Picard Season 2, Episode 9: “Hide and Seek” Review

***Spoiler Alert***

Someone in the writers’ room of Star Trek: Picard, Season 2 came up with a cool idea: a Rambo-esque action set piece with guns blazing and explosions, and at the center of it all, the main character is an 80-year-old actor who has trouble catching his breath.

What is wrong here? Do the writers understand what Star Trek is or was? A lot of millennials have maligned star Trek because it is boring. Guess what. They are not wrong. Comic book-style action setpieces, grotesque violence, and long, strung-out serialized story arcs, those very things that seem to appeal to younger demographics, are not what Star Trek is built on. Yet, this show, titled after the character that would rather talk his way out of situations and stand up for all that is right, has gone back to these things—hoping against hope to keep the attention of younger audiences while using character names to win back the folks that grew up with them. Remember the first season scene where a man was screaming after his eyeball was ripped from its socket, and it was all shown on screen. This might be cool in a horror movie, even welcome, but this kind of storytelling is not what Star Trek is. Nor is having soldiers and laser scopes and explosions, as this latest episode has. All of the action occurs at night, with everything lit by a soft blue light. The interior of the chateau and the crashed nearby spaceship look essentially the same, and the producers are fine with not allowing the viewers’ eyes to distinguish the difference. They do a lot of green lasers (for the scopes of modern weapons the Borg have decided to use) and blue lasers (which Tallinn pulls out of her futuristic bag of tricks.

So the show’s title character is Jean-Luc Picard, a character who is known for diplomacy. Yet, the penultimate episode of the season has him mixed up in a massive firefight, where there is little he can do but take cover in the catacombs of the chateau. Why not write a story where his greatest assets, speaking and diplomacy, would actually come in handy? Even worse, the character has a close history with the Borg. He was once part of the Collective and closely interacted with the Borg Queen. In this episode, the Borg Queen is reformed with simply a great speech (that’s all it took?), but the person responsible for that speech is not Picard, but Jurati, a character none of the fans like at all? Picard does little in this episode except to connect the dots about his childhood trauma, which seems to do nothing but pad out the show’s runtime and has nothing at all to do with all the action.

Like all serialized stories, we won’t really know if they threw away all the ideas until we see the final episode of the season, which is next week, but I guess they introduced a childhood trauma because the show is called Picard. How nice.

It’s also nice that Rios can get away from all this gunfire with Theresa and her son, but like any hero, he wants to get back to the action and help. How this happens is the result of shoddy editing: the Borgified mercenaries can shoot Picard at any moment, and then we cut to a two-minute scene of Rios figuring out how to transport himself back to the action, and yet somehow, the mercenaries didn’t fire, and Rios beams to exactly where Picard and the mercenaries were? Really?

Why not talk about the ending? In the last five minutes, Renee Picard is mentioned again, but it’s been a few episodes since we even heard about that character. So I guess Picard and his team will find in the next episode as the Borg Queen (who is also Jurati, takes the La Serena into the Delta Quadrant to create more Borgs (only this time, they will be “good” Borgs, I guess?).

This series is not really Star Trek, save in name only with the science fiction is just warmed-over cliches mixed with comic book action. The characters simply exist to move from plot point to plot point, and the charm that was the hallmark of past Star Trek shows. That notion of exploration and doing what’s right has been replaced by violence, gunfire, and a few speeches here and there that pay mere lip service to the past Trek. However, we still have one more episode to see if it will come together.

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