Thursday, March 23, 2023

REVIEW: 'Star Trek: Picard' - A Heist Requires Picard and His Allies to Trust the Sacrifices of His Former Crew in 'The Bounty'

Paramount+'s Star Trek: Picard - Episode 3.06 "The Bounty"

Now on the run, Picard and the skeleton crew of the U.S.S. Titan must break into Starfleet's most top-secret facility to expose a plot that could destroy the Federation. Picard must turn to the only soul in the galaxy who can help - an old friend.

"The Bounty" was written by Christopher Monfette and directed by Dan Liu

Despite being killed twice, Data has been revived once more. The creative team was obviously influenced by the story of reuniting the Next Generation cast slowly across the season. And now, all the major actors are together once more. It's a thrilling sight. However, it does undercut itself just a bit. The first season of Picard concluded with Data's death. He and Picard each had to make peace with the end of one stage of existence. Picard was reborn as a Synthetic. That sets up the final twist of Picard's original body being the lucrative item the Changeling stole from Starfleet's hub for every secret weapon Section 31 has ever collected. That's a crucial piece of information. Moreover, it explains why Picard hasn't succumbed to the terminal disease that now plagues Jack. These connections are obviously being made. It just comes across as contradictory. Data is revived because his former crew sees value in reuniting. Yes, the emotional stakes are very real and sensible. However, Data previously saw death as what gave human life meaning. That was something he once strived for even though it was a fate that seemingly would never occur for him. The one thing he wants has been cruelly taken away by people who allegedly are more enlightened than him. As a result, the story shares how this isn't completely Data. Instead, it's an amalgamation of every incarnation his creator ever produced - including his own memories. Dr. Soong was obsessed with his legacy. He too offered peace to Picard. That was very meaningful and significant. And yet, the stories from the first two seasons of the show were disappointing creative messes. It was hard to keep track of every development that occurred and why it mattered to the characters. The show was more interested in the action. It hoped the nostalgia of the characters being seen onscreen would be good enough. It wasn't. That's what has made this season so good. Yes, it has amped the nostalgia factor up even more. However, it's done with purpose. The Enterprise crew was billed as the next generation of Starfleet. They were tasked with exploring strange new worlds. They carried forward the ideals of this institution. And now, they are each reckoning with what it means to continue living lives of service while prioritizing their respective families. Geordi La Forge is reluctant to help Picard one more time because it puts his daughter's life in danger. That's the choice she has made for herself. However, he has long viewed Sidney as the troublemaker who rebelled against his teachings. That's been in sharp contrast to her actions so far. She showcases her brilliance all the time by referencing the valuable lessons her father taught her. She became a pilot instead of an engineer. That is her big indiscretion. It's easy to heal this family. Theirs isn't the only one at the center of the drama.

Starfleet is capable of tracking the Titan because all the ships are interconnected now. They communicate with one another so that none of them are ever lost. That's likely the influence of the Changeling who operate the same way. Worf details the brutal decisions that brought an end to the Dominion War. Those actions created these enemies Picard and company now face. It's an easy rationale for their motivation. Vadic hopes to eradicate this resistance to show a much better way for humanity to evolve. It includes becoming part of the one. That influence can then spread across the galaxy. Vadic searches for Picard by exploiting any personal connections he has left to depend on. That leads to the capture of Deanna Troi. That's convenient due to Riker being taken prisoner to save his allies during the heist. It reunites the couple in a dire situation. It also allows Deanna to play an active role in the story instead of just making brief cameos as Riker's wife. They are in danger and need their former crew to save them. Vadic hopes to lure the Titan into the open. The Changeling are running low on time. They need everything to come together before Frontier Day. That's when they plan to make their epic move. That too is easy to comprehend. It's the most patriotic day throughout the Federation. If the mission is successful, it will destroy the image that has long upheld peace and stability throughout the galaxy. Again, Starfleet isn't perfect. Picard has come to accept that. He still idealizes the institution to a certain extent. The bonds with his crew are now the family he trusts implicitly. That was always the lesson he should have carried. He never should have grown estranged from them over the years. That has only led to remorse over how things have changed. Picard isn't the only one guilty of this behavior. Seven and Raffi broke up because their paths took on separate journeys. It's awkward when they reunite. They are still capable of getting the job done. The overall story is about these people finding their family in this crazy and always dangerous world. The Enterprise crew has these strong bonds that transcend all obstacles. Seven believed she once had that on the Voyager. But now, she accepts that in Picard. As such, she notes how similar Jack is to his father despite not knowing him for most of his life. He carries more than all his bad genes as well. Jack may be facing death at a young age. However, he is armed with information now. He has that clarity. He is no longer plagued by the uncertainty. He may not defeat the disease like Picard did. And yet, anything is possible because Data is revived. Death doesn't have the same meaning it once did. That eliminates the power of the storytelling. It's still moving to see these family relationships grow over such a short timeframe. It's what is required of the moment whether everyone involved is willing to admit it or not.