There are many types of two-part stories, but there are two that are the most common. One is the type where each part is a complete story with a beginning, middle, and end, but the two are related, and the events of Part 2 are dictated by the events of Part 1. A good popular example of this would be the two most recent Avengers movies, Infinity war and End of Game.
The second is what we get from “Et in Arcadia Ego”, namely, a single story split in two. In these situations, Part 1 is often difficult to review because it is almost completely configured. However, I can say that part 1 of PicardThe two-part season finale of is, to say the least, a good setup.
When I saw Brent Spiner listed as a special guest star for this episode, I was worried. Data’s cameo in Picard’s opening dream sequence in “Memory”Was a nice touch, but it lasted just long enough to be justifiable and more would have been disastrous. Plus, Spiner has aged considerably over two decades (and was really already too old to play Data when Nemesis came out eighteen years ago), and while technology has obscured it to a point, it wouldn’t stand to stick around for very long.
There was another option, however, and I was amused to see the show take it. In addition to Data, Spiner had four other roles in the franchise: Lore, Data’s evil twin, introduced in “Datalore“And disabled in the”Descent” in two parts; B-4, the Data and Lore prototype, introduced in Nemesis, and also seen dismantled in “Remembrance”; Noonian Soong, creator of Data, in “Brothers“(Alongside Lore), and reviewed as a dream image and holographic recording in”birthright part 1” and “Heritage, “respectively; and Arik Soong, the ancestor of Noonian, in the Business in three parts “Borderland” / “Cold Station 12” / “Les Augments”.
This episode adds a fifth, and it is in the continuity of the others: Altan Inigo Soong, the son of Noonian. (Although not mentioned, his mother is likely Noonian’s wife, Juliana O’Donnell, established in “Legacy.” I also assume that her middle name is a tribute to the swordsman of The princess to marry, and if it doesn’t, I don’t care, because in my head it is, then there, nyah nyah.)
The revelation works, as Noonian was a lonely scientist who liked to keep secrets, and that was clear in “Datalore,” “Schizoid man“,” Brothers “and” Legacy “that Data had no significant knowledge of his father’s life in his positronic brain, just second-hand settlers’ accounts of Omicron Ceti, and they clearly didn’t know much about him, really.
And Altan Soong follows in the family business, as he worked with Bruce Maddox at the Coppelius station on Ghurion IV, which we learn is the home of Soong and a whole bunch of synths, and is the planet with two red moons that Soji remembered in “The impossible box. “The other synths on Coppélius, however, don’t look human like the Asha sisters do. Instead, they look more like Data, with golden skin and yellow eyes, including Sutra, who looks like to Dahj and Soji (and is also played by Isa Briones, who now plays up to three different roles in the series, though she’s still only halfway through Santiago Cabrera’s six).
The crew arrives through a Borg transdistortion conduit (i.e. Traveler didn’t destroy the entire network in “Endgame” or the Borg managed to rebuild it), arriving in front of the Romulan fleet, which will arrive instead just in time for the end of Part 1 to keep us going. for part 2.
When they arrive, Jurati is surprised that they aren’t at Deep Space 12 where she needs to go. Instead, she’s at where Maddox ran away. She’s pretty much out of the woods at this point – she says she now regrets killing Maddox and that she’s messy and was not in her common sense, and all kinds of other bullshit. The best Soong can find in response to the discovery that her friend and colleague has been killed by her former lover is to say, I’m not kidding, “Shame on you.”
It’s pretty much all of my goodwill to Last week, for it looks like Jurati will escape his crimes without punishment, pursuing a long Trek tradition of opening credits to regulars who do not face the consequences of their actions (“The menagerie, “Operation – Annihilate!” The final frontier, “Brothers,” “The die is cast, to name just five examples). She is doing penance, in a way, helping Soong with an android “golem”, with the intention of making him a receptacle for someone’s personality. We have already seen this technology, in “What are little girls made of?“”Me, Mudd, “Back to tomorrow“,” The Schizoid Man “and” Legacy “, but no one knew how the androids of Exo III or Mudd’s Planet actually worked, the abilities of the people of Sargon were way above everyone’s heads, and Ira Graves and Noonian Soong have both revealed their secrets on how to transfer a personality to their graves. Altan Soong wants to transfer his mind into a synth body even as his body ages rapidly.
Soong is not the only one facing his mortality. La Sirena is forcibly brought back to Ghulion IV by Coppélius’ “orchids”, giant flowers that engulf a ship, deactivate it and bring it back to the surface. He doesn’t just do it with La Sirena, but also with Narek’s ship, which followed them through the Transdistortion hub, and in a way with the Borg Cube, which Seven of Nine brought in to help save the day, and only had to ‘partial success. Still, the Cube is being repaired, and it is suspected that Seven, the surviving xBs, and Elnor will play an important role in the battle royale next week as this week’s events unfold.
But the big news after the crash landing is when Jurati examines Picard and discovers the brain disease that is killing Picard. “All the good things …”Had a version of Picard twenty-five years into the future of this episode (which is also four years into the past of this episode) suffering from irumodic syndrome, which is, basically, spatial Alzheimer’s disease. While the syndrome is not named, it is evident that there is a version of it in this timeline as well. It informs the rest of La Sirenaof the crew that he is dying and makes it clear that he refuses to be treated any differently. (Hearing the usually unruffled Jean-Luc Picard state that “Anyone who treats me like a dying person is at risk of getting on my nerves” is also the crowning glory of the episode.)
We are also learning more about the warning. The reason this makes Romulan minds beat is because it’s not for organic brains, it’s for synthetic brains. This is a message from a colloquium of synthetic beings who keep an eye on synthetic life throughout the universe, and will come running if summoned. The synths on Coppélius plan to do this and then remove the organic substances that would destroy them.
This discovery that synths are evil is disappointing, although I’m willing to wait and see what Sutra’s full plan is before making a final judgment. (That’s the challenge of revisiting the first part of a two-part episode, although that’s also a problem usually with criticism of a heavily serialized show. Cha cha cha.) Sutra turns out to be pretty awful, because she frees Narek and allows him to kill one of the synths so that Sutra can then use his death for propaganda purposes to rally Soong and the synths (which is totally the name of my next band) to his idea of calling them big evil overlords of synths and kill organics.
Contrary to that, Picard tries to rally the synths to his side with a classic Picard speech, but he is completely undermined by Soong. I have to think Spiner really enjoyed being the one to break through the Picard posture here. The promise to stand up for synths and convince the Federation to overturn the ban and defend them against the Romulans is completely overturned by Soong reminding everyone that Picard is not exactly on good terms with the Federation these days- ci, and it has already failed to do so. convince them to save the Romulan refugees. Plus, he can’t even contact Starfleet, though it’s unclear if the Romulans are jamming the transmissions or if the synths are.
And so we end the episode with Picard under house arrest, the fate of Narek unknown, Musiker and Rios fixing up La Sirena unaware that their synthesizer friends are no longer friendly, Jurati helping Soong complete his work, Seven of Nine leading a gang of xB and Elnor to repair their cube, and Commodore Oh leading a fleet of 218 Romulan ships to Ghurion IV to blow them up from the sky.
It’s going to be a hell of a final …
Keith RA DeCandido love that this episode uses the name ka’athyra refer to the vulcan lyre that we’ve seen Spock, Uhura, and Tuvok play at various times. It was first used in Margaret Wander Bonanno’s novel Inhabitants of the crucible in 1985 and has been used regularly in related fiction since, including by Keith in his 2009 novel A singular destiny. Stuff like that makes Keith’s nerdy heart beat faster.