Seven of Nine and Elnor take back the Borg Cube. Jean Luc Picard heads to Deep Space 12 to secure protection for Soji and the other androids on her homeworld.
A lot of mysteries in Star Trek: Picard Season 1 were solved in Episode 8, “Broken Pieces.” The episode was both action-packed and philosophy heavy.
Each of the central characters featured in this episode has to tangle with their specific issues. Seven of Nine deals with the moral implications of re-assimilating the Ex-Borg drones in order to rescue the Borg cube from Narissa and the rest of the Zhat Vash. Soji figures out who she is without the fake persona of Dr. Asha. Triggered by memories of being the first officer of Captain Alonzo Vandmeer of the starship ibn Majid, Chris Rios must wrestle with his past demons. Raffi Muskier solves the mystery of Rios’ past and why seeing Soji upsets him so much. Anges Jurati quells her suicidal thoughts after seeing Oh’s apocalyptic Synth vision. Picard attempts to secure assistance from Starfleet and figure out what’s been happening with Jurati.
A lot of the starships on Star Trek: Picard and Discovery are named after famous explorers, and the ibn Majid featured in this episode is named after Ahmad ibn Majid whose an Arabian navigator and cartographer born in the 1430s.
Before I delve into unraveling the mysteries of this season of Star Trek: Picard, I will point out the three Easter Eggs that I spotted in episode eight.
First off, Soji and Picard have lunch in the dining hall. Jean Luc Picard describes Data to the android’s “daughter.” He tells Soji about Data’s childlike exploration of the world and his ability to make everybody laugh (especially when he is not trying to be funny).
The second Easter Egg is the reference to Zephyr Cochran, the first human who created a warp-capable engine. Vulcans came to Earth because when they saw humans had invented warp engines, they knew they were ready to venture beyond their universe to join the rest of the galaxy. Cochran was the first human being to meet a Vulcan. He has been mentioned or featured in almost every piece of Star Trek Media.
The third Easter Egg is when Narissa talks to her Aunt Ramdha, who’s a Romulan Myth expert, about how she would make a better Borg. She quotes what the Borg says in both Star Trek: Next Generation and Voyager, “Resistance is futile.”
The Emergency Holograms were once again featured heavily in “Broken Pieces,” which was my only real issue with this episode. We learn that the Emergency Holograms were made from a scan of Rios’ whole body, which explains why they all look like him. The Holograms should have all his memories, but Chris Rios erased a portion of his mind from them. Each Hologram has a piece of his consciousness. I understand that the Holograms were used as a plot point to help Raffi figure out why Rios seems to know Soji and why he left Starfleet since the real man won’t talk to her for most of the episode, but there are other ways that Raffi could have figured out the truth.
When Muskier is walking around La Sirena, trying to figure out where Rios is hiding out is an especially annoying Holograms scene. Even though the Holograms don’t dress or even sound like Rios, she still thinks they are him. Rios turns on all the Holograms while he drinks, so he does not have to run the ship. They appear to be almost no help to Raffi in trying to analyze all the information she has on Rios, Jana (the women he knew who looks like Soji), or Captain Alonzo Vandmeer. So why do they exist?
My other complaint that pertains to the whole Star Trek: Picard’s first season is that they are not adequately using the character of Elnor. After “Absolute Candor,” the young Romulan has zero-character development. Elnor is used as mostly comedic relief in “Stardust City Rag,” then has one fighting scene in “The Impossible Box.” In “Nepenthe,” he tries to protect Hugh and the other ex-Borgs but fails. In this episode, Elnor watches Seven of Nine save the day. Elnor is supposed to be an unstoppable warrior, but the storyline doesn’t support this premise.
On the other hand, Seven of Nine shines in this episode. Her storyline on the Borg Cube is full of action and deals with some serious ethical dilemmas. Narissa and the Zhat Vash go around the Borg Cube, killing off ex-Borg drones. Seven of Nine awakens the Cube triggering the little robots to start fixing all the structural issues of the starship. This catches the attention of the Zhat Vash. Narissa plots “to space” all the ex-Borg drones who are in stasis. Her plot leads Seven of Nine into a moral quandary.
If Seven of Nine merges with the Borg Cube becoming the queen, then she may never want to be free of the collective again. By forcibly assimilating all the Ex-Borg drones into the collective, Seven of Nine will be taking away their free will. The Borg drones will thrive under the collective and may not want to leave the shared mind space again, either. But Seven of Nine doesn’t have the power on her own to throw all the Zhat Vash off the Borg Cube.
Narissa’s killing spree leaves Seven of Nine no real choice but to merge with the collective. Sadly, the Zhat Vash spaces all the drones who are in stasis, just as Seven awakens the link. Thankfully, all the active drones overtake the Zhat Vash. It seemed that Narissa transports out right before the drones can kill her (although we did not see this clearly), so she probably escapes with the rest of the Romulan fleet.
Surprisingly to Seven of Nine, the Borg collective lets her go after she saves the Cube. The collective seems to know Annika (a.k.a. Seven of Nine) has more to do, so maybe the Borg are more have more complicated psyches than we initially thought. Perhaps the Borg have their own set of morals?
There were a lot of complicated mysteries untangled in this episode. We find out that Commodore Oh is half Vulcan and half Romulan (I am not sure how Raffi figured this when out). Commodore Oh, who is a Zhat Vash leader, showed Narissa, her Aunt, and other novitiates of the Zhat Vash a vision of the Romulan’s ancient past. We learn the Romulans created Synths, who then caused hellish destruction. This is why their culture doesn’t develop Synths. Sometime after Commodore Oh shares her vision, she and Narissa go undercover in Starfleet.
Many years ago, Janna (a Synth who is the same model as Dahj and Soji) and her brother met up with the starship ibn Majid. Captain Alonzo Vandmeer and Rios greeted them as the first contact protocol calls for in Starfleet. After the pair report to Starfleet, Commodore Oh, as the Chief of Security orders Vandmeer to shoot the two Synths in the head. Vandmeer kills the Synths, but he can’t deal with murdering two innocent people. He commits suicide in front of Rios. Rios covers everything up as Commodore Oh ordered. When everything is all said and done, Oh forces Chris into retirement, saying he has a form of PTSD from Vandmeer committing suicide for “no reason.”
We learn that Ramdh was already crazy from seeing the vision of Romulan’s end of times before the failed assimilation by the Borg. Ramdh’s madness caused the Borg Cube to die. Soji felt some connection with the Ramdh before she knew that she was an android. I wonder if we will see more of this particular Romulan ex-Borg?
After Rios and Raffi reveal everything that they know, Soji remembers her homeworld. She convinces Picard to go straight to her homeworld instead of to Deep Space 12. They were supposed to meet up with the Starfleet reinforcements that Admiral Clancy ordered on the Deep Space Station. Picard will have some explaining to do when he returns to Federation Space. What will the La Sirena face when they come to the Synth homeworld? Will they be able to protect the planet from the Zhat Vash? Will Ramdh be vital to the rest of the episodes?