Star Trek: Picard (S01E05) “Stardust City Rag”

Hello to all trekkie fans old and new. It’s time for another review of the latest episode of Star Trek: Picard. This episode is called ‘Stardust City Rag’.

a deal with the devil

The episode starts off on Planet Vergessen, in the Seven Domes about 13 years ago. There is an ex-borg, Icheb (Casey King) who is being stripped for parts. It’s a very brutal and graphic scene. Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) shows up and is able to intervene. Unfortunately, it is too late and Icheb is too badly injured. In an act of mercy, Seven kills him to end his suffering.

Forward to the current time about two weeks ago. There is a city on the planet Freecloud called Stardust City. Bruce Maddox (John Ales) is hiding out there. When Bjayzl (Necar Zadegan) finds out about him, she changes her initial plan to kill him. Bjayzl sits down with Maddox and offers him a drink. Firstly, Maddox tells her that his lab was destroyed by a powerful molecular solvent. Secondly, Maddox also expresses regret about not being able to pay her back. At this point, the poison is his drink kicks in. After he is unconscious, Bjayzl laments about having to make a deal with the Tal Shiar.

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Raffi drinking tea. Photo from IMDB.
some good ole’ fashioned role play

On La Sirena, Seven visits with Picard (Patrick Stewart). She assumes he’s on a diplomatic mission to save the galaxy and tells him he is ‘way in over his head’. Seven is a  Fenris Ranger, essentially a vigilante. She helps people who have no one else to help them. On the bridge, Raffi (Michelle Hurd) and Rios (Santiago Cabrera) talk about Seven of Nine. ‘The ex-borg Fenris Ranger from the Delta Quadrant.’ Dr. Jurati (Alison Pill) is in her quarters, watching an old video of Maddox making cookies. In the video, they kiss; so there is a possibility that Maddox is her lover.

They arrive at Freecloud and the crew is bombarded by several aggressive ads that literally get in their faces. Raffi locates Maddox and the crew formulates a plan to extract him. When Seven hears that Bjayzl has Maddox, she tells them what transpired 13 years ago and how Bjayzl strips ex-borgs of their parts. Bjayzl’s right-hand man is a Beta Annari, a sentient lizard race with a very powerful sense of smell. Since the crew does not have the money required to make a trade, Seven offers herself up for trade, knowing Bjayzl would take her because she is so valuable.

The crew gets into their various roles, for example, both Picard and Rios are ‘facers’. Raffi has set up Rios a meeting with Mr. Vup (Dominic Burgess). Raffi tells Rio to ‘show a little panache’, and Seven comments that ‘he needs a feather in his hat’. Rios goes to meet with Mr. Vup, who turns out to be the Beta Annari. Vup is suspicious about Rios and threatens him. When Rios shows him the specs on Seven, he remarks that Rios smells ‘truthful’.

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Mr. Vup and Rios as a ‘facer’. Photo from IMDB.
a family reunion

Raffi admires what Seven is doing for Picard. Agnes is on transport duty and is extremely anxious about it. Elnor (Evan Evagora) comments that ‘he doesn’t know how to not be Elnor.’ Seven tells him to just be silent and he’ll be fine. Picard shows up on the scene with Rios and Vup. His persona is an evil french villain of old. He tells Vup that he needs to see that Maddox is in fact alive before he will make the trade.

While all this is going on, Raffi locates her son, Gabriel (Mason Gooding) in the Stardust Medical District and she goes to visit him. In addition, Raffi tells Gabriel she is clean.  She admits that she was not there for him. but now she wants to start over. Gabriel gets defensive and calls her out on her ‘conspiracy’ theories and her unstable behavior. It hits a nerve. Raffi meets Gabriel’s wife, however, he is basically forced to leave afterwards.

betrayal

Back in the bar, Bjayzl recognizes Seven and accordingly calls her Annika. Seven taunts her, saying that Bjayzl valued her above all others. At the same time, Seven still managed to slip through her fingers. The jig is up and everyone drops their pretenses. Seven used Picard to get to Bjayzl to ‘settle an old score.’ Seven laments about Icheb and how he was stripped for parts without anesthesia. Picard says to her; ‘murder is not justice’. With all things considered, Seven just wants her revenge.

Bjayzl offers up a desperate trade; her life for Maddox. The others manage to convince Seven that killing Bjayzl was not in their best interests.  They all beam back aboard the ship including a critically injured Maddox. Seven all of a sudden informs Picard that she is leaving. She asks for a few phasers and covertly grabs the pattern enhancer. Seven gives Picard a card and tells him to contact her granted that he ever needs a ranger.

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Seven preparing for a fight. Photo from IMDB.
secret killings

Unbeknownst to the others, Seven transports back to the bar, where she proceeds to finally kill Bjayzl and shoot her way out. Picard visits Maddox in sickbay. Maddox tells him he knows that Dhaj is dead. Picard asks him if she has a sister. Maddox informs Picard that Dhaj’s sister, Soji, was on the Artefact. He sent Soji and Dhaj there to earth to uncover the truth about the synth ban. Generally speaking, it was bigger than just the Tal Shiar. Maddox theorized that The Federation itself was somehow involved.

Raffi is back on the ship and Picard is glad she’s with them. At the present time, Jurati and Maddox talk in private. He thanks her for her help in the creation of the sisters, telling her she was ‘essential’. Jurati replies ‘that’s one more sin I have to atone for’. She suddenly cuts off his life support and let’s him die. Jurati is crying and lamenting about how she knows things that she wished she did not know.

***

Overall, wow. This episode was certainly much darker and grittier. I have a feeling that the Tal Shiar told Jurati about the true nature of the synths. It would not surprise me to see Jurati betray Picard and the others eventually. It was very sad to see Raffi’s son dismiss her after that. Furthermore, I felt so bad for her.

It was most certainly amusing to see Picard act like a french villain. It definitely was terrible, yet so funny. Despite what Seven did, I hope we see more of her. For one thing, she’s handy in a fight and could be useful in other ways too.

Catch a new episode of Star Trek Picard on Thursday, February 27th on Crave.

Thanks for reading my review, you can find previous ones here.