This review is dedicated to all the trekkies out there, both old and new. I am incredibly stoked for this series and after watching the first episode, I know we’re going to be in for one heck of a ride. So strap in and let’s get to it!
A new generation
The episode opens with Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) playing poker on a starship with Data (Brent Spiner). They have a familiar camaraderie and exchange jokes. Suddenly the ship changes course to Mars and Picard wakes up. It was a dream. He is at home in his Vineyard on earth. It is a beautiful, serene place, and he has two Romulans, Laris (Orla Brady) and Zhaban (Jamie McShane) who assist Picard and help him out around the vineyard.
The scene shifts to Boston, where a young couple is together in an apartment. The young woman (Isa Briones) tells her boyfriend that she got accepted into Daystrom and would be studying AI and Quantum Consciousness. Suddenly, several dark figures materialize into the room. They kill the boyfriend and put a bag on the woman’s head. The attackers talk about her becoming ‘activated’. In a moment of chaos, the young woman pulls off some incredible moves and ends up killing her attackers. In shock, the girl kneels by her dead boyfriend and is suddenly hit with a vision of Picard.
Back at the vineyard, Picard prepares for an important day. He is giving an interview for the first time in many years. The interview starts off well- Picard speaks about the anniversary of the supernova that destroyed Romulus. As the interview goes on, Picard is being asked questions about Starfleet. Picard helped organize a massive armada of ships to help evacuate Romulus. Over 900 million lives. He likens the event to ‘Dunkirk’. When the interviewer mentions that Picard was saving ‘Romulan lives’, Picard replies that they weren’t “Romulan” lives. They were just lives. There was a ban on synthetic life forms after a group of them went rogue and destroyed the armada fleet on mars. As a result of the incident, Starfleet refused to offer any more aid to the Romulans, claiming it was using too many resources. It was at that point Picard then quit Starfleet because his moral standards had been severely compromised.
an important meeting
After the interview, things calm down until later in the day, when a young woman shows up at the vineyard. She tells Picard about what had happened to her. Eventually, she introduces herself as Dhaj. Dhaj tells Picard she has a deep-seated feeling that she knows him beyond seeing his interview. Picard offers her a place to stay. After Dhaj has cleaned up, she has tea with Picard. Picard asks about her unusual necklace, and she says it was a gift from her father. Shortly afterward she goes up to bed and leaves behind her necklace.
A scene emerges of Picard walking in the vineyard. He comes across Data, who is painting a picture. Data asks Picard if wants to finish it. Picard says he can’t. Picard wakes up and sees the finished painting hanging on the wall. Laris comes in and informs Picard that Dhaj was gone. Picard goes to Starfleet and into his personal archives. He finds the second painting Data had done, identical to the one in his study. The painting is titled ‘Daughter’. The young woman in the painting looks exactly like Dhaj.
To serve and protect
Dhaj is hiding. She calls her mom. Tells her what had happened. Her mother tells her to find Picard. At first, Dhaj refuses, but she is ‘activated’ again and begins tracking Picard’s location. As Picard is leaving the archives, he sees Dhaj. They sit down and have a conversation. Picard tells her about the painting and Data. He theorizes about what is happening and confirms his suspicions that Dhaj is Data’s daughter. The attackers from earlier appear. Dhaj tells Picard to run. They end up on the roof, where Dhaj proceeds to fight and kill the attackers. As the last one goes down, he spits acid on her. There is an explosion and Dhaj is killed. It is revealed that the attackers were Romulan assassins.
After recovering from the explosion, Picard makes his way to the Daystrom Institute. He inquires about flesh-and-blood synthetics. Dr. Agnes (Alison Pill) replies that the technology was not there yet. Back in the day, they had had the most advanced AI department, but now it was essentially shut down after the ban on synthetics. She reveals that the rebel androids had been created in their lab. She shows Picard B4, a very crude copy of Data. Picard shows Agnes the necklace that Dhaj had left him. She tells him that the necklace contained the essence of Data. One of her co-workers had created Dhaj. Agnes also tells him that they were created in pairs. So there is another young woman out there who is Dhaj’s twin.
The scene shifts to the Romulan Reclamation Centre, where we meet Dhaj’s twin, Soji. Soji is a counselor and talks to one of the workers. He asks about her necklace. She says it was a gift from her father, and that her twin sister had an identical one. As the scene fades out, we see that the centre is in a repurposed Borg cube.
So many questions!
Did Soji send the assassins to kill her sister? Can Picard find Soji before she figures out what is going on? How many other reclamation centres exist?
I feel like there is a big thread connecting everything together. When it’s revealed that Dhaj was Data’s daughter, it made me think of the Star Trek TNG episode ‘Offspring’ where he creates Laal. There were tons of references from TNG, and it was great to see how they fit seamlessly into the new world that Picard is in now.
This episode is a strong start to what will surely be an epic series. This is the Star Trek that fans have been waiting for.
Catch a new episode of Star Trek Picard on Thursday, January 30 on Crave TV
Thanks for reading my review!