Thursday, March 2, 2023

REVIEW: 'Star Trek: Picard' - Picard and Riker Argue Over the Best Way to Address the Threat From Vadic in 'Seventeen Seconds'

Paramount+'s Star Trek: Picard - Episode 3.03 "Seventeen Seconds"

Picard grapples with an explosive, life-altering revelation, while the Titan and her crew try to outmaneuver a relentless Vadic in a lethal game of nautical cat and mouse. Meanwhile, Raffi and Worf uncover a nefarious plot from a vengeful enemy Starfleet has long since forgotten.

"Seventeen Seconds" was written by Jane Maggs & Cindy Appel and directed by Jonathan Frakes

Picard couldn't deny that Jack was his son. That was the only reason he could offer to explain his refusal to turn him over to Vadic. It's the only reason Captain Shaw and the Titan crew can immediately understand. They accept it even while knowing it places all of their lives in immediate danger. Riker argues that Jack needs to provide this crew with a reason to fight for him. Right now, it's a choice seemingly taken out of their hands by someone they don't know. It's all about the personal moods of the commanders. That changes from moment to moment because they are forced to reckon with what this reveal means. Picard believes he had a right to know his son existed. Crusher took that away from him. She never gave him the chance to step up and be a good father. She offers several explanations for why she kept Jack hidden. The most satisfying is when she said she could only protect Jack as her son. She couldn't handle all the threats that would target Jack if the world knew Picard was his father. Right now, it seems like Jack is following in his father's footsteps. These outsized threats from across the universe are targeting him with all the weapons they got. Crusher doesn't see any reason why someone would send a war ship to collect Jack alive. It's a move more in line with the threats Picard has faced throughout his life. She knew he could never leave this life of adventure behind. The Picard of twenty years ago probably didn't have the clarity to address his shortcomings. He's a more enlightened man now. And yet, the argument can still be made that he would have had to reckon with his tragic past in order to be a good father. None of that matters now. The entire ship is in danger. Picard flew the crew into this mess. The Titan hopes to use a nearby Nebula to hide until the warp core is fixed. That's never a possibility. Vadic has a way to track the Titan. Her mysterious weapon is revealed as a wormhole generator that leaves the ship flying around in circles. Moreover, a saboteur is aboard the Titan. That enemy combatant can take any form. The enemies are revealed to be a group of radical Changelings that broke from the Great Link following the conclusion of the Dominion War. Worf has experience with this alien species. He has a crucial ally inside the hive mind. That only gets him and Raffi one step closer to solving the puzzle. The attack they couldn't prevent was only meant to serve as a distraction for what these Changelings are truly planning. They are spread out across this conflict. That matters because it places new emphasis on Crusher's message to trust no one. And yet, these alliances have formed out of necessity. Picard needs the Titan crew to keep his son safe. Meanwhile, Worf and Raffi have to work together because they both understand how the threat isn't what Starfleet initially believed.

Parenthood happened suddenly for Picard. His instincts have changed. Riker believes that's natural. That explains why he argues for a particular course of action. It's also a convenient excuse to blame when things end in disaster. Riker understands pain and loss. Life changed when his son was born. He always wanted Picard to experience the same thing. That is happening right now. It hits Picard all at once. That may not be the most ideal thing. It makes Jack an active component of this story. He's tasked with figuring out how the Shrike is finding the Titan through the Nebula. He relies on assistance from Seven. In doing so, Jack encounters the Changeling saboteur. For a brief moment, Crusher and Picard fear they are losing their son. That threat represents how much Picard has grown. He is distracted because he has something to lose. He still understands the responsibility to the ship and its crew. Riker also encourages him to run to be with his son. They never know how much time they will ultimately have together. Riker knows that all too well. Jack survives. Crusher revives him. It's a massive exhale of relief. That's written all over Picard's face. Crusher sees it too. That showcases how he truly has the capacity to step up for his family even when the fate of the world hangs in the balance. This is important to him as well. The travel from the bridge to sick bay is agonizing and long when one is imagining the worst. Jack survives. Picard returns to his command position. He's even generous in allowing Riker to command the ship. It's the reverse of their usual dynamic. They have a difference in the best operational tactic. They understand that they can lead the Shrike into a trap. It's only a matter of if they should use that moment offensively or defensively. Riker believes it's more important to escape the Nebula and make contact with the nearest Starfleet outpost as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Picard believes this moment of surprise only comes once and they need to target this ship with such massive capabilities. That opportunity may never come again. Riker's plan only led to the Titan flying around in circles. As such, it's understandable why he changes to Picard's perspective. That doesn't produce a winning outcome. Instead, Vadic was planning on that as well. Her weapon easily allows the Titan's own torpedoes to be used against it. That results in the ship free-falling deeper into the Nebula - which also has a biological component somehow. Death seemingly looms over the crew as a result. That's what Riker fears once the entire ship is disabled. He listened to his oldest friend. It backfired immensely. And now, everyone has to brace for death. He lets out his frustration and anger. That's haunting because it's such a striking shift in their usual dynamic. Picard and Riker trust and respect each other as men and officers in Starfleet. And yet, this one mission has possibly sealed their fates as they took a risk against an enemy far more capable and dangerous than they realized.