Review: ‘Star Trek: Picard’ – Humanity Is In the Eye Of The Beholder In “Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1”

“Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1”

Star Trek: Picard Season 1, Episode 9 – Debuted Thursday, March 19, 2020
Teleplay by Michael Chabon & Ayelet Waldman
Story by Michael Chabon & Ayelet Waldman & Akiva Goldsman
Directed by Akiva Goldsman

Spoiler-Free Review

This week, the show takes a sharp directional turn as it sets us up for the season finale. Our heroes reunite (and re-disband) on the synth homeworld, where they meet some new friends with familiar faces.

Picard looks for clues in Maddox’s former quarters.

[WARNING: Spoilers from here on]

This penultimate episode of Picard season 1 seems to be resonating on different frequencies with fans. Some welcomed the change of pace after last episode, which was largely expository. I, on the other hand (this is a biased review, after all), was a bit surprised by the complete change to the look and feel of the show in its new setting on Coppelius. Some fun character moments were had, but the story has left me more confused than ever about what this show is about and where it will go from here – and there’s only one hour of the story left.

Take me home, space orchids

Soji and the gang arrive at a very M-class looking planet: Coppelius. Soji is remembering more and more about her past life, and being home seems to have accelerated that process. It is fantastic to finally see Soji coming into her own after stepping up to take control of her destiny at the end of the last episode. I am excited to be learning more about her, at the same time as she learns about herself.

As we knew, Narek’s “snakehead” ship sneakily followed them through the transwarp conduit to arrive at the planet along with them. But before they can get very far into a space battle, giant flowers envelop the ships and take them down into the planet’s atmosphere. This was a fun bit of sci-fi weirdery that I can get behind. Meanwhile, the Artifact arrives to save the day! Aaaaand, it’s also taken down by a space flower. Rats.

After the crash, Picard comes to in La Sirena’s sick bay to Jurati hovering over him. It appears her old school tricorder has revealed some information about Picard that he had been trying to conceal. He is sick. And dying. It’s degenerative. And incurable. In a brief but powerful scene, Picard tells the crew about the secret he is carrying. The camera slowly pushes in on Picard until he is the only one in frame. He is alone in this. This was one of the finest moments this week.

Space orchids swallow the ships.

The admiral addresses his crew with some bad news.

Let’s take a little trip for some reason

Soon the gang emerges from La Sirena, which has crash landed in southern California (with some added red foliage for good measure), and heads to the Borg Cube. I’m not going to say much about this scene, because not much happened, and I’m frankly confused as to why our heroes decided to walk over there, say hello, and then say goodbye. Apparently the xBs need Elnor’s protection (?) so the gang decides not to join forces and instead go their separate ways (??????). I’m assuming the Cube is here to save our butts next week, once they get its defenses up and running again, just in the nick of time as the Romulans attack.

The gang starts off on what looks to be a very long journey for a quick hello to their friends on the Cube.

Coppelius Station

Finally our heroes arrive at Coppelius Station. Soji’s former home. What will they find? A whole commune of Sojis? A Data Mark II? Kind of neither of those things, but also kind of both? The place is teeming with androids who immediately recognize Soji and welcome her home. A few of them look like her, but with very cool copper-colored skin. Soji appears to be the most advanced model. This reunion feels a bit tentative, since Soji only kind of remembers her life here, and it’s not immediately clear that we can trust the situation our heroes have just walked into.

Then, lo and behold, it’s Brent Spiner! Is it Data, somehow aged? Is it Lore playing tricks? Why no, it’s Altan Inigo Soong, self-proclaimed “mad scientist” and the son of Data’s creator, Dr. Noonian Soong. The Soong family sure has some strong genes; he’s a spitting image of his father! Dr. Soong doesn’t seem terribly surprised at the arrival of Picard and the gang, and he also doesn’t seem terribly bothered by the death of Dahj.

Soon the androids of Coppelius are gathered round as Soji tells her story. One of the Soji look-alikes, whose name is Sutra but who I’ll call “Soji but wearing Pink,” is intrigued by Jurati having experienced the so-called “Admonition”—the ritual undergone by the Zhat Vash with imagery so powerful it might just make you rip your face off with your bare hands. Pink Soji apparently has read a lot of books on the teachings of Surak; so many, in fact, that she has mastered the art of the Vulcan mind meld—something that, until this moment, I understood to be a consequence of Vulcan physiology and generations of evolution. Screw Duolingo, sign me up for Surak’s books on tape!

Pink Soji was right about one thing: It does appear that the visions weren’t meant for biologic life. And, maybe, the Zhat Vash should have come to this conclusion when the visions basically brain damaged anyone who witnessed them. No, it appears that the vision was meant to be experienced by a brain of a different nature; one with the capacity to see individual images for what they are, rather than a flurry of evil and despair. Through Pink Soji’s eyes, we see the evolution of organic life, from the first amino acids coming together to form the first proteins, to fetuses, to the development of synthetic life. This wasn’t a warning to the Zhat Vash… or was it?

Sutra is running the show here.

Keep a close EYE on Narek, would you Saga?

Narek didn’t seem to have much of a plan here, did he? I admit it felt wonderful to see him be dragged into the village by the synthetic life he vows to destroy. Finally Narek is getting a bit of what he deserves. I was nervous when Soji went to speak with him. the kind of nervous you feel when your good friend has a “talk” with her awful ex-boyfriend who you always hated and who you know, deep down, will convince her to get back together with him. Yuck. Luckily, our girl Soji stays strong. Will it last?

In a move that really makes me question why anyone put her in charge, Sutra quickly makes a deal with the devil – releasing Narek so that he can murder Saga by stabbing her in the eye with a hummingbird brooch that she had been wearing earlier. Grim. What’s with this show and eye-related violence? As Soong mourns over Saga’s dead body, I could not help but wonder if Saga could simply be fixed; she is an android after all. Data has taken some pretty serious damage and come back from it none the worse for wear. Can’t they just make her a replacement eye? Guess not. Moving on.

The hummingbird is a metaphor.

A self-fulfilling prophecy

Shortly after meeting her, Sutra a.k.a. “Narissa Part II,” goes from “maybe Soji’s friend” to “wait, I’m pretty sure she is evil” to “yeah, she started a cult”. No one on the planet, save Picard, seems to see the issue with Sutra’s plan to completely obliterate the Zhat Vash and also hold Picard prisoner. It’s an age-old question and one that Star Trek has dealt with beautifully many times in the past. If we sacrifice who we are to save ourselves, were we really saved? If we kill in order to not be killed, are we any different from our enemies? It was nice to see Soji grappling with this for a brief moment and asking Picard for help in understanding “the logic of sacrifice.” Unfortunately, his response about holding a knife seems to have made about as much sense to Soji as it did to me—Picard’s advice doesn’t seem to be sinking in.

What am I hoping to see next week? I am hoping for someone to stop and realize that they are all being manipulated by a 200,000 year-old pop-up ad. I want our characters, Soji, Pink Soji, even Narek, to take control of their own destinies. I want love and kindness and logic to prevail. We will find out what fate awaits our heroes… next week!


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.

newest oldest
Notify me of

Soji said the Cube was 4-6 km away that’s roughly 3 miles so not THAT far… Maybe for Picard but the rest are fit and healthy.

Yeah, a person can walk 3 miles in 40 minutes, so it’s really no issue at all.

Obvs the terrain would be an issue but yeah if she said 10 miles then maybe.

DaveCGN

I’ve always wondered why people in the future would need to walk that long. Shouldn’t they have some hoverboards, futuristic bikes, scooters, etc?

Marc Henson

Seriously I know, the only time I recall seeing any form of land vehicle used for an away mission was in Star Trek: Nemesis, the buggy they had in the shuttle.

Altan Inigo Soong

Altan

Inigo

A
I

A.I. Soong.

Oh

Mighty Mike

Nice. Good catch.

DaveCGN

Or… ALTAninIGO…Alter Ego.

YKeeg

Captain, we’re experiencing a brain breach! My whole mind is blown, sir!

Avi

You just wrinkled my brain.

kmart

Inigo … i thought it was a PRINCESS BRIDE ref. prepare to die and all.

Steve

Continuing their trend for terrible, terrible character names like “Agnes Jurati” and “Raffi Mussiker”

Fasafan

Ain’t that the truth!!

Dr C

Great review, thanks :) I wasn’t too engaged by this episode.

The fact that we have another Soong makes that family seem like the Blackadder dynasty. I never liked that scene with Arik Soong in ENT where he turned his hand to artificial life. Let that be Noonian’s accomplishment not a family heirloom.

Also, how come Juliana Tainer didn’t mention Soong Jr? Wouldn’t Data have had memories of him? Was he on Omicron Theta before the crystalline entity attacked? Or was he born on the swamp planet from “Brothers”?

Or… it’s Lore in a human neuron clone body (please).

Re: the Borg cube, Seven, the reclamation project et al. – why were they there at all? Seven and the Borg seem only tangentially related to this whole story. I hoped Seven would help Picard with his mission by doing some Borg thing that they both had in common, but she’s just there. Seven says she was connected to everything like where the La Sirena was going, the transwarp conduit, etc. How did she achieve this? Was it sensors? Did I miss something?

I liked “Pink Soji” (now her new name haha!) but… did anyone read the “myriad universes” story “brave new world”? A planet full of Soong androids fighting the Romulans and a character (in that case Lore iirc) wanting to kill all the humans. This storyline seems *very* similar to that short story.

Also, is the ancient race of androids that are watching the galaxy and sent the admonition… Bender from Futurama? He also wanted to kill all the humans (well, except one).

Q!!! We’re here! Enough of this foolishness!

Pleaseletmecritique

Great points about the story being similar. Kurtzman has a track record of “borrowing” concepts, stories, characters and entire arcs without paying or aknowledging the real creators. If anyone has played Mass Effect 1 you’ll see some similarities. He even borrows from his own shows…Disco and Picard have basically the same story.

Dr C

I’ll have to go and re-read the myriad universes story again but this story in PIC seems awfully reminiscent of it. It’s only missing non humanoid androids and a sort of android gestalt where they all make decisions collectively (which is where the Borg might come in…)

I’ve not played Mass Effect (I’m not a gamer outside of the original Doom…!) but I’ve heard many comparisons to it over the last couple of weeks.

I have to confess to being disappointed by PIC overall. I checked out after s2 of DSC (which I thought was awful), but a post VOY series had so much potential. Heck, a series focusing on Rios, his departure from Starfleet, and the effects of the Romulan supernova (which I’m not convinced was natural) and how that fallout affected Raffi would have made for a much more compelling story. Take Picard out of it, ditch the androids and the Borg, and do something a bit more nuanced.

Seven of Nine has no purpose in this show. Riker and Troi had more influence on the story than Seven has in both her appearances. She’s just there because member Voyager?

And of course the cat was called Spot. Nobody could have thought of a different name. I’d have called it Wesley.

Cmd.Bremmon

“Romulan supernova (which I’m not convinced was natural)”
That’s what I think I would have done with a post TNG series. Had it where an alien race sets off a bunch of supernovas, Federation fractures as members retreat to the safety of the holodecks, only those on the frontier can save the day. Still can do it, but have the Picard’s new Data race as an added bad guy.

Dr C

@Cmd.Bremmon that sounds way more interesting than the series so far. I wouldn’t even have included Picard or any previous characters in the show: “Captain Rios of the USS Obscure Historical Character is trapped in a fractious region of space when a super-race of ancient androids detonates several stars using trilithium warheads (or Omega molecules) which destroys subspace for several dozen lightyears. Old Federation rivalries start to flare up again as the Andorians lash out at the Tellarites, and Klingons clash with Romulans in what threatens to become outright war. Only our heroes, Captain Rios and his XO Raffi (or the other way around I’m happy for Raffi to be the captain) and their crew, Dr Agnes Jurati, Lt. Soji Asha, and an EMH with severe multiple personality disorder, can save the Federation (nay, the Alpha Quadrant itself) from crumbling into chaos by solving the mystery of the Admonition Message – is it a warning? A threat? A promise? Return to the 24th Century with Star Trek: Obscure Historical Character Ship Name!”

Oh and it wouldn’t hurt to have Admiral Janeway show up because Omega molecules. But nobody else. No-one cares what Wesley Crusher is up to. I don’t want to see old miserable depressed Riker. I don’t need to know that Worf is incontinent in his old age.

Rios/Raffi’s mission is to restore HOPE and COOPERATION to a fractured galaxy

Led by Commodore Dylan Hunt on the USS Andromeda Ascendant

(dagnabbit I legitimately didn’t mean to plagiarize “Andromeda”, but I’d still watch it)

Pleaseletmecritique

…and what about those 8 suns? (stars)…made such a big deal of last episode and now its forgotten….

Tiger2

LOL I forgot all about those. Did they at least show them as the ship made it to the planet? I can’t remember.

Eekii

Coppelius Station is NOT the same planet as the Romulan 8-star system, so no.

Corinthian7

That’s a different location. It’s the solar system where the ‘admonition’ is located that is comprised of 8 stars not the Synth home world.

Pleaseletmecritique

Oh sorry, I got confused. But…again, doesn’t that say something about the writing?

Aztek Dummy

no, it says more about you looking for things to complain about to look clever

blackmocco

Or it just could be the terrible writing.

YKeeg

LOTS of people got confused. You are FAR from the only one. Too much infodumping in one episode that should have been doled out more consistently throughout. When stuff moves at a breakneck pace, you kind of have to hold on for the ride, the intention being to distract from the clumsy structure.

They don’t realize (after 50 years) that we are going to over-analyze every pixel in this thing. Who do they think we are? Sitcom fans?

Composed of. “Comprised of” is not actually a phrase in English.

Corinthian7

Well if you’re going to nitpick it might not be grammatically correct and frowned upon by some but it’s still a well used phrase in the English language.

ML31

It was? I thought that planet was in orbit around one or all of them….

Tiger2

OK thank you! Yes I was confused on it too.

Thorny

No, Soji’s homeworld was the planet with the two red moons and all the lightning, not the eight-sun planet.

Cubed

I keep wondering why most people aren’t paying attention to this fact…

Tiger2

I think people were just generally confused lol. But now most understand. As someone said, this is the problem when so much exposition gets thrown out all at once.

navamske

“I never liked that scene with Arik Soong in ENT where he turned his hand to artificial life.”

I hated that scene. It was like the writers were saying, “See, Arik Soong is the ancestor of Noonien Soong! Get it? GET IT??”

I also think the writers missed an opportunity. Fans have wondered about the connection, if any, between “Noonien Soong” and “Khan Noonien Singh.” In a nicely done scene, the Augments arc mentioned the Botany Bay. I’m not sure (and I’m too lazy to go look at the DVD) that Khan himself was mentioned. Regardless, the writers could have taken it a step further and had Arik Soong say something like “I admire Noonien Singh. Maybe a descendant of mine could be named Noonien Soong.”

Dr C

@navamske totally agree. I felt it diminished Noonian’s achievement somehow to have Arik think of it first. They couldn’t leave well enough alone with the TNG references – and overall I enjoyed that ENT 3-parter, but that final scene bugged me since I first saw it.

I think they did mention Khan by name, yes. The evil augment who killed the other one (his name escapes me) wanted to go look for Khan, but Soong was like “no, let’s go to the Briar Patch – because *looks at camera* mEmBeR iNsUrREcTiOn?”

I really hope they do something clever with Spiner’s latest Soong incarnation here. Like explain how Noonian had a child when his android mother said they never had kids (were her memories deleted?). Or explain when Soong Jr was born – did Data know him when he was being tested? Or would records of him be in B-4’s brain?

Initially I thought “hey it’d be cool if it was Lore”, but then I remembered that in “Descent”, Lore went full-on “let’s make the Borg fully artificial cos I’m perfect and let’s kill all the humans!” so it wouldn’t make narrative sense for Soong Jr (I can’t remember this latest one’s name. Too. Many. Soongs.) to turn out to be Lore, and I think it would irk me if they went in that direction.

That body they’re brewing best be Data, though. I want to see Data. More than Picard. Data’s death in NEM is a wrong that should be put right (maybe Captain Archer could help because mEmBeR QuANtUm LeAp? […] lol).

On the positive side, though, Star Trek from TNG onwards can now be referred to as “A Fistful of Soongs”…

ML31

Khan was mentioned but Spiner’s Soong told them the Botony Bay was a myth.

Cmd.Bremmon

I wouldn’t say they are copies DISC had Control as being the bad guy, Picard says nope Control is just misunderstood needing some love and is actually the future (starships run by androids/holograms that are perfectly engineered AI life that have all the capabilities of Data, live forever, can be built in the billions, superstrength, etc.

Fasafan

Q is saying, “Even I can’t make this stuff up…”

bmar

So…we now know how Picard survives his fatal condition, right? Mind Transfer into a perfectly duplicate android body.

Cmd.Bremmon

Ok so if ends up that its canon that Picard can upload his mind into engineered android life (sorry V’ger didn’t need Decker after all) that can have imagination, life forever, super capabilities, etc. who thinks he will share that with all his friends and the Federation that everyone can enjoy immortality, super strength, mind meld capabilities, the works and who thinks he will be sadistic and keep that to himself where only Picard gets the tech?
In fact as opposed to helping his organics will he instead want a race of Data’s and Data’s daughters with only his superior intellect to guide them? What’s worse, that or Picard turning out he is missing the order of being Locutus?

Vedek Ro

Doubt it. When the XB on the Artifact calls him Locutus, Picard is visibly shaken every time.

SoonerDave

DING DING DING –

alastair87

In the very first episode it was mentioned that they couldn’t transfer Data’s mind into B4 because that body was too primitive.

I’m not sure it’s a coincidence they that have a new body about to emerge, and they’ve “almost perfected mind transfer”.

Chekhov’s gun, anyone? (no, not Pavel)

As for the idea that Picard will get a new body I’m not sure they’d want to take away the humanity and frailty (not to mention, possibly, the actor) from that character. I think they can easily run on he’s slowing getting worse and dying for a 2nd and 3rd season.

Mantastic

Not gonna lie, seeing an android killed by what looks to be a glass humingbird bugged the hell out of me.

Regular humans could and have survived that.

I also don’t like how Hugh’s death and the Borg cube were mostly glossed over. It deserved at least 10 mins of screen time.

Danpaine

Agreed, two glaring faux pas in the episode. Sadly underwhelming. Good review, spot on.

YKeeg

Three glaring faux pas. Mind-melding android.

Seems fine to me. If a mind meld is metaphysical there’s no rules for or against this at all, whatever fits the plot at the time. If it’s biological, she’s an organic android, it’s a software upgrade for her. If it’s biological plus some form of mental aspect, again, she’s an android… it’s an upgrade.

Joe

That is one thing that I have problems with, an android that is a touch telepath

Tiger2

I’m super bummed the Borg cube thing hasn’t been much of anything after seeing it for practically every episode and having the bad guys and Soji as both being involved with it. But its been just basically brushed aside once Soji found out what she was. I have to be fair and wait until next week to maybe see how its resolved but since it basically was a non factor in the story this episode (outside of it just crashing) I don’t see any of it being a huge factor next week either.

Anduinel

Honestly? I was more intrigued by the Borg stuff than the synth stuff. I’m pretty sure all the sympathy, interest, etc. the writers wanted me to feel for the plight of the synths actually went right to the XBs. I like this incarnation of Seven, but I’m peeved with how she pretty much came in and took over Hugh’s spot with the XBs on the Artifact.

Tiger2

Yeah its odd how they treated this whole thing, especially because there is so much potential story wise. The Xbs started out as an intriguing story idea and I was really curious to see where it was going and now they just been relegated to the background, literally. Again maybe more will come and if the episode ends on a cliffhanger (which is starting to feel more possible) then maybe that story will go farther next season. But right now its VERY disappointing on how they done, especially killing Hugh who was the face of them.

Anduinel

Quite. It feels like that was an entire season’s worth of potential story (or at least a honking good B-plot) that just got squandered. The xB themselves and how they’re treated as disposable, the Federation’s motives behind the treaty, Hugh and Seven representing different facets of the xB being a metaphorical minority and oppressed people who now need advocates, on the fear other people feel about them recovering their agency, Picard’s on feelings as an xB and whether he even cares to identify with that label, and even beats like Elnor’s little growing-up minute in transferring his loyalty from Picard to a people whose plight is even bleaker than one old man trying to stand against the whole of the Federation … there was a lot of very classic, thoughtful Trek storytelling material there that I wish had been given space to properly breathe.

Corinthian7

I’m not so sure on that Tiger, with so many Romulan ships heading their way you’d have to assume that the cube along with the task force that Clancy authorised will play a part in next weeks episode.

Tiger2

I mean beyond just fighting the Romulans (which is why I assume its there) but a bigger part of the overall story. I HOPE we learn what the Romulans were doing on the cube at least but its odd how there has been literally nothing beyond just trying to help the Xbs. And obviously we can’t buy that’s why they were really on it since they tried to wipe them all out a few episodes ago.

As Anduinel said so many of us was intrigued by the Borg itself and its odd how they are a non-factor to the overall story at this point, especially one that deals with perfecting life.

Corinthian7

That’s a fair point. Of course we don’t know what the plans are for season 2 or maybe they are seeding something for a separate spin off show but at the moment I can’t deny that there seems to be a degree of superficiality to the way the Borg have been used. I get the impression that there’s a lot of thought and nuance that’s gone into the creative decision making for this show but that perhaps hasn’t translated as clearly as they’d hoped on to the screen. Maybe this is just the law of diminishing returns in play and too many cooks really do spoil the broth. One of the big things that really does stand out when you watch the credits for new Trek is just how many Executive Producers, creators, etc that they have on each show. There also seems to be a lack of direction since Fuller stepped down. It almost seems as though they start a season as a democracy before seeing which voice comes through strongest and appointing that person show runner.

I do have some sympathy though. There were a lot that complained about Discovery for it’s overly simplistic and not so subtle approach to social commentary and when they do something more nuanced with Picard we still complain!

Tiger2

Yeah I definitely agree with most of that. If we know the story is continuing in season 2, which most likely it is, then OK, they have lots of time to flesh things out. But it has been disappointing we have seen the Borg in literally every episode minus one and we still have no clue what their story is, assuming of course there is one beyond what we seen. If there isn’t then it just feels like a total waste other than just having an excuse to show the Borg again and bringing back Hugh and Seven.

And I actually just mentioned all the executive producers on the show in a post I wrote before this one. That probably is a big issue, its just too many people dictating things and they have only ten episodes so its easy to drop some things or focus on the stuff the bigger voices want. The show hasn’t gone completely left field or anything, it was always about the synths first and foremost from the first episode but its weird how so many of the other plots don’t seem to tie in with it more. But yes maybe that will all be revealed next episode on. I hope so.

As far as the social commentary, that’s actually one of the tings I really like. I personally haven’t complained about any of it and I’m sure you read some of my posts where I have defended the show showing a ‘darker’ Federation (which I don’t think is all that dark at all, just has to adjust to a new normal like we are all dealing with right now in the real world). I thought the show focusing on Brexit, Trump, etc was a smart move. Not because I’m ‘liberal’ but because this is what Star Trek is suppose to do, talk about things happening now.

I think many didn’t like it because they just assumed it would be very in your face and of course take an opposing stance. But I don’t think its really been that direct. I remember when some of us was making suggestions like we might see Vulcan pull out the Federation or something but its been nothing like that. There is also no direct Trump analogy from what I can tell. I think what we’re suppose to get is that the Federation questioning helping the Romulans is akin to nationalism (we only help our own) that is going on worldwide with Trump, etc but I can be totally totally wrong on that, but that’s the closet analogy I can decipher. And no one has talked about any of it since the show started so its really much ado about nothing. So I agree with you, I think its fine and pretty damnn subtle when all said and done but for others just hinting at it means Star Trek has turned too SJW for them lol.

Corinthian7

I’ve not posted on here as much the last 8 months as we’ve had a family bereavement but I do still lurk on here a lot and often find myself agreeing with a lot of your posts. I’m with you on the social commentary and not just because of my own liberal leanings but because I consider that to be a core element of Star Trek. I’d agree with your observations of nationalism in the way some Federation members opposed the Romulan relocation plan. I also felt that It was perhaps commenting on Western foreign policy particularly US led Middle East intervention. This impression came came through strongly, for me at least when they visited Vashti to pick up Elnor. The idea that the Federation goes into this situation with lofty goals but a half baked plan that ultimately culminates with them abandoning that region leaving it’s denizens with a huge mess.

I think you’re correct in that they basically just wanted an excuse to do the Borg. This came through in some of the early interviews with the producers. I recall reading about how they pitched Stewart on the idea of revisiting the race and he resisted essentially pointing out that he’d been there, done that. Nevertheless I do think they’ve served a role in the story. My take is that the Borg are there to mirror the synth storyline. It was typical Jean Luc Picard in terms of how he would come to the defence of a subjugated group that had faced huge discrimination but then he has had to face up his own fears and prejudice against an equally persecuted minority/refugee group.

Maybe I’m wrong and next week a grand plan will be revealed that explicitly links both plot threads but if I’m not maybe it’s not such a bad thing that they’ve not revealed a lot about the Borg. By keeping it small by focusing on just one cube they’ve left the door open for somebody else to tell a more traditional Borg story in the future without having them restricted to some major change that they’ve introduced. Admittedly they could have told this story and replaced the Borg with any nameless race but from a canon point of view there’s a clear through line that makes sense for Picard to be prejudiced against former members of the collective.

Like a lot of Picard it fits in very well with and enhances a canon. I know from some of your previous comments that this is an aspect of the show that you do appreciate. I think it really does boils down to that point, which we both agree on, that maybe we do have to many cooks all wanting to put their own flavour in and no clear direction in the kitchen. My biggest criticism of the show is the pacing, it’s basically all over the place. We’ve had small elements of the story spread over multiple episodes and then huge plot points introduced with sudden expository info dumps. On the other hand, I’ve really enjoyed seeing Stewart back in the role and on balance I still think the show has been a success. I have reservations but I’m definitely a fan, I just think that as a typical Trekkie I have a tendency to nitpick and despite trying not to I obviously came into the show with preconceptions. I suspect I’ll enjoy it more on second viewing and hope it’s just the first 24th/25th century live action show that we’ll see.

Tiger2

Exactly Corithian7,

Yes you can definitely argue elements of Nationalism is being played here, but just very subtle about it. They could’ve definitely made it stronger and more on the nose but then people would probably complain it’s not Star Trek (which they are complaining about now lol) but if there was a really HARD turn beyond just the issues with the Romulans. I think how it was done on this show was done well because the Federation doesn’t just look like the bad guys, they did TRY to help at the end of the day but pulled out after their own problems.

But they could’ve gone much farther with it and included things like the Dominion war and the fact it was their exploring that really got them into that war and maybe question how far is exploration worth it if you’re going to start intergalactic conflicts once a first contact goes south? Or how much is helping smaller planets like Bajor when they could just concentrate on the planets who already are in the Federation. They could’ve gone bigger with it if they wanted to easily but I think they wanted to find a more balanced approach.

And like you said the middle east intervention was probably a piece of that idea too comparing all the complicated and razor thin relationships America has there with other countries from Pakistan to Egypt. They all call themselves ‘allies’ but they don’t really trust each other that much. Speaking of which, I think what doesn’t get brought up enough is that the Federation and Romulans DID form some kind of peace treaty (well on paper ;)) even after the Federation pulled back on helping them and it didn’t go as planned. But there is some type of relationship between them now and why you have Federation members helping them research a Borg cube out of things. I wouldn’t call it an alliance or anything, it’s probably akin (or was) to the nuclear treaty America made with Iran a few years back and showed the two sides at least trying to show they don’t want war with each other and then, well, you know.

But I think that’s where things are, Romulans and the Federation still don’t trust each other but the door has opened a bit more now due to the crisis. So its not ALL bad and showed progress has been made but the resentment is still very much there, probably on both sides, like with the Federation and Cardassians. But if the Federation truly went ‘dystopic’ there wouldn’t be a relationship of any kind with them. And I doubt any Romulans, former Tal Shiar members as well, would be free to live with Picard.

As for my thoughts on the show overall, yeah I’m up and down on it too obviously. I think the show is good overall but there are definitely kinks they still need to work out. But for me, I told myself if I at least liked it more than I did Discovery first season then that’s a big enough success out of the gate and fortunately for me I do. ;)

Timo47

“I thought the show focusing on Brexit, Trump, etc was a smart move. Not because I’m ‘liberal’ but because this is what Star Trek is suppose to do, talk about things happening now.”

“…but that’s the closet analogy I can decipher. And no one has talked about any of it since the show started so its really much ado about nothing”

So what is it? Has this show focused on it and talked about things happening now? Or is it actually hard to decipher and much ado about nothing?

Your contradiction highlights my biggest criticism I have with this show: like with how it has handled the Borg story line, this show introduces stuff with merely a line of dialogue and then does absolutely NOTHING of consequence with it. And when it comes to changing the Federation and Starfleet I find that unacceptable. If you make changes to the core concepts of a show, you better have a good reason to do so as well as properly explain it. And not use it to create “background noise” in a lazy effort to scream how “relevant” this show is.

Changing the Federation to match the current political climate has never been how Star Trek has done commentary. If it had been, the original Star Trek in the 60s would have looked VERY different.

To me the brilliance of Star Trek has always been that it both offered commentary on current day topics, but at the same time it also dared to go directly against the flow on a lot of topics. By masking itself as a show set in space in the future it got away with sending messages that might otherwise never have been accepted. I don’t think a lot of people today understand anymore how big the impact was of Roddenberry putting a black woman and Russian on the bridge of the Enterprise in the 60s.

This kind of “rebellious” nature of Star Trek has completely disappeared. Compared with the original, these new Star Trek shows just go with the current flow and are seemingly afraid to take any kind of stance on any of the subjects the claim to be discussing. And that makes me sad and angry.

Tiger2

“So what is it? Has this show focused on it and talked about things happening now? Or is it actually hard to decipher and much ado about nothing?”

Hi Timo47,

I think you misunderstood what I was saying. What I meant was when Stewart first MENTIONED the show would be about Breit and Trump I was all for it and supported the idea. But yes AFTER the show actually started, it didn’t really seem that obvious to me how much the show was targeting these issue. Again, you can argue its there but its so vague its not really a big deal either way. If Trump or Brexit never existed they could’ve still done exactly the same story line and I don’t think anyone would’ve blinked.

And as I also said its never been talked about much if at all from any of the writers or producers. You never remotely heard it discussed on the Ready Room for example and you would think if it was brought up anywhere it would be there. But yeah. My guess is this was important to Stewart to convince him to do the show but its been mostly downplayed in the media itself.

ML31

See, I’m not seeing nationalism in some Federation members being opposed to the Romulan rescue. It feels more political than anything else. And certainly one can be a nationalist and still wish to help others in dire need. Can’t they?

ML31

I don’t think there is any social commentary in Picard. Something of which, given what we have seen from Secret Hideout I am VERY pleased about. They haven’t been very nuanced with their “take” thus far. I think the only thing that that that might be found in Picard is only there if someone is very much going out of their way to find it. Maybe that is it and I’m just not seeing it. But if that is the case then it’s probably good that such a message is deeply hidden.

Corinthian7

When I say nuanced I guess I’m talking about shades of grey rather than the black and white approach that Discovery took. Certainly Stewart has spoke about the new show addressing issues that are going on in the world as being a key factor in him returning to the role so I do believe that social commentary is there, it’s just a little more balanced.

Corinthian7

I must admit the Android death did bother me a little too. Especially given how robust we’ve seen Data to be over 7 seasons and four movies plus the implied possibility that he could even be resurrected by some of Soji’s Android ‘dna’. I get that they needed to her death to service the plot but given the slow pacing of this story it wouldn’t have been too difficult to have had a couple of lines of dialogue to give a reason why this wasn’t possible.

alastair87

It’s been established that Data can ‘die’ and if he’s still intact then he can be repaired like other machinery. On one occasion he has his head blown off and re-installed centuries later. On another he gets stranded on a planet where someone murders him and they bury him because they don’t understand – but the Enterprise crew retrieve him. Full-on vaporisation on an exploding ship is unsurprisingly fatal.

So you’d think that even if it broke her she could be fixed, if they were being consistent.

Plum

Sooo … what makes you think Narek killed her? If anyone could kill an android, it would be another android. Mmmm?

Jason

Because Narek was eyeballing her brooch earlier.

Plum

Yes, he was. ‘Chekhov’s Gun’ thing. But it was a fake out, and I am right as to who killed Saga! Yea, I don’t know how to feel about this as a visual story telling thing. What’s written vs. direction in film. I need a bad green drink!

Douglas

TOO MANY SOONG’S, I MUDD TWINS & BORG AS BACKGROUND PLAYERS

Seeing another unknown member of the Soong family pop-up seemed like stunt/vanity casting and took me right out of the episode. Brent Spiner is a fine actor but back to play yet another Soong is simply asking too much of a suspension of belief. He’s camping it up now with this one.

The sight of twin synths and trying to place a human consciousness into a synth reminds me too much of “I Mudd” from TOS. Remember how Uhura was offered immortality?

Why are the Borg in this episode and why didn’t they all die in the cube crash. Raffi stated a huge ship crashing at that speed most likely would kill anyone and that was logical. It’s too convenient that they are all just walking around afterwards fixing things.

I wanted more fresh ideas and less recycled ones.
It’s like the recent Terminator movie, same plot setups but with modern special effects.

The saving grace is the talent of the actors, especially Patrick Stewart. He can convey more with just a look, no dialog, than just about anyone I’ve ever seen. Also, the Orchid take down defense system was at lease original to watch.

Cmd.Bremmon

On the plus side this is nothing like Terminator. Turns out T1000 can be as human as you and me AND as Vulcan as Spock with mind melds and live forever and have super strength AND live in space and you name it can engineer it (Uhura should have taken the immortality because that was the future apparently, why should could have even been a hologram life form). So is Picard going to share this opportunity with all of the Federation or will he keep it for himself? Let’s see if Picard wants a future full of Data’s or his “friends” he left for the winery (even after the death of their kid was on their watch). Sure is good news for Picard who seems to have a real attachment to Data and AI, a coincidence that this is all after he was Locutus?

alastair87

There is an excellent trilogy of Enterprise episodes that are about Arik Soong trying to create better beings by working with genetically engineered augmented humans similar to Khan Noonien Singh.

I would say that this story is an excellent sequel to that with Arik’s descendant now doing the same with illegal synths/androids. Indeed there were parallels from the beginning between Khan and the synths.

I accept that it doesn’t really make sense that the Soongs are all Brent Spiner, but I also think it’s a nice in-joke and tradition. It’s not like Star Trek shows are realistic to begin with.

Timo47

“Also, the Orchid take down defense system was at lease original to watch.”

Original to watch: yes. But as a defense system kinda stupid because it brought the enemy and their ships directly and unharmed to the surface of the planet. So what exactly is the point of this defense system?

Spock´s hairdresser

I didn´t like it. And that makes me terribly sad.

Blue Phaser

This review was ‘Spot’ on….
Ok sorry.
The last episode had better have some massive payoff/reveal/something/anything. But I’m nervous that it won’t. If it doesn’t this season as a whole will feel hollow; it has all along even though I’ve desperately wished that it wouldn’t.

demora

speaks right out of my heart. hollow.

Danpaine

Well put, Blue Phaser. Succinct.

I’m worrying too.

And up to this episode, I was feeling the series was finding it’s own centre, and heading to a strong finish.

DeanH

Overall I think this was a great lead up to the season finale. So many questions to answer regarding the Android leader Sutra, who also seems to have lost her mind since mind melding with Dr. Jurati. So did Seven and the XBs fully repair the Borg Cube in time to launch next week? So will Wil Riker show up next week to say “shields up, red alert”? Interesting there was no trailer or scene from E10 shown on tonight’s Ready Room. Btw, great to see another Soong played by Spiner, who seems to be no older than the character he played on Star Trek Enterprise way back in 2005. One hour left in S1, now let’s see if they can bring it home! Btw – I really hope it is NOT a cliffhanger episode, that would be just wrong!

Cmd.Bremmon

Hmm, does having Picard upload his mind into an android with Data’s daughters and NOT sharing that opportunity with his organic friends, the Federation as a whole count as a cliffhanger? Why forget the Borg, you can be fully engineered life with everything like Picard’s new race of super AI (while he simultaneously and hypocritically bans eugenics on organic life).

DeanH

Haha, yeah we shall see. I spoke with other fans and they think it will be a cliffhanger for sure. I guess that scenario would be okay. Lets see what Thursday brings.

ML31

Sorry DeanH but androids really can’t “lose their minds”. They are programmed to behave in a certain way. She is most likely following her programming. So the question should be… What is Soong up to?

Thank you for posting reviews that actually analyze. The ones over at TrekCore are always 95 percent plot descriptions, which makes them boring to read. Reviews should be short on plot retelling and long on analysis, like this one is.

TonyD

Really weak episode that, like so much of this new Trek, doesn’t bear close inspection lest it all fall apart (as the examples in this very review highlight).

I’m also still waiting for an explanation as to why or how a 200,000 year old pop-up ad could have a vision of Data in it.

Also, why is it assumed Narek killed whats-her-name? I’m thinking it was Sutra as it would be in keeping with her survive at all cost personality as well as a convenient way for everybody to turn against her when they realize what she did.

What if the so-called Admonition is whatever the viewer expects it to be? And maybe a booby-trap, that will make organics and synths fight alongside to repel the big-gun invaders?

TonyD

Other than Sutra, who was a synth, it was identical to everyone who saw it.

But they were all indoctrinated before going before the Admonition. They knew what to expect…

TonyD

Agnes was not indoctrinated or warned in any way; Oh gave her the mind meld without any forewarning or preparation. In spite of that, she had exactly the same vision even though her world view as a cyberneticist would be completely different from Oh, Narissa or the rest of their cult, who had been trained to hate synthetics for presumably for a long time.

ML31

Yep. Once we found out Agnes was given that vision I questioned it mightily. It caused highly trained double secret Tal Shiar to literally rip their faces off. What did she think would happen to an untrained human mind? Or are humans immune to that effect?

YKeeg

Either a booby trap that arbitrarily kills who summons it… or a TEST that threatens everyone to prove that synths and organics can work together?

ML31

Everything in this show says the “admoninition” is essentially a robot uprising where they destroy their organic creators.

Aztek Dummy

what if the images in the admonition were sent back in time? then they could have Data in them. Just like the “visions” of Control’s destruction of the Federation worlds in Discovery were sent back in time via the red angel

Aztek Dummy

and if they didn’t at least suggest that Sutra’s twin be named “Karma” then life makes no sense.

Cmd.Bremmon

Ah but uploading your brain into engineered AI will seem a little more fun!

TonyD

Every time I heard “Sutra”, I expected to hear Kama. It is a very awkward name.

BTW, are you THE Aztek Dummy, master model builder? If yes, I’m a huge fan of your channel.

Jason

“I’m also still waiting for an explanation as to why or how a 200,000 year old pop-up ad could have a vision of Data in it.”

The aliens say explicitly in the Admonition that Sutra heard that they exist outside of time.

JAGT

Is it just me or was the editing in this episode absolutely atrocious? And I don’t mean to say that the episode was bad from a story perspective (I’ll need a second watch to let it all sink in though).
But, man – it felt totally… jumbled! Like there were scenes missing all over the place!

Pleaseletmecritique

Agreed!!! You can forgive them for doing it the 1st…2nd….3rd….times but this is Episode 9 of the third-season of New Trek and they still cant edit, direct or post-produce right.

JAGT

No, no. I was talking about THIS specific episode.

Ian

Definitely felt truncated. Really weird bit where they arrive at the android commune and Picard is separated from all of them amidst the revelations about Soong’s son etc. He goes to sit and have a cup of water apart from everyone else, meets Sutra… …and then immediately afterwards, everyone else gets to meet Sutra. Very off.

Elrond

Sad to say, I felt very let down with the appearance of Alta Soong from out of some cosmic left field. Does this family reproduce by cloning? Why has there not even been the slightest hint of his existence with all the prior talk of Bruce Maddox?

Where is the payoff from the (odd) statement in episode 1 that all of Data’s memories could be reproduced from a single positronic neuron of his? One would think that some trace of his recently vaunted gentleness and curiosity would be in evidence in creatures manufactured from him. Maybe yet to come.

Perhaps I was led astray by the frequent mentions of Isaac Asimov into hoping to encounter an older and wiser, evolved “Data,” an R.Daneel Olivaw-like mysterious mastermind benignly shaping galactic history from a hidden world who was even working to bring the Borg into his overarching plans. Oh well, there’s still episode 10. Thanks, Kayla, for the review!

Cmd.Bremmon

“wiser, evolved “Data,” an R.Daneel Olivaw-like mysterious mastermind benignly shaping galactic history from a hidden world” even working to bring the Borg into his overarching plan – That could now instead be instead Picard driven by his want for perfectly engineered life forms like Data or himself as Locutus who transforms himself into a positronic super being but refuses to share that with his friends/other organics. Due to PTSD / Stockholm Syndrome, I have to wonder if he WOULD try to bring that tech to the Borg.

Elrond

I don’t see Picard yearning for perfectly engineered life forms as a result of his Borg assimilation. He would have reacted quite differently in all his subsequent encounters with them. He simply believes that artificial forms of sentience are entitled to the same rights as biologically based sentient life.

Cmd.Bremmon

I’d argue Picard doesn’t treat AI life on the same part as organic life. Picard had no problem with the eugenics ban that prevents organic life to be engineered denying them the same rights as AI life. Picard had no problem saying organics had to have the Prime Directive applied to them even when it meant societies would have to be destroyed that they learn their lessons, something he doesn’t see need applied to programmed life. Picard also allowed for AI robots to be sadistically partially engineered with emotions only to use them as slaves in constructing his rescue armada at Mars. I’d also point out that Picard is dreaming about Data, not organic crew lost under his command like Tasha Yar, Crusher’s husband who died saving him, Riker’s kid killed on his watch, having been aliened from his love in Beverly Crusher, etc. He never lived kids, never wanted to play cards with his crew. I think AI gives him the ‘order’ he craves. Push him and I bet he would blame his failures (loss of the Enterprise-D to a 150 year old BOP, loss of Data, loss of the Romulan rescue armada) on his flawed organic subordinates (does the buck stop with Picard?) whom he has tried to avoid as much as possible.

Elrond

Well, there’s a lot of stuff there, Cmd. I agree that Picard may treat biological and artificial life differently, after all he must have approved the disassembly of Lore at the end of Descent. So he is inconsistent in his defense of android rights. (Really different writers writing different stories.)

He dreams of Data because he sacrificed his life for Picard and because the ban on synths is wrapped up with his failure in the rescue mission. (We don’t anything about the death of Jack Crusher many many decades earlier to speculate on why he is not in any dreams.)

An obsession with order and perfection is to me not indicated by any other of the items you mention, such as initially maintaining a distance from his crew.

Tiger2

Elrond….it’s just best to walk away now. ;)

Douglas

I agree, Tiger2

PaulB

Elrond, please heed Tiger2’s advice. It will save you much headache and annoyance.

Cmd.Bremmon

Not going to lie, if Picard becomes immortal uploading himself into a perfect AI brain where he can live together like a Marvel bad guy, can’t wait to see your opinion on why he wouldn’t share that with his “friends” Riker, Worf, Beverly, let alone other organics in the Federation or even the Romulans.

PaulB

Bremmon, just for you, I hope that Picard gets to “live together like a Marvel bad guy.” Whatever the Gre’thor that means.

Cmd.Bremmon

Should be “live forever” like a Marvel bad guy. Wasn;t there a bad guy loaded into a computer in Captain America: Civil War? Armon Zola or something like that?

PaulB

Bremmon, let’s make a deal. Let’s drop it until next week, when we’ll find out what actually happens. Then, if you are right about what happens, we’ll discuss the ramifications (which we both know these low-brow writers will NEVER explore because they write shallow, poorly thought-out dreck).

But if your prediction is wrong, you will forever drop that obsession here. Deal? :)

GarySeven

Elrond,
A black home is an entity that pulls things in and causes everything to be destroyed. It destroys all light and only causes darkness. No light can be shed on anything in such an encounter. The only thing to do is to stay as far away from it as you can.

Pleaseletmecritique

Mass Effect 3

With an ancestor who was a genetic engineer, I wouldn’t be surprised if he messed with the family DNA to make it dominant…

Elrond

🙂

Praetor Tal

Or Soong is such an egomaniac he just clones himself every time. Generations of identical maniacs.

YKeeg

Each one getting a little more wonky due to replicative fading…

Cmd.Bremmon

Not any more, watch out! They can now be fully AI with full emotions, imagination, everything! And each generation can engineer themselves to be even better!! Part hologram, part android, starships can be alive!

PaulB

Really, Cmd.Bremmon. You must learn to govern your passions. They will be your undoing. :)

What would a Soong care about a cloning ban?

Jay

The reason is that is very possible Data’s memories come from Lore. Data will come later, he will come to the rescue.

Elrond

Yes, the absence of any mention of Lore throughout the entire series (I think) is rather glaring and suggestive, Jay.

ML31

Or… The absence of Lore means TBTB made a rare good decision and opted to ignore his entire existence.

Elrond

Could be!

YKeeg

And yet they cite obscure episodes of the latter seasons of Voyager for plot points?

Tiger2

But Lore has been ‘dead’ for nearly 30 years now. And he’s NEVER been referenced since they killed him off in TNG or anywhere else. Sure they could bring him up again anytime but he hasn’t ever been brought up at other times it may have felt relevant like in Nemesis after finding B4.

I never had a huge issue with Lore but it does seem everyone wants to forget him these days.

And this just hit me but Brent Spiner has now played three different version of Soong and three versions of Data lol.

ML31

I get the feeling that there is a lot of Lore love for some reason. The desire to let lore die seems to be only with a few of us.

YKeeg

The thing is, when he found out Soong was dying, he cracked. He appeared to show genuine concern. Granted, he got all belligerent again, but there was that moment of really being upset his dad was dying. So I guess some of us were hoping he might be redeemable. Also, as an antagonist, Lore without a Data to foil him would be… intriguing.

Tiger2

I’m personally not bothered if they bring Lore back or not. I never hated him, but I never cared if he showed up again. And yeah, his arc ended back in Descent 2, there is just no real reason to bring him back, especially now that Data is dead.

I’m with you on the “Lore was cringy” team ML31.

And it sounds like the writers felt the same way, or didn’t want to revive him in any event.

But, I’m having a hard time seeing how Sutra would have such a smarmy, amoral personality as a Data neural close. She doesn’t move like she has “Data in her DNA” either.

So, the natural suggestion that comes to mind is that Sutra was cloned from a different android, with the only other source available to Maddox being Lore.

However, the other possibility is that slightly smarmy AI Soong was a poor influence on both Lore and Sutra. A problematic relationship between AI and Lore might have been reason enough to excise the memory of AI from the Juliana android.

ML31

I think the real situation, TG47, is that Soong programmed them this way. He is their god. He is the one who made them what they are. It seems like he has a plan up his sleeve and his creations are carrying it out.

ML31

There is a difference between ignoring something silly and referencing something less so from previous Trek episodes.

The Trouble With Dribbles

I find it difficult to believe that Michael Chabon came up with this crap. Out of 9 episodes 4 were disasters, and part one of the finale was pretty bad.
Hey Alex Kurtzman, Star Trek IS NOT a cartoon, and if this is how Patrick Stewart chooses to be remembered by in the franchise, then so be it. I have little hope that the second part will be much better, and bringing Worf and the Enterprise in to save the day cannot erase some of the abysmal writing some of us have had to endure.
Fingers crossed.

c d

Note who directed and co-wrote it.

alphantrion

Wasn’t this episode directed by the guy who wrote “Batman and Robin”?. I think this is all we need to know really.

Danpaine

Indeed. And the next one…

YKeeg

Ayup. Nuff Said.

Not to mention the Discovery S1 finale “Will You Take My Hand?”

I’m generally willing to give Kurtzman the benefit of the doubt, but why did he repeat an unsuccessful choice?

Picard’s Patty

Completely agree! The first episode blew my mind, and while there have been some brief moments of good Trek (Marina Sirtis on great form), the series has truly stunk. Is this really the best story they could muster from their collective imaginations? The Picard character deserved a much better tale!

So, who activated the synths behind the attack on Mars? I’m betting on Spot II. And why didn’t Maddox tell Agnes about Altan Inigo Soong when he was acknowledging her place in the thin ranks of top bot builders?

I didn’t realize how little consequence the visit to the Cube had. Glad Seven and Elnor are still with us.

Small question… if weapons rip eight inches deep into your hull, shouldn’t you replace those plates?

Lots of twinned pairs. They could use glowy numbered badges.

Thorny

“So, who activated the synths behind the attack on Mars?”

Commodore Oh.

There were good moments here and there, but overall it was thoroughly mediocre. I’m sure a bunch of familiar faces are going to show up next week to help save the day, and that might be cool enough to make the finale enjoyable; but otherwise, man oh man, what a lame season of television this has been.

Danpaine

Agreed. If there were no nostalgia factor here to draw/keep me in, I would never watch this. I can’t remember ever feeling so hot and cold about a show. I loved last weeks.

ML31

I was thinking along similar lines. The thing this show has going for it that Discovery did not going in was familiar characters. I think fans were WANTING to like it early on. But when you strip away the known characters you are left with a questionable story line. Although I could watch a show with Rafi, Rios, Agnes and the holograms all day long…

As it turns out for me, no surprise, Picard himself is among the least compelling characters in the entire show.

YKeeg

It feels to me throughout the show that Sir Patrick, bless his heart, is over-acting a lot of his lines. When he said stuff like, “I think the tricorder is fine”, THAT was Jean-Luc. Very controlled, very quiet. But then when he says “long range sensors!” it’s like he’s reading a story to a preschooler and injecting a lot of unneeded enthusiasm or… something. I really wish he’d delivered the line about pissing him off more… Picardly.

That’s the direction and editing Y’Keeg.

I suspect more than one take was done, as well as rehearsals and table reads.

I find this episode particularly unnatural or even Shakespearean in the acting. Goldman seems to have chosen the less restrained delivery and edited oddly. Sometimes, the actor’s are delivering more subtle facial signals that the camera and editing are ignoring.

Compare that to the episodes directed by Vrvilo and Aarniokoski. One gets the sense that Aarniokoski was not given the power to have as firm a hand in maintaining the tone as he should have had as supervising director, especially with Goldsman.

Last thing, a pet peeve, the phrases “serious trouble” and “serious danger” are overused by the writers and overstressed by the actors. Patrick Stewart’s rolling seeer-ee-us seems almost a meme, and the others are picking up on it.

Another awkward and overstressed line “I’m on a mission, and there’s not a helluvachance that anyone’s going to stop me,” seems unusually cocky for Picard, but has the air of trying to convince himself after his failure with the Romulan supernova rescue.

Tiger2

I think that is what is really disappointing, they have a GREAT story line and so much to play with with the explosion of Romulus, secret advance androids, attack on Mars and the freaking Borg. You have this amazing collection of plot elements to drive home this big story but it feels so squandered and disjointed up until this point.

I mean what does the explosion of Romulus has to do with ANYTHING we are seeing in this show besides questioning the Federation’s actions over not helping them? Which of course we now learn the Romulans themselves attacked Mars that created their own plight oddly (which can you imagine once that little nugget becomes public knowledge the Federation can go “SEE!!!” ;)). We know its a personal issue for Picard but in terms of the overall story it adds nothing to it or why the Romulans are so desperate to kill off the synths? MAYBE if they blamed them for the supernova or something that would tie in the story better (and I’m not saying that should be part of it, just as an example).

We do have to remember there is still one more episode so maybe we will get more connections and yes it could extend to next season too. But so far I’m disappointed as well, especially considering how excited I was at the beginning because they set up so many interesting threads but nine episodes later the story feels barely touched for some reason.

YKeeg

This one was so disappointing, I don’t know how the final episode can pull out of the nosedive. And we were flying so high after Broken Pieces. I agree with you, there was a lot of potential here. And a lot of wasted time doing exposition of those things, but very little exploration of them. Every new person they meet, they recap the entire series up to this point.

Ricardo Alardo Schmardo

Cheers for the great review

To me this episode did feel a little contrived, teeing up for a finale but a little disjointed from all episodes previous.

Since the admonition had a “specially encoded message” for androids, it’s possible the message is an elaborate ruse, a meme-like virus that fulfills the prophecy on behalf of the Romulans. The message could have been placed by an unstable Romulan or one who was able to plant the idea. It would go some way in explaining the conversation between Soji and Picard about pre-meditated murder, he who casts the first stone and all that.

It would be a great lie, the idea that there is a higher being and purpose (a ‘God’) that they would learn from and abide to.

Question is how the androids can be convinced this is the case, that it is a deception to guarantee their destruction. I suspect it’ll involve some heroic deeds and sacrifice by flesh and blood!

Herbert

I’ve been patiently waiting for this show to redeem itself but this episode was comical. I’m kinda hoping to see AI god beings next episode, but I can’t take this seriously at all.

ML31

We already did. Soong is their God. Isn’t that obvious?

Oh man, this site is going to crash so hard when they kill off Picard next week. So many meltdowns at once… it will be a bigger disaster than what’s going on right now with coronavirus. Hopefully the Feds have enough money leftover to bailout Trekmovie.com

Satire should only be practiced by the witty.

Cmd.Bremmon

Pike, Number One and the 1701 for the save hopefully?

Please god no! Don’t need to see Kurtzman shit on that cupcake!

You DO know this show is set to run for three seasons, right? They’re not killing Picard off next week.

YKeeg

I’m betting Stewart will be largely absent for huge swaths of the remainder of the series, only to show up in the last minute of the season 2 finale, before tragically being separated again. Then they’ll find him on an ocean planet in season 3, milking a walrus.

Green. The milk will be green.

Tiger2

I have no idea where you’re getting that, especially since he’s been the main lead in every episode this season. Why would he suddenly step back so much next season?

They were foreshadowing the hell out of it. Of course “Picard” will still be on the show next season, but he’ll be back as an android.

Pleaseletmecritique

Only New trek can have you rooting for the bad guys by the end of the show.
The show is supposed to be about injustice towards artificial life, right? Well, so far we’ve seen the Synths (a) Shoot people in the neck (b) Shoot people in the chest (c) Shoot people in the Chest (d) Be shown to be the harbinger of doom (e) Members of some confederation of AI races that will wipe out all organic life (f) Ruthless and devious a la Evil Soji ….am I missing something? Yes, we have Soji and Dajj or Dahj or whatever the name is…but Soji did a turncoat in this epside and Da…Dua…Ms. D was vaporized in Episode 1.

Commodore Oh is the real hero of the show!!!!!!

Danpaine

(Facepalm). Wow, put that way, you’re absolutely right.

Legate Damar

In other words, the Synths are acting exactly like the organics. The Zhat Vash was scared of the Synths, so they launched a false flag operation on Mars to turn public opinion against Synths. Sutra is scared of the Zhat Vash, so she freed Narek and murdered her friend to turn public opinion against organics. Both sides are reacting out of fear.

ML31

Except no one programed organics to do what they do. Synths were all programmed to do what they are doing and act like they are. I wouldn’t say the organics are operating out of fear per se… I think they are operating out of a desire to survive. The synths seem to have been programmed with a self fulfilling prophesy they are going to fulfill. They have no choice. Organics do.

Legate Damar

Maddox and Soong designed the Synths to be as similar to organic life as possible. Just like the organics, the Synths are only trying to survive. And, they don’t all seem to have the same opinions. The reason that Soong wants to lock up Picard is that he knows that a lot of the Synths would listen to him.

ML31

If that is the case then they created multiple personalities to try and mimic a real society. Which does make sense… They created cats and butterflies. He probably engineered the plant life there as well. Soong quite obviously had a God complex. He wants to be one. And now he is creating “life” so he kinda is.

The other side of the coin is Soong has some sort of evil plan up his sleeve and he needs his creations to carry it out. If not all of them then he has programmed only the ones he needs to achieve it that way. He locks up Picard because he knows Picard could easily get in the way of all that. The synths that are programmed to carry out his plan will do so no matter what Picard says. So he has no worries there…

Legate Damar

He literally said that he has worries there. He said that the Synths were being swayed by Picard’s speech because they were young and naive, and that Picard had to be locked up because he could turn them against him.

I’m not sure what Soong is up to, but Maddox and Jurati both wanted to create free will in the synths. Sutra feels that she needs to summon this machine god in order to protect her people, but Saga, Arcana, Dahj and Soji all seem like good people.

ML31

Or, he is keeping up appearances. He doesn’t want anything pointing back to him as the cause of it all. But he is forgetting that since he was involved in all of the droids creations then as the last person alive who was working on them he was pretty much in complete control. They cannot be naive. Unless he programmed them that way. And if he did, nothing Picard says would change that.

I’m not sure what he’s up to either. But it seems clear he is up to something and he needs his synths to carry it out. Quite frankly it makes zero sense for the synths to be behaving in a way he would not be aware of. He did program them all after all. This is his Eden.

Legate Damar

Actually, Maddox programmed them. Soong just made the bodies. But it seems that they were programmed to have free will. Their programming may give them a starting point, but they are shaped by events. Noonien didn’t approve of Data joining Starfleet, but Data chose to do it. Whatever his motivations, I doubt that Altan would have approved of Sutra murdering Saga if he had known about it, but she did what she felt was necessary to protect her people.

'Drew

My impression was Soji is biding her time. Speaking up then would have resulted in her being imprisoned as well.

YKeeg

Yeah, kind of the same way that the show empowers women by making every position of authority occupied by a woman, but then all of the women in power are either evil or duped by other powerful women.

Except Soji. Soji was duped by a man who was subordinate to an evil, powerful woman, who also sexually harasses him.

ML31

Yep. We are obviously meant to sympathize with the synths. But I never fell for that once. I thought it obvious from day one they were the true bad guys here. But they weren’t because Picard had personal experience with the one and only one synth to ever function in organic society.

blackmocco

Isn’t the real problem that there’s NO-ONE to sympathise with anywhere in this show? Jurati, Narek, his crap Romulan villainess sister, Seven, Soji, Maddox and the Admiral who chewed Picard out have been flip-flopped over and over again. “They’re the good guys? No, they’re the bad guys! Or are they?” The writers have flipped the table over so many times it’s sorta laughable at this point. Picard is the only moral center of the show but they’ve made him so passive and ineffectual, he’s been useless. This is supposed to be the same character who stood before the Klingon high council and shamed them all for the lies about Worf’s family.

Ok.

So, instead of every character being the hero of his own story (as Una McCormack conceived the Picard novel), we have a television series with every character other than Picard an unredeemable antagonist?

I would argue that’s a bit too far blackmocco, but the ‘flexibility’ of the writers has landed them in some incoherence. Not Discovery S2 level incoherence, but that’s in a league of its own.

Again, if the writers rooms can actually work remotely doing self-isolation and get a whole season written in draft (and not just outline) before production starts for upcoming seasons, the quality of new Trek could benefit.

blackmocco

So far, that’s where I’m at with this show, TG. I don’t give a hoot about anyone on this show nor what happens to them. They’ve made every character’s motivations so painfully convoluted, there’s no way to feel anything genuine for any of them. They don’t feel real, just puppets the writers fling across the room at every turn. Picard’s as close as I can get but they’ve made him so passive and incapable in his own story, it’s a chore to get through.

Legate Damar

I think everybody’s motive is pretty clear and understandable. The Zhat Vash want to destroy the Synths to prevent them from summoning this machine god to kill all the organics. Sutra wants to summon the machine god to destroy the Romulan fleet that is coming to destroy her world, and she is prejudiced against organics because they killed her twin. Soji doesn’t like the idea of killing, but she thinks that it may be necessary to protect her people.

ML31

That’s not what I’m seeing. I’m seeing the Romulans as wanting to stop the inevitable robot uprising. The robots want to turn on their organic creators. It seems likely that Soong wants to be their God. The only weird thing is the mention of something coming to help them in some way? That sort of came out of left field.

Legate Damar

I don’t think the robots want to turn on their creators. It seems to me that they were happy to live on Copellius undisturbed. Sutra only wants to summon the robot god now because of the Romulan fleet.

VZX

“ the show takes a sharp directional turn”

Can I assume you mean the direction is down? Because this was a pretty bad episode.

This series is weird how the quality has some major swings up and down. It’s like there are two different production teams, one decent and the other just bad.

I just hope the series ends on a high note.

JSM-73

Agreed. And no matter how good the last episode could be (and I bet they’ll give into easy temptation and leave it on a cliff-hanger, to ensure viewers for S2) this whole season, at least for me, has very limited re-watchability. A pity as the cast are fantastic, but the overall story has been extremely variable with some episodes not really needed at all (E5). I’m now of the opinion that Star Trek works best with self-contained episodes, perhaps with an occasional 2-3 parter. These season-long stories mean each episode is like a chapter of a book, which works well if it IS a book, but really needs to be structured incredibly well to work on TV. This series so badly wants to be taken as serious sci-fi, and after the first couple episodes I really thought it would knock it out of the park. E5 onwards has been wildly uneven, like they’re unsure who this series is aimed at. It’s not half as intelligent or high-brow as it’d like the audience to believe it is either. Perhaps the final hour will lift it all up again, but I can only see this going a few predicable ways now. I hope they decide to go for more self-contained stories in S2, as I really have warmed to the main cast who are the best part of this. Certainly not the quality of the writing alas…

Douglas

Very astute observations JSM-73!

PaulB

Well said, JSM-73!

ML31

Almost no season long story arc has re-watchability. Who wants to invest 10 hours in re-watching something? A movie sure. A couple of episodes, sure. 10 hours of show? Unless every episode is a gem there is no way. And I have yet to see a short season long arc where every episode was worth a rewatch. In fact, there was one good episode of Discovery and I’ve only seen it the one time. Why? Because as good as that episode was it is a small part of a greater (albeit terrible) story.

blackmocco

Mostly agreed. I can heartily recommend Watchmen though. That one barely put a foot wrong. All seasons of Fargo are great so far too.

ML31

I did see all the seasons of Fargo. They were very good. But I’m not going to rewatch them. It’s quite the investment. It’s the same reason I don’t re-read books. Well, I have done that a couple of times. But it’s SUPER rare.

I’ve rewatched all of The Expanse as my spouse didn’t watch with me the first time.

I’ve really enjoyed it, although my appreciation of specific episodes is different the second time around. (Some are more compelling, some less the second time.)

YKeeg

I would agree in that from a story perspective, rewatchability is not really something I would do. I rewatch to try and find easter eggs and such, but it’s not really a tale I’d want to watch again for its own sake.

blackmocco

Yeah, that’s my biggest peeve here. I’ll never rewatch any of these shows. Tried with Discovery and had to give up. Too much other stuff more worthy of my time. That’s a damn shame too, seeing as a huge chunk of Trek’s appeal is the rewatch factor. Again: it’s not meant to be this hard.

YKeeg

You just touched on a very valid point. It’s HARD to watch this. Not necessarily because it sucks, but I watched a couple episodes of Enterprise (arguably the Star Trek black sheep) last night… and they were just FUN. No cosmic stakes, no threat to the universe, just a couple of guys freezing to death in a shuttlepod with a bottle of bourbon. Or a young overweight Vulcan not wanting to talk to his dying father because they disagree on something political or spiritual. Character stuff. HUMAN stuff we don’t need five episodes of backstory to understand. It’s a big bowl of gooey mac and cheese.

Picard is more like a bland, carb-friendly meal where you have to make sure your calories and fats are balanced and your portions are strictly limited, with surprise chunks of habanero pepper in the form of f-bombs to make it edgy and surprising.

Danpaine

Excellent post, YKeeg. And I agree, no re-watch factor here. I almost watched this latest PIC episode again today…nah. Why be underwhelmed again? And I tried to watch DSC season 2 again a few weeks ago…no way, turned it off 20 minutes into episode one. This is just not memorable television here, let alone memorable Trek, imo. A couple of bright spots, is all. Meanwhile, I’ll put on City On The Edge Of Forever at any time, get sucked in, and my heart breaks all over again for Edith and Jim. That, was some damned good sci-fi.

Douglas

Your comments are really funny! I like that, especially since your references have an emotional ring of truth. I wish STPicard had some of this kind of humor in it. The writers could use input from somebody down-to-earth like you. Raffi, my favorite character, has some good lines but they are so few. For me, watching reruns of this is of no interest.

Picard’s Patty

Well said!

blackmocco

After 9 out of 10 episodes, it’s too easy to pick apart the terrible writing, the inconsistent characterisations and the dull-as-dishwater art direction but honestly, the show’s biggest fault is the overall story they chose to pursue. I’ve no doubt Stewart didn’t want to retread old ground but making TV shows isn’t and shouldn’t be a democracy and it’s usually a safe bet that when the stars get involved with the production, things don’t work out well. Picard and the two seasons of Discovery before it have had no clear vision or consistency and it’s pretty obvious with how things have turned out.

Danpaine

Very much agreed, blackmocco. Well put.

ML31

And again, that is the problem with season long arcs, particularly in a short season. If the story is bad, then the entire season is bad. If it were 10 standalones, a few good episodes could salvage the rest of the season. Not so with an long arcs.

But… Consider this… We should all thank our lucky stars the things Stewart said about this show paralleling real events never came to fruition. This show doesn’t have one microscopic piece of alagory to what is going on politically in the UK or the US. So at least that.

blackmocco

Yeah. No going back once you’ve started. Shame.

Vulcan Soul

“This show doesn’t have one microscopic piece of alagory to what is going on politically in the UK or the US.”

It’s all a moot point now anyway, isn’t it? It’s odd how the real world made a “sharp directional turn” more WTF-ucky than the jumbled mess of Colonel Kurtz’ hack writing, but here we are :)

YKeeg

I would agree in that Stewart didn’t want to retread old ground that HE had already trod. But this show has boldly gone where at least five other franchises have gone before, and I’m afraid all of them did it better. LOTS of old ground getting a second or third layer of footprints here.

WTF

Holy cow that was a horrendous hour of TV, and basically destroyed the series. No surprise Akiva Goldsman snuck in there to make sure his word was the last word, rendering anything before it meaningless.

alphantrion

We are talking about the guy who wrote Batman and Robin. The fact that he is even involved with Trek should give everyone shudders.

Vulcan Soul

“No surprise Akiva Goldsman snuck in there to make sure his word was the last word, rendering anything before it meaningless.”

One could say the Goldsman has successfully rianjohnsoned Picard!

Also, user name checks out :)

JSM-73

Wouldn’t surprise me now if they leave it on an “I am Locutus of Borg. Resistance is useless!” type of ending, not wrapping up this season at all. Actually re-assimilation of Picard (perhaps Seven is injured and unable to make use of the Borg cube to aid in the big end battle) would be the kind of ‘shock’ ending I can see Akiva and Kurtsman going for. I hope quality and intelligence is restored in the last episode. But I really don’t think they can tie up all the lose ends satisfactorily in 60mins, without a cliffhanger as a way out to give them more time to work out their story… The more I think about this show as a whole, with the desperate attempts to be edgy and appeal to the ‘adult’ audience, leaving behind the family show roots and genuine optimism, the more I think Trek has totally lost its identity, and heart. It’s a shame.

Mighty Mike

Oh, feh. We’re TOTALLY heading to a cliffhanger ending.

Danilo Schöneberg

I found it to be an incredibly weak episode. It somehow felt disjointed, as if they had shot two completely different versions of it and then somehow cobbled those two versions into one. A lot of lazy writing, missed opportunities and plot twists that were telegraphed from 20 miles out.

PFK

Sutra is right. The Federation of this setting decided to abandon billions on Romulus rather than annoy a few member planets, employed androids (and holograms) as slave labour, and was cowed into killing and suppressing android life by fear alone. The Feds of this universe are a danger to everyone, asking these ascended AI to have them all purged actually seems fair. I only wish it would actually happen, instead of whatever dreary space battle we get next week.

demora

after watching this episode i must say that too much of this first season was just abysmal. i liked the spaceflowers, a nice trashy 60s-like idea, and i liked spiner and the various emanations of soji. but, all in all, too much bloodiness, “borrowed” concepts and stories … and the most ridicoulous death ever seen in trek: an android dying of a piece of glass and its creator unable to save the android. nonsense.

Jay

I feel the same, trying to make sense of everything. They crushed few scenes here that needed more time to develop. I can take everything, but a Vulcan Mind Meld by a Synth is a BIG deal. This is a very risky precedent. Then I realized it is NOT a mind meld. Everyone has to remember they are tapping into mind transfer. These Synths are reading minds, nothing vulcan here.

Thorny

Mind-melds have always been a bit weird. For example, how did Spock mind-meld with Nomad? If a humanoid can mind-meld with a machine, then the reverse may be true as well.

ML31

Good point. But that said I always questioned that meld as well.

YKeeg

V’Ger, too. You may be on to something. Granted, they were essentially the same story…

Joe

That is not a bad point.

Even if it was a mind meld, those are either metaphysical (and therefore have no rules and can be used for anything the plot demands), or they are biological/mental aspects of Vulcan physiology, which is entirely possible for Sutra since she’s a organic synthetic, it would be just an upgrade for her.

ML31

That’s true, of course. It just feels like it is an organic thing. The fact that synths can master this tells me the possibility exists they could master ANYTHING. Organics don’t stand a chance against their inevitable revolution.

DNB

Coppelius is a character (a devilish alchemist and puppet master) from German author ETA Hoffmann‘s brillant gothic novel „Der Sandmann“ (1816). Hoffmann‘s story is heavy on the doppelganger motif, and it is never entirely clear if a person is real or artifical – sometimes only indicated through sombody’s eyes. That is of course a recurring motif in Picard Season 1 as well, not just in this week‘s hummingbird scene: there has often been an effect over the eyes when an anroid is being manipulated or reprogrammed. If the Coppelius character is reflected in Soong, he is not only an (older) doppelganger of somebody we knew, but he might indeed be artifical himself.

Retrograde Orbit

I’m almost certain that A. I. Soong is Lore. He has allowed himself to age by activating his ageing subroutine. The rest is cosmetic, eye colour, skin tone and so on.
Funnily enough I wouldn’t be bothered if it did turn out to be Lore…

There is also the ballet version Coppelia.

The ballet Coppelia is based on two Hoffman stories, and goes a bit further than DNB mentions. So, I’ve been thinking that the reference may be more to the ballet or the two stories together.

My recollection of seeing the ballet as a teen was dim, so I looked it up. It’s definitely more clearly focused on the idea of creating synthetic people.

Apparently, Dr. Coppelius captures and tries to take a human who has come to his workshop (effectively as a sacrifice) to animate the doll Coppelia, but is paid off financially. (And just to make it murkier, there is a somewhat different resolution in the Russian version.)

Last thought, I wonder if Chabon has been targeting the Coppelius/Coppelia story all along, or rather felt he’d come up with ‘a better idea’ for the finale while at his father’s deathbed. (His piece for The New Yorker described how he was working on the script for the finale while sitting with his father, who was a TOS fan.)

Anthony Thompson

The production values were excellent. Despite Patrick Stewart’s promises of ‘movies’ every week, many of the eps have looked rather dark and confined; this one was bright, wide-open and epic. with superior special effects (though some of the evolution of organic like sequence was lifted from the beginning of ‘Adaptation;’, a Nicholas Cage film). See 0:34 in this clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEqr5C_OaFg Overall, an exciting episode that has me hotly anticipating the season finale!

Garth Lorca

This shouldn’t be called Star Trek Picard, it should rather be Star Trek Bizarre. There is a lot I liked about the episode but with the main plot they must have missed the right turn somewhere along the journey.

What I liked was…
– how they handled Picard’s disease
– the visual aspects of the Synth planet: yeah, it felt campy but in a very TOSy/early NextGen kind of way. All that had William Wear Theiss’ “less is more” law of costume dynamics written over it… and man, have I missed that since the GR seasons of Trek!
– Brent Spiner’s Altan Indigo character. Arik-Noonian-Altan… what a legacy! And I didn’t see that coming at all…

But the overall plot seems horribly muddled at this point. The entire back-and-forth meadering about the nature of the Admonition, an android girl being able to conduct a Vulcan mind meld because she’s a fan…

I hope this will make some sense after next week’s finale… The big surprise I can sense feels a lot like a Doctor Who finale… Who is coming? The Daleks? The Master? The Cybermen?
You know…just with Star Trek icons… They probably won’t use the Borg Collective (heck, it shouldn’t even exist after Janeway’s virus), they could use Lore, but how would Lore be able to create the Admonition and remove eight suns to advertise it millennia ago? V’Ger? CONTROL? Nomad?

It all seems a bit confusing to make sense, just like Red Angel 2.0…

But we’ll see. Hope it won’t end on a cliffhanger though… I hardly think there will be a Season 2 after the Corona melt-down…

DeanH

Yeah, with Covid-19, S2 is going to be delayed as I think it was supposed to start shooting in April or May. Hopefully for all of our sakes, S2 and life in general will be back to normal sometime in the next few months.

Garth Lorca

“S2 and life in general will be back to normal sometime in the next few months.”

Sorry, but life will never be back to normal… Of course the virus will eventually run its course but the economic outfall is already beyond control. ViacomCBS is already struggling, they both have struggled for years. But now? Trek best hope would be Apple to acquire what’s left but even they aren’t invincible in this crisis.

Plus, don’t forget Stewart is 80+ years old. He might not survive the outbreak… Okay, I know, it’s alll gloom and doom up my head at the moment. Let’s hope for the best but momentarily I simply cannot spot the silver lining.

Vulcan Soul

Garth, just last week some very clueless people were calling me “irrational” for saying exactly that. How the tables have turned quickly ;) And I take no pride in that! But actually it is the deniers who are irrational. Life will go on of course, but with a NEW normal, same as after the World Wars and the Plague(s). Just not the same.

Tiger2

I don’t disagree with a lot of your points but I rewatched End Game before the show started and Janeway made clear the virus wasn’t meant to wipe out all the Borg just to do enough damage to them to slow them down. I mean yes the line is pretty vague but no one ever said the Borg would be wiped out for good. And we know, especially these days, a virus really doesn’t eradicate an entire species. Yes it can do major harm and kill off a large population of one but most do survive in the end. Even in our history when the black plague showed up and humans were much more primitive in terms of science and medicine they still survived obviously. So I never believed the entire Borg collective would be destroyed with trillions of them existing. And they had 20 years to recover.

“an android girl being able to conduct a Vulcan mind meld because she’s a fan…”
Likley not a real mind meld, we just heard Soong talk about transferring minds and stuff, thoughts can’t be that hard like that, but even if it was a mind meld, those are either metaphysical (and therefore have no rules and can be used for anything the plot demands), or they are biological/mental aspects of Vulcan physiology, which is entirely possible for Sutra since she’s a organic synthetic, it would be just an upgrade for her.

Michael Sacal

“The Admonition was a storehouse of preserved memories on the planet Aia, placed some 200,000–300,000 years ago by the inhabitants of that world. Documenting the grim fate of that civilization, the Admonition served as a warning about the danger of creating synthetic life. Experiencing the Admonition could drive one to madness, self-harm, and suicide.”

Also happening 200,000 years ago,

“By at least this point, as according to Guinan, the Borg have begun their evolution into cybernetic beings. (TNG: “Q Who”)”

Though Aia is located on the Beta Quadrant and the Borg are primarily located in the Delta Quadrant, could the two still be connected?

Dun, dun, duuuun…

I wonder if Guinan’s appearance next season might be used to connect these two points, linking the Borg with the Admonition.

(Source: Memory Alpha)

Falco

Boy, did they drop the ball on this one. I’m sure there was something going on behind the scenes that gave us this kind of episodes. Maybe we’ll find out in some documentary couple of years from now, but such a sharp turn in quality doesn’t happen in on itself…

Nevertheless, back to Trek.

Ep8 (Broken Pieces) was a brilliant one, the best so far in the series. Each scene was magnificent, Picard and Soji’s chat about Data, Picard and Rios chat at the end, Jurati and Soji’s conversation, Seven’s “We are Borg” moment, Rios’s backstory, the opening sequence with the Zhat Vash, the concept of crossing a Synthetic threshold just like the Warp threshold… I was so happy with it that I would’ve been pleased even if they pulled of These Are The Voyages on us with the final 2 episodes…

My only concern was that Michael Chabon wouldn’t be the showrunner next season and thus probably write and have influence on a lot less episodes because the guy is one of the best things that ever happened to Trek.

Each episode especially after Ep5 was better and better then the previous one. And then Ep9 happened. I’m still wondering why we needed this last episode? We could’ve just went to the planet, had a big fight and wrap the season. It would’ve worked just fine, because most of the answers were answered, those who weren’t, could’ve been handled in Season 2.

But instead, we were given new answers to questions that we assumed were resolved and we only got 60 minutes left for everything.

On the bright side, the episode was Trek to it’s core, probably the most Star Trek episode of the season. Our heroes being taken prisoners on an alien planet (every other TOS episode), the inhabitants of this new world are a cult like community (bonus points they are robots), morality conversation, heck, even Spiner played a Soong :) But still, a very bad Trek episode.

Oh well, when life gives you lemons you make a theory which I hope doesn’t come true but the signs are all over the place for me.

1. Half of the episode was reminding viewers that Picards’ days are numbered.
2. Jurati is the one that finds about that.
3. Jurati takes that very emotionally.
4. Soong tells Jurati that there is an android ready to receive a mind transfer.
5. Jurati knows how to do that.
6. Jurati “aligns” herself with Soong instead of going in “prison” with Picard.
7. Androids don’t trust biological beings.
8. There was a lot of talk about sacrifice.
9. Picard said his goodbyes.

If I’m too connect these 9 things that happened in the last episode, unfortunately it leads me to the following.

Picard will sacrifice himself and have Jurati transfer his mind in the android, his days are numbered after all. He will seize to exist as a biological being and will become an android. Not just an android but a Locutus 2.0. Locutus was a human voice that spoke on behalf of the Borg. Locutus 2.0 will be an android/synthetic voice that will speak on behalf of biological beings and make the case for us to be spared from the AI alliance.

I hope that they don’t go this way, but I can’t see what Picard’s role will be in the final episodes when there are 200 Romulan warbirds in orbit. Remember, this is a Picard show. And he needs to save the day, not Worf with the big E or Starfleet with it’s squadron.

I promised myself never to write a bad review about anything because there are real people with emotions behind these products, but just wanted to voice my concern that they are in jeopardy of losing one of the most devoted fans of this show.

DNB

Makes sense, but I really hope that your theory is wrong (and that it is Soong, Rios, or Data who are transferred into the android body). Android Picard would not work, the character is all about his legacy as a humble human being, that would be gone and consumed by weird metaphysical questions from now on.

Falco

I too hope I’m wrong. I just can’t see what else Picard can do… If I’m to put myself in the writers shoes, they will frame this as a sacrifice of a great man in which his final act was to save all biological life in the galaxy.

Cmd.Bremmon

Don’t think Picard will make the leap to achieve what TNG has always wanted but their flawed organics never could – perfectly engineered life that has all capabilities, can be reborn from a spec of parts, hologram form upload/download, doesn’t need to breathe, etc? Now will Picard share this technology with his “friends” like Riker, Crusher, Worf and fellow Federation members or will he sentence them to death for not living up to Locutus and Data standards?

“Seize to exist?”

Falco

@His Name is Rios, really? I mean really? That’s your contribution to the conversation? You wasted time writing that?

Doesn’t it occur to you, that the world is populated with people that English is not their mother tongue. That there might be people in this world that English is their second, third or forth language?

Less justice mist-pail a furry thing, than. Wats it mater?

Danpaine

Misspellings happen.

Thorny

re: 4 and 5…

I’m still wondering why no one seems to remember that Ira Graves already successfully did that. He uploaded himself into Data, and only aborted when he realized he’d stolen Data’s body. So Picard and Co. (especially Data) never followed up on that unprecedented accomplishment? The Federation never sent out a team to embargo Graves lab to see how he did it?

It would be really helpful to have Soong or Jurati mention Graves’ work next week.

Danpaine

Though I would hate to see it go that way as well, I too think what you’re predicting makes sense, Falco.

Falco

Look on the bright side :) (is it bright though?) If Picard becomes an android he can show up in Season 3 of DIS :)))

Cmd.Bremmon

If Picard shares this technological innovation (however counter TMP it is) you think he will share it with his “friends” and Starfleet that all members of the Federation can have immortality, super strength and everyone (Riker, Crusher, Worf) can show up in Discovery in their new “perfect android form”? And if not, why?!?

Thorny

Him and The Doctor!

blackmocco

Picard has been a passenger this entire show so far, Falco. He’s actually done next to nothing, sitting by while all the characters around him do everything. Some character study they’re giving us. I don’t expect they’ll have him do anything to resolve the plot at the conclusion either. Nonetheless, your worry about what might happen is so utterly horrible, I have no doubt this writers room probably at the very least must have considered it.

Cmd.Bremmon

This is consistent with his character and I applaud the writers for their honesty (as opposed to Nemesis where they tried to pretend Picard was some proactive Captain). In Best of Both Worlds, generally regarded as the most well received TNG episode, he was with the Borg getting nav deflectored by Riker. Encounter in Farpoint, all he could do was lecture Q about how great humans were versus the Q in which he had no instinct to learn from such an advanced race. In Generations the ENT-D went down to a 150 year old BOP while Picard watched over Kirk. In IBorg he refused to take action on the Borg threat. Then over Mars he did nothing as synths destroyed Mars and takes no responsibility (despite the fact he apparently had robots sadistically programmed to have emotions on his watch). The only time you can say he was really proactive was First Contact where he destroyed a Borg Cube by knowing EXACTLY where to target it in 20 seconds which can only be explained by a) he had that knowledge of a weak spot and did not tell Starfleet (that maybe only he can be the hero and/or to help the Borg) costing counting lives before he shows up or b) He was in communication/compromised by the Borg unimind.

blackmocco

I will concede, you have a spectacularly valid point regarding Picard’s knowledge of the Borg ship’s weak spot that I had not considered until I read your post. I can’t subscribe to the idea that he’s a Borg sleeper agent, however, only because these writers have proven incapable of coming up with an idea that original and interesting.

Cmd.Bremmon

Those who worry that would make him the ultimate bad guy, Picard could then like Locutus realize he’s been used/has PTSD and seek redemption. Better yet though I now think he should upload himself into an android, get destroyed, reboot him twice with one becoming the Borg King and one out to save his legacy and kill Locutus. Season two – Picard vs. Picard (Locutus).

Vulcan Soul

“b) He was in communication/compromised by the Borg unimind”

I had wondered this too some time ago and researched a bit and it seems that was the intention. I think the movie’s direction is to blame here for being too vague but before the coordinates there’s a line “I can hear them” so it’s implied that no, he did not know the coordinates before somehow sharing a link to the collective of this cube, however cursory, which (once again, like in BOBW), goes both ways. That has always been the achilles heel of the Borg, hasn’t it?

Is it so much less blackmocco than he did in many TNG episodes?

He was an exemplary leader who brought out the best in others, and got out of their way after delegating and giving direction.

blackmocco

His leadership skills seem to have deserted him.

Elrond

Falco, I just want to thank you for the thoughtfulness of your post. I’m not sure your conclusion will prove correct in the absence of clarity about Lore, the Borg, Soong, etc., etc.; we may be in for major surprises in the finale. But I appreciate the rational way you set out your thinking and especially the decency and humanity of your last paragraph. Thanks!

Michael Sacal

If Picard transferred his consciousness to an android that would be like when Xavier transferred his consciousness to a comatose man in X-Men Last Stand. If on the other hand Picard dies for good that would be like when Xavier died for good in Logan. In either case, both instances would be Stewart repeating something he has already done before (albeit in a different franchise), so, could there be a third option that would avoid repetition?

Wil Martin

I don’t even know what this show is anymore?! Alex C, you have our permission to Roseanne this shit up and make it all a dream that Admiral Picard was having. I just can’t make this show connect in my brain. Just when I think I can settle into a flavor, you give us a hard left turn to something else.

I have kept my chin up through Discovery, but I’m growing tired of holding my breath through Picard.

However, I will say that Picard and Seven have the most magical chemistry on screen. I also really enjoy Raffi when she is played as the wise grandmother and not the drunk aunt.

It is also possible that my fifth day of quarantine has made me a bit salty.

Thanks for the review Kayla!

Vulcan Soul

“Picard and Seven have the most magical chemistry on screen”

Too bad they have almost no interaction in this entire season! They seem to make it a point to split these two up instead of teaming them up based on their shared Borg heritage…

blackmocco

Now imagine this show with Seven playing Elnor’s role. Instead of wasting our time travelling to pick up a character the show doesn’t know what to do with, we could have had Seven this whole time, actually contributing something useful.

The visit to Vashti was an important demonstration of the profound impact of the synth ban and Picard’s retreat from the rescue effort. (Again, I’m convinced Elnor is the artifact of a different original outline for the season.)

But the second half of the season has focused so much on the androids and the XBs that the other, deeper questions of the Romulan supernova have been set aside, at least for this season.

Not least the question of who/what set off the supernova, which progressed suspiciously quickly, and was far worse than Romulan data originally showed.

This is an unresolved question/mystery that was stressed in McCormack’s novel : the accelerated timeline and larger than usual blast radius greatly contributed to the failures on both the Romulan and Federation sides. Settlement in the neutral zone, borderland anarchy and Federation retrenchment are direct outcomes.

Raffi’s conspiracy antennae should be pointing in that direction also, but the show has been silent on this to date.

blackmocco

Yes, although one could argue there were many ways that impact could have been shown in a more effective manner. But I absolutely take your point that Elnor probably comes from an earlier – and probably more interesting – outline. Just like Discovery, the manner of how this show has been written is frustrating to watch unfold. Be it written by committee, be it up against deadlines, whatever the reasoning, these shows have just been throwing so many ideas at the wall and discarding them just as quick.

Tiger2

So agree with this TG47,

The second half has been disappointing because it has all but dropped the supernova angle. I loved episode 4 because it was the first real episode (and only episode sadly) that gave us a view of Romulan culture today and how they were dealing with the after effects of it. It sounds very interesting in the novel but that has barely been touched on on the show itself.

Obviously next week we can make a real assessment of everything after the finale but it just feels like a disconnect between the supernova and everything else that has been going on.

Christopher

After reading all these posts, I have now joined the Lore bandwagon. If that new Soong guy was never mentioned before by Data or anybody else AND when Picard said he though he was looking at Data and AI rebutted and fatter older (or whatever he said) AND his initials are AI, then I am betting that is Lore all duded up human.

Thorny

To be fair, nobody ever mentioned Juliana Tainer before, either. Then she showed up in “Inheritance”. And for most of that episode, we thought she was a normal human.

Cmd.Bremmon

Hey if engineered AI has the same rights as organic life in disassembling Lore as opposed to putting him in jail/rehabilitation has not Data (under Picard’s command) committed a crime? Also theft in taking the emotion chip?

If not Lore, perhaps like Juliana, AI just thinks that he’s human, but was built by Noonien.

Arathorn

I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much unanimity in a comment thread on this website before. The masses have spoken and they agree: episode 9 was garbage and it nearly derailed the series. The fact that 99% of us agree on this point should be a dire warning to the creators of the show. If ST:P is to have any longevity, then the showrunners need to get their house in order.

blackmocco

That will require new showrunners. Chabon is jumping ship.

It seems as though it will require Kurtzman making a hard decision not to let Goldsman have his head, or the power to derail things.

Which will be hard, not least because Goldsman is a sincere fan of the franchise, and has longstanding relationships with many of the other producers.

There are rumours that Goldsman is being put forward for the showrunner role for one of the new live action series. The evidence is building that this should not happen.

Vulcan Soul

At least he will be promoted out of harms’ way for Picard ;) I suggest he be the showrunner for the Space Hitler show, that way a still-born horse can be beaten dead a while longer by the master of disaster ;)

Thorny

I don’t think it was garbage, just disappointing. The first half of the episode was pretty darned good, the second half went off the rails.

CJA

Boy was that a turducken…

Visitor1982

This episode was a disappointment. Bad direction and lazy writing. A shame, cos I really loved the show up until this point.

Andy

I mostly liked the episode, I just wish they had made it double length instead of a two parter split up on different weeks, it felt incomplete. CBS has to get us to pay for another month though…

ML31

Or, do what I did. Don’t start your subscription until a few days after the premiere. Then you cancel after part 10 and you only pay fore 2 months.

Andy

You’re more patient than I.

SOrme

I am still surprised that some existential synthetic consciousness that developed 200,000yrs ago (destroyed the Iconians? Are the Iconians? Ancestors of the Borg? Occam’s razor maybe this synthetic consciousness/group no longer exist?) somehow is completely unknown to anyone in the galaxy (aside from a sole Romulan cult). They put 8 starts together which even our science today would find astronomically significant. I do understand Sutra’s thought process (it flawed, but I understand), I even understand Soji, but Soong…No, you’re organic and you should get this. The writers have painted quite a picture for the final episode and they have a fair amount of clean-up to do (unless this will flow into a second season). Love Picard’s growth as a man and leader, most in-depth and I can relate to his journey.

YKeeg

Anyone else notice that “Saga” and “Arcana” are kind of synonyms for Lore? I mean they are just PELTING us with easter eggs (Beautiful Basque Flower, Inigo being a Basque name, etc). Kinda makes you wonder where that original smuggled-out positronic neuron came from. OR DOES IT??

(mystical prestidigitation and smokebomb) Mystery Box!

Cmd.Bremmon

Hey… if you flew out and got 10000 pieces of Data from the debris of Nemesis with each having a single positron neuron under this TNG concept you could clone x 10000 Data’s right? And each one would be a Data that would contain all his memories, personalities and everything? Or would they just be blank needing programming?
Anyone else looking forward to the dissonance of these writers?

blackmocco

They could just stitch him back together like Kylo Ren’s helmet. See? Easy.

Cmd.Bremmon

If Picard uploads his mind and gets blown to bits and then they regenerate x 2 Picards they could have one-want-to-be-Locutus (perfect AI/order) and one trying to stop Locutus! Neither one I bet would share that tech with their “friends” apart from Data and his daughters (Riker, Worf, Crusher unworthy?)

YKeeg

The cybernetic prime directive would forbid him from sharing it with his “friends”.

Nor would any of those people ACCEPT it.

Cmd.Bremmon

Ha ha Cybernetic prime directive – only the glorious Picard is good enough for AI perfection? Who says the wouldn’t, shouldn’t they get the chance?

Vulcan Soul

Nooooo they are going to do this the Discovery way. It’s gonna get CLASSIFIED – never happened, pinky swear!

YKeeg

It would be 20000 Datas. They’re made in pairs. :)

Falco

Funny you mention Basque… Google Translate says that Flower translated on Basque is Lore :))

That being said, Chabon has dismissed the Lore theory on his Instagram account.

Vulcan Soul

You mean like Abrams dismissed the Khan theory everywhere?

SOrme

Ok, one last random thought, but first spelling corrections (stars* not starts and if not it*)
What would be really mind blowing is if it was revealed that this extra-galactic synthetic consciousness was the entity behind the Romulan Super Nova incident (i.e. the EGSC learned that the Romulan’s knew of their existence, message to other synthetic life and moved to destroy the Romulan’s in fear of them warning others). I know it is a crazy theory, but fun to speculate on

NC Trekker

218 warbirds? That is a pretty formidable display of power from a supposedly ragged remnant of the Romulan Star Empire.

Has there been any mention in the show of the cause of the supernova? In the book, it was strongly hinted to be sabotage of some kind. Has this thread been dropped?

Did anyone think the synth planet looked like a generic “peace love hippy” outer space planet seen on TV Sci Fi since the 70s?

Just Another Salt Vampire

The synth planet did remind me of “The Way to Eden” with space hippies all over the place. I wonder if that was intentional.

Cmd.Bremmon

Ha ha Everything TNG reminds me “The Way to Eden”

Vulcan Soul

It reminded me of the Edo planet in “Justice”. And that’s NOT the TNG episode you really want to reference in this “peak TV” ;)

Praetor Tal

I was never clear on how proximate this supernova was to Romulus. The Romulan sun? Okay. Nearby sun? You have as many years to get out of its way as you do light years of distance. In re the fleet size, the Romulan Empire was huge and they probably had (or still have) shipyards everywhere. But these could also be inventory left over from before the explosion.

alphantrion

You have a guy like Frakes directing for you and you get a hack like Akiva Goldsman to direct your season finale. Where is the logic in that? Of course a guy who gave Batman a credit card and made Bane the butt of the jokes would give an android the ability to mind meld and would crash a borg cube by several flying orchids. I bet the meeting for this episode went hilarious. “Hey lets have flying space orchids”
“Ok, cool, what are they gonna do?”
“Why, crash a Borg cube to the planet of course”
“Excellent idea, lets film it”

TechNoir

In all fairness, though, Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman should get some of the blame along with Goldsman. All three had a hand in the story.

And who knows, this whole season could’ve been written and rewritten and chopped up and glued back together by a dozen different suits there to “help” the writers. It certainly feels that way. Much like Discovery.

Tiger2

Yeah the writing was easily just as bad as the direction itself. And let’s face it no matter how great a show or film is directed, nearly every time its going to live or die by the writing first. I’ve seen plenty of badly directed stories survive by decent writing but I rarely seen great directing survive just bad scripts. The Star Wars sequels are one example of that (if you believe they were bad I mean).

But in this case, both were pretty bad IMO.

TechNoir

Yeah, I don’t know how possible it is for someone’s vision, for lack of a better term, can make it to the screen anymore without being hacked to pieces, particularly with projects this expensive. There’s always hope, but I’m just not seeing it.

I’m wondering if the fact that this episode has about the shortest run time says anything.

Kurtzman has said tha(, if someone is really pushing for something, his inclination is to shoot it then see if it works.

So, I’m wondering if there was a lot, for example on the Artifact, that was cut. Or, perhaps some of the disjointed scenes that others have pointed out are pieced out of yet bigger things that just didn’t work.

Otherwise, I’m wondering if the they were not able to do as many takes or as many blocking trials as they might have needed. The location was reportedly very hot, which the producers say led to the skimpy moving costumes. Harry Treadway looked to be in genuine physical discomfort in his small patch of shade behind a glass wall.

Vulcan Soul

“Yeah the writing was easily just as bad as the direction itself. ”

So are we all going to lay the “Pulitzer” puppy love to rest now? However the details look like (And “Chaos on La Sirena” is gonna be a feast!), the guy was not a fit for Trek. Moved on. I’m sure there were REASONS why he felt doing his own stuff is much more fun than playing second fiddle to the Colonel for a second season.

blackmocco

Well, Chabon’s previous work to Trek made all of us pretty enthusiastic for what he’d bring to the table. His writing is usually delicate and sensitive and intelligent and he’s a bona fide Trek fan, so I’m pretty disappointed with how this all turned out too. In saying that, it seems very clear the show is being written by committee. Just as with Fuller and season 1 of Discovery, we’re never really going to know how this might have turned out with just the one cook in the kitchen. And yeah, I’m sure once the possibility of working on something of his own came about he leapt at the chance. Who wouldn’t? Imagine having Goldsman telling you what to do?

Tiger2

But didn’t Chabon just write two Short Treks prior? it’s one thing to write a standalone 15 minute short story, it’s another to produce an entire serialized season of something with lots of moving parts and characters. And you can be a bonafide Trek fan and still write bad stories. John Logan was also a huge bonafide Star Trek fan and he wrote Nemesis. But in that case I DO think it was more the bad directing and not just the weak script that did that movie in.

But you could be right, it just may have to do with so many people having a say. When your TV show has 14 executive producers in the credits then you’re clearly not going to have one grand vision lol. Yes maybe it would be stronger with just his guidance or maybe it would’ve been a complete disaster. We really don’t know.

And I know it was my post that sort of set all of this off and I want to make clear while the show definitely has its problems I don’t think its the worst show ever or anything. Far, far from it. I mean it’s still probably one of the better first season Trek shows by a mile IMO. Most DO seem to be enjoying it than hating on it. There doesn’t seem to be the same split in opinions like it was with Discovery in its first season, mostly because it has taken a more thoughtful approach. Sure some people truly hate this show lol, but not in the way people hated Enterprise or Discovery from what I can tell. For many who do, I think the disappointment comes like what happened with Discovery who originally thought it would be this generation’s TOS (and profoundly disappointed), so obviously others expected Picard to be the next TNG, especially with the main star back and all. But yes that has disappointed people who WANTED that (even though we were told time and time again it wouldn’t be TNG but keep to its spirit).

So yes it’s complicated. I don’t think its black or white, many people still seem to love the show but the cracks are DEFINITELY showing, especially now that we are at the end and it hasn’t delivered as much as hoped.

Tiger2

I’m not going to really second guess all of that with Chabon. Because I never even heard of him until he popped up in Star Trek and I never read or seen his other work before. And while I have problems with the show now I still think its much better written than Discovery by a mile. I am feeling disappointed with it in some areas for sure but its not ‘bad’ the way I felt Discovery was at times, especially in its first season. I know that’s a low bar to compare it with lol but its basically the same people behind both shows.

But I will also say this and that people need to stop looking at this stuff so binary. Writers like everyone can do great work and do poor work because no one is perfect. Writing is not like solving a math problem, its highly subjective. And the problem with the internet is when an artist do something good everyone praises them like they are gods. The second they do something, gasp, bad, then they are total worthless hacks.I’m not saying that’s what you or others are saying about Chabon but we seen this time and time again. Ryan Johnson was outright adored for years and then TLJ came out and the guy is worse than Satan apparently. But plenty of actors, directors, etc wins Oscars one year and then win a Razzie the next. It just proves no one is infallible, especially when it comes to art or entertainment.

I think with Chabon though, its not only his first time writing Star Trek but running a show as well. I can’t imagine the pressure. He may have moved on for that reason of course but we really don’t know. I take him at his word that he just wants to work on his own stuff since he confirmed he’s still producing Picard and writing scripts for season 2, so he hasn’t moved on completely but I don’t think he wants to be a Bryan Fuller and think he can show run multiple shows at the same time. We saw how well that worked out.

alphantrion

I think this is part of the reason why Chabon is not “willing” to stay over as showrunner in season 2. I mean he could theoretically showrun both his own show and this one, but I feel like he didn’t have enough control in the Picard show and as a result just wanted to move to something where he would have complete control. He realized that this was basically Kurtzmans show to run.

Vulcan Soul

Read my mind (no mind meld involved) ;) Kurtzman truly is the Kennedy of Trek.

Tiger2

I agree with this as well. End of the day this all falls under Kurtzman vision for the franchise. It was no different with Rick Berman when he ran it. The shows all had show runners but he ran the franchise as a whole and ultimately had the final word on everything. And people forget even he had a boss which was the studio and network people who wanted Star Trek done a certain way too and had to make compromises to please them.

I’m not trying to talk down to anyone when I say this but we do have to remember its all still a business end of the day and these shows cost a ridiculous amount of money so one person isn’t going to have his sole vision up there UNLESS they have a big enough name and pull to do it. It’s not the same as writing a novel. TV and movies are both very collaborative. Even if a movie has a big director who can do what they want they still has to convince the studio fronting the money its worth it.

And in this case, we all seem to forget the person who probably has the MOST clout in this manner creatively is not Chabon or Kurtzman, but Patrick Stewart himself. He doesn’t write anything (or at least get credit for it) but we all know this entire show is being made through his point of view and what he wants and doesn’t want. It’s one of those rare instances where most of it is being dictated by the star because there is literally no show without them. So while Chabon is the one crafting the show, the two people who have to approve is probably Kurtzman and Stewart at the very least before anything is shot.

Ian

Quite probably true.

Re: Berman, he certainly acted like a straight jacket much of the time and had weird hang ups (still don’t understand his opinion about music), but he still let DS9 blossom under Behr while pushing the boat out rather far from what you’d think a Roddenberry show might do, and he still gets to share in some of the praise we might have for the EMH or Seven of Nine or First Contact or Enterprise seasons 3-4 (and basically anything to do with Connor Trinner, for that matter).

ML31

What I am hoping for next week… Picard and Company realize they were wrong regarding the sanctity of android “life” and realize it all must end. They come to their senses, see that Soong is playing God on his little planet and help the Romulans destroy this infestation. Picard realizes that initial reactions can often be deceiving and learns something from the entire endeavor.

TechNoir

Back to the Mirror Universe with you, Emperor!

Seriously, is that really the message you want Star Trek to send? Since it often uses aliens and robots to comment on different aspects of humanity, not sure you want to say it “all” must end. Those “other” beings in science fiction are always us.

ML31

Well, even when the Klingons are attacking they fire back and blow them up. Is THAT the kind of message you want in Trek? That people will defend themselves when under attack? Just think of all those poor Borg TNG has murdered just because they wanted to assimilate us.

What is the difference here with the androids? They WILL turn on the organics. It’s only a matter of time.

Cmd.Bremmon

Forget that, the organics are obsolete and they can upload their minds to upgrade. TNG finally gets the perfect people they always wanted in the form of everyone a Data but with full emotions, full consciousness. The only question is should they all network themselves together?
Also to save primitive organic civilizations that normally would be Prime Directived you could convert them to AI and then program them with the lessons learned. Is that more humane then letting them nuke themselves/virus themselves? What a utopia!

TechNoir

There’s a difference between defending yourself from an immediate attack and committing genocide before you think they’re “all” going to get you.

Have you noticed how Star Trek has gone out of its way to take characters from so-called enemy species and shown them to be not evil: Worf, Hugh, Odo, Seven, one of the Weyoun clones, etc.? Yeah, almost like they’re trying to send some kind of humanistic message. Like not everyone is the same…

Cmd.Bremmon

Absolutely. Look at Picard whom some thought was the ultimate do no wrong who then goes out and allows for synths to be sadistically programmed with emotions only to be used as slaves for his Romulan rescue fleet on Mars. You never know who is good and who is bad.
I’ve come to accept Picard has superseded TMP (sorry V’ger, you could have been engineered to have imagination, emotions, consciousness, etc) and now AI can have everything organics can, even mind melding, and more, the time has come to improve the galaxy in the name of utopia and build the Federation into limitless, super androids programmed to be good. Happiest of all I think will be Picard who can engineer out everything he found annoying about people, eliminate the need for kids.

ML31

Except… If you KNOW that is going to be the result then why wait until so many have died? The synths are very much like the Borg. They cannot be reasoned with. They cannot be bargained with. All they have is their programming. Their programming says organics are the enemy and must be wiped out. There is too much evidence to say otherwise. This is not Worf, or Odo, or Weyun. They were all organics. They CAN be reasoned with. Not so the synthetic.

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Cmd.Bremmon

You could go the other way. Engineered AI life is just as good as organic life (sorry V’ger you didn’t need Decker after all). The whole Federation realizes that they can live forever, have super strength, mind meld abilities, no limitations and coverts themselves to AI. Starfleet now consists of “perfect engineered AI”. Then they network themselves all together that they can all cooperate in the ultimate collective!!

Freddie mercury

The worst episode so far. Just didn’t make sense. Out of kilter with the rest of the series. It felt like a bad episode of Enterprise. One of the issues is that they have gone for a halfway house between serialised and episodic. When it works, it is excellent, but when it doesn’t it feels like a disjointed mess.

Bird of Prey

Soong to Lore: “Hello, my name is Altan INIGO Soong. You killed our father. Prepare to die!”

SoonerDave

I may be in a slight minority that I am liking “Picard,” but I do *not* like their blase take on gruesome violence, (“Oh, yeah, we need to kill someone. Be sure to gouge out their eyes”). But I will say that, after eight episodes, it was *great* to actually hear the Jean Luc Picard character emerge (finally) when he told the crew that if anyone discussed his medical condition, they were at risk for “***ing me off.” His vocal inflection and delivery *finally* sounded like *him*!

I initially loved Brent Spiner’s part. By the end, I wasn’t so sure.

I am glad to know I’m not the only one a little confused by the information overload in this episode. They could have figured out a way to exposite this a bit more evenly. An dumping a rather cool story notion like the Artifact in the desert, rather unceremoniously? Huh? Surely they play a role in the big, shoot-em-up finish next week. Wonder how many lens flares we’ll see?

ray

I’m not sure I understood what Picard was talking about when he was on the Artifact and talking to Seven about Hugh and, I paraphrase, “poor hugh I don’t know what could have driven such a sweet soul to violence”. What was he talking about? It sounded like Picard was told that Hugh became violent and was drawn into a fight in which he died.

Danpaine

Terrible throwaway line that made no sense and did Hugh’s character no justice whatsoever.

Douglas

That was confusing to me as well. Hugh only thanked Elrod for his brief return to optimism. What could Picard have been referring to? Is this yet another out-of-context line? The more I examine the dialog, the sloppier this episode becomes. What an embarrassment.

Jlex

I suspect there were rewrites/reshoots and deleted scenes that didn’t make it in earlier episodes which makes Picard statement about Hugh nonsensical.

Anduinel

Probably referring to Hugh’s final plan being to take the Borg cube back from the Romulans. But it’s still such a clunky line – especially with Seven, who actually executed Hugh’s plan to take over via the queen cell, standing right there! It could have easily just stayed at sympathy for Hugh and what he endured trying to help the xB (and Picard, for that matter!) and condemnation of the brutality visited on him and his people.

Cmd.Bremmon

Could be Picard trying to blame violence on the ex Borg who he sees now as just more flawed organics while covering for the synths and/or equate with any potential violence done on the part of (his in his mind?) synths. I can’t figure out if Picard would do so because he is for the restoration of perfection in the Borg unimind or because he wants to create his own pure AI life form/network that would be totally organic free???

I’m convinced that this is a fragment of another, longer scene that was jettisoned, but what’s left doesn’t stand on its own.

ray

i guess we can call it an oversight in editing then