“A butterfly that lives forever is really not a butterfly at all.” — Data
Instead of doing my usual wrap-up review, this time I decided to do a bit of episode-by-episode commentary. We’ll see how it goes…
SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!
– Nice way to bring Data into the story — both the dreams and the ‘Dahj’ character (Isa Briones). Speaking of, she’s got some pretty impressive moves!
– I like Picard’s caretakers(?) a lot. Romulan refugees, I take it? I recognize Laris (Orla Brady) from “Into the Badlands”, and Zhaban (Jamie McShane) looks familiar, too. Are they what they appear to be? Hope we see more of them….
– Whoah, what’s going on at that Borg cube?!
– Have to admit, I’m not entirely sure why the synthetics destroyed Utopia Planitia Shipyards, but I’m assuming it was to (at least partially) cripple Starfleet.
– That forensic molecular reconstruction tech that Laris used in Dahj’s apartment was even a bit too much for me to accept, and I’m usually pretty open to futuristic possibilities. And how would she have gotten her hands on it? Does she have Tal Shiar connections? Btw, I noticed Brady’s native Irish brogue seeping through at times. Odd to hear from a Romulan!
– This uber-secret Zhat Vash(sp?) group sounds intriguing. What superstition or traumatic event must have occurred (and how long ago) to make them hate/distrust AI’s so strongly?
– I don’t care for Narek (Harry Treadaway), either the character (which is probably justifiable) or the actor (for some reason). Maybe I’d like him better in “Penny Dreadful”, where he played Dr. Frankenstein?
– Nice cameo by David Paymer as Dr. Benayoun.
– Not sure what to make of Dr. Jurati (Alison Pill), yet. Sounds like she might be a valuable asset for Picard’s mission, though.
– Regarding Picard’s meeting with Adm. Clancy (Ann Magnuson), I think I actually agree with the Federation’s reasons for aborting the Romulan mercy mission Picard led years earlier — at least, as the admiral explained it. Difficult decision, though. (Magnuson’s voice sounds so much like Bebe Neuwirth’s, doesn’t it?)
– The lovely Tamlyn Tomita and Peyton List as deadly intelligence operatives? Cool! Sounds like they are “bad guys”. Is Commodore Oh Vulcan or a Romulan plant? Is Rizzo really human? Time will tell…
– Now that we have a little more info (thru Picard’s eyes, anyway), I can see why the Federation brass’s rejection of his (and Raffi’s) modified evacuation plan felt like such a betrayal. (Not to mention their willingness to accept his resignation over it. Ouch!) This is obviously part of the promised political commentary, but I refuse to let it sidetrack me from enjoying the show as a whole.
– This Raffi character (Michelle Hurd) could be a lot of fun, though she is clearly hurting and feels betrayed by Picard, as well as by Starfleet. Her background with Picard, including both the earlier years and the later, damaged relationship, could prove to be some great story material.
– Great to see Hugh (Jonathan Del Arco), especially directing the Artifact project, trying to help other XBs (i.e., ex-Borgs). But I can’t help thinking that their Romulan hosts have nefarious plans in mind.
– Captain Rios (Santiago Cabrera) is an intriguing character, and I’m sure we’ll get some backstory on him. His hologram “crew” look to be fun, too. (How many are there?)
– Laris and Zhaban are pretty impressive in close-quarters combat! Jurati’s timely arrival and assistance seem a bit suspicious, though, despite her apparent shakiness afterward.
– This Ramdha lady (Rebecca Wisocky) really does seem “off”, but ya gotta wonder what other crucial info she may have buried in her mind.
– Looks like Narissa/Rizzo is Romulan after all, and she got her ears sharpened! That, and the black uniform(?), looks good on her. And she’s Narek’s sister, but she’s his superior officer and they disagree on tactics… fascinating!
– The Sisters of the Qowat Milat sound like a cool idea. Elnor (Evan Evagora), though, looks like a refugee from Rivendell. Even his name sounds like that of an Elf from Middle Earth! I’m pretty sure this was intentional, but it seems a bit much, even as an homage.
– Is Narek developing actual feelings for Soji (Isa Briones)? Regardless, he is a snake.
– Rios seems like a pretty good pilot. But, surprise! surprise!, look who showed up to save the day (and then get rescued herself) at the end! Seven-of-Nine! 🙂
– I never would have thought to put Seven/Annika (Jeri Ryan) as part of a freedom-fighter organization (or, however the Fenris Rangers see themselves), but it does make some sense, especially once we’re let in on some of her motivation.
– The whole “mission” on Freecloud looked like fun to do and was reminiscent of something from Indiana Jones or Firefly or Battlestar Galactica. Or, come to think of it, possibly a situation that Riker and a few others from the Enterprise-D might find themselves in in the old days.
– So, now we know why Raffi hitched a ride with Picard and the others; she was going to see her long-estranged son, Gabriel. Heartbreaking to see how it went, though.
– Seven kicks @$$!
– I thought Maddox would play a bigger, longer-lasting role in the story, but… whoah! Didn’t see that coming! Given their romantic history, Jurati must have been either brainwashed or shown/told something terrifying for her to be compelled to kill Maddox like that. Presumably, this was to shut him up before he could reveal any helpful info to Picard, or maybe just to keep him from building anymore synths.
– Elnor’s innocence and ignorance of certain things is alternately amusing and annoying. In some ways, he’s like a sheltered, 20-year-old child. It seems that his education under the Qowat Milat was a bit lacking.
– Despite the great acting, we can only imagine what visiting a Borg cube would have been like for Picard (or Seven) after all this time.
– It must be a whole ‘nother kind of scary for Soji, slowly (but defiantly) coming to the realization that she is in fact an advanced synthetic being, and most of her life/memories are a lie. I hope that, at some point, she gets a chance to kick Narek’s butt for manipulating her like that.
– I’m guessing the (re-)humanizing of the XBs and the fear/hatred they still evoke in others is another aspect of that political commentary I mentioned. If so, it’s a poor analogy. Again, I’ll refrain from further comment…
– The Romulans have a weird way of doing dream interpretation! Effective, though.
– Hugh’s familiarity with the Queen’s Cell and the (totally new “Stargate” tech we’d never heard of before) spatial trajector was quite convenient.
– Of all the places on Nepenthe, how did Hugh manage to set the spatial trajector to place Picard and Soji so close to the Riker homestead? Picard didn’t give him any coordinates! Does it read the minds of its “passengers”?
– After that little mindmeld, I guess now we have a better idea what Oh scared Jurati with.
– Great to see Will and Deanna again, and I loved their treating Picard like family and offering to help in any way they could. As it should be.
– Kestra is smart and spunky and sweet! I like her!
– How did Elnor get that Fenris S.O.S. thingie? Did I miss something?
– Looks like Jurati’s tortured conscience finally made her do something drastic. But, did she mean to put herself in a coma? Why?
– Well, now we have an even better idea what the Zhat Vash (and Jurati?) saw and why they were determined to destroy all synthetics, in order to save organics. Frankly, I don’t blame them. Though, why keep it all a secret? Wouldn’t it make sense to get more people & races on board and agree to initiate Asimov’s Laws of Robotics (or something like that)?
– Elnor continues to impress with his martial skills.
– Clancy may come through after all!
– Seven showed up in the nick of time again! The subsequent scenes with her agonizing over what to do and then being anticipated by Narissa, who ruthlessly spaced the remaining Borg on the cube — very sad.
– The scene of Raffi “consulting” with the hologram crew was rather enjoyable. I like them!
– This time, we got a peak at the psychological baggage Rios is carrying, and it just happens to be connected to Soji and the synthetics. Hmmm…
– So, it turns out that the Romulans were behind the attack on Mars, in an effort to get synthetics banned throughout the Federation. Those sneaky snakes…
– I have to say, despite the conditions under which Dr. Jurati killed Maddox and the subsequent risks she took to throw the Romulans off her trail, I am a bit surprised that the rest of the crew (especially Rios) seem to have welcomed her back into the fold so quickly. I guess the combination of her penitent attitude and her expertise with androids — not to mention that they are a small group with uncertain allies — make it hard to treat her as a prisoner, given the circumstances.
– Glad to see that Seven and Elnor survived the cube’s rough landing. I suspect they and the XBs will play an important part in the final battle against the Romulans. Maybe that cube has got enough juice to zap a bunch of Birds-of-Prey out of the sky? What about the alien synths from beyond?
– I expected the android colony on Coppelius to be larger, for some reason. The real surprise, though, was Brent Spiner showing up as yet another Soong. Cool.
– This new sister of Soji’s… Sutra. I was suspicious of her from the beginning. Something about the way she talked and carried herself — more confident, more knowledgeable(?), more conniving, as it turned out. In retrospect, it wasn’t all that difficult to see Sutra was not like her sisters. But, why? And will she be the “Lore” to Soji’s “Data”?
– I have a feeling Jurati is playing along, in hopes she can free Picard or something else that would help her fellow organics, but I’m not sure about Soji.
– So, Jurati was up to something. Hard to believe Sutra and Soong weren’t more suspicious of her, though. I would’ve made sure she was accompanied wherever she went, at least.
– I kinda like the new Romulan Birds-of-Prey. But, where did they come from if the Romulan Empire is defunct? Maybe a secret Tal Shiar base/shipyard?
– The new(?) Picard Maneuver was clever, but how would the pseudo-ships be able to act — and shoot and be shot — like real ships? Wouldn’t the illusion only be good for a standoff over some distance?
– Loved it when Riker showed up with scores of new Starfleet ships. (Was this the “squadron” Adm. Clancy sent to Deep Space 12? Looked like more than a squadron.) However, it might have been prudent to leave a few of those ships behind afterward in case Oh returned. Those new Starfleet ships looked distinctly more military, btw. Assuming I’m correct, will that shift in emphasis be explored (no pun intended) next season, I wonder?
– I know Brent Spiner always said he would be too old (and fat?) to ever return as Data, but I thought they did a decent (CGI?) job of keeping him looking fairly trim and young-looking.
– Frankly, I hope that moment of interlaced fingers between Seven and Raffi isn’t a hint at some LGBT stuff the writers/producers plan for later. Not sure I care for the budding romance between Rios and Jurati, either.
– I had already figured out much of how it would likely end, to be honest. Still, it was a surprisingly emotional last few minutes. Made my eyes leak, darnit!
First, I have to say, I love the opening theme (and related pieces throughout). It’s orchestral and elegant and fits in with those of the older shows, imo. Also, fun fact, it was Isa Briones singing “Blue Skies” at the end of the finale. Pretty impressive! In fact, I was generally quite impressed with young Miss Briones throughout.
We got what they said we would get — a darker story involving a Picard who was full of regret (as well he should have) and grief, and a Starfleet/Federation that was not what Picard (or Stewart) thought it should be. (How’s that for a neutral statement?) I already wrote a few weeks ago on the matter of profanity (and a few other things) in the series, which is why I haven’t addressed them in this post.
As some of you may remember, about a year ago I wrote a post reviewing the information we had at the time about the new Picard series. This included character descriptions for Picard’s crew. It’s interesting to look back now at how the various profiles morphed into the characters that ended up in the final product. All the names changed, too. (E.g., K’Bar became Elnor; the male Starton became the female Dr. Jurati.)
As for the crew we got… I am generally satisfied with all of them. True, I’m tired of seeing Jurati ugly-cry. But, then, the character had good reason(s) to. In fact, Picard and all of his crew members — plus, Seven/Annika — went through some heavy, emotional ringers, didn’t they? A lot of existential crises and other gut-punches in just 10 episodes. Whew!
Regarding the “Admonition”, the Armageddon-ish vision that prompted the Romulan machinations, it seems like there was a lot of truth in it. At least, on the surface. Gotta wonder how much else was accurate, ‘cuz there really were “demons” from beyond that responded to that beacon. Were they really uber-synths (or their soldiers? pets?) from another galaxy or dimension? As curious as I am about that, I hope Season 2 shifts to a very different main plot/threat.
Speaking of which, potential story threads to pick up on for Season 2 might include:
1) Jurati’s murder trial
2) Commodore Oh’s (or whatever her Romulan name and rank might really be) subsequent activities
3) the fate of Sutra
I’d also like to see a few other cameos — maybe Worf, Geordi, Sisko, and/or Adm. Janeway? (I know Stewart wants Whoopi Goldberg to appear as Guinan. OK, I guess, but not my first choice.)
OK, I’m done. I know some (many?) of you will disagree, but my overall assessment is that “Star Trek: Picard” was an enjoyable story with intriguing characters, and it introduced several interesting ideas. In short, a pretty good debut for the series, and I’ll be looking forward to continuing the ride in Season 2.