Warp Factor Trek

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Featuring an obvious nod to the Frank Sinatra song of the same name, Star Trek: Picard reaches the top of its Season 2 rollercoaster ride, with the halfway-point episode: “Fly Me to the Moon”. The Watcher finally reveals who she is: Tallinn, a supervisor from the same mysterious organization of which Gary Seven was a member, in TOS: “Assignment: Earth”. She also reveals that she’s been protecting one of Picard’s ancestors: Renée Picard (Penelope Mitchell).

On April 15, 2024, Renée is supposed to launch into space for a mission to Europa. However, something Q did prevented her from going into space, thus changing history as Picard and his crew had known it. Earlier this season, references to the Europa mission have appeared since the crew landed in the past – from billboards to bus advertisements – and now we’re finally seeing the details of the mission.

Renée Picard in a spaceflight simulator (Paramount)

It’s nice to see this finally revealed, and to learn that Renée Picard’s successful launch is the key to the timeline being restored. This additionally provides an answer as to who the ancestor was whom Picard mentioned in a speech at Starfleet Academy in the season premiere. It also clears up a potential continuity error in the 2002 film Star Trek Nemesis, when Picard told Shinzon, “I was the first Picard to leave our solar system.” With Renée’s potential launch to Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, this potential continuity error has been somewhat clarified, and it’s nice to see it. Renée is destined to discover microscopic life on Io, and that must happen for the timeline to be restored.

Q, masquerading as a therapist reminiscent of Sigmund Freud, is trying to prevent Renée from boldly going into space, attempting to talk her out of proceeding with the mission. This fake advice enrages Jean-Luc when he sees the therapy session – albeit very awkwardly.

Elsewhere, Dr. Adam Soong (Brent Spiner) is trying to secure funding for more genetic research. This portion of the episode seemed unnecessary at first, but once it’s revealed that he has a daughter named Kore (Isa Briones) – who is suffering from an unknown disorder that prevents her from experiencing life outdoors – it’s interesting to see traces of the geneticist persona he takes on. Considering that Brent Spiner played a similar geneticist named “Arik Soong” in a three-part arc for Star Trek: Enterprise back in 2004, this is hardly a surprise, at least to the audience. When his funding is cut off by a three-person panel – including a Dr. Rozhenko and led by Dr. Diane Werner (played by Lea Thompson, in a cameo appearance after directing the previous two installments) – he’s desperate to help his daughter in any way, shape, or form.

The three-person panel (Paramount)

Enter Q – who agrees to help by providing a medicine which would cure Kore’s genetic defect. Because of the Earth’s ultraviolet radiation, Kore is unable to breathe the atmosphere and it causes her blood to turn to poison. The “remedy” effect is only temporary, and Q agrees to do more, if Soong takes care of Renée.

The way Brent Spiner plays a desperate father may make the audience more sympathetic to his plight of protecting his flesh-and-blood. The way he does whatever he can to allow her to experience a normal life is very touching. Also, the role of a father desperate to do virtually anything to save his daughter and being given a means to cure her ailment by a super-powerful character is similar to a plot element in the film Star Trek Into Darkness.

Jurati resting as a stranger enters Château Picard (Paramount)

Meanwhile, as Jurati rests at Château Picard, the Borg Queen is feeling alone – literally and in her head. The Queen manipulates La Sirena’s computer to have the ship tap into Earth’s cell towers, whereby she contacts the local police, masquerading as a woman who’s in need of aid. A local police officer enters the ship and discovers the Borg Queen. The way the policeman reacts to this alien lifeform reminds me of similar shock factor to the Xenomorph in the Alien franchise. Jonathan Frakes‘ direction of this scene, with dramatic camera angles and mysterious lighting, is just brilliant!

This is also where Round 3 starts between Jurati and the Borg Queen. When Jurati sees the Borg Queen holding the policeman by the throat – albeit with the right amount of disgusting factors (her tentacles have just the right amount of slimey goop!) – she’s forced to shoot her with a rifle. This act once again proves the Borg can be killed by actual bullets, which was a nice callback to Star Trek: First Contact. Just before the Queen’s death, she transfers something to Jurati’s mind, à la Spock in The Wrath of Khan. It’s her way of assimilating her without turning her into a drone. I have a theory – Jurati will become the next Borg Queen, who will help them get home once the timeline is restored.

Raffi and Seven work… on rescuing Rios (Paramount)

Finally, Rios is rescued, thanks to perfectly timed electromagnetic pulses from Raffi’s Confederation tricorder. The pulses disable the bus and its driver. It’s such nifty technology the Confederation has, as none of the Federation tricorders have done this in the past.

Raffi is still thinking about the dearly departed Elnor and momentarily hallucinates that one of the ICE captives is Elnor. It’s nice to see Evan Evagora, if only briefly – and this scene demonstrates Raffi’s motivation for helping restore the timeline.

Renêe Picard must attend a highly secure gala, prior to a mandatory quarantine before launch. In a scene that may remind viewers of similar heist films like Ocean’s Eleven or something from the Mission: Impossible films, the plan is for the crew to infiltrate the gala and prevent Renêe from being distracted by Q or Adam Soong so she can take off for the Europa mission and restore the timeline.

Rating: 4.5/5

“Fly Me to the Moon” is a solid episode, through and through. The acting is excellent, and kudos to Brent Spiner as Adam Soong and (once again) to Annie Wersching as the Borg Queen. With quite possibly the shortest Picard episode to date, it was a lot to pack into such a short amount of time. That is the only flaw I saw with this episode – too much to pack into such a short episode.

With the Queen’s consciousness in Jurati, it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Exactly how the rest of the season will be resolved will hopefully make for an interesting end to the season. I have high hopes that things will slow down a bit in the remaining five episodes, now that we’ve reached the apex of the roller coaster ride.

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