Podcast: All Access Talks ‘InvestiGates’ And ‘Picard’ With Gates McFadden And Toasts To “No Win Scenario”

All Access Star Trek podcast episode 131 - TrekMovie - Gates McFadden

[Gates McFadden interview starts at 11:48  / Picard episode 4 review starts at 33:17 ]

Laurie and Anthony keep the news brief this week. They cover Jonathan Frakes’ thoughts on Star Trek: Discovery ending after season 5 (as well as his guess about what might or might not come next), the prominence of Strange New Worlds in the latest Paramount + brand campaign plus its recent win at the Canadian Costume Awards, and an exclusive from Terry Matalas about Robert Beltran’s comment that he turned down a role on Picard. Then it’s time for a brand-new interview with Gates McFadden, who called in to talk about the second season of her podcast, InvestiGates: Who Do You Think You Are. (The podcasters manage to squeeze in a few Picard questions, too.) Then they dive into their review of “No Win Scenario” (Laurie’s adding the hyphen in her mind), both loving the episode each finding personal connection to a different storyline. They wrap up with a look at the midcentury design fusion on Strange New Worlds and the brand-new episode of The Pod Directive (the official Star Trek podcast) after a too-long hiatus.


Jonathan Frakes Feels The Pain Of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Ending, Talks Up Plan For Series Finale

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Cast And Crew Share Emotional Tributes Following Series Ending Announcement

Watch: ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ Prominently Featured In New Paramount Brand Campaign

‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ Wins 3 Canadian Costume Awards

Exclusive: Robert Beltran Turned Down ‘Star Trek: Picard’ Role Picking Up On Seven/Chakotay Romance

Star Trek: Voyager‘s “Human Error”

Gates McFadden’s podcast Gates McFadden InvestiGates: Who Do You Think You Are?

Interview: Gates McFadden On Dr. Crusher And Controversy In ‘Star Trek: Picard’ Season 3

Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s “Sub Rosa” (ghost candle episode)

Gates McFadden and Tawny Newsome at Tawny’s birthday party

Analyzing More ‘Star Trek: Picard’ Season 3 Fan Theories About Jack, Riker, Lore, And More

Odo’s bucket

Armin Shimerman scene deleted from Star Trek: Insurrection



Tony: The ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ Enterprise fuses midcentury design with SciFi futurism

Laurie: The Pod Directive – new episode with Jonathan Frakes

Let us know what you think of the episode in the comments, and should you be so inclined, please review us on Apple.

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Why does it look so weird how the holodeck doors are closing behind Picard and his son in the scene where they are entering the holodeck??? Is this an error? Can’t be by intention I hope!

A great podcast episode. Gotta say though, this is one of the few times Laurie and I disagree on show believability and being taken out of the episode. But appreciate your perspective.

That must be the nicest disagreement I’ve read on these posts! Thank you… I think Tony and I disagreed on this as well.

I loved this podcast episode because you guys really took apart what I was frustrated about in this episode which isn’t that much – and your interview with Gates was key! Thank you for channeling my curiosity and getting the best answer we can get…. for now :)

I felt the same way. I was so relieved to hear her say there’s more to the story!

You guys are great. Thank you for the podcast and also that interview with Gates M. I will definitely start listening to her podcasts. Her guests are all people I can’t wait to listen to, and I like her approach to her podcasts as being conversations about everything and anything, and not necessarily Star Trek. The more I listen to this lady the more I like her, and her voice!

Fair warning: in the first season of it, the first episode with Nana Visitor is extremely hard to listen to. In season 2 so far, in her latest one with Kate Mulgrew, she says something supportive but questionable about the LGBT+ community. Which I’m not trying to attack her for, don’t get me wrong, it’s just disappointing. I’ll continue listening to them though.

People can form their own opinions about what was said, but to me it was just disappointing and questionable but she’s in her 70s so I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt and assuming she didn’t mean it how it sounded.

Thank you, I’ll be attentive to those episodes, you made me curious now…

I have to say, in front of, and behind, the camera, Jonathan Frakes is an absolute MVP in this episode. It’s a shame that genre shows like this don’t get much love when it comes to the major awards, but Frakes’ directing is worthy of at least an Emmy nomination.

One thing about today’s podcast that I’ll mention for consideration is this. Captain Riker had been out of the game for many years on Nepenthe with his family. He only very recently returned to some semblance of active duty, but no chair as Shaw pointed out. TNG Riker and LD Riker are many years in the past for him at this point in the Picard storyline, so yeah, his “Captain” ability is probably a bit outdated and just plain rusty. I think some of the things he does, some of the odd outbursts and hesitation that we don’t expect Riker to do might be more expected if we keep his years of Starfleet inactivity in mind. This is a man who stopped his career cold to be with his family, and suffered a tragedy that is about as bad as it gets–the loss of a child. If he hadn’t had that tragedy, I think we’d see an Admiral Riker that’s out there kicking butt and taking names, similar to what we saw in the Pocket Books continuity from 5 years ago.

I also want to thank you for turning me on the the Pod Directive episode with Frakes. That was so entertaining. Loved it!

I agree, and that’s what I love most about what they’re doing with his character. His life experience has changed him, and Frakes is playing all the layers of that exquisitely.

On Voyager; it was established in the first season that the holodeck was on a separate power source. I think it’s the Episode after CareTaker. It is the first scene after the opening. So it is following canon.

Yes, someone sent me a link. It’s “Parallax.” But I think it was stupid then and stupid now… just not Terry’s fault!

Fair enough.

Didn’t Voyager also show Captain Ransom having a personal, wearable holodeck essentially? I can’t remember if the device was alien tech or not, but at this point it seems something like that would be easier on power.

But that can’t be a shared experience, which is a big part of being in the holodeck!

Since my Game Boy from 1989 had a multiplayer cable, pretty sure they could link those portable holodeck things together in the 25th century.

Better yet, just give the crew Game Boys. Tetris will take your mind off your troubles, folks. Unless… the game is an alien plot to take over the ship. That can happen, too.

Then you just let Riker teach them how to play poker

“Officer thinking, Lieutenant.”

I can honestly say that I don’t care about this, whether it’s the independently powered holodeck or a lounge set or whatever. For me, it’s the character beats, the moments between characters that weave a rich tapestry. We can pick apart things like this, and that’s fair, but for me it’s all about the characters and their development. This is one of the reasons I love to rewatch DS9 every few years or so. It’s these types of character moments that enrich so many of their episodes, which DS9 was good at.

The DS9 fifth season episode By Inferno’s Light is an example that I’ll use. Sure, it doesn’t make sense for the Dominion to leave the runabout fully functional near the prison asteroid, but the value in this episode is what it does to the characters. The bond that’s created between Worf and Martok, the grudging respect that Worf develops for Garak, and Worf being turned into the total badass that TNG could never quite figure out. It’s these character beats that make a show interesting and engaging.

I’ll set aside the details and just appreciate the character moments that come from these scenes.

I want to like InvestiGates but a) they almost never talk about Star Trek and b) the audio quality on the new season is SO bad I couldn’t listen for more than a few minutes.

They fixed it! The first episode (with William Shatner) had an audio problem and they re-uploaded it. The next two sound great. (But yeah, they mostly talk about other things and not Star Trek.)

I think the point of the InvestiGates pod cast is that the actors talk about everything BUT Star Trek. I think that it allows these actors to be more relaxed and just talk about the things that matter to them the most, and that is not necessarily the franchise. I really liked the Kate Mulgrew one recently. I could just listen to Kate talk for hours: her intellect, passion, and vocabulary are so expansive and eloquent. The Nana Visitor and Wil Wheaton episodes are also very good.

I’m glad they fixed the audio! I’ll try again. I do wish they would talk somewhat about Trek. It’s a huge part of their lives and it’s what they have in common. I’d like to hear them talk about their experiences from a more personal standpoint… not just the polished anecdotes they all tell over and over at conventions.

If you try some of the first season episodes, there’s more Trek talk, but it’s definitely not the theme of the podcast.

I have to say that after Laurie brought it up, I agree with the poor use of the Holodeck. They wand-waved a lame excuse to just use their expensive set, even though it did not make any sense in-universe. They should have just threw together a quick lounge set, maybe with a small bar like the real Ten Forward, by re-dressing the crew quarters or ready room. They did get their money’s worth of the LA Ten-Forwad by having Picard talk to the cadets in that bar (and it was also in episode 1 and in several episodes of season 2), so why force it into the holodeck? It really was the worst part of an otherwise amazing episode.

They did the same thing in the first season by having Picard’s chateau office in the holodeck of La Sirena. These decisions make no sense and really takes the audience out of the show.

I hate to admit this, but it didn’t bother me on season 1. I think it made sense that Laris would send over the specs to recreate his office because at that point he’d retired to the vineyard and would find comfort in it. A few people have pointed out that precedent for a still-running holodeck during power shortages was set with Voyager’s “Parallax,” and they’re right, but it doesn’t make it any less illogical. But I think those season 1 scenes weren’t happening when power was low, so it made more sense. (But yes, it sure saves money on sets!)

The only reason we’re still seeing scenes on La Sirena and in the holodeck bar is that there’s no money to make anything else. Even the Shrike bridge scenes are shot on the La Sirena set.

For some reason, the holodeck thing doesn’t bother me at all. It kind of makes sense that it could basically be an emergency shelter. Much about the holodeck doesn’t make sense.

Wasn’t there also some hand-wavey mention at some point over the years that the holodeck uses power that can’t be siphoned for other uses (ex life support elsewhere)?

It bothers me far more that Starfleet staff and cadets from San Fran are hanging out at a bar in Los Angeles (sure, transporters/high-speed trams whatever – but it still seems unlikely).

Has this show passed the Bechdel Test yet? The only woman-woman scene was when Crash La Forge was talking to Seven, but they were talking about Shaw & Geordie (men). It’s weird there’s very little scenes featuring two woman so far. I started thinking about this when Laurie mentioned how Deanna and Beverly didn’t have a scene yet.

I have been thinking about this as well. La Forge and Seven are the only women to talk to each other, and that was a very short conversation. I think technically it wasn’t ABOUT a man, it was about them, but I agree with you and hope they change things up in that area soon. It’s been bothering me. Beverly hasn’t talked to anybody other than Jack and Jean-Luc, minus that one scene with the CMO when Shaw was wounded.

I´m hoping Crusher and Troi get to have a “real” conversations when they finally meet again. To make up for the few conversations in TNG where most of them seem to have been about men or relationships or the likes.

Think they’ll be wearing those workout outfits?

This really shows why it’s important to have gender distribution across the main cast, and have the main cast as the senior officers of the ship.

Star Trek plots lines on a ship are driven by interactions by characters with in their roles.

When too many main cast characters aren’t the department heads or alpha-shift officers, subordinates or people from off the ship are constantly being given hero problem-solving moments that feel unearned (or Mary Sue-ish at worst).

Or, they backhandedly make the officers that should be solving the problems look less than Starfleet competent. Which means that despite Shaw being a captain with a female first officer and the majority of the rest of his senior staff being either female or non-binary, what we are seeing so far is ‘guys are in charge.’

While making the main cast and principal guest characters taking over the Titan’s officers’ jobs almost all male, it may slip the notice of some of the YouTubers that the show is doing exactly what so many had criticized in Discovery, but to me it just makes it all the more unjustified.

I don’t care if it’s Tilly or Adira or Jack. It becomes wearing, undermines the ensemble and the sense of teamwork. And for me, that undermines the feeling that it’s Star Trek.

I might have been more interested and forgiving if Picard had a brash young Crusher daughter to switch things up, it as it is it feels very patrilineal and anti meritocratic.

Riker’s story arc this season will culminate with the return of the Riker Maneuver in episode 10. Mark my words!

It did bother me that it was so easy for the crew to accept that there was nothing they could do. That no one connected the dots. It was Beverly and Jack who thought of the solution!

I loved Shaws line about forget the Borg on the Stargazer. I felt like he was speaking for the fans who just want to forget the mess of season 2. Speaking of the Borg it did feel like foreshadowing and that the evil Borg will somehow get involved. Which honestly I´m a bit weary about, do we really need another big bad in this season? Aren´t the Changelings/maybe Lore enough?

Also, I know some people are bothered by the swearing but I´m certainly not one of them. We´ve been waiting 37 years for Picard to say fuck and it was totally appropriate.

Great podcast and very nice to hear from Gates McFadden, so thanks Laurie and Tony for including your conversation with her. I’m almost overwhelmed with what I’ve seen in Picard so far and aside from the odd nit pick, this season is still on course IMO to be one of Trek’s finest.

I also completely agree with the comments about Jonathan Frakes performance. He has been outstanding and it’s the best I’ve ever seen him.


Great Podcast! I’ve been enjoying your analysis of each episode.

Tony made me laugh. I didn’t even think about the Odo bucket. I’m going with his head canon. That’s one of the things I like about your podcast. I don’t pick up on the small things but you have a way to explain it in a funny but logical way.

I agree with Laurie on the holodeck power source. I remember a trek episode that pulled power from the shuttles to keep life support going….maybe voyager…I don’t remember. It made no sense but it in no way took away from the powerful acting of the characters. It was a weird choice though.

This is an amazing season. Gates, Jonathan, and Patrick have completely nailed it as performers. I’m now a big Gates fan. Never liked Crusher, now I love her. Incredible storytelling.


Fully agree with your comments on the performances, especially Frakes and McFadden (Patrick is alway great IMO). I was never that keen on Beverly finding her quite bland but she’s been terrific in this and now solving technical problems the way Data used to, Great to see her being written properly.

I was just thinking that even more than the “let’s save money on sets” reason for using the holodeck was also to make the flashback scenes not take away from that submarine movie feeling Tony was talking about… the scenes happened in another time and place but FELT like they were in the same place. I still don’t buy the holodeck functioning during a power drain (despite the precedent set by Voyager), but story-wise, I understand the choice a little better.

Another great Picard episode and another great TM.com episode as well (win win!). Definitely Frakes’ best and most subtle/naturalistic acting to date. And yes, the 10-forward power draw did not really add up for me either. But so much of the episode worked that those nit-pics can be forgiven. Excellent Gates McFadden interview this week as well. Definitely going to check out her podcast. Cheers

Cheers! You’re going to love her podcast.

Another fantastic podcast!

There are other podcasts I listen to (for other non-Star Trek shows) and I end up frustrated because the hosts either do not even pick up on key story moments that were directly presented or they don’t recognize the fan’s perspective on questions or observations that would be indirectly informed by those moments.

Laurie and Anthony never fail to bring a balanced, complete and satisfying review of the episode. Everything I was wondering about, they inevitably address. Their knowledge of ST helps inform their comments, but they do not get wound up in sci fi details or contradictions that forget that, ultimately, this is just entertainment. Even more enjoyable, their style is relaxed, humorous, smart and respectful making it fun to be a part of. (vs two big personalities trying to compete and talk over one another)

All that is hard to do, and they make it seem easy every time. And we don’t have to pay anything.

Thank you both for your amazing efforts!

How nice to read! Thank you so much. (We do talk over each other sometimes and Tony does his best to make us sound smarter and more polite when he edits.) Your comments are very much appreciated.