- Episode 3 (of 10), ' The End is the Beginning'
- Written by Michael Chabon & James Duff
- Directed by Hanelle M. Culpepper
At Starfleet HQ in San Francisco, Picard talks to Raffi, the woman he met in the desert at the end of the previous episode. This is a flashback, and they're both still members of Starfleet. The official explanation for the synths going rogue on Mars was a fatal error in their OS, but Raffi thinks that's bullshit. She suspects the Tal Shiar. Back in the present day, at her home by the famous Vasquez Rocks, Picard asks her to help him find Bruce Maddox. She's angry, blaming him for her losing her job at Starfleet. But she knows a good pilot, Rios.
At the Romulan reclamation site, a derelict Borg cube, the executive director of the project, Hugh, praises Soji for her work. They meet with a Romulan woman, Ramdha, who is recovering from Borg assimilation. Soji is confused that she suddenly knows everything about the woman; that she was on the last ship to be assimilated by the cube. And she's even more confused when the patient says she knows Soji, that she remembers her "from tomorrow." She calls Soji "Seb-Cheneb, the Destroyer" and angrily asks which sister she is.
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At the Daystrom Institute, Jurati is approached by Starfleet Commodore Oh – who was revealed to be an undercover Zhat Vash agent last week. She wants to talk to Jurati about her recent visits with Picard. In a starship orbiting Earth, Picard meets with his roguish new pilot, Rios. He once served as XO aboard a Federation ship, the Ibn Majid, but for reasons yet to be revealed, Starfleet erased all records of it. Later, Rios's Emergency Navigation Hologram, who looks just like him, recounts Picard's many achievements. "Arbiter of Succession for the Klingon Empire. Chief contact with the Q Continuum. Saviour of Earth from Borg Invasion." Well, at least someone remembers.
Just as Picard is saying his goodbyes at the vineyard, ready to head off into space to find Bruce Maddox, more of those black-clad Zhat Vash assassins appear. But, luckily, Laris and Zhaban are there – former members of the Tal Shiar, the Romulan secret police – and they fight the killers off with relative ease. One survives and they tie him to a chair and interrogate him. He refuses to talk, but when Picard asks why they killed "the girl", Dahj, the assassin says she's no girl. She's not what he thinks she is, he says. She's the end of all, the Destroyer. Before they can ask any more questions, the assassin gruesomely kills himself.
Back at the cube, Narek tells Soji he's falling in love with her. But we know from last week that he's playing her, secretly working with the Zhat Vash. He meets with Narissa Rizzo, who says Soji is an "extraordinary piece of machinery." Narek says she doesn't know what she is yet, and that it might be best to keep that information from her for now. Maybe he really is falling for her? Back on Rios's ship, the La Sirena, Jurati joins Picard, saying she'll be an asset to the mission. We also see that Raffi has come aboard, and has located Maddox in a place called Freecloud. As Picard gives his first engage order of the series, the ship warps away from Earth, out into the stars.
Verdict: After a fast-paced first two episodes, things have slowed down. We learn a little more about the Romulan reclamation project, but the introduction of the mystery patient, and her knowledge of Soji, raises a lot more questions. Picard finally gets a ship, but we've yet to see him back where he belongs, in space. This is a good episode, but feels like a build-up to something more exciting next week.
- Hugh, whose face has traces of Borg assimilation, has appeared in Star Trek before. In the TNG episode 'I Borg', the Enterprise rescues him from a crashed starship, and he ends up leading a group of renegade Borg who have been freed from the influence of the Collective.
- Rios seems to like hanging out with holograms, including his ship's EMH, or Emergency Medical Hologram. The most famous of these is undoubtedly The Doctor from Star Trek: Voyager, who was forced to step and become the lost ship's chief medical officer.
Star Trek: Picard is available to watch on CBS All Access every Thursday in the US, and every Friday on Amazon Prime Video internationally.
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