Star Trek: Picard Season 3 Episode 7 Review – Dominion 

Vadic's attempt to take over the U.S.S. Titan doesn't provide as many answers as we might have hoped on Star Trek: Picard

Jean-Luc and Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: Picard Season 3
Photo: Trae Patton/Paramount+.

This Star Trek: Picard review contains spoilers.

Star Trek: Picard Season 3 Episode 7

Given that “The Bounty” was the easily best episode of Star Trek: Picard to date, it was probably always inevitable that whatever came after would feel like a letdown. Such is the case with “Dominion,” an hour that purports to finally offer viewers some answers about Vadic, the Changelings, and their larger plans, but where very little actually happens. This is not to say the episode is bad, per se. (And it’s certainly far from the worse episode of Picard we’ve ever seen!) There are a handful of solid subplots at work throughout—the stuff with Geordi, Data, and Lore is especially emotionally compelling—and while they don’t all come together in an entirely satisfying way, they certainly set the table for an explosive follow-up next week.

The episode starts off incredibly strong, with a surprise guest appearance from Star Trek: Voyager’s Tim Russ as Tuvok and a ridiculously tense and satisfying sequence in which Seven of Nine must attempt to figure out whether or not the man she’s talking to is her old friend or a Changeling imposter. It turns out that he’s the latter, but watching the deft way that Seven susses out the truth—and her righteous anger when she realizes the real Tuvok has been taken prisoner is a shining example of how much Jeri Ryan can do with the smallest of onscreen moments.

And to its credit, “Dominion” does attempt to maintain this level of emotional heft, with several major revelations about both the Dominion War and Starfleet’s past spread over the course of the hour. Unfortunately, none of it is as interesting onscreen as Picard clearly wants it to be, particularly when the episode poses so many more questions than it answers. Yes, the fact that Starfleet committed clear atrocities during the Dominion War is horrific and goes against everything that the Federation has told themselves that they are and want to be. Our ideal version of Starfleet would obviously never withhold a cure to a genocidal virus that its very own Section 31 created in the first place, or attempt to use another species’ suffering to its own benefit. 

Ad – content continues below

Yet, it somehow appears that Section 31’s secret experiments on Changeling prisoners of war (called Project Proteus) are precisely what seems to have helped them evolve into beings that can mimic human genetic material in new and undetectable ways in the first place, the same abilities that are now essentially fueling Vadic’s plans for revenge. (And given how important Section 31 has been in both this series and in season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery, surely that Michelle Yeoh-led Emperor Georgiou spin-off has to be confirmed soon, right? Right?

As the U.S.S. Titan continues to search for the missing William Riker and attempts to evade capture by the Shrike, the group eventually decides to allow Vadic and her goons to board the ship in the hopes of setting a trap and capturing them by surprise. This is obviously an extremely stupid and doomed plan—and particularly if you watched season 3’s earlier episodes where every time Picard had an idea it turned out to be objectively terrible—but at least it finally gives us a proper face-off between Vadic, Picard, and Crusher, an excellent attempt at a good cop/bad cop interrogation in which all sides involved are essentially guilty (directly or indirectly) of terrible things. 

Amanda Plummer remains delightfully creepy as she chomps on all the scenery in sight and dances around to a symphony only she can hear. That said, it might be time for us to admit that, as villains, go, Vadic isn’t particularly interesting. Her character has become more a revenge-obsessed middleman and less an entertainingly fearless space marauder. Her crazy-sounding pronouncement about how Jack “was never for” his parents is just one of many heavy-handed hints pointing toward the idea that the son of Jean-Luc Picard is not who he seems. Yet, the hour does little but introduce more questions about both his identity and what the Changelings want from him in the first place. I mean…I guess it’s cool that Jack can read minds now? And is also somehow a badass fighter despite most likely having little to no training in weapons or hand-to-hand combat?  At least he and Sidney La Forge are cute together. (I’m here for the prospect of Geordi and Jean-Luc being cranky, reluctant in-laws, is what I’m saying.)

Part of the problem is the question of Jack Crusher’s true identity just isn’t that intriguing on its own. Yes, I think we’re all pretty invested in the character as he relates to Picard, Crusher, and whatever the relationship is between them now, but we barely know him in his own right as a character beyond that. The sudden revelation that he’s always felt deep down as though something is wrong with him doesn’t completely track with the swaggery bravado we’ve seen him display throughout this season to date and it’s hard to believe he’s been hearing voices telling him to do things all this time without ever feeling the need to tell anyone else about before in his life. And can anyone tell me why Jack’s suddenly decided that his life isn’t worth risking the safety of others when that’s exactly what he’s been doing with his mother for months before Picard found them?

This is no slam on Ed Speelers, who is certainly doing his best to infuse Jack’s frequently nonsensical and/or confusing dialogue with genuine emotion and weight. But at this point, keeping the secret of whatever’s truly going on with him feels as though it’s becoming increasingly dictated by where we are in the season episode order than whether it makes sense for the story we’re watching. Per Vadic’s pronouncement at the end of the hour, we might find out who he “really is” next week, but is it going to be too little too late?

Throughout the hour, we also hear more discussion and speculation about the supposed planned Changeling attack on the Frontier Day celebrations but are once again given no real information about what the group intends to do or why they somehow need Picard’s dead human body and Jack’s living one in order to pull it off. Now that I’ve read it I’m partial to the theory that they’re trying to somehow resurrect or recreate Locutus of Borg because even if that doesn’t entirely make sense, it’d be fun as heck to watch.

Ad – content continues below


3.5 out of 5