Published Feb 24, 2023
RECAP | Star Trek: Picard 302 – Disengage
Cornered in space, which has no corners.
By Christine Dinh
In Episode 2 of Star Trek: Picard, “Disengage,” aided by Commander Seven of Nine and the crew of the U.S.S. Titan, Picard makes a shocking discovery that will alter his life forever – and puts him on a collision course with the most cunning enemy he’s ever encountered. Meanwhile, Raffi races to track a catastrophic weapon – and collides with a familiar ally.
In a flashback two weeks prior, on the Mariposa medical vessel, Eleos XII, Jack Crusher sought orbital entry into Sarnia Prime. Appearing on his viewscreen, a Fenris Ranger declares Jack has violated airspace en route to a designated quarantine zone. Unless he can provide Federation access codes, the Eleos will submit to inspection. Jack assures the ranger that he’s been granted moral authority as he’s looking to relieve thousands below with Galarian fever who are immuno-resistant to bureaucracy.
The Eleos is soon boarded by the ranger, flanked by two additional crewmen, as they inspect the vessel’s complement of medical supplies. Despite the clear medical cargo, the ranger notes that he’s in clear violation of about 27 medical protocols, give or take. In an overt bribe, Jack reveals a crate of advanced-tech weaponry and shares that everyone’s aware that the fever was orchestrated by warlords to clear the zone of refugees. He negotiates a cut for the ranger in on the deal when he trades one half to a warlord and the other to another; it’s no matter to him as it’s bad guys shooting bad guys and they’ve helped the refugees with a pandemic. The ranger agrees, but once out of Jack’s earshot, on the docking bay, he touches his communicator, “Reach out to the Marked Woman; we’ve found him.”
Back in the Ryton system, in present day, picking up immediately following the events of the previous episode “The Next Generation,” the massive unknown vessel emerges through the void just beyond the nebula heading towards them as the Eleos is running on power levels at 13% with Beverly Crusher inside a medical stasis pod, her son Jack Crusher, Jean-Luc Picard, and Will Riker on board. A worried Jack has no answers; they’ve been pursued by a motley of groups — Fenris Rangers above Sarnia. Klingons a day later. Then three Starfleet officers who tried to prime direct him into an early grave. He reveals they’ve been running for months; whoever is pursuing them — those behind the massive warship across from them — clearly has resources. Unfortunately, the nebula has fried the Eleos’ systems. They’re out of options, Beverly needs medical attention, and it’s clear the enemy ship does not intend to negotiate so Jack hopes their little shuttlecraft has a larger friend close by. Riker reveals they came on the Titan; she’s gone but it’s possible she’s still nearby.
Meanwhile back on the Titan, Ensign Sidney La Forge informs Captain Shaw that they’ve picked up a third signal by the nebula. Lt. T’Veen, a science officer, runs a full diagnostic scan that’s reading photonic activity with unrecognizable energy signatures; it’s most definitely another vessel. Reviewing the diagnostic scan, Shaw sees the vessel is packing significant weapons. Commander Hansen thinks they’re after Picard and thinks there’s still time for them to intercept. Shaw belays her order, reminding her of her rank and not holding back his disdain for Picard and Riker. The Titan is an exploratory vessel outmatched by this alien vessel in every way, and he will not risk the 500 lives aboard the ship for two “relics who think that a couple brass metals make them golden boys.”
On the Eleos, as it’s circled by the massive enemy vessel, Jack Crusher suggests they prep Beverly’s med-pod for transport on their shuttlecraft, seeking Riker’s help, who delights in the resemblance between Beverly’s son and Picard. Suddenly, the Eleos is hit by a photon blast, destroying the Titan shuttle. Worried, Picard sees Beverly’s med-pod losing power, and with it, her life signs begin to fade. Jack rushes back in the command bay to alert them they’ve lost the shuttle.
Aboard La Sirena, with the seedy skyline of District Six in the background, Raffi is wrought with guilt, regret, and fury as she watches news replays of the Starfleet recruitment building destruction that left 117 dead. The attack is attributed to a Romulan dissident, Lurak t’Luco. Opening a secure line to her handler at Starfleet Intelligence, Raffi blames herself for the 117 deaths because she failed to stop whoever was stealing experimental weapons from Daystrom. Raffi is committed to finding out who is responsible. Her mysterious handler advises her to not seek blame or anger, before ordering her to disengage her investigation until further notice. Raffi’s not buying what the reports are saying; why would a low-level Romulan triggerman go through all the trouble for this? Her handler orders her once more to disengage; the mission has been terminated. Incensed at her handler’s refusal to meet once more, Raffi plans to go on her own and to speak for the dead.
Picard safeguards the Eleos, placing small transport inhibitors around the command bay when Jack begins to fizzle, enshrouded in a transport field. Quickly flipping the switch of the final device, Jack resolidifies as Picard confirms he now knows what the other vessel wants — Jack, alive. Out of options and resigned to their fate, the unknown vessel has ensnarled the medical ship with its tractor beam, pulling them towards it. Suddenly, the Titan arrives between the Eleos and unknown enemy vessel, shattering the tractor beam. Destroying the transport inhibitors, the trio, unsure of which ship will beam them out first, find themselves in the Titan’s transporter room. Picard urges Jack to lower his phaser as they’re surrounded by Starfleet security.
In the square of District Six, Raffi reconnects with her ex-husband Jae, unsure if he would show up. Jae notes that their son Gabe said she ambushed him at his baby’s doctor. Stung, Raffi reveals she just wanted to meet her granddaughter in person. She assures him that she’s staying clean and she’s with Starfleet Intelligence. Speaking of which, she needs a favor, an intro to the Ferengi broker Sneed. Heart sunk, Jae exclaims Sneed’s a monster, a gangster, then expresses concern for her head returning to the place of webs and conspiracies and falling back onto drugs and dark rabbit holes. Jae made a choice when they had their beautiful boy — his son and his art, that was enough for him, but it wasn’t for her. With hurtful honesty, Jae tells Raffi that Gabe pushes her away because he remembers all of that. He offers her an ultimatum — he can talk to Gabe and put in a good word for her, or he’ll talk to Sneed — he won’t do both. She knows what it has to be as Jae walks away disappointed.
As the massive enemy vessel circles the Titan like a shark, T’Veen reports they secured all four aboard the ship, with the injured civilian in Sickbay, unconscious but stable. Relieved, Commander Hansen suggests they warp away, but Shaw refuses. Now that they’ve engaged, he wants to know with who and why. Security escorts Picard, Riker, and Jack to the Bridge just as Esmar reveals that the enemy vessel is hailing them.
Captain Vadic* introduces herself to Captain Liam Shaw. Referencing his official Starfleet psychological report, she is thrilled he’s been able to remain “functional,” causing Shaw to darken. Picard interjects telling Vadic she’s caused them some distress and to state her business. She’s delighted by the presence of Admiral Jean-Luc Picard, in the synthetic flesh. She states that they’re harboring Jack Crusher, who has broken several laws inside and outside Federation space, and there’s a sizeable bounty on him. She intends to take him. Shaw asserts that Starfleet does not negotiate with bounty hunters. She reminds him that they’re outside of their jurisdiction, then to clearly assess the situation, lowers her shields for the Titan to scan her armament. Lt. Mura reveals the presence of significant isolytic burst warheads, plasma and photon torpedoes, antimatter missiles, pulse wave, and an unknown piece of tech that’s loaded in primary position. As the crew on the Bridge tenses, Vadic states they have one hour to hand over Jack Crusher. If they intend to run, she will be merciless in their assault. As a parting demonstration of her intentions, her vessel seizes the Eleos XII in a tractor beam and hurls it at the Titan, stunning everyone.
Shaw, Seven, and Ensign La Forge review the damage report. The Eleos managed to break through their shields and the force of impact caused shrapnel to tear through the hull on Deck 11. La Forge enthusiastically states that her father has taught her there’s no law of physics that can’t be either weaponized or broken by another law of physics. Assessing the situation, Shaw deduces they’re unable to run or risk destruction the second their nacelles light up, help is days away, the nebula’s damaging their long-range comms. They’re “essentially cornered, in space, which has no corners.” Worse yet, they know nothing about Vadic; there’s nothing in the Starfleet database. As for Jack Crusher, Commander Hansen hands Shaw a padd of the report on Beverly Crusher’s son.
In the Observation Lounge, Jack tells Picard and Riker he’s never even heard of a Vadic. Shaw enters with Seven and two security officers and orders Jack to the Brig. Shaw shows a report of Jack Crusher to the two senior officers. Jack has a lengthy rap sheet; he’s an intergalactic fugitive with aliases such as Jack Canby, John Carson, James Cole, and Jarlis Carvel. Shaw then turns on “First Officer Seven of Nine” relieving her of duty for insubordination; she wagered 500 lives against her loyalty to Picard, and now they’ve engaged with a hostile entity outside of Federation space. Picard defends Seven, but Shaw retorts that Jack is a man who deserves what’s coming to him, so does Seven, and so do they. He’s inclined to hand Vadic her bounty and anything beyond that will be saved for the tribunal. Shaw states that the rules of engagement outside Federation space are clear, “The safety and preservation of the ship’s crew above all else.” They are outgunned; this is a dogfight they will surely lose. Picard requests he be allowed to speak to Jack and learn more. Shaw reminds him that Vadic gave them an hour so he has half that to prepare for Jack’s departure.
Riker questions why Picard is dancing around the issue, to which his old captain replies that Jack very well may be Beverly’s son. Incredulous, Riker remarks how he’s unable to see what he sees, do the math, Jean-Luc! Picard admonishes Riker for speculating. Moments later, Picard arrives at the Brig and sits across from Jack in his cell with a forcefield door between them.
Anxious, Jack inquires how his mother is doing. Picard states that’s she’s mending but unable to defend him so he must defend himself and the crimes he’s accused of committing — organized crime on Andoria, actual terrorism on Binar III, wanted for the death of a man on Andreus 5, sighted in a war-zone on Kemiyo. Jack corrects the admiral stating it’s a rebellion and they were providing the Kemiyans with medicine and supplies as they’ve been fighting against their oppressors for decades. Picard refers to him as a “freedom fighter,” to which Jack haughtily states, “only in the sense that a doctor fights for the freedom of his patient to not be dead.” He reminds Picard that “currency is currency and medicine isn’t free,” and the likes that take issue of him were none other than mere gamblers, low-level gangsters, fathers of daughters everywhere, not vigilante bounty hunters willing to pick a fight with the Federation. Picard dismisses the lovely self-pardon asserting that they both know Beverly would never permit this.
Jack asserts that it was Beverly who taught him all this; she’s constantly beside him, equal partners, trying to do some good in a good-less universe. Hitting a nerve, Jack questions when Picard even last spoke to Beverly and if anyone he knows still the person he knew, or was he too busy planting roots in his vineyard while everyone moved on. Clocking the resentment, Picard questions who Jack’s father is, to which Jack aggressively retorts that he never had one. Unable to respond, Jack acquiesces to Vadic’s demands as long as it ensures his mother’s future and the end of the current conversation. As Picard gets up and prepares to exit, he tells Jack that he deserves the justice of courts, not criminals, and he himself is not prepared to betray his oldest friend, but to harbor him, risks the lives of everyone aboard the Titan including hers. Right now, he only has 18 minutes left to decide what to do with Jack.
Meanwhile, Raffi has secured a meeting with Sneed, a Ferengi who brokers deals between people, in District Six. Sneed questions if she’s with Starfleet, to which she states the organization didn’t value living “high-class,” consequently, she freelances now before offering him a small bag of rare, glittering gems. Raffi wants to know if he brokered the deal for stolen portal tech for the Romulan t’Luco; the same kind of tech that brought down a Starfleet recruitment center. Feigning shock and lack of knowledge of a t’Luco, Sneed then concludes he’s heard t’Luco went underground after swallowing up that building. Raffi states they both know t’Luco didn’t push that button because she works for him; she wants to know who paid Sneed to blame her client for the attack. Suspicious, Sneed states that she smells like Section 31 and this feels like a sting.
To prove she’s not Starfleet, he demands she take “Splinter,” which got its name for the way it rips its user apart into a million little pieces and pulling them back together again. Taking the narcotic and refusing to let it take hold of her, Raffi maintains her cover that she works for t’Luco. Countering her claims, Sneed produces the severed head of t’Luco. As he leans forward to grab her gems, the disoriented and vulnerable Raffi stabs Sneed’s hand with the Splinter vial. With him distracted, she grabs Sneed’s data-pad of clients. Sneed’s goons ready their weapons as Raffi stumbles to her feet. Suddenly, Raffi sees through her haze a hulking shadow enter the fray with his Kur-Leth, beheading Sneed and attacking his goons. Before Raffi passes out, Worf scoops her up and scolds her for engaging when he told her not to.
As the enemy vessel aggressively hovers before the Titan, Picard and Riker make another appeal to Shaw on the Bridge that doesn’t involve cooperation. Shaw vehemently refuses to hear what he has to say; he’s not in the business of selling out the lives of his crew for the “son” of his “ex-girlfriend.” He reminds the two officers that they only have 15 minutes left to let Vadic know their answer. In the Brig, Jack manages to short circuit his cell’s force field before knocking out the officer guarding him and making a break for it.
In Sickbay, Riker questions Dr. Ohk about Beverly’s vitals. She’s suffered an arterial wound, but they’ve luckily located the internal trauma and stopped the bleeding. She’ll be alright. Good! Riker urgently grabs the hypo and injects Beverly.
As Shaw and Picard continue to debate their options, the enemy ship hails them. Vadic still intends to honor their terms, but she wants them to know the name of her vessel — The Shrike — it’s named after an Earth creature; a small bird that “doesn’t attack in anger or malice, one that isn’t made frantic by hunger, but rather kills surgically, carefully.” She reminds the gentleman they can hand over Jack now or later, but with each passing moment, she will take another piece of them, everything that makes them them, until there’s nothing left.
As Shaw prepares to turn Jack over, Esmar relays that there’s been a security breach on Deck 12 at the Brig. Shaw is incensed. Seven finds Jack in the transporter room. Picard urgently pleads with Shaw; if he really was trying to escape, he’d be half a system in a shuttle away now. At the transporters, the only place he can go is to hand himself over to Vadic… to protect his mother. Shaw thinks they should let him do exactly that and not risk the lives of the crew. Suddenly, the door to the Bridge’s lift opens. Beverly enters, escorted by Riker. Meeting Picard’s gaze, she sends him an affirmative, sad nod, confirming what Riker tried to assert earlier. Knowing all he needed to know, and accepting the inconceivable, Picard belays Shaw’s command asserting Admiral’s orders. Jack stays here. “Because he’s my son.”
With the truth finally out there, Shaw orders full power to forward shields and commands La Forge to prepare for flight. Shaw asserts that whatever happens next is on Picard. Putting Vadic on screen, Picard relays his answer — Engage! — as the ship rockets past the Shrike, firing a series of rear torpedoes toward their opponent. The move delights Vadic as she orders her crew to follow him. If she’s looking for a fight, she’s going to have to find them first.
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