Star Trek: Picard Season 3 Episode 8 Review: The Old Crew Is Together Again

Spoilers follow.

How admirable that the showrunners of "Star Trek: Picard" waited until the eighth episode of the series to finally unite Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Gates McFadden, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, and Brent Spiner together in the same room. The episode, called "Surrender," ends with Picard, Riker, Troi, Dr. Crusher, Geordi La Forge, Worf, and a new-and-improved version of Data all gathered around a conference table — just like on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" — to reconnoiter and figure out what to do next. 

The sight of these characters back on the job was accompanied by some treacly, nostalgic music, natch, which is mildly irritating. Also, I could have gone without a few weepy lines of dialogue about how great it is to be together again; did none of these characters come to resent their old coworkers? But overall the moment felt more natural than one might expect. It was a "nostalgia moment" that felt earned and organic. Thank goodness "Picard" took the time to put everyone in place out in the galaxy before slowly bringing them together. When Picard begins asking his "crew" for suggestions, it makes sense that everyone falls back into place with their dialogue and their dynamic. 

This moment comes at the end of what might be considered the "action climax" of this season. "Surrender" will feature a hostage situation, several notable deaths, a dramatic noncorporeal face-off, and a cliché line of action move dialogue spoken right before a villain is dispatched. The plot takes a breather while tensions run high.

Data vs. Lore

The noncorporeal confrontation mentioned above was between Data and Lore, both played by Spiner. As previously explained, Altan Soong constructed an android body made to look like a 74-year-old man, hoping that an otherwise-immortal android could experience old age. Into said body, Soong shunted in the consciousnesses of Data, Lore, B-4, Noonien Soong, Lal, and presumably others. For the purposes of this episode, only Data and Lore are important. Geordi La Forge (Burton) knows that Data's powerful android brain could wrest control of the U.S.S. Titan's computers away from the villainous Vadic (Amanda Plummer), but to activate him would be to invite the evil Lore to delete Data and take over his body; he already tried in the previous episodes. At Picard's urging, Geordi activates him anyway, hoping Data will dominate. 

What follows is an abstract conversation between Data and Lore. The latter, having no ethics or compunctions about killing off Data begins stealing his memories and throwing them into the ether. Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby) makes a brief cameo during this sequence, appearing in a memorial projector that Data kept on "Next Generation." Eventually, Lore sucks up every last one of Data's memories, eager to take control of his own android body once again. Data argues, in a brief moment of philosophical introspection, that a human character is constructed of their memories. In stealing Data's, Lore essentially became Data. It's rushed and a little thin, but it seemed at least a modicum of thought went into it. 

This was Data's second resurrection, incidentally. In the first, a particle of his body was somehow salvaged from the explosion at the end of "Star Trek: Nemesis," and cloned (?) into a brand new android brain that somehow contained all of Data's memories.

Riker and Troi

Even in Trek's world of multisyllabic technobabble, this was farfetched. This time around, enough time was taken explaining this new golem body that it was easier to accept beyond a mere plot contrivance.

Data emerges from the conflict a new man, happy to be a 74-year-old with weak knees and a crick in his neck. Also, he seems to be able to fully feel now. 

An additional emotional climax is provided by Riker and Troi (Frakes and Sirtis), now a married couple still smarting after the death of their son years earlier. While being held prisoner on board the Shrike, they talk about how they never found a way to properly grieve. They talk out their problems, apologize, and both admit that they hate living in a cabin in the country. Troi admits she wants to move back to the city. This odd moment of domestic strife is weirdly welcome. It provides a strong character moment for Troi who, up until now, hasn't appeared much in this season. Troi also has the pleasure of reuniting with Worf (Dorn) whom she briefly dated, and she will play a part in unlocking the mind of Jack Crusher (Ed Speleers). Troi, it seems, was granted the dignity of not being a mere bit player.

She, Riker, Worf, and Raffi (Michelle Hurd) will also salvage the organic body of Picard that the evil Changelings want for reasons that have still not yet been explained. 

While the above dramas were taking place, "Picard" engaged in its proper "action movie" climax. In the previous episode, Vadic took control of the bridge of the Titan. In this one, Vadic lines up all the bridge officers as hostages and offers to murder them off one by one until Jack Crusher surrenders himself.

Vadic no more

Sadly, one of the ever-present background characters, Lieutenant T'Veen (Stephanie Czajkowski), won't make it out alive. (Luckily, Vadic does not target the show's nonbinary character, Ensign Kova Rin Esmar (Jin Maley).) It's a shocking death. During the hostage crisis, the stern Captain Shaw (Todd Stashwick) remains snippy toward Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), pointing out that her tendency to break rules had led to ruin. Shaw's continued status as the sole pessimist on "Picard" remains unblanched and wholly appealing. 

Vadic, thanks to a complex coordinated effort, will eventually be blown out into space through an on-bridge airlock that wasn't mentioned before. It seems to this nitpicking Trekkie that having an airlock on the bridge of a starship is a massive design flaw, but whatever. Vadic is sucked out into the vacuum of space where she freezes, drifts into the hull of her own ship, and shatters into thousands of pieces. Nitpicking Trekkies may point out that a Changeling like Vadic may be able to survive such an ordeal, but in terms of an action movie death, it will do. Importantly, Vadic will be gone from the story. Prior to Vadic's death, Seven got to bark out "Get off my bridge," a line she cribbed from Captain Janeway on "Star Trek: Voyager." 

With two episodes to go, it's a relief to see Vadic gone. It means that the season's climax will not be hand-to-hand combat, another starship battle, or any act of dull, revenge-based action movie violence. Trek is not an action franchise, and "Picard" looks poised to conclude more intelligently. 

The stupid "Space Jesus" notions introduced last week, however, still linger. But there may be time to turn things around.