Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 8 Recap and Review: Broken Pieces
A spoiler-filled recap and review of Broken Pieces, Star Trek: Picard S1E8, starring Patrick Stewart
(Spoilers ahead for Star Trek: Picard S1E8 and the franchise prior to it)
Star Trek: Picard is finally on a roll. For the third straight week, the show delivers a good episode. Incidentally, these three episodes are also the longest of the season, each clocking in over 50 minutes. However, Star Trek: Picard S1E8, Broken Pieces, is different in one regard. It goes back to the show's initial pattern of starting each episode with a flashback to 14 years ago — the time of the Mars attack. This time, we see newer Zhat Vash members being shown something that makes them carry out the attack on Mars.
On a planet called Aia (The Grief World), Commodore Oh, conducts a ceremony called the Admonition for other members of the Zhat Vash (it is implied that all the senior members of the group, at least, are women). Ramdha, the Romulan xB at the Cube who named Soji the Destroyer, and Narek's sister, Narissa are part of the group. Oh tells them the Admonition is a warning left by a forgotten race long ago about the dangers of synthetic life, and that watching it would drive some of them mad. But those who endure it will come out stronger. Narissa is the only one who isn't driven to madness, while Ramdha is the only other one to survive though she is affected much more. We then find out that Ramdha is actually Narissa and Narek's aunt who brought them up after their parents died. And it was she who disabled the Borg Cube that is now the Artifact, after the collective tried to assimilate her and her Romulan crew.
In the present, Narissa has her Romulan guards find and attack Elnor. But Seven of Nine arrives in the nick of time to save him. She then decides to do what Hugh intended — take back the cube by using the Queen Cell. Seven activates the Queen Cell and begins to repair the cube. She is hesitant if she should assimilate the Borgs still held in stasis to form a mini collective not linked to the Borg Collective. Her hesitation stems from the fact that a) it is essentially no different from what was done to her and the rest of the xBs and, b) she may not want to set them free afterward even if she means to now. She eventually does assimilate them and it is quite something to see/hear Seven turn into a Borg Queen and say in the Borg voice, "We are Borg" with all the other Borg also chanting it. However, it turns out to be a little too late as Narissa, who catches on to what's happening, ejects all the Borg into space. She summons her Romulan fleet and seemingly leaves (just as she's ready to leave, she is pinned down by a bunch of xBs but it looks like she beams away) for the synth homeworld, leaving the cube to the xBs. Seven goes back to being herself, saying "Annika still has work to do," instead of remaining a Borg Queen and assimilating Elnor and the xBs, as the former fears she might. Phew.
The main chunk of this episode of Star Trek: Picard, however, happens aboard La Sirena. When Picard beams up with Soji, Rios seems taken aback by her. Raffi, meanwhile, confronts Picard and asks him what manner of double agent he has brought on board this time. She then tells Picard all about Jurati's murder of Bruce Maddox and neutralisation of the Romulan tracker (both of which she figured out thanks to the emergency medical hologram).
Raffi then goes to tell Rios about Jurati and finds out that he has retreated into his chamber leaving his hologram helpers in charge of the ship's various functions. Raffi runs into each of these holograms, which all have different accents, allowing Santiago Cabrera to show off his skills in that department. It's a bit too cute perhaps, but I like Cabrera so it mostly worked for me. I also liked that the engineering hologram speaks in a Scottish accent reminiscent of Scotty from Star Trek: The Original Series. Raffi, with the help of the navigation hologram, figures out that the eight-circle pattern all the Romulan xBs in the Artifact were drawing represents an eight-star system, one which could not occur naturally. She realises the Conclave of Eight that she's come across refers to the place where the synth attack plan originated (the same planet we saw in the flashback, most likely).
She also works out that Rios being freaked out by Soji had something to do with someone called Jana, who looked like Soji (so, another synth) and whatever happened to his old captain while he was with Starfleet. She goes to Rios' quarters and he opens up about it. Two synths (Jana and a male) had boarded his old ship and were shot down in cold blood by his captain on orders from Starfleet. When he confronted his captain about this, the latter killed himself leaving Rios to cover everything up.
Picard, meanwhile, contacts Admiral Clancy of Starfleet and she, after telling him to "Shut the f**k up," says she's dispatched a squadron to meet them on Deep Space 12. He also bonds with Soji by telling her about Data and it's the episode's most heart-warming bit. He confronts Jurati when she wakes up and tells her she must turn herself in when they reach DS12. Jurati reveals some of what she saw in the vision and tells him they're now at a threshold (the coming of the Destroyer) and must act or "hell will come again." It's a commentary on the anti-immigration prejudice prevalent the world over these days. Jurati, however, changes her mind after interacting with Soji, as if to signify that there's hope for the biased and the brainwashed.
The crew of the La Sirena has an all-hands meeting to bring Soji (and those of us who still need the summary) up to speed. Soji loses it when she realises what the Romulans intend to do when they reach her homeworld. She hacks into La Sirena and takes over the ship to get home right away. Rios wrestles control back but Picard tells him perhaps they should try it Soji's way. It's amusing when Picard sits down at the navigation console but has no idea how to fly these new ships with their holographic controls. Anyway, Rios agrees to fly Soji home and off they go using a Borg 'transwarp conduit' which will get them there ahead of the Romulan fleet. (What about that Starfleet squadron they were supposed to rendezvous with though?)
On the way, Picard and Rios have a little heart to heart about Rios' old captain as well as how the Starfleet ban of the synths was wrong. Picard feels while the Admonishment may be right about what happened all those millennia ago, there's no reason to assume it will all happen again and cannot be prevented. "The past is written, but the future is left for us to write," he says, once again seeming to comment directly on the world today. They arrive at their destination and Star Trek: Picard S1E8 ends with a cloaked Romulan vessel (Narek probably) following them out of the transwarp conduit.
(Star Trek: Picard Season 1 is currently streaming in India on Amazon Prime Video on a weekly episodic basis)