Review: ‘Star Trek: Picard’ Finale “Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2” Leaves Us With A Smile

“Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2”

Star Trek: Picard Season 1, Episode 10 – Debuted Thursday, March 26, 2020
Teleplay by Michael Chabon
Story by Michael Chabon & Akiva Goldsman
Directed by Akiva Goldsman

Spoiler-Free Review

Star Trek: Picard delivered a solid season finale with a mix of action, character moments, and a bit of fan service sprinkled in for good measure. The major theme of the show, centered around Picard’s development, felt well-rounded and nicely tied up, although some of the other season-long arcs came without completely satisfying closure.

Excellent performances by Alison Pill, Isa Briones, and of course Sir Patrick Stewart, carried the day, in a story with some oh-so-Star Trekkian themes (and tropes). When viewed as a whole, the two-part finale seems a bit jumbled, as if it would have been better off being re-edited as one single jumbo episode. While not all loose ends were tied up, the hanging narrative threads still existed to service the main story, which did feel nicely resolved. In the ways that matter, a satisfying finale.

Sir Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard in “Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2”

[WARNING: Spoilers from here on]

Borgfront property, slight fixer-upper

The finale opens on a gorgeous shot of the Borg Cube partially submerged in water. Although I admit I actually really liked the fact that last episode was basically set in Malibu (the Southern California planet, a Trek tradition), this one shot really made the world feel alien to me and helped get my head in the story.

Narek stealthily sneaks onto the Cube while Elnor bonds with Seven over not wanting to shoot her in the head. The mini flying Borg drones, apparently working to repair the ship, reminded me of the exocomps from TNG; are they also sentient? A prescient thought in this particular storyline. Narek then makes his way to his sister Narissa, who is well and has been hiding out on the Cube. Their interaction seems to indicate that Narek is done being pushed around by her. After all, he’s the one who’s made all the progress. His new plan is to blow up the space orchids with some space grenades before the Romulan fleet arrives.. at least, that’s what he tells Narissa.

Beached Borg cube

What’s a little genocide between friends?

Back in synthville, Soji comes to visit a captive Picard. “You choose if we live. You choose if we die,” Soji says to Picard, seemingly now fully converted to Sutra’s cause. “We have no choice,” she says, then drives it home with, “You organics have never given us one.” Picard handled this moment much more diplomatically than I would have as he implored Soji to stop building the jungle gym of doom (cousin to the carousel of doom). In my mind, I was already pulling up Memory Alpha so that I could source clips of every time the Federation (usually led by Picard!) had stood up for synthetic life. Learn your history, Soji! This conversation was key for our characters and for the audience, as it solidified the theme of the synth storyline: the freedom to choose their own destiny.

The building beacon is this episode’s ticking clock

A witty heading: Use your imagination

Back on La Sirena, Rios and Raffi work together to fix the ship with Saga’s magic Ocarina of Time. “Use your imagination” were the instructions on how to use the tool that apparently can do whatever you need it to do. A magical device to be sure, but then again, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. I didn’t like the magic plot hole filler device being introduced, because it was obviously going to show up later, and it seems like such a crutch. But, the writers have made it clear that the village on Coppelius is light years ahead of the rest of the galaxy technologically. So, I’ll allow it.

Besides, this whole sequence between Raffi and Rios was absolutely delightful. The two characters have really come into their own throughout the season, and we could definitely use a bit of humor at this point in the story. These two remind me that our heroes are human. Rios using the tool did feel magical, in a good way. And the visual effects looked fantastic.

If you just believe it, it will be fixed

The enemy of my enemy is… sometimes still my enemy

Unfortunately, this lovely moment is interrupted by Narek, who’s come a-knocking. (And a-rocking.) But, this time he comes… in peace? This character got on my nerves the first time we laid eyes on him back on the Artifact, but now he’s like a particularly annoying pimple that just. keeps. coming. back. But he’s a good guy now, he promises! Rios and Raffi listen to what he has to say, and while that ultimately pays off, I have to side with Elnor on this one: I’m not buying it. This whole joining-forces-with-the-enemy thing fell completely flat for me. Nerek’s sudden one-eighty doesn’t feel earned; he tried to murder Soji like three days ago, remember? Now we are just supposed to trust that he won’t betray us again? After a campfire cookout in which Narek reads passages from his new book “More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About Romulan End Times”, the gang go forward with Narek’s plan to use the Wookiee prisoner trick to get back into Synth Town.

Narek has such a trustworthy face, right?

Jurati and the old switcheroo

As Narek and the gang are finding a way to sneak themselves into Synthberg, Jurati is putting a plan in motion to break Picard out. She begins her new work with Brent Lore Noonien Altan on yet another one of Chekhov’s Guns: the golem, which promises to allow the transfer of one (1) human consciousness into a Soji-style android body. This whole plotline feels odd to me. Since Altan is siding with the synths on the whole “destroy all organics” issue, and Jurati has vouched to die for her “children”, what’s the endgame here? Jurati somehow manages to transfer Altan’s consciousness into this body, then he is allowed to live as a synth and then she just… dies? I suppose that’s what mothers do, isn’t it? Somehow, I don’t think Altan is the one who is going to end up golemified.

As a fan of the character of Jurati (I still don’t blame her for the murder of Maddox), I was very happy to see her pull a switcheroo on Soong in the only well-placed swear word of the season. “I’m not their mother, asshole.” Get it, Agnes! Back on #TeamPicard, booya! Scoop out that eye! (ew) Bust out Picard! (yay) Meanwhile, Soong uncovers Saga’s final memories, and the sight of Sutra murdering his daughter is just enough to turn him over to Team Former Enemies. Organics unite!

When she signed on for this gig, Jurati never imagined yanking eyeballs out of synths

Seven minutes in hea- until destruction

Back on La Sirena, Picard and Jurati discover that the Zhat Vash fleet is seven minutes away. No way Starfleet is going to make it before them: they need a plan to stall. And then the two set off in a rather comedic twist of “the two least qualified people to pilot a starship, let alone take it into battle”.

But, the action can wait, of course, until Picard delivers one of his patented speeches™. The synthetics are alive, but like children, who don’t understand what life is: a responsibility and a right. So Picard will teach them that by example. Picard sits in THE CHAIR, the Next Gen theme music swells, and then in a nice twist, the first “make it so” of the season comes as a command from Jurati to Picard. Yes, it’s corny fan service, but it worked.

On the planet below, the silver Jenga block beacon of doom gets close to full capacity with Soji and Sutra working together to call the “liberators” who will come to free them from the threat of ThE oRgAnIcS. In a very abbreviated moment, Soong informs Sutra that he knows what she did last summer episode and shuts her down (kills her???) with a glowing salt shaker (of doom?). So… can Soong just shut them all down and end the apocalypse? Because that’d be really great. Like… if you could do that, now…? Especially since Team Former Enemies’ plan to bomb the beacon sort of epic failed.

Do Romulan ghost stories come with s’mores?

I have had… enough of you!

Cut to the Borg cube, where Narissa and Seven make an appearance to remind us they are still around. Narissa once again lays on her, ahem, “charms” (I just threw up in my mouth a little) as an overacting femme fatale while the two go hand-to-hand. I must say, I love that Seven feels remorse over killing Narissa (hooray character growth! God knows Seven needs some after that stunt on Freecloud), but what I loved even more was watching her punt Narissa right over the edge of that precipice. Ding dong, the weakest character in the show is dead!

Finally, someone figured out how to shut Narissa up

Where there is a Will, there is a way

In orbit, Picard and Jurati (Picti? Jurcard?) are now face-to-face with about 200 Romulan warships. The odds are not good. Picard takes this moment to call up Soji and reveal his plan: He intends to give his life for the synths, to show them what it means to be human. But wait! The magic do-anything device! In a nice nod to the Picard Maneuver, Jurita prays to the ocarina to, like, make a bunch of ghost ships appear (with warp signatures). Just use your **~_i-m-a-g-i-n-a-t-i-o-n_~**.

Soji seems maybe moved by Picard’s offering, but the beacon activates… please tell me Michael Burnham isn’t about to come through. And just in the nick of time, as if there wasn’t already enough going on in this sequence, the biggest rootinest tootinest fleet of Federation ships show up to save the day! And, they are commanded by none other than Mr. Fanservice himself, William T. Riker! Yes, this was the most egregious bit of fan service to date on this show, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t love every minute of it. Frakes played the role perfectly, too. Soji closes the beacon, and then all of this wraps up rather quickly and easily, but the performances, callbacks, effects, and the music all make it work.

William Goddamn Riker!

But, the excitement was a little too much for Picard to take. He is beamed down to the planet just in time to die in Raffi’s arms. Although we knew his transfer into the golem was inevitable (given the title of the show and its already-announced renewal), it was still nice to take a moment to see our characters mourn, as they gathered in unlikely pairs to grieve.

Picard says goodbye

MMO-OMG

To no one’s surprise, we see Picard awaken, but his location is unexpected. He is in some kind of dream version of his vineyard study, but it’s floating in space and now monochromatic. Is he dreaming? The answer to that is delivered by another pleasant surprise, Commander Data, and this Data is as we last saw him in Star Trek: Nemesis, with some impressive CGI de-aging on Brent Spiner. Data reveals they are in a “massively complex quantum simulation,” he also informs Picard that he is indeed dead, in case anyone wasn’t clear on that.

Not missing a beat from the characters they played two decades ago, Stewart and Spiner reignite their perfect chemistry in this postmortem MMO as Data explains he is that copy of Data which was downloaded to B-4 in Nemesis. He, therefore, can’t remember the original Data sacrificing his life, but he is ready to drop some truth on Picard’s two decades of guilt, saying, “Why would you imagine I regret sacrificing mine for yours?” Like Riker and Troi did in “Nepenthe” earlier in the season, Picard’s old crew are speaking truth to power, helping him let go of his baggage.

After some more emotional bonding including the ever so Data line, “Knowing that you love me forms a small, but statistically significant part of my memories. I hope that brings you some comfort sir,” Picard is surprised to learn this quantum realm is not his new eternal resting place. He is going back, and Data has one final—and I mean final—request before he leaves.

Picard and Data, together again

Memento dati

Picard is now awake and in some sort of high-tech tanning bed thing back on Coppelius. He soon learns his consciousness has been downloaded into the golem, but don’t worry. they arranged for this synthetic body to be just like a normal body of a 94-year-old man, even with a special aging and dying algorithm. His first question is a nice bit of poetry with Soji and the synth’s arc, asking “Am I real?”

Picard, Jurati and Soong then grant Data’s last request, holding a sort of memorial for him as Picard deactivates his quantum realm, piece by piece. He fades away, joined by an image of TNG-era Picad himself, all along to a vinyl recording of “Blue Skies.” Data is now finally and truly dead.

But life goes on! The season ends on the bridge of the La Sirena. The gang is all here and it feels like some time has passed. Everyone is in a good mood. Jurati plants a kiss on Rios, Seven is there too and holding hands with Raff—wait, when did they hook up? Elnor is there at Picard’s side, head chopper at the ready. Soji is also on board, revealing the synth ban has been lifted and she is ready to travel. With no destination stated, they look to the stars and Picard gives the final line of the season, which was “engage,” of course. There was no last-minute cliffhangery surprise thing. It was all very tidy, uplifting and nice, in a very TNG way.

And he’s back!

Letting Picard be Picard (2.0)

One thing the finale most significantly delivered on was fulfilling Picard’s character arc, which is, of course, the most important thing for a show called Picard. Like all the characters, he started the season broken, and bit by bit he has been put back together, culminating in this finale where he returned to his old self, using the power of his persuasion to save the synths—and the organics—and to do it without a fight. More importantly, he was able to finally let go of the guilt he carried over the death of Data, with the help of Data himself. The final scene showed Picard letting go of his regret over resigning from Starfleet and retreating from the galaxy.

The finale gave much of the rest of our cast of characters elements of closure and arc fulfillment. Rios seems to have his mojo back, with Picard giving him something to believe in again. Dr. Jurati was able to redeem herself and prove the woman that killed Maddox was not really her, and apparently the Federation is going to let her slide on that homicide charge. Soji has finally become herself, and most importantly, has agency, now using it to choose to travel with Picard. Seven has shed at least some of the anger that has dominated her and again has a home, even finding time for some romance with Raffi. And Narissa’s arc is especially complete as she really needed to die.

While a number of character arcs were resolved—or at least moved in the right direction—the season ends with a number of loose plot ends. The fate of the xBs and the crashed Borg cube was left unresolved. We never saw what happened to Narek after Team Former Enemies stormed the beacon. While Picard has let go of his resignation regret, the guilt over the fate of the refugee Romulans still remains to be resolved. And there are still big questions, including why Soji and her sister were ever sent out from Coppelius in the first place. Hopefully, the second season will address these and other issues.

Early season two cast photo?

Let’s talk about the Sehlat in the room

Okay. So, you’ve made almost all the way through this lengthy review to get to what we’re all here to talk about: Picard is now an android. It’s the part of the show that’s caused me to say, when people ask if I liked the finale, “I don’t know.” As I write this review, I think I’ve finally figured out why, and it’s due to this, the biggest thing to happen to Picard since the Battle of Maxia. I am conflicted about the fact that Picard is an android because I hate the way it was done, but I love what it gave us.

The idea, on its own, of Picard becoming an android is already questionable. The execution leaves a lot to be desired. It’s just too damned convenient and without life-changing substance for Picard. We all knew he was going to end up in the golem. And, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think anyone was asking for a superhero immortal Picard to take command in season two. But, wow, they managed to get him into an identical body that ages at a natural rate, does not have super powers, but also remove his fatal brain abnormality! His body is so identical (how identical is it?) that even the way Picard experiences the world is apparently unchanged. I am hoping they will address this in season two, but I was hoping for some small remark about how “wow, my Earl Grey tastes a bit different now”. But, no. It’s as if none of this ever happened. This level of convenience makes one wonder why it was a part of the plot at all. And then I realized: it wasn’t to get Picard into an android body. That was a MacGuffin to deliver something far more valuable. And, boy did they hit that out of the park.

It’s finally become clear what this season was about. Not synthetic life or their autonomy. Not the Borg and the xBs (RIP Hugh). Not a ragtag band of buddies traveling the stars together. It was about the ramifications of the thing that broke Jean-Luc Picard, and Next Generation fans along with him. I’m talking about our old pal, Star Trek: Nemesis. Our “goodbye” to the franchise ended with the very hollow death of our beloved Lt. Commander Data and a huge misstep with the creation of B-4. The first few episodes of Picard took care of that last part (thank you!), and the last 10 minutes of the season took care of the first.

Picard started this journey a broken man. The death of his friend Data and the tragedy that Picard never had the emotional maturity to actually call Data his friend left him isolated and depressed. By the end of season one, Picard was ready. Ready to say “I love you” and ready to say “goodbye.” At the end of this season finale, the writers gave Picard, and the viewers, a true gift: the farewell Data deserved.

I’ve been waiting for that moment between Picard and Data for twenty years, and it was everything I needed it to be. Spiner fell back into his role as if he never left it, and the CGI de-aging was absolutely remarkable (and a noticeable improvement compared to the season premiere). The funeral scene, as Picard pulled the plug on his friend, was just as powerful. And, all the while, it drove home a very Trekkian message about humanity; that we’re not really human without the thing that we fear most: the inevitability of death.

Goodbye again, old friend

Pull this thread as I walk away

All said and done, Part Two of the Picard finale came back after a weak Part One to deliver on some key themes and season-long story arcs. The season as a whole still feels a bit disjointed in places. Too many narrative threads ended up weaving too many separate tapestries, and to stretch this metaphor a bit too far, left the season a few squares short of a quilt. But, in the end, what this show did deliver on trumps everything else for me. I felt like I’ve finally buried a dear departed friend. And, that kind of closure is worth the universe.

Let’s see what’s out there.


Look for more in-depth analysis on season one of Star Trek: Picard in the coming days and weeks. And, keep up with all the Star Trek: Picard news right here at TrekMovie.

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Hat Rick

I was delighted with this finale.

Here are a few thoughts:

– The series finale dovetails with Discovery and we are likely to see the AI / Control storyline continue from the “other side” in that series;

– The series raises fundamental issues of personal identity, a vast philosophical topic with many connections to existing canon;

– The series provides a great number of future possibilities for all of the remaining characters, including, in particular, Rios, Raffi, Elnor, and, of course, Picard himself;

– My appetite has been whetted for a series focusing on recent history of Riker in view of his absolutely commanding presence aboard the Zheng He;

– Data was given his due, and his unique take on life and death mirrors longstanding themes particularly from ST: Generations;

– It is reassuring to know that Starfleet can marshal such a vast and powerful fleet on such short notice, and in so showing, the series reaffirms that the Federation is fundamentally sound. Once again, a rogue higher-up in Starfleet has lost — and decisively;

– I look forward to Series 3 more than ever before give all of the above.

kmart

From what people have said about that fleet’s diversity, it sounds like maybe it was just Riker’s ship plus a really big 3d printer to cookie cutter the rest.

Aztek Dummy

plus, if you just lost your major ship building station a few years ago, you are busy just pumping out numbers of the same design to get your fleet back up to standard to start worrying about different designs. War time planes were pretty uniform as well, I’d imagine

Hat Rick

Yes, good point.

I gather that these are Curiosity-class ships, which are strikingly similar to the better-known Odyssey-class. The state objective is to reinstate exploration as a Starfleet priority (hence the name of the lead ship). This is an excellent return to when Starfleet was primarily interested in exploration.

Making a ship of this class on an expedited basis would be facilitated by mass production, which it seems has transpired.

This class is obviously loaded for bear. That being the case, in this and in sheer size, it is the opposite of a pure science vessel like the Oberth-class.

Hauke Fischer

You’ll also have to consider all the new tech and gadgets Voyager brought home from the Delta Quadrant, these ships will have to be extremely fast as they didn’t even show up on long-range sensors (Quantum Slipstream Drive?) perhaps even including Future Janeway’s stuff the transphasic torpedos, ablative shielding.

Hat Rick

Well said. These ships are meant to be generally superior to any of the Starfleet vessels we saw in TNG.

Regarding the loss of Utopia Planitia, we do not know many things concerning Federation capabilities. There were very probably other significant shipyards in the Federation. Also, a large strategic reserve might have been in existence (and it was said there were about a dozen near-complete Galaxy-class held in reserve prior to the Dominion War at one point in TNG).

Given that the Dominion War had consumed so many ships, the Federation might have found it even more pressing to gradually build up a larger back-up fleet, even if only partially constructed, as a contingency.

Furthermore, the destruction of ships at the Mars facility related to ships specially designated for rescue; this leaves the possibility that other and more regular ships already in existence or in various stages of assembly there or elsewhere were not nearly as affected.

Ian

That’s one way to justify the VFX crew probably not having enough time or access to old 3D models to do the job properly. Same goes for why we couldn’t get an old warbird or two This whole season either.

Josiah Rowe

Re: not getting “an old warbird or two” — let’s not forget that we did get a 23rd century Bird-of-Prey.

Ian

Yeah, so they can do that but not show a D’Deridex or Valdore, which is more important?

The Collector

Yes because if the Navy’s main shipyards were destroyed, they would pump out 200 aircraft carriers or 1,000 frigates because it doesn’t matter about different roles ships serve.

Or it was just an afterthought and there was too little time and/or money left to put any real effort into the fleet. Come on, let’s not beat around the bush here.

VOODOO

Agreed on all points. I thought season one of Picard was mostly very solid with a few missteps, which isn’t uncommon with tv series. I eagerly await season two.

Michael Sacal

I imagine Picard’s android body is no different than that of Juliana Soong.

kmart

I imagine it has some different operations.

Matt

Oh, kmart…that made me do a spit take! Hahaha! I would imagine it does too.

kmart

I was trying to work the words ‘fully functional’ in there but just settled for that. Glad it worked!

Matt

Juliana Tainer wasnt an organic synth, she had an artificial biosignature that made her appear human, but she was full of leds when she fell off that cliff.

Soji Dahj and Picard are biological with a positronic brain

Or at least thats how I understand it

Thorny

It looked like an organic eye that Jurati used to open Picard’s door. Possibly the same prop they used for Icheb’s eye.

Edward Samuela

Things I liked:

-The Data-Picard scenes. I really liked how they resolved those threads, and I thought Data’s request to die made sense for his character. It’s an ultimate act which exemplifies how he’s come to understand his humanity.

-Seven of Nine. The fight between Seven and Narissa was satisfying. And I loved seeing Seven sitting on the bridge of La Sirena at the end. Maybe Picard and crew will become part of the Fenris Rangers?

-Picard at the helm of La Sirena. It’s better when he’s driving the action instead of sitting in a passenger seat watching the action.

-Riker and Starfleet. It felt so good to have the familiar of Starfleet ships and uniforms.

Thing I didn’t like:

-The inter-galactic Federation of A.I.s basically became some Doc Ock tentacles poking out of a hole. No explanation as to what they are, or exactly what happened to the civilization that left the warning/message.

-The Soong son was a disappointment. I think it would have made a better story idea for it to actually have been Lore, but a reformed version of Lore who has changed his ways after Data’s death and was understanding humanity in his own unique way.

-The idiot ball plot to sabotage the A.I. transmitter. It was ridiculous that everyone would start believing Narek so quickly, and the whole thing with the soccer ball just seemed a bit shy of ridiculous.

-Picard’s death and resurrection was handled in a really hamfisted way. I kept thinking that they’ve basically opened up the same story problem as “Star Trek Into Darkness” did with magic blood, where they’ve effectively cured death. But if you’re going to give Picard a robot body, why not leave it a mystery as to what his nature is now. By going through that scene where they tell the audience: “Don’t worry! Nothing has changed really. He doesn’t have super strength and he’ll still die,” it strips a lot of the uniqueness of this decision out of it.

MichaelB

I agree with pretty much everything you say here. “Picard in a Monkey Body” kinda sucks (sorry, a two-and-a-half-men reference). They basically raped him and put him in a new body. It was done without his consent. I’m not sure the Picard of old would have wanted this.

Guest poster

I also agree with the above in that Picard is now essentially a “robot” loosely speaking. I’m not keen on this either. If the plan was to kill off his character all along, they should have just left it till the series finale. In addition, his passing didn’t really have that emotional significance to his new crew (well maybe a little for Raffi and Elnor) because they only just met. His passing would have been more meaningful it he was surrounded by his TNG family. I wasn’t too keen on Data dying a second time either, but at least it provided some closure.

Hat Rick

Tangentially, I think it’s questionable whether Data was the same individual who died in Nemesis. The episode’s Data was based on a copy of Data that was downloaded to B4. The consciousness that was the original Data disappeared as a result of his self-sacrifice.

Data was never, effectively, resurrected to begin with.

This is a version of the old Transporter Problem (a.k.a., is the transporter a murder machine?) issue. But in this case, it’s much clearer, since the version of Data that was downloaded into B4 was narratively definitively prior to the self-sacrifice, existed independently of Data, and did not have Data’s memories of the self-sacifice (per the episode of itself).

YKeeg

Yeah, but he seems pretty OK with it.

YKeeg

What if Janeway (or some other Voyager cast member) is the head of the Fenris Rangers? Fed up with Starfleet, thirsty for justice, a long time getting to know the Maquis… It’d be a good fit.

Plus if La Sirena joins up, they could get periodic mission briefings from an old friend.

JSM-73

“And, all the while, it drove home a very Trekkian message about humanity; that we’re not really human without the thing that we fear most: the inevitability of death.“

…a message largely undone completely and only a scene or two later by Picard mk.2.

Legate Damar

His death is still inevitable though. They bought him some more time, but he is still going to die.

Cmd.Bremmon

Why is it inevitable? Why would you condemn this new life to die just so some organically can feel comfortable and fake having the old life form around?

Edward Samuela

If they want to, they could easily hand wave those restrictions away. In fact, since he’s in an artificial body, arguably they could recast the character with a younger actor if at some point Patrick Stewart wants to either cut back his participation or stop.

Aztek Dummy

Picard’s death is still inevitable. the synth body he has will age and die in the normal lifespan (so maybe 10/20 years from “now”) unless he gets himself shot first

Cmd.Bremmon

We can engineer an upgrade.

German Trekkie

There is not even a in-universe reason they could not just pull out another golem and transfer his mind again. Not that I write that, would it not be a valid storyline, if all kinds of people try to get their hands on this technology to get immortality for themselves?…
Maybe some of them catch Picard and experiment on him. Who knows…

Tiger2

I don’t have an issue with humans transferring concussions to AI but yes that’s always been the issue, that people can now generally live forever. It was exactly the same issue with magic blood in STID, if it can bring you back to life, it probably can cure death altogether or at least prolong it to crazy level.

Kurtzman seems to love these type of plot lines. They are interesting and yes VERY Star Trek but then they raise all kinds of crazy questions no one seems to want to ever fully answer lol.

ML31

Technically the transporter can keep one perpetually young as well.

Keith

Aye, it can laddie

madtrekfanuk

Nice Relics reference!

A34

Don’t you want to live forever Tiger?

Lodged Torpedo

Beautifully written with well-articulated, insightful introspection, thank you!

Keith

Is there anything more to say? What a treat, not a dry eye in the house, forget all this picking at bones, it was something I never expected to see and we’re getting more. Just enjoy it!

ML31

“Memory Alpha so that I could source clips of every time the Federation (usually led by Picard!) had stood up for synthetic life. ”

But then look up the actual appearance of synthetic life and see how every single time it appeared it brought with it death and destruction.

“But, the writers have made it clear that the village on Coppelius is light years ahead of the rest of the galaxy technologically.”

I don’t think they made that clear at all. In fact, they looked to be on the same level as everyone else. Save for the magic wand that reads the holder’s imagination.

” I was very happy to see her pull a switcheroo on Soong”

That was amazingly obvious from the very beginning. The “children” and “mother” lines I found creepy and ominous. Yet no one else seemed to. Weird.

“So Picard will teach them that by example”

Yeah… I really don’t know what his plan was there. Was he planning to get blown up by Romulans? What would that accomplish? Doesn’t seem like it would teach the mechanics anything. And if so, he was doing so knowing he was dying so how much of a lesson was it really?

“Data is now finally and truly dead.”

Except he was already. You know… When he got blown into atoms? Or is that not dead enough for us?

So yes, there was a small Picard arc but this season was really just a convoluted way of gaining closure with Data’s sacrifice. Something that really didn’t need to take this long.

For the record I did not know Picard would end up in the robot body. That really came out of left field for me. I thought they would cure him with some AI research related cure for whatever it was that hurt his brain. Quite frankly, the concept of Picard in an aging robot body was too silly to seriously consider.

So you are saying that this season was about fixing something that wasn’t broken? That doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. The Data ending that already existed was satisfying and worthwhile. He had evolved as much as his circuitry would allow and he had nowhere more to go. He was totally at peace saving his Captain from certain death. Instead he his just “deactivated” uselessly and senselessly? That is BETTER? Sorry, this works much better with it being entirely created in Picard’s head. It should have been him dreaming the whole thing, waking up and them telling him his brain was cured. Picard gets his closure. On to season two.

Hauke Fischer

“So Picard will teach them that by example”

Yeah… I really don’t know what his plan was there. Was he planning to get blown up by Romulans? What would that accomplish? Doesn’t seem like it would teach the mechanics anything. And if so, he was doing so knowing he was dying so how much of a lesson was it really?

Well it was a desperate last attempt really. Soji doesn’t know Picard like we do. She’s never seen him do the things we all know he did for herself. All she knows about him is what people told her about him. Picard put his money where his mouth was to show he was sincere and willing to die for what he believed in.
If they didn’t get Soji to stop the signal, they all die.
Picard knows he’s dying and Jurati said (in front of Picard I might add) that she’s willing to die for “her children” i.e. Soji.

ML31

But that still doesn’t explain how that will teach Soji anything. I think the best way to teach her is to shut her down and have Soong reprogram her to understand.

Mike S.

I too felt the ‘Picard is an android now’ thing was a bit questionable; I had been expecting the space Ocarina to be waved over him at some point and someone say ‘okay, that brain thing is fixed, you’re good to go now’.

Michael K

Just one question….where is Picard’s body?

Hat Rick

Perhaps he was given a funeral offscreen?

An outside possibiity: “The Search for JL.”

Danpaine

Great question. That was some extreme glossing-over, there. What a rookie writing error.

ML31

There were a lot of writing errors in this, it seems. Basic mistakes many of which could have been easily fixed.

The Collector

That doesn’t sound like Kurtzman at all!

Denny C

They buried him under a pile of rocks because apparently that’s how they roll in the 24th century.

FrostUK

The Klingons ate his remains. They were strange bald Klingons.

Cmd.Bremmon

I’m a little sad even for TNG that organic Picard was so replaceable, not even a funeral for a being that existed, felt, hurt etc. I wasn’t his biggest fan but the man deserved better from acquaintances and fans.Very dehumanizing.
Also sad new life form is forced to be old Picard just for nostalgia purposes that people don’t have to feel loss. In some ways this mirrors slavery. The theme of utopia is dystopia continues.

Edward Samuela

I kept expecting Q (John de Lancie) to make a surprise appearance, especially when Picard was dying. If the events of TNG’s “Tapestry” were real, then you’d expect him to be there for something like this.

Also, the more I thought about the episode, the more I started wondering whether the Picard we end up is “real,” or basically a copy no different than Tom Riker, and whether that makes a difference?

Gary 8.5

I heard a rumor about 5 months ago. That Q was going to make an appearance.
I am kind of glad that he didn’t.

bsan

The replacement of organic picard, and putting his conciencouness into another (synthetic) body did bother me at first. Then I remembered Start Trek III: The Search for Spock, and the way Spock’s Katra was put into a newly grown body (from the Genesis planet). If the fandom could accept this this was still Spock, I don’t see a problem with essentially the same thing happening to Picard.

Cmd.Bremmon

Had they forced Spocks mind on another life form I don’t think anyone would have been ok with that.
Also I’ve come to realize Nick Meyer was right — Spock coming back (as much as I love III, IV and VI) was a mistake, it cheapened his sacrifice in II and prevented the next gen movie era (Saavick could no longer come into her own).

Corinthian7

The golem wasn’t a new life form, just an empty vessel designed to receive and host another’s consciousness.

ML31

Like the robot bodies Sargon had planned….

ML31

I agree. I really loved VI (could live without IV) but I think it would have been better if Spock remained dead after that. Plus, the 3rd film pretty much reversed everything the 2nd film was trying to say.

TonyD

While the years have not been particularly kind to TSFS, I think you’ve forgotten that it was not a newly grown Spock; it was the same body but the cells had been rejuvenated by the Genesis Effect; David Marcus even says as much when they first find the child. As such, his Katra was simply restored to its original, but now repaired, vessel.

Tiger2

I agree with that. Spock’s resurrection was always nonsensical in my mind too. He basically had a new body and conveniently his consciousness was put in someone else. Then we saw what they did with Culber on Discovery and that guy didn’t have a body AT ALL and he’s now walking around again lol.

This is just what Star Trek does. I find it funny people actually debate which ridiculous resurrection is more credible lol. It’s ALL ridiculous, but this is how Star Trek rolls. But I guess what bothers me about Picard, and many have said it, there just didn’t seem to even be a need to give him a new body. It just seem like that’s what they wanted to do and used his neurological disorder as an excuse to do it.

At least with Spock, the plan WAS to actually kill him off. Once that was changed they had to find a way to bring him back and while still a bit ridiculous you can buy it because of properties of the Genesis planet (I always wondered what they would’ve done if that was never part of the story or if they kept the original idea and just jettison his body into space?). But with Picard it feels a little cheap because they just killed him to do it.

I just don’t get these writers who pat themselves on the back for ‘killing’ a character that was not remotely killed off? “Look what we did, we killed off your hero for two minutes and brought him back in the most convenient way possible in the very next scene, how brave are we?”

And then of course it feels more cheap because the name of the show is titled Star Trek: Picard. He was never going anywhere regardless.

ML31

I guess they learned from TROS. They “killed” Chewbacca, C-3PO and Ben only to bring them back. Although Ben was brought back only to die again. And we all know how great a film THAT was!

AllenWrench

I think the difference is time. It took two whole movies for Spock to get back to being the Spock we all love, after much sacrifice and hardship for his friends and then the learning process of becoming himself again. Here, like in Star Trek Into Darkness, death is a minor setback for our hero.

Process and evolution count for something in storytelling. If a caterpillar becomes a butterfly in five minutes, it’s not really a butterfly.

Vulcan Soul

“Also sad new life form is forced to be old Picard just for nostalgia purposes that people don’t have to feel loss. In some ways this mirrors slavery. The theme of utopia is dystopia continues.”

The more important problem with it is that it completely undoes the message, which was “There are always choices, even if it’s self-sacrifice” (a questionable message in itself), but at the end of the day, it’s not really self-sacrifice if it’s picard-ex-machina, is it?

In a real world relevance sort of way, this message is useless.

Hat Rick

The American revolutionary, Nathan Hale, is reputed to have said, “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”

Even if Picard lives in this new body, there was no assurance of it when he made his sacrifice, and so there is meaning still in his sacrifice.

If the golem process is unique, he will be given a second chance to live — or to sacrifice it again (contra Hale). But this doesn’t make his sacrifice any less profound.

Aztek Dummy

unless they introduce the “copy of a copy” degradation. That would sour Picard on the idea of going thru the process a second time.

ST:EXP

I get fixated on the logistics of things, unfortunately. It seemed so odd to me that a GIGANTIC armada of Federation ships arrive at the planet… and literally ALL swiftly go back home. That was so over-the-top jarring to me. “Well… all is good here… let’s go home”. No ships stay behind to investigate this INSANE planet… write any reports… no post-incident-interviews…. no one stays behind to make sure the Romulans didn’t do a big fake-out and just swing back 20 minutes later to destroy the planet anyway. WHY IS THE WRITING SO SLOPPY??? Are we all supposed to be so distracted by the heavy-heavy-heavy Data-Picard scenes that we forgive everything else? Am I alone in this?

Danpaine

Nope, you’re not alone. It was very disjointed, imo.

Hat Rick

The Romulans were escorted out of the area by the Federation fleet. Interesting point, however.

Denny C

A part of me was wondering if Riker actually had this fleet with him. Were they really there?

Fair point Denny C.

With Jurati having created an illusion of hundreds of La Sirena’s, the vfx of an armada of Starfleet ship wasn’t as convincing.

I did wonder if the vfx shots could have been done a bit differently to make the fleet more convincing. For example, some of the sweeping shots from different angles of the ships that we’ve seen in Discovery might have made a difference.

A34

Star Trek Picard is a low budget show.

The Collector

Totally. It could still be well written though.

YKeeg

It’s probably a very HIGH budget show, but the lion’s share of that budget is going to its star, and any special guest stars they can wrangle. They can basically name their price.

Tillsy

THAT bothered me immensely. The Romulans about face, the ENTIRE Federation fleet just warps away leaving not a single ship, so why didn’t the Romulans just turn around and blow the planet to smithereens? Also after all the glorious shots of starships in Discovery I felt rather robbed with what we got in Picard – I had to pause the footage to try and get any kind of look at the ships, and even then couldn’t see much and they were all insanely similar to one another. At least the shots of Riker on his bridge were mindboggling – the best brief moments of Trek I have seen in my life they were STUNNING!

Danpaine

Given the story they created, I think it was a good finale. Predictable, but enjoyable. Seeing Riker in uniform again in command was incredible, as was his interaction with Picard. Same with Data. His and Picard’s dialogue at the end paid off in dividends for this old Trek nerd, it was excellent. Seven, in her ‘disposing of Palpatine’ moment…”This is for Hugh!” Finally some proper appreciation for a wasted character. And Finally, some federation ships! Which all looked the same, generic. No Titan or Enterprise? Flagship named what? I think of the ships Secret Hideout serves up in relation to new cars today, they don’t look nearly as cool as those from the 60’s, or even the 80’s, but are shiny and go SO fast and make COOL noises! Also a shout-out to one of the worst villains I’ve ever seen on screen, “Commodore or General, Oh,” she was just terrible and one-dimensional. I wish she’d worn the sunglasses while commanding the Romulan ship, to complete how comical she was. Seven and Raffi getting together is about as predictable as it comes, but it follows given their collective loneliness and the match works for me. Picard’s ‘re-birth’ was very much Too neat and squeaky-clean, but again, it works for me in terms of the overall quality of the show. It was a “good” season, and actually could have ended the show’s run right there with no complaints from me. Someone on another thread offered something to the effect it was a season made up of some good moments instead of a tight story, which I agree with. It just wasn’t an “I can’t wait until next week” show for me though, which I was very much hoping it would. I will be tuning in next season, hoping the writing is more cohesive, hoping to glimpse more nostalgic moments and familiar characters. Looking forward to some more character-building for our new crew. Overall, it was a season worth watching, and a nice rounded-off bookend to Nemesis which wasn’t really necessary, but appreciated. And with a much needed happy ending, and a far cry above Discovery! However CBSAA, curtains for you for another year or more, no re-watch value here…sub. cancelled, once again.

Garth Lorca

It’s a wonderful conclusion to a season / series I really liked (minus Icheb!) but some themes and issues truly stand out:

Picard now being sort of an android is really a giant leap for the character. I liked it that he doesn’t become a superhero that way and that it’s basically an artificial recreation of him. It reflects “Tapestry” (artifical heart) and him having been a Borg called Locutos, it even calls back memories from his second life in The Inner Light, and it is for sure a better ending than the one we got for original Kirk in GEN. If this is the last we see of Picard (and I believe it is due to the Corona fall-out), it’s a near perfect ending for both the series and the character.

Data dying is certainly a lot more controversial and parts of me wonder why they didn’t just bring his consciousness back and place it in a new body. Quite obviously, his “brother” should have been able to do that if he was able to create hundreds of advanced Soong-type androids and the Golem to hold Picard’s brainwaves. Not bringing back Data and keeping him in a Moriarty-style simulation for decades certainly evokes some logical issues but on a philosophical and emotional level, this afterthought to NEM really works.

Lots of people have pointed out that those fleets don’t really make sense. Neither the Romulans nor the Federation should have been able to summon such a gigantic fleet of highly sophisticated warbirds and futuristic vessels.
The Romulans lost their home and their empire, the best they should be able to come up with is a desperately assembled fleet of moth-balled yunkyard remnants from all eras of Trek, including ENT era ships, TOS era ships, TNG era Warbirds and smaller vessels and maybe some leftovers from the NEM era, but not a line-up of state-of-the-art models. Same for Riker’s fleet: haven’t they just lost Utopia Planetia, lacking resources to build enough starships to safe lives across the galaxy? Mars still burning?
It’s just like Star Wars 9! A great movie let down by the silly inclusion of hundreds of Sith Star Destroyers that Palpatine was able to conjure up out of thin air at a most secret hide-out! Neither Abrams nor Kurtzman seem to be willing to think that stuff through before including it… Given how important ressources are to cartoons, comics, novels and especially strategy video games in both franchises, this really is a shame.

Danpaine

Good post, Garth. Great points.

Smitoons

While I do agree we should have seen older warbirds and Starfleet ships, I would argue it is because of the improbability of never running into any ships of another class in all that time. The Federation has other shipyards, it has to in order to build the thousands of starships in Starfleet. The Romulans lost Romulus and Remus and other star systems, but not their entire empire. Crippled but not down for the count.

But TNG alone is an example of how some starship designs could still be in service over 80 years later, let alone 20. We know they had the 3D model for the Galaxy class, certainly. A VFX friend who worked on Picard said they were very disorganized so it wouldn’t surprise him if they’d actually lost the models for ships like the Sovereign and the Valdore, but they also just might not have had the time to flesh out those fleets properly. Such a shame, as between that and Riker clearly being the only character they could afford to bring back, that final standoff felt cheap.

Aztek Dummy

well, firstly, Data said he didn’t want to “come back” he had lived a good life, said his goodbyes and was OK with it.
I remember at the time of BOBW that they had toyed with the idea of giving Picard an “artificial” arm to replace the one the Borg had supposedly removed as part of his rehabilitation, but then they realized they would be committing to do the extra makeup every week til the end of the series. At least the artificial heart doesn’t show on screen.

A34

Who’s Icheb? Amish?

DeanH

Good overall take, lots of disjointed themes and open questions BUT overall I really liked the first season of Picard – perhaps the best first season in the franchise (with the exception of TOS which might be so dated, but gets a pass since it was also so ground-breaking for its time).
My likes and dislikes were posted previously but here are a couple of other observations. I like how the reviewer takes a leap that the epilogue takes place well after the previous scene (many days, weeks or maybe even months).

Also, I really like that Data got a proper send off. I know some like Nemesis, but for me I put it just slightly ahead of “These are the Voyages” as a terribly disappointing final story. Just like the Enterprise finale, I really have only watched Nemesis once. Just my opinion, but last night’s episode provided proper closure for a great character and even though it is 17 years late, it was really fantastic to watch. IMO Spiner’s appearance was off, but his voice was exactly the same as it was in 1987. Brilliantly acted by both Brent and Sir Patrick.

Also thanks to the person who posted a somewhat sarcastic but very obvious point to me a few weeks ago that I should NOT look at the screen credits when guest stars are being listed during the opening theme. I looked away last night and was pleasantly surprised to see Riker come to the rescue, although i was of course hoping that might happen.

Lots of issues and plot holes and of course that one terribly egregious scene, but overall a very good first season of Picard. Hats off to the writers who seemed to learn a lot from Discovery and too bad S2 is going to be indefinitely but understandably delayed.

Ok now let’s see what they can do for Disco S3. Stay healthy and safe everyone!

Tiger2

The one thing I think the finale did right was correct the horrible ending of Nemesis and gave Data a proper ‘death’. I think that’s why so many like the finale because so many hated Nemesis lol and how Data went out. To be honest I didn’t like it but I accepted it (it did happen 17 years ago ;)), so I didn’t really think they needed to rehash it at this point. But after seeing how they did it, I thought it was great even if it was still a bit confusing with B4’s memories and all of that. But hey, it’s fair to say with these writers its not the first time I been confused on something lol.

It seem to work because nearly everyone is praising that scene between Picard and Data and frankly I think saved the finale for me at least because so much of it as the review pointed out just felt ridiculous or unresolved on so many levels.

And while I think how they gave Picard a new body didn’t feel remotely earned I have to give them a lot of credit for NOT bringing Data back. Clearly if they wanted to bring him back, they could. And they were sort hinting it was possible at least. But they went the opposite way and made it as clear as possible he wasn’t coming back. I’m guessing we won’t even see him in any dream sequences after this.

And I agree overall it was a good season. But like SO MUCH of what happens with serialized stories if the ending doesn’t stack up, its hard to separate how it ended with all the episodes before it but overall it wasn’t bad, just far from great. And it was still waaaaaay better than Discovery’s first season by far IMO. Not even close lol.

ML31

Again, I think people thinking data coming back was wishful thinking. I knew there was no way in hell data was coming back. If he was, it would be in a different body with a different voice. I consider it foolish to think Spiner was going to do this again on a regular basis. I really think a lot of people like the character so much they were WANTING him to come back so much that they thought he would. I had no such delusions. Besides, Data was blown to bits 17 years ago. It’s inconceivable he would be back. Even in Star Trek.

Tiger2

Obviously neither did I. But same time this is all science fiction. If they wanted to bring back Data and/or Spiner was up for playing him again they may have worked something out. I think though even they know it would feel a bit of a stretch but we watched a guy on Discovery come back to life without a body that to this day I still don’t understand how it happened and whose consciousness miraculously was transferred to another dimension to be retrieved from later. This is Star Trek, I NEVER pretend it’s based on reality lol.

And don’t get me wrong, I would’ve been OK if they did bring him back but as I always said, I am totally fine if they keep a character dead too because it’s actually OK for characters to die and stay dead, even in science fiction. I’m very very easy I guess lol.

ML31

Well… I still don’t think Culber is Culber. :)

A34

We have a new Data, and she’s hot.

ML31

For those who think this was a more proper send off for Data I would ask how so? How is Picard basically deleting a program (or murdering him if one considers this as the ‘real’ data) senselessly better than a noble sacrifice where he saves his Captain and crewmates from certain death? This is almost like re-editing Generations so Kirk dies getting shot in the back senselessly instead of given the opportunity to help Picard save the planet. I know which version I would rather see… A hero’s death.

DeanH

I don’t think it takes away from his death or sacrifice in Nemesis, in fact I think Data reinforced his sacrifice as the reason why Picard should not have survivor guilt. In no way did it change the reality that he had died. If anything, last night’s episode honored that death, but also simply added another layer to his story = a closing epilogue so to speak.

Leaving Data’s mind downloaded in B-4 at the end of Nemesis created the expectation that he’d be back.

This ending, where both Picard and we are told by Data that:
-his sacrifice of his life was his to make and his own ‘victory through death’, that had given his service meaning
– keeping his mind on ‘life support’ in a simulation, but without agency in the world, was something Maddox and Soong did for themselves, and not for Data. It wasn’t a lingering existence that he wanted, he wanted a finite and meaningful life.

Hat Rick

As I stated above, the original Data’s consciousness was terminated by his act of self-consciousness in Nemesis. More properly, the episode’s Data is Data version 2.0, which was based on the version of Data’s neural net that was copied into B4 prior to Data’s Nemesis’ sacrifice.

To everyone except the original Data, who has been dead since the events of Nemesis, Data 2.0 is virtually Data — but not to the original Data. This is a technicality, but one that would be important to the original Data, who no longer existed as a self (or consciousness), or living being, the moment he sacrificed himself.

ML31

And this reminds me of what Data said about B-4 in Nemesis when Picard was becoming concerned that had he lived the life Shinzon did that he could be that person.

Data said, “The B-4 is physically identical to me, although his neural pathways are not as advanced. But even if they were, he would not be me.”

And this was even WITH the memory download. If Data was correct, and I believe he was, then the Picard we saw at the end of this episode is not Picard. I’m surprised that these writers and producers who picked up on many little throw away bits from TNG shows mised this HUGE theme from the final movie. One they referenced other things from!

ML31

“Leaving Data’s mind downloaded in B-4 at the end of Nemesis created the expectation that he’d be back.”

Except that issue was addressed very early on in the show when we were told in no uncertain terms that the download DID NOT WORK.

Hat Rick

The difference between Data’s death, which was requested by Data himself, and murder calls to attention the difference between euthanasia and culpable homicide.

Locutus

This is an excellent and well written review. Thank you.

Arathorn

Ugh. Didn’t leave me with a smile. The whole thing was waaay too predictable, and the season ended on a cheap note:

1. The emotional weight of Picard’s death was immediately negated by his resurrection (so what was the point?)
2. Picard being an “android” is a completely moot plot element since he has a “normal” lifespan and abilities (again, what was the point?)
3. Watching Data die again was depressing and unnecessary.
4. Elnor’s character proved completely unnecessary to the story resolution
5. Narek disappeared – no explanation
6. The giant tentacled entity from another dimension seemed like it was lifted from Futurama
7. The f-bomb just doesn’t work in Star Trek – it’s use comes off as forced and awkward
8. No one acknowledged the implications of the head of Starfleet Intelligence being a serving Tal Shiar line officer…
9. Jurati is a murderer, and everyone is cool with it
10. There was no point to the Borg being on the planet’s surface, and Hugh’s death was rendered completely pointless. He could have played a role in the finale.

Thank god Patrick Stewart did such a good job of reviving his Picard role. Otherwise this series would have been a disaster. Hoping for better plot direction next season.

Danpaine

I totally dig that assessment, Arathorn. Excellent points.

Thorny

4. Elnor is a problem, they didn’t seem to know what to do with the character and had to make excuses for him not being with Picard. If he’d stayed with Picard in Part 1, there would certainly have been a bunch of decapitated synths (who don’t seem like the smartest bunch of humanoids) and Picard would never have been captured.

5. I’m going to guess Narek is locked up in one of the cabins on the La Sirena. There’s going to be some more Soji/Narek “Narek, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do” in Season 2.

9. It was pretty clear that Jurati was not of sound mind when she killed Maddox. She was under the influence of Oh’s mind-meld sharing of the Admonition, which drove most who saw it insane. Jurati was lucky to get her mind back.

10. Hugh’s death was the excuse to get rid of Narissa, who was too one-dimensional a character.

ML31

I do agree pretty much with all those points. I would add that no one sees phased that Soong is creating ‘life’ from nothing and on a whim. No one seems to be concerned about the prophesy of the inevitable robot uprising. And people seem to be totally fine with Picard murdering data. Assuming that was really him in the chips. Which I myself cannot buy.

I will add, however, that as much as Stewart saved bad TNG episodes watchable just by his charisma he seems to have lost that charisma here. He seemed to be bored with the entire affair starting fro the pilot though this finale. Has age hurt is acting ability?

Ricardo Alardo Schmardo

” 4. Elnor’s character proved completely unnecessary to the story resolution”

To be fair he was stuck on his home planet without a purpose and had felt abandoned by Picard. While he might not have been the hero of the day, he has played his part. He also has Picard as a mentor. No doubt there’s more to come from him.

Wehmut

Agreed.

Jake

I also like that Soong Jr. can just deactivate androids with his little glowy thing yet doesn’t do that when, um, the androids have decided to literally exterminate all life in the galaxy.

Also, it was mighty kind of them to give Rios that sonic screwdriver that can do literally anything

Thorny

It might be Bluetooth and only works from a few feet away. :-)

Aztek Dummy

1. The emotional weight of Picard’s death was immediately negated by his resurrection (so what was the point?)
2. Picard being an “android” is a completely moot plot element since he has a “normal” lifespan and abilities (again, what was the point?)
3. Watching Data die again was depressing and unnecessary.
4. Elnor’s character proved completely unnecessary to the story resolution
5. Narek disappeared – no explanation
6. The giant tentacled entity from another dimension seemed like it was lifted from Futurama
7. The f-bomb just doesn’t work in Star Trek – it’s use comes off as forced and awkward
8. No one acknowledged the implications of the head of Starfleet Intelligence being a serving Tal Shiar line officer…
9. Jurati is a murderer, and everyone is cool with it
10. There was no point to the Borg being on the planet’s surface, and Hugh’s death was rendered completely pointless. He could have played a role in the finale.

1. the point is that now he is uniquely qualified to act as the Synth’s spokesman when he argues their case before the Federation
2. see number 1
3. or uplifting and closure inducing
4. except for all that protecting and body guarding he did
5. Yeah, I’m with you on that one
6. Or even worse…Hellboy
7. I agree, but still…Double Dumb-ass on YOU!
8. I think Will did when he mentioned kicking her treasonous ass. But that part did feel rushed. But the show isn’t called “starfleet Security CSI”
9. Oh, come on. Our heroes in Trek kill people every day. Plus she was following (corrupted) orders from Oh
10. well, there’s no better place for the XB’s to get help than from Soong and Co. Plus armed with a Borg cube, the Synths finally got an effective defensive capability beyond the flowers.

A34

Love the F bombs.

Hauke Fischer

“And there are still big questions, including why Soji and her sister were ever sent out from Coppelius in the first place. Hopefully, the second season will address these and other issues.”
This was addressed. Maddox (having constructed the A-500s with Jurati) knew they couldn’t glitch out or suddenly develop conciousness and rebel, and had been suspecting sabotage for years. He sent Dahj to Earth to infiltrate the Daystrom Institute and Soji to The Artifact to investigate (people suspected Romulan involvement, including Raffi).

ML31

First… Wow. Where was that ever explained? I missed all of that.
2nd. Even if that was the case it makes no sense. What was he investigating and how did he know where to send them? Also, why would he KNOW they were incapable of rebelling but all the others are ‘their own person’ so to speak? Why wouldn’t all of them be that way? There are a lot of horrid plot holes here. If the result is emotionally satisfying I can forgive plot holes like this. But the only satisfaction here was Picard getting closure regarding data’s sacrifice 17 years ago. But Picard’s ‘death’ really didn’t work and left a very sour aftertaste.

Legate Damar

That was explained when Picard was talking to him in Stardust City Rag, before Jurati murdered him.

Its not canon, but the novels explain that the Synths on Mars were much more primitive and were incapable of gaining sentience. Even just going by the information on the show, it makes sense that Maddox would know the limits of his own creations,

ML31

I didn’t pick up on that. I guess it might be there and I just missed it but that seems unlikely. Although I do recall that exchange not really seeming relevant to anything going on… My subscription is canceled so I cannot go back and check.

It is canon that the Mars synths were basic worker bee robots. They were presented on screen that way. It was amazingly obvious and I am stunned anyone would think they were more advanced. Even the computer on the Enterprise was more advanced than those things. Yes, I would assume that Maddox would know all the ins and outs of his creations. Just like Soong. Which is why it doesn’t make sense he be surprised when he saw how some of them were acting in the penultimate episode.

RetroWarbird

My final score, which is still being tallied in my head in the form of a bigger critical analysis, essay, and some kind of actual process, is that I’m 50/50 on Picard. Exactly 50/50. And when I say I’m split down the middle I guess I can even look at that with a positive spin. Bear with me for a second, because I am a cynical viewer: I’m a hardcore fan and have seen everything multiple times. In the case of TOS, hundreds, TNG and DS9 dozens without counting watching clips or reading Wiki articles. Star Trek is basically “my fandom”. The one I’m at home in, not just visiting. So it’s important to lead with that before saying that calling “Picard” bad and leaving it at that seems like revisionist history and sad fan guardianship. ALL STAR TREK is bad and every little detail we latch onto and love, every brilliant scene or mind-changing concept, well-executed or well-acted morality play … every single one … is in a 50 minute episode where it shares screen time with the cheesiest, cringe-worthiest, least well-thought-out concept, go-nowhere world-building, or other BAD piece of writing or execution. It’s charming. It ages well. But usually a good episode is good because a few key scenes make it good and make up for a lot of glossed over, breezed past, or “leave the viewer to assume how it went down” plotting. Especially back in the day, when the Episodic nature meant they had to resolve the problem in one hour of screen-time. Ultimately I don’t think there’s anything glaringly wrong with “Picard” other than the fact that like most insufferable serialized dramas streaming now, it felt like having 10 episodes meant they could decompress like a bad comic book arc and “let the characters breathe”. But then they didn’t let the characters breathe. They packed more concepts in that had no pay-off, assuming that with 10 episodes, the volume would pay off the breathing room request. Final remarks on that? I think it did. But not gracefully and only by the skin of their teeth do these characters feel fleshed out 10 episodes later. Key arguments against this series are that it feels cynical and hollow and not hopeful. I’ll point out three key things. 1. Personal: I feel cynical and hollow but I do feel hopeful and therefore am able to see all kinds of hope here. 2. Art Design: That feeling can be exacerbated by design-work that feels a little less full of imagination or wonder, trading spectacle and bland design and quantity of starships for quality. I think they struck a balance here, although I’ll admit it leans 60:40 into the boilerplate. But that itself is a hallmark of Star Trek I missed, too – cheaply re-using old ships and shots. 3. Glorifying the Halcyon Days: Next Gen was the epitome of the Gilded Lily age of Star Trek. Now, the impetus there is that one from outside might look at the crew and think “Look at these coddled gilded lilies” and then be astonished at how damn tough they actually are. I adore that. But never for a second has Starfleet been uncorrupt, the Federation not bogged down and bureaucratic. The hope is there in the form of explorers who live on these little utopian SHIPS, and the bold initiative of the Ambassador Corps. Everyone who works in an office back home seems to be an asshole. The hopeful optimism of Star Trek isn’t the future or Starfleet or the Federation … it’s Picard, Riker, Crusher, Troi, La Forge, Data, Guinan, O’Brien, Barclay … it’s all THESE PEOPLE living together and working together on the same ship. That really speaks to me personally in a huge way, actually. You can think back to times in your life. Something like a job when there were a handful of people you really got on with … or that really, really good semester of college … or that time back home before all your friends either settled down or moved off out of the area. It’s beautiful to think of TNG that way. But it’s also the Halcyon Days. So quick things to wrap up this over-long, probably improperly structured post: 1. There’s elements of Stewart’s acting as Picard that make him seem overly weak, old, and defunct. And it’s a deliberate acting choice. Obviously I watch plenty of SirPat in real life, but even Thursday, there’s a stark difference between what Picard was doing in Et in Arcadia Ego II versus Patrick sitting there, cross-legged, adroit, talking to Wil Wheaton. Patrick in real life far more resembles the Jean-Luc Picard we “want to see”, and the choices he made in this season … uh … this Season Long Pilot Episode … make me… Read more »

RetroWarbird

Ooh, final follow-up:

1X. That space portal was daft and those Benevolent Cosmic AI looked like 1. Crap, 2. Hell, 3. Lovecraft (eldritch lovecraftian shit is a trope too many modern writers can’t evade), 4. Obviously just Discovery. More than that it renders the premise somewhat horse-shit because you know, the Androids were not just WRONG … they were really, really Wrong. Duped by some cosmic full of shit Devil AI. Also, no Lore! What the hell? Feels like they were heading toward Lore and then somebody was like “Lore is probably way too obvious.” I bet Lore is around. Let me put it this way – if Alton Soong was perhaps “obviously” Lore in disguise … and if the COSMIC ELDRITCH DEATH WEAPONS OF THE UBER-SYNTHETICA were … the portal opens … and into the galaxy pours … giant crystalline snowflakes … I’d have done a back-flip. Why would the AI hellmachine look like Matrix Tentacles? Why not look like snowflakes! The implication being that this had happened once before, on Omicron Theta. Lore had “contacted” Ascendant AI and they had sent the Crystalline Entity and it had stripped organic life and left Synths fine. And that wherever Soongs go, this keeps occurring.

5. Next season. What do we know? Picard is somewhat ascendant. Seven and Soji are with him. And Guinan is turning up. (There’s also a good shot at Worf and Geordi getting their cameos).

We have Picard following up on future/present event stuff and changes in the ebb and flow of humanity in the stars. Post-Humanism stuff, basically, with him, Seven and Soji. And we have Guinan. Which means logically that the strongest story narrative to tell actually involves bringing in two specific characters – Janeway, and Q. Which is all the better still because they know one another. There’s overtly a place for Riker within that storyline as well, and possibly Crusher and Wesley. That’s your story logic for where it goes next. Post-Humanism and Space Magic. Guinan, Q, Wesley, The Traveler. A witch, a psychopomp, and shamans. Time and space. Relativity. Continuum.

Thanks for sharing all your analysis Retro Warbird. I enjoyed reading it.

BTW I too had an eye-rolling, cthulu moment with the synthetic tentacles coming through what appeared to be a combo of Burnham’s time portal and red signals. After the joyful, fresh absurdity of the orchid space defence system, this was just too unoriginal. I like your snowflake/crystal idea much better.

Andy

Overall liked this a lot. There were some convenient plot points, but it brought things together successfully. Resolving things without needing the big battle felt very TNG. The scenes with Data were amazing, felt like a hole since Nemesis was finally filled. Frakes nailed Riker once again, I just wish we had gotten a better look at those ships.

The second F-bomb in the episode didn’t bother me too much, but the f-bomb by Narissa was frustrating…this isn’t GOT for crying out loud. There should still be a line for Trek even if they are trying to be more mature.

The thing is that for me characters swearing in what we presume to be their own language and using the F-word is a really Anglophone-centric writers’ error.

Swear words are based on what’s beyond the pale in a particular culture. Even in English, up until fairly recently religious-related language was certainly more out of bounds than mere vulgarity.

For Romulans it might be more likely to be something about public exposure than vulgar s*x, or something related to their great myths.

Bottom line, it really doesn’t meet the test of ‘that’s how people really talk’ as the EPs have justified it.

Tiger2

True, but it’s no different than aliens using slang which I pointed out what bothered me about Laris but I guess we just have to accept Romulans are very linguistic and can adapt faster I guess.

It’s one thing Tiger2 to try to learn and appropriately use slang and idiom in a second language (if hard to do), but it’s another to import swearing, slang and idiom from another language into your own when speaking with another native speaker, especially a member of your immediate family.

Do the writers really think that people all over the world have adopted the F-word into their own language or that every language has an equivalent?

(I’m speaking here as someone who has to be able to work in a second language. Learning to avoid words that were close to vulgarities, in case I made a pronunciation error, took real effort. I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to learn ro use swear words, especially as most of the traditional ones in that language have religious overtones/meaning. More generally, use of idiom takes an exceptional level of competence – yes a spy would have that, but they’d also be careful not to import it back into their native language.)

Legate Damar

Trek has always kind of ignored the fact that alien characters are usually speaking an alien language that is being translated into english.

AllenWrench

I find it a little odd Data wanted to end his life quite this soon. It’s been only about 60 years since he was first activated.

Vice Admiral Nakamura

That’s why this whole heart-rending bit is absurd. If Data wants to be human, humans don’t typically want to kill themselves at age 60, unless they are terminally ill or suffering from serious mental illness. So this bit naturally leaves us to conclude that Data was suffering from Soong-type depression existing in a simulation without a body (gee, I think his thumb drive is in the right place to get a new body). It’s like if you have a healthy 60 year-old friend who tells you he wants to kill himself, and instead of offering any treatment- you shoot him in the head while a bad rendition of Irving Berlin plays. Of course, if I were trapped in a Kurtzman-Goldsman video simulation, I would be suicidal too.

AllenWrench

And it doesn’t really fit the character of Data, whose primary characteristic was always curiosity. Seems like he would want to keep on exploring in a new body for a while longer, both the cosmos and interacting and learning from other beings. Kind of the whole point of Star Trek.

But I suppose Spiner wanted a more poetic death scene than last time, and probably wanted to finally put this character to rest, so I can’t blame him for that.

Whatever

remember how .68 seconds was a really long time for him?

AllenWrench

Haha, indeed.

A decade or more in a simulation without outside input or interaction would be an infinity for a being with that computing power.

AllenWrench

Well, all the more reason to get out of the simulation and go explore the real world. What was it Boothby once said to Picard? You could explore space on a holodeck but you don’t. Something like that.

ML31

That is because it is how Picard could come to terms with Data’s sacrifice. If he didn’t go through the cathartic action of murdering, er, deleting the data program he would not have the closure he seeked. Picard’s mind knew data had to be perceived as not able to return. So it manufactured a conversation that made it possible.

Legate Damar

That isn’t really backed up by anything that we saw.

ML31

Actually, it pretty much IS backed up by EVERYTHING we saw. That is exactly how the scene reads when viewed. Not only was there evidence that was NOT Data’s ‘essence’ (by the fact that the download did not work and that this version knew things the download would not) but this is a story telling tool that is quite common for the medium. The in mind conversation with the dead family member/comrade/spouse…

Mark

Why did so many questions stayed unanswered:

– Why did Synths (controlled by Romulans?) attack Mars the moment the Federations tried to save Romulans??
– Who are these Super-Synths and why are they just pure evil?
– How can there be such a thing like a magic tool, that just repairs or copies stuff when you think about it (don’t they have any science consultants or what happened to science in science fiction? – at least try to explain it)
– Where does an other Soong come from – why not just use Lore (he was fun and could have met Hugh)?
– What the hell was the whole Borg story about? The story wouldn’t be any different without them?
– Seven and Raffi? Did they even speak a word with each other before?
– What happened to Narek in the end?
– What was the mission Dahj/Soji were sent to by Maddox?
– Why make Picard terminal ill just to ressurect him two scenes later? And why make it so obvious this would happen that you even can’t stimulate fan’s emotions?
The only sense of his illness seems to prove his “goodness” to Soji. Wouldn’t it be a better story if Soji could actually solve her fear of the “evil” organics by developing some kind of ethical code (like Data) due to rational arguments with Picard?

Tiger2

Good questions……..for another time. ;)

DeanH

All good questions but most importantly I am really happy they did NOT give us a cliffhanger. Last week I posted that was something that would have upset me considering we spent the last 10 weeks watching a 10 hour episode. That said, by leaving all these questions open, that still gives viewers the desire to watch next year, to find out the answers to the questions WITHOUT peeving off fans like me who would have detested a major plot cliffhanger. Quite honestly they could have made the finale two hours and that would have answered all your (and my) questions and more.

Aztek Dummy

– because then they would be the last group you would suspect?
– not evil, just don’t care for the organics.
– take your cellphone to the 14th century, see how that works out
– well you see if a man loves a woman very much .. they do this thing… your parents should have covered this for you
– the Borg occupy an important stage between the organic and the purely synthetic. their relations to the two extremes is an important perspective
– yeah, I got nothin’ for that one. Maybe the director just wanted to shoot every one in pairs for some reason
– Don’t know. Something painful, I hope
– I don’t know that one either. It didn’t look like either one was doing anything more than just living their lives before they got activated. Daj going to study at daystrom? maybe to work with Agnes on whatever comes next, and Soji studying the Borg for clues about their tech?
– Picard was always terminal. Irumotic Syndrome. they said that back in “All Good Things… puts a ticking clock on his mission.
– I think Soji need an emotional argument, not a rational one. So Picard offering to sacrifice himself for these synths to prove that all organics are not bad is pure Star Trek

Vice Admiral Nakamura

“Leaves us with a smile” – just curious who the “us” is. The team for the website all approves of this finale? If true, fascinating. I found it a jumbled, irritating mess that failed to conclude the narrative threads of the season in a coherent or satisfying manner. A series that gives us a portal to galaxy-ending demon-robot squids, merely as an afterthought. “Meh” should be the motto of Secret Hideout. I guess some fans will cheer with nostalgia at the groan-inducing return of Riker or the tear-jearking suicide of 60 year-old Data or the realization there was no valid reason for Seven or Borgs to be in this season except for marketing purposes. As for Picard’s triumphant transformation into a “synth” – what this means is that everyone in the Federation with access to top medical care (sadly not Raffi in her trailer) now has the potential to be immortal. So, I suppose that means Admiral Clancy will stay in her post for at least 100,000 years. Surely many will not take Data’s lead and want to kill themselves so soon with immortality attainable…

Legate Damar

It seemed like Alton Soong was the only one who had a Golem, and he didn’t really seem to know how it works without Maddox around. It doesn’t seem like the technology will be widely available in the Federation any time soon.

ML31

Yes, I wasn’t left with a smile. I was left with a buttload of questions. The one and only thing really settled here was Picard’s conscience. Nothing else really.

Vulcan Soul

“The one and only thing really settled here was Picard’s conscience”

Then again, that was the primary (and only?) reason for this show to come into existence, no? To give Picard, nay, Stewart, comfort that he still matters in a world he does not recognize anymore…

Hat Rick

With respect, I don’t think that this is fair. The show’s vision includes the restoration of the values of the Federation, which Picard’s death ensured.

There is a quasi-Christological connection to be made here: Picard, to save android life, becomes an android himself. Or, rather, is he resurrected to become an unique human android? The Borg XB theme finds great resonance here, and it is in that that the investment in the Borg story becomes clear.

This is an interesting take on the traditional hero archetype, which envisions the self-sacrifice of the protagonist as a one-stage process.

ML31

First, I never saw the Federation’s values put into question here. What was really going on was an infiltration at its highest levels with Romulan spies. There was not crisis of morals here. Just a crisis of security. Picard’s *ahem* “death” did nothing in the end.

Turning Picard into a machine in the end only made their cause his cause. Except… He saw their cause as his cause ALREADY!! There was no need to add that little twist to the matter. In fact, it lessens his conviction to the audience because now instead of doing it “because it is right” he is doing it for self preservation.

And I still find the Borg connection to all this invisible.

ML31

VS… I guess to be fair that is true. The only thing that really mattered in the end was Picard’s conscience. But they did open up other issues. And the thing about JL coming to terms with the Data sacrifice only holds up if you don’t know what the writer’s true intent was.

Thanks for an even handed review Kayla.

My own thoughts and feelings about the episode line up very closely with yours.

Tillsy

I completely agree with this review, particularly (agreeing or not with what this series did) the course correcting of the way TNG ended with Nemesis. Well done.

HUGE oversight has been made though. Think about it everyone. Data says he has been stuck in this simulation a long time. Picard is in the simulation too. For how long? Since he died? For HIM yes, for US no. Again think about it – this is the Data from Nemesis, even has the uniform. Now flash back to the very first moment of Star Trek: Picard – we zoom in on the Enterprise-D and Picard is playing poker with Data, and he is in…. NEMESIS UNIFORM. We watched the WHOLE of season 1 from the perspective of Picard flashing back over the whole ordeal within the the simulation.

This finally explains why the season started with Data wearing the wrong uniform.

Blew my mind, and really shows the depth this new era of Trek thinks to. And all the respect to TNG, right down to Riker quoting the Treaty of Algeron, I am super impressed.

Niko

I was going to write something lengthy, but then I realized that I can’t put it into long words.

I am just going to say that I cried so much when Data died – the scene where Data and Picard talked for the last time before that and final scene with Data itself; they were all so marvelously done. I was moved to tears.

Blue Phaser

Nice review Kayla, thank you.
In terms of Picard; conflicted. This season could have been worse. But it could have been a lot better. To me Trek is still searching to find its soul in this new era. Hasn’t found it yet. Takes shortcuts to give us those soulful moments, but it’s all based on what’s come before. With each series, season or movie I continue to wait for ‘my Trek’ to return. Hasn’t yet. But it’s still entertaining along the way.

Ps. Kurtzman… more Riker please.

Yes, more Riker indeed.

Like the return of Pike in Discovery, this wasn’t something I was looking for, but something that worked out better than expected.

Wehmut

Very, very bad. I am very sad. Why, why did Sir Patrick Stewart do this? This series has no message, its simply bad. Brutality, morality everything just got worse. For what purpose?!?
Nope. This is very, very bad.

Agreed.

ML31

This show did have some issues but I don’t know why people think it was “brutal”. Or, and you did not use this word but others have, gory. It was just a prosthetic mechanical eyepiece that was pulled out. No different that pulling off Data’s scalp to get at his inner head workings. The props were obvious fakes anyway.

GraniteTrek

I’ve always found it interesting that people obsess over the fact that not every plot line is tied up on a show. I am guessing its because that’s what real life is like – people leave and don’t say why, do things that make no sense (except maybe them), etc… and part of growing up is learning to deal with a world that is rather messy and chaotic and doesn’t owe you an explanation why. So since we watch the show to escape real life having unresolved plot points is bad?

Golem might be one word for what Picard’s body is, but another good one would be ‘Replicant’ – from the movie Blade Runner. More human than human is their motto, but they have a finite life span, and trying to change that winds up killing the patient (Tyrell’s explanation to Roy Batty before Batty kills him). So, Picard has a body that in every way mimics a human body apparently even needing to eat and breath (which Data didn’t), and has a built in finite lifespan and ‘decrepitude’ algorithm. But it seems that it has an unchangeable, finite lifespan as well.

And the reason Alton Soong was okay with giving up his synthetic body was the realization synths are no better/just like humans in the ways that matter and that dying is part of what makes humans what we are. But lets face it, none of the characters wanted Picard to die there – putting his soul in the replicant er golem was a move decided quickly and from the heart, not the head (quick – you have mere seconds to decide if you can let your beloved captain father figure die or stick his essence in this golem right here, what do you choose?). And maybe next year will be about the ramifications of that decision.

Vulcan Soul

I quite like your real world analogy, but what me and others particularly disliked was how the Borg were completely tangential to the plot *and* the message of the season – as exemplified by the crashed Borg cube that against expectations didnt have any role in the plot resolution. What was the point of having the Borg in there but to allow cameos for beloved Seven and Hugh (and unnecessarily killing off one of them), given their dubious or non-existing ties to the Romulan and android themes of this season?

Hat Rick

The XB’s were quite relevant to the overarching theme of the series, which is redemption. Picard has become the ultimate XB.

ML31

Picard was an XB already. Don’t see how becoming a robot reinforces that.

Mike

I very glad it had nothing to do with Q. I’m sure he’ll pop up though in a a time travel adventure I’m sure is coming.

Vulcan Soul

To address “the Selath in the room”, upon reflection this finale did not give me closure over Data’s death, it opened up old wounds, and (while beautifully portrayed, if you can say such thing about death), if anything it proved further why the reasons stated for “Data has to die” are ever more nonsensical.

“An aging actor can’t portray an aging android” never made much narrative sense given the possibilities of the Trek universe (emotion chip, aging chip, Julianna Tanner), but it makes even less sense by what we see in Picard now: two aging androids that look fully human, Soji and Picard. Explaining how perfectly they replicated human aging for the latter feels bitter in that it wasn’t allowed for Data, just because the actor says so.

Data’s death was a bad choice because he was such a pivotal Star Trek character (in terms of non humans, only second to Spock, who was granted rebirth) yet the reasons for it entirely behind the scenes limitations. They feel especially hollow now because the finale proved it is no longer true: an aging actor CAN portray a non-aging android, if must, due to the availability of the necessary technology.

The retconned narrative reason for the necessity of his death rings equally hollow. Yes, to understand the human condition means to understand mortality. But we already been there in “Time’s Arrow”. You don’t become MORE human by actually BEING dead, because then you cease to be human, or anything living. It’s a non sequitur. And an ironcial one at that as Picard facing his own morality – and then cheating death – in the very same episode proves that reaching the (dead) end is not necessary to teach the lesson or have the human experience.

So there you have it. I still feel heart-broken over Data’s death, however much a cynical Vulcan can be, as it was and is a stunt where the narrative losses outweigh the benefits by far. Robo-Picard or Soji can never be the replacement for Data’s quest what it means to be human, for they essentially FEEL fully human – cogito ergo sum. And beyond all the self-referential, in-universe claptrap, this is a real loss in relevance to the viewer. This viewer, at least.

MichaelB

There is a lot to like about this episode, almost all of it fanservice. A lot of things don’t make sense, but can be forgiven. The whole almost final scene with Data is really well done, but honestly it makes no sense. Data “died” in the final movie. Whatever was used to recreate the simulation of him had to come from somewhere before the events in that movie. He would have no memory of any of it. In his first appearance, he is a projection of Picards guilt. That made sense. This scene, while very touching, really doesn’t.

On top of that, Picard is now Data, and it really destroys Datas’ message. Data wanted to be human, including the finality of death. Now Picard just escaped that, by being downloaded into a (Data like) machine. It’s hard to make that emotional connection surrounding death when your main character dies and is brought back to life as a machine. They tried to explain it and say that he won’t live forever, but that means they put a expiration date in his programming. So they and potentially he knows the exact day and time he will die ” naturally”

The next scene, they basically moved on, like nothing happened. For a show that is supposed to be more adult oriented and intellectual, I found that disappointing.

Now to Picard as an Android. I thought it was awful. You could see it coming throughout the whole episode and it was just a bad idea in my opinion. They could have found a better way. Not make him dead, but find a magic cure on the planet, trek does that a lot, would have been OK. But a man who was once a Borg is not an Android, and he’s cool with it? Really??

It was nice seeing Riker in the Center Seat, but it makes no sense. Would they really turn over the flagship to a retired officer to go fight an armada of Romulan ships? I knows its Riker, but SF wouldn’t even give Picard a little scout ship.

just my thoughts,

JSM-73

“The next scene, they basically moved on, like nothing happened. For a show that is supposed to be more adult oriented and intellectual, I found that disappointing.”

Having now seen the entire season, I think their version of ‘adult’ was throwing in a few f-bombs, and gore and stealing most of their ideas from far superior sci-fi films and novels. It started so solidly too, I really though we were in for something truly special. Instead we got yet another ‘The Big Bad’ story, and a ham-fisted ‘study’ of what it means to be human and synthetic, then blurring the lines in an attempt to be ‘deep’.

Ricardo Alardo Schmardo

Great summary, you are spot on talking about broken Picard and for me, TNG was always about Picard and the Federation’s morality, and at last Picard sealed the rift with the organisation he spent his life with.

Decent, enjoyable entertainment. If I had one complaint, the Federation seem a bit frivilous letting Picard go galavanting in what they knew was a species-threatening situation, and having Riker turn up fronting all their manpower didn’t make it any better.

Hearing Data is so soothing, there’s a lot of mana between Picard and himself.

Ale

The captain is dead and there is an android around with his conscience inside. Your photocopy, although perfect, is not you. On the other hand the same can be said of teleportation.
The Captain is dead! kong live the Captain!

Thorny

He is a synth, not an android. The first part of the season, many were asking why they were called Synths and not Androids anymore. Now we know. The Golem seems to be an artificially-grown organic body, not computer chips and servos like Data and Lore. Jurati yanked an eyeball out of Saga that looked nothing like the blinking, metallic parts Data had.

This kind of follows, since Voyager already introduced bio-neural gelpacks to replace the previous isolinear chips and other electronics of computers of the day.

This could lead to interesting ethical questions in future episodes. Is getting a replacement artificial body any different than, say, Nog’s artificial leg on DS9? How?

Jlex

If that’s the case about synths then I think the show should have done a better job in conveying that aspect to the viewers. Many seem to think synth = Android. That there is no distinction between the terms.

Ale

however it does not change the fact that it is a copy. The original Picard is gone …😢

Legate Damar

You can say the same thing about Spock or Culber.

Michael GB

I agree. Culber is not the same. The original Culber is dead. Spock is a little different. TWOK had spock basically reborn. They didnt have to do that. His physical body still existed. They could have regenerated it, but for theatrical purposes, they waited till the end for Nimoy to appear. Picard’s body still existed, really in better shape than Spock. They could have used some magic Soon tech to fix his brain (cue “if I only had a brain”). Turning him into a synth, android or whatever was cheap and unfulfilling. Suppose they spent an episode where Picard had a choice. Would he make that choice? I dont think so.

ML31

You responded exactly as I would have, Michael GB. Spock’s body still lived. Culber’s didn’t nor did Picard’s. And I’ve said many times, I cannot believe the returned Culber is Culber. I can stretch disbelief quite a bit in Trek. But even that has its limits. It HAS to be a mycilial network spy or something…

Legate Damar

They explained that in episode 1. Picard described Dahj to Jurati as a Synth made out of flesh and blood.

Elrond

Yes, Thorny, I think that’s spot on. If you prick the new Picard he will bleed, not ooze lubricating fluid or something. That would seem to be true of Soji as well, but then how does she have “super powers”?

Michael GB

Maybe Picard will be able to fly!

Thorny

We already saw Soji bleeding in “Nepenthe”.

ML31

It’s a liquid that does something to help with the fake body that is designed to look like blood to help with the camouflage.

ML31

I don’t see a difference between and android and a synth. Synth is just short for synthetic. Which an android 100% is.

The gel packs, from what I understood, allowed the computer to respond faster. That was about it.

I do agree that a brain replacement does raise philosophical questions about if you were replaced with a copy is it still you? My thinking is, no it’s not. But we shall see what the future holds.

Baxter

Loved seeing Riker in command, BUT – the actress who played Admiral Hubris commented that she originally filmed the part of her leading the Federation fleet, but they replaced her with Riker. Which was admittedly super cool, but having Admiral Hubris come in and say that Picard was right would have been some good humble pie for the character.

Still, happy to see Riker.

Aztek Dummy

I had gathered that Frakes’ involvement (beyond directing)was a bit of a last minute thought, so this tracks.

Legate Damar

She more or less admitted that she was right in episode 8. After she told him to shut the fuck up. I hope we see more of her next season, and that she continues to drop an f-bomb in every episode that she’s in. In terms of admirals, she’s actually not that bad.

Brad

A review of this review: Thank you for a thoughtful and constructive review of episode 10. The tone and creative approach to your critique was most enjoyable. In this persons view the best of all ten Picard columns.
Thank you.

andre tremblay

I like the finale but some things were a bit strange. I felt Narek was kind of a waste of time. I mean the scaring story was kind of childish. And what did his story resolved too ? He feels like a paws to the story and nothing more. I felt that Q should have been there in the end. Even for Data or Picard. He should have been there. I might be too TNG about it, but Q was link to Picard and Data, in a very distinct way. I must say as soon I saw the golem robot stuff, I knew how Picard would end. Sorry but it was entirely predictable. I enjoy it for other reasons, but I don’t consider this an amazing story. Just a predictable one. It was fun to have Patrick S. in the role again. Brent Spinner was really great in the last episode. I think the show was good on the nostalgia side of it. But it was kind of a so, so story.

Falco

I mostly agree with this review. The good things far exceed the bad ones… I’m having trouble wrapping my mind on some things that are said in this threads and on social media, so if someone can help from the “other side” (those who don’t like this season) it would be really helpful. I’m not interested in changing anyone’s minds, but I just want to understand better how people can focus on the negative and let them cloud their judgment. It’s perplexing to me. Here are some of the things that more or less are repeating. – Elnor was a completely unnecessary character and the writers didn’t know what do with it. I’m mind boggled how someone can use this as a justification to say that the show is bad. Was Keiko an unnecessary character in DS9? Are we judging DS9 because Keiko was in there? Do we say DS9 was s**t because the writers didn’t know what to do with her? Let’s dive deeper. Worf didn’t go anywhere in S1 of TNG and they had 26 episodes. Do we hate all of TNG because Worf was useless in S1? Would’ve been better for you if Worf wasn’t included at all because he had nothing to do? Would’ve been ok to miss what would eventually become the most important character of the whole franchise? They didn’t know what to do with Geordi in early seasons either. Is he the blind pilot or the chief engineer? Troi was a cheerleader… Speaking of Troi, she was at it best in Nepenthe. They showed us what her character should’ve been all along. – The story with the Borg didn’t go anywhere. So what? They used it as a vehicle (ha!) to talk about marginalized groups. They wrapped Hugh’s thread, they gave Picard new understanding of his past and of the drones. They showed the Borg as victims after being portrayed as villains for 15+ years. That’s not useless. That’s brilliant writing. Was the Borg ship itself useless? Oh, let me go cry in the corner and I’ll get back. – The Borg were used as a marketing ploy. I don’t know how to answer this question. Of course it was used as a marketing ploy. All of the things we saw that fall under the “legacy category” was marketing. Riker, Troi, Seven, Borg… Every Easter Egg, every reference, every fans service was marketing. Guys, when you spend money on a product, and when you need to give wages to people, then marketing is something you need to think about. – The plot holes. There were some, but you can poke holes in anything. There is no perfect work of art. No book, no movie, no show, no piece of art that you won’t be able to find a flaw and use it to destroy that creation. – McGuffins Yeah, McGuffins are only bad because we are not in the 90s anymore. When Sisko makes a whole Jem Hadar fleet to vanish just by asking, than it’s all good. I can definitely choose to let these things bother me, but it’s a choice. And I’m not going to take it. I’ll choose the following. 1. Data. The last 10 or so minutes of the last episode were one of the best minutes in the past 20-30 years of Star Trek. No single character in Trek history has received so emotional, powerful, true to character closure as Data. Everytime I watch TNG now I will be so happy for Data, knowing that in the end he DID find what he was looking for his whole life. And even if this was the only good thing about PC, I will say that this show is a massive success in my book. 2. State of the universe. We got a glimpse of what’s happening in our beloved universe on the dawn of the 25th century. We got to visit old characters, races and locations and Star Trek as a whole is richer because of that. 3. Flashing out the Romulans. The writers in just 10 episodes achieved what in the 90s took 10 seasons to do with the Klingons. And that’s what I call brilliant writing. 4. Flashing out the main cast. The writers in just 10 episodes achieved what in the 90s took 100 episodes to do when it comes to the main ensemble. 5. Borg as victims. A twist no one saw coming. 6. Picard. I was very concerned when we theorized last week with what is coming for Picard. But the more I sleep on it, the more I’m ok with it. They handled it well. 7. Respect of canon. I’m going to die on this hill, but the writers, or PIC as a show has respected canon more then any other Star Trek… Read more »

Legate Damar

I loved the season too, but I wouldn’t defend it by comparing it to season 1 of TNG. TNG got a lot better, but its first season was awful. Giving Worf and Geordi nothing to do is absolutely a fair complaint about the first season of TNG. Season 1 of Picard was lightyears better.

Falco

I’m not defending it by comparing it to S1 of TNG. I’m just trying to get across 3 points.

1. Writers can do so much in 10 episodes. Character dev might suffer, worldbuilding might suffer, some plot points might suffer. But they did one hell of a job with what they were given.

2. We are judging these 10 episodes by comparing them to 7 seasons of 24 episodes from 5 different shows. And that’s not fair to the writers, to the showrunner and to Sir Patrick Stewart himself.

3. We can choose to focus on the negative and judge the show by that or we can cherish the beautiful things that came out of it.

I don’t think people appreciate what an enormous and frightening task can be to do a Star Trek show, let alone a show about the return of the biggest character of one of the biggest franchises in history.

P.S. In defence of the old writers of Star Trek and Seasons 1 in general and why they are generally bad. It’s not like the franchise is cursed to have bad opening seasons. When you are writing it, you are shooting in the dark. You have no idea what the chemistry of the actors will be, you have no idea how the sets will look like, you have no idea how the audience will react to some of the things you put to paper. But once S1 is behind you, you can really see the world you created and you know which actors have chemistry, what works and what don’t and it will be a hell of a lot easier to do a good job. What I’m trying to say is that Chabon and the others did a great job within these limitations. I’m saddened that he has to go for S2, but I’m happy with the seeds he planted.

ML31

Your No. 3 is a fair point, Falco. My issue then is that what I thought worked well, Picard coming to terms with Data’s sacrifice some 20 years earlier, really didn’t work at all. On the surface, it was a nice scene that played out pretty well and I felt pleased that Picard got his closure. But then I read the interviews and intentions of the writers and found that was not what they intended it to be at all. Which makes the scene a gigantic miss. I generally enjoy the behind the scenes stuff but usually it doesn’t contradict the final product!

Charles Williamson

The many heads of smiling Jurati floating around the room was both creepy and amusing…

tom riker

BEST: saddest best was data’s and picard’s death and resurrection… the whole sequence was amazing and data’s was heartrendingly beautiful
WORST: ending of season long story felt rushed and easy and a bit by the numbers but then again that happened in TNG all the time as well in the last 5-7 minutes of each episode.
OVERALL: i screamed 3 times…cried twice… one wtf is that? one YEAH!
*i totally couldn’t love this new cast more and please let 7 be a regular next year

9/10

edwet

I’d like to know who “us” was..

justafan

I have to say that I’m glad Star Trek Picard was made because I’m such a huge fan and they could have thrown anything on the screen and no matter how good or bad it was I would have watched it because I’m just happy to see something TNG-related back on the screen. So in that sense I am content with the show. With that out of the way, I’m left disappointed. And i’m not disappointed with the dystopian vs utopian take that most people complain about. I thought this show had so much promise. They brought in some brilliant hollywood royalty with the producers and showrunners. The show is being made in the modern era with all the ability and wizardry to create special effects. The show was even being broadcasted on CBS all-access which you have to pay for!!! With all that, and the fact that they are resurrecting the show after so many years and with so much expectation from fans and against Patrick Stewart’s wishes to just let the show and character remain in the past, you would think everything would be superb in terms of story and production quality, right?

As far as production quality, I was shocked at how bad it was. A lot of the props looked pretty cheap (monoprice 3D printer [available on Amazon] as a replicator, plastic “imagination fix it tool”, stock footage for the A.I. admonition, etc. etc.). Using the L.A. convention center and sports arena for Starfleet headquarters? A not-even-that-great-of-a-house in Malibu (seeingly) for the android home world compound? I could go on and on. STTNG produced in the 1980’s and 90’s looked more believably futuristic than a rendition of the future produced just over a year ago!!

For the show to go from episodic to a serialized, focused story, you would have thought they would have made it really fucking good. But it was not. I really liked every episode until episodes 9 & 10. I really thought they were building up to something good. I was left on the edge of my seat waiting until next week’s episode. And then I was like, “this is it? this is what they were building up to?” Now it’s kind of just like a mediocre TNG episode but unlike TNG, you can’t just put it behind you and wait for a fresh episode and fresh story next week.

Mykime

So, Picard was already dead at the series finale of ST:TNG. That kind of lessens the whole thing.