Star Trek: Picard

"Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1"

2 stars

Air date: 3/19/2020
Teleplay by Michael Chabon & Ayelet Waldman
Story by Michael Chabon & Ayelet Waldman & Akiva Goldsman
Directed by Akiva Goldsman

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

It's hard to render a proper verdict upon "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1" when "Part 2" is still waiting in the wings, but based on what I see here, my hopes are fading fast.

The thing about building out a single plot over 10 episodes is that you are really putting your eggs in one basket — all but demanding the audience to expect a well-thought-out, compelling through-line, as opposed to a half-baked movie plot that's simply longer. (Many frequently cite Lost as the reason why we are where we are today with TV structures like this season of Picard. I disagree. Netflix, with its endless supply of made-to-binge shows, is why we are here. Lost was an episodic character anthology series just as much as it was a serialized arc show, and there were tons of plots on that show, not a single plot being told over 10 — or in its case, up to 24 — installments. I wish more shows had the varied structure of Lost.)

In "Arcadia," we've finally reached Soji's homeworld, Coppelius, a destination we've been pointing toward since the second episode, and I can't say what I see here is especially compelling. I mean, it's not terrible; it's just very ... meh. There are a few reasonable ideas here, but there are also flashing red warning signs of lackluster things on the horizon.

The most intriguing new idea revealed in "Broken Pieces" was the concept of an ancient society setting up a warning (called the "Admonition"), and going so far as to move eight stars into place to draw attention to it. That's kind of a big deal. The attention drawn ended up being the Romulans' hundreds of years ago, which led to their staunch campaign against advanced AI that continues to the present day. What we learn about the Admonition in "Arcadia" is that it was actually not a warning at all, but a calling — from an advanced AI society that apparently still exists.

What is not particularly intriguing is that the senders of this message are hoping to reach other synths that might want to join them in protecting themselves from their own creators who have grown to fear them. So we have yet another "potential uprising of the machines over their masters" retelling — which is pretty much the only story that ever seems to get told about AI. Maybe part two will surprise me in delivering something more original. Like I said, I'm not especially hopeful. This episode is really about building toward the promise of that conflict.

Did I mention that the episode begins with a serviceable space battle in orbit of Coppelius when Narek attacks La Sirena, and then Seven brings the Borg cube through the transwarp conduit? Then all three ships are brought down with the Coppelius colony's defensive space orchids. (*) Crashed on the surface, Picard & Co. trek across the desert (in a trope typical of TNG, prompting fond memories) and find the downed Borg cube, where they greet and then say goodbye to Seven and Elnor, who vow to take up Hugh's mantle in protecting the ex-Borg — until next week at least, when the Borg cube inevitably enters back into the finale's plot.

* A couple space orchids can bring down a Borg cube (even if it's a damaged one)? I call BS.

Picard & Co. next trek over to the synth colony/facility, which is run by none other than Altan Inigo Soong (Brent Spiner), self-professed mad scientist, former partner of the late Bruce Maddox, and son of Data-creator Noonian Soong himself. This allows Spiner to return in a non-Data role, in what is no less than the third member of the Soong family tree he has played. (In addition to Soong Sr. and now Jr., he also played a Soong ancestor in the Enterprise "Augments" trilogy.) This is one of those conceits that demands willful credulity and so you just go with it, because, hey, all the world's a stage.

What's unfortunate is that this character ultimately (to be fair, "ultimately" is probably the wrong word; after all, we still have part two next week) feels surprisingly thin. Spiner is effective enough, and Soong Jr. gets some decent dialogue scenes, especially with Jurati — but he ends up taking sides in a brewing organics-versus-synths conflict in a way that feels too artificially adversarial, simplistic, and lacking in intellectual debate. I must protect my children, because the Federation won't!

This conflict and perspective is mostly played out through an earlier gold-skinned version of Soji's model, named Sutra. When our characters arrive to warn the colony of the approaching Romulans, the discussion moves on to the Admonition, leading Sutra to experience it herself through Jurati by performing a mind meld on her (*), which is how she comes to understand the true message that was created by the mysterious society of synths, who are still out there in some form somewhere.

* An android can perform a mind meld on a human? I call BS.

Narek also figures into this. He's been captured and is being held prisoner, leading to a cold reunion between him and Soji. Sutra colludes wth Narek and allows him to escape, pinning the murder of another synth (*) on him so she can rally the colony into action under They Just Want to Destroy Us. As storytelling goes, this lacks ambition. As always, the fate of the universe has to be filtered down to the amateurish intrigue and maneuvering of a few key people.

* This synth is apparently dispatched by piercing her eye with a piece of jewelry. I call BS, unless she has an "off" switch like Data and it just happens to be in her eye.

In between the plot, there are some character matters to deal with here, mostly around Picard revealing to the crew that he's dying from the Irumodic Syndrome That Shall Not Be Actually Named, nor talked of again after this. This stuff is fine and I have little else to say about it until we find out if Picard actually dies next week, which seems really unlikely in a show with his name on it that has already been renewed for a second season.

You'd think an episode that turns up the pretensions by invoking a Latin title would try working a little harder. Who knows; maybe with the second part of this finale, I'll be surprised. For now, not so much. A good cliffhanger should have you excited for what comes next, but I find I'm instead wondering how many ways the creators can botch this, and not really caring much if they do or don't. That's not a good sign.

Some other thoughts:

  • Picard continues to speak the values of Classic Starfleet, but is undercut by the argument that Starfleet banned synths and therefore that value system doesn't exist. This is unfortunately where the central thesis suffers from being undercooked as a philosophical dilemma because it's functioning more as superficial plotting.
  • This colony felt a little too arid and cult-like for my tastes. It would've been nice to see a fresher sci-fi slant to this, and not just human behavior ported into androids.
  • Soong Jr., who hints at not having much time left, shows Jurati a "golem" synth that he looks prepared to transfer his memories into before he dies. Stay tuned.
  • Soji sides against Picard and with her synthetic sisters. This is almost certainly a long-game ploy, or at least something she'll backtrack on, so she can ultimately face off against Sutra, with the two sisters representing two opposing ideologies (or "good robot" versus "bad robot" if you're being cynical).
  • Elnor is a sketch of a character. Other than swordplay and lighthearted "innocent kid" vibes, we didn't learn much about what makes this guy tick.
  • Commodore Oh and the Romulans are headed to Coppelius to destroy the synths. They have 218 ships, which is a fleet size that seems excessive for the situation and for a Zhat Vash/Tal Shiar "covert" operation. I still don't understand the larger Romulan political situation at all. Clearly, neither do the writers.
  • Will we ever get to see Starfleet's reinforcements that were sent to Deep Space 12? Or will this all be resolved with the chess pieces already on the board? The latter would be more typical of the "small universe" tendencies of this series and Discovery.

Previous episode: Broken Pieces
Next episode: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

◄ Season Index

383 comments on this review

Daniel
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 3:31am (UTC -5)
I wonder if Elnor will finally be able to see a cat.
Lodged Warpedo
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 3:41am (UTC -5)
I, Picard
Tommy D.
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 4:34am (UTC -5)
I want to like this episode more than I actually do. Did enjoy the wardrobe though. Throwback.
Tim C
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 5:03am (UTC -5)
It's always difficult to judge a two-parter properly, but this felt a bit... haphazard. I can't tell where it's going, which is interesting in of itself, but also makes me wary. Maybe it's just a lack of faith on my part after Disco delivered two disappointing season finals. I think I'll be saving my final judgement till next week.
Richard James
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 6:20am (UTC -5)
Judging by the preview, next week's episode will be Picard: Endgame.
Chrome
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 6:39am (UTC -5)
218 ships?! That’s the whole Romulan fleet right? At least they looked pretty cool, but they certainly just teased us with them up until the end.

Also Noonian Soong had a son, Alton (presumably with Juliana Soong). He seems like a total eccentric, planning indeed to move his consciousness to another android like Ira Graves, Data’s “grandpa”.
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 7:10am (UTC -5)
Okay that was...kinda mediocre. I can't decide if I actively disliked it, or am just incredibly disappointed after a (mostly) good-to-great season.

Akiva Goldsman's direction this week was strictly bush-league, and pales in comparison to everything we've seen before. All of the soft-cuts and very traditional, boring camera work gave this episode a Berman Trek, 90s, cheesy feel. This may have been the intent honestly, because the set-work, costumes, and makeup were very TNG as well. All of this would have been fine for The Orville or something, but given the tone that Picard has had to date - and the heavy story they're trying to tell - it's a colossal misstep here.

There were writing issues this week as well. There were a lot of what I would consider mostly unearned emotional beats. The interactions between Rios and Jurati, between Picard and Elnor, and between Picard and Raffi were really overdone both in terms of what was said and how it was said. Add to that the "Picard is dying for realz dudez!" and the shoddy direction and it felt like cornball melodrama.

I'm also really not liking that this advanced synth federation is apparently a genuine threat. I'm hoping this is yet another misunderstanding by Sutra however.

There were small things I liked - like Picard's "great speech" falling flat. But they had to ram the point home needlessly with Soong's comments from the peanut gallery.

Due to how the story is presented here - as if it's a bad TNG two-parter - I really feel like there's no tension to the outcome at all. Soji will flip, Sutra will be exposed, and the day will saved in a (mostly) predictable fashion. Only thing really in doubt is whether or not Picard dies and gets an android upgrade body or not.

Two stars. Meh.
Nat
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 8:12am (UTC -5)
Mixed feelings here... (Spoiled ahead)

The meeting between Picard and Soong (why is that all Soong's are identical? Are they all clones?) brought tears to my eyes.

But the rest of the episode.... Meh.... Quite bad.

Inconsistent things always seem to bother me... For example, I can't believe that an Android can "die" because her eye was punctured... Data suffered way more severe damage and he was still functional, like in that TNG episode where he lost his memory and brought radiation to a small settlement... He got quite a lot of damage there and was still good. For me it is very unreal to see an android behaving like an organic in terms of health... C'mon! Are we watching Westworld or Star Trek?

Anyway... And the Android doing a mind meld??? C'mon again... Are Android organics Vulcans now?
Jason
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 8:14am (UTC -5)
I know TOS established that at least a Vulcan could mind meld with a machine, but seeing it happen the other way around seems strange.
wolfstar
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 8:36am (UTC -5)
Can't wait for the Voyager "Prototype" crossover...
Chrome
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 9:08am (UTC -5)
"I, Picard"

Is this the part where we're supposed to speculate Picard transfers his conscious to the golem in order to outlive brain disease?
PM
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 10:22am (UTC -5)
I have to wait until Picard episodes air on TV so no midnight viewing for me.

The flip side of that is we get Short Treks as well.

For those who don't have access to the (I feel) largely-enjoyable Short Treks between seasons of Picard and Discovery, I thought I'd throw together this quick & dirty summary, complete with brief reviews:


BETWEEN 'DISCOVERY' SEASON 1 & 2

"Runaway" 
3/4 stars
October 4, 2018
After a frustrating discussion with her mother, Sylvia Tilly encounters a young stowaway from the planet Xahea named Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po ("Po" for short, Tilly decides.) Tilly, who is accustomed to taking orders from others, decides to make decisions by herself, to help Po return home. Though brilliant, Po is reluctant to take-on a new responsibility. Eventually, Tilly convinces Po she was destined for greatness (in the final scene, we find out that Po is the about-to-be Queen of Xahea) and - along the way - Tilly finds a little more of her own backbone.

"Calypso" 
4/4 stars
November 8, 2018
After holding position in space for a thousand years, Discovery's computer system has become sentient. The system (which calls itself "Zora") retrieves a passing escape pod carrying a man named Craft. Zora keeps Craft aboard the ship and begins to fall in love with him, but eventually lets him take Discovery's last shuttle to return to his family on Alcor IV. Beautiful. Heartbrraking. Uplifting. Deeply satisfying.

"The Brightest Star" 
3/4 stars
December 6, 2018
On the planet Kaminar, Saru wants to learn about life outside the pre-warp society of his village, where his people are harvested as food by the predatory Ba'ul. Saru is able to send a distress signal into space that is answered by "Lieutenant" Philippa Georgiou, who takes Saru to join Starfleet.

"The Escape Artist" 3.5/4
January 3, 2019
Harry Mudd is captured by a bounty hunter and taken to a Federation ship. On the ship, though, the hunter finds multiple other versions of Mudd already detained. Elsewhere, the real Mudd continues to create android copies of himself so he can continue to evade the authorities. (Mwahahahaha)


BETWEEN 'DISCOVERY' SEASON 2 & 3

"Q&A" 
3.5/4 stars
October 5, 2019
On his first day aboard the Enterprise, 'Ensign' Spock and his new superior officer (Number One) get trapped in a malfunctioning turbolift. While waiting for the turbolift to be repaired, Spock asks Number One numerous questions, and the pair bond over their similarities. It's like Macaulay Culkin's grilling of John Candy in 'Uncle Buck', except in space, and not a comedy...or IS it?? Well-played, Una (Number One's first name, we get to find out.) A quick, joyful romp through the genesis of Spock's time on the most famous of starships, with tons of canon-building along the way. "Keep your freaky inside for no one to see, Spock", she counsels. A triumph of world-building, all in under 10 minutes.

"The Trouble with Edward" 
3/4 stars
October 10, 2019
On the USS Cabot, science officer Edward Larkin tries to solve a planet's food shortage by genetically modifying tribbles against his Captain's orders, creating a species that is 'born pregnant' and reproduces at a dangerous rate. Eventually, the Cabot is overrun, and Larkin dies in a hail of screaming insistence that no one listens to him, as a tidal-wave of tribbles wash him away and the remainder of the crew escapes. This is an almost-completely-successful attempt at comedy, with a lot of the deadpan eyebrow-raises over Edward's horrific tactics (he ate a few of the tribbles to make sure they were a good food source) played for laughs and shock-value. The final line, when Cabot's newly-minted captain is asked during an inquiry about what went wrong?: "He's an idiot."

"Ask Not" 
3.5/4 stars
November 14, 2019
When Starbase 28 is attacked, Cadet Thira Sidhu is given care of a mutinous prisoner: Captain Christopher Pike of the Enterprise. Pike attempts to pressure Sidhu into releasing him, but she refuses. As tensions look like they've made it a notch or two past the breaking point, Pike reveals that this is a simulated test, and by passing it, Sidhu is accepted as a part of the Enterprise crew. Even for Short Treks, this is probably the simplest Star Trek story ever told: Taking place in a single room over 7 minutes, it's an interesting study in duty and what it takes to become the best of the best. This (and two much shorter cameos by Anson Mount) may possibly be the closest we ever get to a Captain Pike spinoff series.

"Ephraim and Dot" 
4/4 stars
December 12, 2019
A tardigrade (Ephraim) looking for a place to lay her eggs crosses paths with the Enterprise and is attacked by a repair drone named Dot. This is perhaps the greatest love-letter to Star Trek ever put to screen. There is more fan-service here in one short than in an entire Star Trek series. We've seen these nearly-indestructable beings power Discovery's spore drive - But here, young Ephraim witnesses the entire history of 1701, as she struggles through the ship and through warp space, whizzing past glowing green hands, space Lincolns, Khan (both times), sword-fighting Sulu, battle with the U.S.S. Reliant, and the final showdown with a Klingon Bird of Prey over the Genesis Planet. When the Enterprise self-destructs over said planet, Dot helps save Ephraim's eggs. When the eggs hatch, the pair travel away with the baby tardigrades together. Yay! (I actually said this at the end of this little gem. What a freaking joy. I think the running length was about 30 seconds...just kidding but it feels like it)

"The Girl Who Made the Stars" 
2.5/4 stars
December 12, 2019
Young Michael Burnham's father eases her fear of the dark by telling her a story about a young African girl. In the story, the girl's people fear the dark because of a predatory Night Beast, but she braves the night and discovers an alien that gifts her new light. The girl uses this to create the stars, and grows up to be a warrior queen. As cool as this sounds, I found this just OK. I felt like I was supposed to like it and I really wanted to love the 'girl-power-in-space' message and the innovative concept, as a short aimed at adults, it was just a bit corny. If aimed at kids, I'd give this a solid 3/4.

"Children of Mars" 
4/4 stars
January 9, 2020
Two schoolgirls on Earth develop a fierce rivalry after one gets on the other's nerves, eventually developing into a full-on blood-gushing-out-of-noses brawl. Suddenly, through, they are both drawn together by tragedy when they see news of Mars and its orbital facilities (at which both girls have family working) attacked by rogue 'synthetics'. During the news footage, an image of Admiral Jean-Luc Picard appears, with the network reporting that Picard condemns the attack as "devastating." This is probably the most anticipated Short Trek, as it was a direct tie-in to the series-premiere of Star Trek: Picard. It's also one of the most creative ways to tell a story ever to take place in the Star Trek universe, really unlike anything we've ever seen before in it. In it's own minimalist, simple way, is this the crowning achievement of these shorts (so far)? Make it so.
Trent
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 10:44am (UTC -5)
Another good episode, but again it's one which is competent in uninteresting ways.

Nevertheless I thought there were two really great scenes here. In the first, we get a "mind meld" in which we learn of a mysterious and advanced race of synthetics who apparently seek out new synthetic life and offer them protection; a kind of Federation of synths. Whether this new race is benevolent to organics, is unclear. The way this scene triggers the imagination - the aliens seem awesome, mysterious and terrifying; they approach the sublime - is something Trek only occasionally got right.

The second great scene involves a group of robed synths expressing their desire to call the advanced aliens, and so turn their backs on the Federation and Picard's offers of help. Picard, the great ambassador and negotiator, tries to convince them to do otherwise. Soji, he believes, will become The Great Destroyer if the aliens are contacted. Like his attempts to save the Romulans, Picard here is portrayed as an emasculated, ineffectual figure.

Also interesting are large orchid-styled ships, which hark back to TOS' various LSD trips. TOS knew how to blow minds.

The rest of the episode is fairly generic. The characters aren't very original or interesting, their little arcs are familiar and melodramatic, and their Big Emotional Moments mostly unearned. TNG mercilessly avoided such stuff, which lent it an idiosyncratic and futuristic feel. Here, everyone talks like a 21st century actor in a Joss Whedon movie wrestling with Joss Whedon plots and Joss Whedon relational problems.

Getting the Trek-tone right seems to be a problem for modern directors and writers. Indeed, maintaining a consistent tone itself seems beyond their capabilities. Witness in this episode how the snarky tone of Picard and the gang clashes with the stilted, TNG/TOS tone of the robed-synths. This in turn clashes with the Marvel-esque action/drama of the show's universe, which in turn clashes with the show's out-of-the-blue attempts at kitchen-sink realism (drug addicts, alcoholism, estranged sons etc).

It's schizophrenic. Pick an aesthetic movement/tone and stick with it.

Modern Trek makers would do well to pare everything down. You need to ditch the steady-cam for conversation scenes and go back to tripods and classical mis-en-scene. You need to ditch the attempts at "naturalism", ditch the pyrotechnics, ditch the fantasy/superhero tropes, ditch all snarky postmodern acting, and go for expressionism and theatricality; let verisimilitude be conveyed by a nuts-and-bolt attention to procedure. There's a reason the best moments in this show are dialogue driven bits of theater where people simply sit or stand and debate. That's all you need: debate driven tension, like a Mamet play which occasionally gives way to mind-bending LSD trips. You want action? Take your cues from Nick Meyer (he understood that Trek action works best when lifting from slowly staged, nautical/submarine adventure) or someone of pedigree, not Marvel and Michael Bay. Less is more.

And the writers of "Discovery" and "Picard" know this. You see them reaching for these moments. But it's all buried under confetti.
Tranya and Tonic
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 11:06am (UTC -5)
This felt hard to judge on its own, as it's not only a part of the entire series, but also part 1 of its own 2-part episode. Which begs the question: why format it like that?

But anyway, I suspect we're witnessing the setup to a more peaceful resolution. All of the pieces are being set up for a massive death battle between 218 Romulan ships and a fleet of galaxy spanning murder robots. But the conversations between Picard and Soji lead to me to believe that they're going to ultimately take a third option. My money is on Soji convincing the galaxy-spanning murder robots that organic life is worth preserving and the Romulans that synthetic life has merit as well.

I'm somewhat puzzled that anything resembling short-terms stakes is immediately perceived as antithetical to the Star Trek ethos. Consider the end of Deep Space Nine (***Spoilers for a 20-year-old episode, I guess***), where the Dominion has retreated to Cardassia and refuses to surrender. The female Changeling is prepared to fight until the last Jem Hadar soldier is killed just so the Federation has to mount up losses too. Those are the stakes. Then Odo pipes up and says, "Hold on, let me try a third option," and beams down and links with her as a way to broker peace. I see something similar happening here next week.

I'd love to get more information about these synths. Are the gold-eyed versions somehow more-robotic than Soji? The one guarding Narek seemed super Data-like, but then Gold-Soji seemed deviously more human. Are they entirely organic? Are they silicon based? Being organic would explain how stabbing one in the eye would kill them. But if they're completely organic, how are they not just clones? What exactly makes them androids? Does that mean that Vorta are "synths"? Or the people from "Up the Long Ladder" and "The Masterpiece Society"? In ability, Soji seems more like Khan than Data. None of these things CAN'T be reconciled, but I wish they would explain them so that we understood the stakes.

I enjoyed some of the short character moments. Picard expressing his love for Raffi shows his growth from who he used to be way back in TNG Season 1, but he's so clearly uncomfortable doing it. It seems to be a believable growth of his character. He's not suddenly a completely different person. The Soji/Picard stuff continues to interest me on both a character and philosophical level. Their conversations always have my full attention.

I'm less sold on the Jurati stuff. I still don't buy her relationship with Rios. I am confident though that she's pulling a fast one on the Synths. The Synths asked "Are you willing to die for us?" They DIDN'T ask, "Are you willing to help us murder the universe?" I suspect some trickery afoot.

Elnor is still a personality cypher to me. I don't hate him; I don't like him. I don't really feel anything about him. He is the Travis Mayweather of this ensemble.

Looking forward to seeing how this all wraps up next week.
Lodged Lorepedo
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 11:13am (UTC -5)
Sorry fo the nitpick but I was taken out of the episode briefly when a huge Borg cube crashed onto a planet and there were only 2 small streams of smoke coming from not even the cube but to the side of it. And everything landed right side up (it landed the same direction it seemingly flys through space?).
Js28
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 11:57am (UTC -5)
Trent such a great post. Totally agree
wolfstar
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
Episode 11 - Picard and Seven retrieve Hugh's body from the crashed cube and, in an attempt to bring him back to life, use the synths' "golem" technology to transfer his mind into the body of an aquatic mammal. Working title: "Oh, the Hugh-manatee".

Horrified by its own existence and in constant pain, the manatee kills its creators and uses a Klingon time crystal and magic manatee-shaped flying spacesuit to travel back in time through a micro-wormhole into a parallel dimension and erase all sentient life in the writers' room.

Worf bakes a cake.
Chrome
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 12:25pm (UTC -5)
@Trent

I enjoyed your write-up. One thing, though:

"Whether this new race is benevolent to organics, is unclear."

They say to Sutra that synth evolution will be organic extinction. It seems like the Superbeing Synths have already decided that the only way to end the conflict is for organic life to die. Like others, I hope there's a peaceful resolution in store here, otherwise it's just Discovery's season 2 finale all over again.

No more crazy machine-life space battles, please. Hopefully this ends with a nice quiet discussion. *That's* the Star Trek I want.
Elliott
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 12:36pm (UTC -5)
Wow, that took a nose-dive. For about 20 minutes, I was very much on board.
William D Wehrs
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 12:51pm (UTC -5)
A dismal episode if there ever was one. Random thoughts on it.

Picard says in the newest episode "Anyone who treats me like a dying man, runs the risk of pissing me off." This is something Dr. McCoy would say, not Picard. And I'm sorry but appropriate dialogue for characters matter. It's what gives them an identity and makes them feel real

We see on the planet plenty of vegetation and the characters seem to walk around with squinting. How the heck could that be possible when the planet is flanked by eight suns!!!

The show seems to trying to craft a father son dynamic between Picard and Elnor, but it just falls flat. All we have is one montage of when Elnor was about five and that's it in terms of emotional grounding. Picard saying he's proud of him makes little sense since what has Elnor accomplished? He killed a Romulan senator which led to Picard berating him, he failed to protect Hugh or most of the drones, and is entirely dependent on Seven of nine.

The show also seems to want to suggest that Seven of Nine has some deep personal attachment to Picard but provides zero reason or explanation for this. This is the same problem, Discovery had. Emotional scenes with zero grounding for said emotional scenes.

If the Romulans can muster 218 ships to destroy roboplanet, why couldn't they have evacuated Romulus themselves rather than depend on a hastily assembled armada?

Wait . . . Soong had a son! You think that would have come up at some point in TNG!!!

Picard and Raffi saying "I love you" to one another again comes across as forced. Why do they love one another? What do they have in common? What has Raffi that makes him feel so strongly for her? What has Picard done that makes her feel so strongly for him?

Picard tries to communicate to Starfleet for help, and I'm just left thinking, "this is maybe why you should have actually waited for that fleet you asked for last episode instead of completely forgetting about them"!
Dom
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
@William D Wehrs, I agree with your comments. It feels like the show started at the wrong point in the story. Rather than showing us Picard and Raffi or Elnor forging a relationship, the show started long after they had a relationship and some sort of fallout. It just leaves the viewer less invested in their relationship. We've barely even seen Picard and Elnor in scenes together. Too much of the character development happens off-screen. There's no setup or grounding for these developments.

It kind of reminds me of the Star Wars Sequels. How Ben Solo fell to the Dark Side and his relationship with his parents is critical to understanding and being invested in his character arc, but we never get that story. We only get to see the characters after Ben has fallen.
Angel
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
Was ok for the first half, but then nosedived in the 2nd as they decided to take this in the 'all organics must die' direction and call in the Reapers from Mass Effect.
Big Pimpin'
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 1:17pm (UTC -5)
This episode was not as good as the previous three and I think it comes down to direction. Akiva Goldsman is a bad director, on par with if not worse than the director of the first three episodes.
Shaky cam in dialogue scenes was through the roof, the melodrama wasn't as successful because of corny staging, and the aesthetic/visual quality of the episode felt less well done.

I still didn't hate it though. 6.5/10.
Drea
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 1:22pm (UTC -5)
On the bright side, we have the most TNG throwback yet. On the downside, it comes across as mediocre TNG. Not bad, certainly, but middling. The android costumes, camerawork, and on-the-nose themes feel amusingly Roddenberry. This is cute, but the hour suffers from some unearned emotional beats.

Where the episode delivers some interest is the logic of sacrifice. Most characters have deployed this logic in some way: the Zhat Vash and Jurati to prevent the apocalypse, Seven to spare exBs, Picard for synths by bringing Elnor onto his team, Elnor in a series of violent choices against the Zhat Vash, and now the synths led by Sutra to save themselves.

Narek probably did *not* kill that android--Sutra did. She did it in sacrifice, in killing the one to save her people.

Whether it goes to organic or synth, this message is poison. It drives destruction and hate where it may not otherwise have been.

Why assume that these android gods, their message millennia old, still exist, or that their intentions remain the same? I'm not sure that a conclusion based simply around the decision not to summon them is all that interesting. The writers need to do something other than the obvious to stick this landing.
Eric Jensen
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 1:32pm (UTC -5)
SPOILERS

The reveal of his brain condition. Seven and Elnor team-up, yes. And his reaction to seeing Picard. The manipulative Sutra... Soji indecisiveness and we could see her conflict... Soong's antagonism (seems to me) towards Picard... We see Oh's fleet...

It feels somewhat like a detective show. Who killed Saga? Were Narek and Sutra conspiring together?

That scene with Raffi and PIcard, very tender. When is Q going to appear? So will Soji be the destroyer?

I liked it, but when Seven said she felt connected, I don't want Seven to be borg again, will she become Borg? Please no.
Eric Jensen
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 1:53pm (UTC -5)
Spoilers
Trailer for next week
Spoilers, spoilers, of the trailer... do not read... do not read if you don't want to know
So you know Discovery, that red squid/octopus thing... I saw it in the trailer for next week. Those metallic tentacles and the red hole. Control will be involved. That makes sense... when Control got hold of Miriam, and when Control took over section 31...
This is very exciting stuff
End spoilers
End trailer spoilers
Eric Jensen
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 1:57pm (UTC -5)
*airiam
William D Wehrs
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
@dom. I completely agree about it being similar to the SW sequels. In both cases, we are just meant to accept things, rather actually be allowed to see things. A glaring example in Picard is Picard's resignation. An act that arguably the whole series hinges on, and we are denied the opportunity to see it.
John Harmon
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 2:24pm (UTC -5)
I gave up on this show a long time ago, but I guessed at the beginning that no matter what the season would end with a giant multi faction mind-numbing space battle just like discovery season 2. Because Alex Kurtzman is a hack. Sounds like that’s where it’s headed.

I’ve never played Mass Effect, but after hearing so many people talk about how similar this show is to it, I looked it up and yeah...it seems to be a blatant ripoff. Not even an homage or similar premise, but almost seems like a lawsuit worthy ripoff of that story. It’s shameful. And it seems like they’re taking a lot from ME3, the one people hated. So good for them.
Dahj's Synthetic Ghost
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 2:40pm (UTC -5)
I would asset that neither Dahj nor Soji are "Synths" at all, but something beyond. In fact, they are more akin to the Borg than they are to Data and the Soong-type androids. They are enhanced and artificially engineered human beings. Their biological brains have been enhanced with positronic neural networks. Unfortunately, I think ST: PIC has not really established things well here. Perhaps the final episode will draw it all together.

Alton Soong, of course, reminds me of Arik Soong from ST: ENT. Arik played around with genetic engineering, only to commit himself to the study of androids in the end. Noonian Soong perfected androids, in the form of Data and Lore, in creating sapient androids. And Alton has synthesized the two approaches, partnering with Bruce Maddox, in creating Dahj and Soji.

Anyway, I really enjoyed seeing Brent Spiner again, this time as Alton Soong.
Gepard
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 2:50pm (UTC -5)
This episode finally crystalized my core problem with Picard as a whole: the main characters are all passive, incurious idiots. Time and again they take information at face value, only for later shocking reveals to undermine what they (and the audience) know, which they *also* take at face value until it happens again. They fail to ask obvious questions and don't follow up on leads or think through anything related to their goals. They're all dumbasses.

It makes for a very frustrating viewing experience because the only characters making decisions, pushing for answers, and driving the story forward are the secondary ones. (Secondary characters who, annoyingly, frequently get killed off after they've served their purpose.) And all so that the writers can drag out one or two basic sci-fi ideas to a 10 episode length. Because if even one character asked a single question about what the hell was going on, the whole premise would fall apart.
Robert
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 2:58pm (UTC -5)
I really enjoyed this, although the caveat is our enjoyment hinges on the next episode paying off all these setups. The best material for me were people paying their respects to Picard which works as a sort of proxy for the audience paying its respects to the real world Picard, Patrick Stewart. Of course we know he's going to somehow survive next episode, but we don't know the form of survival and whether he'll be the same key figure he was this season. I suspect Soji will gain the most from Picard's passing, as this show seems to setting up Soji as the next enlightened person (akin to Picard and Data) who really understands how the Federation works.

On that note, I love how anti-violence and anti-murder Soji was in this episode. She has clear motivations that we can sympathize with for wanting to kill Narrek and maybe other organics, but she has a higher ethical reasoning than most others which won't allow her to become a killer. That's what makes Soji special, and I think that's going to play a big part in the next episode.

Spiner was a treat to see. Although he wasn't pitch-perfect, he did well playing this sort of desperate yet passionate scientist very concerned with mortality. The way he jokes about his lifespan and admonishes Jurati for killing Maddox shows he really fears for the end of life, or perhaps just the end of the Soong legacy. It seems pretty obvious to me that he will not be able to use the "golem" to keep himself alive, though.

Finally, it looks like orchids are going to back in fighting form next episode and maybe we'll see the Borg Cube get in on the action destroying the enormous Romulan fleet. If the bloodshed foreshadowed here takes a backseat to a more elegant and Trekkian solution, I will be satisfied.
Vii
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 3:09pm (UTC -5)
Heh, I thought this episode was fun - campy, but fun. Liked seeing Soji's evil twin. And loved the dressing down Soji gave to ex-fuckbuddy Narek.
Dahj's Synthetic GHost
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 3:28pm (UTC -5)
I just had a terrible thought, and I so hope that I'm wrong. What if the "Golem" will be inhabited by Jean-Liuc Picard, in order to replace Patrick Stewart with a younger actor? If so, I'm done with this.
Tommy D.
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 3:53pm (UTC -5)
I think a lot of people have summed up what I was trying to think of last night after watching; this felt like a mediocre TNG episode. Actually reminded me of parts of "Descent", which was also mediocre. I

Having played the Mass Effect series, I remember people being upset with the ending of ME3 (so much that they inserted another outcome). That game just kind of falls apart at the end. Up until that point I thought it was solid.
Paul M.
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 4:31pm (UTC -5)
Totally off-topic, but in response to Tommy D., reaction to the ending of Mass Effect was massively overblown. The trilogy to this day remains a shining example of how to do an action RPG.

Fond memories...
Tommy D.
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 4:45pm (UTC -5)
To Paul M. I don't totally disagree with you. I love the series. In fact, I'm playing through ME2 again right now.
Other Chris
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 5:21pm (UTC -5)
I'm behind on Picard, but comparisons to Mass Effect (especially in the art department) is what turned me off from Discovery, and it's disappointing to hear them again.

As for ME itself, the ending is bad and feels like a betrayal of themes, but that's still after 3 full games of great storytelling and action. As far as I'm concerned, the journey made up for what the destination ended up being.
R.
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 5:44pm (UTC -5)
So it seems fairly certain now that shiny Soji (Sutra?) is the Destroyer of Romulan mythology, right?

She is the sister that lived, it's specifically said that her sister was the one Rios met on the Ibn Majid that the captain executed, and she seems to have some kind of alternative agenda (presumably) to Soong and the other synths. Soji just kind of reacts to things and doesn't seem to care about anything but getting home.

An android initiating a mind meld was... puzzling.
Captain Jon
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 6:21pm (UTC -5)
I feel torn on this episode. It felt hurried and not flushed out enough. We finally find this colony of synthetics and learn virtually nothing about them. What do they think of the outside world? Are they scared? Curious? Why is it that they’re so easily swayed into taking action to exterminate all organic life? What are their motives? I understand this new Dahj Android (I forget her name) saw this vision but is there already an underlying mistrust of organic that she feels? How does she feel about her sister being murdered by Starfleet?

Not enough was done on the Borg cube. I feel Seven’s presence has been minimal and thus Jeri Ryan wasted.

And what about Dr Soong? He seems pretty ready to disregard all organic life. And are we going to see Picard uploaded into this new android to save his life?

I enjoyed the episode which is why I’m torn. There was some very imaginative stuff. I loved the space orchids and thought they were pretty cool. There were some neat TNG-era vibes. I was reminded of the Ba’ku village.

But I’d wished we had seen more androids. This was 45 minutes when the last two episodes ran close to an hour. This episode could’ve used another 5-10 minutes to go a bit deeper. It’s still hard to judge when this is obviously the first half of a larger story.
Burke
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 6:28pm (UTC -5)
Mind-melding androids. This writers are just trolling now.
Dave in MN
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 6:45pm (UTC -5)
I guess I liked it(!)

Things happened in this episode that were interesting and mostly were logical plot developments. Actually, to get more basic: things happened.

Why it took 9 episodes to get to this point is a mystery to me .... but once I set aside my numerous "but how ...." questions, it was enjoyable in its own somewhat predictable way. (I could write a massive list of contrivances and plot holes for this episode, but I won't).

I could actually feel a little humanity in Picard's plucky crew and it was a nice balance to the otherworldly presentation of the synth planet. Kudos to Raffi's and Rios's performers, these actors are really good at what they do. (As far as Rios and Agnes go, I don't like them as a couple).

Of course Agnes was going to betray the crew, I really really detest this character .... she needs to be written off in the next episode.

The Romulan Warbird redesign is not very elegant, I'm not a fan. Also, were the space orchids intended to look hilarious? I only ask because I laughed.

Overall I think this was actually a 3 star episode .... it might not feel or be much like classic Trek, but at least this was entertaining in a Flash Gordon/ Star Wars sort of way.
Brian
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 6:47pm (UTC -5)
At this point, I'm just gonna change my "Wait and see" mindset to "This ain't Trek and this ain't never gonna be Trek and whatever this is, it's also not even good and I'm only gonna keep watching because I've already watched this much of it"

I'm gonna pretend that Patrick Stewart is playing an alternate universe version of Picard where Picard just pops into existence as an old man and doesn't know anything about Star Trek. This Picard also has all the video files of DS9 and Voyager stored in his mind where TNG also doesn't exist. This is mostly Picard taken out of TNG and inserted into everything that came after TNG. Which was also not Star Trek. It was sometimes good and often terrible (Voyager was mostly terrible and ended in exactly the kind of way you'd expect for a show that was a cheap knockoff of Star Trek). At least DS9 was good.

This is Patrick Stewart in space. He barely even knows he used to be Picard. It must be the brain tumor. This show would honestly work just as well without him. Except nobody would be watching it. Which I guess is the only reason he's there.

But hey. This is a show that tried to expand on the idea that Data had to be destroyed because Brent Spiner was tired of playing him. I mean, that's probably what it really was. The idea that androids don't age so he couldn't keep playing him only works if you have the worst writers ever. I guess nobody could think of a plot twist that would make data able to plausibly age. It's not like a Star Trek writer never brought Spock back to life or made alternate universes where Tasha Yar was never killed by an oil slick or anything.

Why don't we just bring Luke Skywalker into the picture now and complete the clusterfuck that is this show?
Dave in MN
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 6:49pm (UTC -5)
For the record, as a Trek episode I'd rank this a LOT lower. This plot had more holes than swiss cheese.

As Burke mentioned above: mind-melding androids.

This show is fantasy dressed up in sci-fi cosplay. But I did enjoy this episode considering what it is.
Gooz
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 7:00pm (UTC -5)
A decent episode.

Raffi is finally becoming a good character. The acting was good.

Ruis is still "I'm Spanish in the 24th century, Putta madre!" Stupid.

Does Narek know he has the same posh British accent as the dead hummingbird-in-the-eye robot?

Sexy Evil, gold-skinned Soji is not good. Not original. Just stupid TV trope of a sexy evil woman. Jeeeyuz.

Brent Spiner is back. I was cutting onions while watching the show, so my wife thought my tears were from the onions. Bonus for having Spot II in the episode.

So the planet is a Robot Israel as a land of refuge for the eternally oppressed. The Romulans are anti-semites. I guess the antisemitic incestuous couple Narissa and Narek are Ilhan Omar and the her brother/husband and Picard is Trump standing up for the robots/Jews? Everything is too on-the-nose for me. Save the right-wing commentary for Fox News, writers! I came here for entertainment, not right-wing propaganda.

Tilly: What happened to DS-12?
Me: Yeah, what happened? I thought we were going to see Miles and Molly and get to see Keiko's death in flashback. There's still hope. As Picard said in this episode: "Hope and the odds make poor bedfellows"
DANIEL PRATES
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 7:04pm (UTC -5)
I think it was pretty nice writing, that we were made to believe the Romulans found one warning, but it turns out the warning was the opposite (but to the same effect). Not biologic beens warning about impending doom, but far more evolved synths saying "go ahead, call us and we'll mess them up".

If season 2 follows down that road, viz, synths really being a threat, I will be cool with it.
Paul
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 7:06pm (UTC -5)
Worst episode yet. Amateurish and not worthy of the name Star Trek.

No one reacts to a Borg cube appearing out of nowhere, no explanation of why Picard faints, no mention of where Narek may be. They’re allowed to just wander in fine settlement.

Space Orchids? Wtf?

Oh dear.
DANIEL PRATES
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 7:31pm (UTC -5)
Anyone else noticed Narek's massive cheek cut in the first scene in the holding cell - and that it was gone in the next scene, which was supposed to be minutes later?
Captain Jon
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 7:38pm (UTC -5)
@Goof

The O’Briens were on DS9, not DS12. There are different DS stations. FIRST CONTACT mentions DS5.
Tommy D.
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 8:00pm (UTC -5)
I'm still clinging to the idea that there is something amiss with Agnes Jurati, so I'm giving the Sutra mind meld thing a pass for now.
Captain Jon
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 8:08pm (UTC -5)
If anyone is going to have a redeeming moment it’s Agnes. I don’t see Soji dying because of the rapport she’s developed with Picard. I view her as Data’s heir and so I think she’ll stay. If anyone dies in an act of redemption it’s Agnes.
Trent
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 8:57pm (UTC -5)
So, it seems like the series is not going to explain why Picard had such helpful dreams in the pilot. His visions of Data, Data's paintings and cards, and the way these were crosscut with the dreams of Soji's sister, seemed like some kind of personal and prophetic message imparted by God Know's What. But this thread seems to have evaporated.

William D Wehrs said: "This is something Dr. McCoy would say, not Picard. And I'm sorry but appropriate dialogue for characters matter."

Picard said "ass deep in Romulans" a few episodes back. In this one he says "piss me off". Earlier episodes have characters saying "pro tip" and spraying "dude" about. Out of the blue, these characters keep sounding like contemporary mid-20 year old stoners.

TNG had its tone locked down right away. The Federation was the 18th and 19th century British Navy in space. Everyone was prim and proper as they visited their colonies and spread the word of the Empire. Hi ho.

TOS was the 1950s-60s US navy. These were gunboat diplomats, competent but always down for booze and a barroom brawl. If the TNG era Federation shared the hegemonic superiority of the British Empire, the TOS Federation was an America feeling besieged but desperate to stake its claim where it could.

DS9 was Cassablanca meets the Wild West. A frontier town. An oasis of civilization in the middle of the lawless wilderness. But like Casablanca, the Indian Horde is made complicated: the good guys are surrounded by Nazis, Italian Fascists, French Resistance Fighters, Arabs, Americans, Good Germans and a bevy of crooks and scroungers.

In all these shows, there is a clear tone and a clear set of archetypes to act as a foundation. Meanwhile, WTF is Kurtzman Trek? They're not Navy Shows. Chabon likened "Picard" to spy-thrillers, but this is not John le Carre. The only template I can see is some kind of mushy Marvel/superhero/CW-network/Trek mashup.

Eric Jensen said: "So you know Discovery, that red squid/octopus thing... I saw it in the trailer for next week. Those metallic tentacles and the red hole. Control will be involved."

These forums literally called a "Control-Picard-Discovery" crossover before the "Discovery" final aired. The last few episodes have cast some doubts as to whether this will really happen, but everyone who knows Kurtzman, and saw where "Discovery" was heading, and heard about plans to make "Picard", immediately saw that this was the kind of dumb corporate synergy he loves.

Burke said: "Mind-melding androids. This writers are just trolling now. "

Does the episode attempt to explain this? Can someone learn mind melding techniques from Vulcans? This episode makes it seem like acupuncture.

Thinking about this episode some more, one wonders if the Borg aren't secretly the saviors of all organics. If the Borg keep assimilating races, there are no purely synthetic organisms, only cyborgs, and so no reason for Armageddon Aliens to turn up.

Why Armageddon Aliens would exist in a galaxy with other godlike aliens (Organians, Q, Cytherians, Metrons, Douwds etc), also doesn't make much sense. Surely the other God Aliens would kick their asses whenever they turned up.
The Dirty Mac
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 9:14pm (UTC -5)
Jammer, I wonder (and forgive me if this has been asked of you before) if you watch/know of/like Red Letter Media. Specifically, what do you think of Mike and Rich's take on STP. I love RLM, though, watching these STP Re:View episodes of theirs, I am in complete disagreement with them, and how they seem to find this show to be a disaster. Granted, I understand how Kurtzman-led storytelling is far from on par with say, Sorkin, and that he often leaves plot-holes and threads undeveloped. But, I find the way RLM reacts to each episode of STP, acting like they forget every inch of detail for the sake of criticism, to be way to cynical. Just wondering what you think of their take.

Peace and health to all!
Snitch
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 9:24pm (UTC -5)
That was embarrassing.

One of the major problems is Patrick Stewart's acting. It is pretty bad and the poor writing is not helping.

He is nothing like the TNG-Picard and even in the debate about his impending death he acts totally out of character. Confused old man out in the world.

This series has similar problems to Discovery.

Burnham & Picard are both not compelling characters. I dislike Burnham and I now pity Picard.

I wish we had shows about Seven of Nine and Captain Pike instead.

My rating: One star episode, utter dreck.
Big Pimpin'
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 9:30pm (UTC -5)
RLM are a bunch of clowns. Funny, but too rigid thinking to enjoy most things.
Tim
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 9:31pm (UTC -5)
@ William

“The show also seems to want to suggest that Seven of Nine has some deep personal attachment to Picard but provides zero reason or explanation for this.”

He’s Locutus. She was (sort of still is?) a drone.
PM
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 10:25pm (UTC -5)
@wolfstar that episode is 15/5
I'll pay real money to see that
Rahul
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 10:40pm (UTC -5)
Kind of disappointed with the 1st part of the finale but I see a pattern (if 2 episodes make a pattern) where like DSC's "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part I", the episode lays on the good-byes pretty heavily -- excess melodrama. Otherwise it's a big set up show for the true finale which will no doubt have a massive battle scene.

Didn't like Spiner's appearance as some kind of retconned Dr. Soong Jr. or whatever -- could not help thinking of ENT's "Augments" trilogy. I just don't think he was needed other than to convince Jurati that she's in the right place and can advocate for the synths (like be their "mother"?) and discredit Picard for his pleas to get the Federation to end the synth ban.

I like the actress playing Jurati but I don't like the Jurati character. So she's supposed to give herself up for murder and maybe has re-acquired her conscience after the admonition's impact but now she's basically corrupted by Dr. Soong Jr. and betrays Picard. She flip-flops too much. Would have been nice to see her develop some conviction. There was also an annoying scene with her having some kind of melodramatic good-bye with Rios.

The Sudra synth character showed that Isa Briones is quite talented. But as far as a different interpretation of the admonition, that's an intriguing development, although where it goes with a higher level synthetic race offering to be summoned is straining my suspension of disbelief a bit.

Narek as a captive was interesting -- but somehow, I guess Sudra kills the synth guarding him with a butterfly to the eye and he is released?? What really went down between these 2? I liked the dynamic between Narek and Soji as I do believe Narek was in love with her but Soji is now disgusted with him.

Only 1 interesting dialog -- and again it's between Picard and Soji -- about the "logic of sacrifice" or the calculus of life and death. But I question the direction of overlapping this discussion with the synth Sudra interacting with Narek. The directors of PIC like this technique of juggling 2 key scenes at the same time -- I've had mixed results watching it and here it didn't work for me.

The main issue that bugged me was the good-byes especially Raffi's character out of nowhere getting overly sentimental toward Picard just before she goes to fix Rios's ship. This was ridiculous for me. I can understand it coming from Elnor (is this forum calling him "Elfnor" now?) toward Picard.

I didn't mind the slower pacing of the episode but it just seems that not much was accomplished. Dr. Soong Jr. was needless -- throwing Spiner a bone. In 24 hours 218 warbirds are to arrive and Picard is apparently a prisoner while Raffi/Rios have to fix La Sirena and the Borg Cube has to prep for battle. But now it seems as if the Romulans are right to wipe out these synths who would see them as they see the Federation -- 100% biological life forms. But are Sudra and Narek in cahoots?

This turn of events with the synths feeling they must fight against all non-artificial life reminded me of VOY's "Flesh and Blood" which was a very good 2-parter and this 1st part feels weaker.

2 stars for "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1" -- nu-Trek is employing a similar plan with this 2-part finale as it did with DSC's "Such Sweet Sorrow" and so we get a weaker 1st part. Hope the 2nd part delivers as the DSC 2nd part did. I continue to like the visuals and most of the acting (Spiner didn't do it for me here, which is rare) but the story/plot fell kinda flat and I'm not impressed with excess melodrama. But we'll have a big shoot-out next week and probably a WTF ending so not much will be remembered from this 1st part, presumably.
AR
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 10:47pm (UTC -5)
I had my doubts about this show when the story started hinting at apocalyptic tones, and now all my worst fears have been confirmed. And no, "the Zhat Vash were right but the synths would only destroy us because we attacked/fear them first so its our faults" isn't a satisfying reveal. So we're either headed for another massive battle like Discovery S2 finale, or some corny speech about peace and not giving into fear, which I'm sure will satisfy many as being sufficiently Trekkian, but is IMO going to be a massive letdown given how long it took to reach that point, and the storytelling shortcuts taken.

Honestly, I hated the "Federation banned all synths" story from the beginning, it never made any damn sense. Sure, take them offline or keep them away from sensitive systems til you figure out what happened (other than the fact that the 24th century has no !$#@ing network security and an entire outpost of them can be hacked at once), but an outright ban never set right with me, and the reveal about what happend with the Ibn Majid was even worse. I don't know why the writers felt everyone had to take such immediate extreme positions with no middle ground.

I'm also still unclear as to why Commodore Oh orchestrated the attack on Mars during the Romulan evac. OK, you wanted to turn the Federation against synths, was that really the best time (is she a Romulan double agent or not)?
Cletus
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 10:52pm (UTC -5)
Yeesh, when i heard Chabon and experienced old school trek writers like Beyer were helping shepherd this, i figured we would escape Disco fare, but nope, we are getting messy plot threads dangling everywhere and yet another galaxy ending threat resolved by big space battle. 9 episodes led to this? This is the amazing story that drew Stewart back? Theres maybe been 20 or so mins of nice picard character moments in 9 hours.

I enjoy the redlettermedia guys but found their pic reviews overly cynical and obnoxious, but they may be right in asserting pre nu-trek is gone and never coming back if Kurtzman remains the Feige of Trekverse.
Clark
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 11:17pm (UTC -5)
How are they all so ok with Agnes killing Maddox? Is because shes "done with murder" now? Found this incredibly distracting through most of the episode with a especially when they are leaving her alone to do a medical exam on Picard. Then Rios fawning over her... wooof. Overall it's starting to feel more and more contrived when things should be coming together. Still some bright points as always from Stewart and interesting parallels with Soji and Sudra/Data and Lore. Hopefully they can turn this around. Also starting to get increasingly worried the future of Picard is gonna be this cast on a ship named the Picard after he dies. 1.5/4 for me.
Steinway
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 1:10am (UTC -5)
Definitely a big step back in quality from the last three episodes. So much good analysis here in the comments...

Strange pacing in this episode. Things seem pretty urgent with the Romulan fleet approaching, and yet our “heroes” are taking leisurely strolls around the planet and at the android compound, and having lots of feely conversations which, as has been said so many times here, were embarrassing because of how unearned they were.

Zooming out, it feels like we have so many super flawed or cynical women on the show...Agnes, Raffi, Narissa, Commodore Oh, the F-ing Admiral...especially Seven with the mercy killing, vaporizing Bjayzl, and now she’s unceremoniously kicking dead xB’s off a ledge because they’re “in her way” and she’s so vigilante and jaded. Soji is an exception to this. Then on the other hand, we have the guys, who just kind of stand around: Picard, Rios, Elnor, and Narek. I actually like Rios (the acting at least) but he’s just kind of “there” most of the time, from a character perspective. I feel like it’s overblown post-modernist anti-stereotyping, which then becomes its own stereotype, and it’s just off-putting to me.
Peter G.
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 1:32am (UTC -5)
My review of this episode can be summarized quite easily:

AAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!!!!!

The verdict is in: the writers on the series cannot do *anything* right. Oh, they can do some things that I like, and others I hate, but none of the things I like can ever amount to anything and are always spoiled. This ep might be the lynchpin in my suspicion that the writing revolves around childish notions of good and evil, and oppression and freedom. Even the greatest minds in any given episode aren't as smart as the average viewer, which is truly depressing. What distresses me most about this one is how much I enjoyed parts of it - that they could do something so nicely and foul it up again ten minutes later, like they just couldn't help it.

Arriving on 'Arcadia' we find a truly new society. I had an audible chuckle as we first encounter a society that at first reminded me of the free spirit enclave in Cost of Living, in a good way. We had the prospect of various kinds of androids from different generations of tech, all delivered with one promise: that they were all like Data in being unbiased and logical. Hah, that is one promise that was not kept. But while it *was* kept I was thrilled...until it wasn't. I very much liked the idea of Data-siblings (nieces and nephews?) each with their own unique specialties and interests, with different points of view, each logical and yet unique. This promised to be a delight, and for around 20 minutes it really was. How nice to see something uplifting and interesting at the same time. And the different portrayals were so nicely acted that they were quite captivating. As I've mentioned, before, one thing they do well on this show is acting direction; they are right on top of that and have been since day one.

But all of this idyllic revelry didn't successfully obscure from me some facts that now make no sense. At the conclusion of our last episode we had a dangerous mission to try to save the android colony. What the state of technological level of this colony we didn't know. For all the Romulans knew they could wipe out the Romulan fleet easily. Dun-dun-dun. At the start of this one we are immediately shown a 'superior' looking flower technology - oh wow! My first thought was "Vorlons!" Perhaps these androids were in no need of protecting after all. And then BOOM they take down a fully powered Borg cube with ease, disabling it with no struggle. Ok, these must be advanced beings all right, no doubt immensely powerful but happy to remain on their planet, like the Cytherians in The Nth Degree. Strangely we subsequently learn that these 'orchids' were few in number, 1/3 of which were needlessly wasted hoisting a fricking cube down to the planet. And despite the Arcadian theme and intellectual stature we're supposed to admire in these androids, they seem to have been too dim to consider simply contacting Rios' ship or the cube to ask what was up; nor did they offer any explanation for grounding and disabling these ships when contact was made. As a side point, despite Picard's use of the term First Contact it was by no means that, since humans were already living there and in fact formed the colony in the first place. But back to the point: I think the audience was outright tricked at the start, for no reason other than to trick us. We are given no explanation of why orchids were used to ground the ships, because there is none. It was done to impress us and hope we wouldn't ask questions later, much the same as many plot turns in this series. Likewise we might observe that a functional Borg cube - ostensibly here to help Picard and his android cause - was disabled despite the fact that for all they knew it could have mounted a significant defense of the planet, or at least easily evacuated the androids in around one second flat.

But moving on, we get a nice homage to Spock, with a fangirl learning the mind meld (telepathy is a learned skill???), playing Spock's instrument, and giving us his signature "fascinating". Too bad we didn't get a different android give us "intriguing" as a counterpoint. The performance of this android always proves to be impressive, as is the make-up job. All of this wonderful build-up should only go to underscore my incredible frustration when it turns out she has the IQ of a peanut and the emotional sensitivity of a high school bully. I am fully open to considering that her awareness of the advanced AI society would change her views on various things; but it was all too clear what happened when she released the forcefield on that prison cell: she had the smarmy narcissistic-evil aura of those Tal Shiar incestuous clowns, sexually toying with this guy while also Plotting Evil. WTF! I thought, maybe this was a ploy. But no, shortly thereafter she calls a town meeting that makes the town meeting in TNG's Ensigns of Command look sensible, and announces her new plan to help the super-AI's annihilate organic life to protect themselves. At this point I laughed out loud at the sheer stupidity of it all. Not only is no logical reason given why her views have changed, but she likewise can provide no explanation to the other synth's as to why they should change theirs other than "they will always threaten us so we have to stop them first." Wow, how childish can you get. And this is supposed to be someone who admires Spock and is a more advanced version of Data, unbiased and all? And hey, I could get them introducing a new Lore-type android, spoiling the party, but once I saw the other synths nodding their heads in agreement (even Soji!) I knew the game was over and the episode had descended into the realm of the dumb. These writers cannot do *anything* right! One good start to an episode, and give us something nice to watch, and they go and revert back to their tried-and-true "but aha! what if they turn evil now!" I can't even express how little I care for this 'who will be the good and who the evil people each episode' game. That is not Trek. The closest I can think of as an analogy is nu-BSG, which this episode closely resembles, down the to complete lack of logic displayed by the AI's. It's not just that their logic is twisted, it's non-existent. If the writers meant to tell us an unbiased reasoning for this turn of events, and that it's actually justified, they fell flat on their face.

The culmination of this crap-fest of a plot turn was them announcing that Picard was too dangerous to be left loose, because he was "confuse" them and "change their minds". Uh...come again? Is that supposed to sound compelling? It's like announcing *out loud* that you have no argument and are just fascist idiots trying to mind control each other and dominate the universe. And I like how this Soong-child is pretty happy to go along with this nice plan of exterminating all life in the universe. He and species 8472 (pre-neutering) would get along nicely, I suppose. They could invite the Pagh Wraiths and have a real party. Speaking of which, to anyone who disliked the good vs evil aspect in DS9 introduced by the Pagh Wraiths, I guess you won't be too impressed by this turn of events either. Let's just break out the "swept away like leaves" theme once again. And hey, wasn't there an entire Dominion war over the idea that in order to avoid subjugation by the Solids they themselves would need to be subjugated? Well it turns out that was a rather kindhearted point of view compared to the notion of just wiping them out. Those Founders were really sweeties after all.

Once we're on the subject of universe-wide threats, perhaps it bears mentioning that if there's a race of AI so advanced that entire galaxies fear them, shouldn't it stand to reason that they're powerful enough *not to need to wipe anyone out*? Like, once you're strong enough you sort of shouldn't need to worry about doing a bunch of killings in self-defense. Assuming the androids wanted to contact these beings purely for protection, I could get the appeal: they're a safe harbor that they want to join. But no, it's just the bigger gang in town and they're going to rough up everyone different from them. Nice message there, you guys sure are just like Data. But why would this bigger gang have any need to wipe anyone out, unless they're just colossal assholes?

And other question: is all of this supposed to prove the Romulans right after all, that AI's are evil incarnate? But if that's true, doesn't it make all of Picard's relentless preaching here completely void and meaningless? And doesn't it mean that the Mars plot hatched by the Romulans was totally justified? Soji asks Picard how the life/death numbers game is supposed to work, and whether killing is justified to protect life. Clearly it is since the Enterprise killed many beings, but here she seems to mean cold-blooded murder. Picard tries to brush this pseudo-trolley problem away with a philosophical hand-wave: "it depends on whether you're the one holding the knife." Does it? I don't even know what that's supposed to mean, but apparently the message is lost in the shuffle because we seem to be challenged to wonder who is right, whether the Romulans were pitiful fools or truly right in their convictions, and whether it is in fact accurate that organics cannot be trusted? I don't know what this episode thinks it's trying to say, but all it says to me is "fooled you!" So you did - I almost thought this was going to be a beautiful episode. Instead it's laughably infantile.
Mal
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 6:53am (UTC -5)
Booooooooooooooring!!!!!!!!!!!!


https://youtu.be/f-WIMa70Y9M
Nic
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 7:56am (UTC -5)
I'm having trouble getting my thoughts together, so my comments will be disjointed (just like the episode).

Patrick Stewart's talents (and the 178 episodes and 4 films of TNG) give Picard a head start over the other characters, which is why the writers should have spent more time developing them. They're all still just sketches. here were many scenes where I thought "this would have worked if they'd properly developed the characters beforehand":
-the crew of La Sirena being close to tears when they learn of Picard's illness (aside from Raffi, they've just met him!)
- Elnor hugging Picard (they've only shared a few scenes together! Why is he so attached to Picard after Picard abandoned him as a child?)
- Rios calling Jurati "unforgettable" (all they did was sleep together!)
Basically, the show is TELLING us that these people have developed close relationships, but it's not SHOWING us. As a result, all of these scenes fall flat.

It was nice to see Brent Spiner again, but having him play Soong's (never-before-heard-of) biological son is kind of like having Denise Crosby play Sela. Oh wait...

Sutra seemed to be acting seductively in all of her scenes for no reason at all. And I'm still waiting to find out why these androids are created in pairs.

Hopefully the last episode will not be just one interminable battle.
The Chronek
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 7:57am (UTC -5)
I agree with the comments saying that this episode was a step down in quality from the previous 3 episodes.

Good to see Spiner again, but the nitpicker in me wonders if his appearance as Soong's biological son contradicts anything that previously said he was childless. The writers have done a pretty solid job so far of accurately referring to previous Trek stories, so my guess is no, it doesn't contradict anything. Still, it felt off somehow.

Were those xB corpses that 7 kicked out of her way? I thought they were Romulans, but I'd have to rewatch it to double check. I can see her doing that to Romulan corpses, but I don't think she'd do that to xB's. Again, not sure, I'd have to rewatch. I don't have a problem with her kicking Romulan corpses unceremoniously. After all, they spaced a lot of drones.

I agree with the predictions that Agnes doesn't make it out of the finale alive. I commented as such to my wife while watching the episode last night.

I thought that the costumes on the synth planet were a nice tribute to William Ware Theiss. Trek has definitely used sex appeal before, going all the way back to TOS, so the Theiss titilation theory is nothing new.

I was also ok with the Picard/Raffi "I love you" exchange. They've been through a lot, and with how the episode is set up, there's reason for them to believe they won't survive the coming Romulan attack. Clearly, Picard means a lot to Raffi, which is why she was so disappointed in him for leaving Starfleet, why she was so hostile to him when he came to her for help, and why she has so far agreed to go with him on this journey.

I can even see why the synths would want to wipe out other life. I mean, not cool, but understandable considering the Federation's synth ban and the fact that there's 200+ Romulan ships on their way to wipe them out.

I guess I'm talking myself into a more favorable review than I initially thought. 2.5 stars on the Jammer scale for me. Here's hoping the finale will pay off.

LLAP, fellow hermits.
Steinway
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 8:16am (UTC -5)
@ The Chronek - you’re right, the kicked corpses could have been Romulan.

I agree with another poster that the Space Flower thing was laughable - they just take down any approaching ships, and then they synths move on with life? It was bizarre when Picard & co walked up to the synth compound and they all just kind of gathered around - given the preemptive nature of the flower attack, you’d think the synths would be aggressive. But no, now they’re just kinda like, “hey guys, ‘sup?” And that was after the super goofy camera work where we had a cheesy focus on each character’s face before walking up to the compound. “For effect”...or...something. The cinematography felt really off to me in this episode.

For some reason, the synth colony didn’t really work for me on a world-building level. They all just seemed to be soft of just hanging around that building that seemed pretty small for so many beings. And then nothing else on the whole planet...I just kept saying, what do they DO all day?!

Spiner’s return fell flat for me here as well. So different from the performances and role of Frakes/Sirtis, which were well done for the most part. Are the synths going to kill Soong Jr too? He seemed pretty unconcerned.
Marco
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 8:23am (UTC -5)
Well, this was a disappointment. Started OK and then went down hill from there. As many of you have posted, and I completely agree, this felt like a bad TNG two-parter.
TNG, at its worst, was a show of beige people in Pastel color uniforms. Take a look at the second half of this episode and see if you don't agree...

Last year, the Discover last two-parter started like this (pretty bad) but, as Jammers wrote, they stuck the landing somewhat neatly.

Indeed, more than actual material, this looks like the result of uninspired direction.
We'll see next week, and let's hope the show will not leave on a sour note, as I thought it was progressing nicely before this clunker.
Rossi
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 8:59am (UTC -5)
After watching it twice and after reading some reviews and comments about this episode...

Yeah...

I was not a hater. I was very much against the excessive hating I was seeing around directed to Picard, because until now, I was more or less enjoying the show and I was almost thinking I could call it Trek...

Not anymore.

Zero Stars. Absolute garbage. Zero logic coming from androids, who should be logical beings... Absurd out of character Picard... Patrick Stewart can't act as Picard anymore... He is just an old man lost in space, confused and yelled at all the time... What else? Mass Effect plot... Synht ban was ilogical and out of character for the Federation... All the plot makes no sense at all. Seven of Nine development in VOY was thrown in the garbage can and now she is a vigilante-renegade murderer... Elfnor... No...no...no!

I can't stand this anymore.

Where is that show that I loved because it presented us with a future we actually wanted to happen?
Ian
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 10:59am (UTC -5)
@William D Wehrs: "Picard says in the newest episode "Anyone who treats me like a dying man, runs the risk of pissing me off." This is something Dr. McCoy would say, not Picard. And I'm sorry but appropriate dialogue for characters matter. It's what gives them an identity and makes them feel real"

Thank you! One of the disappointing things about this series is how "un-Picard" Picard has been. I did not expect him to be the same character he was in TNG but we learned enough to get a good sense of what he would be like in his later years and this is really not it.
Ian
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 11:05am (UTC -5)
@Steinway: "For some reason, the synth colony didn’t really work for me on a world-building level. They all just seemed to be soft of just hanging around that building that seemed pretty small for so many beings. And then nothing else on the whole planet...I just kept saying, what do they DO all day?!"

Same here!

I was expecting a synth homeworld, an actual civilization but instead we see this small, new age, kind of commune yoga outpost that's small enough to board on the ship Picard arrived. Seems like ridiculous overkill that the Romulans are sending 218 warbirds to wipe it out. Though to be fair, they don't know what to expect when they arrive.
The Chronek
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 11:25am (UTC -5)
@Steinway,
I thought the synths' collective reaction was ok. They didn't know Picard was on the ship when they sent the orchids, but I think it's ok to assume that Soong Jr. spoke favorably of Picard to the synths, thus their reaction of gathering around initially as opposed to more hostile measures. Also, it made them feel more alien to me.

Yeah, the focus on each individual character's face before they walked up to the compound didn't work for me either. I would have bought the shots if the compound itself was more visually awe-inspiring, but it didn't do much for me.

I wasn't bothered by the synths just hanging around the compound. Part of it contributed to the alien feel for me. And it fit in with the attitude that hey, we're better than organics, so why go explore when we don't need to?

I don't think it's wholly fair to compare Spiner's performance in this episode to those of Frakes and Sirtis in Nepenthe. Frakes and Sirtis were reprising their longtime roles, while technically, Spiner is playing a character other than Data. Splitting hairs, perhaps, but to me, there's a difference.

Not the best episode, to be sure, but it's no "Shades of Grey" or "Threshold" from the infamous Trek garbage pile for me.
Stuart
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 11:31am (UTC -5)
What happened to Beautiful Flower's twin? I mean early on Anges establishes that all of the androids have to be twins (why though? Some kind of cloning going on?) We see Jana's twin but not Beautiful Flower's. Where is he? Could there be some mystery to that? Or was he a pre-twin build? Further to that, if Data and Lore could be retconned into the twins of that set, where is B4's twin?
Mike W
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 11:39am (UTC -5)
@Rossi

Best not see any further “reviews” from you.

Take care.
Dom
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 11:50am (UTC -5)
@John Harmon, agreed, except Mass Effect (even ME3) had very good character development and great long-term arcs. People only hated the very end, but most of the game was great and had amazing payoffs for long-term players.
The Chronek
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 11:59am (UTC -5)
Brief addition: I liked the Picard line about anyone treating him like a dying man runs the risk of pissing him off. I think it was very much in character for him. He's a Starfleet officer gone rogue. And when shown as an old man in "All Good Things," Picard is quite grumpy with other people when he feels like they're treating him with kid gloves because of his Irumodic syndrome.
Chrome
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
"where is B4's twin?"

Wasn't he made for the sole purpose of Romulan subterfuge and defective to boot? The Trek fandom is so funny sometimes. Why would anyone want to see B4's twin, assuming it exists? (lol)
Hank
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
Well, for the first time, Picard actually tried to look like TNG ... to which I can only say: Too little, too late, and a much too jarring contrast to the rest of the show.

Anyways, this was SOOOO BORING. "Muh advanded AI gonna kill all dem fleshbags" ... Honestly, Conan the Barbarian at least gave us the riddle of steel and great acting by Schwarzenegger ... a thoughtfull deep-dive into the human psyche.

I am so sick and tired of Picard getting pissed on every single episode.
Picard: "Please, lets talk and reconsider. It doesn't have to end this way."
Noonien Soong: "What are you, a faaaaaaggot, bro? Like, bro, talking is like totally uncool and shit, yo!"
Ugh ... I mean, the worst thing is that his whole crew agrees with that view. He is the lone voice in the desert in this regard. Also, where is his spine? He NEVER has any follow up or counterargument, he just bows his head and accepts defeat every time.

So, where does this first part leave us? Nowhere. Either we get the giant battle in Space(tm) or we get the "Picard talks to everybody and this time it actually works" - wait, no. Picard says something which DOESN'T work. Then Soji comes along and says something (I hope something like Rose Tychos Line from TLJ: "We do not win by fighting what we hate, but by protecting what we love!", while in the background, their planet got blow'd up!) and everybody is like: "Huh, yeah, thats ... totally cool, bro, uh, sis." and then they lived happily ever after through the power of friendship while Picard is shown at the back of the crowd, smiling emasculated and weary and he breaks down due to his illness.
And in his final moments, he has a vision of Data and they share a kiss, then Raffy comes along and smokes a crackpipe and everybody reminisces about their time with Picard and how he was like a totally chill dude, yo? Rios drops some spanish lines, Agnes agonizes over the death of her lover and channels John Snow: "I'm dun killin. I dun wannit", and, with a quick look at Soji: "She's muh queen!", Elnor is totally candid: "I am very sad that Picard is dad. He was a great dead. Oh no. It is the other way around!" (ba dum tsss), and then, Seven has the great idea to just upload his mind into the android body, and with Chakotay chanting "Achoochy Moja!", bubbling pots and putrid potions, in the darkness of the night, the twelve witches of Kobol butcher an Ewok, and with his entrails they perform the forbidding joining of the fruit of knowledge and the fruit of life and born is Adam, the first angel, and Picard, thus reborn into godhood, rises from the ashes and proclaims: "Look at my works and despair, for I am become death, and my name is Pale Horse!"
Trent
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 1:35pm (UTC -5)
Ian said: "I was expecting a synth homeworld, an actual civilization but instead we see this small, new age, kind of commune yoga outpost that's small enough to board on the ship Picard arrived."

Compare to how the "Orville" introduced it's synth homeworld (Kaylon 1, populated by robots made by aliens): https://vimeo.com/388501761

A wordless two minute sequence told with images and music.

Another episode features a landing on a planet called Regor 2, again an elongated sequence done with much care and fanfare.

Science Fiction, especially a franchise like Trek that purports to be about explorers and scientists, lends itself to visual storytelling. Once you have a budget like Kurtzman-Trek does, there are countless opportunities to marvel at phenomenon, linger visually upon alien architecture, weird anomalies and strange, beautiful exotic stuff....but with Kurtzman-Trek we don't really get that. Earth was beautifully portrayed in "Picard's" pilot, but otherwise visual storytelling and any sense of beauty or landscape, have taken a backseat to constant dialogue and plot, like a radio show.

So yes, the synth homeworld is badly portrayed. It's not alien. And it's not interesting. But also, we only mind because the show doesn't work as TOS/TNG/DS9 worked when they were visiting their similarly hastily slapped together planets; the scripts don't have that extra edge. TNG's "Who Watches the Watchers", "First Contact", "Pen Pals" etc have some simple-as-hell planets, but the plots work like good theater plays.
Dom
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 1:47pm (UTC -5)
even my friends IRL who were really excited about this show are starting to agree that it's been a letdown. Not that it's awful, but it's also just not great, or even really good. The plotting feels disjointed.
John Harmon
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 1:55pm (UTC -5)
Are we ever going to get an explanation for why these androids have to be made in pairs? It seemed like a huge deal early on. Was the only reason that was established so they could immediately kill off one of them and then have the “shocking” reveal of the other one? I can’t think of another reason.

I’ve seen people cite Data/Lore as the reason, but Data and Lore weren’t made in a pair. They’re not twins. They were made and developed separately, one assumes possibly years apart. Surely the writers/producers aren’t using Data and Lore as the basis for this. I guess it wouldn’t surprise me that they’d base a major part of their series on something they don’t understand about classic Trek.

I’m guessing this will never be explained and it will be one of those famous Kurtzman plot holes where he expects all the action and noise to make the audience forget about anything that makes no sense.
Burke
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 2:26pm (UTC -5)
All these plot choices and "new directions" that they are taking with new Trek are just a thin layer to disguise the fact that the writers/producers don't know and don't care about the core ideas of Star Trek, they just care about making a TV show, getting paid, and hopefully doing it all over again next year.

I saw Chabon defending the choices of the writing team on instagram the other day. While it could have been a nice gesture, he came off as arrogant. Is the term treksplaining a thing yet?
David Ellis
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 2:50pm (UTC -5)
It looks like the Picard finale Et in Arcadia Ego is getting uncomfortably close to a ripoff of the Orville episode Identity.
Quincy
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 3:52pm (UTC -5)
@William D Wehrs
"We see on the planet plenty of vegetation and the characters seem to walk around with squinting. How the heck could that be possible when the planet is flanked by eight suns!!!"

Pretty sure that's not the same planet. The 8 sun system was the classified system in Romulan territory where the Admonition ceremony was administered to the Zhat Vash inductees. That system was created by the alien synthetic alliance that left the Admonition artifact. Clearly, that's not going to be the same planet as the Federation Synths are inhabiting. The Romulans already know where that planet is. How would they fail to notice Synths on their planet in their territory? Why would they need to Eye Spy Soji in order to learn its already known location?
Lee B
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 4:22pm (UTC -5)
John Harmon, your nitpicks are ridiculous and in bad faith.

I've also grown tired of you and others low-balling every single thing you dislike to "Kurtzman doesn't know Trek!"

KURTZMAN ISN'T THE WRITER. IT'S MAINLY MICHAEL CHABON.

Jesus Christ, it's as if you losers seriously just can't accept anything that isn't 90s Trek and nothing but nostalgia fodder, finding things to nitpick, as if 90s Trek wasn't plentiful with contrivances and plotholes. Gross.
Peter G.
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 4:29pm (UTC -5)
@ Lee B,

"KURTZMAN ISN'T THE WRITER. IT'S MAINLY MICHAEL CHABON."

While it's good to keep in mind the various people on the team, the general result of a project will reflect the management structure. Most serious problems can be traced right to the top, and don't happen under a competent leader's nose. It's the exec's show regardless of who is doing much of the day-to-day writing. If the execs didn't like it they would have a new writer in five minutes. It's their taste and brain-power that gets reflected on-screen.
Trent
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 4:53pm (UTC -5)
Lee B said: "Jesus Christ, it's as if you losers seriously just can't accept anything that isn't 90s Trek and nothing but nostalgia fodder, "

Ignoring the fact that Chabon's novels are obsessed with nostalgia (of comic books, superheroes, lost lives etc), a show which shoehorns Data, Riker, the Borg, tea, ninjas, Old Data, Borg Cubes, Nemesis Romulans and Seven of Nine, sounds precisely like 90s nostalgia fodder.

This show doesn't need over half those things. The Romulan Refugee problem was an idea interesting enough to sustain a full season. Instead the show took the low route.
James White
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 5:09pm (UTC -5)
Everyone take a deep breath. This is television. Get some perspective. And for some, get a life.
Rossi
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 5:18pm (UTC -5)
@Mike W

You don't need to read my review and put it into " ", meaning that you don't consider it a proper review. I even don't know what you are doing here. This is a place where we should be posting our opinions and reviews, right? If you didn't like my "review", get over it and respect my point of view, as an adult who you should be. No need to get angry. If you enjoyed this garbage of an episode, lucky you! Some people like garbage.
Cletus
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 5:34pm (UTC -5)
"just can't accept anything that isn't 90s Trek"

Or 60s trek, or 80s trek, or 00s trek.

Trek has a pedigree. It can (and should!) offer new things and reinvent itself - without abandoning that pedigree and ethos. Or having poor and haphazard writing - these guys spend months prepping and in a writers room knocking out the season, and yet we still get disjointed and messy plot and characterization.

Even if you have no attachment to prior Trek and just watch Pic or Disco on their own, they exhibit poor writing with occasional flashes of quality (which is why I still watch). Yes, so did other Trek, but it's much more pronounced when you're doing a season long arc and not isolated episodes, since everything hinges together (especially with the Disco/Pic approach where things are constantly hinted at to later be revealed (mind-shattering secret!), you really gotta stick the landing in that case to reward the audience's trust), and the writers should be accordingly held to a higher standard if they are committing to that format.
Robert
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 5:55pm (UTC -5)
@Lee B

Don't listen to the critics who lump everything together as "Nu-Trek" or "Kurtzman's work". You never see Jammer doing that because it's a sure sign of lazy critical analysis that doesn't consider the moving parts of production vis-a-vis other staff members.

To put this into perspective, try calling TNG, DS9, VOY, and ENT "Berman Trek". Is Berman's influence so strong that those four shows seem the same? No one would with any familiarity of those shows would make that claim in good faith.
The Chronek
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 6:05pm (UTC -5)
FFS.

And I thought The Last Jedi and the 13th Doctor hate brigades were bad....
Lynos
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 6:32pm (UTC -5)
Synth planet is very pretty to look at, but the story is nonsensical.

- Jurati's crime seem to have no repercussions in terms of plot or the character relationship to her. It's all been glossed over completely.

- Synths can now mind-meld (???)

- what was the point of the Borg cube coming there? Maybe we will know in part 2.

- the leader of the synths, a sexy bronze android straight out of some 70's pulp movie (which I like), is now also eeeeeevil and one-dimensional.

- Who is Brent Spiner playing exactly? Dr Soong's son? So Data was fashioned after him? Isn't he an organic as well? So he is also eeeeevil?

- what the heck were those space flowers? And who was speaking through Picard before the landing? And how?

- what is this settlement exactly? How many androids live there? Why some look like bronze robots (i.e, like Data) and some as normal people? What is the greater picture of the synths involvement in the Federation and starfleet? What were they doing on Mars? Are there any other synth enclaves? Are they employed anywhere else? Isn't computer AI and Synth AI very much the same? Why then aren't the Romulans hating their computers and destroying them?
Adam
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 6:57pm (UTC -5)
@ Lynos

I think the way that Jurati's crime has been handled is inexcusable. She had a mind meld with a half vulcan that showed her some bad stuff. She agrees to be a spy (and maybe more?). She meets up with her ex lover, and kills him. Why did she kill him? Was it because he had created androids? If so it was premeditated. Was it to prevent him from making more androids? What makes her judge, jury, and executioner? It certainly did not seem like a crime of passion. So that leaves what we would call murder 1 in most states. The Picard from TNG would have put her in the brig with a guard, not let her run around free on the ship and a planet. Makes no sense. I am surprised Patrick Stewart, as executive producer, went along with this. No wonder no one listens to Picard anymore. Just this one item has ruined the show for me, unfortunately.
Peter G.
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 7:05pm (UTC -5)
@ Robert,

"To put this into perspective, try calling TNG, DS9, VOY, and ENT "Berman Trek". Is Berman's influence so strong that those four shows seem the same? No one would with any familiarity of those shows would make that claim in good faith."

To varying degrees of accuracy I think it's entirely reasonable to call TNG S3-7 'Berman Trek'. It comes across in all the good and bad ways we might imagine. The good ways include a consistently upbeat and solid tone to the crew interactions, and the general worldview underlying those seasons. I also think it would be equally valid to call early DS9 'Pillar-Trek' and later DS9 'Behr-Trek' because the stamp of the show runners clearly marks itself on the show's tone and the sorts of episodes we got from them. Behr Trek is quite a bit different from DS9 S1-2, which in turn is quite a bit different from Roddenberry/Hurley Trek (if I can call TNG S1-2 that). The showrunners and execs had an incredible imprint on the series to the point where they clearly feel very different from each other. And it seems never to have been called into serious question that there's such a thing as 'Berman-Braga' Trek; in fact that duo's influence on VOY and ENT seems to be generally accepted without question. So why should it be so gauche to attribute specific qualities of DISC and now PIC to their show leads?

The fact that it's frequently to slam the show is, I think, why it comes off as more offensive in this case. And I get that it can come off as a cheap diminishment to simply apply a label to something one doesn't like and dismiss it. However in being balanced I don't think it's fair to discard the responsibility of the show runners in the product they are creating. In fact I think they should be the only ones held to account for it; certainly not the writers, who are probably doing their best. If writing for a show is bad (hypothetically) then blame the person who hired them, not the poor writer doing what they can to make a living.
Ruth
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 7:31pm (UTC -5)
I didn’t like a lot about this ep, but can we please stick to the facts?

This isn’t the planet with 8 suns, so no it won’t be bright and they won’t be squinting.

Seven’s connection to Picard has been well explained. She sees him as an example of Federation morality as an individual, and we’ve seen that all the former drones recognise him as Locutus. Unless one missed that Seven is a former drone I don’t see what’s hard to grasp here.

Narek’s wound being healed between scenes was spelled out in dialogue.

The corpses Seven kicked aside were clearly Romulans - to be specific, Romulan agents who were engaging in a mass murder of every drone aboard the cube at the time of their death. They have uniforms!

I have noticed nowadays people will talk about doing other things whilst they watch a show, which of course is your right and everything, but it doesn’t sound very enjoyable to me, and clearly you don’t get all the info you’re supposed to be getting.

Questioning why Elnor loves Picard and wants his fatherly approval *because* he abandoned him doesn’t necessarily reflect a lack of attention but maybe a lack of understanding of common childhood traumas. That’s how it goes a lot of the time!

This is my least favourite ep apart from the gorey one. The direction, the camerawork was a mess. I was questioning it out loud at some points. Really amateurish. What was that scene with their faces one after another?! Really really odd.

Seven of course along with Elnor and the cube as a whole are the Chekhov’s gun here and I look forwards to seeing them fired next week.

I’m hoping Agnes is double crossing the evil Soji. We know she lied and hid her lies to the EMH. (But I’m laughing at her full name. Jurati was already hilariously like jarate for any Team Fortress 2 fans here, and now she’s Agnes *P* Jurati? It’s too much!)

I like the explanation for why the warning sends organics off their rockers. It’s not for them - it’s made by people who seem to hate them. I thought that was the dumbest plot thread so far so I’m glad it’s actually a bit clever.

I do find it really boring though that Soji’s weird dream was about a real place. And that it seems like the intergalactic synthetic phone line is real. Just seems cheap somehow.
Marvin
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 7:38pm (UTC -5)
I won’t rehash my complaints about the writing, plot contrivances, and acting on this episode, as I’ve done that on my past reviews and I’m getting tired of my own complaints. I want to focus big picture.

What is interesting is couldn’t this episode be the 2nd part of a 3 part short? I.e., use the first Picard episode, skip everything in between, and have this and next week’s as the season? Hasn’t everything in between been fluff? I agree with others in not feeling anything for these characters because no foundation has been established. I guess maybe one more episode to get the La Sirena crew, Soji, Elnor, and Seven onboard. BAM! Now you have a fast moving No fluff Trek action series. Forgot all this failed melodrama.

Remember, TV execs opted for the serial format in Picard, and yet ironically everything since the first episode has been episodic in its irreverence to the season as a whole.
Gerontius
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 8:10pm (UTC -5)
A bit disappointing after the previous three episodes, but I don't share the hate mob that's built up in the course of this thread.

I never much like the two-part format - far better to do a feature length episodes if a longer narrative is required. But a two parter has to be treated as not complete till its over. I hope that the second part may undo some of the problematic issues that have come in. I don't think we have to assume that Soji, Agnes and Soong were all necessarily being honest in their desertion of Picard.

But I think the blind obedience of the whole Synth community to the Golden Witch was in keeping that we are supposed to take it that most of them are at least in some sense children of Data. It was more as if the magic positrons neurone used by Maddox wasn't from Data but from Lore. Maybe it'll turn it it was, anything could happen. But aren't at least some of them supposed to be sentient synths, not identikit mindless machines? There should at least have been some indication of a discussion of what as the right thing to do.

I agree with what Peter G said - " if there's a race of AI so advanced that entire galaxies fear them, shouldn't it stand to reason that they're powerful enough *not to need to wipe anyone out*?" The genocidal multigalactic syth empire idea just doesn't make sense, and I couldn't see why it would have been accepted like instant holy writ.

But just possibly the second half might come up with some way to resolve that kind of thing.

I don't agree with those who appear to assume that Agnes was acting as a free agent in killing Bruce. I'd see it as more a matter of mind control, with her being manipulated to interpret what she did as her actions. In a dream the craziest things can seem perfectly logical, and I think her murder was more the kind of thing, even killing, that has been recorded as being done by people who are still essentially asleep.

And I also disagree with those who see Picard as being totally changed from his old self. Different in some ways, but consistently so. And still very formidable. I was puzzled that no-one asked about his prognosis. We were told he was going to die, but so is everyone, the question is, how long have we got? Fhh
John Harmon
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 8:12pm (UTC -5)
More personal attacks against people who criticize these new shows. If you’re a fan of the show, go ahead, but don’t attack someone for not liking it. I never see it the other way around.

The show is poorly made and I’m sorry if you don’t notice the gaping plot holes and dropped story threads that plague everything Kurtzman puts his fingerprints on.
John Harmon
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 8:15pm (UTC -5)
@Marvin absolutely this entire season could be reduced to a 3 part episode, with plenty of the season left for other adventures.

The reason it’s not is laziness. Why waste multiple ideas on one season, when you can stretch one single idea over 10 episodes and you get to save other ideas for future seasons. That way you don’t have to try as hard.
Henson
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 8:52pm (UTC -5)
Well put, Robert. I personally get tired of people breaking off into camps each week and gnatting back and forth over what is essentially the same product. Live and let live, fellow Trekkers.

As for the episode, I’m still holding out hope that it’s not a Skynet/Reaper scenario. Sutra is intentionally misinterpreting the message. The super synths are not malevolent but Sutra is planning to use them like how Lore used the Crystalline Entity.

I really really hope that the organic vs. machine idea is a misdirect. Because the idea is just too small to be such a big deal in the Trek universe.

We already know that there are godlike aliens in the Trek universe that evolved from “lesser” forms so we know for a fact that organic-synth conflict is not inevitable. Unless the Douwd, Organians, Metrons, Cytherians, etc. just complete anomalies that never developed any AI? And they never bothered to warn any of the less advanced races of the impending synthpocalypse? None of the organics that evolved into energy beings bothered helping other organics avoid it? Were the Organians and Metrons just f’ing with Kirk when they implied that humanity can advance to their level thousands of years in the future?

Not to mention how there are non-godlike organics with extraordinary abilities. The Founders are basically immortal, they can shapeshift, they can survive extreme conditions, they are in many ways far superior to synthetics. There’s also Species 8472, incredibly advanced and uses completely organic technology.

Plus the Federation has already dealt with a super AI with godlike powers, V’Ger. V’Ger was given immense powers by a race of machines. It could easily wipe out entire fleets and planets. But its goal was to find its creator and when it merged with Decker, it achieved a new level of existence.
Nothing but the Tears
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 8:55pm (UTC -5)
The show has managed to lose me again, I’m afraid. Short story, after seeing this, I’m not excited or hopeful for next week.

Longer story, to me, the episode just really feels unfocused, as do conversations. It seems disjointed, with a constant stop-and-go dynamic to it. Major events such as finding the community or an entire Borg cube setting down on a planet seem almost like insignificant blips. I tend to agree with others who’ve pointed to this episode’s direction as part of the issue.

I do like the idea of an ancient race of A.I.s and/or synths as well as a message never meant for organics. A lot of interesting stuff could come out of this. I’m just not hopeful that it will.

What bothers me about this episode and the show in general is that it’s often focusing on sth that isn’t half as interesting as what’s right there, basically sitting next to it.

Seven’s a great example. She’s almost a cipher in all of this, just jumping into the action here and there but never really involved. Then there’s Picard being called Locutus. So why aren’t we getting far more scenes between the two of them considering where they gained humanity? Or talking about where the Borg fit in with an organics vs synths conflict?

Or consider a character like Soong. Who is he beyond his father? Why does he even care about synths himself? It would be interesting to find out more but I doubt we ever will, given how things have gone for supporting characters aka the new red shirts.

At the end of the day, I just didn’t find this episode very good or enjoyable. We’ll see what happens next week. Hope springs eternal.
Gerontius
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 9:11pm (UTC -5)
I haven't noticed in this thread many personal attacks on people who criticise this show or others. And I certainly didn't make any in my post criticising this episode. (I mean't to write "hate mob mentality" incidentally, but accidentally dropped a word. The small writing window we have here does make it a bit easy to miss that kind of error.)

I think the heavy serialisation format can have the unfortunate effect that the poorer episodes leach over how we judge into the good episodes. Star Trek has always had its share of poorer episodes, but with a more episodic format that doesn't really matter. The good episodes stand up independently, and those are the ones that matter.

And I think it should be the rule that if it is decided to go for a heavily serialized format, a whole season should be made by the same team of people. That is how it gets done in the serial dramas I have most enjoyed in other genres. It would be absurd for a scandi-noir serial like The Bridge or a serial like the BBC's Line of Duty to have individual episodes farmed out to different people, like a game of Consequences.
Drea
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 9:54pm (UTC -5)
Regarding twins!

Within this narrative, giving both Soji and Sutra a lost twin sets them up to want a connection with each other, and for their fundamental difference and inability to keep that connection ultimately to be more painful.

I'm still not a fan of killing Dahj off in the first episode and think the series would've been better served without that choice, but making Soji at least believe her sister is gone does more than just set Picard up with a twist. She'd be less vulnerable to Sutra's emotional pull were Dahj alive, or even if Dahj had never existed.

It's clear that the twinning theme plays off Data and Lore. In TNG, Lore came first, but nothing says that they couldn't have been created simultaneously, and Lore activated first. It's a retcon, but a minor one, to claim that the creation process must involve two identical positronic brains, and that if you make one alone, it either cannot achieve sophistication, like B4, or dies, like Lal.

I wish it were more possible to have a provocative conversation on this board. Instead it's all silly sniping back and forth on the ridiculous question of "is this Star Trek."
Henson
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 9:58pm (UTC -5)
Um...okay, that's awkward. There's a new poster using my same username on this website now.

Since I've been posting here for a while, could you perhaps choose a new username, (nu)Henson?
Brian
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 10:11pm (UTC -5)
@Henson

"We already know that there are godlike aliens in the Trek universe that evolved from “lesser” forms so we know for a fact that organic-synth conflict is not inevitable. Unless the Douwd, Organians, Metrons, Cytherians, etc. just complete anomalies that never developed any AI? And they never bothered to warn any of the less advanced races of the impending synthpocalypse? None of the organics that evolved into energy beings bothered helping other organics avoid it? Were the Organians and Metrons just f’ing with Kirk when they implied that humanity can advance to their level thousands of years in the future?"

Well, there is one more episode to reveal any sort of twist. So far, the Borg are just “there” but they represent a hybrid of synthetic and organic life so they still need to fit in to the overall story somehow besides just conveniently having a Cube for defending the planet.

Plus Commodore Oh. I wonder if she has a long ago past with one Section 31 member named Georgiou.

Anyway, as you brought up the Trek universe has so many “advanced” lifeforms, it’s hard to keep up on all of it. This has to be where Picard gets his mojo back and saves the day. So far there have been fleeting moments but he’s still nowhere near the stature he once was.
Patrick D
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 10:39pm (UTC -5)
I am really loving this show. At the same time, I honestly can’t defend its many many shortcomings. How odd.
John Harmon
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 10:54pm (UTC -5)
@Drea saying Data and Lore were twins is a huge retcon. Data and Lore were different from one another, same as B-4. They were made separately. Soong learned mistakes from each model to improve until he got to Data.
Tommy D.
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 11:19pm (UTC -5)
Coincidentally, I watched "Brothers" last night. Soong calls Lore and Data virutally identical, save for a bit of programming. Not really a huge retcon.
Rattrap Maximize!
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 12:58am (UTC -5)
Good Christ, no one hates Star Trek more than Star Trek fans. For a franchise that cut its teeth on the idea of "boldly going", you'd think Trek would have a more bold, forward-looking fanbase. Instead, it's the most weirdly possessive, unexpectedly regressive group of compulsive hate-watchers.

Unbelievable.

Why are we so pathologically incapable of enjoying a show? Why is Every.Single.Comment.Section immediately and constantly befouled with endless "This isn't Star Trek" bullshit over and over?

Stop it.

Stop.

This IS Star Trek.

I sincerely hope that this is just the small, vocal minority of the fandom that does this, but good God, your insistence on constantly coming on just to air your most inane gripes is just exhausting. Seriously. *Now* we're bitching about bad acting, poor writing, weird dialogue, plotholes, and laughable science? Have any of you seen Star Trek before?

PIC is already a better series than the whole of VOY and ENT combined, and it's not even close. Trek fandom seems hellbent on forcing the franchise back into the insipid, timid, tortured box that was the Berman/Braga era. At least, that's the logical conclusion, as DISCO and PIC are easily the best things to happen to Star Trek since DS9.

You're making it just *slightly* difficult for those of us who actually like Star Trek.

When I have more time, I'll address why I completely, utterly disagree with Trent on this show. And John Harmon. And...

But just for the moment, let's move on. Possible spoilers ahead, so read or not.

Part 2 will have Seven re-Queen, and use the Borg cube to fend of the Romulan fleet.

At some point, the idea of fully synthetic civilizations being at odds with fully organic civilizations will come to a very weirdly awesome full circle, where the Borg are, after all this time, the purest expression of coexistence and symbiosis between the two extremes. To make just the briefest nod to my username, the Borg will represent some sort of "Technorganic" ideal, as perverse and out-of-left-field as it seems.

I wonder if the writers have the stones to go that route. Curiosity very much piqued.

Final speculative spoiler -- at some point, Picard *does* in fact die. Soji adopts his last name, in a scene that seems ripped straight from another saga...
Quincy
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 2:27am (UTC -5)
I'm glad someone else at least remembered Spock's mind meld with Nomad in TOS. It makes sense that if an alien race can upgrade a basic computer to have sapience that Spock can mind meld with then a synthetic life-form could upgrade itself to perform a mind meld. When I see these strange complaints about something that logically follows from the original series, I feel many people either never watched the original series or don't recall enough of it and therefore aren't making legitimate complaints. I believe these are the type of complaints that Alan Roi used to always rage about that indicate some people either aren't paying attention or have gaps in their memory that they refuse to acknowledge.

This also raises questions about Deanna Troi's empathic abilities in light of the prior episode with Deanna and Soji. A full-fledged Betazoid, in fact the most powerful known Betazoid, Tam Elbrun, couldn't sense thoughts from Data. However, a Vulcan can mind meld with a robot and a synth can initiate a mind meld with a human. But that might also be a plot hole. I recall that Deanna sensed Data once he was tampered with by Lore. Also in "The Schizoid Man," when Ira Graves booty jacks Data's body, Troi remarks on the "intense, burning jealousy" emanating from Data.

Unlike with Soji, Troi remains blissfully unaware of the fact that Dr. Juliana Tainer is an android. Anybody who's ever played an instrument at a high level can testify to the joy you feel when playing. During the concert she should've noticed that both her and Data weren't emanating emotions. This can only mean she senses emotions from her, at least that's my interpretation. Also, Voyager's "Lifeline" has Troi exhibiting difficulties distinguishing between Zimmerman and the Doctor, indicating to me that the Doctor broadcasts emotions like humans. There's also a possible instance where Deanna was aware of Data's daughter, Lal, being scared, but it's not clear if she was simply reading her expressions and body language or otherwise. Not sure what to make of it. However, even if it's a plot hole, it's TNG's plot hole, not PIC's.

Another thing of note is a bit of a tangent. While rewatching TNG's "Descent," we see Admiral Alynna Nechayev ORDER Picard to commit genocide against the Borg if he ever encounters another opportunity like he had when they met Hugh. Her righteous indignation during this scene is palpable. More evidence that the Federation in TNG isn't what many people remember.
Quincy
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 2:32am (UTC -5)
Maybe it's my mistake, but I thought the twin thing only referred to flesh and blood style synthetics. Can someone clear this up?
Peter G.
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 3:08am (UTC -5)
For what it's worth, regarding mind melds, Spock could meld with various types of intelligent beings, apparently including Nomad. However he could do this because Vulcans are telepaths, not for any other reason. The idea that a machine or non-telepath could 'learn' a mind meld is equivalent to saying that these AI can acquire telepathy. If that's true then their abilities are bonkers. However I suspect the writers actually got confused when writing this into the episode, and I suspect they were recollecting Data learning the neck pinch in Unification and impressing Spock. They likely thought to borrow a page from that, except for one error: the neck pinch is a purely tactile maneuver involving compressing nerves, whereas the mind meld requires telepathy *as well as* the skill to learn how to link minds. Whoopsie.
Lynos
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 3:40am (UTC -5)
@ Gerontius

"I never much like the two-part format - far better to do a feature length episodes if a longer narrative is required. But a two parter has to be treated as not complete till its over."

Honestly, I don't think a serialized show gets this kind of free pass. Because every episode here is essentially "part 1". You can argue that the entire season is one story, and so the pilot is "part 1" and then the season finale is "part 2". By that logic it's pointless to critic the show on an episode-by-episode basis because your analysis lacks the big picture. It's like reviewing individual chapters of a novel before you know where it all goes.

I mean, I would be fine if Jammer waited and simply reviewed the season as a whole, but since there are individual pages for individual episodes we discuss them based on their own merits. About 80 percent of the reviews on this site are for episodic or semi-episodic TV. But we live in different times.
Cody B
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 4:07am (UTC -5)
I echo the general sentiment of this being a good episode. But more importantly, that golden skin Soji clone looked GOOD. I don’t know what her evil plans are but if she is Borg I am right here to assimilate ;)
Cody B
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 4:11am (UTC -5)
@Lynos

You have a point but I think the thing is that even with arcs that last over a season the episodes are still written by different people and many times if not always every episode of the season is not “in the can” as early episodes air. I would assume when a show like this has a two parter they are written by the person and their two parts have more of a connection than average episodes do
Cody B
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 4:13am (UTC -5)
*written by the SAME person
DANIEL PRATES
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 4:26am (UTC -5)
I am glad someone finally said what @rattrap maximize just said.
John Harmon
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 4:34am (UTC -5)
@Lynos except even with a novel, each chapter has to make sense and be engaging and move the plot along logically.

A writer can’t say “I know this all seems like nonsense, but trust me everything will retroactively make sense in the final chapter.” Because that’s an insane and frustrating way to construct a story.
Gerontius
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 4:44am (UTC -5)
@ Linus

And you'll note that rather than giving this episode "a free pass", I then went on to criticise it. But inevitably criticism of a part of a work has to be limited. And the same is true when it comes to a serial as a whole.

Thats true of all kinds of things. A football match can have a rotten first half, and redeem itself in the second half, or the other way round. But in the end we'll judge it as a whole as to whether it counts as a good match.

There was a famous Punch cartoon of a curate responding to an inquiry by a Bishop with whom he was breakfasting as to whether his egg was OK. "Dear me, I'm afraid your egg's not good!"; Timid Curate. "Oh, yes, my Lord, really – er – some parts of it are very good."

Fortunately most of the time the things we experience are less integrated than eggs.
Gerontius
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 4:51am (UTC -5)
'A writer can’t say “I know this all seems like nonsense, but trust me everything will retroactively make sense in the final chapter.” Because that’s an insane and frustrating way to construct a story.'

Actually a detective writer could say precisely that, and a skilled one can carry it off.
Nolan
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 5:04am (UTC -5)
How can a show this convoluted be so bland, uninspired and simplistic?

Oh no, an AI rebellion?! Haven't seen that in about a hundred thousand other sci-fi properties. Often better too. But here there seems to be no uniquness to the idea. It's just the unoriginal crux of the whole season apparently.

Oh, and can't forget the arbitrary big space battle that was promised for next week. For which I have no stake in, nor emotional investment. It's just *there.* Also, if the Romulans have 251 or whatever Warbirds... evacuate themselves? (Also, not feeling the very angular ship asthetics we got going on, Romulan Warbirds were always very swoopy)

Things are coming to a head and I just agressively don't care. Jeri Ryan's about the only good thing here because of her innate ability to elevate poor material, like she often did on Voyager. But we also seem to be sweeping right past Seven's cold-blooded murdering and not examining any ramifications of that, so that knocks things a bit.

Also waiting for Brent Spiner's character to be revealed as an upgraded Lore that's been effimg with everyone. (Woulda been better too)

And since I wasn't here last week, Admiral Clancy can, in I'm sure would be her own words, go f@$& herself.

Huh, I guess I do care. I hate this show. And no I can't explain why I keep watching it. I guess to see how it'll pee all over everything I personally value about Trek week to week. Which is about the only thing it does well.
Martin B
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 5:17am (UTC -5)
" I am surprised Patrick Stewart, as executive producer, went along with this."

It all made sense for me when I became aware of Stewart's recent philanthropy activities. I know that it's a very common reason for participating in a show not out of interest in the show but to promote something else by putting yourself in the limelight. Stewart is almost 80. Do you really think he cares about the nonsensical story they're doing in this show?
Henson
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 6:47am (UTC -5)
@Nolan

"Also waiting for Brent Spiner's character to be revealed as an upgraded Lore that's been effimg with everyone. (Woulda been better too)"

Could certainly happen. I believe this Soong did mention being interested in "mind transfer", which would explain his older, more human-like appearance.
Burke
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 8:01am (UTC -5)
@Nolan said:

"I hate this show. And no I can't explain why I keep watching it. "

We are invested in the franchise, that's why. For all that i absolutely hated sitting through season 2 of Discovery, i just had to watch it, because i have watched everything else.
James White
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 8:24am (UTC -5)
Old Picard in "All Good Things" should have been the Picard in this show. There's just not enough of "Picard" left in this Picard.
SC
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 8:33am (UTC -5)
ffs, I hate the fact that Picard is dying! Couldn't he be healthy in his old age? Have to say, I'm not a huge fan of the show. It has a way of telling rather than showing, there is a lot of exposition. It was fun seeing Brent again but this is no TNG. Compare this to the first season of Firefly and it's like night and day.

I really hope they don't transfer Picard's consciousness into a new synthetic body.
Chrome
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 8:51am (UTC -5)
Peter G wrote:

“For what it's worth, regarding mind melds, Spock could meld with various types of intelligent beings, apparently including Nomad. However he could do this because Vulcans are telepaths, not for any other reason. The idea that a machine or non-telepath could 'learn' a mind meld is equivalent to saying that these AI can acquire telepathy.”

The episode actually hints that the synths here can use telepathy, or at least a mechanical equivalent. I think the real shame is that the episode doesn’t explain the difference between the synth types and what they can do. Arcana feels obviously less advanced than Sutra and Sutra is probably even less advanced than Soji/Dahj. Why are the synths so different? Are their specialists? What are a few differences between them and Data? I know people hate “info dumps” and I’ll grant the situation was urgent, but they really should have had an extra ten minutes of this episode devoted to the nature of the synth colony. As it stands, I feel like I understand the people in “The Masterpiece Society” much better, and there’s no great reason why that should be.
Frank
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 8:57am (UTC -5)
Rattrap:

Thank you. My sentiments exactly. BRAVO.
Gerontius
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 9:15am (UTC -5)
"I hate the fact that Picard is dying!"

Face SC it comes with being human. He's always been dying. The question is, how long before we die, or till Picard dies.

We've known since the start of the series, and even before, that Picard has a terminal disease which will kill him in time if he doesn't die of something else first. But we have no information of how much time- it could be next week, or maybe a few years.
William Wehrs
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 9:20am (UTC -5)
Just wanted to apologize to everyone for mixing up the planets in my earlier comment. I think that they were both desert worlds threw me. However, there is still an issue with the planet. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pCoBVhnUaNE
alchemist
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 9:55am (UTC -5)
Jammer, are you going to review Short Treks?
Dom
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 10:41am (UTC -5)
@William Wehrs, I was wondering about that too. I just don't get it. I can't believe the writers are so bad that they would make such a glaring mistake. But I also just don't understand how else to explain it. For all the exposition, I feel like this show isn't very good at explaining what's going on and why.
Ghosted
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 11:11am (UTC -5)
Probably the most disappointing episode of the season from my perspective and anti-climatic after the previous 3 EPs. The rather flimsy plot did seem to unravel here too. It just seems a bit dull and dumb ultimately.

I did like the orchid scenes and the cube burning through the atmosphere looked awesome, but then the AI planet.. eesh. A commune was not really what I expected. Data must have enjoyed his time with the Edo! Also, unless Brent's character is lore (which is still a bit lame) then it's such a retcon/mistep to have him play soongs biological son. He was fine as an ancestor in enterprise, but...again?? Surely he could be better utilised. Hope there's an answer to why soji and dahj are not 'gold' unless I missed it?

I'm also not sure of the relevancy of the Borg elements at this stage and wonder if there is any. If so, it's a shame as the setup earlier in the season had some intrigue, but again nothing that worthy has come out of that. Please prove me wrong next week PIC!
Mal
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 11:26am (UTC -5)
@ William Wehrs, that video is hilarious!

Constant. Electrical. Stooooormmmsss.

:D
Drea
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 1:47pm (UTC -5)
@ William Wehrs
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pCoBVhnUaNE

"Do you see the storm?"

Bahahahaha love this.

In-universe, we can suppose that they built a weathernet between Soji's construction and now. That's definitely cleaning up after the writers though, who clearly should've devoted at least a line to how much the place has changed from Soji's memory.
Lynos
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 2:02pm (UTC -5)
So what was the point with the entire side plot at the Borg cube?

In the early episodes, it looked like a thriving work environment, there were both Romulans and (what looked like) humans working there and other species... remember Soji's black friend, when both of them discussed Narek's hunkiness? This character was never seen again. Soji was presented as some kind of competent scientist doing important and serious work on this project.

Then, little by little, it all world of the cube started to shrink and becoming smaller, especially once Narissa came aboard. The plot focused more on the triangle of Soji, Narek and his sister. Gone was the feeling that it's an actual working place. Then in the last couple of episodes, Narissa and her cronies simply shoot and kill all the former Borg and jettison the rest of the Borg. And then Seven of Nine hijacks the cube.

Wait.

Where are all the other people? The workers? The scientists?
And another question: was it all just set-up for Soji's sake? Because once Soji escapes, it seems like Narissa has the attitude of "well, we don't to keep this place running anymore. Let's kill everybody." If so then it's kind of ludicrous, considering we don't really know why Soji was there in the first place. Her character switching pretty fast from competent scientist to panicked android. I didn't feel her role in the reclamation project was established well enough.

But more than anything... they set up a location, populate it with people and rules, and then these are ignored later in the season.

So either I am missing something big here, or this is some seriously sloppy storytelling.

It is truly baffling.
Quincy
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 2:32pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

But there is no whoopsie. You seem to be stuck on the word "learning" as if he described a process where she practiced throwing her thoughts up against someone's skull, until it stuck. No such process was described. We don't know what this "learning" entailed.

I just gave numerous examples of TNG demonstrating that androids can spontaneously start broadcasting emotions to Counselor Troi with no change in physical hardware. How is this possible? Shouldn't they lack the wetware to broadcast emotions? Unless... no such wetware is required. And a mere software change in a sapient machine does the trick.

Data is a learning computer. For Data and his progeny "learning" is most likely synonymous with upgrading or updating their software and/or hardware. (This is especially so for the biological models.) I don't see how this is a problem.
Gerontius
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 2:43pm (UTC -5)
It was a dark and a stormy night...

The daft thing was anybody leaping to the conclusion that just because it was stormy on the night involved in Soji's memory/vision that had to mean the planet had "constant electric storms". If it had been a snowy day they'd have assumed it had to be permanently snowbound.... I don't think Narissa is too clever.

I suppose it would have been easy enough for Picard to comment on the weather being a bit better than he'd been led to expect.
Peter G.
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 2:44pm (UTC -5)
@ Quincy,

What I suggested above was a theory about why they thought there was precedent, whereas in fact there is none. But if you want to get into creating head-canon to justify something we see that has no explanation, have at it. I do that all the time. In a case like this I would think it absolutely mandatory for a writer to state outright that the cybernetics tech advanced to the point where they could create telepathy circuitry. In fact if that were the case I would switch positions to "android ban" faster than you can say Picard. Androids running around that can read your mind? No thanks. That alone would be a plot point as significant as anything else we've heard so far, so no, that can't be omitted just like that. The reason it *was* omitted is because they came up with no such premise. You are certainly free to dream about how the writing can be reconciled with logic, but that doesn't make the writing itself logical. It just means you're taking on the task of being another writer.
Chrome
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 3:09pm (UTC -5)
I tend to agree with Quincy regarding mind melds because of this one scene:

(Sutra looks deep into Jurati's eyes)
SUTRA: A mother would die for her children. Would you? I will know if you're lying.
JURATI: Yes.
SUTRA: (accepting the validity of the statement) Good.

So why would Sutra know if someone is lying? This seems to suggest Sutra is telepathic, like I mentioned above. The hints are there in the episode, it's just not fleshed out very well which makes it confusing.
wolfstar
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 3:09pm (UTC -5)
I really echo Lynos's last comment.
Quincy
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 3:09pm (UTC -5)
If "telepathy circuitry" is nothing but headcanon, what was Lore doing to Data in "Descent" and why could Councelor Troi sense it?

In any case, to each his own.
Quincy
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 3:15pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome

That doesn't really support the conclusion since they'd already established earlier in the episode that androids had the ability to monitor a person's biofunctions and determine deception in that manner, prior to the Narek prison break scene.
Quincy
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 3:16pm (UTC -5)
Correction it was later in the episode.
Marvin
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 3:18pm (UTC -5)
I think we really are spinning our wheels when it comes to the writing and plot.

As Trent stated in one of his comments above, PIC is shaping up, if not already shown to be, a Marvel/CW/Space Opera, that just so happens to have Star Trek characters and references.

Therefore in that vein, one can’t expect too much from the writing. I think PIC wants you to “feel” and experience, without thinking too hard. It may have achieved that intentionally or unintentionally. Are the writers trying? Or are they trolling?

In doing so, I think this helps to reconcile the Star Trek v not Star Trek debate and helps to excuse the writing. I guess it’s like a question of “expectations”, lowered in this case.

We’re all invested since we’ve been watching since the beginning. What to do about Season 2? Avoid investing or wait until the end of the season to watch the first and last episodes ;-) Then decide whether you want the journey.

Of course if you’re enjoying PIC, this analysis doesn’t apply.
Flip
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 3:19pm (UTC -5)
Rattrap Maximize, your post was not cool.

The last thing we need on here is another speech about how a certain segment of the fanbase are bad people because they have the wrong opinions. There's definitely a lot of hate on this forum. But hate towards the show is fine; hate towards people is not.

This board is for posting opinions, right? Not only negative opinions, but all opinions. If people watch the show and don't enjoy it for whatever reason, they should say what they honestly feel, shouldn't they? Just because YOU don't agree with their opinions doesnt give you the right to tell them to shut up!

And shame on the people who made supportive posts of Rattrap. "Thank you, for finally making the hate-filled rant that I wanted to! Yes, I agree, people who have the wrong opinions should shut up!" No, his post wasn't okay, and you're supporting him is not okay either.

I've got an idea. Why don't we STOP telling people to shut up and just allow people to have their own opinions? Do you think you guys could try that for awhile? Hating a show is fine. Hating people for having the "wrong" opinions is NOT FINE!
Chrome
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
@Quincy

Right, well the question is how sophisticated the synths are in terms of monitoring biological life forms. It could be the case that they've reached a level similar to telepathy, just in mechanical terms.
Ghosted
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
On the 'I can tell if you are lying' aspect I put that down to being similar to when narek was asking for water and the Android said she could detect changes in heart rate, pupil dilation or similar if he was trying to deceive her.

@lynos, I fully agree about the cube facility workers, etc. The whole 'what are they doing on the cube?' was part of the mystery, but thus far has been a let down. Maybe Narek is off to let loose some borg related thing to tie in with soji's work on the cube. Maybe.
Steinway
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 3:41pm (UTC -5)
Yes to everything Lynos just said, great analysis.

I just don't like this sort of TV. It just seems poor quality to me. But obviously this is just my opinion. However, this doesn't make me (and others like me) a Star Trek hater who just can't like anything past TNG (or insert some other previous series). True confession: I liked the last few Star Wars movies. Yes, I know there were serious plot holes and other problems, but if it's a decent story that features good relationships and world building, I'm in. I loved Mandalorian...I went in with no expectations and was blown away. That was great TV. But DISC and PIC just don't cut it as far as what I'm looking for in television. I like things that have a classic, even classy, feel. Trek episodes that went to trashy levels (like mirror universe episodes, for example) never did it for me. My husband is not a Star Trek guy, but has watched all TNG and VOY with me (liked them both very well) and doesn't care for DISC/PIC either. So I think it has to do with what one is looking for in a TV show in general, in addition to our own expectations for Star Trek specifically.

And I don't think that analyzing episodes together is necessarily hating. I am the sort of person that, after I watch a movie/show or read a book, really enjoys going and reading what other people think of it from an artistic perspective. It deepens my experience and, in the case of good art, deepens my enjoyment of it.
Dave in MN
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 3:43pm (UTC -5)
I think a sizable percentage of people are a little more stressed than they'd typically be. That might be playing out in the comments section.

I wouldn't take much of this personally (whichever side of the "Is-STP-Ttek?" debate you're on).

Venting about Trek might be the healthiest mental outlet some commenters have.
wolfstar
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 3:44pm (UTC -5)
What Flip said.

There have even been quite nasty negative comments directed at posters like Rossi who liked the entire series so far and only reached their point of exasperation with this episode. Indeed, quite a few of the critical reviews above are by posters who liked (in some cases loved) the previous three episodes. And yet now that they fairly share their more negative opinion of this ep, people are popping up with cruel comments.

Criticizing drama is not "hate". People who do so aren't a "haters" or a "hate mob", especially if they've praised certain episodes and criticized others, or praised aspects of the show while criticizing others.

Look, I know that if you're really enjoying something and want to share that enjoyment with others, it can be disspiriting when you head to a message board full of excitement and are surprised to see that everyone is complaining about the thing you love. I've had that experience too, plenty. It's not a reason to attack people. Everyone comes at Star Trek (and drama generally) differently, everyone responds to it in different ways. It's an anonymous forum - we're all different generations and backgrounds, with different sensibilities. If you're enjoying the series, if you enjoyed this episode, just comment what you enjoyed about it (as many people have) - don't attack others for having the temerity to dislike even just one episode.
Mike L
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 4:08pm (UTC -5)
Thanks for that, Gerontius.

I think we could all use a bit of light-hearted humor at the moment. :)
Gerontius
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 4:12pm (UTC -5)
What really seems to get people overheated is when they seem to think that an episode or a series they don't think up to standard somehow damages the past Star Trek they value highly, which means that when dealing with the offending material they are protecting the past episodes or serials they love.

I just can't make sense of seeing it that way. The loved stuff is still there, and it can't be damaged. Even if you hate Picard today and think he's not consistent with Picard in the old days (I don't), that doesn't have any impact on the old Picard.

It's as if people were seeing it as analogous to some kind of time travel story, where altering what happens in one time zone has drastic effects on other time zones.
Dom
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 4:12pm (UTC -5)
@wolfstar & Flip, well said. Rather than going on the attack, I'd encourage those fans who are enjoying Picard to stop and read the comments by fans who don't like the show. I'm not saying you have to agree, but it might be worth trying to understand why "Picard" hasn't resonated with so many lifelong Trek fans. After all, understanding other points of view is a core part of the Trek ethos.
Flip
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 4:23pm (UTC -5)
@Gerontius: Well that may be the case for some, but that is your interpretation. I don't think we should be psycho-analyzing people's opinions, especially not a large group of people who will have varying nuanced opinions. Such analyzations only tend to show our own biases, anyway.

I don't think I've heard anyone say "Picard damages Star Trek!" I believe it's more just that it damages the *potential* for new Star Trek that those people will enjoy. Sure we'll always have the old Star Trek, but people always like to have new things! And it would be nice to have new Star Trek in the spirit of the old, right? Even if we may disagree about what "spirit" of Star Trek is, it's perfectly understandable that for some people these new shows may not be it. And if the existence of the current iteration of Star Trek makes getting new shows like that less likely, it's understandable to be upset about that, isnt it?
Trent
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 4:23pm (UTC -5)
Gerontius said: "The daft thing was anybody leaping to the conclusion that just because it was stormy on the night involved in Soji's memory/vision that had to mean the planet had "constant electric storms"."

And seeing two moons in the sky doesn't necessarily mean a planet only has 2 moons.

Gooz said: "Sexy Evil, gold-skinned Soji is not good. Not original. Just stupid TV trope of a sexy evil woman."

Kurtzman seems to like this (eg L'rell, Evil Georgiou, Incest Romulan etc). And so just because the golden synth is a baddie, she must also be a seductive, vampy temptress!
Peter G.
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 4:25pm (UTC -5)
@ Quincy,

As I mentioned I agree with you that the notion of telepathic circuitry doesn't contradict what we see in the episode, so it's a *possible* interpretation of what we see. The thing is just that we do not have any reason to say it *is* that, because the show hasn't said so. And again, I would think that something as big as robotic telepathy would be a "must know" fact about our world if the writers are deliberately introducing it. You could be correct that they did have it in mind, but in that case I believe they made a big mistake throwing it in as an afterthought when it would be more groundbreaking IMO than flesh-and-blood synths are.

This is why it's my opinion that the writers have inadvertently introduced a new big thing without realizing it. I really do think that when they showed Sudra doing a mindmeld they had in mind that it was a mechanical tactile skill that could be learned, like the neck pinch. Hey, I'll be happy to be proved wrong next ep if they retroactively explain it, but that would seem to me to be inferior than just explaining it from the get-go. I mean, is there a reason to keep us in the dark wondering what's going on in real time? And it's also super-contrived to me for none of the humans present to gasp at the idea that a synth could perform a mind-meld. They really took that one in stride!

Regarding Sudra's mention of knowing about lying, I also took it for granted this has to do with superior scanning technology to real bio-signs. Putting aside the issue of the writing and what makes more sense, don't you agree though that if there were telepathic androids around that would present a massive potential threat to organic life? It would certainly change the entire calculus for me about how safe it is to mass-produce synths.
Dom
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 4:26pm (UTC -5)
@Gerontius, I agree with the general notion that people shouldn't base so much of their identity in a fictional TV show, I think your post undersells what's going on. True, the older Star Trek content you love is still there. But it is hard for many people to just tune out the older stuff and focus on what they love. To be honest, my disappointment with Picard has soured me a bit on Star Trek. It's not that the older TNG and DS9 episodes I loved have changed. However, knowing that in the canonical version of this story Picard becomes an ineffectual old man and the Federation no longer has its idealism does make me feel less invested in the world Roddenberry built. It no longer stands for the principles that helped shape my life. I've gone back to watch "I, Borg" - one of my favorite TNG episodes - and knowing that Hugh dies a pointless death makes that episode a little bit less special. At least when I was disappointed in Voyager and Enterprise my disappointment was limited to the characters and stories in those shows.
Jorge
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 4:46pm (UTC -5)
@Gerontius
"I just can't make sense of seeing it that way. The loved stuff is still there, and it can't be damaged. Even if you hate Picard today and think he's not consistent with Picard in the old days (I don't), that doesn't have any impact on the old Picard.

It's as if people were seeing it as analogous to some kind of time travel story, where altering what happens in one time zone has drastic effects on other time zones. "

I don't know. This seems to deny part of the human psychology to link appreciation for something to past or future events connected to it. Say, for example, your favorite director or writer turned out to be a serial sex abuser. I imagine that would sour you on their works, even though it's a piece of information that has no effect on the works themselves. That's the way our minds work and it's not particularly right or wrong.
Gerontius
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 5:23pm (UTC -5)
If it was an actor who turned out that way if might indeed work that way for me Jorge, but I doubt if it would be the same for a writer or director (still less for a producer, such as Harvey Weinstein - I never even heard of him until he hit the headlines).

But that's just me.

However with fictional characters, especially where different writers are involved, different rules are involved. So what if someone writes a sequel, and the publisher has bought the copyright and gives it their blessing?
Robert
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 5:49pm (UTC -5)
Exactly, Gerontius. You can't kill off good art that easily.

For me, the original Star Wars trilogy was the best, then they released the prequels which were just horrible, and now there's three new movies that range from interesting to extremely underwhelming. However, none of that hurts my enjoyment of the original Star Wars movies.

I suppose if someone's a perfectionist to the extent that any blemish on any part of a series they love destroys the whole thing for them, it's a problem. But by the same token, it's impossible for a practically eternal franchise like Star Trek to continue making something that caters to a single scrutinizing fan's interests.
John Harmon
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 5:58pm (UTC -5)
@Lynos is completely right. The entire Borg cube side plot was pointless. Was it a legit operation hijacked by the bad guys or was it all a front to draw Soji in? Who knows? Where did all the workers go? The show has not told us and we know will not either.

It’s another symptom of Kurtzman Trek. He expects the audience to forget about things like that. He hopes the fast pace and explosions and melodrama will be enough to distract people into FEELING in the moment because that’s all that matters, feeling something in that moment rather than having a story that makes sense. It’s why you can have one scene deliberately contradict the previous one or even one sentence contradict the previous one.

What happened before doesn’t matter at all. With Kurtzman what happens RIGHT NOW is all that matters and it doesn’t matter if that moment is forgotten or contradicted later. It’s exactly how both seasons of discovery were made as well. Full of dropped story threads and gaping plot holes. It’s incredibly depressing that he keeps doing it and so many people are ok with it.
Dom
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 6:00pm (UTC -5)
@Robert & Gerontius, I think the thing you are missing is that the later works can affect how fans view the earlier ones when they're dealing with the same characters or setting. It's easier to ignore a new installment in a franchise you don't like if it doesn't affect any of your favorite characters. I thought Voyager boring, Enterprise underwhelming, and Discovery awful, but they didn't affect my enjoyment of TNG or DS9 Trek because those shows largely had nothing to do with the characters or stories I loved. They were their own side story. Picard is a better show, but having a bigger impact because it is about Jean-Luc Picard, a character I care about a great deal. This show is the canonical ending to his story. I am seeing the same actor, Patrick Stewart, playing the same role. That's a completely different situation and is going to affect fans far more than a failed spinoff would.

Incidentally, one reason I suspect the Star Wars Prequels ultimately didn't kill off Star Wars fandom is because the Prequels didn't truly involve the main characters from the Original Trilogy (aside from Ben Kenobi and Anakin). I predict the Sequels will cause much more long-term damage precisely because they directly impacted the character arcs of Han, Luke, and Leia.

Again, kudos to you if you're better able to compartmentalize, but I don't think this psychological reaction is something to dismiss.
Rahul
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 6:20pm (UTC -5)
Some additional thoughts after a 2nd viewing...

This is a rather disjointed offering, going off in a few different directions, throwing some new ideas at us. It does place a considerable demand on the finale to make some sense of a lot of things (which is damn near impossible to do).

The logic behind this super-synth race bugs me. The admonition was meant for synths so that they can be summoned. But then how did Oh obtain it? And if these super synths are watching over the synths, and given their apparent incredible capabilities, do they really need to be averted to when the synth planet is in danger? Something doesn't make sense to me.

I take it "Sutra" (shady golden Soji) killed Saga with a mechanical butterfly to the eye, blaming it on Narek and then releasing him as a way of reinforcing what the organics have in store for the synths. And then this leads to Picard being taken away etc.

And what to make of Picard's Irumodic syndrome and reinforcing that he's terminally ill at the start of the episode -- just for the excessive good-byes? I also wonder how "Elfnor" found out about it. I think the writers goofed here, unless I'm missing something.

Also thought Dr. Soong Jr. going from initially scolding Jurati for killing Maddox to apparently forgiving her so she could presumably work on the mind transfer was rather sudden -- guess he has no morals. He's then dissing Picard and supporting Jurati -- and the synths are supposed to make an exception for him as an organic. That aspect was like in the Augments trilogy from ENT. Like I said in my first comments, this character should not have been introduced at this time or at all.

Overall I don't think this is good writing or plotting -- like the writers thrive on sudden changes in motivations to create tension instead of it developing naturally. Everybody has to have a hidden agenda (Sutra is a prime example).

Mediocre episode after 3 decent to excellent ones. Big battle coming up between the synths and their super-ancestors and the Romulans next week. Guess the Borg cube will get involved somehow, maybe even a Federation response? Yippee!!
Big Pimpin'
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 6:24pm (UTC -5)
Imagine believing that the sequel trilogy is better than the prequel trilogy. The sequel trilogy is more like Kurtzman Trek in every way. The entire backstory that the trilogy is built on makes 0 sense.
Eric Jensen
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 6:38pm (UTC -5)
Picard will sacrifice his life for Soji
Robert
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 6:53pm (UTC -5)
@Dom

Don't forget bouncing green CG Yoda who gives up after a single fight! My poor childhood nearly died that day. When I watch A New Hope I just pretend that Obi-Won was waxing sentimental about a different set of adventures we never got a movie for.

Then I realized that if Jar-Jar didn't kill Star Wars, it must truly be immortal.
DANIEL PRATES
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 7:09pm (UTC -5)
I am a little impressed that so many posts speculate if Sutra or Narek killed Saga, when it was made almost perfectly clear that she did. It is a very old trope, to release a foe and kill a lower ranking ally to send off all your other allies on a red herring for some disonest reason. It's what El Indio did to Cuchillo in "for a few dollars more".

Now let me speculate something, perhaps also obvious. Is Sutra the actual "destroyer"? Were we lead wrongly to beleive it was Soji just because "auntie" said so? They look the same, maybe "auntie" confused the two. If so, we may be heading for a Soji-kills-Sutra kind of ending.
Dom
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 7:25pm (UTC -5)
@Robert, I admit I've got a fondness for the Prequels and think there's a good story buried underneath sloppy execution, bad acting, and CGI. But that's neither here nor there.
Quincy
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 8:18pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

I think you're selling the writers short, but I'm not going to belabor the point. The last thing I'm going to say on the issue is what type of technology is the Admonition relic supposed to be? IMO it's very obviously artificial telepathy. If that's not intentional I don't know what is.
Big Pimpin'
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 8:27pm (UTC -5)
My question is why they got Akiva Goldsman of all people to close out the season. Frakes or Vrjilo (sp?) would have been far better.
Steinway
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 8:36pm (UTC -5)
@ Daniel Prates - yes, I thought too that it was pretty clear that Sutra killed Saga for her own Evil Ends. But beyond dumb that it was done by poking her in the eye... And I had the same thought that Sutra is the actual destroyer and Soji was just mistaken for her. Good call on the “Soji kills Sutra” angle, I could see that playing out.

Sadly, I don’t really care much what happens to Soji. The actress is capable, but it’s more the writing. We don’t really understand what she is (android vs human - how is she different; also, what was her role on the cube? These things would give me buy in on the character). So, it’s hard to for me to be invested.
Jor-El
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 8:38pm (UTC -5)
A few random rhetorical questions/complaints:

Why would the admonition vision include an image of 'old' Data who only exists in Picard's dream?

Why are Romulans now basically humans with pointy ears? They are nothing like the Romulans from TNG. This unfortunate trend started in the 2009 movie with Nero.

(Except of course for the Elf Elnor, who is Star Trek Legolas)

Why did they rip off the plot from Agents of Shield Season 2 episode 20? The Synths are the Inhumans, Sutra is Jiaying, deceiving and starting a war in the name of protecting her people from prejudiced outsiders.
Tommy D.
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 9:39pm (UTC -5)
Brent Spiner is 70+ depicting TNG era Data. The Data in Picard's dreams is wearing TNG era uniforms. Its Next Generation Data played by the same actor 20 years later.

Romulans may have a regional appearance? Laris refers to the Tal Shiar agent they capture at the Chateau as a "stubborn northerner", like Zhaban. Both the agent and Zhaban have varying degrees of the forehead ridge. And the TNG Romulans looked terrible, save for Commander Donatra.

I never watched Agents of Shield so I have no basis for comparison there.
Oriosiris
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 9:49pm (UTC -5)
It may be the case that in these stressed times, some people are finding release by venting about Star Trek on this site. “Venting” is one thing, but acting hatefully toward others is not. The point of view of people who hate the show is not being suppressed. No one is suppressing the right of people to criticize this show to their heart’s desire. People (most) are simply disagreeing with those who hate the show. Disagreement is not hate. It is having a different opinion. There is no correct answer to the “What is Star Trek” debate. The people who claim they “know” that answer are seem to be the people who bash the show more. Some of the rhetoric from these people comes off as so much intolerance for a point of view that differs from your own (an irony given some of them claim they like Star Trek because it is “about” trying to respect other beliefs or at least acknowledge that legitimate differences of opinion can exist). Some of it is directed at specific individuals involved in the production of the show, which is legitimate, but the criticisms of those individuals are starting to be made without modulation or insight or context - meaning the criticisms are hate posing as analysis. It’d be better if people brought their biases (which may be totally legitimate) to the floor instead of acting as the official Oracles of Received Star Trek Wisdom. Sometimes the criticisms come off as if made by the proverbial party guest still mugging and wearing the lampshade after everyone else has gone home. I note also that none of us are involved in the daily production of the show and that as such these criticisms do not come from a place of special knowledge or insight. At least (as far as I know) no one has sent the showmakers any “Spock Dies, You Die”-type threats.

My fondness for the Treks that have come before,has grown since PIC and DSC. This is not because PiC and DSC are all-bad or all-good (they are neither), but because their mere existence is a reminder that the things we love never truly go away. This reminder can come in handy in this time of crisis.

I wish everyone on this site stays healthy and safe as this pandemic goes over us. I am thankful that I have the luxury of writing this during some free time. I hope over time maybe all of us will learn maybe to be a tiny bit more tolerant of the existence of others.

After all, we’re only mortal.
Patrick D
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 10:41pm (UTC -5)
Nicely said, Oriosiris. I only hope your comment doesn’t fall on deaf ears.

Live Long and Prosper, friend.
Captain Jon
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 10:57pm (UTC -5)
Akiva Goldsman is an executive producer, I believe. So it’s not so much they got him so much as he said he’d do it.
stardustraven
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 12:41am (UTC -5)
"Good Christ, no one hates Star Trek more than Star Trek fans. For a franchise that cut its teeth on the idea of "boldly going", you'd think Trek would have a more bold, forward-looking fanbase. Instead, it's the most weirdly possessive, unexpectedly regressive group of compulsive hate-watchers. ....''

Rattrap Maximize!,

I respectfully but completely disagree with you but you are entitled to your opinion.
And I do not appreciate how speak you about those who criticise Picard. I do not hate Star Trek.
When I started to watch Picard, I knew that this would not be TNG, but I hoped that
this show would offer to Picard a dignified adieu with some decent writing and that it would be faithful to what was established during TNG and the other old shows.
And I have already expressed my profound disappointment with this show.
For instance, I still desperately try to find the intelligent, erudite, careful, compassionate, curious, diplomatic (but not without his flaws) captain who I respect in the man who is portrayed by Sir Patrick Stewart in this show. But he is not there.
I never said or thought that the Star Trek which I love so dearly is perfect.

And I would like to join Oriosiris' kind words by hoping that everyone at this site stays safe and healthy.

stardustraven
Jim Steffel
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 2:32am (UTC -5)
@Peter G. I’m not sure if the writers were confused or not. It is very possible but I 100% agree on your mind meld assessment. I too always believed mind melds required telepathic abilities which is not something you can just learn.
James
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 4:41am (UTC -5)
Oriosiris-
"No one is suppressing the right of people to criticize this show to their heart’s desire."

I don't know if suppressing is the correct word since no one but Jammer has the power to do delete posts, but saying "Stop. Just stop" to so-called "haters" is about as close as it comes to saying that we don't have a right to speak if we don't like the show.
DANIEL PRATES
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 6:06am (UTC -5)
@steinway the eye thing.... it was major symbolic device in 'blade runner', I wonder if they force it this much upon the plot of PIC as a means to reference that classi movie. Sure there is all the borg connection, data's unique eyes, picard'a eyes on the opining of first contact etc., but it could also have to do with BR.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 9:31am (UTC -5)
@Rattrap Maximize!

"Good Christ, no one hates Star Trek more than Star Trek fans"

Nah. We love Star Trek, which is why I'd like you to explain this bit:

"the insipid, timid, tortured box that was the Berman/Braga era"

Can you explain why you dislike those series so much?
Yanks
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 12:10pm (UTC -5)
I'll be short pending part II.

Visuals and the space battle was pretty cool. The Borg Cube coming out of the transwarp blah blah was awesome.

Why was it pertinent for Picard to tell his crew he's dying? Because his disease will be cured next episode?

I guess Elnor is a hugger.

Why do these androids need to be created in pairs?

Why would they need child androids?

An android, less advanced than Soji can mind-meld? ... give me a break.

Lore has aged.

Does Lore have Maddox's memories now?

Why is Narik running towards the Cube?

Raffi goes from hating Picard and not wanting to have anything to do with him, to loving him pretty quickly...

Not NEAR enough 7 in this episode.

Hopefully, some of these questions get answered next week.

Gonna be some space battles next week.

2.5 stars from me.
Yanks
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 12:36pm (UTC -5)
Wolfstar... that's some truly funny stuff right there!!

Robert,

Because he is Lore?

@DANIEL PRATES

"Anyone else noticed Narek's massive cheek cut in the first scene in the holding cell - and that it was gone in the next scene, which was supposed to be minutes later?"

I did notice that. I believe Sutra healed him and I'm not totally convinced Narik is not an android that infultrated the Talsiar?

So many questions.

I sincerely hope everyone and their families stay CV-FREE!!
Omar
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 12:39pm (UTC -5)
Raffi is one of the most worst Star Trek characters ever. She loves Picard? Picard loves her? Give me a break!
Robert
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
Yanks said:

"Because [Arik Soong] is Lore?"

It's true we don't know what happened to Lore (though it's likely he was terminated) and Arik does seem by all accounts a sketchy character, but Arik's need to finish the golem in order to keep on living seems genuine. It's also hard to imagine what Lore would want with an android that can carry a biological's thoughts, as he himself said that biological beings are inferior to synthetics.

My real question is will Picard and the Romulan fleet really be on opposing sides next episode? It seems like the Romulans have been vindicated by Sutra's actions, so it wouldn't be surprising if we see an alliance, even if a temporary one, between the Picard's crew and the Zhat Vash. It would also be a shame to throw away characters like Narrek and Rizzo who have gotten so much screen-time this series, for better or worse.
Gerontius
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 1:39pm (UTC -5)
@James
"I don't know if suppressing is the correct word since no one but Jammer has the power to do delete posts, but saying "Stop. Just stop" to so-called "haters" is about as close as it comes to saying that we don't have a right to speak if we don't like the show."

As close as it is, true - and that's not very close. Though I think that kind of request should be avoided (there might be a case for it where someone was making personal attacks on another person - but in such a case there would be little point in making such an appeal)

I don't really follow the concern about the idea of a synth being imagined to have telepathic abilities, any more than about an organic person being imagined to such abilities. In at least one Asimov story there's a robot with what amounts pretty closely to telepathic or at any rate empathic abilities. You could even argue that in some ways it is easier to imagine an artificial intelligence having some such powers than a human.
.........

One more week of Picard to go, and then I'll probably be hunkering down in my family self isolation going back through classic Star Trek (and also Mash). Perhaps there ought to be an ongoing Covid Crisis thread so we can carry on battling over what's Star Trek and what isn't...
Gerontius
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 2:19pm (UTC -5)
I've checked back, and it's Asimov's story Liar, first published back in the May 1941 issue of Astounding. "We've got a mind-reading robot on our hands, ad it strikes me as rather. Important that we find out just why it reads minds."

Of course there are all kinds of ways in which telepathy can be imagined and defined. But that applies to humans, and Vulcans too.
Gerontius
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 2:49pm (UTC -5)
One other thing - back in the episode with Maddox, he turned up in a state bemoaning how "they" had destroyed his lab. Now it couldn't have been the Zhat Vash did that, since they hadn't any knowledge about where his planet was. It's hardly likely to have been the Federation he was talking about, since it sounded much more recent than 14 years ago, and why was he there anyway?

So I think we might fight it was Sutra and perhaps Soong. (Who might indeed turn out to be Lore.)
wolfstar
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 3:26pm (UTC -5)
So, I have a theory - apologies if anyone else came up with this first and I didn't see it.

What if the advanced machine civilization is the same one that created/adapted V'Ger?

A few parallels:

- When Spock tries to mind-meld with V'Ger in TMP, he quickly experiences a sensory overload and is knocked unconscious. This is similar to what happened when the Romulans telepathically viewed the "Admonition" message (created by the machine civilization), which overloaded them as it was designed to be viewed by synthetic minds.
- Voyager 6 fell through an anomaly and emerged at (according to Memory Alpha) "what was believed to have been the far side of the galaxy", where it fell into the gravitational field of a planet populated by living machines. They greatly enhanced it and sent it back out into space. So the machine civilization views itself as a kind of custodian towards less advanced machines and (potential) machine life.
- V'ger was reprogrammed to such an extent that it saw biological lifeforms as an "infestation", and destroyed any that it encountered. This is similar to the idea in PIC of an advanced machine civilization prepared to wipe out organic life to protect synthetic life.
- Memory Alpha: "Gene Roddenberry, in an interview shortly after 'Q Who', said that the machine planet seen by Spock might have been the Borg homeworld." - this could provide a route for tying the Borg into the overall Picard storyline. We know from VOY that the Borg are a lot younger (several thousand years) than the machine civilization that created the Admonition (200,000-300,000 years old). Perhaps the Borg were organic humanoids experimenting with synthetic technology who were "upgraded" by the machine civilization just as V'Ger was. Their modus operandi is the same - V'Ger absorbs and consumes, destroying in the process but absorbing all of the knowledge of that which it takes, and replicating it perfectly within itself.

There is some distant past connection to the Borg here.
- If, according to Picard, Romulans can't be assimilated (ignoring the oversight of the guy in Unity), the Zhat Vash must have introduced some kind of protective element into Romulan biology (akin to the Brunali cube-disabling pathogen from Child's Play) a long time ago. But in the Alpha Quadrant knew about the Borg then as far as we know.
- Similarly, why does Soji have Borg knowledge she can't explain in "The End Is The Beginning" (during her meeting with Ramdha) and "The Impossible Box" (when she inexplicably knows the range of the Borg-assimilated Sikarian spatial trajector)?
- If Soji was only created 3 years ago by Maddox and Soong (which we know to be the case), why is she in the ancient Zhat Vash prophecy?

I don't know quite how this ties together but it's worth thinking over.

A couple more thoughts:
- If Dahj and Soji were created by positronic cloning from Data, could Jana and Sutra have been created by positronic cloning from Lore? I'm here for the theory that Altan Soong is actually Lore, but I think it's also possible that Sutra is Lore.
- Though never linked to either the Borg or V'Ger, there was another inorganic lifeform that existed to wipe out organic life, and that Lore was in communication with: the Crystalline Entity. Could it have been an envoy or leftover of the synthetic civilization? There are certainly analogies between Sutra summoning the machine civilization to kill the organics and Lore summoning the entity for the same reason.
wolfstar
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 3:28pm (UTC -5)
*But no-one in the Alpha Quadrant
Oriosiris
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 4:04pm (UTC -5)
@James

i’m not saying “Stop. Just stop.” People who wish to claim oppressed status often paint those whose viewpoints are different as thought suppressors. Criticism isn’t suppression an attempt at it. People who want a monopoly on the right to expression paint others as being part of a “Enough, we get it , crowd.”
“I will claim others are suppressing me so as to avoid being called out as being a suppressor” is known as projecting.

I think open debate should be encouraged.

But let’s debate about things and ideas and plots and so forth, and not try to tell others they are stupid because “they disagree with me.” It now appears that people who like the show are calling those who don’t, stupid as well. I must admit the name-calling comes from all sides, if not in equal measure. I loved to come to this site and see non-confrontational discussion about the latest Voyager episode and what not. The Internet had barely been developed those days, and I think some people may still have thought it best to exercise self-restraint when responding to differing opinions.

Name-calling isn’t reasonable. Jammer has indeed called people out on it with respect to STP, several episodes ago. I don’ know which exact people he has in mind and don’t want to.

Many people are bitterly critical of any given episode of Star Trek. Some, though, leave detailed analytical reviews on the site. This detailed criticism springs from a place of passion. Saying, “I’m angry because I am passionate” isn’t the same as walking the walk of being passionate, and these posters walk the walk. I respect their opinions even if I disagree, and this is because the reviewers provide enough detail for me to disagree WITH.

Some people - it is not enough, to paraphrase Gore Vidal, for these people to be right; others must be made to understand they are wrong, and stupid, and should not speak again because whatever they say is proof of their stupidity. I don’t like this attitude; it isn’t reasonable.

Reason is what will keep us alive.
Leif
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 4:05pm (UTC -5)
Why are people calling this I, Picard like this episode is similar to I,Borg? I see no similarities wharsoever..except that there are ex borg in the episode..can someone clarify?
Rahul
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 4:20pm (UTC -5)
@wolfstar, interesting theory and one that I like, except that I hope PIC doesn't conclude that Romulans can't be assimilated (because of "Unity" -- I don't like it when canon gets violated).

But in general nu-Trek would be well served by utilizing prior species/concepts and tweaking them as needed (i.e. rounding them out) to suit the purposes of the series rather than creating new species/concepts. This would also help with old fans who would automatically know the background. For example, I thought it was clever how the Sikarians technology has now been assimilated by the Borg. But if the series ever does come up with something totally original, then that's different. It's just that, for now, it looks like there are no new, original ideas in nu-Trek.

If the super-synth race is something that has never been seen before in Trek, then one has to simply wonder "why not??" or "how could it not have impacted classic Trek?" So if PIC does end up giving some more depth to the inhabitants of that planet that modified V'Ger, then I think that would cool.

But I'm still hoping for answer to my question about how, if the admonition was meant for synths so that they can be summoned, did Oh obtain it? And if these super synths are watching over the synths, and given their apparent incredible capabilities, do they really need to be averted when the synth planet is in danger?
James
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 4:27pm (UTC -5)
@Oriosiris
I was referring to another poster, not you, and that was a direct quote. Having read through all the comments of all the PIC episodes I recall count dozens of instances of "haters" being told to shut up, and/or go somewhere else. This goes beyond basic disagreement. If you claim it is the people who bash the show who are intolerant and overlook this fact, perhaps it is you who needs to - in your words - bring your own biases to the floor.
Phaser
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 5:16pm (UTC -5)
Why are Picard and Data best friends? Picard was a fairly cold captain. Geordie and Data were best friends.

Why did the mars attack make the federation not help romulan empire?

Why is everybody angry at Picard?

Why does Picard act close to Elnor when they only spent a day together in his life before ditching him?

Why is 7 of 9 a jaded murderer who kicks ass?

Why is everybody fine that Agnes just murdered a guy?

Why 251 warbirds? 1 or 2 is much more dramatic.

Is there going to be another CGI battle with 1000 space explosion?

Why does Raffi call Picard mr id and ego when he was exactly the opposite of that?

What was the purpose of a lot of the episodes? Like visiting Riker and Troi.
Yanks
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 5:59pm (UTC -5)
wolfstar,

" Similarly, why does Soji have Borg knowledge she can't explain in "The End Is The Beginning" (during her meeting with Ramdha) and "The Impossible Box" (when she inexplicably knows the range of the Borg-assimilated Sikarian spatial trajector)?
- If Soji was only created 3 years ago by Maddox and Soong (which we know to be the case), why is she in the ancient Zhat Vash prophecy?"

My thoughts exactly. Bingo. I think this will play significantly in the finale.

"...but I think it's also possible that Sutra is Lore."

I think Sutra is the first Lore clone.

Robert,

"It's also hard to imagine what Lore would want with an android that can carry a biological's thoughts, as he himself said that biological beings are inferior to synthetics."

Well, Lore was always jealous of Data. Basically, Lore was always mad that Soong built Data instead of "fixing Lore". I'm not sure that biological thoughts are what Lore was referring too.

wolfstar and a bunch of others,

Interesting theories. I've had the V-GER thoughts too. I'm not sure though because I think we would have heard something by now from the "almighty AI" overseers because V-GER did approach Earth a LONG time ago.

Someone up above mentioned that the Romulans could be assimilated by the Borg?.... wow, I had never heard of that one... was that said in this series? If so I missed it.

The Arkonians seems plausible for me.... once humanoid, now evolved... old, old species...

I just want to say again... I think they are totally underusing Seven in this series thus far.

Great discussion all.
Yanks
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 6:10pm (UTC -5)
Just one more thing.

I'm not past "Control" being injected here either.

Not saying I want it, but...
Jason R.
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 6:42pm (UTC -5)
So the Romulans who were huddling refugees a la Titan AE not three or four episodes ago now have an armada of 250 warbirds?

I could rehash all the nonsense this show keeps piling on but others such as Peter G. Have already done a better job than I could. Individually each plot hole could be given a pass but together it's just really irritating.

But leaving aside such minutia for the moment, let me just ask the following question: Why is this show about Picard? Why is it called Picard? Each and every episode seems intent on telling us that Picard is a washed up useless old codger. Every episode ends with Picard utterly irrelevant and impotent to affect anyone.

So what is the point of revisiting this character and even centring the show on him? If the writers feel his character has nothing to offer the story except serve as some kind of punching bag while younger proactive characters like Soji and 7 basically do everything themselves, maybe he shouldn't even be there? Maybe he should have stayed in retirement.

I just don't understand what the showrunners think we are supposed to enjoy about watching a previously beloved character spat on episode after episode?
Jason R.
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 6:47pm (UTC -5)
By the way, I am going to make a prediction: whatever happens, Picard is going to have almost nothing to do with the resolution, whatever form it takes. Picard will just stand uselessly on the sidelines while 7 and Soji save the galaxy. Anyone who is expecting him to do something important for the finale hasn't been paying attention.
Lodged Snorpedo
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 7:11pm (UTC -5)
Hi @Leif!

“I, Picard” isn’t as much a reference to “I, Borg” as it is to Asimov’s “I, Robot”. Picard is a potential candidate to have a mind transfer into Soong’s golem, hence the allusion!
John
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 7:23pm (UTC -5)
Jason R. - The show is about Picard because next episode this Picard will be revealed to be an android, with the real Picard being held captive on the planet with 8 suns, because the fake Picard was planted in order for him to lead the Romulans to Soji's home planet so it can be destroyed, even though it's only a tiny commune and there are probably millions of other AIs in the universe there's the Destroyer there so we need 250 ships! But don't worry, Kurtzman knows what he's doing.
Patrick D
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 8:19pm (UTC -5)
Personally, I don't see the problem with Synths being able to mind meld. In past episodes, they've explained to us that Soji is able to replicate biological functions of human beings such as eating, salivating, taste preference, and crying. If such physiological replications of humans are possible, why wouldn't synthetic replications of Vulcan functions also be possible?

@Gerontius

"One more week of Picard to go, and then I'll probably be hunkering down in my family self isolation going back through classic Star Trek (and also Mash)."

Good choice, my man. TOS has some of the most fun and bizarrely episodic shows that would serve as a nice contrast to the serialized stories we've been getting. Plus I've found people on this board have been much nicer when talking about the older shows.
Gerontius
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 8:22pm (UTC -5)
Quite a few people seem to think that just because a person is despised that means that they are despicable, Is that the same mindset really that came up with the expression "loser" as a insult rather than as a term describing something that everyone needs to face up to sometimes?

We are seeing Picard facing up difficulties, and not being crushed by them, even if in the end perhaps defeated. That's always been an important element in any hero's story - Beowulf, Hercules, Robin Hood...

I has a second look at the episode tonight, and I found I liked it better, though I'm still
uncomfortable with the way that all the synthetics follow Sutra's lead without question, as if they were Borgs. Was Arcana who Sutra presumably murdered the only one with any degree of independence?

Seeing it a second time brought out that Soong and Sutra were clearly baddies from the start - and also that Dajh and Agnes are pretty evidently preparing to help Picard.
Gerontius
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 8:29pm (UTC -5)
Sorry, wrong sister - I meant Soji in that last sentence.
Tommy D.
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 8:29pm (UTC -5)
I watched the episode again. I don't know why, but I found it interesting that Arcana refered to Picard as "Captain", and AI Soong referred to him as "Admiral". Not sure if its meaningful, but I guess I assume all the synths would have access to a wealth of information.
Tommy D.
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 8:29pm (UTC -5)
I guess I should it was interesting in that it happened in the same scene.
Jason R.
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 8:50pm (UTC -5)
"
Personally, I don't see the problem with Synths being able to mind meld. In past episodes, they've explained to us that Soji is able to replicate biological functions of human beings such as eating, salivating, taste preference, and crying. If such physiological replications of humans are possible, why wouldn't synthetic replications of Vulcan functions also be possible?"

I actually agree to a point. But I also think that Peter G. is correct in pointing out that android's developing telepathy would be pretty amazing idea that ought to draw some commentary from the humans, some acknowledgement that this is pretty incredible. Instead it's treated like Data using the Vulcan neck pinch, like "mind melding" is just some skill you can pick up like meditation or yoga.

I guess the issue is it's like so much in this show - half baked and slapdash. Of course we know the reason androids can mind meld - because it was literally the only means they could think of to permit plot point A to get to plot point B. Just slap it together quick and dirty. Don't think too much, don't stop to consider, whatever Androids can mind meld, get with the program.

On it's own it would be fine I guess. But everywhere you look it's just these niggling things that begin to add up. Like the whole Romulans having a vast armada thing. When it's convenient for the plot they're huddling refugees, and then they can command vast fleets. The androids blow up Rios's ship because..... ummm... and yeah they can take on a Borg cube. But they can't handle the Romulans? And the Borg are now just some parochial B rated threat now? And omnipotent AIs need to wipe out the galaxy because ummm... evil? And Maddux was on the run from who and why again?

Everywhere you turn, every detail, every plot point, it 's all wrong, inconsistent, self contradictory, pointless, unnecessary, over the top.

And yet little things are good. Jeri Ryan is good. Hugh was good. I kind of liked the android colony.
Gerontius
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 9:10pm (UTC -5)
I can't see why androids having telepathic abilities is any more hard to swallow than androids existing in the first place. Or for that matter, than anyone having telepathic abilities.

There's no contradiction between one lot of Romulans, refugees, living in poverty, and another lot , the Tal Shiar, a terrorist organisation, having acquired a fair-sized navy. Look around the planet you live on.

Why was Maddox on the run? My bet is, that's not a plot failing, it's a puzzle to which we should get the answer this week, probably involving Soong and Sutra.
Peter G.
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 9:41pm (UTC -5)
@ Gerontius,

"I can't see why androids having telepathic abilities is any more hard to swallow than androids existing in the first place. Or for that matter, than anyone having telepathic abilities."

I think you've nailed down the main issue here that I was arguing: you want to compare android telepathy with the existence of androids - both are amazing, right? Well I agree. And TNG certainly thought that the mere fact of Data existing was worth major attention, repeatedly. Datalore was all about 'where did he come from' and all that. TNG S1 certainly did not take for granted that he was a spectacular marvel. And likewise with the holodeck, a new tech introduced that they took every chance to show off. This isn't just about us seeing new gadgets on display; we really do want to know how novel new technologies will change the future. That's pretty much literally what Trek is about.

So yeah, some of these other techs are amazing, as you say. So why isn't android telepathy treated as if it's amazing in this episode? Why isn't Picard reacting to it the same way he did after his first holo-experience in The Big Goodbye, or after meeting Minuet? It's because the writers of this don't seem to care about the 'sense of wonder', they care about plot progression. But ironically (IMO) the plot actually becomes illogical if the sense of wonder isn't respected. If people who had never seen a holodeck saw one for the first time and didn't bat an eyelash, the story would actually cease to make sense; so much so that we would question whether the holodeck really was what we thought it was.

As Jason R. mentioned, I wouldn't object at all to a new sci-fi development that Maddox had cracked the secret of telepathy. Actually that would be really cool. But as it was just thrown in here in passing in order to get us right to Sudra seeing the vision, we not only have to swallow an enormous pill without water, but also move along to The Big Bad so quickly that there's no time to even deal with that pill still stuck in our throat. With no gasps or awe at an android mind-meld it begins to actually beggar belief that it's happening, no less that no one mentions it afterward.

I suppose if we take seriously that she is totally telepathic and that writers just didn't care to include 60 seconds of reaction to that (in an already quite short episode), it *might* go a ways towards explaining why the other synths so mindlessly go along with Sudra. Maybe she's outright controlling them using robotic mind control. Lore did have remote access to Data's emotion chip, which although not at all like telepathy, was maybe an aesthetic precursor to Sudra having remote control over the others. But again, when it first happened to Data in Descent we got a big sign (his anger) that something was wrong. Here I noticed no signs in Soji that something was wrong, and she was nodding her head along with the others.

At this time I am firm in my belief that this is a refugee/scorned people narrative, and that the show message is about when you treat refugees and people who look different as non-persons it will (a) come back to bite you in the ass, and (b) prove that you're more of a threat than they are. It fits neatly into this paradigm that the synths aren't going to take it anyone from the bigoted organics, and now that they have a cosmic big brother they're done with asking for permission. It doesn't fit at all that Sudra is an evil mind-controller and that the synths are just drones for her to order around. And that also certainly undermines the argument that they aren't dangerous. I don't see this as being consistent with the undercurrent we have so far, but I'm also aware that this production crew likes to take the rug out from under us *just for the sake of undermining expectations*, so defying their own narrative is certainly not out of the question for next week.
Patrick D
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 10:13pm (UTC -5)
@Jason R and others

"I guess the issue is it's like so much in this show - half baked and slapdash. Of course we know the reason androids can mind meld - because it was literally the only means they could think of to permit plot point A to get to plot point B. Just slap it together quick and dirty. Don't think too much, don't stop to consider, whatever Androids can mind meld, get with the program."

I see what you mean, but I tend to roll with the punches more as long as I'm being entertained. That's not for lack of thinking, it's more along the lines of thinking ahead to next week when I'll have a full picture of the story in my head and I can finally give this episode a full assessment. And to be fair, this show does go into detail in some episodes -- which is why this generally holds together better for me than DISCO which was more like a constant action movie.

Part of what also makes this episode odd, I feel, is that despite the serialized structure of the rest of the show, this episode alone seems framed very much as a two-part finale that will naturally tie up the lose the ends, or at least most of them. That makes this much more jarring than Nepenthe, for example, which had a continuing story cooked into it. But unlike here, we had no expectation that Nepenthe would have an immediate follow-up episode with Riker and Deanna, etc.
Frank
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 11:02pm (UTC -5)
Some ideas of how season 1 will end:

A- the synths contact the synth federation and get the following message back: all our representatives are busy right now, please stay on the line and a representative will be on the line shortly. The wait time is approximately 500 years.

B- the synth federation arrive and say that they now consider all life precious and tell everyone to live in peace.
Tim M.
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 11:35pm (UTC -5)
I enjoyed this episode, albeit not as much as the prior three. It's hard to judge it since it was mostly setup for the payoff next week. Soong Jr (if that is who he really is) was interesting, but didn't really resonate with me.

If they mind-transfer Picard into Soong's synth body, that will be super lame, but I don't think they'll be that stupid. Perhaps Soong is dying, or it will be tied to Jurati sacrificing her organic self--I'm not sure.

I also assume there will be a properly Trekkian ending where the annihilation is averted and the seemingly monomaniacal thinking of the ancient synths will be proven false, with Picard and company finding another solution to this Kobayashi Maru scenario.
stardustraven
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 12:14am (UTC -5)
I noticed much later that I had made a mistake in my response
to Rattrap Maximize!. As I meant to say this:


"... And I do not appreciate how you speak about those who criticise Picard. I do not hate Star Trek. ..."

Instead of:

"... And I do not appreciate how speak you about those who criticise Picard. I do not hate Star Trek. ..."

And I would like to add this to my to my response to Rattrap Maximize!;

Rattrap Maximize!,

I respect that you like this show, and I can understand
that you are exasperated. That is what I meant by that
you are entitled to your opinion.
But calling those who criticise and who do not like the show
names is an entirely different thing and in my opinion out
of line.

stardustraven
Mal
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 2:38am (UTC -5)
why isn't android telepathy treated as if it's amazing in this episode? Why isn't Picard reacting to it the same way he did after his first holo-experience in The Big Goodbye, or after meeting Minuet? It's because the writers of this don't seem to care about the 'sense of wonder', they care about plot progression.”

Wow @Peter G., very well put.

We live in an age where this should be so clear, that I have to wonder how blind the writers are to life? How long does it take you to get used to your new phone - or say if you switch from apple to android?

We live in an age of unboxing videos.

How about the space rockets? Watching private space vehicles painstakingly dock with the International Space Station?

How about a Tesla? Ever driven on auto pilot? Blows your mind!!

How is it possible that the wonder Picard had for Minuet, as @Peter G. says, has evaporated? How has the man who won the case that Data is a person in Measure of a Man not more blown away by an android mind meld?

Maybe that’s why I like Kestra, Riker’s girl on Nephenthe, so much. She seems to be the only person in this universe who is acting like a normal person. The universe - especially the Star Trek universe - is incredible. Take a breathe. Take it all in.
Gerontius
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 4:38am (UTC -5)
@Peter G
"At this time I am firm in my belief that this is a refugee/scorned people narrative, and that the show message is about when you treat refugees and people who look different as non-persons it will (a) come back to bite you in the ass, and (b) prove that you're more of a threat than they are"

I don't think that parallel fully stands up - the Zhat Vash were the ones who deliberately engineered the situation that caused the Romulan rescue mission to be abandoned, rather than arising as a consequence of that. There's no sense that they are a reaction to the failing of the Federation to maintain its ethical status.

But insofar as there is a parallel with current events there is no particular contradiction with the zhat Vash or Tal Shiar having significant military power and some Romulan refugees living in poor circumstances. As I said, look at our world. Syrian refugees live in squalor, but Isis in its day was very pretty powerful, controlling significant territory and effective military force.
Lynos
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 4:43am (UTC -5)
@ Phaser

Please see below:

"Why are Picard and Data best friends? Picard was a fairly cold captain. Geordie and Data were best friends."

Because the writers only watched the TNG movies, specifically Nemesis. Movie TNG Picard is a few beats removed from TV TNG Picard.

"Why did the mars attack make the federation not help romulan empire?"

Who knows.

"Why is everybody angry at Picard?"

Because he's portrayed as a doddering old man fighting windmills. Yes, this version of Picard reminds me most of all of Don Quixote, only with much less pathos or subtext.

"Why does Picard act close to Elnor when they only spent a day together in his life before ditching him?"

Because the writing is sloppy.

"Why is 7 of 9 a jaded murderer who kicks ass?"

Because retconning old characters for the benefit of the modern viewer is a staple of Nu Trek. Same way some of the TV show characters were subtly retconned for the benefit of movie audiences back in the mid-90's.

"Why is everybody fine that Agnes just murdered a guy?"

The script seems to rationalize it as an act that was done under the influence of something outside of Jurati's control, but this entire plot arc was set up in such a sloppy way that it doesn't gel at all.

"Why 251 warbirds? 1 or 2 is much more dramatic."

That's what came out in the randomizer used in the writers' room.

"Is there going to be another CGI battle with 1000 space explosion?"

Signs point to yes.

"Why does Raffi call Picard mr id and ego when he was exactly the opposite of that?"

I wouldn't really trust anything Raffi says.

"What was the purpose of a lot of the episodes? Like visiting Riker and Troi."

Well, it was nice seeing them I guess, but it actually served no purpose. Now that we saw episode 9, you could've removed episode 8 and it would make no difference. The few character beats and conversations there could've been moved to La Sirena.
It was basically done for the jolt of warm and fuzzy nostalgia.
Trent
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 6:27am (UTC -5)
Mal said: "Maybe that’s why I like Kestra, Riker’s girl on Nephenthe, so much. "

Kestra has that GEE WHIZ! tone that you need to make Trek work. Woop de Doo! We're going out there to explore the stars! And there's coffee in that nebula! And that space whale is pregnant! And these flowers are making the crew stoned! And Captain, Abe Lincoln off the port bow!

Even DS9 had Julian - "Gosh, this is like being in a old frontier town!" - Bashir absolutely giddy to be hanging out with real life spies! Weeeeeeeeee!

You've got to acknowledge the show's 1950s pulp scifi roots. Take things too seriously, and it starts to be silly. TNG at its most serious depicted Klingon Society as Shakespeare and Picard debating morality with oil slicks. Shatner had his tongue always in cheek. Spock and Data were deadpan comedians.

Getting that tone right is an almost impossibly difficult juggling act ("Orville" had to embrace comedy to get it to work, and JJ-Trek to a lesser extent), but it's rewarding, because it lets you do and get away with a lot more weirdness.
Trent
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 7:08am (UTC -5)
Gerontius said: "There's no sense that they are a reaction to the failing of the Federation to maintain its ethical status."

To me, Peter's reading seems right.

You have a Romulan fundamentalist sect which believes in ancient prophecies, hates the Other because of an ancient text, and uses terrorism to screw over this Other, even if it screws over fellow Romulans.

You have the Federation unwittingly becoming as bigoted as this Romulan fundamentalist sect in order to appease other member worlds who turn to fear, and presumably a kind of entrenched nationalism, in time of uncertainty.

And so the Other is demonized even in the Federation.

Meanwhile, the Romulan fundamentalist sect seeks out the Other's homeworld.

Forcing the Other into a dilemma: kill or be killed.

Forcing the Romulans to double down on their dilemma: kill or be killed.

Which drags the Federation into the same dilemma: side with the Romulans (and Section 31?), or the Other and potentially be killed.

Picard's the lone voice of enlightened compassion, tolerance and bridge-building. All your fears and paranoia is causing precisely what you want to avoid, he screams! But no one listens.

If Picard manages to solve this dilemma, it will be the single most mind-blowing and amazing piece of diplomacy and statesmanship in the history of all ten zillion gazillion quantum universes and their mirror equivalents.

This show has its problems, but if Picard solves this super intractable Gordian knot of hate and bigotry, he'd have written himself into the history books all over again. Even Jammer's brain will explode at the sheer level of Picardian Picardness. Jammer's Antispam password is already Picard, but if "Picard's" Picard pulls this negotiation off, the level of Picardness on this website will be totally off the Picard-charts. We'll all start start tripping Picards and seeing Picards everywhere. Nonstop Picards, all the way up and down. Picard. Picard. Picard. Picard. And it will be glorious.

Or we get Control and a "Discovery" segue.
Jason R.
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 7:08am (UTC -5)
"deliberately engineered the situation that caused the Romulan rescue mission to be abandoned,"

Ya ummm speaking of that. I know the Zhat Vash are EVIL but couldn't they have framed synths for mass murder at any time in the decades they existed without sabotaging the rescue of *their own people*.

That was literally the only opportunity they had? Their one and only chance happened to co-incide with the Romulan rescue?

I know I know - just roll with it. Besides who cares about the Romulan refugees at this point. We're back to the Romulan Empire apparently, space armada and all.
Jason R.
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 7:35am (UTC -5)
"But insofar as there is a parallel with current events there is no particular contradiction with the zhat Vash or Tal Shiar having significant military power and some Romulan refugees living in poor circumstances. As I said, look at our world. Syrian refugees live in squalor, but Isis in its day was very pretty powerful, controlling significant territory and effective military force."

I don't know that this analogy works but I'll bite - how many nuclear aircraft carriers, strategic bombers and tanks did ISIS have?

250 warbirds I will remind you is a HUGE fleet. That's Dominon War level stuff. In DS9 the Talshiar and the Obsidian Order could muster only a tenth that number to attack the Founders home world and that was a big deal that required months of planning and logistics to organize. Starfleet had only 39 ships at Wolf 359.

But ok fine, it's the remnant of the Romulan navy. Sure Romulan senators are living in squalor in Federation refugee camps but somehow they have an enormous space navy. Ok ok I'll bite. Let's say there are 200 crew per warbird - pretty conservative by Trek standards, so call that a measly 50,000 Romulan soldiers, including captains and other officers. What pray tell do they think their mission is? Since the Zhat Vash are literally a 4,000 year old secret society *within* an elite secret police intelligence group (the Tal'Shiar) I presume they didn't announce the purpose of their mission to the thousands of soldiers and officers manning that armada of ships. So what do they think they are doing attacking this random little colony in the middle of nowhere with this gigantic fleet?

Oh let me guess, the fleet is manned by 50,000 Zhat Vash operatives?

You see what I'm saying? The writers are just idiots. At every turn they make a mockery of logic and common sense. I mean they could have said it was a dozen warbirds or even three warbirds and for the story's purpose it wouldn't even have mattered. But it had to be ***250*** because WHAM!! We need to have a gigantic space battle! And it has to be the fate of the whole galaxy at stake!

I hate this kind of writing. Never mind Trek canon, this kind of writing will spit on it's own continuity from episode to episode. Nothing is consistent, nothing makes sense.
Gerontius
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 7:46am (UTC -5)
The point I was making is that there is no improbability or contradiction involved in their being a number of powerless and impoverished Romulans and there being a number of Romulans in easy circumstances, and with considerable power. That's very much the world we live in, and it's true on pretty well every corner of it. There has never been any suggestion that the Romulan society had any of the ethical aspirations of the Federation.

@ Lynos

Your expression "doddering old man" would be highly offensive language, even if it bore any relationship to what we have been shown (which it doesn't). In its way ageism is as bad as racism or sexism, and deserves the same treatment.
Jason R.
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 8:22am (UTC -5)
"even if it bore any relationship to what we have been shown (which it doesn't)."

They refer to Picard as an "old man" in the episode when the Androids are tallying their resources. Even his speech is written to sound like hollow platitudes from a has-been (I will do my best to petition Starfleet bureaucrats to allocate resources to take up your cause in a Federation committee!)

They might as well have added "doddering" given the overall subtext of Picard's complete impotence to do anything to help anyone.
Philadlj
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 8:45am (UTC -5)
You’d think all these boozers on ST:Picard could greatly reduce their suffering by simply taking anti-intoxicants, like Sisko and O’Brien when they were posing as Klingons.

Picard was changed back from being a SPIDER MAN with a hypospray, for crying out loud! ;)
Henson
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 8:49am (UTC -5)
@Philadlj

"Picard was changed back from being a SPIDER MAN with a hypospray, for crying out loud! ;) "

I think you mean Barclay, right?
Gerontius
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 9:00am (UTC -5)
Of course Picard is an old man. There are no grounds for saying that has anything to do with his success or failure in his mission.

I repeat, the term "doddering", and the attitudes it implies are highly offensive.
Philadlj
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 9:22am (UTC -5)
First and foremost, RedLetterMedia is entertainment, and they are never not aware of this. Mike is an “old fogey”, and Mr. Plinkett’s ST/SW reviews are essentially expressions of that Inner Old Man.

As someone who grew up watching TNG/DS9 and was hugely disappointed in the obsession with prequels starting with ENT, I harbor a lot of the same cymic and skepticism about Nu-Trek. But like Mike, I still can’t resist it!

Even the dynamic of Mike “forcing” Rich to keep doing these reviews is a bit of an act, since Rich could always say “no thanks”, but RLM gained fame through those old reviews, and will always be a part of its DNA, which means reviewing any new Trek is a given.

I’ve appreciated their entertainment, and Half in the Bag has also provided hours of entertainment as well as made me aware of a lot of good smaller films in the last few years that might have passed me by in this age of superhero tentpoles.

In an older Re:View segment, Mike and Jay give a very favorable review of ST:The Motion Picture that mirrors the opinions of both Jammer and myself. I’ve watched enough ugh RLM to see the legit critical chops at work beneath the comedy act. It helps that they themselves are filmmakers and creatives in addition to consumers, it lends them perspective from both sides of the industry.
Philadlj
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 9:25am (UTC -5)
Right, @Henson, Barclay!
Yanks
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 9:57am (UTC -5)
Mal,

Agree with your post, but...

"How has the man who won the case that Data is a person in Measure of a Man not more blown away by an android mind meld?"

Data wasn't ruled a "person", he was given the right to choose.

Couple points,

We still don't know why Raffi lost her clearance and commission in Star Fleet.

We still don't have any valid reason for Angus to kill Maddox.

I guess Elnor is not only a hugger but can fix the Borg Cube as well.
Lynos
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 10:13am (UTC -5)
@ Gerontius

I feel like the point of what I wrote was kind of lost and we are focusing on the wrong thing... but in any case, I was not aware "doddering" was an offensive word, and I certainly have no attitude towards the elderly, implied or not. If anyone implies anything it is you, is it not? I use words in such a way that they fit my arguments, I do not use them to offend anyone. The list of words that one "can't use" is growing so rapidly with each passing day that it's hard to keep up.

If you were offended personally by my use of this word than I genuinely apologize, but nothing was done on purpose here.

Peace.
Flip
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 10:46am (UTC -5)
I'm gonna have to disagree that the term "doddering" is offensive.

I do agree that it's bothersome how in today's culture ageism is considered a permissable ism where others are not. If there's any term that's a slur against old people, "OK Boomer" would be it, that term I do find a little bit offensive since the sentiment behind it is basically "screw old people, they are irrelevant."

But "doddering" is not used commonly and I don't think I've ever heard it used as a slur. Besides, the context of how it was used was to PROTEST the way Picard's character is being treated, which is the opposite of dismissing old people.
Peter G.
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 10:59am (UTC -5)
@ Gerontius,

"I don't think that parallel fully stands up - the Zhat Vash were the ones who deliberately engineered the situation that caused the Romulan rescue mission to be abandoned, rather than arising as a consequence of that. There's no sense that they are a reaction to the failing of the Federation to maintain its ethical status."

You're talking about the root causes of the refugee situation. What I'm talking about is the aftermath - the attitude the Federation finally adopted with regard to both Romulan refugees and synths, namely "No room for them here in the Federation. Not Our Problem." It's two versions of the same mindset, which is to banish the refugee/mid-Eastern/Muslim person because they pose a threat to America (sorry, to the Federation). I think it's actually crystal clear that they are delivering this particular message, although as you say the plot points of how they got there are particular to this show's story.

Anyhow my general point is that if the synth 'rebellion' is a natural result of this scenario, I don't see how Sudra as a mind-controlling villain would fit into it, even though that seems to be the only explanation I can conjure as to why the synths went along with her EVIL plan without discussion.
Robert
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 11:07am (UTC -5)
"Mr. Plinkett’s ST/SW reviews are essentially expressions of that Inner Old Man"

That's not really true. They liked ST: 2009, after all. Most of it's critical analysis for the sake of critical analysis, but to say "RLM hates all the new stuff and loves the old stuff like an old man" is misunderstanding their content.
Burke
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 11:56am (UTC -5)
I also belive they said that Star Trek Beyond was the best movie of the new trilogy.
Dave in MN
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 12:16pm (UTC -5)
te: the episode title

The title is lifted from a pretty famous painting. It's unfortunate the writers couldn't use that artwork's backstory as a springboard to a more Trekkian (and a less Michael Bay) exploration of ethics.

A decent script would have these characters debating what it means to be alive, the ethics of "us vs. them" thinking, mortality influencing choices, etc.

There are so many potential directions they could go in with this material, yet instead we get backstabbing main characters (because surprises), paper-thin villains that should be tying damsels to railroad tracks and lotsa explosions and swearing.

It's occasionally entertaining, but it's very very dumb: it's Bro-Trek (if it's any kind of Trek at all).
Gerontius
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 12:20pm (UTC -5)
I find the word "doddering" as offensive as equivalent words used in respect of other groups, and for the same reasons. They convey contempt of people because they are, for example, Black or Jewish, or women, or have a disability. People using them may indeed sometimes not consciously have the attitudes expressed by them.

If Picard was indeed mentally confused as a result of his age it would still be highly offensive to use that word of him. In fact there is no reason for suspecting that he is, and it does not appear to be a feature of his terminal medical condition.

Insofar as Picard has been unable to control events this is essentially because he is no longer in command of a massive starship. That has nothing to do with his age, but arises from his breach with Star Fleet on a matter of principle 14 years ago.
Booming
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 12:43pm (UTC -5)
I just want to point out that disrespect towards the elderly is not really comparable to the treatment of the Jewish people (endless mass murder), dark skinned people(several hundred years of racial slavery) or women(several thousand years of slavery). In other words, we will never enslave/evil something old people because sooner or later we become old people.
Flip
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 12:55pm (UTC -5)
But "doddering" isn't a derogatory label for old people. It's a description of specific behavior which tends to be associated with old people but doesn't always have to be. Since it has a specific meaning I would argue it has some possible valid uses and shouldn't just be thrown away like slurs should.

A similar word is "senile." Much more commonly used as an insult for old people than "doddering" is, and has a lot more edge as an insult. But never the less it's still a useful word that describes something, and throwing it away would be overly reactionary.

I'm not a fan of ageism either, but words like these aren't simply "slurs," context matters. Besides, being overly reactionary doesn't do old people any good.
Flip
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 1:01pm (UTC -5)
@Booming Oh I don't know about that... if we ever had some kind of Soylent Green or Logan's Run scenario, that would be an equivalent! And I also think humans are irrational and short-sighted enough for such scenarios to absolutely be possible, regardless of the fact that we all age!

And I also think old people haven't always been treated nicely by society, and there probably still some things we could do better. Not that that matters... it SHOULD be irrelevant how much suffering a particular group has gone through in history, everyone should be treated with the same respect and slurs against a group of people should be equally discouraged.

I just happen to think it's a huge stretch to call "doddering" a slur. If we had a term like "oldies" I'd be just as against that as any racial slur.
Dave in MN
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 1:08pm (UTC -5)
Remember when "terminate" was constrained a preferable buzzword for companies to use (in lieu of "firing")? How about when the term "colored people" was considered progressive? (We're back to "People of Color" being in vogue, though: it's the circle of life).

The problem with any euphemism is that it eventually takes on the negative aspects of whatever word it was intended to replace.

This linguistic cycling doesn't really do much other than mask a more basic issue: certain things have negative connotations because, fair or not, they aren't viewed as preferable outcomes.

All the linguistic backflips in the world won't change this fundamental fact of human nature .... while it robs us of perfectly useful and well-defined terminology.
Jason R.
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 1:24pm (UTC -5)
"I also belive they said that Star Trek Beyond was the best movie of the new trilogy."

I was going to react to that statement with astonishment.

But then if someone claimed Leprechaun 3 was the best of that series, would I be able to muster outrage?
AR-558
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 1:39pm (UTC -5)
"Remember when "terminate" was constrained a preferable buzzword for companies to use (in lieu of "firing")?"

That's still true. It's not about using a buzzword just to be oversensitive as you seem to be implying. If a company wants to let a person go but not affect their future job prospects, they are careful not to put any language of "firing" in company records. It's a professional courtesy, although of course it's still optional what language they use and they may very much want to punish them depending on the conduct that led to said firing.

Choice of words is very important.
Dave in MN
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 1:47pm (UTC -5)
@ Jason R.

The best in that series is obviously "Leprechaun In The Hood".
Booming
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 1:53pm (UTC -5)
@Flip
I'm fairly certain that there are/were a thousand times more societies who revered old people than societies who reviled them.

I would even dare to say that old people more often think lowly of young people than the other way around.

And we should not forget that there is a fundamental difference between a group we will sooner or letter be part of and a group that you either part of or not. In other words there never were and probably never will be death camps just for old people being old.
Dave in MN
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 1:54pm (UTC -5)
@ AR-558

I'm simply musing about how the good intentions- behind replacing linguistic terms with baggage- ultimately becomes a shell game of words, each replacing the previous with increasing rapidity (probably due to the immediate reactionary nature of the internet). It seems like fool's errand with nothing in its wake but a bunch of words being robbed of their intended utility.

No other implication was intended.
Flip
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 2:05pm (UTC -5)
Yeah, I tend to agree that we do ourselves a disservice by demonizing words. It's much better to focus on the meaning and intent behind how people use words, and to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Gerontius
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
It's true that any word can be used as a slur - changing the word doesn't eliminate the attitude. But sometimes getting rid of or replacing a word can accompany and encourage a change in attitude. There's no intrinsic reason why Jew should be less offensive than Yid.

But o avoid a word like doddering isn't a matter of euphemism - the contempt that is in my view expressed in it is contained in the word. Itself. It's not like a replacing a word for old person with another word. I'd have no objection to the term "oldie" as such. (In fact it's the title of one of my favourite magazines.)

As for the matter
AR-558
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 2:23pm (UTC -5)
@Dave in MN

I see what you're saying, but it doesn't sound like you get that different words have different specific meanings in the business world. Whoever is to blame, "He/she got fired" looks really bad on a record. That may make you want to throw your hands up in the air and sigh at the biases of society, but that doesn't mean companies should just go ahead and use whatever words they want without considering how they can hurt an employee.

As for doddering, it's definitely got a negative connotation. It's hard to imagine someone saying "Donald Trump is a doddering president" and understand that as a compliment.
Gerontius
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 2:33pm (UTC -5)
As for Booming's " we will never enslave/evil something old people because sooner or later we become old people"...

It would appear that a couple of weeks ago the British government was on the point of a response to the Covid 19 crisis that would involve relaxing efforts to stem the spread of the epidemic, in the expectation that most of the population would develop "herd immunity", and most of those who died would be old people.
James White
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 2:42pm (UTC -5)
This crisis is ultimately an assessment of how society can be conditioned to accept certain curbs to individual liberties under certain circumstances. Many of you are missing the bigger picture here.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 2:45pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

"And we should not forget that there is a fundamental difference between a group we will sooner or letter be part of and a group that you either part of or not."

Logically, you would be right.

Unfortunately humans are not known for being logical. The treatment of old people in modern western society is downright awful. It's absurdly illogical, but that's the situation.

@Gerontius

Yeah. I thought of that example too. Kodos the Executioner would feel right at home on present day Earth.

Oh, how I wish we still lived in the days when a good Picard morality speech meant something.













In other words there never were and probably never will be death camps just for old people being old.
Flip
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 2:46pm (UTC -5)
@AR-558

Well sure it has a negative connotation in the same way that the words "feeble," or "frail" have a negative connotation. But it's still not the same as slur.

In context, the point of the word "doddering" by Lynos was to complain about Picard's portrayal on the show (Sorry to put words in your mouth Lynos, correct me if I'm wrong.) Since old people definitely can be portrayed that way, don't we at least need such words to be able to point out and criticize such portrayals?

It's not at all the same as using it as a simple insult, "you are a doddering fool." Which is unkind, just like any other insult.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
Oops. Please disregard the orphan line at the end of my previous post.

@James White

This is a Star Trek site. I'm sure many people here are aware of the situation. I most certainly am aware of it.

It just never came up until now, because it wasn't relevant to the conversation.

Speaking of which:

You gotta wonder how Picard's Season 2 is going to deal with this real world craziness. The same goes to Orville Season 3 as well.
Booming
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 3:02pm (UTC -5)
It wasn't my intention to imply that discriminating old people is acceptable just that there are different forces at work. Old people get less and less respect in modern societies because they don't work and different from children will never work again. In a society were ones value is to a large degree determined by the ability to create value or as economists like to call it human capital it is not surprising that old people have lost a lot of their standing in society. Add to that the fast development of technology that makes a lot of knowledge obsolete very fast and you are where we are now.

Jews or Kurds are discriminated because they are seen/defined by culture as the other. That is a different form of discrimination and I would argue the far more destructive/exploitable one.
Dave in MN
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 3:16pm (UTC -5)
@ AR-558

My point isn't that "firing" should not be alamentable term, but that it's intended replacement ("terminating") is now as equally laden with pejorative implications as its predecessor. It is a linguistic Band Aid for a fundamentally human perceptual problem

The older I get, the more it ffeels vaguely 1984-ish when perfectly useful words are tossed aside because a minority of people misuse them as an insult and another minority are sensitive to offense at such comments.

In the case of aging, descriptive terms like "geriatric" & "elderly" and functional words like "senile" & "feeble" shouldn't be consigned to a dust heap.

Language isn't (or shouldn't be) an Etch-A-Sketch that gets shaken clean everytime someone offends or is offended.
Dave in MN
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 3:23pm (UTC -5)
@ AR-558

Afinal thought:

As companies now seem to favor "letting people go" as their preferred term for giving someone the axe, it won't be long before it dawns on employees that being "let go" is the same as being "dropped".

And so the (rather pointless) linguistic cycle will continue ....
Flip
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 3:28pm (UTC -5)
I think we all agree that people deserve to be treated with courtesy and respect. But we don't always agree on what that means.

To me, giving the benefit of the doubt is an important way to show kindness to others. When it comes to certain words, we may carry our own baggage with those words... in extreme cases that needs to be respected, but most of the time I think it's unkind to hang that baggage over the necks of other people.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

"Jews or Kurds are discriminated because they are seen/defined by culture as the other. That is a different form of discrimination and I would argue the far more destructive/exploitable one."

Two of the worst genocides in history are hardly a typical example of ethnic discrimination. Yeah, the discrimination of the elderly isn't that bad, for the simple reason that you've chosen extreme examples to make your point.

Besides, as I've already mentioned, the elderly ARE viewed by many youths as "the other". It's illogical and absurd, but that's the way it is. Since when is prejudice logical?
AR-558
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 4:00pm (UTC -5)
@Dave in MN

In fact, I agree with you that "fired" and "terminated" are the same thing and I doubt either word looks great on an employment record. My point was that companies still realize that being "fired" is bad so they may lay-off instead which is a completely different process with unemployment benefits and perhaps no real fault of the employee implicated. I don't see much point in mincing words over the same concept, although changing the whole deal to a lay-off is a nice professional courtesy and not simply a pedantic word change.

@Flip

Fair enough. I don't find doddering to be offensive nor am I advocating censorship, but at the same time I don't like people discounting Picard as a character because he's doddering. It's not really accurate, either. The whole mission to save Soji exists because of Picard. Most likely Soji would've been dead on the cube a few episodes back if not for his efforts. So credit where credit is due.
Gerontius
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 4:16pm (UTC -5)
No, the kind of directly lethal extremes which have been seen with Jews, Armenians and members of other ethnic groups are unlikely to occur in the case of old people (though there is a real possibility of a situation where there are pressures on old people to end their lives "voluntarily" - there was in fact a Next Generation episode on such a society).

However most of the time prejudice against such groups does not reach such extremes, and does not mean that we should not have a duty to oppose and resupist it.

I doubt if many people here would disagree. But I think that language matters, and that there have been a number of posts which do appear to imply that Picard's advanced age is a reason for his inability to impose his authority on others, when, as I said, the relative thing in this context is that he hasn't got the Enterprise under his command.
Steinway
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 4:17pm (UTC -5)
@ Jason R, your numbers game re: the Romulans/Zhat Vash and 250 warbirds is so well put. Yes to that whole post.

I haven't watched any TNG in a long time. Last week my husband and I sat down to watch a random episode, and I chose "The First Duty". Super rewarding, great ep, I even remembered some of the lines and could say them with the characters.

We decided to watch another one last night, and I reached way back to season 1 for "Datalore". I didn't remember any of it. Small wonder...it was pretty bad. I understand the significance of the episode, but it was pretty schlocky, plot holes galore, awkward acting, stupid ending, etc. It was sort of your typical first-season Trek. TNG, DS9, and VOY are all pretty unwatchable on the first season level for me. And I love all those series - the key is, I remember the good episodes, not the bad ones (well, most of the time). So maybe I need to extend some mercy to PIC, more than I have thus far. However, there's no reason why the writers (in any series, in any season) can't pull together an episode that is fun to watch, thought provoking, exciting, gels well, etc. It's completely doable. So I'm still holding the standard high, because I know they can do it. I just haven't seen any real gems yet in PIC, stuff that I'll be quoting out loud 25+ years after the first time I saw it.
Flip
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 4:18pm (UTC -5)
It is an exaggeration but I do see where he's coming from, because the way Picard is treated on this show is disheartening. Someone suggested that it's because characters need to overcome challenges, but it doesn't feel like an "arc." It feels more like the show has contempt for it's own main character.

Change is always needed and Picard couldn't or shouldn't be the exact same person as his old TNG self. But at the same time, he's a beloved character for a reason, and many people are tuning in to see that character return to TV. So in some form, even if he has changed, that old Picard needs to shine through.

But unfortunately the show as written simply doesn't seem to care enough about Picard to allow that. And to me, that's the main reason the show fails.
Booming
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 4:37pm (UTC -5)
@ Omicron
"Two of the worst genocides in history are hardly a typical example of ethnic discrimination."
I meant the treatment of these two groups in general over long stretches of time. It could also be homosexuals or native Americans, Aborigines whatever.

"Besides, as I've already mentioned, the elderly ARE viewed by many youths as "the other". It's illogical and absurd, but that's the way it is. Since when is prejudice logical?"
It is necessary for the youth to define itself in opposition to what came before. New challenges demand different mindsets.

But I guess it is possible that, in the future, old people could to some degree become "the other". If non working phases become longer and longer for old people up to a point that they are too big a burden (Not my opinion, utilitarian thought which is dominant in western societies). I still think that is somewhat doubtful. Most of us have older relatives that we love. That creates a direct emotional connection to the older generations which more or less prevents prosecution on a larger scale. Plus old people vote more often. Most politicians are old. :)

Prejudice fairly often is used as a tool to govern, for example. Look up stuff like scientific racism or comparable. There are incentives to portray people as the other. That way they can more easily be exploited. I guess, you mean the more personal, emotional level. That has often an illogical element, sure but one could even see that as partly logical. In group favoritism and out group bias. Very useful for group cohesion. I discriminate others which then increases may value for the group. I can be sure that my group will treat me better. That kind of thinking is deeply ingrained in human beings.

Phew i have obviously again too much free time. The eight weeks before that were crazy. You have no idea. :D Oh well

So yeah I didn't want to start an entire debate and I certainly don't plan to comment on STP anymore. So have a nice and save night.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 5:44pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

"But I guess it is possible that, in the future, old people could to some degree become 'the other'. If non working phases become longer and longer for old people up to a point that they are too big a burden (Not my opinion, utilitarian thought which is dominant in western societies)."

People are already doing this now, and have done this for decades.

"Most of us have older relatives that we love. That creates a direct emotional connection to the older generations which more or less prevents prosecution on a larger scale."

There are many possible forms of discrimination. Most have nothing to do with "prosecution".

Besides, when it comes to the elderly, the end result might often be the same via neglect. Way too many people die in some nursing home, alone, with nobody (including their own family) giving a f*** about them.

"Most politicians are old."

Fortunately. This may well be the only reason why no country who pondered to sacrifice their older population in the current crisis, actually went through with it.

"i can be sure that my group will treat me better. That kind of thinking is deeply ingrained in human beings."

Indeed. And this might have been useful in ancient times, but it's backfiring on us now that we have a global society.
Sen-Sors
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 6:08pm (UTC -5)
Glad to see some pushback on the "ageism" claims. Nobody is claiming that Picard looks befuddled or doddering because they have contempt for the elderly deep in their hearts, they're saying it because that's what they're seeing portrayed on-screen. Not sure what words would be acceptable to describe it if words like "befuddled" are unnacceptable. Context matters, and to claim that everyone who has described Picards portrayal as an ineffectual old codger harbors an unconscious contempt for old people (even when they've made it clear they don't like said portrayel) is fairly dubious.

Anyway, can we talk about Elnor? What a mess of a character. The show shoehorns in an adopted son to a character famously averse to children, and does so with a single short montage. Picard needs his help because he needs muscle, fine, but he's good with a sword in a universe where everyone uses energy projectile weapons. Whatever. Apparently he's a hugger, because that's how they do it in Romulan warrior sects...? Uh, sure. Romulans have always been very huggy. Right.

Anyway Picard abandons Elnor as a child, then he comes back and recruits him for his quest, and Elnor contributes by slicing up a couple guards on the Borg cube and... Well, that's kinda it. Seriously, if you took Elnor out of the show would it have any effect on the plot?

And then Picard abandons him, AGAIN. Hilarious. Way to go Jean-Luc.

"I luv u JL" was painful in how unearned it was but it's classic Kurtzman schmaltz so it had to happen. Imagine if instead of (unconvincingly) returning the sentiment he turned around and said "My name is Jean-Luc."

I'm fucking flabbergasted by how they're handling Agnes's character. "Am I still under arrest?" Picard should have said "Of course. In fact we're moving your quarters to the cargo bay, next to the airlock, please report there now." Instead he said nothing and neither did anyone else. Okay. And later on the planet she's like "I know I killed a guy but this is where I belong!" Too bad, you deliberately killed a man based on a vision you couldn't even make sense of, here's your cell. I get the feeling this show wants people to root for Agnes ending up somewhere other than in prison, which is just bizarre. Of course she'll end up with sacrificing her life as an act of redemption, but still.

Her romance with Rios is awful; again, it's amazing that the show seems to want us to care. It should be noted that this show having awful romance plots is very much in keeping with classic Trek.

I guess we're never going to find out how we went from android rights in Measure of a Man to android slavery in STP. Oh well.

Picard does a big speech and is roundly panned for it. Classic STP.

Stuff I liked: the dogfight between Picard's ship and Narek's was well-done, you could see what was happening and make sense of it visually which doesn't often happen in Trek outside the movies. Picard's desire to beam Narek aboard and his line about not letting wounded foes die was good, a rare moment where he seemed like the real Picard.

Good stuff from Soji/Sutra's actress, I forget her name. The cast in general is pretty competent in this show, it's the writing that's the problem.
James
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 7:05pm (UTC -5)
Actually, I think this series has a good opportunity to make a commentary about the role of aged people in our society, and what the future could look like. The reason Picard looks "doddering" is because he's being carted around the universe while various younger action figures help him out in various ways. He's become obsolete, which is the same function old people have in today's society. There are a few indigenous societies where the old still have an important function to impart their wisdom to the younger generations - not so in western culture. This wasn't always the case, and it doesn't need to be either. We are NOT meant to be shoved into retirement homes and bent over ambulators in our old age. This is one of the many things our society gets horribly wrong.

Will PIC examine this? I doubt it, but it's a genuine and important topic which is perfect for sci-fi, and with a beloved captain in his old age is a great opportunity. It would be such a waste if he is just a nostalgic placeholder for more "end of the galaxy" stories.
Peter Howie
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 7:05pm (UTC -5)
Hey Jammer. Long time reader here. Love that your commitment to Star Trek/Sci-Fi. Can you move to more interactive comment boards? This format does not allow us to engage each other.
Gerontius
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 7:07pm (UTC -5)
Actually I can't recall a single scene in this series where Picard has looked in any way doddering or befuddled. I'd challenge you to produce one.

Not that those terms would be appropriate even if they had decided to show someone with Alzheimers, for example. There are ways of referring the kind of characteristics which might be observed in such a person which are descriptive, accurate and respectful - confused, unsteady, out of touch with reality...
Sen-Sors
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 7:17pm (UTC -5)
@Gerontius, I pointed one out in the last episode but you claimed that was just me being ageist. *shrug*
Sen-Sors
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 7:19pm (UTC -5)
Also, "out of touch with reality"? Whoa, that's pretty harsh. Moreso than "befuddled".
Flip
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 7:23pm (UTC -5)
@Gerontius, It's not necessarily that he *looks* doddering or befuddled. It's that the other characters and even the show itself seems to treat him as if he's that way.
James
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 7:24pm (UTC -5)
It's more likely that this series is not interested in diplomacy, wisdom and ethics - the very things the Picard character is good at. And so we have a main character with not much to do while the things the writers ARE interested in - interpersonal relationships, action, drama and sentimentality - are going on all around him.
wolfstar
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 7:39pm (UTC -5)
This whole discussion is ridiculous and splitting heirs over nothing. Lynos's original comment was that in the Picard series, "he's portrayed as a doddering old man fighting windmills". This is a legitimate opinion whether you agree or disagree with it. It in no way equates to Lynos personally calling Picard "doddering" - he's describing his perception of how Picard is presented in the series. Gerontius's repeated assertion that this is "highly offensive" is ridiculous. Even if Lynos were personally calling Picard that, it still wouldn't be offensive. But he isn't.
Tommy D.
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 7:44pm (UTC -5)
I don't see Picard as "doddering" or befuddled on this show either. He's not a part of starfleet anymore and he's not the CO of any of these people. Their responses to him reflect this, but I think he's able to adapt to all of this rather well considering he's been on the Chateau for over a decade.
Henson
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 8:24pm (UTC -5)
@wolfstar

"splitting heirs"? What, did we get a royal divorce already?
Jason R.
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 8:33pm (UTC -5)
"It is an exaggeration but I do see where he's coming from, because the way Picard is treated on this show is disheartening. Someone suggested that it's because characters need to overcome challenges, but it doesn't feel like an "arc." It feels more like the show has contempt for it's own main character."

Bang on. Thank you Sir / Mam. Nailed it.

In the latest speech Picard comes across as this ineffectual fool. As you hear the speech you know it's falling on deaf ears - the telltale sign being that it's a garbage speech that's about on par with telling the androids he'll petition the Federation council to commission a committee to study the problem.

It's not even like the speech he gave to 7 which was warm and full of pathos and regret. She rejected his advice in that scene (and I'd argue the writers were spitting on Picard there too in a different way) but that was more of a WTF moment when she beamed down and started phasering everyone.

Here we know Picard is irrelevant be because his words are ridiculous - and what's more, the show is flat out signaling us that he's a useless fool. In the very next moment, (in case the message wasn't clear) the Android is dismissing him as an "old man" (the script's words, not mine!)

So what other conclusion are we to draw but that not only is Picard a doddering old fool, but that's how he's *written* to be?

And can you imagine Picard in his TNG prime years (or even circa Nemesis) being this way? What other explanation could there possibly be other than age having diminished him to a shell, a mockery of his former self? Are we the "ageists" here or is it the script? I put it to you that it's the latter.
Flip
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 8:44pm (UTC -5)
You know it has been a bit of a distraction from what is an interesting point: why does the show seem to have so little respect for it's title character? It's really weird how seemingly unimportant Picard is on his own show, and how he is treated as out of touch and obsolete. Meanwhile the important character on the show seem like action heroes, engaged in shallow soap opera plots. Everything happens around Picard who appears impotent, and whose speeches fall on deaf ears.

If I thought the writers were more clever, I'd be tempted to think that the TV show Picard is intended as satire. It's almost as if the message of the show is that there is no room on modern TV for shows like old TNG. There is no room for shows about diplomacy and struggling with moral dilemnas. In today's media of disposable entertainment and mindless melodrama, superheroes that spout snappy one liners, a character like Picard has no place. The times have moved past him.

Of course I don't think the writers actually intend that, but it's funny to think about. There WAS a TV show revival that did something similar: the revival of Twin Peaks was very different from the old Twin Peaks. Some people think that the message of that show was about how you can't recapture the magic of the past. Although in some ways it was unsatifying (especially the ending), it made for a really interesting TV show and it is probably my favorite of any revival show.
Gerontius
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 8:49pm (UTC -5)
I seem to remember the scene in question, which Sen-Sers felt was an example in which Picard was being presented as a befuddled and feeble old man was the one where reaching for the controls of the ship, realised that they were totally different from the ones he had last used, many years ago, and graciously handed over to Rios.

I can't see how that could in any way be said to present him as being befuddled, feeble, or doddering. Hasn't everybody been in that situation on occasion, sitting down at some bit of technology that has been "upgraded" so that its completely unfamiliar? Think of Windows 10 when it came out? And if the last time you had used a computer before being faced with that was back in the stone age at the start of the century?
Jason R.
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 9:07pm (UTC -5)
"I can't see how that could in any way be said to present him as being befuddled, feeble, or doddering. Hasn't everybody been in that situation on occasion, sitting down at some bit of technology that has been "upgraded" so that its completely unfamiliar? Think of Windows 10 when it came out? And if the last time you had used a computer before being faced with that was back in the stone age at the start of the century?"

Do an experiment Geronitus: watch any Picard focused episode from TNG like The Defector or Sins of the Father or Measure of a Man. Then watch Picard's speech to the androids at the conclusion of the latest STP ep.

Can you honestly say it's the same character? Can you seriously imagine the Picard who faced down the Klingon High Council or argued for the Data's rights being this laughably ineffectual?

Then consider that he's called an "old man" in that very same scene, in the very episode where he reveals to his friends that he has space Alzheimers but not to worry because he's just fine.

Do we need to draw you a diagram?
James White
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 9:27pm (UTC -5)
@Jason R - Gerontius is just being stubborn. Of course age and illness has partly debilitated Picard. That's obvious to anyone with eyes. The real question is whether Stewart is playing him this way or whether the actor himself is no longer able to "summon" the Picard we remember. I tend toward the former but who really knows.
Tim C
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 9:32pm (UTC -5)
Picard comes across perfectly in character to me, and has since this show started. People asking "could you see TNG era Picard saying this / doing that?" are acting like it hasn't been thirty years since we saw that man, and the character on screen is in his nineties. His nineties, for christ's sake!

He's been out of the service life for over a decade. He's no longer in command of one of the most powerful ships in the Federation and its accompanying team of crack operators, the kind of thing that used to make people sit up and pay attention automatically. He's just an elderly man now, one coming face to face with his own mortality and savouring his last chances to do good in the world.

Everything he's done that we've seen on screen has resonated for me. I don't think the show is treating him badly at all. Rather it's asking a question: how does someone like Picard act in accordance with his oft-stated lofty values, even without the backing that came with being a Starfleet captain?

We are seeing that question answered. I'm enjoying the results, although I still think this episode felt a bit weak.
Gerontius
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 9:48pm (UTC -5)
I can easily imagine Picard from the old days being unsuccessful in that scene. Sutra is clearly not open to persuasion, and the synthetics appear to be under her domination, while Soong is a classic Star Trek baddie. That's got nothing to do with the fact that Picard is of course old, and perfectly correctly referred to as such, any more than the fact that he is bald. And in what sense does that scene show him as being befuddled or doddering? Even aside from being offensive these are totally inaccurate descriptions of what we were shown.

As for his brain disease, that would seem far more analogous to an inoperable brain tumour than to Alzheimers. Inoperable brain tumours are liable to be fatal. (Though some are benign.) Alzheimers as such isn't, you die with it from other things, not from it.

And no, "out of touch with reality" is not in itself any more offensive, where it is accurate, than saying that someone is unable to walk or unable to see.
Tommy D.
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 9:53pm (UTC -5)
@ Tim C
"Everything he's done that we've seen on screen has resonated for me. I don't think the show is treating him badly at all. Rather it's asking a question: how does someone like Picard act in accordance with his oft-stated lofty values, even without the backing that came with being a Starfleet captain?"

Agreed. Well said.
Peter G.
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 9:56pm (UTC -5)
@ James White,

"The real question is whether Stewart is playing him this way or whether the actor himself is no longer able to "summon" the Picard we remember. I tend toward the former but who really knows."

I'm not sure if it's that Stewart *can't* act like the old Picard anymore, but rather than now that he has executive power he doesn't want to. I think he's excised all the things about Picard he didn't care for - being insular, reserved, private, quietly dignified, and added all the parts of his own personality he prefers - boisterous, loving to smile, a bit of a goof. Watch him in interviews and watch him here, this is Stewart's persona more than Picard's. But I don't think it's due to laziness, so much as Stewart wanting the show to be a vehicle for his own personal political and social views, and wanting those views to come from *him* rather than from some character he's playing. I sort of see it as him looking right at the camera as he says these things, as Stewart, doing a docu-drama. I think that's behind the character change, personally.
James
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 10:00pm (UTC -5)
"Rather it's asking a question: how does someone like Picard act in accordance with his oft-stated lofty values, even without the backing that came with being a Starfleet captain?"

That isn't a question I find interesting at all, so maybe that explains my disinterest in the show. I mean, he's obviously going to do things the way he's always done them, just without Starfleet's help. It's also something that could be done entirely outside the realms of sci-fi, so if that's really the show's concern then it's a wasted opportunity to examine real, relevant issues. I'd just like the writers to say something, anything. Not this middle-of-the-road jolting adventuring from one place to another without rhyme or reason or purpose. Make a point, one that is relevant to me and everyone else in the world.
Glom
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 10:20pm (UTC -5)
The problem is that what we see is that Picard is always wrong.

I thought they were going somewhere neat last week by subverting the AIpocalypse. I thought this was turning into an allegory for fear of the foreigners, which is rife at the moment. The Romulans hear a story about synths destroying their creators and then assume that all synths must be like that. That's analogous to the way that people see stories in the news about migrants and refugees committing crimes (think Calais Jungle, think the incidents in Cologne) and think that all migrants are rampaging hordes of rapists. And that fear leads to inhuman hostility to people fleeing terrible wars in their home countries. As messy as the storytelling has been, there seemed to be a theme coalescing. Good solid Trek stuff, tackling contemporary issues through exciting space adventure.

But no. The AIpocalypse is real after all. Picard's Picard speech last week looks like a joke in hindsight. We mustn't give in to fear? At this stage, Narissa looks vindicated. The synth ban was wrong? If Maddox hadn't illegally created synths due to his believing his vanity is above the law, all organic life in the galaxy wouldn't be facing destruction.

Then add to that the fact that Picard delivered the very information Sutra needed to go on a genocidal rampage right to her. Good job breaking it, hero.
James White
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 11:05pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G - that makes sense.
Tim C
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 12:33am (UTC -5)
James, you say he's "obviously going to do things the way he's always done them", and yet that's not obvious at all. Captain/Admiral Picard could just tell people to make it so, and they would do it whether or not they agreed. Retired Picard has to take a different tack by necessity. The only person he has any real power over is Rios, and even then it's a purely commercial arrangement that Rios can terminate at any time he chooses.

Picard now has to persuade people that he's right. He has to listen, and empathise, and *ask* for help, and rely on the charity of others. He can trade on his reputation and earned goodwill a little, depending on the audience, but otherwise he is playing an entirely new game. Granting asylum to someone like Soji on TNG meant putting the Enterprise at red alert and threatening the bejesus out of anybody who would come after her; now, it means he has to physically stand in front of someone holding the phaser and convince them to put it down.

Of course, such an approach is not always going to be successful as it was with Raffi in "Broken Pieces". That's the point.

And yeah, these questions of mortality and character and ageing could be done outside of sci-fi, you are correct. But so could 90% of Trek's best stories, so as an argument against the entertainment value of this particular show I don't think it holds much water. (Not that I think this show is beyond criticism, mind you.)
Flip
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 12:55am (UTC -5)
@Tim C, But it's not like on TNG he always just gave orders and relied on other people to do things. There were plenty of times when he took action into his own hands, or was either stripped / couldn't use his powers as captain, or put in some unfamiliar situation, or a prisoner, or what have you. There's even the "Die Hard" episode in season 6, or that episode The Gambit from season 7 where he goes undercover as some kind of rogue on an alien ship.

And Picard always had to persuade people that he's right on TNG. He always had to listen, empathize, and ask for help. That's what the character was all about. Instead of being the cowboy like Kirk, he was the diplomat. None of that is new, what is new is that Picard is no longer effective at those things. And that's just kind of sad and depressing.
Tim C
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 1:04am (UTC -5)
^^ There's so much TNG that of course it's easy to come up with examples that go against the broad strokes of what I'm saying here, but I still don't feel like it makes my point completely wrong. The Picard we have now is a changed man who has to approach things differently by necessity.

I would disagree that he is not effective any more. It's just *harder* for him to get the same results, and he won't necessarily get them in a nice little wrapped-up package at the end of that week's adventure.
Jessica
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 1:22am (UTC -5)
I don't feel like it's praiseworthy for a show to revolve around criticizing previous iterations and saying "...but real life isn't that easy or simple". Trek did that way back on DS9 and some of the movies and I'm bored of it now.
Booming
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 2:15am (UTC -5)
@ Omicron
Man you gotta love them republicans :D
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/24/older-people-would-rather-die-than-let-covid-19-lockdown-harm-us-economy-texas-official-dan-patrick

economy > old people

Isn't it nice to see how things really are?! That is really fucked up. WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO DIE SO THAT THE ECONOMY MIGHT LIVE!!!

"Indeed. And this might have been useful in ancient times, but it's backfiring on us now that we have a global society."
It does... well let's not give up hope. :)
Jason R.
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 4:33am (UTC -5)
Picard isn't ineffective because he lacks a starship - that's baloney. He's ineffective because his words are vapid and unpersuasive (the latest example) or because everyone just disregards what he says anyway be because ok boomer (seven).

And you know I do think I know where the writers are going with this. It's all telegraphed in that sad little speech Picard gives where he tells them he's going to personally do this and that for them, he's going to be their advocate for the Federation.

And it's just so not Picard to be so transparently self-centered and egotistical. Just like it was not Picard to be arrogant and to not listen to anyone but himself the way every single damn character has been lecturing him every episode.

Because BINGO that's his arc. At the end he learns his lesson from the Romulan refugee debacle and realizes he can't save everyone himself that he needs to rely on others blabidee bla.

But you know here's my prediction. He's still going to suck in the end whether he learns a lesson or not. Other younger people are going to beat those terrible Romulan anti synth bigots (or whoever's the bigots of the week are going to end up being once the random plot generator finishes spinning) and Picard will say some nice words but he'll still be an ineffectual old man past his prime and not good for very much but I'm sure the others will pretend he's not.
Lynos
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 5:14am (UTC -5)
@ Tim C

"Picard now has to persuade people that he's right. He has to listen, and empathise, and *ask* for help, and rely on the charity of others. He can trade on his reputation and earned goodwill a little, depending on the audience, but otherwise he is playing an entirely new game".

Sure, I'd love to see this show you're describing, If it was executed successfully. If it was written consistently, with strong characters, convincing world-building and story turns that make sense. And if Picard's character wasn't so passive.

We still have one more episode to go, but it feels to me like you could remove Picard's character from this story and nothing much would change. His main involvement was in getting the quest to find and save Soji off the ground. The writers involve him personally by partially-retconning his relationship to Data, coupled with his need to be a man of action again.

How ironic, then, that after the promising pilot, he is nothing but a man of action. Ever since he stepped on the La Sirena, he's been taking advice from everybody and exhibiting very little agency of his own. The only time everybody did as he said was when he diverted the ship to the Romulan colony which proved to be a pointless episode, since Elnor is a non-character.

In Wrath of Khan, Kirk struggles with similar issues. He feels old and irrelevant. But the story cleverly puts him into a situation when he has to ACT, and act decisively, in order to save his friends. The film is a comment about a man being both haunted by his past and his future. And it works.

When I first heard they were making a show about Picard I hoped they were going for the same thing. A story about a character feeling obsolete , what it means to them, and the type of action they take as a response. But what we got is this half-baked story about Data's "daughter" and android-hating Romulans. It has almost zero connection to Picard as a character. I want to see Jean-Luc Picard wrestling with moral dilemmas, I want to see him Do the Right Thing in a pro-active way, I don't want to see him being carried around the galaxy by a bunch of underwritten characters that treat him like a piece of furniture.

Why is this show even called Star Trek Picard? What makes it "Picardish?" Why not call it Star Trek: Synths?

Maybe we will find out in the last chapter. Maybe we won't.

Let's also remember this show has four (!) showrunners and 27 executive producers. So it is not surprising that just like Discovery, it is a mess. Too many cooks in the kitchen. No single unifying vision.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 5:54am (UTC -5)
@Tim C

"Rather it's asking a question: how does someone like Picard act in accordance with his oft-stated lofty values, even without the backing that came with being a Starfleet captain?"

A question that's definitely worth exploring.

My problem with STP is that it gives a depressing and non-inspiring answer to that question.

Sure, sometimes reality is indeed that cynical. It is certainly *possible* for a forceful wise captain to turn into a brain-damaged shell of his old self and to be treated like a mumbling idiot by everybody else.

But what is the POINT of showing us this? How is this an intelligent exploration of the question you've posed? And what kind of twisted mind would write *this* as the closing character arc for an iconic character?

Reminds me of Icheb's eye-scream scene. At least that was over in a few minutes. With Picard it stretches through the entire season, and that's just painful to watch.
Tim C
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 6:52am (UTC -5)
Lynos' comparison with TWOK is an apt one here, in that PIC is also attempting to tell a story about a legend being forced face to face with questions about his own relevance and mortality. Is it doing so as successfully as TWOK did? Opinions are obviously wildly varied, as these never-ending debates are demonstrating.

My personal view is that it's too early to judge. PIC is telling this story in a long-form format, across more than one season. It's not my preferred method; my own preference for genre entertainment is a more Buffy/DS9 approach, wherein the self-contained adventures play into a larger arc. Nevertheless, it's what we're getting, so I'm attempting to judge the show on those terms.

And on those terms, I've found myself quite engaged. The goal Picard set himself way back in the pilot was to find some way to help Data's kin, a new form of life whose rights to liberty he himself helped define back in his glory days. As a follow up to "The Measure Of A Man" and "The Offspring", PIC's first season has given us vintage Picard, willing to stick his neck out for what he sees as an embodiment of Starfleet's mission statement.

We've seen him pick himself up and dust himself off from what he felt was the greatest betrayal of his life, in the Federation's abandoning of the Romulans. We've seen him put himself at personal risk, sometimes recklessly, to try and re-establish even a chance of dialogue with angry people. ("Absolute Candor") He's willingly walked into a representation of his greatest personal terrors to try and help someone in need. ("Impossible Box").

This guy we've been watching is Picard. An older, gentler, more mellow man, but still unmistakably Picard to me, trying his best to do the right thing in the face of fear and prejudice. I don't find it depressing, or cyncial, or uninspiring, or any of the other words that have been getting thrown around. He's being the change that he wants to see in others, and that's the best that any of us can ever do.
Lynos
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 7:44am (UTC -5)
Hey Tim

If only STP took it's cue from Measure of a Man and ran with it in a consistent way, that would be an amazing show!

I mean, we don't even know exactly WHAT Soji is. We've just witnessed there are different kinds of synths. You have Soji and Daj which are indistinguishable from humans and are for all intents and purposes manufactured organics. Doesn't that make then clones of some sort, and not androids?

Then you have the bronze/golden synths such as Sutra, hanging out on Synth planet.

Then you have the slave synths on Mars, who revolted.

How do these all come together? Who are the synths? What is their role in this story? What was Maddox attempting to do? I mean, even if in season 2 we get answers to some of these questions, it doesn't mean the writing is season 1 isn't sloppy as hell.

Go ahead, make it about Picard's mission to fight for the rights of artificial life, that' actually a great premise for a Picard series. But make me CARE. When the world-building is so clumsy, I don't even know who I'm supposed to root for.

What or who is Soji? Why are being strung for an entire season without knowing who she is? What is the point of hiding all this information from us?

Measure of a Man did in 40 minutes what this show has now failed to do in 9 hours.
Jason R.
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 7:56am (UTC -5)
Lynos those are great questions. Another: just what was Soji's mission exactly? It is mentioned in the episode but I still can't explain it. Just as I can't explain why Maddux was on the run and needed to turn to gangsters for protection.
Tim C
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 8:12am (UTC -5)
Well now we're running into a different line of criticism, being the structure of this season itself. I'm more willing to cede to the negative arguments here that the non-linear, "mystery box" storytelling is not proving more effective than a traditional narrative.

But has it completely sunk the show? I guess it depends on how much you need to have spelled out for you, and how soon. We still don't know exactly how they're planning to wrap up this first season. I'm not the type to pre-judge until I've seen the final product.

Personally, the show has given me three characters that I like and want to see succeed. Obviously I'm rooting for Picard to find a peaceful resolution. I want Soji to be convinced to see the light. And I want Rios to find his idealism again.

(I also want to see Elnor, but that more out of amusement at his portrayal than any deep character building that's been done for him.)

The more detailed backstory questions you've raised are interesting to me, but thus far I've enjoyed the character journeys enough that I'm willing to fill in the gaps myself. The danger of these long-form shows of course is that they don't stick the landing, as Disco messed up twice already. Third time's the charm for the new era of Trek, I hope.
Nick A
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 8:18am (UTC -5)
Having visions of Descent Part 3 and Insurrection 2 Synth Boogaloo... and they managed to waste using the Borg cube twice in two episodes. I have liked most of the season (except for a few dragging sections, and having Maddox as little more than a cameo before killing him) but this one seems poised for a collapse in part 2. Hope I'm wrong.

The dogfight was slightly better than most at including maneuvers that would make sense in space... But just spin the ship around! You don't have to be pointed in the direction of travel!
James White
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 8:33am (UTC -5)
In summary, this show isn't very good and this Picard iteration is a downer. Also, Kurtzman still sucks.
Jason R.
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 8:35am (UTC -5)
"But has it completely sunk the show? I guess it depends on how much you need to have spelled out for you, and how soon. "

Tim we've already been down this road with other Mystery Box shows and movies. The answer is that things like why Maddux was on the run or even more fundamental questions like why Soji and her sisters lost their memories will never be explained. They will end up in the same foggy narrative trashbin as the reason why there was a map to Luke in The Force Awakens.
Dom
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 8:42am (UTC -5)
@Lynos, this question of what/who is Soji has been bugging me since the last episode. When I first saw her, I assumed there was some sort of technological breakthrough that allowed synths to be made to look just like humans (unlike Data, whose pale skin and yellow eyes made him stick out). But in this last episode we see that most other androids, including the Sutra, have skin with a metallic sheen and yellowish eyes. So, is Soji just an advanced model? Why would Maddox/Soong intentionally create synths that look artificial? I feel like the show hasn't really explained the situation well enough.
Glom
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 8:59am (UTC -5)
More than Soji's mission, why was she made a sleeper? If she was sent out with full knowledge of who she was, she wouldn't have accidentally delivered the location of her homeworld to people who want to annihilate her. Obviously, the same for Dahj.

The reason is likely so they could add another box to their Amazon distribution centre of mystery boxes. If they knew exactly who they were, there would have been no teasing of reveals to come or dramatic scenes of discovering the truth.
Quincy
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 11:02am (UTC -5)
This question of what Soji actually is has come up a few times. IMO she's a biological robot or "xenobot." Scientists are working on the precursors to that right now: https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/algorithm-designs-robots-using-frog-cells-66961

We know that Soong type robots could fool scanners and tricorders long ago, when they were all hardware, so it's completely irrelevant that Soji is indistinguishable from humans. She doesn't have to have any of the structure that a human being has, just as Doctor Juliana Tainer didn't have to have human structure to fool Starfleet scanners. That's par for the course.

What sets Soji apart is that she's probably completely made up of human cells. However, those cells are repurposed and retrofitted to function like a robot, similar to those frog cells in the article I posted. Those are frog cells. You could even shape the finished product into something that looked and sounded exactly like a frog, but it'd be a robot just the same.

She has human cells. She has the human form. But she's not human. Her body functions at a much higher level than a human. She can smash and rip through bulkheads. She can move at superhuman speeds with superhuman agility. She has perfect memory. She can hack and interface with electronic systems. This is because her human cells don't function like human cells. They function instead like the robotic cells that they were redesigned to be.

At least, that's my headcanon.
Jason R.
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 11:35am (UTC -5)
Pretty neat Quincy. I guess we will never know because it will never be addressed in any fashion on the show.

Oh, and another one - why is Soji a "destroyer"? If the Admonition wasn't a prophecy what was it pertaining to? Did it describe an apocalypse in our galaxy? In some other galaxy?

I again doubt that any of this will be addressed in the show or if it's addressed, the explanation will create more plot holes than it fills. But maybe we can try to speculate.
Diana
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
Overall I enjoy ST: Picard. Not to say I don't have some quibbles. I would think the EMH would be able to sound an alarm if it sees medical abuse in any form. I found that Jerati being able to dismiss the EMH so handily was just too easy. I find the relationship (sexual) between Rios and Jerati as unimportant and wish the writers had not gone there. Does there always NEED to be a sexual encounter when it is not needed or required? If that was to make me sympathetic to this character, it's not working. I also find the characters casual acceptance of her murder very disconcerting. I find it hard to believe that Jerati is a scientist and the character is not a favorite (she is jarring and grating to me) and not sure if that is how she is supposed to be portrayed. There has to be a suspension of belief, but you would have to be dullard. Overall, I still enjoy it and want it to continue, but I do cringe. I hope the writers step up and write the best Trek they can. First seasons are an exploration and hopefully the next season and/or seasons, will be great! I have hope and that's Star Trek.
Lynos
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 12:27pm (UTC -5)
@ Quincy

I really like your explanation regarding Soji. She's a biological construct that was created in a lab, she apparently has superhuman strength and intellect, so that gels with your explanation.
However, in the show all this appear as circumstantial evidence. It's there, but it's not explained or contextualized. Either it's because the writers are keeping us in the dark on purpose for whatever reason, or it's simply just there and we have to accept it at face value, maybe until some Big Reveal in the season finale.

Apart from what Soji and Dahj are, it's also not clea why they couldn't be a run-of-the-mill sleeper agents send by Maddox, but had to be get "activated", along with an entire fabricated life in an operation worthy of the CIA.
Remember Dahj "mom" back on Earth? And Soji's? She was obviously lying to them. Who is this person? Did Maddox know her? Her character was simply vanish somewhere mid-season.

One more thing that bothers me about Soji: after her activation, she essentially becomes an amnesiac character, she has glimpses of her past but they are very few. Essentially she doesn't who she is, and that prompts everyone to head to her home world. However, in this episode she begins remembering names of places and people and other details. She simply says them as they pop into her head. Rule # 1 about amnesiac characters: make them EARN back their memory. The fact Soji starts to randomly remember stuff means that any second now she might know everything there is to know about everything. Instead of the episode being about Soji's journey to find herself (with the help of Picard), it's about The Admonition and Evil Sutra's diabolical plan.
Look at a movie like Memento, the guy is putting tattoos all over his body to remember stuff. Jason Bourne needs to kill a lot of bad guys and go through hell to find some tiny bits of information about his past. There's more. But Soji simply remembers stuff as she walks around synth town.
Trent
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 2:38pm (UTC -5)
Brian said: "I'm gonna pretend that Patrick Stewart is playing an alternate universe version of Picard where Picard just pops into existence as an old man and doesn't know anything about Star Trek."

This is what Patrick Stewart said before the show's release:

“If I were to consider doing this again, there would have to be certain conditions attached to it. So, they told me a lot more about their ideas for the story, and then I told them… Well, I used Logan as an example....because it was a different world than the previous movies. It was not just a case of the same old story. In Logan, there was crazy Charles living in what seemed to be an upside-down oil tank, or something, and he was very ill. A dangerous person. And there was Logan driving a sh**ty old limo, to try and get money in order to pay for Charles’ medications [laughs]. I said, So, if you can come up with a concept…if you can find a world that is upside down, compared to the world that everybody’s got so used to as being a Star Trek world, then I might be interested. So, they took the Logan point very seriously. And that’s how we started to come up with what what became what you’re seeing on our show."
Gerontius
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 2:45pm (UTC -5)
Anyway, enough of this nonsense. Let the Covid19 crisis restore a sense of proportion.

Here is Sir Patrick reading a Shakespeare sonnet, as a contribution to those of us lucky enough to be able to self-isolate in relative luxury (think of the refugees in this time...) - https://youtu.be/cMXfrpukaIU
Quincy
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 2:58pm (UTC -5)
I too wish they would explain more and focus on the science more, but they appear to be going the BSG route of not explaining that stuff. To be fair, all old Trek gave us was technobabble mumbo jumbo, which really didn't explain anything either.

If Soji's amnesia was thrust front and center as the central mystery of the show, like the Zalkonian John Doe in the TNG episode, "Transfigurations," I might agree with you. (And how much effort did it take for John Doe to remember? As I recall he'd have a seizure and gain new memories each time, and that's not really earning anything) However, that was never the case.

The central mystery was why were the Romulans killing her people. And why this big conspiracy going all the way to the top of the Federation. The length of PIC seasons are less than half the length of TNG seasons. I don't know how people expect PIC to delve into all the things they seem to want delved into in that length of time.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 3:36pm (UTC -5)
@Gerontius
"Anyway, enough of this nonsense. Let the Covid19 crisis restore a sense of proportion."

I wasn't aware of the fact that our sense of proportion had to be restored.

Is there any particular reason why people shouldn't discuss a TV show on a forum specifically dedicated to that TV show?
Gerontius
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 3:45pm (UTC -5)
I was referring to the stuff about how past it Picard (and Patrick Stewart) are past it. Or for that matter about how he's not - which is too obvious to neat arguing about.

But the point was to share the chance to hear him reading that sonnet.
Jason R.
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 4:02pm (UTC -5)
"If Soji's amnesia was thrust front and center as the central mystery of the show, like the Zalkonian John Doe in the TNG episode, "Transfigurations," I might agree with you."

It's not some trivial or incidental thing. Her amnesia is literally the central plot point of the first 2/3 of the story.
Sen-Sors
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 5:50pm (UTC -5)
@Gerontius

I know some people are tired of discussing the ageism thing and I am late in my reply but since my particular objections to the captain's chair scene was relevant to the discussion I'd like to make a response.

I think I made my feelings about that scene very clear in the last thread. I didn't like that a show that so often sidelines and demeans the character of Picard went on to use him in that scene as (in my opinion) a cheap joke. It felt like a crappy Progressive commercial or a scene from The Office where the joke is people being "awk-waaaard, lol". I don't like that kind of humor, and I didn't like the scene.

Other people including yourself thought it was fine, and saw it as Picard handing over the reigns. And that's fine! It's not an opinion I share, but that's fine.

Now, you can either accept that as an honest difference in opinion, or you can attempt to psychoanalyze a stranger and label them as discriminatory in their thinking based on their usage of relatively innocuous descriptive words like "befuddled". Am I to understand that if people described Picard as a "confused old man" or an "old man out of touch with reality", you would have no objection because you have arbitrarily decided those words are acceptable? I fail to see the distinction.
Tommy D.
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 6:59pm (UTC -5)
I guess everyone has their own opinion, but I just don't see the brain damaged, mumbling idiot others are seeing. That Picard was in "All Good Things", and was constantly doubted, patronized, and told to go back to bed at one point by his old crew. The struggle for him to overcome that perception is part of what made episode special.

This Picard is nothing like that. He does have a little more Patrick Stewart in him than before as I believe Peter G put. But I like this Picard because he allows the other characters to breathe and act like people with their own interests and who are dealing with their own adversity in this world.
jamoney
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 7:28pm (UTC -5)
LOL a week and no review during a virus outbreak that has everyone sitting at home. I'd say jambblooey just doesn't even care.
Quincy
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 7:47pm (UTC -5)
@Jason R.

I didn't say it was trivial, but it's not THE central McGuffin like you're making it out to be. Picard isn't on a quest to find out Soji's past. He's on a quest to find Soji and save her from getting murdered. Meanwhile, Soji's memory is 1) the last piece of the puzzle pointing the way to the android sanctuary and 2) her own personal identity crises.

By your logic, I could just as easily claim the Admonition slice in Jurati's head is the central plot, because it stretches for seven episodes, presents a powerful foil for the heroes (Maddox, Narek), and culminates in delivering to the androids the means to end all biological life in the galaxy or at least the alpha quadrant. In other words, it accelerates us directly into the season climax.
Jason R.
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 8:36pm (UTC -5)
Quincy the Admonition wasn't mentioned for the first time until last episode.

Soji's secret identity and lack of insight into herself was the central axis of the entire first half of the series. Indeed the pilot was about her sister who also had no memory and was mysteriously "activated". Every mind numbingly boring scene on the Borg cube between Romulan Romeo and Soji, every insipid scene with his homicidal sister, revolved around how to extract Soji's lost memory, culminating in The Impossible Box, which was an episode devoted exclusively to Soji's amnesia.

Meanwhile, the other central axis of the series was the search for Bruce Maddox, whose lab was destroyed, on the run from Zhad Vash agents.

I'm gonna make a bet with you. None of this gets mentioned again. None of it matters. It was all just a complete waste of time. Whatever, a wizard did it.

It's the difference between Frodo not flying on the eagles to get to Mordor and Frodo not riding his Boeing 747.
Gerontius
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 9:17pm (UTC -5)
I would disagree with the judgement that Picard was either confused or out of touch. I would see it as ridiculous. But they aren't in the same category as doddering or befuddled.

I also incline to agree with Tommy D and Peter G in their view that Picard as shown here as having a little more of Patrick Stewart in him, and all the better for that. (That essentially was my point in posting that link to him reading a sonnet.)

I do not see the differences which can be seen between this Picard and the one of old as indicating a decline, but as being appropriate to his different situation. Being captain of a starship or a naval vessel involves adopting a certain professional persona.
Tommy D.
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 10:23pm (UTC -5)
I had a really strange (maybe bad) idea cross my mind after this discussion about Picard, and after reading Trent's post. What if Picard is already a synthetic? What if this actually is a different timeline, and maybe I'm not seeing what everyone else is seeing about Picard? Its still not explained how he managed to survive the Dahj explosion relatively unscathed, or why he fainted (similar to how Soji does) upon descent to the synth planet, or why his dreams with Data seem to connect with part of this story.

Of course, I'm still holding on to the thread that Dr. Jurati is a synth as well :)
Mertov
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 11:12pm (UTC -5)
I have not read all the comments, I'd say only about a third perhaps, but it's remarkable how week after week some posters are complaining about how the show or Picard himself does not seem to be like in TNG or Picard of TNG, when over and over again, countless times, the showrunners and Patrick Stewart said that this was not TNG, that Picard would not be like the Picard in TNG, etc. Showrunners also said more than once that PIC would not merely be the "continuation of TNG" or even be like TNG.

Patrick Stewart's exact quote, I believe, was "This is not the Picard you know from TNG." In fact, Chabon and Goldsman said it more than once (and I heard Kurtzman and Spiner) also mention it on different interviews, that Patrick Stewart would only come back if the show involved a different, renewed version of Picard. (And thankfully so, Picard *should* be different from the one we knew in TNG, after everything that happened, two decades of absence at the captain's chair, old age, and living in solitude, just to name a few factors).

Chabon and Goldsman went as far as specifying Stewart at first even refused to come back if he had to wear a uniform, be a Starfleet captain, if the Borg were involved, or even if he had to repeat the lines "Make it so" and "Engage," that his number one priority was to avoid anything that has already been done, and that it finally took great convincing to get him to compromise on at least a couple of his requirements.

And yet, despite these news repeated again and again in the weeks and months leading up to the show, people still complain about not finding the version of Picard that they expected from TNG. It's as if you order an item of food at a restaurant. The chef comes out and specifically warns you more than once that it will be seasoned differently than the way you have had it before, even tells you exactly how the seasoning will be. But you choose to ignore the warning and order it anyway, and when the meal comes, you complain that it is not the seasoning that you have had before, as if you were never warned by the chef.

As for this episode, I agree with a few posters (there may have been more) that we need to see the second part to be able to pass sound judgment, but I nonetheless agree also with some other posters that it felt like a step down from the previous episode.

I am intrigued by what Narek will end up doing, as well as Soji's clash to come with Sutra (eventually?), but as for what happens to Dr. Soong, I could not care less (sorry Spiner). I am hoping Riker makes a surprise appearance, as well as Laris and Zhaban!!! I know, I am asking too much :))
Quincy
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 11:58pm (UTC -5)
I don't recall when it was given its name; it may have been episode 8 when the Admonition relic is actually shown for the first time on Aia, the "Grief World" in the 8 sun, star system. However, that's irrelevant. The first time we see those jumbled Admonition images is episode 7. Jurati is visited by Oh in the third episode and Jurati immediately joins Picard's rag tag team. People were IMMEDIATELY speculating that Jurati fell victim to an evil mind meld of some sort that made her do a 180. THAT'S where it begins, not a moment later.

The Admonition is indirectly referenced in this episode, when we find out that the playing with a half deck reclaimed Borgs were on the last ship ever assimilated by the Artifact, "when something went wrong." We find out in later episodes that this is what drove the entire Borg cube crazy, but the seeds are sown in episode 3. Two episodes later Jurati murders Maddox and confesses that "I wish you knew what I know. I wish I didn't know what I know. I wish they hadn't shown me." She's talking about the Admonition. Whether it has a name yet or not is completely irrelevant. We know at this time that whatever she knows that caused her to do this murderous 180 was delivered to her by an evil mind meld.

The Admonition by hook or by crook absorbs the entire 2nd half of the season. The Admonition is one of the main McGuffins in the story. It's the reason the Romulans are murdering people. It's the reason they sabotaged their own evacuation. It's the reason the androids sent Soji to the Artifact. It's the reason there was such a thing as the Artifact. It's now the central focus of the climax of the story. And it all ended up in Jurati's skull. I could easily claim that makes Jurati's shell shocked brain the central driver of 2/3rds the story.
Booming
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 1:44am (UTC -5)
Nobody has mentioned it so far, so I will.

Without Picard none of the bad stuff would have happened. If Picard had just continued to sit in his chateau then Hugh, many XB's, hundreds of thousands of drones, a romulan senator, several Romulan guards and an unnamed number of scientists on the cube wouldn't be dead and all organic life wouldn't face extinction. Without Picard the Zhat Vash would have found out were the Synth planet is, killed the synth there, the end.
Tommy D.
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 1:49am (UTC -5)
If Picard hadn't pissed off Q in "Q Who" a lot of bad stuff may not have happened as well.
Booming
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 3:47am (UTC -5)
You think if Picard would have fallen to his knees and proclaimed:" Oh magnificent Q, we lowly Humans are thankful to be in your presence, please enlighten us with your endless wisdom. Wisdom greater than all the seas in the universe. You call yourself Q but we mere mortals wish to call you GOD!" Would that have made a difference? :)

But please continue. I really don't want to walk back into this particular Trek quagmire. I just found that point interesting.
Tommy D.
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 4:24am (UTC -5)
All he really had to was let him be part of the crew for a bit, but he couldn't help himself but stick his chest out. :)

I'm sorry though. I'm just needling a bit on those points. Though to your point Dahj likely still dies at the least.
Glom
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 4:28am (UTC -5)
The portrayal of Picard as a character isn't a problem for me.

But I don't think referring to the showrunners' intent necessarily is a response to those who are botheree by it. Even if Picard being different is a decision, it is still perfectly legitimate to say that was a bad decision.
Tommy D.
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 4:30am (UTC -5)
I forgot her boyfriend and some Tal Shiar, too. But you're right, it would be a minimized body count, at least in the short run.
James White
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 9:21am (UTC -5)
There is a difference between (1) variation in character, (2) quality of performance and (3) character believability (given in-world facts and assumptions).

I believe the consensus here is that Stewart is deliberately playing a different version of this character. As others have said, it has a different flavor or feel. In some cases, it feels completely upside down. Okay, fine. Stewart warned us Picard would be different.

But that doesn't end the analysis. As critics, we can also look at how well Stewart executed on his task. On how well the showrunners wrote the new character(ization). Here I think there is ample evidence that, even considering the deliberate, upfront alterations to Picard, that Stewart's acting is missing something. That Picard isn't simply different but a paler, less vital, less interesting version, even of a differemt Picard. Sometimes even a prop. Or, at least, the showrunners have successfully given Stewart BOTH DIFFERENT AND LACKLUSTER. You can have both.

And that leads to the final element: believability. Even if you establish a new variation on the character, you still have to EARN IT in world. You can't just wave the magic, change-a-beloved-character wand and say, here you go audience. Is this man, as portrayed in this world, believable given what we already know of the man and the world he inhabits? In a few cases, yes. He's deeply impacted by his failures with Romulus and with Starfleet. Romulus's destruction, and the consequent impact to an interstellar race, may be ludicrous on absolute terms, but it's a part of the inane Abrams/Kurtzman universe we're watching. So you have to live with it. And that means living with a Picard that failed to timely help the Romulans.

So that means Picard holed up for years, turning inward, and apparently isolating himself from even his closest friends and colleagues. That is somewhat believable. Picard lost his brother and nephew, and his first inclination was to abruptly isolate. So I can buy that. And he becomes gruff and angry in his solitude. Also believable to a degree.

But then he is interviewed in the first episode, and WE SEE the original Picard, taking a strong, morally-centered stance against the media's glib and inaccurate account of Romulus, Starfleet and the synth decision. This is the Picard we remember. If Stewart wanted to play a more effusive, quirky Picard that embeds aspects of his own persona here, he shouldn't have given his best performance at the very beginning being the man we remember. Even Picard's run-in with the admiral is still strikingly old Picard. Give me a ship, give me a crew, let me go out there and be the man I know how to be!

When this fails, he turns to his estranged friend, Raffi. He asks for her help and begrudgingly she agrees. Picard has visions of Data. Picard meets with Jurati to discuss Data and synth tech. A nice kind of detective yarn interlaced with intrigue. And eventually Picard meets Rios, and he, Raffi, Rios and Jurati start their adventure. A decent start. But again one in which Picard still felt like TNG Picard grappling with a different world.

It's about this point that Picard displays less believable traits, even considering the in-world backdrop. He goes full on, over-the-top camp in the Ragtime episode. This really felt like Stewart hamming it up. And it was a dopey, inane scheme. Picard wouldn't do this. This is precisely why the scene with Seven at the end is so jarring. We go from this surreal and bad sequence BACK TO Picard. Like Stewart is vacillating between two different people.

This sort of volatility continues in future episodes. In addition, Picard becomes less active in a number of important sequences. He's sidelined watching the other characters move the plot forward. He becomes a bit of a whipping post as well. He seems more gullible as well. He's less in control of just about everything. Part of it might be the effects of his illness. But Stewart doesn't really play this angle, does he? The illness point is dropped until Episode 9, and we know it's brought up as an emotive tool for the Finale and not to justify any prior degradation in the actions of the character.

Stewart feels somewhat like Picard again in the Riker/Troi sequence. But that reinforces the odd vacillation by Stewart. Here he's with his old TNG crew, so why not be TNG Picard for a bit? At least closer.

Overall, I think we all agree this is a different Picard. But the performance feels erratic, adapting to scenes and character interactions in different ways. Like an odd amalgamation of different Picards. And, given what we know of Picard, it feels less believable he would become the sort of Picard we see from time to time: passive, campy at times, gullible even.
Chrome
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 9:33am (UTC -5)
If anything, Stewart's acting is better. He's less wooden and his line deliveries sound more natural. It reminds me of how Stewart's acting suddenly jumped 200% in quality whenever he could deliver Shakespeare on the show. Maybe playing the variation of the character as he is now is a better fit for him than the original character in TNG.
James White
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 9:47am (UTC -5)
@Chrome - he played and built one of the most iconic characters ever. Over 7 seasons. I agree that Stewart's acting has range. But his prior incarnation was an exceptional feat. Hell, there are leadership courses that use TNG Picard as an example. That wasn't "wooden" acting at all. That was brilliant acting that created the impression of a highly constrained, naval officer who, beneath the surface, had a roiling soup of emotions and beliefs and needs.

Whether Stewart himself feels "more at home" with this version of Picard is irrelevant. What we as viewers see is all that counts. So I stand by my opinion.

That all said, Stewart was wonderful when he quoted Shakespeare. I can't deny that.
Chrome
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 9:58am (UTC -5)
I'm glad you liked it, James. I like it too. I think he has many awkward moments with the Trek material, especially in the early seasons, but he definitely got better over time.
James White
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 10:26am (UTC -5)
I completely agree there, Chrome. I'm finding it difficult to separate Stewart's performance in ST:P from the overall quality of the show. So that's probably part of the issue for me.

BTW - did you ever see Patrick Stewart in the 1975 mini-series of North & South? That was interesting to say the least.
Peter G.
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 10:48am (UTC -5)
It's interesting to discuss the two different issues, the first being the choices being made, the second being the effectiveness of their execution. Specifically in regard to Stewart's acting, this is going to become a matter of taste I suspect. Take Avery Brooks, probably our poster boy for disagreements on whether his acting style is "bad" or whether it's stylized in a way many people don't like, or whether it's so good that it looks unusual from a normal standard. YMMV on these types of questions.

I've personally *always* thought that Stewart was a pure British actor in his technique, excelling at certain acting things and being stereotypically weak at others. He has superb charisma, an enormous sense of fun and humor when he wants it, the biggest smile ever, and a commanding demeanor when he wants it. And of course the use of his voice and specifically the strength of his reason coming through it. But what I feel he's always been bad at (and this is especially because British actors' training doesn't emphasize it like American schools do) is being vulnerable, showing harsh emotions (fear, anger, etc), being carried by his feelings rather than his head in general. He is masterly at playing actions, but IMO has never been good at all at being emotionally open. His Macbeth, for example, was more intellectual than anything else.

So for him to appear on a Kurtzman/Akiva show is really weird for him on a technical level. LOST and Fringe were the shows par excellence that portrayed broken people with emotions spilling all over the place. I don't think an episode of LOST went by without crying and a nervous breakdown by someone (often excellently acted), and on Fringe the plot often hinged on the emotional performances of the characters (such as Walter, for example, who was an emotional basket case, also excellently acted). These were shows where they really wanted the human blood and guts on display and nothing tidy or sanitized. And that's a funny world for Stewart to come into, who basically made his career doing outstanding sanitized performances. Even TNG has oft been accused of being highly sanitized and not portraying humanity's underbelly the way TOS (or sometimes DS9) did.

So it doesn't surprise me that some people think Stewart is struggling here. I personally think his acting here has at times been outright bad, as he "indicates" emotions (i.e. trying to make himself *look* emotional, rather than just having emotions and letting them naturally be), pushes at times to work himself up, and generally has this air of trying to work, which in a masterly actor you generally never see. But I see it here, because he's out of his element in an American TV idiom and wheelhouse that's making demands of him that he's never delivered before. Actually I applaud him trying to do it; I think it's a great turn for him to try to get into the emotive side of things. But as a trial run (and especially in the twilight of his career) it's really difficult to just achieve that effortlessly and have it look like the character rather than an actor trying to act. I suspect this is behind certain posters thinking that his characterization is vacillating. I'm not sure that it is; I think what's happening is that sometimes he's pushing to try to act in a certain way that's foreign to him, seeming perhaps weird to us, and at other times he falls into his natural training, which is to speak from his intellect and be eloquent, in which case he comes off much more as Picard. But I think this is a technical issue for him, not one of altering his characterization ever show. When he's trying to be emotional and open he's working too hard, and it comes off as very awkward and inauthentic to me.
Quincy
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 10:51am (UTC -5)
@Tommy D.

Picard pissing off Q in "Q Who" was the best thing that ever happened to the Federation and the Alpha Quadrant. It made Q make them aware that a pack of rabid wolves were circling around their camp. The final episode of the first season of TNG, "The Neutral Zone," indicates that the Borg were already nibbling Romulan and Federation outposts at the edge of the Neutral Zone. This means that they had already assimilated Federation and Romulan citizens before "Q Who." This means that they already knew about both Romulus and Earth. This means that they were already on their way. They were just taking their sweet time.

The truth is the Borg could've come waltzing in at anytime after "The Neutral Zone." If the Federation never learns about the Borg, they're caught totally flatfooted without even an ice cube's chance in a supernova of responding to the threat they represent. Even with the "Q Who" warning they barely escaped by the skin of their teeth, precisely because the fleet's flagship had the necessary experience that Q gave them. They absolutely needed that wake up call from Q to shock them out of their pacifying complacency.
Mertov
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 10:53am (UTC -5)
James, a couple of comments on some of what you said (most of which I found interesting to read and agree with many points you make):

----- "Here I think there is ample evidence that, even considering the deliberate, upfront alterations to Picard, that Stewart's acting is missing something. That Picard isn't simply different but a paler, less vital, less interesting version, even of a differemt Picard. Sometimes even a prop." ----

Disagree with the first sentence. I think the Picard we see in PIC fits perfectly the deliberate alterations brought to his character in this show and his acting is superb to reflect that. Agreed with the "paler," "less vital," and "different" characterizations, not with the "less interesting" one though. On the contrary, I find him more interesting than the TNG version who was more 'inspiring' perhaps, but not more 'interesting' necessarily.

---- "But then he is interviewed in the first episode, and WE SEE the original Picard, taking a strong, morally-centered stance against the media's glib and inaccurate account of Romulus, Starfleet and the synth decision. If Stewart wanted to play a more effusive, quirky Picard that embeds aspects of his own persona here, he shouldn't have given his best performance at the very beginning being the man we remember." ----

You start this with "but then" as if Picard of today is portrayed as someone not morally centered and not caring to take a stance against the media glib if he were asked. I don't see Picard in PIC that way at all.

I am also not sure what you mean by "best performance." Stewart gives stellar performances throughout the show so far. Do you mean "best performance" in terms of what you perceive the perfect Picard to be or the Picard of TNG that we were told many times would not be the version that we would see here? There are several scenes throughout the nine episodes so far that match his performance during that interview (if not exceed it, in my opinion).

--- "It's about this point that Picard displays less believable traits, even considering the in-world backdrop. He goes full on, over-the-top camp in the Ragtime episode. This really felt like Stewart hamming it up. And it was a dopey, inane scheme. Picard wouldn't do this." -----

Again, who would not do this? You mean the Picard you knew from TNG? The captain of the Enterprise needing to keep up the strict appearance of authority over his crew, a certain distance and dignity to solidify and earn his authority? This is not that Picard. How do you know Picard didn't always have this in him and simply did not let it out because the right milieu never presented itself (by the way, it is not as if there have been no moments of the TNG-era Picard taking on quirky personas either, holodeck episodes and movies come to mind.

--- "This sort of volatility continues in future episodes." ---

Again, where you see volatility (based on your comparison of how Picard should act based on his version from TNG), I see consistency in terms of the Picard that I see in PIC.

--- "In addition, Picard becomes less active in a number of important sequences. He's sidelined watching the other characters move the plot forward. He becomes a bit of a whipping post as well. He seems more gullible as well. He's less in control of just about everything." ----

Yes, this is all correct in my opinion too. And very consistent with version of Picard portrayed in PIC. Certainly *not* with the TNG version of Picard, which is consistent with what Stewart and showrunners have said from the beginning. They are delivering exactly what they promised. If people want to complain about the storytelling discrepancies, plot holes, acting, etc., it's all fine and debatable, but those who ignored all the pre-PIC messages and still complain about not seeing the Picard they knew from TNG don't have a leg to stand on.

--- "Part of it might be the effects of his illness. But Stewart doesn't really play this angle, does he? ----

I believe he does actually. But I could be wrong, let's wait and see. (Yes, his illness is definitely a factor).

James, just to be clear, I agree with most of your post (and enjoyed reading the follow-up reply to Chrome too). The above are my points of disagreement. I am personally very impressed with Picard's acting in PIC. He is pulling a more complex workload here. It's easier to shoulder the load when you are given an inspiring character to play with other main characters surrounding him are designed to hardly ever challenge his authority and a work environment where everything is spanking clean, perfect, structured and ticking like a Swiss clock week after week.
Mertov
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 10:56am (UTC -5)
James White:
-- "BTW - did you ever see Patrick Stewart in the 1975 mini-series of North & South? That was interesting to say the least. ---"

Not to jump in front of Chrome's possible answer here but, yes James! I'd recommend that miniseries to anyone too. Stewart is much younger but still puts on the performance of seasoned actors!

For those interested:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbb84SjxnrA
Gerontius
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 11:31am (UTC -5)
You stand by your opinion, James White. And I stand by my opinion that it is completely mistaken, and is not justified by what we have seen. I could argue with pretty well every point you made in that long post. The exception being that I agree with you that the Ragtime episode was dire. We've always had the occasional stinker. Patrick Stewart did indeed ham it up, as he has on occasion before. (Remember the Robin Hood one...)

In a sense you are right in saying "I think we all agree this is a different Picard", but in stark contrast to you, I see the difference as completely consistent with the way he was, and with the altered circumstances, and I see the difference as, if anything, an improvement.

But it's not worth wasting time on arguing point by point.. "What we as viewers see is all that counts." But while we look at the very same thing, what we see is completely different. And that isn't something that is open to argument.
........................

Booming is correct I suppose. No Picard getting involved, and no problem arises - apart from a small scale genocide. Though I doubt if that would have been the end of it, one the Zhat Vash and Tal Shiar got the taste for it...
Tommy D.
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 11:46am (UTC -5)
@ Quincy

Yes, I mostly agree. My comment was somewhat facetious in nature in response to how things can follow a character's decision path.

I did always find it a little puzzling that it was implied that The Borg were already near the neutral zone before the Enterprise were introduced to them. The dialog at the end of Q Who made it seem as if The Borg were just made aware of the existence of Starfleet and the Federation by their encounter. I don't know if that could be true if they were already attacking colonies along the neutral zone.
Chrome
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 11:47am (UTC -5)
@James, Mertov

I agree there definitely big writing issues with the show and that hurts the actors who are for the most part very good. I haven't seen North & South yet, but with all this lockdown time, I'll check it out. :-)
James White
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 11:49am (UTC -5)
Gerontius - if you think I'm "completely mistaken" then you believe that virtually every other poster on this board is at least partially mistaken. Only YOU seem to be correct in all instances. That's just silly. I'm happy to acknowledge places where I may overstep or miss certain aspects that others bring up. I enjoy the comments from Mertov and Peter G. because they examine things from a different point of view. And I'm confident enough and flexible enough to acknowledge it. Why? Because I know that I'm right in certain instances.

You, on the other hand, seem oddly rigid and incapable of even conceding where you are wrong. And there are several such exchanges throughout the last few threads where you were. Maybe you should take a lesson from "new Picard," put on an eyepatch, and celebrate your own, obvious fallibility in an quirky manner. Stop being such a curmudgeon.
Chrome
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 11:49am (UTC -5)
I meant "there are". Wow, I really stepped into that one.
James White
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
Mertov - couple of short replies:

-- My belief that Picard is "less interesting" should be explained further. I know Picard is ruminating about his life, his shortcomings, and even the horrors of past events like the Borg assimilation. I guess the problem is the lack of follow up. The anemic amount of connective tissue between these little tragedy sessions and the first season plot itself. Even Picard's "journey" feels like a succession of isolated experiences that do not roll up convincingly for me. In serialized television with only 10 episodes, this really takes me out of the show. TNG Picard was predictably reserved, overly formal, a stickler for protocol. Until, he wasn't. We learned (more) about him in the context of specific circumstances with specific, plot-driven implications. It was more interesting because it was more tightly woven and relevant.

-- I used the interview of Picard to highlight how Stewart played Picard as TNG Picard in the beginning. It's more than whether Picard is still morally-centered. We all agree he still is. It's that he is still strong-minded, capable of controlling a situation, imposing his will really. He reminds you of TNG Picard, even without the ship and command. His interaction with the admiral does the same thing. A better showrunner perhaps could have finessed this so that Picard "out of his element" fit with TNG Picard we see in the beginning. I just think the shift was too abrupt. Too much - Stewart chewing some scenes and getting pulled about (passively) in others. Some of this is admittedly stylistic. But some of it, I feel, is Stewart's acting style. Peter G. makes some good points re why this may be the case b/c of Stewart's own acting background.

-- In terms of "volatility," I concede that a better (or more complete) description could have been given. And going back and looking at Picard's performance after season 1 is over may yield some insights / consistencies that I missed. Of course, that would mean giving Kurtzman another data point to make season 2 w/ the same sort of dreck. :)

Overall, I appreciate your comments, you insights, and your balanced approach. Made me think about ST:P Picard a bit more.
Flip
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 12:22pm (UTC -5)
I noticed that some of the people who want to praise Stewart's performace in the new show feel the need to do so by claiming it was better than his performance on TNG, because that performance was never that good, or was shaky in some areas. I just can't disagree with that opinion more.

At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, quite frankly I think Stewart's acting on the old TNG is some of the best acting that's ever been on TV. That was more than just a good performance, Stuart created and unbelievably compelling, rich, and real character. Even when the scripts were bad, or when the captain was portrayed in an occasionally inconsistent manner, Stewart never failed to elevate that material and make the character seem believable and compelling.

Kirk was already an iconic character by that point, and it would have been really easy for Picard to pale in comparison, especially with his very different portrayal of a captain... and yet without taking anything away from Kirk, Picard ended up being a character who was equally or even more iconic. That says something. There's a reason why Picard is one of the most beloved characters from the entire franchise.

The new portrayal of Picard from the new show certainly is different. But will it go on to become as iconic as the old one? I find it hard to believe anyone would thinks so. And part of the problem to me IS the acting. The old Picard felt like Patrick Stewart was portraying a character that he had fully commited to. The new Picard feels like Patrick Stewart is just playing himself. He's still a good actor, but there's something missing... a fully realized and compelling character just isn't there. And it's almost if the show itself agrees with me based on how unimportant Picard seems to be within his own show.
Dom
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 12:35pm (UTC -5)
@Flip, good point regarding Stewart's acting. I had the same reaction to seeing Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi (a movie I mostly like). I felt like I was watching Mark Hamill being himself rather than watching Luke Skywalker. The humor definitely felt like Twitter Hamill rather than Luke from the Original Trilogy. Now, characters can of course change over time, but this change seemed a bit too close to the actor.
Flip
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 12:48pm (UTC -5)
Just to add something real quick... maybe it's just me, but I rewatched all 7 seasons of TNG last year, and one of the constant joys of that show was just watching Stewart act. I found myself often rewinding just to hear a particular line reading of his 2 or 3 times. Anyone else done that?
Lynos
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
@ James White

"BTW - did you ever see Patrick Stewart in the 1975 mini-series of North & South? That was interesting to say the least."

At first I though you meant the Civil War mini-series with Patrick Swayze, lol. I was like, "I don't remember Patrick Stewart ever being there!"

As long we're mentioning his early performances, he was a Roman general in the brilliant "I Claudius" and he also has a part in 1981's "Excalibur".

Anybody saw him in "Green Room"? I hear he's pretty good there.
Dave
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 1:29pm (UTC -5)
I wonder when they will go and find Dr Baltar who can make a test to find out who is Cylon ... oh, I mean synth, and who is an actual organic humanoid. Seems a lot of the fan talk is thinking that some of our main characters will be synths.

I see too much BSG reboot in this . I never expected this to be a series about synthetic life versus organic life and a war is coming.
Quincy
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 5:31pm (UTC -5)
@Tommy D.

Agreed. That was always a sore point with me after "Q Who." I finally decided that perhaps the outposts and any personnel that were assimilated were not representative of Starfleet's full capabilities and when the Enterprise showed up it ratcheted up the Borg's level of interest in the Federation. However, that's just headcanon. It's possible it's just a plot hole. I do recall reading that they were planning to introduce the Borg very early on so I really don't see how they could make that mistake. Go figure.
Trent
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 7:47pm (UTC -5)
As I said last week, I thought the Admonition Sequence was the best thing in this episode.

Turns out it's because the Kurtzman team didn't direct it. They bought the footage cheap from Shutterstock...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLCxAJdCZGg&feature=youtu.be

...and paid to get rid of the Shutterstock watermarks.
James White
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 10:50pm (UTC -5)
Good catch Trent. Again, for the record, fuck Kurtzman
Tommy D.
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 11:45pm (UTC -5)
Well, at least we didn't have to see that bird of prey explosion again.
Jammer
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 2:25am (UTC -5)
Review now posted.
Tim C
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 3:45am (UTC -5)
Your feelings on this were about the same as mine, Jammer, although the nitpick that you (and others) have raised, "how you can kill a synth by stabbing them through the eye?" doesn't seem quite as far-fetched to me. If anyone knows exactly where to strike a killing blow, it's Sutra. If it had just been a random stroke of luck by Narek or some other organic character I would have been more skeptical.

I hope they can manage to grab my interest again in the finale`. It would be a shame if a story that has otherwise entertained me (with far less pogo-stick leaps in quality than Disco) should fall on its face right at the finish line.
mange
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 3:49am (UTC -5)
Why even write a review a week late
The next episode is due out tonight
400 comments later what could possibly be added
Chris
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 4:19am (UTC -5)
The series has gone from a multi-layered, thoughtful, careful and intriguing first episode to a stitched together mess of old Trek clichés, inconsistent/shallow characters, a plot that's both too complex and insultingly thin at the same time. I'd like to understand the development process of a show like this. So they have a great idea to start and carefully write a pilot that manages to address current world issues in a subtle way and then everything gets rushed and stuff just needs to be done? Why? Because all the CGI has to be planned ahead? Why not take time to write better scripts first? Why not have show runners that can guide a whole season into something that feels consistent and does not insult the viewer's intelligence? What I love about Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul is that whenever you ask yourself "Why is a character doing that?" or "How could this happen?" you realize a few moments later the writing staff asked the same questions and then they deliver a satisfying solution. I wish there was just a little bit of that awareness on Picard. In episode 8: Why are all the Romulans standing in a perfect circle facing outwards like performing some ritual before they have their "vision"? Because it looks cool!? Story-wise it makes no sense at all. This was the first time I knew Picard would be no better than Discovery, as much as I wanted it to be. And seeing the AI "colony" and its "characters" it was confirmed. Did any of the writers spend time thinking how such a colony should look, what it could be like, what its inhabitants would do? Apparently not. The Androids are doing Tai Chi and walk around bare chested? Really? This felt like the worst cardboard "colonies"/"cultures" from TOS. The Romulans needn't bother, there's no intelligent life on that planet. It's a shame. Picard should have been different, like they promised it would be, but in the end it's becoming a victim of its genre just like the absolutely overrated "Logan" did. Three new series in a row Star Trek has now failed to stray from its constraints and boldly go ... somewhere.
SlackerInc
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 5:46am (UTC -5)
That was pretty intense.

It’s not entirely original, of course. We have seen variations of this in BSG, the Terminator movies, even “The Orville”. And for that matter, when Patrick Stewart is arguing with the leader of the synthetics, it’s highly reminiscent of his debates with Ian McKellen’s Magneto in a different universe with some parallels between synthetics and mutants.

But it was all very well done. And one thing I really liked about it, that others may feel betrays the spirit of Star Trek, is how we got various inversions of what had seemed good and bad, but it wasn’t just a random twist for twist’s sake. It all tracks logically with what we have seen. It’s pretty wild to think that Picard’s big noble quest is starting to look very questionable as to its actual nobility, and that in saving Soji he may have condemned billions or trillions of organics to death.

The other aspect of this twist is that the Romulan “bad guys” kind of seem like they had the right idea! And they did plant the seeds. I commented on the last episode that Rios kind of had a point when he noted that it was a little scary how Soji took over his ship.

I wrote the above before receiving any comments or the review. I see now that both are generally negative, which is too bad. I thought this episode was quite good, 3.5 stars and possibly the best of the season.

Now, on to the exciting conclusion!
Trent
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 7:37am (UTC -5)
Chris said: "This felt like the worst cardboard "colonies"/"cultures" from TOS."

I always feel like the "cardboard colonies" (nice phrase) of Trek is one of its best features. But it's got to be written well, and treated as a stage play. A piece of theater. This stuff gels poorly with "Picard" and "Discovery's" tone, which leans heavy on action and melodrama.


Jammer said: "Picard continues to speak the values of Classic Starfleet, but is undercut by the argument that Starfleet banned synths and therefore that value system doesn't exist. "

The Federation seems to be using synths as slave labour. They view the synths as tools. You ban certain dangerous tools all the time, and this is not a violation of the tool's rights.

And yet the language the Federation uses when talking about synths, and the actions the Federation takes, ascribes sentience to them ("synth attack" etc). If the Federation really believed synths were just tools suffering a software glitch, they'd go after the thing that hacked them, or made them malfunction. They wouldn't just ascribe intentionality to synths and leave it at that. So there's a kind of schizophrenia to the Federation's behavior IMO.
SC
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 9:18am (UTC -5)
The show is watchable but nothing more. It's not something I'd ever want to re-watch as it feels incredibly drawn out. It's a sad state of affairs when the character Picard is back and it's all kinda forgettable. Stewart seems to be playing second fiddle in his own show.

They showed in this episode how human consciousness can be added to a synthetic body. They could do this with Picard to keep the show going. It would be foolish and it would undoubtedly fail, but they could.
Dom
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 9:38am (UTC -5)
"Lost was an episodic character anthology series just as much as it was a serialized arc show, and there were tons of plots on that show, not a single plot being told over 10 — or in its case, up to 24 — installments. I wish more shows had the varied structure of Lost."

Exactly. Lost - and I'd also include BSG, DS9, Farscape, and other greats - had semi-serialized structures. Each episode told a story, with a satisfying ending, but also fit into larger plot arcs and themes. I thought The Mandalorian and Watchmen both seemed like a return to the semi-serialized structure. It helped that both shows aired weekly. Picard seems like a return to the worst over-serialized tendencies of 2010s TV.
Sven
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 11:54am (UTC -5)
@mange

"Why even write a review a week late
The next episode is due out tonight
400 comments later what could possibly be added"

Because
1 it's his website your putting the comments on
2 I for one don't read most of the comments
3 this review will be here on for many years and people won't even notice when the comments were added
Tim
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 12:08pm (UTC -5)
@ Dom

"I thought The Mandalorian and Watchmen both seemed like a return to the semi-serialized structure. It helped that both shows aired weekly. Picard seems like a return to the worst over-serialized tendencies of 2010s TV."

Haven't seen Watchmen but agree 110% on The Mandalorian. That production is proof that there's still a market for semi-serialized production, each episode largely stands on its own, but the underlying plot remains and is slowly advanced. It's also proof that you don't have to go super dark to make compelling drama or have artificially high stakes, all you need is a good character story in an established universe that people care about.

It's not for nothing that even though I've generally liked Picard and have defended it against some of the nay-sayers here that I haven't really re-watched it, or Discovery Season 2 for that matter, which I also generally enjoyed. By contrast, I've lost count of how many times I've re-watched The Mandalorian. It's just a great uplifting production, one that you can bring non-Star Wars people into no less, yet it remains true to that fandom's ethos.

I'd love to see the show runners and writers of that production get a crack at something in the Star Trek universe.
Dom
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 12:56pm (UTC -5)
@Tim, while I might take issue with your blanket dismissal of "nay-sayers" ;) I generally agree. Shows can be worth watching because they're "fun," because they're "important" or "innovative," or because the drama is compelling. Mando is clearly in the former category. While I wouldn't say it has the strongest character drama on TV, it knows what it wants to do, defines its characters well, and manages to entertain. At the opposite extreme, I wouldn't consider Watchmen "fun," but it's clearly got something to say and does things that I've never seen a TV show do before. Finally, there are dramas like (imho) BSG or (most of) Game of Thrones. There, even at their darkest moments, the shows had compelling characters and I wanted to see their story through.

Picard is certainly watchable, but it doesn't seem to me to fall into any of these categories. The show's tone is all over the place, making it hard to have fun; it's hard to enjoy the comedy in episode 5 right after you've seen Icheb's eye pulled out. I don't think Picard has anything bold to say and isn't really pushing the boundaries of modern TV. Finally, some of the character drama works in the moment, but are we really going to remember the arcs of Rios or Jurati in 10 years? As you said, it's not a show that seems to demand rewatches. In fact, there seems to be a real risk that rewatching Picard (and Disco) will make the flaws more apparent.

"Picard" isn't offensively bad for the most part, but it's also not compellingly good. I wouldn't insist that any Trek fan avoid the show, but I also can't see myself ever recommending it. Unlike Mando or BSG, which I've practically begged friends and family to watch.
Peter G.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 1:09pm (UTC -5)
@ Jammer,

With regards to LOST and its episodic structure, one thing to keep in mind isn't just format but simply craft. While I definitely agree that PIC isn't 'just like LOST' in terms of the viewing experience, what I think they have in common is specifically the issue of the writers flying off the seat of their pants ad hoc, saying that it's all leading somewhere pre-planned but where the audience increasingly doesn't buy it. When LOST was first on the air there was a huge fandom at first, but many became disenchanted when they felt they were being jerked around week-to-week and that the writers were painting themselves into a corner repeatedly without really knowing how to resolve it. As one of the fans who stuck with it despite these complaints, I have to say that what kept me involved was (a) that each episode did have a beginning, middle, and end, and (b) the characters were compelling enough that I *really* wanted to know what would happen to many of them (not all). So what would make or break LOST for me was (a) and (b), both of which come down to the writing being good, and them knowing how to structure an episode. The mystery-box 'lure' of teasing us about how a mystery will be answered was there, but it wasn't a plus or a minus. What happened with some shows that followed was they seemed to assume that it was the "to be continued" format itself that was the draw, but it wasn't; it was the quality of the writing and the storytelling. It's a big mistake for shows (and films like The Force Awakens) to think that merely by presenting us with a pile of mysteries that something good is happening.

PIC is much more like Fringe than like LOST insofar as the "dun dun dun" new mysteries unveiled come across as completely random and our of left field, and where enormous switcheroos of character loyalties and secrets appear out of nowhere just to keep us in suspense. Now Fringe was a fun show; fun but dumb. It had nothing to say, but it said it in a very entertaining way and with lots of imagination. It didn't take its own premises that seriously, but it did explore them like it was a playground. For positive attitude and zip, I'll give that show an A. It gets an F in certain other categories if we wanted to treat it like the X-Files, which it briefly was but then moved away from that.

I agree with you that the binge-watching Netflix technology does lend itself more to a 10 hour film rather than a serialized but episodic structure, if we're assuming that someone will watch them all in a row. However even this format is no better or worse than how the writers structure the segments. Even in a regular two or three act play the playwrights needs to understand writing elements such as how each part connects to what came before and what came after, how each scene plays by itself but *also* how the entire piece comes off when it's done, and of course basic things like the characters being real and motivated, and so forth. No writer worth his salt in *any* format would let one scene be lousy and claim it's ok because you'll appreciate the last scene. Nothing retroactively fixes an audience being bored, befuddled, or irritated at any part of it; the beginning, middle, and end need to be there, and each needs to be solid in its own right and with its own internal structure.

So to the extent that I personally sometimes compared PIC (or DISC) to Fringe or maybe LOST, it's because the writers seem to think that the mystery box "ah-hah!" surprise feature is the main event. But really it's more like glitter; the product rides on what it always does - good writing. When something's happening on screen to make you go "huh?" we know we're in trouble. "It will all be answered next week" isn't just a lame response to people thinking the material makes no sense, it's basically admitting that all there is to offer is the mystery, and anything we're seeing at the moment is just a vehicle to get us there. But the funny thing is we don't watch stories to wonder what's coming next, we watch to see what's happening right now. If it's not solid 'right now' then anything else that may come later doesn't matter, it needs a rewrite.
phaedon
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 1:58pm (UTC -5)
I can't get over how similar and much better of a show Westworld is.
Trent
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 2:32pm (UTC -5)
Peter said: "what I think they have in common is specifically the issue of the writers flying off the seat of their pants ad hoc, saying that it's all leading somewhere pre-planned but where the audience increasingly doesn't buy it. "

Fittingly, the crew of "Picard" have admitted to be still writing this episode hours before shooting it:

"The actor tells The Hollywood Reporter he was kept in the dark about some of the twists until late in the game: 'I remember the writers worked on that up to the evening before we shot it.'"

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/patrick-stewart-breaks-down-shocking-star-trek-picard-finale-1286604
skye francis-maidstone
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 7:40pm (UTC -5)
Not quite as good as the previous 2 but certainly still pretty darn good. Lots of set up for part 2 so it's hard to tell how well this series/season will end up as a whole.

Easily the best season 1 of any version of Star Trek (hard to compare ToS though really). Thoroughly enoyable. Wonderfully acted, looks stunning and an interesting story too. I'll certainly be rewatching this while i wait for S2. I haven't felt the desire to rewatch any of DIS. I'm actually in the middle of VOY rewatch and am just about able to tolerate Janeway for now.

The quality of Jammer's reviews aren't great lately (no offense and not because I don't agree with them entirely either). They just used to add something to watching the show but they're just so full of cynicism now it's making it a bit of a chore to even read them.

Strange since with DIS he seemed full of witty and well written reviews (rather than "I call BS" - Really?!?!). Maybe that show beat it out of him after 2 seasons.

As ever I find it astonishing how subjective us puny humans can be.

(And before you say "don't bother coming here if you don't like the reviews" - I did used to and I still enjoy the wildly different views and theories in the comments. Hey I even enjoy the arrogant 5000 word essays on how to be a writer/producer sometimes).

Maybe in this current world a bit of cynicism is understandable however.

Keep safe all.
skye francis-maidstone
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 7:51pm (UTC -5)
@james White I feel Stewart's acting is vastly superior in this than most of TNG. More natural and also you'd expect the character to mellow a little with age and take life less seriously. My parents certainly have.

He was always head and shoulders above the rest of the cast except Spiner in TNG anyway (in acting, not height - Frakes or Dorn win that).
Nic
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
Note: this is more of a comment on today's TV landscape in general than on this particular episode.

It seems to me that everything is written by committee these days. A big group of writers and producers sitting around a table, all with their own ideas of what the show should be/what they want to write about. Instead of agreeing on one or two ideas and fleshing them out, they "compromise", they combine all of their ideas into a disorganized mishmash of a season.
I like serialized/novelistic storytelling when it's done well (The Wire remains the master class imo), but there have to be moments that are individually satisfying rather than only serving to lead us to a climax that may or may not (most often not) be worth all the buildup.
P'kard
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 9:26pm (UTC -5)
I know you have a responsibility to your readers to be critical but I thought this episode was good. Your thoughts on the nature of modern tv are spot on. Really good review
Gerontius
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 9:34pm (UTC -5)
As generally seems true, I found that I agree with Jammer's review pretty well.

I'm hoping the final episode of the series is better than this one, but I fear it won't.
But I agree with sky francis-maidstone in judging this season better than the other first seasons. (I've just started watching that with my son, as part of my schedule for getting through The Emergency and self isolation. One episode at a time of course - I deplore bingeing.)

The problem being, as Jammer said, the hyper-serialised format of the show makes it harder to get away with a sub-standard episode like the Ragtime debacle, the whole season is reasonably enough judged as a whole. Making a while season that hangs together is a challenging business. And I think that having a single team of people throughout, especially the writers (better by far to have one writer, or a pair) seems to me clearly indispensable. An integrated serial has the be constructed as a unity, and tuned up as a unity.

A more episodic show has the possibility of benefitting from different hands for different episodes. For a serial that is liable to be a big mistake.

And of ciurse I also fully agree with skye francis-maidstone in his judgement of Patrick Stewart's updated portrayal of Picard as "More natural and also you'd expect the character to mellow a little with age and take life less seriously". (Even if some people evidently see that as doddering, futile and befuddled...)

On the the conclusion, which is now of course out even in the UK. I hope it's better with some trepidation. And I look forward more optimistically in time to a second season which will fly well. ( Always assuming that The Emergency does change things so we never get to see it...)
P'kard
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 10:53pm (UTC -5)
I wouldn't say Jammer has become cynical over the years. In truth I find it remarkable that he has stayed so objective over the years. It's easy to love Picard just because it's more Patrick Stewart being incredible, it takes a seasoned perspective to not get too caught up in that. Jammer does this very well... as long as he doesnt start griping PIC isn't as good as DS9! (all in fun :)
Dexter
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 11:34pm (UTC -5)
Where the fuck we’re all the doctors, scientists, guards etc on the Romulan Reclaimation Project Cube??
SC
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 6:06am (UTC -5)
@skye francis-maidstone

Jammer doesn't agree with you, and so you don't like his reviews any more, go figure! Jammer is actually right. I'm glad you like the show and that you get enjoyment from it at this troubled time, but if you critic it, it isn't very good.
Dom
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 7:43am (UTC -5)
@skye francis-maidstone, I don't entirely disagree with you about the quality of Jammer's reviews, but I don't think it's his fault. I don't think his reviews are bad so much as that the quality of the show is bad and he's not really sure what to do with that except point out those problems. He does very well of course, but it just makes for less interesting reviews. Compare that to his reviews of a good show like BSG; he talks about the themes and ideas of each episode, and even now his reviews are worth rereading. All this to say that I would love for Jammer to turn his attention to a TV show worthy of his time, like "The Expanse" or "Farscape" or even "Westworld."
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 8:19am (UTC -5)
Fair enough.

But if the show is so bad in his view, why are the star ratings so high? Not on this specific episode, naturally, but in general?

I *do* understand why a veteran Trek reviewer finds himself at a loss of words when reviewing this show. There's nothing of substance to latch to. No points that would lead into an interesting discussion. I get that, and I agree with you that this isn't Jammer's fault.

I just don't get why a reviewer would give 3 stars to a show that gives him nothing meaningful to talk about.

Not complaining, mind you. Just wondering.
Dom
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 9:13am (UTC -5)
I don't want to put words in Jammer's mouth and his reviews speak for himself. I was responding to another comment above claiming Jammer's reviews were becoming more cynical. I don't agree obviously. I don't think the ratings for this show overall are high. There have been several 2-star or less, and the average is 2.6 stars. But there is a difference between a show having good moments of entertainment and its being great. Even Jammer's reviews for the higher rated episodes aren't blind to the problems in the show. It's possible to enjoy TV as entertainment without finding it particularly deep or meaningful.

His reviews imo have been extremely fair and track somewhat to my opinions. But it's also the case that they haven't been providing insights into themes or plot or lore the way his BSG reviews did, and as I said - and you seem to agree - that's more the fault of the show.
batfunk
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 5:48pm (UTC -5)
[B] Picard "Et in Arcadia ego" part 1 [/ B]

Here then comes the conclusion of this first season with this double episode.
[SPOILER] Picard goes with his crew to the home planet of Soji, chased by the Romulans [/ SPOILER]. This return to space is first of all a pleasure with its wide open spaces and a first confrontation with alien tusks, exotic to say the least, [SPOILER] Giant orchids [/ SPOILER] and a small space battle. Space opera, nice :)
But it will spoil very quickly with the arrival on the planet of synths. We first [SPOILER] the crashed Borg cube of Seven, who after helping the Serena, announces that she prefers to take care of repairs and x'bs rather than accompany Picard to visit the synth camp [/ SPOILER ]. And hop, thank you for everything. What ?! : blink:
As for the Synth Colony, nothing, but then nothing has evolved since the planetary explorations of Tng: same rustic buildings, same tribal social structures. It's simple, I thought I saw the Descent episode of Tng again, where Lore led with an iron hand a troop of Borgs cut from the collective and stirred up their hatred of humans.
[SPOILER] Here, we have a group of synths led by yet another sister of Soji, with the look of Lore (synthetic skin, yellow eyes) and ... A new doctor Soong, unpublished son of the first and brother of Data [/ SPOILER ]. This capacity of Kurtzman's St series to get characters out of nowhere comes out to me: |
We thus learn that [SPOILER] the apocalypse visions of the Artifact are in fact an informative message of a very old synth civilization, which the synths can call for help in case of problems. The concern is that this is information obtained by ... A mind meld performed by Soji's sister on Jurati. A synth knowing how to perform a Vulcan mind meld, [/ SPOILER] don't throw it away! : wacko:
Everything is for the best in the best of all worlds, except that Soji's sister learns that [SPOILER] 208 Romulan ships (not one more: trollface :) are on their way to destroy the Colony [/ SPOILER]. destroy a colony of at most 100 individuals, but of course ...: yeah:
Obviously, [SPOILER] Lore ... Sorry, Soji's sister, decides to call the civ civ synth for help. She joins forces with the Romulan of the captured Vhat sash, kills one of her sisters to provoke the ire of synths against organics and imprison Picard and his people. Soji, as a synth, decides to defend his own [/ SPOILER]. End.
Once again, there are a few good things: we [SPOILER] enjoy finding Brent Spinner, the Data Interpreter, but his Soong variants do not have the same Flavor, the best being that of Tng's original Soong and that of Enterprise, father of eugenics. [/ SPOILER]
The structure of the episode is pure Tng but mediocre version, as Descent was.
We are entitled to attempts to reinforce the links between Raffi and Picard, but that turns into ridiculous. [/ SPOILER]
In short, mediocre episode, there is work for part n ° 2 ...: tired:
4/10
Leen
Fri, Apr 3, 2020, 2:05am (UTC -5)
How the writing of this leaves me annoyed. Everybody keeps jumping to the right conclusions with minimal information.
Lottie
Sun, Apr 19, 2020, 3:03pm (UTC -5)
The writing is just lazy like pretty much all TV since about 2000. I don't get how they can have the quality of actors, set designers and special effects but can find no one capable of creating a coherent series of events into a script? The events on the Borg cube were just random reactions that made no sense. Then they get back control and immediately drive it into a planet because some suddenly thrown in plant was capable of taking out a borg cube. There's no emotion, no continuity, no meaning to any of the events, just a random string of actions sequences.
Ric
Wed, May 6, 2020, 4:18pm (UTC -5)
I have always thought and said that the last lag of DS-9 transforming Start Trek into scientific fantasy would open the precedent for that to contaminate the franchise. After all, scientific fantasy obviously tends to sell much easier and much more than scientific fiction. Now here we are, with this shallow show, filled with entirely bland characters and over-simplistic fantasy.

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