Picard’s “Imposters” in Review
Terry Matalas promised that the third season of Star Trek: Picard would feature legacy characters from across the Star Trek universe. Episode five, “Imposters”, delivers on this promise with a story that ties back to the Next Generation television series and further develops this season’s story arc in exciting fashion.
“Imposters” opens with the Titan about to head back home. Someone arrives on the bridge and promptly murders the entire bridge crew. It’s quickly revealed that the mysterious shooter is Jack Crusher, dressed in a Starfleet uniform. This is, in fact, a waking dream of Crusher’s. He rouses as his eyes turn red and we hear Beverly Crusher’s voice ominously call out, “Jack. Come home.”
Meanwhile, Picard, Riker and Seven discuss the implications of a rogue Changeling that was able to infiltrate the ship, bypassing the countermeasures put in place after the end of the Dominion War. Riker returns command to Shaw, who reveals Starfleet is on its way. Picard offers to take the fall for the deception and rule-breaking that has taken place.
Beverly Crusher asks to study the Changeling body. Picard agrees. He also tries to persuade Jack to join Starfleet, but Jack rejects the suggestion.
Worf and Raffi, onboard La Sirena, are training for the next part of their mission together. Worf’s handler refuses to give them access to Daystrom Station. To determine how the Changelings managed to break into that station, Worf now plans for them to find a mysterious associate of Sneed called “Krinn”. To begin searching for him, the pair head into District Six.
The Titan meanwhile rendezvous with the USS Intrepid, which sends over a shuttle carrying a team of Starfleet security officers. Excited about the upcoming court martial of Riker and Picard, Captain Shaw comically references the crash of the Enterprise-D saucer section in Generations as well as the plots of Star Trek: Insurrection and The Next Generation finale “All Good Things…”. The leader of the investigative team is none other than Ro Laren — a former helmsman of the Enterprise-D and an ex-Maquis.
Seven meanwhile intends to hide Jack Crusher in plain sight, insisting that he wear a Starfleet uniform. This development echoes his earlier dream.
Ro begins her investigation into Picard and Riker’s recent activities. Picard questions her true motives and notices she’s not wearing her Bajoran earring.
Jack continues to hear Beverly call out, “Find me. Hear me. Connect us.” He witnesses more strange visions, daydreaming about murdering other Titan crewmembers.
Back on M’Talas Prime, the gangster Krinn confronts Worf and Raffi… or at least a Raffi hologram. Krinn turns out to be a Vulcan. Foiling an attempt to assassinate him by the real Raffi, he makes it clear that he’s been expecting them.
Aboard the Titan, Beverly Crusher alerts Picard that Changelings can now replicate blood. He suspects Ro might be a Changeling, as she seems fixated on Jack Crusher. On the way to sickbay, Ro takes Picard on a detour to the holodeck, where the two have a tense conversation until they establish trust with each other. Ro reveals that Starfleet has been compromised at the highest level.
Krinn forces Worf and Raffi into fighting each other to the death. Raffi manages to defeat Worf. Shockingly, he looks like he’s about to die.
On the Titan’s holodeck, Ro elaborates to Picard about her suspicion that Starfleet has been infiltrated. She fears an attack will take place on Frontier Day.
Thankfully, Worf’s “defeat” is revealed to be a ruse. Krinn reveals that he brokered a deal for a device that would bypass the security on Daystrom Station. He agrees to hand the device over to Raffi and Worf.
Ro has arranged for Picard to be left with a skeleton crew on the Titan and tells him to take the ship and run. She promises to return to the Intrepid and create a diversion. Before she leaves, she hands over her Bajoran earring. Picard personally informs Shaw that they must make a hasty departure.
On Ro’s shuttle, her accompanying security officers plant a bomb and beam out. Ro emotionally notifies the Titan of her situation. Attempting to give the Titan an opportunity to escape, she sacrifices herself. The highlight of the episode’s visuals is her shuttle crashing into the Intrepid’s port nacelle.
In a corridor, a team of four security officers from the Intrepid attempt to beam Jack Crusher away. However, he manages to singlehandedly defeat them in unarmed combat, just before the Titan engages warp, fleeing an attack from the Intrepid.
Later, Riker and Picard determine that the late Ro Laren’s earring holds all of the data on her investigation into the Changeling infiltration of Starfleet. It even reveals that Ro was Worf’s handler.
In sickbay, the four security officers who Jack killed are confirmed to have been Changelings. A confused Jack confides in his mum that he believes something is very wrong with him.
In addition to being the fifth installment of Star Trek: Picard’s third season, “Imposters” is also a semi-sequel to a twenty-eight-year-old episode of The Next Generation, “Preemptive Strike”. Having Ro Laren be the officer who investigates Picard for treason is an inspired choice. Their scenes together are tense and emotional, dealing with the fallout of the aforementioned episode and providing a fitting conclusion to their relationship. Patrick Stewart continues to offer a strong performance as Picard and guest star Michelle Forbes slips back into her legacy role with ease.
As Jack Crusher’s storyline continues to develop, the unsettling visions he suffers throughout the episode raise many questions. The choice to show some of the visions as if they are part of the episode is very effective and adds a lot of shock value to those scenes.
Unfortunately, Seven and Captain Shaw have less to do this time. That said, Shaw does get a few memorable lines.
Krinn was an interesting adversary — an emotional Vulcan. One can’t help but wonder if this was another of Terry Matalas’ callbacks to the classic movies and, in this case, Sybok.
“Imposters” continues the trend of earlier episodes by feeling highly cinematic. This is, in part, down to composer Stephen Barton’s use of themes from the movie series. Worf’s heroic moments often feature Jerry Goldsmith’s Klingon theme and, early in the episode, there’s a nice mellow rendition of the TNG theme tune over Riker’s captain’s log.
The visual effects continue to be exemplary. It’s also nice to finally see another 25th Century Starfleet vessel — the Intrepid is a beauty even if, like the Titan, she’s similar to a Constitution-class in profile.
It’s quite remarkable that we’re seeing story threads from about thirty years ago reach conclusions which are extremely fulfilling for long-term fans. Not settling for just being a nostalgia-fest, “Imposters” furthers the season’s story arc, adding more layers to it. This episode is another stellar chapter, and the return and eventual sacrifice of Ro is a deeply emotional experience.
Jamie Flint has been a Star Trek fan since he was four years old and caught the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan on television. He quickly devoured the other movies and TV episodes and can fondly remember being the youngest person in the cinema watching Generations.
Thirty years later, you’ll find him watching all the series — both new and old — with his little family. Oh, and he is a big defender of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier!