Bad Boys for Life
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Deftly weaving together a pair of intrigue-filled story threads, "The End Is the Beginning" starts a thrillingly uncharted course for the urgent secrets of Picard's story.
Throughout much of it, especially once Santiago Cabrera's compelling new character, Rios, was introduced, it felt like this show was finally about to achieve warp velocity.
The thought of mounting a rescue effort without the Federation's backing is out of the question for Picard, as he notes to Raffi Musiker. Which is what makes the arc a novel one for our dear captain.
"The End Is the Beginning" subsequently sets about cross-cutting between two momentous encounters, both of which culminate with a tense interview.
Anything could happen from here, but the end of this episode brings Picard's launch phase to a successful conclusion.
A huge part of what makes this episode feel much more meaningful than last week's entry is the sheer number of characters that are introduced.
Three episodes in and Star Trek: Picard has established itself as a show that is every bit as restrained and polished as Captain Jean-Luc Picard himself.
It's satisfying to see Soji use her knowledge of other cultures to be able to communicate with Ramdha.
Although "Remembrance" and "Maps and Legends" both reminded us why Picard is the hero he is in the first place, the most recent episode really begins to put that into practice.
"The End Is the Beginning" isn't exactly a perfect entry in this regard, but it does deliver on moving the show forward and getting us to a place where Picard can say "engage!" as his new ship blasts off to warp.
Rather than bombarding you with information, episode 3 follows that old storytelling maxim that it's better to show than tell. Yes, there's still plenty to absorb, but this instalment uses character interactions to deliver its revelations.
Beyond being a grammatical black mark The End of the Beginning signals an advance into uncharted waters for Picard... Botched assassinations, intimate interrogations and emotional blackmail all lend episode three a sense of urgency.
As a tough starship captain who operates outside the law, Rios is perhaps the most tropey character in the cast.