Martin Carr reviews the eighth episode of Star Trek: Picard…
This is an episode of healing, assimilation and unfettered guilt that gives Santiago Cabrera free rein to assume numerous identities, whilst subtle reveals up the ante. From visual overload to Pagan ceremonial homage Picard drops back story, familial bombshells and Romulan subterfuge into a heady mix of character heavy interactions. Beaming on board and immediately sowing the seeds of distrust Picard brings Soji into their fold before deflecting Raffi, counselling Rios and threatening Jurati.
Apart from short diversions which take in the Borg cube, discussions around synthetics and their ability to end everything Picard is business as usual. There is pitch battle hand to hand combat, a collective suicide which leaves at least one character in tatters, while Soji goes from indecisive companion to kick arse star ship pilot. Accusations are thrown around, comic asides offer up a temporary hiatus from the finger pointing and Picard reminisces about old acquaintances making narrative progression slow.
Embedded spies are uncovered and courses set for a destination which should offer up some sort of continuation if not closure. However beyond the flashbacks and occasional clash between opposing viewpoints, species or individual agendas, Picard feels less cohesive than normal. Nothing obvious leaps out apart from this feeling that Broken Pieces is as the title might suggest more fragmentary. An hour or more of restoring relationships, apologising for misdemeanours and solidifying existing ones with some minor drama thrown in lacks excitement.
Now some people might consider the events which unfold to be much more than minor, but for my money Elnor and company are little more than a plot device reminding audiences of an impending conflict. Narek is conspicuously absent while Peyton List’s Narissa plays second fiddle to a Star Trek regular who effortlessly steals every scene. What drives the episode boils down to motivations on a larger scale, villainy in plain sight and an inherent distrust of progress by Starfleet.
Understandably this was never going to make for a guns and ammo episode of high risk, collateral damage and engaging set pieces but nonetheless Broken Pieces could have picked up the pace. Like an engine idling in neutral episode eight took the time to reveal depth, instil breadth and allow audiences to connect with these characters. A sure sign we are losing someone major in a finale only two weeks away.