Episode 6 – “The Impossible Box”
February 27, 2020
Directed by: Maja Vrvilo
Let me guess, we’re starting with a flashback again? Yes? No? A scene of Soji as a child roaming around her father’s laboratory which causes here to stir suddenly — it was a dream!
We’re on the Borg Artifact in Romulan space again with some pillow talk between the weird Romulan boyfriend and Soji looking all bewildered. He’s probing her with questions like Sherlock Holmes and yet she doesn’t seem to be in any way suspicious. What’s wrong with this guy? Why doesn’t she sense he’s sleazy?
The other part of this that seems odd: if Soji is a synthetic, then she shouldn’t be aging, correct? Why then would she have dreams of being a child if she theoretically never had a childhood? As viewers we’re left to know what should be obvious: these are implanted dreams. I can’t remember Data ever dreaming (did he?), so this must be a more advanced Data than Data.
Third scene involves Picard being lied to by Dr. Jurati about what happened to Bruce Maddox with Elnor trying awkwardly to fit into the conversation as the third wheel. Picard just seems to accept Jurati’s obviously lying responses about Maddox having this terminal medical condition, despite the fact he was talking to him less than an hour ago on the gurney. Where are Picard’s innate investigative skills?
Lastly, Picard returns to his quarters where he does a computer scan on the Borg. He checks out a picture of himself as Locutus, which doesn’t even look like Picard (see first image at top of the blog). Or is this another guy who sort of looks like Picard.
This reminded me of Nemesis and how there was supposed to be a Picard doppelganger, but he looked nothing like Picard either. But hey, it’s dramatic to show the two characters merging as one, reminding the viewers that Picard is recalling his nightmarish Borg encounter from the TNG.
After the title montage, we see Dr. Jurati and Captain Rios have become a thing romantically aboard the ship. He’s got great taste in women — not.
Back to weird Romulan dude playing with the ancient Rubik’s cube and talking to another Romulan, his sister: why does Soji dream?
Why was she programmed to dream? He wants to try and get Soji to tell him the information without “activating” like Dahj did in the first episode. That’s his purpose, try to manipulate Soji.
Speaking of this brother-sister situation. Are these two closer in some kind of incestuous relationship? There sure is a lot of strange sexual overtones going on between these two. Why is this subplot here? How does it add to the drama? This is like a Cinemax After Dark sex scene, only without the sex. Are these two going to do it in a future episode — go beyond where no brother and sister (in Star Trek) have ever gone before?
Somebody check Gene Roddenberry’s grave for volcanic steam emitting from the dirt.
Cut to Picard telling Rios and Jurati why he wants to go to the Borg Artifact with Elron roaming around in the background waiting for some sort of dialogue that never comes to join in.
Then it’s the Raffi freaking out and vaping show. Lol, this is just getting almost comical with her mental instability and whining about every single thing the team does. And why is she always referring to Picard as “J.L”? (yeah, his initials, I know) Is that supposed to be her and his special bond? Raffi somehow bizarrely sells this mission to an old Starfleet friend (another woman in charge — are there absolutely zero men in Starfleet positions of authority any more?) to gain passage to the Borg Artifact. A drunken Raffi sells it to applause from the rest of the team.
This is 22 minutes in of the longest episode so far: 53 minutes. You’ll have to tune in — but trust me, this isn’t a recommendation — to see what happens as the crew visits the Borg Artifact, does Elnor get more to do, what’s going on with the Soji dream obsession with her Romulan boyfriend.
As the Picard Turns, The Days Of Picard’s Life and (insert whatever soap opera mock title with Picard in it). It’s not even the Picard we knew and loved from STNG, it’s an elderly Patrick Stewart wandering around, pushed around really, exploring mind-numbing, pointless art.
Six episodes and I’ve finally figured out what Picard is: senior soap opera TV under the guise of Star Trek.
Despite my dislike, I’m all about stories involving Star Trek characters. I was hoping long before now, through six episodes, we’d have an interesting adventure with Picard, but it’s just some long, mostly boring journey with new, paper thin characters with unrealistic, unbelievable actions. The one likable character, Captain Rios, who I thought of as sort of Han Solo type, is hooking up with the most obviously devious character. There are robots with dreams that can’t dream providing the dramatic “activation” arc.
There is the fantastic looking Borg Cube in Romulan space and yet the tension and terror viewers should feel is not there. It might as well have a McDonald’s sign pitching burgers and fries. Just this green cube in space where Romulans and a confused synthetic twin named Soji hang out, waiting for her to activate or tell the Romulans where more synths are hiding.
Then there’s the annoying vaping old Starfleet friend of Picard, Raffi. How are we to believe Picard, Captain freaking Picard would ever be friends with a flawed character like this? Remember, this is the Picard who once upon a time wouldn’t let children on the bridge of the Enterprise! He guarded his ship and his personal and professional space like sacred areas and yet … he was close with Raffi?
He’s a man of great principle and respect and we’re somehow, some way supposed to believe he was close to the character Raffi … ever? Would have been infinitely more interesting if Raffi was Dr. Beverly Crusher. They have a very loyal, established past. We wanted them to be a couple. Why didn’t they dial up Gates McFadden and put her opposite Picard in this series? Just one of the many questions fans of STNG will be mystified by. That would have had so much more dramatic tension than this.
There are people who are saying they love this show. Am not here to piss on your lightning, really. I applaud those that can put aside the mostly abysmal writing, terrible acting, nonsense new characters and drama that is overplayed and stupid most of the time. Good for those who enjoy this, and I don’t mean that with sarcasm. Me? I’m nearing the search for the big red EXIT sign. It’s got to get better fast.
For me, it’s not a good show and this episode has strained my credibility to the breaking point. Picard should have been at the Borg Cube Artifact kicking it with Hugh by the second episode.
Instead, it took nearly 70% of the first season to get there and it wasn’t drawn out in a suspenseful way, it was frustratingly slow. It was written in a way to block the viewers from getting to the goal with mostly unnecessary character building about people surrounding Picard that are supposed to matter. Characters we are supposed to care about and, mostly, don’t.
Where is the hope in this dark future vision? I realize Patrick Stewart didn’t want a “jokey” show, but I think that sort of levity would drastically improve it. The last episode was more fun, with the costumes and quirky outfits and mission. I realize this isn’t Next Generation, and we’re not going to get STNG or STOS, but at least we could get decent basic storytelling. Picard just wanders around in this series, surrounded by unlikable characters and finding out stuff viewers already know.
How to rate this episode? The last 10 minutes, like several other episodes is borderline OK. We finally get to feel like we’ve been taken somewhere somewhat interesting. A minor payback for our extreme patience. It’s like running two miles and the feeling you get when you see the finish line. Star Trek: Picard is substandard television drama at best for me. This episode is the worst so far of the six. To think there are four more and then another season? My hope that the crew would do some fun, exciting missions in the last episode was kind of energized only to be letdown completely this week.
I’ve already been charged for another month of CBS All Access, so will try and stick through this series a little longer. When Star Trek: Discovery came out, I tried watching some of that and it wasn’t for me either. When this came out, I was thinking maybe I could give that another try, but then realized there are too many other great shows out there to watch that I shouldn’t be trying to force myself to like something I don’t. Furthermore, who wants to read my screed about this show? I’d rather write about something I can recommend to others.
A couple episodes aside, two episodes in fact that I would recommend (S1E1 and S1E5), this series is fast headed to the “avoid” option. I might have to say, “Uncle” before finishing this first season. For the sake of reviewing a complete season, I’d like to try and stick with it, but it’s becoming a chore. I’m not doing any of this for work, it’s supposed to be entertaining and fun. I know there are much better shows out there to cover. Just warning readers, I may not finish this particular Star Trek mission. Sorry.
Overall episode rating: ⭐️
SPOILER SECTION – The Ready Room
Will be update with embedded video at/after 7am PST (GMT-8) when it is posted. This is the behind the scenes episode hosted by Wil Wheaton. Must admit — again — that I have more interest in what made the creative people behind this show think it was … good.
It’s obvious where the story is going. Maybe I’ll be wrong – and yes, I’ll own it — but I think Troi and Ryker’s home will be a temporary sanctuary or they’ll help find Picard and crew some sort of safe haven. Picard is headed there with the crew. That’s like the most obvious place anybody looking for Picard and company would search first … then again, that’s the logic of this series thus far. Next week, S1E7. The first episode so far that I’m not looking forward to seeing. I’ll be there, but we’re episode to episode from here out.
Here’s your chance to disagree with me. Go ahead and explain how wrong I am in the comments below. What am I missing in this series so far? Why am I not engaged, except to hang around waiting for an old STNG character to appear which, BTW, in the teaser for a future episode once again we see Will Ryker is about to make an appearance. I wanted to love this series, absolutely I did, not just watch and be (mostly) bored and disappointed. No, I wasn’t expecting more STNG, we were told that clearly in advance, but I was expecting to at least be entertained. Two episodes out of six have entertained me so far. The rest? Worf wouldn’t even like eating this rotten creative stew.