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REVIEW: Star Trek: Picard: “Dominion”

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We are getting to the final stages of our third and final season of Star Trek: Picard! The puzzle pieces are starting to slot together. This week we will take a look at “Dominion”, where the Titan tries to lure Vadic into a trap! However, will some rogue elements mess this up for everyone onboard?

Obviously, this season is dealing with the fallout of the Dominion War. Worf mentions the atrocities performed on both sides. Vadic may not mention the Dominion atrocities, but we all know about the Federation’s atrocities. This is what this episode, “Dominion” explores. Let’s dive deeper!

SPOILER WARNING, this is our full in-depth review of Star Trek: Picard Season 3 Episode 7! As such, you have been warned! Turn away now if you don’t want spoilers!!

Chin’Toka Scrapyard – Memories of the Dominion War

The U.S.S. Titan is hiding out in the Chin’Toka Scrapyard. Presumably, this is a scrapyard related to the Battles of Chin’Toka in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. These were some of the bloodiest offensives in the entire Dominion War. Even the first Defiant was lost during one of them! It is very cool to see the effects of the Dominion War. Not just the changelings in this season, but places like Chin’Toka have been changed forever.

It is something to point out that some of the debris we see in this scrapyard is the ever-used Vulcan Cruiser from Star Trek: Discovery. It would have been nice to see more vivid Klingon, Jem’Hader, Breen, or even Starfleet ship debris instead. They have also massively increased the size of that ship as well. I guess not only did Starfleet take a nostalgic look back at a ship and made a bigger version of it, but so did the Vulcans! Humans really are rubbing off on them.

Captain Tuvok

We have gotten some big cameos in this season of Picard. Ro Laren appeared in episode 5. In this episode, we start with a cameo of Captain Tuvok. Yes, he is now a Captain, in Command Red and with Captain’s pips.

This isn’t the first time we have seen Tuvok in this new slate of Trek. Tuvok appeared in Star Trek: Lower Decks as a Commander in 2380. Therefore, at least some time in the last 21 years he was promoted to Captain.

Seven is contacting Tuvok to try and get more support within Starfleet from those who are not changelings. It seems like the Titan crew can’t get in contact with Admiral Janeway. I would bet that Janeway is probably one of the hardest people to replace with a changeling. I’m pretty sure the amount of coffee Janeway drinks would be lethal to a changeling!

They find out that Tuvok has been replaced with a changeling. Which is bad news. However good news, at least it seems the real Tuvok is still alive. The changeling seems to imply they are torturing him for information. We do get a cool scene of Tuvok morphing into a corpse-like Riker just to taunt Picard, which was very well done.

Hopefully, we see more of Tim Russ as Tuvok, either in a spin-off show or at the end of this season. I am also glad he isn’t deteriorating like he was in Admiral Janeway’s alternate future!

Will we ever see Admiral Janeway in Star Trek: Picard?

Lore & Data

After rescuing the android M-5-10 last episode, we get a lot more scenes of Data and Lore battling it out in the positronic brain. I find it funny that they somewhat write out Soong and B4 also battling it out. They say they are just memory files and not full personalities like Data and Lore.

There is a lot of taunting from Lore’s side, and Data asks Picard for help. Picard feeling conflicted is cool, knowing that he was also asked to let data die in Season 1 of the show. He is now being asked by another form of Data to let him live it seems.

Obviously, the best interactions with Lore/Data are with Geordi. LeVar really sold so many of his scenes. Geordi finally gets to talk to Data and talk through his grief of losing Data in Nemesis. How Data’s death affected him, breaking him. However also the memory of data helped him deal with that grief and rebuild him. Just like how Data helped Geordi become a better person during their time together.

Not only do we see this friendship side of Geordi, but we continue to see the paternal side of Geordi woven extremely well by LeVar’s acting into the tapestry of this character. With Lore just causing chaos and helping the changelings, Geordi has to beg for the life of his daughter Sidney.

Overall, both Brent Spiner and LeVar Burton do fantastic jobs in this episode, really getting time to shine in their performances.

Lore & Data – Star Trek: The Next Generation (Via Paramount+)

Changeling Evolution? Project Proteus!

Let’s talk about Vadic and the big reveal of this episode. Seemingly section 31 experimented on captured changelings to create perfect spies for them and by extension the Federation.

The reason why I say Section 31 and not the Federation is mostly because I don’t want the Federation to have been actively involved in this, and also she was kept on Daystrom Station which we know housed Section 31 projects.

This was called Project Proteus. I have to say it is cool that Vadic took the form of the scientist who experimented on her. We also learn she can pass these mimicry abilities on to those she links with. Also that there were only a handful of changelings on Daystrom. Presumably, the other rogue changelings from the Link then linked with her and became these new Changelings.

This explains a little bit about how the changelings found out about what is on Daystrom Station. Though this still doesn’t explain much about their plan. Obviously, they escaped Daystrom, but Vadic is subservient to another. So who might the face coming from Vadic’s hand be?

Project Proteus made the Changeling Goo more fleshy! – Star Trek: Picard (Via Paramount+)

Vadic and her Boss

The changeling face that Vadic answers to seems to look down on Vadic and her companions. I wonder if the face may be a true unaltered changeling, one which went rogue from the great link like Odo said, and didn’t get Vadic’s abilities. A pure “blood” changeling that views Vadic and her crew as inferior and expendable as we have seen before.

Odo didn’t tell Worf about the Mimicry, so it stands to reason that Odo didn’t know. I don’t think Vadic made it back to the great link. These rogue changelings found her and then started to enact their plans, using Vadic as the progenitor to spread this ability to other rogue changelings. Then they started to infiltrate the Federation.

The reason that the face comes from Vadics hand, and she has to cut it off, might be that it hasn’t linked with Vadic. It might not want to share in Vadic’s powers and therefore not be perfectly fused with her.

Who is the face?

The Trap

The Elachi ships which the Changelings used at the beginning of the season make a return and seem to just be the shuttle complement aboard the shrike. It is interesting that they are using a shuttle and not a transporter, so even these changelings won’t use the transporters, the question is why?

Vadic actually falls completely for the Titan’s trap, lots of her men get captured, and she gets captured in sickbay. We get some beautiful scenes between Beverly and Vadic, 

“He was never really for you,” Vadic says about Jack which is very interesting. So Beverly was never meant to have Jack Crusher, someone else was. This makes me think weirdly, that perhaps this child was meant to be between Locutus and the Borg Queen. This is weird to think about, but the only way currently this works in my mind.

Jack may have been meant to be a new type of Borg, programmed into Locutus to be born, that can connect with others and control them without the need for technology linking them. With Vadic knowing this, I wonder how these rogue changelings found out about Jack, perhaps even allying themselves with the Borg.

Patrick Stewart as Picard and Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher in “Dominion” Episode 307, Star Trek: Picard on Paramount+. Photo Credit: Trae Patton/Paramount+. ©2021 Viacom, International Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Jack’s Abilities

Talking of Jack’s abilities, we see more of those abilities in this episode. Vadic even suggests that there is something different with Jack and his physiology. Something which even Crusher never checked for.

We see that he somewhat has telepathy, he can hear the thoughts of other people and put his own thoughts in others’ heads. This is how he is able to go toe-to-toe with his enemies after activating his red eyes, which now feels more and more like a shonen anime-style power-up than anything else.

This is how he could tell people were changelings, he heard their thoughts, and with that was also able to predict their movements and defeat them. In a similar vein, in this episode, he hears Sidney’s thoughts and flirts with her and even touches her hand when she thinks he should touch her hand.

Usually, I am not a fan of too much flirting in star trek, but I actually don’t mind Sidney and Jack, and they seem to both like each other from hearing her thoughts and such. The scene of Jack telling Sidney what to do, to help defeat the changeling brute, was also fantastic. The scene was set up extremely well, seeing Jack doing the moves at the same time Sidney was, which does question whether Jack is controlling Sidney or just telling her what to do, which I do think is the latter.

Ed Speleers as Jack Crusher and Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut as Sidney La Forge in “Dominion” Episode 307, Star Trek: Picard on Paramount+. Photo Credit: Trae Patton/Paramount+. ©2021 Viacom, International Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Captured

However, none of these actions really help in the end, with Vadic taking control of the ship naming herself Captain of the USS Titan, and taking Jack to either her Face master or someone else.

And again, it needs to be mentioned that Captain Shaw can just never get a break, he is always beaten up, or put into a lot of chaos, and he just never asked for this. Now he is just lying on his bridge, bloodied up as it has been taken over by Vadic.

Pictured: Amanda Plummer as Vadic of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: PICARD. Photo Cr: Trae Patton/Paramount+

VFX Usage

A very nice aspect of this episode was the VFX and how it actually added more story to what was happening. At the Chin’Toka shipyards, the camera focused on a Vulcan cruiser in the debris field, which I thought was weird considering surely that Vulcan cruiser wouldn’t have been at the battle of Chin’Toka, but it was a scrapyard so it could have just been towed there.

When we then saw the same type of vessel in open space, I thought that was bad. Mixing up the geography of scenes between two separate locations is not a good idea. But then it sold me on that ship being in Open Space from the recording the Shrike listens to. The fake recording of a VSS T’Plana attacking the Titan. So now we have somewhat of an idea to set up this plan, the Titan towed this debris from Chin’Toka to open space, to stage a fake battle.

Excellent use of VFX to enhance the story being told, and add more to it.

Omissions

A weird omission in this episode is that of Worf and Raffi. They went to Exo-port, a place mentioned by Jack in episode 2, to monitor stuff. However, we got from Riker his promise that he would rescue Riker. I guess they didn’t know if Riker is on the Shrike, but with Vadic and the crew being baited into a trap, perhaps they could have told Worf and Raffi to sneak onto the Shrike and rescue Riker? Or at least steal their ship and get information on the plan. This can easily be solved with “They didn’t want to give away the trap”, but it just feels weird.

Continuing with this, Riker and Troi aren’t in this episode at all, so we know at least they are fine until episode 8, which somewhat to me lessens the impact of the cliffhanger of episode 6 of them being captured. It is all fine, any threat to them can wait another hour.

Worf and Raffi, perhaps back on the La Sirena now? – Star Trek: Picard (Via Paramount+)

Conclusion

This was episode 7 of season 3 of Star Trek Picard, titled “Dominion”, written by Jane Maggs and directed by Star Trek: Discovery season 4 director, Deborah Kampmeier.

Overall it was a very good episode that answered so many questions, but then replaced them with so many questions as well! We got a backstory to Vadic which gives a reason for the change with the changelings and gives Vadic an understandable reason for her goals. I am not too keen on this season’s flirtation with Section 31, but being something that happened during the Dominion War works for me.

Our Starfleet crew coming together with a plan, and really only being foiled by Lore messing with things works really well. It isn’t incompetence that helped the bad guys, but actually meddling manipulation.

This episode was also great as it did not swim in as much nostalgia as last week. Even with Tuvok appearing, and Chin’Toka being seen, it did not feel like pandering that last week was with the ship museum. It made sense that Seven would contact Tuvok. Hiding out in a debris field of one of the most bloody offensives of the dominion war makes sense. This episode makes the universe feel alive and bigger than previous episodes have and still adds new elements to it.

The question now is; Where will episode 8 take us? Frontier day is only 36 hours away, how will our crew escape Vadic, and make sure the Federation doesn’t burn to ash? I guess we have to keep watching to find out.

Star Trek: Picard Season 3 airs on Paramount+ in the United States and on CTV Sci-Fi Channel and Crave in Canada. However, the series will be available on Amazon’s Prime Video service for most international locations in the following days. For coverage of all things Star Trek: Picard Season 3, follow Trek Central!


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Dom Paris
Dom Parishttps://twitter.com/DomDParis
The resident "Loremaster" among the team, Dom is typically found fact-checking videos and articles for the Trek Central team, as well as reviewing the latest episodes and movies.

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