STAR TREK: PICARD S01E03 “The End Is The Beginning” review

Star Trek: Picard (CBS All Access/Amazon Prime Video)

Star Trek: Picard airs new episodes Thursday’s on CBS All Access in North America. Internationally, episode air on Amazon Prime Video the following day.

Synopsis

Completely unaware of her special nature, Soji continues her work and captures the attention of the Borg cube research project’s executive director. After rehashing past events with a reluctant Raffi, Picard seeks others willing to join his search for Bruce Maddox, including pilot and former Starfleet officer Cristóbal Rios (Santiago Cabrera).

Review

This week Star Trek: Picard finally takes to the stars as Jean-Luc (Sir Patrick Stewart) heads off world as the series begins to unravel its own complex arc.

“The End Is The Beginning” is a very literal title as this episode wraps up what has really been three episodes of setup and gets down to the nitty gritty of what’s going on and what needs to be resolved. That’s not to say this episode answers all your questions though. Far from it.

In fact “The End Is The Beginning” instead cleverly wraps up the small threads which began in episode one (reviewed here) and replaces them which some much larger plot strings which helpfully propel the series in a much more engaging (there’s that pun again) trajectory.

The setup we’ve witnessed so far has been nothing short of gripping. This week we open with more flashback scenes which deal with the attack on Mars by the rogue synthetics. This time we see the ramifications this had on Picard and Raffi’s (Michelle Hurd) careers at Starfleet. On first watch it was difficult to go beyond seeing the classic communicators on some brand new uniforms.

But the scene itself is actually telling us a lot more than it appears on first watch. We really get a deep glimpse into the relationship between the two characters which helps to make their present day interactions all the more emotional. We see them in a period where they were much more comfortable which each other. There’s a warmth between them at the start of the scene which unravels as he explains more of the meeting with Starfleet which ended with his resignation.

Hurd is currently my favourite new addition to the cast alongside Orla Brady. She really owns this scene as her world is clearly taken away from her due to Picard’s actions. It adds to much weight to her characterisation in the present day scenes that, overall, I would say this is the most emotional episode of the three so far.

Some reviewers have called out Star Trek: Picard for not being the shining beacon of hope that many feel Star Trek should be. I would suggest that this episode drives home the point that all is not lost and that Admiral Picard is the one who is going to give hope back to Starfleet and the rest of the galaxy.

The episode traverses much of the series ensemble cast now that they have, for the most part, been established. We spend amble time aboard the Borg ship being excavated by the Romulan task force as Soji (Isa Briones) meets with the programme director Hugh (Jonathan Del Arco).

Yes Hugh finally makes his debut in the series in this episode and he is not as we last left him. Though he appears closer to human he still appears to have visual scarring left from when he was assimilated in to the Borg collective. The series keeps his motivations for heading up the project a mystery but it seems there is much more to be de-assimilated than meets the eye. Particularly if you happen to be a Romulan.

Presumably at some point Picard will need to visit the cube and I can’t wait to see what that will have in store for us. The show seems to be carefully sticking to the “safe” areas of the cube for now, eagle-eyed fans will have noticed the sign proclaiming the number of days without an assimilation and I wonder just how long that will remain stable.

The Soji character is proving there’s almost as much going on in space as there is on Earth. As she delves in to the hangover Romulan Ex-B’s face there almost seems to be a more mythical element creeping in to the story.

This week we finally get to meet Santiago Cabrera’s Chris Rios. Though he only appears in a handful of scenes he certainly makes for an interesting addition to the cast. He has clear ties to Starfleet in his past which are going to be interesting to unravel going forwards. The fact he has (presumably) programmed an EMH to look just like him is also a little… quirky.

Once again I have to single out the amazing score of Jeff Russo. His work on this series is outstanding. There’s something heartwarming and yet emotional heavy in so much of the music that it is equally as compelling as the story and characters themselves.

Verdict

“The End Is The Beginning” puts a full stop in the setup of Picard‘s grand mystery and fires the starting gun on what looks set to be a compelling storyline going forwards.

8/10

Star Trek: Picard is set to star Patrick Stewart, Santiago Cabrera, Michelle Hurd, Isa Briones, Harry Treadaway, Alison Pill, Jeri Ryan, Jonathan Del Arco and Evan Evagora. The series debuts on CBS All Access on January 23, 2020 followed by a release on Amazon Prime in the UK and internationally on January 24.


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About Neil Vagg 4567 Articles
Neil is the GYCO Editorial Chief. He has a BA in Film & Tv and an MA in Scriptwriting; he currently works 9-5 as an office manager and 5-9 as a reviewer/web designer. He has been subscribing to comics for around nine years but has been reading them as long as he can remember. Favourite comics: Batman; Nightwing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and All New X-Men Favourite films: Batman (any apart from & Robin); Star Trek Generations, Underworld, Beetlejuice Favourite TV shows: Fringe; Buffy, Arrow, TBBT, Being Human UK and Star Trek TNG