Thursday, May 5, 2022

REVIEW: 'Star Trek: Picard' - Picard's Clarity Allows the Dynamic Between the Borg and the Federation to Change in 'Farewell'

Paramount+'s Star Trek: Picard - Episode 2.10 "Farewell"

With just hours until the Europa Launch, Picard and the crew find themselves in a race against time to save the future.

"Farewell" was written by Christopher Monfette & Akiva Goldsman and directed by Michael Weaver

The relationship between the Borg and the Federation needed to change. That was the only way to save billions of lives. In the premiere, each side acted the way they were trained to do given all the previous clashes between the two. The Borg Queen attacked straight away with the purpose of assimilating by force. And then, Picard ordered the self-destruction of the entire fleet. These were informed responses based on all the available data. They were done in the name of survival. And then, Q took all the power players and placed them in a new timeline. Those animosities still existed. They still defined the conflict for the entire season. This finale is meant to showcase the power of doing things a different way. It's better to lead with understanding and the willingness to engage in a more prosperous future. It doesn't always have to end up in the same dire straits that previously occurred. It's a very freeing idea. Over the course of the season, Q largely faded into the background so the Borg Queen and Dr. Soong could step up as the antagonists. It was all so Q could ultimately come across as a human who didn't want to die alone. He wields so much power. He can continually disrupt Picard's life. And yet, he genuinely cares about this one identity in the entire human race. He wants to challenge Picard to be better. He deserves the more fulfilling version of himself. He shouldn't continue to cling onto the tragedy of the past. He can be capable of so much more if he was willing to move on. Of course, Q isn't the only person who aspires to teach Picard a lesson. The admiral is so accustomed to leading his team and being the one to make the major decisions. He can't dictate what others are willing to sacrifice. Tallinn has long had certainty in her mission. The most glorious outcome for her would be to actual meet Renee. She has protected Picard's ancestor for years. She saw evil forces trying to exploit her. And now, she is willing to sacrifice herself so Renee can live. That's all it takes to set the timeline in order once more. It doesn't come with any big pronouncement of change or warning of destruction. It's meant to prevent those outcomes while those who went on this journey return as more enriching versions of themselves. Picard accepts himself despite his tragedy. Seven sees the power of her dual identity. Raffi recognizes the need to work on herself. And Rios decides it's better to be happy in the 21st century. It's still resolution in the search of some deeper meaning though.

That means the creative team wants to neatly tie off the various plot developments. That includes featuring Kore become a supervisor. She was able to survive thanks to technology from the future. That allows her to step out of place in time. She is given that opportunity even though it comes with no promises for her safety. She is willing to take that risk. It's rewarding for her. It's also completely her own decision to make. No one is forcing her down a specific path. So much of this season has been dictated by people trying to control others. That's what the Borg have always done. It's assimilation into one collective body. The Federation can't give over their technology. It would only be exploited by the most dangerous force in the universe. When the action finally catches up to the present, Picard sees the beauty and grace from Agnes completing her mission. She has changed the face of the Borg. That's been 400 years in the making. It doesn't discount all the horrors that have previously taken place. It's simply the creation of something new altogether. One that allows forces to join and save the universe from a new threat. Of course, that too mirrors the stakes of so many stories set in the current iteration of the franchise. Something mysterious emerges in the depths of space. The main crew is sent out to investigate. The anomaly could destroy countless lives if quick action isn't taken. Star Trek has essentially become an examination of the existential threats that loom over all of humanity. It's no longer a simple parable over the longing for greater understanding and connection. Now, it's a metaphor for the perils that can emerge from nothing or from the maliciousness of certain impulses. It takes a collective effort to prevent total destruction. In the process, Picard receives greater clarity. He can return to his ancestral home with a willingness to start a second chance with Laris. All of this comes at the expense of individual identity though. All the faces and choices blur together. Instead, it's not about a particular person making a choice that carries repercussions they can't expect. Now, it's about sacrifice for the greater good. People believe in the nobility of their causes. It all works out in the end. More stories are told that reveal the human flourishes within everyone. It's still an epic showcase of plotting that overlooks what is meant to be captivating about each of these characters within their specific journeys. Plus, the audience already knows something caused that galactic event that will set in motion the need for all of this to happen one more time in the forthcoming final season. That's obvious. And so, it's difficult to feel too excited about the unknown - which used to be the central concept of this storied franchise.