In what is the shortest episode yet, Star Trek: Picard managed to deliver an awful lot of story. With this season’s infamous attention to detail when it comes to calling back to the older Star Trek series, you bet there was a lot of fanservice to boot. So did Vadic’s origin shed any new light on the Starfleet we know? How does Tuvok factor into all of this? And just what do the Changelings want with Jack? Here are as many Easter Eggs as I could pull out of “Dominion“.
Video Call at Chin’Toka
On the run, hiding from the Federation, the crew of the Titan-A are desperate for any help they can get. Running out of old friends to call, they try calling on Tuvok (Tim Russ). This is his first return to Trek since the end of Star Trek: Voyager with “Endgame“. If you didn’t manage to have it ruined for you by some ill-timed social media posts, it’s an amazing reveal.
However, as we deduct – this Tuvok is a Changeling. Seven (Jeri Ryan) spends the scene testing him. They start with the location of Admiral Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) who’s been mentioned every episode. We also namedrop some games of Kal-Toh (Seven and him played in “The Omega Directive“), and finally tripping it up with referencing the mind meld from “Infinite Regress“. The anti-Kolinahr protests are an interesting lore addition too, some proper anti-Vulcan sentiment would make for some fun viewing.
From the behind the scenes shots on The Ready Room, we can also spot the same USS Voyager model and Kal-Toh model that Seven has in her quarters on the Titan. The set dressing on this show is to die for, it’s a real testament to the production team. However, we don’t know what ship Tuvok is the captain of. Could it be the USS Enterprise itself? Is the real Tuvok with Riker at the moment? Are other Voyagers hiding around the Alpha Quadrant? Or, most excitingly, will Admiral Janeway finally be making a live action return?
Vadic’s Origins Revealed
Vadic (Amanda Plummer) delivered her best performance of the season thus-far. Throughout the whole thing, she was very in control. We don’t know if she was telling the truth or not, but the picture she paints is understandable. She was tortured, as Starfleet faction Section 31 tried to engineer a bio-weapon. Section 31 having such a presence in the season is the biggest Deep Space Nine callback so far. The debate about the morphogenic virus, bio-weapons violating the Hippocratic oath, it makes for a gut-wrenching watch.
The unnamed scientist responsible for torturing the Changelings was also played by Plummer. Changelings taking the form of scientists studying them is something we’ve seen with Odo mimicking Mora Pol (James Sloyan). Her whistling is also absolutely chilling, eerily reminiscent of the equally villainous Pallid Man (Tom Noonan) from Terry Matalas’ 12 Monkeys. In these flashbacks, we also learn the origin for their biological abilities, and I was half right. It was due to Section 31’s interference, but not the morphogenic virus.
We still don’t know what Vadic and her floating head boss want Jack Crusher (Ed Speleers) for. We’ve hinted throughout the episode that it could be used to create a perfect duplicate of Picard (Sir Patrick Stewart). I still insist there’s something grander going on, a recreation of Locutus through dormant Borg nano-probes, perhaps? We’ve teased that Jack might have psychic abilities and that Picard’s diagnosis of Irumodic Syndrome may not be correct (probably Jack’s as well). So anything goes.
What’s Going on With Jack
It appears like he’s got some psychic abilities with the way he flirts with and later even controls Sidney La Forge (Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut). With Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) yet to be brought into the season properly, is there a chance that she’s the key to unlocking Jack’s psychic potential? I’d like to think so, but his glowing red eyes remind me too much of Pah-Wraiths. All of that seems like a very crowded last few episodes, but time will tell.
I do believe that Data (Brent Spiner) was onto something with a misdiagnosis of Irumodic Syndrome. I’m not proposing an X-Men style mutation (although that would make for a fun Patrick Stewart multiverse story), but maybe the remnants of the Borg have left them with abilities. We’ve recently read about some Borg helmets making you hear all the voices in The Dog of War, so could Jack be experiencing a version of this? I actually feel like I might be onto something here.
We got another scene with Vadic’s floating head boss talking about Jack as well. No hints as to what’s wrong with him, but a desperation to find him. In criticising the Changelings’ shape-shifting abilities, it could be that this final villain isn’t a Changeling. Could it be one of the Pah-Wraiths? It would explain Jack’s red eyes, and the God-like powers exhibited in the floating head’s torture of Vadic. The return of someone like Gul Dukat (Mark Alaimo) or Ben Sisko (Avery Brooks) would be more than welcome, and almost seems possible.
Data, Reunions, and Monologues
They try to justify Soong putting Lore into this Data/Lore/B4/Lal/Soong hybrid golem, but it was a silly choice on Soong’s part. Still, any excuse to see Brent Spiner shift so effortlessly between his old roles. It’s starting to seem like Lal may have just been a fun continuity namedrop however. Although, having Data triumph over Lore, saving the ship, effectively becoming human, and properly reunite with Geordi (LeVar Burton) made for a tearjerking scene.
We seldom saw Burton portray Geordi without a VISOR, and the key to this scene was all the acting in his eyes. They didn’t have to name-drop any of their fun adventures, or do a montage of friendship moments. It’s almost like they all existed in his eyes in that moment. Seriously good television. The most vocal performance here however is Vadic’s, delivering a monologue like a Shakespearean villain. It’s also fun to spot a trailer shot this late in the season, although the shield trapping her has been edited out.
When she takes over the ship, I would have loved a final line revealing the destination she’s sending the ship to. Even the name of a planet would have worked wonders. My mind’s running rampant, may we be going back to Bajor? The ruins of Cardassia? Some obscure planet that nobody sees coming but ends up making total sense? Maybe it’s a whole new place and I’m overreacting, but almost certainly not.
To Absent Friends, and Onwards to “Surrender”
This episode unfortunately saw the absences of Riker, Troi, Raffi, and Worf. There’s a good chance that their arrivals will be what changes the tide for the crew of the Titan. I wonder if they’ll bring anyone else with them? Perhaps the real Tuvok (who for someone over 150 is looking great)? Time will tell, but the episode really felt their absence, with the runtime cut to match. It’s a little disappointing to have them split up again this late in the game, but a proper reunion looks to be happening next week.
The longer this season goes on, the more convinced I am that this “dark presence” that Deanna mentioned in the trailer is actually Jack. She is definitely the key to some major revelations about who he is, who he’s for, and where he belongs. I hope they make the most of her character in the limited time we have left in the season. With only 3 episodes to go, we’re in the endgame. Frontier Day is hours away, they appear to be all alone with no hope of stopping the Changeling plot.
The synopsis for episode 8, “Surrender” certainly suggests this too. Teasing impossible choices, the crew perishing, Picard giving what he could never give. My excitement levels are through the roof! I really can’t wait to see how the crew get out of this one, and what surprise revelations almost certainly await.
“Dominion” was a shorter, less easter egg heavy, but definitely very plot heavy. There’s a lot more to come, and I really hope the final three episodes of the season are a little longer. I still can’t believe we’re most of the way through the season, it’s been quite the ride! So where do you think Vadic’s steering the Titan? Who’s the floating head guy? How many secret legacy cameos do you think we have left? Needless to say, when “Surrender” comes out, I’ll be there as soon as I can!
Star Trek: Picard Season 3 airs on Thursdays via Paramount+ for those in the United States. Additionally, on Crave and the CTV Sci-Fi channel for viewers in Canada. However, new episodes air Fridays via Amazon Prime Video in international regions like the United Kingdom and Australia. Paramount+ also streams the episodes in select locations, such as Italy, Germany, and France. For coverage of all things Star Trek: Picard, follow Trek Central!
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