Well, we’re officially halfway through Star Trek: Picard Season 3! (so bring out all your best Bon Jovi impressions). The fifth episode, “Imposters”, had a lot of fun callbacks and references to Star Trek’s past, and I found a ton! There were also some game-changing twists and teases that I’d love to delve into. So which questions were answered, and how many more questions did they bring up? I can’t wait to see where the rest of this season is going, so let’s get into analysing Imposters!
The Prodigal Crewmember
This episode’s synopsis teased a “prodigal crewmember”. I theorised that this could be the return of Ro Laren (Michelle Forbees). As it turns out, that was correct. The reveal catches you off guard, fresh out of the turbo lift where we namechecked the Enterprise-D crash from Star Trek: Generations, the Prime Directive violations of Star Trek: Insurrection, and the time anomaly from “All Good Things…”. Genuinely shocking reveal that was executed perfectly. A very very welcome return.
It’s our first time seeing Ro since the penultimate Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Preemptive Strike”. She arrives to supposedly court martial Picard (Sir Patrick Stewart) and Riker (Jonathan Frakes) for their hijacking of the Titan. However, she actually comes with a warning, Starfleet is compromised, and nobody can be trusted. Even though it’s the Changelings, I find this infiltration of Starfleet similar to the bugs in “Conspiracy”. While the bugs won’t be returning this season, I can’t wait to see them again one day, hopefully.
When in the holodeck, Ro turns off the safety. This mirrors the panel in the end credits with the holodeck security offline. I’m almost glad it didn’t end up being a big action spectacle like with Picard and the Borg in the holodeck in Star Trek: First Contact. When she palms the earring to Picard, it marks the first time we’ve seen a Bajoran earring since the end of Deep Space Nine, it even more closely resembles the one worn by Kira (Nana Visitor) than Ro. Who knows, perhaps we’ll see some other Bajorans later on? Maybe even Kira herself?
Jack and the Red Door
The team at Trek Central have theorised about Jack’s (Ed Speleers) hallucinations and the Red Door in particular over the past few weeks. I have mostly come up empty-handed until now. The big clue that finally pushed me over the edge was Jack’s eyes glowing red. The glow, when connected with his combat strength, and the voices of his loved ones leads me to one conclusion; the Pah Wraiths are back. I don’t know how, but I can’t think of anything else that fits that description.
Trapped in the Bajoran Fire Caves in “What You Leave Behind” alongside Gul Dukat (Mark Alaimo), it’d be interesting to learn of how they escaped. If they escaped, is there a possibility that Dukat will also return as a Pah Wraith? Feels like a reach but it feels within the realm of possibility. But if they’re the Pah Wraiths, and I believe there is one inside Jack, then what is the red door he keeps seeing and what is on the other side?
The red motif reminds me of the third group of Prophets in the Millennium trilogy, which this season has borrowed from before, with their own wormhole. Whatever’s inside Jack may not be a Pah Wraith, but a Prophet or perhaps even a secret third faction. The “home” they want him to revisit may be another wormhole, or maybe even the Celestial Temple. If we’re seriously revisiting all these long dormant Deep Space Nine plot points, then could we finally see the return of the Emissary himself, Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks)?
The Changelings also want Jack alive, meaning he’s the key to something. Jack, or whatever’s trapped inside of him, could be key to reigniting the Dominion War, or freeing some long forgotten enemies. A lot of this sounds absolutely wild, and if even a fraction of it ends up happening, then Deep Space Nine fans are going to be very very happy indeed.
We established last week that Frontier Day is probably an annual tradition, but this 250th anniversary is going to be special. We’ve confirmed that the whole fleet will be involved in some sort of parade, likely the Athan Prime Fleet Museum tease in the credits. If that’s the case, we’re in for some interesting ship cameos, maybe more Enterprises than just the Enterprise-F.
Perhaps, in one final callback to Star Trek: The Search for Spock, the Enterprise-D crew hijacks their old ship to fight back against Vadic’s forces over Frontier Day. There’s a line from Vadic (Amanda Plummer) in the trailer about how “the night will brighten with the ashes of the Federation”, which could allude to this attack. I’d also love it if the captain of the Enterprise-F, who went unnamed in the logs released before the series, were a surprise legacy cameo like Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill) or Tuvok (Tim Russ).
With all these ships returning for a parade and perhaps even a fight, why not show us some familiar old faces as well? With all of the DS9 callbacks, I’m just waiting for some big cameos of the series’ stars. As much as we’d love to see Kira, or maybe even Julian (Alexander Siddig) off to the sidelines, they all seem so far away. Someone like O’Brien would be the perfect, long-suffering and overworked person to set up the whole event, wouldn’t he?
Worf and Raffi
As amazing as last week’s episode, “No Win Scenario” was, there were no scenes with either Raffi (Michelle Hurd) or Worf (Michael Dorn). This week’s episode remedies that significantly, with a lot of action and propelling the show forward. There’s a fun cameo that I’ll dissect later, but we get another rebuttal of Worf preferring pacifism. I didn’t have ninja Worf on my bucket list, but I am so glad we have it.
Apparently making your heartbeat imperceptible is a Kahless technique. I’m loving the Klingon stuff this season, just little lore drops like that, and even Worf’s Kur’leth sword. Kahless is of course the legendary Klingon warrior, also responsible for the catchphrase “today is a good day to die”, which we also get to hear again here. Worf’s fakeout death scene was perfectly executed too, so much so that actually killing him feels impossible to do well. Very excited to where his training of Raffi ends up going, their chemistry is awesome.
Krinn (Kirk Acevedo) reveals something about the security of Daystrom Station. It’s an AI with an interesting flaw. From the brief shots within the station, I believe this to be none other than Moriarty (Daniel Davis) who we saw in the trailer. The shots also featured Riker, Worf, and Raffi in the same location, which matches up with next week’s heist.
The AI’s flaw could well be emotion and attachment. If it is Moriarty, the Changelings could have posed as Regina Bartholomew (Stephanie Beacham), Moriarty’s love interest from “Ship in a Bottle”, in order to sneak past. Of all potential legacy cameos I’ve pointed out as possibilities, this is perhaps the most obscure one yet. I don’t expect it to happen, but it would be a lot of fun to briefly see her or allude to her.
However the AI guarding Daystrom Station is not necessarily Moriarty. There are other AI systems present in the 25th century, such as AGIMUS, Peanut Hamper, and Badgey, who all originated in Star Trek: Lower Decks. Even if it is ultimately Moriarty, seeing them trapped around the station could be a fun easter egg, or a tense part of the heist. We may well have to keep our eyes peeled.
Don’t You (Forget About 12 Monkeys)
We’ve long established that Picard showrunner Terry Matalas loves inserting little nods to his other series 12 Monkeys. If you haven’t seen it yet, there’s no better time to check it out. I really can’t recommend it enough. This week, we had some big 12 Monkeys callbacks, including a guest star cameo and a particular song choice.
When escorting Riker and Picard in the turbo-lift, Shaw hums himself. The song is Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”. This is a song that Todd Stashwick’s 12 Monkeys character Deacon is often heard singing throughout the series. Getting to hear him hum it is amazing. It was pretty easy to miss, very subtle, and I even had to rewind to double check, but it was perfect.
The Vulcan Krinn was introduced as Sneed’s (Aaron Stanford) accomplice. In 12 Monkeys, Kirk Acevedo takes the role of Ramse, the accomplice, associate, and longtime friend of protagonist James Cole. Krinn also references him and Sneed having been the scavengers of District 6, where their characters in 12 Monkeys were a part of the scavenger West VII gang (led by Todd Stashwick’s Deacon!). It really makes me wonder if we’ll see any other 12 Monkeys alumni show up, like Emily Hampshire or Amanda Schull.
The Real Villain?
While she didn’t appear this week, Vadic still feels very present. Based on trailer footage yet to be seen, she’ll definitely be back. But just who is she working for? Based on some earlier teases, I may have a better idea of who it is and what’s going on. Last week, I said the floating head could be Laas, and I still believe that. The Changeling adaptations could be the lasting effects of the Chimera virus, and Vadic’s gang could be part of the 100 Changelings in the Alpha Quadrant.
However, there’s another interesting possibility. As cool as it would be to see JG Hertzler come back, could there be another high-ranking clone of Weyoun (Jeffrey Combs) out there? While all clones were supposedly killed by the end of Deep Space Nine, there was a Weyoun 9 in the relaunch novels (the same series which featured a son between Picard and Beverly, so the basis for subtle adaptation is there). Weyoun trying to spark another war with the Federation would make for a very interesting viewing.
We’ve seen Jack hallucinate the red branches in the transporter bay. While we don’t know the branches yet, they are similar to the look of people infected by Species 8472 in Star Trek: Voyager. Interestingly, this was the same transporter bay taken over by the Changeling impersonating Ensign Foster (Chad Lindberg). The Changelings could also be working with the transporter to evolve to mimic solids closer.
So did you notice anything in “Imposters” that I missed? What do we think Daystrom’s security is like? And what is behind the Red Door? We’ll just have to wait until next week’s episode “Bounty” to hopefully find some of the answers!
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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