Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Star Trek: Picard -- Season 1 Episode 9 (Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1)


There were a lot of questions for the first season of Star Trek: Picard.  What is this impending AI apocalypse?  Will Soji be the one to end all organic life in the galaxy?  Where was this Zhat Vash when Control was taking over on Star Trek: Discovery?  At least some of these questions are answered in the two-part finale.

We don’t get a flashback here.  The story starts with Picard, Soji and the rest of the crew trying to land on Soji’s home planet.  Right behind them is Narek, the shady Romulan who was playing Soji for information.  Oh, and Seven of Nine actually brought the Borg Cube to help out, which is a nice touch.

Unfortunately, the androids have an impressive defensive system.  Giant flowers come up and disable the ships.  All three of them crash on the planet’s surface, including the Borg Cube.  It’s not a long walk, but they do have to walk and the Borg cube lands in the opposite direction from the android city.

First, Picard makes sure everyone is safe on the Cube.  I suppose it’s the decent thing to do and it gives him one more chance to be called Locutus.  Then, it’s off to Android City, where nearly everyone is dressed like something out of The Original Series.  The only notable exception is Dr. Altan Inigo Soong, son of Noonian Soong.  It was he who made the androids from Data.

The androids are advised of the impending attack by the Romulans.  Picard has already informed the Federation of this, as well, but there’s no promise that Starfleet will get there first.  There’s also not much that anyone can do.  Yes, the flowers took down a Cube, but there are two dozen of them.  The Romulan fleet is going to have 218 ships.  It’s not exactly a fair fight.

Also, one of the androids, Sutra, is able to do a mind meld with Dr. Jurati.  Jurati was shown the Admonition, which apparently didn’t drive her totally insane.  Sutra is able to view the Admonition and determine that it was meant for artificial life.  It’s not a warning to organic life, but rather a promise to artificial life.  The advanced AI race will protect artificial life by wiping out all organic life.

This sets the stage for Soji to build an antenna, as per the Admonition’s instructions, to call the advanced AI.  And we’re left with a more proper cliffhanger.  Picard is held prisoner in the house.  The Romulan fleet is coming.  Also, it’s not entirely clear if Starfleet got Picard’s message telling them where to go.

There were a few questions, like how Sutra was able to do a mind meld.   Before you get all giggly thinking of the Kama Sutra, it’s worth noting that Sutra is a Sanskrit word meaning discourse.  It would make sense that she’s the one to do the mind meld.  I suppose if we accept that Vulcans can do it, so could androids.  It’s also probably an issue of convenience.  The alternative would be having an android go get the Admonition directly.  It does make for a cleaner narrative.

One thing that always gets me is how fathers always look like their children.  It’s never the mothers.  At least here, I get that it’s a chance for Brent Spiner to have a decent role in the series.  He’s also stated reservations about playing Data, noting that years have passed since the movies.  Who am I to complain?  It is nice to see him again.

Something I noticed was that Irumodic Syndrome was never mentioned by name in the entire season.  Picard finally comes clean to the crew in this episode, but it’s always danced around.  Someone mentions something in his brain, but never what it is or could be.  I suppose there could be some copyright issue with whoever wrote the finale to The Next Generation.  I don’t know.  Anyway, Part II should be just interesting.


 

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