March 28, 2022

Streamin' Meemies: Star Trek: Picard Season 2 Ep 4, "Watcher"


This episode of Picard continues the split storylines of the previous episode: Raffi/Seven, Rios/Teresa, Agnes/the Borg Queen, and finally Picard/Guinan. This last is the most interesting, as Picard meets up with a younger, cynical and disillusioned Guinan, who is ready to close her bar and leave the human race to its just desserts. 

(No, we don't see a creepily de-aged Whoopi Goldberg. Ito Aghayere is the young Guinan, and she does a very good job. She also has upper arm muscles that make it look like she's been trading serves with Serena Williams. The scenes with Patrick Stewart are well acted. That said, since it's specifically stated that this takes place three days before the timeline divergence, it's a mystery to me how Guinan didn't recognize Picard, as they met more than a century earlier in the TNG episode "Time's Arrow." Oh well.)

On the hunt for the Watcher, Picard is beamed by Agnes into the same LA block we saw in previous episodes, which apparently have some prime preservation magic applied to the buildings, as Guinan's bar "10" is still there. Picard says he needs her help, and at first she refuses, saying she's closing her bar that day because of what she's seen from humans: "You know they're killing the planet? Truth is whatever you want it to be. Facts aren't facts anymore. A few people have resources to fix all the problems for the rest, but they won't. Because their greatest fear is having less. They got one tiny ball in the entire galaxy, and all this species wants to do is fight." A little later on, after Picard says, "Humankind will change. You must be patient," she bursts out again: "You know who has the luxury of patience here? Someone who looks like you and not like me. The hatred here? It never ends. It just swaps clothes. This century? It took off a hood and put on a suit." 

(Predictably, this caused whining from the "anti-woke" brigade. Ignore them. This is not subtle, for sure, but neither was "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" or "The Omega Glory.")

Picard tries to tell her humans can change, and even repeats the same words the older Guinan said to him in the first episode, causing this Guinan to get time-sick. But not even that and the fact that he knows she's an El-Aurian sways her, until he finally tells her his name. At that point she relents and takes him to see the Watcher: "You're looking for a Supervisor, also known as a Watcher. They're peppered throughout the galaxy, assigned to protect the destiny of certain individuals." The Supervisor/Watcher apparently has body-hopping capabilities, as it inhabits three different people as it leads Picard through the park, to make sure he isn't being followed. The last one turns to face him at the end, and we see she's a dead ringer for Laris. She surrounds them with a black box and they disappear. 

In the Raffi/Seven storyline, they're trying to hunt down Rios and end up at LAPD headquarters downtown. After Raffi yells at the policewoman manning the front desk and gets nowhere, a bystander tells them to look for Rios in the ICE facility. This ends up with Raffi storming out to the parking lot and breaking into a police SUV (honestly, she's been angry and aggressive ever since Elnor's death, which is understandable, but an experienced officer like her should know it's time to rein in her emotions and take control of herself) to hack the computer to find the facility (over Seven's objections). Some officers exit the building as this is happening, and Seven and Raffi steal the SUV and pull away, with Seven forced into driving. This interminable car chase takes up way too much of the episode's run time, and though I'm sure it was also meant to spotlight Seven and Raffi's frenemies-to-lovers burgeoning relationship, it just got tedious after a while. At the end, Agnes finally got the La Sirena's transporters working and beamed them out of the vehicle--after it had come to a stop, thankfully, so it didn't continue on and run over someone--to meet up with Rios.

Speaking of Agnes, the aftereffects of her entanglement with the Borg Queen lead to the revelation that the timeline divergence takes place on April 15, three days later. The cat-and-mouse interplay between Agnes and the Borg Queen continues, with the latter a lot more chatty after their partial merger. Finally, after Rios' arrest last episode, he is taken to the ICE holding facility and put on a bus for deportation (after a little more friendly chatting with Dr. Teresa). The bus is barrelling south, with somewhat of an implication that he's going to be taken to another facility near the border and simply disappeared, when Raffi and Seven are sent to meet him. We don't see any more of either of them, so they're evidently going to spring him next episode. 

Honestly, except for Picard and Guinan, this episode amounted to a lot of wheel-spinning. The only exception to that was the very last scene with Q, who was sitting with a newspaper in front of "Jackson Roykirk Plaza." He's watching a young blond white woman reading a "Dixon Hill" book and he's wearing a jacket with an "Europa mission" badge on it. So, since this is the second time we've seen a reference to it, the Europa mission must be the incident that splits the timeline. Q also tries to snap his fingers and do something to the blond woman, and nothing happens. Hopefully, the next episode will show us a bit more forward movement. 

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