Star Trek: Picard

"The Star Gazer"

3.5 stars

Air date: 3/3/2022
Written by Akiva Goldsman & Terry Matalas
Directed by Doug Aarniokoski

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"The Star Gazer" opens with an action-packed crisis involving an unknown Starfleet vessel, with many of the characters we know aboard it, a furious alien assault, and a countdown to disaster — before then flashing back to "48 hours earlier" and using the entire hour to set everything in place for that big climax. It's a cliché that's pervasive in the current era of streaming, as if the producers are so afraid we won't be patient enough to go along for a ride that builds to that conclusion without first teasing it.

It's the move of a desperate pilot trying to grab the attention of impatient executives — not an established show with a built-in audience and an already-shooting subsequent season. The opening flash-forward seems all the more unnecessary because "The Star Gazer" does an almost unfathomably good job of setting all the pieces in motion to get us to that moment, allowing us to marinate in the comforting and well-realized atmosphere that is the Federation in what is now the very early 25th century, while also taking its time and exploring the central theme du jour surrounding Picard — his steadfast reluctance toward romantic commitment because of ... reasons.

There's an early scene where Laris (Orla Brady), the most loyal of his vineyard employees (and recently widowed), makes it quite clear she would be willing to start a late-in-life relationship with Jean-Luc (with a nice nod to her Romulan take on loss and new beginnings), but Picard just can't bring himself to go there, much to her irritation. The title refers to Picard always looking up to the stars from his early years as a child, which led to a life of isolation where duty always came first. There's a flashback to his childhood that contains images of something sinister that happened to his mother, certain to be discussed in future episodes. (What about Robert? Might've been nice to put him in these shots somewhere.)

Later, Picard seeks out Guinan, who these days is bartending on Earth in Los Angeles' historic district. She wonders what it is that made him come to see her, and calls Picard out on his adversity to putting himself in any sort of relationship that's not pre-established as temporary. Even closing in at nearly a century, there are certain stones Picard will not overturn, for whatever reason. Do you care about Picard's status as a nonagenarian bachelor? This episode did a good job of persuading me to, with its familiar faces, echoes of nostalgia, and scenes of drinking.

The first season of Picard went out of its way to put everyone on the outs with Starfleet. It was a key design of what the season was trying to do, but I think it's pretty safe to say that it works far better having many of our characters inside of Starfleet, as is the case here. Picking up a year and a half after season one, Admiral Picard is now chancellor of Starfleet Academy, where Elnor is enrolled as the first Romulan cadet. Raffi has been reinstated as a commander. And Rios is captain of the newly commissioned USS Stargazer, a name which Agnes notes comes with "baggage." Rios has a cigar in his hand or mouth in nearly every scene on the bridge, which is shorthand for "manly rogue."

Soji has one scene; she and her fellow synthetics debate the issues of the day at dinner parties. Agnes, cleared of Maddox's murder because of "insanity brought on by an alien influence," has taken up the mantle of the series' maladjusted drunk — who also is a brilliant scientist with required skills. And Seven is the most angry outsider of the bunch, having taken La Sirena to use it to continue her ambiguously vague ass-kicking missions as a Fenris Ranger, on the account she feels unwelcome in the Federation as an ex-Borg — although I think she may be projecting a lot of that upon herself with her lousy attitude. (Jeri Ryan struts around every scene like a badass, and it's great.)

I thoroughly enjoyed the idiosyncrasies of the cast and the way the episode did such an economical and effective job of re-establishing them. This episode, more so than most Kurtzman-era Trek to air in the past several years, has the right feel to its setting. The 25th century feels like a modern take on a classic premise, without coming across as a completely different universe like much of last season did. And this show looks absolutely great. Shot with crisp detail on handsome sets and locations — from the bridge of the Stargazer to Picard's vineyard and chateau to Starfleet Academy and HQ — it's full of places you actually want to spend time in. It's worth seeing for the production design alone.

At the Academy, Picard makes a speech that frames time, rather than space, as the final frontier. It's a sentiment that makes sense coming from a 90-something who realizes time grows scarcer the longer you've lived, and without doubt the notion will play into the season's time-bending premise. It's around here that an unknown entity opens a big, green space-time rift near the Stargazer's position and transmits a mysterious message that is de-garbled and revealed as "Help us, Picard," followed by a request to join the Federation.

Starfleet promptly recruits Picard into the action and before long we're aboard the Stargazer in the middle of the crisis that opened the episode, along with a fleet of Starfleet reinforcements. A Borg ship emerges from the rift, announces it will be sending its queen, and beams a faceless figure onto the bridge which claims it is seeking "peace" before sinking its tentacles into the ship's computers and trying to hijack control of the ship and entire fleet. Apparently out of options, Picard orders the self-destruct sequence and the Stargazer is destroyed with everyone aboard.

Picard then wakes up at home in an altered reality (with a militaristic painting of himself on the wall, amid other ominous oddities), where he's greeted by Q (John de Lancie is as good as always at depicting dark intentions with an air of self-satisfied mischievousness), who welcomes Picard to "the end of the road not taken," and reminds him that "the trial never ends." It's a perfect dose of familiarity in an episode that balances the classic elements with the new, and hints at something that could potentially be a great old Trek wine in a new Trek bottle.

I gotta say: I really enjoyed this. It's an excellent hook to get us launched into the season, with sufficient mystery and character, and a great ending tease. It's expertly paced — very efficient in a way that doesn't waste time, never feels rushed, and allows us to soak in the atmosphere and character moments. And it feels like a nice reset after season one's various major missteps. Will this season be able to keep it up? Time will tell, and if I were a betting man, I would be foolish to put in my chips based on the track record, as all could be blown to hell by season's end or even next week. But I can be optimistic for at least one episode, and "The Star Gazer" gave me plenty of reasons to be so.

"Watch your future's end":

  • Raffi and Seven apparently had a brief fling, but they were not on the same page in terms of "wanting more." Raffi tells Picard that Seven is as much a commitment-phobe as he is. (I don't expect this to be the last word on the matter, but we'll see.)
  • Picard's shuttle sure got him to the Stargazer awfully fast. Same goes for the rest of the fleet. Isn't the site of the anomaly in or near Soji's colony in the Beta Quadrant where Rios picked up Agnes? Like, pretty far away? Whatever.
  • When Picard leaves the planet to go answer the alien hail, he doesn't even say goodbye to Laris. She looks pissed (and she should).
  • There's a briefing scene where the regulars debate a course of action in a conference room. Old school!
  • A lot of the effects work (the exterior shots of the Stargazer, the close look at the spatial rift and Borg ship) looked clean, clear, and detailed, which is what is frequently missing with Discovery's VFX, which often look too much like a video game.
  • Seven is depicted as the hothead who anticipates the worst-case scenario, thinks everyone else is an idiot for being so optimistic, and is the first to open fire on the bridge. Someone has to do it, and I guess I kind of get where she's coming from. This is the Borg, after all, she doesn't trust them at their word (nor should anyone), and they do invade the bridge and sink tentacles into the computers.
  • The Stargazer has elements of Borg technology built into it from last season's artifact cube, which I knew was going to end up being a bad idea, and which the Borg exploit when they attack the ship.
  • Q snapping his fingers to age himself from his younger appearance to "catch up" with Picard was a nice touch.

Previous episode: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2
Next episode: Penance

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197 comments on this post

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The Chronek
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 3:03am (UTC -5)
Ah, the joys of working graveyard shift and having time to get in some Trek viewing. No spoilers, I promise.

Good, solid season premiere. For those who weren't thrilled with season 1, I think the season 2 premiere offers several cool tidbits.

There's more of a direct connection with Starfleet right from the start here. There's a direct connection to Picard's past and why he decided to go to Starfleet. It makes a whole lot of sense. This particular tidbit of Picard's past hadn't been spelled out previously, but its revelation sure jibes with stuff we've seen before: his reluctance to go home, his distance from his family, and his skepticism about starting a family on his own, even finding love on his own.

I recall some complaints about the copy/paste method used to show the large mass of Starfleet ships in the season 1 finale, as all the ships seemed to look the same. It seems like the powers-that-be heard that and included a scene that feels much like a mea culpa for that, in addition to looking pretty darn cool.

This season looks to be about "the road not taken" and the consequences of going down that road, perhaps similar to the TNG episode Tapestry.

Opening music changed a bit. Not sure if I dig it yet, as I really enjoyed the opening music for season 1.

3 stars from me.

Happy viewing, all.
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Daniel
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 4:26am (UTC -5)
This... feels like the TNG movie that we all deserved.
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Tim C
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 4:53am (UTC -5)
I'm still not sold on the idea of a season-long alternate-timeline story. I feel like it's just been done to death, and there's so many other promising storytelling avenues this show could've gone down.

*But*, this premiere did a damn good job of hooking me anyway. I'm very keen to see what happens next, and the slower, talkier pace is just as refreshing an alternative to Disco as it was last time around.
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modulum
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 7:44am (UTC -5)
Way better than it had any right to be. Agreed that it largely felt in the tone of the TNG movies.
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modulum
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 7:49am (UTC -5)
actual visual continuity! the sovereign class looks the exact same!
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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 8:12am (UTC -5)
That was great. I think it might be the best season premier of any Trek series (barring maybe Way of the Warrior). It was not quite a perfect episode, but it was so "next level" compared to Season 1's slow start.

As expected, this is largely a "soft reboot" of Picard with the new showrunner. We get all of the cast back (with Laris apparently jumped up to a main character). There were a handful of references to things that happened last season (like Picard's synth body, the end of the synth ban, what happened with La Sirena, etc) but none of it really mattered that much, as this is is a new story which happens to (for contrived but understandable reasons) involve the same characters. The decision to let a year plus of real time pass was a good one...though I was a bit confused about how much time passed. Laris said Zhaban died a year and a half ago, while Soji seemed to indicate the synth ban ended just a year prior. I guess the ban wasn't lifted immediately after the events of Picard Season 1? Maybe two full years have passed?

I really, really loved the use of the themes of time in this episode. One thing modern Trek has been lacking IMHO is strong thematic cores - the episodes and season arcs tend to be sloppy and all over the place. But so much of what Picard is talking about in particular revolves around issues of time, regret, and second chances - something which I am guessing will be reinforced across the season. While the decision of the writers to give Picard an outright abusive childhood is a bit cliched, it does make so much of Picard's own onscreen history make more sense - his lack of long-term relationships, discomfort around children (and choice never to have them himself), his leaving home and never looking back, his frosty relationship with his brother, the general distance he attempts to hold everyone to.

I was less a fan of the scenes which involved everyone other than Picard, because they seemed to be perfunctory "let's check in with everyone and see where they are." I was disappointed they chose to have Rios/Jurati and Seven/Raffi have zero development offscreen in the 1-2 years that passed, though I know it's often a conceit of television that nothing of import happens in relationships when we can't see it. While most of the main cast were reunited in the area right around the anomaly by the end of the episode, I note Soji and Laris were not. We know from trailers that they will be involved this season - which leads me to wonder if we'll be spending time with the "prime" versions of them, or their alt-universe duplicates.

The use of the Borg Queen was also intriguing, because neither her nor her ship looked like anything we had seen before. I suspect that this is the Borg from the other universe (where we know Earth defeated them) and they were reaching out to this Picard in an attempt to...cross universes?

And then of course there's the entrance of Q himself, which was done in a picture-perfect manner. It was of course spoiled already by trailers, but it was still a great moment to end nonetheless, leaving me already hungry for next week.

3.5 stars I'd say?
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Kyle A
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 8:12am (UTC -5)
So far so good.

The Stargazer and interiors looked great, and nice seeing real Starfleet ships.

Connecting Patrick Stewart's childhood with Picard makes a lot of sense as well. We all know how cold/distant Picard was in the first few season of TNG and took him 7 years to join the crew for a poker game.

The tone of the show feels a lot more natural/better too. Here's too hoping to it carries over for the entire season.

John DeLancie's charisma is palpable.
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voxymandias
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 8:53am (UTC -5)
The delving into Picard's childhood I think is at least in part pulled from Sir Patrick's own childhood experiences. I watched a documentary with him that explored his family life and he explained that his father came back from WW2 with what we now call PTSD (but at the time, was known as shell shock), and he didn't receive the proper care and treatment for it (which didn't really exist back then). His father was extremely abusive, mostly toward his mother, whom he described as an incredibly kind and loving woman.

I actually find this sort of exploration fascinating, especially within the context of the utopian Earth and Federation. Telling everyone who peaceful and evolved everything is to anyone who will listen, only to hide and stay quiet about the demons at home is something many of us grew up with, or around, so thematically, I think there's so much that can be said here.

All of that said, I liked this episode 200x more than almost all of the whole of season one. Amazing soft reboot for the series and I hope they can maintain the momentum.
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Norvo
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 9:16am (UTC -5)
Now this was something else :-) Compared to the immensely slow burn Discovery has taken in season 4, this opening episode of Picard was a breath of fresh air. Tons of story, expertly told and a wonderful set up of multiple premises. Sure, it's the Borg again, but it all looks and feels gorgeous, new and exciting.

The one minor quibble I have is over the newly introduced 'mystery' of why Picard actually went to the stars. It already feels dreadfully obvious and telegraphed that his parents' marriage was unstable and (emotionally) traumatizing. His mother telling him to look up to the stars during their fights sparked the idea that he'd be safe out there. That also sort of explains why he always chose career and Starfleet over settling down and starting a family of his own.

Elnor looks good in Starfleet red and bless Evan's accent. Michelle Hurd continues to steal every scene she's in and Seven is so delightfully Seven. Rios seems a lot more mature and comfortable in his own skin. Now here's hoping the writer give Agnes Jerati a personality that isn't a copy of Sylvia Tilly's.

The return of John DeLancie and Whoopi Goldberg was spoiled long ago, but it's just wonderful to have them back again. Even the cute way the writers explained why their supposedly immortal characters had aged. Somehow Q's deaging wasn't quite as believable as Data's in season 1, perhaps because Data always looked a little inhuman to begin with.
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Troy G
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 9:51am (UTC -5)
Much better, although that wasn’t Guinan, just Whoopi Goldberg in a hat.

The de-aging of Q worked better than most others because it was brief and also at a distance.

The Borg was more terrifying than they have been in a long time

Season One Picard felt like well-produced fan fiction by writers who weren’t fans. I hope Season Two is better
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Chrome
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 10:02am (UTC -5)
Greetings fellow Trekkers, it's been a while, hasn't it?

So much is packed into this single episode it's hard to digest it all. Whereas season one of Picard took its time to reintroduce us to TNG-era Star Trek, this episode throws us right into the middle of things. Just to clear the air, here’s a list what’s changed from the first season:

1. Picard is living at Chateau Picard with Laris only as Zhaban has passed away. He's been given a senior administrative position at Starfleet Academy. There's a hint at a failed romance between the two.

2. Agnes is on a diplomatic tour with Soji and ended her relationship with Rios.

3. Rios has returned to Starfleet and not only been given command, but he's in command of the of next-generation ship equipped with Borg technology from the artifact. It's named the Stargazer, after Picard's old ship.

4. Raffi has a post at the Academy too and is seen commanding the Excelsior.

5. Elnor has become the first fully-Romulan cadet to join Starfleet.

6. Seven is still trying to protect former Borg from technological pirates.

So, basically the situation for everyone has dramatically improved thanks to the events of season one except for Seven and possibly Picard himself. Picard does seem to enjoy his newfound immortality and is living his *work life* fully but there's a major gap lingering. The episode hints that Picard lost his mother at an early age and has never been able to have a lasting relationship with a woman since.

The big action piece of the episode boils down to a strange new vessel found by Rios that can bend space-time itself. It sends out a garbled message made up of thousands of species which simply asks for help directly from Picard. It also implies it wishes to join the Federation.

When Picard meets the entity, it turns out that this vessel is the last dying remnants of the Borg. Most would be skeptical of the sincerity of the Borg’s request for peace, but Picard is hesitant to make any decision that would become an immediate battle. The Borg beam over their Queen to talk, but the Queen immediately attempt to commandeer the Stargazer and with it the surrounding fleet that has been called in to assist with the threat. In desperation, Picard self-destructs the Stargazer but then finds himself back at home.

Things have changed at home. Picard’s diplomatic curiosities have been replaced by war trophies. Laris has been replaced by a synth. Before Picard can ask any questions, Q shows up and explains that Picard is now in “the road not traveled”.

So far, despite the furious pacing of the episode, it’s interesting to be back in Picard’s world. It’s fun to see what Starfleet and Earth might look like in the 24th century. There are some neat touches like grape gathering devices using transporters to pick the prime grapes Picard has selected. Los Angeles still has a cozy bar life too, where Guinan has taken up a job serving premiere galactic spirits and helping troubled admirals with their problems.

It’s a bit odd to see our beloved characters have aged of course. The episode deals with it directly in two situations. Guinan has said that she’s allowed herself to look older to help the people around her deal with her increased lifespan. Q at first appears young, but ages himself appropriately to match Picard. Of course, none of these explanations were necessary, but it helps that we know that the writers care.

So, we’ve all seen the season’s preview which taunts us with the tagline that “Starfleet has been replaced by a totalitarian regime” which echoes “Mirror, Mirror” of course, but also the troubling would-be timeline of “Yesterday’s Enterprise”. What’s interesting is that all Picard’s characters seemed to have found a good place in the series but now they’ll have to quickly adjust to a jarring alternate timeline. While this bodes badly for most of them, it seems like at least Seven will be better off with one thing: her humanity.
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TheRealTrent
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 10:57am (UTC -5)
I thought this was weak, and that people are only positively responding to the appearance of the Borg at the end. The Borg will be jettisoned just as they, and the Romulan refugee plot, were jettisoned in season 1.

The episode opens with a frenetic action scene, all off-kilter angles and canted camerawork. We get lots of shooting, exploding, and then the "dramatic" shot of some kind of shadowy tentacle monster, followed by the "shocking" revelation that a ship is about to self-destruct and so kill Picard. This is hacky on an aesthetic and writing level. That it's also a flash-forward adds another layer of hackiness; only a writer with no confidence in their tale, or their audience, needs to reveal their ticking-clock before the story's even begun.

Then we get a shot of Earth. What should be a beautiful, majestic planet gets approached from off-kilter angles and clunky quick-zooms. Now watch how a subsequent scene - after a weird montage at Picard's vineyard (hover vehicles and "transporter grape-pickers" seem an odd way to run a future vineyard) - in which Picard and his Romulan lover talk, is shot. Study the mis-en-scene. Every shot, reaction shot, close-up and medium shot is moving, zooming in a little, panning, or slowly gliding. This is an intimate, hushed conversation between two people. There is no need for any of this motion; it's like the stuff you see in amateur student productions where every shot has a slight zoom.

TNG used to get criticized for its stilted, tripod-mounted, classical film grammar, but this was all much harder to execute and plan out than simply using a steadicam, slow zooming every scene (often added in post), and shooting with multiple cameras simultaneously for maximum coverage, as nu-Trek does.

Classical film grammar also has a way of heightening the drama. When the camera ramped up to a medium shot or close -up, you knew screws were tightening. Here, everything is, on an aesthetic level, on the same playing field. There are no screws to tighten, no tension to milk, because everything is always in a constant state of agitation.

On a dialogue level, this scene is also bad. It's familiar "why are you alone Picard?", "Because I have duties!" dialogue, complete with hokey flowery prose ("Where is your heart, after all this constant motion? What might you find, if you were to just stop and live here?") which makes no sense; season 1 told us Picard had long "stopped" and was "just living there".

The needless "dream sequences" of season 1 and Discovery then make an appearance, Picard suddenly imagining himself as a boy (clad in Victorian clothes?) running about a house. It's like nu-Trek can't help but psycho-analyse its charterers in the most cumbersome ways. Your not allowed to infer things about characters by how they act, or what they don't say, instead you need elaborate dreams, visions and symbols to literalize their psychological terrain. Kirk didn't need a vision of himself spinning in a greenhouse to wrestle with his inner demons. He just snapped occasionally and let you figure out the rest. Nu-Trek's attempts at "inner depth" and "psychology" are all hacky.

Picard then has a vision of a "rosebud" on a piece of stained glass (cribbed from "Citizen Kane"?), and a vision of his mother, who apparently frequently argued with his father. "If we should fight," his mother says. "Just look up at the stars!". The implication is that Picard fled Earth, and personal relationships, to get away from an abusive home. Again, this is unsubtle psychologizing. Picard's a Captain Archetype torn from the age of Tall Sails. You don't need to go rummaging throughout his past. Deconstructing Picard is like deconstructing Captain America or Abe Lincoln. It's to fundamentally miss the point. The existence of these characters as myth-like men of stature is to draw attention to everything else. You psychoanalyse Picard and you reduce everything to the same playing field, just like all the zooms and pans in the aforementioned scenes.

Picard then looks up at the stars as the camera zooms suddenly out into deep space, where a Federation ship is "shockingly assaulted" by a suddenly appearing "deep space anomaly". Another flourescent anomaly? This is all pure cheese.

Picard then gives a speech at Starfleet Academy. The words "Starfleet Academy" appear at the bottom of the screen. Because simple words are now "boring", this text has to be animated, the letters rotating into view. "Time rarely offers second chances," Picard tells a room of students. "We focus on what should have been, rather than what we've done!" Is Picard lying, we wonder? Does he have regrets? Does he have no regrets? If only there was a certain French song we could play...

Picard then quotes his mother's opinion of space exploration: "Look up! And let's see what's out there!" Cut to Seven running about on a ship battling thugs with guns, a giant wrench and lots of sassy quipping. That's what exploring "out there" gets you: generic violence.

Meanwhile we learn that Seven, like Picard, "can't forge intimate relationships with humans" because of "personal psychological baggage". So she lives on a ship with a butt-kicking hologram. Because all bad scripts need to link their characters in some way, Seven comes across the "giant generic space anomaly".

Cut to Soji and Jurati doing stuff. "My longest lasting relationship lasted a year and I was recently cleared of murdering my previous boyfriend," she says. So we see where this is going. Everyone's got intimacy issues. Cue much snarky, quippy, oh-so-witty dialogue filled with "totallies", "likes" and "i told you sos". Soji never acted this sassy in season 1.

We then meet Rios, who now seems to be in charge of a Federation ship (Is the Federation short on captains?). Cringey references then come hard and fast - Stargazer, Sulu, the Kobyashi Maru ("I hate that test!"), the Excelsior, and a book written by Spock - followed by more on the nose dialogue:

"I'm very happy as the Chancellor of Starfleet Academy."
"Sure. It forces you to focus on Starfleet, rather than, you know, YOU."

Everyone just wants poor Picard to get laid. If only there was some kind of anomaly inbound that required him to stay celibate for just one more season!

Raffi then confirms that she's sexually attracted to Seven. Unfortunately Seven, like Picard, is obsessed with "going off and helping people". Poor Seven and Raffi can't have a normal domestic life. "She has me hoping for something more," Raffi says. "You wouldn't understand, Picard. Heck, you and Seven are so self-sufficient, I doubt either of you even get lonely."

This is the most tropey, basic way to write what are already tired, basic themes. It's like a bad writer's idea of what deep, character writing is.

We then meet Elnor, who looks good in a Starfleet uniform (Did he always have this British accent?). Picard then drops a good Spock joke ("Live a little!"), before we hop aboard the Stargazer with Rios. Some good chemistry here between Rios and Seven, intruded upon by a drunk Jurati, who like Tilly is already well on her way toward Fladerization. They all receive a message, which, a bit like the message which kicked off season 1, says "Help us, Picard".

Picard needs counseling, so he visits Guinan. You'd think someone open enough to seek out a counselor for relationship advice would be emotionally intelligent enough to navigate matters of love, but no. More clunky dialogue thus follows:

"It's not as if i haven't loved before. I have. Sometimes quite deeply."
"But with those who would always be temporary. So you wouldn't find them taking root."
"You think I'm a fearful sort?"
"Sorta."
"It's too late for love. That particular ship has sailed."
"The problem isn't time. It's you. You've never took love seriously. You've been on your own for a century. Why'd you go to the stars?"
"To explore."
"But the only thing you're afraid to explore is your heart!"

Have you ever met a Navy captain or military admiral remotely like Picard is in this episode? Can anyone really live to a hundred with Picard's skillsets, and be this confused about interpersonal relationships?

Anyway, an Admiral visits Picard and tells him about The Space Anomaly. She gives him a Starfleet combadge. The music mounts. The camera zooms in on Picard's face. He takes the badge. Wow! He's going to do Starfleet stuff! I wonder what comes next: cut to Romulan lover looking sad as he leaves, once again choosing duty over romance, the implication being that all of Starfleet is virgins. Maybe that's why they have so few Captains now.

Picard boards the Stargazer, and we get lots of cool scenes of him walking about, chatting with Seven, and with Rios, who sports a neat uniform, and looks good on a neat looking bridge.

Then comes the sequence which cons everyone into thinking this is a good episode (why needlessly undercut the tension of this scene with the episode's opening teaser?). A Borg ship appears, the Borg Queen beams aboard the Stargazer, and we're teased with the cool idea of the Borg wanting to join the Federation, with Picard the ambassador tasked with allowing or denying them entry. That's a great idea. A great set of themes to explore. Audiences are pumped. The episode finally feels dramatic and interesting.

But we know where this goes. The Borg and these themes will be ditched, just as season 1 ditched the Borg and the Romulans and the Federation's immigration problems. As if to emblematize this, the episode swiftly kills Picard and transports him to the past, where a totalitarian (and climate denying?) government has taken over Earth. Q appears as well, after the Edith Piaff song "no regrets" plays in French, presumably because Akiva Goldsman just watched "Inception".
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Booming
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 11:11am (UTC -5)
@Chrome
After reading your six points I wonder if season 1 wasn't set in the mirror universe. So everybody just got their careers back, Rios was even promoted and Raffi and Rios were given command of top notch ships. I guess Jurati murdering Maddox had no consequences and wasn't she the leading scientist in cybernetics? Now she is a diplomat?! Elnor is the first fully Romulan to enlist in Starfleet ever?!! Even Robot Picard, technically a completely new entity, was given a higher up job at the academy.

Wow. Could this be a parallel universe or some kind of community best timeline situation??

Was season 1 like this?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POT3plx0vBs
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Williams
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 12:04pm (UTC -5)
Not impressed, having the characters actually involved in Starfleet was a nice touch but personally don’t find the Discovery ship design aesthetic appealing.

Too many close ups, wild camerawork.

I found the retcon of Picard’s youth very much a lazy trope, a very simplistic explanation for why he went to space. Picard was a great heroic character, I am surprised at how they need to bring him down and deconstruct him.

The reason for Guinan’s aging was silly.


Dialogue is way too on the nose, every point they want the viewer to “get” is overly spelled out, lack of subtlety.

Classic Trek shows had a sense of fun, most of the characters enjoyed what they were going and they excelled at it, a real sense of drudgery in Picard.

Jurati actress/ character is grating, her quip in the previews especially so.


So far it is boldly going where grimdark sci-fi has gone before, definitely miss the Trek with heroic characters and positive, optimistic future.
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Andy G
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 12:31pm (UTC -5)
This episode while not perfect is probably better than anything in S1. It was contrived in a few places to get everyone back together but that's tolerable. Seeing some new character ground for Picard and just having Starfleet was great. Best for last is John DeLancie looks like he's playing Q circa season 1 and 2 TNG as opposed to later or Voyager. Can never go wrong with him. Cautiously optimistic for a good season. Best endorsement from me on modern trek possibly ever.

3.5/4
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PM
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 12:49pm (UTC -5)
LOVE the new theme - definitely ups the ante without the jazzed-up crap that the Enterprise or DS9 themes turned into in their later years (ironically, those shows got better as the themes got worse)
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Eric Jensen
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 1:36pm (UTC -5)
The opening theme has changed for the better - much more trekkie - this has much more counterpoint than the first one. More suspenseful. More Trek-Original. More percussion.
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ItsNiceForTextToRotate
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 2:02pm (UTC -5)
@TheRealTrent
"We then meet Elnor, who looks good in a Starfleet uniform (Did he always have this British accent?)."

You mean the Australian accent that Australian actor Evan Evagora has always had? Yes. It was present for the entirety of season one.
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Eric Jensen
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 2:55pm (UTC -5)
Good intro. What is with the cigar? No fumes?
Q - what is he up to? I think Q intervened and supposedly on Discovery, Q never re-appears for a long time
Didn't the Borg look like Control??
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TheRealTrent
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 3:36pm (UTC -5)
ItsNiceForTextToRotate said: "You mean the Australian accent that Australian actor Evan Evagora has always had? Yes. It was present for the entirety of season one."

That explains a lot. I thought his accent in season 1 was an affect, like an attempt to invent an alien lilt.

Williams said: "Picard was a great heroic character, I am surprised at how they need to bring him down and deconstruct him."

They seem to be borrowing from Patrick Stewart's own life. Stewart's dad was very abusive to him and his mother when he was a child. I believe he also helps charities which combat spousal/domestic abuse.

My Picard headcanon was always that he was a sort of figure from a Patrick O'Brian naval novel. A sort of rascal kid who got his head knocked around when he was young, and then buckled down, focused, and dedicated his life to the ship and the sea. As he got older, he then dedicated himself to bettering both himself and humanity. In the old navy novels that inspired Roddenberry, this self-improvement was tied to the usual Empire building (a better British Empire equals a better World!, For the Good of the Admiralty! etc), but in TNG it was tired to the more "humane" Federation.

That Picard's dad seems to have been physically abusive to his mom - and so in a sense the stars becomes Picard's means of evading domestic trauma - bothers me less than his incompetence at romantic relationships. I don't buy the idea that he's so inept at forging a private life.

For example, Akiva Goldsman says: “Looking through Picard’s history we found he has an INABILITY to sustain long-term romantic relationships. That was our cue to understand how the past defines the present.”

The word "inability" makes it seem like they view Picard as some kind of psychologically messed up guy. But he wasn't "unable", he simply "chose" a career/Starfleet over a long-term romantic relationship. There's no need to pathologize this behavior.

I find it weird that Picard's final send-off show is a show about sex and relationships. It's so weird and incelly. It's like he's battled aliens, and saved whole planets, but he's not a real man 'till he's figured out how to hold down a woman!

I feel a better tale would have skipped all this melodrama and had Picard already married with his Romulan babefriend for a decade when we catch up with him in season 1. A simple line of dialogue..

Romulan Babefriend: "When I first met you, you couldn't stay put, Jean Luc. Always somewhere else. Always dreaming of the stars!"

Picard: "Meh."

...and the issue is sorted.
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Shannon
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 5:45pm (UTC -5)
Outstanding season opener! Definitely light years ahead of the very slow start to Season 1. The writers did a great job establishing the lives of the characters since last season's ending, although I really could have done without the scene with Guinan, but I'll overlook that minor quibble. Bringing back Q and the Borg feels right, as both had such a significant impact on Picard's life. I'm also glad to see Jeri Ryan is now part of the main cast... Looking forward to the rest of the season.
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Jammer
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 6:13pm (UTC -5)
Review now posted.
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sj82
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 7:38pm (UTC -5)
Pretty good - but Guinan was not Guinan. Her character is a lot more sombre and wise - and her affection for Picard more controlled and knowing, than the way it was shown.
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Mal01
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 8:14pm (UTC -5)
More of the typical “Grr Star Trek is too woke now!” Curmudgeons in the comments like @TheRealTrent. Specifically writing multiple pages of angry, uninspired critiques, spending an hour typing something only. Few will read about a show he decided before watching it he wasn’t going to like.

What truly baffles me about him and a few of the others here unwilling to enjoy new things is how focused you are on trivialities, like not liking the way the bridge looks because you want the production team to make the set look like 90s mid-budget TNG sets. Do you know how utterly insane you sound when you think that better design and modern effects are a bad thing, and the show’s production should cater to your needs for nostalgia?

You’re just caricatures at this point, and all of us everywhere—saved for the rest of your depraved ilk in the comments of a Midnight’s Edge video—are tired of you.
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The Chronek
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 9:25pm (UTC -5)
Good observations from the commentariat.

@Troy G-I think you're right on with your "Whoopi Goldberg in a hat" comment in Guinan's appearance. Certainly, the Guinan we've seen before has been more mysterious and more serious. Then again, the Guinan we saw in Rascals was the one that encouraged Ro Laren to seize the day by jumping on a bed. Certainly, with actors in long-established roles, it can be tough to tell where the actor ends and where the character begins. I think I would have liked her performance better had it just not included the "tea, Earl Grey, piping hot" quip. But, it's still Whoopi, and she has an Oscar to her name, so who the heck am I to argue. And her conversation with Picard after that quip was perfect.

Concerning the Borg: it's interesting that the Queen was shooting to stun, not to kill. It does make me wonder about their motivation. Why not just kill everyone and take what she needed? Why not just, I dunno, shoot them with nanoprobe darts and assimilate them right there? Maybe she was saving them for future assimilation, but there's at least the possibility there that she didn't want to harm them. I totally get the distrust, because, ya know, RESISTANCE IS FUTILE. But still, the possibility exists.

With the release of Picard's season premiere and the new episode of Discovery, today marks the first time in 23 years that we've had new episodes from two Star Trek live action shows to enjoy. So, Imma party like it's the 90s. Excuse me while I grab my flannel shirt and listen to some Chumbawumba.
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Marc
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 9:28pm (UTC -5)
"This episode, more so than most Kurtzman-era Trek to air in the past several years, has the right feel to its setting."

This really is it, right here. Some of the Pike content in DIS S2 came fairly close, but this is the first time that I've really felt that we were seeing a modern version of classic Star Trek, as opposed to a modern reimagining of Star Trek. There's nothing wrong with reimagining Star Trek, that's what a show like Discovery can and should do! A direct successor story to TNG? Not so much.

Setting a beloved and iconic character up as a central figure in the institution he cares so deeply about, rather than a pariah, also seems like a much better starting point for the season. There are absolutely characters out there who are at their best when they have fallen from grace, but I don't think the main character of a show notorious for everyone getting along and effectively resolving their personal conflicts is one of them. TNG was a show that generally chose to make most of their conflicts come from outside rather than from within, which made Picard S1 feel like a strange successor when all the characters were essentially misfit screw-ups.

This immediately drew me in more than Picard's first season ever really did. I'd still have loved if Picard had chosen to tell lower stakes stories instead of continuing to put the whole galaxy, universe, or plane of reality in jeopardy, but if they're not going to do that, they can at least do big stakes the way they did on this episode.
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Chakwor
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 9:47pm (UTC -5)
@Mal01

Agreed! TheRealTrent served up his/her usual perfunctory complaining. Complaining which has become as insightless, trite, and boring as he/she claims the show is.
(Williams also… “grim dark…” “lazy trope..” My cliche-meter needs new batteries, already).

Of course TRT’s focus is on trivialities. Complete sentences, writing out actors’ and actress’ names, and avoidance of ridiculous non-sequiturs (no, I haven’t met a Navy Captain like Picard. Has anyone? What does that have to do with anything? A “constant state of agitation,” indeed) - that kind of writing is for we the peons and unenlightened suckers who will eat up any old slop bearing the name Star Trek. The real insights can only come from superior-minded cineastes bearing gifts about film grammar, miss en scene, and montage - from those whose need to show everyone how culturally sophisticated they are compared to the rest of us, may even secretly bore THEM blind.

The episode has been out for, whar, twelve hours? TRT’s screesd, with its boring thoroughness of detail (or, perhaps, more accurately, selectively chosen detail) reads as if it took over half that long to write. Keep that kind of mentality away from makom armchair psychoanalysis about perceived armchair paychoanalysis.

Of course this episode and this series and franchise have flaws. Reading the recitation of the latest episode’s abominations, though, shouldn’t feel like having to endure a perpetual Festivus celebration held at William F. Buckley Jr. Hall featuring the Twit of the Month.

If watching Star Trek is something these people look forward to enjoying, imagine what they must actually hate.
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mosley
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 10:00pm (UTC -5)
wow, that was actually quite excellent.

easily the best nutrek, for me. i always longed for something that would simply continue the storyline of the TNG DS9 VOY run, not so much because of nostalgia but simply because its by far the most fleshed out universe with the most nuance. i always thought that what used to be a downside to TV suits in the past (oh, this nerd stuff thats too hard to get into from a casual TV watching viewpoint!) would be a clear advantage in the streaming and bingewatching age, where hooking a viewer to a particular universe (literally, in this case) has become so important.

i always hoped that "picard" would finally give us exactly that, yet for unknown reasons, the first season seemed weirdly disconnected, almost avoiding its heritage in a way. obviously im not talking about cameos and random fan service moments, but the general link to the established canvas of this trek era. it just wasnt there. picard on some random rogue ship. with some random rogue crew. starfleet being a matte painting in the background at best. why? no idea.

but i also dont care, cause THIS is different - this feels like fully embracing all which it has previously avoided, and what can i say: i instantly love it. is it a "woke trek" show? i dont have the slightest idea - i was too busy being interested in whats happening to ever care for a split second about any of that culture war blah one way or the other. if its this good, i dont care if your ships fly with transsexual warp drives powered by boomer tears or with jonathan archer memorial white men testosterone. i just want a good show that plays to the strenghts of this uniquely fleshed out universe, and preferrably with leads that arent marvel style action superheros (looking at you, DSC) but actual humans.
and if its a good script with good direction and production, and a nicely balanced pace like this, i am a fan.

so, since this is easily the best nutrek of the entire nutrek era to me, i better give this 4 stars and hope that it stays this way.

oh, and before i forget it - futuristic borg? i like. guinan? i like (even though the real life omnipresence of whoopie goldberg kind of sabotages the suspense of disbelief quite heavily). Q? i actually never cared too much about the deus ex machina character, even though i always loved de lancie as an actor, but what can i say: hearing that voice saying "the trial never ends" is just too much for my little trekkie heart to resist. oh how i loved it. yes, i avoided the trailers, which most certainly quoted that line again and again and again. and im glad i did. had quite the impact this way!

more of this, please!
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Jammer
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 10:11pm (UTC -5)
"Because simple words are now 'boring', this text has to be animated, the letters rotating into view."

Wow, that is some next-level Get Off My Lawn shit right there. Way to not sweat the small stuff! God forbid a show use animated text! What's next? CGI? Digital surround sound? Letterboxing? Color photography? LOL.
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Rahul
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 10:20pm (UTC -5)
I really wanted to like this episode more than I actually did. I found it very scattered and unfocused, but there are some very probing conversations about Picard, the man. Of course, we have to catch up with the main cast, introduce another anomaly, and then Q pops up in the end. So what does that whole Borg encounter mean if, going forward, we're in some altered Q reality for Picard? Or maybe we're not...

I liked the introspection that Picard faces but I don't think the romantic aspect is what one of the avenues of deconstructing him should be. Just accept that sometimes a captain can't get involved.

One of the big changes (and improvements) from S1 is that Picard is getting the respect he deserves as an admiral (and is he also chancellor of the academy?) He's not getting disrespected by some old female admiral with a potty mouth. But I didn't like when Picard goes "I don't know" when asked what to do about the Borg. Sure, he may not know, but wasn't he a captain and shouldn't he project something more commanding like asking for options proactively?

Great to see Guinan of course -- her and Picard still have their on-screen magic. Picard is told he scared of exploring himself. At least we have a well-established Trek character that we are peeling back the layers on.

Now I love the Borg and I think I liked them on VOY more than most but I was not impressed that they're back and taking over Federation ships with their new Borg Queen that can transport through shields. And why did Rios's crew keep firing on her when he told them to stop?? And are we going back through "Tapestry" again with Q giving Picard another chance? So the trial never ends...

2.5 stars for "The Star Gazer" -- after S1, it's a bit hard to know what to really care about. I appreciated the quieter moments and just because they throw in Guinan, Q and a deceptive Borg, it doesn't improve the story. It's like a bunch of things were thrown at us along with some Picard deconstructing, but it's probably all set-up. Like I said, I wanted to feel better than what I did after I watched it.
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AMA
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 10:26pm (UTC -5)
I'm in just about absolute agreement with Jammer's review. Little for me to add.

Will simply reiterate the point that @Marc did as well, that the setting and set designs (finally) feel 'right,' a natural evolution of Trek gone by; and that, although Guinan was a bit more Whoopi than when we last saw her, the chemistry between her and Stewart's Picard remains incredible. I could go for a series where he simply delivers wine to her bar, and the two get caught up in one chat or quaint adventure after another. The scene far exceeded my expectations based on the previews.

Finally, to make an unsolicited and likely incorrect prediction, I suspect the crew's experience in the alternate universe will lead them to learn that they ought to accept the Borg into the Federation, or, the very least, supply the requested help (and that the Queen's actions on the Stargazer were misunderstood). How the former might work in practice, I have no idea. :p
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Daniel
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 10:28pm (UTC -5)
Kinda triggers a semi-random thought I should've mentioned with the Picard series premiere, but I'm just glad that they didn't have a block of text crawl explaining the situation as the series opening scene as they did in DS9 and Voyager.
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Jeffrey's Tube
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 1:23am (UTC -5)
This is a fantastic episode. The best Star Trek has been since . . . Deep Space Nine? Maybe. Wow.

How do I know it was great? Jammer was supercharged and inspired to get a review up in less than 24 hours, haha. I think that right there says a lot.

I don't have much to add to the discussion, except a few observations:

Jeri Ryan is really incredible. She could carry a show as the central character with the same supporting cast if Patrick Stewart gets too old and doesn't want to continue after season three. Peeling back Seven's layers with where she is now in life like this show is doing with Picard--a show with a similar strong thematic focus to its arcs--would be just as rich, resonant, and interesting, I feel.

And speaking of, having watched this episode right after Discovery, no one in that show is even close to being in the same league acting-wise as Patrick or Jeri. Even the best members of that cast (David Ajala and Wilson Cruz). Strong acting isn't necessarily a requirement for a Star Trek series--adequate acting will usually suffice. But it's certainly appreciated, and I'm not sure I realized how much it adds to the experience until it was so noticeable tonight by contrast.

Yet Alison Pill is above Jeri Ryan in the opening credits? That's a travesty. If it's some SAG thing, give Jeri a "with" or "and" credit at the end. Jeez. Under friggin' Alison Pill! C'mon. (I know, no one cares. But actors care.)

I didn't feel we needed any explanation for Guinan looking older. Her species lives centuries, but she's LIVED centuries, and that's all we really know. She could have finally gotten old, that's all. It could have finally been her time. Maybe her species only looks "old" in the last fifty years of their life, or whatever, and now she's there. We've never known where she is in her lifespan, or anything about her. Her explanation of "I chose to get old to make people more comfortable" is not very believable. No one would choose to get old given a choice! Your joints ache, and a zillion other things. I don't need to tell you all that, certainly. So they gave a completely lame, half-assed answer to a question they didn't even need to answer, and now we all have to live with and actively ignore the handwavy-ness of it forever. Not the best choice.

I would really like to see the Excelsior. The nerd in me really wants to know if it got to keep the NCC-2000 registry with a letter appended to the end like the Enterprise (the Stargazer didn't, because of course it wasn't an important ship). I think the Excelsior would rank--one of the cadets was reporting to the USS Hikaru Sulu!--but I would still like to see it and know. I know, I know: I'm a nerd!

I also REALLY want to see the Enterprise. We assume the E is still in service, but I'd like to know. I don't expect the show will ever give us this one . . . but I was surprised a lot tonight by things I really wanted to see that I didn't think the show would ever do, so never say never!
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Booming
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 1:45am (UTC -5)
Man, RealTrent is taking a beating like Ukraine. Even Jammer came down from his mountain to attack him. When did that ever happen?
Uh and people calling him right wing. Strange times...
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Latex Zebra
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 3:12am (UTC -5)
I hope Jammer got the first three episodes like many reviewers seem to have. But then if he did, it also means he knows more...
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The Queen
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 3:13am (UTC -5)
This episode was better than anything in season 1. Yes, the opening scene was unnecessary, and my first reaction to Rios was that he didn't look right as a Starfleet captain. I know he was described as "Starfleet to the core" last season, but it felt like he should have cut his hair and saved the cigar for non-bridge moments. I also thought it was very strange that Adm. Picard was the one to issue the autodestruct command, especially without needing any input from the ship's captain at all!

But there was so much good here. The pacing was excellent and the story was interesting. It did a good job at the difficult task of updating us on all last season's characters in a single hour, not to mention Guinan. The "look" of the episode (is that what production values means?) was enjoyable, clean and bright in some places, soft in the Picard-estate segments. The special effects were clear, understandable, and not overused. John De Lancie took over the screen immediately as usual. And I really liked the very appropriate use of music - I don't mean the theme song, which I don't even remember, but the individual pieces throughout the episode, which I thought contributed a lot to the increasing sense of foreboding.

If only Discovery could produce an episode like this!
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AMA
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 5:10am (UTC -5)
The following from @TheRealTrent is a very fair concern, " The Borg and these themes will be ditched, just as season 1 ditched the Borg and the Romulans and the Federation's immigration problems."

Season 1 did indeed marginalize one its more compelling story lines, the treatment of refugees following the desolation of Romulus. Season 2 may similarly spend little time exploring any novel relations with the Borg. It would be a shame if the writers introduced such an intriguing idea only to mostly abandon it.
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Natalia
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 6:13am (UTC -5)
Most characters felt like a shell of what they were someday... Picard doesn't feel like Picard, Guinan doesn't feel like Guinan... it's almost like the actors forgot how to act and are just being themselves on the set. It's quite uncomforable to see our beloved characters so old and acting so oddly. Dialogue is atrociuous most of the times and never feels natural... or we are being flooded with fan service ST references (a ship named Hikaru Sulu?) or we are being flooded with weirdly constructed sentences and erratic behavior and stereotypical characters (what's up with all that Rios and the cuban cigar stuff? Why they are portaraying him like a cartoon character? I was almost expecting his cigar to fall off from his mouth when he saw the borg I-don't-know-the-geometric-form ship). Unfortunately most characters don't have the emotional weight the show wants us to believe they have... sorry, but they don't. Picard meeting Rios again was suposed to be emotional? It wasn't... same with all the characters from season 1...

The plot was ok... probably we are getting another "Tapestry" like episode and more time travels and alternate realitiy stuff... at least it feels more trekish than the previous season and certainly more trekish than any of Discovery. Finaly we see more than ctrl+c ctrl+v ships and the stargazer looks beautifull...

Well, let's see what comes next.
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The Chronek
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 6:33am (UTC -5)
I do have a bit of a nitpick, namely with Picard ordering the Stargazer to self-destruct. In previous times that we've seen the self-destruct activated, it has required the ship's commanding officer at a minimum to blow up the ship. Rios wasn't incapacitated; shouldn't he have been the one to order the self-destruct? When Picard came aboard the Stargazer, it didn't seem like command shifted to him. He was more there to communicate than to assume command. If nothing else, I would have liked to have seen a small something that showed Picard had some command authority over the mission.
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Dreubarik
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 6:45am (UTC -5)
I'm also far less excited that most here. It's true that everything in this episode was agreeable (except the cigar on the bridge, what a terrible Season 1 choice that cigar is), but I'm not paticularly excited for what this episode sets up, nor the direction that these characters are taking. I hate that the Seven of Line "lone ranger" arc continues, it's a complete affront to a character that was fascinatingly multifaceted and compelling from an intellectual standpoint. Patrick Stewart and Whoopi Goldberg feel nothing like their characters from TNG, so I feel absolutely nothing when they are on screen. Are there themes? Sure, but they don't seem fresh or exciting. "Picard has missed the chance to have a family" and "the mirror universe is dreadful" are subjects we've dealt with several times, and they have never been particularly deep. Season 1 was perhaps the worst show I've ever seen but at least the subject of artificial life had a potential that I just don't see in what is being set up here.

So yes, good execution. Most elements in this episode work and are competently done. Do I prefer a season with less thematic potential that actually delivers on a decent plot? Of course, let's hope this continues. But do I see signs of intelligent life? My tricorder still reads nothing.
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Booming
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 7:12am (UTC -5)
Yes, Corona made me watch. So let's do the nitpicks/bitching first and the actual review later

- I'm writing this while watching so I don't know if the fact that immortality is now an established fact has any consequences on society but that Zhaban died while non-immortal by choice golem Picard is sitting there is really strange. Was Zhaban not golem-worthy? - memory alpha states that they retconned that in Discovery. So they were really close to immortality and then it only worked sometimes so they abandoned it but then later perfected it with little effort. hmmm

- Ok so Patrick Picard has problems with the lovin and when he came close for the kiss hesitated. Why didn't Laris kiss him?? She obviously wanted it, then why sit there passively waiting for him? Just meet him halfway.

- OMG. So now domestic violence is back, maybe even marital rape?!! Yikes, good job Federation security and Child protective services...

- Picard's main motivation for joining Starfleet was not a desire for adventure but a broken home... double yikes.

- hmm Picard's clock sounds like Big Ben. Interesting choice for a Frenchman. :D

- Laris hair and eye shadow are quite nice. Raffi's hair on the other hand is not. It looks like a plant.

- The first Romulan in Starfleet. Obviously not true *cough* Oh *cough* and are you actually telling me that over hundreds of years not a single Romulan entered Starfleet? Ok the Romulan Empire was isolationist but there must have been endless billlions of them and none ever went to the Federation and joined Starfleet?!

- 17min in action scene number 3.

- Obviously nothing bad can be said about Seven's hair. I guess it could be even more flowing and gorgeous. Hopefully she and Raffi get together so that Seven can take Raffi to her barber. *fingers crossed* You don't have to live like that Raffi!

- Jurati is working on worsening her drinking problem and is also weirding out slightly creepy guys. Good for her.

- Jerry Seinfeld would say:"No problem, I second hand smoke two packs a day, Captain Rios."

- Wow, nostalgia name dropping time. Sulu, Grissom, Kobayashi Maru, Spock as the finisher. Happy, nerds? :)

- Cool, Jurati is one of those TV scientists with a degree in everything. Cybernetics, linguistics, computer assisted text analysis. Again, good for her. Even though one would think that considering that the ban was lifted that she would go back to cybernetics.

- So Guinan lived on earth the whole time and Picard never visited her and she never him. In an age where visiting someone on the same planet is a thing of seconds?! Could they not have said something like"We didn't see each other for 6 month." Wouldn't it be nice if they had stayed in contact, shared a saurian brandy every now and then?

- I guess the show will continue to ignore Picard living an entire life in TNG because of that probe. He was married and had children.

- "Jean-Luc you're being ridiculous." *nodding in agreement*

- One of those bad NuTrek staples. Distance is meaningless. Take a shuttle and poff you are there.

- The rooms on the Stargazer are really dark. Does Rios have a Lorca problem??

- This Excelsior is still looking like the 200 year old Excelsior?!

- Maybe there was a better way for the Borg to make peace than beaming on board and start taking over ships?! Maybe.

Ok, enough nitpicking. As is so often the case I'm more in the middle. This was better than anything in season 1. The entire episode feels like a do-over. This episode treats the previous season more like an afterthought with little impact. What has me worried the most is the ending. It's somewhat like Discovery jumping in the future. It's all about getting away from the apparently again well functioning Federation. This time we jump to a dark parallel universe of some kind. Topics like climate change, slavery and militarism are foreshadowed.

Apart from that lots of stuff others have said. It all looks better, even though it became a little too dark visually at the end. The world portrayed looks more like a future one would want to live in but I often thought that it all meant nothing because Discovery has shown that this will implode 500 years later. Different from most here I was not a big fan of the music. It felt a little too on the nose. The music made perfectly clear what to feel at what moment. Combined with the dialogue that sometimes felt one the nose as well. Especially at the beginning.

It was alright

2 and 4/5 stars.

The big question remains. Will this be like most/all? NuTrek seasons where it starts kind of good, keeps it up for a few episodes and then falls off a cliff?

The trial never ends.
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Booming
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 7:19am (UTC -5)
ps: I forgot one thing. I liked it that they were open to accepting even the Borg, at least hear them out. Not that it amounted to much but still. That was the one thing that felt really like trek. I would have liked it even more if the Borg ship instead of attacking would have suddenly lost power and then they had to rush in to save them. Maybe the CBS shooty shoot quota had to be filled.
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Karl Zimmerman
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 7:20am (UTC -5)
Looks like Jammer is on the same page as me.

FWIW, here is my guess on the season arc:

First, the Borg shown are not "our Borg." Instead it's a Borg vessel from the alternate reality with the totalitarian (but not MU) Earth we know will be featured in the next episode (let's call them alt-Borg). We already know from the trailers that this Earth defeated the Borg, and have a Queen in cold storage.

Picard seems to be a great military leader in the alternate timeline. Maybe he spearheaded the conquest of the Borg. This is why the alt-queen specifically went to ask our Picard about joining the Federation. They figured no one would be able to protect them from their Picard better than our Picard. This also means the shift between universes was possibly not done by Q at all, but by the Queen, who needed the ship's energy to transfer the crew to the alternate timeline.

The last is really small universe, but we don't see the Queen's face, which means she's someone surprising. She also says something we see Picard's mother say earlier in the episode. What if she's (alt) Picard's mother? This Picard lost his own mother to the Borg at a young age, which caused him to build hatred and resentment, and turn his drive not to exploration, but to conquest. The Borg kept her around as a drone, and upgraded her to a queen for the mission for manipulative reasons.
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Eric Jensen
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 7:33am (UTC -5)
The cigar was annoying. Look, smoke during breaks and recreationally. NOT on duty.
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Jammer
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 7:43am (UTC -5)
** "I think the most telling thing here is that Jammer had a review up for new Picard same day, while Disco reviews have been taking a full week."

Just to be clear, enthusiasm really has almost nothing to do with the timing of my reviews. (See also: the three years it took before I posted my positive, and much derided, "Star Trek Into Darkness" review.) What had more of an effect here was the fact that I had two reviews to write this week, and if I didn't make it a mission to get one done basically immediately, I was going to be very behind going into next week with no real time to write this weekend. It's pure family scheduling, plain and simple.

In this case, I watched Picard after my kids went to school and before I went to work. Then I wrote the review after work. Usually, my wife and I try to watch these together (which is why I sometimes don't even see them until Friday evening when we both have time to sit down for TV), which then puts my review writing into the following week. But I realized that was going to put me way behind during these weeks when Picard and Discovery are overlapping.

** "I hope Jammer got the first three episodes like many reviewers seem to have."

Nope. I'm watching them just like all of you, and paying for my Paramount+ subscription as a regular customer. However it is the press gets put on the list to get screeners, I'm not a part of that.
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Lodged Torpedo
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 9:12am (UTC -5)
I could have sworn Rios was holding a cigar, and not smoking it. I don’t think it was lit.
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Artymiss
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 9:16am (UTC -5)
I gave up on season one early on and only started watching this out of curiosity expecting it to be dreadful guff. But it was really entertaining.

I am shocked!!!
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Eric Jensen
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 9:35am (UTC -5)
Well I am worried about Q... Q is rarely seen in Discovery...
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TheRealTrent
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 10:38am (UTC -5)
Karl said: "The last is really small universe, but we don't see the Queen's face, which means she's someone surprising. She also says something we see Picard's mother say earlier in the episode. What if she's (alt) Picard's mother?"

IMO that's a bit too similar to Michael's mother in the Red Angel suit in Discovery. I doubt they'd go down that route again. I thought it might be Seven, but that might be too obvious as well.


Karl said: "This is why the alt-queen specifically went to ask our Picard about joining the Federation. They figured no one would be able to protect them from their Picard better than our Picard."

I think this is the neatest, most interesting direction for the plot to take - ie Picard as an emissary of the Borg, and mediator for the Borg/Earth - but this begs the question, why enfold this within an alternate universe plot?

For me, the most interesting avenue season 1 could have taken was simply watching Picard coax a battered, prejudicial post-DominionWar Federation into "helping" and "accepting" the Romulans. That's a cool story.

Similarly, why not simply watch Picard in the future, wrestling with getting the contemporary Federation to accept the Borg? Season 1 already established that the Federation is a bit prejudicial/bigoted (toward the Romulans). Undoubtedly they feel doubly so toward the Borg. So why invent a totalitarian alternative universe to travel back into if your theme is "anti Borg prejudice"? It seems unnecessarily unwieldy and inelegant.

Karl said: "This also means the shift between universes was possibly not done by Q at all, but by the Queen"

That's the impression I got too. Q also implies that this reality is a result of Picard not joining Starfleet. At least that's how I interpreted the "welcome to the very end of the road not taken" line, which would be funny. The world goes to hell because Picard settles down.
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TheRealTrent
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 10:48am (UTC -5)
Booming said: "OMG. So now domestic violence is back, maybe even marital rape?!! Yikes, good job Federation security and Child protective services..."

This is an interesting question. Does domestic violence exist on TNG-era Earth? I'd imagine it would be so stigmatized that it would rarely happen. Surely various civil rights/feminist movements would have stigmatized this stuff, and given women countless avenues of escaping this kind of relationship.

It's possible, though, that Picard's visions of domestic abuse are coming from the alternative reality. Maybe baseline TNG-era Picard had a healthy upbringing.
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Dreubarik
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 11:30am (UTC -5)
Regardless of the debate on whether the utopian 25th century should have domestic abuse in it, I just find it really lame that tragedy and trauma are the only ways these writers seem to be able to create a want in a character. Compare this with the much more grounded and multifaceted backstory we get in "Family".
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theBgt
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 11:31am (UTC -5)
We got, what, 10mins on the bridge of Stargazer?
Well "Picard" treated that bridge crew better in those few mins than DISC did in 3 seasons (haven't watched the last one). Without awful editing and creepy gazing and people who looked like a part of the decoration.
It even made me ready for a Stargazer spin-off . Rios and his brand new (for us) crew.
And mind you, Seven and Picard were on that bridge as well.

I absolutely loved it.
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theBgt
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 11:33am (UTC -5)
@Dreubarik

This is a trend especially for US made shows: the heroes must have a traumatic past that defined them. The most traumatic the better.
Just weak writing.
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Captain_Porthos
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 12:13pm (UTC -5)
As someone on Twitter noted, there was a plate with a fruit print on it mounted on the wall in Picards' chateau, which was also seen on the wall in TNG "Family". You can't say they haven't gone all out in attention to detail.

https://twitter.com/gaghyogi49/status/1499451539810766861?t=N_U92PTTdiRi0Mk7IA99-A&s=19
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Sid
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 12:53pm (UTC -5)
Smoking a cigar on the bridge. Give me a break. 0 stars just for that, to be honest. Post modernism is such bullshit.
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Leif
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 1:05pm (UTC -5)
@Karl Zimmerman, what other universe is that where Borg were defeated..I've never heard of that?
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Booming
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 1:14pm (UTC -5)
"Smoking a cigar on the bridge. Give me a break. 0 stars just for that, to be honest. Post modernism is such bullshit. "
OMG I think this comment is trying to melt my brain! Why is cigar smoking post modernist????? WHY???
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SC
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 2:16pm (UTC -5)
Easily the best episode of this show, so far, but I recall the pilot was pretty good too. I hope they keep it up. It felt more like classic Star Trek.
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Mesut
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 2:19pm (UTC -5)
Tremendous season premiere, even better than last season's "Remembrance," which I also liked very much. But this was cinematic, engaging, and character set-ups well-planned for people who may not have tuned into season one.

Jammer's review is a delightful read, there isn't much to add. Hats off to the production team and the writers. I prefer the challenged Picard in this series over the one in TNG who was surrounded by "yes Captain"s because Patrick Stewart's talent shines through even more.

Minor note, I read some crticism of how Guinan acted differently, but remember that Guinan knew how to adjust her disposition (anywhere from cynical to serious to jolly) depending on the time period (see Time's Arrow Parts 1 and 2")

Great stuff. Cannot wait until the next entry.
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Karl Zimmerman
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 3:02pm (UTC -5)
@Leif...

I'm going by stuff we've seen in the trailer and other clips of the show.

It's 100% clear that Picard is now in an alternate universe where Earth is totalitarian, but it's not the MU. Whether it's a totalitarian Federation or some sort of Earth empire is unclear.

We also know there is a borg queen cast this season, and that the alt-Earth initially has her more or less in cold storage. Picard & co break her out because they need her help to travel back in time and fix whatever went wrong in 2024 which caused the TL to shift.

My suggestion that the ATL borg have been defeated utterly is just a supposition at this time. But it seems pretty clear the Borg ship is from the alternate universe to me. For example, they ask for Picard's help, and pointedly do not call him Locutus. The queen doesn't look right, the ship doesn't look right, and it comes right out of that gigantic rift. Seems clear to me they're fleeing...something.
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Kuebel
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 5:02pm (UTC -5)
I did enjoy it, but a few things could have been better:

- Guinan should have said that she has had an illness - something like El Aurian cancer for example, which aged her body ... (And it saddens me that Whoopie couldn't remember how to be her)

- Jurati changed for the worse. Why does she have to be a cynical drunk? Even though she killed Maddox, she was portrayed as a nice person in S1.

- of course the Borg queen is Picard's mother or other mother.

- did they put young Jean Luc in the clothes of young Patrick Stewart? A bit anachronistic ...

- a shuttle going from Earth to anomaly?

- Picard didn’t need to be active in Starfleet Academy (but it was great that everyone recognized him, even on the Stargazer)

- it's like Starfleet's Got Talent: Everyone needs a sob story.

Great was:

- they more or less forgot about the golem

- John de Lancie being Q again (and he remembers how)

- Different, good looking ships

- Starfleet being Starfleet
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Leif
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 5:59pm (UTC -5)
@Kuebel What on earth makes you or anyone think Picards mother is the Borg Queen? Why not Sevens mother at this point?

@Everyone..Ok..WHO DOES THAT HOMEWREKCIN' STANK-ASS ROMULAN TRICK THINK SHE IS?? WHERE MY PICARD/CRUSHER FANS AT? WE ARE LEGION SHIPPERS! Why the frack os Orla Brady the star and love interest and not Gates McFadden?? Bringing the Divine Dr. Crusher back even as a recurring main love interest/companion would be wo much more satisfying and make more sense..anyone else agree? just like they brought bacl Riker and Troi and Guinan and hopefully Worf. Lets START A PETITION TO GET.CRUSHER BACK! Who's with me? Hell, bring back WESLEY AS TRAVELER to help crpss those universes with Q now that he's racked up multidimensional frequent flyer miles would make sense and be fun too , no?
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Leif
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 6:10pm (UTC -5)
@Karl Zimmerman Oh wow thanks for answering..you think the Alt Borg are Alt fleeing the Alt Picard??.how do you know it's not the MU? I hope it's not either..How do you know Borg queen was in storage..us that something you gleaned from the trailer because I didn't catch..that..I hope we see the two queens interacting at some point and get some new alien life forms and that itbis some strange new Alt universe and not MU agsin..I want to see SPECIES 8472 and the ICONIANS AGAIN! And some new aliens..maybe the Alt Borg can be fleeing them..
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TheRealTrent
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 7:13pm (UTC -5)
theBGT said: "This is a trend especially for US made shows: the heroes must have a traumatic past that defined them. The most traumatic the better."

It's a bit odd that a 90+ year old captain hasn't yet dealt with his childhood traumas.

Regarding Karl's theory that the Queen may be Picard's mother (or somebody's mother), it's worth noting that the episode was directed by Lea Thompson, most famous for playing Marty McFly's mother in "Back to the Future". This whole season is a kind of "back to the future" plot as well. So maybe Karl's right, and Lea Thompson's a kind of inside joke.
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Latex Zebra
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 7:15pm (UTC -5)
Well I enjoyed that. It wasn't without it's faults but that was better than pretty much anything Discovery has done and on par with good Lower Decks. It felt like Star Trek.
3/4 and I want to know more.
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Dahj's Digital Ghost
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 7:27pm (UTC -5)
@Leif — I was hoping when Picard was announced all those years back that Jean-Luc and Beverly had long been married, with now young adult children, happily living in La Barre, and that Jean-Luc would be teaching archaeology at a French university in Paris and that Beverly would be United Earth's Minister of Health. So, yeah, I'm totally on board with bringing back Gates McFadden and Wil Wheaton! In fact, I insist.

As for this episode: Nice start. Please don't go off the rails like S1. Please don't. This opening is giving me hope Picard might live up to everything I might hope for.
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Jeffrey's Tube
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 7:40pm (UTC -5)
@ Leif

I think his walls are too firmly up with Beverly at this point. It's been their entire lives by now. They had so many opportunities and never did. That's just too much history. Even if they decided to go for it, they'd each be holding back out of long habits and entrenched familiar behavior. Probably you don't overcome that and it's doomed from the start.

I'd love to see Gates on the show for the particular way the Crusher character plays off Picard, but I don't know that I'd buy a romance finally happening at this point.

I think the Powers That Be just never felt Gates was a good enough actress to handle a proper romance with Patrick Stewart. I think they were wrong. I don't think she was the greatest actress ever (she did fine), but I think she could have handled that very well, particularly.
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Sen-Sors
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 8:06pm (UTC -5)
Not surprised to hear the show lets Jurati off scot-free for first-degree murder. It's not like she was mind-controlled or some kind of Manchurian figure activated by a code-word. She saw a spooky vision and consciously and deliberately made the choice to murder a guy over it.
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Captain_Porthos
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 8:37pm (UTC -5)
TheRealTrent said: "We then meet Elnor, ... (sic) ... (Did he always have this British accent?)."

Is this going to become a tradition with Picard season premieres? Someone in the comments demonstrates that they are utterly clueless when it comes to identifying accents?

This was almost as egregious as the person in the season 1 premier comment section who called Orla Bradys' accent "Scottish" and Harry Treadways' accent "Irish".

And what the hell is a "British" accent anyway? You know the UK is made up FOUR entirely seperate countries, right? Each with dozens of variations on accents? This is the equivalent of calling someone with a Quebec accent a Texan, because it's all on the same landmass so what's the difference, yeah?

Fuck me, if Star Trek ever gets a Welsh character, it wouldn't surprise me if one of you bloody colonials thought they were South African or something.
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MidshipmanNorris
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 10:16pm (UTC -5)
Welp, Season 8 of Star Trek: TNG is here. Let's get rolling, we got a long way to go...and as the man himself said, "The sky's the limit."

I'm more kind than most of you and will go ahead and give this the extra half-star.

****
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MidshipmanNorris
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 10:40pm (UTC -5)
I also wanted to give a special mention to Ms. Jeri Ryan; her acting chops are top-shelf, top-notch stuff. We've been shown new Seven, who can cry, laugh, get angry, introspect, and is 10x the badass she even used to be (saying a lot too).

...But you show her one Borg Queen, and we start seeing "You must comply" Seven again, instantly. Great job, Ms. Ryan. That's kickass acting.
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Robert
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 11:51pm (UTC -5)
Over all I loved this episode, it was so refreshing, and I will continue to watch. They did a good job of setting up a really solid season 2 premise. My post is mostly critiques of what I didn't like, but I want to say over all that my rating is 3.5/4 stars.

I continue to dislike the camera work in action scenes. The camera never stays still long enough for you to focus on any one thing, and although I believe the intentional effect of this technique is to illustrate chaos, its actual effect is that it prevents depth of understanding. If camera shots are kept superficial, then the viewer's reaction will remain superficial, and it will therefore be easier to guide expectations. What disappoints me is that they clearly spent so much time on set design, but you never get a close enough look at anything to really value the work. The word "scattered" is apt.

The hugeness of space is not addressed in how all the main characters stumble upon/are directed to the spatial anomaly. The Beta Quadrant is far. On the other hand, in "All good things..." we hear that the Federation has "warp 13" in the future, so maybe that's how they were able to do it. I do enjoy how Picard as a series shies away from too much technobabble, but it would be handy to know how fast ships can go in this part of the 25th century.

Picard's childhood flashbacks, I could do without. For those who followed TNG and the movies, we know that Picard has many mature and fascinating interludes with women, but he always chooses duty because *he is the Captain of the flag ship of the Federation*. Do you know how insanely hard someone has to work, and how honored they have to be in Starfleet, to get such a position? I don't like this revisionism wherein Picard didn't have a love life because he has mommy and daddy issues. I think given his breadth of life experience and the fact that he's almost 100 should remedy that. Hell, the only reason why he didn't end up with Dr. Crusher was because she was already taken, and then when her husband died Picard felt it would be wrong to swoop in and marry his best's friends widow. I believe that's called integrity, not emotional damage.

The two scenes that I found completely perfunctory were:

1) The opening scene. All it did was provide an unnecessary, incomplete story with high jeopardy of the main characters to make you keep watching. The content of the episode spoke for itself and was high caliber enough to keep my attention. This isn't just a Trek critique. I dislike most writing that starts episodes this way. i.e. we think everyone who's shot is being killed but they end up just being stunned. Very cool that the refitted Stargazer is still around though.

2) The scene on Raritan IV with the android society. Ok great, the androids are doing well and have become totally bourgeois. I don't feel that season 1 was wrapped up enough, but... you know... the Federation is huge so you can't be everywhere at once.

Rios as a captain makes sense. As of season 1 he was a former Starfleet Commander who basically saved the galaxy along with the rest of Picard's team. Naturally they would reinstate him and promote him. Still, the cigar was a bit much. So was Jerati being drunk on the bridge. Has the main cast's hero status propelled them beyond the rules?

I didn't mind the scene with Guinan, except for explaining how she aged by choice. Did we really need to know why Goldberg looks older? Really? Less exposition goes a long way. For all we know, Guinan in TNG was already getting old, since we have no idea how long El Aurians actually live for. Maybe they only show aging in the last 50-100 years of their lives.

The one thing I really, truly don't understand at all, is why Borg tech was integrated into Starfleet when it could so easily be used to takeover a ship -- and not just one ship, but all ships in an armada. Like gee, nobody thought this through? Also... the Borg Queen (if that's who it is) wearing a face-concealing helmet, yet has impenetrable body shielding? Obviously they are going to do a "big reveal" of Alice Krige at some point.

The pacing was good, I just wish the personal character content was less cliche and expository.

All in all, a thrilling episode which I give 3.5 stars.

I'm looking forward to seeing how they follow through with this plot. Sometimes a premise starts strong and they tie it up badly. Other times the follow through is epic. Let's hope for the latter!
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Leif
Fri, Mar 4, 2022, 11:57pm (UTC -5)
@ Dahj's Digital Ghost..YES! LET'S US start that P/C Petition! I think and hope there's still a chance Gates will come even if nkt for a romance..

@Jeffrey's Tube..thanks for responding too I agree Gates is great as Crusher in general..Have you read if she's coming back at some point?? Why did the writers turn her down??

@Eberyone..I wasn't paying attention the first tike around but that OPENING SCENE IS SUCH AN UNNECESSARY SPOILER! You can see the black tentacles and green shielding and blacl colored suit which are dead giveaways for Borg andntje acreens flicking..Im glad Inwasnt paying close attention the first irdt time tobthe opwnong scene because Ibwas very surprised the Borg were back since last season it was dead ex Borg..since Inwasnt watching that opening scene too closely I mean..anyone else think they should've taken out that scene to make it more surprising or were ppl still surprised despite that scene when a Borg ship came through the rift?
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MidshipmanNorris
Sat, Mar 5, 2022, 12:15am (UTC -5)
Re: Why Guinan Looks Old

... I just thought (in-universe) that Guinan was being a smartass, and that she is in fact old, now.
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Bryan
Sat, Mar 5, 2022, 1:10am (UTC -5)
I must say I'm a bit baffled by all the glowing reviews, especially after what we've endured so far. Teasing that there could be good things to come is not equivalent to actually having good things. I suppose you're allowed to be optimstic but.. trust me, guys: the best way to enjoy NuTrek is to expect the worst and then be pleasantly surprised when it peaks just above average in a couple of episodes.

It wasn't a bad premiere though. I think it did a serviceable job setting the tone and stakes for the new season. I just wasn't enthused by anything I saw and I didn't miss any of these characters except maybe Q? The cinematography felt cheap and the dialogue seemed kinda wooden. So, the supposed positives didn't really hold my attention. Rather, what did were the things that made me say "huh?":

- I seem to be forgetting the part of Picard's bio that places his childhood in a hackneyed psychological thriller. Here's an idea: Not every great man needs to have a tragic past to overcome. What's wrong with the much more plausible notion that leaders like Picard weren't born, but cultivated through a stable childhood with supportive parents that served as positive role models?

- Picard doesn't have "emotional baggage" surrounding the possibility of romance -- he's just holding out for his one true love, Dr.Crusher! *fingers crossed*

- Are universal translators no longer a thing anymore? Why are we hearing half a dozen untranslated languages?

- Jurati wasn't convicted of murder on account of "alien-induced temporary insanity". Is that what we're calling it now?

- It seems Guinan not only aged, but also achieved her next evolution which comes with an even bigger hat.

- Why are there so many stairs on the Stargazer bridge? The lack of wheelchair access feels like a pretty major oversight for Woke Trek.

- I mean, seriously.. is there any reason at all to have all those stairs on a bridge except to have people tumble down them during battles?

- The only acceptable presence of cigars on the bridge is when they fall from gaping mouths in an "oh shit!" moment. It was a real missed opportunity that didn't happen when the Borg showed up.

- Maybe I'm alone in thinking this, but I was kinda hoping that Seven would go back to how she was in Voyager: rational, even-tempered and dryly sarcastic -- or at the very least not be so impulsive and hot-headed all the time. I had thought that her attitude was mostly conditional upon the circumstances in season 1, but I guess we just have to accept that this is a permanent fixture of her personality now. Oh wells...

- Given that the 24th century already looks and feels a lot like 20th century earth, it's not a huge surprise that the show-runners said fuck it and reverted all the way back to the modern era to complete the uninspired ensemble.

- I dunno about you guys, but I would've been totally okay if the series had just ended when the Stargazer self-destructed, just like Seven was okay with nipping the looming Borg threat in the bud. There's no shame in ending with a bang, NuTrek!


P.S. I'm still demanding justice for Maddox. Who else here is team #JailforJurati?
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Frank A.Booze
Sat, Mar 5, 2022, 2:11am (UTC -5)
I didn’t mind that, aside from the dumb cigar thing. I gave up on Discovery two episodes into Season 4, so was pleased that there is some new Trek that is at least watchable.
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Kuebel
Sat, Mar 5, 2022, 2:53am (UTC -5)
@Leif

"What on earth makes you or anyone think Picards mother is the Borg Queen? Why not Sevens mother at this point?"

Because his mother was in the first episode, not hers ("Checkov's mother").
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Eric Jensen
Sat, Mar 5, 2022, 6:24am (UTC -5)
Remember Icheb? Seven of course was impulsive
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Eric Jensen
Sat, Mar 5, 2022, 6:29am (UTC -5)
The Welsh actor in voyager played Leonardo da Vinci
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Eric Jensen
Sat, Mar 5, 2022, 7:06am (UTC -5)
In voyagers last episode, they more or less reduced the Borg by destroying the hub right? This new Borg resembles Borg/Control from some future.
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Kim in Asia
Sat, Mar 5, 2022, 7:29am (UTC -5)
Far too manipulative, though I did like some of the nostalgia. Guinan would have been more blunt. Great cinematogrphy. Sadly, there is nothing else worth watching.
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Kim in Asia
Sat, Mar 5, 2022, 7:33am (UTC -5)
Far too manipulative, though I did like some of the nostalgia. Guinan would have been more blunt. Great cinematography. Sadly, there is nothing else worth watching, aside from chomping cigars. I fear it will all be a misdirection like season 1.
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Carter
Sat, Mar 5, 2022, 9:13am (UTC -5)
I loved this episode. As Jammer pointed out, this FEELS like the 25th century.

However,why can't we stay there? I'm really hating the fact that the whole show (I believe) is going to take place in the 21st Century via time travel.
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StevenA
Sat, Mar 5, 2022, 9:48am (UTC -5)
I agree with those saying the Borg Queen having a mask is set up for some reveal. My initial thoughts were it's going to be 7. Not sure on Picard's mum as not sure how that could even be possible but hey, they could throw anything at us.

This most probably won't be it, but it got me thinking it could even be Janeway. The future Janeway was in the process of being assimilated at the end of the Voyager finale Endgame...
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TheRealTrent
Sat, Mar 5, 2022, 10:25am (UTC -5)
Eric said: "In voyagers last episode, they more or less reduced the Borg by destroying the hub right?"

No, Janeway destroys one Borg transwarp hub out of six. So she cripples them a bit, but you'd expect them to still be a major power when this episode is set. Also, cubes can travel independently of the conduit network (using transwarp coils), so I'd imagine the Borg can still reach the Alpha quadrant "conventionally" if they wished to.
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Eric Jensen
Sat, Mar 5, 2022, 3:01pm (UTC -5)
Ah, yes. Yes, one out of 6.
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grey cat
Sat, Mar 5, 2022, 3:58pm (UTC -5)
I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. Seriously getting be one of the best openers for a Star Trek season.

This really felt like actual Star Trek at least as I see it. Exploring the human condition, great crew interaction (with people who can actually act - I'm looking at you Discovery) and a spatial anomoly - what more could you want?

The direction, script, pacing, writing and production values in general were superb.

I REALLY hope this can keep to a similar standard for the whole season.

Personally I enjoyed season 1 of PIC far more than any of DSC but it definitely had plenty of faults.

The only thing that bothered me was the cigar... none of the characters commented on it and it just seemed a bit dumb. Riaz (spelling?) is a fine character without the silly prop.

Oh and one thing that felt really refreshing is the characters actually respecting the chain of command and acting like professionals. I've really missed that in NuTrek.
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Frank A. Booze
Sun, Mar 6, 2022, 12:48am (UTC -5)
Just out of curiosity, would anybody say Discovery is actually worth watching this season? Is it any better than previous ones? I just can’t stand the Michael Burnham character.
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Norvo
Sun, Mar 6, 2022, 2:55am (UTC -5)
@ Frank A. Booze: No, I can't say Discovery has a very interesting story arc this season. It feels anemic and stretched out. And yeah, the insistence on having all things always revolve around or come back to Burnham really hamstrings the show.
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John
Sun, Mar 6, 2022, 8:14am (UTC -5)
I will absolutely stop watching this show if it turns out that Picard's mother was domestically abused by his father, and Picard fearing that he'll turn out like his father is the reason he always turned his back on love. In the 24th century, there are no more abusers. Humanity is no longer like that. We have grown out of our infancy as a species and have evolved to manage conflicts in a civilized and enlightened way. That has already been established in the franchise multiple times.

If they retcon that, and make Picard's father a physically violent abuser, that would be some next level man-hating woke trash right there! Unacceptable!

Also, I agree that Guinan wasn't Guinan here. The real Guinan just listens and maneuvers you to ask her question to yourself and answer it to yourself, while she seemingly does nothing but maintain her stoicism while asking veiled questions. But this Guinan is impulsive, keeps trying to beat the answers out of Picard, and has a very crude bedside manner. Sigh....
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grey cat
Sun, Mar 6, 2022, 9:18am (UTC -5)
I was never that much of a Guinan fan personally. She was kind of a Yoda but less interesting. They never really explained her powers or why the Q seemed almost afraid of her/them.

But yes that was nothing like the Guinan we saw in TNG and didn't really add much to the episode for me.
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Booming
Sun, Mar 6, 2022, 9:48am (UTC -5)
" that would be some next level man-hating woke trash right there! Unacceptable!"
Just so you know, every time a guy writes woke trash, somewhere a Viagra loses it's power.
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Dom
Sun, Mar 6, 2022, 10:00am (UTC -5)
I also enjoyed this episode. At the very least, it earned the show a second chance from me. However, I'm a bit worried about the rest of the season...

I like the question I think the show is raising about why why Picard never allowed himself to get too close to anyone romantically. Granted, TNG's "Lessons" already answered that question, but I think there's room for more exploration.

However I worry the show is going to try to overexplain Picard's character, including his decision to join Starfleet. Instead of exploring the stars because he was intellectually curious, it'll turn out Picard was running away from childhood trauma.

Knowing how these new Trek shows seem to tie every plot thread together, I am also terrified that the faceless Borg Queen will end up being Picard's mother or something inane like that. Much better for Picard's character arc to allow him to experience character growth that allows him to solve a new challenge, rather than tying his internal and external stories too closely together.
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Eric Jensen
Sun, Mar 6, 2022, 10:25am (UTC -5)
//In the 24th century, there are no more abusers. Humanity is no longer like that. We have grown out of our infancy as a species and have evolved to manage conflicts in a civilized and enlightened way. That has already been established in the franchise multiple times.//

Agreed

//I am also terrified that the faceless Borg Queen will end up being Picard's mother or something inane like that.//

I hope not. The actress who plays the queen isn't the mother of Picard though...
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Lodged Torpedo
Sun, Mar 6, 2022, 11:27am (UTC -5)
In defense of Guinan: people change. One might not be as serene as one was decades ago, even if one has a very long life span. Guinan was employed on the Federation’s flag ship; there was a certain amount of decorum that was expected. In 10 Forward in LA, Guinan apparently is self-employed, and working instead of being retired because she loves the gig, and she can certainly be more relaxed, and more “Whoopi-like”. On the Enterprise, she most certainly couldn’t drink on the job, but in her own bar, with Picard, she seemed to have a great buzz going: so why does she need to act as demurely as she did in a completely different situation, decades earlier?

Also, I would prefer Picard choosing to explore the stars simply due to intellectual curiosity and not staying in long-term relationships not because he was scared to be like his father, but we’ll see. But there can definitely be spousal abuse in the 24th & 25th centuries. The future is not a utopia. Somewhere on Earth, at the beginning of the 25th century, someone is starving. Somewhere, someone is being abused. Society has solved hunger and war to an enormous degree, maybe even 99% of it, but to think incidents of each don’t crop-up now and then is assuming the future is a perfect paradise, and we all know that can never be, regardless of how much progress human society does make. We’ve witnessed flawed humans in every episode of ST, and Picard’s father is fallible, as well.
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Eric Jensen
Sun, Mar 6, 2022, 11:51am (UTC -5)
Will there be an Alt-Q?
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Eric Jensen
Sun, Mar 6, 2022, 11:55am (UTC -5)
//The future is not a utopia//

You do know who Gene Roddenberry was, right? Also, watch TNG Family. You are just plain wrong
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Booming
Sun, Mar 6, 2022, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
The problem how it treats the mother is the actually problematic point for me. I could accept that there are still people on earth who are violent, even though one could poke a lot of holes into that thought as well (The Federation doesn't have ways to recognize violent people early?), the main issue for me is that a person being abused would not know how to deal with it. That apparently the Federation prepared people so badly for stuff like abuse or violence in general that they just suffer through the abuse at least for a while, instead of immediately pushing a button and somewhere in the vicinity a security officer throws away her/his croissant and jumps into the transporter.

That this abuse, that in a future society should not have happened, is now the driving force of Picard, even messed him up relationship wise is just a terrible choice. It is the so far tiny dark hole the entire season could sink into.

About the Borg queen I somehow think that the whole "maybe it is his mother" must be a red herring. That would just be too stupid. Maybe his parallel universe mother became a Borg willingly because the Borg are freedom fighters. Would that be dumb or smart... hmmm I can't decide.
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Eric Jensen
Sun, Mar 6, 2022, 12:41pm (UTC -5)
Arguments will happen. Not violence to the extent of "domestic violence". Gene Roddenberry expressed that people would not have resulted in violence to settle domestic issues. He opposed to the Family script.

If you watch TNG Family, it is obvious that Robert, Picards' brother, did not have a favourable view of Starfleet. Robert and Picard do not get along. Robert always bullied Picard and Picard's father did not like technology.
Would it be that the alcohol from wine in the vineyard that started these arguments?
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TheRealTrent
Sun, Mar 6, 2022, 1:01pm (UTC -5)
Yes, you'd expect the mother to walk away and take Picard with her. Or if she loves the husband, insist he get some help. We also have good scientific literature on what causes domestic abuse. If you ignore the extremely rare biological reasons that might lead to someone being abusive (ie an outright psychopath), you'd expect all the social causes for such behavior to have been long phased out.

Unless life in the Federation is some kind of pressure-cooker. Maybe it breeds all kinds of neuroses, and petty conflicts, has it own form of "scientific hierarchies" and so forth that might create a wife/husband beater. The sexual mores of the future might also breed forms of domestic abuse. Some (hotly debated) studies say polygamy is supposed to correlate with violence; maybe Roddenberry's "free love" Federation is awash with bitter woman beaters.

All of this is theoretically interesting, but I found the writing in this episode somewhat clunky. Every scene is a therapy session, every scene has characters grilling Picard on his feelings and motivations; nobody talks like that. The point is too belabored. I think removing the Guinan scene would have introduced a bit of subtly to things.

Regarding the Borg Queen being "his mother", since Karl brought that theory up I went and rewatched the scene; the Queen quotes his mother ("Look up"), wears a black cape like his mom, and the episode is directed by Marty McFly's mom. That's all very very weird. Surely - especially after Disco did this with the Red Angel - "Picard" can't go there. I can't imagine anyone actually going down that route. And maybe it won't; commenters point out that the Borg doesn't refer to Picard as Locutus, but it does refer to him as "Picard", which is IMO not something a mother would say.
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Eric Jensen
Sun, Mar 6, 2022, 1:21pm (UTC -5)
I wonder if it is Laris... the Borg Queen.
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Eric Jensen
Sun, Mar 6, 2022, 1:23pm (UTC -5)
We know the actress who portrays the Borg Queen is not the same as Picard's mom. That is evidence it is not her... When Picard was Locutus, of course the Borg knows what he knows.
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grey cat
Sun, Mar 6, 2022, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
@Eric Jensen good point about TNG Family. Earth IS meant to be Utopia but probably only in the sense of no more poverty/hunger/war.

I very much doubt human nature would change to the point that people wouldn't be jealous, selfish, angry (even to the point of abuse if left unchecked). I mean Bones was often rude/sarcastic and even aggressive around Spock. O'Brien was racist/violent against Cardassian. Tom Paris was a minor criminal etc.

Personally I doubt have too much of a problem if Picard (or rather Steward) wants to use this season to highlight domestic abuse. Hopefully nicely framed within an interesting sci-fi theme rather than beaten over the head with it (like pretty much any time DSC tries to tackle any issue).
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Snitch
Sun, Mar 6, 2022, 4:54pm (UTC -5)
This episode was mostly setup with member-berries and 15 minute action final.

I did not like the showcasing of alcohol and cigars as cool. I drink and smoke myself but it seems weird to glorify these things in a Trek setting.

I was sometimes bored during the episode and the TheRealTrent pointed out some of the issues in his initial review.

Going back in time to a alternative militaristic history can be interesting, but I hope it does not stick in the past too long.

Domestic violence is a serious issue. I doubt Trek will do a deep dive on that, so it will be just used for virtue signalling or cheap character development.
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William B
Sun, Mar 6, 2022, 7:03pm (UTC -5)
I'm pretty sure "Dark Frontier" did some explicit "mother" parallels (possibly with some of the same lines) with Ma Hansen, Janeway and Borg Queen without making them literally the same person, but who knows where this show is going to go.

There did seem something Freudian about the whole thing in First Contact, particularly with Data as a kind of Oedipus figure. BQ as evil mom goes way back, I guess.
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modulum
Sun, Mar 6, 2022, 10:10pm (UTC -5)
I honestly was really impressed at how well the script treated the audience with respect and largely got me to care about the supporting cast despite feeling nothing for them in S1 - or maybe my standards are just low from Discovery. But like, Picard's speech about time being the true final frontier felt so refreshingly more like real Trek dialogue and human dialogue than anything done in S4 of DIS. Similarly, Elnor and Rios and Raffi were all reintroduced in ways that made me happy to see them and honestly accept them as if they were main cast members of a 90s Trek series. This episode definitely wasn't perfect, but I can't underscore enough how much the writing and the characters just had the right *feel* to them, and that's really important.
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John
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 12:01am (UTC -5)
"Just so you know, every time a guy writes woke trash, somewhere a Viagra loses it's power."

Just so YOU know, every time a guy sticks up for woke trash, somewhere a mentally ill and morbidly obese millennial female dyes her hair blue and starts identifying as a non-binary mermaid.

And for the record, I'm in my 30s!
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John
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 12:12am (UTC -5)
"But there can definitely be spousal abuse in the 24th & 25th centuries."

WHAT??? NO THERE CAN'T!!!

"The future is not a utopia."

Bro, do you even Star Trek?

"Somewhere on Earth, at the beginning of the 25th century, someone is starving. Somewhere, someone is being abused."

You are clearly a newbie to this franchise. Watch more, son! Then come back here and comment when you get a clue about Trek lore.

"Society has solved hunger and war to an enormous degree, maybe even 99% of it, but to think incidents of each don’t crop-up now and then is assuming the future is a perfect paradise, and we all know that can never be, regardless of how much progress human society does make. We’ve witnessed flawed humans in every episode of ST, and Picard’s father is fallible, as well."

Oh for fuck sake! Everything you are saying flies in the face of the very DNA of Star Trek canon. Picard, of all people, has said more than once, humans do not succumb to revenge or jealousy or violent rage anymore. We have grown out of our infancy. We have eliminated hunger, want, and the need for possessions. All the nonsense that you are talking about, like domestic abuse and starvation, are things of the distant past. Humanity has evolved beyond violence and and we work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity. 24th and 25th century humans would be shocked at an archaic concept like "domestic violence." We're not Klingons!

Earth IS a perfect paradise in the 25th century. I think you want to be in a different franchise, dude!
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John
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 12:24am (UTC -5)
"Some (hotly debated) studies say polygamy is supposed to correlate with violence; maybe Roddenberry's "free love" Federation is awash with bitter woman beaters."

There is no polygamy in the 25th century. There is only polyAMORY! Polygamy is the opposite of free love. It's when one man hordes all the women. That's even worse than monogamy. PolyAMORY, or free love, is when everyone in a relationship is emotionally exclusive, but sexually inclusive. Anyone can sleep with whoever they want anytime they want, even while maintaining a loving and emotionally exclusive relationship with a serious partner.

Polygamy is crude and old fashioned tyranny, even by the standards of the 21st century. Polyamory on the other hand...
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John
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 12:31am (UTC -5)
I'm just very worried that Patrick Stewart, who is also the executive producer of the show, is going on an ego trip by using Star Trek to battle his personal demons. This is what Roddenberry meant when he said, "Never let the actors run the show." Just because Stewart still hasn't dealt with his past doesn't mean he has the right to retcon all of Star Trek's utopian reality in order to push a "if you need help with an abusive partner, call this number" PSA at the end of the season.

Seriously Stewart, deal with your own shit on your own time. You don't get to fuck up Star Trek just because you need closure!
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Bryan
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 1:18am (UTC -5)
Yeah, I liked it much better when Patrick Stewart portrayed Picard rather than the other way around. That said, I don't want to jump the gun on delivering a verdict until the season fully plays out, because there's still a chance that the theme of abuse will be, a) minimal and inconsequential, b) not actually autobiographical, or c) handled tastefully and not too heavy-handed.

Of course, these are many of the same people who made Picard season 1, and all of DISC so it's hoping against hope.
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Booming
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 3:12am (UTC -5)
@John
"Bro, do you even Star Trek?"
Ok, that was written to somebody else but I just love that sentence so much. Really reminds me of a redlettermedia joke about how star trek has been taken over by the jocks.

"Just so YOU know, every time a guy sticks up for woke trash, somewhere a mentally ill and morbidly obese millennial female dyes her hair blue and starts identifying as a non-binary mermaid."
wow, didn't take you long to go "there", did it?
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KDalton_69
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 7:30am (UTC -5)
I wanted to spend a lot more time on the Stargazer. Honestly a one-off limited series with Rios in command on a long mission would be welcomed. I love that character and the actor. He brings some of the swagger of Kirk with the edge of Sisko.
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Jason R.
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 7:48am (UTC -5)
"Yeah, I liked it much better when Patrick Stewart portrayed Picard rather than the other way around."

Patrick Stewart, let's face it, has tremendously bad judgment in these matters. He's the one who thought they needed to bring back Damon Bok for TNG Season 7. He is also the one who said he was through playing Picard - and I took him at his word then, and still believe he did at present.

That said I am intrigued enough by Jammer's review that I would like to watch Season 2. For me the problem is practical because I need to find a way to watch without having to pay for Crave, which is the streaming service belonging to our evil Canadian cable monopoly. Is there a way to just buy the episodes a la carte like renting a movie?
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Top Hat
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 8:21am (UTC -5)
It's also worth noting that Patrick Stewart had some creative pull on Star Trek: Nemesis (and Brent Spiner has a story credit), and was defending it in interviews years after the fact. The case against actors having too much creative control is a pretty solid one.
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Booming
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 8:39am (UTC -5)
@Jason
I would wait at least until episode 3 before you go in again. I get it over amazon prime otherwise I wouldn't watch it.

maybe google "stream star trek picard" or "vod st:picard"?

@Tophat
Some actors are great writers like Harold Ramis but in most cases they should be writers first and actors second. Patrick Stewart probably thinks that what he does is important or humble when in reality he is just using a TV show to work through some personal issues which seems pretty egomaniacal.

@John
" I'm easy."
Yes, almost too easy.
What else can I say than this.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhI_SDEvJ-4
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Peter G.
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 8:48am (UTC -5)
"Patrick Stewart probably thinks that what he does is important or humble when in reality he is just using a TV show to work through some personal issues which seems pretty egomaniacal."

Ok, I have a pet theory on this, which in fact I suspected in PIC S1. I think Stewart is well aware of a weakness in his acting technique which I've noticed for quite a long time: he's terrible at any vulnerable emotion. He just can't do it. I've seen him on Broadway multiple times, and in cases where he's jubilant, charming, excited, witty, or having fun, he's absolutely top of the pack, amazing, almost unparalleled. But in scenes (for instance in his Macbeth) literally calling for intense negative emotion it just wasn't there, other than using the British actor's technique of externally creating the affect of emotion. In the UK this is standard practice, but in North America doesn't pass muster since we need emotions to be real.

In PIC S1 I observed him trying what in my experience was something new for him: the American acting technique, and he was fairly green at it as far as I could tell because it was forced and he was working too hard at it. That's ok, that's pretty much normal for anyone not used to that. So here's my theory: Stewart wanted the show closer to home for him so that the emotions would be triggered naturally, since he'd be using either his own literal life as fuel, or else at minimum something much closer to his own personal experience. This way the technical approach to generating genuine emotion is made much easier.

Like Jason R I'm sort of interested to try S2 as well after reading some of these reviews, but I'll probably wait for a few more episodes first.
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Tim M.
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 8:55am (UTC -5)
John said: "Picard, of all people, has said more than once, humans do not succumb to revenge or jealousy or violent rage anymore."

He says this after literally succumbing to revenge and rage against the Borg in "First Contact."
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Bryan
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 9:49am (UTC -5)
I can just see the headlines now: Patrick Stewart Re-invents Picard with Method Acting By Playing Himself

No, I believe the opposite is more likely true. That he's not working harder and slowly but surely honing his craft. He's taking it easy, following the path of least resistance, having some fun with it and laughing all the way to the bank. You might wonder "why not both?" but actual method acting is quite psychologically demanding and emphasizes that actor and character do not simply become one, rather, "the character lives through the actor's justification of the -character's- truths within themselves."
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Peter G.
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 9:56am (UTC -5)
@ Bryan,

Why should it surprise you that in the era of Star Trek: The Next Emotions someone like Stewart should want to get on that bandwagon and display emotions like all the characters on both shows do? It's practically the MO of the franchise right now, and in fact if you *did not* do this you'd essentially be unfit to be on the show.
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Bryan
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 10:29am (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

It's not that it's surprising to see Steward show vulnerable emotions on a show where everyone else does this. Presumably everyone else is following a script that they have little say in and they may indeed be applying method acting techniques to trigger those genuine tears. And there's nothing inherently wrong with this, at least at the level of acting.

But if Stewart is using his creative control to bend the script to his biography so that it will be easier to elicit those tears and such, then this should not be construed as a natural evolution in either the character or the actor where he just needs to work out the kinks, but regressive and potentially harmful to the trajectory of both. Not simply because not all actors happen to be good writers, but also because there needs to be a critical distance between actor and character in order for this to truly work. There are no 'hacks' for that.
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Peter G.
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 11:24am (UTC -5)
@ Bryan,

Bear in mind this is only a theory on my part, and I mentioned it to offer an alternative to the proposition that Stewart is acting like an egomaniac.

"Not simply because not all actors happen to be good writers, but also because there needs to be a critical distance between actor and character in order for this to truly work. There are no 'hacks' for that."

Well, I dunno. As a matter of craft or artistry I would tend to agree that imagination should be a major part of the inspirational wellspring, however many actors over the years have used a film/TV project to work through personal issues, capturing that on screen. That's not so much bad as it is volatile for the director to deal with. If the product works then ok. 'Method' schools tend to teach using one's personal background to bolster the imaginary circumstance if the actor is stuck or doesn't 'get' a part of what they're meant to portray. That's technique and it's good. Adler's school doesn't emphasize that aspect as much as others, but it's part of the general approach. But - and there is a but - this has to serve the story rather than get in the way of it. So if it becomes apparent that the character is serving the actor rather than the other way around then, yeah, the story or character becomes muddled and doesn't fit the thematic material. In this case if Stewart is both setting the thematic material and his performance how he wants, then the only thing that leaves us with is a canonical break in continuity. But PIC itself would be internally consistent (at least, it would be if it was...).
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Top Hat
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 11:51am (UTC -5)
A good example of what Peter is saying can be seen in the TV version of A Christmas Carol that Stewart was in. As the cold, domineering Scrooge? Very effective. As the reformed, generous Scrooge? Also pretty effective. As the weak, cowering, terrified Scrooge... not very convincing.
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Jason R.
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 12:22pm (UTC -5)
I only watched it once, but I seem to recall Stewart was pretty effective in Logan as an aging Professor X suffering the ravages of dementia. That suggests he can play vulnerability when he wants to.

But then again, as a guy who was 77 at the time that movie came out, perhaps he was able to tap into his personal experiences and fears more easily with that subject matter. Most 77 year olds know people with dementia and have experience with dementia not to mention some fear of it happening to them.

FWIW, I thought Stewart succeeded in season 1 of Picard of conveying a sense of being this washed up useless old man, of sliding into irrelevance. That part of it worked, although unlike Logan I felt the writers were basically twisting the knife in the JLP character, almost revelling in his obsolescence.
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HaveGun_WillRiker
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 12:50pm (UTC -5)
I kind of wonder, with Q and Guinan making very prominent returns, if they'll finally get around to explaining why the hell Qs are so afraid of El-Aurians... and if they do I really hope it's not something stupid that I'll have to pretend they never came up with haha

For real though, seems like a good opportunity to finally explain what makes Guinan of all people so terrifying to Q
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Peter G.
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 1:01pm (UTC -5)
"For real though, seems like a good opportunity to finally explain what makes Guinan of all people so terrifying to Q"

Here's my fun theory: the El-Aurians are a race of listeners, which apparently means not only being good as listening to verbal statements but also able to ferret out the truth in their surroundings. In Yesterday's Enterprise we see that Guinan can see through a timeline change, as if the switchover registers with her and she can still listen to echoes of the original one. So perhaps this applies on a larger scale: maybe when the Q change something in the universe Guinan can see through that too and point out what's been changed, perhaps to the affected races. To the Q who like to control everything this would indeed be a troublesome power, especially to a mischievious Q.
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Tim M.
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 1:07pm (UTC -5)
I've finally had time to digest the episode a bit, and overall I agree with Jammer's take. It pulled me in and the Borg (or alt-Borg) were scary again. The whizz-bang teaser was unnecessary and distracting. I'm looking forward to where this all goes.

Some minor observations.

-When Picard orders the self-destruct, we hear Edith Piaf's "Non, Je ne Regrette Rien," famously used in Christopher Nolan's "Inception." A reference, perhaps?
-Loved seeing corridors and bridges from Starfleet ships again. The lighting felt a little dark, but that may be more the result of me recently rewatching some TNG eps in which the sets were replete with well-lit beigeness. DS9 and VOY had darker lighting schemes.
-I loved how they handled de Lancie's aging, turning it into a little taunt of Picard. The preview for upcoming episodes makes it sound like Q is "mean" again, but I'm willing to let it play out. Q has taught Picard and humanity hard lessons before, so it's not entirely out of character.
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Booming
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 1:09pm (UTC -5)
", if they'll finally get around to explaining why the hell Qs are so afraid of El-Aurians"
I hope not. That is the stuff I do not want to know. The explanation can only be stupid. @'s are omnipotent, they should not be afraid of anything.
It is also a thing that annoys me about NuTrek. There is an entire galaxy out there, but all we see is stuff from the TNG era.
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Peter G.
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 1:17pm (UTC -5)
@ Booming,

"@'s are omnipotent, they should not be afraid of anything."

To be honest I never really believed they were omnipotent. They could mix in well with the Organians and other such beings, but despite being able to master the manipulation of time and space we don't know much about what they are and why they are like that. I strike all the VOY stuff from the record when considering the matter, but if you did want to include VOY stuff then it's canonical that they use tools and technology and that these can even be used by mortals. It resembles Trelane from The Squire of Gothos more than anything else, and to be fair he was basically the proto-Q. That would make them supremely advanced, but not gods even with a lower case g and therefore not omnipotent.
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Booming
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 1:38pm (UTC -5)
@Peter
I really only remember the TNG stuff and some VOY and DS9. From that I can only conclude that their power has no limits and they are immortal and existed for an extreme length of time.

That is what memory alpha has to say about them:"The Q were a species of nigh-omnipotent and immortal non-corporeal entities who inhabited the limitless dimensions of the cosmos known as the Q Continuum." I really don't know what the difference between nigh-omnipotent and actually omnipotent is, though.
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TheRealTrent
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 2:04pm (UTC -5)
John said: "There is no polygamy in the 25th century. There is only polyAMORY!"

Thanks for the correction! Yes, that's the word I was fumbling for.

John said: "...like domestic abuse and starvation, are things of the distant past. Humanity has evolved beyond violence and and we work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity. 24th and 25th century humans would be shocked at an archaic concept like "domestic violence."

The impression I get is that nu-Trek thinks such a stance is "naive" - and even a form of repression - because it thinks certain behavior is natural or a product of biology. But I always thought this missed the point; Roddenberry styled "enlightenment" is just the process whereby we collectively put in place better systems and laws. We didn't stop raping, abusing kids, enslaving people, and murdering because "our nature changed" on some spiritual or biological level. We just made better systems and laws. Behavior and cultural mores are then a post hoc rationalization stemming from legal codes.

IMO saying it's "unrealistic" or "unnatural" to expect humans to "not wife beat" or "not be greedy" or "not murder" is to miss the point entirely.

Anyway, we're all speculating. For all we know we're mis-reading all these dream sequences and other crucial details will be revealed later. I've also just realized the show now has a new showrunner- Terry Matalas. I'd assumed Akiva Goldsman was now the sole showrunner.
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Jason R.
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
Sometimes you get a sense that they may be like Ardra - using illusion and fancy tricks to exaggerate their power. Are they "omnipotent"? Certainly that is their claim, although Voyager's Death Wish implies that this isn't actually the case (Quinn says as much). But then again, referring to Death Wish again, Quinn also states pretty unequivocally that the Q have been *everywhere*, done *everything* and that is how he justifies his decision to commit suicide. So perhaps not omnipotent, but omniscient and all knowing.

Whatever the limit of their power, if any, it is obviously beyond anything that would be relevant to a Starfleet crew, or should be.

I mean Kevin Uxbridge seems manifestly weaker and more limited than the Q, yet he eradicated an entire race of 50,000,000,000 in the blink of an eye.
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TheRealTrent
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 2:16pm (UTC -5)
Booming said: "I really don't know what the difference between nigh-omnipotent and actually omnipotent is, though."

My impression was that they were godlike only until they encountered even higher god-beings (like the Organians?). Like Peter, I never believed they were "truly omnipotent".

My impression of Guinan's race was similar to Peter's. My gut always told me she was less powerful than the Q, but that she had specific gifts that unnerved them, or rendered or revealed their own powers to be a sham. Q almost seems ashamed around her, like a naughty boy caught in the act.
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Sen-Sors
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 2:27pm (UTC -5)
@John
"You are clearly a newbie to this franchise. Watch more, son! Then come back here and comment when you get a clue about Trek lore."

What an obnoxious comment. Imagine talking like this.

Trek's Earth is a post-scarcity utopia; doubtless there would (or should) be plenty of resources available to a person who wants a divorce or an escape hatch from an abusive relationship. But the idea that 100% of all humans on Earth have lost the capacity for anger, jealousy, irrationality and abuse is arguable at least, even if we're just looking at TNG. Earth culture and society in general may have largely transcended these things, but I think it's a stretch to say that no person on Earth possessed the ability or potential to abuse their partner.

Hell, the utopian Federation made an honest stab at replicating Data into chattel slavery, and in PIC S1 they basically succeeded. Earth is shown to feature bigotry and drug abuse. Maybe someone needs to watch more and come back when they get a clue about Trek lore.
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Sigh2000
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 3:21pm (UTC -5)
@TheRealTrent
"My gut always told me she [Guinan] was less powerful than the Q, but that she had specific gifts that unnerved them, or rendered or revealed their own powers to be a sham. Q almost seems ashamed around her, like a naughty boy caught in the act."

Not ashamed.... ticked off.
Q in 'Q Who' calls Guinan an "imp." On the basis of that episode, we see further evidence that Q loves wargames (like Trelayne /ht Booming) and it is revealed in 'Q Who' that he relishes the special game where "he" can use the Borg to intimidate arrogant species (then watch the fun and hopefully get to play God). Guinan, as one of the few survivors, if not the only survivor of Borg action against the El Aurian people, would perhaps be able to spoil such games by contributing to humans having a chance to avoid combat altogether.

Before the game begins, she advises Picard:
"Only...If I were you, I would turn back now."

Picard repeatedly ignores Guinan's insights and throws away the defensive edge. Q couldn't be more pleased.
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dave
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 5:45pm (UTC -5)
The discussions that this potential domestic violence in Picard's past is somehow not Trek ideals is really not right.

Roddenberry's vision was that humanity, AS A STRUCTURED SOCIETY, had moved past war, poverty, bigotry, etc and moved into this more enlightened society. Earth was this wonderful utopia that was clean and healthy and no crime or all the other bad things we see today. Starfleet Officers pursue these ideals and are generally going to act like that more than the average person. BUT, It was not a vision that every human individual had also achieved this societal ideal.

We have see through all Trek series that individual humans can be violent, greedy, bigoted, thieves, addicts, you name it. We have seen corruption in leadership. Heck, even in Gene's own TOS there were scenes where human officers were openly racist to Spock and his position in the command structure (one of many examples of human flaws in TOS).

Showing flawed humans is just as a part of Trek's long standing vision as is the ideals that that humans as a society advanced past all of our current ills. Both can be true and fit in the same vision. You can depict an alcoholic father who abuses his wife while at the same time be part of a planet that is relatively free of crime and pollution and war and corporate greed and viewed as an ideal utopia.

THis is not something to be angry about , it is rather consistent with what we have seen even if you only look at TOS because you think the rest of the Trek series are NOT GENES VISION for some reason.
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Trek fan
Mon, Mar 7, 2022, 9:40pm (UTC -5)
Surprisingly great episode, 3 1/2 stars indeed. Feels good to be back in Starfleet this season. An exciting start to the season, even though constantly resurrecting the Borg as villains (see Voyager and Enterprise) feels a bit tired/cliche. (Will they be on Discovery next?)
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MidshipmanNorris
Tue, Mar 8, 2022, 12:17am (UTC -5)
Wait guys…

Uh didn’t Picard say in…I think, Night Terrors that his Grandfather descended from being a powerful intellectual figure into a man who could barely make his way home?

…Dementia can be a hereditary trait, I think, can’t it? And also, perhaps that event is what ended up driving Picard Sr. round the bend in any case.

Picard has often dropped hints that he did not have a nice childhood. He certainly grew up pissed enough to get his chest sworded rill good by a Naussican.

Q’s entrance, by far, lets me know that whoever devised this knows TNG. That’s a very good sign. You’re doing the right things, Picard.
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The Chronek
Tue, Mar 8, 2022, 12:40am (UTC -5)
For all the complaints about abuse and how it's being portrayed, I really think those that are complaining need to stop. Abuse, and the response to it, doesn't always make sense. To rip off some Trek sayings, it is not logical. It is not linear. And even in a place where resources seem to be abundantly available, it can and does still occur.

So why shouldn't it still occur in the late 24th/early 25th century?

I'm just fine with Stewart having input into the story, and I'm just fine with him blending into the character of Picard. Certainly, that has happened with other actors in the Trek franchise.
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John
Tue, Mar 8, 2022, 1:07am (UTC -5)
"What an obnoxious comment. Imagine talking like this."

Not even close to as obnoxious as this one:

"But there can definitely be spousal abuse in the 24th & 25th centuries. The future is not a utopia. Somewhere on Earth, at the beginning of the 25th century, someone is starving. Somewhere, someone is being abused."

Seriously, do you even Star Trek? How can any true Star Trek fan read the above and not positively rip apart the person who said it? Do you also enjoy pissing in holy water?

"Trek's Earth is a post-scarcity utopia; doubtless there would (or should) be plenty of resources available to a person who wants a divorce or an escape hatch from an abusive relationship."

There are no abusive relationships in the 25th century!!!!

"But the idea that 100% of all humans on Earth have lost the capacity for anger, jealousy, irrationality and abuse is arguable at least, even if we're just looking at TNG."

They have evolved passed their violent infancy and have attained a new level of psychological and spiritual maturity. They are now a mature species which has learned to manage their violent impulses. The things that you're talking about no longer exist in TNG and beyond. This is a core tenet of 24th and 25th century Star Trek that I'm shocked any fan is questioning.

"Earth culture and society in general may have largely transcended these things, but I think it's a stretch to say that no person on Earth possessed the ability or potential to abuse their partner."

That's EXACTLY what it means. Unless the person suffers from some kind of brain damage or injury.

"Hell, the utopian Federation made an honest stab at replicating Data into chattel slavery, and in PIC S1 they basically succeeded."

We're talking here only about humans in relation to other humans, not aliens or artificial life.

"Earth is shown to feature bigotry"

Again, humans in relation to other humans is how the utopia is defined.

"and drug abuse."

Huh? Oh yeah, you're talking about Picard Season 1? That was a sickening retcon. Drug addiction should be cured with a simple hypospray (for humans). In TNG's Symbiosis, it was clear (a la Wesley) that humans have evolved beyond such things.

"Maybe someone needs to watch more and come back when they get a clue about Trek lore."

Retcons notwithstanding, the vision of humanity that Gene painted negates the existence of drug use or domestic abuse on Earth between humans and other humans. Humanity's attitude towards aliens and non-human artificial life forms is a separate matter. I can't see how anyone can disagree with me on this who knows their Star Trek.

It is precisely these new writers who know nothing about Trek lore, want to make it more like Star Wars, and wish to paint humans as dystopian savages because it makes for a more interesting script. This is why I will stop watching this if Picard's father turns out to have been a wife beater.

Also, let me reiterate, Picard, more than anyone else, has talked about how humanity has a more evolved sensibility now and that the things you talk about cannot possibly still exist. Regardless of whether or not he is mistaken, it's clear he believes it. Which means, he couldn't possibly have had a physically abusive father without turning the entire character of Jean-Luc Picard into a liar from the beginning.

Now that I think about it, I'm starting to hate Patrick Stewart more and more.
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John
Tue, Mar 8, 2022, 1:36am (UTC -5)
"Thanks for the correction! Yes, that's the word I was fumbling for."

Then those studies you cited are invalid, because they relate to polygamy, not polyamory. Yes, polygamy creates violence because a few men get all the women and horde them from the bottom 80 percent of males. That is not a sustainable plan. Polyamory, however, hordes no one from anyone.

"The impression I get is that nu-Trek thinks such a stance is "naive""

Yes, I too get that impression. Woke trek is intent on pissing in the holy grail and retconning everything Gene held dear. Which is why domestic violence and spousal abuse is a point too far for me. At that point, they won't even be pretending that this is still Star Trek, which is why I will then have to say goodbye.

"- and even a form of repression - because it thinks certain behavior is natural or a product of biology."

Well yeah. Gene used the argument of biological and spiritual evolution as a method by which humanity grew out of its violent infancy. To call that "repression" because "humanity is just a social construct" is simply woke trash.

"But I always thought this missed the point; Roddenberry styled "enlightenment" is just the process whereby we collectively put in place better systems and laws."

Completely disagree. Humanity didn't become enlightened due to superior methods of coercion. That precisely slaps Gene in the face in the worst way imaginable.

"We didn't stop raping, abusing kids, enslaving people, and murdering because "our nature changed" on some spiritual or biological level."

That is EXACTLY what Gene said happened.

"We just made better systems and laws. Behavior and cultural mores are then a post hoc rationalization stemming from legal codes."

Huh? Murder, rape, etc... are already illegal. What superior legal codes? So....you're saying that Gene's vision of a more evolved and enlightened humanity is just a backwards rationalization for superior methods of governmental force? Seriously? That's beyond cynical.
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John
Tue, Mar 8, 2022, 1:41am (UTC -5)
"He says this after literally succumbing to revenge and rage against the Borg in "First Contact.""

Exceptions to the rule as a result of his trauma with the Borg notwithstanding, it is clear that he genuinely believes it, which is why he couldn't possibly have had an abusive father. Otherwise, his view of humanity would have been far more jaded.
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John
Tue, Mar 8, 2022, 1:46am (UTC -5)
"So why shouldn't it still occur in the late 24th/early 25th century?"

Because Gene Roddenberry said it doesn't, and saying that it still does violates his utopian vision of what the Earth will be like in the future. The entirety of Star Trek is based on that vision. Humanity solved all its problems, which is why it is now justified in expanding its horizons by moving beyond Earth and exploring new worlds and meeting new challenges.

The challenges on Earth have all been resolved. There's no "domestic violence" anymore. Stewart needs a therapist, not a writing credit.
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John
Tue, Mar 8, 2022, 1:58am (UTC -5)
"BUT, It was not a vision that every human individual had also achieved this societal ideal."

Actually, it kinda was.

"We have see through all Trek series that individual humans can be violent, greedy, bigoted, thieves, addicts, you name it."

Only (1) in relation to non-human life, or (2) when they are separated from the heavenly conditions and creature comforts of Earth and its starships and are thrown into a an unforgiving alien environment in which they have to struggle to survive.

"We have seen corruption in leadership."

Only in relation to how to deal with aliens.

"Heck, even in Gene's own TOS there were scenes where human officers were openly racist to Spock and his position in the command structure (one of many examples of human flaws in TOS)."

I agree with you about TOS. Gene's utopian vision wasn't really put into practice until TNG.

"Showing flawed humans is just as a part of Trek's long standing vision as is the ideals that that humans as a society advanced past all of our current ills. Both can be true and fit in the same vision."

I never said humanity was literally flawless. But it has definitely evolved passed alcoholism and wife beating by the 24th century.

"You can depict an alcoholic father who abuses his wife while at the same time be part of a planet that is relatively free of crime and pollution and war and corporate greed and viewed as an ideal utopia."

Disagree. Some petty crimes can still exist, but nothing as primitive as wife beating.

"THis is not something to be angry about"

Disagree.

"it is rather consistent with what we have seen even if you only look at TOS because you think the rest of the Trek series are NOT GENES VISION for some reason."

If this were the 23rd century, I'd forgive it. But, as I said, this is post-TNG. Gene was clear that by then, humans will no longer be, among other things, wife beaters. Just saying. But we'll see how this season of Picard unfolds.
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HaveGun_WillRiker
Tue, Mar 8, 2022, 7:19am (UTC -5)
It seems like we're rapidly careening towards a Jammer intervention at this rate
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Peter G.
Tue, Mar 8, 2022, 7:42am (UTC -5)
BONK BONK ON THE HEAD. BONK!




Sorry, that's what happens when you watch too much TOS.
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Booming
Tue, Mar 8, 2022, 9:47am (UTC -5)
Well let's get back to Star Trek then.

To me Star Trek was always a somewhat odd amalgamation of the three main schools of normative ethics. Virtue ethics, consequentialism and deontology.

Virtue ethics because people in the Federation try to become better people by living the good or ethical life.

Consequentialism which most here probably know as utilitarianism. The needs of the many and all that

Deontology; having a society in which moral duties and humanism are central no matter what even if the outcome may be bad. Sisko once made that point towards Worf in Rules of Engagement.

Does NuTrek or this season specifically live up to any of those or maybe even all of them. I would say that it does not. After watching Picard for one and then some seasons of NuTrek, it makes me ask one simple question. Why is Jean Luc Picard a good person? That is the blind spot of all of NuTrek. Sure, trauma can be a driving force but it fairly often is not forcing you down a good way, especially when suppressed. Overcoming adversity is an important thing but it is not in itself a good thing. Saddam Hussein probably overcame a lot of adversity and trauma. If this show wants to really shine a light one why Picard is who he is then why is he not a bad person, a bitter space rogue like Seven or worse?
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MidshipmanNorris
Tue, Mar 8, 2022, 10:17am (UTC -5)
So nice when I make some kind of intellectual observation about the current topic and it gets buried under people being obnoxious and unnecessarily brutal with each other out of spite, malice, and emotional maladjustment.

But you do you. You’re a free independent thinker with no filter, right…

Star Trek’s philosophy was created as a response to behavior like this. Not so it could be exacerbated by it. Think, people…
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Mar 8, 2022, 11:16am (UTC -5)
*takes a peek at the comment section*

Yikes! This stupid toxic sh*t is still going on? I'm outta here.

*scampers away at ludicrous speed*
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Peter G.
Tue, Mar 8, 2022, 11:38am (UTC -5)
"Yikes! This stupid toxic sh*t is still going on? I'm outta here."

I'm sorry I said BONK BONK ON THE HEAD!




Sorry, there I go again.
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Daniel
Tue, Mar 8, 2022, 1:41pm (UTC -5)
Just saw the episode and my god directly want to see it again. Solid four stars, for the first time in a long long long time.
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J.P.
Tue, Mar 8, 2022, 3:22pm (UTC -5)
Jammer has been replaced by a shapeshifter.
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Rahul
Tue, Mar 8, 2022, 4:27pm (UTC -5)
Seems to me nu-Trek is about having its various series speak mainly to slightly different segments of society. Obviously there can be overlap but it’s pretty clear DSC is virtue signalling, trying to tick boxes with its excessive wokeness. Thus I think it’s alienating large segments of the Trek fanbase. Glad to see some others including John and Bryan calling out DSC for its woke nonsense.

After watching “The Star Gazer”, I think it’s becoming clearer who PIC is targeting. Now in Star Fleet you have the cigar-chomping Captain Rios, the drinking Dr. Jurati as main examples of this sort of outwardly unprofessional way of operating. SF in PIC is not the sterile, sanitized SF on TNG. I recall somebody referring to this as “hypermodern” or some such — I think I know what that person meant. So PIC wants to be seen as speaking to these non-traditionalists who wear their personas on their sleeves, perhaps hipsters, and “manly rogue” types as Jammer mentioned. One good thing for PIC is that despite pretty much having the same powers that be as DSC, Michelle Paradise is not one of them.

“Prodigy” is the most classic-like of the nu-Treks and even if it is aimed at a younger generation, I think the older generations quite like it. Look forward to it returning.

Not sure what to make of “Lower Decks”. Said before I find it unwatchable so not sure who it is aimed at. College students? Generation Z?

Also noticed John getting trolled by Booming — don’t know if John’s relatively new to this board (haven’t noticed him before) - think he’s probably realizing what many people have already said, that Booming is a cancer in this forum. @John - keep posting, I think you’ve got some interesting things to say. And I loved the “do you even Star Trek?” :)
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SlackerInc
Tue, Mar 8, 2022, 7:15pm (UTC -5)
I agree with Tom Fitzgerald: too much touchy-feely talk about emotional states. This is also my biggest problem with Discovery, and if we're honest there was too much of it on DS9 as well. Troi was my least favorite character on TNG. Etc.

It's not that I don't appreciate dramas that plumb these depths (and I know the same goes for Tom). One of my all-time favorite shows is In Treatment, which is literally just people talking about feelings. But I bet if they also tried to dabble in sci-fi action it wouldn't work well. Shows should stay in their own lane.

Which doesn't mean there shouldn't be any character development or expression of feelings. But it should be used sparingly and more implied than something people sit down (or walk along) and talk about. That just stops everything cold and it's frankly pretty boring and cringey because again, it's just not executed to the standard of a high level HBO drama.

I'd also like to make it clear that it's not like I'm against Star Trek being talky. I like the scene where they are discussing what to do about the Borg. That's a classic callback to the ready room strategy discussions. But I want to see talk about that kind of thing, not about your mommy issues or whether you can open your heart to love.

The SFX department needs to read the script. Immediately after the captain says "helm, back off: give us some distance" the exterior shot makes the ship look like it's moving toward the anomaly. Maybe it's just supposed to be the camera backing up, but the overall effect in cinematic language is incongruous. And it's not like they could still be working on reversing course: presumably they were stationary before that, not moving toward it.
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SlackerInc
Tue, Mar 8, 2022, 8:12pm (UTC -5)
OK, now I have read many of the comments from others and have some replies.

@Booming: "I guess the show will continue to ignore Picard living an entire life in TNG because of that probe. He was married and had children."

Yeah, that's frustrating. It would make more sense if it were just some obscure episode or one that was considered notoriously bad. But I think it's considered by many to be the best episode he was ever in, or certainly among the top two or three.

"This was better than anything in season 1"

Definitely disagree there. I thought season one started week and then most of the second half of the season was really strong until the finale was weak again. (I suppose it's fair that in retrospect the episodes I rated so highly don't look as good when I realize those plots didn't pay off in a satisfying way.)

@Bryan: "I mean, seriously.. is there any reason at all to have all those stairs on a bridge except to have people tumble down them during battles?"

LOL! I had not thought about this at all but now (assuming I watch any more of this series which is doubtful) I won't be able to get it out of my head any time I see the bridge.

"I was kinda hoping that Seven would go back to how she was in Voyager: rational, even-tempered and dryly sarcastic"

I prefer her that way as well. They obviously need to show some effect of spending so many years out of the collective, but that could be by reducing the amount of things she acts unfamiliar with. Just make her more world-weary, but still drily sarcastic as you say.

@grey cat: "I very much doubt human nature would change to the point that people wouldn't be jealous, selfish, angry (even to the point of abuse if left unchecked)."

This. I don't like making Picard a product of abuse, but I also don't understand how anyone can think domestic abuse would disappear in 400 years. It's hardwired into us by evolution. so unless they do some tinkering with the genome that's just not going to happen. In the real world, it is possible we will do exactly that kind of tinkering; but we know this is prohibited in this universe.

@John: "I can't see how anyone can disagree with me on this who knows their Star Trek."

Yes, I can see there are many things you have trouble seeing.

And before you make any assumptions, since you're pretty new here: I criticized the wokeness of Discovery as much or more than anyone. But it's people like you that make it frustrating for me when I do criticize wokeness, because your ignorant broad-brush attacks implicitly taint my more thoughtful, nuanced analysis. I'm definitely reminded of the old bromide about "with friends [or ostensible allies] like these...".

The irony is that it is woke progressives who believe culture ("nurture") trumps our inborn biological nature, such that social ills (and gender roles, intellectual deficits, etc.) can be swept away simply by changing laws and social norms. I take a more jaundiced view of human nature than that.

@Booming (in re John claiming "Everything I say is about Star Trek...You, on the other hand, are just making snide insults about me without any Star Trek connection to them"): "I guess all those morbidly obese and mentally ill non-binary mermaids have confused me."

Oh SNAP. Booming living up to his/her/their name, because BOOM goes the dynamite!
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The Chronek
Tue, Mar 8, 2022, 8:31pm (UTC -5)
@Booming, I disagree about NuTrek, as it's called, not living up to the main schools of normative ethics as you refer to them. I think Discovery this season has been a good example of living up to those normative ethics, even if the episode quality has been hit-or-miss. And I think the season premiere of Picard certainly showed signs of living up those normative ethics.

As Discovery goes, they are facing the DMA as an existential threat. It has already destroyed Book's homeworld, and it now threatens Earth and Nivar. Instead of just setting on a mission to destroy the DMA, they are trying to learn things about it, trying to communicate with it, trying to understand it, even as it threatens them. It sure seems like there's a struggle with ethics and with utilitarianism in how to deal with it. Sure, they could possibly destroy it, but how will it respond? And who/what would it destroy? The "needs of the many" served isn't so clear here.

I'd say I agree with you to an extent on deontology. In both Picard and Discovery, it seems like the Federation has lost its way and is doing more what is practical and convenient than what is right. I suspect a lot of Federation personnel thinks their actions are justified. They tried to do what's right, and what has it got them? Borg invasions? A costly war with the Dominion? But, especially in Discovery's current season, I think we see more of an effort to do what is right, even if that's a struggle. And in Picard's season 2 premiere, I think there's more of an effort to do what's right. Certainly, the ready room discussion about how to handle the Borg hail was evidence to me of that.

As to why is Picard a good person? I think there's plenty in the series that shows why he is. Hugh trusted him. Rios, Jurati and Seven all trust him, even if they have misgivings. Rafaella helped him, even though she could have understandably just stayed in her trailer. He got over his pride and his own bad experience with the Federation in season 1 just to help Soji. To me, that so many good people were willing to help Picard shows his own goodness.
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Eric Jensen
Tue, Mar 8, 2022, 10:37pm (UTC -5)
I thought someone said they are making conflict for conflict's sake. Why cant Jean luc be curious and be intellectual? Why make his father a perpetrator of spousal abuse?
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Booming
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 2:19am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc
"This. I don't like making Picard a product of abuse, but I also don't understand how anyone can think domestic abuse would disappear in 400 years."
I agree with the first part but to add to the second. Modern societies already have systems in place to identify psychopaths at a fairly young age. Admittedly most identify themselves because they are incapable of following societal rules often at a very young age. Still, I would think with the faaaar more sophisticated methods of the 24th century the Federation could identify people very early who start to show signs of self destructive behavior which often precedes hurtful acts towards others. In another post I explained that domestic abuse has two sides from which you can tackle the problem, the abuser and the abused. In case somebody becomes violent without society noticing, the person in danger would know how to deal with it. Here people would argue that abuse victims don't always act rationally which is true but to that I would say that 24th century should have ways to even prepare people for that. So my problem is not with domestic violence being back, it's with domestic being back on earth. If it had happened while the Picard family was living on a small colony for a few years, that would be ok apart from the problem of making it Picard's driving force in life. Sisko once said that it is easy to be an angel in paradise and I would argue that it should be very hard to be a demon.

and about John. I'm fairly certain if the abuse victim was Picard's father he would call it woke trash as well. "Of course, Picard's father has been abused by a women. Leftist men hate on full display. Typical Woke Trash!"

@Chronek
" Sure, they could possibly destroy it, but how will it respond?"
I haven't seen season 4 but I'm sure if the crystalline entity would have flown towards earth or any other big planet, they would have destroyed it. Intelligent being or not. The DMA is already destroying entire planets, even if they are super advanced and could react badly to an attack. What would the DMA do? Destroy even more planets? Super advanced or not, throw a few spears at it, maybe you are lucky and hit a kneecap.

" And in Picard's season 2 premiere, I think there's more of an effort to do what's right. Certainly, the ready room discussion about how to handle the Borg hail was evidence to me of that."
True, that was one of the things I liked about the episode. That they actually discussed what it could mean if the Borg are no longer an enemy.

"As to why is Picard a good person? I think there's plenty in the series that shows why he is. ... . To me, that so many good people were willing to help Picard shows his own goodness."
Yes, Picard is a good person and people trust him but considering Picard's upbringing I still don't understand why he became a good person. The show more or less states that Picard is so traumatized by his abusive childhood that he is incapable of having stable relationships. That is not a good basis for becoming an ethical, thoughtful diplomat and leader. Furthermore, season 1 showed us that there is classism and racism and many more things. So the the Federation is not that good itself anymore or maybe never was? How did a childhood of abuse and a far from perfect Federation lead to the Picard in TNG? The more this show tells us about him, the less sense his character makes.

Why did Picard never get any help to deal with his trauma? Did Picard lie to himself his entire life about his problems? By the way, good job mind-reading councilor Troi for never noticing that the Captain she served under for years was deeply traumatized.
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The Chronek
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 3:25am (UTC -5)
@Booming-
Re-the Crystalline Entity, that story was picked up in the TNG season 5 episode Silicon Avatar. I can see some similarities between how that episode played out, and how things have played out thus far with the DMA on Discovery.

Re-Picard's background: sometimes, people who come from abusive backgrounds make it a point that the cycle stops with them. The line must be drawn HERE, if you'll forgive my theft. Even in bad situations, people can have things to reach for, to hope for. Perhaps that's what the scene between a young Jean Luc and his mother was meant to convey, and perhaps that's a big reason as to why he does what he does.

Maybe Starfleet gave Picard the structure and the discipline that he didn't have when he was younger. Maybe it gave him more of a place of belonging.

Maybe Picard never got help because he didn't know, until he was an adult, that what he endured wasn't normal or healthy. I think that's why a lot of abuse victims don't get help right away. They're just used to the situation, and they think it's normal. Or, maybe it's just a result of decades of difference between when TNG aired and when Picard aired. Mental health seems to be more of a focus currently.

As to why Troi couldn't sense Picard's childhood trauma? She's only half Betazoid, so her empathic powers wouldn't be as strong as a pure Betazoid. I'd chalk it up more to hit-or-miss writing as Troi goes, though. A lot of times, I don't think TNG's writers did well with Troi's character. She had strong episodes and strong moments here and there, but Troi's character was the victim of some bad writing. Honestly, I think her best moments in Trek were in the Picard episode Nepenthe, and that only took, what, 33 years from the time TNG debuted?
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Booming
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 9:13am (UTC -5)
@Jason
hmm you have a point, the old one I have for more than eight years now. Maybe I'm ready for a change.

By the way guys, redlettermedia is reviewing the second season!
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Alt John
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 9:26am (UTC -5)
I love you guys.
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Alienatbar
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 9:31am (UTC -5)
Could the Borg really be Species 10C, desperate to escape the Discovery finale?
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Booming
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 9:52am (UTC -5)
@Rahul
Let me make this clear. I once saw a Hauptmann (captain) hold a gun to a civilians head. I once saw an Obergefreiten (corporal) whose lower leg was ripped clean off by a mine (very loud). I once saw a group of people trying to hang somebody (unsuccessfully).
After all that and quite a bit more, I made it to the best scientific institution in the country. I'm walking through the same halls as Albert Einstein, Erwin Schrödinger and Karl Marx did. I'm sure your life is at least as interesting. Admittedly, sometimes I find you a little annoying but that is really it. Most of the time I find your attempts amusing.

I'm sad though that you have become one of those guys who calls everybody a Nazi. :(
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Karl Zimmerman
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 10:14am (UTC -5)
The idea that someone with a bad childhood couldn't become a great adult is really...strange. Sometimes we react against our parents and pull a 180.

For example, I'll use the personal story of my grandfather. His parents were awful people from all the accounts I've heard (his father was dead long before I was born, and I just have a few memories of his mother). Neither one of them cared much about him or his brother. They were drunks, and I think his father was abusive. During World War II, they spent all of the money he sent home on alcohol, and moved without telling him, so he had to actually hunt them down once he got stateside again.

Now, my grandfather had issues due to his childhood throughout his life. He battled depression, even attempting to kill himself once. He also had something of a drinking problem, albeit not as bad as his parents. He was very irresponsible with money, which meant my grandmother had to manage the family finances (whenever she was in the hospital or something he would just forget to pay any bills). But one way he was diametrically opposed to his parents is he was a loving and dedicated father to my mother and aunt. He never even spanked them in an era where it was common, and seldom lost his temper with his children (as opposed to my father, or unfortunately even me). He didn't want to be like his parents, so in this limited area, he cut his own path.
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Booming
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 12:57pm (UTC -5)
@Karl Zimmermann
"The idea that someone with a bad childhood couldn't become a great adult is really...strange. Sometimes we react against our parents and pull a 180."
Many people with traumatic childhoods became great people but as you point out about the history of your grandfather, depression, substance abuse issues and other problems sound like things one would struggle with. Studies show that the first around eight years are the most formative years in a humans life. Still Picard has no depression or substance abuse issues or any issues really apart from the unwillingness/inability? to maintain long lasting romantic relationships. In any other sense he is a model human being and while they try hard to turn his somewhat limited love life into a pathology apart from that he seems to be unaffected by that childhood trauma. His calm manner, his emotional stability and impulse control seem to indicate the opposite of a bad upbringing.
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Bryan
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 1:11pm (UTC -5)
I'm not saying that someone with a bad childhood couldn't become a great adult. Just that the cards are stacked against this, and just living life in survival mode is the more likely outcome than becoming an exemplar leader.
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Peter G.
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 1:15pm (UTC -5)
I haven't seen the S2 opener yet, but this debate about whether Picard 'could have been' traumatized is weird to me. He was the way he was in TNG because he's British. That's about it. It didn't quite start out that way, but he evolved into the stiff upper lip British naval Captain showing no personal needs other than for his duty. He's Colonel Nicholson in River Kwai. This manner requires no explanation, other than the history of the British Empire. Did Stewart imbue Picard with a more life than just that? Of course, he's an actor and likes to have fun (or did eventually).

Asking whether Picard may be distant because of family trouble is like asking whether a person holding an umbrella in the rain might be doing so because of a childhood arm injury requiring him to hold it up in the air outdoors rather than hanging loose. Is it possible? Yes. But asking the question already signifies having missed the point.
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Booming
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 1:24pm (UTC -5)
@Peter
You can scratch "could have been", it is certainly portrayed as traumatic, almost like scenes from a horror movie.
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Peter G.
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 1:34pm (UTC -5)
@ Booming,

I did get the gist from the comments that they portrayed something onscreen. I was just saying that it's an avenue one explores (as a writer) at the expense of common sense. Asking whether the unnecessary explanation makes sense or not is roughly in the ballpark of concocting the explanation in the first place.
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Bryan
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
You guys are likely referring to someone else but for me at least, my initial complaint was not that it's theoretically impossible for Picard to have suffered trauma in his life. I'm just tired of the "hero's gotta have a childhood trauma to overcome" cliché in TV/Film in general and that I would have preferred to see the opposite of that played out more often.

I've also kept relatively quiet on what exactly abuse means for Star Trek because I think there are valid points on both sides of the debate and I don't want to suggest that it's got to be an either/or. The extreme version of either position that is unwilling to make any concessions at all both seem a bit silly IMO.

Most of the disagreement can be chalked up to analyzing the show in entirely different ways - focusing on what is realistic or possible in the future, or focusing on the ideals, convictions and creative vision of the narrative. I believe that makes a narrative like science fiction stand out as distinctive is not so much an explicit statement on what does or doesn't exist in the future, but rather what it selects to showcase as most relevant to the audience's attention. By not framing trauma, abuse and all the other nasty aspects of human in the forefront of the narrative, and instead putting the frame around the positive aspects of human nature more often, Star Trek developed a distinctive narrative that appealed to a lot of people precisely because of those choices. It's not necessarily that the stuff happening outside of the frame never happens. It was just of lesser importance and only came up in ancillary discussions...at least until now.
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William B
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 2:43pm (UTC -5)
But Picard isn't British, he's French! ;)

I don't think we need a violent traumatic backstory (I haven't seen this ep yet) but the show did underscore Picard having a difficult relationship with his distant, disapproving father as something important in Family and Tapestry. So it's not a new thing to suggest that his emotional distance is related to that. I think the show suggested Picard having intimacy issues from episode one as a possible flaw to overcome, which he did by joining the staff poker game in All Good Things, but it is notably not an Origin Story situation. Making his father abusive rather than cold, if that is where the show is going, is a big change though and probably a bad idea.
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William B
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 2:55pm (UTC -5)
Anyway I go back and forth on what Bryan refers to. I think that the shows often mined fine drama from emotional wounds, such as in Family, but I think its lower key approach was more appropriate than the heavy trauma material here, although that is perfectly fine for other art. It's that there should be a diversity of art rather than everything being the same.
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Jammer
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 4:44pm (UTC -5)
FYI: If a comment is primarily some sort of attack upon or discussion about another commenter on the board, I'm going to delete them (henceforth without any sort of comment or notice), starting with some of the above in this thread, which I've removed. It's a waste of everyone's time and bandwidth.

You can discuss the shows or related topics and disagree without making everything a larger attack/commentary on the posters you don't agree with.
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Jason R.
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 5:22pm (UTC -5)
Just saw this after biting the bullet and buying a month subscription to evil Canadian cable monopoly.

My overall impression is mild interest. I don't quite see how Jammer gave this 3.5 stars. I would call it a 2 star episode, 2.5 if I was feeling generous.

On the subject of Picard's mother, maybe others saw more in those flashbacks than I did (I was cooking dinner so my eyes were not glued to the screen) but I saw more "couple fighting" than wife beating per say. Anyway, I will reserve judgement until I see more.

Guinan didn't seem like Guinan to me. And in any event, she had nothing interesting to say. That was a letdown.

On the Borg, it would have been nice to have some line of dialogue, anything to explain what is up with them - we're told that they were "decimated" but I have no earthly clue what that means, so I have no idea what to make of that Borg object we saw. What is up with these totally nondescript blabbbidy objects on screen that I can't male heads tails of? Even after being told it was a Borg ship I couldn't tell what I was looking at. What's wrong with a cube?

And speaking of Borg, what is up with Seven? I don't know what to make of her characterization, which is all over the place. Still talking about Fenris Rangers as if I know what the fuck that means. I guess she's in a lesbian relationship with whatshername but that's a blink and you miss it detail. Within 5 minutes of screen time she goes from apparently lamenting prejudice and bigotry against the Borg (did I mention it would have been really helpful to know what happened to them?) and then demanding Michael Burnham style to just mercilessly waste them on the spot and to hell with diplomacy - call it the Seven of 9 Hello? Talk about character whiplash. Look I know Seven can't be what she was back on Voyager, but does anyone see *anything* of her old character? Who is this person?

The one character that seemed right to me was Delancey as Q. But I gotta say, the guaranteed way to destroy my interest in a story is a cockamamie alternate history or *shudder* mirror universe plotline

If that is where this is going, I might want to cancel my subscription now.
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Jammer
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 5:30pm (UTC -5)
@Jason R., I also wasn't sure where all the "wife beating" discussion came from. Either I missed it while watching, or people are just assuming that's what is happening and/or will be revealed from what is shown, which is vague.
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Booming
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 5:52pm (UTC -5)
@Jamson (Jammer-Jason power couple name)
How could you both miss that?! Go to 11.25 and rewatch it. Sure, it's no eye ripping scene, still it is a little unsettling.
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Jason R.
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 6:03pm (UTC -5)
"@Jamson (Jammer-Jason power couple name)
How could you both miss that?! Go to 11.25 and rewatch it. Sure, it's no eye ripping scene, still it is a little unsettling."

I don't really feel like watching this again so I will take your word for it.

Speaking of eye ripping, is Jurati a Starfleet officer? Reminds me of Max Hedroom gallivanting around the bridge making wisecracks. Why didn't Rios throw her in the brig?
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MidshipmanNorris
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 9:17pm (UTC -5)
"But it's people like you that make it frustrating for me when I do criticize wokeness, because your ignorant broad-brush attacks implicitly taint my more thoughtful, nuanced analysis."

Whoever it was that typed this, I get what you're saying, but also, geez, put the hand-mirror away, Simon Belmont.

Also, I think that as long as there is a balance between the "issues-centric" elements of the scripts, and actual plot (please please no more hand-wavey mystery box shit), then I don't mind quite a healthy dose of what people call 'wokeness.' I think that the general populace could use a bit of waking up. I do cold-call sales to individual consumers, so I get to hear you guys getting pissed at me for calling you, a lot. Controlling your temper and having a more philosophically stoic viewpoint would make my job easier, if nothing else. I'm not doing telemarketing cuz I want to, you know.

Lastly, I wonder if everyone could ever agree that the era in which replying to an internet comment with the word "This" in order to signal agreement with it, has kind of passed on? For me, it's starting to get irritating. Maybe I'm just weird, or something.
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Jeffrey's Tube
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 9:39pm (UTC -5)
Just chiming in to say I don't have any issue with them deciding Picard's father was abusive. I don't find it incongruous with the character, and I think it's something he's long put away and mostly forgotten about if it happened, and it's clearly not something that affects him much at all let alone on a daily basis. Which is the same thing as overcoming it, but maybe not the same thing as processing and "dealing with" it. And "rarely affects him" doesn't mean "never." A man at the end of his life, dealing with time and legacy as is the theme of this show, I can see him finally deciding to "go there" and explore that part of his history emotionally before it's too late.

A lot of old people go through a phase where they get melancholy and nostalgic about the start of their lives and their long-departed parents as their lives wind down. Trying to process everything they've lived. I'm nowhere near that stage of life myself, but it has a certain logic to it, that now would be the time for him.

I also don't have a problem with Picard having "intimacy issues." Ultimately, we are what we do. And Picard, over his history as a character, has very rarely chosen intimacy. I wouldn't say he never chose it because he was afraid to, or because he had "trauma," or because he just didn't know how to. But the fact remains that he almost never chose it. And so, the man who has arrived at this point in his life, especially the relative isolation in which he spent a decade plus following the Romulan supernova, I can absolutely see him as a man who is having some trouble trying to figure out how to open up and be intimate with someone NOW. Decades of choices, no matter for what reasons you made those choices, aren't easy to shake off.
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Leif
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 10:57pm (UTC -5)
@Kuebel ahh tou mean because they both tell Picard to look up? What donyou mean Checkov's mother? Checkov who??
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Booming
Thu, Mar 10, 2022, 2:07am (UTC -5)
@Jason
I'm ok with them rewriting the characters. In theory. Does it make logical sense? No. I would have liked it more if it had been more about picking up the pieces, instead of just giving them their old lives back (or an entirely new one for Elnor), no questions asked.
- Raffi going from bitter drunk and drug fiend to commander with a high post at the academy. Wasn't she fired??
- Elnor joining the academy and graduating in one(?) year?
- Rios going from bitter drunk to captain of one of the most modern Starships?
- Soji becoming ambassador for peace after almost murdering the entire galaxy?
At least now not all the people on this show are sad and traumatized. So I'll take it.

"Why didn't Rios throw her in the brig?"
Jurati had temporary mind melt crazy time which I guess means that through a mind melt you can turn people into mindless murder drones. It's just another aspect we probably have to ignore. They wanted her on the show and premeditated murder is pretty serious. Her and seven are now the somewhat shrunken bitter and traumatized team. I must admit though that her character doesn't work for me. Why is she flying around with robot ambassador Soji? Does Soji need a Human who is a bitter drunk to show that androids aren't so bad? I mentioned it in my first comment but I also really dislike this nonsense where somebody is a scientist and therefor can do every science. So Jurati is the most problematic character on the show right now.
I'm ok with seven being a bitter rogue who tries to get all the cool leather jackets in the galaxy.

And by the way, the space rift being all green like the Borg who later came through it. I guess sometimes things just work out.
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Jason R.
Thu, Mar 10, 2022, 4:56am (UTC -5)
"And by the way, the space rift being all green like the Borg who later came through it. I guess sometimes things just work out."

Oh I knew almost instantly it was the Borg because, you know, green. But lord almighty, am I the only one who thinks nuTrek ship designs are ghastly? The Borg ship doesn't look like a ship, it looks like vomit. Literally, vomit on the screen. Every nuTrek ship looks like this, except for the older retro designs like the Star Gazer. I guess at 41 I am already an older geezer who doesn't get these modern aesthetics. In fact, it's like the theme music isn't it? That is also just vomit, auditory instead of visual. I don't mean bad, I just mean, everywhere and nowhere, errrgh vomit.
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Booming
Thu, Mar 10, 2022, 5:09am (UTC -5)
@Jason
"But lord almighty, am I the only one who thinks nuTrek ship designs are ghastly?"
I must admit that I did not get a clear look of the Borg ship. It was... big.

"In fact, it's like the theme music isn't it?"
Music? I find the music forgettable. Vomit sounds a little harsh, though.

" I guess at 41 I am already an older geezer who doesn't get these modern aesthetics."
If you get old early, you can stay grumpy longer. Don't worry, It's probably just a midlife crisis. Time to get a motorcycle.
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Jason R.
Thu, Mar 10, 2022, 7:31am (UTC -5)
"If you get old early, you can stay grumpy longer. Don't worry, It's probably just a midlife crisis. Time to get a motorcycle."

Ha. I would need a driver's license first. Maybe a new bicycle?
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Jason R.
Thu, Mar 10, 2022, 7:35am (UTC -5)
"Vomit sounds a little harsh, though."

I am not using "vomit" as a synonym for "bad" or "ugly". I'm saying the aesthetic (bad or good) is incoherent, confusing, unrecognizable as in my brain is unable to process what it is seeing as a "ship".

I felt similarly about the Battle of the Binary Stars where I was so confused by what I was seeing that I couldn't even tell which "ships" were Klingon and which "ships" were Federation.
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Jay
Thu, Mar 10, 2022, 6:58pm (UTC -5)
RObert said:

"I didn't mind the scene with Guinan, except for explaining how she aged by choice."

Same here. I can see why de Lancie / Q's aging needed to be addressed, but it was silly with Guinan, especially the absurd reason, basically turning aging into synthehol, something that can just be allowed or dismissed at will.

Goldberg's aging has only made her look marginally different...I just would have let it go.
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Maq
Sun, Mar 13, 2022, 3:11am (UTC -5)
The alternate universes or timlines can be quite annyoing. Not to mention Q. Although de Lancie is a great actor, it mostly got to much.

Now, wow. After having gone through the Species Ten-C in discovery I realised that Picard is airing and wow.

Magnificent start distinct actors and acting. Of coures I could nit pick but very enjoyable. Is the ending worrying in the sense that we will have Q around all the time? Will all episodes strive to bend the universe right again?

I hope not but if it countinues with a similar story telling and acting I will enjoy it much more than Discovery.

I hope I will see more of Laris and less of Agnes Jurati. The later character is to chaotic. But seeing Laris and Picard sitting together holding hands on the wineyard is perhaps not to exciting. Still I like the Laris character, an attractive wise mature woman with many secrets.

Although Whoopie is older now in TNG she still looked like Guinan so her mentioning that she had developed her apperance was not really neccesary.
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Nic
Mon, Mar 14, 2022, 10:16am (UTC -5)
Audience-insulting teaser aside, this episode was mostly setup. As setup goes, I found it mostly average.

I expected Jurati's murder of Maddox to be completely forgotten. I also expected the main cast to still be crusing around the galaxy on La Sirena for no reason. I'm glad to discover I was wrong in both cases.

I didn't expect there to be an explanation for Guinan's sudden aging (after looking the same from 1893 to 2370), but the explanation we did get (that she "chose" to age so humans wouldn't feel bad) was pretty silly. Q's choice to age to match Picard made a bit more sense.

Picard's reluctance at engaging in romantic relationships has been explored before (notably in "Lessons") and in a much less clichéd fashion than it was here.

All in all, I see many interesting and original avenues that could be explored here, but also many derivative ones. We shall see!
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BeachMum
Wed, Mar 16, 2022, 8:21pm (UTC -5)
During the pandemic I re-watched all of TNG, watched all of Voyager (episodes I'd watched and those I hadn't), and discovered Enterprise. Through it all, I had you all commenting; many years ago and some more recently.

I'm thrilled that so many of you are still here. I'm also thrilled that I'm not the only who really can't watch DISCO. I tried a few times (tried again when I found out a friend's voice is part of some of the music) but just can't. The show is all Michael Burnham, all the time.

Picard season two seems like there's some hope for a fun Star Trek that has a point. Perhaps we'll even get a better ending than season one.
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Gorn with the Wind
Wed, Mar 16, 2022, 11:59pm (UTC -5)
Maybe my expectations were low, but I really enjoyed this. I doubt the good vibes will last, but it’s a relief to be back in the optimistic quasi utopian TNG world.

My only wish for this season is that it feels like Trek and not warmed over fan fiction
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Kuebel
Tue, Mar 22, 2022, 5:52pm (UTC -5)
@Leif "ahh tou mean because they both tell Picard to look up? What donyou mean Checkov's mother? Checkov who??"

Ha, in light of recent events I may be wrong, but yes.

"Chekov's mother" shoud have been a pun on Pavel Chekov vs. Anton Chekhov and "Checkhov's gun".
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Flair
Thu, Mar 24, 2022, 6:02pm (UTC -5)
What a disaster of a show. It's ugly, depressing, slow, dumb and all the bad things.

This isn't Star Trek.
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Flair
Thu, Mar 24, 2022, 6:10pm (UTC -5)
@Mal01
Spening more money and using CGI doesn't mean the bridge looks better than TNG. It's ugly; and unrealistic even for a future spaceship.
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Hayes
Thu, Mar 24, 2022, 11:06pm (UTC -5)
One note about your comments regarding the mostly dumb teaser technique of showing a moment of action that happens later. I hate that too. Part of the reason I didn’t like Wandavision as much as people seemed to. Because there wasn’t anything gained by showing out of order. They could have shown her creating it in real time and then later the witch reveals she was there all along and show the same exact flashbacks at that point. Would have been way better. Anyway… the teaser comment made me think back to Battlestar Galactica and how there was always a super fast clip show of the episode right at the beginning. I thought those were so neat so that you could see a glimpse of things and that would make you want to stick around(as if you ever wanted to stop watching anyway…) Ok. That’s it. That was my thought. It took much longer to describe it that to have its lol
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Bob
Fri, Mar 25, 2022, 4:46pm (UTC -5)
I feel like we've taken an hour to reach the end of the prologue in an episode of TNG, and the theme music should now be playing. I hope they haven't just stretched one episode out to 10 hours!
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EmpressHoshiSato
Wed, Apr 6, 2022, 1:31pm (UTC -5)
Actually felt like Star Trek for a change. The aesthetics still didn't quite feel like 24/25th century Starfleet vessels on the inside though. And would prefer the more elegant battle style effects rather than the pew pew JJ Trek.

At least Admiral Picard was treated as Admiral Picard again. Starfleet Academy looked good. The Stargazer itself looked good from the outside. Though Starfleet protocol would be unlikely to have an on duty officer openly smoking a cigar on the bridge, let alone the Captain himself.

The swearing was a lot less, but still not quite the utopian Humanity of the future we are meant to have achieved as per Star Trek as shown in the TOS movies or TNG movies or TNG era series like Voyager etc.

Seven still feels under-utilised. The Q reveal was indeed interesting and nicely done.

Wouldn't Beverly have been a better love interest for Picard given their history?!
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Nothing but the Tears
Mon, Apr 11, 2022, 2:48pm (UTC -5)
Late to the party but wanted to add a few comments. When Picard's first season ended, I decided I wouldn't watch S2. As much as I adore Stewart as an actor generally and Picard specifically, I just couldn't buy into what was actually put on screen. The short version is that I felt like they constantly ignored the good stuff in favor of running after something that would be ignored or (in the case of characters) killed off for no good reason.

However, when this episode came around I figured I might as well give it another try. I know that many people, including Jammer, really enjoyed this episode. However, in my case, it was a slog just getting through. I think I stopped and then picked up again two or three times.

The first time I stopped was when I realized that I had no interest in any of the characters that this series had added. I neither care for them nor do I dislike them. They're just sort of there. This was a firm reminder of why I didn't like S1 as a whole.

The second time (and I may be getting some of these mixed up) was when I realized that the show was generously handwaving and/or telling vs. showing when it came to important plot points from S1, e.g. Picard's synth body or Jurati's killing of Maddox. To be clear, these were both things I wasn't fond of in S1, but they're part of the story they decided to tell.

And, lastly, one of the things I really liked about S1 was Picard's Romulan housekeepers, Laris and Zhaban. They seemed to share a bond with Picard that was nicely portrayed, IMHO, subtle and engaging. So it really sucked to find that:
- Zhaban died off-screen
- Laris is now supposed to be a love interest for Picard which is about the most boring and stale option to run with

So when I was finished with the episode, I was also finished with the season as a whole. I know there are people who enjoy the show. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. IMHO it's just really bad and, again, ignoring all the things that would be interesting and tie back to TNG, DS9, or VOY thematically. It's all the more disappointing considering Stewart's age at this point.

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