Star Trek: Picard

"Maps and Legends"

2.5 stars

Air date: 1/30/2020
Written by Michael Chabon & Akiva Goldsman
Directed by Hanelle M. Culpepper

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Maps and Legends" is an episode that further sets up the premise of this season and offers some good context, fleshing things out that "Remembrance" had me wondering about and giving them more shape. It does this leisurely and methodically, which feels like a step in the right direction after the many narrative gaps and shortcuts seen in Discovery. That being said, this episode often feels like expositional piece-moving ahead of the story that still awaits us.

The Peak TV cliché "It's a 10-hour movie" has been applied to this series in Patrick Stewart's press statements, and by that calculation, the first three episodes would be Act One. We're still just getting started here, and by the end of "Maps and Legends" we're still just getting started. While "Remembrance" gave us the nostalgic feels, this seems like an episode that's easing us into the world of Picard that will be. Gradually.

The FX-heavy cold open shows us the uprising of the synthetics on Mars, where it appears a switch was flipped, causing all the synthetics to turn on the colony. Given that a cause was never discovered for why this happened, the synthetics ban doesn't seem wholly unjustified as a defensive reaction — although if you think about it, any sort of reliance on advanced technology and AI, whether that tech is packaged into artificial humanoid bodies or not, would subject you to the same risk.

This ties into the backstory explained to us by Picard's Romulan housekeeper Laris (Orla Brady), who explains how the fearsome Tal Shiar intelligence agency (she was once one of them), and the even more secretive/mysterious Zhat Vash organization that operated behind them and that dates back thousands of years, regarded artificial life. The Zhat Vash held a deep-seated hatred and fear of them, leading Romulan culture to be almost completely devoid of AI and androids.

It seems pretty likely given the variables here that the Zhat Vash hacked the synthetics on Mars and sparked the uprising (this somehow feels like a Romulan tactic), but what doesn't make sense is the timing, which happened just as the Federation was undertaking a mission to save Romulan survivors from the supernova. Why disrupt your own rescue? Perhaps there are Forthcoming Reasons For This.

The first act plays like an investigation out of a CBS procedural, with Laris helping Picard conduct some sci-fi forensics in Dahj's apartment. The evidence there, as well as on the rooftop where Dahj was killed, points to a very elaborate Tal Shiar-like cover-up. I like that Laris and Zhaban (Jamie McShane) take on increased importance as not just throwaway extras at Chateau Picard, but as actual characters and our resident Romulan experts who help guide our hero. It also helps that they are played by solid actors.

Aware of this plot, Picard goes to Starfleet Command in hopes of getting a ship to take on a mission to search for Soji Asha and perhaps Bruce Maddox, the presumed creator of Dahj and Soji. To say Picard's discussion with Admiral Clancy (Ann Magnuson) does not go well would be an understatement. The admiral lets him have it. The fireworks here are the episode's dramatic high point, thanks to Patrick Stewart. But the trend of insufferable Starfleet admirals will apparently continue into the 25th century, and I don't have a clear idea of whether what we see from Starfleet Command here represents the organization or Federation as a whole.

Clancy begrudgingly passes Picard's concerns to Commodore Oh (Tamlyn Tomita), a Vulcan (I assume, until she maybe turns out to be a Romulan?) who is aware of the plot because she's in on it. I sure hope this turns out to be more imaginative than yet another iteration of the annual organization-penetrating mole that became so tiresome on 24. Commodore Oh recruits her top undercover operative, Lt. Rizzo (Peyton List) to keep tabs on Picard, and so I guess the spy games are afoot.

Meanwhile, aboard the disabled Borg cube, which has been permanently severed from the collective, the Romulans are undertaking a project to free the Borg drones on the ship who have been stranded there. A sign aboard the cube says "5,843 days without an assimilation," which is (1) amusing and (2) almost exactly 16 years. This is potentially interesting, provided it's going somewhere and not just serving as an intriguingly familiar setting. Why go to such dangerous lengths to free Borg drones? Does this truly arise from a deeply ingrained Romulan philosophy of anti-synthetics that simply can't turn away? Or something more sinister?

We see here that Soji and Narek are now sleeping together, which I guess is forbidden. But since Narek knows what Soji is (which even she doesn't, I assume) and is merely using her to track down "the others," the games of deceit will no doubt pile up. And, oh yeah — Lt. Rizzo is actually a Romulan and Narek's sister.

"Maps and Legends" is an episode of slowly established intrigue, political and otherwise. It's very much inconclusive and as a result in some ways less than satisfying, but it points to a slow-burn approach that suits its hero as well as the television era he originates from. But these sorts of serial groundwork-laying episodes, while necessary, do not always feel vital.

Some other thoughts:

  • Any guess as to the origin of the Borg derelict? Perhaps some remnant of the ship disabled by Hugh's introduction into the collective in "I, Borg" before Lore came and "rescued" them as explained in "Descent, Part II"?
  • Speaking of Lore, is he going to be mentioned at any point?
  • Looking for a clean bill of health to travel on a starship, Picard asks his old friend Dr. Benayoun (David Paymer) from the Stargazer days. Physically, Picard's in great shape, but some disturbing cognitive test results come back. The doc says it could be one of a few "syndromes," but what are the chances this turns out not to be Irumodic Syndrome? I like how this scene plays as character texture (these two go way back and the doc is very emotional about the news he delivers) rather than just plot exposition.
  • The synthetics on Mars revolted on First Contact Day, April 5, 2385. Current day on this series is 14 years later, sometime in 2399, the very end of the 24th century.
  • A nice touch: The Golden Gate Bridge is cladded over with solar panels. After all, cars don't need to drive on it.
  • The f-bomb in this episode felt gratuitous and unnecessary. I just really don't need it in my Star Trek, even if it comes from wrong-headed, holier-than-thou admirals. It just feels forced and unnatural. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.
  • Picard treks out to the reclusive domicile of an old Starfleet acquaintance (notably not a "friend") named Raffi Musiker (Michelle Hurd), presumably the first stop in a "getting the band together" effort to embark on this personal mission. They don't even really have a conversation here; tune in next week.

Previous episode: Remembrance
Next episode: The End Is the Beginning

◄ Season Index

234 comments on this review

Booming
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 1:47am (UTC -5)
My prediction for this episode:

Picard says engage.
Cody B
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 2:50am (UTC -5)
Wow this episode was so much better imo than the first. They slowed everything down and showcased the acting and story. And the whole look seemed to tone that shiny, flashy Discovery look that the first episode had. I was not sold after the first episode and almost felt left out because I didn’t feel the way a lot of others did but this new episode did it for me. I’m liking where this is headed!
Cody B
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 2:51am (UTC -5)
* tone DOWN that flashy Discovery look
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 8:07am (UTC -5)
I enjoyed it modestly more than the first episode.

The first third or so of the episode was a bit clunky. The opener from Utopia Planitia seemed to be totally unneeded filler, since we already knew what happened - not only from Children of Mars, but the infodump given during the interview in the first episode. And the initial Zhat Vash stuff was just off. Not only was it the worst example of infodump in the episode, it was unnecessary, because the later scenes showed us the Romulan conspiracy without directly telling us. The weird back-and-forth editing between Chateau Picard and Dahj's apartment was distracting as well.

But after that I think the episode recovered nicely and held my interest. Picard's personal arc across this episode as he seeks to find a way back into space was compelling, and I had no major issues with the admiral scene - I didn't even notice the profanity until others mentioned it. And the stuff on the reclaimed borg cube worked well I think. There was a bit of infodump mixed in, but it played in a more natural Trekkian manner. I'm also a bit relieved that although Narek is clearly an antagonist they're not going to have him play the role of a straight-up villain in the season - that they're introducing some sort of emotional conflict within him as well. Isa Briones so far seems as good as Soji as she was as Dahj. I definitely feel like she's a slightly different character (a bit more buttoned down/serious?) but I'm glad they didn't decide to make her the "evil one" or some such ridiculous thing.

I am a bit let down that although this episode is nominally an introduction to Raffi, she gets about three lines of dialogue. I suppose this is continuing what was done with Narek in the first episode - including a single scene from a main cast member an "episode early" so they get listed in the title credits?
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 8:07am (UTC -5)
Oops...I forgot to say, I'd rate that three stars.
Chrome
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 9:39am (UTC -5)
It was okay. A clandestine Tal Shiar anti-android group has infiltrated Starfleet? So many questions.

One small thing, the Artifact Borg cube had a sign inside that said 5843 days without an assimilation. That means the Romulans have been operating on that cube for roughly 16 years.
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 11:42am (UTC -5)
@ Chrome

We have no idea if a Romulan day is as long as a Earth standard day. Though I suppose the sign is in English, suggesting it may be for the benefit of Federation inhabitants.
Chrome
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 11:53am (UTC -5)
True, but the writers put the sign there for the benefit of the viewers, and we've never heard one way or the other that days are significantly different on Romulus. Makes me wish Star Trek had a Galactic Standard Day, though. :-)
Drea
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 12:17pm (UTC -5)
Not as rewarding as the first episode! It had its moments, but the problems outweighed them.

The Good:
Picard's encounter with the admiral doesn't leave the Starfleet position a mere straw man. We learn that 14 Federation worlds were racist enough to threaten secession if Starfleet moved forward with the evacuation. If you're weighing the politics, what choice do you make? Very little that we saw of the admiralty throughout TNG suggests it would be the moral one.

Not only do we see Picard face the inevitability of irumodic syndrome, we also have him consult his CMO from the Stargazer rather than the lazy writing choice of Beverly. This conversation would be emotionally difficult for both Crusher and Picard, and it's much more believable that Picard would consult an old friend with less weight. Similarly, Picard doesn't want to drag the Enterprise crew on a mission out of their personal loyalty to him. Selfishly, he fails to recognize the loyalty that his crew, especially Geordi, might feel to Data, and to any possibility of preserving his legacy. I entirely believe that self-centered perspective from where Picard is at now.

Little beats like the transporter doorways and Picard needing to spell his name tell us plenty about the late 24th century and our protagonist's place in it.

The Not So Good:
Slightly surprised that Picard's roomies are former Tal Shiar, and not Unificationists or something. The Tal Shiar did pretty terrifying things, y'know? And it's not like most Romulans were actually agents of their oppressive government. Regardless, the investigation scene putters with uninteresting CSI details, and it's awkwardly played as a surprise that Soji isn't on Earth. It's a big galaxy and would be more of a surprise if she were!

I don't mind adding a super-duper-secret police to the Romulans, but making their motive anti-synth feels contrived and arbitrary. No matter what terrible thing AIs did in Romulan history, it feels silly that the super-duper-secret police could martial resources about it for centuries. I'll get a delightful laugh-out-loud moment if it turns out that Discovery-era Romulans found out about Control.

It's a little weird that the way to Soji's heart is inappropriately bringing up your dead brother for sympathy. It's because he's hot? Sadly she doesn't have as good taste in partners as Dahj.

The cold open on Mars shows us that the synths were apparently hacked and instructed to kill themselves. False flag, a fine and predictable plot point, but uninteresting to learn about in this way instead of whenever the characters do.


The Ugly:
The show undermines its own refugee-friendly message with evil agents of the refugee people in a secret cabal within the Federation government. Has Michael Chabon never watched 1930s propaganda? Is he somehow unaware that this is a harmful trope, particularly regarding anti-Semitism?

Not only is this storytelling decision problematic, but the scenes themselves fall flat with ham-fisted dialogue of villainy. Commodore O and Narissa exhibit not even an attempt at character depth, and Narek only in the laziest of senses that he may have mixed feelings for the woman he's deceiving. If we can't know anything interesting about the villains or their motives, then we simply shouldn't see them at this point in the story at all.

A low 2.5*
Quincy
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 1:41pm (UTC -5)
This episode was less enjoyable for me than the first. The pacing was slower than I would've like, but given the amount of ground it covered, it was probably necessary. This might have been exacerbated by the initial jarring disjointed flitting back and forth between the aptly termed CSI scene and the home info dump.

Glad to see more information on the Romulan Reclamation Site and Soji's work there.

The Utopia Planitia scene did seem out of place. It seems like they should've saved that information for later
Elliott
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 2:16pm (UTC -5)
I agree with Drea. This episode was a step back from the pilot. There seems to be little interest in making each episode carry dramatic weight on its own, which is disappointing for a series that is airing a week at a time instead of like a Netflix series one can binge. The pilot was much more thematically cohesive while most of this was just plot. Still had its moments.
MikeC1701
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
Does anyone think they missed a trick by not putting the inner light theme as the main theme?

It's wistful, melancholic, but with a faint tinge of hope. Perfect for the series. The old fans would appreciate it and the new fans.. well have an orchestra playing the theme and it still is a fantastic song and it is 'Picard' s theme' afterall.

I think they missed a opportunity there.
R.
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 3:26pm (UTC -5)
Moderately more enjoyable than the pilot for me but still a long way to go in terms of quality.

A Romulan Section 31? Really? What is this obsession since 'Into Darkness' with 31 and blacker-than-black ops, anyway? And now we have a shadowy Romulan organisation with nebulous objectives that has apparently penetrated the upper echelons of Starfleet Command. *Sigh*

I found the actress who played the Commander-in-Chief (Admiral Clancy?) extremely wooden in her delivery. Why not bring back Nechayev for that scene? Stewart and Natalia Nogulich always had great chemistry on screen.

Anyone else notice that the hologram of previous starship Enterprises in Starfleet Command conveniently replaced the TOS Enterprise with the Discovery version and left out the Enterprises B, C and E. They've also removed all the late 24th century shuttlecraft designs in favour of Discovery shuttles.
Think I saw a few Shenzou-inspired starships at Utopia Planitia, too.

And the logic of using a shuttlecraft taxi in the same episode where Picard was able to beam from France to North America in an eyeblink is questionable. Was it just so Michelle Hurd could say the line about having Picard call the taxi back?

I'm on the fence about the rest of it. I did like the Vulcan(?) commodore and the Romulan infiltrator, though I did find the dialogue for the Vulcan a little overwritten.
NS8401
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 3:50pm (UTC -5)
I’m liking the show so far. One thing that is kind of hanging over all this though and could really kill it: It takes a suspension of disbelief to accept that since the last time we saw our heroes we went from Data, Lore and B4 being the only androids to synths that were so advanced that they eventually were able to cause such death and destruction that they were banned outright all in the span of 20 years. Without any of this being even so much as whispered about by someone.. anyone in a prior series... that such technology was in development or existing. Does that seem a tad fast and loose with the canon to anybody? Had this been 50 years later I could see it but 20? I have my doubts.
Chrome
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 4:28pm (UTC -5)
Elliott wrote:

"There seems to be little interest in making each episode carry dramatic weight on its own, which is disappointing for a series that is airing a week at a time instead of like a Netflix series one can binge."

That's true, it's more like watching a single 10-hour episode than individual capsule plots. One thing that's good about this though, is that events seem to matter more from episode to episode. I thought it was great that Picard's Big Speech about Starfleet last episode actually had an immediate impact on events in this episode. In episodic Trek, Picard would give a big speech which would be forgotten by next time. So, there's pros and cons to the approach.
Tim C
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 4:39pm (UTC -5)
An okay episode that is purely about pushing long-term plot pieces around the board. Given what the writers have said about the very serialised nature of this show, I think we can expect a lot more of this, which is kind of frustrating. Disco also had its plot-pushing episodes, but there were also quite a few that served well as self-contained episodes-of-the-week and had their own internal dramatic payoffs.

My thoughts on this one echo some of the other criticisms already posted here: the intercutting between the explanation of the Romulan Zhat Vash and the CSI scene seemed unnecessary and just kind of annoying, as opposed to dramatically interesting. Star Trek shouldn't be afraid of going the "nerd procedural" route; it's been the show's bread and butter since 1967, after all.

Performances good across the board, and although I've seen criticisms elsewhere that the writers don't seem to really know TNG that well, I think they are doing a remarkable job with the callbacks and the evolution of the characters. One thing that doesn't particularly ring true is Picard's refusal to try and get the band back together; I get that the writers aren't just doing a TNG redux, but a better excuse than "I don't want them to do it for me" would not have gone astray.

I'm also tired of secret police and conspiracies in general. Every iteration of Trek since the reboot movies has given us some version of it, and dramatically it feels played out. Far more interesting in this episode was the sincere disagreement between two people who both thought they were doing the right thing in Picard and Admiral Whats-her-name. Who's to say that Picard's insistence on helping the Romulans *wouldn't* have resulted in the splintering of the Federation? Certainly not Picard, who huffily resigned in outrage and left his colleagues to continue the job of holding it all together. Seems to me like the Admiral has every right to be pissed off at this ex-officer publically disparaging them, even if Picard is in the moral right.

I enjoy watching week-to-week, but gee I'm really considering just switching off the Internet for the next two months until the show's over and I can binge it in one hit.
Dave in MN
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 4:43pm (UTC -5)
The opening scene was pretty dramatic, but I disliked how all of the Utopia Planitia workers were depicted as bigots.

There are some very odd directorial and editing choices during this episode. I didn't care for the cross-cutting of the different scenes where they discuss this heretofore unmentioned Romulan anti-AI group nor the pillowtalk conversation being used as a voiceover as the camera swooped in and around the cube. I also think it's odd that it's a streaming show but they obviously edited this with televised syndication in mind: there are more than one obvious spots where future commercials will go. The musical score was slightly less annoying than the last episode.

How could that Admiral speak that way!? Retired or not, that was beyond disrespectful and unprofessional! I genuinely disliked that ... the cursing was done for shock value imho and it doesn't belong in Trek.

This script needed another pass: characters spoke in obtuse riddles just to perplex the viewer, the dialog was clunky i.e. "Baby brother".

Now I did like all the scenes with Patrick Stewart and the stuff on the cube, but for the most part, I really didn't care for the way people in Starfleet were portrayed in this episode. There could have been another way to write this where there could have been some kind of vestige of Federation ideals expressed (by someone other than Picard).

So far, not much Trekking for a Trek show.
Tim C
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 5:33pm (UTC -5)
Dave in MN, my read on Admiral (*googles name*) Clancy getting so angry with Picard was that just a couple of days ago he was on TV calling Starfleet "dishonorable" and "downright criminal" for past actions, and now he swans into her office asking for a favour? The insults would have still felt very fresh.

Swearing in modern Trek is something that has been debated ad nauseam over in the Discovery reviews, but to briefly throw my own two cents out there again: I'm all for it when it's employed judiciously and in appropriate context. (Context here being an emotionally charged discussion between two military* officers.) After all, the only reason we never heard it on the old shows was network broadcast standards, and we're thankfully free of that puritanical silliness now.

*Insert debate about whether or not Starfleet is actually military here
Drea
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 5:55pm (UTC -5)
We have five major Romulan characters, of whom three are shallow villains and two are former secret police who side with Picard when they can't go home anymore. Our other Romulans are either the operative thugs or the unpleasant Borg reclamation foreman. We have Picard telling us how they're people just like us but the series showing us the Romulan stereotype of universal treachery, and it's not great. Hope that changes.

@R
"A Romulan Section 31? Really?"
The Tal Shiar is the Romulan Section 31. The Zhat Vash is Section 313131! Or 31 squared! Section 961!
It makes sense that the Romulans would have had secrets within secrets but I have to agree that this theme is overdone in 21st-century Trek.

@MikeC1701
"Does anyone think they missed a trick by not putting the inner light theme as the main theme?"
The melody from "The Inner Light" may not be present, but according to the composer, the show's theme beginning and ending with a lone flute is a very intentional callback to exactly that!

Regarding serialization, in some ways the pacing of this episode is frustrating, but it also helps convey the lack of agency in Picard's life that he now stays earthbound for an episode rather than the mission getting started.
Dave in MN
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 5:58pm (UTC -5)
@ Tim C

I didn't mind the Utopia Planitia workers saying "shit" in passing (since they looked like civilian workers and I'm assuming regulations are much looser), but when she spat out "The FUCKING hubris", it didn't feel like Trek at all to me.

Even in the movies, we never had a Starfleet officer berating someone using that nasty tone and personal insults and the F word. Even Khan never got that kind of verbal dressing down. I'm glad that it was a different Admiral than Nechayev, it would've annoyed me to have them turn her into a reactionary fkag-waver.

I also disliked how trusting the Admiral was of her spymaster Commodore. Isn't it obvious that a Director of Intelligence (who's empowered to use whatever means necessary to maintain order) probably isn't a trustworthy person? It made the Head Admiral appear too foolish to have achieved her rank and position.

And how exactly does a Vulcan justify betraying the ethics of an organization they've sworn to uphold? How does a Vulcan justify threatening their underlings?

I agree with whoever above said the Secret Police tropes are getting very tiresome. We've already got 2 dueling Gestapo organizations and we're only 2 episodes in .... and the crew Picard's assembling looks to be outside Starfleet purview as well. Do the writers not understand how to write Starfleet characters who serve honorably? I'm starting to wonder.

Oh, I forgot to rate this: the scenes that I did like I really liked and the scenes I didn't like I really didn't like. I guess that's a wash:

2.5 stars?
Snitch
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 6:16pm (UTC -5)
This episode felt slow and overall was just average. 2 Stars from me.

What bothered me most was the heavy exposition, show don`t tell.
In that context I hated the magic CGI device the the secret society info dump.

The admiral was the usual Star Fleet admiral idiot. Hey Romulans, you would not deceive us, would you, let me tell you all about Picards suspicion. It seems Picards Maid and butler are also total badass former enemy agents. Why did they become servants again?


The good points were Picard still facing his medical problems and having a frank conversation with his doctor about it and in general the production is on the Discovery technical level.

The action with the android attacking was well filmed and directed, bu would have fit better at the start of the first episode, it felt out of place.

The gathering of the new young crew takes quite some time, lets hope they complete that process in the next episode.


@Tim C
During the Dominion war Star Fleet was the equivalent of a military force, they even patrolled on the streets of Earth.
Jaxon
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 7:05pm (UTC -5)
It's annoying how this brand of Trek has turned Klingons into montrosities, but turned Romulans into what Shran would call "pinkskins".

They're supposed to have green blood running through green blood vessels and pumping through gray hearts.
Quincy
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 7:10pm (UTC -5)
@MikeC1701

I felt exactly the same way. I said that last episode they should've used the Inner Light Orchestral Suite from the 30th anniversary of Star Trek.
Geekgarious
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 7:20pm (UTC -5)
This was really quite bad. Way too much exposition sloppily shoved down my throat and I'm still wondering why I should care about this ancient Romulan myth. Throw in cartoonish villains with an attitude that just screams "I'm evil" and I felt like I was watching a bad episode of Fringe. Also, Picard's constant speeches about how great Data was are becoming really tiresome. Like his comments about disliking science fiction, they feel like a giant fanwank.
Lodged Torpedo
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 7:23pm (UTC -5)
F-8, or rather, Fate. This amazing show should have been called Destiny 🖖
Dom
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 8:12pm (UTC -5)
I agree with @Drea's take. This episode was fine. Not awful, not great, just fine. Patrick Stewart is great. None of the other characters has made an impression so far. The plot is crawling along to... some sort of mystery box. Girl with a mysterious connection to someone we know is fleeing a secret cabal. Romulans wearing outfits that look like they walked out of a GQ magazine. It all feels a bit generic. I'm kind of enjoying the show so far, but I'm also self-aware enough to realize that I probably wouldn't be invested in this story much if not for the character of Picard.
Nolan
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 10:25pm (UTC -5)
Sigh. Looks like I'll have to eat some of my words...

Funnily enough, in Canada this airs on TV on our sci-fi channel. And after it finished a re-run of Encounter at Farpoint started. Picard utters a "damn" and that's fine, but geez I hated how the humans were written in this episode...

I don't mean to rankle anyone, but moving from a Trek where humans casually curse and drop f-bombs in anger to one where Picard defends humanity as not barbaric nor savage betrays what these new writers' standards are. While last week I didn't think there was enough to support Booming's assertion that humanity in this show was written poorly, this week I agree. Colleagues goofing off like teenagers on Mars, high-ranking officials using foul language to dress down someone? Where's the sophistication we saw in any of the other shows? Did no one get the memo that humans in Trek are supposed to be ASPIRATIONAL and not RELATIBLE? Sure, I was willing to conceed that on a wider, systemic level humanity might've slipped somewhat and been not fully aware of it, but on such an individual level? I love BSG and that scene on Mars would've fit there, but not here. Not on Trek.

What's really sad is that it looks like the writers get Romulans. They're duplicitous and are finally being written as such. I've always said that Romulans would've made for great adversaries in a political thriller. I'm glad they're doing that. And the Borg Cube scenes were intriguing. I'm still curious.

But where is the "Utopia" that Earth was described as? I mean, I get the justification for the Federation's actions that set up this situation, because it's a vast organization the leadership may not always aquiesce to the people, or may take actions in the name of defense that might be disagreeable because hard choices need to be made. But the individuals I saw on this episode do not track with those we saw in previous shows. And I don't think THAT could swing back as harsh as it did in the time span. That'd be like Victorian era people shifting into 60's era hippies in 5 years (given the date of the Mars events). That doesn't really track. The problem isn't really thewriting of Federation as discussed last week, it's writing for 24th Century Humanity.

Picard IS falling into some of the same traps as Discovery, and that's worrying. (And you can bet I caught that holographic Discoprise)

Last week I chose to be optimistic because that's how Trek taught me to approach things, but more evidence has been submitted to at the very least put me on yellow alert.

Last episode Dom replied to one of my points about the cinematography not feeling quite like Trek with an agreement for a return to more theatrical Trek, and it got mea thinking. Trek right now is trying to be cinematic. Big, sweeping, bombastic. And I think given advancements in CGI that for establishing shots and action scenes that would work, but when it comes to characters interacting, having dialogue, there *needs* to be an element of the theatre there. More static or "smaller" shots, a focus on the characters and the dialogue, just the actors in a set, hashing things out. There's a timelessness to that, and it clearly works given how there are always new fans.

All in all, a little bummed after last week. I think Trek works when it's a show about lofty ideals, but also recognizing the need for individual restraint. I saw no restraint here.

I do like that female Romulan that's helping Picard though. She's got some spunk. But seeing as she seems to be a minor character with no role in the mysteries of the show, she can be presented as fully rounded instead of waiting for the plot to give her the go a head to reveal a new layer of herself.

So to summarize my admittedly, early reactionary thoughs:

- These AREN'T 24th Century humans. Not as we have been told about or shown in the past. Get better, writers. Or get better writers, your pick.

- Most Characters stilted by plot pacing.

- Still too much emphasis on being cinematic Trek and not enough Theatrical Trek.

- Too much f#$^ing swearing in the future.

- Actually using the Romulans as intended.

- Intruiged by the Romulan/Borg/AI plots

-Good characterization from *some* of the side characters.

Final judgement will have to wait till further evidence is revealed. But at the moment, I am Q, watching for humanity to prove itself on it's latest mission and I am not as impressed this week.
Trent
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 10:28pm (UTC -5)
IMO this episode had more great scenes than the previous one.

The opening on Mars with the army of worker-androids was suitably creepy. And aside from the show's continued overuse of the word "dude", it was a neat little teaser.

Then we get a great 13 minute "detective scene", with Picard and his Romulan houseguests investigating an apartment. I found the dialogue here riveting and the scene beautifully glacial. The "scanning device" the Romulan uses to "resurrect" events which took place in the apartment, however, seems far too incredulous. I just can't believe past events can be reconstituted in that way.

We then jump to the Romulan Borg Facility. Lots of generic, unnecessarily swooping CGI shots of spaceships (Trek mostly hasn't been able to frame ship models properly since Nick Meyer left) unfurl, and then a generic sequence in which post-coital couples frolic in their underwear.

But then it's back to another great scene; Picard meets with an old friend and doctor, and Stewart acts his heart out as a man confronting his mortality and degenerating body (and possibly mind).

And then it's yet another great scene. Here Picard visits Starfleet HQ in Los Angeles, complete with cool walk-in transporters, monuments to the Enterprise, the iconic and rousing Star Trek theme song and an unintentionally rude security guard.

And then it's another great scene. Picard meets Admiral Clancy (a nod to the uber conservative Tom Clancy?), a hotheaded, angry woman who drops an F bomb which actually works, conveying a sense of hatred and disgust with Picard which is shocking. Picard, meanwhile, gets to drop his second RIGHTEOUS PICARD MONOLOGUE in two episodes. But Clancy will have none of his moralistic shenanigans. She tosses him out on his ass. The scene dips too far into over-the-top melodrama, and even a couple cringy lines that a better writer would have torn out, but at its best it approaches a kind of greatness.

Then we get a neat scene with Picard and the cybernetician, and an even better one on board the Romulan Cube, where we're granted a fascinating look at the daily workings of the facility. What's going on here? The idea of a deactivated Borg ship, cut off from the hive but filled with shut-down drones, is kind of cool and creepy.

And then another great scene: Picard pins his Starfleet insignia to his chest and gazes longingly up at the stars.

Then we get the episode's first awful scene: a Vulcan Commodore who is really an undercover Romulan agent has a conversation with Clancy and then another undercover Romulan agent. The BIG BAD VILLAIN dialogue is horrendously cartoonish here.

Next is the episode's last good scene, in which Picard and his Romulan house-guests (these two Romulans are so charming and infectious) have a little feud. The scene nicely chips away at Picard, taking aim at his age, self-importance and the possibility that he may be going senile.

Unfortunately the episode ends on its worst scene: two Romulan agents meet and talk goofy MOVIE VILLAIN DIALOGUE in a room and then drop a silly DRAMATIC LAST ACT REVEAL ("I'm your sister!"). Also horrible is the super-powerful hologram technology used here. Apparently holograms can not only beam themselves without permission into another person's room (possible), but allow the beamer to see what is in the room (what the hell?) as well. How is this possible if the receiver doesn't initiate a two-way call which transmits his own location, and so hologram, to the caller?

That cartoonish badness of this last scene really spoils the episode, because otherwise it's riveting and beautifully acted hour - and beautifully acted by lots of old actors, a rarity these days - with lots of good dialogue sprinkled about.
Abby
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 10:53pm (UTC -5)
I only am watching this to see where the old Trek characters fit in. In the previews we saw 7 of 9, Riker, and Troi.

Story seemed interesting enough, but, wow, nothing else is like my precious TNG and Voyager. Too dramatic, vulgar, and nasty.

Where is the humour!? Think that’s enough for me. I’m one of the few people to never have liked Picard. So a whole show about him, bleh. But I will give the actor credit - he’s got to be 80 or so?
Rahul
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 10:57pm (UTC -5)
An interesting plot really gets underway with Picard trying to find out about some kind of Romulan cybernetic being infiltration of Star Fleet and to track down Daj's sister. That's the good part about this episode which bordered on annoying to watch at times with all the new characters being introduced in quick succession and the many cuts to different locations -- head almost started to spin.

But definitely I think we know where Season 1 of PIC is heading -- Picard wants to get out and do something but not with his old crew and some shady Star Fleet characters will try to stop him or something. Was Maddox illegally creating androids from Data's neuron? Whatever... it's good enough for me at this stage.

What was the point of showing the destruction of Utopia Planitia 14 years ago in the opener? Perhaps just to lay the foundation for the revulsion towards androids. This talk of the Romulan "Jad Vash" (or however it is spelt) seems like a retcon. Doesn't make much sense to me that the Romulans would have a hatred of synthetic life forms. Rather they'd have created them to do their bidding -- should not be beyond their capabilities.

Got a problem with how there isn't much consistency to how the various Romulans are portrayed -- perhaps because some are refugees (like Picard's aides) and others are in "typical" Romulan occupations. Anyhow, I thought Picard's female aide with her Irish accent spouting "cheeky feckers" does not come across as Romulan at all.

I thought the best scene of this episode was Picard getting a visit from his old doctor from the Stargazer. So he is developing some brain condition as touched on in "All Good Things..." But this was a nice, calm scene - well-acted all around.

Intriguing stuff going on between Narek/Rizzo/the Star Fleet Commodore -- but we know so little about these characters' motivations. Narek watching Daj's sister do her thing with the Borg corpses -- he's an appropriately shady Romulan.

Random question would be how to tell apart Romulans and Vulcans in this series? Are Vulcan ears more upright and Romulan ones more pointing towards the back?

I did like the scene with Picard and Admiral Clancy -- this reinforces Picard having to go it on his own. Gratuitous F-bomb dropping seems to be something Trek likes to do now from time to time.

Also get a bit of an idea of a chain of command within Star Fleet with Clancy talking to the Romulan commodore who then talks to Lieutenant Rizzo (who is some kind of disguised Romulan?) But I take it Clancy is unaware of the commodore's subterfuge.

And Rizzo has this ending scene with Narek which nicely closes the circle on the "bad guys" -- for now. Narek has his method for doing whatever but apparently it is not getting results and Rizzo gets chewed out by the Commodore. It nicely raises the ante for the antagonists.

2.5 stars for "Maps and Legends" -- definitely a step below the 1st episode for me mainly due to how it was structured/directed and how it went about trying to achieve its objective. Just not as enjoyable as "Remembrance". The plot is interesting and there is the usual amount of questions with some potentially neat possibilities but I think some of the character introductions could have been left out (like Picard recruiting some woman living in a trailer in a desert with a bottle of fine wine).
Dick
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 11:16pm (UTC -5)
After a decent (though by no means extraordinary) pilot episode, "Maps and Legends" fell completely flat for me. The ugly opening scene set the tone for a return to the dark, violent world of STD, and the introduction of yet another double secret spy agency with seemingly omnipotent powers reeks of lazy writing.

On the plus side, I still like the music, and the interactions between Picard and his Romulan home health care aides are among the few pleasant moments in the entire hour.

As with Discovery, the dialogue is simply atrocious, littered with childish 21st century quips, dumb technobabble, and gratuitous profanity. Distinctive dialogue has always been a big part of the Star Trek "feel" across the generations, and nuTrek (since 2009) has completely failed to capture this nuance.

I understand the desire the modernize Star Trek, but for much of its runtime, this episode is practically indistinguishable from any contemporary action/drama show being produced today. Star Trek used to look and feel different from anything else on television, and that's what I find most lacking in Picard so far.
John Harmon
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 11:19pm (UTC -5)
After the pilot gave me hope, this episode dashed them pretty much from the beginning. That was like ten straight minutes of just exposition and info dumping.

The utopia Planitia scene was a little much. All the workers are just bigots to robots for no reason.

So you know how the Romulans have a secret black ops unit? Well now there’s an even SECRETER more BLACKER OPS unit. That actually made me and my wife laugh. Kurtzman just loves secret organizations.

So this super super super secret group of Romulan spies are also cultists who hate artificial life. For...some reason. Even though we’re told there is no romulan artificial life and there’s never even been research into it. So these people hate androids even though they’ve never seen them. That just sounds weird.

But also I remember in TNG The Defector, Admiral Jarok admires Data and says “I know a host of Romulan cyberneticists that would love to be this close to you.”

I so could have done without the admiral cursing at Picard. That was so off putting.

I’m going to hold out a little hope that the series will get better, but this episode gave me discovery headaches.
Abby
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 11:29pm (UTC -5)
Yep, agree with Dick and John. I’ve never attempted Discovery for all those reasons. And what’s with the captioning on the screen? Wouldn’t the universal translators be top notch by today?

Hate that this show is just like all the other new age stuff going around our streaming programs. No witty writing or fun future ideas of humanity.

Just random aliens and futuristic machines. With regular 2020 world issues.
Brian Lear
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 11:32pm (UTC -5)
90 minutes in to an 8 hour mini-series and I should be hooked, but I'm not. The dialogue is cringe-inducing and overtly expository. The plot is hammy and derivative. All the women are "independent badasses" whether we are meant to side with them or not. The plot is spoon-fed to us one bite at a time, like feeding a baby. Each step is literally narrated by one of the characters on screen. The overall tone is extremely grim--clearly intentional as a way to set us up for a supposedly emotional catharsis at some later point, which I predict will not be nearly as rewarding as you think. It's shaping up to be a very stock "uncover the conspiracy" story, and of course, each layer is carefully removed, once per episode so that once you start, you must finish. The whole thing absolutely reeks of Kurtzman and company. It's generic sci-fi with the Star Trek label slapped on it, by people who don't understand what the Star Trek label means. Average Joe and Jill who fill their evenings with football and CSI:NY will feel really edgy watching this. They'll talk about it at work on Friday morning while real Trek fans snicker from afar. Black costumes, crazy robots, spaceships, earl grey, borg cubes, ninja swords, oh my. The series feels like it was written by a guy wearing skinny jeans with an ironic t-shirt that reads "Earl Grey, Hot".
Abby
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 11:39pm (UTC -5)
Brian Lear, if you were writing, I guarantee Picard would be good. Great post and it gave me the chuckle this Trek lacks.

I think you’re right about them doing these shows for the “Joes” and “Jills”. Something to grab one’s attention, but provide very little thought.
Frank A. Booze
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 12:51am (UTC -5)
They should call the show Star Trek: Fast Cuts. I can’t remember the scene, but there was one where Picard was talking to someone and the camera kept cutting to a different angle literally every second. I wanted to throw up.

Can someone explain to me why some directors feel the need to do this? I can’t stand it.
Ian
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 12:59am (UTC -5)
I don't dislike "Maps and Legends" but some red flags here:

- Obligatory use of foul language announcing that this won't be a Star Trek series you can watch with the kids.
-Over-the-top Romulan villians
-Picard's meeting with with Admiral Clancy (Admiral Nechayev wasn't available, I guess) was jarring and I find it hard to believe Picard would have been treated in such a manner.

Best moments? Seeing that com badge. The holographic images of the Enterprise and the expression on Picard's face.

Some people have mentioned "The Inner Light" and that episode has been on my mind as well. I'm a little disappointed that so far we haven't seen that flute or Picard playing it.

If Patrick Stewart was not in this series, would we continue to watch this? I hope we start meeting some interesting, likeable characters.
Dave
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 1:09am (UTC -5)
Alot already said here but I will add a couple of notes....

I don't find it plausible that the young officer at the desk where Picard gets his visitor pass would not know who he was. he would be all over the course materials in the academy and he is still alive. Pretty clear he pissed off Starfleet when he left, but I can't see him being scrubbed from the teaching materials. He was an active high ranking admiral in that officer's lifetime.

I was really put off by the workers doing the racist deal on the andriods on mars. That is something for BSG with their hatred of cylons, but Trek in this era? Seemed way out of place based on what TNG taught us about humanity's progress as far as equality and acceptance. It was nothing more than a bunch of bitter union people hating their jobs and so on.

The super secret intelligence agency even Tal Shiar agents think is a myth? Its plausible that something deeper can always exist, but at what point do we find the one pulling the strings? The time line got me a bit speaking about how they have had a hatred for AI for thousands of years? that would put it some where back to leaving vulcan and all that. I dont know.

From what we say on DISC and these new plot developments; is this all leading to some time travel mess where the borg were created by s31 or the romulans or something like that and sent in the past? I dont know if I particularly like that to be honest.
Ian
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 1:10am (UTC -5)
One other thing: I was rather tired when I watched tonight's episode so maybe I didn't fully understand what was going on. In the TNG episode, "The Defector", Admiral Jarok tells Data that he knew of Romulan cyberneticists who would love be so close to him.

Is it the Romulans in general who dislike or hate synthetic lifeforms or is it just these Zhat Vash people? If the former, then why would there be Romulan cyberneticists?
Ian
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 1:13am (UTC -5)
@Dave "I was really put off by the workers doing the racist deal on the andriods on mars. That is something for BSG with their hatred of cylons, but Trek in this era? Seemed way out of place based on what TNG taught us about humanity's progress as far as equality and acceptance. "

I hear you. It feels more like BSG or even B5, not so much Star Trek. Nothing against those series, I like them both. But Star Trek is supposed to be something different.
Dave
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 1:46am (UTC -5)
Dont get me wrong, I like a more realistic depiction of flawed humans like B5 or BSg had ( i am not a believer that knowing we have alien contact would eliminate racism and so forth). But that is what TNG/Trek was supposed to be and it just seemed so out of place. It would leave me thinking the writers are not too familiar with Trek history or have not grown up watching 600 hours of episodes like most of us here have. I hope that is a one-off. I really don't want to get into come cylon racism deal where we have to go on about people hating them.

well, there are more episodes to flesh this out, but this plotline is smelling very convoluted already!

Picard knowing he is old and dying and wants to get out and make a difference again is a wonderful story to tell. I hope we get more of that but I fear this is going to turn into an action adventure series with conspiracies, SWERVES for the sake of surprises, and so forth.
Elderberry
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 1:58am (UTC -5)
We saw a few examples of people relating to Data in similar ways back in the day - Pulaski, Hobson in Redemption, Maddox himself, and that was with a famous Star Fleet officer with a long backstory - I can easily imagine a group of people whose workplace has been filled with almost identical figures being nervous around them, and reacting inappropriately. Not pleasant, but understandable.

I liked Picard getting the news that the Irumodic syndrome was asserting itself, and the doctor's hint that dying in some last action might be preferable to living his last years with it - sets up an eventual ending.

I didn't like a man as fastidious in his tastes as Picard making tea by dropping a bag into a pot of cooling water. Much more shocking than any F bomb.
Dave
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 2:03am (UTC -5)
Fair points Elderberry. Especially with Pulaski.

I still didn't like the scene and the root of my discomfort is I don't want the BSG humans V skinjobs going on.
Steve
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 3:42am (UTC -5)
A couple of nice moments but I found this one to be really dull. Not a fan of the swearing either.
MeeMaw
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 4:18am (UTC -5)
I found it difficult to keep up with all the characters and their place in the drama.

Maybe I'm just older.

For me personally, its time to wait till the entire thing is filmed and watch it in a binge.

To be honest, this is NOT Trek. Its based on Trek, but Picard's journey ended at Insurrection.

This "new Trek" is just ruining his legacy, just like how Klingons were ruined by DISCO.

Sorry.
wolfstar
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 4:38am (UTC -5)
I liked it BUT the villains are far, far too hammy. More so than in any previous Trek series (including Discovery, and 60s TOS). I've seen 90s daytime soap-opera villainesses that were subtler... the Commodore and Rizzo make Mirror Georgiou look like Dukat. It's 1930s Flash Gordon serial-level hamminess, like the word "EEEEEVIL!!" is being emblazoned across the screen whenever they speak - and the plummy British accents for the villains are so cliche. So this for me is the main drawback going forward. Also had mixed feelings about the way the Irish Romulan lady was used to deliver an info-dump of exposition at the start. But well-directed, well-paced and Patrick Stewart is great. I'm going for 2.5.
MidshipmanNorris
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 4:55am (UTC -5)
GET AWAY FROM THAT LAUNCHER (hee hee)

... I'm sold. This episode featured ACTING.

It's about bloody TIME. Thank you, Star Trek. Now I have something to look forward to on Thursday nights again.
Nolan
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 5:21am (UTC -5)
Honestly, the way Trek is handling its ability to cuss is exactly like the way it handled its ability to be 'sexy' in Enterprise. I was never bothered that they showed T'pol's butt,or went a little farther in romantic scenes, but the decon scenes were clumsy, gratuitous and the writers making odd flexes with their new found powers. It was, as stated on this site, made for titilating pre-teenagers.

And now here's Discovery and Picard, with all it's "shits" and "fucks" that exist soley to make a gratuitous statement that Trek is now "(im)mature" and to get all the preteens tittering at the "dirty words." Because they can.

I didn't notice all the times Burnham talked about "pissing off" a creature (though it maybe sticks out a bit on reflection) or all the "damn"s used throughout Trek. Even Data's use of "Oh shiiiit" was okay because these things are not the norm, are not used without care, in already tense and heated moments. That admiral outta nowhere dropping an f-bomb was meant to stick out and feel unnatural. And I was already on edge after the portrayal of the humans on Mars.

And it's not like I don't watch other shows with strong language in them, or, even use it myself, but that's not what Trek is. In an era of divisivness and internet arguments that can devolve into petty name-calling and swearing, I was really hoping "Picard" would be a show to show us how to properly resolve interpersonal conflicts.
Dave in MN
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 6:44am (UTC -5)
I made the mistake of reading Entertainment Weekly's review of the first three episodes. My favorite line from the review was that STP really is "mature content for immature dumbos". They didn't like the swearing or violence either (the reviewer seems like an actual Trekkie for once).


*semi-SPOILER*



Sounds like next week's episode will be another moving-the-chess-piece type episode *sigh*



*SPOILER OVER*


I hope this show eventually

#1. Gets to the actual star trekking

#2. reintroduces Federation ethics to characters besides Picard

and

#3. tones WAY down the cartoon villainy.

Just me openly musing, but wouldn't this plot make a lot more sense if they just deleted the secret police aspect altogether? It's not like Starfleet seems to have any ethics or morals anymore .... and the Romulans are being painted as cruel warlike people anyways.

Somehow I missed the line where the Commodore was revealed to be a Romulan (I think the cheesy SVU soundtrack was distracting me when this was revealed) but how many times do we have to see this plot point used? You'd think that Starfleet would've had measures in place to prevent this after the events of "Data's Day".

I'd love to see someone re-edit this episode: there's about 30-35 minutes of good stuff buried within all the cringe.
Panagiotis Karatasios
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 7:21am (UTC -5)
Finally we are watcing star trek. A good episode. I were allways thinking that romulans would be a much better adversary than klingons who were huns in space. Cbs: cancel the ridiculous discovery and the abominable show on section 31 and giva us more shows like picard!!
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 7:38am (UTC -5)
@Brian Lear
"It's shaping up to be a very stock 'uncover the conspiracy' story, and of course, each layer is carefully removed, once per episode so that once you start, you must finish."

A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. ;-)
BZ
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 8:28am (UTC -5)
Random ramblings

Certainly a setup episode. Not as good as the pilot, but then the pilot had to reintroduce the new Picard and update us on the history. According to what I hear next week is more of the same, after which point the series turns "full Discovery". I hope not in a bad way.

The android "slaves"... I think the pilot made it clear that sentient androids are not possible with the then-current level of technology, so they are pure machines, so it's ok.

The F-bomb scene. I like it. Of course I was as shocked as Picard at first, but as she kept talking, I thought Admiral Clancy had a point. Not only did she adequately explain why the aid to the Romulans had to stop , but, if you think about it, Picard is asking to get out of retirement and "oh, captain will be ok" after not only resigning in protest, but giving that damning interview just yesterday (or however long it was, not too long ago). That is just a bit arrogant and entitled of Picard.

The Shin Bet (I am not anti-Israel, I just can't help noticing the similarity in names. Are Zhat and Vash letters of the Romulan alphabet like Shin and Bet are in Hebrew?) motivation seems a bit one-note for a super-secret organization, and how exactly do they infiltrate Starfleet at such senior positions? When did it happen? A long time ago?

Finally, Romulans as enemies. We've had two reconciliations now that went completely forgotten. First in DS9 when they allied with the Federation in the Dominion war, and even providing Defiant with a cloak. Then in Nemesis there is a path to reconciliation after the Enterprise defeats Shinzon. Sure, you can walk that all back if need be, but it has to be done onscreen and it wasn't.

And speaking of Romulans (and off topic here I guess), I've been thinking about the Cardassians lately, and how their existence is completely unnecessary. Just about everything in TNG and DS9 featuring Cardassians could substitute Romulans with minimal changes. The societies are similar, totalitarian regimes, secretive intelligence agencies, etc. I can see them as Bajor's occupiers, as allies to the Domininion, torturing Picard, etc, etc. Does anyone else agree?
Trent
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 9:48am (UTC -5)
BZ said: "According to what I hear next week is more of the same, after which point the series turns "full Discovery". I hope not in a bad way."

I heard this too. And Disco's 2-part pilot were the only episodes I liked, before the show revealed its tone and intentions. I hope "Picard" doesn't pull the same shift. Leaving Earth behind seems like it'll veer the show fully into Kurtzman territory.
Trent
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 9:58am (UTC -5)
BZ said: " Just about everything in TNG and DS9 featuring Cardassians could substitute Romulans with minimal changes. The societies are similar, totalitarian regimes, secretive intelligence agencies, etc. I can see them as Bajor's occupiers, as allies to the Domininion, torturing Picard, etc, etc. Does anyone else agree? "

I think what made the Cardassians attractive early on in DS9 was that they were a low ranked Imperial power. The Federation found itself in a really interesting puzzle, militarily superior to everyone in a region they were forced to police, but in which they couldn't really use force. Here the Feds were a peace-keeping force akin to the UN, stepping in in a place like Israel, or a post-war Germany.

Replace the Cardassians with Romulans, and you have a more uninteresting and familiar situation; two evenly matched powers at war. Alot of the fun of DS9's season's 1 and 2 is watching the Cardassians being bullied by the Federation's Big Stick politics, and watching the Federation flex this superiority.
Tranya and Tonic
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 10:00am (UTC -5)
This episode continued a lot of the fascinating character exploration of Picard that I enjoyed in the first episode. I particular enjoyed two scenes:

First, his meeting with the old Stargazer doctor friend was nicely introduced. Not only was I engrossed in the discussion of his impending Irumodic Syndrome, but there was just a bit of subtle mystery thrown in about who this guy was. They don't reveal that they knew each other from the Stargazer until near the end of the conversation. At first, I thought it might be his old buddy from the episode "Family" who tried to get him to leave Starfleet to work with ocean stuff. Then when it became clear he was a doctor, I wondered if this tied in with Crusher in some way. I agree with the point above: not using Crusher for this was a wise move. The other character history from those two would have greatly overshadowed the point of the scene. This added to Picard's history in a very believable way without being distracting.

Second, I liked the explanation for why he doesn't just contact Riker, Troi, etc. to help him. He knows that every single one of them would help him without question, and given the dubious legality of what he plans to do, that's A LOT to put on the line. More to the point, it makes it Picard's CHOICE, so that we don't have to pick through a lot of pointless plot details. Regardless of whether he's technically right or not, Picard's feelings on the matter struck me as very true.

I like a lot of the visual cues on the Borg ship to create a very tense atmosphere. A lot of the little details hint at this being an extremely dangerous project (the little badges, the masks, the scanners, the containment fields, etc.) without anything actually happening. The only Borg we actually see is unconscious and already mostly stripped of Borg parts. And yet, the whole atmosphere indicates that this is a DANGEROUS thing to be doing.

All that being said, this episode did give me pause on a few things:

I'll add my vote to the group saying that Starfleet doesn't need a vast evil conspiracy. It's been done.... a lot (Section 31, Insurrection, Into Darkness, Beyond to an extent, Discovery Season 2). I actually liked the scene with Picard and the admiral, and I think most of the same effect could be achieved with Starfleet and the Federation having become well-intentioned but maybe just too self-focused. Having one side saying that helping the Romulans was right and the other saying that doing so would have caused a Federation Civil War: that creates the inner conflict while still giving both sides a pretty fair point of view. We the audience can still side with Picard and want him to change Starfleet's way of thinking, but it gives their motives much more clarity.

The Vulcan Commodore (who I assume is the Head of Starfleet Security or something?) was far too mustache-twirling nefarious. Also, these vast and elaborate conspiracies feed into the paranoid idea that such things exist in real life, and that's just not the way things really work. Even the Romulans having an even MORE evil and MORE secret government watch agency made my eyes roll. Sure, there are times when very small groups can be conspiring together, but the logistics of keeping an ENTIRE organization that spans hundreds and hundreds of individuals across centuries.... that's a bit of a stretch.

None of this is a deal breaker for me. I had similar believability problems with the introduction of Section 31, but the stories surrounding them on DS9 were often some of the best. If they can do something new and refreshing with this premise, I'm on board. If it's just a lot of "everyone is a double agent and evil... trust no one," then I'm kinda over it.

Still all in for this show. Despite any misgivings, my general impression after both of these first episodes has been overwhelmingly positive.
Yanks
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 10:41am (UTC -5)
@ Dave in MN

"...but I disliked how all of the Utopia Planitia workers were depicted as bigots."

I don't know about that. These aren't "Data's" running around, living with the crew etc. They have a function and are put in storage at night.

Just some comments on this average episode.

Glad the writers didn't forget about Irumodic syndrome, but did they actually use the term "Irumodic"? Savvy Picard going to his old Stargazer Doc...

This episode was kind of blah....

So the Tal Shiar has a Section 31/Obsidian Order type thingy goin on? ... but not really like them, but they detest technology or androids, but they are "thousands" of years old? ... did I miss anything?

I'm not sure I like the Irish accent WRT our nanny Romulan. (love the actress) I fail to see the point here. Pretty convenient she just happens to know all this Maxwell Smart stuff and what, she was a member of the Tal Shiar?

So, the head of Star Fleet security (Commodore Oh) is an undercover Romulan? .... running secretive stuff under Star Fleet's nose? ... and they sent the squad to capture Dahj? ... they know about Soji? Love Tamlyn Tomita btw... LT Rizzo is really an undercover Romulan that's had surgery AND she is the sister of the guy that just bagged Soji?

HAHA ... we're settin up the settin up here, aren't we?

So "Picard" Vulcan's look like what?

Swearing here is no better than in was in Discovery... probably worse here because in Discovery, at least, I could attribute it to our turrets acting Tilly. This is just disappointing to me.

All the acting is fine (above average I think), but I'm not gushing over Patrick's performance(s) so far like some are... we all love him, but he's really coming off as an old man... I know he is and is playing one, but... he looks like he's had a bunch of Botox and needs to eat a bunch of burgers... he doesn't look healthy. I love Peyton List (Frequency)...

Picard breaks out his old communicator and asks Beverly for help? Did I catch that right?

The pace is fine I think... Discovery needed to take a breath because it was driving so fast, but this one needs to be careful not to stay in first gear... I actually caught myself dozing off while watching this.

I hear some of Discovery's theme in Picard's theme.

We still don't know who activated Dahj. We can safely assume it's not the undercover Romulans though.

Again, I have to change settings to understand the conversations. Especially when Patrick is involved. Frustrating...

Admiral Kirsten Clancy, aside from her foul mouth, REALLY gave it to Picard... he DID quit Star Fleet you know... probably the first time Picard has really had it handed to him where he really didn't have a rebut.

I guess I can't wait to get in space and see what's really up with our Borg cube... after all, all the trailers show Picard getting a ship so this one was just a bridge to the inevitable.

I'll go 2.5 stars here.
Patrick D
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 11:11am (UTC -5)
Others have mentioned this, but the Starfleet HQ scene with Picard was actually the best part of the episode. You have to love how Stewart plays Picard as if he owns the joint, what with him getting irked when security doesn’t recognize him by face. Then when he asks for a starship but realizes that he’s such a big deal that demotion to merely captain would sweeten the deal.

Still, Picard really does deserve to be honored like Kirk was. I hope this season ends apologetically with these Starfleet officers kicking themselves for not listening to Picard while they could.
Batfunk
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 11:12am (UTC -5)
A mediocre episode, even as a transition one.
The Good:
-Further exploration of Picard personality. I like the way writers show he' a dinosaur. Star fleet reception scene is priceless, and shows a new Picard's trait:self-esteem. Self esteem was at the bottom when a pissed off Amiral, outraged by Picard's declarations to the press, refuses his requests. Nice.
The news of his disease is a nice TNG touch and we know now that's Picard last mission. I hope writers will give him an adequate end, not like Kirk awful one...
-Great performances of Picard companions:Even If we don't know how those two ex-Tal Shiar became so close of him, we feel their respect and humorous protectiveness. Really moving and appropriate, this is Star Trek!
The introduction of Picard new companion is also fresh, funny and full of fellowship. Since Picard refused to involve his old teammates, I hope the same level of
Camaraderie with his new ones.
-A credible political environment :Federation stopped helping Romulan refugees because of threats of scission from some members. As Europhile, it talks a lot to me...
-nice fan service(Asimov, Enterprise holos...)
-Quiet pace(and no ninjas)

The Bad:
-once again, an intergalactic conspiracy.. I'm fed up with this!!! I know that Romulans aren't angels but a synthetiphobic super Tal Shiar? Really?
Same for the Féderation.. Infiltrated by Romulans(again?) and traitors(Amiral Ho is really Vulcan?why killing Dhaj?)
At least in Tng, the story of an infiltrated Star fleet command was fun because campy and over the top. And it lasts only one episode.
I'm OK with a sleeping and stagnant Féderation but a racist, paranoid and isolationist one, no!
Come on, we're in 2020!this is a proof of lazyness from the writers. There's a ton of good shows now which don't need complot to be interesting. Learn, guys, learn!!!
-the Borg Cube story is still messy for me. Is it only a Romulan research center? If so, what are they looking for?

Well, I don't like the duality of this show. The Picard part is great, the conspiracy one is lame.

4/10
Karl Zimmerman
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 11:54am (UTC -5)
So, I read this morning that on some podcast, Kurtzman and Hanelle Culpepper (the director) admitted the original plan for the opening arc was a two-parter. They eventually decided to go to three episodes, which resulted in added footage - including the first scene (which I maintain, while well done, is completely unneeded). This explains why Culpepper is directing all of the first three (usually modern directors only do two episode blocks). It also seems by production numbers the second episode was stretched into 2/3 - there wasn't much footage which was moved from episode 1 into 2.

I think this helps to explain in general why this episode feels so disjointed - like a mixture of great scenes and terribly clunky/unneeded scenes. The tighter scenes were probably filmed first as part of what was meant to be a second episode, then when they realized they couldn't fit it all in one, they stitched this together using existing scenes and some additions.

So far both of the episodes of Picard have been around 44 minutes long - standard broadcast length allowing for an hour with commercials. This is very different from Discovery where the episode length was allowed to be "whatever." Did CBS come down on them about making a more "syndication-friendly" episode length at some point in the process? To the best of my knowledge Kurtzman Trek is only playing on broadcast TV in Canada.
Chrome
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 12:03pm (UTC -5)
@Karl Zimmerman

I read last year that CBS decided to eventually run older seasons of DISC on its network station, so going forward from that decision, they probably are cutting these episodes to fit a television broadcast format.
Quincy
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 12:38pm (UTC -5)
I'm glad somebody remembers Pulaski and others who treated Data like crap. I didn't see anyone mention Dr. McCoy's treatment of Spock. Nor did I see anyone recall the egregious ways that the Doctor was initially treated BY NEARLY EVERYBODY on Voyager. People seem to forget a lot of Star Trek material, while they're busy idealizing and sanitizing their memories of it. That scene with the android at the beginning was par for the course in Star Trek, believe it or not.

Also, par for the course were the mustache twirling Romulans. Go back and watch Face of the Enemy or any episode with Tasha Yar's daughter and tell me you don't see any mustache twirling. Borg Queen anybody? And please, never go back and watch TOS. It's "unwatchable" if you don't like mustache twirling. As for me, the Commodore was okay. The sister was annoying, but no more so than many Romulans or those Klingon sisters in TNG. The brother was entertaining during his after sex conversation with Sofi and annoying in the one with his sister.

It's just the beginning. At some point the key actors, which are pretty seasoned, will gel together and you'll get a better product.
Booming
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 2:43pm (UTC -5)
Two scenes.
- One about creepy androids which was directly out of BSG. Cursing, intolerant mechanics and all. Then it got very violent with snapped necks, many dead people and android suicide. The scene lasted 3.30 min.
- One about Picard hearing that he has a deadly disease that in the process will turn him into a raving loon. That scene lasted 3.00 min.
(I had a very rough day comparable to that scene and found the shortness of the scene really insulting) It will come up later but still. Picard gets terrible news and it is not referenced again in the episode. This show feels slow and rushed at the same time.

Lots of magic tech and Romulan secret secret police who hate androids for reasons that will certainly very dramatically be explained by some Romulan. Lots of CGI fire works that somewhat reminded me of Discovery. Swearing admirals, evil admirals. Nice to see that Picard is on the verge of being forgotten, considering that 20 years ago he was called one of the most famous captains ever by young officers. Species wanted to pull out of the Federation because of refugees *cough*Brexit*cough*. Are there still good admirals around? Or good Starfleet officers in general. Seriously was there a single non evil starfleet officer in the first two episodes?? I guess nobody in the heart of San Francisco saw the giant explosion. Yeah Patrick Steward is great but what else...

Thanks Alex Kurtzman for giving us another wonderful view of the Federation.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-WP6POdTgY
Bold Helmsman
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
@Nolan
They're shipyard workers. Do you expect them to be playing chess or debating philosophy on their lunch breaks or something? On the matter of cursing on Trek, I've never looked at it as them taking license to be immature. People have been spicing their language with curses since time immemorial, especially when they get emotional. It's simply part of human nature, even evolved humans.

@John Harmon
With all the super ancient advanced aliens in Trek, I wouldn't be surprised if ancient Romulans had a bad encounter with synthetic life.

@Quincy
Amen again. Sometimes I wonder whether people remember actual Trek or a sanitised version constructed in their heads.
Diana
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 3:09pm (UTC -5)
I am enjoying this Trek with Picard. There are some things I do not understand, even though I have watched every incarnation (except Discovery) since it began in 1966 . I am a Trekker/Trekkie although I have not committed every bit to memory as some have, and some are upset when there are changes. Life is constant change and favorites are held to a high standard. I have had some quibbles with J.J. Abrams who is very good with first tries and then hands over with less than stellar results. I myself did not mind the cursing in this episode as I felt it was handled appropriately as humans will always be, well "human." Star Trek was very hopeful that we would change. Well, that ain't happening . . . Sigh. I do not feel the need pick the episodes apart as I really do not see any negatives. It's new and I am enjoying it. I love it's movie-style look and the $$$ that they have put into it. I want to see where it goes and I am ready. Engage.
Booming
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 3:11pm (UTC -5)
Did anybody notice that we now have FIVE STAR ADMIRALS!!!
Cletus
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 3:32pm (UTC -5)
"non evil starfleet officer in the first two episodes??"

Why is Clancy evil? Ships and personnel were given for the evac, it was underway - then you had the synth attack obliterating ship capacity and resources and inflicting mass casualties, not to mention leaving the Fed vulnerable to someone who might exploit the chaos to do further damage. On top of that you have 13 member worlds threatening secession if the evac was restarted, causing further destabilization. Tough decisions and competing priorities aren't "evil". There are much more "evil" officers in Trek history.
Booming
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 3:49pm (UTC -5)
@ cletus
No obviously she is the new normal. To quote Kira:"Everyone has their reasons. That's what's so frightening. People can find a way to justify any action, no matter how evil."

Let's not forget that the whole synth mass murder terror attack is pretty stupid. I guess the Romulans made the Synth go berserk which then made Starfleet not only ban Synth but also stop the rescue because the Romulan super super spies wanted millions of Romulans to die rather then be rescued by the Federation. Sure. Why not. Go super secret secret Romulans??!

Are you seriously telling me that 14 members were just saying: We will leave the Federation if you do not stop the rescue of people who will die if we not help them because synth attacked a shipyard and destroyed all Federation rescue ship (all in all 10000 ships)? Were the rescue ships just hovering over Mars? And the rest of the more than 100 members just said ok to that? Add your question here. It is also nice to see that even before the attack star fleet personal was behaving like shitty people from today. I guess apart from starfleet officers the normal people were always shitty people. Take that Gene Roddenbrry you stupid fool. It is so surface level Star Trek. Scratch a little and you will find nothing but nonsense. In a way it is even less Star Trek than Discovery.
Cletus
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 4:24pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

Let's just go with facts presented, not speculation: the evac is underway. Everyone's feeling the Trek optimism good fuzzy vibes. The defense capacity of the Fed gets nuked. There are now few ships available, and the ability to create more is severely hindered. The Fed is now in an extremely vulnerable and precarious position just in a matter of hours (don't ask me why the Fed has everything tied up in a single point of failure of Mars, but this is the situation). Clancy now has a decision to make - do we continue with what little remaining resources we have in restarting the humanitarian mission, or do we recommit all remaining resources in order to shore up defense while we try to investigate what in the world's going on and recover?

Apparently there was some wider debate about this because the 14 members chime in, arguing for the latter and threatening secession - perhaps they fear some type of imminent invasion or wider attack on fed members, perhaps they even think Romulans are somehow involved given that Nemesis was within recent memory. So if that first decision wasn't tough enough for Clancy, she now has to deal with members leaving, and who knows if that might precipitate more members leaving or exacerbate fractures in the Fed.

So Clancy is in a very DS9-ish dilemma - tough choices. She chose pragmatism over idealism, Sisko v Picard all over again.
Nolan
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 4:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: @Bold Helmsman's points;

Well, considering that in the 24th Century people basically do the jobs they want and those dock workers have chosen to work there and ostensibly enjoy the work they do... I'd at least expect them to have meaningful conversations with each other rather than vapid purility. Instead of using their limited time to, I dunno flesh those people out by having them talk about their interests or families or off duty projects to get us even a little bit invested in them before they get snuffed, we get: "Now THERE'S some brown shit. Hurr hurr hurr" Gimmie a break show. Ben Sisko worked at Utopia Planitia and we never saw a hint of such behaviour from him.

"But it's more true to life and representitive of what humans are," you may say. Sure, but if I wanted to watch true to life, contemporary humans in space, I have the Expanse or BSG. Trek has always had a sense of heightened realism and theatricality in order to depicte how humans changed after our contemporary butts nearly blew us into extinction in a nuclear hellfire. Another show sacrificed on the altar of "relatability."

Also, sidebar, but ancient Romulans were Vulcans, so unless syths were responsible for the split, or this hatred is more relatively recent, I'm wary of this backstory development. This episode has thrown me off from cautiously optimistic to outright disappointed in some areas and cautiously wary in others.

And really rankles me that a sequel to a show renown for how comfortable its characters were, and how well they got along and worked together and dealt with interpersonal conflicts is now showcasing the exact opposite behaviour, and not in plot relevant ways. Way to uphold the legacy. All Trek is now is "cool sci-fi plotting" with only the Trek drapes and none of it's foundations.

I'm glad so many seem to enjoy it fully, and much like Discovery, if it shed it's Trek trappings, maybe I would have no problems. But as it stands, moving forward I'm gonna be more critical and ready to object as the franchise moves away from the aspects I valued in Trek. It's nothing more than a brand name now. Maybe it'll turn itself around for me, but given the calibre of plotting from Kurtzman over multiple franchises, I'm not hopeful now that he moved over to my sandbox from the one he built and kicked my castle.
Paul
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 4:33pm (UTC -5)
A completely unmemorable episode.

Regarding the F-bomb: why? Why? Unnecessary.

However that wasn’t the only one. There was an Irish one too if anyone spotted it... the cheeky feckers. That’s an Irish way to swear without swearing. Circa 1994. Why the hell would a Romulan use that in 2399 or whatever it is? Jarring.
Booming
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 5:21pm (UTC -5)
@Cletus
"don't ask me why the Fed has everything tied up in a single point of failure of Mars, but this is the situation."
But if the show doesn't answer this question than nothing makes any sense. It makes no sense. Does the Federation only have one big shipyard?? So the Federation build? (it is implied in the interview) 10000 warp capable ferries which then get somehow destroyed which already makes no sense on several levels.

"Let's just go with facts presented, not speculation:"
Most of what you state is speculation. Who could threaten the Federation even if the ships destroyed were somehow essential and if we ignore the near impossibility to even destroy more than a 1000 ships? The Klingons in ruin? the Cardassians aspire to be in ruins? The Romulans aspire to aspire to be in ruins? The Dominion cannot get through the wormhole? There is literally no major power left besides the Federation. Are the Ferengi invading? The Nyberite Alliance (according to Worf they are always eager to hire experienced officers, maybe they have hired enough)?

"perhaps they even think Romulans are somehow involved given that Nemesis was within recent memory."
Yeah, blowing up their own home system. So Romulan. That would maybe be their most cunning plan. Let's not forget that the Romulans helped the Enterprise defeating the Remans.

The Federation is an unchallenged hegemony with near infinite and in some sense actually infinite resources. To say it like a starfleet admiral: What is the fucking problem here?!
Eamon
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 5:25pm (UTC -5)
ugh this is going to trigger a lot of people but oh well. This plot is so so bad. Stewart himself is great, and an aging, not so sharp version of the character is interesting. What isn’t interesting...mystery because MYSTERY! So let me get this right...

1) Of the hundreds of worlds and species that make up the Federation, 14 of them decide not to help the romulans and that risks making the entire federation implode? What the what? How fragile is the Federation if it would implode just because a few within it disagree with one political decision.

2) The decision to not help the Romulans happened because synthetics attacked mars. What the what? If they Synths did it, why did opinion turn against the Romulans?

3) The Tal Shar aren’t the true power behind Romulan intrigue. Really its a really really really secretive group who just dont like synths and the secret is so so so scary it would drive men mad but here’s the secret that no one is supposed to know but she knows but really its a secret. What the what? Oh yeah. MYSTERY! Why would a secret organization exist so deep within an already secret organization just to ensure synthetics dont exist? Where were they for hundreds of years? Why didnt they take out Data decades ago if they were so concerned by the existence of just one synthetic? Oh wait yeah. MYSTERY!
Dan Nugent
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 5:30pm (UTC -5)
In the original script for Encounter At Farpoint. Picard says "Merde"
French for shit, if you didn't know. I don't recall it making it to the actual show but even back then the writers seemed to be OK with a curse word. Swearing these days is par for the course, it's not even really shocking any more. I don't see why people in the 24th century wouldn't still swear. It's just not something we've seen because TV wasn't accommodating for it when TNG, DS9 etc all aired.
Frank
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 5:45pm (UTC -5)
Why are most of these comments so negative and so much nitpicking. Does no one remember how many bad episodes there were in both TOS and TNG? Discovery and Picard may not be perfect, but they are Star Trek. I’ve enjoyed both Discovery and the start of Picard. I give Picard 3 stars for both episodes.
Bold Helmsman
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 5:58pm (UTC -5)
@Cletus
The Federation was not long ago involved in multiple huge wars. It's not surprising that they're not at 100% in terms of materiel.

@Nolan
This might shock you, but even vapid purility can be a meaningful way to communicate. Why would this change even if they're free to choose their jobs? I might also add that they didn't choose to be there at that time, they were graveyard shift. That would disturb even the most evolved soul.

@Dan Nugent
Picard cursed in French on occasion, like Elementary, Dear Data, but no one cares about that because they didn't even know it was a curse word, or alternatively because it was in French, not that base English. I do wonder what the response would be if someone cursed in a British accent?
Booming
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 6:21pm (UTC -5)
I speak french and there is a difference between saying "merde" and humiliating somebody while using curse words. Saying merde in french is the same as saying damn in english.
Gerontius
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 6:34pm (UTC -5)
A confusing episode - they are still setting things up so an awful lot of it was just feeding us information about stuff that we hadn't seen happen. ( Apart from the opening section which was about showing us stuff happen about which we had already been told.) That weird narrative section cutting from one place and time to another and back again didn't help.

I agree with those whose heart sunk at the indication that this series is evidently going to be all about secret secret conspirators infiltrating each other. "Trust no one" is apparently the watchword of the day. Whereas one of the key elements of Star Trek at its best had been about how the trust and openness the protagonists have enables them to sort out seemingly impossible problems. And now there are indications that one of the members of Picards crew is going to be Zarek who appears to be being set up as some kind of double agent, and the reverse of trustworthy or open or honourale. Shades of Discovery. (And if he's part of this Romulans ultra secret operation that loathes synthetics he's acting that out in a very peculiar way.)

I'm afraid the bad language that a lot of people jibbed at passed me by. I suspect a lot of those reactions probably came from Americans, who seem to worry a lot more about that kind of stuff when it comes up on screen than we generally do the other side of the Atlantic.

A few comments about there being something implausible about the speed with which the Federation culture seems to have turned nasty. I'm afraid I don't find that the least bit implausible. There have been plenty of examples of how that can happen in the last hundred years, sometimes remarkably quickly. There were a number of indications in Star Trek that the ethical culture of Starfleet wasn't necessarily exactly matched in the planetbound world.

Best thing about the series so far is Patrick Stewart. It's up to him to save the Federation, that's taken for granted. Saving the series might be an even bigger task - but I trust he's up to it.
Bold Helmsman
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 6:42pm (UTC -5)
@Booming
Yes, just like there's a difference between using a curse word in excitement or to describe sheer disbelief in English, but that certainly never stopped people from complaining about that, did it?
Booming
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 7:03pm (UTC -5)
@ Bold
I'm really not sure what your point is. English isn't my first language. Some nuances escape me. To me using curse words and all seems like pandering.

Star Trek is cool now.

Yeah, everybody can watch this shit now!

Awesome, bro!!!
James
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 7:23pm (UTC -5)
@Frank
"Why are most of these comments so negative and so much nitpicking. Does no one remember how many bad episodes there were in both TOS and TNG? Discovery and Picard may not be perfect, but they are Star Trek. I’ve enjoyed both Discovery and the start of Picard. I give Picard 3 stars for both episodes. "

Is that our standard now? If there's the ships, the uniforms, and the badges, then it's Star Trek and we should put away all criticism?

Because personally, I haven't seen much indication so far that it is in fact Star Trek. It seems to be indistinguishable from all the other cynical, pessimistic and dull sci-fi series being made. It has the same feel as Nemesis. The universe is cruel, cold and unforgiving, and so are the people in it. There may have been times in older Treks where that was the case, but we could always identify with a crew who were kind, caring and peaceful. Whether Picard still embodies those ideals remains to be seen, but throwing temper tantrums where in the past he would have remained calm and diplomatic isn't promising.

Creating conflict might be in the TV writer's handbook but it need not be everywhere we look. And the serialization means the conflicts are never resolved, at least not fully. Which means they need not actually be addressed, which in the episodic form of TNG they were. So like in Discovery, we get a merry-go-round of conflict leading to more conflict, with no rest or reprieve. I used to feel refreshed and inspired after a TNG episode, now with DIS and PIC I just feel exhausted.
Dave in MN
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 7:42pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

The Admiral should have been courtmartialed.

Keep watching The Orville, man. The more the humor is dialed back, the Trekkier it gets .... and, so far, it's somehow Trekkier then STP.
Jaxon
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 8:06pm (UTC -5)
MeeMaw said:

"Its based on Trek, but Picard's journey ended at Insurrection."

Insurrection turned Picard into a colossal hypocrite.

The Picard they tried to sell to us in Insurrection would have been a founding member of the Maquis.
Andy's Friend
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 8:10pm (UTC -5)
@ Bold Helmsman

"On the matter of cursing on Trek, I've never looked at it as them taking license to be immature. People have been spicing their language with curses since time immemorial, especially when they get emotional. It's simply part of human nature, even evolved humans."

That is only partially true. The more well-bred you are and the more education you have received, the better manners you will have and the less you will curse.

Take a thousand Ph.Ds. and a thousand [insert menial worker of choice] in [insert country of choice]: despite national differences as regards what levels of profanity are tolerated, the thousand Ph.Ds. will, on average, curse less than the menial workers *in any country*. They will curse less in normal daily life, and, if exposed to the same levels of stress, they will curse less under stress, too.

I have not watched and will not watch Picard; but a 24th century Starfleet Admiral using that kind of language, especially to *Picard's* face, is like having Grace Kelly using it to James Stewart's face. Unimaginable. Grace Kelly wouldn't have done it in 1955, and she wouldn't have done it in 1975, either.

Society has to deal with a huge inertia when it comes to the human psyche. People don't change much in the course of their lives, and certainly not in twenty years: generations change from one generation to another. This applies especially to good manners. Good manners is part of your identity, part of what gives you your dignity. You may lose your fortune, your friends, your family even: good manners is one of the last things to die.

The people who had very good manners aged thirty-five in 1955 still had very good manners aged fifty-five in 1975: it was their kids who were behaving differently. This is true as far back as you wish to go in recorded history. A well-bred late Victorian lady and gentleman -- say, Professor Moriarty and his lady friend in 'Ship in a Bottle' -- wouldn't curse and swear even after the horrors of the Great War.

On TNG's Earth, all men and women were modern-day ladies and gentlemen, so to speak, and certainly all Starfleet Academy graduates, infused with the Federation ethos: if not wise, at least educated; if not elegant, at least sophisticated; if not noble, at least gracious. (And, the reprimand given with wit and sagacity is much more effective than profanity.)

In other words, it seems like an absurd societal development has occurred from the year 2367 to the year 2397. People who grew up and were brought up to be gracious have forgotten even their manners. I don't, I can't believe it. But then again, based on what I read here and elsewhere, there are many things I can't believe about modern 'Star Trek'.
Bilbo
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 8:37pm (UTC -5)
The only reason this show gets a 6 is because of Patrick Stuart otherwise it deserves a 4.
I love bad language in movies and I love to curse up a storm myself but it does not belong on Trek.
If I want to listen to f bombs I’ll watch a good Tarantino flix. I think these guys who sit in their CBS office with their heads up their a$$es think that this is good stuff but in actual fact they wouldn’t know the difference between their a$$ from a hole in the ground.
The only thing that these CBS jerks can pat themselves on the back for is that they made this new show a bit better than the last piece of garbage called Discovery which doesn’t even deserve a 1.
Captain Jon
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 8:41pm (UTC -5)
To those who say that DISC & PIC aren’t Star Trek, I recall a time when TNG wasn’t considered Trek. In fact, I believe there are still a few stray souls lurking the Internet somewhere who say that the only true Trek is TOS & TMP. Nothing produced after 1979 is real Trek to them. The thing is that Star Trek evolves with the times. TNG became its own version of Star Trek for the 80s/90s. That’s what we have now; new versions of Trek for our current turbulent times.
ovaduh
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 8:48pm (UTC -5)
@Quincy: “People seem to forget a lot of Star Trek material, while they are busy idealizing and sanitizing their memories of it.”

YES!! Exactly right.that is among the most astute observations to grace this site.

TNG Seasons 1 and 2 were awful - and the show then wasn’t even awful TNG, but awful TOS.

DSN: When Season 1 actually aired, there (surprise!) complaints about being too static and too “dark.” It wasn’t the Star Trek people were used to.

Enterprise’s first two seasons made it clear that the Braga/Berman ship was running on Voyager’s fumes.

Every prior incarnation of Trek has either had growing pains, and was criticized for not “being Star Trek.” In 1986 and 1987, as David Gerrold told me, Gene Roddenberry’s lawyer planted the idea in Roddenberry’s head that there was no interpersonal conflict in the Federation of the future.

The entirety of what people claiming is the mythos and intrigue of Star Trek - that it is a world of sterility and sereneness and light - was manufactured by Roddenberry and his attorney.

Given the fact the creator of the show himself was so malleable as to what kind of future will be in store for us, it is arrogant-hubristic-to proclaim certitude as to what Star Trek is. Roddenberry sanitized his own creation, and people are complaining that.... the show has moved too far away from this sanitized ideal.

“Dark” And “optimistic” are characteristics. They have no normative value. From the time of the airing of “In the Pale Moonlight” until the present, people have refused to accept the notion that yes, humans can be morally corrupt, can decide (as the Admiral stated in Maps and Legends) whether a species lives or dies, and can life with the knowledge of their corruptness.

If the writers are choosing to write from what they know - and what we all know is that in the real world, America is not in the comfy geopolitical position it was in 1992 (the future did not, in fact, mean the end of human history) - if the tone of the show reflects the time in whI have the show is created, that is not a crime. It is a feature.

Debates over what something “is” can be quite destructive to art. Rain Johnson had his on opinion as to what Star Wars was, and he was flogged mercilessly for having an opinion that deviated from received fan groupthink. J.J. Abrams/Disney decided that The Rise of Skywalker was going to be a return to what Star Wars “really was.” .... And critics and real people hated. Trying to conform to a “vision” which Roddenberry himself retroengineereed is pointless and self-defeating.

And apparently, not online is it the law that Star Trek must not be “dark,” it is also the law that there shall be no dissent from the collective judgment that STP is “objectively dark.”

To quote the great man himself , “This is getting tiresome.”
Dave in MN
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 8:52pm (UTC -5)
I think the 60's were MUCH more turbulent than today: political assassinations, war, pollution, civil rights battles in the streets, the draft, homophobia, nuclear testing, rampant misogyny, vast changes in music .... I don't think 2020 compares to that.
Bold Helmsman
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 8:53pm (UTC -5)
@Booming
Again, why is the user of curse words 'pandering'? It's simply a part of human language. I really don't get why folks think that a lack of swearing on Trek, which was never really a thing in the first place as others have attested, is some form of enlightenment when they know it was just an arbitrary FCC ruling.

@Andy's Friend
This is anecdotal, but I've met my fair share of educated people, even a couple PHD's and they seemed to swear as much in informal settings as anyone else. That's the operative phrase, informal settings. I've known people who speak the Queen's English at work and curse like stevedores amongst friends or in less formal settings, where people weren't taking minutes.
Gerontius
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 8:59pm (UTC -5)
You're right about generations and swearing, Andy's friend. People tend not to change their speaking too much after they've grown up, and in my experience there has been a considerable change in this respect over the last few generations. My father, fought in three wars and worked on the factory floor for twenty years, and I cannot recall at any time using any kind of swear word. And that certainly wasn't a matter of being inarticulate, because he certainly wasn't that!

These things change over generations. I don't find it the least improbable to imagine that by the 25th century senior military officers might quite naturally use language even today's generation would find excessive. Or for that matter it's quite as likely that it might completely the reverse. But what would be unlikely is that they would switch from one mode to another in the course of a few years.

But I don't think this is a matter of great import in this series. The matter of trust as a key Starfleet value is far more important. It struck me that Picard's approach to the Admiral in which he laid everything out directly to her, the stuff that had happened, his suspicions and his request for a ship, was very much in the Star Trek tradition - no beating about the bush or buttering her up. And she didn't like it - for the Admiral honesty came across as hubris on Picard's part.

I hope that this aspect might be explored in the series. Maybe we might have Picard shaping a crew from a younger generation to value and practice this habit of openness and trust to each other. Have to sort out Narek though...
John Harmon
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 8:59pm (UTC -5)
I thought it was weird that it was explained that the Borg will leave behind a cube and disconnect it from the collective.

Weren’t we shown numerous times throughout trek that they never leave their technology behind to be taken by someone else? They even go back to recover their dead.

Was there a time in Trek before this where they left behind their drones and a whole cube? They usually got blown up completely if they were defeated before.
James
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 9:01pm (UTC -5)
Hmm. The idea that a life free of interpersonal conflict is "sterile" and "sanitized" sounds awfully familiar.

"Struggle is the father of all things. It is not by the principles of humanity that man lives or is able to preserve himself above the animal world, but solely by means of the most brutal struggle." -Adolf Hitler.
Geekgarious
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 9:06pm (UTC -5)
Ovaduh is right about the silliness of debating what is and isn’t Star Trek. The problem with Picard (and Discovery and the JJ movies) is not that they aren’t Trek. It’s that they’re poorly written, have no sub text, and consist mostly of regurgitations of other people‘s work. i’m reminded of a comment in the discovery discussion about Trek being unable to attract actual auteurs, people with personal and idiosyncratic points of view who have a strong desire to make original art. That’s been Trek’s problem pretty much ever since DS9 ended. and as long as Kurtzman is running the show, I doubt that’s going to change.
Gerontius
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 9:09pm (UTC -5)
Something completely different.

When Raffi walked on my first impression is that she was supposed to be a recast 7 of 9, or possibly her daughter. Did anyone else share that impression? (And I'm not actually suggesting anything like that will turn out to be the case.)
Dave in MN
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 9:12pm (UTC -5)
When writing good characters, you don't need to have everyone constantly arguing with each other. Instigating conflicts doesn't automatically equate to good storytelling.

I can think of MANY good Trek episodes that didn't have the characters acting like temperamental assholes to each other.
phaedon
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 12:11am (UTC -5)
Picard makes Discovery look like The Sopranos.

Folks, "no record of any incoming or outgoing calls; the information is there, but the indexes have been surgically deleted." My brain almost fell out of it's skull during the opening forensic sequence.

An actual clue tucked inside a false clue. Ghosts in the machine. "I'm saying this transmission.. came from off-world." Cut to Picard sh*tting in his diapers.

I actually stopped the episode and popped in "Measure of a Man" and almost wept at the beauty of it. The look Data shoots Maddox as he crosses the bridge for the first time. Guinan's history lesson in ten forward. A whole generation of disposable people. This episode is a testament to how underrated Season 2 is.

The age of the TNG cast just does not work. I am going to have nightmares of Data with his dumpy butt standing next to an easel for a very long time.

This is "All Good Things" on a $20 million budget and twenty years too late. Picard is in full puzzle-solving mode, which made for some of the worst episodes. There's no ship to tie it altogether. He's lost everything, he's a relic, he wants to find Data and bring honor back to Star Fleet. Good Lord. You can just tell they are going to trot out every TNG character with a pulse as the show continues, and the send-off is going to be some kind of grand reunion of the original crew. Perhaps Deanna emerges from deep Tal Shiar undercover.
Booming
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 2:34am (UTC -5)
So let me get this straight. The zhat vash are so super sophisticated that they magic tech wiped the room so that even Picard's Tal Shiar housekeeper could only partially magic recover the images of what happened in the room but when they wanted to sedate Dajh they put a bag over her head and then tried to knock her out with a fist punch? :D

And why would these cursing mechanics even work at Utopia planetia? It seems to be a pretty shitty job. Why would you work there? They could do anything else. And why have replicators devolved? In TNG they could more or less produce anything but these 30 year later replicators only produce certain foods which the workers there can't even choose? One says:"Pinapples... again." and then they all complain about the quality of the food??? So the job is bad, sprinkled with creepy androids, and the food is also for some reason terrible. Do these people know that are not being paid? People who work on oil rigs in the north sea, for example, earn a lot of money and get pretty good food. That's the reason why people are willing to do it.
Nolan
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 3:10am (UTC -5)
Booming, didn't you know? Despite all the talk of humanity moving past an economy based value system into a post-scaricity world where Earth is a Utopia, and all are equal and can pursue any life they choose, humanity secretly has a class system where the rowdy 21st century throwback people who are clearly less enlightened get tossed into menial labor with outdated 200 year old food synthesizers that produce shit food. Honestly, by the end of the scene, I almost wanted the synth to win. Almost.

I dunno, maybe in the course of 6 years the Federation restructured its system of incarceration and puts the criminals to work in thankless jobs with low grade food as punishment, despite repeated evidence of a rehabilitation based system rather than a punishment based one. Or so I THOUGHT until Admiral ribald opened her trap. The true irony is, her signature line could apply to the writers for doing whatever they please with the franchise.

Oh, and Utopia Planitia being anything but, har har.

People complain about how squeaky clean the Federation was on the surface, and while I personally think the top brass could be corrupted and it'd be a good story, the whole point of the Federation is that it IS squeaky clean. That's its main selling point and why 150 other species wanted to join, 'cause its got its act together and even places like a ship/dockyard are pleasent places to work. That's the whole appeal, both in and out of universe. But out the window THAT goes.

So far I've yet to see my least favorite nuTrek hallmark, the picture window on the bridge, but I'm sure it'll show up and that that is the window the worldbuilding lore of the last 50 years will be thrown out of. Sweet Surak of Vulcan, did I build myself up for disappointment.
Booming
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 3:56am (UTC -5)
@Nolan
Whoa scary. Your first paragraph could have been extracted from my brain. That ST:P will show that the Federation was always shitty and we were just presented with ruling class propaganda.

The enterprise was a total oddity. Only because Picard was such a hardcore humanitarian did it work like it did there. That' why Riker didn't want to leave because it is the only ship (flag ship and all) where people are treated with decency. The rest of the fleet is as humanitarian as a Roman galley fleet.

Remember this scene where Picard commands the Stargazer? It is pretty revealing when you watch carefully
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46LVYr3Q784
Elderberry
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 5:35am (UTC -5)
I'm amused when people who object to the swearing then scatter their own posts with damns and hells. Motes and beams.

otoh, they have a good point - one of the things we've seen is the need to present in ways that other cultures don't find offensive - Archers stomping around, dog in tow, Janeway with her hands on her hips - Enterprise crew eating in front of visitors - all those were learning situations, and I agree that the protocol of using language carefully would probably be a basic start point of the Federation's educational systems.

leading to the situation where this exchange can happen:

"Your use of language has altered since our arrival. It is currently laced with, shall we say, more colorful metaphors, “double dumb-ass on you” and so forth.

Oh, you mean the profanity?

Yes.

Well that’s simply the way they talk here. Nobody pays any attention to you unless you swear every other word. "


I'm not totally convinced this would have changed that much, and in that direction, in 120 years.
Filip
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 8:23am (UTC -5)
I've spent the better part of the day reading reviews and your comments here so I'll keep this brief.

Some very good insights from you guys, it's always a pleasure reading your thoughts. For me, this one was worse than the pilot. Generally, it all feels 'off.' The pacing and camera work is weird, so many elements dumped in the short span of 45 minutes that it doesn't allow me a single moment to stop and just appreciate the fact that I'm watching something I would've been over thrilled to see under different circumstances.

The scene between the admiral and Picard is terrible. There they had a golden opportunity to give voice to the two sides and give them both valid arguments, and genuinely portray the events that came to pass before the show as difficult for everybody involved. Instead we got meaningless shouting that killed any notion of subtext, and on top of that the expletive we got was utterly gratuitous. The weird shifting of the camera between admiral and Picard, all while it is solely Picard who is doing the talking, is incomprehensible and only adds to the neurotic feel of the scene. On top of that, she is utterly incompetent to have a conspiracy of this caliber take place right under her nose.

This whole exchange reminded me of DS9's "Inquisition" - remember when Sloan created that elaborate deception for Bashir where everybody was acting so out of character, with fake Sisko dismissing Bashir and wouldn't even listen to him? That's exactly what the admiral here feels like, only, unfortunately, it is no deception and it is what Federation has actually come to be.

People above me have already thoroughly commented on the cartoonish nature of the villians, the immense amount of exposition and the whole concept of the secret police within the secret police, so I am just going to say that I'm with you regarding the criticism. One thing I'd like to add, though, they establish here that Romulans hate synthetic life-forms, so how do you explain Admiral Jarok saying in "The Defector" that there a couple of Romulan cyberneticists who would love to get their hands on Data? No other explanation, but another retcon on which the whole show is based.

Regarding Narek, the guy that showed up out of nowhere in ep1 and began his never ending, unsolicited story about his lost brother only an episode later shamelessly says "I'm a man of secrets." What? Someone should really make a YouTube clip with those two scenes one right after another and put it in a loop, it would be absolutely hilarious.

I did like the dialogue between Picard and his former Stargazer colleague, but I feel like here we have been given a hint as to how the show will end, which I didn't like. I also like the CGI with the cube, which it seems a lot of you didn't. It managed to show how enormous it actually is and made it feel like an actual space the characters occupy.

That's it off the top of my head, there were other points I wanted to make, but you have it pretty much covered here.
Daniel
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 8:36am (UTC -5)
Aside from getting jolted from seeing production design repurpose a Dremel 3D Printer into a food replicator, and the computer alert announcements announcing things that were more geared towards explaining things to the viewing audience than being realistic emergency announcements, I really didn't see how the Utopia Planitia scene to be problematic--particularly with its depiction of the crewmembers and F8.

As I remember, at the beginning of Voyager (including flashback episodes and even a cameo on Star Trek First Contact), everyone treated the EMH like crap, save for Kes. In fact, all of the over 600 some-odd EMH Mark-Is were reassigned to perform menial labor, such as dilithium mining. Heck, in "Author, Author" (a Voyager rehash of "Measure of a Man") the publisher is shameless in asserting that the Doctor has no rights.

We've been habituated through hundreds of episodes to believe in the full sentience and equal-footing of the artificial beings from TNG and Voyager (I guess even Vic from DS9), but the reality is, these are more the exception than the norm. Data is and was the only well-known Soong-type android among what I'd think would probably be hundreds and thousands of inferior synths across the Federation, and the Doctor was the only EMH Mark-I to have ever developed sentience. Also, narratively, in their respective series, it would be altogether weird if the crews didn't develop a more respectful rapport with them across seven seasons. The vast majority of the Federation would only have interacted with the "inferior" types.

Thus I don't see it far-fetched that even in the 24th century, some people would treat the synths with a little less than equal respect--especially if they've been manufactured to appear and act in that sort of uncanny valley. The two Planitia crewmembers who interacted with F8 weren't mean-spirited, and in fact the "Hell-Yeah!" girl actually seemed to be protective of him in front of the one crewmember who actively was disrespectful.
Gooz
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 9:26am (UTC -5)
The opener from Utopia Planitia missed a huge chance to do some fan service and kill of Keiko for good.

She may have been elsewhere on Mars, maybe in the botany lab or in a classroom. They still haven't brought back all the old cast yet, so there's hope that they'll bring up her death in a nice glossy flashback when Picard goes to visit the widowed O'Brien and Molly, who, unshackled by Keiko have flourished since her couldn't-have-come-soon-enough death 14 years ago.

The rest of the episode was decent, but very distracting given the whole Keiko not being killed issue. Hard to concentrate on the plot and acting with that big elephant in the room.
Jaxon
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 9:32am (UTC -5)
At this point it would be preferable to declare Abrams/Kurtzman Trek to be another mirror universe whose evil is somewhere between the prime one and the mirror universe TOS and DS9 visited.

I'd like a show visiting the 2399 than unfolds directly from What You Leave Behind and Endgame, but discards anything from the subsequent novels that it wants to.
wolfstar
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 9:32am (UTC -5)
Oh, and given how much it was emphasized that the Borg cube site is *extremely dangerous* and not to touch anything, the "5843 days without an assimilation" sign, and the nervous lady who was a new recruit at the site (who Soji had to reassure)... who thinks we're being set up for something awful to happen to her next week? (Plus she's in a red outfit...)
Booming
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 9:53am (UTC -5)
@Gooz
You have around 20 I hate Keiko posts. We get it. Could you stop it now. This show has nothing to do with her.
Gerontius
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 10:08am (UTC -5)
"how do you explain Admiral Jarok saying in "The Defector" that there a couple of Romulan cyberneticists who would love to get their hands on Data?"

Easy enough. She could have been speaking ironically about relishing the thought of what they might do to him in the course of destroying him. In that case "cyberneticists" would mean something rather different from what it might normally be meant to connote.

I doubt very much if that was what was intended by the screenwriter in the first place, but the revised meaning fits OK. Though again I'd doubt if today's writers go through every past episode to ensure consistency. There are fans who do seem to have that kind of encyclopaedic recall - I suppose if the powers that be really cared they could employ a few of them to ride shotgun.

But I agree with those who indicated unhappiness with this whole notion of the undying hostility and repulsion Romulans Feel towards artificial life - as I remarked, it certainly doesn't seem to trouble Narek, seeing he knows Soji's nature.
Dave in MN
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 10:10am (UTC -5)
@Elderberry

We aren't characters in a fictional universe written by others.
Gerontius
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 10:13am (UTC -5)
Agreed with Boomer about that irrelevant knocking campaign against Keiko. Conceivably it isn't racist, but it certainly feels that way.
Dave in MN
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 10:29am (UTC -5)
@ Gerontius

My impression is Narek is a super-duper secret mole .... why he hasn't blown up the cube yet will probably be explained in a cringy moustache-twirling exposition-dump speech a few episodes from now.
Quincy
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 12:01pm (UTC -5)
wolfstar raises an interesting point.

It's not Trek without easily recognizable cannon fodder. Where are our red shirts!!!

Any Trek that doesn't have disposable NPCs isn't real Star Trek.
Gerontius
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 12:14pm (UTC -5)
No doubt Narek is a super-Duper secret mole, but at this point there is no way of knowing which side or whatever sides are involved, or where his ultimate loyalties lie, if indeed that is a meaningful question in his case.

I'm afraid the Romulans are probably not going to be the only conspirators in the game - or indeed that there will be only one set of Romulans all on the same side as each other. Irritating.
Filip
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 12:31pm (UTC -5)
@Quincy

Dahj's boyfriend and the shipyard workers are a start.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 12:32pm (UTC -5)
@Captain Jon
"That’s what we have now; new versions of Trek for our current turbulent times."

That's total BS.

The 1960's were among the most turbulent times in history. I strongly suggest that you learn some history, before you make up cr*p like that.


@Nolan
"People complain about how squeaky clean the Federation was on the surface, and while I personally think the top brass could be corrupted and it'd be a good story, the whole point of the Federation is that it IS squeaky clean. That's its main selling point and why 150 other species wanted to join, 'cause it got its act together and even places like a ship/dockyard are pleasent places to work. That's the whole appeal, both in and out of universe."

I don't think the Federation was ever 100% squeakly clean (we've seen plenty of evidence that it isn't from previous shows), but it was always supposed to be a nice place to live in. A place far better then our present day world. A place were humans overcame at least some of their worst qualities.

That was the whole POINT of Star Trek in the first place. That's why Roddenberry created it in the 1960's, and that's why many people (including myself) became fans of the show.

@Geekgarious
"Ovaduh is right about the silliness of debating what is and isn’t Star Trek. The problem with Picard (and Discovery and the JJ movies) is not that they aren’t Trek. It’s that they’re poorly written, have no sub text, and consist mostly of regurgitations of other people‘s work."

Why does it have to be one or the other?

Can't a show be poorly written while also betraying the source material?

The only silly thing in this debate of "what is Star Trek" is that some people insist on clouding the issue with mockery, cynicism, distortion of the facts and outright lies.

Star Trek was originally created with a very specific intention in mind: To show us a better world. For 40 years it more-or-less stayed true to this ideal, and around 2009 this entire vision went to the dogs.

These are the objective facts. It's not a matter of personal opinion or personal preferences. This is the one thing that always made Star Trek unique.

We can quibble about the details, of-course. Some would argue that the deterioration already began with DS9 or with ENT. Others would defend the Abrahms films and would argue that the actual souring point starting at Discovery.

But there's no doubt at where the franchise is today. It has done a complete 180-degrees turn when compared to Roddenberry's original intentions. It's such a complete transformation, that the writers aren't even pertending anymore.

In fact, the situation is so bad, that even the supporters of DSC (and now Picard) have mostly given up trying to convince anybody that Trek is still optimistic. Their weapon of choice, now, is to claim that this yardstick is irrelevant. They say that we live in cynical times so we need cynical Trek. Or they claim that being idealistic and dreaming of a better world is idiotic, and Star Trek needs to "grow up" and become "more realistic".

This is a complete anti-thesis of what Roddenberry had in mind when he created his show in the 1960's. It's a complete anti-thesis of everything that used to be unique and special about Star Trek. There's nothing to "debate" here, really, because the situation is crystal clear.

So yes, I agree it's a silly debate, but not for the reasons the Ovaduh has stated.
Booming
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
@Omicron
You forgot one point. Some also claim that Star Trek was always dark and racist and that we just remember it wrongly. Some made a great point about Mccoy. He was a total racist! :D
Patrick D
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 1:29pm (UTC -5)
"Mccoy was a total racist!"

He did refer to Spock as a "green-blooded hobgoblin" and similar names at various times, showing prejudice towards Vulcans. It seems that Roddenberry didn't want to ignore racism and say it didn't exist anymore. Rather, he wanted it out there in front of us so we could see characters like Bones learn to deal with it.
Dom
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 2:05pm (UTC -5)
@@Omicron, I agree with your full-throated defense of optimistic Trek. I do feel there's a huge difference between Picard and Discovery in this respect though. In Picard, I think the Federation is still depicted as flawed, but ultimately better than the present. People aren't perfect, leaders made choices that weren't the most altruistic, but it's not cynical. Life on Earth seems pretty pleasant.

In Discovery, the Federation and Starfleet had no moral compass. We saw Sarek advocate for genocide of the Klingons, Starfleet officers engage in torture and prisoner abuse, and much more. Sure, McCoy might have cursed a bit in TOS, but the Federation/Starfleet in Disco was almost Orwellian. I wouldn't want to live in that future.
brian
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 2:22pm (UTC -5)
It looks to me like Omicrontheta and only a few others have the big picture. Star Trek IS completely different than what it was before. Whether you like that or not, is not the question.

Star Trek was a huge cultural phenomenon precisely because of its optimistic, idealistic conception of the future. That's WHY millions flocked to it. They wanted a respite from the real world--which, at the time of TOS, was pretty chaotic. TOS smelled like a sweet, clean breath of fresh air. It might have been squeaky clean and sanitized, but compared to the sight of people being burned alive in Vietnam, it must have seemed so desirable.

Does anyone honestly think that Star Trek TOS would have taken off and become a cultural phenomenon, if it "mirrored" reality in the 1960's? Mirrored people getting burned alive by napalm? Mirrored presidents getting shot in parades? If it was a "gritty" real world take on space exploration? Absolutely not. It wouldn't even have been made.

Star Trek, as it was originally realized, was pure escapism, but infused with a legitimacy and optimism that put it a class above other escapist media at the time. It also happened to directly challenge dogma of the day (black women on spaceships, etc). BUT, it was NEVER meant to mirror reality.

The beauty of Star Trek, during its heyday, was that you could be watching coverage of race riots and the Rodney King beating on one channel, then hit a button and instead watch a character drama about Picard living an entire lifetime with an alien civilization in the span of a few minutes.

Today, you can watch 24 hour coverage of a fairly tame but very media-hyped impeachment trial about a public figure involved in a conspiracy, or you can.....watch "Picard" and see another conspiracy type sci-fi show with people talking very cynically and snarkily with each other as said conspiracy unfolds, and oh yea, ninja swords and kung fu.

Look, I work hard for a living. I have a wife and kids. When I come home after a long day, I want to watch something idealistic, hopeful, and completely removed from whatever junk is playing out on the TV news networks. And that is why CBS doesn't get my money.
Top Hat
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 2:45pm (UTC -5)
It's less that TOS was "pure escapism" (which honestly sounds rather trivializing), but that it COULD be received as pure escapism. Plenty of its episodes (though hardly most) commented directly on contemporary events, and the darker ones, like "A Private Little War" or "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield," scarcely convey optimism. Bear in mind that TOS was winning Hugo Awards -- it was received, in some circles at least, as serious science fiction. That doesn't rule out it being optimistic but it does rule it being mindless, unserious entertainment.
Booming
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 2:46pm (UTC -5)
To clarify my Mccoy statement. I don't think that he was racist. I always viewed his comments toward Spock as his way of showing affection. I fairly sure that Mccoy loved Spock and Kirk.
Brandon Adams
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 2:51pm (UTC -5)
Immensely clutzy episode. The bedroom, apartment investigation, and evil plotting scenes could have all been done with a quarter of the dialogue and four times the effectiveness, and the Mars attack scene shouldn't have been there at all. I've rarely seen a Trek episode that felt like so much anxious filler (outside of Discovery).

And a series billed as textured and new as this one has been, should not have Grim Evil™ standing around in open offices pontificating about "taking care of Picard", bwahaha. That's just cartoonish.

On the plus side, the writers are nailing the arc of Picard so far. Seeing his clumsy approach to Clancy and watching his less-than-perfect judgment come back to bite him does pain me, but the man is older and perhaps facing an unpleasant twilight neurologically. That's all playing into the story very well. I also bought his motives for not bringing in his old friends, even though, let's be honest, that's what we're all waiting around to see.
Dom
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 3:01pm (UTC -5)
@Top Hat, agreed. TOS and TNG were never just escapism. They had something to say about the world. What they were is optimistic. They promised that it was possible to solve tough problems if you applied enough human creativity. They mostly said happy endings are achievable. That's the difference between Berman-era Trek and the modern era.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 3:05pm (UTC -5)
@Booming/Patrick D

McCoy had anti-Vulcan prejudice, that's true. But he was also a good friend of Spock's, and an extremely loyal person in general (including towards Spock).

Speaking of Spock, he wasn't such a perfect example of tolerance himself. We love Spock so much, we tend to forget that he was often arrogant and snarky when he had to deal with those emotional humans. You could argue that Spock was every bit as racist as McCoy was, even if he tended to show it in less colorful language.

The important point here, is that they still worked well together and still respected one another. The worst it ever got, on both sides, is an occasional snide remark. McCoy can cr*p his mouth all he wants, but his anti-Vulcan prejudice never influenced any important decision he made. Can you imagine McCoy arguing that a colony of Vulcan refugees isn't worth saving because they are "green-blooded hobgoblins"?

Seriously, if all the racists in the real world were of this type, it would have been a far nicer place.

And of-course, no discussion of racism-in-Trek isn't going to complete without Kirk's appalling display of anti-Klingon racism in Star Trek VI. "Don't trust them", he said. "Let them die". Yet he still did what was required of him to make peace. His racism was in his words, but not in his actions.

You could argue that these things are anti-Trek to a degree. Or you could argue, like Patrick D, that it actually strengthens the Trek message to see our heroes deal with these prejudices. Both would be valid points for a discussion. But none of this is really relevant to the current situation, where things are dark for the sake of being dark and being an asshole is the new norm.

@Dom
"In Picard, I think the Federation is still depicted as flawed, but ultimately better than the present. People aren't perfect, leaders made choices that weren't the most altruistic, but it's not cynical. Life on Earth seems pretty pleasant. "

Showing us people who are working in substandard conditions when we know that the Federation could easily afford something better, is cynical enough in my book. At the Feds level of technology, there is no excuse for such a thing to happen.

And what about the Synths? I know times are pretty grim, but we haven't yet reached the point were the government is allowed to just terminate members of a minority they don't like. How is that forgivable, in any way or form?

You want also want to wait a few more episodes. I have a feeling that what we've seen up till now was just the tip of the ice berg. It's just going to get darker from here.

(It may be better than Discovery in this respect, but that's a very low bar to clear)

@Top Hat

The beauty of Star Trek is that it could serve both as escapism and as thoughtful commentary.

On the one hand, it's really nice to come home after a tough day and watch something different. Even when the plots turned dark, it was (usually) uplifting to see the way our heroes respond to the the situation at hand.

So yes, it is "escapism" in this respect.

But on the other hand, Star Trek also serves as food for thought. If you let it, it can even inspire you to make actual changes in your own life. Maybe it is naive to think that Star Trek can change the entire world, but it can certainly change our own little corner of the world for the better.

It has certainly changed mine.
(and when I look at the kind of stuff that passes as Star Trek today, I don't see this kind of potential. That's the problem in a nutshell)
Stefan T.
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 5:05pm (UTC -5)
Honestly, I've watched the two episodes now. And I still don't know what to think about it. The more I watch it, the more questions arise while watching it. Just a few of them:

- Ok, so some androids went rogue and they literally destroyed the Mars, the Utopia shipyard and killed many humans. First: Why did they even deploy something completely "new" (Data died 6 years before that incident in 2379) to one of the most important shipyards for the starfleet? Why it seems, that this was the only place they did that, and what happened to the androids elsewhere if they existed?

- Obviously, the Starfleet didnt learn from "Nemesis" nor from the dominion war. Instead it seems everyone can get in and out even with some sort of ex-Tal-Shiar-Equipment or replacing high ranking vulcan officers with Romulans.

- Which leads to the next question, why starfleet would even allow a single romulan to be at the Earth with the diplomatic relations being for most of the time non-existent. Even if saving them, wouldnt it make more sense to bring them back to the Romulan Free State after it was established? And then two former agents of an enemy power such as the Romulan Empire?

- Or in General, what is the relation of the Romulan Free State and the Federation?

- Keeping all that in mind, it becomes even more weird that some sort of super-special-troop can just fight with lasers and explosions on the top of a building in San Francisco and no one even realizes that? Except for the conspirators? and Picard himself? Oh and this super-special-squadron does send three people for an android being capable of so much more? If they knew, who she was, they also should have estimated the mission being far more dangerous than that.

- Killing a man with a knife? How theatralic and absolutely ridiculous if you think about blood, secrecy and the ability to actually desintegrate bodies. I thought romulan assassins would be more capable. /sarcasm off

- And Picard, as he has been in service, being one of the highest ranking officers and most famous people, known far over the galaxy, is not even being remembered by someone working at the entrance of the starfleet academy even after hearing his name? And that after he made a speech to, what was being said, billions of people around the galaxy in the interview?

- Still, there remains the question why there would be such a melodramatic scene with Admiral Clancy and Picard. "Sheer fucking hubris"? Isnt that a bit over the top? On the other hand, it seems very conceited being a former admiral, then saying something like "even if it means being demoted to captain" when he's been captain for over 40 years??

Things which are not mentioned but still: Borg Cube? Having an institute for artifical intelligence and so on still existing after the ban?
Jammer
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 5:38pm (UTC -5)
Review now posted.
Leif
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 6:13pm (UTC -5)
Is anyone else but me,wishing they would use more old characters to give the unvierse a more coherent and organic feel instead of introducing new,random characters like Raffi, why not use Ensign Ro again??!! Didn't anyone else think she would be good in that role..an outsider thst Picard has some past conflict with...And why isn't Beverly Crusher living with Picard or at least mentioned and he could've reached out to her..it would've made more sense...

And Jammer you forgot to,mention the mystery of the "nest" discussed by the two Romulans at the end and why is the Borg cube called an artifact? And besides Lore, Jammer don't you think they should also,mention and bring back the last Brog Queen and Unimatrix Zero survivors...makes sense they would be working with Seven of,Nine and/or Hugh...
Rahul
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 6:16pm (UTC -5)
Just watched the episode for a 2nd time and liked it a tad more but overwhelmingly I feel PIC is trending towards how DSC played out in its 2nd season -- and that's not a good thing.

This episode is basically mechanical -- just plot advancement without much depth but there are a few decent scenes. The big advantage PIC has over DSC is the quality of the acting and that's not just from Stewart. The writing, however, is probably not much better. But the visuals are -- and that's because the entire episode is not taking place in space.

As for the final scenes with the commodore, Lt. Rizzo, and Narek -- yes I do feel more so than in my first viewing that this is excessive moustache-twirling villainy. Just really spoon-feeding us the bad guys. But it's nowhere near as bad as DS9's "Strange Bedfellows" where at the end Dukat and Winn have their MUAHAHAHA moment. Thinking of DS9's ending to its final season might be a good comparison for PIC S1.

But now I really long for episodic new Trek. It's fine to go through the exposition episodes -- probably another one coming up and this plays similarly to "Penumbra", "'Til Death Do Us Part", and "Strange Bedfellows" but we'd better get some quality resolution episodes like "The Changing Face of Evil". Not holding my breath that PIC reaches the heights of the magnificent "Tacking Into the Wind".
Dom
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 6:40pm (UTC -5)
@Rahul, I'd love to see more episodic TV in general. I really enjoyed both Mandalorian and Watchmen last year. While neither was purely episodic and they each had an overarching story, each episode still felt like a complete unit with a beginning, middle, and conclusion. BSG also did this well. I'd love to see more TV shows treat the episode as a meaningful unit of storytelling instead of just as one part of a larger story. Too often, watching an episode of serialized feels like having only part of a meal and rarely leaves me satisfied.
Lodged Torpedo
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 7:07pm (UTC -5)
Just playing Data’s advocate here, but couldn’t Admiral Jarok’s statement from TNG’s “The Defector” about Romulan cyberneticists who would have loved to get their hands on Data also mean they would have loved to get their hands on him to disconnect or destroy him?
Gauntlet
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 7:13pm (UTC -5)
A few things need clarifying:

1) The head of SF intelligence shown here, is not necessarily a member of Zhat Vash... Narek's sister refers to her as an "ally". It seems to me, that Starfleet is complicit and cooperating with the organization, not truly "infiltrated" per-se.

2) The head of SF intelligence's ethnicity is not known. Some have mentioned she's over-written for a Vulcan... she may openly or secretly be a Romulan, or part Vulcan.

3) The Anti-Synth agenda of the Zhat Vash is very unlikely to reference Disco and Control, if I'm not mistaken, Zhat Vash was claimed to go back thousands of years, not a few hundred. Still, it's possible.

It's weirdly possible that the "secret" that could "break your mind" or such, is that the Romulan people are actually organic-synthetics invented in desperation by those Vulcans who left Vulcan, or were invented on Vulcan and effectively were exiled. The organization exists to prevent anyone from ever learning this fact, and thus discourages research into AI/etc.

It's difficult to believe this would be unknown to the Vulcans notably, but if any species in Star Trek would FAIL TO MENTION THAT KEY BIT OF INFORMATION... well gee, the Vulcans are that species.

It's very outlandish though...
Rahul
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 7:59pm (UTC -5)
@Dom,

Yes, a "self-contained" episode that also advanced the arc would be much appreciated -- since the arc must be advanced. I'd then have that feeling of satisfaction that I'd been told a good story -- or a story. I believe that PIC was only given the green light for 10 episodes and then subsequently got a second season approved so it limits what the writers can do in season 1 -- they must do a 10-part movie. However, I think back to DSC Season 2 when they had the episode "An Obol for Charon" -- here was a decent self-contained episode that fit well within the arc. So the key for these writers is to not just have episodes that juggle subplots the whole way through. Hopefully we have a situation where we can really sink our teeth into 1 good story in 1 episode -- maybe it's just focusing on 1 of the subplots for a change. Anyhow, it's only been 2 episodes of PIC and I can't say I'm disappointed so far.
Cenotaph
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 8:02pm (UTC -5)
The show is already a big disappointment. The dialogue is features over exposition, it's generally uninteresting to listen to and the plot, because they've gone with the Kelvin timeline, is nonsensical. The fact they went along with carbon copy JJ's vision should be worrying for the longevity of this series.
I'm giving this and the previous episodes 1 star, the only thing the show is doing well so far is the CGI.
Bilbo
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 8:19pm (UTC -5)
Ive decided to just watch Trek from before J.J.
And I’ve also decided that most movies and tv shows from 2000 and back are way better than most of the garbage pumped out today. With the way everything is so dark you’d think that 90% of Hollywood and the general population are severely depressed. What this world needs is more optimism.
Think about the number of people that are on anti-depressants now and all this dark crap coming from Hollywood makes perfect sense considering at least 50-70% of the population are on some sort of depression meds.
Late To The Party Girl
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 8:22pm (UTC -5)
I'll keep watching, but this episode dragged for me. I continue to rewatch various episodes of TNG, VOY and even ENT because those episodes were able to stand on their own as well as an ensemble element of a larger plot line. (I watched TOS when it aired initially and that was enough for me!) But these two episodes of PIC just ask you to wait and see - something good is coming (hopefully). A 10 hour movie is fine, but you'll likely only have the patience to watch it once.

The back and forth in Dajh's apartment with the technological whizbangery just seemed plodding to me and completely contrived - first, the Tal Shiar wiped the room clean oh, wait, no they didn't. And LOOK, they left the very pieces that the ex-Tal Shiar needed to piece it all together again. Too contrived. She's not on earth? Not exactly shocking.

The most unbelievable element in all of this for me was the whole concept of the Zhat Vash - I'm good with having an Super Evil Villain, but the deepest, darkest, most protected secret safeguarded over thousands of years was that they don't like synths? I'm not buying it. It didn't seem like much of a secret and I doubt that would be something they would have been harbouring over that period of time. The fact that the Romulans don't have AIs is an observable fact. So, the fact that they don't support that form of life isn't exactly a mystery.

The gratuitous f-bombs didn't really bother me. But they were unnecessary. And, I think the Admiral's "HUBRIS" line would have been far stronger without it. We'd be debating the deep loss of trust/faith between Star Fleet and Picard, wondering about how the relationship went SO WRONG, surmising about whether Picard's legacy has been nullified (such that he now has to spell his name at the front desk - P-I-C-A-R-D) and not focussing on the potty mouth of the Admiral.

And, finally, Star Fleet having been infiltrated at the highest levels? Pfft. It's been done - and far better - remember TNG "Conspiracy"? Now THAT was infiltration.

Two stars.
Reece Zimm
Sat, Feb 1, 2020, 10:23pm (UTC -5)
I loved it, answered a few questions and took it's time, which I appreciate. The additional back story on Mars was fantastic. Some great character moments, that provided richness to everyone we met in e1. It truly picks up right were e1 left off, so much so that I felt I needed e1 fresh in my mind. Loved the political B storyline opening up about Star Fleet, and the needs of the member races of the Federation. I agree with Jammer that e1-e3 will be Act 1, also telling that pre-release hype reviews were only shown the first three episodes.

I think if Picard had gone straight to a ship and space in this episode it would have been predictable and slightly jaring pace. Glad they took this approach, as Akiva Goldsman said in the Ready Room post e2, Picard is Science Drama, not Science Action like Discovery. Soo happy I can feel a clear distinction continuing between these series in so many great ways.
Dave in MN
Sun, Feb 2, 2020, 2:39am (UTC -5)
Didn't Chateau Picard burn down?
Booming
Sun, Feb 2, 2020, 3:57am (UTC -5)
What are we doing here, guys? It think it is clear that the vision of Roddenberry, the belief that the future will be something wonderful, is no more and it will not come back. Let's just accept that and try to get as much satisfaction out of nutrek as possible. For that to work here are my recommendations.

- The writers don't know or care about Star Trek. They are using a known franchise to tell an approachable story. Everything that goes beyond what a person probably knows who did not watch Star Trek is irrelevant. That means: Picard facepalm, Picard Locutus, Borg, Romulans, Klingons, Earl Grey and a few other things. Everything else they will just make up and a lot of it will not make sense to Trek fans.

- Science is not important to the writers. The whole supernova makes no sense for anybody who knows what a supernova is. The same goes for magic tech. If they need tech to do something they will just come up with something and it will have no relation to actual science.

- It is dark. As with the other points this is about getting people into CBSallaccess. Most people don't care about science, most people don't care about Star Trek. They care about current problems. Rise of fascism, political division, hard to understand threats on many level (climate change, militarization, Pandemia, constant surveillance, late capitalism and so on). To get people to watch Trek has to reflect that. Non science fiction fans have to sit at home and think:"I can somehow relate to this. This makes me feel something"

- It is mysterious. Related to the point above. People feel overwhelmed by the times. People don't really understand why all this is happening or how we can solve any of this. That is why the NuTrek shows are filled to the brink with mysteries because a mystery in a show is always a promise. The promise of a solution and that is what many people long for. Understanding all those mysteries. But as with Discovery quite a few mysteries are just there as a shiny object to dangle in front of the audience's face. Nobody can keep track of them all and some will not be resolved. Analyzing this stuff too much will probably lead to frustration. Let's accept the what most mysteries for what they are. Mysteries for mysteries sake.

- It is small. Most people will be in some sort of relationship that will not have to be explained. People will mostly be old friends or family members. Maybe as a counterbalance for all the mysteries going on. To make it less confusing. In the sense that when we hear:" daughter or sibling or old colleague." we don't have to reflect on that. It is immediately clear.

- It will try to ride a line. As to attract as many people as possible it also has to ride a fine line. I had this thought the first time when I saw: FNN. So people who hate Fox News can say it is Fox News and people who hate CNN can say it is CNN. We also get the message: "We should help refugees." but also the message:"Refugees are a threat.". I have no idea how they will resolve that conflict or if they will pick a side at the end but it will probably keep up this duality.

- It will be American. The topics will strongly resemble the struggles of the USA. The Federation before was harmonious, powerful united nations in space. The Federation in NuTrek is 24th century USA in space. Again CBSallaccess. In Europe we get ST:Picard through Amazon Prime and Discovery through Netflix. The audience outside of the US is therefore not really important for CBS to get their subscription channel going.

Personally I will now just try to watch it as it's own thing and maybe get some enjoyment out of it that way. Life is short.
Doge
Sun, Feb 2, 2020, 6:05am (UTC -5)
First time commenting, I think I should share some opinions of my own. I've only recently got into Trek (last year, started with TNG) and I'm pretty sad with Discovery and now Picard. I don't like the serialised stuff, and never will. There's overuse of FX (lens flare much?) and the nonsense science is a bit annoying, even the technobabble of the other series as least seemed consistent (phase modulation! pattern buffer! warp coil, nacelles, *console explodes for no reason*)

@Booming - good analysis. My disappointment with this is like other media that I consume (video games and movies) but I often forget that the "good stuff" is unchanged. The old shows aren't going anywhere, and if this turns into a trainwreck some can always pretend it doesn't exist (like some Matrix fans, I believe).

Regarding your dissection of the messages, as someone who's not American it's slightly jarring to have such a 'ham-fisted' agenda of sorts. I think that comes down to the serialisation issue, which is that the entire series is "refugees/Brexit" as opposed to one episode, which means that if either of those real-life issues turns out to be for the better/worse, the whole series might be seen in a different light. As opposed to, say, that episode of ENT where T'pol has "treatable but incurable disease spread through disapproved means", which modern society is moving towards acceptance.

Possibly the worst thing you made note of is "the writers don't know or care about Trek". I saw something of JJ Abrams saying he doesn't like it. Disappointing. I don't think there's any excuse for someone who is not invested in a series to be in charge of continuing it. Even if you don't like it, they should do research. But I digress.

We're only 2 episodes in, and since there's 3 seasons planned, there will almost certainly be cliffhangers or reveals at the end of the season. So I'll give it a chance. It's my favourite captain in his final story, and there hopefully will be less Discovery-tier issues with it.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Feb 2, 2020, 7:36am (UTC -5)
@Booming

"Personally I will now just try to watch it as it's own thing and maybe get some enjoyment out of it that way."

Why? Seriously, what's the point of forcing yourself to play along with something you don't like? Just because the words "Star Trek" are stamped on the title? You've just admitted yourself that those words have lost their meaning anyway.

If you enjoy it naturally, great.

If you don't, then for the love of The Great Bird of the Galaxy, find yourself something else to do. Life *is* short. Why the heck would you want to waste it on entertainment you don't resonate with?
Booming
Sun, Feb 2, 2020, 8:13am (UTC -5)
@ Omicron
I dislike it as a Star Trek show but maybe I can like it as a science fiction show. Patrick Stewart is doing his last round here. I like the actor. But you are right. I want to see were this is going but if it will go where I think it will go, mystery action nonsense drama, then I will drop out after season 1. The same goes for Discovery. I kind of want to see what they do with 30th century stuff but I don't expect much and would not be surprised if I don't make it to the end of season 3. When that happens then I'm done with whatever is called Star Trek these days.

What else? Season 2 of the Orville is supposed to be good and apart from that.

Well... apart from that Star Trek will be a cherished memory. :)
Dom
Sun, Feb 2, 2020, 8:37am (UTC -5)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi, Booming,

I'm wrestling with this question too. I stopped watching Discovery after Season 1 because I realized it just wasn't worth my time. With Picard, I kind of agree with Booming in that if I could disassociate it from the Star Trek label I'd probably enjoy it more as a generic sci-fi show. The show is fine so far and I'm willing to give season 1 a chance.

But I'm also keenly aware that the show doesn't seem to be doing what I most loved about older Trek. To some extent, I am letting the name of the franchise draw me in and give the show a second or third chance when I might not have for the same show with a different name. I know other people are too. Some of the Star Trek podcasts gushing about last week's episode are now admitting that they got caught up in the hype and revised their opinions slightly downward.

The thing that really makes this tough is that Picard is a serialized show. We won't actually know if the story has something meaningful to say or if it's just "mystery action nonsense drama" until the end of episode 10. It's possible later revelations will give the earlier setup episodes greater meaning. Or, as in the case of Discovery, it's possible that the ending will show that the entire journey was worthless.

The most important thing we can do as fans is to be aware that corporations want to use IPs to tug on your emotions. Studios know that fans will gravitate towards a beloved franchise like Star Trek. We need to make sure our entertainment consumption habits are just driven by nostalgia or brand loyalty. If someone likes Picard or Discovery on its own merits, great! But just be sure you're in charge of how you spend your TV time, not a studio.
Mal
Sun, Feb 2, 2020, 9:05am (UTC -5)
Star Trek is dead. Have we run out of heroes.

Kirk in the late 60’s was an astronaut at a time when America was racing for the moon. Kirk and his crew were a new and better breed of men, just as we all hoped the astronauts might be once they touched the surface of our closest heavenly neighbour.

The last Star Trek episode with Captain Kirk aired on June 3, 1969. Seven weeks later, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon. We didn’t need fictional future men. We now had two real deals of our very own.

When humans stopped going to moon in 1972, our supply of heroes was no longer regularly replenished. But at least the 12 men who touched the moon were still with us. In fact, four of those men - including Buzz Aldrin - still walk the face of this tiny blue planet.

Picard at the end of the 80’s was our hero at a time when America had experienced 5 straight years in which the unemployment rate fell almost Every. Single. Month. That's 60 months of an improving economy (wow!). Of course back then it seemed like in the future everyone would eventually have access to everything.

Many people say TNG didn’t hit it’s stride for the first two years. And that may be because at two years, the Berlin Wall fell. The cold war was over. America won! We finally had new heroes to model a Star Trek around. We were the heroes of the free world! Our people spread out across the planet and took with them the gospel of freedom. And TNG reflected that with a Picard who was both an explorer and a diplomat and above all, a True Believer in the Principles of the Federation.

That all ended on 9/11.

In the rubble, glimmers of new heroes popped up here and there.

For a moment in history it seemed billionaires might be our new heroes (Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark). But Steve Jobs was no Neil Armstrong, and in any case, billionaires have pretty much been written out of the Federation.

So for a few years, struggling to find a hero, Star Trek relied on Tech to carry the day. VOY and ENT were overloaded with technobabble. But no one likes Facebook any more, and Twitter is the devil, and so Technology is out as a stand-in hero.

Well into in the 21st century we are still at a loss for heroes.

Discovery tried its hand at a new hero for a new age: political correctness. But when you let one thing become more important than The Thing (story telling: “the play’s the thing"), the end product suffers. And DISC certainly suffers from fucked up writing.

And now "Star Trek: Picard". What is the hero?

Nostalgia is a poor hero. In this day and age, to expect us to be nostalgic for a time when explorer-diplomats were our heroes is frankly, just fucking hubris. At least that other deep space franchise has settled on a hero: a foster father caring for his adopted baby yoda. Clearly the quality vastly improves when you have a Big Damn Hero to tell a story around.

Until we get up off our asses and decide for ourselves what we want to be when we grow up - who are the heroes we want to emulate, and who we want our kids to be like - we will literally have no models to base a Star Trek around. Without astronauts or diplomatic-explorers or something (anything!?), we will continue to imagine deeper and deeper Deep States that we fear are really controlling everything behind the scenes.

Heroes are people who make their own F8. If you act like a pawn, everything is conspiracy, and the truth is just an excuse for a lack of imagination.

Star Trek is dead. May a new hero emerge before we perish in the interregnum.

Long live Star Trek.
Top Hat
Sun, Feb 2, 2020, 10:13am (UTC -5)
"Didn't Chateau Picard burn down?" Good question -- Generations only told us that Robert and Rene died in a fire, though. Perhaps it was in another building on the property, or perhaps it was rebuilt after the tragedy.
Gerontius
Sun, Feb 2, 2020, 12:32pm (UTC -5)
I see Jammer's review is up. I noted where he referred to the Team working on the Borg Artifact as "freeing" the turned off drones they are working with. I rather think that was rather a sanitized way of putting it when Soji used the term. What they appeared to to to be engaged in was salvaging useful technological implants, and discarding the remains. A rather ghoulish operation in tune with Narekks comment about the Cube boing a graveyard.

As for the stuff people are writing about how the Trek has to echo the zeitgeist of the age, I think too much can be made of that. The cultural flavour of the media is largely independent of that, I believe. It's more a question of those involved copying each other and adopting a fashionable way of doing things. Hopeful stuff can come out of very depressing times, and the reverse.

I¡m glad we still have The Orville around to remind us there's another way of doing it.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Feb 2, 2020, 2:22pm (UTC -5)
@Booming
"The same goes for Discovery. I kind of want to see what they do with 30th century stuff but I don't expect much and would not be surprised if I don't make it to the end of season 3."

You can always read the episode summaries on memory alpha. You get the same info, but without the pain. ;-)

@Dom
"The most important thing we can do as fans is to be aware that corporations want to use IPs to tug on your emotions. Studios know that fans will gravitate towards a beloved franchise like Star Trek. We need to make sure our entertainment consumption habits are just driven by nostalgia or brand loyalty."

I think you left a "not" from your last sentence...

Other than that, I agree completely with what you said.

"The thing that really makes this tough is that Picard is a serialized show. We won't actually know if the story has something meaningful to say or if it's just 'mystery action nonsense drama' until the end of episode 10."

Since this is Kurtzman, we can have a pretty good idea. The broader strokes of the story clearly bear his mark, and at episode 2 we are already having trouble juggling all the mystery boxes he had thrown at us.

Remember what Scotty said once? "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me". After two seasons of Discovery in which he failed to deliver any kind of coherent story, I think it's fair to keep our expectations low.
Booming
Sun, Feb 2, 2020, 2:51pm (UTC -5)
@Omicron
Hahaha. True but you know the whole 30th century idea is so crazy. Let me put it like this. If you see a burning clown car fly off a cliff you cannot look away. :)
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Feb 2, 2020, 3:28pm (UTC -5)
It's easier to look away when it's your favorite car which you cherished for 40 years.
Dom
Sun, Feb 2, 2020, 3:45pm (UTC -5)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi, yes there should have been a "not." I don't know why there's no edit feature in these forums.
brian
Sun, Feb 2, 2020, 4:41pm (UTC -5)
Just wanted to say thank you to the following posters, for very accurately capturing my feelings in the written word:

Boomings post on Feb 2

Mal's post on Feb 2
Booming
Sun, Feb 2, 2020, 5:31pm (UTC -5)
I want to say that I do not agree with Mal's characterization of Discovery as the political correct show. I find that label in relation to Star Trek completely nonsensical.
Actually, there are several points I disagree with in that post.
To give an example:
" Without astronauts or diplomatic-explorers or something (anything!?),..."

We have a space station in space that is as big as a football field with a constant crew of half a dozen people. We have a robotcar as big as a minibus driving around on Mars. Two man made object left the solar system during the last 10 years. In 2019 they made the first picture of a black hole and in the 2030s the USA is planning a Mars landing. There is barely a week where I'm not reading a fascinating piece about some space news or scientific accomplishment.

"Until we get up off our asses and decide for ourselves what we want to be when we grow up,..."
I'm well past growing up and if he/she means knowing what we want to be after growing up as a species then well Roddenberry made most of Star Trek on his own and people liked it. What does that have to do with heroes and getting of our asses?! :D

To just pick only one of the fairly misleading facts out of that post
" 5 straight years in which the unemployment rate fell almost Every. Single. Month. That's 60 months of an improving economy (wow!)."

The unemployment rate was going up for several year before that and the unemployment rate also fell from 1992-2000 and from 2009 to now which is almost twice as long. So why didn't we get good Star Trek shows since 2009??

I could write a lot more but I will end it here. Life short and so on.
MidshipmanNorris
Sun, Feb 2, 2020, 7:13pm (UTC -5)
Since first discovering this site, I have yet to come here after a release of a new Star Trek anything and not find the same group of people ripping it up and saying "NO NO NO"

"We know why the creator has not responded."

"Disclose the information!"

"No. Clear the Bridge."

CRAASSHHHH

"Your 'child' is having a tantrum, Mr. Spock!"

I get the strong feeling that nothing will ever please this same group of naysayers, and choose to ignore them continually and enjoy the new stuff anyway.
Dave
Sun, Feb 2, 2020, 7:45pm (UTC -5)
@midshipmannorris

I can see some of your points, but this is something that applies to fandom of most things... whether it be trek, or star wars, or comics, etc. People have that moment in their life where they fell in love with that creation, and that is the peak. Nothing can really live up to it ever again so there is a negative bent when viewing new product.

In saying that, this site has been around since the mid 90s and I first found it way back then as st-hypertext. When I decide to do a run through of a series, or when new movies or series come out, I always end up back here seeing the dicussion and Jammers reviews.

Most of all its a great place to hear dicussion, both positive and negative; and even if you disagree with the negative parts, it still can spur further thought for yourself.

If you think this is negative, try TrekBBS, now that is people who go down to being outraged over lighting and camera angles :)

Take the positive out of the discussion; for better or worse, its nice to have a safe place to talk about various sci-fi properties and agree, disagree, and think.
PleasurePlanet
Sun, Feb 2, 2020, 8:00pm (UTC -5)
Yes, the original Chateau Picard burned down. The wood and stucco house seen in TNG’s episode Family is not the same one we now see in Picard. The new Chateau Picard appears to be made of stone.
Dom
Sun, Feb 2, 2020, 8:46pm (UTC -5)
@midshipmannorris, nice to see that you're able to treat other people's opinions with respect. ;)
Mal
Sun, Feb 2, 2020, 8:47pm (UTC -5)
@Booming said, "We have a space station in space that is as big as a football field with a constant crew of half a dozen people."

Construction on the International Space Station started in 1998. As I seem to recall, there was a kickass Star Trek show on at the time based around a space station; a show that had been running on TV for the half-a-dozen years leading up to that amazing feat. (Recall: Kirk lead up to the Moon landing).


@Booming said, "We have a robotcar as big as a minibus driving around on Mars... and in the 2030s the USA is planning a Mars landing."

Indeed, and there is different show (streaming on Amazon) where Mars is one of the three big players (the other two are the United Nations, i.e., Earth, and the Astroid Belt, a.k.a., "the belt"). And on that show, a kickass martian marine is one of the Big Damn Heroes. And she is glorious!

But of course, that show is not Star Trek.

Maybe, @Booming, the folks over at Star Trek just haven't got your memo. They still think they need to dredge up Nostalgia to anchor a show. But the world - and the world of scifi - has moved on.



@Booming said, "So why didn't we get good Star Trek shows since 2009?"

Because after 2009, the folks writing Star Trek stopped believing in the future.

The folks over at The Expanse got the Mars memo.

The folks over at Disney (?!?!*#!) got the Fatherhood memo (plus, how much $ are they making selling baby yoda toys?!)

The folks over at Man in the High Castle got the Freedom-is-better-than-Fascism memo.

The folks over at The Orville got the Kindness-is-the-new-Cool memo.

None of these shows are perfect, but all of them are hopeful about the future.

Until the writers at Star Trek get the memo - until they see the heroes around us - we will be subjected to more of this drek.
Cenotaph
Sun, Feb 2, 2020, 10:30pm (UTC -5)
What surprised me is that the OP is so positive about this show when it's clear that the showrunners have no clue about Star Trek and its lore. Hence they chose the Kelvin timeline so they don't have to do their work researching backgrounds of each race and the political climate.
What we get is some kind of new age liberal interpretation of the current state of the world applied to Star Trek. Screenplay writers that can't write compelling dialogue and it only held up by good acting here and there.
I guess the fact that the Star Trek name is attached to this makes people watch it, as a Sci Fi show it's an embarrassment and especially when we compare it against the older shows or for instance The Expanse.
davidw
Mon, Feb 3, 2020, 1:29am (UTC -5)
This show is really, really dumb.

The Tal Shari is not good enough, they need another and another and introduce one silly stupid plot point after another?

I suppose the reason Star Trek failed is because people want to see this garbage. They want to put characters in danger and see how they escape it.

Good for them.

This is not Star Trek.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Feb 3, 2020, 3:13am (UTC -5)
@MidshipNorris

It's kinda funny that you're accusing people of being "naysayers", given your own scathing summary of Discovery that you wrote when season 2 ended:

"I don't want it to be bad. But it is. It's awful. It's boring. It's contrived. It's heavy-handed with its speechifying and morality. It's cheesy. It's dumbed-down. It's an absolute mess of logical wrongness. It's ridiculous, the dried, fly-eaten carcass of a Science Fiction show that once pushed boundaries."

and a bit later:

"I don't think Star Trek deserves for me to like it anymore. Discovery actually makes me look back at all the years I've watched Star Trek, cared about Star Trek, and thought about Star Trek, and I feel like I've been wasting my time. The end result of it all was that Star Trek eventually aged to the point where it was no longer relevant.

Star Trek is dead, Jim. "

That's some seriously negative intense sh*t, right there (which isn't a bad thing. I agree with every word you've written there).

I get that you feel differently about ST:Picard. You're in good company. But some of us want something else from our Trek, and we are still not getting it. It's okay for different people to want different things.

By the way, there are plenty of fans who still like Discovery, and they do so for a variety of reasons. Nothing wrong with that, either. The world would be a very boring place if we all liked the same things.

@Cenotaph

ST:Picard is not set in the Kelvin Timeline. The Hobus Supernova is a Prime Timeline event, and ST:Picard is supposed to be set 29 years after the final season of TNG in the Prime Timeline.

So I'm afraid the showrunners will not be able to use the excuse you've just mentioned :-)
Booming
Mon, Feb 3, 2020, 4:21am (UTC -5)
@Cenotaph
"What we get is some kind of new age liberal interpretation of the current state of the world applied to Star Trek."
Do people in the US or wherever now just throw buzzwords together to make nonsensical points? What does a 1960s-70s movement about personal spirituality and a center left political movement have to do with this show??!

In what way is ST:P esoteric? And who is surprised that a STAR TREK show will have a pro refugee message?? Have you seen Star Trek?!!
Nolan
Mon, Feb 3, 2020, 5:25am (UTC -5)
@Booming Devil's advocate counterpoint: DS9's season 2 episode, Sanctuary. Though that episode has it both ways in a very Treky way. Helping refugees, but in a way that doesn't overburden Bajor, but leaves said Refugees disappointed. Not sure that's pro, con or a wash when it comes to refugee debates. (But also, classic Trek was also talking about refugee issues back then, so that's not characteristic of new Trek either. I think I'm messing up this whole counterpoint thing)
Booming
Mon, Feb 3, 2020, 5:41am (UTC -5)
@Nolan
Who cares what these dirty Bajorans do. :)

Seriously though the Bajorans aren't the Federation and they just came out of 50 horrible years of occupation and a short civil war. Remember the occupation ended at the beginning of the show, so a year ago and the civil war happened maybe a few month, maybe less before the sanctuary episode. The don't even have a real government yet. I wouldn't criticize Afghanistan or Somalia if they would refuse to take in 500k refugees right now.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Feb 3, 2020, 7:06am (UTC -5)
To be fair, I wouldn't criticize the Federation either if they refused 3 million refugees (and it was 3 million rather than 500k) with these kinds of demands. Remember, the Feds proposed to give them an entire planet to settle.

Being humanitarian and compassionate is not the same thing as automatically agreeing to every crazy demand that's thrown at your face. Giving refugees a safe home is not the same thing as catering to their every whim.

I mean, I'm not saying you should automatically say "no", but you should not feel any obligation to say "yes" either.
Booming
Mon, Feb 3, 2020, 7:57am (UTC -5)
The Federation didn't refuse anything, they were willing to take the refugees in, the Bajorans refused to do so and with justifiable reasons. It's not a good examination of the refugee question. Who often do refugees show up somewhere, are offered a perfect new home with all the help they could wish for and refuse? The refugees are causing problems even though there is no need. Is this anti religion? anti refugee? Definitely one of the bad DS9 episodes.

The Skrreeanns reminded of this refugee.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMHu-J7XJ4I
Nic
Mon, Feb 3, 2020, 8:32am (UTC -5)
Definitely a step down from the previous episode. It is possible to do compelling setup (The Wire did it all the time; DS9 was pretty good at it too), so that's not the only problem here. The problem was that there are so many pieces and so much plot set up in this episode that the characters (even Picard) are scarcely allowed to react to what is happening.
It seems rather convenient that Laris is a former Tal Shiar operative who is able to find information that the even-more-secretive Zhat Vash was not able to hide. It also seems convenient that the one person the Admiral decides to call about Picard's visit happens to be involved with the Zhat Vash Master Plan.
Narek and Soji sleeping together was also a terrible cliche. These days in TV and movies, sex seems to be used as shorthand for "developing a very close relationship so it will be more tragic when one betrays the other". But having sex is not the same thing as developing a very close relationship. If you want us to care for the characters, you have to develop them!

If I may quote Jammer's review of "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum": "Do a bunch of things that might make sense later, or possibly never, but definitely not now."
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Feb 3, 2020, 10:36am (UTC -5)
@Booming
"The Federation didn't refuse anything"

I know.

I was talking about an analogous situation, where 3 million aliens show up near earth and insist that their Eden is in (say) downtown Cleveland... while they can't even breath oxygen.

"Who often do refugees show up somewhere, are offered a perfect new home with all the help they could wish for and refuse? The refugees are causing problems even though there is no need. Is this anti religion? anti refugee?"

It's not "anti-" or "pro-" anything. It just presents a situation and lets it play out.

And I actually find it refreshing, that the situation in that episode cannot be cleanly framed as an "anti-" vs "pro-" dichotomy. It forces you to think outside that box, which is a good thing in my view.

it's a pretty bad episode for other reasons, but the general story is not the problem.

At any rate, it seems odd to have such a lengthy discussion on one episode, in the thread for a completely different series...
Gerontius
Mon, Feb 3, 2020, 4:47pm (UTC -5)
Remember, the "refugees" in Sanctuary weren't aliens who couldn't breathe the atmosphere of Bajor. They weren't even refugees properly speaing, they were returning exiles.

They were presented as being descendants of the original inhabitants of Bajor who had been exiled generations before, and had been looking for their home planet ever since. The episode in its way was attempting to parallel the dilemmas of the Israel /Palestine situation with both parties being presented as a version of both sides.

But I think we should not go too far into analysing long gone episodes, except insofar as they cast light on the Picard series. I don't think Sanctuary really does. I quite agree with those who point out that our existing societies would be highly unlikely to do more than the barest minimum to respond to the needs of large numbers of exiles.

I don't know why decided to call the star explosion that destroyed Romulus a "supernova". A nova would have been quite sufficient to wipe out the planet. A supernova would have much more widespread effects on many planetary systems, over a much longer timescale. I suspect they thought sticking "super" in made it sound more exciting. Very clumsy.

I think they have done better to dump the whole notion of the explosion, along with the rest of the Kelvin reboot. Or deal directly with at, and build a series actually about it. Maybe with Earth being the planet involved.
Top Hat
Mon, Feb 3, 2020, 5:46pm (UTC -5)
You are misremembering the episode. They interpret Bajor as their fabled promised land but they do not believe they were originally from it.
Cenotaph
Mon, Feb 3, 2020, 10:47pm (UTC -5)
@Booming
"Do people in the US or wherever now just throw buzzwords together to make nonsensical points? What does a 1960s-70s movement about personal spirituality and a center left political movement have to do with this show??!

In what way is ST:P esoteric? And who is surprised that a STAR TREK show will have a pro refugee message?? Have you seen Star Trek?!! "

I've seen STar Trek and I'm surprised you ask this question because in ST it was always about a positive message and it was never about these silly racism questions this show throws up. This show obviously draws parallels with current day USA and its political climate from the perspective of new age liberals (classic liberals are libertarians after all!).
The Chronek
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 12:01am (UTC -5)
I liked this episode.

Concerning the Utopia Planetia workers being openly racist towards androids, I can believe it. If you're in your own little work culture and not exposed to other people and ideas, I can see how the workers' attitudes would develop.

I'm not fond of the f-bombs. Previous comments have referred to the context, which I agree with. Also, let's remember just how big a deal it was for Kirk to say "let's get the hell out of here" in The City on the Edge of Forever.

Three stars from me.

And episode 3 is when Picard finally says "engage" and I lose my Trekkie fanboy shit.
Booming
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 2:22am (UTC -5)
@Cenotaph
Ok let's quickly dissect this.
" it was never about these silly racism questions this show throws up."
What is this supposed to mean? Star Trek had many episodes about racism. Silly racism questions?? That is a just a meaningless sentence when you don't provide any form of explanation.

" This show obviously draws parallels with current day USA and its political climate from the perspective of new age liberals (classic liberals are libertarians after all!). "
I agree that it draws parallels with current day USA but why from the perspective of new age liberalism. It appears to me that you think that what you cook up in your brain is obvious to others but sadly it is not. You also seem eager to make up words like new age liberalism (not a scientific term, I can assure you) and why even put something in brackets when you combine it with an exclamation mark?! Also classic liberalism is not libertarianism. Classic liberalism is liberalism. I guess you are trying to make a political distinction between modern center left democrats who call themselves liberal and whatever you consider to be classical liberalism. Again you seem to not know what these words actually mean and ignorant of the fact that you need to give an explanation for such a statement because if you don't provide one, you appear uninformed and radicalized.

Could you do us all a favor and keep your American echo chamber politics to yourself? For us Europeans (and I'm sure others, probably even quite a few Americans) it very quickly moves into eye rolling territory.
Gerontius
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 2:27am (UTC -5)
The only message I have ever seen in Star Trek is that racism is both absurd and that its an evil that needs to be opposed. I believe that is not a view that is restricted to those who would describe themselves as "liberals".
Cenotaph
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 6:08am (UTC -5)
@Booming

You're unaware of the terms and don't bother to do a google search, it's really quite simple. A brief explanation;
- A classic liberal is basically a libertarian, you can look this up a google search away. They value independence and the free markets without constraint in a nutshell.

This is vastly different from the Liberal term used these days which is more akin to what the new age movement brought about. An emphasis on feelings rather than scientific fact.

Hence we come to modern day politics in both the USA and across Europe this new age liberalism as I call it does not care about facts, it care about feelings and putting people into boxes. Racism is rampant in their thinking. You can look online how many times racial discussions are happening across the media without there actually being any cause for it. This is where Star Trek draws upon, this incessant focus on race and minority group suppression. You probably don't agree, but the parallels are obvious to me
Gerontius
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 7:10am (UTC -5)
Political labels don't have simple meanings which can be looked via google.The term "liberal" can mean just about anything, depending where and when you are. The same goes for just about any of the others.

In Australia the governing party called "Liberal" is basically Conservative. In Russia there is a party with the same name which is pretty straightforwardly fascist.
There is no defined meaning of the term. Nineteenth Century Liberals - which is what a term like "Classical Liberal" would generally be taken to mean, could never agree amog themselves as to what they agreed.

The term libertarian can have just as widespread a range of meanings. Much of the time it's traditionally been a term for anarchists way to the left of Karl Marx. I suspect Cenotaph may be using it in a different sense.
........
Trent
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 7:11am (UTC -5)
"Classical liberal" is mostly a modern buzzword used by contemporary American free market fundamentalists (and internet pundits like Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson, Dave Rubin...anyone bankrolled by the Kochs) to convince themselves that they're not Randian supervillains and don't engage in their own brand of (right wing) identity politics. If they actually read "classical liberal" philosophers, or even the writings of the "founding fathers" of libertarianism, they'd be aghast at the policies they advocated.

I mean you had Thomas Paine literally stating that private property rights were immoral, exclusionary and that "[We shall] create a national fund as a compensation, in part, for the loss of his or her natural inheritance by the introduction of the system of landed property." Hayek, one of the godfathers of libertarianism, likewise believed such policies were necessary to "guarantee freedom from the market" as, quote, "freedom must mean freedom from coercion by the arbitrary will of others" ("Constitution of Liberty", 1960) and "freedom from being compelled into market relations against one's will". He even advocated for things like a basic income (or reverse tax) to give people an option to exit the labor market, because "the existence of that option allows them to escape subjection to the will of others. It enables them to say “no” to proposals that only extreme desperation would ever drive them to accept. It allows them to govern their lives according to their own plans, their own goals, and their own desires. It enables them to be free."

So the very property rights that modern internet libertarians salivate over, were bashed by the classical liberals and the early 20th century libertarians. What modern internet folk know of "libertarianism" is largely an astroturfed ideology designed to be easily spread, and funded and promoted by super rich think tanks in the 1970s and 80s.

While Cenotaph is also wrong in his use of "new age", I would say he is right when he says Star Trek is a "liberal interpretation of the current state of the world". Such "liberalism" was edgy and hip in the 60s, and a novelty (and even daring in a sense) in the early 1990s TV landscape. Now it serves only to highlight the limitations of western liberalism. When Trek should be going harder left and harder with its utopian Roddenberrian space commie wackiness, it gets stuck on the level of space Democrats fighting space Trumps ("Racism bad! Immigrants good!"). The result is a kind of stagnation which can't say or prescribe much. And what it's allowed to say - the howls against racism etc - is now old hat, or deemed annoying, or fails to address the deeper, macro-economic or structural issues which causes all the problems in the first place.

I imagine a more edgy Picard as simply being about him beaming down on a Third World planet and giving them a free peer-to-peer solar network, and then the aliens trying to kill him 'cos they can't figure out how to privatize and rent the sun.
Peter G.
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 8:52am (UTC -5)
@ Trent,

I like a lot of your points here, and agree about the gross misunderstand now about what "freedom" means, and *even* agree that this is propagated by richly funded "groups" that spread their propaganda. However I quibble on the one point of that early list you named of so-called supervillains; you can dislike them for any reason you like, but the fact alone of calling themselves classical liberals is the same usage and sense as people like Stephen Fry when he calls himself that, and he's a bleeding heart leftist. The term is a bit broad but generally is meant to refer to (in their sense) the protection of rights, openness to change, and above all the protection of free speech. This last point is where all of them get into controversy, because at present free speech is usually said to be in tension with 'security' or ideological purity. So in the sense that the people you list may have different ideas about life compared to a Stephen Fry they are obviously each different from each other, but in the sense they call themselves liberals it's because they believe in free speech and the marketplace of ideas.
Cenotaph
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 9:01am (UTC -5)
@Trent Classic Liberal is meant as a term to differentiate it from what today is considered to be liberalism, which is completely different from its "classic" roots of free markets with minimal government. I'm not that deeply knowledgeable in all the intricacies of the term, but to use it against those internet pundits you mentioned is rather short sighted. They do no advocate for the teachings of Rand at all, you seem to have an agenda set against them and its not a rational one.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 9:01am (UTC -5)
@Trent
"When Trek should be going harder left and harder with its utopian Roddenberrian space commie wackiness..."

More Roddenberrian space commie wackiness (love that term) would be great.

This, however, has nothing to do with left or right politics (despite the appearance of the word "commie"). Trek should transcend all this stupid political sh*t altogether, and give us mature commentary on the human condition.

As Gerontius said:
"I believe that [the notion that racism is evil] is not a view that is restricted to those who would describe themselves as 'liberals'".

And he is right.

A message of Humanitarian values and compassion should not mixed with politics. Least of all, the scummy filthy kind of politics that is rampant today. Remember the 2016 election? No person on either side of that fiasco is going to win medals for their Trekkian values.

And while I don't agree with the majority of what Cenotaph said, I gotta admit that he is right about modern Trek being an outlet for a political agenda. From Discovery's "Make the Empire Great Again" to TPTB's ugly attempt of discrediting those who dislike Michael Burnham as misogynist racists to Patrick Stewart's entire pitch for the Picard series. Modern Trek is completely entrenched in current affairs, while being completely unable to challenge the status quo in any way.

You know what I'd like to see from a new Trek series? A commentary on our problems that are seldom talked about. Things like:

1. The dangers of a world where people gobble the media without question.
2. The dangers of online trolling and bullying.
3. The dangers of politicizing everything.
4. The importance of keeping cool and remaining logical, instead of brainless following hype after hype.
5. The difference between true compassion and belief in diversity, and the pretenders that run rampant in present day society.
6. The dangers of a world run greed, where megacoorperations pretty much own everything.
7. The issue of the basic human right for privacy, and the implications of a world where that people willfully resign that right.
8. The importance of a global perspective, rather than a US-centric perspective.
9. Above all: Retain the message of the classic Trek versions. Give the viewers hope for the future. Drop the cynical attitude. Stop trying to mimic what every single other show is doing, and return to doing the Trek thing.

It's funny how some people rationalize that Trek should be different because the world is so f***-ed up right now. The truth is the exact opposite: A f***-ed up world is exactly what Trek writers need in order to create great Trek-style social commentary.

Yet we are still stuck at "Space Democrats vs Space Trumps", and there is no indication that this is ever going to change.
Cenotaph
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 9:04am (UTC -5)
@Peter G. what propaganda may that be? Who benefits? The idea of Freedom as they put it is self determination/individualism, and not control by government / group think that Liberals/Socialists advocate for. We all know how damaging that ideology has been, there are numerous examples in history to point to.
Peter G.
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 9:25am (UTC -5)
@ Cenotaph,

I don't want to get too far off track from Trek so I'll answer only briefly: libertarian think tanks come in various shapes and sizes, and although many Americans believe in personal freedoms and individualism above all, for some (powerful lobbyists and tycoons) what this translates into is wanting deregulation and for the government to leave them alone to abuse their fellow man and pillage the environment freely in order to pursue greed to its utmost. This is a problem for the 'human rights' type libertarian because they would be just as against corporatism as would be a modern liberal, even though their politics are far apart from each other. The 'propaganda' in question is that government should stop doing almost everything (other than spend trillions on wars, which of course are a cash cow) that throttles their greed, while claiming it's about protecting the everyman's rights. They don't actually believe in those, even though many libertarians do. But they in particular means is they should have the right to dominate others 'freely'.
Atomguy
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 9:34am (UTC -5)
Why did Starfleet ban all synthetics after the Utopia Planitia incident? That's like deporting all Muslims after 9/11.
Cenotaph
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 9:47am (UTC -5)
@Peter G. That may be true for specific special interest groups, but that does not define Libertarians in the general sense at all and definitely not Ben Shapiro et al.

The fact there's free market does not mean it's a free for all for companies to do as they please. If they can it's because of corruption in the system of government and how they deal with corporations specifically.
Peter G.
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 10:49am (UTC -5)
@ Cenotaph,

I agree that the 'propaganda' I was referring to does not originate from or have anything to do with people like Shapiro or Peterson, as Trent suggested. All I meant was that the 'freedom' thing has different sort of groups making similar-sounding claims but for very different (and even antagonistic) reasons. Hence why I think Trent's characterization of "classic liberal" and especially connecting those individuals with rampant corporatism was incorrect. But there *is* an oligarchic presence out there putting out propaganda, who I completely understand Trent wanting to call supervillains. It just has nothing to do with 'classical liberalism.'
Booming
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 12:16pm (UTC -5)
@Cenotaph
Well, I don't need to google these terms because I have a degree in political science and spent my time at the same university Albert Einstein wasted his days doing something. I hope this statement doesn't trigger people. :D

Trent and Gerontius gave good reasons why your statements are without meaning. In Germany for example liberals are a free market party for the rich that always hovers around 5-8%.

"An emphasis on feelings rather than scientific fact."
That really made me laugh. Yes, you are the rational one, the other side is irrational.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdFoAi_f30Q

It is funny how the rich in the US have convinced normal people to advocate for a system which boils down to an oligarchy. Libertarianism, as promoted today in the US, I like to call stupid anarchism. I'll wait for the time when not two or three but all the presidential candidates of both parties are super rich.

The rest of your statements show the depth of your indoctrination and lack of education on the subject.

@Omicron
Yeah, dream on but CBS has to sell those subscriptions and there are always more idiots than smart people. Google had the "don't be evil" line as a mantra I suspect that the writing team for NuTrek Star Trek has the line "don't be smart" plastered all over the writer's room.
The CBSallaccess Star Trek shows remind a little of Netflix documentaries. They are glossy and stupid and aimed at people who don't really care about the subject discussed.
Gerontius
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 3:35pm (UTC -5)
Freedom for me very much includes collective services, which give me the freedom to live my life as I want to live it. TheBritish National Health Service is a classical example, the British Broadcasting Corporation is another. I would dearly love to see quite a number of analogous services organised on similar rather than through private firms who see the benefit of users and employees as very much less of a priority than the benefit of the people controlling the firms.

And the reason I wish that is because I see them as adding to my freedom, as well as that of fellows.

In Star Trek terms, I want the Ferengi way of doing things to be relegated to the very margins of society.
Dave in MN
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 5:11pm (UTC -5)
Ive always been of the mind that forced compliance isn't freedom ... especially systems with overly long waiting lists and no other options.
Joker
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 6:01pm (UTC -5)
Bring these people back:

Nagillium: Silence Has Leace.
Mushroom Faces: Silent Enemy.
Padma Lakishma - the one who married Salmon Rushdie.
Melinda Clarke: Harry Kim's girlfriend.
The man-woman Riker fell in love with.
Apollo

Thanks.
Sen-Sors
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 6:01pm (UTC -5)
Watching this episode I was reminded of how I felt watching the Dark Tower movie; a film that decided to cram seven books into one movie and as a result, every piece of dialogue and character interaction was exposition. There was never any room for the film or its characters to breathe, slow down a bit and just let the audience get to know them a bit better. Everything had to be utilitarian, spelling out either the plot or the world around it, and the characters ended up feeling vague and undefined, blown around by the script instead of having any kind of agency of their own.

This Picard show is the same thing. Every dialogue scene is simply an exposition dump. The scene where Picard's servant explains the Double-Secret Police is a perfect example. She makes an offhand comment about them, Picard is like "wait what?" and we spend the next three minutes dumping exposition on Picard. And of course the Double-Secret Police go way back before the Tal Shiar, because Kurtzman.

Or we have Romulan Fuckboy blurting out the story of how dead his brother is the moment a girl mentions they have a sibling. Really? Clumsy as hell writing.

An exception to the "Tell, Don't Show" rule is the synth revolt scene, which didn't really tell us anything we didn't know other than the writers have no idea how to write working stiffs. A bunch of people in their late thirties sitting around saying shit like "Dude, aren't you glad we don't treat these robutts with an ounce of respect? Dude get me a Coors from that replicator, I'll pour it out over that skinjob's head while we all laugh about how nothing bad will ever happen to us OH SHIT DUDE LOOK OUT"

Red Letter Media pointed this out and I have to agree, but this show is overplaying the relationship between Data and Picard. Data's best friend was Geordi, not Picard. Picard was very private and closed off, even to his crew; that's why Picard joining the card game was such a perfect capstone to TNG. I know dewey, wide-eyed schmaltz is what Kurtzman thinks will work for Trek but having Picard talk about "the man whose death I've mourned for twenty years" and "you are more dear to me than you could possibly understand" is actually undercutting Picard's character.

The villains are embarrassing to watch.

The Fucking Hubris line made me laugh, just for the delivery. I don't actually have a problem with cussing in Trek in theory, but you could easily have had the lady dress down Picard in a more articulate and professional way that would have been more effective; or just have her say a bad word because that's cheap and easy and "shocking" to some people. A+, Kurtzman!
Mertov
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 6:10pm (UTC -5)
Great review as always Jammer, thanks! Not much to add.

A notch below the pilot for me, I found it almost to slow. As Jammer implies, there is a lot in this episode but nothing really moves from point A to point B.

I thought the opening scene was one of the best parts of the episode, a lot of dynamics at play and the violence is well depicted without too much gore. This is why sometimes a small group of people in closed space is more effective than explosions and space battles to convey the brutality of a tragic event that took place. All indications show that someone (or a group) hacked the synths.

One of the worst parts was Commodore Oh talking to Lt. Rizzo with the most evil voice possible and telling her to focus on the mission because she can take care of Picard. The voice tone, etc. were comic-book villain-y. I have no problem with the conflict that is being created but the acting was mediocre in this whole scene.

Still in the opening act, and I am enjoying what I have seen so far. Let's see what episode 3 brings.

The showrunners have delivered on every promise they made so far.

We were told it would be heavily serialized, and it is. Thank heavens. As a matter of fact, I personally have little to no interest left in the 'cozy' episodic format. Voyager overdid it, Enterprise ruined it, no more, thanks (and why DS9 aged well, because they experimented with it). If I want those, there are procedurals on CBSAllAccess that I can always turn to.

We were told not to expect the TNG version of Picard (Stewart himself adamantly said several times that he would not have signed up if that were the case), and we did not get the TNG Picard (thankfully so, it would have been laughable after 20 years), although I'd still argue that the TNG Picard is well and present but also with 2 decades worth of experience added, some being traumatic. Patrick Stewart is excellent in portraying that complexity as usual.

We were told there would be conflicts within the show, we are getting that too.

I am loving the visuals and camera work. Let's see what happens in Episode 3, it looks like all the main characters will have been introduced by its end. It's going to be a lot of fun.

Bring ep. 3 on!
Mertov
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 6:21pm (UTC -5)
Very nice to know that if you happen to be a subscriber to CBSAllAccess because you happen to like or want to watch Discovery or Picard you belong to the following category:

--------
"Yeah, dream on but CBS has to sell those subscriptions and there are always more idiots than smart people. Google had the "don't be evil" line as a mantra I suspect that the writing team for NuTrek Star Trek has the line "don't be smart" plastered all over the writer's room.
The CBSallaccess Star Trek shows remind a little of Netflix documentaries. They are glossy and stupid and aimed at people who don't really care about the subject discussed.
--------

Thanks Booming, I am glad I learned from you about myself and where I belong in such a condescending manner no less..
Sen-Sors
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 6:45pm (UTC -5)
Oh, and wouldn't an android made completely out of organic matter be just a regular person like you and me? Didn't Picard himself point this out in Measure of a Man?
Booming
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 7:15pm (UTC -5)
@Mertov
"Thanks Booming, I am glad I learned from you about myself and where I belong in such a condescending manner no less.."
I guess you object to the "there are more idiots than smart people" line, yes? With that I meant that there is a lot of stuff in both episodes that only makes sense if you don't think about it that hard.

The scene where they try to capture Dajh in her apartment is a perfect example because that scene is very fast, things just happen but when you take a step back it is absolute nonsense. These Romulan super spies beam into the room and then one throws a knife. Maybe the agent is so confident or a showoff but wouldn't a phaser or something invented less than 10000 years ago not have been better for several reasons. But alright knives are cool or maybe there is a knife killing quota in the zhat Vash. Why did they not grab her when she was alone and asleep? Then they take Dajh, put some form of glasses on her and after checking something say:"She has not activated yet." after that they try to interrogate her for 30 seconds but abandon it. Afterwards they decide to knock her out. Literally, with a hit to the head. The head is not some kind of shutdown button. Whatever. For that they put a bag over her head and then one of the agents tries to punch her which she then stops by holding his arm directly before he hits her face. Another agent shouts:" She has activated." After 10 seconds all are dead. Let's unravel that. What's the bag for? Why did they even have one??? They knew that she is an android. They knew that if she "activated" she would become an almost unstoppable force. So why did they have to put the glasses on her to test if she already activated and why did they try to knock her out with a punch? It's the same as with the knives. It looks cool but it makes no sense. Why not beam in, two shots, beam her out. the end. Why not just beam her out period. And if they knew that she was so super strong if activated and they didn't know beforehand that she hadn't already activated why sent a team that couldn't deal with her if she had in fact activated. Of course a clean up crew then cleans the apartment in a way that only Picards housekeeper would recognize.

I just read a book about the Mossad and Shin Bet and I guarantee you if they sent a team ill prepared in any sense of the word, with a very vague mission (What was their goal? capture, interrogation, activation status check, killing the boyfriend?) and in the end lose three agents and accomplished nothing, actually have to create a cover up for the dead boyfriend then a lot of people would lose their job. Are we to believe that these super secret best of them all Romulan agents would mess up so badly?

The question is now, is the writing team stupid or do they not care that this scene makes no sense. I would guess they don't care. Why do they not care? Because most people will just watch it and never think about it. The few that actually think about will vanish in insane asylums.

Does this mean that you have to be an idiot to enjoy it. No. Of course not. That is why I wrote down a few points I would have to accept to enjoy this show. And you know I'm like super smart. Well, at least twice as smart as any of those idiot agents. :)
Mertov
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 7:29pm (UTC -5)
With the kind of nit-picking of that scene you are doing, give me any episode of Star Trek that you believe is great, and I can find a scene (or two, or three) in it, pick it apart to that degree , write an essay on it, and shit on it so bad that it will smell for years to come.. but hey.. idiots, ya' know..
Trent
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 8:42pm (UTC -5)
Peter G said: "The term is a bit broad but generally is meant to refer to (in their sense) the protection of rights, openness to change, and above all the protection of free speech."

They don't care about free speech. In the lead up to Citizen's United, a bunch of billionaires began pushing for corporations to have 1st Amendment rights to free speech, and for their political spending to be legally protected under free speech laws. So they pumped cash into a bunch of "conservative free speech warriors", who now spend all their time trolling, picking on feminists, minorities and transgenders in the guise of fighting political correctness, or pimping climate deniers.


Cenotaph said: "@Trent Classic Liberal is meant as a term to differentiate it from what today is considered to be liberalism, which is completely different from its "classic" roots of free markets with minimal government."

Those who call themselves "classical liberals" today have nothing to do with "classical liberals" of the 17th and 18th century, who often attacked the very tenets of what would become capitalism. The "classical liberals" of today are almost always libertarians and deeply conservative, but wish to couch this fact in a cloak of plausible deniability (or to pretend to be an "enlightened centrist", or disinterested political observer). And their brand of libertarianism itself has little to do with the founding fathers of libertarianism.

Cenotaph said: "but to use it against those internet pundits you mentioned is rather short sighted. They do no advocate for the teachings of Rand at all"

Rubin's an Objectivist, loves Rand, and both he and Peterson have lectured at and been paid by the Ayn Rand Institute and the Atlas Society. Both are awash in money from Koch Brothers seeder companies, who pump funds into financing libertarian think tanks (Heritage, Cato, TPUSA, Heartland etc). The Kochs, the second largest private corporation in the US, with numerous oil and gas interests and who control the largest oil and gas fields in Peterson's hometown of Alberta, are responsible for both their rises. It's why they always promote Koch conservative dummy fronts (the Leadership Institute, DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund, Montreal Economic Institute etc) and libertarian groups like the Randian Atlas Society, Archbridge Institute and the Atlas Network. The Atlas Network is particularly nefarious. It receives millions from ExxonMobile, Big Tobacco (Philip Morris), Koch foundations, and has pumped millions into backing violent, far-right causes in places like Brazil and Venezuela, and millions more into social media propaganda. According to journalist Lee Fang, writing for The Intercept, the libertarian Atlas Network has "reshaped political power in country after country, operating as an extension of U.S. foreign policy, with Atlas-affiliated think tanks receiving funding from the United States Department of State and the National Endowment for Democracy."

So I used the word "super-villain" deliberately. These are bad pundits bankrolled by bad blocs of power who push libertarianism, a bad ideology with bad outcomes.

And the ways these guys shill for their masters is insideous. For example Peterson's favorite "environmentalist", is himself not a scientist, routinely posts deliberately misleading data (http://www.realclimate.org/images//Bjorn_Lomborg_Sea_Level_Rise.png) and (https://thinkprogress.org/bjorn-lomborg-is-part-of-the-koch-network-and-cashing-in-68dab8cf68/) is himself part of the same Koch network as Peterson, Shapiro and Rubin, and in 2012 received almost a million dollars (that we know of) in donations from conservative foundations. His other favorite "climate scientists", are crank Anthony Watts and Richard Lindzen, a widely denounced shill who works for Big Oil, the Heartland Institute and Cato Institute, and who once shilled/lied for Big Tobacco.

Peterson also recently allied with Doug Ford, a conservative multi-millionaire who worked with various Christian groups to oppose and roll back a new Canadian school curriculum which sought to protect gay and trans kids from bullying. Ford was supported by RightNow, an anti-abortion group which rallies Christian voters and which has received support and training from the Leadership Institute, a right-wing U.S. training organization funded by the Koch Brothers donor network.

Not surprisingly for guys who retweet self-identifying white supermacists and alt-right pundits (Mike Cernovich, Stefan Molyneux etc), Peterson himself has likened trans kids to a "plague" and promotes the "rapid onset gender dysphoria" conspiracy (an echo of the "they're not really gay, they're faking it!" hysteria that homosexuals once had to endure), which he defends using a single widely ridiculed, anti-scientific paper which data harvested from Catholic/conservative blogs.

Peterson also has ties to PHP Agency, a multilevel marketing company denounced as a ponzi scheme and which has received complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau (George Bush is the face of the company).

And of course Peterson recently lectured at the 42nd Annual Trilateral Commission, giving speeches to rooms full of Goldman Sachs boardmembers, central bankers, and ex Prime Ministers. The Trilateral Commission, hardly a place for underdogs, is a supranational gathering of world power brokers, aimed at steering interzonal politics by deciding policies and economic priorities that are never subjected to the democratic approval of the nations under their gaze. In other words, a real life uber-capitalist example of the "commie conspirators" guys like Shapiro, Rubin and Pete imagine everywhere. That the most powerful men in the world promote their brand of esoteric libertarian eschatology should be revealing, and disturbing, but instead its lapped up by millions of folk with a youtube account.

Indeed, Chomsky predicted it decades ago:

"The Trilateral Commission was concerned with trying to induce what they called "more moderation in democracy"—turn people back to passivity and obedience so they don't put so many constraints on state power and so on. In particular they were worried about young people. They were concerned about the institutions responsible for the indoctrination of the young (that's their phrase), meaning schools, universities, church and so on—they're not doing their job, the young are not being sufficiently indoctrinated. They're too free to pursue their own initiatives and concerns and you've got to control them better."
Cenotaph
Wed, Feb 5, 2020, 1:15am (UTC -5)
@Booming such an arrogance on display, forgive me for not having studied political science and not adhering to the correct terms. It's obvious you have an axe to grind against anything that is advocating for less government and in your indoctrinated mind that is a bad thing.
We're not going to agree, in my mind and as history has already proven, government does not create wealth for the masses only private enterprise does that.

@Gerontius the BBC and freedom? that is laughable, they're more in the business of news manipulation than the truth. It's long the arm of socialism and its propaganda against freedom and truth. If you're against their message they will be out to hurt you. You can ask Tommy Robinson how many times he's been misrepresented by the BBC and other media. It's appalling.

@Trent, here's another socialist railing against conservatism, you find boxes to put them such that you dont have to argue against their points. Always using the oil industry or some other institute you dont agree with to pain them in a bad light. There's nothing wrong with Rand, there's nothing wrong with the oil industry per say.

Stefan Molyneux is not a right wing extremist, you're lying and again you don't argue against points he brings up. It's a disgusting tactic you're using and honestly you need to look at yourself what you're doing, it's just appalling.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Feb 5, 2020, 2:06am (UTC -5)
@Booming
"Yeah, dream on but CBS has to sell those subscriptions and there are always more idiots than smart people."

There are even more people who just don't give a sh*t then idiots. They just "go with the flow". CBS doesn't really care how stupid you think their show is, as long as you are watching. And you are watching, aren't you?

On an unrelated note:

Have you noticed the ugly turn this thread has taken once people started discussing politics? This, right there, is why I don't want real-world politics in my Star Trek. All these "-isms" fighting other "-isms" in the dirtiest, yuckiest ways possible. The current political climate is definitely NOT going to get us closer to the positive future that Trek has always envisioned, and it doesn't matter which side you're on.
Booming
Wed, Feb 5, 2020, 2:22am (UTC -5)
@Cenotaph
Who mentioned that today anybody complains about their feeling being hurt and isn't listening to scientific fact? Oh, that was you. Saying that I have a degree in political science is certainly about me being arrogant and not you feeling inadequate. I even gave you a trigger warning but it triggered you anyway. SAD.

" It's obvious you have an axe to grind against anything that is advocating for less government and in your indoctrinated mind that is a bad thing."
Another shaky barely explained hypothesis. This seems to be your modus operandi. Have you ever heard of the Dunning Kruger effect? While people like me live in constant doubt, people like you live in blissful certainty. Oh well.

@Gerontius
Man, I always knew that the BBC was socialist. Why are you pushing your post modern socialist news channel?! Do you remember Shapiro at the BBC. That Commie pinko Andrew Neil really embarrassed himself there.

@Trent
Sorry, Trent you cannot convince somebody with rational argument to reconsider a position that this person hasn't reached through rational thought. Have you noticed how he hasn't made a single coherent argument but nonetheless accuses anybody else of not giving coherent arguments?

@Mertov
So pointing out that a scene has no logical consistency whatsoever is nitpicking now. Again I only used it as an example. But yeah if you really want to. An episode I really liked was the Quickening.
Why are you defending ST:P so much? How much did the NewAgeLiberals pay you?! (Cenotaph wants to know)
Booming
Wed, Feb 5, 2020, 2:31am (UTC -5)
@ Omicron
"And you are watching, aren't you? "
You got me there but I get the show through Amazon. So it only costs me time and I had the slim hope that they actually made shows for different subgroups. Discovery is grandiose action drama and I hoped Picard would be a small thoughtful view on Picard in his final years.

"Have you noticed the ugly turn this thread has taken once people started discussing politics? This, right there, is why I don't want real-world politics in my Star Trek."
I must admit your position becomes more appealing every day. This is no fun at all and I doubt that it serves any purpose. Cenotaph will certainly not reconsider his positions. But on the other hand my German upbringing has conditioned me towards this kind of mindset.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AZabqpT6sg

Maybe we are just living through one of those times. Let's just hope that in the end cooler heads will prevail.
Nolan
Wed, Feb 5, 2020, 2:52am (UTC -5)
Definitely a reason Roddenberry started his fictional universe off with a huge World War that killed most people off. Whose gonna argue about -isms when ya gotta find food to eat and radioactive fallout to avoid.

That said @Omicron, like Booming, I too am coming around to your thinking about politics in Trek a bit. I still think it SHOULD look at the issues of the day, as all Trek I'd argue has, but it needs to avoid the trap of falling to one side or the other in it's outlook and be real critical of the arguements and rhetoric around those issues. I'm pretty sure the only really blatant time Trek didn't was "The Way to Eden" which seemed to boil down to "stupid hippies."

Most of the time Trek seems to look at an issue, bang the heads of the opposing sides together, say "look how stupid you guys are being" then do it's best to find a solution that's the best fit for the context of the situation. Doesn't always seem to work, but it was always about common ground or moving on, or realizing the emotions, fears or driving force behind the issues and bringing them to light so people could I guess get a new persepective on things while still letting them do the critical thinking.
Cenotaph
Wed, Feb 5, 2020, 6:34am (UTC -5)
@Booming your arrogance yet again makes assumptions, I wasn't triggered at your little Einstein reference, but rather how certain you seem to be of who I am.
I concede I dont know the ins and outs of the political terminology, I never said I knew it but there you go thinking to score points against what i said about socialists and their weakness. You dont have to band together with your fellow comrade Trent to make a point. Second, I dont have the time or the inclination to write page full arguments against all the nonsense that Trent et al is spouting out and my few one liners should suffice for those that actually bother to do some verification. I think we're done here.
Booming
Wed, Feb 5, 2020, 7:12am (UTC -5)
@Cenotaph
Oh my arrogance makes assumptions. You are fascinating. One of my specialties is populism research which includes social cues of the alt-right. But as you say your time is too valuable to give actual arguments, or you know say something useful or meaningful about the episode but thanks for the one liners. Amusingly enough you again use a term in a somewhat strange way. In this case one liner.

"I think we're done here."
Referring to yourself as we... not a good sign, buddy. ;)

"I concede I dont know the ins and outs of the political terminology"
You don't have a surface level understanding of political terminology.
Jason R.
Wed, Feb 5, 2020, 10:30am (UTC -5)
"But as you say your time is too valuable to give actual arguments,"

Did you make an argument somewhere on this thread? I must have missed it.
Top Hat
Wed, Feb 5, 2020, 10:57am (UTC -5)
Without singling out anyone in particular, a comments section like this is really not ideal forum for this nattery back and forth, which loses focus on the episode very easily.
Dave in MN
Wed, Feb 5, 2020, 11:18am (UTC -5)
@Top Hat

The whole internet is like that so you might as well lament about human nature.

Jammer's site is still a lot better than most forums online (which is why this is one of the only places I post on).
Top Hat
Wed, Feb 5, 2020, 11:45am (UTC -5)
My commentary is not on human nature but on web design. If this were a branching forum where exchanges could fork off and run off as long as they like (mostly developing into a two-person back and forth that is ignored by most), that would be much better than this. One has to hunt diligently to find actual comments on the episode at this point, and reconstructing a conversation from the back end of it requires a map and compass.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Feb 5, 2020, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
@Booming
"You got me there but I get the show through Amazon."

It doesn't matter what it costs you directly. Amazon licensed the show from CBS, so a portion of your payment to Amazon eventually reaches CBS.

I'm not saying you should stop watching, by the way. Just be conscious of your decisions and their consequences.

"I must admit your position becomes more appealing every day. This is no fun at all and I doubt that it serves any purpose. Cenotaph will certainly not reconsider his positions. But on the other hand my German upbringing has conditioned me towards this kind of mindset.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AZabqpT6sg"

Opposing evil is good.

My point is that you're fighting the wrong fight.

The biggest evil here is how politics turn people (regardless of their individual views) into vicious animals. Not only it is extremely unpleasant, but it also hinders our very ability to have an honest discussion.
Booming
Wed, Feb 5, 2020, 12:53pm (UTC -5)
@Omicron
"Amazon licensed the show from CBS, so a portion of your payment to Amazon eventually reaches CBS."
It is still different from all the people who only get CBSAllaccess because of Star Trek. CBS would get Amazon money if I watch it or not. I don't think that I would have watched the show if I had to get it through CBS. I was and I am still curious where this is going. In an ironic way maybe.

"My point is that you're fighting the wrong fight."
Yeah, this here with that guy is about me having a truly terrible week and not about opposing evil. Normally I would have rolled my eyes and ignored him/her (but very likely him) but I needed the diversion. I knew how is reaction would be. He didn't disappoint. It was obviously very selfish. What can you do...
Gerontius
Wed, Feb 5, 2020, 4:37pm (UTC -5)
Maybe when this comes back after the next episode is out we might talk a bit more about things in terms of Star Trek.

That needn't rule out the real world, but there's a lot to be said in using Star Trek as a key to that. The fact that it can be used is a main reason Star Trek is interesting for many people - and when it forgets about that is when it gets less interesting.
James White
Wed, Feb 5, 2020, 5:32pm (UTC -5)
Well said Omicron. There's legitimate debate, and then there's the slavering acolytes of ideology.
Areliae
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 1:38pm (UTC -5)
I've only seen episode 1, as I'm saving the rest to watch with family, but I see a trend in these comments that I want to address.

Just because it could happen doesn't mean it should happen.

Yes, it's possible that humanity reverts itself to a nastier time, or becomes less idealistic or whatever. Sure. I just think that it's a stupid direction to take Star Trek.

Q could've destroyed the enterprise in episode 1, yet it still wouldn't have liked that twist.

Star Trek has always had a distinct vision. An optimistic outlook that yes, is challenged, but still defines the whole future it tries to present. Sure, we've known criminals and murderers exist in the ST universe, they're bad people, but they certainly don't define the tone or message of the story being told.

Star Trek has also always been theatrical. It's about quiet moments and big characters. It's about people living in a sci-fi setting, not the setting itself. This understanding ties together TOS, TNG, DS9, and VOY. Despite their differences. I feel like they're losing their soul with these recent additions.
Marg
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 5:20pm (UTC -5)
Gorn Hegemony! I want to see this.
I love a good Seven Samurai-build-a-team scenario. But to drop "Riker, Worf, LaForge" with no delivery is cruel! I hope Picard takes Laris along.
Such strong, interesting female characters! I look forward to learning more about Raffi.
I agree with Jammer and many of you above about the use of the f-word in Star Trek. I'm no prude, but vulgarity distracts me from the ST setting.
Solid episode. Stunning cinematography and set design. I love the details such as the golds of the chateau and Picard's reflection in the clock face.
Mertov
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 12:03pm (UTC -5)
About the "F" bomb, I am not against use of vulgarity (I doubt humans will ever evolve beyond it) but I agree with everyone else who commented on it that it was not necessary in Clancy's case at all. It came across artificial and unprofessional in fact. A good example of the other way around was when Laris used it earlier in the episode. When it flows with the scene and the character, it barely gets noticed.

Booming, I'll get to the Quickening when I have time and post it there (since it has no connection to this), will let you know. :)
"So pointing out that a scene has no logical consistency whatsoever is nitpicking now." --- really? was that what I said? ok..
"Why are you defending ST:P so much? How much did the NewAgeLiberals pay you?! (Cenotaph wants to know)" --- the second part of this does not interest me in connection to the episode. As for the first part, again, really? My post called Jammer's review 'great.' a post with a fair share of criticism and my own post had my opinion on one great scene and one bad one. That is now called "defending so much"? I thought "defending so much" would be the opposite of "attacking so much," i.e. the opposite of what you're doing. But, ok, each to their own..
Booming
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 12:58pm (UTC -5)
@Mertov
About this line "Why are you defending ST:P so much? How much did the NewAgeLiberals pay you?! (Cenotaph wants to know)" I was joking. :)
Mertov
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 3:19pm (UTC -5)
Got it, sorry :)
Nigel
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 2:05am (UTC -5)
What’s JPM
next steps - Jan internal call and feb regional call


I agree with Jammer’s and commenters’ complaints about the silliness of some things in the episode. Didjt care for the cartoonish villain dialogue. Didn’t care for the f-bomb not as a matter of puritanism but because of the delivery. I felt it took away from rather than enhanced the Admiral’s takedown of Picard. But I still like and am intrigued by where the story is going.

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.
Nigel
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 2:07am (UTC -5)
Ah jeez such thoughtful points ruined by a cut n paste from phone notes from work! :) Sorry but if that post can be deleted or edited I’d be glad to repost!
Booming
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 3:14am (UTC -5)
@ Nigel
"Why can’t this universe/Federation still contain that ideal image that Gene Roddenberry presented to us?"
There are certain things that Roddenberry didn't want to see in his creation. He didn't want people to have the conflicts we have now, like hate and intolerance and all that, also humiliating people. That was something that humanity has left behind, like we left behind cannibalism. This show takes a sledge hammer to this vision by showing us that apparently we haven't left this behind. That is the thing. If the Federation can relatively easy be turned into an isolationist and xenophobic conglomerate then nothing in the world of Star Trek has any meaning. The point of Roddenberry's vision was exactly that we as part of this Federation were incapable of falling back into racism and so on. And the third season of Discovery will probably blow it up completely by going into the 30th century were the Federation is no more. But the present day writer see the 24th/25th century Federation like a late Roman Republic which then becomes more and more corrupt turns into an empire and 400 years later is no more. There is no hope for humanity left. There are no great ideal. There is just perpetual ascendancy and downfall of empires. That is NuTrek.

"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."
It is interesting that people always mention her. For context. The episode aired in 1991 and guess who died in 1991. Roddenberry had a stroke in 1989 and could barely participate afterwards. So around 1990 his vision started to slowly crumble. In 2020 it is a hollow shell for writers to play around with.

" 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?"
First, you can do what you want. Why do a job that is crappy if there are no monetary incentives or anything? They even have replicators with a very limited range. We have seen Federation civilians several times. They all seemed happy and dedicated.
Second, In Star Trek people aren't good or nice because of HR seminars. They are because it is (or now I guess was) the norm in the Federation. It almost feels like classism. "Look at the deplorables being shitty and all. Fucking poor people. Hand me the almond milk, please." And after being assholes they are all killed off.

"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."
That is a good and a bad point at the same time. It is a bad point because the show doesn't present it as a deviation and the show presents the reality it wants to present. We can always speculat, that news lady is the only racist news lady, that in the next room on Utopia Planetia everybody is nice and happy but the that is just speculation. We only see what is presented by the show. In the world of Star Trek it appears Picard and his posse are the deviants. We are presented with several scenes where intolerance or harsh and rude behavior are presented as the cultural norm and nice and decent behavior as deviant.
it is also a good point, even though I'm not sure you intended to highlight that point. Why are the news full of crime or stuff that makes people anxious? Because the news are a product that has to attract customers. Sure there is a part of the market that wants high quality information but there is a far bigger market for "scaring people into watching/reading". And this is where NuTrek comes in. That is why the world of Trek looks the way it does, intolerant, gritty because that is how many people see the world right now, like things are getting worse and it is spiced up with mysteries. But we don't want the world to be shitty. In comes the group of heroes to turn it all around and solve the mysteries.

And then we wait for the next refugee crisis that turns the Federation into xenophobes. Again.
Tune in for Season 2 now on CBSallaccess.
Nigel
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 4:29am (UTC -5)
Booming, buddy, you’ll see it how you wish to see it and I’ll see how I wish to see it. I wish you happiness as you continue to debate on this board.
Booming
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 4:47am (UTC -5)
@ Nigel
Well, while I appreciate the general sentiment of your post I feel the need to add that I'm stating what Roddenberry thought Star Trek should be. It is not my opinion or how I wish to see it. Smoking is another good example. Roddenberry hated smoking that's why there are several references in several shows about how bad smoking is and that no human smokes anymore but in ep3 it is presented as coooool. Raffi smokes weed and Han Solo smokes a cigar.

My criticism of the show always boils down to two things. Star Trek Picard (and Discovery) doesn't respect it's source material and it doesn't care about the vision of Gene Roddenberry. If Discovery and STP fail in these two aspects then what is this new Star Trek?
Nigel
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 10:07am (UTC -5)
I must say I did not care for Discovery (and have only seen 2-3 eps) as i thought the mushroom drive was absurd and much, much more. So I’m speaking mostly with a TNG/DS9/ST:P lens.

I said “see it how I/you wish” because I just don’t think Gene’s vision is by definition ruined or betrayed. I wish to believe that one person vaping is portrayed on-screen like broken person, certainly not a paragon of cool, and her actions are not the norm - that society in this time accepts or embraces it. I think any statement about “any human does/doesn’t do X” is naive, even if we suspend disbelief to accept Gene’s broader vision. I sure don’t want to speak for dozens of billions of people. When I see that no smoking sentiment in previous shows I took it as explaining a permeating societal value. I don’t think that value is tarnished because some people still light up. In my view, the way I wish to see it (and yes it is speculation but it’s the way I wish to enjoy the material), it’s an outlier.

I’d dare say the same for Starfleet’s and the Federation’s fairly xenophobic decision about the Romulans. I just read the Countdown comics and Romulan deceit, trickery, and distrust caused many of them to think that the nova was a hoax fabricated by the Federation to put one over on them, and they intended to screw the Federation right back by taking over evacuation ships. Further, a colony of Romulans also intended to leave 500+ million native slaves on one colony planet to the nova’s mercy. I wish to believe that in reading the Captain’s logs about this incident, the Federation and Starfleet were already questioning the utility of their massive rescue effort - why rescue those who refuse - and had their confidence jolted even more by a massive shock close to home. I don’t think that tarnishes the hope for a better future. I think that under great duress bad decisions counter to the future’s more advanced values were made. I wish to see that Picard is standing up for making better decisions because we are witnessing a pivotal moment where a better future must be rescued from human beings who have begun to think wrongly. I don’t think that’s incongruous with Gene’s vision - simply shakes it up to show us that like Picard’s note at the end of the Drumhead, we must always be vigilant of threats to our better natures - and that’s just my opinion, man.

Now if you feel that TNG began ransacking Gene’s vision shortly after 1989, I can’t change your mind. I can only opine that Seasons 1-2 with his full input and control were the show’s weakest (in my opinion), and that I found the Drumhead to be profound and evocative.

I’ve spent far more time on this comment thread than I ever would have liked, I’m hoping not to comment again, and so you’re most welcome to have the last word here. But my enjoyment for the Trek universe boils down to 1 thing - Gene’s compelling vision is still there and I’d rather look for it with hope instead of lamenting it being washed away.
Booming
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 10:56am (UTC -5)
@Nigel
Don't worry. If posting here is beneath you then I will not tempt you with an answer. :)
Nigel
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 1:13pm (UTC -5)
Fire away Booming. As I said, you're most welcome to "answer." But don't put words in my mouth because I never implied anything is "beneath me." I have observed the vigor with which you are debating people (or proving your own intelligence and ownership of Trek by attacking their grammar, opinions, and argumentation capabilities - I even assumed you'd do me an ad hominem attack for my own grammar as I've written all of the above on a phone) and I just don't have the energy or patiencs for that. I wanted to pose a couple questions, express my opinion and I've done so. You're entitled to yours too, and I'm certainly not looking to be baited into a war of words with you or anyone else for whom "winning" on this message board matters so much.
Booming
Sun, Feb 9, 2020, 2:13pm (UTC -5)
@ Nigel
I just wanted to trick you into answering because you said that you wouldn't and quite an answer it is. Accusations and all. I think you won this one. :)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QM0dbwDc2FE
Walrus1701D
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
This show is sucking me in with its intrigue! Referring back to the statement about the Romulans' banning of anything related to AI, the writers obviously forgot about Admiral Jarok's comment to Data way back in TNG's third season that he knew a whole host of Romulan cyberneticists that would love to study him. That's fine, though. It's a little, 10-second exchange that most fans probably don't even remember. :-D
Kuja
Sun, Feb 16, 2020, 9:03pm (UTC -5)
Grown man clutches pearls about f-bomb used appropriately when there’s no meaningful reason characters in Star Trek wouldn’t swear (Data said “holy shit” in Generations. Picard and every TNG character said “Damn” all the time. Klingons are CONSTANTLY swearing).

The argument for no swearing in Trek is silly. The idea of Humans “evolving” out of swearing is eyeroll-worthy.
Peter G.
Wed, Feb 19, 2020, 12:34am (UTC -5)
Amazingly I liked this one more than the premiere. I think it's because it felt more like we were in the Trek universe, notwithstanding the magic tech exposition forensics scene where they might as well have been waving a wand around and wearing Hogwarts scarves.

One thing I like about this episode is that we're seeing Starfleet Command again, although I agree with Jammer that the hard-headed Admiral cliche is wearing a bit thin. Would they seriously speak to Picard this way, even if pissed off at him? I mean he did literally save the entire Federation several times. You'd figure he could be as annoying as he wanted and still get grudging respect. I know they were playing on the whole "What's your name, sir?" thing to show that he had made himself irrelevant, but I believe that about as much as I believe that Kirk was forgotten 20 years after he vanished into the Nexus. It's the dude who led the Borg into Earth's orbit to assimilate it; that sort of event would have to be so outrageously infamous that for better or worse his face would be as burned into the minds of Earthers as Hitler's is and will continue to be. So I don't really buy the whole "you don't matter any more" speech, especially when his big sin was trying to save refugees. Yeah, what an asshole. The Starfleet I know might reprimand him for going against their policy but they would do so with respect since they'd understand his humanitarian concerns. This felt more like "you betrayed us!" which is really not fitting what the backstory we're being told.

I found the part funny where Picard goes out of his way to say he didn't want to ask his old crew to help him. I was remembering back to All Good Things when being a bother was really the last thing on his mind. Granted on that occasion he was trying to save all life...in the universe, I guess. But still, no thought of Captain Beverly Picard and her neato medical ship? I noticed her name perhaps conspicuously missing from the list of crew mates who would have helped him.

My favorite thing about this show is probably the casting, as so far I have yet to really see a weak link, and that is really rare on TV. So kudos to them on that. Also they did nicely keeping the suspense up considering this was a setup episode. The other nice thing that especially accentuates this one over the premiere is that it's beginning to feel like a sci-fi show, in that they are showing us a society without *showing off* their fancy CGI. The more nonchalant the tech and effects are the more it feels like a real place, and this episode is getting closer at hitting that. Much closer than I would have expected, actually. I would say the directing work is overall quite nice, much better than the sloppy and often thoughtless jobs we were getting on DISC.

I ended up wanting to watch more when this one ended, a very positive sign.
Chrome
Wed, Feb 19, 2020, 9:33am (UTC -5)
@Peter G

Nice reading your thoughts on this. I think the writers were trying to push that the admiral was more ticked at Picard for the content of the interview last episode than the decision to resign over Romulus. Picard is apparently losing his facets in a similar manner to “All Good Things”, so Picard bad-mouthing Starfleet was atypical for him. We can imagine that 14 years ago he gracefully resigned from Starfleet in the manner we’d expect from the character.

That said, I agree Picard is underappreciated here. Like you say, it’s the writers wanting to show us Picard is not the big cheese he thinks he is, but the notion he hasn’t earned reverence akin to Kirk is somewhat unbelievable. Even Worf on DS9 regales the times he had on the Enterprise-D as “legendary”.
Peter G.
Wed, Feb 19, 2020, 11:40am (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

Re: Picard's outburst in the interview, if we're to take seriously that he might have a condition affecting his mood and self-control (like Irumodic syndrome) then it becomes even more outrageous for a reporter first to try to rile him up (and it did seem deliberately provocative on her part) and then for a high ranking admiral to act just as inflammatory about it. If she thinks he's going crazy then she should treat him like someone suffering from a condition; and if she thinks he is not crazy then maybe she owes him the respect of stating his conscience. Either way she ends up falling into that category of admirals who hate him for having principles...or something. That is not the message we should be getting, I think! I mean, ok, we sort of know that Picard's sense of morality goes above and beyond, but mostly that should be in the sheer level of his discipline; I would still think that most Starfleet officers would generally share his Federation ethos at least to the point of being on the same page regarding standing by your concience. Sure she's allowed to be annoyed and to disagree with him, but I'm pretty sure the writers were going more for "you're done here, you're nothing now, get out." And I don't really buy that. They made the show around the wrong character if they wanted to go that route. I could buy it of Riker maybe, if the show had been about how instead of becoming a Captain and Admiral he resigned in protest and parted on bad terms before he could ever become a legend in his own right. But Picard - no, he had already got there, and there's no coming back from being the most famous Captain in Starfleet.
Chrome
Wed, Feb 19, 2020, 11:58am (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

I think they accounted for people not being sympathetic to Picard's condition pretty well. For starters, Picard just found out about himself in this episode, so there's no way the reporter would know. That's not me justifying her attitude, by the way, although to be fair the reporters in Generations were overzealous as well. Of course even the Generations reporters were reverent of Kirk, so I suppose it's good to ask if Picard's stance really did hurt his public reputation.

The other point is that Picard asked Dr. Mortiz to certify him for space travel after he heard the results about the parietal lobe abnormality. That sounds to me like he's asking the doctor to cover up his condition so he won't have any problems getting a ship from Starfleet. Therefore, it's likely the admiral isn't aware, either.
Peter G.
Wed, Feb 19, 2020, 12:34pm (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

I suppose you're right about them not knowing about it. Presumably his reporting on the fact that it *might* happen, from All Good Things, wouldn't be common knowledge.
E. Kristjansson
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 11:33am (UTC -5)
I'm really disappointed with this show. If I want to watch some overly complicated plot, along with torture scenes and foul language. I'll just watch the latest opuses from Tarantino or Scorcese.

It is not what I expect from Star Trek :)
SlackerInc
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 5:48am (UTC -5)
I cosign almost every jot and tittle of Trent’s review. I definitely thought this was better than the pilot (which I liked OK but was not thrilled by); however, there were definitely some hokey villain moments. Overall I am pleased by the trend.
Peter H
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 5:06pm (UTC -5)
Really enjoyed this episode. Loved the dramatic confrontation with the admiral (and did not find the f-bomb at all out of place). I even enjoyed the hokey villains. Although, surgical ear alterations seem a bit extreme in a universe where someone so comically sinister as Commodore Oh could not be immediately sniffed out by Starfleet security.

I'm completely baffled by heavy ret con of the Zhat Vash. Why do they hate synthetics so much, and how could such a specific and passionate grudge endure over generations? Also: how on earth could such a society never develop AI and treat computers as little more that glorified calculators (maybe I'm reading too much into this)? WTF is up with that all-seeing Space CSI "UV torch"? (Loved this scene anyway, and again didn't mind the swearing either!)

Can't wait so see what happens next!
J Ryan
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 3:10pm (UTC -5)
Just saw this episode. It was good. Like how they're setting up the players in the story and Picard's status (in the world and with his health). I've got a question, and forgive me if I missed comment on it in the thread above....

Am I the only one who heard Picard say, after he put on his communicator, "Beverly, this is Jean Luc, please don't disconnect. I need your help. I need a ship."

Later he tells someone (don't remember who) that he's already made the call about a ship.

Yes????
KathrynPicard
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 11:24pm (UTC -5)
Jammer,

I appreciate your criticism of the f-bomb in this episode. My best friend feels the sanctity of the Star Trek universe was violated by its usage. He is a schoolteacher and often presents Star Trek to his students as a teaching tool to be a source of hope and inspiration. Many young people have a pessimistic view of the future, so he uses Star Trek as an example of a possible positive outcome, which is especially needed in this time of crisis. Does anyone here know a way to petition the producers to cease using profanity in general so gratuitously.
J Ryan
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 12:12pm (UTC -5)
Ok, my bad. I watched the scene again and he says Raffi, not Beverly. Oops.

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