The journey of identity for most is not an easy one. It is marked by trepidation and a sense of uneasiness. Within the structure of “Star Trek: Picard”, it can be a two-edged sword. With the episode, “An Impossible Box”, Jean Luc Picard returns to a Borg Cube. This is the one we have seen in previous episodes and it is a crux point at which the focal point of what the Romulans are searching for and what Picard is uncovering collide. The path of Soji, who is the other half of a twin that Picard encountered on Earth, becomes more clear through the element of self-awareness. While the audience has watched her being manipulated both through emotion, paranoia and ultimately love, the aspect of awakening is an interesting construct. One scene in particular using a very simple technical plot device makes it all the more disillusional for Soji.
The interesting structure of this episode is in the way it is built, the audience watches Soji become more and more comfortable and yet when we see Picard approaching this space, he is becoming more and more undone. This aspect of Picard is one not seen too much, which is part of the allure for Stewart. Duality and the Id are mentioned distinctly in the episode. At one point, he stares at a reflection of his earlier self in the screen and it is quite Shakespearean for sure. While revealing more about the episode would reveal spoilers, the idea of inherent memory plays into every facet of this story, whether it is Picard revisiting an old life or Soji seeing a memory which undeniably speaks to a line William Riker uttered in the first minutes of the first episode of “The Next Generation.” Everything is connected, even to the breaking point of sacrifice. While some choices may be easily arrived at, the path is less black and white. The gray especially in a sequence walking through what might seem like a field hospital reflects in what identity in terms of life truly means.
By Tim Wassberg