This episode matched its title perfectly, this was the last part of the introduction to the series. These past three episodes have led us by the hand to explain how the universe is now, who everyone is and what the key issues are and now Picard can venture forth and be the hero once more.
Like last week there are several strands to the plot. We get to understand how Picard resigned and how Raffi fits in. We see more of the borg cube and finally meet Hugh. We see a non-starfleet ship with her world weary captain and we get a little action set piece.
This series is looking to flesh out how we understand the Romulans in the same way that the Vulcans, Klingons, Bajorans and Cardassians were expanded on in other series. In the past Romulans were rather one dimensional and here we are starting to see greater depth and variation as well as an intriguing backstory – more in my predictions part. The parts with Rhamda, Hugh and Soji are intriguing and add mystery.
Many people question Picards current state, but for me it fits well. Picard in his prime was an excellent officer and had saved Earth and the Federation several times. He had seen his fair share of corrupt Starfleet officers, Admiral Doughrty (Insurrection), rogues, Admiral Pressman (Pegasus) and insane, Admiral Satie (The Drumhead) but he always did his best to prevail and uphold Federation ideals. When the Romulan disaster came it was obvious he would try and help and his plan to aid the Romulans was very him. The Tal Shiar and perhaps the more conservative old guard would be nervous of the Federations help, their arrogance would make them think they could hope whilst perhaps elements in the senate wanted Federation help. When the tragedy of Mars occurred it allowed the more hawkish elements of Starfleet to put a stop to the relief effort. Picard was somewhat conceited by his position and couldn’t imagine them accepting his resignation. He felt abandon and betrayed but rather than fight on he fell into himself bewildered at how Starfleet could not listen to the great Picard something we see again in Clanceys office. Luckily he comes to his senses and realises that destiny is in his own hands and that he doesn’t need Starfleet to make a difference.
The state of the Federation is interesting, I still see the ideals of the Federation at work but perhaps Starfleet isn’t as on board as it was. Many officers and ships were lost in the Dominion War and the next generation of Starfleet stung by the Breen attack on Earth (Deep Space Nine) caused them to look internally. The Federation was obviously split over the Romulan issue, the risk of 14 members may not seem much from the over 150 members but if these were key members or triggered wider withdrawls a larger problem could be created.
Picard isn’t the only disillusioned officer, Raffi is jaded and it is clear Rios has his issues with them. The La Sirena is an interesting ship and although her Captain seems a little tropey, shows promise. I particularly like the touch of using EMH and ENHs as crew.
Lastly I want to discuss Jurati. I am very suspicious of her timing, turning up after meeting Commodore Oh just at the end of the Zhat Vash attack on Picards Vineyard. Is she a double agent? Something to watch as the story takes off.
Predictions and Theories: It is clear there is a deep connection between the Borg and the Romulans. It is possible that some of the Romulans around the schism from Vulcan were synthetics, it is these that the Zhat Vash are rooting out. Some exist in Romulan society still, one being Rhamda. When her ship was assimilated the Borg recognised the synthetic life-form as a threat and shutdown to avoid ‘contamination’ or something. Dahje and Sohje are ancient Romulan synths that Bruce Maddox repaired? Using Datas neural net and then hid from the Zhat Vash.