway and Isa Briones are particularly great together. Isa Briones has a tough job as Data’s daughter and a synth who’s not a synth and she’s nailing it, with just the right amount of innocence vs emotion vs intelligence and playfulness. Santiago Cabrera was delightful playing the reluctant captain against the rest of the cast and playing multiple roles against himself in this episode.
The next 3 episodes, 4-5-6, will constitute Act 2, and will be directed by Jonathan Frakes, who played Commander Riker on TNG and is a prolific director and producer who directed 2 of the 4 TNG films.
The show seems to be setting up a discussion of Nihilism and cold reason vs Don Quixote-style blind faith and belief against all odds. It’s a recurring theme on Star Trek, but I’m not sure they’ve ever effectively addressed the reality of unavoidable death and extreme loss that can never be fully recovered from. As with Captain Kirk, they don’t believe in the unwinnable scenario, but old age and chronic illness, which Picard is facing, are just that. No matter what comes after death, the loss of the current life has to be faced, just as he and others have already survived the loss of their Starfleet careers and friendships.
Some losses can’t be regained and they don’t have a bright side. I think that’s what Picard has found with the loss Data and his career. When Spock died, Kirk got him back in the next film. Spock lived a life full of meaning, even after Kirk was gone. Picard hasn’t found anything that fills his soul in the same way. He’ll always mourn Data, and he’s still deep in mourning because he hasn’t found anything else to fill the hole his career and the family that came with it left in his life.
His new crew (and potentially Soji) are all people who also have holes in their lives left by great losses, leaving them open to the same need for meaning, adventure and family that Jean Luc feels. Laris and Zhaban also seem to be family, so I’m puzzled that they were left behind, but the implication was that life in the vineyard is enough for them. They aren’t broken anymore, so they don’t need to go on this adventure, at least not until Jean Luc is in deep enough trouble that he needs them to come rescue him after the pinots are safely harvested.
I have a feeling that Narek may also end up switching sides. He mentioned in episode 1 that he used to have a brother, so he’s experienced loss. He appreciates a subtle, intellectual, nonviolent approach that includes warmth and a sense of humor. Other than subtlety, those appear to be hit or miss among Romulans, whereas they are Jean Luc’s strengths. The lost brother may be an ostracized xB, or one of the disordered, rather than dead. If Soji can help them, that would give Narek even more reason to switch sides.
Raffi is right- It would be a very odd coding error that would lead to a complex, multi-stage uprising like what we were shown on Mars in episode 2. The synths didn’t just start shooting and accidentally blow up the planet. They went through a process that ended with them purposely destroying the evidence of what they’d done, including their own brains. Starfleet’s lame excuse is more evidence of a conspiracy and cover up. That fact that she picked up on it so easily shows why she was Jean Luc’s Number One and why the conspirators needed to get her out of the way.
Once again, the camera takes the long way into the Borg Artifact before the first scene there in the episode. It never gets old for me. In fact, a Short Trek or Ready Room package that was a silent tour of the Artifact done slightly slower than these entrances or maybe that followed an xB through their day would be amazing. Please don’t make me beg. 😍
Romulan disruptors don’t have a stun setting. Good to know.
I suspect there’s an aspect to the Romulans’ use of the term “news”, rather than “mythology”, that Soji is missing. Mythology is legend, story, something that happened so long ago that it’s almost forgotten and has been kept alive through retellings that have changed the story and moved it away from ordinary life. News, on the other hand, speaks of current events that are visceral, true and relevant to the present day. Mythology is interesting and perhaps thought provoking, but the news must be acted upon.
The Romulans feel their old stories as if they are happening now, and act accordingly.
Does someone have ongoing access to Soji’s code and memories? That nap seemed like a perfect opportunity to upload her interview with Ramdha and download her new orders along with the corresponding information she’d need. This seems like information that has to be coming either from Romulans or other xBs, perhaps a group of rebels, rather than Bruce Maddox, as you’d expect. Is Maddox working with a group of rebels or did they acquire his notes?
On the other hand, I hope the show doesn’t keep Soji ignorant of her own nature for long. The show quickly fridged Dahj and now they’re having both Soji’s handlers and Narek perpetrate various forms of creepy gaslighting and abuse/assault on her. She was essentially drugged into that nap and Narek is sleeping with her in order to use her, while he knows the truth about her and she doesn’t. That’s extremely disturbing.
During the first two episodes, it seemed that Soji might know what she is, which would put her and Narek on even footing. Since she doesn’t, episode 3 turned an awesome, intelligent scientist into a clueless dupe. TNG did such positive work with Data to show that everyone deserves human rights. Now ST:Picard is showing that it’s okay to use a female android however you want, without her knowledge or consent, whether it’s for sex, research or as a soldier. I hope they rectify this soon. (She consented to the sex because she thinks Narek wants her for herself. It’s dubious consent at best. Given the fact that she doesn’t even understand who she is, I question her ability to give informed consent at all at this point. She’s like a brainwashed soldier with amnesia. Pimping her out is extremely unethical.)
The fact that the submatrix collapse was caused by the only Romulan ship ever assimilated suggests that the Romulans have vaccinated themselves against the Borg in some way that also acts to spread a virus to the cube. It’s possible that the Romulans aren’t fully protected, since they’re “disordered”, but they aren’t Borg either. However, Soji said there were 26 passengers on the Shaenor. It didn’t look like there were 26 disordered. It’s possible that some of the Shaenor-Romulan xBs aren’t disordered and the ship was carrying a number of passengers who had something special about them which caused them to become disordered or caused the collapse. Perhaps there were a number of seers on board, like Ramdha. Maybe the ship was carrying members of a particular religious order or with a particular illness. Maybe it was a Zhat Vash ship.
Was Ramda’s vision of “tomorrow” a memory or a psychic vision? What were the items in the vision? It seems obvious that Soji is the twin who lives, but I don’t think we should jump to any conclusions when we’re considering prophecies or visions, which are often heavy on metaphors. The Destroyer sounds ominous, but it could be Soji will destroy a Romulan enemy. Or their entire way of life. Who knows?
ScreenCrush Episode 3 Easter Eggs, Breakdown & Analysis
Image courtesy of CBSAllAccess.