Review: ‘Star Trek: Picard’ – Picard Tries To Find His Way In “Maps and Legends”

Star Trek: Picard - episode 2 review

“Maps and Legends”

Star Trek: Picard Season 1, Episode 2 – Debuted Thursday, January 30, 2020
Written by Michael Chabon & Akiva Goldsman
Directed by Hanelle Culpepper

Spoiler-Free Review

The game’s afoot, with Picard trying to figure out what happened to Dahj, where her sister is, and why a group of Romulans wanted her dead. Strong performances by the entire cast help move this middle episode of the first third along, with lots of entertaining small moments and a steady march towards the bigger story.

Picard on the grounds of Starfleet Command

[WARNING: Spoilers from here on]

 

Episode Discussion

Episode 2 gets off to a good start, filling in some background on what happened at the Utopia Planitia Shipyards 14 years ago, and making the tragedy more personal by introducing us to a bunch of working stiffs forced to skip the holiday of First Contact Day and then brutally killing them off. It also raises some interesting questions reminiscent of “The Measure of a Man” and Captain Picard’s whole issue with Bruce Maddox’s plan: It does appear that Starfleet has created androids that do grunt work and don’t require being treated as individuals.

“You can’t offend them, they’re not people,” one of the technicians says. Isn’t this exactly what Picard was worried about? Here’s hoping we learn more about what led to the creation of these androids, and where else they might have been working, as well as what went wrong.

Strange lights in the eyes is never a good sign…

Now that we’re in episode 2, they’re starting to pack the information in. We’ve got Romulans inside Starfleet, working towards their own agenda, spying on Starfleet admirals and running their own operations. It’s one thing to take in that Starfleet succumbed to the complexities of politics when making decisions about Romulan relocation, but now we have real bad apples inside the organization itself, which is somewhat disappointing. Even when we saw something a little similar in other Treks (like Star Trek VI, with Admiral Cartwright and Valeris) the culprits were usually operating on their moral convictions (whether we agreed with them or not), and weren’t just out to keep their own secrets.

It’s also a bit confusing as to why Picard went to Admiral Clancy in the first place, since he spelled out that they don’t always see eye-to-eye. Surely, he must have friends still in Starfleet who could help pave the way for him? I know it’s a time saver to jump to it, but it could’ve been done with a line of dialogue: “Admiral Shelby insisted I meet with you, against my better judgment.” Something like that would’ve worked nicely, plus it would be nice fan service to hear about what happened to Shelby after “The Best of Both Worlds.” That said, the sequence of Picard going to Starfleet Command, having to get a badge to visit, and the scene of him heading back down on the escalator with the Admiral’s “request denied” ringing in his ears really resonates.

In fact, all the scenes Patrick Stewart is in are strong. The actors who play his Romulan friends/aides continue to do great work, I enjoyed his talk with Dr. Jurati (Alison Pill continues to get great lines), his detective work with Laris, and the little taste of what is about to unfold with Raffi (Michelle Hurd) leaves you wanting more. The shuttle taxi was a nice touch, as was his bottle of wine and his knowledge of exactly the words to pique her interest.

Good thing he brought the ’86 vintage.

His conversation with his doctor, played by he’s-on-every-show-ever David Paymer, is particularly poignant. They don’t even have to say “Irumodic Syndrome” for us to know that’s what they’re talking about. For fans new to the franchise, none of the poignancy is lost without the background information, but for TNG viewers, we know all about how bad things could get from the series finale, “All Good Things…” That shot of Jean-Luc’s reflection in the clock as it loudly ticks is a reminder that yes, time is the fire in which we burn.

Time might be a companion, but it’s not always a friendly one.

We’re getting to know Soji now, getting clearer on her job as well as her sense of compassion and her curiosity, some very 1990s-era Starfleet qualities. She and Harry Treadway’s Narek make for a hot couple, even if they do, as so many TV couples do, put their underwear back on immediately after having sex. They also don’t seem to need to shower, brush teeth, or use the bathroom after sex and before heading off to work, so good for them. TV sex is so clean!

Soji looks doe-eyed at Narek as he leaves.

We then find out that Narek is not what he seems; he knows who Soji is and is on a mission to find out where the rest of her “fellow abominations” are. He’s also  working with his sister, the undercover Lt. Rizzo, who has had her ears operated on to remove their telltale points. The plot thickens…

Both Rizzo and the Commodore she reports to are campy villains, almost to the point of twirling their mustaches. Unfortunate. But this may help Narek become more interesting in the long run, as he works both sides of the Soji fence.

The explanation for why the Zhat Vhaj exists seems somewhat contrived. They may have tried to do too much in creating this new (old) ultra secret Romulan cabal that is conveniently founded on… their anti-synthetic life form ideology. The whole explanation felt overly complicated and occasionally made up on the spot, and their super double secret agenda is still a little muddy, making it the least interesting part of the episode.

The two Romulans conspire.

I’m looking forward to learning more about The Borg Reclamation Project, the Romulans’ goals for it, and how they help those released from the Collective. The Ready Room aftershow has a clip from next week’s episode that’s different from the one on All Access, and it includes Hugh, so it looks like we’ll be delving into this sooner rather than later.

And like episode 1, this is directed beautifully by Hanelle Culpepper. The framing is always perfect, the visuals help tell the story, and while it’s striking, it’s never heavy-handed. The writing is strong, and even as its heating up, the pacing is still on point. I especially enjoyed Orla Brady as Laris this week! The episodes feel really short, which proves just how fun they are to watch. I have my nitpicks (like why would replicated meals be bad when they perfected that technology ages ago?) and my happy distractions (Picard’s clothing in particular; I loved his sweater and his brown jacket), but big picture-wise, I’m hooked.

Random Observations

  • The episode title, “Maps and Legends,” is the name of a non-fiction book by Michael Chabon and a song by R.E.M.
  • Admiral Clancy’s first name is Kirsten. No doubt a nod to Picard co-creator, writer for multiple CBS Trek shows, and Trek novelist Kirsten Beyer.
  • This is the first time an officer holding the rank of Commodore has been seen in a 24th century Trek production.
  • Number One seems to be busy elsewhere during this episode! Michael Chabon and Hanelle Culpepper did mention on The Ready Room that the dog wasn’t that easy to work with, so perhaps that’s why. Still, he is missed.
  • Prolific character actor David Paymer plays Doctor Benayoun. Despite being in a wide variety of movies and TV shows since the ’80s, this is his first time appearing in a Star Trek production.

David Paymer makes his Star Trek franchise debut as Dr. Benayoun

The Ready Room

Executive Producer Akiva Goldsman is the guest this week, and basically just explained what we’ve already seen, without talking much about making it. There’s a makeup special feature at the end which was fun, but since CBS is producing this, why not do a piece about the changes in the Romulans’ look across the franchise, wrapping it up with how they’re doing it on Picard? There’s a legacy here, so why not embrace it? Wil Wheaton is still doing a great job, but I do wish they’d swap out those chairs for something more comfortable.


New episodes of Star Trek: Picard are released on CBS All Access in the USA Thursdays at 12:01 AM PT/3:01 AM ET. In Canada it airs Thursdays on CTV Sci-Fi Channel at 6PM PT /9PM ET and then is made available to stream on Crave. For the rest of the world it streams Fridays on Amazon Prime Video. Episodes are released weekly.

Keep up with all the Star Trek: Picard news at TrekMovie.

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David Moss

So, I have a thought…

It appears to me that Star Trek is proving that it takes place in the Ron Moore Battlestar Galactica (BSG) universe. For those that know BSG follow along, for those that don’t let me explain a bit… The theme of BSG right from the beginning is that “All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again,” and the series demonstrates this happening over and over again, up to the point that Galactica settles on Earth 50,000 years ago (and then hinted at during the last scene). Now lets fast forward to Star Trek Picard (STP).

STP, in the first episode, has shown a great number of parallels to BSG:

1. Synths that are made of flesh and blood. So are the final Cylons and what they evolved too.
2. Duplication of a synth is possible with a single neuron, and you can make many copies. This sounds very close too or is the first step in Cylon regeneration.
3. Closing the first episode of STP disclosing there is a twin. On BSG, it was the disclosure of Sharon (Boomer) and on Picard the disclosure of the Dahj’s twin.
4. Rouge synths attacking an entire planet devastating it. Sounds a lot like the Cylons attacking and devastating Caprica.
5. Banning synths from society. Remember in BSG, network computers were banned after the first Cylon attack.

So, if you buy those similarities it seems that the universe of Star Trek is showing that all of this has happened before, and all of this is happening again!”

Now, of course, I am kidding around but look at the parallels.

Gary 8.5

Well for me, I am 2 for 2 with this show.
I really enjoyed this episode.

Dvorak

Yep, me too bro.

Calastir

I’d prefer less F-bombs, more photon torpedoes.

Dvorak

Although, I’m not wild about were the pips are located on the new uniforms. Looks a little retarded.

TG47

Dvorak, when TrekMovie took a deep dive on the new uniforms when the first trailer and stills came out, I thought having the pips on the horizontal seam looked cool, and made them more visible.

But I have to agree that they aren’t looking that great now that I’m watching the series.

The pips aren’t lying neatly, and are sitting at odd angles to the fabric, which is noticeable in HD. The flag officers’ insignia seems to visually fight for attention with the communications badge.

Frankly, I’ve been a bit surprised that the execution (as opposed to design) on a number of the costumes has been off.

It seems that for some of us, it’s the uniforms that stand out, but for me it’s the rippling seams on Picard’s civilian attire. During his meeting with the admiral, the rippling of the shoulder yolk seam on Picard’s jacket was really distracting for me.

The less than excellent sewing work can really take me out of the moment. While I know there are fans who didn’t like some of Gersha Phillips designs for Discovery, I can’t recall less than great workmanship on any Discovery costumes so I was surprised to see this in Picard, even if it’s another costume designer and team.

Dvorak

Yep, you’ve put it more eloquently than I could’ve concerning the uniforms TG47.

Duncan MacLeod

Aren’t we past using Retarded as a pejorative? Clearly you haven’t been learning the lessons Star Trek is teaching

Dvorak

My apologies.

ML31

Personally the uniforms don’t bother me one bit. Except that they seem to be a little retro. Would have been nice if they let the costume designers go nuts and make something new like they did in Discovery. It would at least keep some consistent inconsistency between the shows.

Lee Jones

Profanity has been a part of the Trek franchise since the beginning. What’s the big deal over using the word f***?

Josiah Rowe

Pardon my Romulan, but only a veruul would use such language.

JSM-73

Because it used to be a show that rose above that, PLUS a show that ANY age group could watch, and/or an entire family together. It’s just a modern fad to add unnecessary ‘grit’ to a show that really doesn’t need it. Yes there was cussing in earlier Trek, but the line was drawn at the F***. Some people still prefer a little class and escapism in certain shows, because they’re tired of hearing such language used constantly in the real world. This is Star Trek, a family show traditionally, not Total Recall. I am absolutely loving the show so far, and do not have kids myself, but am fully on the side of those who’d prefer Trek to maintain it’s family friendly roots, rather than veer too far into suitable for teens and adults only territory.

Mina

Yeah, people are weird about this. Profanity isn’t necessarily bad. And it is a natural form of human expression. The way it is used in Discovery for the first time is a good example of this. I’d not want to live in a future where people are beyond the odd f-bomb. It can be a useful adjective, verb, noun, etc. In 2019 this should preclude Picard as kid-friendly. But no offence, Americans are pretty puritanical, so…?

TG47

Mina, I’m in Canada.

My kids would have been sent home for the day in early grades for that language. Where we are, that meant a parent would have to leave work to get them from public school after having a face-to-face discussion with the principal.

So, my spouse and I really cleaned up our language before our kids hit junior kindergarten.

With that, any show that modeled language that was likely to get our kids disciplined was not considered ‘kid friendly’ or watchable even with parental support.

Now that our kids are middle-graders heading towards high school, we can have the conversation and the disciplinary consequences for an occasional lapse are less dramatic. So, we’ll let them watch with us.

But it’s still unnecessary, unless they were intending to show the admiral in unprofessional conduct.

ML31

In many ways yes we Americans can be VERY puritanical. Mrs ML31 and I did not curb our language around our youngster from the time he was born. He’s nearing 18 and is doing just fine socially. It didn’t stunt him or ruin him in any way.

TG47

ML31 it doesn’t sound like you had to spend quality time sitting in a principal’s office during your working hours listening to blow-by-blow debriefs of your child’s ‘unacceptable behaviour’, followed by taking your distressed child home.

It made us very conscious of what television was modeling to our kids when we had to explain to them why what they were seeing wasn’t something they could get away with at school.

I know that the school system varies a lot in the US, but that is our reality.

ML31

It did happen but it was amazingly uncommon. And when we heard how things played out from the school officials my son’s use of the language felt appropriate to me based on the situation. But be aware, as free as we were with our language in our home we also did our best to stress there are some words we use that OTHER people might have problems with. It started with “at home” words and as he learned more we made him aware of the concept of a time and a place for the language as best we could. And yes, it did mean an occasional reprimand in grade school for “bad words”. Could we have done better? Probably. But no one has been scarred by his words and he seems to be doing perfectly fine now as he is applying for scholarships.

ACpilot

Diarrhea is a natural human occurrence as well – but I personally don’t consider it to be Entertainment!

ML31

Some people are hung up on words. Like F-bombs and retarded.

Jonboc

Not since the beginning…unless you put “hell” in the same league as the F-bomb. Used once in 79 episodes. Because you can use it doesn’t mean you should.

dennycranium

I was not impressed with the performance of that actress who played the Admiral

Danpaine

Agreed, not impressed whatsoever.

ML31

She was probably playing the part as she was told to. The part calls for her to be an asshat. So that is how she played it. I blame the writers and director more for the performance than the actor.

Harry Ballz

I hated the performance of both the Admiral and the round eared Romulan. They both stunk!!!

TG47

Harry Baltz, while I’m finding I agree with you, you seem to be fairly ‘extra’ today.

Let’s not take on the Romulan penchant for drama. Folks are already getting worked up.

Harry Ballz

BAHAHAHAHAHA!! GOOD ONE, TG47!

A few gripes with this episode.
1. Why was Picard so surprised that Soji is off-world, as in, not on Earth? This is Star Trek. Being off-planet shouldn’t mean anything surprising.
2. This Romulan secret society that’s against AI… I’m tired of this anti-AI plot. We just had that on STD after nuBSG. And if this old, secret society is against AI, why did they allow Data to exist, Control on STD, or the Mars Android workforce? Why are sentient machines only of concern now?
3. The bad Romulans ACTED really bad. They seem like singular-dimensioned bad people.
4. I’m not enjoying the state of Starfleet, as this mighty organisation controlled by this small group of Admirals who seem to be aggressive and acting in bad faith. Where is the Federation Council and its President in all of this?
5. We don’t need swearing to make this show more edgy. Felt out of place.
6. I feel so saddened by what has come of Picard. Living in sorrow for 20 years, and then sitting at home, leaving Starfleet at a low point for 14 years, accomplishing nothing but overseeing his farm. It’s so out of character for the man – a great explorer and archaeologist. Depressing!
7. Picard’s request of the Admiral – he was unprepared, naive, and didn’t convey his request well.
8. The cuts between Earth and the Borg cube, and the activity on the cube does not work well. We needed more context, and perhaps the intro of the cube in a later episode.
9. The ep was not directed well. Bad Romulan acting. Bad cuts between scenes. Bad tone and pacing.
10. The instant replay, outlawed, holographic scanner device they used in that apartment. And the technobabble about tags, heuristics, machine mistaking Soji for Dahj – whaaaat??

Like STD, this ep isn’t re-watchable for me. Episode 1 was better.

Mike Burnthem

You are correct on all counts.

Wulfborne

As far as 1 goes, I think the intention was making Picard realize that the parameters of his search had grown exponentially and getting to her would be that much harder (as proven later by how hard he’s working to try and get to space), but I don’t think they did a good job communicating that idea. That scene could definitely have used some work.

ML31

Just wish to point out that Star Fleet does not have a president. The Federation does. But my guess is, that like the US military, the Federation President is the Commander in Chief of Star Fleet. Which is why I was always a bit confused when they have a character introduced as the C in C on Trek. If the Federation President is NOT the C in C then who does the Star Fleet C in C answer to and how do they enter into such a powerful position? This is why I sorta prefer Trek to not go this high up the food chain. It forces the audience to start asking questions about how the Federation Government works when it was never an important part of Trek for ages.

TangoYankee76

Couldn’t agree more.

I turned to the trekkie I was watching the episode with at the end of the episode and said “that’s it? that’s the episode?” Episode 1 I was hopeful. But between the colourful metaphors (can we get some star trek writers who’ve actually watched star trek?? the lack of swearing in the future is explained quite clearly. But I digress.

Seriously, a full episode of trek and it felt pointless. I had the same reaction to your number 1 point… This is the heart of the federation… Soji is not on earth GASP! facepalm.

The federation acting out of character as a political body. I can accept bad elements within starfleet. but the organisation as a whole… There’s no way Jean-Luc would be a singular voice in the Fleet or the Federation. The sheer number of officers who would rally to the better nature of an evolved humanity.

Come on…

Edward Samuela

Some things that struck me about the episode:

-Are we to believe that Starfleet is involved in the conspiracy knowingly on some level (maybe Section 31), or that Romulan intelligence has embedded themselves in Starfleet as the (maybe not) Vulcan commodore and a (presumably surgically altered) lieutenant, since she calls Narek “brother”?

-With the commodore, I kept wondering whether the colors had switched back, and gold is again the command color for Starfleet.

-The Trill resident mentions the operation at the Borg cube is administered by the “Romulan Free State” which I guess is the successor to the Romulan Star Empire, or maybe just a faction supported by the Federation. Since the people working there are species of Federation members, are we to believe the Federation has a relationship with the Romulan Free State?

-Riker, Worf, and Geordi are confirmed as alive. The fact that Dr. Crusher isn’t mentioned, and Picard goes to his colleague from the Stargazer for a medical exam, might imply that she’s no longer among the living.

-The idea that secession is a threat to Federation cohesion seems weird. Among all the issues and threats the Federation has faced, its strange that this one would be the crisis that would cause member worlds to say they’ll take their ball and go home.

-A very small line of dialogue, but the doctor performing the autopsy/vivisection on the Borg drone mentions it has been in “regenestasis” for 14 years, the exact amount of time since the rogue synth attack.

Mike

The Commodore appeared to be in charge of Starfleet Security, similar to Admiral Toddman on DS9 (who wore a Gold uniform)

Jake

One of the great Star Trek novels of all time (Spock’s World) deals with the very notion of secession of a primary member world (largely because of perceived hubris by Vulcans in how humanity has conducted themselves on the galactic stage). In fact I am surprised given the the popularity of that novel that secession was never broached as a story line in any incarnation of Star Trek. In fact I would argue given all the existential threats the Federation has dealt with in the last 25-30 years (Borg, Dominion, Romulans, Cardassians) it would not be shocking that certain members think the price of membership is too high (Betazed I am looking at you….).

Tiger2

Actually Jake!

One of the ideas for DS9 fourth season was to involve the Vulcans leaving the Federation over issues of the Dominion war. They had switched gears once Worf was joining the show and decided it would be the Klingons that would break its alliance from them instead; and of course a lot less diplomatically lol.

But yes that idea has been around a looooong time already, they just decided on a bigger story line that was more action packed in nature vs political since I doubt the Vulcans would’ve ever went to war with them. And my guess is it was probably going to follow a similar plot we saw with the Klingons and one of the Vulcans who pushed for it was later to be revealed a changling who manipulated the situation or something.

Edward Samuela

I have seen reviews of this episode mention the Federation secession threat was a metaphor for Brexit (I.e., member states leaving over issues regarding taking in refugees).

Ambassador Sybok

“-Riker, Worf, and Geordi are confirmed as alive. The fact that Dr. Crusher isn’t mentioned, and Picard goes to his colleague from the Stargazer for a medical exam, might imply that she’s no longer among the living.”

Troi is also omitted but confirmed alive in footage from future episodes. I’m not saying there isn’t bad blood between Jean-Luc and Beverly, but not mentioning her doesn’t mean she’s dead.

I agree with Sybok here. Also, given Picard and Crusher’s feelings for one another, it is possible they did indeed have a relationship after ‘Nemesis’ that turned sour as Q predicted in ‘All Good Things’. It could also be that she is too retired and therefore wouldn’t be able to help him; Riker, Worf and LaForge are apparently ‘active’ with access to a ship? Just my thoughts on the subject…
TS

Total-trekkie2

Also Picard has made a real point of not wanting to put his friends in danger. Beverly might insist on going with him. At the very least it would worry her.

Danpaine

I agree as well. I mean, maybe the rumors are true and she is dead. But if not, why would she have to be his doctor? She’s perhaps his ex-wife, as well – why would you want your ex to be your doctor? I wouldn’t (especially because mine works in insurance :).

stanlowcrickets888

Beverly alive or dead, I hope there is some sort of flashback scenes/episode in season 2 centered on his relationship with Beverly history post-Nemesis. Since Picard is a character study then his past personal-romantic relationships will be fundamental. In addition, the confirmation of his parietal lobe alteration syndrome will bring on mental dreams and delusions and likely memory flashbacks which they can tie into a story involving Beverly appearing.

c d

I don’t think he could get Beverly to agree to clear him for flight or, as was said, not let him go without her. The doctor from the Stargazer obviously would not go with him.

ML31

To be honest, she’s not with him now. I have no interest in seeing what Beverly Crusher is up to. In fact, the only one who I would be interested in seeing is Worf. Everyone else was dull. So far in this show, Picard is just as dull a human being as he was in 7 years of TNG. I was hoping he would have some sort of crisis or something to test him he needed to overcome. Something that would make him a better person. But he was already perfect so it’s hard to come up with a starting point unless you strip the perfection away and force him to find it again. Which does not seem to be happening in this series. He is right and Star Fleet is wrong. As usual. (eyeroll) He’s not even questioning if this is something he ought to do to begin with! Nothing wrong with his confidence in his later years either.

FASAfan

Philosophically, it would seem the Federation would say, “Best of luck to you 14 secessionist planets”, if it meant saving an entire race of people (the Romulans) that span a significant area of the Alpha/Beta Quadrants.

Edward Samuela

It might depend on which 14 species it was and the strategic positions/resources those 14 species bring to the table. If one of the founding members, like the Vulcans, were threatening secession, I can definitely understand it giving the Federation Council pause.

ML31

“The fact that Dr. Crusher isn’t mentioned, and Picard goes to his colleague from the Stargazer for a medical exam, might imply that she’s no longer among the living.”

I don’t think that is a likely conclusion to draw. There are tons of reasons why she is not is attending GP of someone to list to go along with him that are not “she’s dead.” It’s possible. But unlikely.

My problem, apart from the silly double secret tal shiar concept… Was Picard and his Romulan wet nurse just beamed into either a crime scene or a private apartment. In each case, uninvited. That used to be called trespassing and I’m kind of surprised such an act is even possible.

Cmd.Bremmon

Why wouldn’t Starfleet just make robot machines as opposed to slave androids? Or do Toyota car manufacturing robots = life according to perfect Picard that must be banned while Perfect Data’s to replace organic life is awesome given he can’t be Captain anymore?

Gary 8.5

Picard is portrayed as perfect? We must be watching different shows.

ML31

He is. I’ve never seen him display a major character flaw. I’ve never seen him question his own judgement. I’ve never seen him on the wrong side of a judgement call. I’ve only seen him deal with a personal negative characteristic once. In the film First Contact. The man is a top diplomat. He engenders trust and respect from all who see him or even hear of him. (Except Adm Clancy it seems) He’s the greatest military strategist of his generation. He’s an exceptional archeologist. I mean, what CAN’T this guy do?

Hauke Fischer

*cough* I. Borg *cough*

ML31

I don’t recall what happened there except that they spoke about introducing destructive nanites into the Borg Collective, thus destroying them. Then they interacted with “Hugh” a bit and decided against it. I recall being unimpressed with the episode but then, I only saw it the one time decades ago. Did Picard display a flaw that never reappeared in that episode? And even if the was totally down with killing the Borg and then changed his mind after interacting with one I don’t really see how this makes him any less perfect.

Total-trekkie2

It’s obvious the synths are not just “robots”. Otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to rebel. pay a bit more attention. And if you don’t like Picard, why are you watching a show called Picard? Go back to your TOS and leave Picard for his fans.

Cmd.Bremmon

But why?!?!!?!?! Why would you purposely build a thinking “synth” when you could instead make a robot to do work? Isn’t that a bit sadistic even for the statist TNG Federation?

ML31

Actually it looked very much like programming kicked in. Someone dished out Order 66 to them, obviously. They sure behaved like robots to me.

And I’m watching because I’m a Star Trek fan. And I was hoping they would make Picard interesting like he was in First Contact and Nemesis.

Rich Matheson

Perhaps he was…. (drum roll)… activated…

ML31

Are you saying that Picard is an android? That would explain a LOT!

TG47

It’s a good question Cmd

It sounds like they needed better independence and intelligence, but didn’t want to put humanoids at risk. Basically, the horrific fit-to-purpose androids Maddox advocated for in Measure of a Man.

And since they were designed to be put at risk, they were not treated by the system with respect: numbers on their necks, no private space or leisure to develop individuality.

The systematic signals to distance the myths from the humanoids and prevent attachments also conveyed that they weren’t people worthy of respect naturally. So, all the great Federation values were not reflected in the way the humanoid coworkers treated them.

Nelson

A solid episode. The nod to Picard’s syndrome was a nice balance this show is striking with fans and new trekkers.

Drew

Admiral Clancy to Picard – “Sheer fucking hubris!” Brilliant!

Rob

After the painfully strained “that is so fucking cool” lines in Disco, I did like the swearing in this episode. The “cheeky fuckers” line earlier made me smile, but this line underlined how outrageously Picard was behaving,

The scene floored me, because I could entirely see where the admiral was coming from. Not only is Picard casually asking for a ship and crew after twenty years away from the chair, but he has also embarrassed the service in public. An audience with the CNC would be a courtesy to a retired admiral, but she would have been expecting him to account for his behaviour.

This looks to be going in to a very dark place, and it’s brave of the cast and writers to show Picard become flawed,

Lee Jones

The “that’s so fucking cool” line was painfully strained? Why? Because it was in “Discovery”?

ML31

Both times the lines were terrible.

Kieron McDuff

Pretty sure the first F word was “Feckers”, it’s Irish slang

Rob

Not according to the subtitles.

ML31

And I was not referring to the Irish slang. I was referring to Tilly’s use in STD and then the Admiral’s use in STP.

Rob

Because it was blurted out and then echoed without any sort of setup or earlier inclination to profanity in those characters.

It felt more like the writer so checking off “Drop Trek’s first F Bomb” rather than something the characters would say in context, and that isn’t helped by the way that Disco leans on plot devices. I couldn’t suspend disbelief to imagine that the characters were finding their way through new possibilities of physics, the line felt like a cheap way of conveying surprise.

Drew

Agreed Rob.

Gary 8.5

I totally Agree Rob. That is why I strongly disagree that Picard is portrayed as perfect here, as some have suggested, quite the contrary.

Cmd.Bremmon

Agreed, though Picard has been less than perfect his whole career. I mean Picard led Wolf 359 to the Borg, lost the Federation flagship to a 100 year old Bird of Prey and then let “synths” take out Mars. And ironically his one victory taking out the Borg in First Contact was because the guy knew EXACTLY where to target a Borg cube in which case why did he not inform Starfleet earlier (he wanted to save it to be the hero at the cost of countless lives?) or because he still communicates with the unimind (in which case is he a double agent?). Is anyone surprised half of Starfleet things Picard is working for the other team, chances are he probably is!

ML31

In his defense, he was taken and Borgified for Wolf 359. He wasn’t on board the Enterprise when they lost to the old Klingon ship. But you do have a point that he seemed to know exactly where to hit the Borg cube when it seems he at least could have shared that information when he was told to stay and patrol the Neutral Zone. So you do have a point on that one… I still say he’s pretty damn perfect though.

Cmd.Bremmon

He also failed to defend Mars and save the Romulans. And I don’t think letting yourself get taken captive, potentially allowing the enemy to use you to destroy Earth and kill billions gets a full pass. Others in his circumstances have taken steps usually to die before being captured. I’d say it gets an “ok, not stellar” on your record but add that up with loss of Ent-D, loss of Mars….. I’m amazed there aren’t Starfleet intelligence officers convinced he is working for another side.

ML31

I don’t think he was in any position at the time to defend Mars. Based on what we know of the incident. Further, I would argue he “let himself” get kidnapped by the Borg. That’s a bit harsh. And remember, I’m saying this as someone who thinks the character of JLP is a terrible one.

Rich Matheson

He failed to defend Mars because he was in the friggin’ Beta Quadrant at the time. That’s like saying a Navy captain in the European theatre failed to defend Pearl Harbor.

How could he have prevented his own capture when the drone beamed in, sedated him within a second, and beamed out? He didn’t even have time to bite a Tal Shiar acid death capsule. And Starfleet captains generally aren’t issued death capsules. Because Starfleet. I can’t imagine Kirk arranging his own suicide to avoid capture, or anyone with such thoughts being given command of a starship.

Although I would grant you that he’s responsible for the loss of the D. He was the captain, whether he was dirtside or not.

ML31

OK Rick, you are right. According to the law he was responsible for that ship whether he’s on board or not. But the reality is different from the letter of the law. So legally he may have been but in reality he was not.

GarySeven

Do you really believe that it is fair to expect that the Borg would beam on the bridge and kidnap him? I mean, they even showed how surprised everyone was that they were interested in Picard by name. At that point they thought the Borg were not interested in individuals, just their technology. I hope you you don’t go around blaming people so unfairly in real life. You could do a lot of damage with that absurd Monday morning quarterback type cruelty. I also hope nobody treats you that badly either.

Tiger2

Yes its a really silly argument. They are the freaking Borg and it was literally just their second encounter with them, they were vastly unprepared on how to deal with them. But blaming someone for being kidnapped is wildly ridiculous. I can’t even process the logic.

ML31

So, you concluded that Picard is less than perfect because he got undeservedly chewed out by an asshat admiral? Your level for perfection seems amazingly low.

J_Randomuser

I concur as well. I like the contrast from our expectations. It makes for good drama by turning the conventions on their heads.

ML31

I’m sorry… What conventions were turned on their heads here? I saw just tired conspiracy tropes.

ML31

Even considering the hubris of the situation… She was a total dick to Picard. I’m not a fan of the character but he is what he is and in this universe JL Picard, regardless of his mental state, has earned more respect than that. I mean, the BALLS on that woman to treat this guy that way. It was uncalled for. She could have just denied him his request without being a jackass about it.

Rob

Picard had publicly questioned the admiralty’s commitment to federation ideals, many would take that as a personal insult, and he’d said similar (behind closed doors) when he went in to seclusion.

Presuming that they can rustle up a ship, and will overlook twenty years of inactivity (to say nothing of how unfamiliar he would be with modern ships, crews and protocols) is a further insult to their prioritisation, and also to current line officers.

Part of the fitness for service is the temperament. Go stamping in where you’ve no business and you will get push back, if you can’t cope with the push back you shouldn’t be there.

The reality (which the audience knows, but the admiral doesn’t) is even worse. Picard no longer meets fitness criteria to serve, let alone command, and yet is attempting to procure a ship and crew by fraudulently concealing that. Far from respecting the admiralty, he was lying to it before he even set foot in San Francisco.

Now it’s possible that he would have got a kid-gloves treatment if his status had been known, but that would most likely have been an aide deflecting him.

It is not the job of the Commander in Chief to protect egos, it is their job to ensure that the fleet can serve the federation.

I’m already seeing a clear “good days and bad days” pattern, something that’s all too familiar for those close to dementia patients, and that’s been sign-posted in dialogue.

Trek is to explore the human condition, and in this series it deals with the most universal, but least acknowledged experience, decline; The friction, the doubt, and the loss. Part of that is losing the standing and respect you once had, and that is never gentle,

It’s painful to watch a character that we’ve known for decades be booted to the curve, and that’s what makes this scene, right down to the F bomb, brilliant.

ML31

Yeah, sorry but no. What you say is true about possibly being annoyed at Picard for the interview. But that even combined with the negative personal history between them is hardly enough to treat the guy they way she did. You even spoke about temperament. Something she seemed to be amazingly lacking herself.

No. There is no way to condone that behavior. It is unbecoming of the C in C to treat a dedicated officer that way even considering recent events and personal history. It was petty and just shows that even on the cusp of the 25th century there are no shortage of Star Fleet Baderals out there.

Rob

Actually, according to many, many, published memoirs and military histories, that kind of reaction to such an outrageous request, behind closed doors, between people of the same service, is not remarkable.

In the last couple of decades we’ve also seen serving senior officers openly critical of allied forces.

It is the only appropriate response to someone turning up without doing a day’s work for the service, and immediately verbally requesting such precious resources as a ship and crew on trust.

If Picard can’t offer evidence, or even prepare a structured argument (hell, he even thought that reduction to captain would sweeten the deal.) then why should the admiral behave in any other way?

Imagine the court martial.

“So, why did you give command of the USS Marvin to a retired officer who had embarrassed the service, hadn’t been in command for two decades, and offered no material evidence or written proposal for a mission.”

“Well, he was well respected twenty years ago, and it seemed polite”

“I see, and why didn’t you tell him to fuck off?”

Frankly, calling Picard out on his hubris is a constructive outcome to the meeting.

Andrew SD

This scene was so riveting to me. I of course get where Picard is coming from but I also totally get where the CNC is coming from, from her point of view. It was hard watching Star Fleet’s darling being rejected but it sure was ballsy for Jean-Luc to think that was going to go any other way than it did. However, knowing his history dismissing him outright is far from wise even if he his 90 and has been long retired.

Garth Lorca

Horrible, not brilliant. At least the DISCO context was excitement and joy. The Admiral dropped the f-bomb in an offensive, derogative and malevolent way.
Maybe it is hubris on my part to point out that a future that whiped out hunger, murder and money should also be possible to bury those terms in linguistic history.

JOHN MCCRACKEN

More likely is that the terms will just be a normal part of speech, only for emphasis. This seems to be happening already.

Tony Shillings

I was 7 years old when TOS premiered in 1966. I was entralled then, and I still am. May I simply say that I am enjoying the hell out of “Star Trek: Picard”?
Thanks for listening.

Locutus

Yes you may. Hear! Hear!

John Bigbootee

A-ffirmative, Mr. Shillings. As are many of us!

Garth Lorca

So you are about 59… I honestly have to say I envy you for your gift of simply enjoying what our current-day present has to offer on TV.

I feel much older than you do when it comes to contemporary TV. I may be only 39 but it feels like having never arrived in the present. Looking back on the last 15 years of TV… that infamous legacy of Lost, NuBSG and eventually GoT and TWD, The Expanse and The Witcher… all those shows that paved the way for gloom and doom, blood and guts, T&A as well as colorful metaphors on current TV, all those shows that lead to DSC and PIC, sometimes make me feel totally sad.

Even some of late TNG and DS9 thematically deconstructed GR’s Trek utopianism to a level I didn’t enjoy that much. But at least, there was no offensive language, no meaningless recreational sex, almost no visually explicit bloodshed…

15-20 years later I cannot recognize Star Trek or TV anymore.

Next step, disrespectful animated cartoon comedy from the makers of Rick & Morty… Yes, people were right in 1988… The Simpsons were and had a VERY bad influence on culture…

Josh

Thank you! Nice to know I’m not the only one who feels exactly the same way. I’m about the same age as you and thought I must just be naive to miss what star trek used to be true.

GarySeven

I’m 56 and I agree with you both.
I remember clearly being young and thinking my parents were idiots for looking down on rock music. I swore I would never get old and closed minded. And yetI find myself really disappointed in the dystopian, glitzy TV today. STD is not Star Trek to me, it is all the other uncreative sensationalistic dystopian sci-fi crap on TV. And while I enjoyed the second episode of Picard, this same dark tone pervaded it. I miss the wonder and ideals of Roddenberry’s Star Trek.
I ask myself, is this just because that I’m old? Is it that I became my parents? I guess there’s no scientific way to measure that. But I don’t think it’s that I’m old and rigid. I’m still very adventurous, in fact more so, than when I was young. I really think our society is getting dumber and darker. I mean, and I don’t want to start a political thing, but Donald Trump is the President. Twenty years ago this currently reality was actually a joke in a Simpsons episode- that Trump could run for President. I don’t think such a person, whether he was a Republican or Democrat, could have been elected before our society became so dumb and dark.
Anyway, back to Trek, I think Dumb Dystopian action shows, full of destruction, are inferior. As Spock said in Wrath of Khan, “As a matter of cosmic history, it has always been easier to destroy than to create.”

TG47

Garth Lorca, I’m closer in age to Tony Shillings, but I can relate to your frustration.

I mostly stopped watching TV after 9/11.

My spouse has always preferred reading. If we hadn’t had kids that wanted some television, I’m not sure it would have ever again become much of a presence in our household.

I can understand why entertainment in the U.S. went grimdark after 9/11, but it seemed to take global entertainment with it.

I didn’t feel that I needed to share in the dark moment of the American soul. It’s not my country even if I spent several years getting my advanced education there. More, I had the privilege to see how American culture took flight after the Berlin Wall fell, and how hope and thinking opened up. Seeing the U.S. close up again, and worse, wasn’t a healthy way to spend my time.

I do believe that the Secret Hideout management are sincere in wanting to offer a contrast, while bringing audiences raised in grimdark along. For them ‘hopepunk’, the struggle towards good values and a just society respectful of diversity is probably as far as they can sell to studio executives just now.

I think that they are a bit at the forefront of a new trend.

That said, I strongly believe that they should look at shows like Schitt’s Creek where diversity and respectful safety just is, and ask themselves whether there is a place for live action utopian Trek in their menu.

Garth Lorca

“Garth Lorca, I’m closer in age to Tony Shillings, but I can relate to your frustration.”

Frustration isn’t the right choice of words. It’s close but then it isn’t. It feels a lot closer to being burdened with a bad conscience as a genre fan. I’d so much like to enjoy present-day genre entertainment, I really DO envy Mr Shillings, but I simply cannot fully embrace it anymore. It’s a state of mind hard to decypher…

c d

What you all said. Maybe I am getting old too. The world is going to hell, entertainment along with it, maybe driving it as well. But…things have been worse. The Civil War and World War II for example. There are many amazing things in the world, but so many things are still wrong, too. I am still seeing racism and violence and an extreme lack of caring. We should be in a much better place now. This is not the world we were promised. The American political system IS decaying, two extreme opposite parties that are both corrupt and don’t really represent or serve The People very well. The Orange One seems be getting more and more powerful and bulletproof, furthering the erosion of The Great Experiment. Russia and China are becoming more powerful. Democracy is almost a dirty word.
And I think Star Trek should be much better than it is now. But I don’t want to be able to enjoy if it is not good. Just saying it is Star Trek does not make it so. There are some good pieces to Picard, but some not so good as have been discussed.
Ah well, it is just a TV show. There are more important things to be concerned about. But when I think that, that it is just a TV show, then it is not really what I consider Star Trek. I think many of us of a certain age grew up looking to Star Trek for hope, but it has now become like everything else.
It is, after all, just a TV show.

Rob

Meaningless recreational sex actually cropped up rather a lot, overtly whenever Risa was involved, and there were many implications along the way.

There wasn’t much swearing, but DS9 got a “bollocks” in there once.

Tiger2

I thought this episode was really good but not as good as last weeks. It’s funny though, some people called the episode ‘slow’ but for me it rushed right through lol. I guess I was enthralled with where it was all going and we got TONS of major reveals in the second episode. The stuff that really stood out for me:

-There is a (more) secret Romulan cabal called the Zhat Vaj which I agree does feel a little contrived (especially their hate for all things AI) but I’m very interested to see where it goes and looks like they are a separate faction from the Romulans on the Borg cube.

-We now know (although it was confirmed in interviews) the Borg are still very much around and that the Romulans found a disconnected Borg cube which we seen a few times before, obviously I Borg the first and then in The Collective and Unimatrix Zero. It looks like they are trying to harness their technology but we obviously don’t know what for yet.

-The Federation as a whole didn’t have an issue rescuing the Romulans, but enough of its members (fourteen of them) did. I think thats VERY realistic and people have to remember the Federation was STILL willing to help the Romulans even after those countries threatened to leave, it wasn’t until after Mars was bombed they decided against it….which of course is now not a huge leap of fate if we found out those Androids were programmed to attack by someone from one of those worlds?

-There is a Romulan spy working within Starfleet itself. It’s funny we never seen this before until now lol. You would think the Romulans would’ve tried that trick a long time ago (although they did try to clone Picard). And yes she is Narek’s sister. And fortunately it doesn’t feel as ridiculous as it did with Woq and Tyler, especially since that went absolutely nowhere.

-Picard may have Irumonic Syndrome after all. I really liked this angle, it proves some things from All Good Things could still happen and we knew he was predisposed to it already. I don’t know why people keep saying he could die though. I don’t think its fatal or anything just a bad mental disorder. And I have a feeling if he does have it, there will be some miraculous cure eventually. ;)

But overall I really liked this episode. Reading the other thread I know it bothers people it looks like the Federation is going ‘bad’ but I just don’t really see it that way. They just got out of the Dominion war and Mars has been attacked. To me this is very realistic. As I mentioned in the other thread, there wouldn’t even BE a Federation without the Romulan war and we don’t even know what Romulans did to other planets in the past. So its just too early to say they were being ‘racists’. There is a LOT of history there and tons we don’t know. I mean look what the Romulans are doing right now lol. That’s their biggest issue, no one can trust them. Yes, I don’t believe regular people should suffer for what their government does but things are not black and white when dealing with issues on literally a galactic scale.

Oh and Hugh is back next week???? Color me excited! :)

Edward Samuela

Yeah, I know some people feel the Federation would never make a distinction about “Romulan lives” when deciding whether it was worth it to do a rescue operation, but I find that level of selfishness all too believable.

I always thought it might have been interesting during DS9 to see how people within the Federation viewed the decision to value protecting Bajor and its potential admission to the Federation. Because I can imagine member worlds saying it wasn’t worth it, in light of the millions of lives that were eventually lost, and being pissed that Sisko didn’t collapse the entrance to the wormhole at the first sign of a threat to the Federation.

If Picard still got wary looks about his assimilation for years after Wolf 359, I can imagine families of dead Dominion War veterans resentful of Sisko and wrongly thinking it was the hubris of being part of the entire Bajoran religious mystique was placed above the lives of Federation citizens in not getting out while the getting was good.

Tiger2

Exactly!

And I’m glad I rewatched a lot of the TNG before Picard started because there are many details you forget when there are so many episodes to cover. One of the biggest for me was in Descent when Admiral Nechayev, the total ball buster that she is and I love her for it lol was upset learning Picard had a way to wipe out the Borg for good but didn’t because of his compassion for Hugh. She made it clear next time he had a chance to eradicate the Borg was to do it. She didn’t want to have a philosophical discussion of not only causing genocide to an entire species, but also the true reality and why Picard and others had a hard time using Hugh that way because nearly all of the Borg are victims themselves as Picard was. They just had to be reminded of that when they saw one up close and free from the collective. Federation on the other hand didn’t care. I don’t think it was that cut and dry when the issue came up but it’s pretty clear most saw it her way and for them GOOD reason.

I imagine in the upper echelons of the Federation there are heated discussions all the time on how involved should they get especially when it comes to helping someone not part of the Federation and it cost them lives like your example with Bajor. Imagine when it comes to their actual enemies. We already saw this in TUC and clearly the Federation had a tough time over just the IDEA of creating peace with the Klingons because they simply didn’t trust them or valued their way of life. They weren’t even being asked to save them like the Federation was with the Romulans a century later, just try and get along with them now, not a single life lost over it (in fact it would ensure MORE lives would be saved over time now)…and some clearly didn’t like even that idea lol.

So none of this bothers me. But I always make the point I don’t see the Federation AS virtuous as others seem to. Never have! Yes I believe they are good people who are always trying to do the right thing, but I never bought into this idea they were perfect humans who can’t be corrupted, prejudice or hold grudges. I know this because I watch the freaking show lol. Yes usually our HEROES are very virtuous and all of that (and many of them made mistakes too), but not every soul in the Federation either. And like real life, when you are in a higher position, you have more responsibility to protect the people you serve and we seen it time and time again those people will do questionable things because many are still just people and can make mistakes even if its with good intentions.

Lee Jones

We can’t post a comment about this show without taking a swipe at “Discovery”, can we? I think “Discovery” will become the “Star Trek Voyager” of the 21st century, because of its lead.

Tiger2

I LIKE Discovery, OK? But I thought that subplot was idiotic. I’m always offending someone these days. ;)

Vulcan Soul

I liked the music (no kidding, and minus the theme) – something new and different.

The Romulan Tal Shiar housekeeping duo is a refreshing piece of old Trek collaboration among different cultures (IDIC!) among all those Discovery-style dystopic deviations…

Tiger2

Yes I love Laris and Zhaban. I read the Countdown Comic (just read the last one yesterday since it was delayed) and the story directly evolves around them and how they come to live with Picard. Its weird that I have to warn about ‘spoilers’ since we already know they are clearly former members and the comic is already out but I don’t want people yelling at me lol. So SPOILERS from the comic:

But the reason why I like them is because its exactly what you said, it painted them as compassionate people who care about all life and not just the Romulans and helped Picard try to get the natives off the planet he was evacuating. Tal Shiar has always been portrayed like all these type of people are including Section 31, but that they care about THEIR people and way of life only, everyone else be damned. They are the first Romulans we have ever seen who went against that attitude. That’s why Picard was so taken with them and offered them security since they basically betrayed their oath and knew they wouldn’t be safe in the empire after what they did.

ML31

But so far this does not seem like the Federation going “bad”. It’s the Federation being manipulated. I honestly don’t know which is worse. I was actually hoping that JLP would leap to a wrong conclusion at first but in doing so discovers a reality of things that is not what he thought it was at all. Something that would make him realize that it wasn’t Star Fleet that changed but it was HIM. But hey… That would mean the character would make a mistake and be forced to grow as a person because of it. Something that seems foreign to both Secret Hideout and JLP.

I very much hope this will still be the case but after this episode it very much looks like it will not be. It looks like it will be older but still perfect Picard fixes the Star Fleet and the conspiracy that no one else was able to catch.

Donald Haskett

There was a TNG episode with a Romulan spy. I think it was called Data’s Day.
The Enterprise unwittingly delivered her to a Romulan ship. She almost got away being a spy by faking her death.

Karidian

Why in the world did they not have Gates McFadden delivering the bad medical news to Picard? What a wasted opportunity, she could practically have delivered the same dialogue.

Tiger2

I’m hearing some things about Crusher in other places, may not be true but I’ll leave it at that.

But I didn’t mind seeing someone from the Stargazer show up. It was always odd how Picard had commanded that ship actually longer than the Enterprise and we never seen a single crew member or friend from that ship ever show up. It’s like he dumped all those people for cooler friends. I think they are just trying to show that Picard had relationships with more than just people from the Enterprise given his long history in Starfleet.

tacotuesday

Agreed! I think it was excellent that we see a former Stargazer colleague. One reason that he may not have called up Crusher is that she wouldn’t have been as willing to give him a clean bill of health. She’s too attached to him and might have refused to keep him safe.

ML31

I think it was a good choice. And as I said above, he looked like he had a pretty good camaraderie with this guy. Maybe he was grumpy on the Enterprise because he had forged some very good relationships on the Stargazer that he was walking away from?

Hauke Fischer

Well, except for flashbacks of Jack Crusher

ML31

Because she isn’t his personal physician? Maybe Crusher is off world a lot. Maybe she is busy with something else. Could be scores of reasons. Besides, he seemed to have a better camaraderie with this guy than anyone on the Enterprise, save perhaps Data. A machine.

Ian

Crusher might have insisted she go with him, and if they’d had a relationship, Picard would have been even more inclined to keep her out of it.

Jeffrey S Ecker

This show is amazing. Episode 2 was better than episode 1, and that’s saying a lot. They pushed the story forward and crammed so many tidbits into it. This is a new kind of Star Trek and I can’t wait to see where it takes us. Make it so!

drij

So far it’s a slow paced tv show. Kind of boring actually.

Kiān Hāfezi

I love slow paced
Hate fast paced bullshit

Garth Lorca

Agreed. Slow pace is nice, but it needs a little bit more visual excitement. I love TMP for being slow-paced but at least it gave as those beautiful out-there pictures to marvel at. I know it’s just a TV show running on a limited budget but I really hope for some slow-paced space scenes at some point…

Ian

$8 million an episode is at the upper echelons of what we call “limited.” The money is spent on the production value and cast. There’s also a conscious effort to make a different show from what we’ve had before, which includes the very fast paced Discovery. I’m pleased with it.

Anduinel

I liked the episode, but every time mention was made of Narek’s attractiveness, I had a “What, really?” moment. Because dude is bland with a side of unkempt. ;) Other than that, though, I enjoyed it tremendously. I liked that the Federation’s decision to leave the Romulans to their own devices isn’t being demonized, despite how much Picard obviously disagrees with it. Less thrilled with folks acting like he cussed someone out during a civil interview rather than telling off a pushy interviewer, but oh well. Really liking the cast dynamics so far. Looking forward to next week!

PEB

He’s emo hot. It’s an acquired taste. :)

TG47

And since Romulans are so fond of drama, Narek would have to be attractive in an emo way.

Binyamin

The scruffy beard made him look too much like DIS-Spock.

Elrond

Could the deep and defining hatred of the Zhat Vhaj for synths have something to do with the Borg? I know the Borg were supposed to have arisen in the Delta Quadrant but perhaps there was some encounter with the Romulans in the distant past somehow. Which reminds me that the first hint at the introduction of the Borg in the last S1 episode of TNG was the destruction of colonies along the Romulan border. Probably coincidence.

TonyD

AA really should have broadcast these first two episodes together as not much happens here and it feels more like it’s trying to fill in the gaps of part one than really stand on its own.

I also see some of the Kurtzman/Goldsman hallmarks creeping in a bit: trying to sex up Narek and Soji, unnecessarily complicating the story by introducing a “super-secret” Romulan cabal when making them the Talshiar would have probably worked as well and been more straightforward. The notion that Romulans don’t explore synthetic life forms also contradicts that scene with Data and Admiral Juroc where he tells Data he knows several Romulan scientists would would love to be this close to him. The Federation being infiltrated by outside forces has been done plenty already. Starfleet commanders have apparently reverted to petty, clueless, closed minded bureaucrats.

I’ve said it before but Dahj and Soji are looking more and more like Rachel from Bladerunner, right down to the implanted memories, not knowing what they are and even being largely the same age as the replicants from that movie were.

The scene of Picard trying to get a ship from Starfleet also did not make much sense. I remember him chiding Captain Maxwell for attacking the Cardassians without documentation yet here he is pretty much trying to get his command back, from an admiral he has had issues with no less, without any proof to back up his claims. The whole thing feels more than a little bit like Kirk going against Starfleet orders to recover Spock in TSFS.

I also didn’t care for the forced profanity and the staff at the Mars shipyards being so obviously bigoted. Scenes like that always bug me because they just go counter to what Trek was always supposed to be about.

The acting is good and at this point the main reason I remain engaged but I’m already starting to see signs that once again the writers are going to have trouble managing a long form story arc.

TG47

I can relate to a lot of your points TonyD.

But I liked Laris sarcastic response that the Tal Shiar was a fairly well-known ‘secret organization’ in a culture that thrived on secrets.

In fact, her comment echoed a main fan critique of the all to public S31 in Discovery.

Put that way, why wouldn’t we expect that the Romulans would have an older, historic secret agency that none outside their society would be aware of?

MysticalDigtial

“Scenes like that always bug me because they just go counter to what Trek was always supposed to be about.”

They have been there since the beginning though, I think they are always there to make you a little uncomfortable, to throw some of the dark side of humanity into Trek, as not even in Roddenberry’s Trek was everything perfect. Just in general we had moved on to better people, but there were still badmirals, there were still bigots, there was still conmen and criminals.

Danpaine

“…but I’m already starting to see signs that once again the writers are going to have trouble managing a long form story arc.”

This is a very good point, Tony. My wife alluded to the same thing. If it turns out at the end of the day the writers sink this show, I’ll be mighty disappointed.

ML31

It’s still only the 2nd episode so I still want to give them the benefit of the doubt, even though they haven’t earned it. But yes… If this story goes where it looks like it will then Trek is going to need a major restructuring among their producers and show runners. I would say that Secret Hideout should be removed from all Trek production and find someone else to handle it.

Garth Lorca

The writers have sunk every arc-based genre show in the last 20 years! Tell me one, just one, arc-based sci-fi, fantasy or horror show that has left a vast majority of fans pleased and satisfied?
Some of the “greatest” shows like NuBSG, Lost, GoT have suffered the very same fate… It’s just not possible to finish a complex story-arc to everyone’s liking. It has happened before and it will happen again… It CANNOT be done!

ML31

I guess that depends on your definition of “vast” in vast majority. I would argue that the season 3 Enterprise Xindi season arc was about as well received overall as one can expect. That was the season that started to turn Enterprise around. At least, that is the general consensus.

Josiah Rowe

Re: Jarok’s line about “a host of Romulan cyberneticists” — we know that in Romulan politics, the power and influence of different groups and factions waxes and wanes. (See the pro- and anti-Shinzon factions in Nemesis.)

Presumably, in the 2360s, the Zhat Vash had less influence, and cybernetics had been allowed to develop as a science a bit, but at some point in the intervening 30+ years they re-established control and those researches were quashed. (The “host of cyberneticists” probably met sticky ends.)

ML31

I agree TonyD that these first two should have ran together. Both feel like set ups more than anything else. But they did both feel longer than they were.

I agree that the double secret tal shiar was ridiculous and on par with the silly Control computer in STD S2. But those seem like hallmarks of Secret Hideout Trek unfortunately. They go for the silly and over the top more often than they should. Just having them be the Tal Shiar would have worked just fine. Better, in fact I think.

While I did like The Defector and this does seem to go against what that guy said in it, I can live with that discprency for now. But if the show continues to slide it will be something to pile on the rest. If it gets better we can ignore it like we ignore Khan recognizing Chekov in WoK.

I understand you see similarities with SFS but I think they are small. Kirk did what he did for VERY personal reasons. Picard is doing what he is doing for the greater good of Star Fleet.

I also did not see the Mars crew bring very bigoted at all. If you say “Craftsman drill bits aren’t as good as DeWalt” are you being biggoted? Those were quite obviously drones. Tools. Tools they were having a little fun with. If they were actual beings it would be a different story.

I am going along your line of thinking that Secret Hideout seems to have major problems with season long story arcs. If this show continues the downward trend we saw from ep 1 to ep 2, it will be 3 for 3 with bad plot lines for new Trek.

Tiger2

Akiva Goldsman in the Ready Room confirmed the first three episodes are basically just setting up the rest of the season. He literally called the first three as one long pilot and probably why they were showed that way at the first premiere. I imagine there is going to be a huge twist in the third episode that sets things up the rest of the time.

But I am truly loving where its going right now, but I can understand why others like you are not.

ML31

At this point, and yes, it is only two episodes, my main hope is what they showed us so far is a misdirect. The real, and more engaging story line, will be revealed later.

To be honest, I really want to like this. But the 2 Discovery seasons just aren’t giving me optimism here. I’m forced to admit that because of Secret Hideout Trek history I am heading into this kinda expecting it to be bad. Which I admit might be unfair. But I’m trying my best to not let that prejudice to get in the way of my evaluation.

Still trying to digest the technobabble during the scanning scene and all the convoluted descriptions of the new Rommies. I am also unclear of the status of the Romulans — which is fine at this point. Are they welcome on Earth? Are they outcasts? Are there good and bad ones? Not sure yet.

Sis needs a chill pill.

Still enjoying the show very much. The pacing is perfect as are the visuals.

Sir Patrick is a joy, of course.

Harry Ballz

I was enjoying the second episode of Picard, good story, pacing, good acting from the actors…………..then…………..THEN the actor playing the Romulan spy with the rounded ears (is it Rizzo?). WHAT A GWDAWFULL OVER-THE-TOP HAM-FISTED ACTOR! SHE HAD NO TALENT AND WAS WAAAAAAY OVER THE TOP!HER AMATEURISH ANTICS PULLED ME RIGHT OUT OF THE EPISODE.

How could the producers cast a mostly talented cast and then bring in one amateurish turd to royally fuck it up??

TG47

Harry, we’ve disagreed on the competence of some of the minor characters in Discovery, but in this case I believe you’re spot on.

It seems the professional critics that have reviewed the episode had the same reaction. Most point out the scene between the Vulcan (?) flag officer and the Romulan infiltrator lieutenant as being awkward and off quality. The acting is a big part of that.

For me, this really flattened the suspense that was building through the investigation of Dajh’s apartment.

Cutting to the ‘bad guys’ talking in secret is a risk in terms of building engagement in the mystery. They really need to be as good actors as the main characters to keep it compelling.

VZX

“Ant-leptons” was interesting technobabble, especially since positrons are a type of anti-leptons. Data has a “positronic-brain”

TG47

Cool observation VZX.

Nachum

I have a problem with the “Federation members didn’t want to help the Romulans” idea, apart from the internal inconsistencies. (E.g., members were opposed and you *still* built 10,000 ships??)

From what we know, the Romulans have fought *one* war- and apparently a somewhat limited one- against what would be the Federation 250 *years* before this. The Klingons seem to have fought much more, and yet for some reason neither the UFP nor Starfleet seemed opposed to helping them and even uniting with them. And there are a number of examples of UFP=Romulan cooperation- Nimbus III, the ambassador at the Khitomer Conference- right up to what seemed to be warmer relations after Nemesis. So this seems to come from nowhere…

Oh, another pet peeve: Americans don’t put milk in tea.

Admiral

“Americans don’t put milk in tea”. Picard is French

PaulB

“Oh, another pet peeve: Americans don’t put milk in tea.” In hot tea, we certainly do.

Nachum

Well, I guess some do. I stand corrected.

Half-n-half here!

stanlowcrickets888

Soy??,,,,just not synthetic milk

ML31

I don’t even like tea.

OrbitalWings

I did find it rather fascinating how the swearing didn’t bother me one bit in this episode, but it felt so silly in Disco. Context and delivery is everything, I guess.

MysticalDigtial

Eh, the context in Disco was a cadet and her mentor, and Tilly being overjoyed. You have to stop and think about the relationship for that one for it to not feel as forced, and here it’s more readily apparent it’s in the negative and therefore lends itself to the scene a little more naturally.

ML31

I disagree. It felt amazingly out of place. This was essentially a Star Fleet hero she was undressing. Bad form. VERY bad form. It felt wrong. It felt more natural in Discovery. It was a less professional environment so it seems a little more reasonable (but still shouldn’t have happened) that she would blurt it out.

Garth Lorca

Actually, it didn’t bother me on DISCO. A young, enthusiastic woman in the mid 23rd century using an “ancient” form of expressing excitment is one thing…
Two middle-aged ladies – one of them in an exposed, respected Starfleet position – using those terms with derogative intention, another 150 years later, that’s a whole different story…

Using the f-bomb for excitement may be nasty but it’s nothing like using it in an offensive, malevolent way…

florian

so the romulans always hated androids? alidar jarok recognized data as ‘the android’. he said that romulan cyberneticists would be fascinated by data. in my opinion, this suggests that romulans do not fear or hate artificiality. rather, it implies that romulans are quite advanced in that regard.

Josiah Rowe

Or that Romulans aren’t a monoculture.

Laris doesn’t say that all Romulans hate and fear androids. She says that the Zhat Vash do.

TG47

Really good point Josiah Rowe.

Romulans were a complex empire with competing organizations even before the supernova.

What a small secret cabal might get up to once the longstanding social checks and balances are untethered is hard to predict.

Dr C

I’m really enjoying PIC so far. There were echoes of STIII in the “asking the c in c for a ship” scene – Kirk also wanted to save the soul of a dead friend and Starfleet said “no”.

(Picard’s reaction: “the word is “no”. I am, therefore, going anyway…)

I also enjoy the characters in this show, particularly Laris, Zhaban, and Jurati. Was nice to see a 3D version of Raffi too (only seen her in the comics thus far).

I really hope that we see Maddox and the same actor from Measure of a Man.

Do we know if the Stargazer Doctor is a character from Beta Canon?

Also I wonder if the use of “commodore” for the Romulan lady was a reference to the one where Geordi was stuck on Galordon Core with that Romulan and he kept calling him “commodore” (too deep a deep cut there? Haha!)

Am loving the new Starfleet uniforms too – very DS9 – and we know Starfleet has done “referential” uniforms before – when they switched back to the primary colours reminiscent of the 2260s in the mid-24th century. The texture on the shoulder yoke is something we’ve not seen before (thought it was deltas at first but I don’t think it is)

Finally, I like that they included the constitution class design from the DSC quantum reality. It shows that in the TNG quantum reality there was a ship that seems to represent an intermediate step between the TOS variant and the TMP variant. Nice touch!

alphantrion

I looked up the original Maddox actor Brian Brophy on IMDB and his last acting credit was from 2014. Apparently these days he is teaching acting, instead of mostly acting on screen, but this doesn’t mean that the producers could have secretly made him film some scenes as Maddox again. Lets just hope it happens, or they could just take the easy way out and find his dead body somewhere.

Dr C

Ah well he may not appear then – although I hope you’re right and that he’s been convinced!

I suppose they could always recast, but I suspect you’re most likely right in that they’ll find his body.

Romulans – they’re so predictably treacherous…

c d

David Strathairn as Bruce Maddox!

ML31

Picard isn’t trying to save the soul of a dead friend. He’s trying to uncover a major Federation conspiracy. This is not personal to him. It’s professional.

I hated that they showed the STD Enterprise while NOT updating and changing the E-D one bit. It showed that the producers have more reverence for the TNG era than they do for the TOS one. It was an opportunity to fix a STD mistake and they failed.

Dr C

I don’t get the sense that it’s only professional for Picard – he seems pretty emotionally invested in finding some small trace of a friend he regularly dreams about. But that’s my subjective interpretation – I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I don’t agree.

If I’m honest I refer to the DSC reality Enterprise as a separate entity on purpose as I don’t acknowledge that TOS and DSC take place in the same quantum reality. But I’d accept the Discoprise as a constitution variant – just not the same ship as the one in TOS (which is a perfect design and didn’t need changing at all in my opinion).

ML31

I guess one way to look at it is that it is NOT the Enterprise. Just some other ship we’ve never seen before. But it feels like the hologram is doing recreations of the Enterprise over the years. Might have been better if we saw other classes of Starhips in it…

My thinking is that if he thinks he can somehow “save” data after he has been blasted to atoms then he is truly demented and ought to be institutionalized. My sense is he doesn’t want to see bad things happen to the organization he dedicated his life to. Even AFTER they treated him like they did.

Dr C

That’s definitely how I’m looking at it. DSC exists in a separate quantum domain to TNG. So the Connie we saw in the PIC episode was just some random variant of the class, not the Enterprise – because we know what the TOS Enterprise looks like.

As for Picard himself, I think his emotions are clouding his judgment where Data is concerned. I genuinely think he believes he’ll get some link to Data back by connecting with the Dahj twins. I, for one, would love some technobabble explaining how they “cloned” Data’s neural net from a single positronic neuron (or whatever) so that it sounds less like: “we did a Star Trek thing and look Data has a daughter now!”

But ultimately yes I think you’re right in that Picard is trying to drag Starfleet back to a more morally righteous path – like he did in Insurrection, and “I, Borg” (since he opted not to commit genocide even though that’s what Starfleet wanted him to do).

24th century Federation and Starfleet command were shady af in the TNG era…

will

I figured they would try to sneak the Discoverse directly into Picard at some point and that 1.5 seconds of showing the Discoprise as a hologram is the perfect spot for them to pull this crap. I’m really really sad that they 100% do not have the same respect and reverence for TOS or the fans who have loved Star Trek for so long just the way it was. While all of the preceding Star Trek depictions of the Constitution Class have gone to great lengths to respect the iconic design, I can’t help but feel this was a lost opportunity for just a moment of them saying, “Oh, hey, yeah, we do in fact respect that design and what it means to this universe.”

Instead what they did comes off as, “hope you nitpicky old school fans didn’t notice… but if you did, yes, we think our design is better.”

ML31

“While all of the preceding Star Trek depictions of the Constitution Class have gone to great lengths to respect the iconic design,”

That is a very good point. Every time every other show mentioned or dealt with their past (or future in the case of Enterprise) they did all they could to match the look. Again, I am not saying Discovery had to have the same square halls and funky monitors. But they DID absolutely need to bring in more of the aesthetic to make it FEEL like it COULD be in the time and place they said it was. The hologram was the perfect place to put the original Connie in and rectify their mistake. But they opted to double down on it instead. Maybe I’m interpreting the move wrong but the mere fact that they didn’t make ONE change to the E-D yet altered the original like they did shows a massive disrespect to the TOS era. MASSIVE. Hell, I hated the design of the E-D but would not expect it to get altered much if it were being shown again. I would expect the at least a bit more than a sliver of the same respect for the original.

alphantrion

Yeah, hearing commodore again was a bit weird. I know they existed in the TOS timeline but I was almost certain that rank had phased out by the era of the Next Generation. I mean do we still have that rank in the modern navies? From the dialogue it seemed as though Dr Benayoun might have been the Chief Medical Officer of the Stargazer. It is cool to see some more people from Picards first command.

Old Man

The United States Navy eliminated the rank of Commodore several decades ago, changing it to Rear Admiral, Lower Half. It now goes, Fleet Admiral (none exist), Admiral, Vice-Admiral, Rear Admiral Upper Half, Rear Admiral Lower Half, Captain, Commander, Lt. Commander, Lieutenant, Lieutenant Jr. Grade, Ensign.

TG47

But Old Man, Starfleet isn’t the U.S. Navy.

For those of us in the rest of the world, navies typically have commodores, and there is no logic that 24th century Trek should update its rank structure to match changes in the U.S. Navy.

In point, fact the U.S. doesn’t exist as a political entity by the time of First Contact.

ML31

“In point, fact the U.S. doesn’t exist as a political entity by the time of First Contact.”

It doesn’t? I’ve seen no reference to the elimination of countries and cultures in TNG. Including in First Contact. And I just saw it again a few days ago.

TG47

Isn’t the old nuclear issue silo located in a jurisdiction that is definitely not called the United States. It’s mentioned before the away team goes down.

You’ve definitely seen it more recently, but I’ve noticed that Americans tend not to read hear those kind of references the same way we do North of the 49th parallel.

I’ve certainly always heard it that there was at least one government in North America, but not Canada, the United States or Mexico as we know them.

Hanging on to French culture was clearly an act of determined will in Picard’s family, it’s hard to know what multicultural countries like Canada, the United States or Russia will look like after WW III.

ML31

They just said the silo was in Montana. Nothing about Montana not being a part of the USA any longer. I just figured since they said Montana it was probably still part of the US. Don’t think that is a very large leap to make. Seems a much bigger one to say that Montana is now an independent state.

Garth Lorca

Maybe it’s because “Commodore” sounds a lot better than “Rear Admiral Lower Half”!?!

Lee Jones

If this is all about the Romulans’ anti-synthetic agenda, why are they going behind the Federation’s back, when the latter also has an anti-synthetic agenda?

alphantrion

I think this is only one part of the main plot and we will see more behind the scenes stuff happening. Perhaps the Borg will get involved with the plot as well. I don’t think its all going to be about “anti-synth agendas”.

TG47

Lee Jones, I suspect the key thing is that this is a story centred on Romulans.

We know that even when they were a cohesive Star Empire, their culture layered secrecy upon secret agenda. TNG Face of the Enemy showed us that the layers of machinations made it difficult even for those from that society to know what was going on.

Now that Romulan society has been profoundly shaken by the supernova and destruction of Romulus, it makes sense to me that there would be yet the more competing agendas.

DeanH

Okay, watched E2 last night and have to say, IMO it was not as good as E1, not exactly sure why because it was good, it opened up all kinds of questions and I have to say, I can’t wait to see E3 – Maybe the novelty of seeing Data was just too cool. That said, it is always good to leave your audience wanting more, and so far that is exactly what Picard is doing.
Looks like a Romulan spy, for the third time that we know of, has once again infiltrated the highest levels of the Federation – this time all the way up to Commodore. We shall see how that plays out.
As for some in the Federation turning their backs on the Romulans, no surprise as half of Starfleet did the same to another foe in Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country. Back then it was Kirk who became the unlikely hero to save the Klingons and get the Federation back on track.
Took a peek at E3 on Wil Wheaton’s The Ready Room, bring it on!

Falco

I enjoyed the episode even though not as much as the first one. But I do understand that they need to take the show one step at a time, especially because Ep 1 opened up a large amount of questions which Ep 2 answers some of them and gives us a few more new questions. But overall, I think we got more answers then new questions, which is fine with me, because we have only 8 episodes left of the season. THE GOOD After watching episode 1, which I enjoyed tremendously, I was extremely worried about 4 things that had (have?) the potential to ruin the show for me. 1. Why would Picard enlist a bunch of unknowns where he has Riker, Worf and the others, especially when it is about the daughter of their fallen colleague? This was going to be a make or brake for me. I’m extremely satisfied by the answer that they provided, even though I wouldn’t have minded spending a whole scene where Picard struggles a bit more with this dilemma. Probably the scenes with Riker and Troi will be about that, we’ll see! Nevertheless the answer provided is fine with me. 2. In Ep1 we were introduced with the Synthetics as villains, the Federation as the villains, the Romulans as the villains and the Borg as villains. Was super scared how they will make any of this work. The fact that Zhat Vhaj is definitely behind the first 3 villains puts my worries at ease, because we are getting one central bad guy. The only thing left to see is how the Borg come into this. 3. What will the new crew look like? It will be hard for Picard to carry the show if his ship is filled with a bunch of Malcolm Reeds and Travis Mayweathers. From the trailers, we know who will end up as part of the crew, but we were only introduced with Dr. Jurati. And I really like her character! So that’s a good start, but we will find out more about the other guys in the next episode. 4. How bad will they make the Federation? Kudos to the team on this one. The secession problems that the Admiral mentioned they faced are plausible, believable and a good reflection of our times. Plus the whole isolationist movement within the Federation may have been started and pushed down by the Zhat Vhaj. We don’t know how high up the chain they are integrated. Assuming they are infiltrated for decades in the upper branches of UFP, It feels plausible to me that with years of black ops, propaganda and spreading unrest, that that isolationist movement would take roots in the population of the Federation worlds, especially if they started doing their thing after the Dominion War, the Borg attack and the other existential threats that the UFP faced some 20-30 years ago. THE WEIRD I’m ok with the introduction of the Zhat Vhaj. The Romulans are species that have secrets within secrets within secrets and it is believable to me that something like this exists. But the premise, the “founding charter” of this organization is a bit problematic too me. They exist for thousands and thousands of years and their ideology is anti-synthetic life forms? First, it’s a really specific thing to be mad about. Second, really? They are founded thousands of years ago and even then they were worried about synthetic life forms? I hope they flash out this more in the coming episodes, because we were left with the WHY they are so anti-synthetics which Laris didn’t know the answer to. THE BAD This is probably why this episode is slightly weaker for me compared to EP1 even though it answered a bunch of huge questions in a good way. This is extremely subjective, but I think the casting for Narek is a mistake. I don’t like the actor. When we have scenes with him (even though they are really important) I feel exactly like the scenes with the Klingons in season 1 of DSC. Wanting them over as soon as possible and getting back to the other characters and their scenes. OTHER 1. The showrunners said “we are only going to bring legacy characters if the story asks for it”. I wonder if the story is starting to ask for Janeway to appear? She too has been on the same side of the argument like Picard about the synthetics and like Picard had a first hand experience with the issue (The Doctor). Maybe not as part of his crew, but someone withing the Federation ranks who needs to stir the “ship” on the right track once Picard finishes saving the day. Someone will definitely need to push for changes within UFP and that someone probably won’t… Read more »

SpectrePrime

The rumor over on another site is that Doctor Crusher is no longer among the land of the living, and that it will be addressed later in the season. Here’s hoping that it is not true.

Falco

Link? (if allowed of course)

SpectrePrime

Have tried posting the link twice… it keeps getting deleted.

TG47

I find this rumour truly weird given that Gates McFadden joined the cast at the premiere.

“We’re writing your character out with an off-screen death, but come to the premiere,” just seems too weird as a scenario among former castmates that get along decades later.

SpectrePrime

That’s why we should always take rumors with a pinch of salt.

Tiger2

She probably just came to support her friends. I don’t think it would mean that much to her, for a show she was never officially part of from the beginning and probably assumed until this show came around she was never playing Beverly again anyway. I’m sure many of them would love to do it, but no seems to be begging to be in it either…other than Frakes lol.

TG47

Interesting analysis Falco. A lot of it resonates with me.

On the casting: the characters around Picard seem great so far, but all of the ‘bad Romulans’ seem to be off. I am finding all of them weaker than needed to be convincing as a serious threat. Is it just that they wanted UK accents but didn’t want to go across the pond to do the casting?

I know that many fans were disappointed that Lorca turned out to be from the MU in S1 of Discovery, but no one can say that Jason Issacs wasn’t incredibly convincing.

For me, without a compelling antagonist, the suspense is undermined, and I think that this is the weakness that we’re seeing in Episode 2.

Instead of building tension, every scene with the antagonists in episode 2 is deflating.

And I’m sorry to have to say this, because the script and so much else is better than I had hoped.

Falco

I doubt it, but I hope that Commodore Oh becomes the central villain and gets more screen time instead of Narek. I really liked her in High Castle and what we’ve seen so far in Picard looks good and ominous. Also, the possibility to add more dimensions to her character and motives are enormous. Is she Romulan? Is she Vulcan? Are the Zhat Vhaj only comprised of Romulans or is it a Romulan/Vulcan organization that has been founded even before the Romulans went on their way? Or you can go even deeper than that. What if Zhat Vhaj is a Vulcan only organization and their disdain for synthetics is that a synthetic in fact is the perfect Vulcan and they see that as a threat? So much potential here!

TG47

I don’t recall the actor from High Castle Falco.

I doubt their Vulcan only, but I’m intrigued by the suggestion that the Zhat Vhaj predates the exodus of Romulans from Vulcan.

In fact, if this series is exploring who the Romulans are and enriching the canon around Romulans, what better way than to get into some of deepest secrets of the divide between the two populations.

Falco

Don’t know if you watched the last season, in case you haven’t, without spoiling too much to you, she worked in Childan’s store. 5 or 6 episodes, but she did great with the time she was given. Thinking about that, every character at that show was great…

As for Zhat Vhaj, I agree completely. They’ve opened great new doors, hope they’ll live up to the expectations and give an interesting addition to the canon.

Danpaine

I enjoyed episode 2, a little weaker than the premiere but I may have been watching that through rose-colored glasses. As others have said, Picard’s meeting with the Admiral was just a terrible scene; she was over-the-top nasty to him, and you would like to think she would be quite a bit more professional, especially to him. Anyway, this show is already So much better than DSC, imo, I remain very pleased with it. However, I will agree with those who are feeling a bit depressed that the show is so, well, depressing. Corrupt factions within Starfleet, the solemn visit from his doctor. The future is rather grim for our hero thus far. And wow, that 44 minutes went Fast. Looking forward to more. Oh, and I am very much enjoying the various music themes throughout…a standout feature, imo.

alphantrion

Yeah, the admirals behavior towards Picard definitely rubbed me the wrong way because I come from a culture that believes in the idea of respecting the elders first and foremost and to be absolutely respectful towards them even if you need to criticize them. And considering Picards age and background I believe he definitely earned a respectful tone from Starfleet, but that admiral was just cursing at this old guy who has an irreversible neurological condition affecting him. I also believe that the admiral and Starfleet in general might be under some form of mind control.

Edward Samuela

From the Admiral’s perspective, Picard had just slandered and disavowed Starfleet on interstellar TV just a few days ago (“Because it was no longer Starfleet!”), and now here he is asking the same organization to give him a command and a ship. Even notwithstanding the fact that Picard alludes to bad blood between them in the past, it would rub anyone the wrong way if they thought Picard was being foolish and had bad mouthed her command of Starfleet.

Partha

I agree wholly Edward.

ML31

That is still no excuse to act like an impudent toddler towards one of Star Fleets greatest heroes. Like him or not. She is the C in C. She should act better than that.

Trellium G

I was uncomfortable with that scene with the Admiral too. But I think her visible anger toward Picard had to do with the Fox Space News interview he did. I can imagine she was quite livid about it. The show seems to have a problem with not using enough dialogue to explain what is happening with the characters.

I was also completely lost during the CSI scene in the apartment when she pulled out her magical doohickey that can playback specific past activity in a room. No real dialogue about what was happening except for some vague anti-lepton techno babble. The people in charge need to remember it is supposed to be science fiction and not pure fantasy.

TG47

I agree Trellium G, there’s a lot of hopping from scene to scene without any expository linkage.

ML31

I still say the ambush reporting from the CNN, er, FNN reporter was no excuse to treat a retired hero admiral the way she did.

DeanH

I know this has been a point of contention for others but one minor critique I have for this show is the serialized format. I didn’t mind it in DS9, but they usually tended to wrap up the “story of the day” while still continuing the larger narrative during the Dominion war. Same thing for Enterprise and the Xindi storyline. Even Discovery didn’t bother me too much. Perhaps it is because I really like what I have seen in the first two episodes of Picard – so I find it really annoying I have to wait until next week to see what happens next!!

I know this is the way of today’s television, so I have to get used to it, but I do sometimes miss the whimsical epilogue haha. Because I know that Picard seems to be made in groups of three episodes, maybe I should wait and watch 3 episodes at a time – unfortunately that is not going to happen haha.

Arathorn

I realize I’m not the first person to gripe about this: But the F-Bombs were really awkward for me. I don’t have a problem with cursing, or “bad” language on TV – and I cuss like a sailor in casual conversation. But cursing on TV needs to be done well, and fit the moment (especially for something like Trek). The F-Bombs in this episode just seemed placed only for effect. Meaning, it didn’t seem organic. It did’t fit the flow of the dialogue (at least for me). Seems like the writes are trying to be edgy just for the sake of being edgy.

Danpaine

I absolutely agree (and curse like a sailor myself in everyday life). It’s like they’re forcing profanity in because…they can, and every other ‘premium channel’ show does. “We’re in the big leagues, look, we can curse too!” But agreed, here it just doesn’t feel organic to the moment or the scene, and even less so when they did it in DSC. I don’t mind it, but it does nothing to enhance the show.

Arathorn

Exactly – shoehorning in the edginess

stanlowcrickets888

Arathorn…you Hit the target with a decent line of thought torpedo

Arathorn

;)

Partha

I disagree. When Admiral Clancy used the word ‘fucking’ to describe Jean-Luc’s request I think it showed the utter contempt she had for Picard. In that context I think the word was absolutely necessary in that it changed the tone of the conversation immediately. In other words the f-bomb ,as you put it ,was needed in the scene to show how Picard’s request resonated with the CnC

FrostUK

Yeah, seemed totally forced. The episode in Discovery where Tilly accidentally swears felt relatively natural and it was quite a nice moment between her and Stamets but in this episode of Picard the swearing seemed out of place.

VZX

I totally agree. I am not sure who is pushing for these F-bombs in Star Trek, but they simply do not feel right. I Agree they are there only for effect not for substance. I think it’s the same with the current slang-speak the characters use at times. It takes me out of the show and is not enjoyable. I wonder how Gene Roddenberry would feel about it.

Chancellor Gowron

It seemed like a perfectly natural place to drop an f-bomb to me.

Garth Lorca

The cursing feeling forced and unnatural is one issue but the other one is: yes, those colorful metaphors should be extinct by the year 2399. You, living in the year 2020, you can cuzz like a sailor any time you like because you don’t live in that near-perfect future that once was Star Trek. But if this was still classic Star Trek and not the unhappy, pessimistic, dystopian step-child of it, there simply would be no cursing, it would have gone away with murder, hunger, money, war and zippers. Quite obviously they aren’t interested in portaying this utopia anymore…

Legate Damar

Why would cursing go away in an optimistic future? Murder, hunger, money, war, and zippers are all things that we should aspire to get rid of. There’s nothing wrong with cursing.

Jonboc

I agree. The F-bomb is just weak writing, someone trying to be clever, trying too hard to be edgy and relevant…instead of doing what they SHOULD be doing, trying hard to be Star Trek.

blackmocco

Just to clarify for the non-Irish in attendance: “feck” doesn’t count as an F-bomb. It’s the child-friendly version of it’s bigger, more well-known sibling.

Trellium G

Plenty of other stuff to be unhappy about than the non-existent f-bomb.

CaptainRikerIsNumberOne

While I think Star Trek: Picard has been good so far, I must still give Kurtzman & Co. a big fat “ZERO” for that completely unnecessary f-bomb. Didn’t work in Disco, doesn’t work in Picard. Despite pre-premiere comments that the series would feature “adult” language and would not necessarily be appropriate for children, the Powers That Be need to remember that THIS IS STAR TREK! And the whole contention that the world of The Next Generation no longer exists is complete crap. PIC needs to remember its optimistic roots, because that’s the only thing that’s going to save it from early cancellation.

On another note, the “fact” that Picard even had Irrumodic Syndrome to begin with was a complete fabrication of Q’s anti-time reality. No basis in “actual” reality at all.

Chancellor Gowron

There’s nothing pessimistic about cursing. That’s just how people talk. People curse today, and they will continue to curse 300 years from now. As long as it is used naturally, as it was in this episode, then it isn’t a big deal.

When Picard returned to the present, he had Dr. Crusher scan him and she confirmed that he was at risk of developing Irrumodic Syndrome.

Garth Lorca

“There’s nothing pessimistic about cursing. That’s just how people talk.”

Nope. Here, you are indeed wrong. Your assumption that people still use those colorful metaphors by the 24th century is indeed VERY pessimistic! What’s the entire point in nurture and education if it’s just “a natural habit”? It isn’t! It’s just rude, primitive behaviour that should have been ancient history by Picard’s time. Something you can observe in obscure holodeck programs with a historical setting…

By including those terms in a Trek setting, you are actually promoting and legitimizing those words. You cannot just tell kids not to use those terms. You have to set an example by not using them yourself as and adult. Otherwise, the entire issue should be dropped entirely for good. But as long as there is one school kid out there in detention for using an f-bomb, adults have to be judged by the same standards…

blackmocco

I hope I never live in your future. Sounds boring.

Garth Lorca

Well, “my” future was the world of early TNG…

Legate Damar

Early TNG was pretty boring. Things didn’t get good until around season 3.

Legate Damar

There’s nothing wrong with cursing in an appropriate environment. Besides, we’ve heard cursing in Trek for years. From Kirk’s “Let’s get the hell out of here,” in City on the Edge of Forever, to Data’s “Oh shit!” in Generations, to Tilly’s “This is so fucking cool,” in Choose Your Pain. Cursing is a normal thing, and there is no reason that anybody should be ashamed to have curse words in their vocabularies.

bassmaster22

Agreed. It was established by Kirk and crew in STIV that “colorful metaphors” were long gone by the 23rd century but unlikely Kurtzman and the “Mystery Cave” team have seen that movie because (as we’re constantly reminded by the Discovery fans), that’s someone else’s Star Trek.

Cursing adds nothing to dialogue in Star Trek.

I was reading an interesting rumor that Seth McFarlane along w/ NBC was trying to buy the rights to Star Trek.
I personally have not cared for this. Patrick Stewart definitely wanted to do something different from Next Generation. But this is totally not Star Trek to me. There is no optimism. It’s just dark and gloom. F bombs in a Star Trek show. I know this isn’t the 80s and 90s anymore and culture has shifted. But the vision of Roddenberry’s future is gone. It’s why I didn’t care for DS9. There’s no exploration of not only different cultures but the human condition. Idk. I am still going to watch it, but the reboot movies really destroyed what Star Trek represented.

Chancellor Gowron

I am quite certain that Seth Macfarlane has no aversion to colorful metaphors.

Trellium G

So the strange lights in the android worker’s eyes isn’t the same thing that happened to the cyborg character from Discovery? Are remnants of Control still lurking in Starfleet computer systems?

And I wonder what Voyager’s EMH is up to during all this fear about artificial intelligence.

TG47

There were some stories a few months back that Robert Picardo had been approached about season 2. Sounds like it would fit within the story.

FrostUK

He’s now the Emergency President of the Federation Hologram, who covers in diplomatic matters where the President is otherwise occupied.

“Hello, please state the nature of the diplomatic emergency.”
“Not him. We need the -real- president.”
“How rude. I’m a president. Not a doormat.”

Cmd.Bremmon

I’d keep going.
“I live forever and have unlimited abilities at everything and can always expand my programming/knowledge. I am WAY more qualified than the “organic President”. Why the organic President is inferior and for you not to see that you are a racist against AI life!”
Why all starships should have hologram/AI crews.

Trek in a Cafe

Here’s what’s unrealistic to me. If my old friend Picard was as depressed as he seems to be here, I would visit and dissuade him from becoming a shut-in. Wouldn’t he be a great teacher? Couldn’t he run the Federation version of an NGO that actively helps refugees? Moreover, I would encourage him to take me relic-hunting. Getting a ship is so easy for any rogue in the Federation, why would it be hard for Picard? Doesn’t he have any other Starfleet captains who are still this friends, who agree with his decision?

Cmd.Bremmon

What would you learn from him? How to lose your starship to a 150 year old Bird of Prey?

Danpaine

That’s a good point, Café. Even though he resigned from Starfleet under negative circumstances, you would think he’d have enough support from friends/colleagues made over a 50+(?) year career? And yeah, what happened to his love of archaeology, or perhaps he’s too old for that?

Tiger2

I agree Cafe! I mean I can understand why he left Starfleet, but its not like he can’t do other things either. Someone like Picard with his experience and education could do whatever he wants. I think after Data and the issues over the Romulans made him more reclusive but I don’t understand why isn’t he out just doing SOMETHING? He can do anything (as long as its not too physical lol), regardless how mundane it is to others. That’s the beauty when you live in a society when money is no longer the driving force, you can just do what you want just to do, at any age! And especially given this was a guy who didn’t really identify with Earth as home anymore, but being active and exploring.

tom riker

1) he’s not a shut in… 2) he’s not depressed… he’s not a happy camper that’s for sure… but there’s a big difference… we have no idea of what he’s done for the last 15 years… you are filling in holes with your own info not info the show has told you… all you know is he’s retired as people do and not happy… now he’s realizing it and finding his voice again… 3) in reality what you have seen is him asking for a federation ship… no one has said it’s impossible or that tough to get a ship… by the end of the episode he’s putting everything in place to go on his mission with a ship and crew… that he will obviously get by the middle or end of episode 3… he just started getting ready.

GarySeven

He did say in episode 1 that he wrote some books about history, I believe. That’s something.

tom riker

true… and others refer to that as well i think… that takes years and it’s definitely connected to his love of artifacts and archaeology…he’s not just sitting around upset…

tom riker

1) this is basically the middle of a 2 hour pilot… it plays like it but i dont mind at all
2) he IS a hot romulan
3) i like the mention of the stargazer
4) the look on his face when he realizes the guy doesn’t seem to know who he is is pretty awesome and then how he marches off to the meeting. or the guy knew but had to ask like asking a senior citizen for ID to buy wine
5) ok is everyone who works in starfleet a woman? i get rah rah women and trek has always been great with that but there’s gotta be a guy somewhere other than checking people in. little weird right? even the people in his life. it’s all chicks
6) those synths were creepy
7) i can see why he’s been so pissed off… not only abandoning the romulans but also the army of synthetics he specifically warned them about
8) there is a history of having difficulty leaving earth. trek 3 mccoy trying to hire a ship… starfleet security stopped him and kirk having to steal the enterprise
9) i kind of like those tall seats and will wheaton’s feet dangling
10) i can’t wait for some comeuppance and picard i toldja so’s

Danpaine

“…5) ok is everyone who works in starfleet a woman? i get rah rah women and trek has always been great with that but there’s gotta be a guy somewhere other than checking people in. little weird right? even the people in his life. it’s all chicks…”

At the risk of raising the ire of many here, seriously, you are not kidding, Tom. The ‘equality’ pendulum has swung a little too far to one side here, no? I get it, 2020/diversity, but Starfleet HQ looked like a girls boarding school. The ratio just doesn’t seem realistic. Then again, I enjoy looking at women, so it’s not the worst thing in the world.

Garth Lorca

“The ratio just doesn’t seem realistic.”

Yes and no. It DOESN’T seem realistic but it wasn’t realistic back in the day with 95% male and 5% female officers for mere decore.

I think it’s supposed to be equal justice a tad overdone. But it’s okay.

Cmd.Bremmon

The old statist TNG bureaucracy sucked, glad to see an injection of female officers. Picard is just lucky Admiral Nechayev did not end up in charge. Imagine not only did the guy lead Wolf 359, refused to end the Borg threat, lost the Ent-D to a 150 year old bird of prey, seemed questionable in first contact (how did he know exactly where to target the cube) but now he lets AI take out Mars?!? That debriefing I bet would have made Kirk meeting Nogura in TMP seem like a picnic in the park.

Danpaine

Well played, Sir.

Danpaine

Agreed. Comeuppance, and all that.

ML31

Just something to think about… Equality of opportunity rarely, if ever, leads to equality of outcome.

Garth Lorca

While I really enjoyed the first episode, the second chapter – though still being good – sort of felt like a bit of a letdown.

My major point of criticism are basically that
1. it doesn’t try to set itself apart from what DSC has done in its first two seasons
2. and that it aggressively tries to cater to the fans of recent space shows such as NuBSG, Killjoys and most of all The Expanse!

1. I may be wrong but this seems to be going down a rather similar route as the Section 31 subplot on DSC… a secret society within Starfleet (maybe actually Section 31) meddling with AI and robotics and trying to keep things under wrap.
A surgically altered Romulan spy instead of a surgically altered Klingon? It’s Voy/Tyler all over again, or even Seska (Rizzo very much reminds me of Seska in her Bajoran form!)… Maybe they’re adding another (transgender) layer to this plot if Rizzo is actually Narek’s BROTHER, who was mentioned as “lost” in the first episode.
Plus: Commodore Oh seems to be the granddaughter of Emperor Georgiou with some Vulcan/Romulan blood thrown into the lineage…

2. The Mars flashback and the scenes on the Artefact had “The Expanse” written all over them. Someone could have started crying out BELTALOWDA at any time :-)

Don’t get me wrong. I like both DSC and all the other contemporary space shows but obviously they aren’t even trying to set themselves apart. I guess La Sirena will feel a lot like the Roci crossed with Firefly’s Serenity :-)

Also not to excited about those pointless f-bombs and the out-of-thin-air Soji/Narek affair. Obviously they’ve just met, haven’t they? But then, maybe I’m just too old-fashioned and prudish about those issues…

Trek in a Cafe

What’s excellent:

Psychologically, going directly to Starfleet is a little like going to your parents when they are angry at you. A mature person like Picard might have realized they would not be so into him. He showed no understanding of that. The scene has maximum impact. Maybe Picard should have diplomatically tried to make some friends, prepare a way for himself. On the other hand, he thought he was so great he could walk in and just demand a ship. So, despite his reclusivity, he is proud.

A Federation representative like The Commodore or The Conspirators would definitely have an internal debate about whether they should actually give him a ship.

And The Conspirators could have given Picard the ship without even the Commodore knowing. She is not totally in on the Romulan aspect of their plot – yet.

So… will Starfleet let Picard leave Earth peaceably? When was the last time Picard travelled? Has he been in a kind of prison and he didn’t know it?

And what if The Federation is morally right for whatever they face now? What if “Picard in the wild” really is dangerous to some peaceful compromise the Federation for the peace and security of this Next NEXT generation?

By the conclusion of this second episode, Picard has real reasons he needs a new crew. Picard is living history and he knows everything he does brings intergalactic/political implications.

—This show is so good, I would even love to see what the Remans 2020 think about Picard on the loose. He totally fucked them.

—And when Picard uncovers The Conspiracy what happens? Will The Conspiracy Blame the Messenger? Or they will even try to recruit him?

—I even have a premonition that Picard could go back to being a Borg.

ML31

““You can’t offend them, they’re not people,” one of the technicians says.”

And that technician was right. They aren’t people. They are androids. Or, droids, if this were Star Wars. If they take offense its because they were programmed to. And then someone had to tell them at what level should the ‘offense’ protocol be activated. But then why program them to be offended? Makes as much sense as programming them to feel pain.

Both episodes have felt longer than they were for me. A few times I looked at the timer and was shocked at how little time had gone by.

I also want to add that CBSAA’s buffering problem persists. I counted this time and it buffered TEN times in this 42 minute episode. Later in the evening I watched the 5th episode of the Twilight Zone (Oh my god it continues to be atrocious, I probably should skip the last 5) and it only buffered 3 times. I’m wondering if it has something to do with how many people are watching at a given time? I viewed Picard at about 4:30 PST. I also have NO problem streaming from Netflix or YouTube. Or even Disney+ during their free week. CBSAA is the one and only one service that has this issue.

Danpaine

I got around that by subscribing through Amazon this time, ML (although I know in the past you’ve said you don’t have Amazon) – the streaming quality is much better than CBS’ own, imo. Personally, both episodes have gone by really fast for me.

ML31

Yeah well, I’m not going to pay for a 2nd pay service I don’t want just to get a to a technical level it seems EVERY other streaming service has attained. CBS needs to fix this. It’s unacceptable. I already had to buy a damn chromecast just because there is no CBSAA app on my TV or BD player. That was more than enough extra fees.

Garth Lorca

“““You can’t offend them, they’re not people,” one of the technicians says.”

And that technician was right. They aren’t people. They are androids. Or, droids, if this were Star Wars. If they take offense its because they were programmed to.”

One of the basic values of Star Trek and Starfleet was respecting life in all its forms. Artificial Intelligence just like Data or the EMH program have always been portrayed as aspiring beyond their initial programming. That’s what a true A.I. is all about and the good guys tried to respect those characters.

After all, our own brains and “souls” may be nothing but complex programs written by someone beyond our comprehension.

Now, we are shown some soulless low-life laborers just like out of “The Expanse” making disrespectful jokes on the androids’ expense, only to illustrate they somewhat “deserve” to die a few seconds later. Those scenes take place in the same era that gave us Data, the Moriarty conundrum and the EMH… It just felt wrong. Am I too overly protective of Oldschool Trek? Maybe.

TechNoir

Exactly, inhumanity directed towards non-humans doesn’t speak well of humanity. And treating those with a human form badly can become a habit, and can be passed on to actual people.

ML31

What about inhumanity towards, say… A chair or a shuttlecraft?

Cmd.Bremmon

Why would Starfleet build robots for menial tasks with unnecessary feelings? Are TNG humans so bored they’ve gone sadistic? Maybe half of them want to be replaced by AI now?
Anyone listen to Spock and McCoy in the ultimate computer? “Computers make excellent and efficient servants, but I have no wish to serve under them. Captain, the starship also runs on loyalty to one man. And nothing can replace it, or him.”
“Compassion. That’s the one thing no machine ever had. Maybe it’s the one thing that keeps men ahead of them.”
Wrong or racist in TNG? Now it’s Perfect AI at any cost as much as possible that we can sit at home in the winery and whine about how our robots have feelings even though we did that on purpose??

Tiger2

CMD Bremmon you make SO MANY straw man arguments to the point your ‘arguments’ are all over the place and with tons of holes. And why do you keep saying ‘perfect AI’ as opposed to ‘flawed AI? Just say AI! And where are you getting anyone is SERVING under them? And again STOP cherry picking everything as if you seem to forget Starfleet valued AI computers in the 23rd century as well. CONTROL was literally directing Starfleet and Section 31 for their missions. Did you forget that? Or just conveniently forget it? So they didn’t have to wait until the 24th century to serve under one, it was ALREADY happening lol. Kirk was probably acting under orders as a lieutenant of a ‘Perfect AI’ he simply just didn’t know it at the time. ;)

And maybe if CONTROL WAS given more feelings and considered a part of the team like Data and the Doctor was, it wouldn’t have tried to wipe out all biological life from the galaxy since it was never tasked with anything other than spitting out analysis reports; while it was clearly evolving into something more. Since it was never programmed to respect or understand life, it turned against it instead because it never valued it UNLIKE Data and the Dcotor. Right?

And look at Zora on the Discovery in the future? She like Data and the Doctor is clearly designed to understand and learn from people. She seems really nice, right? Why is that a bad thing? Especially when the alternative results are things like CONTROL?

You can’t keep quoting TOS but then forget about ALL the other shows and films that changed the dynamic of the 23rd century. Starfleet has been after AI machines for CENTURIES. The only difference is by the time the 24th century comes around people have perfected them more and to a place where they aren’t just treated as cold machines but should be respected as life. Again that’s a GOOD thing. That’s what Star Trek is.

Cmd.Bremmon

That’s totally how TMP went – V’ger with all the knowledge in the universe comes back with full emotions on par with the human condition nothing to learn nothing missing. Then we just bring in some TNG techs and boom – full imagination and life – they’re even smarter than V’ger!!!

ML31

There really is no reason to program a robot (or android) with feelings. And if you could, one would have to program them with how to feel. For example, Daystrom put his own engrams into the M-5. So it “felt” like Daystrom did. It seems reasonable that Data likes and dislikes what Soong liked and disliked. Data didn’t decide on his own how to feel towards things or what drink he liked. The emotion chip didn’t do that for him. His programmer decided for him. This is quite different from humans producing a child. That child is 100% itself. It does have genetic traits but emotions and tastes and things of that nature belong to that being alone and ONLY that being. IE… The parents did not tell the child what to like and how to feel. Data was told all that.

ML31

” Artificial Intelligence just like Data or the EMH program have always been portrayed as aspiring beyond their initial programming.”

No, they haven’t. Lore? Control? M-5? Landru? Vaal? The Oracle of the People? There is a pretty long list of AI running amok.

Andrew SD

I ate last night’s episode up with a big spoon! They are really writing the hell out of this series so far. And that opening on Mars… I really also love the relationship between Picard and the Romulan couple, particularly the ex Tal Shiar. There’s an almost daughter father relationship there. I love how pissed she gets when he tell her he’s going off on his mission (“and take him with you.”). She reminds me of all the strong women in my family who are some of the wisest, strongest, most loving people I know. The CNC should not have dismissed Picard so out right. That was a dramatic and tuf scene to watch (but in a good way), it really informs you about where his relationship with Star Fleet stands right now, for now.  I love that while humanizing the Romulans with the couple that live with Picard they doubled down on the clandestine nature of some of the other Romulans. It will be fun to watch this all unfold. In less than five minutes I already enjoy the relationship between Picard and Raffi, and not just because I’ve been reading the prequel count down comics, which I have. They just say so much with so few words, as good actors can.

c d

I was a bit meh about this episode. It had some good and some really bad stuff in it.
I continue to really like the Romulan couple. I liked the way Laris smartly hacked the ‘phone’ system, and her reaction to Picard and Zhaban on Picard’s plan to get a ship and go.
I missed Number One.
I like the pedestrian transporter frames at Starfleet.
I HATED the carrot peeler Discovery Enterprise hologram in the lobby. Either there is some other ship or bad Constitution variant that mimics the Discovery Enteprise in the TNG Prime Universe, or ST: Picard is really an alternate timeline/universe, not part of TOS/TNG as we know it. The fact that previously in the 2009 Countdown comic, Data was alive, resurrected in B-4, and still in Starfleet, where now, in Picard, he never was, is another indicator that this is an alternate reality. 25% different.
Could they not find anybody who could act when they were casting for Starfleet? Admiral Clancy, the commodore and Rizzo/Big Sister Scenechewer were just acted terribly and terribly written. Were they some of Akiva Goldsman’s contributions?
Picard’s line about science fiction rang false to me. I would think Picard would appreciate the idea of forward thinking that is presented in much science fiction. It sounds like a writer’s excuse for not liking science fiction.
And the whole hating androids thing doesn’t really work. They still have disembodied AI that can potentially do as much damage as the synths did. This does not appears very well thought out (in other words, BADLY WRITTEN). And yes, BSG already did it and did it much better.
I hope future episodes will be better, but I am afraid they won’t be.
Need even more of the Romulan couple. More Number One (both of them). Less bad actors playing bad actors. Admirals who aren’t twits. Better writing.
I am not hopeful.

Commander K

I suspect you spent a good half an hour writing a message here to slate a show with your nonsensical alternate reality rubbish. Quit whining.

c d

No. It was a bad half an hour.
>;>}

GarySeven

Picard’s line about science fiction rang false to me. I would think Picard would appreciate the idea of forward thinking that is presented in much science fiction. It sounds like a writer’s excuse for not liking science fiction.”
I agree. It seems like they the writers thought this would be a cute and ironic quote. But all it did for me was make me sad, because Picard is a forward-thinking man. His love of archeology shows a great interest in different civilizations as well as his day job as Captain. For him to say he “didn’t get science fiction” was stupid, disappointing, and out of character.

DaveCGN

It took them 54 years to use the term “science fiction”!!! Well, the line “is this some kind of Star Trek” was alreay used… ;-)

kmart

Didn’t FIREFLY already cover this, with talk along these lines culminating with, ‘dear, we live on a spaceship’ and ‘what’s your point?’

Jonboc

The bit with the book was stupid, I agree. He doesn’t like science fiction, yet he owns classic Asimov. Bad writing and character building for sure. All it tells me, is that Jean Luc must suffer from dementia!

ML31

Far be it from me to defend this sort of thing but… Maybe the book was a gift from someone who was unaware of his tastes?

c d

And what is the point of antique solar panels on the Golden Gate Bridge?

ML31

I was wondering that myself. It looked rather archaic. Plus with all the fog is that really the best place to put the solar panels?

Legate Damar

Maybe they weren’t antiques when they were installed. Since an antique bridge is already useless in an age of hovercars and transporters, the whole thing is clearly just there because it is a historical monument that looks nice.

Dggjag

The solar panels first appeared in The Motion Picture. At least they looked like solar panels. As a kid I thought they had covered the road surface in plexiglass.

kmart

DGGJAG,
Doug Trumbull addressed the TMP GG bridge in the first issue of Cinefex; the idea was to suggest that the bridge is just a structure for some kind of train or conveyance system, and the idea was to show some traffic going through it, though that part never happened. Over a decade later, when Matte World had to do a GG shot for TUC, they deliberately chose an angle that was looking up below the level of the bridge to avoid having to deal with whatever weirdness was going on up top. (don’t blame them for the matte line; they produced it as instructed, as a night shot, and then somebody at Paramount decided it was taking place at dawn and artificially lightened it — sort of like how somebody at Paramount ruined the TMP GG shots by printing them with different colors, to look like daytime when they were produced to look like a more golden dusk, which is why the clouds look so dead.

ML31

I didn’t see solar panels on the bridge in TMP. I saw some sort of conveyance tubing housing god only knows what future mode of transport. The shot in Picard just looks dated.

Cmd.Bremmon

I think Picard could really set up a back to basics “Wagon Train to the Stars” series in the 25th century.
The Federation in the 25th century – most organics sit at home and in their holodecks. Exploration and work is done by superior AI and holograms.
Richard Daystrom’s dream comes true from The Ultimate Computer: “Men no longer need die in space or on some alien world! Men can live and go on to achieve greater things than fact-finding and dying for galactic space, which is neither ours to give or to take!”
Some however yearn for the days of exploration.
Grace Jaden dreams of joining starfleet and exploring the universe but cannot compete physically nor mentally with the engineered and experienced androids and holograms of the fleet. Her want for the unknown is seen as irrational. Inspired by the voyages of the USS Enterprise she decides to run away from home on a freighter to the frontier.
Beyond Federation space organic “misfits” – humans, Vulcans, Andorians, Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians – head out on their own with old relic starships, setting up new colonies and mining dilthium. To the Federation they are luddites, outlaws and outcasts, living an unnecessarily harsh life. There is no cooperation and conflicts arise often. Yet on the frontier is freedom.
But then comes a decree – the outlaws are deemed to be violating the Prime Directive claiming unauthorized space as their own and contaminating primitives, the original cultures of the Federation, with dreams of exploration. The new “superior” leaders of the Federation see the stagnation around them and look to a species from the past for the next step in evolution and those on the frontier are seen as being in the way.
The starship Jaden served on is old and crippled, the owner dead. Yet the crew looks to her to take command knowing that she will never turn back from the frontier.
The outworlders are out matched in every way, their only hope to learn to work together and press into the galaxy in the hopes of new alliances and new technologies that can ensure their freedom. The Organians once deactivated the entire starfleet, perhaps they could be found again. Perhaps the Federation has lessons yet to be learned.

Excellent plot idea. Although I feel that we humans in the 2020’s will be experiencing some of this in the next few decades. Convenience and standardisation at the expense of personal freedom, adventure, and self-purpose.
In Star Trek, we’ve seen people like the Baku (Insurrection) shun technology for a simpler life. Similarly with DS9: Paradise where Federation colonists setup a dampening feel to disable all electricity, so that they could work the land with their own hands; no tech. I’d be keen to see the motivations and steps people take to get their.

Josadalone

Was dropping that F bomb really necessary. I thought Star Trek was beyond swearing. I thought it was in poor taste and hope it doesn’t happen again

MysticalDigtial

It added to the scene and I am honestly amazed at how many people didn’t pick up on Damn in TOS (a very offensive word for the 60s), Merde in TNG (which means shit, and is censored in the French version) and shit (which Data famously says). I am honestly so many Trekies are that fragile about a single word, grow up.

Jonboc

They never said “damn” in TOS, just “let’s get the hell out of here”. Best I recall. And was used quite effectively after Kirk had to let Edith Keeler die. The F-bomb in Picard? Not so much. Just a shock tactic.

ML31

Kirk to Kang: Go to the Devil.

That was about the extent of 1960’s edgy TV language.

Machias

I was immediately happy that Admiral wasn’t Admiral Janeway. An Admiral should have more control than belching out an F bomb.

Cygnus-X1

I’m curious for some big-picture reactions to the show so far.
What do you like about it? What don’t you like?
Is Patrick Stewart most of the appeal? Are the stories compelling? So-so?

The main reason that I have found Kurtzman TV shows (Fringe, Scorpion, Hawaii Five-O) uninteresting is that they are all plot with little or nothing interesting (thematically) underlying it all. In other words, the stories are about a series of events that ultimately don’t mean much to me — the stories don’t show me anything interesting or meaningful about what it’s like to live life, i.e. the human condition or anything interesting about the world/universe (such as an interesting take on time-travel or parallel universes).

Is “Picard” different? Is it like TOS and TNG at their best, where the story is about something besides its plot (the series of events, twists and turns, who went where, who did what, etc…)?

Or, is it too early to tell?

blackmocco

I can’t speak for Scorpion or H 5-O but I think you missed something with Fringe which managed to have a LOT of interesting and meaningful things to say about life. Episode 1 of Picard had more human interest than two seasons of Discovery, so while it’s till too early to say, I feel it’s aimed in the right direction.

TG47

Thanks Cygnus-X1. I’ve been feeling the lack of this kind of conversation here.

I watched the Ready Room last evening and have some positive thoughts and some watch points based on Avika Goldman’s responses.

He described Picard as Sci-fi Drama as contrasted to Discovery being Sci-fi Adventure. He pointed out that in episodic Trek it was possible to shift from episode to episode in terms of drama, adventure, comedy.

That’s helpful to know, and it suggests that the writers are making Picard more intentions about some theme rather than driving plot. That said, I don’t see why sci-fi action-adventure can’t also explore deeper themes.

Goldman outlined two themes : exploration of the experience of the later years of life and an analogy-tale on the experience of marginal groups.

For me, so far the exploration of Picard’s ageing, declining vigour and loss of respect and power in Starfleet is very successful. Goldman is right that this has not been done in Trek before. It’s an exploration that the character Picard is uniquely positioned for, and Stewart is an actor capable of delivering the role.

In terms of the alienated and marginalized people theme, we’ll have to see how well that works out. Goldman said that ‘they need to turn things on their head’s’ for dramatic effect. As with Discovery, I worry that the team’s locking into writing in formats that writers’ schools have developed to the extent that they lose site of ‘Does this really make sense in this Trek universe?’

Cygnus-X1

TG47

Thanks for the thoughtful, detailed response.

You’ve piqued my interest with the prospect of Picard’s advancing age as a thematic arc. I agree that it’s a rich area for dramatic exploration and could be great if done well. The experience of marginalized groups as a theme, however, repels me almost as much as the aging theme attracts me. I’m so beyond beyond beyond sick and tired of Wokism and how oppressive it feels, that I’d be very happy at this point to never hear nor see anything else relating to identity/grievance politics for the rest of my life.

All that said, it seems we’ll have to wait to see how these themes are treated over the course of the season.

Danpaine

Nice post, Cygnus.

blackmocco

“Goldman is right that this has not been done in Trek before. It’s an exploration that the character Picard is uniquely positioned for, and Stewart is an actor capable of delivering the role.”

Ehh, I’d make the vague argument that these themes were touched upon with TWOK and TSFS and Kirk. Starfleet are extremely dismissive of Kirk and his request to take the Enterprise out one last time in TSFS, considering he’s supposed to be the first ever captain to complete and return from a deep space five year mission. How many times did he save the Earth and Starfleet from certain doom? But yeah, I’m liking Picard is actually going to dig deeper into these themes.

TG47

I definitely thought about Kirk and his eyeglasses blackmocco.

However, neither the character nor the actor drilled deep on ageing. More, Generations left Kirk with the weariness of an extended lifetime, but not the frustrations of a debilitating illness.

A couple more thoughts on this theme:

1. I’ve always wondered if Picard’s parietal lobe abnormality is a legacy of his Borg assimilation. Not to say that research on the Borg may provide a personal solution/treatment, but rather his experience as a serving officer put him at risk of dangers that only fully express late in life.

2. There is a particular irony in Picard having an illness that impacts emotional control given that he once provided that control to Sarek to allow him to complete one final negotiation during Sarek’s own decline.

Dvorak

Yep, I agree you’re missing out with Fringe. I found it excellent and a worthy successor to the X-files. The episodes ”Peter” and ”White Tulip” rank with best of Trek IMO. Which reminds me I’m do for a re-watch soon…

Cygnus-X1

Dvorak

I couldn’t make it past the first few episodes of Fringe Season 1. I found it so boring, uninteresting and meaningless that it was a chore to watch. But, I will go back and check out the two episodes that you recommend. If I don’t find those worthwhile either, then maybe Fringe just isn’t for me.

Dvorak

Just like with Trek the first season isn’t the best but it hits it stride in season 2 and never looks back. If you ever wanted a show about parallel universes Fringe will fit the bill nicely.(far better than Sliders)

blackmocco

Agreed. Stick with it. The lead actress’s acting is pretty flat and takes some patience but the show really comes together.

ML31

I watched the show and while it did have it’s moments overall I found it more mediocre than anything else. It was a little like TNG in that when it was dealing with an interesting concept was when it was at its best. When it was more about the characters was when I didn’t care much about it.

Jonboc

I agree. While not gut-wretchingly bad, like Discovery…it is just…kind of “there”. I’m indifferent…I could never see another episode, and not care. So far, CBS’ new “golden age” of Trek is full of fool’s gold, I’m afraid.

DeanH

Some good points although I have to say I quite enjoyed Fringe. Alternate realities or dimensions, may have grown tiresome for some, but I was fascinated enough to tune in weekly and thought the series ended before its time.

As for themes, I too immediately picked up on the way Picard was treated by the Starfleet admiral, almost dismissively. Stewart is playing a 92 year-old and one would hope that in the future, with improved mental and physical health for someone in their 90s, Picard would warrant more respect – far beyond that given to a 92-year old in today’s world. Then again, maybe age had nothing to do with it. Heck McCoy was still doing inspections when the Enterprise D was rolled out, and he was 137-years old.

DeanH

Also, because we the audience and Picard know the potential of synthetic lifeforms (Data), it is hard to watch how the workers treat the synth workers on Mars, even if they are not sentient or have no feelings. We all remember seeing the group of EMHs being used as miners on some far off planet at the end of one of the Voyager episodes.

ML31

My response… You are feeling the way the show wants you to feel about the synths and the EMH’s. When you think about it logically there is no reason for the synth workers to be granted any kind of respect beyond what one would give a shuttlecraft.

kmart

I saw the first ep on youtube this week and found it watchable, though also got hung up on details I found bad, like using ‘dude’ in speech. Naturally I’m drawn to the Starfleet-gone-bad aspect, though Picard going dormant as a result is unconvincing to me. The fact we’ll be seeing the quadrant w/o the luxuries of a starship is very appealing, and makes me wish we could get CBSAA (for a few weeks anyway) on our main TV (still can only subscribe by watching on 27′ monitor, which is a sticking point for us, and why we haven’t seen dsc s2.)

I’m guessing we’re going to see more direct parallels to current domestic and world situations that will be designed to resonate; whether that is with a heavy or inept hand, I can’t say, but except for Chabon, I admit I have a bad feeling about the handlers.

ML31

I share your discomfort with Secret Hideout. They have yet to offer any evidence they know how to treat the material well.

For me, I had to go and buy a dang Chromecast to cast to my TV. If you don’t want to plunk down the money for something like that then you are stuck watching on your phone, tablet or laptop. A major drawback for CBSAA.

Cmd.Bremmon

I personally love the unintended theme of cogitative dissonance for the show. In turning things over their heads their utopia is actually a dystopia (quite frankly it always was). Picard family has private property decides to head back to his family farm (family property!) in the everyone shares everything society? All the explorers when they retire head back to the farm. Need to turn things over their heads = Picard disgraced having failed at Mars and this after he was used by the Borg at Wolf 359 to kill hundreds. The harder they use their utopia the greater the disconnect too. Ignore the whole Borg plot, AI is awesome! Engineering perfect AI life forms is a thing while engineering perfect organic life forms is banned!. Why the human condition isn’t special at all, we’ll just program it in (oops, sorry V’ger, should have just waited for TNG to come along). Turns out being Locutus wasn’t so bad nor losing at Mars – Picard will do anything for perfection. The perfect people of TNG weren’t enough, thrown to the curb by Picard no daydreams of Tasha Yar, we need perfect AI. Just think of the utopia when live forever holograms and androids who think and feel just as good as any organic!! Forget the lessons learned by your Prime Directive protected development, it pales in comparison. It reminds me of Into Darkness, poor Kahn he was just misunderstood (not like big bad George Bush Starfleet with your photon torpedo drones). Poor Borg, we just didn’t appreciate them coming to share all collective knowledge and have everyone work together, we should all be more caring!

ACpilot

Wasn’t at all happy with the F-Bomb.

MysticalDigtial

Merde, Shit, Damn, Trek has sworn all the way since TOS (when Damn was a really offensive word).

kmart

Pretty sure Kirk doesn’t say ‘damn’ till TMP.

Cmd.Bremmon

Damn it Jim, I’m a Doctor, not the language police.

Nachum

In the “Countdown” comic in 2009, Nero, before going back in time, makes contact with Romulan military group dedicated to stripping material from the Borg, and has his ship refitted with Borg technology. That comic is no longer canon, I suppose (for example, Data is alive in it), but I wonder if the idea came from there.

Jonboc

Take-sways episode 2….poor CGI on Mars. It’s your showcase series CBS, give them some money.
Why does Jean Luc own Asimov if he doesn’t like science fiction??
The acting…outside of that potty-mouth Admiral and the round-ear, was solid.
The episode seemed to drag on and on. They really need to weave in better pacing if they insist on drawing out a serialized story.
Shades of Trek 3 in the story of the friend going off on his own, without permission, to seek out his “presumed lost” non-emotional buddy. For better or worse.

I’m not necessarily engaged or pulled-into this story, at least, not yet. But I’m interested. That’s more than I can say for Discovery.

tom riker

you think we will see maddox? if he’s in it they are definitely keeping it secret… i cant imagine his character at least is not in it…

Dvorak

Lets just say take a look at the upcoming soundtrack for Picard, it bizarrely gives spoilers I wish I hadn’t seen..

kmart

I rewatched MEASURE OF A MAN yesterday — had a hard time staying awake on it for the first time ever — and the guy playing Maddox is just as bad as I remembered, possibly worse. But the Picard/Guinan scene is still the gold standard for their exchanges.

Would have been gutsy (and smart) for TPTCB (I added a c for ‘currently’ there) to lure Melinda Snodgrass back.

Jonathan

Correct me if I’m wrong, but shouldn’t the Commodore uniform have gold stripes?

Machias

The transporters are way too fast. The technology should not have evolved that quickly in 20 years. The transporters should look and act closer to what we saw on Voyager rather than these whippy-zippy effects they’re using.

Jonathan

Disagree, by that time there is a possibility that even transwarp transporters are just in use…