Star Trek Picard Season 2.2 Penance

“In Star Trek: Picard Season 2.2 you’ll enjoy a rollercoaster ride of Star Trek awesomeness that feels hauntingly familiar. But more unsettling than anything we’ve seen in the franchise so far!”

With last week’s thrilling debut episode fading into memory, it’s time to reunite with Patrick Stewart in Star Trek: Picard Season 2.2. Having left Jean-Luc face-to-face with his longtime adversary, all eyes are on Picard to uncover the extent of Q’s meddling in current affairs. But with the premiere episode delivering Star Trek at its best, can the second episode build upon its brilliance and propel the series forward with a fresh dose of impulse power?

Of course, it can. Episode 2 expertly builds upon last week’s game-changing episode and explores more of Q’s meddling in time, space, and reality. And although this episode spent the majority of its time unraveling the extent of Q’s intervention, what transpires proves to be pivotal for Jean-Luc and his crew.

Star Trek Picard Season 2.2

PENANCE OR ATONEMENT

The episode kicks off with Jean-Luc confronting Q and learning the extent of his intervention. But Q has changed. This is not the being from “Encounter At Farpoint” or “All Good Things”. This version of Q is tired; withdrawn, and prone to uncharacteristic outbursts which comes as a shock for both Jean-Luc and viewers alike. Outraged that Q has reignited their gamesmanship of past encounters, Picard demands an end to the games, but Q is in no mood to oblige. The Q Continuum has one more test for the former captain of the Enterprise. And as is always the case, Jean-Luc is presented with the choice of penance or atonement. But atonement for what?

After refusing to partake in Q’s latest venture, Jean-Luc is left to explore the extent of the new world he finds himself in. Old friends are no more, the Federation has morphed into the Confederation of Earth, and nothing is as it should be. Moreover, Picard himself is no longer the peacekeeping explorer we know and love, replaced by the barbaric General Picard. A cruel dictator that would make the mirror universe Kirk blush! And a landmark event is penciled into his diary that fills his heart with dread…something called Eradication Day!

SEVEN AWAKENS 

With Jean-Luc coming to terms with his new reality, Seven of Nine awakens in strange surroundings. Her Borg implants are gone, and all the trappings of her rebellious life have been stripped away. Replaced by the regal robes of the powerful and the cruel. And sadly, she isn’t alone. One by one her colleagues from the Star Gazer awaken in strange surroundings. And as they begin to explore the depravity of their new reality; they soon discover that all roads lead back to what was once Starfleet Academy. A prestigious facility that has now been rebranded as the capital of the Confederation of Earth. And hidden in the depths of the facility is an old foe that will fill their hearts with fear.

Star Trek Picard Season 2.2

SACRIFICE

Episode 2 quickly reverts to formula and follows the cast as they begin to uncover their roles in this new reality. And as the episode progresses, the revelations become all the more shocking and perverse. Even going as far as elaborating on General Picard’s slaughter of several key pillars of Star Trek lore. It’s harrowing to watch, especially when famous names are sacrificed to propel the story along. But it hammers home the true harshness of the new reality they find themselves in.

RESISTANCE

What follows is a daunting exploration of this new reality and Picard’s determination to find an escape route from it. Surprisingly, a potential solution comes from an unlikely source. One that will send chills down the spines of Trek fans everywhere. And the episode presents us with a dilemma where an enemy of the enemy becomes a friend. Albeit a cruel one. It’s a tentative alliance, one that may have brutal repercussions moving forward. But that’s all part of the fun.

At times, the episode is dark and harrowing, at others, it’s jaw-droppingly good. But as the episode comes to a close, we are left desperate to find out what happens next, and that is the mark of a great series. And let’s face it, anything involving Q and Picard is Star Trek gold.

THE CAST

As mentioned in last week’s review, the strength of this series rests on the shoulders of its cast. And as always, Patrick Stewart is steadfast in his breathtaking performance as Picard. And his repartee with John de Lancie’s Q is an absolute delight. Both have picked up where they left off in “All Good Things” and their reconnection is seamless. Jeri Ryan adds new layers to Seven of Nine, Michelle Hurd’s Raffi Musiker comes into her own, and Alison Pill’s Dr. Agnes Jurati keeps the story grounded. And often cuts through the tension with her no-nonsense, sarcastic tack.

But sadly, my praise of the showrunners in the liberation of Santiago Cabrera’s Captain Rios from his backseat driver’s position was short-lived. Unfortunately, Captain Rios finds himself banished to the background once again. Gone is the prestige of Captaining the Star Gazer. Instead, he is jettisoned back to the well-worn Captain’s chair on the bridge of the La Sirena; where he spent the majority of season one. It’s such a missed opportunity. And the character deserves better than reverting to type and being sidelined to a bit-part role.  Hopefully, the character is rewarded with a greater role in the coming weeks. But it’s an alarming trait and an unwelcome one at that.

VERDICT

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this week’s episode. Not only does it give Patrick Stewart and John de Lancie time to rekindle their onscreen relationship, but it adds another dimension to an already iconic duo. And that alone is enough to have Trek fans grinning from ear to ear. You can tell both actors are delighted to be back on screen together and that euphoria oozes through the screen like a turbo-charged transporter beam. Their repartee is infectious and I cannot wait to see more as the series unfolds.

Even though this episode slows the pace down after last week’s breathtaking season premiere, there’s still plenty for fans to chew over. And once again, the gluttony of easter eggs will send fans into delirium. So far, this series has tipped its hat to all of its predecessors, and this episode is no exception. And I defy any fan that doesn’t get a chill down their spine when the iconic music of the great Jerry Goldsmith arrives to stick the landing in true Star Trek fashion.

Click your fingers and set a course for adventure with Q and Picard. You’ll smile and you’ll scowl. But more importantly, you’ll enjoy a rollercoaster ride of Star Trek awesomeness that feels hauntingly familiar. But more unsettling than anything we’ve seen in the franchise so far. And that alone makes this episode a must-see.

Engage!

 

Star Trek: Picard Season 2 is streaming on Paramount+ in the United States, and on CTV Sci-Fi Channel and Crave in Canada. Outside of North America, the series is available on Amazon Prime Video.

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