Check Out New Photos From “Stardust City Rag,” The 5th Episode Of ‘Star Trek: Picard’

Ahead of the new episode which debuts on Thursday, CBS has released seven photos of the crew trying to fit in on Freecloud.

Title: “Stardust City Rag”


The La Sirena crew begins an unpredictable and lively expedition on Freecloud to search for Bruce Maddox. When they learn that Maddox has found himself in a precarious situation, a familiar face offers her assistance.

Promotional photos

New episodes of Star Trek: Picard are released on CBS All Access in the USA Thursdays at 12:01 AM PT/3:01 AM ET. In Canada it airs Thursdays on CTV Sci-Fi Channel at 6PM PT /9PM ET and 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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Smoking jacket, cravat, beret, and eye patch. And Rios looks like the Fourth Musketeer. This ought to be interesting.

Looks more like a pimp to me, but hey, maybe things are different in 2399.

Personally, I thought The Doctor had regenerated into an English fop.

Was there a musketeer named Super Fly?

I’m thinking that some kind of reintroduction of economic scarcity after the Dominion War has put fashion in the Federation into somber Victorian colours.

Freecloud would then be a flamboyant counter-culture centre that harks back to earlier periods (Restoration in this case).

The earlier period being 1970’s Blaxploitation movies.

Ideally with a lower boycott than “Slaughter’s Big Rip-Off” .

That was bodycount not boycott.

(I seem to be constantly fighting with predictive spelling.)

The only explanation for the ‘reintroduction of economic scarcity’ that makes any in-universe sense is widescale dilithium depletion (even ignoring reuse/regeneration) that would restrict energy available through M/AM reactors. The ramifications of this would be as interesting as the real world analogies (Galactic empires racing and warring to find new dilithium sources in the Middle… Milky Way? ;) but I just don’t see them going this way. Instead, certain real world parallels have been mandated by the showrunners (and Stewart, no less) before even any script line was written, and now the 24th century has to conform to it no matter what. This could’ve been handled much more deftly. Then again, Picard was unlikely to break the mold of uneven first seasons, especially being marred in production upheaval once again (change of showrunners). The honor of best first season belongs to the show that started it all, and it seems that is not going to change.

VS, what’s with the ‘change in showrunner’ assertion regarding Picard.

As far as I recall, no one individual was identified as showrunner at the beginning. The writers room was a collaboration, with Kurtzman eventually landing on an announcement that Chabon would be showrunner.

Yes, there will be a new showrunner for season 2, but Chabon has already been mapping out the storyline for that season.

“As far as I recall, no one individual was identified as showrunner at the beginning.”

Yes, exactly. Chabon was not even named showrunner from the beginning so similiar to Discovery at the beginning of season 2, we have even have two marked changes. And I was certainly not the first and only person to note there seems to be a distinct “too many cooks spoiling the stew” feeling in the beginning, one which Kurtzman may have noticed himself, thus naming Chabon the runner. There’s no doubt a show can profit from clear direction in the hands of a creative visionary instead of decree by committee but as Star Wars’ Kennedy debacle shows, the “visionary” is just as important as “singular voice”. (And to wit, we don’t know how big is Chabon’s impact throughout this season but given the sluggish pacing noted by both fans and professional reviewers so far, and some surprising rookie writing mistakes such as infodumps by telling instead of showing, the show may even profit from a new showrunner by season 2. Who knows?)

But honestly I find this assertion of scarcity the more compelling topic to discuss because to be fair, we should hold this series to the same standards as Discovery. The latter series was criticized for not really fitting in and not caring to fit in with the preexisting timeline and universe, and while not impossible to reconcile in this case, I want Picard to draw a more complete and convincing canvas regarding these shocking changes to the core tenets of the 24th century, and why did they happen. An aborted Romulan rescued mission and attack on Mars out of all places (which apart from its proximity to Earth was never depicted as a crucial element of the Federation in any series) dont convey the scale and order of magnitude of upheaval to justify these changes.

It might mean that, but we’re stuck with the unenviable situation that we’re not sufficiently clued-in to the social milieu to interpret the costume designer’s intent.

Most of the saga consists of starship microcosms, so we have only a few/ambiguous clues about what UFP civilian life looks like in a good decade. –Assuming you can make such a sweeping statement across a whole planet, let alone 150 planets, but visual SF is about simplifying/icons/archetypes. The production designers have to make *some* decision, but since the show hasn’t provided a common vocabulary, any visual symbols they choose will inevitably fail to translate/resonate with at least part of the audience.

Heck, the city skylines we’ve seen are generic SF. Starbase Yorktown in “Star Trek: Beyond”, for all its over-the-top size, at least made a statement about UFP aspirations in urban design.

Pimp, not Musketeer

Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving this show…



All of this exposition and team building is great, but can we get on with the actual “meat” of what is going on?


I don’t think you’ll have to wait much longer, Rock Dirty. I’m cautiously optimistic about the remaining episodes of this season.

I suppose it depends what one defines as ‘meat’ Rock Dirty.

Sounds as though your definition of ‘meat’ is more action or confrontation. Not sure what you mean.

Picard is really delivering on character-driven drama for me. It’s doing the work to earn the resolutions that will come.

That said, I know that I will be frustrated that the season will only consist of 10 episodes. It’s really good to know that a second season is already in development.

The problem is we don’t *know* that’ll earn those resolutions because we don’t know what they are. That’s a big “if” at the moment. I’ve learned for the two seasons of DISCO to just sit back, wait for the whole story to unfold and then assess it.

I am enjoying the show overall, but it does feel like it’s been a little bit of running in place with all the vague and at times repetitive exposition so far. Almost all my favorite TV dramas of the last 20 years really haven’t been “action-driven” (Mad Men, Better Call Saul, Deadwood, Breaking Bad, Barry–violent at times, yes, but not stories built around the action sequences. The one exception might be BSG). I’d love a character-driven Trek–I’m reserving judgment until the end of S1 to see if they really are slowly building layers of characterization that leads to a satisfying payoff, or if they are just throwing a lot of characters at us, which are two separate approaches. My fear is a lot of what they are throwing at us won’t be resolved by the end, but I hope to be wrong.

The other thing I want to add to this discussion is that characters sitting around explaining the plot to the audience for extended periods of time is *not* the same thing as building character.

In fact, one could argue the opposite–the more time needed to explain the plot and the more time needed to introduce even more new characters every week might make the individual characterizations even more thin. My $0.02.

100% yes this. One of the most basic rules of writing is to show action, not tell action. I’m a university writing professor and have seriously considered using these episodes as examples of how *not* to write.

“One of the most basic rules of writing is to show action, not tell action”

I agree. Though vastly inferior in almost all respects, even Discovery didn’t do infodumps in quite as obvious and crude ways. Quite surprising, having the Pulitzer God at the helm and all ;)

I agree with you Oriondc and others, it does feel like its too much telling and not enough showing. I don’t mind it too much personally, but I can see why it would bother others.

This is definitely where the show can improve.

Fortunately, Kurtzman has said he will wait for the reception of season 1 and specific fan feedback before locking down season 2. The man is learning! Or so we hope ;)

I agree with TG47 that Picard has done pretty well by its characters thus far, but share your skepticism that there will be payoffs to equal the A-list television you’re citing above. In all fairness, though, that’s not solely the fault of the showrunners. To take one example, the rich and complex relationship between Deadwood’s Seth Bullock and Al Swearingen didn’t really start to reward viewers in complex and unexpected ways until well into the show’s second season. Even modern Trek, with its roots firmly embedded in ’60s and ’90s episodic space opera, doesn’t seem to inspire the patience for that kind of slow world-building in its fanbase.

Great example, Michael. And I would counter that the complexities of the Swearingen-Bullock relationship were crystal clear at the end of the season one cliffhanger. Two people at each other’s throats from day one realize that they have to form an uncomfortable alliance. I would adore Picard ending on that note.

Fair enough Holden.

I agree that a season is best judged when it’s done.

For my part, I’m eating up actually being able to see some of Earth and perimeter worlds.

In terms of the telling rather than showing, I’m seeing more of that with the Romulan villains on the Borg cube. In my view, keeping more closely to Sony’s point-of would have engaged us better in her mystery.

It feels like the writers struggled mightily to stretch this story to 10 episodes. If the last few episodes feel like they are quick and condensed sorta like what Discovery ended up doing in season 1… I think it will show they have no idea how to properly map out a short season long story arc in the slightest.

I increasingly suspect that they came to the belated realization that they couldn’t wrap everything up in 10 episodes, but were committed to that number under the California grant model.

Picard being redeemed by taking responsibility, and an interim resolution of Soji’s peril may be as far as they can go in a single season.

On the other hand, if we compare this to Lost, we will certainly be much further along than that character drama was at the end of its 23 episode first season.

Thankfully, ViacomCBS has greenlighted the second season of Picard, so they can leave us in March without wrapping everything up. In fact, the rumours that seasons two and three will be produced back-to-back are promising.

I very much wish though that Kurtzman could adopt a requirement for Trek series that an entire season be written in first draft before production starts. That way, they could really make sure the series are tightly plotted while hitting the targeted endpoint. It doesn’t sound as though CBS has been funding production of the shows that way.

While it’s clear that scheduling has pushed these show into production earlier than the writers are ready for, with 3 going on 5 live action series plus Lower Decks, one hopes that CBS can allow enough preproduction time that each season can truly be written more like a novel.

If they are not planning to wrap up the bulk of this story and leave more for later seasons, then they knew they were getting the next season LONG before the announcement. At the rate of turnaround from season to season of these streaming shows that will be a huge letdown to the audience to not finish at least the bulk of things up in this season.

I would disagree with you about Lost. If you are talking about their amazingly great first season, that is. That first season of Lost is 100 times better than Picard is now. Part of that is they did have more episodes to play with. Which I still think is an advantage when it comes to developing characters. But the other part is nearly everyone in that cast had interesting elements. It was a large cast but there were precious few whose back stories I wasn’t too interested in. And even then they managed to make me care a little bit about people I didn’t before. Lost really ultimately fell apart under its own weight. There was a lot of set up (very well done set up, I grant you) but little or underwhelming pay off.

I hesitate to outright say Picard is falling into either the Discovery or even the Lost problems. It’s far too early. I’m only reacting to what I have seen on screen thus far and the history of CBSAA Trek.

The overly long exposition is necessary. Without it, the audience might notice they have barely enough story for a two-parter.
It’s not like it was unexpected. They’ve been pulling the same trick with Discovery, *twice*. Maybe they just don’t know any better. ;)

(This is why I decided not to watch the show until it’s complete. That way, my judgment won’t be clouded by waiting and the false sense of investment…)

“(This is why I decided not to watch the show until it’s complete. That way, my judgment won’t be clouded by waiting and the false sense of investment…)”

But you’ve already judged it.

Agree completely. Have been saying this since I realized on Week 2 how sluggish it was going to be.

It’s a ten hour movie. We are only now entering the middle act.
Have to say it though, I’ve got little idea what’s going on. I’m still happy to watch it and see where it goes.

Actually its more like a 7.5hr movie, as the episodes are still standard commercial length.

This is a classic Netflx issue too – It’s likely Picard could have completed a satisfying arc in 6 episodes. But, as with most tv now, the writers extend the stories twice as long as they need to.

Those first three episodes certainly feel like they could have been done in two or even one 75 minute episode. I get that they didn’t want to go balls out like Discovery (although their problems had little to do with pacing) but it feels like they went way too far in the other direction.

TBH I agree. Simply put after the first episode and express need to find the other sister.. There is now just a period of mediocre characters and story telling with a bar trade or what ever. Either way, just seem trivial and yes. Get on with it

I would rather Picard had dressed up as Dixon Hill.

They couldn’t afford the license, so we’re getting Hickson Dill instead. ;)

It is Dixon Hill, but 25% different. :-D


Where would we be if TNG hadn’t gifted us the facepalm?

I dunno, dressing up the characters in silly costumes seems to me what happens when the writers start running out of ideas. “A Piece of the Action” and a whole bunch of episodes on the holodeck come to mind. TNG year four – “I am NOT A MERRY MAN!” etc.

Here we are at the fifth episode of the first season…?

But then, those iconic elements from TOS and TNG are an amiable part of Star Trek and the new producers want to evoke a sense of nostalgia that way. Some fans love “parallel world development” stories on TOS and holodeck episodes on NextGen and VOY…

On the other hand, this episode could be a lot grittier and “down and dirty” than your average holodeck adventure…

That alien looks a lot like out of VOY make-up-wise…

Garth Lorca, thanks for naming it : that alien does have a bit of a Voyager vibe.

However, the costume and the alien’s posture is giving me a Mr. Hohm vibe – which is weird because there’s no real resemblance.

The bottom line though is that the production team is working very hard to stitch the diverse visual design history of Trek together, while doubling down on the concept that we haven’t already seen everything that ever existed in the eras of the earlier shows. This seems a very smart approach.

“However, the costume and the alien’s posture is giving me a Mr. Hohm vibe – which is weird because there’s no real resemblance.”

You’re right… I had the same feeling…

You know, the weirdest of weird ideas for a new Star Trek show would be a series about Mr Homn, Maihar’du, Morn and Keenzer… Called Star Trek: The Speechless Ones, a heist movie/TV show…

Maybe they could do a Short Trek about those guys coming together and robbing a casino on Freecloud :-)

Loving it Garth!

I can see Mike McMahon writing this actually.

Perhaps some old Harry Mudd-bots are still around to join in the fun.

I’m pretty sure we’ve heard Keenser talk. And we definitely heard Mr. Homm talk.

Once or twice it’s true Chancellor Gowron.

Not to mention that it was a running joke on DS9 how talkative Morn was, although we never heard him speak.

So, having the Speechless (who really do speak) silently run the scam would be a good part of the appeal.

“Some fans love… …holodeck episodes on NextGen and VOY…”

This fan didn’t. If a show was centered on the holodeck it was huge indicator the episode would be terrible.

Let’s be honest, the TNG world is sooo boring that half the humans go back to farm and make wine on Earth. The other half go live in their holodecks.

This seems like the perfect opportunity to see Ferengi, I can’t think of an environment more attractive to profiteers than Free Cloud. I don’t expect that to happen however, that has to be a hard one to pull off in this more grounded version of Star Trek.

And I have to admit, the pimp outfit is making me nervous about this episode. Not something I want to see romanticized for laughs in this universe several hundred years out of context. The show is pushing really hard against the version of Star Trek we all appreciated for its unique language and progressive ideas. Not just in the greater story which I’m okay with, but in the the attitudes and behavior of every character.

Not to go off the deep-end, but I love the multi-culturalism not only in the Romulan, but also among humans. This is a HUGE improvement over TNG which basically presented progress as cultural homogenization on Earth with occasional glimpses of representation. But it would help if this show represented this version of Star Trek with less cynicism and more cooperation.

The Ferengi symbol was present in the skyline of ‘Greater Boston’ in Picard Episode 1! Freecloud would be the perfect background placement of a Ferengi

I’ve been thinking it might be beyond Federation space and under the Orion Syndicate.

I didn’t notice any nicely ‘fresh lime’ coloured people though.

I think the pimp outfit is going to be a humorous comment on how little they know in the future about our present-day society.

Well… I suspect it’s more of a familiar face to fans rather than to Picard.

Janeway? Dr. Crusher? Sela? Michael Burnham who forgot that there were 8 and not 7 signals?? “THERE ARE EIGHT RED LIGHTS!”

7 of 9 is clearly the familiar face they’re talking about.

Yes, but I was saying fans know her a ton more than Picard would. But perhaps in the next episode we will get some dialog about how Picard knows her and vice versa.

While I don’t expect to see her in the next episode I have a feeling we will see Sela now. Maybe not this season but probably next.

I love how Seven’s costume she came dressed as herself lol.

The Picards of Penzance.

I can’t wait. This episode looks like a world of fun.

Judging from the pictures above the predominant color scheme of Picard seems to be “dark brown”, and I’m not sure that is an improvement over Discovery’s “dark blue and orange” ;)

“The La Sirena crew begins an unpredictable and lively expedition on Freecloud to search for Bruce Maddox. When they learn that Maddox has found himself in a precarious situation, A FAMILIAR FACE offers HER assistance.”
Seven already appeared and is part of the crew…
Does anybody wonder who this familiar face might be? Sounds like a cameo…

No, they mean Seven for sure.
“In Unification II A FAMILIAR VULCAN joins Picard to uncover a Romulan conspiracy” doesn’t mean that can’t be Spock because he already appeared in Unification I. Being beamed to the ship not already makes her a part of the crew.

No, not really part of the crew…but she is already there. “a familiar face offers he assistance” sounds misleading like another familiar face might still pop up…Unless
the description of the episode was out before ep.4 aired… ;-) Hopefully they don’t announce the next cameos and don’t spoil the surprise…

Oh boy. I haven’t loved this show. This was going to be the last episode I was going to watch to decide whether I would abandon ship. These photos and the outfits are not good omens for sticking with it.

Where did it all go wrong?

Maybe these are the most misleading teaser images ever, but this looks to be the “Harry Mudd episode” of this season – the odd one out!

the catsuit is history.
now you can concentrate on ms ryan’s brilliant acting at last.

Thanks tony.

It seems that some fans don’t appreciate that Jeri Ryan would not have reprised the part if she’d been obliged to get back into that extremely uncomfortable catsuit.

“now you can concentrate on ms ryan’s brilliant acting at last.”

They didn’t have to put her into yet another old-people-colored attire for that though, did they? ;)

but she is older, that the point.
she not the ratings bait they used her for on Voy.

No, she’s subscriber bait now. And for different reasons than what she was there for in ’97.

This has all the ingredients for becoming one of the worst episodes in all of Star Trek.

You can’t judge a book by its cover!

I was thinking that it is highly unlikely Maddox stopped himself after he built two androids. I imagine he kept going until he succeeded in replicating Data. Furthermore, since his process results in the creation of twin androids, in recreating Data he would also recreate Lore.

If his goal was to recreate Data then why keep the failed versions in working order? Why not just turn them off and store them if not just outright destroying them? That is, if this is truly Maddox inspired…

You mean the ones on the moon? For the same reason Starfleet turned the EMH Mark 1s into a labor force when it was decided they made lousy doctors. Nothing goes to waste.

We don’t know what the hell those things were. I’m talking about Maddox’ attempts to duplicate Data. Usually failed attempts are stored or destroyed if they are deemed dangerous enough.

Rios is clearly channeling his inner Harry Mudd here… :-D

Just a minor nit, but Seven’s Borg implant isn’t the same as it was on Voyager. It’s darker but also has some slightly different shapes. I wonder why they didn’t just make it the same? And please no “25% different” responses. That has been debunked. It’s probably just a creative choice, but still a tad annoying for fans like me who appreciate visual continuity. With few exceptions Picard has been good in this regard…

Perhaps the metal has simply tarnished over the years..?(a particular patina that she is obviously OK with.) That what I get out of it.

Her implant looks like cheap cosplay, a piece of painted plastic glued to her skin. I’m surprised people aren’t openly laughing at how silly she and Hugh look these days–worse than any past Borg makeup.

It also changed appearance during the run of VOY. Chalk it up to changing tech in-universe and it getting replaced/worked on.

I’m kinda wondering why they are at least the same size and of similar shape. One would think there would be ways to reduce them or even outright be able to remove them over 20 years.

Okay, this pains me. The worst episode of Star Trek. Managed to make a trekky camp episode just, unfortunate. meh