“Absolute Candor” is the fourth episode of the TV show “Star Trek: Picard” and follows “The End is the Beginning“. It’s available in the USA on the CBS All Access streaming platform and in many other countries on Amazon Prime Video.
Note. This article contains some spoilers about “Absolute Candor”.
Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) began his journey on the starship “La Sirena” in search of Dr. Bruce Maddox but it’s already time for a detour. The destination is the planet Vashti, where he finds again Zani (Amirah Vann) and the other assassin-nuns of the Romulan order called Qowat Milat.
The episode that marks the debut in the show by Jonathan Frakes as director shows a structure that now seems a precise choice. The beginning is a flashback to the time of the Romulan crisis with the then Admiral Jean-Luc Picard in the midst of rescue operations. This time we see him directly in contact with a group of refugees and he’s a man who has changed since the times of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. The captain who kept his distance from the crew and was uncomfortable with children forges a relationship with a Romulan child, Elnor (Ian Nunney), but sees all his efforts lost after the attack of the synthetics on Mars.
Jean-Luc Picard’s return to the planet Vashti is problematic because of what happened in the past and because it’s become a dangerous place. The plot development isn’t exactly subtle in showing the relationship between Picard and the now adult Elnor (Evan Evagora) and the state of the Romulan city, whose inhabitants feel rightly betrayed by the Federation. The impression is that the screenwriters are focusing on the various mysteries at the center of the story, using elsewhere narrative devices that are at the limit of the cliché, if not beyond. These are concepts that can be developed quickly without many details that are easily understood by the audience.
Jean-Luc Picard himself talks about a quest, because that’s what his journey has become. In “Absolute Candor” he must once again come to terms with the past, this time with the Romulan refugees, and at the same time complete the group that will participate in his quest. Even the ending of the episode is certainly not subtle, with the arrival of the person that many fans were waiting for. 😉
For once, the subplot set in the Borg cube remained in the background. There’s some development in the relationship between Soji (Isa Briones) and Narek (Harry Treadaway), made more complicated because Soji seems to have doubts about him and Narek is more than ever put under pressure by his sister, the fake Narissa Rizzo (Peyton List). It remains to be seen whether the two of them are blood siblings or if they’re just teasing us with a Lannister-style relationship between them. 😀
In the end, “Absolute Candor” offers above all insights into some characters and the relationships between them in light of past and present events. Jean-Luc Picard was more than ever the protagonist, but there were some interesting moments such as those between Captain Rios (Santiago Cabrera) and Dr. Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill). In short, an episode in which even when events are developed in an obvious way it still offers a lot of substance.