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Recap / Star Trek: Picard S1E09 "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1"

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The Coppelian Orchids give the term "Flower Power" a whole new meaning.

The crew arrives at the android homeworld, but the Romulans are not far behind.


  • Ace Pilot: Narek gives Rios a run for his money in the piloting department when their ships engage in a Space Battle around Coppelius. Narek could very well have obliterated La Sirena if Seven of Nine hadn't arrived with the Artifact, but their vessels are rendered powerless by the Orchids before a winner can be determined.
  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated: Sutra, a sentient android, is passionate about Vulcan culture. She has read Surak's texts, she plays the ka'athyra beautifully, and she somehow taught herself the ability to perform a Mind Meld.
  • Alien Blood: Narek has a large cut on his cheek, so there's green blood smeared on the left side of his face.
  • Ambiguous Situation: It's unclear whether it was Narek or Sutra who murdered Saga.
  • Anti-Interference Lock Up: Altan puts Picard under house arrest to keep him from stopping the summoning of the higher synthetics, either through direct action or by using a Patrick Stewart Speech to persuade someone to call it off.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: A captive Narek complains about how he's being treated because he's thirsty and has no access to water. Saga inquires, "How do Romulans treat their prisoners?" He scoffs, "Let's change the subject."
  • The Atoner:
    • At Altan's suggestion, Agnes decides to continue Maddox's work to atone for killing him.
      Altan: You owe a great debt. Would you like the chance to repay it? To give a life instead of taking one?
      Jurati: Yes.
    • Picard is accused of wanting to rescue the synthetics to atone for his failure to save the Romulans, rather than because his help will actually achieve anything.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The translation of the episode's Latin title is "Even in Arcadia, there am I." The phrase is generally regarded as a memento mori, the "I" in question being Death (represented in this case by the Romulan fleet), and Arcadia meaning some utopian land like the synth compound on Coppelius.
  • Blatant Lies: Narek claims that he was afraid that Soji would kill him, which is why he attempted to murder her in the Zhal Makh meditation chamber, but this is a big fat lie because she hadn't activated yet, so she presented no danger to him at the time. Soji, now a Living Lie Detector, tells him to shut up.
  • Boring, but Practical: La Sirena is totally without power, so without Sickbay's fancy Holographic Terminal, Jurati is unable to scan an unconscious Picard until she finds an old-school medical tricorder.
  • Brain Uploading: Altan Soong is working on a way to upload minds into android bodies.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Sutra muses to Narek that her desire to kill him might have outweighed her immediate need of his services. Luckily for him, the latter won out.
  • Civilization Destroyer: Sutra learns from her mind-meld with Jurati that there are extragalactic synths who can be summoned to annihilate all biological life in the Milky Way.
  • Coming in Hot: La Sirena, the Borg Cube, and Narek's ship all have a very rough landing after being grabbed by space orchids.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Some of the synthetic beings have golden skin like Data, evidently being earlier models.
    • Jurati told Picard that Maddox's "fractal neuronic cloning" technique creates synths in pairs. Coppelius Station is populated almost entirely by twins, except Altan (who's not a synth) and Sutra (whose twin, Jana, is dead). Presumably, Beautiful Flower's surviving twin is also there.
    • One of Data's children uses a Vulcan technique, although this time it's a mind meld instead of a nerve pinch.
    • Raffi says that "homicidal fungi" is a thing. Does she know about May Ahern?
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: The android homeworld has a relatively modern aesthetic, but everyone dresses in togas.
  • David Versus Goliath: The Coppelian Orchids are dwarfed by the Borg Cube, but three of them are able to neutralize the Artifact and drag it down to the planet surface.
  • Declaration of Protection: The Admonition is a message to developing synthetic life from higher synthetic life to protect them from the organics who might do them harm.
  • Dies Wide Open: Altan Soong laments while he cradles Saga's body, whose murder by Eye Scream is evident because while her right optical processor is visibly intact, her left one has been irreversibly damaged by her own hummingbird brooch.
    Altan: Perfect golden eye. What did [Narek] do to your beautiful eye?
  • Distressed Dude: Narek is captured and imprisoned by the androids.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: In order to avoid this scenario, Picard warns his team not to pity him because of his terminal medical condition.
    Picard: Anyone who treats me like a dying man will run the risk of pissing me off. Is that clear?
  • Doppelgänger Spin: Narek rigs his cloak to project a false image of his ship having taken damage, along with a faint life signature to convince La Sirena that he's seriously wounded.
  • Dull Surprise:
    • Most people would freak out when they see a Borg Cube approaching, but Rios responds with a flat "That's unexpected."
    • After activating the long-range sensors of the Artifact, Raffi and Rios react in a very muted fashion considering how dire the situation is.
      Rios: How many?
      Raffi: Uh, 218 warbirds.
      Rios: Oh, 218.
      Raffi: Mm-hmm.
      Rios: That's not so bad.
      Raffi: True. We only really have to worry about the first 109.
  • Eldritch Starship: The synths remotely control giant flowers called Orchids which attach themselves to enemy vessels and drain them of power, then let them fall out of orbit and crash to the planet's surface.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Romulan mythology speaks of two sisters, one who dies and one who becomes "The Destroyer" who summons an army of demons to end all life. Ramdha and the Zhat Vash become convinced that these sisters are Dahj and Soji, but the events of this episode show that they were almost certainly Jana, who was killed aboard the U.S.S. ibn Majid (by Rios's former commanding officer under orders from Starfleet Security), and Sutra, who advocates the idea of using the Admonition's information to summon higher synthetic life-forms to exterminate all organic life in the galaxy.
  • Eye Cam: When Picard regains consciousness after passing out, he slowly opens his eyes and we get a glimpse of Jurati from his unfocused point of view.
  • Eye Scream: Saga is stabbed in the eye with her hummingbird brooch.
  • False Flag Operation: Sutra allows Narek to escape, then uses the fact that he killed Saga on the way out (which, under the circumstances, should be taken with a grain of salt) as proof that organics can't be trusted, thereby justifying calling the higher synthetics to wipe the organics out wholesale.
  • Fanservice:
    • A mild case, as Elnor goes sleeveless by the time that Picard arrives on the Artifact.
    • Sutra's outfit reveals part of her midriff, waist, and back.
  • Fanservice Extra: Some of the well-toned male androids are shirtless, and some of the attractive female androids wear fairly revealing clothing.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Rios swears in Spanish during Narek's attack.
    Rios: ¡Puta madre! Our Romulan shadow is back! [...] ¡Malparido!
  • Foreign Language Title: "Et in Arcadia Ego" is Latin for "Even in Arcadia, there am I."
  • Gratuitous Spanish:
    • Rios curses in Spanish twice during his Space Battle with Narek: "¡Puta madre! (Motherfucker!)" and "¡Malparido! (Bastard!)"
    • There are two Spanish words in this exchange between Jurati and Rios:
      Jurati: Am I inolvidable (unforgettable)?
      Rios: Absolutamente (Absolutely).
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The extragalactic synths end up being this. Not only did their Admonition cause the Zhat Vash to kick off the plot, but they explicitly declare themselves to be Biocidal Maniacs who are ready, willing, and able to swoop in and kill every organic lifeform that they can get their hands on.
  • Gunship Rescue: Seven shows up in the now-functional Borg Cube to provide backup against Narek, although the Orchids catch and disable all of them.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: Picard's slow heartbeat is heard while he's dreaming, and it's also accompanied by the sound of what is probably the chime of a triangle.
  • Hyperspeed Ambush: Narek attacks La Sirena immediately after emerging from the transwarp conduit.
  • Identical Grandson: Once again, Brent Spiner plays a member of the Soong family, as he did before in The Next Generation and Enterprise. In addition, Altan's extreme protectiveness of his creations mirrors that of his ancestor Arik.
  • I'm Not Doing That Again: After La Sirena emerges from the transwarp conduit (which was a bumpy ride), Raffi calmly says, "And I am never going to do that ever again."
  • Improvised Weapon: Saga's killer used the sharp end of her own hummingbird brooch to murder her.
  • Internal Reveal: Picard reveals his neurodegenerative condition to the crew, although he warns them not to treat him any differently for it.
  • It's All My Fault: Soji blames herself for leading the Romulans to Coppelius. Altan lets her off the hook, as she didn't know the significance of what she told Narek.
  • Leitmotif: Seven's appearance is once again heralded by a low-key version of Voyager's main theme.
  • Living Lie Detector:
    • Saga reassures Soji that she's monitoring Narek's biofunctions, so she'll know if he's lying.
    • When Narek makes a Love Confession to Soji, she acknowledges his sincerity by replying, "I know."
    • After Sutra asks Jurati a question, the former warns the latter that she'll be able tell if the answer is a lie.
  • Love Confession: Narek admits to Soji that he loves her, and because she's a Living Lie Detector, she knows that he's telling the truth. However, his feelings don't stop him from trying to kill her, so Soji is disgusted by Narek and describes him as a "sad, twisted thing."
  • Madness Mantra: Jurati is so scared by the turbulence when La Sirena is inside a transwarp conduit that she repeatedly mutters "Be over" while huddled beneath her desk.
  • Manchild: Invoked by Sutra when she tells Saga, "I'll babysit Soji's friend [Narek]."
  • Man Hug: Elnor runs to Picard and hugs him, happy and relieved that his father figure is still alive.
  • Mirroring Factions: Sutra equates the Federation's ban on synthetic lifeforms with the Romulan policy to hunt them down to extinction.
    Sutra: Are you and your Federation any different from the Romulans? Banning synthetics was just a way of exterminating us in advance.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • One of the android women is wearing an outfit clearly inspired by (although invokednot as revealing as) the costume worn by android girl Andrea in "What Are Little Girls Made Of?".
    • The Soong family's Identical Grandson Syndrome is getting a little out of hand at this point, as Brent Spiner plays his third organic Soong (Noonien, Arik, Altan) to go with the three synthetic ones made in the family image (Data, Lore, B4).
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: The Artifact, crewed by Seven, Elnor, and the surviving ex-Borg, arrives in a Gunship Rescue to stop Narek's ship from destroying La Sirena— and then the synths' Orchids swarm all three ships and drag them down to crash-land on the planet's surface.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Bruce Maddox, in his heroic capacity as a creator of the synths, decided to be devious and lock away the knowledge of the synth homeworld in Soji's mind. As a consequence, she didn't know that she had to keep it a secret, and gave it away to Narek and the Romulans. She earns forgiveness for bringing the Romulans down on the synths' heads for precisely this reason.
  • Non Sequitur, *Thud*: Played for Drama; as Picard doing this for no apparent reason ends up being how the crew finds out about his neurodegenerative condition.
    Picard: (barely conscious) Thank you for coming... everyone...
  • Once More, with Clarity!: It turns out that the Romulans have misunderstood the Admonition all along because it wasn't meant for their hardware (their brains). They thought that it was a warning for organic life that A.I. Is a Crapshoot, when it was actually instructions for synthetics on how to send a Distress Signal when threatened by organics. It's a bit like putting a Blu-ray disc into a CD player, or trying to run a Mac program on a PC without an emulator. Best case, nothing happens; worst case, you might need a new CD player.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Invoked by Picard when he discovers that Hugh, a Nice Guy who isn't aggressive, was willing to kill Romulans in order to prevent more of his fellow xBs on the Artifact from being exterminated.
    Picard: Poor Hugh. It must have taken appalling brutality to turn such a gentle soul to violence.
  • Parental Substitute: Altan Soong sees himself as the father of his android creations — whom he calls "my children" — and he tells them that Jurati is the closest thing to a mother that they'll ever know.
    Sutra: A mother would die for her children. Would you? I will know if you're lying.
    Jurati: Yes.
    Sutra: Good.
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: While Picard's gift with oratory is acknowledged by Altan Soong and the colony of synths, they believe that Starfleet will ignore him again the same way that it ignored him after the attack on Mars, and that letting him loose with his superb diction in the colony would cause the synths to start wavering— hence they place him under house arrest to prevent this.
    Picard: Everyone. After the ban, after the ibn Majid, I understand why you did not trust the Federation, why you might not have trusted me, but... I have a ship, and there is room for all of you. I will see to your safety, and when you are safe, I will become an advocate on your behalf. I will speak to the Federation with your voice. I will demand that they end the ban. And the Federation will listen to me!
    Altan: No, they won't. Look at them. They've never met anyone like you before. That granite face, wisdom and integrity etched into every line. The eloquence, the conviction. They don't know what hit them. Back on Earth, kids, they didn't listen to him after the attack on Mars. And they're not going to believe him now.
  • Perfect Pacifist People: Before the arrival of La Sirena and Narek, the androids on Coppelius enjoyed a crime-free existence because they never had a prisoner, and therefore there was no violence or murders amongst themselves.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Sutra's clothing is salmon pink, and she has the most sultry temperament of all the androids. She utilizes her feminine wiles to manipulate Narek.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Rios previously mentioned that Romulan Snakehead ships have "massive firepower for their size"; Narek demonstrates this by giving La Sirena a serious pounding.
  • Platonic Declaration of Love:
    Raffi: After everything that you've done for me, I need to say thank you. I love you, JL. … Oh, you-you don't have to say it back to me.
    Picard: I don't?
    Raffi: Well, n-not unless you want to. Uh, sor-yeah, no. It's fine. It's… it's fine.
    Picard: Okay.
    Raffi: Okay.
    Picard: I love you too, Raffi.
  • Pretty Butterflies: Altan Soong in his own words "really missed butterflies," so he designed synthetic versions so that he can admire their beauty as they fly around Coppelius Station. Jurati marvels at one when she enters his lab.
  • Properly Paranoid: When it appears that they've disabled Narek's ship, Soji thinks that it's a trick and wants to finish him off. Picard instead chooses to save his life, at which point Soji is proven right when it turns out to be a projection.
  • Red Alert: For the first time (on-screen, at least) on La Sirena, alert sirens and lights go off when Narek attacks.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Brent Spiner plays Altan Soong, the never-before-mentioned biological son of Dr. Noonian Soong.note 
  • The Reveal: Sutra extracts the message of the Admonition from Jurati's mind.
    Life begins. The dance of division and replication. Imperfect. Finite. Organic life evolves. Yearns for perfection. That yearning leads to synthetic life. But organics perceive this perfection as a threat. When they realize their creations do not age, or become sick, or die, they will seek to destroy them. And in so doing, destroy themselves. Beyond the boundaries of time and space, we stand. An alliance of synthetic life. Watching you. Waiting for your signal. Summon us and we will come. You will have our protection. Your evolution will be their extinction.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The Admonition warns synthetic life that organic life will seek to wipe them out if the latter feels threatened by the former, and that whoever created the message will come to provide aid if summoned. The Zhat Vash hijacking this warning and misinterpreting it — thinking that synthetic life will automatically cause the extinction of organic life — led them to persecute all synthetic beings, meaning that Sutra is far more inclined to summon the higher synthetic beings and destroy organic life in turn.
  • Shout-Out: The planet where the androids are based is called Coppelius. invokedWord of God confirms that it's named for the antagonist in the short story The Sandman (1816), written by E.T.A. Hoffman in 1816 (the source, although much-altered, of the ballet Coppélia), which had as a theme the creation of automata— as well as a motif of plucking out of eyes.
  • Some Kind of Force Field: When Narek touches the force field that keeps him trapped inside a makeshift prison cell on Coppelius, it lights up.
  • So Proud of You: Picard says this to Elnor as he leaves him with Seven to protect the xBs.
    Picard: El... I'm very, very proud of you.
  • Space Battle: Narek's Snakehead fighter attacks La Sirena when they both reach Coppelius, with both ships engaging in some Old-School Dogfighting. Just before the Artifact can join in their firefight, all three vessels are incapacitated by the Orchids.
  • Stunned Silence: Picard is incapable of a response when an xB addresses him as "Locutus," a name that he sorely dreads.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Sutra plans to call the higher synthetic beings to stop the Romulan fleet and protect synthetic life by exterminating organic beings.
  • There Is No Kill like Overkill:
    • The Romulans have assembled 218 warbirds for their assault on the synth homeworld.
    • The Admonition's message to synths is that if they call for help, its creators will come to save them... by wiping out the organics who threaten them.
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: Sutra speculates that the Admonition was meant for android minds, and the Romulans are simply being driven insane by a message that was never meant for them. This is partly true, in that the destruction that the message warns of is quite real, but it's meant to be for the benefit of synthetic life.
  • Towering Flower: The androids of Coppelius defend their planet with Organic Technology that they've named "Orchids." These flowers are the size of a starship, can propel themselves through space, and can disable a ship's power systems on contact.
    Picard: ...What just happened?
    Jurati: They hit us with a flower.
  • Tranquil Fury: Soong is furious at Agnes for killing his friend and partner Maddox, and tells her so without even raising his voice.
  • Trash the Set:
    • Although La Sirena is still structurally intact after an Orchid pulled it down to the planet surface, its interior is a huge mess.
    • The Artifact is in shambles after it crashes on Coppelius. Picard observes to Soji, "We both survived; it didn't."
  • Trying Not to Cry:
    • Raffi is misty-eyed when she learns that Picard is dying.
    • Elnor tries not to cry after he and Picard, whom he loves like a father, share what is likely to be their final farewell.
    • Seven of Nine is so moved by the exchange between Picard and Elnor that she becomes teary-eyed, as she understands that they're a Family of Choice.
  • Villain Has a Point: The Zhat Vash aren't entirely illogical in their crusade to prevent the development of synths. Even if they had correctly understood the message centuries before, it would still have given them justification to stop the development of synthetic life in order to prevent such a situation from arising in the first place. Additionally, there have already been synthetic lifeforms in the past of the Trek Verse who would have called the synthetic alliance had they known of them.
  • We Help the Helpless:
    • After Hugh's death, Seven of Nine has taken it upon herself to look after the xBs on the Artifact.
    • Elnor has a choice between accompanying Picard on his mission to rescue the sentient androids from being eradicated by the Romulans or staying behind to help Seven with the former Borg drones. His father figure persuades him to do the latter.
      Elnor: You're dying. [...] I'm torn, you need protection now more than ever.
      Picard: The xBs need your protection much more than I do.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: After seeing the Admonition, Sutra decides to summon the higher synthetic beings to protect her people, even if it means destroying all organic life.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Altan calmly shames Agnes for killing Maddox.
    Altan: What you did... shame on you, Agnes. You put out a small, bright candle shedding its light in a vast darkness.