The Shuttle Pod Crew Hits The ‘Star Trek: Picard’ Season 1 Halfway Point With “Stardust City Rag”

‘Star Trek: Picard’ Season 1, Episode 5

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Join Jared, Kayla, and Matt as they delve into the divisive fifth episode of the season, “Stardust City Rag.” The Shuttle Pod crew breaks down the episode, celebrates the return of Seven of Nine, and discusses the issues, questions, and concerns with the world that Star Trek: Picard has shown us thus far.

In the podcast we reference season 1 showrunner Michael Chabon’s comments on the violence and the seeming darkness of the show, they come from this recent article.

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Personally, I love this episode as much or perhaps even more than the premiere.

Everything Kayla is saying, starting about 25 minutes before the end – Yes.

& Maybe Maddox returns as a re-animated Borg…? Is that a bright future… ?

Anyway… great conversation!

Maddox ended up looking exactly as Leland in Discovery. Black eyes and dark veins all over his face.

Kayla was channelling a lot of honest fans of Star Trek. Every single critique was spot on. But I would disagree that the problem isn’t the writing.

Matt, did you do some ADR when you said “Commodore Oh?” It sounded weird.

Anyway, here’s my attempt to cheer up Kayla: perhaps one reason why this episode was so dark is that it is in the middle of this season-long story. A lot of long-form stories get the group together in the beginning and set-up the adventure, go very dark in the middle, then have an epic and emotional ending. See: original Star Wars trilogy, Star Trek movies 2,3,&4, and Lord of the Rings. With that in mind, I’m thinking it will start to look better around episode 7. So it should end well.

That said, I also agree that the writers either did not know or care about Roddenberry’s optimistic future. But I think drug use still existed, look at Mudds Women. But Raffis son’s reaction to her did not seem enlightened at all. What bothered me the most about this episode was Seven’s revenge-killing. That did not seem very “Star Trek” at all. I was wondering at the time of the influence of Janeway on Seven like it didn’t exist.

I wonder which person in the writers room pushed for that horrific torture scene of Icheb. Kurtzman or Goldsman? Even though Beyer wrote the episode, I really doubt it was her idea. Did she ever write such horrific stuff in her Voyager books?

Well, let’s hope this series gets more of that Trek-like hopeful future we always enjoyed.

Matt, did you do some ADR when you said “Commodore Oh?” It sounded weird

Ya caught me ;)

I forgot her rank and I thought it sounded weird without it since her name is also the sound/word “Oh”, so I quickly dubbed it in the next day while editing the podcast.

I do get this feeling that Icheb’s scene was written and filmed so violent as a reaction or message for the original actor Manu Intrayami for his “conflict” with Anthony Rapp on Twitter. I mean its not the first time we see outside forces affect the writers room, several other shows like Lost also did this.

I listen every week to your wonderful podcast. I am about to listen to this week’s podcast, but I can tell already what your concern is. I want to tell you I agree, and I have been posting for years about this issue on
ST Discovery, and the JJ movies lost Roddenberry’s optimistic vision, and my heart is broken that Picard doesn’t have it either. I was hoping Picard would reclaim it, but it’s just another dystopian, violent science fiction show that is typical of our times.
As I wrote a few days ago in a different post, now more than ever the world needs optimistic, positive messages and role models. And it seems that TV just mirrors our dark times. These new keepers of Star Trek have not kept the flame, they have yielded to the times. Chabon’s rationalization for showing the dark Federation in is response to fans was disappointing to me. Something wonderful and life-affirming has been lost.
Martin Luther King told Nichelle Nichols to not quit Star Trek because Star Trek was important. In her interview, she said he told her that “images on television permeate the culture for the good and the bad, and Star Trek was for the highest good.”
This is no longer true. Star Trek is no longer a beacon of hope, and therefore it is no longer important. It’s sad beyond words.

I, too, miss the optimism, but I also know, as a storyteller, that things are darkest before the light. If Picard is supposed to be the hero we need, he needs something to save us from.

My opinion anyway.

I agree 100% with your words. I think the problem with ‘darker tone’ is exasberated by the serialization of modern Trek. Let’s take the ‘bad guys’ in Star Trek Picard. Terrible. One dimenstional. Poorly written. We had MANY one-dimensional villains of the weak in ST:TNG and ST:TOS but we knew the slate would be wiped clean if we we didn’t like Epsiode 102 it doesn’t matter because we might love Episode 103. Imagine if “Code of Honor”‘s story had been extended over a full season?

If you are going to Serialize Picard, you can’t then turn every show into an extension of something “not that great, but hopefully it’ll get better later”. You have to have a story that honors the legacy of the characters. I feel uncomfortable watching Picard stumble about apologizing to everyone. I feel exasberated with the obvious plot twists and the “I hate you Picard….I’m joining you” repetition.
The fact that I cannot remember the names of some of the main characters including the brother/sister romulan lovers tells me that it’s not just the tone, its the quality of the characterizations.

Basically, if you want to make a Serial Star Trek Series…and you want to make it dark…okay, but please, bring in some better writers.

Romulans invented the Borg. The end.

“This is no longer true. Star Trek is no longer a beacon of hope, and therefore it is no longer important. It’s sad beyond words.”

Agreed. I vacillate between being angry about it and depressed by it. And so many fans seem to just not give a crap. (Or, worse, want to accuse people who feel this way of trying to be gatekeepers.) Maybe the producers still have some sort of rabbit in a hat to produce before the season is over; something tells me they do not.

Oh don’t worry about it, “gatekeeping” has increasingly been used as an excuse for shutting up people when people don’t agree with an opinion.

Spot on! I hope you enjoyed the podcast after a listen. I am glad I got a chance to voice what’s been heavy on my heart, and one silver lining has been that I seem to have been able to put to words what a lot of trekkies are feeling right now. I’m glad I’m not alone!

I was bummed that I was unable join in, but Kayla articulated my own feelings perfectly.

I agree with everything you said, Kayla. I (also) hated this episode, maybe even sightly more than you.

I would argue, though, that seven of nines change of character IS actually bad writing, not just a choice you (or I) don’t like. She turned from “Spock”, an intellectual outsider, into every action movie cliche. Yes, you can make the argument that she’s always been rebellious so there is a through-line to where she is now, but it’s still the most generic, uncreative, uninteresting choice you could possibly make. She doesn’t even talk like herself anymore, but she still calls herself “7 of 9”? I don’t buy that this is the same character for a second.

I think you were absolutely right to dislike this episode as much as you did, or more. In the interest of trying to be fair / openminded, the next episode isn’t nearly as depressing. It doesn’t fix the world, though, and it seems unlikely anything short of the end of the series will, given that this is their chosen format. Even if it did, doesn’t it all have to go down in flames anyways for discovery season 3 to happen? There’s not much (apparent) hope in this universe, now or even really on the horizon, except for lower decks. But I really do hope I am wrong about that.

I’ve wondered if this season is “The Search for Data” – the end is resurrecting Data via Soji. We either need to see that and/or Star Fleet redeem itself in Picard’s eyes or this season will not redeem itself.

If they did that, where would they find the “gritty drama” in Season 2? And we already know from Disco Season 3 that the Federation goes into decline.

Anyways, I hope you are right, but as I’ve started in my previous post, the writers need to get better. It’s like comparing Mass Effect 2 to Mass Effect Andromeda….you can’t quite put your finger on it….it’s just…not….that….great.

If we end up with Data resurrected in Soji that would be a mistake nearly on the level of Lorca being from the MU. It will be something lame that the show will NEVER shake free of. Discovery may get better but the specter from season 1 will always case me to doubt every since season it might get in the future.

Like the posts above, I agree it feels like Star Trek has lost its optimistic better future.


I’m here to help! I agree with a lot of what you felt, but I think that’s the point and there are a few things we’re not taking into consideration (I say “we” because I had a similar feeling at first and my thoughts have evolved over the last few days). Yes, Vashti and Freecloud sort of suck – but the former Neutral Zone is in shambles, not the future and not the entire Federation. Did the Federation allow it to be in shambles? Yes. They also allowed the Bajorans to be the victims of several decades of genocide.

There are multiple examples of the Federation making less than perfect choices, and just like Insurrection explored one of them in the 1.5 hours, Picard is exploring one in what will likely be 30 episodes. I would argue we are just getting more detail than we normally did back then. Did we see the Council debating about whether or not the Ba’Ku deserved protections under the Prime Directive, no. But if Insurrection were a series on All Access, we’d probably watch an entire season devoted to the deliberations. And we’d all hate the Council Member from Bynaus who was all “there is no nuance, it’s a yes or no proposition”. But at the end of the day it always took our heroes to remind the Federation what made it a principled utopia. And I think Picard is angling toward that, while at the same time honoring how Patrick must feel as a man in his 80’s who, despite the advances you all spoke of, is in many ways watching the world move backwards. For a man to live through WWII only to see the United States putting children in cages in 2020 is probably pretty terrifying. So is it possible that the same Federation that was willing to forcibly relocate people centuries after we should have known better be frightened into a state of near isolationism or at the very least for them to make a decision that results in their abandoning a former enemy? I don’t find it that hard to believe when I look through the lens of how much detail we are getting by having 30 episodes tell us one story.

We also know that the galaxy was never as pristine as the Federation. Cardassian labor camps, a vast majority of the Delta quadrant, everywhere O’Brien was tortured once/season, that weird-ass bar in Gambit part I. Dirty, crime infested placed were always in the shadows. To borrow from Chabon, there were always shadows and light. But every series took place in the light. This one does not.

I totally get wanting to feel hopeful. I totally understand wanting to feel like the future is brighter than the present. I think we’ll get there…we just need our heroes to show the Federation why it’s wrong.

As for Raffi and her son, I saw his reaction more about being abandoned because of her obsession than it was about her substance abuse. His anger and his choice of words seemed pretty specific. I think they should have spent more time addressing the issue of her substance abuse (and hopefully they will in future episodes), but I didn’t think he and the father left because of that. I took that they left because she was obsessed with the conspiracy theory and her related research.

Hang in there.


LCDR Trev, thanks for this. I agree with much of it.

Raffi’s son seem to be ridiculing an obsession.

My sense is that Raffi’s son saw her addiction and paranoia about (to him delusions about) the Conclave of 8 as something that she refused to give up, to get treatment for. He felt that her love and duty for family should have been enough to get her to let go of an obsession or accept treatment.

Taking a step back, assuming that Raffi had evidence of the conspiracy and a sincere belief that she was being framed as having a mental disorder, why would she put herself at risk by seeking treatment for her ‘delusions’ from Starfleet Medical? Where could she safely speak her truth and get help? Nowhere.

Instead she would have tried to get support from her spouse and son, and when they did not believe her, she turned to substance use to cope.

RE Kayla’s rant
I feel the big difference between how TNG/DS9 handle dark storylines vs. Picard is scale. The older shows dealt with problems on a very macro scale–the crew make decisions impact whole planets, billions of people, etc. Optimism is easier because the small details were ignored. This show is the opposite–a small ship, small crew, even a small mission (rescuing one person).

Imagine if there had been a show set in the DS9 era following a single Maquis crew dealing with violent border skirmishers, being rejected by the Federation, and dealing with the other “macro scale” events we know about from DS9–like Sisko and Eddington poisoning whole planets, being hunted by the Federation, etc. Then the whole thing ends with the Dominion wiping out literally everyone. It would be way more heartbreaking than Picard so far.

On another story thread I brought up TNG Conspiracy and that episode’s use of gore, which in that case was quite honestly useless. At least last week I could see why it was used, I just didn’t agree that it was needed. All that said, in many ways E5 reminded me the way I felt when I saw Star Trek Generations, when Picard found out his brother’s family had been killed. The TNG episode Family not only gave Picard a brother and sister-in-law, but the episode optimistically ended with his nephew searching the night sky, with his whole life ahead of him. Shockingly tragic, the writers ended that optimism, just like they did with Icheb last week – surprising since that movie was written by Berman, Moore and Braga.

As a consequence of last week’s unprecedented assault on visually sensitive viewers I will not live-watch this show anymore (neither Discovery – obviously TPTB are too unhinged now to understand what is acceptable to show in a Star Trek TV show). A line has been crossed clearly that I cannot walk back anymore, and many long term fans with similiar believes in what Trek is and Trek is not have already stopped watching. As I’m not yet ready to do this, I’d be really thankful if you clearly pointed out any recurrence of such extreme violence and gore in a future episode in your recaps as I will not watch the episodes before your reviews are out. Thanks!

Note: You can also find this kind of information on IMDB. They have a certification/parents guide for each individual episode. Since it is user-generated it may take some time before info is added for each new episode.

One of the best sources to assess visual media for young audiences is Common Sense Media.

We have been saved by them again and again.

They have excellent professional reviews and ratings on several dimensions.

In the case of television series still in production or apps that get updated, the professional reviews may not update until the end of season though.

However, like Imdb there are also user reviews, and they are divided between parent reviews and kid reviews. We often get good insights from scanning those.

As I said on another thread, my Dad asked me “how I could watch that garbage?” when he decided to actually sit with my brother and I and watch his first episode of Star Trek. The episode in question was TNG – Conspiracy and he walked out the room when Picard and Riker killed Commander Remmick and the “mother creature”. He never watched another episode again.

I know a funny anecdote about that scene.I could try to repeat it if someone is interested. But only if so, it is exhausting for me to write because of my bad English.

I liked all your comments, guys. But I find it curious that you allude to the deceiving perception of a dystopian current world as a function of available information and you’re going down the exactly same path by proclaiming the world of Picard as dystopian. You can say those characters in particular are going through hell, but there’s no basis for saying the Federation in 2399 is a mess. Actually, from the little we saw of Earth outside Picard’s personal drama, it looks like a pretty good place to live! So, they are telling a dark story with messed-up characters outside the bebevolent influence of the Federation, and it’s okay to not like it, but it is not fair to generalize the fictional world as dystopian or a betrayal to what the Trek future os supposed to be. Drag In the Pale Moonlight for ten Episodes and you’ll get the exact same feeling, even though the Federation was still a fine place during those times…

– Picard being interviewed by an obnoxious reporter who saw no value in Romulan lives.

– Fourteen worlds voting not to help the Romulans.

– The Federation banning synthetic life and shutting down research instead of working to figure out what went wrong.

– Raffi living in a trailer in the desert and being a drug addict. And essentially grumbling about the one percent living in a chateau.

– The obnoxious grunts working on Mars.

It’s all a little more Alien universe than Star Trek.

You are correct. Of course there were some examples throughout Star Trek of bad things in the Federation. It would be unwatchable if everyone was an angel.
But that doesn’t mean that the tone is the same in Picard and STD. The point wasn’t that there were no examples of bad things in the Federation before. It’s that the overall Federation and the people in it are depicted as much darker overall.
Saying that Trek hasnt grown darker because there were prior examples of some darkness is like saying because it sometimes rains in the desert that it’s the desert isn’t drier than other places. it;s a matter of degree. Before Picard and STD and JJ, Star Trek was overall more hopeful, even though it sometimes had bad people in it (like it raining ocasionally in the desert).
And calling Kayla’s view a “rant”, as someone above did, is an example of the darkness of our times. She, or anyone, should be able to express a point of view without calling it a name like “rant.” If you disagree, be respectful and explain your reasons why. Name calling is not cool.

I’m down with the Seven plot here, but overall I am just done with the choices made here in this series, I totally agree with Kayla and was relieved to hear one of the shuttlepod crew voice this. I don’t like trek for dystopia. There’s literally every other franchise for that. I’m seriously thinking of dropping CBS and I never thought I would say that. It’s the only streaming service I pay for, because I love Star Trek. But this trek makes me very sad.

I’m going to hang onto All Access for a while because I paid for a full year and want to see “The Stand” when it comes on.

After that, unless this season of “Picard” improves drastically, I’m canceling and never coming back, and will do everything I can do to let someone in a position of authority at CBS know the reason why I’m doing it. Probably won’t make a bit of difference, but what they’ve done to this franchise I’ve loved since my earliest memories is completely unacceptable to me.

So say we all.

Not I.

I’ll still be watching, but I understand your choice. I walked away from season two of Enterprise.

I dropped them and let them know why. I told them they need to do a complete 180 with all of this Dark Trek and I will be back with my money when they decide to make an actual Star Trek show.

They need to save the fringe Star Trek ideas for the animated stuff and short treks.

Kayla, from your lips to Q’s ears, I agree with nearly everything you said. Ron Moore and Rick Berman used to make this argument all the time. How does one create a compelling narrative while working within the confines of Gene’s pollyanic utopian sandbox? I would argue that the narrative choices made are a form of lazy storytelling and, in a sense, lazy writing. This ‘darkest before the dawn’ narrative is not why I watch Star Trek, but it seems to be the only kind of arc that Alex Kurtzman is in to. Let me know when he’s out the door.

One of the limitations of serialized story telling is just is that you can’t tell a great story in 1 hour, you have to extend it out over a season long narrative. That unfortunately leaves the audience unsatisfied, if they are looking for a satisfying ending to each episode and especially for many Trek fans who were used to a “whimsical epilogue” to close each show. We are still in the early days of streaming but I would suggest producers should understand, if all the episodes were released at once so you can binge watch, then this format they are using for Picard would be fine. But with economics driving the need for people to watch every week, you need to have a satisfying ending AND a reason to tune in next week. One might suggest to the producers and writers that the Pike series (should it go ahead) be episodic.

While I agree with you DeanH, I would argue that the Trek vision could be maintained while creating a season-long story arc, but it would involve making smarter, bolder narrative choices. Take, for instance, the TNG episode ‘The Chase’ where Dr. Crusher and Picard team up with multiple species to piece together fragmented DNA strands across multiple worlds. There, you have a mystery, twists and turns, deception, multiple factions fighting over the prize, and yet, in the end, the mystery is revealed to be a proto-civilization of which all rival species are derived from; a hopeful message, achieved through scientific curiosity, teamwork, and perseverance. Have stories that influence the next generation of scientists, influencers, and diplomats. It can be done.

Agreed, but you also need to extend out the narrative. As you said maybe it is just a matter of better writing. If they had extended the season to say 12 or more episodes, then they could write in better stories within a story.

Personally, I had ZERO problem with the Icheb vivisection. I’m on the side of saying it was needed to be seen to pay off later. Also, I did not find it all that graphic at all, to be honest. Also the make up looked awfully prop-like. Which took away from it. They were dealing with Borg parts, not gooey human parts. So I had not problems whatsoever with it.

I kinda liked the cute Mott and Quark drops. Yes it was fan service but it was nowhere near as gratuitous as the room early on with all the artifacts. And I did not have an issue with the pop up ads either. It felt like something that would have happened regarding ads.

I did not have a problem with Bruce showing up at the lounge lady’s place because I figured hey had some sort of history. The drugging I felt was obvious but not the reason for going.

I had no issue with the forward and back with the flashbacks. It was pretty easy to keep up with. The one that really made my head swim was in the CSI scene early in the series. That took a few cuts before I figured out the hell was going on. That one was VERY poorly executed.

The Rafi mystery didn’t bother me in the slightest. Maybe I’ve seen such things for so long that I’ve grown numb to it?

I did NOT like the pimp look they opted on for Rios. In fact, all the disguises were pretty lame. Some of the aesthetic choices there were questionable at best.

Recognizing the Facer is a good point but to be honest I never thought about it at the time. Which for me means the story is working well enough.

I, too, felt that Elnor was played really dumb as well. But it was reasonable he would not show up because he almost certainly would give them away.

I don’t have a problem with people not recognizing Picard by face. But I get people knowing the name. There is a huge difference there. And yes, the accent was ridiculous but I liked things enough that I blew it off.

I would think that substance addiction (specifically drug use) is something that might not be dealt with in Trek. My take is that human society has, for the most part, evolved above such self destructive behavior. Although I guess there is something to be said for how we will always be human and be susceptible to such failings. I like to think that drug abuse is something we will get past. I have always had a tough time seeing addiction as an illness, myself. I personally saw a good friend fall to drug addiction. And it was 100% preventable. She made a choice to get involved in such things. Before she was addicted she was clean. Then she made a choice. It went against I and another friend advised. She did it anyway. This is not like getting cancer or the flu where it happens through really no fault of your own. Sorry if this goes against what was said but that is my experience with addiction. It is less a sickness and more a choice.

I feel like there are pretty much 4 principle characters here. And they are the ones we are meant to REALLY care about. So I’m not overwhelmed whatsoever on that front.

I’m also on the side of saying that things right now are pretty darn good. And I’m not seeing this show reflecting ANYTHING in the world today. Good point about the black plague. People who speak about how bad things are today I like to point out WWII when so very many people are getting killed. That said, I’m not seeing Picard as being a dystopia. At all. Earth still seems to be the utopia they eluded to. Apart from murder crews being able to beam into private apartments. I’m liking the show just OK but then I never held Star Trek to be some sort of high impossibly moral kind of god like status.

I have noticed that certain things are telegraphed WAY ahead of time just by how the shots are framed and blocked. Even by dialog. But again… To get someone to end a life you pretty much need a VERY significant reason. Especially for someone like Agnes. Good point about Agnes not being a medical Dr. But then, Troi should have simply been a member of Crusher’s staff and no one seemed to care so such things there. So…

ML31, it seems that this is one of those occasional time where we agree on most points.

I found the episode uneven, but most of the issues raised in this podcast weren’t of concern to me, as I’ve outlined on other threads.

As a parent, I have concerns because the opening scene was about torture – deliberate intent to hurt another living being. It’s something that shouldn’t be modeled to younger children and is not something even older children may be ready for. That said, on a values basis I’m much more concerned to talk through with out kids how it was that Archer (a hero captain) tortured someone during interrogation in Enterprise season 2 than a more graphic version undertaken by an obviously abhorrenlongllain.

While I really appreciate that the ShuttlePod Crew did their best to praise what they could and be balanced, I believe that their approach, and Kayla’s strong if very sincere reaction, may have validated in some measure the ways that more extremely negative fans and sites assess the new series.

In particular, I’m a bit impatient with the argument that if something isn’t shown or said outright, then the audience cannot read in as an inference from the evidence we are given. Kayla’s position that Seven’s execution of Bjazyl was pure revenge is based on what Seven said in the moment. However, what Seven said was that it “Was for Icheb” . That is the message Seven wanted to convey to Bjayzl, but needn’t be the whole of her truth.

Seven described to Picard her know long established role as a Ranger, bringing security and justice in region where there was no rule of law. Picard made it clear in episode 5 that the role of the Fenris Rangers is tacitly accepted by the Federation. No one else has brought justice for Icheb and others, and that is who Seven has become.

One of the challenges of Picard is that despite a great deal of time spent on exposition, they still aren’t showing everything, or may not get to some of the detail until an episode down the line. Showing everything is not necessary, and would leave little room for mystery or uncertainty. We as an audience are expected to connect up the dots laid out for us, so I find it unfair to argue that there is not evidence to support an inference, just because Picard will not give us the unequivocal proof, or QED, in every scene.

While I would argue that from TNG on, 90s Trek left a great deal of action off-screen, those shows used senior officers reporting to one another or presenting at meetings to fill in detail. I accept that shifting to a less “spell-it-all-out” is a shift in style, I can’t say that it’s any greater a change in mode than between TOS and TNG.

By the way, Dr Jurati is both a physician/MD and a PhD in Robotics.

McCormack’s novel lays this out, but we are given some clues in the series:
– the new Androids have flesh and appear fully human – so one of the researchers had to have a medical background (and we know from TNG it wasn’t Maddox)
– Jurati took care of Seven after she collapsed (off-screen) and pronounced her fit.

I’m wondering if there is a deleted early scene with Seven and Jurati in Sick-bay. If so, it would creep me out given the end of the episode.

If there is a clue I might have missed it. I’m also not saying it’s beyond the realm of possibility Agnes could have some medic skills beyond basic stuff. Just saying I agree that it feels odd on the surface. Also, I know you enjoy the ancillary reading material but I don’t think it should be required for elements of shows and movies to make sense.

Fair enough ML31.

I keep thinking that a piece of exposition about Jurati’s status an an MD got clipped.

if it’s tripping up so many, then it needed to have been there.

I was very surprised that none of the ShuttlePod Crew mentioned Farscape.

Farscape has influenced so much sci-fi in the last two decades, and this episode is probably the most Farscape-like episode ever in Trek.

The references to the SW cantina and Firefly seemed odd to me, because this planet, city and bar as well as the mix of camp and unexpected grim was so much a Farscape trope. This really felt like another Farscape “How come we come up with a plan that ends up with people dying?” moment.

So, it made me think that the Crew hasn’t seen Farscape, or at least haven’t rewatched it in its remastered version currently streaming on Amazon Prime. On the other hand, I suspect Kayla would hate Farscape even if the series finale is very hopeful/positive/optimistic and Trek-lit.

Farscape was the first series EVER (since “V” as a kid) that was “must see TV” for me. It blew ST: Enterprise out of the water (it’s contemporary at the time). It had deep character development and continuing story arcs – something absent from Trek until DS9. Farscape was ahead of its time and its fate was a true, true shame.

With all flashbacks as well as Picard’s self-imposed isolation and its consequences, It seems like the producers want us to feel heartbroken. It would seem the Federation and Starfleet have not been doing a good job for at least the past 14 years or more.
However, I hold out hope that Picard’s journey to regaining his agency will also be the audience’s. Patrick Stewart’s performance helps to support this hope by portraying Picard’s confrontation with his own limitations and error as one of learning to ‘live in truth’.
I could be wrong, but I’m hanging in there for now.
BTW, the podcast discussion about Raffi and her son was great, and I think it pointed a way that scene could have been written to accomplish everything the actual scene had, but with greater tenderness and nuance.

This is by far the worst pod cast yet. The palatable anger of the hosts is so over the top because Picard doesn’t fit their preferred puritanical perspective of TNG, while employing adult language to hypocritically attack the adult themes of a well-written, well-acted, well-paced show that runs counter to their views, mores and sensibilities as the self-anointed guardians of Trekdom, makes this nearly an impossible listen. While dissenting opinions are entertaining, simply stating the same criticisms ad nauseam wreaks of basement-dwelling amateurism. Someone with a different take would be a welcome addition, someone who thinks beyond on the religion of Roddenberry, or perhaps the hiring of a half-decent editor would suffice.

Lighten up, Francis. It’s a podcast, not a speech before the General Assembly.

I also feel Heartbroken & Disturbed after this episode… Where Possibly some of the storyline comes from the fact that SirPartick & the UK has seen the erosion of NHS & Social care, EU exit, constant policy change, increasingly adversarial politics – i.e. things often feel rather bleak I too am looking for a more optimistic 2nd half of the season that brings back hope 🖖🍀

I didn’t find any issue with the darkness of this episode, everything is a little darker on tv than it was 15 years ago. The point is none of this episode takes place inside the federation or starfleet, freecloud and the ex neutral zone aren’t a utopia and aren’t supposed to be, In short there are “bad“ people. The ‘crew’ of the La Sirena aren’t starfleet (at least anymore) they’re a rag tag motley crew with their own flaws and LEFT for their own reasons. Seven was never actually Starfleet, she spent 4 years being mentored by Janeway but why should she be a shining light of federation ideals and not have revenge, it’s not out of character, she was regularly resistant to Janeways utopian POV in Voyager, now if Picard had killed for revenge …

I try. I really do. I just can’t listen to you guys. So negative. I gave it ten minutes. Don’t like the opening. Don’t like the vodka. Don’t like the pop up ads. Jesus. You don’t even realize it. It’s so part of everyone’s nature now it’s a shame.