“Stardust City Rag”
Star Trek: Picard Season 1, Episode 5 – Debuted Thursday, February 20, 2020
Written by Kirsten Beyer
Directed by Jonathan Frakes
Picard and the gang visit Freecloud in search of Bruce Maddox, but it turns out almost everyone on La Sirena—including the newly arrived Seven of Nine–has a double agenda.
[WARNING: Spoilers from here on]
This episode, much like Freecloud itself, was something of a mixed bag.
With Seven of Nine’s arrival in the final moment’s of last week’s episode, I was hoping we’d pick up right where we left off. Why did she collapse? What would her first conversation be with Picard? How would the others react to her? We never really got that scene, which was a disappointment, especially after the first episodes where the character and relationship-building was done so well. There are other missed opportunities in this one that for me, would have been better choices than what we got.
Now for what we DID see:
We began on Planet Vergessen (which means “to forget” in German), 13 years earlier. There’s a grisly extraction going on, which is not only horrifying to look at, but filled with Game of Thrones-like squishy sounds as Borg parts are pulled out of an un-anesthetized, very much alive humanoid male. His screams of agony make the bloody squishing sounds even worse, and when Seven of Nine comes to the rescue—alas, too late to save his life, but in time for a mercy killing–we learn that the victim is none other than Icheb, Seven’s young friend from Star Trek: Voyager (but now played by Casey King).
Now we know why the evil person removing his parts couldn’t find his cortical node: Icheb donated his to Seven in the Voyager episode “Imperfection.” What doesn’t make sense is why the patient had to be fully conscious while his parts were painfully removed, and why the person doing the procedure was so callous, calling him “buddy” as she talked about her plans for more brain-digging. This is nothing short of pure sadism. It also provides the emotional heart of the episode: Icheb was the closest thing Seven had to “kin,” and she thought of him as her child; his loss fills her with anger and a taste for vengeance. More on that later.
On Freecloud, we meet Bjayzl, the person behind the Borg parts extractions who immediately reminded me of Blackie, who ran One-Eyed Jacks on Twin Peaks. She hears that Bruce Maddox has arrived, orders him killed, then changes her mind on a dime. When we see Maddox, it’s not Brian Brophy from TNG (who’s spending his time as the Director of Caltech Theater these days), but John Ales. Full disclosure: I worked with John Ales years ago on an MTV game show, where he was the host. It’s a testament to what a great job he did that I was able to forget this pretty quickly and buy him as this new, tormented version of Maddox. Bjayzl offers him some tranya (an unnecessary bit of fan service, in my opinion), and predictably, it’s spiked. He falls to the floor after a sip or two, and she makes plans to give him to the Tal Shiar.
Picard and Seven finally have their long-awaited chat in his holodeck study. She’s got his number; when he claims the recreation wasn’t his idea, she points out that he likes it enough to keep it, and guesses he’s got some “saving the galaxy” on his agenda as well. Picard understands her cause but takes issue with the idea vigilante justice, but has to agree when she says, very pointedly, that the only thing worse is giving up. (The Maquis would agree.)
While Picard and Seven bond—and I admit I could watch these two all day—Raffi’s tracking down information on Gabriel Hwang, and going over Picard & Seven’s shared Borg traumas with Rios. Meanwhile, Dr. Jurati is in her quarters watching a video of Maddox in happier days making chocolate chip cookies, spelling out that the two were more than just colleagues with a chocolate chip cookie-kiss. She shuts down the video, tearful. From here on in, pretty much every scene with Jurati features some intense, secretive, tragic look on her face just out of sight of the other characters.
Upon their arrival at Freecloud, everyone on the ship is greeted by intrusive pop-up hologram ads, tailored specifically for each person. Jurati has to punch hers to get rid of it, which is played for comedy (and shows how she and Rios are bonding a little) but has a deeper meaning once you’ve seen the rest of the episode. Elnor wants to know why everyone gets one except him, and so do I! Perhaps he has no vices to exploit; only the pure of heart can escape pushy advertising.
As we reach Freecloud, we get a glimpse of Quark’s Bar (franchise!) and Mr. Mot’s Hair Emporium, a throwback to our favorite TNG barber—which raises some questions about why Mot would want to operate outside the quiet safety of Starfleet, at least for me. He seemed like such a nice fella, and Freecloud doesn’t seem like a gentle place to set up shop.
From here, there was a lot of cutting back and forth between Raffi prepping everyone–complete with costumes and personas–for their trip, and the actual events that took place after they arrive. It wasn’t a great choice. I preferred the pace of the first few episodes, where moments were allowed to breathe a little, but instead we kept flipping between Freecloud and La Sirena as the plan came together. It felt a little choppy, and somewhat rushed, and we never got to see much interaction once they were in their new outfits.
I did, however, enjoy seeing Rios in his feathered hat and fluffy jacket asking for a drink with two umbrellas. It was a little weirder seeing Picard as a Frenchman pretending to be an Englishman speaking English with a bad French accent, complete with eye patch, but Patrick Stewart was clearly having a ball doing it.
Using Seven (and her Borg parts) as bait, they track down Maddox, and offer her in trade. But Seven had a separate plan the whole time; turns out she has a history with Bjayzl. It seems they used to be close—we don’t find out how close, but Seven once trusted and confided in her. Bjayzl used their relationship, whatever it was, to learn about and eventually ambush Icheb. Seven, angry and betrayed, wants revenge. Picard’s face visibly falls as this dawns on him, and he tries to talk Seven out of giving in to vengeance. She relents, and they end up with a trade after all: Bjayzl’s life for Maddox’s. They take Maddox and head back to La Sirena.
Raffi, in the meantime, tracks Gabriel down at a fertility/reproductive health clinic; turns out , he’s her estranged son. She tells him she’s clean, she’s better, she’s here for him, but he’s not having it, and effortlessly triggers her need to talk about the how the synths were framed for the attack on Mars. This all goes by much too quickly to have much impact, but gives us the phrase “conclave of 8,” a new piece of Raffi’s conspiracy theory. Yes, we learn that her obsession drove her family away, but the whole thing comes out of nowhere and wraps up in an instant. Oh, and her son’s wife is a Romulan, pregnant with their daughter. A defeated Raffi returns to La Sirena, and refuses to talk to anyone. I hope she gets back to her scrappy self quickly, and I hope the rest of her backstory is fleshed out better than this quick snapshot. I didn’t know she had a son five minutes ago, so it didn’t have much impact.
Maddox, injured but relieved to be alive, is thrilled to see “Aggie” Jurati, but her face, once again, reveals that tragedy is afoot. Maddox manages to tels Picard about Soji and where to find her, giving him the next piece of the puzzle, and demonstrating that Picard has heard of “the artifact”–the captured Borg cube. Maddox also warns them that it’s not just the Romulans who destroyed his lab and have a stake in the synth ban; the Federation is also involved.
Then we got to the highlight of the week: the conversation Picard and Seven were destined to have about their shared history of being assimilated. She asks if he’s regained his humanity, and he says yes without hesitation, then admits it’s more complicated than that. When she says she’s working on getting her humanity back “every damned day of my life,” I realize I’m ready for a whole other show that starts with Voyager’s return to the Alpha Quadrant and gives us every detail of every moment in Seven’s life since then. Are you listening, CBS?
And… we finally see that scene from all the promos of Seven firing two guns at once at anything and anyone in her path. We can check that off the list.
Seven takes some weapons, gives Picard a way to reach her in the future, then secretly heads back to Freecloud, where she kills Bjayzl after all. Honestly, I saw this as much more than revenge. Seven knows that Bjayzl is going to keep deceiving people and keep brutally dismembering former Borg drones to sell their parts, so what she’s doing is preventive as much as anything, and fully justified. I had no moral issues with it, buoyed by the horrific cruelty done to Icheb. I found myself thinking about Data in TNG’s “The Most Toys,” telling Kivas Fajo, “I cannot permit this to continue,” and then firing. Bjayzl, like Fajo, had it coming.
We end on Maddox and Jurati, reunited and alone at last. The EMH pops up for the second time in this episode, once again alerted by her symptoms to Jurati’s “psychiatric emergency,” but she quickly deactivates it and kills Maddox, weeping. The final straw was his compliment that her “contribution was essential” to the work he did building on Dr. Soong’s legacy. “One more thing I have to atone for,” she says tearfully. “I wish they hadn’t shown me,” she adds, reminding us that we still haven’t seen what happened between her and Commodore Oh a few episodes back. All we can do is hope the EMH has logged those psychiatric emergencies for someone else to find before it’s too late.
All in all, this was an uneven episode, and my least favorite so far, despite the fun outfits and great Seven of Nine moments. It felt a little choppy, and some of its intense character moments deserved more time. The promos made it seem like a bit of a romp, A Piece of the Action-style, but it ended up having some of the most brutal violence we’ve seen so far and a whole lot more tragedy than comedy.
- Bjayzl’s first outfit is a little like the one on the waitress in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, when McCoy goes to a bar looking for a ship.
- Maddox says Dahj had an “embedded mom AI”, confirming what we’ve suspected, that the “Mom” Dahj and Soji call is really a fake AI program for the sisters.
- Freecloud takes its name from the b-side (remember b-sides?) of the David Bowie single “Space Oddity.” The song title was “Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud,” and of course they’re in Stardust City, minus the Ziggy. “Space Oddity” had its big moment in Star Trek: Discovery when Tilly and Stamets sang it as he drilled a hole in her head, and it’s a favorite of real astronauts, too… everyone loves David Bowie!
- Mr. Vup, Bjayzl’s body guard, is a new species named Beta Annari, who are sapient reptiloids with a powerful sense of smell. Vup says he has “…1,253 olfactory receptor genes, which means among other things I can smell a lie.”
- The Breen get a shout-out, along with “Mr. Quark of Ferenginar.”
- I feel like there was a wasted opportunity here with Elnor, who has been raised in “absolute candor” and is now being asked to lie and pretend he’s someone else. They touched on it, briefly, but it seems to me like there was a philosophical conflict there that could’ve been interesting for him. Maybe later.
- Raffi got the best line of the week, telling Rios, “You can’t do your broody existentialist spaceman routine” on Freecloud.
- I’m very confused about the world of Star Trek: Picard. What happened to the future we were heading towards in the original series and the TNG/DS9/Voyager era? Is all of this criminal activity and annoying advertising specific to Freecloud, or is this the world our characters live in now? I’m hoping it’s the former, as idealism is a fundamental piece of what makes Star Trek, Star Trek. I hope they aren’t trying to say that the future we all grew up believe in has failed by the 24th century, with the entire Federation (vs. a few high-up rogues) conspiring in murder and cover-ups.
- On that same note, why is there a medical clinic on Freecloud and why is Raffi’s son there? Does it offer some fertility service he can’t get elsewhere? That seems highly unlikely in the 24th century Federation we know, and Freecloud doesn’t seem like a place everyday people would want to live. It’s more of a place to escape to than somewhere you’d settle.
- I didn’t miss the action on the Borg cube one bit, and I’m now a lot more interested in what happened to random disconnected Borg drones than I am with displaced Romulans. But next week, it’s back to the Borg cube.
The Ready Room
The show opened with a produced piece about Seven of Nine’s return, basically going over what we already knew. Then host Wil Wheaton enthusiastically interviewed Evan Evagora, who plays Elnor, mostly about last week’s episode (“Absolute Candor”) with a few questions about this week’s.
The most entertaining part of the conversation was finding out that Evagora grew up watching TNG and knows it well, and watching Wheaton and Evagora bond over being young Picard protégés (and Patrick Stewart protégés, too). They shared their love of props and their dismay at not being able to play with them between scenes. Evagora also said that last week’s beheading marked the first time Elnor actually killed anyone, which would’ve been an interesting moment to explore if they’d had the time in last week’s episode.
The second package was well worth a watch, with Neville Page talking about how they created the look for Mr. Vun, Bjayzl’s lizard-like henchman and a new Trek species. Making a new species is a creative collaboration between special effects people, makeup artists, costume designers, writers, and actors, as Page demonstrated, and the piece included some behind-the-scenes clips showing that they are having a lot of fun doing it.
The sneak peek was also worth your time: young Soji!
But it’s become clear that the podcast is the place for real insider information, where they dig a little deeper into what could’ve been and how things came together.
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.
Just watched the episode. I grinned at some bits. Jeri Ryan was the best one in it!
And we found out that 7 had a girlfriend.🏳️🌈
Did we? I missed that!
Bjayzl and 7 were lovers.
Might’ve been lovers. lol
This garbage is nothing but 100% destruction of Star Trek.
The casualties so far are:
Data was never resurrected in B4 either, Data gone.
The constitution 1701 is gone.
Starfleet is gone.
The federation is gone.
Picard is broken and not Picard.
Crusher is no longer talking to Picard.
Maddox is murdered.
Icheb is murdered.
Utopia Planitia gone.
7 of nine is a murderous bounty hunter.
What is wrong with the writers and producers to think that THIS is what the fanbase wants to see? This is a nightmare.
And we’re only half way through.
What possessed the writers into thinking this is anything other than flipping the bird to the inbuilt fanbase? Why would ANY fan want to watch this? Now that I know this is how everything turns out, I am seriously questioning if I can even watch canon trek reruns anymore.
Gutted, and feel like part of me has been raped. I find no redeemable qualities whatsoever, nothing. I’ve reached my limit and I’m done with it. Enjoy your echo chamber.
Romulus gone belongs IMO to the old Star Trek but the rest sounds like they are paving the way for STD season 3…
That’s sooooo far in the future though, unless this era causes the destruction of the Fed as we know it. Causing the DISCO crew to travel to before Romulus was destroyed and fixing the timeline? Maybe this has been set in place by a faction of the Temporal Cold War.
Doubt it though, just think it’s crappy writing/poor world building. 🤷🏻♂️
@Dukat – Yes, the future in DSC is so far away from Picard. But there’s also the section 31 series awaiting… Maybe this episode is a glimpse of what we could see in S31?
If we go back to the beginnings, the earth-romulan war led to the creation of the federation… maybe the consequences of the destruction of Romulus will destroy the federation?
Perhaps the dreaded “Draitch” … Fe’d[e]ration … that Craft refers to in Short Treks: “Calypso”?
He was a warrior fighting for his planet against the “Draitch”.
The producers of DIS and PIC has already said what happens to the Federation in the 32nd century in Discovery has nothing to do with Picard. They are completely separate story lines.
I was with you until the “feel like part of me has been raped” comment. Comparing disappointment with a fictional show to PHYSICAL ASSAULT AND SEXUAL VIOLATION is insulting and childish.
Exactly. No one who uses rape as an analogy for TV disappointment should ever be taken seriously. It’s childish and misogynistic.
Thank you. Very this. I don’t agree with his opinion otherwise, but this is offensive to people who have been sexually assaulted. He says he’s gone but he’ll be back with more grandiose hyperbole next week.
CBS, Sir Patrick any Brent Spiner told us it’s different Trek.
I don’t think CBS cares about the hard core fringe fans.
They want eyeballs in front of TVs. CBS is breaking records with Picard. Obviously, people love this Trek.
I have issues with yesterday’s ep but I’m not looking to bail out, yet.
Like I said, enjoy your echo chamber. As far as Trek fans are concerned, Trek is dead. It now belongs entirely to people who were either only passing fans, or this new breed of angsty teenage gamers.
You have your opinion, which is fine. But implying you speak for any other person, especially Star Trek fans, is presumptuous.
How dare someone speak for the majority, you mean?
How dare someone presume s/he speaks for a majority. How does one know? It’s the internet and the evidence is anecdotal. I’ve seen plenty of praise for Picard here, let’s not be thinking our opinions are more valid because there’s an agreeing mob at our backs.
When someone says something absolute about something that is obviously opinion I think it goes without saying they are speaking for themselves. When someone says “Sushi is terrible” it is obvious opinion and not meant to tell everyone they ought not eat sushi.
“As far as Trek fans are concerned, Trek is dead.”
And now you speak for all Trek fans, eh? You don’t, dude. You speak ONLY for yourself, so cut the needless melodrama.
You seem to be the one in the echo chamber. One of your own making.
I’ve been a fan since I watched the first episode in 1966 as it aired. I love Picard. Trek has always commented on our present- and it continues to do so.
BS. I’m a Star Trek fan and I love this show. YOU don’t speak for ALL fans. Entitled. That’s all I can say. You think that every medium should be all about YOU. Guess what buddy? It’s 2020, time for you to realise that IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU.
i’ve seen you post this exact rant word for word on TrekCore and Reddit.
I noticed this too.
TrekCore has deleted all the posts, but one can still see where some of the regulars there rebutted his specific points.
What I find disquieting is this person has bombed all the sites with verbatim copies of negative posts shortly after each new episode goes out.
This is clearly more than expressing their feelings : it’s an agenda to push negative fan reactions onto the more balanced mainstream fan boards.
“Copy/past” is a useful tool for troweling on his opinion everywhere and trolling everyone else
You also say you’re gone but haven’t left yet. Since you’re comparing yourself to a sexual assault victim, shouldn’t you get out while you can save yourself, Troll St Troll?
Don’t speak for this 40 something who has been a trek fan since before TNG. Trek evolves with every generation and has always incorporated social issues since its inception. Being inflexible in the face of change means that you have absolutely missed the point that Trek has been driving home since The Cage.
@Mike Burnthem Please stop trying to force your own opinions onto other fans. I’ve been a fan for 30 years and I am absolutely in love with this show.
Frank, et. al., Me too, fan for 51+ years. I’m loving the return of Trek. And it’s still Trek, even though the Starfleet/Trek philosophy we know and love is facing off against Big Darkness. I think the good guys will win on the strength of their convictions and faith, but there will be many trials.
This show is not Star Trek. Is garbage.
“CBS is breaking records with Picard.”
Yeah. Their OWN records. Not worldwide records.
And…isn’t that their point? To break their records and make money?
How do you know CBS is breaking records? They don’t publish any numbers and only brag without showing data. And if you go by the number of people that are watching on-line (YouTube) adjuncts the numbers are very low.
Speak for yourself.
Despite what others might call you for this… I have to agree on all points. This is really sad.
It’s a big galaxy out there. In star trek, we’ve only ever seen the point of view from inside the federation, until DS9 really. It’s like watching a show about one ship in the Navy and their adventures. Just because the ships crew never goes to Las Vegas, doesn’t mean it does not exist. The ship never goes and encounters some of the warlords in Africa- doesn’t mean they aren’t there. We are seeing the galaxy through a different view than the bridge of the Enterprise- and seeing that there was much more too it than what we have been shown, is all.
Well said, Anthony.
These days in our society, we are seeing more and more of the dark side of people. It’s upsetting to live in this world; Trek gives me hope.
Star Trek Discovery and ST Picard illuminate our hopes that we will overcome the darkness.
Star Trek, ever and always relevant!
Agreed and well put
I agree. This opening scene has to be removed. This is not Star Trek. I dont understand why nobody intervened at some point. There must be a hundred people at CBS knowing this is wrong! Kurzman, Picard, the writers, the director, producer? Really? Nobody?!?
They don’t care, they think they’re giving an audience what they want. It’s just mind boggling why Trek fans aren’t that audience anymore. I suppose they think they can make more money by abandoning the loyal fanbase, flipping them the bird and then proceeding to create an entirely new fanbase with *cough* lower standards who might make them more money.
I think the mistake is assuming that the loyal fanbase will continue supporting the franchise in spite of it, which by all accounts isn’t happening. There are now essentially two fanbases of three versions of Trek (canon, Kelvin, STD), split across three streaming services (4 if you count the Orville) to get their Trek fix, with each supposed to accept the other’s version of Trek as the genuine article when they are all so fundamentally incompatible in tone, lore, intended audience, canon and aesthetics.
What a disaster, I couldn’t imagine things being any worse for Trek. At this point, no Trek is preferable to bad Trek, I would gladly suffer another decade of dead air to rid the franchise of this reboot nonsense as the blip it is in the grand scheme of things.
I am part of a loyal fanbase who has loved Trek for five decades, and there are fewer than five things I have disliked in Discovery and Picard combined.
– surgical violence [Discovery Klingons; Bjayzl]
– Control’s possession of Leland [gross and Borg-y]
– the dreadful reveal about Captain Lorca in Season 1: the character of Lorca [yes even Mirror Lorca!] could have been better served. He clearly had some good leadership qualities; how he served aboard a Starfleet ship for a year [?] and then went back to a baser, dreedy, racist thug was a puzzlement indeed. I mean sure, he was a pushy egotistical kind of jerk but very effective warfighting captain, did they have to do THAT stupid twist with him at the end?
The openings scene was awesome. What are you talking about.
Maybe they are looking to appeal to Game of Thrones fans, what with the torturous scene and the weird brother/sister Cersei vibe I get from Narek and his Tal Shiar sibling.
Mike, you speak ONLY for yourself–and you are very much in the minority. Your negativity and melodrama is the problem, not the show.
Oh stop whining, you are just using your confirmation bias to feed your ill-feeling towards this show.
I strongly disagree. Disco is a poorly-told cannon-bending machine, but Picard is a restorative balm that soothes the soul. Yes, times are different and rough (look around the real world!), but it’s certainly great Star Trek.
And to indulge some complaints… Data–you mean from the movie comic prequel? Obviously not cannon. Starfleet gone, because of the Romulan conspiracy thing? That’s not Star Trek to you? Did you forget the TNG episode Conspiracy, or UDC? Maddox and Icheb murdered.. yeah, that gives us a heavy heart. Stuff happens (Tasha, K’eleyr, Data, Jadzia, Kirk…). Romulus gone.. that was in 2009, no? UP gone–who cares? Seven is just awesome.
And finally, Picard is broken? That’s the beauty of this. He is a 100-year old broken man, and he still has his moral compass, and is doing what he can when he can.
“Yes, times are different and rough (look around the real world!)”
Yes but you know what? Times are ALWAYS different and rough. It’s no different now than a decade ago. Or 10 decades ago.
Raped? Wow. Only an entitled fan could use such an horrific term to describe their childish reaction to a TV show. YOU are why we can’t have nice things. ‘Fans’ should all be banned from watching any new iterations of TV shows/movies cuz y’all ruin it for the rest of us.
Ok I get why you are disappointed in Picard but what ruins this statement, is the fact you compared your disappointment in the failure of an entertainment property (which is what Star Trek is, its not life or a religion or a philosophy it is entertainment) to one of the worst acts a human being can do to another next to murder, is the most disgusting things I have seen.
Gutted was enough. Comparing it to being raped is just sick and over something as unimportant as a TV show.
Does not reflect positively on you.
Then do yourself and Us a favor and stop watching.
Please. Stop watching.
Dude, you posted this exact thing on the Spoiler Discussion. And the word “rape” has absolutely no relevance here. NONE.
Yeah, but they HAD to kill Icheb, otherwise, we wouldn’t have known the villian-of-the-week was a bad guy.
Because that’s all Icheb was worth to this writing room, apparently.
“Why would any fan watch this?” I’d encourage you not to generalize all fans as one way. Not any one fan should be the gatekeeper for this franchise..
For this fan, I’m OK with characters changing and evolving. For the utopia that the Federation is or is as you want it to be? They need to be vigilant, you need to nurture this utopia and protect it. I feel like you need to earn the good times.
Star Trek has always held a mirror up to current issues. Some people would argue the USA is no longer the shining city on the hill it claims to be.
Totally agree. Even Star Trek V is 100000000 times better than this. For example the Yosemite scenes or Kirk/Pock encounter at Klingon’s ship have more Star Trek feeling and magic that this garbage.
You don’t speak for Star Trek fans. I’m glad to hear you’re done. I’d like to be able to read discussions about a good show without angry, entitled, ignorant brats spoiling it. Your list of ignorance so far: B4 was a severely inferior prototype that Soong deactivated and never spoke of again. The idea that it could magically evolve into the Data we knew is nonsense. Hardware doesn’t magically evolve, and it certainly won’t transform into the most advanced neural net in existence. B4 was never there to begin with and only existed in a little over an hour of a pretty terrible film. The Constitution-class underwent numerous refits in its 40-year life span, of which we only saw 10 years at most. It is not “gone.” We now just know there is another point in its life where it looked different. Starfleet has been infiltrated numerous times throughout its history. There have been bad admirals, conspiracies, plots to take over from within and without, and all of these took place throughout all the “canon” shows, as you call them. This is one moment in its history where it’s not living up to the ideals that Picard has championed in his career. After Borg invasions, the Dominion war, wars with Klingons, Cardassians, and the Maquis, it’s understandable that they’re stretched thin and struggling to maintain their space. On top of this, the attack on UP has struck a major blow. This is simply the reality of life. It’s not all perfect and peachy. The Federation is not gone. We saw how beautiful and pristine the Earth is. Freecloud is clearly just on the fringes, or beyond the borders of, Federation Space. Just as DS9 was shady, so is Freecloud. Not to mention, Harry Mudd selling women as wives, using drugs to enhance them. Orion slavery. The neutral zones. Nimbus 3. Cardassian occupations. Militaristic Klingon rule. Or any non-member planet in or near Federation space. There have been many, MANY examples throughout the “canon” shows. Picard is older, ill, desperate, and he’s experienced numerous traumas. He’s not going to be the same man as before. This is what happens when people age. Life is hard. His life has been extraordinarily hard. Of course he’s going to be different. This is how life works. Crusher might be busy, in deep space, Captaining a ship. You know, doing her job. In reality, people can’t drop everything, travel across the galaxy and be expected to help at the drop of a hat. Starfleet can’t operate like that and as we see, in All Good Things, it’s a constant uphill struggle to try and get her to do so. Picard experienced that, knows how much trouble it could cause her, and chooses to go the route he has to protect her from doing something that could endanger or ruin her life. Maddox is dead. Yes. Shit happens. If there was no loss or stakes in a story it would be a very dull story. Icheb is dead. Yes. Shit happens. It’s nice to see he stayed in Starfleet, and it’s sad that he died the way he did, but if there was no loss or stakes in a story it would be a very dull story. I feel like you’re having a hard time understanding how story-telling works. Romulus is destroyed. Yes. Shit happens. If there was no loss or stakes in a story it would… Christ, you get the idea. Utopia Planitia is destroyed. Yes. Shit happens. If there was no loss… Okay, you clearly don’t understand how stories work. Tell me, would Best of Both Worlds have been as dramatic a story if the fleet at Wolf 359 had come out of it unscathed? Like, the Borg cube just sailed by and no one fired a shot? Did you whinge about all those ships being destroyed? What about the Dominion war, where Galaxy-class ships were being melted like butter? Yes, UP was destroyed. They’ve probably rebuilt it by now, or are working to do so, but this event is what is defining this story. That’s why it’s so important. It’s a catalyst. THAT’S HOW STORIES WORK. For a real-life analogy, look at how the USA reacted after 9/11. A horrible disaster occurs and every aspect of our culture changed because of it. THIS IS HOW LIFE WORKS. Are you starting to understand now? Yes, Seven is a changed person now. The person she considered her child was brutally tortured and she had to mercy kill him. This is likely to have a traumatic effect on her. THIS. IS. HOW. LIFE. WORKS. What would you prefer? Picard just bottling wine whilst Seven has picnics with people? Stop screeching about how this isn’t what Trek fans want. I’m a lifelong fan and I’m loving this… Read more »
Just typed this up to a friend, for what it’s worth (see below).
I love Trek and I don’t *hate* STP. Trek would be great if not for the writers, sometimes… How paradoxical is that!? I guess it’s us fans that actually make it great.
The Ghost of Star Trek Past: The mistake started in Star Trek 2009 when Paramount, J.J. Abrams, et al. were too chicken to make a real reboot and tied the Kelvin timeline with the then-current canon timeline of TNG. Huge mistake. Now we have the ridiculousness of this supernova nonsense, plus the added insult that Spock probably made things worse with the “red matter” scheme.
Not-So-Super Nova: The Romulans should have had time to evacuate the Romulus system (hundreds of thousands if not millions of years…). However, there is an urgency for some reason to evacuate (some fans will tell you to go read some novel, comic, or play Star Trek: Online to understand more fully… uh, no). Now, in STP’s defense, they seem to have backed off a bit from this urgency. According to the timeline someone gave at Trekmovie.com, the attack on Mars was two years before the evacuation of Romulus.
Inept Advanced Interstellar Civilizations: The Romulans should have been able to pull off the evacuation themselves in time. It’s the Romulan STAR Empire, for crying out loud. So, yes, the destruction of the home system would have been a blow, but a stellar empire should be able to absorb it. Anything less makes the Romulans look like a paper tiger. This is exactly the same problem as the destruction of Praxis in TUC: how could the loss of one MOON (and, perhaps, catastrophic damage to “Q’onos (TM)”) cause a stellar empire to sue for peace with the Federation??
The Federation: In STP, it is stated by the CnC (a term I’ve hated since TUC, btw; shouldn’t the President of the Federation be the CnC, anyway?) that 14 member worlds were ready to secede from the Federation over the Romulan evacuation. Sure, I can see the concern that millions upon millions of Romulans being resettled in Federation space would cause (after all, after the supernova occurred, hard radiation would travel at the speed of light and affect other systems with deadly results within a huge, light-year radius), BUT THIS IS THE FEDERATION! In my vision of the Feddies, the Federation Council would have called the bluff of those 14 member worlds and told them “good luck with that”!! The fact that the Federation reneged on the evacuation after the “Synth” attack flies in the face of everything the Federation has been portrayed as. The Federation is the good guys!!
The Federation, Part Deux: STARFLEET IS NOT THE FEDERATION! THE FEDERATION IS NOT STARFLEET. Writers have gotten this wrong/mixed-up/conflated in past Trek series, but they really get it wrong in STP.
The “Synths”: I really wish they hadn’t gone there. Star Trek has never needed robots or androids on a grand scale. It’s not what Trek is. These “Synths” are even worse.
Mars: So, evidently the Federation really does have just one ship yard… Huh. /sarcasm. How STUPID. And the atmosphere of Mars has burned for 14 years? Um, sure…
The Cylon Sisters: Really? And one piece of positronic whatever could recreate the whole of Data’s mind…?
Picard, Jean Luc: The Picard we know wouldn’t have abandoned his Romulan friends on that Vash Ti or whatever planet. Much like Luke Skywalker has been out of character in the new trilogy, Picard is written out of character in this series.
Stewart, Patrick: Much like with the meddling of Gene Roddenberry in early TNG, it appears that Stewart’s insistence on certain takes on the series and his character have negatively impacted the show. Also, watching him on screen is personally cringe-worthy for me. At the risk of ageism, his voice cracks, he looks worn… I don’t see Picard, I see an old Patrick Stewart trying to reprise a character – poorly. Strangely enough, I thought his best acting of the series was when he went undercover on Freecloud.
Pacing: The pacing is way too slow. We have five episodes left. I don’t know what the heck is going on with the overall mystery of The Cylon Sisters, The Artifact, or anything.
Artifact sub-plot: So far anything having to do with or set upon the Artifact has been a complete waste of time. We have learned NOTHING except the mating habits of one of the Cylon sisters.
That’s one possible interpretation of their relationship, but I don’t recall that being confirmed,
It’s more likely that Bjayzl simply posed as a “friend” to gain Seven’s (or rather Annika’s) trust. After all, betrayal of trust is a terrible thing, no matter whether it’s between supposed friends or supposed lovers.
Guess things didn’t work out with Chakotay, eh.
Can you blame a woman for falling for Bjayzl?
I swear for a split second, I thought the actress was Marina Sirtis!!
I never did. Not only is she WAY better looking but she is obviously 10 times the actress Marina is.
Who knows what happened to the former Maquis after the came back in VOY Endgame?
Well, the writers applied something called plausible deniability… for those who want seven to be pansexual it is very clear what went on between the two. For the others it can easily be dismissed. I would say this is a well meant, but highly coded, not very bold attempt. I meanam, they implied so much, short of mentioning explicitely they had a sexual relationship. Which the characters would absolutely have done …
Aren’t most Star Trek characters supposed to be some kind of pansexual since a lot of characters did have contact with other species?
IMHO this was the best episode yet. We needed the stakes to be raised somehow. And we needed some answers. We got both. Up until now this had been one giant little engine that could climbing a hill to somewhere. And we finally got over that hill.
Also, this episode gave me a very ST: ENT Storm Front vibe towards the end there with deformed Daniels telling Archer to stop the alien Nazis.
Agreed. Best episode so far.
I assumed that Raffi’s son just lives on Freecloud, and that’s why he’s using the fertility clinic there.
I thought so too. I live in Vegas and people always assume that there are no locals here, so the same kinds of questions come up. Even if Freecloud isn’t drawing sick people from across the galaxy, the locals need someplace to go.
Seriously? I have friends and Family in Vegas. Do people think it is Disney World? I mean, even Disney world has medical staff
Sometimes the answer is not so deep and the simplest one is the correct one.
Perhaps being with a Romulan in that day and age means not being able to live in the core Fed worlds due to rampart discrimination.
“I’m very confused about the world of Star Trek: Picard. What happened to the future we were heading towards in the original series and the TNG/DS9/Voyager era? Is all of this criminal activity and annoying advertising specific to Freecloud, or is this the world our characters live in now? I’m hoping it’s the former, as idealism is a fundamental piece of what makes Star Trek, Star Trek. I hope they aren’t trying to say that the future we all grew up believe in has failed by the 24th century.”
What we mainly saw in The Original Series and The Next Generation was the Federation way of life, as it were, mainly confined to the interior of a Starship. The rest of the galaxy is not like that. The galaxy is a very big place. It would be foolish to believe that all of it is the same; peaceful, enlightened, etc.
Earth is a pretty boring planet. No wonder Humans leave and become criminals.
“. The rest of the galaxy is not like that. The galaxy is a very big place. It would be foolish to believe that all of it is the same; peaceful, enlightened, etc.”
That is an explanation but not a justification. We were led to believe that part of the galaxy, at least the Federation, IS like that. It was a beacon of hope that has heen taken away from us now.
However, right from the start of TOS, we saw Orion women and purveyors of flesh.
It was always clear that the perimeter beyond the Federation did not fully share the Federation’s abundance or freedoms.
In this time period, it looks as though the Federation is retrenching after over-extending itself.
Vashti, at the edge of the old neutral zone, or Freecloud beyond it, are not under the Federation’s rule of law or governance.
So, the beacon of hope has pulled inward, but all is not necessarily lost.
TG47, as I elaborated down further, my point is not that it doesn’t “make sense” for these things to exist in some dark depraved corner of the 24th century as an in-universe rationalization, my point is that the writers and Chabon consciously decided to FOCUS on these things at the same time their pre-launch interviews indicated the time is ripe for renewed hope and optimism, for Utopian science fiction. Every single character in this show broken in some grisly way once again belies that.
I get where you’re coming from now VS.
There seems to be an idea that to bring in a new audience, the hope and optimism needs to be earned through the grim, as an active resistance rather than just as an alternative positive society.
The problem though, as Tiger2 has pointed out, it’s hard to see how this story would successfully engage those new to Trek.
Then you craft a different story. One that is based on the principles upon which the over-arching story is based on to engage those new to Trek. Not try to be a generic overly cliched Sci-fi show.
For me, the hope and optimism of Star Trek was not the future society but rather that humans made it to that point.
Humans won’t exist in the future. The machines will replace them.
From a story telling point of view you have to have darkness to see the light.
Ok, i would indeed argue that there where always dark places in, the ST universe (this should be undeniable).
The UFP and Humanity where always the beacon of hope surrounded by basicly empire / hegemony / dictatorship after another.
One could easily argue that ST is racist in pedaling the idea that every species beyond the humans areund more savage or flawed in other ways. ST is IMHO painfully human centric (as it maybe has has to be).
But taking this as a given, i cautiously would agree that STP indeed focuses on places and people that are less perfect and dysfuntional compared to “Federation Standard“.
But is this a bad thing? Are we told the whole federation is like that? No.
DS9 was darker, but this darkness arguably came from the fact the Station was at the fringes of Federation Space where political turmoil is/was a reality still. It did not come from a less optimistic viewpoint IMO, but it looked to other places in the ST universe.
So does STP. ST is about hope. We maybe can agree to that. But hope needs a desperate Situation first. Even if the Federation struggles (and probably even falls in a future timeline) the designated endpoint o ST storytelling should of course be “Dont give up hope, things will become better.“
Only when a ST series will give in to the cynical view that everything is lost anyway and theit strive for good is pointless (lets say in a finale) i will declare “This is not Star Trek“. But not a second before that.
Nailed it German Trekkie
Indeed! German Trekkie is right on!
This also makes sense.
You can live with a smaller beacon of Hope so that we can all enjoy good drama. The good life still exists in the Federation. Just not in Space Vegas. ;-)
Ripped out eye balls != good drama. It’s a bottom barrel freak show.
Good thing there is a plethora of other things to watch nowadays. I suggest you go to their comments board and give up on new Trek.
You might consider the consequences of off-screen violence, which sanitizes and normalizes the violence so that our kids can see violence as a plot device without the consequences of seeing the impact of violence on a person. The entire discussion of on-screen violence is a distraction: the point of the scene is that Seven was radicalized and traumatized by the torture of and her mercy-killing of her son. The scene informs us of Seven’s character, so that we understand her considerable change.
Very good point about Seven and her change in character, Jefferies, although I would have preferred a bit less gore. Focus on the drill, cut to the screaming without all the gore and eyeball extraction … I dunno. It really left disturbing images in my head. It could have been quite clear that the poor guy was being tortured without so much visceral specificity.
The danger I see with extreme violence and torture on screen is that some people become numbed to it. And some actually enjoy watching it, “the more sensational the better”. I’m not crazy about that aspect of humanity.
Or in the colony Tasha grew up in, in which she had to constantly be on the lookout for rape gangs.
Oy vey. I’ve always had a problem with that. How is that even sustainable? You’d think the decent folk would absolutely go bonkers on a group of thugs preying on their youth.
I’m sure they do. What’s odd about that planet is that it shows the elitism of the Federation, in that what they promise is only available for a select few and does not in fact include all humans.
It clashes with the idea that a world has to be above internal conflict in order to be admitted into the Federation as seen in that episode of TNG with the modified soldiers. How can that be true for everyone else but not the Federation when one of its founding worlds turns its back on its own people, like those living in Tasha’s world?
Michael, Budgets rise and fall, politicians rise and fall; morals rise and fall. The same may be true on Federation worlds, except maybe the budget part. And a world under Fed protection would likely keep its faults concealed as long as they could to keep that good old Fed aid and the protection of Starfleet kept coming their way.
Yeah… I always found that to be too over the top. It helped contribute to Yar being a lame character. But then, that was pretty much true of all the TNG characters. Save Worf. Who was interesting mainly because he was Klingon.
People tend to see Star Trek as a western in which civilized, educated, and enlightened frontiersmen travel across the wilderness taming the uncivilized, uneducated, and unenlightened alien savages. The problem with that perspective is that there is no such thing as alien savages. What there is is a clash of cultural beliefs, such as the conflict between humans who no longer care about riches and the Ferengi who value profit.
What we see most often than not are aliens who choose to abandon their cultural beliefs to instead embrace those promoted by the Federation, such as Nog for instance, who decided to stop living for profit to instead commit himself to joining Starfleet.
What we seldom see is the opposite of that, humans who forgo civilization, their education, and their enlightenment to embrace the beliefs of those alien cultures. Which is not to say it doesn’t happen, because it does. We have seen it in people like Harry Mudd and places like the colony where Tasha Yar and her sister grew up in which they were on the run from human rape gangs.
One thing I noticed when I rewatched The Original Series recently was that for the most part the show stayed within Federation space while the times it ventured outside of it what we saw was generally benign. The same was true of The Next Generation in its first two seasons. Generally, it took time for that series to venture into the darkest areas of the galaxy, which led us to Deep Space 9 and then Voyager, the latter of which took place in the unexplored (and consequently “uncivilized, uneducated, and unenlightened”) Delta Quadrant.
For humans in Star Trek, the struggle to remain civilized, educated, and enlightened (as the Federation defines such terms) is no different than a Vulcan’s struggle to remain logical and not become emotional.
What we’re seeing in Picard are places with Federation influence but not necessarily Federation values, and meeting people who haven’t quite managed to hold on to their Federation civilization, education, and enlightenment on account of influence from alien cultures, be it smoking or the acquisition of profit, both of which Rios embodies.
I’d disagree with that. I’d say people tended to see Star Trek as a Western in which people heading out into the unknown on ships go off in search of the “new world” leaving their old world behind, leaving the comforts of home to learn, succeed and prosper. That’s why TOS characters were so relatable, they never pretended they knew everything, had everything and they had a lot to learn. Indeed thats why they are “out there”.
This is in contrast to TNG where humans think they are perfect in utopia with nothing to learn, free everything. Why leave paradise??? It’s only when you look under the hood you realize they made it so boring and nonsensical all the humans head back home to live in their holodeck. The whole concept was bound to self destruct and I am so happy it is the utopian emperor himself, Picard, who has no clothes.
I agree with your post. It is not tenable to identify the Trekverse solely with the Federation.
Well said Michael!
I 100% agree with you as well Michael. And I have said the same thing about TOS and TNG on these boards in the past and that they rarely even left Federation space. It really wasn’t until DS9 and then of course Voyager where we started to see a much darker universe because both took place either on the edge of the Federation or in completely unknown areas of the galaxy and where the Federation was a non-entity in both its existence and values. In many ways both Sisko and especially Janeway had a much tougher time than both Kirk or Picard ever did because they had to deal with so many more races and ideas that were anti-Federation while keeping their own values.
In TOS members of the Federation did not get along at all…didn’t you watch Journey to Babel? Almost every planet the Federation visited had major issues. Michael has it right. The Enterprise and Earth was close to a utopian vision, other places, not so much.
Indeed, and thanks.
What the heck?? Am I the only one that saw Journey to Bable and saw no one believing Earth (nor any Federation member) was perfect? The Vulcans see it as too emotional. The Andorians see them as too compromising. The Tellerites see Earth weak. The beauty of the TOS Federation was that no one thought they were perfect but that they all still worked together and tried to better themselves hoping that together they could become better. Why most of the “Earth” Starfleet bureaucrats were shown to be crazy and/or to be avoided.
All that “Earth is perfect” nonsense is post-TNG BS. Don’t confuse that with TOS.
Then again, there are 75 years between TOS and TNG, time enough for Earth to gets its s*it together, lol.
Agreed! No different than the real world today. Yes, things are still bad in our world today but they still vastly improved than where they were from 75 years ago. If I was born then, I wouldn’t be able to vote, go to the same schools or live in the same neighborhoods as white people and could actually go to prison (or worse) for even dating outside my race. My options and opportunities in everything would be much more limited. It’s ironically shows LIKE Star Trek that showed that things can progress and get better.
And today its waaaaaay better lol, even if still not perfect. TOS was already a universe with VERY progressive ideals and a positive future so another century it would just become more so. That’s how human history has always been going. Life gets better, tech gets better which helps to improve life and people become more open, even if we still have problems.Star Trek literally presents the exact same thing over and over again.
True that, but over 75 years perhaps they all became more accustomed to one another. Friendships breached some barriers; marriages, others; medical and military aid, still more.
By TNG’s time, Earth is a very paradisiacal place, Vulcan is always Vulcan but gets along better with these emotional Humans and perhaps some Humans learn to temper their emotions by retreats at Vulcan monasteries, Andorians are still violent but can tame their tempers in Federation meetings and serve as military strategic advisors, and everyone knows Tellarites like to argue, so they get better at it! All advantages to be gained by federation affiliation.
“We were led to believe that part of the galaxy, at least the Federation, IS like that. It was a beacon of hope that has been taken away from us now.”
Not exactly. Watch “Journey to Babel” again.
Actually, I think you need to watch Journey to Babel again. Other than the Tellarites, who are adversarial by nature but generally fall in line, the other member planets were discussing the issue – admitting Coridan to the Federation – in a civilized manner. Indeed, the whole point of the conference was to bring Coridan under the umbrella of the Federation to protect it from more unsavory parties. It was also pretty clear from the Tellarite’s posture that the Vulcans held sway or influence over the other members so it was a safe bet that Coridan would be admitted. Thus the Orion intervention and attempt at destroying the ship. The episode was not about a bunch of worlds not getting along, it was about one planet trying – and ultimately failing – to destabilize that union.
That makes sense.
I’ll add that DS9 introduced the notion of humans working for the Orion Syndicate, so human gangsters still exist in the world of Star Trek. Utopia is clearly not for everyone.
Yes. This is the first show we’ve had that’s out of Starfleet and really out of the Federation. It’s meant to be different.
I really enjoyed it. The acting, cinematography are all superb. But still I feel that it didn’t live up to the pilot which was amazing. Anxious to see where it goes and I beleive it has much potential.
Reading trek movie I feel that fans are hard towards new Trek. Every thing they do seem to suck to them. Making new Trek is mission impossible 🤔…
I’m 37 and grew up on TNG. Got the TNG bluray package. Just finished the First two seasons. Dear lord it was painful. Hard to beleive it became so popular. Give me disco or Picard anytime before making me watch TNG season 1-2 again! But measure of a man was still A great one!
Long live Trek
I am also 37 and love me some TNG. I could watch Encounter at Farpoint every day. True. It is funky but that to me is Trek. If I never watched another episode of Discovery or JJ Trek I wouldn’t mind one bit. Picard had me excited but I feel like it is too “small” of a show for me. That might change though. However I’m having a hard time believing this is a Picard show rather than a Patrick Stewart/Kurtzman show. I really would just like another show set in the optimistic post-TNG galaxy be that a ship/station etc. A wagon train to the stars.
I’ve been rewatching the early TNG episodes recently, too. I really like them. Talk about funky: “Lonely Among Us” has that briefing room scene with no recognizable department heads! Awesome!
I’m nearing the end of season two on my very first rewatch of TNG since it first aired. That first season… WAY worse than I remembered. At the time I was happy as hell we were finally getting new Trek even though none of the characters, save Worf, I found to be interesting or worthy of carrying on the torch. But it was Star Trek so I had that. I think that is why I don’t recall that season being as bad as it was seeing it now. 2nd season got a little better but there were still a LOT of terrible episodes in it.
“Too small” is the very sentiment in my opinion.
Below is what I wrote in reply to another STP Ep5 article:
The more I think about it, the more I am a bit uneven on ST Picard.
Oh, I am really entertained by what ST Picard offers. I love the production values, the intrigue, the new paths being forged with ST canon, many of the new actors/characters, seeing the old TNG and Voyager characters…
But the warm/fuzzy/tribble-ations that I felt after seeing Episode 1 are not as warm and fuzzy now. For me, that really has to do with how Admiral Picard is being written.
I always thought Picard would go into old age with a feisty “There Are 4 Lights!” kind of chip on his shoulder. With a “rage, rage against the dying of the light” kind of Shakespearean chip on his shoulder. (I know that was D.Thomas who wrote that.)
To me, his characterization in the show feels… feels… less like a retired Admiral Picard who had the kind of achievements that reshaped life and politics for untold billions across the alpha quadrant. Rather, he feels like a weary, retired, elderly British philanthropist who needs to do one more bit of good.
He feels off to me. He feels like a genteel, 80-year-old Bill Gates. Who no longer has money, which makes him feel less potent.
He should feel like an 80 year-old Tony Stark who no longer has his money and toys, but who still has that potent fire in his bones because he knows that he is Tony F*****G Stark.
BE CLEAR – I DON’T MEAN that Picard should be written as Stark in any way. But, this is Jean-Luc F*****G Picard who outwitted Q, the Klingons, the Borg…. who played that flute like a boss…. who got the woman when he wanted one… who saved the ST multiverse with only Whoopi’s help… who gave us Darmock and Jalad @ Tanagra… who went back to the future to keep Zefram Cochrane’s warp launch on track…
This Picard is written small.
Not the same guy with deep fire in his bones that bet his sanity on the fact that “There Are 4 Lights!”.
I kind of wish that this storyline was saved for Section 31 / Star Trek CSI.
But I will keep watching no matter what. There is a lot to enjoy no matter what.
Agreed. Picard is the man who in his free time was also discovering, exploring, doing positive things like studying ancient archaeology or something. An intellectual. He would never sit on a winery wasting his days away. Sure maybe for a short time but someone like him could never live with himself. 14 years he abandoned the universe and himself. That is probably the biggest stretch of this series. The first episode did make me feel good. It is slowly going downhill. In fact the more I think about it the more I get annoyed.
I think the attack on Mars and the Federation’s [and so, Starfleet’s] turning inward hurt him to the core. He wanted to help people and his hands were tied. There was NO WAY to accomplish that mission of evacuation of and aid to, the Romulans and seal the friendship between them and the Federation. The enmity he and Spock were battling would continue. He had invested a significant part of “himself,” if you will, into those goals.
Again Trek shines a light on today. It’s sort of how some of us feel about what is happening in society today. Can we actually fight the forces of evil and selfishness and racism? Without a government standing on its founding principles, it will be demmed hard to do. A flag, a nation, a union which I once loved have become sullied. The principles I swore to protect as a military memeber have now been violated and belittled by the highest officials in our government.
And for Picard, it feels even bigger than that, impossible and heartbreaking. Dhaj gave him a specific place to start to find and fight the rot at the center of all he once held dear.
While the rest of the episode was a passable Farscape/Firefly mashup that has nothing to do with TNG, I can’t express my disgust with the opening scene strongly enough and my shock they would include gore of that level in a TNG world sequel (no, the exploding head in Conspiracy was completely cartoonish, and yet pushed everyone never to go down this path again im Trek). FU, Kurtzman, Chabon, Beyer, Stewart, Frakes. Shame on you all. Any kid accidentally watching this is damaged for years, and the lot of you actually enjoying this inhumanity desensitized to the point where it’s time to head to the shrink.
This hits a new low even after Discovery’s gut punches (the decapitated baby at least looked all fake, horrible a concept it is). If this level of depravity continues I will quit. I don’t watch (even for free) for the point of being traumatized just because Stewart & Co. are traumatized that free elections didn’t favor their establishment cronies! This visual vulgarity makes me even more sure I rejected their side for good reason. It makes it obvious to everyone where the true immorality and depravedness lives.
Ceti eels crawling into a guy’s skull?
Transporter accidents where people materialize into a mass of goo, scream in a blood-curdling manner on the pad, and don’t live long … fortunately?
Star Trek can do horror (e.g., the Salt Vampire is in the very first regular episode of TOS) and I thought the scene of Icheb was important in selling why Seven of Nine is willing to go so far in her revenge.
No, these scenes were not equivalent. They sold the scene mostly through psychological horror and not graphic realism of “SAW” levels or the equivalent of an ISIS snuff video. The latter was totally not necessary to sell the loss, or was it necessary for hundreds of hours of fine drama in 50 years of previous Treks? The concept of “abstraction” in violence existed for a reason. But this… really says more about the writers and viewers who outright enjoy this plunge than it says about the dramatic quality.
Pro Tip, Vulcan Soul: don’t ever watch MI-5.
VS shouldn’t watch anything.
I think I did, I dont remember anything of this level. It’s also besides the point that such crudeness is not needed in STAR TREK and was not needed for 50 years. Thank you.
Gene Roddenberry was fighting the network all the time in TOS to show more graphic things. Trek always pushed the boundaries, Conspiracy and all. The impression that earlier Trek was different is anachronistic.
Damn, Gene fighting the network has to be the favorite strawman argument of those who were always itching to turn Trek into their favorite OTHER scifi show! The TNG creators ALSO agreed even the comic book violence in TNG:Conspiracy was too much to ever be repeated again!
VS is evading the point: Star Trek/Gene Roddenberry stands for artistic liberty and anti-violence. Star Trek does not stand for censorship or the old television model of normalizing violence by sanitizing it for kids.
Remember Picard’s dream in First Contact. That was way more freaky.
Freaky, yes. Traumatizing, no. It was highly stylized and psychological horror, not gratuitous gore for cheap thrills. And that was a feature film no less.
I don’t understand why this new world of streaming is such an anarchist dystopia devoid of any regulations and age restrictions. It’s not like people who watch dont have kids and wouldn’t want to know beforehand (TG47?) And the level of writing is still way below the best of pre-Discovery Trek so I don’t see the absence of limits od doing any good, on the contrary. Creativity thrives on restrictions, this is just depravity.
The year 2020, this is the wild 20’s. Everything goes.
More like the 1320’s. The desensitization of people towards torture, even and especially for entertainment, is downright medieval.
I agree. Even with the Ceti Eels, or the transporter accidents or death in general, there was a dignified subtlety to Star Trek. Which is absolutely lost in Nu-Trek. I mean the gore, the swearing, the nudity (klingon breasts), the blade runner/star wars underworld esque Freecloud. It is all in your face. Very generic sci-fi-ish or borrowing heavily from other franchises. I wish they would borrow from the franchise for whom they are creating this homage rather than token fan service like dropping a bottle of Romulan ale into a scene.
klingon men have two ….
But the 1920’s had Flappers. And it was just after the human meat grinder that was WW1. Now that was torture.
Shooting up dozends of Redshirts in TOS but conveniently soseen without any blood, so the “fun factor“ is not compromised … is that better?
Deaths should be gruesome in my opinion. If you produce family entertainment, do not show murders at all. ST did this wrong basically. As did Murder Mysteries, Doctor Who etc.
Harmless deaths so its thrilling, but not too apalling.
I have news for you. Murders are apalling. Toning it down so your fun is not spoiled is more gruesome than showing blood.
I tend to side with your argument German Trekkie. It has always bothered me when TV and movies present “clean” murders and deaths. It is far from clean. How many PG-13 movies have sword play with little to no blood? Murder and death is ugly. It’s not a comic book. Personally I’d rather my kid when he was 8 see two nudes lovingly embrace each other than see people cleanly get swords shoved through them. But I guess that puts me in the minority.
Totally agree. I had to turn away during the scene, but it absolutely put me in Seven’s court later in the episode. The scene was important.
I think is point is that he wasn’t expecting to SEE Walking Dead levels of blood and gore on a Star Trek series. Star Trek has typically implied or suggested such violence. This was far more direct.
“I don’t watch (even for free) for the point of being traumatized just because Stewart & Co. are traumatized that free elections didn’t favor their establishment cronies! This visual vulgarity makes me even more sure I rejected their side for good reason. It makes it obvious to everyone where the true immorality and depravedness lives.”
Ok what? Please don’t attribute bad filmmaking choices to producers’/stars’ political beliefs just to score some points. As someone who also was disgusted by the opening Icheb scene yet still agrees with most if not all of Patrick Stewart’s viewpoints on the state of the world, this comment associating a filmmaking choice with a political belief is just really odd. Especially when others who share those viewpoints like Steven Spielberg have made some of the less violent blockbusters like “E.T.”, “Ready Player One”, and “Tintin”
It was no more gross-out than an average episode of The Walking Dead.
I watched worse horror gore when I was a pre-teen and it didn’t leave me ‘damaged for years’ or in need of a ‘shrink’.
I see worst things on the news.
Your consumption of ISIS snuff videos has nothing to do with Trek though!
Now that you mention it. I did see that video on the net. I felt nothing afterwards.
“It was no more gross-out than an average episode of The Walking Dead.”
Thanks for making my point. So Trek is now “Walking Dead” level of “gross out” and “horror gore”. This is what we have sunk to. We were already further in 1965 when “The Cage” was “too cerebral”, but still filmed as such at least.
I don’t know for what reason you guys watched 50 years of sanitized Trek and became fans for because it’s obvious to me pre-Discovery you didn’t get your fix ;)
I too was very dismayed by what I initially thought was senseless use of gore and violence to depict Ejeb’s death. I was really upset by what I thought was complete callousness by the writers who did not seem to have any connection with one of Voyager’s characters. That said, the scene while still abhorrent did not turn out to be useless gore – it help me understand Seven’s struggle with her humanity and exactly what she must have been feeling when she doled out retribution and executed Bjayzl at the end of the episode.
Dean, why is it we “need” this level of graphical violence now to “understand” a characters struggle when we didn’t for Picard’s torture in Chain of Command or Best of Both Worlds, for that matter? I find that even more disturbing than the gore itself.
All good questions to ponder. Sadly, that may say a lot about the human condition and the need for revenge and retribution versus justice. Btw, I too found Chain of Command somewhat disturbing and a very well written episode of TNG.
It was one of the best-written and -performed TNG episodes ever. It showed the utter cruelty and pointlessness of torture.
Personally, I wish they had edited that scene to make it less offensive but after thinking about this a little more, the scene also helps one understand what drove Seven to be the vigilante Ranger in the first place and not just her execution of Bjayzl.
It’s a tough balance. One could say just have the gore off screen but but sometimes this sort of thing is even more horrifying when you let your brain fill in the blanks. For example… People often speak of SEEING Bambi’s mom get shot when it happened out of frame. I don’t have an answer to this issue myself…
Personally I’d vote for a little on-screen violence with a heavy suggestion of what’s going on, screaming and collapse. But seeing the gore was a bit over the top. That’s one reason I did NOT watch Game of Thrones, all the gore and cruelty. I saw several episodes and decided I couldn’t deal with it. There are several images from it that are, sadly, engraved in my memory.
I agree. Even with the Ceti Eels, or the transporter accidents or death in general, there was a dignified subtlety to Star Trek. Which is absolutely lost in Nu-Trek. I mean the gore, the swearing, the nudity (klingon breasts), the blade runner/star wars underworld esque Freecloud. It is all in your face. Very generic sci-fi-ish or borrowing heavily from other franchises. I wish they would borrow from the franchise for whom they are creating this homage rather than token fan service like dropping a bottle of Romulan ale into a scene.
Thank GOD there is still Seth MacFarlane. As much as I disliked Sci-Fi OTHER than Star Trek… he is the only one still keeping Star Trek fully alive. If not in name, then at least in spirit!!!
Really, macfarlane is awful.
Think that might be because his TNG homage show is episodic rather than a season long arc?
ML31 Because despite its beautiful ship and ship designs and exteriors, his show has only a couple of characters I’m remotely interested in; the bridge looks like a K-Mart, the humor is sophomoric, and usually sexist in nature. I could go on, but this is a Trek discussion board.
Well, I found the ship to be a pale imitation of the E-D. The interiors are strikingly similar. It was obvious he was going for the TNG vibe. The characters, while not the greatest were still slightly more fleshed out than anyone on TNG. I found both bridges to be while a bit different in configuration but tonally the same. Since you did not enjoy the jokes I guess you were pleased with season 2 when the pretty much all but got rid of them. I found season one’s jokes to be the show’s saving grace and I wish they would go back to be more of a dramady again. But they are moving to Hulu where I will not see it so no big deal at this point.
I’m in complete agreement with you. That scene was so graphic and traumatising it has really left me feeling that I might not continue watching. Whenever I watch Voyager now and see Icheb, all I will be able to think about is how he will end up getting butchered to death.
What you may want to do is wait until a spoilery review comes out so you are prepared for, and can skip, any scenes of extreme violence.
They appear to be falling into the same trap as Discovery and a lot of other things on TV — the fallacy that a work absolutely must contain INTENSE, GRUESOME, DARK and GRITTY material to be taken seriously as an adult drama, which is the thinking of a brooding teenager. That’s because they’re allowing the tone to follow the lead of the subject matter, and that doesn’t have to be the case Every. Single. Time.
For example, suppose there was a science fiction movie that contained terrorists, theft, murder, bullying, assault, incestuous overtones, attempted rape, and an existential crisis. Sounds pretty heavy, huh? Yeah, it’s called Back to the Future. Not exactly a dour and grim experience, was it?
All very good points. I’m left feeling anger and sadness at those who are defending the gore, and this SAW level of torture in a Star Trek episode. I am disgusted with Frakes, Chabon and Stewart. I truly think standards have dropped over the past decade, and many people have genuinely become desensitised to violence in film and (especially) TV. It’s like people enjoy watching it, as if we’ve collectively swung back around to some kind of post modern Roman gladiatorial time where we need to see people suffer. It’s no longer enough to suggest it, or film it in such a way that the point is made without having to graphically shove our faces in it. It’s a cynical technique using gore to shock, get online reactions, and increase viewership. Star Trek swears now and has SAW and Game of Thrones levels of violence and incest – Star Trek isn’t square and clean anymore! Hah! ‘This isn’t your generations Star Trek’ Etc… Those that defend it truly disgust me. They’re making excuses because they enjoy this violence. They enjoy seeing fans of the older Star Trek squirm now that it’s been dragged down to their level. Some I suspect secretly get a kick out of it, and taunting those that consider this a tasteless abomination, this deconstruction of what Star Trek used to be. It survived for decades without resorting to these stunts, and was loved and successful worldwide because it could be viewed by any age group, and the isolated moments of violence that did occur where always necessary and not straying into slow graphic torture and mutilation for crying out loud. This is rated 12 in the UK… 12. There are 18 rated horror films that are far less graphic than this episode. The new ‘standard’ on what can be shown has now unfortunately been set by both this and Disco. It’ll be more of the same from now on, and they’ll push it further too just because certain audience members need to evidently have their limits pushed as they’re dead inside…
“This is rated 12 in the UK… 12. There are 18 rated horror films that are far less graphic than this episode.”
That’s quite interesting. Amazon prime in Germany rated this episode as 18+ and requires a verification of age! Which has caused bad reviews… I was really pissed off when I watched the ending of ep. 4 and expected ep.5 to start immediately!
But some in regions this might be OK as long as a kiss of 2 women or 2 races isn’t shown… which would be banned…
I have no idea why people consider swearing and nudity to be as offensive as the gore we saw at the beginning of Picard Ep 5, or the flashes of surgical violence done to Ash Tyler in DSC Season 1.
They are NOWHERE near the same. A lot of people swear. Everyone is nude when they take off their clothes.
But torture is despicable, and done by horrible people trying to achieve horrible ends.
How long have you lived in the USA? In our culture (I think unfortunately but I’m in the minority) violence is perfectly fine but sex is a big no no. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember.
To be sure, the “Back to the Future” movies were considered to be science-fiction comedies.
I think the widespread acclaim for movies like “Saving Private Ryan,” which was known for its intense, quasi-documentary levels of violence, would indicate that the “brooding teenager” criticism could very well be misplaced.
Well, it’s only misplaced because you’re wedging it into this conversation. ;-)
Yes, SPR was a gritty historical war movie. The quasi-documentary feel was the appeal at that time, because war movies had never been that graphic before. But that’s subject matter quite a bit different from the Star Trek universe, don’t you think? The lack of German tanks in future France would seem to suggest so.
The point is that too many adult dramas see shocking deaths and gore as the default setting to tell stories. It’s their go-to way to “surprise” audiences. Except, when so many are doing it, it’s not really all that surprising anymore. So it starts to look like a cheap gimmick.
Anytime someone suggests a measured response, or worse yet morality, you get the same left wing people retorting “this is reality” or “you’re a prude.” Meanwhile, this is television, it is meant to be an escape from reality. Then again, leftists hate things that are happy, it lessens the need for the nanny state to bring us back to our safe space.
Dr M’Benga do you happen to know people who shoot for sports?
I totally agree. Thanks for saying it!
Gosh, this is so pretentious and poorly considered. Star Trek has a long list of violence/torture/murder on and off screen tantamount to Icheb’s torture, and it’s just absurd to complain about a single death when Star Trek TOS used mass killings off-screen as a plot device on at least three occasions. Using violence as a plot device, without showing its impact on the person, normalizes violence. I like tot point ot the example of Phasers and Distruptors that vaporized people on-screen in TOS. We all took that with a grain of salt. Then TWOK came along and for the first time, we heard a human’s scream as they were vaporized. It’s chilling, and conveys the true horror of the violence.
There is something to be said for showing the actual results of violence. A single death can be effectively and pointedly traumatic, even though, to use a rather callous phrase, the deaths of millions are treated as a statistic.
Was there not a TOS episode where, on an alien planet, mass murder by machine as the result of probabilistic analysis of war was overturned by Kirk precisely because killing had lost its meaning?
There was indeed. Kirk argued that they have made death “clean” when it is really filthy. So filthy it ought to be avoided. It was called “A Taste of Armageddon”.
Except “Picard” only injects Icheb suddenly into this narrative to have a shocking death and nothing else. We’re not given an update on his life leading up to his death — you know, a person who has friends and family and quirks and interests and a career, you know, something close to being an actual character we can care about instead of being a bloody uniform. So then most of the audience is scratching their heads trying to remember that Borg guy from Voyager.
He’s a plot device, a red shirt with canon pixie dust sprinkled around to make him appear meaningful to us, dying tragically and gruesomely so Seven can be sad and mad and be the tragic action figure she was meant to be and unleash yet more violence.
Narratively, it’s really cheap stuff.
He is a young science officer on a Starfleet ship — something he had wanted to be since his days on Voyager. So Icheb achieved his dream, only to have a horrible end. For me that was heartbreaking. I didn’t need to see his eyeball to feel that. I got it from the bereft expression on Seven’s face as she sees him.
Perhaps in your view that’s a cheap narrative device and it may be. It worked for me [except, I again say, the level of gore], and gave me a pretty deep understanding of why Seven would become a ranger.
It worked for me, as well. It was an emotional gut punch for 7. Made even more so by us, the audience, actually seeing the brutality of it. I think it hit harder because we saw it. That was likely the director’s intent. Also we needed evil lounge lady to be presented to be even more evil than when we see her in her lounge to get the audience even more on the side of arbitrarily executing her. The brutal Icheb scene contributed to that. Like it or not.
VS, I won’t get deep into politics here [Star Trek inspired mine], except to say that the elections were not “free.” Citizens United ended all that.
I wasn’t prepared for how emotional the torture of Icheb made me. It was painful to watch. Maybe that was the point, but it was rough.
I’m hoping that the increasing darkness of this show will be overturned with the redemption that will follow after Picard exposes the truth of the attack on Mars? My biggest fear is that everything truly has gone to hell, it gets worse, and that it doesn’t get better until Disco Season 3.
“It was painful to watch. Maybe that was the point, but it was rough.”
They used to display warnings for strong graphic violence, even that is not a thing anymore? This stuff would be 18+ in most countries. For the record, I have been watching (mostly psychological) horror movies for decades but this made me nauseous. I don’t need splatter in my Trek nor did I ask to be violated without warning for ‘entertainment’.
They only do those warnings on broadcast TV. Come on, I’ve seen worst things on the Disney channel. You should watch some Saw movies.
False equivalence. I don’t need Trek to be identical to SAW movies, it used to fulfil a completely different function. Why does everything have to be the same?
I only watch this because it is advertised as Trek, and I don’t watch anything else on TV, broadcast or not. Maybe that rings a few bells why I’m not familiar with this apparently ubiquitous downslide in quality. As a creator I don’t have the time for endless mindless consumption.
And I challenge you to show me similiar “on the Disney channel’.
Such warning are displayed before all episodes of The Walking Dead on AMC, American Horror Story on FX and the list goes on.
Agreed. Something like this should appear before the episode for sensitive viewers or children. Sometimes the list of “offenses” on Game of Thrones would fill the screen. ESPECIALLY given the fact that Trek viewers are not accustomed to seeing this stuff in Trek.
In Canada, this episode came with multiple warnings of graphic violence that may be disturbing to some viewers. Was there nothing for streamers on CBSAA?
It was broadcast over the air?
No, not over the air, but it is broadcasted on a specialty cable channel called CTV Scifi, fomerly known as Space Channel.
Okay, I forgot about Cable. They still have to show a warning if it’s being broadcast on cable or over the air.
They don’t have to do it with streaming since the episode rating is already in the description before you play the episode. The episode was rated TV M.
They don’t have have to but they often will, even for TVMA rated content.
The episode IS 18+ on amazon prime…
“ My biggest fear is that everything truly has gone to hell, it gets worse, and that it doesn’t get better until Disco Season 3.”
My biggest fear is that everything truly has gone to hell, it gets worse, and that it doesn’t get better. I actually think Star Trek ended when Enterprise ended. This is all contaminated generic dystopian gory crap. Star Trek in name only.
This whole deconstruction of Star Trek is becoming more difficult to stomach every week.
I agree. But this opening is not forgivable.
Raffi’s girlfriend/wife? She’s obviously Romulan and I’m assuming that they were at the fertility clinic because there were complications and considerations with a Romulan/human birth? Yes yes, there’s Spock, who’s Vulcan but we don’t know if there were any fertility/mating issues with his birth. Maybe it’s also different with Romulan’s and Humans, Romulan’s being genetically several millennia distant from Vulcan’s? Wasn’t there initial issues with B’Elanna’s pregnancy and definitely I recall Bashir pointing out there might be issue with Dax and Worf having a baby. Interspecies conception can’t be that easy even in the late 24th Century.
“I’m assuming that they were at the fertility clinic because there were complications and considerations with a Romulan/human birth”
I was more disappointed even the abomination of private healthcare still isn’t dead in the 24th century. Yet another element of classism reintroduced. Yes I get it, it’s outside the Federation this time. Still the writers consciously choose what to focus on, and this is what they want.
Maybe he and his wife is in Freecloud because the doctors there have more experience with Romulan/Human fertility.
Sure, there is a logical explanation; my point is that implies apparently Federation universal free healthcare isn’t good enough and only moneyed people can buy better, off-world – similiar to the private medical tourism our time’s “elites” engage in. That’s another real world element I didn’t need in Trek for “inspiration”.
Would anyone trust their unborn Romulan/Human child to some crackerjack Fed Doctor with no experience?
Given the public attitudes to Romulans demonstrated in the interview in episode 1, not to mention the Terrain only / Romulans only divide on Vashti, it doesn’t sound as though Romulan-Human hybrid children are common or medically well-supported in the Federation.
We need also to keep in mind that both the Doctor on Voyager and Bashir on DS9 were part of an exploratory research fleet. They would have had a greater diversity of species in their practice than a typical physician.
“Would anyone trust their unborn Romulan/Human child to some crackerjack Fed Doctor with no experience”
And thats the point. Until recently Trek sold whole generations of fans on the idea that in this future Federation doctors are not “crackerjack”, but according to some this belief now amounts to “religion”. Such is the level of cynicism.
I’m planning to go to Thailand to get work done on my teeth. I guess I’m an elite according to you.
A34: Bangkok International Dental Clinic did a bang up job on a front bridge for me in 2006. It’s still going strong. Cost $4,000 at the time. Would have been double that in the USA.
They do good work. For me I would like to fix the gap in my teeth. I’m planning to go away so why not. Dental costs are insane in the US.
Thanks for the info.
You don’t have a functioning universal healthcare system over there, that’s why you have to resort to the black market. It’s as easy as that.
Thailand isn’t Black market.
Alt Tasha Yar was able to get knocked up by a Romulan in the early 24th century resulting in Sela. So it works Romulan male-to-Human female.
And somehow I just can’t see a Romulan official taking his prisoner/slave girlfriend/wife to a Romulan fertility expert to make it all work
Even ordinary human-human couples have fertility issues. It’s not hard to imagine that the likelihood of complications is higher for human-romulan couples, even if Tasha and a Romulan had no difficulty.
Not to mention that there are infertile couples who ‘beat the odds’ and have a successful full term birth.
Sela could have been a 1 in 1000 healthy viable interspecies child without intervention. It sounds as though her Romulan father had no expectation that a child might be the outcome.
She’s NORTHERN Romulan.. gotta love it! =P
That eyeball made hungry.
Adolf H. would have liked your acquaintance.
Tiger isn’t talking to me😋
Did anybody else find that the female villain (killed at the end) distracted you because she looked like a clone of Deanna Troi from Season One of TNG?
She was hotter than Troi.
Put Troi in that same outfit I’m pretty sure we’d have a serious competition. But damn was she fine. They were both fine.
Maybe true. Troi was the first woman I got ‘interested’ in when I was a kid. If Troi wore that outfit I would have died.😋
OMG. I had to do a few double takes. She looked, sounded even moved like TROI! I was like WOW! She also looked hot as hell. Just like Troi. Man. I was literally like is that Marina Sirtis daughter or something?!?!
So, PEWDIEPICARD and A34…….you’re saying you’d like to “butter her muffin”?
I’m “buttering” anything I can get my hands on.
To paraphrase the shout heard before every baseball game…..”BUTTER UP!”
Unfortunately, Marina Sirtis looks nothing like Troi these days. The tragedy of aging.
Ah, come on. Give her a break!
True. Saw her on one of the After Treks for Picard. Oh my.
My friend who I watched it with thought that was Deanna Troi at first. I certainly can understand why!
Yes I couldn’t believe how much she was like season 1 Troi.
Adolfina Ph. Georgiou is getting her own show. Maybe this was a glimpse of what to expect there.
I can’t wait for Section 31
Entertaining episode but it just didn’t feel like Star Trek.
The opening scene was gratuitous, tasteless and just plain cruel; shock for the sake of shock.
Stewart’s fake French accent was Inspector Clouseau levels of corny; maybe that was the intent but it felt out of place given the seriousness of everything that was going on around him and the literal life or death stakes.
The acting was quite good again, especially Raffi’s and Agnes’ painful encounters, and Jeri Ryan was compelling if cold-blooded. I understand her motivation but the writer just seemed to stack the deck. Rios continues to be my favorite character; he even manages to sell that ridiculous pimp outfit he gets saddled with.
And now we have Romulans and the Federation working covertly together, how original.
It held my attention but the whole thing was just so bleak and completely absent of the hope and optimism that is supposed to be inherent in Trek.
“And now we have Romulans and the Federation working covertly together, how original.”
Yeah I’m starting to get TUC vibes…just with androids. ;)
This series took an odd turn for me with this episode. It felt more like BSG than Star Trek but my hope is that Picard’s ultimate goal is to restore the Federation and Starfleet to what it once was. I enjoy my fare of s dystopian future society sci fi but that was never Star Trek.
I sort of agree with you. It honestly feels like Star Trek actors working in a generic Sci-Fi show using their old Star Trek names. But acting totally different. I know people change but damn. Seems like everyone gave up.
It goes beyond people changing; every single cast member on this show is damaged in some way or another. Picard gave up and withdrew for the better part of 2 decades (shades of Luke Skywalker from Last Jedi); Raffi was ostracized, became a junkie and lost everyone and everything she had; Annika apparently lost everyone she held dear and has become a bitter, cynical, stone cold killer who chugs a glass of bourbon in one gulp; Rios clearly has some issues he is repressing; Elnor has anger/abandonment issues; Soji is a potential ticking time bomb. Even Agnes, who seemed as free and innocent as you could get, was somehow twisted within the span of a single scene. They are all derivative sterotypes and you wonder how they can even function with all that baggage. The universe itself is almost indistinguishable as something existing in established Star Trek lore.
Star Trek was about exploring strange new worlds, seeking out new life and new civilizations, boldly going where no one had gone before. It presented a hopeful (which is not the same thing as perfect) view of tomorrow. Picard (and Discovery for that matter) are none of those things and the only reason these shows have the title Star Trek plastered in front of them is because viewers would not give them a second glance if they were presented as an original IP.
AGREED. And come on. I’m sure Seven had SOME family left pre-assimilation. Grandparents? Uncles? Aunts? And would Seven, this extremely intelligent person, start shooting point blank at oncoming army of thugs like some western shootout? She’s so much smarter than that. She could’ve just beamed out with the site to site transporter device she had. I was surprised this was directed by Frakes. I expected better. And you are right. The universe is the Disco universe and not the universe established over decades. Now i’m getting upset.
And given that we’re going to be heading to a Borg cube, you’d think Picard would have at least tried to convince her to stay aboard given the wealth of knowledge she has about them. Instead, he just wishes her well and sets her on her way. It’s another example of the lack of thought and just lazy writing these new shows often suffer from.
“Stewart’s fake French accent was Inspector Clouseau levels of corny”
I laughed at Picard’s accent. Seriously though, why would a Beta Ornarian (or any other non-human on Freecloud) be expected to know a good French accent from a bad one? He could have used any accent he wanted, so he decided to have fun with it, since he already said the costumes were ridiculous.
Or, God Forbid… Picard’s accent was spot-on and by the late 24th Century all French people in their native tongue sound like Inspector Clouseau?
Great review as usual!
Two things that you said:
“When she says she’s working on getting her humanity back “every damned day of my life,” I realize I’m ready for a whole other show that starts with Voyager’s return to the Alpha Quadrant and gives us every detail of every moment in Seven’s life since then. Are you listening, CBS?”
LOL, I kid you not I thought the same thing after the episode! I suddenly wanted a “Star Trek: Seven” show but recall her life after they made it back to Earth. I know we can’t expect too much in terms of knowing her entire life before but I do hope we get a little more in the future. Seven’s appearance was a big reminder why I love Star Trek so much and can’t wait to see her again! :)
“I’m very confused about the world of Star Trek: Picard. What happened to the future we were heading towards in the original series and the TNG/DS9/Voyager era? Is all of this criminal activity and annoying advertising specific to Freecloud, or is this the world our characters live in now? I’m hoping it’s the former, as idealism is a fundamental piece of what makes Star Trek, Star Trek. I hope they aren’t trying to say that the future we all grew up believe in has failed by the 24th century.”
You know, up until this episode I never really questioned this at all. Other than the Romulan situation and the Federation’s response to it I looked at the rest of the Federation as its always been. But now I am starting to wonder did the destruction of Romulus cause a bigger shift in the rest of the alpha quadrant more than we thought? Maybe everything has gotten more cynical? I don’t know if we can look at a place like Freecloud (and obviously isn’t a Federation world) and assume this is just how things are now. BUT we haven’t seen the optimistic and hopeful side at all either. Its not anywhere close to the grimdark version of Discovery in season one, but its still been pretty depressing lol. And I don’t mind that at all, but like everything there needs to be a balance, especially in Star Trek.
Oh and I completely forgot who Mr. Mot was lol. I been seeing his name pop up on the other thread so I knew he was a character we may seen before but I forgot he was the barber on the Enterprise. I understand not everyone likes the direction of this show but I have to admit they hitting it out of the park in terms of all the past canon, references etc. NOTHING feels out of place in terms of that at least, especially when compared to Discovery which plenty did. ;)
I don’t know. I feel like some of the canon, references etc. are serving as fan service. Maybe not intentionally but they seem to come off as such. Don’t get me started on Disco…I would also like to see the Federation which is what the past TNG era shows were about. Even though it may not be the optimistic place we know and love, I’d at least like to see it and then see it’s return to proper form.
This was without a doubt the best episodes so far real people having real emotions and a reminder that the Federation is not the entire galaxy these are things that are almost never seen in Star Trek and it’s far far overdue to see more of them
What the writers have done with the federation and Starfleet, reflecting today’s political climate in such an overt manor and lacking all nuanced story telling is criminal enough, but then to add this level of graphic horror to it is just unforgivably unnecessary. Like, why!? I was just sitting down for dinner and Star Trek and got Event Horizon and no appetite instead. — I love Patrick Stewart and supporting cast but this show is just not doing It for me because once again, the writing is flat and predictable. Just more cheap revenge plots and (surprise surprise), betrayals by the ones made to look like the least likely.
The original series pitch for Star Trek promises it will reference contemporary politics, and Roddenberry constantly pushed the boundaries of what they were allowed to put on screen. TNG Season one features a phaser dismemberment of a Starfleet officer, with a worm popping out and crawling across the room. I just don’t get the pearl-clutching.
The show is trying to be edgy and relevant to a fault, imo. I agree with you about Trek pushing the envelope and serving as social commentary, but it was, (usually), a lot LOT less on the nose. — as far as gore is concerned, I don’t mind that stuff when I know that I’m in for it. That level of violence should stay out of Trek because honestly, it’s already everywhere else. Trek used to be a pleasant escape, now it’s just more like everything else. — Referencing that one super campy scene from season 1 of TNG is not the strongest comparison to hyper realistic HD eye extraction lmao
Just finished E5. Shocking violence just for the sake of darkness, is something I really detest and I was really turned off by Ejeb’s death in the intro. I wondered if his death was just badly written in by some writer with no connection to Voyager and its characters. Suffice it to say, that opening scene while still abhorrent was not meaningless and his suffering did help justify with viewers like myself, the retribution and execution Seven dished out at the end of the episode. As for the rest of E5, it was good and so much for Maddox, but at least Picard got the much needed info before he met his end. I guess there was a lot more to that meeting with the Commodore than just sunglasses. Ok, off to the Borg artifact.
You said: I wondered if his death was just badly written in by some writer with no connection to Voyager and its characters.
The episode was written by Kirsten Beyer. While I have never read any of her novels I’ve heard that she played a big part in the post-Voyager line of books Simon & Schuster put out. So I would imagine that she does know the characters.
I must admit, I watched the opening a couple of hours before the rest of the show via streaming and I was really turned off. After calming down, I watched the rest of the show on specialty cable and afterward I found the scene did indeed have a purpose on a couple of levels. For those who watched E5 all at once, I can see why this episode (and specifically that opening scene) may have left a bad taste in their mouth. Producers better hope they did not turn away too many fans with their decision to include that scene as gory as it was.
This makes sense as a Beyer episode.
Family relationships in a risky untamed environment as well as the inherent conflict between duty to Starfleet (the mission) versus duty to spouses and children have been an ongoing theme in her Voyager novels.
In this episode, we see that the galaxy beyond Federation space is not a safe place, and that truly awful random things can happen to good and beloved people when their duty requires – not just to red shirts.
We also have Raffi who alienated her husband and son because she couldn’t let go of her duty as a Starfleet Intelligence officer to get to the root of a conspiracy.
Raffi’s son Gabe (then a teenager) had been aware that his mum couldn’t just accept the public position that the Synths were responsible for the Mars attack. He is bitter not only about his mother’s descent into addiction, but also there was some social impact from Raffi’s refusal to accept Starfleet was ‘right’ that drove him and his father out to the fringe.
If we reflect on the Short Treks ‘Ask Not’ and ‘Children of Mars’, we see that Starfleet asks officers to put duty before family in times of crisis, but that this may be at the cost of family relationships.
More than that, we have Raffi’s own vulnerability rooted in her childhood. Michelle Hurd has said that Raffi was often left behind as a child as her parents were both Starfleet officers.
We’re also seeing how Picard struggles to maintain relationships. As an officer knows how to motivate people with their competence and self-actualization goals. We’ve been told that these are the motivators in the Federation’s post-scarcity society. But Picard isn’t really very good at motivating people in other ways, and outside of Starfleet this is a weakness. He’s had too much practice keeping emotional distance from his crew, and when he let his Enterprise bridge crew attach like family, he couldn’t get past the loss of his first officer Data.
Last, we have Jurati and Maddox who were a couple, and whose life-work created new life, and Jurati’s complete betrayal of those relationships for what she has been convinced is a higher duty.
Thinking through the plot points, it seems possible that Jurati somehow provided the location of Maddox’s secret lab that was destroyed, as well as a planted clue that brought the search to Freecloud.
“violence for the sake of violence” is just an admission of ignorance. The scene is there to explain that Seven is a radicalized, traumatized person, changed from what we saw last in VOY.
Absolutely agree and it helps explain her life as a vigilante ranger. Part of me totally understands the shocking nature of the opening scene that helps justify Bjayzl’s execution at the end of the episode but IMO they should have conveyed Icheb’s pain and suffering in a better way. For those who don’t see that, I understand.
I think we’re on the same page DeanH.
The storypoint was completely valid, I just would have preferred it to be less graphic.
So in other words, Icheb got ‘fridged.’ His life was so unvalued by the writers they thought the only value he had was that Seven cared about him. And as such, killing him could motivate her to take whatever action the writers wanted her to take.
And all that motivation served to to was to set up a “villian-of-the-week’ and to justify her death at the hands of a character not previously established to be a killer.
It was violence for the sake of violence. It’s a false crisis to say otherwise; this only ‘solves’ a problem of the writers’ own creation. The writers wrote off somebody they didn’t want to use to force somebody they did want to use down a particular path. They could have written an entirely different path, but they didn’t want to.
I am concerned about the darker tone of Picard and hope that Federation ideals are not lost. However, we went through this theme in Enterprise and DS9. It takes a lot of work to maintain Federation idealism at its best. Star Trek is not a Utopia.
If you need proof of this please consider watching “Conscience of the King” in TOS.
Some have speculated that this is a redemption series of sorts for Picard and the Federation, and I hope this is the case.
The violence in this episode is chilling to say the least!
If the rock-like creatures from TOS’s “Savage Curtain” episode were present, they should have no trouble understanding that the brutality shown towards Icheb is pure evil.
I wish picard understood that and gave Seven of Nine a better response.
I hope that the next season of Star Trek Picard is not as dark.
I’m getting tired of the darker shows.
I’m glad we have novels even if some are now considered “alternate timelines.”
OF COURSE Star Trek was a utopian world! And yes, characters in it struggled, but the Star Trek earth was a utopian one; “Paradise” as Sisko states at one point.
This “Star Trek” however indeed in not utopian, on the contrary, it’s dystopian and therefore quite simply, no matter how much you might enjoy the series, not Star Trek.
You present no argument here. You just state a thing is not a thing because it is simply not that thing. It is a non-argument. Its like saying “i am right because i say so“
For now, we can’t get a show of each character. Or a movie. Perhaps, they should make a show with short stories of each character. For each character, 3-5 full episodes. Not a Short Trek. Everyone would like very much to see these characters one more time. Specially the ones not being considered to return to Picard.
I hope CBS Executives are reading these posts. Would like so much to see them, from all previous shows. Stories with Shatner / CGI Kirk. Seven. Dax. Captain Archer. Admiral Janeway. Phlox. Kira and Odo (RIP Rene). Worf. T’Pol. Quark, Ron and Nog (RIP Aron). Jake. Hoshi Sato. Obrien and his family. Wesley. Bashir and Garak. So many to choose from.
We all love them. And the actors too, would be very happy to go back to play their roles! Its tricky to get the show right. But they have the experience to do this kind of productions.
Spock is the perfect example. He is always back. We have Nimoy, Quinto, and Peck. If Kurtzman works with Ira Steven Behr and Ronald Moore, this show will be a huge success!!!
Honestly I would love that too. Of course we’re fanboys and fangirls so most of us would watch all those characters over and over again.
Like you I love all the characters, so I’m just thrilled when any of them show up frankly. I probably would’ve been just as excited if we found out it was Quark and not Picard who was getting his own show lol. I was so happy when we learned we were getting things like the Pike Short Treks and with Picard clearly opening the door for any character that’s not dead (and even 1 or 2 who are ;)) I think we will get more past characters in some form.
I think if Picard is a big enough hit, I see potential spin offs happening with other VOY/DS9/TNG characters. NOT soon or anything but I think all possibilities are open now. If Space Hitler Georgiou is getting her own show which half the audience don’t even like, I don’t know how actual POPULAR characters like Worf, Kira, Number One, Riker, The Doctor, T’Pol or Bashir couldn’t get one in time? The list is endless.
I want a Harry Kim show.
That opening was unnecessarily gross. Its funny how that bit from the trailers with Seven seemed like it was part of a longer action sequence, but thats all it was. Uneven is definitely a good way to describe the episode, my least favorite of the season I think though there were some good bits.
I’d say ‘uneven’ is my best assessment as well.
I can understand how some of us are getting a Farscape vibe off the episode : a desperate scam to rescue someone on some sleazy station or planet goes completely pear-shaped.
I’m hoping that this is the ‘dark middle’ of the season, so that good can prevail.
I don’t know about anyone else but Vajazzled (or whatever) was, along with being hot as hell, a carbon copy of Deanna Troi. Right down to the beauty spot. I was like, wtf? Is she Marina Sirtis daugther? Is she like a clone of Troi!?!? It was completely throwing me off. I mean, I’d LOVE to see her again. But DAMN that was an uncanny resemblance. If they ever re-cast TNG she needs to play Troi.
Very similar to Deanna.
She is one of the main cast on NCIS New Orleans. The mole is a dead giveaway.
I guess I know what I’m watching tonight.
To each it’s own, I guess … but I must say, I‘m surprised by all the positive Reviews here. That episode was – in my eyes of course – just terrible. Probably the worst episode of any Star Trek Show. I‘d have to sit down and structure my thoughts, to do justice to how much I don‘t like this episode. And I will not do that just to be called names on the internet. However I try to explain at least some points.
The Opening: Tits and torture. Do we really need that in a Trek show? The original Series got successful by children watching it in syndication. And even when it got dark as in later seasons of DS9 it got so thematically, not in terms of shock value. For example. Nog loses a leg and has to deal with the realities of war … what we don‘t See, is his leg exploding in our faces.
And why kill off Icheb for no reason at all. Even if you have seen voyager just recently there was almost no emotional impact in that scene. Maybe with the original actor but I doubt, that would have changed anything
Freecloud: I makes Sense, that a planet like this CAN exist in the Star Trek Universe. But from an aesthetic standpoint, it shouldn‘t. It just doesn’t feel like Star Trek at all. And those silly pimp outfits and Accents are just a terrible attempt at Humor, that don‘t fit the characters at all.
Rafis Story: That came out of nowhere and by that completely failed to make any emotional connection. Generally I hate her storyline. Of course substance abuse still exists in the 24th century. We‘ve seen it in DS9 („Valliant“) … but I do believe, that a „socialist utopia“ like the federation would have some form of healthcare, to deal with that. Or in general you‘d think, that Starfleet wouldn‘t just abandon their officers. Especially when looking at the elections, there was a chance here, to show what socialised medicine could be at it‘s best, instead of telling a tired story of substance abuse, you could tell in any show and which has been done in any show.
Money: speaking of socialism. Now I‘d describe myself as a capitalist. I think that it‘s one of the best things ever to happen to humanity. However Star Trek or at least most of the federation was always depicted als a post scarecety Society. That is an interesting concept and there have been great books written about the economics of that universe. However here, they‘re constantly talking about money and wealth, like that is normal. It shouldn‘t be for those characters. If you want to make a show about that do it – DS9 did so numerous times – but here it‘s just written like a scene that could be set any time in any show.
Seven: If you want to make her a lesbian or bisexual, do so. It kind of makes sense given, that she would have discovered it in kind of a logical way instead of being pressured into something buy societal norms. But have it at least serve the story somewhat. It was kind of just there because female villains in Star Trek now have to be lesbians I guess (I.e. the emperor in discovery) — but my bigger problem is making her a coldblooded murderer without any way for her character to come back from that. That feels like a betrail of the seasons of developement she had in Voyager.
Finally Maddox: why have him in this at all if just immediately kill him off? I expected at least a little bit more than a macguffin …
Those are my thoughts. Maybe someone get‘s something out of them. To me the episode just seemed so intend of not being Star Trek. And not so much in a way, where „it killed my childhood“ by „Destroying“ what she shows were, but by changing everything that actually made the different from other shows in the first place.
Do with that what you will 😁
I don’t disagree with a lot of your points. I mean, I really hated the ‘big picture’future that was unfolding. Turning Star Trek into yet ANOTHER dystopian imagine of death, despair, murder, decay, poverty really upset me. But, I was more hopeful after this, since it referenced the Neutral Zone as a lawless place…which makes sense.
OH! And the Romulans created the Borg….I will bet all my money thats the ‘big secret’
Does that really make sense though? I remember Voyager pretty firmly establishing, that the Borg originated in the Delta Quadrant way before Vulcans and Romulans were even two separate species …
Also, that would be kind of lame. Instead of being creative and actually doing something new, your just connecting two things, that were already there, thereby making the universe smaller.
The great thing about Star Trek was, that not everything was connected, no one was chosen (except for Sisko maybe 😅) and everything that happened to one ship could just as well have happened to any other ship.
Wow. I was not prepared for that. I have seen many moments of graphic violence on TV/streaming, but this one has left me shattered. Do I want to continue to watch this show? I really don’t know. I agree with you Sascha, in that I don’t feel that it killed my childhood or anything, but … is this show really Star Trek at the core? Surely it must be possible to bend the rules without breaking them. I seriously question some of the narrative choices made by Kirsten Beyer (& team) here. What is the underlying moral message of this show? That we should give in to revenge?
So much dumb in this response. “Tits and torture” as you charitably describe the episode are actually present in THE CAGE. The point of the torture is to inform us of Seven’s changed character, her trauma and radicalization.
Then you go on to complain about silly costumes. Dude, do you even Star Trek?
Selectively reading and completely irgnoring the argument … what am I supposed to say to that?
The episode was beautiful.
thank you for openly sharing your thoughts. i can totally relate. however, i’m afraid to be stigmatized as being a studip, narrow-minded, grandfather’s-star-trek-loving hater for expressing such an unpopular opinion.
Without words. Star Trek is no longer. With episode 5 Star Trek Picard topples and I’m afraid the end won’t be forgiving.
Dystopian Trek no longer fascinates me. Too bad. The spirit of Roddenberry is completely breathed out. Unknown worlds? Are you kidding me? Star Trek Picard (also Discovery) is a flat, clichéd attitude of today.
Okay byeeee. Glad to see Pakleds on their way out.
Just watched it and actually…I liked it. Yes! I liked it (usually I’m beating up on new-Trek but this one was entertaining).
I’ll list the things I liked along with the 2 things I didn’t like.
1. Picards performance as as hammy as hell, but very entertaining and reminded me of the silly episodes of TNG.
2. The A-plot was tight, cohesive with a beginning, middle and end.
3. Lovely moment between Seven and Picard near the end before she steps onto the transporter pad
4. Great cameos by the EMH and I do like the Captain Rios character
5. Jeri Ryan played Seven just right
6. This episode had only ONE writer, hence why the story had a cohesive beginning, middle and end
Okay, the things I didn’t like…
1. Can you imagine someone saying “The first thing I saw in the new episode of Star Trek was someones eyeball being ripped out”
2. Can you imagine someone saying “The last thing I saw Seven-of-Nine do was vaporize an unarmed women in a bloody mess”
…generally, the callous treatment of peoples lives on this show indicative of new trek is depressing. When someone died in TNG it was a weighty thing…both rare and impactful. Here, the body count is brushed away.
Something I learned from this episode is that if you reduce the number of writers, executive producers and increase the amount of screen-time bonafide acting and ‘fun’ then you get something that is enjoyable. But please…no more Trek of Thrones.
Another solid and balanced review. I really enjoyed this episode. The moments between Picard and Seven were really special, specially the exchange at the end. I don’t think Picard would’ve been as honest with anyone else and I loved that. Wonderful stuff. I get people’s criticism of the gore, I personally didn’t mind it, but I get it, it was a lot and probably unnecessary. The Seven/Icheb angle was heartbreaking and, for me, absolutely paid off. At first I was disappointed that they recast Icheb, but having seen Manu Intiraymi’s horrific tweets about Anthony Rapp, I totally get why they did recast and I’m fine it.
I’m really glad that they found Maddox this early on and didn’t drag it out over the whole series. Again, slightly bummed out that they recast, but I know I’m just being too picky. John Ales did a fine job. I’m really excited for the next episode!
For me, the darker world of Picard Star Trek makes sense. Some of the actions of Starfleet during the Dominion War very much felt like the beginning of a darker trajectory for the Federation and it feels like, 20 years later that includes the attack on Mars, that darker trajectory has played out. It sucks, but it feels like it’s meant too. That’s the way I see it anyway.
I’m not sure why we keep thinking that Picard showing us these other parts of the Galaxy is some how negating the Idealistic view of humanity’s future that Star Trek has shown us, that and the money thing fellow fans keep getting hung up is driving me nuts.
It is undeniable, looking at Earth that humanity is in a much better place than we are now. But, humanity doesn’t run the Galaxy, it doesn’t even run the Federation (though I like to think United Earth, the Andorian Empire, the Confederacy of Vulcan and the United Planets of Tellar all have permanent seats in the federation council) but what we think is a utopia may not be that way for others. Tellarites are traders that love debate, their idea of a utopia is bartering for goods and constantly arguing. Most humans see that as a nightmare. The Ferengi see Federation society as dystopia because they can’t accumulate wealth. My point being we shouldn’t just say because Freecloud is a little outside what we expect of 24th century earth society the the optimism for humanity is dead. It’s short sighted. Some people might prefer a little more challenge in their lives.
It’s like the money thing, people keep losing there minds about there being money. But they seem to keep forgetting that applies to the Federation. We aren’t in the Federation right now, which also applies to my above point, it’s looks like we are in what use to be the Neutral Zone, making it unclaimed space, so no, to whatever Federation ideal or value we keep trying to apply to this lawless wild west that exists between the Federation and Romulan space.
Also, not sure what the hang up about the reproduction clinic was. There’s a civilization on freecloud, they would want to have children.
“I’m very confused about the world of Star Trek: Picard. What happened to the future we were heading towards in the original series and the TNG/DS9/Voyager era? Is all of this criminal activity and annoying advertising specific to Freecloud, or is this the world our characters live in now?”
I can’t speak to the advertising but criminal activity has always been recognised as widespread in the ST universe. Organised crime too – remember the Orian Syndicate?
ST has always portrayed living standards as varying throughout the Federation. Earth is a utopia and this is likely also true for core worlds like Vulcan and Andor but some parts of the Federation have long been established as being relatively poor with high crime rates.
“ST has always portrayed living standards as varying throughout the Federation.”
Yep. Case in point: Tasha Yar’s home planet.
Message to the producers of Star Trek. One thing I really did not like about the movie Star Trek Generations was the meaningless way Picard’s brother’s family and especially his nephew were killed off. In Picard, the death of Icheb and the gory way it was depicted did have value to explain Seven’s life as a vigilante Ranger, but it too really turned me off. I know that death and the loss of potential happens in real life all the time, but many of us look to our entertainment and especially Star Trek for an escape from the real world. I hope the producers don’t lose sight of what makes it special. Btw IMO Discovery can get away with things because those characters have no history and we have little emotional connection with them – in Picard those characters have been around for a long time, so please take care of them. Overall I have really enjoyed Picard, and I hope the rest of the show is as good as what we saw in the first 4 episodes, plus much of E5.
So, Was That Picard as a Borg in the teaser?
My wife said last night, “If they dress him up in that again, I’m out.” And I believe her.
Yes. But I’d bet good money it is another flashback, or Picard having a nightmare about his time as Locutus.
Crime very much existed in other versions of Star Trek. Harry Mudd, Cyrano Jones, Quark, etc. I think that this show happens to delve into those parts of the future because the plot has Picard going on his own, outside Starfleet channels.
This has been a very mixed show so far. As much as I was super excited, I feel it’s been pretty disappointing in all honesty. I’m sick of the dystopian trope being used AGAIN.
Plus, why recast Maddox and Icheb? I don’t know, something just feels really off about this show and I can’t quite put my finger on it. Considering my favourite era of Trek has been the 24th Century, this all just feels like a total letdown and a complete contrast to where we left TNG/DS9/VOY.
I’m hoping the show picks up in the second half but things just feel so clunky. The Borg cube stuff could have been eerie and exciting. But it’s like “oh yeah, this is the Borg. S’up.”
I’m hoping things get better, I really do and I’m still going to watch due to my fandom. But I am very disappointed how mixed this show really is.
On the recasting issue;
– Brian Brophy is presumably too busy being the director of theatre arts at Caltech to be doing any filming.
– John Ales as Maddox was perfectly good in the role, playing him as a more sombre, haunted version of the character than the brash, arrogant version from TNG “Measure Of A Man”.
– While Icheb was a good character, Manu Intiraymi is not a good person. I don’t blame Star Trek production for not wanting anything to do with him (not least out of respect towards Anthony Rapp, who did not deserve that kind of offensive commentary from anyone, least of all a fellow Trek actor), and I was quite happy not to see him onscreen again. People might feel entitled to their own opinions, but some people are demonstrably wrong.
– Mark Bennington, who played the adult version of Icheb in VOY “Shattered” has visibly aged out of the role; he would have looked considerably older than Seven.
– Not much to say about Casey Kings’ performance as Icheb due to limted screen time other than… he does good dying acting?
Is no one going to mention the fact that Icheb never had his eye replaced as a drone?
Evil Surgeon was trying to dig out his “cortical implant”, wasn’t she? She yanked out his eye as a way to get to his brain.
It made no sense that she wanted Icheb alive and conscious for that, though. She must have been just plain sadistic.
It was done just to show the audience how much of a black hat she was. So we would WANT to see her get hers. That is why it was done with her victims alive rather than knocked out or dead.
I have a feeling that they killed off Icheb in such a sadistic manner because of Manu Intrayami’s real world tweets and antics as a kind of message to the actor. I’d love to have seen Brophy again, but apparently he doesn’t do much acting. I agree with your criticism about delving a bit too much into the darker sides of the Star Trek universe. I expected an experienced director like Frakes to do a bit better with the editing of the episode, but I guess they had to speed up some parts.
As “a kind of message”, eh? The more I’m watching Hollywood these days, the more I’m reminded of the 1970s East Bloc. And I don’t really mean that as a compliment. :P
What did he tweet anyway? Did he “spoke well of Comrade Ovechkin”, just like in that old Soviet joke? It goes like this:
Three men in a prison cell share their stories.
– “I’m here because I spoke ill of comrade Ovechkin,” says the first prisoner.
– “I’m here because I spoke well of comrade Ovechkin,” says the second prisoner.
The third prisoner, sitting in the corner, looks up. “I’m Ovechkin,” he says.
I don’t know the exact details of the tweets but he was kind of defending Kevin Spacey against Anthony Rapp, so naturally it didn’t went well with the people in the business.
Manu is getting a lot of support on Twitter over Icheb’s death. Many people seemed to think it was him back in the role and he had to keep telling them it wasn’t him.
This episode was distasteful!
Three people murdered, no consequences, not even a discussion of the lives lost. Not my kind of Star Trek. A Romulan senator beheaded in the previous episode. Eyeballs being torn from people….multiple F bombs….a dystopian show I can’t watch with my kids.
My kids watch it with me just fine. No reason at all not to. The daily news is worse for fraks sake.
I watch it with my kids as well. I don’t censor much stuff with them. Growing up, my parents let me watch whatever I wanted and I turned out fine.
VZX, was your left eye twitching as you typed that post?
How do we know there were no consequences? One of the murders was 13 years previous, and the third was in the final seconds of this episode.
I suspect there will be consequences for Seven regarding the second.
Honestly, “protip” and other such words bothered me more than the f-bomb.
This episode had a very disturbing beginning. My daughter and I watch Star Trek together. We’ve done this for years. We were very much looking forward to seeing this new show with our favorite Captain. My daughter had to leave the room for the first part of the episode it was so disturbing. I am very disappointed in Star Trek. I’m not sure we are going to watch the rest of this series.
It was not that bad..
Please don’t be offended. This is only my opinion, but I have never seen this level of graphic violence on Star Trek, and I am disappointed that it happened. Even when TNG dealt with tough issues like torture, it was never gratuitous or graphic to the point that a family could not sit, watch and discuss it together.
Definitely not offended and at any age below about 17 I’d also have found the opening scene very unsettling. As a 28 year old, not really, although I did maybe turn my head just a little at the worst bits.
I’d probably say this might be the worst we’ll see in the gore, but I guess we’ll just have to hold our nerves. Just cover your eyes, it helps, a little.
I again have to wonder if this reviewer is actually watching the show. It was clearly spelled out in the first episode that Starfleet has “abandoned their post”, they don’t explore anymore, they don’t stick up for the rights of independant planets, they don’t conduct humanitarian missions, they “are no longer Starfleet”, and the Federation is no longer the shining utopian ideal (not that it ever really was what with Vulcan bigotry and all). The galaxy outside of Federation space is wilder and more dangerous than ever because of it.
Also, everyone complaining about money must still be laboring under the urban myth that the Federation does not use money, which has never been true, Spock mentions how much his training cost in TOS. They don’t use physical currency most of the time, but they have always had money, and yes Credits are money or you could not have a 100,000 Credit bounty on Harry Mudd paid out in Latinum as an exchange rate is required for that.
One more thing, for the people wondering why they always tell people in the past they don’t have money. It is a violation of regulations to disclose accurate information about the future. So they lie.
Those brutal violence is not Star Trek! It felt wrong the moment I saw the rating for adults only. Thats not Trek! That is just a silly other way of catching the viewers attention. Does Star Trek need that now? I thought we got all sillyness with Discovery and its PewPew. Now we got this! What happend to the warm tone of the visuals and the audio which felt right. Now torture! Really?!? I understand we need to get the emotional basis of Seven of Nine. But decades of Star Trek was able to achieve such things without this emotional hammer blow.
Nope. I am realy sorry. I try to love this one, as I did with Disco. But if this is the way to go I wont watch you kill Star Trek piece by piece.
TNG Fanboy: the series was so warm and cozy and perfect, no torture nowhere!
Also TNG Fanboy: “There are four lights“ is such a great quote.
LOL. Oh hell.
A fair reminder: There are people who think “Chain of Command” was a great episode for reasons other than containing scenes of torture and violence.
Reasons may include, but aren’t limited to:
– The terrific interplay between Patrick Stewart and David Warner
– The depiction of clashing ideologies on multiple levels
– The depth added to the Cardassian culture, setting it apart from the status of “token villain species”
– The audience having to decide whether Riker is actually a jerk or not
– Marina Sirtis finally getting to wear a proper uniform
Chains of Command had torture, ENT had torture in Season 3, but there are lightyears between that sort of torture and Icheb’s grizzly dismantling in the opening sequence.
German Trekkie, you know as much as I do. TNG was rated 12+ in our place throughout, even back in the 80s and 90s.
But that Icheb scene would have warranted a BPjM Index listing back in the day! They had Terminator on that bloody index back then… This scene seemed right out of “Hostel”…
Interesting to hear how the German ratings have gone.
Here in Canada 90s Trek is currently rated on an episode-by-episode basis. Most episodes are PG-8+, but certainly some are 14+. While TNG definitely has a few, DS9 and Enterprise have more than I expected. (I know because I the kids ask me to unlock them.)
I agree that the brutal and graphic nature of the opening scenes is not in line with what we have come to expect from Star Trek. Star Trek did deal with some tough subjects, but it was always a show you could watch with your family. That is obviously no longer the case.
I have to say, as a mixed race Lakota with an Irish first name and a Danish last name it is very nice to see Trek finally giving the blended people like me representation.
This was definitely one of the darkest Trek episodes ever – it would even appear unusually dark next to many Discovery episodes!
That opening scene… Whoa… (“They killed Icheb!” “Those bastards!”)
Maybe this episode itself doesn’t display much of Star Trek’s idealism – however, in the context if this being a more serialized, well… series, I think it is likely that they are going for some character development for Seven here. (In the vein of: Avenging Icheb turns out not be be as satisfactory as she hoped, so she joins Picard’s cause and in the end his idealism that she belittles in this episode will rub off on her…)
I would have expected Bjayzl (That’s how she is spelled!? While watching I always understood it as “Jezebel”!) to die in a more imaginative way than Seven simply shooting her. I wonder if Seven still has her assimilation tubes – because death by Borg nano-probes would have been a much more poetic/karmic way to go for someone who sees people with Borg implants to be not much more than commodity…
“which raises some questions about why Mot would want to operate outside the quiet safety of Starfleet” – well a lot could have happened to him between now and when we last saw him. Maybe Starfleet fired him – let’s say because he did Admiral Janeway’s hair and she didn’t like the result – and thus he moved to Freecloud? ;-)
The problem with Mot is that he doesn’t just work on Freecloud but seems to be running a barber saloon franchise! And that’s my problem with Freecloud and this show. NextGen and even the ultra-dark First Contact have denied the existence of money as we know it in the 24th century. DS9 had gold-pressed Latinuum, but that was the deep space frontier. Suddenly, Rios wants to be “hired”, Mot runs a barber franchise, Raffi has to live in a trailer in the desert having a hard time financially, people are selling Borg parts for money… money is back, capitalism is back big time… The entire Freecloud idea is one dystopian Las Vegas rip-off…
And that is a 100% betrayal of Roddenberry’s vision… even worse than guts and gore… or boobs… yeah, he would have loved the latter, but he would have never approved the return of low-life capitalism…
Just out of curiosity, what gave you the idea that Freecloud wasn’t on the edge of the frontier? It sure seemed implied by the fact Vashti seemed to be such a place, and that while the crew diverted to get there, Freecloud seemed even further out. I very much doubt that the activities there are Fed-sanctioned.
Again, the subject of money. Even Federation worlds on the frontier seemed to use it; there’s a TNG episode where Ro Laren pretends to be a prostitute on a Federation colony, which wouldn’t make sense on a planet without capitalism. Even on earth, no one on TNG ever said that there was no money used in the 24th century — that was a throwaway line from “The Voyage Home,” and it always seemed reasonable to assume that Kirk was actually referring to cash, since there are references to “credits” in use in the 23rd century in episodes of TOS and some of the movies. As to the 24th, it’s highly unlikely that that Picard and Sisko families just gave their fancy vino and gourmet dinners away. On earth, at least, it appears that capitalism has been moved to the margins: free or very cheap education, health care, and so on — all necessities covered and probably quite a bit beyond that, but if you want things like premium non-replicated wines and food, or trips offworld, you still have to earn credits to pay for them. That covers any questions about poverty. As to Raffi, while she may refer to her high-tech trailer house in the desert (where she voluntarily chose to live, it seems) as a “hovel,” try telling that to a resident of modern-day Dakka or Calcutta. They’d call it a palace.
I take no issue with the tone of the show because Star Trek, particularly DS9, explored the dangerous and sinister side of the frontier which is where this takes place. I think the problem is that there is no balance to this show, even the Federation is sinister and corrupt and there is no refuge that grounds us in the vision of Star Trek we loved. But like all good Star Trek, the characters are what make this show so enjoyable for me, even if the shock and awe of every episode often comes off cringe worthy and controversial. And I realize my internal reaction is largely due to my fear of how the fans will react because I want this to be a success. I for one have been satisfied by the internal logic of the show and the careful attention to continuity. Essentially I can find a loophole to just about every complaint that comes up and that’s good enough for me. I certainly get a much better sense of careful attention to the source material than Discovery, it’s way more than I expected for this show. Unlike Discovery, I still find myself completely enthralled with every stitch of this show because it’s clear it’s being handled by people who know the material, there is so much to digest and watch. There is so much color to the characters and scenarios, it’s a good time even if its not the greatest sci-fi drama out there. And ultimately, this takes place in an era I care about, and I won’t turn my back on that ever.
Absolutely dreadful series. I don’t know what this nonsense is but it isn’t Star Trek.
Hell it isn’t even a half decent drama on its own term. Full of huge info dumps to advance its laboured plot. Badly paced. Picard a pathetic ghost of a man. Unlikable characters. Unearned supposed emotional moments. Violent. Vulgar. Vile.
Overall I’m still enjoying PIC but this one was about 5/10 compared to the others which I rated at 7/10. Seven of nine was underused here I thought. Why not put her mind and years of Borg technical experience to use and do some awesome Star Trek thing? She was basically a Nausicaan in this episode. Tonally the episode felt a little uneven as well – from horror with Icheb (who I honestly didn’t feel that emotionally attached to in the first place even on VOY), to comedy with the ridiculous French accent (sounded like “Allo Allo” – UK WW2 sitcom), to serious action with gun-toting Seven of Nine who is now a Terminator. These aren’t complaints as such, but PIC has shown some potential in recent episodes – just not so much in this one. I think this show lacks its own identity. Even DSC had a stronger sense of itself (even if I didn’t like what that was…). PIC isn’t TNG, but I’m not entirely sure what it *is* sometimes.
“PIC isn’t TNG, but I’m not entirely sure what it *is* sometimes.”
It’s the blatant attempt at upgrading Star Trek with “mature” and “adult” elements which are so popular on shows like GoT, TWD, Westworld, The Expanse, The Witcher… you name it!
Using f-bombs for f*ck’s sake, going full Eli Roth on Icheb, chopping of Romulan heads, showing BOTH of Data’s “daughters” in bed with some guy the very moment they are introduced, smoking, drinking, drugs, depicting former fan-favourite characters as killing machines, employing GoT-level twisted endings for their shock value…
@Garth Lorca I must admit I got the GoT vibe from the Romulan brother sister duo (and I’m not a fan of it).
But I’d argue DSC had the same aim vis. “New, adult audiences” etc. and even that had a stronger sense of its own identity than PIC seems to.
I think you’re right overall but the other spinoffs were easier to state clearly what they were about. With PIC I feel that the constant repetition of the story points is because they don’t really know what it’s actually about.
There’s enough for me to enjoy it still but it feels like it’s figuring itself out as it’s going along
It’s funny to see so many complain that “this isn’t TNG” and “this is so dark” and “what happened to my Star Trek”. It’s especially funny since I’m old enough to remember that we had exactly this kind of discussion with DS9. There is always something to complain. If you want TNG, there are 178 episodes on Netflix or whoever else streams it these days.
For me personally, this show really does what Trek used to do on a daily basis: change the tone and play with the boundaries of the genre. Much like you could have a funny Ferengi episode and the next one would be a war episode, or a family drama or a horror, these shows are set up in a way to address specific audiences. Picard works, it’s exactly the kind of fresh take that Star Trek was afraid of under Berman’s reign. Remember how early Enterprise and late Voyager seasons were so bland and middle-of-the-road and without any identity of their own that it was almost painful to watch?
Well, exactly. Enterprise had a “main character“ who did not get more than one line in most episodes. It was a tired show full of Bermanisms. But people will get nostalgic over most things if you add enough time…
This episode has officially killed Star Trek. I know I’m not supposed to be that emotional about that stuff but I cannot ignore what has transpired today. It may not mean anything for people in the US but here in Germany I had to enter a youth protection code on Amazon because the episode has been rated 18+, something that has never happened before, due to Icheb’s grizzly dismantling…
I haven’t felt like that since I killed off my old moniker “Smike” in late December 2017 and I’ve done my best to appear more relaxed about those issues in recent years, which I’m obviously failing at at this very moment.
For over two and a half years, I’ve been afraid of this very moment. I’ve spoken out against a Tarantino movie to prevent this rating from happening while at the same time I’ve spoken out for a necessary reform of our strict and terribly dated youth protection rating system. Quite obviously I wasn’t able to prevent this day from happening.
And yeah, this is bad news, as I’m virtually torn apart like Icheb emotionally at this moment. No, I cannot start going over these quibbles time and again as I used to do under my old identity and I promise you not to bore the hell out of anyone again. But today I’m broken, today I feel ashamed, today I feel so helpless and this had to be said. I could hardly live with a 16+ rated Trek, but 18+ Trek is beyond anything I can bear… Forgive me for being that sad geezer again.
Amazon Prime Germany changed its rating from 18+ to 16 after so many bad reviews complained about the rating and the required age verification.
Yeah, thank goodness, the FSK gave it a (very lucky) 16 rating. Amazon didn’t “change” it. They were just waiting for the official FSK rating and had the black 18+ as a self-applied placeholder for a couple of hours. It wasn’t a red FSK 18 rating so I should have waited before freaking out over it.
But looking at Icheb’s death scene, we can be VERY lucky that the 18 wasn’t eventually given in the end…
Amazon still doesn’t HAVE TO go through the FSK yet but they do it voluntarily. In the future, when the new “media convergence law” is in place, every streaming service will have to go through official rating procedures…
I love Trekmovie, but these “Reviews” are really just overly-detailed synopses with a few subjective one-liners and pot-shots. There’s no analysis, insight, or exploration of meaning and opinion.
I totally understand what you are saying, especially if you are looking for a rating or a reason to like or dislike a show or episode – but at the same time I respectfully offer this comment. A non-opinionated media source is rather refreshing, even for fans of a television franchise. Overall, I like the recaps as they clarify certain points of an episode that I may have missed and it allows fans to post their opinions of what they just watched. Trekmovie.com also provides Trek fans like myself with a single portal to the latest Star Trek news, saving me the time of looking around the web for Star Trek news. Fans are free to post our “non-offensive” opinions here, whether we like or dislike (no haters seem to be here) a show. Fans can provide legitimate positive and negative viewpoints and that is refreshing considering much of social media is dominated by singularly opinionated and biased narratives that tell their viewers what to think, along with quite honestly vile and offensive feedback and comments. Just look at the comments above regarding quite honestly a very polarizing episode of Picard – all done without the grandstanding and vitriol you might see on many social media sites. IMO please keep up these reviews and the good work Trekmovie.com.
I appreciate the fairly neutral reviews too. They’re a good way to kick off the discussion here.
The ShuttlePod podcast discussion allows for an exchange of views, both positive and critical.
Interestingly enough, the ShuttlePod Crew sometimes gets criticized as too negative or too positive.
So, Jeffries Tuber if you’re looking for a bit more opinion, you might find that TrekMovie offering more suited to what you’re looking for.
For me, like DSC, Picard is unrecognizable as Star Trek (as I think of it). While I am enjoying seeing Jean Luc and Seven again and a couple of the new characters aren’t bad, I have to admit I too am sad at how dark and dystopic and depressing our beloved Trek universe has turned out thus far, including the now-corrupt Starfleet, like Every…Other…Drama out there. Picard is literally the only one with hope and positivity, keeping in mind he may be losing his marbles. I blame the showrunners and their lack of appreciation/knowledge of what Trek was/is, and for how shallow this all feels. They’re making it more gory and adding hard profanity because they want to compete with other ‘premium’ channel shows, which tower over this in quality. But the writing isn’t nearly up to par, and CBS is no ‘premium’ channel (although it is priced that way). Trying to twist our heroes/heroines of old into 2020 quasi-political, social identity-conscious, angry dysfunction seems to me the easy way out for uninspired, inexperienced or simply lazy writers. It’s saddening. Very formulaic, and at times awfully corny. Bad drama, feigned emotional resonance. This is more enjoyable to me than DSC, which I frankly gave up on. I’ll stick around until the end of the season, but then it’s time to turn CBSAA off, again. Hanging around for any nostalgia I can grasp. Kurtzman Trek is not ‘must see’ tv, imo.
I was really hoping you were going to like this Danpaine. I remember how excited we both were when we heard the news came Picard was coming back in his own show. MAYBE things will turn around show wise for you before its over.
I’ll be honest, I think I’m just too biased right now to have the same issue as others. I KNOW they are there and I have been pointing it out, I’m just not AS bothered like you and others are about it. At least not yet.
But yeah I’m on the fence with Kurtzman Trek as well. I want to fall in love with these shows and I just haven’t at all. But we do have to remind ourselves its still very early, we’re just basically 2 and a half seasons of this era (not counting the Kelvin movies). But I’m afraid if Picard doesn’t get me super excited about it by end of this season I seriously doubt the other stuff will. Fingers cross obviously.
“…we do have to remind ourselves its still very early, we’re just basically 2 and a half seasons of this era (not counting the Kelvin movies).”
Tiger, bless your positivity. But here’s a real problem: shows need to make money and grow viewer numbers so they can justify making more. We’ve had two and a half seasons of two new shows that are not ticking the right boxes for a lot of fans OR new viewers. I’ve no idea what kinda numbers CBS AA is pulling in for these shows and we’re never going to know beyond CBS promo blurb but the truth is that these shows are hugely expensive to produce and therefore need solid numbers behind them to keep going. Otherwise they get cancelled. Plain and simple. No company is going to keep plugging money into a leaking ship.
I’m gonna sound like a dick here, all apologies, but at this point it’s clear to me the wrong people are in charge of Star Trek. I feel like they don’t understand it and have spent this long reshaping it into something they do understand with little success for anyone. Seven’s characterisation is a perfect example for me. They couldn’t (or worse still, didn’t care to) find the original character’s voice so wrote her as Generic Grizzled Badass Babe #158 and just stuck Seven’s name on her. Lazy and disappointing. Like the rest of these new shows, reinventing what’s come before actually lessens what’s come before. If we’re still using Seven as an example, her years on Voyager striving to become more human – a reassuring Roddenberry/Trek staple throughout every single incarnation of the franchise – have failed. She hasn’t learned the positive aspects of becoming a part of the society around her, she’s just regressed into a cold-blooded killer. As a result, she’s infinitely less interesting to me. This regression is a staple of all these new shows. Picard’s glory years mean nothing. The Federation is no longer a paragon of virtue and hope.
And please let me clarify something: I’m ALL for depressing dystopias in my sci-fi entertainment. Haha! I love Mad Max and nu-BSG. I don’t even truly believe Roddenberry’s vision of humanity is one that’s attainable, even if I do believe it’s certainly a vision to strive for. But Star Trek’s supposed to be better than all that. It’s supposed to be a little naive, that’s part of its appeal and it’s always been at its very best when it’s had those naive ideals colliding with everything around it. The people in charge here have missed the point.
As for whether explicit gore/T&A/coarse language belongs in Star Trek? I’ll paraphrase Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park: “…your producers were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” Yeah, I guess you can use Star Trek as a vehicle for more adult storytelling, sure. You’d just better have people in charge who can pull that off. But again, the original shows were far smarter and more restrained than that, sometimes by TV standards necessity, other times just by design. The message was more important to impart than the actual showing of the said gore. Showing us the gore is kinda missing the point and using Conspiracy or the Ceti Alpha eels as examples is a real stretch. Pretty much everybody hated Conspiracy, from the people running the show to the fans watching. Hence we never went back to that plot. Or gore.
Guess I’m just disappointed overall. No wit, no intelligence, no cleverness, no sharpness.
Furthermore, if we’re really going to embrace the oft-mentioned “Trek reflects the time it’s being made in” thing, what really WOULD have set Trek apart in 2020 would have been a show about positivity and naive ideals of utopia. A bold negation of the times we’re currently living in so people could watch something uplifting and inspiring. Yes, the world is currently shit. Politics, climate change, corruption, war, racism, patriotism, xenophobia, the rich and the poor, religious extremism are all in the headlines. Trek was meant to be an escape and an antidote to all that, sometimes even with a lesson thrown in there about its subject. So far, Discovery and Picard – and more importantly, the people in charge – have pretty spectacularly missed the point about what makes Trek so special.
” A bold negation of the times we’re currently living in so people could watch something uplifting and inspiring.”
I still fail to understand why people keep saying things like this. The issues they keep bringing up for why have existed for as long as I can remember. But I would argue that even with the issues that have plagued humanity since the beginning the world today is still better off than it has EVER been.
blackmocco, I appreciate where you are coming from.
In terms of how the show is performing, it’s had the highest demand in the US and globally of any CBSAA shows, and by a large margin.
That said, it’s been slipping downwards week by week, and was in the middle of the top ten streaming shows last week. We’ll need to see how it performs over the next two weeks to get a better sense.
What Parrot Analytics does show though is that Picard has increased demand and streams of Discovery since mid-January. So, in terms of revitalizing the capital value of the franchise overall, so far it’s been a success.
TG, is there a place to actually go and see those numbers officially recorded? I’m just curious because everything I’ve been reading ends in “says a CBS AA spokesman!”
Here you go blackmocco:
From Parrot Analytics:
Picard last week. https://tv.parrotanalytics.com/US/star-trek-picard-cbs-all-access
Top series last week (all platforms and streaming only)
Awesome. Thanks TG!
Blackmorroco, I see your points on a lot of this. Some I agree with, others I don’t but I definitely understand where you’re coming from.
For example, I will definitely agree with you a lot of fans are obviously having a hard time getting into these shows, Discovery especially and they are for VALID reasons, no doubt. And clearly the producers knows that and why they have made so many changes to that show to the point they threw it to another century completely. And I GIVE them credit for acknowledging the problems early on and making big changes even if it still won’t win everyone over. But they ARE trying! We all know Star Trek isn’t going anywhere for a long time now that its back, we have to give them the room to try new things with it WHILE acknowledging what may not work and make the changes. Discovery was VERY dark in its first season and I agree probably too dark to the point it turned people off, among other things.
But clearly they were aware of that so they tried to make those changes and how we went from someone like Lorca to someone like Pike in one season. Why it went from a war theme to an exploration one. Why it went from dark and depressing to uplifting and even comedic. No, it still didn’t click all the boxes and it still had some of the same issues as season one did, but it was a stark difference in many ways. So I think they are being proactive as possible with the show. It still may not work for you, I get that, but we can admit they acknowledged they probably took things too far and making the changes little by little while still trying to keep the identity of the show; ala TNG and DS9 when those started more rocky out the gate.
As for Picard, again I obviously understand where everyone is coming from. The day Patrick Stewart mentioned the universe was going to be in a darker place and stuff like Brexit and Trump was referenced I thought ‘uh oh’ lol. I KNEW that was going to get the reception it did. Again I’m not too personally bothered by it but I understand why it would others. And I just wanted to wait and see where it would go. Honestly I’m just not as bothered by it for some reason. Yes its ‘darker’ than TNG, but its not ‘dark’. I mean you look at Earth it hasn’t exactly turned into Thunderdome lol. It still looks to be a nice, uplifting and peaceful place to live in. I actually applauded we saw characters like Raffi struggle though, but again that’s NOT new. We seen people like this before, from Harry Mudd to Tom Paris. It’s just wasn’t always emphasized as much.
And I don’t look what is happening in Picard at as dystopia at all though or certainly nothing that we haven’t seen before and with MUCH worse consequences. I rewatched DS9 last year and I was reminded of everything happening during the Dominion war like admirals creating a false flag to militarize Earth, Starfleet actually authorizing genocide on an entire species, breaking off a century long alliance with the Klingons to start another war with them, ex-starfleet officers turned terrorists against Cardassians (and that was pre-Dominion), a captain who poisoned an entire planet just to capture one said terrorist, the same captain who allowed a Romulan diplomat to be killed to manipulate them to get involved in the war, another admiral who staged a mini-coup by framing a Romulan for treason and allowing one who was actually killed Federation members in the past to stay in the war and finally, Section 31 (and yes I’m pretty certain was behind all of these things lol).
Yes, Star Trek IS suppose to be better than all of that too…until it isn’t. Today that show is praised and adored. But you tell me what have we seen in Picard that has remotely compared to what has already happened in Star Trek from literally 20 years ago now? I just don’t understand how some people not wanting to help the Romulans or disbanding Androids is anywhere close to false flags, authorized genocide and terrorism? Basically if people believe Picard presents a dystopia, its been this way for awhile now.
The universe in the 24th century has had its problems for a long time now. Sadly they haven’t gotten better but it hasn’t gotten worse either IMO.
But all that said Kurtzman has already stated they won’t even start work on a second season until they see what the feedback on the first season is. Again I think that’s admirable and WHY I stay hopeful. If they conclude that what is being presented as too dark and cynical they will probably course correct to some degree. That’s why I say it IS still early. EVERY Trek show made changes after the first few seasons and they all got better IMO, especially DS9. The irony of that show is it only got better when it became serialized, created a war and only got darker lol.
Its basically the framework Discovery and partly Picard is working off now. So I while I do understand why people are having a hard time with these shows, DS9 does prove its not going darker that puts most fans off so much as the EXECUTION of it and I agree both DIS and PIC feels a bit off in that regard and that mostly come down to the writing.
Much appreciated, Tiger! I’m still tuning in, hoping the second half of the season will knock my socks off.
Good to hear Danpaine! And I as well.
For those of us who really enjoyed TNG, we will remember watching an episode called Conspiracy where at the end of the show Riker and Picard literally blew the head off of the brain parasite’s mother creature host. For 1980s television, that was pretty offensive. I remember that was my Dad’s first and LAST episode of Star Trek he ever watched and I honestly could not blame him. I hope last night’s episode of Picard does not do the same to new viewers of this series, but I can’t blame them if they don’t give the show another shot, despite my opinion that E1-4 and even E5, after poor Icheb departed the show, were good or very good.
“I remember that was my Dad’s first and LAST episode of Star Trek he ever watched and I honestly could not blame him.”
My late father would have done the same. He hated gore. Fortunately, he didn’t get to see the full Conspiracy scene as this stuff was cut for the afternoon broadcast. So we watched hundreds of more episodes together.
Four years ago he passed away all of a sudden. The last time I embraced him while being alive was out of joy when a new Star Trek series was announced in November 2015, only a few weeks before his death.
And now this new Star Trek turns out to be exactly the kind of stuff my dad would have loathed…
I suppose it’s meant to be a Picard redemption story, Picard failed and now he sees a chance to try and make up for that. I like the concept but so far the execution has been slightly off, the Romulan artifact is intriguing in terms of it’s back story and whats going on there, but the Soji romance is dragging. It would be good to more of Hugh
This episode was pretty good overall, i’m sure Sir Patrick is having fun. It was good to see Seven but I was hoping she might stick around. I love the multiple holos of Rios I wonder if there are more.
Am I the only Trek fan who actually appreciates some degree of “fan service” in these new shows – heck, even the Kelvin movies to some extent. (I thought Kirk munching on an apple in ST09 was awesome!!)
Once upon a TNG, it was forbidden to hardly reference TOS (with the very glaring exception of “The Naked Now”).
The worst fan service for me of all time were the Star Wars prequel movies…
I kinda liked the Tranya reference in that it was actually POISON this time… Like Kirk and his landing party feared it might be before Balok took his sip. Tranya has been a bit of an inside joke for me any my Trek friends. So I got a charge out of it.
I disagree about the first three episodes being allowed to “breathe”. They were allowed to breathe so much they barely moved. Also, this back and forth thing was used when they broke into the Jane ‘Cyborg’ Bourne’s Boston apartment. This version went a lot better and was less confusing than that one was. I think I chalk that one up to Frakes being a better director than Culpepper.
The reason for evil Borg scavenger lounge lady to be particularly cruel when extracting parts from Icheb were two. One, to give 7 deep motivation for revenge and to make her unequivocally evil. So much so that any gruesome death scene would feel justified to the audience.
I also disagree regarding the episodes. These last two are better than anything we saw in the first three. Reason? They actually advanced the plot while still giving us bits about the people involved. To be honest, these last two episodes have brought about a side effect not liking the first three episodes more and more. They were really poorly put together compared to what we are getting now.
I still feel like the closing episodes are going to be VERY fast. Only 5 episodes left and it feels like we have just finished the first act. I fear that they are either going to not wrap anything up and end with cliffhanger (God please NO!!!!) or do an idiotic Discovery style quite finish without thinking.
How much did she look like early Troi!!!
Goosebumps when we heard the Voyager theme.
“How much did she look like early Troi!!!”
Oh, she did look like Troi. That made her character even worse. 30 years ago, beauty and goodness used to be one and the same thing on Trek. Now, all we got left is pure evil on both sides…
“Goosebumps when we heard the Voyager theme.”
Yeah, that WOULD have worked pretty nicely if Seven hadn’t reverted back into a cold-blooded killer only seconds later… They turned VOY’s most popular character and one of the most iconic female Trek characters ever into another Daenerys…and advertise it on the beautiful VOY theme…
Everything about this episode felt just wrong…
I am liking ST: Picard. Turns out the “TNG utopia” is actually a dystopia (which was always where it was going to go regardless due the boring nonsensical nature of the show).
Sets up for future Trek to be more like TOS “Wagon Train to the Stars”. Turns out you need resources and half the bureaucracy is corrupt/incompetent and the other half thinks organics should be replaced by engineered perfect AI life forms (while purposely making robots have feelings that they are slaves, believing that organics need a Prime Directive development and banning engineering their life making them all hypocrites).
They need a show featuring freedom loving Federation citizens making a run for it into the unknown (preferably with old movie era starships they bought at the auction house or stole from the junkyard).
I would love to see a ST show with just normal people.
I think you’re right Cmd Bremmon that this is an attempt to really get out into a Wild West environment, with the ‘Wagon Train’ ethos as a counter to the anarchy on the fringe of the Federation.
Not sure it’s my preference, but you make a good case for it to be grounded in authentic Trek.
Well I’ll give you it’s not TNG Trek… but I consider that a good thing. To me, quite frankly, TNG wasn’t “Wagon Train to the Stars” Star Trek (and I am actually upset at how much time I wasted on it). Just wish TPTB had not done TNG and continued the movie era on the frontier, would have been more optimistic that we didn’t have to go through a nonsensical TNG era but then again isn’t that what happened to Rome?? I’ve decided to accept that TOS was the Roman Republic heading out into the frontier, dealing with realities, where TNG was the Roman dictatorship with a massive bureaucracy, everyone lazy thinking everything is “free” leading to a nonsensical race for holodecks, engineered AI and coming home to Earth. Sets up a return to real Star Trek I suppose out there on the frontier.
Well, Cmd Bremmon, they are definitely embracing some kind of frontier.
But it is more like the lawless frontier of the American 19th century, than other frontiers. It’s also more of the hard-bitten West of Unforgiven than the romanticized American West of 1950s Western movies and television series.
I can see that for viewers outside the United States this may be unsettling, especially now that the myths of the American West are fading in global popular culture.
It’s not the Canadian version of the wild west certainly. The rule of law of the Federation isn’t making its presence felt over vigilantism. We don’t see an analogue to the Mounties. There is no one like Judge Mathew Begbie Bailey (aka the hanging judge). The rangers aren’t extensions of Federation governance.
At the risk of being political, when I reflect on this episode against the Canadian West and the gold rush, I keep thinking of how ‘the orange one’s’ grandfather had the biggest hotel and gambling house in the Yukon, and managed to escape the country with a stash of cash just ahead of being closed down by the Mounties. (A historical fact: Photos of the hotel are in Canada’s national archives.) Quark’s chain of bars doesn’t seem to have to face any kind of Odo-like scrutiny in this no-man’s-land of the former Neutral Zone.