This episode is better than the previous one, but not by much.
We spend about half of it in Picard's head, with the Watcher Tallinn trying to "unstick" his consciousness. (In a neat bit of foreshadowing, the mechanism she plugs into to do so has an earpiece shaped just like a Romulan ear, which points to later on when she reveals she is Romulan, and presumably the ancestor of Laris. Although, as is pointed out by Tor.com reviewer Keith R.A. DeCandido, genetics doesn't work like that.) We also get a surprising guest star, James Callis from the rebooted Battlestar Galactica (which is a sly Easter egg, since Picard is a kinda-sorta Cylon now, with his synthetic body) who plays both the therapist trying to get Picard to reveal the "monsters" of his childhood, and the father who turns out to not be an abuser after all.
This part of the episode has chains, fog, spooky dungeons and roaring monsters, reminding me of the Original Series episode "Catspaw." Tallinn tries to "unstick" the young Picard, and we learn that his mother is actually a victim of untreated mental illness and his father was trying to help her (although Tallinn specifically says "there is more to this story"). But that will likely be left until later, along with the ten thousand other threads the season still has to tie up.
Because Agnes Jurati/the new Borg Queen is still roaming the 2024 streets, punching out glass windows to get another rush of endorphins to hasten her assimilation; and Raffi and Seven, stopping in the middle of this crisis to argue about their relationship (which is a damned annoying habit of this season's writers), are trying to track her down; and Rios is so enamored of the 21st century, and Dr. Ramirez and her son, that he tells them he's from outer space and beams them aboard La Sirena (which isn't even his La Sirena, but the alternate timeline's), which is a bloody stupid decision by any measure and only irritates me with the writers and the new showrunner even more for making this character look like a damned idiot; and Picard is attempting to use Guinan to summon Q, which does give a bit of backstory with the el-Aurians and the Continuum, but which doesn't even work and promptly leads to another bit of wheel-spinning wherein a man who wanders into Guinan's bar turns out to be an FBI agent and arrests them both.
Honestly, I'm surprised Patrick Stewart signed off on this mess. He certainly gives it his all, and the scenes with him and James Callis are the best part of the episode. But it's frustrating, because aside from Episodes 1 and 2, this season is simply not good. Season 1 was not perfect, but it looks almost....Shakespearean compared to this.
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