Et In Arcadia Ego – Part 1

Star Trek: Picard2399: Using the knowledge of Borg transwarp conduits that Soji gained while working aboard the Artifact, La Sirena reaches Soji’s home planet in mere minutes, while the Romulan fleet going there to destroy the planet lags about a day behind at mere warp speeds. Narek, following in a Romulan fighter, tries to take down La Sirena, but the crews of both ships are caught off guard by the arrival of a Borg cube: the Artifact is now fully functional again thanks to Seven of Nine. All three ships are immediately attacked by bio-organic automated defense systems around the planet and forced to land. The Borg ship suffers severe damage as a result, but both Elnor and Seven survive. Picard and the others from La Sirena walk to the home settlement of the synths, finding a lone human there: Alton Soong, son of Data’s creator, Noonian Soong, and former secret collaborator of Bruce Maddox. It is Soong who created Dahj and Soji, and has created an entire community of other synthetic twins, one of which has learned how to mind meld, and does so with Jurati. But this reveals that the Admonition is an offer of help from a union of synthetics beyond the Federation’s home galaxy – an offer of help that also means the eradication of organic life. Worse yet, knowing that a fleet of over 200 Romulan ships draws near, the synths decide to accept that offer and send out a distress signal.

teleplay by Michael Chabon & Ayelet Waldman
story by Michael Chabon & Ayelet Waldman & Akiva Goldsman
directed by Akiva Goldsman
music by Jeff Russo

Star Trek: PicardCast: Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard), Alison Pill (Dr. Agnes Jurati), Isa Briones (Dr. Soji Asha), Evan Evagora (Elnor), Michelle Hurd (Rafi Musiker), Santiago Cabrera (Captain Cristobal Rios), Harry Treadaway (Narek), Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine), Brent Spiner (Alton Inigo Soong), Peyton List (Narissa), Brian DeRozan (Romulan Officer), Matt Perfetuo (Rune), Mike Perfetuo (Codex), Jade Ramsey (Arcana), Nikita Ramsey (Saga), Zachary James Rukavina (XB/Nameless), and Spot II

Star Trek: PicardNotes: The episode’s namesake is a 1638 painting by Nicolas Poussin, now held in the Louvre, and is generally understood to mean that even in a utopia or other ideal place, death still exists. The clothes worn by some of the synthetic life forms created by Soong and Maddox are strongly reminiscent of fashions from 1960s Star Trek, including the barely-there outfits worn by such past synthetic life forms as Rayna (Requiem For Methuselah, 1969) and Andrea (What Are Little Girls Made Of?, 1966), suggesting a connection between those androids and the work of the Soong family (and suggesting that classic series costume designer William Ware Theiss Star Trek: Picardcasts a vast shadow across the entire franchise). It is worth noting, in light of the Romulans’ aversion to artificial life (and their apparent contact with sympathetic members of Starfleet), that every developer of artificial life in Star Trek lore, from Dr. Roger Korby to Flint to Noonian Soong, has worked on their creations in seclusion. Alluded to in previous episodes but never named, Picard’s terminal brain-related ailment may be the irumodic syndrome detected by Dr. Crusher in All Good Things… (1994).

LogBook entry by Earl Green