Yellow alert! This was still an overall enjoyable episode with a mix of good and somewhat forced character beats. However, some of the internal logic is starting to be concerning.
Right off the bat we get some answers finally from Beverly about Jack and the Picard of it all. It’s a dramatic scene with Picard devastated at the revelation he’s had a son all this time and that Beverly hid Jack away. Beverly’s motivations are strong ones though and when she frames it in context of all of the loss she’s experienced in her life, it’s good stuff.
Less great, the Titan plot centers on a conflict between Picard and Riker that feels a tad forced. The episode’s teaser explains the title of the episode “Seventeen Seconds” as the amount of time it took for Riker to get Titan’s sickbay to see his son. This is supposed to set up some of the emotional stakes to the disagreement between new to fatherhood Picard and Riker who lost a young son which we’re to understand has made him gunshy. But the conflict doesn’t really work because neither of their positions are very strong. Picard wants to fight and Riker wants to flee and they bicker in front of the kids except we’re in a no-win situation. Escape and fighting are established as both BAD ideas. So why are we fighting so hard for these positions as to take emotional potshots like calling Riker gunshy because of his son? The emotional conflict just isn’t working here.
Because the changelings are back. Simultaneous to Jack’s discovery that a changeling is on the Titan. Raffi and Worf continue to investigate the theft of the portal gun and move along the chain of custody. Their captured dealer, it turns out, is also a changeling. This is the most direct reference to the aftermath of the Dominion since the end of Deep Space Nine as we learn there are changelings who don’t agree with the peace and have infiltrated the Alpha quadrant to once again wreak havoc. Raffi and Worf are a good pairing trading barbs in a way that has more chemistry than Raffi ever did with JL. Worf is going to be a mentor whether she wants it or not and it’s a believable direction for both characters.
It turns out the portal gun, which also has already had time to be sent to the Shrike, is not the main weapon of concern although it’s already destroyed a building and harmed hundreds of people. Some worse technology has been taken from Daystrom Station.
- Immediately, I had to do research on whether Odo was ever knocked unconscious as a changeling and there is at least one instance in season one where a rock falls on him knocking him out briefly. So I guess there’s precedent for a Klingon chokeslam being able to knock a changeling out. But it does seem to be a contradiction to the idea that when Odo sleeps in a bed he tends to revert to his gelatinous state and slide out of it. (“Vortex,” “In Purgatory’s Shadow”).
- But also, were the restraints on the captured changeling emitting a dampening field? I suppose he’s just trying to keep his cover but the tweaking out behavior is in retrospect a callback to Garak’s similar torture — I mean, interrogation of Odo. At least until it isn’t and our changeling makes a weak attempt to ooze away.
- Last changeling thing, this is extremely minor and I’m fine with it on a story level but Jack had to have punched really really hard to make a changeling break its form. Odo only ever did that in “Emissary” because he had a mace thrown at him.
- After Riker and Picard’s little Kobayashi Maru, Riker kicks Picard off the ship with a stern You’ve Doomed Us All line but they don’t just cut there and instead follow Picard as he shuffles his way off the bridge. It’s a weird pacing choice.
- So is Worf investigating the changelings on behalf of Odo and Starfleet Intelligence but he hasn’t told Starfleet Intelligence? SI continues to seem pretty inept here and I’m still confused on exactly how Raffi’s mission came into being.
- I didn’t discuss the living nebula in the main body because we don’t know what it is yet, and I can’t really have an opinion
- Prediction: The other stolen tech at Daystrom Station is the repaired Lore we see in the trailers.
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