Warp Factor Trek

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With the penultimate episode of its second season finally here, Star Trek: Picard approaches the end of the roller coaster ride with episode nine, “Hide and Seek”. This episode brings us the inevitable showdown with the Borg Queen and Adam Soong versus Picard and friends. It also provides somewhat of a resolution to Picard’s tortured childhood. With newcomer director Michael Weaver in the director’s chair and writers Matt Okumura and Chris Derrick writing this penultimate installment, the episode is full of action and surprises that leave you feeling like you’re going to be saddened when this thrill ride ends.

Aboard La Sirena, Rios feverishly attempts to ferry Teresa and her son to safety, but they are stopped by the Borg Queen’s assimilated ex-special forces personnel, who beam onto the ship along with her. The Queen (as Jurati) also appropriates her old Borg attire and leaves the ship’s morgue. Just then, Picard, Tallinn, Seven, and Raffi transport into the Château Picard courtyard, ready to defend the ship against the Queen and Soong’s forces. Rios arrives too, directing Teresa and her son to hide. However, the group soon realize that they are vastly outnumbered.

Controlling the drones that surround Picard and his crew, the Queen attempts to gain access to La Sirena again but Jurati – whose consciousness is still very much with the Queen – physically stops her in her tracks. There, on the La Sirena‘s bridge, they talk to each other, the two sides of the Jurati Queen’s consciousness now personified. Their dueling conversation, in which Jurati insists that the Borg Queen’s motive for assimilating others is sheer loneliness, is wonderfully acted by both Alison Pill and Annie Wersching. The Queen argues that, with the foreknowledge of the Confederation of Earth’s obliterating attack on the Borg Collective, the Collective will be prepared to defend itself this time.

Jurati and the Borg Queen (Paramount)

The Queen attempts to obtain power over the flight control computer but finds that her access to it has been restricted. Jurati explains that she used a subspace signal – the same one the Queen uses to mentally control her drones – to install a fractal code to lock her out of the computer. Jurati is certainly no idiot and has decided to hide the code in La Sirena’s Emergency Combat Hologram. Surprisingly, the hologram fizzles into existence, in the form of Elnor, looking exactly as he did before he was shot by the Confederation Magistrate in “Penance”. Evan Evagora gets to do what he did earlier this season (and last season as well) – specifically, kicking butt and taking names.

Meanwhile, in the courtyard, the rest of the ship’s crew try their best to fend off the drones, one of whom drops a flash bomb which explodes. With that, we are again transported back to Picard’s childhood. In a somewhat odd situation, Jean-Luc’s father, Maurice (James Callis), is shown holding a PADD. This was odd, since it ignored TNG: “Family” having established that he mainly rejected technology. Young Jean-Luc asks his mother what game they should play. After a while, she decides to play hide-and-seek.

Back in the present, Rios gets shot, and after a few moments, Tallinn beams him, Teresa, and her son to the safety of Tallinn’s apartment. Rios is frustrated to realize that he can’t beam himself back to La Sirena, because Picard has locked him out of the controls for Tallinn’s transporter.

Adam Soong confronts Picard (Paramount)

Soong confronts Picard in the craziest way possible, by offering leniency to his crew in exchange for leaving Soong alone. Picard refuses, deciding to fight for the future. He and Tallinn, Seven and Raffi, and the Elnor hologram are now involved in a long, violent form of hide-and-seek against their assailants.

Upon encountering Raffi and Seven aboard La Sirena, the Elnor hologram demonstrates that, in a tip of the hat to Star Trek: Voyager, he sports a mobile emitter, like Robert Picardo’s character of The Doctor in that series. Then the inevitable confrontation ensues on La Sirena. The three confront the Jurati Queen. Although they train their weapons on her, she manages to deactivate the hologram, knock Raffi to the floor, and mortally impale Seven.

Jurati is able to convince the Queen to reform the Borg Collective, offering herself up to help restructure the organization into an alliance where the members will willingly cooperate with one another. If I’m not mistaken, this change in her ties back to the season premiere, “The Star Gazer”, when a Borg ship emerged from an anomaly and requested Federation membership. There’s an Internet fan theory that the masked envoy who beamed aboard the Stargazer in that episode may, in fact, be Jurati as the Queen. This installment finally proves this theory, at least in this reviewer’s opinion.

Meanwhile, Rios manages to use Tallinn’s transporter to beam himself back to Château Picard, where he, Picard, and Tallinn watch as Adam Soong explosively retreats. The château turns out to be the place where Picard once witnessed something that no person should ever have to experience. He reveals to Tallinn that his mother – struggling in the depths of a mental illness which is never named in the episode – died by suicide, hanging herself.

Picard confides in Tallinn about his mother’s suicide (Paramount)

This was, quite frankly, a very shocking aspect of Picard’s character. He had been suppressing this memory for decades, and now seeing it all, the memories come forward. The revelation shocked me to my core and gave closure on Picard’s childhood that felt very tragic yet, to an extent, also satisfying.

In exchange for saving Seven’s life, the Jurati Queen takes the La Sirena and flies off alone, on a mission to aid the Borg Collective in the Delta Quadrant. Her departure leaves Seven, Picard, Raffi, Rios, and Tallinn with the task of preventing Soong from stopping the Europa Mission. As the Jurati Queen said before departing, there must be two Renées: one who lives and another who dies.

Rating: 5/5

Overall, “Hide and Seek” is one of the best penultimate episodes of a Star Trek season that I’ve seen in quite a while. The two biggest surprises – Elnor as a hologram and Yvette Picard’s suicide – were welcomed but shocking at the same time. I know I don’t want this season to end. Hopefully, it won’t crash and burn with episode ten.

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