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Andrew S.
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 11:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: The End Is the Beginning

I enjoyed this episode but I’m a little worried they’re setting up a major retcon of the Romulans that won’t hold water.

We already have a ”Romulans hate androids” plot which seems to conflict with the line from “The Defector” about “Romulan cyberneticists” who would have like to study Data. I suppose it could be explained that those Romulans cyberneticists were people like Agnes from this show who want to study it even though it’s banned, but probably the writers just missed this inconsistency. Admittedly, I didn’t catch it until others brought it up.

But they seem to be hinting that Romulans have some fundamental problems with being assimilated which of course directly contradicts “Unity” from Voyager. Also, didn’t TNG’s “The Neutral Zone” and “Q Who” establish that there was some contact between Romulans and the Borg in the Romulan neutral zone? I really hope the writers wouldn’t be so sloppy as to mess that up. But I’m a little nervous because when Hugh says “these are the only Romulans assimilated as far as I know,” that’s clearly wrong because Hugh as a Borg presumably would have been aware of Orum from “Unity” and the attacks on the Romulan neutral zone in TNG season 1. Maybe for some reason it’s just that these particular Romulans, (who were the last ones assimilated) are the only ones with the “disorder” but it didn’t to be where things were going. We’ll see.

I really hope we don’t have a “we’re Cylons and we have been from the start” thing where all Romulans are actually robots. That seems to rewrite the trek canon a bit too much. The Phantastic Geek podcast also speculated that perhaps the Romulans of ancient times actually created the Borg, which strikes me as an intriguing theory, but unclear why that would translate to the need to destroy all androids. The Borg aren’t really androids, and didn’t Locutus basically say androids are obsolete? Maybe I’ve just revealed myself to be a nitpicky nerd and none of this is really as big a deal as I say it is.
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Andrew S.
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 10:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

I really enjoyed the first episode of Picard!
-It's great to finally have a sequel set in the main Star Trek universe. No more prequels or reboots or alternate timelines, which frankly, have often been kind of a let-down.
-The writers clearly know their Next Generation. Lots of callbacks to the series: the reference to Bruce Maddox (the guy who tried to have Data dismantled), the stuff in the storage locker like the Captain Picard Day banner, Data painting and having a daughter, poker, the French vineyard, etc.
-This may make people mad, but I'm kind of glad Data is actually dead. I didn't really like Nemesis (though admittedly I haven't seen it in a while), and I didn't agree with the decision to kill Data in the first place, but I'm glad they're not running from the decision. I remember someone had told me that various comic books had made B-4 just like Data reincarnated, which is definitely a stupid and way-too-easy way out. Though I would be ok if this show had a long drawn out "Search for Data" sort of thing going on where they try to bring back some aspect of him.
-In many ways, Data was kind of the heart of Next Generation, so I really like how even in death he's still a central figure in the story.
-I remember being annoyed with the decision made by the J.J. Abrams team to blow up Romulus in the prime timeline for no good reason. On a side note, I've noticed J.J. Abrams movies have a tendency to blow up planets out of nowhere as a cheap way to raise the stakes. (See e.g. the Star Wars sequel trilogy). But anyway, like Data's death, the writers did not run away from or ignore the decision, and the destruction of Romulus is a major plot point in the story. Even after just one episode has made for some really compelling ideas.
-Which brings me to the "interview scene." To me this might have been the most captivating scene in Star Trek since...well...maybe 1999? This is classic Picard, being the moral voice of Starfleet, and completely unwavering in his view that the Federation should have saved as many Romulans as possible even though Romulans are old enemies. One can't help but think of the parallels with the U.S. failure to take in Syrian refugees, and how the true test of a country is its generosity to others during times of a crisis. So when Picard says he left Starfleet "because it was no longer Starfleet," that really really hits home. The show seems to be off to the right foot because it realizes that the best scenes in Star Trek are not usually space battles but instead really compelling stories.
-I was intrigued by Picard's Romulan assistants And I think it was trying to show how people who used to be enemies from a different planet can get along and make wine together. It's sort of a callback to the original Star Trek "Balance of Terror" where the unnamed Romulan commander right before his death tells Kirk that under different circumstances they would have been friends. I thought it was interesting that Picard's Romulan's assistants appear very human in their clothes and hairstyle.
-I want to learn more about this rebellion of synthetic lifeforms, and how the interviewer seems to hold Picard somewhat responsible for what happened. Maybe it's just because people now hate artificial life forms and Picard has always been a champion of the rights of artificial life forms (see "Measure of Man"), or maybe there is something else going on.
-I really hope the show doesn't turn into shoot-em-up action next week, but if this episode is any indication, I think we're on the right track as far as good storytelling goes.
-This might actually be the best Star Trek pilot episode. DS9's "Emissary" is pretty poorly paced, but is way better when you have seen the end of the show because you see how much of the groundwork for the show was laid down right from the start. But as a standalone episode, I think Picard is hands down the best Star Trek pilot.
-My girlfriend and I watched Battlestar Galactica and Season 4 of The Expanse recently, so she made the joke that it's easy to get Picard confused with these other series since we have android sleeper agents and people living on Mars.
-So what's going on with the Borg, anyway? The trailers had totally given away the big reveal of the cube at the end. The finale of Voyager was such a mess I honestly don't remember to what extent the Borg collective is still around or if they were all wiped out by Janeway (or did they ever tell us?). But anyway, the cube no longer appears to have any Borg on it and it's just being used by Romulans as an outpost. I really hope this show doesn't overuse the Borg on this show like Voyager did.
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