'Star Trek: Picard' Episode 7 Review: The 'Next Generation' reunion marks one of the show's strongest scenes
Spoiler alert for 'Star Trek: Picard' Season 1 Episode 7 'Nepenthe'
'Star Trek: Picard' is a show that is highly dependant on people's nostalgia for 'Star Trek: The Next Generation.' Curiously, however, the show has largely veered away from the tone of the series and instead tried to establish a wholly new sci-fi aesthetic.
There have been references, yes, to the original series, but most of what makes up 'Star Trek: Picard' seems to be trying to shake up the established 'Star: Trek' signature tone. It's had mixed results.
That has never been more clear than it has been this episode, where Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) meets some old friends from 'The Next Generation' — a retired Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis).
Where there is a lot of action, intrigue, and betrayal on the Borg Cube and on Captain Rios' (Santiago Cabrera) ship, the strongest parts of the episode all happen on Nepenthe with the 'Next Generation' cast in a gloriously serene setting.
There is still a lot of storytelling to be done in entirely peaceful settings, and it's something the show tends to benefit from.
Marian Sirtis, in particular, stands out this episode, as she counsels Soji (Isa Briones) through the latter's recent trauma. Soji is understandably having a lot of trouble figuring out what's real, and what isn't.
Piled on top of that is knowing that her sister, Dahj (Isa Briones) IS real, but is also dead. It's a lot to process, and she seems to find solace in the company she keeps with Kestra (Lulu Wilson), which leads to a lot of really great moments between the next generation of 'The Next Generation'.
The rest of the episode, though having higher stakes, feels almost like a distraction from what would otherwise be a beautifully contemplative episode. There have been a lot of 'Picard' episodes that feel like they're meandering, or idling time before getting to the main plot, but nothing about this episode feels that way.
It is, in fact, one of the strongest episodes of the series, and the chemistry between the 'Next Generation' cast really helps sell that.
For all the new things that 'Star Trek: Picard' has brought to the table, this episode really emphasizes how none of them are really all that interesting. 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' was a wonderful show, and 'Picard' could have benefitted from being more of a sequel to it, as opposed to the more dire, tangential spinoff that it has become.
The next episode of 'Star Trek: Picard' airs on March 12 on CBS All Access.