Jean Luc Picard reunites with his old crewmates William Riker and Deanna Troi.
The episode “Nepenthe” is named after the planet where William Riker, Deanna Troi, and their young daughter Kestra live. Picard and Soji go to the Riker – Troi’s family home – for refuge after nearly dying on the Borg cube. Deanna Troi is my favorite Star Trek character, so I was thrilled to see her featured throughout a whole episode. Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 7″ Nepenthe” is one of the best episodes so far. The characters Deanna Troi and William Riker are the top Easter Eggs I found in this episode, but I spotted a couple more.
The additional Easter Eggs include all the questions that Kestra asks Soji after she finds out that she is Data’s daughter. Kestra asks if Soji can bend metal, run fast, and if she loves Sherlock. These are characteristics of the android character Data had in Star Trek: Next Generation. Kestra is trying to figure out if Soji is like her father. Soji also cocks her head like Data used to do in TNG episodes. Kestra tells Soji that her parents and Data all served under Captain Jean Luc Picard on the Enterprise D.
Riker called Deanna his “imzadi”, which is the Betazoid word for beloved. In fact, they both call each other imzadi throughout Next Generation. Deanna Troi acts as a counselor to both Picard and Soji which is also an Easter Egg. Troi uses her Betazoid empathic abilities to see that Picard is in severe trouble and because she cannot read Soji’s emotions, the ship counselor detects that she is an Android.
William Riker references the Enterprise D when he suggests that three ex shipmates act like their dinner table is the ready room. The ready room was where Picard would gather his officers to figure out how to solve whatever problem they faced. In a flashback, Commodore Oh Vulcan mind-melds with Angus to show her what nightmare future is in store for the Federation if synths continue to exist. Vulcan mind-melds dwell in all of the Star Trek television shows and films.
The final Easter Egg in this episode is the Star Trek: Next Generation theme music plays when Riker, Troi, and their daughter return home at the end of the episode.
My one problem with ” Nepenthe” is that Jean Luc Picard says that William Riker is a Commander. Riker identified as a Captain last time we saw him on screen. I had no other issues with the seventh episode, perhaps because most of the heavily featured characters were already developed in Star Trek: Next Generation.
In this episode, we learn a lot about what Deanna Troi and William Riker have been up to since Star Trek: Nemesis. They had a baby boy named Thad who was raised mostly on Starships. Thad is brilliant, and so obsessed with having a homeworld that he created made-up languages and alien cultures. Viveen is one of those languages. Kestra still speaks Viveen even though her big brother is gone. It is a language spoken by “the Wild Girls of the Woods.”
Thad became ill with Mandaxic Neurosclerosis (MN), a silicon-based virus. MN is usually curable by mixing the cells with active positronic matrices, but when their son is diagnosed, there were no more matrices since anything synth was outlawed. Troi and Riker take their family to Nepenthe because the planet has regenerative attributes. Nepenthe turned into Thad’s homeworld, but he died from his disease.
Both Deanna Troi and William Riker are on active reserve duty for Starfleet, so they still have a lot of high tech security throughout their wooden cabin. William Riker puts up the shields when he figures out that Picard came to their home to hide from the Romulans.
This seventh episode of Star Trek: Picard has some heartbreaking moments. Narissa (Narek’s sister) kills a couple of Ex-Borg drones in front of Hugh to mentally torture him, so he will reveal where Soji and Picard went after escaping the Borg Cube. Hugh refuses to tell the Romulan assassin anything, so she eventually murders him too. Elnor tries to protect Hugh and the rest of the Ex-Borgs, but Narissa defeats him in hand to hand combat.
Sadly, at the end of the episode, Elnor is forced to hide from all the other Romulans in the Borg cube. He presses on a distress call beacon. Hopefully, somebody will save Elnor, maybe Seven of Nine?
The friendship between Soji and Kestra that develops in ” Nepenthe” is lovely. The young girl educates the android about her past, then helps Soji realize that she can lean on Picard for support. Soji spends most of the episode unsure if she can trust all the kind people she finds herself with on Nepenthe. The fresh vegetables and the heart-warming therapist Betazoid all seem too good to be real, but Kestra’s friendship and Picard stepping up helps her trust again.
Deanna Troi coaches Picard to take Soji’s trust issues seriously since Narek messed with her brain. During dinner, Picard lets Data’s daughter track his heart rate and breathing to show he is telling the truth. Jean Luc Picard promises Soji that he will do anything to help her for two reasons. First, she and Dahj are the daughters of his dear friend Commander Data. Second, before Dahj came to Picard, he was withering away at the Chateau. Now Picard has a mission, so he feels alive again. The retired Admiral will do anything to save Soji.
Soji finally tells Picard, Troi, and Riker about how Narek extracted information about her homeworld through the Romulan meditation technique. Kestra figures out the location of Soji’s homeworld. Picard and Soji return to their ship.
Angus agreed to eat a tracker when she met with Commodore Oh in earlier episodes, but she starts to feel guilty when Narek tracks the La Sirena as they head to Nepenthe. Angus poisons herself so he can’t follow them, but the EMH appears just in time to save her. I know that the scientist is a traitor, but I like Dr. Angus Jurati, so I hope she survives.
I am so thrilled to see Jean Luc Picard spend some time with his old friends. The friendship between Picard, Troi, and Riker is so sweet and genuine. They are all trying to protect one another. I hope we see Deanna Troi and William Riker one more time, but I understand if we do not. The next promo shows Seven of Nine, so at least we get to see more of her.
In the last three episodes, we will see if Picard and his crew get to the synth homeworld before the Romulans.