Thursday, February 27, 2020

REVIEW: 'Star Trek: Picard' - Picard Confronts His Trauma to Protect Soji from the Romulan Threats in 'The Impossible Box'

CBS All Access' Star Trek: Picard - Episode 1.06 "The Impossible Box"

Picard and the crew track Soji to the Borg cube in Romulan space, resurfacing haunting memories for Picard. Meanwhile, Narek believes he finally found a way to safely exploit Soji for information.

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 Impossible Box" was written by Nick Zayas and directed by Maja Vrvilo

Picard laments the actions of his past and the ways in which he has done so much damage to others. He follows a strict set of moral guidelines. He always hopes for the best. And yet, he can be blinded to what is actually going on in the world around him. He always fought for truth and decency. And now, those values are continually under attack. He believes he has to get back into the action in order to preserve the world and those caught up in these dangerous plots. However, it's also clear that he is making the same mistakes as before. He can be too fixated on a sole idea. He has to save Soji after failing to protect Dahj. He is willing to battle his own trauma in order to do so. On one hand, it's clear that this show is very reflective and contemplative of the past and all that Picard went through during his adventures across the galaxy. Those have had lingering consequences. They just can't prevent the narrative from moving forward in a new and exciting way. Yes, it's appropriate for Picard to fear being on a Borg cube once more because he was assimilated previously. He has never truly regained all of his humanity afterwards either. But the story has to pivot around the idea of hope. Picard is welcomed by a friend in Hugh. Plus, his research has proven that it is possible to save those who were assimilated by the Borg. Those people no longer have to be viewed as monsters. Instead, they deserve sympathy as victims who are trying to survive what happened to them. That is an uplifting turning point. It shows that the work on the Artifact is valuable. However, it also quickly gets tossed aside so that Picard can forge ahead to save Soji just as she faces the true nature of her reality. This corner of the show with Soji and Narek has been a little tedious so far. He has been carefully plotting but the various characters have fallen into the same routine. Narissa doubts her brother's ability to show results and believes he has fallen in love with a Synth. He then turns around to prove just how cold and calculating he truly is. Here, he suggests that a Romulan meditation ceremony can help Soji grapple with the realization that her entire identity is probably a lie. In reality though, he is just trying to pinpoint her home planet so that the secret Romulan operatives know where to attack next. That is the only reason why she was kept alive. Picard's crew theorizes about that. And yet, they don't know anything for certain. In fact, they have their own issues that they are trying to manage. Picard is certainly aware of them. However, he just pushes them away because Raffi and Jurati serve other purposes. Picard isn't there to care for Raffi as she is fully in another bender after her disastrous reunion with her son. Instead, he uses her to get access to the Artifact and then embarks on his mission. Meanwhile, Elnor is the one who sees that Jurati is more troubled by Maddox's death than she would like others to believe. He continues to be perceptive in that way. However, Picard is more than willing to once again leave Elnor behind to make his daring escape with Soji. He warned Elnor not to beam down to the Artifact. Elnor didn't listen and Picard actually appreciates that. It means Elnor and Hugh can fight the Romulans coming for the nefarious Synth they are hunting. It's all complicated and clearly building to climatic uncertainties. Picard and Soji walk through a transmitter to another planet altogether. She has to trust that he can protect her instantly. She does so. And yet, she should have obvious questions about what is happening to her and why her entire world has changed instantly. That is precarious and Picard may only be able to provide some answers to her. He doesn't know everything. But his mission so far was getting to this point. Now, he has to actually follow through and keep her safe from the threats that will still be coming her way because she survived everything that happened on the Artifact. Rios knows where to go but friends were left behind on the Artifact. Those consequences will ensure that Picard may always have regrets about the choices he made no matter how dire the circumstances were at any given moment.