Star Trek: Picard Episode 3, "The End is the Beginning" Recap With Spoilers

This episode of Star Trek: Picard offers us a chance to see Picard's last moments as a Starfleet admiral. After the attack on Mars, Picard and Raffi tried to convince Starfleet to go forward with the Romulan relocation mission. Picard gave them an ultimatum and they called his bluff, accepting his resignation. Raffi got fired too, apparently just for having helped Picard put together the plan.

From there, the episode splits into two narratives. The primary is about Picard gathering his new crew together to leave Earth on this new mission. He starts with Raffi, who is still angry with him for abandoning her after he left Starfleet. Despite this anger, she can't help but be curious about the Romulan activities on Earth since she suspected Romulan involvement in the Mars attack all along, even to the point of predicting the involvement of a high-ranking Starfleet official. Raffi does the research and discovers Bruce Maddox is hiding somewhere called Freecloud. She decides to go with Picard, but for her own reasons that she's not inclined to share.

Raffi puts Picard in contact with Cristobal Rios. He used to be the first officer aboard a Starfleet ship, but something happened that killed his captain and Starfleet has wiped the ship's existence from the public record. Rios seems bitter on the surface, but Picard senses a true Starfleet soul underneath.

Dr. Jurati gets a visit from Commodore Oh. She tells Oh everything she knows but doesn't tell Oh that she plans to go with Picard when she leaves to find Maddox. Having dedicated her life to the idea, she has to see this flesh-and-blood android for herself.

The other half of the story, which has more of a "mystery box" feel, takes place on the Artifact, that derelict Borg cube where Soji Asha is working. In this episode, we learn that Hugh, that Borg drone the Next Generation, crew freed from the collective in "I, Borg," is the executive director of the Romulan reclamation project, and he's taken note of Soji's work. The ex-Borg are looked down on by others, especially Romulans, but Soji treats them with empathy. As such, Hugh agrees to give Soji a meeting with one of the "disordered," Romulans who were freed from assimilation but whose minds have been broken by the process.

Soji wants to talk to Ramdha, and the conversation is a strange one Ramdha was an expert on mythology but doesn't like the words. She prefers "the news," suggesting there's a reality underneath whatever folklore she dealt with. Things get weird when Soji starts to know more about Ramdha than she ought to, or Ramdha, in turn, knows more about Soji, calling her "the destroyer."

And that's where the two stories come crashing together. A squad of Romulans assaults Picard's vineyard as he's preparing to leave. Laris and Zhaban interrogate one they take captive, and he uses the same term, "the destroyer," to describe Soji.

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The episode ends with Picard and Jurati beaming up to Rios's ship, where Raffi is already aboard. Together they set out for Freecloud, with Picard giving the command, "Engage."

Some notes:

  • Star Trek's economy has always been ill-defined, and spending a lot of time on Earth in these first three episodes hasn't helped that. Raffi's comments about Picard's chateau versus her hovel stand out, in particular.
  • Hugh says the disordered are the only Romulans who have ever been assimilated that he's aware of. Does that mean the artifact is the Borg cube that was scooping up outposts in the TNG episode "The Neutral Zone"? Or has that been retconned? Also, he must not be aware of the freed Borg encountered in the Voyager episode "Unity."
  • The three episodes play out like a three-act movie and are probably best watched all at once.

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