IR TV Review: PICARD – EPISODE 7 (“Nepenthe”) [CBS All Access]

The progression of “Picard” as a series is balanced between the idea of nostalgia and a different concept of what the Federation has become in this new world. It is a big leap and a change of perception from Gene Roddenberry’s days. The storytelling needs to evolve of course and human nature is what it is. The latest episode, “Nepenthe” is the best episode of the series by far but it is because of the time before that makes it worthwhile. In this iteration, Picard is reunited with Riker and Troi after jumping away from the Borg Cube at the end of the last episode.

While story wise, there is only a little bit of movement, this episode is so much about character development and time. This is a way we have not seen these three characters before. Unlike Seven Of Nine in an earlier episode, this has much more depth (not to disparate Seven’s path) because it hits harder here. Certain particulars about the story and particularly the dynamic between Picard and Riker are played just right because the essence of who Picard was has changed and yet it hasn’t.

An addition within that dynamic is a little girl who also interacts with Soji. It is the family dynamic here, even more than on the ship (which also gets some screen time in this episode) that provides connectivity. A moment in the trailer with Picard and Riker sitting on a lake reminiscing of what life is like now is particular poignant because of one simply gesture that Picard makes that speaks everything about their bond. This is where the best of Star Trek resides is in those connections, however human they can be. I am just surprised that Q hasn’t come into play. Because this decimation of morality but still that essence of humanity is the crux of what brought the Next Generation to fruition. “Picard” is uneven as a series but in these fleeting moments in certain episodes it gains that traction like certain aspects of its predecessors to move into something deeper that the films sometimes can’t traverse (and least more recently as well as the Next Gen movies). Time will tell.


By Tim Wassberg

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