With the placing, stakes, and essential players now launched, this week’s Star Trek: Picard is tasked with preserving momentum and including some new wrinkles to the season’s ongoing thriller. Although certainly a “middle chapter,” “Watcher” is nevertheless a solid episode that gives just about every member of the ensemble anything enjoyment to do and highlights a single specially thrilling guest star. At the same time, my personalized viewing working experience was hindered for the dorkiest reason — inconsistent continuity with a Up coming Generation episode from 30 decades ago.
In final week’s episode, Dr. Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill) plugged her thoughts into the ailing Borg Queen and extracted two urgent parts of data. Now, the group is familiar with that they have only 3 times to prevent a catastrophic change to their timeline, and they have the coordinates to somebody identified as a “watcher” who can assist them on their quest. The coordinates direct Picard to a bar in Los Angeles that has been owned and operated by his friend Guinan for generations. There, he finds a youthful Guinan (now portrayed by Ito Aghayere) packing her things and closing up shop. Fed up with our planet’s mounting social injustice, Guinan programs to depart humanity behind for excellent. Picard assumes that Guinan is the “watcher” he’s been hunting for, and tries to influence her to continue to be and assistance conserve humanity’s upcoming. But, from Guinan’s point of view, Picard is a stranger, a unusual old person who claims to be from the foreseeable future but refuses to even give his title.
Here’s the point: no matter how you look at the timeline, Guinan and Picard have by now achieved. A person hundred and 30 many years earlier, in the Upcoming Era two-parter “Time’s Arrow,” a 24th century Picard and a 19th century Guinan operate jointly to prevent malevolent aliens from wiping out humanity. This begins a paradox that leads to their deep bond, which they both of those explain as “beyond friendship.” It’s a vital instant in their marriage, and offered that Star Trek: Picard typically revels in callbacks to Trek’s earlier, this uncharacteristic shrug to continuity produced this subplot a little bit irritating to enjoy. “Time’s Arrow” may not have created the identical cultural stamp as the oft-referenced “The Very best of Equally Worlds,” but it continue to counts, and it’s right there on the Paramount+ app for curious viewers to look at out. It’s also the tale that establishes that Guinan employed to live on Earth posing as a human, anything that is acknowledged as presented in “Watcher.” So are we meant to try to remember “Time’s Arrow” or are not we?
Compounding the issue this episode’s several winks to other older episodes and movies. The punk on the bus is the very same male from The Voyage Dwelling. Guinan donates her possessions to the 21st Street Mission, which shares a name with Edith Keeler’s shelter in “The City on the Edge of Without end.” There are several references to Picard’s favored pulp detective Dixon Hill, a newspaper headline that namechecks the tech mogul from “Past Tense,” and a pavilion named for the inventor of Nomad from “The Changeling.” The storytellers place in all of these mnemonic cues to remind us of other episodes, but overlook the a person which is applicable to the story we’re presently looking at. Even soon after Picard lastly reveals his title to Guinan, she seems to identify it not from individual working experience, but in relationship to the mystery of the Watcher — there’s no indication that Guinan recalls that he’s the male who saved her lifetime in the 19th century and whose friendship she’ll seek out out in the future.
If you are unaware of this continuity snafu, however, Picard and Guinan’s scenes with each other are pretty effective. Ito Aghayere provides a diverse electricity to Guinan, an exhaustion with lifestyle in a crumbling society in which she suffers unjust hardship mainly because of her pores and skin coloration. Guinan succinctly outlines our planet’s overarching ills in language that we’ve all read just before, but with the additional irritation of a being who is aware superior than any one born on this world that it does not have to be like this. She provides a monologue on humanity’s self-destruction as preachy as any Star Trek speech, but with this sort of passion and sincerity that it functions. (It is also as succinct a summary of our contemporary challenges as you’ll discover everywhere.) As Guinan, Aghayere does not confine herself to executing a Whoopi Goldberg impression, but there are times (like when she’s sitting in her truck with Picard) when her system language and cadence are stunningly familiar.
Across town, Raffi and 7 find out that Rios has been arrested by ICE and is getting held pending deportation. Concerned that Rios may possibly shortly vanish into some remote detention facility, they steal a cop car and established off to rescue him, all the although pursued by the LAPD. Michelle Hurd and Jeri Ryan have settled into a buddy cop rhythm, with Raffi forged as the reckless hothead and 7 her by-the-e book foil. Incorporate in their unresolved passionate friction, and you get a textbook but entertaining dynamic. The vehicle chase by itself is firmly “good enough for Tv set,” a novelty considering that you rarely see a car chase on Star Trek. It does not offer any serious jeopardy, but it does give Raffi and 7 an justification to bicker like a married few in a sitcom. By the conclude of the episode, they’ve escaped pursuit and are making ready to spring Rios from ICE custody.
“Watcher” outlines the wide strokes of what tends to make ICE so terrifying — that the persons they arrest can drop proper off the map — but there is no hint at any of the even more, additional monstrous abuses that the agency is alleged to have enabled or participated in. Rios’ brief time in custody doesn’t begin to talk the scale or scope of the evil which is been accomplished in the identify of “protecting our borders,” even though this could be a tale benefit to safeguard our figures from an extremely hard preference. Rios’ shipmates constantly remind each and every other to secure the timeline and “watch out for butterflies.” Springing a busload of detainees (which appears to be Raffi’s rescue approach) could be a little something they can get absent with, but an complete detention middle may well create also a great deal of a ripple in area-time, and no one wishes to see their Television set heroes transform their backs on people today in require.
Across the globe in France, Dr. Agnes Jurati has stayed powering to deal with La Sirena, which indicates she’s on your own in the organization of our villain-in-a-box, the Borg Queen. The Queen proceeds toying with Jurati, making an attempt to exploit her insecurities and convince her to grant her more obtain to the ship’s techniques. Jurati turns the tables, as soon as once more tricking the Queen into assisting the mission when giving her nothing in return. Although I lamented very last 7 days that the Borg Queen is basically a really verbose punching bag, I’m getting her ongoing struggle of wills with Jurati to be a person of the season’s a lot more interesting threads. Again on Voyager, Janeway or 7 of 9 would greatest the Queen and that would be the stop of the story. In this serialized context, her defeats feel like they’re building towards something. This conflict is also encouraging us to get to know Jurati much better, and understand alongside with the Queen that she’s not to be trifled with.
The episode closes with a pair of activity-switching reveals. Initial, Guinan sales opportunities Picard to satisfy the genuine watcher, a remaining still left on Earth in buy to safeguard the destiny of a selected person. Right after speaking with her by way of a amount of telepathically-borrowed bodies, we see that the watcher’s true type is that of Laris (Orla Brady), sporting rounded human ears and a incredibly terrible angle. We’re still left to ponder what this revelation suggests for the Laris we know. Is she the identical becoming, residing undercover as a previous Romulan spy? Is Picard about to start out a further critical marriage out of sequence with linear time? 2nd, we look at in with Q as he attempts to use his powers to induce panic in an unsuspecting human, and she chuckles to herself instead. This is even more proof that Q is suffering from some form of ailment that is impacting his powers as perfectly as his disposition. Q’s experiment also happens to choose place around the workplaces of the Europa Mission, with Q putting on the project’s insignia on his coat. Is he just actively playing costume-up, as normal, or has he taken on a new identification and turn out to be actively concerned in the mission? With 6 episodes remaining, there is still a bit of runway for adding new thoughts prior to we start having some solutions.