Do all great Trek episodes get broken into two parts? This finale, Arcadia Ego, Part 1, is part of just one. The finale for The Next Generation, All Good Things, was probably the best episode of the series, and it was a double, two-parter. Luckily, it ran back-to-back, and we didn’t have to wait to see the conclusion. The repackaging of The Cage into The Menagerie was a brilliant move by Gene Roddenberry back in the TOS era. Even Discovery’s Season 2 finale was fantastic — and that too was a two-part show. 

Like those other two-parters, the producers of Picard are giving us a season finale in two doses. The first, Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1, we shall break down here. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

DATE: 2399

The show picks up as the La Sirena is pushed through the Borg transwarp conduit network. Agnes was in her quarters whining, while the rest were on the bridge watching the show. The ship rattled, and lights blinked as it passed through the conduit. 

When they emerged, they saw a beautiful blue planet, which Soji identified as “Coppelius.” When Agnes emerged from her room, Picard announced that the ship traveled 25 light-years in 15 minutes (which must be something amazing). 

As they were gazing at Coppelius, the Romulan Snakehead (piloted by Narek) appeared from the conduit and attacked. Rios hit a button, and they “strapped in,” which was an effect very much like what we saw on the bridge of the Enterprise in Star Trek (2009).

When it appeared that Rios had the upper hand on Narek, the Romulan ship seemed to lose power. Picard ordered the pilot beamed aboard. But it was a trick! Narek used his cloaking device to project a false image of his own ship ahead of the La Sirena

“That’s unexpected,” said Rios.

While they still thought he was in trouble, Soji warned that it was a trick and that he ought to die. Picard disagreed. 

“There’s a difference between attacking an enemy and watching a wounded one die,” said the admiral.

The Snakehead attacked from behind, and Rios warned that Narek was powering up his disruptor cannons for… BUT then from the conduit emerged the Borg Cube. WOW.

“That’s unexpected,” said Rios.

Yeah! You can say that again, Rios. Who saw that coming? And such a gigantic form to emerge from the conduit was terrific. You’ve got to see this scene!

Just then, five “giant flowers” emerged from Coppelius and enveloped the three vessels. It cut all power from the La Sirena, and Rios said there was nothing they could do.

NOTE: If they lost all power, wouldn’t that include the immense energy required to engage the artificial gravity? It would make sense that if the ship lost power, then the crew would feel Zero-G, like the Klingons in Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country. But… they were strapped in, so …

The La Sirena fell to Coppelius, and the flower burned off as it did. While this was happening, Picard had an attack of some sort. Perhaps a stroke. 

Soon, Picard got up from a stretcher in sickbay, with Agnes hovering over him. She scanned him with an old-style tricorder since the ship still had no power. With that device, Agnes realized that Picard was suffering from an “abnormality in the parietal lobe,” which we have known about since Episode 2, Maps and Legends.

Picard got up and lectured the crew, saying that he would return Soji to her people, and they would warn them of the imminent attack by the Romulans. He also told them about his medical condition. 

“Anyone who treats me like a dying man will run the risk of pissing me off,” said Picard. He then started treating them like they were all official Starfleet employees. 

“What you said about Data — how he was open-minded, unprejudiced, free of bias…” said Soji.

Rios reported that the ship survived the attacks, but the orchid knocked out its power. Raffi said that Coppelius was a Class-M planet and that they found a small settlement. Soji said that it was called “Coppelius Station,” and they landed about 6 kilometers from this settlement. She also thought that she was born there, but did not live there too long before Bruce Maddox took her and Dahj elsewhere.

Agnes asked Soji if the Androids hated humans. Soji said that she did not think they did.

“What you said about Data — how he was open-minded, unprejudiced, free of bias…” said Soji.

Rios said that the Androids downed his ship without asking his name. So, that was a little bias. Raffi guessed that they had a day or two lead on the Romulans. Picard decided that they’d all “take a walk.”

“We might run into angry reptiloids… homicidal fungi,” said Raffi as she prepared her phaser for the journey. “Or somebody’s asshole Romulan ex.”

"Come with me if you want to live," Picard said to Soji. JUST KIDDING! Courtesy of CBS
“Come with me if you want to live,” Picard said to Soji. JUST KIDDING! Courtesy of CBS

When they climbed out of the La Sirena, they saw the Artifact smoking in the distance. They decided to go to the Cube to see if Elnor and Hugh had survived the crash.

When they arrived, they saw xBs cleaning up the mess inside. One xB called Picard “Locutus.” And I swear to you, Picard looked so weak and frail when that xB said “Locutus.” It really looked like he was bothered by that name — all the way to his bones

Just then, Elnor burst out of the shadows and hugged Picard. Then Seven of Nine asked if the group was there to help clean up. Picard looked at her in shock. She told him what it was like to be connected as a queen, and how she could see the La Sirena and the Snakehead. That was why she followed them.

Picard lamented the loss of Hugh. He then asked Seven for help with long-range scanners. Raffi was able to use the scanners to see that there were 218 Romulan Warbirds on the way to Coppelius.

When Picard left the Cube en route to Coppelius Station, he said goodbye (again) to Elnor, who insisted that he come with the admiral. Picard insisted that he stay with Seven and that he was very proud of Elnor.

“Keep saving the galaxy Picard,” said Seven. 

“That’s all on you now,” he said as he left the Artifact. 

NOTE: This small exchange caused a stir among Trek fans, with many thinking that this meant we could expect a series called Star Trek: Fenris Rangers in a year or two. I’d watch.

Brent Spiner returns to Trek to play yet another character — this time Dr. Altan Inigo Soong. Courtesy of CBS
Brent Spiner returns to Trek to play yet another character — this time Dr. Altan Inigo Soong. Courtesy of CBS

Picard and his team arrived at Coppelius Station and Androids, enjoying the sun, playing 3D chess, and doing yoga. They were all twins. 

A bronze-skinned Android named Arcana (Jade Ramsey) approached Soji and called her by name. Arcana had yellow eyes like Data. Arcana welcomed Soji “back,” and recognized Picard as “Data’s captain.”  

“I feel surprisingly moved,” said Arcana, as she approached Picard. I guess the Androids practice ‘Absolute Candor’ as well. 

She touched Picard’s face and traced his wrinkles. She said the lines implied grief and endurance. Then she welcomed the rest of the team. Then Soji told the Androids how the Romulans were on the way to destroy them all. 

Picard asked how many more orchids they had, and Arcana said they had 10 left. She said they could make more, but Rios said they had but two days.

Just then, a white-haired human male walked into the middle. His name was Dr. Altan Inigo Soong (Brent Spiner), a son of Data’s creator. Soong introduced himself to Picard, who said it was like looking at his old friend again. 

Soong turned to Soji and asked to hear the “whole story” of where she had gone and what she had done. Soji apologized for leading the Romulans to Coppelius. Soong said that was nonsense. 

Sutra, also played by Isa Briones, may be the real Destroyer who the Romulans fear so much. Courtesy of CBS
Sutra, also played by Isa Briones, may be the real Destroyer who the Romulans fear so much. Courtesy of CBS

Later, while Picard sat alone, another bronze-skinned Android approached him. She looked just like Soji and Dahj, but her skin color was different, and her eyes were yellow. She and Picard then walked together to meet Soji and the others. 

“True, you may have brought us all kinds of trouble,” said the unnamed Android to Soji. “But, you also have brought us answers.”

Rios said that the new Android was Jana, but Soong corrected him and said that she was Sutra, Jana’s sister. 

She asked Agnes if the Admonition really drove her to kill Maddox. Agnes said that she saw it second-hand. Sutra said that humans weren’t meant to experience the Admonition. It was a message intended for synthetic life only.

“Your evolution will be their extinction,” said Sutra. “Fascinating.”

Sutra then mind-melded with Agnes, so she could understand the Admonition completely. Soong said that Sutra had been studying the ancient Vulcan arts, and now had this ability. Rios tried to stop it, but Agnes insisted that they go through with the meld.

While melded together, Sutra saw that organics would eventually see synthetics as a threat. The organics would subsequently try to destroy the machine life, and then all would be destroyed. But an alliance of synthetic life was watching and waiting for the right moment to come to assist.

“Your evolution will be their extinction,” said Sutra. “Fascinating.”

Agnes wandered into Maddox’s old office, where Soong was tinkering around. Soong said that Maddox talked about her all the time. 

“What you did… shame on you, Agnes,” said Soong. “You put out a small, bright candle shedding its light into a vast darkness. You owe a great debt.”

Agnes agreed. Soong gave her a chance to make up for this terrible mistake and showed her a ‘golum’ or empty Android form without a mind. 

“Have you cracked mind transfer?” she asked. Soong said that he had not. Maddox was the expert in that area; he was good with the bodies. But he said that he had recently regained his interest in mind transfer.

NOTE: Like the Seven scenes before, this caused a massive stir among Trek fans, leading many to believe that the producers of the show were planning to recast Picard with a younger actor. To me, that seems silly. Check out my reasoning.

Meanwhile, Soji and Sutra spoke about the coming Romulan attack. Sutra said there was no other way. Soji said there had to be a plan where so many did not have to die. Just then, a group of Androids dragged Narek up. 

Later, Rios found Agnes petting a cat named Spot II. Nice! Data’s cat was named Spot. Rios said he was going to fix the ship; Agnes said that she would stay behind to work with Soong. She told him not to forget about her when the ship was repaired. 

“You’re many things, Agnes P. Jurati,” said Rios. “Forgettable is not one of them.”

Aww! Then he touched her face gently.

NOTE: She’s still a killer. If I were Rios, I’d be careful about that. Maybe she did kill Maddox because Oh told her to. Or maybe Maddox was a whiner, and she was sick of him. 

As Raffi prepared to leave, Arana gave her a strange device that would help repair the ship with “imagination.” It looked like some unknown alien tech. Hmm!

Raffi and JL share a very unexpected moment. Courtesy of CBS
Raffi and JL share a very unexpected moment. Courtesy of CBS

As Picard began to walk away, Raffi stopped him and hugged him. “Raffi?” he said.

“After everything that you’ve done for me, I need to say thank you,” said Raffi. 

NOTE: Wait! He didn’t talk to her for about 15 years. Now she wants to thank him? Thank him for what? Maybe she was upset after her son rejected her, and she’s going back to that one guy who was reliable and stable. I dunno. 

Anyhow, what followed was a hilarious and awkward exchange of “I love you’s” that made me laugh out loud. I think that the whole thing genuinely confused Picard. 

Picard went back inside the compound and tried to contact Starfleet Command on a secure hyper frequency. 

“I have a first contact situation and a priority request to establish diplomatic negotiations and to protect the inhabitants of Ghulion IV from an incoming Romulan attack,” he said. 

NOTE: Wait — I thought the planet was called Coppelius? And before that, Kestra said it was a planet named only with numbers. Oh well. 

In a room that had a shield for a wall, the Androids were holding Narek. Saga (Arcana’s twin) was watching him. 

“I’m thirsty,” said Narek. “Is this how you treat your prisoners?”

“We’ve never had a prisoner before,” said Saga. “How do Romulans treat their prisoners?”

Narek scoffed. “Let’s change the subject,” he said. He started begging for water in his backpack. Soji stopped Saga from giving him any. Soji said that she could not trust anything Narek said. 

“I love you,” Narek said to Soji, who said she knew.

“What a sad and twisted thing you are,” said Soji. “You disgust me, Narek.”

As she left, he told her how the Romulans were going to kill every ‘so-called’ living thing on the planet. Narek sat back down and looked at the hummingbird pin on Arcana’s dress. 

Picard continued to try to contact Starfleet. Soji joined him and told him that she couldn’t imagine taking a life to protect a life. 

“I guess I’m trying to understand the logic of sacrifice,” said Soji. Picard said that he didn’t like the sound of that. He said it mattered only who was holding the knife. She then spent the next few minutes, trying to justify killing to save lives. 

“Soji, what are we talking about?” Picard asked.

In his cell, Narek got a visit from Sutra, who told Saga to take a break. Arcana left. Sutra turned off the shield to the cell. She asked Narek if he’d like to “get out of here.”

A scream interrupted Picard and Soji, who immediately ran to Narek’s cell. Soong was sobbing over Saga’s lifeless body, which had a hummingbird pin shoved into her eye. Soji said that she should have killed Narek. 

“Soji, what are we talking about?” Picard asked.

Sutra spoke to the gathered Androids, telling them that as soon as the organics arrived, their people started to die. And more would follow, with the intention of killing all synthetic life. 

“That gives us just enough time,” said Sutra.

Picard questioned what she meant. Sutra said when she experienced the Admonition, she understood it not to be a warning, but a promise.   

Soong told Picard that the subspace frequencies needed to contact the “higher” synthetic life were encoded in the Admonition. Soong had already created a beacon to transmit the signal before the Romulans arrive.

“Why?” Picard asked.

“So no more of my children have to die,” said Soong. He said that this new alliance united synthetic life across galaxies. 

Sutra said that this was not just about ‘uniting.’ This power would excise the synthetic life from the “oppression of the organics.”

Picard challenged Sutra that ‘all’ organics were terrible. She said that the Romulans and Federation were no different. The ban that took effect after the attack on Mars was just the first step of “exterminating us in advance.”

Picard said that they would become mass murders. Sutra said she was not like him, and that she would rescue who she could — that was a low blow, referencing his failure to save the Romulans — “my people will survive.”

He then turned to Soji and said that she would fulfill the Zhat Vash prophecy, and become “The Destroyer” after all. 

Picard turned to all of the Androids and asked them to trust him. He said they could all leave on the La Sirena, and he would become their advocate within the Federation. 

Soong shot that down, telling them that Starfleet ignored him after the Mars attack, and would ignore him again. He then placed Picard under house arrest. 

Sutra said they could not let Picard walk around, forcing them to doubt their decisions. Soji agreed. 

“Wherever we go, Picard, they will find us,” said Soji. “This isn’t the Romulan rescue. We can’t be your means of redemption. We’re too busy trying to survive.” 

Sutra also wanted to arrest Agnes, who argued that she would help Soong, who said that she was like a mother to the Androids. Sutra said that a mother would die for her children, and asked Agnes if she would as well. Agnes said that she would. 

They dragged Picard away. 

In space, the Romulan fleet surged toward Coppelius. Commodore Oh and her Romulan comrades at the helm noted that they were 24 hours from “landfall.” 

TREK REPORT SUPPLEMENTAL:

OH, WHY STOP THERE? I know they had to, but… come on! I hate this two-parter stuff. Well, it was a great episode. And the next one has been set up for nine weeks! 

It reminds me of the Hobbit and the Battle of Five Armies (not the film), where a bunch of different forced converged on one spot for a massive battle. Next episode, we’ll see the following:

  • The Romulans
  • The Federation Fleet, led by — Captain Worf and the Enterprise-F (my prediction)
  • Picard’s rag-tag team and their one ship
  • The Androids, Soong, and their flower-powered defenses
  • And a higher race of synthetic life

Many have speculated that this higher form of synthetic life might be created by the “Old Ones,” as seen on the TOS episode What Are Little Girls Made Of?, or perhaps like the robot race who created V’Ger in The Motion Picture. There’s also the Tkon Empire from the TNG episode, The Last Outpost. Of course, we also have the evil AI of Control, Discovery, Season 2 to consider. 

There are many, many robots and Androids from Trek past that could be a part of this new alliance. Or we may see none of them. It’s exciting to consider all the possibilities. 

RATING: 4 out of 5

CREDITS
STARRING

Patrick Stewart
Allison Pill
Isa Briones
Evan Evagora
Michelle Hurd

with

Santiago Cabrera

and

Harry Treadway
SPECIAL GUEST STARS

Jeri Ryan
Brent Spiner

Casting by … Liz Dean, C.S.A.
Music and theme by … Jeff Russo
Costume Designer … Christine Bieselin Clark
Edited by … Sarah C. Reeves
Production Designer … Todd Cherniawsky
Director of Photography … Philip Lanyon
Supervising Producer … Ralph Gifford, Kirsten Beyer, April Nocifora, Jason Zimmerman
Co-Executive Producer … Ayelet Waldman, Damani Johnson, Samantha Humphrey, Doug Aarniokoski, Dylan K. Massin, Aaron Baiers
Executive Producers … Eugene Roddenberry, Trevor Roth, James Duff, Patrick Stewart, Heather Kadin, Akiva Goldsman, Michael Chabon, Alex Kurtzman

Based upon “Star Trek: The Next Generation” created by Gene Roddenberry

Created by … Akiva Goldsman & Michael Chabon, Kirsten Beyer & Alex Kurtzman
Teleplay by … Michael Chabon & Ayelet Waldman
Story … Michael Chabon & Ayelet Waldman & Akiva Goldsman
Directed by … Akiva Goldsman

Unit Production Manager … Dylan K. Massin
First Assistant Director … Maria Mantia
Second Assistant Director … Alison Troy
Associate Producer … Robyn Johnson

GUEST STARRING
Tamlyn Tomita

CO-STARRING

Romulan Officer … Brian DeRozn
Rune … Matt Perfetuo
Arcana … Jade Ramsey
Saga … Nikita Ramsey
xB/Nameless … Zachary James Rukavina

Executive Story Editor … Nick Zayas

Theme from STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE by Jerry Goldsmith
Lullaby #2 by … Jay Chattaway

Set Decorator … Lisa Alkofer
Set Decorator Coordinator … Stephanie Feinerman
Property Master … Jeffrey Lombardi
Property Master Assistants … Michael Vines, Lexi Fry
Supervising Art Director … Iain McFadyen
Art Director … Joe Comeau, IV
Assistant Art Directors … Dylan Bocanegra, Shannon Walsh
Art Department Coordinator … Marina Abramyan

First Assistant Art Directors – Set Design … Alan Farkas, Forest P. Fischer, Scott Herbertson, Noelle King, Robert Andrew Johnson, Steven M. Saylor, Ron Yates, Adam Gelbart

Script Supervisor … Heather Harris
A Camera Operator … Kenny Brown
B Camera Operator … Jess Cannon
Sound Mixer … Peter J. Devlin
Boom Operator … David Raymond
Location Manager … Scott Trimble, LMGI
Location Manager … Peter Martorano
Assistant Location Manager … Jonny Ramos
Permit Coordinator … Christine Hazlet
Security Supervisor … Jesus Valez
Key Assistant Location Managers … Jimmie Lee Acre, Nick Carr, Melissa “Zippy” Downing, Philip Fracassi, Will Jorgenson, Jun C. Lin, James Parker, Tommy Woodward

Lead Creature Designer … Neville Page
Department Head Make-Up and Prosthetics … James Mackinnon
Assistant Dept. Head Make-Up … Silvi Knight
Prosthetics by … Vincent Van Dyke
Key Prosthetic Make-Up Artists … Richard Redlefsen, Alexei Dmitiew
Make-Up Artists … Robin Beauchesne, Peter De Oliveira
Costume Supervisor … Mitchell Ray Kenney
Assistant Costume Designers … Alexandra Casey, Anthony Tran
Key Costumer … Amy Arnold
Department Head Hair … Maxine Morris
Assistant Department Head Hair … Maria Sandoval
Production Accountant … Anna Keeper
First Assistant Accountant … Jeff Steck
Key Second Assistant Accountant … Kathryn Igarashi
Second Assistant Accountant … Nicholas Lau
Payroll Accountant … Adam Boucher
Assistant Payroll Accountant … Jimmy Vasquez

Chief Lighting Technician … Ross Dunkerley
First Company Grip … Walter ‘Bud’ Scott
1st Assistant A Camera … Jamie Felz
2nd Assistant A Camera … Casey Muldoon
1st Assistant B Camera … James Barela
2nd Assistant B Camera … Luis Gomez
2nd Company Grip … Maxwell Thorpe
Assistant Chief Lighting Technician … Buzzy Burwell

Digital Imaging Technician … Marc Clancy
Computer Playback Supervisor … Martin Garner
Lead Engineer … James “Vinny” Visconti
Playback Tech … Don Thompson
Lead Playback Designer … Chris Kieffer
Playback Graphic Designer … Andrew Jarvis
Video Assist … Scott Crabbe
Fixtures Designer Supervisor … Mike Visencio
Best Boy Fixtures … Dave Theirlhart
Rigging Gaffer … Sean Higgins
Rigging Key Grip … Josh Drew
Rigging Electric … Scott Ballew
Rigging Grip … Paco Rodriguez
Digital Loader … Samar Kauss
Digital Utility … Kyle Jacobs
Utility Sound Technician … Chris Hall

Production Supervisor … Matt Sagona
Production Coordinator … Nicole Orefice
Script Coordinator … Charles Dewey
Assistant Production Coordinator … Stephanie Barnes
Office Production Assistants … Pearce Lawrence, Joanna Monfreda, Justin Nickels, Evan Throop, Ellen Gannon

Lead VFX Supervisor … Jason Zimmerman
VFX Supervisor … Ante Dekovic
VFX Producer … Aleksandra Kochoska
VFX Project Manager … Sunny Ye
VFX Lead Artist … Charles Collyer
Compositors … Greg Wadsworth, William Marker
Senior VFX Coordinator … Marina Abramyan
VFX Coordinators … Shawn Ewashko, Chelsea Wynne, Ricky Macks

Stunt Coordinators … Scott Rogers
Special Effects Coordinators … Jeff Khachadoorian, Andy Weder,
Leadperson … Jason Bedig
Construction Coordinator … Tomas Sallvin
Transportation Coordinator … J. Smith
Transportation Captain … Rick Kelleher
Transportation Co-Captain … David Lee Haggerty

Post Production Supervisor … Ruben Michael Molina
Assistant Editor … Brian Santistevan
VFX Editor … Kevin Laneave, Bernardo Rodriguez, Ericka Edgerley Robbins
VFX Assistant Editor … Cynthia Ludwig
Post Production Coordinator … Sydney Hoffner
Post Production Assistant … Nikki Elmer
Casting Associate … Kendra Shay Clark
Researcher Consultant … Anthony Maranville
Writers’ Assistants … Diandra Pendleton-Thompson, Kiley Rossetter
Dialect Coach … Trent Pehrson
Craft Service … Nathan Marcuccio
Craft Service Assistant … Rodney Fields
On Set Caterer … Mario’s Catering
Catering Supervisor … Christian Gonzalez

Assistants to Mr. Kurtzman … Monica Shapiro, T’Essence Minnitee, Aviel Mann Ballo
Assistant to Mr. Chabon … Elize LaPlante
Assistants to Mr. Goldsmith … Arianna D’Andrea, Skylar Ojeda
Assistant to H. Kanin … Tallinn Keeifer
Assistant to A. Baiers … Maggie McFarren
Assistant to Mr. Aarniokoski … Jimmy Moreno
Assistant to D. Massin … Grace Gregory
Writers PA … Eamon Hartnett

Sound Services by … Warner Bros. Post Production Creative Services
Sound Supervisor … Mathew E. Taylor
Sound Designers … Tim Farrell, Harry Cohen, M.P.S.E.
Sound Effects Editor … Michael Schapiro
Re-Recording Mixers … Todd M. Grace, C.A.S., Ed C. Carr III, C.A.S.
Mix Techs … Charles Hamilton, Mike Jimenez
Dialog & ADR Editor … Sean Heissinger
Foley Editor … Clay Weber
Foley Artists … Alyson Dee Moore, Chris Moriana
Foley Mixer … Darren Mann
Sound Assistant Editors … Deron Street, Damon Cohoon
Music Editor … Stan Jones
Score Engineer and Mixer … Michael Perfitt
Scoring Assistant and Additional Music … Tracie Turnbill
Orchestra Editor … Sam Lucas
Score Wrangler … Matea Prljevic
Music Supervisor … Liza Richardson
Dailies Services provided by … EC3
Post Services provided by … Company 3
Company 3 Producer … Giovanni DiGiorgio
Sr. Online Editor … Heydar Adel
Final Colorist … Stefan Sonnenfeld
Additional Color … J. Cody Baker
Editing Systems … Pacific Post
Main Title Design by … Prologue
Visual Effects by … Crafty Apes, Ghost VFX, DNEG, FX3X, Technicolor VFX

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