The latest episode of #StarTrekPicard, “Dominion,” was a step back from the thrills of the last few weeks but featured some fantastic performances. @StarTrekOnPPlus
Let me start by saying by this point in Star Trek: Picard‘s third and final season, you should stay off the internet completely if you don’t like spoilers. Not just because of people on social media, but headlines in mainstream publications going “Oh look, spoiler just did spoiler thing!” accompanied by a surprise-spoiling photo. Every episode ramps up the reveals and twists as the show barrels toward what is sure to be an explosive conclusion.
There. You have been warned. Review to commence below this picture of our space parents.
The seventh episode, “Dominion”, pretty much tells you what it’s going to be about in the title. The Changelings are ramping up their plot, and our faves are on the run. They hide out in a scrapyard, where Seven seeks help from a familiar face. Hey look, Tuvok is back! And Tim Russ is absolutely excellent. Despite a little gray, it feels like no time has passed at all for the character—same expressions, mannerisms, and voice patterns. On Star Trek: Voyager (which I’ve recently been nostalgia-watching thanks to Picard) some of my favorite episodes involved Tuvok slipping from his Vulcan rationality and watching how Tim Russ seamlessly went from Tuvok being all, well, Tuvok-y, to taking on entirely different personalities. We’re treated to another such moment here, when a question from Seven reveals this “Tuvok” to be a Changeling.
The Titan is on its own now. Tuvok wasn’t the first ally they attempted to seek out, but it seems he might be the last at this point. The clock is ticking down to Frontier Day, and the crew is no closer to figuring out just what the Changelings are planning. Like us, the audience, all they can do is theorize, and one of their ideas was pretty close to what fellow The Workprint writer Victor Catano and I were speculating about earlier this week… maybe they’re after Picard’s genetic material (his body, his son) to create a perfect copy for nefarious reasons.
Speaking of Picard’s son—what’s going on with that little rascal? Last week, he was not-so-subtly flirting with Sidney La Forge (prompting a fun dad moment from Geordi), and this week, he doesn’t seem shy about pursuing his little crush. With some telepathic help… Hey, maybe those weird visions aren’t just brain-disease hallucinations after all. It would seem a waste to tease us with those visions only for them to wind up meaningless, and this episode hints that Crusher and Picard are missing something when it comes to their baby boy.
The bulk of the episode is about what happens after the Titan lures Vadic and her henchmen on board with the plan of trapping and interrogating her, and of course, that goes about as well as you’d expect. Vadic is completely unfazed, and you get the sense right from the start that she’s in control of the whole situation. Amanda Plummer gives a wonderfully creepy performance as she tells her story. The reveal isn’t particularly interesting, and the monologuing goes on a bit long for my taste. With Worf, Raffi, and Riker off the ship (sadly, we don’t get any updates from that storyline this week), the show again feels like it’s struggling to fill its runtime and chooses to just loop its more dramatic moments.
We also get a few moments with the new, older-looking android who possess both Data and Lore’s personalities, plus others. It’s wonderful seeing Brent Spiner slip so seamlessly between the two performances. Plot-wise, he does get a little to do, but not much.
Overall, “Dominion” is mostly an episode to watch some scene-chewing acting, get more background on what the Changelings might be up to, and confirm the idea that Jack’s red-eyed visions are more than a medical issue. Despite the tense writing and dramatic (lack of) lighting, though, it felt hard to get really invested in what felt like a saggy middle chapter. I guess it was inevitable after the thrills of the last two weeks. Here’s hoping next week picks things back up.
3.5/5 stars… with a whole star added for Tim Russ, Amanda Plummer, and Brent Spiner