Star Trek: Picard - S2 E8 - "Mercy"
By: Maggie Lovitt
April 21, 2000
‘Star Trek: Picard’ Season 2 Episode 8: Freedom, Mercy, and Assimilation Set the Stage for the Final Episodes | Review
Rios proves that he is this series' romantic lead.
Star Trek: Picard's latest Season 2 episode opens with an ominous flashback of a young boy running through the forest away from what appears to be a pair of Vulcans. While past episodes have heavily focused on flashbacks to Picard’s (Patrick Stewart) childhood, this one actually pertains to the situation that Picard and Guinan (Ito Aghayere) found themselves in at the end of last week’s episode. Now in FBI custody, the pair are questioned by Agent Martin Wells (Jay Karnes) about their part in the alleged alien plot to sabotage the Europa Mission. Wells may not be Q, as last week seemed to imply, but he does have a connection to alien life that makes him uniquely suited for this exact moment in history.
Elsewhere, Raffi (Michelle Hurd) and Seven (Jerri Ryan) set out in search of Agnes (Alison Pill) who they believe to be completely under the control of the new Borg Queen. The pair of maybe-erstwhile lovers are at odds with each other, which feels like a long time coming. Their relationship has been mentioned throughout the season but has been mostly treated as a subplot of a subplot, without any real depth. Of course, in order for them to address the undercurrents of what’s been going on between them, they have to face off against the Borg Queen first. Seven taps into what she knows about the Borg, and they manage to track Agnes down to where the Borg Queen has been ripping car batteries out and eating them for a cheap thrill. Their run-in with the Borg Queen is almost a disaster, but she or—rather whatever part of Agnes remains—shows them mercy, which is a very un-Borg-like thing to do.
Their minor conflict in “Mercy” is rooted more squarely in Raffi pushing Seven to utilize the things that she knows about the Borg, which is a source of deep pain for her. With Seven feeling used, she calls Raffi out for manipulating people into doing what she wants, and therein lies the real crux of what’s been going on with Raffi over the last few episodes. She blames herself for Elnor’s (Evan Evagora) death because not only was she unable to save him, but she had pushed him into joining Starfleet. Had she not guided him down the path she wanted for him, he would have been alive and well.
Aboard La Sirena, Rios (Santiago Cabrera) and Teresa (Sol Rodriguez) grow closer with each other while everything else goes to hell in a handbasket for the rest of the crew. There are a few little subtle nods about how at-ease Rios is with this new slice of life he’s found in 2024. Usually, he just sits around and doesn’t smoke his cigar, but this episode makes a point of showing him smoking it this time and lighting it with one of those newfangled (or rather, oldfangled) matches.
Rios asks Teresa questions about what her life is like with her son, Ricardo (Steve Gutierrez)—learning that it really is just the two of them. Between her work in the clinic and raising her son, they just lie around watching cooking shows. Is this setting up the potential for them to leave 2024 and travel to the future with Rios and the crew? Rios isn’t as forthcoming about his upbringing, but Teresa coaxes it out of him with the plot of the next great Hallmark movie. She concocts an elaborate story about how they have been married for over a decade, their relationship has grown strained, and she’s considering an affair, when, out of nowhere he shares some fundamental truth that changes everything. Clearly, Rios isn’t the only one roleplaying a perfect little nuclear family, Teresa is just as caught up in the moment! And honestly, who can blame her? While her son interrupts the moment due to a stomach ache from too many slices of replicator-made cake, Teresa still seizes the opportunity to lock lips with Rios. Despite angling for this to happen for episodes now, Rios still seems completely blown away by the fact that it happened.
Back in the creepy interrogation basement, Picard and Guinan get split up and Guinan comes face-to-face with Q (John de Lancie) who reveals that he is dying. His explanation of everything feels pretty apt for Q; blaming others for the situation, talking around the real issues, and a little clever doublespeak. He can act like he is blameless in everything, but while he’s telling Guinan about his apparently impending demise, he’s also sending Kore (Isa Briones) down the rabbit hole by offering her a vial of blue liquid containing her “freedom” and orchestrating things so Dr. Soong (Brent Spiner) is primed and ready to work for the Borg Queen to get her a team of elite soldiers for her to assimilate.
In the final act of the episode, Agent Wells realizes that his traumatizing run-in with the Vulcans had to happen when he was a boy so that he was the right man to let Picard and Guinan out of prison. Things may be looking up for Picard, but as “Mercy” draws to a close Raffi, Seven, and Rios realize that the Borg Queen has her sights set on La Sirena and plans to use the ship to jumpstart her assimilation of the galaxy. Next week, it seems like they’re going to have to go to war against a new Borg queen and her freshly assimilated team. Something they’re woefully unprepared for. What will happen with Rios, Teresa, and Ricardo aboard the ship when the Borg Queen shows up?
From Den of Geek
The Ready Room