For a series that started out so strongly, Star Trek: Picard sure has bumped the brakes during the last few episodes bringing the momentum of the series to a halt. Heck, if things on this show moved any slower, they would be going backwards.
Thankfully, with “Mercy,” the plot thickens and has begun to move again. Truthfully, any foreword progression this season feels like a mercy.
About 60 percent of this episode worked. Raffi and Seven of Nine hunting down Juradi gave us some excellent character moments, showing Raffi’s manipulative and narcissistic side which, honestly, I find fascinating. Star Trek doesn’t give us a lot of characters this flawed and, when it does, they aren’t functional people. Raffi is a functional human being with a good heart despite the fact that she has character flaws that make her, essentially, a bad person. She’s not incapacitated by them, but rather they drive her and motivate her. She’s a functional human being and that makes her one of the best characters in Star Trek today because she is just so believable and not some virtuous caricature we’ve seen so many times.
Meanwhile, Seven has some of the best scenes she’s had in a long time. Most of the time this season, Seven has been rage and anger, but to see her recall what it was like to be assimilated by the Borg all the way down to the metallic taste it left in her mouth was chilling and Jeri Ryan sold every second of the performance.
While I question every motivation that Rios had in bringing Theresa and her kid to the La Seriena, it did result in some lovely interplay between the two characters and some fun dialogue. “I’m going to touch everything!”
Although, if Christobal makes it back to the 25th century and is not demoted to an ensign under Harry Kim’s command, it will astound me.
The part of the episode that didn’t work and borderline angered me was Agent Wells and the interrogation. It was such a pointless waste of time, changed nothing, and was just there to kill time. Nothing of consequence happened with the exception of Guinan and Q ending up in the same room which could have easily been done in the episode before. The big major draw of this episode was a resounding dud and dragged down everything else.
So, yes… foreword momentum is good and is always welcome, but even with the plot moving foreword, it felt like it did it in spite of itself.
Star Trek: Picard isn’t necessarily a bad show, but it is a frustrating experience, especially after such an amazing start. This series should have been only six episodes long because there just isn’t enough story to sustain whatever this is trying to be.