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Recap & Review of Picard S1.E4: “Absolute Candor”

Episode 3 of Picard ended with the new motley crew all together and headed out into space. But where are they headed first? And what will happen with Soji, who has now been called “the Destroyer”?

Recap of Picard, S1.E4: “Absolute Candor”

This week’s opening flashback is on the planet Vashti, where Picard was working to settle Romulans as they were looking for a new home. While there, we see that Picard has a friendship with a group of monastic Romulan women, who are dedicated to the rule of absolute candor.

It is a little unnerving to watch as they share what they think and feel immediately with one another. Most intriguingly, there is a young boy who is stranded with them that Picard has a fondness for; it seems that them welcoming a male trainee isn’t the usual course of action. He brings him a copy of The Three Musketeers, and while reading it to Elnor, the young boy, he gets the news of the synthetics destruction of Mars and has to leave.

On the ship, Dr. Jurati is bothering Rios, as he is reading a book about “the existential pain of living with the consciousness of death, and how it defines us as human beings.” Thankfully they are interrupted when Raffi discovers there has been a change to the course of their first mission. Picard is confronted in his hospitality suite that looks just like his Chateau in France. The crew then debates it.

Picard is desperate but he thinks that having watched the death of Dahj that he needs some support and help, so they are headed to Vashti. It turns out the monastic order of nuns is named the Qowat Milat, and they bind themselves to the right kind of causes to support and honor others, using their skills as single combat fighters.

Picard thinks that they – or at least one of them – should be able to support them, as Picard is sure they will choose his cause. Or tell him to piss off as a part of their “absolute candor” vows. The Captain has chosen – to Vashti they head. They are able to bribe an opening in the planet’s defenses with a cash gift, as the Captain’s reputation did nothing.

Once on the planet, Picard discovers it is not what he would have hoped. There is a Romulan rebirth movement, hoping to restore their reign, complete with speciesist “Romulans Only” signs. Picard makes his way to the monastery, where he is greeted by his friends; most notably an all grown up warrior version of the boy Elnor that he left behind.

While on the Romulan Reclamation Ship of the former Borg, we see Soji studying old tapes of Ramdha trying to explain the Romulan myth and about the Destroyer in particular. Narek tries to talk Soji out of her fascination with Ramdha and challenges Soji’s claims of who she is and how she got to the Reclamation Ship.

They have a rather frank conversation where the two of them seem to be sizing each other up, that ends in them playing a game, sliding down part of the Borg hallway with their shoes off as it freezes over as part of the ventilation return. They then make out until Narek pushes her harder about when she came to the ship.

While Picard is hanging out on Vashti, the ship crew monitors social media and discover people know he is there. Also, people on the planet and the rebel warlord that has a ship, are barreling down on them as well.

Elnor (and the nuns) give Picard some grief about his lack of effort as things came apart. He admits to shame and guilt but then requests that he may need one of them to bind to his cause, as he is taking on the Tal Shiar alone, and they are enemies. They then discuss that Elnor is ready to go out in the worlds, as the nuns want to make sure that before he dies he truly lives.

Picard and Elnor then discuss Data, Dahj, and Soji and how they need someone to protect Soji when they eventually find her. Elnor refuses initially but then later comes to Picard’s rescue, killing a Romulan leader who was going to hurt Picard in a duel, after Picard pulled down a “Romulans Only” sign.

The two of them are then transported onto the ship, where Picard clarifies what it will mean for Elnor to be bound to him and that Elnor will only be able to attack when Picard says so. But they are, at the same time, in a fight with the warlord of the area as he is targeting their ship.

However, they wind up having help from another, unknown ship who is able to defeat the warlord but at the cost of their ship plummeting to the planet’s defense weapons. They ask to beam to the ship and we discover the pilot is Seven of Nine.

Review of Picard, S1.E4: “Absolute Candor”

This episode is the first that has made me realize that I have had a set end in goal for this season that we may not get to. As the first episodes have played out, personally, I was excited to move to resolution of these major stories and now, realizing there are only so many choices that can be made, we may not get much more past the crew meeting and rescuing Soji from the Romulans.

In some ways that feels aggravating, as there will be many, many dangling plot holes with the Borg, the Romulans, etc. But part of me is thankful as it means the show has some other places to explore in what we now know is a promised season 2.

Quick hits from “Absolute Candor:”

  • I didn’t talk much about the directing of the first three episodes of the series, which were all expertly handled by Hanelle M. Culpepper. She deserves a great deal of appreciation for establishing the tone and flow of the show that continues into the hand-off, as this week, our director is Jonathan Frakes, who we will see later in his cast role of Commander Riker, Picard’s Number One from their Enterprise days!
  • Having all the holographic crew of the ship look like Rios but have different accents is really quite amusing. Last week, I doubted if that is what they were doing but this week with both the hospitality guide and the weapons guide being the same, it was very fun. Humorous, especially given how much Rios seems to not like them.
  • Dr. Jurati’s concerns about how annoying “absolute candor” could be feels like a set-up for some tension between the doctor and boy bodyguard moving forward!
  • Picard’s relationship with Elnor is going to also prove interesting. He has never had children and yet now he has a warrior son, whose first instinct seems to be use the tools he has been given, which is a sword. For an old man who constantly lusted after peace, how Picard handles this could be very interesting.
  • Adding Seven of Nine at the end was great. As another clear tie to the Borg, it will be interesting to see how what she wraps into what the others do. While we have seen the Borg Cube in space, none of the Picard crew has yet. How will her showing up mesh those two things together?