I don’t know about you all, but this week’s episode of Star Trek: Picard put me through the emotional gamut. “Assimilation” is an apt title for this week’s episode, not only for the actual assimilation that occurs within the episode, but the timeline assimilation our crew must attend to. We’ve got a lot of ground and time and space to cover this week. Here are a few of my thoughts on episode 2×03 of Star Trek: Picard, “Assimilation.”
“Halfway to hell is still not a recommended destination!”
While there’s so much to enjoy in this week’s episode, I think what hit the hardest for me was Alison Pill’s performance as Agnes Jurati. First off, the fact that Agnes would willingly allow herself to be assimilated is incredibly brave. While she views it as a means to an end for the crew to get the information they need, it’s also an opportunity for scientific study for her. Either way, I believe her actions to be incredibly brave. Also, assimilation is now as easy as plugging up your smartphone? Who knew?
Alison is fantastic comic relief and is probably best known for her comedic work, or at minimum, I am more familiar with her comedic work. Her self-deprecating humor as Agnes is always on display, but in this episode Alison really sent me through the wringer. The crash course her character takes through her emotions as she’s assimilated devastated me. Her seamless transition between humor, anger, sadness, and then the fight for control between her and the Borg Queen is exceptionally performed.
The Borg Queen’s words to her scare me though–“What you’ve just done here is more difficult and vastly more dangerous than you realize. …You’ve impressed me.” Remember how I said last week that there was something serpentine about the Borg Queen? I definitely got more of that this week with her crawl, but also in the eerie way she speaks to Agnes in this scene. I hope she doesn’t let her guard down around her. It’s not safe.
“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”
Yes, I’m quoting Network with that heading, but I think it’s appropriate here. There are so many things about this episode that I found infuriating. I don’t mean that in the sense of being dissatisfied with the episode either. I mean that there are certain aspects of this story that I found infuriating because they are injustices that exist in our world with what seems like little way to correct it, at least without tweaks to our current system. It’s disturbing to have a magnifying glass like this so close to our own time. The things highlighted are very real–vast economic disparity, racism, pollution–all things that are the very antithesis to the clean, utopian society of the Federation. It is a painful look at our present. As Raffi says, “You’re killin’ it, 2024!” Really not ideal.
Disparity All Around
None of this is even to mention that ELNOR IS DEAD. I mean, I’ve got a feeling that he won’t stay dead, but that doesn’t make me any happier about it. Raffi’s pain here is so palpable. Not only has she lost connection with her son, but she’s also come to have maternal affection for Elnor too, and now it’s like she’s lost all her children. Her grief broke my heart.
The final thing that pissed me off in this episode of Picard is the ICE raid. Nothing to incense me like racism, especially at a community medical facility that clearly exists solely to help those in need. Rios’ bravery in this scene, even as he’s clearly still recovering from a concussion and other injuries is so on-brand for him. This isn’t surprising, and yet his courage still hits me in the feels. And of course, he’s done exactly what he wasn’t supposed to do–no hospitals, no police, etc. This is really going to foul things up for our crew.
Setting that side-by-side with Seven’s ease of acclimation in 2024, the disparity is clear. Seven’s got no problem with assimilation here, but it’s going to be a challenge for the rest of our ground crew. I hope they can find “The Watcher” they’re supposed to find with minimal damage to the timeline.
I’ve got to applaud the writing for this season of Picard. There’s so much great storytelling that’s happening in this episode. We’re set up for a really great adventure in the 21st century. I’m glad of all that, but the really fun stuff that’s happening in this season are all the little details. Since this is a story about alternate timelines and bringing the future to the past, I absolutely love using the idea of cover songs. We already had Irma Thomas’ version of “Time is on My Side” in the season opener and this episode’s version of “California Dreamin’” is perfect. I can’t wait to see if this will continue throughout the rest of the season.
What did you think about “Assimilation”? Leave me a comment and let’s talk Trek.
The next episode of Star Trek: Picard will air on March 21, 2022, on Paramount+.