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Star Trek: Picard - Review - Imposters: Appearances Are Deceiving

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Warning: This review contain spoilers.

As each episode of Star Trek: Picard grows in depth, complexity, and suspense while continuing to mine the show’s rich history, its character work continues bringing new surprises. Episode 5, “Imposters,” gives us a plethora of strong story and character exploration. This episode reveals that there is a serious infiltration of Starfleet and that the Changelings are even more dangerous than believed, as they can replicate not only the external but internal appearance of a person. In fact, the Changelings stealing dangerous weapons was just a cover for something more menacing. Meanwhile, fan-favorite characters return in a mysterious fashion with mysterious connections. Things may not at all appear as they seem.

The emotional core of this episode centers on the return of Ro Laren (Michelle Forbes), the Bajoran Star Fleet officer who seemingly betrayed Picard (Patrick Stewart)’s trust to leave the Federation and fight for the rebel Maquis. Ro, once again gloriously played by the magnificent Michelle Forbes, is the security commander summoned by Shaw (Ted Stashwick). Shaw, eager to regain control of his ship and enact his version of justice for the mutinous behavior of Picard and company, turned them into Starfleet, thinking he was finally going to be rid of the thorns in his side, especially Picard and Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan). Ironically by summoning Starfleet and then reinstating Seven thinking she was about to be drummed out of the Federation, Shaw’s actions may end up being what ultimately saves the day.
Upon the arrival of the U.S.S. Intrepid’s chief security officer, Picard and Riker (Jonathan Frakes) are stunned to find themselves face to face with now Starfleet Commander Ro Laren. As expected, the reunion is not a cordial one. Stewart’s Picard unleashes the 30 years of hurt, betrayal, and anger he feels toward the young officer he once admired. Ro allows him to vent his frustration but then pleads her case for redemption, as she served time in a Starfleet prison, was rehabilitated, and went on to work for Starfleet security. At first, Ro comes across as a hard ass, but later, while privately interrogating Picard in the holodeck version of 10 Forward, she reveals her true mission by telling him of the sinister infiltration of all levels of Starfleet Command, a stealth invasion reminiscent of the one depicted in Star Trek: Next Generation first season episode, “Conspiracy.” Picard realizes, too late, that he has erred by judging Ro according to her past action and manages to convey that to her just before she makes the ultimate sacrifice. Earlier, she gave him her most prized possession, her Bajoran earring.
The confrontation scenes between Picard and Ro are incredible. Forbes matches Stewart beat for beat with her intensity and her passion. Ro wants nothing more than to make Picard proud of her, and Picard finally gets closure for what he considered one of his biggest lapses in judgment. These two pros light up the screens with these moments in Cindy Appel and Chris Derrick’s tautly written script with expert direction from Dan Liu.
Picard and Riker receive their second shock of the day when using the data chip encased in Ro’s earring to review her entire investigation. While reviewing the data they are contacted by one of Ro’s best Starfleet Intelligence assets, Worf (Michael Dorn). (The Next Generation family reunion is almost complete.) Worf and Raffi (Michelle Hurd) have truly become a team when trying to track down what the Changelings are really after and after surviving a near-deadly encounter with Krinn, (Kirk Acevedo), a former colleague of the late criminal Sneed (Aaron Stanford). Acevedo gives a delicious turn in making us believe that crime is needed for a Utopian society, hence providing a logical basis for a Vulcan becoming a criminal mastermind.
And then there’s that new information about the Changelings. Beverly (Gates McFadden) faces a disturbing truth with her discovery that the Changelings’ new ability to replicate internal organs makes them nearly impossible to detect with Starfleet security measures. She realizes that they can be made into anyone, just as her son Jack (Ed Speleers) comes to her concerned about the disturbing nightmares he’s having involving a red door. He’s afraid something is wrong with him. Could her son be a Changeling? And if so, how and when, and where is her real son?
Now considered dangerous fugitives, Picard and the remaining crew of the Titan are on the run as they try to unravel the conspiracy threatening Starfleet. It is amazing how much story and character development that has been presented thus far in this season of Star Trek: Picard, and we’re just halfway through the season. A brief aside, those shots of the Intrepid, one of its nacelles in flames as it rises above the Titan and prepares to fire, are some of the finest special effects presented for television in a very long while. If the remaining episodes continue escalating in excellence, this season is surely building to a spectacular crescendo.
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