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Star Trek: Picard S03E09 Review: Perfect Set-Up for Epic Last Stand

Star Trek: Picard S03E09 "Vox" sets us up for one epic finale while tugging at every single heartstring possible in the process.

There's a ton to unpack in the Star Trek: Picard penultimate episode "Vox." When we last left our heroes, Counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) is offering to get to the bottom of Jack Crusher's (Ed Speleers) instability and opening the red door in his mind as an ominous female voice beckons him. As revealed in the preview, what was behind the door was enough to send Troi out of the room scared. The following contains minor spoilers.

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Photo Credit: Trae Patton/Paramount+. ©2021 Viacom, International Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Star Trek: Picard Setting Up the Final Endgame

Troi reveals to Jack's parents, Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden), that the vision she finally saw inside him is tied to one of their biggest adversaries which also explains the Changelings' interest in Jean-Luc's original body. Any Star Trek fan with even a surface-level knowledge of The Next Generation likely deduces who that villain is. Meanwhile, Jack, while using his powers, seeks the source of that voice. Showrunner Terry Matalas certainly didn't have to dig deep for his big bad – but boy, did he execute that plan perfectly. As a side rant, this villain has largely been rendered inconsequential and abused over the years as the franchise continuously milked them – but here, Matalas and the team made up for previous milquetoast transgressions.

Star Trek: Picard S03E09 Review: Perfect Set-Up for Epic Last Stand
Photo Credit: Trae Patton/Paramount+. ©2021 Viacom, International Inc. All Rights Reserved.

As alone as the TNG crew find themselves, they must do what they can to travel to earth for Frontier Day as the Federation fleet assembled. Matalas really spared no expense as far as Easter Eggs go (especially the chosen guest speaker), and before you ask, there's really nothing to overthink as to who that is, and it's not a cameo for cameo's sake. Anyway, the final setup and execution are ingenious – and while the choice of the main villain may not have been a surprise, it was how it was handled and the implications of their actions that elevated them back to "deadly threat" status. In fact, it does raise a previous continuity question as far as the previous season of Picard. Guess we can just accept it's a separate faction at this point unless Matalas indulges us to the why Jean-Luc ally [SPOILER] isn't directly getting involved. Perhaps that will be saved for the finale, "The Last Generation."

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Photo Credit: Trae Patton/Paramount+. ©2021 Viacom, International Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Matalas, who directed the episode, along with writers Sean Tretta & Kiley Rossetter, couldn't set up a better finish for both "Picard" and "The Next Generation." It was by far better than anything the TNG films ever put out (not that it was a high bar to begin with). It rivals the TNG season three cliffhanger "The Best of Both Worlds," where Locutus (Stewart) threatened the Enterprise-D before Riker (Jonathan Frakes), having assumed command, orders Worf (Michael Dorn) to fire. In a season with a ton of familiar faces, it says a lot about the magic Matalas and the team have crafted in that they found a way to make everyone matter and not just a "guest star." Matalas is right in trusting the process and that everyone has had their chance to feast as far as quality and meaningful scenes and contributions.

Speaking of which, the last 10-15 minutes of the episode went the soul-crushing route and might leave you bawling by the end. It's hard to tell if the actors are staying in character or letting their genuine emotions play out. I don't blame you, Brent Spiner, if you broke character. I wear my bias like a badge of honor… but damn you, Matalas! We still have one more episode to go, and you might have created the biggest tearful moment of joy in franchise history to follow up on one of the most shocking ones of the season. I might be living in the moment, but it rivals Wrath of Khan's signature moment of Spock's (Leonard Nimoy) noble sacrifice and Kirk's (William Shatner) emotional eulogy. The series finale of Picard, "The Last Generation," streams on April 20th on Paramount+.

Star Trek: Picard Season 3 Episode 9 "Vox"

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Review by Tom Chang

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, showrunner Terry Matalas delivers another instant classic in Star Trek: Picard S03E09 "Vox" - from twists & turns, Easter Eggs, and nuanced storytelling - with The Next Generation cast reminding us of why we've grown to love & respect them over the years. The quality and depth of their performances come alive vibrantly on the screen. I'm not exaggerating to say how much this episode is worth repeat viewings beyond the Easter Eggs - especially that kick-to-the-feels that was the final 10-15 minutes of the episode.

Terry Matalas

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Tom ChangAbout Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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