Title: Star Trek: Picard Episode 8: ‘Broken Pieces’ Review
Release Date: March 11, 2020
Network: CBS All Access
Genre: Science Fiction
We are in the home stretch for Star Trek: Picard, and the show finally feels as though it’s finding its feet again. What seemed to be a very good series after two episodes, there was a string of segments that were progressively worse to the point where there was some doubt whether this was a series that deserved a second season, even if it already got one.
As we march towards the end of this debut season, the mysteries are getting unraveled, though there are still some out there that seem unlikely to get solved this time around. The biggest question that’s been around since the first episode has been answered. Why was a group of Romulans going after the “sisters” in the first place? It turns out they think the existence of synthetic life like theirs is going to bring about the end of life as we know it.
Just how that’s going to happen was … odd. It appears there’s some sort of race, not unlike the Vulcans were with the Earth back in the day, that monitor synthetic life. When that life hits a certain level, they come to wherever it is and destroy everything. The idea here appears to be this is all pre-history. That’s always a rather far fetched idea, but even more so when you’re talking about how far in the future this kind of show is set.
Star Trek: Picard also gave us something it had been hinting at since episode 1. That was the return of the Borg, even if that return was somewhat anti-climactic.
The Coming Apocalypse That’s Apparently A Secret
While having this episode of Star Trek: Picard answers the question as to why the Romulans want the twins was a nice step forward, the fact that it remained a mystery to some degree seems more than a little hokey. One part of the episode has Dr. Jurati telling Picard she’s had some kind of mental block forced on her that keeps her from talking about the “end times.”
I’m having a hard time understanding why the Romulans would keep this a secret. It would seem that if they had proof the continued move towards synthetic life was going to cause a holocaust that caused people to kill themselves because it was too horrible to see, they might want to be shouting that from the rooftops. Yes, the Romulans are a secretive organization for the most part. It’s not clear why this particular move is something they’d need to be stealthy about.
There is the argument they needed to be secretive because they couldn’t trust the Federation to follow their lead and irradicate the synthetics. However, it seems like they could have told everyone what it is they saw coming, in fact, could have implanted what they saw coming in more Federation heads and tried to convince them. If that didn’t work, the events in Star Trek: Picard where the synthetics are blamed for attacking Mars could have still been carried out.
It could have even helped their argument. “See, what did I tell you?”
Keeping an “end of civilization” event close to the vest just has the ring of hollow, television writing, and that’s been a problem with the show from the very beginning. Mysteries that shouldn’t be mysteries as plot points are almost always annoying.
Return Of The Borg! For A Second
The other big storyline in this episode of Star Trek: Picard is the “rise” of the Borg on the artifact. They are throwing off their metaphysical chains to boot the evil Romulans off the cube. To do this, Jeri Ryan’s Seven of Nine takes over the role of the Borg Queen. That alone could have been a fascinating storyline to venture down into season two.
Unfortunately, this bit was uninspiring a couple of different times. First, the awakening of the Borg was one of the coolest moments in the show so far. To have them almost immediately jettisoned into space, taking care of the vast majority of them in one fell swoop, took the air out of the room. (Get it?) Then when a few stragglers were able to fight back and take out the Romulans, the battle was literally about 30 seconds long.
Why not have there be a few room-to-room fights? Why not even have a few of the enemy starting to get assimilated? Indeed, there was a little more time to spend on that section. In a series pushing the idea that synthetics are dangerous, it was far too short. Then there was Seven of Nine struggling over the pull of staying the queen versus unplugging and giving their freedom back. The struggle wasn’t all that difficult it seems, as it took her all of 10 seconds to shrug it off. For what could have been the most riveting scenes of the episode at the very least, it was a lost opportunity.
Verdict: Star Trek: Picard has been wandering about, not quite sure of its heading since the second episode of the season. Finally, it appears the show has found its course and is ready to really jump into what the season is all about. There were still plenty of oddities, and there was still some poor writing here and there, but it was also the first time since the beginning of the season where I felt invested in the characters.