Title: Star Trek: Picard Episode 10 – ‘Et in Arcadia Ego Part 2’ Review
Release Date: March 26, 2020
Network: CBS All Access
Genre: Science Fiction
“The butterfly that lives forever is really not a butterfly at all.” If this nonsensical quote had started the show-off, perhaps I would have known what I was in for from Star Trek: Picard Season 1, Episode 1. Instead, we got a season-long story with twists and turns a weirdly short lived payoff that included a twist at the end that was entirely predictable and horrendously carried out.
If I seem angry, it’s because I am. Patrick Stewart deserved better than this. The man-made a return to his beloved character for us. And the writers on this show managed to squander it absolutely.
Here’s how bad the twist really is, considering Star Trek: Picard’s own press. We already know there is a season two. Knowing that, why act as though there won’t be? That’s sloppy and overly dramatic to the extreme. It was hardly the only bit of sloppy writing in the season 1 finale. There were good points too, which perhaps made the episode worse overall. There were parts where it seemed like the show was about to turn the corner finally.
I’ve been waiting for that turn for 10 episodes. Star Trek: Picard even got the benefit of the doubt a few times. It turns out; it didn’t deserve it. The bottom line is this: in what could have been a great payoff and a fantastic showdown between three powerful entities. Instead, there was quite a bit anti-climactic about several story bits with some excellent performances mixed in and one truly uplifting cameo.
There may be no greater example of the wasted opportunity of Star Trek: Picard than the Romulan brother and sister team Narek and Narissa. When the season kicked off, it was clear these two were supposed to be perceived as top-notch spies who could worm themselves into any situation. It’s not merely that their actions proved they weren’t all that skilled, but they announced it at one point.
During one interaction between the two, Narek proclaims he was a failure and a washout who finally made good. Narissa is dispatched by Seven of Nine (Annika) after a rather short fight on the borg cube. It appears their skills were based more on the fact they often lucked into coming across the more gullible, moronic, or naive people in the galaxy. It certainly would have been more fun if they had turned out to be incredibly skilled and were simply outsmarted. There’s no reason why they couldn’t have been exactly that.
Then there are the Romulans who didn’t bother telling anyone the danger that was coming, or why. When they finally arrive at the place they’ve been searching for, over a period of decades, they take a kind of “hang back” approach to engage in several different dialogues. They brought 218 warships, arrive to discover the synthetics are concentrated into one settlement, and then decide they cannot dispatch say … 10 ships to finish the job while the other 208 hold everyone and everything off? Oh is supposed to be a general. She’s pretty bad at the whole “strategy” thing.
Oh, and then, there’s the whole “hey, they destroyed the thing they could totally make again, so I guess we’re all good here,” conclusion of that storyline. It’s too much nonsense to do justice.
Side Characters Step Up
Yes, there was a lot of bad in this season of Star Trek: Picard. There were some pretty good things to take away as well. Rios and Raffi, who both started the season as nearly unbearable characters managed to endear themselves to the audience by the end. It’s no coincidence they became more likable as they got rid of all the manufactured baggage the writers gave them early on.
The interactions between the two, especially, have been much better over the last few episodes. They went from being the worst parts of the series to perhaps the best. That’s a little sad considering how much I want to like Picard’s character, but he’s become secondary in the final few episodes. Give Stewart credit for allowing others to shine.
Jurati, too has had some very good moments. She has also had some frustrating story beats, but for the most part, she’s quite likable as well. That brings us to Elnor, who was both mostly pointless for the entirety of the series and incredibly lame. It’s possible the writers wanted him to be a kind of surrogate for Data’s naivety. He just comes off as kind of dumb. His warrior skills rarely come in handy. Why was he there? Maybe we’ll find out in season 2?
I need to be careful here because I don’t want to give away the game. But I would not be doing my job if I didn’t explain how poorly that was carried out. There are several scenes where Soong and Jurati are clearly planning to carry the act out. Several.Scenes.
But when it comes time. When people are crying and rending their garments and learning to cope … they don’t tell anyone? Why is Jurati, who knows there’s a solve amongst those losing her cool and weeping? It’s an attempt by the writers to tug at the heartstrings of the viewers, carried out in the worst possible way. It’s not as though the solution for the problem was “suddenly” discovered. It.Was.Planned. Elnor is shown literally bawling. I think I’d want to punch some people out if they allowed me to believe such a terrible thing had happened, knowing it hadn’t.
Verdict: Star Trek: Picard could have been so outstanding. It could have also been saved with a grand finale. Instead, the two-part conclusion of the season was likely its two worst episodes. So much build-up, so little payoff. It’s a disappointing end to a season that had an exciting start.
- Raffi and Rios' relationship is something that would have been fun to see more of over the course of the season.
- Dr. Giradi still has some good lines
- Starfleet's arrival just in time was a very good bit of television
- Picard's disease presenting itself as the season comes to the end was too predictable to be considered good writing.
- Still don't understand how the synthetics killed everything before and yet no synthetics existed until centuries into the future.
- Elnor continues to be the most annoying character on the show.
- The end of season twist was both predictable and ridiculously poor writing.