Review: Star Trek: Picard — S01E07: Nepenthe [2020]; We’d Recognise That Beard Anywhere

Cᴏɴᴛᴇɴᴛ Iɴᴅᴇx —

a review by the Team.
(featuring: an Announcement, and a “surprise”.)

Captain‘s log, Stardate 97777.11: Before we begin discussing the latest episode of Star Trek: Picard, there are two major announcements I would like to make.

Announcement the first: In the early hours of this morning, after days of work, final preparations for the long-awaited 2nd Annual Oscine Awards “ceremony” were completed. Due to multiple reasons — mostly to do with our conflicting schedules — the process was far more time-consuming than we had at first thought.

Not only is it the most complex post we have ever worked on, but it marks the first time three of us have co-currently worked on a single project for The Corvid Review. We are proud of the “Great Work”, as it has come to be known, and are pleased to announce — with finality — that the 2nd Annual Oscine Awards will take place tomorrow on the 6th of March, 2020. An announcement post will be updated later today.

Announcement the second: Given the content previewed at the end of last week’s episode (The Impossible Box), there has never been a more appropriate time for this. That said: over to you, Number One.

(◔◡◔)!

Number One / The Azure-Winged Magpie, Stardate 97776.32: Hello-hello and chatter-chatter!

I’ve been quietly scoring the last few episodes of Star Trek: Picard while off on my long-term away mission and since Captain Crowman‘s got like no time on his hands these days, I decided to be nice and write up a review for the episode before he got the chance to watch it! I’ll leave a bit at the end for the Crow to fill in with his speculations and whatnot, but yep! We’re back in Magpie-land today!

The last time I talked about Star Trek on The Corvid Review was wayyy back in March 2019 when I reviewed DS9’s Trials and Tribble-ations, but the last time I reviewed a Star Trek film was when I chucked Nemesis into my bucket. And ALL of Picard‘s a sequel to that film, so… I guess I shouldn’t have sat this one out for so long. But hey! At least I’m back to celebrate NUMBER ONE DAY! And since we haven’t done one for Picard yet… let’s do a swoop-swoop!

(I had the Crow cut us a gif since I couldn’t find a good zoomy warp gif from Picard. I guess everyone’s free to use it since we don’t own Picard or anything, but maybe link back to this review or something? I don’t know how long it took him or anything since I haven’t seen it yet but I know it’s going to be high-quality since his gifs usually are. kthxbai)

So let’s get into the episode!

Anyone who read the old reviews knows why I’m back!

Picard 0107
Nepenthe

SPOILER LEVELS at RED ALERT

How about the ending of that last episode eh? You’d expect the show to hit the ground running and show us what happened to Picard and Soji. But NOPE! We need to have another opening flashback! And this time it’s about… whatsherface?! …oh yeah! Commodore Deal-With-It (Commodore, Cap’n. NOT Admiral!) and Agnes. We get to see their meeting from back in episode three, and just like we thought… that pointy-eared cheap-shades-wearing no-good Commodore brain-violences Agnes into joining up with the anti-robot gang. But it’s not like she’s mind controlled or anything.

There’s all sorts of Skynet/Judgement Day scenes flashing up during the mind-meld, and then Agnes goes and throws up. Whatever gets dumped into her head (it’s got to be more than 300GB) gets her to join up with the anti-robots by herself (or that’s what it looks like). And then Agnes chows down on this glowy blue thing which is going to lead Commodore DWI and her friends track her. And thaaat‘s it for flashbacks today! Pack your bags kids. No more catching up left to do this week!

Next thing we know, La Sirena‘s about to get chowed on by the Borg cube. And while all of this is going on, Narissa executes a handful of ex-Borg because Hugh won’t tell her where Picard and Soji trajected off to and Narek jumps in a snek-plane. Hoo boy! There’s a lot going on so far! It’s only been like nine minutes. I guess I shouldn’t have complained about not hitting the ground running.

The Crow’s been complaining about how Picard‘s been spending a lot of time on fluff, and how the folks running Picard either don’t have enough story or have to cram a lot into the last few episodes, and it looks like we’re getting the second option! Even though the rest of the episode flows pretty easy, I kinda think that we’re going to be getting a lot of this kind of thing in the next episode.

I’ll get around to everything that’s happening with La Sirena and on the Borg Cube later. The story for the episode gets split up into three parts after the opening minutes and I don’t want to muddle everyone up. So let’s take this one at a time kay?

So let’s talk about Nepenthe. The planet. Picard and Soji show up in a little foresty place (with a bunny) and isn’t it so nice that Picard and Soji get trajected exactly to where they need to be? The moment they’re on Nepenthe, Picard gets spotted by a little girl he knows. And this is where the episode puts the brakes on.

The little girl’s called Kestra (Lulu Wilson) and that’s a big wink-wink to everyone who’s ears popped up at the name. And even though she’s adorable and one of the best parts of this episode, she acts real tetchy around Picard when she first sees him. I guess it’s to throw people who aren’t that much into Trek off the scent, but it makes no sense cause it turns out she’s a fangirl of Picard. After a little talking on their way to Kestra’s mum-and-dads’, Kestra asks Picard who Soji’s dad is, and Picard answers that it’s probably Data (I’m holding out for a twist in this one), which makes Kestra ask if Soji’s an “andry”.

Aaand… HOO! That didn’t go down too good. Soji takes it better than most folks would, but she’s still pissed. And then Picard has to go and wreck her day even worse by spilling the beans that Dahj’s gone and went belly up already. I mean… DUDE. See I love Picard and all (just not in Nemesis) but this is really bad. He’s been having trouble with people in this show and this is probably the worst of it. He really shoulda brought along some kind of specialist on this trip. Someone who’s good at breaking bad news to people. Like a therapist or counsellor or something… I dunno… anyway. Moving on!

So after some time Kestra goes off yelling for her mum and dad and Soji asks who these people are supposed to be (if any of what’s happening is real to start with), and wouldn’t ya know it?

They’re just… “old friends”. And WE KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS!

(◔◡◔)!

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Okay. Wait. Let me breathe a little. The cuteness of this episode’s getting to me.

I hated Insurrection. I hated Nemesis. But the ONE thing that kept me hanging around was what we’re getting here. It’s finally happened! We’re getting to see Mrs Riker (Marina Sirtis) and Mr Troi (Jonathan Frakes)! No starships. No going or coming where no one has gone or come before. No dating around. This is it! The power couple of TNG are married and have a kid and eating pizza and are just so… CUTE around each other! And I could just

Okay. Okay. I’m back. I needed that out of my system.

It’s a big old reunion and the Troi-Rikers tell Picard he can stay as long as he wants. Jimmy Diggs’ Crazy Cats get a namedrop and I’m sure that dude’s going to be ringing everyone he knows. Riker throws the shields up and gets his house all ready to keep an eye out for any sneaky Romulans hanging around. Things have changed a little bit for the power couple, but they’re still the same people we used to know. Mrs Riker says she’s not as brave as she used to be but she’s a much better counsellor these days. She gets to shut Picard down and gives him some really good advice. She’s 50% the reason that something big happens later on but before I get to that, I’ve got to tell you about Mr Troi.

Mr Troi’s a pizza chef. That’s kinda it. Mrs Riker gardens and does all these cool things, Kestra “the wild girl-a-tha woods” runs around and hunts venemous bunnycorns, and all Mr Troi does is make pizzas and turn the bunnycorns into sausages. I’m guessing that series finale of Enterprise sure kicked something new off in him. And the worst thing is… even though he’s got all the bells and whistles, even though he talks about how he’s a pizza chef… the one pizza (ONE!) he makes when he’s showing off to Picard…

Yeah. He… uh… burns it.

Didn’t even wash his hands… smh

BUT! That’s not everything! Soji notices the pizza prep station and Riker Sherlock Holmeses out the whole damn story so far. He starts getting sloshed (I miss my drinky days) with Picard and pieces together that Soji’s got to be Data’s tot. Not bad for a pizza chef eh?! He even gets to stuff Picard’s being a little crap with children right in his face!

This is everything I wanted from Picard. I love this episode! Troi and Riker (flipped) telling Picard off and resetting him back to his TNG days. Seriously… Mrs Riker is really good at her job in this one (they finally decided to use her for something other than eye-candy I guess), and Mr Troi finally gets that pizza on the ready-room table (with NO burnt tomatoes this time). And that’s not even mentioning Soji and her “boss”. EVERYTHING about the Troi-Rikers… even the horrible story about Kestra’s older brother is perfect! By the end of the episode they’ve all got Picard and Soji ready to get to the bottom of what’s going on. And what’s better is that Picard’s back to who he used to be! He even tells Mr Troi to sit his butt down (kinda)!

10/10 everything with this bit of the story. But now… there’s two other things to talk about.

So… Elnor stayedd back on the Borg Cube ’cause hermano is a brave little boy who’s gonna avenge all the dead XBs. He slices up some Zhat Vash, has a little punch-up with Narissa, and it’s all really cool until Narissa gets Federation-transported the hell outta dodge and Hugh…

Hugh bites it.

(T ︿ T ) magpie sad…

Hugh was one of the best damn things about this show. Imma murder whoever made that decision. Just like Elnor says… you shoulda chosen to live, whoever you are. I’ll find you.

I get it. It’s all so that Seven can come back and terminate avenge brutally murder everyone in the face when the Fenris Rangers come after Elnor’s SOS. But would it be too much trouble to ask that Hugh got even a moment with Geordie before biting the dust?

This whole subplot was okay and I guess we’re getting Queen Seven soon, but I would’ve liked it if Hugh just kinda got away without any more damage y’know?

Over somewhere between the Cube and Nepenthe, Narek’s been following La Sirena. Agnes eats a whole whale’s bladder worth of red velvet cake and throws it all up (again). Raffi isn’t cleaning any of that up and everything going on in this part of the story is straight outta Firefly. I thought Agnes had just disabled the EMH systems, since one doesn’t show up to clean the upchuck up, but the medical one shows up after Agnes destroys whatever tracking device she ate way back in ep3. So I’m a bit… confused? So we’re basically in the endgame and now Soji and Agnes are going to meet and we’re going to have it out in the last three episodes. I’m going to hand the conn. back over to the Cap’n for now, but I’ll see you all at the Oscine Awards when we’re good to go.

See you lot then! Love you loads.

— Azure-Winged Magpie up! Up! And Awayyy! *BONK!*

The Crow: Thank you, Number One. I wasn’t expecting what is effectively an entire review.

To return to the episode: there are many references and callbacks in Nepenthe to earlier incarnations of Star Trek, and there are some glaring indications as to where things might be headed. Not only is there a very direct reference to a Gormagander, but there are also some visuals during the mind-meld which look like they’ve directly been lifted from an episode of Star Trek: Discovery. While I do not wish the story to retun to the matter of CONTROL, it seems likely that CONTROL is what we are leading up to. I have already hypothesised alternate paths the main plot of the series might take, but if CONTROL is to return, I would prefer the idea to have evolved significantly from what was shown in Discovery.

I find some minor plot points in the episode to be rather convenient, and am wondering why characters continue to be so tone-deaf when it comes to the contingent of La Sirena. Raffi — in particular — seems to change her entire perspective every few seconds.

Troi and Riker are a much-needed refreshment to the series, and hopefully the Magpie is correct in thinking that Picard has been given the push he needs to return to a more authoritative role, but only the next episode can show us if the character indeed has. It does seem that — given how Nepenthe builds on the progress of The Impossible Box — this episode might be a turning point for the series. Unless we are severely let down in Broken Pieces, Riker’s arrival might have heralded a “growing the beard” moment for Picard. Now that would be funny.

At this point, everything that has to be covered has been covered, and there is little left for me to say. Considering that I’ve had to rush even during my viewing of the episode, and the time which has passed since it came out, I shall reserve my thoughts for a later post regarding Star Trek: Picard. The post is one I have mentioned for a few weeks, now; and one which has not yet materialised. Points such as the mass suicide of the synthetics on Mars continue to annoy me, and it is time I organised my thoughts.

Hopefully, we will hear more of Kestra, as well as Troi. The Troi-Riker family deserve more than half-an-episode, so there is always hope for their appearance in Season 2. If Riker and I weren’t meant to be friends before — although there is that one episode where it’s possible Riker may have done something grievously untoward — we are now. His classic pizza with alien substitutes is much like my style of cooking. One day, Picard, Rios, and Riker ought to have a sit down over booze and cigars. That would be worth watching.

As stated above, we will be returning tomorrow with the Oscine Awards. Once the “ceremony” has been held, I’ll attempt to sit down and analyse all the things in Picard so far.

Until then, LLAP

— Team out. 


Final Ratings

THE CROW: 8/10
THE AZURE-WINGED MAGPIE: 9.5/10
THE SPOTTED NUTCRACKERNA/10


See Also

the corvid review - star trek month star trek discovery season 2 - kepxwzr

4 thoughts on “Review: Star Trek: Picard — S01E07: Nepenthe [2020]; We’d Recognise That Beard Anywhere”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s