Release Date: February 6, 2020
Network: CBS All Access
Genre: Science Fiction
Episode 3 of Star Trek: Picard carries a very apropos title. “The End is the Beginning” is sufficiently frustrating thanks to a plotline that basically keeps the series standing entirely still. The episode opens up with Jean Luc and his now pseudo-enemy (who will almost certainly be his friend again when she dies at the end of the season, I’m sure) Raffi are still in Star Fleet. Picard informs her of their shared disgust over the handling of the Mars disaster, and the Romulans have forced him to resign. This, in turn, leads to Raffi’s firing and the supposed end of their friendship.
The rest of the episode has a dual storyline of Picard getting ready to go on his grand adventure of unraveling the mystery the show is built around and what Soji is doing on the Borg cube. Neither of these storylines moves forward even a little. There are certainly some filling in the blanks as to what Captain Picard has been doing since we last saw him on Star Trek: The Next Generation. We also get a look at what Star Fleet and the Romulans have been doing when it comes to dealing with the Borg.
That particular storyline is also a bit confusing because the freeing of Borg units from the collective was done in a matter of hours on The Next Generation. In Star Trek: Picard, it appears it takes years, if not decades, for people to recover. It also apparently leaves people with severe psychological damage. This is further confused since we see the return of one of the more beloved former Borg characters who appears to be still perfectly fine. He’s even in charge!
Star Trek: Picard has always promised we were going to see some of the most beloved characters from The Next Generation make cameos but when Hugh, one of the Borg who was freed from the collective in the series and both helped and named by Data it might be the best return of the entire series.
Hugh is now older and wiser than when he was first removed from the collective and appeared to be in charge of helping other beings once they are removed. Working on the same Borg cube as Soji, it seems the pair have formed a bond. It’s possible you could even call it a sister-brother kind of bond. No, I didn’t miss the connection of Data’s adopted son in Hugh and his “real” daughter in Soji.
Whether this is supposed to be a subtle nod or something that is going to materialize as a major plot point as the series goes on will actually be an interesting point to watch. For now, it’s just another mystery the show hasn’t shown any interest in solving yet.
Speaking of mysteries on Star Trek: Picard, Soji, and Hugh start another chain of questions surrounding the origin and purpose of the twins. She meets a Romulan former Borg, who appears to have some kind of ability to see into the future. We know this because she begins her speech with, “I remember you from tomorrow.” She goes on to vaguely comment on how she knows Soji by calling her The Destroyer. It appears Soji isn’t someone who is here for a bunch of peace and love.
Too Many Mysteries
At this point, Star Trek: Picard is almost groaning under the weight of the questions it has raised. Three episodes in, the only questions that have been answered are:
- What’s Hugh been up to?
- Why does Raffi hate Picard?
Neither of those questions is ones we had before this series, or really ever needed answering. Why Soji and Dahj exist, why synthetics attacked Mars, why some Romulans want to kill Soji, and others want to study her, where Bruce Maddox went, what’s Star Fleet’s role in all this, and now can this Romulan woman see the future? Are all questions that remain entirely unanswered.
The first three episodes have been all setup. I suppose a series that has already been renewed for season 2 can do that if they want. It’s not an approach that is going to win over people deciding whether or not to continue paying for a service in order to watch all ten episodes of the first season.
Of course, it took three episodes for Star Trek: Picard to actually begin trekking the stars, which begs yet another question. Is this going to be a thing where the group travels to the Borg cube to see Soji? Will they have to follow a trail of bread crumbs to know they’re supposed to go there? That doesn’t sound particularly entertaining either. We know where they need to go, spending six episodes waiting for them to arrive there is only going to get more annoying.
Verdict: Star Trek: Picard episode 3 “The End is the Beginning” would be a good episode if it were the first or second of the series, but it suffers from its predecessors doing almost the exact same thing as this installment. It’s time for the series actually to start moving forward, and the continued standing still is just frustrating. There’s a little more character development for Picard, but there are also some characters introduced, which are cliche to the degree that is just unneeded. It’s not a bad episode, and the series itself is still entertaining, but episode 4 needs to move forward.