“Stardust City Rag” is the fifth episode of the TV show “Star Trek: Picard” and follows “Absolute Candor“. 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 “Stardust City Rag”.
The starship La Sirena has reached Freecloud and Raffi Musiker (Michelle Hurd) has found Dr. Bruce Maddox (John Ales), the problem is that he’s in the hands of Bjayzl, the boss of a criminal group on the planet. The woman intends to sell Maddox to Tal Shiar and the only hope of getting in the middle of the deal is to offer her to exchange him with the only alternative that can interest her: 7 of 9 (Jeri Ryan).
“Stardust City Rag” is 7 of 9’s episode and you can see it from the beginning because the flashback that starts all the episodes of this show is about her. There’s a brief appearance by another ex Borg we know from “Star Trek: Voyager”, Icheb, which makes us understand why 7 of 9 hates Bjayzl.
The main part of the episode’s plot is a really dangerous game of deception aimed at freeing Dr. Bruce Maddox. In the development of this plot there are also over the top moments because both Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Captain Rios (Santiago Cabrera) have to pretend to be flamboyant-looking criminals. The balance between dramatic moments and comic moments is always difficult to find and honestly in this episode it didn’t seem very good to me.
The episode is strong in the development of some characters, starting from 7 of 9, making us understand the origins of her anger and her story in the years following her return to the Federation with the Voyager. Her moments with Picard are enough for me to forgive the episode’s flaws.
In an episode where there are no scenes set in the Borg cube, we find out more about Raffi Musiker. It’s another moment in the show in which there’s a story that is told without subtleties in order to compress various meanings in a few minutes.
In the episode ending, we finally begin to see something of Dr. Agnes Jurati’s (Alison Pill) true intentions. The reasons for her participation in Picard’s expedition made sense but there was a suspicion that she was hiding something. It’s positive that her emotional reaction suggests that she has motives of a certain complexity, which perhaps will be developed with subtlety and nuances.
In the end, “Stardust City Rag” is an episode that brought some revelations, also on some characters’ hidden motives. Overall, it was uneven but the contents are still interesting. Picard and his crewmates gathered some important information that offers intriguing development possibilities.