After teasing a deep dive into Jean-Luc Picard’s psyche for a while, Star Trek: Picard finally gets there in Episode Seven, “Monsters.” Like last week, it’s a genre-busting episode, with much of the narrative set inside Picard’s unconscious mind. The episode focuses on the difficulties of mental illness and looks at the relationship between a mother and son. It all comes together in one of the most profound episodes of the show to date.
Beginning in a somewhat surreal fashion, we’re introduced to a new character we later learn to our surprise is Picard’s father. We also see the welcome return of the Deep Space Nine-era uniform, another fun Easter egg.
Based on the flashbacks we’ve seen throughout season 2 and the early part of this episode, we’re meant to believe that Picard’s father is a villain. As we learn, the truth is more complicated.
Star Trek takes a trip inside Picard’s mind
Picard blames himself for the death of his mother Yvette, which adds a new layer of tragedy to his character; he creates an idealized version of her in his mind, rather than seeing her as the loving but deeply unwell person she was. Yvette, like her son and her nephew René, are all brilliant, successful people, yet the darkness of depression and anxiety do not discriminate.
The tragedy at Chateau Picard means that the admiral is reluctant to let anyone inside and know his true self. Mental illness touches not only the life of the afflicted but also those around them; the show has explored that topic this season with great care, tact and realism. Patrick Stewart is, as always, magnificent.
With Picard finally able to address his demons, it remains to be seen whether he’ll eventually find happiness with Laris in his own time. Talinn’s future is also up in the air. It’s Tallinn who enters Picard’s mind and uncovers what’s holding him back. In turn, Tallinn reveals she is, in fact, Romulan.
The other characters on Star Trek: Picard again get little to do
Outside Picard’s brain, Raffi and Seven set out to find Agnes and quickly realize that she’s now under the influence of the Borg Queen. Meanwhile, Rios and Teresa get closer as he finally lets her in and tells the (partial) truth about who he is. In what will undoubtedly be an unwise move, Rios decides to show Teresa and her son La Sirena.
The closing few minutes of the episode feature the welcome return of Ito Aghayere as the younger Guinan; she performs a ritual that some may find uncomfortably close to magic for Star Trek. It doesn’t seem to work, and problems compound when the FBI bursts in and arrest both Picard and Guinan. It’s a surprising twist ending, although it might be a little too close to Rios being detained by ICE earlier in the season.
Episode Rating: 8
Overall, this is another good episode of Picard that feels weighty and important. While it’s not Star Trek in the traditional sense, it’s serious drama and an excellent study of the main character. We find that we never truly understood Picard, just like other characters around him. When Picard tells his father that perhaps he never really knew him, it could be the audience talking about Jean-Luc. We can now look at other incidents in his life with a new perspective.
Once again, however, there’s little for the other characters to do in the episode, and with season 3 said to be bringing back the entire Next Generation cast, it would be wise for the show to trim the number of regulars before then.