Tag Archives: Star Trek Picard

Star Trek: Picard: Fly Me to the Moon

star-trek-picard-fly-me-to-the-moonAs Picard enters the mid-point of its second season, we’re treated to another episode that feels like it’s moving chess pieces on the board a bit.

This week, we meet Renee Picard, a distant aunt of Picard who was part of the Europa missions that first explored the galaxy, and Brent Spiner’s latest descendent of Dr. Noonian Soogh, who is exploring the field of genetic engineering to keep his daughter alive. Of course, said daughter is played by the same actress that plays Data’s daughter in season one – because, of course, she is.

Behind the scenes, Q is manipulating both parties for reasons that haven’t quite been made clear yet. Given that Q doesn’t experience time in quite the same linear fashion as we do, I can’t help but wonder what his overall end game here is. Has his interest and fascination with Picard turned to hatred, to the point that he’d change history to get back at him? Or are there changes to the continuum that are so radical that Q wants to stop PIcard from ever making them, dating back to the trial on the way to Farpoint station?

I’m not sure what Q’s agenda is – perhaps beyond getting his powers back. But I can’t help but feel that as Picard tries to save Renee Picard that he’s overlooking something fundamentally important with Dr. Soongh’s manipulation. It would be like Q to distract Picard and his crew with one thing while fundamentally altering something else to make the real changes.

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Star Trek: Picard: Assimilation & The Watcher

bqvKB7iYbNR65xUPUR3XpV-1200-80Can we just address the elephant in the room for this fan of Star Trek and Impractical Jokers?

With the cameo by Brian “Q” Quinn from IJ, does this mean that IJ and Star Trek are set in the same universe and that Q is actually a member of the continuum?

OK, so there are probably deeper, more fundamental questions arising from these two episodes of Picard, but it’s still fun for this fan of both shows to ponder.

The first two episodes of the season seem to be about establishing the situation that Picard is addressing in season two – namely that Q has somehow interfered with time and created an alternate timeline. “Assimilation” and “The Watcher” start making steps toward finding a way to correct that adjustment, even if our characters don’t necessarily have a clue yet about where the timeline went wrong and just how to fix it. Continue reading

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Star Trek: Picard — The Stargazer, Penance

Picard-202-penance-q-picard-e1647032601569-1024x512Watching the second season premiere of Picard, two thoughts kept running through my mind (almost to the point of distraction). One was – why did we spend all of season one getting this crew together only to break them all up again? The other was – when is Q going to show up?

I can understand in the times in which we live that the news of Q showing up wouldn’t have been spoiled by the Internet trolls who get up at 3 a.m. to watch new episodes of everything and then put out clickbait headlines to ruin it for those of us who like to do silly things like sleep, but it still felt like a lot of time in the premiere was treading water waiting for John de Lancie to pop in.

Of course, the question of when Q is going to arrive probably distracted me from the feeling that it took ten episodes of season one to get up to the same moment we got to in ninety-minutes with “Encounter at Farpoint” with the crew being assembled and ready for some adventures, only to see everyone scattered again. Now we have to spend an episode or two bringing everyone back together again so we can get this season’s story underway.

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Both of these issues are probably more on me as a viewer than the production itself. But they still stuck out and distracted me from fully engaging with “The Star Gazer” until the final moments.

This probably wasn’t helped by the fact that this viewer is a bit weary of “in media res” openings that tease a huge conflict and then flashback to show us just how we arrived at the said moment. In this case, it’s Picard ordering the destruction of the ship to stop the Borg Queen because Starfleet has incorporated Borg technology in their new ship design. Yes, we get to see the action scene twice and it’s nicely done – but I feel like it wasn’t the best way to start off the season. Continue reading

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Star Trek: Picard: Broken Pieces

brokenpieces1If last week’s installment was about checking in on some of the faces from Picard’s former crew, this week’s installment is about building his newest crew.  After weeks of hints, we finally get some answers and payoffs about the past of Rios and a look at what made Agnes eliminate Bruce Maddox.

I just wish that this hadn’t felt quite so heavy-handed and coming out of what is little more than Picard talking to his new crew around this ship’s version of the conference table.  (Certainly, we saw a lot of conferences during the TNG run and it was a time to have huge exposition dumps.  But somehow those didn’t feel quite as obvious as this one did here).

So, it appears the Romulans are dead set against synthetic life forms emerging due to a thousands-of-years-old prophecy that warns about some type of Destroyer.  And they’re willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that synthetic life forms don’t come to pass (though why they didn’t try harder to eliminate Data during the run of TNG doesn’t seem to add up much).  They’re playing a long game by infiltrating Starfleet and planting agents in place if someone gets too close to creating synthetic life.  (Again, how Noonian Soon survived as long as he did seems like a legitimate question).

So, Admiral Oh is part Romulan, part Vulcan and has no qualms about mind-melding and creating sleeper agents who will carry out her orders, whether they want to or not.  At least to a certain point since see that Anges will kill Maddox but won’t kill Soji (unless it’s some kind of long game in place to get to the planet full of Sojis and eliminate them all at once).  I do find it interesting that the Romulans are willing to sacrifice a lot of their people to the natural disaster of their sun expanding in order to eliminate the synthetics.  How deep and far this hatred goes is something that could be explored in future seasons, assuming this storyline continues — or maybe moves over to Discovery as I’ve heard rumors might happen.

It’s interesting to see that you’ve got two characters making forced into roles they don’t want — Agnes as well as Seven of Nine.   Seven returns and is forced into the role of the Borg queen after Narissa decides to take the Cube for herself and eliminate all the Borg on it.  It was kind of chilling to see the sheer numbers of drones Narissa is willing to sacrifice because of her hatred of synthetic life and her commitment to whatever her part in this unfolding drama is.  I can’t help but wonder if she wanted the Cube to more easily travel the trans-warp conduits that we see referenced in the episode.

Meanwhile, we see that Rios has a reason as well to be skittish — going back to one of his first assignments with the captain who was like a father figure to him.  The issue of his captain being forced to kill the synthetic life forms and then taking his own life is interesting, but it does bring up some deeper questions about just who is connected to this conspiracy and how.  We saw on Voyager that there was a directive to explore certain particles if they’re detected and that it overrode other mission concerns.  I can’t help but wonder just which Starfleet captains have been programmed for this response — and if Picard wasn’t because of his contact and close proximity to Data.  Or did he miss that day in training?

So, with two episodes left, we’ve got a lot on the table and hopefully some answers on the horizon.

Oh, and I did love the Easter egg from canon where Rios’ first captain knew Marta, Picard’s friend from the Academy that we met in “Tapestry.”

 

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Star Trek: Picard: Nepenthe

nepentheIf you’re a Star Trek fan, this is the episode you’ve been waiting for since the previews.  Nothing against Seven of Nine, but seeing Jean-Luc Picard reconnect with William Riker and Deanna Troi is just far more satisfying because of the long history we’ve seen these characters share.

Nothing against Raffi, but having Riker tell Picard he’s being arrogant and he might need to reconsider his approach to Soji is far more effective and carries more weight.  It’s also exactly what Picard needed and hopefully, it’s inspired him more than just the guilt he feels for the death of Data and what happened to the project to relocate the Romulans.

The scenes with Riker and Troi just worked on another level, making me not only appreciate the longer run time but finding myself wishing for more.  The backstory of losing a son who could have been saved if work on artificial lifeforms had been allowed felt like it was put there to provide some connection to the overall season plot.   But, the entire connection between Soji and Kestra was something that worked extremely well and I almost hope that Soji can work her way back to the Rikers and have the type of family experience she’s only had in implanted memories. Continue reading

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Star Trek: Picard: The Impossible Box

impossibleboxPlot threads begin to come together in “The Impossible Box.”  Not only threads from the first five installments of Star Trek: Picard but also threads from the entire history of the Picard character.

While Picard has had encounters with the Borg since his assimilation in “Best of Both Worlds,” he hasn’t been back inside a Borg cube since them (you could debate that the Borg taking over the Enterprise in First Contact might have been a trigger like this one).  Seeing Picard’s reaction to the news he has to go aboard the cube and that he when he is greeted by a former drone as Locutus was superlative work (of course) by Patrick Stewart.   And I got chills the moment when Picard is looking back at other Borg encounters and come across his image as Locutus on the viewscreen.  An extremely well-crafted and well-shot moment in this show. Continue reading

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Star Trek: Picard: Absolute Candor, Stardust City Rag

Absolute Candor

stardustcityragIf nothing else, the first four installments of Picard have established that while Picard had the best of intentions in leading the effort to save the Romulans from their star going supernova, things really went sideways in a hurry.   But I think we’re starting to see the Picard we knew on TNG slowly emerging and starting to find ways to try and make amends for his mistakes — both real and perceived.

That begins with the first mission in space.  Instead of heading straight for Bruce Maddox,  Picard orders the ship taken to Vashti, a Romulan relocation hub where Picard had a special relationship with a sisterhood of Romulan ninja nuns and the young orphaned man they took in.   In a flashback, Picard promises to return and to try to find the young man a home.

And then, as we’ve seen in the first three installments, the synthetics went bonkers on Mars and Picard couldn’t return — for fourteen years.  Elnor has grown up and harbors some resentment toward Picard for not coming back.  Oh yeah, he’s also become a Romulan ninja who will join the cause because he thinks it’s a lost one.

While on the surface, Picard is able to confront some of the lines drawn in the town, including tearing down a sign that says “Romulans Only” and stepping across it.  Thankfully, Elnor is there to save him from the various offended parties, though it is interesting to see Picard thrust into a sword-fight, given the times we’ve seen him sparring on the Enterprise during TNG’s run.  Continue reading

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Star Trek: Picard: The End is the Beginning

endisbeginning2After fifty-plus years of the Vasquez rocks standing in for various alien worlds, it was fun to see Star Trek: Picard actually set a few scenes there this week and last week.

Beyond that, the third episode of Picard is all about moving all the pieces into place and getting us ready to move away from Earth.   If the first two episodes were about establishing where Picard is now, this one is about establishing the new characters who will be his “crew” for lack of a better term.

It’s interesting to see Picard’s reputation precede him a bit — both last week and here.  Last week, we see that’s he’s persona-non-grata with Starfleet. But this week, we meet Rio, who on some level seems to hold Picard in some kind of reverence.  It makes me curious if Rio might be talked into making a questionable choice down the road due to his deference for Picard.

Meanwhile, we also get to meet Raffi, a woman that Picard’s insistence that the Federation do the right thing by their promise to the Romulans ending up costing her career.   I do like that the show took a few minutes to fill in this backstory and create this tension between them. But I also found myself wondering if this might not have been more effective a conflict if were to cause a schism between Picard and, let’s say, Riker.   I say this only because we’ve got an established history with the TNG characters and this schism would have a lot more profound impact and resonance with viewers (well, this one at least) if it’s a familiar face.

(Of course, that does raise the issue that springs to mind for the TNG movies — why don’t these people ever get assigned elsewhere?!?)

Back on the Romulan Borg cube, we get to see an old friend (making me glad I rewatched “I, Borg” before the show started airing).  It’s interesting to note that the Romulans were the last group assimilated by this particular cube and the easiest to set free from the Borg (well, as easy as setting one free from the Borg can be).

And while the episode was enjoyable enough, I still feel like it was treading water a bit to get us to the big ending of Picard finally leaving Earth.   I have a feeling we’ll be coming back to this episode and seeing seeds sewn for the series character and story arcs.

I do have to wonder a bit about having an EMH based upon yourself.  Is that a cost-cutting measure or an ego one?  Either way, it should prove to be fun as we get to know more about Rio.

I also can’t help but wonder what caused his exit from Starfleet…..

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Star Trek: Picard:Maps and Legends

picardmapsWhen Star Trek: Discovery dropped the first f-bomb in broadcast Star Trek history, I wasn’t a fan.  The f-bomb dropping felt more like the production team saying, “Oh look, what we can say now that we’re a streaming series” instead of actually having an f-bomb come out because it fit the character or drama of the moment.  This week, Star Trek: Picard gives us not one but two (at least) f-bombs in the course of this hour — and I’ve got to admit that they work a lot better and felt a lot less gratuitous.

Admiral Clancy’s use of the f-bomb after Picard returns to Starfleet headquarters to ask for reinstatement and a ship to pursue Dr. Bruce Mattow perfectly underscored just how many bridges Picard has burned behind him.  Picard once commanded the flagship of the Federation and now he’s become a persona-non-grata in Starfleet because he had the audacity to stand up for what he believes are the principles upon which the Starfleet and the Federation are founded.

It was an interesting juxtaposition to see Picard walk into the Starfleet HQ and see the two holograms of iconic versions of the Enterprise and then the reception he receives from the cadet who is checking him in for his appointment.  I get the feeling that a lot of people at Starfleet feel that Picard has outlived his usefulness and that he’s become too much of a rogue agent and a bit of a PR nightmare.  Certainly, his actions and their reactions in the past two episodes underscore this. Continue reading

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Star Trek: Picard: Remembrance

trekpicardThirty-plus years ago when Star Trek: The Next Generation debuted, I tuned in with a mixture of excitement and reservation (probably like a lot of Star Trek fans out there).  And if you’d asked me after “Encounter at Farpoint” if thirty or so years on, that I’d have the same mixture of excitement and reservation for a new series featuring Captain Jean Luc Picard, I probably would have told you no.

The fact that I was is a testament to how the writers and Patrick Stewart molded and shaped the character of Jean Luc Picard over the course of seven seasons and four feature films.  And while Picard will never quite replace James T. Kirk as my favorite Trek captain, I do have a lot of admiration for what Picard is as a character and what he represents.

And it looks like Star Trek: Picard is going to be a continuation of that. Continue reading

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