It was bound to happen eventually (in theory) but Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 7 delivered the first heart-achingly painful death of the series.
Granted, Dahj's death on Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 1 was a helluva shock but, as we has just met her, there was only the beginnings of emotional investment (at least on my part).
Hugh, on the other hand, was not only a character we had seen in relation to both Soji and Picard but was also a carry-over from Star Trek: the Next Generation days.
Those of us with roots in the Next Gen adventures met Hugh when he was still identifying as Third of Five; saw him reconnect with his humanity under Geordi La Forge's tutelage; and marvelled when he seized leadership of his orphaned hive from Lore.
He was the first friendly face Picard found on his quest and had himself embarked on an ambitious mission: to reclaim and provide a home for the xBs on The Artifact.
I hate this vile Cube. It's obscene. As are you and your XBs. But that isn't why these things died. They died because of you.Narissa
He was loyal to the end, refusing to give up Picard and Soji's location despite the very real threat of death. Narissa's retribution for this devotion was to kill his reclaimed xBs in front of him and, once he had verbalized his intent to take over The Artifact, to kill him too.
Every war has its first innocent casualty.
Yes, I know that Dahj did not ask to be targeted by the Zhat Vash, but Hugh could've stayed out of it altogether and, instead, chose to aid and defend his friends at great cost to himself.
How's this for a lost cause? I was that much a hopeful fool again for a minute. Thanks for that.Hugh
Elnor's involvement is an elegant device to summon Seven back onto the scene. The Fenris S.O.S. tag may have been a tad convenient but boy am I glad it appeared when it did.
After all, who is more suited to activating the Queen's Cell than our own YAS QUEEN Seven?
There is an ambitious aim here to tell three separate stories in a single hour and, for the most part, the goal is achieved with momentum to spare.
Away from The Artifact, La Sirena is the setting for the most internally stressful situation. Everything about the crew dynamic spells ulcer in neon lights.
Jurati's encounter with Commodore Oh opens a whole can of tribbles on the conspiracy to ban synths.
Whether the mind-meld she shared with Jurati (non-consensually, btw) is her own memory or an inherited one used to perpetuate the mission of the Zhat Vash, it hints that the Zhat Vash recruit from across species and worlds.
Narissa indicates as much when she lists all the wrongs she perceives Hugh's interference having committed.
You ruined years of patient work by dozens of operatives across hundreds of star systems....you may have doomed a trillion souls across half the galaxyNarissa
Not sure how her numbers will shake out but her alliance with Oh indicates that Vulcans are on board at least.
And Oh's mind-meld also seems to substantiate some of the theories that all of this has happened before to the demise of at least one planet.
It's unfortunate that we are meant to believe that Rios is blinded to Jurati's involvement by their own encounter.
I'd like to think he's smarter than that.
But then, Raffi herself is a little more gullible than usual in reading Jurati's motivations.
I thought she'd started to figure it out when she questioned Jurati's change of heart but then she decided to take the overly-romantic perspective on Maddox's death.
Speaking of that, it's driving me nuts that, on a ship with an army of holo-AIs and a paranoid conspiracist like Raffi and a sick bay computer that should be encoded with the Hippocratic Oath, Maddox's death has not been flagged as suspicious.
The EMH materialized when Jurati had a heart palpitation on Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 5 but waits until she's frothing at the mouth to show up here? W.T. (EM)H, huh?
This is definitely not a Starfleet crew no matter what their credentials might include.
However, they seem to be the right fit for Picard.
I'm anticipating a fascinating first meeting between Soji and Jurati.
Riker: So, what are they like, this new crew of yours?
Picard: Well, I would have to say they are decidedly motley. There's been nothing but drama since we left Earth's orbit and, I'm told, it's been continuing since I saw them last. They seem to be carrying more baggage than all of you ever did. But then, I'm not the one to talk.
And now, to the meat of the story.
I have to admit, the Troi-Riker homestead on Nepenthe may be the most perfect and idyllic epilogue setting I could've imagined for them.
And still, the emotional bombardment doesn't let up. Even in paradise.
Seeing these three together again is everything my little geek-heart could wish for.
The camaraderie and warmth in their scenes was beautifully paced and the inclusion of Kestra, with her bright and youthful perspective, kept the tone from descending too far into the maudlin.
Kestra is also Soji access point to the group. With as much history as Picard, Riker, and Troi have, there was no way Soji was ever going to feel like anything but an outsider.
Kestra's fascination with her and her connection to Data was both endearing and hilarious.
Kestra: So, okay, you have blood. You have spit?
Soji: I do.
Soji: Yes, I have mucus.
Kestra: Data did NOT have mucus.
I get that the purpose of this stopover, narratively-speaking, was to get Soji to open up enough to share her information about her "homeworld" but it was totally a blatant love letter to the fans.
Finding out about Riker and Troi's son, Thad. Understanding their loss. Feeling Troi's dilemma, torn between helping Picard and terrified that something might put Kestra in danger.
The showrunners came into this production with a lot of Trek currency and with this reunion of Picard's crew, they have increased the inherent goodwill exponentially.
A running theme in all of Picard's adventures and meetings so far has been that everyone needs to take him down a peg or two.
Clancy did it most obviously while others have varied their level of tact.
Both Troi and Riker gets their shots in but -- maybe because they are friends of such history and intimacy -- it doesn't seem untoward or out of turn.
Riker: Classic Picard arrogance. You get to make the decisions about who gets to take the chances and who doesn't, and who's in the loop and who's out of the loop, and, naturally, it always ends up with you. And that's fine on the bridge of your starship, captain, but now you're dealing with a teenager, more or less. That can be an extremely humbling experience. Frankly, not sure you're up to it.
Picard: Perhaps I'm not.
Riker: There you go. Baby steps.
Picard: Baby steps.
As you watch Star Trek: Picard online and with them all speed in finding the mysterious planet of two red moons and electrical storms, please explain to me how Maddox's lab could have been destroyed to the molecular level by the Tal Shiar but the Zhat Vash had to screw with Soji to find it?
Was Bruce Maddox spinning a story to B'Jaysel? Why would he need to do that?
Did Maddow win Jurati's heart with cookies because she's a sugar addict?
Raffi: And now, you come along for a ride with Auntie Raffi. She's going to hook you up with whatever you need.
Jurati: Is it cake?
Raffi: You bet it's cake.
What will Seven do IF she is the Ranger to respond to Elnor's signal?
Has Narissa dispatched units to the planet Soji identified? (And, while we're talking about her, Elnor had BETTER be the one to end her.)
And finally... BUNNYCORNS? Seriously?
Troi: You cut out the venom sacs?
Kestra: Nope! I left them in so we could all spew black bile and die.
Riker: Pizza with tomato, basil, and non-venomous bunnycorn sausage!
Picard: Sounds wonderful.
Over to you.
What were the highlight/lowlight moments for you here?
Three episodes to go. Where will we end the season?
Spill your props and problems in the comments!
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.