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Star Trek: Picard - Review - Watcher - It's All in the Details

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WARNING: The following review contains spoilers.

Doing what few shows on television these days accomplish, the second season of Star Trek: Picard manages to find that near-perfect balance between character and story. "Watcher" lets great character moments take the stage, unafraid to take a breath between high-speed action scenes and car chases.
Lea Thompson directs her second exemplary episode in the Star Trek franchise, showing a deft hand in drawing out nice performances from her stars. The episode focuses on characters but doesn't forget to mix in just the right amounts of intrigue and action. "Watcher" was also a detail-centric episode, with important plot turns and Easter Eggs for viewers to collect.
With just three days to go before the Q (John de Lancie)'s momentous change to the timeline, the stakes are still high. Before much more action can take place, the team must be reunited and regroup. They all continue to adapt to their unfamiliar surroundings as best they can. Whether Covid-dictated or not, having each character or character team operate autonomously allows individual character development to shine.
The team-up of Jeri Ryan and Michelle Hurd as Seven and Raffi continues to be a winner. As they navigate a frustrating system to rescue Rios (Santiago Cabrera) from the authorities, the show's female warriors get to show the softer side of their relationship by showing how they support one another. Seven keeps Raffi's more impulsive and take-action nature in check while Raffi pushes Seven to transform her anger into productive actions. Many times during the action, particularly during that amazing car chase on the Los Angeles freeway system, their strong connection sparks with snappy banter, subtle looks, and familiar touches. Their working and romantic partnership capitalizes on the best of both characters.
Santiago Cabrera's Rios displays a softer side in his scenes with Sol Rodriguez'sDr. Teresa Ramirez. While the show's handling of immigration issues might be simultaneously a little heavy-handed and simplistic, the storylines offer the opportunity to explore who Rios is beyond a take-charge starship captain.
This episode offered more of the fabulous interaction between Agnes Jurati (Allison Pill) and the Borg Queen (Annie Wersching). The connection between Agnes and the Queen appears to be growing stronger. This high-level sci-fi take on a battle of wits has been compelling to watch, and the back-and-forth tug between the two crackles with energy and potential.
Picard (Patrick Stewart) seeks out an old friend for help in their search for the mysterious Watcher, whom they hope will tell them where and how the impending timeline change will occur. It's not clear who he expects to find when he beams down to the 2024 version of a 10-Forward bar, but it's also a good bet he did not expect to encounter a much, much younger version of his friend Guinan. Actress Ito Aghayere is a revelation, perfectly capturing the demeanor and mannerisms of this enigmatic character when Whoopi Goldberg played her. Her rhythm and timing in conversations with Stewart are identical to the connection he had with Goldberg, yet she makes the character all her own in showing the dejection and resolution and hopeful nature of her character. This Guinan is uncharacteristically ready to give up on humanity. Even though she does not remember or recognize Picard, Guinan feels a strong connection to him. Picard encourages her to not give up on humanity. She even leads him on a Matrix-like journey to meet the mysterious Watcher, whose appearance comes as a bit of a shock. If this isn't actually Laris (Orla Brady), which seems the most likely interpretation, why does the Watcher appear as a doppelganger of her?
One of the strongest elements of the second season of Star Trek: Picard has been the respect and homage it continues to pay to its Star Trek legacy and history. Peppered through the episodes have been a plethora of Easter eggs, both large and small, celebrating how the show is taking its place in Star Trek lore and endearing itself to franchise fans. These moments, whether a throwaway line of dialogue, "Look at you, Dixon Hill," to background posters evoking memories of "The City on the Edge of Forever," (a classic original Star Trek episode), Star Trek: Picard knows and respects its past. This week contained perhaps one of the best Easter eggs yet. While traveling on a city bus, Seven and Raffi encounter a punk rocker with loud music disturbing all the occupants on the bus. Not only does this interaction recreate a memorable Kirk (William Shatner) Spock (Leonard Nimoy) scene from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and their encounter with a disruptive punk rocker on a city bus, but the show also cast the same actor who played the rocker in the movie (Kirk Thatcher) to reprise his role here.
As this stellar season of Star Trek: Picard unfolds, as many questions arise each week as are answered. For example, how is Laris connected to the Watcher or Picard's impact on the timeline? Who is the young woman that Q is stalking? And most importantly, what is wrong with Q? If these questions are addressed as well as others have been thus far this season, the episodes to come are going to take us all on quite the adventure.
What were your thoughts on Star Trek: Picard "Watcher"? What do you think is wrong with Q? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

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