This week wraps up the second act of Star Trek: Picard. Titled “Surrender”, the eighth episode is rather brutal in its approach to the execution of Starfleet officers. However, moments of character development shine throughout it. We’re also reconnected with Deanna Troi and William T. Riker as they are held prisoner on Vadic’s Warship, The Shrike. This episode does well with reconnecting characters like Worf, Riker and Deanna!
SPOILER WARNING, this is our full in-depth review of Star Trek: Picard Season 3 Episode 8! As such, you have been warned! Turn away now if you don’t want spoilers!!
The episode starts most brutally, with Vadic (Amanda Plummer) just ordering the slaughter of Titan Crew members in the corridors by changeling death squads. She plays the sounds across the ship, terrorizing the rest of the crew.
Those who got transferred to the Intrepid in Episode 5 may have been the luckier ones. Then again, that ship seemed fully controlled by Changelings. We also have whatever was happening with the transporters. So maybe they also met some sort of death, or were replaced with changelings… who knows really!
Shaw & Seven
An interesting scene is Shaw asking why Seven didn’t blow the turbo-lift. The weird aspect of this scene is that he is still calling her Hansen. I had thought this would have been resolved after episode 4, with Seven telling Shaw that she is called Seven out of respect by Sidney, saving the day from a changeling impostor. I sure hope we get a scene where Shaw starts calling Seven, Seven, out of respect for what she does in this episode. But already, she at least has our respect.
Shaw chastises seven talking about “Consequences that haven’t happened yet”, which is an interesting phrasing when Shaw has heard his crew members being gunned down in the hallways over the comm. Consequences have already happened. Obviously, though, this is referring to members of the bridge crew being threatened and killed.
Ensign T’Veen is killed by Vadic, and I think this is a death I am not fond of. T’Veen was one of my favourite characters, and offed just like that. Their Actor, Stephanie Czajkowski has talked about playing Ensign T’Veen, and them being ¾ Vulcan and ¼ Deltan, which is really cool. The shots of this scene, showing the lined-up crew, almost intentionally leave out T’Veen. She was even killed, not realizing it, which I guess is a good way to go, but still a shame.
Jack finally confides in his parents about his powers. How the changelings know about this, though, who knows. Vadic, later in the episode, even talks about the “Red Door” and has such knowledge about what is happening to Jack. Still, we don’t get any of those answers in this episode, unfortunately. It’s a case of wanting to drag the storyline out it seems. Which while it makes sense, does become rather frustrating. Just get to the point. We almost get there this week, with Deanna helping out Jack. Then it cuts off.
Jack does use these new powers to control Mura, and is almost successful but is caught by Vadic. Vadic even knows it is Jack controlling Mura, which, again, we need answers for this soon, and hopefully, the cliffhanger of this episode provides it. Well, we’ll now need to wait a whole week to get around to this, which is a bit disappointing.
Riker and Troi
On the shrike however we have the Troi-Rikers. The Will and Deanna scenes in this episode are great, and the dynamic between the two is played so well. We even get a little reference to their daughter Kestra, and it seems like she is okay.
The best part of these scenes between Troi and Riker is the use of Season 1 to show the drama between the two. Troi is still somewhat angry with Riker that he just went as soon as Picard called for Starfleet help in season 1, appearing across the galaxy with a fleet in tow.
I always found it weird how quickly Riker got reinstated and came to the aid, after the events of nepenthe in season 1, and this season shows how that worked and the consequences of that.
Though that might have been an error in judgement from Riker to just get up and leave to help deal with his pain, there is also some fault with Troi. She was trying to numb Riker’s pain, help him carry it. But she even says she was trying to skip to the end of healing with Riker, and not help him get over his grief. It must be painful being empathetic and having to deal with not only your grief for losing your son but your Partners as well. They were stuck on nepenthe in their grief, and now they are willing to go through that door to what is next.
Worf & Raffi
They are however rescued, and we do see a brief cloaked shuttle, which helps solve something from last episode. Clearly Raffi and Worf took a shuttle and the bounty cloaking device, which is why the Titan didn’t cloak last episode and was just hiding out in scrapyards.
I still strongly dislike that they just abandoned the La Sirena, since we have been with that ship since the very beginning of Picard, but it makes sense that they used a shuttle.
It is also nice that Worf is very open, and we know that he previously had a relationship with her, so I am glad he is being open to Troi about how he has improved himself. I also like that Riker got a little jealous about that.
The group on the shrike find Picard’s old corpse. They removed his parietal Lobe which had Irumodic Syndrome. I still think this is Borg related, but we shall see why it is different in Jack then it was Picard, and what is so special about it.
There was also a nice scene of Raffi just straight up defeating Changelings in armed combat, obviously showing her training with Worf has paid off. It is also nice that despite single handedly defeating numerous changelings, something which was impressive for Jack in an earlier episode, Worf still finds room for improvement. “You are throwing from your left shoulder”.
Sidney talks about how long it would take her to write a code to regain control of the ship. She talks about how only a computational AI matrix with over 90 million operations a second could do it in minutes. This was such a heavy handed way to mention that they have an android just like that on their side.
It was signposting the next step not only to Picard, but also to the audience, almost treating us as less aware then we actually are in the storytelling.
LaForge & Data
The group head to where Geordi, Alandra and Android M-5-10 are located. A nice thing is that they have to verify their character first, make sure they aren’t just changelings and Picard criticizes Geordi’s wine preferences as “pedestrian” because I think Picard has had enough this season of people saying they hate his wine.
The scenes of Lore talking to Data are great. Data seems to be surrendering, giving all his memories to Lore. He says this is not because of surrender, but because Lore has had nothing while he has had everything.
However Data actually plays Lore so well. While they are separated by the partition and what they keep of themselves, lore mentions that he only keeps symbols of conquest. Therefore he deduced that all the memories he was handing over to Lore were not being erased, but stored as a symbol of Lore’s conquest over Data.
However this would allow data to take control over lore, and not the other way around. This is smart, and something that makes sense for data to do. Lore has become Data and they have merged to become one.
However I do find that making it Data, raises my issues with bringing data back. At least he has changed. I have already tasted death, but now I will taste life. He does his usual data neck tilt and somewhat snaps his neck. Data can now use contractions and humor!
They do address the form of Data in season 1 and him wanting to die, even if now we have new data. “I know that me is resting peacefully”. I do like that and it does make it work for me in the end.
Jack & Vadic
Jack goes to the bridge to buy enough time for Data to take over lore and retake the ship, using what is essentially a thermal detonator from star wars.
He manages to get the bridge crew to safety, but seven stays on the bridge with Jack, which I hope gets her respected by Shaw now. Though with seven there, Vadic says that it is fitting for her to witness it. The only thing I can then think is this further gives evidence to Jack’s condition being Borg related.
This might have been a perfect opportunity to actually give answers. Even Jack is upset with Vadic going around in “batshit circles”. How does Vadic know what the Red Door is though?
Anyway, Data regains control of the Titan and opens the viewscreen of the bridge, the thermal detonator in Jack’s hand was actually just a portable forcefield, and Vadic and the other changelings get vented into space..
Vedic’s last words are “fucking solids”, as she freezes in space and shatteres on the hull of the shrike.
Seven & Shaw
Shaw lets Seven give the order to destroy the Shrike, and again I have to say, when someone says “Give it everything we’ve got, fire” and they just fire a single salvo of torpedoes, it is a little disappointing..
It is also very interesting that they also blew up Picard’s body along with the Shrike, but I don’t think Shaw or Seven really cared about that..
Troi senses a great darkness, and we learn it isn’t Vadic or Jack, but something that surrounds Jack. Like the Darkside of the force… wait wrong franchise. Something ancient and evil, which obviously will give all those Pah-Wraith theorists happy, but please. It isn’t the Pah Wraiths, that would be so out of left field and just not make sense.
We do get a nice scene of the entire TNG crew around the conference table, and definitely at this point you have to make peace with this being a TNG movie, and not Star Trek: Picard, because no one else is around this table. Just old faces reunited.
It also seems that the Titan has bounty cloaking device installed again, which is nice.
And in possible what I consider to be the worst cliffhanger in trek, we have Troi and Jack going forth to open the Red Door in his visions, the Talking Door as its also referred by Jack. It is time to open the door… and fade to black.
Writing & Camera Work
I do feel like a lot of the writing was very clearly signposted in a way that didn’t feel natural. Shaw talking of consequences refers to T’Veen being killed, and not the consequences of his crew being gunned down in the streets. Sidney saying the exact solution which tells us that Data will save the day. It felt quite sloppy and intentionally written. A lot of Picard season 3 has been like this. Signposting all throughout.
Though that might be a flaw in the writing for that aspect, the writing does shine majestically in the character dynamics of this episode. Jonathan Frakes and Mariner Sirtis did a fantastic job with their dynamic, really bouncing off one another. Michael Dorn continues to give such a fascinating new take with his new Worf. Brent Spiner playing characteristic Lore and Data, and then imbibing this new Data with new mannerisms to represent that new form of life is amazing.
There was some excellent camera work throughout this episode with the opening shots of Vadic’s reflection in the sensor dome atop the bridge. The closeups of Troi, Jack, Data and Lore were shot well. Picard Season 3 has had some amazing directors, and we only have one more left with Terry Matalas next episode!
With the character of Vadic, I think we might have to do a full video or article on her, but so far I feel like this was another Trek villain, touted as perhaps one of the best in the franchise, but fell short of greatness.
She had some amazing scenes, and some great characterization, Amanda Plummer did a fantastic job with what she was given. However, I think she needed more. We only got her backstory last week, and however brutal it was, we still don’t know much about her character. We know her drives and motivations for sure, but I feel like she needed to verbalise them more for us as viewers.
If the changelings on the Shrike actually communicated with her and didn’t just chirp. If she had someone she could bounce back and forth with, she might have been even stronger. The Big Changeling brute with the red mask had promise to be the confidence of our villain.
The Iago to her Jafar, the Joachim to her Khan. If she had someone like that, she may have been better in my opinion. She had some great monologues, fantastically written. But to me, there was no sentence that stood out. No fantastic line which we may recall briefly and succinctly at a later date. No “Cry Havoc and let slip the dogs of war” or “He tasks me. He tasks me and I shall have him! I’ll chase him round the moons of Nibia and round the Antares maelstrom and round perdition’s flames before I give him up!”.
Another aspect is that from pretty early on, we knew she was a subordinate. We knew she was working for someone else, her handler. The big face that comes from her hand. So already from that, we knew that she wouldn’t pose as big a threat to the series as the true villain of the series. Who cares about Joachim in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan? Who cares about the Reman Viceroy in Star Trek: Nemesis?
So now with her dead and the plan still going ahead, will this new true big bad be underdeveloped with only 2 episodes to go with 8 episodes of build-up? Or will this villain have completely stolen the thunder from Vadic?
It may prove that with time and rematches that Vadic may climb the ranks of star trek villains, but for the moment, she does pale in comparison to our trek greats.
Season Story Progression
Overall this was an enjoyable episode, but how the story progressed, we’re not really fans of it.
This episode gave no answers. The episode ends on a big cliffhanger promising answers, so I hope we get those answers straight out of the gates into episode 9, but we have 2 episodes left and have to wrap this up. The only answer in this episode is that they wanted Picard’s body for the parietal lobe and the structural defect it contains.
I so hope this is like, maybe something Borg-related, and we don’t make irumodic syndrome this all-powerful superpower or anything. However, if they wanted Picard’s body for the Parietal Lobe, and they also wanted Jack for his powers, I do wonder what this means. As far as we know, Picard never had these abilities, which would be a weird thing to retcon. So I am leaning towards it as a Borg device, mostly from Picard, its ability to connect people and Vadic saying that Jack wasn’t meant for Beverly.
This was episode 8 of season 3 for Star Trek Picard, titled “Surrender”. Written by Matt Okumura, who is probably the reason for Matthew Arliss Mura, now that I am thinking about it. Directed by Director Deborah Kampmeier.
Where will these last two episodes take us, with Frontier Day only mere hours away, what actually is the plan for both parties? What is through the red Door? How much will be sacrificed to win the day? 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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