"The Impossible Box" is the sixth episode of the series, "Picard", marked CBS and Amazon Prime, set in the Star Trek universe.

It is a few weeks that I accompany you in this sci-fi experience with profound human implications. By now the season is moving towards the dissolution of the plot and Picard finally reaches the Borg Artifact. Did you miss something?

You can find, in these articles, what has happened so far, especially the easter eggs: Brief introductory guide, Episode One, Episode Two, Episode Three, Episode Four, Episode five.

And now, let's try to open “The Impossible Box”.

Borg dreams and mentality

We can immediately notice a change in the episode compared to the previous ones. If until today each episode began with a flashback linked to past events, this begins with a dream / memory of Soji. We all know by now that Soji is a synthetic being and we find the first reference to the old series of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" right in the opening: Soji, like his progenitor Data, can dream.

The first time Data discovers a subroutine to make him dream is after a plasma burst has overloaded his neural circuits. This happens in the double episode (16 and 17, "The Voice of the Blood") of the sixth season. Later, in the seventh season, Data also has an experience with nightmares in the episode “Program: Dream” (episode 6).

After a “very false” intimate curtain, where the only really interesting thing is the wooden hand, a memory of a Data always ready to draw it, the action moves to “La Sirena”. We find a Jean-Luc Picard in deep crisis, both for the death of Maddox, and for the fact of having to approach a Borg Cube again, although this may be disconnected from the Collective.
Picard's way of acting is that of a man who has been traumatized by his experience with the Borg, of someone who has always wanted to hide the scars rather than face them.

In fact, after taking Dr. Jurati "bad words" by defining the Borg as a metastasis of the universe, he retires to his holographic study and carries out research on the subject. The keywords of the research are: "Artifact", "Treatise" and "Borg".

In the following series of images, we can recognize Hugh / Thug, the first Borg to regain self-awareness in the Alpha / Beta quadrant, a meeting between some Romulans, taken from an episode of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine", an image of battle taken from the film "First Contact" and finally an image of Locutus, named after Picard's Drone. In this scene the photography is incredible, because the young Drone face joins and superimposes the current face of Jean-Luc, as if to demonstrate his total inability to face that trauma.

By the way, the above encounter scene is from one of my favorite episodes of the “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” series called “Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges”, but that's another story…

Of Harmony tales, of “The Impossible Box” and moons sideways

The scene following the opening credits, to my taste, has the same impact as a Harmony book, where however we can find very high titles, even fantasy, of global literature. Yet nothing removes my mind that Dr. Jurati wants to commit "that mistake" to protect herself, focusing the thoughts of the only one who could really discover it on something else. If it were really so, the doctor should be awarded an honorary spy.

Let's jump on the Borg Artifact, here we see a picture of family news. Narek and Narissa, as has always happened in previous episodes, are clashing over the method of acting of the younger brother towards Soji. Beyond that we see the impossible box and how between the two, one is reflexive and the other impulsive. But what is the real impossible box? The box itself or the Borg Artifact which is, in effect, a cube?

To end this triptych of scenes, we have a masterful attempt by Raffi to extort diplomatic credentials for Picard. A call, which seems to please, between Raffi and another captain, turns to all intents and purposes into blackmail, putting Raffi's resource in front of the fait accompli that Picard is on his way to the Artifact and how this can be mistaken as act of war. In addition to this, the Captain states that the Romulans have had a bad moon for about two and a half centuries. This is the period in which the Romulans have had relations with the Federation and with the human race in general.

Two centuries of bad temper

The first encounter / clash between these two races took place during the “Enterprise” series, in the episode “Minesweeper” (2 × 03). Furthermore, the whole fourth season is full of encounters with the Romulans, as they are, in effect, the antagonists for the birth of the Federation. Later we find them in the classic series, in the episode "The Invisible Ship" (1 × 14), in which the typical musical theme of every time the Romulans appear in this series is also presented. Even "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" see the Romulans involved in many episodes and, in each of them, there is always a sort of fixed confrontation with the Federation, hence their " Bad mood".

Awareness and walking in the cube

After a few dinners in which it was preferred to deepen the relationships between the various characters of the series, following the umpteenth doubt instilled by Narek in Soji, the latter begins to become aware that something is wrong with her.

During this very emotional scene, we see many small references to the past of Star Trek. First, almost every Soji drawing is a mirror or chiral drawing, we are faced with a clear reference to the paintings made by Data during all seasons of "Star Trek: The Next Generation". In addition to this we can recognize a lunch basket with the title imprinted on it: “The Adventures of Flotter”. The evil Flotter, much appreciated by the character of Naomi Wildman in "Star Trek: Voyager". Do you remember the petulant girl that was Naomi Wildman? Here, I bet Icheb got himself killed for not having anything to do with her anymore. I'm bad right? I swear it was unbearable!

Damn Flotter

But let's come to Jean-Luc. Eventually he gets back on a Cube after nearly thirty years. The arrival is immediately a harbinger of drama. Memories of various episodes pile up in his mind, from "The Borg Attack" part one and two, to "First Contact". For all intents and purposes Picard appears to be falling under the blows of post-traumatic stress syndrome. Again, thirty years later.

When, overwhelmed by memories, he risks losing his balance, ex-Borg intervene to save him, but Picard mistakes this act of theirs, for an attack. Only the intervention of Hugh / Thug manages to calm him down. Here, this character is the first, in the whole series, at least until now, to be happy to see Jean-Luc, so much so that he comes to embrace him.

Their last meeting was in the first episode of the seventh season of "Star Trek: The Next Generation", and they had not parted in the best way. Evidently in thirty years things can change.

Under the skin and under the implants

During Jean-Luc and Hugh / Thug's "pleasant" walk, Picard's way of thinking about the Borg changes, in my opinion a little too abruptly. The ex-Borg who accompanies him, over and over again, points out that he is Jean-Luc Picard, and not Locutus, and how the Borg are the first victims of the Borg themselves.

Visiting the Borg recovery center for implanted against their will, Jean-Luc comes to terms with this finding and realizes that Hugh / Thug's work is truly important. At the same time, the latter hopes that in the future, Picard can spend some words with the Federation to ensure that the former drones are treated less like outcasts.

After a very brief interlude on the ship "La Sirena" in which we have a reference to the Lathinum, exchange material of the XNUMXth century, Narek gives us another little information on Romulan culture: the Zhal Makh. This meditation practice is reserved for Romulans only, and is divided into various segments. In this episode we see five:

  • The first segment is yut makh ("the closure")
  • The second segment is lu shiar ("Look up")
  • The third segment is qlam wath ("Open / reveal")
  • The fourth segment is vri glam ("the center")
  • The fifth segment is rok khan. (I guess it means "home")

Through this practice, Soji begins to see herself for what she is: a wooden puppet. A similar name is the one that, over and over again, William T. Reiker uses to refer, more or less good-naturedly, to Data, in the episodes "Mission to Far Point" and "The Measure of a Man", both of the series "Star Trek: The Next Generation ”.

After self-disclosure, Soji is abandoned in the meditation hall and sentenced to death by means of a device that releases an exotic Talaronic radiation, previously seen in "Star Trek: The Nemesis" when he exterminated the Senate on Romulus.

The impossible box and meditation

Escape to Nepenthe

Soji manages to escape and meet with Jean-Luc and Hugh / Thug, but not before an ex-Borg calls Picard by the name of Locutus. The next scene is very chaotic. The three run through the impossible box, which is the Cube, until they reach the Queen's Alcove. As you know by now, Borg drones respond to a Queen's commands, just like bees in a hive.

Created with GIMP

Here Hugh / Thug through a device of the Sikarians, a race encountered in the Gamma quadrant by the starship Voyager, decides to make the two escape. This space trajector is capable of sending people and things up to forty thousand light years away and the destination of arrival for Jean-Luc is Nepenthe.
This kind of technology, in my opinion, is very similar to that of the Iconians, one of the iconic races of Star Trek who, thanks to these devices, had dominated all the quadrants transporting the troops directly to the planets occupied by their enemies.

The episode ends with Hugh / Thug and Elron, teleporting himself to defend Picard, covering Jean-Luc and Soji's escape.

Opinions on "The Impossible Box"

Undoubtedly the episode is full of emotion. The relationship between Jean-Luc and the Borg, however, resolves a little too quickly, too bad! However, I appreciated the acceleration of the narrative and I hope that the next episode will also be useful for the story. However, I fear that this may not be the case, given that in the next episode my favorite character, William T. Riker, will return, risking to walk the avenue of memories and consequently slow down the story.