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Star Trek Picard: Watcher

(This is a catch-up review; we missed a few when season two aired. Season three arrives in February 2023.)

A delightful episode full of easter eggs, as Picard's team breaks up into pairs and works their way through a number of unexpected time travel challenges.

Our A plot followed Picard as he visited the deserted chateau with Jurati long enough to tell us that Picard's ancestors removed to England during World War II (that explains a lot). It included a flashback to Picard's mom in the same greenhouse with flowers painted on the glass.

While Jurati went back to La Sirena to work on the transporters and flirt with the Borg Queen, Picard transported to Los Angeles to search for the "Watcher" who held the answer to the change in the timeline – and found a young Guinan still, and again, at the bar at Number 10 Forward Avenue.

Why did I expect Guinan to recognize Picard? Maybe because they met in 1896 San Francisco in "Time's Arrow"? While looking around the internet for stuff I missed, I found a lot of fan confusion about this situation. I guess the best explanation is that since the future got wiped out, the Next Gen crew never existed to travel to 1896 San Francisco.

Whatever. I still liked Picard and the young Guinan (Ito Aghayere, an actress with magical biceps, in a very Whoopi-like performance) getting acquainted with the help of a pit bull named Luna. Guinan was about to pack up her bar and give up on humanity because of climate change, racism and homelessness, while Picard was befuddled about how much to tell her without messing up her future. An enjoyable character reversal, since Guinan tended to be the one with all the knowledge on Next Gen.

As much as I enjoyed Picard talking Guinan into taking him to the "Supervisor" – and how could it possibly, possibly be Laris? – the best part of the episode was Raffi and Seven trying to rescue Rios.

Bantering, flirting, arguing, these two were as fun together as they could possibly be. This is a couple I could ship all the way to their own Star Trek series. I especially enjoyed Raffi going nuts and Seven as the voice of reason, right until they stole the police car and Seven was driving like a maniac while Raffi tried to slow her down.

They even got to be fun on a city bus. Thank you, Star Trek: Picard, for that petite homage to Kirk and Spock on a bus in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. They even brought back the original punk from the movie, Kirk Thatcher, who looked the same but seemed a lot nicer this time.

Meanwhile, Rios and the lovely doctor dealt with more unsubtle social commentary and were raided by ICE. I'm fond of Chris Rios and of course, he's a hero. My favorite scene was Rios in a white coat channeling his EMH so that everyone else could get away. They also gave Rios the near requisite scene where he told the ICE agent the entire and complete truth of who he was and where he had come from so he wouldn't be believed. This sort of thing has been done before on genre shows, but it's a trope for a reason: it's fun.

My least favorite scenes were Jurati and the Borg Queen, even though Jurati has by far the best snarky line delivery of any actor in this series ("Have a good night plotting, or whatever Borg Queens do)." I think part of me doesn't want to acknowledge how much these two characters have in common, what with the extreme intelligence and painful loneliness, Jurati's obsession with synthetic life, and the direction any meeting of minds is likely to go. I don't like Jurati all that much, but I'd hate to see her assimilated. The very idea makes my skin crawl.

We didn't get back to Q until the final scene at Jackson Roykirk Plaza where he was observing a young woman reading a Dixon Hill mystery. Q snapped his fingers, and nothing happened.

Has Q lost his power? How can that be possible? Because wouldn't that mean that Picard and his new crew are stuck in 2024?

Bits and pieces and more easter eggs

— In the flashback to Picard's childhood, we heard Edith Piaf singing, "Non, je ne regrette rien." We also heard it on the bridge of the Stargazer in the first episode of the season. Can't be a coincidence.

— Jurati was subconsciously transmitting the number 15, much like Data and the number 3 in "Cause and Effect."

— The entire Watcher/Supervisor bit and Laris and Picard stepping through the smoky portal was very "Assignment: Earth." And the different people unknowingly hosting someone else was reminiscent of the time travel series Travelers.

— The title of the Dixon Hill mystery was The Pallid Son. Which, of course, made me think of Data, who is more pallid than anyone. The book was written by Tracy Tormé, who was the writer of the Next Gen episode that introduced Dixon Hill, "The Big Goodbye."

— It is April 12, 2024, and the critical time event is three days from "now." The Titanic sank on April 15, 1912. Was that a deliberate homage?


Borg Queen: "Poor Agnes Jurati, doomed to be the afterthought, left behind again. Not to me. You're more than you let on, that they can see. Smart, cunning, and remarkably more cruel than I could've predicted. Brava."

Raffi: "I hate everything."
Seven: "But you hide it so well."

Raffi: "We need to find out where they're disappearing people like him, so we follow the trail of suffering like breadcrumbs."

Rios: "Why does the past hurt so much?"

Raffi: "Seven, just get around them. Get around them!"
Seven: "You think I'm not trying?"
Raffi: "The bus was faster!"
Seven: "Right, maybe you should get back on it!"
Raffi: "Uh, truck. Truck! Truck!!!"

Seven: "Wait, what does a yellow light mean?"
Raffi: "Go faster. No, red means stop. Red means stop! RED MEANS STOP! Stop stop stop stop stop!"

That reminded me of the similar scene in the movie Starman. And the classic comic bit on Taxi that still makes me laugh.

Picard: "Change always comes later than we think it should."
You could say that again.

Episodes like this are a gift to the fans. Three out of four easter eggs,

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

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