The Shuttle Pod Crew Practices “Absolute Candor” With ‘Star Trek: Picard’

‘Star Trek: Picard’ Season 1, Episode 4


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Brian, Kayla, and Matt discuss “Absolute Candor,” the fourth episode of Star Trek: Picard. Just as we get into space, Picard detours to get help from Elnor, a young Romulan he knew 14 years ago on the planet Vashti. As Raffi says, “Man can’t even take a guilt trip without using a starship.” We also get to see two new holographic facets of Chris Rios, and Soji has a seed of doubt planted about her past by Narek.

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It’s good that Brian was not crazy about this episode while the other two loved it. It makes for better discussion if there are different opinions and reactions to the show.

As much as I am enjoying the show, there are some things bothering me. Like, Picard’s seclusion for 14 years seems so out of character for him. I am re-watching some old TNG episodes and that Picard almost seems like a different person to me.

Oh, and all the Borg-cube “artifact” stuff is just sooooo boring. I wish someone would edit all that stuff out and just focus on the Picard stuff.

But, I am enjoying the show over all.

I figured the problem with the Borg in this is that they are no longer the subjects/actors (let alone real antagonists) but mere objects and background filler, lifeless entities someone else is doing something with. Basically, they made the Borg boring (so far), and even Voyager did not go that far. Fortunately, the Romulans as those who do act in this are not boring :) It may just be that this passive depiction of the Borg is a result of Stewart’s mandate of not doing “The Borg” again.

The Borg were boring post First Contact for me when the uni-mind collective incorporating all knowledge of those assimilated was replaced with that of a Queen and where their cubes could be magically destroyed by targeting a single coordinate (granted Picard was either holding out that info from Starfleet and/or actively communicating/colluding with the Borg). Voyager was just uh. Nothing is that nonsensical and boring, not even Picard. Voyager makes me yearn for the perfect AI characters to take over be they androids or holograms given it would be just as unrelatable and boring anyway.

Well we haven]t really seen the Borg on this show yet. These are all XBs and my guess is they are saving up some big surprise with them since we know the Borg are still out there and doing their thing. They could’ve just said Janeway wiped them out for good after Endgame but didn’t.

And I think it wouldn’t feel so boring if we knew what was the point of them being on the cube? We know they are harvesting parts, but why? Hopefully they go into it sooner than later.

…I actually like the Cube stuff. It’s got cool views of the interior and interesting rehabilitation stuff. But I guess that’s a matter of taste. With a derelict cube the Borg are just not really there. But I found the Borg somewhat boring in the past :-) probably due to their omnipotence. Now I like the mystery of how one Romulan ship could sabotage them.

I suppose it’s a matter of taste. I think another reason I don’t like it is that it seems like they are heading to a big revelation that the Romulans created the Borg thousands of years ago. I really hope that is not the case, but most of the signs are pointing to it.

Ugh. I sincerely hope not, but it does kind of look that way.

Please please please no.

Oh. That’s too far? Not, you know, going from a show about scientific exploration, ethics and philosophy, to a dumb conspiracy serial in a generic sci-fi dystopia with a space sword elf that has nothing to say about anything (but has star trek in the title)?

It IS going to be that, Kayla. Everyone knows it. You know it too. What did you really expect from these writers and producers?

I very sincerely hope that people like you, who seem to really value well crafted stories about real ideas, make some time for writers and artists who are really trying to make something new, meaningful and beautiful, and not just expand a product line. I liked Star Trek (when it existed) as much as anyone, but it’s a real shame to me that so many, not especially good, stories are given so much time and consideration due to branding, Picard and all of Discovery included.

I’d be disappointed too.

David Mack came up with a top notch alpha-omega story for the Borg in the Destiny trilogy of Trek-lit novels.

It’s hard to imagine that this season, no matter how good would top that, especially as the mystery on the Borg cube seems to be a secondary plot.

While in general the audience for Trek novels is modest, in this case offering an alternative Borg origin story would be asking for comparisons. Destiny was apparently one of the best-selling tie-in novels of the decade from any major franchise.

A television canon version of a Borg origin story rooted in Romulan history would be hard to reconcile with the novel version even in a Many Worlds theory based multiverse like Trek’s.

I can’t imagine that ViacomCBS colleagues at Simon & Schuster would be happy with this.

Yeah nobody likes that idea lol. That would be the biggest eye roll for me since we found out Tyler was Voq, but only 100 times worse.

I’m thinking that Patrick Stewart’s influence/ultimatums on the show are what’s making for the “unevenness” that some of us are feeling. I, too, seem to think that things are just too out of character, or just too hard to believe vis a vis the Starfleet/Federation that we’re used to seeing. I’m ok for change (heck, I like DISC), but… jury’s still out on Picard for me and we’re on Episode 5 this week of a 10 episode season…

Nobody stays the same for 30 years plus.

We watched episode 1 of Picard and were like… ok… this is looking pretty awesome.

Then what we do each week now is before we watch an episode of Picard… we watch a connected classic TNG episode first… to get pumped up.

Boy was that a mistake.

So we watch “Measure of a Man” for the first time in years. We see 47 minutes of powerhouse writing, acting and dialogue.

Then we watch episode 2 of Picard. Hmmmm…. ok.

Then next week week watched “I, Borg”. What a great hour that was.

Then we immediately put on episode 3 of Picard. So I got some F-word…. some incest Romulans… More exposition and build-up. Find out Picard has been turned into an aloof reclusive for 14 years?

Then this past week we watch “The Offspring”…. holy smokes was that a blast. THEN with a nervous stomach we put on Episode 4 of Picard.

Ahhhhhhh… trying to love it here. We get Picard dressed as “The Man From Delmonte” … find out he’s even more of a dick for abandoning the Romulan kid from his big brother YMCA program… who grows up to be Figwit from Lord of the Rings… more F-word…. clobbered on the head with “Romulans only” Oscar award for “most non-subtle American history reference”… annnnd we close off with a decapitation that Picard ultimately caused for no good reason.

So we can try to defend this hot mess as much as we want. But in the early 1990’s they cranked out 26 episodes of semi-perfection per year.

I don’t know what’s happening here. But I guess it’s far better than “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”… so…

OK, so a few weeks ago I thought at worst Picard might be like the latest series of X-Files. Picard is better – but in that X-Files series, in which Fox basically laid it’s film series out to rest – out of their 10 episodes – only 2 were actually good-rewatchable. And in that show you also had two very good actors who wanted some character-advancement. And it was kind of confusing it’s mythology.

Agreed, about the X-Files last season. I was really looking forward to that, too.

most of ‘x files’ 11 was fine except for chris carter’s god awful eps.
he buried the mythology for good.

26 episodes of semi-perfection a year is an overly generous description of TNG. The three episodes you picked are among the all time best episodes. I just rewatched the full series, and it can be painfully bad at times. I would take a whole episode focused on Narek and Narissa over Code of Honor or Sub Rosa.

I also like Legends. It’s just some fun absurdity that doesn’t take itself too seriously like Arrow and Flash do.

I’d point out that every season of TNG has AT LEAST 10 episodes that I’d describe as good!

I’m really not sure if I could find even five good episodes in season 1. And, so far, I would describe every episode of Picard as good. Maybe not as good as the likes of Measure of a Man or Best of Both Worlds, but still good.

Agreed Legate Damar.

When our kids hit middle-school, we decided switch them up from TAS to TNG. I was shocked how few episodes in season one were worth watching with them. Even season two was about half clunkers.

Every Star Trek show has truly bad episodes, from TOS through Discovery. TNG has the most episodes out of all the shows and there is both more to love or hate depending on how you feel about the show. For *me* I generally like 90% of them. But yes there are truly bad and unwatchable ones too like Shades of Grey and yes the infamous Sub Rosa lol. But I been doing tons of TNG rewatches since the Picard show was announced and I been surprised how many episodes I haven’t seen in years still holds up. But I am fanboy so take that as you may lol.

Legends of Tomorrow got pretty watchable/fun/clever. And TNG was mostly mediocre, IMO, for most of its run — you’re pointing to exceptions.

While I’m frustrated by some of the filler in Picard so far, I’m still hoping this takes us somewhere interesting.

Stewart seems to be playing Picard differently (even the pre, pre-dementia scenes). I’m still not sure if he’s written differently.

And I don’t totally buy “the Picard we knew” wouldn’t sit in retirement and do nothing for 14 years so that shouldn’t be shown here argument — things happen and people change. 20 years after Nemesis, he’s not necessarily the Picard we knew anymore.

I needed that laugh, ST:EXP. Great post, hysterical, and…agreed.

My issue with the decapitation is that it felt unearned and unnecessary… and then Picard basically just brushes it aside after yelling for a minute and then doing the hands thing.

I think that scene shouldn’t have had him throw down the sword but instead have him only fight defensively until he’s literally backed into a corner and actually a split second from death… then Elnor interrupts and they have a fight before he ultimately is forced to kill the guy and is hit with some guilt over it despite it being justified in the moment. Then they could have the resolve of Picard offering guidance in how to handle that instead of a guy who is now established as a badass who goes off half cocked and a Picard who is basically ok with murder if he tells someone to do it.

Anakin chopping Dooku’s head off felt more earned than that scene did in Picard for me… which is bad because that scene in Revenge of the Sith was pretty bad.

I’ve been thinking about the warrior nuns, and find them more original than many reviewers are giving the writers credit for.

First, as the ShuttlePod Crew acknowledged, the idea of religious order of absolute candor in a hypersensitive society is genuinely brilliant.

But, I’d argue that female warrior monastics aren’t that common. To the extent we do see them in science fiction or fantasy, they are an inversion of a male trope, and are often secret societies that come with a mythic mission (e.g. the Bene Gesserit). By contrast, this Romulan order is candid and generally takes on individual lost causes rather than grand scale long term efforts.

There are orders of Catholic nuns who take on amazing causes such as providng healthcare and some even get in trouble with the Vatican for being too progressive and human rights focused. Some of that may have served as inspiration.

I’m looking to hear more about the Ferris Rangers that Seven has been involved in.

Clearly, they are helping marginal systems at the limit of the Federation in the Beta Quadrant with the blessing if not the active support of Starfleet.

In some ways, they sound more like the 5000 Canadian Rangers that still exist in the Canadian Arctic as an extension of the reach of the Canadian Forces.

The Rangers aren’t regular military or typical reserves, but they are sanctioned, supplied and tasked to operate pretty independently in order to maintain Arctic sovereignty.

Me too TG47!

I’m really curious to see what the Ferris Ranger are about and they sound interesting. And I have to say, they seem very motivated to add a lot of different groups and factions to this show. I don’t think we met one new alien yet but every episode we been introduced to some new group: Zhat Vash, Qowat Milat and now Ferris Rangers. Maybe we will get another one in the next episode.

Those Romulan nun warriors are making me flash back to my Catholic grade school days. It ain’t pretty.

But Harry those costume habits look more like Eastern Orthodox nuns – or bishops actually.

(Friends in the know made similar comments about Bajoran vedeks.)
XD

Yeah, well, TG47…..the nuns at my grade school (Our Lady of Perpetual Misery) had some really BAD habits! :>)

I would hate that the romulans created the borg.
as bad as a WY droid creating the xenomorphs in ‘alien convent’

I love your podcast but Star trek always has cultural commentary and I wonder if you believe that all of this is centered around Syrian refugee crisis ISIS beheading as per elnor. How the USA always says we’ll come to the rescue and then pulls out at the end like in Iraq Afghanistan etc leaving a mess for others to clean up when people left to their own ingenuity can often solve their own problems. please comment on what you think is the overarching theme of Star trek picard