Disengage: Picard S302 Review
Aided by Seven of Nine and the crew of the USS Titan, Picard makes a shocking discovery that will alter his life forever, and puts him on a collision course with the most cunning enemy he’s ever encountered. Meanwhile, Raffi races to track a catastrophic weapon, and collides with a familiar ally.
Starting off with a lot of tension, Picard and Riker are stuck with Jack and his mum Bev in stasis on the SS Eleos as the Shrike threatens to decimate them all. Meanwhile Shaw, pissed off that Picard and Riker hijacked his ship with Sevens help while he slept refuses to help while kicking his ex Borg XO to the curb. And on a planet far, far away Raffi is tearing her hair out after watching a Starfleet recruitment centre be portal gunned into rubble after failing to save it.
There’s a lot of pretty cool action in this episode right off the bat. From the chaotic scenes of Picard, Riker and Jack scrambling not to be boarded after their shuttle was destroyed, to fighting to stay alive in the face of certain death. The action was nicely paced though, with the overriding plot coming right back to Shaw’s arrogance as a Captain with little to no love for the old generation. Alas, Seven was there to twist his arm and much like the first episodes moment of boldly breaking orders, here she boldly breaks his spirit by cutting down his ego and reminding him how bad his spotless record would look if he let two Starfleet legends die because he was in a huff.
For the Starfleet side of the episode it’s all just everyone figuring out what they’re trying to do. Picard’s rogue mission means saving an old friend and her son, while on the opposing side Shaw is faced with the seasons baddie; Vadic. A sadistic and somewhat unhinged villians who reveals herself in the episode with her personal mission; she wants Jack Crusher. Once Jack’s been saved by Shaw jumping into action thanks to Sevens goading, it’s all about trhe hour she gives them to turn him over and what he means to the plot.
To Vadic, he’s a prize to cash in as an apparent bounty hunter. To Picard, he’s the son of a dear old friend. To Shaw? He’s a risk. That tension between Picard, a tired old Admiral who’s lost his edge and the sarcastic and arrogant Shaw who uncovers Jack’s criminal background fills the episode. The themes of loyalty run through the episode quite nicely. Seven’s risked her career due to her loyalty to Picard. Picard’s risked an entire ship for his loyalty to Beverly and Shaw’s loyalty to both himself and the rule book all clash very nicely. Meanwhile, in the background, Riker’s got a loyalty of his own in uncovering the true nature of who Jack is and he pokes and prods Picard throughout. “Don’t you think there’s something familiar about him?”
There’s really no wasted time, nor any wasted space here. Under threat of Vadic, who proves herself just as mental as she seems by using a tractor beam to toss the Eleos into the Titan, everything just seems to merge perfectly. The performance, the pacing, the tension all combines to one moment where everything’s at risk and Riker just decides, screw it, only Beverly can give us answers and googles “how to wake up an unconscious patient” before hauling her back to the bridge to bring it all to a conclusion…
Breaking up all the tension is Raffi, still alone on her personal mission for a faceless handler within Starfleet intelligence. Despite being the obvious B plot here, there is a lot for Raffi to do. When we first met her she was isolated after spinning out of control over a conspiracy theory. Granted, she was right, but again her minds racing ten steps ahead of anything logical and her worst demons are all out on show. Avoiding the drugs and deprivation of the underbelly on M’Talas, her real addictions on show; she has to spiral down the rabbit hole of her grand theory.
It’s a really tough balance f tragedy and duty. Ignoring her handler and going it alone, she reaches out to her ex husband and the father of her son. And blows it. But not without reason. She’s just witnessed a massive event that killed hundreds. She knows theres an incredible and deadly weapon out there. She knows it’s been acquired by people on that planet. And she knows how to get to the, She just needs to convince the family she pushed away for her last big conspiracy to believe her. Given the choice, them or her mission, it’s a tough spot for Raffi and not an uncommon theme in this type of story.
Many will see her as making the wrong choice, to follow her leads and find the arrogant criminal mastermind Sneed, but it only highlights the strange tragedy of the character. She’s rough, her priorities are everywhere they shouldn’t be and she’s a complete wreck. All she wants is her family back but she’s always so locked into the mystery that she has to push them away. But with stakes so high, as much as they’ll loathe her for it, she knows it’s not just her duty to take the information her ex can give her and follow that path; it’s just whats right to do. In typical Raffi fashion, it all goes horribly wrong. Her family reject her but set up the meeting with Sneed. Sneed see’s right through her and tests her with a drug that shows her true colours.
In an episode about loyalty, hers is always for the greater good at great cost to herself. Which makes it even more fitting that the person who’s career was given a kicking for doing the opposite arrives to save her. And for a few seconds of hacking, slashing and being the saviour, seeing Worf back on screen revealing himself to be her handler was worth every second of nostalgic joy.
Where that rejection of family had to happen to save her mission, on the Titan an acceptance of it was what saves them. Look, it’s obvious from the get go who Jack Crusher is. It’s obvious all the way through that Picard’s avoiding the thought despite Riker prodding him with a stick every chance he has to speak. And when Jack’s on the run, desperate to hand himself over to save his mother, we knew where that scene was going when Riker marched Bev to the bridge. How it was done? For all the words that could be shared, for all the dialogue that could be wasted, all it took was one look that rekindled that unrequited love of their past and gave Picard the truth he didn’t ant to admit.
Just one glance was a great demonstration of the episodes approach; in it’s key moment it’s showed without telling. Not only that, but it made Picard spring into action. Instead of wallowing in the self pity of feeling behind the times, he suddenly had a real reason to be there and take charge. It also allowed us to see the first glimpse of humanity from Shaw. After spending the entire episode looking for a reason not to hand over Jack and getting no good argument, he finally had one he couldn’t ignore event if he wanted to. He’s Picard’s son.
Following on wonderfully from the first episodes cliffhanger, there was a very tight performance all round. From Picard’s denial, to Riker’s not so playful probing to Shaw’s relentless hatred of everyone who’s pretty much just ruined his day. Everything combined wonderfully and what made it better were the last few moments. Explosions, arguments, bloodshed, tension and emotion. And with all that unresolved tension and unanswered questions hanging over us? We fade into a nebula and the chase begins…
Our latest issue of Comms takes a look at the last year of Star Trek, sci fi, superheropes and more!! With the usual features including What If, Fistful Of Data and more, the “All Good Things” issue of Comms is available as part of SFCQ2’s free membership! To find out more visit our Comms preview or Enlist Today!