Imposters: Picard S305 Review.

Imposters: Picard S305 Review.

Imposters: Picard S305 Review.

Caught by Starfleet and facing court martial, paranoia grows as Picard struggles to uncover whether a prodigal crewman from his past has returned as an ally or an enemy hell-bent on destroying them all.

Bringing back the entire main cast of the Next Generation for Picards final season was a risk that has to this point paid off nicely. While we have a regretful Riker and Picard on the Titan while Worf hangs about with Raffi on M’Talas, another former Enterprise officer turns up on the Titan. Just not the one anyone expected…

Now the Titan’s free from the nebula and Shaw’s upright, it’s back to business for the Titan and Riker hands command back to a gleeful Shaw who wastes no time getting his own back for his ship being hijacked. He’s been in touch with Starfleet who are on their way to put Picard and his cohorts under investigation for mutiny; a deserved fate after putting the entire crew in danger.

After being largely out of action through the nebula mission, Todd Stashwick steals every scene he’s in here. There’s a lot of joy in getting payback to the three people who have lied to him and put everyone at risk. Especially Seven who he reinstates just so she gets her comeuppance as well. It doesn’t even end in the opening scenes. On the way to meet their judge and jury, there’s a wonderfully over the top cheerfulness in leading Riker and Picard to their fates whilst reminding them most of their brave heroics only came down to them messing up in the first place.

Of course who that judge and jury is comes as the episodes biggest surprise as it’s someone from Picards past he’s been waiting thirty years to have an argument with; Ro Laren. It seems after defecting to the maquis, she ended up in prison again before restarting her career under stricter rules and psychological retraining in order to earn her uniform back. Though now she’s here, her mission to debrief and punish Picard becomes merely a welcome plot of tension as the years have left them to resent each other even more. Picard resents her for betraying him and everything he taught her to become a better officer. She resents him for trying to hard to change her instead of accept her.

Playing background plot to the episode was the fear of Changlings on board the Titan. After finding one and dissecting it, the question of how the changeling retained the shape of Crash LaForge after death instead of drying out into dust, as we’d seen on Deep Space Nine, Crusher found the answer. Evolution. These changelings weren’t just replicating the impression of a person, they were replicating every organ and only lose their shape with invasive dissection. That means they’re even better infiltrators with all conventional ways to detect them null and void.

Knowing they’ve infiltrated Starfleet at the highest level, having Ro suddenly appear brings more suspicion to the table. Though the raw honestly between Picard and Ro, the upset and resentment they’d carried over the years is enough to convince each of them of their true selves and make Ro drop her mask to tell the truth; she’s been trying to catch these Founders without much success and needs Picards help.

But the changeling’s truly are everywhere and once the emotional dust has settled, they come out to play. On the Titan, with Jack hidden in plain sight dressed in a Starfleet uniform so the visiting obvious changeling’s can’t find him and he can transfer to the USSS Intrepid and do a runner. Until they find Jack, racing to capture him on the Titan as Ro leaves knowing they’ll come for her next. And she was right. After passing Picard her traditional earring, her shuttle back to Intrepid becomes a suicide run to the Intrepid; her shuttle planted with a bomb that she uses to slow down the Changelings in control of her ship.

On hand hand it felt a little empty to bring Ro back and have her story follow on. On the other, losing Ro soon after they made up strikes a nicer balance than previous characters deaths such as Hugh and Icheb. Ro’s inclusion settles her history, advances the plot and the severity of how she died alongside the Intrepid declaring war on the Titan finally wakes Shaw up to the realisation that this is all bigger than he thought; he has to listen to Picard and go on the run now he’s seen how far the infiltrated Starfleet will go to fulfil their goals.

Shaw learning he has to trust Picard is a strange but fitting reflection of what Ro’s story brought with them. And the show of his reaction as the menacing look of the Intrepid braces to destroy his ship was a wonderfully choreographed moment.

Breaking up the tension of the Titan, Worf and Raffi’s little side mission to trace who stole the portal gun and why almost feels unwelcome in places in contrast. Saved with the more matured Worf’s humour, the sub plot is thankfully brought to an end as they trick Vulcan Gangster Krinn to giving them what they need; the secret handshake to Daystrom station that he’d gained in order to let them enter the highly secured facility and find out what else was stolen that could be more powerful and dangerous than the portal weapon.

And as it turns out, Ro’s earring wasn’t just an earring. It was the key to bringing the stories together. She hadn’t given Picard a memento, but her secret hard drive containing all her research and Picard finds it just in time to find out she was Worf’s handler – finally letting the Klingon captain back to the main plot.

Though the real revelation’s come from the background of Jack. His visions increasing, he’s now seeing a red door, red vines, impending doom and dreaming of killing against his will. And his dreams come true when he takes on and defeats four changelings single handedly – though after being congratulated by a very impressed Shaw, the admission that he didn’t know they were changelings deepens the intensity of the slow burning question of who he really is.

Overall the episode did drag in places, but the questions and answers are coming thick and fast as it all seems to set up the next part of the journey. After the nebula plot, how we’re racing towards the infiltrated Starfleet with the Titan on the run, the crew coming closer to being back together and while we get some answers on who Vadics changelings are, the slow drip of Jack seems to be building piece by piece…

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Shaw. Undoubtedly Shaw. Not only for his raw honesty in calling out Riker and Picards history, but in just going from gleeful basking in ratting them out to the seriousness of the situation hitting at the end. We need more Shaw!
  • When quizzed on why the changelings looked and behaved differently, Terry Matalas just replied to a fan with “Watch. The. Show.” – it’s nice to see the differences being paid off ans that theres still a story to tell behind that.
  • Despite the side plot on M’Talas being a bit dull, Worf’s delivery is still a lot of fun. Especially now he’s gained a sense of humour.
  • Despite her coming back to be killed off, in terms of returns for The Next Generation, Ro was a welcome addition if a bit brief and her final act at least let her end her personal arc.
  • Jack is the mystery box of the season and they just keep taunting us with new revelations. His visions. His dreams. Becoming Jack Bourne on a moments notice. And over half way we still aren’t given the answers, only more questions….

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!

ADM JT Marczynka, DoFA
Creator of things, writer of words, caffeine addict. Director of Communications for Starfleet Command Quadrant 2.

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