the story: Conflict resolution; saying goodbye to Data.
review: Yeah, that was about right. The general plot of the series was a juxtaposition between duty on a large scale and a small one. The large scale was confronting bigotry in opposing forces, and helping both sides realize there was more than one possible response. The small scale was finding peace with the death of Data.
For much of the season, the small scale goal was in the background, as Picard assembled his response to a crisis that in effect happened in large part because he was no longer in a position to prevent it, and that was largely because he no longer had Data at his side. “Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2” is a much bigger success than its preceding component largely because it doesn’t allow itself to become lost in the details. In any proper ending, the details ought to be clear enough, and in this case they are because the goal was already explained in the beginning.
Except Data doesn’t return. He stays dead. He has a chance to explain why he actually prefers to remain dead, and it’s the perfect completion of the journey he began in his first appearance, finally understanding that the idea of being human is basically embracing the limits he was always determined to push.
Anyway, there’s also Riker’s pitch-perfect cameo (which sums up his command dynamic with Picard), characters who didn’t make sense last episode making sense (including yet another Problematic Soong Android being summarily deactivated; I’d really like if just one of them had a chance to be anything but binary).
Basically the best possible ending to the season, and everything it needed to be to celebrate Picard and his legacy. Until they figure out how to include, y’know, Guinan. Q. And, uh, the rest of the Next Generation gang...
- franchise - Final resolution for Nemesis. Maybe fans can decide to embrace it?
- series - A great ending to the season.
- character - The final statement on Data.
- essential - The final statement on Picard’s moral, heroic character.
Brent Spiner (Data, Soong)
Jonathan Frakes (Riker)
Jeri Ryan (Seven)