"Star Trek: Picard" Season 1 "Et in Arcadia Ego: Part 1": Traditional Build, Predictable Result [REVIEW]

One of the biggest complaints in current Star Trek fandom is how derivative the era is from the traditional eras of The Original Series and The Next Generation. That being said, Star Trek: Picard's penultimate episode "Et in Arcadia Ego: Part 1" is as traditional as it gets for a two-part Trek season finale. The crew of the La Sirena goes to Soji's (Isa Briones) homeworld of Coppelius.

Star Trek: Picard
Aaron Epstein/CBS ©2019 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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After a scuffle above the planet's space, a familiar vessel, and the pursuing Romulan bird of prey crash land on the planet's surface. There they encounter the planet occupied by synths including another that looks like Soji in Sutra (Briones). Unlike her twin, Sutra has gold skin and the familiar yellow android eyes Data (Brent Spiner) had. The lone human occupant of the planet is Dr. Altan Inigo Soong (Spiner). Spiner played two other Soongs in TNG (Noonien) and Enterprise (Arik).

Star Trek: Picard
"Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1" — Episode #109 — Pictured (l-r): Isa Briones as Soji; Sir Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard; of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: PICARD. Photo Cr: Aaron Epstein/CBS ©2019 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Familiar Themes

Anyone who follows the previous Star Trek series or just science fiction, in general, could predict the outcome by the time the episode is half over, if not sooner. It also recycles the dilemma of accepting a predetermined fate or changing one's destiny.

Directed by Akiva Goldsman and co-written by Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, the episode introduces the familiar tension many traditional Trek fans are used to even if it's not under the Federation banner. While the crew doesn't necessarily share one common goal, the characters find themselves conflicted about how the planet's residents handle their information.

While the series' deviates from the traditional Star Trek franchise in terms of storytelling structure, the episode lays out Jean-Luc's (Patrick Stewart) ability to not only "engage" but also reignite the spirit of the franchise – something that is still very much alive in him, even after all these years.

Powerful performances by Briones, Harry Treadaway, and Stewart drive much of the episode. Spiner gives a memorable performance as Altan – making him into an almost sympathetic, Dr. Frankenstein-like figure.

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About 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 Fangora. As a professional 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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