Picard Recruits a Romulan Samurai in “Absolute Candor.”

Although Picard is in a hurry to get to Freecloud, find Bruce Maddox, and save Data’s kind of daughter from assassins, he still has time to go on a side quest to get a literal hired sword in the form of Elnor, a Romulan samurai raised by a clan of female Romulan warriors.

While I loved this episode, I have to admit that there were a couple of head-scratching moments in the runtime. First of all, the sequence between Soji and Narek in the Borg ship seemed oddly out of place as if it had been inserted from a completely different episode. Sure, Narek is a manipulative little creep and this is probably a part of his long game, but it still felt weird.

Also, is there a new trope in science fiction and fantasy where the villians have to be incestuous on some level? While I’m sure that Narek and his sister aren’t exactly hitting Game of Thrones level grossness, there is an uneasy amount of thinly veiled flirting going on and it’s just weird.

The second strange scene was Picard taking down the “Romulans Only” sign and going into the bar that was forbidden to him. It was strange, it was reckless, and, character wise, it was stupid. One stand against a sign that apparently slighted him and he was ready to get himself killed and wreck his entire mission.

Not enough to ruin the episode, but a very strange narrative choice. I wonder if this is Picard’s Irumodic Syndrome manifesting.

On the bright side, I really enjoy Elnor as a character. His quickly recapped history with Picard gives him and the good captain a personal connection and shows Elnor as more than just an angry guy with a sword. Not to mention the fact that the dude is a certified beast, popping off heads like champagne corks.

It’s strange… with all of the whining and complaining about Discovery being a dark show, Picard is proving to be darker, edgier, and more visceral.

I found the scenes with Picard and young Elnor quite endearing. To see Picard who spent most of The Next Generation awkwardly trying to avoid any interaction with children to becoming a wonderful old uncle to an orphaned Romulan child was sweet and a real show of the evolution of his character since TNG.

Following this, there was more fun on the La Sirena with Captain Rios and his virtual army of emergency holograms, all of whom I am also becoming very fond of. Raffi is hit or miss… she was fine in her debut episode, but now she’s just annoyingly snarky and hostile and she really needs additional development. I still think Doctor Jurati is a double agent and nothing will change my mind.

The battle with the ancient Romulan warbird was basically just fan service, but it was welcome fan service and it looked amazing and, of course, the offical return of Seven of Nine put a smile on my face that hasn’t faded. How is it possible that Jeri Ryan has gotten more beautiful in the last twenty years?

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