Star Trek: Picard: Broken Pieces
March 12, 2020 4:30 AM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

There's a new queen in town on the increasingly-broken Borg cube. Meanwhile, Soji helps the crew of the La Sirena piece together the story behind the Zhat Vash, and Raffi gets through to Rios with the help of his five easy pieces. And in the opening flashback, Narissa explains it all. [content warning: suicide]

***Note: No bunnicorns were harmed in the making of this episode.***

The next two episodes, "Et in Arcadia Ego" Part 1 and 2, are the last episodes of PIC Season 1.

Some background links from Memory Alpha:

- The 24th-century U.S.S. Reliant, on which Picard served as an ensign, was previously referenced on a service award shown in Picard's quantum archive in PIC: "Remembrance", as well as in the extended Blu-ray edition of TNG: "The Measure of a Man". The ship shares its name with the U.S.S. Reliant seen in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

- Marta Batanides was introduced in TNG: "Tapestry".

Poster's Log:
Oh, she's half-Vulcan half-Romulan. Uh-Oh!

Just prior to watching this episode for the first time, I found myself ruminating on MeFi FanFare's reactions to this series—lots of effusive praise, some specific but intense criticisms, and some overall dissatisfaction—and my own position, which is that it's a damn fine show and already better than DISCO, yet something about it bugs me. It occurred to me, moments before hitting "Play" (and wrestling with All Access, which assumes every time that I want to watch the pilot again), what that might be:

TNG and most other Berman Trek tended to make time for philosophical discussions of the matters (sci-fi, moral, or whatever) at hand. And when we think of those philosophical discussions, whose face comes to mind first? Of course, Picard's. And during this episode's opening credits, it occurred to me that maybe what this show is really About—given that they chose Data and the Borg as their big focal points for their take on the Picard character—is the nature of personhood. A big topic, worthy of a lot more of that Trek talkiness than this show has given us through episode 7.

So I was naturally not only very satisfied to see a Conference Table Scene, but some of that exact philosophical discussion. When Soji asks Jurati if she's a person? I was more invested in that moment than I ever expected to be in a new-Trek scene not involving old-Trek characters. Well done, writers.

I should also note that my biggest fear about this show has not, and most likely will not, come to pass: that it would actually be The Adventures of Jean-Luc Picard's Younger and More Marketable Friends Whose Interpersonal Dramas and Action Sequences Would Eat Up 95% of the Screen Time, and Picard Is Usually Off Napping or Something, Interrupting Occasionally with Sagely Remarks.

On the other hand… is it a huge coincidence that the disgraced Starfleet officer that Raffi happened to recruit happened to have encountered Maddox synths? Possibly not, if we assume that there really aren't that many disgraced Starfleet officers roaming around, let alone in possession of their own ships.

I'm 95% certain I detected a (wonderful) musical callback to TOS during the Romulan-fleet-assembling shots.

The top-down glimpse of the ibn Majid looked really familiar to me. Sovereign-class? It'd fit timeline-wise.

There's something charmingly CBS-ish about the phrasing of its TV-MA warning for this episode: "Coarse Language."

Metal-guy-hair Rios is the best Rios. If Cabrera's agent has any brains at all, he'll get a role as Jason Momoa's brother in something.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil (130 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
ooh, I'm gonna have to stick up for navigation Rios. I can't quite place the accent but he's got a lilting charm with accompanying twinkle.
posted by provoliminal at 4:46 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


ENH is supposed to be irish I think.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:50 AM on March 12


Jeri Ryan was a Borg Queen for about twenty seconds and it was a better and more terrifying portrayal than was ever present in the rest of the franchise. God damn. I wish her story had front seat this week, instead of exposition city over in the A-plot. Still though, great episode.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 6:35 AM on March 12 [13 favorites]


ENH accent reads very distinctly northern Irish to me.
posted by seasparrow at 8:20 AM on March 12 [3 favorites]


Jeri Ryan was a Borg Queen for about twenty seconds and it was a better and more terrifying portrayal than was ever present in the rest of the franchise.

Instead of a Dark Lord, you would have a Queen, not dark but beautiful and terrible as the dawn! Tempestuous as the sea, and stronger than the foundations of the earth! All shall love me and despair!
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 11:50 AM on March 12 [22 favorites]


Given the vivid flashback imagery during this episode (and the likely discussion of same) can we get a "content warning: suicide" note above the fold?
posted by sugar and confetti at 12:07 PM on March 12


I was less impressed with this episode than most previous ones, because it featured a lot of exposition - and I'm entirely unconvinced by Rios' backstory tying so closely in with Soji's past. Raffi finds a guy with a ship who knows people from Soji's planet? That's too big of a coincidence for me to swallow. And given some of the other connections made in this episode, the plot is starting to fall apart for me.

But I'm still excited by the themes of the show - what makes us human and what makes us inhuman. And some of the character interaction is excellent. The Soji and Jurati scene was great. Raffi gathering all the holograms together to figure out why Rios is drinking so heavily - it was a bit goofy, but in a real 90s Trek goofy way.

Two-part finale to come. Maybe with all these connections laid out in this one, the final two can just give us a strong resolution. Because, overall, I'm loving this show.
posted by crossoverman at 12:28 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]


I loved this episode. I've really liked Chabon's writing.

"I'm 95% certain I detected a (wonderful) musical callback to TOS during the Romulan-fleet-assembling shots."

Yes! It gave me a chill! It was perfect.

The plot contrivances don't both me too much because the implausible "everyone's connected" trope is so common.

Didn't someone in one of these threads predict that it wouldn't be synthetic life that the Romulan were afraid of so much as it would be the thing that comes to eliminate them?

I thought that was an implausible leap by Picard and the gang, but they definitely said it explicitly. (Though quickly and maybe much of the audience didn't catch that?)

Although we had Seven and a Borg cube, for some reason it never occurred to me that it/they would be marshaled on the side of the good guys. I was really looking forward to the cube to kick some Romulan ass... but I guess that's not going to happen? Jeri Ryan was so good. I really want her to be a regular.

Jurati was very compelling in this—much more than I expected. To be able to accept her character, the audience really needs to feel somehow the scale of the hellish terror she feels from the vision. I think the show and Alison Pill sold that.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:46 PM on March 12 [6 favorites]


I was tickled by Raffi’s point-and-click sidequest where she exhausted all the NPCs’ dialogue trees, then had a classic Lucasarts comedy puzzle with all the holos.
posted by adrianhon at 3:25 PM on March 12 [25 favorites]


Also, I’m sure Chekhov’s Borg Cube will turn up in the nick of time during the final ep to deal with the Romulans and such.
posted by adrianhon at 3:26 PM on March 12


One thing niggles at me. This started out with Picard knowing to look for Soji because he discovers these synthetics are created in pairs, so he knows there's a twin. And now we have a third person with the same face, Jana, who died ten years ago. Alright, they could be creating multiple pairs of the same twin, but after a scene with Jurati being entranced by the level of detail and individuality in Soji, it feels a bit off for that to be the case.
posted by SometimeNextMonth at 5:09 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


Hundreds of thousands of years ago was also the timescale that the Disco Sphere was from. I wonder if it belonged to the destroyers or the admonishers.
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 5:23 PM on March 12 [4 favorites]


The Borg having a queen was always bullshit and it continues to be bullshit and I will never accept it. Completely undermines the entire Borg concept and the creeping dread of a faceless hive which cannot be opposed any more than Canute before the tide.

Not this episode's fault of course. You go to war with the Trek you have and not the Trek you wish you had.
posted by Justinian at 5:54 PM on March 12 [13 favorites]


Sure, but Annika was still awesome.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:20 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]


Did have to remind myself a few times that ridiculous Scottish accents are a Star Trek engineering tradition.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 7:11 PM on March 12 [10 favorites]


Jeri Ryan was a Borg Queen for about twenty seconds and it was a better and more terrifying portrayal than was ever present in the rest of the franchise.

So I think my problem with this episode is that plot reasons required Annika to be carrying the stupid stick. Like - she wants to take back the cube, so she starts with the most visible and least useful thing? No, that doesn't make any sense at all. The only purpose of that is to warn the Romulans that that's what is happening, so they have time to somehow use technology they weren't that close to understanding to KILL EVERY BORG ON THE CUBE IN STASIS? No. That doesn't make any sense. The only reason to do that is to nerf/empty the Borg cube, so that they don't have a terrifying Borg cube which is unstoppable on their side.

My guess is maybe the Borg cube gets all the synths off the planet? But the whole thing still doesn't make sense and is frustrating. She should have been able to keep the cube and the Borg on it instead of being queen of some tiny amount of former XBs.
posted by corb at 7:22 PM on March 12


XXBs you might say.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 7:49 PM on March 12 [4 favorites]


The big grabber for me was right at the beginning; the Admonition was effective both as a payoff for the promised cosmic horror of Why They Had to Kill the Robots (i.e. it was so horrifying that most of its recipients immediately killed themselves, after they'd been chosen worthy to witness it), and also something of a testimony to the badassery of the Zhat Vash, being tough enough to survive it. It's also putting the overall plot into the category of something like the Mass Effect games, a space opera that confronts a big science fiction idea and is about the struggles of the people involved to do something about that overwhelmingly huge problem. Mass Effect (which took a lot from Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space Universe, but with a few unique twists of its own) featured an alien vision from millenia past implanted into the mind of the game's protagonist, Commander Shepard, as well as his immediate (but not ultimate) villain, and also involved a robopocalypse--one of the galaxy's major races, the quarians, had their own robot rebellion, and lost, big time. I won't run down all the parallels, but suppression of the information about the Big Secret by the galactic government does come into play. There's also a difficult journey to a Secret Planet Where All Shall Be Revealed, Probably.

And, yeah, it was pretty cool to see Seven be, if not the queen, at least a regent, of sorts. I understand people not liking the whole Borg Queen thing, but I liked "Annika" a lot better. (Also, with her spine lighting up, I reflected that Seven almost seemed more like a Six, if you catch my drift. Incidentally, Tricia Helfer also did voice acting for EDI, an AI in the second and third Mass Effect games.) Elnor's asking if he was going to be assimilated--and not seeming particularly worried about the prospect--was also delightful. Ditto for the consultation with the Holographic Chorus.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:02 PM on March 12 [7 favorites]


Incidentally, the title of the finishing two-parter--"Et in Arcadia Ego"--has a lot of resonance in other works.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:12 PM on March 12 [3 favorites]


Hell yes we’re running Tapestry immediately after. Q! You are such an asshole!
posted by mwhybark at 8:13 PM on March 12


They call him “Johnny”. Oh I like that.
posted by mwhybark at 8:34 PM on March 12


Can't add much more about Jeri Ryan's performance - but I was actually sad seeing all the stasis-ed borgs get spaced.

Interesting that XBs don't/ can't purge the link that makes it possible to re-borgify them at any time.

If that holo showing borg life signatures represent the entire cube, there can't be more than a fraction of a percent left.
posted by porpoise at 8:40 PM on March 12 [4 favorites]


Remarkable. “Tapestry” is still great, still a good mix of awkard, funny, and serious, but the episode has shifted meaning over time.
posted by mwhybark at 8:41 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


...and oh yeah, did we not see, in the context of the rapid cutting around the Romulcan witch table visions, twice, the face of Discovery’s deceased navigator droid, Ariam? We did, is what I am saying.
posted by mwhybark at 9:14 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]


Your pardon, crewpersons. Ariam was of course an augment, not a droid. Man! Federation cognitive identity social standards are tricky!
posted by mwhybark at 9:18 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]


Speaking of "everybody's connected" turns out the Romulan tarot cards Borg lady was also aunt to the Assassin Twins and also did the Admonishment* with her niece. And THEN got assimilated but somehow BROKE the Borg cube with her "despair"? Hell of a backstory there.

*Why is that girls-only btw? Is it related to the girls-only Absolute Candor sect?
posted by emjaybee at 9:28 PM on March 12 [5 favorites]


*niece

“auntie” here = adoptive mother, from where I sit, but again, that is what I would see
posted by mwhybark at 9:34 PM on March 12


Am I a person?
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:35 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]


You Neandertals, always with the sapient anxiety! Didn’t our grand-x-granny sleep with Cro-Magnon Picard back in the Flintstone days.? Course she did! Crom, she called him, and bore a fine and expansive litter of high-domed young pups, wriggling with sheer fucking hubris! No! Say no more, you too are a person!

(yay Admiral Clancy again more please)
posted by mwhybark at 9:40 PM on March 12 [4 favorites]


Loved this episode.

With this show I’m consistently unable to predict which episodes I’ll like based on the previews. The preview for this episode looked like messy, over-the-top, nonstop action/horror. But the actual episode was heavy on exposition and thoughtful dialogue and emotional character moments.

The opening scene with the Admonition was cool, but the costuming was so Kingdom Hearts that I had to laugh.

And yeah, this show is for sure now Star Trek: Mass Effect. Can't wait to learn who the Reapers are.
posted by Syllepsis at 10:07 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


Why is that girls-only btw

... I ... kind of like it? To justify my irrational appreciation; males would respond sub-obtimaly to knowing the truth?

But that gets into gender roles and socialization of gender. You'd think that a super logical Vulcan race would go gender neutral or gender-appropriate.

The only justification is that female Romulan/ Vulcans minds (for whatever reason, genetic or social) have the best chance of surviving the trauma of "knowing about this secret." For reasons.

Or maybe there's a Dune fan in the writer's group and it's a Kwisatz Haderach thing with Data being Paul Muad'dib and the twins are... the Ghanima and Leto II twins. With Soji being the surviving Leto II.

The Zhat Vash might be a Bene Geserit type thing.
posted by porpoise at 10:23 PM on March 12 [3 favorites]


We’re all people. God- the topical ness of this. They could have not fallen for the trap... it’s almost like a repudiation of Enterprise season 3...
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:23 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]


He loved you. Brb crying while holding my Data and Picard action figures I used to bring to school because I had no friends and they were my friends.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:30 PM on March 12 [25 favorites]


Ha ha Yeah wasn’t kidding.

Oh god. Star Trek is Star Trek again.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:32 PM on March 12 [8 favorites]


Oh, HN. Have a hug. I’m crying with you. Data loved you too.
posted by mwhybark at 10:33 PM on March 12 [4 favorites]


Just speaking as a baby Autistic with adoptive parents... Data meant a lot to me. My parents are the absolute best and I was very lucky but I was very weird and Data (and Spock) meant a lot to me- but the whole sort of positioning of Picard as parent to Data when I look at my flawed but loving but analytical but almost certainly autistic himself father it’s like when Picard admits himself that maybe his own emotional processing is off... I’m having a lot of feels.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:36 PM on March 12 [15 favorites]


oh my. yes. I can understand that. It’s time for me to read non-interactive things seeking sleep - The Mirror and the Light being my text of choice just now - but I’ll drop a quick note in MeMail.
posted by mwhybark at 10:48 PM on March 12


Call me crazy, but...this is something I've noticed over all episodes in general.

Does it seem like Picard the character is kind of shuffled off to the sidelines for much of these episodes?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:13 AM on March 13


Hundreds of thousands of years ago was also the timescale that the Disco Sphere was from.

150,000 years ago is also when the Cylons were wiped out.

My god, you have no idea how high up this thing goes.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:24 AM on March 13 [14 favorites]


I was skeptical of the played-out "artificial life will eventually kill us all" trope being used in PIC, but if they're subverting it by having the Federation's fundamental decency, optimism, and good faith be the answer.... then hell, *chef's kiss*

Like, of course the Romulans would take a warning like that and immediately found a super-secret society of synth hunters to "protect" the galaxy. And of course the Federation will engage in good faith with AI.

The only loose end I'm annoyed by is why exactly the Zhat Vash would allow Data and Lore to bop around for decades. I'm hoping that's explained because right now it feels like a big hole.
posted by Automocar at 6:35 AM on March 13 [5 favorites]


OH AND damn that scene between Picard and Clancy. Picard was fucking back in that scene. And I love her too!
posted by Automocar at 6:36 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


The only loose end I'm annoyed by is why exactly the Zhat Vash would allow Data and Lore to bop around for decades.

I thought about this during the episode, but when they mentioned Oh needing to rise through the ranks of Starfleet Security, I figured that timeframe probably correlated pretty closely with Data's years in Starfleet. And as for Lore, he seemed to always be hiding out when he wasn't menacing Data or the 1701-D. It certainly seems like Soji, at this point, would be quite capable of evading even a Romulan secret society.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:47 AM on March 13 [4 favorites]


Hundreds of thousands of years ago was also the timescale that the Disco Sphere was from.

... and given not one but two flash cuts of Ariam, I would have to say that they are definitely tying the Disco ‘evil AI’ plot to this one in Picard.

Also, the underlying story beat of a vastly powerful unknown entity awakening to commit genocide when the crazy liitle hoo-mans get their hands on a forbidden technology is an important component of The Expanse.
posted by mwhybark at 7:41 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


It's a nice update on technology and Icarus, which I generally dislike. But I've always found this particular version plausible because of the Fermi Paradox.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:54 AM on March 13


So, breaking down the vision:

1) cracked planet, full of magma and d000m
2) meaty brainy / 60's cinema intermission globules
3) 2/3 frames of indistinct red cauliflower
4) pretty scenic shot of some salt basin
5) the starchild
6) some kinda flower with tendrils
7) bjork from the all is full of love video (airiam? c'mon my android fans)
8) bjork fades into data
9) dead fox
10) optical migraine
11) city with arch-of-sauron and clouds
12) modern sculpture / transformer coils (different perspective of the arch of sauron?)
13) optical migraine in orbit around magma d00m planet
14) Big ol' hunka hunka burnin' meteor planetary hit effect
15) generic city destruction? maybe?
16) planet cracking up, presumably from #14.

Anyway, jeezum crow, my guys, this show.
posted by Kyol at 8:25 AM on March 13 [4 favorites]


I looked at those flash cuts, and I thought the yellow eyes might have been Data's. Is it possible they are describing some time disjoint linked to the AI war in Discovery? Who could have moved the stars? Is it a Q type warning? You win the game, get to the planet with the magic ring, and have your mind destroyed by what you find? Like maybe it would be a good thing for an android or synth to find, but highly lethal for humans. Maybe it is a positive memorial for non human life.
posted by Oyéah at 8:27 AM on March 13


and given not one but two flash cuts of Ariam, I would have to say that they are definitely tying the Disco ‘evil AI’ plot to this one in Picard.

Airiam’s face-plating and nose, not to mention color, are different than the image in Picard. Someone on reddit tracked the source image down on shutterstock. Compare:

https://imgur.com/eMA4evp

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-illustration/futuristic-android-face-digital-virtual-hud-343345958
posted by nathan_teske at 8:40 AM on March 13 [9 favorites]


Well they sure moved the plot along fast in this episode, didn't they! I liked that, felt it was well done, just it feels like 50% of the story just got told in this one hour. Kinda excited for the conclusion.

That comment about Raffi's sidequest is spot on. The multiple holopersonalities part was hilarious. But I mean that with respect; Raffi demonstrates serious competence here. She puts the pieces together but even better she has the right intuition about what those pieces are.

I want to be sure I got the main story right. The warning from the Admonishers is not that AI develops and evolves and takes over the world in some sort of Singularity thing. It's that with the development of AI something else comes along to destroy it, and that thing and its destruction are a horror beyond imagining. Is that the story the Zhat Vash are telling?

I'm a little skeptical we're meant to see specifically Airiam and Discovery in the visions. Maybe they just wanted a generic android-looking woman? OTOH they know fans obsessively go frame by frame through these things so if they put Airiam herself in there they had to know people would see it. I'm not able to rewatch it right now myself to check. It's an odd choice since she's an augment, not a synth.
posted by Nelson at 8:41 AM on March 13 [3 favorites]


I needed the Rios focus group scene, with Orphan Black having been over for so long.
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 8:51 AM on March 13 [15 favorites]


OH AND damn that scene between Picard and Clancy. Picard was fucking back in that scene. And I love her too!

As a percentage of her dialogue, Clancy employs the word “fuck” and its variants* note than any other character in Trek, and more than any other character in most settings generally outside of a Tarantino movie. I recall reading how Tarantino has said he’d like to make a Star Trek movie.

Hey, wait a minute...

*My autocomplete, at the word “fuck,” helpfully suggested “fuckability.” Not a word I am anticipating hearing in this show, despite several characters scoring extremely high in this area. Ahem.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:58 AM on March 13 [2 favorites]


Pointing out the obvious question - how do we know that the "vision" being shared by Admiral Oh was....real? I mean, they say that "this was a warning left by Ancient Ones from thousands of years ago" but how do we know it wasn't just some thing drummed up by the Zhat Vash to get converts?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:10 AM on March 13 [3 favorites]


So, jumping back to Commodore Oh's mind meld with Jurati:

1) scene from the Admonition with all the Zhat Vash falling down
2) multiple planetary explosions
3) a Zhat Vash bashing her brains out with a rock
4) same planetary explosion as #14 in the Admonition sequence
5) a Zhat Vash clawing at her face
6) different angle of #15, you can actually see the ground heaving as the city gets blown up
7) #15 again
8) Zhat Vash shooting herself in the head
9) repeat of #15
10) slightly different view of a planet cracking up and exploding

Going back through the Admonition, one thing I'm not sure of is whether Picard's Qowat Milash friend was also one of the Zhat Vash or not. I assume no since the only two who appeared to survive were Narissa and Ramdha?
posted by Kyol at 9:14 AM on March 13


how do we know it wasn't just some thing drummed up by the Zhat Vash to get converts?
The technological requirements to make the 8-star system discussed in this episode are probably beyond the Romulans' capabilities. Of course that doesn't eliminate the possibility of some other civilisation doing it for similar lying reasons.
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 9:16 AM on March 13 [4 favorites]


Pointing out the obvious question - how do we know that the "vision" being shared by Admiral Oh was....real? I mean, they say that "this was a warning left by Ancient Ones from thousands of years ago" but how do we know it wasn't just some thing drummed up by the Zhat Vash to get converts?

I think the signal or vision is a real thing, but it definitely seems mental, and to me that means the psyche of the message recipients is of great importance. Romulans are paranoid as hell and they tend to be violent and uncaring. The information given by the sci-fi magic circle would be received differently by different individuals. It's likely a lot of stuff beyond mere mortal reckoning, so are driven to madness, but I think that the visions seem like a very Romulan way to interpret it. I think if a human or Soji were to get that info, they'd have a far less terrifying and destructive interpretation -- maybe even positive.
posted by GoblinHoney at 9:25 AM on March 13


Also, that the Zhat Vash were indirectly responsible for the Romulan diaspora. They somehow instigated the synth rebellion on Mars which caused the Federation to pull out their support for a unified Save The Romulans Project, so the Romulans that survived ended up spread around the galaxy.

Hrm.
posted by Kyol at 9:31 AM on March 13 [3 favorites]


Right, I was surprised that wasn't mentioned explicitly in the ep. The Zhat Vash were so committed to their mission, they were willing to sacrifice millions – billions? – of Romulans.
posted by adrianhon at 10:02 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


This was SO GOOD. All the threads came together, it’s amazingly novelistic storytelling for TV.
posted by sixswitch at 10:53 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


just for clarity, since the links are not clickable and it’s probably a hassle to copy and paste for mobile users, nathan accurately describes the posted links - they show a non-Ariam face, which is sourced to a Shutterstock image with very minor modifications.
posted by mwhybark at 10:58 AM on March 13


"Who could have moved the stars? Is it a Q type warning? You win the game, get to the planet with the magic ring, and have your mind destroyed by what you find?"

Could be a prank.

"I want to be sure I got the main story right."

The only indication of this is during the conversation while they're sitting around the table talking about synths as a tech threshold such as warp drive capability. Rios says, "...if you cross that line, somebody shows up" and Jurati adds, "Somebody really bad."

So Jurati, who's seen the vision, supports Rios's statement and emphazises how bad the "somebody" is.

It could be another, much more advanced synth civilization or it could be an advanced anti-synth civilization. We here have assumed the latter, but it could be the former. Or Oh's vision was altered. Or the whole thing is bogus.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:04 AM on March 13 [3 favorites]


Grief Planet, California. Or slightly more specific, somewhere in southern California. It looks very similar to this type of landscape (Google streetview).
posted by filthy light thief at 11:18 AM on March 13


In terms of who created the octonary system/Conclave of Eight, it wouldn't necessarily require someone with Q-level powers. The Kardashev scale proposes levels of civilization on the basis of how much energy a civilization can manipulate and use; we know that there is/was at least one Type II civilization in Trek, since the discovery of the Dyson sphere. (Unless Q, in a particularly capricious mood, put it there.) There's also the tantalizing possibility, since last week's episode established Larry Niven's "Slaver Weapon" episode of TAS as canon by mentioning the Kzinti, that Pierson's Puppeteers also exist in the Trek universe; they organized the useful parts of their solar system into a Klemperer Rosette and are moving it out of the galaxy.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:18 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


So wait this is Mass Effect? The Romulans are the secret heroes trying to stop the Reapers??
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:42 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


I want to be sure I got the main story right. The warning from the Admonishers is not that AI develops and evolves and takes over the world in some sort of Singularity thing. It's that with the development of AI something else comes along to destroy it, and that thing and its destruction are a horror beyond imagining. Is that the story the Zhat Vash are telling?

Yes, this is also the plot to Mass Effect: there is an ancient, ancient fleet of sentient spacecraft (The Reapers) who hang out in intergalactic space and every time a civilisation invents AI, the fleet shows up to destroy the civilisation to prevent the AI taking over the galaxy. Then they go back into hiding and await the next civilisation to evolve, rise, and invent AI. This cycle has happened many times.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:58 PM on March 13 [5 favorites]


There's also the tantalizing possibility, since last week's episode established Larry Niven's "Slaver Weapon" episode of TAS as canon by mentioning the Kzinti, that Pierson's Puppeteers also exist in the Trek universe;

In the Slaver Weapon episode, the role of the Puppeteer was taken up by Spock: vegetarian, "pacifist", rational, and surprisingly lethal. Much as I'd love to see a live-action Puppeteer, I don't think we will.

Anyway, I thought the evolutionary track for most sentient races is to end up as orbs of energy?
That would reduce the need for moving planets or stars about.

Also, given we have a 26th century Starfleet, I guessing that whatever this threat is, it won't destroy humanity. Or if it was an actual existential threat, the Federation Timefleet would have taken care of it.

The problem with established time travel is it really does take the threat away from problems.
posted by happyroach at 3:15 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


I was hoping that the Zhat Vash predated the Vulcan-Romulan split and that it still has both Vulcans and Romulans as members to the "present".
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 4:06 PM on March 13 [4 favorites]


Clancy <3

"Admiral Picard, with all due respect and at long last, SHUT THE FUCK UP."

you just know she's been waiting to say it since fucking farpoint
posted by automatronic at 5:49 PM on March 13 [18 favorites]


Moving a star isn't actually that hard, it's mostly an issue of desire and time scales.
posted by ckape at 7:43 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


I needed the Rios focus group scene, with Orphan Black having been over for so long.
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 8:51 AM on March 13


In contrast, all I kept thinking during that scene was "it's a Council of Wells" but worse.
posted by sardonyx at 8:41 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


The only indication of this is during the conversation while they're sitting around the table talking about synths as a tech threshold such as warp drive capability. Rios says, "...if you cross that line, somebody shows up" and Jurati adds, "Somebody really bad."

Reminded me of the introduction of Seven of Nine. The Borg had opened up Fluidic space and Species 8472 were "really bad" for the Borg and it was implied, the rest of "normal" space.

I have to say I find the show to be a real Jekyll and Hyde experience. From enthralling and interesting to bloody Doctor Who style melodrama mainstream trope heavy absurd garbage.
posted by juiceCake at 8:58 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


A missing piece to this grand conspiracy falls into place when you realize that ADMIRAL CLANCY HAD HER OWN ENCOUNTER WITH SYNTHETIC LIFE more than 30 years ago.

Yes, yes, a joke that only makes sense if you are a Gen-X'er with a memory and fondness for obscure 1980's romantic comedies. So, basically just me, then?
posted by seasparrow at 9:00 PM on March 13 [11 favorites]


^ oh man that just dislodged a big chunk of memories that I had basically forgotten about that movie and related time when it first ran on HBO when I was a kid so, uh, thanks?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:13 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


The Screen Crush guy ably dissects thematic elements and callbacks of this episode.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:03 PM on March 13 [4 favorites]


I'm really loving the Screen Crush videos, actually. He's not just pointing out trivia or callbacks like other Youtubers, and his thematic analysis game is really strong.
posted by crossoverman at 6:30 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Over on Instagram Michael Chabon has been doing his weekly Q&A (not easy to link to individual ones as they are 'story' entries - look for the dated entries in his profile page).

Somebody asked "What, if any, other titles were considered for the show besides Star Trek: Picard?"

Chabon's perhaps not entirely serious response:

Space: 2499
Star Trek: Romulan Wine
ST:FU


I'm afraid ST:FU is what I'm calling it from now on.
posted by Major Clanger at 7:07 AM on March 14 [12 favorites]


"Elnor's asking if he was going to be assimilated--and not seeming particularly worried about the prospect--was also delightful."

I got something very different from that beat, which I also loved. I thought it was more a sort of helpless betrayed terror - "Oh fuck, I thought this would be awesome, but I just watched my friend/crush/maybe-mom-figure turn into a monster, and there is *fuck all* I can do if she wants to mind-rape me. Can't fight, can't run, can't even beg. If the bad thing is happening, it's happening. Resistance is futile."
posted by Mr. Excellent at 9:07 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


ENH accent reads very distinctly northern Irish to me.

I'm hearing leprechaun. It's a terrible effort. It sounded even worse in the earlier episode where it could be compared with the Romulan Irish.

The fight before the credits with star trek Legolas, why didn't the Romulans stun him after using the stun grenade? Why would you go hand to hand with a ninja?
posted by biffa at 9:11 AM on March 14 [6 favorites]


AIA, grief planet & shirt sponsor of Spurs. Fitting.

Did the collective of holo-Rios remind anyone else of the Queer Eye team?
posted by biffa at 9:32 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


The top-down glimpse of the ibn Majid looked really familiar to me. Sovereign-class? It'd fit timeline-wise.

Memory Alpha quotes Chabon as saying the Ibn Majid is Curiosity class.
posted by biffa at 9:48 AM on March 14


I'm sorry but I don't buy spacing drones as an effective way of drone-removal. Even given the speed at which they were blown into space, they should have been alive and figuring out how to adapt to zero gravity (surely the Borg have an adaptation for zero gravity?) Like, those weren't XBs with all their fancy gadgets removed, they're drones with personal force-field emitters and transporters. Drones have been shown to handle vacuum just fine. Obviously it was done to keep the heroes from having a fully operational Borg cube on their side, but the Romulans were already planning on leaving, it just seems mean-spirited.

That said, I can't fault Seven for her strategy of firing up everything on the cube and immediately alerting the Romulans, the one thing the Borg are not is subtle.

Also I called it that the Queen's Cell is not just where Borg queens hang out, it's where they're made. Imagine a collective of queens, situated above the collective of drones. The queens direct and modulate the will of the drone collective. Every cube has a queen, and they are all the same queen. Need a new queen? Uplift a worthy drone. I seem to remember the implication that Seven was something like the Voyager Borg Queen's protégée, making her a candidate for elevation to Queen would be a nice way to retcon that.

I still think that's kind of dumb and a very human need for someone to be "leader" and that the Borg were the coolest when they were a single massive galaxy-spanning Mind made of trillions of lesser minds. (PS why didn't the Borg trigger The Destroyers? Not synth enough? Not a big enough threat? Or maybe specifically designed to skirt under their radar?)
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 11:48 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Also I'm happy they're going with "secret civilization built from Data's design" but still sad it wasn't Data himself that built it.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 11:50 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


why didn't the Borg trigger The Destroyers?

I think it’s a threshold for artificial life, that even Data and the other Soong-design synths failed to trigger, but that Soji’s model will. Borg drones are naturally-born, organic life forms that are assimilated, massively augmented and networked, but are not artificially-created.

My read on the main plot agrees with the general sense above, that an ancient, very advanced civilization created true synthetic life, and it destroyed them and threatened to consume the universe somehow (à la Discovery S2), and they’ve left behind some kind of safety, to ensure that it never happens again. Whether that’s simply the warning marked by the eight-star system or some kind of actual, overwhelming defense weapon, remains to be seen, I guess.
posted by LooseFilter at 12:09 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


"All right, let's steal ourselves a Borg Cube." (Leverage music plays)
posted by Pronoiac at 5:14 PM on March 14 [9 favorites]


Zack Handlen on the AV Club is really not digging the show. I think Handlen is a good critic (his Deep Space Nine reviews were really something) but I can't really agree with him here. I don't know, maybe I'm just so happy to have Jean Luc Picard back, and to see a Trek that clearly respects the franchise (insert rant about JJ Abrams here), it's blinding me to some of the show's flaws. But when Picard was making his speech about how Starfleet had become corrupt because they'd let themselves be ruled by prejudice and fear, a speech that was very clearly referencing our grim current moment, it was just such a joy to hear some of that old school Trek preachiness in 2020. Testify, Picard!

I wonder if Seven managed to get all of that Borg queen stuff out of her head. I have a worrying feeling that brief cyborg spinal tap may have lasting ramifications. Fingers crossed she doesn't get re-activated, become a new Borg queen villain and die.

I like the new characters, but again I find myself feeling a little wistful about how so many of the old school Trek characters have been sidelined. I mean, I'm very happy to see Seven again, but it seems like she has no connection anymore to Janeway and that whole gang. Instead of Deep Space 12, how freaking awesome would it be if they stopped by Deep Space Nine and we had a scene with Quark? Or the doctor who came to tell Picard that he was sick, that could have been Beverly Crusher. There are all these EMHs running around, but why can't one of them be the Voyager EMH? I want my Trekkie fan service, and I want it now!

ADMIRAL CLANCY HAD HER OWN ENCOUNTER WITH SYNTHETIC LIFE yt more than 30 years ago.

Wait, Clancy is Ann Magnuson?? I had a low-key crush on her back in the day, and I didn't recognize her now. Admittedly it's probably been 15 years since I'd seen her in anything and this character is well outside the artsy downtown types I knew her for, but even so I'm floored.

I have to say, I really do not get the Clancy love. She seems like your usual asshole Starfleet admiral type, but with swears. (Please, Mr. Chabon, enough with the swears already. They just don't feel organic in Star Trek, and they make it seem like you're just trying too hard to prove that this is a show for grownups.) Admittedly she was redeemed a bit here, finally showing that she has concerns beyond just hating Picard, but people are acting like she's awesome and I'm just not seeing why. If we agree with Picard when he eloquently criticizes Starfleet for their racism against Romulans and androids, why are people so delighted with this woman who is basically serving as Starfleet's mouthpiece and clearly has deep personal contempt for this guy who spent his entire career exemplifying what Starfleet is supposed to stand for? She's not even delightfully evil. Mostly she just seems like a mean bureaucrat, there to serve as an obstacle for the good guys. (Again, the standard Starfleet admiral MO.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:16 PM on March 14 [6 favorites]


The conflict between what Starfleet is and does and what Starfleet should be and do is classic Trek, and I love that they are being so explicit about it. Particularly the idea that you get presented with the trilemma of breaking moral codes, breaking legal codes, or dying, seen with 7o9 and the captain of the Ibn Majid this episode.

I'm reminded of the impossibility of making an anti-war war film with Seven detailing the ethical violation and also the moral injury to herself of taking over a collective, and then being forced to do it anway and providing a cool moment on-screen.

The problem with swearing here is it invites the question, where else was there swearing in the Trek 'verse? "Fuck your Vulcan logic, Spock!". "Captain, our shields are fucked!". "Beam us the fuck out of here, Scotty!". Is @swear_trek now canonical? I now love the name ST:FU, so swings and roundabouts.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 6:01 PM on March 14


Admiral Clancy's been reading about Chrisjen Avasarala in the history books I guess.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 6:26 PM on March 14 [11 favorites]


The problem with swearing here is it invites the question, where else was there swearing in the Trek 'verse?

"Well double-dumbass on you." Seriously though, O'Brien and Scotty used bloody and bollocks during the TNG era; Bones used damnit and hell plenty of times; and Archer used "son of a bitch" multiple times in Enterprise. I'd have to go back and check if it aired, but the n-word is in the script of the DS9 episode Far Beyond The Stars

Edit: And then there's Picard swearing in French
posted by nathan_teske at 6:58 PM on March 14 [7 favorites]


Lets be honest here- the only reason Sisko or Kira didn't tell Dukat to go fuck himself is that is was 90's broadcast TV.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 7:11 PM on March 14 [12 favorites]


Admiral Clancy's been reading about Chrisjen Avasarala in the history books I guess.

You know I thought that was sarcasm, but then I read some episode summaries and it jumped out at me that officially Clancy's first name is Kirsten. That's no coincidence, man. It's Turtles All The Way Down on this show.
posted by seasparrow at 6:56 AM on March 15


You can blame the lack of cussing in the past on a change in universal translation philosophies, if you want to rationalize production differences.

Also, just because Admiral Clancy is sending a squadron to DS12 to visit Synth-World doesn’t mean it’s mission will be aligned with Picard’s interests and not the Romulans’.
posted by cardboard at 12:37 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


I'd have to go back and check if it aired, but the n-word is in the script of the DS9 episode Far Beyond The Stars

It did, and given that Avery Brooks directed the episode, it wasn't used lightly, I think.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:08 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]


(Also, the setting for that episode is 1950s NYC, FWIW.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:09 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


think it’s a threshold for artificial life, that even Data and the other Soong-design synths failed to trigger

I admit the thought crossed my mind that it would be pretty amusing if it turned out that, in fact, Data did trigger the unimaginably powerful and horrifying destroyers to show up. When? Literally episode 1 of TNG. The "Destroyers" the Zhat Vash are so terrified of are the Q Continuum, who already showed up, judged humanity (and Picard specifically!) and decided that even though humans were mucking about with AI they were alright and deserved to get a pass from extinction. I can just picture John De Lancie impatiently explaining to a horrified Picard that of course that other species had to get wiped out, because not only were they mucking about with AI but they were also just dreadfully boring.

I don't really think the show will actually go that route because it'd be tremendously anticlimactic after all the buildup to have Q just bop in and be like "Oh Soji's fine, you've got nothing to worry about. How about those Romulans though, so paranoid aren't they?", but I, at least, would get a kick out of it. The reveal of how just horrifying and final a fate humanity narrowly avoided would put a neat retroactive spin on all those old TNG Q episodes, too.
posted by mstokes650 at 3:22 PM on March 15 [13 favorites]


The Admonition is a message and part of a system of messages. Sending this message was important to them. They considered themselves to be a powerful culture.

The eight star system is not a place of honor. No highly esteemed deed is commemorated there. Nothing valued is there.

What is there is dangerous and repulsive. The danger is still present, in our time, as it was in theirs.
posted by autopilot at 3:32 PM on March 15 [16 favorites]


More seriously, the Admonition reminds me of the commandment of the Eschaton in Stross' Singularity Sky:
Thou shalt not violate causality within my historic light cone. Or else.
posted by autopilot at 3:35 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


I've always thought you can't have a Picard series without Q, but I agree he has to be deployed very carefully.

I'm actually pretty interested in seeing Star Trek adopt some ancient more. Lots of other Sci-Fi shows go crazy with progenitor races and whatnot but for the most part the occasional ancient artifact they find is a one-off relic of a single lost species. The only exceptions I can think of are the ancient humanoids that sowed their humanoid oats across the galaxy and the Iconians who aren't THAT old, galactically speaking. I'd be pretty chuffed if what they reveal actually ties directly into the sphere they found in Disco S2.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:52 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Both the Heechee and the Precursors think the Romulans' solution to this problem is too weak.
posted by hanov3r at 6:52 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


I'd prefer if Q shows up in a standalone Short Trek or is perhaps part of a full season arc another time. I don't want to see him this year.
posted by crossoverman at 7:36 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


Both the Heechee and the Precursors think the Romulans' solution to this problem is too weak.

Sure, not to mention the Inhibitors, the Reapers, and the Crystal Planet. Sci-Fi is choked to the gills with ancient threats from forgotten races to the point that Star Trek is unique in that while space is littered with various ancient artifacts, some deadlier than others, none of them pose a galaxy-destroying threat. Heck, maybe that's something we can thank the Borg for. They certainly have the means and motivation to patrol the galaxy and disarm these existential threats, and maybe assimilate some useful technology in the process.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 8:27 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]


My current headcanon is Q somehow lost his powers and was confined to a body that was assimilated into the once and future Borg cube and was one of the poor lost souls that Narissa vented out to space when the cube was reactivated and he’s gone for good, space dust. Let’s hope I can keep my fanfic intact.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:29 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


*Why is that girls-only btw? Is it related to the girls-only Absolute Candor sect?

It is noncannon but Diane Duane's Rihannsu novels show the Romulan Empire is slightly matriarchal. The Romulan Way is no. 2 in that series and is a great read.
posted by qi at 11:16 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Call me crazy, but...this is something I've noticed over all episodes in general.

Does it seem like Picard the character is kind of shuffled off to the sidelines for much of these episodes?


It does happen in parts of the last several, though this one is the first time it stood out to me—but I'm actually mostly OK with it.

Like, we knew from episode 1 that he would have a crew, and that, plus this franchise's history, implies ensemble drama. And even in "Broken Pieces," although Picard got possibly less screen time than in any PIC installment so far, (A) he's still one of the emotional cores of the show—e.g. Soji's whole more-and-more-Data-ish thing, Rios half-calling him "old man" (which, I forgot to mention, did give me a whiff of Feels); and (B) since this is the sorta-penultimate one before the big 2-part finale, lots of exposition and less deep character time is forgivable. And even there, I thought they did a fine job of balancing those needs here.

What I'm less OK with is that they called the show "Star Trek: Picard," which suggests a near-total focus on him, when it's actually about artificial life, not to mention that it's just a banal title. Strange that PIC is the ensemble drama and DISCO, which is named after a ship, is much less of one. You could almost argue that DISCO should have been called "Star Trek: Michael Burnham" based on what's occurred in the show so far, but of course that wasn't gonna get butts in the seats.

I do FEEL that same sense of sidelining, but maybe part of it too is just the knowledge in the back of our minds that he's not the captain. He's not just JL, he's Professor X; he's supposed to be in charge! I wonder if the season-ending two-parter is going to play with that tension a bit more; I mean, shit's bound to get really real at the Eight-Star System, more real perhaps than Rios or Raffi are prepared to tag along for.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:31 AM on March 16 [2 favorites]


Having a Part 1/Part 2 episode at the end of the season, broadcast/uploaded on two different dates, makes it sound like the people doing the titles are kind of missing the point of a serialized show.
posted by cardboard at 8:04 AM on March 16


Given that there are gaps where commercials are clearly supposed to go, I figure they either expected this to air on regular TV or they expect it will eventually. A two-part finale fits that late 20th century TV model, frustrating though it may be.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:00 PM on March 16 [1 favorite]


There was a little tiny image somewhere along the line, of someone dying in Seven's arms, and her anguish. Picard is very ill, and got a faked license to fly in spite of this illness. This series can't go on much longer I would think. I never got the impression it was going to go more than 10 episodes. But what do I know?
posted by Oyéah at 4:09 PM on March 16


This series can't go on much longer I would think.

A season 2 is announced and being planned, at least. Given the outstanding character development thus far in season 1, though, I could see a version of this show evolving that outlasts its focus on Picard himself.
posted by LooseFilter at 5:14 PM on March 16


Stewart will be eighty in July; given how grueling TV filming can be, I'm not surprised that his screen time is rationed carefully.

Anyway, I've been enjoying the series, but given where we've progressed in the season's plot, I don't see how they can wrap things up at the end of the two-parter. Presumably, they've exposed Commodore Oh offstage by the end of this episode; other than that, though, there's surely a whole lot of exposition that needs to go on?

(Also, Data's hand of five queens at the beginning of the season, complete with pointed camera focus on the "Q," did make me wonder about, well, Q.)
posted by thomas j wise at 5:53 PM on March 16 [3 favorites]


There was a little tiny image somewhere along the line, of someone dying in Seven's arms, and her anguish.

That was an X-B, but I can't remember his name, she said he was like a child to her.
posted by cooker girl at 6:14 PM on March 16 [1 favorite]


I'd be surprised if this show outlives Picard, because, well, it's Star Trek: Picard. They'd have to re-title it, at the least. I sure hope they're not really planning to kill off Picard, because that's something nobody wants to see. I saw Stewart on something the other day and his voice sounded a good ten years younger than it sounds on this show, it didn't have that old man quaver. I think he's actually playing up Picard's age and frailty, which is an unexpected and interesting choice.

I'll also be surprised if Q shows up, just because he might not fit the more grounded tone of this show. Q could get serious, but generally he was kind of a campy trickster and his personality and magic powers might feel out of place here. It's kind of hard to imagine this show featuring omnipotent aliens who can alter reality with a wave of the hand and a swooshing sound effect. But we shall see.

That was an X-B, but I can't remember his name, she said he was like a child to her.

That was Icheb, a fairly prominent character in the final seasons of Voyager. He and a group of other Borg kids were liberated from their collective and Seven became a kind of reluctant surrogate mom for them. I'm still a little ticked that he died, and so horribly too (we saw his eye pulled out) but this is drama and if anything was going to piss off Seven of Nine, it was that.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 7:01 PM on March 16 [5 favorites]


I think he's actually playing up Picard's age and frailty
Yeah, he definitely is. The Picard that appears when we flashback to right before he quit Starfleet is noticeably younger and stronger. It's interesting to me that the second season has been signed already because, between the aging-up acting choices, and Picard's quixotic decisions earlier in the season leading to inevitable war in the finale, he's seeming quite Lear-like.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 8:27 AM on March 17 [1 favorite]


I'd be surprised if this show outlives Picard, because, well, it's Star Trek: Picard. They'd have to re-title it, at the least.

One bit of information I read pointed out that since Deep Space Nine, all Trek television properties have been named after a ship (or station). The theory was that eventually, this show would be about a ship, the USS Picard.
posted by rocketman at 8:33 AM on March 17 [2 favorites]


Given that there are gaps where commercials are clearly supposed to go, I figure they either expected this to air on regular TV or they expect it will eventually. A two-part finale fits that late 20th century TV model, frustrating though it may be.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:00 PM on March 16


It already is airing on regular TV, at least in Canada. That's how I'm watching it, on Space CTV Sci-Fi.
posted by sardonyx at 8:42 AM on March 17


I decided to watch back through the whole thing, since I am sheltering in place, and I feel like doing this. Did we all notice how The Golden Gate Bridge is converted to a huge strip of solar panels? I suddenly realized that is maybe how the Oakland Bay Bridge might should have gone. What a great idea.
posted by Oyéah at 12:02 PM on March 18 [1 favorite]


And, is it too much to ask, I want all of Rio's holograms.
posted by Oyéah at 12:05 PM on March 18


If I didn't know they were doing a second season I would have placed all my bets on Picard dying in the finale.

I am still a bit hopeful that the planet of synths they're going to actually originates with Data, per my "Data secretly perfected a method of reproducing himself" headcanon. When they talked about Maddox running away to this planet it seemed like it was a thing before Maddox went there. Perhaps Data clued him into its location before he died (or as a part of his will), and when Maddox's career as a federation roboticist abruptly ended he fled there to continue his research.

It's possible that Maddox himself went there and built the synth society himself, but if so why did he ever leave? If he was their creator why did he end up on the run asking some two-bit organized crime lady for help?

The third option is this is some alien synth world that doesn't directly tie in to Data but that's stupid and even thinking about it makes me mad.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:11 PM on March 18 [3 favorites]


What if Noonian Soong was a fraud and didn't actually create Data? Instead Data is a low caste worker/slave from the synth planet that Soong somehow was able to capture. Data's lack of emotion is because Soong messed something up when he was unsuccessfully trying to figure out how he worked. He painted the picture of Soji because somewhere in his mind/positronic matrix he still had some memories or obedience commands related to her model of synth. When we get to the synth planet Picard is going to see a bunch of Datas, allowing Brent Spiner to make an appearance in the show without having to reprise the role of Data.

We'll find out soon enough I guess.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:44 PM on March 18 [1 favorite]


They've established pretty clearly that Soong created Data, Lore and B4. They'd have to do a HUGE retcon to change that. It's possible he created them based on something he learned from the machine society but even that would be a hard swerve from what we know about him and I'd be surprised if Chabon goes there.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:52 PM on March 18


Well, after finding out they eat bunnicorns I wouldn't count on anything being off the table in this series.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 5:39 PM on March 18 [1 favorite]


Soong also made the Juliana duplicate, which would tend to indicate he was continuing to hone his craft after the creation of Data.

Plus, Data (and Lore, and B4) were all created rather literally in Noonian Soong's image.
posted by ckape at 6:37 PM on March 18 [1 favorite]


Watching this last episode over again, I finally saw the Fenris Rangers SOS beacon, I saw the object, but made no sense of it, which left me wondering how Seven knew to show up right at the right place. I glanced away from it twice, before it did what it does. You know the temptation is to stay up after midnight to continue missing important things...
posted by Oyéah at 7:55 PM on March 18 [1 favorite]


Did we all notice how The Golden Gate Bridge is converted to a huge strip of solar panels?

Yes, and loved that (but must admit to a habit of pausing shots like that, to take in as many details as possible).
posted by LooseFilter at 9:44 PM on March 18


They'd have to do a HUGE retcon to change that.

I like to remind people that I remember the Original Timeline, where Zefram Cochrane was born on Alpha Centauri, not Earth...
posted by mikelieman at 3:00 AM on March 19 [7 favorites]


Admittedly I HAD forgotten that, but it was a quick line in the original series. Soong's history was threaded through TNG, across multiple episodes. We ended up with a pretty good idea of who he was and what he'd done. We heard all about his struggles creating artificial life, the way the colonists came to fear Lore so Soong started over with Data. We saw his pride about his android sons but also his regrets. We saw him in Data's dream working on a very symbolic forge, and he explained how he'd given Data the capacity to dream. ("You are the bird...") Enterprise even had a thing with one of his ancestors (also played by Brent Spiner) saying he was going to start working on androids and that he wouldn't finish the work in his lifetime, but perhaps it would be taken up by "the next generation...? (Subtle, guys.) Like, it's been well established that Soong created these androids. Chabon is retconning some things, like he added the swearing and insists it was always there, but I think he's too much of a Trek geek at heart to change it so the Soong we knew didn't actually create anything and was just a fraud.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:52 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


I don't know, if Chabon's been reading the same comic books I have (Descender and Hickman's X-Men run), then we all might be in for some Data retcons.

Did we all notice how The Golden Gate Bridge is converted to a huge strip of solar panels?

I noticed it but thought it pretty weird because they must have better ways to generate power in the 24th century. Unless it was being preserved as an historical artifact, but then why preserve at that point and why not as it was originally?
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 3:27 PM on March 19


Did we all notice how The Golden Gate Bridge is converted to a huge strip of solar panels?

Previously
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 10:41 PM on March 19


I'd be surprised if this show outlives Picard, because, well, it's Star Trek: Picard. They'd have to re-title it, at the least.

Star Trek: Picard's Family
posted by The Tensor at 11:50 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Star Trek: Raffi
posted by Nelson at 7:02 AM on March 21


> 150,000 years ago is also when the Cylons were wiped out.

My god, you have no idea how high up this thing goes.


Apologies if I'm pointing out the obvious, because I'm reading FanFare in reverse: Cylons were also known as "Toasters." xBs are also known as "Toasters." The conclusion should be obvious to those who are paying attention.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:18 AM on March 23 [1 favorite]


ALL OF THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE, AND IT WILL ALL HAPPEN AGAIN
posted by sugar and confetti at 10:53 AM on March 23 [2 favorites]


Yeah speaking of back references, I loved the camera cut to Seven's face when the waking Borg were getting flushed out into space… In Scorpion Part II, it was Chakotay and Janeway's plan to space out the Borg on Voyager, and Seven survived hanging on a Jeffries tube ladder. Lesson was not learned!
posted by polymodus at 4:01 PM on March 26


ENH accent reads very distinctly northern Irish to me.

No, no, no. It's high 'Oirish' Leprechaun and was absolutely painful for me to listen to as a Northern Irish person.
posted by knapah at 2:06 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


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