Last week’s ending definitely moved up the pace of the show, as we have first contacts, fights, duels, trapped ships and more all happening, both onboard the Reclamation Project and outside it. But you know it is never good when they split the party, and it definitely looked like that is what was happening at the end of last episode!
Recap of Picard, S1.E7: “Nepenthe”
For the first time, we get a flashback that isn’t that long ago, as Dr. Jurati remembers 3 weeks ago, when she is approached at her work by Commander O of Star Fleet, who basically enlists her as a spy on Picard. But she does it through a Vulcan mind meld, that both makes Jurati sick but that also makes her resolved against their being synthetic life again. The sequence happens very fast the images of doom and apocalypse definitely stand out. But as she agrees to spy, she takes some kind of blue pill that has to be chewed, that will allow the Star Fleet to track her.
On the ship, we watch as Rios and Raffi try to battle control back from the Borg Reclamation Projects tractor beam. As the two of them banter back and forward, Jurati ultimately pipes up, declaring that they just need to tell the Cube that they want to go home, even she realizes that means abandoning Picard and Soji.
But on the Cube itself, Hugh and Elnor are trying to deal with the circumstance of being captured by Narissa. As she tries to make Hugh give her information, she also is having him watch as they execute former Borg, one by one. Hugh seems fairly stubborn and does not break. At the same time, we see Narek board a ship and start trailing the La Sirena, once the tractor beam releases them. But the crew is aware that they didn’t get themselves free and are a bit suspicious. Ultimately, they leave Elnor at his request, as he cannot allow what happened on the xBs that he finds with Hugh to happen to others.
Picard and Soji land at their location on the planet Nepenthe, which we fairly soon learn is the home of the Rikers, crew from Picard’s time on the Enterprise. But the first one they meet is the Rikers’ daughter, Kestra, who is playing a game in the woods based on the world her brother made up and imagined. They are welcomed but Kestra figures out pretty quickly that Soji is an android and let’s that out, which freaks Soji out. The other Rikers deduce it fairly quickly as well, especially when Soji has a tell, a head nod just like Data used to have when he was curious.
Soji winds up in the garden with Deanna Troi, and while talking about life, Soji learns that the Rikers’ older son died because of an illness that could have been treated by a piece that was banned when synthetic creations were banned. Soji opens up about the trauma that has happened to her and she starts to work through who she can trust and what she can do.
Hugh and Elnor head back towards the central station of the Cube, because Hugh has remembered the immense power within and that he is now ready to unleash it to defend the xBs. On their way, they are ambushed but put up a good fight that ends when Elnor, distracted by Narissa, watches as Hugh takes a knife to the throat. Narissa beams away and Hugh’s dying words declare that he is grateful to Elnor, for letting him be a hopeful fool again, even if it was just a short time.
The crew is dealing with Agnes having major issues. While they think it is just her being a coward, not realizing that is is much more about being a traitor. They try and chase it away with cake and chocolate milk. Rios winds up in the sick bay and confesses to Agnes that he thinks they are being tracked, only it is due to something being on Raffi. Just as Agnes is ready to confess, he has to run away and Jurati creates a device and injects herself, presumably to disable their tracking. She immediate has a medical issue and winds up in a coma.
Soji ultimately trusts the Rikers and Picard, explains what she saw in her guided meditation and they are able to figure out what her home world may be. It is a powerful moment of trust and hope, as they all work together to discover what could come next.
After that, the crew is able to break free of Narek’s tail but at that high cost. Elnor, who had been running around the Reclamation Project, finds a necklace with a beacon to summon the Fenris Rangers, which is the group that Seven of Nine has associated with earlier. He presses it, seemingly waiting for help and back up.
The next morning, as Picard waits for the arrival of the ship. Kestra gives over a broken compass that she explains was a gift to her and now she passes it to Soji. As the compass spins wildly, she adds the line that you just have to believe it works.
Review of Picard, S1.E7: “Nepenthe”
So splitting the party may have put our crew in some dangerous places and circumstances, it did make for a great episode.
The line they dance between nostalgia and new is really evident in Troi’s and Riker’s appearance. The genuine love that they have for Picard is really evident. Deanna especially has a moment when Picard first arrives at their house, where she as an empath reads him and wordlessly acts out learning of his medical condition that will end him. And his reaction to it is really well done. It was just a 30 second scene but it spoke volumes and without the nostalgia and love for Star Trek: The Next Generation, they couldn’t have pulled it off.
And they seem to be dropping some bits of information that you have to think will come back around. For instance, Kestra talks about another Star Fleet captain who lives nearby on her planet, albeit with a busted ship. While her dad waves him off as an codger, it wouldn’t stun me to see that old codger and the Rikers to come flying in the finale, especially since the old codger was the one to identify the planet.
And Elnor. If Picard’s days are numbered, he is going to need another cause to attach himself to. Could he become the new Hugh, protector of the xBs? Is he going to join up with Seven of Nine when the Rangers answer this distress call that he as sent?
And what is going to happen to the traitor Agnes Jurati? While it feels like we are clearly seeing her regret and remorse, others might not see it, and her other actions, in quite the same way.