Star Trek: Picard

"The End Is the Beginning"

2.5 stars

Air date: 2/6/2020
Written by Michael Chabon & James Duff
Directed by Hanelle M. Culpepper

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"The End Is the Beginning" has a title that would show a striking amount of self-awareness if it were actually "The End of the Beginning," which is more like what it plays like. Three episodes for Picard to secure a ship and a skeleton crew for whatever mission ensues in tracking down Soji Asha and/or Bruce Maddox has been plenty enough. Let's make it so already, shall we?

Picard, more so than Discovery, has shown that it's going to be completely serialized, rather than taking a hybrid approach that uses both serialization and episodic story beats. This is somewhat more difficult for me, because reviewing chapters of a book makes it hard to know if what I'm critiquing is adequately informed by what might be just around the corner. (Case in point: My disbelief in Picard being returned to his home after the episode on the rooftop, which was later explained by the ensuing conspiracy/cover-up.) Am I being entertained and absorbed by the story? Yes, although this is taking longer than perhaps I would like.

This episode lays the groundwork for Picard's troubled relationship with Raffi Musikar (Michelle Hurd) by flashing back 14 years to just after the synthetic revolt on Mars and showing us the moments immediately following Picard's resignation from Starfleet. (I like the TNG-style uniforms of the era.) He threatened to quit, Starfleet called his bluff, and then Raffi was cashiered from Starfleet immediately afterward. (Why was her career torpedoed because of Picard's stance? Because reasons, I guess?)

I must say, Raffi's emotional state at the mere sight of Picard is overstated to the point of being ham-fisted. Michelle Hurd does what she can with these scenes, but I found them to be overwritten, with the pained expressions bordering on tears, and her constant iron grip on the liquor bottle. Okay, I get the desire to set up a troubled character, but this is pretty heavy-handed. Why is she living out in the middle of the desert in exile 14 years after her career was destroyed? She couldn't pick up the pieces just because Picard didn't check in on her? More here may yet be revealed, but this could've been a lot more subtly set up than what we got.

On the other hand, I do find it interesting that Picard is not blameless here. For whatever reason, whether it was reclusive self-pity or bitterness, he opted not to make the best of a bad situation, and the fact that he hasn't even spoken to Raffi for so many years speaks to Picard's own inability to rise to this particular occasion. Between this and his realization in the opening episode that he has been "waiting to die," we are getting glimpses of a man who did not necessarily live up to his own ideal when the going got rough.

This episode's thread is mostly about Picard securing a ship and its pilot, an ex-Starfleet officer named Cristobal Rios (Santiago Cabrera), whom when we first meet him is removing a piece of shrapnel from his shoulder with the help of his holographic assistant, who looks exactly like him but speaks with an Irish accent. It's strange to encounter him with this inexplicable wound while he's sitting idle in orbit on an empty ship. It'd be like if you found me in a parked car with my jacket on fire, holding a detached steering wheel. Maybe this is shorthand for his roguish nature; maybe he's sneaking around doing secret missions and then beaming back to his ship. Whatever it is, I like that it's left almost completely uncommented upon.

The other main thread here is Soji's interactions with an ex-Borg working at the reclamation site in the Borg cube. This ex-Borg is played by Jonathan Del Arco, so I assume this is our one and only Hugh from "I, Borg," although the episode does not use his name or so much as hint at the connection or how it may become relevant to what's going on here. Again, this speaks to the slow-burn serialization of the storytelling, where things are not revealed until they become relevant to the story at hand. But it also can prove frustrating, because they're dangling something like that out there without so much as an acknowledgement that's what they're doing. It's all about the long game. (Oddly, this coy non-reveal is like the polar opposite of how they introduce Raffi.)

Mysteries are afoot. Hugh takes Soji to meet an institutionalized group of freed Romulan ex-Borg who have clearly been changed in some paranormal way that allows them to sense beyond the here and now. One woman named Ramdha (Rebecca Wisocky) has a conversation with Soji that reveals ominous warnings that Things Are Apparently Not What They Seem regarding Soji. Ramdha was on a Romulan ship that was, significantly, the last to be assimilated by this particular Borg ship before its collapse. Where this goes or what it means will clearly be addressed as the season goes on, but for now it's an adequately effective mystery that connects the Asha sisters, the Borg, and the Romulans in strange, unknown, prophecy-of-doom ways, possibly going back centuries. Maybe.

As for the Tal Shiar/Zhat Vash, their involvement clearly runs deep into whatever is happening on the Borg cube, and they know something about the Asha sisters that clearly goes beyond a simple hatred of AI and taps into something deeper, and they aren't done trying to silence Picard, which they try to do by literally storming his castle.

This action scene is all the more effective because it's thrown at us like a hardball we had no idea was coming. The episode lulls us into the false sense of security around Picard's investigation and the assembly of his forthcoming team, and then all of a sudden we have Romulan secret agents busting into the chateau and trying to kill everyone. I'm glad neither Laris nor Zhaban die during the course of this fight, although I do wonder how these old-timers are able to fend off a death squad of supposedly highly trained secret police.

And so by the end of "The End Is the Beginning," we've got our motley crew of adventurers, and Picard declares "Engage" with some relish. We're finally off Earth, so let's see where this takes us next.

Some other thoughts:

  • It appears this series is completely retconning the fact that money doesn't exist on Earth in the 24th century. It's the only way to justify Raffi's life station, since the Earth of TNG would never have shown such a thing. Say what you will about how naive Roddenberry's notion of a society with no money might have been, but this is a pretty fundamental shift in the Trek landscape, accomplished with no real explanation other than a pure retcon.
  • I really don't need the close-talking incest-y vibe I'm getting from Rizzo and Narek. It feels like it's trying to be edgy, but mostly this just feels played out.
  • Speaking of Rizzo, did I miss something? How did she end up back on the Borg cube, with her Romulan ears reinstated, no less? Wasn't she assigned to keep tabs on Picard? This feels like a Discovery-like narrative gap.
  • I wish Laris and Zhaban had gone with Picard rather than staying behind to tend to the grapes and Number One the pit bull. They feel like they should be members of this plucky and unlikely team. Are they even going to be safe on Earth, given the Romulan plot and Commodore Oh's conspiracy inside Starfleet Headquarters, not to mention harvest season and the penchant for deadly fires at Chateau Picard?
  • In terms of the slow-moving setup, I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with what we've seen unfold on the screen so much as it's taken three weeks for it to happen. In a single binge-type sitting, this would probably not feel sluggish, especially since the episodes themselves are only running about 45 minutes and don't feel blatantly padded.

Previous episode: Maps and Legends
Next episode: Absolute Candor

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218 comments on this review

PM
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 1:51am (UTC -6)
This episode was amazing!

Now that we're getting them a day ahead and free in Canada, it's clear how much it must suck to have to be an American trying to watch this show. (RIP CBS All Access)

Why did they have to kill Geordi ??
Pammer
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 2:43am (UTC -6)
Did Q take them to Sherwood forest yet ?
Cody B
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 4:40am (UTC -6)
This was a bit middle of the road. I appreciated the last episode slowing everything down but this episode went TOO slow. Everything considered the series is still better than what I was pessimistically expecting so I’m not going to be too rough on it. How about that cringe inducing vape scene at the beginning though? Yikes.
Chrome
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 7:11am (UTC -6)
I thought this rounded out the rather haphazard nature of the previous episode. Agnes, Raffi, and Chris all seem to pretty interesting (or at least well-acted) characters.

The Starfleet uniforms from 14 years ago were pretty cool. I wonder why Picard’s resignation meant Raffi had to be discharged?
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 8:08am (UTC -6)
That was fine. Better than last week, but not as good as the premier:

We start off the episode with another flashback scene, this time the immediate aftermath of Picard's resignation when he's talking to Raffi. I thought this scene was completely unneeded and felt like padding. We already know what happened, and the present-day scenes let us see how his decisions hurt her. I suppose seeing her competent and collected contrasts with her present state, but it feels like a scene added to pad out two episodes into three - nothing less, and nothing more.

I hate most of the dialogue in the opening third between Raffi and Picard actually. A lot of Raffi's lines remind me of how Discovery tends to write Burnham's dialogue, in that they're this weird expository monologue which is not how real people talk - and in particular isn't necessarily how someone who is in recovery from being horribly hurt by someone in the past would talk. Maybe this is just part of Raffi's character, but it reminds me I'm watching a show, not two people talking. Which is a shame, because the emotional dynamic in the scenes is great, as we get to see two flawed people together onscreen - a rarity in Trek.

I don't mind any of the Borg cube scenes this time around. Hugh didn't really get to do much of anything this episode though but stand around and watch Soji work. It's interesting that they decided to have Hugh and Soji have an already existing relationship that was unknown to the viewer. I really don't know where they're going with the foreknowledge that Soji had about Ramda - probably the only big mystery that I'm genuinely intrigued by. It's probably a big deal that all the assimilated Romulans were failures, and the Borg cube itself failed after assimilating them. Seems to suggest that the Romulans have some sort of anti-Borg malware installed in their brains, and gives some credit to the "Romulans are synthetic to some degree" hypothesis people are bandying about.

Rios did not bother me, even though he's a cliche. He's one character who is acting like a normal person and not going into sudden expository monologues, which is more than I can say for Raffi or Jurati. I really hated that they just dropped the bit about his dead former captain in the dialogue with his Irish-accented navigational EH though. For some reason this show seems to like going really really fast when it comes to expository backstory, but really really slow when it comes to actual plot development.

I'm not sure yet that Jurati is the villain, but there's more going on here than is being let on.

Still love Picard's too ex-Tal Shiar housekeepers. I liked the little drop about the one they captured being a "stubborn northerner" like the husband, because they're introducing canonical racial differences due to geography.

Pretty sure the fake holo-mother of Soji is actually different than the fake holo-mother of Dajh.

So yeah, it felt more like a real episode than last week, which is why - despite the continued use of clunky exposition - I actually liked it somewhat more. I'm hoping now the table is (almost) set they'll be more development and less backstory.
Burke
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 9:28am (UTC -6)
I can't get the image of Commodore Oh wearing shades out of my head. A fine addition to one of those "star trek but out of context" videos that are on Youtube.
Trent
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 11:22am (UTC -6)
This episode opens with a flashback of Picard and Raffi, a starfleet officer, discussing Picard being kicked out of Starfleet. The Raffi character here is poorly acted and written, and uses too much contemporary dialogue that sounds incongruous (if the last episode over-used the word "dude", here we see Raffi saying stuff like "pro-tip!").

But the scene is great in the way it clashes with patient scenes of Raffi 14 years later, who is a burnt-out stoner who smokes cool space-weed and lives in the middle of the Vasquez Rocks, that familiar Trek locale where Kirk battled the Gorn.

The rest of the episode alternates between mysterious scenes on the Borg Cube, which I personally found interesting; such narrative teasing usually doesn't work on me, but here I'm genuinely hooked and wondering what the hell is going on.

I'd say these scenes are marred only by a corny sequence in which that EVIL SISTER ROMULAN appears to drop yet more silly BAD GUY DIALOGUE.

These Borg Cube sequences also hint at "religious", "prophecy" and "destiny" cliches and plotlines which I hope the show doesn't elaborate on. No more DS9-esque space orbs and paghwraiths please.

Back on Earth, Picard hangs out with his two Romulan minders, who continue to be the most awesome characters on the show. There's also a scene where Romulan Ninjas attack Picard's Chateau, which could have been an awesome bit of tension and thrills, but which is botched almost completely. Have you seen the home invasion sequence at the end of Harrison Ford's PATRIOT GAMES? Imagine this show providing a drawn out, slowly-ramping up sequence like this, with a genuine sense of danger and threat? Instead we get a bunch of inept Romulan ninjas popping into Picard's chateau like incompetent Jack-in-the-boxes, each swiftly dispatched by the (admittedly cool) Romulan minders. It's a wasted opportunity for a great set piece. A better director would have stretched this out for 10 minutes, maybe had the house slowly lose all power, be cut off from the rest of the city, and Picard convey a sense of slowly-mounting hopelessness.

Regardless, we quickly meet Captain Rios, who is basically Han Solo meets Captain Reynolds from Firefly. A rogue ex-Starfleet/mercenary type, he's a walking cliche, though acted well and given some nice writing and pathos. Perhaps a better show would have given him the upbeat, gentlemanly manner of his Emergency Medical Hologram - whom we initially think is the real Rios - which seems a fresher take on this archetype.

I also thought Rios ship was ugly and far too generic. When your competition is the Millennium Falcon, Serenity and Enterprise, you need something much more original.

Anyway, I ultimately thought this was an interesting episode, and you sense it trying hard to grasp at greatness, and a sense of substance, but straining to get there; past Trek might have been widely inconsistent, but its weighty episodes got there with a certain lightfootedness.

These 3 episodes were conceived as a single pilot, and taken on those terms, I'd give it about a 7.5/10. I'd probably rank only TOS' and DS9's pilot over this.
Trent
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 11:26am (UTC -6)
PAmmer said: "Did Q take them to Sherwood forest yet ?"

I laughed at this. But the episode does mention the Q Continuum, in a way that I thought was neat. Apparently Picard's highly regarded for his first contact work with the Q.
Drea
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 11:37am (UTC -6)
Hey, it's the second half of episode 2! Huh, episode 2 takes 86 minutes and feels really padded. A better approach might have been a single pilot of about 90 minutes. Minus the flashbacks and pointless villain scenes, this story could have fit inside that time frame.

The story we do have delivers several intriguing questions. Why would a Romulan secret agency undermine the rescue their own people? What has become of utopia on Earth if the wealth difference between Picard and Raffi is such a sticking point? How deep does the decay of the Federation's idealism run? What happened with the reclaimed Borg, especially the Romulans? What does it mean that Soji and the reclaimed Romulans seem to know impossible truths about each other?

We also have a few bothersome questions. Why is Soji so bad at her job? Interpreting Romulan symbols is fine, but her language around "mythology" and her grabbing her informant's hand suggest her training as an anthropologist wasn't particularly good. Why must characters drop exposition in so artificial a fashion? Will our villains get any depth to justify our screen time with them?

I like that one of our androids is a social creature rather than an engineer or whatnot. Soji's intended to have high emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills, I think, and the writers simply don't realize how incompetent they make her look in practice. Troi had similar troubles. Can't anyone consult a real anthropologist or therapist?

I also enjoy the regional differences among Romulans. TOS Romulans had no weird forehead bulges like 90s Romulans. We see both in Picard, so it looks like we can chalk that up either to genetic variability or some manner of implant that government operatives receive.

Despite the characters feeling frustratingly archetypical, I enjoy the Star Trek: Firefly feel and find everyone's motives for getting involved plausible.

I'm not watching for nostalgia and mainly feel relieved that Picard is finally saying "engage" and the story will get rolling. It looks as if we're still Getting the Gang Together next week, though.

3 stars. Barely, but 3 stars.
Trent
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 11:40am (UTC -6)
Sorry for starting a third post, but I'd just like to point out that Rios is reading Miguel Unamuno's "The Tragic Sense of Life". The book is about blind faith and how, in the absence of scientific proof of God, or absolute truths, humans incessantly chase little leaps of faith, little personal missions imbued with personal meaning, all in the hope of filling our lives with purpose and immortality.

If the book symbolically applies to Rios, the meaning is obvious. The guy's crawling his way back toward a faith in Starfleet.

But what if it mockingly applies to Picard and Raffi? What if they're really going on a wild goose-chase, Raffi still a paranoid woman hopped up on drugs, and Picard, suffering from early Irumodic Syndrome, looking to reclaim his glory days by putting his faith in mad galactic jaunts.

Probably farfetched. I can't imagine even Chabon being pessimistic enough to dethrone Picard in this way.
Chrome
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 12:15pm (UTC -6)
Nice write-up, Trent. I also hope this doesn't go into DS9 territory with all these prophecies -- there's a reason it's not called Star Trek: Destiny anymore, right? Also yes, Narissa is a bit over the top in her scenes. I mean she's trying to keep a low profile when talking to her brother, Narek, but the whispers in his ear are delivered in such a way that it looks like she's coming onto him.

I was curious about Rios' book, so thanks for the info. Throwing out all these famous novels in a tv show is a bit cliche, however, it's nice this show encourages reading books. Yes, people still read them in the 24th century despite all the techy tech.
Mike W
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 12:27pm (UTC -6)
Wow, you guys are simply brutal. I don’t know exactly what you all expected from this series, but I find myself fascinated by the first three episodes. We should all be thankful for a new Trek series with Picard. I’m looking forward to episode 4.
Top Hat
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 2:27pm (UTC -6)
Why would they even think that these are the only Romulans ever assimilated by the Borg? There were Romulan ex-Borg in "Unity" -- one even gets a name, Orem. Presumably this information would have reached the Federation by now. Maybe elements of Voyager's contact with the Borg are still deeply classified.
Cynic
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 3:16pm (UTC -6)
Commodore Oh with shades means Mirror Universe! You know, the people who can't stand bright light, per Discovery. Or not.

One of the trailers showed Agnes about to be mind-melded by someone. I presume now that this happened "offscreen" in this episode with Oh, and that we'll get that scene in flashback later. Agnes may not be a villain per se, but my guess is she has been compromised and is unwittingly sharing her experiences from now on with Oh via subspace mind-meld, another Discovery innovation.
R.
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 3:16pm (UTC -6)
I'm sure others have commented on this but don't Vulcans have an inner eyelid that protects their eyes from extreme sunlight, as sunlight on Vulcan is so harsh? I actually laughed when I saw that Vulcan lady wearing sunglasses.

@Top Hat

I think it's more likely the showrunners never saw 'Unity' (a rare standout Chakotay episode) or decided to ignore it. Orem wasn't some kind of broken doll like the liberated Romulans in this episode. It seems clear they're setting up the Romulans as some ancient race of... what are Dahj and Soji, anyway? Bioengineered humanoids with positronic brains?
Norvo
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 5:45pm (UTC -6)
@ Top Hat: pretty sure they said these were not the only but rather the LAST Romulans assimilated by that particular Borg Cube before its systems failure.
Top Hat
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 6:23pm (UTC -6)
In an earlier line Hugh describes them as the only known assimilated Romulans.
Filip
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 6:25pm (UTC -6)
Some quick point of the top of my head.

The dialogue is getting tedious. It's laden with exposition which makes it hard for me to feel anything for most of the characters. You don't have to verbalize every single thing. It's bordering on "I'm angry. -I acknowledge that. -You hurt me. -I know."

Starfleet has banned all research on synthetic life, but there you have an EMH sounding pretty perceptive to me. Enough so that he is able to be a shrink to Raos (I think that's his name) , or maybe just enough to do be a device to jam in some more exposition for the sake of the audience. The line at the end of that dialogue with the captain's brains all over the bulkhead seems like it was ripped out of an 80s action B movie, minus the bulkhead. Actually the whole sequence with Raos feels exactly like that. I'll say that Picard's deduction about him being Starfleet was nice, though. I liked that.

Also, was that guy just sitting in orbit in his pristine ship, chilling with some aguardente and shrapnel flying all over this whole time?

The Commodore with the shades was unintentionally hilarious.

@Trent "These Borg Cube sequences also hint at "religious", "prophecy" and "destiny" cliches and plotlines which I hope the show doesn't elaborate on. No more DS9-esque space orbs and paghwraiths please." I agree all the way.

I also heard that they said those were the only Romulans to be assimilated and I'm pretty sure that makes no sense.

I completely missed Jonathan Del Arco and only when the credits started rolling I realized it was him. Welcome back, Jonathan. I'm pretty sure that you never dreamed that you'd get a call 30 years later to play Hugh again.
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 8:59pm (UTC -6)
There's a hypothesis going around now that the big secret the Zhat Vash are actually hiding is that some or all of the Romulans are actually "synths" themselves. Basically they are virulently anti-synth because they're terrified with enough research other races will discover they're artificial lifeforms themselves. And there was, actually a big hint in this episode.

Basically, I already mentioned it above. When Dahj and Hugh go in to see the weird Romulan Tarot lady, it slips out that all the known assimilated Romulans end up insane ("disordered"). Also, Dahj later notes that shortly after the Borg cube assimilated the Romulan ship, it became nonfunctional. At minimum, this suggests that Romulans (or at least some Romulans) have biological malware installed in their heads, which causes submatrix collapse. Regardless, Dahj pushing on the subject gets the Tarot lady and everyone else extremely agitated - and she is called "the Destroyer."

I want to say that going the BSG route is stupid. An artificially-produced biological lifeform indistinguishable from a naturally evolved one - right down to being able to hybridize - is not an android or a "synthetic" in any way really worth discussing. It's just an advanced form of genetic engineering or something. So I really, really hope this is wrong. But there's at least some hints that this is correct now.
Cody B
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 8:59pm (UTC -6)
@Chrome
I think the villain sister IS overtly coming onto her brother. Idk how anyone could see it differently. She even watched playback of him having sex last episode didn’t she? I think it’s supposed to make us dislike her more but who knows where they go with it. Maybe they are lovers. Incest worked for Game of Thrones (and the Romans)
Dave in MN
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 9:26pm (UTC -6)
We already know from the previews that Picard assembles his crew and says "engsge", so the success of this Knight-To-E4 episode is how well it gets us to that conclusion. I expected flashbacks-flashforward cut scenes so, even though this trope annoys me, I didn't hold it against the show writers. I'll grant it is a efficient storytelling method.

I'll try to say some positive things:

Most of the actors are great at elevating the trite and/or expositionary dialogue. Whoever cast this show deserves a pay raise because Stewart and Company are selling STP enough to keep me watching ... in the hopes that the scripts, direction and soundtrack catch up to the onscreen talent. ( I must admit I find all the UK/Irish accents to be a bit jarring.

I really liked the introduction and backstory with Raffi. In just a few scenes, we were shown (not told) how their history and a little more backstory. Thankfully, Picard and Raffi were not portrayed as complete dummies. It was believable because the actors believed it.

Much better deaging CGI this time (vs. the Episode 1 uncanny Data horror. The little scene with Raffi hunting for clues was kind of silly, but her holo PADD is pretty nifty.

The ever-present soundtrack was mostly too bombastic and/or schmaltzy (also loud), but at least it was a bit more Trekkish than the last 2 episodes. ( Still, why can't they let some scenes breathe with a precious bit of silence? )

The scenes with the pilot were ok. A somewhat jaded but likable rogue a la Han Solo? Eh, okay, I guess. I'll grant he looks good without a shirt. But do we have to malign Starfleet yet again just to give his character motivation?! *sigh*

I rather liked the Trek tropey irascible EMH (despite the lack of explanation why his program was still running after the emergency. But why was he talking like a televangelist? )

The farewell scene with his Tal Shiar friend (at Chateau Picard) was filler. Also, "harvest time" for grapes? Um, I'm 99.9% sure that's not how it works.

The first few scenes on the cube were interesting (bringing back Hugh is cool, good acting) ....

.... but WTF was Daj2's extremely dumb statement to crazy Romulan dx-Borg woman about? A "shared narrative" and mythology? That sounded like a mission statement from a leftist Tumblr blog. This is amateur hour scripting.

And then the crazy woman starts shouting clairvoyant visions because, what, Romulan physiology is resistant to assimilation?

And why crosscut this with Picard confronting the Zhad Vash agent after the attack? The silliness of what amounts to a Romulan witch undercuts the more plausible scene with Picard. (It's kind of obvious that the writers made JLP's Romulan friends Tal Shiar partly so they'd have a way to protect Picard in Episode 3 .... it was predictable).

And why have the ZV secret agent be intentionally vague (stating what both we and the characters already know?) More soap opera level pacing. (Also, the film school slomo shots of the soothsayer table chips was cringey).

The bro & sis villain scene was also awful.

The last few scenes actually sped things up finally as they're at least some of the crew is invited... but why does the pilot sit in the captain's chair and what are those other four stations in the front for? And, really, we have ANOTHER episode about assembling the crew?

Someone commented last week about the duality of this show: everything about Picard's later life journey is compelling while everything about the conspiracy is predictable and dumb. This episode continued in that tradition.

The first half was actually compelling and then .... yeah, not so good. I guess I'll go 3 stars (really like 2.81, but I'm feeling generous today).
Matthew Martin
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 10:45pm (UTC -6)
Full Disclosure: I still really like Picard and am looking forward to seeing where this storyline goes.

That being said, I have an issue with something three episodes in...

Jean Luc Picard, as depicted in this version of the future, is sort of the last bastion of Gene Roddenberry's dream of an optimistic, peace-seeking future where everyone works together, where poverty is eradicated, and earth is a paradise of positivity. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine flirted with abandoning that dream but never went all the way; in fact it made a point to say Earth is still a paradise and that "it's easy to be a saint in paradise" but it's hard to live out in the interstellar frontier.

Now Picard is showing us a future where earth is bitter, xenophobic, and isolationist. Where people like Raffi live in the near-25th century equivalent of a single-wide, smoking the near-25th equivalent of mary jane, and resent Picard for living in his chateau in France. Meanwhile he's just trying to right the wrongs caused by someone else and can't get an inch of help from either the Federation or Starfleet because they've completely lost Gene's way and have become what the showrunners think Britain has become with Brexit and all that.

To be clear, I have no problem with Star Trek using the politics of the day as a storytelling motivator. In fact, I would encourage it.

Science-fiction is, by nature, allegorical. It's purpose is to teach us about what we are, what we're becoming, what we could be without making it obvious that we're being preached-to. Not all sci-fi is the same: Some is overt and cynical, creating environments that simply take the problems of today and turn them up to 11, beating us over the head with our own present sins.

Gene Roddenberry dreamed of a sci-fi show that dared to hope for the best.

He created Star Trek as a way to say "look how great things could be if we only just stopped fighting with each other." Yes there were still issues that needed addressing: In the days of the Original Series there was Vietnam, race relations, economic inequality; but how he dealt with those issues was two fold. On the one hand he made a point to remind us over and over in the show that earth had moved beyond those. At the same time he featured OTHER, ALIEN, BAD GUY species that still had those problems, allowing Kirk, Spock, and later Picard, etc, to lovingly (sometimes sternly) lecture on how stupid it is to be racist (Let This Be Your Last Battlefield), or to send people to death fighting a pointless war (A Taste of Armageddon), or to assume the worst in someone simply out of habit (Day of the Dove).

The key is that earth/humanity (a united humanity, mind you) moved past those things and the drama came from other alien species that hadn't.

Picard (and Discovery) has either forgotten that, or has decided it's maybe too much work, or requires too much of a writing-commitment, or is just too subtle for the dumbed-down audience they hope to attract, to tell those stories.

And that makes me sad.

I said after last week's episode that I was okay with Starfleet being a bunch of isolationist jerks, provided, in the end, they admit their fault and revert back to how they should be (how Gene envisioned them to be). We're not talking about changing the color of the uniforms here; we're talking about something that is foundational to Star Trek itself. Without an optimistic, peaceful earth, it's not Star Trek at all.

Picard's third episode takes the old hero back to the stars. What comes next we'll find out in the weeks that follow. He's searching for a synthetic...I hope he finds the the optimism and hope for the future that everyone around him lost over the years.
Rahul
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 10:45pm (UTC -6)
An enjoyable episode overall with more highs than lows for sure. Basically more plot advancement but we get some depth on a couple of characters although plenty of it is cliche -- actually a lot of cliche in the episode overall but its good pacing and the interrogation scene in parallel made it a winner for me. Picard admits he never felt at home at Chateau Picard and the ending with him saying "Engage" and the TNG theme music following was probably what a lot of folks were waiting for.

Raffi's an interesting, albeit cliche, character -- the opener provides all you need to know about her downfall and a bit more about Star Fleet calling Picard's bluff and thus he's now on the outside looking in. Decent scenes with Picard and the self-medicating Raffi. Picard doesn't give up on her and he's regarded as a good soul / kindred spirit and this draws people to him and makes people want to help him. So that much has been established. Of course his 2 Romulan aides are a good tandem and are well-acted -- and apparently vastly superior fighters than Romulan commandos.

So Picard has somewhat a crew of misfits (another cliche) but it works as they're all interesting characters who have had enough background built up and will keep my interest going forward. How different this rag-tag crew is from TNG's sterile bunch.

Of course it wouldn't be modern day Trek if it didn't try to impress with some shock value -- the dual/parallel interrogation scene was just that. It was exciting although it brought about more questions than answers. How did that ex-assimilated Romulan know Soji? What happened in her ship's assimilation? And at Chateau Picard, the Romulan commando gets interrogated simultaneously and spews the obvious that he's looking for Soji, spits the green liquid and gets killed.

I wasn't a fan of the assault scene on Chateau Picard as this strains credibility to believe that Picard and his 2 aides could fend off so many Romulan commandos without getting injured/killed themselves. Are the commandos just incompetent both in tactics and technique? I guess so.

The other scene I didn't think was great -- and is also cliche -- is Narek's sister telling him not to fall in love with Soji in her seductive way. I'm predicting Narek will fall further in love with Soji and tell his sister and the shady Vulcan Star Fleet security officer to fo F themselves...

3 stars for "The End Is the Beginning" -- title spelling out that Picard getting involved in this should be his end but he's just getting started. The episode covered a lot of ground and most of it was pretty entertaining with a bit of character depth thrown in. Still at the exposition stage of the arc so stuff doesn't need to make too much sense yet and the writers can continue their honeymoon period. Interesting story thus far with the Romulan /Borg backstory something I'm particularly eager for answers on.
Dick
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 11:08pm (UTC -6)
I agree with all of the criticisms expressed so far. A few other items that stood out to me:

*The opening exposition scene was a completely unnecessary rehash of the interview in Ep 1. So much of the first three episodes has felt like stalling. We should have been in space by Ep 2.

*On the other hand, the subtle digital de-aging of Patrick Stewart was very nicely done. The technology has improved a lot over the past decade.

*Apparently, the Vasquez Rocks are no longer a protected park in the 25th century, and anyone can park their trailer home at this famous natural landmark.

*Isa Briones (Soji/Dahj) continues to be the weak link in the cast. Her acting was especially questionable in the scenes with Narek. Rios and Raffi are fine.

*Why did Rios have a random piece of shrapnel embedded in his shoulder? It was completely unexplained and made no sense considering the immaculate condition of the ship.

*For some reason, I find myself more excited for the return of Bruce Maddox than anything else in the series. I sincerely hope they don't botch it.

6/10 for me
Andrew S.
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 11:15pm (UTC -6)
I enjoyed this episode but I’m a little worried they’re setting up a major retcon of the Romulans that won’t hold water.

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

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

I really hope we don’t have a “we’re Cylons and we have been from the start” thing where all Romulans are actually robots. That seems to rewrite the trek canon a bit too much. The Phantastic Geek podcast also speculated that perhaps the Romulans of ancient times actually created the Borg, which strikes me as an intriguing theory, but unclear why that would translate to the need to destroy all androids. The Borg aren’t really androids, and didn’t Locutus basically say androids are obsolete? Maybe I’ve just revealed myself to be a nitpicky nerd and none of this is really as big a deal as I say it is.
James
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 11:17pm (UTC -6)
The Rios ship looked like something out of Star Wars. As do a lot of aspects of this series.

What purpose would a false door have in Romulan society if every house had one? No one would even bother with it and everyone, burglars and visitors alike, would just go straight to the back door.
Michael
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 12:04am (UTC -6)
After 3 episodes, I think I'm done with this. This comment helped me understand why:

@Jeff Chapman

"After all, it's not us up on that screen... and that is the problem. We don't feel we are there. We are simply being entertained, and it has no relevance to us after it's all over."

I think that's why ideals are so essential for Star Trek to work. There is nothing I feel I share with the characters I are watching on DSC and PIC. They have their own lives, their own goals, and because they aren't mine, I simply don't care. When watching TOS, TNG, DS9 the reason I cared was because I felt I had the same values - whether it was justice, freedom, peace. Therefore the crew's victory was my own. I had stakes in their success.

This series, with a crusty old Picard chasing after some android's sister he apparently cared for, because there are tenuous links to another android he served with? Honestly, who cares? I would like to sit down with the writers and ask them why I should give a shred of fucks why this should matter to me. Especially with a crew who are generally jerks.
Diana
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 1:37am (UTC -6)
Ha ha ha ha ha. Reading some the critiques of all episodes so far is pretty entertaining. Your takes are very amusing. Armchair critics, the lot of you. I love it!
Tim C
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 1:40am (UTC -6)
Three episodes in the can and I suppose that's the "pilot" done? I enjoyed it, but once again I'm left feeling vaguely unsatisfied, due to the serial nature of the show. Disco doesn't have this problem most weeks; PIC on the other hand is driving me utterly *crazy* with the wait between episodes. Next season I think I'm going to wait until it's complete before I dive in.

Otherwise, I don't feel like there's much to analyse here that hasn't been covered in previous weeks. Bullet points:

* I like Rios! And his ship full of holograms! I feel like the metal in his shoulder is misdirection, and we're going to find out that he's a hologram himself. Seeing emergency holograms again also really makes me want to see Voyager's Doctor, and how well he's being treated in this AI-hating future.

* I like Raffi, but they're overdoing the substance abuse angle. We don't need to see her swigging from a bottle or vaping in *every* scene to get the message, show.

* The more I see of the Romulan commandos, the more I start wondering: if they can just use transporters to assault anywhere that they want to, why can't they just beam up their targets? That first encounter with Dahj would have gone very differently if they just beamed her directly up to their ship. Likewise, if they wanted Picard, it sure doesn't look like they'd have any trouble just plucking him right off the surface... Best not to think about it too hard.

* Seeing Hugh is a nice callback, but so far he's just kind of a cipher, isn't he? It's not like his character was ever super-defined in the first place, but this didn't contribute much. I hope future episodes will flesh him out a bit.

* Same actress, but I liked Dahj way better than Soji.
Daniel
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 2:58am (UTC -6)
I really liked this episode--especially because of the introduced dynamic between Picard and Raffi. I've been estranged from people I considered really close to me--and the honest truth of it is that time and even more time makes things more and more awkward and difficult to move towards reconciliation. Especially if there were wrongs committed--real or perceived.

Raffi living in a shack in Vasquez Rocks while Picard retired to his chateau in Lebarre didn't bother me like it did others from an economics standpoint. The "new world economy" of Earth guarantees that people won't go without their basic needs, but it doesn't guarantee them a mansion or that really nice San Francisco condo Reg Barcalay had in Voyager. For fourteen years, she didn't starve or seemed destitute--she chose to disengage from society instead of moving on and doing something else when she was shoved out of Starfleet. There are inherently going to be nice places to live and mediocre ones even in the 24th century--beachfront properties, cliffside views, and high density apartment complexes in cities. How do you allocate housing fairly and equally when size and quality varies?

I also don't buy people's complaints about this being a "dark" time for the Federation and Starfleet. There is no imminent threat from the Borg, and the Dominion War--the costliest war in manpower and ships to the Federation is now a distant memory. For most people on Earth, their day-to-day lives are "paradise". Sure, Cardassia lost over seven million troops and 800 million civilian lives in the endgame of the war, and Romulans have been relegated to refugee status, but they weren't part of the Federation. On balance, it appears that the average Federation citizen, the average Starfleet officer seems happy.*

But there's always going to be people relegated to the periphery--either due to their own choices and decisions, or because they were unfairly cast off by the greater society at large. If you're on the inside, like Picard was for most of his life, it's hard to envision how people on the outside live. In 400 years, (300 if we start at First Contact Day, 2063) we don't magically evolve out of behavior and problems that have plagued us for thousands of years. Having the first two levels of Maslow's hierarchy covered by Federation society helps us move towards self-actualization, but it doesn't obviate the entirety of the DSM-(I guess they'd be up to verson 500?). After all, people like Reginald Barcalay still exist, with psychiatric conditions treated by therapists like Deanna Troi (ret). People populate that Federation penal colony in New Zealand, where Tom Paris was for a while. Starfleet itself, being a military organization, is an entity that demands uniformity and followership amongst its ranks. If you don't conform or comply, you better believe it has no compunctions against casting you out like the stuff collected in waste extraction. The Federation itself was willing to abandon the colonies on the border with Cardassia in the effort to foster peace--the Maquis resulted from that choice.

Part of what made DS9 more of a compelling watch was that it dealt with characters who had setbacks and yet tried to better themselves. They weren't perfect with nothing left to improve. Sisko lost his wife at Wolf 359 and listlessly spent a few years administering the now destroyed Utopia Planitia Yards, considering quitting Starfleet. Kira spent her life as a freedom fighter/terrorist, and now had to figure out how to come back from the war. Odo was the ultimate outsider, and O'Brien had to figure out how not to get tortured or killed once or twice a year. We meet the characters in Picard at their narrative start point in the first act. Picard was the ultimate company man, who thought his illustrious career and gravitas would let him get his way. When he couldn't, he took all his toys and went home, sulking for fourteen years--secretly wishing he was still captain of a starship. Raffi was the product of overly ambitious parents who didn't have the time to raise her (according to Michelle Hurd). She was extremely bright but tended to latch onto people who could be proxy parent figures--like Picard. When Picard resigned from Starfleet, my guess was that she could've bounced back, but the devastation of being abandoned by a father figure really traumatized her, re-opened old wounds that never fully healed. Now how do these characters recover and then thrive over the course of the episodes?

Random Thoughts:
Not sure if it's more of an artifact of editing, but did anyone notice that Jurati fired the disrupter from outside of the study? All of the operatives that were taken down by Laris and co. were dropped inside of the room. Unless one skittered across the floor, I couldn't figure out how she managed to get one, not get noticed by the last guy so she could shoot him.

Couple that with Raffi scolding JL about not at least having her do a background check on Jurati--I have a sneaking feeling she's not fully who she appears to be. Something doesn't smell right.

Speaking of smells, I'm glad I'm not the only one who's getting Jamie and Cersei vibes from Narek and Narissa.

The one unforgivable thing the writers could do to get me to stop watching would be to kill of Laris and Zhaban. They're my favorite characters out of the new series, and aside from the Tal Shiar-trained badassery, I think most of us really like them because of their genuine love and care for our beloved Jean-Luc, not just the Admiral, but the man--that they've done so for the last fourteen years.

*One note about the state of the Federation, I recently watched a clip of ST: Insurrection that popped up in my YouTube feed, and in it, Picard was commenting on how desperate the Federation was to make new friends in the midst of the Dominion War to welcome a new world to its collective that had only discovered warp drive a few years prior. A Federation that's more EU-like than US-like in its membership structure could plausibly be very concerned if 14 worlds were threatening to bolt, especially if one or more were keystone planets. Brexit happened, and there are still populist elements in Italy and Spain and a few other countries nurturing secessionist feelings. EU member states don't surrender their total individual sovereignty to the union, and I don't imagine Andoria, Betazed, Vulcan, or Trill doing the same for the Federation.

**Random dark thought. For the multiverse/Prime vs Kelvin timelines to exist, it means that going to the past doesn't necessarily change your future--you just happened to navigate back to a universe where what you did in the past has continuity. That means there is a universe with a 24th century Earth that was destroyed in the 23rd century by a probe trying to talk to humpback whales, another universe where the Borg successfully assimilates Earth in 2063, a universe where the crew of the Voyager have to figure out how to live the rest of their lives in 20th century Earth, and another universe where a group of Ferrengi and their changeling friend change the course of Earth's history after being discovered at Area 51.

***Also, every Star Trek time travel story where they worry about how to get back to the future forgets about basic relativistic physics--one simply needs to travel at high impulse speeds and let time dilation do its thing. According to one of the Trek technical manuals, traveling at full impulse for anything but short distances is highly discouraged for that exact reason.
Masaccio
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 3:17am (UTC -6)
I'm liking the show, and I like the "focus" on real-world parallels. Romulans fleeing a disaster, versus people fleeing Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador. A wealthy society turning its back on, or even criminalizing, refugees. I'm glad Star Trek continues to take on painful issues.
Toony
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 3:18am (UTC -6)
Just think of what they could do with this series:
- Explore more of the background to Star Trek Generations like Tolian Soran's trilithium missile that DESTROYS SUNS, the Romulans seeking it, the 'secret lab' (section 31?) and Lursa and Betors plans for it.
- Explain he Borg presence in the Neutral Zone in TNG, the original plan was for the Borg to cause a war and assimilate the weakened survivors but it was dropped and the Borg became villians that were up front and direct.
- Why the Romulans cloned Picard before he was famous.
- The Romulan cyberneticists interest in Data, B4 and possibly Lore.
- Lore himself would be a twist, imagine him with the Queen instead of Data.
- Bring back Tebok (TNG: The Neutral Zone) played by Marc Alaimo as a adversary for Picard, he was there when the Romulans returned, it may make a good bookend for this series.
Booming
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 3:21am (UTC -6)
Finally! An episode that gave us more mysteries. I think I have already forgotten half of the mysteries from the last two episodes and they are piling on new ones.
Others have commented on the clunky dialog that felt very Discovery, evil shades admiral and the general comicality of the bad guys/gals. So I will skip that.

What bothered me the most was what I would call the (c)rushingly slow nature of the show. Why are Raffi and Picard close? We aren't given a single scene that explains why Picard would accept Raffi being that informal with him. JL. Even Beverly only called him Jean Luc and that after knowing him for more than 20 years and the whole dead husband thing. Raffi and Picard know each other 6 years tops in 2385. We are just expected to accept that they are very close but the show doesn't bother to show why. It blunted the whole relationship drama between the two. For me at least. I also don't understand why star fleet would fire her? Because she was for the rescue of the Romulans?? I guess the producers had to make her a bitter lonerstoner somehow.

The metal piece/cigar scene was a good example for why "show, don't tell" isn't necessarily the better way to go. He is a good looking guy and also awesome. Got it. Why does he have stick of metal in his shoulder? I fear we will never find out.
Also smoking seems to have made a real comeback in the late 24th century.

People love the housekeepers. Probably because these two Romulans, who, I suppose, worked a non torture/murder Tal Shiar job, are ironically the most Star Trekkian characters. They are positive, noble and caring and not bitter because of it. I must admit though that during this episode I started to think of them as emotional support character 1 and 2.

The Zhat Vash continue to be utter failures. 3 Ops, 3 complete failures. Is nobody monitoring these operations? Are the commanders of this organization just sitting somewhere and crossing off names if nobody reports back and send the next suicide squad?

The Romulan Cube scenes brought in themes of religion and destiny which every Star Trek show must have now.

Yesterday I watched the last episode of The good place. The last positive mass cultural product I had in my secret stash. People just trying to better themselves and examining philosophical problems. I'm going to miss that odd sweet duckling.

Well, back to present day Star Trek. Did I like this episode, did I dislike it. I liked it better than episode 2. I think it was an unwise choice of CBS to press this show into a format that can be used for syndication. Also the strongly serialized nature of the show doesn't work with a weekly release schedule. The filler parts stand out much more now. I would probably enjoy this more if I could binge it.

People give the episodes star ratings which I find almost impossible until I know where this all going.

Little nitpick. :) Picard had the rank of captain in 2379 (ST Nemesis) but was a four star admiral in 2385. You go JL!
Daniel
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 3:48am (UTC -6)
@Booming

Actually, once you're at the flag officer rank level (generals, admirals) your rank is more associated with your billet (functional position). You're given a rank commensurate to the duties and span of responsibilities of your position. A captain leads one vessel, and a commodore leads a small flotilla or task force. An officer appointed to lead the Judge Advocate Generals corps is promoted to vice admiral or lieutennant general in the US Navy. When you're done with your tour of duty, you either retire or go back to your old position without the upgraded rank. The rank stays with the office. Most choose to retire at the upgraded rank.

If you're tasked with the evacuation of hundreds of millions of Romulans and need to command an armada of 10,000 starships and hundreds of thousands of Starfleet officers (and probably hundreds of 1-star and 2-star admirals), I'd imagine a four-star admiralty position would be warranted.
wolfstar
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 5:27am (UTC -6)
It's a lot of cliches. Soji is the best character but only to the extent that she's written as an actual person rather than a living MacGuffin. Other than that, we have the bad-boy pilot (introduced picking shrapnel out of his shoulder, so we know how reckless and tough he is), the sassy/angry black chick, the nervous science girl (I liked Jurati at first, but she's starting to come over as another hackneyed Tilly archetype), and the evil British villains. All four of these characters (Raffi, Rios, Jurati, Narek) are overdone by their respective actors. Every line of dialog is either crudely expositional, or desperately straining to be edgy and attitudinal (like a bad attempt to emulate the hackneyed Whedon/Gaiman/Moffat school of TV writing). Conflict isn't introduced organically based on characters' different viewpoints and motivations, but as contrived angst and teenage petulance.

The scenes on the artefact didn't really work for me this week, unlike last. Again, it's a lot of cliche and spooky mystery stuff. It seems like time travel may be involved at some point - one or more characters from the present will end up in the past and perhaps cause the Romulan distrust of artificial life, the presence of their "biological malware", the fact Romulans may be synths etc.. Glad that people have already mentioned the inconsistency of the Romulan in "Unity".

Orla Brady's character has managed to grow on me by this week, mainly because of the actress's performance, but it seems we're leaving her on Earth.

Commodore Oh No is absolutely laughable.

I'm going down to 3/10, after 6/10 last week and 8/10 for episode 1. Only still watching for Seven at this point.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 7:21am (UTC -6)
@Daniel
"I also don't buy people's complaints about this being a "dark" time for the Federation and Starfleet. There is no imminent threat from the Borg, and the Dominion War--the costliest war in manpower and ships to the Federation is now a distant memory."

Darkness comes in many forms. There are things far scarier than external threats like the Borg. Personally, I find the notion of the Federation degenerating from the world of TNG into *this* in a single generation to be infinitely more frightening than the Borg or the Dominion.

"On balance, it appears that the average Federation citizen, the average Starfleet officer seems happy."

Unless they work at Utopia Planitia, where they have eat to pineapple all day long. Or Synths. Sucks to be one those guys, doesn't it? And then there are those Admirals that make racial slurs and drop F-bombs. They didn't sound very happy to me either.

It's interesting, because I see a direct parallel between the stuff that's going on in ST:Picard's Federation and present day society. We too have access to tons of shiny technology, yet the majority of us aren't particularly happy either. Western society has lost its way, getting more cynical and more miserable every year.

This parallel, of-course, is not surprising at all. STP's Federation was created, intentionally, as a carbon copy of present day America. It's USA 2020 with the serial numbers scratched off. This doesn't really make much sense in-universe, but that's the vibe they are going for. There's nothing "happy" about it.
TC
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 7:26am (UTC -6)
I really want to like this series, but I’m starting to switch off a bit after this episode. I agree with what some of you have already said with regards it feeling as if we’re being stalled a bit. The repeated clip with the Mars incident from the start of this episode only reinforced that.

So far only Laris and Zhaban actually feel like real people. This might be down to the acting, but I suspect that it’s also because they’ve been shown to actually have a meaningful connection to Picard. Everyone else just feels like a convenient cardboard cutout in comparison.

Raffi was especially bad for this in my book. So she’s someone who worked with Picard to try and salvage the Romulan rescue situation, got pissy with him when he played his finally trump card and had his bluff called, and is now an addict? Ok, sure, but why should I care?

I cannot immediately recall the name of the blonde scientist (not a good sign!), but she’s not lighting my fire either. Maybe there’s something more going on but right now she’s just the timid nerd cliche with a side of exposition fairy.

Oh wearing the shades was laughable, ENT already established that Vulcans have no need for eye protection due to where they evolved, so seeing her with them almost makes it feel like a parody.

The brother/sister villain thing continues to be pretty bland, cookie cutter stuff with some squick factor due to implied incest thrown in. I just can’t take it seriously. To top it off, the characters involved seem to have the emotional range of a brick.

Looking back I’ve dropped a lot more harsh words than I had intended, but I honestly stand by the lot of them. The show needs to make something happen, and also make me actually care about it, because right now Picard, his two Romulan aides and his dog are the most interesting things in the entire show.

2 stars for me.
James
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 7:33am (UTC -6)
Isn't the "Vulcan" official wearing the shades a pretty clear cut indication that she's not actually Vulcan? A whole team of writers can't have missed something like that... can they?
Booming
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 7:52am (UTC -6)
One of the two conversations occured:

1)
Writer 1: Couldn't we indicate with the Vulcan admiral wearing shades that she isn't actually Vulcan?
Writer 2: Oh you mean as something the real fans would notice? Great idea!
Writer 3: But wouldn't that be really stupid in-world because other people at Starfleet would think: Hey Vulcans don't wear shades!
Head writer: I think using shades is still worth it. Many fans will be happy about spotting that hint.

2)
Head writer: Ok guys, wouldn't it look evil and mega cool if the hot admiral would were shades?!!
Writer 1: awesome idea, Bro!
Writer 2: Word!
bURKE
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 8:05am (UTC -6)
@Booming We all know that it's likely to be number 2. I'm kinda sad of how cynical we've become about DIS and PIC, but there you go.
Filip
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 8:11am (UTC -6)
@James I think you are giving the writers way too much credit based on breaches of cannon we've seen so far.

As for the argument that people living in the Federation are happy and that the current state of affairs in Starfleet is a natural turn of events, it doesn't really work because the world building in the show is extremely lazy. Like I said in my review of Maps & Legends, what they should've done is give voice to both sides in order to create a truly complicated situation with no easy solutions. Instead we got the instant characterization of Starfleet as bad with a couple of throwaway lines to try and mask the failure in creating a compelling world.

Look, for example, how they handled the situation with the Maquis in DS9, more specifically, look at the dialogue between Sisko and Nechayev. It was a tough one with no win-win scenarios and you felt that. Nechayev was unlikable, but damn it, she was right; the motivation behind the orders she gave Sisko reflected what would later become a major theme of the series - making tough choices in face of dilemmas where you just can't have it all. And that is what made Sisko's mission and his internal struggles all the more relatable.

In Picard, you just don't have that. Starfleet is straight up "intolerant and fearful," and everybody familiar with the creative thinking behind the show knows why that is so, but when you have a premise like that from the start and decide to blindly stick to it, you can't build a compelling world. All the ideas about happy citizens and turns of events are conjectures which have nothing to do with the material at hand.

Whoever wants another example of absolutely stellar world building should see The Expanse. That show is brilliant in every single way (granted, I haven't seen the final season yet). In short, it has three very different political entities at odds with each other and every single one has been thoroughly fleshed out. You cannot pick a clear 'moral' winner and you can just appreciate the complexity and the work that went into creating it.

Two things I forgot to mention in my first comment; the music was absolutely insufferable, but I guess you need it as the last resort to stir something in your audience since the dialogue for sure won't do it for you most of the time.
The other thing is that the acting was worse in this one than the previous two episodes. One YT reviewer noted that when Raffi was telling her sad story, Patrick Stewart literally just sat opposite of her like he was waiting for the scene to end so he could go back to his trailer. I wanted to share that one with you because I found it absolutely hilarious.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 8:11am (UTC -6)
Well, gotta stay tuned in with the times, don't we?

cynical Trek needs cynical Trekkies. ;-)
Booming
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 9:03am (UTC -6)
@Burke
A part of me thinks so too but no it can't be. That would just be too dumb. It must have a reason. Even though the only non embarrassing option would be that she is Romulan and I shudder at the thought that she is from the mirror universe.
Chrome
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 9:34am (UTC -6)
@Cody B

That’s funny that they’d push the incest angle but a little research shows Romans were not into it. “Incestium” was frowned upon by the Romans and there were ancient laws forbidding it. So, no history hand waves for them!

Ironically, the kinky sex angle of Romulans *was* explored sort of, by the greatest Star Trek movie of all time, Nemesis. Of course, that could’ve been a Reman thing.
Karl Zimmerman
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 9:38am (UTC -6)
I really don't think you can argue that this writer's room doesn't know Trek. I mean, everyone in the writer's room other than Kurtzman (Beyer, Chabon, Duff, and Goldsman) are huge Trekkies.

Something like Commodore Oh wearing sunglasses strikes me as a directorial decision, rather than a writing decision, so maybe Hannelle Culpepper should be blamed.

Which reminds me, I'll be interested to see what Frakes does with direction next week.
Dave in MN
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 10:46am (UTC -6)
@ Booming, Burke, James, etc

Unless all these continuity/canon/scientific/logical mistakes are accounted for, they may become the death of a thousand cuts STP. Each error spoils (little by little) my ability to suspend disbelief and immerse myself.

And then there's the terrible musical underscore and the paint-by-numbers direction and the comical scripting .... I wasn't kidding when I said most of the actors do a great job. If they' had cast a few roles differently, I probably would be in full savage critic mode by now. They are pretty much the ONLY I'm still giving this a fair chance.

@almost everyone

I agree about Commodore Oh.

She's a parodic caricature of a villain

After the sunglasses fiasco in this episode, I don't think I'll be able take her seriously as a character. They made her look a Far Side cartoon.

I feel bad for the actress playing her: I don't think Meryl Streep could make Oh's dialogue believable.

Commodore Oh No indeed.

Also, someone about pointed out the ZV can beam seemingly anywhere (even Starfleet HQ) and they HAVEN'T beamed out their targets (after multiple failed attempts) . Thanks, now I'll be thinking of that every time the ZV strike... Haha
Dave in MN
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 10:48am (UTC -6)
Apologies for the missing words in my response. I think my touchscreen is acting a little touchy.
Mertov
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 11:53am (UTC -6)
The opening act comes to an end (I guess) and Picard is set for adventure outside of the comfortable confines of Château Picard. Overall, I view the first three episode positively as an ensemble and I like the cinematic look of the show. Characters are well-developed for three episodes averaging around 45 minutes even though I found myself thinking it was moving too slow, especially in episode 2. I am not sure that I would have felt that way back in the days of just cable TV and commercials during episodes, with no internet streaming availability. I will speculate that from this point forward, things will shift to a higher gear, at least I hope so. I definitely find myself looking forward to the next episode, which is not something I could have said for Enterprise and DS9’s first two seasons back in their days (I even missed a few here and there), though the latter later became my favorite series thanks to Season 3 forward.

I am really glad this series chose to deal with Romulans as primary aliens. I always felt like over the course of half a decade of Star Trek, they were the most underused ‘familiar’ alien race. Maybe that is why episodes like “The Neutral Zone” or “The Defector” stand out (in addition to being solid episodes) because Romulans were rare come by.

Welcome back Hugh, and I appreciated the non-ceremonial introduction of the character. It’s amazing how well Del Arco portrayed him here, I thought it was very easy to recognize him, although I bet those who are making their entry into Star Trek with PIC are wondering who he is. I also like the fact that he appears to be an ally to Soji, although I am not sure how he came to be the director of operations (was that his title?) on the Borg salvage cube.

I agree with Daniel’s third and fourth paragraphs above (and a good post overall). Forget about during DS9, but even during TNG, the Federation (and Starfleet) was not always rosy, one of its major components is bureaucracy. It was rather Picard’s Enterprise that had a rosy portrait and crew.

That being said, there are a few stumbles in this episode. While a couple may be considered nitpicking on my part, I felt they could have been better handled without much extra effort.

For example, I find Soji’s storyline on the Borg salvage ship a bit convoluted (I agree with Drea and Dave on this) and hope that it will be fleshed out in the upcoming episode. I know someone else mentioned this above, but how can the tarot reader tell who Soji is, and how come Soji apparently engaged in a discussion that seems to come out of nowhere even to herself? And could they not come up with a better tag than “the destroyer”? Come on. I cannot come up with something better from the top of my head right now (I bet others can), but I am sure if I put some thought into it, I could.

Tim C. and a couple of others pointed out, they are laying it on a bit too thick with Raffi’s doom-and-gloom disposition coupled with drugs and alcohol. Her bitterness is understandable, especially the part about Picard not contacting her for 14 years after his gamble did not pay off and she lost her position (why? It seems over the top) and Michelle Hurd is a great addition to the main cast, and she does the best she can with the lines she is fed, and even succeeds at times to portray Raffi in a compelling manner. It is nonetheless disappointing that two accomplished writers like Chabon and Goldsman could not come up with better lines for her.

Commodore Oh and Narissa continue to be too one-dimensional, unlike Narek who is benefiting from some character growth (and Treadaway).

It’s also great to have Santiago Cabreras as Rios and while there were aspects of cliché-representation for him too (I could have easily lived without the shrapnel, sigh), there are some intriguing layers to his past that can be explored. The crew of four – plus the EMH – taking off with Picard’s classic “engage” should be entertaining to watch.

It looks like we are leaving Laris and Zhaban behind, which is too bad. I really enjoyed them in these first three episodes. There is an interesting backstory that explains their loyalty to Picard that is laid out in the Picard: Countdown comics (it also shows Picard and Raffi as trusted colleagues on the Verity).

The three episodes, in retrospect, provide a sound start to the series. Various narratives are carved out and Rios’s ship has a clear destiny with a clear goal for the members of the crew. Picard is locked in on his mission. The fleshing-out of the storylines worked great in my opinion, and flashback scenes did contribute to setting them up (more for people who may not be familiar with Star Trek than those who are).

“Bring back Tebok” – Awesome idea Toony!

Three stars on Jammer’s scale from me for this episode (3,5 for first, 2,5 for the second) and looking forward to reading his review.
Karl Zimmerman
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 11:56am (UTC -6)
Let's be fair though - every single Trek has had things which haven't been thought out. Like the 23rd/24th century should be a panopticon where there are cameras recording everything onboard ships at all time, yet probably at least a quarter of episodes across all of Trek rely on not immediately knowing what's going on in some portion of the ship.
XanderW
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 12:21pm (UTC -6)
I agree with many of the critiques made above, but one thing that I haven't
seen anyone mention yet, is that, as much as it pains me to say, I don't think
that Patrick Stewart is reprising his Picard character very well. It feels like
I'm watching Stewart playing Stewart; his whole demeanor, tone, and whatever else that Picard represented is missing.

The Picard we know is a stiff upper lip British gentlemen (I know, I know,
"French"...) who is keen on formality and keeping distance. Of course, he's a
great deal older here and has gone through a lot, which I accept can change
one's character. Still, the Picard as played here doesn't feel any bit familiar
to me. TNG Picard would never have allowed anyone to call him JL, for instance,
nor would he be so casual about killing Romulan assassins (?) or about bringing
innocent scientists with him into danger.

Despite my lack of interest in the recent Star Trek incarnations, I still had
hope that the revival of Picard's character and Stewart's acting would elevate
this to a show worth watching. Alas, it does not seem to be the case, and that
saddens me as a big fan of (TNG) Picard.
wolfstar
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 12:31pm (UTC -6)
I agree with Xander.
James White
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 1:57pm (UTC -6)
More and more, I find myself enjoying the nostalgic feel of Picard's (presumably) final journey into the unknown. The bits of the ST theme song spliced into the episode. The nods to his previous accomplishments. The aura of Picard/Stewart, even if the depiction itself is a bit wanting. It's just a nice little trip down memory lane.

At the same time, I think about a time when TNG and DS9 were the very best sci-fi programs. Were the standard. And I realize that that time has passed. The Expanse, Black Mirror, BSG are infinitely better than Discovery or Picard. They also feel more "authentic" in a way. They don't need to try to BE something. They just are. This feels like an odd little coda to something that was once great. It's synthetic and regurgitated in a way, even when it's comforting and emotive.

I'm trapped in the past like many of you. I'll watch this. I know it will fail to live up to some standard I have for ST. Anyone with a dash of intellectual honesty knows this. And that's okay. Because this is a derivative work. A calling card to something else. The wonderful memories of TOS, TNG, DS9, some of Voyager, a few of the films, and so on - maybe this is why I'm watching Picard now.

Hoping for something great, accepting something pretty good, and all the while reminding myself that the future remains unwritten.
Hank
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 3:20pm (UTC -6)
Huh, what a curious turn of events. With Discovery, everything was frantic, fast paced, nonsensical.

With Picard, everything moves too slow. Don't get me wrong - I actually liked the scenes with Picard in the first episode. The problem is that everything around Picard feels like a different, somewhat forced story. Taking two episodes just to get the crew together for the adventure, when we have no foreknowledge about any of them, is too long. Fill us in while they adventure, that moves the story and the characterization, instead of giving us expositionary dialogue that I frankly don't care about. Why is she even angry at Picard for having "more stuff" when "stuff" ceised to matter a long time ago? Why didn't she call him? But I digress.

Picard is old. Not the "Old but still lively" kind, but plain old. Yet around him, conspiracy unfolds. Romulans! Tal Shiar! Something even more dangerous! Explosions! Mystery! Ancient Prophecies! Borg Cubes! Grizzled, cigar smoking badass Captain! Pot-Smoking Minority! (oups). What I am trying to get at: Picard feels like a passanger on this trip, yet he is the only character to care about - this is his show, after all. But he isn't even Picard anymore, so much has changed.

What he needed was some final mystery, a small story. Some nice closure, a final trip to the stars. I would have watched a show about Picard travelling the country meeting up with old friends, seeing how they are doing. No plot required at all, just a journey. If need be, tie it in with his illness. A bittersweet goodbye to a beloved character. What we got is a situation where he's dead before he even started. The Romulans are already onto him, thanks to the conspiracy and him telling the wrong people what he wanted to do. Given the complete surveillance of the future, there is no way for him to get to his goal. This could of course have been averted in several ways, the simplest being him just getting his final command, which would also reflect better on Star Fleet and the Federation as a whole. This kind of "Against all Odds" story is more fitting for a young, determined individual. Picard would fit right in with political intrigue as well, not action.

Still, this is way better than Discovery, but at the same time, not very interesting. Maybe I am just jaded, but I don't care very much for prophecy stories, people fated to affect the universe in a profound way just because, or identity confusion. Pretty much everything is a foregone conclusion: One way or another, the prophecy will turn out to be true, but averted (because it isn't a prophecy, it's time-travel). Something-something will find out that she's an android and it will affect her life in a profound way, and in consequence the view of Synths in the Federation. Picard will be proven right in the end: They should have saved those Romulans, Mars was an inside job (well, outside, but the saying goes differently). The Borg Cube will turn out to not be completely disconnected from the collective - Seven has got to be of some use, when we finally meet her.

I comment on this episode because several things stuck out to me. First, the female scientist barging into Picards house holing a romulan disruptor. Why, how, when? An obvious plot contrievance. Why are the Romulans storming the place like a squad team when they should have scanners telling them exactly where everybody is, making for a clean execution? Why not just, dunno, death ray the place? Ever seen what a phaser on overload does to things? Why does Picard hide weapons under his desk? Did he expect to get murdered? On the most peaceful planet in the Federation? Why is Miss Goldilocks living out in the desert in a piece of junk when everything is supposed to be perfect in the future and you can replicate anything for free anyways? Why are the ex-borg completely scarred, when even Voyager level tech can heal skin like it's nothing? And Picards "Engage" was indeed cringeworthy. Picard isn't in command, and too much of a gentleman to impose himself on others in such a way. Or at least the Picard in my head is. He would also never name his dog "Number One", implying that Riker ain't nothing but a hound dog. He also wouldn't call his interview a mistake, for that matter. Picard defended principle above all else, no matter the cost.

All small things, but they add up to make one thing clear: This is something different from TNG, very different. It's another world, and it shows, because the old world is boring. Simple as that. TNG has been done, it will not be repeated. It was a product of its time. Picard, the show, is an adventure story. The kind that is popular right now, proven by The Expanse or Lost in Space. Picard should have been like "Midnight Diner": Smallscale, intimate, low stakes. Human. An internal journey, not an external one. Reflection and Introspection instead of Action and Grand Mystery.

So, let's see where this will go. Right now, it serves as a mind-clearing distraction for me, not exactly entertainment. Passive, distant and ultimately uninvolved consumption. A reminder that all good things must come to an end, and some of them have ended long ago. God do I feel old typing that out.
philadlj
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 3:43pm (UTC -6)
I feel like a skilled editor could cut enough superfluous fat from these first three episodes to condense the story into a brisk, focused, but still unrushed 60-70 minute pilot. Instead, 30% of this season has been nothing but table-setting. Chabon is an unequivocally brilliant novelist and storyteller (and a Trek fan, for which I'm glad), but these three episodes have exposed his inexperience with running a tv show.

I've also been disappointed in the startlingly large number of continuity errors regarding Starfleet officers' rank insignia. TNG and DS9 hardly ever had those problems. I'm wonder how in a scene where Commodore Oh is wearing 20th century styled sunglasses, the director didn't bother to ask a PA to straighten her pip! Even non-4K HD is unforgiving of sloppy details like that.
Booming
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 4:00pm (UTC -6)
@Hank
"Why does Picard hide weapons under his desk?"
Ok, to finally come to the defense of the show. I saw that, was bothered a little but then thought:"He was attacked by Romulan (not so) super spies once, so stocking up on weapons seems reasonable." This gets a pass from me.
Marg
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 4:14pm (UTC -6)
The scene in which Raffi berates Picard is uncomfortable but highlights Picard's arrogance, a characteristic that Q criticized throughout TNG and kept Picard isolated from his Enterprise crew.
Nice touch that Raffi calls Picard "J.L."—it signals a different relationship between Picard's post-TNG crew/staff members. I guess she was his No.1? Love Raffi's desert house.
Agnes is fun: "Who are you, lady?"
I'll hold judgement on Rios—a bit too over the top for me in this ep. But thank you, @Trent, for explaining the book. The struggle with faith gets my attention. Am I reading correctly that the actor also plays the EMH? Does Rios' ship have a name?

@Drea: "Star Trek: Firefly" Huh. I've been thinking about Firefly lately.
(The "ping-ping" sound of the Romulan handgun reminds me of a Mass Effect weapon, I think the Scorpion.)
I'm very much enjoying the series so far.
Filip
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 5:49pm (UTC -6)
@Hank

This was a truly wonderful overview. I couldn't agree more with everything you've said.
Dan Nugent
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 6:35pm (UTC -6)
TBH, I loved Star Trek but in all the series I had to wade through some tripe to get to the occasional good or great episodes. My final verdict on this will when I have seen all 10 episodes.
Narafi
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 8:33pm (UTC -6)
It’s easy for some people to say they don’t like the show because they “know” (KNOW, Mind you) how it will unfold, or because of picayune continuity details (the continuity issue that one would think mattered - are we crystal clear that the Kelvin timeline is in fact distinct from whatever we are watching? - is ignored, because there beastly abomination rank pip errors and vaping in space “errors” and keeping a weapon in the home “errors” and Picard saying engage “errors” - as if continuity is to be valued as an end unto itself)... or to say that what the collective we really needed was one last footnote adventure with Picard’s old friends (the person who said this, judging by the tenor of his other comments, would have HATED that show, finding it to be too slow).

I think it is harder for some people to realize that the world-building they want would inevitably mess with their precious continuity and their “We Know What Star Trek Means and it is optimism” worldview from which dissent can not be tolerated. WHEN WAS it established that no one but no one lived in the 24th century of a mobile home? Or that some (i don’t mean Raffi) might have CHOSEN to live that way?Or that everyone had access to the exact same level of quality of healthcare? The writers, Trek fans all, may (I don’t know their intent) have wanted to show that really, the Roddenberry future has its imperfections. I for one like how real life is permitted to intrude on this show.

World-building involves showing the audience new things and fleshing out details. If every new thing showed is attacked as being inconsistent with established Trek Lore - and believe me, it will be - what Writer in his or her right mind would want to write anything other than the banal, safest, cliched things ?

I like how Nicholas Meyer in Star Trek II made nice little “world-building” flourishes, what with the no-smoking lines and David’s cardigan. These choices were attacked as unnecessary and distracting. The hate of innovation runs that deep. I am not saying Picard is innovative. I am saying there is a large element of fandom that has a vested interest in Star Trek never changing, innovating, or showing us something that might challenge our assumptions about what the franchise stands for.
Quincy
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 10:31pm (UTC -6)
@Cynic
"Agnes may not be a villain per se, but my guess is she has been compromised and is unwittingly sharing her experiences from now on with Oh via subspace mind-meld, another Discovery innovation."

The precedent for spooky action at a distance Vulcan telepathy came from TOS most relevantly in "The Immunity Syndrome" episode, where Spock hears the death scream of 400 Vulcans from light-years away. It makes sense to me that zeroing in on your own distressed katra might offer the same distance telepathy benefits as simply upping the amperage, but to each his own.
Quincy
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 10:41pm (UTC -6)
@Hank
"Why does Picard hide weapons under his desk? "

How do you know Picard is the one who hid it under his desk? It could've been, you know, the two ex Tal Shiar living and working at his chateau.

Even if it was him, didn't he just get attacked in the first episode? I know he's got pre-Irumodic Syndrome, but his memory ain't that bad yet.
Quincy
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 11:06pm (UTC -6)
@Dave in MN
".... but WTF was Daj2's extremely dumb statement to crazy Romulan dx-Borg woman about? A "shared narrative" and mythology? That sounded like a mission statement from a leftist Tumblr blog. This is amateur hour scripting."

This was funny to me, most specifically, because I noted it for the exact opposite reason. It reminded me of Jordan Peterson's views on shared mythological archetypes and meta-narratives. Peterson is most decidedly not a leftist.
Mal
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 1:07am (UTC -6)
"It makes total sense that you’re angry. I disappointed you. I neglected you. And I wasn’t there when you needed me. I am truly sorry.”

- “JL” Picard apologising to… the audience?


Mal’s Review before Jammer’s
* * * (out of 4 stars)


The third and final hour of the Pilot is a fairly satisfying conclusion to the set up for this latest iteration of Star Trek. More than 55 years after The Cage was filmed but not aired, the Doctor - I mean, the Captain - is old. “JL" is so old, that he seems old and haggard even in the flashback to 14 years ago. And yet he still takes down not one but two highly trained super assassins at the peak of their prime. Ok then.

Ridiculous obligatory action sequence aside, much of the rest of the setup benefits from a wider canvas than we’ve seen on Trek for quite a while. Maybe not since DS9.

For example, I think Alison Pill ("Dr. Agnes”) has the only recognisably American accent in this episode. She lives in Japan, and it would have been great to get a Japanese accented actor for the show (Michelle Yeoh’s heavy Chinese accent for ST:D is one of the few highlights on that series), but given that the audience needs at least one person to relate to, I’m willing to give up Alison. On the other hand we get a glorious accent from the pilot Rios. Funnily enough the EMH, also played by the same actor, has a super annoying accent. But that’s the thing about range - you get the entire spectrum!

Raffi & Picard seem to have a good rapport. We’ll see if they can rise to a Picard/Lily pairing like ST: First Contact, or even better if we get up to Picard/Ro.
We can only dream of Picard/Whoopi level chemistry. At the moment I'm getting a little of the Miller/Octavia Muss vibe from them ala The Expanse. Which is good enough for now. It’s still early days.

I do wish they had a little more sense of humor about it all.

Like when Picard was interrogating the Romulan assassin, how much fun would it have been if he had started with, “Welcome to Chateau Picard. Would you like some tea?”

Or maybe when Raffi starts vaping her wacky tabbacy, what if Picard had said, “be careful with that stuff - it’s liable to ruin your life.”

Thanks guys, I’ll be here all night :-)

I do like crazy-ex-borg-romulan-witch’s big and bold haircut. Reminds me of Lt. Saavik. And the less we see of the Dahj&Soj sisters, the happier we’ll all be.

My major complaint is that they have taken really annoying choices with our brother/sister (step-sister ;) pairing. The actress herself seems to have the range to be playful, e.g.,

https://youtu.be/IxgcX8wmQpI

but instead they have forced poor Payton List into Babylon 5-levels of camp.

And finally, why is the ship so bland? This is 2020. If Bill Murry can get a Jeep Rubicon, can’t we get Picard something with a little more spunk?! Instead they have him shlepping around in a Dahj camper…

In the end though, after three hours of set up, perhaps Rios says it best: “Can we go already?”
Cody B
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 2:05am (UTC -6)
@ Chrome

Well incest is also illegal everywhere on Earth but that’s not stopping the sickos who engage in it. If it’s against Romulan law than that only strengthens her being a villain. Personally I just don’t see how anyone could read her as NOT having sexual energy towards her brother. Plus she watched playback of him having arc so there’s that. Guess we will see where this goes
Cody B
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 2:06am (UTC -6)
*arc=sex

Autocorrect with another massive L. What’s new
Lynos
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 2:09am (UTC -6)
The voice. It's wrong.

One of the most memorable things about Picard and the way Stewart played him was the precise use of his voice. It was booming and powerful when being angry or commanding or wanting to make a point, but measured and soothing when wanting to explain something or reach someone emotionally.

This new Picard doesn't have the voice anymore. Some keep their original voice when aging, but apparently Patrick Stewart did not. He sounds here like he sounds in recent interviews, so this is not some creative choice (For the record, I'm sure Stewart could change his voice at will if he was able to/wanted to).

This Picard sounds hoarse, weak, de-energized. It's very tough for me to see it. Sometimes we don't want to see our heroes get old. Sure, Shatner played an aging Kirk in the movies, but he wasn't in his 80's, for god sake, and also, the voice.... the voice was the same.
Cody B
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 2:15am (UTC -6)
@ Chrome

Ah I misread your comment. You were saying ROMANS (bc my original comment) weren’t into incest, I read it as ROMULANS and thought you were saying STP wouldn’t have the incest angle bc of Romulan law. Gotcha now sorry. No when I originally mentioned Romans I was referring to the rulers not everyday Romans. The rulers seemed to do nothing but engage in incest. Atleast that’s what learned from watching I, Claudius.
Booming
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 2:54am (UTC -6)
Technically every European aristocratic family until the end of monarchies in Europe was into incest. Especially the high nobility were all cousins, marrying cousins and so on. So if incest means marrying cousins then that's been done until recently. Marrying siblings on the other hand was forbidden almost everywhere always. Marrying siblings was a sin and prohibited by law in ancient rome. Some of the more crazy emperors of course didn't care about that. Claudius was, as far as I know, the only emperor who openly married a close relative (niece). In Egypt it was different though, especially in ptolomaic Egypt. But even there it was an oddity, Egyptian rulers in the old, middle and new kingdom sometimes married siblings but it was only ok for them because they were technically gods (there were religious and practical reasons for these marriages) and it only became the norm in ptolomaic Egypt which was somewhat frowned upon by Egyptians.
Cenotaph
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 3:54am (UTC -6)
This show hasn't picked up at all.
The general plot line is a very straight forward, find the girl, she is important somehow (or a bad omen). Intertwined with all of this are very weak developed antagonists that do not feel dangerous or present any real threat to Picard and Co.
It all feels by the numbers and uninspired. I'm waiting for the moment where this opens up into something more. 1/5
Nolan
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 3:58am (UTC -6)
I saw it. I made noises of angry exclamation at my TV. This is NuTrek.

Only this time it uses paltry unearned snippits of themes and iconic lines to try and emotionally manipulate our nostalgia into covering it's failings.

This episode was actually marginally better than last week. But it's becoming ever clearer that CBS never wanted to make new Star Trek, they just wanted to jump on the "gritty space opera, used future, contemporary people in space" show bandwagon.

Wagon Train to the Stars > Horatio Hornblower in Space > The Space Rifeman > Gilligan's Star Island > It's a Wonderful Space Life > Bandwagon to the Stars.

I'm not surprised by this... but it's sad how blatant it is. There's no innovation here. No joy. No pride in the product that I've seen really. It's the same as everything else on TV. Just with "Star Trek" slapped upside it's head. And yes, I AM arguing that repeating what Trek has done before would be innovative. I'd really like a hopeful space show to stand out amonst all the decayed, dreary, beaten down humanity sci-fi out there.

I dunno, maybe Trek will weather this the way comics do, firing a writer and retconning all their garbage through the machinations of a bored cosmic being. Q? Where you at? What'd you do to the universe? Or do we need to call Temporal Investigations in here?

Conviently, I've just come up with a nice visual representation for this era of nuTrek; Bones right after he's beamed to the ship for the first time in TMP, in bellbottoms and beard and big dangly necklace. Contemporary to the times and just as ridiculous as the way humans act all curent day in these shows. He was the picture of the the disco era. Or rather, a DiscoPic - which you should not send unsolicited. No one wants to get a DiscoPic.

On the other hand, I saw "1917" tonight and it was amazing. Masterful cinematography. Brutal in places, tender in others. Tense. Characters with enough to them to latch onto, but not so much that they overtake the narrative. Effective sound design and music to convey the entirety of the situations that stretch beyond the purposefully limited perpective the camera provides. 1917 knew what kind of film it was trying to be, knew the legacy behind it and the importance of upholding that legacy and respecting it while also taking a hard look at what that legacy was built on - the horrors of war, and it did justice to all of that while remaining compelling. At least, I think so. You should see it.
Panagiotis Karatasios
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 8:44am (UTC -6)
The difference beetween Picard and the other shows is that IT IS SYAR TREK even in a more dystopian mode but with people who still believe in the federation and starfleet. Discovery is just absurd and with no relanshionship with the ethos of trek and i don'"t even thinkabout a section 31 show. Obviously they made picard to satisfy the old fans. That is ytek from tos to picard. Everything else doesn'matter.
skye francis-maidstone
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 9:08am (UTC -6)
Wow there's some harsh critics on here. All opinions are valid though I guess.

I personally thought this was great. The closest we're going to get to the old Star Trek in the err 20s (2020s onward - whatever) I'm personally going to ignore Discovery since it is an abomination - but amazingly some people choose to do the same with DS9 which I find incredible since it happens to be my favourite of all incarnations (opinions, yeah).

The theme tune has really grown on me, it's a bit First Contact, a bit TNG - kinda perfect.

The only slight thing that make me blink was the security officer Oh. Yeah.. that looked a little ridiculous. Anyway.. such a small thing.

I instantly like Agnes, Rios, Raffi. Not overly keen on the EMH and i'm indifferent to the Data daughter(s). AND I can actually remember their names and know a little about each of them after only 3 episodes which Discovery failed so miserably to do after 2 seasons (anyway enough about DSC).

I think you could nitpick pretty much any episode of TNG/DS9/VOY/TOS if you wanted. Which most of the complaints about it seem to be. Maybe that's a good sign.

Anyway.. I couldn't help it "Engage" got me... blissful sigh... finally after all these years.

Beautiful episode - best so far. 4 out of 4 for me.
Late To The Party Girl
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 3:10pm (UTC -6)
Sigh. Just call this the show of anticipatory opposites - Agnes says she is good; isn't a good liar. That's likely untrue - she seemed pretty comfortable with the disruptor. The Vulcan Commodore with the shades likely isn't Vulcan. Narek will likely turn out to be good (or "love makes him a changed man"). Is Raffi a Synth? The fight scene at PIcard's chateau - yikes... They have him "fighting" here and on the rooftop when Dahj was killed he just stood still. He's 80 FFS - let's be reasonable. And, to be honest, the fight scene was ridiculous - highly predictable and a poor copy of the fight in Dahj's apartment from Ep 1.

We are only at episode 3 but already there are so many bad cliches that I feel I've seen pretty much all of this before. Not sure how much longer I'll stick with it - it's just not that interesting. Even Rios - the "renegade pilot" - yaaawwwwnnnnn. Give me the ascorbic Doctor from VOY over the cardigan-wearing EMH any day.

Also, I'm having trouble with the editing and scoring - too dark and too loud. Doesn't anyone actually want to hear some/most of the dialogue?

Picard is losing stars episode by episode. Down to 1.5 for me.
Late To The Party Girl
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 3:11pm (UTC -6)
Sorry - typo - "ascerbic" not "ascorbic". Spell check needs a better dictionary.
wintersun1927@gmail.com
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 3:14pm (UTC -6)
OMG - still can't stop the spell check changes - one more try: "acerbic"!
Patrick D
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 3:23pm (UTC -6)
@Late to Party Girl/wintersun1927

“They have him "fighting" here and on the rooftop when Dahj was killed he just stood still. He's 80 FFS - let's be reasonable.”

In the 24th century, 80 is a little over middle-aged for a human. You may remember, Leonard McCoy lives to be 137 and see the Enterprise D’s maiden voyage. Thus, Picard should be more physically able than an 80-year-old of our time. I think the mental syndromes they give Picard is in part an attempt to explain why Picard is acting more out of it than a person of his relatively middle age should be.
Late To The Party Girl
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 3:47pm (UTC -6)
@patrick

Great point! I hope you are right - that the explanation is actually rooted in the story as opposed to the writing!
Paul M.
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 3:52pm (UTC -6)
Picard is actually 94 :)

Now that the opening act is over, I can say that I rather enjoyed these three episodes. Not groundbreaking, no, but very solid. I am interested in finding out what happens next, I like the characters presented so far and I find the mystery sufficiently... well, mysterious, I guess. Let's hope they actually do something worthwhile with it and we don't end up with another one of Kurtzan's and Abrams's patented mystery boxes that don't go anywhere.

Fandom is whiny as always, but that comes with the territory, so nothing new there.
Booming
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 4:18pm (UTC -6)
It is interesting that many people who like the show can barely make it through a single post without making derogatory remark about the people who dislike the show while people who dislike the show do not behave that way.
Daniel Prates
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 4:30pm (UTC -6)
@XanderW nailed it some posts above; Patrick Stewart seems off somehow. My theory is that he is now, 30 yeras later, a much better actor: has he overgrown the 'stiffness' that characterized Picard as we knew him? The younger Picard was a no-nonsense, stiff, hard guy; this new Picard seems more of a gentle, more at-ease person. Of course you could explain this as the character having evolved, matured etc.; but I really feel its just Patrick Stewart not being able to go back to a more coarse way of playing a character.
Dom
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 5:06pm (UTC -6)
@Booming, that's so true. Even in Star Wars fandom, the people who don't like the films criticize the films, while the people who do like the films attack the fans. It's an awful dynamic.
Rath
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 5:52pm (UTC -6)
I liked that they managed to address the forehead differences of Romulans, address the regional accents and make what seemed to be a Doctor Who reference, all in the space of one line of dialogue. ("Lots of planets have a north!")

That Rios seems to have deliberately coded his EMH and ENH to have different accents while still looking like him is interesting (if it was him that coded them, perhaps someone else saddled him with them as a joke. Maybe Raffi?). I wonder if he has holo-backups to take care of other ships systems, like an Emergency Weapons Hologram with a South African accent. They all need to appear at once and take the piss out of Rios en masse.

I have a theory about what happened to the Artifact Cube. While we saw a previously assimilated Romulan (Orum in VOY: Unity), whose assimilation had not caused a sub-matrix collapse, we have seen in multiple episodes of VOY that the Borg were susceptible to certain types of pathogens, (the Brunali trojan children, Species 6339 in Infinite Regress, what Future Admiral Janeway did in Endgame...)

So after Voyager returns to Earth, presumably either the Federation shares knowledge with the major powers about how to combat the Borg, or the Tal Shiar acquire this intel through other means, and either the Romulans engineer a disruptive pathogen into all Romulan citizens from that time forward (explaining Orum, being pre-Voyager return) or maybe they just did it to Ramdha and her crew, and deliberately sent them into the path of the Cube as they were Zhat Vash fanatics?
Rath
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 6:43pm (UTC -6)
Also - when Soji held Ramdha's hand, her gradient badge started flashing green.
CanaryHarry
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 7:51pm (UTC -6)
It's better than Disco, but I still don't really like it. Like Disco, I can't not watch it since it's Trek even though every episode is a letdown in differing degrees.
If only CBS would've thrown all the ST:P money at Ira Steven Behr and his group of DS9 writers.
I'll stick with it till the end, hoping we will get something really good eventually.

PS: I predict Picard dies by the end of the season and the second season takes place on the USS Picard with the crew has assembled over the first 4(!) Episodes.
Quincy
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 9:55pm (UTC -6)
I wonder why people keep claiming Stewart should be playing a stiffer more distant version of Picard. In All Good Things the very last scene ends with the captain casting this distance to the side. I don't understand how you would expect Picard to go back to maintaining his distance from people, especially after he'd retired. He tells the crew what happens in the episode even though they have no memory of it. They muse about how they grow apart in the future and how his telling them may allow them to prevent it. He then joins the card game and says he should've done this a long time ago. Counselor Troi says, "you were always welcome." I don't see how anyone can watch that scene and not see it as a dividing line between how he's behaved in the past and how he intends to behave in the future. Even at the beginning of that episode, the way he greets Geordi, whom he hadn't seen in 9 years, is nothing like he would've greeted him when he was his captain. I just don't understand how people keep making these claims when TNG itself in fact in the final episode contradicts them.
John Harmon
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 10:59pm (UTC -6)
@Booming

“It is interesting that many people who like the show can barely make it through a single post without making derogatory remark about the people who dislike the show while people who dislike the show do not behave that way.”

Yeah I’ve noticed that too. Same with Discovery fans. They can never just discuss the show, they have to belittle those who don’t like it to muse themselves feel better.
Reece
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 11:20pm (UTC -6)
Loved hearing the end TNG theme and engage. Liked this episode more, thought they did mostly well with the new crew introductions.
Dave in MN
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 12:01am (UTC -6)
@ Nigel

Jammer's site is awesome!
Marvin
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 12:05am (UTC -6)
Not the biggest fan so far based on the valid criticisms already discussed.

Big question though: we now have how many dead Zag Vash operatives in Picard’s chateau? Weren’t they stacking bodies and disrupters ina corner? Enough to warrant official Starfleet intervention? Wasn’t there a line in an earlier episode about Romulus intel ops forbidden in the Federation?

Did I miss something here? I hope this glaring plot hole doesn’t get ignored in the 4th episode.
Nigel
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 2:33am (UTC -6)
@DaveinMN - was that in response to my thank you to Jammer on the ep1 thread? Either way, thanks! Been on this site for nearly 10 years. Rare commenter though.

@all - In the ep2 thread I clumsily pasted an impassioned argument about the idea of this “not being trek anymore” from an iPhone note that had some work notes in it too. Gonna copy it here but promise this is the last time:

I’d like to pose a hypothetical to those who are disappointed about a perceived dystopian turn here (and in DS9). Why can’t this universe/Federation still contain that ideal image that Gene Roddenberry presented to us? Why must we feel that if we observe one bad apple or action, that this example speaks for the whole?

Norah Satie is a great example of a bigot in TNG, a series which few of us would say deviates from the more utopian Roddenberry vision. She was an exception, not the rule. This one admiral being a racist did not ruin the idea of a better humanity in the future. Why can that not be so in ST:P? One admiral saying a bad word to Picard behind closed doors in anger (and due to his humiliation of her organization on worldwide TV) does not establish a rule that all Federation people in 2399 are perpetually foul-mouthed, does it?

Do the hard (and sure, very non-utopian) decisions made in the heat of existence-threatening war with the Dominion change the broader ideals, values, or tenets of government of the Federation? Or was that a couple desperate military people convincing their higher ups that theirs was the only way? It didn’t “ruin Trek” for me that one of those desperate people was our own Sisko, particularly because it was clear that some of his decisions haunted him - because of his strong belief in those very ideals! They are certainly not deleted by his dark and desperate actions.

I didn’t appreciate the Mars engineers’ general bigotry. But I realized we’ve seen almost all Trek through a Starfleet lens - the very best and the most educated folk in the Federation, trained to meet and interact with other cultures graciously. What about planet-bound engineers or manual laborers? What if they don’t receive the kind of cultural training and guidance that Starfleet people do? Or more simply, couldn’t it be possible that in a more evolved broader society, we still have pockets of undesirable human nature?

I’m just asking some “what ifs” that challenge this idea that Trek is “dead” because it ran from the ideal of a more evolved society. I just don’t think that’s the case and I think we are presented with deviations as dramatic devices. With several Federation members not willing to resettle the nova-threatened Romulans, you could perhaps say my argument is weak. That’s fine. I’m not here to argue back and forth with people.

I just am imagining that much like “The News,” we are seeing bad people and situations as our main story because that is the deviation from the norm. You don’t see 500 daily acts of decency on the news, you see crime. Doesn’t mean the whole world is awash in crime. I think Gene’s vision can be alive and well in ST:P’s world, I don’t think Trek is ruined, and I very much want this to be an outstanding Trek show. The elements are there, there’s a mystery to unpack, and I hope they get even better as the series unfolds.
Tox Uthat
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 3:20am (UTC -6)
“It is interesting that many people who like the show can barely make it through a single post without making derogatory remark about the people who dislike the show while people who dislike the show do not behave that way.”

Spare us your crocodile tears. Most critics on here give as hard as they take. If you can’t stand a little reprisal, maybe you’re not cut out to be a critic!
Booming
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 3:31am (UTC -6)
@ Tox Uthat
"Spare us your crocodile tears."
- Crocodile tears? I don't follow. I was just pointing out tendencies.

"Most critics on here give as hard as they take. If you can’t stand a little reprisal"
- That is just it. Why is there reprisal? Some part of the fans can't accept that people don't like this show and become hostile?

"maybe you’re not cut out to be a critic!"
- I'm not a critic full stop. I watch the show and give my opinion.
Tox Uthat
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 3:38am (UTC -6)
If you’re typing criticisms of media, you’re being a critic. Also, typing “full stop” doesn’t end the discussion, so it’s a wasted sentiment.

By the way, I’m not singling you out, but my original statement refers to critics generally. Don’t take it personal. :D
Booming
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 3:58am (UTC -6)
@ Tox Uthat
"If you’re typing criticisms of media, you’re being a critic."
Cambridge dictionary defines critic as:
- someone whose job is to give their opinion about something, especially films, books, music etc.

Merriam Webster has a broader definition:
- one who engages often professionally in the analysis, evaluation, or appreciation of works of art or artistic performances
- one who expresses a reasoned opinion on any matter especially involving a judgment of its value, truth, righteousness, beauty, or technique

While it is not my job to provide my opinion I think I can accept the second Merriam Webster definition.

"Also, typing “full stop” doesn’t end the discussion, so it’s a wasted sentiment."
In this case apparently also a misunderstood one. It means that I do not define myself as a critic period and you will not change that. I hope it is clearer now.

"By the way, I’m not singling you out, but my original statement refers to critics generally. Don’t take it personal."
Then why single me out? I must say that your grammar is on par with the quality of your argument.
Tox Uthat
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 4:06am (UTC -6)
Words have multiple uses. The very first definition given by Oxford dictionary of critic is “a person who expresses an unfavorable opinion of something.”

I’m not accusing you of being Jammer or Roger Ebert. I thought that was clear from the context but I guess I was mistaken. Hope this clears it up!
Tox Uthat
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 8:49am (UTC -6)
@Booming
"Roddenberry had a stroke in 1989 and could barely participate afterwards. So around 1990 his vision started to slowly crumble."

To be fair, Roddenberry's simplistic interpretations were a negative influence on Trek. He had a powerful vision, but he was also a terrible writer, and it was up to others to fleshing out the details of his vision in a plausible way.

So I'm all for Star Trek evolving and changing and maturing. As fun and inspiring as TNG was, it *was* somewhat naive, and I appreciate the fact that DS9 and later series dared to deal with mature and complex issues that Roddenberry never had the guts to examine in his lifetime. I admit that if I were in charge of DS9, I would have dialed a few of the darker aspects down a notch, but all-in-all it was an examination of Trek ideals that was very much needed.

NuTrek, on the other hand, is NOT the result of Trek maturing in any way. Nor does it make ANY attempt to preserve even an inkling of Roddenberry's original ideals. Nor does it really try to preserve the coherence of the Trek universe. Change a few names and a few technical terms, and you get a bland generic sci fi setting that has absolutely nothing to do with Star Trek.

At least that was the case with Discovery.

ST:Picard is a bit different in this respect, because it supposedly continues the story of our beloved TNG captain. But is it really convincing? Can you really believe that STP's world is a direct continuation of the world of TNG and DS9 and Nemesis? Does STP's Picard seem like a future version of the person we know from previous installments?
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 9:09am (UTC -6)
Oops! The last comment by "Tox Utaht" was me, and not by him! Sorry!
Booming
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 9:44am (UTC -6)
BUSTED!!! :D
Paul M.
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 10:29am (UTC -6)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi:
"ST:Picard is a bit different in this respect, because it supposedly continues the story of our beloved TNG captain. But is it really convincing? Can you really believe that STP's world is a direct continuation of the world of TNG and DS9 and Nemesis? Does STP's Picard seem like a future version of the person we know from previous installments?"

The answer to all your questions is "yes".

Yes, it is convincing. Yes, I do believe that STP's world is a direct continuation of the world of TNG and DS9. Yes, STP's Picard does seem like a future version of the person we knew.

Some 26 years have passed since the show, and 18 since Nemesis. Picard still has that unshakeable moral center, but he's weary and tired by the darker turn of Starfleet (more on that later) and, well, his own advanced age. But it's still unmistakably him!

As for Federation and Starfleet, I find the insistence that STP depicts a dystopian future so overblown that it borders on silly. Have you guys seen some of the shenanigans these organisations were up to back in day? You know, like DS9's Section 31, Sisko's behavior in "In the Pale Moonlight" and while hunting Eddington, and all the crazy/corrupt admirals gracing our screens since 1960s!?

And STP is dystopian now? Pffft. Yeah, I find it very convincing that the Federation might take a more isolationist attitude after hundreds of millions, if not billions, had died in the Dominion War and Starfleet itself had been severely decimated, both in ships and personnel. And even so, nothing we've seen in these three episodes, tells me that the Federation is now EVIL! or that it doesn't give a damn about anything anymore or that it's dangerously close to being irredeemable. Talk about exaggerating.
Gooz
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 10:40am (UTC -6)
Decent episode.

Nice shout out to Vasquez rocks, seeing how it's been featured on so many Trek episodes.

Raffi/Rafi seems overly dramatic and needs to tone it down a bit. Maybe they'll explain why she's so worked up about losing her job, given that she lives in a utopian paradise. The fact that she's distraught over Picard not calling her makes her seem needy and weak. She should shake less when she talks.

Commodore Oh’s glasses. WTF?

Good to know Hugh grew up to be Chandler from Friends.

Mental institution TV trope. Yawn.

The Romulan Brother and Sister need to see a counselor. Unless this is normal for Romulans, there's a bit too much sexual tension there.

And another week of not killing off Keiko. I guess this is how they're going to keep us interested: "Tune in next week. Maybe we'll kill her off then."
Dave in MN
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 11:00am (UTC -6)
^

Another Keiko comment? It grows tiresome.
DANIEL PRATES
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 1:46pm (UTC -6)
You guys make a good point on Picard's character development in the last 18 (fictional) years, bur really, to me it seems more likely that Patrick Stewart is now a better, more developed actor. That seems to me to be the actual cause of how we "feel" Picard different.

Another subject: Raffi is also quite the potty-mouth, isn't she? And not only post-decadence Raffi; flashback-Raffi also. We definetivelly are seing some evolution in ST's manners, uses and practices.
Sen-Sors
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 2:02pm (UTC -6)
Gooz what are you on about? You're fixated on a character that will probably never even appear in this show, and if she does it will just be to briefly wave hello from a vid-screen. Did a botanist kill your dog or something?

Re: Booming's point about critics, to claim that "most critics here give as hard as they take" is to ignore Booming's point. The critics on this site criticize the show, based on the things that happen in the show. The people who like the show criticize the critics, based on them not liking the thing. There are exceptions but the dynamic is plain to see in this thread.

Re: Stewart's performance, did you guys see Green Room? The one where Patrick Stewart plays a skinhead? Dope film. Stewart's character was very soft-spoken and relatively subdued, even when he got angry. Watching this episode, I realized that Stewarts tone and delivery in Picard is much the same as his Nazi character in Green Room. Now I can't unhear it! Whatever, it's just cause he's old. I have way more issues with the writing of his character than the performance.

The fight scene in Picard's house was horribly shot, all shaky-cam and quick cuts, the worst way to do a fight scene. And then when they have the last guy incapacitated Picard leans in to ask him a bunch of questions. Um, hello? Didn't Picard watch the last incapacitated Romulan agent kill Daj by spitting acid? Oh well. And then of course he DOES spit acid, which made me laugh. Stuff like this makes your characters look stupid.

The Romulan psych ward was the same psych ward you can find in any horror movie or bad tv show. People muttering and twitching in corners. Cliche, lazy, and (at this point) disrespectful to the mentally ill. It's not the fucking 80s anymore, could we move on from this trope? Especially since this is Star Trek, and DS9 already handled this more tastefully?

I admit I did not recognize that was Hugh, must have been focusing on cooking dinner when they said his name. Good to see him back, hope his character does more than sputter "how did you know that!?"

Those sunglasses though *chef's kiss*
Mertov
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 2:34pm (UTC -6)
"Re: Booming's point about critics, to claim that "most critics here give as hard as they take" is to ignore Booming's point. The critics on this site criticize the show, based on the things that happen in the show. The people who like the show criticize the critics, based on them not liking the thing."

Um, no.
I have no desire to get into a long discussion about this, because it has nothing to do with the episode, but, on this message board, people who like Discovery, the three latest Star Trek films, and Picard have been referred to as "lowest common denominator" or "idiots" or watered-down brains, or implied that they had a low bar etc.

And, there are plenty of people who also like the show and stick with the episodes without attacking others.

I would suggest to do away with this "one side is angel, the other evil" nonsense and stick to the episodes. Just a suggestion, of course..
Booming
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 2:40pm (UTC -6)
@Mertov
To clarify. You are quite correct about Discovery. I only meant this show.
Sen-Sors
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 2:43pm (UTC -6)
Almost forgot about the new crew. Raffi is a textbook example of shoehorning in a Big Important Relationship with an established character much like Burnham and Spock. Her little mystery box at the end of the episode was obnoxious. "I'm gonna hitch a ride to some planet but I refuse to tell you why!" Then get the hell off the ship, this isn't an intergalactic coach bus. I think the writers actually feel clever when they do this stuff. It's not compelling, it doesn't draw people in, it's just bad writing.

The pilot is a badass rogue who doesn't play by the rules except he's actually a true blue Starfleet mook but he's sad cause his last captain died. Whatever.

The new model of Peppy Awkward Science White Girl is making me consider checking if the Orville really does get better in season 2.
Booming
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 3:08pm (UTC -6)
Yeah and thinking about it the ST:P doesn't show us Picard making his case. Wouldn't that have been interesting? To hear the actual argument between Picard and the command of Starfleet. We never saw an actual debate of the issue. Skipping this debate for the clunky conversation between Raffi and Picard which happens directly after the debate is an odd choice. Wouldn't that have been a classical Trek moment?
Mertov
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 3:20pm (UTC -6)
Understood Booming.
Nonetheless, I am not sure what this kind of topic not related to the show or episode themselves adds to the discussion on these boards. More importantly, Jammer himself has requested more than once in the past that people should stick to discussing the episode at hand.
Dave in MN
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 3:42pm (UTC -6)
@ Sens-Sars

Season 2 of The Orville DOES get better ... around episode 3 of S2 is when it really hits its stride.
Dave in MN
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 3:44pm (UTC -6)
Sorry about that, Sen-sors. I didn't mean to misspell your screenname.
Sen-Sors
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 3:51pm (UTC -6)
Ha! I like that misspelling. And thanks for the tip, good to know.
John Harmon
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 7:25pm (UTC -6)
Wait, so Picard didn’t save any of the Romulans? I thought he did lead the rescue mission, but it got interrupted. This makes it seem like the rescue mission never got off the ground at all.
Cody B
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 10:23pm (UTC -6)
@Booming

Claudius married Agrippina (his niece) for power and supposedly didn’t ever “get intimate”. However Agrippina DID have sex with her brother (Caligula) and her son. Caligula had sex with all his sisters. I thought incest among the commoners wasn’t really practiced but after looking it up it was actually very widespread just officially frowned upon
Booming
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 1:53am (UTC -6)
@ Mertov
My goal was to discourage people from attacking the other side not to vilify the fans of the show. So far there were only attacks by fans, maybe half a dozen and I thought I'd mention it. I hope that people who have a less rosy relationship with the show will not start to attack people who like the show.

@Cody B
Mertov is right in reminding us that we should keep this close to the episode so let's not go down this tangent to much. As far as I know incest (marriage) was forbidden by Roman law with fourth degree cousins. And Caligula, well, it was no coincidence that he became the first emperor to be assassinated. Claudius did change the Law to marry Agrippina. In general one should approach these stories with a grain of salt. Sueton's De Vita Ceasarum for example is basically a 1900 year old super long tabloid. I can recommend it, though. Fairly easy read. :)
Latex Zebra
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 3:38am (UTC -6)
Enjoyed that episode and enjoying the series so far.
Tommy D.
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 4:03am (UTC -6)
I have to say I think I enjoyed the quick "Carry on!" a little more then the "Engage".
Earl Grey. Cold.
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 6:12am (UTC -6)
I would like to see some science fiction again. Space action/drama, which Trek has been for longer than a decade, just doesn't do it for me.
Jason R.
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 7:53am (UTC -6)
After that assault on Chateau Picard I just wanted them to load all those Romulan commando corpses in a wheelbarrow, cart them to San Francisco and dump them onto that Admiral's doorstep.

I'm sorry, but this coverup is getting ridiculous. What exactly did the CCTV cameras on the roof of Starfleet headquarters show anyway? 80 year old Picard running around like a nut and then spontaneously flying through the air backwards like a ragdoll for no reason?

Thus far, all I can say is I'm confused and a bit bored. Just get on with things already. No more mysteries. No more shadowy villains skulking in the shadows saying cryptic things.

The funny thing is I was actually enjoying the Borg cube scenes in the last episode what with the intriguing security briefing and the "grey zone" stuff and all that implies. I was genuinely curious what exactly is going on with this borg reclamation process.

But before the setting gets even a little oxygen to develop we are already sucked into wild eyed fate of the universe chosen one cryptic nonsense and "you are the destroyer!!!" stuff. Naturally, whatever insight the character derives from the situation is entirely from left field and baffling (Romulun mythology? Huh?) and /or some kind of plot point (secret knowledge from her android brain?). She couldn't just tell us something interesting about the situation that she figured out using reason. We couldn't just learn something cool and interesting that isn't instantly in the service of the almighty mystery plot.

Anyway, I will keep watching because I do want to keep seeing Patrick Stewart in action, but so far I am frustrated more than anything else.
Panagiotis Karatasios
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 8:01am (UTC -6)
After the abomination of discovery and the upcoming abomination of sector 31 the sow picard proves that the only way for trek to move forward is a sequel not a prequel. After the dominion war and the events of nemesis the federation has become logically more conservative. But there are still people to keep the faith. After all what would be more dystopian than "for the uniform" or "in the pale moonlight"? People complsining about "picaRd" obviously they never watched ds9 and the damage that inflicted on trek.
Chrome
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 8:44am (UTC -6)
@Panagiotis Karatasios

It’s interesting that you and others have attempted to explain Starfleet’s shift in attitude by saying Dominion-this and Section 31 that. But that’s not how it works. If the writers want us to think that Dominion War changed Starfleet they need to tell us somehow — even if it’s in a subtle way like memorial plaques in the background of Starfleet HQ.

So far, DS9 and VOY have not really been directly referenced and one could almost consider them optional viewing for Star Trek: Picard. Of course, we know Seven of Nine is in this so that may change. But it’s not really the viewers’ job to come up with extensive explanations that don’t exist on screen.
Yanks
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 8:50am (UTC -6)
@ Karl Zimmerman

"Something like Commodore Oh wearing sunglasses strikes me as a directorial decision, rather than a writing decision, so maybe Hannelle Culpepper should be blamed."

...or, the Romulans didn't develop like the Vulcans did?
Jason R.
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 9:11am (UTC -6)
Chrome I have come to the conclusion that most of the complaints on this thread are less about canon and Gene's vision being betrayed or whatnot but simple basic storytelling issues, which you allude to.

The problem with this kind off no holds barred serialized storytelling is that all the oxygen is sucked up by the one big story, such that the episodes just bleed together and become indistinguishable. It is hyper focused on getting us from point A to point B and there isn't any chance for characters to do things outside of the straihhtjacket of the big plot.

Compare this to serialized shows from the 1990s and early 2000s like DS9, Babylon 5, Firefly - yes you had an overarching story with changing characters and plotlines, but each episode was still - well "episodic" and at least somewhat self-contained. Even when those shows became more serialized with multi-episode cliffhangers that happened towards the end of the season, not from episode 1!

The more recent shows seem to have been written as mini series or giant movies, but spread out over 45 minute "episodes".

I find myself vastly preferring the hybrid model we saw with earlier series - yes have an overarching mystery for the season, with maybe even a big mystery for the whole series - but keep it all in the foreground while just letting the characters breathe in more mundane episodes.
Dave in MN
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 9:49am (UTC -6)
@ Yanks

The Romulans and Vulcans share common ancestry only 3,000 years earlier. I doubt that's enough time for a generic trait to disappear in a isolated population.
Booming
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 10:10am (UTC -6)
Yeah apart from scenes not really making sense, the writing feels not really alive. People just seem to wait for the story to approach them. One big problem is that before we had more than 20 episodes per season. Now it is 10. The writers of DS9 played around with long arcs. Now arcs have to be one season long maybe so that we can have a cliffhanger for the next season long arc. Think about the Dominion arc. We got some hints at the beginning of season two. Some people talked about this powerful realm, the Ferengi tried to contact a species that was in contact wit another species and so on. At the end of season two we get a short and brutal meeting with the Jem Hadar. Season 3 then starts with a two parter "the search". We meet the Founders. After that we again get glimpses and little snippets about the Dominion and how it changes the inner workings of the alpha quadrant but they stayed mysterious until finally in season 5 "In Purgatory's Shadow" they become very real. That is setup of more than three seasons. In hindsight it's kind of incredible that they pulled it off.
wolfstar
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 10:30am (UTC -6)
They probably just put the sunglasses on her in the hope that people would turn it into memes and it'd go viral. Look at how much Baby Yoda has promoted the Mandalorian with minimal marketing spend. So I reckon the shades could have just been a bad attempt at creating a viral image or moment. (A lot of STP's potential audience also only knows Picard from the facepalm meme.)

I wonder if Commodore Oh used the same kind of Romulan tech from The Mind's Eye to do something to Jurati.
Brian
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 10:42am (UTC -6)
You can make all kinds of perfectly valid criticisms and complaints about a show like this and how it is so much worse than TNG but when TNG was being made, there really wasn't anything like the amount of scrutiny that's going on here. And the people who were writing the shows back then were kind of doing their own thing.

Writers these days are able to be distracted and influenced by literally everything. Because of the connectedness of the internet. Public discourse is chaos now to a way bigger degree than it ever was when they were making TNG. Can we really blame writers who are trying to parse everything and make coherrent stories while also having to try to make something that is going to keep them working? They're trying to appeal to people who have the attention span of a flea. The competition for that minuscule attention span is fierce.

TNG unfolded in a way that just happened to end up being amazing. The first two seasons were anything but. I mean look at how horrendous some of those episodes were. If you'd told me then that show would eventually go on to become one of the most celebrated shows in history, I would never have believed it. I was so disgusted with the first two seasons of TNG when they were on that I stopped watching and forgot about the show even being on until I started seeing reruns of some of the better later season episodes. I don't know how they stayed on the air long enough to get to the magic 3rd season, TBH. I sure as hell wasn't watching. When things finally started to work, it was like someone finally flipped the right switch.
Dave in MN
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 10:53am (UTC -6)
@ wolfstar

But her shades just look so ... comical, like a lunch lady Vulcan.

It's so incongruous to the setting that I figured it was a Chekov's Gun: the shades allowed her to tell when someone was lying or .... some explanation. ANYTHING.

Instead? They seemingly pass it off as a unimportant fashion choice while I just spent the whole scene thinking about her stupid glasses (and her crooked rank pip).

Why didn't anyone on-set or in the production staff of STP speak up?

In the least, couldn't they find sunglasses that looked less laughable?

Final thought: I know Oh's specs are just once little thing in a 45 minute episode, but when the showrunners make these kinds of narrative choices, it takes me right out of what I'm watching.

I basically have to pause and rewind (to see what I missed) because I get so distracted by the illogic of what I just watched. I haven't been able to make it through one episode (even on rewatch) without having to grab the remote a few times. I never had that problem with anything pre-STD.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 11:22am (UTC -6)
@Panagiotis Karatasios
"After all what would be more dystopian than "for the uniform" or "in the pale moonlight"? People complsining about "picaRd" obviously they never watched ds9 and the damage that inflicted on trek. "

Comparing the entire setting of one show to extreme examples of another is problematic.

I agree 100% that "For the Uniform" is outrageous. In fact, it is the only episode in all Trek that I always refused to accept as canon.

"In the Pale Moonlight", however, is a completely different animal. Yes, it is dark. But it is dark in a very specific way that makes perfect sense given the setting. It isn't about people suddenly (and unexplicably) becoming jerks, nor is it dark just for the sake of being dark. It is a story of very high stakes and very tough choices.

Moreover, the way "Moonlight" develops onscreen would not have worked in a present-day setting. Sisko's tough choices stem directly from him being a 24th century Starfleet officer. You should watch the episode again, because it is a masterpiece of storytelling which greatly respects the world it was written for.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 12:01pm (UTC -6)
@Brian
"Can we really blame writers who are trying to parse everything and make coherrent stories while also having to try to make something that is going to keep them working? They're trying to appeal to people who have the attention span of a flea. The competition for that minuscule attention span is fierce."

Yes, we most certainly can blame them.

We can blame them for transforming a franchise which always did its own thing into a product of mass-consumption. The very fact that they're trying to appeal to "people who have the attention span of a flea" is the crux of the problem here. Star Trek was never about that AT ALL.

The problem is that CBS has abandoned any kind of creative vision. Not Just Roddenberry's creative vision, but ANY kind of creative vision what-so-ever. To them, Trek is just a cash-grab they use to launch their streaming platform. They couldn't care less about the content, as long as it sells.

So yes, we can blame them for this.
Peter G.
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 12:13pm (UTC -6)
@ Jason R.

"I find myself vastly preferring the hybrid model we saw with earlier series - yes have an overarching mystery for the season, with maybe even a big mystery for the whole series - but keep it all in the foreground while just letting the characters breathe in more mundane episodes."

I think I'm beginning to understand this business model a bit better now. The mystery box style, or long-form movie told in episodes, has a built-in mechanism for keeping people hooked, which is that every episode ends up being a teaser for the next. There is a the magical "content" you are told to expect, and each episode gives you a sip out of the cup but promises the ambrosia to come later. It's like giving an addict a hit, where the addiction is to know what the actual story is. A self-contained episode, even one that furthers a long-form arc, leaves you satisfied at the end, feeling a sense of conclusion and wrapping up. But this model does the opposite: it wants you to feel like wanting more at the end; to have that urge to yell out "Wait! You can't end it there! What happens next??" And that is the hook into the next episode. The episodes almost end up being advertisements in a sense, and this method reminds me a lot of Star Wars Episode 7, where literally the entire story and all characters featured a "Where did they come from? Who are they? And what's it all about?" mystery box element, where the writer/director literally said it would be answered in future films. An entire major motion picture was just an advertisement for its own sequels! I guess that's brilliant in a sort of morbid way.

It should come as no suprise we're getting more of this, considering that Abrams' crew have taken over the Trek universe, both films and TV series.
Chrome
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 12:22pm (UTC -6)
@Jason R

I don't have a problem with serialized storytelling per se, it's just that the writers need to know where they're going. Because of my family, I've been exposed to J-dramas, many of which are serialized 12-part movies. They're often compelling and work really well both as episodes and an overarching story. J-dramas have the advantage of adopting from books though, so they have a clear narrative framework to plan with. The problem I see in Discovery and maybe in this show (it's still too soon to say for sure) is that there is a story that gets shrouded in mystery (perhaps because of executive meddling) and by the end of it we're not even sure if the writers know the answers to the questions they give us.

Hiring a novelist to work on this show was a good idea and a step in the right direction, in my opinion. But if they continue a sort of half-story with "promise of answers later!" and just pull the rug out from under us, it's not going to reflect well on anyone.

That said, as much I liked the old 90s-era Trek shows and especially DS9 like you mentioned, they weren't without faults. There's stories of the shows being plagued with hellish production schedules to somehow meet a 24-episode season. Bottle shows like "Move Along Home" and "Fascination" were quite common and were made for no reason except to meet network demands. So now that those crazy demands are gone, it would be really great if they could figure out how to balance episodes versus arcs in modern Trek.
Yanks
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 12:38pm (UTC -6)
@ Dave in MN - that was my initial thought as well... just trying to make some sense out of this.

OK, I've had brain lock WRT to this episode.

I think the reason why is I DON'T WANT THIS TO BE BAD! I don't want to have to write a subpar "review" in this, or of this series. For gods sake, we have Sir Patrick Stewart playing Picard!! Please tell me there is going to be a huge improvement in this series!! I honestly had an easier time with Discovery. At least there I knew they would be messing with visuals, etc because of when TOS was made etc.

Nothing of value happened in this episode, except for possibly a little backstory on what might have happened to the Borg cube.

"JL"'s last #1 is horribly written and acted so far. She's a druggie? ... is that what they are supposed to be depicting here? Where does she get off calling Picard "J L" .... while she was his #1?!?!? Does anyone actually think Picard is going to be "on his own" when they get to Free Cloud?

I didn't realize that was Hugh until almost the end of the episode. So Romulans are spiritual mumbo-jumbo folks now?

Are those drones being "reclimated" still alive? ... or are they being set free from their Borg bondage so their spirits are finally at rest?

Twice now, these super-duper Romulan ninjas have gotten their asses kicked. Once by the recently activated Dahj (I forced myself to accept this one because of what she might be) and the second time they pop into Picards very dim abode... and get completely schwacked by 2 Romulan housekeepers and a 90yr old Picard that didn't know they were coming? I know Zhaban and Laris have some sort of history with the Tal Shiar, but damn ... at least one time they got their target. (by accident?)

Did anyone get a creepy feeling when Narissa and Narrak interacted at the end of the episode? .. I thought they were supposed to be bother and sister? ... little sensual here?

You could have completely skipped the second episode, watched the "previously on Picard" and been fine.

So we have northerners and southerners on the old Romulus. .... are they going to use that as a reason for the Irish accents? .... the damn EMH, NMH whatever the plot needs. "H" has an Irish accent too?

I can sort of understand why the ambiance on the Borg Cube is dark, but come on man... brighten it up!! you need a flashlight to see in Picard's home and the ship isn't any better. This is post TNG Trek... not BSG.

We are 3 episodes into a 10 episode season and the only 2 characters I care anything about now is Picard and Laris. I wish she was coming on the ship.

Soji's mom turns her off? ... is that the same mom that Dahj had? I couldn't tell. I thought she looked different.

Sorry, but not much here yet I guess.

Discovery season 2 with Pike, Spock and #1 was much better so far.

Maybe the trailers have influenced my disappointment to this point. I think they showed us too much.

Fingers crossed I guess. I hate to be a downer here, but...

SHE's the DESTROYER!!!!!! Whatever the hell that means... one of 2 twins, that show up on a Romulan board of some kind.

2 stars, only because Sir Patrick is in this and I do so want this to be good.
Booming
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 12:58pm (UTC -6)
@ Yanks
"Twice now, these super-duper Romulan ninjas have gotten their asses kicked"
Have you already forgotten the scene where Dajh drags a 90yr old man to the top of a building even though they are in front of the Federation archives and then beats them up ending with her death and a giant explosion in the middle of San Francisco. :D

"Discovery season 2 with Pike, Spock and #1 was much better so far."
When I read that sentence I realized that you are right. The first few episodes of season two were better than this. it went of a cliff shortly after but still a disturbing thought.
Sen-Sors
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 4:17pm (UTC -6)
I reject the idea that the writers are forced to write this way because audiences allegedly have no attention span. People react positively to good writing now the same as always. Yes people have more to choose from than ever before, and yes there are good shows that get lost in the shuffle, but this is Star Trek. It has a built-in fan base that is actively hoping a good show.

Breaking Bad didn't get so big by constantly throwing gimmicks and mystery boxes in to hook people for next week. It hooked people for next week by having a good story with compelling characters, and people responded to that.
Sen-Sors
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 4:51pm (UTC -6)
And no, you can't blame this on DS9 either. Just because DS9 was dark and morally grey doesn't mean every series after that must be. Voyager wasn't, for better or for worse.
Yanks
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 5:14pm (UTC -6)
@ Booming

"@ Yanks
"Twice now, these super-duper Romulan ninjas have gotten their asses kicked"
Have you already forgotten the scene where Dajh drags a 90yr old man to the top of a building even though they are in front of the Federation archives and then beats them up ending with her death and a giant explosion in the middle of San Francisco."

Ha, I said "but damn ... at least one time they got their target. (by accident?)"

Looking back, I could have worded that better. There were 3 times these Romulan ninjas attacked, twice they outright failed and once they got their target by accident :-) (dead dying Romulan spitting his green goo)
Dom
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 5:21pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G. & @ Jason R., I've been saying this for years. TV peaked during the late 90s and early 2000s with shows like DS9 and BSG. Ironically, it was a transition period for TV, not a sustainable status quo given the changes in the market.
Marvin
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 6:19pm (UTC -6)
Agree with Jason R. re carting off the dead Romulans from the chateau to Starfleet HQ. However, doing so would arguably negate the “rogue” “unofficial” mission by Picard and new crew to find the sister synth, which it seems this season is predicated on (eg no official starfleet ship at the helm).

Of course there could be a logical explanation in the next episode why they don’t get official Starfleet help at this point (Commodore Oh could block things or *deux Es machina* all of top Starfleet is in on the conspiracy), but that would just reek of contrived writing.
Jammer
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 7:34pm (UTC -6)
Review now posted.
Karl Zimmerman
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 8:18pm (UTC -6)
Jammer,

One comment: Rizzo was explicitly taken off of "Picard detail" by Commodore Oh. IIRC she was basically told to go make sure her brother didn't screw things up with the other one, which is why she went back to "the Artifact."

That of course implies it was Commodore Oh who sent the Keystone Cops Romulans in again. Although this might not be as stupid this time if the whole point was to get Agnes Jurati on the mission, who has been somehow compromised by Oh. Though that means she was condemning around a dozen Romulan agents to certain death. Surely Picard would have taken Jurati along anyway?
John Harmon
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 9:09pm (UTC -6)
It’s fine to have a tv show with a big mystery arc over a season, but if you’re gonna do that, you still gotta make each episode mean something beyond just trickling in a little more information about the one big mystery. It makes all the characters feel like plot devices instead of people and makes so many of the episodes feel like filler to pad out the season.

I’m hopeful that now that the plot has moved beyond this 3 part pilot, things will start ramping up and we’ll have smaller arcs and engaging character moments.
John Harmon
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 9:30pm (UTC -6)
“Case in point: My disbelief in Picard being returned to his home after the episode on the rooftop, which was later explained by the ensuing conspiracy/cover-up.”

You can still be confounded by that, because it still makes no sense. Saying “it’s a conspiracy” isn’t enough. Because that was a gigantic explosion at the heart of Starfleet HQ. No amount of altering camera footage should be able to hide that that happened. Not to mention Picard being able to survive an explosion right in his face that knocks him back twenty feet. Who took Picard home? If it were the Romulans, why wouldn’t they just kill/kidnap Picard right there?
The Dirty Mac
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 9:49pm (UTC -6)
Just a couple of comments on Jammer's review:

- Soji does say "Hugh" when speaking with Ramdha. The moment comes and goes quickly, but I did catch it on my first viewing and even thought to myself at the time, "she said Hugh, cool".

- As for Rizzo suddenly appearing on the cube, and in Romulan form, she did tell her brother, I believe in the first episode, that she was coming to the cube. I believe Commodore Oh's orders for Rizzo were to keep an eye on her "guy", which is Narek. So her moving to the cube to oversee his seduction of Soji makes sense.

Final thought on the show itself: I liked it. It held my interest and moved the pieces along competently. The attack on the chateau was great, all the more so for coming out of left field, as Jammer indicated. Rios was interesting from the beginning. I liked Raffi as well, and found a joy in seeing a new character who has her own history with Picard. She may know things about him that we the audience don't even know to be true.

The ship looked cool, though I did miss its name if it was said. Loved seeing a "personalized" version of an EMH. And, I don't mind the slow build at all. If I am being entertained, than what is the complaint? Attention spans have shortened since the days of TNG, to be sure, but if the next seven shows, or majority of them anyway, take place in space, then, in the end, what will all the fuss have been about...

We will see...

Three stars
Ian Whitcombe
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 10:21pm (UTC -6)
Hey Jammer, just a point of clarification that Johnathan Frakes directed this episode, as they rotate every two installments.

Also re: Raffi's living situation...even in the economics of the 24th century we have seen citizens and officers accrue status and, in turn, creature comforts. I think her situation is similar to that of Dr. Bashir father, who in Ron Moore's own words was an example of a 24th Century man who could never quite "make it".
Booming
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 11:15pm (UTC -6)
@ Yanks
Oh ok. Yeah one wonders why these super agents just cut their losses, alter somebody's looks to human and let the agent walk to her/Picard and just spit the goo on people. At least that way they would only lose one... but I will at least try to ignore this a bit as to enjoy the show a bit more. It's not that smart and plays pretty fast and loose with it's own source material (Just imagine my eyes now lighting up like the eyes of the archive hologram). Accepted.

By the way, guys here always talk about audiences having shorter attention spans. Is this backed up by something because this sounds like a scientific myth. Like the believe that only children behave differently (spoiled brats). No scientific evidence to back this up.
Brian
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 12:15am (UTC -6)
Actually, Raffi's "hovel" seems pretty luxurious to me, despite it's rugged surroundings. And there doesn't seem to be any explanation as to what she does for money. You obviously could not live at anywhere near that level of comfort in 2020 without a steady income.

So the interaction between her and Picard about how she was living and how he was living was just odd. But, in Star Trek world, transporters and replicators and all that other fancy stuff exists so why couldn't she replicate everything she needs for a nice house? For that matter, why couldn't a combination replicator/transporter/whatever generate all the necessary elements for such a dwelling and assemble them all in a microsecond just like it does a cup of earl grey? There's no reason why she shouldn't be able to live like Picard does if she has a replicator and access to free energy to power it. Unless...money is still a thing.

I suppose it was just lazy writing to make a point about our present day inequality. If so, I'd rather they just avoid it in the future and pretend it didn't happen than try to explain it. There have always been little things in Star Trek that didn't fit and they wisely usually just moved on and pretended it didn't happen. The episodic nature of TNG made it more plausible for the 1st Season and the 4th Sseason to exist in the same space. The serialized format is not so great when they're going to do things like this and never explain. Or heaven forbid, keep doing it and not explaining why money wasn't a thing but now it is but not really.
Booming
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 12:43am (UTC -6)
@ Brian
Think about the Utopia Planetia workers. They only had shitty replicator. They couldn't even choose their food. I guess there is some person who chooses the food for these grease monkeys. I can picture it. Some guy sitting in a dark room (with shades on) whispering to himself: "Sorry guys it's pineapple day, AGAIN." Then laughs devilishly.
I guess if you don't work for Starfleet then you live shitty and have to eat replicator pineapple every day. That's probably why she smokes weed, to gobble down the endless pineapple menus.
Greg M
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 12:51am (UTC -6)
Jammer,

Hugh was mentioned by name. It was quick, but Soji mentions his name late in the episode.
Pm
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 1:49am (UTC -6)
Jammer, Brian...really?

While money no longer exists in the Star Trek universe, there has never EVER been an equal standard of living among even Starfleet officers, from Enterprize to Picard eras:

- think of the big, lavish quarters the captain has compared to most other senior officers and how amazing those senior officers' quarters are (in-turn) compared to the bunkbed rooms the underlings get crammed into by the twos, threes and fours in Lower Decks, The Undiscovered Country, Flashback and more

- Picard has a vast fancy vinyard & mansion because its BEEN IN HIS FAMILY SINCE FOREVER (something Raffi would have known but selfishly 'forgets' to acknowledge)

- it seems - time-and-time-again - that while money doesn't exist in 22nd-25th Century Alpha Quadrant life, different Federation citizens have different living standards NOT due to the amount of money they make, but seemingly due to what they have contributed to society (with a standard of living most of us would consider comfortable as a minimum guarunteed for all)
Lynos
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 2:07am (UTC -6)
Thanks everyone for pointing out the Hugh connection. I admit I do not have encyclopedic knowledge of TNG episodes like some people here, which is one of the reason i visit here, to deepen the experience and put it in context. And while I remembered the TNG episodes mentioned, I did not make the connection that it was the same character and certainly not the same actor.

So I went back and watched "I, Borg" and "Descent" parts 1 & 2. "I, Borg" is marvelous, "Descent" is mediocre, but still interesting. And it will be interesting to see Picard meet with Hugh after all this years (I mean, I hope they plan to finally meet them, since in Descent they have maybe two seconds of screen time together). It's also striking to watch Picard in TNG after watching this show. His character is so different there.
PM
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 2:07am (UTC -6)
P.S. Yanks, whoooo, seriously...take a deep breath, walk away from your TV, maybe go fishing...feel that sunlight?

There... (said in re-assuring Bob Ross tone)
Maybe just release your Vulcan death grip (not really real, but still a thing) on your demands of what a given show should be and enjoy it.

I'm actually pleasantly surprised no one has jumped on the pitbull thing...Happy to see there isn't so much nitpicking that someone has picked absolutely everything apart about Picard 3 episodes in.

Remember, the beloved character you are holding up to such an infalable standard came from a show that started with the following 3 gems:

- Encounter At Farpoint (whaaa?)
- The Naked Now (meh...)
- Code of Honor (gagh!)

Happy trees.
Brian
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 2:40am (UTC -6)
@Booming

I guess I meant to say I'd gladly live in Raffi's dwelling if I had a replicator. Yeah. That's yet another gaping plot hole. It was odd that the workers were dealing with replicators that didn't work the way we know they're supposed to, since there doesn't seem to be any reason why they shouldn't. Even DS9 had great replicators and they were supposedly roughing it in a commandeered Cardassian station compared to people closer to Earth. Odo's bucket seemed downright luxurious compared to the conditions of those workers in Picard. LOL
Dom
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 6:37am (UTC -6)
@The Dirty Mac, like Jammer, I've been frustrated with the slow build in this show and was wondering if my attention span had gotten shorter since TNG. After all, many TNG episodes were slow. I don't think that that's the problem though. When characters had conversations in TNG, it was often to either solve problems or to debate ethical dilemmas. The dialogue itself was a crucial part of the journey. Because of the episodic format, there was usually some conclusion to the conflict or catharsis at the end of each episode, which left viewers satisfied.

By contrast, so much of the dialogue in Picard seems to either be expository setup or introducing mysteries that won't be paid off until later in the season. There's no payoff at the end of each episode, so instead of feeling satisfied we're kept dangling. We're still waiting. It both feels longer and feels less substantive. It might turn out at the end of the season we will all look back and say it was a worthwhile journey. In the meantime, it feels like reading the first three chapters of a novel that you hope will get really good, but hasn't quite hooked you yet.
Jason R.
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 6:46am (UTC -6)
I have always found Gene's vision of a money less society nonsensical, especially as it was portrayed in TNG and DS9. But the idea of Raffi living in a "hovel" within a society that possesses limitless energy and replicators is even more ridiculous.
skye francis-maidstone
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 8:42am (UTC -6)
People must have been watching a different trek to me over the last few years.

TOS TNG, VOY, ENT (yawn) and even my beloved DS9 had so many average/ok/boring or downright awful episodes and they had around 20 episodes to get it right.

PIC has 10 and so far 3 all them have been at least average to good (the 3rd being very good - almost excellent).

Ok it's had no Inner Light's (overrated), Best of Both Worlds, The Die is Cast, In the Pale Moonlight, Edge of Forever etc etc.. but it's only had 3 episodes.

I will ignore JJ films forever. I can't stand his style or anything he touches.

I would say in my opinion but that's a little redundant.
Chrome
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 8:46am (UTC -6)
I'm going to disagree with Jammer on that point. I don't know if the episode portrayed it well enough, but Raffi is a drug addict and the hovel she lives in is the one's she put herself into.

Look, I've known drug addicts from very wealthy families who had virtually all the assets of society at their hands and still chosen a life of no productivity. That's just how profound a problem substance abuse is.

We hear from Gene's vision™ about all these great successful people like the Kirks, Picards, and Janeways, but what about the less successful ones such as the Tom Parises or worse? Are we to believe that 400 years hence the vices of sex, gambling, and drugs will be completely eliminated? You may say yes, but in fact I don't recall Star Trek explicitly saying this was so. To that end, I like to see this grave societal problem finally brought into the forefront.
Yanks
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 8:46am (UTC -6)
@ Booming

"but I will at least try to ignore this a bit as to enjoy the show a bit more."

Trying, hoping... I'm not even saying I'm not enjoying it... I did nod off though... twice... so boring might apply.

"By the way, guys here always talk about audiences having shorter attention spans. Is this backed up by something because this sounds like a scientific myth. Like the believe that only children behave differently (spoiled brats). No scientific evidence to back this up."

Are you inferring I have a short attention span? ... wait, squirrel!! :-)

@ PM

"P.S. Yanks, whoooo, seriously...take a deep breath, walk away from your TV, maybe go fishing...feel that sunlight?

There... (said in re-assuring Bob Ross tone)
Maybe just release your Vulcan death grip (not really real, but still a thing) on your demands of what a given show should be and enjoy it."

I'm fine. I get out every day... but you won't find me fishing... :-)

"Remember, the beloved character you are holding up to such an infallible standard came from a show that started with the following 3 gems:

- Encounter At Farpoint (whaaa?)
- The Naked Now (meh...)
- Code of Honor (gagh!)"

Well, this is not a fair comparison I think. These 3 "gems" were when TNG was just getting started. The 24th century wasn't established yet, nor where any of the characters. This show has a rich history to reference.

This character is no longer infallible. He quit for 20 years.

"Happy trees."

That's a new one :-)

Jammer, nice review as always.
Dom
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 9:44am (UTC -6)
@skye francis-maidstone, there's a bit difference between TV in the 1990s and TV today. Back then, writers had to work hard to fill out seasons with 24-26 episodes to meet the studio's demand for sufficient quantity to get syndicated. They knew some of the episodes wouldn't be great.

Today, prestige TV shows have much time and resources to develop each and every episode and make it as good as it can be. It's much rarer for a TV show to struggle during its first few seasons and find its feet over time. Picard only has 10 episodes this season, so every single episode matters more.
Dom
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 9:49am (UTC -6)
@Chrome, I don't think it's been implicitly stated, but I think it's always been implied that the Federation took care of its people. In the DS9 two-parter in the 21st century, Bashir seems absolutely shocked by homelessness and poverty. Sure, perhaps not everyone lives in a mansion in the 24th century, but given what we'd seen so far I'd have thought trailer parks and extreme poverty were a thing of the past. It might be different if Raffi simply preferred to live like that the way some people actually want to live in a cabin in the woods.
Chrome
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 9:58am (UTC -6)
@Dom

I agree that the Federation does take care of its people, but here’s the catch: no state program is perfect and ultimately its in the hands of the person with the problem. Raffi has shown to be on the outs with Starfleet so I can’t imagine her accepting their help. We’re missing, of course, the why, whens, and hows of the problem, but I thought it was clear she chose a fringe lifestyle after being dismissed from her post.
Mercer
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 10:48am (UTC -6)
"although the episode does not use his name or so much as hint at the connection or how it may become relevant to what's going on here. "

The girl does introduce him as Hugh in THIS episode
Dom
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 11:15am (UTC -6)
@Chrome, I think maybe the problem is that the episode seems to imply that she's in such a sorry state because she's poor and because she was fired from Starfleet. Her bitterness seems to imply that she can't afford a better lifestyle. That's very different from her voluntarily living that way or her wanting to be a recluse. The former is a failure of the system, the latter is a choice.

Also, if she really was depressed, I can't believe the same Starfleet that put a psychiatrist on the bridge of a starship (Troi) wouldn't provide access to mental health services.
Chrome
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 11:42am (UTC -6)
Dom wrote:

"the episode seems to imply that she's in such a sorry state because she's poor and because she was fired from Starfleet."

I see many making this interpretation, but if we believe the Federation is a utopia then that really is a nonsensical conclusion. If anyone isn't getting in the Federation benefits, it's by choice. We've seen this happen before in Star Trek, with the Marquis. I think it'll become more apparent as the series progresses that Raffi has some deep issues (they mentioned her paranoia) and although Picard may have helped her for a time, she's still struggling with them.
Dom
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 12:12pm (UTC -6)
@Chrome, it's not a nonsensical conclusion when that's what the episode leads you to believe. Like I said it's possible Raffi chose to live like that by choice, though her bitterness seems to suggest otherwise. After all, it's quite clear that the Federation of Picard isn't the same utopian future as TNG's Federation. I think myself and other fans took Raffi's condition as a statement to viewers that "this isn't your father's Star Trek."
Dave in MN
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 12:18pm (UTC -6)
They really should clear up how the economics of the Federation works .... because the impression and dialogue from the previous series/movies definitely made it plain that money was a thing of the past ... and if that's no longer the case, there really should be an explanation as to why.
Chrome
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 12:29pm (UTC -6)
Sure, to be fair, it has more to do with storytelling approach which calls back the conversation Jason R and I were having (and Jammer mentioned). We're sort of getting in on this from the middle of the problem whereas a classic episode of TNG like "Hollow Pursuits" would explain the problem from the start and it would be resolved the conclusion of the episode.

Raffi's story didn't rub me the wrong way like say, Rizzo and Narrek's, but perhaps my personal experience with substance abusers gives me some insight into how such people work and I can see Raffi's lifestyle less as being a victim of Starfleet policy than of her personal demons. Whatever the case, we don't really know the whole story anyway, so it's just my thoughts on the matter. :-)
Jason R.
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 12:45pm (UTC -6)
I'd be more charitable in interpreting the Raffi "hovel" thing if the episode hadn't gone out of its way to have Raffi take a potshot at Picard's mansion in the same breath. This came damn close to invoking "white privilege" in a setting in which it has no place, period full stop.

For me this isn't a question of violating canon, although poverty on *Earth* is about as big a violation as I have ever seen in Trek - the issue is basically one of logic. The technology of the Federation and the basic premise of the Federation would seem to preclude poverty.

Now I suppose unlimited resources doesn't preclude poverty automatically. In Babylon 5 they had nuclear fusion (albeit not replicators) and poverty was alive and well. And in that society it made some sense as it was portrayed on screen.

But to imagine this on Earth in Star Trek? We are beyond retcon and are basically into total reboot territory.

Incidentally, I don't think the writers were going anywhere with this hovel thing except to portray Picard as out of touch and yes - to invoke the white privilege idea, particularly coming from a black character speaking to a high status older white male.

And you know what, despite all my criticism above, I kind of like where they are going with this, even if I may not like how they chose to portray it.

I do like how the Picard character is being forced to have some humility and answer for the consequences of his choices in a way he never did in TNG's run.

Unlike Sisko, Janeway, Archer and even Kirk, Picard was always in my view given a free pass to pontificate, lecture and take incredibly powerful decisions (I Borg, Pegasus, The Wounded, Defector, Pen Pals, Redemption....) while always somehow coming out squeaky clean and unscathed even as he reshaped the universe and took decisions of profound consequence for the Federation.

Well this is where that kind of pie in the sky principle above all else got him - retired, irrelevant and useless on an old vineyard. Someone finally put his feet to the fire and made him take the consequences of his high principles, and guess what? It cost him and those around him, big time. Wrong call Jean-Luc wrong call.
Dom
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 1:07pm (UTC -6)
@Jason R., I agree with that analysis. Raffi calling out Chateau Picard seemed pretty clearly about inequality, and strongly implied living in a hovel wasn't her choice.

This whole discussion I think is part of the problem with forcing a story into a franchise instead of starting a new IP. You mentioned B5. Part of the reason JMS started that show was because he wanted to tell a story in a more realistic, grounded vision of the future than Trek offered. Setting B5 in a different universe let it tell its own story and do its own world building, yet in some ways it necessarily served as a commentary on Star Trek tropes because of when it aired. Something similar happened with the BSG reboot. Moore deliberately did things that he couldn't do on DS9 and it usually made sense for the context.
Ian Whitcombe
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 1:15pm (UTC -6)
I think it's clear in the past that 24th Century humans don't all share the same quality of life or luxuries, though. Even pre-Maquis the colonists in the DMZ had it differently than those on Earth, and that definitely wasn't solely about choice.
Chrome
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 1:32pm (UTC -6)
@Ian Whitcombe

Good point. Although it would certainly make the travel logistics for Picard here messy, it might've helped Raffi's fringe angle more if she was living on an off-world colony instead of the Vasquez Rocks in L.A. County. I guess this all really begs the question as to how developed Earth is by the 24th century. After this episode, it looks like there are still rural spots on Earth with little Federation development.
Booming
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 1:56pm (UTC -6)
@ Chrome
" how such people work and I can see Raffi's lifestyle less as being a victim of Starfleet policy than of her personal demons."
But wouldn't that still mean that Federation (and let's not forget that the Federation and Starfleet are not the same thing) fails on several levels. First it doesn't provide her with support for her drug problem, ok maybe she doesn't want any. Again the show doesn't bother telling us. And if Raffi is consuming a drug that is hard (harder than Marihuana for example) then the Federation shouldn't allow such a harmful substance. Another important question would be, did she live like this and then started consuming something or the other way around. Also Picard doesn't seem shocked about her having that stuff hang around on her porch and then smoking it. She obviously doesn't hide it which would indicate that it isn't illegal. Picard doesn't comment on the drug at all. So maybe it isn't that strong. To me she just seems bitter and self medicates a bit with a relatively harmless drug. She is in good shape. Look at her muscles. This doesn't come from sitting around and eating fast food. On the other hand maybe it doesn't mean anything and it is just bad writing/word building.

@Jason
"I do like how the Picard character is being forced to have some humility and answer for the consequences of his choices in a way he never did in TNG's run."
I never perceived Picard as arrogant, just very private. He seemed often quite humble. I think that made him such a good diplomat. The difference now seems to be that the show wants to humble him on purpose. He is probably the most beloved Star Trek character alive. What did he actually do wrong? He lost his post trying to save people which somehow got Raffi fired. Ok, he didn't call her but why didn't she call him. He lost as much as she did. In a way he lost far more. Rank and power. Her anger at him makes no sense. He would have certainly let her live there with him. The two Tal Shiar people conned their way into living in his fine Chateau. So why not her?
I really have to stop thinking about this. But if we just see it as set up to make a white privilege comment then that would make no sense in the Star Trek world. For several reason. I saw it more as classism but again how would that make sense in Star Trek??? Steam is coming out of my ears...
John Harmon
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 2:11pm (UTC -6)
Comparing Star Trek to B5 is a bad comparison. B5 was deliberately made to be differently. Star Trek is a post scarcity socialist Utopia. B5 Earth is a horrific capitalist dystopia.

The only explanation for Raffi living in a trailer and being bitter about it is a straight retcon. It's been mentioned time and time again on Trek that in the Federation and especially on Earth, they have eliminated poverty and homelessness and people going hungry.

The entire point of Star Trek is that we humans finally got our stuff together and everyone is taken care of. There's really no wiggle room there. Chabon and Kurtzman just retconned it because they're too lazy to work within the confines of what was set up already.
Jason R.
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 2:17pm (UTC -6)
"What did he actually do wrong? He lost his post trying to save people which somehow got Raffi fired"

It is hard to know for sure given the limited information, but as I see it, he let his pride and self righteousness harm his cause. Sure maybe his resignation was a bluff and they called him on it - ok then he should have crawled back to them and asked for reinstatement. I have to assume they would have accepted it given his stature. But instead he f'ed off to write his memoires as Raffi noted. Surely he could have done more good within Starfleet than without. Used his personal authority and gathered a handful of ships together to save at least *some*? But again, pride. His way or the highway. If they don't do what the great Jean Luc Picard asks then they've given in to fear and darkness.

I love the Picard character and the ideal he represented on TNG. But that ideal was never really tested was it? Like Raffi said, he always had a way out, always a rabbit up his sleeve. Always some way to stand firm on his personal morality but never have to pay the piper.

I see his decision in this case to be consistent with his idealism in the show, but this time he ended up paying for it. And you know what, it was the wrong call.

I actually have no problem with this outcome.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 2:52pm (UTC -6)
@Chrome
"I see many making this interpretation, but if we believe the Federation is a utopia then that really is a nonsensical conclusion."

Indeed. It *is* a nonsensical conclusion, yet this is what the episode is showing us. That is precisely the problem.

To clarify:

I can actually buy the existence of drug users in Trek's future. An utopia wouldn't be much of an utopia if people didn't have the freedom to make their own choices.

What I can't accept, is the notion that being a drug user would make you poor in the 24th century. Raffi doesn't have to work to earn a living, so why would she live like that? She can lead as unproductive a life as she wants, and it shouldn't have mattered a single bit.

The whole thing makes absolutely no sense when your starting point is a post-scarcity society.


@Dave in MN

"They really should clear up how the economics of the Federation works .... because the impression and dialogue from the previous series/movies definitely made it plain that money was a thing of the past ..."

To be fair, the notion that there's no form of currency what-so-ever never made sense. Even if there's no money per-se, there has to be *some* system in place to decide resource priorities.

So I wouldn't have a problem with a slight ret-con here. In fact, I'd love to see what a *good* writer could do with this, because past Trek was always deliberately vague on the details.

The problem is that the writers (or showrunners) of ST:Picard have decided to completely reboot this aspect of the Trekverse. It gives us an Earth with billboard ads, a worker class that works in substandard conditions, replicators that only give you pineapple, and poor drug addicts who are angry at Picard for being rich.

It's funny how Kurtzman et al often pay ridiculous attention to obscure details (like Spock's room number on the Enterprise or the countless easter eggs they've hidden in ST:Picard) yet they willfully ignore the broad strokes of how the Star Trek universe is supposed to work.
Booming
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 3:08pm (UTC -6)
@Jason
But this brings us back to the decision to let the Romulans, probably hundreds of millions, die. That's why I mentioned that this would all work far better if we had seen the actual argument. Have the Federation council lay out their case, have Picard make one. Certainly Starfleet cannot make these decisions alone. The Federation isn't a military dictatorship. Why was the situation so dire that the Federation as a community decided:" We will let almost a billion people die. From an empire that just fought and died by the millions on our side in the biggest war in galactic history."
I'm pretty sure we were never shown a real debate because the position is indefensible. This is not about refugees living in camps and legal limbo on the EU or US border. This is life or death. It is not comparable to any refugee crisis today. It would be like if the north american continent would somehow collapse and Europe tried to save the people their, got it's rescue fleet destroyed and then just said: "Sorry, Poland and Hungary will leave the EU if we still help you. So yeah 400 million people we are done. You will all die" Just try to imagine a situation in which the EU, which is far less noble and evolved than the Federation, would just stop rescuing these people.
Chrome
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 3:29pm (UTC -6)
Omicron wrote:

"What I can't accept, is the notion that being a drug user would make you poor in the 24th century. Raffi doesn't have to work to earn a living, so why would she live like that? She can lead as unproductive a life as she wants, and it shouldn't have mattered a single bit."

It's a good question. My thought is that smoking snakeleaf is akin to some outlawed drug in our time, so Raffi could not live in a properly-administrated Federation city if she wanted to do that drug. Chabon has commented on the substance, and mentioned it's product of Orion, so I don't think the Federation condones its use. Hopefully, this gets clarified, and hey maybe it's just a shoehorned way of dealing with drug addiction in Star Trek. But I still appreciate that sentiment.

@Booming

We can only hope that, god-willing, the show answers those questions later. On that note, Michael Chabon actually went and answered a bunch of questions people asked about the show like what's up with Commander Oh's sunglasses. It's all on his instagram. I guess Trek has now reached the social-media driven model for providing information about its show.

Here's the article for anyone who's interested:
https://www.trektoday.com/content/2020/02/chabon-answers-fan-questions-about-star-trek-picard/
Dom
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 3:46pm (UTC -6)
@John Harmon, I think you missed my point. I said B5 was different because JMS wanted to tell a story in a world that wasn't a Star Trek utopia. As I said, they are very different settings, which is the point. My argument was that I think it's more effective for storytellers to create their own worlds if they have a specific vision than to try to force a story into an existing franchise if it doesn't fit. If the powers that be at CBS don't want to tell optimistic stories about the future, that's fine, but perhaps they should create a new show.
Cynics
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 3:55pm (UTC -6)
@Jammer

Hugh's name was mentioned, barely in passing, by Soji, as she was interviewing the Romulan woman. And like some but all commenters, you imply that Rios has only one emergency hologram, but I thought it was clear that he has an EMH with an "English accent," who first met Picard at the transporter and extracted that piece of metal, but that this was not the same "character" as the ENH (Emergency Navigation Hologram) with an "Irish accent" who appeared later in Rios' quarters. Both the accent and the costuming were different. Good for laughs if nothing else and also explains the "skeleton crew" issue... Hell, when they go into a fight next week Rios might have an entire crew of holograms who pop up to assist.
Leif
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 6:06pm (UTC -6)
Jammer! They do use Hugh's name in the scene where Dahj visits Ramda..and is anyone else having PROBLEMS WITH CBS ALL ACCESS SKIPOING AND GETTING STUCK?? It was really bad during this episode..and is anyone else disappointed that they brought back an EMH but inexplicably did not have him played by Bob Picardo?
John Harmon
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 6:08pm (UTC -6)
That article about Chabon answering fan questions on Instagram is 100% him just making stuff up on the spot. I don't believe for a second he had any of that stuff thought out.

He's really good at quickly making up answers like this but fails to include these details in the actual show.
4Q2
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 8:00pm (UTC -6)
This is the second review that I've read that either states or eludes that Hugh was not identified by name. Am I the only one who heard it? It's him.
4Q2
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 8:20pm (UTC -6)
"I really don't need the close-talking incest-y vibe I'm getting from Rizzo and Narek. It feels like it's trying to be edgy, but mostly this just feels played out."

Agreed.

GOT is over. Time to stop trying to emulate it.
Jaxon
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 8:58pm (UTC -6)
"and is anyone else disappointed that they brought back an EMH but inexplicably did not have him played by Bob Picardo? "

The ones that look like him are relegated to mining.

Having this be *that* Doctor would require making the 66 year old Picardo look 40-ish again with CGI, and who thinks *that* Doctor would be Chewbacca-ing for the likes of this guy?
Dave in MN
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 10:47pm (UTC -6)
I just had a thought .... if there's an EMH and a EPH (Emergency Psychiatric Hologram) on the Millennial Falcon, then maybe Han Solo (Chris?) is actually a hologram too and the jagged metal in his shoulder was a fakeout.
Tommy D.
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 11:21pm (UTC -6)
I'm reading some of the criticism on here while watching TNG's "Manhunt" and chuckling a bit.

It doesn't have to be perfect to be enjoyable.
Sen-Sors
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 11:27pm (UTC -6)
True but it does need to be enjoyable to be enjoyable.
Tommy D.
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 11:40pm (UTC -6)
As a former bartender, I can tell you by the faces on some patrons after a shot of well tequila that even thats not true :)
Yanks
Wed, Feb 12, 2020, 6:20am (UTC -6)
Just throwing this out there...

Does anyone think that Dahj's and Soji's mother is Maddox?
Booming
Wed, Feb 12, 2020, 6:50am (UTC -6)
Maybe they find the thing that made the time rift in First Contact on the Borg ship, then for some reason the Borg ship goes active and Picard and his team get sucked 60 years into the past were WE MEAT A YOUNG PICARD WHO THEN HAS TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS OF THE FEDERATION. Solves the "age" problem and you have the potential for seven seasons. Stewart gets killed at the end of season one, young Picard is the new hero (played by Cory Stoll). IT'S GENIUS! Plus it could show us that even 60 years ago the Federation was already a pretty horrible place to live and Starfleet some kind of rich aristocracy which young Picard now realizes for the first time. He then transforms the Federation into a real utopia by making the masses demand real equality. They are supported by the mirror universe (which was changed into a good universe by Sisko) which could bring back mirror Picard who is like TNG Picard again at the end of the show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvDy8oHyccw
Panagiotis Karatasios
Wed, Feb 12, 2020, 8:04am (UTC -6)
Ok jammer that'enough that's enough with you. Ypou praised the newtrek movies the discovdry but yoy don' like picard. You are not a fan of star tek. You don't even understand it. You like mindless action and stupid character developmend. An i'm done with your opinion. Good bye and i hope there are not many like you out there.
Panagiotis Karatasios
Wed, Feb 12, 2020, 8:17am (UTC -6)
And you can ban me from your site i don:t give a shit
Nic
Wed, Feb 12, 2020, 8:27am (UTC -6)
I found the setup in this episode more compelling than in the previous one, although there are still shoehorned exposition dumps (most notably Rios telling his life story to his hologram). There are still scenes that are not entertaining on their own, but hopefully they’re leading somewhere.

I didn’t even recognize Jonathan Del Arco! The imdb page confirms that it is Hugh.

The “surprise” element of the fight was certainly effective, but I don’t like the way action scenes are shot nowadays, with so many shot cuts and close-ups that you can’t tell what’s going on. I like Alison Pill’s character, so I’m glad she’s coming along!

I didn’t interpret Raffi’s living situation as a retcon regarding the nonexistence of money in the Federation. It makes no sense to use money in a world of limitless energy and automated production. The only thing that would perhaps be on short supply in such a world is land. Even today, some people choose to live more modestly than their means, and Raffi certainly seems like someone who prefers isolation (perhaps she was hiding?)

I also did not interpret Rizzo as being aboard the Borg cube, simply as using a hologram like she did in the previous episode. We’ll find one way or the other at some point, I suppose.

I agree about Laris and Zhaban. Maybe they will join Picard later.
Walrus1701D
Wed, Feb 12, 2020, 11:08am (UTC -6)
I can't help but wonder when we'll see Seven of Nine. The snippet of her we saw in the trailer seemed to take place back at Picard's home in France, so unless she's also a dream image, she won't show up until after Picard's mission. I can't wait to see how much more human she's become. It's now been 20 years since the removal of her cortical node. With any luck, it's also been that long since her and Chakotay realized that their pairing made no sense and broke up. ;-)
Ian
Wed, Feb 12, 2020, 11:25am (UTC -6)
I'm going to continue to watch Picard but I can't say that I'm enjoying this series. I'll watch it because it is supposed to be Star Trek and I'm a fan of TNG and of the character of Jean-Luc Picard. I'm hoping it blooms into something good.

I agree with the comments about Raffi. I just don't find it plausible that Picard would have relied on or trusted this character based on what we've seen so far. I can't imagine someone calling him "JL" except maybe for an old friend who knew Picard from the academy or aboard the StarGazer. Raffi doesn't even seem like Starfleet material.

It was nice to see Hugh (Jonathan Del Arco) again. He certainly seems to have a more seasoned, calm appearance now. Has he recovered from his experience being a drone? The scars on his face may be nothing compared to any inner turmoil that he and other former drones deal with. So they are known as XB's. How many are there?

@Yanks: Does anyone think that Dahj's and Soji's mother is Maddox? Yes, that's a good theory at the moment. It's doesn't seem that Dahj or Soji actually have a real mother. Looks like they been programed to believe they have one and it could be Maddox pulling the strings.
Dave in MN
Wed, Feb 12, 2020, 11:34am (UTC -6)
@ P. K.

Off you go.
Quincy
Wed, Feb 12, 2020, 11:59am (UTC -6)
@Panagiotis Karatasios

Did you just say all Jammer cares about is mindless action?

Dafuq have you been smoking?!?
John Harmon
Wed, Feb 12, 2020, 12:45pm (UTC -6)
Well, there's now vaping in Star Trek. That was a truly cringe "how do you do fellow kids?" moment. I'm sure Alex Kurtzman patted himself on the back for that.

And hearing Raffi say "pro-tip" to Picard felt as out of place as all the heavy cursing (we get it show, you're edgy). Seriously "pro-tip" is already a dated term that came from a reference to gaming. Hearing someone who's supposed to be from several hundreds of years in the future use it in a melodramatic context where she's pouring her heart out made me actually laugh out loud.

I just don't get why it's so hard for writers to write future people as future people. Trek writers used to be good at it. They avoided using contemporary slang so they wouldn't date the show, they had them all speaking more formally or classically, so the dialogue would always be timeless. They were smart about it. Now, I just don't think they care if the show is dated or not. It's just about what "feels good" in the moment regardless if it makes sense for the character or the setting.
Marg
Wed, Feb 12, 2020, 4:34pm (UTC -6)
Thanks for the review, Jammer. I agree that Picard should have taken Laris, Zhaban, and #1 Pitbull with him!

Second viewing careful listening:
Music—diverse genres are used to "flavor" scenes: opera introduces the scene with Dr. Agnes and Commodore Oh. In contrast, the Mississippi Delta blues type music introducing the scene of Rios in his quarters is very reminiscent of Robert Johnson's work, which is an interesting pairing with the Miguel de Unamuno book. In this scene, the EMH, while iterating Picard's CV, mentions "on the side of angels" and "Sunday school." Rios may be the focal point for philosophical / ethical conflicts between reason and faith.

@Marg "Am I reading correctly that the actor also plays the EMH?" On second watch, definitely the same actor. That's weird.
@Marg "Does Rios' ship have a name?" Rios was the XO of the heavy cruiser "ibn Majid," which was "erased from Star Fleet records." That ship was named for Ahmad ibn Majid, a 15th-C Arab navigator / cartographer. Very Cool reference, but I'm not sure if we are on board this ship at the end of the ep.
I love how the series is weaving in ST and real human history.
MidshipmanNorris
Wed, Feb 12, 2020, 7:37pm (UTC -6)
-1-

Raffi is a terribly slapdash character. These scenes needed re-writes, and I do not feel that the actress (Michelle Hurd was it?) was delivering these lines this way of her own accord. They felt over-directed, over-generalized and reek of the kind of unearned emotional weight that really dragged Discovery down for me. Each scene she appears in, barring the quick little video call between her and Picard and the mostly silent 'hacking' scenes, fall utterly flat for me, even to the point where Agnes Jurati's line "Who are you, lady" seems completely brain-dead. It's not even a line that the character herself is saying, and somehow it manages to suck. I've got a better question, Agnes, "Who is the director that told you to say that line that way?"

Subtlety, please. This is Star Trek, not Days of Our Lives.

-2-

I did not catch that the former Borg who is shepherding Soji around the Artifact was Hugh, at all. The fact that it's not brought up in any way, shape, or form during the episode bugs me. A lot. Did they just call Jonathan Del Arco because he's played a Borg before, but aren't planning to reference "I, Borg" or "Descent" at all? :/ I smell lawyery bullshit.

-3-

This whole "She is the DUHSTOYYURRR" thing rubs me the wrong way. Star Trek and prophecy fulfillment go together about as well as orange juice and toothpaste to me. For the love of God, no.

-4-

We get the first fight scene involving not-superhuman people in this ep, and it was done with some serious gusto! Kudos to the actors, stunt people, directors, choreographers, the writers, the editors, everyone made this a blast to watch. Holy crap! That felt super-real to me. If this episode was all as good as that fight scene, it'd be a 4/4.

-5-

I agree that the semi-weird incestuous vibe of Narek and Rizzo is dumb, and it reminds me of when they were continually trying to 'sex up' Enterprise. It's the kind of thing I'd expect to be written by someone who has not had a lot of sexually fulfilling relationships in their lifetime, and doesn't understand the nuance of it. We are a long, long, way from "You're almost 30 years old, have you ever kissed a girl," by this point, guys. Most Trekkies wouldn't even be alive by this point if their parents hadn't done the M-Class Planet Bop.

-6-

I don't mind the serialized nature of this show. I was getting fed up with them re-using the same basic episode structures over, and over, and over and over and over. May we never be trapped on the Holodeck with the safety protocols off, again. :)

2/4 stars. Try a little harder to be subtle, Team Picard.
Elise
Wed, Feb 12, 2020, 10:54pm (UTC -6)
@Jammer, I didn't see Raffi living in a trailer as motivated by hardship, but more of her being relatively paranoid after what she went through and wanting to live as close to off the grid as she could while still being on earth. It'll be interesting to learn more about how she got there.
Panagiotis Karatasios
Thu, Feb 13, 2020, 7:59am (UTC -6)
Νο quincy i didn't say that all jammere wants is mindless action i'm just reading his reviews for many years and its obvious that he likes strong character drama even if it violates syar trk ethos he likes a lot of battles and he likes dystopian future. That is not star trek. It's his right to like anything he wants but it is not his right to turn trek into what he wants. He liked the jerk movirs of newtrek (what:s tjeir telationsip eith trek at all?) and he liked discovery with his fucking of cannon and star trek ethos amd now he does'nt like picard were some good men try to bring federation back to its origins. Well i say he is a fan of tv but he does'nt have anything with star trek. Perhaps he should turn to other shoes.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Feb 13, 2020, 11:10am (UTC -6)
I'll repeat what Quincy has said:

Dafuq have you been smoking?

First of all, ST:Picard is almost as canon-violating and as anti-Trek as Discovery. It may be more subtle about it, but that doesn't make it any better on this front.

Secondly, Jammer seems to be liking the show just fine. His average rating for the first 3 episodes is 2.67, which is on par with his ratings for other Trek (including Discovery)

And lastly, Jammer reviewed Discovery as it aired. Since Discovery is heavily serialized, he had no way of telling in advance whether the story is going to make sense in the end. We know now that it ended up being a heck of a mess, but Jammer didn't know that when he wrote those reviews.

I have little doubt that if Jammer returned to these episodes today, he would have rated them lower.
Quincy
Thu, Feb 13, 2020, 12:18pm (UTC -6)
@Panagiotis Karatasios
"Νο quincy i didn't say that all jammere wants is mindless action i'm just reading his reviews for many years and its obvious that he likes strong character drama even if it violates syar trk ethos he likes a lot of battles and he likes dystopian future. That is not star trek. It's his right to like anything he wants but it is not his right to turn trek into what he wants. He liked the jerk movirs of newtrek (what:s tjeir telationsip eith trek at all?) and he liked discovery with his fucking of cannon and star trek ethos amd now he does'nt like picard were some good men try to bring federation back to its origins. Well i say he is a fan of tv but he does'nt have anything with star trek. Perhaps he should turn to other shoes."


You said: "You like mindless action and stupid character developmend."

I don't know what you mean by stupid character development, whether character development in general is stupid or certain kinds of character development is stupid, so I left that alone. Anyone who doesn't want their characters to develop is in a whole other world as far as I'm concerned, so what's the point?

I was specifically concerned with that part about "You like mindless action."

I've complained in the past how Jammer and others sometimes seem allergic to action. Just look at what Jammer himself says about mindless action:
https://www.jammersreviews.com/st-voy/s7/imperfection.php
https://www.jammersreviews.com/st-voy/s7/prophecy.php
https://www.jammersreviews.com/st-voy/s6/muse.php
https://www.jammersreviews.com/st-voy/s6/recap.php

Just visit these pages and use the page search function to look for "action."

The absolute last thing he could be accused of is liking mindless action, since he specifically complains about exactly that.

I'm not going to address anything else you brought up. I'm pretty sure Jammer had his fair share of complaints about NuTrek and Discovery, so if you give his reviews a fair viewing, I'm sure you'll find them. He also has been quite fair with Picard. He gave the first episode three stars as I recall.
Mertov
Thu, Feb 13, 2020, 2:04pm (UTC -6)
Elise, I agree with you, that is also my conclusion about Raffi. It almost felt as if she chose that kind of isolation for herself, preferring to be left alone. The "chateau" line she threw at Picard came across as a spite, to make him feel bad, more than as a social-class statement.
The Dirty Mac
Fri, Feb 14, 2020, 9:33pm (UTC -6)
The story continues.

Though the "Borg RItual" (sliding across the floor with your shoes off scene) was too cute by half, the story of Soji and Narek does advance. There is now a time limit placed on Narek's method of "romancing" Soji. Soji, in turn, has shown as that she is inquisitive, smart, and won't be played for a fool. Plus, there is also mentioned danger of pushing her too far and "activating her". All good stuff.

The story of Elnor and Picard is told well. They actually acknowledge the fact that the Picard we knew hated kids ("Disaster" anyone?). This elder man sets the record straight. I love the idea of having Picard closely protected by a Romulan Ninja/Assassin/warrior young man. Great dynamic.

It is also great to be seeing a show that is ADDING to the canon of the Prime Universe. Learning so much more about the Romulan culture is akin to us actually learning more about the originally one-dimensional Klingon culture in TNG.

There is no incest. There is only a very seductive Romulan power play afoot (i am thinking of the Romulan Commander in TOS' "Enterprise Incident"). Think of Rizzo as throwing Narek's methods back in his face. Seduce. Is this what you want? Is this what will help reach your goals?"

Rios still kicks ass, and his ego, having every ship hologram programmed as the many versions of himself is a continued experience! Bravo to Santiago Cabrera for pulling off so many characters. Not since Jeffery Combs have we seen a Star Trek character pull off more than two characters in a single episode. The rest of the crew are sophisticated and great additions.

Sevens entrance, though a bit predictive given the time left in the episode, the constant use of the pronouns his/he/etc., and her name being in the opening credits, was terrific. I can't wait to see Jeri Ryan's take on this new, more matured, Human, version of Seven!

It may be blasphemy, along with the cursing, but it is a tad refreshing seeing the Federation as not quit the bastion of righteousness it once was. It is clearly established in the show that Starfleet/The Federation has failed to stand up in a moment of galactic need. When the Romulan star exploded, Starfleet failed. Interesting. Especially if you want to use this as an allegory for America in the age of.... But, I digress.
Patrick D
Fri, Feb 14, 2020, 9:40pm (UTC -6)
"This is somewhat more difficult for me, because reviewing chapters of a book makes it hard to know if what I'm critiquing is adequately informed by what might be just around the corner."

Jammer, is your aversion to serialized storytelling the reason (or one of the reasons) why you don't want to review "Babylon 5"?
Picard Is Wesleys Father
Sat, Feb 15, 2020, 6:53am (UTC -6)
Finally, Roddenberry's dream of a drug-filled, vulgar, income inequality laden, xenophobic future has been realized! Actually, therein is my biggest problem with this series - pessimism and grit. I doubt any of us ever *really* wanted to see Captain Picard dressed down with the f-bomb or watch an emotionally shattered Starfleet subordinate take a hit off a future bong. It also feels like watching two shows of very wildly inconsistent quality: Picard Adventures, brimming with the acting talent of Patrick Stewart, and Romulan Borg Cube Exposition, a very boring show about sexy people learning how to act on the set.
Patrick D
Sat, Feb 15, 2020, 5:20pm (UTC -6)
"Finally, Roddenberry's dream of a drug-filled, vulgar, income inequality laden, xenophobic future has been realized! "

THANK YOU for saying this.

Star Trek did its version of Babylon 5 with Deep Space Nine;
Star Trek did its version of Lost in Space with Voyager; and now we get Star Trek doing its version of Firefly with Picard. I'll pass.
Kuja
Sun, Feb 16, 2020, 9:14pm (UTC -6)
“Roddenberry’s vision”. *eyeroll* you mean the creepy serial adulterer who everyone was on record as hating working with who wrote women in TNG incredibly regressively and influenced Rick Berman down the same path? Trek’s been its best without him. Just look at TNG after his death.

Money has NEVER been consistent in Trek and seeing people lose their minds every time it’s mentioned is stupid and hilarious. As far back as Search for Spock, Bones was offering “federation credits”. Characters are constantly using money in DS9 and TNG.

It has NEVER been clear that money is gone, and what’s more likely is that there is a UBI , much like in The Expanse, which does what Picard (and later Nog) say about it “no longer being the driving force.”

This show has been phenomenal so far, and is easily on track for the strongest season 1 of a Trek series yet (not a high bar, but man this series is excellent so far.)

The critiques here from folks who never learned anything from Trek and ought to be in line for their next Trump Nuremberg rally right now is bountiful. I seriously don’t know what series you wackos have followed for decades, but it sure as shit isn’t Star Trek.
Dave in MN
Sun, Feb 16, 2020, 9:24pm (UTC -6)
Flawed people can create great things.

Look, i's easy to judge someone (after they've died), especially when the secrets/rumors/lies dribble out into the blogosphere and that person's not around to present their side. Without commenting on specific rumors, keep in mind that sometimes celebrity-adjacent people make things up to sell tell-alls. The truth is almost never matches our perception.

I'm not going to dismiss the creation because of the supposed flaws/crimes of the creator. Creative people usually live provocative lives. If we went by this standard, we'd have some very stale and boring art indeed.
Patrick D
Mon, Feb 17, 2020, 1:38am (UTC -6)
"The critiques here from folks who never learned anything from Trek and ought to be in line for their next Trump Nuremberg rally right now is bountiful. I seriously don’t know what series you wackos have followed for decades, but it sure as shit isn’t Star Trek."

Personal attacks. Nice.

If you like Kurtzman-Trek, enjoy. It's insipid, forgettable pablum, but enjoy.

For the firs 25-30 years of its existence, Trek had a guiding vision. Was it always a high quality product? No, but it was a unique intellectual property. Now, it's been turned into a generic action series with generic characters chasing a generic macguffin. Again: I'll pass.

Trek has been in the gutter since 2009.
Booming
Mon, Feb 17, 2020, 2:14am (UTC -6)
@Kuja
I guess another one joins the growing group of fans that attack the people less enthusiastic about the show. If you need a safe space just say so.

And yes Roddenberry was a flawed human being. Let us only accept stuff from people who are perfect! Ok, that excludes every artist dead or alive because they are all perverts and deviants. There is a reason why normal people do not create great things because normal is another word for average.

Speaking of average I guess you Kuja personify perfectly that the audience is shifting away from science nerds to what red letter media called violent hard-ons. Come over to watch the show, BRO!

Maybe these people are the new F8 of the show.
I need a big glass of red matter now.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Feb 17, 2020, 8:38am (UTC -6)
I love how he ended his rant with a Trump-related comment. As if our appreciation for the optimistic and positive message of Classic Trek has anything to do with THAT guy. It's hilarious.

Oh well... I guess he couldn't use the usual "you're a misogynist racist homophobe!" quip, because Picard is a straight white guy.
SteveRage
Wed, Feb 19, 2020, 11:50am (UTC -6)
I wouldn't make that leap that money is back in the 25th century and it's retconned. She's on the outs with Starfleet, many of her old friends now see her as a pariah. She could be living out in Vasquez Rocks by choice, wanting to be alone.
Peter G.
Wed, Feb 19, 2020, 12:32pm (UTC -6)
I have to be honest, the episodes are starting to feel a bit on the short side. Is the time limit based on CBS and their network needs? Maybe I have been getting too used to web series and their unlimited time limits. An extra 5-10 min would go a long way. Part of the reason for this is they are making this an acting-scene show, much like TNG was, where a huge chunk of the episode is quiet acting scenes between characters where we're getting to know them. This is a feature I think Trek needs, and that DISC lacked, however TNG's downfall in this regard is it was usually too difficult to balance this with the episodic story, and often one or the other got shortchanged. Many of the [tech] problems they solve in TNG were rather perfunctory. I'm thinking at the moment of the ship spores in A Matter of Honor, or the ship parasites in Hollow Pursuits. These problems felt more like throw-ins rather than important story elements. Granted, in TNG the problem of the week was often designed as a meta-narrative about the human issue of the week, so it often just worked as reinforcing what we got in the acting scenes. But since Picard's plotline is extended and complicated, the plot can't really just be a reference to the acting scenes, and vice versa, so each needs enough time. In this case I don't think the story gets enough time, which is probably why it feels to many like these are just setup episodes. I guess that's cause they are.

In terms of how the story itself was told I'm a bit cold to the mystery box treatment being ramped up again, with cryptic conversations and allusions to some grand plot being teased to us. Yes, I do like a mystery, but on the other hand every scene cannot be just more and more setup for the mystery; entire episodes even.

On the other hand some mysteries are ok as long as they're going to be flavor rather than a tease. For instance as Jammer pointed out, not having the shrapnel in the shoulder explained is more like lore about the Rios character than a mystery that needs its own explanation. That's ok with me. I also like how we're not given any immediate explanation of why the Borg ship is being given up to them so easily, or why the Romulans in particular want it. I guess that point probably will end up as part of the general plotline eventually.

Speaking of the Borg, I found it interesting that the last assimilation was 15 years ago or so. That places it - what, 10 years after TNG went off the air? And let's do some math: DS9 started during TNG S6, and VOY started during DS9's S3. So VOY was off the air 7 years after TNG was. Let's assume each year of each show is roughly a year in Federation time, and let's also assume that VOY's finale takes place 7 years after its S1, so that Endgame happened roughly 7 years after All Good Things. That gives the Federation a good 3 years to study and adapt the Borg technology Voyager brought back after having wiped out a major Borg network with advanced torpedos., which sounds about right. No wonder the Borg's assimilations stopped there: they were up against Admiral Janeway's arsenal, which destroyed their ships with a single shot. I assume they would basically be cowering in a corner after that, unless they could assimilate even that new technology and adapt to it. It also would explain why they are letting Romulans scavenge their technology; I guess they can't do anything about it. I don't really buy the explanation given that they just don't care. That would give any old race all of their tech, which is ridiculous.

I wonder if the Romulan condition we're seeing in the ex-drones has something to do with telepathy: we know that Vulcans are telepathic, and the extent of that is unclear. Maybe something about a telepathic species having been part of a subspace mental network exposed them to something 'out there'.

On the topic of the Raffi controversy, I don't really see what the problem is here. Raffi just hates Picard's easy living compared t her suffering; the locale of chateau vs hovel is just a metaphor for their inner life, and their chosen surroundings match their mental disposition. Raffi in commenting on Picard's castle is basically commenting on how it's convenient that he was able to get over what happened, since she can't. And I assume all of this trauma for her is not about Picard being kicked out of Starfleet, but rather about the fact of the refugee crisis being beyond them to solve. Millions no doubt died, and Raffi has it all on her conscience. Maybe she blames Picard for screwing up that whole deal, or giving up on it and just going home. It was, after all, her who tried to get him to come up with alternate solutions, and him who in resignation said it wasn't possible. I think at bottom this is about the fact that Picard, without feeling like he was representing the Federation, was lost and without a cause. Take away his support from them and the winds went out of his sails and he felt like nothing was possible any more. He was always a proponent of the system, as opposed to a Sisko who tended to consider matters more on a right and fairness level rather than a 'fix it within the system' way. Lawful good versus neutral good, I suppose. Raffi seems like a neutral good or even chaotic good type person who hates Picard's adherence to order in this case at the expense of what's right. I guess this little schema of mine ignores ST: Insurrection, but then again doesn't everyone?

My last comment is that it was great to see Hugh, and I thought it was damn lucky that this actor is looking great on screen. His demeanor is exactly what I would hope for in an ex-drone: individuality, but a sort of stoicism, perhaps a bit like we saw from Icheb. For all they knew the actor would be crap but luckily he's looking good on camera many years after Descent. I really hope that (a) he remains as a recurring character, and (b) that we get a cameo by LeVar Burton at some point and have a Geordi/Hugh reunion. I actually care to see them meet more so than even Geordi/Picard.

That's all I got for now, on to the next one.
Adam
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:55am (UTC -6)
In this show so far we have the usual modern agendas.

* Mysterious and powerful female character, inspired by the Hunger Games, who the galaxy revolves around? Check.

* Female empowerment shown by every character in a position of power being female, and a female character kicking the shit out of four men at once? Check.

* Everyone who demands better than this is a sexist misogynist? Check.

* Everyone is racist (for not wanting to help their oldest enemy, the sneaky tyrannical race who annexes worlds and starts wars)? Check.

Other problems with this show:

* Unnecessary swearing because Game of Thrones? Check.

* Complete rewrite of Picard's character to make him an old, bitter, forgotten failure a la Mulder in new X Files, which was also crap? Check.

* Foot-draggingly slow pace featuring a confusing storyline, with an additional B-plot that so far doesn't make sense? (Romulan Empire captures a Borg cube and immediately invites species across the galaxy to inspect it??) Check.

* Dodgy acting, even from Picard, who in ep 3 appears to be reading the script and veers from looking like he's asleep to bursting with energy? Check.

* Multiple variations of Starfleet uniform, a la Star Trek Online, when Voyager and TNG have already shown us what the uniform should look like in this time period? Check.

* Complete failure to show us what happened to any of the TNG characters after Nemesis, because the new show is completely plot-driven? Check.

* Complete absence of any notion that Picard may have married Dr Crusher? Check.

* Extremely shallow Easter Eggs such as Picard going into some room with mementos from the final season of TNG and the films? Check.

* Mass hysteria and automatic 5 star reviews by all the internet because that's how we do things these days? Check.

* People defending it by saying "Trek has moved on from the 90s" because the show has ejected everything that originally made Trek a success? Check.

Honestly folks, if you think Picard is a five-star show, watch your favourite TNG episodes again. If you think this is telling a good Borg story, watch Voyager's "Dark Frontier". If you think modern Trek is good because "The 90s are old", you missed Trek's best era regardless of how many times you call people "boomer".

I don't want to see any more of this tired, painfully derviative mess, which appears to have Picard flying around in an ENT-era ship. We had better than this. The modern era killed it off and it's not coming back.
Adam
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:55pm (UTC -6)
I want to modify the tone of my previous post. I was tired, ill and in a bad mood when writing it.

I stand by all points I made, but I did try watching the next episode. Picard is not as bad a show as I made out, but it's not what I would call very good either. It's taken Picard and Seven in a dark direction I would not have gone, as I don't believe either of these characters would have turned out that way. Seven of Nine is basically Aspergers and you don't get aspies flying around killing people and blowing shit up, especially when they have a close family teaching them positive values like co-operation, emotional regulation, the need for obeying laws etc. Also... I just hate seeing cherished characters who've lived miserable lives for no reason other than "dark modern drama [TM]".

The show picks up after episode three. It's still generic, agenda driven, plot driven and disappointing compared to what might be, but it is leagues above Discovery. The need for TNG's message of striving towards utopia is needed now more than ever. Trek has abandoned this core tenet, and the world is a little bleaker for it.
P'kard
Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 9:50pm (UTC -6)
Loving how the Federation finally got their transporters working perfectly after decades

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