PICARD: S1 – E6: The Impossible Box

It feels as if the pace is quickening. Parts of the puzzle are falling into place in “The Impossible Box.” Picard must go back to that one place he never wants to return to. It must have been like a nightmare for him to go back inside a Cube. While this most likely was not one that was around when he was part of the Collective, it certainly is very much like where he was violated and defiled by the Borg. Heavy stuff.

We joined Soji when she was just a young girl, wandering her house late at night. She headed into her father’s laboratory, and he turned toward her. He yelled her name, and she woke.

At that moment, the grown-up version of Soji woke, with Narek in her bed. He tried to calm her down. He asked her o tell him about it. She scoffed, asking him why he wanted to know, even as he thought she was an ‘impostor.’ He said that he just thought she was “full of secrets,” that’s all. 

Young Soji (Ella McKenzie) pokes through the forbidden lab of her father, Bruce Maddox. Courtesy of CBS
Young Soji (Ella McKenzie) pokes through the forbidden lab of her father, Bruce Maddox. Courtesy of CBS

He said that everyone is hiding something. She asked him what it was that he was hiding, beyond his job description and his real name. Soji asked him for his real Romulan name, the one only his family members know. 

He changed the subject, asking her about the dream. He wondered if it was about an actual memory or a fiction. She wasn’t sure. He said that she ought to call her mom and that Soji called her every night. He then got dressed and left. 

On the La Sierna, Dr. Agnes Jurati lied her tail off to Picard on why Bruce Maddox died (who she really killed). Picard sympathized. She asked about the other synth and her location. Picard confirmed that Maddox told him that she (Soji) was on the Artifact. Elnor popped up and started asking Picard to explain. 

“Maybe that’s none of my business,” said Elnor. “I should out-butt.”

Picard insisted on explaining to Elnor about the Borg, the Cube, and the situation. Elnor asked whether they knew if Soji was still alive or not. Picard said they didn’t know, but they had to get there as soon as possible. 

Elnor told Picard that he was not looking forward to returning to a Borg Cube. Picard agreed. 

“They called you Locutus of Borg,” Agnes said. She recounted the transformation that Picard underwent while with the Borg. She posed that perhaps these Borg were different as they were under Romulan control. “Maybe they’ve changed,” she said.

Picard exploded. He yelled about what the Borg do to entire systems, one after the other.

“They don’t change,” said Picard. “They metastasize.” He then excused himself.

Elnor told Agnes that Picard couldn’t see that she, too, was “haunted by something you’d like to forget.” He noticed that she was glaring at him and asked if he was “in-butting.” She said that he was.

NOTE: I may have said this before, but Elnor is the new Spock and/or Data. He states the obvious and injects a level of honesty into conversations that, if left to the humans, there might be little. He’s just great. He’s child-like but dangerous at the same time.

Picard went back to his holo-study and took a breath. He was visibly bothered about going to a Borg Cube. This reminded me of the PTSD moments that Tony Stark had in Iron Man III. Picard and Tony both were beaten by an experience, and they had trouble facing a related experience.

He sat at his desk and pulled up information on the Artifact and the Borg. He saw an image of Hugh, now the Artifact’s executive director. He then saw an image of Locutus. He paused and felt his face where the Borg implants used to be.

NOTE: This was excellent photography and special effects! They aligned Patrick Stewart’s face precisely with an image from the TNG era when he was in full prosthetic. So very cool!

As the La Sierna cruised along, Captain Rios practiced soccer in the main “common area” of the ship as everyone else slept. Anges came out and asked him why he liked space. He offered her a drink and asked her about Maddox’s death. She grabbed him, and they kissed. 

“I’ve never slept with a captain of anything before,” said Agnes. He chuckled.

She stopped and said that she had a super-power, which was the ability to sense a mistake as she made it. He shook his head and said that wasn’t a real power. She said that she felt hollow and hopeless. They held hands and walked back to his quarters.

On the Cube, Rizzo played with a Romulan Rubiks’s Cube (which we found out is called a tan zhekran) as he walked into his cabin. She said that she never understood why he liked those toys. She never had the patience, and would rather smash it to get at the toy inside. 

Who knew this little thing could be so deadly. Courtesy of CBS
Who knew this little thing could be so deadly. Courtesy of CBS

Rizzo accused Narek of falling in love with Soji and said that she was taking control of the operation moving forward. 

Narek stopped her and said that he was making progress with Soji, and told Rizzo about the dreams. Rizzo dismissed Soji’s dreams, but Narek said that Maddox programmed her to have dreams for a specific purpose. Nothing was accidental. He speculated that Soji, while was dreaming, her brain was working out that she was not actually a human being. 

He said that he planned to get her to keep talking about the dreams (which revealed the secrets he was after) without triggering her self-defense program. He said that she knows more than she is aware, and possibly the location of the Android homeworld.

“I mean, you know Picard,” said Raffi. “Every part of that guy that’s not ego is rampaging id.”

On the La Sierna, Rios said they were getting close to Romulan space, but noted that he was fine with it because he knew that Picard had a plan. Picard said that they could not sneak aboard, because they’d get found out real quick, and that the Borg on the Cube would recognize him as “Locutus.” He said they’d have to do everything the Qowat Milat way, which was being “perfectly open.” Elnor agreed.

Picard said that he wanted to get a diplomatic pass to see the Borg Reclamation Project. He would be able to get in safely. Remember, he knows the boss of that project — Hugh.

Raffi, against her will, called a friend in Starfleet and asked for a favor. The friend, a captain, named Emmy, refused to help at first. But Raffi revealed that the La Sirena was only 3 hours from the Cube and that Picard would go either way. Emmy freaked out and told Raffi to turn around, but Raffi said this:

“I mean, you know Picard,” said Raffi. “Every part of that guy that’s not ego is rampaging id.”

Hoping to avoid a serious situation with the Romulans and the Federation, Emmy issued them a 24-hour pass but told Raffi never to call her again. Poor Raffi.

Picard stood and clapped, but Raffi collapsed. Rios helped her up.

On the Cube, Soji told Narek that she had “the dream” again the previous night. She said that she meant to ask her (fake) mom about it, but she fell asleep while she was on the call. Narek told her that he had intel that Soji made a call to home lasted 70 seconds exactly. 

Poor Raffi. She is a troubled soul. This show is as much about Picard fixing his mistakes as it is for her. Courtesy of CBS
Poor Raffi. She is a troubled soul. This show is as much about Picard fixing his mistakes as it is for her. Courtesy of CBS

Rios helped Raffi to her bed. She told him about her son, his wife, and child. She rolled over and said that “nobody will ever know.” He covered her up and whispered: “no one gets it all right.” He took her bottle and left the cabin.

Maybe Rios should get her some synthahol. 

Soji called her mom and noted that as she spoke, she fell into a deep sleep. She attempted to fight it, but could not. 

Rios haled the Cube and transmitted the credentials. He got coordinates from the Romulans, to beam in alone. Elnor objected, saying that their bond was greater than any treaty, but Picard ordered him to stay on the ship. Picard made sure he had that double-ring necklace in his pocket that he got from Dahj.

When Soji woke at her desk, she realized that Narek was right (about the 70-second thing). She went through her stuff and found a scanner similar to the one that Laris used at the Dahj crime scene (in Picard: Episode 2). She pointed the scanner at various objects, and it said, “probable age, 37 months.”

She even scanned her personal things, including photos and her paper diary. She tore up a photo of her with Dahj and then scanned her necklace, which was also 37 months old.

Picard stood in a Borg chamber, alone. The walls moved, and we get an updated look at the inside of the Borg Cube. Things aren’t black, green, and full of cables like they were in the 1990s on TNG. Everything now is dark gray and lit by LED-pure white light. 

“This is not a Borg Cube anymore,” said Hugh. “It’s the Artifact, and you are Jean-Luc Picard — not Locutus. All that is long behind you.”

As he walked, he started having visions from his time 20 years back when the Borg had him. It looked as if he was beginning to have a psychiatric episode when two xBs took him by his arms. But Hugh called out to him, explaining that they didn’t want him to fall. He was close to falling off a platform, and the xBs stopped him.

Hugh welcomed Picard, and they embraced. 

NOTE: This fantastic scene (the embrace) was unscripted. It was Jonathan Del Arco and Patrick Stewart showing genuine affection for one another. Awww! Nice!

Hugh walked Picard around the Cube and showed the admiral the work he had undertaken. Hugh said that as a citizen of the Federation, he could leave anytime, but the xBs were stuck. As other Borg walked past, Picard shuttered and looked down. Hugh turned to him.

“This is not a Borg Cube anymore,” said Hugh. “It’s the Artifact, and you are Jean-Luc Picard — not Locutus. All that is long behind you.”

Picard thanked him for the pep talk and told him how he was looking for Soji. Hugh knew exactly who she was. He said that if Picard was looking for her, then she must be in danger. They went to find her.

“They’re victims,” said Picard. “Not monsters.”

But she was with Narek, and she told him what she learned with the scanner. Soji could not explain it. He asked her if someone who hoped she would find something on the Cube could have planted the memory. She said she didn’t know, but she was scared. He said that she could do a unique Romulan form of meditation, known as the Zhal Makh, and learn the truth of what her dreams meant.

Hugh took Picard to one of the Borg recovery labs where Soji worked. She was not there, but Picard was fascinated with what he saw. He said that Hugh was doing great things for the Borg and showing what they were “underneath.” 

“Only now our queen is Romulan,” Hugh whispered.

“They’re victims,” said Picard. “Not monsters.”

Hugh said that the Borg were still hated across the galaxy. 

“Only now our queen is Romulan,” Hugh whispered.

NOTE: Uh, WHAT? What did he mean by that? Did he mean the reclaimed Borg, who was a queen, in a recovered Romulan? This is a colossal tidbit just to drop and keep moving away from. Perhaps this will set up a Borg/Romulan alliance of some sort. Maybe in Season 2.

Hugh asked Picard to advocate for free Borg within the Federation. They kept moving to find Soji.

Meanwhile, on the La Sierna, Rios woke Raffi and gave her some coffee. He said that she owed him two strips of Latinum since Soji was still alive. HA! Raffi said she thought that was a safe bet.

Then she wondered why Soji was still alive after the Tal Shiar killed Dahj and tried to kill Maddox. 

“They must need her for something,” said Raffi.

We've all known women who have fallen for the wrong man. Courtesy of CBS
We’ve all known women who have fallen for the wrong man. Courtesy of CBS

As they walked, Narek played with his tan zhekran. He and Soji got to a Romulan meditation chamber, which was wood-lined and lit with soft light.

Narek said that in this chamber, he was safe to show her his true feelings. She embraced him. He told her that his actual name was “Hrai Yan.” The meditation involved her following a path painted on the floor. He said this journey to the center of the room would reveal her real thoughts.

As she walked, she relived the moments of the dream. He asked her prying questions, probing for details. Eventually, she got to the part of the dream when she entered her dad’s lab. She can see Maddox’s back and shoulders but not past the orchids which fill the room. Maddox turned and yelled at Soji to leave the room, and she broke out of the trance. Narek had her start up again and reminded her that she was in control.

Rizzo was watching all of this take place from a different room on the Cube. 

The wicked Rizzo watched Narek manipulate Soji. Courtesy of CBS
The wicked Rizzo watched Narek manipulate Soji. Courtesy of CBS

Hugh and Picard entered Soji’s room and found the big mess that she made. Hugh looked on the computer to find her, but they could not. 

NOTE: As they entered the room, a voice on the PA system warned of chronometric problems in part of the Cube, and for personnel to avoid those regions. NICE! A little throwback to Star Trek: First Contact, when the Borg used time travel to prevent humans from achieving warp drive technology.

Picard said that Soji was close to figuring out who she was. 

Back in the meditation room, she went back through the dream. Narek told her to ignore her father’s yell. She looked at Maddox, but his face was blurred out. This upset her. She looked behind the flowers and saw a wooden version of herself. She was like a Pinocchio doll (which is what Riker called Data in Measure Of A Man) laying in parts on a table.

Narek then ordered her to look up through the skylight, and to tell him what she saw. She said it was two blood, red moons full of lightning storms. 

Rizzo was pleased and began a search for a planet with two red moons and electrical storms. That planet would be home to the Androids.

Soji asked him what it all meant. He said she found home and that she was not “real.” She didn’t understand. He told her good-bye, opened the tan zhekran, and sealed the room shut.

Soji drags herself away from the radiation 'bomb' Narek set off. Courtesy of CBS
Soji drags herself away from the radiation ‘bomb’ Narek set off. Courtesy of CBS

The device opened and started to emit radiation — just like Shinzon had in Star Trek: Nemesis! Fantastic callback! Anyhow, her self-preservation programming activated, and she began to smash through the wood floor. She escaped.

Narek watched from outside the room and ran off. At that moment, the Cube sensors picked up her signal again, and Hugh found her. Picard said that they must find her at once.

As he ran, Narek used the small communicator on his ear (I was right) to warn the Romulan security about Soji. He said she was “extremely dangerous.” 

Hugh navigated Picard through the halls of the Cube, using a glowing grid with Soji’s location. An xB called “Locutus?” to Picard as they went. He looked back. They found her as she dropped in from the ceiling. Alarms blared, but Picard showed her the necklace and pleaded with her to trust him. She did eventually.

Raffi told the others that Picard was in trouble. Elnor looked very upset.

Hugh led them down a corridor into a secret entrance to the “Queen’s Cell.” Both Picard and Hugh could remember it, even though neither had been there before. Hugh grabbed a control and started to activate a “spacial trajector,” which could beam someone up to 40,000 light-years away. Hugh said technology was from the Sikarians (a subtle Voyager reference), who they assimilated, and was to be used only by the queen in emergencies.

“Yes,” said Elnor. “I didn’t listen.”

Picard contacted Raffi and told her that they found a way off the Cube. He told Rios to take the ship to Nepenthe. Rios agreed but was puzzled as to how Picard was going to get there. He then looked around and said, “where’s the kid?”

Elnor was missing!

Three Romulans burst into the queen’s cell and ordered Picard and company to put their hands in the air. But Elnor jumped on them and easily sliced them to bits. Green Romulan blood was everywhere!

Picard yelled at him, saying that he was supposed to stay on the La Sierna

“Yes,” said Elnor. “I didn’t listen.”

Picard then thanked him. Soji sensed that more Romulan guards were headed their way. Hugh said that Picard needed to go and that he would remain behind to ensure that guards could not trace their path. 

Elnor refused to go through the spacial trajector. Picard released Elnor from the pledge. Elnor declined to be released and stood ready to fight. Hugh said the device was now ready.

“Elnor, I will not leave you behind again,” Picard said. Elnor was happy to hear that, but would not budge.

This was so much fun! Elnor taking on a bunch of Romulans. The only bad part about this was that it ended so soon! Courtesy of CBS
This was so much fun! Elnor taking on a bunch of Romulans. The only bad part about this was that it ended so soon! Courtesy of CBS

Picard and Soji stepped through the special trajector and disappeared. Hugh said that he’d need a few minutes to shut everything off and asked if Elnor could give him that much time. 

“I won’t need a few minutes,” said Elnor. “Stay behind me.”

As the Romulan guards drew close, Hugh shut the door to the cell (so the audience couldn’t see). Elnor said, “Please, my friends, choose to live.”


DAMN, why did the episode have to end that way? I wanted to see more of Elnor in action! Just like how I always wanted to see Worf use his skills to defeat … everyone. That being said, this was an excellent installment of Picard, where the audience finally starts to understand the tunnel showrunner Michael Chabon is taking us. 

This show made the Borg, the most evil race on Trek, victims. We saw it from their point of view. We felt sorry for them. But the Romulans are still bad. Very bad.

My question was, why did Picard choose to go to Nepenthe? What is that place? Is it a city or a planet? Is that where Riker and Troi live now? I guess we’ll find out in episode seven — “Nepenthe.”

And then there was the thing about the Borg Queen being a Romulan. That might be important too. 

RATING: 4 out of 5


Patrick Stewart
Allison Pill
Isa Briones
Evan Evagora
Michelle Hurd


Santiago Cabrera


Harry Treadway

Casting by … Liz Dean, C.S.A.
Music and theme by … Jeff Russo
Costume Designer … Christine Clark
Edited by … Steve Haugen
Production Designer … Todd Cherniawsky
Director of Photography … Phillip 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
Written by … Nick Zayas
Directed by … Maja Vrvilo

Unit Production Manager … Francesco Tignini, Dylan Massin
First Assistant Director … Maria Mantia
Second Assistant Director … Alison Troy
Associate Producer … Robyn Johnson

Jonathan Del Arco
Peyton List
Barbara Eve Harris
Sumalee Montano


xB Worker … Marti Matulis
Young Soji … Ella McKenzie
Older xB … Rico McClinton
Romulan Guard … Charlie Newhart

Executive Story Editor … Nick Zayas

Theme from STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE by Jerry Goldsmith

Set Decorator … Lisa Alkofer
Set Decorator Coordinator … Stephanie Feinerman
Property Master … Jeffrey Lombardi
Property Master Assistants … Michael Vines, Max Boezman
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
Supervising Location Manager … Scott Trimble, LMGI
Location Manager … Peter Martorano
Assistant Location Manager … Jonny Ramos
Permit Coordinator … Mike Taris
Security Supervisor … Jesus Valez
Key Assistant Location Managers … Jimmie Lee Acre, Nick Carr, Melissa “Zippy” Downing, Phillip 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 … Marc 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 … Carrie Gutenberg
Assistant Production Coordinators … Brooke Appelbaum, Stephanie Barnes
Office Production Assistants … Pearce Lawrence, Joanna Monfreda, Justin Nickels, Evan Throop

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 … John Mullin
VFX Editor … Kevin Laneave, Bernardo Rodriguez, Ericka Edgerley Robbins
VFX Assistant Editor … Fransico Ramierez
Post Production Coordinator … Sydney Hoffner
Post Production Assistant … Nikki Elmer
Casting Associate … Jennifer Brooks
Researcher Consultant … Anthony Maranville
Writers’ Assistants … Diandra Pendleton-Thompson, Kiley Rossetter
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, Ava Ballo
Assistant to Mr. Chabon … Elize LaPlante
Assistants to Mr. Goldsmith … Leah Gebler, 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, 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, Technicolor VFX, DNEG, Filmworks/FX. Inc.

Secret Hideout Productions • Weed Road Pictures • Escapist Fare • Roddenberry Entertainment

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