Review: ‘Star Trek: Picard’ Goes Back To The Future In “Assimilation”


Star Trek: Picard Season 2, Episode 3 – Debuted Thursday, March 17, 2022
Written by Kiley Rossetter & Christopher Monfette
Directed by Lea Thompson

In another strong outing, Picard mixes action, character exploration, and some fun and familiar Trek setups.


WARNING: Spoilers below!


“Welcome to the Earth of the 21st century.”

Picking up where we left off—the standoff on La Sirena—Seven’s evil hubby calls her final bluff as “President Hansen” and Raffi settles the issue with a quickie divorce via phaser. Time to leave this twisted Earth, with a little help from a terrifying Queen who takes matters in hand by plugging herself in, dispatching their pursuers, and warping the ship around the sun for their trip back in time. With Elnor’s condition grave and amidst the chaos of battle, Q pops in to haunt Picard with “This is the only kind of life you understand.” After some trippy close-ups and backward effects, the crew finds themselves back at Earth and back in time. Out of power, the best Rios can do is a “controlled crash,” and Picard picks a remote location he calls “home” to avoid La Sirena becoming a high-profile UFO.

Raffi’s heart breaks as Elnor’s life slips away with all lifesaving power used up by the Queen, who’s defended by Picard as he needs her for his mission. As the crew grieves, Picard struggles to keep them together with his not-so-helpful plea to “press on.” He has lost their confidence, and Raffi lashes out in anger, blaming Jean-Luc for playing another galactic game with Q. Focusing on the clue to find “The Watcher” and believing they can undo everything and bring the young Romulan back, Raffi finds her own focus: “What I want is to talk about how to fix the timeline and not what it was like to watch him die.” After a quick team briefing to avoid “butterflies,” Raffi, Seven, and Rios suit up and beam out for 21st-century Los Angeles.

“You’re killing it, 2024.”

The barely functional transporter separates the trio, sending each to very different welcomes. Seven beams to a nice park, witnessed by a fawning girl who takes her for a superhero. Raffi arrives at a homeless camp and is immediately mugged at gunpoint. She effortlessly dispatches the thief, taking his money for their “apocalypse fund.” Once reunited with Seven, her anger remains, now aimed at this past world and why it didn’t “collapse sooner than it did.” Dark. Seven’s lack of outrage only pisses her off more, especially when, enjoying her new Borg-free look, she charms her way past a guard to get to the top of the LA’s tallest building for some “Watcher” scanning. “You and 2024 should get a room.” Jealous of a timeline?

Rios’ entry was even more impactful, as he beamed in 20 feet off the ground landing with a thud and ended up in a free clinic with some dislocated fingers and a concussion. Doctor Teresa flags Cristóbal as one of her “no hospital, no police, no papers crowd” as she patches him up with some bonus flirting. Eager to get back on mission, he is slowed down as his “weird clothes” are being washed and a kid has found his badge, reminding Rios of an annoying Vulcan as he uses logic to demand payment to return it. But before he can finish the deal, the clinic gets raided by immigration.

“Same leopard, same spots.”

Back on La Sirena, Picard needs to get the Queen back online, and Agnes has a crazy plan to plug herself in to kickstart the Borg… with the catch that she has to do it before getting assimilated. The admiral is skeptical but has no other ideas, so he is assigned to babysit her subconsciousness. In a tour de force two-hander, Picard gets hit with a deluge of Jurati TMI, including how he brings out her daddy issues. When the Queen gets dangerously stronger, he pulls the plug just before Agnes becomes the latest drone.

“Hello, Locutus.” The Borg Queen is back, bright-eyed and bushy-torsoed, and now that we’re before that time divergence, she has the “clarity of vision” to make demands for info on The Watcher, starting with the ship. Also, legs. But as her majesty was winding up some good monologuing about Picard’s “deeply flawed inability to not hope in the face of hopelessness,” Agnes jumps in with a key update: She stole the Watcher info while inside Queenie. Twist! The Queen is impressed… and that’s a dangerous thing, or so she says. Now, all that is left is to reunite with the crew, but Rios ignored the butterfly warnings by getting all gallant to help the doc, leading to them both being hauled away by the cops… with the badge left behind.


Something to say

Star Trek: Picard’s second season continues to impress with yet another unique entry that carries through the season arc but still delivers a complete story on its own. Using an almost curious mix of action, humor, horror, and heart, it all adds up to something more with heavy messages about privilege, race, and class. These themes from the varied character visits to contemporary Los Angeles gave the title “Assimilation” double meaning, beyond the Borg drama happening onboard the ship. While traveling back to contemporary times has been done before on Trek (and elsewhere), the episode played well with both the messages and fish-out-of-water fun. But some of these messages may have landed better if the characters didn’t indulge in as much brutality as they dispatched various Confederation goons over the last couple of episodes.

The excellent cast shines throughout. Evan Evagora rises to the challenge of adding some humor to a death scene. Michelle Hurd’s heartbreaking reaction was impactful, although it felt a bit contrived to have Raffi singularly impacted by a death that should be felt by all. It was Alison Pill that delivered the strongest performance of “Assimilation,” showing impressive range and holding her own with Sir Patrick Stewart and Annie Wersching’s deliciously terrifying Borg Queen.

Through these three episodes, we are seeing the development of a number of intriguing arcs and pairings, with the promise of a lot more to come between Agnes and the Queen. And there is the curious dynamic of Raffi dealing with a Seven who finds herself enjoying this era where she isn’t being scorned for being a Borg.  Picard has his own personal ghost in the form of Q, haunting him from the sidelines. “Assimilation” also introduced us to Dr. Teresa, and actress Sol Rodriguez shows immediate chemistry with Santiago Cabrera’s Rios. The combination of time travel and her free clinic is already giving off some Edith Keeler vibes.

Tomorrow is yesterday

Q only makes a brief appearance, but his machinations continue to loom large. The mystery of what he has done in the past remains intriguing, especially how it connects personally to Picard and “what else has been lost in the wake of your fear.” Besides moving back in time, the episode did get us closer to the mysterious “Watcher,” identifying a location but not yet the exact divergence date in time.

One curiosity about this adventure back in time is there has been no outright mention of World War III, a pivotal moment in Trek history that led to a series of events culminating in First Contact. They have traveled back in time to just two years before, so you’d think someone would mention the war, but so far the only hint was Jurati noting the lack of fallout in the atmosphere when they arrived at Earth, identifying it as pre-war. Raffi also hinted at the bleak future of fighting over resources and how the “future we saw starts right here.” But one could imagine the “Confederation” timeline is one with a different outcome for the war, leading to centuries of eradicating aliens.

There was also a subtle hint about a plot point that is expected to come up later, which was the billboard for the “Europa Mission.” Unlike the real NASA Europa Clipper mission set to launch in 2024, this billboard showed a manned landing on the icy Jovian moon with the unnecessary meta slogan “To Boldly Go.”

Final thoughts

The first three episodes have set up an intriguing new season of Picard with a whole different tone, energy, and style. Each episode has had its own flavor, but all have carried the overall story forward. While not as strong as the first two excellent entries, “Assimilation” was still a solid and entertaining outing, keeping up a good balance of action, humor character, and lore. There were some moments when the pacing dragged and some character contrivances, but they were outweighed by strong performances and crisp action punctuated with outstanding visual effects.


Random bits

  • This is the first time directing Star Trek for Lea Thompson, a veteran actress who began directing television in the 2000s. Thompson says she is a Trekkie, and thanked showrunner (and Back to the Future superfan) Terry Matalas for the opportunity.
  • This is the second writing credit for Christopher Monfette, who joined in season two as a supervising producer. Monfette previously worked with Matalas in the 12 Monkeys writers’ room.
  • This is the first script credit for staff writer Kiley Rossetter, who started as a writers’ room assistant in season one.
  • For the second episode in a row, Isa Briones (Soji) does not appear and is not credited.
  • When the Queen takes control of La Sirena, various displays change to green Borg graphics and even the engines and torpedoes are tinted green.
  • The ships pursuing La Sirena appeared to be Confederation versions of Starfleet Nova and Steamrunner class ships.
  • The warp slingshot scene was an homage to the time travel sequence in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
  • A line of dialog in the previous episode indicated that the Queen’s nanoprobes have been neutralized, which could explain how Jurati wasn’t easily assimilated.
  • Elnor’s Qowat Milat medallion was inscribed in Romulan with “Sem n’hak kon,” meaning “Now is the only moment.” Raffi began wearing the medallion after he died.
  • Jurati warned if they end up in a hospital they could be noticed due to their future “ID implants and vaccination chips.”
  • Teresa tells her son to do his homework or he can’t watch Rick and Morty.
  • The establishing shot of Los Angeles uses a 2015 cover by German DJ Freischwimmer of the 1965 Mamas and the Papas classic song “California Dreamin'”
  • The establishing shot of Los Angeles included the Santa Monica Pier and Griffith Park Observatory, both of which were visited in 1996 by the crew of the USS Voyager in “Future’s End.”
  • The coordinates Jurati found for The Watcher were 34.0488 North, -118.2518 West, which would be Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles.
  • When searching for The Watcher, Raffi got a blip on her tricorder for an alien signal around MacArthur Park, which is about 1.5 miles from Pershing Square.
  • The Markridge Industrial Tower was shot at the Wilshire Grand Center, the tallest building in Los Angeles.
  • Markridge is another 12 Monkeys Easter egg for former 12 Monkeys showrunner Terry Matalas.
  • The homeless camp had a sign indicating it as a “Sanctuary District,” like the one visited by Commander Sisko in 2024 San Francisco in the DS9 two-parter “Past Tense.”

More to come

Our review of Star Trek: Discovery episode 413 (“Coming Home”) will be up later on Thursday.

And every Friday, the All Access Star Trek Podcast covers the latest news in the Star Trek Universe and discusses the latest episode. The podcast is available on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPocket CastsStitcher and is part of the TrekMovie Podcast Network.

New episodes of Star Trek: Picard premiere on Thursdays on Paramount+ in the U.S. and on Fridays where Paramount+ is available around the world. In Canada, it airs on CTV Sci-Fi Channel on streams on Crave on Thursdays. Picard is also available on Fridays on Amazon Prime Video around the world.

Keep up with all the Star Trek: Picard news and analysis.

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First of all: can we stop it with the casual murder in this show? The gratuitous throat slitting last episode was bad enough but now we’re just disintegrating people we’ve already overwhelmed? They must’ve even ate the phasers to disintegrate after (!) disarming the attackers, since for Elnor it was just a burn wound. And these murderers are supposed to be the heroes of this show 🤨

Apart from that show still ignores basic scientific concepts. In the TOS Remaster Documentary they talk about the slingshot maneuver and how the CBS Digital team at first had the sun curved. But someone in the crew knew, that you wouldn’t see a curvature that close to the sun, since it’s just that massive. Here: a clearly visible curvature 🤦🏻‍♂️. Followed by an uncontrolled atmospheric reentry without shields that should have incinerated all of them.

Story wise there’s some weird anachronisms and just overall bad decisions.
Like Agnes casually mentioning, that all Federation Officers have ID implants and Vaccine chips. That’s some dystopian nightmare stuff and I don’t think it was intended as a byproduct of the timeline change.
Also: why would “Bastard” even still be an insult in the 24th century? Even now it’s a barely used one in western cultures at least. It’s just an archaic idea that children born to unmarried women are somehow less. And those are exactly the little things that Star Trek writers used to think about.
Same with Rafi just immediately knowing, how to disassemble a 400 year old Firearm that she should barely recocnize as a weapon. Michelle Hurds character generally is one of the worst things about this show. That weird snap at Picard for not getting rid of Q … like … how? Was he supposed to arrest him or something? And the writers must’ve realised this since Picard barely even responds to her accusation.

And then there’s the scene in the Skyscraper with the security guard, that just shows, that Jerry Ryan actually knows, how to play a Star Trek Character, while Michelle Hurd is just playing a generic 21st century tough woman for no reason. That’s not different characters Those two are pretty much in different shows. Also in this scene: Using a Glaxy Z Flip with a clunky case as a tricorder is just lazy.

I could go on but that’s enough on the actual content of the episode. But then there’s some weird choices from a production standpoint.

Like why did modern Trek get rid of the Star Trek Phasers (Beams) in favour of the way literally every other show does energy weapons (Pulses)? (Sure there were exceptions. But those were … well … exceptions) Wouldn’t you want to stand out from the crowd, when doing a TV Show? 🤨
And why does the show have cuts clearly intended for commercials? It clashes hard with the cinematic presentation they’re going for.

All in all it was as I expected. Two rather decent episodes and the whole thing falling apart by the time they arrive in the past. It feels a lot like a movie script, that was just padded out to a 10 hour runtime. If the next episode is the same as this one, I think, I’m out.

“Can we stop with the casual murder on this show?”

This is pedantic (but this is also a Star Trek site, so…) but those at least arguably weren’t murders.

And why does the show have cuts clearly intended for commercials?”

There’s a version of Paramount Plus with ads. There are cuts intended for commercials because the show runs with commercials.

So there’s no way this scene or the one in last weeks episode could have been written without the gratuitous violence? No way, to just knock out the guards or stun the hostage takers? That would be impossible to write? A Star Trek show has to have just casual throat slitting, beheading, stabbing, eye gouging and disintegration in it? Call it killing if you don’t like murder. My point wasn’t about correct legal term for what happened. If you’re that pedantic that’s your thing.

They are also using Confederation weapons, is there even a stun setting?

Wasn’t sure about that either but they clearly had a “do not disintegrate” setting when shooting Elnor. And you can always aim that one at a Leg or something. Not to mention it was a 4 to 3 fight and they had already disarmed their attackers when they started disintegrating them.

Generally speaking, when in a gunfight, you absolutely do not shoot to wound. You shoot to kill. Your life is at stake. A leg wound won’t stop the other guy from shooting you. It’s a harsh reality, but it is reality. This is one of the rare times TV got it right.

It’s not really a gunfight, if you have the gun and the attacker doesn’t. Like it was here, when they executed their assailants.

Wouldn’t there have to be a stun setting, if they ever wanted to capture someone and bring them in for questioning/torture?

So there’s no way this scene or the one in last weeks episode could have been written without the gratuitous violence? “

I don’t even agree with this premise (though I also don’t *care*).

“casual throat slitting”

Or this one.


Sure, there’s a way it could’ve been written differently, but despite all the time and money the show has, there doesn’t seem to be much care taken in scene construction or pacing out the 10-episode story. They vaporized those characters because they didn’t want to deal with Annika’s alt universe husband in 2024 LA.

They could’ve altered the end of episode two so that the cliffhanger wasn’t their ship being boarded, it was Elnor sacrificing himself so that the crew could be off Alt-Earth. Elnor is still dead and the plan to repair broken time is now extra personal for them all because it could bring Elnor back to life. So, we arrive at the same place. But, it’s easier, cooler, and more exciting for the people signing the checks if there are action beats as often as possible, so that’s what you do to keep the show going.

They clearly wanted to show some parallelism between Icheb dying in Seven’s arms last season and Elnor in Raffi’s arms this season. Hence Seven’s offer to talk.

I bet you didn’t have a problem with the scene where Kirk fires a DIY canon at the Gorn. Or was it also too violent for you? What about the TNG episode where the admiral gets melted, had a problem with that? If you can’t handle a bit of disintegration in a sci-fi show, I recommend you don’t watch it. In trek, there are countless occasions where people get disintegrated why is it such a concern, it’s a Trek trope, like the Riker maneuver. To also come back to your Rafi and Seven on the skyscraper comment. Obviously, you didn’t get the nuances of the performance, didn’t you see that Raffi drags on her personal problems with seven for all three episodes now, and her reaction was justified from the character’s standpoint as she was uncomfortable by Seven’s sudden lovely behavior, despite giving Raffi the cold shoulder for the last three episodes, and in universe even longer. Raffi even mentioned to Picard how he and 7 can be so self-sufficient and don’t need other people, as she is the opposite. Also, the casual murders, if they fix the timeline, what they, in the end, will do, those people will be alive, so they just removed an obstacle at the moment, it was not as if they tried to kill them, oh wait they did try.

There’s no reason whatsoever to be this hateful in replying to someone.

Writing a hateful comment wasn’t my intent, I just wanted to get the point across that looking back at the history of Trek it wasn’t a big deal. OP wrote an essay of complaining, even didn’t get story points which were presented for their whole episodes,… But yes I got a bit annoyed, as there are so many flowers these days and the world has to bend to their will, the problem is the real world doesn’t work that way.

The world works the way we collectively make the world work, and I’m hard-pressed to see any reason to complain about somebody else complaining about Star Trek having flat-out murder pop up in it repeatedly. I’ve enjoyed this season so far, but I do expect more from Starfleet than throat slittings and disintegrations; call me crazy.

That said, I get it. I’ve had plenty of negative comments escape my control, too.

Awesomesauce’s didn’t read as hateful. Snarky? Maybe. But not hateful. If anything, I think they were calling out the double standard of the OP

He wasn’t being hateful he was laying out cold hard facts.

No, it’s a lot of assumptions and accusations; quite different from facts. And it read as hateful to me, so we’ll agree to disagree about that.

Kirk tried to talk his way out of it and only used violence as an absolute last resort. That’s a good lesson to teach. And it didn’t show the Gorn exploding in slow motion with triumphant music and Kirk striking a hero pose in the background because, what he just happened – while justified – was a terrible thing.

thats also what most disintegrations in Trek are treated like. And they’re a rare occurrence. Especially in the TNG era. That Remmick Scene you’re referring to, was Tracy Tormés try, to write the most un-Star Trek episode he could think of and see if Roddenberry would still put it on TV. That’s why there’s an exploding head. The history of that episode is actually quite interesting.

Can we stop with the casual murder on this show?”

Well, FWIW, years ago someone fell off a third-story balcony, landing mere feet away from me, as I was walking by on the street. What I remember was the blood seeping from his head, exactly as we saw with Rios. (He survived and, as far as I know, recovered fully.)

Frankly, I found that scene a lot more triggering than eyeballs and green-blooded phaser wounds.

Jesus! That must’ve been horrible for you. I’m so sorry!

Like Agnes casually mentioning, that all Federation Officers have ID implants and Vaccine chips. That’s some dystopian nightmare stuff and I don’t think it was intended as a byproduct of the timeline change.”

This isn’t the first time that ID implants and such have been mentioned in Star Trek. The only reason people are getting uppity about it now is because of more recent current events.

I don’t remember them being mentioned in any of the old sows. At least for Federation officers. But you might be right. If so then it would’ve been poor judgement then, too.

It’s perfectly okay, to contradict some established stuff. Especially if it’s something that’s just mentioned in passing and just not a good idea. Like women not being able to become captains.

Seven is not a Federation Officer.

Actually I think that was a very good observation. Everyone is tagged in the future? That does sound awfully dystopian to me.

I don’t think it was a responsible line to include when there are so many who could latch on to anything, including lines in a fictional TV show, to justify their worries about contemporary vaccines.

I wouldn’t brush off the tracking tags by confusing them with the vaccine implants. The tracking tags are the dystopian “big brother” thing. Unless you think the two work in tandem? Which honestly would be worse.

Also: why would “Bastard” even still be an insult in the 24th century?

The meanings and associations of words can change over time. “Hysterical” once had a purely sexist connotation, but has since lost that. “Bastard” can simply mean “jerk” “ass” etc.

I don’t know. “Hysterical” isn’t a word you don’t hear very often anymore at all. And said to a woman it still feels pretty sexist to me 😅

But I get your point.

“Hysterical” isn’t a word you don’t hear very often anymore at all.

Def Leppard would like to have a word with you. ;-)

But we’re talking about word meanings, not how often they’re used.

Did you just cite a Def Leppard song that is approaching 40 years in age as an example of contemporaneity?

“Hysterical” is still a very commonly used word, so I don’t know why you’d say that.

It’s not my native language, so I’m going on what I’m getting from the News- and Entertainment Industry :-D … The german version of it (with basically the same history) still is a word with a rather sexist connotation and is thus used rarely – mostly by a very specific group of people on the internet.

Interesting. I’m curious to learn something here – in German, is “hysterical” ever used in the context to describe laughter?

I’m not 100 % sure but I can’t say I’ve ever heard it used that way here. It’s pretty much only used as a synonym for „irrational“ especially concerning women.

Even if “bastard” is not an insult or a curse word in the twenty-fifth century, this show is written for and viewed by twenty-first-century people. Should the writers have made up a twenty-fifth-century curse word and had the characters use it, thereby baffling the viewers?

Ahem. “You Klingon bastards, you’ve killed my son!”

Klingons have a more patriarchal society. There it makes at least a bit more sense 😅

so Fascist wouldn’t have been enough for you to get the negative connotation across? It had to be “fascist bastard”? Also: I feel like I understood the insult every time Word was called a P’thak. Creating a new insult that your audience that knows the world still gets shouldn’t be hard for good SciFi write. That’s the bare minimum of what you should be able to do.

The thing I love most about modern Star Trek fans is their ability to turn modest stylistic choices like not carpeting starship floors or pulse instead of beam phasers into an existential crisis.

Yes. That was my main problem with the show. That’s why I put it as the second to last point and specifically mentioned, how I find it weird from a marketing standpoint, allthough it doesn’t really influence my opinion of the show that much. I’m glad, that you got that … o.0

I respect your opinion, but I disagree with you on every single point except for the sun curvature.

That is very respectful of you and appreciate it very much … though … not even the reentry thing?

Star Trek: Picard established constant, senseless violence as part of its “house style” last season, so that should come as no surprise.

So the very idea of some super-advanced (and vaguely defined) vaccination protocol for people who explore alien biomes for a living strikes you as dystopian? How so, exactly?

My problem was more the ID Chip. But a chip in your body that’s able to alter your blood chemistry at any moment is creepy. As a thing you implant before an away mission, it makes sense. Or in sickbay. But as a permanent implant it’s just a really creepy thought.

Sorry, but however “creepy” that may seem to you, the distinction between a permanent “vaccination chip” (or whatever) and a temporary one is not all that meaningful. Unless you’re fully qualified to understand what’s being put into your body at any given time, in terms of control there’s no real difference between a permanent implant and one that’s mission-specific if your Federation superiors are truly out to zombie-fy you.

And the same applies, btw, to an ID chip, which would certainly seem useful in a fictional universe chockablock with changelings, transporter duplicates, mind-swappers, etc. These questions in terms of civil liberties are not easy (and are constantly getting harder), but the simple fact is that if we completely lose our essential trust in one another, society will no longer be able to function. The West is about to learn that lesson, good and hard.

but having a universal translator is OK?

Not as an implant that you have to have by law.

Ferengi citizens have universal translators implanted in their ears (see DS9: Little Green Men). This is not something new to Trek.

Is that what it was? I thought she was talking about a vaccine RECORD you can internally.

Same here…

Maybe. Hadn’t thought about that. But does that make it less creepy? Would you have you vaccine pass implanted for easier use?

I agree with everything you said. The first episode showed so much promise; a departure from the awful and disappointing first season.

Raffi is back to being her hostile, bitter, unlikable self. The negative characters make their scenes a pain to sit through.

I get that Star Trek is fiction and asks the viewer to stretch their imaginations, but if it’s going to feel right it needs to be coherent. Borg torpedos taking out big ships: sure. A single standard La Sirena torpedo taking out a big ship: why? As a writer either make it harder to disable the pursuing ship, have the Borg torpedos disable it, or outrun the ships.

Details that totally took me out of the world we’re watching in order of absurdity.
1) Earth being large and visible from the surface of the sun when arriving in 2024.
2) The sun being ridiculously small. Ya, Voyage Home does the same thing and has warp not make sense, but can’t we now put some more thought into this?
3) A lack of sense of time or distance when traveling too the sun or from the sun to suddenly being stuck in the gravity of earth.
4) Crash landings. We’ve got enough going on. The ship can be written to be severely hindered, but still make a reasonable landing. We just arrived: OH NO! Earth has got us! We’re dropping like a rock! – To be fair, the Cube and Sirena crash last season were far stupider. Drop like rocks, no power, people are alive and ships intact.
5) Warp not being warp. Again The Voyage Home does this, but my brain keeps track of this stuff. I visually see not faster than light speed while being told we’re wildly faster than light.

It’s not hard to fix these sorts of things. I imagine the SFX department comes up with a concept and someone stupid overrides them? “We need to see earth right away so the audience knows where we are?”

I get these are nerdy nit-picky complaints, but I do think it’s important to world build in a way in which the story seems effortless and flows. As these things happen I keep getting pinged that things feel off rather than being able to enjoy the story.

All this said, I’m far more concerned with dreary and/or annoying characters. When I think Star Trek I largely think of competent professional role-models. Episode one mostly followed that pattern and it felt right. There are a hundred other places I can go if I want to see what Picard is trying to dish out in many of these scenes.

I chuckled at the random crash landing, but I think it’s just because the characters had been talking for too long and the exec notes felt there should be more action sooner. Also, it’s easier to have them crash because it largely depowers them as they head into their mission.

By all means Madam Killjoy, go ahead and nope out of the rest of the season.

Also: why would “Bastard” even still be an insult in the 24th century?

“You Klingon bastard, you killed my son. Klingon bastard!”
Kirk, Star Trek III

I do agree with you about the gratuitous violence. I do find it odd that so many complained about that scene in Stardust City Rag. But not one peep from the over the top throat slitting.

I didn’t have a problem with Raffi before but I’m starting to now.

But it is what it is. This story arc so far is about as unoriginal as one could possibly get. 3 episodes in and I’d be willing to wager this season will actually be worse than the first one.

The disintegration scene in Star Dust City Rag was so hated because we pretty much spend 4 Years with Seven and watching her learn the value of human life only for her to become an executioner by her second episode in Picard. It was a weird choice to take the character.

Elnor is pretty much introduced as a child soldier. Of course he’d be sociopath, that kills people at the drop of a head. But as I remember there were plenty of people having problems with this.

What it seems most had the problem with was the Borg dissection scene. The flashback that provided a great deal of 7’s motivations at the time. Which to me worked. Elnor just gratuitously slit people’s throats. I’m not someone who cringes at every bit of violence on camera. There are certain genres that call for it but in other cases it can be used to make points or, in 7’s case, hammer home motivation. It’s less effective if he just says it. Seeing it cements it. But in this case, I saw no character reason for Elnor’s medieval rampage. It didn’t fit where they established his character now was. They may as well make Raffi a drug addict again for no reason.

Spot on, my friend. Spot on!

I can overlook most of that stuff. Yes the violence is at times gratuitous but I’ll pass that off to trying to draw in a larger audience who is used to more action. I’m not wild about it but at least we have been spared (so far) the over the top gore from season one like Icheb’s eye being pulled out and dropped into a dish.

The one thing that was just really dumb was Raffi’s talking down of Picard. Maybe she was grieving and not thinking straight but her basically demanding he should have somehow erased an omnipotent being like Q was moronic. She’s supposed to be a Starfleet officer; she should be more intelligent and composed than that. That’s clearly an ill thought out case of trying to create drama where it really isn’t necessary.

Trek To The Future

Complete with Loraine McFly.

If history changed in 2024, how does that affect the events of Star Trek: First Contact as they relate to the alternate future?

Did World War III still happen? Did Cochrane still build a warp drive? Did the Vulcans still make first contact?

Maybe it went similar to the opening scene in Enterprise’s “In a Mirror Darkly”

Plausibly, yeah.

World War III must be a slow-burner, because even though it starts in 2026, there are still human missions to Mars in 2032 (the Ares IV in Voyager’s One Small Step) and a crewed mission to leave the solar system in 2037 (the Charybdis in TNG’s The Royale).

Perhaps World War III starts off as smaller regional conflicts before growing into a global catastrophe, the way some consider World War II to have begun with Japan’s invasion of China and Korea or the Spanish Civil War several years before Germany attacked Poland.

Yeah. These world wars tend to always start small until they turn into global conflicts.

The second started in ’39 but the US did not become involved until ’41.

Like Russia invading Ukraine…

Exactly. If Putin isn’t stopped here, the Baltics are next. And that’s world war.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are the forerunners of the Confederation.
I see where this is going….

Star Trek has always been heavy-handed with social commentary.

Will be very surprised if they go this way. Can easily see them making a comment about how it’s a forerunner to Confederation, but I doubt they’ll do a chain that shows ICE becomes x which leads to y which creates nightmare future. If only because it will take some balls to actually explicitly make the connection and I just don’t believe branded content can afford to have balls.

I don’t get it, maybe because I am Canadian. If Russians ignore the laws of Ukraine and just walk across the border you don’t get the Mirror Universe?
A far cry from “A Private Little War” where that warranted the Federation arming the locals.

Screw ICE.

That is definitely happening right now.

Odd choice to have the setting in 2024, when the characters there really don’t act any differently than the characters in the regular time.

More filler in this one, and not much at all to differentiate it from other Trek time travel episodes, very much like Voyage Home.

Jurati continues to be very annoying, way too much of Tilly/ trope of “hipster nerd who can’t stop talking.”

Did you just copy paste your comment from the alt Star Trek subreddit?

I’m not much of a fan of Allison Pill either as she does at times channel a bit too much of Tilly (one of the most annoying characters in all of Trek given my tastes).

That said, I thought she did a good job in her scenes when interfacing with the Borg Queen. Her bouncing from one emotion to another was well done and I actually got a hint of nastiness in her attitude towards the queen, which I thought was interesting and appropriate. I hope to see more of that and less of the neurotic/quirky Jurati going forward.

Same. I actively disliked her character and acting in The Newsroom, so it was pleasant to be engaged with her the season. I also have a threshold when it comes to a character going from quirky and insecure to wish washy, neurotic and annoying.

Maybe they were concerned if they set it right now that would mean people would expect them to incorporate the pandemic and they wanted to avoid that. Not that I don’t anticipate there being visible signs of it in the real 2024.

Odd choice to have the setting in 2024, when the characters there really don’t act any differently than the characters in the regular time.

Maybe they learned from prevoius time travelers and lectures about “how to behave on earth in 21th century” are a must on the academy ;-) On the other hand they have to know how to behave on strange new plantets anyway. AAAAAAAND Picard was already in the 21st century in First Contact. Didn’t turn out to be so difficult like Kirk and Spock in the late 20th century. ;-)
I don’t get the bad reviews for that episode. I love the Voyage Home, I love time travelling episodes and I was very pleased by that episode!

I agree with some of the sentiments shared by others regarding the show slipping back into Season 1 habits. While still not as poor as Season 1, there are still things slipping through that just feel wrong.

The first episode it felt like they were really trying and I was so happy it was something my kids could watch with me. They loved the first episode but they were really put off by the violence in episode 2, especially the throat cutting, it was not necessary for the story at all. I’m not sure if I’ll show them episode 3. There was no need to disintegrate those people. They could have been stunned, the pursuing ships disabled and then beamed back before time warping. Would have made for a commanding bit of dialogue between the queen with Picard adamantly forbidding their destruction….and her perhaps agreeing with “Locutus”.

I think back to Kirk and Kruge on Genesis and Kirk extending his hand to help the man who given the order to murder his son and also trying to kill him. It was only when there was no choice left that he kicked him to his death. I remember that moment impacting me so very much as a kid. I thought about it a lot afterward. Would be nice to see the same consideration for life in current Trek.

Yeah that really is one of the worst things about modern Trek. There seems to be no consideration for human life if it’s on the “wrong” side of an argument. Which is a horrible lesson to teach any viewer, let alone children.

Even with Lower Decks – a show I actually quite like – they use a characters pain or his being hurt as a punchline way to often.

Haven’t watched much of Prodigy. Maybe it’s better. I tuned out when it became clear that they were going for an overarching Villain for the season. So we’re again teaching children, that some people are evil and need to be fought, instead of the simple fact, that there’s just people with different opinions that can both be valid and conflicts are rarely a question of being right or being wrong. And especially not of being on the “right side”.

You maybe missed Commander Remmick having his head exploded back in 1988. I kind of agree, I don’t like excess violence, but Trek has always had its fair share of bodily disintegration, torture, knife fights and whatnot.

It’s weird that you would pick the one episode that canonically is pretty much ignored by the rest of the franchise as an example of what’s typical for said franchise.

But is first season TNG anything we want to look back on to rationalize current Trek’s choices? Exploding Remmick wasn’t exactly a high point in the franchise.

I guess I’m in the minority but when I saw that episode back in ’88 I loved watching Remmick explode.

Ruddy hell. It’s not just Cmdr. Remmick. Worf impaling Gowron with a batleth? The entirety of “Chain of Command II”? Arms being phasered off in TUC? Ensign Enrique bleeding to death from a non-cauterizable Dominion weapon in an episode of DS9 (“Rocks and Shoals,” IIRC)? Any one of countless episodes (especially on TOS) showing phasers set to disintegrate? There’s some awfully selective examples being cited here.

There are *lots* of melee weapons in Star Trek. The lack of blood previously seems to be as much about restrictions on what you could show as anything else.

And TOS was always running afoul of NBC’s standards and practices people, greatly limiting the amount of blood or injury that could be shown.

Have we forgotten Varon-T Disruptor from “The Most Toys”
Have we forgotten all the blood in Star Trek 6?
Have we forgotten about the pile of bodies in the Borg Cube from 8472?
Have we forgotten the ep “Loud as a Whisper… they kill 3 people on screen and you see their skeletons.

The Varon T was a major plot point used to illustrate finally how evil Fajo was, it was explained as being unusual and shocking. The blood in TUC was pepto bismol to avoid an R rating. The pile of Borg bodies were a disturbing idea but a fake-looking miniature in practice. TNG seasons 1 and 2 are outliers when it comes to depicting graphic violence on the shows. Heck, it wasn’t until First Contact that a movie was PG-13, and Enterprise season 3 before an episode was TV-14. It was largely easy to show these shows to kids.

There is a several minute sequence in Star Trek VI where Klingons are shot and maimed indiscriminately. Star Trek: First Contact features a scene with missing eyes and limbs during the assimilation process. An entire episode of DS9 portrays Ben Sisko as an accessory to several murders. But sure, let’s dump all over STP, because Alex Kurtzman or whatever. Honest to God, there’s a portion of the fanbase that will never be happy until they remake Seasons 4-6 of TNG shot for shot. Even then, someone would probably act like the sky was falling because the carpet on the ENT-D bridge was the wrong shade of grey.

Okay. Let’s go through this:

in the sequence in ST VI the two officers beam on board specifically to provoke a war between Klingons and the Federation. That’s why they’re shooting indiscriminately at the Klingons. It’s clearly portrayed as wrong and it’s as graphic as it needs to be without revealing in it.

The First Contact Scenes are meant to show how the Borg don’t care for individual humans and how terrible of an experience being assimilated would be. Violence again is shown as something bad. It’s not visually glorified. It’s there to show us, where the triumph of collectivism over the individual will lead.

In the pale moonlight has barely any graphic violence and the question if it’s okay to commit a moral wrong to achieve a greater moral good is the point of the episode. You can be with Sisko and say Kant is wrong or you go for the Hegelian interpretation of morals. But Sisko sure isn’t portrayed as being right here.

in Picard it’s our “heroes” who are constantly murdering people in the most graphic way possible. And the directors revel in it. It’s not portrayed as wrong but as fun. And if they go too far they put it a Handwavey line about the charges being dropped.

My point is, you can do pretty much everything, if it’s in service of the story. But modern Trek seems to not do that. They’re on streaming so they can do sex, swearing and violence. That’s the reason they’re using it. It has nothing to do with story.

We’ve seen countless assault teams in Star Trek: the MACOs on Enterprise, “Chain of Command,” God knows how many countless DS9 episodes (including one in which Sisko indiscriminately slaughters a Jem’Hadar battalion, the aformentioned “Rocks and Shoals,” IIRC.) All of the previous series have shown the Federation doing what it takes to win a firefight. The counterexample of Kirk in TSFS, for instance, clearly came when he had the upper hand.

I don’t understand, how this is so hard to get for a lot of people. Theres nothing wrong with portraying violence as violent if it’s in service of the story and doesnt clash with the message you’re trying to send.

A good Example is Django Unchained. Tarantino loves his over the top violence and there’s plenty of it in the movie. but when he’s depicting actual torure of slaves it’s very reserved and not at all treated as funny. Because that would be horrible.

Star Trek used to be a show about humans getting their shit together and exploring the galaxy instead of murdering each other and the planet. So making it a show with over the top violence as a fun thing to watch, just wouldn’t work. You’d have to create an original SciFi IP for that. That’s not to say, you can’t question all those high minded federation principles. DS9 did it brilliantly but the violence they did use was always in serviece of the story they were telling and they made sure to show the cost that even taking one life has on a person.

In all of the newer Trek shows, killing is just something fun that lets the director be creative with some CGI blood and prosthetics. And I think that’s terrible.

So, it seems you’ve changed your argument a bit. Originally, your position was that anything other than “light” violence in Star Trek in inappropriate, which as I noted above, is belied by the actual content of the shows and movies over the last 50 plus years. Now it appears you’re saying that you don’t like gratuitous violence, and on this, we can agree. I’m no fan of Remmick’s head exploding or Icheb’s eye being ripped out, because those things do nothing to meaningfully move the story forward. Where we will continue to disagree, however, is on the use of violence in this season of STP. I don’t have any problem with Elnor, Raffi, Seven, etc. fighting and/or disposing of Confederation soldiers because it’s in service of the overall plot. Ultimately, each era of Star Trek is, in part, the product of social norms and television standards and practices applicable to the time. The level of violence we see in STP is no greater than (and frankly far less than) what you see with other “prestige” TV on streaming platforms.

At this point I actually want more sex than violence, I mean instead of glorifying violence shouldn’t it make more sense to glorify a pleasurable act of sex and love.

Yes, those are examples. But it wasn’t every bloody episode, mate. Like it is now.

Hi Sasha,

I appreciate your thoughts as expressed. Really, really appreciate your explanation of the typical German meaning of hysterical. It’s good for people who are able to speak the same language to recall that we may not have the same understanding of the words we use. So extra effort is needed to (as the Japanese say) understand each other.

That said, there are people who are utter evil and who revel in their ability to inflict death and destruction on others whom they do not value. The leader of Russia is evil. It is not about his opinion or his perspective or his narrative. He is evil. He is a villain. History is littered with similar evil people who meet horrific ends. But they don’t have to “big notorious evil” that becomes internationally known. I know a person who at 94, trusted his nephew with the key to his house. Over time, the nephew stole many, many things from the house, then left obstacles on the floor in the house to cause the 94 year old to fall. That fall resulted in an injury and hospitalization. While the house was empty, the nephew ransacked the house to steal more items. The 94 year old person in the hospital lost the ability to walk. Lost ability to walk resulted in admission to a nursing home. Death resulted before the 94 year old had been in the nursing home for 4 days.

The nephews was / is evil. He is the villain. The more we know what villainy looks like, the better we can defend ourselves against it. But to defend the otherness of an evil person is to support evil.

There is evil. It is rampant. When good people fail to stand up to evil, it spreads and we all become victims. How many times must history repeat this before we learn?

I’m not entirely sure, I’m with you there. First of all there’s plenty of people who’ve done horrible things and sometimes they’re so far gone, that there can’t be no redemption.

But it’s to simple, to start calling people evil. I always like to say, that no one is the villain in his own story. Even Putin isn’t thinking of himself as one, I’m sure.

I guess my original point was, that there’s a difference between an antagonist an a villain. An antagonist has goals and motivations, that run counter to the ones of the protagonist. That’s why they clash. A good story manages to make you understand both points of view but leaves the ultimate decision up to you.

My go to example is always racism. A bad story tells you that racism is bad. A good story tells you how people become racists and what racist actions actually look like. Show the devastating consequences it can have on victims. Understanding a bad thing is way more important, than just knowing something is bad. And that’s something modern stores seem to have lost.

His Sascha,

First, I know that you are speaking in theatrical terms about stories. And I know that you want to keep an open door for the ability to redeem a troubled soul. I know this.

But the argument is a slippery slope in my opinion. Let me explain.

I am a black man in America.  

I know what racism looks like. It was a white man who held me at knife-point while I was walking my dog in a park close to my home, saying that my kind should not be allowed in that neighborhood. It was getting lost in a South Georgia (USA) area and making a left turn that put me in the middle of a large and frightening KKK rally — those people were looking for a reason to do harm to a black person. I can go on about the look of racism in corporate America, in school, at restaurants…

All of it is evil.

All of which is to say that I give no time to thinking on the psychology of the evil and villainous mind. Evil does not need to be habitual. It simply needs to be the willful, purposeful and calculated act of one person seeking to kill, steal, destroy, or crush the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of another person or creature – because they want to do so, they can do so, and feel that they are dominant enough to do so. All it takes is one evil act to ruin lives.

I enjoy stories with well-developed protagonists and antagonists. Yes, make them as multi-faceted and thoughtful as you desire. 

But in real life, the evil person wants to take your life. I have an article published on January 12th, 2022. The focus of the article is a male criminal arrested multiple times in the very woke city of Baltimore, Maryland. The last arrest was for arson and attempted murder: He set fire to a house in which his girlfriend lived… while she and her friends were sleeping in the house. He should have been in jail for 10 years but instead was in prison for less than 6 months.

This is his quote: Trent said he was equally as surprised to get released from custody. “I was just charged with 18 different counts, that was dropped to 10, that was dropped to one. I shouldn’t be out right now… Personally, yes, I want to be out but, principally, no I shouldn’t be out because I could have done a lot more damage than I did. I was expecting to get time; people who were in that situation, they should expect to get time.” Asked if the plea deal he got sends the wrong message to the community of Baltimore…. “Oh yes, most definitely,” he said. “That tells anybody that ‘I can go shoot somebody or I can attempt to shoot somebody, and I’ll be completely fine. It would empower me because I would be like, okay, this man just shot somebody, just blew his head off and he’s just out walking free. I can do anything I want. I can rob somebody, I can shoot somebody, I can do anything I want.”

This is a quote from his victim: “I was in shock. I didn’t really know what to feel. It doesn’t seem like justice was served, it feels like a political game, but not my justice.”

In my world, evil people need to be called out for what they are, and then delivered up for punishment. To placate, appease, and forgive their horror because of “psychology” means you support their evil and that you invite more harm to come to you and others.  The criminals words: “I shouldn’t be out right now… I can do anything I want. I can rob somebody, I can shoot somebody, I can do anything I want.”

His words. We need to wake up.

And in Insurrection they could have beamed out both Picard AND Ru’ofo but left Ru’afo behind to die. They just let him die! That really felt very un-Star Trek to me.

Yes! I like Insurrection for the most part but always hated that scene!

You exist in the real world right? You do know that in the real world, there are evil people right? Do you think Putin is a “misunderstood snowflake?”

No, there are no evil people. There’s only people who do evil things. Often without even understanding it, since they’re shielded from the actual human cost of their actions or because of a mental illness.

That “real world” you’re supposedly living in, can only have one form of “justice” and that’s the death penalty. Because there’s no redeeming evil people. And we wouldn’t even have to wait for them to do something evil, because they ARE evil. You could murder them preemtively and it would be a moral good. Your “real world” would also be a world constantly at war because there would be no sense in diplomacy. Talking to evil people wouldn’t accomplish anything, since they’re evil. There wouln’t even accident’s or missunderstandings, since we’re only judging the people instead of their actions. So it would be impossible for an evil person, do a good thing. There would also be constant civil war in you’re “real world”, since the other side of any given topic isn’t just wrong; they’re the evil people and it doesn’t matter, what what they’re acually saying. THEY are evil and that’s enough to fight them.

People who talk of “good and evil” are dangerous. It’s precicely what Putin is doing, when he’s trying to frame his invasion as a “special military operation” to liberate Ukrain from the Nazis. Claiming there’s evil to be fought is always the fist step in dehumanising an enemy. Hence it’s on the first page of every autocrats playbook.

In the actual real world there’s just people that sometimes do good things and sometimes do bad things. And there’s always a reason for it and to them it’s always what needs to be done, no matter if it’s acually true. That’s the reason we punish crimes not people.

Well said.

I’m not sure if I’ll show them episode 3. There was no need to disintegrate those people. They could have been stunned, the pursuing ships disabled and then beamed back before time warping. “

My folks were adamant about me not watching “The Most Toys” when it first aired. *shrugs*

When it comes to graphic violence showing to childen, I don’t think that disintegrate people is such shocking for children. The transporter does basically the same!
When it comes to blood, was the purple-CGI blood of the klingons in ST VI such a thing?
I remember seeing the Wrath of Khan on VHS almost 40 years ago when I was 6 or 7 years old. What creeped me out of hell was that scene of the ear worm entering (and exiting later) Chekov ear. Now that WAS CREEPY!!! I can’t say the same about the disintegration scene because I don’t remember if I was scared about that. I asume not. Otherwise I would remember it.

What ultimately distinguishes Star Trek from Star Wars is that it’s not kiddie fare (setting aside “Prodigy”).

And even in Star Wars we saw plenty of firefights.

It depends. In Germany TOS was considered a children tv show so that the dialogues were changed. They even changed the plot of one episode, which was Amok Time. The Pon Farr part was completely omitted and it turned out the be a bad dream of Spock. TAS was even changed more to a kindergarten show and would later be completely redubbed by the same speakers of TOS. Fun fact: The first dubbing of TAS used Picards german voice for Kirk!

Agree with the review – while weaker than the first two episodes, it was still OK (still better than Season 1). But I do hope the rest of the episodes are a bit stronger.

Sure is a lot of endless moaning and pearl-clutching about the violence in this show as it pertains to individuals and a bunch of eye-rolling bullshit about not being able to “watch with my children.”

So, to be sure, when the 90’s trek shows were blowing up entire ships of hundreds or even thousands of people, that was kosher family tv. But mostly self-defense killings of individuals is unpalatable? Truly mind-boggling.

I assume most of these comments are coming from Americans who have such a puritanical streak about these things. It’s really bizarre and seems very much like cognitive dissonance.

Sisko poisined an entire planet over a personal grudge and was an active assassination attempt in which the Federation committed a false flag attack on the Romulans.

Worf did a revenge killing on Duras where we saw his bat’leth sticking out of Duras’s chest. Alt-Rikers neck was split open following an explosion on the bridge of the alternate Enterprise-D’s bridge in Yesterdays Enterprise

The pearl clutching is cherry picking and remembering the past as being far far better than it actually was.

Agreed! It’s all senseless griping. I do not understand it either. I’m recalling in my head Ensign Lynch on FC or the Jack the Ripper entity on TOS or even the shocking suicide of Capt. Terell in TWOK.

I don’t think the issue is with violence as a whole, rather it’s about graphic violence combined with a certain flippant attitude towards death, using it for purely shock value. Empty calories, so to speak.

When Duras was killed by Worf, it was immediately followed by a scene with Picard telling Worf why it was wrong under Federation law. The death had weight. When Riker was brutally killed in “Yesterday’s Enterprise” it came at the climax of the battle, immediately followed by the Klingons demanding the Enterprise surrender. All is lost then. The death had weight.

I didn’t think killing the Confederate soldiers was shocking. It was necessary. They aren’t going to take them with them. And besides, if Picard fixes time, it never happened. That’s how I saw it. It just didn’t register with me. Star trek can be violent. Picard is an adult show so, it didn’t bother me.

Of course, having said that, I should add that Star Trek created the “red shirt” trope, so a flippant attitude with death has always been there. I just wish it was something Trek could move beyond.

I see your point. Perhaps, SNW might fix the red shirt trope for its show.

Is it truly a “flippant attitude with death”? Could it not also be argued that red shirts existed to serve as illustrating the danger faced by our main characters?

If you don’t learn their names, if nothing is established about who they are as human beings, then yes, I’d say they’re on the level of cannon fodder. Usually made worse by the end of an episode when Kirk is punching Spock on the shoulder and laughing [cue delightful music].

“Captain, you do realize we lost seventeen crew members on this mission?”

But, to their credit, TNG and DS9 tried to move beyond it with episodes like “The Bonding” and “The Ship.”

Well, they’re not people, they’re characters, so the concept of cannon fodder is a bit different in fictional drama. At least, that’s how every professional writer who has done film & television has approached it. A member of the Enterprise getting taken out is supposed to highlight the danger and raise the stakes for our main characters — and the audience. That’s a writerly device for sure, and so it’s just a matter of how someone perceives the relevance/flippancy of writerly devices.

The death of Riker, who appeared very much on-screen like five minutes later, had weight?

For that matter, the weight you’re ascribing to Duras’ death was…a reprimand?

These deaths are a lot more akin to, say, the assassins who try to kill Picard after he visits Kahlest.

And, not for nothing, Duras was killed with a large sword. It was probably unrealistically non-graphic, because a lot of the stuff surrounding violence in these shows is about what they can show *now* that they couldn’t *before*.

Riker’s death had weight in the moment when you’re watching it for the first time. Combined with the surrender order, Picard looking on at his dead first officer, yes, it had dramatic weight in that moment.

Duras’ death, while not a career ender for Worf, is given dramatic weight by the writing and Patrick Stewart’s performance. He killed someone against orders. There’s something to reflect on now, if even for a couple of minutes.

The point is death means something in the story. The characters realize its importance. It simply isn’t a punchline to a joke.

Totally agree with you, Jacob. This particular American has no issue with it whatsoever. This is an adult show.

If you want to truly shield your kids from actual senseless violence, don’t let them watch the local or national news.

Nothing wrong with it being an adult show in its own right, the main audience it is for is adults. But in terms of contributing to franchise longevity, it feels short sighted. Fewer kids will watch these shows because of their TV-MA content and that can have repercussions decades from now. When Star Wars and Doctor Who came back they happily appealed to family audiences again and 20 years on that will likely prove to be canny.

It’s the graphic violence that feels gratuitous. The way many people die in Discovery season 1 and Picard season 1 is realistic and in the case of Icheb, bordering on torture p*rn. Lower Decks indulges in it too.

I dont mind that in movies and shows where it’s organically part of the tone. But as part of an established franchise, one has to ask if it’s really necessary to introduce, and what does it add? I can’t say it doesn’t belong in Star Trek and there’s no place for it, I’d just point out that such levels of gore are few and far between in the shows and movies and there’s a good argument that this puts a damper on a show’s appeal to smaller children, and it’s often the kids who like Trek who demonstrate the most love for it as adults, and pay that forward to their kids. I think that cycle has been disrupted now.

Well said Ian, particularly that it disrupts the established ‘lines in the sand’ about what to show/not to show in terms of violence and tone, and snatching Trek away from children being able to watch it too. My biggest beef with it is the casual attitude members of Starfleet have towards throat slittings, beheadings, phasering out of existance opponents etc with NO follow-up. None of this violence is given any possible weight or catharsis by being discussed or reacted to by our cast afterwards. That’s why it feels tonally ‘out at sea’ for Star Trek. There’s zero true depth to this show or its characters, just impressions of prior greatness. How much better it might be with a scene between Elnor and Raffi after they escape in E2, and she initially rips him a new one for slitting throats so casually. They could have had a bonding scene over this, which would have made his “death” and her emoting seem better earned and deeper, as she was turning into his mentor and moral compass. It’s things like that that seperate real Star Trek with depth to this odd veneer of Star Trek slapped over a standard modern sci-fi show aimed exclusively at mid-teens upwards only. It’s such a pity as I absolutely loved the first episode and it felt like proper Star Trek again.

Most of these comments are coming from “nuTrek” haters who will find any reason to criticize any element of Star Trek after the Berman era, and as a result, seem to have selective memory when it comes to past movies, episodes, etc. that contradict their view. Do people not recall the Kronos 1 boarding scene from STVI? The assimilation sequence from Star Trek: First Contact? Riker shooting Yuta multiple times until she’s vaporized in The Vengeance Factor? Star Trek has always had (sometimes moderately intense) violence. STP is no different.

And God forbid these folks ever tune into the first season of MI5.

Discovery and Picard got TV-MA ratings for violence. It’s fine to bring up examples of when the older shows and films pushed the limits there (though Conspiracy is clearly an outlier), but let’s not pretend they ever went as far as these shows did.

The Berman era shows were constrained by airing in syndication and/or on network TV. I’d bet serious money that, if DS9 had aired on HBO instead of my local Fox affiliate in the 1990s, the Dominion War would have been a lot bloodier. And to be clear, I’m no fan of gratuitous violence in any area of Star Trek, whether Remmick’s head exploding or Icheb’s eye being ripped out. But Raffi, Seven, and company taking down the Confederation bad guys in this week’s episode of Picard? That was in service of the plot, and I don’t have any problem with it.

I don’t either, and for sure some of the rather silly bloodless violence in the older shows wouldn’t be the case without censors, but it’s visceral things like Icheb torture, Klingon carnage and sexual violence, and decapitations which feel like real overkill.

I’m the other way. The Icheb torture served a real purpose. It hammered home 7’s motivations in a way far greater than could be achieved if she just read a line about it. Or if it happened off camera. Elnor’ slitting throats at it was shown was just over the top for no reason other than to get some blood and violence in. At the very least it could have been edited differently to lessen the gratuitous impact.

I agree on Elnor, I disagree on Icheb. It just wasn’t necessary. Don’t show the friggin’ eye thing as it happens. Make it a -good- line about how he was savagely tortured, and that’s plenty effective. Trust Jeri Ryan to act, and trust the audience to empathize. They took a character we last saw as a sweet innocent boy and basically Hosteled him. Imagine begin a kid watching Voyager and going straight into Picard from that.

That’s a fair take and respect your position.

I wouldn’t show Discovery and Picard to children, but mostly because they would leave within five minutes because there’s nothing there to distinguish it from the 13,000 other shows currently circulating– plus the fact that, say, Guardians of the Galaxy, with a talking raccoon and tree, takes space travel verisimilitude more seriously than live-action Kurtzman Trek– and that would confuse them. But mainly, they would probably skedaddle due to boredom or annoyance.

Isn’t that the purpose of having so many different Star Trek now anway? You have Prodigy for children. And you could expect the same from Lower Deck, but this turned out to be for older “young” viewers.

It’s weird that we haven’t seen Raffi and Seven hug and kiss each other. Not make out or anything lurid — I’m talking about acting how a normal couple would react after not seeing each other for a time OR surviving a harrowing experience and dealing with the fact that they’re in a new (temporary) reality. The trolls might have it right with that term “passive progressive.” Literally paying lip service to two women being together and in love without bothering to make it real.

(If I missed a hug in this ep, I’m sorry — it must’ve been because I was shaking my head at something stupid that had happened just before.)

I think it’s implied they didn’t separate on amicable terms considering the pot-shots Raffi made at Seven about commitment issues

Oh, are they separated? I didn’t pick up on that. It just seemed like they were separated because Raffi was on a ship and Seven was back to Rangering (in other words, they are in a long-distance relationship), but it didn’t occur to me that they were separated as a couple. Okay, then. Guess that makes sense. Still, a weird dodge by the writers.

Their relationship essentially happened offscreen in the time elapsed from season one to season two. We saw the very beginning of it last season and it was already finished when this season started, although it seems that they still have some feelings for each other based on Raffi’s several wisecracks when learning that Seven is the president and married in the new timeline.

You’ve been asleep for over twelve hours now. Safe and sound, back in good old 2355.


It was still an exciting episode with great acting, music, and visual effects, but it was weirdly paced. Didn’t like the direction (maybe combined with the editing). The first 3 ‘random bits’ in the review might not have been the best combination in my opinion.

And what’s the deal with producers also being the writers. I mean, isn’t that two different jobs?

People who say things like “I didn’t like the direction” usually have no idea about directing, or how it affects a movie or TV show. I always find that hilarious.

Also, you don’t seem to understand what a producer does. It’s clearly not what you think. A lot of times it’s just a meaningless title because the person put up money to help production, sometimes it’s being a consultant on story, and how the episode/movie developed from concept to screen.

Other times it’s behind-the-scenes work: coordinating the financial backing, working with the studio, etc etc. A producer is a catch-all title for a LOT of things.

Writers — and particularly showrunners these days — are often credited as producers. It can sometimes just be a way of getting the writer a bigger paycheck, too.

Roddenberry and Coon were producers who also did a lot of writing (and re-writing) on TOS.

That was really heavy handed and hard to watch – enjoyed the first two episodes but this just went off the deep end for my tastes. About to watch Discovery and fear it won’t be better. Arrrg.

I had a similar issue. It was awfully heavy handed. Trek works much better when it’s more subtle. This was more on the level of Let That be Your Last Battlefield.

The only part that could really be described as heavy handed was when Rios was arrested by ICE. And there are some issues that really require heavy handed treatment.

And there were over the top comments here and there as well as a huge fire in the Hollywood hills that didn’t seem to be affecting the sky at all. As has been said above… Trek works much better when things like that are more subtle. They are using a hammer on a push pin.

See I don’t agree with this because as humans we kind of automatically rebel against heavy handedness even if it is a very important issue. That is why pushing agendas and thought patterns on people is not really the way to go. Human beings are genetically inclined to pushback against anything pressured on them. This is why I think sending messages more subtly usually works better in the long run than hammering them over the heads.

Loving the season so far. No, it’s not Trek of old. But it’s better written and better paced than any Trek we’ve seen since 2017. Pacing was the major problem for me on Season 1, which seemed to move in fits and starts.

This season also feels like someone (Matalas’) actual vision, as opposed to last season which felt like a lot of people’s different ideas thrown into a pot.

While I liked it, this one was definitely the weakest of the three by far. It did feel very oddly paced and didn’t feel like much was happening outside of going back in time (OK, that’s a big deal) but then just trying to get information out of the Borg Queen. I even thought they may not leave the ship in this episode at all.

The one scene I did smile at was when Seven and Raffi were trying to get access inside the building and Raffi had to keep correcting Seven on how she said photo. It was so funny because I’m so used to how Seven speaks it never hit me that it sounds a little odd even for the 24th century at times. That was some good writing.

Hopefully next will be better though but definitely enjoying the show.

I enjoyed Jurati’s voyage into the Borg Queen’s mind. The scenes with them talking over each other were amusing, and the Borg Queen is still scary as hell.

In a 22 Episode Season that would have been a whole episode with surreal imagery and dreamscapes within the queens mind. And in the end someone else would have to get in and save her 😁

Yes! The running “just say picture” joke or whatever was definitely a highlight.

This wasn’t great.

The three storylines kinda fell flat for me; Raffi and Seven’s double act really didn’t go anywhere or introduce anything exciting for me. Seven is enjoying being totally human now? Well …obviously. Her Borg trauma has been taken away. Cool, I guess? And to be honest I do not see any chemistry between these two actors. Not just in the way that they’re supposed to be romantically interested in each other, just even playing off each other as two actors, it’s kinda meh watching them together.

Rios in the hospital was equally disinteresting, and it was a bit too obvious after Tilly gave him the talking to about not interfering with history – Of course that’s what he’d end up doing, losing his badge and all in the process. He is a very handsome man though, not hard to watch at all. I’ll give him that.

My least favourite storyline was the Borg Queen, Tilly and Picard. I don’t know why the actress is playing the Queen like a pantomime villain, all side smirks, projected voice and very close to a maniacal laugh at times. She was always portrayed as being cool and aloof, and almost seductive at times, which made her an interesting villain to watch. A captivating and charismatic presence, a real queen in other words. I miss those dimensions of the character, not really loving how one-dimensional she is here.

Otherwise adios Elnor. Would care more about the loss, but we didn’t really know him at all, so again, meh. Don’t really mind the violence, but I do mind that this didn’t really excite me in any way and nothing was set up for future episodes in a satisfying or intriguing way.

I think it was made clear in the show that this was not the same queen that we have seen before and there can have different quirks and characteristics than the ones we’ve seen before.

That wasn’t actually made clear. Picard refers to her several times as if she’s the same Queen he dealt with during his time as Locutus.

I remember distinctly that either Seven or Jurati mentioning it was a different queen although I could be mistaken. May need to watch the episodes again.

Mr. Rios, I washed your clothes. Your pants are over there. On my hope chest.

Rios didn’t have his ID or UHC card (universal health care?). Is laundry service included in universal health care?

She should have called him Calvin.

“The warp slingshot scene was an homage to the time travel sequence in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.”

When Rios was calling out the increasing warp numbers in that scene, I think he was calling out the same numbers that Sulu did in TVH.

Ugh. That was the worst time travel sequence I’ve ever seen in any time travel movie or TV show.

It was a low-budget recreation of the statue heads from ST:IV. Orville might’ve actually used CGI heads to really sell it, but I laughed because it’s a lot more fun to see this show with goofy glasses on. It’s just a bunch of old dudes trying to write what they think Star Trek fans, streaming audiences, and younger people think is hip and interesting.

I was speaking of the TVH sequence. The Picard one wasn’t too hot either but it wasn’t nearly as bad as the one in TVH.

Voyage Home or Picard?

“Computer, dictate the file logged ‘Shit I stole from the Borg Queen’.”

Great Star Trek. Enough said

On this week’s episode, Alison Pill undergoes some actor’s workshop exercises to kill time while Santiago Cabrera finds himself trapped in a mediocre 21st-century television show conveniently set in Los Angeles— or is this sexy doctor single mom with a heart of gold beneath a sassy surface merely an apparition from the Q Continuum? Meanwhile, Hurd and Ryan shuffle though a homeless encampment so the writers can make zero attempt at meaningful commentary on California’s ever-worsening homelessness crisis. Buckle up for seven more episodes of wheel-spinning shenanigans before our heroes successfully prevent Biff from becoming the founding president of the Confederation and Lea Thompson from becoming the Borg queen plus so she can realize her true destiny of directing episodes of Picard.

sexy doctor single mom with a heart of gold beneath a sassy surface

Yep. TV tropes at their finest.

What I’m wondering is if this supposed to take place before or after the Bell Riots. Also the Sanctuary District depicted here didn’t seem to be secured or guarded in any way. What we saw in Past Tense was more like a ghetto. This was more akin to a modern day tent city. Is there different styles of Sanctuary Districts? I thought maybe they will take Rios to something closer to Past Tense to act as commentary on the treatment of undocumented immigrants

I’m not sure who sucks more. The Borg Queen or ICE. I’m going to say ICE. At least the Borg Queen is being kind of helpful.


I miss Prodigy.

i´m loving this

Wow. Three good episodes, three in a row, this is a first for me in a very long time! Really enjoying this season. Can’t wait for next week!

Really like the fact this crew now feels like a family. Big difference from Season 1. Their interactions are in a new level. And I REALLY like this Q. It is very appropriate, John did an excellent job on his new take, being different but still giving so much crap to Jean Luc. About the Borg Queen, she is different and actually more scary. Having her walking around with no legs and going up like a spider is amusingly creepy. :P

Not cool removing Elnor from the story, hope he is back. I know his character is not well developed, but really hope we can see him again when they get back to their “present time.”

The scene with Agnes linking with the Queen, for me that was the highlight. Good humor. Both did a great performance. So satisfying to see a new take on one Borg assimilation.

I wasn’t a big fan of the third episode the way I was of the previous two (though admittedly, the season two premiere was the best so far). I wish they hadn’t killed Elnor, but there’s a 50/50 chance Q might bring him back. Then again, he didn’t bring back the people the Borg abducted in “Q Who,” so there’s a possibility Elnor might stay dead. I get that the Queen’s nanoprobes were neutralized which is why we didn’t see the tendrils all over Jurati’s skin, but it would have been nice to see some form of partial assimilation. I still don’t get how the Queen was able to interface with her without infecting with nanoprobes. Then again, maybe she did. I have this crazy theory that Jurati is being slowly assimilated or will be later this season and that the Queen that beamed aboard the Stargazer in the season premiere is an assimilated version of Jurati. I was also kind of surprised that Picard told Jurati that the Queen could infiltrate his mind easily because he had already been assimilated. As an android, I assumed he would be immune to conventional assimilation techniques. Data was on First Contact. Otherwise the Queen would have jabbed him with her assimilation tubules and it would have been game over.

I agree with you on Jurati. There’s no way that’s the end of the assimilation story and like you I can see her being fully assimilated. I think having her revealed as the queen on the Stargazer is a great call.

When the timeline is repaired Elnor will be there waiting for them.

I was so hopeful after S2E1 and half way through S2E2 that things were going in the right direction. Though knowing what has been the constant since the 2017 revival, maybe this was naïve.

Though there was cause for optimism, JdL’s (continued) amazing turn as Q (that skull scene!), proper/legacy starships, a more hopeful feel to the Starfleet of yesteryear, better uniforms, wonderful little touches like the First Contact theme motif, a potentially interesting new narrative with a dying and worried Q. Lovely little nods throughout. Granted, not all were perfect, Sir Pat seems to still be off a bit as JLP. Although was great seeing Guinan, the scene felt tacked on and a bit pointless. The forced love plot between Laris and Picard (where’s Beverly, Picard’s actual true love?). But, considering what was S1, we can forgive such matters!

Sadly, with the second half of E2 and then E3, it seems reports of improvements have been greatly exaggerated. Straight back to killing, bad exposition, explosions, janky dialogue and plotting, weird character turns and motivations. It’s strange, it seems the show is being developed by two separate teams or something. Ah well, who know? Maybe things may improve again, but I’m not holding my breath. Make it so…me what better, please?

If I were a betting man I wouldn’t wager the show will improve and in fact, get worse. The opening episode was pretty good up until Q showed up. It was really looking like there might be hope for the season that based on the promos was looking to be terrible. 20% into the show’s run it was looking like the season would indeed be awful. 30% into the run I think it’s a near certainty.

Oops… Put a “not” in between ‘will’ & ‘improve’. I need to slow down my typing. I also miss bad word replacements doing that too.

I haven’t had a chance to watch E3 yet, but I really hope you’re wrong about that, Capt. Braxton. I agree with your comments about what’s been produced since the 2017 revival (live-action), and am very much hoping the second season of PIC breaks that trend. I also agree that Stewart is a bit ‘off’ as JLP, thinking perhaps it’s just age catching up with the actor. Also agreed about Guinan, unless she plays a bigger role later in the season, that scene in E1 was shoehorned in. And Beverly – she should be in the picture by now, imo. I have little to no faith in these showrunners, but have been hopeful after what I’ve seen thus far. Here’s to optimism!

Strange episode that one, bit too much padding. Loads happened but seemed like nothing happened, I felt like they could have fitted the whole of the episode into 25-30 minutes. Still I quite enjoyed it and I’m a sucker for a fish-out-of-water story, I just love them. The more awkward the characters are in the situation are, the more I enjoy it.

Betcha that Elnor gets revived by the Borg Queen as a drone.

I’m guessing that he’ll be fine once they fix the timeline. The body that died was technically the body of the alternate timeline rebel Elnor. Once they fix the timeline, Elnor may be alive and well in his own body.

I feared that’s what was going to happen when she said she needs legs. If she does revive him or otherwise use his body like a zombie, it’s going to really cause some issues — if the Borg can revive biological life then why do they need organic components to function at all? Still seems more likely she’ll start using Jurati, but yeah, Elnor’s body is just chilling out there.

I didn’t consider that! Might make for an interesting twist on how Seven and Raffi relate to him.

Was it a dig at Discovery when Raffi said she didn’t want to talk about how watching Elnor die made her feel, she just wanted to get the job done?

I hope so!

Whales. I was expecting whales.

They still might. This is Secret Hideout, after all.

bushy-torsoed” lol!

Great episode again. I keep saying how fascinating it is that I find the characters of Rios, Raffi, Seven, and Juratti and much more interesting that Picard, even though he is the title character.

This one episode used the Borg in a much more interesting and effective way than the entire first season of this show. This season is very good so far.

My apologies if somebody else caught this, but there was an Easter egg in the form of a musical cue when the borg queen was crawling after Jurati. The music was an homage to ST:First Contact. A really cool music reference!!

YES! and in episode 2 when Picard comes face-to-face with the Queen. Nice and subtle.

So I get how the people from a unified Earth in the future wouldn’t understand the whole idea of something like ICE or the concept that you can’t (or shouldn’t be able to) just walk across a nation’s borders illegally. But come on, does anybody who follows politics believe that under the current administration and political direction of the country that a raid like that would have happened or been allowed? Just look at how many people are already crossing the border every day and hardly anything is being done.

I guess if they were writing the show under the idea that Trump wins a second term, that raid would have happened, but definitely not in the current political climate.

The Earth of 2024 is already not the one we are in. Despite Future’s End ignoring it, the Eugenics Wars were a clear divergence, so too was Past Tense which informs this depiction of LA. The troubling ICE raids aren’t that far from reality, as you say a different president could be all it takes for them to get worse, so no harm in reminding viewers of that.

anyone noticed the little kid, Ricardo i think, said “it´s only logical”? there was a mind meld with a kid in one of the trailers i believe

Who writes these scripts? Nothing makes sense. Raffi says that Q and Picard are playing their games for decades? In the last episode she didn’t even know who Q is (strange enough for a member of Starfleetand former No. 1 of Picard…).

Does any of the authors or directors take a look of what the others did in earlier episodes?

That part didn’t make sense to me either. Picard hadn’t seen Q since 2370. Q showed up several times in the course of 7 years but then he disappeared for decades. I didn’t get how she didn’t know who Q was either. Maybe due to the pandemic something got lost in the polish of one of the scripts, so the inconsistency on that point was missed

The problem with much of NuTrek since 2009 is still the quality of scripting. It really is dire. They’re OK at the overall story-arcs (ish) but episode to episode they’re all over the place tonally, plot-wise, and in many cases characterisation. Modern Trek is almost the polar opposite of TOS: Low budgets, often iffy effects, yet superb stories, great characterisation (a few episodes in after cast found their footing very quickly!) and a show that spawned its own fandom, and now this franchise. Now we have movie quality effects and film-making, yet the soul seems lacking and the stories really aren’t doing it. It’s like a patchwork Star Trek quilt built from better moments and series of the past, and with ‘modern’ attitudes towards casual violence and cussing added on. Made by committee and market research. It so often feels frankensteined together.

I think the problem with the writing is that they are trying to make Star Trek too hip for the modern generation. I mean yeah, you need to update the product but you also need skill for the writing not to come off as dire. The traditional Trek episodes used to have a theatrical almost literary quality to them and their dialogues and scripts, and now when they try to make it too hip, too street level something gets lots in the translation.

Raffi not knowing Q is a decent topic to ask Matalas about one day.

Good episode, bit of a gear change down from previous two as expected. Few questionable writing blips wonder who script reads this stuff? The Q reference by Raffi stuck out

That’s it. I gave them (and modern Trek) yet another chance after the tonally wildly inconsistant and frequently OTT violent (in tone, visuals and language) season one, and figured they’d have taken criticisms onboard, and it seemed they had after the truly superb opening episode of Season 2. It felt like Star Trek again, finally. Like coming home. My heart sank however after Elnor’s sickeningly casual throat slittings in episode 2, and the casual swearing. Rest of the episode was rather good though so figured I’d give episode 3 a go.

Well. No more. Sorry, despite a superb cast, and direction, yet again more casual violence perpetrated by OUR lot (the good guys/gals?!), several sh*ts and now a pr**k thrown in casually too (!). Ohhhh bravo! Soooo edgy and impressive. Sooo……… now! Cheap. Trek taught us to aspire to be better, ploughed its own way against the often fickle pop-culture grain, and instead Trek is now stealing from its far superior history (how many The Voyage Home bits did they crib in this episode?!). It’s a very sad reflection on our times (and many of the ‘fans’ in it) that it’s evdently considered ‘square’ to enjoy a show that can also be watched and enjoyed by the WHOLE family. Something Star Trek did very successfully for decades I might add. It didn’t need to be jazzed up to modern 15+ ratings throughout, but this is where we’re at now.

It’s such a pity, as we NEED uplifting television right now, and this ain’t it. Frankly I’m most disappointed with Sir Patrick Stewart as Exec. Producer in apparently going along with this increase of casual violence, casual killings and cussing in EVERY episode. Such a shame as the cast, and standards of production are all exceptionally high across the board, and the overall story seems intriguing and exciting. This is a series that could and SHOULD be enjoyed by all age groups. Now more than ever in these very dark and divided times. Trek should be a pop-culture beacon that draws all of us together, and families too should be able to enjoy it together. How many chances does modern Star Trek need/get to get it right?

It has had more than enough chances… I’m out. Sorry.

I lament they went for a TV-MA audience for this show as well, but after season 1, does it make much difference now? It’s not like families will avoid S1 of Picard and Disco and start with a less graphic season. Disco certainly course corrected, the sword fights early this season were the most bloodless this side of The War of the Warrior, but I’ve given up hope of the show having a big family following after how it debuted.

You people on here that are soooo concerned with the violence in this show seriously need to get a grip with yourselves. Star Trek has always had phaser fights and disintegration’s. Always.
Even in TOS they could make people vanish with a phaser. This is nothing new. Remember in TNG’s first season in the episode “Conspiracy” where Riker and Picard shoot and EXPLODE. Commander Remmick’s head!? It’s always been there.

People always bring up Conspiracy as if it wasn’t an isolated incident that the show was chastised for. After season 2, Star Trek was very light on the graphic violence. Reunion, The Undiscovered Country, First Contact, Nemesis, a couple Xindi arc episodes, maybe the odd stabbing here and there, but the rest is just fantasy violence – vaporizations, explosions and bloodless hand to hand combat.