Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 3 Recap and Review: The End is the Beginning
A spoiler-filled recap and review of The End is the Beginning, Star Trek: Picard S1E3, starring Patrick Stewart
(Spoilers ahead for Star Trek: Picard S1E3 and the franchise prior to it)
Star Trek: Picard S1E3, The End is the Beginning, like the episode before it, starts with a prologue of what happened 14 years ago with Mars attack by the synths. In the aftermath of that attack, Starfleet bans all artificial life forms, without whom the operation to rescue the Romluans before their sun goes supernova cannot proceed at full speed. Picard proposes an alternate plan to carry on the rescue mission at a much smaller scale, but he is turned down. In a desperate bid, he gives Starfleet command an ultimatum — either they accept the proposal or his resignation. The latter is accepted. Raffi, his XO, is consequently fired. This explains why she is angry with Picard and almost turns him away when he comes to seek her assistance. And if that weren't enough, Picard completely ignored her after that while she sunk in obscurity and poverty thanks to losing her job.
Picard apologises and tells her he needs an unregistered ship and a pilot. He also tells her that a Romulan offshoot of the Tal Shiar is operating in the open on Earth and this could not happen without the collusion of the Federation. Raffi claims she has concrete evidence that a high-ranking Starfleet official conspired to allow the attack on Mars to go forward. But, when Picard asks her to join him on his mission to track down Bruce Maddox and Dahj's sister, she refuses. She does, however, give Picard the name of a pilot, Rios, who has the ship he wants.
Picard meets Rios in his ship (Rios is played by Santiago Cabrera, who also plays the ship's various emergency holograms). There is a touching moment when Rios asks Picard to sit and he hesitates for a second by the captain's chair before moving away and taking another seat. Rios, who used to be XO of a heavy cruiser called the ibn Majid, expresses disdain for the Starfleet, but Picard quickly sizes him and his ship up. Based on the impeccable condition of the latter, he guesses that Rios is ex-Starfleet. The latter neither confirms nor denies. A little later on, when he's alone, Rios is teased by his emergency navigation hologram about how starstruck he seems (we also get a list of Captain Picard's accomplishments). The hologram tells him Picard is a good man and it's been a very long time since Rios helped someone like him. But Rios lashes out and says he already had one grand heroic captain in his life and how 10 years on, he still can't forget how his blood and brains were splattered all over a bulkhead. The last thing he needs, he says, is another such.
Meanwhile, Picard also sends Raffi everything he got from Dr Jurati about Bruce Maddox. She looks into the records and figures out that Maddox is most likely on a place called Freecloud (which appears to be some kind of casino based on the rolling dice in the welcome logo).
When Picard meets her in the desert, Raffi scolds him for going straight to Starfleet and giving away what he meant to do. Her concern is proved right when Commander Oh meets Dr Jurati and finds out what Picard means to do, then sends Romulan assassins to his Chateau. The masked assassins are all taken down by Laris and Zhaban. When they try to interrogate the last remaining one, he says Dahj is not a girl and tells them her twin, Soji, is "the end of all, the Destroyer" and then spits the same acid used to kill Dahj at Zhaban. Luckily, Zhaban survives because the acid only hits his clothes, but the assassin is dissolved in his own acid.
At the Romulan reclamation site, Soji is met by an ex-Borg (or xB), Hugh, who heads the project. He appreciates her good work and particularly praises her talking to a Nameless in his own language. And thanks to this, he agrees to let her have an interview with an xB called Ramdha, a Romulan who was the foremost expert on ancient Romulan myth. Soji believes she can use that shared mythology as a form of therapy to help the reclaimed xBs. When they go to where the patients (xBs who seem to suffer from some form of mental disorder) are kept, Soji find that they are all Romulans. In fact, all the Romulans ever assimilated are there. Ramdha, who is laying down some kind of mystical cards, talks to Soji after a little coaxing and tells her the cards are not about mythology but news. She also says she remembers Soji from...tomorrow. Soji tries to get her to say more. She tells Ramdha that the reason she is special is that she was on the last ship to be assimilated by the cube (the one which they are on). Something went wrong after the assimilation, the submatrix collapsed and the cube was cut off from the rest of the Borg network. Ramdha then freaks out and asks which sister she is — the one who dies or the one who lives. Before Soji knows what's happening, Ramdha, like the Romulan assasin, calls her "the Destroyer" and pulls a weapon from a guard and tries to shoot herself. Soji, like Dahj, reacts with superfast speed and stops her.
A confused Soji goes back to her quarters and calls her mother (who does not seem to be the same one that Dahj called in episode one), asking about "Dahj". The mother tells her Dahj is fine and that she heard from her that same day. As the mother rattles on about what this Dahj (could it be that there are multiple sets of twins and this Soji's Dahj is still alive?) has been up to, Soji passes out. A little while later, Narek, the Romulan spy comes and comforts her. She confesses to him that she doesn't quite know how she knew those details about Ramdha's Romulan ship.
Narek's sister, Rizzo, who has arrived at the reclamation site (in her true form as a Romulan), stops him as he is leaving Soji's quarters and asks him what he has found out. He believes Soji has no idea what she truly is. Rizzo warns him not to fall in love with her (which may be a problem since Narek has just told Soji he may be falling in love with her). He rubs what happened on Earth with Dahj in her face. Clearly, they were not supposed to kill her before finding out where the other synths are.
Dr Jurati, meanwhile, comes over asking to join Picard's mission to find "the other Dahj". Since she is Earth's foremost expert on synthetic life, he takes her along. They transport on to Rios' ship, where they find Raffi. She tells Picard she has found out where Maddox is but she wants them to take her with them. Picard is more than happy for her to join the team, but she says she is only hitching a ride to Freecloud for her own undisclosed reasons. And off they go. Star Trek: Picard S1E3 ends with Picard uttering the most nostalgia-inducing word in all of Star Trek, "Engage", and the old Star Trek theme playing.
Picard is back where he belongs, on a ship, out there, boldly going where...okay, where Maddox may have gone before. But still, hurrah for Picard back in space. Bring on Star Trek: Picard S1E4.
(Star Trek: Picard Season 1 is currently streaming in India on Amazon Prime Video on a weekly episodic basis)