It’s been awhile since we checked in with a review on Star Trek: Picard. Since then, quite a few things have happened, and the mystery surrounding Soji has definitely deepened. Yet this episode is the one many have been waiting to see: the return of Cmdr. William Riker and his wife, Counselor Lt. Cmdr. Deanna Troi. When we last saw the two together on screen, it was at the series finale of Enterprise in 2005. However, canonically, the last time we saw them was when they left their positions aboard the Enterprise-E to begin their newlywed lives aboard the U.S.S. Titan, where Will was to serve as that ships new Captain. None of that is really touched on at all. Thankfully, the show does enough to fill in the blanks of what they’ve been up to all these years.
FORGET THE STUFF YOU THINK YOU KNOW
If you haven’t read the Riker-led Star Trek: Titan books, well you’re in luck because literally none of events that transpired there, including Riker becoming an Admiral, are mentioned at all. Riker and Troi are parents (and not to Natasha, their daughter in the Titan novels) and retired from Starfleet. We learn of the tragic reasons behind their retirement planet and also are treated to one more Ready Room session with familiar faces.
The story isn’t advanced much within the episode, yet some important character building does transpire. Soji, who is learning to come to grips with recent revelations, makes an important connection with Kestra Troi-Riker. Yet the most well acted scene, to me, belonged to Marina Sirtis’ Deanna Troi. She recounts the emotional toll of living with the pain of losing her first-born child, Thaddeus. He could have been easily saved from a rare disease were it not for the ban on Synthezoids. The ban on Synthetic life is at the center of this season, and seemingly no episode is free from this narrative.
THE INTIMATE SETTING OF THE SHOW IS NOW STARTING TO WEAR DOWN
Star Trek: Picard still contains its very intimate focus on character development. Some may even accuse it of being at the detriment of what Star Trek primarily is known for: exploration, space battles, new life, new civilizations, etc. However, Star Trek has also given us many great characters over the years in ensemble settings. What keeps making Star Trek: Picard interesting is this hyper-focus on those same characters in ways we have yet to see in this detail. Slow burn Star Trek may be distasteful for those who wish only to have things be as they usually are. I am a proponent of evolution though, so I don’t mind it as much.
However, I do feel like the story deserves to quicken the pace a bit. The race to resolve the mystery around Soji, Bruce Maddox and their cult-ish arm of the Romulan Tal Shiar has been firmly put into motion. It high past time some of these numerous plot threads pay off in a meaningful way.
- Seeing old favorites is always a welcome sight.
- Slow pace is getting overdone