Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Analysis Part 2- How Romulan Values Took Over the Federation

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And Other Dangling Plot Threads the Show May or May Not Pick Up Again in S2

More discussion of odds and ends leftover from my recaps of S1 of Star Trek: Picard. In this installment, I’m working from the TV series, the prequel novel, The Last Best Hope by Una McCormack, the 3 part Picard S1 prequel Countdown graphic novel by Kirsten Beyer and Mike Johnson and the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Another ongoing theme in Season 1 is the idea of freedom vs ownership and control, whether it’s the freedom of sentient beings, the freedom of ideas or the theft of body parts and someone else’s work. Rather than assimilating the Romulans into Federation life, as Picard planned for them, the Romulans have insidiously assimilated the Federation into their way of thinking. They value secrecy and hierarchy above all else and don’t value life or justice for their own sake.

This season introduced some deep concepts that we on Earth have only begun to explore as a world here in the 21st century, such as how is sentience determined?  Which species have the right to self-determination and which can be treated as objects or livestock, harvested for their parts or used as slaves by anyone who sees fit? If humanoids can’t even recognize the sentience and basic rights of other humanoids, such as synths and xBs, how will we recognize sentience in other forms of life when we encounter them, including here on Earth?

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Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Analysis Part 1- Outsiders, Twins and Broken Pieces

SStar Trek Picard S1E10 Soji & Picard

I have several pages of leftover notes from Star Trek: Picard S1 that didn’t make it into my recaps last spring. To celebrate the holidays and production starting soon on S2, I’m going to attempt to wrangle some of them into a few analysis posts on symbolism, mythology and whatnot.

So happy end of 2020, everyone! May you all have received your COVID vaccinations by this time next year! Preferably many months sooner!

Jean Luc begins the season amongst his vineyard’s vines, flowers and fireplaces, surrounded by organic life and symbols that his life is real and truthful. Well, technically he starts with a dream about Data which includes many hints at the season to come, from Blue Skies and the starry nebula, to the five Queens (for five synth daughters) in Data’s poker hand and the Mars attack while Picard laments that he hasn’t finished his tea and doesn’t want the game to end yet.

A Season of Outsiders

The common thread running through Picard, his friends and acquaintances this season is that they’ve been failed by “the system” and now live outside of it. Even the emissaries of Starfleet turn out to be outsiders in some way.

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Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 8- Broken Pieces Recap

Star Trek Picard S1E8 Rios, Raffi & Picard

In episode 8, we learn more about the mission of the Zhat Vash, Agnes wakes up from her coma and Picard and Soji return to La Sirena. Rios discovers that he has a connection to Soji, while Seven arrives on the Artifact to help Elnor and the xBs.

In this episode, we also discover that Rios is heavily influenced by the Danish philosopher Søren Kirkegaard. I read Nietzche to recap Netflix’s Dark. I guess I’ll be exploring Kierkegaard for Picard. If you haven’t seen Dark, go watch it while you’re self-quarantined for the coronavirus and wondering how your life came to this!

Recap

The episode begins with images of the nebula that also appeared in Picard’s dream from the pilot. In this dream, Picard drank tea and played poker with Data while Bing Crosby sang Blue Skies. Data held 5 queens of hearts in his hand. Then Mars exploded. Every one of these things has become important in some way, which I’ll go over later. Now we discover the nebula is the home of the Admonition, the warning about synthetic life which gives the Zhat Vash its mission.

Commodore Oh showed a version of the Admonitiion to Agnes back on Earth in order to recruit her as a spy. In Broken Pieces, Oh brings her Zhat Vash recruits directly to the source so they can experience the undiluted message.

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