Star Trek Picard: Episode 9 Et Arcadia ego

Its hard to believe it but we are already at the penultimate episode of Picard. After a somewhat slow build up the last few episodes have kept the pace going and adding depth to the story.

This episode really does feel like the first part of a two part story, threads are not tied off and we are left with a cliffhanger. The show this week focuses on Soje’s home planet which we find out contains a colony of Soong type synthetics looked after by Noonien Soongs son. Alten worked with Maddox to create the new androids in pairs using Soongs work as a model. The colony contains many iterations of synthetics some like Daje and Soje and others more like Data and Lore.

The colony has some defences, some kind of synthetic space orchid that can envelop starships and bring them down to the surface. We get to see the La Sirena in combat again, this time against Nareks snakehead and we also get to see Picard moralising to Soje about killing a wounded man.

Seven and Elnor happily arrive and we get a great shot of the cube exiting the transwarp conduit and crashing onto the planet. They survive as well as several ex-borgs.

The heart of the story however is Picard’s meeting with the Synths and what they will do. They seem innocent and unaware of the wider universe but are also wary and distrustful. How Alten fits into this is unsure? He seems father like to them and belligerent to those who would hurt them. They seem fully aware of the higher race that can protect them and Alten along with an earlier Soje model seem intent on contacting them.

We end up with Agnes and Soje siding with Alten and the Synthetics against Picard who wants to evacuate them. It is an interesting approach, it would have been an easy story beat for the synthetics to be the opposite of the Zhat Vash think them to be but this adds more nuance. The Zhat Vash are right synthetics do potentially present a risk but the that risk is created by how they treat them. We also do not know what the ‘higher synths’ really are, we now have two interpretations of the images seen, Commodore Oh’s and Sutras, neither of them have to be right or wrong. Either way we are in for a great finale.

We have a Romulan fleet approaching which must herald a nice ship battle, an alien overlord race coming and our heroes in the middle of it. I predict that Soje will turn on her kind at the last and that Agnes remained behind to do one of two things – use the lab based synth that Alten is creating for himself to put Picard into or more likely use the engrams in Soje to bring back Data. I m not sure of Nareks role in all this, every time he seems to express reticence or real feeling for Soje he doubles down on it, he really does seem beyond redemption at this stage.

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