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With two episodes to go, it finally looks like all the storylines in the first season of Star Trek: Picard are finally starting to converge.
Dr. Soji Asha has finally met Jean-Luc Picard’s ragtag crew aboard La Sirena. Two off the most bad ass characters join forces in battle (hijacking?) aboard The Artifact. The Romulans have finally discovered the coordinates of Soji’s homeworld and set off for it just as Picard and Co. do the same.
It seems like every character gained a little depth, important revelations were made and loose ends started coming together in one of the happier (or, at least, less dark) episodes of the season — I mean, minus the opening scene and thousands of Borg being shot into the vacuum of space thing.
Let’s get down to it. Here’s five things I noticed in “Broken Pieces.”
1. Santiago Cabrera is one hell of an actor
Upon the first glimpse of Soji aboard his ship, Cabrera’s main character, Captain Cristóbal Rios, exiles himself to his quarters, clearly shaken.
Later, we learn why in a very emotional scene between him and Raffi Musiker. While a commander in Starfleet, Rios’ former captain killed two Synths in cold blood before turning his phaser on himself — destroying the father-like image Rios had of his commanding officer. It’s an incredibly well-done scene in and of itself.
But, in Rios’ absence, Cabrera really shined. We’ve met a few of Rios’ ship’s holograms in the first seven episodes, but this is the first time we’ve seen them all together.
While chasing her own conspiracy theories, Raffi gets all five holograms in a room. Each has a different ethnicity, accent and specialty aboard the ship. Cabrera literally has seamless conversations with himself. After what must have been hours of makeup and shooting, Cabrera somehow managed to give each a completely different personality and cadence. It’s truly remarkable.
And, it might have been fan service, but I loved the writers’ decision to make the engineering hologram Scottish.
2. “I can explain … or I can steal this Cube.”
What an absolutely incredible delivery of this line from Seven of Nine.
Already in the midst of teaming with Elnor aboard what is basically the Romulan’s main space station, Seven could have simply reconnected herself with the Borg aboard The Artifact and that would have been enough for me. But to go full Grand Theft Auto like that? Come on. That was awesome.
And then it got even better.
After Seven weighs the ramifications of setting up her own little VPN of Borg, she reconnects with the Cube and we see a neat holographic outline of her implants before her eyes turn black. Then, three chilling lines.
“WE ARE BORG.”
I’m a little disappointed we didn’t get to see an un-reclaimed Borg in modern makeup this episode, but I’m just nitpicking at this point. This was as cool a scene in a Star Trek series that I can remember.
3. Jurati and Viridium
At the end of last week’s episode, we were left with the notion Dr. Agnes Jurati had been a double-agent the whole time, had a change of heart and decided to commit suicide to save the rest of La Sirena’s crew.
And that would have been OK. I didn’t love the direction that storyline appeared to take, especially after Jurarti killed Bruce Maddox. But I wasn’t mad about it. It did kind of feel like a middle finger to the viewers to cast an actress the caliber of Alison Pill and just … kill her off.
But things took a major turn this week.
“Did it work?”
Jurati awakens from her coma and is able to explain to Picard what happened. Her encounter with Commander Oh was not just a case of old-fashioned blackmail or threatening. She forced Jurati to swallow a Viridium tracking compound after a Vulcan mind-meld, wherein Oh exposed the doctor to the Admonition — a series of visions that breaks even prospective members of the Zhat Vash.
She wasn’t trying to kill herself in episode seven. Jurati merely meant to disable the tracker.
A couple of cool things here.
First, Jurati talks about the Vulcan mind-meld as though it’s unfamiliar. It’s this mystic thing some Starfleet officers know about and is completely foreign to others. It’s a nice touch by the writers. The universe is massive and not everyone knows everything about it — least of all Dr. Agnes Jurati, who’s been stuck on Earth her entire life working a 9-to-5 in a dying department of Starfleet.
Second, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard of Viridium tracking compounds. Most Trekkies will remember the Viridium patch Spock places on Kirk in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, which allows the captain to be extracted from the Klingon gulag by the Enterprise.
Why that cunning little … Vulcan.
4. We all knew it, but…
It was fairly obvious the Romulans were behind the Synth “uprising” on Mars, but it’s still nice to have it confirmed.
In the opening sequence, we witness what appears to be a sort of tryout for what might be the oldest Romulan cult, one that believes synthetic lifeforms nearly decimated the galaxy hundreds of thousands of years ago — and is determined to stop it from ever happening again.
Commander Oh planted (or was planted) into the Starfleet ranks at, apparently, a young age and rose all the way to Head of Security, where she would be in prime position to coordinate and cover up a synthetic terrorist attack. The result? A Federation ban of Synths and few remaining targets to hunt down in the name of the Zhat Vash — in the name of stopping what they believed to be “The Destroyer” from ever seeing the light of day again.
Soji has spent the last few episodes figuring out who she really is. The roundtable discussion with the crew of La Sirena toward the end of the episode may have been the most enlightening moment the twin Android has had since discovering her life is basically one big lie.
But it was really, really cool to see Soji regain whatever connected conscience she had within her positronic net after hearing bits and pieces of the story and connecting the dots. She’s like her father, Data — supremely talented — but pissed off. I’m excited to see where this goes as the season comes to a head in the final two episodes.
5. Welcome back, Jean-Luc Picard
We’ve seen a lot of Pathetic Picard this season. We’ve also seen a lot of Angry Picard and Helpless Picard (he has to hire a mercenary to protect him, for Pete’s sake).
But this is the first episode in which we’ve seen old Captain Jean-Luc Picard in his natural form. The leader, the mentor, the counselor, the pragmatic.
This is the first time I’ve sat back after watching an episode of Picard and felt like I completely recognized the old captain again. Honestly, the scene between him and Rios on the bridge was as — if not more — genuine and emotional to me than any moment in The Next Generation. But, after nearly an entire season of chaos and desperation from the series’ main character, it was exactly what the show needed. The build-up to that scene was worth it.
Bravo, writers. Bravo.