“Hide and Seek” brings life and death to Star Trek: Picard, but it is not without its problems

Allied with Adam Soong, The Borg Queen has created a small army and is coming to the La Sirena to get a 400 year head start on assimilating the galaxy and destroying the Federation. This, of course, begs the question of why she needed the ship when she could have just started assimilating everyone on the planet and gotten rid of a key Federation member then and there, but why bring logic into it? Meanwhile, as Picard and Tallin are chased through the catacombs of Chateau Picard, the admiral must finally confront the repressed memory that has been haunting him for decades.

So, first of all, I will say again… Star Trek: Picard would have been a much stronger season had it consisted of less episodes and, consequently, less filler. No FBI agent, no love story for Rios (I love Sol Rodriguez, but the story arch has contributed nothing to the series), and no Adam Soong or Kore. All of these side quests have produced little or at least questionable fruit and they could have been jettisoned easily. A simple Borg and Q story would have been fine… Six episodes and done. Quality over quantity. That has been this season’s biggest sin. To many episodes that did nothing and went nowhere.

That being said, “Hide and Seek” is a dramatic upturn in forward progression. A lot happens and all of it has consequence (although, honestly, I still don’t understand where Soong’s alliance with the Borg Queen comes in. I mean, I know he’s supposed to usher in the dystopian future, but his and Q’s plans have been murky at best).

The episode is stuffed full of character moments that are wonderful. In particular, Picard dealing with the memories of his mother. This was shockingly tragic and probably one of the saddest things I’ve seen on Star Trek in years. The guilt and regret was palpable even though it’s apparent that Jean-Luc is not to blame. This gives Picard such a new, tragic depth and even adds a new layer to the relationship between Picard and his brother, Robert, in Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s, “Family.” Moreover, it gives the scene with Picard’s mother in “Where No Man has Gone Before” an extra weight of haunting tragedy. It’s not every day that an episode comes along that provides retroactive characterization so beautifully, but “Hide and Seek” does it.

Unfortunately, the flashbacks do go quite a long way in destroying the tension and the urgency of what is essentially a chase. Having Picard stop and remember and stop and remember and stop and remember could have been so much better paced, feeling more like an organic part of the pursuit instead of a break from it.

On the same note, I rather enjoyed the short conversation between Raffi and Holographic Elnor. I’m glad that Raffi got the closure to her guilt and that it might help her move on. I still have a feeling that Elnor is coming back, but still… it was a good scene.

The Queen and Juradi story closed much as I expected it to, but it closed in an appropriate and Star Trekky way and I’m happy about that. I wish, however, that the writers would have taken their time to imbue the Queen with the loneliness that Juradi called her out on earlier in the season so that Juradi’s speech would have had more impact and we could have seen the clues. However, foresight does not seem like the writer’s biggest strength this season.

And no one thought of telling Rios he was a big stupid hormone driven idiot for bringing Theresa and her kid to the La Sirena to show it off? No one? Seriously? The guy should be court marshalled by the Department of Temporal Investigations when they get back!

It pains me to say that I’m not a fan of Brent Spiner’s work this season. His Adam Soong is written as such a two-dimensional villain that I almost expect him to start twirling his moustache during his monologues.

In conclusion, “Hide and Seek” was a stronger episode than its ilk that kicks the story into overdrive which is a relief as it is the penultimate episode of the season. While there are issues with it, I’m happy with the installment even if I am worried about the mess that the series has to sort out at the end.

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