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Star Trek Picard: Dominion

"How remarkable it is that an enlightened species can ignore each other's pain."

Dark much?

I didn't like this episode. It was much darker than I like my Star Trek – not only morally, with Daystrom Station experimenting with changeling genocide, and Picard and Beverly talking about developing bio weapons – but even physically, with the USS Titan dark and dead in space, and the dim lighting during the battles in the corridors. Just the realization that Tuvok was duplicated, held and tortured was super, super upsetting.

To be fair, fighting an enemy as powerful, deceptive and frightening as the Dominion would push even good people in horrible directions. But I want the Federation to be too honorable to do shit like this. I enjoyed the past few episodes so much, and it feels like they just tossed all that good stuff away. Damn.

Anyway. Now we know who Vadic is. A prisoner of war, she and nine other changelings were experimented upon as part of Project Proteus at Daystrom Station. She is now a scarred copy of the human who tortured her. Amanda Plummer gave a terrific performance in this episode, often appearing to be a victim with whom we could sympathize. Is the Face thingy enslaving her? She certainly appears to be operating under duress – but not all the time.

The battle on the Titan with the carefully set up force fields was quite cool, an enjoyable bit of hide and seek with high stakes. If it hadn't been for Lore, it would have worked, too. Amanda Plummer wasn't the only one to deserve gold acting stars; the way LeVar Burton's Geordi pleaded with Data, told him what Data's friendship had meant to him, was so touching. And the way he shifted from Lore to Data to Lore again showed what an amazing actor Brent Spiner is.

Jack, who was again intriguing, is certainly not your run of the mill human being. How did he communicate/control Sidney with that red eye thing during the corridor fight? How can that possibly be anything related to irumodic syndrome?

In the end, Vadic took the Titan and said it was time that Jack learned who he is. Yes, tell us. I can only guess that Jack was, I don't know, created because the bad guys need his DNA for the upcoming Frontier Day festivities? How could that possibly be? Is Jack even Beverly's child?


— Jack came on to Sidney, suggesting that there were lots of empty quarters available.

— We learned that Soong and B4 are archival only, and Data and Lore are fighting for dominance of their shared body.

— I liked that Seven knew Tuvok wasn't Tuvok. All the shout-outs to early Trek have been great. When I was living in Los Angeles, I saw Tim Russ shopping at a Best Buy store in West Hollywood. I miss random celebrity stuff like that.

— The prefix code that Riker used is another Star Trek Easter egg from The Wrath of Khan.

— No Worf and Raffi. No Riker and Deanna, either. Next week's episode, I assume.


Alandra: "So has Lore always been this arch?"
Lore: "Did the tree move? Or did the apple just fall far from it? When you’re constantly subjected to these self-righteous, self-proclaimed heroes, spewing their morality as if vomit were somehow virtuous, then sometimes, dear, a little bend, a little arch, a little antagonizing flair is required."

Picard: "Are you and I so fundamentally changed that we’re willing to compromise everything, everything that we believed in?"
Beverly: "Yes, I think I’m losing my compass."

Vadic: (to Jack) "I thought you'd be taller."

Shaw: "Holy shit, we got her."
Lol. Not much for Shaw this week. Again, maybe next week's?

Beverly: "What do you want with Jack?"
Vadic: "Me? Nothing."
Picard: "Answer the question."
Vadic: "He’s not for me! We could bond over that since he was never really for you, either."
Beverly: "What the hell does that mean?"

Geordi: "Data, you made me better. You did. You made me a better man, a better father, better friend. And when you died, it broke me. But, see, you put me back together, you repaired me, the memory of you."

Beverly: "The moment we allowed her to board, we invited Death onto this ship."

I don't know if I can rate this one fairly. What did you guys think?

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


  1. My ecstatic, “Wow, it’s Tuvok!”, turned quickly into an eye-rolling, “Oh, no….”

    I knew it had to happen. One, if not more, of our heroes would turn out to be Changelings. I, too, Billie, like my favorite sci fi to be less dark. But these days I’ve gotten used to not getting my wish.

    Out of left field, I wish that all the good guys will survive, Jack will turn out to be a weapon that honorably defeats the Dominion, that a recombined Data makes it happen, Shaw & 7 are heroes and get their own spin-off, and everyone lives happily ever after. I could go on, but what’s the point. It looks bleak at the moment. As I think it’s meant to.

    For hitting its goal of making us feel like we’re supposed to feel, I guess I’d vote for 4 of 4 ugly fists to the gut.

  2. Måge, when they announced the new show Starfleet Academy, what, yesterday? I thought, have they been monitoring the internet? Didn't they read the room? That's not the show we want. It has to be Seven.

    1. Huh. I didn’t get the memo. Well, crap. You mean a spin off called Star Fleet Quantico? Or Federation Police Academy? I’ll bet these show runners also need to be told the term “dead in the water” shouldn’t really be used for starships.

  3. Alright, who let the ST: Discovery writers into the room?? That was my first thought watching this episode and it stems from the fact that I am one of the many people that, while I generally enjoy Discovery, don’t feel like it captures the Trek I grew up with (despite it’s insistence on speechifying Trek ideals every episode the last couple seasons).

    Billie, I think you hit the nail on the head in your review. Those of us that grew up on classic Trek, or the reboots, are used to a lighter side of Trek, and when they get this dark, it’s particularly jarring. I’m stuck in season 6 of DS9 right now but even in the middle of the original Dominion War, that show was more of a Space Opera and even the grittiest of episodes had a sense of lightness and hope, which was completely missing here.

    I wonder though if that might also be a result of season arcs with this serious versus encapsulated episodes? There were certainly more than a few Star Trek episodes of the past that had some very bleak moments as we led to that final commercial break, only to find a beautiful solution after the cliff hanger. Now, with a 10 episode season arc, that bleak moment is stretched from 5 minutes to a full episode. Maybe? Or maybe we aren’t going to stick the landing after all.

    That said, I didn’t hate the episode. I mean, we’ve certainly seen enough rogue Admirals in previous series to wonder if there was a rule that being promoted from Captain meant you had to also turn into a villain! It’s not like Star Trek hasn’t explored those types of themes previously, maybe just not so darkly.

    What I didn’t care for was putting Worf and Raffi on the ship and not using them (they are on the Titan right??), whatever is going on with Jack— which felt mycelial (my pet term for anything on a show that feels wildly out of place). And for the love of god, would someone protect Shaw from further damage!?

    Did like the Geordi speech of course, and the continued growth of the Titan crew characters. How can this not be leading to a spin off?? Also, did I hear Vadic’s Disembodied Hand Floating Blob Face correctly: “it will go poorly for your kind”? Something like that? Is ‘your kind’ the modified changelings? The Dominion? Is DHFBF not a Changeling? Hmm….

    I’d give this episode 3.5 out of 5 Tuvok evil grins.

  4. Is the new Starfleet Academy going to be a Tilly spinoff from Discovery or something in a normal Star Trek timeline like Lower Decks, Prodigy and Picard?
    Please let it be the latter.

  5. DreadPirate, yeah, I just don't understand how everything that has been happening on Picard couldn't be leading to a spinoff.

    Patryk, I don't think there are many details out there on Starfleet Academy, other than the Star Trek Powers That Be have absolutely terrible timing.

  6. I think I enjoyed this episode a lot more than you. It was certainly dark but that didn't bother me and I found Vadic's orgin really worked for me. Prior to this, she'd been too hammy for me, enjoyable but not quite on the same plane as the rest of the show and this anchored her performance for me in a way that made me a lot more interested in her going forward.

  7. I loved it because it WAS dark. The darkness is appropriate to the stakes laid out: not only the infiltration of The Federation but the decimation of all solid species. That's pretty dark. I also like that The Federation is not always bright squeaky clean. It mostly is but often isn't. Even in TNG S01 there was a plot involving the higher echelons of The Federation being taken over by aliens, but they didn't go anywhere with it.

    That said, I wouldn't worry about the darkness lasting. This is TNG after all. How many times has the Enterprise (& now The Titan) fallen into a barrel of shit and come out smelling like a rose. It will happen again. Four outa four red eyed Jacks fpr me.


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