Picard and his crew finally find Soji’s home world Coppelius, but they bring a lot of seismic shifts with them.
Star Trek: Picard Season One Episode Nine “Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1” is the penultimate episode of the season. We finally get to see Coppelius and meet the society of Synths that the Romulans have been trying to hunt down. Jean Luc Picard reveals his brain abnormalities to his crew. Thankfully Elnor and Seven of Nine survive a crash into Coppelius, and based on the promo for the second part of the finale; we will see more of them. I found several interesting Easter Eggs in this episode of Star Trek: Picard.
My favorite Easter Egg is Altan Inigo Soong (the son of Noonian Soong, who created Data in his image) played by Brent Spiner (Data himself). In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Brent Spiner often played characters “related” to Data like Noonian Soong and his evil brother Lore. Altan Inigo Soong lives in Coppelius with his creations. Maddox and Soong were partners before he left the colony. The late AI expert created the Synth’s minds while Soong formed their bodies. The other Easter Eggs come in the form of the Synths themselves. Some of them look a lot like Data. For example, Janna’s twin sister, Sutra, has robotic looking eyes like Data. Even though Sutra and Soji look similar, Sutra has golden skin and the robotic-like eyes. All the synths range from looking synthetic like Data to looking human like Soji.
Sutra says, “Fascinating” after seeing the Romulan apocalyptic vision through Angus’s mind. That is a phrase that Data said a lot in Star Trek: The Next Generation when he learned or saw something remarkable. I liked how all the Synths except for Sutra and Soji look unique, with the exception of their twins. As we learned in earlier episodes, all the Synths are created in pairs, so there are always at least two that look the same.
After Picard faints, Dr. Agnes Jurati scans him with an “old school” medical tricorder. All Doctors use medical tricorders in the Star Trek Universe. Raffi notes that Coppelius is a Class M Planet, which is the same planet classification of Talos IV in “The Cage” (The original Star Trek: TOS Pilot). When the crew leaves the La Siena, Raffi jokes with Soji that they need to bring weapons to protect themselves from “homicidal fungus.” The “homicidal fungus” is a reference to TOS classic episode “The Conscience of the King” where poisonous fungus attacks a Federation’s colonies food supply causing the governor to kill half of the population.
I spotted two twin androids practicing Mok’ bara, the Kinglon Martial Arts that Worf utilized in TNG’s “Second Chances.” The last Easter Egg I spotted is the Synth orange striped cat named Spot 2. In TNG, Data had an orange striped cat named Spot, who he adored.
I have a couple of issues with this episode, even though I think it’s a fantastic part one finale. The primary problem I have is how Sutra can Vulcan mind meld with Angus. Mind melds are something that only Vulcans can do because of their biology. It’s not something you can learn. How could Sutra learn to mind meld just by reading some books and practicing the meld? It seems to me that there would be many more non-Vulcans learning mind melds if it was possible to actually learn it.
I am unsure of how to feel about Dr. Angus Jurati. She keeps on switching sides to the point where I cannot see if she is a hero or villain. First, Angus tells Picard about Dr. Bruce Maddox’s work with Synths. Then she forces herself into an invitation to join Picard’s crew to aid the Zhat Vash mission to find Soji’s home world. She murders her ex-lover, Dr. Maddox. She kills the tracker in her body by almost poisoning herself, promising never to hurt Soji, the rest of the La Sirena crew, or any Synths. But now she turns her back on Picard promising to help Sutra, Soong, and the rest of the Synths kill all the other organic beings in the universe.
The Synths create Orchid missiles. They are flowers that launch from Coppelius. The Orchids swallow up the starships, then bring them crashing down onto the Class M Planet. The Synths are trying to make themselves more and more organic or human, so it makes sense for their weapons to be made from nature.
“Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1” builds up tension for the finale episode. Using a particular fast portal, Soji flies the La Sirena to Coppelius. Narek somehow tracks them to the Synth home world. The two starships fight, but then the Borg cube flies in surprising Picard and his crew. Before his team can figure out what’s going on, Orchid missiles absorb all three starships.
La Sirena loses power, and Picard faints as the starship falls towards the planet. Dr. Agnes Jurati takes him to sickbay. There is no power, and she is forced to use a medical tricorder to figure out what is wrong with him. Jurati spots Picard’s brain abnormality, forcing him to tell the rest of the crew. The retired Admiral asks them all to treat him normally even though they know he is dying.
The La Sirena survives the crash. Picard sees the Borg cube ruins from a distance, but the starship is way worse off than the La Sirena. Picard, Soji, Agnes, Raffi, and Rios march down to the Borg cube to see if their friends are okay. The crew plans to find the Synth colony to warn them that the Romulans are coming to destroy them.
When the crew enters the cube, Elnor happily embraces Picard. All the ex-Borg drones, Elnor and Seven of Nine, are fine. Picard is sad about Hugh’s death. The crew helps turn the Borg cube back on, and they head out, but not before Agnes tells Elnor that Picard is dying. The retired Admiral makes Elnor promise to protect the Ex-Borg drones who are more vulnerable than himself. Seven of Nine and the young Romulan say goodbye to their friend for what could be the last time.
After walking for a bit, Soji is reunited with her tribe. At first, the Synths and Picard’s crew bond. Agnes agrees to stay for the night to help Dr. Soong build a Synth. They are even able to capture Narek, who they spot in the desert. Then Sutra mind-melds with Agnes to find out about why the Romulans hate Synths so much. Instead of seeing the vision as a warning, Sutra considers it to be a promise that high-level Synths will help protect them from organics who want to hurt them. These higher-level Synths will destroy all organic life since they will always kill mechanical beings because they are too perfect. At first, Soji objects to Sutra’s and Soong’s desire to kill billions of beings, but they trick her into agreeing with their plan. They release Narek and kill one of their own. This makes Soji believe that organic people need to be wiped out to protect Synth’s lives.
In an elegant persuasive speech, Picard promises to convince the Federation to protect the Synths from the Romulans after they escape. Instead of taking his counsel, Sutra puts him on house arrest. Soji has been called the destroyer of worlds, but I think that Sutra is the true destroyer since she wants to wipe out the whole galaxy.
My favorite part of the episode is when Arcana, who appears to be a leader of the Synths, approaches Picard after recognizing him as Data’s Captain. Arcana feels an emotional connection to him. She touches Picard’s wrinkles noting how they are just lines, but they imply grief and endurance. Arcana thinks the wrinkles are “marvelous.”
I cannot wait to see how Picard both saves the Synths from the Romulans and the whole world from Sutra.