Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 10 Recap and Review: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2
A spoiler-filled recap and review of Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2, Star Trek: Picard Season 1 finale, starring Patrick Stewart
(Spoilers ahead for Star Trek: Picard S1E10 and the franchise prior to it)
And it's over. Star Trek: Picard Season 1 has come to an end. The finale, Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2, is, unfortunately, a terrible letdown for most of its runtime. There are snatches of light here and there, but for the most part, it is just such a disappointment. So much that I've struggled to find the will to write about it. But, it must be done.
While the set-up episode last week wasn't close to the show's best (let alone the franchise's high points), it was decent enough to raise hopes for the finale. All of that set-up is squandered, leaving us with something that resembles a hastily-put-together and, honestly, bad blockbuster. I wish I was exaggerating.
Star Trek: Picard S1E10 starts with Narek casually walking into the Borg cube where he was headed after being released by Sutra. Sure, he makes a show of being covert but really, he needn't have bothered by the looks of the place. Elnor and Seven have a discussion about whether the xBs are better off dead — because "everyone hates them and they have nowhere to go" — like the synths, I suppose. And while not a single one of the many xBs in the place spots him, Narek is immediately accosted by his sister who, it turns out, has been hiding in the cube all this while. He grabs some grenades and takes them to destroy the synths' orchids. But then he presumably sees the beacon they are building to summon the Admonition creators and figures out what they're up to, so he goes to La Sirena to enlist Raffi and Rios to 'save the universe'.
Raffi and Rios have meanwhile fixed the ship with the magic do-anything (more on this later) device the synths have given them. As they're trying to reach Picard to figure out what to do once they've heard Narek out, Elnor, who has followed Narek out of the cube (and conveniently decided to wait till the Romulan has had a chance to talk to those two), pops out with his sword and points it at Narek. Immediately, Raffi and Rios intervene on Narek's behalf and they all go out to have a bonfire Romulan storytelling session (gotta have the right atmosphere for the doomsday story, after all, even if you do have a fully functioning state-of-the-art spaceship with all the comforts). Narek gives them a graphic narration of the Ganmadan, the Romulan myth of the end of everything brought about by twin demon sisters. Then tells them it's not prophesy but history...which repeats itself. And just like that, Raffi and Rios are on board to stop it, along with a slightly reluctant Elnor.
They go back to the synth settlement claiming to have captured Narek and take the grenades along hidden inside a football, meaning to throw it at the transmitter the synths are building and thus, save the universe. The way they completely botch this plan has to be seen and savoured for its absurdity. This, despite getting help from Soong. The latter, while transferring the dead synth's memories, sees that it was Sutra who actually killed her, not Narek, and changes sides. And Sutra, who was built up as this formidable antagonist, is turned off with a single click by him. It doesn't matter though because Soji carries on building the beacon without her (why none of the other synths can help in this, is another mystery).
Jurati does better with her plan to pretend to be helping Soong while, in fact, finding a way to help get Picard out of house arrest. Almost too well for someone shown so far as this timid person. But, she's already played double agent once, so I guess it's no biggie to pull it off again, even if the ones she's fooling now have the ability to detect falsehood using haptics. She pulls out the eye of the synth that Sutra killed, after tricking Soong into stepping away, and uses it to open the synth-iris activated door of Picard's chamber. The two of them then head to the now-empty La Sirena. Picard, who just a little while ago endearingly confessed to not knowing how to fly these new ships with their holo controls, has apparently already learned how to work them by watching Rios. So, the two of them take off to try and stop the Romulan fleet with their one ship and tackle the synth problem by teaching them by example. We do get a cute "Make it so" from Jurati to Picard though. Patrick Stewart and Allison Pill have good chemistry and are both able actors, which makes their scenes worth watching. Stewart's performance has really been the only consistently good thing in this otherwise extremely uneven show.
Back at the cube, Seven finally discovers Narissa (how?), who is bringing up some weapons systems, and they have a little fight and Seven gets to kill her "for Hugh" which I guess is supposed to be this big hoot-worthy moment.
The Romulans arrive and there's a tussle between them and the orchids which I guess might have looked good on a big screen. All wasted on a web series, to be honest. And frankly, by this point, I was rolling my eyes so hard at the show, I didn't even notice if it was a decent spectacle on my small screen. Jurati jokes that now would be a good time to come up with a plan since the Romulans are going through the orchids pretty quickly. And she name drops the Picard manoeuvre (admittedly a good meta nostalgic callback here). They decide to do something similar using the magic synth device which makes it look like there are hundreds of Sirenas. This holds of the Romulans just long enough for Starfleet to come to the rescue, commanded by...Riker! (He told Picard that it would take a worthy cause to bring back to active duty, so ta da!)
Soji activates her beacon and we see weird tentacle-y creatures about to come out. Romulans and Starfleet are about to have it out. Everything is tense. Picard saves the day by hailing Soji on an open channel (so everyone can see/hear) and giving an impassioned speech that convinces her to turn the beacon off just in time. Everyone stands down and the day has been won, it seems. Except the effort proves too much for Picard's already ailing brain. And he...dies!
With nearly a third of the episode to go and another season of Star Trek: Picard greenlit, Picard dies. Not hard to guess how he'll be brought back given the introduction last week of the golem thing that Soong was preparing for himself. Using this golem, Jurati, Soong and Soji bring him back in a body that looks exactly as it did before he died. But not before we get pointless emotional farewell scenes with the various cast members. Pointless because we know full well he's coming back and really, they should too! Won't Jurati and Soong tell them anything? Anyway, not only do they bring Picard back, they even going so far as to stress that the body will age at the normal human rate, essentially retconning Picard's death away.
The only ostensible reason for Picard's death is so he and Data can have one last chat inside a quantum simulation thingy that Soong is using to keep Data's consciousness alive. This conversation is touching and again, the two actors make it worthwhile (Brent Spiner is as good as ever as Data, even if his Altan Soong is insipid). Data asks Picard to pull the plug on the simulation, thus letting him die for good because Data wants mortality, the ultimate human quality. Picard does so, quoting some Shakespeare for good measure, and with Blue Skies playing in the background.
All very touching but not having much to do with this show so much as providing closure for franchise and Data fans. What about the issues this show brought up like the fate of the xBs? We don't care about them. They're not even mentioned again. And Seven, who seemed like she was about to lead them, who actually became a Borg Queen briefly, just ups and leaves them to join La Sirena crew. Jurati's murder of her colleague/ex-lover is left unresolved as well. And Narek is nowhere to be seen after the botched grenade tossing attempt.
Cut to sometime later on La Sirena, the crew is all back together, with Soji joining them (and Jurati/Rios and Raffi/Seven(!) being all lovey-dovey), ready to go on some new adventures next season. Star Trek: Picard Season 1 ends with Picard saying the famous "Engage!" Well, that's all I have to say to a Season 2. Don't be like the first season, please, please engage us.
(Star Trek: Picard Season 1 is currently streaming in India on Amazon Prime Video)