Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 5 Review: Stardust City Rag

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For a show named after a male character, Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 5 is completely focused on the women onboard the starship La Sirena.

From Seven's Terminator-like revenge, to Raffi's attempted reconciliation, to Dr. Jurati's horrifying revelation (#CALLED #IT), a gamut of strong emotions is showcased, demonstrating the lengths at which these women are willing to risk themselves.

Picard himself very much plays the bystander in his own story here. The bystander with an eye-patch, a beret, and a terrible accent.

Two X-B Hang Out in a Bar - Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 5

Seven's shocking appearance at the end of Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 4 was a fantastic stinger and extremely satisfying for Star Trek: Voyager fans who have been waiting for her arrival.

Her backstory is fascinating as well. As a Fenris Ranger, described as "an independent group of peacekeepers who try to maintain a semblance of law and order on both sides of the former Neutral zone," Seven is more Wild West than Star Trek has ever gotten.

You think of me as a vigilante. Fine. Ranging is my job. It's not saving the galaxy. It's helping people who have no one else to help them. It's hopeless and pointless and exhausting and the only thing worse ... would be giving up.


(And, yes, that includes Star Trek Season 3 Episode 6 and Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 6 Episode 8, two episodes that actually took place in the Wild West.)

Seven's situation is somewhat an inverse of the Asha sisters. She was born human and assimilated as a child, growing up as Borg.

Meanwhile, the Asha sisters were created with no conscious knowledge of their synth nature. Activation of their synth abilities has caused them as much anxiety and consternation as the sensation of individuality caused Seven when she was initially separated from the Borg Collective.

Terminator Seven - Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 5

Seven's quest to reclaim her humanity was a major theme on Star Trek: Voyager much as Data's goal to achieve it was on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Sensing a pattern here?

Seven: After they brought you back from your time in the Collective, did you honestly feel that you regained your humanity?
Picard: Yes.
Seven: All of it?
Picard: No. But we're both working on it, aren't we?
Seven: Every damned day of my life.

The reveal that the ex-Borg being harvested in the opening flashback was Icheb, a young, brilliant Borg reclaimed by Voyager who gave his own cortical node to save Seven when hers malfunctioned, is yet another salute to the fanbase.

Recognizing and accepting her emotions was a major part of Seven's development on Star Trek: Voyager and seeing her break down in tears over Icheb's body shows us just how much she continued to progress after returning to the Alpha Quadrant.

Stoic Seven - Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 5

What impressed me most about Seven's story here was how Picard and Rios weren't truly able to deter her from her goal.

Going back to Stardust City to kill B'Jaysel despite knowing how slim the odds of getting out alive is probably the most human thing I've ever seen her do.

By the way, I fully expect to see her again. The odds were slim but so was surviving assimilation with the Borg. Seven's story is far from over.

Picard still thinks there's a place in the galaxy for mercy. I didn't want to disillusion him. Somebody out here ought to have a little hope.


Raffi's disappointing, nay heart-breaking, reunion with her son was incredibly revealing.

Learning that she had a family when the synth attack happened -- having seen how dedicated she was to the Romulan evacuation -- it is entirely beievable that she would've neglected them to the extent that Gabe describes.

I don't think you understand just how much it sucked to be your kid.


The hurt reflected on Raffi's face when her son refuses to let her into his life is an intense parallel to Seven's last moments with Icheb.

They are equally final in their tone.

They are both mothers whose actions have had consequences for their sons.

Raffi's pleas for Gabe's acceptance demonstrate a painfully different side to this character who has, to this point, had all the answers, has known what to do in every situation.

Raffi and Tea - Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 5

Even the Stardust City plan is all her.

From the costumes to the fake identities to the hypospray concoction Dr. Jurati hyposprays Rios with, Raffi has all the ducks in a row.

Raffi: Rios, you, seriously, really need to sell this. You can't do your broody, existentialist spaceman routine. Your personality need to match your clothes. You need a little panache.
Seven: You need a feather in your hat.

So to see her completely without a plan in the face of Gabe's rejection is a jolt.

I'll hold out hope that once her seemingly paranoid conspiracies are proven true, Gabe might come around.

There's also the possibility they'll play that trope where, once his daughter is born, he'll be more forgiving of his parent. That's a lot more meh but just as likely.

On Odd Pairing - Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 5

The heist-like feel of the Stardust City plan is meant to be create a cover for Dr. Jurati's nervousness.

It was a lot of comedic relief to mask the darkness to come.

And I'll admit that I enjoyed the levity even if it felt somewhat out of place on a show that has been heavy on the heavy so far.

Vup is Suspicious - Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 5

The Beta Anari species super-sniffer superpower feels like one that would make one a pretty big grump most of the time.

It would be as bad as being able to hear everyone's thoughts all the time. Maybe worse. Definitely more gross.

Raffi: Try to stay away from the lizard. Beta Anari can smell when you're not telling the truth.
Dr. Jurati: Seriously?
Raffi: Also, what you had for dinner. And the last person you had sex with.
Rios: If they're not the same thing.
Dr. Jurati: Cause that's not disturbing.

Elnor, as the epitome of the newbie, rolls into the Data-esque naïveté with wide-eyed enthusiasm.

Jury's still out on whether he's going to be refreshingly inexperienced or just plain annoying.

However, when Rios identifies Picard and Elnor as the quickest casualties if Seven brings a bounty down on their heads, he seems to forget that Elnor is a trained killer.

Elnor on Freecloud - Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 5

Mind you, his inability to lie convincingly may be a fatal vulnerability.

For more than just him.

Elnor: I don't know how to not be Elnor.
Picard: Then BE Elnor.
Seven: An Elnor who never talks.

For those keeping track, we have spent five episodes of this ten-episode season looking for the elusive and mysterious Bruce Maddox.

We finally find him, rescue him, get him into sick bay, and Dr. Jurati KILLS him.

And she did it with the EMH as a witness. There's NO WAY she just gets away with it.

I wish you knew what I know. I wish I didn't know what I know.

Dr. Jurati

For someone who "doesn't hit things" to murder her mentor and lover, it's no wonder the EMH kept detecting a psychiatric emergency.

Can't wait to find out what Commodore Oh showed her to convince her to work for the anti-synth cabal.

Picard in Disguise - Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 5

It's going to disappoint Picard greatly to find out Jurati's true purpose for joining his crew.

As this was the first episode to exclude the Artifact locale altogether, I have no contrived mushy scenes to complain about.

I guess I'm better with ridiculous heists and melodramatic villains than saccharine romance. Especially on my space dramas.

Mr. Vup - Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 5

As you watch Star Trek: Picard online this week, consider some potential factors in how the back-half of this season develops.

Maddox programmed Dahj to find Picard if she got into trouble. Will Soji recognize him as an ally as well?

Narek and Narissa (and the other Zhat Vash death squad members) believe that there is a "nest" of synths like the Asher sisters. With Maddox dead, what are the odds the entire nest activates?

Having killed Maddox, will Dr. Jurati be able to destroy Soji as well? After all, she is not only Maddox's creation. Agnes had a hand in the research that brought her and Dahj to life.

They're perfect. Perfectly imperfect.


What are your predictions now that we know Dr. Jurati is working for the other side?

Throw your craziest theories into the comments below!

And we sure would appreciate a follow of our new Twitter account as we work to rebuild our audience!


Stardust City Rag Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Rating: 2.7 / 5.0 (34 Votes)

Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 5 Quotes

Picard: You're well?
Seven: I'm... functional.

Freecloud keeps your secrets.