Thursday, February 6, 2020

REVIEW: 'Star Trek: Picard' - Picard Finally Finds a Pilot to Begin His New Adventure in 'The End Is the Beginning'

CBS All Access' Star Trek: Picard - Episode 1.03 "The End Is the Beginning"

Completely unaware of her special nature, Soji continues her work and captures the attention of the Borg cube research project's executive director. After rehashing past events with a reluctant Raffi, Picard seeks others willing to join his search for Bruce Maddow, including pilot and former Starfleet officer Cristóbal Rios.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of CBS All Access' Star Trek: Picard.

"The End Is the Beginning" was written by Michael Chabon & James Duff and directed by Hanelle Culpepper

Jean-Luc Picard has been a well-defined character in the Star Trek canon. He had adventures across seven seasons of a television show and four feature films. And now, he has essentially become unmoored. He no longer has the strong connections to his identity he once did. He still believes in the ideals of Starfleet. However, he no longer serves in that institution. He retains his rank as an admiral. However, he is at odds with what the Federation has become. He was once revered as one of the greatest captains throughout the entire universe. He earned his legacy. He is known throughout the galaxy. People are in awe of meeting him for the first time. And yet, he wields a great deal of privilege as well. He could take a stand on moral principles when he clashed with the leadership of Starfleet over the disaster on Mars. He gave an ultimatum and they accepted his resignation. He never thought they would follow through on that offer. But it was still a stance he could take because he had power within the institution. If he stood against something, his word carried a lot of weight to it. It wasn't enough in this instance to change minds. He wasn't the only person who dealt with the consequences either. He got to resign for moral objections. Meanwhile, Raffi was fired because she supported him. He didn't think about that nor has he checked in on her in the years since. She was loyal to him. And now, she is full of anger and resentment because she had nothing to fall back on in her life. Picard has the family vineyard. That's a life he could embrace completely. He accepts now that he belongs among the stars and in exploration for the truth. He wants a life of adventure. He has no qualms about that now even though it means leaving his loyal friends behind once more not knowing what will happen to them. Laris and Zhaban are willing to fight and die for him. And now, they are trusted to maintain his family's legacy while he goes off on this adventure once more. That's his destiny. That's his identity now. But again, it comes at the cost of others. Raffi has nothing in her life. He may praise her intellect and her ability to notice patterns that others cannot. That isn't good enough to win her over in this moral argument. She goes on this journey not because she has some sense of remaining loyalty to Picard but because she too wants to go to the destination where she has found Bruce Maddox. That is more important to her. To Picard, he just needs a ship that will take him where he needs to go. He doesn't know where that is when he first meets Rios. Instead, he just feels a connection to this pilot because they both came from the Starfleet way of life. It's fascinating to discuss what space exploration means in this world when it isn't sanctioned by the Federation. Picard is going rogue. Some very high-ranking officials are trying to stop him. That just means threats are made against his life that force others to make some lethal choices that will dramatically change who they are as well. Agnes Jurati is going on this journey with Picard. She just has to kill in order to get onto the mission in the first place. That is horrifying. It's similarly tragic to watch as Soji operates with so much confidence in her experiments on the Romulan-controlled Borg cube. And yet, she has information that she doesn't understand. She doesn't know where it came from either. She is being deceived for some nefarious agenda. Narek has gotten close in the hopes of exposing her ultimate goals. But all of this runs the risk of taking away her own personal sense of agency. Right now, she is frightened and believes she can rely on Narek for support no matter what. She impresses people but she may not have control over her own life because others seem to know much more about her than she does herself. That's terrifying and confusing. It makes her seem like the destruction of the universe when she is nothing more than a scientist who marvels at the connections now possible in the known world. Picard has begun his journey to the great unknown off Earth. But he's not heading to Soji at this precise moment given the danger she is still in.