Oh, how I love a properly handled, well-drawn finale and Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 10 delivers in spades.
I also really like having a theory pan out and discovering that Data was, in fact, on Coppelius -- albeit only in consciousness form -- living in his little (quantum simulated) genie bottle was AWESOME.
Best of all was having Picard take the helm again and DO SOMETHING. He gives great speeches (and continues to do so here) but I was starting to worry he was always just going to watch everything happen.
If there are any weak spots in the excellence of the narrative, I'd have to point to Narek and Narissa but at least their scenes were exciting.
In fact, I was surprised that Narissa was still on The Artifact. I thought she'd joined the fleet when Seven went all Queen B on them.
Having Seven take out Narissa for killing Hugh was proper and satisfying karma. (I still would've liked to have seen Jurati get a hit in on Oh but that would've been a bit unrealistic, I guess).
HOWEVER, I'll point out that Narissa's used a personal teleporter TWICE in the past to escape to safety and we never saw a body after Seven dropkicked her butt over the ledge.
Sad Queen Annika. Six years old and all she got for her birthday was assimilated.Narissa
Not that she didn't deserve the kick and the drop.
And if she did go splat, I'm not going to miss her. Peyton List did a top-notch job of portraying her as not only creepy and dangerous, but weird creepy (ie. interactions with Narek) and chaotically dangerous.
Still, both Narek and Narissa seem to be characters of persistant survival so I don't think we've seen the last of either of them.
HOW they recur is potentially intriguing, given Narek's interest in synths on a personal level.
And of the many story elements left dangling, what became of Narek was one.
Did he just stay on Coppelius, possibly to face consequences for killing Saga?
Is he in the brig of La Sirena? Did he return to his quarters on The Artifact?
Another dangler was why Seven was just leaving with La Sirena and abandoning all the exBs and The Artifact on Coppelius.
Mind you, in theory, the synths of Coppelius may be the most accepting society the exBs could hope to make a home with and if anyone's gonna repair that cube, the synths have the tech to assist the exBs.
Could Coppelius become a planetary refuge where exBs could create a community and be recognized as individuals the way Hugh had dreamed?
(And, before anyone calls me on it, yes, I noticed the electrical storms that apparently only happen at night. Which, to be a stickler for semantics, defies the definition of "constantly" and is also a super weird climate trait.)
Rios: Go ahead. Throw it. I want to see what a photon torpedo can do at this range.
Narek: I have twelve wide-dispersion molecular solvent grenade canisters. I'm throwing ROCKS.
I'm with Elnor on the whole teaming up with Narek thing. As in, giving him the choice to live was too good for him.
Granted, they had to team up but Rios and Raffi were far more cooperative with the sneaky Romulan than I'd have predicted.
And, in the end, their plan went kaputs because Rios couldn't bring himself to throw the grenade at Soji when she wasn't looking.
Sweet, but not an effective tactic. Should've given Narek the ball.
The two most impressive pieces to this finale are epic and focussed, respectively.
At the epic end was the space battle with the Romulans.
With Picard and Jurati flying the Little Starship That Could, hiding behind orchids, and utilizing a variation of the Picard Maneuver to delay them, it was the interstellar mismatch of the eon.
If you figure out a way to get us out of this one, they'll name it after you. The Picard Maneuver. Wait, no. That's actually a thing, isn't it?Jurati
And when Starfleet arrived with Riker in (acting) command! I literally cheered.
I would paid good money to see that fleet stand-off on a movie screen. The cinematic sweep of this series has been absolutely breathtaking where it counts.
And as the head of the Romulan forces, Commodore/General Oh is the perfect villain for this scenario. She is fanatical, malicious, driven, and calculating.
However, she's also smart enough to recognize that when the immediate threat has been neutralized, it would be a misstep to start a direct fire fight with a Federation fleet.
The Tal Shiar are never about being direct, after all.
I honestly thought I was the worst secret agent ever but I'm starting to believe I may have a gift.Jurati
The other area in which this offering excelled was in how individual characters fine-tuned their relationships, motivations, and themselves.
For example, Jurati's sudden decisiveness and newfound self-confidence was a predictable but much-appreciated development in the character.
She hasn't exactly been the most trustworthy or consistent team member.
She's been a spy, a conspirator, a minion of the Zhat Vash, and -- in appearing to side with Soong and the synths when Picard was apprehended -- a turncoat.
There's also the whole issue of murdering Bruce Maddox. Not sure how she's allowed to just traipse off into the warp signature sunset making kissy-face with Rios.
Furthermore, between her nervous babbling and Elnor's absolute candor, conversations aboard La Sirena may prove to be TMI more often than not.
Say we do find a way to hold off the Romulans. We saved Soji. Now she and the golden children are free to call up the uber-synths and then VAPOR AND ASH, a galactic level biocidal event.Jurati
And speaking of Elnor, his personal growth since leaving Vashti is marked in his understanding of camaraderie and respect for others and yet he's every bit still the young Qowat Milat in his outlook and wonder.
His complete lack of artifice remains refreshing while providing humor with endearing naïveté.
Seven: I'm an exB. I have no home. I don't belong anywhere. Why not just put a phaser to my head and get it over with?
Elnor: Because I'd miss you.
His moment of grief with Raffi was incredibly moving. For the two of them -- individuals who have loved Picard with the most personal history and complicated emotion -- to be able to mourn together was perfectly fitting.
Not to detract from Seven and Rios' talk. Everyone mourns differently.
Rios: I said I would never do it again and then I fucking did it again.
Rios: Never again do what?
Seven: So many things. But, in this instance, never again kill somebody just because it's what they deserve. Just because it feels wrong for them to still be alive. You?
Rios: Never again let another self-righteous, hard-assed, old starship captain into my heart. Never again have to stand there and watch him die.
Seven: Was there anything you could've done to prevent it?
Rios: No, I guess there wasn't
Seven: Then I win.
And finally, Picard. What can be more defining and transformative than dying? Well, maybe resurrection.
His in-between-bodies sojourn in Data's quantum simulation was what made this more than a great episode.
Bringing his quest to put Data's memory to rest comes full circle here and make this a great finale.
When you think about it, it was never enough that Soji assured Picard that Data knew he loved him on Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 8.
It was nice but a ninety-four-year-old needs that sort of assurance from the source and who could've predicted that he'd ever get that?
Picard: Among the many, many things that I regretted after your death was that I never told you...
Data: That you love me. Knowing that you love me forms a small but statistically significant part of my memories. I hope that brings you some comfort, sir.
(Well, I did.)
And the theme that has driven this season to its heights has been the idea that life is precious and meant for living and doing and engaging with the world.
Yes, they have life but no one is teaching them what it's for. To be alive is a responsibility as well as a right.Picard
Earlier, Picard referred to his life at the chateau as "marking time" and here, he articulates the idea that life is more than consciousness.
Furthermore, Data's request for a termination to his consciousness is even more poignantly on-point.
Picard: You want to die.
Data: Not exactly, sir. I want to live, however briefly, knowing that my life is finite. Mortality gives meaning to human life, Captain. Peace, love, friendship. These are precious because we know they cannot endure. A butterfly that lives forever is really not a butterfly at all.
Oh, it was so very well-done.
Now, the possibilities for the future are truly overwhelming.
Who might we see next? Guinan's been invited to join them. Will it happen?
Will Raffi reconcile with her son now that she's been proven right? And how about that moment between her and Seven?
I'm not sure Soong's gonna just give up on immortality. He built one golem, he will probably build another.
And one other thing... he's had Data's consciousness kicking around in that simulation for decades (not unlike the Moriarty program on Star Trek: the Next Generation Season 6 Episode 12) but never thought to build him a new body?
Obviously, he's still a little hurt that Data was Noonian's favorite son.
Looking towards our next journey into the Star Trek verse with the imminent return of Star Trek: Discovery, did anyone else think the mech-tentacley A.I. creatures from another dimension looked rather familiar?
The Soongs can be, I believe the phrase is, 'an acquired taste'?Data
As you watch Star Trek: Picard online (over and over and over) while we wait for Season 2, I challenge you to try and imagine a more thoughtful, respectful, or intelligent return to the story of Jean-Luc Picard.
There were choices made here by the show's creators.
They chose to embrace the stories that came before.
They chose to include the characters we knew and loved.
They chose to tell a new, innovative, and meaningful story.
Soji: You choose if we live. You choose if we die. You choose. We have no choice. You organics have never given us one.
Picard: To say you have no choice is a failure of imagination.
And all I have to say at the end of this amazing start to the series is,"Thank you."
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.