Review: ‘Star Trek: Picard’ Explores The Prison Of Promises In “Absolute Candor”

“Absolute Candor”

Star Trek: Picard Season 1, Episode 4 – Debuted Thursday, February 13, 2020
Written by Michael Chabon
Directed by Jonathan Frakes

Spoiler-Free Review

Picard, Rios, Jurati, and Raffi pick up an old acquaintance of Picard’s to join their mission, and then get a surprise when they run into someone another former Starfleet crew member.

Elnor binds himself to Picard’s cause.

[WARNING: Spoilers from here on]

Episode Discussion

This episode, the 4th of the season, is supposed to be the first one after the “prologue” of the previous three, when our story was set in motion. As a viewer, I don’t agree with that assessment. I personally felt like the first three episodes had plenty of story that was much more than mere set-up, and this one, which takes the action off Earth and moves it to a starship, felt as much like a set-up, if not more so, than what came before.

Ultimately, that’s because not a whole lot happened in this episode. We got a ton of backstory, a lot of exposition about the evacuation of Romulus and what went wrong after the attack on Mars, and an explanation-heavy introduction to an all-female sect of Romulan warriors with a philosophy of “absolute candor.”

Bottom line: this week was mostly about picking up Elnor… and surprise! Seven of Nine. While it wasn’t the most exciting episode, it still had some great lines of dialogue, another fun Rios hologram, good character moments for Picard and Jurati, and a little bit more about why the Romulans are so afraid of Soji.

It’s hard not to just sit here and gush about Patrick Stewart’s performance. Not only is it obvious that Picard has changed since we last saw him—he’s warmer, more natural, more casual—he’s also evolving over the course of this first season, and we can see it. He’s a man who knows himself more, who’s living with regrets, who knows his time is running out, and who still, after all these years, MUST do what he knows is right. This time, he knows he has to return to Vashti, a Romulan colony he helped settle and spent quite a bit of time on.

This is where he got to know the Qowat Milat, an all-female Romulan sect of warriors, and young Elnor, an orphan they raised when they couldn’t find a home for him. They’re reminiscent of the Bene Gesserit from Dune, and Zani, played beautifully by Amirah Vann, also reminds me a little bit of Kai Opaka with her quiet but commanding presence.

Amirah Vann as Zhani

Picard had big plans for Vashti and for young Elnor, but when the attack on Mars happened, everything changed. He never went back to visit as he planned, so Elnor shares something with Raffi: they have both felt abandoned by Picard for 14 years.

Let’s talk about Elnor. I loved the kid who played him when he was little; it was a nice way to endear the character to us. As an adult, it’s been a little tricky for me personally, since he looks sort of like a big elf and has a very Lord of the Rings-type character name. But the idea of a warrior sect he can’t be a real part of due to being male is intriguing. He obviously saw Picard as a father figure, then had him yanked away, so I imagine these two will be rebuilding that bond over time.

The other Romulans on Vashti are not so forgiving of Picard’s perceived transgressions, and he deliberately antagonizes them when he yanks a “Romulans Only” sign off a local watering hole and then steps on it. This leads to some more exposition about Picard’s regrets and what happened in their wake: there are a lot of Romulans who think he was part of a Federation plan to “scatter, confuse, and divide” them. A former Romulan Senator challenges Picard to a sword fight, of all things. Picard refuses. He’s tossed a sword, and out of reflex, takes it, then assumes the stance. It takes him just a moment to realize this isn’t a fight he can truly engage in; he’s an older man now, at a tremendous disadvantage, and it’s a fight he doesn’t even want to have. He’s rescued by Elnor, who gives his opponent a very polite and specific warning: “Please, my friend. Choose to live.”

The Senator does not, and loses his head for his troubles. Picard and Elnor are beamed back to La Sirena just before they’re fired on by an onlooker with a disruptor. (My small nitpick: How did they know to beam up TWO people instead of one?) Picard’s take on Elnor’s last-minute rescue is the opposite of his response to Jurati’s back at the chateau; he makes Elnor swear not to kill anyone else without permission.

There’s one more last-minute rescue to come! A ship appears just as La Sirena is in trouble, and we hear some very familiar Star Trek language as everyone comments on how HE’s a magnificent pilot and HE’s in trouble and HE’s breaking up and can they beam HIM over, and GOT HIM!—and then we find out the magnificent pilot is Seven of Nine. Sometimes these choices can feel forced and overblown; I can’t help but compare it to some of the unfortunate lines delivered by Cornwell and Georgiou on Star Trek: Discovery, where we are supposed to cheer when they call out bad male behavior. But this didn’t feel like that at all. As a female fan of Star Trek since I was ten, it wasn’t a lot of fun hearing my otherwise beloved Captain Kirk address rooms and sometimes the whole ship as “Gentlemen” when there were women everywhere, so this moment was a long time coming, and it’s appreciated. Plus: WELCOME SEVEN OF NINE! Can’t wait to see how she knows Picard. According to The Ready Room, she’ll be sticking around for a while. I’m in.

Picard owes Seven a ship…

Also happening this week, cavorting on the Borg cube.  Soji’s still trying to figure out why Romulans went crazy after being disconnected from the Collective, and why she feels “seen” (sigh) by Ramdha, especially since Ramdha called her “The Destroyer.” Narek takes her to an area of the cube where they can gleefully slide, flap, dance, and twirl in their stocking feet (and then make out) but he ruins the moment by mentioning that there are no records of her being on the transport she claims brought her to the cube. The moment of wild abandon is fun, admittedly. But the fun ends with Narissa’s arrival in Narek’s room while he’s sleeping. She’s dressed in tight leather again to remind us that she’s a baddie, and is still taking her cues from Emperor Georgiou by sexualizing everything; the mustache-twirling continues. She shows her brother just how lethal she can be, then spells out their mission: find out where Soji came from and where the “rest of them” are before she’s activated, so they can be eliminated. She warns Narek he has one more week before “we go back to good old pain and violence.” Honestly, it sometimes feels as if these scenes were written by someone else entirely, as they don’t live up to the high standards of the rest of the episode.

I hope this part of the story gets some momentum and we see more of Hugh, because right now, it’s just not that compelling, despite Isa Briones’ always strong performance. Narek seems less sure of his motivation, so my guess is that he’ll soon be a reluctant Soji ally. Time will tell, as we move slowly towards Ganmadan—the Day of Annihilation, “when the shackled demons break their chain and answer the call of The Destroyer.”

All in all, there was too much telling and not enough showing in this episode, but it still had plenty of great moments along the way.

“I’m Narek, I’m going to kiss you and then creep you out.”

Some other random thoughts:

Raffi is reminding me of McCoy in a wonderful way, especially when she asked Picard if he was out of his “goddamned mind.” She calls him on his crazy behavior, then softens to discuss it more intimately with him. The Kirk-McCoy relationship is a beautiful one, and seeing echoes of it between Raffi and Picard adds even more depth to their connection. “The man can’t even take a guilt trip without using a starship,” she points out; I feel like McCoy would say this about Kirk in a heartbeat. (See Star Trek: The Motion Picture if you don’t believe me, where McCoy was the king of pointed asides.)

Raffi channels her inner McCoy.

Jurati didn’t have a lot to do in this one, but I like that she’s sort of the outsider of the group, not knowing what life aboard a spaceship is really about. She seems like a cross between Tilly and Reno from Discovery, doesn’t she? I also think (as has been suggested online and discussed on last week’s Shuttle Pod) that she may be a spy for Commodore Oh, but at this point I think she’s an unwitting one, who’s either doing the wrong thing for the right reasons, or has been brainwashed or manipulated in some way so she doesn’t really know what she’s doing.

Loved that Elnor remembered Data’s cat, and that Picard referred to Data’s daughters as “offspring” in a nod to the TNG episode “The Offspring” about his first daughter, Lal.

Rios’ interest in reading about “the existential pain of living with the consciousness of death and how it defines us as human beings” tells me that he’d really enjoy the final season of The Good Place. Also, I do think his holograms are hilarious. Sure, they’re silly, but so what?

How did I not realize that Zhaban, the Romulan played by Jamie McShane, is named after Michael Chabon? I didn’t notice it until the hospitality hologram said he’d gotten specifications from “Mister Cheebon.” D’oh.

The much talked about swearing doesn’t bother me one whit when it comes from a character who would naturally use it. I didn’t like it from Admiral Clancy because it felt forced, but I absolutely buy it from Rios.

The Romulan greeting “Jolan tru” should sound familiar to anyone who’s seen TNG’s “Unification” (which is begging for a re-watch this week) or Enterprise’s “United.”

Favorite lines:

Jurati: “Anyone else think the way of absolute candor sounds potentially annoying?”

Picard: “I allowed the perfect to become the enemy of the good.”

Zhani: “Children are demanding, distracting, and interfere with duty and pleasure alike.”

Zhani: “A promise is a prison. Do not make yourself another’s jailer.”

Jurati: “Space turns out to be super boring. Go figure.”

Next week: Crazy costumes on Freecloud.

The Ready Room

This week brought a produced package about the Qowat Milat and Elnor’s background, plus a piece about special effects featuring Jason Zimmerman. The “live” interview was with Santiago Cabrera (Rios), who talked a lot about how he’s been developing and thinking about the character. He says we’ll learn more about Rios’ history with Raffi, promised that Seven will stick around for a while, and revealed that when he was going through the rounds of hair and makeup tests and had down time, he’d take his scripts to La Sirena and read them there to help make the ship feel familiar to him. Now I like him even more.

The preview clip for episode 5 is different from the one attached to the episode on CBS AA, but no less silly. It’s going to be a wacky one.

Next week’s guest is Evan Evagora (Elnor), which is great, but can we get some more writers and directors on as well?


New episodes of Star Trek: Picard are released on CBS All Access in the USA on Thursdays. In Canada it airs Thursdays on CTV Sci-Fi Channel at 6PM PT /9PM ET and streams 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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Val Jean

Probably the most “Trek” feeling episode, due to Frakes directing, however i thought we were done doing ‘Avengers Assemble” and moving the story forward a bit.
Also, lens flares are making a comeback? Cmon Frakes thats so last decade now :/

They really need to get the momentum going, or the mainstream buzz is going to fade away.
Glad to see Seven at the end, and finally a space battle, the Romulan BoP looked gorgeous in 4K!

Learning more about Romulan culture is always great, nice to see that perhaps living away from the homeworld made the subcultures ‘re-emerge’ so to speak, as well as seeing some of the classic bowl cut Romulans in the bar.

Also nice to see Picard hasn’t forgotten how to fence, but at least it wasn’t a drawn out action scene for the sake of having him fight. It was strange though, that Elrond was upset at Picard, then out of nowhere comes and saves him by beheading? Sometimes its like the drama is only meant to last 1 minute, then you are supposed to forget about it.

The Borg cube scenes at this point are filler, and the sliding in our socks scene was just cringe! please move the story along! dont need Incestuous Lannister siblings either, keep that crap on HBO and give us more sci-fi :)

Rear Admiral Damien

How are you watching this in 4K?!

Nebula1701

Everything could be rendered in 4k then downscaled. So technically still right.

kmart

VFX are usually rendered in 2K; on a couple recent SyFy shows (KRYPTON s1?), they actually have done them at 1080. You can still ‘finish’ a show at 4K with 2K VFX (plenty of feature films do) — heck, you can shoot in 2.8K and finish at 4K, even if that sounds dumb like blowing up 16mm to 70mm, butlook at SKYFALL if you don’t believe me — but I’d be very surprised if VFX for TREk are rendered at 4K.

Yep, 99% certain the VFX are rendered in 2k. The final target output for these shows is 1080p with HDR, so I think that’s quite telling.

Vulcan Soul

1080p is so 2010s by now!

Mike Burnthem

Data is a strong confident wahmin now, just like Bat Wahmin, Doctor Woke, Jane Bond, Mikey Spock, Captain Marvel, Luke Skywalker, Ghostbusters, etc. But don’t you dare criticize anything, because that means you’re a bigot, you bigot, so there.

ValJean

At this point you’re just trolling mate and everyone knows lol. How the fk is Data a woman :/

ML31

There is a theory out there that data will come alive in the cyborg girl since they supposedly cloned him from one positronic diode or something. Hence, Data returns as a female. I find that theory ridiculously dumb on par with Lorca being from the MU. Normally I would dismiss it outright because of how lame it is but after seeing Discovery I fear this is a legit possibility.

Vulcan Soul

“Hence, Data returns as a female.”

And then they will insist this is an important statement about gender fluidity! ;)

ML31

“And then they will insist this is an important statement about gender fluidity! ;)”

*sigh*

If that is the case they would do just that, wouldn’t they?

Vulcan Soul

Would they really? Ever since before Discovery season 1 TPTB claim there are all sorts of crazy real world analogies in their scripts that don’t really hold up on the screen. These writers really have no idea how to write an appropriate and nuanced allegory, in the way TUC was, for example.

A34

Doctor Who is Female.

Pick Hard

Oh, go away, troll.

The Collector

What a fantastic reply! How open minded you are, Pick Hard. You could consider asking why he/she feels that way/has that opinion, but nah, tell them to go away and stay in your echo chamber.

dennycranium

Amazon Prime outside of US plays Picard and it’s broadcast at 4K.
Discovery is in 4K as well on Netflix outside of North America.
in North America and have a Prime and Netflix account? Get Express VPN. Log into Isle Of Mann location. Open Netflix or Prime- 4K! I recommend an Amazon Fire Stick or Fire Cube. And John Van Citters, if you’re reading this? I subscribe to CBS as well. An Express VPN sub is $100.00 per year. 5 people can share an account. So, if you want to have Discovery and Picard? Live in North America? You and 4 other friends pay for Express VPN. For $20.00 each per year you’ve got access to Picard and DSC.

Not correct. DSC is 1080p with HDR on Netflix. Currently Picard is 1080p without HDR on Amazon Prime for international folks.

The shows are not being produced in 4k.

There is no broadcast standard for 4k, CTV Sci-Fi (the only linear channel that shows Picard), is a typical HD cable channel in Canada, so what you’re saying is utterly inaccurate.

Anthony Thompson

You got smacked down, brother! : D

Levi

Picard is only aired in 1080p, it’s not playing in 4k on cbs AA, or amazon prime.

Mike Stein

It’s in 4K on my CBS-AA (Dolby Vision); CBS-AA
added Dolby Vision starting with the first episode.

Dolby Vision does not necessarily mean 4k. Picard (and Discovery) are 1080p with HDR (Dolby Vision).

Denny C

Are you watching on Amazon or the CBS-AA app? Playback on my LG OLED is in 2K using the CBS-AA app.

Joel

Actually, Picard is listed under 4K content on my Amazon account. It may not be true 4K but definitely looks higher definition than your standard 1080p content – which is to say, absolutely God dammed fabulous. Better than any trek before it, including both seasons of discovery

David T

Stop watching Trek as if you never saw it until TNG.

ML31

“It was strange though, that Elrond was upset at Picard, then out of nowhere comes and saves him by beheading?”

But come on… It’s an overused trope that everyone should have seen coming. I sure did. The trope of someone refusing help and then coming in ‘out of nowhere’ to save the day. They did it in Black Panther, too. There it was one trope in a movie filled to the brim with tired tropes and cliches. I was a little disappointed to see it here in Picard but I’ve gotten to the point of expecting such things. Maybe I’ve just grown too cynical?

Locutus

Most shows episodes are filled with tropes. The most I’ve come to expect are a few novel ideas. New spins on old tricks.

ML31

Some tropes are used more than others, however.

Eric

Seven of Nine was never a Starfleet Officer.

VZX

I thought the same thing. But did Seven join Starfleet when Voyager got back to Earth? I don’t know what happened after that.

Thorny

In the books she was some sort of Starfleet freelancer or liaison, I think.

alastair87

This is a totally different canon from the books so I guess we will have to wait and see.

ML31

No one knows what happened. The show ended with the ship approaching the Earth.

I’ve said this over and over… If there was one Trek in dire need of an epilogue it was Voyager.

Trellium G

“ Also, I do think his holograms are hilarious. Sure, they’re silly, but so what?”

Yeah sure the holograms are silly and I am sure the actor had fun playing them, but from a character perspective, I would be deeply concerned with the Captain’s mental health, you know, just for the sake of some believability when it comes to how others may react to that.

MysticalDigtial

Current theory, they are decoys since he seems to run into rough people.

Denny C

I suspect that that his EMH has adapted to his personality. It’s a reflection of who he is but, in the ned, the EMH knows him better than he knows himself and adapts to his moods and circumstances.

ML31

I find them to be fascinating aspects to his character. It was a rare clever thing to do.

TG47

It’s a clear innovation : and an absolute refutation of the opinions elsewhere in this thread arguing that everything is derivative.

Tiger2

I agree it was a really clever idea. Something very simple but it opens up both the character and pushes the tech in this era without going crazy with it.

The funny thing is, the character was mentioned in the original cast sheet that no one took seriously at the time as an EMH that was going to be on the ship. So the idea was always around for the character but it look like they decided on something more creative and just had Cabrera play different versions since it sounds like it was suppose to be a different actor completely.

blackmocco

“Space turns out to be super boring. Go figure.” Never thought I’d be agreeing with her four episodes in.

dennycranium

Stewart and Spiner have said this is a more character driven Trek. I really think the bulk of people who see this show will wait until it’s finished for the season and binge it on a weekend. For myself, the episodes go by quickly enough. It’s the wait in between episode (and seasons) that’s too long. :-) Outlander starts on Sunday and Killing Eve starts soon, as well!

Denny C

I have no problem with the pacing of this show. It’s deliberate. Their primary focus is telling a story.

Alan Light

And they are telling it superbly…love the show and how’s it is unfolding….

There’s a few things that just don’t seem to make sense. Why is Vashti a place of poverty in the 24th century where replicators are common in people’s homes (Federation)? They seem to have the most advanced planetary defense net that we’ve ever seen (a planet-wide force-field + weapons). Yet, they’re poor and angry at Picard for?
I just hate the scenes on the Borg Cube. Can’t one of the editors cut out further over-the-top, unnecessary evil & tasteless scenes in future episodes? I just don’t care for it and feel like “Evilyn” is just cheesy.
On first watch, I didn’t catch why the guy in the outdated Romulan Bird of Prey was attacking them, and why they just didn’t warp away.

So what was accomplished in this episode, plot-wise?
1. Picard gets a new person with fighting skills to join his mission.
2. 7 of 9 was in the area at the same time, for some reason, and she was beamed aboard after her ship disintegrates.
3. Soji initially found her way onto the cube for some reason (a mystery).
THE END

Vulcan Soul

About point 2, it was mentioned in background reports that Seven is with these Fenris Rangers that were protecting this planet and after that Romulan BoP, so her turning up was not quite the coincidence.

ML31

Where was this mentioned? I recall them mentioning those Rangers but not 7 of 9 specifically.

Vulcan Soul

I think Jeri Ryan herself mentioned it in one of her interviews. Sort of a spoiler for the next episode.

ML31

OK then, not in the show. So someone who was not immersed in such things would wonder what she was doing there. Not complaining… You introduce a character that causes people to wonder what she is doing there to begin with and it will probably get explained away. Hopefully plausibly.

Edward Samuela

Tasha Yar’s homeworld was a “failed” Federation colony in the 24th century, where factions fighting on the world eventually led to a collapse of government, poverty, and lawlessness (e.g., “rape gangs”).

And that happened on a world which presumably had replicators and was WITHIN Federation space.

My guess is that without Federation support, even with replicators and the tech we see, the amount of refugees there is too much for Vashti to deal with on its own, given the other forces which surround the planet in the area which Rios and Raffi mention.

Vulcan Soul

People forget that replicators dont operate with thin air but need fast amounts of energy. Maybe Vashti’s source of problems is energy shortage (why didn’t the Federation /Picard provide them with an M/AM power source?) And yeah, that defense grid is totally at odds with the situation on the ground (or does the defense grid use up most of the planet’s power production so nothing is left for food and industrial replicators?) In any case the grid mainly seems to exist to serve the plot logic why that BoP couldn’t just conquer the planet outright.

Nebula1701

I’d like to think the Defense grid was setup when times were good, but the infrastructure on the ground was never finished.

Vulcan Soul

A defense grid that uses a planet-wide force field is not a perpetuum mobile though; it must require vast amounts of energy that far surpasses the energy needed to run a few replicators that could mitigate the “poverty” in the settlement.

Webguest

I’d like this question to be adressed in another fan Q&A…Maybe Vashti once had a regular government that set up such a vast grid and made available some area of the planet for the relocation hub, but then that government was overturned or for some other reason no longer has diplomatic relations with the Federation? I didn’t get whether the relocation hub is just an area of an otherwise populated planet, or whether it’s the only thing on the planet

Webguest

My assumption was this Bird of Prey belonged to some local warlord who was already in a position of power on Vashti and had clearance in the grid?

Tiger2

My feeling too. It’s not just advance technology that makes a world thrive, its also how that world is governed as well. Look at our own society, most of us probably live in the richest countries on the planet and yet there is still poverty and crime. I know, I grew up in it. If the BEST countries on the planet with supposedly ideal governments and vast resources are still plagued with this, its not a shock lesser ones would be. No different in the universe of Trek.

If it was just a matter of giving every planet replicators and all the resources they need, then every planet should be able to thrive with everyone getting along. But it doesn’t work that way. It would still take a lot internal changes for those societies to function better and supposedly what it took Earth to learn while others like Tasha’s planet failed at.

Vulcan Soul

Sure distribution also matters, but I think the idea is that replicators and free energy foster an environment where division and strife caused by economic inequality no longer exists. What is the point of petty crime if most things can be had for free from replicators? Also, much of the division today stems from people of different socioeconomic classes growing up in vastly different environments and subsequently developing clashing world views. There should be much more homogeneity regarding this in a society where economic needs don’t matter and everyone grows up in an environment without material needs.

Webguest

Vashti seems to have been a relocation hub. So does this mean not the final destination of refugees but some kind of interim stop for redistribution to colonies? If so, things on Vashti may have been provisional and with the sudden end of the Federation’s involvement, the people there may have ended up stuck in a kind of provisional infrastructure with not a lot of ressouces. It reminds a bit of refugee camps that become permanent and armed militia taking control there or the general chaos in the wake of a regime ending.

dennycranium

We know at least some of the Federation was reluctant to help the Romulans. Admiral Clancey said as such to Picard in the “sheer f-ng hubris!” scene.
After Starfleet and Picard adandoned them , the regugees on Vashti (and lots of other Romulan settlements) had to make some difficult decisions. With no ongoing support from Starfleet, Vashti was vulnerable to outside attack. They most likely decided to divert energy resources to defense (allegories,anyone?) thus the decision to build the net around the planet. Heck, Starfleet could have put it there. If the plan was to drop refugees off, and then turn around and go back to get more Romulans? Starfleet may have wanted to leave automated defense for the first settlement.
Also, we fans who are familiar with the minutiae of canon,make up a smaller part of fandom. CBS is most likely trying to attract new viewers.
There’s also the whole suspension of disbelief as well! :-)

FASAfan

That defense net was ridiculous. We’ve never seen anything like that on “standard” worlds in Star Trek. There’s a lot I’m beginning to have to ignore in the series for my sanity’s sake – Cylons from BSG reboot, being another…

ML31

“Why is Vashti a place of poverty in the 24th century”

I think because even though it doesn’t make much sense, they need to show a physical manifestation of the result of the Star Fleet decision to halt the rescue. Suddenly their way of live magically deteriorated. It’s similar logic where in TV and movies that once you open all the cell doors in a prison all the inmates will pour out and go nuts.

And yes, the reality is it makes no sense to blame Picard personally for a decision that was made by officials much higher than him. But, to play devils advocate it might be possible there are a few who are irritated to the point where they NEED a PERSON to blame. Since they were interacting with Picard before he would seem to be an easy target. But again, being angry with him personally really seems misplaced when you think about it.

The show is being pretty simple and I was expecting something a little deeper for a “10 hour movie.” Or really a 7 1/4 hour movie based on the episode lengths.

But even with this post episode nit picking I still enjoyed this episode over the other three. By a LOT.

Webguest

Military budget before social expenditures? :-) just joking

Vulcan Soul

Definitely no Medicare For All on Vashti. People are losing their heads over it ;)

TG47

Rewatching the episode I noticed that Raffi describes the defence net as an earlier generation of a standard Romulan defence net that the planet acquired second hand.

We didn’t see enough of Romulan planets previously to know much about their defensive systems, but it’s totally believable that their paranoid and secretive culture would put a priority on defense nets.

Last, I vaguely recall some kind of defence net operating on the Romulan moon prisoner-of-war settlement (with Klingons) where Worf crashed in TNG. Can anyone confirm that?

Edward Samuela

-Picard’s white suit and hat in the flashback reminded me of what Klaus Kinski’s character wears in the Werner Herzog movie “Fitzcarraldo.” The film follows a character out of his element among a foreign people, trying to perform a Herculean task while not really understanding the natives or the people along for his trek.

-Vashti made me appreciate DS9’s “A Saint In Paradise” speech all the more. The Federation abandoning refugees to poverty, ethnic strife, and warlords may not seem to fit it’s prior history, but the same Federation abandoned Federation citizens over a peace treaty with the Cardassians (i.e., The Maquis), and allowed the Bajorans to endure holocaust conditions while they sat back and watched.

-The Romulan Free State and whatever other factions which may exist must not have much control over what used to be Romulan space, if an old Romulan Bird of Prey is able to be lord over the planet and the area is as fucked up as Rios and Raffi make it seem. Makes one wonder whether the “All Good Things…” aspect of the Klingons moving into former Romulan space may have happened.

-Picard is aware of her as “Seven of Nine” (apparently she hasn’t reverted to her human name), which makes me wonder if she is as famous within the Federation as Picard. Also, I wonder if we’ll get any mention of what’s happened with Voyager’s crew, especially Admiral Janeway?

Nebula1701

-Vashti made me appreciate DS9’s “A Saint In Paradise” speech all the more.

Indeed! I feel people forgot the story of the Federation treaty with the Cardassians and how the Federation turned their back on the colonies lost on the other side and the creation of the Maquis.

I wish I could forget it. It’s one of the worst things that was ever written on a Star Trek series.

Nebula1701

XD

Tiger2

Really? That is one of my favorite story lines. And I think it was the first time that showed a decision that ordinary Federation citizens didn’t agree with creating a real divide. It showed the Federation isn’t always completely united the way it always seemed on TOS and TNG and yes that Federation citizens can do questionable things like anyone if they are pushed hard enough.

And it goes against the false idea that the Federation is a utopia, even in the 24th century. People were still struggling to make a life for themselves on other worlds. Yes Earth may have been paradise, it doesn’t mean that’s true in every aspect of the Federation and the new treaty then made it even harder for me. It was realistic in many ways. But I know people doing terrorist acts may have went too far for some, but it’s still DS9. ;)

DeanH

I have read that Gene really wanted to show no conflict within the Federation and Starfleet in TOS, so there was certainly a sense of utopia in the original series. That all changed in many TNG episodes plus and other Berman Trek shows along with movies like The Undiscovered Country and Insurrection.

Tiger2

It’s funny DeanH, because people seem to have all kinds of various viewpoints on this. Several people here have sworn the 23rd was not meant to be a utopia at all. I don’t know if I completely agree with you either but yes it was certainly suppose to be an IDEAL society just as the 24th was, but less progressive than that one basically.

But I do agree with you, I don’t think Roddenberry wanted to show a divided Federation either and why I can’t think of any real stories that had that when he was around EXCEPT TUC and based on where you read he wasn’t exactly happy with that movie. ;)

We saw plenty of Captains, admirals, etc going rogue and doing bad things but never as the face of the Federation like later stories. And I understand why he wanted to present that view from an idealized viewpoint, but in terms of basic drama, its pretty boring and exactly why TNG was more of a slog in the beginning.

But since Picard started, I’m starting to realize people view the idea of utopia as a very different thing. As if everyone and everything in it is perfect without any struggles or problems. I still have no idea how people surmised that when it came to Star Trek since we seen plenty of people struggle and or be less than ideal people (hence the Maquis), they just have more resources to help them.

Vulcan Soul

“But I do agree with you, I don’t think Roddenberry wanted to show a divided Federation either and why I can’t think of any real stories that had that when he was around EXCEPT TUC and based on where you read he wasn’t exactly happy with that movie. ;)”

Also, TNG’s season 1 episode “Conspiracy” was meant to show an actual (internal) conspiracy within the upper echelons of Starfleet, but Roddenberry mandated it should be an external (alien) threat instead.

Picard seems to go both ways regarding this: there’s elements of division and disagreement within Starfleet, but also clear hints of alien (Romulan) infiltration it’s not clear yet to what extent (and whether both Oh and Clancy are part of it).

ML31

Actually DeanH, there was no sense of Federation utopia in TOS. In fact, one of the rules of the show was never go to Earth as it was something no one wanted touch. My thinking is it just would open up a can of worms about future society and such. So a lot of life in the Federation was just not commented on. People inferred things based on what little there was. It was TNG that hammered home the lack of internal strive in the Federation. And went even further when referring to Earth as a “paradise”. This was upended when the Marquis storyline was developed. It was after GR’s death, wasn’t it?

Nebula1701

I absolutely loved this ep! I don’t care that some thought it was slow. I ate the whole thing up! Slow stories with lore I love.

TG47

I loved it too.

I felt that seeing a Romulan relocation settlement was critical to making real the disaster of the supernova and the failure of the Federation to keep its commitments.

But it was also great to spend time on another planet that was not Earth. As 90s Trek went on, we spent less and less time out of ships, stations and caves. It’s good to see new places and explore cultures.

In fact in some ways, this episode made me think of New Eden in S2 of Discovery (also directed by Frakes). I’d say in this case we were offered more time on planet and more insight into the situation. I’m wondering if Valish (like Terralysium) may have yet more significance than has yet revealed.

Like others, I’m really struggling with the villains. I’m not sure that it wouldn’t have been better to keep them more of a mystery.

We haven’t historically had long scenes with villains away from the action with our principal characters. The only way that this would be worth the investment is if Narek turns out to be a double agent trying to save Soji, or if she turns him.

PaulB

TG47 “It’s good to see new places and explore cultures.” — Absolutely agreed!

I’mPaul

I loved the actual EXPLORATION of an alien culture in this episode. Plus it was beautiful to watch.

Tiger2

Loved this episode to death! Only had time to see it once but plan to watch it again tonight.

I basically said everything I wanted in the first thread but one thing I did forget to mention was how much more I liked Raffi in this episode. I was very mixed on her in her first episode but this one was a lot better for some reason. She was still a hard one to Picard but had some softer moments as well. And 100% less vaping or whatever its called in the 24th century. I really liked her here and she has great chemistry with Rios. Those two will be fun to see together.

Also, just a quick observation but I like how balanced the show is introducing other TNG era characters all been individually in nearly every episode:

-Episode One: Data
-Episode Three: Hugh
-Episode Four: Seven
-Episode Five: Maddox (or looks like him anyway)
-Episode Six: Riker and Troi (Marina Sirtis confirmed that’s when they show up)
-Episodes 7-10?: Who knows but I have a sneaky suspicion we are getting 1-2 more surprise appearances. ;)

Vulcan Soul

Was that Maddox lieing on the ground of that Casino Planet (called it!) in the preview?

Tiger2

That’s what’s I’m assuming but yes could be wrong. ;)

But he does resemble the original actor, just older obviously.

Vulcan Soul

If he’s in it, I’m glad we are not dragging out the Search for Maddox the same amount of episodes as The Search for Spock in Discovery. Though in relative terms, we are (50% of the season is over by next episode). While Discovery’s amount of twists and turns bordered on the ridiculous and really hurt plot snd character credibility, I do think Picard would benefit from a little bit more narrative density, especially for the Borg storyline that seems to go in circles while adding tiniest bits of substance episode by episode. While a slower pace is nice I have to agree that these 4 episodes could easily been shown as a two parter in TNG without losing anything of substance – and that show was hardly a rollercoaster ride by modern standards either!

Thorny

Just FYI, the new “Star Trek: Picard” (Season 1, Chapter 1) soundtrack seems to have tracks from Episode 5. And two of the titles have a pretty big spoiler.

retwe

A true star trek up to this episode. I had to wait 30 years for this :)

DeanH

Good bordering on very good. I would rate E4 somewhere between 3.5 – 4.0. Overall I was happy to see the story move forward and characters continue to develop. I have to admit I really enjoyed MOST of the episode. There is some very good writing but there are also more than a few bothersome issues which should have been easily caught by the writers and editors. The review above caught the lack of instructions to beam up two. When Picard is in the holo-suite, why do the flames in the fireplace continue to burn when he pauses the program? The inclusion of swearing seems to add absolutely no value whatsoever, very cumbersome and useless. Finally, adding Jeri Ryan’s name to the opening credits completely ruins any surprise factor of the final scene – we all knew it was Seven because Ryan was listed as a guest star. The producers could clean up a few of these knits and the show would have been outstanding, instead it was very good, IMHO.

Vulcan Soul

Alot of you seem to actually sit through the opening credits instead of skipping them. I’m not a fan of the theme and the Discoveryesque opening montage anyway, so not being spoiled is just added benefit :)

DeanH

I personally like the opening score of Picard, but would gladly FF, but it is broadcast up here in Toronto on a specialty cable channel – so not only do we have to wait until 9:00 p.m. ET to watch, but we also have to sit through the opening credits because it is on live TV. It seems that CBSAA has its advantages after all – psst don’t tell all the streaming naysayers.

TG47

DeanH, we have BellMedia’s Fibe service and just wait until 9:15 pm to start watching on the television connected to the PVR that is recording the episode.

While it won’t work with the Fibe app on a phone or tablet, with the television we can fast forward through anything that’s already been recorded. This feature seems to have been added with a major update to Fibe last summer.

I’m not sure when crave posts the episodes, but that is another option.

DeanH

Haha that is of course true and an easy fix just to you the Bell Fibe PVR, but I am a dinosaur who still loves to watch live tv as it happens. That said as someone suggested on another thread, just don’t read the credits while still listening to the music another easy fix. I guess my point was, the producers could have made the show even better than it was, simply by making a few small inexpensive edits. No matter what, E4 was good to very good and once again, looking forward to E5.

ML31

So record the show. Start watching 15 minutes into it and then FF through the opening titles and the commercials. Problem solved. The one and only one advantage CBSAA has over Space in Canada is you have to wait until 9pm to watch. A trade off I would gladly make to avoid CBSAA.

Nelson

I feel like they’re trying to tie discovery post apocalyptic federation with synths being the destroyers.

Legate Damar

This is my favorite episode apart from the pilot so far. I do find the scenes on the Borg Cube a bit slow, but its not too bad. I like Soji, and Narek isn’t too bad. I just find Rizzo to be kind of weird.

Vulcan Soul

“I just find Rizzo to be kind of weird.”

Nooooo crawling into your brother’s bed and choking him is totally normal! It seems Romulan siblings dont play “rock, paper, scissors” but “pain and violence” ;)

MysticalDigtial

I’m beginning to think they are not siblings really.

ML31

Maybe Romulan society doesn’t frown on such sibling behavior?

TG47

I’m concerned that the writers feel the need to find some moral boundaries to cross to make villains be clearly villains.

In Discovery it was Klingons and MU humans eating other sentient peoples and Control dumping humanoids into space and replacing them, in Picard it’s incestuous vibes.

Something about that kind of characterization of antagonists grates against Trek values of coming to understand and find common ground with apparent enemies. It also seems to suggest that not all the writers understand the lesson of The Saints of Imperfection.

I wish they would find another, better way to make antagonists threatening and heighten suspense.

ML31

When DS9 went to the MU they had MU Kira be super pansexual, too. As if that is abhorrent behavior to make the evil side of the mirror more evil.

odradek

@MysticalDigtial

I agree. In this very episode we hear women referred to as sisters in a sense other than siblings. Maybe members of Zhat Vash call themselves brothers and sisters too without being related by blood.

TG47

Interesting thought odradek.

Dr C

Not the most exciting episode.

I respectfully disagree. When Picard faced off against that bar full of Romulans I thought that was pretty tense (even though I knew Picard wasn’t going to die). I enjoyed him throwing that “Romulans only” sign to the ground.

The dialogue between Picard and his crew in the virtual ready room was plenty exciting – particularly seeing “JL” act more like “Captain Picard” (door chime, “come!”) – this was repeated after the battle (“on screen”) at the end where Picard naturally slid back into the captain’s role, before apologising to Rios.

Soji moving her head like Data was plenty exciting!

Not much happens? Plenty happened in this episode!

I’ve heard people already complaining about the “slow” pace of this episode – I loved the slower pace here. I appreciate the breathing room. I enjoyed the interaction between the characters. Jurati is becoming a firm favourite.

When did Trek have to become this fast-paced, story point per second rollercoaster?

Member TNG? Didn’t people used to complain that Star Trek was slow and boring? Or that Into Darkness moves so quickly to allow for covering up plot holes?

I have a theory that some of PIC’s detractors have boiled TNG down into a handful of episodes (and ignored the whole 24th century era including DS9 and VOY) and are comparing PIC to that handful.

I actually thought this was the best ep of PIC so far.

Disclaimer: my favourite TOS movies are TMP and TSFS. That likely informs the above.

VZX

I agree that this was a very thrilling episode. I also like the slow burn. It reminds me of the early seasons of Breaking Bad. I would much rather watch the characters talk about how boring space travel is than watch explosions every two minutes. But we did get some decent space-battle action this episode!

I think the people that complain about the slow pace of this series are fans of the Michael Bay + Bob Orci type of films. Nothing wrong with that, it’s just not what I like.

RikersMailbox

I can’t help think that incorporating Picard’s study as a holodeck program was a production shortcut. Interested to hear the decision behind that.

Edward Samuela

My guess is that it’s a budget shortcut.

Instead of having to build a new set for La Sirena, whenever they need to get the group together or isolate a few of the characters for a convo, they use the pre-existing chateau set, which effectively serves the same function that Picard’s Ready Room did in TNG, and saves the show money to be used on other things.

Although, arguably they could have just shot the same scenes on the bridge and it would have made no real difference to the story.

Also, it didn’t really ring true to me. Picard never struck me as a guy that needed reminders and comforts of home. I just can’t see him going through the trouble of getting the computer to recreate the exact detail of his chateau.

Olaf

Exactly. And he also explicitly stated in the last episode that it never really felt like home to him, so why would he have *that* recreated (instead of say his Enterprise-D ready room for example)? Still good it’s not the actual chateau on earth (i.e. they going back every episode or two).

RikersMailbox

I agree. A ready room with four walls, a table and chairs would have been more true to character. Plus, Picard is a fish-out-of-water on La Sirena as it’s not his ship. Making Captain Rios meet in Picard’s virtual study screws up the power dynamic and makes Picard seem a bit elitist.

TG47

To me, it’s a sign of Picard’s age.

Older people, especially those with cognitive issues (parietal lobe abnormality), do better in their own space with its subliminal cues. Zhaban and Laris were concerned about how Picard would manage, so sending the holo of study along with him would be a natural way to ground him as he takes risks and goes into new environments at that age.

More than that, I’m not sure that Rios has the furniture for a ready room for Picard. Certainly, ordering the replication of a suite of furniture for Picard might have left traces that Oh could follow. Directly sending an encrypted file of a space Picard had previously selected would make better sense. Imitating a standard Starfleet captain’s ready room would have overstepped his role on Rio’s ship, not to mention offending Rios, Raffi and any of the rest of the crew who had issues with Starfleet.

By the way, the whole ship interior seems to be more of a holodeck rather than filled with material objects. This kind of makes sense in terms of adaptability in a ship with little storage space.

RikersMailbox

TG47, fair point.

Tiger2

Man, I swear we do over analyze every little thing lol. I don’t know why anyone is suggesting its a sign of some power grab by Picard. I don’t think the idea was for people to come to talk to him there like he was the boss, he just wanted a piece of home as you said but then others just happen to come in to talk to him when he was there. If he wasn’t sitting behind the desk but on the couch I don’t think anyone would assume he was doing it as anything other than trying to make himself at home on a strange ship.

And that’s the funny thing as you mentioned, that’s why he DIDN’T replicate a Ready Room, he’s not the captain on the ship or trying to be. It’s bizarre people would even suggest it. Now THAT would look like a power grab lol.

RikersMailbox

I didn’t say that a power grab was taking place. I said that having Rios meet in Picard’s virtual den screws up the power dynamic, or rather, it may create tension. Whether they address it in the show remains to be seen. Picard does have elder statesman status, so we’ll see how Rios handles it.

Tiger2

“And he also explicitly stated in the last episode that it never really felt like home to him, so why would he have *that* recreated (instead of say his Enterprise-D ready room for example)?”

He’s saying being on Earth never felt right vs being out in space. It doesn’t mean he hated being on the Chateau, he just missed exploring and what he considers his true calling; those are two different things. Now he sort has the best of both worlds (I love using that anytime I could lol).

Mark

Perhaps they got the idea from the novel Takedown, where Admiral Riker brings a holodeck version of his quarters on the Titan when he moves to the Aventine.

RikersMailbox

“Computer, I wish to create a room that looks like an early 21st century television show set, complete with plywood, cardboard, and folding chairs.” Boom, save even more money.

VZX

I think it’s they wanted more use out of their expensive chateau set. To “get their money’s worth.” Also, it’s always good to move the action to different locations once in a while.

Tiger2

Well that’s obvious, of course. But I think its also a nice way to show Picard is older now/more settled and he’s easing back into the whole ‘space thing’ so it really works. I could be wrong on this, but I think its been suggested he has not left Earth at all in the fourteen years since his retirement and only been on is Chateau, so it makes sense. And I imagine people probably use the holodeck to revisit their home worlds, recreate their homes, etc, when they were away on long away missions. That was always part of the reason to have them.

ML31

I suggested that in the thread in the other article. It was done as a money saver. To get more use out of the study room set. Or to justify spending as much money on the set as they did. The reasoning is it just felt weird they would have a holo recreation of a room from his mansion.

RikersMailbox

Picard should have booked passage on La Sirena under a pseudonym, let’s say “Mot the Barber.” Then, while in his holodeck study, he argues with Rafi, ends the program and as he’s surrounded by a black room with a gold grid he says, “This…this is my home now, my future. I have sacrificed everything. It must NOT be in vain. Arrange a meeting between myself and Captain Rios. Tell him… Admiral Picard wishes to see him.

Pick Hard

It surprised me to hear the line “Children are demanding, distracting, and interfere with duty and pleasure alike,” because it’s grammatically incorrect. I would have expected a warrior nun to speak with more precision.

TG47

Not grammatically incorrect (children are, children interfere) but definitely faulty parallelism.

But since parallelism is a particular feature of English (and it’s many ellipses), I don’t think it’s an issue for a non-native speaker like a Romulan nun.

(You can tell that I’ve spent a lot of time writing with bright colleagues who aren’t native English speakers trying to explain why maintaining a consistent structure is important and how faulty parallelism makes things so unreadable for Anglophones.)

Vulcan Soul

Maybe you could explain to THIS non-Native then how is that a “faulty parallelism”? :)

TG47

Ok VS, the two phrases within the sentence don’t have the same verb structure : one phrase has ‘children are demanding’, the second phrase after and has ‘children interfere’.

While both phrases have verbs that are correctly conjugated, good parallelism would have have the either the form “Children are demanding, distracting and interfering” or “Children distract, demand and interfere”.

If this were French, the noun/pronoun for children would have to repeat before the the verb “Children and distracting, demanding and they interfere”, but English permits the second noun/pronoun to be elipsed, as long as the structure is parallel.

Parallelism is definitely a thing that anglophone ears are tuned for, much the way other European languages tune for agreements and declensions.

Vulcan Soul

Thank you!

To my mind, “demanding” and “distracting” have an adjective function here (no object) so the verb is “are” (as a copular verb) and matches with “interfer” which does have an object. To wit, this becomes more obvious if we replace this by real adjectives: children are unruly and noisy, and (they) interfer…

The linguistic divide seems as insurmountable as the cultural one ;) But that’s fine, my personal philosophy is “peaceful coexistence”. Even if some here would decry that as “isolationism” ;)

KenL

What I’m loving about Picard is how deliberate it is. It’s not trying to wow the viewer with unnecessary action. It’s evolving at a pace that tells us we’re watching a character based story that is moving forward based on what the story dictates, not based on what someone feels is necessary to plug into an episode. And I am loving Patrick Stewart as this older Picard. It feels genuine, and if he feels slower or quieter in this story, well he IS older. A great creative endeavor by all.

John Bigbootee

Good review, thanks Laurie!

In some preview/promotional short I’ve seen in the past few weeks somewhere, there was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it clip of Dr Jurati undergoing a mind meld. So I figure, it’s Oh, melding and manipulating Agnes. She may not even realize she’s an undercover spy at this point. Really like her character, so here’s hoping she snaps out of it!

Chancellor Gowron

If that’s the case, that would mean that Oh really is a Vulcan.

TG47

Or are there Romulans in the Khat Vash that can do mind melds?

If Romulans have telepathic ability and can do mind melds it would be fairly scary, and it would need to be hidden under the double layer of secrecy of the Khat Vash.

More to the point, the revelation of hidden secrets inherent in the mind melds or other forms of telepathy would be a deep violation for Romulans.

Which makes me wonder about it all the more, especially given how telepathic violation was a theme in Nemesis.

boborci

How’s Picard? Any good?

Chancellor Gowron

Yeah.

Mark

Yes. It is.
It’s not free of stereotypes and strange elements like sword fighting Romulans.
But in general it is good. Slow paced. But…gives Stewart the opportunity to play … makes it worth it.

Andy

You should check it out

Also anytime you want to leak your unused script that would be cool too :)

Alan Light

It is wonderful, Mr. Orci. Have missed your presence.

blackmocco

Ehh.

ML31

That depends on who you talk to.

Until this episode I found it to be slow, cliched, simple and contained too much fan service. But there is hope as this last episode, while there was some fan service I did enjoy it overall. So let’s see what the remaining 6 episodes offer.

Danpaine

Honestly for me, the week-wait between episodes has been a giant momentum-killer thus far. If you haven’t tuned in yet, recommend waiting until the season is over, binge it.

ML31

I find that to be a bit true. It must have been terrible watching The Mandelorian on a weekly basis. Their episodes were even shorter! I watched it over the course of three days during my free trial. But I’m such a Trek fan, God help me, I want to see these as soon as they come out.

TG47

Hi boborci. Good of you to drop in.

It’s a very different flavour of Trek, but so far good to excellent (barring some scene-dragging villains).

Haven’t tried bingeing it yet, but it might be worth waiting for.

Just Another Salt Vampire

It is the best Star Trek since your 2009 movie.

TG47

Nice to have you back too Salt!

Thorny

I think it is good. It seems to be about Jean-Luc Picard being a broken man because of a disaster 14 years before and now he is trying to get back in the saddle. It is moving a bit too slowly, perhaps, especially one plotline about the Borg, and anyone looking for a phaser fight or fist fight or two in every episode will be disappointed.

ML31

I wouldn’t call him “broken”. Disappointed with an organization he spent his career working for, sure. But he comes across to me as, with a few exceptions to be expected that come with advanced age, the same self confident guy he was 22 years ago.

FASAfan

I dunno guys… I’ve read all the comments here so far as of this (my) post.

Four episodes in and, I’ve waited four weeks for this? I get “deliberate storytelling”; I get ” slow pace = exploring the story/setting/characters”, but we are basically half-way towards the end of the season, folks. What has really happened?

Mike Burnthem

It’s extraordinarily slow. We haven’t even gotten to Riker and Troi yet. How long until the damn story actually starts? The plot is going nowhere, just melodrama for melodrama’s sake, as discovery does. No doubt it won’t actually begin and will all be wrapped up in the last two episodes. I have no interest in baiting a cliff hanger at the end either. If they pull that one I’m done. I can not stand never ending stories like soap operas, just not my bag.

I’m a sci-fi fan, not a fantasy fan and not a mystery fan. Nothing much in this show to appeal to me yet, and it’s certainly not Star Trek IMHO.

John

I will skip episodes, then only watch final three. I mean, I love exploring characters, and actually love slower moving movies, but the plot has to move forward! Have we even finished the first act of the story? Also, this series is not good for repeat viewing. If I do rewatch, it will only be first episode and last three. It would have been better if they made bundles of 3 episodes that round of a little story arc, and introduces a plot twist or revelation. That would have kept my interest. Heck, Enterprise season 3 was more entertaining for me than this, although the story did become less interesting towards the end. And Enterprise is my least favorite Berman era Trek. Every so many days I watch a Berman era Trek episode, and I like the tight storytelling. Even in the last season of DS9 with the continuous storyline, the storytelling remains tight. Ira Behr did a wonderful job.

ML31

After two short Discovery seasons and nearly half way through the Picard short season, I am tempted to say that Trek is just not suited to season long story arcs. But Enterprise’ 3rd season says that is not the case. I think it more has to do with the producers and writers. If Enterprise can have a satisfying season long story arc (over 22 episodes!!) then why is it so hard for Secret Hideout’s crew to come up with something that works over 10-13 episodes? Once could argue with fewer episodes the task should even be easier. Yet they failed miserably twice. The jury is still out on the third attempt but the fact that they plodded along for three episodes to say what they could have said in one is not a very good sign.

John

The problem is, Enterprise season 3 was made for traditional broadcast network TV. So it is made in such a way that it has to keep the audience engaged and hooked. The writers and producers of yesteryear knew that they had to do the stories in a specific way for it to work for the audience and to keep them. These requirements have changed with streaming. You’ll also see that episodic drama is tighter on broadcast TV than it is on streaming platforms. That’s because it’s written around the requirements of breaks for commercials (yes, annoying). Once you cut out the commercials, however, what’s left is a very tightly written story. Every act (of around 5 per episode) has to lead up to some sort of revelation, plot twist, etc. This knowledge on how to structure an episode of TV is gone when writers and producers have only worked for feature film and streaming platforms. And certainly people from the literary world don’t have much knowledge at all on how to structure compelling episodic TV, or compose great seasonal TV arcs. In conclusion, streaming give writers lots of creative freedom, but many times it is restraint that give better results. The writers who worked at the height of broadcast TV (80s, 90s, early 2000s) fare better at making compelling current day TV. And while Kurtzman did begin with broadcast TV, working on Hercules and Xena, he was not a showrunner and he did most of his work for feature film or as one of many producers for various shows.

ML31

However, for over the air dramatic TV season long story arcs have been a thing for decades now. Streaming shows doing it is not new or unique. Even short season shows is not a streaming thing as HBO had been doing that for years themselves. At this point, anyone who has worked in TV has worked on season long story arcs unless they worked exclusively in comedy. I have not kept track of the breaks on Picard but CBSAA does have them. And the shows are all in the low 40 minute range. About the same length as an over the air show. There are a ton of similarities between a CBSAA show and a CBS show. The only real difference is total number of episodes. It’s hard to tell if you are defending what we are getting from the Picard producers or making excuses for them. Regardless, it very much feels to me like no one working for Trek these days has any idea how to map out a season long story arc. Which is weird because if feels like nearly every other show out there is doing a better job at storytelling. This assessment is based on two Discovery seasons and 4 of 10 Picard episodes. Picard is certainly salvageable but they have made mistakes already.

alphantrion

I am wondering if Vashti was named after Vash? Also I know we haven’t seen it yet, but I don’t like the idea of “Freecloud”. Casino planets are more Star Wars things, I don’t think they necessarily work with Trek. Was it just me or the space battle at the end looked a bit low-budget, like it was made back in the early 2000s when Enterprise was still running? I think we can do more epic and better looking space battles at a lower budget now or I think we should be able to. I know it will never look as realistic as models, but the way that Bird of Prey was disabled looked like a mid 2000s space simulator.

TG47

I keep wondering whether they wouldn’t do better by making largish physical models and then digitizing them rather than building them models digitally.

alphantrion

Good point I remember ILM used to do that often back in the day. But I guess just making them all digital is the cheaper option.

Thorny

Well, Kirk and Scotty were at some strip club (or as much as 1960s TV could suggest) on a planet in “Wolf in the Fold”, as was Pike and the Green Vina in “The Cage”. Throw in the Pleasure Planet of Risa in TNG and DS9, Quark’s Club on DS9 (O’Brien and Dax seemed to know plenty about gambling) and all those underworld and Orion Syndicate mentions in DS9, and a Casino Planet in the Federation doesn’t seem all that unlikely to me.

I haven’t seen the trailer. Is it really a Casino Planet, or just a casino on some random planet?

TG47

Thorny, I think it’s fairly clear that La Sirena is in a part of the Beta Quadrant beyond Federation space.

Vashti is a relocation planet with a mixed population (old neutral zone?). It’s relying on the Ferris Rangers not the Federation for security.

So there is no reason to assume Freecloud, which seems further out, is under Federation control.

ML31

So my reaction to the review…

First, I disagree with your disagreement. Those first three episodes were methodically slow and very little happened in them. They easily could have been condensed to two and lost nothing. Better yet, they could have even been one 75 minute episode. Even though this one still is kinda in “set up” mode as you suggest, it was a million times more interesting. In the end, if FELT like the story moved. Unlike those first three.

Normally I can agree with you about Stewart playing Picard. Stewart was by far the best actor in the TNG cast and his acting chops and charisma alone made mediocre episodes eminently watchable. So far I cannot say the same about him playing Picard now. He has definitely lost that charisma in his advanced age. The boring character he made watchable in the past is now just boring. Nearly everyone around him is more interesting than he is. Save for perhaps the Jane Bourne and the Romulan wonder twins.

You picked up on the “him” “he” and whatnot when referring to the pilot of the craft. But while you found it to be perfectly fine I found it to be the opposite. Only the most oblivious of viewers would not realize the pilot would turn out to be a “she”. It was telegraphed from miles away and pounded home with the subtlety of ‘Let That be Your Last Battlefield.’ Even if you didn’t see the opening titles and notice Jeri Ryan’s name. If you did, you knew it was her before they even dished out the first male pronoun. I found it to be lazy and insulting to the audience.

It was nice to FINALLY get a little clue about what the spies’ goal is. And to be honest, it’s not an unreasonable idea. If there are an army of Jane Bourne cyborgs out there that is a VERY scary thing. God only knows what could or might set them off. Eliminating something that unstable doesn’t sound like the worst idea in the galaxy. But let’s wait and see what else transpires on that front.

Comparing Rafi-Picard to Kirk-McCoy I did find interesting. I didn’t see it but the way it was explained in the review… I do agree there are echos of it. And the way she talks to him cements the idea that their relationship (friendship) developed beyond what he developed with anyone on the E-D,E. If Picard did have someone like Rafi on the E-D it might have made him and that other character a little more interesting.

The fact that I have yet to hear any whining about the swearing in THIS episode tells me it is not so much the word but how it is used. It was completely wrong from the C in C. But was fine from Rios.

Vulcan Soul

The pronoun thing also rubbed me the wrong way (in the review, not the episode). It was blindingly obvious to me this was meant as a sort of narrative red herring (or should I say, sledgehammer) to throw us off about who’s on that ship, only to do the opposite: even without having watched the opening credits, I knew immediately Seven must be on that ship. So clumsy writing it was, not some grand statement about the ‘evil patriarchy’. We do have behind the scenes interviews for that :)

Dwight Abernathy

A comment on “The Ready Room” … is it just me, or does Will Wheaton do a great job interviewing his guests, but sort of talks down to us viewers?

John Bigbootee

I don’t get that sense at all. We all see what we all see, I guess😜

Heywood Jaquitit

On the contrary, I would bet that “Hey Nerds” is how he greets his closest friends.

Logician

Really liked this episode, and the ongoing development of Romulan culture. I am left wondering precisely what the “big-picture” situation of the Romulans is at this point — there’s a Romulan Free State, which apparently controls the Artifact and (from the looks of it) has modern starships (Valdore-class-ish) patrolling its perimeter, but are there other notional successor states to the Romulan Star Empire? What happened to the Star Empire’s fleet — is it under the Free State’s control, or were the assets dispersed among successor states a la the Soviet military? Or has most of the fleet been lost in the chaos since the destruction of Romulus — perhaps as warlords vied for power, or as some other empire (maybe the Klingons?) took advantage of the Romulans’ weakness to start a war and seize territory?

For that matter, just how many Romulans survived the supernova? We’ve heard that Picard’s goal was to rescue 900 million (presumably the population of Romulus and Remus) — without the Federation’s help, how many were the Romulans able to evacuate? Were most saved, but left in poverty by the hasty nature of the evacuation? Or was there some sort of denialism or political infighting that meant that most everyone in the Romulus system died? And, just how many Romulans were living off-world in the first place?

I for one thought that a warlord with a (presumably retrofit) “antique Bird of Prey” made sense if Vashti had really become a backwater (think of a Mad Max type situation in space — if you’ve got ex-senators at dusty cantinas wearing swords, even an old warship would be rather shiny and chrome). And the planetary shield stuff — sure, why not. It’s plausible that they’d have some cutting-edge stuff but some antique stuff, in light of the general scarcity. But if Vashti had been a “relocation hub” and thus (presumably) a relatively important planet, and could be ruled by a warlord with a Bird of Prey (not even a warbird!) I’m very curious about the wider Romulan context.

Hopefully they’ll continue to drip information about the state of galactic affairs — they’ve been doing a good job thus far. (And FWIW, I feel like they’ve already vastly outperforming Discovery as far as world-building goes — nothing about the Klingon war made sense if you stopped to think about it, whereas 2399 feels fairly well thought-out.)

TG47

Logician, while the Federation’s commitment cited in the interview was to relocate 900 million outside the blast radius, that was not the entire affected population.

In the flashback to 2385, Raffi states clearly that there were billions living in the blast radius.

So, we know that the Federation made a commitment to work with the Romulans relocate a portion of the population, but the Federation was not the only actor.

Logician

Ah, got it. Thanks for the clarification

NC Trekker

Spock and Picard, two giants of the Federation, tried their level best to help/save the Romulans and fell short. So Romulans are murdering mad at them both. Does that make sense?

FASAfan

I was thinking the same thing! Nero in ST09 and now these Romulans murderously hate the Federation for daring to lift a finger to help them out. Not good.

Chancellor Gowron

In their minds, Picard just gave up. He promised to help them, lost Federation support, and then just abandoned them to hide out on his vineyard.

Heywood Jaquitit

In Romulan society, when a person of apparent good will tries to do something and fails, 9 times out of 10 it’s because they were part of a secret conspiracy and they intended to fail all along. So of course the Romulans are mad at Spock and Picard.

TG47

Spot on, Heywood Jaquitit.

My only question is why Picard hasn’t already understood that this is how the majority of Romulans would read the situation.

Wouldn’t Laris have drummed this into his head already? Or, have Laris and Zhaban, out of kindness. been protecting Picard more than has been good for him?

TonyD

I found the episode to be lackluster, which is pretty much how I feel about the entire series to this point. I don’t mind the slower, more deliberate pace and I think the main cast is by and large good. Certain creative decisions like the current day wardrobe designs or the forced profanity feel off but don’t break the show.

Where the show falters for me is in its derivative nature. Every plot point seems to be lifted from something else, the Qowat Milat being the latest example as they come across as a low rent version of the Bene Gesserit from Dune. Elnor’s Bruce Lee turn feels similarly uninspired nor does it hold up to close scrutiny as a phaser at medium distance would make short work of him and whoever he is trying to protect. The Fenris Rangers also sound somewhat like the Rangers from Babylon 5.

The scenes on the Borg ship are particularly tedious, be it Soji and Narek’s relationship that goes nowhere – it makes no sense to me how Soji gets into bed (literally) again and again with someone she does not trust – or the whole sibling sexual tension thing with Narek and Narissa that is so hockey and cliched as to be cringe inducing every time those two are on screen together. That scene with Soji and Narek and the “Borg ritual” was another low point as it really went nowhere. I also find the dialog in these scenes hard to follow, though every other part of the show is easy to understand.

Overall, the show just feels like it’s telling a very thin story that is being strung along way more than it needs to, with too much being revealed by simple exposition, too many detours that feel like filler and too many extraneous subplots being introduced, probably in an effort to try to hide the fact that there is so little to the main story (Picard wants to find Soji and figures out what she is).

Mike Burnthem

You are absolutely correct.

John

Haha! The current day wardrobe designs in Picard, especially the visible buttons and zippers, or the collared shirts, really do put me out of the world of TNG that I’m so familiar with. When I watch Picard, I feel like it takes place in 2030 instead of the 24th century! I’m so used to Blackman’s designs, and his eye to create clothing without any buttons or visible zippers, his very sharp and tailored Starfleet uniform designs, and those weird casual clothing with overlapping fabric. It being so different is what I like about TNG. Anyways, you are right about the story elements and the plot points. It would have been better to just make maybe two or three 1 1/2 hour specials and make a tight story. Also, I don’t like the simple exposition by moving to a different POV. I want Picard to find out things through investigation, so that we are as surprised by things as he is. That would be so much more emotional.

TG47

John, I understand where you are coming from about the point of view.

I would be okay with points of view from Picard and his new crew, and from Soji, each exploring their own side of the mystery.

I agree though that seeing what the Romulan villains are up to is undermining the suspense. In fact, it’s distancing me from Soji rather than catching me up into her story.

John

Yes, agree the POV with his crew would be okay if it’s part of Picard’s mission/journey/quest. So Picard and his companions slowly unravel the mystery, and we become very emotionally engaged in their journey. And the suspense of what is working against them will be very impactful.

But, yeah, turning to a villain POV kills everything for me in Picard. It’s the way they do it. Picard’s journey of unravelling a mystery has hardly begun. So it’s best to leave us in suspense until he finds out something new, and we can go: ooooh. Not saying it couldn’t or shouldn’t be done, that villain POV. A series like Buffy frequently had reveals from the villain POV. But those moments came to make the revelation impactful to our main characters. It is always a very tightly chosen reveal for specific plot moment to get us to say: uh-oh. I think TNG was always sparse with a villain POV, if any, and mainly had things from the perspective of the main characters.

quarkpt

I had a number of problems with this episode:

1. Almost right out of the gate, Dr. Jurati gets the number of stars in the galaxy wrong by a factor of 100. The writers could have gotten this right with literally 15 seconds of googling. Not good.

2. Picard’s abandonment of the Romulans when the Starfleet rescue mission imploded. Seriously? Am I the only one who thinks this is totally out of character for him, given the stakes and how strongly he feels / felt about it? I would imagine him doing everything possible, even after leaving Starfleet, to organize as much rescuing as he could: go on the 24th century version of TV, beg for private ships to participate in a 24th century Dunkirk, etc.

3. The entirety of the trip to Vashti, the recruitment of Elnor, and the arrival of Seven of Nine seems like “things the characters are doing because the plot requires it.” Really, you’re going to take a detour from a time-critical mission to maybe, possibly pick up one (1) additional supporter?

4. Similarly: why did Picard take away the “Romulans only” sign and try to get bar service? Seriously, why? How did wasting that time and putting himself at risk of a pointless death help him to save Soji, who’s in such immediate danger that she may already be dead? How is this something that Jean-Luc Picard, the captain of the Enterprise and later Admiral, would think is the correct decision?

So I guess in general this episode felt to me like lazy, careless writing, which is a pity since the first 3 episodes felt much stronger than this one in that regard.

FASAfan

Well said.

There’s a lot of things “out of character” about this show: Jean Luc is one, the Federation itself is another.

IMHO if fourteen member worlds threatened to secede if the Romulan rescue continued, the rest of the Federation would have called their bluff and wished them good luck with that.

ML31

I think that would have depended entirely on who the member worlds were.

Logician

Re: #2, I don’t think we can rule out the possibility that Picard did precisely that, but to no avail. Even if some civilian group or groups had the capacity to help (which, based on all we’ve seen of the 24th century, is a big if; for a modern-day analogue, think perhaps of all the famines that still occur around the world — there’s food everywhere, but logistics are hard), would they want to risk running afoul of those factions in Starfleet and the Federation that opposed the rescue? Would even those in Starfleet who did support the rescue be willing to countenance a massive civilian intervention in galactic affairs independent of Starfleet? It would be like the US government letting some psycho border militia go after Mexican cartels in Mexico. States don’t like certain types of actions occurring without their supervision.

I think the underlying point is, Picard without the uniform is just a man — he may have some degree of celebrity, for all his heroism in defeating the Borg attempts to assimilate Earth, but without Starfleet to back him, he can’t do very much. And the realization of that fact — and the angst over whether he played his cards right in pushing for the rescue, particularly his bluff of resignation — are plausible for me to explain why he didn’t call Raffi, didn’t visit Vashti and Elnor, etc. There was nothing he could do after he resigned, and he knew it. So he did small things, like sponsor Laris and Zhaban, and speak out about the need to help the refugees, and otherwise just lied to himself that it would all somehow work out.

Re: #4, I had the same thought myself — maybe he was just feeling cantankerous, and wanted, however futilely, to express his anger at the fact that this once-promising society had deteriorated into segregationism? Or maybe he thought he’d spur Elnor into helping him by demonstrating that he really was a “lost cause.”

TG47

Hi quarkpt, I think part of the answer to #2 was given during Picard’s failed conversation with Clancy in episode 2.

I believe he found out that his scope for legal action was severely limited once he’s resigned. It was clearly a desperate play, and one that he’d not truly considered fully because he never thought his resignation would be accepted.

He says to Clancy that he’s been trying to stay out of political affairs.

His resignation would have been a very public and political reproach of the Federation. As an admiral, he likely was bound to constrain both his speech and his actions after the resignation.

In our eras of shorter human lifetimes, senior military and civil service executives are under fairly draconian limitations for at least 1-2 years in many democratic countries. Even their staff officers can be similarly limited if they resign from sensitive posts.

Even fundraising and leading nongovernmental rescue efforts would likely have been offside for a couple of years.

By the time that his scope of private action allowed him to make a difference, the supernova event had occurred.

quarkpt

I’d have to go back and review the episode, but my recollection is this:

We know Picard did not attempt a patchwork rescue of the Romulans after his resignation. How do we know this? From the dialogue in the episode. Picard was accused: “You couldn’t save everyone, so you saved no one.” Picard agrees with this statement: “I allowed the perfect to become the enemy of the good.”

ML31

“Picard’s abandonment of the Romulans when the Starfleet rescue mission imploded”

Yeah… I did find that odd. Especially when one considers all that he has already invested in this plan. Look at how he reacted to the Ba’ku! He removed his rank things and went down to do what he could in defiance of what looked like an approved Star Fleet plan he disagreed with. But maybe there were reasons why he couldn’t?

“Similarly: why did Picard take away the “Romulans only” sign and try to get bar service? ”

So he could do something morally heroic. Another act to show why the audience should root for him and what a great human being he is.

TG47

ML31, I thought pulling down the sign was more for Picard to prove to himself that he could be morally heroic and stand up for the Vashti that was.

ML31

Sorry but that doesn’t make any sense. All that act really would do is it would lead to enrage someone, or someones in there. And it did. It was a plot device to A: show the audience how morally great this character is, and B: so Leggolas could come in dramatically and save him from a situation he put himself in.

Thorny

1. Dr. Jurati is a cyberneticist, not an astronomer. Stop some random person on the street and ask him or her how many stars are in the galaxy. Probably 99% won’t know. Why would that change in the 24th Century? How many member worlds are there in the Federation? She probably knows that the same as most Americans know there are 50 states. But the number of stars or galaxies? It is some impossibly huge number is all most people know and I think that is unlikely to change.

2. Yes, that doesn’t make much sense. Perhaps forthcoming flashbacks will explain this? (Since they seem to like to start each episode with a flashback.)

3. Going up against the Tal-Shiar or the even-worse-than-the-Tal Shiar, which he only survived the first time because of Laris and Zahban? Sure, stopping for reinforcements might be a good idea.

4. I saw it as he was venting his frustration.

kmart

Thorny,
Some random person in the street of Earth now, in a time when we haven’t explored anywhere else, vx. a time when we have explored a percentage of the galaxy? BIG dif. This character missing the ‘stars in galaxy’ thing is more like not knowing day follows night. Hell, I knew the then-correct number for stars in galaxy before I turned 8 years old (thanks A.C.C.), and I was a kid, not an astronomer.This is a perfect example of the kind of sloppy thinking that should be wholly unacceptable, because it speaks volumes about those doing the work — and the fact there is a whole writer’s room full of them along with presumed tech specialists to factcheck really makes me think it would have to be a deliberate error or that nobody cares in the first place.

Thorny

I respectfully disagree. We have explored almost the entirety of planet Earth today. Quick… how many nations are there on Earth? How many cities? How many lakes? How many rivers?

Ordinary people don’t know these things. That is unlikely to change just because we shift to a larger scale.

blackmocco

– Maybe they don’t have money OR Google in the 24th century. Obviously. Haha! Jurati’s the only character I like in all this. Alison Pill’s a champ. Naturally, I’m assuming all this means she’ll be revealed to have villainous motives in a not-so-shocking plot reveal.
– I do feel the same regarding Picard’s character although I acknowledge if I’m going to rip a hole in that, I’ve ripped a hole in the premise of the entire show and I don’t want to go that far. I don’t really believe Picard is a character who would just give up and abandon a bunch of people he clearly feels this strongly about but that’s the story they’ve chosen, so I’ll go with it. I mean, Generations asked me to believe Kirk’s idea of paradise didn’t involve being on the bridge of the Enterprise and I sat through that one plenty of times.
– I’m confused about the trip to Vashti for a different bunch of reasons. If Picard’s not been in touch with these people, how does he know Elnor is even a warrior, let alone one worthy of being included on this trip? There’s literally no reason (so far, anyway) why this kid is so vital to the mission. Truth be told, I’d rather have Worf helping me out.
– The taking down of the sign said to me Picard was just pissed off and angry at what has happened and wanted no part of that kind of segregation. But yeah, any urgency to get to Soji has been pretty much dissipated since the first episode and that tangent doesn’t really help.

Markus

I don’t think Picard abandoned the whole mission. Romulan refugees living in his house suggests he still did do something. But it also suggests his help didn’t reach beyond helping a few individuals without starfleet’s armada.

Also member states threatening to leave changing the Federation’s politics on refugees seems not so unlikely in my ears. After all the Federation is a democracy and especially founding members would have a huge impact on Federation politics.

What I don’t understand how the whole Romulan Empire collapses because of one sun exploding.
And why Romulans are so angry on Picard (or Spock). You can’t blame Picard for the decisions of Federation politicians when Picard spoke out against them as publically as he did in his interview

ML31

A: We have no idea what the government of the Federation is. My guess is it it might be more like some sort of Commonwealth, but still has elements of a Republic. I feel pretty confident the member worlds are all self governing with specific limits when it comes to elements that fall outside a single planet’s purview. But I digress..

B: I also feel like anger towards Picard is short sighted and misplaced. Sure, I can see how in the spur of the moment one might be apt to blame him as he seemed to be the Federation face of the effort for them. But over time there would seem to be plenty of evidence to show that his effort to help was in fact a genuine one and circumstances beyond his control took command. I’m sure that interview had to have made it’s way out there for those to see who still might doubt. The only thing I think they MIGHT have a legitimate beef about is why didn’t he personally make an effort to continue the operation? But I would think that even in that event there was only so much one man could do.

Heywood Jaquitit

On 1: Perhaps everyone in the future uses the old British definition of “billion” and she quoted a number 10x higher than what we think of as correct, because she is also including all the dark-matter, phase-shifted, collapsed and temporally-displaced stars that we dont yet know about.

Commander K

1. Maybe she has spent so long on Earth and not in Space she gets it wrong. Why does it have to be factually correct?

2. He lost the game of poker with starfleet and they effectively made him resign his commission. He thought he could be the noble one and handle this impossible situation and perhaps got too far ahead of himself this time.

3..Hello? Worf appearing in FC, Worf appearing in Insurrection…”i just happened to be in town”. It’s happened before

4. Because it’s plausible he knew Elnor was watching him and would protect him.

Lazy writing, exposition and things happening just to move the plot forward has happened througout the history of star trek, now people just find a reason to pick on it

TG47

CommanderK, In all of the (now non-canon Relaunch post-Nemesis books), Worf returned to Starfleet as Picard’s Executive Officer on the Enterprise-E.

That is, Worf moved back from the Federation’s diplomatic core to Starfleet as a full commander.

We’ll need to wait to see if this follows through to the Picard series (or you can check Una McCormack’s New tie-in novel).

ML31

I know you have a great deal of love for the novels but even back when I was reading them I never expected them to be actual canon for the Trek universe. And later I found out none of them were.

ML31

Commander K, Worf had legitimate cause to be attacking the Borg Cube in First Contact. I believe the original plan was to have the Defiant destroyed but DS9 people screamed “no”. But Insurrection was another story. I thought it funny they didn’t even try to come up with an excuse. He just showed up and when explaining why his voice faded off as we move on to some other conversation. For Nemesis, he was a guest for the wedding. So again, legit reason.

Webguest

Re 4. yes it was a risky and impulsive thing to do. Even though it may have been intended as a kind of risky way to provoke a conversation with Romulans (while simultaneously venting frustration and probably still feeling protected by his former sense of importance), it meant putting the matter at hand before his larger mission. On first thought, it did seem a bit out of character. But there was that TNG episode https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tapestry_(Star_Trek:_The_Next_Generation) which established that young Picard used to be kind of a hotspur who got himself stabbed in a bar fight and since then lived with an artificial heart. That event made him change his ways into becoming the disciplined and restrained captain who values diplomacy and non-violence so much. However, when Q made him relive his live, this time without getting involved in the bar fight, it leads to pretty mediocre results. The experience made Picard value taking risks more. So even though when Tapestry aired, I could not quite reconcile the young version of Picard with the person he was as captain, canon did establish that there are these two sides to his character. Moreover, I have heard older people say that the older they get, the more childlike they become in a way because they are again feeling less bound by rules. Holding a grudge over a long time would probably also result in irritability, we have already seen him act on impulse during the TV interview and I think it was mentioned that his brain anomaly may prompt mood swings. So I don’t think his behaviour was completely out of character.
An interesting thought is also that sometimes people are a more professional version of themselves in a working environment because they act within their professional role, but may behave differently where personal issues and feelings are concerned.

Zotz

I’m curious about the set location for Vashti. Did anyone else notice how it appears to be a re-dressed Alamo set? The distinctive front profile and window layout of the Alamo is seen in the background during one scene.

Heywood Jaquitit

I doubt it, I don’t recall a single mention of Pee-Wee’s bicycle.

i'mpaul

Here’s the thing about Picard that is sticking with me… it’s about people dealing with human struggles in a sci-fi world. I think this is the most “human” that Star Trek has been since Wrath of Khan.

Michael

Am I the only one who thinks Sela is behind all this…

TG47

I’m not thinking that Sela is behind ‘all of it’, but definitely agree that it’s likely she may be behind some of it somewhere.

After all, Sela’s also someone in Romulan society who has long-term anger at Picard.

Chancellor Gowron

It would be awesome if it turned out that she leads the Zhat Vash.

ML31

That would provide the world’s biggest eyeroll from this writer.

Lostrod

Is there anyway to turn off the annoying “Read Next Story” pop up at the bottom of every story? It’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen and overlays a good chunk of the text.

Regards.

Jack

Narissa is a silly character so far. Both she and the brother feel like they’re from another show. The portrayals of other Romulans have been more nuanced than other TNG-era forays, so I’m hoping these two get toned down a little.

Harry Ballz

Okay, four episodes in and……I’m not feeling it. Nothing. Nada. Whoever cast Raffi and “Captain” Rios should be fired. They can’t act. At all. Same goes for the two female Romulan villains.

The story is boring, paint by numbers, one dimensional, the list goes on. It’s not worth the time or energy to analyze how bad this thing is. Patrick Stewart is a superb actor, but hey, he can only do so much with what he’s been given.

Most of the non-canon fiction books of Trek are much better for plotlines.

TG47

Harry, again I’m going to have to disagree on the casting of Rios and Raffi.

I do agree that the actors are working to bring their characters into coherence across the difference writers and direction in the initial episodes, but their non-verbal expression is fantastic.

I also agree that the casting of the female Romulan villains has been a miss whatever those two actors other credits.

On the story, I’ve been seeing it as more character-driven in the mould of Lost. It’s an interesting choice for Trek which leans to the positive (rather than circumstances bring out the best and worst), but I think it’s working.

That said, I can see that it won’t be everyone’s taste in Trek. I also am getting a sense that you’re looking for a specific kind of theatrical Trek performance from the actors, while this kind of show may need something else.

Last point, I agree that many of the Trek-lit novels have been more tightly plotted than the new serialized Trek series.

Harry Ballz

TG47, I’m simply comparing the acting to any other TV miniseries I’ve watched over the years. In most productions, some actors are electric on screen, others are just average. Some of the “actors” in this production don’t even come up to average. Far from it. Just my own subjective opinion.

TG47

I get your perspective Harry.

I’m not looking for electric performances from the whole company, but I agree that there are definitely some of the actors who aren’t holding my attention, and some that just don’t have the chemistry (yet) with one another to make their scenes sing.

When I compare it to the early seasons of any of the 90s Trek shows, it’s definitely a strong cast on balance though.

Harry Ballz

TG47, I truly enjoy our civilized discussions. :-)

Kerry

Seven makes her 1st entrance after 19 yrs like a badass. Ship screaming in like the calvary slicing off a Romulan BoP nacelle. Just as her ship skids across the planetary shield, she beams aboard. Seven & Jean Luc together made me fan geek out. Added a little humor at the end. This was perfect. Thank you

Heywood Jaquitit

I click ‘like’ button on this comment

Treweis

agreed! liked that scene too. as i loved the scenes with picard and elnor. disliked the whole borg-stuff so far, felt wrong and, most of all, i can’t find it a bit interesting. but: love the pacing. so good it’s not rushed.

Late8

Well. I’m running out of steam with this too. The initial foundations of the story is interesting, but the pace, acting and editing along with the lack of magic that was Trek is beginning to let it down.

This could be any other TV show or story. It’s hasn’t got that elevated feel. There’s no setup to what the federation is like. Everything feels a little off

Discovery was dark, but it felt like trek and earlier federation.

This is…well I don’t know.. a cast reunion.

PaulB

Why is Picard dressed like Hannibal Lecter “having an old friend for dinner” at the end of Silence of the Lambs? :)

lynn

I know that I’m in the minority and to be honest I have not watched nor do I plan to watch Picard. Picard was never my favorite character on TNG and I really do not get this almost hero worship now. Its like the only Star Trek that has any value worth talking about is Picard. I guess I am still miffed at it being on a streaming channel. Where does it end with streaming services. Will all networks and filming studios have their own service and we the consumer have to pay for all.

It’s never going to end, lynn. What’s coming to an end (or at the very least is in its nursing home years) is the traditional linear broadcast model of television. Just do what everyone else is doing: subscribe to any given service for only a month, binge what you wanna watch, then cancel the service for the next 11 months. I rotate in and out of CBSAA, Hulu, Netflix, Apple, and a couple of other specialty streamers this way, with no more than one or two services active at a time (sometimes none in the summer). And now that I’ve cut the cable cord, I’ve slashed the money spent watching TV while simultaneously having more to watch than I could possibly view in a lifetime, and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything (especially since I get Amazon Video year-round thanks to my Amazon Prime account).

Streaming is the future, like it or not.

PaulB

@lynn – I agree with your entire comment, but it’s a strange way to reply to my original comment. :)

ML31

For me, Picard is not an interesting character at all. Personally, I’d be more interested in what Tom Paris did when he got back more so that what happened to anyone on TNG.

I, too, am not a fan of streaming. The tech is still not nearly as good as you can get with a standard DVR and managing multiple accounts is just an extra pain that consumers really should not have to do. Right now streaming is just not a good option. The only service I subscribe to is CBSAA only because I’m such a foolish fan I will pay to see new Trek. But I will still delay my subscription a bit as I do not want to pay one cent more than I need to. I piggyback on a friend’s Netflix account and I used up my free week of Disney+ to catch the Mandelorian. There are a few shows on Amazon I would be interested in seeing but I just don’t want to pay for their service. It’s not worth it. That said, it is the way things are going and the tech should improve. The part that I really don’t like is having to pay for multiple platforms if you want to get all the stuff you are interested in. But I imagine that too will change as eventually someone like Comcast or AT&T will cut deals to bundle a bunch of streamers together into one package. Essentially cable for streaming services. There still might be a few hold outs but most will likely take part. Until that day, however, old fashioned cable is still the better way to go.

Locutus

I’m loving Wil Wheaton’s “After Trek”! What a perfect choice for a host. Can’t wait until he’s reunited to interview with some of his TNG pals.

Garth Lorca

Okay, I don’t know whether this has already been discussed anywhere inbetween Earth and Freecloud, but I’ve come up with an exciting theory about the hidden meaning of the names Dahj and Soji…

We know that Maddox must have built them from some positronic remnant of Data. Let’s call this Data’s “blockchain” for a second. So Maddox is creating those Twincoins by mining them from Data’s blockchain…

The enigmatic creator behind Bitcoin is known as Satoshi…

If you rearrange the letters Dahj and Soji, you can get Sadojjhi… In Japanese, all three syllables are stressed equally, the “t”-sound is significantly softer than in English. So Satoshi would sound Sa-Do-Shee I take it. So in a way, Sadojjhi might be pronounced as Satoshi and the two Twincoin sisters are an anagram of Satoshi…

This might be mere coincidence or an easter egg like Temporal Agents Dulmer and Lucsly… Or it might actually mean that Bruce Maddox is Satoshi… and might travel in time to plant the seeds of Bitcoin and create Data’s blockchain…

Trek in a Cafe

Love this.

ACpilot

Unfortunately I’m struggling with a big plot hole.

We know from STTNG that the Romulans are a powerful space faring species living in the Romulan Star Empire, not just a single solar system. If their homeworld had been destroyed by a supernova they could have moved in good time to other systems in their territory, without any Federation rescue- which they would have rejected anyway as an unwanted or even hostile intrusion. They probably regard Picard as an enemy anyway after his foiling of their plans, eg in the Klingon Civil War- they certainly wouldn’t have trusted him or considered him a pal.

They would also have had plenty time to organise a migration- a couple of million years- as their home star started to expand into a red giant which would have swallowed up Romulus long before it exploded- as our sun will do to Earth, eventually. This process would not have taken the Romulans by surprise.

TG47

ACpilot, I would suggest Una McCormack’s novel or the Countdown comic if you are looking to fill in more backstory.

That said, the canon in the television series covers off the essentials. There really is no gap.

What the television series has shown us that the Federation was only asked to help relocate 900 million of the total population in the blast zone that numbered in the billions. (Interview in episode one cites the Federation’s 900 million commitment, Raffi says billions are in the blast radius in flashback in episode 3.)

So, yes the Romulans were doing a lot themselves, but asked for help in view of the magnitude of the task.

Yes, there was a significant lead time. The supernova wasn’t instantaneous, but perhaps developed faster than current physics would expect. This isn’t the first time the rapid progression of a supernova has happened in Trek. Why populations would settle in systems close to a star that could go supernova is a good question, but one not all that different from why people settle in volcanic or earthquake prone regions.

The incident on Mars with the synthetics took place in 2385, two years before the supernova event in 2387. (Star Trek 2009 established the date of the actual blast.)

We know that by this time, Picard’s team had already transported significant numbers to temporary relocation centres (as shown in episode 4). As well, the project to build a fleet of warp-capable ferries was already well underway. This tells us that the initial request for help was several years before the supernova event.

Yes, and let’s remember that the Romulans just had a huge upheaval in their government, as seen in Star Trek: Nemesis. So it’s quite possible that the Romulans didn’t have the resources to do a complete evacuation without some help. Also, with all the in-fighting, it may be that they didn’t know their sun was about to go supernova. Or even if they did, there may have been too much political chaos to deal with it properly. Kind of like how the US Government has written off climate change as “fake news”. Sadly, it may be too late for us as well.

FASAfan

ACpilot, you’re absolutely correct. The same plot chasm occurs in TUC with Praxis, although perhaps on a more absurd level.

The Romulus/Remus system would have been obliterated soon after the supernova and nearby systems would be in danger, albeit years later -especially due to speed-of-light radiation.

And, no, I’m not reading some comic or novel to fill in plot hole gaps from one JJ Abrams and company. The Romulan supernova was over-the-top, throwaway nonsense just like the destruction of Vulcan in ST:2009.

Tom

So far it seems the show is ok . Expectations were really high. I just don’t think from what I have seen I would care for this show if it weren’t for a returning character like Picard

Captain Tomalak

As an old TNG fan, I am really enjoying the show. However, sometimes it feels a little weird. I don´t know it is because of Picard and Patrick Stewart are “larger than life” for trekkers, but I feel that I am having some trouble to “get inside” the movie, it seems I am watching actors performing in an “artificial” way, especially Sir. Stewart. I don´t know if I expressed myself right (I am not an English Native speaker). Is anyone feeling the same?

FASAfan

Well said. Yes, I feel the same way.

Dlope67

I’m a fan of most Trek and recognize that it can’t all be good, there’s just too much of it… but man, I am just finding it really hard to like this show. I think everyone desperately wants to like it, but it is beyond boring, full of purposeless plot contrivances and cliches… a sad tale to tell about the hero of the next generation. “What would Picard do?” Apparently he would make an ultimatum with Starfleet, abandon his friends and sulk about it for 15 years. I’m uninspired.

But as an optimist, I’m still hoping it will all come together in the end…

helenofpeel

Up until the last few minutes, I found the entire episode tedious and boring.

Robert Erisman

I hope at some point they bring in Q considering Q was the one who introduced the Borg to start with.

Kari Rikkola

I watched every single episode of older seasons last month or so where he was still captain and every episode felt like little movie with separate events over the main story fighting different things, now it’s just like boring storyline you have to follow till the last episode, hope this changes or i will not watch this trash till the last episode, writer sucks or has made some soap series before where it’s just boring same basic story from episode to episode. give us two main storylines to single episodes, one that ends into that episode and one that follows the main one pls