This week has revelations, interesting twists, hard decisions and more as we move towards what has to feel like a great ending to this first season of Star Trek: Picard, which is good as we only have two more episodes after this!
Recap of Picard, S1.E8: “Broken Pieces”
This week’s flashback goes way back and takes us even further back. We see Romulan women all gathered around a circle. We discover the circle is there to give a warning, evidently by an ancient group, who had their lives ruined by synthetics after they created them. After a vision is shared with all of them, there really are just three of them left, as the others take their own lives in various ways. The three left are Commodore Oh, Narissa and an Unborg-like Ramdha, who we learn is Narissa’s aunt. They seem to feel like they are called to their mission and using the Mars attack as a way to get synths banned works for them.
Elnor is meanwhile hiding on the Reclaimed Borg Cube, awaiting his rescue from the Fenris Rangers. Eventually, he is discovered but Seven of Nine arrives at just the right time and they are able to fight off the Romulans long enough for her to essentially reboot the Cube. While it won’t go all the way live and reconnect with the Borg, she is able to create a localized network version.
This move triggers Narissa to go genocidal. She then goes and kills all the xBs that she can find and then she and a Centurion work a plot to evacuate all the remaining Borg into space via the airlocks. When Seven of Nine hardwires in, after expressing major misgivings about taking over the right of the Borg to Elnor, she cries out when the Borg are launched into space.
Meanwhile, Raffi has been working on a couple of puzzles and conspiracy theories. At the end of last episode, we saw her studying a series of circles that this week we learn symbolizes an 8 starred solar system; while they seem to have existed in myth, especially Romulan myth, the only one in real life is the one Soji is from.
And Soji, upon landing, has had a bit of a sequence. Raffi reveals to Picard that they are pretty sure Jurati is a spy and how they only lost Narek after Jurati took a harmful chemical to disable her tracking device. Rios says very little, but clearly recognizes Soji, but calls her by a different name: Janna. Raffi is eventually able to unearth what happened to Rios with the woman over the course of the episode, first meeting with the “5 Broken Pieces of Rios” that are the emergency holograms and then Rios himself.
There she learns that Janna and a male named “Beautiful Flower” boarded the ship where he was number 1, and his beloved captain, who he thought of as a father executed them. When pushed the Captain reveals it was because of a dark order from Star Fleet, but then, seemingly racked with guilt as Rios pushes him, the Captain takes his own life. Rios is left to cover it all up and then is out of Star Fleet in 6 months.
After Picard has a conversation with Jurati and learns about how she was both mindmelded the horrors of the vision that turned Commodore Oh and others against all the synthetics, we also learn that she had a block up in place to guard against her speaking of it. He still seems to hold the death of Bruce Maddox against her. She and Soji come to have a heart to heart and end in the place where Jurati pledges to not try and hurt Soji, finding her a marvelous piece of science but Soji also pledging and letting Jurati know that she would never have a chance to harm her.
While on the Cube, Seven of Nine is able to disconnect from the localized Borg again, maybe even because of the Borg’s request, as it tells Elnor that “Annika has more work to do.” What exactly that may be is to be determined. But we do see Narissa slowly get overwhelmed and at the bottom of a large pile of the xBs, so seem to be moving with almost Borg-like connection.
The crew then seems to be at a peace with one another. Soji finds it odd that Rios knows she loves fries and peppermint ice cream but it is something he picked up from Janna, in the brief time he knew her. Raffi lays out the whole conspiracy, about how the Romulans are/were behind the plot and the fear they have of the synthetics life forms mean that they will do anything to come against the synths. Soji then freaks out, demonstrating a lot of strength but then knowledge of how the Borg travel, moving and preparing a course to her home world, which the others all agree to go with her. But the closing frames of the episode reveal: another ship is tailing them!
Review of Picard, S1.E8: “Broken Pieces”
Again, a great episode and it was full of some great moments, even though we really only bounced between two scenes after the flashback opening!
Scene of the week is the Los Cincos Rios, as I am dubbing the 5 Emergency Holograms of Captain Rios. Raffi is trying to work out what happened to him and why he knows Soji as Janna, but none of the holograms seems to know quite enough information. It was by far the best comedy of the season but it played well with the seriousness of the revelation that comes later. And, of course, Rios would erase that information from all the holograms memories.
If Beautiful Flower isn’t a full on hippie version of Data, I am going to be incredibly disappointed. I’m even okay with it being the last reveal of this season but they are laying the hints there, especially the drawing Rios has of him and Soji that “the other one” made. It feels really obvious but I almost want that really obvious pay-off.
Third, and this one is a deeper cut: I think more of the crew than just Soji are synthetics. The way Raffi was “tingling” as she tracked down her theories and ideas made me pause. But on a serious note, I was thankful that they showed Raffi trying to make an effort to sober up. Addiction is a powerful force that lots of us struggle to overcome. It broadened her out as a character and made that struggle a little more realistic.
And I am still on board with Elnor being the champion of the lost cause of the Xbs. Now, it would get him in trouble as well. While he currently doesn’t have all the parts and pieces to mainline into the Cube like Seven of Nine can, if he did, is he wise enough to know how to deal with that? Or would the Borg, even the remote box Borg overwhelm him?