Warp Factor Trek

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Action-filled and deeply moving, this eighth installment is the best episode in Star Trek: Picard’s third season so far. It propels Season 3’s overall narrative forward in a shocking way and brilliantly sets up the final two episodes of the season.


From the bridge of the Titan, Captain Vadic commandeers the Titan’s onboard systems, barbarically leaving the crew to the mercy of the vicious Changelings on the lower decks. She demands that Jack Crusher surrender.

Riker and Troi chatting with each other

Aboard the Shrike, Riker and Troi have an intimate conversation. In this beautiful and emotional scene, they discuss Riker’s new outlook on life.

Back on the Titan’s bridge, Captain Shaw scolds Seven of Nine for not ejecting, into space, the turbolift that carried him and a group of Changelings to the bridge. He reminds her that her actions will have consequences for the entire crew. Vadic gives Jack an ultimatum: either surrender or she will start killing each of the bridge officers in ten-minute intervals.

Jack and his parents

Devastated by the position he’s in and the consequences of his actions, Jack considers surrendering. Beverly and Jean-Luc refuse to let him, leading Jack to reveal to his parents that he can connect to people and see through their eyes. They devise a plan to retake the ship. If Jack can remotely enter an override codex into a bridge console, Picard will be able to regain command functions.

Unfortunately, the plan fails, as Vadic catches the Jack-controlled Lieutenant Matthew Arliss Mura in the act. It appears Vadic is already aware of Jack’s special ability. With the first ten-minute interval up, Vadic acts upon her threat, executing Lieutenant T’Veen.

Vadic shoots T’Veen

Onboard the Shrike, Riker and Troi’s heart-to-heart continues with them discussing how they dealt with their son’s death. They vow to leave Nepenthe together and get back on with their lives. A guard comes to take them away but Worf arrives to save them.

In sickbay, Sidney informs Picard that any attempt to overrule Vadic’s control of the Titan will fail, as it will take them months to program a new code. They simply don’t have the necessary processing power.

Picard has a realisation

Having realised that Data might be able to accomplish such a feat, Picard, Beverly, Jack and Sidney rendezvous with Geordi, Alandra and the now-seemingly-dormant Data. Picard asks if they can purge Lore from Data’s system. Geordi informs them that all he can do is remove the partition in the android’s neural net. It will then be up to Data to fight for control. He also needs time for this process to take place. Planning to buy them some time, Jack departs.

The partition is removed and, inside Data’s metaphorical subconscious, Lore and Data are brought together. Data produces items of significance to himself, such as his Sherlock Holmes deerstalker hat and pipe.

Data and Lore

On the Shrike, Riker, Troi and Worf reunite with Raffi. They find Picard’s human remains and Raffi tells the others that the Changelings have removed parts of his brain that were infected with Irumodic Syndrome. They download the Shrike’s database before heading back to their shuttle.

Jack arrives on the Titan’s bridge. He ominously reveals he has brought a mysterious device with him.


As his internal conflict with Lore progresses, Data presents more belongings, including Tasha Yar’s hologram. Lore gradually takes ownership of these, in the process overcoming Data’s programming and seemingly overwriting him.

On the bridge, Jack asks that the crew be spared. Vadic complies but Seven chooses to stay. Jack baits Vadic for answers about his abilities but she only responds with cryptic comments.

Data and Spot

Meanwhile, Data’s presentations to Lore include Spot the cat. Data finally overcomes Lore, taking full control of the android body, and wastes no time in taking control of the Titan. This allows the shuttle to dock and for Raffi to demonstrate the new fighting skills Worf has taught her, decimating the Changelings.

On the bridge, Jack’s device is revealed to be a portable forcefield generator, which he uses to shield himself and Seven. At Jack’s urgent request, the bridge’s evacuation hatch is blown open. With Jack and Seven protected by the forcefield, Vadic is sucked into outer space. She promptly freezes in the vacuum of space and eventually collides with the Shrike, shattering into pieces. Now back in control of their own ship, the Titan’s crew destroy the Shrike.

The destruction of Vadic… and the Shrike

Data reunites with his former crewmates and shares an especially sweet moment with Geordi. They all gather in the observation lounge and discuss the Changeling conspiracy. As Troi explains, whatever the Changelings’ plan, it’s tied to Jack. Troi admits having sensed a darkness surrounding him and a voice that is not his own. After the Titan cloaks, Troi meets with Jack and, together, they open the red door of his nightmarish visions.


It’s taken eight episodes but finally all of our old friends from the TNG main cast are together on a starship again and it’s absolutely been worth the wait. The penultimate scene in the Titan observation lounge is beautifully written and, watching it as a long-term TNG fan, very nostalgic. Each character gets a moment to shine and the interactions are a joy to behold.

The reassembled TNG main cast

Amanda Plummer’s Vadic goes out in a blaze of glory, cementing her position in the upper tier of Star Trek villains, though this might not be the last we will see of her. Plummer is praiseworthy for having depicted Vadic as menacing and unhinged — a worthy foe for our crew.

Brent Spiner portrays the conflict between Lore and Data exceptionally well. The various easter eggs in their virtual battle are highly rewarding. Who knew the appearance of Spot would be such an emotional experience, again demonstrating that Picard’s writers know TNG and how to illicit an emotional response from fans?

Rating: 5 out of 5

As the episode draws to a close, we are left with several central mysteries to be resolved. Most importantly, what is the cause of Jack Crusher’s abilities? Troi mentions a weak, ancient evil inhabiting Jack. Could this be the Pah-wraiths returning? We also have the Changelings removing parts of Picard’s brain and Vadic mentions Jack hearing a multitude of voices. All of this seems to indicate that the Borg Collective may be involved. With only two episodes left, we’re going to get those answers sooner rather than later. It’s been an amazing adventure so far. Let’s hope the show’s conclusion lives up to expectations.

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