November 25, 2020

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Star Trek Picard S01E07 Nepenthe - William Riker

Star Trek Picard S01E07 “Nepenthe” Review

Star Trek Picard S01E07 Nepenthe - William Riker

Star Trek Picard S01E07 “Nepenthe” starts as it should. Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Soji travel to Nepenthe through the Borg beaming projector operated by Hugh. There they arrive at the home of the William T. Riker (Jonathan Frakes), Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) and their daughter Kestra. For nearly half of the episode we see the three former Enterprise crew members catch-up on memories. Both bitter and sweet. It is a delight to see how Will and Deanna managed to create such full lives beyond their service in Starfleet. Inevitably the conversation around Will’s pizza making efforts return to Soji. Both Deanna and Will quickly learn on their own that she is an Android – or Synth if we use the parlance of this series.

Star Trek Picard S01E07 Nepenthe - Jean-Luc smells the basil

Jean-Luc is forced to admit to both Deanna and Will he is totally out of his depth. Fleeing to Nepenthe was more instinctive than wisdom and it is something he regrets as it puts their family at risk. A considerable amount of time is spent detailing the lives Will and Deanna have built up. They have a daughter Kestra, who spends much of her time hunting in the woods. They also had a son named Thad who died of mendaxic neurosclerosis. A particular point was made that his death could have been prevented had positronic circuity been allowed to be developed. Will deduces that they are being followed by the Tal Shiar, and Picard promises Deanna he and Soji will leave so as to not endanger their family.

Star Trek Picard S01E07 Nepenthe - Kestra

A respite before the season’s final act

Ultimately, their stay at the Troi-Riker’s allow Picard and Soji a brief respite, and to get to know each other better. Despite the numerous references of either Will or Deanna joining Picard on his quest I feel that will have to wait until next season. The story concludes over a candlelit pizza dinner. Picard mentions the impossible odds but Kestra helps them out by using her tech skills to deduce where the planet is Soji was created. After a hearty talk between Picard and Will Riker the former has again the courage to continue his latest adventure. All told, this was a worthwhile interlude before the story inextricably moves towards the conclusion of the season.

Star Trek Picard S01E07 Nepenthe - Deanna Troi

Sadly not everything about this episode was perfect. The events that played out on the Borg cube and Captain Rios’s ship La Sirena were confusing at best. At worst, they were outright disappointing. In the aftermath of the escape of Picard and Soji to Nepenthe Hugh is captured by Narissa. Elnor somehow was able to escape. Next we see Narissa execute Borg drone’s to force Hugh to give up the destination of Picard and Soji, only to leave him behind when he refuses to talk. It’s an inconsistenty that permeates the secondary plot of this episode. Near the end of the episode High and Elnor have their showdown with Narissa – with the death of Hugh as a consequences. It is a disappointing departure of one of the best characters of this season.

Star Trek Picard S01E07 Nepenthe - Soji

Confusing story arc

Meanwhile Rios is attempting to escape the Borg cube but is held back by a tractor beam. It is only when Narek takes possession of a Romulan scout ship that the Sirena is let go. Despite a that comment it may have been on purpose nothing is done to shake of any pursuers. These arbitrary moments come over as a sloppy writing in a season that has so far been very rigidly written. Another confusing story arc is that of Agnes. From the beginning of the episode we see her becoming depressed. The death of Bruce Maddox and the disappearance of Picard and Soji appears to have made her despondent. However, the viewer cannot help think there is more to it than that.

Star Trek Picard S01E07 Nepenthe - Hugh dies

At the beginning of the episode we see how the conversation between her and Commodore Oh went that took place early in the season. The latter is pretty much aware of everything Agnes has been up to. She even forces a mind-meld unto Agnes, attempting to show her the consequences of what a Synth revolution would look like. She also forces Agnes to eat a tracking device. This revelation completely upends the storyline so far. It may also explain why Agnes tried to commit suicide. I like to think of this sudden twist as a positive development, but the way it brought was with too much confusion.

Star Trek Picard S01E07 Nepenthe - Elnor finds the Fenris Rangers badge

Beyond Star Trek Picard S01E07

Star Trek Picard will be back next week with the episode “Broken Pieces. This was my review of Star Trek Picard S01E07 “Nepenthe”. I hoped you enjoyed reading it. Feel free to comment on the events of this episode below, or if you want, subscribe to this blog by filling in the box on the right.