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Star Trek Picard: Penance

Next time, everyone should listen to Seven. Are we all agreed?

I know Q is somewhat annoying from a deus ex machina Roddenberry-was-repetitively-obsessed-with-God-like-aliens perspective, but I'm very fond of him. And clearly, Q pulled Picard and his new team out of the explosion of the Stargazer 2.0 to save Picard's life, because we all know Q loves Picard in his own strange, omniscient way.

But why does Q want to punish Picard now? You'd think he'd be way past that. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Q was disoriented and unwell. Which could be very, very bad. Much like trying to deal with an evil and/or irrational Superman.

The very "Mirror, Mirror" alternate timeline was disturbing, although perhaps a bit over the top. Alt-Picard was a brutal general who executed his alien opponents and kept their skulls as trophies – the most disturbing of which was our beloved Sarek, executed in front of his wife and son on the steps of the Vulcan Science Academy. Laris had died a rebel's death, and Picard had a household full of Romulan slaves who were terrified of him. Even worse, he was drinking black coffee instead of Earl Grey tea. Heaven forbid.

And much like Kirk in "Mirror, Mirror," Picard did an admirable job of, ahem, assimilating and faking that he was a Nazi. So did Seven of Nine, who woke up to find herself president of the "Confederation." She didn't hesitate to give intimidating orders that would bring the original team back together. (I loved how all the opening shots of Seven obscured the left side of her face so that we wouldn't immediately see that her Borg implants were gone. Even though I knew that was exactly what they were doing.)

It was a little odd that the broken romantic pairings were so prominent in an episode about an evil alternate timeline. Rios told Jurati that she couldn't handle emotion when it came to other human beings. Seven's former amour Raffi and Rios's former amour Jurati were sarcastic about Seven's husband, the "Magistrate." The most genuine affection shown was semi-maternal: Raffi's for the confused Elnor, who was involved in the rebel terrorist bombing in Okinawa.

Jurati was definitely the comic relief; she made me laugh out loud several times, and Patton Oswalt as Jurati's computer pet Spot 73 (an obvious tribute to Data's cat) was great. Meow. Why is Jurati so lonely? Maybe it didn't work out with Rios, but she does have friends now, doesn't she?

The creepy ass half-sized Borg Queen was the exact opposite of comic relief. I wonder why she wasn't the same Borg Queen as the cloaked version on the Stargazer? Good casting of Annie Wersching, by the way. Even her freckles looked threatening.

I'm very much looking forward to revisiting the original series slingshot maneuver so that they can time travel back to 2024 Los Angeles à la "Naked Time" and Star Trek IV. And this is probably a good place to mention that this episode's easter eggs were so thick on the ground that I was tripping over them. Episode and movie titles. General Sisko and Gul Dukat, General Martok.

I'm sure other Trekkies have already figured out the identities of the rest of the skulls. If so, could you share them with me?


— The Confederate costumes were black with large, dagger-like communicator pins. Seven's presidential outfit was gray and severe. The flags were very Nazi red and black.

— I assume the Borg Queen (the Stargazer version) quoted Picard's mother because Picard was once assimilated and she had access to his memories?

— I particularly loved that Q mentioned the Enterprise episode "Through a Mirror, Darkly," mostly because I was fortunate enough to visit Paramount when they were filming that episode. My second favorite celebrity experience while I was living in Los Angeles.

— Soji wasn't in this episode. I wonder if that's the last we're going to see of her? Interestingly, the actress's father, Jon Jon Briones, played Seven's husband, the Magistrate.

— Alt-Picard also has a positronic body, somehow because of Gul Dukat. I'd love to hear how that happened.


Picard: "Where are the crew of the Stargazer?"
Q: "Oh, how quaint. how provincial. How Yesterday's Enterprise of you."

Q: "Paradise has to have staff. Come on, who's gonna mow the grass?"

Picard: "Ugh. What the hell is this?"
Harvey: "Columbian roast. Black."
Picard: "This really is the circle that Dante overlooked."

Jurati: "Okay, let's run the alternatives here. Uh, I'm crazy, although I feel like I could come up with a better delusion. I'm dead, although see last supposition and replace me with God. I'm in a crazy mirror universe where it turns out I'm exactly the same, only with slightly more sophisticated pet-programming skills..."

Picard: "We've been deposited in a mad world by a madman. But I will get us home together. Oh, Raffi, it seems that Seven is the president."
Raffi: "Oh, she's going to wear that gracefully."

Picard: "Is everyone all right?"
Seven: "I'm the human president of a xenophobic authoritarian regime."
Raffi: "You're also married. Looks like someone worked out their commitment issues."

Jurati: "The tech seems similar to our own, albeit with a slight more 'Boy, that torture device really looks like it's gonna hurt' kind of look."

Rios: "Time travel is not a way to make me feel better. About anything."

A memorable episode. I had a really good time, although I had to watch twice to absorb all of the batbleep crazy details. Would that make it four out of four extremely creepy alien skulls?

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

1 comment:

  1. The thing that shocked me the most was Q hitting Picard. I think it shows how weak Q actually is..that he resorts to physical violence.


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