Picard’s “The Bounty” in Review
Episode six of Star Trek: Picard’s third season, “The Bounty”, is a nostalgia-filled episode. It moves the season’s overall plot forward while reintroducing two old friends and one former adversary.
Starfleet and the Shrike are hunting the Titan, which has been leaving decoy transponders behind before leaping to warp. Vadic decides to change tactic and asks her crew to obtain information on people whom Picard might turn to.
On the Titan, it’s revealed that Jack has inherited Picard’s Irumodic Syndrome. Raffi and Worf arrive and brief the crew on their findings. They decide to head to Daystrom Station to investigate the items stolen from there.
Riker, Worf and Raffi beam aboard the station. Starfleet finds the Titan, which in turn has to flee. Left behind, the away team investigates the technology and items stored there. They come across a treasure trove of easter eggs, including a “Genesis II Device” (referencing both the Genesis Device from The Wrath of Khan and The Search for Spock as well as the Gene Roddenberry pilot Genesis II), the body of James T. Kirk, and a genetically modified tribble. The advanced AI of Daystrom Station creates a countermeasure against Riker, choosing to unleash a copy of the Professor Moriarty hologram who begins stalking them.
The Titan arrives at the Fleet Museum, run by Commodore Geordi La Forge. Numerous legendary starships are kept on permanent display here. Geordi and his other daughter Alandra — played by LeVar Burton’s daughter, Mica Burton — meet with Picard, who reveals that Jack is his son. He asks his old engineer to clone the Titan’s transponder signal, allowing them to create a decoy to lure Starfleet defences away from Daystrom Station. Unfortunately, the plan won’t work — Starfleet ships now are fully integrated, meaning that, in essence, they talk to each other.
Trying to hide from Moriarty on Daystrom Station, the away team hear fragments of a song. Riker realises it’s “Pop Goes the Weasel”, the tune Data was whistling the first time they met. Riker whistles a response, which causes Moriarty to vanish and a door to open, revealing a Soong-type android.
On the Titan, Picard and Geordi debate the ethics of their situation, discussing Geordi’s fear that he will become unable to protect his daughters. Concurrently, Seven and Jack have a heart-to-heart on the bridge while observing the old starships. They include: the Defiant; the Enterprise-A; Voyager; and a certain Klingon Bird-of-Prey: the Bounty from The Voyage Home. It’s especially poignant when Voyager appears on screen and Seven reacts to seeing her.
The android on Daystrom Station turns out to be a dormant amalgamation of Lal, B-4, Lore, and Data. However, the integration process is incomplete.
Though Geordi ultimately refuses to help the Titan, he allows the ship to leave, but not before he has a private conversation with Sidney. Geordi explains that Picard has agreed to leave her behind and tell Starfleet she was an unwilling participant. Sidney refuses and reminds her father that a starship’s crew can become a family. Jack encourages she and Alandra to commit some “minor larceny.”
Raffi, Riker and Worf discover that within the android’s memories are the manifest of Daystrom Station and a visual record of what has been stolen from the facility. They accidentally trigger an intruder alert.
Alandra, Sidney and Jack have stolen the Bounty’s cloaking device and installed it aboard the Titan, but it’s malfunctioning. Voluntarily, Geordi decides to helping. This enables the Titan to cloak in the vicinity of Daystrom Station, where Riker creates a distraction, allowing the rest of the away team and the android to escape. He’s captured just before the Titan warps away, having apparently now beamed Data on board.
Members of the Titan crew regroup as they attempt to repair the android. They wonder which personality will surface when it’s reactivated. Joyously, it’s the Data program that takes dominance, although the android’s various personalities are at odds with one another. This reactivation scene works especially well with composer Stephen Barton reprising parts of Jerry Goldsmith’s Star Trek Nemesis score. Data reveals that the item stolen from Daystrom Station was Picard’s mortal remains.
Back on Daystrom, Riker is viciously beaten by a team of Starfleet security officers, one of whom shoots the rest of the group and gleefully reveals itself to be Vadic in disguise. She beams Riker aboard the Shrike and shows him that she has kidnapped Deanna Troi.
This episode delivers on many levels. Technically, it looks stunning, and emotionally, it hits all the right beats too. The story, although steeped in nostalgia, uses its many callbacks to further the narrative and character arcs rather than just deliver fan service. Devotees of the original movie era are sure to get a kick from a few of the easter eggs, and having the Titan commandeer the cloaking device from the Bounty is an inspired choice.
We finally have all of our friends in one episode. With six episodes in, it feels earned. LeVar Burton returns to the role of Geordi La Forge with a powerful portrayal of a father having to balance the protection of his children with his duty to his old crew. We also finally get the reveal of the character that Brent Spiner will be playing this season, which is more exciting than Lore alone.
Although the Next Generation crew get the majority of the screentime, this episode also spends time developing relationships between Jack and Seven, Sidney and Jack, and Sidney and Alandra. With this groundwork, one can’t help but wonder if they’re laying the foundations for a Titan spinoff series.
“The Bounty” is a fantastic episode, with the only disappointment being the limited use of Moriarty. It’s a welcome sight to see the return of Geordi and a form of Data. There’s just something right about seeing our favourite characters interacting in new scenes together. Riker and Worf had a fantastic dynamic in the television series and that’s perfectly replicated here, with some laugh-out-loud lines. Also featured is another excellent performance by Patrick Stewart, who leads his crew and family onwards into episode seven.
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!