We’re stepping into The Twilight Zone, not once, but twice(!) with this week’s episode of Star Trek: Picard. Strap in for this one. It’s a real doozy. Here are a few of my thoughts on episode 2×02 of Star Trek: Picard, “Penance.”
The Very End of the Road Not Taken
Q’s pushed our crew into a different timeline. It’s not an alternate reality; it’s the same timeline that’s been altered by one event. While our crew gets their sea legs, it’s becoming clear that this new reality is heinously worse than they ever imagined. It’s even got Picard drinking coffee! HOW MESSED UP IS THAT?!
Seriously though, one of the things that I think will be the most telling and perhaps the most damning thing about this season of Star Trek: Picard is that it seems to be a commentary on where the U. S. could head. That’s horrifying. May it never be. But that’s what Jeri Ryan and Michelle Hurd hinted at in my interview with them prior to the start of this season. I’m eager to see how this season will play out in this light.
Even with the previews and trailers, it’s still hard for me to swallow that our crew has aligned themselves with the Borg Queen (Annie Wersching). I don’t trust her. I will never trust her, but I don’t think we have any choice in the matter either. It’s difficult not to be a bit creeped out by the Borg Queen, but in this form, she gives off a serpentine vibe. Not because she’s slithering about, but because she has a look of smug superiority, even when she knows she’s about to be executed. There’s guile in her pupilless eyes. The incredible satisfaction she has about being plugged into the ship scares me, and I think our crew should be scared too. We’ll see what happens with the next episode.
There are a lot of great character moments in this episode and some much welcome humor to this very serious turn of events. I lost it multiple times during this episode watching our crew bluff their way out of challenging situations. So much of this is in their physical performances. Jeri Ryan, of course, created Seven’s deadpan look years ago on Star Trek: Voyager, but it’s the gold standard of deadpan stares now. Her only rival is Aubrey Plaza’s April Ludgate in Parks and Recreation.
The best part of this episode for me hands down is Dr. Jurati. Alison Pill’s portrayal of Agnes makes me laugh, not just from her fumbling about to try to play it cool, but because I see some of myself in that fumbling. If I get nervous, I either don’t say a word, or I talk non-stop. Her mile-a-minute delivery is perfect. It’s going to be a ton of fun to watch her this season. I can’t wait for more!
Finally, the closing scene of “Penance” really set me yelling at the screen. I don’t know who Seven’s husband thinks he is, transporting onto the ship and hurting my guy Elnor, but I do not like that one bit! I knew it was coming from the final trailer we got before the premiere, but it didn’t gut me any less. We’ve got to do something. I can’t wait to see how our crew gets out of this one.
What did you think of “Penance”? Leave me a comment and let’s talk Trek.
The next episode of Star Trek: Picard will air on March 17, 2022, on Paramount+.