Star Trek: Picard

"Stardust City Rag"

1.5 stars

Air date: 2/20/2020
Written by Kirsten Beyer
Directed by Jonathan Frakes

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

I am easily bored by the "What is Star Trek?" debate. This question has been asked for decades and it comes up with every new series, and now every new episode. It is a cliché and I avoid it like the plague.

That being said, "Stardust City Rag" is all wrong. This is not Star Trek.

The unrelenting cynicism; the brutal torture/gore; the utter lack of imagination; the Shocking Plot Reveals that seem to be motivated by the running time approaching the end of the episode more than character insight or smart writing; the overly coyly hidden secrets and agendas; the, yes, grimdark (another cliché term I hate) dystopian worldview — it all cumulatively takes its toll in "Stardust City Rag." This is ... well, it's just not very fun.

Look, I don't need sunshine and rainbows. I loved Battlestar Galactica, which started with a nuclear holocaust wiping out nearly all of humanity. But I do need some sort of intelligent approach to the material, and some humanity underpinning it, rather than lame, half-baked, lazy movie themes like Lawlessness and Vengeance. "Stardust City Rag" is such a chore at times to sit through that it never digs itself out of the hole it puts itself into with its first scene.

About that scene: It's the most gruesome and off-putting scene in the annals of filmed Star Trek. A scene in which an unidentified man — ultimately revealed to be poor Icheb, who was "like a son" to Seven — has his eyeball drilled and then pulled out of his head with a metal claw as he lies strapped to a table screaming. We're spared only the worst of the worst sights with just-barely-merciful camera framing. So, yes, you have my attention, but for all the wrong reasons. There is a time and place for violent content, but this is completely gratuitous, weakly motivated (*), and it crosses an unspoken line in the franchise and ventures into the wretched excess of exploitation.

* (1) Why do they need to extract Borg components from living subjects? Because they are sadists who blame the ex-Borg for having been assimilated, I guess? (2) How are eyes defined as Borg components when we know specifically that Seven and Icheb were given organic eye implants to replace their Borg optics when they were freed from the collective? Because just don't think about it, okay? That's why.

That scene is a flashback from 13 years earlier, where Seven comes to Icheb's rescue, but he is apparently beyond saving and asks for a mercy killing, which Seven grants. She is very angry about this, and it has defined her ever since. I don't blame her. I blame the writers. There were any number of a million ways to bring Seven back into the narrative. Why this?

Jeri Ryan, let it be said, is very good here, and represents a partial mitigation of this disaster. She's a convincing badass who also has the nuance needed to make the performance interesting, despite the relatively flat writing and clichéd character template. I am completely on board with advancing Seven to being a fully human personality since her days on Voyager. It is the logical conclusion, even if it takes away some of the inherent charm. Ryan should be cast into action movies immediately. Hell, I'd take a whole spinoff series on this character, if they could write her differently.

Seven has spent recent years as one of the Fenris Rangers. (This is a name that won't likely matter after this episode, because we're not doing world building here, we're doing cul-de-sac building.) They engage in vigilante justice on the edge of the former Romulan neutral zone, which has descended into chaos since the refugee crisis. Unbeknownst to Picard during most of the setup, she has also spent the years since Icheb's death looking for the one responsible.

Seven is also dismissive of Picard, because when the going got tough, Jean-Luc gave up and went home to his vineyard. (Okay, we get it. Picard shouldn't have let the perfect be the enemy of the good, etc., etc.) Now that Seven and Picard have crossed paths, Seven uses the ride to Freecloud to carry out her hidden agenda to kill Bjayzl (Necar Zadegan), the ex-Borg-hunter responsible for butchering Icheb.

But Picard's real mission here is to arrange the release of Bruce Maddox, who is being held by Bjayzl in her nightclub. This involves some undercover role playing and dress-up that comes dangerously close to being fun, if not for the sheer awkwardness of Picard doing a terrible French accent that makes his bad undercover work in "Gambit" look good. (And can someone explain to me why Picard isn't instantly recognized by people who should know who he is, given he's the famous former Locutus of Borg, whom ex-Borg-hunters might be interested in?)

Also in "Stardust City Rag": We learn just why Raffi has been trying to get to Freecloud. She has an estranged son and an expecting daughter-in-law she's never met, on the account of her substance abuse and chasing of "conspiracy theories" regarding the Mars attack, at the cost of attending to her family. This thin material makes for a scene that's cringe-inducing in its heavy-handed, melodramatic excess and subpar acting. It's also oddly rushed, although to make it longer would not likely make it better. Then as quickly as we learn Raffi has an estranged family, the scene is over and we're done with it, and she goes back to be with Picard. It's quite the journey for such a tepid, single-scene payoff. (And I realize this may be revisited, but that still doesn't make the strange rhythm of these character beats any better.)

Then there is the final scene, where Dr. Jurati, after having quietly existed as background noise for the last few episodes, becomes the Big Shocking Reveal when she tearfully murders Maddox while saying, "I wish I didn't know what I know." This plays into the season-long mystery. Jurati — Maddox's ex-lover, no less — kills him because she feels she must because of whatever dark secret is being protected by both the Tal Shiar and the Starfleet colluders regarding Soji's existence, as conveyed to Jurati by Commodore Oh. But this is still infuriating in its pointless shock-schlock nature, which has become painfully predictable. Yes, five minutes after we've traveled all this way for half the season to find this character and save him from the bad guys, one of our own kills him for what must be some perceived greater good to be later revealed. Um, yay?

On the plus side, "Stardust City Rag" has a more serviceable structure than some previous episodes. It tells a mostly self-contained story and moves the plot more quickly. And it doesn't have any scenes featuring Narek/Soji or Narek/Narissa. And it has Seven of Nine. Small victories.

But what we get here is depressingly rote. Revenge. Frontier justice. Alien sin cities. Undercover operations with precious little wit and lots of bland scumbags. Stupid nonlinear shifts in the narrative that exist for no reason except to exist. Conspiracy-murder twists. This world feels drab, played out, and joyless. It's a waste of the TNG legacy, and this is from someone who was okay with shaking things up. But the point has come when you have to squint to make out the thing for what the thing used to be. We have strayed too far.

We are halfway through the season now. The opening torture scene was something from which "Stardust City Rag" could never recover. I hope "Stardust City Rag" doesn't become the episode from which Star Trek: Picard can't recover.

The title character still offers hope; I just fear the universe isn't listening. He makes Picardian speeches about murder being wrong, and he has a good moment with Seven about their journey of reclaiming their humanity from their Borg assimilation.

But for fuck's sake, Picard needs to stop telling us these things, and Star Trek: Picard needs to start showing us.

Previous episode: Absolute Candor
Next episode: The Impossible Box

◄ Season Index

513 comments on this review

Daniel
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 3:19am (UTC -5)
whoa.
PleasurePlanet
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 3:23am (UTC -5)
Still feeling gutted by that first scene. Things definitely happen in this episode.
A A Roi
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 3:23am (UTC -5)
That's certainly as dark a place as Star Trek has ever gone - Wrath of Khan and First Contact territory at least.
Chrome
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 3:29am (UTC -5)
Genuinely very good. This week they finally told a self-contained story in a single hour while furthering the overarching plot.

Jeri Ryan really seems to know her character and it helped me to like Seven in spite of the despicable thing she does this week. Heck, it sounds cliche that Seven would become a vigilante, but Ryan really sells it by how driven she appears. Like Picard, she seems like a very different character than the one we saw in her last appearance.

Cabrera is also great in the first away mission we see him on. He slides easily from undercover pimp to rogue pilot with a sense of duty. When I saw Mr. Vup about to pull his weapon, I thought for sure Seven would kill him, but Rios shows us he’s not slow on the uptake (hopefully just stunning him).

The mystery with Maddox appears to be deepening with not only the Zhat Vash involved, but apparently some part of the Federation. Of course, Jurati ends that explanation prematurely in what many predicted as her mole status.

I’m sure many will be happy not to see NareI and Rizzo this week. And - it looks like they’ll finally engage Picard next week.
Dave in MN
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 3:32am (UTC -5)
THEY KILLED ICHEB!!!!

Why???? No!!!!!

That was awful watching him get tortured. His eyeball getting yanked out was just for audience titillation. And yet ANOTHER flashback to open the show?! This is wasted screentime since the dialogue summarizes these events later anyways.

I also disliked the oral sex joke as well as the continued casual cursing amongst the cast.

Recasting Bruce Maddox probably was a mistake. The original actor probably would've done better.

Agnes acting doofy, clueless and hysterical is getting irritatng. Her "make-cute" with Rios was rom-com cringe and her freaking out over pushing one button on the transporter controls was ridiculous. And that last scene in sickbay? Yeah, another person with a secret agenda .... ugh. (Also, more characters speaking in unnecessary and verbise riddles/obtusely just to keep the audience on a IV drip of plot .... this show has very soapish pacing problems).

Freecloud looks cool, but (nitpick ahead) how does that square with the way Ferengi are discussed in previous shows? The Trek writers (in the past) have certainly presented gambling and other vices as a thing 99% of humanity had outgrown.

The scene where Picard's landing party is putting on their silly outfits reminded me of when The Orville did this (better). The line Picard had in French seemed to written solely to go viral. Are we going to have a Commander Oh No Sunglasses Moment every week?!

Jeri Ryan did a good job (although how she went from being an integral part of the Voyager crew to a ranger wasn't really explained to my satisfaction. ) Still, her acting made her backstory and personality changes believable. Really, she should be a part of Picard's ragtag crew instead of people like Elnor and Agnes. She's just a better caliber actress and her character is way more interesting than almost anyone on the Millennial Falcon.

Raffi's actress also has talent, I was hoping she wasn't leaving the crew (until she wasn't). Her scene with her son was touching and I appreciated that they showed us their connection in real time (using inference and setting) vs another clunky exposition dump.

I also liked how Elnor is already getting the Neelix treatment by the writers ... I wonder how much this character was forced on them by corporate bean counters/Kurtzmann. He's still very annoying, but I don't
won't mind him as much if he's used as a punching bag for well-deserved jokes.

Thankfully, no Borg cube moustache-twirling incest scenes this week. I thought the borg harvesting woman was well acted and mostly written competently .... although what's the point of extracting borg implants without anesthetic?! It's the 25th Century, it is barbaric and cruel for no reason! She would've been a more effective villian if she'd showed some mercy to her victims instead of cracking jokes as she murdered someone ... but this is simplistic scripting and the very good actress who played the villainess shouldn't be blamed for that.)

This was the best looking episode of Picard, it was better directed than previously, the actors seem a bit more comfortable in their roles, the soundtrack was the least intrusive it's ever been, the cinematography was sufficiently otherworldly.... there was actually quite a bit to like in this episode.

But again, I really REALLY hated that they killed off Icheb just to give 7's character motivation! Totally unnecessary.

So, what kind of rating do I give this roller-coaster of sn episode?

1 star more than last week seems fair: 2.5 stars
Cody B
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 5:02am (UTC -5)
I think this might be as good as this show gets. We just aren’t going to get great classic Trek episodes. Best that can be hoped for are episodes like this that are shiny, have a lot of action, and some comedy. It is what it is. On another note I found the part where Rios is given “benzos” to be beyond trashy. Was that part written by a teenage druggie? Why would characters hundreds of years in the future be taking or mentioning “benzos” it’s just beyond trashy.
Tim C
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 7:03am (UTC -5)
Damn. They were obviously going for shock value with that opening flashback, but it sure worked on me! (Cue the "oh gosh, that isn't Star Trek" crowd...)

"Fridging" Icheb is a cheap way to give Seven her new, even harder edge. That said, cheap doesn't necessarily mean bad or ineffective. I totally buy it, and Icheb was never that interesting a character that I'm going to mourn his loss. I wonder if the writers are coming for Naomi Wildman next...

Icheb isn't the only minor character to meet the executioner: on the non-Seven side of things, Maddox is introduced and summarily dismissed, and Jurati's double-agent status is confirmed way earlier than I thought it would be. And it looks like we're getting to the cube next week! After four episodes of setup, they're sure wasting no time knocking the dominos over.

As far as chapters of a novel go, this one is my favourite so far. The Trek universe feels bigger than it ever has, with all kinds of unexplored corners and institutions. And no pointless Soji/Narek/Rizzo scenes, either. Nice!
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 7:39am (UTC -5)
Don't have a lot of time this morning, but I wanted to give my two cents in.

I liked it, but I didn't think it was better than last week's episode. I thought it was - in most ways - a step back.

The episode was well shot, acted, and plotted, but the really clunky infodumps of the first three episodes reappeared (like Picard's initial dialogue with Seven). Worse, this episode had a lot of corny overly-broad melodrama. The characters didn't actually act like real human beings would across most of the episode, which was disappointing after the much more natural flow of dialogue last week.

At the same time, there was no glacial borg cube scenes this week, which was a welcome respite. I wish I could have said the same last week. Thus even though the main plot was a lot weaker, the lack of the tedious "B plot" made the episode of roughly equal quality.

I still think Rios could be a hologram, though if he is, Raffi is "in on it." That device that Raffi handed him could have really been a mobile emitter. Notice Seven stole it before she left? This will be important later on.

2.5 stars. Meh.
Trent
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 8:33am (UTC -5)
I thought this was the worst episode thus far.

Here we open with yet another lazy flashback. 7of9 is attempting to save Icheb - a young character from "Voyager" - from a sinister organ harvester. She fails and mercy kills him instead. Like the last episode did to Picard, this new character is revealed to be a kind of foster son. 7of9 is herself revealed to be not the 7of9 Captain Janeway took under her wing and nurtured into something poised and composed, but an unhinged gunslinger, a sassy momma bear ("What the hell do you want, Picard?") bent on bloodlust and revenge. It feels like character assassination.

The show's insistence that 7of9 has spent the past two decades kicking ass in the beta quadrant, shooting smugglers, pirates and creeps like a Wild West Sheriff (she's literally a member of the Space Rangers!), is equally silly and mean-spirited.

Of course Star Trek always had a certain "horse opera" aspect to it, but hampered by budget restraints, past Trek tended to avoid boring literalism and/or plagerism. Today, as these limitations wither, a certain amount of mystique and imagination goes with it.

Picard and the gang then arrive in orbit over Free Cloud. Apparently, in the future, malware and commercial advertisements are powerful enough to override a ship's bridge holoprojectors. This is ridiculous.

Once on planet, the tropes come harder and faster. The planet looks like a cross between Kubrick's "AI", "BladeRunner", "Tron Legacy" and "Serenity". The plot henceforth follows the usual heist-movie-cliches, our wisecracking heroes dressing up and trading jibes while flashbacks delineate how and when things need to go down (in order for them to "rescue" Bruce Maddox from gangsters). That their plan merely involves tricking an alien's nose with space perfume, is a huge anti-climax.

Picard's "comical French rascal!" accent during these scenes is itself embarrassing. Here a series that wants to be solemn and serious has taken a break to offer a "fun" and "funny" "romp" of an episode, whilst simultaneously not realizing how grim and bloodthirsty the episode actually is. Shades of "Discovery's" overrated and tonally incompetent "Magic to Make the Sanest Man go Mad", where mass murder and whale headshots are played for laughs.

From low-rent "Mission Impossible"/"Firefly"/"Ocean's Eleven" we segue into "Dirty Harry". 7of9 transforms into a bloody killer, gunning down villains and henchmen in the name of avenging a character we barely know and don't care about. She then exits the show as quickly as she entered, another of Kurtzman's cynically concocted cameos.

But two walk-ons/walk-offs isn't enough. For this episode features Raffi - in her first piece of great acting in the show - meeting her long lost son and pregnant wife, confessing her love for them, and then getting rejected for being a druggie! Who cares about these people?

Continuing it, and "Discovery's", trend of piling unnecessary crap upon unnecessary crap, of introducing things only to immediately jettison them, the show ends with Maddox being acquired and then promptly being attacked (murdered?) by sleeper-cell Jurati/Ash. Shocking! Edgy! Gripping!

Aside from a few of Picard's righteous monologues, this series has been poorly written. Like each of "Discovery's" seasons, "Picard" opened with promise and cool ideas, but quickly revealed itself to be generic, tropey, hacky, and awash with bad melodrama. Like "Discovery", it seems hell-bent on ignoring or avoiding all the actually interesting ideas, philosophical and political topics it touches upon.

Each of its scripts has also been unbalanced, with arbitrary detours and unnecessary plot threads. Things which need space and weight are not given room to breath or develop. Things which should not exist are dwelt upon and given backstories. Endings are almost exclusively designed to shock, titillate and then be thrown away. Characters are introduced - never with skill or grace - only to be jettisoned, again without skill or grace.

This fragmented style of writing developed on TV soaps, and is today mostly the product of modern television financing and distribution, art now fully dictated by Borg algorithms, conveyor belts and moneymen. I wouldn't be surprised if this series eventually dove-tails into "Discovery's" third season. That kind of incestuous plotting and cross-pollinating is how Marvel and DC comics stayed alive and "spiced things up" in the 1970s and early 1980s. And "Picard", produced by a guy whose stated aim is to "turn Trek into Marvel", is obviously becoming more and more like "Discovery" as it goes ahead.
Burke
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 8:41am (UTC -5)
I'll just say this:

No scenes at the artifact, no Soji, no romulan brothers, and the best episode so far.

A coincidence, this is not.
Burke
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 8:56am (UTC -5)
Also: Seven becoming a vigilante makes more sense than becoming Mrs. Chakote. Just sayin'.
Richard James
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 8:57am (UTC -5)
It's moving in the right direction, but still bogged down by slow movements to an end goal, rather than telling individual stories.

The Seven of Nine plot worked the best and that opening scene was pretty horrific. Jeri Ryan's has such screen presence and her character is just a million times more interesting than others, especially with her new viligante background. The poor man's oceans 11 scene on Freecloud a were a little pointless, but fun enough.

But honestly, any reservations I had for this episode melted away when Picard and Seven had that brief exchange on the transporter pad;
"Did you honestly feel you regained your humanity?"
"Yes"
"All of it?"
"No. But we're both working on it, arent we"
"Every damn day of my life"

More like this please!
Eric Jensen
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 9:56am (UTC -5)
Spoilers
*tears for Icheb* very sad and very upsetting, very dark... like First Contact dark...
Is it really character assassination for Seven? And how does that gangster lady know about Annika? Quark's bar! Visual egg.
Since Icheb died and remember in the episode where the futuristic drone called One on Voyager... you could tell that Seven would want REVENGE.
How did it come to this? Why is Seven a vigilante?

Raffi and her son... a good character development and a good delving into her past and her relationships... her addictions and her troubles since the Mars incident...

Who did not see that coming? Dr Jurati and Maddox... that cruel end... Picard will find out soon...

Who likes Elnor? I do... We need good Romulans to fight against the bad Romulans. Hopefully Elnor stays grounded with Picard. Hopefully Laris and Zhaban
Big Pimpin'
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 9:59am (UTC -5)
I agree with Richard that Picard and Seven's exchange made the episode worth the price of admission. Jeri Ryan is a great actress.

I liked the rest of the episode a lot, even though Patrick Stewart seems to have a somewhat loose grip on the Picard character these days.
I also think that the Maddox Agnes final scene was one "shocking" moment too many.

Also why recast Maddox????
Helmus
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 10:00am (UTC -5)
For me the best episode so far. I enjoyed it very much. Looking forward to next week!
Big Pimpin'
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 10:01am (UTC -5)
Also did they recast Icheb too? I think they did...
Trent
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 10:07am (UTC -5)
Halfway through each Disco season, you could sense that the payoff would be ridiculous and utterly random.

With Picard, you can already sense that the Romulan refugee situation will go AWOL, and that the show will work toward another goofy click-bait climax. I wouldnt be surprised if Q appears, impregnates Hugh and gives birth to some kind of trans-temporal Skynet/Control gobblygook. Or that the Romulans know of a Disco-S3 future in which all biological life is wiped out.
Chrome
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 11:07am (UTC -5)
No one’s mentioned this yet, but it looks like they were telling us that Jurati and Maddox used to be a couple. Killing someone that close to you seems a bit of a stretch, even if it’s a matter of duty to Starfleet. So, we’re pretty sure Jurati is being controlled like the way Geordi was in “The Mind’s Eye”, right?
Norvo
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
Horrific but effective opening flashback straight out of Saw aside, there's a lot to like about this episode. I loved the little easter eggs like Quark getting namedropped and the fact the Enterprise's chatty Bolian barber Mr. Mot has apparently opened a series of interstellar salons. Good for him!

Oh, and Picard's French accent is beyond 'orrifique!
Drea
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 12:10pm (UTC -5)
Wow. Effective arc-based storytelling at last!

Seven becoming a vigilante in the wake of the Federation abandoning the Neutral Zone makes perfect sense, especially when the Zone becomes a hotbed for harvesting former Borg. Stardust City reminds me of the Planet of Galactic Peace in STV (a bad movie, largely because it *doesn't* wind up concerning that world's characters). It's exactly what happens in the Federation's absence, like with Yar's home planet. Fridging Icheb is probably the best narrative use for his character, since the series clearly wouldn't have space for any larger role, but Voyager built enough attachment that we're genuinely angry to see him butchered.

I dislike the gratuitous brutality in how we watched Icheb dissected. Part of what made 20th-century Trek important was that kids could see politics and ethics play out in ways that, depending on their geography and community, they otherwise might not. But this just plain isn't suitable for kids. Frankly, *I* was looking away from the screen. It is possible to tell this dark story and still make it family friendly; it's just a choice not to.

I didn't anticipate goodness from the "wacky caper" hints of the preview, but both the comedy and the character beats wound up working for me. We see the costs that pursuing the truth had on Raffi and her family. We see Rios' shrewdness--and I now wonder again whether he's a hologram. Elnor feels out of place and unnecessary (if he's not a highly effective combat backup, why is he there?). And Picard--Picard does what he's always done best. He makes a rousing speech in favor of our better angels, a speech that finds a peaceful solution. Then we see that solution given lip service and ignored as soon as Picard leaves. I wonder how many times people did the same thing after the Enterprise flew away in TNG.

I'm a bit disappointed that Agnes does indeed turn out to be a mole, but at least she's a mole with a heart and a conscience. Clearly she believes whatever the Tal'Shiar showed her about the consequences of positronic research, and she hates herself both for what she's done and what she now feels she needs to do. She's not built for this. It also means we may get a change of heart if she's given new evidence or pushed to harm additional people.

Starting next episode, we have our characters at last in the same place! Looking forward.

3.5 stars
Picard is Back
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 12:12pm (UTC -5)
For most of the series, PS has been playing Picard like himself and not Picard and therefore making it unreal, to those of us who know Picard so well. However, the dialogue between Seven and Picard near the end was the first time PS was playing Picard like Picard. It was the look on his face and his voice, that finally had me sighing "Ahh..... he's back", which I haven't felt the rest of the series.

Otherwise, most solid episode since the premiere.
Norvo
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 12:27pm (UTC -5)
Oh, and... didn't Icheb's killer look an awful lot like early TNG Marina Sirtis? Their similarities were almost distracting.
Tommy D.
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 1:24pm (UTC -5)
Loved it. Except for that opening scene. I'm just not into gore at all, no matter what show. Not my thing.

@Norvo I thought so too all the way down to the hair and outfit. Thought she was awesome.

Loved the last scene between Picard and Seven. Great moment.
Mike W
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 1:38pm (UTC -5)
What an episode. Was i the only one who clued at the beginning, when evil lady said “where’s that cortical node?” Icheb didn’t have one, because Seven now has it.
R.
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 1:40pm (UTC -5)
I was pleasantly surprised by how they've handled Seven of Nine, or maybe it's just because Jeri Ryan sold the hell out of it while staying true to the character. She really elevated the material. More of this, please.

@Norvo

The resemblance was uncanny! The bone structure, the Troi-in-TNG-season-one-hairdo, the catsuit - it was eerie!

@Chrome

I think Jurati is actively collaborating with Zhat Vash(?) because they showed her some damning evidence as to why androids can't exist. I'm guessing it's down to the oft-repeated theory that the Romulans are androids and/or created the Borg. That androids will inevitably create cybernetic monstrosities seems a fairly compelling reason as to why she bumped off Maddox at the end. It wouldn't surprise me if she tries to kill Soji in the coming episodes after they rescue her and ends up 'activating' Soji somehow, leading to her own demise.
Trent
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 1:51pm (UTC -5)
R said: "I was pleasantly surprised by how they've handled Seven of Nine" and Drea said: "Wow. Effective arc-based storytelling at last!"

How so? Seven is an ex Borg in a show about the Borg whose appearance on the show is completely incidental to, and unrelated to, the show's plot about the Romulan and Borg.

She just randomly turns up at the precise moment Picard needs a Borg bargaining chip to use on hokey gangsters. Then she goes.

She has nothing to do with Picard's arc.

This is a terrible way to integrate Seven into this story. She's a kind of throwaway McGuffin.
Bold Helmsman
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 2:25pm (UTC -5)
@Trent

Don't you think it's a little quick to say Seven won't be involved in the Borg plot?
Eric Jensen
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
Trent says //She has nothing to do with Picard's arc. This is a terrible way to integrate Seven into this story. She's a kind of throwaway McGuffin.//

I think these words are stupid and idiotic.
Jean Luc was Locutus.
Hugh is an ex-Borg.
Seven is an ex-Borg.
Icheb was an ex-Borg. This show is about artificial intelligence. This show is so far about Romulans and the Borg...
NOTHING TO DO WITH THE STORY??? Throwaway McGuffin... ???

//She just randomly turns up at the precise moment Picard needs a Borg bargaining chip to use on hokey gangsters. Then she goes.//

You mean after a decade returning from the delta quadrant, it is NOT impossible for Seven to just show up? Have you even checked IMDB if Jeri Ryan will come back or are you making unnecessary assumptions based on your stupid words?
Hank
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 2:55pm (UTC -5)
Yeah, yeah, sure ... Seven waits 13 years to enact her revenge, even though it's her defining character moment, it seems. Walking towards gunfire without cover, dual wielding machine gun lasers, because she just doesn't care anymore, because in the far future, there is only one way to grow your character: Nihilistic and cynical - she doesn't even try to save Icheb, it's the wild west, folks, a horse with a broken leg gets shot. What's that, holographic lung of Neelix? Ah, shit, seems like we forgot about you, we only do leeches now. But at least she's a dirty harry clone now: "Go ahead, make my day." Because of course a hyper-intelligent being with half the knowledge of the borg collective spends her days gunslinging. What use is intelligence when you could just use a gun instead? Don't be silly, there is no problem that sufficient firepower can not solve!

Ah, Icheb. We hardly knew ya. And of course no anesthetic, you want your cybernetically enhanced, super-humanly-strong ex-borg to be fully aware of whats happening ... Also, do it in the most barbaric way possible, because those implants are worth a fortune, so no biggy if you accidentally drill a hole into the cortical implant because you don't use a scanner, but a dull plexiglass drill and the Mk. I eyeball instead. LOGIC. Oh, but maybe they paralyzed him, because everybody in the future is a sadist.

Raffy had a drug problem which ruined her family, how original and relevant - in a future where you can cure almost everything by applying some magic hypo-spray. But even in the far future, blacks will be blacks, amirite? At least our expectations got subverted, because it's an absentee mother now. Yeehah, clichés are SUCH FUN. Right right, it was her pursuit of the truth that broke her family, yadda yadda, because of course that breaks her completely, of course every character is totally imbalanced otherwise there would be no duraaaamaaaa.

Miss "I am too anxious to push a transporter button" murders her lover in cold blood in a VERY painful way instead of just ... dunno, something else less painful? Because as it turns out, she's heard the secret that will DESTROY MINDS. Beware, in the grim darkness of the future, a single contact with the warp will rend your mind and deform your flesh, birthing an abomination of vile, hellish heresy! Yeah, yeah, she cried, but she went through with it anyways. So maybe not cold blood but frozen blood? What's her justification? Killing Hitler? Even though he is no immediate danger? But wait, she got brainwashed by Miss Sunglasses, or somesuch things, in the most horrific way, of course. It included bisecting her brain without anesthetic because torture = authenticity & realism. Remember, folks, the more darkness, pain and blood the more mature your series is, as every human being is more fucked up than the next and there are no good people left, except Picard, and HE STOPPED so he's the worst of them all, except that there's nobody worth saving left anyways, because as soon as you turn away, they betray you and just start murdering everything again.

Next time on Picard: Infiltration of the Borg cube! The Drones awake! Betrayal! Excitement! More sho-ho-cking revelations! Another character with a tragic backstory turns up to berate Picard for giving up! Because nothing says quality writing like piling drama upon drama. Will Romulan brother be raped by Romulan Sister? Will Soji kill her lover? Will Picard hold a speech? Is our beloved cigar smoking badass pilot really a hologram, because the original one got horrifically eviscerated in a flashback? Will Picard hold a speech? Will the EMH tell anybody that he witnessed the murder of Maddox? Is the borg cube secretly engaging in child prostitution? Will there be gambling, alcohol, drugs and course language? Will Picard hold a speech? Tune in next time and find out, on CBS All Access, giving you for money what TV gave you for free!
Eric Jensen
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 2:55pm (UTC -5)
For the record, check IMDb and it says Jeri Ryan is to be in all episodes till the end, since episode 4. I think Trent is seriously making unnecessary assumptions.
A A Roi
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 2:58pm (UTC -5)
@Trent

You may not have liked payoffs in Discovery, but they were highly specific and foreshadowed in both seasons. Calling them random is ridiculous.
Eric Jensen
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
//Seven waits 13 years to enact her revenge//

Hank
Have you sent an email to the writers? Patrick Stewart is an EXECUTIVE Producer and he would like to hear your criticisms. Look up his agent, Hank, and send an email or even call him! Call Patrick Stewart and tell him (he is an executive producer, repeated for emphasis) that the writers are substandard and you, Hank, have a better grasp of writing the story better than those who are actually doing the job.
Brian
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 3:11pm (UTC -5)
Not terrible. Rocky start but gets more tolerable as the episode goes on. It's still more like Star Trek turned upside down than Star Trek but I guess it's to be expected. I don't know why they bothered if they were just going to take all of our most cherished characters and not improve them in any way, shape or form. Picard's been better, 7 has been better. I'm expecting Riker to show up and admit he blew Troi out of an airlock somewhere and started drinking and doesn't remember Picard.
Trent
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 3:12pm (UTC -5)
Bold Helmsman "Don't you think it's a little quick to say Seven won't be involved in the Borg plot?"

Like Harry Mudd was involved in Discovery's Klingon plot?

Like the Talosians were involved in the Red Angel plot?

Kurtzman's brain works this way: "Okay, which 90s Trek character can we bring back for the fans? Someone with links to the Borg? Okay, nice! Squeeze that in!"
Trent
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 3:27pm (UTC -5)
Eric Jensen said: "For the record, check IMDb"

What's it say? Seven returns? I hope so. Picard's on a mission to a Borg cube, and has Seven, a giant Borg super genius drop right into his lap, and he just lets her flutter away.
Trent
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 3:36pm (UTC -5)
Eric Jensen said: "and you, Hank, have a better grasp of writing the story better than those who are actually doing the job."

Kurtzman's resume is literally an unending line of absolute crap. He's like Ed Wood, Uwe Boll and Michael Bays all rolled up into one.
Trent
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 3:46pm (UTC -5)
A A Roi said: "payoffs in Discovery were highly specific and foreshadowed in both seasons. Calling them random is ridiculous."

Well yes. "Discovery's" little plot points were HIGHLY SPECIFIC and SUPER ENGINEERED. The way MICHAEL was SPOCK'S SISTER, and MICHAEL and HER MOM were RED ANGELS crucial for the survival of the universe, and the way the DOC is a MUSHROOM CLONE protected by tree bark from mycellial network soil erosion is all very SPECIFIC and FORESHADOWED.

It's also all RANDOM and RIDICULOUS.

It's like me providing DNA evidence, skin samples and 12 years worth of CCTV footage to prove that I'm related to Bigfoot.

The show's already overloaded; to take time out to watch Raffi weep over her son and his pregnant wife...it's just so unintentionally funny, and out of left field. Discovery did this stuff all the time. With this episode and the last one, we're now seeing Picard do it as well.
William B
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 3:54pm (UTC -5)
@Trent,

"Kurtzman's resume is literally an unending line of absolute crap. He's like Ed Wood, Uwe Boll and Michael Bays all rolled up into one."

Ed Wood (sometimes) made intensely personal movies he wanted to make, like Glen or Glenda. To call the finished work confused would be an understatement, and it's not exactly easy for anyone to tell exactly what it was he was trying to say, but he definitely seemed to be trying to say something. Tim Burton could make a celebratory picture about him and link him to Orson Welles as a man of titanic vision and passion for moviemaking -- he just happens to be completely bonkers and inattentive to the most basic elements of craft or taste. I don't see anyone making that kind of biopic about Kurtzman. Uwe Boll is also a bizarre character IRL and Michael Bay was reportedly a prodigy filmmaker as a student, who quickly channeled everything into soulless moneymaking. They are all kind of more interesting figures than Kurtzman IMO, who strikes me as a middle management type more so than either mad creative, outsider failure or even talent-turned-abject-sellout, though maybe there's an artist in there somewhere. (I haven't watched PICARD yet, so I'm not talking about this show right now!)
wolfstar
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 4:06pm (UTC -5)
I had a lovely day today - met a friend for coffee, we talked solidly for 4 hours, then I did some shopping and had a pleasant drive back home.

I am absolutely not going to end that day - or week - by watching Icheb be tortured to death for no reason other than shock and awe. And this kind of content isn't suitable for the family members I watch Star Trek with either, so I have told them we're stopping the series and why.

For the most part, I find Discovery to be violent, nonsensical claptrap, but at least - to its credit - it handled Pike, Spock and Number One well throughout its latest season. In fact it handled them better than its own main cast. "Picard" is butchering beloved legacy characters - in some cases literally - for edginess and cheap titillation. These writers only know how to tear down. I will not pay for this.

Seven built solid relationships during her time on Voyager. First with the Doctor and with Tuvok, the two crew members she had most in common with, as well as with Harry and with Janeway (not without its bumps). Even her and B'Elanna, while never close, respected each others' competence and professionalism. We watched Seven build solid, trusting relationships with the crew, and become a mother figure first to One, then Naomi, then Icheb. By the final episodes, she was exploring beginning a romantic relationship and had tentatively established contact with a relative on Earth. Thanks to all the relationships she built up in those 4 years, Seven had a big support network of people who cared about her and who she cared about in return.

So of course she's going to become an embittered loner gunslinger. Of course. And of course, being a female character, her character motivation and reason for being a badass is "they killed her kid".

Next week on Star Trek Picard: Rom has terminal lobe cancer and Neelix is a child sex trafficker! But don't worry, Dr. Crusher is armed with space nunchucks and she's comin' for him.
Drea
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 4:16pm (UTC -5)
Wow, the people who feel negatively about this show feel *very* negatively!

Seven's appearance right when she's needed isn't random. This is the lawless part of space where criminals abduct former Borg and murder them for parts. Seven belongs to the vigilante force that fights this. The only implausible part is that she hasn't tracked down her target sooner. But I'll roll with it.

The primary arc of the season concerns the Romulans, the Borg, and positronic androids. This episode advanced that plot with its own self-contained story centered around rescuing Maddox. That's effective arc-based storytelling! Whether Seven has her own arc from here, and how often she shows up, has no effect on that. Many characters on TNG or DS9 had extremely effective series-wide arcs but showed up in fewer episodes than you might remember.

I would say that PIC has been a bit inefficient about its characters. We spend time establishing Picard's housekeepers only to put them offscreen and introduce Elnor, when Tal'Shiar operatives seem more useful. We give the audience immediate emotional stakes in Dahj and then immediately kill her off to focus on her slightly less relatable sister. Narek and Rizzo are of course a disaster. If Rios is indeed a hologram, we're withholding that from the audience as a plot surprise instead of exploring what that existence means for him from the jump. It's far from awful but holds the series back some.

Side thought: Picard's delegating Maddox's care to Agnes derives from a believable character flaw. Maddox is his primary mission target right now; he ought to stay present and focus on his care himself, regardless how much he trusts his companions. It's not like Agnes is any kind of medical doctor. But he still think he's the delegating captain on a Federation starship and takes basic safety for granted. Guess what, that gets another person killed.
Trent
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 4:55pm (UTC -5)
Drea said: "Seven's appearance right when she's needed isn't random. This is the lawless part of space where criminals abduct former Borg and murder them for parts."

Seven has the knowledge of ten thousand species, a super intellect, and was life-coached by Janeway. That she'd become a "lawless" vigilante who hangs out around a "lawful" Romulan planet protected by a shield, shows up just in time to save Picard, who just happens to fly over to a planet where the woman who Seven holds a personal death-grudge with lives, and where Raffi's long-lost son just happens to also live, is random.

To better work Seven into this plot, you'd have her already being on Free Cloud. She's spying on the gangsters when she notices Picard running recon on the same. She approaches him and explains her history with the gangsters, and they offer to merge their operations.
Eric Jensen
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 5:08pm (UTC -5)
I have issue with
1. Wealth and money and expensive
2. Profanity just for the sake of profanity
3. The vaping the addictions by Raffi
4. Poverty? I thought it was eliminated

Devils advocate
1. Non federation colonies still use currency
2. Profanity is only used because it is no longer banned by the network. Not a good excuse to just use profanity... but it shows the humanity. It shows flawed characters and it shows "human" characters
3. Barclay was addicted on tng... addiction is not new
4. If you are off the grid, you have to survive without the federations help...

I still have problems with these. Other than that, Picard is OK.
Drea
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 5:30pm (UTC -5)
@Trent
"Seven has the knowledge of ten thousand species, a super intellect, and was life-coached by Janeway. That she'd become a "lawless" vigilante who hangs out around a "lawful" Romulan planet protected by a shield, shows up just in time to save Picard, who just happens to fly over to a planet where the woman who Seven holds a personal death-grudge with lives, and where Raffi's long-lost son just happens to also live, is random. "

Not at all! The Romulan evacuation world (established as not particularly lawful) is in the same area of space as Freehold, policed by the same vigilante force. Part of the reason that they visit the Romulan colony is that it's en route to Freehold, and Picard's aware they may not come that way again. It's entirely plausible that Seven would join the Rangers, the only group devoted to protecting this territory, and the plot nearly screams for the Sirena to meet a Ranger. If we add that Seven certainly could've seen the planet's social media blow up with the famous Admiral Picard, a former Borg with politics sympathetic to hers, we even have a reason that she would go out specifically, and not some other Ranger.

There's no need to invoke randomness or coincidence here. This gets more logical the more you think about it instead of less.
PM
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 6:21pm (UTC -5)
said in heavy JFK accent, done only as The Simpsons can:

Mayor Quimby: "Aw! You people don't know what you want!"

Random person in angry mob: "He's right! Give us hell, Quimby!"
PM
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 6:27pm (UTC -5)
Also, ALL Romulans are synthetic frankenVulcans

Something the Vulcans created and that Vulcan and the Jat Vash have covered up

(what else would be a truth so insane it would drive every Romulan mad...like Daj, they dont even know it).

Callin' it...
A A Roi
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 6:40pm (UTC -5)
@Trent

I don't think you know what the word Random actually means. Maybe find a word that actually means what you think you are describing.
Mertov
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 7:05pm (UTC -5)
What a great ride! Jerri Ryan is the queen. All her scenes were maximum fun and the ones with Picard had meaningful undertones. There is a substantial amount of backstory filling here and most of it is useful. Fenris Rangers and Seven connection works, Maddox's past activities are revealed for the most part, and Jurati's ending behavior fits considering what happened in an earlier episode (I had my doubt how she showed up from behind to kill the Romulan in Picard's chateau anyway, after talking with Commodore Oh (we don't know about what). I am not sure that Jurati is a mole in the sense that she is there to simply betray Picard and ruin his mission. She could have already done if she had wanted to. There must be more to it, probably killing Soji because of what she knows (some big secret).

Raffi is gaining so much more depth in the last two episodes and the Michelle Hurd is selling the character well (as I expected). Her talk with her son and his pregnant wife was gut-wrenching. Great B story within captivating A story involving a lot of nods to previous Trek (Icheb, Quark, Maddox). I was just thinking a week or two ago how I wish once in a while we got to see our protagonists visit these off-the-wall places where people dressed in quirky ways and behaved outlandishly (TOS and early TNG had a lot of this) and allowed the main characters to do so too for the sake of fitting in. My wish came true with Freecloud. Picard and Rios were superb in those scenes.

Too bad they could not get Brian Brophy to play Maddox but there is probably a valid reason behind it. As far as I know, he is teaching at some university.

Best episode to date (even slightly above the premiere and the last one) with good pacing. Narek and Soji's stories taking the sideline may have had something to do with it, as well as Frakes camera work.

Bring on the second half of the season!
A A Roi
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 7:09pm (UTC -5)
Unhappy about this ep? maybe 7 of 9 will do what Harry Kim and what Captain Janeway did and find a time machine and fix everything like magic so that all these bad things never happened. I mean, that worked for Voyager many a time, right?
Mertov
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 7:16pm (UTC -5)
One more note:
"Too bad they could not get Brian Brophy to play Maddox but there is probably a valid reason behind it. As far as I know, he is teaching at some university."

Now that I think more of it, John Ales, who played Maddox this episode, was actually pretty good. Brophy came across a bit wooden in "The Measure of a Man."
Trent
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 7:23pm (UTC -5)
AA Roi said: "I don't think you know what the word Random actually means."

This...

AA Roi said: "Unhappy about this ep? maybe 7 of 9 will do what Harry Kim and what Captain Janeway did and find a time machine and fix everything like magic so that all these bad things never happened. I mean, that worked for Voyager many a time, right?"

...is Random Writing.

It's also what Disco Season 2 did.
Trent
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 7:38pm (UTC -5)
PM said: "Also, ALL Romulans are synthetic frankenVulcans. Something the Vulcans created and that Vulcan and the Jat Vash have covered up."

Wouldn't Romulans realize this once they evolve medicine and start examining their own bodies?

The Romulans on the last ship the artifact/cube assimilated seem to have a Secret which, when assimilated by the cube, caused it to shut down and disconnect from the hive. Maybe it disconnected to prevent the hive from disseminating this Secret throughout the Borg network.

The Borg prophecies also, to me, read like hints at time travel.
A A Roi
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 7:49pm (UTC -5)
@Trent

No definition of random fits the way you are using it.
Mertov
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 7:59pm (UTC -5)
Drea:
"The Romulan evacuation world (established as not particularly lawful) is in the same area of space as Freehold, policed by the same vigilante force. Part of the reason that they visit the Romulan colony is that it's en route to Freehold, and Picard's aware they may not come that way again. It's entirely plausible that Seven would join the Rangers, the only group devoted to protecting this territory, and the plot nearly screams for the Sirena to meet a Ranger. If we add that Seven certainly could've seen the planet's social media blow up with the famous Admiral Picard, a former Borg with politics sympathetic to hers, we even have a reason that she would go out specifically, and not some other Ranger."
(Freehold: Freecloud)

I agree Drea. Seven joining the Fenris Rangers, a group that tries to maintain peace in the more lawless parts of the galaxy albeit via vigilante-like behavior, is perfectly believable. Even when Voyager ended, Seven was still not even close to a human, still in the early stages of adapting to human behavior, and as she and Picard discussed, you never fully gain humanity (not to mention there are mountains of difference between her decades long life as a Borg and Picard's short capture by them). It is not a stretch to think that she would find her purpose in the Rangers instead of a peaceful dont-rock-the-boat type of life of monotony (or research behind a desk) on earth, although I must admit, that is how Voyager felt like in its late seasons, like the modern-day "safe space."
Cenotaph
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 8:00pm (UTC -5)
I'll spend as much time on my review as the writing team did creating this show.
1/5

I gave this a fair shot, but it fails on a lot of fronts. Picard is not Picard, and this is not Star Trek. CBS used it's name for the usual marketing purposes, but didn't bother actually investing time and money into understanding its source material. We end up with a generic Sci fi show with a weak narrative, and plot and no interesting characters to speak of. Another wasted opportunity.
Hank
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 8:00pm (UTC -5)
@Jensen: Yes, Eric, I have a better grasp of writing, apparently. Seven is a ranger. Her life is dedicated to helping freed borgs who are hunted for their implants. One of those implant hunters killed her "child". Now, tell me, what would she do? A: Staggering around space bamboozeld for 13 years, not trying to stop her, or B: Accomplish the mission she states she has and try to stop her? And if you now say "Well, it wasn't THAT important to her", well, she lies to Picard, she beams down, she WAITS for the guards to arrive, she shoots the gang boss deader than dead, vaporizing her, and THEN walks into gunfire guns blazing not caring for her own safety. It was important enough for her that her survival is not a concern if she achieves her goal.

You know whats funny about this? All they needed to do was either: Make the time span shorter, or give us a single line from Seven how she was looking for her all that time but was never able to get close. The second option is still flimsy, but hey, better than nothing. To improve it, you could make the lady actually hard to find. At least acknowledge the fact that time passed and she tried before. Because if she didn't you have to explain why, otherwise her motivation does not fit her actions and thats the number one rule of writing: Character motivations inform character descisions. And in this case, her other motivation, protecting fellow ex-borgs, enforcing the law, directly reinforces her first motivation, revenge. So you can't even say "Well, she had more important things to do for 13 years".

Or, how about, just don't tell us how much time passed so that we don't question it? Or better yet: How about we don't have a revenge plot for Seven? How about, for once, we are introduced to a sane, logical, well adjusted character without any hidden agenda or tragic past? Hm? Some variety? Oh yes, that assasin dude, but he still has beef with Picard and got demoted to extra REALLY fast. And no, I don't care that Patrick Stewart is a exec-producer or is pitching his ideas. I wouldn't care if Shakespeare or Orwell or Tolkien or ... dunno, Rosy McDowall from Frogballs, Arkansas wrote this. Names do not matter. Results do.

And, as an aside: This is all just, like, my opinion, man :) Since the theme of this episode was revenge: If you want to rip something apart that I like to even the scales: Watch "Genocyber", but the english version with the shitty nineties anime voice actors. It's on youtube, I think. THAT clicks with me more than Picard, just like TNG does, and I would argue that those two shows are as far apart from one another as can be.

Anyways, no hard feelings on my part. I'm just poking a little fun at the show (not at you for liking it, just to make that clear) and I am fond of hyperbole.

@Drea: It would be nice if the show hints at that, though, everything else is just fanfiction. Just have Seven say "T'wasn't exactly hard to find yee, me captain", implying that she was looking for him and not just randomly there. We know nothing about her normal patrol area, how the rangers operate, anything. With a simple line like that, none of it matters, really. She went looking for him, arrived just in the nick of time. And to explain the why: "I went looking for you because you made a big fuzz. Thought shit was about to go down, and hell fucking yeah, I was fucking right" < - this last sentence is brought to you by "Everybody swears because not swearing is for kids."

Or just have her say: "This is my patrol area, and you were in danger." Or have HER be surprised as well. Just like this:

P: "Seven?"
7: "Picard??"
P: "of Nine???"
7: "Jean-Luc????"
P: "Do I even know thee, my fair maiden?"
7: "Nah, we never met. We are just two ex-borg randomly meeting on a quest to infiltrate a borg cube."
P: "Oh. Right. Earl Grey?"
7: "Whiskey. Deliver it shaking while looking stirred."
P: "It's just about noon!"
7: "Yeah, well, you see, I've got this drinking problem because my child was killed by an organ harvester thirteen years ago, thus, I became a western Gunslinger and drown my pain in alcohol now. Ah, that reminds me of that one time the Doctor inhabited my body ... fun times, fun times."
P: "Oh. Hm. That's sad. Want to do anything about it?"
7: "Yeah, kill that bitch."
P: "Well, as it turns out, we are about to meet with that exact bitch because she has kidnapped a guy I want to ask some questions."
7: "Hm, isn't that a coincidence?"
P: "Sure, but ... do you mind?"
7: "No, not at all."
P: "While we are at it, Seven: I am against needless violence."
7: "Hm. Ok, fine."
P: "You give up on the revenge and hatred you harboured and let fester for thirteen years? Just like that?"
7: "Sure. Pinky swear!"
P: "Do Borg even have pinkies, if you know what I mean?"
7: "Ah, sexual innuendo. Chakotay told me about that. Remember Chakotay?"
P: "Never met."
7: "Tall guy, square jaw, tattoo on his face? Was demoted to extra even more when I was introduced?"
P: "Oh, that guy. I smoked his 'peace pipe' once."
7: "Isn't that just a cliché, or is this another sexual inuendo?"
P: "Yes."
7: "... I miss Star Trek ..."
P: "Ask me about it!"
7: "Remember that episode where Tom Paris turned into a lizard?"
P: "That was drole. Remember when Archer had to use a chainsaw to do some ritual?"
7: "Or when Trip got pregnant?"
P: "Or when those worms infected upper managment?"
7: "Good times, good times."
P: "Yes, yes, indeed. Engage! Hah!"
7: "Resistance is futile!"
P: "Careful, otherwise I'll extend my assimilation tube!"
7: "Ha! Feeling lucky, punk?"
P: "My last breath I spit at thee!"
7: "Et tu, brute?"
P: "We will fight them on the beaches!"
7: "One small step for mankind ..."

etc. etc. I've got too much time on my hands, it seems.
Liya
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 8:01pm (UTC -5)
I never tired of Picard’s speeches until this show. What species is this Bejazal woman? Is she human? Am I the only one who finds it hard to believe that some random, humanoid woman could dismember a whole Starfleet officer, and only one person (Seven) would come for her, even though it’s no secret where she lays her head at night? See, s*it like this makes me want to join the KDF. The only reason why the Albino was able to grow old was because Kor, Kolath, and Kang couldn’t find him sooner.
Navneeth Lal
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 8:06pm (UTC -5)
Well the ending was interesting to say the least. So who is Dr. Jurati is she also working for the Tal Shikar????!
Geekgarious
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 8:23pm (UTC -5)
Absolutely terrible. Gratuitous shock value violence juxtaposed with more clunky heavy-handed exposition scenes. Then, oh look, let’s introduce a character we’ve been teased about all season only to kill him off a few minutes later. manipulative mystery box crapola at its finest and I’m still not sure why I’m supposed to care about Data’s daughter.

Jerri was a lot of fun to watch though. she deserves much better material.
Dave in MN
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 8:46pm (UTC -5)
Why WAS the EMH focused on Agnes instead of Maddox?

Is the EMH programmed to accept that someone is being murdered in front of him?

Why would they allow an EMH to be deactivated during a medical emergency? Wouldn't a failsafe command make more sense?

They'd better address this in the following episodes.
nf
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 8:50pm (UTC -5)
Hands up if you spotted the briefest phrase of Voyager theme recapitulated in tonight's show. A leitmotif, and a nice touch (despite the horror elsewhere).
Dom
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 9:50pm (UTC -5)
As generic sci-fi, this wasn't the worst episode. It wasn't even bad. But it was just so cynical that I feel dirty. I feel ashamed I was ever so invested in Roddenberry's liberal humanism.
Patrick D
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 10:01pm (UTC -5)
Found at Quark reference at 15:54. I guess at least he’s thriving after the collapse of the neutral zone. :-)
Steve
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 10:11pm (UTC -5)
Man I miss the old Star Trek. Upbeat (mostly) with a positive outlook on the future. Where miracles occur and where humans work together and where while bad things happen, they are outdone by the progress the galaxy seems to have made.

Now we have people getting drilled in the eye and tortured to death, beloved characters murdering people, and graphic beheadings. All taking places in some horrific almost dystopian view of the future. Great stuff for the family to watch.

Can't wait for the next episode where Neelix is a pimp and Naomi Wildman is thrown out of the airlock in graphic detail.
Jeff C
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 10:17pm (UTC -5)
Shock value over story-telling substance.

Gore and guts for the sake of getting cheap thrills out of the audience.

Glitz and flashy sci-fi frill over stories that have any real relevance or emotional resonance.

Bringing back the old characters just to play a bit part that entices us to watch, and then gunning them right down again.

Your characters aren't interesting enough? Turn them into traitors, just at the opportune moment, and then have them mercilessly slaughter the characters you just thought you got invested in, all for the sake of driving a machination that ultimately feeds a self-fulfilling, non-tale of eternal discontent and emptiness.

This about sums up Star Trek: Picard so far.

It's amazing how an actor as accomplished as Patrick Stewart agreed to take part in such a brash display of modern TV audience pacification.
Drea
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 10:21pm (UTC -5)
How did Mot the barber from TNG wind up here? Is he involved with shady information dealing from barber chair chats? Does it get boring cutting all the Romulans' hair the same way?

I wonder if he and Quark knew many people in common before they started business here. O'Brien, for sure.

With touches like these and especially with Icheb missing his cortical node, a detail from a Voyager episode I hadn't thought of in years, it's hard to take arguments seriously that the creators of this show don't know and love their source material. You might not like the choices and risks they're taking with it, but the canon nerd goes consistently deep on this show.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 10:45pm (UTC -5)
@wolfstar
"I am absolutely not going to end that day - or week - by watching Icheb be tortured to death for no reason other than shock and awe."

Yikes.

Have the writers gone completely mad?

@Tim C
"...Cue the 'oh gosh, that isn't Star Trek' crowd"

Well, it isn't.

And I gotta say that I'm amazed by the percentage of the Classic Trek fans who are willing to accept this. "Oh, I was shocked! It was terrible! But the rest of the episode was fine, no biggie". What's the matter with you people? Are you willing now to accept ANYTHING as long is it has the name Star Trek stapled on it?

@Dom
"I feel ashamed I was ever so invested in Roddenberry's liberal humanism."

Huh? Why? WTF does this episode have to do with Roddenberry's liberal humanism?

Me thinks you are directing your (very understandable) frustration towards the wrong thing...

@Eric Jensem

From what I've read on this page alone, Hank already seems to be an infinitely better writer than the hacks who are currently running the show. At least his parody managed to make me laugh.

@Jeff C
"It's amazing how an actor as accomplished as Patrick Stewart agreed to take part in such a brash display of modern TV audience pacification."

What's even more amazing is that this entire show was his idea!

Just goes to prove that being a world-class actor does not make a person a good showrunner.

@Drea
"With touches like these and especially with Icheb missing his cortical node, a detail from a Voyager episode I hadn't thought of in years, it's hard to take arguments seriously that the creators of this show don't know and love their source material."

There is a difference between taking random bits from past episodes without any rhyme or reason, and actually showing an understanding of that source material.

Any brainless computer could do the former. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the writers were using a piece of software to generate these references. That would explain how every single episode of ST:Picard has dozens of random easter eggs, while none of it makes any sense what-so-ever.

I also don't see any "love" here. Bringing back Classic Trek characters for the sole purpose of awfully killing them is not a sign of love. Completely ignoring the staple of what always made Trek what it is, is not a sign of live.

No, Drea, these writers neither love nor respect the source material. To them, Trek is just cash cow, and they are doing the bare minimum they need to keep the dollars flowing.
Rahul
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 10:54pm (UTC -5)
After the 1st 4 episodes, I was saying PIC is decent, not great, not bad Trek. But I think last week was an inflection point and this is by far the worst episode of the young series. What did this episode want to be? Parts of it were tragic, definitely going for shock value (nothing new), while the dress-up part was meant to bring some levity (I think). To be honest, I don't know why Stewart would want to sully his good name with an episode like this that even felt far less like classic Trek than the prior 4 eps did. Its style just was not even PIC. Or if it is, then the franchise is in deep shit.

Initially I was struck by the warnings: disturbing scenes, violence, language. And then it begins with Icheb having his eyes removed. Big strike against the episode immediately. But this is all to give us 7's backstory -- because we need another flashback to start an episode obviously.

What is interesting as story/plot goes is this "team" that tries to track down former Borg to harvest their parts. Gruesome, but it has an analogy to China harvesting the organs of prisoners of conscience. And 7 is a prized commodity who signs on with Picard's motley crue for a chance at revenge.

I recall Stewart saying something like why he came back to do this series was for all those fans who said Trek changed their lives, they liked the hopeful future etc. Now 7 is a hardened, vengeful vigilante ranger; the seemingly goody-two-shoes Dr. Jurati kills her former boyfriend Maddox (for what I'm not sure about); and Raffi abandoned her son and father to do drugs and now her son doesn't want her in his life. I think Stewart needs to apologize to his long-time TNG fans, even if he tries to warn 7 (and Elnor last week) not to kill. Penny for his thoughts.

As for Bruce Maddox, disappointed it wasn't the same actor who played him on TNG, but his part was short-lived. I guess Picard won't be able to get all the information he wanted out of him thanks to PIC's Tilly character who was un-Tilly-like in that final scene. Now Jurati has a shocking secret of some kind.

The discussion between 7 and Picard about partially regaining their humanity felt like it was gratuitously thrown in to add some depth to the episode but I think it could have been examined more. But character development is done shotgun style and with Raffi it's done particularly heavy-handedly. I couldn't stand the scenes with her son -- like why is this being tossed in here?? Are we going to see her son and wife/kid in subsequent episodes -- I would not bet on it.

Elnor was uselesss in this episode -- think he was just thrown in for humor but that didn't work.

1.5 stars for "Stardust City Rag" -- perhaps the title says it all. A tale of deceit, violence on a lawless Vegas-on-steroids world. I keep thinking of a vaguely comparable episode being "Conspiracy" as it didn't feel consistent with any of its own Trek that had come before it. Just really disappointed with the plot, the needless blood/gore, and ham-handed shock-value scenes and the direction the series is heading, although this episode may be an outlier because of the focus on the Freecloud world.
Omar
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 11:04pm (UTC -5)
Very disappointed that they didn't bring back Brian Brophy as Bruce Maddox. I don't know who that bearded guy was but that was NOT Bruce Maddox.
Lupe
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 11:09pm (UTC -5)
Icheb’s scene was devastating...
When Seven said “my child” I remembered of the episode Drone and “you are hurting me”.. that really got me.

I enjoyed the episode, for me having Steward and Ryan sharing scenes is ST bliss. I’ve seen Ryan in many other roles, she good but never as good as when she plays Seven. She is amazing as Seven, for me better acting in the Star Trek universe, only coming second after Sir Pat.

I do not find Seven’s “evolution” out of character, she is constantly a “work in progress”. In kind of a funny way it makes sense that life as a docile drone would make Seven yearn for a life with more thrill. The whole episode made me wishing for a Seven spin off now.. At least I hope we will see her again in the series.

- Did anyone caught when Seven took something Rios left in a console?
- I loved the mention of Quark!!!
- Poor Icheb... damn...
Liya
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 11:19pm (UTC -5)
@Drea

Yes, these writers know their canon, but they’re doing too much with the references. Icheb’s death scene was unnecessarily campy. The quip about the cortical node was cheesy, as was the fact that even though Icheb was a science officer, the writers just had to kill him off in a red shirt (womp, womp, womp).
Tim C
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 11:20pm (UTC -5)
Without getting into another endless "What is Star Trek?" debate (a question which, after over 700 TV episodes and thirteen movies, has such a wide-ranging answer that anybody who claims to know it is lying), I would like to say just how much I personally prefer the way the new shows are geared towards adult viewers. Adults swear, bat'leths stab, people bleed, and the preachy utopia of a well-run Federation starship in peacetime is revealed to be so much self-congratulatory back patting once you move outside of that bubble, something that anybody who has travelled to poorer countries knows today.

DS9 was also good at pointing out just how hard a place the galaxy can be, but the new era of Trek is taking it to another level, and I like it.

Eventually, I'm going to want to see a return to a show aboard a happy-go-lucky ship, just for a change of pace. But for now, I feel like I'm getting to see those parts of the Trek world that I always assumed existed, but never got the opportunity to see.
A A Roi
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 11:33pm (UTC -5)
@Rahul

There is nothing done in this episode that hasn't been done before in Star Trek. Gore, yep. Revenge, yep. Casinos, yep, heists, yep, betrayal, yep. The list goes on and one. And I find it especially amusing the complaints about bringing back 'classic characters' - is Voyager now considered 'Classic Star Trek?' and not treating them with the 'veneration they deserve'. Its as if they don't remember how a number of TOS characters got their lest than respectful 'send offs' in the TNG era.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 11:47pm (UTC -5)
@Rahul

Here is a snippet from space.com article about Stewart and ST:Picard:

"When asked why 'Star Trek' has such staying power after multiple franchises and more than 50 years on the air, Stewart's answer was simple: 'Hope. It resonates positive feelings about the future that things can be better.' ".

He said this about a month ago.

Now, Stewart had always struck me as a decent, honest man. I doubt he'd say the above unless he really meant it. Yet he is surely smart enough to realize that what PIC is doing is the precise opposite of giving hope.

So what's going on here? Why is he doing this? And worse: Why is he piping up the "hope" angle in that interview, knowing perfectly well that PIC isn't going to deliver on that promise?

Something doesn't add up here. If he was anybody else, I would have easily accepted the idea that he is lying through his teeth and doing it for the money. But when it comes to a guy like Sir Patrick, I just can't accept this explanation.

@Tim C
"Without getting into another endless 'What is Star Trek?' debate..."

That would indeed be futile.

If you think that Star Trek is the place to show a pointless gratuitous torturing-to-death of a beloved character that was just reintroduced, then I doubt you'll be convinced by any argument.

This is the one good thing that came out of this episode: It made the situation crystal clear.

@A A Roi
"Its as if they don't remember how a number of TOS characters got their lest than respectful 'send offs' in the TNG era"

Really? Name one.
Gooz
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 11:50pm (UTC -5)
What a complete stinker of an episode, but at least it moved the plot forward and exposed Tilly/Agnes as a double agent.

In order of appearance of ridiculousness:

Maddox replicated all the ingredients, baked the cookies, showed them to the camera, and still had the ingredients? Also, what is Tilly/Agness, a grown adult, doing shooting an instagram story about baking?

Nice ship security that lets a bunch of animated 3-D gif ads just pop up on their bridge. I do like the writer's take on what a future version of a GeoCities web page would look like.

Dear Raffi, pro-tip when preparing your friend for dealing with a lizard lie-smeller: Don’t tell your friend the lizard lie-smeller can smell lies. It will make it less stressful for him when encounters a lizard lie-smeller.

Bjayzl? Bjeesus! Ridiculous name aside, I liked the old Troi better.

Picard's horrible French accent. Why even bother? How would the universal translator translate accents to the listener's native tongue? anyway Input: Human French Accent. Output option 01: Accent from the frog-eating part of the Lizard Lie-Smeller's planet. Output 02: Accent of a snooty, smelly person from the Lizard Lie-Smeller's planet? Output 03: Accent of a person who can't form a proper queue from the Lizard Lie-Smeller's planet?

Raffi’s son, Gabriel, is such a little shit. No wonder Raffi left him. Nice appearance by Mindy Kaling as his pregnant wife.

Dear Bjayzl, Pro-tip: When someone grabs your neck while your friends are all pointing their gun at her, shooting your assailant is a pretty good idea. Don't ask them to drop their guns.

Bruce Maddox has been lying around all passed out and beat up in the bar the whole time?

7/9's shootout escape was not as cool as it was made to appear on the teasers.

Why didn't Tilly/Agnes just kill Maddox before Picard got to him? Oh yeah. Plot.

They kill off Icheb, but can’t find the time for a quick flashback to kill of Keiko? Typical.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 11:55pm (UTC -5)
@A A Roi

Oh, and regarding your question about Voyager:

Voyager, like everything else pre-2009, was firmly set in the same continuity and the same spirit of its predecessors. That is what the people here mean when they call it "Classic Trek".

(personally I would also argue that the writing for Voyager wasn't as bad as many Trekkies believe, but that's besides the point)
mouse
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 11:58pm (UTC -5)
@Norvo I'm so glad you said that about the resemblance to Marina SIrtis. I'm not alone.
Dick
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 11:59pm (UTC -5)
I'm with those who thought this week's episode was awful, and probably the worst so far from a character standpoint (at least it wasn't boring). The gratuitous violence and reveal of yet another main character with hidden/evil motives felt like a throwback to the worst elements of STD Season 1.

But the most egregious development in this week's episode is the assassination of Seven's character for the sake of a perfunctory revenge fantasy. It's worse than what they did to Kes in "Fury". At least that episode ended on a somewhat upbeat note. "Stardust City Rag" ends with a beloved Star Trek character murdering an unarmed woman in cold blood. Disgraceful.

I'm ready to head back to Chateau Picard and chill with Laris and Zhaban for the rest of the season.
Richard James
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 12:09am (UTC -5)
@Dick I'm not sure developing Seven's character amounts to 'assassination'. It's actually pretty plausible - in the 20 years or so since Voyager, Seven would likely have regained a lot of her humanity and would act much differently. If she'd just turned up speaking the same as she did the last time we saw her on Voyager that would also be pretty weird.

I agree with you that her inclusion in the series is questionable, and seems more like fan-service or nostalgia than anything else. But I think they did a decent job of pulling it off and to be honest her story was the most compelling part of this episode.
Tommy D.
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 12:15am (UTC -5)
I've only learned one thing on the Internet in regards to Star Trek and sports; everyone who writes for a show is a hack/idiot and every coach/manager sucks and has no clue what they're doing.

Carry on.
Richard James
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 12:15am (UTC -5)
I also find this debate about what constitutes 'Classic Trek' interesting. For my money, DS9 and TOS are about as polar opposite as you can get, yet there seems to be widespread consensus that both are pretty good and come from the same broad, 'golden era' of Star Trek.

My main issue with Picard and STD is, aside from the Abramsverse aesthetic, is that they have abandoned ideas for emotion. Science for drama. At its best (lets say DS9 as a high point) the drama was fuelled by ideas, and the conflict came from an examination of a political issue. Here and with STD, the 'emotions' and drama are front and centre, but they don't have the smart writing and intelligence that backed up so-called Classic trek.

I'm still hopeful this will improve though - Star Trek series are notoriously slow to get going and there is room for these smart sci-fi ideas to return.

While I enjoyed this episode more than others, I agree that it is divorced from 'Classic' trek. But it still has its own, limited merit.
Dick
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 12:39am (UTC -5)
@Richard James

I'm fine with Seven changing and developing over time, and I thought Jeri Ryan did a good job recapturing Seven's voice within the constraints of the script.

I'm not okay with Seven or any other Star Trek protagonist (except Garak) premeditatedly murdering someone for the sake of revenge. That's fine in Firefly or other dystopian genre television. It doesn't belong in Star Trek.

@Omar

I'm sort of glad they didn't bring back Brian Brophy as Bruce McGuffin. The character was essentially a prop in this episode, and Brophy deserves better.
Angela
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 12:50am (UTC -5)
Wow, tough crowd. I enjoyed the TNG-esque costume hijinks and Jeri Ryan killed it. She did an incredibly convincing job incorporating recognizable Seven mannerisms while also demonstrating growth/change (better in many ways than Patrick Stewart, IMO).
John Harmon
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 1:15am (UTC -5)
@Tim C
”I would like to say just how much I personally prefer the way the new shows are geared towards adult viewers. Adults swear, bat'leths stab, people bleed, and the preachy utopia of a well-run Federation starship in peacetime is revealed to be so much self-congratulatory back patting once you move outside of that bubble, something that anybody who has travelled to poorer countries knows today.”

Why are there so many supposed Star Trek fans that are so cynical? You like that they swear and show violent horror movie gore? Seriously? I could understand not minding it, but these things actually make you enjoy the show more? I’m pretty sure the swearing and violence are put there just because they want to show how edgy they can be for the 14 year olds who won’t even care about the show in the first place.

”Eventually, I'm going to want to see a return to a show aboard a happy-go-lucky ship, just for a change of pace”

Yeah that’s never going to happen. It’s all grimdark action dreck and has been since 2009.
James
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 1:36am (UTC -5)
I wouldn't assume the Seven story here is self-contained. The dialogue with Picard at the end and giving him her badge(?) indicates to me there might be a redemption story on the way.

But who knows? With the barbarism on display from many of the other characters it wouldn't surprise me if that's the end of it either and our last memories of Seven will be as a murderess.
James
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 2:28am (UTC -5)
"This fragmented style of writing developed on TV soaps, and is today mostly the product of modern television financing and distribution, art now fully dictated by Borg algorithms, conveyor belts and moneymen."

That's the unfortunate truth of it. Blaming Kurtzman or any of the producers or writers or even Patrick Stewart for how the series is turning out is missing the point. Hearing the negative comments about Kurtman, I was interested in who he was so I looked up an interview or two with him. He said this:

"There are certain things you can never change about Star Trek: its essential vision of optimism, its diversity. All of these things are what make Star Trek Star Trek and when you remove those things then it isn’t Star Trek anymore."

These writers and producers have good intentions. I'm sure Patrick Stewart does. But this is simply how subscription based TV works. It's bound to be hijacked by corporate, monetary, board-room forces, much like a Borg assimilation. And the creators, it seems, are mostly oblivious to it.
Tim C
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 2:56am (UTC -5)
John Harmon, I take great umbrage at being described as a "supposed" Star Trek fan! :P I bleed Trek and have since I was a kid. I still enjoy rewatching the old shows.

So speaking as a long-time fan, I *love* my Trek with grit in it. I like it when the ideals of our heroes are challenged, and we see them fail, and pick themselves up again, because that's what life is. I like it when we are reminded that these are military people in dangerous occupations, and when the risks they are taking are demonstrated.

What I never enjoyed about the old broadcast shows was the bland sterility enforced by being a prime-time network TV show for families. If I'm watching a show about adults doing adult things , then yes, I expect to see violence, swearing and the like. To me, that's far more engaging purely because it's simply how we know people work. Sure, the Federation may have taken care of their citizens' material needs and done away with war, but Star Trek ain't just the Federation.

To quote a few sages...

"Let me tell you something about Hew-mons, Nephew. They're a wonderful, friendly people, as long as their bellies are full and their holosuites are working. But take away their creature comforts, deprive them of food, sleep, sonic showers, put their lives in jeopardy over an extended period of time and those same friendly, intelligent, wonderful people... will become as nasty and as violent as the most bloodthirsty Klingon. You don't believe me? Look at those faces. Look in their eyes. "

"It's easy to cling to your principles when you're standing on a vessel with its bulkheads intact, manned by a crew that's not starving."

"Do you know what the trouble is? The trouble is Earth. On Earth there is no poverty, no crime, no war. You look out the window of Starfleet Headquarters and you see paradise. It's easy to be a saint in paradise, but the Maquis do not live in paradise. Out there in the demilitarized zone all the problems haven't been solved yet. Out there, there are no saints, just people. Angry, scared, determined people who are going to do whatever it takes to survive, whether it meets with Federation approval or not."
A A Roi
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 3:00am (UTC -5)
@John Harmon

Why do statments of fact read to you as cynical? Why are you again complaining that anyone who doesn't have a completely ideological view of the Federation aren't Star Trek fans? Anyone who has watched Star Trek has seen that there are many worlds outside the confines of the Federation, even in TNG days had problems. And even those within had populations which were unsatisfied with what the Federation had to offer. Tasha Yar's world even left the federation and descended into chaos, and the Federation stood by and did nothing. PIcard warned in Drumhead that there was always the threat of the kind of McCarthysim and needed to be guarded against (and the victim was a half Romulan). When a single Changeling got to Earth, a coup was narrowly averted.

People have sworn on Star Trek, on TV and in the movies. There has been blood and gore and violence across the series. Data did attempt to murder Kiva Fajo. Worf only got a reprimand for his revenge killing of Duras. No one was prosecuted for the attempted genocide of the nanites or the attempted genocide of the Founders or the blowing up of a Romulan ship to get them ally with the Federation against the Dominion. Was all this only done to seem edgy for kids who were 14 year olds in the 1990s?

There was a lot of action in TOS, as it was viewed as an action series. Not so much in TNG, more in Discovery. Times change. Each generation gets their own Trek, and there's nothing wrong with that. In twenty years there probably will be a different take on Trek because there already has been 3 in the past 50 years.

And IMO, there's nothing wrong with that, and it doesn't mean that one is more deserving of the title because of how it juggles the formula.
Elderberry
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 3:08am (UTC -5)
ooof!


I'm glad that being in the part of the world that gets this a day late means I'd read spoilers and was able to skip the first bit - never can watch torture scenes - I know the TNG episode with Picard and the Romulans is great, but I have to cut it.

Otherwise - sudden change of pace, which was needed, even for those of us who enjoyed the slow build up. Moving beyond the elegiac tone set by the theme music and the Labarre scenes into a more open exploration of a group of people with PTSD all dealing with it in different ways.

Jeri Ryan brilliant as ever - didn't Seven debate that issue of executing an evil person with Janeway at some point, with a similar outcome?

I think we're soon going to get Captain Picard back - there were tiny glimpses of him today - and the general recognition of him as still part Borg is interesting.

I'm increasingly convinced Agnes is either Data or Lore, with the ditsy naivety about 'space is big!' and Maddox 'burning' the cookie ingredients something built in as a protective measure.
Booming
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 3:10am (UTC -5)
Well, I guess Cronenberg Star Trek has finally grown into it's own thing.
Drama, Drama, Drama.
Mystery, mystery, mystery.
oh and now torture porn.
Everything is grand and emotional (but don't think about it too much)

I will watch this until the end of the season (not 100% sure, though) and then that is it. Star Trek is a thing of the past for me.

This just makes me feel bad.

This episode too starts with another big OMG scene. An eyeball slowly being ripped out of a skull.
Then we meet Seven who was kind of the good part of the episode until she wasn't.
Things constantly happen because the plot needs them to happen. For drama's sake. Maddox is maybe the worst figure. He has a deal with the Tal Shiar and then flees to crime lady (who is dressed like a prostitute for some reason; will we only see female objectification? Could we get some male objectification to balance it out?). Maddox had a debt with her for some reason and then takes a glass of something from her which, of course is poison and apparently a pretty painful one. Why not just take him into custody? She obviously has enough security. Why would Maddox be crazy enough to borrow money from this evil crime boss? Why would crime boss not heal Maddox when she wants to trade him? Why does Aggi kill Maddox so horribly slow? So that she can tell the audience: Another mystery. Why does she need to kill him? Maddox already told Picard where to go?

The whole nightclub scene with Rios in pimp mode and Picard going full blown B movie actor, was so silly. Every time I saw Stewart with his eye patch it threw me out of the scene. Stewart must have the greatest contract ever. He can probably do what he wants. "Ok, Mr Stewart, you want to play it like a cartoonish french resistance fighter. Yeah, uhh great idea. Let's roll." We are also to believe that the crime lady doesn't know Picard even though she is famous for specializing in Borg. Whatever. An alien that can smell lies but can easily be tricked with medication. ok. Was a Betazoid too expensive? That is saving money in the wrong parts of your business.

Then there is the fairly boring Raffi side plot. She cannot just show up (with no plan) at her sons house or something. No, she meets him in front of a clinic where he waits for his very pregnant wife who is Vulcan for some reason. To whom would a planet like this one more appeal to than a vulcan?! "Honey, I want our child to grow up in a crime laden hellhole." Very logical. Another exposition dump leading to more mystery. What might the conclave of eight be whoohoooo. MYSTERY. Apparently Raffi is also an actual drug addict and snake leaf a very serious drug. If I was cultivating a serious drug habit I wouldn't grow the plants for it on my lawn, though. Alrighty...

It somewhat works for the episode that we have left the Federation because this has nothing to do with Star Trek anymore. This is finally space adventure show with mysteries, drama and gore.

It didn't like it in general but it also felt like more wheel spinning. We get to a planet where we pick up the second last addition to the team who gets immediately killed off again combined with the big non reveal "Agnes is evil" *gasp*. They showed her something that was so terrible that she can even kill her lover in a horrific and painful way. If they not catch her at the beginning of the next episode then we have reached peak stupid. THE EMH SAW IT ALL. Maybe they will give some exposition like "The EMH memory was erased. Coincidentally when a guy died for no real reason. Oh well. Tea anybody?" The other thing was Seven who decided to not kill the crime lady because then they would all be hunted down, but then seven says "Good bye, guys." and beams down to shot the crime lady (and then murder the entire crime organization, I guess). Will the assassins who are going to hunt them care that she said to Picard: "I'm not part of your team anymore."? because that makes all the difference...

I guess a lot of people will like this. (I haven't read comments, yet)
I did not.

Rating: 1 1/2 ripped out eyeballs.
Mal
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 3:20am (UTC -5)
What’s better than one flashback to start an episode? How about two flashbacks to start an episode!

First of all, let’s thank @ Tim C for providing us last week with fantastic summaries of some key parts of the Picard prequel novel “The Last Best Hope.” That, more than the episode itself, added real depth to one of the best scenes this week - with Raffi and her son and daughter in law. And thank @ Jammer for this site, without which frankly, Picard would basically be an exercise in frustration and boredom.

The hour was worthwhile if only cause Rios was entertaining in zoot suit, 7 was pretty killer (literally), and frankly the monster-thug guy was awesome, like something out of nu-Doctor Who. Plus, thank god no borg cube scenes!

I’m not going to do a blow-by-blow account of what was essentially a shitty version of Star Trek: Blade Runner (@ Trent, spot on, the dialogue is god-awful, and Firefly did capers so much better).

Suffice it to say that our intrepid crew lands up at a planet called Bit-Coin, where all the Torrents are strong and all the VPNs are good looking. But did you say you hate Pirate Bay because of all the pop up ads? Well good, news, you’ll hate parts of this episode too for pretty much all the same reasons. And also because of Picard and his eye patch and ridiculous accent.

I’m going to add to @ Trent’s restructuring from last week, and say that they really should have had season 1 start 14 years ago, with a season finale with 7 of 9 (the second “13 years ago” flashback), and then season 2 could start 14 years later, and take us on this “adventure”. Even an intro mini-series like nBSG from 14 years ago would have worked. But this?!? Agh. I’m sick of these flashbacks.

Oh, and Aggie has killed at least two people now (first a Romulan agent at chateau Picard, and now her ex-boyfriend Bruce Maddox). Cause she’s not evil, at all.

Finally, a word of praise for baddie of the week Vagazzle.

Necar Zadegan was no burden to watch :-) Like some Troi/Kardashian hybrid, if you know what I mean ;)
Tim C
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 3:35am (UTC -5)
You're welcome, Mal. I'd highly recommend the book if you have an afternoon or two to while away; the whole storyline of Raffi slowly growing more and more distant from her family even as she and Picard are saving thousands is one of the saddest and most poignant parts of it.
Nolan
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 3:35am (UTC -5)
Sigh.

Well, I guess this episode was paced pretty good. And I do really like that Seven and Picard actually had a chance to talk about their common past. Although such an exchange in old Trek would've been a whole episode, comparing and contrasting their experiences, both in being Borg, and their coping mechanisms. But, no time for that.

Anyways, in this episode of Stellar Journey, disgraced ex-admiral Packart finally arrives at his destination, a wreched hive of scum and villainy. There he must use his new companion Numeral Designation, Meral for short, as a bargaining chip while Meral has her own plans for revenge for the death of her boy, Chub. At the same time Raffi attempts a familial reconnection, Rios must stretch his pimp muscle in a startling impersonation of Kramer from that one episode, and Agnes reveals secrets of the past, and the Ramaldan conspiracy grows ever dee- oh, what's that? We got the rights to the trademark? Our knockoff Trek is officially recognized? Whoo!

Man, Icheb. I really grew to appreciate him on my last VOY watch. Shame we'll never get him and Nog on-screen. And what a pointless and utterly transparent "shock the audience" death it was. (Though not for me, thanks to @Dave in MN's all caps declaration and my forgetting it was Thurday this morning, way to rob me of being angry about that. XD)

And speaking of Nog, the start of this episode stirred some odd feelings, as both Nog and Icheb were great, optimistic for the future, determined, and successful characters. And due to unfortunate events, now both of them, one fictionally, the other sadly all too real, are gone. It is a sad metaphor of what Trek has lost.

But Icheb's unfortunate demise in this episode, and the similarities to Nog got me thinking of "What We Left Behind," the DS9 documentary and the Season 8 episode 1 pitch meeting held by a number of the writers within it. In that, Nog too was brought back just to die. But that at least seems like it would've acted as a catalyst for whatever new story they would've been kicking off, as well as greatly affecting all the characters who were all there and saw it happen.

Compare that to Icheb, whose death solely serves as backstory motivation for Seven in a way that so far feels incredibly tangental, and somewhat demeaning, as it points to a common sci-fi trope: women who are badass only because of motherly instincts, hi Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley!

There's no reason that it had to be Icheb. In fact, I'd argue that it'd be better if it wasn't. What if Seven had spent her Post-Voyager life seeking out and helping former Borg reaclimate to individual life? Putting her heart and soul into it. Then the former Borg begin being hunted and all Seven built is destroyed. She's looking for revenge for that, disilluioned, perhaps while Icheb quits Starfleet to try and serve as her moral compass and keep her from falling into a rut. Thus, the scenario of Seven and Icheb would parallel and contrast Picard and Raffi's at least, giving the proceedings more weight and thematic relevance.

Instead we get Picard's giving up being a sort of catalyst for the creation of a lawless region in the former Neutral Zone, leaving behind disillusioned people and providing a place where despicible people can flock to set up black market trade, ultimately leading to the death of a former character - Icheb. Given all the people berating Picard for giving up and the chain of events spawned from that, I have to ask; are the writers trying to make us *hate* Picard? Is that what this is? Picard, and the optimisim he represents being $#@t upon? Because I don't see how this series represents optimism like they say it does. Not at all. Not when this show is constantly taking every optimistic aspect of the past and twisting it into darkness. The common Trek ethos has yet to return, sadly.

(As for "Classic Trek," I was taking it more in a Coca-Cola Classic way, not so much a "that series is a classic" one)
Andy's Friend
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 4:58am (UTC -5)
@TimC

"I personally prefer the way the new shows are geared towards adult viewers. Adults swear, bat'leths stab, people bleed, and the preachy utopia of a well-run Federation starship in peacetime is revealed (…)"

i. I personally prefer the way Chinese Communism is now geared towards market forces compared to the 1960s. I just don't call it Communism anymore.

ii. The thing is, I never liked Communism to begin with. So I have no problem with applauding the steps that have been and are still being taken towards a more market-oriented, private venture-friendly economy in China despite the authoritarian nature of the regime. But as I recognise that the ideology of the Communist Party of China is no longer Communist, I call it something else.

iii. This is the crux of the matter. From what I read, Star Trek: Picard is as much Star Trek as China under Xi Jinping is Communist. China is still authoritarian, sure. But so was Pinochet's Chile. Communist it ain't, however.

iv. You apparently never accepted the "preachy utopia" premise of Star Trek. Fine. You prefer cynicism. Fine. There are many bleak series in sci-fi trappings to watch. You enjoy this new series. Fine. All fine. But please, don't insist on calling this Trek.

v. The feeling I have is not that some fans abhor the cynicism in some modern television productions. I believe that a great many Star Trek fans also liked BSG, for example. But they were able to see that the fundamental assumptions regarding society and human nature of BSG was another than Star Trek's.

vi. The feeling I have is therefore simply that many cannot understand how some will handwave away the evident discontinuity in psychology and ethos depicted in the new series vis-à-vis its immediate predecessors in-universe, TNG-VOY.

vii. It is perfectly valid to criticise the new series (Discovery and Picard) as not being Trek, and it is perfectly valid to like the new series. What is not valid is to like them *as Star Trek*, due to said discontinuity of psychology and ethos.

viii. This, then, is the problem. Some fans who never truly accepted the fundamental "utopian" premise of Star Trek insist that this *is* the "realistic" depicture of humanity, also in the 24th century. They grasp at straws, they conjure every imaginable line of script despite massive evidence to the contrary, because they *want to believe* that this cynical vision could be Star Trek.

ix. Perhaps it could. But not in the span of twenty years, from the late 2370s as in TNG-VOY to the late 2390s as depicted now.

x. Paradoxically, this goes precisely against the *realism* that so many argue that NuTrek represents. It is simply not realistic to expect that people born in the 2330s-2360s -- in other words, the *adults* in the late 2390s, not only the people in positions of power but the entire living, breathing, adult human tissue of the Federation -- would revert so much from their "evolved", "utopian" psychologies as depicted in the 2370s to what is depicted now.

xi. You want a "gritty", bleak, pessimistic, cynical vision of Star Trek? Fine. But place it in the 2440s, and give us *plausible causality* that may explain how, in the course of two or three generations, things changed. Don't have us believe that it happened in a mere twenty years, *over nothing*, and defend such an untenable proposition.

xii. See viii.

xiii. See i.
Mark
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 5:29am (UTC -5)
It's weird to see so many people respond negatively to violence or swearing.

Are you all trying to watch this show with your young kids and hoping to get them into Star Trek or something? This show builds on age-old ST lore and feels very much directed at 90s ST fans (not in tone perhaps but definitely in the backstory it's building on).

Maybe you should either stop watching with your kids or stop clutching your pearls any time a character says fuck? lmao
Dougie
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 5:44am (UTC -5)
I think we’d all agree Star Trek:Picard would be much better with Elevator Alien cut scenes with 80s music. Right?
Tim C
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 5:44am (UTC -5)
I wrote a lengthy piece detailing my thoughts on the criticism of "Discovery is not Star Trek", Andy's Friend. They are equally applicable to the same criticisms of Picard. You can find it in the comments of "An Obol For Charon": https://www.jammersreviews.com/st-dsc/s2/obol-for-charon.php

TLDR: We're all entitled to our opinions, but with such a wide variety of Star Trek tales having been told already, I don't think it's a valid criticism to dismiss anything dark as "not Star Trek".

BTW, it's not that I don't accept the utopian vision espoused by Picard in many of TNG's early episodes. Picard and his crew clearly practice what they preach, and the Federation as a post-scarcity society that no longer has to worry about things like poverty is a wonderful vision of the future. But TNG and VOY both had a very limited scope: they focused on the crews of ships that got to zoom away from the issue of the week, and not worry about what came after. DS9 showed us what it looks like when you zoom out from a Starfleet crew and look at a complicated bigger picture outside the Federation, and surprise surprise, it's not as simple as Picard would often present it.

To quote myself from the aforementioned linked comment:

"Much like the producers at Paramount back in the day, shackling Voyager's creative reins to the ghost of TNG in the hopes that residual popularity would last forever and sustain their doomed new TV network, the people who charge that "Discovery isn't Star Trek" would seem to prefer the universe to remain creatively frozen in amber, an Orville-style rehash of a storytelling style we've already had over 700 episodes of, in the fear that somehow, attempting something new will invalidate the things they already love. Personally, I think that's bollocks."

I'll let my other prior words do the rest of the talking, if you care to read them. I'm tired of this particular debate.
Dom
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 5:47am (UTC -5)
@Mark, or maybe we could stop being so judgmental towards other fans. Some fans were invested in Trek because of Roddenberry's liberal humanist vision of the future. It wasn't just a mindless action show. Some people don't like excessive violence in their TV shows. I think people expect this sort of thing from Game of Thrones or HBO, but not Trek.
Tom
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 5:50am (UTC -5)
Mark - Personally, it's even weirder to be hearing people claim that violence and swearing makes it an "adult" show. I can only speak for myself, but I got over enjoying violence and swearing for its own sake (which is how it's used in Picard) when I grew out of my adolescence and became an adult.
Dom
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 5:54am (UTC -5)
@Tim C, For a lot of fans, we liked Star Trek precisely because of its liberal humanist values and because its episodes engaged with thoughtful social commentary. DS9 was somewhat more morally ambiguous, but ultimately held to the same worldview - people were ultimately good if flawed, progress in mutually understanding was possible, etc. The shows didn't glorify violence. These newer shows just don't do that.

No fan has a right to declare what is Star Trek. If fans are enjoying the new shows, great for them. If some fans aren't as invested in the morality of Trek, that's fine. Ultimately, CBS holds the rights and gets to decide what is Star Trek. But for a lot of fans, the moral worldview wasn't just window-dressing - it was the point.
Omni
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 5:55am (UTC -5)
I felt sorry for Gabe. Children of estranged parents have every right to establish clear boundaries about having little or no contact with said parents, and having Raffi show up at his workplace completely unnanounced is a violation of those boundaries. I don't blame him for reacting to her sudden intrusion into his life the way he did.

We as viewers (and readers of that book) know that factually, Raffi is correct about the conspiracy, but as far as he's concerned, she's the person who was there one day, then left him and his father to pursue a years long mission away from them, then returned with drink and drug issues after said mission went sideways, and then she shows up claiming to be clean while still sounding all tin-foil hat and manic. He doesn't need that in his life, least of all around his pregnant missus. Telling her to leave in no uncertain terms was the right call, for him at least.

---

Terrible advertising holo pop-ups can go straight to hell. To the boiler room of hell, all the way down.

Elnor not getting one did make me feel bad for the little guy though. Not even an ad for sword polish?

---

- 99.99% sure that "Bjayzl" was a pun on "Vajazzle". It HAD to be. The sparkly gown did nothing but reinforce that. It was about as subtle as a Bond Girl with the name "Diamante Nethers".

- Killing her may have been vengeance on Sevens' part, but also preventative justice. People should now be a lot more cautious when attempting to carve up ex-Borg, because Seven has sent a message on what they can expect if they do.

---

On the recasting issue;

- Brian Brophy is presumably too busy being the director of theatre arts at Caltech to be doing any filming.

- John Ales as Maddox was perfectly good in the role, playing him as a more sombre, haunted version of the character than the brash, arrogant version from TNG "Measure Of A Man".

- While Icheb was a good character, Manu Intiraymi is not a good person. I don't blame Star Trek production for not wanting anything to do with him (not least out of respect towards Anthony Rapp, who did not deserve that kind of offensive commentary from anyone, least of all a fellow Trek actor), and I was quite happy not to see him onscreen again. People might feel entitled to their own opinions, but some people are demonstrably wrong.

- Mark Bennington, who played the adult version of Icheb in VOY "Shattered" has visibly aged out of the role; he would have looked considerably older than Seven.

- Not much to say about Casey Kings' performance as Icheb due to limted screen time other than... he does good dying acting?

---

I guess Rios definitely isn't a hologram, what with the injection and all.
Omni
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 6:06am (UTC -5)
Sidenote:

Were the advertisement pop ups done by the same studio that did Short Treks "Ephraim and Dot"?

I ask out of pure interest, not as a praise or critique. Frankly I wouldn't have cared if they'd been some cinematic epic by Blur Studios, or whether they'd been done by Modern Toss in the style of Space Argument. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtNXanYemAM )

A "Come To Quarks! Quarks Is Fun!" reprise would have been probably a fan-service step too far, mind.
Robert
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 6:09am (UTC -5)
@Tim C

Well put. Though, I’m afraid the battle over which Star Trek is “The One True Star Trek” will never end. This happened during DS9 and happened again in Voyager. In 20 years when another Trek series is produced, there will be those outraged at it being so different from DISC and PIC. Go figure.
R.
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 6:22am (UTC -5)
@Trent

I misspoke. I liked Jeri Ryan's performance, and she did sell it despite the clumsy writing, moreso than how Seven was written.

It's frankly depressing (and yes, nonsensically conceived) that someone as intelligent as Seven who seemed to be on the road to something better last time we saw her would wind up as a Punisher-esque type lawgiver. It seems like these writers can't let these characters be truly content in their lives, there has to be some awful trauma or dark edge overshadowing their existence.
Booming
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 6:26am (UTC -5)
@ Robert
Tim C' argument boils down to "Star Trek has no identity and can therefore be anything." and that is, in a sense, obviously true. That is why people mention Roddenberry. He imagined the future in a certain way. DS9 more so than Voyager moved away from that and STP and Discovery have basically no connection to what Roddenberry wanted. And of course you can make the argument that he was a pervert and on drugs or that TNG was bad during the time he was executive producer. Still he had an identifiable narrative and that narrative is gone. Some have said that CBS owns STar Trek so they decide what it is. That is probably true but also really depressing. Star Trek is no different from some other product that every now and then gets changed to newly appeal to people. Do you want fries with that?
Robert
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:15am (UTC -5)
I don’t think Roddenberry’s vision is gone, it’s just being approached from a different angle. The writers are taking concepts and characters from the past and rolling them in the mud to see if they can still dust themselves off and be that better person Roddenberry envisioned. I honestly get why some people don’t like it, the approach almost seems like a reversal of TNG. But on the other hand, Trek stagnated for awhile after Enterprise failed and it seems like it needed something to inject some new life into it.

As long as we have characters challenged with huge moral stakes, challenging them to go beyond the human condition in the future, Gene’s work is very much alive.
Tim C
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:15am (UTC -5)
I think that's a mischaracterisation of my opinion, Booming. It's not that I don't think Star Trek has an identity; it's that I think it has *multiple* identities, and it suffers whenever it tries to copy itself. TOS, TNG and DS9 are all quite distinct from one another. VOY and ENTs biggest creative weakness was their unwillingness to move on from the TNG model. It led to the eventual cancellation of the franchise. People had been there and done that.

Trek has to keep moving forward and reinventing itself. In Disco's case, it's as a slam-bang action adventure, the kind that VOY was always trying to be. And PIC wants to try being a long-form streaming-era drama. Much better to have these honest attempts at something new than a rehash, I feel.

Some vocal commenters seem to think that Trek has lost its optimism. I disagree. The writers of Disco have not been great at it, but there *have* been honest attempts to maintain the spirit. And PICs first season is one singular story, perhaps even to continue into the next, so I think it's a bit early to judge it at the episode five mark.
Black winter day
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:21am (UTC -5)
What a horrible mess of an episode.

To me, this is where Star Trek truly died.

Ok, i get it, in the 80s music was Queen, Dire Straits and Metallica and now its Cardi Bi.

And in the 80 and 90s sci fi/Star Trek was TNG/Voyager and DS9 and now its Discovery and Picard. Long dumb ridiculous and grim shows with retarded scripts, ridiculous action sequences and good special effects, which are the only things the powers that be think the viewers want.

This is not i want from Star Trek. To me, the last real Star Trek was Enterprise. We had a good run, more than 700 episodes, 10 movies.

Its a lot for a franchise and we had some wonderful moments, but it apparently ended at 2005.

I dont know what the hell this is and why it is called "Star Trek", but this is not the Star Trek i know and want to know.
Boura
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:29am (UTC -5)
@Trent

You've summed it up perfectly, I agree with your entire post. I also thought this was the worst episode so far.
Trent
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:47am (UTC -5)
"Discovery" Season 1 started with such a interesting premise. We had a strange alien artifact in an asteroid belt and the cool political implications of the Klingon Empire's return, the Federation forced to negotiate with space fascists. As the season went on, all this interesting stuff got thrown away, buried under mountains of needless subplots, introductions, mystery box tactics and random segues.

"Discovery" Season 2 did the same thing. You had the cool idea of first contact, alien signals, and god-like beings. All of that went out the window for mystery box tactics, twists and random segues.

Neither season trusted the political, philosophical and scientific implications of their first, core ideas to be interesting in-and-of-themselves. The seasons couldn't fathom how to intelligently milk these premises without resorting to gimmicks. The seasons couldn't fathom a show where intelligent professionals investigated and coped with these core problems as professionals.

Virtually every episode of these two seasons epitomizes bad writing; every episode is a con, and the con becomes obvious at about episode seven in each season, the writers obviously spinning wheels and plucking stuff out of left field to constantly titillate or distract or appease producers.

Picard's first few episodes have a great premise. The Romulans wanted help, Starfleet betrayed them, there are xenophobic tensions within Federation member-worlds, and Picard stands for a kind of multi-species bridge building in a time of bigotry. This offers you a rich sandbox to tell interesting political, philosophical and scientific stories. Like the first few episodes of Disco S1 and S2, you're intrigued by these themes and your imagination spins wild fantasies. Oh the possibilities! Something like "The Drumhead" stretched for 10 episodes, or "The West Wing" in space, ambassadors and representatives frantically working to keep alliances from splintering. Or take the Nick Meyers route, and do something like "The Undiscovered Country", a rousing jaunt but with a touch of class.

Instead, like Discovery, we constantly rubber-neckedly veer off into wild and ridiculous directions. Synths. Mars attacks. Undercover cabals. Mysterious Borg cubes. Undercover Vulcans. Incest romulans. Data's sister. Twins. Mad scientists. Doom Prophesies. Undercover assassin scientists. The pregnant wives of the sons of drug addicts. Cameos ("Hi Seven! Bye Seven!"). Piles upon piles upon piles of unnecessary stuff, like spam or graffiti blasted into eyeballs.

The show is so tonally incompetent, this episode begins with eyeballs plucked from a kid's eyes (like every act of violence in the show, the victim is unmet and so garners no emotional weight) and then segues into guys having a jolly time dressing up as pimps and pirates.

The only common thread in these three seasons is Kurtzman. And Kurtzman loves big "mystery box twist endings". And this show will have one. You can feel it coming. And it will be so hilariously Kurtzmany.
Mertov
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:52am (UTC -5)
Tim C,

I agree with you completely. I would have zero interest now in a rehashing of the safe, episodic format of TNG or VOY (that had to live with the restrictions of network ratings, which, thankfully, the new shows do not have to). Would I watch it? Sure, at least once, because it's Star Trek. Like it? Probably not unless there is some incredible storytelling. Will I label its fans "supposed" Trekkies or "cynical" or any other name because they happen to like what I don't? Absolutely not.

Star Trek is a setting (that is not a definition either, like Tim C. says, anyone who claims to know what it is, is lying) and within this setting there are many adventures/crews to follow. One may like some and not like others (ex: Enterprise for me), but regardless, they are all parts of Star Trek.
Remco_Spock_Helmet
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:54am (UTC -5)
Have any of you people ever been diagnosed as being... anhedonic?
Latex Zebra
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 8:09am (UTC -5)
@Remco_Spock_Helmet

I applaud you! Please imagine the of Leo clapping in Wolf of Wall Street. That is I wish I could send you.
Bold Helmsman
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 8:31am (UTC -5)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

Regarding hope, I might advise you to read up on the story of Pandora's box (or pithos, if you prefer). For my part, I can totally understand what Sir Patrick meant about hope, especially in regards to his well known feelings about Brexit.
Artymiss
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 8:36am (UTC -5)
Reading these comments makes me very glad I stopped watching Picard half way through the first episode.
R.
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 9:09am (UTC -5)
@Remco_Spock_Helmet

You think we're incapable of experiencing joy just because we're dissecting an ensemble science fiction show?
Dave in MN
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 9:19am (UTC -5)
@ Nolan

Sorry about that. I'd just finished watching the episode and Icheb's graphic brutalization was still fresh on my mind.

I'm revising my episode score downward a half star. After rewatching this with some of the criticisms (mentioned here) in mind, I can only go 2 stars. Seven and Raffi are the only reasons I'm not rating this lower: the actresses playing them are excellent at bringing depth to their scenes (despite the banal trite script they were given).

@ Dougie

Yes, an elevator scene with an alien is preferable to most of this. (I'm assuming this is a dig at The Orville
... please watch the second season before you make jokey insults about what is or isn't Trekkish).
lijtsofy
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 10:07am (UTC -5)
I think what Jammer said 11 years ago has a special force today:

"Despite all that I've written about Trek over the past 15 years, I've never been able to satisfactorily answer the question of why this franchise endures and has been able to exist in so many incarnations. Is it the generally positive outlook? The straightforward sense of adventure? The characters? The ever-expanding canvas that has become its own universe? "Gene's Vision"? (My, how I've tired of the unending analysis of Gene's Vision™. Methinks Gene's vision was to make a successful television show, and he just happened to have an optimistic picture of the future when he conceived it.)"

I'm tired of the analysis of Gene's Vision too. The longer he's been dead, the more certain some people are as to what that vision was. Odd indeed
Dougie
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 10:10am (UTC -5)
@dave in mn
You and others here, based on my Orville comments, told me to go away, I was forbidden to even hate watch it. I’ve sat here and read yours, and all THOSE others (including the sentinels) eviscerate this show endlessly.

Hypocrisy. Own it. I even stopped going to the Orville forums. You know, Dave, I HEEDED the advice, and my life improved. Now, I just joke about Orville with my friends and we’re good.
Wolf359
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 10:14am (UTC -5)
So my first thought when I saw Bjayzl was "is that Deanna"? Once I figured out no, my second thought was where is Riker and Troy scene from the trailers? Did, I miss something?
philadlj
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 10:15am (UTC -5)
In a series that so far has been dominated by Patrick Stewart and Picard and left me caring about little else, Jeri Ryan makes her triumphant return to Trek as an older, more jaded Seven, doing her damndest to maintain order in a galaxy of chaos and finally providing that key second character I truly care about. As was the case on Voyager, she steals every scene she's in.

I know behind the scenes Ryan was very nervous about returning to the role, but that goes to prove she's her own harshest critic; she is a consummate performer who absolutely nailed Seven's evolution and stole every scene she was in. Her little aside to Picard might be the highlight of the series.

As a longtime Trekkie I also appreciated the return to a more episodic format, both with Seven's inter-episode arc and the "mission of the week" involving a covert operation to recover Dr. Maddox, who is sadly reduced to a glorified MacGuffin who only serves to point Picard to the Artifact.

There were hints Jurati's relationship to Maddox was more than simply/professional scientific, and I'm starting to see why Jurati has laid on the cuteness so thick (so as to hide her hidden motives from the rest of the crew). It's all a bit contrived but hopefully it spells the start of interesting character development, as well as conflict within the so-far buddy-buddy crew.

Jaffi returning to the La Sirena after her son spurned her wasn't too surprising. There was never any doubt she'd be back; otherwise why even bother introducing her only to have her around for a couple weeks? Notable that her abandoning her son to help Picard the Romulan effort mirrors Picard abandoning her after the effort failed.

I wish Picard had said...*something* after Rios said his fee doubles in Romulan space. What are we working with here, some kind of non-aligned credits? Gold? Latinum? Wine??

I'm still trying not to see Elnor as a character straight out of the LoTR universe, but his not-in-on-the-joke fish-out-of-waterness at least adds variety to a crew of otherwise tortured souls.

Final Verdict? This was the best episode to date, 3 1/2 stars, mostly thanks to Seven and taking a break from the Cube characters.
Trent
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 10:27am (UTC -5)
Mertov said: "I agree with you completely. I would have zero interest now in a rehashing of the safe, episodic format of TNG or VOY"

Berman mandated that VOY be "safe" and "light" so as to allow "DS9" to be serialized, low-key and flex its muscles. It wasn't a creative decision on the part of "Voyager's" writers and artists, it was a corporate decision by moneymen in case "DS9" leaked traditional trek viewers.

And Kurtzman Trek is the DEFINITION of safe, episodic and old-hat. Here's filmmaker Andrew Todd predicting it in 2016:

"If JJ Abrams has one enduring contribution to pop culture, it’s undoubtedly the concept of the “mystery box.” In a TED talk that probably shouldn’t have been as feted as it was, Abrams used the metaphor of a “mystery magic box” he acquired during childhood, to describe his approach to storytelling. Stories, he said, are mystery boxes: representing “infinite possibility,” they’re a series of reveals designed to make audiences want to see what happens next. The thought of what might happen is more important than what actually happens.

[...] What this did was to train fan audiences to watch movies and TV in a certain way, wherein any tiny action could be a clue to some greater mystery. Fandom painted itself into a plot twist-first storytelling culture. The question of who a character “is” now means "how does this character link to everything else in their universe," rather than "who is this character?". It’s a bad way to approach stories, putting the emphasis on puzzle pieces rather than emotion and character. Stories are now puzzles, based on what fits established canon, not what’s dramatically right.

Over the past ten years or so, filmmakers, authors, and TV producers have picked up on this habit, and begun to engineer stories around it. TV shows are particularly guilty of twist-first storytelling, using their long-form structures to tease out mysteries and keep fans guessing. The importance of driving online discussion can’t be discounted here. Pop culture viewership is driven largely by online discussion and internet clicks nowadays. Producers and writers must cackle with glee as they make being part of the pop-culture conversation a vital part of simply existing online. Fans obsessively create theories while accusing critics of “overthinking” their favourite properties, and all the while SEO ratings shoot through the roof.

JJ Abrams is obviously part of this shift - his most influential contribution to pop culture, Lost, is the poster child for directionless, unsatisfying mystery, and by now his mere involvement in a project is enough to spark conspiracy theories. But like every season of television he produces, Abrams is only the beginning. Everybody’s doing it now. TV shows are the worst offenders - Doctor Who is an incomprehensible web of absurd conspiracy arcs now, American Horror Story is building its own shared universe of links and connections, and I’ve lost count of the shows I’ve never touched because of how much time investment they require. Marvel films are festooned with trite hints at what’s to come [....]"
Dave in MN
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 10:28am (UTC -5)
@ Dougie

Calling other watchers "sock puppets" and making fun of the actors' personal lives doesn't engender good relations with others. The fact you're still cracking Orville jokes suggests your contributions to the conversation would still be negative, so you probably made the correct choice.

Perhaps your Orville-related malaise is a symptom of your issues, not the cause. I'm not a psychologist, though, so I'm likely wrong.

I'm glad to hear you're doing better.
Keiren
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 10:48am (UTC -5)
I thought the first 4 episodes were interesting but different. After all, everything has to change and try new things and we all have different limits on how much we want or expect things to change

However this week was not a good episode for me. I believe the reason Sevens appearance feels random is because if I remember correctly, she knew nothing of Picards mission. She wasnt there to join a mission she knew about, she just kinda showed up because shes from a previous series.

It also felt like there needed to be clarification if Seven and Picard knew each other. Because we are familiar with both onscreen it was a point that I think needed better clarity as to how the characters related to one another.

I too am against the gore. Whether it is appropriate or not, it's not something I want to see. If I did I would watch a different kind of program. I also feel like the violence and gore is used to prove we are watching a "mature" series, which is nonsense. Looking at other TV shows or other ST like DS9 proves that shows can be mature, complex and engrossing with or without gore.

In the same way, the broken characters we are watching do not inheritly make them more interesting. They can be more interesting, but surely it's just as if not more interesting and compelling to show how characters maintain their standards and moral integrity?

It's so much easier to write broken characters that have given into the pressures of this universe than it is to show the struggle to be better.

That being said, it is interesting to see a different side to this universe. However this dark side is all we see, so there is no point of comparison to the better side, the light side that others live in. From what we know of this show everyone is bitter broken or down because we dont have any positive, happy characters.

I could be very wrong about all of this and I haven't commented in a loooong time so I'm not sure I've been very articulate but everyones comments have been very interesting so far... :-)
Chrome
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 10:52am (UTC -5)
Yeah, I thought Bjayzl was a Betazoid when I first saw her, but she has colored irises and being empathic would make the bluffing scene with Picard impossible.
Lynos
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 10:59am (UTC -5)
Better than last week, another partially-episodic outing, which is good.

Opening scene was gruesome to say the least, but after the Voq/Ash scenes in Discovery a new bar has been set for gruesomeness in NuTrek. Other than that it was intriguing. I guess every episode of this series will begin with a flashback?

The sequence on Freecloud was a mixed bag for me. Felt too much like Star Wars at times, with Rios in the role of Han Solo, Bjayzl in the role of Jabba the Hut, and Jurati in the bumbling role of C3PO. I'm still waiting for this show to feel like Star Trek instead of other Sci Fi shows/movies.

It also felt like it was taking place in the Holodeck with everyone dressing up. I'm not sure why they all had to be there, and Picard French act did not do it for me. It probably sounded like a great idea in theory, but it was a bit embarrassing, to be honest. But Bjayzl was a good foil for the gang. Too bad she got disintegrated in the end by Seven who is apparently took quite a large detour in her quest to find what makes us human.

And speaking of Seven, Jerry Ryan really lifted this show, she's excellent. And her back and forth with Picard is some of the best parts of the episode.

Raffi meeting her estranged son.... Michelle Hurd was great in the scene, but the family drama itself is a bit trite, we've seen it before, and also... it's not a good idea to linchpin all these emotional scenes on a character we hardly know... her goodbye to Picard at the transporter... it would've meant something if we knew anything about the relationship between these two. Same for Raffi and her son. It's the first time we see him. So of course we need expositional dialogue to tell us what happened. It's somewhat clunky.

And why is there music in almost every second of the show? You can have a small emotional scene without music drowning it. It's okay.

So Dr. Jurati's character started as a normal scientist (best in her field!), continued as a bumbling, clueless companion aboard the La Sirena, and now is apparently a filthy traitor. I am getting whiplash!
Eric Jensen
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 11:13am (UTC -5)
//It also felt like there needed to be clarification if Seven and Picard knew each other.//

Huh, obviously not. When Seven was beamed aboard, you didn't see the reaction from Picard? They know of each other only by reputation. Or even when Picard was Locutus.

//I believe the reason Sevens appearance feels random is because if I remember correctly, she knew nothing of Picards mission.//

She did not. That is not related at all. She is ex-borg. She came back from the Delta quadrant. She is now a Fenris ranger
Drea
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 11:36am (UTC -5)
Star Trek: Picard is an optimistic, hopeful show.

Yes--really.

And, gentle reminder, the Federation is still utopia compared to present-day Earth.

If you're a junkie, you won't wind up homeless with your insides rotting. You'll get good medical care and a small but comfortable place in a beautiful part of the planet.

If you're a refugee, the debate won't be about whether to turn hoses on you when you approach the border, or about whether you and your children belong in cages. It'll be about whether or not to rescue you pro-actively. Failing to do that is the great crime of the Federation's recent past. Contemporary world powers have not even considered such a thing.

Federation citizens regard a few specific outgroups with suspicion--synths, Romulans, and ex-Borg. But it remains overall a remarkably inclusive society of well over a hundred species with respect for the life and liberty of its people.

The environment is in good shape. The planet is fine. Nobody is starving.

Roddenberry's future always featured a humanity that has on the whole gotten itself together and achieved peace and understanding with the Other--but with discontents within and pockets outside the Federation that were far nastier. That's the future PIC depicts. The story it's clearly telling is about the discontents, the people who would choose a more brutal world, gaining traction, and about the people who refuse to let that stand.

From the standpoint of the United States today, it seems almost too optimistic to be true.
Mertov
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 11:58am (UTC -5)
Trent,
I really don't care what Todd or Abrams said or their opinions of one another. Neither has any bearing on my enjoyment of Picard nor related to its production, nor do they have any authority on the show.
My original remark about Voyager being safe and episodic stands.
Dougie
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 12:02pm (UTC -5)
Dave in mn

Yeah you’re wrong. Don’t even try. Go find an elevator and press buttons until you figure this out.
Booming
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 12:03pm (UTC -5)
Yeah sure Drea letting almost a billion people die. No biggie. Far better then todays countries. I don't know what warped mindset you have. If the portrayed Federation is a utopia then I don't want to know what a dystopia looks like for you.

" You'll get good medical care and a small but comfortable place in a beautiful part of the planet." You mean like how it is done basically in every western European country.

"If you're a refugee, the debate won't be about whether to turn hoses on you when you approach the border, or about whether you and your children belong in cages. It'll be about whether or not to rescue you pro-actively. "
Yeah well you cannot walk to the border of the Federation. No need for hoses. Oranges and tulaberries. And who knows maybe the Federation would have put them in cages. Give them time. I expect Federation concentration camps in the new section 31 show.

"Contemporary world powers have not even considered such a thing."
what kind of thinking is this. What? should the West get planes to Afghanistan and Syria and fly these people in? What's the argument here. The syrian refugees who live in Turkey or Europe are alive. The Romulans are all dead. I live in a country that took in more than 1.5 million syrian refugees and they all get a place to live, money and medical care. Also free education and language courses. The horror!
Bold Helmsman
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 12:05pm (UTC -5)
@Drea

Excellently put.

Picard, and dare I say it, Discovery are hopeful because they show that people are willing to try to rise above the flaws in society and in themselves, rather than simply accepting them and resting on the laurels of perfection.

Perhaps the difference in perception is because while previous Star Trek shows did show this, but they usually defaulted back to the status quo without actually dealing with it, while modern Trek is more willing to actually show people dealing with these issues, however imperfectly you may think they are at it.
Chris
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 12:10pm (UTC -5)
@Omni -

I did get a huge kick out of the annoying targeted holo-ads on a television program that is frequently interrupted by unblockable advertisements. (I don't pay extra for the 'no-ads' experience).
Mertov
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 12:14pm (UTC -5)
"If the portrayed Federation is a utopia then I don't want to know what a dystopia looks like for you."

Booming, did Drea say that? "Federation is utopia"? Or did she have a nuance to that statement that gets lost if you transfer it only as "Federation is utopia"?

Don't get me wrong, I agree with most of your post, but I am against the idea of taking a few words out of a larger sentence or picking a quote or two out of a whole and misrepresent what someone says for the sake of argument.
MadManMUC
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 12:16pm (UTC -5)
Sigh.

Five episodes in, and I'm left feeling utterly deflated by this series, and Star Trek as a whole.

I desperately want to love this show. Picard! 7 of 9! TNG cameos! But, I can't. Between the still grim-dark tone that wishes it was nBSG, the incest siblings, the gratuitous violence and torture porn, the tearing up of everything I thought made Trek fun and worth watching ... I can't love it. Or even like it.

I was easily able to rail against STD on a weekly basis. I can't with this thing, I just don't have the energy anymore.

Kurtzman broke me. Trek is dead and long gone.

And for those are arguing that there's no definition of Trek, and that Trek was never this, that, or the other thing, it seems CBS/Paramount believe there *was* a definition of what Trek was:

For a time, Noah Hawley was attached to the new vapourware Trek film, and now he's not. The rumour (so far unsubstantiated, I must add) is that his script for the film was rejected by TPTB at Paramount for being 'too Trekky'.

Like I said, it's just a rumour (originally broken by 4chan, of all the seedy websites) but it really wouldn't surprise me if it were true, considering the angle Hawley wanted to come in from on the film. Anyway, here's a link to an article about it:

https://boundingintocomics.com/2020/02/03/rumor-noah-hawleys-star-trek-movie-rejected-as-details-leak-out/
Ghosted
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 12:18pm (UTC -5)
i liked the cortical node reference, but I didn't think icheb ever had a Borg eye implant? Most brutal scene in star trek?

The Captain came off a bit 'lando' in the solo star wars movie. It was all quite fun, but can't imagine 'classic Picard' doing that type of French characature turn. Maybe retirement has loosened him up. The exchange with seven later was much more Picard and better for it. I should forgive Patrick Stewart a little enjoyment i think though.

Good to see seven back and as usual stole the scenes in a good way. I would have preferred 'Annika' to have had less trauma post voyager as she's certainly suffered more than most.

Also shame it wasn't the same Bruce Maddox as TNG and Marina Sirtis has a doppelganger it seems.
MikeC
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 12:30pm (UTC -5)
How I would add flavour to this episode:

When Rios asks Raffi whether 7 knows Picard, rather than say 'No' say 'In a manner of speaking..' they were both in the Collective ffs. Easy bit of flavour.

When 7 has her phaser battle... have her get hit in the shoulder and arm. When the 3rd shot hits... oh wow she's adapted and the guys run off scared. Makes us realise she's still a bit of a badass Borg.

Sorry guys I had to get this out somewhere.
Booming
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 12:31pm (UTC -5)
@Mertov
I get what you are hinting at that is why I provided examples from the real world.
I guess you agree that living in an ok flat, with food, free medical care and education is better than being dead. So from my view Europe sure looks more utopian than the Federation.
Chris
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 12:31pm (UTC -5)
@Trent-

"[...] What this did was to train fan audiences to watch movies and TV in a certain way, wherein any tiny action could be a clue to some greater mystery. Fandom painted itself into a plot twist-first storytelling culture. The question of who a character “is” now means "how does this character link to everything else in their universe," rather than "who is this character?". It’s a bad way to approach stories, putting the emphasis on puzzle pieces rather than emotion and character. Stories are now puzzles, based on what fits established canon, not what’s dramatically right."

Holy crap, I couldn't have said it better. That's been my unspoken but main criticism of modern television for the last 10 years or so. It works for a little while, but the 'trick' gets old after a few episodes as you stop caring about what happens next because you lack any real connection to any characters. Such 'tricks' should be used only the minimal amount to help keep things moving as needed, not as a means to an end itself. It's called respecting your audience enough and the material enough to expect the audience to be interested in your story because it is a good story, rather than tricking them into listening to a crappy one.

I think that is why I like Picard more than Disco, honestly. I never liked Disco because none of the characters were developed at all, and they seemingly did random things that were probably not what real people would do. It makes what little character development there is seem cold and wooden at best. For example, romance in both Disco and Picard is generally shown by two people merely being in the same room together where the script forces them to suddenly start kissing or embracing or something, rather than show two people share a genuine connection and building on that.

Picard is prone to the same crap, but it can at least draw on previous characters that were truly well-developed (by others, it begs pointing out). So I do feel some of the connection, even if Picard is not doing a lot to further their development. In that same vein, Captain Pike was the best part of Disco season 2 for much the same reason. Spock was so far off that he was essentially a new character and I got nothing from him.
Trent
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 12:33pm (UTC -5)
Mertov said: "I really don't care what Todd or Abrams said or their opinions of one another. Neither are an authority."

Kurtzman and Abrams have been making films and tv shows together since 2006. Abrams is an authority on his dumb mystery boxes (to an extent that he gives TED talks on them).

The point is, contrary to what you said, the mystery box formula of nu-Trek is precisely the "formulaic", "widespread" and "overdone" thing you accuse "Voyager" of being. Every other show since "Lost" has been using this toolbox of delaying-tactics and mystery-box tricks.
Chrome
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 12:34pm (UTC -5)
MikeC wrote:

"When 7 has her phaser battle... have her get hit in the shoulder and arm. When the 3rd shot hits... oh wow she's adapted and the guys run off scared. Makes us realise she's still a bit of a badass Borg."

I haven't seen season 7 of VOY in awhile. Does Seven have adaptive shielding and all that other Borg tech in her? I was under the impression a lot of that got removed, but OTOH there was also the occasional "Seven's Borg nanoprobes go awry" story.
Eric Jensen
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 12:34pm (UTC -5)
Definition of Star Trek?
To boldly go where no [one] has gone before
To explore civilisations
To seek out new life

So far, this is not Star Trek as of old. Well, the moral dilemmas of Seven? Where is the new life here? Star Trek Discovery has the mycelial network... that was "new"... The only that is at odds here, or at conflict, is "synths". Why do Romulans have an aversion to synthetic life?

What happened on Mars? Why are Romulans the antagonists (not Laris, Zhaban and Elnor)? Who was Dahj and who is Soji? Does Star Trek Discovery has anything to do with Picard that relates to Control? Why is the Federation/Romulans involved in this that relates to Bruce Maddox?

The Jem'Hadar was new on DS9
The Hirogen/Species 8472 were new on Voyager
Etc etc

So what is Star Trek? At the moment the only thing that makes this "star trek" on Picard is Soji and why she is the twin daughter of Data. It is the exploration of Romulans, the Borg, synths and the Federation.
Booming
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 12:43pm (UTC -5)
@ Bold helmsman

"Picard, and dare I say it, Discovery are hopeful because they show that people are willing to try to rise above the flaws in society and in themselves"

What people? Picard who just went into complete inaction for 15 years after the Federation turned him down? Bitter Raffi trying to force her way into the life of her son? Jurati murdering her lover? The bitter Seven vaporizing the crime lady and then murdering her security team? Bitter Rios doing all this for some kind of payment? The space elf?
What people on this show are willing to rise above anything???
Mertov
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 12:55pm (UTC -5)
Trent:
"Mertov said: "I really don't care what Todd or Abrams said or their opinions of one another. Neither are an authority.""
Nope, That's not what I said. If you're going to quote me, you should do it correctly. You just did what I said to Booming a bit earlier.

Booming:
Got it. And yes, like I said, I agree with most of your post including the comparison you just mentioned (not all, Drea is right about nobody starving or being homeless).
Yanks
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 12:58pm (UTC -5)
@ Dave in MN ... "Millennial Falcon" ... HAHA... I like that.

Not sure if this has been shared before, but I think this video is really well done and talks about our differences while watching old and new Trek. Pretty interesting I thought. Remember, there is much more that unites us than divides us. Personally, I don't need the gore and the f-bombs and think some of the critics above cut Discovery Season 2 WAAAAY short.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBOd9vr7D5A&list=PLB3D8E7EA07438AB6&index=137&t=0s

Sigh.. while I think this was the best acting Michelle Hurd has given us so far, her character is just all over the place. So, this snake leaf stuff is pretty bad? .... she finds her "son" and claims to him she's "clean"? ... isn't that a flat out lie? Her son has every right to be pissed at her from what we know. He also should go to acting school (horrible). Man, his wife looked like she was ready to pop! ... lol triplets on the way!

So, 7 is now a "Ranger" ... BAB5 popped in my head immediately. I was waiting for some sort of "We live for the One, we die for the One!" reference. I thought Jeri did REALLY well with what she was given here and what she was given wasn't bad. I was impressed. I hope this isn't a flash in the pan thing with 7... I want her as a regular in this series. So who is this "Chop Doc" Borg part seller gal? ... did I read this right, was she and 7 in some sort of previous relationship? I felt no-shit tension and drama in 7's scenes (for the 1st time in this show). I'm glad 7 schwacked her. Did anyone else catch that Madam Chop Doc was looking for a cortical node in Icheb? ... I immediately knew she wouldn't find one because he gave it to 7 in "Imperfection".

As far as casting the initial actors for the Maddox and Icheb parts... if I were Brian Brophy and Manu Intiraymi I would have said "what's the point"? ... eesh, I can't remember such short screen time for someone that should have meant more to the plot; especially Maddox.

I didn't mind the animated pop-up stuff ... hell, we get tailored crap on our phone and email everyday. Nothing for Elnor?

When they beamed down to this place on Freecloud and were all guzzied up, I thought Picard should have been dressed like Dixon Hill instead of an over the top French dude.

I was really surprised Maddox had such a short role. He basically only told JL where to find Soji (and that she existed)... I was expecting more. .... so, were my suspicions true? ... is Agnes a Romulan spy? ... or was she acting on her own? ... more to follow I'm sure.

I was more than happy not to see Soji and her love interest (I need to shave Romulan spy) and the creepy interactions with Narissa for one episode.

What did they show Agnes? Who is they? What does she think she needs to atone for? Why did Maddox have to die? How is the Federation involved? Allison conveyed her conflicted position very well I thought. I don't think she planned to do this when she joined Picard.

Tune in next week for more answers... I hope. I just hope 7 is part of our search for the answers.

I thought this episode was better than the last 2, so I'll go 2.5 stars.
Eric Jensen
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 1:01pm (UTC -5)
From The Void, Voyager Season 7
JANEWAY: The Charter's a statement of principles, not a practical document.
JANEWAY: No. But I've become convinced that we've got to stick to our principles, not abandon them.
JANEWAY: If the alternative means becoming thieves and killers ourselves, yes. But I'm betting that our principles are going to keep us alive.
JANEWAY: The Federation is based on mutual cooperation. The idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Voyager can't survive here alone. But if we form a temporary alliance with other ships, maybe we can pool our resources and escape.
Hank
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 1:03pm (UTC -5)
@Booming: Exactly! Optimism isn't a fixed point to be achieved, it's a mind set, and so far, none of the characters in this show have it. Even Picard has given up on his optimism and instead retreats to saving a single person who is the daughter of an old friend instead of trying to do something for the Romulans, for example. A personal quest, not some principled stance.

Add to that: Bitter Romulan refugees sitting on a planet, putting up signs "Romulans Only", never even trying to better their lot themselves? Bitter Admiral saying "Fuck you, Picard, you are a piece of shit!"? Bitter Picard saying his interview was a mistake (because it clashed with public opinion, apparently)? Heck, even scientist lady is bitter because her research was shut down for no other reason than fear, while the research itself yielded nothing but an army of enslaved robot workers!

Seriously, we get a 20 year timeskip, a catastrophe 14 years ago and NOTHING has changed from that point onwards, nothing turned to the better, nobody moved on. People got more hateful and bitter because of it, and it somehow all relates to Picard, who is the lynchpin of this turn. Everybody we know is either dead, bitter or absent and the new characters are either bitter or jaded. If the qualifier for "optimistic future" is "Some things are better than now" then even Warhammer 40k qualifies as that, since there are whole planets of absolute peace and quiet, untouched by any danger since milennia!
Bold Helmsman
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
@Booming
Picard made a mistake, and now he's trying to do better, rather than just keeping on hiding.

@Hank
Current Picard can't do much of anything for the Romulans, because of choices that he made in the past that he can't take back. But he isn't letting that stop from from trying to do good in a small way. That sounds like optimism to me.
Eric Jensen
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 1:12pm (UTC -5)
In short, Star Trek Picard is the continuation/ the repercussions of the following. I think the relevant question is: will Soji work out she is the daughter of Data and will she follow in the footsteps of Data?

In TNG, Measure of a man (bruce maddox)

DATA: I will not submit to the procedure, sir.
PICARD: Data, I understand your objections, but I have to consider Starfleet's interests. What if Commander Maddox is correct, there is a possibility that many more beings like yourself could be constructed.
DATA: Sir, Lieutenant La Forge's eyes are far superior to human biological eyes. True? Then why are not all human officers required to have their eyes replaced with cybernetic implants? (Picard looks away) I see. It is precisely because I am not human.

GUINAN: Well, consider that in the history of many worlds there have always been disposable creatures. They do the dirty work. They do the work that no one else wants to do because it's too difficult, or to hazardous. And an army of Datas, all disposable, you don't have to think about their welfare, you don't think about how they feel. Whole generations of disposable people.

PICARD: What is he?
MADDOX: A machine!
PICARD: Is he? Are you sure?
MADDOX: Yes!
PICARD: You see, he's met two of your three criteria for sentience, so what if he meets the third. Consciousness in even the smallest degree. What is he then? I don't know. Do you? (to Riker) Do you? (to Phillipa) Do you? Well, that's the question you have to answer. Your Honour, the courtroom is a crucible. In it we burn away irrelevancies until we are left with a pure product, the truth for all time. Now, sooner or later, this man or others like him will succeed in replicating Commander Data. And the decision you reach here today will determine how we will regard this creation of our genius. It will reveal the kind of a people we are, what he is destined to be. It will reach far beyond this courtroom and this one android. It could significantly redefine the boundaries of personal liberty and freedom, expanding them for some, savagely curtailing them for others. Are you prepared to condemn him and all who come after him to servitude and slavery? Your Honour, Starfleet was founded to seek out new life. Well, there it sits. Waiting. You wanted a chance to make law. Well, here it is. Make a good one.
PHILLIPA: It sits there looking at me, and I don't know what it is. This case has dealt with metaphysics, with questions best left to saints and philosophers. I'm neither competent nor qualified to answer those. I've got to make a ruling, to try to speak to the future. Is Data a machine? Yes. Is he the property of Starfleet? No. We have all been dancing around the basic issue. Does Data have a soul? I don't know that he has. I don't know that I have. But I have got to give him the freedom to explore that question himself. It is the ruling of this court that Lieutenant Commander Data has the freedom to choose.
(Data walks over to Maddox)
DATA: I formally refuse to undergo your procedure.
Eric Jensen
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 1:33pm (UTC -5)
Also the irony is this: From Voyager - an attempt to prevent an event triggers the same event, like in Star Trek First Contact, where the Borg goes back in time, but the crew of Enterprise ended up saving history.

The current thinking online is that Romulans created the Borg... in the effort to sacrifice the few to prevent the creation of artificial synthetic life. Why create Dahj and Soji? Data died to protect Picard and his essence was transferred to another flesh and blood synthetic and that become Dahj and Soji. Why wait to be activated? If the Romulans (zhat vash?) created the Borg, why do they hate synthetic life? The destruction of all life, the Romulan "mythology expert" had said, would be brought about the Destroyer (Soji).

The dilemma is this: Picard wants to save all life (as many as he can). The "corrupt" Federation and the Romulans wants to destroy this synthetic life - Soji - because of what they know. Does this go back to Data and Lore, one is evil and one is good? Narek had already placed a seed of doubt into the mind of Soji.

Dr Jurati apparently received a mind-mind from Commodore Oh and has now killed Bruce Maddox. Why doesn't the Federation let Picard know about this?
Kabraman94
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 1:39pm (UTC -5)
@Remco_Spock_Helmet

Seriously.... some people need to lighten up. It's like their entire world is crumbling.
Brian
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 1:48pm (UTC -5)
FROM - "Tim C
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:15am (UTC -6)
I think that's a mischaracterisation of my opinion, Booming. It's not that I don't think Star Trek has an identity; it's that I think it has *multiple* identities, and it suffers whenever it tries to copy itself. TOS, TNG and DS9 are all quite distinct from one another. VOY and ENTs biggest creative weakness was their unwillingness to move on from the TNG model. It led to the eventual cancellation of the franchise. People had been there and done that.

Trek has to keep moving forward and reinventing itself."

Brian replies. Oh no no no no! Trek has multiple personality disorder because (after Roddenberry died) they foolishly thought they could reinvent it the way they thought it ought to be and the incarnations of it they created became increasingly dreadful.

I still say that the decline began the instant DS9 appeared and TNG was retired. That was the end of Star Trek AFAIC. They never did like the restrictions Roddenberry put on the writers (even though those restrictions weeded out the bad writers and forced the better ones to get creative and make stuff that was worth watching). So Roddenberry's body wasn't cold yet before they were making plans to bury Trek with him and create their own knockoff and slap the Star Trek name on it and hope nobody noticed.

DS9 (miraculously) wasn't too bad. But it was a space show that was (very loosely) based upon TNG. Without that name there's no way it would have gone on as long as it did.

Voyager was where it became really apparent that things were off the rails (in a bad way). It had some good elements but there were many "WTF?" moments that obviously turned people off and just left me wondering why the hell they cancelled TNG so they could do this crap.

Then the TNG movies started rolling out and boy did they suck! Except for First Contact. There's a big empty spot in my mind where everything after First Contact would have been. Hey. Even the TOS crew made at least one real dud (ST V). But there was (by the time of Nemesis) an obvious pathology running wild. And that is the real reason you haven't heard much about Trek since. You're still better off watching the reruns of TOS, TNG and even DS9 (and maybe some of Voyager if you can stomach a lot of rotten food).

Now what are they doing here? I don't even know. I don't think I want to know. I'm watching it but I don't know why. I'm getting that same feeling I started getting about halfway through the first season of Voyager.

And I think your post (Tim) sums up everything that is wrong with what they have been doing. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Right? Remember that? When was the last time Trek really worked? TNG (It was at it's peak when it was cancelled and Trek has never been the same). You can have all the denial you want but it's a fact. What they have been doing wrong is they had a successful model and a successful show that it worked with and they wasted it and tried to go "forward" with this serialized crap and Trek just does not work well in that format. It never has.
Hank
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 1:52pm (UTC -5)
@Bold Helmsman: Yes. In the smallest way possible. Why can't he do anything? Can he not speak out for them? Can he not call on old allies or friends who owe him a favour? Can he not try? Apparently he has given up on all that and focuses on selfish desires (save the daughter of your dead friend to replace him/save her sister to not feel so guilty anymore). In other worlds: He has already given up on the world.

But Ok, I give you Picard as the sole optimist in this story - an optimist who is constantly berated and ridiculed for his ivory-tower mentality, shunned by superiors and peers alike, who has failed more people than anybody else apparently and is universally hated and ignored. A dreamer, deluding himself, that's what he comes off as. A relict from another time, thrust into the harsh reality that everything is pointless anyways.
Nathan L
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 2:22pm (UTC -5)
@Brian

"What they have been doing wrong is they had a successful model and a successful show that it worked with and they wasted it and tried to go "forward" with this serialized crap and Trek just does not work well in that format. It never has."

"Voyager was where it became really apparent that things were off the rails (in a bad way). It had some good elements but there were many "WTF?" moments that obviously turned people off and just left me wondering why the hell they cancelled TNG so they could do this crap."

I like a lot of your points, sir. To be fair, VOY *was* modeled in the style of TNG, but it was still often poorly written and its best actors (McNeill, Picardo and Ryan) were not the senior officers. A huge amount of talent from the TNG days like Moore had also abandoned ship early in Voyager's travels.

"TNG (It was at it's peak when it was cancelled and Trek has never been the same)."

To clarify, although season 7 was arguably the weakest for the show, TNG wasn't cancelled. Paramount realized TNG was popular enough that they could be doing movies instead of television with it. There's a big difference in momentum between TNG and ENT's conclusions, for example.
dave
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 2:30pm (UTC -5)
I am enjoying Picard in a vacuum of itself. In the context of the rest of Trek that we know pre 2009 Kelvin timeline movies, it is a difficult series to enjoy. I think we have to shut off our Trek viewers to get the most out of this series.

They are not making this for us. They are trying to make a series that will attract new viewers and fans that will be with them for the next 20 years. But, I think they miss the mark on that as I don't see Disc or Picard getting any sort of long term following once the series are wrapped up.

Jeri Ryan is awesome, I thought she was going to be a regular so I hope so. She has so much to offer to this series, maybe even more than Patrick Stewart at this point.

I can buy the murder angle.Her child was tortured to the point she had to kill him to spare him the suffering of death. I can not buy if that is what her character becomes. I am hoping that was a purging of whatever she has gone through for 13 years and she will be much more in the future than a murderous vigilante.

The multiple layers of twists and turns are getting ridiculous. Too many of them.

And FFS if they make Romulans a creation of Vulcan cybernetics that left for their own planet then that is such a gross ripoff of BSG reboot I can not take this seriously anymore. THat would just be atrocious storytelling and an absolute shitting on the entire history of Trek just for the sake of a one season mystery plot. I am very concerned that is where this is heading.

But again, in a vacuum, the series is enjoyable. In the context of Trek, this has a lot of issue and may leave a lot of people very angry if this goes where it appears to be going.
Dave
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 2:35pm (UTC -5)
A second note on Ryan.

We all know why she was brought into Voyager back then; the T&A body and the incredible body suits. It worked I seem to remember a ton of talk about that the first few episodes around the water cooler so to speak.

But here is what happened. She turned out to be a fantastic actor and other than maybe the Doctor, she was the best on the series. Her career post Voyager has been solid and she has acted over and over again to great results. So she has a ton to offer if they write her good material in Picard.

Voyager sure ages well when you go back and watch a few random episodes. I didn't like it as much back then as I was a big DS9 fan, but looking back I really did under appreciate it.
MikeC
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 2:51pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome

She never used it and tbf I doubt she ever had such shielding... but the way they played up the fact (in this episode) that she was assimilated at a young age and thus had more borg tech than your average drone... I mean I could have happily accepted it if she did for a badass send off for her in this ep.
wolfstar
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 2:57pm (UTC -5)
I have to agree with Tim C over Brian here. The franchise was run into the ground by being obsessed with its own past - part of it was studio insistence that Trek had to mean weekly episodic adventures on a ship exploring space with little continuity. IIRC, the original idea for what became Enterprise was for a series would initially be set on Earth - but the studio insisted that a) they go into space straight away and b) the ship be called Enterprise. So studio conservatism was a big part of the problem.

When was the last time Trek really worked? The last season of Voyager has about a dozen really solid classic episodes that I still enjoy watching to this day. The last season and a half of Enterprise had its heart in absolutely the right place - the Augments trilogy and Mirror Universe two-parter are rollicking roaring successes, and the sustained arc work in the final third of season 3 is excellent. And the half of Star Trek Beyond that focused on character interactions was great, even if the overall plot was lackluster. Trek worked in all those instances, long after TNG and DS9 (my two favorite series) had finished. 1989-1999 may have been Trek's peak creative period, but there was still good Star Trek after that window - even if it was much less frequent. Trek can still work.

As bad as I think Discovery and Picard are, their on-paper approach of doing something different (darker tone, arc storytelling) was the right one in my book - I didn't want Trek to be weekly episodic adventures on a ship exploring space again, because the franchise has done that to death. And both DIS and PIC indeed had good pilot episodes (at least I thought so). The problem with these series, aside from the fact that they eschew and even actively undermine Trek's value system and worldbuilding, is that they're just bad drama - the quality of writing is abominable both on a week-to-week basis and a long-term basis. This is the main thing that's wrong here, more so than the question of whether they're Trek or not Trek. Let's be honest, if Discovery and Picard had still been non-Trekkian in terms of their values and sensibility but were as good as BSG, B5, Firefly, Farscape et al, we'd be doing a lot less complaining. It's not just that Discovery and Picard are terrible Star Trek (with no understanding of what made past Trek series great and little talent in the writers' room), they're also terrible if you compare them to the dark, edgy sci-fi series they most closely emulate. Firefly was obviously a major inspiration for Picard, but the latter is a dreadful weak imitation by comparison - and I'm not even a particular fan of Firefly. Those sci-fi dystopias and "rogues in space" shows may have been dark and edgy by Trek standards, but they still had all the things that used to be prerequisites for a solid drama series - good dialog, sustained character development, decent writing on a week-to-week basis, etc.. With Kurtzman-era Trek, none of those things seem to be there - so we're left (as is the case with so many modern series and films) with good special effects and production values, and a mostly solid cast, but not much else. Certainly not good writing, which is the bedrock that should underpin it all.
Eric Jensen
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 3:05pm (UTC -5)
Dave

"Her child"? Icheb was not her child. He was certainly as close a son to Seven on Voyager, but certainly not her child. She does say the words as he died. He sacrificed his cortical node for Seven. Icheb was an ex-Borg and he was created by his parents as a virus to destroy the Borg. It was Seven who became a foster-mom to Icheb.
Brian
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 3:06pm (UTC -5)
@Nathan L

OK. But for all intents and purposes, TNG was cancelled. As far as fans of the show were concerned, it could have gone on probably for several more years and still had enough momentum for movies. Nobody in their right mind would want their favorite show to stop having new episodes and only having one new movie every couple years or so. From a fan's perspective, what they did just didn't make any sense.

Yeah. Season 7 was weak but it was weak because they had too much crap going on at the same time and they were using TNG (and resources from it) to prepare for DS9 and Voyager. And obviously, the people who were working BTS on TNG didn't really have much incentive to keep making it a strong show when they knew it was the final season. Why bother at that point?

Again, I think they were just tired of working within the confines of TNG and they thought Trek would work with lots of conflict and war and spy stuff going on. That was when Trek really stopped working. They changed the formula in a bad way and it shows.

And also, nobody has a 7 year attention span anymore. Especially when you can't miss a single episode and you have to really struggle to suffer through the ones you hate to get the important details to make the next episode make sense.
Dan
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 3:07pm (UTC -5)
"Roddenberry’s vision"

Jesus.

If Trek had stuck exclusively with the above, it would have been over long, long ago. There are only so many stories you can tell with such a limited scope.

People who think Trek "died" when DS9 came out and such should probably not bother with the new incarnations, because you're just setting yourself up for frustration. Just keep re-watching TOS and the first couple of seasons of TNG. Those are representative of the "vision" you place on a pedestal. Hope "Code of Honor" doesn't wear out its welcome too quickly.

Whether an episode of Disc or Picard succeeds or not (all subjective, obviously), I'm glad that the writers are doing something different. Picard *shouldn't* be the same person we left 15+ years ago. Seven *shouldn't* be the same person we left almost 20 years ago. TREK *shouldn't* be the same show it was 20, 30 years ago. Do people really want yet another version of "starship visits planet, does stuff, leaves, reset button is pushed for the next episode"?

Also...when did people stop being patient enough to let a show tell its story before deeming it unworthy? It's not like we have to sit through 26 episodes.

I dunno. Maybe I just need to stop reading the comments...anywhere.
Marvin
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 3:10pm (UTC -5)
Agree with @wolfstar.

I stated in past reviews that the argument over Trek v. non-Trek would not be relevant *IF* we had a decent show. If we were to assume that ST Picard *isn't* Trek *but* had good storytelling (like using @Trent's? (forgive, if wrong shout out) reordering of events), there would probably be less complaints.

I also agree that the cast really isn't the issue, but the characters, which then points to the writing. WRITING WRITING WRITING doesn't get enough credit in any medium--TV, movies. Good writing can overcome poor casting and acting, but good/great casting and acting cannot overcome poor writing. See, for example, Ad Astra with Brad Pitt. Horrible writing, plot, etc., but good acting; doesn't save the movie however.
Marg
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 3:12pm (UTC -5)
Wow, what an emotional episode.
"tears for Icheb" indeed.
Elnor doesn't get a FreeCloud tourist digital character...funny.
Rafaella, that was a rough "reunion" with your son. I hope you keep it together. He'll come around by the end of the series.
@Norvo re Sirtis look alike: me too—couldn't stop thinking about Troi.
(Troi, where are you? Maybe she's a Ranger with Seven...heh, that'd be cool.)

Seven, please don't go! Or, take me with you... I want to be a Ranger.
A A Roi
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 3:19pm (UTC -5)
@dave

just to offer a rebuttle, I've been a fan of Star Trek for over 40 years, and I've been enjoying Discovery and Picard immensely and look forwards to this era's Trek going forwards. I won't argue that it's not the simplistic stuff that the show used to be mostly comprised of. Me, I'm happy to see Star Trek that is built in such a way that it reminds me of the 300+ page Star Trek novels I read back in the 80s. As a reader of often complicated works of science fiction, I'm loving that Star Trek has actually tackled the long form in my lifetime.
A A Roi
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
@Dan

People with open minds like yourself and me certainly do exist. TrekBBS continues to be a forum for those who aren't consumed by outrage that Trek didn't stand still when their vision of what Trek is allowed to be came to a hard stop.
Brian
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 3:32pm (UTC -5)
FROM - "Dan
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 3:07pm (UTC -6)
"Roddenberry’s vision"

Jesus.

If Trek had stuck exclusively with the above, it would have been over long, long ago. There are only so many stories you can tell with such a limited scope.

People who think Trek "died" when DS9 came out and such should probably not bother with the new incarnations, because you're just setting yourself up for frustration. Just keep re-watching TOS and the first couple of seasons of TNG. Those are representative of the "vision" you place on a pedestal. Hope "Code of Honor" doesn't wear out its welcome too quickly."

I think you didn't read what I wrote too well (but that's OK. I wrote a lot). I didn't say anything about "Roddenberry's vision" and I hated the first season of TNG (and still do). Obviously Roddenberry did not create what worked on TNG single-handedly. But he created stipulations that forced writers to be more resourceful and more creative (for example, conflict needed to come from an outside force) and that (IMO) kept things from going to hell in a handbasket sooner than they did.

It wasn't that he was some kind of flawless person. And yes. Some of those first season episodes exposed some rather unpleasant things about him. It's not about his vision. It's about the role he played in making the show what it was. He was what he was as a human being but in the power structure of TNG, he was also someone who kept the writers on a short leash and didn't let them run wild with every errant idea they came up with. Which also tended to have the nice side effect of nurturing good writers and shunning bad ones.

Again, you can look at the timeline. I don't have to prove when things went South. Just look. You can look at the ratings and the popularity and the reviews. It all speaks for itself. Without TNG, nothing that came after it would have been possible. Because it soared so high, it took several terrible movies and multiple lackluster series to drag things down to the point to where it's almost preferable to not have new Trek at all.
Brian
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
Oh yeah. And Trek's real strength was always episodic. That was another Roddenberry stipulation. That made it easy to move on from a stinker of an episode to a great one without having to concoct some implausible halfassed explanation for stuff you'd rather forget. Like the first season. The first season (and most of the second season) is a self contained box of poop and you can leave most of it where it sits and watch the rest of the series and still understand what's going on. Obviously, Encounter at Farpoint is a necessity and the dreadful episode where Yar was killed by the oil slick is necessary. Beyond a few necessities, you don't have to suffer though hours upon hours of garbage to get something worth having.
Booming
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 3:49pm (UTC -5)
I think it would have been better to let Star Trek end. What is the actual value of the two new shows? Apart from being Star Trek? With Discovery we already know that both arcs made no sense. The big conflict in season one was solved by the Federation almost committing genocide then giving the bombpad to the Chancellor. The second season had set up a lot of stuff but mid season they changed a lot about the team and in the end it was all complete action nonsense.

Ok Gene Roddenberry's corps shall rot. What do we have then. Some of you may have seen that my comment that comes directly after watching an episode is mostly about the shoddy writing.

None of the seasons of NuTrek come close to any BSG season or the Expanse and the Expanse is by no means a perfect show but it tells a story I understand in a world that makes far more sense than whatever we see in STP.

BSG was emotional, it was pushing boundaries, it was progressive, it's surprises and mysteries felt earned. The development (for the most part; I didn't like the Zarek ending) of the characters also felt earned. The shows arc worked really well. StP and Discovery are weaker in all aspects. They only look better. Why should I watch a lazily written show where bitter characters fight against overwhelming odds so that in the end everything will be good again ... until we see zoom in on Rizzo during the last scene watching Picard and saying:"I'll get you next time Picard."
(I'm joking of course. Rizzo will die this season probably in a graphic and horrific way. My money is on Borg nanites slowly killing her while Narek watches.)

Why should I continue to watch a grim and bloody show when I already have BSG and The Expanse???

And what is most important. BSG ended. Star Trek now feels like the Simpsons. You just want it to end so that you maybe can appreciate the times when it was great but deep down you fear that maybe the fact that this went on so long and went down so painfully that maybe it is all tainted now...
Drea
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 3:51pm (UTC -5)
This exclamation shows the gulf between Picard's morality and the state of politics today:

"what kind of thinking is this. What? should the West get planes to Afghanistan and Syria and fly these people in? What's the argument here. The syrian refugees who live in Turkey or Europe are alive. The Romulans are all dead. I live in a country that took in more than 1.5 million syrian refugees and they all get a place to live, money and medical care. Also free education and language courses. The horror! "

Wow, I wish I were a refugee! It sounds great! It’s a good thing there aren’t hundreds of thousands dead from the Syrian civil war or millions displaced without resettlement or resettled to a place that isn’t so friendly, and that no one resents them and elects far-right parties into power in response.

Refugees who make it out are, obviously, alive. Those who don't, not so much. They're not refugees; they're casualties. If we scale up from the population of one country on our planet to the population of one world within a galaxy, the scale of Romulan dead is clearly intended to be proportionately comparable to the scale of people dead in say, Syria. To say nothing of other areas torn by war or catastrophe.

So yes, Picard's proposal to the Federation was nothing less than the equivalent of building massive boats to bring over every person in Syria who wanted to leave.

Star Trek, while reaching a global audience, is ultimately a very American show. The refugee situation in Europe is difficult enough, but the United States has treated refugees, drug addicts, and other vulnerable populations with staggering brutality. The equivalent would be the Federation turning planetary defense guns on refugee ships seeking safe harbor. Many of us feel outraged that our leadership enables this violence. Our attempts to stop it have had little effect, so that we’re exhausted and bitter like Raffi.

We’re getting to the point where, compared to the United States, the free education, medical care, and housing of the best social safety nets in Europe seem utopian. The Federation is still a future where all of Earth, and worlds upon worlds beyond that, receive all of this or better. Where the moral standard that Picard demands of us is higher than what people from countries more merciful than mine would even consider.
James White
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 3:54pm (UTC -5)
This is getting embarrassing. This doesn't need to be half as good as the Expanse to hold my attention. But, honestly, this is pathetic. When the showrunners are Kurtzman and the guy that wrote the screenplay for Batman and Robin, I guess this is what you get.

What a waste
James White
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 4:03pm (UTC -5)
Maybe 1 star. Honestly, people, do you not know what decent storytelling looks like?
Mertov
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 4:05pm (UTC -5)
"Why should I continue to watch a grim and bloody show when I already have BSG and The Expanse???"

Oh but you will Booming ;).
If these boards are any indication of how Trekkies who loathe a Trek show with a passion continue to still put aside one hour (at least) of their time every week to watch it, and probably another hour or more, also every week, to put into writing (sometimes in essay form) their loathe for the show, for a total of two hours or more per week of their time, then yes, you will ;)
James White
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 4:20pm (UTC -5)
@Mertov

I bet a good number of people on this forum will not watch DSC Season 3. And, if things continue to devolve, quality-wise, for PIC, then many on this forum will not tune in for Season 2.
Booming
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 4:21pm (UTC -5)
@ Drea
"Refugees who make it out are, obviously, alive. Those who don't, not so much. They're not refugees; they're casualties"
What the hell are you talking about. The people who died in Syria are dead BECAUSE OF A CIVIL WAR. They are not dead because the had to flee the oney who fled are alive.

"So yes, Picard's proposal to the Federation was nothing less than the equivalent of building massive boats to bring over every person in Syria who wanted to leave."
No that is not comparable. A Syrian refugee had to get to a border, mostly Turkey and would then be sent to a refugee camp. The EU gives Turkey 6 billion € every year. You don't need a boat to get out of Syria.

"Star Trek, while reaching a global audience, is ultimately a very American show."
That is very true which is another weak point for me.

" Our attempts to stop it have had little effect, so that we’re exhausted and bitter like Raffi."
You know I'm a political scientist so for me it is really interesting seeing the (more or less) oldest democracy turned ever so slowly into an oligarchy and oligarchies sooner or later become dictatorships. Not always of course. But the chance for the US democracy to heal is very small in my opinion. Maybe if the stars really align but no, probably not. Oh god, I really don't want to learn mandarin...

BUT enough off topic. Let's just hope that an old humiliated white guy assembles a team to save the United Federation of States. Is Al Gore still alive??!

"We’re getting to the point where, compared to the United States, the free education, medical care, and housing of the best social safety nets in Europe seem utopian."
Yeah I was thinking of going to the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill but I'm too afraid to get sick or encounter civilians with machine guns. I was in the military but the gun rights and health care thing in the US are just too much.

AGAIN thread sorry for off topic! :D
Eric Jensen
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 4:25pm (UTC -5)
//I bet a good number of people on this forum will not watch DSC Season 3. And, if things continue to devolve, quality-wise, for PIC, then many on this forum will not tune in for Season 2.//

NO. I will almost certainly be watching them. Despite their problems, I will still watch it.
Booming
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 4:31pm (UTC -5)
@ Mertov
I think this time it's really different. I hoped somehow that STP would be about Picard living on earth and dealing with the end. A thoughtful examination of death and letting go. What does dying and sickness mean in paradise.
But it was not to be.

This isn't giving me any joy. Sure the debates here are fun but that is it and not enough to make me watch a show.
Mertov
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 4:35pm (UTC -5)
James White:

@Mertov

I bet a good number of people on this forum will not watch DSC Season 3. And, if things continue to devolve, quality-wise, for PIC, then many on this forum will not tune in for Season 2.
-------------

James,

I bet not (will happily take you on for a beer, or a beverage of your choice :)) Many who loathed DSC in season 1 (and Picard, before even the series started) are still here every week. I'll bet you a beer they will still be around every week the rest of the season, every week in Season 2, every week in DSC season 3, and beyond.

What you're describing actually makes total sense, in that if one loathes a TV show with a passion they would stop watching it and move on to something else instead of putting aside that much time and effort per week on show they loathe. That is at least what I do, and I don't even have to loathe it with a passion. If a TV show is not to my liking or does not grab my attention enough, I move on to the next show, there are zillions of choices. This addiction to hate-watching and writing about it is something completely unfamiliar to me.
Nolan
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 4:37pm (UTC -5)
@Mertov

To be honest, at this point I think it's this comment section and the "essays of hate" that keep me watching, just so I can collect more evidence to support my arguement in the ongoing debates. When my profs would talk about "hate-watching" as a form of audience interaction in my classes on pop culture and audience reception, I scoffed. If only I knew.

But I had a sudden realization about why this show exists. It's so Patrick Stewart can get the "Logan" experience he had for Professor X, but for Picard. A dark future, troubled past, and harsher rating that allowed for more graohic violence and language. Logan was an emotionally fufilling movie, and had great pathos. But it also was part of a floundering franchise that had a rapidly varying ethos, while Trek was 700 stories strong and established a largely consistant ethos. "Logan" could afford to stand out and had the writing to support it - ST: Picard does not and at least in this fans opinion, cannot. Or rather, it stands out a bit *too* much.

I'm again, also annoyed that so many are treating Episodic and serialization as an either/or issue. There's episodes that exist as their own thing, episodes that tell a story but advance a story thread, episodes that have carry through for the characters moving forward, episodes whose plots push the main plot foward or episodes that exist only as a piece of the one overaching plot. I feel Trek should avoid the last, but has plenty of room to be compelling with the rest. But those aren't trendy or as lucrative for streaming services.

For me, nuTrek is flailing and in the throes of a deep identitty crisis. It doesn't know what to be or where it fits in this new TV landscape.
Mertov
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 4:47pm (UTC -5)
Alright Booming, we'll see. By the way, carried out my "The Quickening" promise to you, feel free to check it out whenever you find the time ;)
James White
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 4:49pm (UTC -5)
Honestly, you people are overthinking this. The show is mediocre in certain instances, flat out poor in others. As for those who believe the herd will mindlessly continue to watch, we'll see. My money is on people wising up and dumping this mess. But feel free to delude yourself into believing this will get a whole lot better.
Dom
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 4:51pm (UTC -5)
@Mertov, for the record I thought the writing in Disco S1 was so awful I haven't bothered with Season 1. I don't think Picard is as bad, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't still be watching if it didn't have "Picard" in the title.
A A Roi
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 5:00pm (UTC -5)
@Nolan

The same reason people treat episodic and serial as an either/or is the same reason people choose novels/short stories as an either/or.

For me, modern trek isn't flailing at all. It's made the leap. The flailing is going on in an entirely different arena.
Dom
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 5:02pm (UTC -5)
@wolfstar "Let's be honest, if Discovery and Picard had still been non-Trekkian in terms of their values and sensibility but were as good as BSG, B5, Firefly, Farscape et al, we'd be doing a lot less complaining."

Yes, thank you! I've been saying this for years. If anything, people like me are giving these shows far more chances BECAUSE they're Star Trek. I didn't even bother to watch the Orville, Killjoys, Dark Matter, and many other shows because of negative reviews. I want Star Trek to succeed. If this TV show were called "Space Voyage Johnson" instead of "Star Trek Picard" I probably would have turned it off after episode 3. Instead, these new Trek shows feel like they're pale imitations of other sci-fi shows.
Mertov
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 5:14pm (UTC -5)
Nolan,
Are doing a study on that and writing a paper or something? If so, I'd love to read it once finished.

Dom,
I totally understand and I can identify with that since that is what I would have done too (now I understand why I didn't see you around much during S2). If you ever get the urge, I'd recommend you give S2 a shot, it was clearly better and tighter than S1, may even be better in binge format, I imagine.
Trek noir
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 5:23pm (UTC -5)
“I hoped somehow that STP would be about Picard living on earth and dealing with the end. A thoughtful examination of death and letting go. What does dying and sickness mean in paradise.”

Who, anywhere, in any time epoch, would pay to watch this, ever. That’s called #snuff.
Dom
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 5:29pm (UTC -5)
@Mertov, I appreciate that, but I'm also definitely feeling like life is short and there are way too many shows/books/movies I want to enjoy. I just can't justify watching Disco S2 when I've also got Altered Carbon, Defiance, Orville, and a bunch of other sci-fi shows I'd like to watch one day.
Clark
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 5:34pm (UTC -5)
A solid episode, good to see some character development and finally moving the story forward. Still not sold on the Elnor character but he was better here than in the last episode. The costume play acting stuff was a little much, but brought back memories of the holodeck/time travel episodes Trek has done in the past. Enjoyed the twist at the end. 3/4 for me.
Mertov
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 5:41pm (UTC -5)
Dom,
Fair. I like those shows too. Check out Counterpart if you get the chance. Good sci-fi, but set on earth, parallel-universe tale.
Nolan
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 5:49pm (UTC -5)
@A A Roi

Oh, don't mind me, I'm just raging, raging against the dying of the light. I will not go gentle into that [dark] night. ;-)

No, but in all seriousness, I'm not averse to dark storytelling, BSG is one of my all time favorite series (yes, I know that's also not what fans of the original wanted, such hypocracy) and DS9 is always jockeying for position among my top 3 Treks. But something about the darkness in Disco and PIC to me feels just a bit too mean-spirited in regards to what came before.(not to mention the visual inconsistencies discussed ad infinitum)

So far these past two shows have taken all the things that were meaningful to me about the older Treks and essentially eviserated them, and continue to do so. Maybe not important to fans such as yourself, but a big part of why the fanchise is important to me. I know it's not, but for these new shows to continually ignore those things. it almost feels personal at this point. (Not really, just some attempt at humourous hyperbole)
Brian
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 5:57pm (UTC -5)
@Nolan

WRT the whole episodic versus serialized debate. I get what you're saying but even then, things changed drastically at the end of TNG. It was all but impossible to watch just one episode of DS9 and have any idea at all what was going on because things had gone to the point of "If you miss an episode, you miss a lot".

I remember that I saw the potential in DS9 when it originally aired but I gave up on it fast because I didn't always catch every episode. So I never got to watch DS9 the way it was intended to be seen until a couple of years ago when I could finally watch every episode in order. And that was a struggle for me because there were a lot of episodes I didn't care for but was afraid not to watch them.

Every series has bad episodes. TNG had it's fair share. The difference was you could skip most of them and it would not hinder your comprehension of the show that much (if at all).

And also, for example, if TNG had not been strongly episodic, I would have never started watching it. I skipped the first season because it was just so bad. I skipped most of the second season for the same reason. The show clicked on the 3rd season for me (and many others). I never had to watch most of the 1st and 2nd seasons. Yes. You could get more out of it if you watched everything because some episodes did advance things. But you didn't have to know that to sit down and watch a random 4th season episode. Same with TOS. That was it's strength. It could pick up new viewers at any time because they could see a random episode and not be completely bewildered.

I get that people think the serialized format is a better business model because it makes people either all in or all out. I'm a viewer. It never mattered to me how much money they made. Still doesn't. They could make awful Trek and still make money (though I suspect nobody will remember this show in 20 years).
Eric Jensen
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 5:58pm (UTC -5)
So I just heard. Star Trek writers confirmed Seven is bisexual. (Comic book. Com)

That means Seven is stupid for allowing troi2 to take advantage of her and it's character assassination. I am annoyed with this revelation. Not because of her bisexuality but because of what happened. So because Seven had a relationship with troi2... icheb died and now seven wants revenge.

Writers! What are you playing at! You have made Seven stupid!
Ruth
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 6:01pm (UTC -5)
I don’t get people saying Seven’s actions are somehow out of character or even new for Trek. First of all, she literally mentioned her desire to impose order on chaos twice in this episode - the great Borg calling. She’s always been like that. And she’s doing it for nice and caring reasons which is the kind of person we watched her learn to become. And she’s doing it in a small outnumbered group just like how Voyager operated in the delta quadrant. And she goes nuts to protect her own - just like Janeway. So this is all fine isn’t it?

And killing that woman? First of all, it absolutely wasn’t cold blood as at least one person here asserted! Quite the opposite. And to say this hasn’t happened in Trek before? It did! And thematically appropriately I guess, it was Data! He was going to kill that evil collector man because he cruelly killed that woman and he wasn’t going to stop - and also a bit as revenge for his cruelty. I don’t think it’s coincidence either that Seven repeatedly said she’d escaped from that woman. But whereas Data fired, was beamed out, and told Riker (it was him right?) that “ooh I don’t know, ghosts in the transporter set off the disruptor, murder is wrong”, Seven told Picard “yes okay murder is wrong”, beamed back down charging her phasers, and actually killed her. But this person striving to be human and killing an evil person isn’t new to Trek so I don’t see how it can be against it.

The opening scene though - ugh. Just unnecessary to have that kind of gore (and I don’t think either the exploding head proto-Borg in TNG nor the Klingon-Human surgery in DIS were as bad). It’s sad to see Icheb killed, especially in such an awful way (he had no cortical node because he gave it to his mommy ☹️) but he’s too relevant to ignore, too young and distinctive looking to recast for anything but a death scene, but the actor has been too spiteful to another Trek actor for them to have him back.

The end scene is stupid too. Oh I’m so tired of this kind of character. It’s a shame because I find the actress quite charming (as I did the Ash Tyler actor) but this whole plot is dumb. And frankly I don’t care when it’s a new character! I don’t feel the tension like when it’s an established character being compromised, they’re just a baddy and that’s all. And the whole thing with the EMH not doing anything... she should have deactivated it entirely. It’s one thing when the plot decrees transporters won’t work (like in this ep!) but we know how EMHs work. It’s like saying for plot reasons the human doctor suddenly couldn’t work the comms system or something. It’s making them stupid, not a real obstacle (not that transporters or sentient holograms are real, but you know what I mean!) If she gets away with this, it’s stupid. If she doesn’t, it makes no sense that she wouldn’t kill him more kindly at least. I was glad we avoided the incest spies this week but if we have this instead it’s no better.

The evil woman looked so much like Troi! I thought she was a Betazoid and that alien was a related species (beta something, psychic powers). Kind of like humans and the Voth or maybe even the Bajorans and the Cardassians. But no
Dom
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 6:03pm (UTC -5)
@Nolan, I'm right there with you. BSG is my favorite, DS9 a top Trek. I think what's different about these new Trek shows is that it seems like the darkness is the point. In DS9 (and even BSG), we saw characters grapple with tough moral questions and are fighting for what's right. "Pale Moonlight" is so great not because it's "dark," but because Sisko bares his soul. The episodes engaged with the morality and the themes. Darkness was there to be interrogated, questioned, even resisted.

To me at least, in Picard and Discovery, darkness seems to be a style. There have been a few moments with Picard, particularly the interview in episode 1, that seemed like they were reaching to say something. But for the most part the show just feels cynical. This latest episode had the seeds of an exploration of the pathos of revenge. Despite Picard's noble speech, it never does anything with that premise; Seven just kills people and is a bada$$. I haven't felt intellectually or emotionally challenged (except for being disgusted with the eyeball scene).

I say all this with the caveat that Picard is a heavily serialized show and we're only halfway through. But a good story should show promise more than halfway through.
Eric Jensen
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 6:04pm (UTC -5)
https://comicbook.com/startrek/2020/02/21/star-trek-picard-seven-of-nine-lgbtq-lesbian-confirmed-jeri-ryan/?fbclid=IwAR2Yug_tAR7NkcE9soENj4GsDb0fhUZc2Hx-OoFCTsGpMFaYkaFxsVy9MrQ

Is Seven really that stupid??
Hank
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 6:08pm (UTC -5)
@A A Roi: Yeah, just like Star Wars made the leap - into oblivion. Or Stargate with Universe ... even though that show actually improved and was cancelled prematurely in my opinion, just as it was getting interesting. It still shed its fanbase and, standing on its own, found out that there is no new group of fans to replace the old.

Star Trek didn't grow, it shrunk. It went from "Universal Moral stories told with a somewhat detached look at things" and "Suitable for all audiences" to "Specific moral stories told through the lense of "Current Year(tm)"" and "Suitable for mature audiences only."* That, right there, is why NuTrek sucks. Instead of beeing rooted in the future it planted its feet firmly into the ground of the present - in terms of style, presentation and storytelling. It went from "Here is this thing nobody else does" to "Lets do what everybody else does." Which means: It will be forgotten REALLY fast, and then it will die. Because, oh shock, oh horror, TV is a visual medium. Change your style to resemble something else and that makes you LESS unique, not more. That's the problem with making the Klingons look like Orks: It takes away, it doesn't add.


*Funnily enough, NuTrek replaced the actually mature discussions and themes of OldTrek with the fake maturity of violence, sex and cursing. Old Trek could be violent and dark and sexy at times, but that was always on top of all the other things. Now, there is nothing beneath the superficial elements, and even those are average at best.
Eric Jensen
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 6:09pm (UTC -5)
I am thoroughly annoyed with the Writers. A moment of weakness with a relationship and Seven tells troi2 about icheb? Then the harvesting of borg implants and then the phaser disintegration? The writers are completely stupid. Seven would have thoroughly researched her prospective partner and not get blindsided. Even 10 years in the alpha quadrant would not have made seven that short sighted and stupid! Thoroughly annoyed.
Nathan L
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 6:13pm (UTC -5)
@Eric

I read that article and there's nothing official stated about Seven's sexuality. They're basically saying "it's totally implied by this episode so that confirms it!" which is hardly a firm conclusion.

Jesus, that site is just as bad as BuzzFeed.
Eric Jensen
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 6:16pm (UTC -5)
Well. Nathan. That made feel a bit better.

I got the impression they were best friends. Not lovers. If they were in an intimate relationship (no problem with bisexuality) it just implies how Seven is too stupid to do her homework.
Hank
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 6:28pm (UTC -5)
@Dom: Well, the thing with darkness is: It needs to be a trajectory. Either it gets better or it gets worse, but so far, it just stays the same. To be really effective, you start of mildly dark, then go carefully optimistic until the half-way point, and then, over the course of following episodes, slowly break down the characters we now care about and want to succeed and use that to examine them in close detail. And then you top it all off with a bittersweet but hopeful ending.

Or, dunno, you just insert violence at random points in the story. That should work just as well.
A A Roi
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 6:33pm (UTC -5)
@Nolan

In all honestly, Nolan, Compared to how BSG reinterpreted the original Battlestar Galactic, Discovery and Picard make sweet love to what came before. And in my opinion that's not at all hyperbole as both someone who's watched Star Trek from TOS and both versions of Battlestar Galactica from the moment they were launched. But no, I'm not a devotee of Star Trek because of its formula, set design, costuming, how much of a perfect utopia the Federation should be. I am interested in character, because stories are about people, and I view additional angles on people to be a good experience even if it isn't a happy one. The difference between what BSG did and what Disco and Picard are doing is vast but IMO it comes down to this, BSG as far as I could see was about annihilating the characters it adapted. It did it in different ways, but annihilation was the goal, not just death. Discovery and Picard has been about expanding the characters they adapt. And even if the do kill characters such as Icheb, he wasn't annihilated as the characters from Battlestar Galactica were. Argue as you might, you won't convince anyone reasonable that Discovery or Picard are excercises in nihilism. I don't think the same can be said about BSG.
A A Roi
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 6:39pm (UTC -5)
@Hank

You cannot keep a fanbase alive over multiple generations solely via nostalgia.
A A Roi
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 6:42pm (UTC -5)
@Eric jensen

Right. Because people are 100% in control about people they fall in love with, especially if their experience of being in love as an individual is as limited as it is for someone who grew up as a drone in a big bio-mechanical machine.
Mal
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 6:44pm (UTC -5)
nu-Trek is low quality. Star Trek used to be high quality.

Star Trek used to attract the best talent to make the show. Now it is run by mediocre people making a mediocre product. But it is a product that hides behind Special Effects in the case of Discovery, and hides behind Sir Patrick in the case of Picard.

But it takes so much more than one world class actor to make a show. It takes writers.

The sad thing is, this drive away from the excellence of TNG towards mediocrity was on purpose.

When TNG was cancelled, it was a huge success. 30 million - yes 30 million! - people watched the final All Good Things… Here’s how the New York Times described the situation:

"The series finale drew a huge 17.4 rating, which translates into more than 31 million viewers. If it had been a network show, it would have ranked second for the week, right between "Home Improvement" and "Seinfeld.”

https://www.nytimes.com/1994/07/24/arts/television-profits-reruns-and-the-end-of-next-generation.html

TNG was also the most expensive show ever made at the time. Again, the New York Times:

"Star Trek: The Next Generation" died for business reasons, not creative ones. It was canceled by its producer, Paramount Television, at the height of its powers. As its seventh season ended, with the two-hour series finale in May, "Next Generation" was one of the most popular weekly shows on television and easily one of the most profitable. Fans were aghast and puzzled. Why would Paramount pull the plug on a series that was making more than a million dollars an episode in profit?”

https://www.nytimes.com/1994/07/24/arts/television-profits-reruns-and-the-end-of-next-generation.html

Why, then, might you ask, did they cancel TNG? Here’s what the New York Times reported at the time:

"The departure of "Next Generation" is part of a well-orchestrated campaign that says a great deal about how popular culture is sliced, diced, packaged and sold by giant entertainment companies these days. "Star Trek" is much more than a couple of hit television series. It is that rarest of show-biz flowers, a franchise, something Hollywood studios take great care to nurture and cultivate. By killing off "Next Generation" now, Paramount pruned a strong limb so the whole organism could grow bigger and more vibrant.”

Yes, you read that correctly.

TPTB killed a big-tent super successful TNG to make more profit - and they did this by making new shows that were not at the level of TNG. Here is how the New York Times reported it at the time:

"Paramount introduced a spinoff series, "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," 18 months ago… . And because it is a younger show, says Ms. Roberts, "I'm sure 'Deep Space Nine' is a lot cheaper than 'Next Generation' to produce."

What's next in the master plan? Yet another spinoff, "Star Trek: Voyager," will have its premiere in January. That will keep two fresh "Star Trek" shows on the air… .”

If each successive Star Trek show has seemed a step down, with VOY a step down sold on the then-new network UPN, with Enterprise one more step down, with DISC a few steps below that for the new streaming site CBS All Access, and so on, THIS IS ON PURPOSE. This is planned.

So where does the talent go when Star Trek is no longer interested in putting out an excellent product?

nBSG - had the benefit of Ronald D. Moore, a Star Trek alum who had the freedom on nBSG he never did on VOY

The Expanse - has the benefit of Naren Shankar, a TNG alum who is making the very best scifi today - but not for Trek

Other scifi shows could get talent. Firefly had the incredibly successful Joss Whedon.

Man in the High Castle was made by a guy who got a Golden Globe for his work on the X-Files.

And on and on.

Meanwhile Star Trek continues its decent and decline from the peaks reached when TNG was the most expensive show and drew an audience second only to Seinfeld.

People in this thread have talked about Gene Roddenberry’s vision for Trek.

@ Jammer has rightly said “Methinks Gene's vision was to make a successful television show”.

Specifically, the successful show Gene wanted to make was Wagon Train to the stars. Well Wagon Train was the #1 show of it’s time. Star Trek TNG was very nearly #1 - right at the top.

If Picard seems like a real step down from TNG, that’s because it is. And that is on purpose.

Here is how the New York Times story on TNG ends:

"By cutting off "Next Generation" now, Paramount has left the audience hungry for more and reaped a windfall to boot… .

Paramount ... capitalized on the hoopla by selling "Star Trek" merchandise over toll-free telephone lines. In sales of "transporter pen sets" and tchotchkes, the studio racked up millions. With results like that, Paramount is likely to be catering to the needs of Trekkers into the millennium.”

Today TPTB "capitalize on the hoopla” by selling CBS All Access.

Picard and Discovery are just the cheapest ways TPTB have so far found to continue to the franchise. If they can find a cheaper way, believe me they will. And all the while, the writing will continue to get worse. Because talent costs $$.
Jeff C
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 6:53pm (UTC -5)
Just out of curiosity:

Why are we watching this show/series, anyway?

A lot of us—myself included—come into these things with certain expectations, and then feel gutted when those expectations are not fully met.

I’d have to admit that I was expecting the usually stellar (pun intended) level of production that Star Trek offers. ST: Picard does deliver on that front. However, I was also expecting a moving, emotional, dramatic and gradually building story that showcases JL Picard as the historic sci-fi character that he is. So far, I haven’t really gotten that, so of course I have felt disappointed.

I was also musing on how each series reflects how we (as in humanity) are, in each age that the series was created. This series does seem to reflect our age in some sense, the glitz, the flash, the attraction to shiny and disposable things, the virtual realities we built for ourselves to hide within (such as Picard’s manor, recreated on the holodeck), the feeling of lost hope and disillusionment, the disasters that destroy worlds (or large groups of people, as in our time), the cynicism. I think that’s why we don’t feel that sense of hope yet from this series. It is just doing its job of reflecting the times.
Patrick D
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 6:55pm (UTC -5)
@Mal

That's an interesting read. Before we're too harsh, we should consider that there's some sense to Paramount's decision. I've read up on TNG's history, as well. TNG too was created because Paramount didn't want to pay the TOS actors huge salaries (instead they promised them the movie franchise). Thanks to that similar studio decision, we got the TNG tv series we now all love.
Eric Jensen
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:07pm (UTC -5)
A A roi

Have you watched "someone to watch over me"?
Have you seen the relationship between Chakotay and Seven?

Its not a question of who you fall in love with! Even seven admitted she is still trying to regain her humanity! In episode 5 in Picard. Every "damned day".

I hope you are not dense. Really. It's not in Sevens character to be stupid and to not research her friends. That's who she is - she is clever and intelligent. Yeah, Janeway taught her to trust but troi2 and her tal shiar links... it makes her incredibly stupid.
Brian
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:23pm (UTC -5)
@Patrick D

That decision (though) did not have to succeed. I think I remember someone calling it "catching lightning in a bottle". That is rare. Basically, the success of TNG was practically an accident. No one really knows exactly what made it work. So what did they do? Well, they thought they could do it again with a completely different cast and so forth and it has been less successful (and palatable) each time.

Kinda like nobody really knows how to make another Data. So what do you do when you have something truly unique and irreplaceable? You erase it and try to make your own copy, of course!
A A Roi
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:27pm (UTC -5)
@Eric Jensen

I know we want our favorite characters to be perfect in every way and in control in every way. But there's a whole lot of ways 7 could have made that mistake after returning to the Alpha Quadrant. There have been a whole lot of clever and intelligent people in this world who've done stupid things where it comes to love.
Ryan
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 8:43pm (UTC -5)
@MadManMUC

"I was easily able to rail against STD on a weekly basis. I can't with this thing, I just don't have the energy anymore.

Kurtzman broke me. Trek is dead and long gone."

This problem has been around since the 90s. Fans complained Star Trek was being ruined by Braga and Berman and was bland and repetitive and trying to appeal to a mass male audience with catsuits and high heels, and if only the true fans could shell out $20 a month, we could have Trek for the fans, and no one would complain."

Very simple solution. Stop watching. Why on Earth would you have watched 30 episodes of Discovery if you hate it? If Picard isn't your thing, simply stop watching. Whatever any producer does in any decade, rest assured, fans will bemoan that they hate it, and will complain every week for seven years.

Break the cycle.
John Harmon
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 8:44pm (UTC -5)
“ You cannot keep a fanbase alive over multiple generations solely via nostalgia.”

Oh the irony. That’s exactly what JJ, Kurtzman, CBS, Paramount, whoever have been trying to do for over a decade. That’s why the ‘09 movie was a reboot with the TOS characters, because TOS is still the ultimate most iconic nostalgia well for Trek.

It’s why Discovery is pre TOS and they brought in Spock. It’s why they desperately threw together a Picard series. Star Trek is nothing but nostalgia driven these days
Ryan
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 8:49pm (UTC -5)
@Brian

"That decision (though) did not have to succeed. I think I remember someone calling it "catching lightning in a bottle". That is rare. Basically, the success of TNG was practically an accident. No one really knows exactly what made it work. So what did they do? Well, they thought they could do it again with a completely different cast and so forth and it has been less successful (and palatable) each time. "

If TNG came out during the age of the Internet, the fans would have torn it to shreds. Fans who grew up on Kirk and Spock and McCoy and brought Star Trek back from the dead sitting down to Encounter at Farpoint, Naked Now and Code of Honor? We're on episode five of Picard, so they'd be up to that wonderful episode, The Last Outpost, with the introduction of the killer Ferengi.

TNG today is colored by nostalgia. We all grew up on it and watched it with our parents. We introduced it to our kids who watched it new like we watched TOS. It reminds us of being teenagers. We flocked to message boards to hear spoilers of how they'd resolve the cliffhanger, and we likely complained quite a bit about it.

Off topic, but another reason Disco and Picard feel different? I grew up on 90s Trek. It was on the air from September to May. It ran the school year. I spent summers out and about and catching up on spoilers when I could. It was a weekly constant, whether reruns or original episodes. In those bloated 26 episode seasons, even in bad, repetitive episodes, there were a few scenes here and there that developed characters.

Today, Disco and Picard are 10-15 episode events. They're over in two or three months. By the time they come back, I need a recap video to remind me what happened last season because it might have been 15 months since I last watched.
Leif
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 8:50pm (UTC -5)
@Cody B why dont yiu think we'll get any great classic episodes of Picard..you dont think the show has potential..if they introduce new akiens and sci fi concepts too..
A A Roi
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 9:03pm (UTC -5)
@John Harmon

Sorry you don't know the difference between nostalgia and deconstruction. If these were series built around nostalgia there would be beige sets, color coded uniforms everywhere and episodic recapture of the good old days you so dearly miss.
brian L
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 9:41pm (UTC -5)
More of the same, essentially a filler episode where 7of9 is brought back and paraded around to keep fans subscribed to CBS. Oh, and some random political statements too. Is she "bisexual" now? Of course she is. Now she's a gun-slinging bisexual vigilante with a "heart of gold". Can you get anymore cliche? Tropey?

The "reveals" are seen coming a mile away and the audience is 2-3 episodes ahead of the writing at all times, and so the show is essentially boring. The violence, gore, swearing and grimdark are turned up to 11.The show is an absolute joke.

The references and callbacks to Trek-lore are highly specific and seemingly disconnected from the larger established universe. "Hugh" shows up for 2 minutes and then he's gone. Icheb shows up for 1 scene and is brutally tortured and killed. They seem to be there only so that the rabid fans have something to point to to defend it---"no really guys, its canon, look, they made REFERENCES!"

I recently saw Rick Bermans twitter post asking "How are you all enjoying Picard"? And 75% of the responders were negative to nu-trek.

Meanwhile the media echo-chamber continues to heap praise on the show, similar to throwing paper and gasoline on a fire that is going out. It will burn bright for a few minutes but its dead unless you find some real wood, but there isn't any.

What are we, 3...4 years into nu-Trek TV now? It's not going to get better.
Please, do not give a single dime to CBS, this whole project needs to burn out and die so someone can come in and replace it with something good.
skye francis-maidstone
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 9:45pm (UTC -5)
Another very good, almost great episode from a thoroughly enjoyable version of Star Trek. The difference between this and the drivel in DSC is night and day.

I'd say mostly because PIC has some actual actors. Someone compared Jurati to Tilly.. ridiculous.. Alison Pill can actually act. I hope she has a chance for redemption for the murder she felt forced to commit.

Blah blah blah its not star trek. Wrath of Khan ear thingies used to make me have to look away when i watched that at the time (not to mention TMPs transporter accident - hideous) and more pointless storywise than the gore in this episode. Star Trek has always been dark. Some people have a serious case of rose tinted glasses about TNG. It wasn't THAT great. Or even good 90% of the time. PIC has managed to be at least a 7 or more out of 10 in its first 5 episodes. That's pretty good going.

I'm not sure where this light fluffy idealistic Star Trek some people were watching was because i've never seen it.

DS9 wasn't even great at all till about the end of season 3. VOY wasn't good at all until they brought in a 3rd actor (Jeri). Then then they could finally make some decent scenes with her, mulgrew and picardo. ENT was just plain dull..hence getting cancelled.

Sheesh the arrogance of the posts on here sometimes. Must be some Emmy award winning writers on here too. They can tell you exactly how a show MUST be written.

Anyway back to this episode..

Awesome work from Ryan. The scene at the end with her and Stewart was superb. Raffi is becoming more interestint by the episode as is Rios. And i didn't miss the borg cube at all.

Um.. gonna go with a 3 stars. Almost a 3.5 but picards pointless french character and the bar in general didn't really do it for me - just didn't seem futuristic (the bar not the accent).

I think they can pull off a 4 star this season. Lots of promising stuff. Just have to pull it all together.
James White
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 10:00pm (UTC -5)
@Skye-Francis maidstone,

Claiming that TNG wasn't even good 90% of the time is insanity.
James White
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 10:13pm (UTC -5)
@A A Roi,

It's possible for someone to criticize this series without simultaneously demanding a little trip down memory lane. Good story telling has existed for millenia. It's not "living in the past" to demand something much better than this. In fact, other series today are succeeding where DSC and PIC are not because they have compelling stories with fleshed out characters, and a logically consistent and coherent world.

Or you can watch eyepatch, Inspector Clouseau Picard and the glorious depredations of James Wan Icheb.
Quincy
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 10:14pm (UTC -5)
Wow. It seems that PIC is even more polarizing than DSC. The nitpicking and strained objections are at an all time high. Well, to each his own. Others have pointed out the error and hypocrisy here pretty well. No need to retread it.

I liked this episode more than I thought I would after the gruesome flashback and the annoying pop-up hologram ads. Man, Icheb, RIP. You just could never catch a break. Perhaps, now you're in a better place. Somebody pointed out that Manu Intiraymi's comments about Anthony Rapp may have something to do with Icheb's send off. After looking up Rapp, I think that may be right. I really wish they'd just recast him though (like Maddox) and at least kept him around as a reoccurring character. Bummer.

I really enjoyed seeing 7 of 9 on screen again. Jeri Ryan slipped right back into the role like an old comfortable sweater on a chilly Saturday evening. She managed to sell not only the old 7, but the new 7 tarnish pretty well. I hope the character sticks around. I have a feeling if Patrick Stewart dies at some point they'll continue the series with her or spin it off into hers.

I really didn't like Raffi's side story. The only good thing about it is that she's sticking around for the rest of the season. For a minute there, I thought she'd disappear like Picard's Tal Shiar Romulan friends back at his vineyard. I've liked the actress ever since her short lived days on Law & Order: SVU, so I'm glad she's landed the role. It'll be good to see more of her.

The thing I like about Picard is that I always said I wanted a ST series that focused on something other than Star Fleet. I wanted a series that gave a better picture of what happens at the fringe elements of the Trek Verse. We've only glimpsed this in the other series. We saw it with the Maquis. We saw it in episodes like TNG's "Gambit." But we've never really delved deep into it. I have high hopes for Picard in this regard.

I too thought the resemblance between Bjazzle or however it's spelled (yes that was a ridiculous name) and Troi was double take worthy. I wanted her to stick around and be some type of foil for the rest of the season. I liked that reptilian dude too so I was disappointed when they were summarily dispatched. This series keeps making the mistake of introducing characters that show some promise and then killing them off almost as an after thought.

But, I really don't see how people can say 7 killing that heifer that had Icheb gutted of his Borg implants is out of character. Go back and watch that mama bear episode where we find out what Icheb's true purpose was. Imagine, if Icheb had died in that episode, what her reaction would've been. I'm pretty sure that neither Janeway, nor anyone else, would've been able to stop her from phasering and torpedoing that colony from orbit with the delta flyer.

This episode did have some issues. I didn't understand why Agnes killed her former lover so painfully. Surely she could've spared him some pain and the knowledge that it was she who was murdering him. The only thing that makes sense is that maybe she's trying to hide her involvement. However, she's got a lot of EMH memory and computer metadata to mess with. Even given her particular cybernetic expertise, it seems like questions will inevitably be asked that she can't answer. And even if that's the case, couldn't she have administered a sedative?

I will address what someone claimed above, that the EMH should've been prohibited from being deactivated during emergencies. When has that ever been the case since its inception in Voyager? The Doctor had to beg Janeway to give him control over his program. He was forcibly shut down all the time in all sorts of situations. People were still messing with his mind pretty late in the series. 7 had to offer to help him make his mind more tamper proof as late as season 5. And B'Ellanna was still tampering with his holo matrix as late as Season 7. What other EMH, besides the Doctor, attained even that level of meager consideration? With Agnes's technological expertise how would any EMH present an obstacle to her?

This episode seemed to lean towards Agnes not being mind manipulated. Instead it suggests that she was clued in to some unforeseen truth about the twins that has her willingly cooperate with the bad guys.

We're halfway through the season and I'm still waiting for that break out episode or even one that's as good as the pilot. I've got my fingers crossed. Engage.
skye francis-maidstone
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 10:29pm (UTC -5)
@james white

Nah it's an opinion. It was pretty average most of the time but the occasional really amazing episode kept me going. That and at the time most of us had 4 tv channels and therefore very little sci-fi to watch.

I still kept watching till the end although i remember i was the only remaining friend or family member watching it.

DS9 however.. was amazing 90% of the time from season 3 onwards.

There. My fully-sane and perfectly valid opinion summarized for you
Matthew Martin
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 10:33pm (UTC -5)
best scenes of the episode were the ones that featured Picard and Seven, sitting next to each other, playing verbal chess. The single best scene this week came at the end, where the two ex-Borg share a moment of solidarity, both acknowledging that, after all these years, they both know a little part of them is still gone. Picard leaves Seven with a hopeful word, in true Picard fashion, telling her that they keep getting that little part of their humanity back, a piece at a time, every day.

Seven then beams back to the planet and murders the villain of the week.

Picard's still searching for his little missing piece of humanity; Seven seems to be chipping away at what's left of hers. That's great, great, great, stuff and I wish the whole show was that good. After episode one, I was left with the impression that this would be a return to Star Trek being a show that loved pondering ideas, debating morality, and resolving conflicts. Halfway through the first season and that feeling has yet to reappear except in little, fleeting, glimpses like we had with Seven/Picard.
Dave in MN
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 10:53pm (UTC -5)
I feel empathy for the actress playing Agnes. I can't imagine what her reaction must have been when she received this script.

How do you attempt to sell this kind of overwrought illlogical material? Upon rewatch, I realized she did better than almost anyone could with the clownish writing.

Really, the cast deserves a lot of credit for finding SOMETHING in these scripts that isn't on the page. They are the only reason I didn't give the last few episodes ½ ⭐ reviews.

I'm still hoping this show can improve. Maybe that's wishful thinking.

The first few TNG eps (after the pilot) are pretty terrible, right?
James White
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 11:08pm (UTC -5)
@Skye-Francis maidstone,

TNG seasons 3-5 and much of 6 are exceptionally well done sci-fi. Yes, there are a few clunkers. But there's a reason TNG spawned movies.

BOBW, Measure of a Man, Conspiracy, Q Who, Yesterday's Entwrprise, The Emissary, Deja Q, The Offspring, Tin Man, Sins of the Father, Family, Sarek, Who Watches the Watchers, The Reunion, The Defector, Drumhead, The Wounded, Darmok, Half a Life, Redemption, Clues, The Outcast, Night Terrors, Remember Me, Cause and Effect, The First Duty, The Perfect Mate, Ensign Ro, I Borg, Chain of Command, Unification, Inner Light, Relics, Tapestry, Frame of Mind, Lessons, Schisms, Parallels, Lower Decks, All Good Things...

And there are dozens more that are solid. I'm sorry the majority of the above Trek episodes are just average to you. Truly.
MidshipmanNorris
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 11:14pm (UTC -5)
By this point I'm judging the quality of the new installments of Star Trek by how much arguing it generates from you guys

Big Picture: Picard is a much more solid show than Discovery was. With a little more focus to the overall plotting, the actors seem to be finding solid footing with their characters enough to make something truly fantastic. Does it adhere to "Established Trek Lore and Philosophy?" Maybe not.

Does it have to, is the better question. I really feel like the "This isn't Star Trek" crowd need to examine what 'adhering to established Trek lore and philosphy" does to a creative work by this point. In a sense, you are asking it to attempt to be *your* idea of what Star Trek is.

Star Trek gave us a little turn of phrase a long time ago that I feel rings very true, even if it was just an attempt to sell merch by Roddenberry (who was equal parts visionary worldbuilder and dickbag producer, if you want to look at the reality of it. He also saved an entire jetliner full of people from dying of thirst/starvation/exposure in a desert years before Trek was made. Look it up). That turn of phrase was:

"Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations."

Star Trek (unlike Star Wars) has the capability of being experimental beyond what its original iteration suggested. Star Wars has to be Star Wars. There have to be Jedi, there have to be Sith, lightsabers and blasters are going to come into it somewhere, and there has to be a sweeping, operatic crescendo to it, or it's not Star Wars.

Star Trek is what the writers decide it needs to be, in order to give the actors something interesting to play. And that, I feel, is the true "established philosophy" of Trek. Star Trek isn't really about 'the future' or 'exploring space' at all, but simply an excuse for writers/actors to flex, which I love seeing.

And yeah, I despised the opening GORN as much as anybody, and I definitely closed my eyes till it was over and probably always will if I ever re-watch it. And yeah, it's not good for kids to watch, but I actually don't have any, as many people don't. I don't really have anyone to watch it with directly in my home, as I live alone, but my dad and my brother both agree with me that this is picking up. I really REALLY REALLY think that this series is going to look back at Episode 5's climactic scene between Seven and Picard ("All of it?" "No.") as the moment this series proved its credentials, and yeah, it's not going to be the Trek we remember.

But people said the same thing about TNG when it came out, to the point where it was a gag in the Wayne's World movie. And look how that turned out.

PICAAAAAAAAAAAAAARD!

GET AWAY FROM THAT LAUNCHER!!

4 stars. I loved this.
Episode 10
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 11:21pm (UTC -5)
Opening scene: bright white light. Fade in to JL standing alone, looking around unable to discern anything but the bright white around him. He’s dressed in his Great White Hope outfit.

Q’s voice: And so Jean Luc, this is what happens when you resigned from Starfleet and chose not to pursue your convictions, and went back to your chalet, and left everyone and everything you knew
James White
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 11:22pm (UTC -5)
And I'm tired of people proclaiming that different Trek must be good Trek. In fact, at this point in both seasons 1 and 2 of DSC, I would argue that show was more engaging and entertaining than where we are with Picard. It tanked in the last third of each season. The claim that this show is definitely superior to DSC is highly debatable at best and, considering half the season remains outstanding and nu Trek has a penchant for crashing and burning at the end, likely wishful thinking.
Henson
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 11:35pm (UTC -5)
@MidshipmanNorris

"Star Trek is what the writers decide it needs to be, in order to give the actors something interesting to play. And that, I feel, is the true "established philosophy" of Trek. Star Trek isn't really about 'the future' or 'exploring space' at all, but simply an excuse for writers/actors to flex, which I love seeing."

That's about as vague as you can possibly get. Is Star Trek really nothing more than a canvas on which to paint? Surely, the franchise has more definition than simply 'give actors something interesting to play'.

Naturally, 'Star Trek' will mean somewhat different things to different people. But that doesn't mean that 'Star Trek' can be literally anything, either.
Jammer
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 11:38pm (UTC -5)
Review now posted.
James White
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 11:43pm (UTC -5)
I'm beginning to think the disconnect has more to do with the curiously malleable mindsets of people today. People are less grounded in their thinking and judgments. Writ large, it helps explain the oddly antagonistic, often cognitively dissonant culture/populace of America. Less TV, social media, and internet meandering. A little more reading and outdoor time.

Also, ST is about the future. Stop talking crazy...:)
Peter G.
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 11:57pm (UTC -5)
I'm going to record my thoughts as a I watch, which I've never done but as I fear I'll forget what I want to say I'm writing it down as I go.

First thing I'll mention that is obvious (without reading the above comments yet) is the first grisly scene, which made me squirm. Why I should be visually horrified while watching Star Trek I don't know. What should be a show for the whole family has turned into Game of Thrones, I guess. But I need to place this in context: I came from a night at the theatre, watching a gruesome blood-soaked piece of theatre of cruelty, involving nudity, bodily organs (really butchered animal parts) and torture. Its intent was presumably to leave me upset, which it did. I came home, had to coach a couple of actors in process of rehearsal when in fact I needed to relax, and then sat down to watch Star Trek and eat a granola bar. In process of eating I watched Icheb's eye come out. As Prendergast says at the end of Falling Down, fuck you very much. And then of course Maddox dies too, just for giggles, and to a cute one-liner as well. How nice. I'm also not into this Cenobite-looking tough guy. Trek before always portrayed aliens as different but somehow relatable; even the Nausicaans were only ever a satire of themselves. This guy is just a monster, so that's a fail for me.

We come back to a scene with Seven and Picard - much anticipated! - and first thing I'll mention is *snap*! (to coin a phrase). I *so* called it after last episode that this was about Picard's lawful good alignment in conflict with the neutral gooders out there. Virtually the first thing he says to Seven about the Rangers (I will omit any complaint about that term) is that they take the law into their own hands; slam dunk, his deal is STILL being lawful, which makes it all the more unreasonable that this show is shitting on him for standing by his conscience while refraining from taking the refugee matter into his own hands. The writers are contradicting themselves on their own terms, and I knew it. I am now doubling down on this observation.

Getting back to the plot, I'm getting this feeling again of "this! then this!" with the action-RPG style of levels to pass. In this case, getting Maddox so we can move on to the next quest point. So I guess he's not dead after all, just drugged. Ok, that's better, I guess, so we'll actually get to see what he's been up to maybe.

I'll also mention, perhaps in keeping with the show's intention, that I'm seriously annoyed at the thought of a future with intrusive holo-ads jumping in my face, and an entire planet of holo-commerce. It's like a Blade Runner dystopian nightmare. I know this isn't properly the Federation, so perhaps I should take this to be what happens when a group like the Federation isn't in charge. Maybe it's a dark way of sending a positive message...I hope.

Except my hopes of a positive message seem to be dashed in watching the mother/son scene with Raffi. Notwithstanding the fact that I agree with others that pain and suffering should in fact be a part of the Trek universe (as in with Ben Sisko) what we always understood from TNG and DS9 was that even if you're suffering or in a bad place, you come together with those around you to heal or deal with it. The group bolsters the individual, and vice versa. It was a healing message. But now we have a scene reinforcing that a son never forgives or forgets. If this was isolated I could let it go, but it now forms a pattern, because it seems plenty of people are also not willing to forgive or forget Picard's 'error' as well. So this is a future when people are just as lacking in understanding and compassion as they are today. Maybe we will get more scenes with the son for him to 'come around' and forgive, so I'll leave the jury on hold regarding this storyline.

I will also mention that this juncture that we're 28 minutes in (out of 45) and literally the only thing to happen story-wise is they have come up with a plan to get Maddox out, and had a first meeting about it. In TNG terms this would be one senior staff meeting and one extra scene, probably leaving us somewhere in act 2 as we get into the "thing start to go wrong" part of the plot. But with 17 minutes left this one will have to happen in a big hurry.

And having been worried that they wouldn't have time to resolve the situation, the resolution is incredibly rushed, with a forced exposition scene delivered as outright exposition by Seven while in a Mexican standoff. At this moment the show is feeling more like Firefly than Star Trek, down to Stewart's impression of the madman Niska. Well I guess this all got fixed right quick, with apparently nothing the enemy could do with transporters, even though we later see countless people with emergency transporter escape mechanisms in place. And they all get away scott-free, which even in Firefly wouldn't happen. I suppose I'm also a bit surprised right after this that Picard lectures Seven about murder, followed by immediately beaming her down to do her murders. Am I misunderstanding something, or was this meant to be ironic? Why tell her not to murder and then smile while beaming her down to do it anyhow? Or did he not know she was heading right back in? I suppose she'll survive the encounter even though it seems inconceivable she could.

I'll also point out once again that Picard is being held up by the show as his good old moralizing self, which I wouldn't mind except it's also trying to make him out at the same time as having learned the error of his lawful good ways. So which way is it going to be?

Overall my running commentary more or less covered the things I needed to say, but there's one thing I have chiefly omitted to note: this was neither a pleasant nor a fun episode. It felt depressing the whole way through. Maybe this is my prior evening seeping in, but if I can't even rely on Trek being vaguely uplifting then I don't know why it exists.

Oh, and one side note: Agnes Juranti is extremely annoying. I'll go as far as to say I suspect she actually is the weak link on the acting team. Everything is forced, telegraphed, and irritating. I think I may have noticed in passing someone else saying this, but she strikes me as being a kind of Tilly clone. I feel like she belongs more on Firely (again) than here, and he constant antics make it very hard to focus on the importance of the scenes. But unlike Firefly, the tone of this show can't really support intermittent random comedy, because it wants us to take it far too seriously for that to be possible. So the 'comic' bits end up being cosmic failures.

I did not like this one, which I will rate even lower than last week's. The show is headed down what I fear is a slippy slope towards being like DISC after all, in all the wrong ways.
Peter G,
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 12:06am (UTC -5)
Hah, looks like Jammer and I posted at virtually the same time. I think we're in agreement about this one in terms of content and rating. One small quibble, Jammer: as bad as this torturous first scene was, I must admit to having been traumatized as a kid by the ear-monster scene in TWOK, which I also think was an unnecessarily dark scene for an otherwise family-ish film. This one was worse, mind you, and for less purpose; plus, you know, Chekhov lived. Just thought I'd give another Trek dark moment a shout-out.
Snitch
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 12:26am (UTC -5)
For me the best Picard episode yet. Finally they are done with the setup and the story moves forward.

Ryan was great, at this point she seems to be a better actor than PS.

The eye gouging seemed unnecessarily gruesome. I also watched one of the those Saw movies recently, reminded me of that.

While killing Icheb was a good storyline to explain the new 7of9 it feeled weird to me to see gore on Star Trek.

7of9 killing the Troi look alike villain, wow. that is quite dark. It also contradicts Picards there is hope theory and makes him look old and foolish. Sure take those laser rifles....

3 stars overall from me.
Leif
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 12:28am (UTC -5)
Spoilers Below

WOAH wasnt anyone else freaked out by turning SEVEN AND AGNES INTO KILLERS...THAT SEEMS wrong out of character and too extreme for both of them...if you disagree please tell me why....Why didnt Agnes just show Maddox what she knew to chsnge his mind? And we never learn Jazel's motivation soshe comes across as a one dimensional or teo dimensional villain..why dont we learn why she callously kills people who were borg for soare parts..just because they were Borg? Not eni8gh character motivation...what does everyone else think?
A A Roi
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 1:30am (UTC -5)
"We have strayed to far," says Jammer.

Strayed far from TNG, yes i will agree. And where has that lead us? Right back to where Star Trek started from: The kind of Frontier stories that TOS had aplenty. Anyone who watched TOS growing up will recognize a lot of Picard and also folks who have watched a lot of Film Noire, where Picard of course got his Dixon Hill kick from.
Peter G.
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 1:47am (UTC -5)
Having read the comments section now, kudos to Booming for making me laugh my ass off with that first few posts.
Tommy D.
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 1:54am (UTC -5)
I only read two review on Trek; Jammer and Krad on Tor. I agree more with Krad's take on this episode but I do see where Jammer finds this episode as a tipping point for the season.

Side note: My girlfriend seems to think that Agnes is a synth, like an early prototype of Dahj/Soji. And that Commodore Oh either revealed this to her or activated a command in her, similar to the synth attacks on Mars. I did find it weird in the flashback with Maddox she did not understand what baking was.
John Harmon
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 1:56am (UTC -5)
Wow. Haven’t seen Jammer this worked up in a long time. I couldn’t agree more about this episode and series. They just straight up do not have good writers and show runners working on this thing.
Booming
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 2:04am (UTC -5)
@Mertov
Hahaha. You're such a bitch. OK, I will read your certainly devastating review of the Quickening AND THEN write an even more devastating review of your review!
AS I PLANNED FROM THE BEGINNING!!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xzx3-hKl__8

On a more general note. I hate torture porn. I really do. I don't watch Saw movies. I don't like horror movies. I don't enjoy human suffering in general. Sue me. 24h after watching the eyeball scene I still see flashes of eyeballs being cut off. Thanks Star Trek.
Liya
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 2:08am (UTC -5)
@Leif

Agnes’ plot twist was random, but Seven’s turn as a killer vigilante isn’t unbelievable. Seven has always had a realist outlook on the universe. There was that Voyager episode “Prey” (I believe) where a desperate, wounded alien (Species 8472) being hunted by the Hirogen wandered onto the ship. When faced with the ultimatum of saving the alien or facing the wrath of the Hirogen, Seven defied Janeway and handed over the alien.

While Janeway was the ideal mentor to teach Seven altruism and empathy, she had her lapses morality. Janeway was deliciously messy, and this probably didn’t go unnoticed by Seven. For example, the Equinox episodes, where Janeway became unhinged in her pursuit of Captain Ransom. There were multiple occasions where Janeway either chose or would have chosen to skirt the Prime Directive if she felt that the ends justified the means. Luckily Icheb came through with that cortical node for Seven when she needed it because Janeway was fully prepared to murder a live drone to save Seven, if need be. Janeway also looked the other way when deciding to use the techniques of a genocidal, Cardassian doctor to save B’Elanna. Plus, while Seven is Starfleet adjacent, she was never actually in Starfleet, and was thus, never bound by their code of ethics. So, yeah, it’s not that far fetched that a former Borg drone that “grew up” under Janeway would become “The Punisher.”
A A Roi
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 2:16am (UTC -5)
@Tommy D.

I kind of see Picard in some ways as this generations version of what TNG did with TOS characters like Scotty, Sarek and Spock when they decided to bring them back, with Scotty and Spock viewed as 'relics' of a different time to be looked down upon by more sophisticated modern folk. Or we got Sarek finding he is no longer in control of his carefully controlled world, desperately needing Picard to swoop in with his better than a Vulcan mental discipline to provide Sarek one last hurrah.

Side note: I don't think Agnes is a synth, and I can imaging young folks in the 24th century to never be exposed to baking, and even not knowing how it works, since they get all their food from a replicator. I also think that the cookie scene was a metaphor for his approach to recreating what Soong accomplished. In this metaphor, Data is the cookie, and you can't make a cookie from a cookie, you have to put together the ingredients in the proper proportions and then bake to replicate the cookie you just ate.
Eric Jensen
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 2:24am (UTC -5)
Q had better come back to save this show.
Dougie
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 2:25am (UTC -5)
So it’s like:
Spock’s Brain
Shades of Gray
Threshold
Let He Who Is Without Sin
These are the Voyages
Star Trek V
Anything NuTrek
Star Trek Discovery season 3
All Star Trek Picard

That’s what should be destroyed with fire? Just to be absolutely clear, before Melllvar does a reboot episode.
A A Roi
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 2:25am (UTC -5)
@Booming

Yeah, my mom was freaked out by the Ceti eel scene from Wrath of Khan for a good time after watching that Star Trek nugget way back when.
petulant
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 2:25am (UTC -5)
“Hahaha. You're such a bitch.”

Language, please! I used to be able to come here and read these boards with my children, but between you and Jammer it’s becoming very difficult.
Paulus Marius Rex
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 2:31am (UTC -5)
I'll just leave this here:

Tuvok: "It is illogical to dwell on matters beyond your control. It will only serve to heighten your anxiety."

@MidshipmanNorris: three cheers.
Booming
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 2:46am (UTC -5)
@ petulant
Well, then don't let them watch Star Trek: Picard... if you think bitch is too much for your children then I would advise you to start saving for psychiatrists because this show does far worse. And if they cannot watch the show, eyeballs and all, why would they read the reviews? uhhh it's a mystery! Are you Alex Kurtzman?!

To clarify. It's a joke. I know Mertov for a while and respect his opinion.
A A Roi
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 2:51am (UTC -5)
@Booming

Chain of Command might be problematic for the kiddies as well, don't you think? Or do you let it off the hook because it's TNG?
Booming
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 3:16am (UTC -5)
@ A A Roi
Others say that Star Trek was family friendly. I never thought that. None of these shows are for kids in my opinion. Some episodes can be watched by children but TOS for example often has pretty rough plots, so did TNG and DS9, all of them.
Still for me there is a difference between having adult themes, like torture and the torture porn in this particular episode. I don't know the name of the episode where Picard gets tortured. With the lights. I don't think that that torture scene would have been more effective as a narrative device if Picard would have been sitting in his own shit and urine with a hook through his nose while having to watch another prisoner slowly getting his/her nipples ripped off.

And there is also a difference between realistic gore and torture porn. I can watch a scene like the landing in Saving Private Ryan because that is basically how war looks like, probably even more horrible. As somebody ones said: Every realistic war movie is an anti war movie. So the gore during the landing is justified and also serves a useful purpose. Showing us not only on a rational level but on an emotional level that war is hell.

What is the eye ball scene supposed to teach us. That evil crime lady is a psychopath? Maybe but for the most part it is for shock value. So that people at home have a strong reaction to a human body being mutilated and that is the very definition of torture porn.
Tommy D.
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 3:20am (UTC -5)
@A A Roi

I can see what you're saying regarding the cookie metaphor, and I think there is something to that.

Regarding Agnes: We could obviously be reading a little too much into the oddities of the character. I just find something about the way Allison Pill portrays her as a little off, and the baking thing was interesting to us (although as you say it could be explained by replicator dependency), and her anxiety attacks reminded me of Lal in "The Offspring".
Tommy D.
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 3:23am (UTC -5)
@Booming

Really hated the eyeball thing in this episode.

But the transporter accident in TMP always freaked me out. Hated having to watch it again in the theatres last fall.
A A Roi
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 3:56am (UTC -5)
@Booming

Torture porn, like all porn is an end unto itself. That's not what's happening here.

So, I wouldn't call it shock, I'd call it horror. I think it's meant to inform us and have the viewer empathise deeply with what drives 7 to be who she becomes as the version of 7 Picard meets. it's meant to be something that stays with the viewer over the course of the episode carrying us with 7 to the end of what she does, and why she does it.

Its easy, if you want to hate something, to limit yourself only look at it superficially. That way you don't make the mistake of deriving anything out of it but derision and start wondering if all your hatred is justified.
A A Roi
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 4:03am (UTC -5)
@Booming

you see the thing about producing a TV series for grown ups is that it's different than past Star Trek series. Past Star Trek series were didactic. It was about the lesson, and to make sure it got through you had to tell the audience what to think about what they were seeing. Hence, in TNG there's the infamous last scene where you get a sober reflection on the episode and a run down of what the lesson is to be learned for those who still don't get it.

Dicscovery and Picard don't do that. They, for the most part leave the audience to figure out what the point is, to ask why, and then examine what they are watching to figure out the answer. So its a lot more demanding on the audience, and yeah, there's a tendency for those who expect the show to do their thinking for them to throw their hands up and say, "This is not my Star Trek!"
John Harmon
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 4:21am (UTC -5)
“ They, for the most part leave the audience to figure out what the point is, to ask why, and then examine what they are watching to figure out the answer. So its a lot more demanding on the audience”

What are you on, because I want some.
Booming
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 4:22am (UTC -5)
@ A A Roi
"So, I wouldn't call it shock, I'd call it horror. I think it's meant to inform us and have the viewer empathise deeply with what drives 7 to be who she becomes as the version of 7 Picard meets. it's meant to be something that stays with the viewer over the course of the episode carrying us with 7 to the end of what she does, and why she does it."
Seven doesn't actually see the eyeball being ripped out. Only the audience had that misfortune. So clearly ripping out that body part was not about motivating seven. The scene would have worked just as well (for me far better) without the eye ball scene. Sure it is still stupid that she shots him in a "I'm to injured, Jim. Leave me... save yourself" scene but that would have still been better than what we got.

"
Dicscovery and Picard don't do that. They, for the most part leave the audience to figure out what the point is, to ask why, and then examine what they are watching to figure out the answer."
I know the Lindelof/Abrams/Kurtzman style. There are no answers. There are only questions which is by design because the majority of people don't want an ethics lesson (That is why I liked the good place because that show is an endless ethics lesson). Why do you think the Transformers movies (several of them written and produced by Kurtzman) were more successful than the Nu-Star Trek movies. They are both dumb action schlock with no interesting or logical story structure. That is because people who like stupid stuff think that Star Trek is for nerds, so they won't touch it. TNG broadened the appeal of Star Trek as much as possible. After TNG it was diminishing returns. That is why the nu trek shows are so untrek. That is by design. They are constructed (Discovery has 20 producers which is kind of a joke; and STP has 18, I think) in a way to appeal to current tastes. Star Trek is just a vehicle now. That is why we have gore, downfall, incest, one or two action scenes per episode and endless mysteries.
Lance
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 4:44am (UTC -5)
Amen. This episode was utter trash, the worst of the series thus far.

This show is just totally lost....
A A Roi
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 4:59am (UTC -5)
@Booming

TNG broadened the appeal of Star Trek by standing on the shoulrders of TOS, which did all the heaving lifting for 20 years and making the most milquetoast and unchallenging version of the franchise that could possibly be constructed. It was about thinking for its audience, providing them comforat and reinforcing that comfort. I get it why any devote would have trouble with the first generation of Star Trek and the recent generation of Star Trek, because they don't off that kind of comfort food that devotees of the Berman Era expect.

All you seem to be able to offer is the most superficial readings, and I undertand that, because that's all that watching TNG taught you Star Trek is capable of offering.
wolfstar
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 5:23am (UTC -5)
Superb, powerfully written review by Jammer.
Booming
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 5:35am (UTC -5)
@A A Roi
"All you seem to be able to offer is the most superficial readings, and I undertand that, because that's all that watching TNG taught you Star Trek is capable of offering."
Well, that is pretty insulting. I know the works of Kurtzman. There is only surface. Still I wouldn't go as far as to say that people who like it are basically trained monkeys too stupid to understand real or even good storytelling.

It may come as a shock to you but I have watched other shows and ,fasten your seatbelts, even read very complex books very recently.

But because you are such a fan of the deep and complex writing style of Colonel KURTZ maybe you can unravel to complex masterpieces that he made, nay, created, nay... gave birth to.

Transformers I
Transformers II
Mission Impossible III
The Legend of Zorro
Star Trek 09
Star Trek into darkness
The Amazing Spiderman II
and let's not forget his last oeuvre that shattered perceptions
The Tom Cruise Mummy movie
which also gave us this wonderful trailer with f*ed up sound effects.
(go to 0:45.)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zI0MGrwqb6w

Sure, some non-conformists will say that everything this man has made is superficial, glossy and pointless garbage but you know better.

IT'S (Tribute to Kurtzman)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvDy8oHyccw
Lynos
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 5:54am (UTC -5)
Jammer nails it.
James White
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 6:00am (UTC -5)
Honestly Booming, why are you even trying with this person. He/she is willfully ignoring the shortcomings of this series. Something can be different than TNG and still suck. We all know that, including the person that is partially trolling you.
A A Roi
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 6:02am (UTC -5)
@Booming

I get it you are obsessed over Kurtzman. I could care less who's running the show. When Picard becomes a bad show, I'll be the first to bail just like I did with every single Rick Berman product at some point. But the fact that this show is not TNG 2.0 doesn't make it a bad show by default no matter how many demerit points it gets for not kneeling to the Berman era, the same way I'm sure you don't think Berman's products deserve demerit points for not kneeling to TOS.
James White
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 6:06am (UTC -5)
For the record, I thought Peter G's write up was excellent. I don't quibble with people that see things in the show that I may not. That's a large part of why I come to this site. On the other hand, I know when someone is arguing in a disingenuous fashion.
A A Roi
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 6:11am (UTC -5)
@James White.

Yeah, there are plenty of shows that are different than TNG and suck. And many that don't. And even a whole lot of TNG sucks. But when a review basically states that "this episode is wrong. It isn't Star Trek." Then the reviewer, IMO, in the context of what this show is a direct follow up to, if not a sequel, is saying its a bad episode because it isn't TNG.
chrispaps
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 6:24am (UTC -5)
I don't usually leave comments but had to on this occasion just to say a BIG thank you to Jammer for his wonderful, powerful spot-on review. I only hope CBS are also reading...
Eric Jensen
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 6:35am (UTC -5)
//That is why we have gore, downfall, incest, one or two action scenes per episode and endless mysteries.//

And is this Star Trek?
"A television series of the 1960s, and later a series of successful films, in which a group of space explorers in their craft, the Enterprise, travelled through interstellar space."

"The premise: A five-year mission of space exploration in the 23rd century"

"The Original Series establishes the two most crucial elements of the Star Trek ethos: The show is set in a utopian future in which divides based on race, gender, and nationality are a thing of the past (reflected in the unprecedented diversity of the main cast), and it uses the lens of alien cultures to comment on contemporary issues. So while humanity may have ended bigotry, the half-black, half-white aliens of the planet Cheron are still torn apart by prejudice. That allows Star Trek to both imagine a better world and comment on the harsher realities of our real one."

1. So far it is not "utopian"
2. The amount of violence and gore is accentuated for shock value - Icheb's death only provided Seven's motivation for revenge, nothing more. His death was disposable...
3. The concept of money is back. The Federation should have gotten rid of money already but it is back. There is Freecloud, for example... black market...
4. The Federation is corrupt. Infiltrated by Romulans, this is no longer Star Trek. It is no longer Star Trek because Picard even says it in the first episode!

"STARFLEET IS NO LONGER STARFLEET" in the interview.

This is not Star Trek and I agree with Picard and Jammer.
Booming
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 6:45am (UTC -5)
@ A A Roi
Ok, I'm obsessed and you like to put people in boxes.
Let's leave it at that.
Trek noir
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 8:02am (UTC -5)
Here’s a thing
Best of Both Worlds, Part 1

8 people dead, 11 injured in engineering by Borg cube cutting beam in engineering section. Geordi arrives on the bridge from the turbo lift. His shirt is clean, fresh pressed. No sweat, no dirt, maybe even stopped at his quarters and popped into a fresh uniform and put on aftershave on the way to the bridge.

Picard: “how’s things in engineering Mr LaForge?”
Geordi: “under control, we left some good people down there”

I guess we don’t get to see Crusher and her triage.
We don’t get to see the bodies lining the hall, the blood, the surgeries, capable surgeons like Hawkeye and Bj and Charles working their asses off trying to save Geordi’s comrades. We don’t see other crew members lining up to donate organs or even blood.

Oh wait, we DO see Beverly minutes later, looking fine. She’s on an away team mission to the Borg cube.

We don’t get to see Picard writing out 8 letters to crew families, or 8 bodies sent out in photon torpedo cartridges with crew assembled. We don’t see any officer agonize for EVEN ONE SECOND over those 8 deaths or 11 injuries. And you think TNG had no gore? Hell it has no soul, no empathy, and no sympathy, and that is cold human psychological gore.

The problem isn’t Star Trek: Picard. The problem was the antiseptic, sterile, almost austere bullshit we were fed during the 80s and 90s that passed for entertainment. Injured people with red blush on their faces, a little black soot, walking hunched over to indicate injuries, that was the problem.
Sven
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 8:35am (UTC -5)
In all honestly, it's not that I don't like Picard (the show), but it serves me things I can find on several other shows. Nothing of this show, to me, accept maybe the back story and the broader universe which it inhabits, is inherently Star Trek. I don't mean this in a bad 'everything after the Berman-Braga reign sucks' kind of way, but I just can't get past the feeling. It might be good drama or action, but I can't say it's good Star Trek. Star Trek was always a story about explorers in service of a somewhat idealistic organization called Starfleet, as part of a Federation. The utopianism was a bad base for drama, so I understand why not everything is hunky-dory in modern Trek, but for god's sake, keep some of the exploration, some of the trek. The (scientific) mysterie, the wonder.

In spite of all the criticism, Picard in that respect makes Discovery look like pristine Star Trek. Well, almost.
skye francis-maidstone
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 8:41am (UTC -5)
@James White you really don't need to feel sorry for me for not liking the same television episodes/shows as you. What a strange sentiment.

And wow PIC seems more polarizing than the utter drek that was DSC. And how in the name of all that is holy does Jammer give pretty damn good episode less than any episode of season one of DSC? Seriously? This is the most i've ever disagreed with Jammer on any episode I think. We agreed on 95% of our DS9 scores.

People have some really wildly different views on the 2 new Star Trek's. I'll probably drag myself through season 3 of DSC.. almost becoming a hate-watch though. I probably won't come here and write 500 words on why I hate it so much though. I just don't care enough.

Anyone who says anything positive about PIC is quickly patronised and indicated to be mentally deficient. It's strangely ironic that Star Trek (which for me is about a more hopeful future where humans have grown ridiculous disputes about imaginary borders ie Brexit, Mexico walls and religious wars) has a comment board filled with some really bitter and jaded people.

PIC obviously ISN'T showing the that ALL human's have grown beyond what we are now and it's easy to slip back into old ways. For me that's more interesting that sticking Picard about a new federation ship and exploring the latest spacial anomaly complete with ticking clock and reset button. We've had many years of that already in various version. Is that actually what people want?

The writing and acting and story in general is vastly superior to DSC (both look gorgeous) but maybe people just wanted it to be season 8 of TNG or something. Man that would be boring...

I get the feeling the board would be mostly moaning regardless. That's what the internet is for.

I thought Star Trek fans were generally a bit more civil and respectful to each other too - we COULD have an actual discussion about episodes. I guess being patronising/sarcastic/condescending is cool though these days.
Hank
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 8:54am (UTC -5)
Jammer said it best in his review: At the most basic, Star Trek NEEDS some kind of intelligence in it. Whatever you think Star Trek is or should be, THAT's the single requirement nobody should be willing to sacrifice.

Why do you think we are complaining about the gore and the violence? Because there is nothing else there to criticize! Except the bad plot, and the boring story, and, oh, thats the meat of the complaints anyways.

@A A Roi: Way to misread my post and claim all I want is nostalgia, when I intentionally mentioned NO details at all about what kind of things I want to see. I hated every single nostalgia-bait moment in modern Trek, from the Enterprise reveal in Disc to the Tribbles in Forgettable Movie 2 or 3, to the "Engage!" shenanigans in Picard. No, give me something new but recognizable.

And stop with the Deconstruction bullshit. "Deconstruction" is an analytic tool, first and foremost, and a deconstructivist story is not automatically good or interesting because it tries to examine things from a different perspective. Yet people trott this word around like it somehow excuses every creative decision made by the writers. The nitpicking we do here IS a deconstruction of Picard. A realistic look at what is implied by the things shown on screen. Does that make for an interesting story? No! It's angry rambling, most of the time (from your perspective, anyways).

And, here's the kicker: A deconstruction is by necessity NOT the the thing it deconstructs. It just resembles it, and then breaks it down. All the anti-war movies of the seventies and eighties are deconstructions of the classical Jingoist War Movie - thats why they are called "anti-war-movies." So, Star Trek is an utopia - thus, a deconstruction of Star Trek HAS TO BE not that. Thus, Anti-Trek is not Trek. Because if it WAS, it wouldn't deconstruct it. Way to prove our points ...

And again: Just because something is new and different, it isn't automatically better, just like "Old and the Same" is not automatically better. I can take a classical piece by Mozart and remove everything that made it great, like, melody and chord progression, just hacking away at the keyboard, or better yet, electric guitar, because piano is sooooooo 200 years ago, call it a deconstruction of Mozart (a destruction, really, what most so-called "deconstructions" really are), and guess what. It sounds like shit because it is shit! It's new and fresh and a bold new direction for classical music but in the end, it just isn't good, and most definitely not classical music!

"But I like it!", you say. Right, perfectly fine! Maybe it spawns a new genre of "Anti-Mozart" music! Great! Maybe it grows, and builds an identity of its own ... wonderful! But it still isn't Mozart! Just like Rock'n'Roll isn't jazz, and Pop songs aren't Heavy Metal. You can put cocain into your coffee, because like sugar, it's a white powdery substance, but that doesn't make it sugar!

And to all the people saying "Star Trek always had this and that", yeah, sure, but the dosage makes the poison! If I hit you in the face once and break your nose thats violent, but if I then proceed to kick your rips in, break your arms and legs and finish off with a kick to the crotch, I can not claim "Lol, there's no difference here!" Oh, so we had ONE cruel scene in Wrath of Khan ... Therefore, constant violence in Disc and PIC are totally the same thing. Just like giving somebody a mild concussion is the same as giving them brain damage, or shooting somebody dead and dropping a nuke killing hundreds of thousands is murder, thus equivalent.


Anyways, all of the above would be irrelevant if Picard was interesting on its own, achieved something truly remarkable, but it doesn't, it is mediocre in EVERYTHING at best. The violence isn't particularily gruesome, compared to modern TV. The action scenes are not exactly thrilling, the "philosophy" is about as sophisticated and interesting as middle school discussion, the pacing and directorial style is bog-standard modern TV, the visuals are nothing new either. The Last Jedi is one of the worst movies ever made, but it had ONE scene that was truly remarkable (even though it utterly ruined the whole worldbuilding), and that was when the Supremecy is destroyed light-speed-ramming. That was a perfect scene, truly impactful, a visual spectacle worthy of admiration. Godzilla 2014 had the Paradrop sequence, a true achievement of style and visual composition, even though the movie was so-so. Shin-Godzilla went the other direction, being a political commentary on current-day Japan, but STILL delivered on the spectacular visuals even though the movie is 90% talking and bureaucratic red tape, with a cast of maybe 40 forgettable people, intentionally filling the screen with written names, titles and legal texts to overwhelm the audience and hammer home just how impenetrable and incompetent an overblown bureaucracy is, while at the same time being an hommage to the all the Godzilla movies that came before without obvious "Remember that?" nostalgia bait.

What does Picard have? Nothing! It has a franchise name, nostalgia and political messaging. It does nothing new. It isn't boldly going anywhere. It has no distinct style, no unique story, not even unique characters. It doesn't have a single new idea! Borg? Old. Androids? Old. Refugee crisis? Old. Secret agency conspiracy? Old. Hinted at homoerotic relationship? Old in current year! Ninjas? Super old. AI Is dangerous? Jeez, the oldest sci-fi trope in the book! So, what's new here? Nothing. The only thing it has is that it's different from what was previously called "Star Trek", but that just makes it more similar to other things. Hell, one could argue that it steals the core idea of DS9, namely: The Federation is not as perfect as you think it is.

And you know, THAT wouldn't be a problem either if it just wanted to be Star Trek, but it doesn't, it WANTS to be new and fresh, it just fails at that.
Rahul
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 8:58am (UTC -5)
Absolutely agree with Jammer's review -- he doesn't hold any punches and this episode deserves every one of his blows -- because "Stardust City Rag" blows.

I really fear for what PIC is turning into after this 5th ep. Some fine characters and decent supporting actors are being handled by idiotic writers and producers.

I really hope this is the last time Kirsten Beyer writes anything for Star Trek, though it is not entirely her fault.

I actually thought I might be being a bit harsh in my 1.5* rating (thought about it maybe being a low 2* rating) but despite an interesting premise of all that revolves around rescuing Maddox, there's far too much wrong about this episode and it really left a bad taste in my mouth -- just not enjoyable at all.
Chrome
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 9:13am (UTC -5)
@skye

FWIW I’m puzzled too by the polarized reactions to the episode. I thought it was mostly a lighthearted caper with a bit of an edge. DISC never scored as low as this by Jammer, as far as I remember, even when it had some real duds two seasons in. Though in all fairness, I think the acting is doing a lot of the heavy lifting. With a good script, this crew could easily earn a four star episode.
Mike W
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 9:18am (UTC -5)
As bad as many of you claim this series is, yet most of you will continue to flood these message boards week after week bitching. It gets old.

I’m a Trek fan since I was a child (late 80’s), and while I did find the opening scene a bit gory, it served a purpose.

I’m not sure what most of you chronic complainers expected, but Patrick Stewart stated that it’s not a sequel to TNG. This was going to be different, and it is. Is it what I wanted or expected? No, but I’ve kept an open mind and I actually ENJOY this show.

For Christ sake, voice that you hate the show, and move along to something else you hate. It gets old reading the same crappy reviews from the same unhappy folks every week.

Btw, this one gets ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Mertov
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 9:34am (UTC -5)
Enjoy it Booming, hahaha, and I'll enjoy reading your 'scathing' rebuttal whenever it comes up :))))))))
Petulant, it's fine, it was a joke. Far worse language has been used on these message boards.
Mertov
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 9:37am (UTC -5)
Booming, I had nightmares for a while when after I watched "Charlie X" as a youngster, about the woman with no face and Charlie's eyeroll.. Brrrr.... :)
skye francis-maidstone
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 9:38am (UTC -5)
@Hank I wouldn't say it has to be new or original to be good. The Expanse manages to be fantastic without any ideas we haven't seen in sci-fi before (mysterious god-like races, alien goo, star gates).

@chrome "With a good script, this crew could easily earn a four star episode." Totally agree. Script is definitely one of the shows weakest areas.
Booming
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 9:39am (UTC -5)
@ Skye
Look at the Mike W comment. There are faaaaar more comments from fans of STP insulting the people who are critical.

almost every fanpost that has some kind of "critical people should shut up/lighten up/whatever" sentence in it.
Mertov
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 9:45am (UTC -5)
@ Skye
Look at the Mike W comment. There are faaaaar more comments from fans of STP insulting the people who are critical.

You missed the one diagnosing those who like it as having a disconnect due to their "curiously malleable mindsets" as a symptom of being "less grounded in their thinking and judgments" as the larger part of the "often cognitively dissonant culture/populace of America."
It's 'both sides' maaaaaaaaan :)))
Jammer
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 9:46am (UTC -5)
"I really hope this is the last time Kirsten Beyer writes anything for Star Trek, though it is not entirely her fault."

No, it is definitely not entirely her fault. So one thing I want to make clear is that I don't think it's fair holding individual credited writers responsible (for good or ill) for what happens in their episodes. This may seem counter-intuitive because their name is on it and it is literally called a "credit." But even though this is credited to one writer, an episode on a series like this is cobbled together from parts from an entire season's worth of discussions and story breaks, and there is rarely a one-to-one matchup of writer to scenes in an episode. I don't know how they assign writing credits, to be honest, because these shows are frequently written by committee, and rewrites by other writers or the showrunner can completely transform an episode.

For this reason you will rarely see me call out individual writers in my reviews anymore. Praise and blame goes to "the writers," because of how ideas are kind of pooled into a season-long slush fund. And I make it a policy not to attack the writers personally. It simply may not be fair to do so given how much tinkering happens at all levels. They are essentially writing from within a managed corporate bureaucracy.
Stefan T.
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 9:50am (UTC -5)
So, this is the first time I write my comment in my mother tongue (German) before writing it in English, since I am not sure, what the comment would look like in English, nor how I should present my thoughts here. So I want to translate what I have written and thought so far, step by step.

First of all: The introduction scene with ripping out the eye of a living man could be coming from any other horror movie, and that also is the key to the whole episode as such: I experience it as a mix of Saw, Sin City, and whatever stuff you could think of. But Star Trek? Hell no!

What does this episode even have in common with Star Trek?
Just the name and some actors. Money is back. (Money-free utopian future anywhere?) Robbing, Greed, Murder, Torture, Blood, Violence, the worst human behavior which one could think of, being pressed in one episode of Star Trek.
Just for a reminder, there have been scary episodes, as well as there have been episodes with kind of violence. Think about DS9. Think about every kind of episode about war, fights, or anything related to it. But: Star Trek never needed much violence to tell a story.

This episode instead relies heavily upon that because there is not much to tell. Instead, after watching this, I just feel depressed. It wasn't enjoyable, it wasn't funny, it wasn't anything worth watching. And it is sad of what Trek has become like. DIS was a big letdown, Picard up to now? In the first place, I couldnt decide, but after watching a few episodes, I feel that every time, it even gets lower. Might only be my impression, I hope next week's better.
Jason R.
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 9:50am (UTC -5)
Last time on Star Trek Joker:

- Broken junky dead beat mom Raffi reunited with her estranged son and pregnant wife. Will they forgive and welcome her home to try again? What is this, Touched by an Angel? You bet your ass they won't. They throw her junky dead beat ass on the street.

- Broken alcoholic ex Borg 7 of 9 searches for the one who brutally vivisected her surrogate son. After 13 years of searching for the killer she finds her! Running a nightclub on a world she has visited 1000 times, not hiding essentially running her business in the open. Hears compelling speech about humanity and forgiveness from Picard and chooses to leave her haunted past behind to forge a new better future... PSYCH! She blows that murderous bitch away and throws her own life away for kicks in a blaze of phaser fire! Up, YOUUURS!!!

- Broken mentally unstable scientist reunited with her long lost lover - then kills him, painfully. Because?

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me - and shame on Patrick Stewart.

This isn't just not Star Trek, it's an outright mockery of it. I mean literally a mockery. Picard makes a humanist plea for 7 to save what little humanity she has left and then she just beams down to the planet and goes on a murder spree... to thunderous applause. We are supposed to applaud her. Message sent- forgiveness is for old white fuddy duddies. Picard: "7 please don't squander your humanity!"
7: "OK Boomer" SNAP! You showed him!

Patrick Stewart should be ashamed.

Bubye Picard. I paid my subscription to the end of the month but you know what, I can find better things to watch on TV. Screw this show.
Booming
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 9:58am (UTC -5)
@ Mertov
Wha... well... mhh... you know... ... ... they started it! :D
HH
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 10:08am (UTC -5)
Opinions:
1. I really liked the implicit sexual tension between BJazel and Seven. I thought it was really well done and added some depth to both characters with idea that they were formerly involved; without it being ott and cringe like our dear Romulan siblings.

2. I really like the way you instantly knew BJazel was Betazoid: from her hair that was reminiscent of D Troi, to her flair for fashion like Lwaxana. Also such a strong character there; it was a shame to see her die

3. Bringing Icheb back for such a limited amount of time to die so suddenly was a poor use for a legacy character and gratuitous in every way.

4. This episode was my least fave so far (despite it featuring the great Jeri Ryan) because it like a heist movie and when it comes to heist movie I’m grandpa Rick.

5. Will we meet ever imagine a version of the future that’s more convincing than the one Ridley Scott gifted culture in 1982??

Questions:
1: Many people are saying that the big reveal re AI and synths is a Romulan connection and that Romulans are in some way artificial as a species... but wasn’t it revealed in TNG that: humans, cardasians, Klingons and ROMULANS all shared the same base DNA and evolutionary trajectory? If so then the stated hypothesis surely can’t be correct?

2: Someone said in the comments above that there was and oral sex joke - I missed it please share

3: Will Voyager’s Doc pop up/ has he been decompiled?
skye francis-maidstone
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 10:20am (UTC -5)
@Booming "Wha... well... mhh... you know... ... ... they started it! :D" Exactly the point I was making with "patronising/sarcastic/condescending".

@Booming @Mertov Could be true. I'm not going to just believe your point about who is more comments about the "other side". Someone can feel free to count them up for PIC if they want and prove me wrong if they really want.

And I don't see any attacks in Mike W's post at all. Telling moaning people to move along if they hate it so much is hardly attacking anyone. Obviously it's nice to read both view points but we don't really need 500 words on why the writers suck from the same people week after week.

I mean Jammer's review is nicely written even if I completely disagree with it. I mean seriously.. rating it lower than any DSC episode. Lower than " Will You Take My Hand?" My god.. Anyway, repeating myself... the world would be dull without different opinions.

Why is no one in "the middle"? I don't remember anyone saying "meh" about PIC yet? Like/Love or Hate descending into a pit of boiling bile and vitriol.
Weird.
phaedon
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 10:27am (UTC -5)
I have so many problems with Picard it's not even funny.

It's really not even worth getting into it, but I just want to say I enjoy everyone's comments, especially the mean-spirited ones. If we can't fight like little kids over this, then really what's the point. I give Picard a lot of credit for that. I idolized TNG when I was a teenager, I still idolize TNG, and yes, looking at it a certain way, it's hot garbage, I guess?

But there is so much good television out right now. You really have to turn your brain off to defend Picard on that basis alone.

Westworld jumps to mind. A show defined by hokey costumes, robots run amok, multiple levels of reality, incredible, world-building cinematography, reveals, compromised antagonists and protagonists and their compromised values.

By all means the Star Trek franchise has permission to be a little more laid back than all that. But the production of this show is so bothersome, so simplistic, so dumbed down. Every scene screams CBS.

Extreme close-ups of everything. No cut-aways that establish the location of the set. The scene where Bjayzl and Maddox are talking at the club and the strobes and lens flares are just kind of lifelessly dancing around. Like every boring conversation has to be dollied. It's maddening. Not just Icheb getting tortured on screen; but a front-row seat, with an anamorphic lens and a flare shooting off his face. Just one main all-consuming storyline that isn't even really that interesting. Some incredibly designed sets that are never walked through. I'm not even really sure what the stakes are. It is so lifeless and overcooked.

The worst part about it is that Patrick Stewart is way past his prime and it's not acknowledged.
Booming
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 10:48am (UTC -5)
@ Skye
from Mike's post
"most of you will continue to flood these message boards week after week bitching." insult (all them bitches)
"chronic complainers" insult (I guess critics are sick people)
"voice that you hate the show, and move along to something else you hate" insulting (because the only thing the critics love is hate)
"crappy reviews" insult (only a dead critic is a good critic, am i right)

Now to Skye's post
"I don't see any attacks in Mike W's post at all. Telling moaning people to move along if they hate it so much is hardly attacking anyone."
If that does not says it all.

"Hate descending into a pit of boiling bile and vitriol."
or that.

Maybe you should look up the psychological phenomenon of projection. You know what buddy. There you go
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

It is also interesting that you tell people to get lost. Who do you think you are? People will stay as long as they want. fans and critics. You do not decide that.

I counted the posts attacking the critics and the ones attacking the fans for the first one and half episodes and it was around 13 to 1.

Let's not continue this.
Frank
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 10:59am (UTC -5)
I’ve been a StarTrek fan since the first episode of TOS, and I have to admit that the salt creature in that episode was pretty stupid. I watched all of TOS and liked most of the episodes even the bad ones. When TNG came out I remember how some of the original cast thought that how can they do ST without us. TNG started out with some pretty bad episodes the first 2 seasons but I stuck to it. I have the feeling that the same people who hated STD or STP because it wasn’t ST would have said the same comments on TNG, it wasn’t really ST. To the haters who watch these shows, why watch them at all? Also, commenters protest the swearing on the shows, yet use these same words in commenting.
Guiding Light
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 11:02am (UTC -5)
It's depressing that so many here can't deal with the fact that this is not "your Trek" and that this no longer just for an inbred community of nerds but instead a show that boldly wears its modern sensibilities on its sleeves.

I know people loved TNG in the 1980s, but it was always a silly and honestly pretty bad show. The fact that something like this can spring from it is a testament to how good the producers are.

It looks at a show like TNG - that is an artifact of an era when all of TV was based on straight, white male privilege - and it looks at the current reality and asks: How did we get here? And shows like TNG, with their disregard for the views and interests of minority communities, with their baseless techno-utopianism are what made Trump and Brexit and all the other things possible that happen today. These shows never demanded that the viewers question their priors, they always just re-affirmed them.

And that is why this is so great:

Picard goes into a preachy rant about "humanity" that is obviously intended to mock the high-faluting speeches Picard gave in TNG. Because that's all he did: Give speeches and then never act, never help those in need. He gave speeches and then went home and felt his job was done. And look at the world that has come out of that mind-set. Look at what the Federation has become.

That's why its so amazing that Annika - who has reclaimed her name and her humanity - listens to his bullshit and then goes back to doing what needs to be done: Taking action. Punishing those who need punishment. Righting wrongs and not letting people get away with their disregard for others.

The writers have taken a character that was always objectified, that was nothing more than eye candy to satisfy the male gaze of its audience and they've turned her into a feminist icon: A woman who decides how she looks, what she is called and who will not let evil people trample over the lives of others any longer.

SHE is the moral center of this episode while Picard still is a nostalgic old fool who has to learn that he and his speeches are part of the problem, not of the solution.

I salute a show that dares to take its source material, deconstruct it and tell people why that source material was problematic. And I just hope we get a spin-off show of Annika Hansen travelling through the galaxy and making people pay who deserve it.

It may not be "your Star Trek", but your Star Trek was never as good as you think it was. This is Star Trek for a modern age and I'm glad it makes people uncomfortable instead of just feeding priviledged fourty and fifty-year olds the same comforting lies they have been fed by this franchise for 50 years.
Dom
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 11:02am (UTC -5)
Jammer, on the one hand I'm not "happy" you seem to hate this episode. It's sad to see anyone disappointed by a franchise they love. On the other hand, it is reassuring to see that I'm not the only person really disappointed in this show. Both in these comments and elsewhere online, fans who do like this show attack those of use disappoint as if we're all blinded by nostalgia for 90s Trek (or Trump trolls). I am aware that I do have a fondness for 90s Trek and I certainly would like to think I can give a show like Picard a fair shot. Knowing that someone as thoughtful and fair as you also hasn't been impressed with this show both makes me worried about the future of this show and lets me know I'm not being unreasonable in my expectations.
Dave in MN
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 11:15am (UTC -5)
@ Trek noir

Do really think Picard is a better show than any of the 90s Trek?!

We're all entitled to our opinions, of course, but you genuinely sound like you are being provocative just for the sake of instigating debate.
Mertov
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 11:33am (UTC -5)
Booming, as you were writing your last post another comment popped up basically saying that people who defend PIC have their brains turned off because there are so many good TV shows out there. Both maaaan, both! And my dad beats your dad :))
skye francis-maidstone
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 11:37am (UTC -5)
@Booming "patronising/sarcastic/condescending" Pretty much sums up your responses in general. Maybe you think you're funny though.

The comment above your last one literally contains "You really have to turn your brain off to defend Picard on that basis alone." So you counting must be a little off. Feel free to spend another few hours trawling through hundreds of comments and subjectively counting up one side or the other though.

Saying someone is a bitching doesn't make them a bitch (everyone does it sometimes) no more than saying someone is talking crap doesn't mean they always talk crap or ARE crap. And it's hardly an insult either way.

Since you're on wikipedia, look up "subjective".

Oops I descended to your level (sarcasm). You mostly seem to patrol these boards to pick fights due to boredom or something from what I've seen over the years hence you ignoring everything else I said and chose to try and start something.

I shall engage you no longer.

@Trek noir make a completely valid point. PIC easily better than early TNG or DS9 (it already beats VOY/ENT for me). Whether it will reach their heights - we shall see.

@Dave in MN "being provocative just for the sake of instigating debate." Nah, just a different opinion. Problem with nostalgia is people remember things to be far better than they actually were usually.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 11:38am (UTC -5)
@Frank
"I have the feeling that the same people who hated STD or STP because it wasn’t ST would have said the same comments on TNG, it wasn’t really ST."

Nope. I embraced TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT with open arms.

"To the haters who watch these shows, why watch them at all?"

Not all of us are watching.

I'm definitely not going to give CBS my money just so they could assassinate (sometimes literally and sometimes figuratively) more characters that I love.

@Dom

"Both in these comments and elsewhere online, fans who do like this show attack those of use disappoint as if we're all blinded by nostalgia for 90s Trek (or Trump trolls). I am aware that I do have a fondness for 90s Trek and I certainly would like to think I can give a show like Picard a fair shot. Knowing that someone as thoughtful and fair as you also hasn't been impressed with this show both makes me worried about the future of this show and lets me know I'm not being unreasonable in my expectations."

And this, folks, is why people like myself continue to comment and be the voice reason. So others would know that they are not alone and that they are not crazy.
Dave in MN
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 11:58am (UTC -5)
I don't feel like this show is trying to be subversive.

To me, it comes across as laziness and incompetence by the show's writers.

I never thought I'd see the day where you couldn't watch a Trek episode without the words "gratuitous", "incest", "profanity" and "gore" coming to mind. (Other words also come to mind, Haha). Nevermind all the "How can that be?" and "But what about _____"? moments that occur in almost every scene. Setting aside canon, this show isn't even internally consistent.

As Jammer said, "this ain't Trek", and I agree.
Descent
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 12:00pm (UTC -5)
Echoing those who say this is the worst episode yet. It's not "my Star Trek" and I don't have any shame in saying that - if Star Trek isn't overall a show about reasonable people trying to find positive, moral and constructive solutions to nuanced problems, it's not for me anymore. The last five episodes are going to have to be really impressive to turn things around at this point.

Of course, not being what I wish it was isn't what makes it a poor show. That's down to the scripts. As others have said, it's a muddled and weak amalgamation of scenes and ideas that other shows over the past two decades have done repeatedly, and done far better.

@Guiding Light

I have the feeling you're trolling because of the extent of the misrepresentation going on here, but this is where you really overplayed your hand:

"The writers have taken a character that was always objectified, that was nothing more than eye candy to satisfy the male gaze of its audience and they've turned her into a feminist icon: A woman who decides how she looks, what she is called and who will not let evil people trample over the lives of others any longer."

Seven was easily the most complex and engaging character in Voyager, and received most of the best plots. The writers used Ryan's outstanding acting range for all kinds of stories - comedy, drama, action, even psychological horror, and she got far better development than any other character on the series, including the EMH.

The catsuit sucked and I'm sure most of us here today would have preferred something else (I always wished she'd stayed looking like a Borg drone, but having to apply that level of makeup and prosthetics everyday would be a nightmare), but if you can't see past a purely cosmetic thing like that and appreciate Seven as one of the best Star Trek characters, that says more about you as a viewer than it does about the writers.

The rest of your post is just odd. I fall under the "minority communities" you speak of and I don't feel like TNG's vision of utopia is exclusionary towards me or anyone else, other than the occasional tedious 80s/90s sexism that creeps into some episodes. On the contrary, the crew's determination to reason their way through conflict made it seem like a world I'd want to live in.
Booming
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 12:10pm (UTC -5)
@skye
" So you counting must be a little off"
Well, I was talking about the first 1 1/2 episodes. Maybe read my post again.

"Oops I descended to your level (sarcasm). "
descending, ascending. In an infinite universe there is really no way to tell. Have fun trolling.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iu1qa8N2ID0
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 12:29pm (UTC -5)
@Dave in MN

"I don't feel like this show is trying to be subversive.

To me, it comes across as laziness and incompetence by the show's writers."

Indeed. They are simply putting in the least effort required to make the sale.

That's also the sole reason that they are using the label of Star Trek: It's a franchise with millions of loyal fans, many of which would watch ANYTHING that bears that name.

Gotta give it to them: So far it is working pretty well.
Jason R.
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 12:48pm (UTC -5)
"SHE is the moral center of this episode while Picard still is a nostalgic old fool who has to learn that he and his speeches are part of the problem, not of the solution.

I salute a show that dares to take its source material, deconstruct it and tell people why that source material was problematic. And I just hope we get a spin-off show of Annika Hansen travelling through the galaxy and making people pay who deserve it."

Haha I agree with you 100%. This is exactly what they were going for, without a doubt. People like you deserve to have your values affirmed and STP is a perfect reflection of those values. I salute you.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 12:54pm (UTC -5)
@Bold Helmsman
"Picard, and dare I say it, Discovery are hopeful because they show that people are willing to try to rise above the flaws in society and in themselves"

Really? Name one person who is actually rising above his own flaws in this series.

I see people around me, in the real world, who do a far better job at "rising above their flaws" than the characters in Picard. Also, I find the real world to be a far brighter place then the world depicted in Picard. At least in Europe or in the Americas.
EpUk
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 1:20pm (UTC -5)
I love how when this page was just open to discussion, everyone loved the episode. Then when jammer said he didnt like it, every stopped liking it.

I dont really care about “what’s trek” or not. It can be whatever it needs to be to tell good stories. Picard and Discovery are NOT good stories. They are cynical, generic sci-action cynicism that confuses darkness of tone with weight of narrative. DS9 got dark but had the courage to take a position on it. BSG was dark but allowed the narrative to make a statement about it. Picard just wants to be about MYSTERY because MYSTERY! It thinks its audience is stupid and treats you as such. Because it thinks if they just promise MYSTERY you’ll eat it up. It’s never the mystery that matters because no mystery, once revealed, will ever live up to the promise. Rather than use darkness to justify smoke and mirrors with the promise of a payoff that rarely matters, just tell smart stories that say something about living in dark times, or whatever.
Quincy
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 1:26pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

Chekov lived, Peter, but Captain Terrell phasered himself to get the hell away from those Satanic earwigs.

And let us never forget the human Malt-O-Meal® from the Star Trek: TMP transporter accident.
Dom
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 1:27pm (UTC -5)
@EpUk, I agree with everything you said except the first part. I think what you saw was: 1) people giving a new show the benefit of the doubt, and 2) there seems to be a consensus that the first episode was the best so far. Jammer seemed to agree and gave it 3/4 stars. If Picard had maintained that level of quality, I don't know if the show would have been excellent, but I would have been fine with it.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 1:57pm (UTC -5)
@Dom

You can't deny that Jammer's opinion helped people see the truth, though.

If it was just about "giving the show the benefit of the doubt" then it wouldn't have mattered what Jammer had said, right? Should we stop giving the show the benefit of the doubt just because of one review?

Not sure if this represents an actual change of opinion, or if people where just less reluctant to say what they already thought. But either way, Jammer's review had a very clear impact on the comments.
Dom
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 2:04pm (UTC -5)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi, see my comment above. I think for the later episodes his reviews helped some people like me admit to themselves that the show isn't great. But in responding to EpUk's comment, I was specifically saying that for the first episode the tone was more positive because people - like me - were giving the show the benefit of the doubt. 5 episodes in, the show has only gotten worse, we're halfway through the first season, and the time for giving the benefit of the doubt is over. I'm not really convinced Jammer's review had anything to do with that per se.
Guiding Light
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 2:06pm (UTC -5)
@Descent:

I am not trolling, thank you very much.

But: Yes, Jeri Ryan tried to make the most of the character, but the camera still lingered on her curves in a creepy fashion. And that counteracted anything they may have done with the character.

Having her in sensible clothing acting in her own interest and not in the way an old guy tells her to behave is actually subversive.

The thing is: People here constantly say "this is not Star Trek", as if they own it. People want a simplistic, morally myopic, naive Star Trek, full of nostalgia? There were five shows for people like that.

They should let other people, who want a more grown-up Star Trek that tackles real issues instead of just saying "oh, we've solved that", have these shows and let them enjoy them.
Nathan L
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 2:21pm (UTC -5)
“You can't deny that Jammer's opinion helped people see the truth, though.“

I can deny it. I love Jammer’s reviews, but we don’t need to agree! Sometimes I’ll go higher than him on an episode, and sometimes lower. I notice many here didn’t like Discovery either. When those people saw Jammer’s 4 star review of “If Memory Serves” did those critics back down and stop picking apart the episode? I checked the thread and it doesn’t look like it.

Critics are great guides and help us formulate our ideas perhaps better than we can ourselves. But a professional review is only the beginning of an artistic discussion, not the end of it.
Vylora
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 2:27pm (UTC -5)
Let's take a quick close look at all of the shit that the Federation/Starfleet went through during and after its "utopia" phase (as they say..."all good things must come to an end"). This is going roughly by memory from watching every episode of every Trek series (minus TAS) and every movie at least once.

1. Xindi incursion against Earth. Millions die. Xenophobia on the rise.
2. Romulan wars.
3. Klingon wars.
4. Peace treaties and border scuffles.
5. Cardassian wars.
6. Tzen Kethi wars.
7. Borg incursions (including two attempts at Earth itself).
8. More border scuffles.
9. The rise and fall of the Maquis.
10. The Dominion War. Millions die.
11. The destruction of Romulus/Remus and the collapse of the Neutral Zone.
12. The attack on Mars during the attempted rescue of Romulans.

Yep. I'm sure everything and everyone should be just perfectly fine after going through a century or so of off and on hell. Let's go back to the perfect "utopia" because that makes absolute sense. Let's go gallivanting from planet to planet and nebulae to nebulae in Galaxy-class cruiser liner ships saying "hi" to every wrinkled-nose person.

I do apologize if this is coming off as mean-spirited and/or sarcastic. It is not intended to be. I'm just pointing out that Starfleet (and the Federation overall) has gone through a lot of shit since the beginning and it just never fully recovered. I would imagine the near destruction of an entire race plus an attack on one of our homeworlds would maybe have a major social and political (not to mention psychological) effect on everyone. Maybe this isn't the Starfleet that we remember. But wait...this particular show doesn't involve Starfleet excepting for a couple of characters that have a few lines here and there. All the major characters involved so far are basically just rogue people out doing rogue things in a part of the galaxy that's become...well...rogue-ish (if that makes sense).

All that being said; I definitely don't completely disagree with some of the comments against DSC and PIC. I do disagree with the personal attacks against each other especially coming from people who claim to love Star Trek and the "ideals it holds". I get that there's going to be debates and that's great. But you're not a superior person just because the thing you like is somehow magically better than the something that someone else likes. Is DSC and PIC anything like the old Star Trek shows? Nope. Is the writing in the new series' episodes as good as the best of the old series? Not even close. Are the new series bad? Absolutely not.

There's definitely room for improvement across the board on the new shows with regards to plotting and canonical issues, but for the most part it's not bad. Not bad at all. I'm also happy to be able to go back and re-watch any old-school Star Trek episode that I want at any time. They haven't gone anywhere and if I feel that need to see a cruise liner hopping from star to star or if I need to see a holodeck program make an oopsie; I can do that. Yes I realize that I'm oversimplifying but it's to make a point that we should have expected something different in the current Star Trek. Especially considering that it was announced by multiple people in multiple occasions that the new shows were going to be different. And it's okay if you don't like it. It's okay if you do like it. It's really not okay to be spiteful towards someone else because they are one way or the other.

All this being said...Star Trek: Picard is not exactly what I hoped for but I'm okay with it. So far this has been a much better and more consistent show than the first season of Discovery. My main issues are with some of the plotting, a few questionable editing choices, and lack of character growth of supposed main characters (same issues with DSC).

Remembrance -
3.5 Stars

Maps and Legends -
3 Stars

The End is the Beginning -
2.5 Stars

Absolute Candor -
3 Stars

Stardust City Rag -
3.5 Stars
TrentyKaufman
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 2:28pm (UTC -5)
Trek has been hiding behind its "deconstructing Roddenberry!" smirk for a long time.

Now it's simply Chabon's turn.

But don't worry; these supposed "subversive tales" always pull back at the last minute. And Chabon will too. He'll trick you into thinking he's hurling mud at Roddenberry, but there's a real respect there, and a real appreciation for his political world view. Chabon will have Picard be ignored, yelled at, berated, and made to look a fool, but in his eyes he's merely testing the God with a hammer, as all things should be tested. And he will ultimately have Picard be vindicated, and be ultimately proven right.

A better artist would skip this pointless phase and go right to actually interesting writing, but navel-gazing and a kind of endless self-reflexivity is implicit in the political/artistic movement we're currently living under (and is Chabon's stock in trade). Unable to suggest new worlds, postmodernism by definition endlessly tears down. Fredric Jameson ("Postmodernity will be characterized by pastiche, parody, a distrust of grand narratives/institutions, a dearth in moral certainty, and a crisis in historicity!") and all that.

The guy you have to worry about is Kurtzman. Kurtzman is a legitimate hack. Kurtzman is going to force Picard to have a synth Baby with future Data and then beam them into the future to fight Control's AI Romulan/Vulcan hybrid armies with mushroom drive spore nannites.

*I'm reminded of Jean Luc Godard (the granddaddy of postmodernism and genre deconstruction in cinema) warning when he saw American cinema in the 1970s adopting French New Wave techniques: Americans, he prophetically said, will forget that counter-cliches are still cliches, and that capitalism will co-opt postmodernism/deconstruction for endless commodity production, under the guise of innovation.

That's what you have nu-Trek. A kind of dead-endedness masquerading as innovation. Mal pointed this out well several posts up in his tracking down of several New York Times articles.
Trek noir
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 2:40pm (UTC -5)
@Dave in MN,
I give a very reasoned, on point example of the non-subtle difference between 1980 and 2020 Star Trek, and what we are to accept over the 40 year expanse. Rather than address what I point out as the factual, flawed writing of the prior series, you make a generic subjective comment that draws on no relevant comparison to which I, or any other reader, could draw a conclusion? Just “well I think 80s Trek is better, you should too, so if you’re not suggesting that you must be instigating debate”

Dave in MN, what are any of your comments doing here? Instigating stupor?
Jason R.
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 3:17pm (UTC -5)
"Not sure if this represents an actual change of opinion, or if people where just less reluctant to say what they already thought. But either way, Jammer's review had a very clear impact on the comments."

In my case I simply didn't get around to watching until several days after it aired.

This could speak to an age thing - younger posters have more time to watch the show immediately and are more likely to enjoy it.

Or perhaps people who already enjoy it more are more eager to watch it immediately on airing?
Descent
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 3:23pm (UTC -5)
@Guiding Light

I don't remember the direction in Voyager being sexist for the most part - at least not with most of the recurring directors and cast member directors.

If you're not trolling, what did you mean by TNG ignoring the voices of minority communities and contributing to the rise in 2010s right-wing populism? Genuinely interested to discuss this, because your evaluation of the show jars so heavily against my own to the point where I honestly don't know what you're talking about.

As for being "morally myopic" and "naive", yes I do want them to make a series in which most problems encountered can be solved via dialogue and peaceful negotiation, where the protagonists strive to understand their enemies, and where antagonists can be talked down or shown the error of their ways. Regardless of whether or not you think that's naive and inapplicable to the real world, it was Star Trek's identity and what made it stand out from other science fiction, and people are completely within their rights to lament that the current owners of the franchise are more interested in shootouts, irredeemable and thinly-written villains, and recycled conspiracy plots. Even if you prefer the new shows, you can't be that surprised when fans of the existing 50 years of work comment on the major change in direction the franchise has taken.

I agree that it's no good when people argue that the new shows are "not Star Trek" since they of course literally are, but if people instead say that it's no longer the Star Trek they want to see, then I'd agree with them.
Kentac
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
Jammer, thanks as always for remaining reasoned and level-headed. When you (as opposed to some others here, who listen not with their ears but with their mouth) say "It ain't Trek," you make an actual argument for why. You cited the torture and the gore and how it came off as stuff one would find in a snuff film. Your observation that attacking a specific writer is both unfair and a fool's errand has much merit to it - all the more so compared to "arguments" that attack Alex Kurtzmann. Is no one here humble or mere-mortal enough to realize that they do not know what writer, what persom, etc., is responsible for the action, dialogue, and plotting on the show, except you? Also, I have read the dreaded "critics" reviews; they are helpfully aggregated by episode on Rotten Tomatoes. One would think those critics (some of whom make their knowledge of Trek apparent because they can write with clarity) have opinions that are no better and no worse than yours or mine. There are no better or worse opinions - only better-reasoned judgments and less better-reasoned ones. Many people hatw to be reminded of this because they son't like being told dissent from them isn't necessarily "stupidity." Being a fan of Star Trek (however one defines it-either with their "I am right, you are wrong" monopolistic exclusionary definition or otherwise) does not not make one any better a worse a judge of what good drama is. It can serve to verify the "wisdom" of one's beliefs. As Roger Ebert said, "Beliefs, we need to be reminded, are beliefs precisely because they are not facts." And beliefs arent any more "true" because they fall in line with what we think a sacred cow like Godard prophesized. His films can be critcized too and I found the last twenty years' worth to be incomprehensible bores, in significant part. The level of hatred for differing opinions on this site is getting worse. In the past, someone may have made a comment about religion or race that set others off; the comment may ha e been tangentially related to an episode. The hatred now oozes out when someone merely describes an episode. Kurtzman made it, so it must be bad, QED. Once we give own opinions the status of received wisdom, there is no logical limit to how unwelcome and hostile we will be to others who dare to think differently... or to think at all. I would like to think that if people who disagreed with each other on this site, met in real life, that they could at least hold a civil conversation, their having the commonality of being Trek fans, but I'm not so sure.
Bright future dude
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 3:31pm (UTC -5)
Oh...my...god - I had such high hopes for this series and they are being sqashed and trampled upon.

I'd like to say, that this was the worst hour of Trek I've ever witnessed - but that would mean recognizing this as Star Trek.

I am glad for everybody who likes Picard i general and this episode in particular - I don't.

Star Trek used to make me dream of a brighter future, of a grown-up humanity. The 22nd and 23rd century was a time and the Enterprise(s) and DS9 fictual places I'd actually like to LIVE. Not anymore, not in the slightest.
Other Chris
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 3:51pm (UTC -5)
I always enjoy the "the old version wasn't any good anyway" defense for the new versions of these things.
Dougie
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 3:55pm (UTC -5)
I watched TOS as a kid, and TNG as an adult, because I dreamed about the stars. The horta, tribbles, Klingons , Harry Mudd, and phasers. Later it was more gizmos, better graphics, an android. And then with Voyager I was excited to see the delta quadrant visualized and full of species. When I was able, I took up astrophotography, and for a decade I shot the galaxies and nebulae and clusters of the Messier and NGC catalog. Because Star Trek.

But not because Gene Roddenberry envisioned a cash free political utopia. No, I had no idea what that was at 6. I watched it because of the stars. And the places Enterprise took us. And the ships and the engineering and the space travel.

I’m liking it as long as we are in space and we need more of that. Not a huge fan of land based episodes.
Helmus
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 4:03pm (UTC -5)
@Bright future dude

I completely agree with your last alinea. I recently restarted TOS after finishing TNG and you clearly summarized the big difference between the old and new trek (for me). Especially when I was a teenager these series gave me hope and after finishing the episodes I could dream of living on one of those starships and living in those times. It were the only series that gave me these feelings. It's what made me love Star trek. I just can't imagine having these feelings with any of the new series.

Nonetheless, I still like STP for so far. It's not a world I'd like to live in, but I give it a chance for nostalgias sake. The story might still be worth it. I'm trying to stay positive.
DANIEL PRATES
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 4:05pm (UTC -5)
Funny how the reviews started on a very positive tone, only to veer off towards bas reviews after a while.
Bright future dude
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 4:20pm (UTC -5)
I don't know how the comments were before since I've just gotten round to watching the episode and did not read any comments.

The thing is: I could live with dystopia, with cash economics and all, even though I prefer the positive outlook on humanity of earlier incarnations of Trek. But I have come to ask myself how the writing of the series can be so bad.
Maybe I should not mix watching Picard with TNGs fourth season, but compare episodes like Reunion, The Wounded, Clues, hell, even Devils Due or The Loss to this wannabe-mystery-vigilante-episode and you'll spot the difference qualitywise.
Sven
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 4:35pm (UTC -5)
"Funny how the reviews started on a very positive tone, only to veer off towards ba[d] reviews after a while."

Maybe that's because Jammer addressed the elephant in the room and none of the others would/dared/whatever?
Dave in MN
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 4:37pm (UTC -5)
@ Trek noir

Was Trek broken? Did it need to be "fixed" or "deconstructed"?

Trek has always been it's own thing: a mix of camaraderie, philosophy and optimism.

I just don't believe it needed to be changed. Obviously a lot of other people feel the same way.

Is there something specific you wish me to address?
Dougie
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 4:50pm (UTC -5)
@Helmus, as one of the other writers here mentioned, after all the wars, the Federation was left beat up. Living outside the direct benefit of the federation is never really directly addressed in the Star Trek series, but this show gets us there. It’s a fine line walk right on he edge because you have Picard, Mr. Starfleet ex communicae, and he’s in the outer territory. The place most of Trek never addresses (Voyager excluded) in day to day life.
Mike W
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 5:04pm (UTC -5)
@booming I was not intending to attack anyone with my comments about moving along if you’re so disgruntled. I enjoy seeing positive and negative views of any series, however it’s quite disheartening to see the same cast of characters show up and bash the show week after week.

If anyone took my comments about “bitching” personally, so be it. It seems only the complainers show up here and the ones who like this show remain silent.

That being said, I enjoy most of the comments from these boards. I’ve been a follower on this site for many years, although I’ve rarely posted until recently. I look forward to more positive interactions!
DANIEL PRATES
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 5:07pm (UTC -5)
Sven,

That is what I think too. I guess most of us are torn by this series. We want to like it, we have high expectations towards it... for me at least it feels that I can't decide whether I am liking it or not. I kinda am ... I think. This episode felt good to me. Then I read Jammer'a review and it got me thinking.
Mertov
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 5:19pm (UTC -5)
"Funny how the reviews started on a very positive tone, only to veer off towards ba[d] reviews after a while."

Maybe that's because Jammer addressed the elephant in the room and none of the others would/dared/whatever?
----

Er, no. What elephant anyway? I love Jammer's reviews and although I strongly disagree with his review this time (including the "it ain't Trek" line which is, in and out of itself in great conflict with the paragraph he writes above it), having followed his reviews for years, I fully trust that he evaluates each episode fairly and on on its own merits and he gives each show a fair shake. He is one of the only two episode reviewers that I personally trust (the other on Tor) after having read reviews regularly since the early 1980s. And in his several hundred reviews of episodes, I have yet to read a line where Jammer attacks any fan for their views of Trek, which is a talent many commenters cannot even show for a couple of comments. I have rarely disagreed with Jammer's reviews (this one's a rare case) and I enjoy reading them anyway even if I don't agree with all of it.

The pattern you describe is pretty much with every episode of Discovery and Picard (I believe that is when Jammer began allowing comments before his review was posted). Many people do not have the time to post 20 messages per episode and don't care to. I did this time around (don't know how many but probably the most I ever have), but I don't either usually. Don't read too much into the motivations of people writing. Some people just post 20+ per episode, repeating the same negative or positive points. There is even a poster averaging a dozen or more comments per episode on the episode or the show, without even having watched a single minute of Discovery or Picard.

If Jammer's reviews were considered ex-cathedra as you seem to believe, some of his very positive reviews would then make the negative comments go away for that episode, and that is definitely not the case.
Mertov
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 5:23pm (UTC -5)
Older Chris:
"I always enjoy the "the old version wasn't any good anyway" defense for the new versions of these things."

Do you? Interesting. I find it somewhat ordinary.

I find it the same as slamming of a new show using the old versions as a starting point, especially when all of its producers and main characters repeatedly insisted that the show and its characters would NOT be like their older versions.
DANIEL PRATES
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 5:52pm (UTC -5)
I think we can all agree that eye-patch, cartoon french Picard was pretty lame. It is right there with strip-teasing uhura from "the final frontier". The review is correct, those are ex-borg hunters and they don't know Picard, locu-freaking-tus?
Guiding Light
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 5:53pm (UTC -5)
@Descent:

Okay, let me try to explain and I thank you for keeping this civil, as I will also try to do:

The shows always had 'white western culture' as its baseline, even when Avery Brooks had top billing. Let's stick with TNG: The name of the ships, the structure of the Federation, the amount of white people in every Starfleet thing we have seen. What music has survived in the 24th century? Classical music. Mozart. Beethoven. Some folk songs. What is the culture that's referenced? James Bond. White detective novels. Westerns. Shakespeare.

The show contributed to the idea that 'white' and 'western' should be the default setting for mankind. Of course it talked about 'equality' and a shared humanity, but it never veered out of the western mold. So it gave its audience, mostly white men, the chance to feel progressive while actually cementing power structures. And the fact that you had some POC in the roles of Admirals is nice, but it does not stack up to the close-minded whiteness of the rest of the show.

That is one of the reasons why people go for Trump, because they feel that this society, that even 'progressive' shows like TNG promised, is now under attack: White culture from the past may not be the baseline anymore.

And there is also the way problems are solved: Picard shows up, gives a big speech and then people agree and we move on. But that is not how these things work. This is how you present it from a priviliged position that assumes that everyone always has to listen to you. In reality, it's activism, hard work and a constant struggle to move a society into a better future. Not just a few well-chosen words. But TNG postulated easy activism.

And it presented characters spewing platitudes about inclusion and working together while I.) never showing the reality of that and II.) never showing that 'uplifting others' often means 'taking a step back yourself'. The show presented this as a utopia, so social improvement came without a price. In reality, that is not how this worked: Social improvement has a price tag. And many are not willing to pay that, so they support Trump, so they support Brexit.

The core idea of the show was surely well-intentioned, but in 2020 we have to move away from comforting lies and I congratulate PICARD for be willing to do just that.

Concluding, I totally accept that people feel that this is not their Trek. That is their right. But why come back over and over again if they realize that it's not for them and why tell the others here repeatedly that their opinion is wrong? If I dislike the new direction of restaurant - even though I enjoyed it in the past - I maybe leave a bad rating on Yelp, but then I move on with my life and don't tell people who like the restaurant that they are all misguided dullards.
Robert
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 6:11pm (UTC -5)
Jammer, I've been on your site for awhile now and I really appreciate your reviews and discussions here. I think a few points in your review are worth discussing this week so I'd like to go ahead and respond to those.

"About that [amputation] scene: It's the most gruesome and off-putting scene in the annals of filmed Star Trek. A scene in which an unidentified man — ultimately revealed to be poor Icheb, who was "like a son" to Seven — has his eyeball drilled and then pulled out of his head with a metal claw as he lies strapped to a table screaming. We're spared only the worst of the worst sights with just-barely-merciful camera framing. So, yes, you have my attention, but for all the wrong reasons."

Much of the Borg assimilation threat, tracing back to The Best of Both Worlds, is the body horror associated with the assimilation process. We've seen Picard face a similar drill to eye, a circular saw to the head, and multiple amputations of various appendages. Granted, that body horror was made for daytime television, but we need to take into account that STP is a sequel to TNG for the audience who grew up on it. It seems natural that they'd have to up the graphic detail for adult eyes to get the same shock of the original Borg assimilation. If they copied the 90s effects verbatim, the now saturated audience would not perceive the process with its original fear factor.

Admittedly, we aren't dealing with Borg assimilation in this scene exactly, rather the fallout from the assimilation process with hungry harvesters in search of Borg parts. Nevertheless, it's all connected to the Borg/synth legacy which this series seeks to explore. To understand the pain of what these ex-Borg are going through here, it helps to see some of that assimilation body horror again.

"(Can someone explain to me why Picard isn't instantly recognized by people who should know who he is, given he's the famous former Locutus of Borg, whom ex-Borg-hunters might be interested in?)"

As far as I know, this is Romulan space, so that should explain why they wouldn't immediately recognize the now recluse Picard. As for why they aren't after Picard generally, the story specifies that Bjayzl is interested not in former Borg, but specifically the parts from former Borg. Seeing as how Picard had all those parts removed, he's not a target, and therefore unimportant.

"But what we get here is depressingly rote. Revenge. Frontier justice. Alien sin cities. Undercover operations with precious little wit and lots of bland scumbags. Stupid nonlinear shifts in the narrative that exist for no reason except to exist."

It's an attempt to capture the frontier aspect of Trek again. DS9 was on the fringes as well and put up with black markets, slave trading, organ harvesting, and rogue Starfleet agents turned Marquis. I agree what we see here is grizzly in a sense, but there's a romantic side to the whole thing that hearkens back to cowboys fighting bandits on the frontier. This all takes place in a collapsed Neutral Zone, not the Federation proper, so there's no reason why this hotbed of space can't be full of unsavory characters who aren't keen on the Starfleet way.

"Then as quickly as we learn Raffi has an estranged family, the scene is over and we're done with it, and she goes back to be with Picard. It's quite the journey for such a tepid, single-scene payoff. (And I realize this may be revisited, but that still doesn't make the strange rhythm of these character beats any better.)"

Here I agree with you 100%. Raffi's scenes with her family don't seem to add up to the dramatic weight foreshadowed in previous episodes. Raffi's story should have been given at least a B plot level of screen time. Maybe they could have trimmed some of the fat from earlier episodes to make it so.

Anyway, for the most part, I'm enjoying this series and have no problem with those who don't. Agree or disagree, I'm looking forward to more STP reviews!
Late To The Party Girl
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 6:12pm (UTC -5)
Brutal show. Worst one yet. Where to begin?

I have commented before that this show features style over content - same again this week and now let's add gratuitous gore to the mix. The filming was choppy as before and the tech isn't good enough to compensate for the lack of genuine plot. Shifting camera angles until I'm slightly nauseous.

Just a few howlers:

- Agnes standing with her back turned whilst Maddox choked out some key facts to Picard in Sick Bah about Dahj/Soji just screamed "I'M GOING TO DO SOMETHING BAD TO MADDOX ONCE PICARD LEAVES" and shur 'nuf...

- Picard and Seven have a discussion about humanity - just before Seven vaporizes the bad lady who hurt Icheb

- The whole "cortical node must be there somewhere" - you're telling me that NONE of those machines could scan and detect that there wasn't one???

- One of the worst: Raffi and her abandonment of her child? One attempt to correct that past, she gives up and she's out of there and back on the ship? Substance abuse and recovery raised and rejected in 5 minutes. Appallingly poor writing there to address a serious issue.

- One of the reasons (I think) why Star Trek had such sticking power is because it was aspirational in nature. 5 shows in, and this is as far from aspirational as you get.

- Anyone else notice how Picard really is a minor character so far in the series? In TNG he was clearly in command - here he is just a movable chess piece. That might change going forward, but for now it's a serious disservice to both the character and the actor.

- The scene where they all dress up and go to Free Cloud had all the sophistication and engagement of an impromptu after-dinner skit at a family dinner that no one prepared for or wants to participate in - "I'll be in the skit but ONLY if I get to be the pirate..." Not even the actors believed what they were doing there.

The one bright note I heard this week was that Whoopi Goldberg would be reprising her role as Guinan in PIC series 2.

Jammer's 1.5 stars was generous. I'd give this one a .5. Sigh.
Drea
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 6:13pm (UTC -5)
@Guiding Light
"[Seven] is the moral center of this episode while Picard still is a nostalgic old fool who has to learn that he and his speeches are part of the problem, not of the solution."

What an interesting take! I agree with many of the steps that lead you there but not with this conclusion.

"shows like TNG, with their disregard for the views and interests of minority communities, with their baseless techno-utopianism are what made Trump and Brexit and all the other things possible that happen today. These shows never demanded that the viewers question their priors, they always just re-affirmed them."

I think you underestimate how much TNG made people question prejudices or assumptions when it aired. "The Outcast" was the first sympathetic LGBT representation I ever saw on television. This was huge for me. Growing up in the South, Star Trek is where I first encountered liberal principles.

However, TNG doesn't deconstruct the colonial paternalism of liberalism. I'm right on board with your analysis of how TNG offered utopia without cost and gave lip service to inclusion while often normalizing Whiteness.

Like DS9, PIC rebukes the idea that you can save the galaxy with a pretty speech and then fly off--but that's not the same as agreeing with Seven that there's no room for mercy. Is her violence the least-bad option against an organ trafficker in a lawless territory? Maybe so. But I don't for a moment think that this series will ultimately come down on Picard's idealism being wrong and her cynicism being right.

We're watching a show about flawed people who have become broken, cynical, or hopeless move toward hope and action. We're still in the first act of that story. Picard, Raffi, Rios, Seven, and perhaps also Jurati and Narek will all become the people they wish they were by this journey's end.

This doesn't mean everyone lining up behind Picard, but it doesn't mean that Picard's ideals and speeches will be useless, either. Seven may be a "grimdark" character when we meet her, but we're not watching a grimdark show. This is hopepunk.

Small note: it's weird that you talk about Seven choosing what she'll be called and then refer to her as Annika. Only the villain uses her birth-assigned name. She's chosen to go by Seven.
Andrew
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 6:15pm (UTC -5)
I think jammer is over reacting the gore scene, TNG had gore (Conspiracy) the episode wasn't great and i didn't liked it but condeming the entire series just for one or two small scenes? C'mon...
Drea
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 6:27pm (UTC -5)
@Booming
"Let's just hope that an old humiliated white guy assembles a team to save the United Federation of States. Is Al Gore still alive??!"

I really agree with you on this criticism of the show. I have enough investment in Picard that I enjoy him as the lead, but I would have opted for a well-written original character who's not an old White guy. It's problematic to suggest that the problems of a failing democracy can be addressed by a little squad having adventures, doubly so a little squad following our father figure from the 80s.

Will this show motivate questioning and action? Or will it only be wish fulfillment?

Oh, and it looks like about 100% of us dislike the gore. I looked away from the screen entirely as soon as it started, which may affect how I then reacted to the entire episode.
Booming
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 6:36pm (UTC -5)
@Guiding Light
First of all Star Trek was always more or less American and it may come as a shock to you but I'm fairly certain that Chinese science fiction does not feature Mozart often or many white detective books.

"the chance to feel progressive while actually cementing power structures."
You mean in a show about a post scarcity no money earth where people just do the jobs they want to do, not the ones they have to is cementing power structures? I have made enough negative comments about TNg and to some degree about Voyager when it comes to gender but DS9 was fairly progressive.

"That is one of the reasons why people go for Trump, because they feel that this society, that even 'progressive' shows like TNG promised, is now under attack: White culture from the past may not be the baseline anymore."
Are you seriously making the argument that TNG was an important contributor to the Trump presidency and the rise of right wing populism? What is your explanation for French right wing populism? They aren't big fans of Star Trek.
In the coming month I will do research about right wing populism and have deep familiarization with the topic of right wing populism and I guarantee you in no study I have participated in or that I have read has anybody ever mentioned Star Trek. And if you are not saying that then what are you saying? Just throwing in Trump for no reason?
As is often the case the question why Trump became president is extremely complex but I assure you it has nothing to do with a science fiction show from the 80s.

" but in 2020 we have to move away from comforting lies and I congratulate PICARD for be willing to do just that."
And teaching lessons like "gunning down your enemy and many more is good"; "lower class people are shitty"?
Booming
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 6:43pm (UTC -5)
@ Drea
Yeah good point. The show doesn't seem to know if it wants to be anti white savior or pro white savior.

"Will this show motivate questioning and action? Or will it only be wish fulfillment?"
It will end on a cliffhanger.

"Oh, and it looks like about 100% of us dislike the gore. I looked away from the screen entirely as soon as it started, which may affect how I then reacted to the entire episode."
Not all but yeah I also really don't like this stuff. Before I was mostly critical of the writing inconsistencies and glacial build up combined with the whole "look we are so relevant" stuff but that scene really made me question the show in general. So far every week there was still a part from me hoped for something clever, maybe even really good. I'm not sure that this is the case anymore.
wolfstar
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 6:44pm (UTC -5)
The gore in Conspiracy is corny 80s fake-looking stuff, almost cartoonish (most of it is puppetry and stopmotion), and the episode as a whole I find superb. It's also the exception that proves the rule in the whole of Star Trek. I absolutely wouldn't want Trek to be like that every week, or even every season. The episode was still edited for broadcast in the UK though (it went out at 6pm), and rightly so.
Descent
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 6:45pm (UTC -5)
@Guiding Light

It is a very American-centric show, as all Star Trek series including Picard are, but I think you're selling TNG's diversity short:
- Geordi is a prominent black human character, born in Somalia
- Recurring characters include Keiko, with acknowledgements to her Japanese cultural heritage given several times
- Though their characterisation obviously reflects American culture, several white characters are said to be non-American - Picard is French and played by an English actor, O'Brien is Irish and played by an Irish actor, and so on.
- Guinan and Worf are both prominent characters played by black actors
- Many extras seen serving aboard the ship are not white, including some prominently-seen named recurring characters such as Ensign Gates
- Ships have names such as USS Yamato, USS Al-Batani, etc.

I think many of the extras being white (when in reality, based purely on Earth's current demographics, we'd expect them to be in a minority) is due to the production realities of making the show in America. As for the principal cast being overwhelmingly white, you're right and I agree, though I don't think it's enough to scupper the show or accuse it of "close-minded whiteness". We're in a much better position today, where a show like Discovery can offer a fantastic level of representation among its bridge crew - I just wish the scripts were any good...

The classical music thing sucks, not just because it's Western-centric but because it's so boring. I've heard that it was chosen because it's royalty-free and therefore much easier for the producers to include than something they'd have to pay a license for, maybe that goes some way to explain it. I think the cultural references being mostly Western is another fairly understandable product of the show being an American production - we get James Bond and Shakespeare references because they're what the writers know, and they're also widely known enough worldwide, at least in passing, that most viewers can be relied upon to be familiar enough with them to understand the reference.

On the topic of non-Western references, for whatever it's worth, there's a bunch of anime references in early TNG, mostly just in easter egg form. They wanted Wesley to have a Dirty Pair poster in his room, which still makes me laugh thinking about it.

"And there is also the way problems are solved: Picard shows up, gives a big speech and then people agree and we move on. But that is not how these things work. This is how you present it from a priviliged position that assumes that everyone always has to listen to you. In reality, it's activism, hard work and a constant struggle to move a society into a better future. Not just a few well-chosen words. But TNG postulated easy activism."

I don't think that's a fair reading of the show. The Federation explicitly doesn't start from the position of assuming everyone has to listen to them - half the time, Picard has to deal with wanting to help but being explicitly forbidden to do so as a result of the Federation's strict non-interference policies. You also seem to imply that TNG consists of Picard showing up, telling people how to behave, people overhauling their societies to match his demands, and then him jetting off to his next neo-colonialist adventure (sorry if this is an unfair misrepresentation of your argument). That really undersells how complicated TNG could get.

There are relatively few episodes that actually just consist of Picard showing up, giving a speech which fixes everything, and leaving. Much more common are episodes where Picard has to mediate between two groups, episodes where un-ideal (albeit still optimistic) solutions are found, episodes where Picard's/the Federation's starting position was wrong and it's them who end up learning a lesson, episodes where nobody is really in the wrong and it's all about dealing with cultural relativism, episodes where cultural change is effected but it's acknowledged to be the start of a lengthy and difficult process, etc.

"And it presented characters spewing platitudes about inclusion and working together while I.) never showing the reality of that and II.) never showing that 'uplifting others' often means 'taking a step back yourself'."

How might the show have depicted these? If I'm reading your second point right, I think the show depicted this fairly often - the crew adhering to diplomatic protocol and the Prime Directive, acknowledging that their own personal ideals had to take a backseat to cultures they interacted with, because they knew they didn't necessarily have all the answers, nor the right to impose themselves or their values on independent peoples.
Brian
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 7:16pm (UTC -5)
Bottom line for me....

This show obviously cannot be all things to all people. And that's OK. But they chose to use the Picard character to make this show appeal to a very specific audience. It should at least not destroy Trek for the audience it was marketed to.
sam
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 8:05pm (UTC -5)
I just had to comment and say that your review is so accurate Jammer. I agree so much with what you said. I really respect your perspective because I have been reading your reviews for years and know how much you love Star Trek. I felt such a gut punch from the opening scene and still haven't recovered. This isn't Star Trek.
NCC-1701-Z
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 8:19pm (UTC -5)
Wow. Holy crap. I would never have expected this review from you Jammer.

But I guess everyone has their breaking point.

I watched the first Ep of Picard and while I didn’t viscerally hate it like I did Discovery, I wasn’t particularly hooked either. Then some personal stuff came up in my life and I kind of forgot that ST Picard existed.

But I kept track of Jammer’s reviews via RSS feed. I avoided actually reading them until I actually had a chance to see the episode, but when I saw this title I had to take a look.

For me, my personal “This doesn’t feel like Trek moment” for this series came during the depiction of the synth attack in the second episode. I was really turned off by the depiction of supposedly more evolved 24th century humans and an organization that acted like the Federation in name only. In Trek, the Federation is supposed to be the society we aspire to be, not a navel gazing reflection of our current state of affairs. Sadly, STP’s depiction of the Federation feels like the latter.

DS9 was more critical of the Roddenberry vision to be sure, but it was a hell of a lot more intelligent about it than this.

I wouldn’t bet on Picard turning back from its current path although I certainly hope it does. If it doesn’t, I’m declaring STP to be part of a horrible alternate timeline, and wiping it from (my personal) Trek canon.
Jaxon
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 10:12pm (UTC -5)
This whole show so far is like one long mirror universe episode.
Trek noir
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 10:28pm (UTC -5)
@Descent
In the 80s and 90s the use of token characters was prominent as a way of gaining cultural nods. Corporate teams were encouraged to have specific numbers of diversity candidates and hires. Let us not pretend this did not happen or exist, and Star Trek had its acceptable numbers. South Park has a black character named Token, for a reason. Today it’s referred to as virtue signaling.
Trek noir
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 10:41pm (UTC -5)
Yes @Dave in MN why not address the shitty writing of Best of Both Worlds Part 1?

Mr. LaForge was just seen ushering his team out of engineering with an arm waving gesture as the emergency bulkhead doors were closing. Is not Mr. LaForge derelict in duty if he left his station with 11 wounded and 8 dead? What kind of writing has him showing up on the bridge with a clean uniform and what type of writing has them ignore those casualties? Terrible writing that you give are giving a pass.
Dave in MN
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 11:21pm (UTC -5)
@Trek Noir

Since you asked so nicely, I'll supply your requested answer.

#1. It was a 42 minute show. It was a highly anticipated resolution to a cliffhanger. They had to answer a lot of narrative threads. These are obvious constraints on the showrunners

There wasn't any time OR need to show this.

It's understood what the ship's Chief Medical Officer is supposed to do in emergencies: Delegate your trusted staff and bring the worst injured to sickbay for advanced treatment.

As far as the Chief Engineer goes, battling the Borg efficiently and being able to respond to the Captain's orders immediately in person was paramount.

I guess they could've shown him stopping at his quarters, crying in his as he changed out his dusty uniform.

#2. They almost never showed Crusher going to an effected deck for triage. (The Inner Light? Was she already on the bridge? I can't remember.) Anyways, victims were usually brought to Dr. Crusher in sickbay and we saw them in passing. There's no need to show this, the audience knows the drill.

We didn't see any dead bodies amongst the wreckage in Wolf 359 either. Should time have been taken to show that too?

One could make the same point for why we didn't see how Keiko secured the arboretum or what the ship's kids were doing during all this .... yes, that would be cool .... but it's a show limited by time and budget and technical constraints.

I don't rally see why you're hung up on that, to be honest.

#3. Is it that hard for someone to get a replacement uniform on the Enterprise? Perhaps they have a handheld clothes cleaner.

You can't think Geordi's uniform not being dirty is a valid criticism. This is BEYOND nitpicky.

#4. Geordi is needed on the bridge. He has to be prepared to respond as efficiently as possible to the Captain's needs. Since Engineering is damaged, there he goes.

Everything he needs to run Engineering is at his station. All of the buttons can be reprogrammed whatever is required.

#5. I think those 11 deaths got the proportionate amount of attention they deserved .... in comparison to the 11,000 deaths later in the saga.

****

I hope that qualifies as a thorough response.
Dave in MN
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 11:25pm (UTC -5)
#6. And how many people died on the colony at the start of BOBW?

Ok, I'm done now, Haha.
Trek noir
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 12:31am (UTC -5)
Your answer is as shitty as the writing and Bergman’s treatment of his audience. Haha? Really my man?
Areliae
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 1:15am (UTC -5)
I really don't like what they did to Seven. You can make a change make sense, but that doesn't make it a good change.

My issue isn't "Seven would never do this," it's "The writers shouldn't have done this." They completely changed the heart and soul of the character OFF SCREEN. This could've been any generic ex borg and they'd barely have to swap some names out. That's unacceptable for a character with so much history. If you want to use Seven, use Seven.

She was unrecognizable, and that's not something I can forgive.
Crusader
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 1:40am (UTC -5)
I really liked the first 3 episodes of Picard. I like the touches such as walk in transporters outside starfleet and the scope of the project of the Borg cube. Trek could often rush past these details at expense of getting to end of plot (eg Voyager building a slipstream drive in matter of days) but to be fair not always.
The problem I feel with the last 2 episodes can be summed up with "what's the point?" The goal was to get to Maddox who could tell you where Dahj was. Why? They could easily have had Picard find that on her computer in episode 2. He would still need the crew so they would still be introduced but everything else could be jettisoned.

Of course you could take that argument with any piece of fiction - why do we have all these steps between A and Z - and the answer is that the journey between A and Z is relevant to the story you want to tell - character, plot, world building etc. The question is what has happened in those 2 episodes that has been relevant? Maddox was killed so you didn't get to know him, the character development of the others (such as it is) could have happened on the journey to the cube. Even the world building of the two episodes such as free cloud and the refugee planet could have been achieved by having a B story of Raffi going to find her son (perhaps even picking up Elnor on the way if having him is so necessary). That could have happened even in the first few episodes so when we meet her at the end of episode 2,we already know her.
This would mean we wouldn't have met seven of nine. But if she is to be in every episode until the end of the season, her back story could have just been in another episode and possibly more relevant.

Speaking of Seven of Nine. Im not sure the purpose of her being in this particular episode If you replaced her with say General Martok, you could with only a few minor changes achieve the same episode. (Martok was expelled as chancellor for trying to give aid to the Romulans, he saves Picard crew out in the rim. Martok wants revenge on the person who has Maddox and offers himself as collateral as former head of the Klingon empire). As I say I wouldn't have this episode at all, but as its here, it really does seem a lets get from A to B and that is it.
Booming
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 1:56am (UTC -5)
@ Aerliae
"I really don't like what they did to Seven. You can make a change make sense, but that doesn't make it a good change."
In the new form of Trek the (kind of) good people are only motivated by close personal relationships. Picard wants to find the daughter of Data because he loves Data apparently. Raffi wanted to talk to her son and follow her former mentor. Elnor does this for his surrogate father. And seven formed her entire identity around the murder of her surrogate son. Does it break her character? Maybe, but all these characters must have motivations that even a dodo can understand immediately. Rios is the only one who doesn't do it for family and friends but for money. And Jurati is evil now and will not survive season 1. Her motivation is "dark mystery". The same motivation of every other bad guy/gal on the show. The motivations for the good people are simplistic and the motivations for the bad people are a mystery.
John Harmon
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 2:17am (UTC -5)
“ Picard goes into a preachy rant about "humanity" that is obviously intended to mock the high-faluting speeches Picard gave in TNG. Because that's all he did: Give speeches and then never act, never help those in need. He gave speeches and then went home and felt his job was done. And look at the world that has come out of that mind-set. Look at what the Federation has become.

That's why its so amazing that Annika - who has reclaimed her name and her humanity - listens to his bullshit and then goes back to doing what needs to be done: Taking action. Punishing those who need punishment. Righting wrongs and not letting people get away with their disregard for others.”

What an utterly depressing outlook. Even more depressing is that so many Trek fans seem to agree with it. It’s honestly sickening. No, vigilantism and revenge killing is not, nor has it ever been, the right thing to do. It can be very fun to watch in fiction, but making yourself judge, jury, and executioner makes you a bad person in real life. Judge Dredd is not a “how to” for society, it’s specifically mocking the overly violence obsessed sentiment so many people seem to have.

This notion that speeches and diplomacy have no place in problem solving is legitimately terrifying. More good has been done through sharing ideas and talking than through the barrel of a gun. And to see this kind of violence so gleefully glorified in something with the Star Trek name attached to it and justified as “BADASS” is utterly gut wrenching.
Guiding Light
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 2:45am (UTC -5)
@Booming:

> First of all Star Trek was always more or less American and it
> may come as a shock to you but I'm fairly certain that
> Chinese science fiction does not feature Mozart often or
> many white detective books.

But even America is not the same as "white Anglo-Saxon culture". And that was true in the 1980s as well. The fact that we have to discuss this in 2020 is telling for how warped our views on that are.
Markus R.
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 3:23am (UTC -5)
I sadly must agree with jammer's review, but for some other reasons. I found the ending rather intriguing (Jurati killing Maddox), and the Horror Scene in the beginning was unneccessary, but effective in motivating Seven of Nine. Because that is the one Point I cannot understand in the least. I feel Picard is somewhat off character (even taken into consideration that People can Change), but Seven was barely recognizable to me. I also was shocked About the dullness of the whole Episode, and that even an able director like Frakes could not milk the Little Quality that was there more. And it is even shocking to see that Kirsten Beyer, well-versed ST novel author and allegedly very sensitive when it comes to "Canon" and "essence" of ST, wrote this Episode. Even painful Moments like Raffi meeting her son (during the birht of his child? what a coincidence…) fell flat.
Booming
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 3:23am (UTC -5)
@ Guiding Light
I still don't get what you are trying to say. Is your hypothesis that TNG was some kind of regressive view on society that only solidified power structures (for anybody who doesn't know. We have just entered Foucault territory)?
I always preferred Bourdieu over Foucault by a wide margin. So for me it's more about capital transfer than power structures.

STP is a show about wild west renegades trying to right the wrongs with guns for emotional reasons. And I might add that Picard's crew is exclusively (apart from background hat rack Elnor) Human. So it is certainly far less diverse when it comes to Human to Alien ratio. And let's not talk about the aliens to Humans kill ratio. Or that aliens and bureaucrats are the main enemy. That all sounds more like a Clint Eastwood show, to be perfectly honest.
Tim C
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 3:33am (UTC -5)
Hard disagree on this one, Jammer. Robert above raises an interesting point about the gore: Borg assimilation and part removal is a genuinely horrific process. Previous Star Trek shows have hinted at it but this is the first time it has really been show to us just how horrific it is. This is what Picard was put through. That is what Seven was put through. *As a child!* (Incidentally, it also highlights just how insane the "let's get assimilated deliberately" plotline from VOY's Unimatrix Zero was).

The opening scene serves two important functions. (1) It shows new viewers, and reminds older ones, what it means to have Borg implants removed (and put in in the first place). It demonstrates, graphically, the danger that Seven is going to be putting herself in later in the episode by using herself as bait. (2) It shows us why Seven has become what she has become.

If we hadn't seen this moment on-screen, and Seven had just turned up saying "I want revenge because Icheb was tortured and murdered by 24th century organ thieves", would that have sufficed? I don't think I'd have been happy with it, and I would have questioned why her ex-crewmates - her "collective" - weren't able to bring her back from the brink that she's clearly gone over.
Booming
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 3:58am (UTC -5)
@ Tim C
"The opening scene serves two important functions. (1) It shows new viewers, and reminds older ones, what it means to have Borg implants removed (and put in in the first place). It demonstrates, graphically, the danger that Seven is going to be putting herself in later in the episode by using herself as bait. (2) It shows us why Seven has become what she has become."
To point 1: No it really doesn't. While the process of assimilation itself seemed somewhat physically painful the actual reconfiguration with new parts never looked like the people, who experience it, were in pain. And when they took Borg stuff out of people like Picard or Seven I'm fairly certain that they did that when the two were sedated. Why was Icheb not sedated in the eye ball scene? Are they just psychopath who get off on inflicting horrific pain?

To point 2: You add "If we hadn't seen this moment on-screen, and Seven had just turned up saying "I want revenge because Icheb was tortured and murdered by 24th century organ thieves" but again Seven doesn't see him being tortured. The torture scene is only there for audience. To what end? To show us that torture and ripping out body parts is horrible?
Lynos
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 4:14am (UTC -5)
As I'm scrolling through the hundreds of comments here, both positive and negative, I wonder if we're not all expanding energy for nothing.

Because when I leave this bubble and go to read reviews on mainstream media sites, they seem to be eating all this up. NY times wrote a borderline glowing review for this episode, Den of Geek gave it 5 out of 5 stars, IGN also gave it a favorable review. Currently ST Picard is sitting on 91% on Rotten Tomatoes.

So to anyone who cares about Trek it seems like a lost battle. Now, I dunno how much Trek knowledge these writers over at NY Times and IGN has. They certainly do not go into the details and put things into context as Jammer does. The Star Trek franchise is so unique in that you can come to it with almost no knowledge about the world and still watch it as a regular Sci fi show, or you can come to it as someone steeped in knowledge and experience it in a totally different way, for better or worse.
And it seem to me like two camps have been established when it comes to the latest Trek: the first camp, mostly consisting of longtime Trek fans, dislikes the new shows. The other camp, consisting of both Trek fans and the non-initiated, reacts to them positively and accepts them on their own terms, i.e, they are not judged in the context of the whole of Trek.

I am not sure how this divide can be reconciled, but I'm not sure all the negative feedback from the fans is having any influence on the creators of these shows, which is ironic, since fans's demand is what brought Star Trek back to life in the first place and made it into what it is. But I guess back then it was a niche thing, and now it's mainstream and everybody knows what Star Trek is, and the mainstream is winning out over the fans.

Unless some brave soul comes along and rights the ship, I don't see the current direction of the franchise changing anytime soon, since it has the support of the big media outlets.
wolfstar
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 4:14am (UTC -5)
I'll be the first to agree on how completely stupid Unimatrix Zero was... but nah, what happened at the start of this episode isn't remotely comparable to what Picard and Seven went through, or what people who are assimilated/de-assimilated go through generally. Picard, Seven and the Borg kids were de-assimilated by Starfleet doctors under controlled medical conditions. The co-operative folks in Unity were also able to remove many of their components without doing extreme damage to themselves in the process. Icheb is deliberately damaged beyond repair in a taunting, sadistic, partly sexualized manner.

As to assimilation, we know that the initiation stage after injection is frightening and possibly painful, yeah. But then a sort of placid state seems to set in, certainly by the manual stage when components are physically/surgically attached. Whether in First Contact or Voyager, we never see people screaming out in pain or begging for their lives during the latter assimilation stages or even the earlier ones. They already seem mentally pacified/Borgified within a few minutes of being injected. It wouldn't be in the Borg's interest for future drones to be fully conscious and unanesthetised during assimilation. The collective wants a strong, functional drone, and the assimilation process - which of course includes major surgical interventions including amputations - proceeds in a controlled, precise manner. It's heartless, but not deliberately sadistic.

It's also not in the interest of parts traders to extract the components from conscious unanesthetised people, it would make the whole process so much more difficult. We saw on the "artefact" that the drones' bodies were treated with respect and the parts removed carefully under controlled scientific conditions. The only reason to do it the cruel, toying way we see at the start of this episode is if you're getting off on it.
Tim C
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 4:14am (UTC -5)
^^ Obviously when Crusher or the EMH de-Borged people, they were sedated. But when people got assimilated you'd better believe that at least some of them were aware of it. Remember "Dark Frontier", when Seven is present on a cube during a mass assimilation? Those background screams from people gettin' all Borged up sounded pretty conscious to me.

Why wasn't Icheb sedated? I dunno if they're sadists so much as it seems like they just don't give a damn. Maybe they don't even consider ex-Borgs as people anymore. Whatever the reason, it's immaterial to the events being depicted: Icheb met a horrific end at the hands of some bad people, Seven saw the aftermath, and it changed her forever.

Yes, the torture scene is there for the audience, so that we *empathise with Seven*, and that we know what an incredibly dangerous risk she is taking when she decides to confront these people. They will literally *dismember* her. It adds tension. I get that some people are squeamish with on-screen violence, I just don't agree with them that the scene is totally perfunctory and the episode could be exactly the same without it. I for one will never look at Borgs the same way again.
Tim C
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 4:15am (UTC -5)
(above comment was a reply to Booming)
wolfstar
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 4:22am (UTC -5)
Lynos, I think it's actually those reviews that are the anomaly and that exist in a bubble. I think there's been a wide backlash to the episode (and to some extent to the series in general) among ordinary viewers, certainly judging by peoples' comments on IMDB, Twitter, Youtube etc. I've seen lots and lots of people saying they won't watch anymore, not just old-school Trek fans but including a lot of people who liked the first 3-4 episodes of Picard and who liked Discovery. Even a friend who wasn't particularly bothered by the gore messaged me on Friday to say how stupid the show had become.
Guiding Light
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 4:24am (UTC -5)
@Booming: I'm not trying to pick on TNG especially. But since this is a STAR TREK site that's just what happens. TNG is not the worst offender and TNG is not "ideologically bad" like shows such as 24 or HOMELAND were. But as a show of its time that did not actively break out of the social norms, yes, it helped to solidify these structures. And that does not make the show "regressive" in its time. It was a product of its time, but that also means that it carries all the baggage that was implicit in any mainstream cultural product of that time and we should be able to address that 30 years later.

(Like we should be able to address the implicit racism and sexism in TOS that was just part and parcel of being a show made in 1966.)

Even if that was not its intention.
Booming
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 5:06am (UTC -5)
@ wolfstar
And let's keep in mind that reviews of shows are normally based on the first three or four episodes not the entire season.

@Tim C
"Yes, the torture scene is there for the audience, so that we *empathise with Seven*, and that we know what an incredibly dangerous risk she is taking when she decides to confront these people."
I know that the USA are a culture that is very, very fond of violence but I as a soft hearted European don't need to see eyeballs slowly being ripped out to emphasize with somebody who is driven by personal loss.

@ Guiding Light
"But as a show of its time that did not actively break out of the social norms, yes, it helped to solidify these structures."
I may be misremembering the 80s USA (considering that I was not even 10 and did not live in the US:) but I would say that portraying a society without money who tried to solve problems with diplomacy not guns was breaking a few social norms.
Tim C
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 5:23am (UTC -5)
I'm not American, Booming. ;)
Booming
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 5:51am (UTC -5)
That's fine but it wasn't the point I was making. This show is obviously very much aimed at US Americans. My point was that, as you probably assume correctly, the scene is in there to make the (US) audience emphasize with Seven. The creators thought that the audience needs torture porn to feel empathy with something. It feels like they overplayed their hand here. It also didn't feel earned in any way. We don't know he he ended up there. How long was he there. We don't know why he is not sedated. We don't know why Starfleet isn't rescuing him. We don't know how Seven found him or how she got into the facility. Why doesn't Seven try to save him. The show doesn't tell us and never will. It was just: Look out EYE BALL!!! and pew pew pew+forced drama. That is not good story telling.

You know what this all reminds me of. This stuff and here it is a funny meta joke about American militarism.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PpKA9klZWQ
A990
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 7:12am (UTC -5)
This show is just bad.
Ive seen its ratings on Rotten tomatoes and 90+ critics consensus is easily explained with what I call The Joker effect. In todays face paced and action packed industry they obviously think that all you need to do is to slow the pace down and take your time so you would appear deep and meaningful, and you've got quality. Im sorry but it just doesnt work that way. You can present a form in a wannabe meaningful way, but its content will still stay Kurtzmans STD in sheeps clothing. So Raffi could take 30 minutes explaining what has happened to her (just as jammer said) but she would still remain a bad actress with bad material, delivering poor lines.
We're talking about a show where we're giving a bad episode a higher mark just because it didnt have any scenes about a season long arc.
Enterprises xindi action packed third season story was mostly a joy to watch, DS9 when refraining from Prophets/wraiths did a marvelous job with Dominion wars. So yes, Star Trek can pull off that stuff, it can go dark, and it can go revenge, but these STD and STP authors just do not know how to write compelling characters nor interesting stories.
STD at least had its own universe or alternate timeline or whatever, STP is ruining good old stuff.
I Have No Brain
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 7:24am (UTC -5)
Does Nagillum show up?
Bold Helmsman
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 7:56am (UTC -5)
@Booming
Not really. Much of the diplomacy seem in TNG could really be categorized as being of the Big Stick variety, since the show takes place on a heavily armed vessel, and that was the style of the day back then.

There's also not much point in saying that the Federation has evolved beyond money when the show doesn't really show how that fixes all the issues caused by capitalism in the first place.
Hank
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 9:30am (UTC -5)
"Picard goes into a preachy rant about "humanity" that is obviously intended to mock the high-faluting speeches Picard gave in TNG. Because that's all he did: Give speeches and then never act, never help those in need. He gave speeches and then went home and felt his job was done. And look at the world that has come out of that mind-set. Look at what the Federation has become."

Are you for real? Are you ACTUALLY for real?

"That's why its so amazing that Annika - who has reclaimed her name and her humanity - listens to his bullshit and then goes back to doing what needs to be done: Taking action. Punishing those who need punishment. Righting wrongs and not letting people get away with their disregard for others."

Yes! Shoot those fuckers! Fuck rehabilitation or progress, the death penalty it is! Old testament bullshit.

"The writers have taken a character that was always objectified, that was nothing more than eye candy to satisfy the male gaze of its audience and they've turned her into a feminist icon: A woman who decides how she looks, what she is called and who will not let evil people trample over the lives of others any longer."

A woman who acts exactly like Dirty Harry, because as it turns out, the old white men were right all along. And really? That's ALL you've seen in Seven up until now? God ... So the endgoal of feminism is to turn all women into angry men, got it.

"SHE is the moral center of this episode while Picard still is a nostalgic old fool who has to learn that he and his speeches are part of the problem, not of the solution."

Eye for an eye. How progressive. Oh wait. No. Thats regressive ...

"I salute a show that dares to take its source material, deconstruct it and tell people why that source material was problematic. And I just hope we get a spin-off show of Annika Hansen travelling through the galaxy and making people pay who deserve it."

This is what you want? That's what you "progressive" people clamour for? Revenge porn and more vigilante violence? Jesus fucking H. Christ, the absolute state of humanity ... I am honestly at a loss for words ...
Eric Jensen
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 9:33am (UTC -5)
POSSIBLE SPOILERS and IDEAS

Could we focus on the next episode?
In the trailers: Picard goes on the Borg cube, part of the Reclamation project
Was there an scene with Locutus?
We see Narek and Soji together and she closes her eyes.
We see Soji and red mist
We see Picard being desperate to see Soji before she activates
We see Picard getting captured
We see Soji throwing something
We see a Romulan Rubik cube and something coming out it, a green figure?

1. I think Soji will be activated next episode. I do not know what that means. When Dahj was activated, she saw Picard. Will Soji see Picard when she is activated? Why is she the Destroyer? Will she command the ex-Borg to become Borg again? Is she a Borq queen? She is a twin, so is she like an evil Lore?
2. The closing of the eyes... when Dahj did it, she saw a lot. She could go through security clearance, access computer systems etc before she located Picard on Earth.
3. If Picard sees Hugh, will there be anger? Disappointment? Relief?

Another reason why I find this series a bit "fantasy" is the element of a prophecy. Of course this can be explained by time travel or even the Prophets in some way...
Nolan
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 9:36am (UTC -5)
Capitalism as an established system pretty much died out for humanity in Star Trek cause we blew it up in WW3. Sure, it's vestiges may have dragged on past that until First Contact, but by that point it was weakened to the point where getting rid of it and replacing it with something else wouldn't be as difficult as today. All the ways these new shows try to act contemporary doesn't jibe with the idea that to have gotten to the more idealistic future, all our contemporary behaviours and attitudeswould have lead us to near annihilation - tearing it down to build it back up.
Booming
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 9:52am (UTC -5)
@ Hank
Let's not generalize too much, shall we?
Leftists, progressives and so on are not a monolith. As not every conservative is the same as a Nazi or fascist. Is the entire right responsible for what one right wing extremists says?
I actually find this product of a multi billion dollar company to be a strange melange of the least desirable traits of the left and right. "Xenophobia is bad and now Punk make my day."
Nolan
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 9:58am (UTC -5)
@Mertov

Oh to answer your question a couple days ago, no, no paper. Just in that murky phase between getting my degree and employment. Plus I was travelling a couple days ago, so I've had some more time than usual lately. I wish I could spend it praising and defending my favorite franchise, but alas, t'was not to be.
Dave in MN
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 10:07am (UTC -5)
@ Trek Noir

It's generally not cool to demand an answer from someone and then, when they provide one, to personally attack them.

I think I'll avoid interacting with you in the future.
Eric Jensen
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 10:15am (UTC -5)
From Memory Alpha:
//In 2369, Lore discovered a group of Borg that had been disconnected from the Collective after integrating Hugh's sense of individuality into the hive. Lore styled himself their leader and gave his Borg individual names, coercing them into becoming his fanatical followers. He began cruel experiments on them, attempting to replace their organic brains with positronic components. Meanwhile, he somehow influenced their behavior, making their attacks more violent – they ceased to assimilate individuals, instead murdering them.//

Could this be the goal of Romulans? But ... they want to destroy synths...
1. If the romulans ceated the Borg, they would not want to destroy them. However they want to exterminate the synths. The primary goal of the Borg is to assimilate and not assassinate. So in one sense, the borg is a lesser evil.
2. Like Lore, Soji could turn evil once activated because of some programming error? And if Soji decides to turn Borg into synths (or command them), who would then able to destroy the new Borg?
Dougie
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 10:22am (UTC -5)
I’ve already watched this episode 3 times. Watched Absolute Candor 2 times. I will rewatch all 5 again probably this week.

No matter how I’ve tried, I can’t get through all of Star Trek DS 9 even once. Made it through Star Trek Enterprise exactly once.

As for snoreville, I barely made it through all of the episodes once and will not revisit it again.

Picard is a solid entry.
Dave in MN
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 10:28am (UTC -5)
@ Dougie

You couldn't finish DS9? You think Picard is a better show and you enjoy it upon rewatch? Unique preferences. Hmmmm.

In the future, I'll disregard your "Snoreville" insults.
Dougie
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 10:39am (UTC -5)
Why I think you have enough people in your elevator car, Dave. Press press press press press.
Dave in MN
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 10:55am (UTC -5)
@ Dougie

You still think I'm using sock accounts?

*sigh*

Man, it's gotta suck coping with conspiratorial delusion.
Clark
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 10:55am (UTC -5)
I honestly felt like the violence was used to show us that this is not the same world we started out in with Picard in TNG. This is a world were Picard feels he needs to take rouge action against the direct orders of Starfleet because it, and the galaxy it controls, no longer resemble what he devoted his life to. Years of galaxy-wide war, borg invasion, Romulan diaspora....it makes sense its not the same and needs to have someone like Picard lead them back to the light... but that could easily just be me trying like and justify what I'm seeing because I want to like it.
Dave in MN
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 10:56am (UTC -5)
BTW, thanks for confirming The Orville is a better show than DS9, Haha.
Dave in MN
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 11:07am (UTC -5)
I rewatched "Sanctuary" from season 2 of The Orville last night.

It amazes me how Orville can take some of these same story elements (intergalactic politics, diaspora, cultural relativism, the ethics of diplomacy) and create something both Trekkish AND new AND subtly subversive .... while STP takes 5 episodes to cover the same ground and it's not effective or interesting or insightful or very plausible.

Anyone who doubts me should watch "Sanctuary" immediately. It is possible to discuss these subjects in an adult way that also scratches that Trek itch in the best way.

In the least, it's a good palate cleanser for after watching STP.
Hank
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
@Booming: Yeah, bad choice of words, that wasn't my intention, more a comment on his (apparent) self-identification.

And you are exactly right, Picard is, like Discovery was, utterly confused in what it wants to tell its audience - because in truth, it doesn't want to tell us anything, it ticks boxes because it is there to make money, completely muddling any points it could make.
Nothing but the Tears
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 12:11pm (UTC -5)
Long-time visitor of the site, first comment. Also, I love that Jammer's still reviewing to this day.

I loved the pilot. I thought episodes 2-4 were okay. I though this last one was terrible.

So much has already been said so I’m just leaving some of my thoughts about this episode as well as the show so far.

In my view, the show’s biggest issue by far is its writing. It manages to produce individual moments or exchanges that are great (e.g. Seven and Picard talking about how much of their humanity remains) but often feels meandering or confused to me (which carries over to dialog at times). I love serialized shows as well as shorter seasons but the creators really have to nail it. There’s also the issue of introducing interesting characters such as Dahj or Maddox but never allowing them to grow beyond being plot devices.

The torture scene, in my opinion, was unnecessary. Seven finding Icheb dead or dying, with clear signs of his mistreatment, as well as her reaction, is enough for me to understand how it impacts her and becomes a motivation for her. It really doesn’t take more than that. Based on the reactions of friends and family, I’m also concerned it could serve to drive away viewers, especially if they’ve been on the fence.

To wrap things up, I’m planning to watch the rest of the season. I’m not happy about where we are and I’m not overly optimistic but I still think there’s potential. Plus, if nothing else, I just love watching Patrick Stewart (even though I wasn’t impressed by him here, unfortunately).
Sid
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 12:16pm (UTC -5)
Jammer, can you just admit now that this show is more of the same nonsense we've been getting from the ST franchise since the 2009 film? Since Nemesis, even? Insurrection, even? Rote, derivative, vapid and uninspired storytelling. Edgy, violent and cynical to the point of being a cliche. There's ZERO allegory. There's ZERO characterization depth. Picard gets abused in every episode by every new character, but they join the cause anyway. LOL. No in-depth discussion on issues, save for the soap-opera level melodrama. No humor. No hope. It's a disgrace to the name "Star Trek" in the same way the worst episodes and movies of the franchise were. It honestly makes you want to cry. 50 years from now, Roddenberry Trek will continue to endure. This shit will not. Mark it down, nihilists. Your views on life make for SHIT art.
Dom
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 12:24pm (UTC -5)
@Dave in MN, is Orville heavily serialized? Is it possible to jump in and watch Sanctuary without having seen the previous seasons? I watched the first 4 episodes but haven't gotten much further.
Dave in MN
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 12:33pm (UTC -5)
@ Dom

If you've seen the third episode, I'd say you can watch it without needing to know everything else that's happened in the meantime.

Twice in the episode, they briefly mention a previous big event that is a spoilerfor a previous episode. But if you aren't heavily invested already, it probably won't matter much. You might not even remember those passing references.

I'd say watch it.
Jimmy
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 3:35pm (UTC -5)
My first comment on here. Discovery took 4 or 5 episodes to get me in to it (and I really enjoyed it, apart from Michael) and it's taken 5 in Picard for something to actually happen.

So far, it feels like the writers have just played mass effect 2, storyline pretty much identical. Build a team, go to a nightclub ruled by a powerful woman, negotiate a deal, now to save the galaxy.

It's not terrible, but I think the major problem is some scenes are rushed, or not enough information given, or characters are used to explain things to the audience. All this is because after adverts, intro and flashbacks each episode is about 35 minutes long. 50 mins would allow much more freedom.

I've not really warmer to any of the characters. Picard's voice has lost its gravitas and his stature. Ryan is definitely the best thing to happen so far. Picking up something that someone mentioned above, a series around seven would have worked better, with cameos from Picard, Janeway etc would have made a better series.

Each episode so far 2/4, none have stood out.
Dom
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 4:00pm (UTC -5)
@Jimmy, I've mentioned the similarities with Mass Effect 2 and other video games when talking about Picard. I think the different for me is that ME2 really leaned into the idea of using that structure to tell short stories about the characters. Also, as Shepard, you could talk to the characters and get to know them. Picard is trying to balance an overarching, serialized plot with recruiting these new characters, and as a result I don't feel like I'm as invested in them. I'd like to see the show stop introducing new characters, stop introducing new mysteries, and start letting us get to know the characters already on the screen.
Trent
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 4:42pm (UTC -5)
Dom said: "is Orville heavily serialized? Is it possible to jump in and watch Sanctuary without having seen the previous seasons?"

You might want to watch "Deflectors" in preparation for it, but otherwise it's pretty standalone. Season 2 of Orville is real strong, especially the back half, and Jammer dropped a few 4 stars reviews here and there. The episode Dave mentions - "Sanctuary" - captured the old-school feel of the Federation well IMO.
Dougie
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 4:59pm (UTC -5)
@Sid, you know what and I guess anyone else with that sort of attitude?

If you like Orville, you probably liked ALF. There.
Trent
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 5:01pm (UTC -5)
Daniel said: "Funny how the reviews started on a very positive tone, only to veer off towards bad..."

Because the first few episodes had lots of neat little scenes where we got to explore future Earth, or watch Picard chew scenery. And because we didn't know where the show was going, we gave it some rope and had faith in it. But with the last few episodes, one gets the feeling that this is "Discovery" all over again, the show less interested in politics, philosophy and Picard, more in shocks, violent twists and its Big Mystery Reveals. The narrative strategies of both shows now suddenly seem the same.

IMO it will take a genius twist to reconfigure this episode and regain naysayer goodwill. We know at least one more episode is spent with Picard hiding with Riker on Earth, but what happens on the Borg cube this week and next, is anyone's guess.
Eric Jensen
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 5:32pm (UTC -5)
Since we are not talking about the next episode...

I dislike the episode, the latest one, number 5, the one before 6 and the one after 4. Why? I would not want to live in the world where Picard is currently living in now. Star Trek TNG, I would imagine living there. DS9, despite the Dominion war, I could live on planet Earth and lunch at Sisko's. I could live on Voyager's Earth.

Star Trek Picard? I would not want to live in that universe.
Eric Jensen
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 5:39pm (UTC -5)
Why would I not live in the Star Trek Picard universe? Romulans just popping in and shooting you! Imagine that. Having lunch and you get killed! This is from the 1st episode.
Dave in MN
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 6:02pm (UTC -5)
@ Dougie

I don't have a strong opinion on ALF, but when it comes to wisecracking alien sidekicks, I've always been partial to the Flintstones's Great Gazoo.
DANIEL PRATES
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 6:09pm (UTC -5)
@Trent I agree with your remarks. But actually, I was saying that the first reviews of 'this episode' were all positive (maybe the first few dozens or so), then all the sudden, people started trashing it. Is it because we got to think it over?
wolfstar
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 6:40pm (UTC -5)
I didn't notice the same positive-to-negative gradient in the comments on this episode. There are lots of negative opinions in the early comments.
Tommy D.
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 6:46pm (UTC -5)
I like The Orville, but I think it only works in the old Trek format because of its comedic elements. That element shields it from some of the criticism I think it would likely get if it weren't there. And without the comedy I think some of the episodes would be flat out boring, because I don't think some of the characters work on their own without it. Good show overall though. 1
PM
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 7:02pm (UTC -5)
Wait a sec, Icheb doesn't HAVE a cortical node: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperfection_(Star_Trek:_Voyager)
Quincy
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 7:34pm (UTC -5)
@Late To The Party Girl

I didn't like that Raffi scene either. But I don't think she's given up. If she had she'd be in a hookah lounge somewhere vaping whatever she was vaping when Picard first went to see her. I think she believes going with Picard is her only chance to PROVE her conspiracy theory. I believe she believes that if she proves what went down she will be redeemed in the eyes of not just herself but everyone, including her son. Not saying that saves the scene, it's just where I think they're going with her character.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 8:34pm (UTC -5)
@Dougie

"If you like Orville, you probably liked ALF."

ALF, of all things? That was pretty out in left field.

It's funny you've mentioned that show, though. There's a guy a hate-watched it and posted reviews of every single episode (he even ended up liking a handful of them). He turned hate-reviewing into an art form, and I've found his blog to be positively funny. Perhaps you should learn a thing or two form him? If you wanna be all snarky, at least have some style:
http://noiselesschatter.com/alf/
Wainscoting
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 8:52pm (UTC -5)
I love that people are mentioning Mass Effect 2! Garrus, Tali, Mordin, Wrex...there were some fantastic characters there. The interesting thing about that game when it came to the story beats is that it frequently gave you the option to align with a humanist, Trekkian view of the world or a cynical, nihilistic one. For instance, on Garrus Vakarian's 'loyalty mission' you discover that Garrus ran a vigilante mercenary group undermining various crime syndicates that was betrayed by a member, resulting in the deaths of all but him. Anyway, you spend some time hunting the traitor down and having discussed his underlying motivations along the way Garrus ultimately asks Shepard to draw the traitor into the open so he can kill him from range. You can either aid in this person's death or at the last second to step into the line of fire and explore the circumstances leading to the betrayal as well as the guilt and suffering it is causing this person. Garrus may be dissuaded from vengeance and is fundamentally changed for the rest of the story. Incidentally, no eyes were horrifically yanked from sockets by metal claws in order to evoke emotional response.

Basically, Mass Effect 2 (specifically in those moments where you aren't shooting thousands of bad guys) did Trek better than this nu-Trek can.

That aside, although Jammer's apathy towards the "What is Star Trek?" question is justly earned, most Trek fans will draw a philosophical line somewhere. It seems undeniable that TNG and DS9 largely emerged from their predecessors shadow because they necessarily supplemented the humanist, modernist core of Star Trek with more postmodern spheres of thought. Yet, while challenging themselves, they remained sincerely devoted to the idea that all sentient beings possess moral value and despite our myriad differences, by embracing a 'sovereignty of reason' we can overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges and perhaps in some small way strive meaningfully towards one day solving the epistemological, metaphysical and ontological questions we all share.

This new, truly postmodern trek has replaced all that sincerity with irony. We see that intelligent life is disposable, people are vain, self-obsessed and eschew the idea of a duty to the common good, society is destined to remain fragmented with people always finding a way to exploit one other. In other words, the pursuit of any truth greater than ourselves is simply a futile attempt to escape the historical and cultural discourses that run our lives.

Q: “You just don't get it, do you, Jean-Luc? The trial never ends. We wanted to see if you had the ability to expand your mind and your horizons. And for one brief moment, you did.”

Sorry Q, it seems you were wrong. 'Picard' believes in nothing and says nothing, simply taking pleasure in unravelling all that the character represented in TNG to the pleasure of some and the despair of the rest of us.
Grey Cat
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 8:54pm (UTC -5)
@lynos "And it seem to me like two camps have been established when it comes to the latest Trek: the first camp, mostly consisting of longtime Trek fans, dislikes the new shows. The other camp, consisting of both Trek fans and the non-initiated, reacts to them positively and accepts them on their own terms, i.e, they are not judged in the context of the whole of Trek."

Interesting point. Although it could more like the reviews are like the ones for drugs (legal). People mostly leave a review if they hate the effect or have some horrible reaction. There could be a huge amount of peoplie silently enjoying PIC.

Ive seen all Trek since the first pilot with Pike till now and i'm thoroughly enjoying this continuation. This is Not Trek is dull as Jammer says (although rather ruins his review by making a rant about that very topic). TNG wasn't trek when it came out, neither as DS9. Voyager was more warmly welcomed (at first) since it was female kirk being badass with an ironing board shaped ship on strange new worlds.

With all due respect. Please stop the "this is not trek" rubbish. It's been argued to death for around 30 years.

Many of my non trek fan friends watch enjoyed DSC. It was just ok to me. Mostly due to SMGs acting and the lack of any deceng characters besides Pike. It had its moments.

Thoroughly enjoying PIC. 7 or 8 out of 10 episode. Enjoyed last weeks a bit more but great to see Seven
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 9:37pm (UTC -5)
@Grey Cat
"Please stop the 'this is not trek' rubbish."

Okay.

How about this:

Picard is a joyless, morally bankrupt, depressing show. It shows us a grim world that (a) I would not like to live in and (b) I've seen the likes of in a dozen other sci fi universes. It resorts to torture porn for the shallowest of reasons, and it has the general maturity of a 14 year-old brat that thinks he is cool because he is doing "adult things".

This show also turns a character that was once loved and admired, into a target of redicule and mockery. He is one man against the world, and the worst part of it is that the show seems to be indicating that he is wrong and "the world" is right. Picard is depicted as a delusional idealist, which is just awful.

I do not find this kind of cr*p to be either entertaining nor insightful. It may be "Star Trek", but it most certainly does not have the same qualities that made me fall in love with the franchise in the first place: The optimism, the intelligence, the open-mindedness, the inspiration to become a better person.

I'm sorry, but ST:Picard does not have these things. In fact, in many ways, it feels like an outright mockery of those qualities (as Jason R. aptly stated).

There. I've said most of what bugs me about this show without saying "It isn't Star Trek" even once. Are you happy now? You can call STP Star Trek if you wish, but it still stinks (and it is also not the kind of show I've signed up for when I became a Trekkie in the first place).
Dom
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 9:41pm (UTC -5)
@Wainscoting, I know ME3 isn't as beloved, but the whole mission to unite alien races and convince them to overcome their differences is some of the best "Trek" we've gotten since 1999.

Your discussion about the philosophical lines around Trek are precisely why I think the "is it Trek?" discussions are valid and necessary, contrary to what some would have you believe (@Grey Cat). Star Trek, like any franchise, has an identity. It is something different and distinct from Battlestar Galactica or Star Wars. Unlike most franchises, Star Trek has always worn its philosophy on its sleeves. Gene Roddenberry was explicit about the liberal humanism in his show.

Now, we can discuss what makes Trek unique, and sometimes those boundaries will change or grow over time. As you said, what made 90s Trek work was that it retained the fundamental core of the franchise while engaging in a dialogue with more postmodern challenges. DS9 challenged Trekkian optimism - it didn't kill that optimism.

Different people can disagree - rationally and respectfully - about the precise contours of what makes Star Trek, but to shut down the conversation seems to me a sort of nihilism. If Star Trek is just a vacuous franchise for whatever CBS decides it wants to air, then isn't it devoid of all meaning and substance?
Tommy D.
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 10:30pm (UTC -5)
@grey cat

"There could be a huge amount of people silently enjoying PIC."

I would guess you could replace "there could be" to "there is likely".
Tommy D.
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 10:33pm (UTC -5)
If I had the time I would love to go back and replay the ME series. I remember dropping the original game early because I could not pass The Matriarch (Voiced by Marina Sirtis coincidentally). The trailers for ME3 drew me in, and I went on a crazy binge to catch up before it came out.
spinalatte
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 10:55pm (UTC -5)
Very campy, yet dark. I did not enjoy this as much as the previous episodes, although Troi's evil twin was a nice surprise. Seven being so bent on revenge, seems quite out of character for her.
Drea
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 12:23am (UTC -5)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

"Picard is a joyless, morally bankrupt, depressing show. It shows us a grim world that (a) I would not like to live in and (b) I've seen the likes of in a dozen other sci fi universes. ...the show seems to be indicating that he is wrong and "the world" is right. Picard is depicted as a delusional idealist, which is just awful."

I think we have common ideas of what Trek is, and the big division between our enjoyment of the show is what we see it as depicting.

As I see it, our real world is grimmer than this, and the show exhorts us to do better. ST:P is absolutely about the inspiration to become a better person, which means more if we start with people who feel as if they were promised that possibility and now have lost it--much as many of us who grew up with TNG feel today. None of the characters currently are role models or heroes. We'll watch them become that. We'll watch a new idealism grown, wiser than the old one.

If the show ultimately sides with the cynicism of several characters in their current states, if it concludes that Picard really is just delusional, then I will eat crow and concede that it's exactly as bad as you and other detractors say.
Booming
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 12:54am (UTC -5)
@Wainscoting
"This new, truly postmodern trek has replaced all that sincerity with irony. We see that intelligent life is disposable, people are vain, self-obsessed and eschew the idea of a duty to the common good, society is destined to remain fragmented with people always finding a way to exploit one other."

I'm not a big fan of postmodernist thinking but this is just not correct. Do you really believe that the show is constructed around a philosophical framework created in mid 20th century France about how all societal narratives are constructed to reinforce societal power structures? Is that your point? This sounds like dark web nonsense to me. The show clearly is against xenophobia pro refugee and almost gung-ho. A true postmodernist show could not make such statements or take these positions. Postmodernism is at it's core about questioning unproven beliefs? Also why would a postmodernist narrative be vain or self obsessed? Have you actually read Foucault?! You should also keep in mind that I could take your statement change the postmodernism for capitalism and it would fit far better. But I don't think that the show is actually anti capitalist. It is just a ham-fisted reflection on the present.

Here if you want to begin to understand postmodernist thinking. This video is a good start. (activate subtitles) I fall on Chomsky's side in this debate but Foucault is undoubtedly genius and makes some good points.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wfNl2L0Gf8
(here, if you lack the patience to listen to the entire debate, the part of the debate that is often highlighted)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5wuB_p63YM


@grey cat
"Thoroughly enjoying PIC. 7 or 8 out of 10 episode."
I guess that finally proves that the fans of the show are real visionaries.

" People mostly leave a review if they hate the effect or have some horrible reaction. "
People always say that but so far I haven't come across a single study that indicates that there is even some truth to it.
Wainscoting
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 2:25am (UTC -5)
@Booming
"Do you really believe that the show is constructed around a philosophical framework created in mid 20th century France about how all societal narratives are constructed to reinforce societal power structures? "

I'm not saying it was intentional but kind of. I mean essentially everything in media we consume is to some extent no?

A fair disclaimer: my philosophy is high school level really and even I know the folly of throwing that nebulous P word around, especially without providing an explicit definition. My understanding of the premise of postmodernism is that our mythologies contain dangerous foundational assumptions born of a narrow set of cultural parameters that irrevocably dictate our reality and what we’re able to think. It says that the very concept of ‘reasoning’ is itself the product of Western cultural bias. There is no objective Truth with a capital T etc.

I think it's very useful for pointing out the flaws in power structures and exposing privilege but when unchecked, people descend into moral relativism, irony and nihilism. See @Guiding Light higher in the comments for a prime example ;)

I'm sure I've totally misrepresented postmodern thinkers, so let me just say that I find that nu-trek lacks the sincerity I appreciated in older Star Trek shows. That will do for now.

Thanks for the video! I'll watch it when I get a chance tonight.
Booming
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 3:22am (UTC -5)
@ Wainscoting
"I'm not saying it was intentional but kind of. I mean essentially everything in media we consume is to some extent no?"
No. :) I find it far more reasonable to view the current media landscape and Star Trek, if you want to see general trends, as post ideology and that is closer related to the end of the cold war. What Fukuyama called the end of history. At the core of the US identity is capitalism, which isn't unrelated to the cold war. There are other fundamental parts of US identity but capitalism during the 20th century became the core value (That is one of the reasons the democratic establishment freaks out about Sanders). Sorry I have to end it here, too much to do (my 10 days of peace are over). it boils down to: one ideaology (kind of won) and now there is really nothing else but the capitalistic society to approach problems and capitalism creates a lot of the problems societies try to solve. So basically there are no real solutions anymore, just the vague dwindling hope that capitalism will somehow provide solutions and that leads to nihilism and cynicism.
Sorry it is extremely simplistic.

"My understanding of the premise of postmodernism is that our mythologies contain dangerous foundational assumptions born of a narrow set of cultural parameters that irrevocably dictate our reality and what we’re able to think. It says that the very concept of ‘reasoning’ is itself the product of Western cultural bias. There is no objective Truth with a capital T etc."
That is not the premise but one of the hypothesis on can derive through the post modernist framework. You could apply it to for example to Chinese society and come to an equally damning judgement. I'm not happy with some aspects of your definition but I guess it will have to do.

" See @Guiding Light higher in the comments for a prime example ;)"
I actually thought that guiding lights comments were more about third wave feminism which for the postmodern thinker is likely just another column in the temple of the current society. Stabilizing power structures by including a higher percentage of women into the capitalistic society. ;)

ENOUGH. I have to work.
Have fun with the vid. :)
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 3:57am (UTC -5)
@Booming
"So basically there are no real solutions anymore, just the vague dwindling hope that capitalism will somehow provide solutions and that leads to nihilism and cynicism."

I know this is off-topic, but I have to comment on this.

I think the biggest problem with the current version of capitalism is that doesn't really feel like capitalism anymore. Look around you. Where is the free enterprise? Where is the good old capitalist spirit that used to motivate people to create great things (for profits)?

We don't really live in a capitalist world anymore. We live in a world that's ruled by megacorporations who've gotten so powerful that they are no longer subject to the ordinary rules of economics. They have the entire world under their command. They can easily kill off (or buy) all their competition while continuing to create substandard products.

America (and the western world) would be in far better shape, if it started to take measures to protect the good ol' American business spirit.

(not saying that capitalism is the only way to run things, of-course. But if a country is already using a capitalistic system, then it should make sure that system is indeed working as intended. Right now, it doesn't.)
Dougie
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 4:18am (UTC -5)
@omicron
Go talk to Dave in MN, he needs you in his elevator car
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 5:13am (UTC -5)
Wow. You sure showed me, haven't you... XD
Booming
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 5:16am (UTC -5)
@Omicron
I'm procrastinating now. I find it sweet that think that way about capitalism.
Two things. First: what we see today is what capitalism was always about. Creating oligopolies or at best monopolies. It just happens on a global scale now.
second: and that is maybe what bugs many people today. Small businesses for a long time could somewhat thrive because the markets they were occupying were too small as to be interesting BUT luckily (irony) now with modern communication and computers gigantic companies can cover basically all markets big and small.
And again ironically the moment the socialist threat disappeared the capitalists immediately started to behave in a way that created leftist movements in the first place. Also let's not forget if capitalism would have started in Russia we would probably all be communists today. ;)

"We live in a world that's ruled by megacorporations who've gotten so powerful that they are no longer subject to the ordinary rules of economics. They have the entire world under their command. They can easily kill off (or buy) all their competition while continuing to create substandard products."
Did you copy that out of the communist manifesto or Das Kapital? :D

Enough! I hope you are happy! You are ruining my life by summoning me back here. I have to work! Stop it. Bad Omicron. Bad!
Andy's Friend
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 5:47am (UTC -5)
@Booming (to someone else)

"Is your hypothesis that TNG was some kind of regressive view on society that only solidified power structures (for anybody who doesn't know. We have just entered Foucault territory)?
I always preferred Bourdieu over Foucault by a wide margin."

Same here. Without wishing to reduce Foucault to his theories of power, they are a disaster to humanity. Suddenly, friends aren't friends but compete for power in some warped relationship of 'power dynamics'. Suddenly, siblings don't love each other but compete for power in the 'power structure' that is the family. Everything is about power. It is sickening.

I personally prefer Ricœur over Bourdieu, and feel he is much more needed, even as regards Star Trek. But first:

I'm a historian. Your comment reminded me that in my own field, most scholars today write from a Foucauldian perspective. In a way, it’s not their fault: it’s what they were taught at university.

For the same reason, they generally lack an understanding of Philosophy and Theology that goes beyond the superficial. The same applies to sociologists, and so on. Whereas philosophers and theologians lack a deeper understanding of history, sociology, and so forth. The myopia in modern academia is frightening, and the lack of abstraction atrocious. In my field, other than a few specialists, historians today are philosophical and theological illiterates, obsessed with positivist approaches. Increasingly specialised and myopic, they are more like assembly-line workers than thinkers. This goes for all the human sciences.

The result, in my field, is a bleak, pessimistic, highly cynical interpretation of history that denies all idealism and sees hidden agendas everywhere. Aristotle’s vision of genuine, selfless friendship and any loving sentiment espoused by Christianity are nowhere to be found or accepted as true. A prelate distributing alms to the poor is not attempting to better the life of the indigent, but simply to ‘widen his power base’, and so forth. There is always some sinister, or simply egotistical ulterior motive.

It strikes me that this cynical worldview is also what is seen in much modern television: there is no idealism anywhere, no moral absolutes defended. All we find is postmodern relativism, and disenchantment in the Weberian sense.

Also in modern, so-called Star Trek. It is really all very depressing.

Concerning the discussion on Star Trek being had here, Ricœur comes to mind, and his need of the exegete to make himself contemporary with the source. But try explaining that to people. Most seem convinced that the past must be judged by today’s standards, not contemporary ones; and many seem to think that their own, uninformed opinions are as good as any. This deserves a few comments.

Unfortunately, the absurd idea that 'all art is subjective' has spread. But other than (post)modern, abstract art, all classic narrative art is highly objective. People tend to forget this.

'Oedipus' is a moral tale, not early incest porn.
'Medea' is a moral tale, not a feminist manifesto.
'Robinson Crusoe' is a moral tale, not a white supremacist proclamation.
…and so on, and so forth.

Stories until the postmodern era were bound in moral absolutes and used to contain an ethical lesson, which could be more or less obvious, and better or worse executed. But the ethical lesson was always at the core of any great piece of narrative art. This includes, e.g., paintings.

Take 'The Surrender of Breda'. It is a powerful moral tale as much as it is a panegyric to the victor, Spinola. It reminds the viewer that if you rebel against your rightful sovereign, you will ultimately fall: but also, that the pious and the righteous shows magnanimity in victory.

That painting is in the best tradition of Star Trek. It depicts not the harsh siege, but the peaceful surrender. Not the blood-stained, battle-hardened victorious commander, but the diplomatic, gracious victor, already establishing friendly relations with the vanquished. Not ‘vae victis’, but 'gloria victis’. In it, it is not only Ambrogio Spinola we see: it is also Jean-Luc Picard.

This also includes say, sculpture. Take Thorvaldsen's 'Jason with the Golden Fleece'. It reminds us of course of Medea, and Orpheus. You can almost hear the various statues and paintings in any great museum of art talking amongst themselves after dark, holding a great reunion after the guests have left. All it takes is knowledge of the tales they tell.

Unfortunately, people today don't know classic stories (let alone storytelling devices), whether of pagan mythology, Christian origin, or their own, national histories, other than at the most superficial level. They therefore fail to recognise the themes and the ethics in most classic art.

So when looking at say, Thorvaldsen's 'Jason', they will not comment on the story of the Argonauts; nor will they comment on how it relates to that of Medea, and that of Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of Castor and Pollux, and, and, and…, and finally, how well the statue brings to life the moral tale: how seeing Jason at the supreme moment of his life reminds the viewer of his fate, also: his downfall. Catharsis. A moral tale.

Instead, they will comment the superficial only. They will comment the craftmanship of the artist: the perfection of the toenails in Jason's feet, or the curls of the Golden Fleece. The smoothness of the marble, or the colours in the painting.

They will comment the form of the art, not its function.
They will comment the aesthetics, not the ethics.
They will comment the 'How', not the 'Why?'

Suppose they see a killing in a painting. The depiction itself will of course provoke an aesthetic response in the viewer. But who was it that was killed? Was it a vicious murderer guilty of heinous crimes? Was it a father guilty of stealing bread for his starving children? Or was it simply a good man, wrongly accused of some misdeed? If the viewers know not who is being killed and why, their aesthetic response to the artwork is meaningless.

However, staring at art they fail to comprehend, many tell themselves that their uninformed opinion is as valid as any other. ‘It doesn’t matter who it was, or why, this is what I feel when I see it.’ This conviction many further transplant to other fields of human intercourse. And the problem is upon us:

We increasingly see the absurd proposition that no opinion is intrinsically more valid than any other. This is blatantly false and has been known to be since Plato: εἰκασία is a lower type of opinion than πίστις. But more importantly, as Plato reminds us, it is not such types of *opinion* that one should strive for: it is types of *truth*. If not the highest νόησις, at least διάνοια.

Unfortunately, people, and this includes most of my fellow colleagues, no longer study much philosophy.

And so, we get some of the absurd claims we have here, that this new series is somehow pregnant with meaning and that TNG was actually all about attempting to perpetuate white Anglo-Saxon political and patriarchal power structures leading to Trump and Brexit and what not. Talk about missing the point(s).

You're quite right, Foucault and his huge influence is partly to blame. I will put forth Ricœur rather than Bourdieu as one countermeasure. But more fundamentally, we need more hermeneutics and less positivism in the world today. We need more realism, in the philosophical sense, and less physicalism, or materialism in the philosophical sense. We need more idealism in the common sense, and less relativism. Above all, we need more philosophy: we need to think better and understand more.

Or at least know to *know* more: to seek the truth, and opine less. The widespread notion that 'I am entitled to my opinion' is a logical fallacy. As Picard once put it, 'The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth'. In this, he was echoing Plato's theory of forms.

It's curious, isn't it? Here we essentially have two factions. One wishing to discuss, based on recent, in-universe precedent, the truthfulness of the setting of this new series. The other advocating their right to... opinion. On whose side would Plato be, one wonders?
Andy's Friend
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 5:54am (UTC -5)
@Booming (to someone else)

‘I'm not a big fan of postmodernist thinking but this is just not correct. Do you really believe that the show is constructed around a philosophical framework created in mid 20th century France about how all societal narratives are constructed to reinforce societal power structures? Is that your point? This sounds like dark web nonsense to me (…) Have you actually read Foucault?!’

You should take care not to opine on what you do not know well. The notion that postmodernism can be reduced to ‘a philosophical framework … about how all societal narratives are constructed to reinforce societal power structures’ is (to be blunt) sheer nonsense.

Despite what I just wrote above, you could expurgate Foucault from world history without affecting the essence of postmodernism itself. Foucault is but one manifestation of something much larger.

Postmodernism is one of several continuations of classical scepticism, questioning our ability to know anything with any degree of certitude. In essence, postmodernism denies fixed meanings.

Postmodernism denies Plato’s realism and the contrary idealism. It denies conceptualism attempting to bridge the two, as well as reductionism attempting to reduce them. It denies the general validity of projectivism even if it sometimes is just that; it likewise denies the general validity of eliminativism even if it often employs eliminativist arguments (see the video you suggested).

Foucault is a post-structuralist within the larger framework of postmodernism. He is as far removed from Plato as any philosopher (and a dilettante in comparison), yet he represents but one strand of postmodernism.

Yet Foucault is nevertheless a good example if you read him correctly. Along with Derrida, he advocates above all the refusal of objectivity, even truth itself. According to him, there is no truth, no reality, only subjectivity. This is at the core of his theory of power relations. In other words, relativism reigns supreme.

I don’t know ‘vain and self-obsessed’ to be an adequate description of this new series as I am not watching it. But it is a valid description of the cynical worldview that often follows in the wake of postmodernist mania with scepticism, subjectivity, and relativism. And it certainly holds true that virtually all modern television series are essentially espousals of postmodernist thinking, if unwittingly. You can’t seriously want to dispute this.

(When was the last time you saw a television series clearly espousing a coherent philosophical school other than postmodernism, let alone a moral absolute?)

Only two comments on the video you so kindly suggested. Not only does Foucault take a synchronic stance that wasn’t even true in 1971; had Chomsky replied with a diachronic approach, he would have made his point much clearer, and undermine Foucault’s entire argument. But more fundamentally, there is a reason why natural law has existed as a concept independent of divine law since Antiquity, and has been debated by philosophers and theologians ever since. Foucault would of course deny this.
grey cat
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 6:23am (UTC -5)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi fair enough. you don't like this version of Star Trek. I didn't like (Star Trek) Enterprise even after they added the Star Trek to it's title.

@Booming i guess you're the resident comedian, minus the comedy. In terms of a study, there's a few - Google (or don't). Just make more "clever" remarks at people.

Also there's a few some interesting studies on the kind of people that even write reviews online (only 1.5% do). There's also a few studies saying the exact opposite.... so yeah. So it's either a fact or it isn't depending on what you choose to believe.

That probably explains why Picard has 8.4 on IMDB yet you have to have scroll through loads of pages of 1 out 10 rage monsters with varying versions of "this is not star trek. 16.1k ratings. Under 600 reviews.

I found this amusing "...people who write online reviews are more likely to buy things in unusual sizes, make returns, be married, have more children, be younger and less wealthy, and have graduate degrees than the average consumer" Well I only tick 2 of those boxes so I guess I should leave lol.

Personally i think it would be literally impossible to create a Star Trek today that wouldn't cause rage on message boards.. well it wasn't back in the days of dial-up and bulletin boards either come to think of it.

A non-trek fan told me this morning he binged the first 5 episodes over the weekend and really enjoyed them. He said "tbh I think Stewart could advertise Cat Litter and I'd enjoy it".

The real world is still 10 times bleaker than the world of PIC.

Looking forward to episode 6.

The real question is who will be first in with the "this is not Star Trek" when Jammer opens the comments.
Booming
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 8:10am (UTC -5)
@ Andy friend
I have a little time now.
I will keep this brief because most of this has nothing to do with the show. I knew that it wasn't a good definition. It's not nonsense but you should keep in mind that we for the most part discuss this stuff with people who have no understanding of this whatsoever. I'm a sociologist and political scientist (mostly political scientist) and in political science postmodernism is basically absent and in sociology it seems to lose ground pretty quickly. So I know Foucault from a sociological standpoint. I find postmodernism pretty useless as a sociological tool because it cannot really be used for anything because anything has to be questioned constantly. A study in a specific theoretical framework about a power structure is itself a product of power structures blaaaaa. Postmodernism always reminds me of the snake that eats itself. Never read Derrida and probably never will.

I also must admit that my respect for philosophy, theology and history is somewhat limited. I went to a few history and philosophy courses back then and it was two steps away from voodoo in my opinion. It was just people writing about people writing about people writing about people (I went mostly to ancient history courses, I guess there are differences to more contemporary history. maybe contemporary history follows a more scientific methodology). And I think philosophy will follow the way of alchemy which was sent to greener pastures by chemistry, biology and physics. For philosophy it will be neurology(brain), psychology(individual) and sociology(group), maybe philosophy will be used to interpret the findings of these fields. Maybe. In the social sciences we deal mostly with statistics and try to follow as closely as possible the methodology of the natural sciences.
Nic
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 8:18am (UTC -5)
Initially, I was surprised by your reaction, Jammer. But I see your point.

I don't have a problem with graphic violence as long as it's not gratuitous, and Icheb's death certainly was. A group of people extracting technology from former Borg is bad enough; we didn't need to see them do it gleefully without anesthetics (although, to be fair, Remmick's head blowing up in "Conspiracy" was also gratuitous). Bjayzl was not interesting enough, even as a one-episode villain, and I felt the crew got the upper hand on her way too easily.

I didn't see this episode as crossing a line that Star Trek had never crossed before. Even for a non-Federation world, Freecloud definitely felt a little out of place in the Star Trek Universe, but I had also had that feeling about the world O'Brien visited in "Honor Among Thieves", among others.

Seven's character change didn't bother me too much, perhaps because Ryan sold it so well. Morally, I was much more bothered by the Discovery crew cheering the destruction of the Imperial Ship in the Mirror Universe (which had Kelpian slaves aboard it!) and contemplating committing genocide against the Klingons.

As for Dr. Jurati's actions at the end, I'll reserve judgement until it is explained (or not explained...).

That being said, yes, this was not Star Trek, or at the very least, it's not what I want Star Trek to be. I'm reminded of something Alex Kurtzman said before Discovery premiered:
"The defining factor of Roddenberry's vision is the optimistic view of the future ... Once you lose that, you lose the essence of what Star Trek is. That being said... Star Trek has always reflected the time it was made, and now the question is how do you preserve and protect what Starfleet is in the weight of a challenge like war and the things that have to be done in war."

This is all wrong. He seems to be saying that there is less reason for optimism now than there was in the 60s or 80s. Doesn't anybody remember Vietnam, the race riots and the Cold War? Climate change and loss of biodiversity make our future is uncertain; but there is no question that human life is much much better now than it was 30 years ago.
The rate of child mortality has been cut in half; life expectancy worldwide has gone from 64 to 71; deaths from military conflicts, terrorism, famine and preventable diseases have all gone down. The last 30 years have seen the fastest improvement in human life in history. But people don't seem to know this; most people seem to think the world is getting worse. That's why the optimism of Star Trek is more needed now than ever - to remind us of what we are, and what we can become. The human adventure is just begining!
Booming
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 8:18am (UTC -5)
@ grey cat
Completely forgot you. Well, I actually googled at google scholar but couldn't find anything relevant. Not that I looked that much.

"Also there's a few some interesting studies on the kind of people that even write reviews online (only 1.5% do). There's also a few studies saying the exact opposite.... so yeah. So it's either a fact or it isn't depending on what you choose to believe."
You are quoting a study? an article? a youtube video?

"I found this amusing "...people who write online reviews are more likely to buy things in unusual sizes, make returns, be married, have more children, be younger and less wealthy, and have graduate degrees than the average consumer" Well I only tick 2 of those boxes so I guess I should leave lol."
Is this from a study???

"That probably explains why Picard has 8.4 on IMDB yet you have to have scroll through loads of pages of 1 out 10 rage monsters with varying versions of "this is not star trek. 16.1k ratings. Under 600 reviews. "
It's already at down to 8.2 and the episodes individually are rated as follow:
episode one 8.5
episode two 7.5
episode three 7.6
episode four 7.4
episode five 7.1

There seems to be a tendency...
grey cat
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 9:02am (UTC -5)
@booming "Not that I looked that much." Why bother to even reply then?

The ratings on TNG's first 3 seasons (from roughly the same number of votes as each PIC episode) are generally under 7. Looking for a trend in 5 episodes is a little fatuous. There's no trend there at all. The only conclusion you could really draw is that TNG sucked at least half of it's entire run. I don't believe that at all. I largely enjoyed it. Why does it matter so much to you that other people hate it as much as you anyway?

I like it, plenty of people do. Plenty of people hate it. You seem to have a person crusade to somehow prove that everyone who likes it is wrong and needs to be converted using some kind of a scientific method. You'll never prove that because to quote my favourite film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWdd6_ZxX8c

Anyway I think I've made my point as much as I care to. If you have the spare time to @ everyone and nitpick everything they say to convert them to your thinking, go for it. It's your life.
Chris
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 10:13am (UTC -5)
@Nic -
"This is all wrong. He seems to be saying that there is less reason for optimism now than there was in the 60s or 80s. Doesn't anybody remember Vietnam, the race riots and the Cold War? Climate change and loss of biodiversity make our future is uncertain; but there is no question that human life is much much better now than it was 30 years ago."

Agree wholeheartedly. Yes, times seem bleak. But anyone who claims that TOS didn't also come out during the middle of a pretty bleak era of American History just simply isn't paying attention. Vietnam, the Kennedy murders, MLK's assassination, the Kent State Massacre, race riots, Medgar Ever's murder, etc. It makes for a pretty depressing backdrop. The difference, I suppose, is they didn't have social media back then to echo chamber themselves into an immutable sense of despair.

I would argue that in the bleakest times, a refreshing point of view that shows humanity overcoming this era is a bold statement. Optimism is necessary during such times. And it is certainly a bolder statement for a TV premise than something along the lines of "And now the Federation is ethically compromised and even in the future people have no faith in the institutions that are designed to protect their own interests. Good luck, humanity. You will never escape your own worst selves."
Booming
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 10:14am (UTC -5)
@ grey cat
If you look at my post you will notice that I just try to understand whatever it is your are saying. When you look at your comments you will notice that is full of personal attacks and insults. I guess it is not entirely clear who is on a "person crusade".
Booming
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 10:16am (UTC -5)
@ grey cat again
Sorry forgot to say that you cannot compare TNG ratings on imdb with STP ratings because the side IMDB didn't exist when TNG aired. I hope I don't have to explain why. toodeloo
phaedon
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 11:41am (UTC -5)
The common use of the word ‘postmodern’ has a completely different meaning than it does in philosophical circles. I’m not going to address the accusations of vanity and self-obsession. Let’s take a closer look at the charge of moral relativism.

In philosophical circles, moral relativism is not a position anyone holds, including postmodernists. Simply because it’s bankrupt. In a truly relativistic world, even the claim that relativism is true, is itself relative, and therefore cannot be true. This is the type of shit that postmodernists are painfully aware of, and they have to work through.

The mean-spirited idea that philosophy is just philosophers reading and discussing other philosophers is ironically something a lot of postmodernists would agree with. And it is an illuminating thing to say about them, as you’ll see below. But you have to give philosophers credit for being thorough and not pulling any punches.

Philosophical postmodernism is better understood as a form of modern skepticism, a response to the question that was first asked by Descartes and continues to define modern philosophy. Namely, how do we know what we claim to know? And if what we “know” isn’t “real,” and if these terms don’t have the meaning I think they have, then what the f is really going on?

This question continues to be asked and answered in various ways to this day. Foucault is just one of the answers. A popular and arguably minor one, to be honest.

Although Plato did have some things to say about the fundamental nature of reality, classic philosophers were not overly concerned with all of this this. The ancient Greeks were mostly concerned with the proper function of man and defining the well-lived life.

There is a lot more that needs to be said about philosophy and postmodernism but perhaps this is not the place to say it.

One thing I will add is that, it has been noted that philosophers have been going around for thousands of years attempting to answer the same questions, and have now managed to lay waste even to the basic concept of an objective reality. You might say they are treading water or even going backwards in this regard.

And yet, over here we have science - a completely separate field, that has, in a very short amount of time, delivered tremendous results. Results that are repeatable. This, on its own, is incredible; it is arguably the strongest indication of a non-subjective reality that we are interacting with.

And also, science typically eliminates the philosophical, theological or psychological conjectures that existed before it with material explanations that are ‘far more effective’ and ‘more accurate’. Results that are felt throughout society. Measurable improvements for mankind. Whatever these terms might actually mean, anyone can tell you that vaccines are more effective than prayer. This phenomenon is called eliminative materialism.

I say all of this just to clear up some misconceptions about postmodernism.
Late To The Party Girl
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 11:59am (UTC -5)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi had it right:

"I do not find this kind of cr*p to be either entertaining nor insightful. It may be "Star Trek", but it most certainly does not have the same qualities that made me fall in love with the franchise in the first place: The optimism, the intelligence, the open-mindedness, the inspiration to become a better person."

That's the point. Or, at least to me that was the point of Star Trek: it was aspirational in nature - the notion that we could all be better and, just as important, that we should all at least TRY to be better. That was the entertainment factor. The premise didn't always succeed (because naturally the characters were all flawed in one respect or another) and not infrequently got it wrong, but the premise was sound.

What we have in Picard is feather light content wrapped in camera angles and quick cuts designed for some aesthetic sense of "modern" production technique over entertainment - that's why you get no end of quick camera cuts, the gratuitous swearing, torture porn, music that drowns out dialogue and many, many flashing lights). The characters themselves are a sorry group that didn't need to be that way - Picard is a non-entity so far. Villains rise and fall in one episode (but without a story being told) and characters we might at some point come to care about are also dismissed quickly - the housekeepers, Dahj and even Number One for heaven's sake! (Remember Porthos, anyone? A nice subtle character that added to the show.) They raise what could have been an important issue with Raffi and her son out of the blue and drop it without any development. Agnes Jurati you saw coming a mile away (no one is genuinely that clueless). I could go on....

The problem is just that they don't have enough content to fill the allotted time so we are stuck with this long drawn out nothingness that creeps towards something happening hopefully soon- where were the writers? Had this been a movie, we'd be at about the 30 minute mark at this point - not 5 hours down the road. I think the issue here is that they didn't want to start up another Trek series in the episodic format - which, by the way, kept people interested, watching and talking. So, they planned this 10 hour "movie" without enough to fill it.
skye francis-maidstone
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 12:50pm (UTC -5)
"but it most certainly does not have the same qualities that made me fall in love with the franchise in the first place: The optimism, the intelligence, the open-mindedness, the inspiration to become a better person."

I'm hoping that's the point of PIC. That things HAVE gone astray and he's trying to find out why and get them back to how they should be. Something rotten at the core of the Federation etc.

I mean if the show started in a perfect paradise that Earth is meant to be and he just chatted to Riker, Geordi and his Romulans in his vineyard.. ok that would be sort of entertaining but not particularly exciting for 10 episodes.

Keeping and open mind and enjoying it for now.

I just love the new high speed "beam" though. Man I wish there were teleporters on Earth...
phaedon
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 12:57pm (UTC -5)
At its core, and despite its campy style, episodic nature, and its reputation as the worst of all the shows, TNG turned out to be a strong work of poetic, mythological creationism. A narrative that despite its detours, could be deeply historical and meaningful, it was joyous but it could make you cry, it introduced the concept of duty but it often critiqued dominant cultural beliefs, both in other worlds and its own. It could involve overwhelming generosity and often brought out the best in people (and androids).

Quite frankly, it was rooted in the creationist tale found in the Bible and in Shakespearian literature. It was something that people even in this thread describe as ‘optimistic’ and ‘aspirational,’ and if you think about, not necessarily just in the context of what were current events back then and what else was on television. It was like it was floating on something. So this doesn’t just boil down to philosophy or science. It’s the entire mythology of a universe and it’s protagonists. Perhaps this is what Roddenberry brought to the table.

Picard on other hand has none of that. I think some of us were holding out for a change in the trend when it came to this show. A trend that is prevalent in every major reboot from Alien (Prometheus) to Star Wars (Luke Skywalker) and now Star Trek. The tearing down of the creation we loved to show the chaos, turmoil, mistrust, mystery and evil that really rules the world. The show is simply not capable of inspiration.

The Inner Light flashed across my mind as I wrote this.
Chrome
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
TOS notably did a lot of dark topics. Indeed, it's often compared to The Twilight Zone because of how space rips you out of your comfort zone. I can think of quite a few episodes that are dystopian ("City on the Edge of Forever", "Patterns of Force", "The Doomsday Machine") or pro-war/violence ("A Taste of Armageddon", "This Side of Paradise"). Indeed, most of those episodes were much darker than this one.

I think most of the above are great Trek episodes, by the way. A Star Trek show shouldn't be subjected to tunnel vision by hyper-focusing on one particular element like "utopia" when that's only one aspect of that applies to certain episodes of Trek. When they're on Earth, it can be a utopia - when they're off it, show us the dangers Q warned us about in space! Anyhow, like many others I think the test of how good this show will be is by the way it concludes these challenging arcs.
Booming
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 1:21pm (UTC -5)
To this whole post modernism debate and whatever
My point of view (in bad quality)
at 18:54
https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6mwbpy

@skye
"I'm hoping that's the point of PIC. That things HAVE gone astray and he's trying to find out why and get them back to how they should be. Something rotten at the core of the Federation etc."
But wouldn't that be the very core of the white savior narrative? One strong man unbent by adversity swoops in and makes it all good.
Eric Jensen
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 1:28pm (UTC -5)
Also the theme music from star trek
There is a noticeable theme from
TOS
TNG
DS9
VOY
Now with DIS and PIC - I can sing them, I can hum the melody, but it is not strong. It is not as "majestic" or "powerful" in the sense of "hope".

The theme music for Voyager starts majestically. The horn is strong. The woodwind instruments in the background, as though in the space. In the middle, the strings come in, showing how Voyager is alone but going home. Then the horn comes back strong again. Hopeful and strong.

The DS9 starts slow and solemn. The it "shoots off" (Season 6) The brass and the strings complement each other. Question and answer. The first 4 notes are strong and then it expands. When Worf joined, it became stronger and more upbeat. It sounds hopeful, yet sad and longing. A space station on its own. Towards the end it feels hopeful.

TNG starts with feeling slow and alone. With Picard narrating, it feels strong and purposeful. Then once Enterprise goes to warp, it feels hopeful with the brass and the strings. The brass sounds triumphant and joyous. The strings bring the harmony of the crew of the Enterprise.

Now the Picard theme. Does not start with brass. It's woodwind and strings and piano. It is more solemn, more peaceful, more sad and more reflective.

1. It is not like before, where we can stream and watch from CBS or Amazon Prime.
2. The hopeful is there in Picard, but not as strong. The brass is absent from the beginning.
3. The visuals in the opening show Picard is slowly losing himself. But bit by bit, he comes back together again, like a jigsaw puzzle.

Another reason why it is not "star trek" as of old.
Andersonh1
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 2:48pm (UTC -5)
"We are halfway through the season now. The opening torture scene was something from which "Stardust City Rag" could never recover. I hope "Stardust City Rag" doesn't become the episode from which Star Trek: Picard can't recover."

Up to this point, I've found things to enjoy about this series. But the graphic torture of poor Icheb that opened this episode was in really poor taste, and it scuttled whatever anticipation I had for Seven's return. It may well have been the moment that turned me against this show. Picard started out fairly strong, but it is going downhill fast.
Henson
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 3:43pm (UTC -5)
@phaedon

"...despite its campy style, episodic nature, and its reputation as the worst of all the shows, TNG..."

This sentence baffles me. Surely, the pre-2009 Trek show with the reputation as the worst of all the shows is Enterprise. Or even Voyager. TNG?
Dave in MN
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 4:35pm (UTC -5)
The problem is this: in episodic television, you can afford to have a clunker here and there. The process that creates a stinker also creates the occasional genius..

It's the story variety, the disparate cinematic/plot elements with logical reactions by intelligent character, that intrigues and invites a following.

There's an alchemy that occurs with genre programs people remember: you have to take risks ... but do so with a framework an audience can identify and feel comfortable with.

Otherwise, you end up with stuff that was outdated when Dynasty was still on the air: a soap opera that can only top itself by going ever more over the top.

What compounds this is the idea of a serialized show based on a singular concept. If it's plausible and interesting, you've got potential for a good season. If it's not, well....

The writing by committee (which is what we've seem thus far) only compounds the problem. I don't get a sense of a singular narrative voice at work in any episode.

Rather, it seems like they plotted it in a conference. Once they settled on an outline, the showrunner bluntly chopped it into ten blocks and the writers scripted it in random chunks.. M.y impression is STP varies authors from scene to scene, judged by the hyperkinetic mood shifts within singular episodes. It's checkbox storytelling.

Everything also seems to filtered through a weird lens demanding signposted supposedly-shocking drama. Nothing is allowed to be intellectually explored because there seems to be a constant rush to the next gasp-inducing reveal.

The music doesn't help. The soundtrack constantly drones on, never taking a rest, always a beat ahead of the scene in telling the viewer how to feel.

Then there's the obvious bait to audiences who crave "mature" things like gory vivisection of beloved characters and potty mouthed Admirals and drug addiction and beefcake Romulan Elf warriors and incestuous spy siblings and a evil Vulcan(?) Commodore in sunglasses and so on.

STP currently feels very manipulative, crass and pessimistic. It doesn't improve on rewatch either. I won't re-rate this episode a third time... but man, diminishing returns.

I'm hoping there's a redemptive arc in the remaining episodes that recaptures that Trek spirit. Perhaps some retroactive reassessment will then be in order.

Fingers crossed.
phaedon
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 4:39pm (UTC -5)
My apologies.. I'm committed to the parallel universe where Enterprise and Voyager don't exist. I meant TNG in relation to TOS and DS9.
James
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 6:23pm (UTC -5)
"And I think philosophy will follow the way of alchemy which was sent to greener pastures by chemistry, biology and physics. For philosophy it will be neurology(brain), psychology(individual) and sociology(group), maybe philosophy will be used to interpret the findings of these fields. "

That would be unfortunate, in my view. Depression is on the rise and our dissatisfaction with life remains unimproved despite those fields being at their respective peaks. To say we know what we know, the world works the way we think it does and merely to pursue the established fields and close the door on the possibility we might be wrong... that's not something I'm prepared to accept.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 6:40pm (UTC -5)
@Booming
"I find it sweet that you think that way about capitalism."

"Did you copy that out of the communist manifesto or Das Kapital? :D"

Oh great... I see you're in full-snark "I know everything and you are all stupid" mode. That's the second time in the last month (remember the Romans?) and it's getting old real quick.

Keep this up, and you'll never learn anything about anything.

Perhaps you should return to that project that you've been procrastinating on? Seems like it will be a far better use of your time.

@Phaedon
"My apologies.. I'm committed to the parallel universe where Enterprise and Voyager don't exist. I meant TNG in relation to TOS and DS9."

Even then, it's a strange statement. Since when does TNG have "the reputation of being the worst show" among these three?
Jason R.
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 6:54pm (UTC -5)
"Up to this point, I've found things to enjoy about this series. But the graphic torture of poor Icheb that opened this episode was in really poor taste, and it scuttled whatever anticipation I had for Seven's return. It may well have been the moment that turned me against this show. Picard started out fairly strong, but it is going downhill fast."

The funny thing is that this scene didn't really bother me especially at the time. Like most of the action it was actually rather confusing in the way it was shot - I wasn't even sure what the heck was going on other than someone being tortured, but even the why and how was kind of fuzzy. When I realized it was Icheb I didn't really feel much to be honest - though the horror of it did sink in a bit when I thought about it later and remembered him from his brief appearances on Voyager.

What turned me against this show was the moment when 7 beams down and blows away that woman and (presumably) goes out in a blaze of phaser fire.

To be clear, it isn't the fact that 7 would choose to die in a blaze of gun fire in an act of brutal revenge - that is an understandable (if depressing) end to this character. What made me mad was the timing of the scene, the message it conveys immediately after her quiet introspective scene with Picard.

Two characters who were brutalized and tortured facing their inner demons and resolving to be better. And then - 7 going Dirty Harry in a cool Matrix like display of glorified ultra-violence. The message couldn't be clearer - revenge is good and badass. Even suicide and self destruction are awesome if it means taking an evildoer who wronged you with you.

To say that it's an anti-Trekkian scene is gobsmackingly obvious but let's face it, does it even matter? Would it be anything worthwhile if it were a scene in some other show? This isn't darkness and grittiness as an aesthetic choice or the writers choosing to make the setting dark and vile - it's the writers glorifying vileness. It's celebrating nihilism.

I feel sorry for the people who believe this is empowering or some kind of feminist statement. It's really pathetic.
Henson
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 7:23pm (UTC -5)
@phaedon

"My apologies.. I'm committed to the parallel universe where Enterprise and Voyager don't exist. I meant TNG in relation to TOS and DS9."

Ha!

Actually, I would argue that there isn't really a clear consensus on which of those three shows is considered the worst, or even best. I would personally argue TOS as the worst (or least good) but I know a LOT of people would take issue with me on that. Depends on who you ask.
grey cat
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 7:30pm (UTC -5)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi i know you weren't talking to me but reputation wise i think you're right DS9 (rather than TNG) would definitely have the worst reputation of the 3. Maybe that has changed a little over time. People appear to have warmed to it over the years.

Personally DS9 became my favourite instantly (even with the slightly wobbly first 2 seasons). I always found TNG too stiff on whole with the occasional exception episode. I actually couldn't stand Picard at all at first. I grew up with Kirk. I ended up liking him and TNG just find though.

I never did like Janeway and her dictatorship though. Seven came along excellently to actually make some good debate and tension (I never cared about the catsuits and I'm male too - I don't watch sci-fi for that). So glad to see her back, if only briefly. She is a damn fine actress.
Henson
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 7:32pm (UTC -5)
@Dave in MN

Yeah, I think a lot of people are starting to realize that episodic television actually had some significant strengths that haven't been much appreciated in the last 10-15 years. I think Entertainment Weekly's review of the first few episodes of Picard put it rather well:

"Serialization used to be exciting, back when Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was crafting a multi-season war epic. The three episodes of Picard I’ve seen confirm that serialization has become a haven for television’s hackiest writing, a way to justify stretching one limp story across empty take-forever hours."
grey cat
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 7:33pm (UTC -5)
@Henson yep my parents would definitely argue that TOS is the best of those 3. It's amazing that Star Trek in it's vastly different forms has endured. I'd rather it be on the air (even if it's DSC... sigh) than not at all.

Never enough sci-fi on TV.
aidivad
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 7:37pm (UTC -5)
All of this philosophical argle-bargle bandied about by people who assume, as fait accompli, that they are on a higher plane of understanding than we mortals, reminds me of a sentence in Pauline Kael’s “The Shining.”

“Kubrick isn’t just a virtuoso technician; he is also, God help us, a deadly-serious metaphysician.”
Dougie
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 7:38pm (UTC -5)
@Eric Jensen
The theme music is reminiscent of Passengers
Nolan
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 8:02pm (UTC -5)
Perhaps the reason shows aren't trying to teach morals or ethics or say that society can do better than it is but instead just sets out to entertain across the board is a growing movement of distrust and disrespect for intellectuals and mult-tiered discourse, either in those shows or spurred on by those shows - discourse that one would have to strive to step out of an intellectual comfort zone to fully understand - "why should I have to go out of my way learn something to participate in a conversation when the conversation shouldn't have the arrogance to talk above my level and instead be more inclusive?"

Contentment in ignorance - when the lesson should be "Its okay to not know or understand something, that just means you have something to learn today." Especially when there is an entire global network of information readily accessible at the fingertips of most people.

Do I truly think that? Not sure, just noodling it in my mind, curious what people might think.
Chrome
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 8:31pm (UTC -5)
Skye wrote:

"I'm hoping that's the point of PIC. That things HAVE gone astray and he's trying to find out why and get them back to how they should be. Something rotten at the core of the Federation etc.

I mean if the show started in a perfect paradise that Earth is meant to be and he just chatted to Riker, Geordi and his Romulans in his vineyard.. ok that would be sort of entertaining but not particularly exciting for 10 episodes."

I think that's a realistic expectation given the season's trajectory. I'd actually hope they went further than that and had Raffi and Rios remind Picard about some of the good things in the Federation he's forgotten in his absence. Picard is just too boring as a perfect character; he needs a foil to humanize him.
Trent
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 9:35pm (UTC -5)
Chrome said: "TOS notably did a lot of dark topics. Indeed, it's often compared to The Twilight Zone because of how space rips you out of your comfort zone."

In the way the threat of violence hung over everything, TOS is darker and more violent than any subsequent Trek. But TOS generally took a Lovecraftian approach to horror and violence. Here the universe outside the Enterprise is a malevolent, wild, lawless, alien thing, so bafflingly bizarre that it's constantly driving men to madness. There's something really disturbing about TOS, and the way its villains were so psychologically unhinged.

TOS' violence is also conveyed with a very expressionistic style - like kabuki theater at times - and aside from a few conventional fisticuff scenes, often came with a level of subtext or critique.

TNG's violence was as idiosyncratic as TOS', but in a different way; things were drawn out, methodical, directed with a kind of austere distance, or were deliberately banal. Like TOS, when it tried to be conventional, its violence tended to be ridiculous.

Later Trek tends to get more naturalistic, more literal, obvious, glossy, and the violence generally less interesting and/or used for easy shocks. In PICARD, for example, we've had robot-ninja fights, a space-samurai decapitation, some Tarantino-esque torture, a synth attack, and Seven's murder spree. All of this is pretty routine, and hard to differentiate from everything else on TV.
Tim
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 9:41pm (UTC -5)
Did anyone else notice that Seven seemingly stunned (blue bolts) everyone except Bjayzl (red bolts; vaporized)

Keep reading “Seven’s killing spree” but that wasn’t how I read the scene.
Peter G.
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 10:41pm (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

"I think that's a realistic expectation given the season's trajectory. I'd actually hope they went further than that and had Raffi and Rios remind Picard about some of the good things in the Federation he's forgotten in his absence. Picard is just too boring as a perfect character; he needs a foil to humanize him."

But, like, wasn't this the plot of DISC season 1? The good ol' Feds have lost their way and need a hero to bring them back to form? One of my biggest complaints about DISC was their preposterous aim to deify Michael at every turn, and the more illogical it was the more the writers protested that she was magnificent. I fear that they are doing exactly the same here with Picard. To put it in a strange way, both shows seem to teeter dangerously close to straight-up idolotry, trying to give us idols to worship. That they toy with whether or not we should *really* worship them doesn't change the basic arithmetic, which is that the point of why to respect someone is *not* because they are some kind of idol. That's the kind of crap TOS fought against.

@ Trent,

"In the way the threat of violence hung over everything, TOS is darker and more violent than any subsequent Trek. But TOS generally took a Lovecraftian approach to horror and violence. Here the universe outside the Enterprise is a malevolent, wild, lawless, alien thing, so bafflingly bizarre that it's constantly driving men to madness. There's something really disturbing about TOS, and the way its villains were so psychologically unhinged."

Yes, I love this description, it feels exactly right except for one thing: the optimism built into this is that not only is there a Lovecraftian malevolence out there but that humanity has gotten to a point where we can actually stand up to it through a combination of technology and principles; neither one alone will do it. Technology without principles turns us into the monster, and principles without technology leaves us helpless and out of the game. And it's this juxtapose - of on the one hand seemingly insurmountable dangers, and on the other hand our seemingly limitless opportunities to be better than we are - that the series hinges on.

But in PIC now the problem seems to be simply one of sheer power; so far I haven't seen anything compelling that gives credence to the stock Picard position (which they are making him inconsistent about) or to the 'Seven position' if I'm to call it that, which is that it's the wild west and principles are for offices and armchairs only. I mean, so far things seem to be hanging in favor of the side of kicking butt and chewing bubble gum, so from that standpoint if we've got any takeaway yet it's that talking about principles hasn't helped anyone very much so far. And if my hunch is right they are actually saying (again, inconsistently) that Picard's "principles" were the problem all along, and that his resignation being a prime example of this armchair theorizing was a mistake not because there were better options, but because gestures based on principle aren't as 'meaningful' as going out there and getting it done. In a nutshell the argument is that action movies have more meaning than anything else, because how can we respect anything other than action? Well we certainly won't, if no one makes a case for avoiding the dark and easy path.
Booming
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 10:43pm (UTC -5)
@ Omicron
"Oh great... I see you're in full-snark "I know everything and you are all stupid" mode."
No that was not my intent. I actually find your sentiment/view sweet. I'm not an economist so my opinion about capitalism is not more sophisticated than that of any other person here. And about that communist manifesto comment. Have you actually read the communist manifesto or das Kapital. What you write about megacorporations sounds like something out of a socialist pamphlet. Even though there are parts of your statement I disagree with/don't understand for example "the ordinary rules of economics". That is not a thing, isn't it? Aren't what you describe just market forces at work?

"Perhaps you should return to that project that you've been procrastinating on? Seems like it will be a far better use of your time."
But I really really don't want to. It's very boring. :(
Bilbo
Tue, Feb 25, 2020, 12:26am (UTC -5)
Star Trek: Picard?
This show should be called ‘Everyone Hates Picard’ instead.
For a guy who was one of the most revered and respected people in Starfleet to be reduced to a stupid old man that everyone hates and bitches at in every single episode is really lame.
Let’s place our bets on who’s going to bitch at Picard next week.......


The only reason I’m still watching is because I really like Patrick Stewart but I sure hope that this show starts to improve.
Tommy D.
Tue, Feb 25, 2020, 12:50am (UTC -5)
@Tim

Yes. Saw the scene the same way you did.
Dougie
Tue, Feb 25, 2020, 6:47am (UTC -5)
@Nolan
“Perhaps the reason shows aren't trying to teach morals or ethics or say that society can do better than it is but instead just sets out to entertain across the board[…]”

I call this the Monty Python Effect. While we were watching them hilariously teach us to defend ourselves with “a banana”, the most horrific people in the world were planning 9/11 and to kill thousands of our US innocent citizens. They were trying to kill 10’s of thousands and succeeded in killing over 3000 that day. Our nation lived in a halcyon fog for decades as these people plotted and planned, and we laughed and did the Mambo #5.

We preached to the world about how great America was. Remember the term “American Exceptionalism?” Almost gone as a phrase. What it really meant was American imperialism/nation building. It meant we’d come in and tear down your sovereign nation and build an oil dominated regime that was favorable to us, fuck your culture. It is. It a good policy.

What STP tacitly acknowledges is a galaxy where Federation hegemony no longer exists, and the edges are not precise because they never really were. A galaxy where the Federation has been decimated and given a punch in the gut and a shiner it might actually deserve. It accurately and precisely gets us to feel our new American culture, where America has to find a place among the entire world, rather than always trying to shout the world down and kneel to our way of wanting it. It causes hand wringing and consternation to not be a false top dog.

This is a true bonfire of the vanities. I think STP is doing a great job, revealing us, our struggle, and our people. I think it shows exactly what still needs a lot of work, and this forum is a microcosm of the larger. I’m not removed from it.
Andy's Friend
Tue, Feb 25, 2020, 7:10am (UTC -5)
@Dougie

'What STP tacitly acknowledges is a galaxy where Federation hegemony no longer exists, and the edges are not precise because they never really were. A galaxy where the Federation has been decimated (…)'

The Federation was never a hegemonic power, it was merely and barely the dominant power. A hegemon has sufficient power to take on all neighbours simultaneously and prevail: Athens under Pericles, early Imperial Rome, etc. That was never the case with the Federation.

We were always given the impression that any alliance between the Klingons and the Romulans, the Romulans and the Cardassians, or the Cardassians and the Klingons would be a grave test to the Federation. Fortunately, those powers all loathed each other. So all things being equal, nothing really should have changed as far as the balance of power in the quadrant is concerned.

But since I am not watching the new series, please tell me: in what way has the Federation been 'decimated'? As far as I have understood, it is the Romulans who have lost their homeworld due to the power of plot; and, for plot reasons also, apparently most of their vast empire as well. How does this not, in fact, tip the balance of power in favour of the Federation?
Jason R.
Tue, Feb 25, 2020, 7:46am (UTC -5)
"But since I am not watching the new series, please tell me: in what way has the Federation been 'decimated'? As far as I have understood, it is the Romulans who have lost their homeworld due to the power of plot; and, for plot reasons also, apparently most of their vast empire as well. How does this not, in fact, tip the balance of power in favour of the Federation?"

The Romulans, Cardassians and (to a lesser extent) the Klingons were in shambles after the Dominion War. It was strongly implied at the conclusion of DS9 that the Federation was the dominant power in the quadrant.

In effect, the Federation's position should have been much like the United States post WW2, except no equivalent to the Soviet Union to oppose them.

To be fair to STP, it takes place what? 15-20 years after the Dominion War? So things may have shifted dramatically in the intervening time. But the idea of the Federation being somehow in decline is something that isn't well explained and would not naturally follow from what came before.

Not that the writers of STP would have even heard of the Dominion War or even watched DS9. Frankly, I doubt most of them even watched TNG.
Trent
Tue, Feb 25, 2020, 10:12am (UTC -5)
Peter G said: "not only is there a Lovecraftian malevolence out there but that humanity has gotten to a point where we can actually stand up to it"

Yeah, Kirk's Enterprise was like a little bastion of light standing up to the black.

And you always felt like the Federation itself had something worthwhile to offer and impart; early Trek took the "civilizing missions" common in the age of tall sailed ships, and asked what if such a Project could be Good.

Occasionally the Project would be critiqued, at its best by guys like Gene Coon or early DS9, but it was always understood that the Project was worthwhile. Nowadays, the Federation is either dissed (with a multiplicity of species and views, the argument usually goes, how can anything claim to stand for universal principles without being smug and deluded?) or treated as an afterthought.

When was the last time we got to see the Federation actually do anything Good?
Chrome
Tue, Feb 25, 2020, 10:45am (UTC -5)
Peter G wrote:

"But, like, wasn't this the plot of DISC season 1? The good ol' Feds have lost their way and need a hero to bring them back to form?"

Yeah, that's what I'm getting at. We don't need that exact story again. I think there have notable chinks in Picard's armor like Seven of Nine totally ignoring him. That is an okay decision for me. He can be influential to some Federation-friendly people, but he doesn't hold nearly the same sway he once did.

What I don't like about this series is its excess. For example, the question about "What were the Romulans up to during these Borg attacks?" is a good one and can generate a lot of stories. But adding to that the "Romulus actually has a secret society of anti-synth super spies" is going over the top. Why do they need to triple down on a simple idea by going bonkers? But hey, I'm not a streaming television series writer, what do I know?
Jason R.
Tue, Feb 25, 2020, 1:39pm (UTC -5)
"But adding to that the "Romulus actually has a secret society of anti-synth super spies" is going over the top"

Has anyone else noticed that the Jad'Vash haven't been mentioned by name in quite some time? It seems now (such as in the latest episode) they are just talking about the Tal'Shiar.

It's almost like the writing has just forgotten about the Jad'Vash and have just resolved to lump them in with the Tal'Shiar. Which kind of makes narrative sense, since the whole concept of having a secret spy organization inside another secret spy organization was stupid and pointless, adding nothing substantive to the story.
Dougie
Tue, Feb 25, 2020, 5:33pm (UTC -5)
It is quite clear after Wolf 359, the Federation was unable to manage the aftermath of the Dominion event, and the evac of Romulus, and withstand the attack on Mars, and survive the intervening years as the hegemonic force in the galaxy. Even though they wished the galaxy to perceive them as that force they were unable to be it, and I’ll even say because there were no trillionaires to help the Federation, it was incapable of reorganization to become so. What the USA lacks in government capability, individual wealth concentrations make up for it. As an example, we have Halliburton, Blackwater, and other for-profit agencies which are far better at certain things than the government, and the government relies on them.
Henson
Tue, Feb 25, 2020, 5:46pm (UTC -5)
@Dougie

This sounds like head canon to me.
Dougie
Tue, Feb 25, 2020, 7:23pm (UTC -5)
@Henson I’m not familiar with the term but,

https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Dominion_War
Validates most of it. I was not a viewer of Ds9, so most of my post Voyager Starfleet history comes from sites like memory alpha and discussion here.
Henson
Tue, Feb 25, 2020, 8:01pm (UTC -5)
@Dougie

The site you linked doesn't support the idea that the Federation wanted people to perceive them as a hegemonic power in the quadrant, and it certainly doesn't support anything about the Federation being unable to reorganize because of a lack of trillionaires. (Why a society that has successfully eliminated currency would need money to reorganize is beyond me. It's not even clear to me that they needed to reorganize!)

All it supports is that the only strong major powers of the Alpha Quadrant in the immediate aftermath of the Dominion War were the Federation and the Romulans. And since the Romulan supernova of Trek 2009 supports the idea that the Romulans would become a weaker power, you'd think this would put the Federation into a pretty strong position.

You say they wouldn't be able to "survive the intervening years as the hegemonic force in the galaxy". But why would you think this was even their goal? And if they are a hegemony simply due to the absence of other powers, why would this create any more strain on their resources than normal?
Tom
Tue, Feb 25, 2020, 8:54pm (UTC -5)
I have trouble envisaging what "unable to reorganize" would even entail. Once you have replicators it would be fairly simple for a civilization to get back on its feet after a war or incident like on Mars. What problems would they have and what would trillionaires be unable to provide? I think that's why the situation that STP hints at, doesn't seem like one a futuristic society would face. The glimpses we've had, such as the Romulan refugees bitter and angry stuck on a desert planet, or the Mars workers having regressed 2 centuries in their demeanor and unable to even get decent food, were utterly unconvincing. All Picard would need to to was drop off a replicator and decent power source and both situations would be solved. Geordi in TNG would have "made it so" in a few hours. So I understand it when people say the show is manipulative and shallow. It needs to show us more if we're to be convinced and become emotionally invested. A show like Babylon 5 or DS9 would have done that.
Dave in MN
Tue, Feb 25, 2020, 9:46pm (UTC -5)
I wonder if the writers realized the meta commentary (in the Icheb torture scene) once you factor in CBS's corporate logo.
4Q2
Tue, Feb 25, 2020, 10:23pm (UTC -5)
Language.
Dougie
Tue, Feb 25, 2020, 10:26pm (UTC -5)
I believe one of the other commenters here mentioned problems with availability of industrial replicators as an actual issue at some point, but that is a detail maybe from a book?

The Federation took on a role of evacuating the Romulans, but did not put all and everything in to it, and failed. And, it appears even worse, they didn’t even really try did they? They were disingenuous to the top. The Federation has a lot of problems with its power structure and I would say it has not reorganized. At least safely, would you? Do you trust this Federation?

Was it’s 80s and 90s power structure hegemonic? Yes, it was reflective of American imperialism of the time, a direct mirror of Reagan/Bush Assininism. Top down trickle down white man power structures with token female, black, and “aliens” to represent foreigners, sometimes even in positions of power, but never equal or dominant in number, and always in proper proportion to our main cast.

The comment on trillionaires highlights a point about capitalist societies having alternatives to government providing all resources. Don’t kid yourself. A guy like Musk, in the 24th century, would shit on Picard and make him a fool for what he could pull off. I don’t like Musk, but I respect his actual organizing capability when he’s not hiding under a conference room table.
Henson
Tue, Feb 25, 2020, 11:20pm (UTC -5)
@Dougie

"Was it’s 80s and 90s power structure hegemonic? Yes, it was reflective of American imperialism of the time, a direct mirror of Reagan/Bush Assininism."

How so? It seems to me that the Federation, with its emphasis on the Prime Directive, had explicitly been AGAINST the kind of imperialism you claim it represented.

"Top down trickle down white man power structures with token female, black, and “aliens” to represent foreigners, sometimes even in positions of power, but never equal or dominant in number, and always in proper proportion to our main cast. "

I fail to see how the racial proportions in the Starfleet have anything to do with whether or not the Federation is imperialist or holds a hegemony in the quadrant(s). I also have no idea what a 'white man power structure' is.

"The comment on trillionaires highlights a point about capitalist societies having alternatives to government providing all resources. "

Which is completely irrelevant given that the Federation was never a capitalist society, and yet has been highly successful for a long, long time. It didn't need trillionaires then, so there's no reason to suppose it needs them now.

This is why I say your comments sounded like head canon to me. You're making bold claims about the fiction, but giving scant relevant evidence to support them.

Now, when you talk about the evacuation of Romulus, I think you bring up some relevant questions. Does ST:P indicate that the Federation didn't even try, or that they were incapable? If they didn't try, why would that necessitate reorganization, rather than re-examination of their moral principles? What kind of entity is this new Federation? I don't really have the answers to these questions. Perhaps other commenters can help us discover them.
Booming
Wed, Feb 26, 2020, 1:35am (UTC -5)
About the industrial replicator. In DS9 the Federation gave Bajor two (before they joined) and twelve to Cardassia after the Klingon war (these were stolen by Eddington). One is on DS9.

About the question if the Federation made a serious attempt. I'm really not sure how serious to take any info given by STP but they apparently build 10000 ships just for the rescue which seems to be a gigantic effort. This all highlights the strange decision to end the rescue after the destruction of the rescue fleet. Why first make a huge effort and when then basically through a terrorist attack/ technical glitch that fleet gets destroyed completely stop. It also seems that after the end of the rescue that the Federation barely did anything for the surviving Romulans. These are all questions that the show isn't really interested in, I think. What we are supposed to understand is that the Federation through outside pressure and terror attacks became racist. That is what Picard is supposed to turn around, at least in part. At the end of season one the Federation will probably have improved somewhat because of Picard's team. Of course it could also go down the rabbit hole. There is the other narrative "the destroyer" because every season of Nutrek apparently also needs a new existential threat to the galaxy.
Dougie
Wed, Feb 26, 2020, 7:35am (UTC -5)
@Henson
A characteristic of a hegemon is to have a charter or rule, and break it whenever they choose, almost criminally. The Prime Directive certainly qualifies. Janeway alone had so many violations, characters came from other time periods to eradicate her. (Braxton) do you recall a Starfleet held trial of anyone, for breaking the Prime Directive? I recall Picard broke it at least a half dozen times and simply has to document it. Some Prime Directive. Seems like it’s just a nuisance like “don’t turn rear blinky navigational light on when passing moon #7 in the Thorlak System”

If you don’t know what the white man’s power structure is, ie systemic institutionalized racism, we can’t have much of a talk, because, it’s been around for millennia already, and won’t easily be dismissed going forward. It exists as a power locus today in the US. It occupies the Whitehouse today. I won’t belabor this until you budge.

The Federation grew out of earth and earth is us. Earth today has the United States, and unless we are saying that the Star Trek universe comes from a different galaxy and different time (Star wars whatever), then the pre federation includes earth’s capitalist era. During that era, billionaires do exist and yes, we have guys like Gates and Musk, who ASSIST the country, and also reap massive personal gains. Are we to suggest that in 2405, they don’t teach any earth history from 2020, and don’t teach about Tesla becoming the largest car manufacturer in 4 months via a massive market push and making electric cars and shifting the entire auto market? Or the Bill and Melinda Foundation providing malaria shots to the entire 3rd world, when this is something Government should be doing? In other words, treating the Star Trek universe as though pre history doesn’t exist, and the mark individual contributors make on our lives, is daft. This is why 80s and 90s Trek is shallow drek of the worst kind. It’s absolute unthinking simpleton buck Rogers comic book stuff. Duhhhhhh Engage (point white finger at robot or boy)

The Federation is how old? You consider it a success? It looks to me like it won’t last much longer than any other society and is falling to the same trappings as any other political organization. Promise big and marginalize at the border.
Booming
Wed, Feb 26, 2020, 8:08am (UTC -5)
@Dougie
"A characteristic of a hegemon is to have a charter or rule, and break it whenever they choose, almost criminally."
This statement is incorrect. A hegemony is a system where a far superior power rules mostly through the use of soft power. Lesser powers ally themselves with hegemon voluntarily. An empire exerts power mostly through hard power (normally the military). The lesser powers are more like vassals and have far less or no freedom in their actions towards other powers. The Athenian Thalassocracy is a good example for a hegemonic rule changing into an imperial one. Normally hegemonies are further separated between malevolent and benevolent (as are empires). The differentiation between land and see empire makes obviously little sense in a science fiction setting. So in essence the Federation is a benevolent hegemony

"If you don’t know what the white man’s power structure is, ie systemic institutionalized racism, we can’t have much of a talk, because, it’s been around for millennia already"
Millenia? Are you sure...

"Tesla becoming the largest car manufacturer in 4 months"
That's not true.

"the Bill and Melinda Foundation providing malaria shots to the entire 3rd world"
That is not true, either. And let's not forget there were always benevolent aristocrats. Why would that be significant in 400 years?
jyrom23
Wed, Feb 26, 2020, 8:50am (UTC -5)
To the "dystopia=it's not Star Trek crowd":

At what point did it become impermissible (i.e., at what point did Star Trek cease to be Star Trek) to dramatize the Federation as a body of moral rot?

Can one only properly draw the line (pardon the phrase) at STP, with all that came before it being "proper Trek"?

Or did the impermissible violation of the Roddenberry rules begin with Star Trek VI, with the Federation and Klingons working together to subvert the interests of peace?

Or did it begin with Star Trek IX, when Troi said, re: the Son'a, "Why did we become involved with these people," and when Admiral Daugherty stated that he had the implicit go-ahead from the Federation to effect a forced removal of an entire civilization, thus ensuring its destruction?

Or did it begin with DS9's "In the Pale Moonlight," when the Federation gave the go-ahead to tricking the Romulans into believing a Dominion attack was coming?

Or did it begin as far back as TNG's "The Measure of a Man," whose postulation of the mere existence of a character like Dr. Maddox, showed the dark underside of the 24th century Federation?

The answer, I think, is that there no answer. All there is, is one's exercising careful, reasoned judgment with respect to such questions (i.e., when did Star Trek become "not Star Trek," if at all?)

As it always has been, and as it always will be.
Brian
Wed, Feb 26, 2020, 8:54am (UTC -5)
Maybe if they wanted to make what they're trying to depict in STP more plausible they should have had old man Picard somehow get stuck in the past for the rest of his life so that they could write the show as if all the problems they're trying to say are there hadn't been solved for at least a couple hundred years.

It's like if someone tried to write a story that is set in 2020 where the main character needs to contact his wife to have her keep his house from burning down but somehow, he can't just call her.
Jason R.
Wed, Feb 26, 2020, 8:56am (UTC -5)
"The answer, I think, is that there no answer. All there is, is one's exercising careful, reasoned judgment with respect to such questions (i.e., when did Star Trek become "not Star Trek," if at all?)"

Jyrom, I am somewhat with Jammer on the point that the debate over what is Trek is usually pointless.

That said, portrayal of moral rot is to be distinguished from approval and glorification of moral rot.
Trent
Wed, Feb 26, 2020, 9:26am (UTC -5)
Dougie said: "we to suggest that in 2405, they don’t teach any earth history from 2020, and don’t teach about Tesla becoming the largest car manufacturer in 4 months via a massive market push and making electric cars and shifting the entire auto market? Or the Bill and Melinda Foundation providing malaria shots to the entire 3rd world, when this is something Government should be doing?"

This is mostly Neoliberal Optimism Industry propaganda. The Gates' patent lobbying directly prevents third world nations from acquiring cheap drugs, their deals with corporations to dump cheap foods (low in nutrients, high in salt, sugar, empty calories etc) onto poor nations is used (in tandem with WTO strictures) to crush and buy-out local agri-markets which would otherwise be able to provide for local needs, and, like all capitalists, the Gates mediate all transactions with debt based currencies which, as debts outpace value (especially when velocity and reinvestment are low) systemically and inherently breed inescapable poverty regardless of intent. You cannot "capitalism" and "charity" your way out of poverty. It's why studies by groups like the New Economic Foundation go to pains to point out that you'd need over 200 years of growth (at a rate of 3 to 5 percent, all of which is unsustainable and ecocidal) to lift the 80 percent of the planet in poverty (living on less than ten dollars a day, with about half living on less than 1.25), up by a mere 5 dollars, making mass poverty effectively inescapable. The benevolent charity of billionaires only obfuscates the parasitism of the ponzi-system as a whole.

Picard comes from a post-capitalist, post-scarcity society. They wouldn't fetishize guys like Gates.

Musk, meanwhile, is a giant welfare king. His playbook has always been to hype up a company, rake in massive state and corporate dollars to pump up and inflate the company, make wild promises (and lie about, and chronically underestimate, costs), and when faith in the company dips, and targets go unmet, start a new "revolutionary" company, using wild hype to draw in new investors. These new funds he then pumps into the previous company, propping it up to create the illusion of functionality. When the second company fails to meet targets, he starts a new, again much-hyped company. Lather, rinse, repeat. Eventually investors sink so much costs, and faith, into his little bubbles, that they're forced to double down.

This is the kind of behavior, and people, TNG mocked.
Filip
Wed, Feb 26, 2020, 9:46am (UTC -5)
I got a glimpse of a couple reviews before actually watching this episode so I was putting it off until yesterday, and now that I've seen it I can say with confidence that this was absolutely horrible.

The fact that you resurrect old characters created 30 years ago only to kill them both instantly in a truly horrifying manner says it all about this show. In addition, Picard's impotence is so grating that I am honestly starting to get annoyed by both the way Stewart is playing him and his moral speeches that have so little substance behind them they are insulting to TNG. There was an episode of the Graham Norton Show with Stewart who said they did a pilot of TNG where Picard spoke in a French accent. Whether this really happened or not I can't say, but the bottom line is that they properly ridiculed it. Guess what - for some reason 30 years later they decided it was, in fact, a good idea.

Since I was putting off watching it this, I am writing this after Jammer has already posted his review which gives me a chance to echo his perfect summary of the issues plaguing 'modern Trek': "Look, I don't need sunshine and rainbows. I loved Battlestar Galactica, which started with a nuclear holocaust wiping out nearly all of humanity. But I do need some sort of intelligent approach to the material."
Dougie
Wed, Feb 26, 2020, 9:46am (UTC -5)
I can appreciate we are having a great philosophy convo on this now, at least this is existential Star Trek discussion.

@Booming, I’ll somewhat accept your empire vs hegemon definitions. I’m no student of history, but I am a part of America’s last 50 years, so I’ll comment on that. I know history gets rewritten by first the victors, and then the revisionists. America acts as both empire and hegemon, when it suits it.

The Federation is benevolent? Or it wishes to present itself as benevolent, perhaps to improve advantage in negotiations of treaties. I think the latter. Prime Directive violations included.

Tesla is the largest car manufacturer in 4 months is absolutely true, they unseated Toyota Corp Within the last 30 trading days when their stock price shot up to ~$1000. We can debate it on any given stock market day, but a year ago, Tesla was at 56 billion market cap.

@Brian: Betelgeuse is acting strangely. What if an entire alien fleet shows up at earth in the next few years. “Our sun is dying and we need a place to stay. Your sun looks good.” Do we offer our planet for co habitation, or do we have it taken from us?


Might be fun to ask instead, what should the series be named if not Star Trek:Picard?
Peter G.
Wed, Feb 26, 2020, 10:00am (UTC -5)
This is beyond bizarre. To anyone asking: yes, any portrayal of the Federation as being an inherently corrupt entity is not Star Trek. Trek is by definition a show about how we get better over time after learning our lessons the hard way, and how once we get over the hump of selfish greed we'll realize just how much we can help each other. Anything else is not Trek.

It is completely legitimate to ask what sorts of events can happen that would challenge the Federation ideal. In the Pale Moonlight asks at what cost victory. Some episodes of VOY (I suppose) ask how much value should be placed on personal safety, as opposed to upholding Federation values even at your own expense. Exterior events can always make it *hard* to keep the values, and of course it is possible to fail if the situation is desperate, as for example seen in Equinox.

So *if* a question is being raised about which sorts of situations could make it hard to maintain the Federation, then the issue is to do with the situation itself. What special event in PIC is supposed to make us believe that the Federation met a challenge it couldn't face without turning to quick and easy solutions? The AI revolt on Mars? That was bad, but was it so bad that the *entire Federation* (thousands of worlds) suddenly became corrupt? How could that happen? We're not told. In fact it seems to me that the hard-headed Admiral syndrome is back as a matter of course, not as an exceptional situation. Picard isn't at all surprised by their behavior, not shocked at how un-Starfleet they behave. He is used to this, it would seem.

It would have been happy for a show to portray a challenge to the integrity of the Federation. Insurrection tried this but it was a botched effort. The fountain of youth was at stake in that one; certainly a reasonable issue on which to argue that ethics would crumble. What is at stake in this one? Mystery box says: find out next week! And since by definition we are left wondering about all the cloak and dagger as the mystery gets (slowly) revealed to us, we have no explanation of why this supposedly fascinating scenario is causing the Federation to possibly betray its values and act with the Tal Shiar. In fact this point is not even raised; the show is about how deficient Picard was in his retreat, and is not even interested in his accusation against the Federation that it's "not my Federation." That is just taken as a given, as if there's nothing more to discuss there. Let's face it, it's just a Donald Trump reference, right? There's nothing to discuss because they're not inviting us to learn something, they're just throwing at us what they think will already rile us up: Trump is bad to refugees, everyone knows it, "not my USA", and move on to the meaty stuff. Well I can play along in that spirit: not my Star Trek.
Booming
Wed, Feb 26, 2020, 10:33am (UTC -5)
@ Dougie
" America acts as both empire and hegemon, when it suits it."
In it's history the USA had hegemonic and imperial phases. For example 1989-2001 the US could be classified as a benevolent hegemony, since 2001 it became more and more malevolent. Trump is somewhat the end of that way. With him the US became a clear malevolent hegemony. That often happens when hegemonial powers weaken. They cannot maintain the hegemonial order often for financial reasons and therefore start to force allies to contribute more which makes it less appealing for these allies to stay allies. Sooner or later allies leave and then the hegemony must decide if it wants to use force to keep it's hold on these allies which then would mean a transition to empire.

"The Federation is benevolent? Or it wishes to present itself as benevolent, perhaps to improve advantage in negotiations of treaties. I think the latter. Prime Directive violations included."
It is a story or a bunch of stories. If the writers don't show us any malevolent intent then I would conclude that there isn't any. That is why STP feels like retconning. It kind of implies, though the Utopia Planetia workers for example, that there was always class divide which destroys everything Star Trek was before 2009. The rule breaking is certainly a weak point. In TNG we never see a hearing or anything about the numerous ways Picard broke that directive. In DS9 we had at least the temporal guys show up and question Sisko. So DS9 showed that there could be consequences.

"Tesla is the largest car manufacturer in 4 months is absolutely true, they unseated Toyota Corp Within the last 30 trading days when their stock price shot up to ~$1000"
Volkswagen which was the biggest car manufacturer in 2019 sold 10.3 million cars revenue (only for 2018) was 235 billion € (278 billion $).
Tesla in 2019 sold 367.000 cars and revenue (again in 2018) was 24 billion $.

Market cap of Tesla is very high right now. Kind of looks like a bubble. I also don't know how this market cap value is added up.

But I'm fairly confident in saying that if you have less than 10% revenue than Volkswagen and sold 1/30 of what they sold in cars then you are probably not the biggest car manufacturer.
Mr. Mr.
Wed, Feb 26, 2020, 10:36am (UTC -5)
@Dougie

Dude, go outside for a while. Relax.
Dougie
Wed, Feb 26, 2020, 11:17am (UTC -5)
@Booming, we measure in market cap.

It feels like a lot of it then is we are dropped in the middle of the Picard story, and we can’t fast forward, and can’t rewind, and can’t know everything yet like we could with all the other already completed series. It’s leading to endless hand wringing.

Stewart said it was a 10 hour movie. That’s a long one. But this is like standing in the popcorn line at the concession stand and listening to everyone in the audience bitch at every single detail during the first showing. What the hell is that? Just what is that?


Again, what should we call it?
Dave in MN
Wed, Feb 26, 2020, 11:25am (UTC -5)
This idea that STP is above judgement or criticism because it's a "10 hour movie" which hasn't concluded airing is ridiculous.

Completed films are often scrutinized for plotting and/or effectiveness of the three act structure.
Booming
Wed, Feb 26, 2020, 12:01pm (UTC -5)
@ Dougie
"we measure in market cap."
we? I guess that makes Enron the most successful gas company of 2001. :)

"Stewart said it was a 10 hour movie. That’s a long one. But this is like standing in the popcorn line at the concession stand and listening to everyone in the audience bitch at every single detail during the first showing. What the hell is that? Just what is that?"
If I watch a movie then I want to be entertained all the way through, at least most of the time. My enjoyment of the movie shouldn't depend on the ending making sense or not. Look at another 10 hour movie. The Lord of the Rings. I enjoyed every minute of it. Are there a few weak scenes? sure but from start to finish it is a great ride. Had I only seen two hours of the first movie I would have still thought that this were two great hours of entertainment. I cannot say this even for 30 minutes for STP after four hours.

A movie is not a haircut. Entertainment has to be good all the way through. STP so far is mediocre. Say what you will about Discovery but in season 1 and 2 I had episodes that were creative and sometimes pretty good. It kept me going. So far I didn't have a single episode of STP that I really liked. I kind of want to know what they make of this but I have no real desire to continue past season 1. I don't even expect it to be star trek-ish I just hope for something good every damn week. It doesn't have to be the wire but it needs to be better than this.

I kind of feel like Bart every week(and Lisa is Kurtzman)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pxG4yd8U3U
Zomet
Wed, Feb 26, 2020, 3:33pm (UTC -5)
Farscape and Lexx appeared in the late 90's as bold, in-your-face deconstructions of 90's Trek, followed up shortly thereafter by Joss Whedon's incomparable Firefly.

Even Lexx, a show expressly about a bunch of selfish jerks blundering through the cosmos and trashing it as they go, was less nihilistic than ST:P to date. All three shows were leagues more fun and engaging.

Screw it, give me Andromeda over this dismal, dispiriting crud.
Dougie
Wed, Feb 26, 2020, 4:12pm (UTC -5)
No one should watch anything that is hurting their senses or frustrating them, at least that’s what was demanded of me with Orville. Hypocrisy is when you tell someone else to do something, and then fail to heed your own advice. I won’t say anything again.

@Booming
Enron was a Fraud. Are you suggesting comparing a false valuation to a real one? Ashley Madison had a multi-billion pre-IPO valuation by it’s lead banks and almost went public, but it was a fraud, they don’t count, see. Sometimes, you just have to slow your roll. Like in your first answer above.

I said: America acts as both empire and hegemon, when it suits it.

You said: In it's history the USA had hegemonic and imperial phases.

I’m curious if you realize that you said what I said, but had to say it your way? What is that?


I watched 11 seasons of M A S H. Not all the episodes were good, seasons varied, characters came and went. Frank was funnier, I liked Henry more than Potter, but BJ was better than Trapper. Yet I watched because they were good actors and it was funny stuff.

Good actors in STP? So far yes for the main cast. Maybe the airlock for Agnes. But, that’s her act so perhaps she’s good.

Good story(equiv) in STP? So far I see the first reviews pop in within moments of release. Apparently people cannot wait for it.
Henson
Wed, Feb 26, 2020, 5:28pm (UTC -5)
@Dougie

I think I see where our problem lies. You are coming at this assuming that the history of Earth is the history of Star Trek (as you say, "The Federation grew out of earth and earth is us."). However, the reality is that both is and isn't true, at the same time.

The world of Star Trek comes from an Earth of the Crusades, of the Civil War, of Adolf Hitler, etc. But it's also a world where the genetically-enhanced caused a war in the 1990s. It's a world where Earth underwent a third World War, that came together after the discovery of alien life, that created a society that eliminated many of the social problems that we have, that eliminated currency, that created a space-faring Federation which has stood for over a hundred years. None of these things might ever happen in the real world, but in Star Trek, they did.

So in the fiction of Star Trek, Elon Musk might have never existed.

Yes, I find it unrealistic that humanity will ever successfully abandon currency. I find it foolishly (and beautifully) naive. But it's one of the premises of Star Trek. It's the basis for the fiction, all the way from the original crew. So while it may be an interesting intellectual exercise to posit what role capitalism will have in the shaping of society to come, it's irrelevant to how Star Trek has developed because capitalism doesn't exist in the Federation. Pointing out that this is unrealistic is like pointing out how magic in Harry Potter is unrealistic.

Likewise, you can't assume that the Federation will have 'white man power structures' based on present human societies, because the whole premise of the fiction is that humanity has moved past racial prejudice. (You might have a stronger argument for prejudice against alien species, like Romulans or Cardassians. But that's not what you were arguing.)

Now, regarding the Prime Directive...well, I will certainly concede that its implementation in the various series has not been consistent (although I'm not sure we can use Janeway as a fair representation, as her violations don't have any Federation power to back her up; no Federation hegemony in the delta quadrant, for sure.). My perspective is that the Federation has been sincere in its desire to not interfere (like when they didn't take sides during the Klingon Civil War, or when they tried to deal with situation in "Who Watches the Watchers?"). However, your interpretation of an intentionally toothless rule is not impossible. I don't know that it's the best interpretation, but it's something worth thinking about.
Thomas Kenny
Wed, Feb 26, 2020, 9:34pm (UTC -5)
I disagree with this weeks review. I thought the episode was absolutely superb. 5 stars and trek at its finest.
Landon Haynes
Wed, Feb 26, 2020, 9:47pm (UTC -5)
Oh come on with this review! Seriously, griping about the gore when tons of things like it have been done before in trek but so what if they haven't? By the previews and the goofy clothes shown I was very worried about this episode. But as it turns out it was quite good. Best since the first episode. Aside from the nice plot advances, Jeri Ryan really commanded attention as a changed seven, she was awesome. I loved all the little trek history/universe references/characters. If you've read The Last Best Hope you have even further context for this episode and the Maddox/Agnes relationship. I was disappointed the original Maddox actor wasn't back but the one ep only arc soothed that away. I also liked the symmetry of two moments of darkness bookending the levity in between. Patrick Stewart, Frakes, Jeri Ryan, Kristen Beyer-ppl who know Trek well we're involved with this-it was trek. It's not perfect, but I'm so happy to be feeling good about this series I've been so excited for. It is good writing when you can't see where the story is going, even though again it's not perfect. And I'll not let the perfect (when has that ever occurred?) be the enemy of the good.
Dougie
Wed, Feb 26, 2020, 10:26pm (UTC -5)
@Henson,
I’ll agree. At the time of TOS, and TNG to some degree, guys like Gates and Musk didn’t exist for the most part. But, guys like Carnegie and Ford did. Roddenberry knew of them and their vast contributions to society, good and bad.

I think it’s also as I’ve suggested a difference pre 9/11 and post 9/11. I see the shift tonally in a lot of movies. I happened to watch teen wolf because it was leaving tubi. God it’s awful. But look at what they were selling? MJ fox drinking and smoking pot, small town living where owning a hardware store on Main Street can employ 5 people and you own a home around the corner with 2 cars and everyone is white middle class. That movie is TNG era and it’s all the same feeling.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Feb 26, 2020, 11:46pm (UTC -5)
@Dougie
"No one should watch anything that is hurting their senses or frustrating them, at least that’s what was demanded of me with Orville."

You can watch whatever the hell you want. The only thing that was demanded of you on the Orville threads, is that you stop being jerk.

That being said, I do agree that there's something odd about people who insist on torturing themselves with TV shows they don't enjoy. It's even weirder when they pay actual cash for this privilege.

@Henson
"So in the fiction of Star Trek, Elon Musk might have never existed."

Maybe, maybe not.

Either way, we do know for a fact that Trek's 21st century USA was capitalistic. Chris Brynner was a computer tech tycoon from the 2020's, and there was the entire business of the Bell Riots. It doesn't seem to be much different from how the economy works in the real 2020 (which is kinda creepy when you think about it).

But then World War III happened, and Cochrane's warp flight, and the Vulcans came and decided to open a stern eye on humanity for nearly a century. By the time the Federation was founded, society would have changed dramatically. So why would anybody assume that the way things were done in the 2010's would have any bearing on the 24th century? It makes absolutely no sense.

So yeah, head canon is right.
PM
Wed, Feb 26, 2020, 11:49pm (UTC -5)
Agreed @Landon

I thought this was a fun, disturbing, compelling episode with some home and some good ol fashioned butt kicking.

Was it wrong for Seven to kill a bad guy (er, girl) in cold-blood?

Probably not, but she brutally murdered Icheb and, as they say in the western book/mini-series Lonesome Dove "you ride with outlaws, you die with outlaws"

In other words, the "sheriff" rounded up a kid-murderer and hung 'em high.

The Dr Jurati twist sucked...I really liked her...whatever her reasoning, it has totally broken her.

Best line in the episode..."You need a feather in your hat"

3/4, 3.5/4 factoring in the final scene between Sir Patrick and Jeri Ryan
PM
Wed, Feb 26, 2020, 11:51pm (UTC -5)
Wish there was a comment edit function...meant to say:

"some humor and some good ol fashioned butt kicking.

Was it wrong for Seven to kill a bad guy (er, girl) in cold-blood?

Probably, but said bad girl brutally murdered Icheb and, as they say in the western book/mini-series Lonesome Dove "you ride with outlaws, you die with outlaws"
"
Brian L
Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 12:08am (UTC -5)
Coca-Cola. It's a drink, made out of coca extract, and cola nut extract. That's what coca-cola is. The "coca cola" produced today is not Coca Cola. It's just "Cola". And not even "Cola" because it's an artificial flavoring. There is no coca or cola in Coca-Cola, and thus, it is not Coca-Cola. It does not matter how many cans of it they produce, it is not and will never be Coca-Cola.

The original Trek series, and everything up to and including enterprise, were Star Trek. Trek is an adventure, going into the unknown, a journey. Star Trek = a trek in the stars. That's what Star Trek is. Millions of people, along with the creators, writers, and producers of that thing, got together and agreed that that is what it is.
Dougie
Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 12:21am (UTC -5)
@BrianL ds9 might not be Trek by that strict interpretation.

If Picard is referencing Shakespeare or Data is playing Mozart, or Crusher relies on CPR in a crush, how in the same god damn “head canon” thought can you come up with this zero thought: “So why would anybody assume that the way things were done in the 2010's would have any bearing on the 24th century? It makes absolutely no sense.” The way people think some times astounds me.
Booming
Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 12:23am (UTC -5)
@Dougie
"I’m curious if you realize that you said what I said, but had to say it your way? What is that?"
No. You treat the USA as a unitary actor with a clear agenda. In reality US foreign policy is the result of many things not in the hands of presidents and senators. The gilded Age was a fairly peaceful time for the USA, the phase after that was very imperialistic. It's not like the politicians in 1897 said: Enough with this horribly peaceful time, let's conquer some colonies. And that imperial phase directly lead to an isolationist phase. People often prefer monocausal explanations because they are easy to understand but they are also normally very incomplete.

"Good story(equiv) in STP? So far I see the first reviews pop in within moments of release. Apparently people cannot wait for it."
The fact that huge numbers of people want to see something doesn't mean it's good.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 1:29am (UTC -5)
@Dougie

Looks like you responded to the wrong person.

Also, your reply made zero sense. What does Mozart and Shakespeare have to do with anything? We play Mozart today too. Does that mean that we run our economy the same way we did in the 1700's?

Funny how you write something like this, and then accuse others of showing "zero thought".
Gerontius
Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 1:57am (UTC -5)
Life's too short to read more than a fraction of the posts, especially since I only got round to seeing the episode a few days after it came out.

Very notable to see the way the reactions mostly seemed to be extreme, either way. Either it was a wonderful episode, at last what it should be, or it was a truly appalling monstrosity that threatened even to destroy retrospectively the whole Star Trek heritage.

I was more in the middle - I was with Jammer ( before I read his review) in thinking that it was a pretty poor episode, but there's been plenty of poor episodes over the years, and as always there were some enjoyable touches in them even so.

The odd thing was that this episode cameo in two widely disparate ways which I can't recall seeing before in the same episode. On the one hand there was the excessive and totally unnecessary viciousness of the opening scene which gave the episode a really nasty flavour that hung around to the end, and was reinforced At the end in the way Maddox was dealt with. And on the other side there was the forced humour of the rescue caper, and especially Picard's pantomime performance, which sandwiched between the nastiness of those two killings felt particularly distasteful.

But there were some things to enjoy as always. I liked seeing Elnor channelling Data's naivety in his inability to understand what was going on with all this pretence, because of his fundamental grounding in the way of Total Candour. This could be fun, and it's the kind of humour that can work well in Star Trek, which I don't think the pantomime stuff does.

Still another episode coming along now, so let's hope it's onwards and upwards.

Incidentally I was amused to see Brian using CocaCola as a metaphor for Star Trek staying close to the original and straying too far from it. As I understand it, the first version, the true "original" CocaCola would be completely illegal today, since a key ingredient was a quantity of Cocaine.
Steve McCullagh
Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 7:28am (UTC -5)
Hey, at least we didn't have the Romulannisters this week!
Dougie
Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 7:40am (UTC -5)
@Booming, we only see a very small, extremely vocal slice of the Star Trek comments. If cbs all access were supplying to just the group here they’re broke. But those here post within moments of a new episode. That behavior, regardless, is indicative.

I will disagree that America’s past is random and agendaless. We are not some big sop that just aimlessly plods, nation-building and policy actions have been planned for years. Along with that have been reactionary policies as well.
Elliott
Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 7:52pm (UTC -5)
This series is exhausting. I was very excited by Seven’s (and Icheb’s) return. What a fucking waste.
bobbington mcbob
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
This was the one where I checked out. I loved older star trek because of the way it made me feel. Awe, wonder, "what if" ... episodes like "Measure of A Man" brought both tears and "woah I never thought of it that way" in equal measure (pardon the pun). DS9, TNG and TOS, even ENT, had plenty of such moments, and that's why I could happily sit through seasons and seasons despite the occasional clanger / ferengi / mirror-universe-but-from-ENT / Troi or Tasha or T'Pol get violated or perved on again / Sisko is Jesus episode.

But disco and now Picard have none of this at all, they just feel like standard sci-fi plots hung around a scaffolding of familiar sets and Federation badges, with vacuous characters introduced alongside beloved old regulars, implying we should somehow feel the same about the new guys. I am just bored. Kurtzman's signature on everything - the unearned familiarity, the soap opera, the lack of meaningful character development, the identity politics that would be fine if it wasn't so clumsy - is just the final shit icing on the cake.

Enough. Seth MacFarlane, please buy the rights. Star Trek needs you.
Marg
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 3:02pm (UTC -5)
2nd view:
After thinking about Seven killing Bjayzl and the ideas of mercy and revenge, it occurs to me that the episode is carefully structured. The gruesome opening of the mutilation of Icheb has to be horrific enough to justify Seven's revenge. Bjayzl's sadistic physical torment becomes Seven's emotional torment. Seven is forced not only to mercy-kill Icheb, her "child," but also to realize Bjayzl tricked her into an intimate relationship, which is marked by Bjayzl's use of "Annika." Seven has no alternative in this lawless world but to kill Jay and prevent further ex-B victims. Seven shows mercy in vaporizing Jay rather than, say, perform a bit of vivisection...

The removal of Icheb's eye highlights a visual motif of eyes. The opening credits features iris-like images. Seven's ocular piece and Picard's eye patch add to this. The theme, of course, is conducive to ideas of seeing, understanding, search of truth, secrets.
Yanks
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 5:01pm (UTC -5)
Wonderful review Jammer.
Brian L
Sat, Feb 29, 2020, 9:52pm (UTC -5)
how come no one is talking about the reveal by RLM that the Icheb torture scene was motivated by a real life situation, where the actor who originally played Icheb made disrespectful comments towards Anthony Rapp when he accused Kevin Spacey of making a move on him years ago?

It actually scares me that STP would perform an onscreen torture/murder for the purposes of a real life political retaliation.
Chris B.
Sun, Mar 1, 2020, 9:41am (UTC -5)
I'm worried that the centuries-old horrible secret that drives good people to do bad things that's being protected by a secret cabal is going to be really lame. Actually, I know it will be lame because it's never worth the wait or build up once the reveal comes. This idea has been done a few times, and it's always a letdown. Like seeing the monster at the end of a movie fully exposed before CGI, and you think "Oh, it looked scarier when it was in the shadows, now it looks like some spaghetti and painted latex rubber. Disappointing." Like the monster, the "Dark secret that cannot be revealed" trope's secret is better left to the imagination of the audience.

Anyway, on to episode 6.
Latex Zebra
Mon, Mar 2, 2020, 2:14am (UTC -5)
I think the opening scene is so graphic to make us feel OK when 7 vaporises her at the end. We've seen people killed in cold blood before on Star Trek, Weyoun by Garak in DS9 springs to mind.
Yes it was nasty, yes it was uncomfortable to watch but given this whole series has been framed as more adult Trek, swearing etc, I can accept it.
As for the rest of the episode. Picard hamming it up was excellent and overall. Good episode, one of the best yet.
Bucktown
Mon, Mar 2, 2020, 1:36pm (UTC -5)
Unsolicited pitch - There should now be a spinoff show starring Seven of Nine. In the least contrived way possible, she recruits to the Fenris Rangers some of the most maligned and outcast characters in all of Trekdom - Wesley Crusher, Alexander Rozhenko, Molly O'Brien, Jake Sisko, and Naomi Wildman. Together, they brutally and savagely take out all of the baddies that have sprouted up since the Romulan supernova. THIS is the story Quentin Tarantino needs to tell.
P'kard
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 4:31pm (UTC -5)
Harsh harsh harsh. Yes this episode is a bit violent but still extremely lightweight compared to most tv today. I liked the "dark future" type atmosphere. Was kind of blade runnery/noir feeling. Plus seeing 7 and Icheb was a fun Voyager callback (with hopefully more to come!) I also liked 7 getting a chance for cold revenge. This is a theme rarely if ever explored in Trek and I feel this revenge killing helps set the tone for the new show. This is not "yesterdays Star Trek" and I guess it's "a matter of perspective" if that's good or bad
SlackerInc
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 9:47am (UTC -5)
I can see how the gore could be jarring for fans of 1990s TNG. But I remember TNG being jarring to me as a teenager after being a fan of TOS reruns and the movies.

I don’t mind watching Trek that is more adult, although I do regret that it puts it more off-limits for kids.

I acknowledge some of the flaws in this episode, but I found it more enjoyable than most episodes of Discovery, so it’s still registering as a pleasant surprise so far.

My biggest disappointment in this episode is one PM mentions. I liked Agnes as kind of a lighthearted, funny audience surrogate character. So it’s really unfortunate to have her flip to the dark side.

(I was also confused for a while as to whether Bjeyzl was an amazingly well-preserved Troi, LOL.)
Peter H
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 2:08pm (UTC -5)
Yes, that opening scene was a bit much. If I'm honest though, I thought the scene where the Romulan dissolved in his own acid a couple episodes back (even if it was "tastefully" in the background) a bit strong too.

Still enjoyed this one. Picard acting out a hammy role is actually in character, given his love of pulpy holodeck settings.

The obvious twist at the end was.... well, obvious.
Alex B
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 9:50am (UTC -5)
What, they didn't want to call this The Magnificent Seven?

I'm pretty torn: the Trek I have is stylish and impressively made, the Trek I knew is dead and gone. I hope this is working towards some redeeming qualities of some kind, and I hope this isn't where we leave Seven forever.
Jeremy Short
Mon, May 11, 2020, 9:16am (UTC -5)
Not that this makes the episode better, but it explains something that confused Jammer. They weren't after Icheb's eye, they after his cortical node. They just had to pull out his eye to get to it. They seem a bit confused by it not being there (Where's your cortical node, buddy?). He had donated his to Seven when hers went bad, because he was young enough to live without his (Imperfection). That is an odd attention to detail.

There were real world reasons to recast both Maddox and Icheb. Brian Brophy (TNG's maddox) is teaching at a university and isn't currently acting. Manu Intiraymi (Voyager's Icheb) has managed to make his self unemployable in Hollywood (you can look that up on your own).
Peter G.
Mon, May 11, 2020, 9:28am (UTC -5)
"Manu Intiraymi (Voyager's Icheb) has managed to make his self unemployable in Hollywood (you can look that up on your own).
Submit a comment"

Alright, I Googles it and found nothing. What's the story?
Booming
Mon, May 11, 2020, 11:13am (UTC -5)
@ Peter G.
He wrote some stuff about Anthony Rapp and Kevin Spacey were the Itcheb guy said some pretty shitty stuff. PC liberal pussy witch hunt and so on. The usual right wing stuff.
just google "Manu Intiraymi anthony rapp" and look at the tweets.
Booming
Mon, May 11, 2020, 11:15am (UTC -5)
or here use this.
https://manu-needs-to-go.tumblr.com/post/167101413971
Maq
Sun, May 31, 2020, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
An episode with better tempo, but to which prices. Some scenes was absolutely disgusting and unnecessary. In itself I am also not fond of this revenge / vigilante approach.

On the other side, good tempo, good story telling, the jumping forwards an backwards when telling the "knock on the door" part was ok. Jeri Ryan as Seven really good even though I did not like the development of Seven.

It would definitely had been possible the have this tempo with keeping "star trek ethics".

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