Star Trek: Picard


3.5 stars

Air date: 3/5/2020
Written by Samantha Humphrey and Michael Chabon
Directed by Doug Aarniokoski

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Nepenthe" is this series at its most relaxed and natural, and it delivers all the feels for what is perhaps the best Picard outing yet. It's refreshing to see the writers and producers of this show are capable of using the serialized Trek format to tell self-contained character stories that don't feel like info-dumps of plot exposition.

In the past I've focused a lot on whether or not episodes of this series have moved the plot forward. "Nepenthe" is proof that you don't need to move the plot forward hardly at all if you instead allow the characters to breathe and be the people they are, and reflect on their situations with thoughtfulness and self-awareness. I suspect TNG fans will find, as I did, that this feels the most like what we probably felt a decades-later TNG sequel should feel like. It does this not just by bringing back Riker and Troi in major guest appearances (although, to be clear, that certainly goes a long way), but by providing dialogue and reflection that considers the past, the present, and the choices that have been made.

When Picard and Soji stepped through the teleportation device at the end of "The Impossible Box," I wrongly assumed they would be going to Soji's homeworld. Instead they go to Nepenthe to lay low for a while. It's a world where Riker and Troi have retired, and it provides a safe haven to hide out. The Rikers have a nice house in the beautiful countryside, and one of the benefits of modern streaming TV is that it really allows the lushness of the location photography to stand out in stunning HD.

Picard fully admits to Riker that he's in over his head and that perhaps his mission parameters were not fully baked when he took it on. That being said, he remains mum on what he's actually been up to over the past few weeks, because he doesn't want to put his old friends in the danger he now faces. Nonetheless, Riker puts all the pieces together and figures out exactly what's going on in a humorous scene that pokes fun at Picard's stubborn tenacity to go it alone as if he's the sole stakeholder and Decider.

"Nepenthe" is filled with small moments, honest emotions, and stellar performances. Consider the scene where Deanna hesitates and braces herself to open the door leading to Thad's empty bedroom. With this brief piece of subtle acting, we're conveyed pretty much everything we need to know about Thad, before the dialogue tells us what tragically happened to him all those years ago. This is an episode that finds the music between the notes.

Meanwhile, aboard the Borg cube, things get unfortunately grim for Hugh, as Narissa interrogates him under the threat (which she carries out) of killing his freed ex-Borg friends, while announcing she can't kill Hugh himself because of the treaty between the Federation and the Romulans. This seems like stalling, considering she finds a loophole under which to kill him later, for acting outside the boundaries of his supposed authority. (I mean, what evidence does she have that he did or didn't break the rules of the reclamation project?)

I was sad to see Hugh get so unceremoniously offed in the course of this episode, and wished the writers could've found a less obvious way of ending his brief character arc. But the story is done with him, case closed. Such is the fate for supporting characters, I guess. Hugh's death is mostly a means to an end to make Narissa that much more of the series' Big Bad. She has a bout of hand-to-hand combat with Elnor here (they both put away their weapons), because she's Zhat Vash, and he's Qowat Milat, and This Is the Way Things Are Done Between Us. I guess it's something that Narissa abides by the rules of these ancient codes rather than being a completely evil cartoon, and this seems to be setting up an endgame that will see these two opposing, ancient Romulan societies duking it out for the win.

Still better is the storyline aboard La Sirena, where plot and character dovetail to make for some good angst and suspense. Jurati, already wracked with guilt over killing Maddox, now finds herself on the edge of a mental breakdown as she realizes Narek can continue to track the movements of the La Sirena despite Rios' clever piloting tactics, because Jurati has a tracker in her that will allow Narek to continue finding them — a secret she continues to keep.

We see in the opening flashback that Commodore Oh didn't tell Jurati why the synths will spell disaster; she showed her via a mind meld. This cleverly allows the story to show a few cards without tipping the whole hand. We still don't know what Jurati knows, even though this confirms Oh definitely showed her something Very Bad. This also makes me continue to believe we're being set up for a massive reveal that's going to have to move entire planets to be worth all the build-up and not be disappointing — a nearly impossible task without resorting the usual Armageddon stakes that feel false precisely because they're so overblown. We'll see.

For now, however, this works exceptionally well as played through Alison Pill's conveyance of extreme mental duress, and Raffi's maternal attempts to help her through it. But then Rios finds himself suspecting ill motives of the wrong person when he muses how Raffi might be a traitor based on her brief (suspicious?) absence while on Freecloud. So even in a story that's mostly not about plot, there's some intrigue still happening, and happening well.

But this is an episode about what happens on Nepenthe, where we get some nice conversations between Soji and Kestra (Lulu Wilson), the teenage daughter of Riker and Troi, who ranks very high on the list of child characters to appear on Star Trek. Isa Briones continues to draw empathy in Soji's difficult journey through realizing her true identity, and like Kestra, she still possesses enough uncertainty about the world and her role in it to provide the perspective of a youthful innocent.

Meanwhile, Troi gets perhaps one of the best counseling scenes in the history of her character when she breaks down for Picard just why Soji feels the way she does in being suspicious of the world, and urges him to more actively consider Soji's feelings from her point of view. As counselor scenes go, this is a top-tier example of how Troi should've been written in the TNG days, but only rarely was. It's not often that I'm nodding in agreement with a Counselor Troi empathy speech, but here we are.

And that dinner table scene, where everyone's sitting around it like the conference table on the Enterprise: Soji finishes her story, and Picard asks, "Thoughts?" Even if the dialogue hadn't gone out of its way to set up this notion explicitly in the preceding scene, the moment would've still been crystal clear.

And how about Jonathan Frakes? Seeing him here, dispensing charisma and charm in every scene, makes you re-appreciate the value he brought to all those years of TNG, even if we didn't always credit him for it at the time. His chemistry with Stewart shines through, as when the two old friends sit on a dock over the river and just appreciate the moment. For a moment, all seems well in the universe.

Of course, that's the rub. By the end of "Nepenthe," Picard and Soji are back on their mission, where more dangerous things await them. Romulan secret police are after them, trying to protect a dark secret larger than all of them. Things are going to get ... less good.

But for now, "Nepenthe" represents an hour where our characters (and we in the audience) can just catch our breath and enjoy our time in the world. Every once in a while you need to do that, and when it's this much of a pleasure, you're glad you got the chance.

Some other thoughts:

  • It would be nice to have a fuller understanding of the treaty between the Federation and the Romulans (or indeed how much of the Romulan Empire remains as an organization). It appears the Romulans have free reign to travel in Federation space unrestricted, allowing Narek to pursue La Sirena without consequence. But it's not completely clear.
  • Riker's house has shields. I like that even in this very back-to-nature type of setting, we still have our modern sensibilities.
  • As good as this episode was, Hugh's death just felt dumb and shortsighted given how much he emotionally anchored "The impossible Box." The writers don't play Hugh's death as a shock (which is a relief, I guess), but more like one of those Unavoidable Conclusions of Basic Screenwriting. Unfortunately, making this so routine just feels like the writers said, "Okay, we have to move on with more important things, and we can't leave this loop unclosed." But of course they could've if they weren't being so lazy about it. Meh.
  • Riker makes pizza with real, home-grown ingredients. This feels right.

Previous episode: The Impossible Box
Next episode: Broken Pieces

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365 comments on this post

Larry Allan
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 2:26am (UTC -6)
What an incredible episode. 3.5 stars at least. For once the A, B, and C plots weaved together like a well-written DS9 episode. While I am devastated that the writers killed off Hugh, his death at least served a purpose/was meaningful (as opposed to Icheb and Maddox who just got fridged for effect).
Tommy D.
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 3:46am (UTC -6)
I'm holding on to Agnes being an early prototype synth based on both her and Soji having the same puzzled reaction to seeing someone cooking ingredients to make food. Happened with the cookies and now with the pizza.
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 3:52am (UTC -6)
Hugh resuscitation a la what Seven did for Neelix in Mortal Coil anyone?

Relying on that kind of opens the door (again) for eliminating most deaths and their impacts buuuut for Hugh I say we forget about that.
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 3:58am (UTC -6)
Some confusing things aside (mostly Borg Cube/Artifact-related) that I need to rewatch to understand or digest, I think this was my favorite episode yet. I know the nostalgia thing factors into it, but it wasn't a "hey, here's Deanna and Will, remember them?" drop-in reference. I especially liked how well they wrote Troi's in this episode--so much better than how they used her in the series.

Slight niggle, Picard referred to Riker as "Commander", even though he was raised to Captain when he left the Enterprise to command the Titan.

@Tommy D.

I kind of followed that train of thought until I remembered that Agnes and Maddox were lovers. I mean... yeah, that could have been a purpose-built thing, but as little credit as some people are giving the writers, I wouldn't think they'd bake that into the plot.
Jack Meoff
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 3:59am (UTC -6)
Huge will rise again. Count on it!!!!!
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 4:30am (UTC -6)
Also, I want another series "Star Trek: The Adventures of Kestra - Wild Girl of the Woods". Amazing casting choice for the Troi-Riker's daughter.
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 5:27am (UTC -6)
You can purchase the replicator Jurati used to make the hypospray:
Tim C
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 6:21am (UTC -6)
That was really great. I mean, screw the critical analysis for a moment. Seeing Picard, Riker and Troi back together like this, with such an genuine love and respect for one another, was just lovely. The episode could've coasted on the nostalgia factor alone, but the tragedy of their lost son added a real edge to this episode that had me genuinely hurting for them. It was just good dramatic TV.

Elsewhere, the story took a couple of turns I wasn't expecting. For starters, I thought that Commodore Oh was a secret Romulan; wrong guess. I also thought, like Jammer, that whatever she told Agnes couldn't live up to audience expectations. I wasn't expecting a mind-meld, which opens a whole new can of story worms: was what she showed Jurati genuine, or some kind of mental implant? Are the Vulcans in on the Zhat Vash as well? I'm interested again!

The stuff on the cube also felt genuine. Rizzo actually moved over from the "boring caricature" column into the "genuine threat" column for me. She's still not a particularly interesting character, but the casual slaughter of the XBs to pressure Hugh was damn cold.

Speaking of Hugh, his apparent death is the weakest point of the episode for me. It felt unnecessary, and I don't just say that as an audience member who doesn't want to see a character I like die. I mean dramatically speaking, his death doesn't really motivate anybody. There's a million ways you could write it so that for whatever reason he can't help Elnor anymore; the death just felt like some cheap manipulation.

Damn good episode. The kind of character-focused breather that Discovery has always been crying out for. Nice work, show.
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 6:59am (UTC -6)
"It tastes so real. Real is so much better.”

- Soji eats a tomato, which is oddly the emotional core message of this hour.

* * 1/2 stars (out of 4)

Here is an hour of ST:Picard that does everything - short of killing Picard - to make us feeeel. Most of the tricks didn’t really do it for me. The massacre of four ex-Borg by the Romulans was gratuitous and needless cruel. I thought we were over that kind of senseless violence with Icheb, but evidently not. The death of Hugh was a waste, much as the death of Maddox was waste a few weeks ago. And the heart-stringiest of all, the death of Deanna and Will’s elder son from some sort of silicon MS (that could only be cured if there were Androids!) was just too cliched to really register, seeing as we never did know the boy.

But I’m happy to say that young Kestra’s girl-crush on Soji was both endearing and organic, and frankly very charming. Was it enough to lift this hour past the substandard string of episodes we saw in #’s 2, 3, 4 & 5? No, but maybe it offers hope that the writers possess some skills, that there is some potential for this series going forward.

Now, you might say, how can an episode with Will and Deanna be anything less than four stars? Well, it’s not that there weren't stand out moments: Will & Picard sitting on a bench over the lake, with Will’s arm around Picard was wonderful - maybe worth having this entire series just for that one scene. But if you listen closely to the dialogue throughout the episode, the hour was basically a long expository “previously on Picard” recap. Think of Nepenthe as TNG’s Shades of Gray. A clip show without the clips.

My biggest problem with ST: Picard, is that the show doesn’t seem to respect the audience. Take the Big Reveal (TM) that Commodore Oh mind-melded with Dr. Jurati, showing her the hell that is a galaxy with synths. Ok. But imagine we had seen that scene way back in episode 2 when it happened, and then lived with that knowledge through all these hours of Picard, just like Dr. Jurati had to. That’s what nBSG did. Dr. Baltar knew that there were Skin-job Toasters, and he had to make decisions on the fly burdened with that knowledge. Flawed decisions. Self-serving decisions (we’re talking about Baltar after all). But the writers respected the audience enough not to try to hook them with a cheap trick. Imagine how the drek of Stardust City Rag might have been elevated if we got to participate in the self-torture that Dr. Jurati went through in deciding to kill her ex-boyfriend? But no, they went for cheap tricks instead.

And this episode doubles down on the Romulan secret society silliness.

Evidently when the Bene Gesserit fights the Fellowship of the Ring, it must be hand-to-hand. Whatever.

That said, Will was outstanding. Every beat of his was perfect. I am so tempted to give Nepenthe 3 stars just for him. Now I want pizza.

The sound track to this show is terrible. Please upgrade! Computer, play more jazz :-)
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 8:03am (UTC -6)
The scenes on Riker's home had a good TNG feel to it, very nice. To me, the weak parts continue to be the action on the borg artifact. I'll hold my full judgement for this when the season ends (should have done this from the beginning, but it is never too late i guess!).
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 8:46am (UTC -6)
And so you see, it isn't that the critics of ST Picard WANT to hate it. We WANT to like it. An episode like this one still has glaring problems but it makes up for that with substance. This is what good episodes of Trek have always done. There have always been flaws and plot holes and so forth. And when those things exist with very little of anything of substance to make up for them, an episode feels pointless. How much time do we have to waste in 2020 watching 5 hours of something that did nothing for us on a deeper level and could have probably been condensed down into an hour by better writers? This episode (and to some extent the one before it ) did more than pretty much all the other ones put together. But I guess you could also say that if all the other episodes had been condensed they could have equaled this one.

When writers have too much freedom they start wandering off into areas that are probably better left unexplored. Well, especially writers who don't have the capacity to do that well. We're not asking for the best writers ever. We're asking for writers who know their limits.

This one, I have few complaints about. The guy with the sword is still out of place and that whole character seems like a goofy afterthought. An entire episode was wasted laying the groundwork for a bizarre LOTResque character in a Star Trek show where he doesn't have anything better to do than stay behind to give Picard time to travel at FTL speed through space.

I spent some time thinking about what this show's real problem is and that is too many characters. Well, specifically, they often have too many onscreen at a given time. And often, the unnecessary characters are doing things that just get in the way of what we actually need to see. In TNG, there was no problem with a character like Worf standing in the background quietly doing his Worf thing because he wasn't doing anything that was getting in the way of the story. And he had an easy way into any scene that required him. Elegant. In this show, the guy with the sword just shows up. That's about the most hamfisted (and jolting) and unorganic way to cram more characters into a scene I can imagine.

Hopefully, this marks a turn in this show and future episodes will build on the things they did right here.
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 9:02am (UTC -6)
One of the things I always liked about TNG over DS9 was that you could walk away from an episode and truly feel uplifted without the caveat of “real life isn’t that easy”. Obviously this show isn’t the same as TNG, and in some ways I enjoy that, but I think killing off Hugh was a mistake. I like the idea that in the dark depths of the Borg cube optimism was finding its way through Hugh. It reminded me of the struggling plant in Wal-E — in simple terms, it’s hope. I’m not sure why the writers feel the need to snuff hope out, aside from the fact that they seem to be trying to break ties with TNG and have us focus more on new characters.

That said, the moments on Nepenthe with the other TNG veterans were pure gold. STP doesn’t cash in on nostalgia much, but boy they really hit it home when they do. What I liked most about this was that it didn’t feel simply like Stewart, Frakes, and Siris were back at some cast reunion. Rather, I really felt like the old crew of the Enterprise was back challenging each other and solving problems. Sirtis was great calling out Picard for the right reasons while also finding comfort from his leadership. Frakes was pitch perfect both as a gentle giant. At his best, Riker truly is a competent and intelligent man who can size up a situation quickly. Soji’s struggle with humanity also deserves credit as she goes through a somehow relatable journey of what family means via the Rikers’ daughter, Kestra.

Jurati’s story on La Sirena was interesting and gave some depth to the character but I’m at a loss as to how clueless the crew is to her true nature. Sure, it’s suspenseful, but the whole suspicion over the wrong crewmember seems a bit forced. I guess Jurati and Rios are so close now that Rios wouldn’t think Jurati was the culprit, but that whole relationship needs better development.

One final note: am I the only one here who likes Narrisa? Sure, she’s a generic bad gal, but the Romulans have always had a character who’s affably evil. She reminds me a lot of Commander Toreth from “Face of the Enemy” in that she’s so despicably treacherous. I say we need a little scenery chewing in Star Trek, so let’s keep this girl around.
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 9:24am (UTC -6)

I would not be surprised if every single TNG character gets killed off in this series. They have made it clear they are just using TNG to lure fans of that show into whatever they're trying to accomplish here.
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 9:42am (UTC -6)

Yeah, I know. It’s like, who else needs a sad ending? Lt. Barclay? Amanda Rogers? The Traveler? There’s no end to the possibilities! Well, one end...
Cody B
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 9:58am (UTC -6)
Otherwise great episode that is marred by the frivolous killing of Hugh
Cody B
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 10:13am (UTC -6)
Sorry to double comment, I was just reading comments and doing some more thinking. Riker and Troi WERE used well in this episode. The writers took it slow and didn’t feel like how some other familiar characters have been used on both this show and Discovery where it feels like a familiar character is just winking at you and being like “Hey I know you remember me! CAMEO!”. I liked the end when “Wild Girl of the Woods” was speaking with Soji and said something like “You are going through the hardest time of your life. When I went through the hardest time of my life I had my mom and dad. You don’t have a mom and dad. But you have Picard. And he could have you. If you want it”. That was a nice well done little emotional moment. Now the Hugh death is what really brings this great episode down. Even if Hugh is later brought back to life the way they frivolously killed him was just ridiculous. No emotion or weight in it at all. It had all the emotional weight and pay off of tossing something into a trashcan as you walk by.
The Chronek
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 11:14am (UTC -6)
Loved loved loved this episode.

So good to see Riker and Troi, and not solely for nostalgia. They really got to flex their acting muscles.

The Raffi-Rios-Jurati scenes were also well done.

Would have liked a different ending for Hugh, but oh well.
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 11:18am (UTC -6)
This episode begins with yet another flashback. Here, Jurati - wearing earphones overly big even by contemporary standards - mind-melds with a Vulcan. The mind-meld is initiated without permission. Via it, Jurati is shown various apocalyptic scenes. Synths, apparently, are A THREAT TO THE GALAXY!

Like all of "Picard's" flashbacks, this one contains material which a better writer would have placed sequentially elsewhere in the series. After it ends, we get cheesy scenes on the Borg cube, with Hugh being tortured by the Incest Romulans and the Space Elf being "heroically" abandoned by Raffi and Rios, who "escape" into space but are followed by Boba Fett.

The episode's first great scenes occur on Nephenthe, a rural planet in which Riker and Troi live with their daughter in a rustic log cabin. The show's aesthetic here harks back to Trek's 1950s-pulp-SF roots, with its overlaps between deep space, Westward expansion and the American frontier. Riker, perhaps TNG's MVP (with a twinkle in his eyes, he saved the show from stuffiness), oozes easygoing charm and character, and effortlessly chews every scene he's in. His low-tech cabin, complete with high tech shields, scanners and defenses, is particularly cool, and it's fun watching Picard, Troi and Riker hang out. Their daughter (named after Troi's sister in a TNG episode?) is nicely and quickly sketched too.

But, via contrast with everything else, these charming scenes also reveal how poor "Picard's" writing is. "Picard's" best moments have always been when the show tears away from its plot and indulges in callbacks to TNG. Scenes of Picard at his chateau, or wandering about Federation buildings, or gazing up at hologram-Enterprises, or dreaming of Data, together with later moments of Picard hanging out with Hugh, or here hanging out with Riker and Troi, have thus far been its best moments. This is a show which works best when its indulging in nostalgia.

When its plotting new terrain, the cliches and tropes come hard and fast. And thus: Troi's mourning the loss of a child, the fate of the Galaxy is once again at stake, space Elves fight on shadowy Death Stars, evil robot armies are an existential threat to the universe, and Soji wrestles with "not being real".

That last subplot - Soji's metaphysical musings - seem particular old-hat in light of modern neuroscience (we are all robots in denial), and its reliance on Data never quite works. Data looms large over this show, is the great father of Soji, and a kind of spiritual figure who points to how machines should be good and kind, but all this thematic weight relies upon viewers intimately knowing TNG and Data. "Picard" itself never convincingly does the work to explain who Data is, why he is different, why he's important to Picard and the Federation, and why his "spirit" looms large. Instead the writers rely on fanboy memory. Indeed, this show as a whole would play awfully to non-Trek-literate audiences, every episode hinging upon Trek lore that goes unexplained.

The episode's mid-section simply watches Picard watch Riker cook pizza on his huge outdoor oven. The scenes are so good, you start wishing for a low-key series about Picard and Riker simply trout fishing.

Unfortunately we get yet another exposition scene - Riker literally pauses his pizza cooking to explain back to Picard the show's entire plot - but Riker's belly and Santa Claus face is so awesome, you don't care.

Afterwards, Soji drops some needless infodumps of her own, explaining the previous six episodes worth of plot back to Troi. Troi gets her revenge by info-dumping 18 years worth of plot onto Soji; Troi's son, apparently, died due to a synth ban on medical mumbo jumbo, and thus "robots like Soji have as much value as non-synth life". Good message, but you don't need to give Troi a dead son to convey it.

A great scene occurs next, Soji fighting Picard in a tomato garden, and Troi berating Picard with her counseling skills. Yes, the show once again features a character taking Picard down a peg, but the writing is good here.

But then we jump back to the Death Star, where Obi Wan Kenobi is battling Incest Romulans upon gangplanks and in steam-filled rooms. These scenes are pure cheese. Hugh's death is particularly cynical.

Raffi gets a good scene next, her character written here differently from everywhere else in the show. This version of Raffi, an easy going momma-bear, slightly stoned but wise and composed - think Guinan in a hot tub - works best.

Two more great scenes occur: a dinner table sequence and Picard and Riker on a chair overlooking a lake, proving you don't need constant PLOT and FATE OF THE GALAXY stuff to generate interest. It's a lesson the recent The Orville learnt well from TOS and TNG; characters simply low-key hanging out can be fun.

Epitomizing the pit-stop nature of this show, Riker and Troi are quickly left behind, as is Hugh. It's all very frustrating. These episodes don't flow well at all, the best characters don't carry over form one episode to the next, and the "connecting tissue" of the season features its worst material.

Still, I'm sure many will agree this is one of the best episodes. Surely it has the best GOOD STUFF to BAD STUFF ratio thus far. Feast on its easygoing optimism too, because next week's episode looks GRIM.
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 11:32am (UTC -6)
Yes, the nostalgia factor is strong with this one, but by golly... What a great, emotional episode. It was great to catch up with the Rikers again. Picking the name Kestra was a nice nod to Troi's deceased older sister. And man, I'd forgotten just how much natural charm Jonathan Frakes exudes.

The genuine love and affection their characters have for Picard brought a tear to my cynical eye. As for Hugh's death... That just felt cheap, undeserved and mostly to help the plot along and get an ex-Borg on the cube.

Oh, and Picard calling Riker 'commander' just might be another subtle hint the Irumodic syndrome is quietly creeping forward to its inevitable conclusion.
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 11:41am (UTC -6)
I'll break down my opinion on the episode into each of the three plot arcs, because my feelings on them are quite different.

The stuff on Nepenthe with the Rikers was awesome. Fanwank of course, but fanwank in the best way. I had tears in my eyes multiple times early on in the episode. The writers knew just the right TNG nostalgia notes to hit. I typically don't expect much from child actors, but the girl they got to play Kestra did an excellent job as well. I was a bit surprised how most of the interactions were actually between Picard and Troi, rather than Picard and Riker - but this may reflect that Sirtis has kept up her acting chops in a way Frakes has not. A little bit of the dialogue was strangely written (seemed like Kestra was talking about the Enterprise like she had been on it for example) but it wasn't enough to take me out of the story.

The stuff on La Sirena was pretty good as well. The writers have done a good job saving Jurati's character from the heel turn two episodes back, making her into a much more compelling persopm either than the quirky woman she initially appeared to be or the villain (or possessed person) that many feared. For the second week in a row we're really focusing on her mental breakdown - and it works. I liked the choice to have Raffi, rather than Rios, be the one to turn to her with compassion this time around. Only possible negative is Rios himself remains a pretty shallow character in comparison to those around him.

The stuff on the Borg cube with Elnor and Hugh was dreadful. Even setting aside killing Hugh for a second, every second of this was cliched dialogue and a railroaded plot. I think it might have been possible to do what they wanted done here justice with more time, but they wanted to focus on Picard/Soji, so they focused on trying to get done what they needed (Elnor stays behind, Hugh dies, Elnor calls Seven) as quickly as possible - meaning each of the three scenes has logic holes so gigantic you can drive a truck through them.

I suppose I'd rate it three stars overall, though 2.5 is also defensible.
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 11:51am (UTC -6)
Also, as for Nepenthe, it's not only the name of the planet the Rikers settled on but actually an old Greek literary term. In Homer's Odyssey 'nepenthe' is a drug that is able to banish grief or trouble from a person's mind.

A nice symbolic way to describe the "breather" this episode offered Picard and his motley crew. Not to mention the borg cube size piece of cake Agnes got to eat to calm her nerves.
Richard James
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 11:52am (UTC -6)
It's taken a while, but we're really getting somewhere now.

Nostalgia aside, there is some good stuff happening here - Riker and Troi's daughter is excellent and is a perfect way for Soji to reflect on herself. Rizzo is finally moving away from caricature baddie, Narek twiddling his Rubik's cube while stalking Rio on the 'snakes head' is a nice touch.

There is still some silly things - Hugh really didn't need to die, and the whole Agnes sub plot hasn't really been played well.

Riker and Picard are excellent as always, and although their meeting is basically filler - it's pretty damn satisfying filler while also spinning the wheels of the other storylines.

Honourable mention should go to the return of Commodore Oh's sunglasses.
Big Pimpin'
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 1:34pm (UTC -6)
This show took a while to get going, but now it's really going. Almost everything about this episode was great. Troi actually being smart in her "role" as counselor, the whole log cabin aesthetic which is very Star Trek, Jurati injecting herself, Soji's paranoia, etc.

I'm at the point now where the show has enough good will with me that the quibbles I still have (questionable characterization from time to time + slightly excessive darkness) are just that.

The show definitely has a great humanity though, even with that darkness.
"I'm not as brave as I used to be."
"That means you're wiser."
Mike W
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 1:40pm (UTC -6)
This episode was 4 stars. The subplots all worked well and nothing felt forced. It was great to see Riker and Troi. Their house has shields! Also interesting to see that Will is still active reserve for Starfleet. I wonder if he perhaps has any pull in Starfleet still. Surely Geordi or Worf is still out there and can lend a hand.

Can’t wait for next Thursday!

Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 2:50pm (UTC -6)
Mostly echoing what other people said - great episode only somewhat marred by Hiugh's unnecessary death and Rizzo continuing to feel like a terrible stereotype out of a worse show. Everything with the Riker/Troi family was wonderful, and overall the episode just felt *right.* In other words, two big wins in a row for the show.
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 2:53pm (UTC -6)
I will no longer be reading the comments on this site. You people are so overwhelmingly, unjustifiably negative that it borders on a pathological need to be as toxic as possible.
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 3:08pm (UTC -6)
This episode works on all fronts. The Borg cube and La Sirena remain tense, and Picard and Soji have a story that's genuinely moving.

The A plot isn't about any sort of sci-fi action; it's about a young woman emerging from betrayal and manipulation figuring out whether she can or could trust anyone around her, when the person trying to help her is also a flawed man with blind spots of his own. Her trauma rightly leaves her seeing expressions of care as possible threats. At the same time, she wrestles with being something different from the people around her: I won't soon forget the nuance she delivers with "real is better." Isa Briones is shaping up to be one of the more sophisticated actors in the Trek canon.

Fortunately, Picard has allies in proving his worth. Our first reunification of the Enterprise crew rings true and strikes deep. The most moving moment of recognition wasn't Troi's ability to read Picard, but Riker's recognition of Data in Soji. These are people who care for each other and know each other extremely well despite the ways they've changed. Kestra managed to make herself both likeable and distinctive within minutes, enough that she could pull off that sincere conversation with Soji at the end.

The series would've been better served by playing out Jurati's conflicting emotions from the start rather than pull her murder of Maddox as a twist in Stardust City Rag. However, we're given those experiences now, and it looks as if whatever she saw via mind meld would indeed be enough to turn around someone's lifelong motivations. Ultimately, she can't continue betraying good people, and good writing and acting for Raffi and Rios take her believably to the point where she would eliminate herself as a threat to them while also causing herself harm. Maybe she could've removed the probe with less harm with her crew's help--but that would've entailed confession, and she felt too ashamed for that. Possibly to the point where self-harm was a feature rather than a bug.

Narissa, now that she's a ruthless baddie claiming to protect the entire galaxy instead of leaving teeth marks on the scenery with Narek, is fun to watch, and I enjoy that she and Elnor come from Romulan factions with a long-standing rivalry. Elnor's swordplay somehow besting a room full of disruptors stretches credulity, so that I headcanon that he relies on some sort of tech, but it does look cool.

With Hugh, we have our first death of a significant character. Yes, we lost Icheb before, but he lacks Hugh's significance within the franchise, the fandom, and this series in particular. His death, though sudden, is neither careless nor gratuitous. It's the most logical outcome of his choosing to help Picard and Soji escape and choosing to fight back after the slaughter of his kin. It still surprised me because Trek historically has so rarely killed characters. Narratively, it's also about more than just motivating Elnor. Something terrible will happen when Elnor follows Hugh's plan to activate the slumbering power of the Borg cube. Were Hugh around, he could direct or control it. But he won't be. Something tells me that Narissa has just helped to set in motion exactly what her organization has been trying to prevent.

I'm pretty amazed that people can still be negative on the show after this episode, and for those who are, you may want to do what I did halfway through season 1 of Orville: throw up your hands and declare yourself done, and then actually stay done. I was happier that way. If the show does something new or different, you'll hear about it.

Four stars. I thought about whether I should stick with 3.5, but on reflection, no... four.
Eric Jensen
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 3:13pm (UTC -6)
The death of Hugh was very sad, because it was a waste of time. Why only have Hugh for a couple of episodes?

Does Soji trust Picard?

Flashback - Agnes sees Oh. Sunglasses? It sounds very weird that Agnes was being watched and under surveillance... is that the Starfleet way? Or the Tal Shiar way? Is she really a Vulcan - Oh? Then she did a mind meld with her, without proper consent! Oh gives her a tracker and then Agnes chews it. Something Agnes must do... a terrible sacrifice.

The drama between Rios and Raffi - very good, apart from Agnes though... Narissa gets the exBs killed... she is bored. Narek follows Rios and the crew... Narissa mentions the treaty... Narek follows the tracker and then the ship is released. "Has to a be a trickl" Elnor decides to stay to help Hugh.

Then we see Narek following Rios. I am just confused about Commodore Oh. Is she part of a cult??? She wore that cloak and was part of the "prophecy circle".

Nepenthe - we see rabbits/hares on this planet. Soji and Picard gets transported on the planet. Picard reveals his heart has solid duritanium?? (Q must come back! - that Tapestry episode)

"I dont believe anyone" says Soji. Is Picard deliberately letting Kendra talk to Soji? Then the word ANDROID. Just get on with the mindgame? We see Troi doing the gardening and couldn't Troi feel the presence of Picard? A good hug.

Just Soji... Why the music when Riker is on. Another hug... Newton's 4th law of thermodynamics? LOL Troi cannot read Soji... expected... that theme TNG theme when the three of them together - Picard, Riker and Troi. The talk about Data and mucus... Soji wanted to be human still - Kendra gets to be the boss of Soji. The sad scene between Picard and Troi and her late son...

I think Agnes knows they are being tracked when they are trying to escape from Narek. Synth chick... Raffi is suspicious of Agnes! And then Agnes gets defensive! Cake?

Riker guessed it! Tal Shiar - Data's daughter and she is on the run... regenerative powers?? That head tilt?? She is clearly an android.

Silicon based virus? But only curable with a positronic matrix... The scene between Troi and Soji seemed very icy and cold. Troi seemed very harsh and I think because of the synth ban, Troi was reminded of her son. All this about trust - another game... could it come down to the Soji trying to destroy the universe? Soji pushed Picard! Why??

But Troi said the right things - her ability to trust is a flaw in her programming - manipulated. Trying to solve the problem together, Troi becomes softer...

In the end, Soji does come to sort of trust Picard - heart rate - pupils dilating. All of this seems to calm Soji

Treaty violation? Hugh trying to take the cube back... Elnor, definitely a better fighter but sadly Hugh dies... Elnor contacts the Rangers and hopefully we see seven again!
Tim C
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 3:17pm (UTC -6)
I'm with you on Trek's unwillingness to kill off characters who weren't just red shirts, Drea. It was one of the reasons the "action" in Treks past could feel so rote. But I can't agree on killing off Hugh so soon. You're right that it's a logical outcome of his decision in "The Impossible Box"; but I felt like there was a lot more potential for his character that we sadly won't get now. The killing of his XBs was already enough to sell us on the threat; surely he could have been sidelined without killing him off!
Big Pimpin'
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 3:20pm (UTC -6)
Rez isn't wrong.
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 4:26pm (UTC -6)
Rez, most of the comments on this episode are positive...
John Harmon
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 4:31pm (UTC -6)
So synths will destroy the entire galaxy. You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. They’re doing this shit again. How many times can they recycle “thing will destroy the entire galaxy”? Seriously, they just did that with Discovery season 2. Technology will destroy the galaxy.

I was really hoping, in vain it seems, that Picard wouldn’t do the same thing as Kurtzman a Trek before and have it all culminate in something threatening THE ENTIRE GALAXY but here we are. No doubt the finale will end with an overblown space battle and then a cliffhanger that leans heavy on nostalgia to trick people into coming back. My guess is it will be Q.
Eric Jensen
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 5:19pm (UTC -6)
Was one of the warrior nuns with Oh in the prophecy circle??
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 6:03pm (UTC -6)
Well of course they have a dead kid and of course it is perfectly tied in to the whole problematic of the show, because why wouldn't it be.

Honestly, I am beyond surprised by the overwhelmingly positive comments so far as I was on the verge of shutting this shit down the moment they killed Hugh, because why wouldn't they. And once more, Picard gets chewed out both by Riker and Troi no less and it seems rightfully so because Picard is again portrayed like a dick. It takes a special kind of script to ruin the return of the characters I loved oh so much for so long and the writers and everybody affiliated with this show managed to achieve exactly that. It is beyond irony that Troi tells Picard that he should be "Jean-Luc Picard" because that is just Kurtzman punching me in the gut. Yurati is beyond annoying and like in one of the Discovery episodes we get an unsolicited and forced mindmeld as means of cheaply creating motivation behind Yurati's idiotic characterization without actually letting the audience in on it. When Rios confided in her about thinking that Raffi is the reason they are being followed I thought that was just a ruse to confirm his suspicions in Yurati, but guess what, no such luck. No nuance and subtlety in Kurtzman Trek and I should've known better by now; a show which has an explicit line about this current crew having more baggage than the old one as if we hadn't realized that by now really can't do any better.

I will say that I loved seeing Riker and Troi again but that stems exclusively from that ancient (as this one likes to remind us) show we all loved and cherished and has absolutely nothing to do with this mess. Frakes does his usual good job.

Judging by the next week preview, we're bound for an absolute shitstorm of gruesome scenes.
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 6:13pm (UTC -6)
Tissues...lots of tissues. Wallowing in nostalgia.
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 6:29pm (UTC -6)
At the risk of being labeled and lumped in with reviewers who are never happy with this show, I think this episode is truly the turning point in terms of plot.

Don’t get me wrong; the scenes with Riker and Troi were really only good for purposes of nostalgia. Otherwise every plot contrivance was employed. Picard said so himself: he didn’t want to put them in danger by visiting them but guess what? He did!

We pretty know now the main plot is synths that endanger the galaxy. Rizzo and company are the guardians and it really begs the question if we will yet again get a time travel plot scenario (eg Oh showed the future by gaining that knowledge via a time travel plot device).

I was worried a couple episodes that the BIG REVEAL would disappoint and there’d have to be a significant twist to change that.

And to those that loved this episode and the series so far, is that due to as a prior reviewer stated, the nostalgia factor *in spite* of the poor writing?
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 7:00pm (UTC -6)
Marvin said: "I was worried a couple episodes that the BIG REVEAL would disappoint and there’d have to be a significant twist to change that."

Kurtzman has presided over three seasons of Trek thus far. Each has spent half the season pretending to be about one thing (red signals, first contact, klingon civil wars etc) and the second half about the DESTRUCTION OF THE GALAXY, either by Control, Synths or cataclysmic spore-drive overuse. Each has also involved time travel or some kind of slippage between universes.

What's frustrating is that, once again, a Kurtzman season starts off baiting us with complex political stuff. Remember when this show was about xenophobia, refugee crises and space-immigration? Remember when Disco Season 2 was about first contact with mysterious aliens? Remember when Season 1 wasn't about Mirror Universe instigated Apocalypse?

All these shows start off with great premises and interesting pilots, veer suddenly off in the opposite direction, rummage aimlessly about for a bit, then ramp up to Armageddons.
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 7:23pm (UTC -6)

While I was never gungho about the political aspects of Star Trek, as you stated there was fertile ground here to explore issues of Starfleet (Federation?) Xenophobia, immigration and refugee status, and the non utopian aspects of the human condition. That, however, requires deft writing and plot. I mentioned Westworld in a prior review, and I think Westworld does an excellent job exploring AI consciousness, which Picard attempts (appears?) to do.
But it looks like instead of a Borg threat we have a synth threat plot...

What has 7 episodes advanced so far? A still unexplained conspiracy of the Mars attack involving Zat Vash synth and Fed complicity. Picard drawn in with a poorly written gratitude to Data saving his life. Do I need to rewatch the atrocious Nemesis for context? The new crew is merely a plot catalyst to advance the Borg connection, with Seven Riker et all fan service nostalgia? Did I sum up the plot?

Anyone else here tracking time each episode just to see when will the plot advance? Isn't that the whole point of serial storytelling?
Richard James
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 7:50pm (UTC -6)
@Rez It's a little ironic that you complain about the negativity on this site by leaving a negative comment yourself.

The consensus so far on this episode is mostly positive - or that this is the best episode of STD yet.
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 8:09pm (UTC -6)
So commodore Oh is a Vulcan after all!

It is becoming increasingly clear that the "bad guys", assholes that they may very well be, in fact have a point and a valid cause.

Raffi not going about boozing herself out was good too. It is the first episode where I liked her.

Was Rios really confusing who was the "traitor" or he already got it and is just cat-and-miceing Jurati?

A corageous plot detail, having the Troi-Rikers lose a son, for the lack of synths no less.

Picard also feels "Picardy", in a more convincing manner.

Having the "motley crew" sepatate into 2 or 3 parties did well for the narrative's sake; when they were roaming the galaxy in "armata brancaleone" fashion, I wasn't enjoying it all that much.

At the end I couldn't understand: did Pic and Soji teleport back to Rios' ship (whats-its-name), or they went along thar new captain mentioned by Riker'a daughter?
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 8:15pm (UTC -6)
I don’t know how television actually gets made, but Alex Kurtzman is being described some in almost auteur terms, as if what we see on screen is a product of his inner consciousness, to the exclusion of any errant or wayward thought the hundreds of other people who are Involved in creating the show might have had.

To date, people who have criticized the show (and there are legitimate grounds for doing so) have criticized it as 1) a product of bland corporate committee-ism, or 2) as the product of one person (Michael Chabon, Kurtzman, whomever). The latter critics... Well, the argument has yet to offer a certain refinement. Once someone references Kurtzman as “Colonel Kurtz” (a reference smart enough warrant its being used... well, so...inelegantly), What Else can possibly be said of him? (Other than, I guess, the other “criticism” to the effect that he (assuming it IS he, I guess) relies on formula, as if the criticism were of a vice instead of a characteristic).

I suppose it must be difficult to decide which “Insert Blame Here” button to push as the occasion demands. It doesn’t sound like a very fruitful undertaking. It also sounds kind of joyless. There’s a humorless didacticism to some of the more negative comments on this site about the show.

Some people on this site have claimed they are receiving undeserved flak for their “”negative comments,”” which, they assure us, are non-hateful, it-pains-me-to-say-it criticisms. Speaking only for myself, the problem I have with the arguments made by the flak-takers, is that, to a tee, it seems, the interlocutors claim special, inalterable, unassailable knowledge (as presaged by the use of the Royal “we” or “our”’) of what exactly the “good old days” were like, and what “now” is like, and why the latter is “bad” because it is not the former —— as of reasonable people of good faith are not permitted to have varying opinions on these matters.

“They’ve managed to turn dubious scientific theory into dogma,” as someone once said. And rather glumly at that.
Big Pimpin'
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 8:33pm (UTC -6)
^Plus, I really dom't see how some of these guys ever liked Star Trek if their standards are so ungodly high.
On a continuum from "I, Borg" to "Descent" to "Code of Honor", STP sits comfortably closer to "I, Borg" than to "Descent", let alone to stinkers like "Code of Honor".

The complainers don't seem to be being very objective.
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 8:40pm (UTC -6)
This might be wishful thinking on my part, but I don't think there's a snowball's chance in hell that Chabon & company will let the Zhat Vash be "right" - because that would cut against one of the most central elements of Star Trek.

In the Star Trek world, there are no monsters - only people. This goes back to the first season of TOS, where we discover Charlie X is just a scared teenager, the Horta is just a grieving mother, and Trelane is just a spoiled child. Certainly there are individual antagonists - even villains at times. But not once have we been shown a race which is rotten to the core. Every species has its good apples and bad ones, and even the bad ones are bad for a reason.

If the Zhat Vash are right, then it would mean synths are by nature dangerous creatures that need to be destroyed, not people just like you and me. It would be basically allegorically telling a story which justifies the Holocaust - because you just can't trust what "those people" would do if you leave them to their own devices. That is so stunningly off-message that I think it's more likely it ends up a damp squib. But it's more likely than either that the Zhat Vash have just hugely misinterpreted their own prophecy.

As for the "haters" - flame away on episodes all you like. What I can't stand though is when the comment threads descend into a general discussion of the series as a whole - or worse yet, modern Trek as a whole and what "real Trek" is. I realize that due to Jammer not having a forum there's nowhere else to do this, but the lack of threaded comments here makes it pretty hard to deal with extended conversations regardless.
Dave in MN
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 8:54pm (UTC -6)
I stare at the screen and I try to ingest this program, but it's just a thing I stare at for an hour. I have to shut off any critical reasoning or thinking and sit on my hands to keep from grabbing the remote.

The acting was Ok in this one ... again, the veteran actors did what they could to elevate the material.

Things I didn't like: anything Agnes said or did in this episode (except the self inflicted coma, please let that be permanent), Hugh getting killed off, Rizzo beaming out as a knife flew through her still present atoms, the EMH not telling anyone what happens, Narek looking dumb in his little shuttle (I thought cloaked ships couldn't fire their weapons, Troi talking down to Picard.

Things I liked: the cast, the acting, Raffi calling out Agnes, 7 returning in the preview for next week

2.5 stars
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 9:07pm (UTC -6)
Maybe this can be an episode people can criticize

But those emotional scenes with the rikers were 5 stars. Just tremendous acting, feeling , and a reality to it.

Cant say enough how much of a payoff that was.
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 9:25pm (UTC -6)
I could watch for hours all the scenes on Nepenthe. Rikers seemed so real, so warm, so unforced, and Kestra is probably the best Star Trek kid ever.
I cried four times during the Nepenthe scenes.
Even Soji doesnt seem so irritating here. Deanna is a surprise also, so matured, her advice and insight useful and meaningful, way better than anything she did back on the Enterprise.

Im reminded of one of the late Ebert's reviews (I think it was The voyage home) when he mentioned the chemistry and ease between the actors that could be brought only by lifelong friends having fun and enjoying on the sets. This was Nepenthe.

I just hope this continues. Episodes 1, 6 and 7 are way to go.
Tommy D.
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 9:54pm (UTC -6)
Pretty much loved this episode. Everything on Nepenthe was great, and the table scene was awesome. 3.5 stars again, but 4 stars for Nepenthe alone.
Dave in MN
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 9:56pm (UTC -6)
I forgot to mention but Commodore Oh in her sunglasses made ne laugh that entire scene and I didn't take any of the foreshadowing seriously. Pure cringe.
Tommy D.
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 9:59pm (UTC -6)
To add, I thought the young actress who played Kestra did a wonderful job.

And, though I'm sad to see Hugh go, I'm glad his character was revisited, and Jonathan Del Arco also did a fantastic job. I also hope this might open a door for Seven to continue the work of Hugh.
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 10:03pm (UTC -6)
The most “tng” feel of the series so far, but perhaps I liked the previous episode a bit more. Why? I enjoyed every minute of the reunion but Soji’s head tilt was bit too much. I noticed it right away, and of course so did Riker, but had never seen her do it before so it felt a bit “too obvious”. Still in the top 3 this season (6, 7 &1, in that order, for me).

Question for you all: did you catch Riker’s reference to the Kzinti when he was first talking to Picard? Kzinti were the war-like cats introduced by Larry Niven in his “Known Space” series. They appeared in one of his short stories, “The soft weapon”, which was used, if memory serves, as the source material for one of the episodes of “Star Trek the animated series”. I always liked the Kzinti, I always imagined them as 7 feet tall kitties, sort of purring Klingons...Could it be a hook to the upcoming new animated series?
In any case, I am again waiting for next week episode.
Waiting for a TV show: that sure brings me back in time...
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 10:19pm (UTC -6)
How coukd they kill Hugh?!?! Didnt everyone else find it monstrously short sighted and contrived and too soon..ecen more so than Maddox..thats whst inthink..curious what everyone else thinks..and that person who says Hugh will we are you so sure?? I hope so..and whybtheb hell wasnt Seven of Nine in this or any more episodes this had her in episodes 7 through 10 but now that has t disappeared..
Tommy D.
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 10:21pm (UTC -6)

Soji does the head tilt in a previous episode while following Narek in the Artifact (may have been the one where they slide around).
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 10:31pm (UTC -6)
That was too much nostalgia and exposition for my liking. I looked forward to seeing Troy and Riker again, but this was nostalgia overload. The scenes went on and on just regurgitating the current plot to us, all to be able to stay longer at their house.

Definitely not a fan of the Hugh getting killed by badass badgirl. The Elf's acting is not good and that does not help either.

Rios in this episode also goes full dummy. Agnes pretty much tells him, its me. But no....

As a former smoker, electronic cigarettes have helped me quit, but advertising it in Star Trek as a cool thing to do strikes me as wrong.

I liked both episodes before this one better. I give it 2 stars.
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 10:43pm (UTC -6)
Now this is what I want PIC to be -- "Nepenthe" is hands down the best episode of the series thus far. I was never a fan of the Troi character (or Sirtis as an actress) on TNG but here she's terrific and Riker/Frakes is great too -- just so much better to have 2 mellow characters instead of so much focus on the messed up characters that are part of Picard's motley crew. Good continuation of the plot for Picard/Soji although the rest is just decent at best (space ships, Jurati's inner conflict, fight scenes on the Borg cube).

The 1st act was literally a blur -- so much packed into it and then we switch over to Picard/Soji on Nepenthe which unfolds at a much slower pace.

Too bad Hugh gets killed but at least it's a meaningful death unlike just a typical red shirt dying. Hugh's had a notable role to play and the viewer can empathize with the good he's trying to do. Of course, Narissa is still a 1-dimensional villain but now she's got some serious fighting skills too. Elnor's character doesn't have much more depth - he goes all Legolas on some Romulans -- not totally sure what Hugh tells him as he breathes his last.

As for Jurati, still annoying -- enough with her puking already. So this week's flashback is that idiot Commander Oh, director of SF security, getting her to fight against the synths and undermine Picard's plan. Interesting choice to show this here -- guess they had to fill the viewer in (who is considered too dumb to figure stuff out). Jurati gets to drop this week's f-bomb -- gratuitous, as usual. I think the writers are going overboard with people having inner conflicts (Raffi, Soji, Jurati ) when the only one who matters is Picard.

But truly the best parts are Picard/Soji at Riker/Troi's home. Kestra was a nice addition -- a kid who could act (something not at all seen on prior iterations of Trek). Liked the scenes between Soji and Kestra and of course building a little sister / big sister dynamic.

So Soji can't trust anybody -- this has now been well established and it makes sense. Good scene with Troi as a counselor (I could never say that for TNG) .

Soji doing the head tilt -- never saw her do that before, but she does it here just to reinforce she's Data's offspring. Don't really think it was needed but whatever.

Also liked how Riker challenged Picard -- his arrogance "not sure you're up to it". Good writing and acting for Troi and Riker. Just really enjoyable watching them with Picard...

And what to make of the ending shot of the planet Nepenthe having 2 moons...Is it where Soji was "built"?

3.5 stars for "Nepenthe" -- definitely some very strong Trek here with Picard meeting up with RIker/Troi who were like 2 kindred spirits that the captain could use (not to mention the viewer). Soji and Kestra had a nice dynamic too. The rest of the episode was pretty standard stuff but the action had a bit more gravitas with Hugh getting killed -- hope they can do better with Narissa as a villain going forward. Also important in terms of adding depth to the episode is Troi/RIker guiding Picard, not just laying down and saying they'll do whatever for him -- as they are older/wiser, they are certainly acting that way. Excellent episode.
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 10:45pm (UTC -6)
The emotions in this episode did not ring true. I was anticipating the reunion between Picard, troi and riker however their dialogue was overwrought. If you go back and watch TNG episodes or DS9, emotions are sold with subtlety not hitting you over the head with them. The key is restraint. Watch Odo and his unrequited feelings for Kira and you’ll see how they portray pain. Watch Picard at the end of inner light and you’ll see what it means to miss something. You don’t need musical cues and twinkly pianos constantly, you need silence. I want to like this show but they are trying too hard. The wild girl in the woods seemed fake to me. She came off as generic rather than someone who had truly experienced tragedy. While I think the actress playing Soji is not bad, rikers daughters interactions with Soji rang false.
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 10:58pm (UTC -6)
And another thing....How could they KILL HUGH BEFORE HE MET SEVEN OF NINE?? Am inthe only one who just thiught of this...JeriNryan and Jonathan del Arco have appeared in so many interviews together that i dont see how they could not appear together on the show..pkus theyre characters..
Jean Luc Rikkard
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 11:00pm (UTC -6)
I have disliked this show overall but the last two episodes have been better. Especially this one. This one actually felt more like Trek in that it was a bit more upbeat and less dystopian. It was nice to see Troi and Riker again, and their family felt genuine and their daughter was well acted and cast. Picard felt a bit more like Picard for once and it was good to spend some actual time with the crew.

The relationship between Picard and Soji seems to be working which is a relief because that's obviously a major part of the show going forward.
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 11:37pm (UTC -6)

That is all. Carry on,.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 12:01am (UTC -6)
After a decent episode last week, STP dipped back into the doldrums with "Nepenthe".

First off, it was great to see Riker and Troi again even though their reunion with Picard didn't advance the plot much. There were some especially nice moments between Riker and Picard. Kestra was written a little too fangirlish with all of the gratuitous TNG references, but the actress did a nice job.

Everything off planet was a mess, though. The stuff on the Borg cube was completely pointless and poorly written. It makes absolutely no sense that the Romulan chick would let Hugh live after witnessing a massacre, watch him run about the ship for twenty minutes, and then murder him anyway. Why not just kill him right off the bat and make up a story if the Federation started asking questions?

The scenes on board the La Sirena weren't much better. At the beginning of the series, Agnes reminded me of Tilly with her goofy, awkward mannerisms. Now she feels more like Michael Burnham, with an exaggerated emotional affect and perpetually pained look on her face. It's not an improvement.

Speaking of Discovery, doesn't the prophesied Android Apocalypse in Picard sound awfully similar to the AI Apocalypse prophesied in STD Season 2? Can't they come up with something more compelling for a season-long arc than yet another doomsday scenario?

Random items:

*The La Sirena is furnished with 20th century picnic tables for some reason. You can even see the hole in the middle for an umbrella!

*Why would inducing a coma deactivate Agnes's tracking device? It wasn't implanted in her brain. She just bit into in and (presumably) swallowed it.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 12:36am (UTC -6)
This episode started with the most useless flashback I have ever seen. Everything but the mind melt we already knew.
This was STP again treading water. Lots of memberberries like seven two episodes ago. Of course Troy and Riker cannot live happily ever after. No, like Seven of Nine who is a mass murdering psychopath, they are traumatized by their child slowly dying because the Federation banned synth. Yeah, the Federation let's children die who could be easily cured. They also live just a few days away from the Borg cube. How convenient

Troy and Riker are both still commanders 30 years later. Whatever but good that Riker activated the cloaking device scanner. Phew. Many of the conversations told us what we had just seen in the episode before. Away from planet nostalgia.

On the ship things happen. Raffi is now stable again but now Jurati is so unstable that she tries to commit suicide. We watch her drool for 10 seconds in agony. Thanks again STP. The EMH has obviously no memories of her killing Maddox. We also learn that the super advanced Romulan ship can be outsmarted by stopping. Ok. I guess next episode a weakened Jurati will come clean. Stupid conversations about fate (Soji, the future Borg queen) included.

On the cube we dive into b movie territory. Rizzo changes from two dimensional into one dimensional villain. She kills the XB's because she gets off on it. At first she kills them to force Hugh but when he resists she kills them anyway. Lots of violence and executions. Hugh's life is spared but shortly afterwards he is killed by Rizzo who was apparently one room away waiting so that we can have an action scene. Another example of the stellar writing of this show. Ok. Elnor uses the duck and cover technique to outsmart the guards. Smart kid.

My rating: two deadly hypospray injections.
Dave in MN
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 12:51am (UTC -6)
I will admit this: one thing this series has in common with the others (post-TOS) is the tendency to kill off strong supporting characters/antagonists too soon (just for the sake of cheap drama).

A death here or there is to be expected in a TV series with a revolving door writer's room, but the scripters box themselves in and miss opportunities when they off someone after a couple episodes. The audience likes to see the universe fleshed out and you can't do that by axing half the supporting players upon their return. It becomes predictable. (They'd better not kill off Seven!)

K'ehlyr, Suder, Remmick, Joe Carey, Picard's family, Lursa & Bator, Seska, The Crystalline Entity, Tasha Yar (twice), Jadzia, Data, even Picard's fish .... and now we can add Icheb, Bruce Maddox and Hugh to the list. ( I'm sure I'm forgetting some.)

These narrative choices are lamentably exasperating, but STP is NOT unique in this regard.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 12:57am (UTC -6)
Overall good - as seems to be the general consensus. But enough bad to be bothersome.


The girl character - she was great. her last scene about how her parents were there for her during the toughest time in her life was such an uncomplicated, believeable slice of life - not something we get often on sci-fi shows, and it felt fresh and worked well here in this family setting. I like the complicated questions, but sometimes simple and sweet just works. Brought tears to my eyes.

Lots of good things about Troi and Riker reunion. Some great moments, good acting, pleasant to watch. Fun nods to TNG that worked well enough to make me smile.

Ex-Borg rebellion?? Could be fun!


Way too much recap dialogue in the Nepenthe planet scenes. Boring-ified something that had a lot of otherwise great elements.

Out of character moment when Picard said something jerk-ish so he could be berated by Riker and Troi felt shoehorned in. Because, conflict. And Drama.

Both cube scenes. Death of Hugh?! No!

That’s handy that the tracker doesn’t work when Jurati is in a coma. I guess because she’s “mostly dead” and that’s close enough to “all dead”? Even if she had died, that automatically makes the tracker not work I guess.

So we were spoonfed more info about why Jurati “had” to murder Maddox. How did murdering Maddox help the anti-synth cause? I mean, I guess it could, but for Jurati to do that you need some plausible justification for that drastic of a character turn. And she saw Terrible Things in a forced mind meld. So, how does she know these things are true/will happen? Time travel future stuff? Does that really make someone SURE they need to kill someone they were close to? Being shown traumatic images that “might” come true (how? We don’t know - more spoonfeeding later, pinky promise!) should spur a character on to questioning the validity of those images, not mindless compliance. We aren’t led to believe she is being mind controlled so she just seems gullible or really prone to manipulation. I needed something to make me see why Jurati would do such a terrible deed but instead it just felt weak.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 1:21am (UTC -6)
Overall a strong entry, better than last week's in my opinion.

Some worthy reviews above, the only thing I'd like to add is that I found the nostalgia aspect a bit heavy (Snitch also mentions this in the first paragraph above). Granted, Troi is portrayed very well here, certainly with more substance than she had in most TNG episodes. I know that they added Troi and Riker very late in the season and it;s obvious that they were intending to count on nostalgia, and boy did they lay it thick. So thick that the more compelling relationship on Nepenthe was almost overlooked, which is the wonderful synergy between Kestra and Soji. Kudos to both actors, genuine moments between those two!

The first act was a bit messy. On the plus side, La Sirena scenes had substance. Very enjoyable hour otherwise.

PS: The Ready Room is a joy to watch every week. Wil Wheaton's enthusiasm rubs off on everyone, his guests and the viewer. Glad he is the host and his guests provide good insight.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 1:39am (UTC -6)
Read the comment. Trent makes a good point. Xenophobia, refugees all dumped. Now it's doomsday scenario again. Funny that there are still people who complain about negative comments even when the majority is positive.

The haters (people like me, I guess; I actually don't hate the show. I just think it is badly written and manipulative) motivation summed up in a video.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 1:52am (UTC -6)
If you have half a soul and any reverence whatsoever for TNG, you will be a mess throughout and at the end of this episode.

"You don't have any parents, but you have Captain Picard, and he has you" - Will & Deanna's kid to Soji (and those aren't even the Riker/Troi scenes.)

Come for dinner at the Rikers (it's pizza with fresh-grown tomatoes and smoked space-rabbit) and you will be in Star Trek freaking nirvana (and not just because we would all give our left arm to be able to sit down to dinner with Picard and crew)

As it turns out, the dinner turns into capital-letter-"Real Trek" mystery/drama/sci-fi/crew-based problem-solving.

When the trailers came out, everyone was salivating over what the Data scenes would be like in Ep 1 (and they were great), and Jeri Ryan steals the show in Ep 5 (even over Stewart at times, and that's no small feat*) but the surprise of the season for me is how insanely satisfyingly good the Riker and Troi scenes in this episode are - showing that you don't have to be empathic to give sage advice and you don't have to be a first officer to help your captain.

The first scene while making dinner is perhaps one of the best Picard-Riker scenes ever and the exchange not only transcends most else in this series so far but indeed even a good share of what's in TNG canon overall, greatly adding to the richness of the sum of TNG.

................Oh yeah, there's also some stuff on the cube (Hugh dies, which sucks but isn't surprising), and sweet Agnes gets closer to coming clean with her murderous secret (after two barfs and another f-bomb, which - though I could have lived without said profanity - was pretty earned.)

For the scenes at "the Rikers'" and how they add to the story (and the other scenes for not taking away from the story and actually turning out pretty decent), not only is this my favourite Picard episode so far but I already consider it one of the top 20 of all Star Trek episodes (maybe even more - haven't totally processed it.)

This series has finally started to fire on all matter/anti-matter injectors (and in the case of this episode, additional ones I didn't even know existed)

"You could have just said 'dinner is ready'..." - Riker


(* I would have watched 10 episodes of Stewart just tending grapes and talking to his dog)
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 2:22am (UTC -6)
P.S. @ Mal, regardless of whether one liked this episode or not, there's got to be a special place in hell for anyone who would compare this episode to Shades Of Grey...Just sayin'....that's pretty cold dude.
The Chronek
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 3:24am (UTC -6)
More thoughts.
I thought Picard's treatment of Soji was quite in character for him, even going back to Encounter at Farpoint, Disaster and Pegasus. He was consistently uncomfortable around children, unsure of how to handle himself. Sure, Soji appears to be a young woman, but he is treating her somewhat as a child.
I was a wreck for many of the scenes of Picard reuniting with Riker and Troi. After the mess that was Nemesis, I didn't think we'd get to see them together again. Not only do we get to see them together again, we get to see them with perhaps some of the best material they've had. Next Gen is my Star Trek.
I think, in his review of All Good Things, Jammer wrote about how the characters came together to solve problems. Picard's dinner with Soji, Riker, Troi and Kestra felt very much like the characters on Next Gen coming together to solve a problem. This is Star Trek. Sure, it's not exactly like Next Gen, but it's still a fantastic episode with fantastic acting.
I've watched The Ready Room quite a bit while watching Picard. It seems like everyone involved gets it. Yes, even Kurtzman.
4 stars from me.
Steve McCullagh
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 3:40am (UTC -6)
Best episode of the whole season. Five stars.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 4:44am (UTC -6)
I’m validated. We like an episode bloated with tng. That’s all this is, a need to go back. Anything not tng, kill it with fire.

The word nostalgia or variant nostalgic et al is mentioned 19 times in 68 comments.

Impossible Box. 1 time in 271 comments
Stardust City Rag. 21 times in 504 comments
Absolute Candor. 5 times, 296 comments
The End is the Beginning. 3 in 218
Maps and Legends. 6 in 229
Remembrance. 6 in 286

But here were no Rikers in any of those episodes were there? The closest to it was Stardust City Rag with Jeri Ryan. Ah science.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 5:08am (UTC -6)
I was actually about to turn this episode and this series off for good after the XB's execution scene on the Artifact, but i stuck it out because I wanted to see Riker and Troy. Yeah, the show got me hook line and sinker with the nostalgia. It made you very warm inside to see this reunion, didn't it? (I never knew Troy was so affectionate towards Picard, though).
It's a process that started with the TNG movies, but ST Picard is somehow retroactively painting Picard re:his former crew mates as them all having relationships of those of dear friends, but I don't know if I buy it. Data and Jeordi were friends. Riker and Troy were friends. Riker and Picard had tremendous respect for each other, for sure, but they still had hierarchy... I feel like this whole thing is retconned for our sake based on that final scene in "All Good things..." where Picard finally joins his crew for a poker game.
For me it would be more realistic and satisfying if people still retained some kind of awe of Picard, something to remind us that he is someone special worth doing a whole series about.
Everybody's either overly familial with him, tells him what to do, or speak of him as a figure of the past. In the show he's just an old man running around being pushed aside (sometimes literally) without any of the qualities that used to define him. Sure, people can change and do change, but when you watch a show called Star Trek: Picard the last thing you wanna see is the adventures of an irrelevant old man across the galaxy.

I mean, even now, him going out to save Soji to become relevant again... I get it... but he's still passive. This crisis came to him, he didn't take any action to change his situation, and his character remains quite passive on the whole.

It's kind of heartbreaking to watch.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 5:57am (UTC -6)
Finally, an episode that was actually pretty good. The episode took the time to explore the characters. The dialogue on the planet with Picard, Riker, and Troi sounded real and human, as opposed to the overwritten dialogue for the newer characters. Even if I'm not incredibly excited by the overall plot, at least it moved forward (as opposed to spinning wheels with yet more mystery boxes). This episode has me cautiously optimistic about the future of the show.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 6:02am (UTC -6)
The reason Picard is so passive and his character so amorphous is because the plot has been planned backwards from a predefined endpoint - as with DIS S1, it seems they decided how the season would end before they decided how it would start, and created the season by working back from the end - so the plot isn't character-driven or determined by the actions of the principle characters. Instead it's more like a "ride" (or video game demo) in which Picard is the viewer proxy (the rollercoaster seat or POV character), and ancillary characters are used to propel him (and thus the viewer) rom one stage of the ride to the next - Dahj gets Picard involved in the mystery (after which she is narratively disposed of), Laris gets Picard off Earth by revealing Soji is in space (after which she is narratively abandoned), Raffi and Rios get Picard to Freecloud, Bruce Maddox gets him from Freecloud to the cube (after which he is narratively disposed of), Hugh gets him from the cube to Nepenthe (after which he is narratively disposed of). This style of writing doesn't really give the characters the space to be people, they're more like figures or cogs - for all Raffi is a mess, she's the closest the series has come to a character with actual attributes and personality that aren't defined by the plot. Agnes is now defined by her function in the plot, Soji's main purpose is to be the central McGuffin (though Briones is great), the less said about Narissa/Narek/Oh the better, and even Riker and Troi are used here to deliver huge chunks of recapping and exposition because the show doesn't trust its viewership to remember or understand what happened the previous week. After Raffi and Rios, Elnor has been the closest to being allowed to function as an actual character and person rather than a plot cog - but it seemsl likely now that he's going to become a plot function too because there was no logical reason for him to stay on the cube.

It's all the same things that hamstrung Discovery, and the reason Burnham was a thankless role - her actions were never consistent because they were determined by the predetermined requirements of the ongoing plot each week, and she was never allowed the space to be a rounded, developed person because every week she was the plot key to some crisis. Here, Patrick Stewart is simply playing himself as he's passively shuttled from one location to the next. I really hope Picard and Seven - two of the most beloved Trek characters - don't get turned into plot cogs by the end of the season, but those shots of Seven in next week's trailer gives me concern.
Captain Jon
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 7:17am (UTC -6)
Not only did I think that this was an absolutely brilliant episode and the best of ST:PIC, but also the best of New Era Trek. I didn’t look at it as an extended recap but as a reflection upon the characters and their mental state. This has lacked from Trek for a long time and has never happened in Discovery, at least not without a teary-eyed, overly sappy emotional monologue.

Soji has personally been damaged by what’s happened to her. The man she thought loved her and was trying to help her turned out to by lying and manipulative and ultimately tried to murder her. That’s not something to bounce back from.

Picard is definitely arrogant and thinks that he alone can solve the galaxy’s problems. Who better to call him out than his closet friends/shipmates? Troi knows him better than anyone on a personal and emotional level and is capable of keeping him grounded while Riker was the other half of Picard’s strategic mind. Their inclusion is fantastic! I thought Frakes and Sirtis fell right back into character and gave their best performances in years! Add to that I thought that the writing for Troi has never been better! I hope we see these two again and get to see Riker back in uniform and in command of his own ship. They planted the seed....he said he’d come back for the right cause.

Meanwhile, their daughter was incredibly well-written and performed and the perfect foil for Soji. She was also the only person who would help Soji lower her guard without doing so in a manipulative way. This young girl needs to come back as well!

I was heartbroken by the fate of the Riker’s son (I personally thought he should be named Tommy). It really hit me as a father and I felt for them. It was really well conveyed.

It’s good to see that Agnes is remorseful for not only killing Maddox but also for essentially betraying everyone. They can’t let her off the hook too easily but obviously they’re going to keep her around some how. Raffi is a fun and damaged character but she needs a little more depth still. And Rios is still one-dimensional and a bit oblivious....Agnes tells him it’s here and he doesn’t catch on???

Hugh’s death was unfortunate though expected. I’m glad they brought him back since he’s the only character who could’ve provided insight into the reclamation project to Picard who the audience was familiar with. And I know his death is controversial but I think it ups the stakes. Trek has always played it safe with its characters. The danger has never felt real because we know that everyone will always pull least until their contracts are up, anyway. Hugh’s death ups the stakes and says no one is safe and I’m ok with that. If fan favorite characters can’t be touched then there’s no real danger and there’s no suspense or tension.

I don’t view the galaxy as being in danger as some have posited above. I think that’s a deception by Oh and her colleagues. It’s not “we have to save the galaxy” so much as “we have to save the androids and their home world”. That’s my reading of the situation. After all, if it’s really is the galaxy at risk then doesn’t that make the androids the villains? And Narissa and Oh and Narek are the real heroes? I think not.

Overall, Trek’s best outing in almost two decades!
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 7:42am (UTC -6)
One big problem this show has that the soundtrack is so bland. Compare that to DS9 or BSG. Both shows have given us numerous memorable tracks.
STP has so far not given us one.

Look at this scene if you don't know what I mean or listen to a few BSG tracks...
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 8:05am (UTC -6)
@Dave in MN

"These narrative choices are lamentably exasperating, but STP is NOT unique in this regard."

Have it ever happened at this frequency, though? And did Trek ever have the tendency of bringing back characters from 30 years ago just to kill them off?

STP has already done it 3 times (at least) in 8 episodes. It's a cruel and mean thing to do, and its nearly unprecedented in Trek.

The only pre-STP offender I can think of is ST:Generations. What they did to Picard's nephew was both terrible and pointless, but this is the one exception that proves the rule. None of your other examples even come close.

One could even argue that doing such a thing ONCE is not necessarily a bad idea. I mean, yeah, it's shocking, but these tragedies happen sometimes. I'm not sure if I'd agree with such an argument, but at least it is somewhat reasonable.

Picard, on the other hand, has turned this cruelty into a habit. There is no possible justification for doing this. Do the fans of the TNG-era really need to see another classic character getting gratuitously butchered every other week? Seriously?

I can tell you one thing: Even if STP was pitch perfect Trek in every other way, this ongoing murder spree would probably be enough for me to reject it as canon. First Icheb, then Maddox, then Hugh... are you f***ing kidding me? Is this Star Trek, or 1000 Ways to Die? No Sir, I will not accept this sadistic new development as part of the Trek canon. And I will not apologize for this either.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 8:07am (UTC -6)

Did it ever occur to you that if we WANTED to be toxic and negative about Star Trek we'd have never watched enough of Trek to care in the first place? Food for thought might be worthless if you're not hungry, FWIW
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 8:08am (UTC -6)
@ Booming:

“No, like Seven of Nine who is a mass murdering psychopath”

I commented on this before; that is not how I read that scene. Pay attention to the visual effects; Seven stuns the first two guards (blue phaser bolts), kills Bjayzl (red bolts), then exits stage right spraying more stun shots (blue).

We can debate whether killing Bjayzl was justice or murder but mass murder? I don’t see it in that scene.

This was my hang-up — the original sin even — with Discovery, in the second episode where Burnham kills Klingon David Koresh; she was stunning everyone in that scene and makes a conscious choice to kill him, flipping her weapon from stun to kill and shooting him in the back, one scene after saying that killing him would make him a martyr and guarantee a war. I’m not sure if that’s how the writers intended that scene to go but that’s definitely how the SFX people interpreted it.

“On the ship things happen. Raffi is now stable again but now Jurati is so unstable that she tries to commit suicide. We watch her drool for 10 seconds in agony.”

I didn’t read that scene as a suicide attempt but rather whatever substance she injected was intended to disable the tracker she had previously ingested. A scientist of her caliber would surely be able to figure out a less painful/more effective and immediate method of suicide. The tracker stops working as soon as she does it and our heroes make their escape.

For all the criticism of the writing choices and exposition in this story there’s a lot going on beneath the surface for those who pay attention to detail.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 8:14am (UTC -6)
Okay - plot question for everyone. I honestly don't know the answer, and maybe I missed something obvious, but the answer will determine whether I think the scenes on the ship in this episode are good, if unclear, or are rather the worst scenes so far this season.

Question: are Rios and Raffi honestly not suspicious of Jurati? Is Raffi honestly just trying to cheer up Jurati with cake? Is Rios honestly more suspicious of Raffi than Jurati? Or, rather, are both Rios and Raffi playing Jurati to get the truth out of her? Does anyone know?
Captain Jon
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 8:14am (UTC -6)
^When you say “classic” do you mean as in being from the previous era of Trek? Or as in legendary and timeless? Because honestly, while memorable I hardly ever viewed Maddox or Icheb as classic characters. They were certainly notable, although Icheb was a retread of Seven, IMHO. And Maddox was mostly noteworthy for the episode he was in and his life’s work of seeking to create more androids. But characteristically I viewed him as lacking any real depth/dimension.
Andy's Friend
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 8:57am (UTC -6)
@Captain Jon

"And Maddox was mostly noteworthy for the episode he was in and his life’s work of seeking to create more androids. But characteristically I viewed him as lacking any real depth/dimension."

I would contest that, as he develops over the course of the episode and is no longer an antagonist at the end of it. As such, he represents the on-screen alter ego of the sceptical viewer, hopefully enlightened by the ethics for which the episode is a vehicle, and all sceptics, everywhere. You might say that the episode reminds Maddox, the sceptic, of what he had once visited in his dreams.

More fundamentally, however, Maddox doesn't need "any real depth/dimension". Archetypes and myths are just that: a symbol. What powers archetypes is their function in their given story. And that of Bruce Maddox is as powerful as they come.

Think of it: Maddox isn't exactly Director Mandl, Dr. Kingsley, or Dr. Barron, is he? Perhaps you will need to remind yourself of who one of them is: but we all know who Maddox is. His character is as classic Star Trek as it gets, such is the power of 'The Measure of a Man'.

Finally, Maddox is classic Star Trek also in another way: precisely because he goes from being antagonistic at first to being friendly in the end, all brought about by negotiation (litigation, discussion, mediation) with Picard and the Enterprise crew. It doesn't get more Star Trek than that.

In any case, I'm not bothered, I'm not watching this and Bruce Maddox is alive and well. :)
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 9:16am (UTC -6)
Hooray, Star Trek with genuine feelings! Actual Humanity! And I think their interactions do work despite their previous working relationships because they are there in a social situation rather than a command structure - they no longer work together so they don't need to maintain their professional 'distance' (calling each other Captain or Commander is just from habit) especially with Troi and Riker not needing to see Picard so clearly as their superior. I also think All Good Things set the stage for more camaraderie, as Picard now saw that he needed to show his appreciation and be a bit more open with them, rather than maintaining the distance he had up until then. I haven't seen the films for a long time but I like to think it's plausible, anyway, at least in the less life-and-death times and the more mundane missions.

Eh, Hugh's death was disappointing but at least made a little bit of sense in amongst the action. The scenes on Nepenthe did have me in tears - perhaps aided by my sleepless night last night so I'm more emotional anyway, but whatever, I enjoyed it even more than last week. I felt like these were real humans, with the added depth that the professional code of conduct on the Enterprise didn't quite allow (i.e. Roddenberry's insistence on no conflict amongst our main cast) and if I could have this type of Trek every week I would be overjoyed!

One thing about having to watch it on Amazon Prime, none of the episodes come with content advisories or previews for the following week, so I'm really having to take it as it comes. So the eye scene in That Episode was an absolute shocker, but then the Rikers this week were a wonderful surprise! I adore their daughter too, she's great!
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 9:16am (UTC -6)
Andy’s Friend wrote:

“I would contest that, as he develops over the course of the episode and is no longer an antagonist at the end of it. As such, he represents the on-screen alter ego of the sceptical viewer, hopefully enlightened by the ethics for which the episode is a vehicle, and all sceptics, everywhere. You might say that the episode reminds Maddox, the sceptic, of what he had once visited in his dreams.“

I would agree with you here, although I think Captain Jon also has a point that Maddox is a less important TNG character than say, Hugh or Admiral Nacheyev. The out of universe reason given is that STP’s writers don’t want to keep adding characters to Picard’s crew roster. I don’t know if that decision was made because the writers prefer newer characters or they don’t want to toy around with canon they don’t understand. My concern is why they don’t simply put old characters “on a shuttle” rather than burying them six feet deep.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 9:21am (UTC -6)
To add to my comment about watching on Amazon, interestingly enough they are all rated a 12 despite the swearing (I guess that's why it's not littered with four-letter words, but I really would have preferred it without their weekly quota of one f-bomb) and despite the violence, possibly because we don't see blood - except for the one with the eye scene of course, which is a 15. So even the ratings aren't much of a guide for what to expect.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 9:27am (UTC -6)
I'd watch a series about Riker and Kestra exploring Nepenthe, making pizza, and going for long hikes with Troi whilst discussing Andorian pastry.

Maybe a Federation science vessel turns up one day, and they take a trip to Casual IV, where they join an expedition to monitor the planet's response to CO2 scrubbing super trees genetically engineered by the Federation. After a long hike, they eat more space pie, take a nap, and meet up with local marine biologists who've discovered a new life-form living under the planet's polar ice-cap. Troi offers to try to communicate with the creature, but the alien is real old and slow and constructs decade long sentences. The Federation sets up a project to monitor the thing's utterances, but its a centuries long operation, and unfortunately our heroes will be long dead before actionable information is obtained. They eat more pie and take more naps.

Weeks later the Federation science vessel returns to take our heroes back to Nepenthe, after first stopping off at Banal V, an uninhabited gas planet, to take samples of local lichen. They eat more pie and take more naps.

The journey to Nepenthe goes by without incident. Upon arrival, Riker eats more pie. The first season climaxes with Riker taking a nap.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 9:31am (UTC -6)
Does this show ever explain why Picard doesn't just take the pile of dead Romulan bodies in his chateau to a Federation official?

And why doesn't Director Oh not just go straight to Picard with the information that synths will lead to the apocalypse?
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 9:38am (UTC -6)
Also, why does Riker talk about "Newton's fourth law of thermodynamics"? As far as I know, Newton doesn't have a law of thernodynamics; he wrote about laws of motion. What's up with this line?

(sorry for triple posts, hit "submit" too soon and didn't mean to spam)
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 9:43am (UTC -6)
@ Tim
Why do you think that blue means stun and red means vaporize? Apart from the fact how stupid this whole color thing is (Phasers in TNG and DS9 didn't change color) the klingon guy wasn't vaporized. Does that only happen when you use two?

"A scientist of her caliber would surely be able to figure out a less painful/more effective and immediate method of suicide. The tracker stops working as soon as she does it and our heroes make their escape."
Being a scientist is not a superpower. She is specialist in synthetic lifeforms but apparently can also reprogram the EMH, does understand from looking at it for two seconds what kind of tracking candy she ate and what toxin to use to disable it. I'm laughing while writing this.

"For all the criticism of the writing choices and exposition in this story there’s a lot going on beneath the surface for those who pay attention to detail."
Well, Lestrade I guess you got it all figured out.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 9:51am (UTC -6)
"And why doesn't Director Oh not just go straight to Picard with the information that synths will lead to the apocalypse? "
Come on Trent use your head. if she would just go to Picard and mind melt with him then there wouldn't be a show. If you want to enjoy this show you have to destroy the logical part of your brain. :D

"Also, why does Riker talk about "Newton's fourth law of thermodynamics"?"
This obviously doesn't care about science.

"Upon arrival, Riker eats more pie."
He is pretty fat, though. Maybe he should eat less pie.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 10:08am (UTC -6)

"Why do you think that blue means stun and red means vaporize?"

Because that's been consistent all throughout NuTrek, from the first JJ movie, through Discovery, and now into Picard. In the JJ movie the phaser head itself even changed color when flipped from stun to kill.

"Apart from the fact how stupid this whole color thing is"

*shrug*, it's just a different manner of SFX. I think the hand phasers were better as beams than bolts and that the props should still look more like tools than weapons but these are minor quibbles and I'm not going to devote too much of my time to them. My reading of that scene is Seven went out of her way _NOT_ to kill people she didn't have to kill. Read it how you will but that's how I see it.

"Being a scientist is not a superpower."

Well, I am _not_ Earth's leading expert on artificial lifeforms, nor am I any sort of scientist, but off the top of my head I can name a foolproof and painless method of suicide -- inert gas asphyxiation -- that can be executed for less than $50 in today's world. The required supplies (a supply of helium or nitrogen and a plastic bag) would certainly be attainable for someone with access to a replicator.

Unless they're going into some deep psychological story about suicide as a means of attention getting (doubtful) we can believe that she was earnest in her attempt to commit suicide but picked a bad method (does she strike you as stupid?) or that she had other intentions. *shrug*
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 10:17am (UTC -6)
Booming, "mind melt" is my favourite Germanism of the day :D
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 10:28am (UTC -6)
@ Trent

"Does this show ever explain why Picard doesn't just take the pile of dead Romulan bodies in his chateau to a Federation official?"

That is kind of the huge glaring plothole in the whole season, isn't it? Best not to think about it. :(

"And why doesn't Director Oh not just go straight to Picard with the information that synths will lead to the apocalypse?"

Assuming that information is legitimate and wasn't her way of programming Jurati to do the bidding of the Tal Shair/Zhat Vash. I don't see a forced mind meld/brainwashing attempt being very effective on Picard, who once melded with Sarek, Spock, and of course was Locutus (though, to be honest, I doubt the writers thought about it this deeply)

Director Oh is clearly an asset for the Tal Shair/Zhat Vash -- whether she's a willing asset or is somehow compromised is as yet unrevealed -- so I'd take her perspective with a huge grain of salt.

"Also, why does Riker talk about "Newton's fourth law of thermodynamics"? As far as I know, Newton doesn't have a law of thernodynamics; he wrote about laws of motion. What's up with this line?"

I just assumed that was some sort of inside joke between the two.

@ Booming

Neglected to put this into my reply directed at you, but for what it's worth Memory Alpha ( has the following to say:

"While Rios, Raffi, and her were in transit, they took steps to avoid Narek tracking them. She could not bring her self to tell Rios and Raffi she has a tracker in her bloodstream. Thus, she synthesized a neurotoxin agent and injected into herself in an attempt getting rid of the tracker. She was put into a coma by the EMH."

Apparently, I'm not the only one who viewed the scene that way. *shrug*

It's lamentable that this wasn't addressed in The Ready Room. Perhaps it will be if Wheaton hosts Alison Pill for a future installment.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 10:33am (UTC -6)
Maybe the tracker didn't stop working because she was in a coma or 'mostly dead', but because maybe she knew how the tracker worked and specifically injected herself with a compound that would counteract it, despite knowing what the consequences of that might be for her health.

The fact that she had to chew and ingest the tracker suggests it wasn't a sort of RF transponder, as in a bugging device sending out a signal, but more like a specific rare isotope of something that would be absorbed into her bloodstream and could be picked up at long distances by a suitably sensitive sensor suite.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 10:43am (UTC -6)
@ Ubik

I didn’t cover the scenes on the ship in my review up at the top of this thread, but FWIW, I saw them as pretty good. Raffi and Rios are no fools. Remember, Raffi was an intelligence officer - these guys know that something’s up with Dr. Jurati.

Trek often does A/B stories with parallel themes. And back on Nepenthe, Soji is complaining to Deanna that she can’t trust anyone, especially when "you surround me with warm friendly people and good food.” And what do Raffi and Rios do? They are friendly to Dr. Jurati, and they give her good food.

“And now you come along with Aunty Raffi. She’s gonna hook you up with what ever you need.”

“Is it cake?”

Evidently it is three slices of cake. And chocolate milk. And then Raffi asks Dr. Jurati what’s wrong. "Is it Chris [Rios]"? Meaning Raffi at least knows there is something going on there (maybe Rios told her they hooked up after Maddox died). In any case, then Raffi immediately jumps to asking about Maddox when she sees Agnes is right at the point of breaking down.

Then later, after Raffi has been super nice to Agnes, Rios pretends to Agnes that he suspects Raffi - because maybe, just maybe, Agnes will feel so guilty that she will tell him what is really going on.

So while I have very little respect for the writers of this show, let’s remember that these characters are the people Picard has chosen for this mission - Raffi, and Raffi chose Rios. Let’s assume that they are clever as fuck.

Of course the writers could go the other way. But I think that would say more about the writers than Raffi and Rios, both of whom have been solid pillars for this show.

Part of the problem is the ridiculous over-serialized format. In a better structured show, they would stick with the plot and bring it to some reasonable resolution, and we would see how Raffi and Rios' tag teaming paid off. Instead every fucking episode has to end in a cliff hanger. It is annoying.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 11:06am (UTC -6)

"Even if STP was pitch perfect Trek in every other way, this ongoing murder spree would probably be enough for me to reject it as canon. First Icheb, then Maddox, then Hugh... are you f***ing kidding me? Is this Star Trek, or 1000 Ways to Die? No Sir, I will not accept this sadistic new development as part of the Trek canon."

The Icheb death bothered me less than other people here. It was cringe worthy/nauseating to a degree that I haven't personally felt with television since Shireen got burned at the stake in Game of Thrones, but viewed against the assimilation scenes in First Contact, the eels in Wrath of Kahn, or even poor Commander Remmick in Conspiracy, eh, I don't think it was THAT far out of line for Star Trek. You wouldn't have gotten it on the air in the 1980s/1990s but Remmick's gory death wouldn't have made it on the air during the original run of TOS either; Trek is and always has been a reflection of the times in which it is produced.

The question of whether or not the death was justified, well, that's trickier. I like it as backstory for Seven in this new timeline, even though I feel Icheb probably deserved more than to be killed off for the sake of someone else's character development. I could say the same thing about Maddox; he deserved better but if they use his death to tell a good story with Jurati (this remains to be seen) it could turn out to be okay.

Hugh I feel is a truly wasted/pointless death, at least as things stand today, though my opinion of this may change based on what happens in the next episode. His death hit me on an emotional level that neither Icheb nor Maddox's deaths touched. Not bad for a two episode guest character that nobody ever expected to see again.

Side note: It makes me a jerk, but I briefly laughed when I realized Icheb was wearing a red shirt. The writers either forgot that he was into the sciences on Voyager (should've had a blue shirt) or did that deliberately as a little Easter Egg for the fans.

Second side note: I've been rewatching a lot of Voyager lately, specifically the Seven/Icheb episodes, which is not something I expected when Star Trek: Picard came out. It is making me reevaluate Voyager a bit; it's still the weakest of the 90s era Treks, IMHO, but aside from a few instances of Janeway going off the deep end (no small qualifier) they did at least keep the optimistic/upbeat tone from TNG alive in that production.

Final side note: I wonder how long before Jammer laments the fact that DS9 barely gets referenced (the only one I can recall was the line about strips of latinum) while Voyager has become nearly as integral to the backstory of Picard as TNG.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 11:20am (UTC -6)

"At the end I couldn't understand: did Pic and Soji teleport back to Rios' ship (whats-its-name), or they went along thar new captain mentioned by Riker'a daughter?"

They beamed up to "what's it's name". Funny how nobody can remember the name of that ship ... lol

Well, we got a TNG episode!!

"gormagander" ... lol

F-bomb .... boooo

TNG isn't my #1 trek series, but I did feel a real warmth, almost to the point of tears, when Picard met up with Troi and Riker. Just fantastic stuff.

Where the hell did they film this? I want to retire there!! Wow, what a picturesque location!!

The young lady that played Kestra (Lulu Wilson) was a breath of fresh air. So well done I thought.

Does anyone know the trek significance of "Captain Crandall"? I do not.

I think this is the first time we've seen what amounts to a smart phone in trek. I think she messenger'ed him! :-)

I only have one little nit-pick on the planet and I'm not even going to mention it.

Sad that Riker and Troi lost a son... I really felt for them. Also sad that some sort of positronic blah, blah could have cured him. A silicone based virus... I guess that validates ENT 'Observer Effect'. I remember folks going bonkers over "silicone can't infect carbon based"... blah, blah.

Raffi had a palatable contribution this week. Nice to see she can do something while not being drunk. The actress (Michelle Hurd) does really well at times.

Someone here suggested that we should have seen the CDR Oh/Agnes mind meld scene right up front. I think I agree. "We" all knew it because of a damn trailer, but it would have been better drama if we knew up front what she now believes.

I also thought Agnes conveyed some serious guilt in this episode. I thought that Rios suspected HER when he was questioning speaking to her, then he let it be known that he suspects Raffi... More to follow here for sure. I don't believe she was committing suicide, I believe she was injecting herself with something to knock out that homing transmitter and if it resulted in her death than so be it.

The EMH has finally decided to make an appearance!! He certainly missed a couple other opportunities.

Hugh.... god I hope someone can revive him... maybe 7 can. She brought Neelix back after 19 hours... maybe Hugh has some of his own nano-probes that can do the trick. I really don't want Hugh remain dead.

The whole Xb's firing squad thing was to be expected I guess. Narissa actually gave a good reason not to kill him initially. Then Hugh and Elnor gave her good reason. I really like Peyton List.

I don't mind that Elnor has to fight, I just wish they could brighten up the fight more so I didn't need to strain to see it. That goes for everything on that cube. I like the show-down between Elnor and Narissa. More to follow I'm sure. Pretty lucky that an 'Fenris Rangers' thingy is there for Elnor to activate. (unless I missed something)

I keep watching "Next week on Star Trek Picard" and I keep getting upset. We know that Agnes gets out of her comma and 7 answers Elnor's call. So much for any suspense.

I'll go 3.5 stars, 4 had Hugh not died.

It looks like fireworks next week...
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 11:46am (UTC -6)
"Thus, she synthesized a neurotoxin agent and injected into herself in an attempt getting rid of the tracker. She was put into a coma by the EMH."

Apparently, I'm not the only one who viewed the scene that way. *shrug*"
But don't you see how dumb that is. She has a bloodstream tracker which can apparently be tracked light years away (moronic). That tracker she doesn't know or understand is then disabled by her with a neurotoxin she I guess knows to do something to the tracker that almost kills her. It is the dumbest shit.

And about the stupid phase colors. Why would a different intensity change the color of an energy beam?! Whatever I guess a nitpick. 200 years after Discovery blue means stun, red means vaporize or something. Got it. Thanks JJ for that addition.

Yeah hahaha because that is what this show does to me. :D
Lodged Torpedo
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 11:53am (UTC -6)
Yesterday I showed The Inner Light to my sixth graders, an annual tradition! Yes, moist eyes even after a couple dozen viewings. I love the STP theme song and heard the composer added the flute as a callback to TIL and the person Picard used to be in the past, but it's obviously not the main theme flute music. Well, I was pleasantly surprised and actually shocked to realize that when Batai, the son, is playing the flute, right before he tells his father he is leaving school to focus on his music, the melody he is playing actually IS the theme song for STP. Astonishing.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 12:08pm (UTC -6)

"Does this show ever explain why Picard doesn't just take the pile of dead Romulan bodies in his chateau to a Federation official?"

Nope... but had already been to Star Fleet and been rejected by then, right? Also, that's a pretty heavy bag for a 90 year old to handle.

"And why doesn't Director Oh not just go straight to Picard with the information that synths will lead to the apocalypse?"

Because Picard wouldn't go for the intimidation and allow the mind meld. I'm not convinced the events shown her are true in the future. I'm siding with a mis-information campaign.


"Being a scientist is not a superpower. She is specialist in synthetic lifeforms but apparently can also reprogram the EMH, does understand from looking at it for two seconds what kind of tracking candy she ate and what toxin to use to disable it. I'm laughing while writing this."

Come on.... she's the leading artificial intelligence scientist of what?, at least on Earth... the gal is smart. I'm certain chemistry etc is something she is familiar enough with to know what needed to be used to stop it.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 12:10pm (UTC -6)
"But don't you see how dumb that is. She has a bloodstream tracker which can apparently be tracked light years away (moronic)."

Well, I never heard "light years" mentioned in dialogue, Narek seemed to be following them much more closely than that, but that notwithstanding you don't have to be a world class scientist to imagine how this might work and the purpose of the compound she injected attempting to disable it.

@Edward said it best above, "The fact that she had to chew and ingest the tracker suggests it wasn't a sort of RF transponder, as in a bugging device sending out a signal, but more like a specific rare isotope of something that would be absorbed into her bloodstream and could be picked up at long distances by a suitably sensitive sensor suite."

We could do this today with various harmless (to human biology) isotopes that would leave behind a detectable trail as the body excreted them in sweat. We can also do it with harmful isotopes; read the story of Alexander Litvinenko and how the British authorities traced his movements in the days leading up to his death, by following the trail of (harmless outside the body) alpha emitters he left behind.

Chemotherapy patients occasionally register false radiological alarms at border crossings.

None of this is outside the reach of Star Trek technology.

Honestly dude, you're coming across as a bit of nitpicker looking for reasons to hate the show.

"That tracker she doesn't know or understand is then disabled by her with a neurotoxin"

She didn't inject a purpose designed neurotoxin; she injected a radiological substance (some sort of uranium compound if I recall the dialogue correctly) that also happened to be a neurotoxin. You can hold plutonium in your bare hands with no ill effect. Inject it into your bloodstream and you'll die from heavy metal poisoning, long before the radiological effects become noticeable.

Seriously, if you want to nitpick Picard there are better things to go after than the science of that tracker, which is more or less sound by today's principles, never mind those of the Star Trek universe.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 12:24pm (UTC -6)
@ Tim
"Well, I never heard "light years" mentioned in dialogue,"
after Rios brilliant maneuver (stopping; gets them all the time) he says that Narek will be light years away.

"We could do this today with various harmless (to human biology) isotopes that would leave behind a detectable trail as the body excreted them in sweat. We can also do it with harmful isotopes; read the story of Alexander Litvinenko and how the British authorities traced his movements in the days leading up to his death, by following the trail of (harmless outside the body) alpha emitters he left behind.
So these isotopes or whatever it is are leaking out of the ship? How is that possible? They never explained how the tracker worked because of course they don't. It is a tracker that works somehow, can be picked up light years away and be disabled by noranium hydride, an element that doesn't exist. That is one of the things I dislike about these new shows. They only pretend to be SCIENCE fiction.

And if she is such a smart scientist then why not just tell them. They will find out anyway after injecting herself with poison. There are probably better ways to disable whatever she has injected. Maybe Elnor knows Gandalf...
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 12:34pm (UTC -6)
“Does this show ever explain why Picard doesn't just take the pile of dead Romulan bodies in his chateau to a Federation official?”

I think that’s what this episode addressed using Riker. Picard didn’t hand this mission over to Starfleet, or even his old crew, because he was still arrogant enough to think he could handle Dahj’s dilemma on his own terms. We also get part of the reasoning for Picard’s decision here. His life was saved by Data and thus he has a personal stake - similar to Kirk over Spock - in Data’s legacy.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 1:12pm (UTC -6)
“ They never explained how the tracker worked because of course they don't”

Again dude, I feel like you’re just fishing for things to complain about. Why do they have to explain every little bit of technology? Numerous people have outlined ways this could work with modern technology but you want to believe it’s somehow unrealistic in a universe with FTL travel? They can identify species and gender from orbit with their sensor technology; following a radiological tag/tracker would be child’s play for Star Trek sensor technology. As noted, we can do it today.....

“That is one of the things I dislike about these new shows. They only pretend to be SCIENCE fiction.”

Star Trek never felt the need to explain any of its technology except when the failure and/or jury rigging thereof becomes a plot point.

Go watch every episode of TNG and tell me without referencing the tech manual or any other off screen source how a phaser works. You can tell me how they might malfunction, or be blocked, but I can recall virtually every episode from memory (quite possibly the most useless superpower ever, lol) and I can’t ever recall the “rapid nadion effect” ever being explained in dialogue.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 1:33pm (UTC -6)
@ Tim
A space ship which is a hermetically sealed machine is leaving behind something, something that is so strong it can be traced light years away while also not being noticed by the Sirella itself. That is not a tracker, that is a ham fisted plot device. Bad writing is bad writing.

By the way dude, you started arguing with me about these points, not the other way around.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 1:54pm (UTC -6)
About the tracking device: didn’t Spock put a patch on Kirk’s uniform to track him over many light years? I guess it’s the same principal use here with Aggie.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 2:10pm (UTC -6)
One of the many things I loved about this episode is, back when Picard was kidnapped by the Borg turned into Locutus, after his ordeal he retreaded to the safety of his family and they helped him find himself again. That was repeated here in a fashion. Boarding the Borg cube last week clearly had an impact, he was filled with terror at times. It’s somewhat fitting then that after that experience he goes to visit the closest thing he has to family, and from them, gains the strength he needs to carry on with his mission.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 2:12pm (UTC -6)
"A space ship which is a hermetically sealed machine is leaving behind something, something that is so strong it can be traced light years away while also not being noticed by the Sirella itself. That is not a tracker, that is a ham fisted plot device. Bad writing is bad writing."

Sensors that can detect species and gender through that "hermetically sealed machine" (this has occurred in dialogue more times than I can count in every single installment of Trek) would not have an issue tracking a radiological isotope in a biological carrier, with or without a "hermetically sealed machine" being in the way. We can do this today, at a distance, with off-the-shelf technology that's available to any consumer with the cash to pay for it.

This is not bad writing or bad science.

You want bad science to nitpick? The whole supernova plot that began this story was and remains bad science. Picard at least got rid of the "threaten the whole galaxy" nonsense from Spock's monologue in JJ Trek and narrowed the scope to the Romulan system, so far so good, but the notion that an otherwise stable star would suddenly ("sudden" being years in this case, but that's "sudden" on cosmetic/geological timelines) go supernova is absurd. That supernova would have been foreseeable thousands of years ago when the Romulans first colonized the system, so they're either extremely incompetent astronomers and picked a doomed system for themselves or the writers ignored their science advisors.

I'm kind of hoping the writers explain this through the story -- perhaps the Tal Shair was playing games with trilithium and/or Borg tech and screwed up -- but I'm skeptical they will, it's just going to be something we're going to have to suspend our disbelief on.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 2:12pm (UTC -6)

I don't know.... They absolutely SHOULD suspect something of her since she is acting so strangely. I thought Rios confiding that he had doubts about Raffi to Jurati was weird and out of place. Seems like you would keep that suspicion to yourself until you had more evidence, so trying to guilt her into saying something might make sense. Also, he claims he didn't know why she came back to the ship after Freecloud, but she told him in the previous episode that she had a son. So he does know why she ame back on the ship and promptly drunk herself into a stupor, or at least he ought to.

Something about Raffi's super patronizing "Let's eat some cake" attitude was really off too. It was all weird and might make a bit more sense if they were playing her.

But if that were the case then why would Rios also confront Raffi and threaten with airlocking her? And why would Rios look so confused when Jurati began to confess about the tracker? And why wouldn't he wait for her to fully confess vs. just run back to the bridge when Narek re-appeared? It seemed like she was about to tell him something about the tracker and if he was suspecting her and playing her would have stayed and listened.

So I guess either interpretation has its flaws. I did think Jurati was well-acted this episode.

Overall, I don't think this one was as strong as the last, but it was enjoyable. The characters could breath a little which was nice. The scenes on Nepenthe were generally strong, and I thought the action on the ship was good and did a lot to develop Jurati's character, who finally behaves like a human acting under duress might. But some of the poor writing jarred me out of it occasionally. The contrived story of Thad's death didn't land IMO, and the plot holes/weird behavior on the ship as discussed were also jarring. The scenes on the cube with the casual killing of Hugh and the still very out of place Elron were a complete miss for me. Honestly, if the series had abandoned their perspective and just left us to wonder about their fate it might have been better than whatever that was. I guess we are in for more though, as the space elf is still onboard. I have trouble caring about whatever happens to him.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 2:26pm (UTC -6)
"About the tracking device: didn’t Spock put a patch on Kirk’s uniform to track him over many light years? I guess it’s the same principal use here with Aggie."

Yes, he did. I nearly cited that but couldn't find a way to work it in with the real world science.

How that patch worked (or how the Klingons managed to miss it, despite it being in plain view) was never explained in the movie. Did it need to be? I don't think so.

Oddly, I've found myself re-watching The Mandalorian a lot lately (lamentable that Jammer didn't opt to review that production) and they don't explain ANY of the technology in that series. How does a handheld "tracking fob" locate one individual on a planet? From across the Galaxy? What's a "chain code?" How did carbonite go from being an extremely dangerous prototype that could've killed Luke in ESB to off-the-shelf consumer technology within six years?

Star Wars never explains any of this stuff, it's just accepted, never discussed in dialogue or otherwise dwelled upon.

I don't want to see Star Trek go to this extreme (the difference between Science Fiction and fantasy, IMHO, Star Wars has always been more fantasy) but I also could live without paragraphs and paragraphs of technobabble explaining every last little detail.

Love Picard or hate it, I'm hard pressed to see how dialogue explaining how and why that tracker works would have improved the series in any measurable way. It just worked and whatever compound Jurati choose to inject was effective in neutralizing it.

Moving on.....
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 3:11pm (UTC -6)

"I wonder how long before Jammer laments the fact that DS9 barely gets referenced (the only one I can recall was the line about strips of latinum) while Voyager has become nearly as integral to the backstory of Picard as TNG. "

Episode 5 showed the front of a place called Quark's bar, plus Mr. Vup mentioned "Mr. Quark from Ferenginar". Not integral to the plot at all, but as references go, it's a pretty big one.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 3:34pm (UTC -6)
"Episode 5 showed the front of a place called Quark's bar, plus Mr. Vup mentioned "Mr. Quark from Ferenginar". Not integral to the plot at all, but as references go, it's a pretty big one."

I missed that one! Doh. :)

I don't share Jammer's obsession with DS9, for me it is and always has been TNG, but I did find it odd that DS9 was seemingly excluded from the fan service Easter Eggs scattered throughout every episode. Glad to see I was mistaken.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 4:04pm (UTC -6)
@Robert @Yanks

I’ve had issues with Picard not reporting the dead Romulans from his chateau and the disrupters for a while. Several explanations from reviewers were that they were transported off screen and/or Picard is just stubborn (via Riker saying Picard does things on his own).
Both explanations are extremely weak because Picard *did* seek out help already from Raffi and indirectly via Rios. While not hire a legit crew then? (Did I miss a reason?) In addition, it would strain credulity that compromised Starfleet officials could hide evidence if presented. The full backing of Starfleet and Romulans (not Zat Vash compromised?) would do short work to the plot,....but we need FEELZ and DRAMA, so move along.
Captain Jon
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 4:24pm (UTC -6)
There’s some strong parallels here between Picard/Soji & Dahl with Kirk/Spock in ST:III. Kirk went to Starfleet and was rejected so he took matters into his own hands. Picard did the same and was rejected so he took matters into his own hands. And as has been mentioned above Riker called him out for his arrogance because this is a worse situation because it’s not like Picard had a starship to steal and a crew ready to help. He had to draft a crew and a ship and chose not to include people who would be equally invested in the situation as he is.

I really feel like Riker and Troi are the only characters capable of calling Picard out. No one else can (aside from maybe Beverly). Not Worf, Geordi and we’ve never seen him with any other Legacy characters (aside from Seven) so that wouldn’t be appropriate. And while they’re knocking him down a peg like others have, at least they don’t hold a grudge against him.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 4:26pm (UTC -6)
The planetside story was excellent. The Agnes story was a competent attempt at recovery for an unrecoverable storyline. The Cube story and the death of Hugh were embarassingly bad. 2.5/4
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 4:26pm (UTC -6)
I did not think that was odd. He got scolded pretty bad by the Admiral Clancy and I doubt he wants to go back and try to go through red tape of Starfleet and Federation again to put together a legitimate crew. The bodies by themselves would not convince them right away to rally behind his cause of locating some girl that he believes is Data's daughter anyway. What would that accomplish for Picard? Not only would it not bring him closer to his goal of leaving to search of Soji, but it would probably hold him back due to an investigation. He is pressed for time and already had a ship and a recommended (by a trusted colleague and friend) captain ready to accompany him. It's a minor plot issue at best.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 4:30pm (UTC -6)
@Captain Jon

Decent argument but Picard went to Starfleet before the chateau attack. After the attack he had almost unimpeachable evidence. Stubbornness would only go so far in that case.

In addition, Jurati knew about the twins/positron requirement, and could have shed light to Starfleet, *especially* after her Oh mind meld. Helping Starfleet in that case is congruent with her mission.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 4:34pm (UTC -6)
"Question: are Rios and Raffi honestly not suspicious of Jurati? Is Raffi honestly just trying to cheer up Jurati with cake? Is Rios honestly more suspicious of Raffi than Jurati? Or, rather, are both Rios and Raffi playing Jurati to get the truth out of her? Does anyone know?"


I fail to see Rios and Raffi would suspect Agnes of being a killer and an ally of the maniacal Romulans. We the viewers know the gravity of her murder of Maddox (though reasons not clear), but as far as Rios and Raffi are concerned, she is this harmless, scared-y cat, nerdy science, occasionally horny (from Rios's perspective) and socially awkward woman whom Picard trusted enough to bring on the mission. Maybe I'm wrong (but then, why would they not take immediate measures to stop her so that Narek cannot track them), but I don't see anything wrong with Rios and Raffi not suspecting Agnes.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 4:35pm (UTC -6)

Without belaboring this plot hole, if Picard is in a hurry, events off world would not justify the Elnor side trip. He was even lectured by Raffi about wasting time to visit the Bene Gesserit.

Regardless, he could have had his Romulan servants (I forget their names) present the evidence. They after all are former Tal Shiar.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 4:41pm (UTC -6)
@Captain Jon

"I really feel like Riker and Troi are the only characters capable of calling Picard out. No one else can (aside from maybe Beverly)."

Beverly for sure and I'd add Guinan to the list too. Data as well, when he was alive at least, he called out Picard on a few occasions during TNG's run, most memorably in Redemption when he was passed over for command of one of the ships in Picard's task force.

It was a missed opportunity in First Contact when they used Lily to knock sense into Picard ("You broke your little ships") rather than Beverly, IMHO, the scene with Lily was great but with so many of the main characters (basically everyone except Picard and Data) getting shortchanged in the TNG movies it would have been nice to see Crusher get to do something more meaty than comic relief with the EMH.

I also thought it was a missed opportunity that they used some Doctor we'd never heard of before rather than Beverly a few episodes ago, though perhaps they couldn't get Gates McFadden (is she still performing?) or thought using her would distract from the scene. If the latter, well, I think they miscalculated, but that's just my opinion.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 4:41pm (UTC -6)
Evidence of what exactly apart from dead bodies? Will whatever evidence you point to result in the whole incident being investigated, connections being formed, dossier being presented to Admirals, and them coming to the conclusion that Data's daughter exists and thus should assign a starship with a full crew to Picard in a way that is faster than him beaming up to Rios's ship and being on his way )+ 1 day with the Qowat Milat?
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 4:41pm (UTC -6)
Part of the reason I believe plot and plot holes are so important is that this is serialized and not episodic. TNG plot holes could be forgiven because not every episode had them and they didn’t hurt the plot. Here the writers already know the ending and can write to it, yet in my opinion failed. Serialized storytelling depends on the events that precede them, and precedent events color later events to a larger degree than episodic storytelling. It’s easier to retcon episodic storytelling.

Wolfstar said it well that this plot is working backwards from an ending and the characters are going through the motions. We’re being strung along with *mystery* and Seven Riker Hugh et al nostalgia.
David Strobel
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 4:41pm (UTC -6)

Yes, exactly! Niven's Kizinti only appeared in the animated series in the Trek universe as far as I know. But I'd love to see them in more than a throwaway line and tip 'o the hat to TAS. Still, nice detail.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 4:47pm (UTC -6)

Not sure if I’m stating the obvious but Picard has evidence with former Tal Shiar (his servants) and Starfleet’s foremost AI scientist (Jurati) corroboration of Romulans running operations on Earth. Not to mention the evidence from the Boston apartment crime scene.

That screams security breach and violation of the new treaty (I recall talk by Picard? of Romulan intel ops prohibited in Boston apartment episode).
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 4:54pm (UTC -6)
I really hate what happened to Hugh. Was hoping we would see more of him.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 5:02pm (UTC -6)
Also, after skimming some of the comments, I have to say that the tech in this episode didn't bother me except for the Fenris emergency beacon. Was that set up, ever? That seemed like an absolute asspull of cosmic proportions. But the chewable Flinstones tracker and the coma-juice were fine imo. Tech nitpicks like that are outside my particular wheelhouse, whereas bad storytelling and character motivation are what make or break an episode for me.

I am, however, very disappointed that people who love this show seem unable to accept that those of us who find it bad or lackluster are indeed sincere in our opinions. I haven't seen anyone on this site try to talk people OUT of liking this show, or belittling people who are finding enjoyment in it. If you like the show, I don't think less of you and would never try to dismiss your opinion out of... I don't even know, insecurity? I ask that you adopt the same attitude. Believe it or not, I would MUCH rather have a show that I liked and could celebrate, rather than one I have to constantly grit my teeth through; I was as excited for this show as anyone and was hoping against hope that it would be good. But that excitement and hope weren't enough to blind me to what I see as very real storytelling problems. That does not make my opinion less valid than yours, and it's insulting to insinuate that it does. If you disagree that the show has those storytelling problems, that's 100% fine. Discuss your opinions, or leave, but don't be a brat about it.

The sentiment that "people hate this show, how could they ever like the old shows when they have storytelling missteps as well" is particularly puerile. I like old Trek in spite of it occasionally having bad episodes, or weak elements in good episodes, largely because it's episodic, and if there's a horrible clunker one week, it can be safely headcanon'd out of existence for the rest of the show, with rare exceptions (the emotion chip is probably the biggest example). The standards of serialized storytelling are higher since EVERY element sticks around and has ongoing ramifications. If DIS and PIC were episodic (even DS9's version of episodic where each episode was generally self-contained within the framework of an ever-shifting status quo) I'd be more forgiving of mistakes and wouldn't hold mistakes of previous episodes against new ones. But modern Trek wants to wear the big-boy pants of strictly serialized television, with every episode building upon what came before it, and those are the standard I'm going to judge it by. A lame villain like the Romulan incest twins or a weak storyline like the Agnes-Oh-Maddox stuff just can't fly on a show like Picard; if every single storyline is important and interlocks with every other aspect of the narrative, then every single storyline has to be at LEAST solid and coherent, which the show, in my opinion, does not manage.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 5:19pm (UTC -6)
Best episode so far. Wonderful to see Picard with Riker and Troi again and thankfully this was not mangled by the writers of this current series. Though I do not understand the “classic Picard arrogance” comment made by Riker. Where did that come from?


- Why didn't Elnor do anything to help Hugh and the other XB's while they were being held at gunpoint?

-I'm surprised that Soji hasn't asked more about Data. They couldn't show her a photo of him? There was a great opportunity here for her to learn about Data.

-Shame that Thad had died. Riker would be a great father for a son.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 5:21pm (UTC -6)
Jurati arrived to Picard's chateau minutes before he was going to leave to Rios's ship, at the tail end of the Romulans' attack. And all she told Picard was that Commodore Oh asked her what Picard came to see her about and that she gave her an answer. She told her this minutes before they beamed to Rios's ship. I don't see how that could pass as bona fide evidence of a Romulan running operations on earth (that Jurati told Oh about Picard's visit). If she provided a detailed explanation of how Romulans were running secret operations on Earth to Picard in an earlier episode (1 or 2), maybe I forgot? Let me know.

As for his servants having evidence, I will have to go back and see to what specifically you are referring to that makes it such a clear evidence that Romulans are running operations on earth. I know they believe that, and Picard believes them, but I am genuinely not remembering specifically where they have clear evidence that can be presented to the Federation to the point where it would immediately agree 100% and grant Picard a ship and a full crew right away.

On a separate point, how much confidence do you expect Picard to have in the Federation anyway to report the dead bodies and take him at hiw ord enough to grant him ships and full crew if it were so clearly evidenced (so you say) that Romulans had people infiltrated everywhere and running operations? It would behoove him to NOT ask for any help through proper channels and go find her first on his own.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 5:34pm (UTC -6)

"I haven't seen anyone on this site try to talk people OUT of liking this show, or belittling people who are finding enjoyment in it."

I am not sure what you mean by "this site," or how long you have been at Jammer's site, but there have been dozens of insults and belittling on this site toward people who liked one series or another (or a certain movie) over the last few years alone. Anything from "nihilists" to "blood-thirst," to "lowest-common denominator" to insinuating that they are too stupid to understand what they watch or that they have no idea what Star Trek is, just to name a few.

Now, if you meant, just this show, as in Picard, yes, that is less, although still plenty (and not just one way, there has been belittling on both sides from a few people).

And as for the first part of your sentence, yes, there has been that too, unless you meant word for word someone saying "stop watching this show." Then, you are correct nobody has said that word for word although they insinuated it plenty.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 5:43pm (UTC -6)

It almost feels like you're straining to bend over backwards to defend the writing here but I don't think (my opinion) this is very complicated:

Jurati upon arriving at the chateau shoots a Romulan and I believe the presumption then is she saw Romulans attacking Picard and company. That is sufficient evidence for her corroboration of Romulan operations on Earth right? In addition, Jurati spoke to Picard at the Daystrom institute about the positronic matrix (atom?) and the requirement of twin androids (alot of technobabble that I didn't really understand). Jurati's expertise and knowledge re Maddox ties to Picard's claim of Soji's sister's death on the Starfleet rooftop by Zat Vash. Furthermore, Jurati has knowledge via Oh mindmeld of synth future or at least Oh disinformation, all of which should be in Starfleet's hands.

Again, the evidence of Romulan operations is sufficiently proven by the attack at the chateau. Hell I'll forgive this entire plot hole discussion if Picard left instructions with his servants to follow up with Starfleet and god forbid we have deux es machina Stafleet intervention in a later episode!! Regardless, the female Romulan servant was with Picard at the Boston apartment and has all that evidence, along with her expertise in Tal Shiar evidence scrubbing to explain to Starfleet. It would be a breach of Federation security for Picard *not* to report this information to Starfleet.

My prior comment played devil's advocate that Starfleet was infiltrated, but I believe we'd all agree that Romulans haven't subverted Starfleet, and I think Maddox and Raffi themselves have stated that at best there were merely subversive elements tied to the Mars conspiracy. These subversive elements (Oh included) would be the true barrier to Starfleet intervention, but again, you'd have to scrub a lot of evidence.

What I truly don't understand is how Starfleet could ignore dead Romulans, disruptors, Picard's word, Romulan Servants word, and Jurati word of the attack at the chateau. If that isn't obvious, we'll have to agree to disagree.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 6:17pm (UTC -6)
Marvin said: "What I truly don't understand is how Starfleet could ignore dead Romulans, disruptors, Picard's word, Romulan Servants word, and Jurati word of the attack at the chateau."

They also have access to technology (seen in the second episode) which lets them "detect lingering traces" to "reconstruct past events". They could use this to reconstruct the entire battle in the chateau and play it for Starfleet.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 6:19pm (UTC -6)
After a slow start with a lot of exposition, the show is really firing on all cylinders now, this episode had it all. The groundwork they have been laying throughout the series is paying off and the performances in this episode showed both the old and new crew at their best. 4 out of 4 for me.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 6:25pm (UTC -6)
@ Marvin

If you want to get down to it, what I truly don't understand is why that whole home invasion scene was necessary at all, other than the obvious fourth wall (producers needed to fill the "cool action scene" quota) reasons.

Killing/disappearing someone as high profile (even in his reclusive retirement) as Picard seems counterproductive if your aim is to operate in the shadows. Imagine someone like David Petraeus dying in a violent home invasion or even just disappearing; it would be national news and he isn't half as (in)famous in our universe as Picard is in his.

Since the scene did happen, well, we have to deal with it, and even if you accept that there are reasons (expediency, arrogance, etc.) for Picard to go it on his own it's still difficult to imagine not reporting it, both from a moral (obvious) and practical (what do you do with the bodies?) point of view.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 6:29pm (UTC -6)
I don't see this or the last episode as some kind of turning point. This isn't a 3.5 or 4 star episode. It's quite simple for me. The best Trek episodes had something to teach us, or something to say. No episode of Picard has done that yet. Each episode has been a journey from A to B. There' s been action, drama, memories, nostalgia, and talking. And it's been pleasurable sometimes, especially this week when we see our old friends. But to what effect? We don't know yet. That's why I don't think it's possible to rate each segment of a serialized show until the end, when the story is over. If the writers have something to say, which is very possible, we don't know what it is. In old Trek we knew what it was at the end of the hour.

The most I can say for this episode is that it was enjoyable. Whether it ends up being more than that will depend on where all these storylines lead to, where they end up, and what they all mean. It's almost absurd to say any more than that, just like it would be ridiculous to stop a movie halfway through and write a review before it's finished.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 6:31pm (UTC -6)
Well Marvin, the moment you accuse me of "straining over backward to defend the writing" when I was asking honest questions, we are no longer in honest discussion territory are we?

Ok, let's engage in that tone then if you wish..

I'll start with this then: You are straining over backward to legitimize your opinion when there is no solid evidence to back it up in the eyes of Starfleet (not to mention Oh *IS* the director of Starfleet Security herself) and the Federation. You have yet to explain convincingly how any of this points to such......... "unimpeachable evidence" (your words) that Picard could have just presented it and Federation would have stopped the press and given him a ship and a crew to go after Soji, all of a sudden with him.

-- "Jurati upon arriving at the chateau shoots a Romulan and I believe the presumption then is she saw Romulans attacking Picard and company. That is sufficient evidence for her corroboration of Romulan operations on Earth right?"

Wrong. (To you and to me, as viewers, maybe, not to the Federation)
Are you saying that the few Romulans attacking Picard's chateau is "unimpeachable evidence" of Romulans holding an operations on earth within the high ranks of Starfleet? So, because Jurati witnessed that, she can just go to the Federation and say "Commodore Oh asked me what I talked to Picard about and then I saw a few Romulans attack Picard's chateau, heck I even killed one, and guess what! All that amounts to Romulans holding operations on earth, unimpeachable evidence!!!" and that can all of a sudden sway the Federation Admirals opinion so much that they would in a hurry grant Picard a ship and a full crew right away, and all this would happen so fast that it would be worth for Picard to not leave in a few minutes in Rios's ship? And we are just going to ignore the possibility that Romulans infiltrated may then sabotage Picard's mission anyway?

--"Again, the evidence of Romulan operations is sufficiently proven by the attack at the chateau."

Again, wrong. To you and to me, and to Picard, yes. But that was not the original question, was it?
Your argument was that Picard should turn the bodies over as evidence to the Federation and go search Soji with a legit crew. So your case needs to be made to the Admirals and the Federation, and Jurati saying that "Director of Starfleet Security Commodore Oh asked about Picard's visit to me" and adding that "then I saw a few Romulans attack Picard's chateau a few days later" is not going to fly very quickly.

--" What I truly don't understand is how Starfleet could ignore dead Romulans, disruptors, Picard's word, Romulan Servants word, and Jurati word of the attack at the chateau. If that isn't obvious, we'll have to agree to disagree."

That would be fine, agreeing to disagree is not a problem. And thanks for the civil discussion (until your last post's beginning, that is)
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 6:46pm (UTC -6)
@ GreenBoots

"I have to say that the tech in this episode didn't bother me except for the Fenris emergency beacon. Was that set up, ever?"

Seven hands Picard one at the end of their time together.

"if every single storyline is important and interlocks with every other aspect of the narrative, then every single storyline has to be at LEAST solid and coherent, which the show, in my opinion, does not manage."

In fairness, how many shows serialized to this extent actually pull this off? I can name two: Breaking Bad and The Wire

Perhaps an honorable mention for The Sopranos, though it's debatable in my mind that it would qualify as a hyper-serialized show, it cared about continuity and progressed forward but I never felt like David Chase wrote the ending before the pilot or that every single episode was essential viewing.

"I like old Trek in spite of it occasionally having bad episodes, or weak elements in good episodes, largely because it's episodic"

This I agree with and sometimes I'll admit that I feel like the whole serialized Trek thing feels like a cynical ploy to keep people hooked on All Access. Game of Thrones was hyper-serialized with interlocking plot points (at least in the beginning when it was good) but they didn't end all that many episodes on cliffhangers. Cliffhangers seem to be the rule rather than the exception in All Access Trek.

For better or worse I doubt we're going to see episodic Trek in the next decade. The production costs are so bloody high (even McFarland had to take The Orville to Hulu and his production costs are less than NuTrek's) that I doubt any studio would green light a product that wasn't serialized, since that's all the rage now, and you'd be "taking a chance" to roll out an episodic show.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 6:55pm (UTC -6)

A lot shows pull off serialization in addition to the ones you’ve mentioned: Westworld, Billions, Damages, Succession, The Americans, House of Cards, True Detective Season 1, way more.

I think Star Trek Picard would have been better following the House format, which although nominally episodic, House actually got good exploring the characters, which was serialized in nature.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 7:15pm (UTC -6)
Still unclear what Yoko’s Ono's sunglasses are for

Couldn’t she do her mind meld on Picard to convince him not to save Data’s overbite child?

O: “First take this.”
Tilly: Opens mouth and swallows.
O: “Oh fuck. It must be chewed”
Maybe if an eating instruction is vital, mention it before the subject puts it in her mouth?

Finally the real Troi. Her presence reminds me what the show could have been and how it’s not.

Frakes is fat now. Celebrities, they have one job: to look good. Dude. Try Atkins or something.

“Coming here was a desperate impulse. I regret it already”
How about you leave now before the Romulans show up, asshole.

Chandler’s neck wound bleed looked venous. He should have just kept pressure on the wound

Riker’s dinner table needs more candles.

Riker’s creepy kid is exhibit A for why you shouldn’t homeschool your children

They kill off Hugh/Chandler and don’t have the decency to kill off Keiko?
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 7:19pm (UTC -6)
@ Marvin

Of your list, I'm only familiar with House of Cards, and I would argue that HOC fails to meet GreenBoot's metric:

"then every single storyline has to be at LEAST solid and coherent"

I would also personally argue that HOC jumped the shark and failed to achieve television greatness, though that's obviously just my opinion, but for much the same reason I didn't include Game of Thrones in my list even though it was arguably (in the first six seasons at least) the very definition of "hyper-serialized" show. Towards the end though, it definitely failed to meet the above metric..... :(

The point was GreenBoots sets an impossibly high standard that very few shows will ever achieve.

"I think Star Trek Picard would have been better following the House format, which although nominally episodic, House actually got good exploring the characters, which was serialized in nature."

TNG managed to explore its characters despite being so episodic that Ronald Moore and Michael Piller had to fight tooth and nail for Family (arguably one of the greatest TNG episodes ever) because the powers-that-be were that opposed to the notion of a long running story.

They also managed to sneak quite a few arcs (Worf's discommendation, Picard's recovery from his assimilation, Data's character growth, O'Brien and Keiko, etc.) into what was ostensibly an episodic show that allegedly reset with the end of every episode.

I'd love to see something like this done with Trek again, with modern production values, but I just don't see 2020 Hollywood producing such a show. Too much of a risk given the production costs. It took every ounce of Seth McFarland's political capital with Fox to get them to take a chance on The Orville and that show has a fraction of the budget of Picard or Discovery.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 7:32pm (UTC -6)
@Tim: "Chemotherapy patients occasionally register false radiological alarms at border crossings."

Nope. Not chemo. Patients who have had radio-isotopes injected (e.g., thallium-201, Iodine-131) can trigger radiation alarms. That's why we give them a little note if they're traveling so the TSA doesn't go ape on them.

I don't know what the biological half-life of the tracer Tilly ate was, but it must've been loooooong if it's still in her bloodstream and she hasn't peed it out. Also, chew vs. swallow? No biological reason. But, what do you expect from the liberal arts majors who write this crap?
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 7:35pm (UTC -6)

"Also, why does Riker talk about "Newton's fourth law of thermodynamics"? As far as I know, Newton doesn't have a law of thernodynamics; he wrote about laws of motion. What's up with this line?"

Newtonian dynamics of the 18th century and the new thermodynamics of the 19th were notoriously conflictual in their view of time as essentially reversible (everything in Newtonian physics has reversible time propagation) or essentially irreversible (thermodynamics, entropy). This was a huge question: is thermodynamics real or is it an approximation from our ignorance? Some giants of the 20th century, like Ilya Prigogine, devoted their entire lives to this problem.

Riker's conflation of Newton and thermodynamics deliberately flags the law as nonsense from a scientific POV. Thus, when it becomes clear that the law is an in-joke between two old friends, it is funny.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 7:42pm (UTC -6)

I purposely did not watch the last season of House of Cards due to severe fan and critical reviews (not to mention Spacey’s departure; but again that’s understood). Also forgot to mention Mad Men as another quality serial.

Generally agree with the rest of your comments; as has been stated serialization appears commercially viable yet is difficult to pull off unless you have excellent writers. I don’t think we lack talented actors, but directing and writing I feel are the weak points. That being said, we have so many shows available now that are quality, which I think allows us to set the bar higher for Star Trek, especially considering it’s a marquee brand. This really may boil down to commitment on the part of CBS or the studio to shell out for quality, but it may appear CBS is using Picard as an anchor for CBS All access. I.e, purely profit driven.

One might ask had someone such as AMC or HBO were to get the rights to Star Trek, if quality would have been better. Not to say they are not profit driven, but they have reputations for innovation and quality.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 7:47pm (UTC -6)

I speak just for myself. I have no problem your sincerity (I’ve never met you). I don’t infer, suggest, or imply that people who don’t like STP are not entitled to their own beliefs. Die gustibus. They are not, however, to paraphrase the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, entitled to their own facts re:what is good drama. I don’t mind being called a moron (by implication or otherwise) for liking STP (I would never imply someone is a moron for NOT liking it,or express disbelief to the effect that person just “Doesn’t get things.” I would appreciate that someone argue that I am one, instead of just asserting it. We all bring biases (e.g., “serialization” is good) to the table that color our analyses. Some people admit this and are candid about what those biases are. If revealing a bias makes me sound like just one person with an opinion,that is what I am. I even feel comfortable joking about it.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 7:54pm (UTC -6)

If saying "straining over backward" is considered "not civil" then that wasn't my intent. But I will say, civilly, that some people may be a little too sensitive here.

Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 8:08pm (UTC -6)
@ Gooz

"Nope. Not chemo. Patients who have had radio-isotopes injected (e.g., thallium-201, Iodine-131) can trigger radiation alarms. That's why we give them a little note if they're traveling so the TSA doesn't go ape on them. "

Fair enough, I'm not in medicine, but the underlying notion of false radiological alarms is still relevant.

"I don't know what the biological half-life of the tracer Tilly ate was, but it must've been loooooong if it's still in her bloodstream and she hasn't peed it out. Also, chew vs. swallow? No biological reason. But, what do you expect from the liberal arts majors who write this crap?"

There are lots of compounds with very long biological half-lives. Some substances bioaccumulate and never truly leave the body. The Federation also has nanotechnology. There are all sorts of ways to explain the tracker without excessive hand-waving, technobabble, etc., not that difficult to imagine it with 21st Century technology.

Side note: Re-watching the episode as I type this message and it's pretty clear that Jurati wasn't trying to kill herself, but very deliberately picked a compound that would neutralize whatever tracker she had ingested.

Computer: Noranium hydride synthesized. Warning, depending on species, there may be neurotoxic effects.

Seconds after she injects this compound into herself the tracker stops functioning.

To those who said she injected a neurotoxin, no, she injected a substance that "may" have "neurotoxic effects." Mercury is biologically toxic but I don't think many people would describe it as a toxin the way they might describe cobra venom.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 8:44pm (UTC -6)
@ Martin

"I purposely did not watch the last season of House of Cards due to severe fan and critical reviews"

I'll confess that I very deliberately avoided all critical reviews except for Jammer (been here since he was writing reviews for DS9 and Voyager) and _all_ fan reviews/comment sections (including here) until a few episodes in. I didn't feel like having my opinions of a show I was genuinely excited about colored by Internet negativity.

On HOC, I lost interest after (actually into, but I did solider through and finish it) Season 3, it just got too far-fetched and required too much suspension of disbelief, plus it was somewhat disheartening to see Francis Underwood reduced to the daily grind of governing. Show probably should've ended with that knuckle knock on the Resolute Desk, IMHO.

"One might ask had someone such as AMC or HBO were to get the rights to Star Trek, if quality would have been better."

HBO may have been more willing to take a chance on the more classic/upbeat Star Trek model. This is just speculation on my part, but I do feel like All Access feels compelled to do dark for the sake of dark, hoping to hook views, ditto the cliffhangers.

FWIW, I am genuinely enjoying Picard, despite the flaws/darkness. I also genuinely enjoyed the second season of Discovery in spite of its flaws and am grateful to the person that convinced me to give it a shot (I still haven't come to terms with/forgiven CBS for Season 1, but that's a longer discussion; suffice it to say I was disinclined to give Season 2 a shot)

Modern Trek isn't the Trek I grew up with but Trek was always a reflection of the times in which it was produced. There's always "The Orville" when I want some TNG/DS9/VOY nostalgia with a new story.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 10:42pm (UTC -6)
I seriously thought before the mindmeld that Commodore Oh was going to take her sunglasses off and tell Jurati to put them on, and it would be some sort of VR/Google Glass way of doing the Horrific Knowledge reveal. It would have been silly but at least we would have a reason for the sunglasses!
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 11:28pm (UTC -6)

I am truly sorry if anything of what I said in my two previous
comments made you want to stay away from Jammer's site.
I hope that you will reconsider.

And I still stand by my opinion and "Nepenthe" did not change
this. But I will not comment again, as I do not feel comfortable

The Dirty Mac
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 11:39pm (UTC -6)
I can't keep up with the back and forth discussions on this page.

I can glean some make good points and know of what they speak when it comes to star trek, the next generation specifically. They remain open minded and seem to be enjoying this new, modern version of star trek.

I also note that others just see the surface and not the depth. Some like to simply correct others who make posts, like some sort of forum foreman. Anyway...

I often reflect on STP and see the lyrical repetition in the storytelling, through multiple episodes now.

STP has been its own thing, its own version of trek. Modern, faulted, complicated, real. Now it smacks against what was once known, and the end result is the perfect mix of a corrupted future being tempered by the true soul of Star Trek--honesty and family. They had a friggin meeting around a figurative-Ready Room Table in the Dinner Scene for Christs-Sake!!!

I love how Riker dissects everything that has happened thus far in the show, nearly verbatim, straight to Picards face. Did Picard give the finger, while Will was talking to him out back?

And the scene where Picard tells Will his new crew is motley, and carries more baggage than his previous Enterprise crew ever carried, should be enough to shut everyone up for a while as it is a total wink to the camera and the doubters. The more I look at the thumbnails of the whole season, thus far, I see a show getting better and better, I see the overall story, and know that I would like to see the WHOLE story before claiming to be able to make total judgment!

Some other thoughts:

- I did not think the Echeb scene was beyond Trek. It was real and gave Seven an honest reason to be so unreasonable in the finale of the episode. If you remember Voyager correctly, those Borg kids became Sevens family, and allowed her to become a mother-figure, none more so than to Echeb. She is fighting for Order in what was once the Neutral Zone. That rings true to her original character, fighting for order in the very space where Echeb was killed. I love that Seven is coming back for episode 8!!!! Ryan is a great actress and brings so much to the screen!

- As long as the cussing is natural, as it is (for the first time) in this episode, i don't mind it. BSG is far superior by many levels in storytelling,, but "Frack" never really cut it! Image if they could cuss, we'd all have said we loved it for that reason. Yeah, I know, blah-blah-Trek is not BSG...

- I love Raffi. She always is the first to see the bigger picture and figure problems out. First to call Jurati out.

- I love that Will and Troi have a beautiful home and family, ala TNG, but they are still burdened by real life sorrow. The antiseptic TNG is given a touch of the real world--it makes for beautiful and nostalgic television while advancing the core story in developing the Picard/Soji bond.

-I can only hope a recalled Riker rides into the rescue, Ala All Good Things, and save the day in episode ten!?!? If so, I love it already!!! "I had a feeling you wouldn't take no for an answer!"

-I could go on.

-Jammer, I would love to hear your take on The Maldalorian!

One Love!
The Dirty Mac
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 11:49pm (UTC -6)
Oh yeah...
Get OVER Commodore Oh wearing shades!!!
It's the nerdiest thing to be baffled by this action. Big deal. Besides, we should all be giggling over the first use of a Commodore since TOS and the early days of TNG. Always a nice touch!
Captain Jon
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 11:57pm (UTC -6)
I'm going to go out on a limb here. I think what this is series is more Jonathan Frakes as Riker. Patrick Stewart may be the best actor to ever put on a Starfleet uniform and grace the bridge of a starship but I think that it was Frakes who gave some much-needed levity to TNG. I'm working my way through TNG right now and I'm nearing the end of Season 1 ("Conspiracy" is tonight, which BTW I feel still deserves a sequel and "Picard" could provide that opportunity - just saying) and let's face it; Patrick Stewart mostly places Picard very straight and with a bit of a stick up his ass. And he's pretty much that way throughout the series. Yes, Stewart's performance starts to relax once you get to the fourth season (he almost left after the third) but a lot of the good-natured, grounded heart of the show came from the other actor who top billing and that was Frakes.

Frakes may not be the greatest actor but HE IS Will Riker. He's all charm and charisma and that helped ground the series. Compared to these new characters who are grim and conflicted, Frakes/Riker stand out and beyond. Riker has the burden of the loss of his son and he had a very passing moment of grief when discussing ignorance of danger, but he immediately slaps a smile back on and returns to being his good-natured, upbeat self. Compare that to Picard who wallowed throughout the ENTIRE pilot because he still grieved for Data. TBH, as a father, I don't think there's any comparison to the grief for a friend and the grief for a child.

Picard may have embodied the leader that we all want to see right now but I think Riker embodies the hope and the spirit that we all love about Star Trek. And dare I say, I believe he does more than any other character outside of TOS.
Dave in MN
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 12:15am (UTC -6)
I'm reading through all the recent comments and I don't think it's cool to make fun of an actor's appearance or weight or age. No one who posts here knows has insider knowledge of a castmember's personal health and some things (like aging) can't be stopped.

For the record, I think it's commendable that most of the returning cast have resisted the urge to get invasive plastic surgery and have aged naturally ... while also proving themselves to be even better at their craft than I had realized. The acting, after all, is really the only thing that has kept this series afloat.
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 1:46am (UTC -6)
About the whole Picard didn't report Romulans running around murdering people. He also didn't report the murder of the boyfriend of Dajh. Isn't that a crime in itself? Also not great for the parents of that kid.

Is this tracker discussion still going on?? I'm sorry Tim that you do not understand the difference between particle radiation (cannot leave the ship because it has mass) and electromagnetic radiation which could theoretically leave the ship even though that is also very unlikely because that would imply that the ships hull is thin enough for faint radiation to get through. Only particle radiation would be useful as a tracker because that could leave behind a "trail of breadcrumbs". If they would for some reason be able to follow an electromagnetic radiation emitted by Jurati then why would that be easier than follow the gigantic electromagnetic radiation emitter aka the warp drive?! I really like science (that's why I am a scientist) and these stupid things really make my eyes role. People might call this nitpicking but for me it is also an indication how lazy the writers are or how little they care.

And it is bad writing because they introduce it in the episode only to have a reason for Jurati to be found out/more drama. That is why this is a ham fisted plot device.

I have another nitpick for you: Great from the computer to say plotrodium hydrate "may" have neurotoxic effects in "some" species. Could you not say this about basically every substance?! In a universe with an endless amount of species everything is toxic to some species. One thing is certain. It is very deadly to Humans. Without the EMH Jurati would have died a minute after injecting it.
Captain Jon
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 1:51am (UTC -6)
@Dave in MN

I totally agree! I firmly believe in tolerance and agreeing to disagree. After all, isn't that a prime message of Star Trek? HOWEVER, where I will NOT be tolerant is when the attacks become personal, whether at an actor, writer, director, producer, anyone involved in the show, anyone on this board or anyone in general. People are free to have their opinions and to share them, but when they become personal I believe it goes too far. There's no need for that and people get personal when they really have no leg to stand on or they are criticizing for criticism's sake. Leave weight and appearance out of it.

I thought Frakes gave his best performance as Riker in a long time and his weight has no relevance in this discussion. He, Sirtis and Stewart have allowed themselves to age naturally and have done nothing on this series to hide that. In fact, they've only embraced it and made it part of who they are. One of the great things about ST:II was that it aged the characters and made them wiser and more experienced. We're seeing that here as well.

Unfortunately, comments like that show the toxicity that is creeping its way into fandom. It's why Star Wars has been crippled over the last few years as an outspoken, intolerant few make loud, obnoxious and personal attacks. So the creators gave in to fear and took the safest route in order to silence those few naysayers.

I don't agree with everybody who posts here. I enjoy "Picard" and it's obvious to me that I enjoy the series (and "Discovery", though it is flawed) much more than many around here. I think that Star Trek is evolving as it must in order to be viable. Many criticisms that people have are perfectly valid. I may not agree with them but I respect those criticisms. I don't think it's right to cry "KURTZMAN!" when we see something we don't like and think that's he's to blame. Keep in mind he is also a big reason we have Trek right now and maybe it'll take the right shuffling of creative minds to get the series to a place that's more in tune with what a lot of people feel more comfortable with as Star Trek. But I would like to point out that I remember a time when anything with name "Rick Berman" on it was automatically dismissed as garbage. However, he was with TNG from the beginning and though he wasn't the head writer, he was still the head honcho for much of its run including it's best years. The same can be said for DS9 which he did co-create and though others ran the show, he allowed them that freedom (even if it was sometimes restricted). Should Berman have stepped aside years before he did? Absolutely! But he was still a major factor in the Trek Renaissance of the early- to mid-90s. Let's not be too quick to simply dismiss something simply because a certain name is attached to it.
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 1:56am (UTC -6)
@ Dave in MN
Sorry for the fatshaming joke but I only noticed it because Riker is constantly wearing stuff to conceal how fat he is. The fact that they try to conceal it made me notice it. For the most part he is wearing an apron and near the end of the episode they constantly frame it in a way that we cannot see his belly. Only in the last scene we get a glimpse. I was just thinking what went on behind camera. Did Frakes demand in his contract to be framed in a certain way?

But you are right it was not ok to make that joke.
Captain Jon
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 2:02am (UTC -6)
Boomer, not enough people own up to things that they should not have said so that’s pretty cool of you!

Just an observation, but Riker did spend a majority of the episode cooking which justifies the apron. And I don’t think that it was written that way in order to make an excuse for the apron. The entire episode was building towards the dinner table scene. It was the payoff to for the episode.

Regardless, I didn’t view it as they were trying to hide Riker’s belly since an apron doesn’t really do that at all. It actually adds a little! And I don’t think Frakes would be ashamed of his weight since there are plenty of pictures of him at conventions and behind the scenes that don’t seem to attempt to hide his weight.

I’m one to talk, though. I’m not as thin as I used to be either....
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 2:55am (UTC -6)
@ Captain Jon
We all make mistakes. I think there is more shame in denying that I did something wrong than admitting it.

About the apron, the framing and the kimono-like thing he wears later which has a line that goes from the left shoulder to the right mid torso, and another line that goes left lower torso to the same point. These are little tricks to guide our eyes away. The apron does the same thing. There is also often something in front of his belly like they are holding coffee mugs. I could name more like but it is really not important.

Frakes has probably many millions at his disposal. Just think about it. With that kind of money you can get the best food cooked in the most creative and tasteful way possible. I would have exploded from overeating long ago. :)
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 3:46am (UTC -6)
Well, the series got off the ground last week, and it's still flying. A very enjoyable episode. Much needed rest and recuperation for Picard and Soji - as indicated by the name picked for the planet, Nepenthe being a feel good drink in the Odyssey served to help the weary hero forget his troubles for a bit.

Was it all a bit too idyllic with Riker and Troi in the little paradise retreat? Possibly a bit, but I'm not complaining. The soundtrack at times was a bit intrusive in telling us what to feel - it seems to be a weak point in the series.

Reading through the comments I was surprised at how many people too Commodore Oh's manipulation of Jurati as presenting an accurate picture of the situation. I took it that we should view it with great suspicion. Clearly we were expected to recognise that for Jurati, still suffering from what Booming correctly enough callled the "mind melt" (even if that was a typo), the vision presented was totally convincing and compelling, but there's no reason to accept that as valid.

As for the suggestion that Picard should have presented the evidence of the Romulan attack at the chateau to Starfleet and handed everything over to them, I think we can assume that Picard is now deeply suspicious of how far Starfleet can be trusted. His initial attempt to do that was rejected, and there would have been no reason for him to assume that Starfleet is not colluding in the activities of the Tal Shiar. And in fact from what we have seen, which Picard has not, we know tat any such suspicions would have been completely justified.

One question that puzzles me - we had Maddox turning up at Bjajls's bar lamenting about how his entire lab had been totally destroyed by his opponents, and yet evidently the Tal Shiar have no idea where it is, and have been straining every effort to find out where it is. I trust there's going to be an explanation before long.

Fortunately I haven't come across any trailers for future episodes. I'd avoid watching them if I did come across them, and I wish people who do see them would recognise as spoilers, and refrain from writing about them. (I loathe trailers anyway, for any thing.)
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 4:06am (UTC -6)
I know it's the most minor of minor gripes but I can't help disliking what I dislike.

Surely Picard would say that troi are riker his '.... family' rather than '... old friends'. After everything they've been through.

And couldnt they still call him 'captain'. I know its probably over the top fan service but even today those in the military who are retired still refer to each other as their rank.

So many little things to just add a touch of thought and feeling.
Fatty Corpuscle
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 5:44am (UTC -6)
Plus sizers need to take responsibility. Being overweight especially in senior years is unacceptable and if you’ve let yourself become flabby and overweight shame on you. Under what circumstance are you comfortable foisting your health burdens upon the insurance paying public? It is not “fat shaming” it is health shaming. You feel shame because you know you are unhealthy. Put down the bon bons and exercise for an hour after your hour of Picard. Then come write a review.
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 6:18am (UTC -6)
Johnathan Frakes might be on the fat side by the onscreen standard of Hollywood, but, going by what I've seen of ordinary Americans in news broadcasts or documentaries, he looked well within the norm - it goes along with the
the enormous portions that seem to be customary in American eating-houses. The focus in the programme on his cooking, and everyone's eating , seemed to indicate self-awareness of this aspect of the culture.

I was reminded in this episode, both with the Riker-Troi household and with Dr Jurati¡s cake-stuffing session, of the way, in Lord of the Rings, any time life's got too hectic, Tolkien would find time to bring in a cheerfull meal to raise the spirits. A good practice in real life too.
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 6:35am (UTC -6)
@ Booming

“Is this tracker discussion still going on?? I'm sorry Tim that you do not understand the difference between particle radiation (cannot leave the ship because it has mass) and electromagnetic radiation which could theoretically leave the ship even though that is also very unlikely because that would imply that the ships hull is thin enough for faint radiation to get through. Only particle radiation would be useful as a tracker because that could leave behind a "trail of breadcrumbs".”

There are plenty of weakly interacting particles (e.g., neutrinos) that would go through a ships hull as though it was tissue paper, to say nothing of all the fictional particles that exist in the Star Trek universe and have whatever properties the writers need, but that’s rather beside the point.

Star Trek sensors can penetrate a ships hull (even its raised shields in many episodes) and give our protagonists an immediate count on the number of life forms within said ship, their species, and even their gender, but people are still clinging to this notion that the tracker is somehow unrealistic in this universe when we could do something similar with modern technology that’s limited by real world physics? Give me a break.

It’s this type of pointless nitpicking that drives me insane and already has me regretting diving into the comments section here. I don’t know that the tracker was radiological. That was idle speculation on my part based on real world examples. It could be technological. It could be a completely inert substance that just happens to be detectable with their sensor technology at a longer range than is typical. It could be anything. Why does it bloody matter?

This whole pointless conversation got started because someone (I don’t think you but I genuinely don’t remember now) said Juradi tried to commit suicide and that very clearly was not the case and does not survive even a cursory rewatch of the episode.
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 7:02am (UTC -6)
On the whole fat-shaming conversation, I’m generally in agreement with Bill Maher’s (unpopular) feelings on the subject, it may be shaming but it’s necessary shaming in our country, where obesity is a major public health crisis and the consequences thereof (e.g., heart disease) are far and away the single largest killer of Americans. It’s basically 9/11 occurring every two days, the number of Americans that die from heart disease, imagine if a 9/11 scale mass casualty attack occurred every other day.....

Our country is now so fat that the Defense Department regards it as a national security crisis, simply because if we ever found ourselves in a major conflict half (or more!) of the military aged population would be unfit for service. You can’t wipe away a lifetime of bad choices with a few weeks of bootcamp.

All that said, the conversation is gratuitous in this context, and it’s very obvious that at least one of the posts on the subject was naked trolling designed to get a rise out of people and detail the conversation.
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 7:32am (UTC -6)
Reluctant to get into this, but the question of "shaming" (beyond matters of civility and social cohesion) comes down to whether it works or not - and it doesn't. Shaming or criticizing someone for their weight doesn't provide them with the tools or support needed to make a change. On the contrary, it's likely to make them feel worse about themselves and unsupported, and thus in some cases more likely to turn to food for comfort. Similarly, someone who's fat-shamed by a stranger in public might be reluctant to go outside as often and prefer to just stay indoors where they can't be hurt... so they're not getting any exercise and are again likely to eat more. I've known this happen to people who've *lost* weight - they've been successfully dieting and exercising for months and have managed to lose weight, but because strangers still see them as fat they still get abuse, which can demotivate them and derail their hard work. Obesity is a major global problem, particularly in the west, but aside from being a cruel way to treat someone, fat-shaming doesn't help people get fit - people who fat-shame are just looking for an excuse to be cruel, they don't care about genuinely helping or supporting the person.

As to Riker... my god, can we leave him alone? Frakes has been a bigger guy for decades. There's also his back injury. It's bad enough that society has scrutinized and judged women's bodies in this way for so long, but now we do it almost as badly with men's bodies - the pressure placed on men's appearance is ridiculous. This kind of culture pushes people into eating disorders... I have skinny male friends who think they're fat. it's coming to something when someone as avuncular and affable as Jonathan Frakes can't even reprise his role for one episode playing a retired Riker without having his body scrutinized.
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 8:02am (UTC -6)
@ Gerontius - thanks for the Nepenthe context! That's fascinating.

If you take the use of food this episode, there is some neat symbolism - the homegrown, healthy food at the idyllic Riker retreat; contrast that with the replicated cake-stuffing on La Sirena with the shadiness going on works.

I'm glad Frakes got in front of the camera even though he doesn't look the same as he did in TNG (I know I don't look the same as I did watching that show run the first time!). I think it took courage to do that, and if he hadn't, we would've been robbed of the good stuff in that episode. Totally cliche - "it's what's on the inside that counts" - but Frakes proved it's true with his representation of an older Riker. Some people struggle with weight because of poor choices, and others struggle with weight for other reasons that are beyond their control. For most it's probably somewhere in the middle. Hard to know the difference, and it's best not to shame anybody anyway!
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 8:10am (UTC -6)
What wolfstar said.
I don't want people to feel bad just for what they are when they come here.
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 8:20am (UTC -6)
Anyway, Riker looked pretty good, and it was great seeing him back again. He always struck me as a more likeable version of Kirk, and he retained that. What's a few pounds between friends?
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 8:40am (UTC -6)
I don’t see anything wrong with the way Frakes looks; he may not even be clinically obese (>30BMI) with his height, dude is 6'3" (side note: Did the producers of TNG take pains to hide the height differential between Stewart and Frakes? Always knew he was tall but don’t recall him towering over Stewart the way he did here) and he looks like Riker in retirement. Don’t see an issue.

Stewart remains in pretty amazing shape, which is in character for Picard, recall he was a marathon runner in his day.

On the broader subject of obesity in America I stand by my comments. It is a public health crisis.
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 8:47am (UTC -6)
Steinway wrote:

“If you take the use of food this episode, there is some neat symbolism - the homegrown, healthy food at the idyllic Riker retreat; contrast that with the replicated cake-stuffing on La Sirena with the shadiness going on works.”

That’s a good observation. Also, we can finally put to rest the question from season 2 of TNG about whether Riker is truly a good chef. It really was the Owon eggs he cooked with all along!
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 8:50am (UTC -6)
Frakes looked fine. As a upper-middle aged man that certainly needs to lose weight, I understand the struggle. I like wearing an apron when grilling

What gets me is, they did the same thing to Marina that they did in Nemesis. You see her at conventions and she looks like a beautiful middle-aged woman, but they cake her face with TONS make-up for on-screen stuff. I thought it made her look terrible.
Lodged Lunch
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 8:57am (UTC -6)
Gooz is a loser and should be banned or at least put on probation from commenting for starting the whole fat-shaming that others have pounced on. Asian hate, too. Take control of your thread, Jammer, and hold posters accountable for their lack of respect, class, and humanity. It’s very anti-ST and I don’t see how you can support such crassness. It will make many others including myself not stick around; all I want to do right now after reading the comments since Gooz started to ooze his rudeness, is go hang out on where there seems to be much less toxic vitriol all the time. Please moderate better so I can enjoy the discussions here instead of wanting to press permanent snooze on this site cause of posters like Gooz’ mean-spirited ‘tude. Vile, to say Frakes should be on a diet. People like Gooz make me want to lose my lunch.
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 9:12am (UTC -6)
I concur with Lodged Lunch. It’s fine to make fun of the show, but repeated unfunny and racist comments about actors don’t generate good and civil discussion.
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 9:17am (UTC -6)
I went back and read our comments back and forth again, and you are right, I may have overreacted. Sorry about that. Yes, we can just agree to disagree on the unimpeachable matter ;)
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 9:46am (UTC -6)
The Fenris signal badge... Yeah, OK. Seven gave one to Picard. But did he put it on a keychain and randomly hang it somewhere in the cube, or is that a different, but conveniently located signal badge that Elfnor happened to find? It made me think of the Car-Freshners in Repo Man ("Find one in every cube. You'll see!").

Elfnor needs an XB to access the Queen Cell. At first I thought what Hugh was suggesting was dragging his corpse to the entrance, but on further review I'm thinking it's more that Elfnor needs to get one of the "Disordered" to open the cell. None of the XBcuted seemed to be Romulan (Narissa has a conscience and/or orders prohibiting that), and the Disordered (and "the only Romulans ever assimilated" line) are inexplicably mentioned in the "Previously on" scenes despite playing no role in this episode.
Captain Jon
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 10:09am (UTC -6)
Cynic, the badge was Hugh’s. He gave it to Elnor as he died. They didn’t explicitly show it. They show him handing something to Elnor. Hugh is pretty much telling Elnor to call Seven.
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 10:48am (UTC -6)

No worries Mertov. I’ve read your reviews on Picard and we’re generally on the same page in terms of critical analysis of plot points. That’s why we’re here right?

Speaking for myself, I want the show to succeed, that’s why I’m being hard on it, and I think a lot of other critical reviewers are in the same boat.
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 11:11am (UTC -6)
Not to necessarily defend Gooz, but I find that he/she competently points out issues with each episode in a snarky tone (personally I think it’s funny but could see why some would not).

Re Keiko, I see that merely as a running gag, and not necessarily as racist. Unless I missed a post that was purely blatant and not a Chris Rockesque saying how it is joke.
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 11:19am (UTC -6)
Gooz is making these comments for years now. That guy/gal (but probably a guy) has serious hate boner for that woman.
Eric Jensen
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 11:20am (UTC -6)
In the trailers for next week's episode... SEVEN GETS ASSIMILATED! Her eyes turn black. Did anyone see it? I had missed it. Will she be a Borg queen?!

If Seven becomes a borg queen, I will not be happy. Seven is trying to regain her humanity and to be reassimilated makes that pointless.

ALSO, Robert Picardo is allegedly in season 2! Of Picard! Will the Doctor help Seven to become human yet again? I think Locutus will come back. Thoughts???
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 11:35am (UTC -6)
@Eric Jensen

You think maybe the call the series Star Trek: Picardo??
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 11:42am (UTC -6)
@ Eric
Watching the trailer it seems that we are done with the story part of the season. Now the galaxy needs to be saved with big spacebattles.
Hell will come again...

And yes that looks like she will be assimilated.
Eric Jensen
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 11:59am (UTC -6)
//You think maybe the call the series Star Trek: Picardo??//

No... Rahul. The scenes with Robert and Jeri were the best in Star Trek Voyager.

//And yes that looks like she will be assimilated.//

More sad news, Booming
Eric Jensen
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 12:04pm (UTC -6)

//It has already been revealed that Robert Picardo is going to reprise his role as the Doctor in Star Trek: Picard Season 2. However, it looks like the Star Trek: Voyager actor is too excited about his return in the new series. Picardo has just revealed that he has reunited with co-star Jeri Ryan at Star Trek The Cruise.//
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 1:13pm (UTC -6)
Trailers are spoilers. If you enjoy them, that's your choice, but please refrain from unloading them on those who don't.

I don't know whether that creep's monotonous use of that crack about Keiko is racist or not. Probably it is, but it's in no universe funny.

The notion of fat shaming seems pretty strange to me, at least when it comes to people who are just a bit chubby like Jonathan Frakes. Nothing anyone should feel ashamed of in that, any more than there is in being a bit slim. And of course posting a complaint about an actor being that way is just about as stupid as the Keiko "joke".
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 1:51pm (UTC -6)
I don’t think Gooz’s comments are offensive because they are racist or mean-spirited, although one can interpret them as such.

Well-known critics like John Simon (theater and movie critic) and Rex Reed (movie critic who really took off on Mellisa McCarthy for being fat) who are otherwise intelligent say this stuff, rationalizing it by saying fatness, ugliness , etc., are imperfections in “art.” One could just as easily criticize the show for having young male actors who affect a moody dispostion with a scruffed, manscaped beard. Whatever.

I think all of these kinds of comments are made either for shock value (they are not shocking) or because the critic has nothing better or more intelligent to say. Often, the comment is mad,p, a predictable outrage follows, and the commenter can then claim what they really are seeking: “victim” status - victim of censorship or political correctness or what have you. It is a tired game, these people play. One wonders why they still bother
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 3:04pm (UTC -6)
Jesus that spiraled out of control.
I wrote one sentence.
"He is pretty fat, though. Maybe he should eat less pie." A bad joke and my actual point was about how the episode tries to hide his ..well ... form.

@ Nacelti
"Often, the comment is mad,p, a predictable outrage follows, and the commenter can then claim what they really are seeking: “victim” status - victim of censorship or political correctness or what have you. It is a tired game, these people play"
I did nothing of the sort. Someone mentioned it and I immediately apologized.
Eric Jensen
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 3:12pm (UTC -6)
Yeah, my apologies. Should have warned you about trailers/spoilers. But technically... technically... we don't actually see Seven get assimilated. So we don't really know... Let's hope not. I don't want Seven to get assimilated.
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 3:12pm (UTC -6)
I didn’t read your comment as mean, Booming. In your defense, I think the show actually uses pizza as an in-universe reason why Riker might have put on some pounds. Pizza is a pretty high carb meal and if you overeat it in your later years, you’ll likely get some belly weight. Notice also how Deanna only wants “one slice” — perhaps because she recognizes she should eat pizza in moderation.

Anyway, just food for thought. :-)
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 4:57pm (UTC -6)
@ Chrome
"Anyway, just food for thought. :-)"
But only one slice. :)
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 6:16pm (UTC -6)
"Anyway, Riker looked pretty good, and it was great seeing him back again. He always struck me as a more likeable version of Kirk, and he retained that. What's a few pounds between friends? "

Riker is much less likeable than Kirk. I doubt I could bear to spend more than a few minutes hanging out with Riker. As a character he comes across as a strongly opinionated alpha male, who must always be "right" and demonstrate his superiority, and gets offended easily.
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 6:23pm (UTC -6)
I don't think your post was what really set things off, Booming. And as a pizza lover myself I don't think your comment was misplaced, or could reasonably be called "fat shaming".

My aversion to trailers is I suppose an aspect of my being raised in a culture of deferred gratification, and ties in with my dislike of binge watching . But aside from that there's the way that trailers invariably distort the show they are trailing - even if the spoilers are accurate their place within the action is skewed. Maybe there's hope that the hyped up action stuff that people anticipate for the next episode or two will turn out to have been to some extent traileritis....
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 6:33pm (UTC -6)
Interesting, Joe - But note I didn't say Riker "was" more likable than Kirk, but that that is how he struck me. Likability is a very subjective and personal thing. After all, look at the current US President and UK Prime Minister...
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 7:31pm (UTC -6)
I love all these star trek fans playing online diet expert and attacking someones weight. I hope the next trek convention is filled with trim health fit people
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 7:50pm (UTC -6)
I can’t believe such wasted time on discussing someone’s weight. J.F. Was a guest on the Ready Room and looked fine. I think people would be nicer if comments or Twitter weren’t anonymous.
Captain Jon
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 8:36pm (UTC -6)
Somewhere above I read someone complaining about the music being too intrusive and trying to tell us what to feel. As a musician who collects movie scores that’s precisely the point of music; to make us feel. Whether it’s the opening fanfares in Star Wars or The Motion Picture trying time excite us, Jerry Goldsmith’s noble theme that plays during First Contact. The suspenseful music as the crew find the Borg on the Enterprise. It’s telling us what the mood is and how to feel. Music is probably the most manipulative aspect of a movie outside of the acting.
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 9:04pm (UTC -6)
A few different things to comment on here.

1. This is far and away the most TNG-like episode of this series so far. That scene of sitting around the dinner table, once Soji finally starts opening up about what she knows, plays like a meeting in the Enterprise-D's observation lounge.

2. Troi's character has a lot more going for it now than just "Will Riker is sooo dreamy, but that was yeeeears ago," or being the butt monkey of this week's violating alien presence. Poor Thaddeus.

3. As Picard and Soji leave, the look that Riker and Troi are giving each other screams to me "We're gonna have to find a babysitter." Seeing Riker Sherlock Holmes the entire story so far to Picard makes me think there is absolutely no way he's taking any of this lying down, and he is still enlisted on reserve duty, and might be able to pull a few bigger and longer strings than Raffi was.

4. All Riker and Troi have to tell Worf, Geordi and Dr. Crusher is "Data might be alive and/or recoverable" and there's no way any of the three would not jump out of whatever they happen to be doing. Worf would see it as a matter of honor to a former comrade-at-arms, Crusher would not let Picard go it alone, and Geordi was Data's best friggin' friend. The cat is officially out of the bag, and we all know what a horrible gossip Riker is. The fact that Picard was not comfortable around children remained a secret for precisely 0.67 seconds on the Enterprise-D.

5. Kestra's name is a reference to Dark Page, one of the better performances by Majel Barrett-Roddenberry as Lwaxana Troi, but as Majel Barrett-Rodenberry is unfortunately no longer with us, the dynamic between Troi and Picard is now altered slightly. Another example of how Troi's characterization has changed for the better, imo, as I always thought Lwaxana's episodes to be kind of eh.

6. This is more of a joke than anything, but is it any wonder that this is the best episode yet, and has Riker's Beard in it? Did Picard just 'grow the beard?'

7. Does anyone know what the thing that Agnes orders the replicator to make is, and why she would want to synthesize that specific substance? Is it made-up? I heard her order "N cc's of Technobabblonium" and the computer warned her "you know that can kill you right?" or something.

8. Hugh being killed sucks, but he isn't an appreciably different character from Seven of Nine at any rate, and Seven of Nine is a lot more prominent in the ST Fandom than Hugh. Beyond the Reclamation Project, I don't see how he could be an important character in this story, particularly, whatever nostalgia might be generated by his presence.

9. This would be the biggest point of all that I'd like to comment on; Narissa's line:

"This is not how a Zhat Vash fights a Qiwat Malat, if that is what you are."

Makes me think that Picard may have gotten himself involved in some serious Romulan Sectarian Warfare. These two groups appear to be mortal enemies, with traditions for how combat must be conducted (to wit, unarmed). Why? What history is there between these two groups? Something is afoot here...
Tim M.
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 11:05pm (UTC -6)
Great episode. The character moments with RIker (who looks like the offspring of Orson Welles and William Shatner), Troi, and their daughter were top-notch. The mind-meld between Oh and Agnes was an effective way of explaining Agnes' behavior in the last couple of episodes. So, we must assume that Oh is at least part Vulcan.

I'll be really bummed if Hugh stays dead. That's different than being pissed because his death is meaningless.

Can't wait to see more Seven next week.
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 11:18pm (UTC -6)
Contrary to my earlier decision, I would like to continue
to comment.


"... One final note: am I the only one here who likes Narrisa?
Sure, she’s a generic bad gal, but the Romulans have always
had a character who’s affably evil. She reminds me a lot of
Commander Toreth from “Face of the Enemy” in that she’s so
despicably treacherous. I say we need a little scenery chewing
in Star Trek, so let’s keep this girl around."

Chrome, you are entitled to your opinion. But I think that there
is a vast difference between Toreth and Narissa. Toreth is still
a loyal commander of the Romulan Star Empire and as such
an enemy of the Federation. But she has absolutely no love
for the Tal Shiar because they murdered her father. And
in my opinion together with the unnamed male and female
commanders from TOS, Donatra, Tomalak and Admiral Jarok
she belongs to the truly memorable Romulan characters.
Carolyn Seymour was outstanding as Toreth.
And Narissa is written and portrayed as a cartoonish


Then, as said "Nepenthe" did not change my opinion about
this show. As for my part, it was completely overshadowed
by Hugh's unnecessary and cheap death. And I suspect that
they are going to kill more beloved old Star Trek characters.
As well as that Picard still isn't the real Picard.

Dave in MN
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 11:49pm (UTC -6)
@ Eric Jensen

re: the trailer SPOILER

Yeah, I want to believe you're wrong, but I rewatched the trailer and.... yeah, if 7 gets assimilated or becomes a new Borg Queen, I'll be REALLY pissed.
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 11:53pm (UTC -6)
"I love all these star trek fans playing online diet expert and attacking someones weight. I hope the next trek convention is filled with trim health fit people"

The funny thing is that it probably will. Given the way that Star Trek has changed its target audience in the past few years, I fully expect the next trek convention to have less chubby nerds and more "healthy" jocks and bullies.

(and before anybody accuses me of shaming chubby nerds, I'm one of them myself. :-))
Dave in MN
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 12:03am (UTC -6)
Something obvious just occurred to me:

Aren't the Bynars part of the Federation?

Are they still allowed to exist?

How is Soji any different than a Bynar?
Dave in MN
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 12:13am (UTC -6)
@ Captain Jon

I'm a composer, here's my take:

Part of the appeal of a good soundtrack is knowing when NOT to have music playing. Having an ever-present underscore really only works for cartoons. This show NEVER takes a second to breathe in precious silence. Instead, moods are telegraphed in obvious ways.

I also fault the use of the rather cheap sounding synths/MIDI instead of a real orchestra. Add to that a volume level three ticks too loud, the occasional eyeroll-worthy apiing of a corny CSI/SVU temp track, manipulative music cues (that put Patch Adams to shame) and, most bewilderingly, the TIMING of the music.

There's at least one time in each episode where there underscore is a half-beat ahead of the action: when the music reveals the shock before it happens onscreen, it comes across as inept and comical.

This show does NOT have a good soundtrack, imho.
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 12:34am (UTC -6)
@Dave in MN
"Yeah, I want to believe you're wrong, but I rewatched the trailer and.... yeah, if 7 gets assimilated or becomes a new Borg Queen, I'll be REALLY pissed. "

You mean, as opposed to having Icheb being tortured to death? Or Riker's son having to die just because the treatment is "outlawed in the Federation"? Even when they do a nice quiet nostalgic moment with the TNG crew, the writers just *have* to insert gratuitous death and misery into it, because that's the kind of great guys they are.

And if the trailers seem to imply that Seven will be re-assimilated, I have no doubt that she will. It perfectly fits the sadistic psychological profile of the people at the helm. For some unfathomable reason, they love doing this kind of things.

Gotta tell you, I'm really glad that I don't consider any of this to be canon. With Discovery, at least, you could mostly ignore all the crap they flung at you (and the S2 finale even made that approach official). Pike, at least, was handled with the respect he deserves. Spock's background story may have changed (and laughably so), but at least it doesn't damage the character too much.

But with Picard, we are forced to watch - again and again - how characters we've known are being destroyed (either figuratively or literally). This is stuff that we can't just pretend never happened, unless we reject the entire premise altogether (or treat it as some kind of alternate universe).

Seriously, my heart goes out to all those fans who are forcing themselves to accept this as the "actual" fates of these characters just because of some definition of canon.
Tommy D.
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 12:52am (UTC -6)
@Dave in MN

I've read more than a few people talk about not being able to hear the dialogue. Are some of you using a soundbar? I have a mid range surround system, and the dialogue comes through the center channel clearly without the soundtrack feeling intrusive.
Dave in MN
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 1:00am (UTC -6)
@ Omicron

Sadly, I don't accept it as canon or Trek. Another timeline? That's the only way this presentation could be plausible.

A few scenes that worked in the last few episodes can't save this show, I think. Everything about it is sort of .... off.

I mostly just absorb STP in a mindless state of stupefied bemusement, similar to how one experiences Cats: The Movie or a Vanilla Ice album. The very occasional whiff of something Trekkish is just the icing on a turd cake.

But making me actually angry? I'm human, so I'll admit:

Yes, Icheb being snuff-filmed did so, as did the swearing Admiral and the changes to the Federation's ethics and economics. I started as simply watching it and that slowly morphed into hate-watching it while also hope-watching that ir somehow gets better.

Otherwise, I will continue to give STP a "meh" rating (at best).
Dave in MN
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 1:10am (UTC -6)
On both my phone and my PC it's very bad. With headphones it's less noticeable, but it's horrible on any portable device.

On surround sound, I still think the mix is still a bit too loud if you're sitting anywhere other than the optimal position.

Whoever mixed and balanced this show did a terrible job. I never have these issues with The Expanse or The Orville or The Mandalorian.
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 1:51am (UTC -6)
I watch the episodes as soon as they're released, and that means I'm listening on 2016 MacBook Pro speakers, and I've never had issues being able to distinguish most dialogue, so I don't have much to say personally against my experience in the final sound mix. Here and there, I'll miss a word or two, but that's been par for the course for anything I watch on the laptop.

However, I would agree with Dave in MN regarding the music direction--it really hasn't added much to the production. It's a step up from the solo brass heavy stuff from TNG/DS9/VOY, but the composition aside from the title theme itself hasn't been memorable, and occasionally downright confusing. Lately, the Trek cues are almost seemingly tossed in there because they needed some kind of coda to the track, and it results in the fanfare playing at almost inappropriate moments--as if celebrating things that should not be celebrated. Crescendos to signify act breaks are kind of tacky too, and telegraphs the wrong message. Curiously Discovery, which has the same composer, doesn't suffer from this issue nearly as badly.

Jeff Russo (composer) made the decision to take the Picard theme in a different style and direction--that means that any time there's a Alexander Courage or Jerry Goldsmith Trek cue, it means something special. Sprinkled once in a while, it signifies something good is about to happen if done in an excited fashion, or is reminiscent of times gone past if done quiet and melodically. The first few episodes, it was handled well--the last few, it made me roll my eyes.

Kinda wish they were able to hire Ramin Djwadi to score this show. He did a masterful job with Game of Thrones, and I suppose he would've been tied up scoring the next season of Westworld even if they could hire him.
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 3:09am (UTC -6)
@Midshipman Norris
To point 7. The substance she replicates is as real as Adamantium and Unobtainium.

@ Dave in MN
About the soundtrack. I would characterize it as obvious, in a way blue means stun, red means death in phasers. You rightly point out that there is a difference between a soundtrack immersing us in the story and a soundtrack that hits you over the head. That is what's so weird about these new shows. Everything has to be absolutely clear. The science part strangely is not clear at all. TNG Voyager and DS9 used existing theories about physics, chemistry whatever and extrapolated that. I don't think that the science part in NuTrek is supposed to make sense. It is only scientific for people who don't care about science. If you like the science in this, then you like the science in Transformers or Marvel movies. The same goes for many parts of the story where constantly stuff happens that makes little and often no sense. Why go to happy little nerd with no military training Jurati, why not just mind MELT Rios? Does anybody remember the metal thing sticking out of Rios shoulder . That is like the soundtrack. That is how the character is introduced. Him sitting on the captains chair, lighting a cigar, while a piece of metal sticks out of his shoulder meaning he is supercool. Why is it in his shoulder? Why is he not in sickbay or in agony? Unimportant. This is most likely all done to broaden the appeal of the show. The question is if the newly reached people stick around or soon move to the shiny new thing somewhere else. The Trekkies seem to slowly dwindle away.
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 3:49am (UTC -6)
Talking about the science and drama of the show reminds me of this little nugget.
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 6:43am (UTC -6)
i know i’m thinking too much into this....but the romulan butthurt over the existence of synthetic life really bugs me.

They’ve got this centuries long crusade against synthetics. Ok. Great. Let’s say they can even alter the course of events in the little know area of space they have access to and knowledge of. Fine.

But what about the endless endless endless expanse of space unexplored and unknown? What’s stopping a civilization on the other side of the galaxy that they have no knowledge of from developing synthetics that can eradicate all life everywhere? The entire premise of the Zhat Vaj is ridiculous.
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 7:28am (UTC -6)
Eddit said: "The entire premise of the Zhat Vaj is ridiculous."

I think it's going to get more ridiculous. Burnham's already connected to Spock and Kirk. I think she's going for the hat-trick, her plot dovetailing with Picard's as well.
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 7:45am (UTC -6)

"... little nugget".


That has always been a weak spot of ST in general, but TNG particularly. Worf wants to blow everything up but Picard goes with LaForge's idea of "inverting polarity", "creating a resonance field", "tachyons/chronotons" or something. TNG at least had that wrapped around mostly good stories, whereas Disco is only that.
Steve McCullagh
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 8:55am (UTC -6)
I hope that at some point in the last three episodes Picard gets in a no-win situation that is only resolved by the sudden appearance of John de Lancie, just so I can use the term "Q Ex Machina".
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 9:55am (UTC -6)
Did we ever get background on how the Borg Reclamation Project fit in with the Zhat Vaj and the Romulan-Federation treaty? So far, the Zhat Vaj have been portrayed to fight against all synthetic life, and their presence and tolerance(?) of the reclamation project appears congruent in helping to reclaim former Borg. Yet we have Rizzo kill a lot of reclaimed Borg to extract information from Hugh, and Zhat Vaj agents killing non-synths willy-nilly (Daj's boyfriend, and the attempted murder of Picard at his chateau).

So, is the Zhat Vaj directive still congruent then, but Rizzo is a little on the psychopathic side, willing to kill non-synths to advance the ultimate agenda of finding the synth homeworld to save the galaxy (of living, not synth, beings)? She did mention trying to save "trillions" of lives if I recall.

All seems convoluted to me (so far). It appears the Zhat Vaj appear to satisfy the "protect the living beings of the galaxy" goal but at an "ends justify the means" approach.
Jason R.
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 10:08am (UTC -6)
"But what about the endless endless endless expanse of space unexplored and unknown? What’s stopping a civilization on the other side of the galaxy that they have no knowledge of from developing synthetics that can eradicate all life everywhere? The entire premise of the Zhat Vaj is ridiculous."

No kidding - from the gamma quadrant to the delta quadrant, huge expanses teeming with unknown civilizations from Voth with transwarp technology to empires of robots from Prototype to the Dominion with its vast territory and these Romulan clowns are going protect the galaxy from synths. Okeeedoke.

But forget it. It's just best to consider this show a reboot anyway. Whatever a wizard did it.
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 10:24am (UTC -6)

“My heart goes out to all those fans who are forcing themselves to accept this...”
So, you have personal knowledge that there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people “forcing” themselves to enjoy the show. What gives you this insight? Where is your proof that their definition of canon is “wrong”?

Also, WHY does your heart go out? Do you think such people are worthy of pity, just plain dumb, or both?

I for one am not being forced to do anything. If I don’t like something I turn off the TV. I hope ther is more to life than hate-watching, hate-posting, and hate-answering of other posts, followed by weekly repetition of the same
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 1:42pm (UTC -6)
Alestkra, about OTDP's comment - I've certainly seen people on a couple of sites (Youtube comments, IMDB reviews etc.) saying that Picard has retroactively spoiled TNG and VOY for them, that they can't go back and enjoy those shows now, knowing how everything ends up. For me this is an over-literal approach, but while I personally would never let myself feel that way (I cherish 90s Trek and that's never gonna change), I can understand the psychology behind it. I can shrug Picard off as just bad TV, but there are fans out there forcing themselves to accept the characters' various grim fates (and the total collapse of the Federation's value system) as some kind of truth/gospel/canon. I certainly don't accept STD and STP for the simple reason that Picard isn't Picard, Seven isn't Seven, the Klingons aren't the Klingons, the Romulans aren't the Romulans and the Federation isn't the Federation. None of it even closely resembles the Star Trek universe. For me, at the end of the day - while I think that what's happened to the franchise is a shame, and that these poorly written shows are vandalizing something that was painstakingly built up by far more skilled craftspeople - it's ultimately just bad drama that I don't have to watch or pay for. But Trek functions as a bedrock and foundation for a lot of people - it's mythological in nature, and the characters have been cherished friends to so many people. I'm sure my value system and worldview was influenced by watching TNG and DS9 growing up, Sisko and Kira are still my heroes. And Spock and Uhura (for instance) meant a huge amount to a lot of people in the 60s, you only have to look at some of the letters that Leonard Nimoy and Nichelle Nichols received from children as well as adults. Seven meant a huge amount to a lot of people with autism/Asperger's, as well as trauma survivors generally. Aron Eisenberg used to get US military veterans who'd lost limbs coming up to him at conventions to say how much his story and performance had meant to them. All of that is why people set such stake in these stories - and when the show has so completely deviated from its value system and established characterizations, it can be hard for people who've loved Trek all their lives to admit to themselves what has happened and wrench themselves away from it. I can turn the TV off, for sure, but there are people who have been incredibly upset by the idea that what happened in episode 5 is how Icheb's story ends, for instance, and that they have to accept that as canon.
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 2:05pm (UTC -6)
@ Wolfstar
I was never a big fan of this whole canon idea. But I'm amazed by the bizarro canon people cook up to justify that STP looks so different now. The only reason I still watch the show is because I want to see it crash and burn. After that I can say. Ok this is a stinking pile of garbage. I stopped watching Voyager somewhere in season 4 I think, Enterprise at season 2. Discovery had a few good episodes in season two, not only good, they felt like Star Trek that's why I give them a few more episodes in season 3. It is also to Discoveries benefit that they didn't use a chast member from TOS. I can almost watch STD as it's own thing. That is not possible with STP

So far I didn't like any of the STP episodes. I actually have a hard time remembering them. The 6. ep was ok, I think... yeah the Hugh stuff. That was good. No wonder he had to die. Oh and man these Zhat Vash really like their throwing knives, small ones, big ones. They have them all.
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 2:27pm (UTC -6)
well said @wolfstar. People do get emotionally invested in these stories and that's great. Hopefully, people who don't like the new shows are still able to go back and watch the ones they loved. I admit Picard has undermined my Star Trek fandom. I don't hate the Picard show and even like some episodes a good deal, but it comes across as more generic sci-fi. It's missing the liberal humanism and intellectualism that shaped so much of my worldview. I can still go back and watch TNG or DS9 episodes and enjoy them, but it's harder to lose myself in the world now. The franchise has lost a little bit of what made it special in the first place.
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 4:03pm (UTC -6)
"Alestkra, about OTDP's comment - I've certainly seen people on a couple of sites (Youtube comments, IMDB reviews etc.) saying that Picard has retroactively spoiled TNG and VOY for them, that they can't go back and enjoy those shows now, knowing how everything ends up. For me this is an over-literal approach, but while I personally would never let myself feel that way (I cherish 90s Trek and that's never gonna change), I can understand the psychology behind it."


I understand the psychology behind it too. They choose to watch it. Nobody is forcing them. Alestkra's point stands. Nobody is being forced to watch. There is nobody to feel sorry about, no Star Trek fan to pity. I am certainly not being forced to watch anything. If I don't like something, I don't watch it, it's that simple. A point that Alestkra sums up nicely in the last paragraph:

"I for one am not being forced to do anything. If I don’t like something I turn off the TV. I hope ther is more to life than hate-watching, hate-posting, and hate-answering of other posts, followed by weekly repetition of the same"
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 4:11pm (UTC -6)
Great to see 7 will be back in the next sode. I really liked Riker and Trois daughter and thought she had a good chemistry with Soji. would love seeing them together again. I wonder, is nepenthe just a one off or will this be a recurring locale?
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 4:27pm (UTC -6)

I was obviously not talking about people like you. But there *are* fans who are forcing themselves to (a) watch and (b) accept all the cruelty they see onscreen as canon.

Saying that everybody has a choice is naive. I'm telling you this as someone who got off the Trek bandwagon and knows from experience how difficult that decision was after being loyal to the brand for 40 years. And the constant mockery from people like yourself sure didn't make the transition any easier...
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 5:12pm (UTC -6)

As if your sentence about "feeling sorry for fans" does not come across as condescending or mockery at all...


You are not one of those Alestkra is talking about anyway, I'd think. Here is what Alestkra said:

--- "I for one am not being forced to do anything. If I don’t like something I turn off the TV. I hope ther is more to life than hate-watching, hate-posting, and hate-answering of other posts, followed by weekly repetition of the same."

Key term: "hate-watching"

You are not watching Picard, are you? As far as I know, you are busy doing the same thing you did during Discovery, which is shitting on each episode and the show at a rate of dozen posts per week despite not having watched a single hour of it (by your own admission). Or did I assume wrong? Are you actually watching Picard?
Nothing but the Tears
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 5:52pm (UTC -6)
I really enjoyed this one. It was such a joy seeing Riker and Troi again, and I thought Kestra was awesome. I loved the chemistry between Picard, Riker and Troi. It seemed pretty effortless.

Also, as others have said, this was probably the best use of Troi I’ve ever seen. I wish we’d seen a lot more of this on TNG. It goes to show the character had so much more to offer than the writers gave her.

I actually enjoyed seeing Elnor fighting this time. Absolutely justified and pretty satisfying considering what the Romulans had just done. Just wish he’d showed up earlier, taken out Rizzo and saved Hugh. Alas ...

Jurati, I like the choice she makes here. As others have said, I don’t read it as attempted suicide but deactivating the tracker at all costs. I just wish either she’d confessed or the other two had figured out what she’d done to Maddox. Makes nobody look much good.

The Mind Meld, hmm, I don’t really buy that it would make Jurati decide to kill Maddox. What was shown didn’t convince me that she’d respond like that. Beyond that, I find it hard to tell if there’s some form of mind control going on as well which IMHO would be a better explanation. However, that’s not shown or stated.

Quick note on the glasses. I can’t say they bother me too much. I just wish they’d picked a pair that actually looked cool.

I’d say I found this episode about on par with last week but for other reasons. So I’m a fairly happy camper and looking forward to what’s next.

One quick observation. At this time, I don’t feel like I’ll want to re-watch the show beyond maybe the pilot. Depending on things wrap up, that may change. But as it stands, I’m happy to have seen each episode (except for “Stardust City Rag” which I wish I hadn’t seen) just the one time.
grey cat
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 6:21pm (UTC -6)
4 stars all day long. (When the XBs were gunned down wondered how many boring "this is not Star Trek" posts there would be).

1000 word essays of nit-picking and acting like some writing god don't change that.

Great acting and story aside the cinematography is beautiful in pretty much every scene.

Sirtis and Frakes were great too.

Only 3 episodes to go.. wah.

I'm just so happy this has turned out x100 better than ST:DSC.
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 6:37pm (UTC -6)
Every episode of the entirety of the series (as in all of Star Trek) has its admirers and detractors. The difference between these two groups is that detractors are much more likely to post on the internet because contentedness tends to produce complacency. If nothing is wrong with the thing, why bother saying anything?

"If the warp drive is online, don't realign the warp coils."

Hence, this is what I attribute the preponderance of negativity on the USS Jammer (and really the entirety of the internet, the media as a whole, and my workplace) to. People complain a lot more often than they express contentment. Contentment is usually a quietly felt thing.

If I am going to play Ardra's Advocate here, I feel like the show still has a bit of a way to go before I will accept that Star Trek is really at "full impulse" (Ok enough with the references, I'm sorry). At some point, the showrunners have to accept that they are dealing with longtime fans far more than they are going to be able to attract new ones.


... Don't do it Norris...

... You said you were gonna not do it... OHHHH FINE

"I'm sorry, Mr. Scott. There will be no refit. [...] Jim, the Enterprise is 20 years old. We feel her time is over."

Star Trek can only survive on the goodwill of it's die-hardest fans by this point. It has permutated itself into a plethora of different incarnations, and the only thing it really can fall back on is the fans who keep coming back, series after series, episode after episode. That's me, and that's whoever's reading this and saying "I'm still a Star Trek Fan." Whether you love it or hate it, if you stick around, you're still validating its presence, the moment you hit that link on The moment you comment on an episode. The moment you even mention it to another person who might ask.

There are so many frivolous things in this world. "Complaining about shows you don't watch," "Complaining about people not liking the show," "They changed it, now it sucks," and "It's popular, now it sucks" are some of them. I believe classifies these all as either forms or at times examples of what it calls "Fan dumb," and while they can be reasons "Why the fandom can't have nice things," they also are part of the gestalt of how a show exists, in the first place.

Acceptance is key, really. I like this show, a lot more than I liked Discovery or Enterprise. I even like it more than I liked Voyager or DS9, to be honest. But that's just one fan's opinion. I'd rather talk about the episodes than say whether they were good or bad. They are there. I'm ok with that.

I have no idea where I'm going with this. :) "I'm a writer, not a critic."
skye francis-maidstone
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 6:45pm (UTC -6)
3.5 or maybe a even a 4. Loved it.

Not sure what this sound problem people are having is all about.. it all sounds glorious and crystal clear on my soundbar.

I can kinda of understand people hate-watching it i guess. I did that with most or DSC just because it was Star Trek. I really don't see the point of coming on here to shit all over it (at length) though. I just read jammers reviews (and wondered how his tastes had changed so much since ds9 - seriously high scores for some very poor ST in DSC). And then to patronise the people who do like it with comments about Marvel. I'm surprised someone hasn't mentioned Michael Bay yet.
Latex Zebra
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 6:55pm (UTC -6)
Yeah, that was lovely. A filler episode perhaps but what a way to do a filler!
No complaints, not even Hugh "dying"

I think I'm pretty close to a 4 on this. Last few episodes have been great. I'm really enjoying this series.
grey cat
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 6:59pm (UTC -6)
The science has never made any sense in Star Trek. Time Warping round the sun... Heisenberg compensators (to make the impossible possible) for beaming... "Fun with DNA" (Voyager mostly) etc etc. One day these things might be possi le, after all aeroplanes were impossible not so very long ago and going too fast in a train was thought to kill to. So we should probably try to curb our arrogance on what maybe or not possible a few hundred years from now.

The science in The Expanse is fantastic but then it probably only seems that way because its only a 100 years or so in the future.
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 7:27pm (UTC -6)
Kind of hoping snoreville comes back so the ALF crowd has something to go cherish with long, drawn out missives about the crazy antics of Elevator Dude.

I’m having a hard time getting through this episode. I’m not sure what it is, but OH right, no sci fiction. If I wanted an episode of Riker’s Hope, I would have tuned in each day.
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 7:31pm (UTC -6)
skye francis-maidstone said: "And then to patronise the people who do like it with comments about Marvel. I'm surprised someone hasn't mentioned Michael Bay yet."

Kurtzman has explicitly said he's been commissioned to do for Trek what Marvel has done with its properties: create a series of intimately tied in and overlapping products . The Marvel blueprint is now the Trek blueprint.

He has also worked with Michael Bay several times.
Brian L
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 8:12pm (UTC -6)
I really don't understand why a lot of people who didn't like Discovery, now like Picard. I think Picard feels 99% the same as Discovery and I dislike it for all the same reasons.
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 8:32pm (UTC -6)
I see the forum taken a turn for the worse. Myself, I'm enjoying Picard, and can't see why anyone should see it as damaging the show that came before, just because few bad things happened in the Star Trek world after they were supposed to happen.

Think that way and how could you enjoy any story in any time. There are always bad things round the corner in any period, and in any life. You don't let that stop you appreciating the good times.

More flaming meaningful/less initials. ALF now. Why do people do it? Is it a kind of showing off?
skye francis-maidstone
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 8:35pm (UTC -6)
@Trent well I guess if the Michael Bay comment was gonna come from anyone, it would be you (or "That Troll"). No offense ;)

As grey cat said it better than I could anyway about the science. It basically magic in Star Trek and Marvel anyway. But then there's a famous Arthur C Clarke quote about that...

Anyhoo.. Those sunglasses need their own spin-off series. Why on earth did they pick such a cheap contemporary looking pair?
grey cat
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 8:42pm (UTC -6)
@gerontius unfortunately it has. People coming here to give opinions - fine, thats the point. But the condescending walls of text from people.. some of which don't even was the show is kinda killing vibe.

It's just a sci-fi show guys. Lets try and keep it civil - no opinion is more or less valid than another
Jeff C
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 12:15am (UTC -6)
More than anything, I really appreciate the gentle moments of this episode. We can nitpick until the sun goes down about how some of the details seem odd or forced (namely, Soji's Data-like tilting of the head), but I think this episode was definitely worth the price of admission for me. It felt like being at home with a family, a very human experience.

That, and Riker's commanding, booming "Shields up!" to bring up the shields on his own home makes it the first episode of the series I don't mind seeing twice ;-)
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 12:20am (UTC -6)
Fun detail - why did Kestra know so many fine points about Data?

Because she saw androids vilified on the news as a little kid and asked, "Mommy, Daddy, are there any androids here? Will they hurt us?"

No, sweetie, that news isn't telling you the truth we know. One of our closest friends and colleagues was an android.

And then she had a million questions.

I find it highly likely that the writers would corroborate this story.
The Chronek
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 1:15am (UTC -6)
I have to wonder, for those complaining about this show, what will be good enough for you?

There's various complaints about the writing. Michael Chabon won the freaking Pulitzer, for crying out loud. And he has serious scifi cred as a winner of both the Hugo and Nebula awards. Akiva Goldsman won an Oscar for adapting A Beautiful Mind. Kirsten Beyer wrote a number of Voyager books and is well-steeped in Star Trek lore. Sir Patrick himself is an executive producer and has provided significant direction for the show. Short of resurrecting Gene Roddenberry, what will be good enough for you?

There's complaints about the music, but I love it, especially the music for the opening credits. It's abundantly clear to me that Jeff Russo took a lot of time, effort and love to create that opening theme, from the piccolo to the reference to Batai's flute-playing in The Inner Light to the end with the wonderful TNG/TMP Jerry Goldsmith theme. And then there are complaints about how intrusive the music is. Hello? Have any of those complaining ever watched Best of Both Worlds? The music was VERY prominent in that two-parter, and I've seen very few complaints about that.

I had my doubts about Alex Kurtzman. I still don't care for the 2009 film, and I probably won't watch Into Darkness or Beyond. But it seems like his role now in Star Trek is largely to get the right people involved, whether it's writing, directing, acting, whatever. Based on what I've seen from Picard so far, Kurtzman has done a fantastic job in that respect.

If you don't like something, fine, but that doesn't mean you speak for "real Star Trek fans" or whatever other nonsense. Fandom is toxic enough with all the gatekeeping that goes on. The people who watch Picard and enjoy it are real Star Trek fans. Someone who just started watching Star Trek today and decided they enjoy it is a real Star Trek fan.

Also, I watched TNG first-run, in its entirety. Watched TOS in reruns. Watched all of DS9, Voyager and Enterprise. I can't wait to hear, as someone who enjoys Picard and has watched Star Trek for a long time, how I am not a "real fan."
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 2:22am (UTC -6)
It's funny that Francis writes about that nobody has accused STP of being like a Michael Bay movie considering that Kurtzman wrote several scripts for Michael Bay movies for example Transformers I and II.

And I see that the fanboi/gurl patrol is doing it's round. Funny that these people wonder why some watch this show and then write negative reviews about it while the fanistas come here week after week to write negative reviews about the people who write negative reviews. I think you are the perfect fans for this new kind of "trek". I especially like the now prevalent explanation for the way science is handled in Dicovery and STP: "Science never made sense in Star Trek." The it is all nonsense anyway defense. ok. Spent a little too much time in the mycelial network, eh?
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 2:49am (UTC -6)

It wasn't mockery or being condescending.

I was talking about a specific kind of fan. There are people who *do* have trouble letting go, and these people are forcing themselves to suffer. Do I really need to explain why my heart goes out to people who do that to themselves? Seriously?

And if you don't believe me, that's not my problem. It's not like there's anything I could say to change your mind, is there?


"I can't see why anyone should see it as damaging the show that came before, just because few bad things happened in the Star Trek world after they were supposed to happen. Think that way and how could you enjoy any story in any time."

Agree 100%.

What does that tell you?

"More flaming meaningful/less initials. ALF now. Why do people do it? Is it a kind of showing off?"

It's not "people". It's one person, Dougie, who is looking for every opportunity to mock the fans of the Orville because he hates that show. He has been doing this for a very long time now. The funny thing is that he doesn't even seem to like Picard very much.

By the way "ALF" is not some kind of code word insult. For some strange reason, the guy got it into his head that Orville fans would also be fans of the '80s sitcom Alf. Hence him refering to us as "the ALF crowd".

@grey cat
"It's just a sci-fi show guys. Lets try and keep it civil - no opinion is more or less valid than another"

Agreed. Lets try and keep it civil, and give respect to all opinions.

And can we please not refer to comments we don't like as "walls of condescending text"? Can we, at least, give people we don't agree with the benefit of the doubt, before judging their intent?
Latex Zebra
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 3:08am (UTC -6)
@Drea - Totally agree. I really cannot understand why people need everything broken down for them in the story. A few gaps for you to make stuff up, that as your suggestion is usually pretty obvious.
The season would be 30 episodes long if every person had to explain why they know what they know or did what they did without the viewer having some leaps of logic.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 4:05am (UTC -6)
@The Chronek
"I have to wonder, for those complaining about this show, what will be good enough for you?"

A thoughtful show with decent writing (doesn't even have to be great writing) that gives us hope for the future of humanity, while respecting the established fictional history of the Trekverse.

Picard isn't it, and I've explained many times why I think that.

I'd also like to point out that giving a list of writer credentials does not - in any way - provide evidence that the writing of the show is indeed good. In fact, I'll go as far as saying that if the best praise you could find for the writing is "This guy has won a Pulitzer/Oscar" then the show has a writing problem. After all, if the writing is so good, why not talk about the writing itself?

As for "resurrecting Roddenberry":

I doubt that would help the writing much, as Roddenberry was a very medicore writer. He was a great visionary, but a pretty lame writer. Besides, we don't really need him alive to tell us what his vision for Star Trek was, because everybody knows that already. What we need is a writing team that actually cares about bringing this well-known vision to life.

And again, judging from what both Discovery and Picard has given us, the current iteration of Trek isn't it.

"You don't like something, fine, but that doesn't mean you speak for 'real Star Trek fans' or whatever other nonsense"

Everybody here speaks only for himself.

As for the "real Star Trek fan" thing:

It is neither your nor my fault that TPTB are using the term "Star Trek" to refer to many different things. A Picard fan is, by definition, a real Star Trek fan. It's just that the "Star Trek" he is a fan of is not the "Star Trek" I am a fan of.

And of-course you can also be a fan of both. Nothing wrong with that either. There's no universal rule that tells people they aren't allowed to enjoy more than one thing.

"I especially like the now prevalent explanation for the way science is handled in Dicovery and STP: "Science never made sense in Star Trek." The it is all nonsense anyway defense. ok. Spent a little too much time in the mycelial network, eh?"

This kind of argument is brought out again and again, on various issues:

Star Trek was never hard sci fi. If you accepted that, then you have no reason to complain when NuTrek degrades into pure fantasy.

Star Trek was never all rainbows and unicorns. If you accepted that, then you have no reason to complain when NuTrek degrades into pure cynicism.

Star Trek always shown us greedy fellows like Mudd and Quark. If you accepted that, then you should have no problem accepting a captialist Federation - complete with billboard advertisements and pop-up ads.

Star Trek has always been a franchise that evolves and changes. If you accepted that, then you should have no problem accepting Discovery's Monster-Klingons (and myriad other changes).

Or even:

Roddenberry just stifled the writing of TNG when he was alive (which is largely true), so we should be happy to throw his entire vision down the drain.

The answer to all these arguments is one and the same: It's a matter of degree. Accepting an occasional science gaffe is not the same as accepting a galactic-wide mushroom network. Accepting an occasional moral head-scratcher (remember Kirk's GO24?) is not the same as accepting a consistently cynical outlook and a morally bankrupt Federation.

By the way, there are also people who nitpick NuTrek more than they would nitpick OldTrek. That's the other side of the coin. Sometimes, when the Picard fans accuse detractors of doing this, they have a point.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 5:59am (UTC -6)
@Gerontius, ALF was a TV show from the 80s that sucked donkey. Okay? Get your google out once in a while. Don’t be such a boomer constantly. I get stuck on initials but I use the damn internet to look them up. Because I’m on the Internet.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 6:08am (UTC -6)
What I really do not get, is characters here shitting on a show and it’s fans, who doesn’t watch the show. That’s just garbage. Why would people do that?
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 7:37am (UTC -6)
The most obvious meaning of ALF for me is Animal Liberation Front (and a "boomer" is a male kangaroo. And I can't see what a show on American TV forty years ago has relevance to anything.

Looking up stuff on search engines is fine, but you still have to identify which of multiple meanings is the correct one.

And be fair Omicron - those electronic billboards and popups weren't supposed to be in Federation territory. They do things differently out in the hyper-capitalist wilderness.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 7:49am (UTC -6)
It seems, from reading through the comments, that people are writing over each other because different people are watching Picard for different reasons. Some for TNG nostalgia, some because they have watched all Trek and will continue to watch all Trek, others for general sci fi, and yet others that like a science fiction show that has a fair amount of *drama*.

Speaking for myself, I was drawn to Picard because I grew up watching and loving TNG and the Kirk Star Trek movies. I watched DS9, but only liked the first 2 seasons, as I thought the writing and acting weren't the greatest in later seasons. Couldn't stand VOY and Enterprise; again, only my opinion, but bad writing and acting. Didn't get into NuTrek movies or watch Discovery.

I'd like to think there is a larger than spoken contingent of people here, myself included, that were really into TNG and not really into later Treks, and Picard drew us in due to nostalgia for that series. But nostalgia only gets you so far. Nostalgia, in my opinion, is the *only* thing that is keeping me watching Picard at this point, as I've voiced my disappointment with the plot and writing. Do you guys think this series would be as good if they didn't sprinkle in a 7of9 episode or a Riker/Troi reunion episode? How much plot advancement did you have with 7of9 or Riker's appearance? After nostalgia gets used up, especially if for some reason Stewart or 7of9 leaves the show, what then?

My point is I was drawn by nostalgia but I've been disappointed on the writing and plot, which I believe needs to be good to keep people watching. Again, my opinion that I'd like to think is shared by some, but once that nostalgia gets satisfied at the end of Season 1, the writing and plot better be good to keep me in for Season 2.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 8:40am (UTC -6)
Not a perfect episode by any stretch, but very enjoyable. I was sad that Hugh died and kind of disappointed that the writers are just throwing characters in the trash with little care. I would have preferred they find a way to keep him alive as I liked so much that he was there to try and rehabilitate and protect the ex Borg.

I loved having Troi & Riker, two people that can believably call out Picard, both calling him out in their own ways. And the genuine affection the actors/actress have for each is lovely to see.

I too thought the casting of their daughter was great, loved that actress!
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 8:49am (UTC -6)
Latex Zebra: "Totally agree. I really cannot understand why people need everything broken down for them in the story. A few gaps for you to make stuff up..."

Like Discovery, the "gaps" here epitomize lazy writing. For example, in "Absolute Candor", a Romulan fires a disruptor at Space Legolas but Legolas beams out just in time. But Picard doesn't give the order for Legolas to beam out, and Rios on the ship has no knowledge of Legolas' existence. He just beams out because it's cool.

And little logic-leaps like this are all over the show, ranging from big (the Romulan Star Empire is massive and wouldn't "collapse" with the destruction of a single planet; it can also evacuate this planet itself, and the Federation wouldn't abandon a relocation project based on a Mars attack which they have no reason to suspect is linked to Romulans) to small (why doesn't Picard take the dead bodies in his chateau to Starfleet? etc etc).

Then you have constant contrivances (Picard just happens to pick up Seven the day he just happens to be going to the planet where Seven seeks revenge, Riffi's son just happens to live on Vashti, Seven just happens to leave her homing beacon on the Cube, which Legolas just happens to magically beam onto without being detected, a Cube which just happens to have a magic teleporter, which Legolas just happens to not be able to use etc etc). You have to be blind, or have no discernment what so ever, to not notice this stuff.

With decades worth of Trek writing and mistakes to learn from, a modern Trek writer, with a mere 10 episodes to fill, shouldn't be writing so poorly.

But then Kurtzman makes billions selling such bad writing, so he has no incentive to do otherwise.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 10:02am (UTC -6)
I was just so bloody giddy to see Riker and Troi that I can't even judge the quality of this episode. #fanboyproblems
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 10:07am (UTC -6)
Wow, the New York Times really nails what a poor job Michael Chabon and Samantha Humphrey did with Riker and Troi on Nepenthe. To wit:

"Riker accuses his old boss of “classic Picard arrogance” for not being more revealing about his situation. … Unless something has changed in the last 20 years, this assessment is inaccurate. There are dozens of examples in “The Next Generation” of Picard relying on the counsel of others. Heck, he made timeline altering decisions based solely on the intuition of Guinan, the ship’s bartender. This notion that Picard is arrogant and close-minded goes against much of what we know about him.”

And though the New York Times properly credits Marina Sirtis personally, they nail the poor writing around Troi’s interactions with Picard:

"Troi nods at this and tells Picard that he “had it coming,” when Soji shoves him aside. Troi thinks that Picard is being dismissive of Soji’s concerns, but there isn’t much evidence for that either. Picard’s former ship’s counselor tells him that he needs to be “compassionate" and “patient” like the Old Picard — which thus far, from my eyes, he has been? It felt like Riker and Troi were diagnosing problems that don’t exist.”

Which of course goes directly to what @ The Chronek tries to argue.

Doesn’t matter how many awards someone like Michael Chabon might have, what matters is the work they are doing now. And the work they are doing now - Picard - is obviously substandard.

Indeed, the New York Times goes so far as to say:

"I’ve been willing to give the “Picard” writers a lot of leeway for crafting an ambitious story but there are several incongruous plot points in “Nepenthe.” This is the first episode in which these seeming holes distracted me from the story.”

Doesn’t get much more damning than that.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 10:11am (UTC -6)
Trent, you've missed something. The Mars attack destroyed the ships which were tasked with the evacuation. The evacuation then became a very expensive proposition, because the resources to execute it would have had to have been diverted from other commitments. Various Federation members balked at that, since they'd never been very invested in the project to begin with, and political support for the effort collapsed.

As for the Romulans evacuating the planet themselves, who says they didn't do a bunch of that? 900 million evacuees, the number the Federation was going to pick up and didn't nearly manage, is a pretty small total for a capital world.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 10:52am (UTC -6)
A supernova would cause death and destruction on a much larger scale than to a single planet, or a single solar system. Not immediately, since the effects would be constrained by light speed, but devastating for quite some distance around - the local stars where one might expect Romulan daughter worlds to have been set up.

The 900 million would presumably be in those doomed worlds which were still there after the home planet had gone with all its inhabitants, if the supernova came without warning. ("Without warning" might be inconsistent with current scientific understanding, but we don't know everything.)
Peter G.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 11:23am (UTC -6)
I hadn't commented on this episode yet, but after reading the NYT review I'm inspired to write a thing or two. The main thing I'll note is that this entire episode feels like TNG fan service, mixed with an increasingly Lord of the Rings-esque tone on the Borg ship.

Regarding Riker and Troi, I really feel like most of what they say to Picard is either filled with nostalgia, or else suggesting things that don't really make sense. Why is Riker cynical with Picard about trying to help people? Why do they assume he's *deservedly* gotten himself into trouble? On the Enterprise Picard wasn't exactly that much of a spitfire, and his tendency was towards reserved, diplomatic, and a cautious approach. Riker was the wild child, so why is everyone suddenly treating Picard like this arrogant wild-man who obviously deserves to get hit because he's just so damn thoughtless? This is not really even character destruction, it's just illogical writing. It doesn't even make sense on its own terms, with what we see on screen in this episode on in the other PIC episodes. In fact if anything I've been accusing the series of not having Jean-Luc be arrogant enough, in the sense that his principles seem much less important to him now, compared with looking confused or plaintiff in every scene. We get lots of big smiles from him, which I guess could be justified by the 20 years in between, but not at the expense of his intellect, which seems to have gone as well.

As for the Riker-Troi death in the family, this ends up being part of the future-Riker curse, I guess. Not that their life is miserable now, but both All Good Things and this episode seem to need to take Riker down a notch and give him some kind of loss in life. Anyhow, the writers continue to short-circuit their creativity and shoe-horn in contrived and ridiculous plot points that make different parts of the show "fit" together (hint: they don't actually fit at all). Here we have the eldest Riker-Troi child, who died from a silicon-based disease (wtf?) whose only cure existed before the synth ban. So let me get this straight: the two people Picard goes to help, with a neo-synth in tow, are people mourning a child whose death can be laid at the feet of the Federation ban on synths? How convenient! Now to be fair, due to their friendship with Data it makes sense Riker and Troi would be against the ban, but they just had to throw in the unearned heartstring-pull based on that exact same plot point the whole show seems to be about.

About the Borg ship, the events there are starting to feel like a different show, maybe Dark Matter or Killjoys or something. The tone is totally wack and the story there is becoming unintentionally funny. Like, the Tal Shiar guns down a bunch of Ex-B's just to show they have no regard for life, but then say to Hugh "you're Federation, so you're safe." LOL! This is one of the most humorous comments I've heard on Trek. The Romulans, cowering about shooting someone because he's Federation even though he's defying them on their own ship, and yet on TNG they were sending assassins on the Enterprise? And anyhow, what about the aftermath of the Dominion War? Not one word has been said about what the actual state of Romulan/Fed relations was after that. You'd think they might have even had a tentative alliance, but no, apparently the Romulans are up to their old ways. Well fair enough, but this scene was just goofy. Then for Legolas to become the lone escapee in a ship internal sensors I guess? I mean he's just sitting around in rooms, they should be able to pick up his lifesigns quite quickly, no? Anyhow when later they get the "Gotcha!" moment with Hugh and then feel they're allowed to shoot him, this played more like farce then drama since it was preposterous in the first place that they were afraid of Starfleet 'doing something' about them killing Hugh. I mean, they were already happy to kill Soji, and then no doubt Picard, and he's an Admiral!

Still, one thing I'll say is Frakes proves to me again that he was the underappreciated core backbone of TNG. Yes, Steward led and carried the main scenes, being the star, but Frakes' presence on the bridge, his attitude and focus, plus his charm, really make the show as a whole shine, and in this episode the same as true. This guy is just a great performer; he has more charisma than the entire cast of ENT combined. And the young actress they used here did quite well too. I also like a look at a futuristic house, with a combination of tech and yet the feeling of a 'regular home', which is a nice art direction touch. For everyone railing against the Maquis on DS9 and how their values don't make sense, I think Riker's lifestyle here is a good example of how it does make sense, as long as it's not being shoehorned into some kind of "a plague on both your houses" storyline (as we had in DS9). The idea that food is so much better when grown yourself and cooked naturally is not an absurd notion, nor is the idea that too much technology disconnected from nature could make you lose part of yourself (as both Eddington and Robert Picard argued). This shows us what might be a happy marriage between the two, without losing the points the Maquis were trying to make, but also without it having to be attached to an anti-totalitarian message. Alexus' message in Paradise was likewise lost in the shuffle, but I do think that in sci-fi terms there will be real movements in the future about returning to nature and not being so bogged down in technology.

Generally my take on this show is that everything is half-baked. The ideas don't really make sense, the characters are not quite well-understood and say things that make me go "huh?", and the logic scene-to-scene really isn't there. The "we're being followed, so we'll stop and he'll overshoot us" was right out of Spaceballs, just shy of them 'going plaid.' And the next scene after that it's just presumed that it worked and we forget all about the danger! It's like it was written by a young child full of ideas but no writing skills.

How does this stuff get on the air? It's really insulting, and not just because it's Trek. This show doesn't even have the intellectual rigor of Red Dwarf, which at least took its own zany premises seriously.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 11:30am (UTC -6)
@ Gerontius
The Romulan star was/is a star that does not turn into a nova at the end of it's cycle. Quick or slow it should not have gone nova at all. It's like saying Uranium 238 caused a nuclear explosion.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 11:37am (UTC -6)
@Peter G.

Total agreement. Suck us in with nostalgia, and write a plot and characters that really make no sense.

Telling that the NYT article (I'm just going from what @Mal quoted) hit the nail on the head.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 12:25pm (UTC -6)
"What I really do not get, is characters here shitting on a show and it’s fans, who doesn’t watch the show. That’s just garbage. Why would people do that?"

Yeah, Dougie, what kind of people do that?

(bonus points to anybody who catches the Trek reference)
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 1:26pm (UTC -6)
My review for this episode is only going to be 4 words.

Star Trek: Dark Fate.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 1:41pm (UTC -6)
@ OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Jason R.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 2:22pm (UTC -6)
"The Romulans, cowering about shooting someone because he's Federation even though he's defying them on their own ship, and yet on TNG they were sending assassins on the Enterprise?"

Not to mention in the first episode they assassinate two Federation citizens *on Earth* including one on the roof of Starfleet headquarters. And then again on Picard's vineyard where they try to assassinate the Federation equivalent of Winston Churchill lol.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 2:33pm (UTC -6)
I would say he is more like General Dowding but yeah the argument that they cannot kill some guy, which Hugh basically is, would not be ok but killing a famous admiral at the doorstep of Federation headquarter is another example of the stellar writing of this show.

It almost felt like some editing mistake. First let him go and them kill him 2 minutes later. It makes zero sense. I would love to see how they explain all the stuff that led to Hugh planing to overtake the Cube. That would be an awkward meeting...
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 2:34pm (UTC -6)
Man my writing is as good as the writing of the show :D
Peter G.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 3:16pm (UTC -6)
@ Jason R,,

"Not to mention in the first episode they assassinate two Federation citizens *on Earth* including one on the roof of Starfleet headquarters. And then again on Picard's vineyard where they try to assassinate the Federation equivalent of Winston Churchill lol."

Haha yeah. But to be fair at that time no one was supposed to be able to tie the assassin squad back to the Romulans, so they felt they could act with impunity under cover of anonymity. But even so, what, the Romulans are so terrified one killing one civilian dude, when the Cardassians kidnapped O'Brien *in Federation* space and put it on TV (!!), and played games non-stop in the Neutral Zone with the Enterprise, and took a fleet through Bajoran space to commit genocide, and the Federation is going to, what, send them a lawyer's letter in protest? It's beyond ludicrous that we needed two separate scenes to go from them threatening to kill Hugh to them killing him after he "crossed the line". And of course they were hovering just nearby eavesdropping, hoping that he'll say his nefarious plans out loud so they can catch him. Aaaah! Just throw your brains out the window while watching these scenes.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 4:04pm (UTC -6)
First, I must address the criticism of Riker's line about Picard's arrogance. Having been a dedicated follower of Deep Space Nine over the past five years (better late than never), I have come to view TNG in a new and not necessarily favorable light. I now realize that Next Generation had a slight air of superiority that permeated its scripts and the cast's performances. Gene Roddenberry created a Starfleet that was never wrong, and one- or two-note villains throughout the series reinforced that stance. It's hard to see Picard now simply as a man with no flaws who was above it all. If he's not, then arrogance is the natural by-product.

I was thrilled to hear Riker call Picard out like that. Now that he's retired and has lost a son, not to mention those 10-15 years he spent NOT being Picard's first officer, he's hardened and no longer blinded by his man crush.

note: I know this was already mentioned, but I love that Riker and Troi named their daughter Kestra. The writers knew that only the hardcore Next Generation fans would get that reference from a lesser-known episode of the series. It also makes perfect sense, and I would not be surprised if they purposely cast a blonde actress as a further nod to "Dark Page."
Peter G.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 4:16pm (UTC -6)
@ Walrus1701D

" I now realize that Next Generation had a slight air of superiority that permeated its scripts and the cast's performances. Gene Roddenberry created a Starfleet that was never wrong, and one- or two-note villains throughout the series reinforced that stance. It's hard to see Picard now simply as a man with no flaws who was above it all. If he's not, then arrogance is the natural by-product."

This is a reasonable guess regarding why the writers think Picard was arrogant. However this is illogical when coming out of Riker's mouth. *He* never thought Picard was arrogant, not even slightly. He, if anyone, was the arrogant one coming on to the Enterprise, and working with Picard humbled him in the right way. This is a case of the writers not knowing the first thing about character writing. When they begin to just be mouthpieces for the writer's opinions then your script is a crock of s***.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 4:30pm (UTC -6)
And there is the famous Riker maneuver which is also a great way to understand how humble Riker is.

When was Picard ever arrogant? Sitting down with people and hearing their opinions and often following them is not a sign of arrogance. He was also a perfect diplomat. A quality the never goes hand in hand with arrogance for obvious reasons.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 5:37pm (UTC -6)
Picard did have an air of being above it all, or being superior, graciously tolerating the weaknesses of other people. He would listen to what others said, and accept it where it made sense to him and he judged it worthy of being accepted. He was essentially a gracious monarch, comfortable in his royalty.

Those were good qualities, and the right qualities for a Starfleet captain - but there is a degree of arrogance wired into them.

As for the caution when it came to killing Hugh, there is a contrast between Rizzo openly doing something directly involving breaking a solemn treaty in a way that would embarrass higher Romulan authorities, and a covert operation carried out by operatives on an officially non-existant agency (the Tal Shiar), an operation in which there is at least some degree of collusion by extremely senior people within Starfleet. It seems quite possible that it will transpire that in these assassination attempts the Tal Shiar were effectively acting as agents of those who now control Starfleet.
Jason R.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 6:46pm (UTC -6)
Picard's performance never conveyed the slightest hint of arrogance. Robert thought he was, but that was after having been estranged for what? 20 years? When did Picard ever say or do anything arrogant in all the time we knew him on the show?

The consensus seems to be kind of well a big shot admiral / war hero / statesman is gonna be arrogant, right? Never mind if that actually appears on the screen.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 8:34pm (UTC -6)
Extreme self- assurance, self-confidence, and a degree of arrogance overlap. That is reflected in the way that we recognise pride both as a virtue and as a fault.

The thing about Picard in his years as captain is that he never had to admit to a mistake because, to my recollection, he never made a mistake. (If I'm wrong there I'm sure someone here will leap to correct me, and quote the episode or episodes in question.)

That's where this series is different, he's having to deal with the consequences of what he believes now to have been a very big mistake, arising out of his belief that he could face down the politicians of the Federation. He's always been a hero, here he is in some ways a tragic hero.
Peter G.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 8:48pm (UTC -6)
@ Gerontius,

Maybe we're getting into the weeds on this point, but having never made a mistake doesn't make a person arrogant. It was the outright premise of TNG that Picard was sort of the embodiment of the best of Federation principles, applied to a fault. Sure, TNG wanted us to genuinely believe this was a good thing, so from that standpoint there would be no point in showing us Picard's decisions as being "a mistake" since it can never be a mistake to make the moral choice. Maybe what you mean to say is that a moral choice can have unfortunate aftershock? That's reasonable, but that's not what the PIC writers are saying (if they're saying anything). They're trying to portray him as high and mighty, whereas on TNG he wasn't high and mighty at all: it was the Federation and its values that were portrayed as high and mighty; Picard was just their spokesperson on the show. It's not arrogant to defend the values of a culture that is, by definition of the show, our enlightened future. Challenging that is basically to challenge the idea that Trek had anything to teach in the first place. The legions of Trek fans should be a good piece of evidence that it did. The modern strain of "yeah but what if he was wrong" is a misunderstanding of what Picard's choices meant at the time: they weren't right because they were efficient, they were right because they were principled. You might disagree that some of his decisions were principled, as shown on the many debates here about the Prime Directive, but not that he was on some kind of high horse issuing edicts from on high. That wasn't the show and that wasn't his character.

At best Kurtzman & co. want to accuse *TNG* of being on a high horse. Accusing Picard of it is off-base. Many or even most of Picard's more controversial decisions are ones he *did not enjoy* making. They were acts of self-sacrifice where what he felt he needed to do was by no means easy or what would have been convenient or efficient. That's not just falling short of arrogant, but it's noble in a way that actually inspired people. Other than being an overachiever who had high expectations of humanity, I don't see a case for Picard's arrogance; not from his behavior, not his values, and not his decisions. Mostly he is humble but extremely firm in his convictions.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 9:24pm (UTC -6)
The "Federation is arrogant!" and "just as bad as everyone else!" thing infected Trek fandom after DS9. That show increasingly used a lot of sneaky writing, and moral relativism, to justify bad stuff, and often made the Federation inexplicably act like a 20th century hegemony.

TOS and TNG had a different air of "arrogance" about them, but such was one of the franchise's best points. By juxtaposing contemporary human behavior (often conveyed via aliens) with the "superior" future Federation, you open up a space for social critique. And when you want to criticize the Federation itself, you introduce "superior" aliens even more arrogant than the Feds (Organians, Guinan, Q et al).

So Picard and company may be arrogant toward aliens, but they're also mostly right. When they're wrong (Kirk's racism toward Klingons, Picard's wish to annihilate the Borg before Crusher and Guinan talk him down etc) that is itself the point.

Meanwhile in "Picard" you have Picard constantly hounded and chastised for being an arrogant idiot. He's dissed by Starfleet in episode 1, Raffi in 2, then Rios, Legolas, Romulan refugees, Troi and's quite funny. But it also feels inauthentic; like a pose struck by writers wishing to be edgy. It's also a stance spurred by our times, which breeds a cynical distrust in leaders, utopias, institutions and so forth, and which clamps down hard on anything remotely post-capitalist. In a sense, Trek can't conceive of a good Picard because it isn't allowed to conceive of a post-scarcity society. And so unable to go forward, Trek's relegated to constantly deconstructing itself (tellingly, cinema's reigning postmodernist and genre deconstructor, Tarantino, wished to make a Trek flick).

But the idea of "deconstructing" Picard has itself always seemed silly to me. He's a guy constructed to show what life would be like if enlightened people ran ships and worked for good, upstanding navies. You deconstruct him and you're back with real life, and so back with everything he was constructed to critique and mock in the first place. It seems such an unnecessary endeavor.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 10:26pm (UTC -6)
Even if you always make a moral choice that is no guarantee that you will make the right choice. Anyone who has ever bought a lottery ticket or played a game of cards knows that.

Challenging Star Fleet with his threat to resign was a gamble which he lost. That was not his mistake. His mistake was what happened afterwards, withdrawing to his chateau to sulk rather than continuing to fight from outside Star Fleet. Insofar as that was a consequence of his having been confident his gamble would succeed - "I never thought they would accept ny resignation" - that was arrogance.

The Federation was never perfect. Calling a society a Utopia doesn't imply it is perfect, just that it is organised in a just and sensible way, and avoids the kind of stupid and unjust ways in which most societies have been organised. Utopia is perfectly possible to achieve - but, human beings being fallible, it is always in some ways fragile. When it fails it needs to be restored to health.
The Chronek
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 10:29pm (UTC -6)
Walrus1701D, I largely agree with you about your assessment of TNG. That said, after season 3, when Berman and company took over, there were a lot more stories that weren't quite so cut-and-dry, and the show was better for it. Ensign Ro and Preemptive Strike particularly stand out for me.

Q frequently called Picard and humanity arrogant. Heck, the JAG in The Measure of a Man called Picard a pompous ass. His own brother thought he was arrogant. Heck, I thought Picard was arrogant when he told Q that he thought the Enterprise was at least ready to face whatever was out there, only to have his proverbial nose bloodied by the Borg. For Picard to be called as such now isn't new. As viewers, we saw a lot more of Picard where he wasn't arrogant, but there were enough characters who saw him as such to suggest it's not entirely false.

In All Good Things, Future Riker may have thought Picard was arrogant for going off on his own. In the Enterprise series finale, which takes place during the 7th season episode Pegasus, Riker slips up and asks Mayweather if Trip ever took a swing at Picard. For all that was wrong with These Are the Voyages, I thought that was a nice touch to show that maybe things weren't always sunshine and rainbows between Picard and Riker, and it shows that maybe Riker thought Picard to be arrogant at times. To paraphrase a line from Return of the Jedi, maybe the arrogance thing is true, from a certain point of view.

Just before Soji shoved Picard, she said how, given her recent experiences, that she wasn't able to trust anybody. I don't remember the exact words Picard said in reply, but they came across to me as very sarcastic and cutting, as if Picard couldn't understand why Soji wouldn't immediately trust him. So, Troi telling Picard he had it coming isn't a stretch for me.

Nepenthe rang true for me. I think it had fantastic references to Next Gen, I think that the Riker and Troi we saw were true to who they were on Next Gen and changed enough from their time on the Enterprise, and I think the Soji storyline really started to take off. She is now wondering who and what she is and whether anything is real. She is very much starting to explore the human condition, and that has been at the heart of the very best of Star Trek.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 10:30pm (UTC -6)
I would say that the writers of Star Trek Picard have dared to write him the way he *should have* been written on TNG. I admit, that's not objective and maybe not keeping with spirit and legacy of the character, but I don't mind seeing a Picard that is slightly more human. It adds depth and intrigue. Picard can be a little arrogant and still be a great and noble person. It was probably arrogant of him to think that he could almost single-handedly resettle all of the Romulan refugees, and that may have been what Riker was talking about.

I like this healthy debate, but don't misunderstand - I still consider Picard to be the best captain of all the series, and Patrick Stewart is the finest actor in the history of the franchise. This show is such an amazing gift for all of us long-time Trekkers. :-)
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 11:10pm (UTC -6)
@Walrus1701D @The Chronek

Is seeing a more "human" and "down to earth" Picard what we really want though?

A fallible Picard, while in theory interesting because it opens more storytelling into his character, I think also forecloses a certain tone, tempo, and plot catalyst; that is, is STP a plot-driven serial with arguably half-baked character analysis sprinkled in, or is STP a space drama, with plot a secondary afterthought and an attempt to really analyze characters? (Or something else?) If the latter, that goes a long way to explain the uneven, almost afterthoughtly-written plot. In TNG, I got the sense its focus was plot and commentary on then-current social issues. In STP, my sense so far is it's primarily a character study with large doses of melodrama, action, and gratuity. A character study: 7of9's avenging her pseudoson's death; Hugo's restoration of Borgs; Picard's "arrogance" and fallibility; Riker/Troi's loss of their son; Soji's consciousness; Jurati's torture in killing her lover to serve a greater good; Raffi's addictions, etc. Plot then is just woven into this analysis.

Now I'm not saying this is done effectively..but STP would then be much different than TNG, DS9, VOY, ENT. (I haven't watched Discovery and only parts of the new movies.)
Tommy D.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 11:14pm (UTC -6)
When was Picard ever arrogant?

This whole story involving The Borg begins in "Q Who" with Picard peacocking in a back and forth with Q about being ready for whats out there and not needing help or guidance.
The Chronek
Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 11:50pm (UTC -6)
I suggest you decide what you want from Picard and not impose it on others in the form of the royal "we." You don't speak for me any more than I speak for you.
Speaking for myself, yes, a more human Picard is something I'm enjoying watching. Heck, I'm delighted to see new stories with him. After Nemesis, which was a disaster, I'm glad to see new Picard stories written and produced by people who care a great deal about the franchise and these characters.
While Picard has a great deal of nostalgia, I don't think it dwells on it. I think that the Starfleet/Federation as depicted in Picard is very much a reflection of our current times, and I think that's something that Trek in general has done very well over the decades. I also enjoy the depiction of a more aged hero, which is something else Trek has done very well over the decades.
Yes, Picard is more of a character study. Stewart himself said it would not be a clone of The Next Generation. That's fine with me.
What do I want from Picard? The chance to see Patrick Stewart back as Picard. The chance to see a story that explores the human condition. For me, Picard delivers on both fronts.
I agree with Walrus1701D. This show is a gift.
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 12:03am (UTC -6)
"Arrogance" is a very relative term, honestly. It's kind of binary (you either are or you aren't), but it also has a lot of room for subjectivity. An action in one context (saying "Yeah, sure, it's all a plot, I wouldn't trust any of this" spoken to Riker, whom Picard was just talking to) could be considered measured, and in another context, quite arrogant (spoken to who it was spoken to, Soji, who is having a quiet meltdown).

Riker calls him 'arrogant' because he thinks he can handle this entire situation all on his own. It's likely that Riker has long thought this about Picard, but being the consummate officer he is, he did not begin to express that he thought this about him, until WELL AFTER he was no longer under his command. That's kind of the gist of "Nepenthe" in the first place, is that Riker and Troi don't report to Picard anymore. Like that Archer meme, "You're not my supervisor!"

The ranks were officially dropped the moment Picard resigned, and while Riker and Troi will likely never view Jean-Luc Picard as a true equal, they also are a lot more free to voice their opinions to him now, being that they don't have any career repercussions to worry about for not watching how they talk.

I'd also like to be the first to point out that Picard and Riker are over there getting wasted af during the time Kestra/Soji are talking, then going to the garden, and talking with Troi. Wine makes you be a huge jerk to people at times. Just ask my girlfriend. :V

But coming back around to the main point, Picard is viewed by certain people as being far too overconfident and yes, arrogant, at times. So am I. So are 90% of the posters on this very comment board. Arrogance is an unescapable human quality, but Riker isn't talking about just any old run-of-the-mill arrogance; he describes it as "Classic Picard Arrogance," in that this special type of arrogance makes him think that he can handle everything all by himself, and doesn't ever *need* anyone's help.

Picard said in Episode 3 (was it?) during his conversation with Laris and Zhabon that he didn't want to call the Enterprise-D senior staff members, his oldest friends, because he didn't want to put them in danger. Riker has a different perspective, likely because he is upset with Picard for *not* calling him first.
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 12:43am (UTC -6)
I do not live in the U.S., as I am Dutch and watch Picard through
Amazon Prime. As indicated in my first comment I share
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi's passionate and intense dislike of Picard
But I am interested to hear everyone's opinions and respect
those. I will watch the first season in its entirety. Which is a
voluntary choice.
To me the crews of TOS, TNG and DS9 and some of the
characters of VOY, like for instance Seven, are like friends.
And in Seven's case with what was established for Seven when
she acted in revenge because of Icheb any positive development
or hope is already shattered.
At the moment I am truly struggling with the concept of canon and
its weight. As well as that I desperately try not to let this show
influence how I feel about the character of Picard such as he was
portrayed by Sir Patrick Stewart during TNG.

Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 2:18am (UTC -6)
I think quite a few people should pick up a history book. There are many characters in history who where principled and strong willed but far from arrogant.
When people write that they like that Picard is portrayed as more "Human" then what they are actually saying is that they like seeing him portrayed in more normal way. In relation to current feelings about leaders. That is why we have this seven episode walk of shame.

First of all you cannot use STP as proof that Picard is arrogant when discussing the TNG version. In STP Picard is obviously seen as some kind of ivory tower idiot.
Second there is some confusion about the wording of things. When Picard's brother or Q call him or humanity arrogant then what they actually mean is hubris. For Picard's brother it was Picard thinking that he was better then caring for the vineyard and for Q it was about shitty little humanity wanting to leave it's planet.
It's definition time:
-Cambridge dictionary: the quality of being unpleasantly proud and behaving as if you are more important than, or know more than, other people:
-MW dictionary: an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions
Picard in TNG doesn't come close to any of these definitions.

People are arrogant because they are insecure. Picard is a principled humanist. He is certainly the least arrogant of all the captains and it is a sad state we are in that so many have the desire to see a principled humanist being humiliated again and again. That doesn't make him more Human, it makes the character less unique.

As I said a few times what we see on screen in STP is not the Picard we saw in TNG. It is Patrick Stewart in season long therapy session getting rid of a character he apparently wasn't that fond of and dealing with his personal disappointment about Brexit/humanity (and please don't dig up fluffy articles where Stewart says how much he loves the character).

And the writers are obviously in full fart sniffing mode. I'm kind of happy that the next episode will certainly be the "doomsday is starting" episode and the last two, which is a two parter will then be about stopping that doom with lots of shooting and talk about faith and all the stuff racism,xenophobia and refugees stuff will be dealt with in a few sentences at the end.

There is a German saying: I can't eat as much as I want to puke.
Well, STP... make it so.
Tommy D.
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 3:19am (UTC -6)
So, Next Generation Picard is not arrogant by definition, but tends to display his hubris, which often leads to a characters downfall.

Sounds like Star Trek: Picard
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 3:45am (UTC -6)
No. Other beings like to define him as such. He doesn't actually display hubris or arrogance.

Cambridge Dictionary: a way of talking or behaving that is too proud:
MW Dictionary: exaggerated pride or self-confidence

There is an entire episode of TNG where Picard basically critiques his young hotspur self for exhibiting hubris and how Picard then dealt with that character flaw.
Latex Zebra
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 4:13am (UTC -6)
Lose track of all the comments but sure I saw people saying that the Romulan Super Nova would have caused huge problems in other systems etc.
Except that Spock dropped Red Matter in it, containing it and then sending him back in time from the singularity in created, or something.

So that's that sorted anyway.
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 4:28am (UTC -6)
Hubris is a kind of arrogance and pride. And I find it hard to think of many, if indeed any characters in history who managed to be consistently principled and strong-willed who were entirely free from some degree of arrogance.

Anybody who claimed of themselves that they were entirely free from it could justly be accused of demonstrating that they had it.

In a way it's analogous to temperature, a matter of degree. We've all got a temperature or we'd be dead. Or fatness, which we strayed off to talk about - there's a spectrum to human weight, from skeletal to enormous, and we're all on that spectrum.
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 4:30am (UTC -6)
So they found out in 2385 that the Romulan sun would explode which it finally did in 2387 but there were still millions on Romulus. So with all the ships of the Romulan empire and the help of the Federation they were unable to evacuate a single planet IN TWO YEARS?!! *eyeroll*
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 5:35am (UTC -6)
Badger: Had a problem with your attitude is why. Felt you was - what’s the word…?

Jayne: Pretentious?

Badger: Exactly! You think you’re better than other people.

Mal: Just the ones I’m better than.
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 6:12am (UTC -6)
You know, after reading all this recent discussion, I realize something:

The general premise of Picard is excellent. DS9 already established that the Federation is in trouble after the Dominion War. Showing us how Picard, a great leader from a simpler time, is dealing with a changing world could have been both excellent TV and excellent Trek.

But this isn't what we're getting, is it?

"I would say that the writers of Star Trek Picard have dared to write him the way he *should have* been written on TNG. I admit, that's not objective and maybe not keeping with spirit and legacy of the character, but I don't mind seeing a Picard that is slightly more human."

They didn't "dare" to do anything. They've simply decided to completely rewrite the character in their own image. And their message is, indeed, that this is how they believe Picard should have been written in TNG as well.

I wish people would remember this, the next time they want to claim that the new shows have no bearing on the old ones. STP is deliberate attempt to rewrite the character of Picard and to apply this retcon retroactively.

Now, it's all fine and dandy that some people like this new character better. But that's no excuse to mess with an iconic character that was a model figure for millions of fans.

By the way, you see this effect on quite a few people who are writing here. Many have already stated that STP has diminished their enjoyment from TNG. Others are saying that they are struggling to avoid letting it affect them.

It's a lost battle, because it isn't a conscious decision. Your brain makes these connections, whether you like it or not. Once you see Picard in STP, it *will* color your preception of the same character (played by the same actor) when you watch him in TNG. It's unavoidable, which is something Classic Trek fans should keep in mind.

By the way:

Picard was plenty human in TNG. He was never depicted as perfect, and he always had flaws. A writer who actually *cared* about the character, could have made an excellent series about a flawed Picard.

The problem is that the writers of Picard (as well as Patrick Stewart) just don't care about the character.
The Chronek
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 6:55am (UTC -6)
I don't think anyone responding here has said that Picard was 100% arrogant, full stop. Yes, other characters have called Picard arrogant. I will reiterate, I don't think Picard is arrogant all the time, or even most of the time. He is my favorite of all the captains. I wouldn't be watching Picard otherwise. I believe that Picard's good and noble qualities far outweigh the incidents of arrogance I've seen from his character, both in Next Gen and in Picard. Riker and Troi must believe that, too, or they would not have welcomed him as warmly as they did. I think Raffi believes that too to an extent, or she wouldn't have come as far with Picard as she has. All I'm saying is we haven't seen his entire life onscreen, and there's a small kernel of truth that he can be arrogant at times.

I will again point to Picard saying "we're ready to least face anything" in Q Who as an example of arrogance. I think he was arrogant with Q in Tapestry, when he thought he could go back to his youth, change a life-altering event, and have it have no effect on his life. To be fair, Picard was grateful to Q for the lesson at the end of that episode.

I think even Picard acknowledges he can be arrogant at times. His admission to Riker that he was in over his head certainly felt self-aware of that trait to me.

I think hubris and arrogance are pretty closely related in terms of coming from a place of self-perceived moral superiority. I don't see much of a distinction between the two.

Of course the Picard we're seeing now isn't the Picard we saw in Next Gen. Everyone involved in the show has said as much. Stewart himself said as much at STLV 2018 when he announced that Picard was back. People change. People have different experiences that influence how they act. That's just life.

I agree that some people, perhaps many people, in Picard view him as an ivory tower saint. To that, I say that is a bit true as well. What would you think of someone who essentially packed up their ball and went home? Is it entirely true of Picard? No. He has shown before that he is willing to get involved to make things right, even at risk to himself, and his is showing that again by going on his current mission.

As for Stewart returning to the role, I don't believe he would have returned to it unless he wanted to.
Peter G.
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 9:58am (UTC -6)
@ The Chronke,

"I will again point to Picard saying "we're ready to least face anything" in Q Who as an example of arrogance. I think he was arrogant with Q in Tapestry, when he thought he could go back to his youth, change a life-altering event, and have it have no effect on his life. To be fair, Picard was grateful to Q for the lesson at the end of that episode."

I don't think these are reasonable examples of Picard's arrogance. In both cases Q is judging humanity, not Picard, and has chosen Picard presumably because he's the best example of humanity,*and still guilty*. It's not Picard who arrogantly thinks he's ready for what's out there, it's all of humanity. It's the Federation, Starfleet, and the entire endeavor, which goes off into space without taking into account they may be opening themselves up to complete destruction. If Picard is guilty of this then so are we all. Then the word "arrogant" loses all meaning. As for Tapestry, the so-called arrogance you refer to was thinking that changing one's mistakes would be a good thing. And once again, this is not some personal foible in Picard's character, but rather is something probably true of 99,999999% of people. Ask someone if they could go back and fix mistakes and they will be very happy to do so, not realizing that their mistakes made them who they are. Take those away and you destroy yourself. Which is ironically what's happening in Picard: they're taking away the parts of him that made him Picard and trying to "fix" them.

Some of what Trent sometimes refers to regarding the narrative fable style of storytelling is what's perhaps confusing here. Some Trek stories are about the character strengths or flaws of our heroes. And some are about the character strengths or flaws of humanity, using our heroes as examples of humanity. In the former case we're dealing with the uniqueness of the characters, and celebrating that. In the latter case we're dealing with the ways in which our heroes are *not unique* and are representative of humanity. These facts are not announced during the course of an episode and so it's perhaps confusing which is happening episode to episode. It comes down to writer's intent and style.

Q Who is not about Picard's flaws, it's about humanity's cavalier approach to everything. Tapestry is not about Picard's foolishness, it's about all of our foolishness, and how the only reasonable thing we can do is to laugh at it. The Pegasus, on the other hand, is about Riker's struggle between ambition and morality; Pressman vs Picard. That is a personal struggle, and not all TNG characters face it. Booby Trap is not about humanity's fixation with the holodeck, it's about Geordi's individual difficulties connecting with people when his whole life is engines. Sometimes an episode can be about both a personal struggle and a broader issue, of course, but it is not always obvious what point is being raised.

In PIC it's evident that all of the writing in TNG about humanity's arrogance, lack of awareness, foolishness, and feelings of superiority are being all put on Picard as a person. Again, I think this betrays a misunderstanding of what many TNG episodes were about. Wanting to take Picard down a notch on account of the TNG mythos being about a superior morality is exchanging show concept for character description, effectively re-writing Picard into being a manifestation of the point of view Kurtzman & co. have on TNG.

And yeah, of course Stewart is having a ball doing this stuff. He's an actor and likes having fun. But his support should not be taken as a sign of conceptual quality: he's not a writer and has goofy ideas about what is good or bad in a show. His original take on TNG was that it was not very serious, and over the course of the series we got episodes like Captain's Holiday and Starship Mine because Stewart thought Picard should be more of an action hero. Some of us aware of his personal opinions on the subject were, I suspect, hoping he *would not* have input into this series, since his ideas are overall bad.
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 2:03pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G

"If Picard is guilty of this then so are we all. Then the word "arrogant" loses all meaning."

If what you mean is that if a failing is characteristic of a wider society it cannot still be ascribed to an individual I cannot see how that follows. I would argue that the reverse is likely to be the case. Consider the British Empire at its peak - an attitude of arrogance pervading a whole society, and also exhibited by innumerable individuals involved at the sharp end. (And it was a lot more complicated than that of course.)
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 2:13pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G.

I'm curious how you'd characterize Picard's behavior/actions in "The Survivors" -- here he keeps his crew (Riker notably) in the dark about his theory on the Uxbridges. He imposes his will on the apparently elderly couple and there are some leaps of deduction he comes up with which are hard to fathom.

I think he's borderline arrogant in this episode and a tad frustrated with the Uxbridges. But if there's a minor flaw with the Season 3 episode, it would be that he's so far ahead of Riker in terms of deducing what is happening. Riker probably didn't like being kept in the dark. (Of course I'm not saying he's been carrying that grudge with him all these years and it is what drives his chiding of Picard in "Nepenthe").

As for how the PIC writers are seemingly imbuing Picard with some arrogance via Riker/Troi, that's not their biggest mistake by a long shot. I think it's fair to assume that 14 years after the Romulan evacuation takes place and however many years after the last TNG movie, Picard has been stagnating and is a tad over-zealous in wanting to get to the bottom of they synth/Tal Shiar/Federation cover-up mystery. He's not the same measured, near-perfect, uber-cerebral man he was on TNG.
Jason R.
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 3:01pm (UTC -6)
I feel the evidence of arrogance being ascribed to Picard in TNG is such thin gruel. I found Admiral Sati's case for treason in the Drumhead more persuasive frankly.

But let's forget about TNG for a moment (the writers certainly have) and look at what we've seen in STP. I mean take the latest episode and the "you had it coming!" statement.

He had what coming? Being slapped? Ummm... why? Was he being excessively compassionate? Was he too nice after saving her life? Not nice enough?

I feel like Picard has become the galaxy's whipping boy. If he does too much he's an asshole and if he does too little he's an even bigger asshole. I mean where was Riker in all this? He was off baking pizzas apparently while the Romulans were dying and nobody is berating him about it or holding him up as responsible for all the galaxy's problems.
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 3:53pm (UTC -6)
Uh uh uh. I just realized something. The planet were Riker and Troy and their poison bunny shooting daughter live on is only three days away from the Borg Cube. Could this mean they all get assimilated and we see Riker saying: Resistance is futile.

And then 7 and the Riker-Troys all get blown up by Picard.
The possibilities!!
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 3:54pm (UTC -6)
Come on, jammer. Out with the review, I wanna hear your opinion about the best episode since Enterprises fourth season
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 4:22pm (UTC -6)
I dont know why so many people seem to like this episode. Boggles my mind. There was so much hype. I was so excited to see Troi and Riker. I feel so let down. This show really is terrible and has no rewatch value. It's depressing and miserable. Why do we need the dead son story? Ugh. And Hugh dying for no reason was ridiculous. So much senseless violence. None of the characters have any likeability. Too many mindless action scenes and not enough heard. There is nothing to be learned and no real substance here.The writers of this show are awful. This is just terrible TV and comes nothing close the amazing Star trek we know. For shame
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 4:52pm (UTC -6)
Why do so many people like this terrible show, Sam? It's obvious, it's we're all such terrible people. I'd steer clear of any forum which such awful people frequent.

I wouldn't worry too much about Nepenthe, Boomer - there's no reason the people on the Borg cube should have any notion that's where Picard and Soji headed off. There¡d be afew thousand star systems within three days maximum warp speed from the Artefact. Of course if the powers that be are determined to carry on with a policy of killing all the old characters soon after they get brought back I don't suppose that would stop them finding a way to do the same for Riker and Troi...
Eric Jensen
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 4:53pm (UTC -6)
Some spoilers/trailer talk coming up, so please look away if you don't want to see it. Scroll away or down

Ok, so I found 2 instances of the word "sacrifice" here. I could be wrong and they do not talk about Oh and Agnes....

What Oh said in this episode, the latest one, was that Agnes must commit a sacrifice. What is that sacrifice? I do not understand this... is the sacrifice her coma? Is her sacrifice the death of Bruce Maddox? Now... should we assume the tracking device is gone? Narek seemed disappointed and angry that there was no signal. Could we say that Narek thinks Agnes knew how to disable it? Do they think Agnes is dead? Why would they kill Agnes (Narek might think)...

I think the "sacrifice" that Oh mentioned is Bruce Maddox's death. Then Agnes felt guilty because Rios think Raffi is the mole, the spy, the secret agent... so I am thinking that Agnes was not supposed to take the neuro-toxin and disable the tracking device. Does everyone agree that her sacrifice was his death?


So now that Agnes has disabled the tracking device (SPOILER ALERT COMING... from the trailers if you don't want to know or see it, please look away - Agnes is alive and well and Picard manages to speak with Agnes about "hell" and I suppose she tells Picard about the mind-meld and Picard says Hell will come again... could that mean the Borg? This is Picard's personal hell, right?

Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 5:12pm (UTC -6)
"Why do so many people like this terrible show, Sam? It's obvious, it's we're all such terrible people. I'd steer clear of any forum which such awful people frequent."

Oh dear... Was that really necessary? Sam didn't say that or even imply it.

Marvin is right. Some people here *are* way too sensitive.
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 5:24pm (UTC -6)
What do you mean with thousands of star systems? Warp 9 means 720x the speed of light. So if we take earth as a reference point then 3 days would mean roundabout 6 lightyears. For earth less than 6 light years are only two star systems away. So yeah Riker lives pretty fracking (BSG reference) close to that cube. It would probably be the first inhabited planet near the cube.
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 5:46pm (UTC -6)
As far the arrogance thing goes, Riker was calling Picard arrogant in the context of not being ready to deal with a teenager. That's fairly consistent with Picard not being able to handle Wesley or those kids on the Disaster-Enterprise at first too. Sopan Deb of the NY Times is a basketball reporter, so he's not exactly a big Star Trek aficionado like Jammer or Zack Handlen.

"Come on, jammer. Out with the review, I wanna hear your opinion about the best episode since Enterprises fourth season"

He's out there crusading for Daylight Savings Time. Let the man be!
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 6:12pm (UTC -6)
The problem with that Boomer, is that it only works if the baddies know the planet Piacard and Soji went to is three days distant. But we were told the magic transporter has a range of , I think it was, 50,000 light years.

But of course, if the authorities are set on a killing spree of former characters, they will find some way of getting round that.
Tommy D.
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 6:13pm (UTC -6)
I agree with @The Chronek, I don't think anyone is trying to rigidly define Picard as arrogant, hubristic, or excessive in that area. But it is a part of who he is and has displayed over the course of the series he's been in. Its no stretch to me to see Picard as mostly a thoughtful and caring captain who at times has displayed bouts of arrogance or hubris (Think First Contact "I WILL MAKE THEM PAY"...). If Patrick Stewart wants to explore one side over the other then so be it.
Jason R.
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 6:16pm (UTC -6)
"As far the arrogance thing goes, Riker was calling Picard arrogant in the context of not being ready to deal with a teenager. "

Yes, how arrogant of Picard?
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 6:23pm (UTC -6)
Jambaloney has plenty of time to write, read, and censor comments on his blog.

He also does not have his California Consumer privacy act done. I’ll be reminding him of this costly mistake. Very costly.
Tommy D.
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 6:25pm (UTC -6)
Picard gets smacked because he mocks Soji's very real fear that none of what she has known is real, and therefore is unable to trust anybody. Thats not hard to see at all.
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 6:48pm (UTC -6)
Is it over-pedantic to point out that Soji is not a "teenager" ? She is either three years old or about 23 years old, depending how you count.
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 7:22pm (UTC -6)
Indeed, if anything she is a toddler and should be treated as such.

Kidding. Don't @ me. Unless she starts referring to Picard as "JL", which warrants a time-out beyond the airlock.

Seriously I know it's a gripe from previous episodes but exactly when did Raffi start referring to him as JL? Am I supposed to believe it was while she was serving under him in Starfleet? And he was fine with it?

"JL" doesn't even shorten "Jean-Luc"! I HATE IT

Also this show needs to decide whether Raffi's addictions and relapses are A Serious Problem or something cute to be played for laughs. Pick one.
Peter G.
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 7:31pm (UTC -6)
"The problem with that Boomer,"

Haha, one BSG reference and now you're Boomer :)
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 8:12pm (UTC -6)
"As far the arrogance thing goes, Riker was calling Picard arrogant in the context of not being ready to deal with a teenager. "

Actually, that's not why. That's why Troi said he had the shove coming from Soji.

Riker, as I said, was calling Picard arrogant because Picard did not CALL him or any of the former officers of the Enterprise first. And besides, this is Riker's opinion. There are probably other opinions of other people in this universe.

That said, the pacing of this show so far has demanded that a lot be packed into a very small space of dialogue. They're telling an ongoing story in hourlong bites, and the commercial breaks are not always spaced at regular intervals, I've noticed, which is the most annoying thing about this whole CBS all-access business for me.

I watched "Pen Pals" last night on a whim. There are extremely long periods during the episode where people are just talking about what's happening, and moments of silence where someone is thinking. We're not really getting that here, because they're packing a whole lot more storytelling into a much smaller space with each episode.

Consider that in ST:TNG, episodes tended to focus on only one character, and possibly a guest star that they are interacting with. Typically it was either Picard or Data, though the Worf episodes tended to be quite good ("Sins of the Father," "Redemption Parts I+II"), and the Crusher episodes quite bad ("Remember Me," "Suspicions," and famously "Sub Rosa"). Troi episodes could be very iffy as well ("Night Terrors" and "Dark Page" are semi-ok, but "Man of the People" and "The Price" have totally unlikable love interests for her that go nowhere, and a lot of the Troi episodes are like this, unfortunately). Geordi episodes are iffy less often, due to Levar Burton being top-shelf in the acting department ("The Mind's Eye" was excellent, and so was "The Enemy," however, "Aquiel" and "Identity Crisis" bordered on utter stupidity). Out of respect for what Wil Wheaton went through making this show, I have stopped making fun of Wesley Crusher as a character, no matter how much the scripts deserve it.

Then there were episodes that tended to focus on either the entire crew reacting to the problems caused by a guest character (protagonist or antagonist) and the episodes where the crew is broken up into smaller groups, and vignettes are strung together detailing how they handle things. Think "The Arsenal of Freedom," "The Hunted," or "Disaster" or "Cause and Effect." These episodes tended to be also very economical with dialogue, as they had to get scenes in for a lot of different characters and not use up too much time for any one character, while still relating the general plot going on, often quite a complex sci-fi setup.

The new Serialized nature of this show basically makes it a giant ensemble piece, without having the time to really have those long, drawn out discussions about the philosophical implications of the decisions before the characters. There is an immediate threat going on, and something's gotta be done about it or there could be serious stuff hitting the sonic showerhead, as it were.

It causes the show to take this sort of 'breaking up' of the focus to extremes, to the point where there is so little time for dialogue about what the characters are thinking, that it can come off as too fast-paced in scenes like Nepenthe has, where they are supposed to be exploring the motivations and ideas which the characters possess.

Just so anyone who thinks I'm being a Pollyanna Pain-in-the-ass about liking this show so much has something they can read and see that I am not above criticizing it, and it is not above criticism for sure. After all, nothing is.
The Chronek
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 8:47pm (UTC -6)
@Gerontius, I think Riker was being metaphorical in describing Soji as a teenager. She's just starting to discover who and what she really is, and that's certainly part of being a teenager from a human vantage point. So, there's some truth to his statement, regardless of how biologically/technologically old she really is.

I think there's a lot of love on this thread for Star Trek, both from the folks who like Picard and those who are critical of it. I know I was very critical of the 2009 reboot. I still don't care for it. As a result, I haven't watched Into Darkness and Beyond, and I was skeptical of Discovery. I probably never will watch Into Darkness or Beyond. Life's too short for me to watch or read something I won't enjoy.

I think that, perhaps more than other franchises, Star Trek fans feel more personal ownership in the franchise. Fan response saved TOS from being cancelled after its second season. Fan viewership in syndication eventually led to Star Trek conventions, and ultimately, The Motion Picture, more films and more TV series.

Does Picard use nostalgia? Absolutely. Am I nostalgic for Star Trek? Without a doubt, yes. Star Trek, and in particular, The Next Generation, is a big part of my life. I was an adolescent when it started and a young college student when it finished. Like many Trek fans, I suspect, The Next Generation showed me that I have a place in the bigger universe, even as in real life that universe was telling me the exact opposite.

Emotionally, for me, watching Picard is like spending time with a loved one who has died. It's a gift that I didn't think I would ever have, and I treasure that extra time that I thought I would never have. Maybe that makes me nostalgic. Maybe that makes me more willing to overlook some flaws. I can't fully intellectualize watching Picard. I just can't. Maybe that makes me uncritical.

Maybe that makes me human.

For those of you who don't enjoy Picard or Trek in its current form, that's your prerogative. I'm sure you all bring your own lives and experiences to Star Trek and how you view it. I would only ask that you remember that those of us who enjoy Trek in its current form also bring our own lives and experiences into it and view Trek through that prism, too. IDIC and all.
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 8:51pm (UTC -6)

Both Riker AND Troi chastize Picard for not understanding Soji. He doesn't mind that Picard is going about this on his own, but he gave him a word of warning about teenagers. Like Tommy D. said, I'm not sure what's so hard about this.
Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 12:04am (UTC -6)
@ Gerontius
50000 light years?! Hahaha. Well let's just ignore that because that is an entirely new can of worms. Still think about it six light years means really close and the Borg, as stated on the show, will destroy the !entire universe! BUT they will start with Nepenthe. It is probably the closest planet. Maybe we will see their happy little family reaching out to Picard, while being assimilated, shouting: "You failed us all!!!" How awesome would that be. :) *fingers crossed*

Will this basically be the last encounter between Picard and Riker/Troy

And when their mangled corpses lie before him he says: Arrogant no more, BITCH!!
Tommy D.
Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 12:17am (UTC -6)
I, for one, am personally hoping Elnor reveals he actually speaks dudebro and starts grinding on the Sikarian projector so we can get some real Trek on this show.
Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 12:37am (UTC -6)
Silent treatment off

Sorry Peter you insulted me and when I approached you with open hand reached out you slapped it away. That is why you get the silent treatment which is the worst punishment I can inflict. To be honest I don't understand how you continue.
And to respond. I actually wanted the name boomer (before it fell on such hard times, of course) but it was already taken. The actress has a great skin tone. I would assimilate the entire universe for that skin tone. Her hair is also really pretty.

Silent treatment back on
Peter G.
Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 12:41am (UTC -6)
Did someone say something?

(sorry everyone for this post)
Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 1:44am (UTC -6)
Peter you @ me several times during the last few month and now that I for the first time to react to that you immediately mock me again?!

Do not interact with me again, please. Ever.
Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 2:04am (UTC -6)
"What do you mean with thousands of star systems? Warp 9 means 720x the speed of light. So if we take earth as a reference point then 3 days would mean roundabout 6 lightyears."

[Serious TrekNerd Alert]

Warp 9 on the TNG scale is actually 1516 x the speed of light... officially (check the Trek Encyclopedia, or just do 9^(10/3). The cube rule only applies to TOS).

Actual speeds are often 10-50 times faster than the official figures, though. You can call this "speed of plot" or try to fanwank an in-universe explanation (bonus points for finding an explanation that also covers why Voyager didn't enjoy such a boost on its way home).

Either way, when a Trek characters says "3 days at warp 9" this usually translates to a distance of hundreds of light years. So "thousands of star systems" sounds about right.

[/Serious TrekNerd Alert]

Side Note:

No, this most certainly does not justify NuTrek's tendency to have starships hop from one side of the galaxy to the other in a matter of minutes.

"Emotionally, for me, watching Picard is like spending time with a loved one who has died. It's a gift that I didn't think I would ever have, and I treasure that extra time that I thought I would never have. Maybe that makes me nostalgic. Maybe that makes me more willing to overlook some flaws. I can't fully intellectualize watching Picard. I just can't. Maybe that makes me uncritical.

Maybe that makes me human."

Hear hear.

Being a fan is first and foremost an emotional experience. This is true both for the those who like ST:Picard and for those who dislike it. It's actually interesting how a strong connection to TNG can make different people feel the exact opposite regarding this show.

Maybe that makes us all human.

"For those of you who don't enjoy Picard or Trek in its current form, that's your prerogative. I'm sure you all bring your own lives and experiences to Star Trek and how you view it. I would only ask that you remember that those of us who enjoy Trek in its current form also bring our own lives and experiences into it and view Trek through that prism, too. IDIC and all."

Agree 100%.

I won't say "It's just a TV show" (because that would be ridiculous and just offend both sides) but let's have some perspective here. We can debate and we can discuss and we can criticize, but lets not fight with one another.

At this point I would say "Think what Captain Picard would do", but I'm not sure how relevant that turn-of-phrase is anymore. :-(
Tommy D.
Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 2:12am (UTC -6)
I was just reading through some other peoples theories and saw an interesting one; Does anyone think that Lore has a role to play in this? With the whole twins scenario?
Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 2:26am (UTC -6)
@ Omicron
You are correct about the plot drive many ships seem to have. Discovery was especially terrible and I'm not only talking about the mushroom drive.
I used this side. Don't know where they get there numbers from.

There is of course the question how Rios got his hands on a ship that can fly with warp 9. They never actually say warp 9. So who knows. Oh well, I guess it is not important. I still hope for Borg number 1.
Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 2:35am (UTC -6)
You can toggle between the TOS/TNG scales on that site. For warp 9 it gives you 729 and 1516.38 respectively.
Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 3:17am (UTC -6)
Oh thanks. I didn't see that but it doesn't change much. That would bring the distance up to 12 ly. Then we would maybe have around have 20 star systems in range, most probably do not have nice earth-like planets. That is the second regenerative planet in TNG. Was there no regenerative planet in an active war zone for the Riker/Troy power couple to settle on?
Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 4:18am (UTC -6)
I think we’ve already looked at good but arrogant characters and this is more in that vein, but a different take because this is about a very established, respected person.

In DS9 it was Bashir, whose arrogance was fairly typical of both surgeons and the young. There are two episodes that come to mind where he is criticised for arrogance by other characters. One is quite early, where he tries to cure a Dominion-engineered plague on a planet that they and aliens have been trying to cure for centuries, and he can’t do it after a whole week, so he has a bit of a pity party about it, and Dax gives him a talking to. He then pushes on - with her help - and manages to create a vaccine that will spare all future generations. Then he’s very down about not being able to cure the already infected, and someone has to put that into perspective for him, too.

The second is quite late and it’s where he goes a bit nuts with statistics and thinks the Federation’s only hope is in surrender to the Dominion. Sisko’s appalled and manages to talk him around eventually, but Bashir is absolutely convinced that he’s right and everyone else is just too stupid to get it. But, it remains clear throughout that he is driven by fear, specifically the fear of people suffering and dying when he - and Starfleet and the Federation more widely - could have prevented it.

He’s a perfectionist and so’s Picard. When he couldn’t save everyone, he saw that as saving no one at all. Most of the good characters have criticised Picard for giving up more than anything else. And it’s what Picard seems to want to change about himself, too.

Seven makes this quite explicit when she talks about her work with the Fenris Rangers: “It's not saving the galaxy. It's helping people who have no one else to help them. It's hopeless and pointless and exhausting and the only thing worse would be giving up.”

She puts a very negative spin on it but she’s quite a negative person. And she’s come a long way from the Seven who believed in “survival of the fittest” kind of cruelty, who thought risking yourself to save others was illogical. She was already getting there at the end of Voyager, but it’s nice to see the continuation here too.

Elnor is the perfect example. Picard couldn’t save and relocate every Romulan, but he absolutely could have taken Elnor in. But nooo, Picard couldn’t personally entirely mitigate the effects of a supernova destroying a large civilisation’s main system, so all he could do was go home.

Riker says it would be fine for Picard to want to retire, like it seems he and Troi have. But deciding you’ve done enough is different to giving up in despair because you can’t do it all. That’s what Bashir learnt in the plague episode, eventually, and it’s what Picard has been realising. I hope at the end he takes on a manageable if never ending task like Seven has. Probably something that doesn’t involve sprinting up stairs though!
Peter G.
Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 10:17am (UTC -6)
@ Booming,

I don't really know what you're talking about and tbh haven't noticed some kind of silent treatment. As per my last comment, it was tongue in cheek; I'm not sure that I've ever taken to mocking posters here. That being said...have at it?
Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 11:46am (UTC -6)
*sigh* Peter are you the lawyer that said that people perceive you as arrogant and combative?

I'm not surprised that you do not remember behaving badly towards me or in general. It is also not really shocking that you write people and don't notice when they do not answer.
Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 2:29pm (UTC -6)
Do people generally expect answers to posts which are addressed to a specific poster or feel there is a duty to make a response? Surely it's a matter of, sometimes you get a response, sometimes you don't, sometimes you make one, sometimes you don't. This is an aspect of netiquette I haven't come up against before.
Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 3:20pm (UTC -6)
No but let's say that guy and I have a history.
And when you tell a guy that you will ignore him and then that guy addresses you several times over a few month then what is the right way to react? I find it hard to deal with that kind of behavior. Maybe that is normal in whatever country he lives in. In Germany that stuff is quite impolite.
Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 4:28pm (UTC -6)

Take the following advice from someone who has been there:

If you want to ignore someone, for whatever reason, then ignore them. You don't need their approval or cooperation.

To be honest, it's not even fair to expect such a thing. This is a public discussion forum. You can't realistically expect a person to abide by a request to ignore everything you write. If they read your stuff and feel the need to respond, you can't prohibit them from doing so.

Now, how about we go back to discussing Trek?
Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 5:09pm (UTC -6)
From Tapestry:

Q: "Au contraire. He's the person you wanted to be: one who was less arrogant and undisciplined in his youth, one who was less like me.."

"A little less" implies Picard was at least somewhat arrogant in his youth.

As far as adulthood, just because someone you're talking to or about is arrogant, doesn't mean your remarks to or about that person are not arrogant.

"The First Duty of Every Starfleet Officer is to the Truth!", Picard fumed. And then " lie of omission is still a lie." Picard certainly committed the latter over the show's seven-year run.

And to Beverly, in Symbiosis: :"The Prime Directive is not just a set of rules. It is a philosophy, and a very correct one. History has proven again and again that whenever mankind interferes with a less developed civilization, no matter how well intentioned that interference may be, the results are invariably disastrous."

Both a broad and narrow reading whatof the phrase "less developed" means, supports a conclusion that Picard has violated the Prime Directive. He violated the Prime Directive in "Insurrection+ - he DID play a role in determining "the next course of evolution" for the Ba'Ku, by absolutely taking sides and then blaming it on his not knowing there was a "blood feud." Also, the speech about duty to "scientific truth"? In Insurrection, he made the conscious decision to deny a ife-saving remedy to thousands of people, for the needs of a smaller group. Forced relocation is not a good thing, for sure, but there were deleterious consequences to Picard's stopping it. One can debate whether Picard's decision was morally proper.

The moral gray areas that Picard has brushed aside through these absolute statements can be seen as a sign of arrogance.

One component of arrogance is excessive pride. In Insurrection, Picard, I think, was a little too proud of his decision. Even after it's revealed he's been dragged into a blood feud, he still takes sides, failing to look at the sum of all moral implications

In "Symbiosis," his inaction was arguably a Prme Directive violation.

"The Hunted": Similar to "Symbiosis", the presence of the Enterprise facilitates certain events (the escape and recapture of Roga Danar) that Picard later deliberately interrupts to be nominally "non-interfering" but in actuality to achieve the result he desires (change in the Angosian government).
Dr. Franklin A. Booze
Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 6:11pm (UTC -6)
Has anybody come up with an explanation for how the window on the blast door was essentially indestructible in the last episode of season 2 of ST: Discovery?
Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 6:31pm (UTC -6)
I loved that episode. Probably for nostalgia reasons, but it made me happy. Loving the series in general. Also probably for nostalgia reasons, but it has me hooked, and I’m always looking forward to the next instalment.
I’m mainly a reader on Jammer’s site, but always enjoy the back and forth of the comments.
Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 9:21pm (UTC -6)
Dr. Franklin A. Booze: "Has anybody come up with an explanation for how the window on the blast door was essentially indestructible in the last episode of season 2 of ST: Discovery?"

Clarke's 3rd law: Any civilization that puts literal countdown timers on the shells of their torpedoes, and that forgets to use transporters to beam out women imperiled by the aforementioned torpedoes, is sufficiently dumb enough to put all a ship's armor into a solitary blast door.
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 1:44am (UTC -6)
Wow, this is maybe the first review where I have a completely different view of the episode than Jammer. I guess it comes down to Nostalgia. If it works, or if it doesn't.

"Consider the scene where Deanna hesitates and braces herself to open the door leading to Thad's empty bedroom."
That was actually something I found a little disturbing. Who would keep a room filled with memorabilia of their dead son for years maybe more than a decade? Wouldn't that be bad for the development of the other child? And then they let Picard sleep in that very room. Sweet dreams...

"She has a bout of hand-to-hand combat with Elnor here (they both put away their weapons), because she's Zhat Vash, and he's Qowat Milat, and This Is the Way Things Are Done Between Us. I guess it's something that Narissa abides by the rules of these ancient codes rather than being a completely evil cartoon, and this seems to be setting up an endgame that will see these two opposing, ancient Romulan societies duking it out for the win."
I thought the Zhat Vash were so secret, nobody really knows they exist. The two Tal Shiar housekeeper only heard rumors. How do they have established fighting rules with the Milat's??

"Rios' clever piloting tactics"
When he outmaneuvered the Romulan by stopping? That was right out of space balls in my opinion.

" This cleverly allows the story to show a few cards without tipping the whole hand. "
Does it?? We already knew that because Jurati killed Maddox because of the horrible things she was told. The only thing that flashback gave us was the knowledge that apparently Oh has knowledge of the future in picture form and how she gave Jurati that information. (and the tracker cookie)

"It would be nice to have a fuller understanding of the treaty between the Federation and the Romulans (or indeed how much of the Romulan Empire remains as an organization"
Not going to happen.

"Riker's house has shields"
And let's not forget the cloaking device scanner. Raffi lives in a shitty trailer on earth but Riker/Troy's in that well protected paradise with everything one could wish for, in the former neutral zone no less... ok.

"Riker makes pizza with real, home-grown ingredients"
Wasn't it stated in TNG that eating dead animals is seen by Humans in the 24th century as almost barbaric?

ps: you forgot to mention Jurati's poison gamble.
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 2:57am (UTC -6)
No, @ Booming, they were not vegetarians.

Here is Riker cooking eggs:

and here is Bashir and his date eating out some *very* non-vegetarian fare:
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 3:48am (UTC -6)
What do eggs have to do with anything? Vegetarian is not the same as Vegan, and we don't even know if these are real eggs. Gagh isn't exactly "meat" either.

As for whether 24th century humans sometimes eat actual meat for food, we don't know. We do know ("Lonely Among Us [TNG]") that humans no longer *enslave* animals for food, but that's not quite the same thing. Whether this jives with Riker's pizza in this episode, you can decide for yourself.

"That was actually something I found a little disturbing. Who would keep a room filled with memorabilia of their dead son for years maybe more than a decade?"

More people than you'd think. It may not be healthy, but it is very human.

I find it strange, though, that certified counselor Deanna Troi would do such a thing. She, of all people, should know all the reasons why this would be a terrible idea. Healer, heal thyself.
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 4:38am (UTC -6)
Jammer hits it on the nail. Or rather, he has precisely the same response to Nepenthe as I did. For those who see it differently, that's their prerogative.

So far as most of the flaws Booming identified in that last post are concerned I don't think they really fly. There's nothing the least unusual about leaving a dead child's room the way they left it. The fact that Troi was willing to have Picard sleep there indicated it wasn't being treated as an untouchable shrine, just left the way it was because it felt more pleasant. If Troi didn't find it necessary to clear it out I think we could take it as a healthy choice in her case.

And so what that maybe most people in the 24th century thought eating real meat was disgusting? A lot of people see it that way today, some don't. We know that Klingons don't, and Klingons are people.

And I never thought Raffi's trailer looked particularly shitty. Both that and the Riker Troi household and it's variants look like variants of hippy, reflecting the people involved.

The whole Nepenthe visit, as the name implies, was a matter of a comfort break in many ways for Picard and Soji, and for those of us who liked ; time off the roller-coaster. Now we have to brace ourselves for getting back on...
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 5:22am (UTC -6)
Jammer must be going through a busy week to omit in his review the part where Jurati nearly kills herself in order to destroy the tracker cookie.
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 5:22am (UTC -6)
Eating eggs still falls in the realm of vegetarianism as does milk. I think, as Omicron pointed out, you mean veganism.

" that humans no longer *enslave* animals for food,"
Oh, I misremembered that. I guess killing wild animals is a different matter.

"More people than you'd think. It may not be healthy, but it is very human.

I find it strange, though, that certified counselor Deanna Troi would do such a thing. She, of all people, should know all the reasons why this would be a terrible idea. Healer, heal thyself. "
Yeah that's quite correct. And letting Picard sleep in it. Has this man not suffered enough?! So when guests come by they all have to sleep in that room. Phew. I may be very sensitive but who would like sleeping in that room.

" We know that Klingons don't, and Klingons are people. "

These guys are two bad food rations away from cannibalism anyway.
I meant Humans. ;)

"And I never thought Raffi's trailer looked particularly shitty."
Raffis says to Picard:" I'd show you around my estate, but it's more of a hovel. So that would just be, you know, humiliating."
it is certainly worse than what Riker/Troy has.

But you are right. On to future... doom.
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 5:39am (UTC -6)

"Oh, I misremembered that. I guess killing wild animals is a different matter."

The TNG line is so vague that it can be interpreted in many different ways. The only thing that's virtually certain, is that the situation in TNG's 24th century is better then it is now, where animals are slaughtered en-mass in an industrial manner.

It isn't the killing itself that's the main problem today. I'm not even sure that killing animals for food is morally wrong. But the way it is done these days - there's really no doubt in my mind that our descendants are going to view that as a very barbaric practice.

"These guys [Klingons] are two bad food rations away from cannibalism anyway."

Didn't they actually cross the cannibalism line in Discovery? It was quite a feat, to make the eating habits of the Klingons even *more* disgusting than it was before.
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 5:59am (UTC -6)
Yeah, I mean they eat the heart of defeated enemies. They also ate Georgiou, I guess with some Faber beans and a nice Chianti.

Still who knows if they eat more than the heart. I guess it depends how hungry they are or if there is other meat around or if they have a chef who cooks Klingon perfectly. :D
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 6:08am (UTC -6)
Dumbest review ever. I think he should just leave it as comments if all he’s going to do is skim comments here, extract nuggets, and cobble together some worthless summary like that. 0 of infinity stars for a soy review taking no time. He put more work into that worthless piece of a DST thing.
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 6:30am (UTC -6)
Everyone is entitled to have a different opinion about a show. Stuff like
"Dumbest review ever" has no place in a civilised forum.

Maybe I'm insensitive, Booming, but I would have the slightest qualm about sleeping in that room, and I doubt if Picard would either. And I know that for lots of parents clearing it out would be an important part of coming to terms with the loss of a child, and that holding on to it would be unhealthy, but I'd be inclined to think that that's a compromise, and that the really healthy thing would be to be at ease with leaving it as it was, and able to use it as a spare room when occasion arose.
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 7:47am (UTC -6)
I knew Jammer would love this. Nobody can resist Frakes' megawatt smile and mighty, Orson Wellesian body.

I'd probably also call this episode the best one thus far. Like in the first two episodes, which I also thought were promising, there's just something charming about watching low-key moments involving Picard. Whether he's at his chateau, wandering Starfleet buildings, or relaxing with the charming Riker, Troi and their daughter, the show seems best when its being low-stakes.

Or maybe the show is just at its best when its on a happy planet. Earth and Nepenthe just seem more interesting than the show's visits to the Cube, Romulans or Rios' ship. The latter seem like cartoonish, tropey, genre-writing, the former seem like something wonderfully lethargic; a senior-citizens amble through the future.

TOS was magnetic because of that Spock/Bones/Kirk chemistry. You often didn't need much else. It's clear by this episode that you just need Picard and Riker in a room to generate sparks. Future Armageddons and CGI spam dilute their cool.

My favorite TNG movie, "Insurrection", suffered the same problem. You had a nice low-key plot, a good political set-up, and a planet-of-the-week that let the crew's camaraderie shine through, totally bulldozed by dopey villains, Die Hard action scenes, running and shooting. If you read Piller's original script, it's clear he knew what post-TNG Picard-Trek should look like, but forces and finances keep pulling the other way.
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 4:49pm (UTC -6)
@Trent, agree with you and all the others praising the low-key parts of this episode. The moments in Picard I like best are those that exist despite the story, like this one. Like I came away from this episode that I would have enjoyed 10 episodes just of Picard having dinner with each of his TNG crew members more than 10 episodes of a new adventure like we got.

Also, the pointless death of Hugh really upsets me the more I think about it. It kind of retroactively undermines my favorite TNG episode, "I, Borg."
Dr.Franklin A. Booze
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 8:57pm (UTC -6)

Agreed. I really hate that the one dimensional evil Romulan lady got to kill Hugh. She is such a worthless, stupid character. To have her kill Hugh is an insult to the character of Hugh.

Just an observation. New Star Trek does not understand how to write interesting villains. They are all just pure evil. Gone are the days of a “grey area” characters like Gul Dukat (albeit Dukat was ruined in season 7).
Trek Noir
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 9:59pm (UTC -6)
@geriatricus, there’s nothing remotely civilized about this forum. Get over it. Look shit up
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 8:14am (UTC -6)
Of all previous TNG episodes to be referenced on this series, I didn't think "Dark Page" would be one of them. But they did it right!

As good as this episode was (the planet-bound part anyway), I wonder if it would have been even better if it was told entirely from Soji's point of view. The emotional journey of the episode, after all, is Soji learning to trust Picard even though everyone in her life has lied to her and betrayed her.
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 1:20pm (UTC -6)
What happened to these people?

The man/woman chick Riker fell in love with.

The ones who say "Shaka when the walls fell".

The farmers who had to marry the clones, if anyone remembers them.
Dr. Franklin A. Booze
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 3:34pm (UTC -6)

1. Due to her experience in being brainwashed, the Federation hired her to continue to brainwash everyone in believing that the USS Discovery never existed, despite the ship being essential in ending the Klingon War and having a spore drive that can teleport the ship anywhere in the galaxy.

2. They started to analyze that statement "Shaka when the window on the Enterprise blast door didn't fall", and eventually went insane realizing how stupid it would be to put all of the ship's armor into a solitary blast door.

3. They willingly sought out the Borg and became assimilated, after realizing this was the better alternative to marrying the farmers. Many of the xBs in Star Trek Picard are these people.
Sun, Mar 15, 2020, 6:41pm (UTC -6)
This is definitely the best episode of the series so far.
7 out of 10

A few extra thoughts about the episode:
- The f bomb was totally unnecessary
- The Legolas wannabe running around the cube with a sword is completely retarded - Having Hugh getting killed was really stupid

Everything else was pretty good overall.
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 9:17am (UTC -6)
A friend of mine, after we both watched the early-TNG episode, "Conspiracy," said it would be crazy if the parasitic creatures in that episode were behind the evil plot in this series. While it is off-putting that TNG never followed up on an adversary that was clearly set up to be an ongoing threat, I immediately tried to curtail his excitement. Such an outcome would cheapen the entire story of this new show based on character development and complex themes. Those pink,spiny-gilled, stop-motion creatures can stay dead for all I care.
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 10:46am (UTC -6)

"A friend of mine, after we both watched the early-TNG episode, "Conspiracy," said it would be crazy if the parasitic creatures in that episode were behind the evil plot in this series. While it is off-putting that TNG never followed up on an adversary that was clearly set up to be an ongoing threat, I immediately tried to curtail his excitement. Such an outcome would cheapen the entire story of this new show based on character development and complex themes. Those pink,spiny-gilled, stop-motion creatures can stay dead for all I care."

Your friend was right on the money. TNG did follow up "Conspiracy" - with the Borg. The Borg is basically the same type of threat as those parasitic creatures but with a robotic design over an insectoid one. If you read some of concept information behind the Borg, it's been revealed that Berman and company planned the Borg to be insects originally, but it was visually too expensive.

The stop-motion animation was a good product for its time. They didn't have CG or the like, yet the odd jerky movements of the clay substance they use in Conspiracy are reminiscent of bugs.
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 11:09pm (UTC -6)
Great review of a great episode. I know we need to get on with things, but I could definitely handle more of the Soji & Kestra Show!
Peter H
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 11:21am (UTC -6)
Hang on, so all it takes to evade warp pursuit is to drop to sublight and point the ship in a different direction before going back to warp? Who writes this kind of guff? It's not even trying.

I dug the feels in this episode and I hope we see the Riker-Troi's again. This is the first episode I really appreciated Raff as a character as well. I do feel the pacing was a bit off though; good grief it's slow. And killing off Hugh... what a mistake. This show needs to stop with the slaughtering of old characters.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 12:58pm (UTC -6)
I just, I can't over state this, but the writer's insistence on tying every tragic backstory they came up with to the syth storyline and the higher-ups desire to avoid heavy continuity that would put off new viewers creates a scenario where Riker and Troi are neglectful, terrible people and Horrible parents.

Their son was dying of a silicon based disease that's easily curable with positronic science (okay) that's banned by the Federation. So they decide that a planet with regenerative soil might help. But their son still dies.

Why then, if they needed a planet with regenerative properties and/or experienced positronic scientists did they not walk through fire to get their kid to the Ba'ku, which they both know about, and know is a planet with regenerative properties so strong that it can regrow *eyes.*

I would think if they were truly desperate to save their son that would be among the first places they'd go, no matter what restrictions placed on interfering with the Ba'ku or the synth ban. That they didn't means they are, however unintended, awful, awful people now.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 1:21pm (UTC -6)
Or go to the Cardassians or whatever. Are there no planets outside of the Federation where they would help parents with a dying kid? Say what you will about Bashir's parents but they went the extra mile just for wanting an "improved" kid.
Thu, Apr 9, 2020, 3:20am (UTC -6)
A silicone based virus killed Riker n Troi's son. Was that an Enterprise callback?
Thu, Apr 30, 2020, 6:23am (UTC -6)
Loved, loved, loved this episode. Didn't realise Jammer was reviewing Picard, glad you are. Also congrats on 25 years. I think I've been there for about 20 of them, your DS9 reviews were required reading after each episode I would watch.

I think the biggest disappointment about Hughs death was that we didn't actually get at least a scene between him and Seven. One of the massively wonderful things to come out of Trek (not even for the Fans... pretty much just for them) is the friendship between Jeri Ryan and Jonathan Delarco, who become friends simply because they both played members of the same race. The thing I was most looking forward too about Picard was at least a scene (or maybe more) between the two, and we didn't get it! Ripped off.

Picard/Riker/Troi was just wonderful. Kestra was awesome, the young actress who plays her was perfect. If I'm only allowed to watch one episode of Picard over and over, this would be the one.
Mr Drew
Thu, May 21, 2020, 11:12pm (UTC -6)
Great episode. I've never really cared too much for TNG, but you could really see their bond in the reunion with Picard, Troi and Riker.

Also probably the first time Troi has never been completely useless and annoying in a scene.

3.5/4 sounds right
Sat, Jun 6, 2020, 10:14am (UTC -6)
The TNG sound theme by the end of the episode was golden. My personal favorite episode this season.
Wed, Sep 30, 2020, 1:30pm (UTC -6)

Frakes just confirmed that this episode was an afterthought and not part of the original series *plan. And so "Picard's" best episode literally had nothing to do with this season's plot, and was shoe-horned in last minute.

*to use the word "plan" is to give Kurtzman too much credit. His whole style of management clearly results in utter chaos, the scribbling of his disparate writers hastily cobbled together into some embarrassing semblance of an arc. Hence almost every episode in Picard relying on a flashback, the show, like a leaking boat, constantly flailing about to plug its own holes.
Fri, Oct 23, 2020, 9:05am (UTC -6)
Ultimately an episode fueled by memberberries , and it works. That scene around the diner table was the glimmer of I thought this show would be about, serious rational talking points a la tng.
Fri, Apr 23, 2021, 3:21pm (UTC -6)
"SHIELDS UP! Deanna take the stove!"

Great episode for a change. But not keen on the idea that once again our heroes have suffered tragedy of losing a child. The Federation does not make sense in this show. This episode was good because of the acting of the original cast.


I agree they could have gone to Baku. I don't think these show runners have seen TNG, the TNG movies or understand Star Trek though! I mean they literally had Starfleet admirals in the era of humanity's evolved sensibility, SWEARING at another human being, former Captain of their flagship and hero of the Federation. Disgraceful.
Tue, Jun 15, 2021, 7:46am (UTC -6)
Q should snap his fingers and make this entire show go away. Then we can get to something of interest ... what happened to Nagilium ( Silence Has Leace )
William B
Sun, Oct 10, 2021, 10:03pm (UTC -6)
There are mistakes in presentation and writing here and there, but the basic concept of this episode, of Picard finding safe harbour with Riker and Troi while they try to calculate how best to help him while keeping their shields up, and while Soji interacts with Kestra as she enters her "second childhood," basically work, and I agree totally with comments above that Frakes is a great, charismatic presence.
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 11:06pm (UTC -6)
WHY IN GOD'S NAME DODNTHE WROTERS KILL HUGH?? He could've returned this seasin withbtje Borg and faced this new Birg Queen..WHY CAN THEY UNDO THIS PLEASE??
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 11:29pm (UTC -6)
The cries of anguish continues to echo "Khan!"-like to this day...

I'll never forgive them for the death of my boi.
Mon, Mar 28, 2022, 4:19am (UTC -6)
Lots of comments, so apparently people like this, but for me--

This is the first episode I tried to watch of this new Trek, and what a dreadful depressing Trek it is.

It's just like a family reunion after 40 years where you're happy to see everybody but saddened to see how old and frail everyone has become. Stewart is more frail than Shatner.

I'm no party pooper, if this floats your boat, have fun. I won't be bothering you.
Fri, Jan 13, 2023, 8:29pm (UTC -6)
The way they are killing off everyone, I feared Cmdr Riker and Troi would be vaporised by the big bad scenery chewing lady at the end there somehow. Thank goodness I was wrong. Excellent episode .

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