Picard and Soji rejoin the crew of La Sirena, causing Captain Rios to fall into a deep depression about an event in his past. Meanwhile, Seven of Nine comes to Elnor’s rescue on the Borg Cube and the two enact a plan to take the artifact from the Romulans once and for all.
Captain Rios finally gets some long-overdue characterization and backstory in this week’s episode and Santiago Cabrera is the true highlight, not only playing five different holograms with individual personalities and accents all in the same scene, but for also giving Rios, who has been suffering from an insufferable overabundance of roguishness, a soul.
We’ve seen the kind of character that Rios was a dozen times, but seeing him reduced to his core and seeing that core as an orphan who saw his surrogate father do something terrible and then commit suicide was a wonderful landslide of characterization. Cabrera brings us a Rios who is broken on the inside, without the cliches this time. That, and his wonderful turn as the other holograms, made this his episode and I’m glad that he had it.
Alison Pill was also absolutely amazing in this episode and represents another instance of what seemed like a cliched character gaining depth and nuance. I am seeing a lot of parallels in this show to today’s political weapon of Fear of the Other. Jurati has been told that the Synths are dangerous, is shown what is basically a mental propaganda film, does something terrible to another person out of fear… but, just like Fear of the Other, once she talks to the person she is supposed to be afraid of, the fear melts away. It’s not a sudden character flop as I’m sure some people will say it is… it happens. All the time. It’s why people should travel and meet new people.
Finally, the re-return of Jeri Ryan in a sequence that actually made the Borg incredibly scary. Watching her link up with the cube and seeing her eyes go black was absolutely terrifying, all completely subverted by the Romulans exterminating all of the Borg on the cube. Elron wasn’t kidding when he called it a lost cause.
I also have to throw in some praise with Peyton List in this episode. So far on the series she’s been a vicious femme fatale with a streak of Game of Thrones incest thrown in for… reasons, I guess. This week, we got a little look into her character and some of her love and tenderness. No antagonist truly believes that they are evil and I really wish we would have seen more of this side of her before now.
So many new revelations, so many new stakes… Star Trek: Picard is really rolling along at Ludicrous Speed as of late and it just keeps getting better and better.