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IR TV Review: PICARD – EPISODE 6 (“The Impossible Box”) [CBS All Access]

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.

B+

By Tim Wassberg

IR TV Review: PICARD – EPISODE 3 (“The End Is The Beginning”) [CBS All Access]

The progression of a mission is related in the basis of where a trail leads. At this point in the Picard build of its series, the idea becomes one of mythology and the idea of what is being unfurled in terms of a focus. After forming the texture of a would-be conspiracy and keying Picard out of a self-imposed exile, the pieces seem to start fitting. The texture though leaves a slight hole in how Picard’s pride intensifies his removal. It also speaks as to why we don’t see more of The Next Generation crew. It is based in the essence of hubris. The people he does recruit either are in age of him or see a certain texture of his fans. The McGuffin that is swirling in the background within “The End Is The Beginning” points to something deeper and sinister which remains to be seen. It all leaps back in a sense to what Data might be planning from beyond. The essence of this also gives rise to a possibility of Lore is some way though that is never mentioned. The leaving of Earth is inevitable but in staying outside the lines, it becomes a guerrilla mission which we have not seen Picard undertake before. For a character known for regulations and yet an awareness of breaking the line, the path of resistance seems clear. Yet there is mystery, The series hasn’t reached its tipping point of intrigue yet. It is still finding that identity but in Episode 3, it is not quite clear yet what the true path is.

B-

By Tim Wassberg

IR TV Review: PICARD – EPISODE 1 (“Remembrance”) [CBS All Access]

The essence of continuation is always an interesting progression. The ideal with certain ideas is how do you make it different than what has come before. In the structure of the first episode of the new CBS All Access series “Picard” entitled “Remembrance”, it takes a well known persona within the Star Trek pantheon and gives him a different perception. In an age that is much different from The Next Generation where the vision of Trek is darker, finding the right balance while not offending the die hards is tricky considering the recent blowback in the Star Wars universe. This pilot harks back through a little bit of IDW’s recent Picard comics which paints what happened to Picard during a Romulan refugee crisis. The interesting structure is that this story takes place in the Prime timeline which is the one the Chris Pine-led Star Trek takes place in which gives it leeway but also an interesting netherworld of detail…what happened and what it ultimately affected. The story of Nemesis and Data’s death still stand but time has given an interesting impact. This is of course what likely drew Stewart back having see the interesting progression, as he has said, of Logan where he played the aging Professor X.

Without giving too much away, the pilot sets up a McGuffin without relying too much if at all of previous Next Generation lore. But that said, the possibilities are endless. It relies though on the theory for years that Picard has been hiding in a way from himself or what he believes to be right. That creates a question, which is shown in a way in the comics, of what could have so fundamentally changed what he believes in. As the first episode ends, there is a connective tissue but it speaks back to an incident that undeniably changed Picard halfway through the Next Generation run. Where it progresses depends on the story dexterity and how much Stewart fundamentally wants to push the character since he has a say this time in the direction of the story. Time shall show.

A-

By Tim Wassberg

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