Oh, what a nostalgia-fest! The third season of Star Trek: Picard teased its audience by promising to get the whole Next Generation gang back together, trotting out the cast for promotional events and showing flashes of their upcoming appearances in trailers. But we soon learned that they wouldn’t be reuniting all at once, but trickling back in bit by bit.
This week’s episode saw Picard and Worf’s storylines finally merging, as the two meet up on the USS Titan to discuss the disturbing turn of events. Changelings and conspiracies and intrigue, oh my! Just what are those creepy shape-shifters up to? The only way to find out is to go back to the scene of the original crime: Daystrom Institute! While avoiding the wrath of a gazillion Federation ships that now see the Titan as a rogue, thanks to some Changeling shenanigans, and have been dispatched to capture them.
Worf’s return also meant another reunion: that of Raffi and (ex??) girlfriend Seven of Nine. Sadly for us shippers, the moment was brief—just a few meaningful looks and short words exchanged. But I get it, this episode had a lot to cram into its hour, including… *drumroll*… the long-awaited return of Geordi La Forge! Seriously, this whole episode should’ve been called “The Reunion” instead of “The Bounty”.
Riker, Worf, and Raffi execute a museum heist of sorts—attempting to break into Daystrom to figure out what the Changelings really wanted from that place. The Institute is kind of like the Federation’s Area 51—a place for them to house weird and experimental tech. Including stuff gathered from the show’s previous missions. Easter egg alert!
Meanwhile, Picard (presumably with Shaw’s blessing, though Twitter’s favorite cantankerous captain was sadly absent this episode… again, I get it, lots to cram in) instructs the Titan to flee. And where do they go? Why, to another museum! Specifically, the Fleet Museum, a mega space dock that houses famous starships from across the franchise and is run by none other than Geordi La Forge, now boasting a fancy Commodore title. Oh, and naturally, he’s rather miffed that Picard got his daughter Sidney into this mess. And he shows up with another daughter in tow: Alandra, played by LeVar Burton’s real-life daughter Mica.
This season is not shy about leaning into nostalgia, and they laid it on thick this week. Not only with the Next Generation reunions but with references to other series. I mean, why wouldn’t they, when they had not one, but two museum settings? And dammit, it worked. When the “camera” lovingly pans over ships from earlier Star Trek shows and films, underscored by matching theme songs, it got me right in the feels.
In between basking in former glory, the show also presses forward with the Next Generation’s next generation as Sidney and Alandra La Forge plus Jack Crusher—those little rascals—unite to push their now-older-and-stodgier parents to boldly go as they once did. Like I said, lots going on in this episode. And I haven’t even brought up Jack’s whole vision thing. Which I suspect (hope) is more than what his mom and dad think it is.
All in all, “The Bounty” managed to pull off quite a feat by packing in nostalgia/former glory and giving long-time fans plenty of references, Easter eggs, and reunions to delight in—while also advancing the plot and digging into some character moments. Jack and Picard’s relationship finally seems to be going somewhere beside “this matters because blood” and “oof, awkward”. It was interesting seeing Sidney’s dynamic with La Forge (funny how a Starfleet bridge officer still considers herself to be a disappointment because she became a pilot instead of an engineer… parents, amirite??).
Anyway, I could go on, but I got yelled at for spoilers last week, and besides, this review is already too long. So in conclusion, I think many fans will be happy with this episode. I certainly was (insert joke about my last name here).