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Star Trek Picard: Seventeen Seconds

"We fight or we die."

As the very Wrath of Khan battle in the nebula unfolded, a deep and lasting friendship appears to have unraveled. Let's hope it's not permanent.

Picard and Riker began the episode talking about fatherhood with a lovely flashback to the two of them in a bar toasting the birth of Riker's son Thaddeus. Riker told Picard about the seventeen seconds in the turbolift rushing from the bridge to sick bay when he thought Thaddeus might be dying. Later, Picard got to experience that for himself when Jack nearly succumbed to the verterium. Welcome to fatherhood, Jean-Luc.

(The "You'd better get down here" scene was also a callback to The Wrath of Khan with Kirk being told the same thing about Spock. Sadly, we know from the Picard episode "Nepenthe" that Thaddeus died way too young.)

In a particularly well-acted scene separated by bio-beds (symbolism alert), Picard and Beverly had The Conversation. And yes, Beverly's reasons for not telling Picard made sense. He'd said many times that he never wanted a family. They'd broken up five times, and she knew their romantic relationship was ending. Picard was a high-level target of enemies of the Federation, which would have endangered Jack. And when given the choice, Jack himself chose not to acknowledge or contact Picard.

But still, it seems so unlikely. Okay, Billie. I guess I have to let this one go.

Picard's clash with Beverly, one of his oldest and dearest friends, paralleled his rift with Riker, who was left in command after Captain Shaw was seriously injured. As the Titan was losing the battle with the Shrike, Picard insisted on attacking, while Riker was focused totally on defense and retreat. I honestly wasn't sure who to root for, although I suspect the title of this series gives us a clue.

A portal weapon? Have we ever seen anything like that before? I've seen all of Trek (excepting some of the animation) but some of that viewing wasn't all that recent. That was a pretty monstrous cliffhanger they left us with.

Captain Shaw came out well here, gaining a bit of respect from me for his courage while bleeding copiously in several places and still completely focused on his ship while fighting unconsciousness. Guess he was lucky that there were two excellent captains there on the bridge in his hour of need.

Jack Crusher also came out well in this episode. He immediately picked up on what the injured Captain Shaw was saying, and when they wouldn't let Jack on the bridge, he went right to someone who would know what to do – Seven – thus discovering the verterium leak and the changeling saboteur on the Titan. And nearly dying in the process.

Jack was also very protective of his mother, which I found endearing, and he was treating people in sick bay. Medical training? It sounded like Jack and Beverly were doing a doctors without borders thing on a planetary scale. More power to them.

Meanwhile on M'Talas Prime, Worf and Raffi are now partners. Worf has mellowed beautifully with age, and is rocking that white hair. Going zen and "working on himself"? Loved it.

And I just loved everything Worf and Raffi did together, from bantering about chamomile tea, hoodies and beheading, to the good cop/bad cop bit they did on Titus Rikka, who turned out to be a changeling. Turns out Worf is working for Starfleet Intelligence because he's an expert on the Dominion War, and changelings are behind this whole thing. I'm really impressed that Star Trek: Picard is now pulling from Deep Space Nine as well as Next Gen and Voyager. Worf mentioned Odo as a "man of honor" without saying his name, making me once again sad that we've lost René Auberjonois.

So what is the big scary thing stolen from Daystrom that is even more dangerous than the portal weapon? If they're going Wrath of Khan, I'd think Genesis, but they wouldn't do that, would they? While semiconscious, Jack had a vision of Seven with strange branches behind her, saying to connect them. The mycelial network on Discovery?


— Marina Sirtis had a lovely holo bit during the bar flashback. It was nice to see her. The alcohol references reminded me of her tequila scene in First Contact.

— In Titan's sick bay, Dr. Ohk was nastily treating Beverly like she couldn't still be a doctor if she hasn't been in the game for awhile.

— Jack's British accent was explained; he went to school in London. Uh huh.

— Worf was fighting with a new and interesting sword instead of a batleth.

— Sidney La Forge took the time to stop by Seven's quarters to encourage and support her, calling her Commander Seven as an acknowledgement of her chosen identity. That was nice.

— Jonathan Frakes directed this one. Of course he did.


Mura: "We're losing visual on the stern."
Captain Shaw: "Send somebody down to look out the goddam back windows!"

Picard: "What could have been had I known? What might I have been? A father? A husband? I know now I would never have been my father. But I could have learned that twenty years before."

Jack: "In my time in this universe, I’ve always found one thing to be true: the bigger the legend, the more disappointing the reality."
Riker: "We’re all faulty. Just human."
Jack: "I heard he’s positronic."
Riker: "He’s still the same man."

Picard: "Will, I think it might be time you call me Number One."
Sadly, that didn't last. Picard is too alpha for that.

Raffi: "I don't know who the hell you are, but..."
Worf: "I am Worf, son of Mogh, House of Martok, son of Sergey, House of Rozhenko, bane to the Duras family, slayer of Gowron. I have made some chamomile tea. Do you take sugar?"

Worf: "You look conspicuous in that hood."
Raffi: "Says the Klingon in warrior gear."
Worf: "It is not warrior gear. It is casual."
Raffi: "Seriously, where do you wear that? To a Tuesday beheading?"

Worf: (after taking down the bad guy) "Beheadings are on Wednesday."

An undeniably awesome episode. Four out of four cups of chamomile tea,

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


  1. The Titan jumping between portals was pretty awesome. For that matter, I agree that 17 Seconds was an awesome episode. With the possible exception of the ubiquitous CPR scene. Give Jack several tense rounds of CPR, lose all hope, and yay, the patient revives. Kinda like all bombs tick down to 1 second before the heroes disarm them.

    But that’s a small complaint. I’m glad Shaw didn’t die. And Worf & Raffi make a great team. Billie, I also liked the DS9 tie-in and respect given to Odo/Rene Auberjonois. Thanks for the good review.

  2. Great review! This was easily the best Picard episode of the serious, for all the reasons you mentioned. I won’t be able to watch the next two real time so I get to binge more at the end of the month.

    I love how they are taking time to give the Titan crew individual and notable personalities. My tiny hope that we see Seven in the command chair at the end of this warping to a spin off series with this group is still alive :)

    My initial quibble was the words that Riker used when he dismissed Picard from the bridge. Picard would never have stated that publicly in front of the bridge crew. But in hindsight, maybe there was a point - to be 100% clear to the crew that he (Riker) was in charge here, not Picard.

    Gold stars to Patrick Stewart and Gates McFadden for their scene together. That was absolutely brilliant.

    And thank you Billie for mentioning ‘verterium’. I was sure they were saying “deuterium”. I’m not sure how this enriches my life just yet, but if I ever find myself discussing gas leaks from a starship with another Trek fan in the future I won’t be laughed at!


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