In Star Trek: Picard Episode 7, “Nepenthe,” Jean-Luc Picard reunites with some of his closest friends, setting him back on the path for which he was always destined.
This recap of Star Trek: Picard Season 1, Episode 7, “Nepenthe”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
After a few fairly complex episodes, “Nepenthe” is a breath of fresh air. There’s a sense, now that we’re two-thirds of the way through with this season, of forward movement. I’ve been nearly – but only nearly – frustrated with the show as it tried to find its legs, to figure out how it would get momentum. Now I realize that was intended. It’s a reflection of who Picard has been for the past fourteen years after he resigned from Starfleet. As Picard says about halfway through the episode, he’s been “marking time,” losing his connections with those dearest to him and whiling away his days at his chateau. So, while getting going again may be like getting on a bike, getting that bike going again might be shaky. We needed an episode like “Nepenthe” to force Picard – and us – to pause and get its bearings, to reflect, to reconcile, to move forward.
Star Trek: Picard Episode 7 gets its name from Homer’s The Odyssey when Helen of Troy drugs her dinner guests so that they will forget their sorrows and worries. This allows her husband, Menelaus, to reconcile with her, and it allows Telemachus, Odysseus’ son, to press onward with his quest to find his father. Sound familiar?
Last episode, Picard and the newly activated (read: self-aware that she’s actually an android) Soji escape The Artifact in a transdimensional transporter, headed to the titular planet, Nepenthe. They arrive and meet a young girl (Lulu Wilson) with a bow and arrow, and Picard tells her that he’s there to see her parents – Deanna Troi and Will Riker (Marina Sirtis and Jonathan Frakes). This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for: a reunion between Picard and his former Enterprise crewmates. Unlike Raffi, who pulled a gun on Picard when they reunited; unlike Elnor, who angrily turned away when Picard asked for his help, Riker and Troi welcome him with open arms and offers of help and sanctuary. They help him reflect, help him process what’s happening.
They settled on this planet because of its regenerative properties, properties which they’d hoped would heal Thad, their firstborn son. He had a disease that could have been cured if not for the ban on positronics after the attack on Mars. He passed away, and parents and daughter have grieved ever since, not leaving the planet where they’ve lived with their son – it’s their homeworld now. Being with them, processing with them, gleaning counsel from them is the Nepenthe Picard has needed. He and Will are on equal footing now, and Troi has always been a trusted advisor – they help him think through his past and set him on course for his next steps. We needed this episode. While Picard may not be entirely healed, he’s on the right track.
Meanwhile, the mustache-twirling twincest twins are hot on the trail of Picard and the La Sirena. Back on the Artifact, Nerissa kills Hugh and Elnor calls for help from Seven of Nine. On the La Sirena, Raffi and Rios try to evade Narek who’s pursuing them in a cloaked, heavily armed ship. Finally, Dr. Agnes Jurati puts herself into a coma with a neurotoxin. Why does she do this? Probably because she was brainwashed into swallowing a tracking device and murdering her lover after Commodore Oh mind-raped her with a Vulcan (or Tal’Shiar?) mind-meld. In a flashback, we discover that Oh grabbed her and melded with her, incepting a horrifying series of images about the damage that androids will inevitably do to the universe – destroying everything. This sent Agnes into hysterics and motivated her to kill Maddox two episodes ago. This has re-solidified my collapsing faith in Jurati – I love her character and really felt the rug pulled out from under me when she betrayed our crew. I’m fully invested and sympathetic toward her, now more than ever wanting Picard and his crew to defeat the evil Tal’Shiar twins and to take down the Zhad Vast. And maybe to find the android homeworld. Whatever.
As the series draws to a close, I predict, like Discovery, things will get crazier and crazier, with battles upon battles and fights upon fights. However, I hope we get more episodes like this. We need more introspection and character work and fewer firefights. This episode pushed Picard the furthest as a character since the pilot, and I am eagerly awaiting the final chapter in this season.
- Riker and Troi live in a cabin in the woods surrounded by all manner of shields and sensors and cloak-detectors – and they grow and cook their own food. This is perfect. I mean, Riker cooks a pizza in a wood oven in his yard. This is my new favorite Star Trek thing.
- Oh has to be a Romulan, right? But as far as we know they can’t mind-meld. Or is she just a deranged Vulcan?
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