Five Things from Star Trek: Picard S1E7 “Nepenthe”

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“Nepenthe”

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The real #1 is back!

Picard arrives on Nepenthe and is reunited with his old friends! Soji learns, quite abruptly, she is an android synth. (Data was an android, that makes Soji an android. Stop calling them synths!!) Raffi and Rios make their way to Picard, while Jurati pukes on the ship and slips into a coma. Hugh is captured, Elnor still doesn’t have a purpose and the Fenris Rangers are on the way!

This was a big episode, mainly focusing on Picard, Riker and Troi with enough of the other plot lines to keep it moving.

Let’s get into it!

Please friend, buy a blaster

It was bound to come down to this…Elnor with his sword and everyone else with a gun. He had no real choice but to run around trying not to get shot. But where did he come from in the first place? While Hugh was being questioned Elnor wasn’t around. How did he manage to escape the onslaught from last week while Hugh was captured. Rizzo says her second question will be about the four bodies of heavily armed guards found in subsection 11. Somehow Elnor was able to kill the guards and hide, while Hugh was captured. Did Rizzo happen to notice the guards were killed by sword and not a blaster? After questioning Hugh, who doesn’t give up any answers, Rizzo kills the xBs. Devastated, Hugh holds strong and refuses to give up Picards location.  And then Elnor shows up! Where was this guy?

Elnor tells Rios to leave, he is going to finish the work on the cube. Elnor and Hugh head back to the Queen’s cell. Hugh is determined to protect the xBs from the Romulan’s. Rizzo overhears his conversion with Elnor and decides to kill Hugh. Elnor steps forward drawing his sword and asks them to choose to live. And then he promptly runs off as they start blasting away with their phasers. He is able to kill a few of Rizzo’s guards and then she offers to fight him in hand to hand combat, knowing that he is Qowat Milat. In true Romulan fashion she distracts Elnor with a knife and throws one toward Hugh, driving it into his throat.

Rizzo beams out and Elnor comforts Hugh as he is dying. Hugh tells Elnor thanks for letting him be hopeful again and then dies. Elnor runs to the Queen’s cell and activates the Fenris S.O.S. beacon.

Once again Elnor isn’t effective. I’m still not seeing the reason for this character. He hasn’t provided anything substantial to the quest or the plot. What’s the point of a super cool ninja assassin in the 24th century when everyone has blasters?

It’s looking like Seven of Nine and her rangers are on the way!! Can they arrive in time to save Elnor and the Borg Cube??

Jurati the Spy

The episode opens three weeks earlier when Commodore Oh vists Jurati at Daystrom. And we now have confirmatoin that Jurati is the spy. Commodore Oh mind melds with Jurati, showing here an apocalyptic future if synths are allowed to survive. After the vision Jurati is visible shaken and willing to do anything to help save the world. Oh gives her a tracker, the blue pill?, to eat and when she puts it in her mouth Oh tells her ‘it must be chewed.” Wasn’t it the red pill in the Matrix that set you free and the blue pill kept you in the world of the matrix, thinking everything was normal. Chewing it must make it harder for someone to extract the tracker from her body. The visions are what Jurati referred to while she was killing Maddox, telling him if he knew what she did he would do the same. My guess is he wouldn’t. But now that Maddox is dead, Jurati is having second thoughts.

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On the La Sirena Jurati is trying to talk Rios and Raffi into returning to earth and not follow Picard. Not wanting to outright admit she is a spy for the Federation, at least what she thinks is the Federation. And why didn’t Jurati ask Oh why the federation doesn’t track Picard on their own? They are a powerful force in the universe, why do they need her to track Picard? On the ship she is so out of sorts and Raffi and Rios are concerned. Raffi takes Jurati to try and calm her and give her cake. I was sure Raffi knew at this point that Jurati was a spy and was going to poison the cake or somehow torture Jurati. Instead Jurati overeats cake and pukes for the second time this episode! It was fun watching Raffi trying not to puke as well.

Rios takes Jurati into his confidence saying he thinks Raffi is the one being tracked and has betrayed them. I’m sure if this is a ploy by Rios and maybe in conjunction with Raffi to try and get Jurati to confess that she is the spy. Jurati, overcome with guilt, replicates noranium hydride and injects herself with it, to either kill herself or disable the tracker. As she falls to the ground the EMH is activated and stabilizes her, at the same time we see Nerak frustrated that he lost track of the La Sirena. The EMH notifies Rios that Jurati is in a coma.

Shields Up!

We finally get the reunion of Riker, Troi and Picard! And it didn’t disappoint. Troi is still as good an empath as ever. Knowing immediately Picard is in trouble. She even senses his illness, looking at Picard with knowing eyes and Picard reassuring her that he is fine. I liked when Riker gives him a big hug, he still has flour on his hands and gets it all over Picards back. And both tell Picard he is welcome to stay as long as he needs.

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Why couldn’t Troi read any emotion from Soji? Troi was able to read other androids in the past, including Data. Although she couldn’t read Data until he turned on his emotion chip. But Soji seems more advanced than Data in certain ways. She certainly has an emotion chip of some kind, she even has mucus! Did Maddox build a Betazoid blocker into his program? Which wouldn’t make sense if he wanted people to think Soji and Dahj were actual humans. Or does the ‘activation’ block empaths from reading the android? Questions that I hope will be answered before the season ends.

One of the discussions between Picard and Troi involved her son Thad. It turns out one of the reasons Riker and Troi moved to Nepenthe was because of the regenerative nature of the soil. Thad suffered from a silicon based neurological virus. The good news is there is a cure to the virus, the bad news…it requires an active positronic matrix…a synth brain, like Data’s. But the Federation put a ban on all synths and no new ones can be created. Without the active matrix there was no way to create a cure and Thad died.

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What isn’t discussed is how hard did Riker and Troi look for a cure? Neither are the kind of person that would say, oh well synths are banned so I guess are son is going to die. Both would have gone to the ends of the galaxy looking for an active matrix, Federation ban be damned. Did they do that? Did they look into the black markets? Somewhere on some planet there must be an active synth. The federation doesn’t control the entire galaxy. Did they ask Worf to look throughout the Klingon Empire? Did they have Geordi try and build one in a super secret lab? What about contacting Maddox and see if he could bring one online long enough to create the cure? And why did the Federation ban ALL synths. If an active positronic matrix can be used to cure disease why not allow an exemption? That seems more in line with the Federation’s mandate than an all out ban. I have lots of questions on this one point that need answers!

Troi, always the ship’s counselor, tells Picard to use their dinner table as the ready room to talk through his problems. And it works! While talking in the make shift ready room, Picard wonders if he needs a new ship and crew as he cannot contact Rios. Riker says he may find one at the Infinity Lake spaceport and Kestra says Captain Crandall would be a good choice. Who is this Crandall?  Soji describes what she saw in the meditation chamber and Kestra texts(?) Crandall under the table with the description. Kestra says Crandall knows the planet and gives Picard the location.

I’m intrigued by Crandall and who he could be. How does he know so much about the galaxy? He knows about a planet so isolated that it doesn’t even have a name, just a number. Could it be Q? Or someone from the Q Continuum? I’m sure will see him in a future episode.

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And speaking of ship captains, Riker let us know he is still on active reserve in Starfleet. That is definitely going to play a role in the coming episodes. Watching the previews for episode 8, it looks like all things are going to culminate on the Borg Cube. Will Riker come swooping in on the USS Titan to save the day? The Enterprise would be epic but the Titan would make more sense. Only time…and 3 more episodes will tell.

Smart homes have shields!

When Riker is trying to hear what Kestra is saying he tells the computer to pause the music. Once he meets Picard and realizes there is trouble, he tells the computer…Shields up! A classic TNG moment. And it even provides Anti-Cloaking scanners! That is a smart home system I can get on board with. Who cares about turning up the heat or having the lights come on when you get home. I want full house shields and anti-cloaking! Give me that option and I’ll buy two!

Soji and Kestra

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With the death of Thad, Kestra has been wondering alone and seeking comfort and companionship after her lose. Soji, finding out abruptly that she is a synth and her whole world turned upside down is seeking someone to trust. She doesn’t feel like she can trust the adults but takes a liking to Kestra. And Kestra is enthralled with Soji. Their relationship is that of two children coming to together. While Soji is an ‘adult’ she is more childlike than most. She is after all only three… Soji even learns the made up language that Kestra speaks. I wonder if that will come into play later in the show?

Fan service of the week

There were a couple obvious ones, The reunion with Riker and Troi was fantastic! Commodore Oh using the mind meld on Jurati was a nice touch too.

When Riker and Picard first meet, Riker tells him they are having trouble with the Kzinti. This is a throwback to the Star Trek Animated Series! The Kzinti are a race of feline humanoids that were at war with the Federation. The Kzinti lost the war and, per the peace treaty, they were no longer allowed any weapons or offensive force. It sounds like that treaty may have fallen apart if Nepenthe is getting attacked by the Kzinti. Could be a throw away line to please the fan base but and interesting one for sure.

Soji emulated the Data head tilt and Riker picked up on it immediately. And Kestra was asking Soji if she liked Sherlock Holmes or playing the violin, all things associated with Data. It was a pretty Data heavy episode.

I think there should be a Riker/Troi Family show on the docket for CBS:AA. Or at least the Wil Riker cooking show!

Episode grade: A-

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About Pitfall Gary 90 Articles
Just your average Gen X'er. Born in the 70s and raised in the Decade of Decadence! I rode my bike without a helmet and was home when the street lights came on. I love to reminisce about the good ol' days; Movies, TV, music, if it happened in my childhood I'll share it with you.

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