The Picard series started as a slow burn, but with each passing episode the pacing and the stakes increase. Star Trek does not traditionally focus on just the story arc. Instead it intersperses episodes that are more formulaic. But with Picard the creators Akiva Goldsman, Michael Chabon, Kirsten Beyer and Alex Kurtzman proof Star Trek can do this as well. This episode Star Trek Picard S01E06 “The Impossible Box” has been one of the most enjoyable episodes of Star Trek in its entire history. I feel Discovery could take a lesson or two.
The aftermath of Freecloud
In the aftermath of events on Freecloud Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Agnes (Alison Pill) discuss what needs to happen next. Picard knows the remaining android twin created by Maddox, Soji, is on an abandoned Borg cube known as the artifact. They hypothesize this is done on purpose by Maddox. Maddox was obsessed with finding what happened to the Androids that destroyed Mars. Somehow he believed sending Soji to the Borg Reclamation Project would uncover part of the mystery. However, gaining access to the Borg cube is easier said than done. The Reclamation Project as supervised by Hugh was arranged by treaty, but visitors other than scientists are forbidden. In a hilarious scene we see Rafi manipulate an old Starfleet colleague into obtaining diplomatic credentials for the ‘old man’.
That said, the consequences of what happened on Freecloud linger on. Agnes is still dealing with the loss of Maddox, who was more than just a close friend. She actually ends up being in an intimate scene with Rios all the while admitting that that is a mistake as well. Picard feels more than just anticipation with regards to the Borg cube – he feels dread. Going though the files of the Reclamation Project he finds an image of when he was Locutus – and nearly destroyed mankind. In this moment Picard’s age starts to show and his decision to take with him Elnor as a bodyguard starts to make sense. Yet, the person worst off in this episode is Rafi, who has started drinking heavily after her rapprochement to her son was rebuffed.
Narek and Soji
On the Borg cube Narek continuous his subtle manipulation of Soji. By sowing doubt as to whether she is real or an android he hopes to control her dreams. While dreaming Soji’s doubts are reconciled, this is a mechanism created by Maddox. Narek and Narissa hope to gain access to the homeworld where Soji was created. Soji starts investigating her own pasts and discovers every item she owns is no older than 37 months. Instead Narek suggests her memories might have been tampered with to turn her into an agent. Using a secretive Romulan ceremony Narek coaxes Soji into revealing herself as an android as well as the location of the laboratory she was created. Narek leaves by locking her into the room and activating a radiation device to kill her. However, Soji manages to beat her way through the floor to another part of the Borg cube.
Picard, Locutus and Hugh
Picard initial arrival on the cube brings back flashbacks of his time as Locutus. The reunion with Hugh that follows is one of the most heartwarming moments of the series so far. Hugh reveals what the Reclamation Project does – reintegrating former Borg drones into society. This little tour gives Picard a much needed bump in confidence. Actor Jonathan Del Arco‘s portrayal of Hugh is especially praise worthy. The slower pace of the Picard series compared to Discovery pays off with worthwhile drama and characters development.
Eventually Hugh and Picard arrive at Soji’s quarters, finding it ransacked. Hugh locates Soji and they attempt to help, with the Romulan guard in pursuit. Inside the queen’s chamber Hugh activates a time displacement device with the intent of sending Picard and Soji to a save time and place. At this moment Elnor arrives and fends of Romulan guard. Picard and Soji flee through the portal leaving Elnor and Hugh to face the wrath of the Romulans.
Conclusion to Star Trek Picard S01E06
This episode of Picard, Star Trek Picard S01E06 The Impossible Box, sets the series into even higher gear – something every episode has managed so far. The culmination of the story between Narek and Soji rewarded the viewer amply. I was starting to feel it could not go anywhere soon, but I am glad it was resolved. I hope we will see more of Narek. He is such a tormented soul. I have no doubt he will have to choose between his sister and Soji.
Picard’s forced confrontation with the Borg was another high point of this episode. The build-up throughout the episode was palpable. I am glad Hugh managed to help Picard overcome his past with the Borg. It was a good use of a past character to deal with past events. Now that the Picard series has managed to find solid ground I am highly anticipating the next episode Nepenthe. Come back for that review next week.