As the title of this penultimate episode reminds us, death is inevitable. But this week, Soji struggles with her role in the death of billions.
Well that seemed too easy. And it was. Picard and his crew make it to Soji’s homeworld, but Narek does manage to track them, despite Rios’ best efforts to shake the Romulan spy. Oh, and then the artifact shows up, fully functional, and it was pretty cool to see a Borg cube in all its glory, dwarfing the La Sirena as it orbits Coppelius. But the planet has its own defense system, flower-like appendages that grab all three ships and bring them down to the planet’s surface, not easily, or without damage, so the firefight is ended almost as quickly as it began. Before setting off to find her home, Soji agrees to search the Borg cube for survivors; Hugh is her friend too.
2. Blink, and you’ll miss it
We take a quick, and I mean quick, trip to the Borg cube. What seems to be the most noteworthy event of the stop is when one XB recognizes Picard as Locutus; this has to be important for later on in the series, which would mean the season finale. His crew just found out Picard has a degenerative brain disease, will Borg technology save him? Or will Picard reassert his status as Locutus and fight the inevitable invasion coming for all mankind? I’m excited to find out. Elnor and Picard do meet again, and poor Elnor is underutilized this season, and here he’s afraid he will never see Picard again. Seven is too wise to verbalize the same emotions, or perhaps that’s just not her personality, and she simply reassures the former admiral she’ll be there to help if the need should arise. At the time we all assume that need will be against the Romulans, but are they the real enemy now? Or will Picard and crew have to join forces with their former enemy against something more more sinister?
Soji arrives home and we meet a host of synthetics along with Altan Inigo Soong, the son of Noonian Soong, Data’s creator. Seemingly, most importantly, there is an earlier version of Soji, Sutra, who possesses a fascination with Vulcan culture and wishes to meld with Agnes in order to view the admonition, a vision she believes is not meant for Romulans or humans, but for synthetics. When she views what Agnes has seen, she sees a calling from an alliance of synthetic life from across the galaxy, a call to destruction for humans who can not tolerate the perfection they have created, a call to kill those humans. As the alliance states in the admonition, “your evolution will be their extinction.”
Soji has spent most of her short life living with non-synthetics. While some of them, like Narek, have spent their time betraying her deeply, there are those like Picard and Hugh, who have done nothing but support and help her on her journey to find herself. Perhaps this is why she’s thrown into a moral quandary when Sutra insists on calling to the alliance for help to destroy the Romulan fleet headed their way, and in theory, to destroy the Federation and all that oppose the evolution of synthetic life. So Soji speaks to the man she feels she can trust; the man whose morality seems clearest to her: Picard. She does this by addressing her inability to understand what Agnes did to Maddox, how she killed him out of fear. But how now she understands killing out of fear, and perhaps even understands that killing may be the only way to survive. This is what Narek did to her and this is what the Romulans are doing to her family. Is it the only way to fight back? Is it logical as she asks Picard? Kill or be killed? Is there no other way in the entire universe?
It’s all the same. Humans. Romulans. Synthetics. Soji was right; they’re all afraid and they’re all willing to kill in an attempt to alleviate that fear. Fear is the great destroyer. Sutra is dead set on leading her people into war. She wants to call on the alliance of synthetic life and have them destroy her enemies: human, Romulan, everyone. Picard attempts to negotiate, but there’s no negotiating with Sutra, she knows how he was unable to assist the Romulans and how Starfleet didn’t listen to the old man. Even Soji tells Picard the synths can’t be his means of redemption. Ouch. So Picard is placed under house arrest. Agnes talks her way out of it, portraying herself as a mother to synthetic life forms, but is that what’s really going on here? Or is she positioning herself in a better place to help Picard?
Will Soji become the destroyer as the Romulans prophesised? Only time will tell.