Thursday, March 31, 2022

REVIEW: 'Star Trek: Picard' - Jurati's Deal with the Borg Queen Destroys the Crew's Ability to Return Home in 'Fly Me to the Moon'

Paramount+'s Star Trek: Picard - Episode 2.05 "Fly Me to the Moon"

Picard discovers an important person from his past may be integral to the divergence in the timeline. Q continues his manipulation of the timeline, taking an interest in Dr. Adam Soong. Seven and Raffi attempt a daring rescue of Rios, while Jurati faces the consequences of her deal with the Borg Queen.

"Fly Me to the Moon" was written by Cindy Appel and directed by Jonathan Frakes

The century before first contact was complete chaos. That's the explanation given as to how any singular event by an individual in the early 21st century could create a xenophobic totalitarian regime 400 years later. That information would have been good to have when Picard and his crew first landed. Instead, it was completely up to the audience to understand and see the parallels - especially as they played out with Rios' story in ICE detention. This world is sinister and cruel to the plight of migrants. It's relatively easy for Seven and Raffi to free Rios from this custody even though it's not the most efficient way Raffi could do it. They free all of those detained as well. That's a happy celebration even though it can't remain the chief focus for very long. The action has to quickly get back to the task at hand with Picard trading information with the Watcher. She eerily resembles Laris but is not the woman who works for Picard at his family's vineyard. This season is notable for casting characters with familiar actors. The Watcher's appearance is meant to be commented on. It has to mean something even though this person has never met Picard before. Yes, she comes from the future. However, she is solely charged with protecting his ancestor, Renee Picard. Elsewhere, Brent Spiner and Isa Briones are back playing father and daughter as ancestors from the Soong family. Again, they are completely separate from the past characters they've played. It's all informed by the legacy of this family and how eerily similarly they all are. That's narratively important. Dr. Adam Soong pursues a career in genetics because his daughter suffers from a disease that makes sunlight and dust toxic to her. He is limited by the small thinking of his peers. No one wishes to fund his research. And so, his daughter is left to continually suffer. That makes him particularly vulnerable and desperate when Q arrives with the cure. The purpose of this as it pertains to Picard's mission to fix the past is completely mysterious. It verges on being a complete distraction. It's a way to continue working with these actors even though the main plot may not necessarily need them. It offers confirmation that the season won't return to the normal timeline until the very end. That's inevitable now. The structure has tried for a more episodic approach. And yet, the last few episodes have ended with some collection of characters on the verge of a new storyline only for it to be cut off before completely happening. It's strange.

The purpose of all of this is to entertain the audience. However, the narrative can sometimes embrace trickery in order to lure the viewer into a false sense of hope and security. And then, everything is dramatic and unclear when the rug is pulled out from underneath us at the last moment. Jurati seemingly kills the Borg Queen. She suggests she is just as vulnerable as any human. One shot is all it took to eliminate her from this world and leave Picard's crew stranded in 2024. However, that's not true whatsoever. No one should ever believe the Borg Queen could be killed so easily. Instead, she has implanted part of herself inside Jurati. It's not enough to bring her into the Collective. It's simply a personal nuisance now. Jurati still has control over her body. She is the only person who can see the Borg Queen. She knows it's not a figment of her imagination. It's a separate entity with its own vendetta. The two are bonded without going through the typical process of assimilation. The show is trying something new. It's loved the metaphor of these two being alone. They are drawn to each other. And now, that bond has been solidified. It will likely create complications. But it's also tiring to see Jurati get caught at the grand gala on purpose in order to gain access to the system she needs to hack into. When so much television is out there, the bar is set even higher to find creative solutions to problems. This is a formulaic story. Sure, it's enlightening to hear Picard talk about how crippling depression can be for humanity. He offers that keen observation. He has compassion for his ancestor as she prepares for her upcoming mission. She is the central figure in all of this. Before now, the only thing Picard knew about Renee was her insistence on coming home from a space mission with a precious mineral. That was her legacy in the family lineage and the timeline. When he listens to the Watcher detail who Renee is, Picard is in awe. She sounds incredible. She lived a full and complete life. One that is actively in progress. Q is meddling with her. Picard and his crew must stop it before it's too late. And yet, Q appears omnipresent. He is everywhere. He is capable of manipulating events Picard isn't even aware of. That sets the stage for the many dramatic twists to come. But it's not allowing the show to remain grounded in the moment as the characters deal with the weight of what this mission means. Instead, it's them simply running from place to place hoping not to screw things up too terribly in the past in the hopes of restoring their future.