April 26, 2022

Streamin' Meemies: Star Trek: Picard Season 2 Ep 8, "Mercy"


I haven't said anything about the latest episode of Picard because I'm still so irritated with the direction this season is taking, but I suppose I ought to throw out a few words for completion's sake. 

At least we find out (some) of what's going on with Q: he's dying. How an immortal energy being can actually "die" is a theoretical exercise left up to the audience, but he states during a long soliloquy expertly delivered by John De Lancie that he is "fading away." That must be the reason his finger snaps don't work any longer, why it took him so long to respond to Guinan's summons, and why he is using Adam Soong to carry out his dirty work. What exactly Q's "dirty work" is remains firmly up in the air, as he insists that Picard & Co. came back to 2024 to fix the timeline on their own. So why, exactly, is Q even here? (Other than dragging back De Lancie for nostalgia's sake, as will happen to an even greater degree in Season 3 with the return of the entire Next Gen cast, with the woeful and shitty exception of Wil Wheaton. No matter Season 1's flaws, at least it had a forward-looking storyline and new characters, and a showrunner who seemed to have more or less thought his plot all the way through, as opposed to this chaotic bunch.) In Episode 1, Q snarled "the road not taken" to Picard as only John De Lancie can do, and it and the 2nd episode seemed to set something up that could have been exciting if it had been followed through on--the "Humans First!" Federation--but now that's been almost entirely dropped, in favor of Seven and Raffi chasing Agnes/the Borg Queen around Los Angeles.

To be fair, Alison Pill is acting the hell out of Agnes/the Borg Queen. Agnes is still in there fighting, as we see when she is cornered by Seven and Raffi, and in whipping both their asses, she grabs Raffi by the throat and lifts her into the air, then drops her instead of strangling her or breaking her neck. (And the Queen has stolen some black combat boots, which look entirely rad against that red dress.) Jeri Ryan also gets a very nice scene of Seven having a flashback to her own assimilation, which was entirely too short, and Seven also calls Raffi out for being manipulative (which Raffi admits to, in an obligatory let's-not-waste-Evan-Evagora-the-supposedly-regular-cast-member scene where she's shown to have talked Elnor out of going on a mission for the Qowat Milot and applying to Starfleet Academy instead, which indirectly led to his death). So there was all this hype about these two getting together this season, huh? Really? 

Picard and Guinan also get a weird little Trek/X-Files crossover, as the FBI agent who arrested them last episode is recovering from a childhood trauma of his own, namely stumbling across two Earth-spying Vulcans when he was a kid and their failing in a mind-meld to erase the memory. The agent then becomes a Mulder-lite (without a Scully by his side, although the young Guinan would have been a good one), which is why he latched on to the surveillance tape of Picard beaming into that Los Angeles street. Picard ends up coming clean and telling the agent the truth about why he is there, which I guess is meant to validate all the decades of the FBI guy "wanting to believe"; at any rate, he lets Picard and Guinan go after that. This is just in time for Picard to realize that the Queen is actually after Rios' ship La Sirena (which is from the alt-future where the Queen is the last surviving member of the Borg? And she wants to return to that? Huh?), and she is shown to be teaming up with Adam Soong to stop the Europa mission. The Queen has eaten enough lithium batteries (Agnes will definitely need a stomach/intestine and multiple organ transplant if she survives) to power up more nanobots, as we see at the end where the Queen is assimilating the strike team she'll be sending to capture La Sirena.

The season is still an honest-to-God mess. I'm not hating it mainly because of Patrick Stewart and John De Lancie, but man, it's disappointing. 

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