Second Union

Second Union

STAR TREK REWIND: “The End is the Beginning”

“I will not go down another rabbit hole with you, J.L.”

Back to the Great Android Revolt…once more unto the breach. The War of the Soulless. In the Swing Choir days of Starfleet, Picard meets with, I’m assuming, a younger Raffi. In the previous episode, he had asked for her help when Starfleet cursed him out and turned him down. Raffi (not the popular children’s singer) is Picard’s pet and a more-than-obvious exposition dump through which Picard can relay information about the devastation on Mars. The War of the Soulless began with but one soulless entity. Picard seems to be on the side of the murderers, but he tells Raffi he will resign if Starfleet continues to turn a blind eye to Romulus, home to another set of murderers.

The Romulans were a power that everyone took turns hating, yet Picard has forgotten the antipathy, even as he was constantly reminded by his staff on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Seriously, look it up. The Romulans were not above abducting Geordi and turning him into a Manchurian Candidate in one episode. There was a grand total of one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that did not show them behaving duplicitously. But after so many years of Cold War analogy, it’s time to think about the children. I think Sting wrote about a song about them.

The over-long dialogue between Raffi and Picard ends when she is fired (Can you be fired from military service? I know you can be dishonorably discharged, but fired?) by Starfleet after Picard tenders his resignation. If your boss is fired, does that mean you get fired? It’s interesting to me what passes for storytelling and performance; Raffi makes her case to Picard with overwrought acting (I thought Isa was terrible, but homegirl’s got her beat) and clunky dialogue. She lost her security clearance! Oh, baby, no don’t cry, come here, bring it in, work the steps… My point is officers and soldiers don’t behave like this. They’re not tattered, fragile rags that can rip apart easily in the changing wind. They’re also not special needs basket cases like Tilly on Discovery.

In short order, Raffi throws him out but recommends the initially macho (but ultimately neurotic) Captain Rios (complete with fussy, effeminate EMH) and his ship for a perilous mission to find Bruce Maddox. Before he can set sail, he and his assistants are attacked by a death squad ordered by the Asian/Vulcan Commodore Oh (sigh). I don’t understand – if everybody in the Known Universe knows who the bad guys are, why isn’t anyone doing anything about it? They’ve obviously made their intentions clear, right? Meanwhile, Dahj’s twin (Soji) interviews a “reclaimed” (formerly Borg) Romulan, a spooky chick with curly hair and a bump on her head. I’ve grown to hate this character. Apparently Dahj (and her sister) are “the end of all.” I mean, THE END OF ALL! THE DESTROYER! Of course, she is. “She has no idea who she truly is.”* The key? The Chosen One. Loving her is so much fun! Oh, and Hugh shows up and is never identified.

*A couple months ago, a bunch of commenters ganged up on me when I took exception to showrunner Michael Chabon’s approach. They kept telling me the man won a Pulitzer or something, and perhaps I should ease up on criticizing him. I challenge you to watch this episode and not question Chabon’s credentials. He co-wrote the episode. He’s responsible. This is some of the worst writing, the worst dialogue I’ve ever had to endure. But he won a Pulitzer. Maybe he can write a book, but writing a book is a far cry from producing a television series. Some would say it was a step down.

Twice a week, Star Trek Rewind explores the Star Trek universe. From Archer to Janeway, Kirk to Picard, and Georgiou to Sisko — boldly read what no one has read before!

For more insane Star Trek babble, check out my podcast (with co-host David B. Anderson), Ship to Ship: A Star Trek Podcast.

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