Picard opens “The Impossible Box”

With Bruce Maddox dead and Doctor Jurati being revealed to be a traitor in the worst kept secret since the survivors in Lost being in Purgatory, Picard and the crew of the La Sirena make their way to the artifact to rescue Soji from the Romulans who want to discover her secrets and then make her dead.

I can’t imagine anyone is still complaining about this show going nowhere (actually, I can because those people would complain about perfection) because Star Trek: Picard is definitely off to the races. So much that has been built up has been unleashed: Narek has shown his hand, the nest has been revealed, Soji is activated, Picard as met her, Hugh has joined the cause, and Jurati is still the insidious wild card. Stuff is happening, people. Stuff is happening.

Now, I’m not one who has complained about nothing happening on this show because, unlike the serial complainers, I have two brain cells to rub together. Picard is a slow-burner, meticulous in its approach, thoughtful, and guarded. In much the same way that Jean Luc has re-entered the spotlight to bring his brand of hope back to the galaxy, this television series is emerging into this new world a little at a time as well. The parallels between the pacing and Picard’s personal journey really is a thing of beauty and the layers that are being built are beautiful.

Take the title of this episode: “The Impossible Box.” It could mean a dozen different things. The most obvious being Narek’s puzzle box, or it could be the Borg Cube, or it could be Soji’s dream… it could be Picard dealing with the remainder of his PTSD from his assimilation by the Borg all those years ago.

Incidentally, that scene in Picard’s study when that picture of Locutus appears and superimposes itself on Picard’s face was brilliant. Haunting, disturbing… it really nailed Picard’s trauma and all of the feelings it was bringing up in him.

Speaking of which, I am really digging the fact that, even after thirty years, Picard isn’t over what was done to him in “The Best of Both Worlds” and the events of Star Trek: First Contact didn’t temper it as we were led to believe. Picard is haunted in “The Impossible Box” and it gives him a vulnerability that we haven’t seen in the man in years. Star Trek: Picard has portrayed our captain as tired, weak, and weary… it’s leading to some great personal drama because, despite all of that, he endures and he hopes even in the darkest times and the darkest places.

More than that, Star Trek: Picard has taken on the seemingly impossible task of character building The Borg and changing Picard’s entire perception of them. In this one episode, Hugh shows Jean-Luc the Borg Reclamation Project and how it is returning life to ex-drones or, as Picard sees them… victims, not monsters. It is such a touching step in his personal journey.

I really enjoyed Soji’s dream sequence and Narek’s subsequent manipulation of her. I was expecting Narek to switch sides, revealing that he had indeed fallen in love with her, but he unexpectedly carries out his duties to the state which, in hindsight, makes more sense to his character. I also have to hand it to Harry Treadaway for playing the scene when he leaves Soji in the chamber in the most absolutely brilliant way possible. He hurts, he hates it, but he does it anyway. If he had been Federation, he would be seen as a hero. I love the way this series has brought so many layers to the Romulan people.

The scenes on the La Sirena… I don’t want to say that they fell flat, but they were definitely the least interesting thing. The scenes with Rios and Jurati were forced and felt weirdly out of place. I enjoyed the interaction between Raffi and Rios and I’m looking forward to more development between the two of them. However, the real winner in the show was the scene of Raffi fast talking the Federation captain into getting Picard his diplomatic credentials. Great scene for a deeply flawed and yet cunning character.

I’m so excited. The show is brilliant and I’m really enjoying what’s happening. With only four episodes left in the season, things can only get crazier from here on out and I’m ready to make it so.

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