Season 2, Episode 5: “Fly Me to the Moon”
OK, kids: The Word of the Day on this week’s “Picard” is Ancestor.
The newly discovered lineages of some very famous “Trek” characters appear more and more frequently in the storyline as this season progresses, not too different from what happened last season. This was an ongoing theme of the show – an in-depth exploration of how our personal and political history shapes the world we live in.
The Watcher – who looks like Laris but isn’t? – reveals that Renée Picard, Jean-Luc’s ancestor, is about to take off on a landmark spaceflight – the Europa mission – that indirectly leads to the first encounter with an extraterrestrial organism and the Federation as we know it. (Is it just me, or is that pretty much the plot of Star Trek: First Contact? If so, you’d think Picard would mention his earlier experiences going back in time to address a similar matter. ) The Guardian is a Guardian of the Galaxy type and also a Supervisor, a reference to the original series episode, “Task: Earth”, another classic time travel story.
Something else is not mentioned: Picard had a young nephew, René, who dies in Star Trek: Generations. He was probably named after Renée.
Picard is informed by The Watcher that she is “watching” Renée but is never seen. (A graduate of Milford Academy, It seems.) She is also responsible for protecting the tapestry of the universe, but somehow doesn’t make contact with her or apparently anyone else. (So what would you say you do it here?) She eerily follows Renée’s therapy sessions and it turns out her therapist is Q – with a German accent! (Some guards we have here. So good at observing and don’t realize there’s anything wrong with the doctor.)
To be honest, it was a bit daunting watching Picard and the crew try to control Renee’s fear so she can make the Europa flight. She really seems so worried that it’s not safe for her to take off. So why is it assumed that Q is wrong in telling her that she shouldn’t? How qualified is Jean-Luc to comment on Renée’s mental health in one way or another?
We meet another Soong played by Brent Spiner. Spiner is an actor of unlimited range – that he’s playing another of Data’s ancestors with a new twist is impressive. here is dr Soong a geneticist with a dying daughter. He conducts unsupervised, illegal genetic experiments on soldiers to save his daughter, who is not exposed to sunlight. The daughter appears to be the one after whom Soji and Dahj were created. It was a nice touch to get Isa Briones back on track. It’s easy to imagine a world where Data finds an ancient Soong to model his daughters after.
(Side note: The Soong appears to be the father of Arik Soong, whom we meet in Star Trek: Enterprise. If this episode is any indication, this will start generations of problematic genetics Engineering done by Soongp.)
But what is Q’s goal? That question has been a theme throughout the season. Here he seeks out this Soong to present him with a cure for his daughter. In return, he wants Soong to help him get rid of Picard. This seems like a strange approach. Although Q’s powers seem limited, he is still powerful enough to alter entire timelines. Logically, he shouldn’t need someone like Soong to achieve his goals unless they’re totally unexpected. The Warden brings this up herself, and Picard has no answer.
Here’s a thought: What if the 2024 event that changes the timeline isn’t Renée’s flight, but rather Q giving this Soong a genetic cure that didn’t exist before?
We also check into Operation Rescue Rios, where Rios is in a detention bus prepared to be rescued by Seven and Raffi. Seven remarks, “If we beam him in front of a dozen eyewitnesses, who knows what implications teleportation might have in the 21st century?”
Raffi’s horrified reaction was the same as mine: “Time travel rules?!”
Time travel episodes in Trek always involve a character who randomly moralizes about the effects on the timeline. But such concerns feel a little out of character for the seven we met on “Picard.” She’s a renegade bounty hunter type. Raffi is the Starfleet officer – she’s the one who should be handling the Prime Temporal Directive, an actual Starfleet policy. (Honestly, just by transporting it into the 21st century, they changed the timeline. And Raffi recklessly shot down a phaser already in the last episode, so that horse left the barn.)
Finally, Seven presses a button on a tricorder, causing the bus carrying Rios to stop. Somehow this doesn’t go against Seven’s standards of influencing the 21st century, but let’s move on. Rios is saved, and our brief look at the inhuman immigration system is over.
It’s still unclear exactly what the Borg Queen’s plan is, although it appears to be taking Jurati as her partner, much like she attempted to do with Data in First Contact. Like Q, the Queen is completely unpredictable, meaning Picard fights a battle on multiple fronts. All we know is that she wants to revive the Borg as a military force. The revelation at the end that Jurati was somehow assimilated was a solid punch to end the week.
This season has spent a lot more time in 2024 than one might expect, giving the show less of a sci-fi feel. Still, there is enough material and enough quality performance to make the season convincing.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/31/arts/television/star-trek-picard-recap-neither-seen-nor-heard.html Star Trek: Picard Recap: Neither Seen nor Heard