Star Trek: Picard

“Seventeen Seconds”

3 stars.

Air date: 3/2/2023
Written by Jane Maggs & Cindy Appel
Directed by Jonathan Frakes

Review Text

If nothing else, Star Trek: Picard has finally learned in its third season that the primary action of this series should be on the bridge of a starship. "Seventeen Seconds" is a tactical cat-and-mouse game between two starships where one has a massive advantage and the other must try (although they fail) to outthink the other to level the playing field. The series may even have learned the lesson too well, as we've now spent three episodes arriving at or being inside this nebula. Some variance to the settings of where all this happens and a faster advancement of the macro plot might take this from "passably good" to "substantially better."

The story also uses its characters' mindsets and wisely integrates this into the action. In this case, the burning questions (and answers) around Picard's and Crusher's son, as well as a flashback to when Riker's son was born — who would later be doomed by illness — inform questions of risk in the present when it comes to tactical maneuvers. The titular "seventeen seconds" are about the length of the turbolift ride Riker made while trying to reach sickbay while his son was possibly dying. Later, Picard makes a similar turbolift ride while Jack's life hangs in the balance. If there's a problem here — and, to be sure, there is — it's that the show pushes too hard in driving home its points, and sometimes uses a sledgehammer where a tap on the shoulder would've sufficed. A little more subtlety would be useful.

The answer for why Crusher kept Jack a secret from Picard for 20 years strains credibility, but hopefully this will be worth it in the long run. The episode does the best it can to sell a retconned concept by painting a picture of an admiral whose life in Starfleet was too far out on the edge, especially after the whole business with the Romulan emergency, for Crusher to feel she could let Picard near the boy without endangering him. Picard is rightfully upset about not getting a choice in the matter, and both actors give it their all, but the reasons are a little too contrived and clichéd for this to really land the way it's clearly supposed to. Still, a decent effort.

And fortunately, most of the episode works, even if the writers are dragging out this pursuit through the nebula. The execution is effective, and the ships have the necessary amount of heft as they move to make this feel compellingly nautical. Vadic unleashes the portal weapon in ways that make it impossible for the Titan to escape (with their own attack used against them), while also giving us the distinct feeling she's toying with her prey. We still don't know why she needs Jack alive, and while I enjoy the starship engagement, it would be nice to know why this is all happening. Such is the 10-hour movie.

In the course of the mayhem, Shaw is injured and transfers command to Riker, who has to oversee a precarious situation. Picard ends up in the first-officer's chair; I got a chuckle at his comment that maybe Riker should call him "Number One." Meanwhile, a little technical mystery is established (initially visually, with shots of a blood trail in sickbay) around the question of how the Shrike is able to track the Titan through the nebula. What's nice here is that it takes a little bit from everyone to put the pieces together. Shaw is the first to point out they are being tracked, and then Jack undertakes some investigation (with Seven's help, whom he busts out of her quarters) to learn how this is possible. They discover that a saboteur aboard the ship has vented gas that is serving as a breadcrumb trail. They then shut off the trail to make it appear the ship has stopped in its tracks while enabling a surprise maneuver.

It comes down to the key decisions made on the bridge as informed by different states of mind. Riker wants to get the ship out of the nebula and hightail it to safety, while Picard wants to engage the enemy in a fight to achieve the same goal. Both are valid approaches, but the differing views may (or may not) be unduly influenced by the mental circumstances: Riker having lost his son and not wanting to take unnecessary risk; Picard by having not been given the choice to raise his son because Crusher didn't take a risk.

The two old friends end up at odds over whether to flee or fight, but ultimately both approaches are allowed their chance to play out — first Riker's and then Picard's — and both fail in the face of the portal weapon. It ends with the Titan dead in the water, being pulled further into the nebula with what appears to be little hope. The one forced misstep here, I feel, is the show pushing too hard with Riker's rather overstated reply to Picard's failed attack: "Remove yourself from the bridge. You've just killed us all." It's way too harsh given the circumstances. It would've been enough to simply react in resignation that a valid plan had failed. Because Riker's plan had also failed.

Over in the parallel plot, Worf and Raffi capture and interrogate a criminal named Titus Rikka (Thomas Dekker) who may know who actually ordered the attack on the Starfleet recruitment center. Even though we're still stuck on M'Talas Prime (apparently to justify the expense of the set built for it and to have scenes not on a starship), this plot proves more entertaining than in the previous two episodes, with Worf getting a number of good lines ("Beheadings are on Wednesdays") and especially with him taking on the unexpected role of good cop to Raffi's more unhinged bad cop.

What's unclear is how much of this is performance and how much of it is character reality (at one point, Worf tells Rikka, "A fight is rarely worth dying for," and says that there's neither good nor evil, but merely everyone fighting for what they believe). I'm going to guess that this is at least partially, if not mostly, based on the idea that this is a New Worf who at one point also says, "I am working on myself." It would also follow Jack's line last week about people not being who they used to be. Nonetheless, New Worf is still mostly Old Worf, and Michael Dorn effortlessly slips right back into this character as if no time has passed.

Interestingly, Rikka's apparent symptoms of drug withdrawal actually turn out to be caused by the fact he's a Changeling who just really needs to revert to his liquid state. We find out that after the Dominion War, Worf learned from Odo that a faction of rogue Changelings broke off from the Great Link because they couldn't accept peace with the "solids." (There's also a Changeling on the Titan who was the saboteur.) Worf believes they are preparing another attack, and that the first attack was merely a diversion for stealing another weapon from the Daystrom Institute — although I'm not sure if that logic quite adds up. So now we get some DS9 lore mixed in here. Hopefully it will pay off beyond lip service, but for now it's a nice bit of intrigue I didn't see coming.

I'm liking but not loving this. There's still plenty of room for improvement. But Picard is three for three so far this season, so that's a continuation in the right direction.

Some other thoughts:

  • Jonathan Frakes directed this episode, and has been doing great work as an actor in all these episodes. He has the charm and puts it to good use, and here puts on the stern captain's hat.

  • Nice First Contact callback, with Worf listening to Berlioz. (Even though it was Picard listening to it in First Contact, I've always felt like it was Worf the very first time I saw it.)

  • While unconscious from the poison gas, Jack has a strange vision of Seven with branches about her. "Connect the branches," she says. This clearly Means Something.

  • The scene between Sidney La Forge and Seven was nice, with her nod to how they are both misfits who have difficulty making friends.

  • I'm noticing a lot of nods to Jerry Goldsmith in Stephen Barton's score.

  • Okay, so Jack is supposed to be about 20, with his birth happening after a failed relationship between Picard and Crusher following Nemesis. I guess they couldn't find a suitable actor who wasn't in his mid-30s?

  • "Present day," the info card informs us following the Riker flashback. Yeah, we figured that, with the whole Titan-in-the-nebula thing.

  • If Starfleet were to acknowledge the existence of Changeling terrorists, "we'd be reigniting the Dominion War." Um ... how exactly is that the case if both sides know what's what and the Great Link's schism is on the record?

  • No matter how many times I hear it, "Goddamn" will never sound like it belongs in the Trek universe.

  • Riker notes to Picard that this isn't the Enterprise and they don't have the means to fight such a better-armed enemy. But why is a ship named the Titan so minimally armed?

Previous episode: Disengage
Next episode: No Win Scneario

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Comment Section

188 comments on this post

    Shaw self-Deckers himself.

    Apparently Picard is to blame for every problem in the Federation ever...he's the Joe Biden of space.

    Changelings...the stupidity is turned up to thirteen.

    Very entertaining episode, for sure. It kept me engaged and in suspense. Didn't like the Picard/Riker fighting though. Felt out of character for both.

    Disagree about the Picard/Riker fighting being out of character. Not totally, but somewhat. Until now, we've only seen Riker as Picard's subordinate through Nemesis. Riker's had decades since experience as Captain, and is only about five years off of being in command of the Titan. He's still had more recent command experience (commander of the copy-and-paste fleet, etc) and is likely more up to date on Starfleet ops and tactics. I think that's where the power dynamic is originating from. Riker was placed in command by Shaw, and he has ultimate responsibility for the 500-plus souls on the ship.

    Direct confrontation with a ship that is so obviously more lethal than yours will obviously be a losing proposition, even with one element of surprise in reserve. They didn't have a tactical plan to take advantage of the verterium blind spot, just their complement of weapons. Riker understood that.

    That said, he did lose his temper with Picard at the end of the episode--which he probably regrets, and did seem written more for dramatics. But overall, I'm on Riker's side of this.

    Captain Shaw is pathetic. First he tells Picard and Riker there won't be any unnecessary risks to his ship for which they are both infamous, then he literally turns over command to Captain Riker thus ensuring the exact outcome he wanted to avoid.

    I'm sorry, it's not Shaw that is pathetic, it's the writers and producers of Picard.

    "Riker's had decades since experience as Captain"
    Riker must be really depressed. Picard went from 1 star admiral to 4 star in 6 years.

    We always thought Riker's career stalled on the Enterprise D but boy oh blue eyed boy. He went from ensign to commander in 7 years, then 15 year from commander to captain which he is now for 22 years.... In other words Picard advanced three ranks in six years while Riker only advanced one rank in 37 years. What did Riker do? Did he beam the dog of the Federation president into space?

    This was pretty good, although I think SNW's "Memento Mori" was a stronger effort as far as cat-and-mouse dramatic tension goes. I think I agree with @J.B. more than @Daniel - the split between Riker and Picard on tactics felt manufactured.

    Perhaps if the dialogue had leaned a little bit more into what was going on Riker's mind it would have helped - maybe something he learned in his years commanding this very ship - but his final banishment of Picard from the bridge would have felt wrong no matter what. "You've killed us all?" Oh plz Riker - you're the one who gave the order to fire and knew she had a portal weapon. You should have had La Forge on standby to dive the hell out of the way as soon as you took your shot.

    Colour me surprised they decided to bring back shapeshifters. How does Vadic connect to them? I'm curious, even while still steeling myself for a sharp turn into terrible TV.

    Don't know about Starfleet, per se, but in the U.S. military, and more specifically the US Navy, which a lot of what Starfleet was based on traditionally, is that among commissioned officers, field to command grade ranks, (Ensign to Captain) -> O1-O6, advancement is an "up or out" type thing. You advance in rank either on time, ahead of schedule, or behind schedule. If you're a lieutenant commander and don't advance to commander within seven years of promotion, you're discharged to make room for others advancing in rank.

    That all changes once you hit O6/Captain/Colonel. Once you hit that rank, you can opt to stay until you reach mandatory retirement (30 years, or longer if you have a specialty spot as a professor, etc). Upper spots in the admiralty are ranked based on station/role. One doesn't go from one star to two, to three, and so on as a rank progression. For instance, the commanding officer of JAG (Judge Advocate General) is a three-star Lieutenant General (if Marine) or Vice Admiral (if Navy). If you're a Captain and you're promoted to command JAG, you jump from four pips to three stars. If you are then promoted to a position that requires a higher rank, then you assume the rank of the position.

    By no means am I saying that the US Armed Forces officer rank system is equivalent, but it's been the template. Considerations such as retirement ages probably don't make sense especially if life expectancy is between 120-140, and the remit of the organization is one primarily of scientific exploration instead of military defense.

    Back to Starfleet, Picard went from a four-pip Captain (O6 in the US Armed Force rank system) to a four-star admiral (O10), ostensibly because he was placed in command of the Romulan evacuation fleet. One would imagine you would need the command stature of four stars to be in charge of an effort of such a scale. Janeway took a position that jumped her from Captain (O6) to Vice Admiral (O9).

    So, to relate things back to Riker, I don't know why he didn't take a higher posting, but it would have been his option to stay a Captain. Even Kirk himself would have preferred to never leave the Captain's chair. Family issues probably point to a more obvious reason--Thaddeus got sick and they moved to Nepenthe in 2391, which means Capt. Riker relinquished command of the Titan a bit over 10-years after his promotion to Captain.

    That Riker and Picard could have such arguments makes sense. What doesn't make sense is that PIcard wants to fight to the death so badly when his son is on board. I thought the point of the episode was precisely that a preservation instinct was awaken within PIcard, and then they make him defend the opposite position.

    That being said, and though there is still no trace of intellectual thought here, it was a very well executed episode. The dialogues, while not fully fine tuned yet, are getting better. Picard's fight with Beverly appeared surprisingly in character. Meanwhile, the plot manages to be exciting, even if superficial. Perhaps this will turn out to be a decent TNG movie after all (which, to be fair, is what the advanced reviewers claimed).

    I did find it hilarious that Seven was fumbling with the leg of a portable backpacking/camp stove when she was in her quarters. I suppose such things are considered antiques in the 25th Century.

    Dreubarik - I agree on the Picard / Bev conversation. That felt very true to both of them. I didn't know if they'd be able to come up with an explanation for why she'd keep such a secret from him, but "you were the target of multiple Romulan assassination attempts" seemed pretty fair.

    @Tim C Yes, obviously it's still a contrivance that stretches credulity, but it was done as well as one could hope for. I especially like the way Picard responded to Beverly's arguments, though: He spoke as a man who is angry and emotional but is still fundamentally a rational, intellectual person. Finally.

    Now if only we could have some decent thematic meat to this stuff to make it proper Star Trek. But I'm not holding out hope in this department.

    Spoilers beware

    This was so good. Very good.
    But it could have been told much better, in terms of the lighting.
    Again, too cinematic. If you remove the "cinematic" and "darkness" it would be so much better.
    I like where we are going with this.
    Dominion is back.
    Woot woot
    I do not like the profanity. The smoking. Remove the profanity, smoking and it is all the same to me.
    Beverly's logic was sound to me, in not telling Picard
    And I liked the dynamic between Worf and Raffi.

    Oh yeah, that portal weapon looks like Spot from Spiderman.
    I think Picard was right in this case - how did they keep tracking them? Flying away was the wrong action. It was either flight or fight and fighting seems to be least bad option.

    Ira.

    IRA!

    They're messing with your baby.

    Red alert!

    -----

    Positives first (won't take long): Vadic -- much improved on whatever Looney Tunes episode she escaped from last week.

    Ships doing ship stuff in a nebula - I like.

    There were some moments - around about a 1/3 into the episode - I found myself starting to warm to it. Unfortunately, the dumb happens. There's always that dumb thud in someone saying something quippy, or that ought to be perfectly damn obvious to everyone in the scene AND watching. Dialogue is a problem this season, perhaps more so than any other.

    I tried to give Beverly the benefit of the doubt on this one... it's a tough sell. Did they say *five* aborted attempts at a relationship? I'm sorry but I'm Team Picard on this one. Bev and JL's on again / off again antics must've been all the talk on the lower decks. And Jesus, the CMO walked straight into the "you don't know a thing about modern medicine woops I'm incompetent thank goodness you were here" trope.

    Take a shot every time Sidney brings up her father. We get it - everyone knows you're the daughter of a guy people watched on a show for seven years. It just seemed odd to frame her pep talk to Seven round Geordi.

    Worf - Son of Mogh, of the House of Martok, Terror of the Duras Family, Slayer of Gowron, Widower of Jadxia Dax, The Unburnt, Breaker of Chains, Drinker of Prune Juice and Rightful Heir of The Klingon Empire. Thanks, Memory Alpha!

    I was looking forward to seeing Dorn again and - all in all he did a good job with what was provided. But while Worf was an occasional source of humor, this version was too quippy for my tastes.

    Raffi. No change.

    Anyhoo...

    The goddamn Changelings. Wooow boy. The one rule of NuTrek is: stay the hell away from DS9. Don't touch its lore. Keep any nods to the cartoons. Well, it was my rule. But here we are.

    A splinter "terrorist" group huh - have they liberated Salome Jens yet? So, Odo returned, cured his people and caused quite a stir. "Unwilling to accept defeat", Worf said. I can buy that there would have been disagreement within The Link, but for a bunch of them to up and leave? Nah. The Changelings thought on a much, much longer time scale than The Federation. The Dominion War may as well've been round one.

    Considering the Salome Jens' Founder said returning Odo to The Link meant more to them than the AQ itself, this schism must have been far more than a disagreement over the outcome of some war on the other side of the galaxy. My thinking is: Odo's introduction into The Link had a profound effect - to such a degree that a sizable chunk of The Link aligned with Odo and chose to dismantle The Dominion war machine and the millennia-long effort to subjugate all solids.

    Will any of this factor into the story? Who knows.

    At this juncture, I can say with some certainty: I'm not a fan of seeing TNG cast in this setting.

    In spite of this episode's flaws, I found this to be the best episode yet - which isn't saying much. Still, the dialogue continues to grate far too often for my liking. And - we remain slaves to the infernal mystery box. We have more pieces to the puzzle, but few - if any - answers.

    I am feeling particularly generous and will go with 2.5 out of 5.

    Worf: "...working on myself" = this has got to be one of the worst examples of 21st century language being ported hundreds of years in the future in recent Trek shows. Come on.

    While I had my quibbles here and there, I thought this was a big, big step up from the first two episodes in virtually every way.

    Kudos to the episode for having the title actually mean something within the episode itself, and mirroring Riker's own remembrance of his time in the turbolift with Jean Luc's at the end. The cat-and-mouse in the nebula was suitably tense. The episode actually got me to feel a feeling about fatherhood and loss - not full on misty eyed, but close enough, and really a rarity in modern Trek. Almost everyone put in their best performances of the season to date, with Stewart's scene in the medbay probably the best acting he's put in across all of Picard (and kudos for finding a smart way to actually reference seasons 1 and 2). The season arc is also moving along at a solid clip - they could have kept the mystery box going, but most of the big questions introduced in Episode 1 have already been answered (other than what the nefarious plan actually is, and why they care about Picard). There are also coherent character arcs for both Picard and Riker over the course of the episode...and it ends on one of the better cliffhangers in Trek history.

    I am fine with the Changelings being involved personally. Certainly better than the stupid fankwank idea that we'd have the parasites from Conspiracy return. Ultimately the best antagonists are those with understandable motivations, and the Federation outright attempted genocide against the Changelings, so they certainly have ample reason for vengeance. My only concern really is that Picard himself wasn't involved in the Dominion War in any real way, which is why I would have preferred if it had something to do with the Maquis instead. Seems pretty clear the Changelings are going to be breaking Lore out of prison for some reason, but I hope there's more here than that.

    As for the negatives, I still feel like the dialogue is a bit clunky and unnatural in places. Yes, Star Trek dialogue is always a bit clunky and expositional, but there were a lot of moments (like LaForge's heart-to-heart with Seven) where I was just brought out of the scene because real humans don't speak like that. It's weird, because I feel like the episode was very smartly written in terms of the flow of action, the plotting, the characterization, the themes - literally the only issue with the writing is some clunky dialogue.

    My other issue with this episode is Raffi. She's helped a lot being paired with Worf, but it still feels like she walked off of another show. Michelle Hurd is just overacting in a way no one else is onscreen. I can't fully suspend disbelief when she's in scenes any longer unfortunately.

    Still, on the whole, a notable step up, and a good omen for the remainder of the season.

    I’m shocked to say this but Raffi wasn’t so terrible this episode. I think she has actually good chemistry with Worf.

    The rumor going around now from giant freaking robot whatever that site is, is that the spin-off we are getting in Worf and Raffi in a sph series. After tonight I think it could be something potentially not cringey.

    They could do a lot with it.

    You people keep watching and watching, expecting something other than the steaming pile of Andorian shit that is nu-Trek. At this point, the dichotomy between the intellect and the common sense on this forum is breathtaking. Yale should study you.

    Shaw handing command to Riker, the ranking captain, and the one with the most experience was appropriate to me. Picard is officially retired. He was seriously injured, with a head wound.

    I still like the guy. This guy has already been through trauma, that is obvious, and at some point was on a ship/mission with massive casualties, hence his reticence to engage the enemy ship.

    Haven't gotten through the whole ep yet. More to come.

    "The goddamn Changelings. Wooow boy. The one rule of NuTrek is: stay the hell away from DS9. Don't touch its lore. Keep any nods to the cartoons. Well, it was my rule. But here we are. "

    I guess "TRUST NO ONE" should have clued us in, but I never dreamed they'd do it...

    I swear, no one hates Star Trek more than Star Trek fans. Picard as a show in the first two seasons was an absolute mess, yes, but this is, far and away, so much better in every way.

    Legitimate critique is fine, and season 3 certainly is not perfect, but it seems like more than a few of you cannot handle the fact that these characters have aged, made different choices, and the biggest sin of all, have flaws.

    I get it. TNG was all about showing that human beings have almost entirely moved beyond so many of our own current human failings. Here was a society that "figured it all out" and treated everyone well, where everyone was given a seat at the table and could thrive.

    ...But time and experience are not straight lines. There will be golden ages and then they end. Things happen, and people change... life takes you in unexpected directions.

    The trial never ends, remember? So, by all means, levy legitimate critique on the writing, lighting, or anything of the sort. But if you're mad that this isn't (effectively) the Enterprise D with everyone in the same place doing the same things having not changed... Maybe just stick to TNG reruns. That's OK too.

    @voxmandias
    "...But time and experience are not straight lines. There will be golden ages and then they end. Things happen, and people change... life takes you in unexpected directions."
    But that is the core problem with NuTrek, it goes directly against what Star Trek was supposed to be. Star Trek was about humanity reaching an enlightened state. If Humanity can easily lose then it loses most of it's meaning. According to NuTrek the future is just ups and downs. Human existence is not a process that reaches higher and higher levels, no, sometimes it's good, sometimes it sucks until the end of time. In other words, there is no hope for a better world. It's like some kind of idiot version of social cycle theory.

    @Booming

    There is always hope for a better world. If we as people make a mistake, we hopefully learn from it, move on, do better, make new mistakes, learn from them, do better, and on and on...

    The Federation is still a tremendous utopia here: material need is gone, hunger, homelessness are still gone. Access to education, and career opportunities are almost entirely available to all.

    Only now, we are seeing a bit of the struggle to maintain it in a universe that does not always agree or cooperate. A realistic amount of struggle, in my opinion.

    But again, I get it. We want to believe that our world can grow and evolve into something like the Federation where its "all figured out", but it will never all be figured out, because there will always be new things to learn, new experiences, new challenges, new enemies... and we work through them all, just as we always have.

    This season is setting up an excellent new era of 25th venture trek. Bravo!

    This was the best episode of the entire show so far. And top 5 best Trek since the new age began.

    This episode gets 4/4 stars.

    Beverly is CRUSHING it. Her scenes with Picard are golden.

    I only wish I could binge watch the entire season right now!

    @voxymandias
    "The Federation is still a tremendous utopia here:"
    Is it?
    Racism, slavery, poverty, classism, addiction and untreated depression leading to self harm, including suicide. It's all back, not just somewhere but even on earth.

    "We want to believe that our world can grow and evolve into something like the Federation where its "all figured out"
    No, that is not the point. Nobody thought that Federation was done when it comes to development, just that it had reached a certain level that looks utopian to us but that still leaves lots of room for further improvement.

    @Booming

    "Racism, slavery, poverty, classism, addiction and untreated depression leading to self harm, including suicide. It's all back, not just somewhere but even on earth."

    Let's review these through the lenses of TOS/TNG/DS9/VOY/ENT:

    Racism: Human prejudice from Captain Archer against Vulcans; Lt. Stiles in "Balance of Terror" against Spock and Vulcans; High-level Starfleet leaders in "The Undiscovered Country" against Klingons

    Slavery: Orion slavers and their slave trade were referenced in every one of those series, with later series mentioning it in the same breath as the Orion Syndicate.

    Poverty: I'll give you this one, because in a post-scarcity replicator-driven economy, it hasn't really come up much within the Federation itself, but then, we were almost always on a Sstarfleet ship or station, and not really seeing how "normal" Federation citizens lived.

    Classism: Admiral Cartwright calling Klingons "the alien trash of the galaxy" in "The Undiscovered Country"; and Federation humans from almost every series on many occasions looking down on their ancestors for their all-too-human foibles and flaws.

    Addiction: "The Game" and "Hollow Pursuits" (TNG), both directly affect Starfleet personnel.

    Untreated depression leading to self-harm: B'Elanna in Extreme Risk (VOY), and one could argue Picard's assimilation into Locutus that leads directly to the breakdown in First Contact.

    As for suicide: One could argue that Quinn in "Death Wish" (VOY) was depressed because he was bored to death and committed suicide to resolve that.

    So, I mean almost all of these things existed or were known to the Federation in "classic" Trek.

    Voxymandias said:

    "Picard as a show in the first two seasons was an absolute mess, yes, but this is, far and away, so much better in every way."

    I gotta agree.

    When Picard and Dr. Crusher are talking the medical bay, I saw Picard instead of Patrick Stewart, for perhaps the first time in this series. This is the Jean-Luc Picard of "What a piece of work is man," "This far, no farther." Good stuff.

    I do also like that the writers seem to have anticipated the various questions that I was asking. During this scene, there were several times where I said "Yeah I want to know that too," and "Good question!"

    ...This is pointing towards something that could become good. I ain't saying I'm on board with it yet, but it does seem a bit more streamlined and "writerly" than previous outings of Trek since basically 2007.

    Taking up the story where it left off at the end of DS9 also gave me a big endorphin rush, and I agree with what was said that Raffi vs. Worf makes a decent duo. Somehow, adding Worf in gives her a lot more to play off of and it works?

    ... 3 stars, again. Still waiting for this season to punch through my shields and trigger a core breach, but...repair crews seem on point? I dunno.

    "The Federation is still a tremendous utopia here: material need is gone, hunger, homelessness are still gone."

    Apparently nobody told Raffi, or Freecloud.

    @Voxymandias
    - "Racism: Human prejudice from Captain Archer against Vulcans" Before the Federation
    - "Lt. Stiles in "Balance of Terror" against Spock and Vulcans" His entire arc was about seeing that he was wrong and it is just one guy. Not the entire Federation letting hundreds of millions die because of racism.
    - "High-level Starfleet leaders in "The Undiscovered Country" against
    Klingons" I never saw the conspirators as racist, more like cold warrior incapable of change. The two young crewmen who got killed. Still when I say racism, then I mean racism influencing official policy to the disadvantage of the target of that racism. Not that literally any Human in existence is not racist.

    -"Slavery:" The Orion Syncdicate is not part of the Federation

    - Classism: Ok, so your examples do not really apply to classism. Very simply put Classism means that people of lower economical or social classes are portrayed or seen as having less worth.

    - Addiction: There is a difference between a hostile power willfully addicting people to control them or a guy perving it up on the holodeck to having hard drugs and addiction being a serious societal problem.

    - Depression: "B'Elanna in Extreme Risk" Happened outside the Federation without any trained therapist around.

    - Suicide: Again, there is a difference if an episode shows somebody struggling with meaning in life which is making a point about the meaning of existence and a NuTrek season portraying somebody killing herself because of a mental problem for which we already have pretty effective treatments today.

    "So, I mean almost all of these things existed or were known to the Federation in "classic" Trek."
    Even the things you name that apply to the issues are singular or very small scale and not significant societal problems.

    But I guess we are locked in. Anybody who bothered to read our arguments can form their own opinion now. Let's not continue. :)

    How are we all brushing over Beverly's explanation for keeping Jack away from everyone, even "her son Wesley" (thanks infodump!). And how did the boy ever go to school on Earth without anyone wondering who his father is? Did Bev falsify records? And why didn't JL at least wonder why she'd name their only child after her first husband?

    As excited as I am to see the Changelings, it makes so very little sense given how DS9 presented the Great Link for seven seasons. One of the Founders' favorite lines to explain their collective state: "The ocean becomes the drop... and the drop becomes the ocean". In other words: once they're together, they are one. The notion that there are rebellious, terrorist cells inside the Link is a new one I'm finding hard to take. But hey, it helps the story along.

    For some reason the de-aging filter worked better on Jonathan Frakes than it did on Patrick Stewart in the flashback. And based on the quick cameo, I'm fairly certain Marina Sirtis will be playing Troi as herself now. Loud, brassy and full of piss 'n vinegar.

    Ah, and Worf still steals the show :-) He even makes Raffi work. Or, Raffaella if you will. Exciting episode, can't wait to figure out why the Changelings are after Picard and his son and what the dangerous new McGuffin they stole is.

    @Jax

    "Apparently nobody told Raffi, or Freecloud."

    Freecloud is never mentioned to be a member world of the Federation, and Raffi had a whole life before we meet up with her. She grew up in the Federation golden age we're all very familiar with.

    @Norvo: "For some reason the de-aging filter worked better on Jonathan Frakes than it did on Patrick Stewart in the flashback."

    I think because Frakes' posture and voice are better. No matter how good a job they do de-aging Stewart's face, he still has that slight stoop and weak voice that give away his age.

    This episode was a lot better then the one from yesterweek. How­­ever, it is still suffering from a lot of the maladies typical to the current incarnation of Trek (which I prefer to call Trek v3, for “NuTrek” is going to sound old really soon). Among these are:

    ———————————————

    (α₁) The lack of any futuristic element — none of the people in this show would look out of place or time if they time-tra­velled to pre­sent California. Funnily, S2 lite­ral­ly did that and proved my point (Rios even stayed there be­cause the cigars taste bet­ter, good for him; but compare that to Kirk, Spock, Data, Picard, Bashir or Jadzia; really, Tom Paris was the only who felt at home in the 20ᵗʰ century).

    From these observations, I conclude that Trek v3 is firmly rooted in the pre­sent in­stead of show­ing us a bet­ter fu­tu­re. Any ele­ment of aspiration gets lost, rather the writers quagmire us in the here&​now and seem to lack any am­bition to boldly go elsewhere.

    (β₁) To add insult to injury, contemporary elements get injected that ac­tive­ly sa­bo­tage any feeling that this show might take place in the 25ᵗʰ cen­tury. Swearing often gets criticized, but I find col­lo­qui­a­lisms worse, for the prove that characters are a product of a society close to our own. Yet worst of all are ar­chaic units of mea­sure like to­day’s “Four feet in the air” (7:15). No one will say so in the fu­tu­re; in fact no­­body does to­day ex­­cept people in two or three coun­tries, word-wide (every­one else says some­thing like “more than a meter”).

    Why does anyone write science-fiction if they hate the future?

    (γ₁) There is also a profound lack of any cerebral science-fiction the­­mes. Sure, Trek v3 does have the­mes of its own, but those of­ten seem weird­ly out of place for a future setting. Picard S1 was uni­que in fea­tur­ing a true SF sce­na­rio and re­flect­ing some­what in­tel­li­gent­ly on it, but the rest of Trek v3 me­an­ders around con­tem­po­rary issues like social in­equa­li­ty, drug ab­use or health­care, which should be moot points for humans in the 25ᵗʰ century. Even by today’s stan­dards in de­ve­loped coun­tries, so­me of it seems ana­chro­nistic, probably again with the ex­cep­tion of one or two coun­tries in the de­ve­lop­ed world where uni­ver­sal health­care is still con­si­der­ed an anathema and fiendish intrigue by the devil himself.

    Such themes however, still could be an issue for alien civi­li­za­ti­ons, but Trek v3 shies away from any de­pic­tion of aliens that do not be­have like hu­mans (the reference point seems to be a 21ˢᵗ century undergrad student or young alumnus living in USA, West­­ern Eu­ro­pe or Au­stra­lia). Any other mindset seems taboo in Trek v3, and that’s pro­­bab­­ly why Saru lost his threat ganglia, Spock be­came emo­tio­nal, Seven got strip­ped of all her seven­ness, Una dis­guised her­self as a hu­man, the en­ti­re Pro­to­star crew just behave like human kids, and Hem­mer died.

    ———————————————

    All these faults are still very much visible in Picard S3, while some of the other, more su­per­fi­cial faults have been some­­what mi­ra­cu­lous­ly cured or at least al­le­vi­ated. These in­clu­de mostly bad writ­ing of many dif­fe­rent rot­ten fla­vours, cha­rac­ter assas­si­na­tions, canon vio­la­ti­ons and other pro­blems haunt­ing many fran­chi­ses in the­se days.

    (α₂) The poisonous mystery box writing model is still em­ploy­ed for the ob­vious rea­son of sel­ling more sub­scrip­ti­ons, but with much more mo­de­ra­ti­on than in other in­stall­ments.

    (β₂) While it is too early to celebrate, I have some confidence that this season will bookend its story satisfactorily. This was a lethal problem in Dis­cove­ry S2 and Picard S2, where the end of sea­son made no sense given what hap­pen­ed before, and it haunted all other seasons of real-action Trek v3, which ended under­whel­ming­ly or left a sour taste in the mouth.

    (γ₂) Pacing has been much improved, as we get ans­wers to our ques­ti­ons on a week­ly basis, not just more ques­ti­ons and empty pro­mi­ses that ans­wers will be provided in the future.

    (δ₂) Legacy characters are less distorted than in previous seasons or the other v3 real ac­tion shows — the ani­ma­ted shows have, for un­known reasons, a much cleaner record in that point. Still, the conflict between Picard and Riker felt unnatural to me. I still re­mem­ber that Picard sur­ren­der­ed the Enter­prise to the effing Fe­ren­gi in TNG S1 (and just got lucky they wouldn’t ac­cept).

    (ε₂) Canon violations or subversions didn’t happen right now. Sure, pla­net M’talas Prime seems as un-Federation as possible, but like Freecloud in S1 it could be a non-member world.

    So I do see why a lot of people perceive Picard S3 as a sig­ni­fi­ca­nt in­crea­se in quality, as it avoids some of the weak­nes­ses of pre­vi­ous Trek v3 in­stall­ments. However, for me that is not enough as long as the three points enu­me­rated above still stand. Maybe, Picard S3 is the “best” real-action show that Trek v3 can and will pro­duce, but it still avoids most of what made Trek v1 and v2 stand apart from the other SF shows in the day. Which raises the question why any­­one would like to pro­duce Trek if they hate or at least actively avoid every­thing that makes Trek dif­fe­rent from non-Trek. Sure, people might like SF but not spe­ci­fi­cal­ly the Trek va­ri­ant of SF; but why then not join an­other franchise?

    (Strangely, Lower Decks is the only v3 Trek show that I tho­rough­ly enjoy. While it mostly lacks the cerebral qualities of Trek v1 and v2, in em­bra­ces the uto­pi­an na­tu­re of Trek v2 and feels not ex­act­ly like a good Trek show but like an even­ing spent with a group of funny Trek nerds. Good enough for me, and I doubt I will get any­thing bet­ter from v3).

    I enjoyed this episode very much. The Founders represent such an obvious and rich source of antagonist material that it makes perfect sense. DS9 will always be my favorite show, but I don't think its ending implied that Odo would necessarily resolve all the problems in the Great Link or that he would succeed in convincing the changelings of not needing to conquer the solids, etc.

    I also think a lot of the criticisms I see here are built on some very nostalgic memories of TNG and DS9, because man did those shows also have some weird pacing issues, overacting and plot problems. Objectively, I don't think S3 is any worse on average. Has it reach their heights? Not yet, but this third episode leaves me optimistic.

    I didn't like this one nearly as much as the previous episode. It felt very repetitive. Much of the dialogue felt out of character. The one-liners after beating up people (e.g. you're insane, beheadings are on wednesday) were very reminiscent of Marvel movies.

    @Galadriel

    I’d pose that Star Trek is as it’s best when it mirrors the times we live in. For them to forget an contemporary connection would be a departure from form.

    Freecloud seems pretty clearly in Federation space, and seems right at home in nuTrek's warped idea of the Federation. What other Alpha/Beta Quadrant nation would it be?

    The episode was packed with so many scenes that I would have loved to have seen earlier - I think they expand well on the chemistry between the original crew. And once again I think Captain Shaw is one hell of a good officer. Certainly not a predictable episode. Tears in my eyes watching it. I love my heroes.

    When I sat down to watch this I was thinking, okay I'll be disappointed for sure - but I've had a bad day anyway. How wrong I was. Even Raffi was good! And this is the Worf that I wish had been a TV show for him alone. Now he's old and cuddly but still deadly. When he introduced himself, I had to pause the show because I was laughing too hard.

    Me: "packed with so many scenes that I would have loved to have seen earlier"

    The debates really humanizes the characters for me, to a degree. I'm sure throughout history there have been many ships where the captain and #1 argued and debated...

    Picard does seem quite aged in this one, very realistic from my experience with octogenarians. I don't know what they're going for with the conflict, but Jean-luc Picard should absolutely know that the captain has the final word. I guess the obvious answer is that his body has been infiltrated by a changeling and is controlling the android Picard.

    Considering how much material was loaded into this episode, I thought it worked very well. It brings up an intriguing topic about the type of risks Picard faced as the poster boy for Starfleet for many years and it’s fascinating to have Beverly unpack all that. It’s a topic that could never have come up in TNG’s original run because the serialization limited these types of breakthroughs. Basically, Beverly’s speaking from a rational perspective: Picard can’t lead a normal life since the call to duty and danger spills into his family. Picard’s right too, of course, that he should have had a say in the matter, but maybe Picard doesn’t understand his limitations. Could he really change?

    The Titan takes a battering and is overwhelmed by the Shrike. It turns out the Shrike has a mean new weapon, which oozes spectacle in practice, and looks like a similar force used by the terrorists who brought down a Starfleet facility. It’s no wonder there’s bickering about decisions; it doesn’t look like there’s any good options. To make matters worse, there’s a saboteur on the ship (one who can shapeshift!)

    While the Titan is stuck in the nebula, it feels like Raffi and Worf are getting the real detective work done. We learn about changelings and a larger plot, one that exceeds the scale of Picard and his son.

    I give this episode 3 stars. An entertaining hour with tense ship engagements and good character development along with plot progression.

    Riker, prepare a counterattack, please.

    @ TheERguy “Star Trek is as it’s best when it mirrors the times we live in”

    I agree that StarTrek should, nay, must com­ment on the times we live in. But mir­ror­ing (i.e., depicting the present clad in a fu­tur­is­tic robe) is the wrong way, as it would turn the show in a kind of cyber­punk or “Blade Runner” type future. While this is not bad, it is not what Trek has al­ways done and is known for: Humanity is a shining beacon of hope that has mastered most of the systemic problems that have plagued it in the mill­ennia before; weak­nes­ses can still be found in pe­op­le (because the op­por­tu­ni­ty for get­ting trau­ma­tiz­ed doesn’t go away, even in utopia), but due to im­prove­ments in edu­ca­tion, equality and par­ti­ci­pa­tion, there are usually pro­duc­tive ways to deal with such cases. And the very rare ex­cep­tions prove all the more im­pact­ful — that’s why I like DS9 more than any other Trek show.

    Usually, the “commenting on humanity’s present” part gets shift­ed to alien civi­li­za­ti­ons, which can show facets of the best or worst in hu­­ma­­ni­­ty’s present. This allows for a careful con­struc­tion of di­lem­ma sce­na­rios that po­wer­fully com­ment on the pre­sent with­out mi­mick­ing it.

    But Trek v3 wants the human society of the 25ᵗʰ century to be a stand-in for present times (especially for the present USA, some­times just for a Cali­for­nia high school), which de­parts from the tried Trek for­mu­la. Why this is done is subject of another dis­cus­sion, but I think it is a Big Mis­take™ that re­moves the Trek­ki­ness from Trek and turns it into just another dystopian SF show.

    Great stuff! I am enjoying this season way more than I have S1 and S2. Interesting to see Riker standing up to Picard since he is not obligated to take orders from him anymore. Raffi's storyline is a little less annoying now that Worf is involved. Also great to see Changeling's back as a way of connecting all of the TNG era shows.

    I also think it makes sense that some of the Changelings wouldn't have wanted to surrender after the Dominion War ended. Makes me think of when Sisko talking with Dax about the Romulans entering the war. Like he said, they couldn't stand idly by next to a chaotic empire next to their own.

    So far for me:
    Ep. 1: ***
    Ep. 2: ***
    Ep. 3: ***1/2

    I get if the show is too (emotionally) dark for any given person, but then I don't understand why you're still watching. Beyond that, the surest sign to me that this season is much better than the other live-action nuTrek so far is that most of the hate I'm seeing online is not about plot lines or scenes, but about petty stuff: He has the wrong accent! Why does an energy weapon need to load! I think it's quite good. Most of my issues have to do with stuff that comes up all the time on all the treks: loosey-gooseyness with the command structure and how technology works. But I've been looking past that stuff since The Menagerie. I think this season is solid.

    I think this one was an overall step up? I'll have to re-watch it with the wife to confirm it, lol.

    A lot of character stuff here, some debate, some character BUILDING (you're never too old to grow in either a positive or negative direction as a character!). I think that's good, but we'll see if it all "makes logical sense" in the grander scheme of what story they're trying to tell here.

    I thought the way last week's scenes were scripted and delivered felt like TNG SZN 1-2, and I don't mean that in a good way. Just felt unnatural, right? Like someone was parodying Star Trek? This week's episode felt a little better, felt a bit more real (stillllllll not perfect tho :) ).

    When this is all over, I'd be interested in rewatching the old TNG movies to ultimately see if this new project succeeds or fails (like most of the movies did) in the story/themes/character building departments. I'm feeling like what I just saw today was meatier than what Nemesis and Insurrection dished out, but ya just have to wait until the very end to make that final assessment!!!

    I'll stop complaining and live with the fact that CBS/Hideout exec producers are mandating the ridiculous "you're insane" style dialogue quips in each episode, along with the gruff swearing from badass Shaw. But I still don't like it, lol. You don't need to talk like a 15 year old to cater to 15 year olds-- at least to the smart ones. ;)

    Dominion bad guys doing bad guy things. An obvious setup of Lore being the bigger bad guy they stole. What does Vadic have to do with it all? Mystery boxes galore. We'll see if it all connects in a coherent, uncringe way.

    Lastly, RIP Discovery. I'm sorry for all you folks who dug it. But look, it's time to do better, Paramount. It just is. Picard isn't a shining example of "better" either. If recessions and cost-cutting orders are ultimately triggers for reducing bloated franchise development, and if this is a window of opportunity for someone else to take the keys one day (soon... maybe not so soon??), I'm in on that.

    lmao!

    The writing is exactly the same as last season. Inexplicable decisions, confounding behaviors, lapses in judgement, and failures in common sense proliferate the screen and all by characters who are supposed to be top of the line. There's a delayed response in urgency by all the cast members including the young ones as if everyone is suffering from old age, some by way of osmosis.

    This is absurd. Picard and Riker realize that there's a saboteur, but what orders do they give? No security team we have a saboteur onboard, find him? No Commander Seven is reinstated I need seven men to her current location to assist her?

    One photon torpedo plus whatever's in that nebula knocked the Shrike for a loop, but do you FIRE EVERYTHING?!? No. Inexplicably you wait until the Shrike puts you on the backfoot with a Uno Reverse Trump Card. THEN an ONLY THEN do you decide to FIRE EVERYTHING! Who didn't see that coming? Picard and Riker of course!

    The changeling decides to hold onto its form until its near collapse instead of changing, escaping its bonds, and at least attempting to kill its captors?

    The Federation fought a war with these people. They never developed countermeasures like they did for the Borg? The Borg was never all up in your territory shoving widow makers up your tailpipe the way the Dominion was. How in hell does that type of dereliction of duty happen? This crap is mind numbing.

    Can somebody explain how they went from wanting the capture Jack Crusher to wanting to kill him? Didn't the changeling know who's buttocks he was beating the snot out of? He just leaves him to die? If they just wanted to kill him why didn't blow his last ship out of the water when they disabled it?

    It's so clear. People are giving this the thumbs up wholly and solely because somebody at Paramount decided to get the old gang back together. This is fat Elvis singing his not so greatest hits.

    Interesting. They are getting rid of their two biggest Trek shows in the same year. Picard comes in at three seasons and Discovery ends it after five.

    'No matter how many times I hear it, "Goddamn" will never sound like it belongs in the Trek universe.'

    For me, it's the word, "shit." Though it was hilarious in Generations, words rooted in scatology feel below our heroes.

    I have been watching the first season of "12 Monkeys" to form an opinion on Terry Matalas as a showrunner, and (for better or worse) it seems to confirm much of what we have seen on "Picard" so far.

    On the plus side, the series seems competently purposeful, characterizations are strong, the pace is good and "mystery box" plots are utilized far more wisely than under the J.J. Abrams School of Filmmaking, i.e. despite having one overarching mystery per season, all of the small questions are set up and quickly paid off episode by episode, rather than fraudulently stretching them out. Some big conceptual science-fiction ideas emerge as the plot develops to give the story some gravitas.

    On the minus side, it all amounts to run-of-the-mill SyFy Channel fare. Dialogues can be clunky. No new creative ideas are presented, neither aesthetically nor thematically. The broader concepts utilized are generic and have been mined a thousand times by better authors. It is entertainment to be enjoyed without a lasting impact.

    Who knew Gates McFadden could act like this? Could she have done so all along? What might have been.

    I have a problem with Picard and Riker arguing like that on the bridge. Might they argue like that? Sure. But not in front of the kids. They would have acted like they knew what they were doing at all times and were in complete control. If they were going to argue, they would have stepped into the Ready Room.

    @Dreubarik,

    I've not watched 12 Monkeys, but my impression is that it only became critically acclaimed starting with Season 2, hence just watching the first season may not be the best impression of what Terry Matalas is capable of.

    “No one hates Star Trek more than Star Trek fans.” - Quote. This comment is so succinctly laugh-out-loud-dead-on-funny that I am still recovering from it.

    One giveaway is how quickly they change the goalposts. Like Darren Mooney did in his review of this episode. Apparently the good-for-one-day-only criterion for judging THIS week’s episode is how “meaningful” the interpersonal conflicts were. One week it is how bad the action is, the next week is that there is too much action, the next week is that the action doesn’t matter, but some arbitrary standard of “meaningful” rules all. I used to complain that people have no right to impose their definition of what Star Trek is on everyone else, so as to be the sole arbiters of what is “good Trek.” Now the arbitrage criteria are being changed by the week, ad hoc (or Is it post-hoc) (or is it both?). How CAN’T one laugh? One need not conclude this is a great or even good season to agree with the Quote.

    @Jammer: On all the streaming Treks, foul language seems to be gratuitous ('hey look what we can do") but on the other hand, "It's about you flying a goddamn computer console when you want to be out there hopping galaxies" was 40+ years ago and didn't seem out of place. Admittedly I have a foul mouth.

    Alien parasites out, Changelings in, it seems. We'll see.

    It's so demoralizing every time the scene switches to La Sirena parked on top of Druggie Mart or wherever this place is that literally everyone material to the Daystrom investigation hangs out. As I watch, I literally slump, knowing whatever story momentum is going on is about to grind to a halt for a while. Worf helps, but only so much. Let's find out what else was stolen... Lore and/or the yellow cube containing the Moriarty program?

    I don't really buy Riker as the chickenshit he was portrayed as here, even if in the end he's proven right. Where are the unorthodox tactics he is known for? Riker kicking Picard off the bridge, I guess we let that go for drama? But I draw the line at Riker saying we're all going to die in earshot of the bridge crew -- a crew he took command of 20 minutes ago, people that don't even know the guy -- I call bullshit on that.

    The nebula is alive somehow and hilarity ensues? Tune in next week.

    @Cynic: "'It's about you flying a goddamn computer console when you want to be out there hopping galaxies' was 40+ years ago and didn't seem out of place."

    Actually, yes, that sounds completely natural -- so natural that I completely forgot about it -- probably because it's Bones. With Bones it feels right. So maybe it's the TNG characters and how much we're used to how they sound on TV.

    https://www.dudequote.com/?q=105

    Part of the reason "Discovery" and season 1 and 2 of "Picard" are so bad, is that they're super pretentious. These shows are constantly patting themselves on the back for things they believe are artistically audacious, smart or profound, but which are actuality very awful.

    Part of the reason season 3 is an improvement, is that knows its limitations. This is just a Goodies vs Baddies story about dudes fighting in a cloud. There are some minor mysteries and character work, but mostly this is a straightforward, old-fashioned story. So on that level it's much less annoying than most of nu-Trek. There's a functional, archetypal quality to the season so far.

    Another reason this season has been an improvement, is its sense of momentum. Each episode has been mostly structured well, and each flows well into the next. There are no elaborate narrative gimmicks or tricks, just old-fashioned thriller writing.

    The early reviews touted "Seventeen Seconds" as a great episode, and from what I've read, most people expected this to be on the level of "Wrath of Khan" or "Best of Both Worlds", both of which feature ships hiding and fighting in a nebula. IMO "Seventeen Seconds" doesn't come anywhere near those past Trek stories. It's on the level of a mid-tier Voyager action episode, perhaps a bit below "Night", an underrated episode which saw Janeway in a sorta nebula thingy.

    In terms of positives, I thought Worf was written well (lots of great jokes), Beverly acted her heart out, Frakes as always elevates every scene he's in, Picard's son continues to (surprisingly) work, and most scenes set on the bridge of the Titan were strong.

    Nevertheless, I thought this episode had more minor flaws than the previous one. I don't buy that Beverly would hide a son from Picard, and I don't buy her explanation that Picard is a dangerous, reckless man to be around. Picard is not Kirk. He's not some wild adventurer constantly hounded by warlords and assassins. This is a reading of Picard that focuses too heavily on the movies and ignores TNG.

    The episode's misjudgement of these characters continues with Riker. I don't buy his feud with Picard on the bridge of the Titan. Riker would not speak to Picard that way; this is a seasoned captain, and he'd find a more tactful and forceful way to turn Picard down and stick to his own instincts. Similarly, I do not buy Picard's oddly aggressive attitude. Why's he so hell-bent on fighting? And if he sees a tactical advantage in doing so, wouldn't he sell his belief better to Riker? Their entire feud feels forced and unconvincing.

    The other usual nu-Trek flaws remain: too much swearing, too much physical violence and torture, Starfleet officers continue to be obnoxious and unlikable (other than Laforge, is there any new Starfleet character who isn't an abrasive person? NuTrek makes Starfleet seem like such a horrible institution), and too many contemporary phrases ("Cool!", "...it's a bitch!" etc etc) which ruin the immersion.

    I also thought this episode would have benefited from more scenes with Amanda Plummer's Vadic. We needed to see her ranting and taunting from the bridge of her ship. She should be delightfully toying with her prey like a cat with an injured mouse, but we get virtually nothing from her.

    Still, there's something gripping about this story so far. By episode 3 of season 1 and 2 I was ready to check out, but this season hasn't started to majorly annoy me yet.

    Incidentally, does anyone else think nuTrek portrays Earth's cityscapes in a dull way? In "The Orville", Earth's cities seem bright, architecturally interesting, imaginative and utopian. In nuTrek, Earth looks like outtakes from a Christopher Nolan movie.

    Doesnt ANYONE ELSE think the Changelings being back was too OBVIOUS AND PREDICTABLE??? Especially after episode 1 I already suspected, with Jack saying always a different face of the people chasing him, Klingons,fenriss rangers, starfleet--WHO ELSE changes face like that?? OBVIOUSLY CHANGELINGS! Why not bring back someone more surprising like the Breeders from The Chase and maybe some new Iconians and some NEW aliens..and anyone else think the NEBULA IS A BUNCH OF CHANGELINGS IN A SPACEBORNE GREAT LINK?? Ihope it and the gravity well are a unique and original sci-fi phenomenon/phenomena

    And WHY has NO ONE besides Jammer mentioned the episodes BIGGEST and MOST INTRIGUING MYSTERY??--The SEVEN VISIONS with red branches--Is it some new alien life form?? Is Jack NOT JUST a human child of Beverly and Picard?? Something to do with why Vadic wants him? I await WONDROUS new alien life forms and planets and neat sci fi revelations a la Enterprise's Expanse season 3 storyline or TNG's many great Brannon Braga episodes like The Chase and Timescape or Home Soil..

    @Jammer
    "No matter how many times I hear it, "Goddamn" will never sound like it belongs in the Trek universe"



    I hope you don't think this is a Nu Trek phenomenon. Bones said "Sounds like a Goddamn SPANISH INQUISITION to me!" (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home). I don't recall anybody griping about it, but it's been like 30 maybe 40 something years. As long as it's used sparingly, I don't see the problem.

    @Leif

    I mean, we can try and throw together a theory of how all the pieces connect.

    It all comes down to the eventual pay-off. At this juncture, I'm still waiting for the story to reveal itself properly. We need some clarity by the end of next week's episode.

    It's still a bit weird to see there TNG characters in a serial, but this isn't shabby at all.

    I keep my expectations at bay because how rarely does this work?

    But this isn't bad at all. At this point, it feels like they're nailing the hell out of it. It's even thrilling.

    Finally something that I can at least recommend from PIC -- some strong scenes here with interesting dynamics (Capt. Riker with Picard as No. 1), and having some kind of follow-up to DS9's changelings is intriguing at this stage. Have to say though that the nebula evasion aspect has been done better enough times and it felt unimaginative here. And another nightclub scene with Raffi was not welcome.

    But Bev Crusher and Picard really hammering it out re. their son Jack and the flashback to Riker & Picard sharing a whisky and talking about Riker's son were the highlights for me. It felt like real honest and frank discussions and there is a parallel here with Picard fearing for Jack's life. I like the message Riker imparts to Picard about the importance of a father protecting his son, nothing like having a son.

    It wouldn't be PIC if there's no evaluation of Picard himself -- Crusher makes the argument of how he's always going off on missions etc. And Picard chastises Crusher -- good for him! Picard thinks back to what Riker told him and that he could have tried being a father if he had known...

    After all the good stuff Riker and Picard had been through, I thought it was a bit abrupt for Riker to blame Picard so harshly for the situation they were in falling toward the gravity well. I think the writing could be better here -- felt like their disagreements on tactics were fine, but Riker's reactions were over-the-top. But it's good to have Shaw out of the way at least.

    Worf as an older Klingon is now quite philosophical -- this is good and reasonable character evolution. So the handcuffs he puts the changeling in must have had similar technology as in "The Die Is Cast" where Garak interrogates Odo (one of DS9's best scenes). Nu-Trek hasn't besmirched DS9 yet so maybe this is their way of doing so...

    3 stars for "Part Three Seventeen Seconds" -- quite clearly better than the first 2 parts of PIC S3 -- nothing overtly stupid (like that ship looks pissed). Good overall plot. For now, the idea of the portal weapon being a distraction from something bigger coming is fine (and with the Changelings as the antagonists.) Some quality Trek here using familiar characters well.

    >"No matter how many times I hear it, 'Goddamn' will never sound like it belongs in the Trek universe."

    >"I hope you don't think this is a Nu Trek phenomenon. Bones said "Sounds like a Goddamn SPANISH INQUISITION to me!" (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)."

    As a matter of fact, I recall the first use of it being "This is not about age, it's about you flying a goddamn computer console when you wanna be out there hoppin' galaxies!" was the first use of it that I recall.

    All the same, I find it hard to believe that swearing will ever be erased from our culture, for fuck's sake. :)

    There's some extremely fine footage of the Titan trying to escape the nebula and being thwarted.

    I am also quite delighted that Worf feels more like TNG Worf than DS9 Worf.

    I suppose it's from the last episode, but while I am not interested in seeing gore in Trek, it doesn't bother me to see Worf's weapons do exactly what one might infer for a bladed season...

    @Trent
    "This is a reading of Picard that focuses too heavily on the movies and ignores TNG."
    Many people make a comment comparable to that, Jammer included. Yes, it is contrived but there is actually a far more glaring logical problem to Beverly's explanation but also to the entire action with Vadic's ship.
    Let's make an analogy. What would happen if some pirate gang or powerful organization would send assassins to kill an American four star admiral? America would send warships and wipe them out and the pirates who survive would be put in cages somewhere and get waterboarded until the end of their days. Exchange cages and waterboarding with nice Federation penal colony and you have the reaction of a great power like the Federation. Are we supposed to believe that even later there were assassins stumbling into Picard's chateau on a regular basis.
    Beverly's explanation makes no sense in any way and her behavior is pretty inexcusable. Let's not even think about the fact that she was 57 when she got pregnant. Perhaps Bev was taking fertility pills? :D

    The same applies to Vadic. Even if we accept that a private person could own a modern and very powerful warship that could take on a warship of a great power (nonsense), the consequences of that act would be massive. Again warships, penal colony, the end. Maybe that mystery box will get some explanation but I kind of doubt that it will be a good one.

    @Jammer:

    RE...

    '"Present day," the info card informs us following the Riker flashback. Yeah, we figured that, with the whole Titan-in-the-nebula thing."'
    Haha and if the title card wasn't there, how many would have passively said "I guess now we're back in the present day...we'll just have to assume..."

    'No matter how many times I hear it, "Goddamn" will never sound like it belongs in the Trek universe.'
    Agreed.m x100. And the F-bombs are even more awkward (but not as awkward as Staments and Tilly dropping them in Disco S1 literally for almost no reason, just because they could...And over the seasons, the profanity completely disappeared from that show.)

    'Riker notes to Picard that this isn't the Enterprise and they don't have the means to fight such a better-armed enemy. But why is a ship named the Titan so minimally armed?'
    I wondered that too about this Titan and Riker's original Titan being nothing to write home about, until I looked it up. Turns out the Titan - being a Luna Class - is part of a line of ships named after only moons. For example, USS Titan is specifically named after Saturn's moon of the same name: https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Luna_class

    In the 25th century all of the bad people are smoking or vaping.

    @Cynic

    RE "It's so demoralizing every time the scene switches to La Sirena parked on top of Druggie Mart ...As I watch, I literally slump, knowing whatever story momentum is going on is about to grind to a halt for a while"

    Good point, they are actually recycling A LOT of recent Discovery sets and those of Picard S2. The whole season so far seems to be a 'bottle episode' so the showrunners can afford massive space battles and paying the entire TNG cast.

    RE Riker yelling Picard he's killed them all, then throwing him off the bridge...It's so overreacting there MUST be a reason for it.

    I will have faith for now that future episodes will pay things like this off.

    @PM
    Luna Class was a line of capital ships, so that other Titan should actually have been very well armed. To use the wiki definition:"The capital ships of a navy are its most important warships; they are generally the larger ships when compared to other warships in their respective fleet."

    Of course the constitution class was a line of cruisers, in other words heavy warships. Why the Federation would turn the third iteration of a cruiser line into something that is apparently not well armed is one of those questions that will never be answered.

    You just have to accept it. Bad gal with bigger and better armed ship means threat. That's it.

    Can I just say that I love this community is still going after...omg...30 years? Wow. We've all grown together with Trek. Love it. Too bad the new shows are all garbage.

    The characterization here feels genuine, but I hate how they have to add in pew pew and dutch angles every six minutes to keep the attention of modern audiences.

    I'm at an impasse. I feel like Riker is going to be a Changeling, which is the only way to redeem his aggression towards Picard. But if he's a Changeling, that means all the "authentic" characterization between Riker and Picard we have seen thus far is a sham. So it's a no win situation.

    Very intrigued with the return of the Changelings. Having Worf reference Odo nearly brought a tear to my eye, mostly because I know with the passing of Rene Auberjonois, we can't have a delightful appearance.

    @Jax: "Apparently Picard is to blame for every problem in the Federation ever...he's the Joe Biden of space."

    This made me laugh so hard :)))
    And yes, it's frustrating that agan and again, every single thing happening in the galaxy is somehow Jean-Luc's fault in the eyes of all the other characters...

    We now return to Star Trek: The Search for Undiscovered Khan

    The series has surely reached its peak in terms of acting. Too bad that the quality of the writing still fails to rise to the occasion. I've stopping believing what anyone says anymore. Bullshit writing makes for bullshitting characters. My suspension of disbelief only gets me to the rationale that all the characters are just making stuff up as they go along. Like there's Beverly making inane excuses, then there's the whole thing about Picard's mother's suicide holding him back from romantic relationships, which he nonetheless had like FIVE past dating attempts with Beverly that all annoyingly happened offscreen, and NOW suddenly the thing supposedly holding him back from being a father -- at least accordingly to Beverly -- was his own TERRIBLE father whom I thought was somewhat vindicated in the previous season...*deep breath* and so on. And yet, despite it all, somehow the actors manage to mostly sell it because they put in the effort. And that at least is a far cry from the first two seasons

    Gotta feel bad for Shaw though. He never wanted any of this but he gets banged up the worst -- one woulda thought they'd have internal bleeding all figured out by 25th century -- while Picard and Riker suffer not a scratch for the plan that jeopardized them all. The apology that Picard owes Show just continues to compound.

    “If Starfleet were to acknowledge the existence of Changeling terrorists, "we'd be reigniting the Dominion War." Um ... how exactly is that the case if both sides know what's what and the Great Link's schism is on the record?”


    The Changelings have quite a complex relationship with each other. Ultimately if things came to a head they would put aside their differences and fight together against anyone who they saw as a threat to their species.

    Since we have the "how trek fans shoild be judged" inquisition present, let me first explain my personal criteria for whether I like something or not :

    (1) I want to be entertained. Preferably in a non stupid way, but I am always willing to tolerate some stupidity if the entertainment makes it worthwhile.

    (2) end of list

    So, having said that, my first observation is this : at was at this point that s1 and s2 had this weird severe drop in quality. Since I always root for a trek show to be good (despite the common accusations to the contrary), I shall herewith allow myself to switch from "cautious" to a mere "hey, so far so good". I liked it. Some stuff was stupid. But I was entertained. And the stupidity for me remained within acceptable levels, very much unlike s1 and s2. So far so good.

    Other positives :

    - for some reason, trek space battles are always the best when they happen inside a nebula. I know it's a detail, but I found the exterior shots of the ship action really really nice. Can't quite put my finger onto what it was, since it's technically the same CGI stuff as in the other shows. Maybe it's got something to do with the angles, and how the still somewhat enterprise ish design of the titan lends itself to creative use of them? Anyway: nice.
    - Riker remains my favorite actor, which still surprises me because in TNG days I didn't care much for the character. Frakes is just so natural in the role. Very good.
    - Stewart also better. And I'm glad to see that the chemistry with McFadden still is there (wasn't sure about that at all and feared a potential cringe fest).
    - I *very much* like the idea to introduce the dominion. They're a good villain. They make the plot click with the established universe a lot more than the random mustache twirling lady on that other ship, and also a lot more than, cough, abstract robot arms reaching through a portal. Also, not as overused as the borg. Qualifies as high stakes within the trek universe. So yeah, fully onboard with that.
    - I also want to praise the show for two weak spots, ironically. There's two moments in the episode where the plot clearly pushes too far. Beverlys explanation for hiding her son from Picard - quite a stretch. Riker sending Picard of the bridge with a "you killed us all" line - forced.

    But here's the thing : in both cases, while my inner trek nerd immediately said "ah, that needed two more shifts in the writers room", I think in both cases the actors made the best out of it, to a point where it was just a mild annoyance and not a showstopper.

    And that's not a detail, because it highlights a crucial difference when comparing to s1 and s2. Those also had such forced, contrived or just plain silly plot moments. But unlike here, it was made even worse because there was no good acting to tame the negative effect. On the contrary : in previous seasons, I would have had to suspend my disbelief while the silly plot point was delivered by someone like Raffi. That resulted in plot stupidity hitting you at full speed. Here, with the much better delivery of McFadden or Frakes (plus my obvious sentimental bias), it's not nearly as devastating. Not even close.

    That's very very good news. Having a cast that's able to act away plot stupidity to a sufficient degree is in fact veeeeeery good news for a show where you know there will be more plot hiccups along the way :-)

    - Raffi, while still barely tolerable, thankfully will probably now share all her scenes with Worf. Good. I will just look at Dorn in every scene then.

    - "mild Worf" is of course super silly. But hey, at this point they've basically thrown the most outrageous concepts at that character and somehow Dorn always managed to somehow sell it, some way.

    - really liking the score. Does it borrow from existing themes a lot? Sure. Is that necessarily a bad thing? Absolutely not. I will take a competent composer who competently pays homage to the material where appropriate over lousy attempts to reinvent the wheel any day. The balance between original material and quotes is tasteful and the orchestration is very well done.
    No more wrong harmonies in interpretations of the original theme (looking at you, crap discovery fanfare misharmonization!), nice subtle modernization and extra touches during the quotes - very very good.

    So yeah, that's almost all positives. Is there bad stuff? Sure. Time to leave the nebula guys. Typical Nutrek mismatch in tone in the dialogue happens often enough. Galaxy at stake syndrome? Check. Everybody blaming Picard for everything syndrome? Check. (so puzzling to me why they cling to that concept... It never worked). Would I rather have a complex adversary with nuanced political motivations than the mustache twirling sillyness that Nutrek seems so fond of? Check.

    But still. It entertains enough for me to happily go along. The acting is good enough to soften the effects of Nutrek plot hiccups. The dominion, while so far also just twirling a changeling moustache, at least has enough back story to fill in non moustache blanks. Could they end up milking the dominions depth established in DS9 without adding anything to it? Maybe. But maybe the established depth is enough for them to even get away with that.

    I wouldn't mind. As long as I'm entertained and good acting sells me the plot instead of trashing my suspension of disbelief with that dreaded crap plot delivered via crap acting from the previous seasons.

    And yeah, give me some more well orchestrated fanfares to nice angles of the titans exterior. Seems like a banality, but it's something we never got in the first 2 seasons, and what can I say - it's part of what makes trek. So yeah, bring em on :-)


    And who knows, maybe any cautious optimism is still wrong and they just held their breath for one episode longer this time around before it all falls apart? You never know. We will find out. But so far, I've enjoyed this. I had big fears about how I would feel about the TNG cast. There was a high chance this would be super cringe. But it isn't. Dare I say it, maybe it's really not just fan sentimentality but these just are in fact a bunch of good actors after all :-)

    Hah, and was that a little voyager model in sevens quarters? Went by too fast, but I thought it was?

    If so : nice touch. I know it's not the most popular show on this site, but I always found it a bit underrated because everybody disagreed with its insistence on staying episodic so much (I did too fwiw), but to the point where people often overlooked that it did "episodic" quite well with a cast with very good chemistry.

    Had a rewatch of various episodes lately. It has aged surprisingly well. Episodes like "blink of an eye" or "living witness" lend themselves very much for the occasional trek guilty pleasure.

    But okay, that's off topic. Pardon. Nice touch if it was a voyager model.

    Booming said: "Beverly's explanation makes no sense in any way and her behavior is pretty inexcusable. "

    Hi Booming, long time no see,

    Yes, you can feel the writers struggling to justify this plot point. They know it's unbelievable, derivative and nonsensical, and you can feel them getting themselves in a tangle to make it seem convincing.

    Kirk's separation from his son in TOS made sense. Federation ships like the Enterprise didn't have families on board. And Kirk was young, a careerist, loved his bros and ship more than settling down, and he had a sense of cockiness and adventure that Picard never had. More than this, Carol Marcus was a woman more headstrong than Kirk. She always did things on her own terms, and was a believable frontier scientist who briefly hooked up with a guy and decided to have a child alone. She didn't have the long history - and romantic history - that Bev has with Picard.

    Mosley said: "Had a rewatch of various episodes lately. It has aged surprisingly well. "

    I rewatched "Voyager" during lockdown. If you take the best episodes in every season, and put them together, you get a really great story IMO. The best episodes can go toe-to-toe with the best of the other shows.

    Mostley said: "- "mild Worf" is of course super silly. "

    I thought this episode wrote Worf well. Worf's always been silly, and the object of ridicule, and this episode used him well as a vehicle for light jokes. I'd have hated if the episode took him too seriously.

    Booming said: "Let's not even think about the fact that she was 57 when she got pregnant. Perhaps Bev was taking fertility pills?"

    Maybe this stuff is normal in the future. Perhaps Bev didn't even carry the child (artificial wombs?).

    The "Bev had Picard's child" subplot is really strange. It's a really bad and unconvincing idea, but Bev's acting is very good, Picard's kid works reasonably well as a character (you'd expect this guy to be an annoying drag), and the subplot leads to some decent, understated moments, like Riker standing against the bulkhead wordlessly watching the kid pace, or Riker smiling privately as he figures out that this is Picard's son, or Bev's wordless acknowledgement that the kid is Picard's.

    You might say it's a bad BIG idea which leads to some really good SMALL character moments.

    Bryan said: "all the characters are just making stuff up as they go along. Like there's Beverly making inane excuses, then there's the whole thing about Picard's mother's suicide holding him back from romantic relationships, which he nonetheless had like FIVE past dating attempts with Beverly that all annoyingly happened offscreen, and NOW suddenly the thing supposedly holding him back from being a father -- at least accordingly to Beverly -- was his own TERRIBLE father whom I thought was somewhat vindicated in the previous season...*deep breath* and so on."

    IMO every season of "Picard" misjudges what a show about Picard should be about. A Picard show shouldn't be an internal character study which attempts to psychologically explain and psychoanalyse its hero. Just give the guy an admiral's uniform, stick him in a diplomacy plot, and let him deliver righteous monologues. Picard's a closed off guy whose values are broadcast via his deeds and actions. And you understand best his interior life from these actions.

    TNG rarely let us into Picard, but via little subtle things he did, we nevertheless understood his interior world. And that's more powerful than huge melodramatic plot points.

    There's also a cloying, self-pitying aura around the Picard of this show. It's as though every attempt to "deepen" and "explain" the character makes him more self-absorbed, broken, wounded and hurt. The Picard of TNG was never so fragile and self-pitying. He had a GET ON WITH IT attitude (very British, very stiff-upper lip).

    Incidentally, does anyone think the Picard of TNG would react the way he does in this episode, upon learning he has a son? In this episode, Picard storms out of a room and doesn't even speak to his son. He just walks right past the guy. The Picard of TNG would walk up to the kid, formally introduce himself and say something considered and tactful. It may be unintentionally cold and rude, but he'd make an effort to sympathize with the kid, and make a genuine effort to help and amend bridges. This Picard, however, just walks past the kid.

    Similarly, TNG's Picard would never speak to Bev as he does in this episode. He'd say something like: "A son? Wonderful! That's great news! You must've gone through so much, and I'm sorry and hurt you felt like you couldn't trust me, but I'm here now, and I'll use my giant bald head to get us out of this predicament. Quick, to the bridge! You can help me sedate Riker!"

    Instead he just wallows in self-pity. There's a myopic, navel-gazing tone to this Picard. (In this episode's defense, it's part of a serialized tale. For all I know, Picard doesn't actually stew in his own pity for very long.)

    Quite enjoying it but I'm really not buying this Picard and Crusher offspring story. It's ludicrous, made even more so by having an actor who is (and clearly is) in his mid 30s play a 20 year old. If the argument is that this actor is like the younger Picard/Patrick Stewart hence the casting I'm not seeing a resemblance even if it suited the scriptwriters to make out Riker immediately sees it.

    The thing as well about future medical developments that would make it possible for a 57 year old to get pregnant with her own egg - yes more than likely BUT she would need to be treated in some way surely that deliberately extended her natural reproductive span therefore Bev deliberately got pregnant.

    I didn't think Worf himself was taking himself super seriously eg his line about his "casual wear". He has a droll sense of humour in this episode considering he did once protest that he was not a merry man!

    I was excited to see the Changelings again.

    Regarding Beverly's anxieties about bringing up her son around Picard, here's an excerpt from Roddenberry's TNG Bible:

    "Community and family: as humanity probes deeper and deeper into space with ten-year or longer missions becoming the norm, Starfleet has begun encouraging crewpersons to share the space exploration adventure with their families. Twenty-fourth century humans believe that life should be lived, not postponed. Previous experiences in space exploration have underscored the lesson that people need people for mental and physical health. Starfleet encourages its people to participate in family and community life and bonding. Although non-crew spouses and children are rarely seen in the duty areas of the vessel, the sophistication of starships now includes a variety of single and group family modules, various levels of schools and study facilities, a large selection of entertainment, sports and other recreation forms, and contests (electronic and other) of a thousand kinds."

    Also relevant:


    "Avoid treating deep space as a neighborhood. Too often, script ideas show characters pouncing from solar system to solar system, planet to planet, without the slightest comprehension of the distances involved or the technologies required to support such travel."

    and

    "STAR TREK is not melodrama. Melodrama is a writing style which does not require believable people. Believable people are at the heart of good STAR TREK scripts. [...] Our people are the best and the brightest, and our technology is tried and proven. Likewise, our characters are very committed to their ship, their crewmates, and their mission."

    @Trent
    Hey you! :)

    Most here talk about out of character stuff for Picard but hiding Picard's son, hooking up almost half a dozen times and breaking off contact for decades is so out of character for Beverly. She always was this very considerate, nurturing and cautious person who normally, in discussions, had the most ethical/humanitarian viewpoints of all the TNG officers. Only because many didn't like her character, doesn't mean that she didn't have one and acting like this goes completely against that character. Now she is a semen stealing, birdpeople vaporizing bench (#thegoodplacecursing).

    @Artymiss
    "The thing as well about future medical developments that would make it possible for a 57 year old to get pregnant with her own egg - yes more than likely BUT she would need to be treated in some way surely that deliberately extended her natural reproductive span therefore Bev deliberately got pregnant."
    This is exactly what I thought as well. Either she planned to get pregnant or it is actually normal for some unexplained reason that women without doing anything can get pregnant far longer. I guess Jean-Luc didn't want to use protection? :) That dog!

    Again time loops for me where people compliment the show and excuse the dumb at the beginning of the season. :D
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozKmghe6fOw

    Don't you get it? Some of the characters you see are not the people you think they are. The fun is trying to figure out which character really behaved out-of-character, and which character was actually not that character. It's Mission Impossible in Space!!!

    So far, Jonathan Frakes & Michael Dorn are my favorites, performance-wise. As for Picard, they seem to be taking their cues from Stewart’s grumpy portrayal in “All Good Things” — the only thing missing is the white beard.

    In all honesty, although the nebula chase is executed well, it’s been done so many times I kinda tuned out and multi-tasked while it streamed in the background. I watched this ep in two sessions, as my interest faded in & out. Space battles CAN be done well — I was surprised at some of the ones DS9 pulled off — I guess a big part of that is the story has to engage you FIRST so you have an emotional stake in who is the winner.

    Speaking of DS9, I guess the Changeling thing could work, but we’ll see.
    It’s funny: the Star Wars spin-off show “Andor” shows you can write good material for well-trodden ground (and light your scenes so you can still see details AND create a mood). And Terry Matalas cut his teeth working on “Enterprise, which I enjoyed for the most part. I just don’t get why they have such a hard time finding the right groove for Trek these days. I guess DC had the same problem & that’s why WB brought James Gunn on board.

    I don’t know….Star Trek has always been a particular kind of science fiction that mixed action & stuff that made you think. These days they miss the mark more often than hitting it. I was excited about SNW and its episodic nature and although I love the cast & the look of the show, the writing was kinda “blah”.
    Oh well, I’ll stick with this so I can see the TNG cast’s last hurrah — let’s hope it’s a fond farewell.

    @Artymiss

    I'm glad to hear somebody else say this. Patrick Stewart was in his mid 40s when TNG premiered. Now we have a guy about 10 years older who... I don't know, I just don't see ANY resemblance.

    I don't know why studios get horrible ideas and keep those ideas around. Thinking of Nemesis – oh sure he's Picard's clone because they're both bald! This kind of reasoning would have worked for me when I was 8 years old, but not now. The same with the English accent gene, which they meant as a joke, but I do believe that the producers thought it would make it him more like Picard with the accent. I expect my intelligence to be insulted with the feature films, but clearly, clearly this season is for the fans.

    Much better.

    Worf genuinely feels 100% like the old Worf, which is impressive given the changes added to the character (which don't feel out of place). Dorn is simply outstanding here, stealing every single scene he's in, pitch perfect.

    The changeling revelation was a nice touch and tie back to DS9 but was unfortunately blown by the subtitles in the first scene on the Shrike's bridge in which the subtitles referred to 'Changeling crew member 1'. Ah well.

    Loved, 'Yes, Commander Seven'.

    Plenty of decent (and for once actually logical) dialogue and character and plot development. I'm not gushing about the episode as no doubt many will be, but it's safe to say this is the best episode of PIC so far (not the best episode of NuTrek - that's 'wej Duj').

    @ Dirk

    That was the thinking behind it I'm sure. He sounds nothing like Picard/Stewart just because he's got an English accent. I'd been watching the actor (Ed Speleers) playing Picard Jnr in the latest season of You before seeing him turn up in this. His accent is the same in both (rougher in You as he's supposed to be a working class lad) and it's a very different accent to Stewart's - which is a trained theatre actor's accent from an earlier generation of stage actors. Speleers has a London estuary English twang.

    I think someone in the production team came up with the idea 'hey what if we gave Picard and Crusher a kid!' and instead of anyone saying what I would have said ("that is an absolutely TERRIBLE idea! What are you thinking?!") to protect the ego of the person who suggested it everyone said "wow great idea!" and thus James Crusher came into being...

    To be blunt I think even though Speleers is actually 35 Picard and Crusher looked like his grandparents in the medical bay scene. There's just no credibility for me as a viewer in the this storyline.

    I'm wondering if there are plans to do a spin off from ST Picard - ST Picard Jnr.

    @Daya

    They are actually all changelings except Worf. At least Worf is still Worf.

    I was feeling deja vu in this episode and then I remembered: we have seen this before in TNG 7th season "Bloodline", which I haven't seen since it first aired 30 years ago, and granted it was a fake out at the end, but we (and Picard) have been over this ground before.

    Doesn't mean that I hate the idea of Picard and Beverley getting together and having a kid in the many years since TNG and the movies. And remember they were married and divorced in one possible future in All Good Things. I can accept this ret-con way more than Picard's mother's suicide.

    The problem I had was Picard and Riker's sudden animosity. It felt really abrupt, unearned and manufactured to create "drama" and "conflict". I don't see Riker and Picard talking to each other and behaving that way in stressful situations. Especially when up to this point Riker and Picard's interactions have been such a pleasure and so on point, old friends/colleagues getting together.

    The other problem is the return of the Changelings. DS9 characterized the Great Link as a harmonious, blending, communing, interactive, collective consciousness, hive mind type of thing, way different than relationships among us "solids". The notion of factions and splinter cells doesn't ring true. There was always unity of purpose and thought. I suppose it's possible that some can leave the Great Link and be individual in their opinions like Odo was. But still, make Nu Trek s keep it's hands off DS9.

    In Bloodlines, Picard seems way more comfortable and accepting of the possibility that Miranda Vigo would decide to raise their son alone and not tell him. Were men more enlightened and less possessive or were single mothers and independent women more accepted and appreciated in 1994 than today?

    @Kyle

    I'm in the minority here, I think, but I didn't find the scene between 'JL' and Beverly to be in character, logical, moving or convincing. I didn't hate it (although I didn't particularly like it), and suppose I could see what the writers were attempting to do, but it just didn't seem plausible to me on a number of levels.

    It kept me awake and attached to the tv so it definetly was watchable. Although the Beverls Gates / Picard sceen was well acted. I do not need this.
    Riker/Picard show down in itself well made but also not really what I want.
    Seven sceenes are mostly good, especially the one with la Forge.
    The Raffi/Worf combination worked better than expected.
    Return of the changelings, why not?

    I hope they can keep this level of excitement.

    By the way, did anyone notice that there is a lady in a anpther ship trying to kill them. This theme alsmost got lost in the intense dialogues on the Titan.

    I do not like cliffhangers. Very irritating.

    Picard insisting, pushing, and yelling that they need to attack one of the most well armed warships they've ever encountered was inane. He doesn't offer a plan or any tactics, nor does he try to confer with the crew how best to attack such an outrageously well armed vessel should they decide to go on the offensive.

    He just insists that they shoot until they abruptly attack with literally no plan, and his ship is promptly gunned out of the stars in 10 seconds flat (the painfully obvious outcome). He is then dismissed from the deck in shame.

    Terrible command. Depressing to watch.

    Picard's reaction to learning about Jason Vigo was textbook Picard....not this nonsense.

    He even recalled Miranda Vigo as being the strong-willed Carol Marcus type. If I recall correctly, Miranda Vigo ran a multi-species orphanage. As with Kirk andn Marcus, {Picard had a youthful fling with here, not remotely the kind of relationship that Jean-Luc and Beverly have.

    Beverly was clearly in the midst of a sexual relationship with Picard at the time of Jack's conception, and then absconded from Picard's life with the child without telling him about it.

    Unlike Carol and Miranda, Beverly too is Starfleet, so her oh-the-danger excuse for doing so rang as beyond ridiculous. Wesley was raised on starships...it's why he was such a know-it-all about them.

    I bought that Beverly hid her son and broke off contact.
    We don't even know why they ended their relationship (again), but she must have come to the conclusion that she would never have Jean-Luc by her side, that there would always be shenanigans of the week and JL himself keeping them apart, looking for excuses.

    She was probably fed up with him, his inability to commit himself, and probably had trouble thinking of him as a father to her second son as he always struggled with kids, Wesley being one example.

    As someone who raised one son alone already, it probably was easier for her. I bet there were a lot of reasons that were left unspoken, but as someone who grew up without a father myself (and has no wish of meeting the guy), I 100% bought it.

    And again, Beverly doing that knowing the heartbreak and rumination about family that Picard felt in "Generations" (and even "Family" before that) seems downright cruel.

    @Maq

    'Seven sceenes are mostly good, especially the one with la Forge.'

    It's surprising how little Seven's being used this season, and I agree that Jeri Ryan does well with what she's handed here (although her character - let's call her 'Commander Annika Hansen', because the writers did - bears as much resemblance to the genuine Seven as 'JL' does to Captain Jean-Luc Picard, that is to say very little).

    It's as if the writers had one big idea for Hansen, namely the big reveal of her as first officer of the NuTitan, and not much else*. Hence she's condemned to the Brig to get her out of the way so JL and Riker can play role reversal and have a melodramatic and unlikely dispute about tactics.

    *I realise of course that Hansen and Jack Crusher reveal the Changeling sabotage which is admittedly a major plot point.

    I don't think I'm nitpicking to say I haven't seen a more unprofessional crew than on the Titan. Captain cursing every 2 seconds, pilot making quips about ships looking "pissed", injured crewmembers blaming people aboard the ship for their injuries. Riker blaming people for his own decisions. Even Crusher, a doctor with how many years experience, says things like "oh god" and "this looks bad" in front of patients.

    In another setting this might work but in 25th century peacetime it's so out of place. It's obvious the show wants to create drama but this isn't the way to do it.

    You are just a racist they said the same thing about Avery Brooks 3 decades ago - get over it black people are different than white people

    There being a split in the Great Link isn't so far fetched. It's been said that there have been disagreements within the Link. Whether an entire group of Changelings would just get up and leave without returning is a bit of a stretch though. Still, it's nice that DS9 has finally good a proper nod in nu Trek. Never imagined that day would ever come.

    @Ben regarding the reference to Odo and the recent passing of Auberjonois. I too was struck with surprising emotion at that. I'll admit I'm slightly worried they'll cheat and reanimate Rene ... or far far worse, Odo has turned evil.

    ----

    Rewatching, I'm still delighted this Worf feels like TNG Worf, not DS9 Worf. I loved him in TNG and grew to despise him in DS9. DS9 Worf was 99% angst and almost no fun.

    ----

    Beverly hiding Jack from Picard... I agree it's hard to believe and even brutal. Kirk and Marcus had a much shorter relationship, so that made sense. And there are other problems with this.

    But Stewart and McFadden acted the hell out of the scene. When a scene is done that well, I'm going to be a lot more forgiving of continuity of character. It's not exactly easy to create an ongoing story for these characters decades later.

    ----

    Favorite characters/actors:

    I agree with others, Riker/Frakes is unexpectedly my favorite so far. In TNG he drifted into wet lettuce territory after the first season or two. Here both are fantastic. And it's impressive considering Frakes also directed the episode.

    Worf/Dorn might well steal that mantle, but Frakes is just fantastic.

    And Beverly considering she lost Wesley... that's a welcome notion. TNG Beverly was often saccharin, and it makes a sense she would feel like she lost Wesley when he... transcended to a higher level of being.

    I assume the other weapon they stole from the Daystrom Institute is Lore. But wasn't it B4 we saw there in Season 1?

    @Booming, just a quick addition on suicide in Trek, lest we forget O'Brein pumping a phaser up to max and bringing it to his mouth in "Hard Time," saved only by a last second Bashir intervention and a good two minutes of convincing to get him to back down from the brink

    This episode was really good right up until the end. The reason Beverly hid her son from Picard was reasonable and the scenes were well executed. The writers also did a good job giving everyone something to do and all the storylines were engaging except for Picard and Riker's fight at the end.

    Riker yelling at Picard at the end was really unprofessional, as captain he was ultimately responsible for everything that happened and saying "you just killed us all" was inaccurate and unnecessary. It was out of character and done purely for the sake of drama and to amp up the episode cliffhanger, a real cheap move by the writers. Outside of that it was really good though.

    This was a four star episode for me until the jarring “You’ve killed us all” moment.

    That is so far removed from what we know of these characters that I can’t reconcile it. You don’t need to be a long time TNG fan to be jarred by this, the whole season up until this point was filled with warm moments between Riker and Picard, exceptionally acted, exceptionally written, perfect in nearly all respects.

    Sigh.

    Worst part is I’m pretty sure they only wrote it so we could have Yet Another Cliffhanger. And I’ll bet my monthly paycheck the “cliffhanger” ain’t, it’ll be wrapped up in the first scene of Episode 4 and nobody will ever mention Riker snapping at Picard again.

    Again, why does it have to be written like this? There’s so much to like here but they just can’t help themselves with these endings and forced character conflict for the sake of conflict.

    2.5 stars because of that ending.

    Best moment of the episode: Worf’s entrance

    @ Nick “The reason Beverly hid her son from Picard was reasonable and the scenes were well executed.”

    That scene redeemed a lot for me, very well written and acted (still need to hand wave away the whole birth control thing, but whatever, I can accept that conceit for a good story) and plausible with the backstory. The Wesley reference was probably the highlight of Beverly’s monologue.

    I do feel like they walked Beverley right up to the line of every other character in this universe seemingly blaming Picard for every bad thing that has ever happened in the last 20 years.

    “That's a warship with Jean-Luc Picard sized enemies behind it.”

    What does that even mean? In all the TNG backstory to date, what PERSONAL enemies did Picard have? I can think of one, DaiMon Bok, all of the rest of the big bads were Federation enemies and Picard simply happened to be the one dealing with them.

    “It was out of character and done purely for the sake of drama and to amp up the episode cliffhanger, a real cheap move by the writers.”

    Yep. Glad I’m not the only one that thinks so. That moment ripped me out of the episode and universe, the only unqualified “miss” of this installment.

    @Tim,

    What's so weird is it didn't make any sense. They only fought the Shrike when they lost warp drive and had no other options and Riker gave the order meaning he agreed with that course of action. So turning around and blaming Picard makes no sense and is really unprofessional.

    I also don't think it really added anything to the cliff hanger, the ship is still drifting towards the center of gravity thing, they could have just ended the episode on that. That little extra drama wasn't really needed.

    I didnt mind the age thing for Jack Crusher.

    Trek has always played a bit fast and loose with ages. Both Alexander Rozhenko and Naomi wildman got old real quick. You might argue that Jack is a human but "faster than light" travel spending your whole life in space will undoubtably affect the aging process.

    @HaveGun_WillRiker
    There is a difference between somebody being put in a brain scramblinator and essentially going crazy and somebody having depression. Depression is a fairly common illness (around 1 in 20 are affected). If people still kill themselves by the hundreds of thousands in 400 years, as they do now, then that would be a real failure of society.

    @Nick

    'Riker yelling at Picard at the end was really unprofessional, as captain he was ultimately responsible for everything that happened and saying "you just killed us all" was inaccurate and unnecessary. It was out of character and done purely for the sake of drama and to amp up the episode cliffhanger, a real cheap move by the writers.'

    @Tim
    'This was a four star episode for me until the jarring “You’ve killed us all” moment. That is so far removed from what we know of these characters that I can’t reconcile it.'

    It felt uncomfortably like a return of the sadistic NuTrek trope of other characters haranguing and verbally abusing Picard in increasingly hyperbolic ways barging in. For some reason the writers and producers of PIC (including Stewart himself) seem to think it's what the audience *needs* to see - even more so if it gets 'haters' losing their minds. Challenge their concept of Picard or whatever. Their alibi this time is that since it's another TNG character (Riker) humiliating Picard, any tantrum-criticism will be instantly neutralised. Checkmate, nerds!

    I really don't understand this series' drive to persistently undermine and humiliate Picard in as many ways as possible. I thought this season might have turned the corner but no, we have a scene in which Riker scolds Picard in public (of course) for being a pushy, interfering moron who's also signed everyone's death warrants, and Picard skulks off into the turbolift with his head hung.

    This dominion plot can be the start of something truly epic. After two seasons of bumbling, we could be getting a return to form here. I'm hoping they continue like this without delving too far into nostalgia fan service. I'm optimistic though, as they've struck a good balance with it so far this season. But let's talk about the real question. Is the Titan entering a wormhole to meet with Benjamin Sisko?

    It's basically a Trek movie stretched into oblivion as so many modern series tend to do nowadays. A simple "the world is at risk" plot again with an initial "mystery" (which still is a mystery three lengthy episodes in which all end in another wanna-bee cliffhangerrrr). Problem is, it drags on and on with lots of little sideways to extend character backgrounds with far fetched stuff noone cares to see.

    So we are meant to believe changelings can accurately mimic the outer and inner organs and all that goes along of a humanoid and sensors won't detect anything off? Also appearently they have access to crucial ship sensors and why would he want to kill the one person they are after? Mr. Picrush is maybe a hybrid changeling without knowing from changeling (Picard sim)/humanoid sex ;). Anything goes here. Including a positronic Picard which was soo needlessly written in (die, birth, same same, amazing tech live forrreverrr, how long is the queue?). Picard has some serious existential thoughts one would think and wonders why he still has this ancient biocopy. Those writers really don't think things through.

    @BokR'Mor

    From the sound of it, precious show time was wasted lambasting poor Picard.
    Riker could have just said to him:

    "You blockhead Charlie Brown."

    The memberberries are strong in this one. But when we strip away all the “it was cool to see X!” moments, we’re left with writing that is designed to filibuster, hoping to fill a 10 episode season with a 2 episode plotline.

    Paramount have modified Disney’s Mandalorian strategy to great effect. They took the crucial first step of buying off the Youtube influencer types (Drinker, Nerdrotic) with early access, who in turn told their followers that nostalgic memberberries were now a GOOD thing! Why? Well, uh, because they weren’t there before damn it! Picard nostalgia is good and Disney nostalgia is bad, remember that. Is that a meta-memberberry?

    I would like Picard S3 to succeed, but the exposure of the Youtube influencers as sellouts would be a glorious sideshow, and props to Paramount if they thought the same.

    The big turn or twist that is coming is probably a core character either being a changeling or allied with an enemy. For example, Beverly’s insistence for “no starfleet” could easily have been a feint to protect her own changeling nature as it was to avoid any conspiracy. Maybe Geordi? The fact that this is the final outing of this crew creates a lot of terminal plotlines, so anyone could be a dead baddie by the end.

    @Narissa's Bath Water (!)

    'The big turn or twist that is coming is probably a core character either being a changeling or allied with an enemy. For example, Beverly’s insistence for “no starfleet” could easily have been a feint to protect her own changeling nature as it was to avoid any conspiracy. Maybe Geordi?'

    I think you may be onto something. Perhaps 'Jack' is actually a changeling who fled from the 'little Great Link' of the breakaway changelings, who are now trying to bring them back into the fold. Would explain their obsession with getting hold of 'Jack' at any cost. Be a big twist if it were Beverly and Jack.

    Kyle: 'DS9 characterized the Great Link as a harmonious, blending, communing, interactive, collective consciousness, hive mind type of thing, way different than relationships among us "solids". The notion of factions and splinter cells doesn't ring true. There was always unity of purpose and thought.'

    "When you return to The Link, what will become of the entity I'm talking to right now?"
    "The drop becomes the ocean."
    "And if you choose to take solid form again?"
    "The ocean becomes a drop."

    MidshipmanNorris: "Taking up the story where it left off at the end of DS9..."

    If only! Tensions among the powers occupying Cardassia. Bajor's entry into the Federation. Renewed exploration of, and a vaccum of power in, the Gamma Quadrant...

    Whatever other disagreements you may have with the show, you have to admit this isn't mystery-box storytelling.

    I mean, Season 1 introduced a number of mysteries. Who is after Beverly, and who is the father of her son? Why did Bev cut off contact with Jean Luc for 20+ years? Who was behind the terrorist attack Raffi was investigating? Who was Raffi's mysterious contact in Starfleet intelligence?

    All of these questions have been answered as of the end of this episode. Don't get me wrong, there are questions still. Why is Jack so important to Vadic? Are the Changelings working alone? Is Vadic a changeling too? What the hell is up with Jack's vision. But these are all new questions.

    This is a sign of a well-paced story. There's uncertainty regarding where things are going, but there's no attempt to pad out the season arc with needless side plots (like say Discovery Season 4) or with nonsense which goes nowhere (like Picard's last season). Instead every episode provides a bit of satisfaction; another piece of the puzzle, without giving us the whole damn thing.

    They don't spend enough justifying what's going on, from a writing standpoint.

    Crusher's reasoning for disappearing with Picard's son does not add up. There's a little thing called a DNA scan that anybody can do to know that Jack is the son of their sworn enemy. I just found the dialogue scene between Picard and Crusher half-baked, although it was well acted.

    Similarly, the rationale behind why nobody can know there's a Changeling faction trying to take down the Federation because it might "restart the Dominion War" is also eye-roll worthy. The Dominion and the Federation signed a Treaty ending the war so that naturally means there should be a whole host of processes and cooperation in place to ensure lasting peace.

    The gratuitous use of the portal weapon against the Titan, preventing it from escaping over and over, felt more like a gimmicky use of CGI than a genuine crisis.

    @ Bok R'Mor "For some reason the writers and producers of PIC (including Stewart himself) seem to think it's what the audience *needs* to see - even more so if it gets 'haters' losing their minds. Challenge their concept of Picard or whatever."

    I really don't get it. There are plausible storylines they could have used to give people a reason to hate on Picard. Find some xBs assimilated _after_ Picard decided to let Hugh go, from some species completely eradicated by the Borg. That would have been a good Season 1 plot and a little mirror of what Wrath of Khan did to Kirk, Picard has to face the consequences of a tough decision from his past.

    We don't get that though, we get people hating on one of our heroes for reasons we never saw, coming from storylines that only exist in the writer's mind, because they were never shared with the fans prior to Picard and are only told in flashbacks (if at all).

    I've largely overlooked it because at least they had characters from Picard's past that didn't hate on him, Riker/Troi and Hugh from S1, Q in his own way from S2, and Riker (up until "You've killed us all!") from S3.

    It's really hard to overstate how jarring that moment was and how quickly it pulled me out of an otherwise great episode. My partner who has never seen a single episode of TNG was equally shocked by it. Her perspective on the relationship was all the warm moments proceeding that ending.

    Lots of people struggling to accept Riker's admonition and dismissal of Picard at the end of this episode. I agree it's highly atypical, but not necessarily unmotivated. It's only jarring insofar as it's foreign to us relative to their dynamic on TNG. I mean, look at it from Riker's perspective. He tricked Shaw and the Titan to come out here which has resulted in a perilous situation and the ship's captain sustaining serious injuries that has incapacitated him. He undoubtedly feels guilty and responsible for their predicament, compounded by Shaw placing him in command while simultaneously guilt-tripping him and by lingering trauma over having lost his son years before (made fresh by Picard's explicit acknowledgement of it). There's that moment when, after the Titan is hit by its own torpedoes, Riker silently processes the situation they're in and he's angry - mostly with himself, I think - and he projects that on to Picard.

    How well this sticks will depend on how the next episode follows up on it. I'm not convinced just yet either way, but it COULD work if it's sufficiently examined and justified.

    I give this episode credit for being ambitious, focused and tense - and Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden and Jonathan Frakes are all good here - but its effectiveness is undercut by the ongoing issue of poor dialog and characterization; in short, no-one talks or acts like a Starfleet officer or like the characters we know. I have two questions:

    - Why doesn't the Titan go around the portal? This may be an issue with the special effects shot, but the second time Vadic deploys the portal, there is plenty of time for the Titan to swerve it by going above it, below it, to the side or it, coming to a dead stop or even reversing. Instead, it flies straight into the portal despite the fact they now know what the portal is and what it does.

    - Why doesn't the changeling just shoot out two tendrils and strangle Worf and Raffi dead? That way it would remain undiscovered and survive. It's not like there's a quantum stasis field like in The Die Is Cast. Instead, the changeling dies and blows its cover for no apparent reason - other than so there can be a double reveal for the audience's benefit synced to Jack's discovery of a changeling on the Titan. The scene would have made much more sense if Worf, having been forewared of changeling activity by Odo and having been aware that the individual they captured may well be a changeling, had indeed brought along a quantum stasis field generator and activated it during the interrogation. We could still have had practically the same interrogation scene and the same reveal but with the changeling crumbling at the end.
    - On that note, why is the changeling still in the same form it was when it posed as a human to buy weapons from the Ferengi dealer? That seems like terrible strategy, which is very un-changeling-like - you'd think that to avoid any risk of detection it would have adopted a different persona straight away.

    Theory time:
    - Vadic's crew are Breen, right? They speak in a very similar way and wear masks/helmets; note also how the ship's design echoes the Breen interceptors of DS9 S7.
    - Plausible: Vadic is the Female Changeling, who somehow escaped prison without anyone noticing, cloned part of herself off to form a new Female Changeling, or was created from the rebel changeling faction's new Link. Less plausible but a fun idea: Vadic is LAAS, who is even more embittered than he was in DS9's Chimera since the changeling disease almost killed him, and now plays an instrumental role in the new Link (who cured him).

    Worst scene, and one that epitomises all of the other problems:
    - Riker has to explain to the captain of the Titan that you can't go to warp inside a nebula.
    Runners up:
    - Seven kicks the unconscious security guard's foot out of the way, just like she kicked the dead bodies on the Artifact out of the way in S1, because it looks sassy.
    - Riker tells Picard "you've killed us all" despite the fact he's equally culpable in getting them into this situation. The bar scene near the start of the episode was pretty good, but far too much of Riker's dialog is expository and out of character, mainly serving as a clumsy way to tell the audience things (often things that have already been shown or communicated just minutes earlier, but that slower viewers or those less familiar with Star Trek may not have understood).
    - Sidney, who was having a perfectly normal day at work on a routine mission before Picard, Riker and Seven hijacked her ship, is now somehow on Seven's side and goes to her quarters to say she understands why Seven, the ship's first officer, threw away her career and put 500 people's lives in extreme danger to help her "friends".

    The other big problem to this season, and (for once) one that isn't the fault of the writing: Ed Speelers is absolutely wooden, it's a really bad performance that is sub-soap opera level. It's not that he's playing the character in an overly cliched or obvious way, as that would at least be recognisable as a performance and as an informed choice; it's that his acting is simply poor, his line readings are so stilted and unconvincing that he doesn't remotely feel like a real person or believable character, let alone Picard's long-lost son who the entire plot supposedly revolves around. McFadden and Dorn haven't exactly acted a lot in the past 20 years and they're MUCH, MUCH better. Michelle Hurd is better. The Vulcan lady on the bridge is better. Speelers is a serious casting mistake.

    I agree with all of Jammer’s ratings so far this season — it’s a surprisingly fast moving and entertaining season, solid 3 star stuff but nothing spectacular. And the fan fiction stuff is kinda welcome without being disruptive. I love the references to Odo and the Dominion War.

    I do think this third episode starts to slip a bit, however: It takes the protagonists WAY too long to figure out the ship is being tracked and how it’s happening. This is the sort of hairy old Trek plot device that TNG, Star Trek VI, and Star Trek Generations dispensed with in much briefer fashion because these are smart people with amazing tech. It’s really frustrating (I think either Lower Decks and Prodigy also made this mistake) to watch how stupid and dense everyone is for so long on this episode. And why can’t Jack or Seven call up to the bridge with a comm unit rather than punching their way through security guards? It’s just really dumb, forced action that forgets how Star Teek technology works. Maybe that’s again the sin of this series in spreading out a single story over 10 episodes each season; it really drags things out without purpose. I hope this season moves past the nebula ship battle soon; it doesn’t need to go on any longer.

    "While unconscious from the poison gas, Jack has a strange vision of Seven with branches about her. "Connect the branches," she says. This clearly Means Something."

    I'm scared to death that this means bringing back the Borg Queen(s).

    I've long despised what I call the "Stupidly Secret" trope, where one character knows something, but for whatever reason, can't/doesn't/won't reveal it to the person that needs to know it. It can create tension if the reasons seem natural and legitimate. But for some reason, modern writers just can't seem to figure out how to do that.

    @RobSoLF

    I suspect, in classic TNG style, it's actually an intelligence in the nebula communicating with Jack.

    If Vadic is the female changeling or Laas or anyone else that appeared in DS9, why would Picard be the object of anyone's wrath now. It would sooner be Sisko or Kira or Garak or Ross or Nechayev or Section 31 doctors.

    @ B-Boy “It's only jarring insofar as it's foreign to us relative to their dynamic on TNG”

    It’s jarring relative to their dynamic in S3 to date and the S1 episode too.

    “How well this sticks will depend on how the next episode follows up on it. I'm not convinced just yet either way, but it COULD work if it's sufficiently examined and justified.”

    If they actually follow up on it in a meaningful way I’ll eat my words. Perhaps they’ll surprise me. I am skeptical but I have been wrong before.

    I'm a little worried the centre of this "anomaly" could end up being something extremely silly like another wormhole in which we'll be confronted with Wormhole-Alien-Sisko...

    @wolfstar

    Your entire post is an excellent summary of the core problems that NuTrek has, that even one supposedly impressive outlier such as 'Seventeen Seconds' is still in thrall to: even the very best, most seemingly accomplished and well-planned moments in NuTrek inevitably collapse into laughable idiocy upon the slightest level-headed scrutiny, because NuTrek is about CGI spectacle, not substance; the wow factor not the why factor.

    'Seven kicks the unconscious security guard's foot out of the way, just like she kicked the dead bodies on the Artifact out of the way in S1, because it looks sassy.'

    Yes, this is a perfect example of that inveterate NuTrek nihilism. Aside from all the other examples of NuTrek scenes everyone's listed in this thread that either don't fit or don't make (even internal) sense, it's very superficial things like this that send a message that is so disheartening and sad to see.

    It's like when they turned Seven into an angry alcoholic. She now has contempt for everyone and everything, apparently even her own crewmates and subordinates who happen to be acting under orders. It's so un-Trek-like, just like abusing the dead Romulans. At least the producers didn't have a few bars of the VOY theme playing as Hansen kicked him like they did last time. I bet they wanted to though, just to rub it in.

    @B-Boy

    'I suspect, in classic TNG style, it's actually an intelligence in the nebula communicating with Jack.'

    This would require the writers and producers* to have watched enough TNG episodes to recognise that 'classic TNG style', whereas I suspect that the writers and producers* take their cues mainly from JJ Trek, Michael Bay's Transformers films and the MCU. But yes, you of course may be right.

    *Yes, yes, I know, Matalas this and Matalas that, he's a modern-day Manny Coto etc etc.

    @Tim
    'If they actually follow up on it in a meaningful way I’ll eat my words. Perhaps they’ll surprise me. I am skeptical but I have been wrong before.'

    Same here.

    Credit where credit's due: I don't think any of us even so much as suspected the changeling twist. But I'm very aware that there's a strong possibility that that reveal is everything - NuTrek is always spectacle, never substance.

    If a captain ever yells in all seriousness "You killed us all" on the bridge in front of the crew he would probably relieved of command because he has obviously lost it. It is extremely unprofessional. Can you even imagine your commanding officer in a tense situation shouting that?! :D

    It's also very out of character. First because this is the same officer who talked about trusting your own judgement, and second because Riker was always one to take responsibility not place it on others.

    Can we have Frakes direct everything Trek?
    Anytime he has directed an episode, even on Discovery, it has been (or at least appeared to be, which is the same in my book) more coherent and certainly more fun to watch (which is the final objective of any tv show).

    @wolfstar:

    Regarding changelings and stasis field. I wondered about that too and am assuming perhaps those fancy looking handcuffs have some built in technology for that. It's likely the Feds' technology against changelings has advanced considerably.

    Regarding the Changlings, I'm really excited they are continuing a story from legacy Trek and the idea of a splinter cell in the Great Link is intriguing and IMO it makes sense there would be internal conflict given how controversial the decision to end the Dominion war probably was.

    Given that the writing this season has been better than normal, I'm cautiously optimistic on this one.

    @wolfstar:

    Speeler's acting isn't exactly charming me here either. But I don't think it's that bad, and I assume he's aiming to mimic Stewart's stoic Picard.

    I'll just admit it, this is thrilling me. This is fan wanking in expert form. It's a bit exuberant, but still low key. If you don't know who Odo is, it's just a mystery box reference. If you do, it's awesome.

    I don't expect perfection and could nitpick to death. I didn't really buy Shaw giving command to Riker, and Riker's comment to Picard at the end was grossly wrong.

    But for every wrong note, there are dozens that are perfect. These first three episodes have already erased that dreck Nemesis from my mind.

    Unlike Kurtzman, I’m convinced Matalas has actually watched and enjoyed episodes of Star Trek. For instance, it’s the Bajoran ensign who exclaims “My God”, and not, say, Picard or the Vulcan.

    This was a bit less sturdy than the past two outings, but thusfar we haven’t encountered the plunge in quality present in previous seasons thanks to relatively strong interpersonal character beats and action scenes that feel like someone bothered to choreograph them. In particular, I loved how the Shrike’s portal weapon confounded both Picard and Riker’s strategies and contributed to the simmering frustration between the two.

    Still looking forward to the next episode.

    @Gorn with the Wind

    'For instance, it’s the Bajoran ensign who exclaims “My God”, and not, say, Picard or the Vulcan.'

    I didn't notice that specific line, but it sounds like the Bajoran extra was simply given it randomly. If he had said, 'By the Prophets' I would agree, however.

    And I genuinely wouldn't be surprised if NuTrek had a Vulcan blurt out 'My f***ing God'. While eating ribs. On the bridge. Before calling Picard an old fool. To everyone's cheers.

    @B-Boy

    Could it be that Riker now slowly getting mature and feels it’s time to tell Picard that he is stupid, stubborn old fart.

    "When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years."

    Mark Twain
    (I'm not sure this is an exact quite as I found it in internet but I beleive he said something similar"

    That quote is not from Mark Twain, it is from Jesus.

    First rule of quoting: All quotes were made by Lincoln or Churchill.

    There have been a lot of things going through my mind since I saw the episode a couple of days ago, but I'll keep this brief - while still leaps ahead of the previous season(s), this was kind of a mixed bag for me.

    The general feel here is that they are first and foremost going for the thrills here instead of some deeper substance, thus drawing inspiration for the general tone from the movies that followed TNG instead from the series itself. Why that is the case since one is obviously superior in every imaginable way to the other is debatable, but it explains a lot of criticism regarding at times clunky dialog. It also explains Shaw's contempt of Riker and Picard in episode one where he admonishes the two for the reputation of action-movie stars that apparently follows them, but apart from giving them some sort of a legendary aura, that whole exchange makes no sense when applied to the crew we got know and love during the TNGs seven seasons. As a quick overview, it suffices to rewatch episodes such as "The Wounded", "Preemptive Strike" or "The Enemy), among many, many others, to see how little sense both Shaw's observation and the whole 'action-heroes' trope actually make.

    While on the subject of action tropes, busting Seven out of her quarters was just miserable and seemed like it came straight out of the 80s. The officer guarding her quarters was still Starfleet and, supposedly, capable of higher reasoning, so why not subvert the trope and have Seven and Jack explain the situation and maybe have him be an actual person that decided to cooperate and let them investigate the obvious danger to the ship? That would've been such a minor tweak that would've dramatically change the tone of the whole scene, but the writers decided to go for the most obvious route, and I am sorry to say that this is not an isolated incident which detracts from what has thus far been an enjoyable experience.

    However, by far the biggest issue for me this episode was the Picard/Riker dynamic that felt like a stab in the chest. I get it that Picard used to be in chargeand (one would think) still has that insinct of command within him, and I guess it was unavoidable that it would clash with Riker who also rose through the ranks since we last saw them. But the way it's done here, and the final remark from Riker was ridiculous on more than one level. I really hope that subsequent episodes are going to address it in a satisfying way and that it wasn't put in there just for the goal of creating dramatic tension. What I fear even more is that Riker turns out to be a changeling as many of you have guessed, as that would pretty much tank everything he had to say in the first three episodes, and that would be a crying shame as there had been some decent lines regarding Picard and his newly-found son.

    As for Crusher's justifications about not telling Picard he had a son, it really is something. While I don't really buy it and feel she is definitely wrong here, I am at least somewhat glad that her decision stemmed from an actual human choice, even if was arguably wrong, rather than some plot-dictated conspiracy. As for the execution of the exchange itself, that was very well done and again I felt like watching Picard and not Stewart acting it out. Their discussion, however, leads me to another issue I had with this episode and it's that, among the many things happening on screen, it had a difficult time balancing between the sense of urgency imposed by the shrike and the 'downtime' they spent hidden in the nebula - at one point they are being torn to shreds by Vadic, the other Picard is conversing with Beverly in sick-bay. I could be wrong on this account though, I guess I'll have to rewatch the episode.

    Since this is getting longer than I thought it would, here's a quick review of the things particularly liked:

    1. Despite being criticized by quite a few of you, I welcome the introduction of the changelings as the antagonists and the subtle hint to Odo. Not only does it further develop the Trek universe in a sensical manner, but it also ties in nicely with DS9 and for the first time in 20+ years, we have a Trek production that at least shows some willingness to explore the post-DS9 universe. If they turn out to be the main antagonists of the season, it will be a very nice change of pace to have a very well-established part of Trek canon play a central element of the drama instead of creating a new antagonist-of-the-season no one's ever heard of before as was the case with Shinzon, Son'a, Soran, and whatever the hell we watched in Picard's season one.

    2. Raffi is still annoying as hell, but Worf is back in force. I'm really interested to see where they take him and how he's going to reunite with the rest of the crew.

    3. Despite a clunky introduction and limited screen time so far, I feel like Shaw might actually turn out to be a compelling character and I look forward to seeing more of him.

    4. Whatever you think of Beverly's reasoning regarding Jack, I am happy that, after seven seasons of will-they-won't-they, she and Picard did pursue a romantic relationship even though it happened off-screen.

    Mind you, since we're only at episode three, all of my points here depend heavily on the direction further episodes are going to take and on a lot of hope that the writers didn't slip up somewhere midway as was the case many times before. One thing I can say is that, despite all of the flaws I outlined here, I look forward to seeing the next episode which wasn't remotely the case with season one which I had to force myself to go through.

    Maybe I should really stop announcing my posts as 'brief' when they always end up much longer than originally intended.

    @Filip
    " guess it was unavoidable that it would clash with Riker who also rose through the ranks since we last saw them."
    Riker only rose through the rank. :)

    Bajorans have Prophets, not “Gods”. It’s the little details that matter.

    Riker's idiotic completely-out-of-character comment to Picard to end this episode just killed it for me. Unnecessary injected bullshit drama where none is needed. The broken Titan being drawn into the gravity well of the nebula is more than enough drama to end the episode. Twice in this season the Captain blames the #1 for decisions HE decided to accept.

    Minus 2 stars for that stupid tripe.

    Picard whining about "we need to fight" is TOTALLY something the REAL Picard would have never done - EVER, and he sounds like a spoiled child that had his favorite toy taken away, screaming and carrying on... ridiculous.

    Changelings - yeah! (I suspected them when our science officer stated "biochemical" - blah, blah on a couple different occasions.

    Picard and Crusher "scene" - yeah!

    Seven still in her quarters after Riker was given command? - why? Riker's first act as CO should have been to get 7 back on the bridge. Picard could have been an advisor. Who would you rather have at your side? ... a EX-Borg with all that knowledge or a 90- year old relic that has forgotten how to be himself?

    Portal weapon - pretty cool

    I didn't hate Vadic this week.

    10 bucks say Geordi pulls them out of the Nebula.

    2 stars

    @wolfstar

    "Speelers is a serious casting mistake."

    Thank you, as I was reading your comment I forgot who Speelers was, but the more you talked about the bad acting the more I realized it had to be Jack. I completely agree, and to be honest I don't understand why they keep defaulting to these familial relations to generate plots. The actor looks just too old. They should have made him 35 years old.

    I can't guess what's going to come in episode 4, but I'm with everyone who thinks the conflict between Riker and Picard will be resolved quickly or ignored.

    The problems start immediately with Picard and Riker deciding that they need a ship and purposely deceiving the captain of that ship. That might have worked for the original crew but really, not here. The problem is that they don't act respectfully. I can't see either one of these characters doing this. I can't see anyone rising through the ranks of the military without respecting the chain of command (but then again, I didn't watch Discovery).

    Shaw really had a problem sticking to that "no." We don't even know why Seven is on that ship, but the captain should have put her in the brig. And who the hell takes over an entire ship of 500 people and takes them to - ? It's inconsistent with the characters' values that we know from TNG. I think they put Captain Shaw in a horrible position.

    There's a lot of exposition that appears to be included so children can follow the show. And that's too bad; that's why I usually read and don't own a TV. I think a huge part of Riker's "you killed us all" line is simply a fixture to guide the less experienced audience members along.

    Riker has a temper, Riker can be a bastard. There are scenes in TNG where he is a total son of a bitch ("Ensign Ro" for instance). So yes, I can see where a 70 year old man would lose his temper because he wants to be back home with his family and not out getting a bunch of people killed.

    So he lost his temper, that's fine, but the problem is that if he's going to have that kind of conversation with Picard, he *knows* to do it in private. I think an intense discussion in the ready room about combat strategy could have been one of the best scenes in the history of Star Trek. Instead they milk it for nuTrek flavor. If Riker losing his temper was done right, we wouldn't still be discussing it.

    @ Dirk, I completely agree. If Riker had lost his temper with Picard in private that would have been fine but in public a captain must maintain composure at all times and especially in stressful situations as the crew are looking to him for leadership. I don't have a problem if disagreements between the captain and first officer get heated but at that point the descision to attack had already been made, so there was no practical reason to kick Picard off the bridge and no reason to make that comment.

    The only way it would have been justified is if Picard gave the order to attack behind Riker's back, but Riker gave the order so it just looks like he's trying to blame someone else. Very unbecoming behavior for any Starfleet captain, must less a legend like Riker.

    The TNG crew is supposed to be the best of the best and should be showing the Titan crew how its done (like Beverly in sickbay) so it's really jarring to see such unprofessional behavior from Riker.

    As a follow on point, from Picard and Riker's prespective the stakes at this point are relatively low compared to what they are used to. They just have a damaged ship floating towards something unknown, they have dealt with this hundreds of times before. This is nothing compared to the Borg invasion or countless other things they have dealt with where the survival of the Federation is on the line.

    The biggest challenge Riker should be having right now is not falling asleep from bordom.

    I wonder if the changeling angle is how we'll get Professor Moriarty.

    I can't imagine how else. Was that contraption that housed him and his lady friend retrieved from the rubble of the Enterprise-D?

    @Jax, I'm thinking the holo-cube containing Moriarty is what was stolen from Daystrom (along with Lore, perhaps). But on the other hand, Barclay was entrusted with the holo-cube; it's entirely in-character for him to have salvaged it from the D and kept it all these years (through Pathfinder, etc). We keep hearing of other TNG characters beyond the Great 7 appearing this season at some point. Might Barclay be targeted by Vadic and/or changeling rebels to get the cube?

    @Nick “ As a follow on point, from Picard and Riker's prespective the stakes at this point are relatively low compared to what they are used to. They just have a damaged ship floating towards something unknown, they have dealt with this hundreds of times before.”

    This is something else that bothers me deeply about that ending. Everyone on that ship from Ensign Redshirt to Picard should be working the problem, like the professionals they are, not throwing in the towel.

    “You’ve killed us all.”

    Really? You’re still alive. Maybe try to do something to save the 500 souls under your command, eh?

    That defeatist outburst would barely make sense coming from Ensign Redshirt on their first mission gone wrong. From Riker? WTH?

    This is going to be hard to get past and I fear we’ll see more such faux-cliffhanger endings.

    On a lighter note, I sent Worf’s introduction to my Mom, as he was her favorite TNG character. Her response was, “He left out ‘Midwife to Keiko’”

    @Tim

    Lol.

    I was missing "killer of Duras".

    It makes sense it was left out though. While I think Worf was 100% in the right and followed Klingon law, it's impossible to explain the totality of that situation in a quip. Without that knowledge, it sounds more a little like murder.

    Episode 3 has Finally dropped on Prime in Asia. Some late thoughts...
    1) Why would Shaw not know the limitations on a ship in a nebula? And not kbow enough to sit down during battles?
    2) Why wouldn't Vadic disable Titan right away? Not beam Jack away?
    3) After rewatching the Picard Beverly med bay showdown 4 times, I still don't know if it works or not. Stewart seems very unfocused early on, shaky even and not in a character way, but then starts to bring it. Gates out acts him. But neither sounds convincing, and what is with the shaky camera work, or is it my old eyes?
    4) Does anyone else Hate these abrupt breakaways to the Raffi story, at least we got more Worf, though I miss his deep growl.
    5) We keep hearing "biological" signatures are detected in the nebula?
    6) "I think I feel my chamomile tea coming back up" was a funny line. Not the Worf we knew.
    7) The Picard Riker exchanges later are so out of line with what we know, which one is real? "You killed us all"? Bad writing or a tipoff? My money would be on Riker as a Changeling, but to what end?
    8) if they persist on the Easter eggs, can they give us old guys a few more seconds?

    Sorry, a group question. Does anyone watch new Trek shows all in one go, no pauses? Then rewatch scouring for more clues. Or do most of us start and stop now (for more beer, check phones, or whatever)? I'm in the latter camp, startcand stop, think about it, then rewatch.

    @KiminAsia
    Everybody has been saying how the Picard and Dr Crusher scene was so well acted. I guess it didn't sell me, there are just too many questions. I don't understand why they can't just run a DNA analysis. I had that done almost 20 years ago (to see if I had found my mother). I think it could be done with a quick scan.

    I'm not sure if I can answer your nuTrek question, I've only watched a little bit of Picard and SNW. I don't usually take breaks the first time through. I remember when TNG came out, I would watch a new episode five times. I didn't find myself rewatching anything from Picard season 1 or Strange New Worlds, but I've enjoyed this season enough to watch the episodes several times.

    @Dirk

    'Everybody has been saying how the Picard and Dr Crusher scene was so well acted. I guess it didn't sell me, there are just too many questions.'

    Very much the same. For me it didn't feel like Picard and Crusher. It felt like Patrick Stewart and Gates McFadden. PIC often robs me of the suspension of disbelief in this way; there are too many questions or what I'm watching simply doesn't sit right.

    I'm watching season four of DS9 concurrently. I never had the persistent suspension of disbelief problem I have with NuTrek with any episode whatsoever of TNG, DS9, VOY or ENT. It's immediate and total immersion, no matter how bad or silly the episode might be. Yet with NuTrek it's the opposite: even the supposedly 'good' episodes just aren't convincingly planned, written and portrayed, to me.

    @KimInAsia
    'Sorry, a group question. Does anyone watch new Trek shows all in one go, no pauses? Then rewatch scouring for more clues.'

    I watch them in one go to get it over and done with and never watch them again. (The exception here being the last two seasons of DSC, which I haven't watched at all - I got tired of being harangued by the 'Godddddd, ugh, if you hate it so much, like why do you LITERALLY still watch it, stfu and die' crowd, so I stopped watching. So now they'll have to harangue me for the temerity of having an opinion about something I don't watch...)

    Mostly agreeing with the comments here, so just a side note.

    Ok it has been made very clear that Sydney’s father is Geordi. But who is her mother? And why isn’t she ( Sydney) espousing her as a role model? That name dropping would have been killed dead at the academy.

    Anyway it better be Leah Brahms or this is not canon for me.

    @ KiminAsia "Why wouldn't Vadic disable Titan right away? Not beam Jack away?"

    Her job wasn't to capture Jack, it was to flush out an episode with what would have been a single scene in the television series.

    If they were telling the "Best of Both Worlds" story on Paramount+ we'd have a whole episode devoted to what was one scene on two sets (Picard's walkabout, log entry, and conversation with Guinan) in the original telling. Could it work? I don't think so. What would you add to that story that couldn't be told in the ~80 minutes they had with the two parter?

    Also, this comment is worth a read as an example of how to do character conflict in the TNG universe, or, really, in any professional setting (the character conflict we get in Picard and Discovery would NOT fly in the US Military or any reasonably professional organization): https://www.jammersreviews.com/st-tng/s3/best1.php#comment-102084

    @Bok R'Mor "For me it didn't feel like Picard and Crusher. It felt like Patrick Stewart and Gates McFadden. "

    IDK about McFadden, her character got short shrift during the TNG movies so her change is somewhat easier to swallow, but wholeheartedly agree on Stewart. Stewart drove a lot of the seemingly jarring change in Picard's personality between TNG and the movies and now Picard.

    There are still plenty of moments where 'Picard' shines through, in all three seasons, this is still above average television that keeps me engaged, very far removed from the Worst of Trek, it's just not what I'd hoped for. It could be so much better than it is.

    @ KiminAsia "The Picard Riker exchanges later are so out of line with what we know, which one is real? "You killed us all"? Bad writing or a tipoff? My money would be on Riker as a Changeling, but to what end?"

    Riker as a changeling would probably upset me more than "You've killed us all" from real Riker. It could work if it was done properly (see: DS9 In Purgatory's Shadow and By Inferno's Light) but in NuTrek it'll most likely just be another "twist" written to get social media engagement. OMGZ, RIKER IS A CHANGELING, CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!?!

    https://southpark.cc.com/video-clips/zpgmdi/south-park-those-aren-t-ideas-they-re-special-fx

    "No, no, that's not an idea, that's a twist! We need ideas!"

    I didn't even think characters might be changelings.

    It does seem certain that some main character will be a changeling. And Riker's rather odd behavior (especially his last line) strongly points to him.

    Notice the slightly creepy scene in the corridor where Riker is basically eyeballing Jack.

    Also Shaw strongly reeks of being a changeling. He's been non stop adversarial .

    His behavior in the dinner was grossly inappropriate towards any human, let alone fellow officers.

    And personally, he felt like a redshirt so much that I was surprised he survived the first episode.

    If the "you killed us all" comment ends up being a clue that Riker is a changling I will eat crow because that would be writing on a level that I don't think they are capable of.

    You guys are giving this writing team way more credit than they deserve. Riker's line was more of the forced character conflict and faux-cliffhanger ending that defines Discovery and Picard. If I'm wrong I'll eat crow but I don't think I am. :-)

    @Silly "His behavior in the dinner was grossly inappropriate towards any human, let alone fellow officers. "

    The behavior of most Starfleet characters in Picard is grossly inappropriate/unprofessional (the latter is probably the better word)

    People equate it to the US Military, where such behavior would very obviously not fly, and then others counter with "Starfleet isn't the military", but really, can you see this kind of behavior being tolerated in any professional setting?

    There were moments in earlier incarnations were characters lost their composure, but they always pulled it together to focus on the immediate problem. Q-Who:

    Sonya: Eighteen people. Dead just like that.
    Geordi: I know. Just put it out of your head.
    Sonya: No, I can't. I keep seeing them.
    Geordi: Sonya, stop it. We'll have time to grieve later. Right now, let's get these shields operative.
    Sonya: Of course.

    For Riker to lose his cool like that, in front of the crew no less, totally out of character. Literally dozens of episodes where they've been in situations as bad or worse and nobody on the senior staff lost it like that. Rare enough for the junior staff to do it and when it happens they get gently corrected as above.

    Discovery at least got this right. The scene where Michael thought Book was dead, very briefly absorbed the emotion of the moment, then compartmentalized it and carried on with the mission. Riker doesn't even have that personal loss to justify his outburst here, nobody has (yet) died, he should be working on the problem instead of assigning blame and lashing out at his oldest friend and mentor. :(

    Also, another thought here, I don't think Picard pressing to attack was that out of character. Dude came up with the Picard Maneuver and has never been afraid to fight when forced to. Riker's caution seemed more out of character than Picard's aggressiveness I thought.

    Both of them were out of character in not trying to figure out how the portal weapon works, what weaknesses it might have, how to leverage the nebula to their advantage, etc. It's a binary fight or flee choice, nobody suggests trying to fight intelligently, all we can do is slug it out and if we do that we'll lose, so better run while we can. (I kept wondering what the plan was if they warped away and the Shrike turned out to be faster than them)

    Also, the "biological signatures", not one person on that crew had the curious explorer spirit to follow up on that? It's obviously foreshadowing for something in the next episode, didn't expect a deep dive, but a throwaway line like, "Let's collect as much data as we can, this is a unique opportunity, we'll be studying this for years" would have been in-character for Starfleet.

    "Starfleet isn't the military"

    The Dominion War, specifically DS9, and more specifically "The Siege of AR-558" put to bed any notion that Starfleet is not the military. They are at the very least a military Navy - we knew that by "BOBW" and certainly by "Redemption" - but that DS9 episode suggests that Starfleet may be the entire armed force of the Federation.

    Starfleet isn't a military in the sense that their primary purpose is not warfare. But Starfleet is the military in the sense that they cover all the functions a military would normally perform, there is no seperate organization. All of the Federation's armed forces exist only in Starfleet.

    I think it's accurate to say that Starfleet is not a military in the same way we think about militarys as they exist today.

    NASA's primary purpose was never warfare. T'was always military tho, the Air Force specifically.

    People like to pretend Starfleet isn't a military even though each ship is stacked with weapons and staffed with a military crew that follows a military command. When the Borg or Dominion come knocking who responds? The Humanity Volunteer Militia? No, it's Starfleet, AKA the military.

    People don't want to admit this because Starfleet is supposed to be exempt from all the colonialism and aggression and political maneuvering that often comes with such organizations but IMO, that's just too bad. Even assuming Starfleet IS exempt from such things, the fact that these military ships are being ostensibly used for exploration doesn't change the fact that they are still *military* ships that will not hesitate to use their *military-grade* weapons if they feel threatened. IMO not even the utopia of Star Trek can override this uncomfortable fact, and it is worth keeping in mind when critiquing Starfleet throughout the series.

    In "AR-558", the Starfleet troops were forced to remain there indefinitely because there were no reinforcements and "Starfleet was spread thin".

    If Starfleet is just a navy, presumably an army or marines could muster troops and Starfleet transport vessels could simply ferry them there.

    But no...by all indications there it seems that Starfleet is not only the military, but the entirety of the Federation military.

    Good episode. Picard, Riker, Worf, and Seven all felt like the characters we l we've found to know. I wonder if Jack's fever-dream was some attempt at first contact from the nebula...it's gotta be alive from all the hints the show has been dropping.

    Sen-Sors said:

    >People like to pretend Starfleet isn't a military even though each ship is stacked with weapons and staffed with a military crew that follows a military command. When the Borg or Dominion come knocking who responds? The Humanity Volunteer Militia? No, it's Starfleet, AKA the military.

    >People don't want to admit this because Starfleet is supposed to be exempt from all the colonialism and aggression and political maneuvering that often comes with such organizations but IMO, that's just too bad. Even assuming Starfleet IS exempt from such things, the fact that these military ships are being ostensibly used for exploration doesn't change the fact that they are still *military* ships that will not hesitate to use their *military-grade* weapons if they feel threatened. IMO not even the utopia of Star Trek can override this uncomfortable fact, and it is worth keeping in mind when critiquing Starfleet throughout the series.

    This is damn right, and I am also getting pretty tired of reading about "Gene's Vision" and "What Gene Roddenberry would have done." It's true that he was an extraordinarily compassionate human being, with a long and heroic history himself, but he did his share of not-nice things as well. Treating him like some kind of prophet of the airwaves is not only silly, but also dangerous, and, *in point of fact,* AGAINST the reason-based, iconoclastic philosophy that Star Trek espouses in the first place.

    I will lay diamonds to donuts that Gene would say "Think For Yourself."

    I have made this argument before but will lay it out here again. Starfleet is an organization sui generis. It has military capabilities but it also does lots of things that are normally done by civilians authorities. Building colonies, officers are trained more in science than in fighting, making legal judgements for civilians and it's stated mission is exploration. I could name more.

    Nichelle Nichols put it like this:"Portraying Starfleet as a military organization flew in the face of everything Star Trek stood for. At one point I forcefully but tactfully reminded Meyer and Harve Bennet that Starfleet was the philosophical descendant of NASA, not the Air Force."

    Picard himself once put it like this:"Starfleet is not a military organization, its purpose is exploration."

    The most important point I named is the "making legal judgements for civilians" because that puts the military organization argument to rest. The military cannot make a ruling about civilians. Never. Technically, the only exceptions would be if civilians courts have stopped functioning or people directly employed by the military. The military has it's own set of laws and has no legal authority over civilians. For example, Julian's father was sent to a Federation prison after a ruling by a Starfleet judge.

    Don’t know if these have been mentioned.

    La Forge and 2 other bridge crew pull a 36 hour shift and are relieved. Silly in itself. Perhaps within an hour or 2 they are back at their posts. The ship was on constant red alert so they weren’t recalled for that. Is Raffi’s dealer on board?

    The only reason I can see that Picard and Riker have a very public disagreement is that falling further into the nebula was the ploy all along.

    After watching episode 4, Riker’s unprofessional outburst makes sense in context.

    I know we all have PTSD from seasons 1 and 2, but maybe, just maybe, the writers know what they are doing this time around.

    Feel free to pillory me if it turns out otherwise.

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