Release Date: February 27, 2020
Network: CBS All Access
Genre: Science Fiction
We’re officially in the second half of the first season of Star Trek: Picard. Thankfully, starting the second half of the season also meant that we started moving forward again in the storyline. After four episodes where the story felt like it was standing still, we finally got some answers to just what in the heck has been going on all season. While there were still some points in the episode that were cringeworthy, some points that were still too drawn out, but it was a nice change from the last few weeks.
We saw Picard and his motley crew finally find their way to the “Artifact” and we saw them find a way into the borg cube once they got there, though that scene was very much something that seemed out of character for Picard yet again. This was the first episode of the entire series, as weird as it is to say, that a character from Jean-Luc’s past wasn’t introduced. That alone made the episode just a little better, though there was still the reunion with Hugh when he gets to the cube. We also got a bit more of a peek into Raffi’s past and just how destroyed her life has been since she became a “snake leaf” addict. And finally, there’s the conclusion of Soji and Narek’s romance, and I’m not ashamed to say I was happy to see it come to an end.
Applause for Raffi
While there was a feeling Star Trek: Picard had turned a corner when it came to storytelling and moving the plot forward, there was at least one scene that still didn’t feel like the old Jean-Luc. It was almost like he was only paying to half of what was being said. There’s Raffi, talking to an old friend who has now come to think of her as nothing more than someone who uses her when she needs something.
Raffi meanwhile is stinking drunk and taking a shot of snake leaf to make the call. She then is told that once she gets what she wants, she’s never to call her friend again. It didn’t appear to be a joke when the woman said it. Raffi appears to have taken things seriously. Then Picard begins to clap. It seems to be a wholly unfortunate sequence of events and something that wouldn’t have taken place on The Next Generation.
The good news is there aren’t a ton of scenes like this. For the most part, the rest of the episode feels very … Picard. Especially when he completely abandons his quest to find Soji to learn more about the Borg, but the moment where he applauds his friend being shunned even further feels very off and like a sign the writers don’t really understand the character. If nothing else, it seems to be the writers are trying to claim he’s much more of a “user” than we ever knew him to be when he was the captain of a ship.
The Perfect Way to Say Goodbye
Just why Narek and his weird hypersexual sister were going after Soji was finally revealed once and for all and the romance that had been blooming between the synthetic woman and the Romulan spy was cut short and how they managed this particular part of the story was, for once, perfectly carried out.
I was concerned we were going to have a moment of the hardened spy turning to have a heart of gold and let his quarry go free. Or even worse, turn against his people and fight on the wrong side. Both of those things seemed out of line with someone who has done this kind of thing before and will likely be doing it again. It would have been yet another betrayal of a personality just to drag out a plot point.
There were some problems with the way Narek got the information he did. It wasn’t entirely clear why the meditation and trance state was able to work so completely or so quickly, but some of this is just the kind of stuff you see in Star Trek series. We are, after all, spending a lot of time around people who were somehow turned into cyborgs and then turned back.
The good news for this particular episode of Star Trek: Picard is that it could be a signal we aren’t going to be standing still anymore. Picard has his crew; he’s got his mission and some of the questions that have been around since episode one are finally getting answered. There’s more to do and more to find out, but for the first time since the first episode, I’m excited to see just what the end of the season is going to hold.
Verdict: The Impossible Box was hopefully a kind of turning the corner when it comes to Star Trek: Picard. The action was exciting, the plot moved the story forward, and while some questions were answered, others were offered for the first time. The fact that this should have been episode three, instead of episode six, is why the show has suffered in the middle of the season. The show has some problems still going on, but considering I might have walked away entirely if I had my druthers, there was enough in this episode to make it worth sticking with it.
- We've finally got some answers
- The show seems to be moving forward for the first time since episode 1.
- Still some clunky writing
- The Borg savior storyline is a tad longwinded and unneeded.