Review: ‘Star Trek: Picard’ Starts Fitting The Puzzle Pieces Together In “The Impossible Box”

“The Impossible Box”

Star Trek: Picard Season 1, Episode 6 – Debuted Thursday, February 27, 2020
Written by Nick Zayas
Directed by Maja Vrvilo

Spoiler-Free Review

After a bleak episode last week, this episode takes its time exploring the frailties of the main characters while it moves the overall season narrative forward as the two plot threads come together in an urgent final act.

Picard steels himself before beaming over to the Artifact.

 

[WARNING: Spoilers from here on]

Episode Discussion

As Picard says to Hugh, “I’ll take a friendly face.” After last week’s seeming rock bottom of darkness and despair, the plot moves forward… and seemingly if slowly back into the light. The episode starts with a careful pace and give us plenty of time to see the vulnerabilities of the characters. There are well crafted moments between Rios and Agnes, Rios and Raffi, Picard, Elnor and Agnes, and a particularly lovely re-introduction between Picard and Hugh. The Narek and Soji scenes are finally going somewhere and have a sense of weight and urgency to them, and even the (thankfully) brief scenes between Narek and Narissa aren’t too creepy-incest or mustache twirling this time, minus a cheek-stroke or two.

Hugh greets Picard with a big hug and a smile.

After last week, poor Raffi is heartbroken, and unfortunately has gone on quite the bender of booze and snakeleaf self-medication. She pulls herself together enough to turn on her charm with her old friend Emmy, a captain-rank Starfleet official. Hurd really brings depth to Raffi (as always) and you can see this is the kind of acting Raffi’s done many times; as an addict, it’s a safe bet that she’s put on “everything is fine” and “aren’t I charming, so you’ll go away and stop asking questions” faces more times than she can count. Unfortunately Picard proves that he’s totally missing Raffi’s real state of mind, when he awkwardly starts applauding her performance. She crawls back to bed, and Rios comes to check on her. In a scene with a lot of quiet understanding, Raffi confides to Rios that she has a son. The scene really brings out the talents of Hurd and Santiago Cabrera, and the characters’ longtime friendship feels very real.

Raffi lays on the charm.

Speaking of Rios, he shows off his football (or soccer if you must) skills while he can’t sleep, and is joined by a troubled Dr. Jurati in search of some companionship. The two have some chemistry building after last week’s little interaction on the bridge over the rock ’em sock ’em robot hologram. While the hookup between Agnes and Chris Rios has a slightly creepy subtext for Agnes, it’s also a very human thing for Agnes to try to escape her feelings of guilt and worry about Maddox and yet also want to feel alive after seeing someone die. It still seems a little ill-advised, and they both seem to know it even though they still go for it.

We’re bad for each other but hey it’s space, no can hear you scream, right?

Picard, forced to beam over to the Borg cube solo, arrives feeling frail and alone, and a flood of memories of his assimilation and Borg life come back to him. No surprise, Patrick Stewart owns the fragility created by his haunted past exquisitely,  making us feel every difficult moment right along with him. But his view of the Borg and the cube is quickly reframed when Hugh calls out to him and he realizes the Borg are in fact former drones who have come to help him. As he visits with Hugh and tours the reclamation project, Sir Patrick Stewart does some of his finest acting as we watch Picard coming to understand that he’s not the only one who went through assimilation and recovery, and that he’s one of the lucky ones… this is really the first time in a long time we’ve seen him look back on that experience in a more reflective way (without the anger of First Contact) and see how much it has damaged him, and others. As Picard says, the Borg underneath their cybernetic parts “are victims, not monsters.”

Picard sees himself in an archival image.

Back on the Narek and Soji plotline, the slow “seed of doubt” tactic is finally paying off. Isa Briones does a great job with Soji’s slow recognition that something is terribly wrong… finding out the calls to her mother were 70 seconds exactly, realizing she fell asleep every time, and discovering that every item she owns is only 37 months old. Narek ups the intensity by introducing Soji to the Romulan practice of Zhal Makh, which is used to help her recall her dream of being a child and running away from her father’s workroom. The question of Soji’s sentience and having a “subconscious” is fascinating, and builds on the foundations we saw from TNG where Data starts to dream. Here, as Narek says, her dreams are where her programing reconciles the obvious dissonance of her life and her implanted memories of being an organic person (growing up, going to school, etc.).

One writing issue that has stood out throughout these episodes is that with what we’ve seen of Soji so far, she hasn’t been allowed to have much of a personality; she mostly just stands there, and is told things or is manipulated by others. Even though we only got a single episode with Dahj, her personality was more out front, and it was clear she had more agency in her life. Let’s hope Soji, now freed of her manipulative relationship with Narek, can blossom as a character.

“Pinocchio is broken; its strings have been cut.”

As Narek pushes Soji, he grows closer and close to activating her. Once he gets her to look around enough to provide clues about the location of their home, he leave his little Rubik’s Cube puzzle box behind, but this time it opens to emit a red cloud of radiation. It’s not clear why he thought this was a good way to kill her, because  it’s not instantaneous, which means she’ll suffer, and since he clearly has feelings for her, why would he want that? And of course, thanks to the slow process of the gas making its way across the room, there’s plenty of time for her “Mom AI” to activate her into self-protection mode.

Soji’s tearing up the floor brings new meaning to the term “triggered.”

There are a few plot contrivances that can generally be overlooked but are still an issue if you think about it for any length of time. The Queen’s cell on the Borg cube is cool idea, but one that seems a bit silly when it’s pretty clear a Borg Queen can be “re-born” with a different host. The big one is of course the spatial trajector technology that the Borg got from assimilating the Sikarians at some point after the USS Voyager passed through their space in the first season of Voygaer. The technology lets our heroes escape to the planet Napenthe, where a friendly face or two waits them. But the existence of the spatial trajector raises more questions; if the Borg now have the technology to jump 40,000 light years at will, this combined with their transwarp hubs (which were admittedly crippled by Janeway, but could likely be rebuilt) would make them pretty formidable enemies still.

Off we go.

Random Observations

  • Romulans having three names seems really confusing.
  • Why did Elnor need to stay behind? Hopefully we’ll find out at the start of the next episode.
  • Soji’s journal has in highlighter GIRLS RULE. Hopefully by the 24th century, young women won’t feel that they have to have such a rallying cry, as sexism won’t be a thing.
  • Among Soji’s childhood artifacts is a storage case with “The Adventures of Flotter” art on it. A fairly deep cut Voyager reference, the holoseries is enjoyed by 24th century kids like Naomi Wildman.

    Soji’s “The Adventures of Flotter” storage case.


New episodes of Star Trek: Picard are released on CBS All Access in the USA Thursdays at 12:01 AM PT/3:01 AM ET. In Canada it airs Thursdays on CTV Sci-Fi Channel at 6PM PT /9PM ET and streams on Crave. For the rest of the world it streams Fridays on Amazon Prime Video. Episodes are released weekly.

Keep up with all the Star Trek: Picard news at TrekMovie.

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TonyD

Amazing how what is arguably the best and most liked episode of Picard so far managed to get there without having to resort to any forced profanity, gratuitous gore or subtle incestuous undertones while injecting a few healthy doses of hope and optimism in the midst of all the darkness. Hopefully the showrunners took note of this.

Keith

You don’t think the showrunners were in charge of this?

TonyD

My point, and maybe I should have been more clear, was that I hope the showrunners take note of the more positive reaction to this episode relative to prior ones.

Anthony Thompson

Season One is already in the can, homeboy. Your observation won’t have any effect.

PaulB

They haven’t made season two yet, so fan observations might have an effect. It appears that DSC season two was affected by fan comments on season one, so TonyD’s observation is worthwhile…homeboy.

Marja

Lordy, they fan-serviced S2 to death, IMHO. But maybe we’ll get a Pike series out of it, so.

ML31

And season 1 of Picard is fan-servicing to death. Seems it’s something producers just can’t resist.

TonyD

One can always hope season 2 will incorporate any lessons learned. Follow me, paesano?

Edward Samuela

Uggghhhh.

My god, I’m so sick of the prudishness that thinks the Star Trek universe has to be one without any adult themes, any sexual innuendo, or any intense violence. It’s not the same tone as the shows that came before it. But that’s ok, and it does NOT mean it can’t be Star Trek.

You people sound like the kooks who freak out about song lyrics and music videos. Or the ones who complained about Batman being “too dark.” Well the Adam West Batman, the Frank Miller Batman, and the Christopher Nolan Batman can all coexist as different shades of the Batman mythos. They can all be Batman and be different things to different people, just like Star Trek can have different stories and perspectives.

Pleaseletmecritique

I agree with Tony and respectfully disagree with you, Edward. Emphasis on the the word respect. Allow me to calmly point out a difference in what we are complaining about and what you suggest we are complaining about.

It is not “profanity” but rather “forced profanity”. It’s not “gore”, but rather “gratuitous gore” and although Tony didn’t prefex the incestrous undertones, I would suggest that its the “shallowness” of it that is objectionable.

These are all tropes of bad writing. The profanity, gore and incest is shoved into the plot for the sake of shock value. In the case of the torture of Icheb, there is a dose of cynicism on the part of the writing team as well. They use a character known only to fans (nostalgia) and then torture him (shock) because they want the maximum emotional impact for the least amount of effort.

If you listen to the podcasts, particularly, Kayla’s comments in the last one, it articulates our position very well. Its not that we have a huge problem giving up the optimistic tone of previous Star Trek (we did it with DS9) but it feels like we are giving it up, for something…that is just not worth it because its just a generally badly written show.

It’s like giving up your classic car for a porshe (faster, better, cooler) only to realize the seats are missing.

The River Temarc

it’s not “gore”, but rather “gratuitous gore”

There’s nothing gratuitous at all about the gore in “Stardust City Rag.” On the contrary, the teaser made it clear why Seven has spent the past 15 years as part of a vigilante group, rather than hobnobbing with admirals at Starfleet HQ.

Vulcan Soul

It was gratuitous because it was only seen by the audience, not the character who was meant to be impacted by it – Seven arrived afterwards, and seeing those after-effects would have been more than enough to drive the point home. It was gratituous because its sole point was spiking endorphines in a tired and bored first world audience which never knew hardship and whose only sickness is their severe affluenza. Panem et circenses! Moar!

Marja

Hearing Icheb’s screams, seeing an eyeball dropped in a dish would have been MORE than enough (especially so callously combined with the Ragtime music Bjayzl likes while she “works”), and Bjayzl’s question to him about his cortical node would certainly give horror to the audience without seeing his gory eye socket, my god.

Seven seeing Icheb still grunting in pain with blood everywhere would have been enough for her to go vigilante, methinks.

If they have to do torture, I say let the most graphic bits be offscreen. People can certainly fill in the blanks for themselves.

TonyD

Watching an eye get literally plucked out with the nerves still dangling is bad enough. Watching it get dropped into a metal dish is the definition of gratuitous.

Jack

Gratuitous means it’s unnecessary and doesn’t serve the story. While unpleasant/horrific (which was the point), I think it served the story — and showed how the ex-Borg aren’t treated as human and why Seven wants revenge.

Curious whether Frakes had any input, or if it was filmed as scripted.

ML31

Except it was not an eye. It was a robotic implant. If it were a human eye then you might have a bit of a point. Although it’s not like they pulled a REAL eye out of an actor’s head. We all know it is fake. And on top of that, the scene itself wasn’t very convincing visually. The props looked bad. So visually, I don’t really see the problem. What made the scene more visceral, I think, is because it was happening to a known character. So there is more of an emotional attachment than there would be had the Borg been Background Human #3. I honestly think that some of backlash is an example of how well the scene worked.

Edward Samuela

And I respectfully disagree.

I’m coming at this as someone who’s enjoyed this season of Picard, and disagrees about this being a badly written show. Icheb’s torture and murder makes sense to me on two levels.

1) If you’re going to portray the Borg as “second-class citizens” who are despised, mistreated, and treated as property to be exploited throughout the galaxy, there’s something that rubs me wrong about only “telling not showing” what that means. Icheb’s situation is a vivid example of what Hugh and the “x-Bs” are looking down the barrel of in this story.

2) The scene anchored why Seven of Nine is where she is. She’s someone who under it all wants to believe the way Picard does, but has been pushed to a place where she can murder a woman in cold blood and become a “vigilante.”

Spiked Canon

i agree

The Collector

I love this comment. Nail firmly hit on the head.

I would say that gore and/or profanity could be used outside the Federation. It needs to be used sparingly and after a bit of universe building to really convey the message to the audience that they’re not in Kansas anymore.

TechNoir

The difference being the Adam West Batman and the other darker Batmans don’t exist within the same fictional universe. Each version can have its own style and ethos. Whereas, Picard is a continuation deliberately making connections to previous Treks, and the changes can feel jarring to some.

dennycranium

There was some pushback in 60’s about the camp style Batman took. These fans wanted the darker tones of the comic book. Now, a lot of people consider 66 Batman to be the only Batman. It seems when you plug into a franchise that becomes your definition of it… gate-keeping is becoming a real problem in franchise vehicles. I don’t think ANY fan gets to decide what Trek is or isn’t. For myself, I look to Leonard Nimoy’s suggestion: Let’s see where Star Trek can take me, today.

TechNoir

It’s only gatekeeping when someone says this how it absolutely should be and people who like it aren’t real Trekkies, etc. Otherwise, it’s only opinions.

Edward Samuela

My problem with this line of logic is that the “Star Trek” universe (the prime timeline) is not really one where the characterizations and tone has stayed consistent in style and ethos over its history. Each director/producer has brought their own feel to it, and fans have meshed them together.

-TOS is a different style and ethos from the TOS movies and the TNG era.

-Robert Wise’s depiction of Star Trek is much different from Nicholas Meyer’s and Harve Bennett’s (e.g., Meyer explicitly states in the “Wrath of Khan” commentary that he did not agree with Roddenberry’s ideas about the “perfectibility of man,” and he believed “Star Trek” is about “gunboat diplomacy”) and both of those are different from TOS.

-For that matter, TNG and DS9 arguably don’t exactly share the same ethos.

So arguing fidelity to a narrow vision of “what ‘Star Trek’ is supposed to be” doesn’t make any sense.

TechNoir

Uh, I wasn’t subscribing to any narrow vision. I was pointing out how some fans might find it jarring going from TNG to Picard. That’s all. Your eyeball ripping show is still valid. Don’t worry. ;-)

TonyD

It’s not about being prudish and I have no problem with more explicit language, depictions of violence, or adult themes when the story calls for them. Quite frankly, I don’t think this story being told needs it. It also doesn’t help that the delivery feels forced and amateurish and just badly written (especially Narissa’s ridiculous behavior around her brother).

Your Batman example doesn’t quite mesh here since the change in tone is being pigeon-holed into a story that uses the same lead actor (ie: Patrick Stewart). If you had put Adam West in a Frank Miller inspired Batman story it would have looked ridiculous. Likewise, trying to change the tone of a Star Trek adventure with Patrick Stewart at the center of it just feels off to me.

Edward Samuela

“Your Batman example doesn’t quite mesh here since the change in tone is being pigeon-holed into a story that uses the same lead actor (ie: Patrick Stewart).”

EXCEPT … Patrick Stewart and everyone involved has been explicitly clear from the day “Star Trek: Picard” was announced that:

A) This would not be TNG redux.
B) The Picard character would be in a much different place from TNG.

Marja

Ugh Narissa.

A wag from Saskatchewan coined the term Romulannisters, which I like, although I don’t think Narek feels the same way about Narissa as Jaime felt about Cersei.

[In case you’re wondering, I read about GoT in online columns and Vanity Fair instead of watching it, just so I could keep up with conversation, while avoiding the torture and gore.]

From what Goldman says, he pushed for a sexual relationship between the siblings but was eventually voted down.

So it appears that we were left with some muddled writing and directing on that point. I just wish they’d edited it all out.

blackmocco

Storytelling by committee. Poor Chabon. He never had a chance to make this his own.

ML31

This sounds like a terrible way to run a railroad. It’s one thing to seek opinions but it’s another to have concepts “voted down”. In the end you get a disjointed mess.

Marja

Good ol’ Goldsman. Same guy who chortled about “Klingons have two penises!”

Vulcan Soul

Looking forward to the obligatory “Behind the Scenes of Season 1” (for Discovery too!) All of this seems to rival TNG season 1 (and obviously in the end product too). The picture certainly starts to come together; I doubt Chabon left for his own endeavour with much of a teary eye. Even if he wasn’t pushed out, it must have become clear that this is Trek by committee and he’s been mostly a “showrunner” for the PR, but voted down on every other occasion (for the eye scene too, according to his own admission). Real creators like to have control over their creative work.

blackmocco

Yeah, what a pisser. I had actually dismissed people on here bitching about the numbers of producers in the credits by telling them that the title “producer” can mean so many things on a production and doesn’t mean everyone is actually contributing to the show creatively (and I stand by that statement). But listening to these interviews, it would appear that’s just not the case with these shows. I really feel bad for all the shit I’ve given Chabon at this point. It’s true, he never had a chance to put his stamp on the show. Just like with Fuller and Discovery, we’ll never REALLY know how this all would have turned out. We can bitch and moan til the cows come home regarding Roddenberry and Berman and their overseeing Trek’s previous shows but at least with them, there was ONE person in charge and everyone around them was in the service of their vision. That is the only way to make a TV show. It can’t be a democracy, for better or for worse. We’ll never know Chabon’s, sadly. Ugh.

blackmocco

Seriously, imagine Akiva Goldsman telling you what to do.

Captain Rene Picard

I agree with you Edward.

PaulB

Edward, thanks for making it clear that I can ignore everything you ever post. Saves me a lot of time. The moment you accused Tony (and others) of “prudishness” is the moment you lost any credibility in rational discourse. Misrepresenting what people are saying so you can spout your nonsense makes you pointless.

Edward Samuela

You’re welcome.

I feel likewise when I see your name attached to a comment.

Marja

Star Trek has ALWAYS had sexual innuendo. Kirk, in The Immunity Syndrome: “I’m looking forward to a vacation on a nice … [looks a crew woman over] … island.”

People making out is fine with me. The gory, torturous violence [I thought it was gratuitous, but I haven’t watched The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones bc of violence] felt uncalled for, IMO. I saw it in DSC S1 with Ash Tyler’s surgeries, too. It made clear that he had PTSD for a damn good reason, but it was awful to see, even in the brief flashes they used.

Yet it’s okay with me for Elnor to go about slicing off heads … it’s quick, so merciful if you’re in combat. So, go figure.

Swearing, I swear all the fecking time, so that doesn’t bother me either. I really can’t understand people who get so upset about a few swears yet condone a lot of violence. That’s America for you.

ML31

I agree with you on America being odd on what they will accept in media and what they won’t. It seems bassacwards to me. We seem to be fine with slicing heads off and stabbing and bullet wounds and such. But God forbid we see someone’s butt crack! That’s the end of the world and children across the country will be scarred for life!

Gary 8.5

BRAVO! Different stokes for different folks!

PEB

Definitely agree with Edward. It’s really started to feel a little silly, some of the complaints about violence, darkness, and sex. Go watch Altered Carbon and then tell me this is gratuitous. Go watch John Wick, then tell me this gratuitous. It’s different than what’s come before, that doesn’t automatically mean bad.

edwet

Yeah but nobody wants that.. so yeah.. The fans are the ones watching.

ML31

I tend to lean on your side, Edward. I have no issues whatsoever with more mature themes. I feel like some people are feeling like this show would be rated NC-17 or something. Personally I have seen nothing in any of these CBS Trek shows that a teenager could not process.

Spiked Canon

very true

blackmocco

What he said. Mind you, this episode had the advantage of actually – finally – moving the plot forward, something the previous four haven’t exactly felt any urgency to do.

Marja

The first few were novelistic, though, and gave the characters pretty firm foundations. So, I didn’t object.

Frank, Germany

I also loved the episode! I was glued to the screen! Raffis trick to get the permission was really genious! And the canon connections like the portal from Voyager was imaginitive and great. I love the show, charakters and I am really happy of the reburn Trek and the work Kurtzman and the others do. I really appreciate that.

Marja

I loved watching Raffi work her magic! Agreed

Spiked Canon

I don’t see a problem with the language. I wouldn’t mind if they went more blue in a lot of ways. Placid Trek is in the past.

tom riker

please stop it

Thanks for this to the TrekMovie team.

I appreciate your drawing attention to some of the details that have been passed over in the discussion so far, and in reviews elsewhere.

I especially welcome the observation that Picard, once again, gets it wrong in applauding Raffi for pulling it together to get him access to the Borg reclamation site.

This seems to be another piece of evidence that what served him so well in motivating and attaching people when he was a Captain is often failing in other contexts. Motivating people through sincere recognition/appreciation of their expertise and accomplishments was one of Picard’s points of excellence. Communicating emotional and psychological care was not, but he reached effectively to Deanna for that. More, without Deanna to cue him, he’s not seeing that he needs to be something else.

Interestingly enough, it’s when he tells Elnor that he doesn’t want to leave him again that Picard finally says the right emotional thing, but at the wrong time.

Elnor understands the threat to Picard’s cause. The trajector must be powered down, the destination hidden or erased, and the Queen’s chamber secured in order to keep Soji and Picard safe. Hugh must remain to do this, but cannot do it all alone.

So, at the moment Elnor needs Picard to respect his expertise in threat assessment, tactics and combat skill, Picard tries appeals to emotion.

Marja

TG47 I agree, his applauding Raffi after her genius in getting him access really rubbed me the wrong way.

He seems unable to get a good read on the emotional state of his friends and fellow admirals ….

ML31

It very much felt to me like something Picard would do. Throw support to someone who desperately needed some. Ultimately, she will come around and I’m sure a lot of it will be because of how Picard handles her. He is the hero, afterall.

ML31

Sorry but I saw Picard differently. He never needed Deanna for anything. In fact, she rarely said or offered any kind of advice that wasn’t blatantly obvious to any untrained eye. Picard already disapproved of Rafi’s vaping. We saw it clearly in his face just a scene earlier. He felt she needed encouragement. It wasn’t a bad move on his part. Troi wouldn’t have suggested anything different as she has a history of being a monumentally poor counselor. Picard is a near perfect human and this showed he really wanted to try and help Rafi in a way that was not seen as preachy or manipulative. Both of which she would have rejected. It was small and I imagine he will continue to support her in small ways like that until she decides to get herself together.

Legolas does indeed recognize the cause. But it made zero sense for him to remain behind. Picard needed him at his side. Hugh did not need help in shutting things down as it turned out and Elron facing down a squad of Romulans with disturptuers should have died. Although we know he doesn’t, he really should be VERY dead. He’s not a Jedi. It was foolhardy for him to remain behind and, as it turned out, it wasn’t needed in any way shape or form.

Maltz

The term “unconscious” was used in the episode twice. As this article mentions, “subconscious” is the correct term.

If one’s going with the classical Freudian approach that the episode is salted with, I’d agree Maltz.

But if we look to newer neurological science-based models of the community of the mind, I’m not sure subconscious is a good fit.

And who knows how the community of the mind really would function in a being that is both biological and synthetic?

Pleaseletmecritique

New-Trek doesn’t care about such details ;)

Given that one of the writers on Discovery (Erika Lippoldt) is a neuroscience PhD, I believe, I expect that new Trek is better equipped to handle these kinds of questions than earlier iterations.

PaulB

Just because Lippoldt has a PhD doesn’t mean it will affect the show. They’re all “professional” writers, but that hasn’t ensured good writing, so her science knowledge doesn’t ensure good science in the show.

What I’m saying is that a neuroscience PhD should not be locked into one particular model of the mind that has been superseded by current research.

To infer that ‘the writers don’t care’ because they don’t use the language of a theoretical model that’s more than a century old, is an incredible leap. It’s no better than saying that the writers should ignore relativity, quantum mechanics and string theory and make sure everything obeys all the laws of classical mechanics because most of the audience never got past 3rd year physics.

PaulB

You’re trying to make it sound like the terms subconscious and unconscious are not used at all anymore, which is simply NOT true. The concepts are debated in psychology and neuroscience, with scientists supporting one, both, or neither of them as valid within current models.

Also, as I said, having a PhD doesn’t mean that her knowledge was incorporated into the show. Doesn’t matter what model she is or isn’t locked into; her education simply might not have been used.

As for your classical mechanics analogy, I hope you can see how it breaks down because you are treating subconscious/ unconscious as rejected terms/concepts when that simply is not true.

Thanks PaulB, I wasn’t intended to suggest that subconscious/unconsious aren’t used, rather that having characters use one or the other doesn’t support blanket negative statements that ‘the new Trek writers don’t care.’

My analogy broke down likely because I don’t think of classical mechanics as completely rejected, more as a framework that has limited applications. It’s still taught for that reason. What I was trying to say is that writers should not be limited to the models that audiences are likely to have got in high school or lower level undergraduate courses.

Basically, I’m more than impatient with these kind of blanket statements (e.g. ‘don’t care, ‘are lazy’, don’t know Trek) that are provably untrue, but are frequently made when someone is trying to figure out what a comment or scene means.

These writers are, on average better educated, long time fans, and acclaimed as writers compared to pretty much all the previous series. There have been gaps (they needed a regular physics consultant from the launch of Discovery), but I find it unkind and unfair when these broadly disrespectful comments are made.

PaulB

TG47 – “Basically, I’m more than impatient with these kind of blanket statements (e.g. ‘don’t care, ‘are lazy’, don’t know Trek) that are provably untrue, but are frequently made when someone is trying to figure out what a comment or scene means.”

First, those statement are NOT provably untrue. Based on the writing in two seasons of DSC and so far in Picard, it seems that some of the writers either do not care about the quality of their writing or are incapable of improving it–or they’re hampered by the producers.

“when someone is trying to figure out…” Actually, these comments are made in all kinds of instances, such as when the 2009 reboot film called the Federation “a peace-keeping armada” and in Into Darkness when Khan referred to the Enterprise’s “aft nacelle.” (Countless examples in those films–Kurtzman involved, remember.)

Just because you are willing to accept what these writers are doing doesn’t make it good. Lots of people eat McDonald’s, but nobody would really argue that those are great (or even good) burgers.

Plot holes, obvious “surprises” and betrayals, cheap gore instead of earning emotional beats… These new Trek shows are written about as well as the average CW teen show 15 years ago.

These might be great writers, but they are not producing great writing, so there’s no evidence that they’re great.

They might be fans, but season 1 of DSC was anti-Trek and hateful to the core concepts, and Picard is likewise pissing all over TNG and, again, Trek’s core concepts. Hard to believe that from actual Trek-loving fans.

You make assertions that aren’t true, then you alter your argument (not talking about subconscious, you’re talking about the insults–although you specifically talked about modern science’s attitude toward sub/unconscious, so…you’re moving the goal posts).

To avoid argument, I think I’ll leave this conversation here, except one last thought: You don’t like hearing us insult the writers, but I don’t like hearing you elevate them to a higher status than they deserve. So, I’ll stop insulting them if you’ll stop complimenting them. Deal?
Or maybe just let people gripe because we have every right to, just as you can gush your love. Fair is fair.

PaulB

PS – My mention of the “armada” and “aft nacelles” bit is to show a lack of care for details, not that those are Trek-destroying mistakes. Nope, just stupid mistakes that could be easily avoided by people who care about getting things right. Abrams didn’t, Kurtzman hasn’t been…

PaulB, it seems that you’ve missed or forgotten some of my own disappointment and criticism of Discovery season 2. (e.g. that key episodes in the second half of the season sufficiently crossed the line into lurid melodrama, to the point that my spouse wouldn’t watch with me anymore.)

I’m not a gusher as a rule, but I will cheer when I like something.

I’ve been trying to make the distinction between criticism and blanket assertions that the writers don’t care and lack expertise.

It’s the latter I find are insults, rather than serious criticism.

Can’t we just accept that writers and designers are giving their professional lives trying to sincerely make great Trek, and that while we all may profoundly disagree with their creative choices at times, we respect their commitment to the work?

BTW This thread started off with Maltz discussing subconscious vs unconscious, to which I responded basically as you did later (That is, it’s a debate in the literaturem)

Pleaseletmecritique’s response, which I find insulting and unhelpful, got posted first.

I know that it can be hard to see who’s responding to whom, but their you are.

PaulB

TG47 “I know that it can be hard to see who’s responding to whom, but their you are.” I had no trouble. You can tell that I knew I was replying to *you* about *your* comments because I either quoted or directly referenced your comments. Clearly, I didn’t confuse you with the other commenter.

“Can’t we just accept that writers and designers are giving their professional lives trying to sincerely make great Trek, and that while we all may profoundly disagree with their creative choices at times, we respect their commitment to the work?”

Conversely:
Can’t we just accept that writers and designers *are getting paid to make whatever the producers decide is Trek*, and while we all may profoundly disagree with their creative choices at times, we respect their *commitment to getting paid for the work even if they’re not cut out for it*?

You make it sound like they’re altruistically volunteering their time out of a deep love of Star Trek. No, they are well-paid professional writers, many of whom come from non-SF backgrounds, and they do the work they’re paid to do. It’s not a gathering of geniuses gifting us with their masterpieces: it’s contract TV writers doing what all TV writers do–they say high-sounding things and gush love toward the fans. All standard TV-making stuff, no sign of it being a labor of love.

From what I’ve seen in DSC and Picard, I profoundly believe that Kurtzman and other above-the-line (opening-credits level) producers generally dislike Star Trek pre-Abrams. I believe they have a general contempt for the core concepts, and I could repeat the same complaints countless fans have already made to support that belief. (Not going to. It’s a well-traveled path.)

If they DO genuinely care but this is the quality we’re getting from them, then they are not high-quality professional writers.

I have yet to see any evidence of genuine love for, much less understanding of, Star Trek in any of its forms or iterations before 2009’s reboot.

I simply don’t buy into your attitude or arguments on this. Peace.

GarySeven

There was a PBS documentary sone years ago called “The pioneers of science fiction.” It compared Star Trek to other science fiction shows of the time and said that Star Trek was different because it staked out its territory is the show that had something important to say. It said many episodes would address an important concern about the human condition and society.
I don’t think Star Trek Discovery or Picard have much to say by comparison. They are generic science fiction shows using Star Trek characters.

Athus

Sad but true.

TechNoir

I agree that Discovery hasn’t had a whole lot to say beyond the melodrama (so far), but I think Picard has a little more on its mind. I mean, sure, the bits of Brexit and Trumpism and the general nihilism are about as subtle as a photon torpedo and depressing to watch, but I appreciate the attempt, clumsy though they’ve been, in my opinion, to say something about our times.

ML31

Really? You are seeing bits of Brexit and Trumpism and nihilism in Picard? I know it was mentioned by Stewart as something they could be getting into. When I read that I was dreading the show as more propaganda than Trek. But so far I have seen NONE of that. Not one bit. This falls in line with Discovery in that they mention things about their show that never come to pass. This time I was happy about it. You say it was obvious. Well, I would argue that if it is there is is so well hidden that most are not seeing it.

Keith

As a life long SF fan I both agree and disagree, the best SF in my opinion is about humans and politics (particularly Dune before it was dumbed down in the last few novels) the fact that it’s usually set in the future is neither here nor there, Picard does that, Disco hasn’t.
Most of us would listen to JL reading the phone directory, what an unexpected treat we have been given. Not really sure what I’m trying to say other than I can’t wait for next week’s episode.

PaulB

Keith, I’m curious (not argumentative) about your Dune comment. When you say “the last few novels,” do you mean Herbert’s original novels or the sequel/prequel/dreck his son has been cowriting? I love the first four Herbert Dune novels, and the last two (Heretics and Chapterhouse) were okay, but I loathed the only prequel/sequel I read.

Just curious if you felt Herbert dumbed himself down or if you mean the non-Frank books, which definitely are not on his level of intellect or depth.

I can’t speak for Keith, and I didn’t read the posthumous novels, but I did find that the quality of the Dune series fell off somewhat before Heretics of Dune (which I liked a lot).

All to say that most long-running series have their ups and downs, if only because the writers and societies they live in grow and change.

Rod Roddenberry observed on this week’s Ready Room that TNG (“his Trek”) reflected how his father had grown and changed since the production of TOS. It’s a good point.

PaulB

TG47 – I’m apparently an odd Herbert fan because I love God Emperor of Dune while many others thought it was weak or even bad. I found Heretics and Chapterhouse interesting but dull, and I felt that Herbert was spinning his wheels. God Emperor explored, demonstrated, and resolved the Golden Path that had been part of things since Muad’Dib’s day.

Marja

DSC is political. The whole Klingon war [a war started by a mistake and mutual suspicions — Viet Nam], the lengths to which Starfleet was prepared to go to win the war [the bomb in WWII, “escalation” in Viet Nam, same in Afghanistan, with terrible loss of life in all three cases], the statement of Starfleet ideals in opposition to that [anti-war protests to Viet Nam and Afghanistan], were all political. That there’s a Section 31 is political [CIA, which has done some nefarious things around the world]. That Mirror Lorca was a wannabe despot [you-know-who these days] is political. &c.

Season Two of DSC seemed more of a mystery with some political elements mixed in, but in some ways I didn’t find it as satisfying as S1. I know I’m in the minority. I did like Pike an awful lot though.

Jack

@Marja Same here (I was more interested in what they were trying, at least, to do in Season One, despite the problems, than with the fan-service-y course corrections in Season Two).

Pike etc were all fun though – and Peck was an intriguing, potentially complex Spock.

(I was never a big fan of Quinto as Spock — he just seemed peevish)

ML31

Well, I did not like getting preached to. I don’t want Trek to tell me what their producers think the world should be. When Trek has dealt with an issue the best episodes have presented the issue from more than one perspective. They leave it up to the viewer to decide. Discovery did none of that. It was totally in your face. It was as obvious as Let That Be Your Last Battlefield. That is only part of the reason why Discovery has been a terrible show. Not just bad Trek… But a bad show in general.

Edward Samuela

It doesn’t having anything to say?

Whether with Britain pulling away from Europe, or the moral rot at the highest levels here in the United States, many have experienced moments just like Picard’s disillusionment, where we feel like strangers in our own societies. Where we walk around seeing the same symbols and institutions we once believed represented the highest ideals, but have been turned into something … different.

If Jean-Luc Picard represents Star Trek’s idealism and what is nobler in the spirit of humanity, the justification of Starfleet’s actions to stop the Romulan rescue is the sort of realpolitik which places practicalities as a means to an end, even if the end result is letting innocent people die. If one listens closely, they can hear echoes of MAGA arguments for a border wall and the thinking which led the British public into Brexit, since Picard’s troubles within Starfleet originate from a refugee crisis which caused the Federation to rethink how open they should be with their kindness, especially kindness for the people who weren’t from the right part of the galaxy.

Marja

Edward S, I couldn’t agree more.

ML31

It sounds to me like you are just making stuff up in order to make “real world” connections. I’m not seeing anything of the sort in today’s world. There is no more “moral rot” at the highest levels now than there was at any time over the last 200 years. Just because you don’t like an administration doesn’t mean things have gone to hell. That’s just arrogance at a high level.

It is also completely realistic that the Federation might cave to the will of certain members if the organization as a whole opted to continue with the Romulan effort. Picard just got huffy because it wasn’t the decision HE would make. Plus, there doesn’t seem to be any reason why any individual member world couldn’t decide to just continue with the effort themselves. It would not be a Federation effort. It would be an Earth Effort. A Betazed effort. A Vulcan effort. Etc. (assuming those were not one of the 17 who threatened to leave the Fed.) There are absolutely no echoes in this towards the MAGA crowd or the ill fated wall. No one supports letting an entire people die. I cannot imagine any first world nation capable of helping in a crisis refusing to do so. There are NO REAL WORLD connections here. If one is hearing such “echoes” then one would seem to be someone who goes out of their way to put such things into nearly anything.

phik

“…we walk around seeing the same symbols and institutions we once believed represented the highest ideals, but have been turned into something … different.”

Hey, you’ve articulated how I feel about current Star Trek

Pleaseletmecritique

I think Kayla said it best last week in her podcast. ‘Old-Trek’ told us that the Human race got better between 1960s-2300s…. ‘New-Trek’ is tells us that things haven’t gotten better. Heartbreaking.

Trellium G

That’s the problem with New-Trek right there. Old Trek was seeing a future where humanity made things better by that time.

New Trek is seeing a future where one can only hope things will get better but it never happens. You just hope it will. They have taken our modern failings and made them future failings. It’s pretty gross. And things apparently continue to go south by the time Discovery returns to complete the deconstruction of Star Trek.

Falco

I respectfully disagree here Trellium. Yes, “new trek” has changed the landscape a bit, but you cannot claim that it is irrelevant, it is not Star Trek and it doesn’t have any message or that won’t inspire people.

This is what “new trek” is about:

“But she, or someone like her, will always be with us. Waiting for the right climate in which to flourish, spreading fear in the name of righteousness. […] Vigilance, Mr. Worf. That is the price we must continually pay.”

This is not a quote about a perfect society with people that do no wrong. On the contrary, that everyone of us need to fight to make sure things stay on the right or the good course.

If you can’t see that, then it’s not the problem of the show, but it’s a problem of your personal Star Trek checklist.

Maybe in this day and age, we don’t need Star Trek again to inspire the future scientists, maybe we need Star Trek to inspire the future public servants of our society. People that will take jobs in politics that will do the right thing instead of their personal greed at the cost of degrading the institutions that govern us.

Picard’s message now is: “If you see injustice in your society then take off your sleepers and do something about it.” And I applaud Kurtzman and co. for going in that direction.

We’ll see how DIS tackles this topic in S3.

YKeeg

I have been on “the other side” of this argument. I don’t like the non-utopian new Trek. But this right here is a very astute observation, and has elevated my thinking. If this is indeed the writers’/producers’ plan, I would feel better.

Unfortunately, I still have a deficit of trust in them. I am enjoying Picard, but there’s this niggling feeling in the back of my mind that the story will get lazy and I’ll be left with something like “Point of Light” to just bring everything crashing down. I’m scared that I’ll get excited, again, and smacked down.

But you give me hope. And we need to have hope that our heroes can MAKE it better, and not so much that our society is destined to devolve no matter what we do.

Marja

Okay, I want to say something here as an older person. When I was young I was very optimistic about my country’s future. The beginning of Civil Rights for people of color, women’s rights, gay rights and more led me to believe America was beginning to achieve its ideals.

The Republican Southern Strategy of the 1960s, Nixon, Reagan, and the “religious” and far right opposed that and gained enormous strength in the ’80s and ’90s through billionaire-backed PACs and disinformation, but we still thought we could win the most rights for the most people and that people could live decently on good wages. All that has been decimated over the last 20 years or so.

I have seen the pendulum swing from optimism and caring to pessimism and hate, and I am so sad that my life will probably end during such a period in my country’s history.

That’s just me though.

ML31

I think it might be just you. I can say that you seem to have been swayed by whatever sponsored disinformation that the right is opposed to basic equality and human rights. Nothing could be further from the facts. I’ll give you the extreme ends of the right side can make things look a certain way. That is where religious extremism and fascism lives. But the same is true on the extreme left. That is where totalitarianism lives. The far extremes are there and can, at times, seem to be what the left and right are all about. Like today, it can look very much like intolerance and hate on the left is becoming more the norm on that side. It certainly looks like the strength of the “reasonable left” has diminished. Has it really though? From where I sit I find it difficult to tell.

Vulcan Soul

ML31, you are that rare measured voice in a heated political environment :) I will go out to say that almost everybody on both sides could live with the 1990s concensus on rights and equality, and guess what, it was an overall more just and egalitarian time, with less economic inequality and higher living standards and happiness for the vast majority of people. People saw themselves as Americans first and not as [insert minority group]. It is the artificially blown up differences where the division comes from.

Timpani

I’d wager that Deep Space Nine frequently deconstructed the myth that things had gotten better by the 23rd century. The entire Maquis arc, Sisko authorising the assassinations of two political figures across the show’s run, Layton’s attempted coup, the Dominion War, the paranoia of changeling infiltration, the fact that Federation officials were more than prepared to commit genocide (the Founder’s virus), Bashir’s parents living in paradise yet willing to break the law to ensure their son led a full life.

There were other occasions across the Berman/Braga era of Trek: Janeway willing to murder an officer in her quest to bring Ransom to justice, the Equinox crew in general, Ro turning against Starfleet, the eugenics experiments of Darwin Station (albeit it’s never confirmed that they were sanctioned by the Federation but it’s extremely likely), Kirk and several members of the E-A crew spouting racist views about Klingon, the entire conspiracy to murder Chancellor Gorkon, Starfleet Security violating the Treaty of Algeron and creating a cloaking device, the operation to forcefully relocate the Bak’u despite it being a gross violation of the Prime Directive, Archer boarding alien vessels and stealing warp coils- this stranding a crew in a dangerous region of space, the Terra Prime movement.

The idea that things got better in two or three centuries was nothing more than a myth, despite what Gene Roddenberry came to believe later in life. There has always been darkness in Star Trek, it’s just that Picard and Discovery are a little more open about showing it. They are not constrained by network interference. The prudish attitudes of some on this site (not a attack on you, Pleaseletmecritique) is baffling. But I am sure that other members of this community will shoot me down and belittle my views.

Trellium G

I disagree. While Berman Trek toyed with the dark side of Trek in various episodes, it always course corrected to end with the Roddenberry virtue of an evolved humanity. So I have to honestly question what shows you were watching to honestly and with a straight face call it all a myth that humanity was shown to be more evolved in the past shows. Even in 99% of DS9, Federation values still won the day. You may want to think of Roddenberry’s vision as a myth, but to say it was a myth that it was shown in almost all of the shows is just complete and utter BS. Every example you gave.. guess what.. Roddenberry ideals prevailed by the end of the story. We have already been shown that Discovery is going to a dystopian place as well so I guess it is safe to assume Picard isn’t going to be responsible for any evolved Federation values.

And if you are not a fan of the creator of Star Trek’s vision and prefer your own idea of Star Trek, then just say so. That’s what the current people running the show are doing.

Tiger2

It course corrected because none of the shows were serialized like Picard and Discovery are. This is what people seem to constantly forget, TNG, VOY and yes even DS9 were mostly stand a lone stories. Like everything they showed 90% of the time things were wrapped up by the end of the episode and the universe was happy again, at least for that moment.

You mentioned DS9 and yes Federation values still won out but lets not kid ourselves, we saw YEARS of stories where people did questionable things all the time. In all honesty Sisko probably should be in jail for some of the things he did, right? But because it all worked out and the Federation was restored everyone is willing to look the other way.

And IF DS9 was serialized the way Picard and Discovery is now then it would be the exact same issue. Imagine if Homefront/Paradise Lost was the basis of the entire fourth season of that show? That we saw what started out as a terrorist attack and slowly Earth became more militarized in the process only to find out it was a false flag created by Starfleet in a bid for a power grab. Imagine if we watched that for 10-13 episodes instead of two, what would people be saying about it? Roddenberry would’ve turned over in his grave so many times he would’ve got dizzy.

Star Trek has been presenting these stories for a long long time. They happened on every show in every century. The ONLY difference now is the stories emphasized more but nothing and I mean NOTHING we seen in Discovery or Picard hasn’t been presented on all the other shows at some point.

One of the biggest issues people had with Discovery in its first season for instance was when Starfleet decided to win the war against the Klingons by literally trying to blow up Qo’noS and wipe them out for good. While I thought that story line was utterly stupid and ridiculous it certainly wasn’t the first time we saw Starfleet actually resort to genocide to win a war since we saw them try to do the same trick by poisoning the Founders to end the Dominion war. The only difference being it wasn’t nearly as overt as what Starfleet tried to do against the Klingons (which is why it was so stupid to do in the first place).

But this was also in the 24th century, the century that is ‘boring’ and where everything is supposedly perfect and bland because humans always just do the right thing all the time…until you’re losing in a war and apparently all bets are off.

So I agree with you, Roddenberry values aren’t a myth, but its not true that these shows and films didn’t constantly explore darker paths either. And yes, even in Discovery, Roddenberry’s ideals still prevailed because Qo’nos is still standing today. I don’t pretend DIS and PIC isn’t more cynical than the others but they all eventually end up coming around, it just has a format that can explore the darker side more.

ML31

Was the decision to blow up Qo-nos a real issue with viewers? I don’t recall a huge stink over that. Not at the level of the production design and look of the Klingons and the general KU look and feel of everything. In fact, what I recall is that many thought the “we are Starfleet” thing was sappy and overly silly. I personally didn’t have an issue with the lets blow up Qo’nos plan. It was a war and it seemed the Federation was loosing. Big time. It was a desperation move on their part that quite frankly they SHOULD have done given their circumstances. The solution the show came up with instead was laughably stupid and only worked because the show required it to. No logical story reason.

Vulcan Soul

I think the fallacy of serialization is that in the end it is all about the “process IN darkness”, even if very gradually becoming better (or being replaced by a new darkness every time, as in Discovery). It is not about ever reaching that mythical end state of light that was, in Classic Trek, the status quo, with the occasional, two episode long deviation (in DS9, it was two seasons at most). So NuTrek has reversed this arrangement. The status quo is darkness, with the occasional light interlude, but getting to see the light in full is not the narrative point of the writers.

It is like Voyager’s writers never actually intended to show the ship and crew BEING at home, it was all about the struggle (and mostly, failure) of GETTING home, Gilligan’s Island style. And many fans resented the writers for that, especially after the show ended so abruptly. For NuTrek, the process being deconstructing and subverting Roddenberry ideals, that is even more true.

Marja

Federation values were IDEALS. These ideals are not easy to live. That is why we admire so many in Starfleet, and the cooperation of the Federation. But feeling beings are fallible and some violate their own ideals. The strong values and ideals in Starfleet officers occasionally come crashing down because they are human or otherwise venal or prejudiced.

What you say of SOME of a society does not pertain to ALL of a society. It’s heartbreaking, and it’s legitimately dramatic. The purpose of drama is to point us to our ideals, but sometimes we have to show the darkness to do that.

Vulcans are logical but Sarek didn’t speak to Spock as a son for 18 years.

Starfleet is idealistic but Captain Tracey and others ran off the rails.

Kirk ignored the Prime Directive because he felt so strongly about HIS ideals he imposed them on non-Federation societies.

I could go on.

Tiger2

Thank you Marja!

I have said these things myself in the past. The biggest mistake Roddenberry ever made was suggesting humans in the 24th century would be ‘perfect’ in TNG. But I don’t think he ever meant that would imply to every human or that everyone is just born that way. We have seen infallible humans even when he was running the show. Roddenberry was SUGGESTING that the Federation gave people the opportunity to be the best they could be because everyone was given the same equal chances and opportunities to do that by then. That’s literally what TOS was suggesting as well. When you erase the obstacles from having people succeed like racism, poverty, prejudice, etc, guess what more people will succeed and society is just better because those obstacles no longer apply in society. However, it doesn’t mean everyone will just automatically be better people either.

That’s where the disconnect come in a lot of the times. People we see on the Enterprise are suppose to be the best representative of mankind at this point, but they aren’t suppose to represent all of mankind either. And as we’ve constantly seen people in Starfleet make mistakes over and over again.

This is no different than the Federation itself. Yes, its a very idealistic and progressive society. It’s still made up of infallible people who aren’t always as ideal as the organization they work for or believe in.

We have seen this literally since TOS as you mentioned. Yes its never been presented as dark until DS9 but the seeds has always been there. People can still do bad or questionable things. Federation can still not live up to its ideals. It doesn’t mean the Federation is still not a great organization, it’s simply not a perfect one either, because nothing EVER is. That’s where the drama comes in.

Marja

SMDH that so many critics miss this

ML31

I think it has been missed because Roddenberry specifically has been known to say that in the TNG time humans have evolved above nearly all the pettiness and squabbles that plagued them in the 1980’s. They will have grown beyond all that to the point where everyone gets along with everyone else and all the conflict on TNG MUST come from without rather than within. One cannot blame someone for interpreting GR’s comments about TNG to = perfect human society. Fortunately, starting with DS9, they moved away from that a bit.

Corinthian7

“The biggest mistake Roddenberry ever made was suggesting humans in the 24th century would be ‘perfect’ in TNG. But I don’t think he ever meant that would imply to every human or that everyone is just born that way.”

The fact that he chose to include a counsellor as part of the bridge crew would seem to support the fact that he thought plenty of humans would still need help.

ML31

I somewhat agree, Timpani. Although I would not say humans have not gotten better. I think in many ways they have. It’s just not perfect. I think the myth of perfect humans was very much created by TNG. It was reinforced somewhat in DS9 when Sisko referred to Earth as a “paradise”. Which felt like a bit of a conceit to me. Those show runners really didn’t want humans to be “perfect” like Picard. But they didn’t want to trod on what TNG set up. So they set up that Earth was the “perfect” place but out there in the frontier, things are quite different. Also, I think that breaking from certain ideals for certain reasons is a great thing in Trek. They have often considered such things. Sometimes they follow through, sometimes not. I like the viewers are left to determine if the action (or inaction) was justified. It made for a more dramatic presentation.

PaulB

@Pleaseletmecritique – That’s exactly the problem with New Trek, but also it’s the attitude of far too many fans. I can’t fathom being a fan of a franchise where you fundamentally despise the franchise’s origins and original purpose. Old Trek said humans get better, but apparently that’s impossible for current fans to imagine…even though they can believe in FTL, transporters, katras, wormhole aliens….. Just not better humans. Very heartbreaking, indeed.

Jack

Old Trek said societies *can* get better, slowly, with hard work, striving to meet ideals and despite setbacks — and it showed that individual humans were fallible.

Every TOS episode was about mistakes (whether individual or cultural) and how they were corrected.

They don’t always get better — and the show was full of examples, in the federation and outside, where things had gone awry, often despite the best intentions.

It was also a ‘60s network (and ‘90s syndicated) primetime show that had built-in limits (networks/censors/ratings/the general times) on what could be shown and what could be referenced.

Bob

Maybe that says something about where we currently are as a society. In the 1990s, I actually believed that humanity could achieve what was being shown to us on screen in TNG. Nearly thirty years’ later, it’s not credible anymore. Everything about the world we live in right now tells me the world of PIC is about the best we’ll ever do (if we’re lucky), and TNG’s brand of humanity is nothing but a pipe dream.

Marja

Bob, and THIS is what is heartbreaking to me. I, too, was full of hope in the ’90s, even into the 2000s. But not so much, now, seeing dictatorships and institutionalized hate springing up all around the world.

New Trek, written in this crazy backward-looking age, encourages us to *still* seek to instill and act on our ideals. Burnham, Tilly, Saru and Pike are hopeful and idealistic. Picard is recovering his hope and idealism.

I just don’t get the “take” of some fans. But we each view drama based on our own views of the world. Sometimes drama can change our minds, and sometimes it can’t.

Gary 8.5

Nice to see someone acknowledge Burnham’s idealism.

PaulB

There are two kinds of hope, in general. One kind says “Things suck but they will get better.” The other kind says, “Things will always suck, but we’ll be able to endure the awfulness.”

Classic Trek said that things will improve, humanity on a fundamental level will “grow up.” TOS and TNG said that “things will get better.” (DS9, VOY, and ENT did, too, but with less optimism.)

That’s optimistic.

New Trek says things will always be awful, humans will always be awful, but hey, at least a few will be able to rise above their most miserable aspects to endure the awfulness. That’s DSC and Picard, exactly.

That’s pessimistic.

Many of us prefer the actual optimism of classic Trek, the idea that humanity will change fundamentally from who we are now. Sure, that’s an impossible idea, but so are warp speed, transporters, katras…yet Trekkies are wiling to accept those impossibilities.

New Trek is miserable and anger and hostile and cruel and mean. I liked when Trek said we’d grow out of this, instead of now when it says we’ll never be any better than we are now. THAT is the most depressing theme for a Trek show to use.

ML31

“New Trek says things will always be awful, humans will always be awful, but hey, at least a few will be able to rise above their most miserable aspects to endure the awfulness.”

I’m actually not seeing that. Earth still looks like a pretty darn nice place to live. It very much looks like the near perfect society GR envisioned. And the people feel more like people. Save for Picard. Who still comes across as the morally perfect compass for all those who bask in his shadow. All the unpleasantness still comes from without rather than from within.

ML31

Marja, from my perspective, TOS gave me hope. TNG did not. For me, the society we saw on TOS felt achievable. What we saw on TNG felt more than ever like fantasy. And this was a world where replicators and warp drive felt real.

Gary 8.5

No.New Trek tells us that even though the future is on balance a better place, there is still A LOT of work to do!

PaulB

“They are generic science fiction shows using Star Trek characters.” This is my feeling about both shows as well. When I ask fans here what makes Star Trek “Star Trek” to them, they tend to describe generic sci-fi with none of Roddenberry’s vision or future, so this seems to be what most Trekkies want: generic sci-fi action that warps beloved characters and ideas into something grimdark and pessimistic.

DSC had/has nothing to say, but Picard is trying to speak about PTSD and other traumas. Might be the only thing the show does well in the long run–confronting psychological trauma.

I have to disagree. Trek has always explored the less than utopian areas beyond the Federation.

The utopian society was the anchor, backdrop,point of origin that Starfleet officers carried with them, and that anchored them as they solved the problems. It provided a model of people working together in a positive, healthy way that was unique.

However, all of the shows avoided actually showing us that utopian society. We didn’t see the core Federation worlds in TOS (except through time travel or the ancient ritual of the Pon Phar). In the 90s series and movies, we were given narrow glimpses of Earth and Vulcan.

Picard is showing a period where the Federation’s values are being undermined. The consensus that held that utopian, complex and diverse group of societies together has come under strain. That doesn’t mean that the writers are ignoring or rejecting those values, but instead trying to find a way to dramatize how individuals in such a society can respond to the threats and pull it back to its values.

In many ways, Picard is dealing with a number of deep issues that have been covered in the Relaunch novels. I hadn’t thought that they were ‘too dark’ or ‘not Trek’, but many of our characters struggled to uphold their values, as did Federation society. DS9 and Nemesis did not leave the Federation in happy places, I would have found it odd if new series set in the late 24th century ignored that.

Picard as a series is reaching into difficult ground in the core Trek IDIC values. Accepting and coming to understand the Federation’s oldest enemies: Romulans. Looking past the monolith of the Borg mind, to see the individuals who make up the Borg as victims.

Picard accepting and acknowledging the xBorg in himself, admitting that he is forever different, member of a minority that his utopian society will not accept if he, the most well known xBorg denies and hides it to himself. Yes, it’s PTSD, but it’s also true that Picard has been ‘passing’ as healed and fully human.

dennycranium

Respectfully, I disagree. In this episode, we see Picard dealing with being assimilated never really leaves you. The scenes on the artifact before Picard was found by Hugh were about PTSD. As a PTSD sufferer, I recognized it right away. What was perfect about how that situation and scene was handled? The dialog wasn’t on the nose and the scenes on the artifact I mentioned earlier didn’t have a SINGLE line of dialog to tell the story. Kudos to Stewart, brilliant directing and camera work from the DP.
The second scene was where Raffi was getting Picard’s diplomatic credentials.
There are a lot of drug addicts and alcoholics who can be functional when the situation calls for it. I can pretty much guarantee you that someone you work with or a friend or family member is abusing opioids, or alcohol and you’re not even aware of it. People dealing with substance abuse issues are grappling with a disease no different than any other. Yet, they are routinely jailed, and looked down upon by people who think it’s a character issue.

German Trekkie

I don’t get why some of you insist that in order to like old and new trek you habe to have some kind of severe cognitive dissonance.
There are people who like old trek and don’t like new trek and vis versa. And there are those who simply like both.
The only ones who can be dismissed as real fans are those who actually do not like any trek XD

This arguing is mostly pointless because you cannot possibly rationally convince someone that he/she cant like that and that or is not a fan of Star Trek objectively.
Maybe it is just a way to feel like something better because for some because they get to define who is part of the club. That would be sad.

But yeah, we just love to discuss it anyway, don’t we…

PS IMHO it’s very clear that most problems of todays mankind are indeed better in STs future, but there will always be struggle, there will always be conflict. There will always be those, who choose to disregard the utopia and do their own thing.

How anyone can interpret the World of STP as “dystopian“ is beyond me quite frankly.

German Trekkie

PS PS:
What really gets me, is that some seem to feel so utterly robbed of their optimistic outlook because of the notion that the ST utopia is not a self sustaining unshakeable magical land but that the idea needs to be lived and defended by every single citizen every day.

IMHO The message of Star Trek is that Humanity CAN get better IF we are willing to change out ways and overcome our flaws – constantly. Not that Humanity WILL get better, no matter what.
Overcoming our flaws is not a work that will be “all done“ some day in 200 years. And it will not happen by leaning back and watch it happen.
IMHO that is just plain complacency.

Thank you German Trekkie.

I’d like to add that this whole discussion reminds me of the Classroom Classic song ‘Freedom isn’t Free’ (you have to pay the price, you have to sacrifice, for your liberty).

Even in Canada, I got this song and it’s message as a schoolchild (minus the American Revolution verse).

What has happened that there are so many Trek fans who seem to believe that reaching a better, utopian society is some kind of perpetually stable equilibrium to which humanity will automatically return after an adverse threat or shock? That our heroes need only to act to improve things outside their society and not within it?

Like Marja, in these current times, a message that giving up and walking away is death, and that individual action necessary, seems compelling and hopeful.

ML31

Why would these current times be any different from any other time? This phrase continues to be a pet peeve because I seriously doubt people who spout it actually realize what they are saying.

Gary 8.5

Well Said, GT!

ML31

I don’t see the world of STP to be “dystopian” in any way shape or form. But in this forum I may very well be in the minority on that one.

I agree with you dennycranium and appreciate your sharing.

While I don’t suffer PTSD myself, I do have close, loved ones who do. From my experience on the outside looking in, Picard’s first moments on the Artifact looked very authentically like someone experiencing a flashback and dissociation. It felt very credible that a known voice like Hugh’s could pull him back, and the physical contact of a hug could ground him.

Marja

YES denny, thanks for sharing this about PTSD. I found the scenes quite authentic.

And it is very true about addicts. I met many functional alcoholics in the service. Their home lives were shite but they did their jobs.

OT/BTW Portugal reduced its population’s incidence of substance addiction by some 60% simply by de-funding their War on Drugs and instituting legalization of drugs and funding care for addicts in its place. Much lower costs. THIS is what we need, but punishers must punish. Ridiculous innit.

edwet

Agreed. It’s very sad

YKeeg

Agreed. Well said.

DS9Rules

Re Narek’s attempt to kill Soji, his actions make sense if his real goal was to activate her and let her escape while giving himself plausible deniability. The slow-moving, colored radiation gas gives her time to react and also gives him an excuse for not letting the guard enter when she’s escaping; meanwhile he’s got a story for sis. That could also explain why he told her his real name.

Thorny

I think Soji might have become suspicious if Narek was carrying a weapon of some kind with which to kill her. He was carrying the puzzle box which she already knew about and wouldn’t find suspicious.

If Narek knew that they would be monitored, he would have to demonstrate to his sister that he was keeping with the program.

Layers within layers of secrecy is the Romulan way, and how much the more for those who were raised by their parents to be spies (as we know at least Laris was).

Could Narek be intended to become the Garek of the Picard series?

Marja

What a cool idea, TG47. Narek’s name is rather similar to Garak’s innit?

I hope you and DS9 are correct about Narek!

Actually it’s Garak not Garak (my typo), but the names are remarkably similar.

A clue? An Easter Egg?

I hope it’s the case.

ML31

“Could Narek be intended to become the Garek of the Picard series?”

No. I do not believe these writers are capable of creating such a character.

YKeeg

THIS is verrrrry interesting and something I had not even faintly considered. How delightfully Romulan!

I’m pretty sure the Romulans having 3 names thing is taken from Diane Duane’s Rihannsu books.

Marja

Could be. I’m intrigued by the world-building they’re doing for the Romulans, like the false front door and so on.

Looking back to the ancient split of the Vulcan race into Vulcan and Romulan, each race seems to have a “dual nature” … both deeply emotional. Vulcans masking their emotions with logic, and thus preserving their society; Romulans giving themselves permission to be passionate, but in a culture of secrecy so that people must truly earn each other’s trust ….

Good points Marja.

It’s also fair to say that a certain degree of secrecy pervades both societies.

Think of all the hidden Vulcan practices and traditions that are only revealed to humans when absolutely necessary.

Perhaps it’s not so odd that Spock proposed that the Discovery and Michael never be spoken of again.

Gary 8.5

I like the fact that the Romulans are actual characters now, not just Lying Spy archetypes.

YKeeg

First thing I thought of was Craft from the Short Trek ‘Calypso”, also a Chabon joint. Craft also happened to have an avian tattoo on his back. something native to his homeworld and not necessarily a Romulan logo…

I wonder if he’s just copying his own storytelling (or re-rehashing Diane Duane’s) or saying that these aspects of Romulan culture will spread to other species in the distant future. It’ll probably be discussed in Disco Season 3.

Kieran McDuff

Picard and Hugh was great. If only every episode was Picard reuniting with random TNG characters to see what they’ve been up to.
I felt the tension at the end in the Romulan Mind Maze, kudos to the Editor.
But come on, are there no males in Star Fleet any more? They only one we have seen was that guy at front desk who couldn’t spell Picard, all the rest have been high up females.

PaulB

After 50 years of mostly male Starfleet, you’re griping about the number of women now? You might want to check your attitude because that’s pretty sexist thinking right there.

Thanks for that PaulB.

I still don’t know how women in my mother-in-law’s generation came to be such loyal science fiction fans when smart, competent women like themselves were almost always sexualized, villains, or marginalized if not entirely absent.

Tiger2

I don’t get it either? Yes, I consider myself ‘liberal’ but I wouldn’t think in 2020 we would even be discussing if there are too many women on a TV show at this point. It’s so weird to me we are even discussing it now. I GET the race thing more so because let’s be real race is still a much bigger issue for many, apparently even with some Star Trek fans; which is still odd in itself but its there.

And I know some having SMG as the lead in Discovery triggered so many of these people because she had the nerve to be both black AND a woman (thank god they didn’t make her gay as well, the internet would’ve melted lol). But the star of Picard is a white male! So what’s the problem??? It’s HIS name that is on the show and people are STILL bothered he shares the show with other women? It’s just bizarre. That one troll, with his Midnight Edge BS but looks like he is gone for good now thankfully, actually called out Children of Mars because the children in the Short were girls. Freaking KIDS and that actually upsetted him. Really?

What is WRONG with these people??? And why are they watching Star Trek? A show that is LITERALLY about humans centuries into the future with a progressive society where race and gender is no longer considered a barrier or hindrance of any kind? Do they not understand the show they are watching?

Marja

Tiger, so many don’t seem to understand. I don’t get it either

Gary 8.5

LOVED those girls in COM.

YKeeg

How many of these female higher-ups have been painted as good guys? They’ve all been antagonists except for “Emmy”, who ended up getting manipulated into doing things “our way”. Hardly a flattering blow for feminism. Kind of like when Deanna was piloting the Enterprise and augered the D into a planet, and then the E into an enemy ship.

I think what Kieran may be getting at is that shifting it from all-male to all-female is two wrongs trying to make a right. To embrace diversity, you have to embrace DIVERSITY. Not just “affirmative action” all of the Y chromosomes out of the equation. If they’re going to do that, they at LEAST have to show that such a shift was a GOOD MOVE. The message being sent here is that women have corrupted Starfleet and are horrible conn officers. Not the message I want my daughter to hear.

ML31

“To embrace diversity, you have to embrace DIVERSITY. Not just “affirmative action” all of the Y chromosomes out of the equation.”

Yes. This. And I just want to add that personally I rarely notice gender or race if it is not a part of the plot… Until things tilt to the point where things get noticeable. Then it takes me out of the narrative as it feels like producers are trying to make a point.

Vulcan Soul

I will give Picard that it has moved beyond the Mary Sue tropes of Discovery (or worse, “deliciously evil” Space Hitler) and gives us ALSO women in charge who mess up, who do bad things (for understandable motives) or are even just plain evil, no excuses given. Just like in the real world! That helps re-balance the shift.

Picard is also giving us a character who is more traditionally male, and not ashamed of it, and (so far!) he has not been narratively punished for it by the writers, TLJ style. So it’s not ALL bad weather here.

Mel

Every time he meets an old TNG character though, either something bad has happened to him/her or will happen. It is never really only sunshine. There is always something sad about their meeting. Same is true for Seven, although she was a VOY character.

Tiger2

But Hugh turned out fine! Sure he’s not off on Risa sipping jippers on a beach somewhere but it look like he over came his issues of being an ex-Borg and seem to live a pretty stable life while now trying to help other Xbs like himself. How is that a bad thing? He’s even now a citizen of the Federation. The irony is I thought Hugh was going to have the most depressing story line because I thought he was still going to be all Borg and trapped on that cube being experimented on or something. Instead he was brought in for his expertise and is respected like everyone else working there. And he’s one of the few who is not shunned for being an Xb.

Mel

I think he will die. :-(
I wish he wouldn’t, but I really think so.

All the old Star Trek characters have something sad happening to them either in the past or on screen in the series. Data – just a memory, was already dead, Icheb – dead, Seven – had to mercy kill Icheb, Bruce Maddox – dead, Hugh – I am sure he will die, too, Riker and Troi – for sure also one tragedy in the past.

Tiger2

Well I don’t. But yes its possible.

But I have no idea where you are getting Riker and Troi will die though??? Based on what? Hugh is in precarious situation now so that is possible of course. All we seen of Riker and Troi are them hanging out at home. Why are you so convinced they would be killed off? And Data was already dead, you can’t count that.

Mel

Not die. Having a tragedy in the past. I meant with it the death of their son.

Fred Javelina

*women

FTFY.
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Jack

@Kieran Really, man? Gosh.

Jeff F

I agree with the editors that we would hope that it would be unnecessary for a woman to proclaim “Girls Rule” in the 24th Century. And I agree with Kieran that a Star Trek series shouldn’t be dominated by one sex or the other. However, I think this series has done a pretty good job of balancing the male and female characters. Aside from the obvious lead character being male, we also have Rios, Elnor, and Hugh as positive male characters, interacting side by side with females their equal.

Now Star Trek: Discovery, on the other hand, I’ve discussed at length before being so far out of whack that it becomes distracting.

Steve

Agree with you Kieran, the pendulum has completely swung the other way. CBS Trek is falling over itself to be an SJW haven, it’s all so forced. I’m also starting to wonder if white male Romulans exist, beyond Narek.

Vulcan Soul

The idea of replicating human skin colors on aliens was a nonsensical idea that, NuTrek be absolved, started in TNG already (black Romulans). And, Tim Russ’ excellent performance notwithstanding, it never made sense why an alien species from a desert planet that has adapted to it with many physiological changes (among them, second inner eyelids), did NOT adapt to it by universally having a darker skin color. So obviously, their physiology works different. So how do black Vulcans make any sense but to score some real world “diversity” points? And I’m not at all against alien species diversity / ethnicities. Just be more realistic, make them gold, pink occassionally, or vary something else than the skin color. Such as the ridge/no ridge concept of Picard’s Romulans is going in the right direction. Frankly, this is what they should have done with TOS Klingons from the beginning, especially as we saw intermediate stages in TMP.

ML31

Again, I recall reading something that back in the TOS days the original intent for the Klingons was they be gold skinned. But that idea crashed and burned most likely for budget reasons.

But yeah… I always felt it odd that in nu Trek (which I refer to the TNG era as) they felt it necessary to mirror human races when it came to things like skin color.

Edward Samuela

Am I the only one who has never liked the idea of a Borg Queen, and thought it was a mistake in First Contact? I just think the Borg were so much cooler as a sort of faceless enemy with that “choir from hell” voice speaking for them. Moreover, the Queen’s existence never makes much sense. Instead of operating the collective as the combined intelligence of every Borg drone, she seems so much more like a selfish Bond villain throwing henchmen at her enemies while she sneers.

The Borg have been used in different ways in the franchise’s history (e.g., from First Contact on they’re basically space zombies). But what made assimilation scary and disturbing has always been the notion that the Borg are RAPISTS. They physically and mentally rape people. And Patrick Stewart’s performance as Picard in this episode felt like a rape victim having to return to the scene of their victimization. Stewart has Picard display variations of shame, fear, and anger.

I felt like Rios knew there was something off with Jurati in their scene together. It was more like he was feeling her out than really interested in sleeping with her.

Loved the Hugh-Picard reunion. Was hoping that there wasn’t going to be another shoe to drop and he would be revealed to blame Picard for the situation. I did notice that when Hugh asks Picard to elaborate on what’s going on with Soji, Picard brushes it off by saying something like “there isn’t enough time.” What went through my head is that if Picard had said “Soji is an android/synthetic and a child of Data,” Hugh might have reacted with concern, since he had to fight off what Lore did to the drones in his ship, and Lore was able to corrupt Data while doing it.

TechNoir

I’ve seen plenty of criticism of the Borg Queen over the years. Personally, I never had much of a problem with her. Just for the sake of being in an action movie, fine, I could go along with it, even if it did diminish the idea of a collective somewhat.

Tiger2

Yeah there has been tons of criticisms about including her in the fanbase, but not from me. I love her and looked forward to every time in Voyager after First Contact. And while I doubt she will show up on this show, you can’t exactly dismiss it now considering the story line and seeing Maddox and Icheb show up out of nowhere. And they referenced her a lot in this episode.

Marja

Edward S,
I agree with you on the Borg Queen. Perhaps they went with that idea when they introduced the “Hive Mind” concept, but I thought she was lame too. The Borg were frightening because they were like AI/the Singularity, changing everything because they could, combining intelligences of every race to become ever more powerful, and to what purpose? To rule the galaxy? Do they get satisfaction out of it? Well, apparently the Queen does, which invalidates the horror of the original concept.

Until this episode, I never thought they allowed Picard to truly experience or act out PTSD. This was so realistic and scary and sad. Mighty Picard had fought off those demons for so long [yes he did have a few outbursts, as in First Contact], and now in his time of weakness [yet persistence] they grabbed him. This Picard is equally a hero.

I agree with you about Rios too. It is pretty cheesy that he slept with her to investigate his suspicions, but then, maybe that was a Charm Hologram …

German Trekkie

The thing is: we have seen time and again how different the Borg react than “your regular“ humanoid warrior race.
The away team in TNG beamed aboard the Cube and could basicly roam free because they were not classified as a threat – until they where anyway.
The Borg drones are slow and disposable and could be killed with a single phaser blast. Because it worked until it did not. They adapt. They are basicly a trial and error race because they can just throw material into a situation and then check the outcome. They didn’t think particularly tactical. Until they did.

But I doubt that a single, emotional humanoid would not plan ahead or would need the “trial and error“ approach to find out what’s the deal with the federarion humanoids. The borg queen and the TNG humanoids don’t seem to think so differently.

These two opposing ideas i could not yet reconcile in my head canon…

ML31

I felt like even though there are Borg from different cubes once someone fired a phaser the Borg should ALWAYS appear with personal shields. Why would they adapt to a situation and NEVER be prepared for the next one? Aren’t they all linked to a singular hive mind?

ML31

I agree that the Queen was something that didn’t seem to fit with what they presented the Borg to be. But in the film the Borg needed a face. Picard needed an individual as something to respond to. One being needed to be “all” the Borg. It could not be a satisfying conclusion to just get him out and and blow up the Cube. The audience needed there to be an antagonist. Even though TNG fans were aware that a Queen goes against what the Borg were supposed to be. It’s a movie conceit we just have to live with.

bsan

Did anyone notice a lot of the art (looked to be hand drawn) on Soji’s wall looked to be Inuit or West Coat Indigenous art? Ravens, Totem pole, etc. Interesting – I wonder if that will play as part of her fabricated heritage.

Fred Javelina

Also remember the raven from Data’s first dream.

It was also the guide in Seven’s dreams in the Voyager episode ‘The Raven’.

Soji’s supposed to be from Seattle, so West Coast Indigenous Art would be part of the reference points in her fabricated story.

She’s also supposed to have a PhD in anthropology.

It all fits, but it may be coded for something else, especially given the high status of the raven and the Raven clan among West Coast Indigenous Peoples.

Vulcan Soul

It’s hard to believe this episode and last week’s belong to the same season, let alone series! It’s clear now this is the most uneven first season of Trek ever, and that includes Discovery and yes, TNG season 1. For last week was worse than “Code of Honor” (a dumb but not deliberately dumb episode), as it was intentionally mean-spirited, as the Pulitzer Emperor has now revealed. This emperor has no clothes. Either he is a hack like the other writers who can’t see splatter adds nothing to the dramatic weight of the series which is still very thin on depth and closer to Discovery than any of the previous series, or he is not in control as a showrunner (as he hinted by saying he came down on the other side of the discussion on whether to include it), which may explain why he quit in season 2. Nobody wants their literary career be tarnished by drivel like this…

Back to this episode. There is universal agreement this is the best episode of the series so far, and I concur, but it still suffers from some of the emerging problems of the series. It is, make no mistake, a competent hour of “Trek Light” (not “Trek Lit” as was hoped for with Chabon), the likes of which we often saw in late Voyager and Enterprise: focused on action, character, but not at all at deeper explorations of its themes and ideas. There was a hint of it (same as last week with the 10 second discussion between Picard and Seven about their loss of humanity due to the Borg) when Hugh showed Picard the reclamation project and what it means for drones to be recovered – the entire episode could and should be devoted to this like in Classic Trek – but we were off to slicing and dicing a few more villains and hopping through portals off to god knows where.

Like Discovery, this is a series still far more interested in its mysteries and next twists than dwelling on subjects of meaning; quantity over quality. And while the violence this week wasn’t vomited into our faces like last week, it was still as disturbing and Anti-Trek as ever, with Elnor murdering no less than 3 Romulan guards by decapitation in cold blood who merely asked for their hands be raised (to be captured alive). It goes to show that Anti-Trekkian crude violence is in the genes of the writers and they don’t even notice it anymore, which may not be noteworthy if it wasn’t for their ultra-sensitivity when it comes to “micro-aggressions” against their precious “minorities”, and lost elections. As others of their breed, perfect hypocrites they are. Whatever happened to phasers set to stun, and respect for all life?

Timpani

Respectfully, please stop lowering yourself to spitefully attacking the writers with insults. After you compared another user to a Nazi and were almost banned, would have thought that you might have taken the hint and stopped with the trolling.

Evidently not.

PaulB

I agree with many of VulcanSoul’s criticisms, but then he/she veers off into far-right bigotry with the sneers at “their precious ‘minorities’.” He’s right that Chabon and the other writers are producing less-than-great writing. (I’ve never liked Chabon since I read his nonfiction US GUYS, which is a load of distortions and macho posturing that is definitely not true.)

For many of us, these new shows are anti-Trek to the core. I loathe the direction these “writers” have taken the franchise. They openly sneer at Roddenberry’s vision, and then they produce melodrama and CW-level writing. They deserve harsh criticism, if not outright insults.

Too bad VulcanSoul is a far-right bigot. Kinda ruins anything valuable he might have to say.

Timpani

Nobody deserves to be insulted because somebody doesn’t look something they have done.

PaulB

I guess my wording was unclear. I said “They deserve harsh criticism, if not outright insults.” By that I mean they deserve the harsh criticism but not outright insults.

If a chef does a terrible job, is it an insult to say “That person i a lousy chef”? It’s factual. How is that an insult?

I’m the worst basketball player you’ll ever meet, so terrible I should never be allowed to play or even watch the game. Now, I just insulted myself…right? Or did I merely state an accurate criticism?

Fred Javelina

“If not” in that specific context means “they probably deserve this harsher thing too,” _not_ “they deserve this, but not this other thing.”

“This doctor was incompetent, if not a complete fraud!” means they were well within the definition of incompetent… and possibly also a fraud, but we can’t prove that just yet.

PaulB

@Fred – Yes, that’s why I said my wording was unclear. I wouldn’t have said so if I thought I have written it correctly.

Don’t be so quick to try to correct people. Don’t need it. Also, don’t waste time with a followup comment. Nothing worth saying. Peace.

Vulcan Soul

They deserve to be called out for thinking that showing eyeballs being ripped out in a non-horror series in full detail is acceptable now and not a visual assault on viewers!

Let’s not normalize savagery and depravedness. Isn’t that their own slogan?

Vulcan Soul

You are missing my point which is that these people are thinking they argue from a position of moral superiority and I’m pointing out their hypocrisy. Somebody being extremely sensitive to mere words being uttered that maybe make someone uncomfortable (“micro-aggression” – they even had to invent a word for it because it does not exist), but at the same time insisting that an unprecedented, unannounced visual assault on viewers in a non-horror series is intentional and alright is a complete and utter hypocrite. Thats not an insult but an observation!

And I called nobody a Nazi; I replied to a disrespectful ad hominem by pointing out that nihilism (and black clothing) was a hallmark of that era…

Vulcan Soul

Also, for some much-needed context, I’m not one of those eternally bored first world viewers who only know and judge the world as the metaphorical saints in paradise without any want and need, and who apparently require ripped out eyeballs for their adrenaline fix. I’m right in the middle of an apocalyptic historic crisis and now – more than ever – looking for Trek to be that Utopian anchor of optimism and unity that it always was; instead I see a mirror of terror, poverty and (see above).

Tell me how ‘far right bigot’ is not an insult in that context? ;)

PaulB

Vulcan Soul – “far-right bigot” is an accurate description of the persona you have presented through your comments here.

What “apocalyptic historic crisis” do you mean? We have several crises that potentially could be labeled thus.

You wrote “…their ultra-sensitivity when it comes to ‘micro-aggressions’ against their precious ‘minorities’, and lost elections. As others of their breed, perfect hypocrites they are.”

Those are the words of a far-right bigot.

Now, I do agree wholeheartedly with this part of your complaint: “I’m…looking for Trek to be that Utopian anchor of optimism and unity that it always was; instead I see a mirror of terror, poverty and…” PICARD is a grimdark splatterfest, as someone else hear has called it.

Vulcan Soul

Your conclusion is a complete non sequitur as you take my accurate description of those people as hypocrites who are ultra-sensitive to (verbal) free speech that could be offensive to some group (and “minority” is a complete social construct – we are all minorities in some respect, whether it is “officially” recognized by those in power or not, and therefore we used to focus on what unites us, “as Americans” etc., and not on what divides us, which is completely driven by the ever more extremist “progressive” niche of Western society), but who are completely insensitive to the damage they do to viewers, and the legacy of Trek on the whole, by including this visual assault of gratuitous splatter in a non-horror science fiction show, and you just decide to throw labels at me instead. Thus, it is not an argument but an insult, no less than the alleged “Nazi” that has been construed on my very circumspect words in the other thread (while you are very direct about it).

Just the mods here decide to sanction one insult but not the other one, because it has become completely socially acceptable to shut down opposing opinions by labelling people in stigmatizing ways (kind of like the N-word of this century ;)

Just know this “far right bigot” supports universal health care, climate change action, atheism and the transition to a money-less post-capitalist society (if you bothered to read any of my other comments ). So much he has been labelled a communist all that time before “far-right bigot” was concocted in the minds of those with a very black and white worldview ;)

PaulB

As I clearly wrote, you present the persona of a far-right bigot by using the diction and phrasing of far-right bigots and by your sneering, hostile attitude toward minorities, by saying things only a far-right bigot would say such as “driven by the ever more extremist ‘progressive’ niche of Western society”–The language and attitudes of far-right bigotry are strange things for you to embrace if you’re not a far-right bigot.

No, nothing written here is “like the N-word of this century”, which is yet again something only a far-right bigot would believe.

If you are not a far-right bigot, you are doing an amazing job of presenting the persona of one. And I am not the only one who has called you out on it, as you well know.

Vulcan Soul

So shall I report you for continuously insulting me without presenting a shred of evidence other than ‘this is what it looks like’, ad hominens and fallacious argumentum ad populum? Clearly you are not interested in a discussion based on arguments about the actual subject matter, which is not me (and I’ve presented enough of them already at this point), you know all the “truths” already! Fortunately for you I’m not such a thin-skinned whimp as those who reported me, so I just tell you at this point stop it. I’m not interested in your fantasies about “far right conspiracies”.

The sad thing is by your own admission you even agree with me about what this series is missing. Just you are completely unable to think independently and question the political believes you have been indoctrinated with. With that said, let’s get back on topic!

Vulcan Soul

To get back on track, let’s review the actual argument, for the third time. I will present it in simpler terms because apparently it is way over the head of some people.

The writers are hypocritical in that they repeatedly present and condone gratuitous violence (in this episode, three people are decapitated who did not threaten lethal action) that, at the very least, is extremely disturbing to the young, next generation of scientists and engineers who could have been inspired by this series like previous Treks. While at the same time the writers show extreme sensitivity to political correctness both off-screen and on-screen (in this episode, the completely anachronistic “Girls rule”, as per the TM review). And to Brexit. As the creators have chosen to put this series in a political, partisan light, right from the beginning, it is only proper to judge their product on that level.

PaulB

The writers and producers have upped the sex and violence because they fundamentally dislike the peaceful-happy-hippies future of TOS/TNG/etc, which is damaging the franchise.

See? I can say the same thing without the irrelevant far-right crap you shove into EVERY COMMENT.

If others can talk about it without the political ranting, so can you. It’s easy.

Vulcan Soul

No, that is not the same thing apart from the “violence damaging the franchise” part.

But no worries, you don’t HAVE TO understand it, what is hypocrisy, there are other people in this thread too who may want to argue instead of trading insults…

And guess who started with the political ranting and shoving their “partisan crap”, to use your language, into everything, every new Trek series? Kurtzman, Stewart et al! Which, surprise, is my point.

PaulB

If you would stop the far-right bigotry and stick to talking Star Trek, you’d be okay, but every time you say something about the new show’s problems you add your far-right crap to it.

I haven’t fallen prey to any logical fallacies, but thanks for trying.

No, I have no interest in discussing your far-right politics and your bigoted diction. If you stop shoving your political crap into every comment, you might be worth talking to about Star Trek.

As it is, you’ve demonstrated yet again that you are behaving like a far-right bigot. Don’t like that label? Then stop shoving your far-right crap into discussions of Star Trek. But if you keep spewing your far-right bile, I’ll keep calling it out as such.

You’re polluting a Trek discussion with your political biases and bloviating, not me. Give us all a break and stick to Star Trek, and keep your bigoted politics to yourself.

As for reporting me? Here, I’ll do it for you.

HEY, MODERATORS! If you feel I’m out of line with this guy and his comments, please let me know. As it is, I’m pushing back against far-right bigotry, which doesn’t fit the pro-Trek, pro-diversity style here. Am I out of line? Or is it okay to stand up against his onslaught of vileness?

Vulcan Soul

Yes, you ARE out of line. I don’t know who appointed you to thought police here? This is the response thread to my own review, so you can choose NOT to engage with it if you disagree. It may help to realize that outside your biased Beltway bubble there is more than one opinion and one view in the world…

PaulB

Simply stop shoving your extreme politics into Star Trek discussions. Why is that so hard for you to do? Why can’t you just discuss the show without shoving your agenda down our throats?

If you don’t like being called out for your politics, stop shoving your political comments where they don’t belong.

As long as you keep polluting Star Trek chat with your extreme politics, others of us will push back against you. Don’t like it? STOP THE POLITICS.

You are the problem. MULTIPLE people have confronted you, but you’ve gotten worse. You refuse to talk about Trek without shoving your extreme politics.

The moderators could vastly improve this place by banning you immediately.

Vulcan Soul

Stop shoving extreme politics into Trek? Stop shoving an agenda down our throats? Surely you are talking about Kurtzman and Stewart now? If so, I wholeheartedly agree :)

PaulB

Bored now.

Vulcan Soul

You are taking this from the wrong end. How about the writers first stop their three year campaign of insulting large parts of their audience? I didn’t choose to drag this into a partisan, political corner, they insisted on doing it. In Discovery, by equating cannibalistic murdering Klingons and genocidal Mirror Terrans with their political opponents, and on Picard, by somehow insinuating Brexit is leading to (or exemplifying) a breakdown of institutions that will result in the terror, poverty and, yes, ripped out eye balls we see on the show – you know, like in post-apocalyptic Norway or Switzerland! I It makes Project Fear look like child’s play, and lowers the artistic of these series as mere tools of propaganda.

There’s also something ironic in interpreting this as evil viewer-critics attacking poor writers when these folks are operating from a position of power and have all the influence (and money) on their side! Talk about confusing victims and perpretators much? (As so often in this faction). They don’t even need to mind me – I’m not paying for this anyway so their precious income is not on the line. And I can suffer the political vilification with the occasional snark but last week’s uncalled for visual assault is where I draw a clear line. It’s a sign of a clearly unhinged worldview, and it’s not coming from me!

Vulcan Soul

Last comment was directed at Timpani, rest for PaulB. Mobile thread structure messed this up – sorry about that!

DaveCGN

The Brexit doesn’t lead to terror? Yeah, the people in Northern Ireland and the re-emerging new IRA might agree with you.

Vulcan Soul

You are confusing cause and effect. I believe – decades of Anti-EU-sentiment notwithstanding that ivory tower dwellers like Stewart ignore – Brexit ultimately was pushed over the finishing line because of the waves of terror and violence the EU didn’t stop the year prior. As amply demonstrated during the late 2000s and all of the 2010s, the EU is a failed institution. There’s nothing illogical or nihilistic in cutting yourself loose from that, and clearly countries like Norway or Switzerland are not suffering from their relative independence. This is not a clear cut black and white issue with heroes and villains, which is why making the appalling state of affairs in Picard an allegory of Post-Brexit-Britain is reducing the series to mere partisan propaganda. This is not what TNG or DS9 did, they were capable at looking at conflicts from various angles (think “Maquis”).

German Trekkie

Granted VS you piss me off so much that I have no desire to engage with you or even read your comments through anymore, which is a shame because in regards to STP you may have some (minor) valid points, that i can give you. But we will not see eye to eye on the most things and your writing style feels kinda passive agressive throughout.
Now of course from your pov i am in the wrong and from my pov you are. I don’t blame you for making me back off from all comment sections you are involved in. It’s probably me being a flawed emotionally triggered “human soul“ So feel free to ad hominem this and good bye forever.

Vulcan Soul

No hard feelings, actually, GT. I did feel slighted by you taunting me I would not know what nihilism is or I had a typo in there I couldn’t edit anymore, so I taunted a little back regarding “your (country’s) national hero” which I see now people took as an unprovoked and personal insult when it was meant as a sarcastic remark regarding Hitler’s high regard for Nietzsche, the king philosopher of Nihilism (so you are surely aware about nihilism from history lessons which I don’t need to elaborate on…) Nor is calling Picard The Series nihilistic something I randomly pulled from my behind, but has been noted by many others as well (just do a Google search for these two keywords) I do regret I didn’t follow that thread and couldn’t provide necessary context anymore before that got out of hand and locked. There is no need to quit posting here, ignore my comments and I ignore yours. Agree to disagree, peaceful coexistence!

DaveCGN

“your (country’s) national hero”. Was there a user called “Austrian Trekkie”?

Vulcan Soul

Damn it, not all sarcastic quips need to be 100% factually correct ;) Certainly a hint it wasn’t meant at face value.

DaveCGN

You are comparing apples to oranges. Norway and Switzerland were never part of the EU and neither did they have an inner conflict
like Nothern Ireland. The Northern Ireland conflict was solved by the membership of the UK and Ireland in the EU. The frontier between Ireland and Northern Ireland disappeared. By being part of a greater Union the conflict wether Northern Ireland belongs to the UK or Ireland was OBSOLETE!!! IT DIDN’T MATTER!!!!!
Or look at the former Yugoslavian states.

How can you compare this to Norway or Switzerland?
Now this conflict re-ermerges again and the problem isn’t solved because those Brexiters were short-sighted and DIDN’T THINK ABOUT IT!!!!!! Oh, that doesn’t matter because the holy messiah Boris Johnson can’t be wrong!!!

“Brexit ultimately was pushed over the finishing line because of the waves of terror and violence the EU didn’t stop the year prior”
What about the wave of terror in Northern Ireland before and after the EU?!

You are calling the EU a failed institution – so what about (the not more so) Great Britain itself? The artist formerly known as “British Empire”? Scotland wanting out of the UK and back in the EU again? Northern Ireland being occupied and not allowed to reunificate? Neither Northern Ireland nor Scotland wanted to leave the EU but are forced because some english national heroes pushed it. If the EU has failed then why are there still countries desiring membership of the EU?

“that ivory tower dwellers like Stewart ignore”

Yeah, he must be very ignorant unlike holy Messiah Johnson who knows how to handle peace in Northern Ireland!

As an old englishman Stewart has experienced more politics in his life and might have more insight than some others political analphabets who only have their knowledge from Fox News or Russia Today.

Vulcan Soul

Look, let’s not drag this too much off-topic; my greater point was that regarding this and many other issues Stewart and Team Kurtzman want to make, they aren’t as clear-cut and black and white as they make them out to be, and they are doing Trek a disservice by instrumentalizing it for their side without giving ample consideration for the opposing one (Stewart’s self-righteous remarks looked especially out of line as they came right after the democratic election that more than settled the issue as a quasi ‘second referendum’. Ivory tower refers to him being out of touch with what the common people actually experienced these past two decades).

I agree with you that Brexit will have consequences, some of which are unpleasant in the short term, but ultimately it’s the will of the people as per the rules everybody agreed on. If you don’t like the results, change the rules, but not by ignoring the results and the people. If the Scots want to go and Ireland reunite (Trek predicted it, still 5 years left ;), then so be it. Forcing people against their expressed majority will to be part of a union is illogical and self-harming in the long term; that’s as true for the EU as for Britain (or Spain, for that matter!)

Regarding Northern Ireland, it’s a classic case of ‘the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few’ – how can we content ourselves with forcing the majority into a union just to placate some terrorists that wanted and want to torpedo the peace process? That’s a non-solution and not justice. A better solution is, as always advocated by me, peaceful coexistence.

And what else could it be? Are we going back to disregarding or repeating polls until they fit the convictions of a minority elite of how things ought to be? Or even further, to Pre-French Revolution times of disenfranchizing the masses in favor of a benevolent dictator (L’etat c’est moi)? That’s not exactly the “Utopia” I had in mind…

VS, I suggest that you Google something called The Clarity Act in Canada.

I can’t imagine why the lessons from that weren’t considered before the UK held its referendum.

Vulcan Soul

I actually agree higher barriers should have been set for the referendum to pass – I was on the line regarding this for several years – but this is not a mere exercise in statistics. It ignores (like in many other cases) the long-standing historical reasons for this to happen. Just because a country’s elites where not aware of the grievances of their own populace, doesn’t mean they do not exist. So many times the undemocratic EU commission and their British counterparts made decisions regarding integration that were totally against the wishes of the wider British public and the spirit with which the EU was joined in the 1970s (as a free market, not a sovereignty-abolishing political union). Hence I remember harsh ‘Euroskepticism’, as it was known then, as far back as my first English lessons.

So if Brexit didn’t happen in 2016, likely it would have happened at a later date – especially since the EU has not changed at all. Everything has a cause and an effect. That’s why the second chance for the wider populace to have their voice heard in a political process – the December 2019 election – put my concerns to rest this was some sort of accidental screw up that was forced onto than ” EU-loving British majority”. Was either of those polls perfect? No. Same as all other polls that delivered the results the political elites hoped for, which nobody objected to.

It’s time to accept these political realities and move on; for one, that would mean the EU actually taking any of the lessons of its 2010s screw-ups and criticisms to its heart and engaging in deep reform more in line to what Europe-wide surveys have revealed about the preferences of EU populations, but none of such has been done (not personnel-wise, not institutionally, not philosophically).

The organization no longer resembles the Federation but more something akin to the Borg, primarily interested in deeper “assimilation” and ever (over) expanding itself by admitting more (poor) members who overstretch its resources and even oppose much of its own ideals (think Eastern Europe). Even the Borg did not go that far – the Kazon were not assimilated as it would have regressed the overall state of the hive and that is illogical.

None of the lessons of history have been learned, going back to the Fall of the Roman Empire, so the results are logical, and should not be blamed on some accident or group of adversaries “hijacking” the political process. They brought this unto themselves.

Marja

Brexit was pushed over the finishing line because a few millionaires pushed their anti-EU advertising and news reporting [which amped up fear of terrorism to fear of other ethnicities] to an embittered [and some bigoted] group of Britons.

In decades to come, Murdoch and his ilk will be remembered as prime elements in the destruction of democratically oriented republics.

Vulcan Soul

Marja, this has all the hallmarks of a conspiracy theory and does a disservice to the decades of complex development that lead to the alienation of the majority of British people with the EU. It also helps nobody because this alienation, that is also proceeding in many other countries, cannot be wished away by simplistic theories and is continuing, the faster the so-called “elites” double down on their disastrous plans, who are the prime source of the destruction of democracy.

And I can assure you the terror was all real, and not just some abstract “fear”. Hundreds have been killed and thousands maimed, raped and violated because of the historic failure of the EU (and America, with their criminal interventionism in the Middle East). Sometimes it helps to remember the actual news!

helenofpeel

Gawd, the pacing was so horridly slow. I thought I was going to be “expositioned-to-death”

S’what helenofpeel?

This episode flew by for me. Really shows how there are different tastes for the franchise to respond to with different shows.

Tiger2

Same! This seems like one of the faster episodes lol. I don’t know why but I haven’t had much of an issue with the pace at all but I admit the story could be filled in more by now as well. I think that will probably be one of the bigger changes for season 2 since so many are complaining about it.

Marja

God help season 2 then. Too many things race by in some Kurtzman productions. I have liked the slower pace of “Picard” and that there do not seem to be so many “wheels within wheels within wheels” … we’re discovering the mystery along with him, and it doesn’t zip by like the Red Angel mystery in DSC S2.

Hard to know Marja.

Yes, there have been complaints about the pacing from some fans and professional critics. However, at the same time the audience remains the largest ever for CBSAA and the professional reviews are generally positive.

It’s been the use of vulgarity and graphic violence that have been divisive, and episode 5 doesn’t seem to have had the same stream intensity as others. (That is, subscribers didn’t rewatch it at the same rate.)

So, with so much exceptional feedback as compared to most other shows in its market, I’m hopeful that Picard can continue to march to its own very grounded pace, to its own drummer.

If it’s not really broke, why fix it?

Tiger2

It is funny Marja that Discovery is knocked because it always goes so fast without letting anything breath and now Picard is being criticized because its taking its sweet time with everything. These guys can’t win lol. And given the number of episodes that DIS had with 14-15 and PIC with only 10 you would think it would be the opposite issue with both.

But I don’t think Picard would suddenly become like DIS next season and everything is SUPER DIRE in every episode, just maybe have the plot feel more compelling. That’s the main issue. There doesn’t have to be a twist after a twist like DIS does but you can just have more going on at the same time. The biggest example are the scenes on the Artifact themselves. Instead of having characters slide on the floors or the incest siblings repeating the same thing over and over again (just more and more sinister in every episode) there really should just be more things we are learning in those scenes.

Everyone seem to like this episode a lot, but mostly because the revelation of who Soji is has finally been revealed. But we all knew this in literally the first episode of the season while it took six episodes for her to finally learn it. That’s an example of the story taking waaaaaay too long to get to a point that could’ve been revealed and developed sooner, especially since the audience already knew.

So while I personally don’t have a big problem with the pacing, its certainly not perfect either and things can definitely happen faster.

I agree with your analysis Tiger2.

Listening to the Picard podcast on Deadline and other interviews with the producers and Frakes, it really sounds as though there were some significant changes in the scripts made once the series was in production. I suspect this led to less tight exposition.

Examples:

Kurtzman and Byers have said exposition was added later with new scenes produced later to make the first two episodes three.

Jonathan Frakes has said was asked to act as Riker after he’d started his pre-production work as director on the second block.

Goldman has said that there was originally supposed to be a sexual relationship between the sibling Khat Vash (his idea) but that it was dropped.

Given this was a new series and the stakes were high for the franchise, reworking until it was right makes sense. I still wish however that the Trek series would be completely written in draft before production.

I think the new shows are the better for having multiple voices, and that the Orville, while more coherent by comparison has not cut as new ground with McFarlane having tight overall control.

We’ve also heard from Kurtzman that his approach, when there are strong feelings to include something among the writers or executive producers, is to let a scene be produced and then decide to include it or not. (He mentioned there was a scene Patrick wanted in the vineyard, but when he saw it he realized that it broke the flow.)

Marja

Goldman has said that there was originally supposed to be a sexual relationship between the sibling Zhat Vash (his idea) but that it was dropped.

And thank god, because do we really need to have Game of Thrones tropes on this show?

Tiger2

Hey TG47,

You been referencing this Deadline podcast so much on these boards lately I decided to look for it and hear some of it myself. I listened to the first episode and then jumped to the last two yesterday and yes it’s pretty informative! In more ways than Ready Room because they are pretty blunt about things and talk with a lot more detail (and man I didn’t know Frakes had such a potty mouth lol. He and Goldsman just love to let it rip. Now I see where all the F-bombs in the show are coming from).

And I think it was the fifth one where Frakes mentioned his episodes originally went from episodes 3 and 4 to 4 and 5. That’s very interesting. I wonder does that mean the last episode will basically be two episodes in one (or a 2 hour finale?) since it had been stated way before production it was 10 episodes but they clearly added an extra hour. I would hope so but who knows? But it DOES explain why the pacing feels a bit slower than it needs to be now.

And yeah I also heard the one where Goldsman stated it was his idea to make the Romulan siblings also lovers but they decided not to go with it fully, although he said it could still be implied on the show….gee, really? ;) I’m not a prude or anything but do we REALLY need this at all?? Whatever. Goldsman seems like he means well, but listening to him talk I feel he thinks his ideas are more clever than they are.

I’m going to try and listen to the rest of them soon. They are really interesting (and maybe notes TM can add to their articles like they do with the Ready Room). One thing I did love what Frakes and Goldsman said was that all the past shows and films were fair game for this show and won’t restrict anything if they can use it.

For hardcore fanboys like us this is GREAT news. I mean we basically knew that watching the show already and seeing so many of the shows and films referenced in some way but its nice that they are trying to make the universe as lived in as possible. They aren’t just restricting story lines and characters to TNG or a few movies only, but whatever can be relevant. I stated this over a year ago I saw this happening before we knew Seven was showing up BUT I thought first season they would keep it to TNG itself mostly. But its obvious now they will use whatever or whoever they think can be useful to the story as we been seeing.

Maybe just maybe some of us will get our Janeway appearance now! :D

Marja

Agree Tiger on the Cube. If I ever hear RomuLannister sis say “dear brother” again I may throw something. That character is SO badly written. She should have a handlebar mustache she could twirl. This week we finally saw Narek’s plot come to some fruition, [and he engineered it so Soji could escape … maybe].

It interested me to see Soji’s dawning of understanding. As opposed to the sudden reveal for Dhaj, we SEE Soji as a valuable, functioning member of a group of scientists. Someone with compassion and great knowledge [except of herself]. And now she has learned the shocking truth about herself. I liked that we saw the process.

As for the pacing in general, I really hope that they haven’t saved all the twists and action and huge amounts of information to dump on viewers in the last 4 episodes

Tiger2

LOL, that’s how I’m starting to feel about Rizzo too. She’s coming off like a cliche DC villain at this point. And I love how every episode she seems to look more menacing than the last. I’m guessing next episode when Narak runs into her again she’ll be wearing black gloves and holding a dominatrix whip. ;)

I thought how they handled Soji was fine too but they could’ve revealed it a few episodes earlier. But I did forget they weren’t in episode 5 at all though.

I have a feeling they are going to pack in by the end and they Picard and crew will be jumping place to place like the resistance gang in Rise of Skywalker. Someone on another board also mentioned the last few scenes shown from all the trailers and previews will have all been seen when Picard meets Riker and Troi next episode, so there are probably a ton of twists (and maybe more surprise appearances ;)) we haven’t seen coming in the last few episodes.

Since you’ve heard it now, I have to ask Tiger2 if you were shaking your head as much as I was by Goldman’s effusive comments on the performance by the actor playing Rizzo/Narissa.

Goldman comes across as a total fanboy (especially for TOS and TAS) and he has an Oscar for best script adaptation, but he sincerely seems to be out there marching to his own drummer.

Which is somewhat concerning as there are rumours that he will be tapped to head development of one of the new series…

Tiger2

LOL, listening to Goldsman and Frakes do so much praising for the actors, I think they think everyone on the show deserves an Emmy. ;) I completely agree with them on Jeri Ryan though!

Yes it was funny of how much Goldsman was talking up the actress like they landed Meryl Streep for the role. And don’t get me wrong, she’s generally fine; and reading other boards people know her in a lot of other stuff and only says good things about her other roles. I never heard of her until now. But she’s clearly just doing what she’s been told to do. Some of us assumed maybe the actors were laying on the sexual tension stuff themselves but now we know that’s what Goldsman wanted sadly.

You know I never go out of my way to insult the writers or producers on these shows even if I think some of it is bad, but Goldsman comes off like he’s the next Roddenberry incarnate when he talks lol. I do like how honest he is about things and the business (like when he mentioned CBS doesn’t tell them how well the shows are doing on AA or mentioned how badly Discovery was perceived by some of the fans in the first season). He definitely is very in tune with how fandom thinks and obviously WHY there were so many changes in the show. He clearly loves Star Trek and he wants the fans to love what they are doing. That can not be denied at all.

But it doesn’t mean he always has great ideas or writing abilities either. And ALL the stuff we know he came up with were pretty awful IMO, the Lanister Romulans being the latest. I know the guy is smart and no one lasts that long in Hollywood without a lot of success but he’s written some of the WORST movies I’ve seen in the last decade. I watched both The Dark Tower and Transformers 5 in the theaters and I can’t remember what happened in either of them. The second Divergent movie he wrote was so bad, they never bothered making the third and final one. He was also the guy who wrote and directed the season finale of Discovery first season, which is still one of the worst episodes of the entire show for me.

But I will say Picard overall is better than Discovery so far at least and he did write the first episode too which I loved. That may not mean much since its hard to say who contributed what with so many writers but he is delivering a more superior product even if there are still some questionable elements in it.

Tiger2

I was a little disappointed to see Rios and Agnes get together because I really liked the idea of him and Raffi; but yeah that girl is a hot mess. Agnes is not exactly a huge prize right now either though. ;)

In the interviews on the Ready Room, I recall the actors describing their relationship as being old friends, or siblings.

I’m good with that. It provides a strong core for this otherwise thrown together crew.

Tiger2

Yeah I seen that too. I think Cabrera mentioned it when he was in the Ready Room its more of a sibling type of relationship. I think they made that evident in the last episode. I just think they have great chemistry together. And of course I don’t watch Star Trek to see who will end up with who but we know SOMEONE is hooking up lol.

Vulcan Soul

“I was a little disappointed to see Rios and Agnes get together”

That scene seemed to be like something straight out of the “edgier’ scifi series (Farscape, Firefly and yes, even Nu-BSG), but not at the top of my list of issues by far.

Yes, VS, I’m definitely getting a Farscape vibe from time to time in this Picard series.

I can see that it would be unsettling for some Trek fans.

But those of us who watched Farscape through to the end of the Peacekeeper Wars miniseries finale know that in the end good won, and while many profound mistakes were made along John’s journey, the perfect was not the enemy of the good.

Vulcan Soul

“Yes, VS, I’m definitely getting a Farscape vibe from time to time in this Picard series”

Another time I got this vibe was when the “holographic malware” popped up on the bridge of La Sirena. It felt so out of place in Trek! I definitely did not expect this tonal disconnect from Classic Trek as what was communicated was “This aint TNG 2.0” in terms of serialization and character-focus, but still I did not see this show outdo Discovery even, all things considered, which can be dumb as hell and annoying, but still felt more Trek in season 2 than some of these bits. Or maybe it’s been too long ;) I’m sure Discovery season 3 with its complete “reboot” of the Trek galaxy will make me appreciate Picard more for its (remaining) Trek-ness…

Visual updates don’t bother me so much as others, but in particular I can’t see why we shouldn’t get something different when we move to a later period and outside the Federation.

If anything, I’ve felt it fair criticism when (in-universe) characters have talked about boring uniformity in Federation design generally, and Starfleet design in particular.

A universe where everything looked the same doesn’t sound very utopian to me.

Vulcan Soul

I didnt mean this as visual update and holographic technology sounds like a logical extension of the 2370s Federation (if anything it should have appeared earlier – and it did in one of the first episodes of TNG season 1! But was too cost prohibitive at the time). I mean the tonal change of this entire planet and its flashy ads seem to be lifted straight from other scifi franchises. The closest it resembled was Star Trek V’s Nimbus III, and that movie was called “apocryphal” by Roddenberry for a reason. But like I said about the Rio-Agnes scene, these are by far not my biggest issues and if it was just that, it could be accommodated.

alphantrion

I absolutely loved the Picard with Hugh scenes in this episode. Finally here were two old friends who were genuinely happy to see each other and none of them had any hidden desires, agendas or goals (maybe Picard a little) but I had missed this sense of innocent friendship and honesty in Trek. However judging by the pedigree of these writers and the trailers for next weeks episode I have a feeling Hugh might end up dying in some ungrateful manner. I mean if they bring on the TNG era characters just to kill off or irreparably damage them, then they shouldn’t really bring them to the show at all.

Tiger2

Yeah those scenes with Picard and Hugh were great! An I realize how well the nostalgia scenes worked because every time Picard is thrown in with another character we all know (Data, Seven and now Hugh) it works SO well! All those scenes are so memorable and what everyone talks about. I imagine it will definitely hit home next episode when he is united with his Number One and the counselor again!

I don’t think they are going to kill off Hugh though. Yes they killed off Icheb (in the most horrific way possible lol) but I think Hugh and his connection to Picard is more important to the audience. Of course that’s why they COULD kill him off too lol but I think Hugh situation is much more unique to just to do that. But yes its definitely possible. End of the day the only person we know who can’t die is the one with his name in the title.

And I’m happy they didn’t turn Hugh into a ‘victim’ but a leader. I think many of us thought Hugh would be a prisoner and being experimented on by the Romulans. I’m so glad that wasn’t the case. It would’ve been depressing knowing that’s where is life ended up after all this time.

Mel

I am sure they will kill Hugh which is a shame. He is a great character. Maybe Seven can take over his job. That is if not all Borg drones wake up and assimilate everyone left on the cube.

I don’t think they will kill Hugh because like Seven, he has other things to do to advance the XBorg storyline that looks as though it will continue into next season.

What I do think is that as Executive Director of the Reclamation Project, Hugh is in some way compromised himself. The clip in the trailer for next week suggests he knew more about Soji and the Tal Shiar than he let on.

He may have had to make difficult choices and compromises, to operate in the grey, to serve a greater goal of freeing individuals from the Borg. He says to Soji that the Romulans want to both exploit the harvested tech and the individuals. He also tells Picard that the xBorg now serve a Romulan Queen, but we don’t know what that involves.

Michael Sacal

“He also tells Picard that the xBorg now serve a Romulan Queen, but we don’t know what that involves.” Could it be Sela?

Could be.

DaveCGN

I’m still hoping we will see Hugh and Seven working together.

alastair87

I thought the Soji dream sequence where she walks down the corridor and into her ‘father”s lab was remarkably similar to Data’s dream sequence where he walks through the Enterprise and comes across his creator, Noonian Soong, working as a blacksmith.

I wonder whether this was deliberate.

oooh, good catch!

blackmocco

There’s definitely some good. It’s the best episode since the pilot but as it’s the first one since then to actually propel the plot forwards, anything’s better than the last four. I liked Picard reuniting with Hugh. Interesting we’re delving back into Picard’s trauma which I initially felt would be retreading old ground, but it worked for me. Rios is actually a real character after all, when the writing gives him something to do (and keep him away from his appalling Irish accent). Alison Pill is great, as always, and them getting together kinda worked for me. They’re both damaged goods. Why not? Soji is also finally doing something vaguely interesting.

But there’s the usual bad too. Soji has been frustratingly hard to root for so far, particularly since two weeks ago Narek told her he knows she isn’t who she says she is and she just keeps on sleeping with him anyway, no worries. I guess you could chalk her up to being hopelessly innocent/naive but this viewer finds her character deathly dull and unsympathetic. I see no chemistry between the actors either, so that ain’t helping. The attempted execution scene was unintentionally hilarious. You’re really trying to tell me THAT’s the most efficient way to take her out? Get outta here with that shit. Ludicrous.

Elnor has literally no business being on this mission or this show. His skills don’t seem appropriate for Picard’s needs (seriously, good luck with your sword when someone fires a fully-charged disruptor or phaser) and his utter lack of experience – used as much-needed humor by the writers to break up monotonous exposition dumps – contradicts his abilities. Which is it? He doesn’t know how anything works once he’s off-world OR he also knows how to use a teleporter? He’s lived as a solemn monk/samurai OR he knows exactly how to traverse a Borg cube, somewhere he’s never been before? There may well be an answer to these questions but the show hasn’t so much at hinted at them and knowing how this goes, I’m not holding my breath. Also, not going with Picard was completely stupid. It’s the Discovery time jump shit show all over again. Transmission from the writers’ room: “but we needed it to happen even though it makes zero sense.” And yeah, I get Stewart didn’t just wanna rehash TNG again but seriously, Picard’s 92 here and possibly going into danger? Go get Worf. This ain’t rocket science.

Finally, Rios’ ship is clearly a useless piece of shit, folks. It didn’t notify anyone Elnor was beaming over? An EMH who shows up because Jurati is showing signs of stress but can be deactivated as she’s quite literally murdering someone? I guess the term ’emergency’ is a looser concept in the 24th century. Won’t it just tell everyone once it’s reactivated? Last week, I spoke about choices being made in the writers room and how sometimes those choices come back to bite you on the ass when it’s too late to fix them. Rios’ holograms probably seemed like a great idea when first proposed but they were always an unnecessary element and now they’ve actually gotten in the way of logic.

Ugh. My head hurts. Anyway. I’m still here.

Tiger2

I won’t lie but this was a fun read lol.

I have to admit, as much as I like Elnor, you’re right! This guy is seriously TOO green for Picard to rely on. How can you protect someone at all times when you don’t even know how to fire a phaser? Maybe he does but he seems so unprepared about everything around him. It seem like Picard would want someone who can be independent on his own first and foremost. I do like Elnor a lot and his naivety works for the character, it just doesn’t make sense given the situation. And of course when the plot calls for it, he has no problem beaming down into a strange ship the size of a small city and just happens to find Picard two minutes later.

And the lack of not explaining how Agnes literally got away with murder when the EMH saw her do it and yet did nothing really REALLY bugs me. You would think after Maddox died he would be turned back on and do a full autopsy if nothing else. Why is Agnes, someone who is NOT a medical doctor giving her assessment of what happened to him when you literally have a fully automated computer that is designed to do that? Not even a line why he wasn’t brought back. That’s lazy writing IMO because they KNOW we know the EMH should be around given a freaking death has happened (and we know he saw it) and yet its literally just ignored. I don’t get it, if they knew this might be a problem and didn’t want Agnes caught right away then just have her disable the EMH before she kills Maddox, done. Write it off as a freak malfunction until the truth is revealed. I’m not pretending I’m a writer, but as you said this isn’t rocket science either. Some of these things could be easily explained, but you still have to set it up right.

As for Soji and Narak, I do like both characters but yes they are (or were) the least interesting part in all of this when in reality the entire plot of the show revolves around them. Picard entire mission is to save a girl he thinks the Romulans want to kill or use for something sinister. There is no story if she wasn’t on that cube now and yet time just stand stills every time they return to them. I’m not ‘bored’, but I’m not on the edge of my seat either. And they probably could’ve had Soji find who she was in episode 4 or 5 the latest. But now that she knows and things are moving hopefully it will be good!

Tiger2, Agnes is both a medical doctor and a robotics PhD, according to the new book, but it should have been stated clearly in the show.

Given that the synthetics and the new androids use biological components, Maddox could not have done the work without someone with biomedical expertise.

As an MD, Jurati would have the ability to override an EMH, as they are designed to fill a gap, not be the Chief Medical Officer. She would also have the legal duty and authority to determine and record the cause of death.

I think the writers may have made the error of assuming the audience will parse Dr Jurati as meaning she is a physician/MD. (That is, doctor means physician.)

However, there having been other non-American PhDs in Trek who have gone by the title of Dr. – not to mention that outside of North America, Dr. is more commonly used for PhDs.

Otherwise, there may have been a scene that was cut where it is mentioned that Jurati has medical expertise as well.

blackmocco

Yeah but c’mon folks: Jurati being or not being a medical doctor is the least of this gaping plot hole’s problems. The EMH is there specifically to save people’s lives in an emergency. I would think her murdering Maddox qualifies. You say maybe she could override the EMH? Fair enough. Then the show should tell us that. (Although I’ll dismantle that theory straight away by saying she’s not an officer on this ship and the EMH has no reason to accept her authority. Oh, maybe Rios made her chief medical officer on the ship? Okay, cool, that works. Again: let us know that!) Sorry, but it’s lazy writing. The curse of both new shows so far. Think the Voyager writing room would have left a hole like that unattended…? Hell no.

Frankly, my bigger issue is why Rios and the others are allowing an unvetted person perform any functions of trust.

Because Picard is the client and he said so doesn’t quite wash. Rios as captain and contractor has a duty to the security of his ship and those on it.

Yes, Raffi has been offline, but Rio’s blindspot in letting Jurati have the run of the ship in everyone’s absence is the bigger hole to me.

blackmocco

I thought that myself last week when Rios put her in charge of transporting them back to the ship if things went south.

Tiger2

OK TG47, well that makes more sense if Jurati is an MD. Yeah you would think they would add a line saying that and I could’ve avoided an entire rant on it lol. So it excuses why she was the one to assess what to happened Maddox, it still doesn’t excuse the issue with the EMH knowing what he knows and not alerting Rios right away. That should’ve been done better from the beginning.

Tiger2, if there is anyone an EMH wouldn’t be able to override, that would be an MD.

EMH’s are intended to fill in when there is no physician on board, or to help the physician when asked. If the physician or captain says shut down, the EMH does.

As for Rios, it’s hard to know if he’s suspicious and playing a deep game, or if his habit of ignoring his holograms is a weak point.

blackmocco

I’m still not buying it, TG. It’s an ethical conflict. Yes, she’s an MD but she’s also very clearly murdering someone. I can’t see an outcome that doesn’t have the EMH at the very least reporting the incident to Rios.

Or, as stated before, Rios really just has a lousy ship…

Marja

My personal take is, the Rios who slept with Jurati is a hologram. Note him asking “How do you feel right now?” like a psychologist. Either real Rios suspects her of murder and tasked the EMH with discovering this, or the EMH is acting of its own volition. [She shut him down when he wanted to save Maddox — turnabout is fair play!]

blackmocco

Hmmm. Interesting…

ML31

If the person you are banging is a hologram and you can’t tell then essentially humans have turned into Gods. They can create sentient life at the drop of a hat.

Tiger2

No I get that, but in this case the EMH was active and literally saw her KILLING the guy lol. That’s just bizarre to me. Even if she is able to override him, I still don’t see how that stops him from sending a message to Rios or alert him the second something was wrong. Instead he just argued with her over it. Not a huge deal but it rung a bit false to me.

Marja

blackmocco,

I think Elnor has some telepathic ability. He seemed able to “read” people in one of the scenes on the Bridge of La Sirena. Perhaps he is also a sharp observer — you’d need to be, in his profession/position — so maybe that’s how he figured out how to transport. You can learn a lot by watching other people.

As to Elnor’s traversing the Borg cube that is a mystery, but he may have some telepathic connection with Picard?

blackmocco

Bit of a stretch though, no? I mean, I’m fine with that if the show actually throws us a bone (and it does make Elnor a little more interesting) but if something’s written solidly, we shouldn’t be left asking these questions. And please let me clarify – I don’t need every single element of a story spoonfed to me. I’m fine with digging in to figure stuff out but in cases like that, there’s supposed to be SOMEthing there, no matter how obscure, for me to latch on to. That’s an entirely different thing than simply having to fill in giant holes the writers haven’t managed to address. We shouldn’t have to finish their work for them. At the end of the day, this is a Star Trek show, not Twin Peaks. It’s not meant to be THAT hard to put together, y’know? The news that Chabon is having to answer questions on Instagram is a gracious gesture but also makes clear the show is not written well enough. He shouldn’t have to answer questions the next day. Kurtzman had to do the same with Discovery. Put simply: it’s damage control. Sad but true.

Given the Romulan priority on family (evacuating 5 generations together no less!), Elnor’s status as an abandoned child really sticks out.

Why would it have been that Picard would have to find a family to raise him? That promise sticks also out.

Why wouldn’t the Qowat Milat, which had credibility in their own society, be better suited to place him than someone outside their culture? Is adoption not accepted in Romulan culture?

Given all these signs that Elnor is a mystery in himself, and that he retains reticence despite his upbringing in the way of absolute candor, telepathy or mixed heritage or something unusual should be expected.

blackmocco

I mean, I just took from it that he was an orphan. If there’s anything extra there, I didn’t catch it.

Marja

I usually have to watch episodes at least three times before I get everything. Yesterday I noticed Elnor watching very closely as Raffi and Rios tracked Picard’s signal in the cube. That’s how he knew where to go.

DaveCGN

Upcoming twist: Elnor’s great grandfather was Betazoid. ;-)

blackmocco

Don’t give them any ideas…

Danpaine

Love that post, blackmocco. Lots of great (and funny) points.

Jason

The series is back on track

Michael Sacal

At one point Hugh makes a statement that suggests the Romulan’s regent is a queen. Could it be — Sela?

blackmocco

I had just assumed he meant Romulans in general had replaced the Borg Queen as their overlord. I could well be wrong, of course.

Michael Sacal

The term queen seems rather specific, though.

Nachum

I thought he was using it metaphorically, as in, “Now our ‘Borg Queen’ is the Romulans.”

Tiger2

More than likely that’s what it means, but I can’t blame Michael for thinking its foreshadowing something bigger and it indeed could be Sela that he’s referring to.

And in fact, we know through Crosby herself that she has been talking to the Picard producers about returning. There isn’t any video where she said it directly but this one confirms it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rx-Fx8KTl6c

So it may not come to anything but the fact they are even thinking of bringing Sela back probably does suggest a bigger story line with the Romulans and the Borg going into season 2. I would love for Sela to come back and was really disappointed she didn’t turn up in Nemesis.

I agree Tiger2, it could be a red herring, or it could be that Hugh is using a strong metaphor for the xBorg’s lack of power and individual rights.

Even so, the use of the term Queen seems quite deliberate and the double entendre intentional. It definitely could be a coded message or foreshadowing.

Tiger2

I just had a CRAZY thought TG47, but what if Narak and his sultry evil sister are Sela’s kids???? There is not a whiff of blond hair between them so probably not but you can’t dismiss it entirely with these writers lol.

And based on Discovery’s two zany seasons we know the crazy twists ARE coming eventually. They been pretty tame so far but a huge shoe is going to drop at some point and that idea wouldn’t be any crazier than a Klingon transformed into a human, A.I. killer bot wiping out the galaxy or Burnham being the Red Angel.

Marja

Sela!
God, NO! Please! NO!
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Tiger2

Why not? Sela is cool. :)

I’m not saying it HAS to happen or anything but I would be fine if it did.

Jay

Totally! Wish Sela is back as the “Queen”, as the mother of these two sibblings. Will be a great comeback for the fans, and for Crosby as well.

ML31

I’m with Marja on this one. No Sela. I don’t want Sela any more than I want any TNG character if I’m being perfectly honest.

DaveCGN

I thought he was referring to that romulan insane woman who looked a bit like Alice Krige.

Michael Sacal

Why would she be a queen?

DaveCGN

I understood the or a borg queen was de-borgified too.

Michael Sacal

The woman in question we’ve seen in the episodes thus far is a Romulan, not the Borg Queen.

DaveCGN

Yes, but what if a Romulan is assimilated, becomes a Borg Queen and then is de-borgified? She would become a de-borgified Romulan.

Nachum

I thought it was a great episode. There’s one plot hole (or at least it seems like one to me) that I can’t get past:

Soji knows Narek is a spy. (If I read Hugh’s line to Picard right, *everyone* on the artifact knows he’s a spy.) More than that, he’s a *Romulan* spy *on a Romulan ship*. You don’t have to be a genius- and Soji is one- to figure out that a spy asking you very personal questions didn’t just fall into your lap, but came specifically looking for you. (Again, Hugh figured it out in a second. Why didn’t he warn her, come to think, not that he should have had to?) Once she knows that there’s something very off about herself, shouldn’t she be avoiding him as much as possible? Shouldn’t she be on the first ship back to Seattle that she can find? Or was there no time? At the very least, you’d *think* she’d stop sleeping with him. Or is there some fault, deliberate or not, in her programming- something akin to whatever it is that makes her fall asleep when talking to her mother- that makes her susceptible to this?

One other possibility: She’s drawn to the intrigue and the danger, a la Bashir was. Or maybe she’s just desperate for the truth and Narek is the only avenue she has to that that she knows of.

Romulans having three names was awesome. Takes me back to the criminally underused Hanar in Mass Effect.

As for the episode, I thought it was great, but then I think most of Picard has been great (I don’t mind a bit of dark in my Trek, makes the messages actually worth it)

The Collector

After two seasons of the awful Discovery, half a season of questionable Picard and dreadful Short Treks, I feel like I have finally watched a good Star Trek episode with The Impossible Box.

It was a really well done episode. Particularly, the touching moments with Picard and Hugh on the rehabilitation of Borg drones and correctly identifying them as tragic victims rather than monsters.

I dare say some critics of NuTrek will poke holes… “For the Sikarian tech to work, they need a planet with special properties”, but I take this episode for what it is, an imperfect but very encouraging improvement on what has come before. Bring on the Rikers… sorry, the Trois!!!

Mathew

Anyone notice that the first episode of the first half of the season started with a dream sequence and the first episode of the second half started with a dream sequence as well? Coincidence? I think not.

Chancellor Gowron

Every episode has started with either a dream or a flashback.

Who cares

Native Americans, at least my tribe, have more than one name.

Who cares

For anyone curious we have our “legal” name, example Jim Nighthorse, our tribal childhood name, example Chan Ohan (Among the Trees), and our adult tribal name, example Crazy Horse. The tribal names are only shared with family and very very close friends. Which leads me to believe that this was lifted for the Romulans much as Crazy Horse’s battle cry of Hoka Hey (It is a good time to die, often mistranslated as It is a good day to die) was lifted for the Klingons.

Just Another Salt Vampire

That is very interesting. Thank you for sharing the information.

Danpaine

I very much liked this one, despite the inconsistencies pointed out in the review (good one, by the way). I too, was impressed with Stewart’s acting in this one, just excellent, and his interactions with Hugh are some of the best scenes this show has offered us thus far. Warm and felt genuine.

Raffi’s token addictions are becoming annoying, and it’s just not plausible the rest of the crew would let her sit around getting wasted all the time while on a covert mission. I think that to be a weak storyline.

I know this isn’t necessarily a show about Starfleet, but the nerd in me would really like to see SOME kind of recognizable Federation vessel before the season is out – here’s hoping.

I hope they don’t kill off Hugh. As Picard said, he’s a ‘friendly face,’ and I think it would be a bad move on the writer’s part and a disservice to the character and all the personal advances he’s made post-assimilation.

There was no reason whatsoever for Elnor to remain behind. Weak.

Looking forward to seeing Riker and Troi again, kind of like checking in with old family for me. A good episode overall, and optimistic the rest of the season will pop like this one did.

Scott

I’m sure my opinion here is in the minority, but this show isn’t as compelling as I was hoping. It’s not bad, but something is missing. Hopefully it will get better as the season progresses.

Douglas

Translucent Viewing Screens
I know they are great to see in SciFi TV & movies but does anyone else see them as a impractical and being difficult to use? Imagine having to use them to work on color correcting or some future version of Photoshop. Reading text in a busy environment with shapes moving around behind the text would seem too distracting. Like flying cars representing the future, it just seems unlikely. Yet they play such a touchtone in representing future environments.

I think this every time I see it! Why are they transparent? How can you look at images, text, and data if you can see through it at the same time? It would give me a headache. (And at one point, to get that shot they wanted of current Jean-Luc/Locutus, it was transparent AND reflective.) Seems wildly impractical.

VZX

Agreed. It’s be hard to focus on the text when there is other stuff behind it. I’m hoping it will be dropped going forward, perhaps only used when there is no screen available like in the field. Or maybe it’s just the execution? A very similar thing was done in the Iron Man movies with Tony Stark’s computer, but it worked quite well there.

Kev-1

You’re not the only one thinking this. The see-through screen is the go to item to say “futuristic”. But this is terrifically impractical for reasons you mention. Imagine how hard it is to separate the scrolls of type and numbers from your background. Mind numbing. And somebody else mentioned your lack of security. I think this will be used only when needed for a physical shape — like a representation of a ship, or vehicle or person. Or, maybe, they will have a solid background. But that wouldn’t look pretty on screen.

Marja

I’m quite sure the users are accustomed to it, just as we oldsters got used to black on white computer screens vs white lettering on black or green on black.

I’m also sure the latter-day users can put in a background if needed.

Marja

Screens like this are in real-life development now. I saw a presentation of this by a technology company about two years ago.

Vulcan Soul

In development? Where I live you see these screens at shop fronts ;)

Loved the Locutus line up shot though! That’s a scifi gizmo strictly in service of drama for once!

Fred (the quite sleepy now) Javelina

They use them on the bridge set of Discovery, actually! They are basically just OLED screens without a backing; the pixels emit their own light.

France

No Ready Room instragram promotion/posting this time around? Was still able to find it but it was nice seeing it here.

Personal

Don’t care about the box. I wanna see more of the old Romulan Bird of Prey!!! Still waiting on a Romulan War film, mini series or series! You all know, the subject Hollyweird keeps avoiding.

VZX

I just thought that this episode was the “Breaking of the Fellowship” part of the epic. It seems this separating of characters is done often in these types of stories: When Luke went to Dagobah after the Hoth battle, the aforementioned breaking of the Fellowship when Frodo & Sam went to Mordor without Aragorn and the others, when Dorothy was captured by the flying monkeys, etc. So now Picard finally met Soji and “portalled” to a planet with Riker, the La Sirena crew will chase after them, and Elnor and Hugh are stuck on the cube.

I guess that’s the formula. So they might not meet back up until the last episode.

Interesting thought VZX….

luke Montgomery

A few thoughts… Was that really Maddox that died? The twisty could be that he had a flesh synth go out of hiding for him to do things. Also, the wooden “Pinocchio” Soji on the table mad eye think that the planet with the synths on it could include Data as a real boy. He always wanted to be human and maybe Maddox has brought him back in some way as a flesh synth. Just ideas.

Jay

Kurtzman. Luke Montgomery has very good ideas for Season 2. I’ve been thinking the same thing. Why we (and Soji of course) were not able to see his face!?

ML31

” Unfortunately Picard proves that he’s totally missing Raffi’s real state of mind, when he awkwardly starts applauding her performance.”

I didn’t see it that way at all. For one thing, Picard’s face is completely in frame as Rafi takes a drag on her 25th century vape. He clearly has a disproving look. When she succeeds, I think he was just trying to be encouraging. Getting her to feel like what she did was very useful to the team. Perhaps giving her a sense of worth so she might decide she doesn’t need the smoking.

tom riker

seriously what’s going on with this show and women in charge of everything… is it weird? are they making a point? i really dont mind that much as it works for me but yet again raffi hits up her old friend and it’s a woman. all woman tal shiar… all woman killer nuns… all women running starfleet… woman in charge of collecting borg parts… thank god picard is still a CIS male… there’s gotta be one guy left in starfleet…. aside from that, this was maybe the best episode yet. just keeps coming together like a puzzle… OH DANG like the opening credits.

-space sex
-raffi’s holding on to that bottle like nancy’s mom in nightmare on elm street
-still loving elnore though not sure why he had to stay behind… i guess he had to hold them off so hugh could hide where picard went but that info isn’t made that clear at that moment for him to decide to stay behind. it’s just awkwardly shot i think.
-love the borg chamber though i don’t get the reviewer’s complaint that it doesn’t make sense since the queen can be replaced.
-finally an episode longer than 45 minutes… do they think they’re on network tv?
-hugh and picard’s reunion is awesome
-it always seems things are moving slow with soji then bam it moves really fast… i like how she figures all this out by scanning the age of all her memories and the stuff with her mom was really creppy.
the assassination attempt totally feels like the assassination of the senate in nemesis
-the interaction with raffi and her starfleet friend makes it clear picard is still looked at with some esteem or he’s only looked down on by the higher ups or those who have been compromised?
-patrick stewart is just flat out awesome