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Star Trek Picard: Monsters

"So this your mind sober. I bet five drink Picard is a blast."

A dreamscape episode that sadly, didn't work for me.

And that's not because of Jean-Luc Picard. He is a compelling, complicated character played by an exceptional actor. A starship captain turned admiral, a diplomat, a cultured individual with interests as diverse as archaeology and detective fiction, there's a reason why Picard excelled as the lead character in a long-running television show and why this spinoff is centered on him. I would have been perfectly happy spending an entire episode inside his head, plumbing the depths of his psyche, learning about his parents and how their dysfunction affected him at his core, to discover why he has failed to find love. Instead, they gave us a string of tantalizing tidbits and disparate threads.

When the unconscious Picard in Dr. Teresa's clinic would not awake, Tallinn used her sonic screwdriver to enter Picard's mind and help pull him out. Picard dreamed he was enduring a psych evaluation by a Starfleet doctor, who turned out to be his own father.

(Let me pause to point out that James Callis was perfect casting as Picard's father, Maurice. He's a strong actor who could go toe to toe with Patrick Stewart, no small thing. And as Gaius Baltar, Callis spent several seasons involved with a synthetic being that only he could see.)

Symbolically, a lot of it worked. Picard as a boy ran around in the "dungeon" under the Picard chateau, searching for the monsters that were after his mother, Yvette. Young Jean-Luc identified with his imaginative mother, and blamed his father for... what? having her hospitalized because she was mentally ill? Yes, yes, his father was the monster. Except apparently, Yvette's fantasies endangered Jean-Luc, and Maurice was trying to protect his son. It was Yvette's illness that was the real monster all along.

It's interesting that the adult Picard experienced most of this with Tallinn, a doppelganger of his current love interest, Laris, while we were reminded that a successful romantic relationship is the one major thing that he lacks. Tallinn kicked open the door that was concealing the truth. She told Picard that his pain, the pain of his childhood, saves actual worlds. When they woke together from the dreamscape, Tallinn revealed her Romulan ears to him.

I wish all of this had been with actual Laris, though, because how does this advance Picard's need for a relationship if it's not really her?


Meanwhile, Rios just found a serious love connection of his own. I've been feeling the romantic Star Trek IV time travel vibes between Rios and Teresa, and sure enough, he told her – and her young son, Ricardo – the truth about himself. He even took them on a tour of his spaceship. Maybe he thought he had no choice after he had Raffi materialize a neural oscillator in his hand, but telling a woman in 2024 the truth about himself is a great big deal. It was a strong hint that Rios might be staying, which I honestly don't want him to do. No matter how cool Teresa and Ricardo are.

And speaking of cool, Seven and Raffi, the coolest of our Star Trek: Picard couples, got the least amount of screen time. Locked out of the ship by Borg encryption, the two discovered Jurati's new Borg Queen identity and went looking for her before she assimilates everyone in the 21st century. More, please.

Finally, the conscious Picard dumped Tallinn and went back to 10 Forward and young Guinan, who was unable to summon Q... with a bottle containing a mystical distillation of the truce between the El-Aurians and the Q Continuum? How would Guinan have that actual bottle? Was it a metaphor bottle? And what was the point, since drinking the goo in it didn't work?

To make it even more confusing, an FBI guy then came in and arrested Picard and Guinan, an utterly bizarre cliffhanger. I have no idea where they're going from here.

Bits:

— There was a lot of emphasis on learning from one's enemy. I kept expecting Q to show up. Not yet.

— Maurice Picard, in his guise as a Starfleet counselor, was dressed in a gray uniform. I wasn't sure what sort of communicator he was wearing. Have we seen those before? Deep Space Nine, maybe?

— Why did Jurati/Borg Queen break the window in the bar? It was clearly important, but I didn't get it.

— I loved that Tallinn had an ear piece shaped like a Romulan ear. I thought they were just being funny. Although after her reveal, it was, "Of course."

— Tallinn is the capitol of Estonia. For what it's worth.

Quotes:

Yvette: "There is no better teacher than one's enemy."

Raffi: "Look, if that whole thing starts up again, I quit the gang. No, seriously, I don't think I have it in me. You and me? Now, see we're totally different. Our pain is beautiful and tragic and everyone loves hearing about it."

Picard: "Sometimes a story ends with a boy lost and alone in a dungeon."

Teresa: "Are you from outer space?"
Rios: "No, I'm from Chile. I just... I work in outer space."
Right from the movie.

Maurice: "You lived longer than I did, but I got to keep my hair. Not exactly a fair trade, is it, son?"


Tallinn: "You do so much with this pain. You save worlds with it."

Rios: "Who do you want me to be?"
Teresa: "A good guy."
Rios: I am. And if I wasn't, then I would become one right now."

Agent Wells: "We could all use a dash of extra with all this ordinary."

Sigh. Two out of four dungeons and/or dragons,

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

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