Star Trek: Picard

"Broken Pieces"

3 stars

Air date: 3/12/2020
Written by Michael Chabon
Directed by Maja Vrvilo

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Broken Pieces" is an effective if imperfect Answers Episode that finally puts pieces together and confirms suspicions that have been building across the previous seven shows, setting us up for the final two installments, which will presumably close out the season arc. This episode features a lot of dialogue and explaining, much of it in the TNG tradition of situational analysis, and I appreciated the way it had characters discussing in detail what they now understand, for their and our benefit.

After "Stardust City Rag" appeared at the time to be a potential season-killing episode, Picard has come back with three winners in a row and now heads into the home stretch with the ability to go out with a successful season, provided they can effectively end this thing.

Perhaps the most crucial information in "Broken Pieces" is that the calamitous vision Commodore Oh shared via mind meld with Dr. Jurati was in fact a distant memory from an ancient culture, and not some image of a destined future about to happen. (Well, not yet, at least.) This is useful, because it reframes the battle in the here and now as one of ideological belief, rather than a race against the clock to stop some assured Armageddon.

We see in the opening flashback sequence that Oh (who is actually half Vulcan and half Romulan) and Narissa, along with several others (including Ramdha, whom Narissa calls "auntie" in the present) unlocked this vision on a distant world at the center of an octet of stars (a vision from an event that happened "thousands of centuries ago") and interpreted it as a dire warning requiring action; the vision was so intense that it drove most of the group to immediate suicide. (I was reminded of that reasonably okay movie Bird Box, where an alien presence, when seen, drove people to such madness they would immediately jump out in front of buses, bludgeon themselves, or stab themselves with scissors, or whatever, because what they experienced was so entrancingly disturbing.)

This extreme notion borders on goofiness as a psychosis, but it reveals Narissa and Oh as righteous True Believers (from their perspective) who are fighting a war to stop what they think threatens all life. It provides a shading to the villains that gives them a little more interest. It also reveals the central doomsday allegation as just one particular interpretation by a dark and shadowy group with a narrow view, and is very likely to be proven wrong by the time this is all over (although, stay tuned on that, because even some of our heroes still have their doubts). Oh was already a deep undercover plant in Starfleet when she experienced the vision, and so the Zhat Vash engineered the synth uprising on Mars to turn the Federation against synthetic life.

The best parts of "Broken Pieces" arrive at these conclusions by having characters talk to each other in scenes that are enjoyable precisely because they are informative. Jurati, who at the end of "Nepenthe" injected herself with a chemical cocktail that would disable the internal tracker in her bloodstream but only at great risk of death, wakes up and promptly cops to her part in Oh's plot. Her scene with Picard reveals just how psychologically warped Oh's meld left her (she describes the vision as a hellish "poison" that has left her contemplating suicide ever since), and it helps partially unbury the character for Maddox's murder.

The idea of an octet of stars that were somehow moved into place by an ancient society in order to provide a signpost to an urgent warning makes for an intriguingly and impossibly large-scaled sci-fi concept. And also in terms of sci-fi, we have the continued examination of Soji and her plight as a lost woman who is completely human in every way except for the superhuman ways in which she is not. Jurati is as intrigued about her as she is fearful of what she believes she may represent.

I do still think there's a logical flaw in the middle of one of this series' core ideas, which is the question of the danger around "synths" versus AI in general, which include advanced Federation computers and holograms. Why is this danger about androids so specifically? Does it have to do with their potential for "becoming" human in nearly all aspects, as Soji has? And why is this potentially calamitously dangerous? Because we fear the synths will decide to replace us? Why, how very 21st century of you.

Meanwhile, the episode continues to examine relationships between the members of our motley crew. Raffi gets some good investigative moments as she attempts to reach a reclusive Rios, who has retreated to his quarters because something has shaken him. This episode finally puts in some quality time looking at Rios' troubled backstory, which includes a dark chapter and cover-up involving his former captain, and a mysterious woman named "Jana" who looked just like Soji and who turns out was another of her sisters. And so the plot connects everyone together, and if the universe seems like a small place, I do appreciate that the storyline gives everyone a specific purpose relating to the larger arc.

There's also a lot of time spent with the various holograms that run the ship in Rios' likeness. This is good for some lighter comic material, culminating in a scene featuring a half-dozen Rios holograms who all have different accents and personalities and help Raffi crack the case of the stellar octet. I appreciated the attempt to frame this investigation within some fun, and mixing up the tone somewhat.

For Picard's part, after some bickering between old-timers, he finally convinces Admiral Clancy that he's not tilting at windmills, and she arranges to send Starfleet reinforcements to a rendezvous point at Deep Space 12. I hope this allows the opportunity to open the scope of the show a little bit. Like Discovery, I've found Picard to be so single-minded in its scope of characters and plot that it often feels like we only get to see tiny fragments of this universe.

There's a B-story here as well, where Elnor attempts unsuccessfully to hide on the Borg cube while being hunted by Narissa's forces. He's given aid to repel those forces by a much better-armed Seven of Nine, whom he fortunately called on speed dial thanks to the dearly departed Hugh. Seven and Elnor retreat to the secret queen room aboard the cube, where Seven is able to tap into the collective and potentially take control of the hive, should it become necessary to protect the drones from Narissa.

This is a very convenient ability, especially on a ship that's supposedly so fundamentally disabled. But I'll allow it, because it means we get to see Seven making some interesting choices and risking her own individuality. She fears once she connects herself to the ship and assumes the role of "queen," she may never want to relinquish it. Seven fires up all the drones and this feels like it's building to what will be an awesome Borg action sequence, but then most of the drones get suddenly vented into space by Narissa and the sequence is puzzlingly over before it begins. Really, this whole side of the plot could've used more time to breathe, because at times it feels like an afterthought that could've been its own episode if this series didn't exhibit such monomania.

There's a lot of plot in "Broken Pieces," such that the title itself starts to seem meta. But especially aboard La Sirena, the episode does a good job explaining itself and moving things along at a good clip, even while the pace of the dialogue scenes never feels like it's in a hurry. This is not a groundbreaking outing, and I'm tempering my expectations on the season arc, but we're headed into the endgame now, with Soji much more in the pilot's seat (even literally). This works pretty well and for me is one of the season's better installments.

Some other thoughts:

  • Nitpick alert: I thought the Borg cube had been under reclamation for at least 16 years (given the sign seen earlier in the season), but as of 14 years ago, Ramdha hadn't even been assimilated yet, and she's supposedly what disabled the cube in the first place. Something doesn't add up. (Or maybe the people who posted the sign were kidding around.)
  • Why make a warning vision so psychologically damaging to the intended recipients that they are compelled to kill themselves before they can heed your advice? (Maybe file this under Alien Things Not Meant for Your Feeble Minds.)
  • The moment I saw Oh was working with the Romulans back in "Maps and Legends," I figured her a Romulan pretending to be a Vulcan. I guess I was half right.
  • Seven felt more like vintage Seven here than in her appearance in "Stardust City Rag." Maybe that's because here she was dealing with the Borg and a fundamental piece of her character while in "Rag" she was dealing mostly with revenge clichés. I hope Jeri Ryan sticks around for more of this series and into next season.
  • Elnor gives Seven a hug when she saves him. Sweet kid.
  • Picard sits down in the captain's chair and starts to set a course and then announces, "I don't know how to work this." It's an obvious setup and joke, but still funny. I liked it.
  • Apologies for the delay in this review. As you can imagine, it's been a crazy seven days for everyone with the sudden escalation in the coronavirus crisis. I mean, where we were a week ago and where we are now — it's kind of mind boggling. But life goes on, even if it feels like we might be in a bunker mentality for weeks or even months. Be safe out there.

Previous episode: Nepenthe
Next episode: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

◄ Season Index

267 comments on this review

Aaron
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 3:52am (UTC -5)
I really, really liked that episode. I was happy that it was a bit longer and slowed down the pace a bit. I’m glad that all of the “good guys” shared their knowledge and got on the same page.
It was great to see some more of Rios’ background.
Daniel
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 4:24am (UTC -5)
Elnor - "So, are you going to assimilate me now?"

The way he said it (and I suppose the hug earlier) further drove home how much of a kid he really is.

Loved Raffi and the holograms. Loved all of the little moments that nonetheless advanced the plot and story along.
Daniel
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 4:32am (UTC -5)
Callback:

The viridium tracker that Jurati ingested is similar to the viridum patch that Spock slapped onto Kirk before he was apprehended by the Klingons for the supposed assasination of Chancellor Gorkon (ST:VI).
Daniel
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 6:24am (UTC -5)
Okay, 3rd comment on my 3rd rewatch of the episode--

- Maja Vrvilo, who directed this and Nepenthe did an amazing job. Kinda hate to admit it, but I thinlk she did better than Frakes from a stylistic and subtlety perspective.
- All of the holo Rios interactions had to be carefully choreographed. Notice the scene on the bridge when Raffi first mistakes the ENH for Rios -- the first head turns are matched so she misses the first chance to discover he was a hologram.
- On every rewatch, I can't help but marvel at how amazing an actress Michelle Hurd is. Subtle micro expressions embedded in everything she does.
- A tad bit on the nose to have the emergency holographic engineer to have a Scottish accent. But cute.
- Loved the scene with Picard and Soji talking about what Data would have thought.
- Semi-canon prescedent for half Romulan/half Vulcan serving in Starfleet -- Lt. Saavik was supposedly one such officer (line was in the original script for ST II)
- Picard in the captain's chair--he begins to set up the command sequence as the Trek music swells, and then he realizes he hasn't been trained on the OS. It's subtle, but the fanfare also thins out at that moment too. I think in the finale he'll finally be able to say "Make it So" or "Engage"-- this is just a build-up.

I want two spin-off shows from all this:
- Seven and Elnor with the Fenris Rangers
- The Adventures of Kestra, Wild Girl of the Woods
Tim C
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 6:43am (UTC -5)
Well, it could never be as feel-good as "Nepenthe", but this episode still brought the goods. Where "Nepenthe" cannily used the nostalgia factor to get us involved (to great effect!), this one has the much harder task of bonding us with new characters we don't have the benefit of having had a decades-long relationship with. But it mostly pulled it off.

I think one of the signs of an involving show is that I'm willing to look past story contrivances - and there were a couple here. Like, how much of a coincidence is it that of all the people Picard could have hired, he just happened to get Rios, who has a deeply personal connection with the synths? How much of a coincidence is it that the (unexplained, unless I missed something) Fenris SOS that Elnor found brought Seven of Nine to the rescue, and how did she get there so damn quickly, and undetected? Like Disco's teleporting shuttlecraft, this feel like the writers pushing the bounds of credibility in order to tell their story, rather than finding more organic ways to get it out.

But the character work was good enough that I can say "I don't care". Jeri Ryan's screen time was much shorter here, but she sure sold the conflict of willingly hooking herself into the collective again. And Rios' swift descent into depression and subsequent bounceback was also effective stuff, showing us both his demons and his strength of will. He would've fit right in on the crew of an earlier Trek show.

(I also appreciated the way the story showed us his competence as a ship captain. Soji might be able to hack his systems, but he's got a master override prepared for such a circumstance. Too bad Picard never thought of that back in the day when Data was hijacking the Enterprise for whatever anomaly-of-the-week was controlling him.)

I also appreciated having it reinforced that Raffi is more than just a stereotyped alocholic; she had the foresight to lock herself out of replicating alcohol, and the way she drilled down into the emergency holograms to root out Rios' secret was also clever.

The final roundtable scene where they deduced the conspiracy also played well for me. Our requisite Giant Threat in the end really just turns out to be the paranoia of a race long gone, and delivered by technology at that. Rather than mystical prophecy, this could all be explained away as a bit of kit that malfunctioned, and in that way it reminds me of Voyager's "Memorial".

Final thought: the idea of a "threshold moment" that attracts the attention of a Big Bad reminds an awful lot of the Reaper storyline in Mass Effect. Anyone else get that vibe?
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 8:07am (UTC -5)
New
Okay, that was awesome.

First and foremost - although not specifically relating to this episode - we have enough hints about the overall season arc that it seems like they're going to stick the landing. Things set in motion from the beginning of the series are starting to pay off. The weirder fankwank ideas - like the Romulans being androids, or this being a Borg origin theory - are not in the cards. Perhaps most important of all was Picard's discussion with Soji about "the past being the past, and we make the future." It's very clear this isn't going to be a finale about preventing the AI apocalypse, but instead about reinforcing the core Trek messages of fundamental human equality and inclusion. This, in and of itself, was enough to give the episode a high rating, because it's clear that Chabon & company understand Star Trek.

The episode was also replete with character moments. Narissa was finally given a little bit of depth beyond being a campy villain, and thus became a much more intriguing character. We finally get to the bottom of Rios's pain through a subplot which included a needed bit of levity. Basically everyone on La Sirena got their little moment in the sun to shine in this episode. And I liked the progression across the episode from the entire crew being literally fractured - broken pieces, as the title said - to being unified in purpose and mission by the end, as the truth helped draw everyone to one another.

The only sections I didn't really like - as was the case last week, was the Borg Cube stuff, which felt strangely underwritten and largely unneeded. I suppose Seven and Hugh must come to the rescue of the La Sirena crew some time during the finale, because otherwise all of this would be a waste. Though I'm not sure how they'd get there. Maybe they just follow the Romulan fleet?

Is Narek a real Zhat Vash? It seems like only women get access to the forbidden knowledge.
Captain Jon
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 8:25am (UTC -5)
Another really strong episode which is rearranging the pieces for the two-part finale. I must say that “Picard” has done more to form a coherent, thoughtful narrative that provides answers then “Discovery” ever did. DISCO rearranged pieces based on this week’s plot requirements then what made sense in the Big Picard. PIC has been laying the groundwork and is providing those answers.

Now, I do find Rios’s connection to Soji to be a little convenient. After all, the pilot that Picard hires to fly him around on his mission happens to already have a connection with these new androids to be a little convenient. Having said that, it was done well enough that I can overlook it.

I’m looking forward to the finale!
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 8:47am (UTC -5)
I meant Seven and Elnor BTW, not Seven and Hugh.

I would rate this episode 3.5 stars. Would be 4 if it wasn't for the Borg cube stuff still being underwhelming, underwritten schlock.
Captain Jon
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 9:51am (UTC -5)
I have no problem with the Borg cube storyline, though I’m still waiting to see how it fits into the Big Picture. Why was Soji there? Why are we still there? I wonder if Seven will bring the cube in to save the day in the finale to fight the Romulans.

Anyone else expecting that at some point in this series Picard or someone attached to him will be responsible for these 8 stars arranging in such a way? If not Picard perhaps Narissa who will probably be defeated by the androids. Would that make all this a self-fulfilling prophecy?
Chrome
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 10:03am (UTC -5)
I agree with Karl Zimmerman. Judging by the preview, I thought for sure this would be a Discovery-style, falls-on-its-face, grimdark action piece. Instead, most of the problem solving and thoughtful material was brought to forefront while the action was more or less background noise. I'll need to watch it again, but I dare say this is one of the better episodes.
Trent
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 10:08am (UTC -5)
IMO this was another good episode, with several great scenes.

Picard's dinner table conversation with Soji about Data was affecting, as was Picard and Rios' conversation about "fear" and "Federation values" toward the end. Also excellent was a trio of scenes involving Raffi and Rios' holograms, particularly one in which she gathers the loveable bunch together for a bit of detective work.

The show still has problems with contrivances. Rios just happens to have a past history with synths, and Seven of Nine too effortlessly pops out of nowhere. And despite lots of great scenes, the show as a whole continually shoots itself in the foot with its poor structure and start-stop nature. Action drama on the Cube in this episode, for example, constantly cuts away to sedate conversations on Rios' ship, killing all momentum.

And revelations - the history of Rios, the nature of Rios' holograms, the existence of the 8 suns, the nature of the Romulan cabal etc - are continually parceled out in a disorganized way. Does anyone actually feel swept up by the show's plot? Does it feel engaging, or does it have a fragmented, staccato nature, chopped up and constantly doubling back on itself? IMO it constantly withholds information that should be divulged earlier, rushes past great stuff and lingers on ideas or characters that should be omitted altogether.

Imagine arranging the show this way: you open on Vashti with Picard as an admiral overseeing a massive Federation project to relocate Romulans. Picard acts as a liaison between suspicious Romulan politicians and a Starfleet which bristles at helping an old enemy. In this era, assistant-synths are common on Starfleet vessels. They mysteriously network and begin hijacking the fleet, and launch a torpedo assault on Vashti's refugee camps. Picard tries to stop the attacks but it's no use. Word is also heard that similar synth attacks occurred on other refugee camps on other planets. The Romulans blame the Federation. The Feds ban syths and abandons the refugees.

Then flash forward to Picard at his chateau. Forlorn and dejected, he's spent the last ten years working as an activist to assist the Romulans. He has the meeting with the news reporter, where he righteously defends synth rights and where we learn that he quit Starfleet as a form of protest. He publicly chastises the Federation. The Federation dispatch an official to his chateau, pleading with him to stop rustling features. Soji sees the news report and turns up at his chateau.

In the second episode, a Romulan science vessel many decades prior (TOS era) finds a system with 8 suns. The arrangement is baffling. As we would follow a traditional Federation ship on a mission, we follow instead this Romulan crew and captain as they investigate this mystery. No cardboard villains here, just competent, intelligent, curious Romulans. They suppose that the suns were placed there by a powerful ancient civilization. But why?

Your series structure then becomes two linear storylines, and timelines, converging: the Romulans and their archeology teams piecing together an ancient (or future?) civilization's fears of synths, and Picard and Soji working together in the present to assemble a team to understand why Romulans were behind the Syth attacks on the refugees. When the two story-strands converge in a moment of realization, you then have your Kurtzman climax. No withholding info from the audience necessary, no staccato-flashbacks, and the audience feels more pro-active, as do the characters.
Sid
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 10:09am (UTC -5)
This show is written like a soap opera. Everyone getting drunk, self-hating. Crying. Throwing pity parties to grab attention. Talking down to the lead male protagonist at every turn. Talking about how Data loved (lol). Being scared of mustache-twirling villains and destroyers of the universe (LOL). Suicides left and right. Post traumatic dysphoria. Conspiracies. Giving way to fear. What exactly is "something far worse" than the Borg? The evolution of synthetic life? Give me a break. I'm looking for a moral lesson like the ones present in classic Star Trek. I suppose that moral lesson is: Entertainment writers in the 2020s are not very literate or imaginative and need to go back to AP English class for more schooling. They were probably tweeting instead of paying attention. And maybe I should stop wasting my time expecting to learn something valuable about my life, how others live life, and the human condition overall by watching this. Maybe I should also stop posting on fan forums to complain about it. Don't give into fear (LOLLLLLL). Synth lives matter. That's the half-baked message Patrick Stewart wanted to come back for? To top it off, it's ALL been done before-and more poignantly-in this franchise (Star Trek 6????). Give me my money back. Oh wait, CBS won. They already charged me. Vapid entertainment for a distracted, plastic culture.
Trent
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 10:53am (UTC -5)
*SPOILERS*

This episode introduces an ancient alien race which is paranoid about synths.

Some working theories about how this season climaxed involved Borg origin stories, Romulan's being syths created by Vulcans, time traveling and dovetails with Discovery Season 3 (Control et al).

But it seems like the series is going for something more low key. You essentially have a modern religion (the Romulan sect) behaving like bigots because of scripture ("Kill all synths!") handed down by an ancient culture that is now extinct (an Iconians origin story?).

ie the Romulans harmed their own Empire because they refused the help of outsiders, machines, and let themselves be led by the nose by (matriarchal?) religious fundamentalists.

A surprise now would be for the Romulan sect to be right, and the warning of the ancients to be likewise. If this were to be the case, this season would be a giant, hilarious diss thrown at Picard, and his particular brand of optimism.
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 11:10am (UTC -5)
The most Trekkian possible conclusion for the "dark secret" would be if the elder race died off not because they created synthetic life, but because they enslaved it, and were thus judged by some energy being as being unworthy of being saved.

Or perhaps that they destroyed all of their own planets, because they felt like they had to cleanse themselves and the universe of the horror of synth toleration.

Regardless, I would be shocked if the ultimate message isn't loving acceptance of those who are different.
James White
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 11:44am (UTC -5)
My prediction for the finale - Picard dies in some heroic manner. Q takes him to the Continuum at the exact moment of death. Picard continues to exist in some manner, such that he can offer advice from time to time but have no real-world involvement. This way, the series can continue with Stewart still technically involved. However, it is a nice hedge in case Stewart passes away or decides to walk.
James White
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 11:57am (UTC -5)
I'd also like to add that the last few episodes have been quite good. Had they made this a 6 part mini series and cut out a bunch of the filler nonsense, it would be somewhat worthy of the TNG name. Regardless, I'm glad the quality has gone up in the last few weeks
Richard James
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 1:01pm (UTC -5)
I think this episode is a lot more 'plotty' than most, with a fair bit of exposition and filling in of the backstory- but my my - it certainly is good backstory!

The slow moments with Soji and Picard were well done, and Rios experience with his previous captain ties in nicely with this wider, ancient plot again synthetic life. While I thought that Raffi suddenly spelling out the plot in one go was a bit far fetched, the pace of the episode and chance to reflect on what mattered really pays off.

Lets hope they keep this up after all that painfully slow build up of the first few episodes
Mal
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 1:21pm (UTC -5)
"Data’s capacity for expressing and processing emotion was limited. I suppose we had that in common.”

- Picard, all growed up.

Mal’s review of Star Trek: Picard, episode 8, “Broken Pieces”

* * * 1/2 stars (out of 4)

Well, it took 8 hours for Picard to find its legs. But I’m happy to report that the show is finally firing on all cylinders.

“Broken Pieces” comes across as a nearly perfect hour of this show for - what it is. Not thanks to nostalgia (ala Nepenthe). Nor thanks to the sheer joy of seeing Sir Patrick on screen as Picard for the first time since Nemesis (ala Remembrance). But near perfect all on its very own.

Star Trek Picard is finally his own man, even if that means he isn’t The Man.

Are there pieces of the show I don’t like? Sure. But’s that’s, like, just my opinion, dude ;)

I don’t like the opening theme song (even if it is far better than ENT). I don’t like the cussing (how many flying fucks were there this hour? I lose count). But if you accept that this is the aesthetic which has been chosen for Star Trek Picard, then you can look past the surface, and start to enjoy time with this new motley crew.

And it is an enjoyable ride.

Rios clearly shines this hour. Every moment of his - from listening to Billy Holiday ("In my solitude") on an old phonograph, to singing an old lullaby his mom sang to him - every moment drips of authenticity. Heck, even that “previously on Picard” scene of his that they snuck in at the beginning - but which must have been cut from whatever episode it was supposed to be in - even that, shall we say, covert flashback was pretty good.

Raffi’s scene with the multiple holograms drags a bit. But her scenes before that with each individual hologram demonstrate this is a concept that could actually work going forward. “ENH. Call me eunuch.” LOL! Well done lassie.

Even Agnes - poor Agnes - had some character growth. Confession, as they say, is good for the soul.

And let’s not forget the Bene Gesserit. Of all people, evil incestuous spy sister comes across as halfway decent thanks to a competently executed flashback. And though I am no fan of these flashbacks at the top of each episode, once you come to accept that this is simply how Picard is going to be structured, well, this one wasn’t half bad.

I particularly liked how the flashback explained the mad ex-Borg tarot reader Aunty we had seen a few episodes ago. I am almost certain that was Commodore Oh leading the Admonition, so this flashback does an amazing job tying together three peripheral characters (Narissa, Aunty, Commodore Oh), and actually making them super central to the plot. Well done!

The hour is particularly good because Soji’s annoying boyfriend is nowhere to be seen (come to think of it, that helps Narissa too - he is awful).

And Jeri Ryan and Frodo have a super cute chemistry. “That sounds amazing. Do that!"

My major complaint is all the cutting back and forth. Especially when Rios was telling Raffi about his old captain. Mr. Director/Editor, stop - just stay with the scene.

Plus, they are finally getting better with the music. Not quite there, but almost.

And oh, if you are going to do flashbacks every episode, I’d love to see Alanso Vandamere shoot Beautiful Flower and Janna and then himself. That shit would be dope yo.

The series as a whole is still not structured well. That they had to sneak in a “previously on” just 8 episodes in says a lot. More 14 years ago flashbacks reinforces my ongoing complaint that season 1, or an intro miniseries, should have been 14 years ago, and then at the end of season 1, we could have jumped forward to “now". But now it’s too late for that.

For what this show wants to be, and what we want it to be, this hour was pleasing. And more importantly, it showed that there is hope for a several-season show that could be a pleasing ride.

So buckle up bitches, let’s boldly go! (Actually I don’t know how to work this…)
Trent
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 2:38pm (UTC -5)
Are we sure the Zhat Vash are responsible for the synths attacking Mars?

If so, why do the Zhat Vash attack Mars when they do, and in such a way that cripples the Romulan Empire?

We know the Zhat Vash have infiltrated the Federation. They learned of Data and the Federation's work on synths, so must have been in the Federation at least 15 years ago.

We also know that the Zhat Vash have known of the Alien Synth Prophesy for thousands of years.

Given that they have so long to act, why do they act prior to the Federation fleet helping Romulus? Why not let the Feds help the refugees out, then trigger the synths at a later date, perhaps even to attack Earth?
Eric Jensen
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 3:11pm (UTC -5)
I do like this episode but it is mostly telling and not showing. Maybe more flashbacks? Remember there are SPOILERS of this episode and so beware. I will also be mentioning SPOILERS of the trailer
Spoilers...
I am very glad that Seven has not become a Borg queen and Elnor seemed happy he was not assimilated. The Borg depicted here are lacking in something. They don't seem like the normal Borg. I did wish that Seven could have done something more damaging to Narissa, but sadly they went out the airlock... At least Narissa has more evil work to do here. So Ramhda (spelling?) the romulan prophecy woman is the auntie of Narissa and Narek. Does Narek know about the prophecy? I liked how Soji becomes a strong person in this episode, however she did not have to forcefully pilot the ship go to her home. I mean, now that Romulans are following her. Is it a transwarp Borg conduit they went into?

The scenes between Raffi and Rios were excellent and I liked the juxtaposition between these scenes and the scenes of Agnes and Soji. It is good that Agnes feels guilty and that psychic mental block?

So the Zhat Vash is a cult that tries to get rid of synths because they saw a possible future if a certain threshold is met? I think Control will be involved.

SPOILERS from the TRAILER - So they go to Soji's home and apparently they try to disable their ship, everything goes dark...

I liked how Raffi tried to uncover the mystery of Rios and Jana, because it seemed like a Poirot-convention.

I was only slightly confused as to how Raffi knew Oh was infiltrating into Starfleet and that it was the Romulans that ordered the attack on Mars and the ban of the synths.
Captain Jon
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 3:46pm (UTC -5)
I know that the first half of the season is considered weak especially in comparison to the first episode and these last few. While I enjoy the early episodes, they certainly are more flawed. However, I find them to be necessary. Those episodes laid the groundwork and the backstory. And now we’re seeing the payoff both in regards to plot and character.

Had they condensed the season to 5 or 6 episodes I think we’d be complaining that the pacing was too quick, that things were moving from one thing to the next too quickly to get from A to B to C. With 10 episodes they took their time and allowed things room to breathe. I like that. I enjoy a good slow buildup as long as there is payoff sporadically spaced throughout. Yes, things could have been done a little bit better with those early episodes but keep in mind the how long each 90s Trek series (especially TNG) took to get their sea legs.

I also would like to point out that Patrick Stewart’s performance has changed over the course of the season. It’s always been strong but I felt like in the first half of the season we were watching Patrick Stewart. It wasn’t until that final scene between him and Seven in “Stardust City Rag” when we actually saw Jean-Luc Picard and he hasn’t left ever since. Just as the writers needed a chance to find their footing, so did Stewart.
Norvo
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 4:06pm (UTC -5)
A great episode for many of the reasons listed above. A few minor points:

Picard served as an ensign on the Reliant? The same Reliant as seen in Wrath of Khan? Does that work timeline wise?

The idea that the Zhad Vash are so intent on destroying sentient androids that they sent out 1 operative 40 years ago is a little hard to swallow. Why did Oh allow Data to continue to exist for decades of Starfleet service? Especially after he made Lal? Oh should have arranged an "accident".

And having the admiral tell Picard to shut the fuck up just felt unnecessary.
Paul M.
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 4:17pm (UTC -5)
Not the same Reliant. Picard was out of the Academy in late 2320s. Khan's Reliant blew up in, what, 2284 or thereabouts? Star Trek has always loved rehashing names. How many Saratogas and Lexingtons and Intrepids are there?
JayJayJay
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 5:20pm (UTC -5)
This definitely borrows from the plot line of Mass Effect. I am okay with that, because it's not identical and it leaves a lot of room for things to get very interesting. Generally I thought this episode slacked compared to the prior two which were fantastic. It's still on a good pace though and I remain excited for
Thursday to arrive.
HaveGun_WillRiker
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 6:15pm (UTC -5)
@Sid

...thats a rough take there pal
Daniel
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 7:21pm (UTC -5)
I thought Clancy telling Picard to STFU was hilarious, and not nearly as jarring as her use of the word in the second episode -- especially if you buy into the notion that even in the 24th century people use expletives when not depicted in a format suitable for broadcast television. Admiral Clancy just happens to use the word "fuck" a lot, and in this case, Picard didn't seem taken aback. It did what it was supposed to do--stop Picard from lording his "I was right and you were wrong" (in the classic Picard arrogant manner) over her so she can tell him that she's already doing what he's asked.

The key is that you never see the original TNG characters (Picard, Data, Troi, Riker) use those words. I think that would have broken with the characterizations. New series, new characters--you're at a little more liberty to bake in the propoensity to use colorful metaphors from the beginning.
Marvin
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 7:34pm (UTC -5)
The Bene Gesserit response in touching that green pulsating mind meld rail summarizes my reaction to this episode.

How could you *not* laugh at their crazy suicidal reactions?

I guess I'll try to rewatch the episode to understand the convoluted plot.

By the way it's interesting to see people glossing over the blatant plot contrivances they mentioned in their reviews.
nf
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 8:44pm (UTC -5)
Eh. I could have done without the uncanny valley of the holograms' 'amusing' British Isles (+ Irish, don't flame me) accents. They were 90% there, but that 10% that was way way off was intensely distracting.

Weird episode in general. Tonally, all over the place. Another completely gratuitous f-bomb, comedy holograms, Seven badassness, Space Legolas serving no apparent purpose and flying brain matter. The plot has just enough to keep me interested, but really, what a mess.
Tricolaco
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 8:48pm (UTC -5)
So - what will the next show be called, Star Trek: Battlestar Enterprise? Is Data a Cylon prototype? Is Soji number 13?

I like the show but I don’t know if it makes sense for it to tread this path, honesty. What can it do with this theme that Battlestar Galactica didn’t already do, and probably better?
Gooz
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 8:49pm (UTC -5)
Very nice episode. The best so far.

The hologram party in Picard's holo-house was dumb. Just go ask Rios why he's being such a baby and don't waste 30 minutes in the middle of the episode.

Raffi is still the weak link of the show both as a character and as an actor. "honey," "mmmm hmmm," etc. are just too 1980s sassy lady.

7/9 is still awesome, but her quivering voice when she "feels things" needs some work.

Tilly went from “she must be destroyed” to “you’re so pretty” in 10 seconds. Hope she doesn't switch back on us.

Picard's left eye ptosis is distracting.

A little too convenient that the one pilot Raffi could find just happens to be someone who was involved in an earlier version of this robot-killing thing.

The promise of DS-12 had me hoping we'd get to see O'Brien and Molly and get a nice flashback of Keiko getting killed. They'd say something like "at first it was hard, but now we realize what a horrible human being she was and how much better our lives are without her."
Marco
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 9:13pm (UTC -5)
I saw some comments here that were uncalled for. It begs the question: why are you watching? But I will not get into personal quibbles. Everyone is totally entitled to their own opinion. So I will give mine (and you can poo-poo it as well): this, to me, is the best episode of the series. 4 stars? Perhaps not, but close.

Everything is coming together. I am not perturbed by the language (some of you must have been pearl-clutchers in a former life...). Yes, it is not TNG. But in TNG everything was...Beige. Beige and beige. I like a bit more color. But I felt at home now. And the message is pure trek: the past is the past, the future is not written. It almost felt like 1991. That's the nostalgia I can live with.
Marco
James White
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 9:18pm (UTC -5)
You people are all over the place. The show had a good intro episode. Then the quality dovetailed substantially. Now it's improved. Not enough for me to declare the first season a success. But a nice, though uneven, stroll down memory lane. Stop overanalyzing.
James White
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 9:20pm (UTC -5)
Also, TNG was anything but beige. But it required more thoughtfulness and less immediate indulgence. Whether you like that sort of thing is one thing. But what it is intrinsically is something else entirely.
Dave in MN
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 9:40pm (UTC -5)
I kind of took it easy on this show the least few weeks. It was hard to muster outrage or much else at the illlogical silliness that unfolded onscreen.

The opening scene with the ZV seemed staged because it looked cool, not because it made logical sense. Wearing cloaks while facing outward from a magical thought- sharing circle came across to me as uninformed aping of Druidic imagery..

I must ask: if this secret is so bad that it causes instant suicide in a majority of ZV applicants, why not just TELL them and then show them the vision if they need proof? Why not strap the applicants down so they can't hurt themselves? Also, why are the ZV only female? So little makes sense. Oh, well, at least we have confirmation the Commodore Oh No is a Romulan (which will probably go unexplained by the writers, I'm guessing).

The exposition scene afterwards with Narissa is clunky as all get out. Literally NO ONE talks like that, even to an unconscious person. There had to be a better way to write this dialogue. The blinded Elfnor scenes is also lame: does anyone watch Star Trek for Matrix-style fights? Thank God 7 appeared when she did. 8 minutes felt like an eternity waiting to see the first thing I liked.

The staging of the next scene felt odd. Rios not responding ... is that written into his program to be distracted by thoughts? I also disliked Picard making excuse after excuse for Agnes even after Raffi confronts him with solid proof (although her methodology of pulling a phaser seemed extreme)... and why is it only now this information is being communicated to him? My brain hurts.

Raffi chewing out Picard is annoying because her reaction makes sense ... but only because Picard is written to be uncharacteristically obtuse and foolish. Does Picard HAVE to be yelled at in every episode?

And why exactly does every Rios hologram speak with an accent!? It's a contrived concept (and not that funny). And why do the holos pause and their eyes turn to static when only certain information is asked for?

And then we have swearing Admiral 2.0 .... and how is it's she sitting in his holographic simulation?! This is how they script his request to Starfleet?! Ugh.

Narissa is a cardboard villian: her glee at murdering people while cracking jokes is less than one-dimensional. I hate everything about this super-evil incest character.

Did we need to change what the Borg regeneration process looks like?! The old effects from TNG's second season felt MUCH more alien than the green little repair droids. *sigh*

I liked the scene with Picard and Soji eating. There was actually a bit of character growth in their exchange. The next scenes were also well acted ... despite the bad accents and the obvious plotting of each holo giving Raffi one necessary clue each to solve.... what exactly:? Why Rios won't come out of his room? I'm not too clear on Raffi's motivation.

This seemed to me to be incredibly invasive on her part.... nevermind the fact it implies that either Rios is a hologram OR any person with this scan tech can create perfect holo duplicates of ANYONE. Talk about a security risk! Also, did they just attempt a suicide joke? I think they did (I found it distasteful).

This whole story about killing the ambassadors or the ship being destroyed on orders of Starfleet Security? It not not completely opposite to everything we've seen before in Starfleet, but also it's totally amoral by TODAY'S standards. Countries don't kill each other's ambassadors.

An immediate execution?! Wtf!? That's NOT Starfleet!!!!! Bad writing!

Intercutting this with Agnes the murderer (psychically commanded to murder) interacting with Soji. I don't care if Agnes thinks she's a person or that Agnes thinks Soji's moles are cute because I don't like or care about Agnes or her redemption. And again, this is also a total security risk. More bad writing.

And now 7 is becoming a Borg Queen?!?! No, no.no nononono this is ATROCIOUS writing. These showrunners do NOT understand her character. Fuck this!!!

1 star
Marvin
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 10:00pm (UTC -5)
@Dave in MN

I was too lazy to write out all the contrivances, but thank you for the hard work :)

I'll add more, but this is not exhaustive:

--Why is Picard just *now* asking for Starfleet help (since ep 1 or 2)? Did I miss the reason? Couldn't he have just Borg warped back to Earth with Soji from the cube instead of Nepanthe? I thought he was "arrogrant" on Nepanthe to get official help (whether you believe he's arrogant or not)? If Picard is to rendevous at DS 12 with our deus ex machina Starfleet save the day fleet, why waste all that time at Nepanthe?

--So if Picard diverts to DS-12, instead of Soji's homeworld, doesn't that leave time for the Zat Vash to attack? But hold on! Soji takes the helm to correct this oversight...but Rios tries to stop her....but hold on! he's convinced otherwise?

--So Jurati fesses up about Maddox, etc. Is the tracker disabled? Did anyone catch the hipster Romulan ship still tailing them at the end as Rios' ship exits Borg warp near Soji's homeworld? If so, is she still conning everyone?

@Trent brought up a question that also needs answering, if Zat Vash had to kill the synths on Mars, why wait so long to do it and torpedo the rescue of Romulus? Probably will be answered in next two eps..
nf
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 10:10pm (UTC -5)
I'm not perturbed by the language either, other than it's totally out of place here. What's the deal? The writers are allowed one 'fuck' every other episode? Go big or go home. Seriously, what's the point? It adds nothing to the context, other than to reinforce the notion that J-LP is nothing more than some daft old geriatric to be yelled at.
Tim M.
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 10:25pm (UTC -5)
I *really* liked this episode. Fantastic character moments: Picard/Soji, Raffi/Rios, Picard/Rios...and the Picard moments finally felt fully like TNG Picard, particularly in his interaction with Rios. Narissa gets some dimension (finally), and although we only get a bit of Seven, her scenes on the Borg cube are great. And my suspicion that Oh was half-Vulcan and half-Romulan is confirmed! As Spock said in the deleted scene from Wrath of Khan, the admixture is quite unpredictable.
Rahul
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 10:35pm (UTC -5)
Overall a pretty good episode with some hit and miss moments -- some resolution and tying up of loose ends and seemingly setting up the final confrontation on Soji's home world. Characters like Raffi, Rios, and Jurati have good outings but Elnor is still a lost cause character-wise. Narissa who was a cardboard villain gets some much-needed background, as does Oh who appears to be the head baddie.

A general gripe I have is some stuff being farfetched / nonsensical or contrary to what we were told to believe: So the Romulans developed synthetic life like 200,000 years ago?? What were humans doing that long ago -- and yet now they are roughly technologically equal to the Romulans... Also thought Soji and Dahj were just 2 twins but there's a 3rd twin sister "Jana" who was killed by Rios's former captain? And somehow the Romulans lined up 8 suns (who knows how long ago) as a kind of warning to others to not screw around with synths?? That's a bit much.

Another flashback to start the show -- man do the PIC writers love them... So Oh has this admonition that is what the synths did a couple of hundred centuries ago and she forms the Zhat Vash 14 years ago but most of them commit suicide (why were they all female?) after seeing the admonition. Interesting albeit a bit on the brutal side... But we get the link between Narissa and her aunt Ramdha who had previously identified Soji as the destroyer. I liked how these pieces fit together.

The actor playing Rios is obviously very talented -- doing all these accents perfectly. The subplot with Raffi trying to find out what's up with him/Soji and getting the runaround from the various Rios holograms was a bit of a drag -- meant to inject levity, but a bit out of place in this episode for me. Also convenient that she gets exactly what has gone down... OK then.

Rios now has a good backstory with his former captain killing a synth and then killing himself, Rios' cover-up and then exit from Star Fleet. It is another piece that fits in well with the story aside from a 2nd sister for Soji when I thought she only had Dahj. PIC writers love their tortured characters and dark themes.

As for 7 turning into the Borg Queen -- this is excessive (cheap fan service), but I guess it's a last resort to summon the Borg. Still it is a bit farfetched given all the implants removed from 7 but we can waive our hands and accept it, I suppose. Liked the idea of reviving the Borg cube to battle the Romulans and Narissa and her goons trying to kill the drones or sending them out into space -- definitely pragmatic to the extreme. A brief debate between Elnor and 7 re. assimilation and how to control the Borg had some intriguing possibilities I think.

The episode covered a lot of ground -- lots to digest. Nothing particularly deep other than Picard's heart-to-heart with Soji about Data, which was quite welcome as a quiet moment in a whirlwind episode. Jurati looks like hell but that's appropriate given what she's been through. She's ready to give herself up, makes up with the crew -- that's ok enough.

3 stars for "Broken Pieces" -- lots of plot advancement and resolution which is mostly good other than some (minor) head-scratchers. I like that I'm coming around to the characters a bit more (Raffi in particular) and the cast is talented, though the writing is very basic. Definitely a better story to be told here than in DSC S2. Intriguing idea of crossing the threshold of synth evolution as sci-fi -- kind of the same as AI running wild in DSC S2 though it's better done here. Seems like a theme is deception/betrayal - Star Fleet's ban on synths is a betrayal, being duped by the Zhat Vash -- just great when what's supposed to be an upstanding and highly sophisticated organization gets conned by basically 1 person, Commander Oh.
Tim M.
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 10:43pm (UTC -5)
A question. The musical cue when the Romulan ships all warp away from the Borg cube...we've heard it once before in PIC, but where have I heard it before? Did VOY use it as a Borg musical cue? I know I've heard it before but can't quite place it.
The Dirty Mac
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 10:51pm (UTC -5)
@Tim M.

The musical cue you mention, which has been a reoccurring Romulan theme in STP comes from the TOS episode, "Balance of Terror", which was the first Star trek episode to feature the Romulans. It is the very original Romulan theme.
Dave in MN
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 11:05pm (UTC -5)
Don't the Romulans and Vulcans share a common ancestry 4,000 years back? You'd think the Vulcans would have just as much knowledge of this great past event as the Romulans would. Could this supposedly shattering vision really be kept a secret?

Also, it was firmly established in "The Drumhead" that Romulan lineage was a red flag. So how did Commodore Oh work her way all the way the top (with enough time to go find and groom ecruits and bring them to her weird mental-rape fairy circle planet)? After the Dominion War changrling infiltration and the undercover Vulcan spy ambassador, is it plausible Starfleet is that naive?

These were things I thought of while watching this. I wasn't in the story, I was outside of it, reacting on a meta level to the storytelling choices themselves.
Tim M.
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 11:11pm (UTC -5)
@The Dirty Mac

Yes! Thanks for nailing that for me. Would've driven me nuts trying to place it. ;)

As for the episode, I wonder if we'll get any hint about the reunification efforts Spock was involving himself with in TNG's "Reunification." They already name-dropped Spock when listing Picard's accomplishments, so I wouldn't be surprised if there's a subtle tie-in somewhere.
Dave in MN
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 11:36pm (UTC -5)
@ Dirty Mac

The score still sounds a bit too CASIO keyboard fakey (to me) and there's obviously a directive from on high to have constant music the ENTIRE episode, but I did like that (for once) the composer mostly dialed back the primetime drama synths in exchange for a more conservative sonic palette. This approach softens the often jarring frenetic camerawork and scene cross-editing/intercutting.

The usage of motifs from better (previous Trek) musical material is also appreciated.

It was about the only saving grace in this aptly-titled episode.

****

I want to be clear that I don't fault the actors. They all do a decent-to-great job.

My issue is the plotting (or lack thereof) and characterization makes this show feel like a Trek telenovela written by people who don't care about what Star Trek is actually about or what it's characters represent.

Picard becomes a punching bag for everyone to dump on: mocking his age and mental capabilities and previous work decisions. Seven throws away her humanity to lead a collective. Icheb gets his eye pulled out oh so slowly and painfully. Bruce Maddox's brain gets fried. B4's in a drawer. Hugh was stabbed to death and his corpse likely was ejected into space (with all the other Borg screaming even though there's no air).

This isn't how legacy characters should be treated. I truly don't know if the showrunners understand the concept of legacy.
Tim M.
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 11:42pm (UTC -5)
@Dave in MN

We know the alien cataclysm happened 200,000 years ago, but not when the Romulans learned about it. They might have happened upon the planet 2000 years ago and incorporated what they learned into their mythology well after the Vulcans had decided on a pathway towards logic.

As for Clancy, she finally got her comeuppance. Yes, she dropped the F-bomb again, but basically admitted that Picard was right all along. I loved him calling her a waste of space.
Leif
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 11:44pm (UTC -5)
Why do the Romulan ships look like Xindi ships like Degras? Can someone explain to me the change in design? I was hoping we would see the Xindi in this episode..and that transwarl conduit inthought was a spatial rift that looked like a door to Species 8472s realm..was anyone else disappointed by the lack of new aliens..only the octonary was a cool new sci fi concept i dont think weve seen before..
Dave in MN
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 11:48pm (UTC -5)
@ Tim C.

I liked that too. She deserved it!
Dave in MN
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 11:49pm (UTC -5)
Oops, I meant Tim M.
Captain Jon
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 11:57pm (UTC -5)
To those of you who absolutely despise this show as well as Discovery,

This is not intended in anyway as trolling or mocking. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I respect that even if I disagree with it. "Picard" and "Discovery" are not perfect but neither are any of 90s-era Trek. TNG started horrendously bad, DS9 was consistently great but had its fair share of clunkers as well (I'm looking at you, "Let He Who Is Without Sin..."), VOY was inconsistent and ENT was mostly weak. As I've said before, I think that PIC and DIS are suffering from first/second season jitters but that PIC is now gaining momentum going into its finale.

However, having said that, I know there are people who just are not buying it (well, actually you're PAYING for it). You come here and you voice your opinions, your displeasure, you rip into choices. That's all fine and good. But my question to you is this; if you don't like nuTrek so much, why not just stopping watching it? Why come here and rip into it? Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I'm just curious about your choice to continue to watch something that you continue to be so awful.

Everyone has a different standard of what they continue to be good Star Trek. But no one can dictate to anyone else what is good and what is not and no one should ridicule or mock someone else for their opinion. It is all subject to one's own opinion. I'm not right but neither are you.

So....why do you still watch? Are you waiting for it to meet your standard for what you consider to be good Star Trek? What other reason would you have other than you're waiting for it to get good or because it's Star Trek? I'm just curious and trying to have a civil discussion about this.
Clark
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 12:16am (UTC -5)
Wasn't a bad episode, interesting character development Rios and Soji, but really stumbled during a couple of scenes with Agnes. Even if Oh poisoned her mind... she couldn't just stop Maddox or try to explain the danger? What kinda "mental block" is this exactly? And Picard and crews reaction is out of whack too. She murdered a guy on the ship who they know she was very close with, was working with their current enemy, won't tell them anything about it, but is "done with killing" so welcome back till deep space twelve? They are obviously gonna let bygones be bygones and let this go ultimately... A generous 2.5 out of 4 for me.
Dave in MN
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 12:23am (UTC -5)
@ Captain Jon

#1. The returning Trek actors are talented and have a proven track record.

Taking that into account, I don't feel like 6 or 7 episodes is enough to give up on this series, especially since it has occasionally showed potential (and I've fairly given credit for those moments).

There's still time for things to turn around.

#2. If the storytelling takes an implausible or impossible turn, we viewers are allowed to express how jarring it seems.

When characters change enough to where they're unrecognizable (Borg Queen Seven, emasculated Picard) and there's little motivation for these alterations other than these most basic of tropes (vengeful mother, old man's last hurrah), it's okay for that to be pointed out if that's one's true perception.

#3. When one is paying a subscription to buy a product, they have the expectation that the product will satisfy them. If the product is deceptive or defective, generally the consumer is unhappy and will express their displeasure.

I don't believe mine (or anyone else's) discontent with the writing is any different than someone writing a bad but legitimate Yelp review.

Besides, some of the Trek brass do read this site (or did in the past anyways).
Sen-Sors
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 12:30am (UTC -5)
@Captain Jon

"So....why do you still watch? Are you waiting for it to meet your standard for what you consider to be good Star Trek? What other reason would you have other than you're waiting for it to get good or because it's Star Trek?"

Are those not good enough reasons?

Nobody owes you or anyone else a justification for why they are watching and commenting on the show. There is no reason to ask for one unless you are trying to shame people into not expressing their opinions.

I think this show suffers from the same garbage writing and structural plot problems as STD. This episode didn't really change that, but as far as stuff I liked I will say the scene between Picard and Jurati was the first time I really recognized Captain Picard in this show. Dignified, commanding and straight to the heart of the matter. Good scene.

Pretty heavy Mass Effect vibes to the main quest.
Brian
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 12:36am (UTC -5)
@Captain Jon
we watch because we love Trek and we want it to be good. We are waiting for it to get good. And if we don't feel like it is cutting it, we say so. We have valid reasons for not liking new Trek series. I have given credit where credit is due, for the odd well written episode, but overall in my opinion, nu-Trek suffers from a deplorable over-reliance on exposition, clunky dialogue, questionable plotting and pacing, and a dependence on slowly unfolding mystery box formats. I believe other series have done the "serialized sci-fi drama" format much better, DS9 and BSG to name two, and they did much better from day one. All told, I've only enjoyed about 10% of the Trek that has come out post-Enterprise. Whereas prior to that, I enjoyed over 70% of it.

And here again, you not so subtly imply that we don't like nu-trek because "its not perfect". Here's a tip, don't do that. I'm an intelligent adult, and I don't toss things in the garbage because they aren't perfect.
Captain Jon
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 12:40am (UTC -5)
Whoa whoa whoa! I’m not trying to shame anyone! I made perfectly clear what my intentions were when asking my question. It’s my right to do so since I’m curious. I even said everyone is entitled to share their opinions. I’m not seeking to intimidate anyone into silence. To suggest otherwise is misleading. There is no sarcasm. No malice. Only curiosity. I wish to only have a discussion.

There are those who have voiced only negative opinions, nothing positive. People who say they are done and yet return. I’m only curious to know what keeps them watching. Those who identify both positive and negative aspects seem to have a genuinely open mind and aren’t out to trash these shows simply because they can. They are making genuine critiques.

I am not here to troll, to shame, to bully or intimidate. We live in a free and open society where we can express ourselves. I only wish to learn from those who have different opinions.
Captain jon
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 12:42am (UTC -5)
Brian,

There is no subtle implication intended. None at all. I stated my purpose in asking my question. Now I feel my intent has been misconstrued as an attack. It is not. It is an attempt at an open discussion without people taking things personally.
James
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 12:46am (UTC -5)
@Captain Jon
Like you said, TNG started off badly. So did Babylon 5. Those are my 2 favorite sci-fi series (personally I think DS9 only improved marginally over its 7 years, and worsened in some aspects). Why do we still watch PIC? Well, we would have to be a bit idiotic to write off PIC based on a few episodes, without writing off other series which had weak starts. There's always a good chance a series may improve.
Sen-Sors
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 12:48am (UTC -5)
@Clark, letting Agnes go scot free would be sickening, they might do it. Maybe Picard will clap. Perhaps more likely is an Admiral Cornwell-esque pointless sacrifice. She'll look at Rios through the bulkhead glass and shout "EYE LOVE YOU" and then get blown up.

The scene where everyone sits around a table while Raffi dumps the main plot expositition on them felt like they filmed the writers room and gave a transcript to the actors.
Booming
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 12:53am (UTC -5)
Somebody used my name to attack me personally. Another stellar example of the fandom of this show.

@Gerontius
Did you see it. When Seven shot the Romulans her phaser shot blue but Narissa stated that they were all dead. So I guess blue sometimes means dead.

What can I say about the episode.
Let me put it like this
Sen-Sors
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 12:57am (UTC -5)
@Captain Jon, you already answered your own question when you proposed it. Indeed, there are no reason to keep watching this show besides "it's Star Trek" and "it might get good".
Captain Jon
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 1:00am (UTC -5)
@Sen-Sors

That is all I am asking. I'm only seeking confirmation. I wish to only discuss opinions and if I have questions ask them. That is all I have done. Thank you very much.
Booming
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 1:25am (UTC -5)
and to Jammer

No need for a call of order.

I will leave.
Dave in MN
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 1:26am (UTC -5)
@ Booming

That's not very nice.
Trent
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 4:28am (UTC -5)
Rahul said: " So the Romulans developed synthetic life like 200,000 years ago?? Also thought Soji and Dahj were just 2 twins but there's a 3rd twin sister "Jana"? And somehow the Romulans lined up 8 suns as a kind of warning??"

As I understand it, the Romulans didn't develop synth life, nor did they move the 8 suns; it was an advanced, alien civilization, now extinct, who did it. And yeah, the existence of Jana implies a 4th sister. Perhaps even a planet of them.

Also, something nobody has mentioned yet: that long-shot of Rio's ship traveling through the Borg conduit is really eerie and beautiful. We've seen a lot of "warp" and "conduit" effects, but this one was really neat.


Booming said: "No need for a call of order. I will leave. "

No, you gotta watch and leave comments for Orville series 2 first.
Richard James
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 4:55am (UTC -5)
As much as I mostly enjoy the comments on the blog - it's in need of some series moderation. Some of these comments are downright abusive and, while I'm all for disagreement and differing opinions of this show, we've some aggressive and threatening behaviour that really doesn't need to be tolerated.

I get that Jammer probably doesn't have the time to moderate this thing, but still.
Longtime
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 7:16am (UTC -5)
These comment sections can be respectful sites of productive discussion. When there isn’t a new series, that is.
wolfstar
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 7:51am (UTC -5)
Hey Captain Jon - you ask a legitimate question. I agree with your assessment of the relative merits of the Trek series, which seems pretty much in line with consensus. It seems we disagree more when it comes to the nu-Trek series.

Some people (not so much on here, but certainly on other sites/platforms) seemed determined to hate both Discovery and Picard before they had ever aired. That I have a problem with. You can't judge drama without seeing it. And yeah, the same thing happened when Next Gen started, to some extent when DS9 started. VOY (while inconsistent) still gets more flak than it deserves, IMO, and I think that's starting to be re-evaluated. It seems in this day and age that Discovery vs. Orville became a kind of team sports thing - you either support one or the other. I never found that a helpful way of proceeding. I watched both and judged them for their relative merits like I think most sensible people did.

I liked and enjoyed about 6 episodes across Discovery's run: the two-part pilot, Into The Forest I Go, The Wolf Inside, The War Within and Project Daedalus. I stuck with it for two seasons despite the fact that after the first 4-5 episodes my opinion of it was extremely low. I liked the original Shenzhen setup and found most of what came after to be bad drama and bad sci-fi, with iffy performances, next-to-no character work, very few interesting ideas (and those few ideas that did have potential were botched in the writing and execution). I kept watching a) because I wanted to see if it got better b) it was the first new Trek series in a decade c) I was paying for Netflix anyway for various shows, not just Discovery d) I kind of wanted to see how bad it got e) I enjoy watching episodes so that I'm able to contribute in the debate here f) I write, and I think I can learn as much or more from watching and analyzing drama with bad writing as from watching drama with good writing. Watching and analyzing something that's bad is still a productive experience for me. I almost rage-quit after Vaulting Ambition, an episode I found to be repugnant, but seeing as I was essentially getting the show for free and there were only 3 episodes left, I carried on.

I returned for season 2 having been given hope by the show's new direction. While that season didn't work out for me, I thought Project Daedalus was a masterpiece of the type that Discovery - especially late into season 2 - didn't have the capacity to deliver. It gave me renewed hope for the series given that the author of that episode is the showrunner for season 3.

I won't be watching season 3 after all, because I cancelled Netflix after they cancelled The OA. And because I found Discovery's two-part season finale (also co-written by Paradise) to be its absolute nadir. The 20% of Discovery episodes I did consider to be solidly good weren't worth the other 80% that were some of the worst drama I've ever seen. And the episodes I did like didn't work as standalones (making it unlikely I'd revisit them) but were interstitial arc episodes, with the partial exception of Project Daedalus.

As to Picard, I did quit it. I really disliked it by the end of the third episode, and by the time episodes 4-5 came around, I'd simply had enough - I watch the show with people I don't want to expose to that kind of graphic sadistic violence. I didn't want to expose myself to it either, and I don't want to put myself in a place where watching something feels like a chore, or I'm forcing myself to watch something I really dislike just out of misguided loyalty. And it was the only reason I subscribed to Amazon Prime, so I did feel that I was specifically paying for the show. That being the case, by cancelling I also wanted to send a message.

I do find TNG S1, for all its flaws, preferable to either DIS or PIC because it at least shows people who I like and respect and a world I'd like to be a part of. I think something that's really been lost in the nu-Trek era is the counterintuitive understanding that Trek is a workplace show. We want to see a team of professionals doing their job. Those kinds of shows have never been the coolest or most critically acclaimed, but remain the most popular with viewers - NCIS, ER, police procedurals etc. As a viewer you feel like a proxy part of the team. That's a big part of why Trek in general and TNG in particular were able to break into the mainstream. Because we like spending time with smart, professional people and seeing them work together to solve problems, support each other and do their job well. That thread, for the most part, runs right through from TOS to ENT.

Where Trek from TOS-ENT was a workplace show, DIS and PIC are "ride" shows where the viewer perspective is locked onto one POV character (Burnham/Picard) who essentially becomes an avatar for the viewer as they're whisked from one set of outlandish and shocking circumstances to the next, with lots of rollercoaster-style twists and turns along the way. That approach mostly doesn't leave room for characterization, thoughtful tackling of ideas, quiet day-to-day moments, and the variety of tones and genres that always made Trek what it was. The great thing about Star Trek (and that nu-Trek doesn't seem to understand) is that it's not a fixed format or genre ("space adventure") but a conceptual category - from one week to the next, Trek can be a screwball comedy, courtroom drama, philosophical meditation, murder mystery, study of religion, domestic/relationship drama, psychological horror, comedy of manners, study of loss... any type of story, any genre can be set in that universe and most have been. That's a significant part of what's gone missing. (I would embrace a Trek with no or minimal space stuff, which is why the fact that Picard was on Earth for the first three episodes of the series wasn't a problem for me - they just didn't use the time well.)

There doesn't have to be a jeopardy angle. I've been rewatching VOY S6 recently, which I didn't used to consider that strong but is actually better than I remembered, and something that has leapt out at me is that many episodes lack an antagonist. Blink Of An Eye, Pathfinder, Life Line, One Small Step, The Voyager Conspiracy, Memorial and Survival Instinct all lack a villain - the drama emerges from a situation ("Seven absorbs too much data", "an antique spacecraft trapped in an anomaly", "stuck in orbit above a planet where time runs differently", "a war memorial that transmits conflict memories to nearby people", "trying to establish communications between Earth and Voyager") rather than an antagonist or . Others, like Tinker Tenor, Collective and Ashes To Ashes, have gentle antagonists with relateable motives (comical aliens, a scared child, a father trying to retrieve his daughter). Again, this less-is-more approach when it comes to stakes also seems to have gone missing. Instead, because the writers don't have the skill to write these smaller character stories. every single season has to be about "all sentient life in the galaxy" potentially being wiped out.

If you are going to go the jeopardy route, you better make sure you have a good villain - again characterization is key here, and is what's missing. Gul Madred. General Chang. Khan. Henry Starling. Annorax. Kashyk. The Clown. Winn. The Female Changeling. Dukat. Weyoun. Alixus(!). Moriarty. I could go on. Instead, because the writers aren't able to create rounded, interesting antagonists of that caliber, DIS/PIC has given us Mirror Georgiou, "Lorca is actually evil now" (then dispatched within the space of 1 episode), made Klingons into Orc-like monsters that eat people (because apparently the Klingons were too *subtle* in previous Star Trek), cackling villains in a grand conspiracy that doesn't stand up to any scrunity, a woman who tortures people to death, killer AI, killer AI and killer AI.

There's a selection bias element to your question - you ask why so many people who dislike Picard are still watching it, yet all the people who *have* quit the show and *have* stopped discussing it online aren't visible or present here or on other forums. So however many people stop watching and stop discussing the show, what you see online will always automatically be the remaining people who are still watching.

Hope that helps!
Trent
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 7:53am (UTC -5)
I thought this AV Club review by Zack Handlen highlighted well the show's reliance on contrivances:

"One of the major problems of “Broken Pieces” is how so many of its choices serve to make the show’s universe feel smaller. Take Ramdha. [...] We learn she’s a member of the Zhat Vash—and not just a member, but the woman who raised Narek and Narissa. [...] It really just serves to give the impression that there are about ten people running around doing things and they all know each other.

[...] we discover that Rios, too, has a connection to the synthetics; his old ship met two ambassadors from Soji’s home planet, and his old captain murdered them both on orders from Starfleet. Which means that Raffi somehow managed to put Picard on the ship of a man who has a completely unrelated connection to the main plot, without knowing about that connection, and without Rios himself even realizing what was going on until he actually sees Soji for himself.

That’s terrible writing. [...] The whole season has been hinting at some dark secret in Rios’s past, but this is a reveal that stretches credibility. [...] And the effort the script goes to in order to try and make that tragedy land borders on self-parody. It’s not just that Rios lost a captain; the captain, who Rios loved like a father, kills himself when Rios confronts him. Rios even keeps a sketched drawing of the synthetics on hand and remembers what the female liked to eat, despite having known them both for less than a day.

So much of this episode is like this, leaning on emotion to make connections where basic narrative logic and pacing fail. Elnor contacts Seven to come to the Borg cube to help him fight off the Romulans, and sure, it seems pretty inevitable that Seven, like Picard, would find herself on that cube at some point. But while Picard needed to negotiate his entrance (including an extended scene of Raffi conning an old frenemy into doing her a solid), Seven just magically appears in the middle of a fight scene, seizes control, and then explains to Elnor why it would be a bad idea to reactivate the Collective to fight the Romulans before doing just that. There’s literally a scene in which a character willingly reinserts herself into the greatest nightmare of her entire life, and it’s over in about five minutes with no apparent ill effect.

Or hey, how about Agnes waking up and confessing everything to a very disappointed Picard, including the fact that she had a psychic block that prevented her from talking about her visions—said block apparently just disappearing because she tried to kill herself? She then meets Soji and asks her a few questions, and now she’s fully back on board with Team Let’s Protect The Fleshy Androids, apologizing to everyone about the whole murder thing."
Captain Jon
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 8:28am (UTC -5)
Wolfstar, thank you so much for your thoughtful response! That is the kind of insight I’m looking for! To know what goes through someone’s mind as they watch these shows. Thank you very much!
Frank
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 8:37am (UTC -5)
Two comments:
1- people who complain that this isn’t Star Trek reminds me of when I was traveling around the world (literally) I would encounter Americans who complained that the food or the culture was not like home, and I wondered why they traveled at all. I learned very quickly adapt and enjoy. Think about it.
2- the Picard series is like a book with 10 chapters, not a short story like previous ST’s. I just finished the Picard novel and it explains a lot of what happens in the time between the discovery of the Romulan supernova and the Mars attack. I recommend this book.
Atomguy
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 9:03am (UTC -5)
I was starting to get worried about STP, but now I feel pretty good about it, after three 3 1/2 star episodes, it looks like Picard may be turning things around. I think that part of it is that he's finally starting to sound like Picard, instead of just Patrick Stewart, and that makes a big difference.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 9:06am (UTC -5)
"People who complain that this isn’t Star Trek reminds me of when I was traveling around the world (literally) I would encounter Americans who complained that the food or the culture was not like home, and I wondered why they traveled at all."

What kind of strange analogy is that? Expecting other countries to be like the USA, is just stupid. Expecting all TV shows to be like Star Trek is equally stupid, but that's not what's happening here.

We're just expecting a show that has the words "Star Trek" in its title to be like Star Trek. Not sure why this seems to be so unreasonable in your view.
fevredream
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 9:15am (UTC -5)
Man, this show has had a real streak of winners for these past three episodes. Really getting me into the show with nicely played character moments, great callbacks, and a surprisingly engaging plot. Not perfect, but very good stuff. Hope the two-part final sticks the landing.
Grimlock
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 9:17am (UTC -5)
Maybe a dumb question: If Commodore Oh knew that a First Contact mission from the Vayt Sector would contain androids a decade ago, why hasn't the Zhat Vash been able to discover the android homeworld in the meantime?
Rahul
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 9:26am (UTC -5)
@wolfstar

Great post. Generally agree with all you say and your analysis. The problem with nu-Trek is the writing and, as you put so well, "ride" shows as opposed to "work" shows. Nu-Trek is about jarring emotional stimulation with little behind the curtains and that is disappointing.

I love TOS->ENT (to varying degrees but I do love all 5 series) but DSC was the first Trek series that I honestly didn't like (even if it didn't rate that poorly by my standards -- but this is due to producing fewer eps and being tied into a broad arc). I'd have to say I like PIC a lot more than DSC (the cast is vastly superior) but still not anywhere to the extent I like TOS->ENT.

You are singling out "Project Daedalus" as a standout DSC episode -- just wondering if you didn't mean "If Memory Serves" which I thought was excellent as the standout DSC S2 episode and best DSC episode overall. "Project Daedalus" was very good as well.
Elderberry
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 9:30am (UTC -5)
I'm really enjoying the way the pace picks up episode by episode. The title sequence shows us the ice falling from the vine leaf, moves throught the borg cube and ends with the fragments of the broken planet making Picard whole again. The ten-show run is doing the same thing. This week we had the first prolonged look at the captain we remember, the first reference to this bunch of people as a crew. The conclusion is going to be quite a ride as it draws all this together. It's very much one long show broken into parts - we possibly need that to get us from where we were to here, but it would be nice if season 2 was a bit more genuinely episodic.

One thing I noticed - Raffi does an odd gesture (at least once this week, and once before) of pressing her fingers into her face as if she was doing an auto-mind meld - that isn't something we've seen before is it? Can you use Vulcan pressure points to trigger or suppress memories? Or behaviors?

And I hated Enoch the ENavH's terrible 'Irish' accent, like nothing ever heard in Ireland, but then the EEngH's Scots was as bad, so maybe the bogus-ness is the point somehow.
Dom
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 10:16am (UTC -5)
@Frank, the problem with this analogy is that watching a Star Trek show isn't the same as international travel. That's the wrong analogy. There's no logical reason why someone going to Vietnam or Germany should expect the food to be the same. This is more like someone going to a famous restaurant that they've eaten at before, ordering a familiar dish, and getting something completely different. If you go to a McDonalds and order a hamburger, you expect a McDonalds hamburger. Just like how if you watch a show called Star Trek, it's reasonable to expect a show that adheres to the storytelling principles and conventions of Star Trek. If you watch a show called Battlestar Galactica, that's not a reasonable expectation.
Jammer
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 10:56am (UTC -5)
We need a return to civility here. I don't like what I've seen in recent weeks, with users constantly getting into bickering matches with each other, and all these pointless fights over who is entitled to have opinions as members of the Trek fandom, and who isn't, and who is righteous, and who feels attacked, and so on. Everyone has a right to their opinion, but you should argue in good faith and play nicely. You don't have a right to belittle other people here.

Let's just say that certain posters have been problems more frequently than others. I won't call them out, because then it becomes a useless lawyer's game of whataboutism. But, yes, I am aware of it. If you can't make the discussion about the shows and instead have to make it about yourself or the other posters, you're doing it wrong. If you can't figure it out, then I invite you to leave.

So let me be clear:

1. Impersonating other users is against the rules here, even if it's done with an abundance of sarcasm to make rhetorical points. Don't do it. If someone is using an established name on this site, don't use it to mock them or pretend to post as if you were them.

2. Wishing ill on others' health is against the rules here. I don't care if you were baited or trolled or slighted or whatever. Don't do it. Even if it's not a threat per se, it is beneath what this board should be.

I don't want to wade into who is right and wrong in all these perceived slights and user feuds. It's a fool's errand and a waste of everyone's time.

I frankly don't have time to police all of this. As the board owner, it's my responsibility to make sure things don't get out of hand, and in the 12-plus years that I've allowed comments on this site, it's rarely (although not never, especially in recent years) been a problem and I can generally be pretty hands-off. Perhaps that's changing. I hope not. My time commitment to this board cannot increase, and if push comes to shove, I will shut it down before I start moderating a bunch of bad behavior.

So as a plea to you on behalf of the board and the other users, stop this nonsense. I hate coming in like a third-grade teacher to tell people to cut it out, but, yes, cut it out. Life is too short. If you want to troll each other, find somewhere else.

Sorry for the tirade (and likely condescension), but enough is enough.
Dom
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 10:58am (UTC -5)
great analysis @wolfstar. I'd only add two things:

Seth McFarlane called TNG the most realistic depiction of a workplace on TV. It showed people generally getting along to solve problems. Fans of nuTrek seem to view that as a bug. Fans of TNG thought that was a feature.

Second, to answer the question you were answering, some of us still watching Picard feel like we owe it at least one season. Also, we might be watching with friends or family who do like the show. Like my wife isn't super-engaged with the show, but she's not as frustrated as me, so we keep watching.
Chrome
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 11:03am (UTC -5)
@Dom

"If you go to a McDonalds and order a hamburger, you expect a McDonalds hamburger. Just like how if you watch a show called Star Trek, it's reasonable to expect a show that adheres to the storytelling principles and conventions of Star Trek."

I've given this some thought, and while I agree we all have expectations for Star Trek, the disagreements stem from what we expect Star Trek to be. If I were looking at Star Trek from JJ Abrams' perspective, for example, he'd probably say something like "Star Trek is an action adventure story in Space with a moralistic message". Now, I think by no means is that wrong for JJ Abrams to think that. Certainly, that description covers many Star Trek episodes. Others might say that description is too simplistic or misses the point of what Star Trek really is - and they might be right in a sense. But the thing is, Star Trek means so many *different* things to so many people, that some people latch onto some elements while other fans will latch on others.

To expand on your McDonald's analogy, consider that McDonalds in Hawaii has pineapple and spam as standard menu items while Japanese McDonalds has teriyaki burgers. Some Americans might say "well, that's just not McDonalds! True McDonalds has is a regular good old American burger!". But from a Hawaiian or Japanese customer's POV, that's not true at all. McDonalds obviously means more than just burgers, but it's hard to say exactly what the brand is for all.
Tranya and Tonic
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 11:46am (UTC -5)
This show is really impressing me. There were two episodes so far that didn't really engage me, but nothing has completely turned me off so far. I find myself genuinely looking forward to each new episode to see how they surprise me. With Discovery, I always looked forward to each episode as well, but my overall feeling was more like, "God! Please don't screw this up." I like that show quite a bit too - the characters are all enjoyable and the individual scenes play nicely, but their approach to story arcs is... peculiar. Some episodes seem to tread water and then a single episode will suddenly lurch the whole story forward with a massive dump of exposition.

Picard, on the other hand, feels much more balanced. Some episodes have been more action oriented than others, but each episode seems to add something to the canvas in a way that makes sense. Compare to episodes of Discovery like "The Red Angel" or "Through the Valley of Shadows" that seemed to be juggling more plot elements than they knew what to do with.

I enjoy Rios a lot. He's easily my favorite of the new characters in the show. His basic character type (cynical loner who plays by his own rules) is such a cliche, but the show and actor manage to do some interesting and unique things with him. The holograms also add a nice element of comedy without being ridiculous and slapstick. I was happy to learn a lot more about him in this episode.

Picard laying into Agnes was also fun to see. We've seen Picard make the impassioned inspirational speeches before in this show, but I don't think we've seen a solid "I'M SO DISAPPOINTED IN YOU" dressing down a la "The First Duty" or "The Pegasus." Nothing makes a person's motivational turn make more sense like having Picard rip them a new one.

Deep cuts with Marta Batanades. Nice.

I would watch a complete Seven of Nine series. The plot elements involving her weren't that interesting, but Jeri Ryan is just so engaging to watch!
Dom
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 12:00pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome, you're right, the analogy to McDonalds isn't perfect (what analogy is?). But as I've argued in other posts there's still a range of reasonable expectations one has when it comes to McDonalds versus other restaurants. If you go to a Ruth Smith steak house and you get a McDonalds hamburger, you'd be right to complain. If you go to a McDonalds and get a McDonalds hamburger, well that's part of the deal. Some McDonalds restaurants might vary up the meal a bit in different countries or times (the way 90s Trek offered variants on the Trek formula), but at the end of the day it's all cheap, mass produced fast food.

Regarding the expectations for Trek, true, people have different opinions. That's why I'm a fan of *respectfully* discussing those expectations and seeing where we might disagree. And there will be lots of room for legitimate disagreement. I totally respect that some people might have gotten into Trek because of the philosophy, others because of the characters or space opera, etc.

Still, I think some interpretations are more valid than others and I'm not afraid to say so. Like we do have 700 ours of story content to analyze, so we can't just make up anything and say it's Trek. For example, I think anyone who looks at Star Trek up through 2005 and claims that it isn't a generally optimistic, family friendly show is crazy or disingenuous.

As for JJ Abrams... are we even sure he's watched any Trek episodes? ;)
Chrome
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 12:20pm (UTC -5)
@Dom

True, but the burger is really just a very basic item for McDonalds. To make this analogy to Star Tek true, we'd need a similarly basic Trek component like the "future story in space". In that sense, I think we can agree all the Star Treks deliver.

Now what if I told you that many enjoy the Free Wi-Fi at McDonald's or the bottomless coffee or the clean bathrooms? Those are all standard components of the McDonald's franchise too, but some locations are more successful at delivering these deeper components of the brand that are still vital to some. That's where the different expectations come.

To tie this discussion to the subject matter, I think ST: PIC offers more of the discussion and thoughtfulness that was a part of TNG. PIC is obviously more thoughtful in a dramatic sense than DISC, but I think you could even go further and argue that PIC is more thoughtful than VOY which had it's own share of clumsy writing and mind-bogglingly crazy endings for stories. Still, some people may not even like the discussion aspect of Star Trek and may prefer the good old action episodes of TOS with the crazy planets and death matches. Trek is a very rich franchise.

Just as an aside, I'd prefer comparing Star Trek to Starbucks over McDonald's. McDonald's just isn't a great product no matter what you expect it doesn't deserve to be in the same sentence as Star Trek. :-)
Chrome
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 12:23pm (UTC -5)
Tranya and Tonic wrote:

"I would watch a complete Seven of Nine series. The plot elements involving her weren't that interesting, but Jeri Ryan is just so engaging to watch!"

I would like this too. I wasn't a big VOY fan, but some of the characters were great. If they can produce a good story about Seven freeing XBs and reuniting them with their identities, it would be a fun watch.
antispam answer = picard
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 1:23pm (UTC -5)
What happened to that dude who says "I Am Tosk".

Did Q transport him to Sherwood Forest?
MikeC
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 3:05pm (UTC -5)
Ffs.

For a brief BRIEF moment I thought we were going to get a good scene as Seven's eye go black, she announces 'We Are Borg' in cool Borg voice and YES we're gonna see some borg assimilation action!!

Oh... all the borg just got spaced. Anti climax.

And then they just decide to have a mini exB battle a bit later. Terrible pacing, terrible set up. Ugh this show has so many missteps where there could have been some gold.
Ghh1
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 3:33pm (UTC -5)
Shouldn't the threat to blow up the ship remotely have been a gigantic red flag that something definitely wasn't kosher? Until now it had been a given that only the captain and XO together could trigger auto-destruct.

And even the Romulans have the courtesy to let their captains wipe themselves out.
Gerontius
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 4:00pm (UTC -5)
Three good episodes in a row. It looks all set to be a good first season. Only one naff episode so far, Stardust City Rag.

I've always been a pretty tolerant viewer of Star Trek, all series. I judge episodes generally as ranging from OK to pretty good, to the occasional outstanding. But OK is OK for me. (I never understood who people were so down about Farpoint, which I thought was an enjoyable enough romp which did a good job introducing us to the Next Generation crew.)

I tend to concur with the point Frank made about tourists who deprive themselves of the pleasure of a new experience because it's not quite like what they've had back home. I found the comments about the McDonalds eateries interesting. I've only eaten once in a McDonalds, because it was the only place open, and it put me off for life - I mean if they are all like that one I won't be back. The eating/drinking franchise I favour is Wetherspoons, and that's because there's room within them for them all to be a little bit different, and I value that difference. Even though that means some aren't as good as others.

Incidentally, the idea of an artificially constructed pattern of stars which have been shifted around by the makers was first (?) used in Arthur C Clarke's fairly early book "The City and the Stars".

Anyway, on the basis of what we've seen so far I'm looking forward to the remaining two. And rather wishing they'd stuck with the 23 episode seasons of olden times.

But I hope the next season might lighten up on the serialisation, and go for something a bit more episodic, though with a fair element of story arc alongside.
SC
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 4:01pm (UTC -5)
Easily the worst episode so far. It was tedious. It was boring. They basically spent an hour telling us what we already know, again, with some hologram shenanigans along the way (which showed that Rios can act, but still...) This whole series could have been done in like 3 hours. I won't be re-watching the series.

Plus the swearing, uh! Telling Picard to shut the f**k up feels so wrong!

2/5
nf
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 4:47pm (UTC -5)
@SC Cabrera is clearly a skilled actor, but that hologram stuff was 95% ham, and not tasty ham at that. There's no need to chew quite so much scenery.
Tommy D.
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 5:03pm (UTC -5)
I thought this was another solid episode, save for the borg stuff again. As much as I like Seven and Elnor, the scenes on the cube don't do much for me. I did like that we got a little backstory to Rizzo, and her character is a little more interesting away from Narek, who doesn't work for me at all. 3 stars.

Also, I got a kick out of Admiral Clancy telling Picard to STFU. The swearing has been hit or miss in my opinion, but this time it worked for me. Though I may not revere Picard as much as others.

@Gerontius if they could pull something off like Deep Space Nine, I would be all for a hybrid of episodic/serialized content. The Orville does the episodic formula fairly well, but I never feel compelled to watch an episode right away (save for last seasons two part outing). With Discovery, even though I think its been very hit or miss, I do tend to watch as soon as the episode comes out to continue the story. Same with Picard (which I think has been much better than Discovery in its first season).
Vylora
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 5:26pm (UTC -5)
So far, Picard continues to be a great addition to the Trek franchise while still having issues with the over-arching plotline. I'm hoping it doesn't turn into another "the whole entire galaxy will 'splode" thing but oh well. Only two episodes left so I guess I'll wait and see with fingers crossed. As it stands, the last few episodes have been consistently good and the show overall has been a lot more even and respectful of canon than DSC. Not to say I didn't like DSC...it was okay in the first season and quite good in the second season for the most part.

Remembrance -
3.5 Stars
Maps and Legends -
3 Stars
The End is the Beginning -
2.5 Stars
Absolute Candor -
3 Stars
Stardust City Rag -
3.5 Stars
The Impossible Box -
3.5 Stars
Nepenthe -
4 Stars
Broken Pieces -
3.5 Stars
Marco
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 5:40pm (UTC -5)
Hello everyone:
The reason why I liked the last episode more than the others was fairly simple. I had noticed this before and pointed it out, but no one reacted, let's see if you agree now.
I have seen recent (last few months) interviews of Sir Patrick and he does look and sound older, but he is still Stewart, with a strong presence, if not a booming voice. In the first few episodes of the series, instead, Picard sounded...mopey? defeated? Waiting for death? In the last two episodes, suddenly (and especially last) he sounded more like...Picard ought to sound. Was it done on purpose? Am I imagining things? If it was done on purpose I can kind of get it, but it was very disconcerting initially (at least to me, YMMV).
And the comic relief of all the holograms together is very trek, to me. Or you forget Worf and his predilection for...prune juice? :)
Vylora
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 5:59pm (UTC -5)
Marco -
I noticed that, too, and I completely agree with you. He (Picard) has been a lot more energetic, forward, and purposeful in the last few episodes. It even seems he's enjoying himself quite a bit despite the dire nature of the circumstances. He's gone from "just waiting to die" to having a newfound sense of meaning and purpose. Whether intentional or not (and I think it is), I think it's fantastic and I'm glad that this is being acknowledged. Kudos to the directors and writers on this point and, of course, to Patrick Stewart.
Nothing but the Tears
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 6:04pm (UTC -5)
I'm happy to say I enjoyed this episode. Probably not as much as the previous two. That being said, I did like how some of the puzzle pieces came together to paint a more complete picture of what's going on.

I also enjoyed almost everything on the ship whereas it's been a mixed bag for me at times. As others have said, I don't think the stuff on the Borg cube is nearly as strong as it could be. It's almost like the writes (correctly) thought it sounded great on paper but it didn't translate to the finished product.

The writing on this show confuses me in that I've often found it really weak. But, from time to time, there's actually some great stuff here. For example, Troi's writing as some of the best I've seen for her, ever. With much more understanding of how important a character like her would be for a starship crew than TNG seemed to grasp.

Was it perfect? Far from it. Contrivances? Yep. I enjoyed it anyway. And that's one thing I've found. If a show or movie doesn't work for you on a basic, maybe emotional level, any misstep just sticks out like a sore thumb. If you enjoy it, you're a lot more likely to go with the flow and not dwell on or even perceive some of the gaps.

There are two other items I wanted to touch on briefly. One, I completely agree that the villains are a major weak point. And looking at the flashback that opens this episode, I really don't understand why. If this had been the first time we'd ever seen Oh and Narissa, I couldn't have imagined they'd become as shallow and clichéd as they turned out to be. Take away the mustache twirling, take away the sexed up, sadistic persona imposed on Narissa, and you've got two 'villains' with solid motiviations. I just don't get it why they opted for what's on screen.

And, two, I agree with others who have said the show suffers from the way it's structured. I think starting at the time of the planned evacuation and moving forward from there would have been much more effective. They could have still held back details such as the ancient civilization to keep a sense of mystery. Likewise, Dahj and Soji could still have been cyphers at the start. But I think the overall flow and build-up would have been more effective.

Anyway, I'm curious to see how the last two episodes play out. So looking forward to the next two weeks.
Jimbo
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 6:23pm (UTC -5)
Pretty decent episode, and now starting to connect all the dots.

So romulans go to attack soji homeworld. Picard can't stop them, star fleet mini fleet wiped out, Borg ship flys in to save the day. Soji kills evil pointy eared one. seven becomes Borg queen / sauron, makes the Aussie elf her assimilated orc. Evil brother appears, captures soji. Cue season 2.
Gerontius
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 7:05pm (UTC -5)
"If a show or movie doesn't work for you on a basic, maybe emotional level, any misstep just sticks out like a sore thumb. If you enjoy it, you're a lot more likely to go with the flow and not dwell on or even perceive some of the gaps."

I think "Nothing but the Tears" was nailed it there. There is indeed an extra enjoyment when a closer examination of something you've enjoyed identifies that it was really well constructed, but it's very secondary. No opera lover really gives a toss about the fact that virtually every opera you could name has a totally daft plot. Why should space opera be dragged over the coals if it's a bit like that?

So it didn't spoil my enjoyment that I couldn't make out why Admiral Clancy responded to Picard's call for help this time round. He didn't have much more in the way of hard evidence than he had before - a story about Soji claiming to have escaped an attempt to kill her, a strange excuse accusing the head of Starfleet security by Jurati to explain why she had killed Maddox. But this time she comes up with a fleet of warships being assembled, to go off and protect a bunch of the synthetics that the Federation have been demonising for years.

Anyway it's full steam now ahead for the Maddox planet. And maybe we'll find out why his androids evidently appear to have destroyed his lab and driven him into exile and death...
Brakosein
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 7:14pm (UTC -5)
@Dom

Saying those who do not agree with your opinion that Trek up to 2005 was family-friendly is a show of the precise kind of intolerant thought you claim to be opposed to.

One can certainly argue that the much of Enterprise, certainly seasons 3 or 4, were not family-friendly. (never mind that “family friendly” is not necessarily “good” in the first place). Also, to claim that some interpretations are “more valid than others” requires the interpreter to offer arguments instead of assertions, lest we head into “all animals are created equal, but some are created more equal than others” Orwellian newspeak-land.

I found, for example, ENT Season 4’s episode “Bound” to be a juvenile attempt at titillation. Manny Coto might say the episode was post-ironic mocking of those classic Trek shows some thought to be titillating, but the irony was lost on me. By the way, those episodes include such objets d’art as “The Gamesters of Triskelion.” I submit that episode was intended to titillate, which means it wasn’t family-friendly - unless you find repeated shots of a woman from the chest up, a handsy Shatner, and lame innuendo to be family friendly.

Also, what rulebook are we to follow when assessing whether something isn’t “Star Trek”? The writer’s bible? A producer’s after-an-episode-has aired say-so as to what the show is about? Popular consensus as measured by the average Trek fan? The average TV fan? The average sf fan? At some point the exercise becomes futile.

Not all interpretations are equal. All interpretations are, however, the product of at least some subjectivity and bias, hidden or otherwise. This concept resists understanding. Once one does understand, if’s harder for that person to say to someone of a different mind, “I’m right, you’re wrong, now shut up.”
Tom
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 7:31pm (UTC -5)
I'd also like to thank wolfstar for comments about what sets old Trek apart from new Trek.

"A team of professionals doing their job" - yes, I think this encapsulates what I most got out of Star Trek and why I continued to watch it. It wasn't my fascination with space phenomena, it wasn't cool looking ships or strange aliens. I didn't really care much about the moral messages. I had those interests, but I was a child who felt detached from a society which I felt from a young age was bringing me up to pursue nothing but my own self-interest. I desperately wanted to be part of something worthwhile, not for my own sake but as part of a harmonious whole.

The Enterprise and its crew served that function for a long time. It's a symbol, a microcosmic representation of the kind of macrocosm we'd like to live in. I didn't get that from the Discovery crew, which felt more like a bunch of individuals with their own agendas. This new Picard series barely has a crew at all. I wonder why the creators no longer feel they can uphold this vision. Is it all down to the individuals in charge, or a fundamental changing of the times?
Gerontius
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 8:05pm (UTC -5)
I get what you mean Tom - but my feeling is that one important aspect of Picard is about building that crew. As Picard said talking to Riker, what he's got is very "motley", and has a lot of baggage. But in this episode we saw it starting to come together as the baggage gets unpacked. I hope this continues to happen in the last two episodes, and in the next season.
Trent
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 9:03pm (UTC -5)
Picard's comment about this new crew being "more damaged" than his old crew, doesn't make much sense. Worf was an exile with an identity crisis, Crusher lost her husband, Wesley his dad, Tasha came from a rape planet, Data doesn't know his own history, Riker's dad hates him, Troi's got a domineering mommy etc etc.

The DS9 crew are even more messed up.

The difference is, Kurtzman-Trek handles thus stuff in a more soap-opera way. Past Trek would use these hang-ups as an avenue into some ancillary scifi topic, or bury it under a layer of crew professionalism.
Cody B
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 9:18pm (UTC -5)
Quite a good episode and the series seems to be in a uptick. I can confidently now say this series is better than Discovery. There’s still some flashy color and pacing stuff that’s kind of hard to exactly put a finger on that I don’t like. Like when they bring up the controls to the ship and it’s all that brightly colored CGI stuff all over the screen. And sometimes there’s a shakiness and quick pacing to the camera work. I wish the series had a little bit more of that sitcom sort aesthetic.
James White
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 10:22pm (UTC -5)
Trent - it depends on whether Picard is comparing his present crew to the Enterprise crew at the beginning of TNG or by season 7 (or even beyond). By then, his Enterprise crew had confronted and overcome most of the issues you mentioned
James White
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 10:34pm (UTC -5)
Also, I think an entire season could be spent exploring the mysteries of the artificially constructed octenarian solar system with the synth planet. That in itself would've been much better than this, especially from a sci fi point of view.

Ultimately, Kurtzman is an insufferable, arrogant hack. Fire him and most of his team. Pay Ronald Moore a king's ransom to take over.
Big Pimpin'
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 11:23pm (UTC -5)
The complaining is reaching pathetic new levels. Notice how the host of the website and the commentators opinions are starting to wildly and seemingly permanently diverge. What does that say? It says to me that Jammer continues to live in reality while others have wished it adieu. After all, they presumably came here because once upon a time they valued Jammer's opinions.
bencanuck
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 12:20am (UTC -5)
@Daniel

"The key is that you never see the original TNG characters (Picard, Data, Troi, Riker) use those words. I think that would have broken with the characterizations."

Is that really true, though? Picard has said 'merde' on TNG. Riker has used Romulan curse-insults (such as in "The Defector"). They definitely have these words in their vocabulary.

If it would break characterization, it isn't due to the vocabulary in itself. What distinguishes the speech of Clancy, Jurati, etc. from these characters' is the casualness of the word in the middle of the sentence, e.g., as for emphasis. In the past, when Picard and Riker used such words, it was almost deliberate and decisive.

Also, it was in a foreign human or alien language...
Captain Jon
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 12:37am (UTC -5)
@bencanuck

I'd like to add onto your observation about the TNG crew's vocabulary use. Did Data not say "oh shit" in Generations? What about Riker saying "bastards" in Insurrection? And when Lily calls Picard a "son of a bitch" in First Contact, did he act aghast at such a term being used in his presence? No, he continue on with his work and tried to brush her aside. With the medium of a motion picture, the writers were able to take more liberties with the cursing. I'm sure that if the rules of TV in 1987-1994 had been similar to today's that we would have seen a bit more cursing on TNG.
stardustraven
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 1:00am (UTC -5)
Captain Jon and Wolfstar,

"... Everyone has a different standard of what they continue to be good Star Trek. But no one can dictate to anyone else what is good and what is not and no one should ridicule or mock someone else for their opinion. It is all subject to one's own opinion. I'm not right but neither are you.

So....why do you still watch? Are you waiting for it to meet your standard for what you consider to be good Star Trek? What other reason would you have other than you're waiting for it to get good or because it's Star Trek? I'm just curious and trying to have a civil discussion about this.
Set Bookmark"

"... There are those who have voiced only negative opinions, nothing positive. People who say they are done and yet return. I’m only curious to know what keeps them watching. Those who identify both positive and negative aspects seem to have a genuinely open mind and aren’t out to trash these shows simply because they can. They are making genuine critiques."

Captain Jon,

I definitely understand that you sincerely want to invite a
respectful discussion. I reread all of my previous comments
and I do not think that I dictated anything or ridiculed or
mocked anyone. I just expressed my profound and passionate
disappointment with this show.
Then why do I still continue to watch the show?
Because of my loyalty to the character of Picard. Although
as said in my previous comment, I still continue to struggle
to not let this show influence my opinion of the TNG Picard.
As well as that by watching the first season in its entirety
I want to give the show a fair chance.
But my passionate dislike of this show does not mean that
I do not have an open mind.
*******
Wolfstar,

Thank you for your very thoughtful comment!

stardustraven
Mandala
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 1:12am (UTC -5)
To those who insist, in each new episode comments thread, on attacking the people who don't like the show and ask why they bother watching: I would like to ask a counter-question. Why come to a forum, a place which is there to openly express opinions, and then attack the free expression of people who do just that? A place where unconditional love for something is expressed is called a temple, or place of worship. I'm sure there exist those kinds of places where Star Trek: Picard is concerned. Maybe you would be more at home there.
Brian Lear
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 1:19am (UTC -5)
Trent, thanks for your perfect explanation for "why we still watch" and what we are hoping for. I didn't realize just how much of a "workplace" show Trek can be. It totally is! But it hides it well. Regardless, I think TOS, and then TNG, showed an entire generation of kids how to work together as a team. I imagine that must have some kind of concrete effect in the real world. Unfortunately, in the real world, people are a little less perfect. And in some ways, I think those shows set us up for massive disappointment when dealing with real people. Still, there is real value to those early lessons, and I think Roddenberry knew that.
Captain Jon
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 2:11am (UTC -5)
Stardustraven, I appreciate your thoughtfulness. I do not recall all of your previous posts however I take you at your word when you say you never mocked anyone. I never directed my original question at anyone specifically because I did not want anyone to think that I was going after/attacking them. Things have a way of spiraling out of control on an online forum where everyone remains anonymous behind their keyboard and thus have no accountability in their every day lives.

Now, whether or not I should have kept my post in such a general fashion is another question. I wanted to hear from those who have a passionate dislike of PIC & DIS and not get into a Hurling of the Insults with someone who felt like I was coming after them. I never addressed any specific comments in order to keep it generalized. Some have expressed their views in more passionate terms than others. Some have said they're done watching yet return. Others, like yourself, don't say that and are clearly waiting for it to "get better" in their eyes.

As it is, a couple people seem to have taken my attempt at civility in the wrong manner I have thought that I was attempting to intimidate or shame them into not sharing their opinions. So perhaps not addressing any one person or any one comment specifically was a mistake. I don't know.
Captain Jon
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 2:19am (UTC -5)
Sorry for the double-post but I just remembered to make an observation about a comment that I read earlier today. Someone mentioned something along the lines that fans of nuTrek view the TNG characters working together to solve problems as a bug. In my case, not true. I grew up with TNG. For me, that is and to this day remains STAR TREK. Its optimistic message shaped me. Its acceptance of others has helped me with how I look at others.

If there is one regret that I have with the way the characters of TNG were handled it's that there wasn't more tension between them. Not in the constantly fighting or feuding sense. I'm talking about in the sense of the tension that existed for a time between Kira & Bashir on DS9. While I do believe that depicting people from different walks of life who are totally different coming together and solving problems is inspiring, I also believe that people who have personal differences and yet are able to set those aside to solve problems is equally inspiring.

Isn't that also a tremendous message for Star Trek to broadcast? That even though we have some conflict or problem with someone else that we are still able to moved beyond that and work together to solve problems? Considering the political dynamics of today (particularly in the US) and the hyper-partisanship that exists, isn't that a message that should resonate and be important to share with the world? "Hey, you and I have a difference of opinion on A, B & G but we have a problem that needs to be solved so let's work together". I don't know....maybe I'm just mistaken in the kind of message that STAR TREK can deliver.
Mal
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 2:25am (UTC -5)
@ wolfstar said, "made Klingons into Orc-like monsters that eat people (because apparently the Klingons were too *subtle* in previous Star Trek)”

LOL! Love it! :-)

@ Jammer, I hope you get a chance to put up a 25th anniversary post where we can share our thanks. Maybe also a Patreon tip jar or some such? Because your reviews, this website, and all the great contributors over the years, have been such a wonderful part of enjoying Trek - and also Andromeda and nBSG.

I’ll just say, if forced to self-isolate, what better way to spend the time than going back and watching old Trek side by side with Jammer’s st-hypertext?!!

Going back and looking at my very first comment on this board more than a decade ago, I’m happy to say it was… complaining about Star Trek! Plus ca change.

And speaking of complaining,

@ Frank, I don’t think you’ve understood the message of Star Trek: Picard when you ask something like:
"people who complain that this isn’t Star Trek reminds me of when I was traveling around the world (literally) I would encounter Americans who complained that the food or the culture was not like home, and I wondered why they traveled at all. I learned very quickly adapt and enjoy. Think about it.”

@ OmicronThetaDeltaPhi gets close to the answer.

The whole point of Star Trek: Picard is to show that it is not only enough just to recognise *when* Starfleet (or say the show Star Trek) has stopped being true to itself. And it is decidedly the *wrong* response to take all your marbles and go home, the way Picard resigned from Starfleet, or the way some people seem to think certain fans should just stop watching.

What Picard should have done with Starfleet rather than resign - and what fans who dislike nuTrek must do with Star Trek rather than switch off - is stick with it, and keep speaking up and keep speaking out, until they ensure that Star Trek can be what it is supposed to be. To boldly go where no man has gone before.

If TNG's Picard set a bold course and declared "Engage," then ST:Picard tells us - in one simple catch phrase, "Stay Engaged."

peace.
Mike
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 2:45am (UTC -5)
@Captain Jon
"Isn't that also a tremendous message for Star Trek to broadcast? That even though we have some conflict or problem with someone else that we are still able to moved beyond that and work together to solve problems? "

For a setting where humanity is just setting out and getting established in the stars? Sure. And it's been done in other shows (obligatory Babylon 5 mention here).

For Star Trek, whose Federation has progressed past such teething problems, I see it as a far better message that we are able to overcome our interpersonal and interracial conflicts entirely. Because saying that we have to set some problems aside is as good as saying they can't be solved, and as I see it, that isn't a good future at all.
Gerontius
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 4:15am (UTC -5)
Problems will always arise, Mike. Making a better world isn't about making a perfect world, and the work of doing that is never going to be finished, because there's always a need to stop it slipping back. That's not a reason to despair or say "that isn't a good future at all".

That's a central theme to Picard. It's always been an aspect of Star Trek actually, but this series is a lot more explicit about it. That reflects the times we live in, as has been noted by a lot of people here.
Mike
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 4:29am (UTC -5)
That wasn't what I understood Captain Jon to be talking about, Gerontius. Of course problems arose between crew on the Enterprise-D. The difference was they could be solved and peace could be made, rather than being begrudgingly set aside. That creates a horrible workplace if I can't forgive my co-workers for who they are and hold resentments which I need to hold in to get along properly. It may reflect the times, but I hope it doesn't reflect the future.
Ruth
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 4:51am (UTC -5)
My favourite part of this was Raffi knowing she shouldn't go and have a go at Rios and doing it anyway. I'm glad she stayed off the drink at least, but no-one's perfect, right? She's really grown on me. I like how she's a warm person and very skilled despite also being a complete and utter mess. She's a bit like B'Elanna Torres in that respect.

I think Soji and the rest forgave Jurati a bit quickly. I see now what they were going for with her being really fucked up by killing, but I think it would have worked better if we knew what was going on with her from the start. Wouldn't it have meant more when she unintentionally kills the Romulan agent chez Picard if we *knew* she'd been sent out to kill and was dreading it? And when she couldn't even hit a pop up ad? And when she killed Maddox, obviously? And then what they're doing here, that she never could have done it, not killing both, that would ring more true. (I wasn't the only one waiting for one or the other to lunge for the other in that scene, right? And it was unclear if they were alone or not too... really weird.)

They made Oh and Narissa much more sympathetic, but it's the same problem. I think I really needed to see at least half of this from when we were finding out about the Zhat Vash initially, or in some scene between Narissa and Narek. I mean, it all being women, would that not have been ideal, her telling him "you can't fall for that thing, you wouldn't if you'd seen what I'd seen!" "but I'm not allowed :(". It would also have enabled them to go slower with Jurati if they wanted, because the minute she said "what I've seen :(" we would have known what that was.

Also these Zhat Vash as well as the original aliens are really stupid? This is mind control. No info dump, no matter how tedious, drives people insane. Seven for example didn't get like this either when she downloaded Voyager's entire database into her brain (only minorly crazy... in a Raffi kind of way!) or when she was remembering being assimilated as dozens of drones (far worse than... looking at Data's face? ooh scary!!). That thing is messing them up, not synths! And they're too dumb to realise. Also, is it worse for Romulans (and Vulcans) or was Oh just taking a massive gamble with Jurati?

They're really upping the Seven-as-grieving-mother stakes aren't they. It was already a thing in Voyager, with One in Drone, and also to a lesser extent with Icheb volunteering his cortical node for her. Seven *outright* killing her half dead Borg son because they *already* took his Borg parts out ties those two together nicely (horribly.) But Troi's shrine to her dead son & naming her daughter after her dead sister that sent her mum a bit funny last episode is blown out of the water here. All of Seven's new children immediately dying and zooming off into the void (I guess they forgot that Borg cubes have transporters and incredibly good tractor beams and that Borg can survive in space for a little while normally? But whatever). Poor Seven :( I think her becoming a temporary Queen should have been a bit more exciting/dramatic than it was. Maybe it's just because, despite all the nasty things they're doing to characters on here, we knew she'd get back out? I feel like it should have been really awesome and terrifying, but it was just a bit meh. Jeri Ryan sold the horror of it for Seven really well, and I think the contrast with Elnor thinking it sounded like a great idea with no problems! worked too, but somehow the way it was laid out didn't resonate properly. Sometimes the jumping around they do works for me, I think here maybe we should have stayed with Seven the whole horrible time. It's a quiet horror, I guess, and needs to be able to slowly build.

It was nice to see Clancy again. I hope she's what she seems and not part of the conspiracy. Just an Admiral who really really hates Picard, but has to respect him despite that, and professional despite her love of swearing in private. Isn't that kind of realistic? Like Raffi said a few episodes ago, he's probably still the face on the Starfleet brochures - that kind of respect doesn't mean everyone will *like* him! Though, that does make it a bit strange that the young man at Starfleet HQ didn't recognise him - not least because he'd been all over the telly the other night. Maybe he was just a bit clueless, and it was only meant to be a little blow to Picard's pride, not actually saying no-one knows who he is any more.

I was worried at the end that Picard would be rebuffed by Rios. I'm glad he wasn't. And I'm glad Rios let Raffi in the second time. Like, I see what they've been doing, but they have to realise it's a bit offputting when our expectations are only nearly fully met very near the end. I think they needed to show more contrast with other people or even other better functioning societies to properly *show* that this was dysfunction (of course, the aliens-of-the-week stuff was great for that, for showing problems on one or ideally both sides!). It's the same problem I had with Discovery S1 - if we'd seen the real Captain whatshisface, or any other ship during the war, we wouldn't have been wondering if this was simply how they were reimagining Starfleet/the Federation.

This doesn't feel worth making a whole separate comment on the other thread, but I really liked your review of the previous episode, Jammer!
Gerontius
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 4:53am (UTC -5)
Setting aside troubling differences in order to work together towards shared goals isn't a matter of holding down burning resentments and hatred. We aren't defined by what we believe - just because you hate what someone believes doesn't have to mean you hate them because of what they are.

What's emerging in Picard is a message about living with imperfection and still getting the mission done by working together.
Richard James
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 5:53am (UTC -5)
@James White

I agree - the small bits of background on this star system and this ancient civilization are really compelling and hark back to the best aspects of TNG and the idea of 'exploration'.

Personally I would have liked to have seen more (or even a flashback) of Rios's time in Starfleet, and the moral dilemma his former captain faced by killing the synth emissaries. (Orders and duty Vs morality and life).

Both of these aspects are small, but give a great texture to the series that's been mostly missing so far.
Gerontius
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 6:52am (UTC -5)
My impression was that the relevant dilemma for Rios's captain wasn't so much a clash between duty and ethics, but between protecting the ship's crew from a threat and obeying a clearly unethical order from those levying that threat. So far as Starfleet itself was involved the clear duty would be to defy the order, but loyalty to the crew was allowed to outweigh that.
Dom
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 7:57am (UTC -5)
@Chrome, the issue I have with your formulation is that "future story in space" is so generic that it could apply to most sci-fi franchises, including Battlestar Galactica, Farscape, Mass Effect, Babylon 5, etc (although notably not Star Wars). Yet, Star Trek is different from those "future stories in space."

Perhaps you've inadvertently explained why I find Picard so frustrating. It feels so generic. So many of the plot developments and character arcs feel like they've been lifted from other sci-fi shows. The reveal this episode about ancient AI threats comes straight from Mass Effect. The shaky cam and dark lighting feel like BSG directorial innovations. The violence feels out of place. Even my wife said that killing those thousands of Borg didn't feel like "Star Trek" and she's not a longtime fan.

Also, I just don't see the thoughtfulness and discussion in Picard. If you do, I'm glad you're getting that out of the show. But for all the writers and actors claimed this show was a response to the growing xenophobia in our world, I don't feel like the show has anything particularly interesting to say. It's fine for a show to focus on character drama and plot, but I guess I just expect more than that from Trek. BSG imo is still the gold standard for how to do both.

And I should reiterate lest fans of this show try to attack me: I don't hate "Picard." Some episodes (5) were truly awful, but I've also enjoyed a few episodes. There have been some truly great Picard scenes, especially in last week's episode. But like I said above the show feels generic. It's missing something and I don't feel invested. I'm more than content to watch it every week, but I don't think about it, I don't have any urge to buy the tie-in novel, I don't feel emotionally connected to any of the characters, I'm not on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what happens next. It's just a sci-fi show.
Paul M.
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 8:04am (UTC -5)
I am starting to wonder if the Powers That Be are planning some kind of plot and thematic connection between Discovery and Picard: dangers of AI evolution on a cosmic level being one of them.

Either that or someone on the team really likes Mass Effect... some mysterious ultrapowerful entity lurks out there ready to intervene and lay waste to civilizations if synthetic life appears? And, of course, the hypothetical desolate future we saw glimpses of in Discovery is populated by squidlike AI terrors... Reapers anyone?

For some additional tinfoil theorizing, The Expanse, a phenomenal scifi show you all should go and watch immediately, also has a more than passing resemblance to certain Mass Effect plot elements.

And to go full circle, both Discovery and Expanse did some location shooting at the same sites, namely the abandoned facility where they captured the Red Angel was the same place the crew of Rocinante went to in order to save the little kid and shut down Mao's supersoldier breeding grounds. Also, Saru's village (shots by the lakeside beneath the cliffs) appeared in Expanse Season 3 finale in Holden's vision of the ringgates.

I don't know what I wanted to say with all this but anyway... carry on!
Dom
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 8:13am (UTC -5)
@Paul M. I noticed that too and I guess I'm just tired of these stories about secret, ancient AI threats. Mass Effect did it really well. I don't need to see it again unless there's a unique twist to it.
Dom
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 8:19am (UTC -5)
To add to my earlier comment, Soji finding out she's an AI and wondering about her memories feels very much like Blade Runner. The Soji-Picard scenes were actually pretty good, but echoed what I've seen elsewhere.
James White
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 8:29am (UTC -5)
@Gerontius

"We aren't defined by what we believe..."

That's a dangerous thing to say. Our beliefs are part of our core identity. They represent the way we make sense of our world. What we value and prioritize. They very much are wrapped up with what makes us a certain type of human being. Some of these beliefs can be changed over time, especially those that lead to actions that are harmful to others, to society, even to oneself. This can be done IF a person is willing to see a higher truth, a broader perspective. The wisdom that allows them to replace a myopic viewpoint with a more textured, rich, often principled way of thinking.

Anchoring this process, and frankly the capacity of people to overcome anger, resentment and so forth toward others, is their BELIEF in the inherent goodness and decency of people, when the imperfect acts of others are stripped away and the core essence of people is allowed to grow. Often through fellowship and collective accomplishments. You must believe in this before it becomes possible. In fact, there are a whole bunch of things people need to believe in before a community, a society, a people can move forward.

At its core is belief. Because ultimately our beliefs both drive and later reflect our choices. They are entangled with human agency itself. With freedom to embrace certain things and then act on them. I would argue that they are the most important aspect of who we are. Something perhaps lost on people in this frenetic and misguided time we live in.
Gerontius
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 8:38am (UTC -5)
I wonder if anyone else is feeling a bit lost with all these comparisons with shows I've never seen, and can't imagine finding the time to catch up on...

Lifting plot elements from other stories is an age old practice. Storytellers in all forms of fiction have done it since for ever. It can be fun spotting where a story element has been used before (and where it was used before then in various forms), but what matters is how well it works in it's new home.
wolfstar
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 9:35am (UTC -5)
@Captain Jon, Dom, stardustraven, Mal - thanks.

@Tom, Brian Lear - thanks, I can relate to that so much. I've often thought that growing up loving Star Trek (particularly DS9 and TNG) shaped my worldview and expectations of adult life, and I do regularly find it disappointing that in the real world most people are mainly motivated by self-interest rather than the greater good. Especially in the west (and the US/UK in particular), where individualism is higher and social cohesion lower. We could all do to be a bit more Starfleet. DS9 still shows me a world I want to be a part of - most of the characters are outsiders who've found sanctuary and purpose there, and though all have their flaws and there's still a fair amount of conflict between them, they all respect each other and are able to support each other and work together. It's a true community, gritty and dynamic but with real solidarity - if it were a real place and I were a Starfleet officer there, I feel like I'd have fitted in, been happy and found purpose there, more so than just on a starship.

@Rahul - thanks. I found If Memory Serves to be too much of an exposition info-dump, and as I'm not a big TOS guy (more a fan of the TOS films than the series), the Cage nostalgia didn't do much for me. The Airiam character piece, a compelling and superbly realized tragedy, really worked for me though.
Dom
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 10:53am (UTC -5)
@wolfstar, your take on DS9 definitely resonates with me. As a dorky introvert with a lot of family problems in high school, Trek literally helped get me through the day and become the person I am. Sisko was my role model. So - contrary to what some here seem to believe - when I criticize newer Trek shows, it's coming from a place of deep love for the franchise. I know how much Star Trek can resonate with people. I know how much it can mean for people to see that optimistic vision of the future. I know how it can feel for imagine that there's a place where hard work, smarts, and character matter. That makes me all the more disappointed to see newer Trek indulge in the same shallow darkness as other shows.
Mertov
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 11:20am (UTC -5)
---------
Dom:
@Chrome, the issue I have with your formulation is that "future story in space" is so generic that it could apply to most sci-fi franchises, including Battlestar Galactica, Farscape, Mass Effect, Babylon 5, etc (although notably not Star Wars). Yet, Star Trek is different from those "future stories in space."
-------


Dom and Chrome,

Really enjoying the productive exchange between you two. Excellent commentary.

Dom, I am with Chrome as far as his "future story in space" nuanced formulation goes. It is a setting and in that setting there are many dimensions, events, and timelines (if explored) to be delved into. Chrome also makes it clear that once you go past that setting and begin to talk about what one expects out of a Star Trek series, then we move into the subjective domain. For example, I have a series of expectations/hopes (I could list 10 to 15 I am sure) from any Star Trek series. I don't expect any Trek series of them to have all of these. The ones that come closest to having as many of them are the ones that I like, that is why DS9 is on top of my list of favorite trek series for example, and Enterprise is rick bottom. But I do expect all of them to be a "future story in space" as Chrome says, and I do expect them to be in the same setting as the universe in which Spock, Picard, Kira, Archer, Burnham, Rios, Starfleet, Vulcans, Andorians, Cardassians, or the Borg, to name a few, exist, and they exist with a certain background set by the Star Trek universe. Which is precisely what those other series you mention could never be.

When you say "Yet, Star Trek is different from "those future stories in space," you are referring to what you are expecting (or hoping) Star Trek to be, which would, I assume, be the answer if I were to ask, "how exactly is Star Trek different from those series?" If the answer contains anything beyond the setting I mention above and the universe of the characters and races mentioned above (and the ones I did not mention), we are in the subjective domain. My list of expectations I referred to above also has several of them, and again, Enterprise meets only a few of them, thus my "meh" feeling about the series. But, I am not for one second going to question that the series meets the basic Trek criterion, which is a future story in space within the universe of the characters and races set previously by other series (some of which I mentioned above).
Mertov
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 11:32am (UTC -5)
Probably one of the best episodes to date, better than the last two in my opinion (then again, I was not as big a fan of the last two as Jammer was). There are a few inconsistencies in storytelling in this episode too, but unlike in the last two, I thought these were negligible and belonged in the nitpicking category, except one: I am not sure about the wisdom of leaving Soji in the room alone with Agnes, shortly after finding out that the latter was conspiring with larger forces to end all synths until literally the day before.

On the bright side, Rios's backstory gets filled in, so does the Zhat Vash's. That really rounds up the background in preparation for the final two episodes, and I must in retrospect admit that the character building sequences that seemed slow at the time in various moments of a few early episodes pay off well now. I feel some level of connection with each character. I thought Cabrera was very good in 'Salvation' but he knocks it out of the ballpark in PIC. On a lighter note, Raffi trying to wrap her head around the five Rios holograms was hilarious. And Narissa finally gains some depth (though, not much), along with Commodore Oh.

I am also glad that Seven's story did not dive into a full-tilt Borg mode. She knew to leave it behind after a few minutes (the "Annika" reference was good for that moment). I am guessing that like she will be taking the cube to the Maddox planet to help Picard and the gang out. I am imagining a scene where Picard is in trouble and several cubes, unleashed by Seven, come to his rescue (!)

Can't wait until next Thursday.
Gerontius
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 12:10pm (UTC -5)
Of course strictly speaking, all stories are "stories in space". I don't think an episode all on one planet can't fit well into Star Trek. There've been a number which are just that. Even if the planet involved is Earth.

The other qualities people rightly value in Star Trek - notably the humane attitudes, the instinctive team approach to problems, the personal responsibility - can in principle be at home in an earthbound environment. In fact that is why it has been such a valuable and inspiring world for so many people.

The series which perhaps I see as coming closest to achieving the same thing strangely enough is not a "story in space", except in the sense that all stories are that, was The West Wing. A small team of people battling together to face whatever problem suddenly erupted, coordinated by a charismatic and wise leader. The problems being either small scale or world threatening, and tied together in story arcs centred on unfolding personalities. For me Star Trek at its best is basically The West Wing in space.
Dom
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 12:31pm (UTC -5)
@Mertov, thanks, it is always nice to talk like civilized people ;)

I'd push back on the idea that anything other than the setting is subjective. There are other aspects of a TV show that can be objectively discerned, such as tone, style, messaging, etc. Like I said above, reasonable people can disagree, but there are also boundaries on that reasonable disagreement. I'd argue that claiming Trek (pre-2009) wasn't an optimistic vision of humanity's future (distinct and different from a utopia) is an objectively incorrect misreading of the show. People can certainly disagree about the extent to which each episode of Trek was optimistic, but Trek presented a future in which humanity survives, Starfleet officers are generally professional, scientists are held in high regard, the socioeconomic needs of most people are met, etc. That's a clear - and I'd argue objective - difference from The Expanse, which depicts a future filled with human poverty, personal bickering, and less room for science. I don't think that's an expectation of Trek so much as a reading of the Trek episodes we have (again pre-2009).

And the nomenclature of the various world building elements, such as the alien names, I don't think is important enough to me. At the end of the day, I didn't fall in love with Star Trek because it had aliens named Cardassians or a starship named Enterprise. I fell in love with the franchise because of what those meant. I loved the Cardassians not because they were called "Cardassians" or because of the makeup but because they presented a nuanced look at certain aspects of the human condition.

I am not talking about this point because I want or think I have the power to unilaterally declare what is or isn't Trek. CBS owns Trek, not me, and I think it's clear Trek is evolving into something different. But I still don't know what. "future story in space" is just too vague to be meaningful imo. It means everything and nothing. I'm worried that Trek is right now resting on its laurels, trading on name recognition and nostalgia rather than developing a clear identity. Maybe it will develop a clear identity and it might not be something I like. In that case, fine, I can step away from the franchise. But it's just sad for me to see a story that once stood for something, that had a clear sense of self become so generic.
Dom
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 12:35pm (UTC -5)
@Gerontius, excellent example. West Wing felt far more like the spirit of Star Trek than the two more recent Trek shows. Clearly, in terms of setting, the two have nothing to do with each other. However, in terms of ethos, they're very similar. I get the same feeling watching WW that I do watching TNG. By contrast, the feeling I get from Picard is more like what I'd feel watching Game of Thrones - even if the story is good, it's somewhat depressing and dreary.
Lee
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 12:37pm (UTC -5)
Lmao @ the huge loser incels here like Sid who are aggressively searching for shit to hate here.

Lmfao @ these pathetic peoplw
Drea
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 12:50pm (UTC -5)
Hot take: Narissa inadvertently saved Seven's life, or at least individuality, by spacing the drones.

With hundreds (thousands?) of additional drones who had never been reclaimed, Seven would have been overwhelmed by the Collective and unable to sever herself from it.

Also: is there any reason any exB couldn't have done what Seven did at any prior time?
Chrome
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 2:00pm (UTC -5)
Good points, Dom, Mertov, and Gerontius, and thank for keeping the discussion lively.

For the record, my barebones description of Star Trek was only an effort to fit an analogy. A true Star Trek premise would be something like the Captain’s Oath, and admittedly that’s a pretty low bar to clear too. The oath doesn’t mention utopias, teamwork, lack of currency, high morals and other things people cherish in varying degrees through each series. Still, I think the Oath does lay a good framework that differentiates Trek from say, Star Wars.

To get into a controversial Star Trek, I’d go right to DS9 as it makes intentional efforts to question the morality laid out by TOS/TNG. You might say I’m a hypocrite for picking on DS9 over the Abrams movies, but I think a key difference there is DS9 by premise is supposed to take place at TNG’s time and share its values and even officers. DS9 also directly references moments in TNG it’s in conflict with, so it really invites us to compare the shows. The Abrams films are different, but they tell us why they’re different off the bat and give a reasonable explanation for the difference. For that reason, they’re more or less immune to direct Trek show comparison, though I think it’s important even in the Abrams movies stay close to the Captain’s Oath.
Mertov
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 2:05pm (UTC -5)
Gerontius, thanks for the insightful follow-up. I'll try to address one of your points.

You said: “Of course strictly speaking, all stories are "stories in space". I don't think an episode all on one planet can't fit well into Star Trek. There've been a number which are just that. Even if the planet involved is Earth.”

I am not sure I am following this part. Star Trek is a “future” story set in space (thus many of today’s TV shows cannot apply) and of science fiction genre (which also eliminates many). This is why, at the fundamental level, I’d have to disagree with the West Wing example too. It is not science fiction, it is not set in the future, it is not in the Trek setting, and it is not exploring species and distant worlds. It is the farthest thing from Star Trek in its most basic elements, unless – and again, this is where we enter the subjective domain – what *you* uniquely value in Trek, that which you explain as “the humane attitudes, the instinctive team approach to problems, the personal responsibility,” you happen to find in West Wing (and this part is also for Dom), Trek is far more than a small team of people mostly sitting in a room problem-solving through strategy-talk. Again, my list of personal expectations from a Trek series include a variation of those, but they are only two or three of much much larger list (by the way, I will add as a side note that I find the values you mention in DSC and PIC too). But what is not included in my list are – and because these are not personal expectations, but rather established facts of Trek universe -- the fact that a Trek series is a future story in space, science fiction, and in a setting established by the previous series with different species and expanding set of characters, such as the exploration of quadrants and star systems, planets, featuring Vulcans, Picard, Worf, T-Pol, Saru, Burnham, etc. Without one or some of those, I do not even consider what I am watching Star Trek (it cannot be). I will watch it as a TV show however, if it’s good (which The West Wing is, The Expanse is, The Wire is, to name a few).

Dom,

I enjoy civil discussions too, including this one. I will answer more in-depth when and if I have time (sorry very busy) but I would argue that neither the pre-2009 Trek is all optimistic, nor post-2009 Trek is all gloom and doom. I’d give you a couple of examples from just this week’s episode of PIC and tell you how those scenes, for me, fulfill most of what I expect from Trek, but the rest of the episode is still part of Trek history now.

Thanks in any case for some enlightening comments, and I am with you on your last sentence, I would gladly step away and never look back if I come to find that a Trek series falls completely outside my expectations (which I believe may happen with at least one of the upcoming new series), but I will nevertheless consider it as part of Trek, just not one that I am likely to watch.
Gerontius
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 3:41pm (UTC -5)
My somewhat pedantic point about "story in space" was that we love on "spaceship Earth", situated in space. And stories are stories. The setting and so forth are essentially just stage dressing.

There was an episode in one of the Star Trek series which made this point, where the local alien protagonist used the characters from the starship and incidents from its voyages as characters and plots in a plays which were essentially Ancient Greek, and the stories made the transition flawlessly.

It doesn't really make too much difference if the enemy threat comes from Spartans or Russians or Klingons.

And of course I enjoy the settings and so forth that identify a narrative as space fiction or Western or whatever - the bare story is a skeleton which needs flesh on the bones. And of course I wasn't suggesting that The West Wing was science fiction - just that maybe in some ways it was closer to what many people value in Star Trek than Discovery has been at times.
wolfstar
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 4:35pm (UTC -5)
It's Muse, an interesting and thoughtful episode, and another one that I forgot to include on my little list of VOY season 6 episodes with no antagonist :)
Dave in MN
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 4:35pm (UTC -5)
@ Jammer

I really like your site. I always appreciate your reviews and the community you created.

I myself like reading different points of view. Sometimes my first impression is wrong.

Case in point: maybe I'm being too tough on STP, I don't know.

@ everyone

I would've given it a higher ratimg (2, 2.5 stars perhaps?), but the narrative choice to have Seven CHOOSE to plug back into the hive and become its queen really bothered me. I don't believe thre character of Seven would do so, not with the intervening backstory we've been supplied.

And is she now "addicted" now that she's had a taste? I hope not.

I just don't find this development plausible or fun to watch and it soured everything else in its wake. (To be fair, the gory ZV multiple-suicide scene did this episode no favors either. )
wolfstar
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 4:52pm (UTC -5)
@Dom - that rings a lot of bells. I had a Sisko poster on my bedroom door. DS9 was home. "a place where hard work, smarts, and character matter" says it all, and I've found that in real life there are many people in which the first two exist without the third, yet it's the most important and underappreciated of the three.
Gerontius
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 4:58pm (UTC -5)
"To be fair, the gory ZV multiple-suicide scene did this episode no favors either. "

Do you mean the bit where the Borg were detached from their alcoves and expelled into space? There was no suggestion it was any kind of suicide. It was murder by Narissa.
Dave in MN
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 5:23pm (UTC -5)
@ Gerontius

The Zhat Vash magic druid circle scene at the start of the episode. Bashing themselves with rocks and whatnot.
Gerontius
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 6:11pm (UTC -5)
I get irritated at the way that people so often misuse the term utopian to mean a perfect, and therefore an impossible society. Go back to the origin - Utopia was presented as what a rationally organised society could be. Nothing impossible about that, and no assumption it's perfect either.

And what we were given in the Federation was precisely that - a society in which technology enabled it to be post-scarcity, and was organised in a sensible way. No suggestion everything was perfect all the time, or that it wasn't vulnerable to losing its way.

The basic message underlying any imagined Utopia is, look at the society you¡ve got, and realise that it doesn't have to be this way, it could be better,
Kukalaka
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 6:46pm (UTC -5)
Aren’t holograms synths too? With enough holo-emitters, and a big enough computer core, they could do all that work on Utopia planitia without building a single android. What’s the difference? You can rent a ship full of synths easiliy enough on Earth’s orbit. Why are the ZV not worried about that? I really like this show but that nitpick keeps growing on me...
Paul M.
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 6:52pm (UTC -5)
Because one is sentient and the other is not?
Gerontius
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 7:30pm (UTC -5)
I think we were intended to accept that the Doctor in Voyager was very much sentient.
Trent
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 7:33pm (UTC -5)
Paul M said: "Because one is sentient and the other is not? "

Moriarty became sentient, and the Doctor from Voyager as well. You'd assume, by the time you get to "Picard's" era, holograms can run their iterations virtually on little supercomputers until they quickly achieve sentience as well.

You had sentient robots and computers in the TOS era too, but TNG skipped over that stuff because it had to make Data look like a big deal.

What I want to know is how Seven got on the Borg cube. That cube was surrounded by dozens and dozens of Romulan war ships. Surely her ship would have been intercepted enroute to the cube, unless cloaking and beaming technology has radically changed in this era.
Marvin
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 7:46pm (UTC -5)
@Trent

You shouldn’t add to the already extensive list of plot contrivances now :-) let’s just accept that it’s one of many deus ex machinas in store for the next couple episodes. Including Borg cubes, Elnor saving the day, Starfleet “task forces”, and the Fenris Rangers arriving at Soji’s homeworld.
Brian L
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 8:58pm (UTC -5)
@kukalaka
"Aren’t holograms synths too?"

YES. Thank you for bringing this up. Every time someone brings this up, it gets hand-waived away. STP itself completely ignores this problem. I'd like to explore the idea behind this more.

People forget that the fear of AI and synths is really just a proxy for a generalized fear of technology. The overarching theme in most all "dangers of AI" story is that humans start on a path of self-destruction the moment we begin to transcend our biological niche. Humans have been afraid of the changes we ourselves are undergoing for all of human history. That's why we keep on re-telling this doomsday story to ourselves, over and over again. The idea that our technology will one day destroy us has become cliche to the nth degree.

At its root lies fear, and this is the reason why I object to its use in a Star Trek show. Star Trek has always been a show about defying and resisting fear of the unknown, and fear of the future. The reason Trek resonates so deeply with us, is that deep down we all know the only way to avoid destroying ourselves is to to precisely that--to defy and resist fear while going forward. "To boldly go."

And so the best thing a Star Trek show could do, the most defiant and daring thing, would actually be to show us a future where synthetic organisms are widespread and relatively benevolent. A sort of modern-day "Roddenberry's box" for the writers. No "our own tech kills us" scenarios. You have to come up with something better than that.

If ST:Picard ends up giving us a novel, creative take on this story, for example if they end up having the advanced AI save us from some other threat we never anticipated, or god forbid, ourselves, I'd drop my popcorn and give a standing ovation.
Marvin
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 9:22pm (UTC -5)
@Brian L

And that is the plot twist that turns season 1 into something...Soji and/or other synths save the Zat Vaj from ______. (Take your pick)
skye francis-maidstone
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 9:40pm (UTC -5)
Finally got around to this episode just now (we get it kinda a day later than the US too).

I loved last week.. nostalgia and some lovely acting but wow this one really knocked it out of the park. Some people's comments earlier on in the series needed to wait a little before saying x, y and z didn't make sense. But whatever, if its not for you it's not for you - for me this is like: Star Trek is finally back. The most i've enjoyed it since DS9. 4 star easily for me.

Personally I don't see the need for the F bombs but whatever.. its not Network television or 1986. Times change. Two from the crew seemed natural enough and i barely noticed them. The admiral's one seemed even more ridiculous than the one in ep1 or 2 though. Not a deal breaker though.

Poor 7... i kinda wanted her to have a drone army. She'd have been a nice queen. The drones would've enjoyed it. Sword guy (forgot his name) seemed keen.
skye francis-maidstone
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 10:07pm (UTC -5)
Scrolling through a few comments.. a few stuck out

@james white much as i love tng. Much of i was just a giant biege cushion hitting you over the head with the lesson/morale of the week - it had some amazing episodes thoigh. It wasn't semi naked Shatner fighting a hilarious lizard man either - but tbh what else can compete with that?

...Trents traditional writing masterclass ;)

I feel offended on Alison Pill's behalf for her to be compared to Tilly (sorry don't want to look her the actor's name). She is a such a vastly superior actress its not even comparable.

Be kind to each other, now more than ever. We need more sci-fi if we're gonna be stuck indoors surrounded by toilet paper, pasta, soap and paracetamol.
Captain Jon
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 11:57pm (UTC -5)
I gotta add to the commentary on Alison Pill and Jurati. I think that Pill is a better actress as well but also feel her character isn’t as annoying. I believe she’s also more complex, especially given her actions. Does anyone see Tilly acting the same way?

As for holograms....yes, I believe the self-aware holos are sentient but not the others. I would also think that most holos wouldn’t be considered a threat like androids because unless they have a mobile emitter they are less....well, mobile. And also it seems most can simply just be deactivated. I’m curious to know The Doctor’s date which it sounds as though we will learn next season.
The Dirty Mac
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 1:38am (UTC -5)
I think this show is getting better and better, with every episode. While not perfect, STP is moving forward with much more confidence then DISCO every did during its first season. This is, of course, the benefit of having a core production/writing team working on the show for the full run of the season.

Everything clicked and moved naturally in this episode. I was caught up in the storytelling. We get good backstory for both Oh and Rizzo, finally fleshing out the core baddies. I think this is the first 4-star given that there did not seem to be a weak point in the storytelling.

For all her personal struggles, I love how Raffi is always putting the pieces together, solving the problem at hand. Note the scene, near the end of the episode, when the crew is sitting around the table, and Raffi relays the story about what is truly happening, in terms of the greater mission, and the show in general. The moment Picard tells her to "Carry on" is equal to him asking of Riker, in the previous episode, "Thoughts". This scene was great because it truly showed Raffi as Picards first officer, she is speaking for him, guiding the crew.

Rios' arc is interesting here, too. This episode fleshes out his Starfleet career, as well as his personality, when it comes to the holograms, while also connecting him to Soji and the greater arc of the show.

Agnes' character is completely found out in this episode. She confesses and accepts the consequences of her deadly actions, though we know, in the end, she will stay with the crew, her comeuppance will be delayed, and she will be exonerated in the end, free to honestly join this motley crew. But I extrapolate.

And when Picard sits in the captains chair and is about to seize the moment: "Actually, I don't know how to work this", it is brilliant. He then scurries to a side-seat on the bridge and relinquishes to Rios. This is delightful in its humor and self-reverence. This is Picard, old school, giving way to modern Trek. His scene with Rios on the bridge, near the end, when Picard states how Starfleet failed by giving in to fear. This is one of the best moments of the show, thus far. Showing how modern Trek can truly comment on the current political state of America. There is meat to the words spoken here,another great Picard speech is witnesses, and it is wonderful to see!

Other thoughts:

- I hope we Are building to a worthy climax; How many of us are hoping for William T. Riker, recalled to duty, leading Adm. Clancy's squadron to save Picard and crew in the end? The possibilities, if done well, are promising.

- I did not find the music problematic at all. In fact, the music in this series has been great. Cinematic and grand. I love that they use the classic cues, especially the Romulan theme. It adds so much!

- Though I agree the Seven story on the Borg Cube could have been better developed and added on to, I think it was still great, and added on to Seven's story, thus far. She is definitely strong enough, and self-assured, since her days on Voyager, to take command of the cube, given the situation. She wanted to protect the remaining drones. The fact that she disconnects in the end, and recognizes Annika still has work to do should show that she is not "addicted to" or vulnerable to become the next Queen.

- I see there was another kerfuffle in the comments. A promise was not kept by a vocal commentator, and things got out of hand. As always, Jammer is a sober and reasoned authority figure. For what it's worth, I hope everyone in this forum can come here to state opinion, make reviews, ask questions and discuss the state of Star Trek, without feeling the need to tell others how they are wrong, mistaken, or what they really meant to say. But, this is note my domain, so...

- Also, the scene with Soji and Picard,when they are eating and discussing Data is wonderful. A great addition to TNG and the Picard/Data relationship.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 3:02am (UTC -5)
@skye francis-maidstone
"Be kind to each other, now more than ever. We need more sci-fi if we're gonna be stuck indoors surrounded by toilet paper, pasta, soap and paracetamol."

I completely agree that we should be kind to each other. I have a problem with the second half of what you said, though: What if the sci-fi in question is something that I just can't enjoy?

Brian hit the nail on the head when he said:
"[Some people] not so subtly imply that we don't like nu-trek because "its not perfect". Here's a tip, don't do that. I'm an intelligent adult, and I don't toss things in the garbage because they aren't perfect."

Please try to understand that for some people, the current brand of Star Trek is not enjoyable at all. We're not just being grumpy haterz who nitpick little things. We genuinely don't find NuTrek to be a good match for us at all.

I'll be Frank with you: If I were locked in a room with a TV and my only choices were to either leave it off or watch STP, I'd choose to keep the TV off.

I get that others may feel differently. I'm simply giving you my personal point of view. I see no point in being generous towards a show that gives me no joy at all (and actually gives me plenty of reasons to feel a bunch of negative things), just because it is "sci fi" or even Trek.

@Mal
"What Picard should have done with Starfleet rather than resign - and what fans who dislike nuTrek must do with Star Trek rather than switch off - is stick with it, and keep speaking up and keep speaking out, until they ensure that Star Trek can be what it is supposed to be."

What good would that do? CBS doesn't give a hoot about your complaints. They care about one thing only, and that's money. If you want any chance at all at changing the way they do Trek, you need to do more than just "speak up". You need to vote with your wallet and your viewership. Nothing short of that is going to register on their radar.

This goes both ways, by the way. If you like what CBS is doing right now, then by all means: Support them in any way you can. That would be the logical, coherent thing to do.

All of us, regardless of our specific opinions, should give CBS a clear message that we aren't mindless junkies who would consume anything Trek.

By the way, not watching a specific series is not synonymous to not remaining involved. This is another mistaken notion that we should let go of, if we want any hope of getting good Trek back. After all, if we only listen to people who are willing to fork their money to watch the current show, that's going to be a one-sided discussion, won't it?
Gerontius
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 6:19am (UTC -5)
The flaw in that notion of "voting with our wallets" is that most of us don't buy a series like Picard as a separate item, but as part of a much bigger pattern. If we stop subscribing to CBS or Prime Video or whatever service supplies the series in our part of the world there's no way in which the companies could tell if that was anything to do with Picard or any number of other stuff provided as part of the package.

If I don't like Discovery, cancelling Netflix would deprive me of masses of stuff I do likel.

Of course you could write and tell them, but it wouldn't make any difference if you followed up by cancelling your subscription or not.

Fortunately I have the reverse opinion about Picard, especially after the last three episodes. I think it's on the right track. The old message is there, but now it's not so much about people benefitting from the Good Society, small scale and big scale, but more about them finding their way back to it.
skye francis-maidstone
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 6:44am (UTC -5)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi fair enough - if I didn't enjoy it I'd usually give up after a few episodes. Unfortunately I did this with The Expanse after the first episode. Luckily someone persuaded me to continue because that's some of the best sci-fi in existance. Picard could be an example of this. Personally i've at least enjoyed it all but it has got better and better - it's not Expanse levels yet though..

(..and not @ anyone in particular)

When did this NuTrek term become a thing? Was it around the JJ Abrams movies time? Or Enterprise? I mean I can see how TNG/VOY/DS9 are similarly produced (although still vastly different shows). TOS is completely different as is ENT.

Personally I find the JJ films abominations. PIC feels like a kinda modernized late-series DS9 to me with some TNG nostalgia thrown in. DSC feels like Star Trek on amphetamines and hallucinogenics.

So is NuTrek anything we don't like after TNG or anything JJ onwards or ENT or is the term itself subjective?

And couldn't have us oh-so-intelligent Star Trek fans not spelled it "Nu"?? I jest...
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 6:58am (UTC -5)
That's why I said "money or viewership".

Basically, what I'm saying is that fans shouldn't insist on watching something they find completely unacceptable just because it is called "Star Trek". These viewing stats are recorded, and in the long run they are equivalent to money.

Besides, even if we forget CBS for a moment, why should a person watch something that s/he consistently doesn't enjoy? I just don't get it.

As for the old Trek message being in Picard - I'll take your word for it. I still don't like what they did either to the post-TNG Trekverse, or the characters they've brought back (Icheb, Maddox, Hugh, Seven). And I still can't help feeling that there's an overall cynical atmosphere in this series, even if the old message still manages to sound through it.

I also don't like how they completely ignore the Dominion War and instead invent an entirely new reason for the Federation's moral downfall (which - on the face of it - doesn't seem to make much sense anyway).
skye francis-maidstone
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 7:02am (UTC -5)
The only "definition" I can find of NuTrek is from wiktionary:

"(fandom slang) A reboot of the Star Trek universe, launched in the 2000s, that established an alternate reality."
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 7:36am (UTC -5)
@skye francis-maidstone

"NuTrek" is a slang term that means everything starting from ST2009. And yes, that's "Nu" with a u. Sorry if that seems awkward. I did not invent the term.

The reason for this division, is that many believe that everything up to ENT can be regarded as a single unit: A single fictional universe with a more-or-less coherent history, and a more-or-less coherent philosophy behind it.

The Kelvin Timeline movies, of-course, don't even claim to be in the same continuity. Then came Discovery, which makes absolutely no sense as a series contemporary to the days of Kirk and Spock while also playing fast and loose with the ideals that used to make Trek unique.

And Picard doesn't really fit any better. I mean, it is visually less jarring than Discovery and it has some familiar faces, but still... As an extension of the previously established Trekverse history, it doesn't really make much sense. Why no mention of the Dominion War? Why on earth would the Federation suddenly look like *this* only 20-25 years after "What You Leave Behind" and "Endgame"? I can buy a bleakly-painted Federation for 2400, but I cannot buy this specific version of it.

it's almost as if the writers of this series just wanted to create an entirely new premise, while counting on the nostalgia factor to bridge the gap. They've even created an entirely new background story for this series with the Synths and the Zhat Vash. It's a complete disconnect from everything that came before.
Gerontius
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 7:56am (UTC -5)
"Only 20-25 years after..."

I'd suggest you have a look at the chronology of the last century. Think about the changes between 1912 and 1937, for example. Or for that matter even 1980 and 2005.

Compared to something like that the changes in the Federation and Star Fleet seem almost trivial.

Lenin got it aabout right when he wrote "There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.”
Henson
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 8:24am (UTC -5)
@Gerontius

I would argue that, if a fictional universe is to undergo massive changes in a short time period, the fiction needs to adequately explain that change. It's not enough to simply say 'sometimes things change quickly' because that's unsatisfying storytelling for the audience invested in the universe.

(This is the problem I had with The Force Awakens as well: no explanation of how we got to this new (yet oddly familiar...) paradigm of Snoke/First Order/Resistance.)

I presume that, for people who reject this change in ST Picard, they feel that it wasn't adequately explained/justified in the fiction.
James White
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 8:36am (UTC -5)
If you don't like a show on Netflix or Amazon, then stop watching it. These platforms have analytics tools tracking show-by-show viewership. Part of it rolls up to the financial distribution model the platform has with content providers. Part of it is used to determine whether specific content is renewed. More subtly, the data helps spot viewership tendencies across genres, subgenres and so forth, accounting for demographic information and perceived quality of content.

If you have Picard on CBS All Access, then cancelling the entire platform in the middle of the Picard show's run may affect the Picard show itself. This is because CBS AA is still relatively nascent with only limited original content. It has a great deal of old CBS content which suits a very specific viewer. So the platform's membership is modest. When Picard or Discovery roll around, there is an obvious spike. So turning off the service in the midst of the Picard or Discovery run sends a fairly clear and discernible message. If you wait to the end, all you're doing is reinforcing CBS's decision to greenlight the content. You will get more of the same.

Netflix and Amazon are different. The impact of any one show is less. Therefore cancelling the entire platform makes little sense since the platform provides may very well not know why you did it. Was it the show you are currently watching that turns you off so much that you decided to end a streaming service? Was it something from before? Is it a whole bunch of content? Are you just sick of watching TV in general? My point is that cancelling the platform is probably unproductive. On the other hand, if you AS A SCI FI SHOW VIEWER, something they can track, decide to stop watching a new sci fi show after an episode or two, that sends a clear message. It will impact revenues to showrunners and producers. It will be measurable.

Unfortunately, many of you seeing the show through, even though you hate it or find it marginally tolerable, are only reinforcing your misery. Even with CBS AA, the platform will know you watched all of the show before turning off their service.

As for me, I don't watch Picard on any of these platforms. Also, I've been known to order medicine from India as well. Sue me.
Episode 10
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 8:49am (UTC -5)
Stop trying to guess. You’ve all been wrong so far.
Gerontius
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 8:57am (UTC -5)
Explaining why things change rapidly sometimes isn't straightforwards in the real world, and historians rarely if ever reach a consensus. (For example on causes of the start of the Great War, or the collapse of the Soviet Union We've had indications of some of the kind of factors imagined to have been operating to change some aspects of the Star Trek world. We can imagine there might be others - anyway, let the future historians work it out

But my point was, talking about the length of time involved as in itself improbably short just doesn't really stand up to examination. Just think of Rip Van Winkle...
Dougie
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 9:02am (UTC -5)
During the right 20 year period more recently you could have missed CDs and DVDs entirely, having never known the format. Same for 8track and cassette. Yet those formats were tremendously important. Also, the TRS-80 came and went within 20 years, but made one of the largest impact on home computing ever. Radio Shack didn’t survive much longer.

Gee, I guess it’s a fictional universe, so Anything that’s necessary to get it to a certain story point has happened. It doesn’t follow our universe see, so stop forcing your silly head canon into it.
Henson
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 10:59am (UTC -5)
@Dougie

"Gee, I guess it’s a fictional universe, so Anything that’s necessary to get it to a certain story point has happened."

I'm afraid this is a misunderstanding of my original argument. My original point was that you can't automatically transfer the real world into a futuristic setting if the premise of the setting contradicts the real world, or implies otherwise.

The example was that you can't simply assume that capitalist structures will emerge or have emerged in the Federation based on their dominance in our present world, because one of the premises of Star Trek is that the Federation no longer employed capitalist structures. If this is to change in the fiction, it has to be supported in the fiction as well.

On the other hand, there's nothing contradicting your example of technological progress over a short period of time, so that example is much more relevant.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 11:24am (UTC -5)
@Gerontius
"We can imagine there might be others - anyway, let the future historians work it out"

A good sci fi writer will not delegate this job to fictional historians. Part of the art of sci fi storytelling is making sure that your ficitional world is coherent.

Star Trek generally did a decent job with this from early TNG to the end of ENT. Not a perfect job, mind you, but a decent one. TOS could then be retroactively inserted into the 23rd century with little trouble of consistency. You can actually write down the history of Humanity from our present day to the 2370's and it will make a (mostly) coherent and compelling narrative.

PIC, on the other hand, postulates that the Federation gets completely transformed in 25 years in a very weird direction. PIC's 25th century resembles our own world (from 380 years in their past!) far more then it resembles the world of TNG/DS9/VOY. Even the event that is claimed to cause the current situation is a direct analogue of a real historical event (the Mars attacks are basically a space 9/11 analogue).

That's like setting a sci fi show in 2040, populating it with 17th century social structures, and "explaining" this change with a war that broke between between France and England. It doesn't make any kind of historical sense.
Gerontius
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 12:14pm (UTC -5)
I'd question whether the changes in the Federation we have been shown are that great. What do they amount to? A change in the attitude towards and the status of "synthetics" ( overwhelmingly non sentient, we have been led to understand) by the authorities and perhaps by society as a whole. Nothing improbable in that kind of change in a 20 year period. Think of some of the changes in our own societies over the last 20 years

And Star Fleet has been infiltrated at a very high level by an agent pf a hostile terrorist organisation.

Meanwhile out in the wilds of space, outside the Federation, a nasty little money-grubbing version of Las Vegas is operating. No reason to assume there is anything new there.

No indications that there's a greater degree of authoritarianism, or inequality, or that life for Federation citizens isn't still pretty good.
Gerontius
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 4:15pm (UTC -5)
Moreover, even where big changes have happened, there's no need to give more than a hint of what might have contributed to them happening to provide coherence. A great writer have have all that worked out in their own head, but it would be clumsy to unload most of that on the reader or viewer.

After all, who knows more than a fraction of the factors that mean the world is so different from that of a generation or so? Especially of course those who are too young to have seen or even be aware of the changes.
James White
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 5:42pm (UTC -5)
I agree with Gerontius that it is unclear precisely what changes have been made. Perhaps that's part of the problem. You have snippets, here and there, to carry forward the story. But, overall, you have an unclear view or picture of the "world" in which these characters now inhabit. Moreover, since we have literally hundreds of hours of TNG-VOY world-building, the oddly unfamiliar world here takes many of us out of the story. The connective tissue - the how they got from there to here, so to speak - is really lacking.

I guess that's what I find so appealing about The Expanse and shows like it. The world/universe feels much more real. I will concede that Picard tells a story to a different audience - that the decades between TNG and today have changed our own worldview and expectations. But, even conceding this, I don't think Picard does a very good job telling a sci-fi story for current audiences.
Big Pimpin'
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 7:54pm (UTC -5)
Picard does better with how they got from A to B/there to here than The Force Awakens does, at the very least. And The Force Awakens has over 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Ergo....
James White
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 8:20pm (UTC -5)
Big Pimpin' - your statement is like one of those SAT questions in which the test taker is asked to identify which unstated assumption is most necessary to support the statement's conclusion. :)
Gerontius
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 8:21pm (UTC -5)
My feeling is there's enough.

I suspect that the writers might be working with a fuller backstory worked out, with lots of stuff we don't get to see, and don't need to see.

I don't think the Lord of the Rings would have worked better as a book if Tolkien had included the information in the appendices in the text - let alone all that carried in The Silmarillion and so forth. But the existence of all that gives the story we get texture and coherence.
Bilbo
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 8:42pm (UTC -5)
Meh......

At least that stupid Legolas wannabe wasn’t running around swinging his sword through the whole episode.

That foul mouth Admiral needs to get ‘B’ slapped, what a horrible character.

4 out of 10
Big Pimpin'
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 8:42pm (UTC -5)
James White- I'm not even sure what my point was besides Sci Fi fans/nerds acting like TFA was good but then trashing Picard.
Take Red Letter Media for one small example.
James White
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 9:20pm (UTC -5)
Big Pimpin' - I was just joking. I agree with you there.
mouse
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 9:36pm (UTC -5)
I'm so down for Seven the benevolent pseudo Borg Queen. I could REALLY go for that.
Mal
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 9:57pm (UTC -5)
@ OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

Don’t let the big mega-corporations like CBS brainwash you into believing you are only your money. Star Trek fans are so much more!

We are people, and we’ve had so much influence over Star Trek over the decades - far beyond merely what we pay to mega-corporations like CBS. Take the letter writing campaign that saved The Original Series:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_The_Original_Series#Season_two_(1967%E2%80%931968)

"Newspaper columnists encouraged readers to write letters to help save what one called "the best science-fiction show on the air".[53]

More than 200 Caltech students marched to NBC's Burbank, California studio to support Star Trek in January 1968, carrying signs such as "Draft Spock" and "Vulcan Power".[54]

Berkeley and MIT students organized similar protests in San Francisco and New York City.[53]

The letters supporting Star Trek, whose authors included New York State Governor Nelson Rockefeller,[55] were different in both quantity and quality from most mail that television networks receive…”

And fan productions show what Star Trek should really be, not the drek that Discovery has become.

Just watch the Prelude to Axanar - starring DS9’s Martok actor, nBSG’s Ellen Tigh actor, ENT’s Ambassor Soval, BSG’s Richard Hatch - who played both Captain Apollo in the old series and Tom Zarak in the new BSG, and Tony Todd, who played an older Jake Sisko in the DS9 masterpiece “The Visitor” (plus had a role in a Babylon 5 TV movie).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1W1_8IV8uhA

Just watch it and tell me that Star Trek fans are only the money they fork over to CBS.

Go ahead, I’ll wait. https://youtu.be/1W1_8IV8uhA

Maybe it is true for some other shows, that money from viewers is all that matters (I don’t know that there is very much fan contribution to The Wire, widely considered the best show ever made, beyond forking over money to HBO), but this is Star Trek, and the fans are the the secret sauce.

Those who made other Gene shows like Andromeda would read @ Jammer’s website. I’m guessing so did those who made nBSG, since they even named a character Jammer :-)

So, dear @ OmicronThetaDeltaPhi, don’t let CBS brainwash you into believing we are only valuable to Star Trek for our money. It’s a lie.

Keep watching, keep contributing. Regardless of which mega-corp owns Star Trek today, copyright only lasts a finite number of years. After that, the show will always belong to all of us.

Live long and prosper.
Tom
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 10:21pm (UTC -5)
Watching fan productions like Prelude to Axenar is like reading a book's appendix. Why should I care about a war and a bunch of random peoples' memories of it? How is that at all relevant to me?

The worst thing to happen to Trek (yes, worse than Abrams and Discovery) would be for it to be reduced to a series of footnotes elaborating on events described or alluded to in episodes and movies, and depriving them of their original context which makes those stories relevant to the viewer.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 3:29am (UTC -5)
@Mal
"Don’t let the big mega-corporations like CBS brainwash you into believing you are only your money. Star Trek fans are so much more!"

I've never said that we are only money.

I said that this is how CBS views us. And they aren't trying to "brainwash" us with this. On the contrary: If anything, their marketing team is often trying to convince us of the opposite. They often gush about how important the fans are to them... but then, suddenly, they do a 180 and attack fans like you and me who don't like the current direction that Trek is taking.

"Take the letter writing campaign that saved The Original Series:"

The whole point of that letter-writing campaign is to get the network to realize that the show has a following, which is exactly the kind of feedback that networks care about.

Besides, that was NBC and 50 years ago. Even if we said that NBC cared about Trek fandom at that time (which I doubt), this has nothing to do with the current situation.

"And fan productions show what Star Trek should really be, not the drek that Discovery has become."

True. But CBS doesn't allow these any more, do they?

They now sue any fan who does this labour of love. In 2016 they've even published a set of "fan film guidelines" (look it up) that where so limiting it effectively killed all fan productions.

It has reached the point where some fan works artificially removed all the Trek references from their work for the fear of being sued. Others have simply ceased production.

Take "Star Trek: Renegades" for example, which is now simply called "Renegades".
I suggest you look that up too. It's a story about the Maquis and the Federation and... Uhm, sorry, TPTB doesn't allow fans to use those terms any more, so I'll start again:

It's a story about THE DIRTY DOZEN and THE CONFEDERATION, which involves classic Trek characters (played by their original actors) like Tuvok and Admiral Chekov... oops, we aren't allowed to say that either, so I'll start again:

... like KOVOK and a guy only known as THE ADMIRAL, and...

Isn't that just lovely? We have CBS forcing fan creators to refrain from referencing the show that they love. Can't sink any lower than that, when it comes to punching your fans in the guts, can you?

"Just watch it and tell me that Star Trek fans are only the money they fork over to CBS."

Mate, you're trying to convince the wrong person. I'm with you here.

The problem is that CBS doesn't see it that way. They treat us like money bags with legs. And they do this because they know that they can get away with it. As Jason Isaac (Discovery actor) once said in a rare moment of frankness:

--- "I don’t mean to sound irreverent when I say I don’t care about the die-hard Trek fans. I only ‘don’t care’ about them in the sense that I know they’re all going to watch anyway. I look forward to having the fun of them being outraged, so they can sit up all night and talk about it with each other."

Ouch. The saddest thing is that he is right. We always come crawling back, no matter what. And right now, CBS is taking advantage of us.

I know this is hard to accept. As fans we want to feel that we are in a true relationship with our show. It's downright painful to realize that the love and passion we pour into Trek is one-sided, and that TPTB don't give a targ's turd about either Trek or us as people.

But unfortunately, it's the truth. And if we don't want to keep being abused and pushed around by a cynical mega-corporation, it's a truth we need to realize.

"Regardless of which mega-corp owns Star Trek today, copyright only lasts a finite number of years. After that, the show will always belong to all of us."

This isn't accurate.

Brand identity isn't the same as copyright, nor is it subject to the same time limits. The protection of a trademarketed brand will last for as long as the franchise owner is using it.

It is true that the old Trek shows will eventually enter the public domain, but it won't do the fans much good. About the only thing that will change, is that we'll be able to legally copy and distribute old episodes freely.

Yeah, I know, copyright law is insane. But that's the way it is.
Dougie
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 3:59am (UTC -5)
@jammer
If you continue to make money on this site, then you have the responsibility to fix the site.

1. Fix the California consumer privacy act issue before someone clobbers you with $7500 requests to be forgotten you can’t fulfill
2. Fix the account system. If you want peoples “usernames” to be reserved, make them usernames. Your system doesn’t mean anything
3. Post the last few digits of the IP address with each post, if sock puppetry matters. I don’t think it does because I have legit suspicions
4. Allow people to stop bullying with an Ignore and Block feature

Oh, and

5. Add a End of Post feature, no one likes scrolling 300 messages or more and clicking on a message in the comment feed should take you to THAT message.

You make money here with your ads. Since this is a commercial operation, treat it as such. Stop making us fend for ourselves and take control of your retirement goo.
Latex Zebra
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 5:10am (UTC -5)
What adverts?
James White
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 5:22am (UTC -5)
@Jammer - I wouldn't take legal / business advice from a poster you don't know. Especially one posting the advice in this manner. I would retain an outside attorney, licensed and qualified to provide the support you need under the applicable jurisdiction(s). Assuming of course you haven't already.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 6:05am (UTC -5)
@James White

Don't worry, Jammer ain't stupid.

@Latex Zebra

I was genuinely wondering about this.

I have the full barrel of ad-blockers turned on by default, so the minute Dougie mentioned ads I switched them off and looked for the ads. I even considered keeping the blockers off on this site to show Jammer my appreciation. I got nothing.

Apparently, these are adverts that an internet-savvy user needs to work really hard to actually see.

Eventually, after trying a different browser, I managed to see the ads. I really hope that the ads here aren't the main source of income for our host, because I doubt he is getting much revenue from them (I honestly didn't even know these ads existed until today).
Jason R.
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 6:58am (UTC -5)
The premise of the Zat Vash is bonkers given the Star Trek universe as it has been depicted in every series since TOS. I agree with others that this series seems hell-bent on shrinking the galaxy down to a tiny number of planets and characters where everyone and everything is connected.

Worse than the Borg? What in blazes are they even talking about?

That said I am getting some entertainment value from this and I am mildly curious what they are going to cook up for the finale.

Will I ever rewatch any of this? Will I remember any of it after it's done? Nope.

And if I am going to point out one major, commercially significant example of this not being Trek it is that. Unlike every series to date, this one has zero rewatchability. In 10 years no one is going to be binge watching this on Netflix.
Chrome
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 7:06am (UTC -5)
@Omi

Jammer has a single Google-powered banner ad at the top of the page. They don’t generate much revenue, and Jammer is paying to keep this site up, I’d imagine.

“Unlike every series to date, this one has zero rewatchability.”

Speak for yourself. I’ve already watched a few episodes several times. I could barely watch a single episode of ENT though, so to each his or her own. :-)
MJ
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 7:27am (UTC -5)
Not only is the galaxy small, there don't even seem to be any aliens anymore. Romulans are now mildly evil humans with pointy ears, holograms are just computerized humans with flashing eyes, and androids too are now basically human with super-strength. A far cry from when a gulf of understanding separated Data, Worf and Spock from their human crewmates.
Jason R.
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 7:31am (UTC -5)
Chrome, if you don't like a show it's pretty self-evident that you won't rewatch it. I accept the premise that not everyone liked previous incarnations of Trek ergo many do not rewatch those series.

What I meant by rewatchability is the likelihood that people who enjoyed the show the first time around would rewatch it.

This again goes back to the nature of serialized storytelling but I just doubt that too many will want to rewatch this even if they enjoyed it.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 7:43am (UTC -5)
@Chrome
"Jammer has a single Google-powered banner ad at the top of the page."

There's another one, at least.

Looks like I'm not the only one who had trouble finding them...
Chrome
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 8:32am (UTC -5)
“and androids too are now basically human with super-strength. A far cry from when a gulf of understanding separated Data.”

I actually don’t mind this. Data is based off the Asimov-model altruistic androids. Those androids vary in levels of complexity and function, from emotionless drones, to androids capable of controlling quantum mechanics and manipulating human emotion. We’ve already seen Data grow up, so the next logical step (especially in a post-TNG show) would be a higher functioning android.
Tim C
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 8:38am (UTC -5)
Dougie is 1000% correct in his very reasonable demands of Jammer, who has the temerity to provide us all with a freely accessible forum to talk about Star Trek on the Internet alongside his well-written critical analyses, without even giving each commenter a personalised hand shandy with each comment. Snap to it Jammer, you commercial whore!

🙄
Lack of Malice
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 8:59am (UTC -5)
Vote with your clicks... if you don't like this site, go someplace else. It's not like Internet lacks for places to discuss Star Trek.
Dave in MN
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 10:20am (UTC -5)
I'm slowly getting better at not acknowledging trollish behavior, but I just couldn't let this one slide.

@ Dougie

If you keep bitching, Jammer might just shut this site down.

This is just my personal feeling: to me it seems that you don't actually care about your gripes, you just want to stir up drama. Go somewhere else if these (non) issues are pivotal to your enjoyment of this forum.
Dom
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 10:26am (UTC -5)
@MJ, this gets into an issue I have with a lot of shows/movies about AI, namely that the AI are pretty much just humans with a few superpowers and no memories. If AIs are for all intents and purposes humans, then they're human. It's not a tough call. I've never once thought of Soji or Dahj as "other." That doesn't get into the really difficult ethical questions about AIs/androids that aren't human.

One of the reasons why episodes like "Measure of a Man" was so effective was because Data wasn't "just" a human. We the audience saw that he was different. He looked different, didn't have emotions, etc. He couldn't pass for human on the street. He was obviously "made." TNG seemed to ask us, "OK, how do we treat somebody like that?" Do we extend our circle of empathy to include someone like Data? And TNG answers "yes, absolutely."
Gerontius
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 12:14pm (UTC -5)
One thing that has never been addressed in the show is that, if it is the case that Dahj and Soji are made out of flesh and blood, how is that consistent with being able to use bare hands to break through solid metal.

No matter how strong a person might be, that just is not a possibility for flesh and blood hands. Are we meant to assume that, while in all ways seeming like flesh and blood, these hands are actually made out of some virtually indestructible material?
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 3:02pm (UTC -5)
@Dave in MN
"I'm slowly getting better at not acknowledging trollish behavior..."

Very slowly, it seems ;-)

Just ignore the guy. As Garak once said: It's best not to dwell on such minutiae. :-)

@Gerontius
"No matter how strong a person might be, that just is not a possibility for flesh and blood hands. Are we meant to assume that, while in all ways seeming like flesh and blood, these hands are actually made out of some virtually indestructible material?"

I could buy that, if the hands only seemed like flesh and blood by routine inspection. Sensors can be fooled and life signs can be faked. There's even a precedent for this in Trek, with Data's "mother" being an android that managed to fool almost everyone (including herself) until Dr. Crusher had to treat her injuries.

She wasn't even particularly humanlike inside. She just had a very sophisticated system of faking the signs.

Combine this with the humanlike design of the PIC androids, and it could become quite challenging to tell them apart from humans.

I would still expect a thorough scan to reveal their nature, though. And I agree with Dom that having androids who mimic humans so closely is not compelling from a storytelling perspective, regardless of how plausable (or not) their design is in-universe.
MidshipmanNorris
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 6:19pm (UTC -5)
@ Captain Jon

[DS9 was consistently great but had its fair share of clunkers as well (I'm looking at you, "Let He Who Is Without Sin...")]

The one I always think of is "Move Along Home," if only for the ridiculous "Allemarane" scene. Avery Brooks singing like a small girl nearly put me off DS9 completely. Thankfully it started to pick up fairly well afterward, but that was headache-inducingly dumb to watch.

Also, I wanted to bring this up; Picard is talking to Admiral Clancy through holo-viewscreen in a holographic version of his study back at Chateau Picard.

... I am wondering if the Head of Starfleet Security is at all unaware of the communication that is happening here. We've already been shown that Clancy and Oh know each other and have spoken...

I'm asking myself if that even was Admiral Clancy, and thinking of that scene in Terminator 2:

T-800 (covers mouthpiece of pay phone): "Whats the dog's name?"

John Connor: "Max."

T-800 (simulating John Connor's voice): "Hey Janelle, how's Wolfie? I can hear him barking."

Janelle (?): "Wolfie's fine, dear. Wolfie's just fine. ... Where are you?"

T-800 (hangs up): "Your foster parents are dead."
Gerontius
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 7:06pm (UTC -5)
I watched the episode again - like the previous two, it really deserves watching again - and I realised that the call to Clancy was made before Agnes had told her story about what Oh had done, revealing that she was a terrorist infiltrator. So Clancy would still be completely unaware of that - unless Picard got a later message to Star Fleet to inform her. There was no indication of him doing that. If Oh is still in place as head of Star Fleet Security that could be important in how things work out.
Dougie
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 8:39pm (UTC -5)
@James White, pick up your google finger. I do it for a living. Collecting PII, and not flashing a banner, or allowing people to control their consent and opt out, is in violation of California policy. It’s a liability. https://lmgtfy.com/?q=ccpa
Sen-Sors
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 8:47pm (UTC -5)
Cussing Lady's name is Clancy? To me she'll always be Admiral Fuck. Her telling Picard to STFU got a bark of laughter from me; it's cheap, tacky writing for Star Trek but I guess it's a running bit now so whatever. She'll bring in the cavalry to rescue Picard in the last episode and when he thanks her she'll respond with "Fuckin' A, Picard."

Really hated the captain's chair gag. Classic Star Trek setup undercut by "Oops, I don't know how to work this thing!" What is this, a friggin' Geico commercial? I know that "white people being awkward LOL" comprises about 90% of all TV/movie humor today but it really doesn't do it for me. Whatever. This show never misses a chance to make Picard a befuddled old man who needs to get out of the way.
Hank
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 9:01pm (UTC -5)
I am actually surprised. I kind of enjoyed the last two or three episodes. Don't remember much, but wasn't angry either. Maybe I just finally stopped thinking.

Well, I definitely stopped thinking, I think - and thats a good thing, in my opinion. Thinking has never helped with anything. No amoeba ever fought a war... anyway, I am drifting off again.

In the "previously on..." of this episode, Rios tells one of his holograms that his captains brains ended up splattered on a wall. When Raffy asks the holograms what happened to the Captain, nobody knows.

Uhm, what else? Oh yeah, Sevens violent mood swings when she proposes her plan, rejects her plan, then implements her plan, and it turns out that borg cubes are made of individual tiny little cubes and can open any compartment directly into space... also, those repair drones. At first I thought it was a cool shot of nanites repairing a circuit-board zooming out and showing us how the borg cube restores itself to the green, mist filled giger-like glory of voyager days, but no ... hm... that made me sad.

Well, I could complain all that and much more, but I wasn't even bothered by it. I think I have transcended that stage and am now indifferent again. Or maybe I am just too tired. All those whys and ifs just lead to nothing. It is what it is. I rate this episode a borg cube out of an octuple star system.
Jeff C
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 9:51pm (UTC -5)
I'm seeing a lot of posts lately asking Jammer to up his game regarding the structure of this forum/BBS/discussion-based website.

I'm in full agreement.

I know it sucks to redo things that have been in place for years, maybe over a decade. That said, there are plenty of out-of-the-box forum-based Web platforms that would serve the readers and users a lot better than this, and it would also make the place a bit more civil and organized to use.

@Jammer,
can you possibly find a way to export all of the previous discussion data and migrate to a more modern, cleaner Web app? Would you be open to other users helping you with this, who might be interested in donating their time and/or efforts to making this happen? There are probably quite a few visitors and regular posters here who would want to help.

We've already got a mess of discussions happening here. So much content to read and such a massive amount of opinions—it's getting overwhelming. The point is to make use of all this legacy content, all of the valued (and maybe not-so-valued, but still invited) comments made by so many users over the years, and migrate it into a format that Jammer can more easily manage and actually do something with.

Personally, I'm not against seeing a few targeted and appropriate ads here and there, if they help to monetize a decent site. This site is really getting to be a bear to use, with absolutely zero thread organization, no personal posting control, and no means to moderate or delegate moderation to co-moderators who would be able to take the load off of Jammer's back.

Just sayin'.
James White
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 10:01pm (UTC -5)
@Dougie - I couldn't care less what you think. Go away.
James White
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 10:04pm (UTC -5)
How about a ST series involving a galactic pandemic forcing whole worlds to shelter in place.

FU San Francisco. SF HQ is moving to Texas.
Mal
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 10:15pm (UTC -5)
@ Jammer, I for one love this site exactly as is. Feel free to ignore all requests for an "upgrade".

I for one prefer you simply focus on the reviews.

Speaking of which, we wait with baited breath your review of "Broken Pieces". I need something to vehemently disagree with ;-)

But I will reiterate the tip jar idea from above (Patreon or some such). I've been on this site for more than a decade and *never* realised there were ads! I would like very much for some way to send across our fair share of web-hosting charges that you are paying out of your own pocket.

You, @Jammer, seem to be just about the only person left on the web who isn't asking for money. Or "likes". Or retweets. Or whatever. Almost as if you're just doing this for the love of Star Trek!?!??!
Dave
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 11:29pm (UTC -5)
@mal

I would join a Patreon instantly if Jammer put one up. He should keep this site as is but just have a patreon account for those who want to show appreciation. I have been using this place for almost 25 years! Every time I want to binge something Trek I will read the comments sections after watching that episode or movie. And every time a new series comes out, its great. Also his BSG section was awesome when I watched it first time around .

5 bucks a month just to say thanks ,I would be in.
Gerontius
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 2:51am (UTC -5)
I'm happy with the site as it is, and very grateful for it. It's a gift to all of us.

No doubt there are tweaks that could be introduced, but there'd be a real chance of losing some of the magic.

When Picard realised he couldn't work the updated controls I was delighted. It happens all the time - upgrades and "improvements" that make it impossible to do things you want to do. "Striving to better oft we mar what's well" was how Shakespeare put it. Whether its a spaceship's controls or a great Internet site.
...........
I'm puzzled by the obsession so many people have here with the occasional expletive. I don't even notice them the first time round. Generally, as with Admiral Clancy here, they seem perfectly natural. So long as they are used like this, in moments of heightened tension, rather than dotted around indiscriminately as they too often are in real life, I've no problem.
..........
Good luck to everyone, facing up to this changed world of Covid 19.... Time to watch lots of old Star Trek again, maybe. And read Jammer's reviews, and some of the comments as we go.
Latex Zebra
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 3:56am (UTC -5)
Another great episode, really enjoyed this one. Didn't mind the stuff on the cube but probably the weakest section. All the Borg being jettisoned was pretty chilling, as was Seven's reaction.
3 F bombs, kind of used to them now so not a biggie for me either. They're unnecessary but they don't spoil it.
3.5 easy.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 6:07am (UTC -5)
@Mal
"I would join a Patreon instantly if Jammer put one up. He should keep this site as is but just have a patreon account for those who want to show appreciation."

Agreed on both counts.

As for the calls to update the site: I don't see the point. As the old wise proverb says: If it ain't broken, don't fix it.

Besides, Jammer should do what he feels comfortable with. It's his personal corner on the internet.

It seems to me that some people here expect this site to be something that it isn't. They want a complicated forum system with moderators and who-knows-what-else. Do you understand that Jammer doesn't want to deal with this kind of sh*t?

This place is his home of sorts. He is our host and we are his guests. Don't expect him to buy new furniture just because you don't like his old-fashioned chairs.
Rahul
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 9:38am (UTC -5)
@James White

If you don't care what Dougie thinks, I suggest not reading his posts. It's pretty simple. Or you could go away. But I don't think you should tell others to go away.

There are a handful of people on this forum whose thoughts I don't care for so I just scroll past their posts whenever they come up -- it's easy.
James White
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 9:50am (UTC -5)
@Rahul

Dougie is acting disingenuously. So I've told him to knock it off. It's also inappropriate to publicly offer quasi legal/business advice to Jammer. I differ from your approach. When I see something inappropriate, I call it out.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 10:28am (UTC -5)
If the guy wanted drama, he is certainly getting what he wants.

I suggest we stop this right now, before the situation degrades even further.
James White
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 10:37am (UTC -5)
This isn't degradation. It's clarification. I think Rahul is an excellent poster as are you.
Rahul
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 10:42am (UTC -5)
Thanks for the kind words James. Cheers.
James White
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 10:48am (UTC -5)
Likewise my friend.
Jason
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 11:32am (UTC -5)
Some have complained about Picard being "feeble" or a "befuddled old man". To me, that is part of the appeal of the show, and something that makes it very different: That our hero is the only one who will intervene to save the day (since others more capable are unwilling), but he is in over his head (as he has said) because of his manifestly failing capacity. Therefore he recruits others to help, and does what he is able to do. He is still the prime mover and it is still his quest.

It may bother people to see Picard in this state, but anyone who lives long enough will find themselves feeble or sometimes befuddled. I like it, because here at least we have an element of realism. Surely no one expected the First Contact Borg-fighting Picard?
The Chronek
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 1:14pm (UTC -5)
I'm ok with how Starfleet and the Federation are portrayed on Picard.
The Dominion War and the Borg were more than enough to motivate the Federation to become more isolationist. Add in a bunch of Romulans seeking refuge and an attack on Utopia Planitia by the synths, and sure, I can see them becoming more paranoid.
Much of Star Trek has dealt with the fear and distrust of the other. And with all the above attacks, the Federation would feel justified in its fear of the other and not be so inclined "to explore strange new worlds," seeing what it's got them.
Gerontius
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 1:16pm (UTC -5)
I would question whether it is fair to use the term "feeble" for anyone on the basis that they get a bit puffed running up stairs. Or "befuddled" on the basis that they are unfamiliar with some modern piece of technology which they have never had any reason to learn about.

I'd class that as ageism, equivalent to making the same terms to any other category of people on the basis of those characteristics.
Admiral Clancy's Mom
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 1:24pm (UTC -5)
We went through six replicators during her tween years churning out Lifebuoy. Surprised she isn't blind.
James White
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 1:53pm (UTC -5)
Well said, Gerontius.

BTW - I'm no spring chicken. I assume you're also a member of the offended demographic? :)
Tim
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 2:02pm (UTC -5)
For what my thoughts are worth, I'm quite happy with the site "as is", I don't really want to see any sort of community moderation system (no matter how well intentioned, sites with community moderation invariably devolve into echo chambers and group think, where downvotes for disagreement become the norm), nor do I feel like seeing a ton of ads to pay for new features, threading, or anything else really.

This site is first and foremost a review site, the discussion threads are nice, but they're not the key focus, IMHO, and I would rather miss the old site if it was replaced with something New and Sexy(tm) :(
Gerontius
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 2:23pm (UTC -5)
I am indeed, James White. But I would say the same if I was any age - as I would of insulting terms being used towards any other set of people. Or indeed "synthetics".
.......
And I quite agree with Tim. Jammer's reviews are the heart of the site. Digging around in the rest and navigating it is quite fun. And the absence of intrusive ads is wonderful. And very much in keeping with the ethos Star Trek represents at its best.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 4:28pm (UTC -5)
Regarding the state of the Federation in this series, a sudden thought I had:

Where is Q in all of this? In TNG he put humanity on trial, and in "All Good Things..." he told Picard that the trial never ends and that he'll be watching.

What would he think about the state of humanity in STP? What would he do about it?
Nothing but the Tears
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 5:52pm (UTC -5)
First of all, I just wanted to say that the reviews and the comments here have been keeping me going for the past few weeks. I enjoy Jammer's reviews as much as ever, and I've seen some great conversations here. I tend to read most of the comments but only post from time to time.

Secondly, as for the site itself, I'm happy if it stays the same, but I'd also be happy if there were some upgrades. As long as the reviews stick around, I'm a happy camper.

Third, I wanted to touch on something that's been mentioned here a couple of times. That's the score for STP. A few quick items here:

- I've seen many comments saying the music is obtrusive or overpowering. I haven't had that issue. I wonder if it's the setup or if there's a differences between CBS All Access and Amazon Prime (where I'm watching it). Just a thought.

- I LOVE movie and TV scores. Going to the theater with friends, I'm usually the one commenting on the music on the way out whereas everyone else just shrugs when I mention it. In this case, however, most of the music outside the title theme didn't really register that much. The only exception, I think, was the weird ice skating scene on the Cube. I really liked the music even though I could have done without the scene itself.

- I've been listening to the S1 score on Spotify these past few days and I really like it. I'm surprised it didn't stand out to me while I was watching. I usually have music on while I'm working, and this really does the trick.

Other than that, I'm really looking forward to the review for this episode as well as watching the next one on Friday.
Sen-Sors
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 5:53pm (UTC -5)
"I'd class that as ageism"

I didn't write the scene, I'm just pointing out how it came across. I certainly don't like the way the scene made Picard look like a befuddled old man, but that is what it did. *shrug*

I don't like how a show titled Star Trek: Picard, sold as a "character study" of the man, so often makes him a whipping post for other characters to yell at while he averts eye contact, often shoves him to the side while every other character actually advances the plot, and uses him for cheap gags like the captain's chair scene. Aside from a couple scenes like the one between him and Jurati I mentioned earlier, I don't really recognize this guy as Captain Picard. He often comes across as a befuddled old man who is a side character in his own show, and to be clear I think that is a disservice to the character and I don't like it. I understand your objection is the use of the word "befuddled" but if anyone is being "ageist" it's the writers, not the viewers who point out that this is how the character comes across. If you disagree, that's fine, there are people in the comments above who loved the captain's chair scene. I didn't.
skye francis-maidstone
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 6:04pm (UTC -5)
As awesome as The Expanse is it does have an easier time seeming believable than any ST would given that all they really needed to explain how we had Belters and Martians etc was the Epstein drive (1 10 minute flashback).

If PIC spent any more time explaining how we got from What We Leave Behind or Nemesis then I think it would be far too slow for most people.

Personally it think it does an adequare
skye francis-maidstone
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 6:07pm (UTC -5)
..bleh posting on phone...

...adequate job. Not a perfect one but its and incredibly complicated universe so Im happy to let it slide and enjoy the ride.

(Man I hated The Force Awakens.. 90%?? Really?)
Gerontius
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 8:10pm (UTC -5)
I don't think Picard looked the least but "befuddled". He graciously recognised that he didn't know how this unfamiliar control system worked, any more than any of us would. A very neat bit of acting, and screenwriting.

Actually, back on The Enterprise he never sat at the controls, any more than any of the other Starship captains we've seen in Star Trek. (At least I can't remember them - apart from a shuttles, which is a different matter.) Helmsman is clearly a skilled job, and I imagine you'd not just need to know about the controls, but be practiced in using them.

If that looked befuddled to you, Sen-Sors, perhaps there are other reasons you see it that way.
Trent
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 9:22pm (UTC -5)
Picard does famously pilot the Enterprise from the helm...

https://youtu.be/i55zheNcgLY?t=106

...in "Booby Trap". But I don't see how that automatically grants him the ability to fly Rio's ship. Interfaces and technology obviously changed over the 15 or so years.
Mal
Wed, Mar 18, 2020, 12:27am (UTC -5)
@ OmicronThetaDeltaPhi, who wonders, "Where is Q in all of this? ... he told Picard that the trial never ends and that he'll be watching."

There is an ancient saying among the Q: "once you go Janeway, you don't go back." ;)
Dave
Wed, Mar 18, 2020, 2:21am (UTC -5)
To those in this thread that say they want to change this to a different style of forum or add features and so forth.

Many of us have been visiting here for over 20 years. It isn't broke. It isn't supposed to be up with the latest and greatest.

its a site where one man posts reviews and the rest of us comment and read about it. Very simple. Thats all it needs to be.

If you want a forum with user accounts, threads and forums, moderation, etc try Trek BBS. Its been around a long time too and its a forum to talk all things trek. I am sure you all know about it, but my point is ,there is a place like that. This is different and its unique format should stay as it is. We can all get other desired features at another place.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Mar 18, 2020, 2:53am (UTC -5)
@Mal

"There is an ancient saying among the Q: 'once you go Janeway, you don't go back.' ;)"

Funny. But not really an answer to my question.

Besides, shouldn't it be "once you go Janeway, you don't give that away"? ;-)
Mal
Wed, Mar 18, 2020, 3:49am (UTC -5)
@ Trent, Picard taking the Conn felt like a callback to the Binar episode

https://youtu.be/sn_3ZQEHQ2c?t=188

and recall, even back then - 32 years ago! - Picard was completely out of practice piloting a ship.

Its no wonder that he was out of his element here.
skye francis-maidstone
Wed, Mar 18, 2020, 9:53am (UTC -5)
this forum can't change or we wouldn't know how to use the controls.

As a programmer if i was out of the game for 15 years i imagine i wouldn't have a clue how to use Visual Studio 2035 or whatever it would be so I found that scene perfectly acceptable personally.

I did find it amusing too but more because Star Fleet people are always so brilliant at everything (especially the 2 handed punch) and it was nice to see one out of their element not having a clue (rather than laughing at an old man being confused/befuddled/whatever).

Did they start filming season 2 yet?
DANIEL PRATES
Wed, Mar 18, 2020, 11:23am (UTC -5)
Has anyone here read "the last best hope"? Is it really essential to appreciating more ST:PIC?
Chrome
Wed, Mar 18, 2020, 11:26am (UTC -5)
@skye francis-maidstone

"Did they start filming season 2 yet?"

No, they're still casting for it. I know Whoopi Goldberg and Robert Picardo have already agreed to appear. I wonder if all the crew of La Sirena will return, or it will be a different ship entirely? There's so many directions they could still go for S2.
Gerontius
Wed, Mar 18, 2020, 11:42am (UTC -5)
Of course at this point we don't know if La Sirena and her crew will even still exist at that point.

And any filming involved will no doubt have to be interrupted for the duration of the Covid 19 crisis.
Scott
Wed, Mar 18, 2020, 12:47pm (UTC -5)
Picard took the conn on two occasions that I can remember - 11001001 which was mentioned above, and then Booby Trap when he relieved Wesley and piloted the Enterprise out of the asteroid field

Riker did something similar when he relieved the helmsman in ST: Insurrection.
skye francis-maidstone
Wed, Mar 18, 2020, 1:15pm (UTC -5)
@Scott The infamous joystick.
Dave in MN
Wed, Mar 18, 2020, 3:03pm (UTC -5)
@ Daniel Prates

The novel has been discussed here in a previous episode's comments

While I'll admit that irhe book sounds more well-thought out and interesting than what's been portrayed on screen, requiring a tie-in novel in order to fully appreciate a show's plot seems like a lot to ask of an audience, especially when none of the previous written works were treated as canon.
Marco
Wed, Mar 18, 2020, 3:13pm (UTC -5)
I mentioned before that Picard was made to look older that the actor was. I also mentioned that now Picard looks more energetic and willing and able now. In the first episode on board La Sirena we see Picard longingly looking at "The Chair" but then stepping over. In the last episode he takes the seat forcefully, only to realize he doesn't know how to "drive". It is subtle, but I do think it shows a difference in the Captain. And I think it was done on purpose by the writers. This is not "ageism".
This is someone that had given up and now sees a purpose again. Looking forward to tomorrow's episode!
skye francis-maidstone
Wed, Mar 18, 2020, 4:43pm (UTC -5)
@Marco great comment.

Looking forward to it too. Need some nice escapism from the real world right now :)
Gerontius
Wed, Mar 18, 2020, 5:06pm (UTC -5)
Looked older than his real age? Well, he is 80 in July, a fair age. Though he looks good for a good few years yet, I hope. ( I believe his older brothers, one of them born in 1925, are still alive!)
Sen-Sors
Wed, Mar 18, 2020, 5:08pm (UTC -5)
"If that looked befuddled to you, Sen-Sors, perhaps there are other reasons you see it that way."

Right, like "ageism"? Nah. If I hated the elderly I wouldn't be washing my hands and staying at home to preserve the lives of old people who will inevitably show up to to vote against my working-class interests, and I definitely wouldn't be watching a show about a geriatric Starfleet captain. Also I loved Bubba Ho-Tep; my credentials in this field are impeccable.

Perhaps I didn't like the scene because I've never been a fan of "Oops, awk-waaard" humor, especially in the greater context of how the show has portrayed Picard. That's all.
Gerontius
Wed, Mar 18, 2020, 6:33pm (UTC -5)
I am sure some of your best friends are old, Sen-Sors.
Gerontius
Wed, Mar 18, 2020, 7:40pm (UTC -5)
"Geriatric is the normal, semi-official term used in Britain and the US when referring to the healthcare of old people (a geriatric ward; geriatric patients). When used outside such contexts, however, it typically carries overtones of being worn out and decrepit and can therefore be offensive if used with reference to people."
HaveGun_WillRiker
Wed, Mar 18, 2020, 10:41pm (UTC -5)
Oh man, Jammers gonna get lapped by the new episode huh. Very rare occurrence, it's like an eclipse!
Greg M
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 1:31am (UTC -5)
I hope Jammer is ok. Considering the time in which we live, him not reviewing the recent episode before the new episode airs is slightly concerning.
Sen-Sors
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 3:12am (UTC -5)
@Gerontius

Well if the Oxford dictionary says so, then I guess I must despise old folks. Bummer.

It seems important to you to color my opinion of a scene as one based solely on contempt for the elderly, rather than a reaction to the elements of the scene itself. I really don't think the words I've used are enough for you to make that particular judgement of me, but I can't lay out my reasons for disliking the scene any more clearly.
Jammer
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 3:41am (UTC -5)
Review now posted.
Elderberry
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 5:16am (UTC -5)
Jammer, thank you for the review, and for the site - I've been reading it for years, though I'm very new to posting on it. You stay safe too.

Illegitimi non carborundum

PS, I still think Raffi's 'mind meld' gestures are significant.
John Harmon
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 5:16am (UTC -5)
Glad to hear you’re safe Jammer.
Greg M
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 7:31am (UTC -5)
Glad you are ok Jammer.
James White
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 7:40am (UTC -5)
@Sen-Sors

I think you're good here. Your words are less important than your intent. As I see it, you have no animus toward older people. And a reasonable interpretation of the bridge scene can be that Picard looked confused. His age, among othe factors, may play a part in this.

On a personal note, I had a grandfather that learned to Skype and use Signal at 99 years of age. He was a cool cat that was more open and understanding of the world he lived than his children. He was the literal embodiment of someone who forgot more than most people ever learn.
Gerontius
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 8:20am (UTC -5)
I didn't in any way suggest that your dislike of the scene was solely or in any way influenced by contempt for old people, Sen-Sors

As James Taylor said, your words are less important than your intent. But as in relation to other groups of people, it is important to avoid words which are insulting, and to pay attention to our often unconscious assumptions.
Yanks
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 8:50am (UTC -5)
Well, we find out more about this season-long puzzle in this episode than we did in all the other episodes thus far.

They set up some drama with Rios suspecting Raffi as a spy, then completely drop it.

Still no valid reason for Agnes to kill Maddox.

Alison Pill's acting is beginning to annoy me.

This series is called 'Star Trek Picard' and I don't think he had 5 lines in the whole episode.

They send the squadron of starships to Star Base 12 and then head directly to Soji's home planet?

Seven turns herself into a mini Borg Queen.... good lord.

The second watching was a little better for me than the first.

I really didn't enjoy seeing all the holograms, and we didn't get anything from it.

Very choppy episode I thought.

Some good info to progress the series plot, but I'm not going as high as others, I'll go 2.5 stars.

Data "loves" Picard? (slaps forehead)
Dexter Morgan
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 12:58pm (UTC -5)
I think the writing on this show is beyond awful. It has some decent moments, and I feel the mystery of the AI is fine, but god damn, the dialogue and story telling is awful. This is a forgettable show outside of the Riker episode.
Mertov
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 1:59pm (UTC -5)
Great review Jammer.
I agree especially with your point about the Zhat Vash's purpose with regard to it being related to a past event, thus veering away from a deadline date in the future and a race against the clock.
On to the next episode....
Peter G.
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 12:02am (UTC -5)
Finally got a chance to catch this one. Unlike previous episodes in the series thus far, this one is the most inconsistent for me in terms of how much I enjoyed it. As Jammer points out, it really does feel like a series of broken pieces, displayed in staggered order to vary the scenery. But the various parts do not seem to me to add up to a whole.

My favorite thing about the episode is that we are finally getting some science fiction. Especially in regard to the scene with Nerissa speaking to Ramdha, this felt like both a serious story and one involving some facts of nature that might become interesting. I like the tone and the content of any scenes to do with the ancient race and their artificial star system. This rings to me as something like one of the old races we've heard about on Trek thus far: The Preservers (TOS), the Iconians or Tkon Empire (TNG), or maybe someone else. I'm also reminded of video games such as Star Control where ancient races existed and due to some supreme horror vanished without a trace. I also like the idea that AI might be much more dangerous to us than the mere fact that they could overcome us outright. That much is already daunting, but the idea that there's "something" out there which is so concerned about them that "it" shows up when a race develops sufficiently advanced AI - that's pretty messed up. I like it. I'm reminded on this point of the Hyperion book series, where (SPOILERS) the AI in the universe are so far advanced compared to humans that they are on the fast-track to developing an artificial "ultimate intelligence" which can transcend time and space. Sort of an artificial god (see Stanislaw Lem as well) but one that does not operate on any principle we would care to consider. The mere existence of such a supreme and inorganic consciousness might well mean the advent of hell itself in a literal sense. So it is even conceivable that the horror spoken of here is not the AI but something they might have created and unleashed. This really underscores the issue of AI: if their learning capabilities are sufficiently flexible, due to their processing speed they could not only overtake us (not a great feat) but accelerate their own development in exponential increments, so fast that we would not even be able to comprehend what is happening. This is sometimes called the technological singularity; maybe that's what they're getting at here. Stephen Hawking and many others have voiced concerns about exactly this.

Now given that it took 8 episodes for them to tell me something that perks up my ears, I'm still happy they finally have. That being said, the construction of this episode is still too fragmented for me to have enjoyed it the way I would have liked to. Going from the best parts (just mentioned), the worst parts of the episode were those involving lots of screen time devoted to (a) leading us by the nose towards exposition dumps, and (b) hearing the exposition dumps. This is trademark Kurtzmann (aka mystery box stuff) and is an inescapable fact of shows since LOST that do this. Every now and again you will get 30 minutes of people announcing the solutions to past problems and also announcing new problems, which will be solved in a future exposition dump. It's not much fun, and is the least artful way for us to learn something. At minimum it would be nice to frame a big reveal as being a result of an investigation that leads our heroes to the answers. Being sat down and just being told them is so boring and graceless as far as writing goes. The one 'nice' thing about this is that it had a sitting around the campfire sort of feel, and as much as I like the idea of storytelling *as literal storytelling*, this plays more like a procedural than a cultural revelation. At minimum I would be expecting interesting character interactions to go along with such a storytelling session. Instead it feels like a video game briefing setting us on our course.

Another thing I did not care for was the comedy arc leading us to the aforementioned exposition dump. As vaguely fun as it was, the different accents of the holograms was a pure waste of time. Sure, it doubled as leading us through the mental space of Rios, but it felt quite forced to me and mostly gratuitous. I would have preferred him to have to come out with this info as a result of Soji pushing him for info, or any other reason. The "I'm so sorry you're having a hard time, buddy" type of scene feels very counseling-session to me. Yes, on TNG they were supportive of each other, but the tone of this show is so much in the vein of action-thriller that I feel these touchy-feely scenes are out of place. But this leads me to another complaint:

I am sick of these action film fight scenes. I am also sick of seeing helpless persons gunned down in order for us to learn how badass the Romulans can be. It doesn't make them badass, it just makes them tedious. Also the cutesy moment of "oh my gun is out of ammo" followed by switching to gun #2 was really preposterous. I am supposed to get a laugh out of that during a scene where I'm also supposed to be horrified at the execution of innocent X-B's? Give me a break. And that is exactly the kind of cold Hollywood calculation that makes the touchy-feely scenes feel inauthentic and preachy to me.

But on the plus side, Seven trying to reactive a cube is pretty cool, and pretty scary. I guess it makes sense that the Romulans would have a contingency plan in place were that to happen. One thing I did like about this particular part of the otherwise pedestrian good vs bad guys side plot was that by Seven becoming a new Queen in every sense, it actually forgives past offenses towards the Borg (notably initiated during the FC film, but worsened by many VOY episodes) by showing their 'leader' as being a cartoon villain. Here we seem to be shown that a regular sentient being can become the nexus of the collective. Maybe the 'real Queen' is different because her 'self' isn't contained in any one body, whereas Seven can only be in one place at a time - so far. Maybe uploading yourself into the subspace network is the next step there. At any rate, Seven here serves not as the leader but rather as the axis of operation of the collective minds. When they said "Annika has more work to do" it wasn't her speaking of herself in the third person; it was really the collective speaking through her. Sort of like a locutus. How this jives with whether she would "want" to let them go is still a mystery. Was she really controlling them, or is that an illusion and the control truly was collective? If the latter, it could open up a case for the Borg being a non-fascistic group consciousness, and might open up the question of whether something went wrong with this particular collective (i.e. the Borg in the Delta Quadrant) but perhaps there might be a better way for them to go about their business. Also curious is what it means that the knowledge of the AI disaster was so terrible that the local collective shut down rather than spread that knowledge. After learning about the Borg's fascination with the omega particle, it surprises me that the Borg could be capable of emotions like terror or dread of something terribly dangerous. Or is it just that the secret would be too dangerous for them as a 'race' to know? Why is that? Is it because it calls into question the security of their own plans to continue perfecting themselves - that it's a dead-end street leading them right to the Horror out there?

All interesting stuff. Most the episode comes in as "decent" to me, since the ideas it generated are good, but many of the scenes used to deliver them are banal and ham-fisted. The remorseless action being fed to us practically side-by-side with emotional care sessions feels disjointed in both tone and worldview, and the cutting back and forth between space opera scale production and two-people-in-a-room character development is really off-kilter thematically and stylistically. It doesn't feel like an episode; more like a series of scenes shown in an arbitrary sequence. At times it felt like there was no story pull at all and we were getting a sort of bit of this and a bit of that back to back. And this is my main criticism of the series: even putting aside the stylistic and technical issues, the episodes never pull me through with story. I always sit there kind of watching but never engaged the way a good story can engage us. I am never at the edge of my seat, but comfortably leaning back in it, quizzically looking at the screen but never excited. Other than the first couple of scenes, that is; I was excited by those as we got the sci-fi story reveal. So whatever ideas are beginning to congeal, my observation is that the writers do not seem to know their craft in the right ways.
Chrome
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 2:06pm (UTC -5)
Peter G. wrote:

"I also like the idea that AI might be much more dangerous to us than the mere fact that they could overcome us outright. That much is already daunting, but the idea that there's "something" out there which is so concerned about them that "it" shows up when a race develops sufficiently advanced AI - that's pretty messed up. I like it. I'm reminded on this point of the Hyperion book series, where (SPOILERS) the AI in the universe are so far advanced compared to humans that they are on the fast-track to developing an artificial "ultimate intelligence" which can transcend time and space. Sort of an artificial god (see Stanislaw Lem as well) but one that does not operate on any principle we would care to consider. The mere existence of such a supreme and inorganic consciousness might well mean the advent of hell itself in a literal sense. So it is even conceivable that the horror spoken of here is not the AI but something they might have created and unleashed. This really underscores the issue of AI: if their learning capabilities are sufficiently flexible, due to their processing speed they could not only overtake us (not a great feat) but accelerate their own development in exponential increments, so fast that we would not even be able to comprehend what is happening. This is sometimes called the technological singularity; maybe that's what they're getting at here. Stephen Hawking and many others have voiced concerns about exactly this."

Judging by the following episode, they're definitely going for an ultimate intelligent AI like in Hyperion. It's interesting because Asimov goes back and forth over whether AI are ultimately good for humanity. Yet, even the robots that were
"bad for humanity" in the various books were only bad because they misunderstood the Laws of Robotics or applied them too literally. For my money, I really enjoy "The End of Eternity" which has robots who transcend time and become benevolent caretakers over the galaxy that humans live. At the end of the day, I really think that Asimov is pro-AI and pro-Robot, so if this Trek series is really trying to borrow from his works, any advanced enough robots will ultimately protect humanity out of respect for their origin.

The AI that goes crazy and attacks its masters is now an overdone Hollywood action premise, and you need something like "The Matrix" which looks at the trope from an interesting angle that criticizes human hubris for it to really work. And yeah, even The Matrix had diminishing returns as it progressed, so it's a dry well to me.
Dom
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 8:44am (UTC -5)
@Peter G, Chrome, this all gets to a big problem that I have with the depiction of AI in a lot of sci-fi. Too often, what we're seeing isn't really AI so much as an alien race. At least when Asimov wrote about AI he understood computer science and some notion of how AI might work. But in Picard - and to be fair not just Picard - there's no sense that AI are artificial or programmed or in any other way different from humans. Very little acknowledgment of the idea that AIs are made and what that might mean to their sense of self or their goals. All of which leads me to ask why bother making the characters AIs if you're not going to explore the things that make AIs unique as a sci-fi concept? If you just want some big external threat, they could be aliens just as easily as AI.
Quincy
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
@ Captain Jon
" I would also think that most holos wouldn’t be considered a threat like androids because unless they have a mobile emitter they are less....well, mobile. And also it seems most can simply just be deactivated."

Tell that to those hostile holograms that were created by the Hirogen in the Voyager episode, "Flesh and Blood."
Aussie Z
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 5:59pm (UTC -5)
Jammer, shouldn't the corona virus mean you get your reviews done sooner, because everyone is sitting at home doing nothing. Therefore, people have more free time?
Dexter
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 9:59pm (UTC -5)
Isnt anybody curious as to where all the scientists are on the borg cube when the evil meanie woman is going around shooting things and venting drones into space? I assume Seven is going to take the cube and save Picard in the big ole battle in the end right? So where are all the people in this "project"?
SlackerInc
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 8:24pm (UTC -5)
I like the site fine the way it is, but if people want to volunteer to make it fancier that sounds cool too. I would chip in a couple bucks at Patreon if Jammer wants to do that.

I am pretty happy with this season overall, but I will defend the people who hate it but keep watching and commenting, as that has been pretty close to my experience with Discovery. If you are really interested in Star Trek, it’s just...interesting, to watch what they do with it—even if you don’t *like* what they are doing. And it’s also interesting to talk about it with other people.

Some questions I had:

How did Elnar get his hands out of the shackles?

Why did the Romulans think all the Borg had been killed if there were still enough to swarm Nerissa and her henchmen?

I agree with Rios: what if they’re right?
Paisley pirate
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 1:53pm (UTC -5)
Overall enjoyable, Scottish accent laughable.
I’m assuming, at least with regard to the second point, I’m speaking for all of us here in Scotland.
Elliott
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
@Paisley pirate

In the words of John Oliver, "Americans know [Scotland] as the birthplace of Shrek, and that accent you think you can do but actually can't."

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