Star Trek: Picard


2.5 stars.

Air date: 4/6/2023
Written by Matt Okumura
Directed by Deborah Kampmeier

Review Text

"Surrender" is a bit of a mixed bag — one that gives me hope while at the same time trepidation for how this series will close things out. It has moments that are good enough to make me want to do fist pumps, and others that feel like they are scraping the bottom of the barrel of cinematic filler.

Let's start with the filler, since that's what the episode does. The first 20 minutes, where Vadic holds the crew hostage on the bridge, are tedious beyond words. "Hostage situation," as I've said many times over many years, is the hoariest old saw of action cinema crutches, and this episode does absolutely nothing to demonstrate otherwise. Any tension that might've been possible is dissipated by the wheel-spinning of the whole enterprise.

Amanda Plummer's cuckoo performance of Vadic Vadicking has grown tiresome, and it's on full display here. Vadic wants Jack to turn himself over. We still don't know why or how he will help the Changelings, except that he's somehow "special." Vadic postures, Vadic threatens, Vadic whispers and sadistically taunts her prisoners, Vadic promises answers to Jack (which she never supplies despite endlessly promising to), and finally Vadic declares a 10-minute deadline before she starts executing prisoners. Yawn. Get on with it already. You can tell when a story is stalling, and this story stalls for 20 minutes. Vadic's obsession with Jack is beyond all reason considering how entrenched the Changelings must already be in their plan to take over Starfleet. If there's a legitimately urgent need for him, it's not explained, because the story continues to keep the Jack mystery box firmly padlocked.

Meanwhile, Riker and Troi are stuck in a cell on the Shrike. They have some conversations about their separation, which mostly stems from Riker's grief over the death of their son Thaddeus, which was made more complicated by the fact that Troi, with her empathic abilities, tried to relieve Riker's emotional pain before he was ready. This stuff isn't bad, although the whole thing plays like a bit of revisionist history of "Nepenthe," where it appeared Thaddeus' death was long in the past and the grief mostly resolved. But then, this episode goes to lengths to undo much of "Nepenthe," with Riker and Troi both confessing their honest hatred for their house in the quiet countryside and their desire to move back to civilization, but having stayed put because they couldn't move on and leave their son's grave behind.

Then Worf shows up (getting aboard the Shrike with Raffi) and it's like we turn a corner into a much livelier and entertaining episode, one in which our crew will not be playing hopeless defense but proactive offense. (This week's New-Worf One-Liner: "One's personal space is a gift." LOL.) On the Titan, Picard has Geordi take down the partition in Data's positronic matrix that separates Data and Lore, so that Data can fight for control of his mind.

This for me was the highlight of the episode, because we get the mental showdown between Data and Lore. It looks like Lore will be able to beat Data through brute force, but Data's solution to surrender by willingly giving over his mind and memories (using them as a trophy-like lure, as Lore dismantles Data brick by brick) is what's able to defeat Lore. By absorbing Data's memories, Lore is overtaken by them and loses his control. It's a perfect Data-like solution to this particular problem — defeating your enemy by allowing him to become you. I like that it's a solution of humanistic intelligence over brute domination, and that the defeat means Lore is an integrated (but subsumed) part of Data rather than simply destroyed. Data is a "new" Data that still contains the essence of Lore. Brent Spiner, as always, is reliable as both the affable Data and villainous Lore.

And once Data is reactivated, retaking control of the Titan becomes easy. I have no problem with that. It's enjoyable seeing how our heroes, once overcoming the advantages Vadic had gained, are able to flip the script. Raffi gets to do some badass swordplay (though I am still mystified why people continue to bring swords to phaser fights in the 25th century). And Jack's gambit with the "bomb" device (it turns out it's actually a hand-held force field generator) allows him to stall long enough for Data to vent all the bad guys on the bridge into space. Vadic gets vented, frozen, and shattered (T-1000 style) into a million pieces upon the hull of her own ship. Then the Titan promptly destroys the Shrike.

It's a swift, rousing, and entertaining turnaround from the first 20 minutes, which seemed to promise a protracted slog. And then, finally, we get the entire TNG cast in one room, where they sit at the conference table and simply get to enjoy a moment together. The dialogue is a meta moment that perhaps calls too much attention to itself in stating the blatantly obvious, but I'll allow it. Getting an old band back together after so many years is hard, in fiction and in life, and this scene takes a moment to recognize it.

So the question now is, how do we stop the catastrophe that's set to unfold on Frontier Day in a matter of hours, and how does Jack fit into it?

Enter Troi, who finally gets something to do (she senses a "darkness" from the moment she sets foot on the ship), and it's in her TNG wheelhouse of counseling where she may get her most valuable scenes in these closing episodes. She tries to get Jack to face the mysterious door in his mind, behind which all his fears lie, and behind which perhaps the answers await.

I sure hope so, because the writers have put all their eggs in one basket behind this door, and it seems like an impossible order to arrive at something that could possibly be satisfactory after all these contrived delays and hours of build-up. "Surrender" has some really good stuff and some really obnoxious stuff, and ends with yet another deferral of the main mystery at the heart of this season. We're officially in the home stretch now. Can the Picard writers finally stick the landing?

A few other thoughts:

  • New Data, or, I mean, Old Data — or more precisely, Data in a new form that's of an old age — injures himself when he cocks his neck. That was worth a good chuckle. The idea of Data getting to experience all the things that come with human aging is something that could be worth its own entire episode, if we had the time. Makes me wish we'd pondered a lot more mundane possibilities rather than hostage situations and escapes from Vadic and other obligatory plot things.
  • Just who were Vadic's henchmen, anyway? Changelings? If so, why did they wear (or pretend to wear) masks and cloaks?
  • Data acts as if emotions are novel and that he's never experienced them before. It seems everyone wants to forget Data had an emotion chip for two of the TNG movies before they quietly decided to abandon it.

Previous episode: Dominion
Next episode: Vox

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Comment Section

346 comments on this post

    Okay, this is the first one of the season I found real problems with and did not particularly enjoy.

    It's a Pah Wraith. Vadic all but confirmed it with the "ear" bit.

    The irumodic syndrome lets Jack channel it somehow. Lets it have access to him.

    This isn't exactly how it was portrayed on DS9 . . . but there are any number of reasons why it's working this way this time. The Pah-Wraith is trapped, or something. Jack doesn't consent. I know this board and I know people will get caught up in nitpicking the details of this and honestly, it doesn't matter if it's 100% consistent because there's any number of factors that might plausibly be making it different.

    I don't know why exactly the Changelings need Picard's body AND Jack, then? I assume they wanted Picard's body to learn how to duplicate those brain structures themselves. Maybe it'll be addressed. The show has been decent about answering such "whycomes" recently.

    I would be frustrated right now that the show wants us to move all the way to episode 9 and STILL not having answered the mystery about Jack, except really it did, albeit only to fans who are paying close attention.

    We still need to know who Handface is, though. It isn't going to be the Pah Wraith.

    . . .

    Worf's speech to Deanna on rescuing her was clearly supposed to be comedy, but honestly it was just weird.

    . . .

    The conference table scene was everything.

    . . .

    We didn't need all the scenes of Changelings murdering scared Starfleet officers in the dark.

    . . .

    Bye, Vadic. I know others have enjoyed her but she overstayed her welcome with me. Let's get to more interesting stuff now.

    . . .

    Last week everyone wanted to know where the cloaking device was? Okay, wish granted.

    Couldn't Vadik just turn into a space-faring something or other like Laas did when Odo first encountered him? Won;t miss that character though...Vadik was excruciating from the moment we first saw her.

    The scene where Will and Deanna did a reverse Green Acres seemed endless.

    Good episode, a reassuring return to form after last week's disappointment. Loved seeing everyone together, enjoyed the suspense and action. Only the cliffhanger irritated me because they're just dragging this out.

    This episode felt very similar to last week's. Good moments, but minimal plot movement, and no major reveals, just more teases.

    The scenes of the crew being gunned down felt a little too sadistic, though I see what they were trying to accomplish.

    Data overpowering Lore wasn't ever in question, though watching it happen was definitely enjoyable.

    It's good to have Worf back, even if his speech to Deanna left my scratching my head at its awkwardness.

    Was surprised at who they killed off, as I thought they were setting up the Bridge officers for a potential spin-off on the Titan, and that character seemed like one of the major players to continue into that series.

    At the end, I kept getting the feeling like opening the red door would result in Deanna's death somehow...something just felt ominous about Deanna's journey into what she felt was extreme darkness and danger.

    Ultimately I'm surprised there weren't any big reveals this week, given they could have really helped propel us into the final episodes with some momentum. As it is, they decided to lure us with the now drawn out mystery rather than give us some exciting reveals to jump start things. The mystery with Jack has definitely been drawn out too long, and has overstayed its welcome. We know nothing more about whose pulling the strings, or even what the end game actually is, at least beyond a few sentences simply describing powers from Jack that we've already seen and known about anyway. Felt like a lot of wheels turning in this episode without really getting anywhere significant.

    Forgot to add to my comment that despite feeling like we didn't get anywhere too significant plot wise, that the best moments of the episode were character focused and were very strong. Data & Geordi nailed it, and the conference room scene with everyone around the table...well, that was just gold. Such a superb scene. One other minor disappointment was when Data name dropped B4, but again, no mention of Lal. You'd think Data would mention her before mentioning B4.

    Spoilers obviously.
    Best scene was with Data taking back control, by surrendering. Good character moments.
    They need to give Seven more to do.
    It feels anticlimactic, that Vadic took over and was then gone. Is she really dead?
    Is it really pah wraiths?
    They are really dragging this out with Jack.
    I liked they were all together in the briefing room.
    For some reason, I think Deanna has been compromised. Why open the door? Something is wrong with Deanna.

    And that smoking. It uses up the oxygen. Environmental control? Oxygen reserves running out. The smoking is a danger.
    Again too dark, poor lighting.
    One character died. The older version of changelings wouldn't kill so I think it might be pah wraiths. Though I really dislike this plot.

    I still hope a Borg storyline fits in here. When picard was locutus, passed on something to jack... did being locutus affect his brain?

    This episode wasn't as good. Only Data storyline lifted this high.

    There's not too much to really comment on with this one, which is probably a good thing after most commenters' lackluster reviews of last week's "Dominion." This episode merely was the continuation of that arc, which obviously was necessary and did the best it could to round out that plotting misstep of the season. I'm pleasantly surprised though they offed Vadic in the process. Who the bigger bad of the season might be is still a tantalizing mystery.

    The good news is this act is resolved, and we finally have the whole (mostly full) gang back together and are onwards into open space that could lead them anywhere. I'm loving at this point having no idea where this goes next, even if Jack's "special" powers are still mostly unexplained. (There also likely would have been a better 2 episode arc that would have left them in this same place we find them now, but nobody's perfect.)

    The bright spot (no pun intended) was clearly Brent Spiner. How he can still effortlessly and seamlessly recreate Data and Lore after 20 years is beyond me. Truly marvelous. I also am digging his Data 3.0 personality (as someone here aptly monikered). It doesn't completely undue Michael Chabon's work on season 1, and still allows the full TNG bridge crew to be back together one last time.

    One weird observation - did the Titan totally obliterate Picard's human body when it destroyed the Shrike? Didn't anyone think to ask the man his thoughts on what to do with it?

    I saw this episode, fearing how I might come out of it at the end. Thankfully, it was a better experience for me then the last time.

    I was right about my prediction, that they wouldn't reveal the mystery box that is Jack until the 9th or 10th episode. They should have revealed it earlier and have the main cast deal with what it is and face the consequences. Now, it will feel like a rushed thing to get the story completed.

    The Shrike survives an asteroid colliding with it but some torpedoes blew it up.

    The Titan was endured catastrophic damage over the course of this season but looked more or less fine here...must have that Voyager plot armor.

    One other minor observation - I haven't been a huge fan of Marina Sirtis's take on "Wife Troi", as she seems a total 180 from TNG Troi and almost bordering on that classic nagging wife stereotype. But the last scene here when she is working directly with Jack was some good, classic Troi. I hope we get to see more of that in the final 2 episodes, since it was so brief.

    Absolute dreck. Same levels of fetishized violence as S1-2, but with even WORSE writing. You can scarely believe this level of quality is even possible to put on screen.

    Way too much Data-Lore this season, and it is mind-numbingly dull. Hey, that's Lore! No its Data! Lore is Data! CLAPCLAPCLAP.

    The tone of the Riker-Deanna convo was.... off. It was too self-aware and out of the moment, with odd commentary about rural/city living that was clearly writer self-insertion. All season long, these writers have navel-gazed at very unusual moments.

    And someone has to say it. She looks good and all, but Jeri Ryan's intense portrayal of Seven is laughably awful. She has one character beat: CLENCH. Everything is bark, bark, hair flip, intense look, bark, hairflip, bark.

    And that "Fire!"? I mean... really?

    Haven't even finished it, but I'm back to giggling with glee. Last two episodes weren't the Cobra Kai the first half of the season were, but they weren't utter turkeys.

    I would pay 1000 times what I could pretend to afford for this season up to now.

    I'm not super thrilled with resurrecting Data, and I have sharper negative feelings than that, but realistically for a show, it was always inevitable. I can very easily live with it.

    There's also a precision word here that does work in context.

    I agree with the sentiment about the Jack mystery being dragged out too far--they should have brought Troi back in much earlier to explicate the mystery. Having seen the preview clip for the next episode, I know that Troi is integral to the exploration of what's behind the door.

    From a really recent interview, Terry Matalas said that part of the problem with Troi's limited appearances until this point was that scheduling her was extremely difficult, since she moved back to England after the death of her spouse. They were apparently lucky to get her this much. The earlier scenes with her on comms were done remotely.

    In developing a season that is cross-dependent on key cast members being available, story beats might have been affected.

    In the end, I think we'll get to know the contents of the mystery box next episode, with the finale fully dedicated to eradicating the changeling infiltration. I tend to concur with the notion that it probably is a pah wraith.... though one thing Vadic said when Seven ran back into the bridge to be with Jack, "How fitting it is for you to stay and witness..." suggests that there's maybe some Borg component to it as well.

    If it is a pah-wraith thing, it would be absolutely delightful if one more DS9 character made a cameo--either Kira or Sisko.

    The unfortunate thing about treating a season of episodes as a mega-sized movie, as the production is trying to do, is that moments and beats that are meant to change the direction or let something rest are stretched out. The annoying aspect comes from the fact that at the end of the episode we're cut off from the resolution for at least a week. In rewatching some of the episodes, aspects that annoyed or frustrated me weren't nearly as bad, since I knew that set-ups from one episode were serviced in the next. My hope is that the mystery door thing will seem that way in the end as well.

    Side thoughts:
    - Shattered frozen Vadic wasn't vaporized or phasered to death before freezing (unless her proximity to the Shrike did it), so there's a distinct possibility she could come back in some future iteration.
    - People were complaining about how easy the Shrike was to destroy, but failed to note that any ship that doesn't have shields up or the hull polarized would easily be shredded by a barrage of weapons fire.
    - Did they beam Picard's biological body back from the Shrike before they blew it up?
    - Raffi's scene with the changelings was cool, but I'd have thought they would have had their disruptors.
    - Sidney describing what Jack did to control her body, no matter how innocuous, just sounds... wrong.
    - If they did recover Picard's body, does Jean-Luc have to look at it again? What do they do with it--shoot it out in a torpedo tube?
    - Love that the recurring joke is that perhaps Chateau Picard isn't that great of a wine. This now coming from Geordi this episode.

    "In developing a season that is cross-dependent on key cast members being available, story beats might have been affected."
    Matalas using this explanation to justify certain weaknesses is pretty stupid. This is a problem they created themselves. They didn't need to bring all of them back (minus Wil Wheaton). It certainly reveals what was actually important in this season. The ultimate Fangasm.
    What I find really interesting reading the comments here, is the complete absence of any interesting sci fi discussions. The stuff people like are either recreations of TNG tropes or things like characters mostly talking like actual Starfleet officers which to me seems like the bare minimum but to many here is apparently a huge positive.
    What is this? The pavlov trek reflex?? Show a conference table and Trekkies start salivating??!

    This was OK, but felt like a lot of wheel-spinning before we got to the conclusion and started moving the season arc ahead. You could have packed everything that occurred here into last week's episode and it all would have moved much more engagingly as a complete story in itself, as the season has done quite well for the preceding episodes.

    The dialogue also felt extremely writerly this week, and absolutely bizarre at times. I'm thinking particularly of Jack's moment with Picard and Bev in sickbay. It just didn't feel like anything a real person would ever say, even though Ed Speelers did his absolute best to sell it.

    Still looking forward to the next instalment. What's behind the door? @Jeffrey's Tube's Pah-Wraith theory seems solid, what with the glowy red eyes and all. If that does turn out to be true it'll be funny how this TNG reunion has drawn on so much DS9 lore without actually bringing in any DS9 characters up to this point.

    Kinda disappointed to see Vadic go, I really enjoyed Plummer's performance!

    My assumption with Vadic is she'll be back. Her physical demise was explicitly non convincing, and it certainly felt underwhelming for the level of villain she was made out to be.

    To that, I'm whelmed anyway. The unfortunate result of TWOK is the studio forever chasing that Montalban dragon, and he was lightning in a bottle.

    The mystery box: I'm happy I'm slightly interested. I despise them.

    Silly - I think Vadic's demise would have been more whelming for me if it had been packed into last week's episode - it would have fit in better with the "Picard springs a clever trap" story and made our heroes look a bit more competent, instead of just lucky!

    OK … I don’t care about you “naysayers” … I enjoyed this episode *immensely*.

    Yeah … The first half was somewhat predictable — I’ll give you that — but it was all a setup for what was to follow.

    … And seeing the entire crew reunited around that Conference table … well that was more than worth the price of admission!! (Of course, Tasha wasn’t there … but we had a cameo in the Data vs Lore scene, so “perfect”!)

    Speaking of Data vs Lore inside the positronic brain: That was the only scene I had a quibble with. The two should have been depicted as their earlier selves. C’mon Paramount: Haul out the CGI de-aging when it’s appropriate!!

    Other than that, for me this was the most satisfying episode yet!

    Live Long and Prosper! 🖖

    I hate to say this… but I didn’t watch DS9 so I’m a little worried that I’m gonna lose the plot here especially if we are bringing in Pah-Wraiths (what?). I really wish they were sticking to TNG stuff and not bringing in the mystical gobbledygook that was DS9. I’m struggling to get through watching the early episodes from that show and trying not to fall asleep. It’s just not really that likable a thing for me and it’s the red headed step child of all of the classic series with plenty of things that our heroes never encountered up until now… it just doesn’t fit very well. Sending the TNG characters off using the elements from a show that was getting all the studio money the last 2 seasons that ran concurrent to TNG at TNG’s expense is an odd decision.

    The hostage scenes were a bit too drawn out, and the mystery surrounding Jack Crusher remains frustrating, but, otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed the episode. Many of the one-liners, once again, landed with me; and, as others have noted, the scenes with Data, and the crew at the end of the episode, were incredibly satisfying. Spot saves the day, yet again. :)

    Should Troi be given a central role early in next week's episode, as appears likely, then credit to Terry Matalas and the writers for giving each of the old Next Generation members an opportunity to excel this season.

    Another very good outing.

    That was Star Trek as Marvel movie, and I was here for it. It was really silly in parts, but witty, grinning-ear-to-ear silly.

    That's a three-and-a-half to four-star outing for me.

    I'm hoping the Legacy set-up (if it ever happens) is that Shaw realizes he hates command and takes over Titan engineering, with Seven as captain. That would be appointment viewing.

    Regarding the Pah Wraith theorizing ... huh?


    Vadic, to Seven: "How fitting it is for you to stay and witness."

    - What possible reason would she have to say that if it weren't Borg-related?

    - She mentions all the voices.

    - She asks Jack whether he lived as he did because of a calling, or guilt? The Pah Wraiths and guilt? The Borg on the other hand - easy.

    - The foreshadowing from a few episodes prior with Picard's corpse. A shadow was purposefully cast over his face; coupled with the 'grey' look of the corpse, it immediately evoked Locutus.

    - It's TNG - not DS9. Sure, they've used The Changelings, but only superficially. We haven't gone in-depth into any DS9 lore. Throwing in the Pah Wraiths would be bizarre at this juncture, coupled with a whole lot of exposition in the final couple of episodes to get non-DS9 fans up to speed. Who are the Pah Wraiths, who The Prophets are, what happened to them, what they did across DS9's run ... there's going to be a lot of shoulder shrugs on that one. If it's The Borg, then everyone watching is already in the know, as will Picard's protagonists.

    - And finally - as convoluted and idiotic as this plot is now appearing - it makes more sense with The Borg.

    I don't know what Jack is. I don't know who or what Floaty Head is. I said prior to this episode that I needed one of those two questions answered, or I'm calling out the whole "it's different this time" narrative. Sadly, this is classic NuTrek plot pacing thru-and-thru.

    But, far more egregious than another mystery box padder was the horrendous dialogue. There's no sugar coating this - that was some of the worst dialogue to pour out of TNG cast's mouths - and believe me, I remember all the early TNG stinkers.

    I hope to Kahless Martok has banished Worf from the homeworld. They have turned him into a complete joke. I hope the pay check was worth eviscerating a 30+ year fan favorite, Michael (I'm sure it was - I hold nothing against them picking up a hefty wad of cash from Paramount). Honestly, I had to pause at the 22-minute mark as he spoke to Deanna of counting the days like waves on the ... oh god. It was outright unbearable.

    Just one other thing - the execution scene. The STIII callback. Thanks - I get it. Another subtle as a sledgehammer reference.

    And just one OTHER thing - perhaps even more cringeworthy than Worf's weird as fuck declaration to Deanna - Raffi's Kill Bill moment. I shouldn't need to say more.

    This reunion should have been something special, but quippy, clever dialogue again ruined nearly every goddamn moment. If you can tolerate this type of hollow, Marvel-esque characterizations - good for you. Personally, I would prefer this quippy, bouncy and at times nauseatingly cringy dialogue could please stay the hell away from Star Trek.

    Well, there you have it. They've done it again. They got me - they got a lot of us with memberberry overload. Now, we're right back to the same old nonsense, except this time we have the whole TNG crew cast in a NuTrek skin.

    Thank The Prophets DS9 will be spared this.

    They killed the goodwill of the first half of the season in the space of two episodes. Congratulations.

    1.5 out of 5

    When humans are assimilated, there are tendrils, right?
    Where does the colour red come from? Borg uses red and green. Red light coming from the headpiece.
    From Best of Both Worlds
    CRUSHER: There is extensive infiltration of microcircuit fibers into the surrounding tissue. His DNA is being rewritten.
    RIKER: Can you revive him?
    CRUSHER: I'd like more time to study the structural changes in the motor pathways.
    I think it is Borg related.

    Week after week, there are four camps of people who leave comments on here:
    1. I hate all NuTrek and it's all bad.
    2. I love all NuTrek and it can do no wrong.
    3. I loved every episode...until THIS one
    4. I hated every episode but THIS one made me love it.

    Personally, I find it all a mixed bag. The makeup of that mix changes and sometimes I like it more than others.

    But, I feel like we are all bound together on this. All we want from a NuTrek series is to turn up the damn lights.

    Granting the missteps of last week, this is a definite improvement.

    We had good character beats with Data/La Forge, Spiner as Lore is always worth the price of admission, and the Riker-Troi scenes really spoke to me. I could have done without the summation of "you can't shortcut grief", but having Troi personally give voice to our common complaint that "There is a darkness on this ship" made me laugh so hard that I'll forgive it.

    Hoping it's not a Pah-wraith unless we get a great explanation.

    Yes, they managed to drag the reveal out an extra bloody episode but unlike last week they also managed to avoid making the team look completely incompetent. Vadic is mildly interesting, and her death scene was pretty cool.

    Worf's behavior is disturbingly weird, but I can excuse it with the hypothesis that after all the traumas he's suffered, he's been sort of taken in by some "spiritual/wellness" shyster. Also a subtle way of acknowledging the will they or won't they of season 7. Seems harmless enough, but I've seen friends just spontaneously turn up to give a whole quasi-religious discourse on their healing process apropos of nothing save alcohol, so... Sad to see it happen to Worf, but he has gotten enough good moments that I can forgive it. Speaking of Worf, Michael Dorn's voice definitely used to be deeper, didn't it? I'm sure part of it is that he's aging, but watching Nemesis after episodes of TNG is jarring enough that I've always thought they did something with the sound mixing on Nemesis to make his voice even lower. Odd they didn't do that again.

    The elephant in the room is of course Data. Generally I am not pleased, but the discussion about this Data's wishes smoothed some of the problem out. What I now want most is an explanation of where "this" Data came from, and which memories he has. Was Lore erasing the memories he was taking from Data? Does this mean Data no longer remembers Tasha? And what of this Data's origins? My understanding of the Data in the box in season 1 was that he was the memory clone Data created in Nemesis when he unsuccessfully attempted to transfer his memories and personality into B4. Maddox and Soong took the Data matrix out of B4's deactivated body, and put it into the quantum storage device, right? And this Data says he has experienced death- what is he referring to? When was this Data created? Should we assume he was a copy made from the Data stored in Soong's lab on synthworld? I want answers on this, but I'm also troubled by how easy it has been to turn one singular Data into a family of narratively disposable people.

    I'd give this three stars.

    Similar to last week's episode, this one is meh. Some good character moments w Riker Troi and Data/Lore. Seeing all the crew around the conference table at the end was awesome and gives me hope this season will finish strong.

    So there's a port that can open and suck the bridge crew out into space? Seems like a design flaw.

    @Joseph B ....
    THANK you !!!

    I finished this episode so thrilled and elated... I laughed SO deeply SO often from multiple righteous rewards.

    and I may have wept gratifyingly even more.

    and I finished this glorious episode knowing I should not come here where all the "Jammer Juniors" were going to tear it to pieces as they spit and shit on it.

    ( at least Jammer more often has a balanced an upbeat take on things )

    But naysayers indeed !!
    it's the Internet now and EVERYONE's a critic !

    YOU guys try balancing this many characters while trying to do something new yet honoring everything that came before and filling 10 episodes with new twists while not giving away the biggest plot points well before the finale.

    and before I turn the mob on me with pitch forks and torches, I'll just quote two moments out of dozens that are still ringing in my ears and heart:

    "is this a rescue mission or a continuation of the torture ?"

    "Data, you just used a contraction !
    No I didn't"


    That often seems to sum it up. Don't forget those who slap 3+ stars on anything that looks familiar, or analyze Data-Lore and Riker-Troi dialogue as if it were a Shakespearean play.

    On the bright side, some older actors we've enjoyed for years are getting decent paychecks reading this filth. I'm sure they had a good laugh over it, because stuff at this level would hit the trash barrel at most acting SCHOOLS, much less script farms.

    Oh, and Jack threatening Vadic with what certainly LOOKS like "Boussh"/Leia's thermal detonator is hilarious.

    A couple of episodes ago I was unsure how I felt about bringing back Data, after watching this episode I'm now totally fine with it. Brett Spiner is so fun to watch, he does an amazing job with every scene he's in. It's so worth it. And they addressed his prior death via dialogue with Picard in a way that was acceptable to me.

    I do think that new Data's personality needs to be different from old Data for this to continue to work, we saw this a little when he was taking back the ship (Data with a sassy attitude)? I hope they lean into this more in the last two episodes.

    "On the bright side, some older actors we've enjoyed for years are getting decent paychecks reading this filth"

    Thus far it seems that the DS9 actors have rejected it. And with this storyline I can't imagine that none were approached.


    Setting aside our drastically different opinions, big props to you for two things:

    1) Pretty much calling the Data-Lore thing on the nose.
    2) Not bragging about it one bit.


    Picard & The Mandalorian both used the word “nepenthe” in the same week. Are the writing teams sharing notes with each other? ;)

    @Narrisa's Bath Water

    Say what ?

    your tone sort of comes across, but without context I really don't know if I am now being reviewed myself in total or for specific points.

    I mean it looks like I'm being put down in a similar fashion that 85% of you are putting down the show, but if that's some version of "snowflake", or I don't know what… I have traveled a lot but rarely more than a couple of hundred miles beyond the outer metropolitan suburbs of New York City.

    so coastal, yes… But very much the other one

    Well... I'm not a fan of dark, grim slaughter porn so the first half of the episode was a mixed bag. Jack's new powers make him look like the son of Beverly and Charles Xavier and really, I'm still not that interested in the character to begin with.

    Happy to see Vadic go, she'd outlasted her welcome at least two weeks ago. I can accept that she was not able to shift into a space faring creature like Laas could. Maybe her recent mutation is to blame, maybe she didn't have enough prep time. It is what it is and she's gone.

    Extremely minor nitpick: but in TNG's Disaster we see that decompressing a section of the ship also means there's no oxygen. Yet Seven and Jack immediately dropped the forcefield and were breathing just fine.

    Data's Trojan horse style defeat of Lore a bit silly, but it served its purpose. In a way, this new form is as close to human as Data will ever get and he's earned it. And hey, we did get to see Tasha Yar before all this is over :-)

    The pacing in the second half was disjointed. It was wonderful to see the Enterprise-D crew sit around the table again. But logistically, the scene with Deanna sensing darkness on the Titan should have led to an immediate Red Alert and an emergency conference.

    And to keep the suspense up, Deanna and Jack should have already opened the door. Now we still know, pardon the pun, jack shit.

    You gotta wonder if Will and Deanna complaining about their life and home on Nepenthe is the writers of season 3 giving the writers of season 1 the finger. Same as a few episodes ago when captain Shaw called Jurati's Collective "that weird shit on the Stargazer".

    Another dig at Chateau Picard being undrinkable swill. We get it, Jean Luc is better on the bridge than in the vineyard.

    Real curious how this will end. Two episodes to go and honestly, nothing so far has convinced me it'll be Pah Wraiths.

    Chateau Picard made quality wines when Robert was still running things.

    Jean-Luc poisoned it with memberberries.

    @Narissa's Bath Water, thanks!

    One more random thought, these last few episodes have been centered on action, which I don't have a huge issue with, but it isn't the greatest fit with this cast. This season has been its strongest when they lean into the themes that made TNG great. So I'm hopeful that the last two episodes will pivot back to this.

    Watching the TNG cast doing action is like watching the movie Cocoon.

    I agree with the post about Troi. At some point, Deanna Troi has just become Marina Sirtis, accent and all.

    The fact that Troi says "We have to be willing to go through that door to what's next" in a season which refuses to let Jack open the literal door in his head to advance the plot is ironic at best, malicious lampshading at worst.

    I like it less and less, but I’m not yet giving up. Jack’s secret should have been re­veal­ed at the very mi­ni­mum in this epis­ode, the lon­ger the wri­ters wait the more likely we will get a un­satis­fying, rush­ed and half-​assed finale.

    There were some good moments here, and I really chuckled at “I didn’t” (pro­blem is that Data has used con­trac­tions count­less times be­fo­re). On the other side, Worf’s intro­duction to Riker and Troi was horrible. I also disliked the murder scenes, I still don’t under­stand what shape­shift­ing powers Vadic’s mi­ni­ons have and I found the “Kill Bill” rip­off taste­less. And I nearly threw up when the en­tire gang met at the ready room just to dis­cuss their emo­tio­nal sta­tes in worst “Discovery” fashion.

    How did New Data know about the Death Wish of the S1 Data?


    "How did New Data know about the Death Wish of the S1 Data?"

    Well, he has access to all the memories of Dr. Altan Inigo Soong as well. Soong was the one who kept Data's memory file active in season 1.

    I don't really care that they haven't revealed what Jack is, because I don't care what Jack is. It's not that interesting and I'm numb to the mystery box storytelling after Discovery habitually abused it. I just want to see the old TNG crew work together to solve some problems, hopefully tackle some philosophical issues, and have some good character moments in a way that ties up old loose ends and gives them the sendoff they deserve.

    Things were going more or less here, but this episode is making the whole season look like, once again, one big mess full of holes that doesn't make any sense. I'm already tired of heroes (or anti-heroes, we'll still have to see it) with mysterious dormant powers. I'm tired of one-dimensional and caricatured villains (it was fun back in the 80s or even early 90s, but we are decades ahead of that in terms of plot development and character complexity these days). I'm tired of the absolutely artificial and forced way in which the dialogues are told and how the whole plot seems to have to be, all the time, exposed by words. I'm tired of ressurrections made for the sole purpose of... who knows? Data died in Nemesis, was ressurrected briefly for season one, then died again, and now he's back... one more time! Oh my! As much as everyone wants to get the full crew back together, bringing Data back is forced, but even worse is bringing him back mixed with Lore, B4 and Lal (oh, forgot Lal, she was forgotten this week). Making an idiotic subplot and illustrating the whole thing with little red and blue lights fighting for dominance is very cliche... So muchlaziness... Sometimes I feel like the writers were on drugs or asleep when they wrote the plot of this convoluted shell of a story. What else we have? A dominion faction? could be interesting, but that branch of the plot had almost no development at all... it was always Vadik here, Vadik there.... c'mon? And the "Frontier Day"? Why is it soooooo important? It's not! Any enemy who would be as infiltrated in Starfleet as the dominion wouldn't care less for it.

    They seem to have addressed the apparent discontinuity between S1's Troi-Riker seemingly stable family and the way S3's Riker described it here in a way that's rather rather disturbing. It seems that relatively happy pizza cook Riker in S1 was telepathically "drugged" and semi-mind-wiped by Troi. More recently S3 Riker and Troi stopped that and he and the marriage went downhill. Pretty horrific and unethical on Troi's part; are we supposed to compare and contrast that with the (ab)use of memories in the Data-Lore part of the story?

    I get the argument, but I feel certain the Pah-Wraith stuff is a red herring (eye-ing?) or coincidence at most. That's just too deep a cut from DS9 to be used here. Borg involvement, maybe? We've always had the sense that not all of Picard's Borg gear was ever removed. It's possible he "implanted" Beverly with more than just baby batter. So that makes "Meat Head" the Borg Queen? It will be hard to "Talk to the Hand" after this week's events.

    2 stars

    This was very disappointing and underscores that there wasn’t enough material- as shocking as that would seem- to sustain 10 episodes this season. It feels after “Surrender” that everything that came before was just a long drawn out unnecessary protracted prologue for what the writers really had the material for—namely a two hour movie which the next two hours presumably are intended to be.

    Vadic’s demise was surprising but once that sensation wears off you realize that she and these particular rogue faction of Changelings were uninteresting MacGuffins that added nothing narratively to this season. They literally could have been and were ultimately airlocked from the start and added nothing narratively to this season. They were just padding to bide time until the real villain of the season- The Face- could float onto the stage, who only had enough material for a most it would seem 2 episodes. Which is sad considering the storytelling potential they had.

    For all the pre-season build up given to Vadic she fell totally flat. Even her demise makes no sense. Changelings have been shown to survive in the vacuum of space. Laas existed as a flagellating space creature in DS9’s “Chimera”. And this sort of death was done much better in BSG when Tori jettisoned Cally. And along similar lines, as formidable and terrifying as Vadic’s ship, the Shrike. was suppose to be the Titan took it out pretty easily. And did we ever learn why her henchmen wore bird masks and black bedsheets?

    It just reaffirms my belief the Changelings simply didn’t belong in PIC to begin with and was a bad decision .

    I have always been a fierce defender of the character Troi but Marina really seemed to be honing her performance in. And the Riker/Troi scenes on the Shrike didn’t come off as emotionally involving rather they felt random and almost like a reset to the portrayal seen of the couple and their lives on Nepenthe.

    I still think it was a bad decision creatively to resurrect Data. It would have been fine in S1 of PIC but at this point its turn what was a poignant sendoff in the S1 finale into a muddled message and gutted any poignancy the writers attempted to generate this season. Also there was talk of a tip of the hat to Yar before the season. I guess the holocube was that. I was kinda expecting something more. In line with pointless cameos couldn’t they have at least let Denise come back as “memory Yar” in the mental scape the way they did Spot??

    The Jack mystery is waaaaaayyy past the point of being an intriguing mystery and now has become a frustratingly drawn out bore. And did Worf retrieve Picard’s body or just leave it on the Shrike? And it doesn't help I don't like the Jack character. He reminds me of a CW teen star.

    The only body takeover of Picard was in “Lonely Among Us” and that energy being was blue.

    Was I suppose to be on the edge of my seat when Vadic started threatening crewmembers? Because I wasn't. Most of the Titan crew have been little more than cyphers. If I hadn't seen a tweet before the season began by Matalas giving a little background on them I wouldn't be able to have known as much as I did about them.

    I mean this in a nice way…

    But this message forum reads like a collection of opinions from long term experts and not fans.

    I love all the opinions but reading what you all say takes the joy away from watching the episodes.

    Jammer is still the benchmark.

    I meant to put this in my previous comment and forgot until I read the others here. I'm in the minority, but I have been a Discovery lover from the start (it was my entry to Star Trek) and, though not my favorite now, I would defend it and had a lot of adoration for the characters and their arcs.

    And then the DME and Species 10-C mystery came along. And I think it was almost universally agreed the payoff was not worth the build-up. I'm worried the Jack mystery is headed the same way.


    THANK You !!!

    it doesn't feel or read like a group of fans at all, but a bunch of sour pusses with a Bat'leth up their butts.

    granted, we live in overwhelming pressurized dark times with 1000 times more media than even last year, but "everyone's a critic" and 85% of the commenters here just seems so miserable… Again, I think it's a reflection of all the choking noise in the modern air, but Yeesh !

    My God, the toxic dudebro vibe here is overpowering. This episode was terrific. I'm here for sassy/pissed off/pithy Data all day. And given that Jadzia and K'ehlyer are long dead, it did not surprise me or seem out of line that Worf thinks often of the other woman he loved (though I never liked them as a couple it is long established in cannon). Also, I was glad that of the were going to go the full Negan with Vadic, she got her comeuppance. Good riddance. Yes, she might have been able to survive being spaced, but her altered physiology could easily have changed that, and even if it did not, I'd bet proximity to the exploding Shrike would do nicely.

    As for who is behind the door. It is someone Deanna recognizes immediately and is outright horrified by (according to the clip on the Ready Room). So Pah Wraiths/Dukat are right out. My earlier theory that is Control is also out, since Deanna would not know who/what that is. Guesses: a Borg Queen, Armus, Sisko, Tasha, the Mirror Universe version of herself (TNG never did a MU episode, something they share only with VOY), or Lawaxanna, or Thad (though I have no idea what that would mean).

    Maybe it will be Jellico telling her to dress properly.

    To my surprise, I really like the new Data.
    Actually I think I like him even more than before.

    "Monologuing protoplasms", oh the writers can roast themselves alright! Loved it!

    Maybe it is Daimon Bok taking another stab at doing in Picard's son. Q. Fatjo. Sarjenka Khan Johnny Carson Who knows

    @TheBgt on the topic of the writers roasting themselves, did you laugh at Deanna's "There is a darkness on this ship"? I cracked up

    "someone Deanna recognizes immediately and is outright horrified by" – Ian Andrew Troi Jnr. Or Thomas Riker.

    That unnecessary cliffhanger PISSED ME OFF. I see no reason why they couldn't have opened the door.

    I also thought Worf's love poetry to Troi was cringeworthy, and that Picard in general talked too much.

    We had the usual "Previously on" at the beginning, but then another recappy kind of scene from last week with extra details. I wish they had just gotten under way and trusted us to remember what happened. This is the big problem with strong serialization like this - plot direction can get lost.

    Having said that, I did enjoy this episode very much. I'm not one who goes gooey at conference table scenes, but there was a lot of other stuff here that I thought was great. Data's "surrender" to Lore was beautifully done, and Spiner's acting was magnificent. You could see the moment when he realized how to deal with it - very subtle (I only caught it on rewatch). And when he came back as the complete package, so to speak, he did have a slight difference, a bit of snark. Very well done.

    One of the best things was the parallelism between that part of the plot and Jack vs. Vadic on the bridge. She told him there was no point in resisting (as Data stopped resisting Lore) and that he was "like a jack-in-the-box ready to pop, pop, pop" (reminding us of Data's tune 'Pop Goes the Weasel').

    I liked Marina Sirtis's acting in the Worf scene, with just enough side-eye and repressed laughter. Also liked the way the dialogue was cut, with Riker's "Inappropriate" being cut in perfectly.

    I see all the fire imagery about the red door and can't help thinking pah-wraiths, but I really hope it's not, agree that it doesn't really fit, and besides I hated that whole last season of DS9, which to me was religious fantasy not SF. Vadic's comment that it was appropriate for Seven to be with her for the Jack showdown seemed to hint strongly at Borg, which would be much more appropriate for the TNG-Picard storyline. As someone else said, the words "Borg King" did enter my head. She talked about him being lonely and traveling the universe. I don't see how he can be an ex-Borg. Hopefully next eppy will tell. I'm looking forward to it.


    "and I finished this glorious episode knowing I should not come here where all the "Jammer Juniors" were going to tear it to pieces as they spit and shit on it."

    Don't insult Jammer by suggesting that any of those hate-watchers -- who are parodies of themselves at this point -- come close to his ability to express his thoughts. ;)

    DmRofAtoZ said:
    "it doesn't feel or read like a group of fans at all, but a bunch of sour pusses with a Bat'leth up their butts."

    Harpohara said:
    "But this message forum reads like a collection of opinions from long term experts and not fans."

    AP said:
    "My God, the toxic dudebro vibe here is overpowering."

    We're 8 episodes into this season and the same critters are coming back here to list their sin counts and express dismay at how "bad" this is. Same type of critters who would stand outside in the rain and whine about being wet.

    Characters who have aged 20 years and been through some stuff should be exactly the same! The ship coming out of warp effect has escalated the stupid!

    It's comical at this point.

    First half was wayyyyy too nuTrek-y for me, second half picked up immensely. Loved the way Vadic went out, loved the conference room scenes, and once again the writers know how to fucking write dialogue for Data. I think if the last two episodes were just ONE episode (take out all the setup with Lore taking over the ship, just have the central conflict be bringing back Data from the start) this would have been a lot cleaner.

    Also, really funny to me that EAS gave this the highest score of the season.

    NO NO NO NK BORG DEAR GOD IN HELL NO!! I don't care if it makes minimal sense..COME ON DOES ANYONE ACTUSLLY WANT THE BORG FREAKING AGAIN?? Honestly does anyone..or oah wrsiths either..We already had BORG IN THE FIRST 2 BLOODY SEASONS OF PICARD!! AND THST FLOATNG HEAD AND THE RED BRANCHES DO NOT LOOK LIKE BORG OR PAH WRAITHS..So PLEASE PKEASE BE A NEW and ORIGINAL WONDROUS OMINOUS LIFE FORM..Troi said ancient voice in Jack..the Borg are not ancient..the Pah Wraiths I don't knowhow old they are.BUT WHY DIDNT WE GO THROIGH THE DOOR AT God they are dragging this out..

    This is probably the first time when an f bomb didn't make me cringe. I don't know why, it just worked for some reason.

    Interesting that you can immediately tell that it's still Data, but he's got a bit of an edge now that he's merged with Lore. I dig it.

    Hrmm... this comment is ironic I guess, but:

    There are complaints that now everyone's a critic on a critique board... yes that's what we do here ;)

    Being (perhaps) called a "Jammer Junior" made my day.


    I guess I missed if there was an overt suggestion of Pah Wraiths but I would be shocked if they went there. It's too esoteric. For those not hip on DS9, they're the evil wing one planet's religion. To use the PWs, they would have to explain the Prophets and even what Bajor is.

    Maybe they give them a cameo though.

    I also thought these bridge officers were being setup for a spin-off so the execution of one of them kinda makes me less confident that the spin-off will happen. Although to be fair all these bridge officers except for Sydney haven’t been more than glorified extras so far.
    I also think the pah-wraith theory is a lock. Makes a Sisko comeback less fan-fictiony but who knows.

    I don't see why Pagh-Wraiths would need any more "explaining" than changelings do. No other show did anything with either of them.


    The Cali crack wasn't at all an insult, and referred to your frequent usage of colorful modifiers. It was a fun read, even if you were liking an episode I didn't. All in good fun, and I must add, even your little shot at the critics was funny. The way its supposed to be!

    @Elise, StarMan

    I agree Worf is a bit goofy at times. But I grew to despise him in DS9. All angst, no fun.

    This season did justify his change, in his first appearance. He explained he had tried extremes and found a middle path.


    The conference table... it's so hilarious how emblematic those people sitting around that table is of TNG. It is what it is ;)

    Funny enough, in early TNG development, they considered having a conference table on the bridge! Plants too.

    I also agree that the pay-wraiths would not need that much setup - I am pretty sure the minute Worf or that Bajoran dude who almost bit it today realizes it’s one of them one of the bridge kids will ask, “the pah-what?”, and one or two lines of dialog explaining them and mentioning the prophets should bring the audience up to speed

    This talk of Pah wraiths makes me wonder, could Sisko and Janeway both be cameoing in the finale? That would be wild.

    I would be stunned if they g with pagh'wraiths. That was one of the things often criticized about the latter seasons of DS9. You would think for the final sendoff of the TNG cast a villain or race associated with TNG would be used. TUC used Klingons. AGT used Q. DS9 used the Dominion. Voyager used the Borg. Surely the writers could have sifted through TNG for a threat to bring in. I can think of two offhand.


    Shapeshifters are a very old staple that can be introduced without any backstory.

    It's true that the PWs are basically the Satan wing of a religion, so obviously not the most difficult concept to relate. But it would still require quite a lot of explanation.

    Evil spirits are at least as much a staple as shapeshifters are.

    "What are Pagh-Wraiths?"


    Evil Bajoran spirits"

    /end explanation

    I was not a fan of the last episode but really enjoyed this one. It wasn't perfect but enjoyed it

    I would be surprised if The Sisko showed up, but that would be beyond amazing.

    Janeway seems far more likely than The Sisko.

    But Wesley showing up Shirley makes the most sense. It would be weird for Wesley NOT to show up in this heavily family themed season, especially when Beverly's apparent ability to make Star Children. And Wheaton works for the network.

    Mick Jagger might fit as well.

    After this episode, I am leaning towards the civilization that reconstructed V'ger. Or V'ger itself after Decker merged with the probe. The "V'ger" sound effect for the Shrike has to be more than a coincidence. This would be a nice tie in to the tendril creatures the synths were trying to open up at the end of Season 1 "Et in Arcadia Ego" (red door/red portal to the tendrils) and the vortex the Agnus Borg and the Federation fleet block the energy discharge from at the end of season 2, both being linked to the visions Jack sees with the red door and the tendrils.

    Rush Limbaugh’s supported gleefully called themselves “ditto heads” because they nodded “ditto” to every one of his porcine remarks. Of course, others mocked the moniker.

    Jammer has thus far given Season 3 a rating that is on average above three stars. I could be be wrong, but I do not believe the phrase “Jammer Junior” was meant as praise (any more than “dittohead” was deemed by the general public to be a term of endearment). To me the phrase suggests intelligent, level-headed criticism, not armchair psychoanalysis and caps key tirades-oh I am sorry, I meant critiques. I would pay to read Jammer’s reviews (and have donated to the coffee fund). Whether anyone would want to pay for the hate and toxicity and fun-shaming is thankfully something I do not have to contemplate in this life.

    Scotty died. He had too much happiness

    Jammer: " (This week's New-Worf One-Liner: "One's personal space is a gift." LOL.) "

    It was Worf's answer to Zek's "You're wrinkling my suuuuuit!"


    "Just who were Vadic's henchmen, anyway? Changelings? If so, why did they wear (or pretend to wear) masks and cloaks?"

    I think they were meant to be nuTrek's version of Breen.

    "Vadic gets vented, frozen, and shattered (T-1000 style) into a million pieces upon the hull of her own ship."

    And she was taken by surprise, so her hand went with her...but somehow I suspect that Big Giant Head isn't gone.

    Slightly disagree with Jammer, in that his rating is a bit harsh driven by his distaste for the plodding first 20 minutes. Yes, they could have accomplished the same thing in 10 minutes, which would have given more time for other more worthy moments, but I can excuse that (it's a 53 min episode after all). Absolutely loved seeing the Fab 7 sitting at a conference table again talking about saving the galaxy. I think we all knew Data was playing Lore, but it was still super fun to watch. The moment with Spot was a great touch! Still not sure about Peacenik Worf, but it's growing on me (still not a fan of Raffi)... Overall it was great episode, especially once the action kicked into gear and our TNG heroes turned the tables on Vadic. I don't mind that Jack is still a mystery box, as obviously that is the thread tying all these episodes together, but I do agree with Jammer on one thing, let's hope the writers stick the landing... I would rate this 3.5 stars.

    Not sure why Jammer disliked the hostage scene so much. Yes we knew nobody important would die (sorry bald lady), but it was still filled with tension and well acted. It also leads into Jack with his bomb/shield and enough time to cover Data/Lore.

    This was a great ep overall for all the other aspects with the Next Gen crew and I think Vadic was pretty good as a villain. There's nothing wrong with, "over the top" or "campy" villains. Otherwise people would complain the villains are too bland or one-dimensional, as we've seen with some Star Trek movie villains like the reboot movies. At least Vadic will be memorable.

    Now of course this season will fall flat if Jacks' powers and the mystery behind them turn out lame or underwhelming. They built up to this moment so much that if ep 9 has a bad reveal, it'll put a damper on the whole season. Shame because everything is good for now.

    I just read someone raise Armus as a possibility - I confess the thought did cross my mind during this ep. Maybe the Lower Decks kids prank calling him was just too much and he is looking for sweet sweet revenge?

    Oh dear lord let it be Armus.

    As a proud Jammer Junior, I actually rate this a full point higher. I agree with not being thrilled with Vadic, she never really worked for me either.

    I was surprised the bald lady Vulcan(?) died as well. Maybe Romulan, I don't know, but very memorable.

    I actually liked Vadic - she was pretty entertaining in all her scenery-chewing way, and I think she was an effective villain that was defeated through real ingenuity by the heroes (I think the Deus Ex Machina through Data in the ep, even if a little too literal, was actually earned). But since it looks like she was just The Dragon, I guess the real Big Bad will need to meet the hype - and I am not really sure a pah-wraith would really do the trick. Maybe The Sisko would?

    Data really needs to wear a wire to connect to Geordi’s firewall computer? Good grief.

    No janeway mentions, only a handful of Frontier Day utterances.

    There was a scene on the bridge where Jeri Ryan replies to Capt Doofus calling her Hansen, “I’m seven of nine”. Ok fair. This confirms to me that Seven could have assimilated Vadic on the bridge. Her nanoprobe tubules could have hit her several times as distance was within inches. I kept thinking this might happen. Would have been better.

    I like this. I don't care about the weaknesses. Not one bit. And that's after hating pretty much the entirety of DSC and Picard s1 and s2.

    Are there weaknesses, like the worn out hostage situation, the mustache twirling changeling lady having overstayed her welcome, unnecessary violence and one at this point hopelessly overburdened mystery box?


    Do I care?


    And why? Because none of this is anywhere near the utter crap we get from previous nutrek. I said this last week and I will happily say it again for what at this point I am sure will be not just this episode but also the remaining ones: these weaknesses are on the same level as old trek. I managed to not be bothered back then, so I manage to not be bothered by it now.

    At this point I will flat out oppose those who want to be the critical voices in this unusual context of general appreciation (a context I had long given up on ever experiencing again) : don't kid yourselves guys. If these are weaknesses you can't live with, then the only way you can live with old trek is sentimentality. Trek never was airtight, and always had it's share of bullshit, and oh my, do we *really* want to complain about 15 minutes being wasted for pointless hostage plot clichés?

    How about half a season in the middle of the dominion war with ferengi plot clichés? Sound familiar? No? Go back and examine the ratio of relevant plot advance vs filler.

    Not the absolute time, cause then one could still argue that todays seasons are shorter and thus no time needs to be wasted. No, count the ratio. I guarantee you that even in it's best stretches, none of old trek would do any better than this episode with it's wasteful first half of the plot.

    And then there's the counterarguments :

    -this is classic trek material. It happens on a federation ship. Even with it's budget constraints, this finally - finally!!! - feels like part of the trek World. It's a shame the makers never found a way to get this vibe right without bringing back, oh I don't know, almost the entire TNG and parts of voyager casts, but hey, it happened.
    -call this a nostalgia fest if you like (it is), but this is a cast with chemistry. Can you feel the difference between this and DSC? Even if sometimes the plot sometimes makes a character say something stupid (it does), I *care*. I will be annoyed by the stupid line just as I was when TNG s1-3 Deanna said anything (can we please acknowledge how far sirtis has traveled from the storytelling device abyss she was originally thrown into?), and I will be annoyed because I care. With DSC, it was all down to shrugging shoulders and rolling eyes and dozing off while The Entire Universe Was At Risk.
    - Riker continues to act the living hell out of anything he's given. He is so good. Who would have thought that the TNG character I cared the least about originally would own this so much.
    - okay, this one is not fair : pressing the cat button by bringing back spot is cheating. How can I not like an episode with cat content.
    - while I still continue to hate Raffi with a vengeance, at least she doesn't get to say much anymore. Good. And yeah, give her some cliché Oh-Look-She-Kicks-Ass material where she singlehandedly takes down half a dozen villains with a stupid sword. If you want to make her the shows resident Michael Burnham Marvel Superhero Trope, at least go all the way so I can feel comfortable in my indifference to actors/actresses with less than three facial expressions.
    - how Brent spiner can still make me care for data after all the overuse/confusion/double triple quadruple soong roles and plot stunts we've been handed, that's just impressive.
    - I'm not annoyed by jack crusher. Neither by the actor nor by the plot device. That's a miracle in it's own right
    - using troi to get to the bottom of this is a really nice use of her character for a change.
    - I am genuinely looking forward to the next episode.

    The bottom line is : I got myself some "look at that, I'm watching some trek" feels, I like the cast, I was entertained, the end.

    More of where that came from please. Original cast so expensive that you can only do bottle shows? Go right ahead and give me bottle shows.

    I very much liked the struggle between Data and Lore. Spiner played the character(s) great throughout. The original Noonien Soong had said that he could have helped Lore if he had known he was active and he had the time. Maybe Alton’s vision was that Lore could be saved with the help of Data’s logic and wisdom. And Data would get something about the human experience from Lore as well. This episode leaves lots of room for speculation, of course, but it’s fun to see Data’s journey continue.

    Jack’s mystery remains intriguing, and I don’t really mind them dragging it out, because ultimately the reveal is going to be something simplistic (or nonsensical). These mystery boxes are always about the journey, not the destination.

    Ultimately the teamwork on display made this a satisfying follow-up to last week’s downer with Vadic going from dominating jailor to unsuspecting fool very quickly.

    I’ll give this a 3. The fun TNG reunion continues.

    @Narissa's Bath Water

    Ah !.... all's cool then.

    thank you for clearing up with clarity and all that crap.
    I truly didn't know how to take the California designation and it seemed more than likely that you were putting me in my place for being some kind of effete elite... but respect is returned.

    "colorful modifiers"... yup !
    Composing one's thoughts in deliberated written form is an unique form of expression... it can bring out a very particular version of oneself, especially if they're an eccentric coastal type !.... and that's me !
    ( The colorful modifiers more than the eccentric… Oh hell, it's big scoops of all of those )

    but back to the show… I actually scale back a lot of what I said because I wanted to write something like "what the hell is wrong with you people ??!?" & "I am apparently watching a very different show from most of you and I'd like to recommend it… It's called Picard season three and it's glorious"

    but I think there's something deeper and more modern afoot.
    Those of us at all tuned in have never lived in an age with anywhere near as much media content and super heroes and fantasies and video games and reaction YouTube channels.
    everything is a mash up of everything else and it's all too goddamn much all the goddamn time… So the exhaustion and everyone having the ability to be a long winded tight ass critic is no surprise at all.

    speaking of long winded… Check out me shutting up for a minute now....

    Behind the red door was something so terrifying even Troi had to run away.

    Her mother.

    As a DS9 fan I am hoping for the Pah Wraith theory but would create a lot of exposition. But the Borg are kind of like the Daleks and Cybermen now - way overdone.

    Also, and maybe someone more familiar with the Lore (pun intended) can tell me, but is there any connection to the Pah Wraiths and transporter avoidance? The show has been dropping hints all season with Vadic and her goons not using the transports.

    That was a weak episode. Worse than this episode are the people on here disparaging fans that did not like it. They are real pieces of shit.

    The mystery box is annoying me to no end, the fan service was unbearable, the storytelling shit. Pic S3 is at least better than disastrous S2 but only about on par with mediocre S1. Let's hope they give the cast a nice farewell, but the season arc was once again utter shit.

    Overall frustrating but not without some decent or even good performances from Spiner and Sirtis (a much better actress now than she was on TNG). But the plot is so hokey and again we're dealing with something behind a door. At one point it felt like it could be the end of the season when the whole TNG crew gather around the table -- how can anybody not appreciate that. But also I'd note how minimal of a role Picard played in this episode -- he basically does a lot of pleading (pleading to Jack, pleading to Data). PIC S3 isn't doing the main character any favors.

    Really glad to see the end of Vadic -- just super-annoying the whole way. I never enjoyed her scenery-chewing. Kept thinking of Khan in STII as a vastly superior villain. The earlier parts of this episode were by far the weakest ones for me when she's trying to get Jack and threatening the bridge staff.

    Didn't mind the Riker/Troi bits on the Shrike -- sincerely acted and these 2 actors have chemistry. Interesting that Troi says she can't skip to the end of the healing process and was trying to take on Riker's grief, which he wanted to feel.

    The Data/Lore bit was arbitrary but the device of the memories (while pure fan service) essentially weakening Lore can be rationalized. It was a cool way to represent the partition coming down and Spiner acted these 2 parts very well. Made me think of how Data dealt with Kolrami in "Peak Performance" -- he didn't try to win. Data should've said "I busted him up." I guess ultimately Data has had his cake and has eaten it. He's basically an emotional human now.

    But there's too much farfetched stuff that ruined the episode for me -- like Worf magically appearing to free Riker/Troi. Wonder if other folks noticed the brief Klingon theme music when he did that. Also Data being able to extremely quickly (seemingly magically) re-take the ship's systems was a bit much.

    As for Jack -- that's the issue that remains now, as well as Frontier Day. What about the downloaded "irumodic" parts of Picard? That's an interesting power that Jack has - to see through other people. That does make me think of a Pagh Wraith (in addition to the red eyes). Would also jive with Troi's comment about there being a darkness on the Titan...

    2 stars for "Part Eight Surrender" -- this isn't good Trek, a tad weaker than last week, but it's not awful - just frustrating as this promising season is stumbling to the finish line. Plenty of fan service which is the priority of PIC but the overall plot is boring me. The mystery box reveals are sure to underwhelm. The writers found a way to kill Data and bring him back -- nothing is ever final.

    "Worse than this episode are the people on here disparaging fans that did not like it. "

    There are many who think their own opinion should be *the* opinion.

    Lots of "sure I hated S1 and S2 too, but since I like S3, how dare you not?" on here.


    Other than the fact that the Pah Wraiths are non-corporeal beings, I cannot think of any other issues. I doubt a transporter would able to get a lock on them, but who knows, the DS9 crew never tried it. I just think the Pah Wraith theory is facile. Sisko sacrificed his Corporeal existence to lock them in the Fire Caves forever in "WhatbWe Leave Behind" so their easy return would ruin his arc.

    Slightly better than last week's entry, if only because payday has arrived at last with few satisfying payoffs.

    - The list of Jack's amazing mentalist powers continues to grow. James McAvoy may soon be out of a job.

    - Vadik: "I can make you float, make it snow, but please, have mercy on our dwindling budget and cooperate!"

    - Troy: "I knew they were imposters the moment they arrived, even though I can't really read Changelings..." Surely she should know by that not being able to read someone means something is pretty sus

    - So considerate of Vadik to put a speedo on Picard's corpse to conserve his dignity

    - It would have been cool if they had enough in their budget to do a CGI or digitally de-aged Lore, and we wouldn't even expect the result to look flawless since he's just a simulation within Data's mind. Luckily, we were spared a Paunchy Old Man Fight since, you know, Data is smarter than that.

    - Hey, Denise Crosby finally got that cameo she was gunning for...just maybe not the in the way she would have wanted though

    - "Unknown Device Detected!" See, you shouldn't have gotten your panties in a bunch, Vadik. The computer just told you she didn't know what it was!

    - I like to imagine that any time someone walks onto bridge with any dubious piece of technology, the computer gets all skittish like that. "Unknow wha..? Oh no, no...that's just my old Zune."

    - Geordi: "We're about to lose Data forever!" Hah, yeah right. We've heard that before!

    - How gentlemanly of the Changelings to drop their phasers so they can have a good ol' fashioned sword fight with Raffi...after executing all those unarmed crew...with their phasers

    - "OH wouldn't you like to know what's behind the Big Red Mystery Box? You can ask and ask but I'm STILL not gonna tell you.. just tease you ever so tantalizingly with it each and every episode..."

    - Aw, why would you destroy the Shrike when it's just sitting there, all but unmanned and defenceless.. You could have taken a really powerful ship with which to defend the Federation against it's most insidious threat yet but no, instead we'll take the totally gratuitous payoff of seeing it go boom.

    - How would this copy of Data know the "taste of death"? Also, Data is the epitome of having your cake and eating it too. "Well THAT me wouldn't want to be revived by the very people who promised to end me, but THIS me couldn't be happier to be with you motherfuckas~"

    - This is it guys, the moment we've all been waiting for! They're all gathered at a CONFERENCE TABLE!! This means we don't have to shell out for Comic-Con afterall.

    I loved this whole damn episode!

    Oooo, the nostalgia baiting, ooooo, this season wouldn't work without the TNG cast!? Well of course it wouldn't.
    This series is in effect next gen season 8, and I love that it works because of that, not in spite of that.

    It works for us, the characters and the actors because of that history.

    Sure, plot holes, meanderings, whatever, that's the nature of the beast, not least because this franchise has been going for over 50 years and its already replete with plot holes, duds and inconsistencies.

    It's a shame it took too much to get here. I won't forget my distaste for some of recent Star Trek, but I am happy, more than happy with the people storytelling, and there is already so much that will resonate with me now and forever.

    4 hours ago an individual invaded my space and I did not appreciate it. They were taken aback by my reacrion. If only I could have said to them that "My personal space is a gift."

    Tapestry aired tonight on H&I’s All Star Trek and it made me miss the “quaint” good old days when they put effort into telling tight stories. There’s more Picard deconstruction and development in that Christmas Carol rip-off episode than there is in this entire arc so far.

    Are the last two episodes going to put into focus any sort of theme, or learning for Picard? As someone asked last week— what is the definitive theme or message pertaining to this season? So far I’ve counted a couple of half baked ones, and that’s lame. This content shouldn’t just contain exploding ships, vaporizations, conspiracies and mystery boxes. A lot of the better character development in the earlier portions of this season have just dropped off a bit.

    @Sid Yeah, it's an interesting point. Controversial as they were, S1 and S2 of Picard had very clear themes that they were all aggressively organized around.

    S1 was one long pilgrimage so that Picard could accept his own mortality through accepting Data's death. In S2 it was about Q forcing Picard to unearth his childhood trauma so he could finally allow himself to love someone.

    This season is...kind of a mess, comparatively, on that front. Beyond a general vague idea of "legacy" and "generations" I'm not sure what the thesis statement for this season is. And I say this as a pretty big fan of it! The best guess I can come up with right now is something about the importance of having a family and that we shouldn't dwell on the past and lose touch with who we are, or something like that. Ultimately there's a pretty good chance that it just wasn't a concern though and we're just getting individual TNG character arcs cleaned up one by one without any real vision behind it.

    Although to be fair, the themes of S1 and S2 only really got revealed in the literal final scenes of the final episodes, and only were visible in hindsight, so maybe the same thing will happen again and we'll get something that manages to successfully contextualize the whole season.

    "Worse than this episode are the people on here disparaging fans that did not like it. They are real pieces of shit."

    No one is "disparaging" fans who don't like the series (though it's a stretch to call such critters "fans" considering how much they seem to hate everything about it).

    Some of us might be disparaging the hatred and nitpicking negativity in some of the comments posing as reviews, however, especially when they're little more than calling things shit.

    NO NO MORE BORG or PAGH WRAITHS or.even Iconians or nacene or 8472..Doesn't anyone else besides me want a NEW WONDROUS ORIGINAL alien life can somehow have some history with the Borg or PAHg Wraiths like it had ties with Changelings as long as it is NOT JUST SOME OLD FOE in New clothing but something truly new and original and worthy of this new season of Picard/TNG the return if Oagh wratihs and Iconians and 8472 for the NEXT TREK FOLLOW UP.LEGACY SERIES that will CONTINUE these characters and bring back the rest of the VOY and DS9 crew...

    I think Worf’s cringe inducing speech to Troi as a reference to the time they were dating back In Season 7. Which would be why Riker said it’s inappropriate and looked uncomfortable. Lots of us probably forgot about that story arc or want to.

    Worfs best one liner was how he has slain thousands and wanted to send their heads to each of the TNG crew. Almost fell off my couch laughing at that.

    Naw I think you are the only one that wants to see completely new and different alien life forms. I'm about 99% sure of this since you ask us at least twice a week if anyone else wants to see something new and different and I have yet to see anyone rise up in solidarity.

    The battle lines have already been drawn so you're gonna have to choose a side here for who you're ultimately going to root for. On the one side, we got the Borg, who have already been done to death but that doesn't stop some people from being pretty nostalgic about them since they were actually pretty cool before Voyager happened and I guess some people believe that Terry Matalas has the magical ability to rewind time. They were also already invoked in the first season of this very series but my, what a great twist it would be if the answer to "WILL YOU PLEASE stop delaying and tell us what is in the frickin' Mystery Box?!" turns out to be "The Borg."

    On the other side, we got the Pah-wraiths or however the hell you spell that. Nobody knows for sure because it's been a very long time and half of us haven't even heard of them until now since we didn't finish watching all of DS9. They are thought to be Evil Bajoran Spirits which have got to be the top three words that most people fondly associate with Star Trek: The Next Generation so it would make a lot of sense if they turned out to be the End Boss for that series' swan song.

    I personally haven't chosen a side as yet because I honestly feel like no matter who wins, we all lose.


    Agreed - This episode was pure joy for me (the part with spot is the cure for dry-eye)

    If not Borg or Pah Wraiths, how about Species 8472? Lol Maybe some never forgave Janeway's alliance with the Borg in "Scorpion" and joined forces with the Section 31-engineered Changelings.

    The name should be Sony, not Sorry. Thanks, spellchucker.

    Species 8472 had psionic powers. Kes heard their voices.

    I never forgave Janeway's alliance. VERY convenient logic she used there.

    My opinion is far stronger than that, but this subject will very easily spiral out of control and into VOY spoiler territory and should thus be confined to over there.

    So Picard seasons 1-3 will be a great collectable boxset next Christmas, introducing younger generations (& in their future, their offspring) to old Star Trek faces that us over 50's trekkies love to watch again on tv.
    May Panorama get ST: Voyager crew all reappear in the next new boxset series - Star Trek franchise is anti-ageism!

    Each Picard season has a different theme music score that so befits the main storyline. Just wish the TNG theme music could be suddenly tuned up much much louder when it plays in snatches, to emphasize that moment in time, be it triumphantly or gently contemplative or victoriously - maybe when the series go on dvd boxset.

    - The Riker family storyline are the best so far.
    - how will Vadic's hand/face reappear in Jack's mysterybox ending?
    - Brent Spiner's different characters show him to be such a great actor.

    Great reviews since year dot - thanks Jammer

    Riker was acting as the audience proxy when at the conference table he said “and we still have no answers”.


    I always wonder about the people who take such offense to any sort of criticism geared to these programs. The argument that we must be joyless, miserable perpetually unhappy looking for reasons to rage just doesnt fly. And worse, it speaks more towards your own worldview than mine. Critical thinking and criticism doesn’t preclude joy or taking joy from things and really the argument I think you’re trying to make is that any critique is too much critique if YOU enjoy this program.

    This is a review/critique website. If you’re all so enamored with the programming you’re receiving, why come to a critique website in the first place? Unless of course, you’re looking for validation of your viewpoint? For my part, it matters little to me if Jammer and I agree on what worked, what doesnt work, or what we liked. I read Jammer’s reviews because they often give me another point of view to my own and things to consider that I might not have otherwise. Same with the comments. Outside of the ‘you’re so miserable and hate everything comments’ I gain some insight from people disagreeing with me when they like elements of the show that I don’t.

    And remember, critiquing Star Trek/pop culture has been a part of how we engage with them for decades (or centuries if you consider literary criticism). I was just as critical of Action Hero Medical Doctor Beverly Crusher shooting people with an RPG in insurrection and Deana Troi’s no purpose no consequence mind rape by Shinzon in Nemesis as I am to the moronic mystery boxes like Discovery’s Burn being caused by a kid screaming.

    If you ask why i still watch? Hope, maybe? Curiosity? To have conversation with people who share a culture of Star Trek and an interest in the best it represents - while also being able to acknowledge, honestly, that it hasn’t always been great. (S1 and S7 TNG….oof.)

    Ugh. How self-indulgently, ridiculously, crazily pointless this entire series is.

    All we really wanted was the ready room scene, Data and Geordi's oh-so-brief dialogue, and Data's moment with Spot, and look what else we had to wade through. Such a wasted opportunity for so little.

    If you hated TNG, you'll love this.

    "Does the Shrike have to blow the fog horn every time we see it in space too?"

    Goodness that sound every time we see the Shrike got to be seriously grating -- but at least it got summarily blown to bits with a one or two photon torpedoes so we'll never hear that stupid sound again.

    But wasn't it too easy to blow up the Shrike, regardless of the status of its shields? Just like it was too easy for Data to retake control of the Titan's systems? Just like it was too easy for Worf to sneak aboard the Shrike and release Riker/Troi? Comic book stuff...

    "Does the Shrike have to blow the fog horn every time we see it in space too?"

    I'd have to go back and listen, but I didn't think that was meant as a literal sound effect. It struck me more as a part of the score evoking a menacing theme, like in ST:TMP with the V'Ger cloud. I could be wrong, though.

    What a dark hostage stuff. At least no eyes were poked. Data in an old body does make as little sense as being reborn in an old body just for one drama death scene which was cancelled out by a magic resurrection copy or hopefully transfer.

    O destroying that super duperrr powerrrr weapons with added portal gun ship sure seems idiotic. Could have used it. Let alone all intelligence it contains.

    @modulum: Totally, you're right haha. I'm about 2 episodes too early to make that assessment- we haven't gotten to the last scene of the last episode yet!!

    @all: Man you know what would be enjoyable? Once this program wraps up and all of us super-critical gatekeepers who are Never Happy About Anything (TM) sit back and say "see? told you. it was a mess. it sucked.", it would be really fun to crowdsource a "remake" of this season together. We could break down the elements that worked, as well as the elements that didn't, and put it all back together in a treatment that has the "Jammer's Reviews Board Trek Gatekeepers" seal of approval on it. I bet you this hyper-intelligent corner of the Trek community could truly put together a kickass story treatment. There's a lot of talking the talk here, but I bet you guys could walk the walk when it came to fan fiction story development.

    What's the consensus so far on season 3?

    Is the show doing the usual "Picard"/"Discovery" thing and collapsing, after a decent intro, under the weight of cameos, violence and bad plotting?

    "Does the Shrike have to blow the fog horn every time we see it in space too?"

    It's the sound effect equivalent of a musical cue, which has some precedent in Star Trek films. It's meant to signal menace for the audience in case the menacing appearance of the ship wasn't obvious enough. This was tastefully done in films like First Contact with the eerie 3-note bass guitar riff. It was then dumbed down in Abram's first Star Trek reboot as the appearance of the main villain's ship, the Narada, was paired with a dying whale groan sound effect. Nu-Trek pushed even further down this simplistic and noisy direction but it seems they went too far since people are now confused whether they are hearing a sound cue or if the ship is releasing actual giant Unicron farts, which, you know, defeats the whole purpose of what is meant to be a more subconscious auditory suggestion and is thereby probably better left to more subtle and capable hands.

    Not sure if this is Star Trek or Stranger Things. At any rate, it's good to be rid of Vadic and the Shrike, so the story can move forward.

    I actually am shocked this should get 2.5 stars and I think It’s the equivalent of critical Stockholm syndrome. The dialogue is nauseatingly bad “you can’t rush healing” and what used to be expressed with silences and expressions is reduced to waterlogged artificial sounding dialogue. Compare this to good shows like succession or better call Saul and this is laughable. This holds no water and is not even close in tier to tng or ds9. The inability to be critical and accepting schlock like this is a plague of contemporary times and the dumbing down of what’s expected from our art today.

    I think it's easier to overlook or ignore the poor quality of the dialog when it's coming out of the mouth of a beloved character. For a while I didn't take much notice myself until I turned on closed captions and was better able to separate the words from the character and I almost couldn't believe what I was reading.

    Forgot to add - the scene at the beginning where Vadic dances and gloats to audio of the Titan crew getting brutally killed was...just sadistic, in a bad way. There's better and less cheap ways to make a villain scary. That just felt like a complete tonal 180 from the rest of the season. Bleh.

    "it would be really fun to crowdsource a "remake" of this season together"

    I said my idea for a series some time ago...Star Trek: FNN (Federation News Service). Each episode follows a Federation news team that is revisiting a planet seen in classic Trek years later to check in on them. One episode could revisit the planet with the Teplan blight, another could visit the proto-Vulcan Mintakans, one could be about the Darmok aliens, etc. A check-in with post Dominion War Cardassia could easily fill a three parter. If tech has evolved, we could even go visit the Talaxians on Neelix's fortified's only as far away as the Delta/Beta Quadrant border.

    Now to be sure...I wouldn't trust these showrunners and these writers to do this concept justice any further than I could throw them, especially because the series would be by design episodic instead of a movie plot absurdly stretched and diluted into a season long arc.

    Overall - these reviews are very thoughtful and well written - and Jammer is an excellent, incisive reviewer. However, I think the star scale is off and hyper inflated. Most of these episodes are 2-2.5 stars at best. I think as fans we WANT these episodes to be good and well-rated but watching these objectively, this is dumbed down Star Trek, uninspired and almost awkward dialogue, inconsistent and shallow characterizations, and an aimless, unimaginative plot. The "world" of Star Trek that felt uncharted and wild and full of possibility in DS9 and TNG and even Voyager has shrunk down into something commodified and machinated by the plot constraints of these lazy writers. For us - as an audience - to accept this as even near to quality is irresponsible - we need to call out bad quality for what it is.

    @TheRealTrent "What's the consensus so far on season 3?

    Is the show doing the usual "Picard"/"Discovery" thing and collapsing, after a decent intro, under the weight of cameos, violence and bad plotting?"

    I would say the last two episodes have put us right on the precipice.

    Regardless of the conclusion, episodes 7 and 8 have fallen short.

    I have enjoyed some of the 'memberberries; I don't mind fan service, but I'm only onboard when they're threaded through decent writing that could feasibly stand without their inclusion. Fan service ought to be extra: that cherry on top - that decadent slice of cake. They shouldn't be the primary sustenance.

    It's interesting that many who are enjoying it freely admit to overlooking the faults of the show - they're happy to indulge in this one-off equivalent of Deanna on a chocolate sundae binge. This is the end of the line - just pump that nostalgia into our veins, 'cause we know it's not getting any better within the confines of NuTrek.

    I don't hold that against anyone. I may have been inclined to just give myself over to the whole "look, so many things I remember!" euphoria, but i) I had already checked out of Trek and only came back due to the former detractors going gaga over S3 and ii) the more they do it, the less impactful it becomes. Add to that the hallmarks of NuTrek storytelling that have frustrated so many have become more apparent with each passing episode - as it always seems to in the backend of the season.

    One wonders what the reception might have been if it were the S1 cast in the shoes of the OG TNG cast? I have a sneaking suspicion reception wouldn't be much improved on the preceding two seasons.

    And just to add my voice to the "naysayer" discussion: it's funny that positive commentary is never held to the same scrutiny as negative. If it's positive, bring on the likes and thumbs up. A quick "that was amazing!" and you're in the clear. If it's negative - well, that just doesn't fit our stringent criteria and more to the point - why are you watching it if you don't like it? Well, considering the age of the franchise, the volume of content, the different entry points into it - along with the zeal of the fanbase ... is it really a surprise Trek fans find themselves watching Trek they don't like and feeling compelled to express their displeasure? Given the enormous melting pot of fandom it would utterly bonkers for us to ever agree on everything.

    Except for Voyager's Spirit Folk. I think we can all agree Spirit Folk was dreadful.

    I agree with Jammer that the hostage scenes were dull and formulaic. But after watching it (and before Jammer posted his review), I called it a 3-star episode, and I'm standing by that.

    I thought that Picard S1 was mediocre, with the Picard/Data scene in the finale salvaging the season. (Does Data's second resurrection this season undercut that scene? I hate to say it, but even though Data in this episode says that he thinks that version of him is "resting peacefully," it does somewhat.) And I thought that Picard S2 was mostly God-awful. This season, by contrast, has been good overall. It had serious pacing problems at the start, but those have largely improved (though they haven't disappeared).

    Some quick takes, ordered from most bad to most good:
    --Vadic was just not a very good villain. It's good that they made her a changeling and thereby connected her to the broader post-DS9 Star Trek universe, but otherwise she was uninteresting. So over the top all the time (except when she fears her handler and suddenly becomes overly scared and timid), and the way that her ship is so overpowering seems contrived. Why is Starfleet sending ships that are so easily outmatched out into the unknown? (On the bright side, Vadic has now been dispatched.)
    --Seven isn't getting enough to do, which is a shame because Jeri Ryan is so good (and because she's evolved the character from the way that she was on Voyager in such an organic and realistic way). I'm conflicted about her "Get off my bridge!" line. Part of me thought that it was too corny, but I like the Jeri-Ryan-as-Harrison-Ford ("Get off my plane!") aspect of it.
    --I've liked Shaw throughout this show, as a kind of antidote to fawning over Picard and Riker from their past exploits. But I didn't like him telling Seven that there was nothing she could do when she tried to stop Vadic from murdering her fellow officers. It seemed kind of defeatist. I get that he's pragmatic about keeping his crew alive--and maybe his thinking was that Seven was recklessly endangering the crew by making it more likely that Vadic would just massacre them all. But it just seemed to lack the toughness that you want to see in a Starfleet captain. Please feel free to try to argue me out of this, because I want to keep liking Shaw!
    --I agree with Jammer that the Riker/Troi conversation about leaving Nepenthe seems to conflict with how they appeared to feel in the episode of the same name. But maybe we the audience just projected relative happiness on them back in that episode. (As an aside that's really a criticism of that episode rather than this one: I don't forgive the writers for having their son die as a young child. The loss of a child is, I think, the worst agony that anyone can experience. And the writers inflicted that lifelong agony on two of the TNG leads just so that Troi could tell Soji that synthetic doesn't equal bad. Come on!!!)
    --Anyway, apart from maybe conflicting with the characterizations in "Nepenthe," I liked Riker and Troi's scenes discussing their lives and their futures. They struck me as true to life in how a married couple would discuss things in those circumstances, and the familiarity of the actors with each other made it feel like watching a real married couple have that conversation.
    --Despite my screen name, Data isn't my favorite Star Trek character (I'd probably go with Kira or O'Brien), but man, Brent Spiner is an absolute marvel in this episode. The Data/Lore scene and then the post-integration Data scenes are just extraordinary. They're what make this episode 3-stars for me despite its problems.
    --Well, those scenes, and then the scene of the Big 7 sitting around a conference table. Worf's comment about sending his old friends severed heads--guffaw!!

    P.S. Having Thad die reminds me of Rene burning to death in Star Trek: Generations (a movie that, overall, I actually quite like despite its reputation). Like, it seems extremely harsh just to create a certain narrative through-line.
    P.P.S. So... was Picard's body on the Shrike when Seven had it blown up?

    I still taking the dark horse and think it’s Redjac behind the red door. LOL. When I’m proven correct next week, all will bow to my genius. ;-)

    That Troi tried to erase Riker’s grief really bumped me. Completely out of character.

    I agree with previous posters that the Shrike “foghorn” ala ST:TMP is annoying AF. Geez, It was annoying in 1979…why bring it back now???

    I confess, having been burnt badly on the first two seasons of this show, I have only dipped into a few scenes this season before this episode, mostly to see the highlights of the return of the TNG crew. So I can't claim I really understand what is going on.

    But despite what appears to be a weird and ponderous plot surrounding our old beloved characters, the return of Data and Brent Spiner's performance felt like a true homecoming. He just nailed it, unlike most of his peers (with maybe the exception of Levar Burton).

    In my view he managed something truly amazing. He transcended the hokey scripting, dialogue and direction that seems to be the trademark of current Trek. A style that has felled the likes of Patrick Steward and Jeri Ryan who now seem like shadows of their former greatness.

    With Spiner I really felt his joy of acting those scenes as Data and Lore. It was infectious and full of genuine feeling. I got a true sense he wanted to do these characters justice and bring them back to life after all this time. Despite how short these scene were (he is in less than 10 minutes of the episode) they were powerful and gave me the nostalgia high I had been craving ever since Picard was first announced. The scenes in themselves aren’t anything special of course and on paper I reckon they would look cliché and bland for reasons that have already been pointed out. Yet that didn’t stop Spiner from going on a homerun.

    I also like how he has evolved Data. In this portrayal he comes across as what I had hoped a wise old Data might eventually become, had his character been allowed to thrive after Nemesis. It made me wonder to which degree Spiner carries Data with him when he is not acting him, he just seemed so at ease playing him again.

    I truly hope they would consider making a series focused on Data as the lead. Because I feel he would act right past any NuTrek writing, directing and production shenanigans. But I reckon the chances of that are slim looking at the disappointing line up of likely future series.

    @Data’s Lawyer
    I had the same question about Picard’ s body. They left it behind?
    “This is a shell.”
    “OMG all the Irumodic cells are gone!”
    “Eh, well, we got the info we wanted.”
    “Screw it, let’s leave him here.”

    I turned it off at 12 minutes due to the gore and violence. A while later I finally went back to it and fast forwarded past that, and past the mustache twirling nonsense; and just like Jammer wrote, the episode turned a corner into something actually enjoyable.

    That is not to say well-written, or well-lit. It did leave me with quite a few questions:

    Does Data not have Wi-Fi? I'm sorry but this one really left me shaking my head. The ethernet cables from TNG don't really work here. (Yes, I realize TNG preceded Wi-Fi but still, it just begs the question.)

    What was the point of the Shrike, etc? It just seems like an enormous waste. Like the awful ST Nemesis, it seemed like a string of dumb action scenes in space.

    I'm surprised that one of the most legendary engineers in all of Starfleet history wasn't able to get the transporters working. I know this is an ongoing problem throughout all of the shows, but still. Opening the windows on the saucer section seemed like they were trying too hard.

    I finally realized what is wrong with the lighting. Most of the cast are quite pale, so you have these pale faces floating in the darkness a lot of the time. It's no wonder I've almost fallen out of my seat cringing so hard.

    I enjoyed the episode mainly because Brent Spiner is such an incredibly good actor, he made it believable that Data and Lore were two separate entities. And the resolution was beautiful, and as Jammer pointed out, it was one of the most Data-like resolutions you could ask for.

    I'm sick of this Nu Trek obsession with season long mystery arcs! Only SNW has avoided this nonsense so far. I'm sure every single season of Picard and Discovery has a mystery box at its core and it's pissing me off. We all know, as with all the other mystery arcs on Picard and Disco, this is just going to be a massive anticlimax. Whether it tops the crying man-child as the cause of the Burn level of stupidity remains to be seen.

    Picard is the only nuTrek I can stand to wade through, because of its legacy, so as scared as I am to ask, what is...

    "crying man-child as the cause of the Burn"


    Is it even dumber than it sounds?

    "Is it even dumber than it sounds?"

    Yeah, it really is. The great mystery in Disco season 3 about why warp travel was extinct throughout the galaxy, caused by an alien having a tantrum. I wish I was joking too...

    "warp travel was extinct throughout the galaxy"

    That's what "the burn" is? XD

    "That's what "the burn" is? XD"

    I believe so, the details are a bit hazy since I've subconsciously tried to eliminate memories of that season...

    Oh God. Discovery S3 was literally a soap opera. So many tears. Also, Discovery’s turbo shafts are the size of about 50 football stadiums.

    Star Trek 2009 made the Enterprise engineering section look like a gigantic water treatment plant.

    Everything since is more of the same.


    "I truly hope they would consider making a series focused on Data as the lead."

    I've been thinking that since watching this episode earlier!

    Also they have certainly solved the issue that Data doesn't look like TNG Data any more and now has an aged body.

    @TheRealTrent "What's the consensus so far on season 3?"

    I concur with RLM's assessment that it feels like we're all standing on a great precipice, wary of the imminent possibility of falling off once more. More than the other seasons of Picard, this one has put all of its eggs into one basket and precariously dangles that basket over the edge, saving the Big Reveal until the last possible moment. Whether they're doing this because they genuinely have a great surprise for us that's gonna blow us away, or because they're sitting there bluffing with a pair of twos while continuously raising the stakes...only time will tell.

    Not much to say about this episode. More of the same.

    Things I enjoyed:

    "My personal space is a gift."
    "I have slaughtered countless enemies over the years and considered sending their heads to all of you."

    At this point, Jack is probably a Douwd!
    "I killed them, father. All Changelings... everywhere."

    Who didn't see that Data Uno Reverse coming? Don't open those email memberberry attachments! Even if they're from someone you know!

    Data roasting the Changelings! "Unwanted guests and monologuing protoplasms..."

    lol There you go, Data! You tell those great supine protoplasmic invertebrate jellies what they can do with themselves!

    I love how nobody ever checks to see if one of these creatures is alive. They just phaser the bastards every time they find one lying in the hallway. All is as it should be.

    Vadic: "F'ing solids!" lmao!

    Things I didn't enjoy:

    Why in hell would you destroy the Shrike when apparently there wasn't any crew left to stop you from taking control over it and all that advanced tech? Wouldn't that help you against the remaining changelings?

    Everything else.

    Last season, I gave up on the parking lot episode, just read the reviews and felt I didn't miss anything.

    Last week I gave up on season 3, I just come to read the review.

    If you want a good sci-fi series, I recommend Severnce. It is so nice to watch a show done by top writters, good actors and excellent direction. You won't regret it.

    Oh boy, lots to like in this one, mixed with plenty to hate.

    Stuff to like:

    * Vadic was tiresome but her death scene ("Fucking Solids") was in character for both her and Changelings as we knew/know them. If DS9 had allowed swearing one can easily see this line coming out of the Female Changeling's mouth.

    * The Data/Lore stuff was excellent, though, it must be said, it cheapens the character to keep bringing him back from the dead like this. Worth it for....

    * The TNG cast having their first moment together. In a conference room no less. That was completely in character and thoroughly appropriate.

    Stuff to hate:

    When the heck did Starfleet become a bunch of cowards? I know, it's not a military organization, it was never meant to be, but I cannot honestly recall a scene from any version of Star Trek prior to Discovery where we saw masses of crew members cowering in fear from the Threat of the Week.

    We see that again here, not for the first time in NuTrek, or even this season of Picard, and it had both of us screaming at the TV. Where's the professionalism? The grit? Determination? Concern for one's fellow crew members? When did Starfleet stop preparing its people to face adversity? The same organization that stood up to the Klingons, beat the Borg and Dominion, and kept the Romulans at bay for centuries. That Starfleet now has large numbers of people who cower in corridors and wait to be executed by B Grade villains of the week????

    I try not to nitpick technical stuff, sometimes you have to overlook it for the sake of a good story. This is character stuff and you don’t need to be a Trekkie to know it’s wrong….

    The loss of the Titan is barely better than "Rascals", arguably one of the worst TNG episodes.

    You deliberately allowed them to board your ship, okay, I can buy that, but if that's the plan why are there crew members running around without phasers? Shouldn't EVERYONE have been armed? Shouldn't EVERYONE have been prepared mentally and physically to defend themselves and their ship? Why does Jack — the civilian with a criminal record — have a phaser in almost every scene while trained Starfleet officers are cowering in fear without even a knife to defend themselves with?

    Two episodes left. Will our heroes get the sendoff they deserve? I hope so but feel like I'm being gaslit by the writers and producers.

    Just here to say

    Jammer, not the whole TNG crew… what about Wesl…

    Ok never mind, they’re all here.

    Even Tasha, dead for 33 years, gets a showing.

    [Rigel hint that Leah Brahms is Geordis wife].

    Loved this episode, overall. Again. Even the creepy hostage sequence in the beginning. So far, there hasn't been a single Episode in S3 that I didn't enjoy.

    Data's scenes were brilliant enough that I made peace with the fact that his poignant "death" in season 1 has been essentially made meaningless. On the other hand, they brought him back in the way that I wished they had done in S1, so my-non cynical self is happy.
    Deanna and Will were a blast. Loved Sirtis in this ep. Worf is a bit too goofy and Raffi a bit too over-the-top powerful, but it was alright.

    Only thing I didn't like is the death of Vadic, I still want to see more of her.

    Oh, and it's the Borg. 100% sure of it. A cube or 10 will appear on Frontier Day to engage the fleet. The only thing I'm weary of is how they will dispose of that threat this time, without cheapening the Borg menace as a whole again. Looking forward to seeing Janeway as well. Perhaps even Alice Krige?
    Next week will tell!

    What is it with Beverly having kids with superpowers??? Is she a descendant of Khan or something?

    @ Dirk

    "Does Data not have Wi-Fi? I'm sorry but this one really left me shaking my head. The ethernet cables from TNG don't really work here. (Yes, I realize TNG preceded Wi-Fi but still, it just begs the question.)"

    If you get your hands on the TNG Technical Manual (eBooks of it are available) you'll find that TNG predicted, amongst other things, the tablet computer and Wi-Fi. Of course they weren't called that, but the description of the PADD is essentially a modern day iPad, using a "Subspace Transceiver Assembly" to communicate with other PADDs and the ship's computer.

    They also predicted induction charging (PADDs don't have charging ports), cluster computing, and a bunch of other things that we now take for granted.

    One thing they didn't predict was that tricorders and communicators make more sense as a unified device, e.g., the modern smartphone, which has a lot of the same sensors a tricorder presumably would. Orville got this right the "comscanner" concept. Too much history in Trek now to retcon this, besides, who doesn't want a Starfleet badge communicator, it's just interesting to look back at how many things they predicted and realize they missed the boat on this particular one.

    @ Data's Lawyer

    "and the way that her ship is so overpowering seems contrived. Why is Starfleet sending ships that are so easily outmatched out into the unknown?"

    @ Quincy

    "Why in hell would you destroy the Shrike when apparently there wasn't any crew left to stop you from taking control over it and all that advanced tech? "

    I didn't get the impression there was anything special about the Shrike, except for the plot device, err, portal weapon, and the fact she was very heavily armed.

    Presumably the Enterprise or some ship other than the Titan might have been a fair match for her, plot device notwithstanding. Riker even says, "This isn't the Enterprise" in one of the early episodes.

    The Titan not being as well equipped as the Enterprise is one of the least objectionable parts of S3. Makes things a little bit more interesting if the characters have to figure things out without having the best ship in the fleet at their disposal.

    I can recall quite a few scenes in TNG where Picard sat on the bridge mildly annoyed as some ship grossly inferior to the Enterprise took potshots at her. I'm not sure that's what we want here, although it would be refreshing to see Starfleet confidence and comptence on display at least ONCE this season. :)

    Yeah, it is Kai Winn who was turned into a pah wraith. Winn then has became Vadic's hand. Vadic was a mentee of Dr Mora. Now she wants to storm the celestial temple one last time! When Beverly had ghost sex, that was actually a pah wraith. This pah wraith has to be freed from Jacks body. It all makes sense now!

    You heard it here first!

    I know we’re going to found out soon enough what Jack’s “mystery” is but after seeing the preview of next week’s ep & Troi’s reaction, what could she have possibly recognized that is linked to an old wooden red door & and a bunch a tentacles?

    I don’t see how Pah Wraiths or Borg or anything else the TNG crew ever encountered fits in with Jack’s vision or the super-powers he has. Maybe it’ll be some NEW alien threat they’re setting up to be threat in a future series.

    @ Dan

    "Some of us might be disparaging the hatred and nitpicking negativity in some of the comments posing as reviews, however, especially when they're little more than calling things shit."

    I realize I've doubtless nitpicked more than my share of things. My issue is with the concessions Picard and Discovery have made for this 10-hour movie concept. If that comes across as 'nitpicking' so be it. Nobody asked for that story structure. Trek was always episodic. There were recurring plots, in all the series, but even DS9 remained episodic for the most part. It's not for nothing that Strange New Worlds is the most popular of the modern live action productions.

    The 10-hour movie COULD work, with enough story to tell, but there isn't enough story to tell. We get tons of filler and faux-cliffhangers that rarely pay off. They are written to get maximum social media engagement and that elusive viral moment. Trek comes with a built in audience but the producers seemingly don't trust that audience to remain engaged.

    Ask yourself if Wrath of Khan or The Undiscovered Country could have been told better in ten hours instead of two.

    I don't think they could have been. If you handed this writing team the outline for Khan, we'd be three episodes in before we met Khan. Kirk would commiserate about his age with someone we never met instead of Bones. We wouldn't learn what motivated Khan until episode five or six. Genesis would morph from something understandable in scale/scope into a universe ending threat.

    All I want out of Picard S3 is the sendoff the TNG cast never got after Nemesis. I want a satisfying end to the post-All Good Things story.

    The Undiscovered Country wasn't the best Trek movie, but it was a good one, and a great sendoff for the TOS crew. They didn't need universe ending stakes. Failure to make peace with the Klingons didn't mean the extinction of humanity, or end of all sentient life in the galaxy, it simply meant a lot of people were going to die in an avoidable war. It was up to our heroes to avert that outcome. To build a better galaxy for future generations.

    I'm probably giving the writers too much credit but I wonder if the teaser scene from episode 1 is more significant than it seemed. It has playing on the monitor Picard's captain's log from BoBW. Picard-" I have no explanation for their(the Borg) special interest in me or this ship." Wonder if they might revise that te Borg came for Picard for the same reason The Face wanted his brain. But it brings up interesting question. Nanoprobes usually heal-- Look at Voyager's "Repentance". So wouldn't they have fixed whatever was wrong with Picard's brain.


    "And then the DME and Species 10-C mystery came along. And I think it was almost universally agreed the payoff was not worth the build-up. I'm worried the Jack mystery is headed the same way."

    The DME/10-C thing, IDK if it "paid off", because there was a lot of filler in that season and they dragged out The Mystery™ too long. FWIW though, it was one of the more satisfying Discovery arcs for me, because it was true to the Trekkian ethos of struggling to communicate and find common ground.

    If you want to throw shade at Discovery for not paying off, look no further than The Burn boiling down to an emotional child. I hated everything about that. A story like that could work in Star Wars, which is more fantasy than science, but in Star Trek?

    Totally out of place. Dilithium isn't a Kyber Crystal with a special connection to The Force. It's just an element that makes warp drives work. How doesn't really matter, except that it's science, not spirituality.

    All of a sudden it's spiritual. People who are strong with The Force, err, Subspace, can commune with it and inadvertently destroy galactic civilization???

    Imagine watching Chernobyl and learning at the end the meltdown was caused by a child with a spiritual connection to uranium who was lonely and lashed out emotionally. That's how stupid it was.

    Just in case that's not stupid enough, let's create some artificial scarcity too. Once upon a time humanity knew how to reprocess uranium. In fact, a Scottish dude figured it out over a long weekend when he was up against a deadline at work. Too bad nobody thought to write down what he did. :)

    @startrekwatcher, "I'm probably giving the writers too much credit but I wonder if the teaser scene from episode 1 is more significant than it seemed. It has playing on the monitor Picard's captain's log from BoBW."

    I really hope not. I won't say there's zero chance it could work, however, the Borg stories that paid off are vastly outnumbered by the ones that did not.

    Best of Both Worlds, Scorpion, Dark Frontier, and First Contact. Did any other episodes pay off? I can't think of one that did.

    There were solid episodes that used the Borg as a framing device, "I, Borg" and Drone come to mind, Emissary too. Those weren't stories where the heroes had to figure out a way to once again beat the unbeatable enemy. They were character pieces with the Borg as a backdrop.

    I wouldn't go near the Borg with a ten foot pole if I was given carte blanche to write a Star Trek episode however I saw fit. :)

    The problem with S3 of Discovery is that Michelle Paradise took over as showrunner that season. Her previous experience was on a teen vampire soap opera where the "plot" only serves to connect the emotional (crying) scenes which are the highlight of the show. You can also play fast and loose with the details in a fantasy setting with magic. I read an interview with her where she implied the sci fi genre simply meant having cool special effects.

    I do think she learned from her mistakes and became more familiar with Trek and the sci-fi genre which does show in S4, which was a decent attempt at a sci-fi story with themes from classic Trek. It fell flat at times but some of it was pretty cool (e.g., how they communicated with 10-C, Zora's sentience).

    The problem isn't so much that they insist on mystery box storytelling, but that they insist on dragging it out through the entire season every single time. So it builds and builds and inevitably crashes under its own weight because very few concepts can deliver that kind of payoff (S1 of Westworld is the only one that comes to mind). I don't understand why every season has to have the this exact same structure, it basically sets the writers up to fail.


    "Just who were Vadic's henchmen, anyway? Changelings?"

    People seem to think so but I dont think its ever really confirmed other than Vadic's one henchman was a changeling which you saw when she entered the bridge.

    "If so, why did they wear (or pretend to wear) masks and cloaks?""


    I really wonder how some of these seasons played out in the writer's room. I actually thought the overarching premise of Picard S2 was pretty good (Picard has emotional trauma that prevents him from being close to anyone, and Q wants to help him with it before he dies). Basically "Tapestry" on steroids. The problem is you can't fill 10 episodes with that alone, so the writers had to throw in a bunch of other random crap and mix it all together, resulting in the season being a massive dumpster fire. In retrospect, Jammer was very generous with his ratings that season because a lot of those episodes deserved a half a star or less.

    Either way, I've been enjoying S3 of Picard so far. These last two episodes haven't been as good because a lot of the NuTrek themes I don't like are gaining strength, but if the season finishes strong all will be forgiven.

    @ Nick

    "The problem isn't so much that they insist on mystery box storytelling, but that they insist on dragging it out through the entire season every single time."

    This is it exactly.

    The mysteries in Discovery and Picard, they frequently feel like something that would have been resolved in a single episode, or perhaps a two parter, back in the day with the same or better payoff.

    I'll drop "Power Play" as a hostage episode I feel worked, though Jammer rated it equal (2.5 stars) to this one. I'd say it was 3 stars, not the best of TNG by any means, but it worked. There was a mystery there, the motivation of the hostage takers, with satisfying payoff, good action scenes, a battle of wills between Picard and the bad guys, everything you could ask for.

    Obviously Picard and Co. were never going to die, so if you want to nitpick it you could say the stakes were contrived, but that's most (all?) television. I can roll with that if the story is well told and holds my interest for the duration.

    @ Nick "but if the season finishes strong all will be forgiven"

    Jammer felt S1 ended strongly but I feel like he fell for one too many "twists" and don't regard it as some brilliant coup on the part of the writers that the season was actually all about Picard coming to terms with Data's death.

    It's the South Park scene with Michael Bay, M. Night Shyamalan, and Mel Gibson, where the first two are oblivious and think that SFX and twists can substitute for a good story with solid structure.

    S2, I honestly have no idea what it was about. The Q stuff I liked, as you do, but I'm not convinced it was the "overarching premise" of the season.

    S3, I'll reserve judgment until it concludes, but I am pretty dispirited based on what we've seen to date.

    The Riker/Troi stuff, they aren't just retconning TNG, they retconned their own S1! I can roll with retconning if it tells a good story but there's nothing good about watching Riker give up on life. I guess I'm supposed to feel something now that he's found purpose again but how can that pay off when we never watched him lose it to begin with?

    It just feels cheap, grief for the sake of grief. Grief that I would argue is out of character but could have bought if we had watched it happen. Or seen some of it in one of the flashbacks they were so fond of in S1.

    30 hours they had to catch us up on these characters. How many of those were wasted on side quests we can't even remember without a rewatch? :(

    Kirk lost purpose in Wrath of Khan and made a huge out of character mistake that got a bunch of people -- including his BFF! -- killed. It worked because it was based on his age, which was relatable and didn't require a deep dive to be convincing, plus it was alluded to in the preceding movie.

    So Picard's old body was in the Shrike when it got blown up, right?

    I suppose we have to start keeping track of those morbid whereabouts from now on, as a previous episode inaugurated that until-now mute concearn. I mean, for the past 20 years in never crossed my mind to think "I wonder where Kirk's body is right now", but that is a thing now so.... best to pay attention and start taking notes.

    Picard's old biological body, sans half a brain lobe: blown off. The rest of it: on it's way to episodes 9/10.

    Kirks body: still at Daystrom.

    @startrekwatcher, "I'm probably giving the writers too much credit but I wonder if the teaser scene from episode 1 is more significant than it seemed. It has playing on the monitor Picard's captain's log from BoBW."

    Fellow watcher!

    Specifically, that log entry is about why the Borg wanted Picard specifically. What if something about his genetics or a previous odd experience ("Lonely Among Us?") impacted him in ways that led to his being chosen by the Borg?

    @startrekwatcher - of course re-reading your comment I see you also noticed that dimension of the log

    You know, Armus does deserve his/its own follow up story.

    Shall I tell you what a true sequel is?

    Whatever one thinks of Tasha's fate (I thought it was perfect), the biggest problem of the episode was the ridiculous physical depiction of Armus along with his somehow even more ridiculous voice. That wouldn't have passed the muster in 68 let alone 88.

    But Armus is still an incredibly compelling character with a nearly untold story. Who are these beings that cast him off? And did these luminous beings that cast off their evils not commit an almost unspeakable evil by creating this very dangerous and pitiable undead creature?

    There's a story there.

    @Tim, I completely agree on the mystery box stuff. They really should come up with the story idea first, and then figure out how many episodes they need to tell it. S4 of Enterprise did that, with a series of 1-3 episode mini-arcs. I thought it worked really well. But sadly Kurtzman seems to have mandated season long mystery boxes for everything except SNW.

    I'm fine with them retconning S1/S2 at this point, given the circumstances. I've enjoyed Riker so far this season, but they could have done a better job with his backstory. I'm also a little unclear on Deanna's powers, I thought she could only sense emotion in others. I guess she can now manipulate people's emotions (Will) and enter people's minds (Jack)? Weird.

    Still, for all its flaws I've been way more engaged this season than any other season of NuTrek. I've enjoyed watching every episode (as opposed to feeling obligated to watch because I'm too invested) which is a first. I'll admit I'm nervous heading into the last 2 episodes that they won't stick the landing, as most of the time they don't.

    Please don’t let the red door reveal be mommy/daddy issues or some episode spent inside Jack’s head fighting his own emotional/mental demons, I want cool high concept sci fi stuff, not therapy IN SPAAAACE.

    I see a red door...

    Mick or Keith being there would top Armus.

    You know, it could be Beverly's Scottish candle lover behind the door...

    I just soiled my brain.

    If I hear the term "mystery box" one more time, I'm going to lose it. Lol. Commenters on this board, and on every other board everywhere talking about Star Trek these days, keep ranting and raving about their hatred of mystery box stories.

    Here's the thing -- there's a difference between a "mystery box" and a "mystery." Until about 2004, the term "mystery box" didn't exist; it was coined by J.J. Abrams in a lecture he gave about his approach to storytelling, specifically about Lost. It's readily available to watch on YouTube. Look it up.

    Basically, the idea of a mystery box is that you throw the viewer/reader/media consumer into a situation in which nothing can be taken for granted; this generates a seemingly endless number of mysteries in every possible storytelling direction, which (in theory) leads to more audience engagement. He's not necessarily wrong about that last part, although I will argue that it's difficult, if not impossible, to pull off because by hyper-engaging your audience, you are priming them to have hyper-expectations. The result usually falls flat.

    Here's a pretty important aspect of a mystery box-type story: the ending is not worked out by the writer(s) in advance, for any number of reasons, for good or ill. They're winging it. It's hard for the eventual ending to actually reward people because the writers are distracting the viewer and buying themselves time by throwing out ever more convulted and disconnected mysteries which don't lead to a satisfying resolution.

    That's a mystery box. It's a specific thing.

    A ten-episode arc which was plotted out in advance is, definitionally, not a mystery box. It's just a mystery. Does that mean it's going to great? Of course not. Not all mysteries are satisfying in the end. Is Picard's third-season endgame going to be worth the wait? We don't know yet. And sometimes a mystery doesn't seem earth-shatteringly brilliant until the end, which causes everything that came before to be re-evaluated; "Oh, I see, I understand now, well-played. You got me."

    But season three is NOT a mystery box. Nor was the second season. Nor was the first season. Nor was the third or fourth seasons of Discovery. An argument *could* be made that the first two seasons of Discovery qualify, because those seasons had major showrunner changes midstream that produced unforeseen course corrections; I still don't think they really meet the definition of a mystery box, because they are very deliberately plotted and paced, even though a lot of people don't like those plots or the pacing.

    What are some well-known examples of mystery box structure? Lost is the prototypical specimen of the breed, of course. The back half of Game of Thrones, almost certainly. Westworld *for sure* (and boy did that show piss me off). Heroes, yup. You could argue that most serialized television mystery plots before the streaming age, back when writers hardly ever had proscribed endings mapped out for a huge number of very practical reasons, fit this definition.

    Anyway. Rant over. I don't like mystery boxes either. But let's please stop calling every mystery a mystery box.

    @ Dirk

    "Does Data not have Wi-Fi? I'm sorry but this one really left me shaking my head. The ethernet cables from TNG don't really work here. (Yes, I realize TNG preceded Wi-Fi but still, it just begs the question.)"

    If I was an engineer developing a state of the art AI that is so close to a human mind that it could be determined its own singular life form, then the hell I'm going to design it wi-fi capable to get hacked all day every day.

    Connecting Data solely by cable would ensure that if something has gone terribly awry with his systems, the fix would be entirely localized, which is what you would necessitate with something as precious as his positronic brain.


    That's a fair distinction between a "mystery box" vs. mystery-style storytelling, and I'll go ahead and agree with your definition. (You can also go ahead and add the Star Wars sequel trilogy to the awful mystery box list.)

    In fact, much of TNG is rooting in the mystery genre with merely a sci-fi setting. I'd estimate at least 50% of the whole run involved some "anomaly" causing strange occurrences that the crew would have to figure out using science and logic before the 50 minutes were up. Stylistically, there's not much difference in the way Hercule Poirot solves murders with his "little grey cells."

    I think what most find annoying about the way the mystery storytelling is done these days is that it feels cheap and condescending. The viewer is all too aware of the all-powerful writer, only offering you the information in drips because they need to stretch the plot out to fill the episode quota. It is frustrating when the viewer feels like the intelligent characters should have already figured certain elements of the mystery out, rather than constantly being stymied and strung along merely because the plot isn't ready for it yet.

    "The Burn" is probably the most egregious example of that I've ever engaged with in my life. It was very much a Ralphie in A Christmas Story "be sure to drink your ovaltine" moment. The amount of time invested in the mystery vs. the payoff/reveal was a "throw the remote and break the expensive oled screen" moment.

    I think we've had enough nuTrek season-long mysteries to realize they just don't really work within Star Trek. The ideas would probably be fine as a movie or 2 part episodes, but as whole seasons, they turn into overlong schlocky messes that end up insulting the intelligence of its (usually) intelligent audience/fanbase.

    I have a different take. Mystery Box means dropping the audience into a mystery in progress and then putting in more and more mysteries that always keep the audience guessing. In this season the mystery box is Jack. Is he really BevPics son? What are his super powers? Why does he have visions? What about his past? Why does Vadic want him? Then there are side mysteries that relate to the main mystery. Why is Vadic's hand it's own entity? Who does Vadic really represent? Do Picard and Jack really have Irumodic Syndrome? Why do they need Picard's body?
    The story is at it's core not about a crime or an adventure but about a central mystery and many smaller mysteries connected to it who are constantly introduced. While some write this way open ended, others have a clear ending in mind. Stranger Things is an example of a mystery box show with a concrete ending for season 1.


    'The amount of time invested in the mystery vs. the payoff/reveal was a "throw the remote and break the expensive oled screen" moment.

    I think we've had enough nuTrek season-long mysteries to realize they just don't really work within Star Trek.'

    Completely agree.

    There's also the added problem that the NuTrek writers don't seem to really understand what makes Trek actually Trek, either in terms of tone, characterisation, dialogue etc. NuTrek is generally a derivative, dumbed-down, internally inconsistent, unimaginative, hyperactive parade of references to/swipes from more recent media franchises.

    Most things in PIC seem to be done in the worst conceivable way, with the silliest possible outcome. PIC S3 is now having to actively retcon the nonsenical creative choices of earlier seasons, often in a very glib or flippant way. (Personally I don't care, as I despised S1 and S3, but most critics of NuTrek seemed to find the Data 'death' scene in S1 incredibly moving and a highlight of PIC - do they feel cheated by Data being brought back? This series, like DSC, seems determined to make fools of anyone who gives it a chance.)

    What has worked well in S3? A little, but not much at all. The underlying NuTrek drive is simply too strong. The revelation of Changeling involvement was a nice touch, incredibly not leaked before the reveal, but has been largely inconsequential and, again, not particularly well-thought through. There have been a handful of nice TNG character scenes based solely on nostalgia. Perhaps the same amount of decent dialogue. There's an air of slightly more respect for the premise. Beyond that is all flab, filler, 'fucks', and disappointment.

    I can't get over how much of a tragic wasted opportunity all this is.

    How this will play out.

    The face is an incomplete Locutus which is whom Troi recognized behind the door in Jack's mind.
    He was created at Daystrom from Picard's body from the traces of Irumodic syndrome in his DNA which were actually emergent elements of Locutus trying to re-write Picard's DNA over the years.
    Vadic was at Daystrom which is how they met and he engineered her escape.
    Damage to Picard's body from age and death means he needs some of Jack's DNA to complete himself and needs to do it before Frontier day.
    Jack's powers are a derivative of the hive-mind abilities the Borg possess and were inherited from Picard.
    The Federation fleet is being gathered all in one place for Frontier day because Locutus intends to call in the borg once he's been completed somehow and ambush them using a much larger version of the portal weapon to bring them there instantly but he needs his hive mind abilities back before then.
    This is why Vadic agreed to help him and also explains why she remarked on Seven's witnessesing Jack's capture as appropriate.
    The changeling conspiracy is all about maneuvering the fleet into the trap.
    Now that the changelings can be identified, they can all be killed or transported to a place of confinement simultaneously.
    The smaller portal weapon Vadic dropped will be found and used to defeat the overall threat somehow.

    Actually, scratch that last point. The heroes don't know it was dropped so it won't come up though the tech will still play a role on Frontier day.

    Locutus is likely still at Daystrom. Vadic's hand communications are simply because he probably gave her some piece of him to allow them to stay in contact.

    It's also how Vadic got in so easily to get Riker.


    Great read but you're putting far more thought into it than the writers would.

    Heh, I always assumed referring to "mystery boxes" was a direct dig on JJ.

    For sure. The usage has become totally ironic, divorced from its original meaning, and deliberately so. Have you ever seen anyone other than J.J. Abrams use the term "Mystery Box" in a positive, appreciative sense that alludes to infinite potential and hope? I certainly haven't, at least not in the context of Nu-Trek. If J.J. Abrams can be considered both the "Mystery Box guy" and the father of modern Trek (Alex Kurtzman is merely its... *shudder* ..innovator since he borrowed from and expanded earlier ideas, for better or worse) then it totally makes sense that his own term would come back to haunt him when his unwitting legacy of Kurtzman-era Trek got a little too enamoured with its own mysteries that almost always turn out to be empty and disappointing.

    Another cliff hanger on what Jack is and why he is "special", "chosen one"? They are needlessly and artificially dragging this out to fill 10 episodes. I feel like I am being toyed with. Cliffhanger/mysteries are great when done well, I'm old enough to remember "who shot JR??" on Dallas. But this has all the subtlety of a sledge hammer and is shamelessly manipulative, and serves no storytelling purpose.

    But I'm guessing the Picard bloodline has a high concentration of Mitachlorians.

    It's not the crime that often gets people caught, it's errors in the cover up.

    Badly written mysteries work along similar lines. It's not what the mystery is about that often causes them to be dramatically unsatisfying, it's when the path to them doesn't make sense along the way that reveals that something is fundamentally wrong or weak in the writing.

    The best mysteries actually put all the evidence you need right in front of you but they do it in such a way that the most critical facts are downplayed while more misleading (but not false...that's key) ones are brought to the forefront which cause the audience to draw the wrong conclusions. But a good mystery never lies to you.

    They carefully backtrack from the end and determine all the clues they need to leave to both justify the end and mislead the audience along the way then weave it all into a believable and natural path towards the conclusion from the beginning.

    Badly written mysteries or mystery boxes mislead or misdirect through emotional or plot gimmicks with bad setup and often no payoff which are cheap and unskilled methods of dragging an audience back week after week.

    Case-in-point. Rey finds Luke's lightsaber in the force awakens. Grabs audience attention. Makes them ask "how?" and invests the viewer in the explanation of the event and it's significance to the character.

    Payoff: Zero. Completely forgotten. Used as a cheap emotional trick in the moment.

    Knives out parts 1 and 2 are other examples of badly written mysteries.


    In part one, we only learn during the "great reveal" scene that the nurse never poisoned Chistopher Plummer's character at all. This is information the audience was never privy to during the actual investigation and had no cause to suspect at any point earlier. Bad writing. The audience never had a chance of figuring out the mystery beforehand.

    In part two, we actually SEE footage showing Dave Bautista's character pick up Edward Norton's drink which in the end is actually a lie. He handed it to him. That's outright false evidence being given to the viewer as a physical truth rather than as testimony which would allow room for suspicion so Edward Norton comes off as innocent. It's a dramatic cheat from an inferior filmmaker.


    Mysteries should never outright falsify evidence and even the misdirections should have their own logic otherwise it becomes obvious to viewer by the end that the writer/director is just a dime-store magician who can only string along with cheap tricks that feel like a huge, empty, waste of time hindsight and often lessen the big reveal at the end by being so obviously unrelated.

    It's a writer trying to pass off ineptitude as cool questions that were only every just a stalling tactic that he hopes will be forgotten later.

    Agree wholeheartedly with the several comments that season-long mysteries have not worked well with Star Trek. Both Disco and Picard have frustrated me by relying on mystery boxes that are not unwrapped until the end, thereby giving the sense along the way that much of the scenes are padding/filler, as we await the final payoff.

    That format works well within a 2-hour film but is very difficult to pull off over an entire season, unless the show is constructed in patently ridiculous fashion, as with "24," which passed the time by putting the quest into mortal danger every hour.

    I wouldn't call the Knives Out movies murder-mystery. They are "eat the rich" Satires. That's why the logic of the storytelling is not as important as the fact that it makes the audience laugh and lampoons it's rich characters.


    'Another cliff hanger on what Jack is and why he is "special", "chosen one"? They are needlessly and artificially dragging this out to fill 10 episodes.'

    Agreed. Another problem here is that many of us simply no longer care who or what 'Jack' 'Crusher' is, if we ever did.

    @ TheWatcher
    Just wanted to say I enjoyed your analysis of good versus bad mystery-writing and I agree that the best mysteries lay out the clues beforehand and never contradict the resolution with false or misleading evidence. Some people think that the viewer should have *all* they need to know before the protagonists solve the mystery, which is certainly a nice bonus that rewards attention, but outside of the actual Mystery genre I don't think very many people are expecting that much from their entertainment.

    In the context of Nu-Trek, the writers would only need to 1) not tease and draw the mystery out at the expense of solid, interesting content that exists independently of the need for the mystery to be resolved; in other words, the bare fact that a mystery exists shouldn't cynically be used as the primary hook, 2) avoid misleading plot elements and contradictions like you mentioned, 3) have the resolution logically and thematically connect in some way with what has already been shown to the can even be somewhat of an unpredictable surprise as long as the quality of the storytelling doesn't suddenly fall off, which, despite your focus on point #2, is also a really important and valid concern.

    Thanks. I was re-watching some of the older films recently and it's amazing how after forty years, they just can't seem to top many of them. Granted a series and film are different animals but it's refreshing how there's not a lot of wasted space or repetitive conversation in those movies. Even the motion picture's (too long) special FX shots feel like they're genuinely inviting the audience to enjoy the wonder of it all as opposed to a lot of modern series where the dialogue and character reactions are so forced that it seems like even the writer knows he's padding things out.

    The motion picture feels sincere in it's failing. A lot of modern series work does not.


    “ The best mysteries actually put all the evidence you need right in front of you”. “A good mystery never lies to you”

    You’re spot on here. Game of Thrones Season 1 was a masterclass in this. What set that season apart was that it was essentially a murder mystery (who killed John Arryn). That show laid out the motive early on. It didnt even fully withhold which house was responsible - it was fairly obviously the Lannisters. But it made the intricacies of the murder core to the mystery. Not just WHO did it, but who else was involved? How deep did the murder conspiracy go? The show never lied to you. Hell, even the liars never lied to you about trusting them (coughcoughLittlefingercougcough). All the clues were there to examine whether the viewer noticed or not.

    Star Trek mysteries (or boxes or whatever we’ve agreed to call them) fall flat because the ultimate payoffs are never logical or consequential enough to warrant 10 hours of misdirection and obfuscation. This is why they withhold the Big Reveal (tm) until the very end and why little to nothing along the way leads up to it.

    Nothing in Discovery season 3 could have predicted that a galaxy wide explosion of dilithium was caused by a child’s scream. The show couldn’t have set that up even if they wanted to and why it felt so cheap when it was revealed. The mystery could not be solved by the internal logic of the season’s plot and any investigations into The Burn were just there as empty misdirections as the writers knew there was nothing to connect them to the ultimate pathetic reveal.

    PIC S2, i cant even really remember what that mystery was. That Dr Jurati was a new type of kinder, gentler Borg queen? I suppose that was set up in Episode 1 and easily predictable as the reveal in the end….but it was such low hanging fruit that I cant really say it had much narrative worth.

    PIC S1… meh whatever. People seem to like this stuff so what do I know?

    Ultimately, I have nothing against the idea of season long mystery arcs in theory. I think they could work well in Star Trek if they pulled back from the need to make everything a Galaxy Destroying Threat, or mystery box that threatens THE ENTIRE FEDERATION!! OOO!

    DS9 threatened the entire federation. Other than the later reveal of the Founders, there wasn’t that much mystery to it. Some aliens from another quadrant control a vast empire and use their cloned species to destabilize or destroy perceived threats. Fairly straight forward and didnt require endless amounts of false clues, cliff hangers, reveals that reveal nothing, dialogue that leads nowhere, etc. Hell, the dominion war never even filled out full seasons as they spent plenty of time on other storylines. The war was just ongoing sometimes in the forefront, sometimes front an center. The Pah Wraiths, i suppose, were the big mystery box type storyline in DS9 and coincidentally, the weakest part of the entire show.

    One last thing, I think you can add Battlestar Galactica to the list of shows that thread the mystery needle successfully overall. Not perfectly, no. There are so many examples of where it got it right and where it got it wrong so I’ll just pick a controversial one…

    The reveal of the Final 5. That mystery reveal came out of no where (with limited clues scattered in a few preceding episodes). But then after that reveal the explanation (fairly weak and convoluted) followed quickly (two episodes later) and then rather then focus on the mystery of these 5 individuals (which would have been boring), it explored what this meant for their sense of identity as the narrative through line (to varying degrees of success).

    They should have made Star Trek: Picard as the alternate show, Star Trek: Dinner With the Admiral.

    Half of each show would be Picard building on a relationship with Laris while they mindfully prepare for the night's dinner, and then the second half would be a former crew member appearing at the door for a warm night of catching up. Just ten episodes per season of Picard puttering around his vineyard and finding out what happened to everyone he loves.

    I'm not going to get into other shows specifically, but the worst thing for me is how easy it is to create "mysteries".

    Show some known character mysteriously doing something that suggests they have secret knowledge that suggests they might be evil minions to Teh Evil and blah blah.

    I'll either turn it off or maybe google the plot if I'm at all Into the show.

    It's just hacking. There's every reason to believe there's nothing worthwhile backing it up. You can make literally anything look suspicious like this.

    JJ is the first and only "creator" I will never watch again. He's the only behind the scenes person I've disliked enough to explicitly avoid. Johnson doesn't bother me as much because in TLJ he does have to make sense of Luke's situation based on the prior movie.

    The best part is, I guaran-darn-tee you, JJ was forced to come back to SW for Palpatine Arises. Second best part is the movie embarrassingly underperformed. Third best is I will NEVER watch that freaking movie.

    JJ wouldn't bother me so much if he weren't always prancing around like the second coming of Spielberg, Kubrick, etc. You can bet the bank he wished Palpable Arises came out six months later so he could blame Covid.

    The man does green screen in the desert, lol beyond lol.

    Well that turned into a rant.

    I DON'T think this season of Picard is doing that at all. I'll be very pleasantly surprised if Jack's underlying story can cash the checks the whole season has been writing.

    But Jack's whole thing is just one element. The season has had quite ample self contained stories along the way. Jack is just some sort of MacGuffin.

    This episode was a nice pick up from last week, and seeing the TNG cast together in the briefing room was wonderful.

    My dad was thinking Jack's "affliction" Mar be some sort of Borg remnant, but I like the Pah Wraith idea. Hopefully we find out next week.

    "I realize I've doubtless nitpicked more than my share of things. My issue is with the concessions Picard and Discovery have made for this 10-hour movie concept. If that comes across as 'nitpicking' so be it. Nobody asked for that story structure."

    I understand not liking the structure (and I don't consider not liking it nitpicking) but for better or for worse, here we are. I doubt we'll ever return to the days of 22-26 episode-long seasons which are truly episodic -- and that's not a bad thing if it means we don't ever need to see "Threshold"-type stories again.

    "Trek comes with a built in audience but the producers seemingly don't trust that audience to remain engaged."

    I think this is just the reality of shows overall now. There are so many shows coming out, so many options for watching those shows, and keeping people subscribed is the primary focus, so I understand why this is the approach taken.

    I actually think this season of Picard would have benefited greatly from being released all at once as opposed to being a weekly thing. But, again, gotta keep those subscriptions going.

    "Ask yourself if Wrath of Khan or The Undiscovered Country could have been told better in ten hours instead of two."

    I personally don't have a problem with the length of this series nor the story being told within it. I think we all knew going into this one that it was going to be a lot of fan service and a serialized story.

    As I recall, there were episodes within the final 10 of DS9 that didn't exactly leave us with resolutions when they ended, but played into the arc nevertheless (I believe Jammer mentioned once or twice how it wasn't easy to accurately rate some episodes exactly for this reason). That's how I'm trying to approach this as well. Same with Disco.

    "All I want out of Picard S3 is the sendoff the TNG cast never got after Nemesis. I want a satisfying end to the post-All Good Things story."

    Well, I'm right there with you, and we'll find out in two weeks if that's what we ended up with or not. I consider it no small miracle that this all even happened, so I'm watching it with an open mind and a genuine desire to enjoy it. I certainly don't get that vibe from some posters here, hence my comments about hate-watching and nitpicking.

    I'm also hopeful that this will lead to more adventures from these characters. The cast still has it.

    re: that shrike fog horn.

    thats *clearly* an on-the-nose quote of the TMP score, as others have already stated. bordering on trolling :-)

    in the context of the overall really well done soundtrack that allows itself to quote other scores, but in a usually very tasteful matter (MUCH more tasteful than i.e. the embarassing, at times even wrongly transcribed quotes in DSC), i for one filed that under a well deserved moment where a composer allows himself a little cheekyness ;-)

    I'll compare the increasing aggravation I feel towards Picard to a couple of other shows I was invested in recently - House of the Dragon and The Last of Us. I loved them both and *really* wanted to see the next episode after the latest cut to black. But was I ever aggravated? Did I ever feel cheated? No.

    They're also serialized formats - or at least require the viewer to watch each episode to stay up with the play - but they told complete stories each week feeding into a larger narrative; they left you wanting more, but you were satisfied with what was delivered.

    The strategy in Picard and NuTrek in general is just tease, tease, tease. Build it up, build it up - and what happens every time? They string along the mystery for an episode or two longer than the story justifies in order to pad out the episode order, edge us to the point where we've speculated to the extreme as to what's what and when they finally pull back the curtain, it's big ol' meh.

    My point is - for what it's worth - it's not just a choice between this current approach, or episodic. Hell, the first season of Discovery didn't adopt the season-wide mystery format until S2.

    Personally, I think it's a lazy format.

    Apropos of nothing, I've been watching Cheers on Paramount+ (I was too young to watch it when it first aired—looks great in HD) and who should show up in Season 5, Episode 17 but Brent Spiner as the defendant in an attempted murder trial for which Diane was the jury foreman. I had NO IDEA he had ever appeared on Cheers, but there he was...about seven months before "Fairpoint" aired. I almost wish his Cheers character momentarily surfaced in Nu:Data when he was still having an identity crisis...

    Everyone here is so miserable. It's like everyone here is trying to one-up each other in misery.

    On reddit's Star Trek board I've been reading the reviews for each episode (there's 300-400+ replies in each review thread), and they're always more positive than here.

    I guess that's just what you get when positivity is enforced with the heavy hand of the mods, whereas over here, the pure unadulterated truth is allowed to stand.

    For the record, I'm largely enjoying season 3. It has it's faults but nothing that can't be rectified by series end. I think they're pacing is off but I'm not going to judge the overall plot until the last episode is out and I've had a chance to sit with it for a while.

    One thing I've definitely learned over the years though is that when it comes to lasting reputation, a series is far better off screwing up it's start but sticking it's landing than the other way around. If you screw up the beginning but reward people for sticking around, viewers generally tend to forgive you and tell others that "x" is good but you'll have to stick with it a bit first.

    Screw up your ending after a good beginning though and an audience will crucify you for getting them invested and then punching them in the face at the end and they will tell everyone that ultimately it was a waste of time despite the compelling opening.

    I love TNG. I grew up with the TOS films and TNG and I wanted these crews to get a send off worthy of the respect and dignity they deserve especially since we will likely never see them again. With Kirk's crew I largely got that. I'm REALLY hoping to get the same for Picard and company because they've earned it. I want this season to succeed, dammit.

    Picard (the series) has a track record that makes me nervous but right now they still have room to pull it off and I haven't seen any lethally bad signs. Some things could've been better but I have yet to see anything definitively fatal.

    So fingers crossed.

    @TheWatcher - Very well put - great observation. A good ending does go a long way to rectifying a poor start. The other way round is - well - you need only look at Game of Throne's run.

    @Bryan - Indeed. I was banned for goodness knows what recently; it appears it's been lifted but I don't think I'll bother if I have to pass every thought a positivity filter.

    @StarMan - I agree. I thoroughly enjoyed The Last Of Us, including episode 3 (?) with Nick Offerman that barely had the main characters in it all, but the story & characterizations were so compelling, I dare say it was my favorite ep of the season.

    Better Call Saul was another recent series I enjoyed with no eps I would really consider filler or worthless, even when they went off on a tangent. Same with the first two seasons of the comedy series Ted Lasso. There’s a lot of good writers out there, but they’re not working on Trek ,or they have their hands tied by the showrunners.

    I'm totally convinced it's Armus at this point and will be disappointed if it isn't, however, I think there is a Borg link as well: the race of Titans that sloughed off all their negative emotions in their quest to perfect themselves went on to become the Borg. Vadic knows this from Armus, hence her comment to Seven in this episode.

    Both Picard and Beverly touched Armus in Skin Of Evil - or rather, they touched Riker while he was still covered in Armus. I reckon Armus left some kind of seed, some kind of psionic trace, in Picard, left something in him that took the form of what was thought to be his Irumodic syndrome. A trace, a seed that has now been passed onto Jack.

    At some point post-DS9, Armus and the rebel Changelings encountered each other and linked - perhaps by chance, perhaps one sought the other out, or perhaps the scientists we saw in Vadic's flashbacks introduced a sample of Armus to the captive changelings - and Armus realized he could control and manipulate them, use them with the eventual goal of escaping Vagra II and wreaking revenge on Picard and Starfleet.

    "On reddit's Star Trek board I've been reading the reviews for each episode (there's 300-400+ replies in each review thread), and they're always more positive than here."

    Yeah, because the mods remove posts for the dumbest of reasons over there. Much IDIC! I gave up on that board.

    I really cannot imagine S31 would ignore the opportunity to study Armus once the read Picard's logs. Surely they went back there and examined him or took a sample.

    Pulp Fiction would have been a different movie if Honey Bunny had said, "Any of you f**king pricks move, and I'll execute... one of you every 10 minutes!"

    I just love that Vadic paused on the word "execute" in this episode - I choose to hear it as a callback to her prior roll.

    @Marcy B

    We still don't know what was in Marcellus' briefcase...

    I really don't think this season of PIC is that strong. I think a lot of people's perception is being heavily swayed by the presence of so many beloved characters that OTHER writers spent YEARS developing and bringing to life in the other series back in the 90s. These writers are then coasting on that with what they have come up with this season. Imagine if there were other original characters replacing Worf, Crusher, Riker, Data. I think the issues would then be more obvious.

    I'll also point out that if one were to go back and rewatch TNG or even most of the TNG films that they would see the tone and style of PIC are completely at odds with TNG. TNG was bright. It had vibrant primary colors, everything was well lit. It was happy and joyous with nice tidy bows on their storylines.

    I feel via the Data/Lore scenes, this episode is the equal of "The Measure of a Man" in that it explores the possibilities of the positive heights that artificially created life could reach.
    Best episode of the season for these moments, which seem to transcend nearly all other Trek in ways I haven't seen since "The Inner Light"
    4/4 Stars

    Reddit's Star Trek board...

    Surely that's run by the studio? Of course they keep it all puppies and ice cream.

    Although it seems somewhat lame and I really hope that isn't it, everything points towards Jack being possessed by a pah wraith. In the ending credits, Jack's DNA sequence is labeled number 3069, which is the number of the USS Magellan, which was destroyed in DS9 'Sacrifice of Angels'. That is the episode where the Dominion invasion fleet disappeared in time thanks to the prophets. If some pah wraith promised the changelings they can get them their fleet back if they realease him into the wormhole, that would explain why they want Jack.

    Another possibility is that throwaway story Picard told about Jack and himself when they were younger. There might be more to that.


    Spiner was on Frasier, too. IIRC he hits it off with Lilith and that's the last time we see either of them on the show.

    Spiner playing a redneck on Night Court:

    I can't find the clip anymore but some of the crew were on a TNG float in the Macy's NY parade in 1987. I don't know if shows do such things anymore, but it sure felt demeaning. IIRC, at least the following appeared and in makeup/uniform: Dorn, Frakes, Wheaton.

    @ Dan

    “I doubt we'll ever return to the days of 22-26 episode-long seasons which are truly episodic -- and that's not a bad thing if it means we don't ever need to see "Threshold"-type stories again.”

    I doubt we’ll get 26 episode seasons ever again as well. That’s got nothing to do with Threshold though and that’s a pretty cheap comparison. One standalone moment of “suck” is far easier to forget about than a season long tease that ends with “suck”, see Discovery and The Burn.

    Another reason for it to be Armus is that would function as a way to bring Denise Crosby back in some form... and I'm betting she's Wil Wheaton's guest next week.

    Still can't find the exact clip, but this is close:

    I didn't like Voyager but as bad as it was it had more good episodes than all of the new Trek shows combined.

    Guys, I solved the Mystery Box.

    After realizing that the lore of any series was fair game since the re-introduction of the Changelings, the writers decided that this final season of ST:Picard would be a great opportunity to bring back the 6th least threatening Star Trek villain...which guessed it: the Fear Clown from Voyager's "The Thaw".

    Though apparently vanquished at the end of the episode, the Fear Clown had covertly copied himself into Voyager's computer, lying dormant as computer code until Voyager returned to the Alpha Quadrant. While in spacedock, the ship's databanks were thoroughly analyzed and it was only then that the anomalous clown data was discovered. Sensing the dark, menacing potential of this clown data, it was soon designated a Section 31 project and transferred to the station where the experiments on the Changelings would take place. There, Amanda Plummer met the Fear Clown and they forged an unholy alliance.

    "Wait, I thought the Fear Clown just was part of a simulation..."

    Section 31 had been working on a way to make him more "real", in order to strike terror into the hearts of their enemies since that seemed like a very Section 31 thing to do.

    "Um okay.... but what does any of this have to do with Jack Crusher?"

    Despite having no recollection of this, Jack represents the first successful deployment of the Fear Clown weapon, though this happened entirely by accident when Jack stole some mysterious contraband which was not actually what it appeared to be, and he unwittingly "infected" himself with this new Fear Clown Hive Mind. When Section 31 tracked down their missing equipment, they were able to capture Jack and ascertained that he had infected himself, but he was not responding as expected due to his Irumodic Syndrome. Somehow, the when the Hive Mind operates on such a diseased mind, it causes some pretty strange symptoms and superpowers but the results are pretty unstable including insanity and selective memory loss. Of special importance is the ability to remotely influence other minds. Section 31 tried keep him captive to further investigate this strange phenomenon, but he escaped.

    "Uhuh, but what did they want with Picard's body?"

    With Section 31 out of the picture thanks to Changeling meddling, the Fear Clown can now directly orchestrate things using their infiltration and influence. By acquiring and digitizing the "Irumodic Source Code" from Picard's brain, he plans to sow chaos and insanity to the far reaches of the galaxy by simulating Irumodic syndrome for every mind within his Hive Mind, infecting as many people as he possibly can using the newfound remote mind-influencing powers...and what better time to do this than Federation Day when so many are gathered in one place.

    "That sounds fucking stupid and is littered with plot holes."

    I thought as much myself, but remember, this is Nu-Trek where no plot idea is too dumb or illogical to be aired and still somehow not tarnish its status as the crown jewel among CBS' IPs according to fans and network execs alike. So I wouldn't put it past them.

    I like the Armus idea. Makes sense that they would call back a big baddie from TNG. Pah Wraith has no connection to TNG whatsoever, i don't think they would got that far out. They were incarcerated permanently in DS9 so for one of them to have escaped would need a couple of episodes to explain who they are and why so i can't see it being that.

    I'd like to quibble with the script and say that I feel that the crewman shot of the bridge was murdered, not executed. Executed suggests some state authority was in play, but this was just a gang of thugs killing someone extra-legally. Unless you would argue they draw their legitimacy from some political ruling body, the Great Link perhaps.


    "I doubt we’ll get 26 episode seasons ever again as well. That’s got nothing to do with Threshold though and that’s a pretty cheap comparison. One standalone moment of “suck” is far easier to forget about than a season long tease that ends with “suck”, see Discovery and The Burn."

    Voyager had a lot more than one moment of suck. How about seasons of mediocrity? Disappointing, especially given the premise of the show which was promising. But what did we get? A crew in conflict which ended up...not so much in conflict after a few episodes. A new quadrant of unknown lifeforms...and we get the Kazon, which were a poor man's Klingon. And so on. I started to get bored with the show during the second season, so I stopped watching. Started watching again when Jeri Ryan was brought on, thinking and hoping it might change the show for the better. Ended up feeling the same way after a short time. Stopped watching. I didn't hate the show, but it didn't grab me. It happens.

    Look, end of the day, I don't really care much if the peanut gallery likes NuTrek or not. Jammer's reviews are what draw me here, not the scribblings of "fans" who furiously pound out sin counts with no thoughtfulness attached to them. I am baffled as to why anyone who finds a show so intolerable continues to submit themselves to it, especially since I ended up quitting Voyager and Enterprise with nary a whine when they didn't do it for me, but if that's how they want to spend their time, whatever. No one should be surprised if they post their thoughts publicly and others respond, though, which seems to be happening here: "How *dare* you criticize my/someone else's sin counts!!"


    For myself and others here I assume, we watch because unlike a show where one never had any attachment to the characters to start with, a lot of us were and are attached to these characters and have seen them do lots of great stuff previously so we want it to be good and KNOW it could be based on past experience with TNG. So we keep watching and hope it will do TNG justice, become unhappy when it doesn't't and get especially ticked off when the reasons why seem to be so obvious, recurring and fixable. Writers and directors have the entire next gen run and decades of trek material to draw on so obvious flaws are maddening and often inexcusable at this point.

    You were never really invested in voyager or Enterprise so tuning out wasn't a big deal. If one wants to see the next gen crew this is the only option and it's a major piss off to be held hostage to that while having to sit through some of the dreck this series has been. It's like watching a friend being abused but we keep watching hoping it will stop and improve, which thankfully it has this season.

    I, for one, am sad to see Vadic go. Amanda Plummer is an underrated actress and her delivery of the dreck that was given to her by the writers was the highlight of this weak episode. While I enjoy seeing the classic characters and how they're interacting after all these years, I am completely uninvested in the main plot and how it plays out. Unfortunately, that is what happens when a villian is written to be almost invincible yet completely idiotic.


    Okay I'm a little insulted that you didn't think I already had the manual. But that's all right. Not my point at all. Data has so much technology on board, seems really unlikely he wouldn't have a Wi-Fi antenna or something a billion times better.

    Or does he? Maybe these new Android models are only plug and play when they're not entirely a replica of a human, just depends what is needed for the script I guess.

    The core storytelling issue that does not work is the absence of a valid explanation of the origins of two important characters: Vadic and Jack Crusher.

    Vadic/Plumber has almost always made me laugh, I cannot take her seriously. Too cartoonish, plus lack of motive.

    The problem with Jack is the same. They never made a serious attempt to lay a foundation for his character. For instance, a simple 20th century DNA test (BTDT), or giving some definite information that we can rely on for the background of his character.

    It's implausible that Beverly would neglect to teach her son to the best of her abilities (example: baldness gene). There is also the ongoing problem of no chemistry between the Jack and Beverly characters.

    Note: This is not "nitpicking." I'm going to put the definition of nitpicking below for those who need it. I'm addressing core tenants of storytelling. There is a reason humans do not omit important facts from a story to make the story believable. It's because their reputation is diminished and they lose credibility.


    N.B.: Unless otherwise specified, all comments are directed solely at Star Trek Picard season scripts and production.

    @ Dan

    "Voyager had a lot more than one moment of suck. How about seasons of mediocrity?"

    I'm not going to defend Voyager to you. What I will say is I agree with most of what you say, however, being episodic made it easier to overlook the bad.

    The "best of" Voyager was on par with anything produced by TNG or DS9. Those episodes can be enjoyed standalone. They aren't tied to a season long plot which ultimately turned out to be underwhelming. I won't name them, you know which ones they were, and hopefully you get the gist of what I'm trying to say.

    I never religiously watched Voyager, it faded from my attention span, though I did tune in for the series finale and have probably seen 3/4 of the episodes, good and bad. Ditto Enterprise. TNG and DS9, I've seen every minute of both and can recite virtually every episode from memory.

    "Look, end of the day, I don't really care much if the peanut gallery likes NuTrek or not. Jammer's reviews are what draw me here, not the scribblings of "fans" who furiously pound out sin counts with no thoughtfulness attached to them."

    Why are you in the comments section if you don't want to engage with other fans and their opinions about "NuTrek"?

    Are you looking for an echo chamber curated by an algorithm only interested in grabbing more of your attention? I'm sure you can find that on any number of "platforms" instead of this old fashioned chronological comments section. :)

    "I am baffled as to why anyone who finds a show so intolerable continues to submit themselves to it"

    I don't find it "intolerable." I find it DISAPPOINTING. There is a difference.

    As for why I watch, do I need to explain that? It's Sir Patrick Stewart (S1/S2) and now the full TNG cast. There are moments in NuTrek that I've genuinely enjoyed, including in Discovery, and there really wasn't much question that I'd be watching Picard when it came out.

    It's that rare show that commands "drop everything and watch on the release date" level attention from me. The only non-Trek show in recent years that caught my attention like that was The Orville. :)

    Strange New Worlds gets the same priority treatment in our household. My partner and I have an understanding that no plans will be made on the drop dates for new SNW and Picard episodes. If Orville gets a S4 we'll have the same understanding for it.

    I stayed with Game of Thrones and Dexter until the bitter end of both shows. I was invested in the characters and wanted to see how they ended even though it was obvious the writers ran out of ideas towards the end.

    Contrast the ending of those shows with the beginning, then contrast NuTrek with Classic Trek, I would argue GoT and Dexter fans got screwed worse than we have, lol.

    "No one should be surprised if they post their thoughts publicly and others respond, though, which seems to be happening here: "How *dare* you criticize my/someone else's sin counts!!""

    I'm not sure who this is directed at but I really hope it's not me. I don't feel I've criticized anyone's opinion. I've criticized some CONCLUSIONS but no one's OPINION. If you love "NuTrek", watch it, I'll be there watching it with you, and hopefully we can respectfully share our opinions about it with one another?

    @ Dirk

    "Vadic/Plumber has almost always made me laugh, I cannot take her seriously. Too cartoonish, plus lack of motive. "

    Vadic actually got a motive but the reveal of it came too late (Episode 7) for the audience to remain invested in the character. This is another flaw of this writing style, that places the "mystery" over the plot. Some of her backstory could have been revealed to the audience without minimizing the mystery aspect for the protagonists.

    The way I see it, there were two choices for the writers. Use an established character (e.g., the Female Changeling) whose motives would be obvious to established Star Trek fans. This is what Wrath of Khan did.

    Alternatively, introduce a new character, but reveal enough about them for the audience to understand their motive. This is what Search for Spock and Undiscovered Country did with their antagonists. We didn't have all of Chang and Kruge's backstory but we had enough to understand them. It didn't reduce the drama any that we (the audience) had information Kirk and Co. didn't.

    Agree with everything you say about Jack too. We don't know a darn thing about him except that we're supposed to care because he's Picard and Beverly's son. It's cheap.

    David was somewhat flushed out as a character BEFORE the reveal he was Kirk's son. He had a personality. We all felt the sucker punch when he was killed. If they kill Jack in the next episode would anyone in the audience care? Patrick Stewart could act "You Klingon bastard, you killed my son" better than Shanter did, so there's that, but without the establishment to make the audience care he might as well be a prop.


    "Voyager had a lot more than one moment of suck. How about seasons of mediocrity? Disappointing, especially given the premise of the show which was promising. But what did we get? A crew in conflict which ended up...not so much in conflict after a few episodes. "

    I always feel the need to push back against this argument. The Starfleet and Maquis crews immediately putting aside their differences to increase their chances of survival and success getting home WAS the point. It's probably the most extreme example of Roddenberry's ethos of future humanity stopping their petty BS issues if it meant progress would be impeded, and I think it's pretty rad. We're supposed to learn that this is the proper way to solve problems and try to apply it to our current politics. Star Trek basically solved the prisoners dilemma, but many out there just can't quit that type of Hobbesian, self-interested conflict in their fiction. (I mostly find it boring. )

    Granted, the first 3 seasons of Voyager had quite a lot of misses and stinkers, but it wasn't because of the lack of internal conflict (or some enticing proposition of it). I don't think watching a whole season of Chakotay nonstop arguing with Janeway and Torres punching out Harry Kim would have been as rousing a success as many think it would.

    Well, I was hugely disappointed by this episode. Of all the things I disliked, the biggest was when Vadic kills a bridge member in cold blood... and guess what happens next. We have a lengthy scene with Riker and Troi on the other ship navel-gazing and discussing their love issues and making jokes about how they don't like the interior decorating in their house.

    Oh... and Riker, then Troi, comment, off-hand and in-passing, that they hope everything is ok on the other ship, after they submitted meekly to their torturers and gave them the codes. Then they carry on talking about interior decorating.

    It was such a character assassination for me and I can never forgive it.

    Riker is supposed to be a man of honour and bravery. But he just tells the enemy the access codes (we don't even see the scene!). A whole bunch of people die brutally on the other ship as a result. No remorse, no moment of gravity. Instead, a long conversation between Riker and Troi about their house. I honestly can never forgive it.

    Same thing with Captain Shaw. He physically STOPS Seven-of-Nine from her weak attempt at intervening to stop the assassination. And that is literally 1 minute after telling her "you should have shot me - you are a Star Fleet Officer".

    It is pathetic.

    The script writers know nothing about old-fashioned values like bravery, sacrifice and honour. Very sad.


    "Amanda Plummer is an underrated actress and her delivery of the dreck that was given to her by the writers was the highlight of this weak episode."

    If you've never seen The Fisher King, it is a phenomenal movie and Amanda Plummer is fantastic in it (along with everyone else - probably Robin Williams's best performance). Highly recommended.


    "It was happy and joyous with nice tidy bows on their storylines."

    This is what I have the hardest time forgiving NuTrek for. It's the exact opposite of that.

    My Mother refuses to watch any of it because she can't handle the darkness, the violence, the gore, and the depression. We all grew up watching TNG together, it was "the show" the family gathered around, and now I can't share it with her because it no longer resembles anything positive.

    I knew as soon as I saw the Icheb scene in S1 that she'd never be able to watch it. Not even sure what that scene added to the story, except giving Seven a reason to play Judge, Jury, and Executioner, which could have been done without the gore of that scene, but I digress.

    Strange New Worlds has stuff in it like this too, the Gorn come to mind, and for what? Do they think they need this to keep the audience engaged? Do they think there's no market for uplifting television that doesn't leave you anxious and depressed when the credits roll?

    Mom loves The Orville, incidentally, because IT DOES NOT DO THIS!!! I was afraid Seth had fallen into this trap when S3 dropped, the first episode was Dark AF, but he got back to form quickly enough and as a standalone episode S03E01 was brilliant.

    In fact, it probably worked better in the context of The Orville generally being happy/upbeat show than it would have on NuTrek. The contrast was more jarring and it forced you to think. Yesterday's Enterprise and In The Pale Moonlight come to mind as dark/gritty TNG/DS9 episodes that worked very well, better than anything NuTrek has produced, and they did it with minimal gore and no swearing.


    "The script writers know nothing about old-fashioned values like bravery, sacrifice and honour. Very sad."

    Plato and Socrates might argue not many people do (see Plato's Charmides).

    @ KirkNation

    "The script writers know nothing about old-fashioned values like bravery, sacrifice and honour. Very sad."

    Look no further than the fact that there were countless crew members cowering in the corridors pleading for their lives. Discovery and Strange New Worlds have had similar scenes too.

    I know, Starfleet != The Military, but there was always bravery, sacrifice, and honor to Starfleet characters. They don't cower in corners and meekly accept their fate. They square their shoulders and do what's necessary to save their ship and their crew mates.

    Maybe there was one person who struggled, Ensign Gomez in Q Who, Barclay in his many episodes, others whose names escape me, but other characters were always there to help them through it. Teamwork, what a concept!

    When DS9 told a story of cowardice they used a civilian (Jake) as the viewpoint character. It wasn't a trained Starfleet officer who had a nervous breakdown and couldn't hack it.

    Incidentally, that episode, Nor the Battle to the Strong, they actually EXPLORED the issue of cowardice and bravery. It wasn't just window dressing to raise the stakes of whatever scene, it was THE STORY.

    (Clicked submit too soon)

    This writing crew would benefit from having ONE person on the team with military experience to call out this BS.

    You can't write Starfleet characters as cowards who meekly wait to be executed. Or go to the holodeck bar instead of their post while the ship is literally sinking into a gravity well.


    One can hope for a shocking twist or otherwise great ending, but consider that the reviewers who saw the entire season early almost unanimously considered the mid-season Ro reveal episode to be the season's peak episode. It would seem likely that a remarkable comeback ending in ep 9-10 would warrant mention as great episodes, and yet no one mentioned them. Doesn't bode well. Unless they are very clever and hiding a spoiler, but I don't give them that much credit.


    I wonder if Amanda Plummer herself started getting bored with the Vadic character. Her first few episodes were genius in their over the top mockery of Trek itself. "Disengage portal system!" said with all the stitled cadence of a clumsy 10 year old in his back yard. Totally intentional. By ep 8, she didn't get any such lines anymore, and it was mostly villainous boilerplate.

    I'm a bit baffled by all the praise for the Lore/Data scenes, including Jammer's. It is a well they've tapped for far too long, and all that's left is buckets of dry sand. It isn't clever, creative, or in any way dramatically engaging. And it was, in fact, all of those things the FIRST time they used it thirty years ago.


    Forgot to mention, on the topic of military background . . the constant shifting of command, giving orders, and asking permission has also been a complete shit show. Crusher asks Picard for permission he has no power to grant. Seven just seems to assume rank of Admiral on bridge whenever the script needs her hair to fly around. There are dozens more examples.


    "The script writers know nothing about old-fashioned values like bravery, sacrifice and honour. Very sad."

    Plato and Socrates might argue not many people do (see Plato's Charmides).

    Good point.

    Have been thinking on this issue lately. The problem stems from the disappearance of a relevant set of values communicated as mythological constants. Dark Trek has chucked mythology into a cuisinart so that the original meaning of time-honored verities have been liquified. Tropes have replaced value-oriented storytelling.

    Star Trek (old school) once provided a blue print for value assessment. It was in this sense a mythology for a modern population. That is gone.


    I think I agree with you, but I wouldn't necessarily call them "mythological" values or constants, especially as it relates to Plato. Mythological storytelling is much more comparable to Star Wars, imo, with all of its "journey of the hero" arcs.

    I think what Star Trek did well for many decades was exploring ideas of universal virtues that apply to all (even alien species) derived through logic, which does align well with Platonic philosophy. What Star Trek excelled at was also balancing those virtues and values in respect to cultural traditions, which often times came into great conflict with a universal values system. In essence, the best of Star Trek was its envisioning of a realistic version of Plato's Kallipolis.

    What I think nuTrek has abandoned (which includes this season of Picard, which I have been enjoying nevertheless) is the premise that universal virtues exist at all. Everything is pure relativism, all moral actions depending on the moment and circumstance. Being in Starfleet shouldn't just be about rigorous academic pursuits either. As Picard once told a dork, "The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth, whether it's scientific truth or historical truth or personal truth. It is the guiding principle on which Starfleet is based. And if you can't find it within yourself to stand up and tell the truth about what happened, you don't deserve to wear that uniform!"


    Thanks for a thoughtful response on the dangers of relativism. Enjoyed particularly the reminder of a great Picard moment (from TNGs The First Duty) dressing down Wesley:

    "And if you can't find it within yourself to stand up and tell the truth about what happened, you don't deserve to wear that uniform!"

    Words to live by.


    - Next episode will end with floating head capturing Jack

    - The Titan bridge crew will be replaced by the TNG cast in their traditional positions + Sydney as pilot. Shaw will work with Geordi in engineering. Seven and Raffi will be the away team that rescues Jack.

    - Janeway will cameo in the finale, rescuing the Seven/Raffi away team.

    From earlier: the perennial (and ironical) complaint that some Trek watchers are a bit critical.

    It's almost like the show has fostered critical thinking over the years.

    Where No Man Has Gone Before: should we kill a man that is developing extreme powers and developing even more extreme delusions and it endangering the crew


    Similitude: should someone with a very short lifespan be murdered to save billions

    *if you're unaware of dozens+ of episodes over decades with philosophical debates, then maybe you can't handle the suggestion you don't know what you're talking about, and if there's a board where no one complains that you just want to cuddle with kittens...


    It's obviously the Lazaruses working with Armus, Gary Mitchell and the Pah Wraiths to take down the Celestial Temple and The Sisko USING Haley's Comet as a sword of stars.

    Yes Haley's Comet has a much larger orbit than previously believed, but there's a reason it wasn't visible in 1986: NASA, Gary 7 and The Kubrick covered it up.


    The only question is the extent of Okona's and Keiko's involvement.

    It's all relative, yknow

    People who are pumped for S3 Picard are in one end of the sliding scale, totally polarized against the "this shit sucks" people. These two factions codify anything critical/praising of the show as "for them" or "against them."

    To paraphrase Mr. Spock, it has always been easier to be an extremist than to see things as they are and reflect on them. Extremism is simple; "do the thing, and then keep doing the thing no matter what."

    Being in the middle somewhere is complex. It's difficult. It requires that you recognize extreme viewpoints and deny them to yourself, and find a way to get somewhere in between. I can certainly see the cracks in S3's armor a mile away, I've been watchin' this stuff for 30+ years now.

    It doesn't mean I didn't get all goosebumpy the moment all those little red lights on Geordi's display turned blue. Heck no. I loved the shit out of it.

    Vadic is just the latest in a long line of Khan/Kruge/Chang/Soren/Borg Queen/Ru'afo (I had to look up his name)/Shinzon/Nero/Khan(again)/That Thing From Beyond That I Refuse To Look Up. Spicy, overacting villains that chew the scenery...

    Can they do a different thing? I mean come on, this is getting silly.

    @ Narissa’s Bath Water

    The Data/Lore stuff was something I actually enjoyed, though I agree it’s a well tapped well by this point. Perhaps we’re biased as cat people, the Spot stuff got to both of us, and capped the whole scene. (The nitpicker in me will note that Spot changed gender again, lol, hazards of space flight? 🤣)

    The military stuff, I don’t need it to be perfect, Sisko and Co. would have been court martialed a half dozen times at least in a “real” military. It just needs to be semi plausible within the confines of television. Starfleet is supposed to be manned by professionals! Professionals don’t slink off to the holodeck bar for a few stiff ones while the ship is plummeting to its doom. 😢

    @ MidshipmanNorris

    There’s a lot I’ve liked about S3. Worf has been a delight throughout and thoroughly in character. Seven has been well used without stepping on what should be a TNG-centric story. It finally gave me the “in” to expose my partner to DS9 and she’s absolutely loving it. She’s getting an abbreviated version, rushing the Dominion War story and the related plots required to understand it, but I suspect she’ll sign up for a full rewatch now that she’s hooked. 🤞🏻😊

    Final judgment is reserved after we see the final two episodes!

    Wow. Even though the standard of discussion and debate on here is typically very high and gives a lot of food for thought, the quality of comments over the past couple of days in particular has been extraordinarily impressive.

    'I'd like to quibble with the script and say that I feel that the crewman shot of the bridge was murdered, not executed. Executed suggests some state authority was in play, but this was just a gang of thugs killing someone extra-legally.'

    This use of 'execute' for 'murder' is one of my pet peeves as well. The usual defence is that 'language always changes, don't be a dinosaur' but my view is that in this case, as when I see journalists increasingly write '(someone) died' instead of 'killed (by someone)', there is a troubling obfuscation of responsibility taking place.

    'This writing crew would benefit from having ONE person on the team with military experience to call out this BS [...] You can't write Starfleet characters as cowards who meekly wait to be executed.'

    And yet they did. Jammer has been critical of what he considers to be ad hominem attacks on the writers and producers of this season before, but who else is responsible for what ends up on screen? It is reasonable to question what writers and producers are thinking and what motivates them when they seem to delight in portraying Starfleet personnel being hunted down in corridors not knowing what to do, and then have Starfleet bridge personnel actually crying as they are passively lined up to be murdered ('executed') like lambs to the slaughter. It's repulsive torture porn - Icheb's eye all over again. And then they have the gall to write the Bajoran character saying entirely unconvincingly, 'No, I won't - because I'm Starfleet' as some kind of daft half-brave alibi, even though he's obviously terrified as well.

    What is the message here? What are the writers and producers telling us about these characters and this world? That everyone will crack if they're put under enough pressure? That people will only pretend to be brave until faced with a humiliating death? That Starfleet is just a bunch of cowards who will get found out when the going gets tough? That some people in Starfleet are brave and others aren't? I don't understand it, at least. Maybe others do. I just find it repugnant. It's so senseless and sadistic and nihilistic and I think it's entirely fair to ask what the writers and producers were thinking portraying such scenes the way they did. Compare them to (off the top of my head) the Battle of Wolf 359 in 'Emissary' for God's sake, where those writers and producers managed to show both defeat and bravery simultaneously.

    And as @Narissa's Bath Water points out, there's clearly no basic awareness of any military protocol, either in-universe or from real life. Starfleet are just uniforms, and all uniforms are bad, man...

    'I always feel the need to push back against this argument. The Starfleet and Maquis crews immediately putting aside their differences to increase their chances of survival and success getting home WAS the point.'

    I'm an unashamed VOY fan. I completely agree with this. Contrary to popular belief, VOY did actually return to Starfleet-Maquis tensions repeatedly throughout its run (there was even an entire arc with Seska as main villain) - it just didn't make that suddenly futile conflict into a depressing soap opera episode in and episode out. The show was about hope, optimism and co-operation 70 years from home - a very Trekkian ethos.

    That's the same reason I am probably the only person on here who never had any problem whatsoever with VOY's so-called 'reset' button: I didn't want to see Voyager limping home season after season like the Equinox, with crew members getting picked off in increasingly depressing ways and the ship falling apart and the senior staff all turning into husks of themselves. 'Year of Hell' has a lot to recommend it, but it's fundamentally a very miserable two-parter and not something I could have coped with for years on end as many would have preferred.

    'Starfleet is supposed to be manned by professionals! Professionals don’t slink off to the holodeck bar for a few stiff ones while the ship is plummeting to its doom.'

    Agreed and there you have it. Immature, indulgent self-insert writing: the absolute bane of NuTrek.

    Just one more random thought that springs to mind - Terry Matalas. Where are his writing credits - this was his baby, correct?

    I didn't expect him to pen every episode and obviously as showrunner he has other duties, along with a guiding hand across the season's arc. I just expected a bit more of a presence under the "Written By" header.

    JMS, Behr and RDM certainly had no issue knocking out stories on shows they managed.

    Anyhoo, hopefully we'll see his name in the writing credits this week. No doubt he'll be attached to the finale.

    @Bok R'Mor,

    "And as @Narissa's Bath Water points out, there's clearly no basic awareness of any military protocol, either in-universe or from real life. Starfleet are just uniforms, and all uniforms are bad, man..."

    My theory is the reason is because the vast majority of Americans under age 45 or so just have absolutely no knowledge basis of anything related to the military. Less than 1% of all US adults currently serve, and only 7% are veterans.

    Compare that with the staff of TOS, where all (save Dorothy Fontanta), had been required to serve in some aspect, as it was compulsory in some capacity until 1973. Gene Roddenberry and Gene Coon's military participation during WWII were foundational experiences. On TNG, even though many on staff probably did not serve themselves, it is highly likely their fathers did. (Ron Moore also did briefly serve in the Navy.)

    Millennials and Gen Z, on the other hand, just overwhelmingly don't have the first or even 2nd hand knowledge of any military experience whatsoever. If they do, they are statistically likely non-college educated and from a lower economic class and represent proportionally higher numbers of nonwhite enlistees than in the regular population. Those demographics don't make up TV writers these days, which still skew college educated and from higher economic backgrounds. These writers' knowledge of the military is unfortunately pretty much what they gleaned from watching TV and movies.

    Now the natural follow up question - is it even necessary for Starfleet to adhere to military protocols if the vast majority of officers are scientists, engineers, doctors and diplomats? Would we ever expect the exploratory Starfleet of the future to also train their scientists to be soldiers? If so, does that not also betray their underlying ethos? Shouldn't only the "security personnel" be trained in that capacity? If so, it seems the only military-esque requirement for Starfleet officers should be to follow a strict chain-of-command structure and adhere to basic professionalism on and off duty.


    Really interesting response. Thank you. You write:
    'These writers' knowledge of the military is unfortunately pretty much what they gleaned from watching TV and movies.'

    Yes. While I don't expect writers and producers to always have firsthand military experience, one would hope that they would bother to familiarise themselves with basic military culture, since they are writing a series in which Starfleet has always (rightly or wrongly) been portrayed as being derived from (specifically US) naval traditions.

    There seems to be an inverted 'write you know' problem here. Instead of thinking about how people trained in military basics would respond in such a crisis, the writers and producers take a simpler approach and write how they and people like them would respond in such a crisis. And so we are back to what real world influences the writers and producers seem to be drawing from. If I am thinking out loud, helpless (apparently young) people being gunned down in terror in corridors and being pushed onto their knees to be murdered ('executed') in public actually reminds me first and foremost of repeated real world events over the past 25 years that seem to have left very deep (perhaps even subconscious) traces on the writers and producers and their demographic. But again, I am thinking out loud here. Perhaps I'm wrong.

    'Would we ever expect the exploratory Starfleet of the future to also train their scientists to be soldiers?'

    Another great question, and a little easier to answer conclusively. It has been squarely established that all Starfleet personnel, even medical staff, are trained in basic self-defence and close-quarters combat, even against phasers and bladed weapons (the comically unrealistic double-cupped fist blow - don't anyone try it in a real self-defence situation!). Likewise basic survival skills in e.g. jungle and desert situations. They are also all trained in the importance of the 'adapt, overcome and improvise' mindset and maintaining a belief in rescue, resisting the enemy at all costs etc. This has been portrayed countless times in all TNG-era series.

    ' inverted "write WHAT you know" problem here', that should be, of course.

    Btw, I wasn't making it up, the early TNG cast being on a parade float. Maybe someone can track it down, this was the link:

    It probably wasn't Macy's after all since I don't recall them wearing coats. That, and I scanned 87 and 88 Macy's footage ;).

    Just how military Starfleet is/was has never been terribly consistent. To me, it's both glaring and a complete shrug. TNG...

    Forget mild military, the D apparently could not even manage the security of a cruise ship today. There was no apparent security around the warp core at all, for example. And this was the Galaxy Class, which tended to explode if you even coughed at the warp core.

    And I'm pretty sure it never happened, but I would not have been shocked if kindergarten kids ran through engineering rubbing crayons on the core.

    Also, person to person battle tactics were unbelievably inept even for security officers. Check out Heart of Glory and a security man jumping straight out into the line of fires without attempting any cover whatsoever.

    TOS wasn't always that much better. (Except the ships didn't so readily explode.)

    But of course, I got over those annoyances by 1988 at the latest. TNG was what it was, they didn't want an overly militaristic show.

    The only thing that annoys me is not only SHOULD Starfleet have become much more militaristic in the wake of Wolf 359 and other incursions/wars (and even the loss of the D herself), it never really seemed to become more militaristic from a personnel point of view.

    The 1701-E was a blatant war ship. I didn't like the ship, but it was a logical direction for Starfleet to take, a frightening ship with little pretense of being for peaceful exploration.

    But Starfleet personnel have gotten ever more incapable with often extraordinary lack of basic person to person battle tactics and fortitude.

    That's a bit annoying, but the show has always had a dichotomy of Starfleet being primarily scientists, essentially a distant successor to NASA... or being a military organization descending from the US Navy or whatever.

    I would bet money you would never find most of the tulips of NuTrek on any military ship today.

    But if you see most of them as scientists working at a lab, it makes perfect sense that many would run around terrified.

    Brent Spiner saves the second episode in a row. And Levar Burton has dialled it down a notch. Bravo. But the rest? A protracted hostage situation, a perfunctory Troi Riker reconciliation (though not without some humour), AND we still don't know jack about who is Jack. That blurry image of the Titan warping out. Vadic might be back.

    "...the show has always had a dichotomy of Starfleet being primarily scientists, essentially a distant successor to NASA... or being a military organization descending from the US Navy or whatever."

    Very true. I add only that:
    In TOS (Arena) it is evident that Starfleet employed tactical specialists e.g., Kelowitz (and possibly Lang). Kelowitz wore the blue tunic of the science division.
    Video not available anymore?

    "Terry Matalas. Where are his writing credits - this was his baby, correct?

    Anyhoo, hopefully we'll see his name in the writing credits this week. No doubt he'll be attached to the finale. "

    Perhaps. It kinda depends because Terry Matalas knows one thing that we don't -- how it all ends and whether that's something that one would want to see their name on and take pride in.

    "It's almost like the show has fostered critical thinking over the years."

    I wish this were true.

    At IMDB Matalas has the writing credits for the last episode.
    The episode is called "the last generation"

    Episode would have been better and more 'Star Trek' had Data talked Lore down. I know Lore was an evil so and so but redemption is a true Trek theme and I think the episode wouldc have worked better if Data had managed to convince Lore to merge with him, how they are better as one etc etc.

    I haven't watched any of this series (I come here just to read the reviews and comments)), but from these reviews and comments I get the impression that the fan service of bringing back the entire TNG cast was the top priority for the showrunners while finding interesting and credible stories for them was a distant second.

    'I get the impression that the fan service of bringing back the entire TNG cast was the top priority for the showrunners while finding interesting and credible stories for them was a distant second.'

    Not even, unfortunately. We're eight episodes in and the entire TNG cast (depending on the definition) have had one single scene together in a conference room.


    Yes, that's what PIC's top priority is -- fan service. The showrunners figure they can just trot out our TNG heroes and that's more than half the job done. And this season has had even more obvious attempts at bringing back fans' memories. There's very little thought given to producing anything with depth like classic Trek used to do with certain subjects. So PIC is not about approaching producing a Trek series from a sci-fi story-telling perspective first and foremost.

    Likewise, there seems to be an inverse "Write What You Know" problem with a number of people who post on this site. "I criticize (and get off reading other critics' critical posts), therefore, I am better than the people who write the show."

    I get it that the show is "bad" because it does not employ writers with wartime experience. That it is bad because its writer are too young. These comments ARE ad hominem in that they seek to analyze people about whom we essentially know nothing.

    So if the writers all were Iraq war veterans, and did not have perfect command of military lingo and use that command in their script, what? The episodes would be better? Are we looking to Star Trek for verisimilitude? Or would these same folks just move on to criticize some other deficiency about the writers they know so well?

    It's beyond easy to make criticism like these, if one is vaguely familiar with the dates of certain military events, and knows how to count to 100 or so. It's extremely much harder to criticize something for exactly what you think is wrong with it. Sure, people have done this - people whose knowledge came from reading books, poetry, attending theater, being immersed in life - the critic Pauline Kael and the critic Edmund Wilson come to mind. The criticisms leveled here are so....long and so tedious that I can't imagine people lobbing them have the cultural competence, curiosity, or imagination to immerse themselves in other art forms so as to make their criticisms more pointed than saying "millennials suk" (I won't ask how many of the people making te criticisms are millennials). There is an almost anti-passion to how people here who reflectively criticize this show and other shows they hate and other movies they hate (that's a lot of hate) express themselves. Perhaps they know that outside the confines of a Star Trek forum people would recognize the criticism for the juvenalia that it is? And when I say "juvenile," I mean, maybe for once, tell people what you think IS an example of good writing - book, teleplay, screenplay, whatever. Of course once you do that, you become subject to legitimate criticism yourself, and the navel-gazing bubble bursts. Does this season of Picard have its flaws? Of course. I don't get off on reciting what I think is good about it, or what I don't like, because there are not (or there shouldn't be, anyway) enough hours in the day. Those hours, to me, are better-spent trying to learn what we don't know instead of trying act superior to life. The level of untrammeled hatred (stemming from unstated biases, and in some cases, biases that simply do not make one's voice count more than all of the others) is of a quantity much higher than the level of factual observation.

    (Side note: People who compliment seem to simply make the compliment and move on, without seeking out and then marinating in agreement - whether this speaks to some individuals' insecurity, I can't say. People now claim certain movie and TV shows ruined their childhood. I respectfully submit that, on the basis of such comments alone, those people have yet to grow OUT of their childhood, intellectually speaking).

    Call the writers bad all you want - that doesn't make you the next Tolstoy. It maybe makes you an imitation of Comic Book Guy at best. Criticize the show all you want. Just as praise does not make the people offering it an enlightened class, criticism of a thing (and getting off on it) does not mean one is superior to it and to everyone else.

    @ Bok R’Mor, “And yet they did. Jammer has been critical of what he considers to be ad hominem attacks on the writers and producers of this season before”

    I’m not attacking their character, just their writing choices, and not all of those. Some of it (the 10-hour movie stuff) doubtless came from corporate and they had to comply or be fired. Can’t blame ‘em for that. I do blame ‘em for reducing Starfleet members to unprofessional cowards.

    “What is the message here? What are the writers and producers telling us about these characters and this world? That everyone will crack if they're put under enough pressure? That people will only pretend to be brave until faced with a humiliating death? That Starfleet is just a bunch of cowards who will get found out when the going gets tough?”

    There is no message. The situation is scary so let’s have some extras in the scene who will be crying and frozen with fear! Great idea! I doubt very much they thought it through or discussed it any deeper than that.

    This is live action characters reduced to the status of props because the production team doesn’t trust that the audience will “get” the scene as written unless they beat us over the head with it. If they wanted to explore fear I’d be into it, DS9 did it with Jake, TNG did it with Barclay, it can be done in a compelling way. This ain’t that though!

    “I'm an unashamed VOY fan. I completely agree with this. Contrary to popular belief, VOY did actually return to Starfleet-Maquis tensions repeatedly throughout its run (there was even an entire arc with Seska as main villain) - it just didn't make that suddenly futile conflict into a depressing soap opera episode in and episode out.”

    +1 this.

    What do people want to see? Character conflict for the sake of conflict? Many of the Maquis were former Starfleet officers. They find themselves in a situation where that fight is no longer relevant, now it’s about survival, so why would they re-litigate a fight that’s now 70,000 light years away? They’d revert to type and work together. Drop a MAGA Republican on a deserted island with a Progressive Democrat. What happens first? The argument about immigration or a collaboration to secure a fresh water supply before they both die from dehydration? In modern TV writing it would be the argument. 🤦🏻‍♂️

    TNG did character conflict but it was always handled professionally. Watch Best of Both Worlds. Nobody likes Shelby, least of all Riker, but they set it aside to work with her to accomplish the mission. Riker and Geordi find things to admire about her despite the character conflict. The crew is facing an extensional threat and they are professionals. Is that episode better if Riker and Shelby start trading insults and/or come to blows? That feels like the approach NuTrek would take.

    This isn’t just a military thing. It’s how any professional would handle the situation. I have colleagues I don’t like. I still work with them. I don’t undermine them. I don’t pick fights with them. I don’t hope for their failure. We are teammates, personal feelings notwithstanding, working together for the same cause.

    @ Bucktown, “Now the natural follow up question - is it even necessary for Starfleet to adhere to military protocols if the vast majority of officers are scientists, engineers, doctors and diplomats? Would we ever expect the exploratory Starfleet of the future to also train their scientists to be soldiers? If so, does that not also betray their underlying ethos? Shouldn't only the "security personnel" be trained in that capacity? If so, it seems the only military-esque requirement for Starfleet officers should be to follow a strict chain-of-command structure and adhere to basic professionalism on and off duty.”

    It isn’t just the military stuff, although I do think it’s fair to call out any Starfleet Officer that cowers in fear when their ship is boarded, even if their role isn’t security/tactical.

    It’s also the lack of professionalism. How do you go to the holodeck bar for a few stiff ones while your ship is literally sinking to its doom? Shouldn’t you be at your post? How does Shaw end up in that scene? He’s the CAPTAIN OF THE SHIP, injury or no injury, he ought to have been chomping at the bit to help. Remember this exchange from Yesterday’s Enterprise:

    CRUSHER: Where do you think you're going?
    GARRETT: I'm resuming my duties, Doctor.
    CRUSHER: Captain, you need at least another twenty four hours.
    GARRETT: Nonsense. Doctors always over-protect their patients.
    CRUSHER: And captains always push themselves too hard.
    GARRETT: Doctor, my ship and crew need me now. Twenty four hours might as well be twenty four years.

    The bitch is I really liked Shaw’s Wolf 359 monologue in the holodeck bar. It was very well acted on both sides. Patrick Stewart conveys a lifetime of pain and regret without speaking one word. That scene just needed to happen in a different context. Starfleet Captains don’t fuck off to the bar to drown their sorrows while their ship and crew are in grave jeopardy.

    In the most recent episode, “You should have blown the turbolift”, THAT’S what a Starfleet Captain would say/do, place their ship and crew ahead of their own life. This is the same character that just a few episodes ago was content to get drunk while his ship and crew were moments away from death. How do you reconcile that? :(

    @ Silly

    A lot of what you’re saying about TNG is attributable to the reality of television production on a limited budget (e.g., bad stunts) or the conceits required to tell a good story (e.g, Enterprise-D security failures).

    I can accept that stuff.

    DS9’s war arc was:

    - Divorced from the macroeconomic reality of total war (the absurd claim the Dominion could still threaten the Alliance if confined to a single star system)
    - Divorced from basic infantry tactics (AR-558 should end with a one sided slaughter of the Jem’Hadar, except Starfleet apparently forgot the machine gun is a thing)
    - Divorced from any military reality (Sisko commanding massive fleets with tens of thousands of personnel as an O-6)
    - Divorced from common sense (Sisko and Co. are Dominion and Cardassian experts; they’d be at Starfleet Academy training new recruits, not on the front lines as cannon fodder!)
    - Divorced from politics (Bashier thinks the Federation will entertain surrender if only Captain Sisko will endorse it)

    Those are all conceits of television. They don’t (or shouldn’t) detract from what is otherwise a generally good story.

    “But if you see most of them as scientists working at a lab, it makes perfect sense that many would run around terrified.”

    Allow me to bring up “Power Play” again. Many of the hostages in that scene were civilian members of the Enterprise crew. None of them cower in fear. They’re all afraid, nobody is happy to be there, but they compartmentalize it and act like adults. Keiko, a civilian, stands up to the hostage takers — one of whom was her husband and the father of her child! — and is willing to die if necessary to defeat them.

    You wouldn’t get posted to any Starfleet ship without a modicum of training and psychological preparation for such an incident. Keiko won’t have Worf’s level of combat training, she might not even have basic self-defense training, but she’s psychologically prepared for an emergency and never freezes or cowers in fear.

    Now we’ve got actual Starfleet members who are less brave than a civilian botanist. WTH?!

    "Captain, the nebula... it's changing!" RIP Lt. T'Veen.

    Not only is this episode giving the middle figure to season one by crapping all over the Rikers' home on Nepenthe (which I am more than OK with), it is also shitting all over this very season's excellent episode four and its speech about the importance of one's crew by literally hunting and gunning it down like rabid dogs.

    How did we come from "as long as you and your crew remain steadfast in your dedication, one to another, you are never ever without hope" to The Walking Dead in space in a span of three episodes is beyond me and I am really starting to lose my enthusiasm for this show. The plot, as was the case with season one, again has this very weird pacing where everything you see on screen is so frantic and chaotic, and yet nothing really happens. The writers decided to tackle the huge post DS9 world that has enough material in it to easily create a show of its own, only to resort to filler episodes and make it seems like they are running out of things to say and do. Important scenes, such as Data's battle with Lore, feel awkwardly rushed while Vadic's tirade on the bridge seems almost neverending. I'll give it to Amanda Plummer, she really did wonders with the material she was given. Pitty it was ultimately so shallow, irrelevant and derivative, because apart from some cheap thrills, the story would've played out pretty much in a similar way had she never been introduced.

    The fact that a large point of the plot's resolution hinges on the fact that one episode Worf was conveniently called away somewhere which was so important that it was barely addresses with a single line of dialogue, only for him to miraculously appear out of literally nowhere (and I mean, literally nowhere) on the Shrike just in time to save the day is so ridiculous that no amount of nostalgia can save it. There's lazy writing, and there's literally not giving two craps about giving your plot any semblance of meaning, and instead just go for it beacuse things need to happen.

    Finally, speaking of things that didn't work, any hope of seeing more of captain Shaw in Picard or even a potential spin-off went straight to the shitter after this episode and his impotent whining to Seven and reticence as his own god damn crew was being played with. I found the character compelling up to episode five, after which he was given a total of four lines of dialogue, ending in the crap we saw this week. Too bad, becase Stashwick proved to be a compelling and capable potential lead, who ended up as a sidelined wimp. In regards to the crew, I echo Tim's sentiment in his comment above. Well put.

    As for Jack's red door, I am going to spoil it for you and give you the only possible explanation of the big reveal behind it - they'll open the door, and lo and behold, it's Alex Kurtzman laughing his ass off! Because how else would you explain such a huge discrepancy in writing quality between the first five episodes, and what we've been getting for the past two weeks?

    So my brother has a theory, as he likes to watch things repeatedly and apologies if this is something that has been discussed already.

    When vadic is talking to jack, she says “but never able to outrun that awful constant shadow of isolation”

    The music playing is virtually identical to when they first see Armus from the Skin of Evil episode. He was isolated and a shadow.

    Tim, what was the point of having a crew of Federation and Maquis if you aren't going to have them be in conflict? It's like remaking The Defiant Ones and making the two main characters be best friends right from the start. It robs the story of its most interesting element.

    I'm actually a millenial and I think the show "The Wire" has great writing. I do you one more, the Expanse had really good writing and they created all that without fan service and a pretty dull lead. With both shows I never had the feeling that the show is just treading water or strings me along for something more interesting later down the road. The worlds presented felt real and lived in.
    I also don't like the abundance of fan service. The TNG crew, Data 3.0, Picard's son, the Titan, Ro and so on. To me this all feels pretty condescending. Like they producers said "Ok if you want your old star trek back, her it is." Furthermore, this makes the world feel very small. More like the very limited galaxy Star Wars where all revolves around three families and three planets. Where is the exploration, the sense of wonder (ok there were the space squid) and the interesting ethical dilemmas?

    I have so many memories of the world of the Expanse or the Wire. How The Expanse portrayed the many aspects of a multi planet humanity with regular space flight. Not to mention the movement in space. Or the Wire with it's sharp portrayal of social realities and humanizing viewpoint.

    Quite a bit of the negativity is the fallout from the last seasons and Discovery. Maybe the ending will be good, maybe it won't. Still, strip away the fanservice and all what really remains is: A season long arc about a guy with superpowers and mystery door in his head.

    Do I think people should get so worked up about this very last season with the old TNG cast. No, but I sure can understand it. People got their feelings hurt. This really meant something for many people. Hope for humanity has become a rare thing and remembering a show that gave people that hope stings when you see some twisted version of it, even the best twisted version. For me personally, the thought that humanity would maybe reach this stage where hunger, greed, intolerance and many other things that weigh us down are gone and anybody can just be happy. Then there is exploration and knowledge. It is almost like a secular paradise. Thinking even for a moment that this might exist at some point is just very calming and comforting. Life suddenly doesn't feel so pointless as it does now but like we are on out way to a better world.
    Say what you will about NuTrek but who wants to live in these dark ships with ptsd captains to be vaporized while being scared to death. Or working yourself through some black sites were dead bodies are stored and monstrous weapons. A world where our heroes and heroines discuss killing unarmed prisoners. In the end all Picard season 3 amounts to as an ok season of a pretty disappointing show.

    Ok, probably lots of mistakes and logic errors in this text but I don#t want to proof read. :)

    @ Caloceptri “I get it that the show is "bad" because it does not employ writers with wartime experience.”

    No, it’s “bad” because the writers portray Starfleet characters as a bunch of unprofessional cowards, who would be fired by any Fortune 500 company, never mind an actual military.

    You don’t need combat experience to know this is all wrong. I do not think Star Trek needs dive into some deep exploration of the military. It’s the wrong universe for that! I just want Starfleet characters who act like professionals and set a standard to aspire to.

    “I mean, maybe for once, tell people what you think IS an example of good writing - book, teleplay, screenplay, whatever.”

    Best of Both Worlds - Character conflict handled in a professional way.

    The Wrath of Khan - Compelling villain whose motives were relatable and not shrouded in a faux-mystery which ultimately underwhelms.

    In The Pale Moonlight - Dark episode done in a believable way, true to its characters and the universe in which it is set.

    Yesterday’s Enterprise - Another dark episode done correctly. Picard’s 15 second “the war is going very badly” speech is far more chilling than NuTrek’s hours of darkness and gore.

    Rocks and Shoals & I, Borg - The ethics of war and survival. Humanizing and respecting the enemy.

    Family & It’s Only a Paper Moon - The struggle to recover from PTSD without being consumed by it.

    Chain of Command - Exploration of the horrors of torture without devolving into unnecessary gore.

    Trails and Tribble-ations - Fan service/nostalgia done properly.

    The Drumhead - Civil Rights vs. National Security, a decade ahead of its time. It dropped in 1991!

    Home Front/Paradise Lost - Ditto above, Civil Rights and Freedom vs. National Security.

    Duet - Exploring the trauma of war, from both sides, arriving at a point of forgiveness/acceptance which is earned by both lead characters.

    Darmok - The struggle to communicate and understand contrasted against the complete failure of the “military option” to resolve a situation.

    Far Beyond The Stars - Compelling exploration of racism.

    Nor the Battle to the Strong - Compelling exploration of fear, cowardice, and the trauma of war.

    Maybe much of the controversy can be explained not by ST:Picard being unusually awful, as many respected TV critics seemed to gobble up even the dreaded and near-nonsensical season 2, but rather that the original TNG was an anomaly of surprisingly thoughtful and good television that almost shouldn't have existed. As if network execs were asleep at the wheel when the concept got approved, and would have shouted things like, "Where's the blatant sex appeal?!" or "These Picard speeches will put the average viewer to sleep!" or "Where's is the evil villain that gets blown up by the end of each episode?!" had they been more awake to the high-minded calibre of television that was about to unfold.

    TNG represents a mere island of good sense whereas ST:Picard is the ocean that we have all been swimming in for the past couple decades, aside from a few notable exceptions that one can list on one hand. So it would almost be a miracle if all the good things about TNG were properly resurrected for this series, even though the original TNG gives a pretty compelling roadmap for how to get there.

    @ Black Oatmeal "Tim, what was the point of having a crew of Federation and Maquis if you aren't going to have them be in conflict?"

    Because conflict for the sake of conflict isn't compelling, it's cliched and cheap.

    Give me a reason why the Maquis and Federation people on Voyager should have re-litigated that argument. They can't do anything about it. It's 70,000 light years away. They have more pressing issues to worry about. Like getting home without dying.

    My analogy, you're on a deserted island with someone with whom you fundamentally disagree about some pressing political issue of the day. Are you really going to spend your time together rehashing that fight? Shall we argue about politics we can't even remain current on instead of trying to find water and food?

    What exactly did you want to see? The two crews coming to blows after a heated Mess Hall argument about Federation policy and politics? Chakotay and Janeway struggling to deescalate the situation while their subordinates scheme and plot against each other instead of acting like grown adults that listen to their superior officers, mentors, and friends?

    Also, which show did you watch? Voyager was FILLED with character conflict. Did you see Scorpion or Equinox? It wasn't Maquis vs. Starfleet but it was believable with the characters and their circumstance at the time.


    "It’s also the lack of professionalism. How do you go to the holodeck bar for a few stiff ones while your ship is literally sinking to its doom? Shouldn’t you be at your post?"

    I recall they explained in some throwaway lines modern ships are fitted with a backup battery solely for the holodeck for these exact purposes - when all is lost, you can at least find some final solace while let's say drinking a Samarian Sunset on Risa. It's not a bad idea in theory.

    But the in-universe history seems to negate the desire for this comfort. When Kirk & Co prove time and time again there's no such thing as a "no-win scenario," you would think the "never give up, never surrender" mindset would be the overriding Starfleet credo. By going into the holodeck, you're in essence giving up. Also, wouldn't a captain have to blatantly order everyone to give up?

    And who gets holodeck priority in these instances? Let's say your average Constitution class ship is fitted with 6 holodecks, do they have a pre-set program of a beach and anyone can just wander in to look at the waves? How many people can actually fit inside 1 holodeck? Can 6 holodecks comfortably fit the entire crew? Do the captains get one by themselves that is programmed with holograms of their family?

    But unfortunately, the real world answer is they had an expensive bar set built for the 2nd season (for no real purpose), and to save cost just recycled it for this season. They probably thought it was a more theatrical setting than a conference room or somebody's quarters to have that conversation, and I would agree, so it doesn't really bother me that much.


    "the original TNG was an anomaly of surprisingly thoughtful and good television that almost shouldn't have existed. As if network execs were asleep at the wheel when the concept got approved"

    I think one of the big explanations is that interestingly, there actually were no network execs for TNG. It was a syndicated show, meaning no network actually owned the rights to air it. Local affiliate stations would lease the show, bypassing national broadcast networks entirely. The only suit really was Rick Berman, who Paramount pretty much ceded sole executive producing control over to. Rick had his flaws and did not seem to be good to the women on the shows (more of which are unfortunately coming out today), but at least he stuck to Gene's original vision of what makes it Star Trek. There were no "meddlers" in TNG and DS9 other than Rick.

    Voyager was the first 80-90s Trek to be produced and aired with a national network behind it, and along with that came the army of boneheaded execs who needed to add their say "for ratings," which explains why they dropped Kes for Seven and why Jolene Blalock was hired. But ironically, those 2 characters ended up being the best part of their respective shows, so not sure any good lessons can be learned here.

    @Bryan "that the original TNG was an anomaly of surprisingly thoughtful and good television that almost shouldn't have existed. As if network execs were asleep at the wheel when the concept got approved"

    TNG and DS9 aired in first run syndication. There was no network they had to keep happy. They had to keep the studio happy but as long as the syndication revenue was rolling in that objective was presumably met. TNG also had a unique deal where the studio gave the show away for free but got rights to a portion of the commercial time. That was a huge gamble at the time but in retrospect was a genius move. It was a license to print money for Paramount once the show took off.

    This may or may not have meant less creative interference. We'll likely never know. The people who know can't give candid answers. Most remain in the industry and presumably want to continue working.

    Of course, you can't compare the late 80s/early 90s media landscape to today. What you can do is contrast DS9 and TNG with Voyager and Enterprise. Those productions had a network (UPN) to keep happy. In Voyager's case it was "the" flagship show which the network pinned its hopes on.

    Not sure why they did that. Trek fans feel like a bad fit for the rest of UPN's original productions, but if you recall the way Voyager was promoted it was clear that's what they were trying to do. Bring people in with Voyager and hope they don't change the channel afterwards. This doesn't feel dissimilar from what Paramount+ is trying to do today.

    Did being tied to UPN change the writing or production? Again, the people who know can't really tell us, so we're left to speculate. It's not hard to imagine the pressure that got put on both productions with the parent company trying to establish a network capable of competing against the Big Four.

    Now we're in the streaming wars instead of the network wars. Paramount+ is the platform that's trying to get eyeballs in a congested marketplace.

    What IP do they have with mass market appeal other than Star Trek? There's a huge library of legacy CBS shows but tens of millions of people aren't signing up to rewatch JAG and Magnum PI. They're signing up to watch Star Trek. If Star Trek didn't exist would Paramount+ exist?

    Looking at the streaming landscape, it's got to be an enormous amount of pressure on the show-runners, writers, and actors. I suspect this explains a lot of what I assume is creative interference. Especially all the obvious attempts to get "viral" moments on social media with cheap tricks like faux-cliffhangers, twists, and the deaths of long established characters.

    Paramount desperately wants this to work. They don't got Disney's IP library. Or HBO's track record of critically acclaimed new productions. Or Netflix and Amazon's seemingly limitless budgets (until recently at least) to throw at risky new ideas without established audiences.

    All they have is Star Trek and they're gonna squeeze every last drop of blood they can from that stone.

    I don't entirely object, the production values are amazing, there's a lot to like, even in Discovery. I just wish they had more faith in the audience and felt less pressure to chase the aforementioned viral moments.

    @Tim. No, I wouldn't want conflict for the sake of conflict. You wouldn't have to do that with Voyager's premise though. You have two different groups that share many similarities, but also have very different philosophies. And they are both stuck in an impossible situation. Can they put the past behind them? Do the old Federation ideals still apply? How would Maqui members deal with first contact with alien species? Would the Maqui want to go back to the Federation if they are going to be treated as terrorists? There are tons of ways you could explore this situation. But they never really took advantage of it.


    I think you are being too cynical here. I tend to view most of the harsher criticism levied against Picard and Discovery to be coming from a place of disappointment, rather than hate. Star Trek used to have a certain set of rules (dare I say formula?) that was militantly instituted, and the writers had to play in that sandbox.

    Out of that magically came a feeling of total immersion. The future felt real and the characters felt real. They acted true to their station, circumstance and personality, while maintaining a strict code of professionalism (other than perhaps Bones, but we can forgive his rascally Georgian heart). This is what most have become accustomed to over the years to the point that it became actually inspirational.

    When JJ took the reigns, Star Trek started to mean something else entirely. It was more just IP set dressing with the same type of comic book style storytelling you would find in a Marvel movie. There's not much difference stylistically between JJ's movies and Guardians of the Galaxy. Sure, it's entertaining, but there's not much thinking involved. They don't even really say much about the human condition beyond the confines of their own stories. They're not deeply felt or realized. All of this broke the immersion of what made Trek the Trek people fell in love with.

    I'm also saying all of this as someone who has agreed with Jammer on almost all of his Season 3 reviews thus far. I've been enjoying it for what it is, a final TNG movie that gives them a proper sendoff, while also realizing TNG has never done its best work in the movie format. I'm not expecting new aspirational ideas here, just competent storytelling that respects its universe and characters, and I think we've mostly gotten that so far.

    @ Bucktown, "I recall they explained in some throwaway lines modern ships are fitted with a backup battery solely for the holodeck for these exact purposes"

    They dropped that line in there for the reason you note below in your post :D

    "But unfortunately, the real world answer is they had an expensive bar set built for the 2nd season (for no real purpose), and to save cost just recycled it for this season. They probably thought it was a more theatrical setting than a conference room or somebody's quarters to have that conversation, and I would agree, so it doesn't really bother me that much."

    This doesn't really bother me either. I "get" the why on using that set and would not have objected to its use in a different context. My issue is the same as yours:

    "When Kirk & Co prove time and time again there's no such thing as a "no-win scenario," you would think the "never give up, never surrender" mindset would be the overriding Starfleet credo."

    This is the overriding credo of any professional.

    Have you seen Crimson Tide? It's a pretty lousy movie from a military point of view, for a long list of reasons, but it got one part right: When the boat is going down and all hope seems to be lost, the crew remain at their posts doing their jobs. They do this even though the vast majority of them cannot do anything to change the situation. They are in limbo, waiting for the engineering crew to complete repairs. The Sonarmen can't help with that but they don't go back to their rack to read a book, they stay at their posts. The handful of crew members that seem to be on the verge of losing it get mentored/corrected by their superiors and pull it together until the emergency is past.

    That's what I want to see from Starfleet. That's how it was in every production that came before Discovery. The scenes in the bar could have happened after the emergency was past.

    Jack and Picard could even be in there during the emergency. It might be a bit out of character for Picard, not wanting to be in the action, but I could have bought it with Riker's "Get to know your son" line.

    My issue was with random crew members wandering in there to drown their sorrows, then with their Captain doing the same. That needlessly detracted from one of the best scenes of the season to date (the Wolf 359 monologue), which could easily have happened post-emergency.

    Wow... active thread

    @Filip, the red door

    It'll be Kurtzman and JJ lighting smokes with $100 bills while giggling and mooning a picture of Gene.

    @Tim: Power Play.

    I basically agree with you, it's hard to believe a ship would have anyone without some minimal fortitude. Keiko isn't the best example though because while she's strong, she's also in Mama Bear territory, a dangerous beast indeed. Literally the plot of Aliens was two Mama Bears fighting without restraint for their offspring. It was still awesome to see Keiko shoulder to shoulder with Worf telling the invaders right where to stick it.

    @Tim: Kirk, Crimson Tide, etc

    I'll admit the more you discuss it, the more the behavior here annoys me. Real life astronauts criticized the 1997 film Contact for giving the space pilot a suicide pill in case things got bad. The astronauts pointed out that not only could they get themselves dead quite easily if they wanted to, they would be fighting tooth and nail to solve the problem no matter how hopeless it appeared.

    "Now we're in the streaming wars instead of the network wars. Paramount+ is the platform that's trying to get eyeballs in a congested marketplace. What IP do they have with mass market appeal other than Star Trek?"

    Paramount+ now has the expanding Yellowstone universe and Taylor Sheridan's other shows. Pretty sure that is their new shiny object and mainstream hit machine and Star Trek is now a legacy runner up. Trek's ubiquity peaked in 2022 and I think you're going to be seeing less of it moving forward.

    @ Jammer

    I would happily accept less Star Trek if it raises the quality of whatever still gets produced. :)

    I confess Yellowstone is barely on my radar (I know the name and that Kevin Costner is involved but that's it) and I have no idea how popular it is. Today I learned it's apparently a whole universe. I still have to believe that a large number of Paramount+'s 77 million subscribers are there for Star Trek though!

    Did I overlook some property besides Yellowstone? Wikipedia tells me they have some exclusive sports deals. That's bound to be driving some subscriptions, sports fans aren't shy about opening their wallet and it's difficult to binge watch sports after the fact.

    Is it enough to remain competitive in the long haul in a saturated marketplace? With everyone raising their prices, removing perks, and clouds of economic uncertainty on the horizon?

    Side note, I'm shocked no streamer has yet copied old school cable and mandated a 12 month contract. One suspects this is coming sooner or later, probably right after they finish squeezing all the blood from the password sharing stone. Lots of people use the life hack of subscribing for a single month, binge watch the completed season(s) of their favorite show(s), then cancel. It has to be driving the Wall Street types crazy when they think about that "lost" revenue.

    @ Silly

    "I'll admit the more you discuss it, the more the behavior here annoys me. Real life astronauts criticized the 1997 film Contact for giving the space pilot a suicide pill in case things got bad. The astronauts pointed out that not only could they get themselves dead quite easily if they wanted to, they would be fighting tooth and nail to solve the problem no matter how hopeless it appeared."


    The holodeck as a refuge concept didn't offend me at all. Imagine a ship stranded far from the Federation waiting weeks to months for rescue without some imminent emergency to contend with. That's a tailor made scenario for the holodeck as a refuge. Not an imminent/ongoing emergency. That's the part that offended me!

    People on the interwebs frequently condemn the Enterprise-D as a luxury liner, which she sort of was, but they overlook that she was meant for five year missions with limited/no external support. Creature comforts like the holodeck aren't "luxuries" at that point, they're investments in crew morale!

    Fun WW2 story: US Navy fleet submarines had air conditioning. That was a "luxury" unheard of in any other navy at the time. The USN justified the design difficultly and added expense because of crew morale. Those boats were meant to operate for 10 to 12 week patrols, in the Pacific tropics. How long would any human last if exposed to triple digit temperatures for weeks on end while confined in a metal box? How would you effectively stand your watch in such an environment? How would you get sleep to recover for your next shift?

    A/C wasn't a luxury for them. It was a necessity.

    And outside of the USA the Yellowstone show or now cinematic universe(?) is mostly unknown. I saw an article about it once in a Germany newspaper titled "the show that republicans trust".
    Paramount+ actually did some advertisement on digital billboards in Berlin but they always used Star Trek and sometimes kids movies. The main problem in Germany or Europe in general is probably that most people don't know what Paramount even is.
    - tangent- I also believe that pirating media is becoming more popular again. Think about it, 10 years ago you got the same amount of shows for a fifth of the price at netflix. At Amazon Prime there is obviously already the desire to put adds into their subscriber content. I'm pretty sure that in ten years you will have to pay 10€ extra to watch shows without adds. Compared to 20 years ago you will have to pay far more for far less + targeted adds. The only improvement left will be the ability to watch whenever you want *fingers crossed*. -end tangent-

    So Yellowstone might help them in certain segments of America, mostly in red states but does it really help to build a broadly popular global streaming service? I don't think so


    Completely agree about The Wire, which is my favourite non-Trek series. We Own This City was also excellent.

    Just off the top of my head, other amazing shows: Sopranos, Gomorrah, Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire, the first season of True Detective, all outstanding. I'm currently on season two of Succession which is also jaw-droppingly good (no spoilers please). The matter is no surprise to me as its creator is also behind the comedy series Peep Show, which is my favourite comedy.

    There are dozens more.

    There's plenty of evidence that we have been living during a golden age of television of sorts, so it's all the more frustrating that NuTrek isn't part of that.

    JACK THEORY QUESTION..Possible spoiler if I'm right..Does anyone else think since one of the voices might be Beverly saying Jackncome home that this Jack is somehow genetically related to or a sort of clone of the original Jack Crusher who maybe died under mysterious circumstances thst have not been revealed right? And maybe due to Beverly's interactions with the TRAVELERS in where no man has gone before and Remember Me altered her DNA so when she gave birth to a son with Lean Luc who was affected by some new ancient alien from.beyond the galaxy aka the Floating Head guy ..who is maybe the progenitor of the Ic0nians or related to Armus or progenitor of the Breeder aliens from the Chase episode maybe..just some ideas I had? What does anyone think? At least this is more original than the Borg again or pagh wraiths..or my other theory is maybe Floating head guy is from the Caeliar race from the Trek book lost souls...whio yes are the progenitors of the Borg in a sense..anyone read those?

    I do want to say that for me, the proverbial cherry on top of the episode, was the nature of the "memories" Data handed over to Lore.

    Look at what Data is doing here; he is actually subtly *warning* Lore about what he's about to do, like as not due to the fact that his ethical subroutines forbid him to outright destroy Lore.

    #1: Sherlock Holmes' pipe.

    Data is saying "I have read human literature, and detective stories are some of my favorites. I'm not dumb, Lore."

    #2: Tasha Yar.

    "I know what human nature is. I know about their hopes, fears, dreams, and desire for survival. I also have friends who I wish to see again."

    #3: The pack of cards.

    "I know how to BLUFF YOU, Lore. Watch out."

    and finally,

    #4: Spot.

    "I also know how to KILL you, Lore. I am programmed with the ability to use deadly force in self-defense."

    Mess with the cat, you get the claws. Data's gifts to Lore will be burned into my memory forever. It is a really neat little touch of writing, to be perfectly honest.

    Bok R'Mor:

    "Wow. Even though the standard of discussion and debate on here is typically very high and gives a lot of food for thought, the quality of comments over the past couple of days in particular has been extraordinarily impressive. "

    Absolutely. I want to subscribe to Tim's newsletter.


    'Paramount+ actually did some advertisement on digital billboards in Berlin but they always used Star Trek and sometimes kids movies.'

    I live in a Scandinavian country and it was the same type of advertising here - Strange New Worlds and children's animation. Probably the same pan-European marketing.

    That didn't help Paramount+, though. Only a few months after it was launched, all Paramount+ subscribers here were informed that our subscriptions were ending, Paramount+ was being dropped and we could sign up for Sky Showtime if we wanted.

    Unfortunately, Paramount+ and Sky Showtime don't have the same content, and even though I signed up for the latter (at a very cheap offer price of about €3.50 per month for a 'lifetime' subscription), there isn't the same Trek content. I've yet to see the second half of the first season of PRO, for example.

    It's not a very effective or comprehensive approach to giving people what they want. I also constantly get ad-spammed by Sky Showtime even though I'm already a subscriber, so they're wasting their advertising budget.

    Any guesses on the fate of Shaw?

    My vibe from his very first scene is he might as well be wearing a crimson cloak to go with his red shirt. I'm still amazed he's still alive.

    I'm perfectly happy to have guessed that incorrectly.

    Still, basic character arcs strongly suggest he'll at a minimum have a closure scene with Seven.

    Before the last episode or so, I was sure a heroic sacrifice was in order. That changed to me only because he drifted into the periphery.

    Star Trek is becoming Star Wars with a few all universe deciding VIP's and shallow piew piew and always end of world stakes. Star Wars is becoming soap opera. I think Disney is milking its property dry as fast as possible. Seems originality left the house and everyone is tired by now of the Volume creativity limiting producing method. Paramount seems to want to follow in Disney's footsteps with dtrek after dtrek. Time for a new production crew with Star Trek knowledge and a plan. You can't imagine someone wanting to write books set in this NuTrek mirror universe, right?

    Fans and critics of Picard S3, and Trek overall, seem to differ only in the relative priorities they place on enjoying fiction as an experience versus appreciation of it after it meets a criterion.

    Those enjoying Picard S3 are expressive, saying how they FELT when a, b, or c happened. If show makes me feel good == show is good. Conversely, critics (including me) are more normative, viewing enjoyment as something that should be withheld pending certain standards for quality Trek are met.

    Fans says "it is good trek because I enjoy it."
    Critics say "I will enjoy it if it is good Trek."

    I am happy to see a very meaningful and healthy discussion here and a lot of you touched upon the portrayal of Starfleet in this episode, I loved reading your comments. For better or worse, Starfleet officers have always been portrayed as having all the knowledge and grit to at least attempt to respond to any situation they might find themselves in, no matter how dire it might be. One could argue that it’s one of their core characteristics, what makes them Starfleet. Tim addressed the issue nicely in his comments and I wholeheartedly agree with his statement that “I just want Starfleet characters who act like professionals and set a standard to aspire to,” which, if we disregard the whole holodeck shtick, the episode four pulled off wonderfully in the sequence where they are escaping the nebula. Having the officers cower and run around the corridors in panic in face of an opposing force that THEY THEMSELVES invited on the ship does the exact opposite.

    @Bucktown “I tend to view most of the harsher criticism levied against Picard and Discovery to be coming from a place of disappointment, rather than hate.” I am one hundred percent with you on this one and I myself fall into this camp. I distinctly remember when among all the horrid things happening on screen in season one, Picard met and embraced Hugh, how for a split-second I felt that glimmer of what made Star Trek great, only to have it taken again moments later. A somewhat similar thing is happening here -the first five episodes set up the whole plot for a more than a satisfying pay-off in its second half, only for it to start sliding all over the place and dropping its previously introduced elements in favor of corridor shoot-outs and villain monologues, because I really doubt that we are going to get a chance to revisit Shaw’s PTSD (or even hear him speak at all anymore), Picard’s reunion with Beverly and the fact that he finally ended up with a family of sorts after all these years nor do I see Ro being mentioned ever again.

    Among all the critiques and the staggering amount of really inexplicably bad writing decisions and overall laziness in modern Trek productions, for a moment I thought that maybe we really live in an era where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to write good TV, but Booming reminded me that it can still be done by referencing a recent and a stellar show on all accounts: “The Expanse had really good writing and they created all that without fan service and a pretty dull lead.” That show didn’t have the luxury of having an already established canon, ethos or an existing universe to play in, nor did it have millions of fans readily waiting in line to see it, yet it is infinitely better than anything Star Trek has put out since Enterprise. It’s gripping and complex, intelligently and competently written, meaning it can still be done. In its first ten episodes, it managed to simultaneously create a whole new world of its own, introduce a new crew and supporting characters, juggle multiple story threads with a looming mystery and finally piece it all together, without ever having to string the audience along with the promise of a big reveal. Despite having no clue what was happening on when I first started watching it, I actually felt like I was watching real, flawed people inhabit an actual world. Here in Picard, we are eight episodes deep and really nothing of consequence has happened yet. I mean really, think about it. Booming summed it up better than I could’ve: “strip away the fanservice and all what really remains is: A season long arc about a guy with superpowers and mystery door in his head.” Like I said in the previous paragraph, the show is again riddled with half-baked ideas that don’t seem to go anywhere, Vadic’s comment about the Dominion Wars and her character in general probably taking the cake – what seemed to be an opportunity to have a different look at the established canon turned into an inconsequential remark about ‘Dominion’s warfare’ which in turn degenerated into a trite hostage situation and Vadic’s final demise that really made me scratch my head as what was the point of her character at all.

    So, on one hand you have a no-name show with no legacy that managed to build itself up and grip my attention in the span of ten episodes, and on the other, you have Picard whose legacy is second to none which, in its three seasons, managed to do jack-shit. So I ask you this – why? If it can be done, why does modern Trek keep, by this point systematically, disappointing with each new iteration it produces? What’s the catch?

    .... and we STILL don't know what Jack is and what is behind the red door!!

    Good lord.

    But I thought this episode was a vast improvement over last week.

    Riker / Troi stuff was awesome. They've always played well off each other.

    I do like how Troi is needed to help find out what's up with Jack.

    I don't see why "they" would need a doppelganger Picard at Frontier Day.

    Is the evil "wrist baddie" gone now? ... or did it linger somewhere on the Titan?

    Sorry to see our bald Vulcan go.

    So glad Vadic is history. Bad actor, bad writing, poorly acted... but something tells me she's not gone yet. Changelings can live in space. But maybe the experiments etc. done on her removed that capability.... one can only hope. Pretty cool way to get rid of her... pretty telling that 7 is the one that joined Jack too I think.

    I'm impressed with how they brought Data back... Spiner is killing it.

    Nobody seems to like Picard's wine. haha

    Of course, all gather around the table... too bad Picard is a shell of himself.

    So, my official guess is that the Borg has something to do with this... did the Borg figure out how to assimilate a changeling? ... is this some combined effort here?

    Some are saying it's the Pah-wraith... I'm not so sure.

    2.5 of 4 stars here...

    'I distinctly remember when among all the horrid things happening on screen in season one, Picard met and embraced Hugh, how for a split-second I felt that glimmer of what made Star Trek great, only to have it taken again moments later.'

    I agree. In this season I felt the same way with the insulting cameos of Changeling Tuvok and Trailer Bait Moriarty. So cynical and nastily manipulative of the audience, and such a wasted opportunity.

    It actually occurred to me the other day that there was a missed opportunity for a moving cameo from Terry Farrell: Vadic or whatever Changeling could have addressed Worf directly, morphed into an older Jadzia/Farrell and asked if there was anything missing in his new pacifistic life, before laughing mockingly and morphing back. It would have been brutally manipulative, but it would have been brutally manipulative *within the logic of the plot* and the characterisation and performance of Worf (which I think most of us feel has generally been done well), rather than just a middle finger to the audience as the Tuvok and Moriarty cameos were.

    I find the Worf "working on myself" dialogue to be out of character. He sounds like he's talking to Oprah. I'm just glad that all of this self-help didn't hinder any beheadings (on Tuesday). Seriously though, it just sounds so 90s, bookstore, Birkenstocks and coffee, Dr Phil books etc. This stuff does not fit the character. I've always had the impression that Worf has a well-established personal ethos.

    @Narissa's Bath Water
    «Fans says "it is good trek because I enjoy it."
    Critics say "I will enjoy it if it is good Trek." “

    SNW was/is good trek for me, still I can enjoy parts of Picard.

    The Vadic hostage situation just awful. The sadistic elements wher not trek like. The female changeling in DS9 was better even if I never liked her either. Vadics Voldemort send of was much appreciated. In itself I liked the scenes when she realised that she lost control. HP reference in episode was quite funny.

    Although Jack Cruser is a key to this season, I am not to found of the charekter. Had the actor really been areund 20 years it would have been more realistic.

    I've been mostly holding my tongue on this season. I was pretty nonplussed with season 1, and skipped season 2 entirely. I also gave up on Disco.

    It has definitely fallen into some familiar flaws of "nuTrek", the last couple of episodes especially. I really don't care what is going on in Jack's head anymore than I cared what caused "the BUUURN". I do care what terroristic plot the renegade changelings have planned, but this ticking clock thing with "Frontier Day" is bothersome. It is hard to see what the changelings can do to threaten the whole fleet if ONLY they had Jack Crusher in custody. It's just hard to swallow as a concept, and they've slow-walked it so much and hid so many details that it's not making sense anymore. Surely the changelings can do great damage with or without him if they've taken over so many key positions in Starfleet.

    In general I tire of them expecting me to care about the red door. They should be answering questions by this point in the season, or at least using those "mystery boxes" to drive some character action or plot. The questions about Jack and Frontier Day are really nothing but a MacGuffin. It should be something that the characters care about, not something that the audience is expected to care about. A MacGuffin properly used never has to be explained to the audience at all for the plot to make sense, much less be expected to retain fan interest over ten episodes. See: Pulp Fiction. What is in Wallace's suitcase that drives most of the character action? Never answered, and it doesn't really matter anyway.

    The most glaring moment in the season for me so far is when Picard and Crusher resolved to murder Vadic, rather than keep her in custody. Just.... no. I just didn't buy it. It was a 5 second conversation and seemed impulsive. It's no "In the pale moonlight" effectively questioning if ethics are really just luxuries of peacetime.

    All that said, I've enjoyed the season on the level of a final adventure/sendoff for the TNG crew. The first half of it I thought was not great, but passable Trek. The good moments have been good enough to carry it thus far, but it really needs to finish the season stronger than this for me to consider recommending it to anyone. It's not coming close to the high points of yesteryear's Trek, but I am enjoying it on a certain level. I just hope that they manage to finish it off well.

    I enjoyed SNW a fair bit more than this, honestly. That also has potential for a rewatch, which is a lot harder to say about this heavily dramatic serialized storytelling.

    My partner and I just completed "It's Only a Paper Moon" during our abbreviated DS9 re-watch, aiming to catch her up on the Dominion backstory before Picard concludes. She had never seen DS9 and had no idea what a Changeling was. I have been cherry picking the major Dominion DS9 episodes and those required to flush out that story, like the Emissary/Prophets stuff, and Garek's backstory. (Side note: He has become her favorite character; I knew I loved her for a reason! 😍)

    AR-558 and Paper Moon affected her in a way that nothing from NuTrek has, including the Discovery S1 war arc and all the torture/gore porn we got from it. She's an Iraq War combat veteran, for context, and those two DS9 episodes from the 1990s that faced the limitations of broadcast television hit home for her.

    I looked up AR-558 and learned the Director was a Vietnam War veteran, so there you go.

    Also, unrelated to the Dominion, we backtracked and watched "Far Beyond the Stars", which I had wanted her to see but originally cut for time. Went back to it because while watching "Shadows and Symbols" I belatedly remembered they hooked it into that episode and she had no idea what was going on with the Benny flashbacks/hallucinations.

    Anyhow, there's a moment in "Far Beyond the Stars" where the 'N' word is dropped. On broadcast television in the 1990s!

    I share this because it was far more shocking and effective in the context of that episode than any of the casual swearing we've seen in NuTrek.

    The swearing in NuTrek is not something that deeply bothers or offends me. I'm a Native New Yorker and suffice it to say I swear profusely in real life. That said, it has always felt somewhat out of place in Star Trek.

    I suppose it ties back into the professionalism I've discussed ad nauseam in this thread. I rarely swear in the workplace, despite my cultural background and proclivity for it in my personal life. The few times a swear word slips out of my mouth at work I find myself apologizing for it, despite the fact none of my coworkers have ever expressed a problem with it. In fact many of them occasionally swear as well but unless it's a casual setting (e.g., beer thirty on Friday) they usually apologize for it too.

    People being upset by cursing make me think of the bearded ladies stoning John Cleese in Life of Brian. The idea that words are taboo seems incredibly primitive to me.

    'I find the Worf "working on myself" dialogue to be out of character. He sounds like he's talking to Oprah.'

    I do understand what you mean. I felt Worf and Dorn fell very flat in this episode specifically - the interaction with Troi and Riker just didn't work, and Dorn's performance didn't have the same verve as in previous episodes, for whatever reason (I don't have an explanation, unless it was something to do with him getting away from Raffi). And the self-help lines already seem stale and dated after a few episodes as well.

    Nevertheless, my point is that Worf has been the most successful NuTrek version of any TNG character despite his character being changed in probably the most extreme way of them all. (Seven the alcoholic angry bounty hunter comes a close second. And let's not even get into the Picardbot 2000 whose primary function is therapy for Patrick Stewart.)

    I think it's simply down to the strength of Dorn's performance. Dorn doesn't feel like he is simply playing himself, as Stewart and Sirtis definitely do; it probably helps that Worf is for some reason habitually paired with Raffi, who seems to be a universally disliked, weak character, which makes him seem even better.

    I'd prefer that Worf was the old Worf but I can't deny that Dorn's sterling performance has had me laughing at times despite myself, so fair play to him for being game enough to turn this dross into something positive.

    Frakes and Burton have been solid with poor dialogue; I feel very sorry for them. Spiner switches effortlessly between Data and Lore, again with some silly dialogue at times. McFadden hasn't been given enough to do at all (bizarrely enough given the centrality of her role in this season), but that was always the case in TNG as well.

    @Black Oatmeal

    Fair enough but I think the swearing in NuTrek makes many of the rest of us think of Kirk's explicit statements about the primitiveness of 'cursing' as viewed from his era in Star Trek IV.

    If fuck this and fuck that and fuck you you fucking fuck had always been part of Trek we wouldn't have a problem with it in NuTrek. It's not so much a taboo as something that's been expressly portrayed as not having a place in Trek before.

    A bit like Crusher and the Picardbot 2000 deciding to off their prisoner. It's not merely a prissy taboo, it's a complete re-write of their characters and what has hitherto been acceptable in Trek.

    Life of Brian is hilarious though.

    @ Bok R’Mor

    “There's plenty of evidence that we have been living during a golden age of television of sorts, so it's all the more frustrating that NuTrek isn't part of that.”

    I have mixed emotions on this. One thing I cannot fault NuTrek for is the production values. It’s apparent that the people who built the sets and do the post-production work on sound effects are true Star Trek fans in every sense of the word. We’re getting this part of the “golden age” at least.

    My breakdown is with some of the creative choices, which continue to rudely yank us out of the visually and auditory stunning universe they've brought to the small screen.

    At the risk of repeating myself, they seem to be made to try and create viral moments on Twitter and other social media. Elon Musk drama notwithstanding, Twitter remains deeply ingrained in Hollywood to a degree that’s difficult to overstate. If you know anyone in the industry you know what I’m alluding to. I feel many creatives and executives in Hollywood are making the mistake of conflating Twitter with the real world. Lots of politicians do the same thing, they assume likes and retweets are the same as votes, and occasionally on Election Day find themselves rudely reminded they are not.

    Picard has killed off Hugh, Icheb, Ro, Maddox, and if internet rumors are to be believed, more deaths are in store. For what?

    Did any of these deaths serve a narrative purpose? Hugh and Icheb were reduced to props to create a motive for Seven to play Judge, Jury, and Executioner. That isn’t a terrible creative choice for her character but we could have arrived there without the Icheb torture porn scene and Hugh's out of the blue redshirt death.

    Ro’s death, it was purportedly for a story purpose, but still, it felt cheap and unnecessary. Did it hit any of you as hard as Ziyal’s death in DS9? Tasha’s sendoff in Yesterday’s Enterprise? Damar’s death? Jadzia’s?

    Jadzia got a redshirt-esque death but it came with emotional weight for the characters who remained. It sent Worf and Sisko into a tailspin of depression, deeply affected Bashier and Quark, and even hit characters (O’Brien) who weren’t particularly close to her. They devoted two episodes to the healing process for these characters!

    By contrast, Ro has barely been mentioned since her death. I know they don’t have a 26 episode season to work with. I wouldn’t expect a whole episode in memoriam of Ro. It’s just that we’re supposed to believe Picard thought of her as a surrogate daughter yet her death has seemingly had limited (no?) effect on him. The whole premise of S1 was Picard struggling to come to terms with Data’s death from two decades prior. Here he’s moved on in less than two weeks?

    By the way, one thing I forgot to mention earlier in this thread when the straw man of 'millennials can't/shouldn't write Trek' was being waved exasperatedly in what I can only guess was my and @Tim's and @Bucktown's directions:

    I am on record in this forum as repeatedly stating that I think the by far best episode of Trek in the last 20-25 years is LDS' 'wej Duj'. And would you Adam and Eve it, 'wej Duj' is written by a 'millennial' born in 1984 who even inserted herself into the episode as the central Vulcan character. And it's absolutely brilliant. Quintessential Trek, in fact.

    The issue with NuTrek isn't inter-generational warfare or giddy staff self-inserts, it's silly, sloppy, inconsistent and incoherent writing. If all of NuTrek had been like 'wej Duj' I'd be the staunchest defender of NuTrek. I'd be a proper NuTrek shill to be honest. But it isn't so I'm not.

    @ Black Oatmeal

    "The idea that words are taboo seems incredibly primitive to me"

    My point wasn't to say "fuck" is taboo, but rather to say it feels out of place in Star Trek. I forgot about the Star Trek IV scene recalled by Bok R’Mor. We've got that history to contend with. Mostly though, it feels unprofessional to me.

    I've never held a job where casual swearing would have been regarded as appropriate. Would it get you fired? Probably not. Would it make you stand out in a negative way? Absolutely.

    There are obviously different cultural contexts. I lived in the Deep American South for 5+ years and was frequently confronted with extremely negative reactions to what I would regard as very mild swear words. I once had a first date abruptly end over my use of 'damn.' Oops!

    Conversely, in New York City, drop all the f-bombs you want. If the word 'fuck' isn't in every other sentence you're the outlier. Go the UK or Australia and see how casually 'cunt' is thrown about. Try it in the States in mixed company and see what kind of reaction you get.

    Regardless, wherever I've lived and wherever I've worked, I've never seen the amount of swearing in the workplace that we see in NuTrek.

    Some of it works, "Fucking Solids" was a highlight of the recent episode, baller way to go out, and totally in character for a Changeling.

    Most of it though, it feels awkwardly inserted into moments for the sake of being there. I'm not sure what they hope to gain from this. It isn't adding anything to the production or attracting viewers who wouldn't otherwise be there. I've never heard anyone say, "Gosh, I'd really like to get into Star Trek, but the language is too watered down for my liking."

    @ Bok R'Mor

    I'm a millennial, admittedly an "Elder Millennial" (1981 / Class of 2000), FWIW, and I've never regarded any of this as a generational thing. A lot of it seems to be creative interference from the studio/network and Star Trek fans are hardly alone in bemoaning that from modern Hollywood.

    It also seems to be actors (looking at you Sir Patrick Stewart) conflating THEMSELVES with the CHARACTERS they play. There are outtakes from Nemesis confirming this. The dune buggy chase was awkwardly shoved into the movie at Stewart's request. Prior to the JJVerse and NuTrek that was the lowest point in the entire Star Trek canon IMHO.

    Picard took this and supercharged it. This was almost certainly a concession they had to make to get Stewart to agree to the production. I get it, he's got important personal causes, causes I support, but Patrick Stewart's personal trauma is not the same as Jean-Luc Picard's.

    The domestic abuse storyline made as much sense in Picard as seeing Sir Patrick Stewart raising money in the real world for the survivors of Wolf 359.

    Random aside, look up the term "Oregon Trail Generation" if you are not familiar with it. I think that's a fairer descriptor for us than Millennial. :)

    @ Tim @Bok R'Mor -- I agree with your perspectives, specifically about the use of the f-bomb in Trek.

    It's not like we've never heard them swear before. Memory Alpha Wiki has a comprehensive article about the use of profanity in Trek giving the show/movies they appear in & a list of the "colorful metaphors":

    And most of us knew in our minds that "Dammit, Jim!" was what McCoy was really saying before he ever uttered the words out loud, but it's also that in addition to the philosophical in-universe reasons why swearing may have curtailed in the future, the R-rated language doesn't it in with the spirit of a show that was usually watched by the whole family. It doesn't need it.

    Granted, culturally we've moved AWAY from the version of the 23rd Century presented in ST:IV in that I've seen & heard swearing commonly used by celebrities in interviews, articles in Variety, Hollywood Reporter and, naturally, on social media. So, yes, younger generations probably don't look at it as being offensive in the same way as "older" folks do. But I think writers should be able to communicate their ideas without relying on overuse of profanity--otherwise it has no impact in scenes that might really call for it.

    Tim: "AR-558 and Paper Moon affected her in a way that nothing from NuTrek has"

    AR-558 should settle any doubts as to whether Starfleet is the military or not. It strongly suggests that Starfleet is actually the ONLY branch of the military. Otherwise there would have been Marines or something fighting that battle, or at the least Marines would have been the reinforcements.

    "Go to... Australia and see how casually 'cunt' is thrown about."


    This new slogan from the Melbourne tourist board is dynamite.

    Tim: "One thing I cannot fault NuTrek for is the production values"

    Absolutely. The enhanced 2023 reimagining of the Farpoint aliens is spectacular.

    Tim: "
    Jadzia got a redshirt-esque death but it came with emotional weight for the characters who remained"

    If Jadzia's death had come earlier with the events in "Change OF Heart" it would have had more poignancy.


    Concur. Change of Heart would have been an admirable end for the character and would not have negated the follow up with the rest of the characters.

    Another comment from my partner, she rather dislikes how Dukat is reduced to a one dimensional villain by the end of the show. Jadzia’s death is one of her entries in that lament.

    I’m not sure how they could have done it differently. His story could have (should have?) ended after the death of his daughter but I understand the hesitation to part with Marc Alaimo.

    Most of it though, it feels awkwardly inserted into moments for the sake of being there. I'm not sure what they hope to gain from this.

    It's designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator. It's a combination of them appealing to dumbasses - and of bad writers that think using bad language (or "shock value") is somehow cool and hip. You see this sort of thing ALL the time with nearly all fanbase translations -- they go straight for swearing.

    But it's even worse in Trek - as it's well established that older slang has largely died off - and that people are much more reserved and professional and decent. This crap is just incredibly out of place, not only from a writing pov - but an entire setting / tone /established universe pov.

    One of the only criticisms I had of Game of Thrones S1-4 was how far it strayed from the books in regards to gratuitous violence and swearing and sex. While some of it is implied or even sometimes stated in the books- it's not in your face or THAT ridiculous. It was a warning sign that we had two idiots in charge of the series. As soon as they ran out of Martin's material, we all know how that ended.

    So that's what you have here - idiot writers appealing to idiots.

    Dukat had immense depth until the seventh season turned him into a cartoon.

    I guess they needed a mustache-twirling foil for Sisko's endgame, but that hokey finish was nothing to write home about either. The whole Sisko-Dukat-Winn plotline was far and away the weakest aspect of the ten part finale.

    @Jax those were NOT farpoint aliens in No Win scenario..they were an entirely.different species or.subspecies..they look pretty different too..

    @Bryan, OK Sorry if I harp too much on new aliens/'s just so disappointing we have gotten so few and on TNG and Voayger we literally literally almost one per week aka 18-20 per season in a 26 episode season except.maybe Voy season InguessI am spoiled..I hope you can wish for new aliens sake just like I hope whatever you want to see comes to fruition in the last 2 episodes..But I think you would agree Brog and Pagh wraith are notnthe only options..see my post above for alternative theories.and maybe tell me what you.think..could he Iconians..I am hoping best case scenario it is a combo if old.aliens with some new wondrous ancient alien..that ancient voice seems like.something much older and more powerful than either Borg or Pagh wraiths or even Iconians..maybe an ancestor or progenitor of one of them..or of life in higher dimensions some quantum type lifeforms that can entangle other life.somehow which might explain that moment where the floating head froze Vadic's body for a second in episode 7


    "The Expanse had really good writing and they created all that without fan service and a pretty dull lead. With both shows **I never had the feeling that the show is just treading water or strings me along for something more interesting later down the road**."

    Uhm... to me, that was what the show did the entire time, at least with the more overt sci-fi elements. It took an extremely long time to even get to the "expanse" and they only barely explored one world. Absolutely ZERO answers as to what was behind all that in 62 episodes.

    The political and soap aspects progressed somewhat faster.

    Certainly the show did a very impressive building a very convincing world.

    Ok so I never cared that much about the actual "Expanse". The Expanse and that protomolecule gave the conflicts of the show an even more nerve wrecking element. Humanity squabbles and at the same time there is this secret thing becoming more and more threatening. I also don't need an explanation for everything. If we ever encounter the remains of an alien species, lots of it will be completely incomprehensible to us. We still have numerous writing systems of important cultures who left us endless written records. Problem is, we cannot read them like the Minoan or Numidian languages. Now think about a species that is truly alien. We would probably not be able to grasp even basic motivations. I'm fine with the fact that if I had somehow learned anything humanity knows I would probably not have learned 0.000001% of what there is to learn in the galaxy. Let's not even talk about the universe. So I'm fine with unexplained plot points if it makes sense that they are unexplained.

    "and they only barely explored one world"
    I disagree. For a TV show it dived pretty deeply into two of the three main factions. Mars stayed a little shallow compared to the Belt and Earth but we still got to see quite a bit of how it worked.
    Furthermore, I understood what drove the story, what the motives of the people involved were and how the worlds worked.

    In ST:Picard what do we really know? Here is the difference, while the Expanse never really explained the actual Expanse it really didn't need to in my opinion. It made sense that we do not understand it. In ST:Picard the writers are constantly hiding things that could be easily explained to make them more interesting. Like a shiny object dangling in front of us for no real reason
    Here a few sentences from the review:"We also have whatever was happening with the transporters. So maybe they also met some sort of death, or were replaced with changelings… who knows really! ... Jack finally confides in his parents about his powers. How the changelings know about this, though, who knows. Vadic, later in the episode, even talks about the “Red Door” and has such knowledge about what is happening to Jack. Still, we don’t get any of those answers in this episode, unfortunately It’s a case of wanting to drag the storyline out it seems. . ... .Vadic even knows it is Jack controlling Mura, which, again, we need answers for this soon, ... . I still think this is Borg related, but we shall see why it is different in Jack then it was in Picard, and what is so special about it. ... .This might have been a perfect opportunity to actually give answers. Even Jack is upset with Vadic going around in “batshit circles”. How does Vadic know what the Red Door is though? ... .So now with her dead and the plan still going ahead, will this new true big bad be underdeveloped with only 2 episodes to go with 8 episodes of build-up? Or will this villain have completely stolen the thunder from Vadic? "

    We still don't really know why many things happened in this season. The Expanse on the other hand had numerous interesting plotlines with conclusions that weren't driven by mystery boxes. Did it have some weak points? Sure, still it was, to quote Pierce Hawthorne, "streets ahead".


    I'm not meaning to aggressively disagree about The Expanse, just that I had expectations that the protomolecule story would be way bigger way sooner.

    I'd just like to chime in here regarding the Expanse - I've only seen the first two seasons because at the time I was watching it that's all that was out there. By the time the third season rolled out, I put the whole show on my 'to watch' list but never got around to it again, which I'll definitely do once Picard's season three is over.

    That being said, I echo Booming sentiment: "I understood what drove the story, what the motives of the people involved were and how the worlds worked." The show simply had the quality of having a fully fleshed out world, where I simply took pleasure from watching it do its thing. It had compelling characters who were all developed up to a point where you could understand the reasons for doing the things they did, which made the drama when their actions came into conflict all the more significant.

    If it seems like we've been droning on about a show that has nothing to do with Picard, it's only to accentuate what Picard does not have, despite working with fifty years worth of material. Whereas the overarching mystery in the Expanse drove the overall plot forward, the story had so many different threads and compelling elements that it stood strongly on its own two feet even without the final reveal (which, like I said, I don't know what it is even to this day); this season of Picard, on the other hand, doesn't really have much apart from the nostalgia factor and the mystery that has definitely overstayed its welcome, and essentially boils down to taunting the audience with 'Hey, guess what I have hidden behind my back!"

    Don't get me wrong, I still think this season is an enormous improvement over the show's previous outings, but that's not saying much as the bar was set extremely low and, ultimately, it's still not quite what I wanted it to be from the start. Finally, seeing how this really is the final season of Picard and very easily the last that we see of the character as played by Stewart, this was literally the last chance to do it right, which is where most of the disappointment comes from despite being leaps ahead of season one or two.

    @DLPB “One of the only criticisms I had of Game of Thrones S1-4 was how far it strayed from the books in regards to gratuitous violence and swearing and sex. While some of it is implied or even sometimes stated in the books- it's not in your face or THAT ridiculous. It was a warning sign that we had two idiots in charge of the series. As soon as they ran out of Martin's material, we all know how that ended. ”

    Well put. I’ll add that it was worse than simply adding gratuitous violence and sex. Some of the creative choices completely changed the story and characters. Like the decision to have Drogo rape Dany on their wedding night, something that DOES NOT HAPPEN in the novel, and is seemingly forgotten about by the show runners afterwards.

    Dany even falls in love with her rapist, which is just gross. That writing room desperately needed a female voice or two in it.

    To dump on Nemesis some more, Troi’s mind rape was another lowest of the low points in Star Trek canon, seemingly done for no purpose other than to convince the audience the bad guys are bad. Just in case we didn’t figure that out from the Satanic look of the aliens, the dark lighting, assassination of the Romulan Senate, and the ominous music whenever Shinzon and friends were in frame. 🤦🏻‍♂️

    See, NuTrek doesn’t have the monopoly on treating its audience like a bunch of morons, lol

    Going to go dark until we can catch the latest episode, trying to avoid spoilers, so catch y’all in the conversation thread for that one after we watch it! Live long and prosper. 🖖🏻

    I actually had to watch The Expanse twice because I was barely paying attention to the political and social stuff the first time. I was vaguely aware of the foul mouth older lady (ultimately my favorite character).

    Probably 80% of the show is the political/social/soap stuff. The protomolecule stuff is mostly in the background (and is kind of a MacGuffin). How long exactly did it to take to explain what happened in the very first scene? I forget if that even occurred in the first season.

    Considering I would have never even started watching the show if I knew it was 80% Earth politics extrapolated into the solar system, yes I felt strung along.

    Just not my cup of tea really. While the world building is absolutely stunning, I never get the point of building an elaborate sci-fi setup only to mostly have stories that could be set in Earth.


    They also decided to change army sizes and population sizes to make the scale seem more "grand" - completely neglecting the time period it's based on. Everything they did that wasn't sanctified by GRRM was a total disaster. The books are ridiculously well written - and somehow they still managed to mess up too many scenes and situations.

    I warned people at the time that I feared they'd be exposed as hacks once the story went past the books, but even I didn't think they were going to start showing men in full armour survive a fall into the sea after being blasted by dragon fire... There are way too many times they took liberties for dumb reasons - and, as you say, it added nothing and actually deducted.

    It's a real shame too - because S1-4 is mostly still very well made. Some of those were also scripted by GRRM.


    The real sin of Game of Thrones is it means we'll probably never get an ending to ASOIAF.

    And honestly, for all the grief he gets online, do you blame GRRM? Whatever he writes now will just be compared to Game of Thrones. They did follow his outline, so I tend to believe the ending we saw is roughly what he had in mind. That means all he gets to do now is fill in the blanks to flush out a story whose ending has already been rejected by most people.

    Had he written it first, I believe we would have arrived at the ending organically and it would have been better received, but he didn't, and that's that.

    Dude is filthy rich rich now too so there's zero economic motivation for him to pour himself into the enterprise. Heck, I'm surprised he's still working at all, I'd be retired on a tropical island filled with naked women if I were him.

    Can't blame him for not wanting another author to finish it either. It's his baby.

    He might prove me wrong but I'm skeptical. It's at the absolute bottom of his priority list. The handful of times he appears online to engage on other subjects he gets mercilessly trolled by people demanding he finish ASOIAF. I'm sure being fat shamed and treated as a creative slave by your "fans" does wonders for one's motivation to finish a project.

    He's 75% complete with Winds of Winter and I think we'll see it next year :) Finally.

    The Data moment was nicely done. I think they should have adjusted the last part of the scene just after he says goodbye to Lore by showing the last memories of his last heroic act on the Scimitar to save Captain Picard and the Enterprise, providing the perspective of him firing the phaser, the explosion and then him waking up to see his friends on the Titan.

    The Female Changeling on DS9 was frightening specifically because she was soft-spoken and polite; she talked about genocide as if it was just another day at the office.

    I'm glad Vadic is dead, not because it was a satisfying death (it was about as predictable as it could be) but because she was insanely annoying and it meant that finally I wouldn't have to suffer through another scene with her.

    Take out Vadic and Jack Crusher, squeeze the rest of the last eight episodes into two (three, tops) and you'd have a decent story here.

    Rewatching it I found it was, as Jammer pointed out, to much waiting. I also think the Data Lore scenes could have been more compressed. It very much seeme as if they filled the time with very extended sceenes. That is perhaps the consequense of serialisation when you have to bring different events into diffrent episodes. The dominion episode felt similar.

    Rewatching this, I think the Deanna/Riker reconciliation scene is really well written and acted.

    It's believable (yet chilling) that Deanna used her Betazed powers on Riker's mind to ease his loss of their son. This well explains the Pollyanna life they lead on Nepenthe, where Riker seems almost perfectly content cooking pizzas.

    Deanna makes a good point that she did this in part because not only did she want to ease her husband's pain out of compassion, she also does it out of self defense since she literally feels his pains due to her powers.

    This is also accomplished without her throwing in pedantic excuses like "It must be because I'm half human and couldn't control myself because of it". That's possibly a reason for real, but the script respects the audience by not hammering it all out.

    Plus, in a well written touch wrt Deanna's profession, she correctly points out that her own turmoil caused her to make a fundamental mistake: you can't hurry grief. Using her powers on Riker's mind to ease his pain ultimately did neither of them any favors. Riker had to work through his own grief and she merely delayed it.

    This is spot on in real life. Greg has a life of its own.


    Certainly the DS9 female changeling was a very effective villain. As you said, her casual demeanor was very chilling. Her "they're dead, you're dead, your people are dead" speech to Garak was very understated but very ominous.

    There are valid reasons for Vadic being unhinged though.

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