Jonathan Del Arco

Star Trek: Picard (2020) s01e06 – The Impossible Box

This episode… really doesn’t impress. It ought to impress because it finally gets things moving—Picard (Patrick Stewart) heads to the Borg Cube to rescue Soji (Isa Briones). Briones is an android but doesn’t know it. Her lover, Harry Treadaway, knows she’s an android and wants to kill her for being an android because he’s a Romulan anti-android extremist and he’s basically nudging her towards realizing it. Will Stewart get there in time to save Briones from her self-discovery and whatever Treadaway’s got planned once she has it?

Initially, I liked Briones and Treadaway’s adventures on the Borg Cube because “Picard” was at least the fanfic takes on the Borg were interesting. Not lately. And definitely not this episode, which has Stewart hanging out with old Borg pal Jonathan Del Arco while suffering from PTSD while he walks through the Borg Cube. Incidentally, the empty Borg Cube looks like if someone built a TRON set instead of rendering it in CG. Doesn’t look good.

There’s a whole bunch of bad with Stewart and the Borg. Despite them using footage from Star Trek: First Contact, it turns out Picard hasn’t gotten much better about his time in the Borg Collective and he yells a lot about it at Alison Pill, who’s managed to become the show’s biggest liability at this point just because she’s pointless. I mean, Michelle Hurd’s pretty pointless too, but you’re at least supposed to feel sympathy for Hurd. She’s really bad during her big scene. It’s a chore. “Picard”’s a chore in general.

But Pill’s pointless. Her part’s crap. And her impromptu shagging of Santiago Cabrera is even more pointless.

There’s a big scene where Briones finds out she’s a Cylon but not done well. It leads to Treadaway taking her to a forbidden mediation chamber to psychologically damage her… but Briones’s such a slight character it doesn’t even matter. You can’t suspend the disbelief enough for Treadaway to actually be being a villain at the moment.

The show then fumbles a “Come with me if you want to live” scene, which shouldn’t even be possible.

Also, for fans of Star Trek: The Kelvin Timeline, it turns out the Borg made a trans warp drive. Hell yeah.

There’s another surprise at the cliffhanger, which I’m saving for next episode because I’m really hoping the show didn’t just spin its wheels with a character for three episodes for no damn point. But it really seems like there’s no point in hoping for “Picard” not to do something bad.

Star Trek: Picard (2020) s01e03 – The End is the Beginning

This episode ends where the second episode should’ve ended, with the Jerry Goldsmith Star Trek: The Motion Picture theme (i.e. “The Next Generation” theme) and a starship going into a very boring warp. It took Picard (Patrick Stewart) and his band of sidekicks all episode to get into space; apparently you can teleport everywhere in the future but not get a starship into gear for an entire episode.

It opens with a flashback. Picard and introduced last episode sidekick Michelle Hurd in some questionable Starfleet uniforms arguing after Picard’s meeting at Starfleet after they tell him they’re letting billions of aliens die because, well, the Federation’s racist, so what. Kind of sucks not getting to see Stewart yell at Starfleet. Shatner always got to yell at Starfleet. Instead, he just gets to recap to Hurd, who can’t stop calling him “J.L.,” because it’s unthinkable she’d call him Jean-Luc, Admiral, or whatever. If they turn out to have been sleeping together, moany “J.L.”s are going to haunt the imagination. It’s a silly move, like they’re trying to make Hurd seem like the cool Black sidekick to the old White man in a 1990s movie. She’s basically in the 1991 LL Cool J role. There’s optics to Stewart selling her out, but they’re never addressed. He just happens to push the Black woman on her sword.

In the present we find out Hurd’s a genius who can wave her hand meaningfully at the future computers and figure things out. But she’s also a pothead. They call it something else—like snake-leaf—but she’s a pothead. Again, there are optics. “Star Trek: Picard” manages to be less woke in 2020 than First Contact in 1996, though—even though she’s okay—Hurd is no Alfre Woodard. Not even Woodard doing a Star Trek.

She and Stewart bicker a bit, but she immediately agrees to help him, setting up eye-candy, roguish pilot Santiago Cabrera. Cabrera’s supposed to be Han Solo but he’s actually got a big ol’ man-crush on the Starfleet principles in general and, we find out, Stewart specifically. It’s an eye-roll at the forced earnestness but fine; Cabrera’s amusing enough.

Hugh the Borg (Jonathan Del Arco) shows up in the Isa Briones Borg subplot, which still manages to be a lot more interesting than the Picard getting a crew together one—even if Briones is starting to grate. Neither she or Harry Treadaway are particularly good, acting-wise, and it seems like her subplot’s going to be some kind of future-present thing because the show creators have seen Arrival but also the new “Battlestar Galactica” but… Borg anthropology—Borgopology—is engaging enough.

Really not here for the Alison Pill and Michelle Hurd bickering for no reason other than being the only two women thing though. Also Tamlyn Tomita’s quite bad as it turns out. Oh, and Picard knew about the secret Romulan android hating secret society going back to when the Romulan mission failed, which you think he’d have mentioned last episode.

But whatever. It’s a short episode (less than forty-five) and passes well enough. Though the constant fades to commercial in a streaming series are annoying.

Scroll to Top