Published Feb 17, 2023
RECAP | Star Trek: Picard 301 – The Next Generation
Trust no one.
By Christine Dinh
In the Season 3 premiere episode of Star Trek: Picard, “The Next Generation,” after receiving a cryptic, urgent distress call from Dr. Beverly Crusher, Admiral Jean-Luc Picard enlists help from generations old and new to embark on one final adventure — a daring mission that will change Starfleet, and his old crew forever.
- S.S. Eleos XII — medical ship
- Château Picard
- 10 Forward Bar, Los Angeles, Earth
- M’Talas Prime (planet)
- U.S.S. Titan-A
- La Sirena
- The Ryton system
In the 25th Century, aboard the small non-Federation medical ship Eleos XII, an old batch of Jean-Luc Picard’s Captain’s logs* play in the background. Dr. Beverly Crusher is violently awoken as her ship shakes triggering alarms — there’s a security breach and they’ve sustained hull damage. Beverly anticipates the unauthorized boarding as she seals her crew mate away from the fray. She eliminates two threatening invaders, but not without serious injury to herself. As Eleos detects another incoming vessel, Beverly prepares a coded subspace transmission.
In his library at home, Picard and Laris admire an oil painting of the Enterprise-D as other precious mementos are being packed away for storage. Picard plans to accompany Laris to Chaltok-IV; while she’s setting up diplomatic security for the Romulan Free State, he’ll be sipping Saurian Brandy and working on his memoir. Laris understands how important his past, along with these mementos and memories, mean to Picard; “The past matters, and that’s okay.” But Picard reassures her that he’s not a man who cares about legacy; he wants a new adventure.
Alone in his study, Picard suddenly hears three successive chirps from a device. Rummaging through his packed belongings, he finds the source of the alerts — his old communicator underneath his uniform from his time as captain aboard the Enterprise-D.
There’s an encrypted long-range transmission via a subspace frequency, containing an uncommon codec, and requires a passcode. Recalling the Myriad codec, Picard receives Beverly’s recorded video message:
Admiral Picard, I’m encoding this message with coordinates.
Listen to me very carefully. Hellbird. Repeat: Hellbird.
And Jean-Luc, no Starfleet. Trust no one.
Analyzing the coded message with Laris, they realize Beverly is clearly terrified and injured. However, Picard is perplexed as he hasn’t spoken to her in 20-some years. She had simply cut him out of her life along with their entire crew. Laris posits that he may be the only person Beverly can trust. He’ll have to answer her call for help; Laris will save him a seat at a bar on Chaltok IV where they can enjoy a sunset once he’s back.
Captain Will Riker waits for Picard at 10 Forward as the bar is crowded with souvenir starships for the upcoming Frontier Day celebration. Will is deflated when the bartender reveals there’s so many Enterprise-D’s because, “no one wants those fat ones.” He clocks Picard’s somber mood as his former captain apologizes for taking him away from his family. However, Will notes that Deanna and Kestra welcome his absence.
Huddled over their whiskeys at the darkest table in the bar, Riker examines Beverly’s message on Picard’s PADD. He reminisces about the Myriad codec to the old days when they were worried their comms were compromised on Rigel VII. While he doesn’t recognize the word ‘Hellbird,’ Will explains that was a computer virus on the Enterprise when Picard was assimilated as Locutus the Borg.** The virus scrambled their navigational data and arbitrarily added “3” to every digit, now with Beverly’s coordinates updated, they have their new destination — the Ryton system, just outside of Federation Space. Will wants to know why Beverly cut them all out, but Picard states he needs a ship. Will smiles and believes they’re overdue for a “good old-fashioned road trip.”
Elsewhere, on M’Talas Prime, a hooded and out-of-sorts Raffi roams the street of the District Six underworld. An Orion calls her out for getting a hit two days in a row, to which Raffi pleads that she’s kicked out of Starfleet and is looking for a way back in. She asks her dealer for intel on the rumors of an experimental tech stolen from Daystrom Institute. If she can get that weapon before it falls into the wrong hands, she has her ticket back in to Starfleet. Spooked, her dealer takes her money, giving her a lead involving the “Red Lady,” before expressing he never wants to see her again. Leaving the alley, Raffi straightens out; it was an act. She taps her hidden communicator; the commander requests a debriefing with her superiors at Starfleet Intelligence. She hesitates but ultimately disposes of the drugs.
On a shuttle up to Spacedock, Riker fills Picard in on his ruse, to which the admiral expresses his concerns. Riker explains they’re just two highly ranked members of Starfleet doing a routine surprise inspection. Picard states that they’re risking court-martial and Will would lose everything that he’s ever worked for. He dismisses it; that’s only a concern if they’re caught. As they’re cleared to approach the starboard bay, Riker reveals that the U.S.S. Titan’s Captain Shaw will need convincing in this ruse of theirs, but Picard should have no trouble with the First Officer…
Picard smiles at the sight of Commander Seven of Nine; however, she corrects him to refer to her as Commander Annika Hansen – Shaw’s preference. He’s not there to greet them but requests their presence at dinner later. Seven tells them to lower any expectations they may have about him. While on the Bridge, they come across another friendly face — Sidney La Forge, Geordi’s daughter, the ensign at the helm. Riker embarrasses her by recalling her Starfleet Academy nickname “Crash La Forge” in front of the crew.
Seven takes Picard and Riker to see Captain Liam Shaw in the Captain’s Mess. They enter to see Shaw has started on dinner without them. The Titan’s captain is not impressed by their presence and rejects Picard’s bottle of wine from his vineyard. To further express his disdain, Shaw tells Riker that he had to purge all of his “bebop music” from the ship’s system when he took over before stating that the “inspection” will be boring for the likes of them. Riker explains it's just a routine inspection in advance of the Fleet exercises at Frontier Day. If it’s just run of the mill, they suggest changing course to the Ryton system, to which Shaw vehemently rejects. He recounts how he has kept the train running on time for the past five years and 36 missions, and reminds Picard that he’s retired and Riker that he’s a captain without a chair — the Titan’s his now. Before exiting the mess, Shaw tells Hansen she has the conn and states that her loyalty is to this ship, and not to old friends and former ex-Borg.*** Picard worries that every moment they’re not heading towards the Ryton system, the danger to Beverly grows.
Aboard La Sirena, Raffi wistfully watches a video feed of her estranged son Gabe**** playing with his young daughter. Suddenly, an alarm chirps as she begins encrypted communications with Starfleet Intelligence regarding Operation: Daybreak. Raffi questions if her handler will show up this time, to which they respond that they’re here. She’s at a loss figuring out who or what the Red Lady is and re-requests a face-to-face with her handler. Denied. Exasperated, Raffi laments she’s been undercover for months trying to uncover who is behind the stolen tech at Daystrom Institute before it’s used to hurt people. Raffi doesn’t think her Intelligence handler understands how hard it is for her. As they pull up her psych profile, her handler states that they do; however, the stolen weapon is an act of war. She’s a warrior and she needs to find the Red Lady.
Back on the Titan, Sidney La Forge summons Picard and Riker to Observation where Seven is waiting for them. She demands to know what they’re conspiring, as Picard trusts her with their predicament. They received a distress call from an injured Dr. Beverly Crusher; however, she told them to trust no one, including Starfleet. Picard doesn’t want to jeopardize Seven’s career with Starfleet; he sees that she’s struggling within the system, but still believes she’s in the right place. Seven doesn’t understand how she can inspire and bring about change under the thumb of Shaw, forced to suppress all her instincts. Things were simpler when she was a Fenris ranger. Picard warmly asks her to let him know if she figures it out, as he never did.
Following Seven to the Bridge, they realized she had disobeyed Shaw’s orders. They’re now in the Ryton system. Seven states they’ve detected a vessel operating at the lowest possible power levels inside the nebula’s outermost edge. Unfortunately, the nebula is interfering with their ability to scan it for lifeforms. Understanding the gravity of her actions, she quickly tells the two elder statesmen they have mere minutes to commandeer an unguarded shuttle. Picard and Riker get away on the shuttle as Shaw wakes from his slumber. The Titan’s captain requests a full report from his first officer.
Back on La Sirena, Raffi continues her search for the Red Lady. Believing it now to be a target, she pulls a list of upcoming events and discovers a dedication ceremony for a red bronze statue of Rachel Garrett***** for Frontier Day at a Starfleet Recruiting Center in District Seven. As the ship takes off and Raffi tries to hail the recruitment center and warn them of an imminent attack, a quantum tunnel suddenly opens right under the recruiting center. Raffi watches in horror as the center vanishes into a rippling black hole. A portal opens above with the building reappearing, falling out of it towards the ground.
On a Titan shuttle, Riker and Picard approach the Eleos. Taking in the view of the nebula, our two pals reflect on how they spent half their lifetime chasing a view like this and using the other half missing the chase. As they scan Beverly’s ship, they clock major damage to the warp core, the ship’s systems running at half power, tons of exterior damage, and Beverly’s life signals are dangerously low. In addition to that, she’s not alone on that ship.
Boarding the Eleos, Picard and Riker assess the state of the ship as well as the residue from an obvious fight. As Picard discovers Beverly inside a medical stasis pod in the command bay, Riker is being held at phaser-point by an unknown person. Addressing the crew member, Picard reveals himself as Starfleet Admiral Jean-Luc Picard and the crewman’s hostage as Captain William Riker. Picard deduces the young gentleman as someone who cares deeply for Beverly as he must have helped her into the med pod; he should have realized Beverly would have never sent out a call for help across the galaxy only for herself. Disarmed by Riker, the young man identifies himself as Beverly’s son. Picard and Riker’s shock is short-lived as they’re suddenly shaken by the arrival of a looming, massive vessel. Beverly’s son explains they’re being hunted, and Picard and Riker have done a “piss-poor” job of saving anything as they’ve led the enemy straight to them…
- “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire” – The Ink Spots
- “I Can’t Stop Crying” – Will Grove-White
- “Nocturne No. 2” – Chopin
- “If I Didn’t Care” – The Ink Spots