Star Trek: Picard has felt very totally different in its remaining season to both the spartan, melancholy tone of its first, or the balls-to-the-wall wildness of its second. However because it prepares for one final hurrah with the TNG crew in its penultimate episode, it has borrowed a little bit little bit of that power of season two to organize for what can be its final battle: a story of the outdated saving the brand new.
“Võx,” a title whose which means we’ll get to quickly sufficient, kicks up the size of Picard’s remaining season with not a second to spare, realizing that after final week’s stunning clearing of the board when it got here to Vadic, the thrust of a lot of the season up to now, issues really want to begin feeling like a season finale. And what would a season finale of such a nostalgic season of such a nostalgic present be with out one other acquainted foe rising from the shadows?
As a result of that’s certainly what we get proper into: Vadic’s rogue Changeling faction wasn’t working alone, as we study when Deanna Troi will get her finest Betazed on and dives deep into the plagued thoughts of Jack Crusher. Exploring his trauamatic visions and a life craving for connection in a sea of isolation, Deanna and Jack alike bear a terrifying discovery. What the changelings need from the son of Jean-Luc Picard is that he’s not simply the son of Jean-Luc Picard, but additionally Locutus of Borg. And if Locutus is the one who speaks for the Borg… what of a voice descending from that speaker? And what of the Borg themselves?
Sure certainly, the mysteries of the pink door in Jack’s thoughts, his eerie talents to hook up with others and act by way of them, these vines and tendrils worming by way of his thoughts are revealed as none aside from the work of the Borg Collective—as a result of Jean-Luc handed on a lot extra to his son, the re-written DNA of his father’s time with the Borg current in him, the literal sins of the daddy now alive and nicely, and prepared for a mixed operation between the Borg and the Changelings to strike out on the Federation that sundered them each.
As a dice emerges and the voice of the Queen herself—the returning Alice Krige in a chilling voice cameo, though one marred with a twinge of unhappiness after the passing of season two‘s Annie Wersching, who embodied the Borg Queen to beautiful impact—goads Jack into searching for out the reality of his existence, Picard begins to indicate its bonkers hand a little bit. This can be a entire lot to come back out of comparatively little within the remaining hours of the present, and it’s one thing that basically doesn’t need you to sit down and dwell on it for too lengthy, given the equally bonkers stuff that occurred with the Borg, and was virtually instantly dropped, on the climax of season two. However at the same time as Picard simply begs you to benefit from the shock and the nostalgia, there’s but some dramatic benefit right here that sells you on it past the shock and spectacle, and it’s because of beautiful turns from Ed Speelers, Patrick Stewart, and Gates McFadden.
All season lengthy Jack has needed to grapple with reuniting together with his father, and seeing what components of the person he has grow to be are reduce from the identical material because the legendary Captain Picard. It’s reduce by way of right here in a bracing, virtually venemous line—“How a lot of me is me?”—and it’s not simply Jack who hurts in any respect these revelations, as Picard himself has to cope with the grief that he, by some means, has given what he feels is the worst of himself to his personal son, regardless of how a lot he can management that. For Beverly herself, who sacrificed a lot of her life and her connections to the individuals she beloved to guard Jack from his legacy, all that has come for naught because the issues she feared most for him haven’t simply come to cross, however have been inevitable, a grief that strikes her notably. That is the form of grounding to the rose-tinted dazzling mild of nostalgia that Picard’s third season has, by and huge, dealt with deftly.
What’s dealt with… let’s consider a little bit much less deftly, is the reveal of what Picard has been constructing to with the Changeling’s (and now Borg’s) plans for season three. In sacrificing private stakes for the grander ones a season, and sequence, finale requires, its right here that “Võx” maybe flies a little bit an excessive amount of by the seat of its proverbial pants. As Frontier Day kicks off and Starfleet reveals its newest plans are for an interconnected Fleet Formation program—a command protocol that hyperlinks each ship in Starfleet, letting it act as one—Geordi and Information uncover simply what allowed the Changelings to so shortly infiltrate Starfleet. Utilizing Picard’s outdated physique, they’ve contaminated the transporters of the fleet, the very organic information they use to beam an individual from one place to the opposite, with a Borg virus that can in flip do for the Queen what Starfleet needs to do with its personal ships: assimilate all of them right into a singular device. Oops.
It’s quite a bit. Once more, it asks that you just to not assume too lengthy about this stuff, particularly the truth that Picard’s principal plot now being “Starfleet offers with an automatic ship protocol that anybody might inform you’ll go mistaken instantly, going mistaken instantly” is similar to the comparatively current finales of Decrease Decks and Prodigy. It asks you to take pleasure in a scene of LeVar Burton and Brent Spiner technobabbling once more, similar to outdated instances, to make up for lots of umming and ahhing about simply how Star Trek can provide us half of Starfleet all of a sudden being super-assimilated. However maybe the strangest factor it asks you to understand is that Picard’s remaining battle shouldn’t be our heroes in opposition to the Borg, actually… however the outdated era we all know and love battling the precise subsequent era. A bit extra technobabble later explains that, by some means, the Borg-Changeling virus solely impacts youthful beings from species, which means that because the virus assimilates its means by way of the mixed fleet at Frontier Day, we see everybody from Geordi’s youngsters to the Titan bridge crew succumb to the black-veined proto-assimilation. It’s as much as the oldies to save lots of Star Trek as we all know it from these gosh darned youths!
I child for dramatic impact, and it’s definitely a cynical studying of the situation. However for a season that has been, at instances for one of the best and at instances for the worst, a nostalgic celebration of The Subsequent Technology, there’s certainly one thing darkly humorous that Picard’s final episode will see a bunch of Starfleet senior residents battling the corrupted subsequent era of officers. Every thing goes to hell within the climax—Oh look, it’s Shelby from “Better of Each Worlds,” oh no, she’s useless! Starfleet’s now actually unified armada activates itself! And, maybe most tragically of all, Captain Shaw provides his life to get the TNG heroes to a shuttle to flee, passing command of the Titan to Seven (who he fortunately does confer with as Seven this time, as a substitute of Hansen) together with his dying breath! A lot for Star Trek: Legacy.
All of it does certainly really feel, in some tragic means, that the stakes Picard has laid naked for its finale have come at the price of the issues that have been certainly new to itself—its younger stars turned in opposition to their will into senseless villains, its new characters burned out vibrant for the sake of the outdated. There’s sufficient nostalgia right here to masks that sense initially, however it’s the factor that lingers most within the aftermath of this episode, and threatens to linger into subsequent week’s grand finale. And that’s at the same time as Picard throws down the last word gauntlet of fanservice to masks that lingering thought, when “Võx” reveals one final shock for its peculiar battle of outdated and new: stranded and reduce off from the fleet, the ship Picard and his mates will save Star Trek with is none aside from the Enterprise-D.
Slowly rebuilt by Geordi in bits of the ship’s sibling Galaxy-class vessels and the literal stays of the D from its destruction in Generations, our analog heroes have an analog ship with which to battle the shiny future co-opted by the Borg Queen’s machinations. It’s a little bit foolish, sure, however it’s oh-so-triumphant, from the basic bridge set to the fawning, indulgent pictures of the outside—and bittercandy, as none aside from the voice of the dearly departed Majel Barrett echoes out of the Enterprise’s pc system to acknowledge the factor we now have all yearned to listen to: the united statesS. Enterprise is as soon as extra beneath the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard.
And so the die is solid for Picard’s finale battle—one certainly that can see all that’s outdated and lovingly nostalgic struggle to save lots of the way forward for what Star Trek might be. Somewhat messy? Certain. Somewhat loopy? Completely. However we’d be liars if we mentioned we weren’t excited to see how this all performs out subsequent week.
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