The next episode talks Star Trek: Picardseason three, episode five, “Imposters.”
Efficient storytelling is not a strength that can traditionally be attributed to Star Trek: Picard, which has often felt padded. Each of its three seasons has felt like a made-for-TV movie story or two that stretches to ten episodes lasting almost an hour. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the fifth episode of this season, where five minutes of plot expands into a full episode. Here, Team Picard learns that Starfleet has been infiltrated by super Changelings before teaming up with Team Worffi. Oh, and Beverley, who has been in relatively close contact with him for most of his life, has finally realized that something is wrong with his son. But even that rather scant plot breakthrough has to take a backseat to the main centerpiece of the episode: the moment Picard comes face to face with [CHARACTER].
The power of [CHARACTER’S] the return takes place at the moment they come into the focus of the camera, such is the extent of the surprise. After all, there are textual and metatextual reasons why you wouldn’t expect to see them appear in any Star Trek, let alone this one. For starters, his plan was made after, for right or wrong reasons, the crew of Enterprise were betrayed in [TNG EPISODE]. And of course, [ACTOR] expected to transition to Deep Space Nine, but turned down the role. In fact, the esteemed Trek wiki Memory Alpha suggested that they were even offered a role on Voyager, either as a guest star or regular, and similarly turned it down. If there’s any person you’d think would never come back to any Star Trek would be [ACTOR]. And even I, as much as you keep telling me I’m a cynical hater voicing these opinions to milk your hate clicks, was immune to the initial flush of excitement at seeing them in a Starfleet uniform again.
Unfortunately, the main confrontation between Picard and [CHARACTER] he is dulled as much by the futility of it all as by its execution. The couple talks about their “faith” in “institutions” or lack thereof, and why this is or isn’t a good thing, but I don’t feel any of it. Part of this is Trek’s streaming-era problem of telling us things instead of showing them, so we have these gestures towards a larger issue that’s never properly explored on screen. But it is also because many of these issues have already been well explored in Deep Space Nine, even if the execution there was always a bit clumsy. After all, although there was every feeling that ought Side with the Maquis – Don’t forget they were the little people thrown aside by the empires grand machinations with no concern for the lives that were directly affected. But this is Star Trek, so whatever the problem, whatever the big puzzle that presents itself, the answer is almost always Starfleet.
picardo the obsession with continuity for its own sake does little more than remind us of older, better Treks. I might also add, because it’s been on my mind for years at this point, that there’s a YouTube clip of the DS9 episode “For The Uniform” describing Sisko as a “badass”. Specifically because he carries out a threat to sterilize a planet to get revenge on Commander Eddington, who felt he betrayed Starfleet to support the Maquis. This is the Star Trek problem in a nutshell: Sisko is wrong here, but the show can never allow us to stop liking our hero because he is our hero. Picard, this year, has behaved quite illogically and recklessly, and yet, because he is our hero too, the show can’t question his actions on anything more than a single cheeky line of dialogue from Riker.
I don’t consider myself self-righteous in my approach to continuity, and I think it can be a benefit to the narrative rather than a burden. But Picard’s use of golden-era Trek deep cuts often takes me out of the show as I wonder how this even follows in any logical way. Picard himself even says so, asking how the hell [CHARACTER] he ended up back in a Starfleet uniform. She explains the “arduous” process she went through to return to the fleet, but she couldn’t help but question this further. Imagine if a mid-level officer in the US Navy endangered a major aircraft carrier to cover his own defection to an (apparently) enemy terrorist group? You think any worthwhile military organization would allow that same person to return to regular active duty? And if someone says “but Tom Paris…” keep in mind that he was a) a Nepo Baby, b) wasn’t with the Maquis for very long, and c) wasn’t expected to serve once he served his time as an assistant. Voyager during his short trip to the badlands.
And then [Character] dies in a trap to implicate the Titan, and you wonder if death will be dealt so cheaply in the rest of the series. It would not be the first time that we have entire seasons of picardo structured around saying goodbye to long-running characters.
There’s not much to say about this week’s B and C stories because they feel so derivative and shallow. Worf and Raffi’s plan to take out the villains with a fake sniper that was instantly thwarted sounds like something out of an early ’90s thriller. The fact that he was countered by a fake kill on Worf’s part also felt weak, there’s no way you’re going to bring Michael Dorn back just to get rid of him so cheap. And on a similar theme, Jack is another broadcast-era Trek character with the jason bourne disease; troubled by visions of a secret past that keeps going into a phase-flight state whenever he puts himself in danger. A story so stale that it was already covered in mold when this same series he did it with Dahj and Soji in his first season. I haven’t watched any episode after the next one so I really do not know how this particular plot is going to be resolved. but i have seen those threads on Reddit, and if it’s true, I’m really going to tear myself apart if we’re doing the same thing still-a-damn-profit.
Speaking as a parent, if my son coughs more than twice in his sleep in quick succession, I simply poke his head in his bedroom door to check if he’s okay. If I were the medical director of a starship that spent over a decade in the far reaches of known space investigating strange things, I think I might have a tricorder or two on hand. And if my son stopped being able to sleep, he would have dangerous visions and his eyes would begin to red glitter in times of emotional or physical turmoil, I don’t think I would keep it to myself until I reached adulthood. In fact, I might even have thought about taking them to a hospital or doing biobi alone, you know, just to be safe. Just a thought, Beverly.
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