'Star Trek: Picard': The next generation of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' deserves their own spinoff
Kestra and Soji's quickly formed bond this episode is engaging, and endearing, and very much deserves its own show
Spoiler alert for 'Nepenthe' - Episode 7 of Season 1 of 'Star Trek: Picard'
'Nepenthe' was the most idyllic of the season thus far. Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) takes Soji (Isa Briones) to the first safe house he can think of - the retirement home of two of his closest friends and former Starfleet officers, Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Deanna Troi (Martina Sirtis). There, the first person they meet is the 'Wild Girl of the Woods' - Will and Deanna's daughter, Kestra (Lulu Wilson).
Kestra is a bright child, with a clever mind, a curious, open-minded heart and affectionate, infectious energy. She connects quickly, and strongly, to Soji, and the two form a bond rather quickly. Despite knowing that Soji is an illegal, synthetic lifeform, Kestra seems to immediately see Soji as family - which, in a way, they are. Their parents went through a lot together on the Enterprise during 'Star Trek: The Next Generation,' and Kestra has grown up on those stories.
Soji, for her part, seems to open up to Kestra just as much. She's still processing the fact that the man she may have loved tried to kill her, that her sister, Dahj (Isa Briones) has died, and most of all, that her entire life has been a simulated lie. Soji doesn't know if she can even trust what she sees, or if she's trapped in a simulation. The trauma of her false reality is blended with that of the trauma of betrayal, and as she tells Deanna, compassion towards Soji only makes her less trusting.
Kestra, however, retains undimmed energy that gets through to Soji. Kestra is an intelligent child who engages Soji on an intellectual level as well as an emotional one. Their connection is one of the most beautiful parts of the episode and is far more interesting than Soji's false relationship with Narek (Harry Treadaway) was. It leaves one wondering how many other children of retired Starfleet officers are out there - a strange extended family that is bound by a crew that was very tightly knit?
A new generation, bringing new questions to life in the galaxy could be a series filled with the very hope that 'Star Trek' was meant to embody. After all, 'Star Trek' has always been about the future, and what comes next - and it's time for the next step in the story.
The next episode of 'Star Trek: Picard' airs March 12, on CBS All Access.