Home Featured TV Shows All TV Shows Movie Reviews Book Reviews Articles Frequently Asked Questions About Us

Star Trek Picard: The Star Gazer

“Welcome to the very end of the road not taken.”

Holy crap, Batman. This episode was nuts.

Seriously though, as far as set up episodes go, this is just about the most stuffed and seriously cool entry I’ve seen in a while.

The in medias res was a bit misleading, but had the right level of menace. The ship is being controlled and there is a gun fight happening. People are being hit with green phaser fire which given the show track record would suggest Romulans. However, there is another big green meanie... the Borg. We’ll get back to that in a bit.

The back track was a nice way to show where all our characters are a year and a half after the events of season one. Soji and Jurati are friends now, and Soji is some kind of diplomat. Soji didn’t get much screen time here but she seemed calmer and happier, and her banter with Jurati made it feel like she has finally grown into herself which was good to see.

Jurati has been cleared of murdering Bruce Maddox due to temporary insanity, which we’ll just have to accept. She was being used as the comic relief to an extent, with her specialist skills showing up when needed. It is a good fit for the character, but I’m going to reserve judgment until we get more from her. Suffice it to say, I like what I see so far.

I absolutely loved Rios in command of a starship, with his cigar still in hand. Even more fitting is it is the newly re-commissioned USS Stargazer which is the first ship to use Borg technology in its design. From what we can see of the ship it is pretty nice, and I liked the diversity of the crew. The design itself is interesting. I still don’t know how I feel about quad nacelles, but that is a very geeky quibble.

Raffi’s scenes were also fairly limited, but we got the impression she and Seven were still together but their personalities were causing friction, specifically Seven’s need to go out and help the helpless. I was happy to see that Raffi has rejoined Starfleet and had her rank of Commander restored. She is now an Operations officer on board the Excelsior along with Elnor, who was the first Romulan to join Starfleet, good for him.

Seven is now on La Sirena as the sole operator along with a merged version of the emergency Hologram using Emmett as the primary skin and it's hilarious that he still doesn’t speak English. We don’t really get much from Seven except that she is still a Fenris Ranger and a bad ass. She took down pirates trying to steal her cargo, and I loved that she used Emmett offensively by deactivating the safety protocols. The other defining moment for her was her insistence on attacking the new Borg Queen (at least we think they are Borg), who looks very very different from what we’ve seen before. Honestly the new look is kind of terrifying, like a Cenobite out of Hellraiser.

Of course Picard has his own issues with the Borg, which Seven seems to have forgotten a bit when she was yelling at Picard over his hesitation to attack the Borg Queen. His entire arc in this episode was fascinating. His struggles with romance are well documented throughout TNG and the movies. He does have some chemistry with Laris, and she does know him very well. It was a bit disappointing that he seems to have chickened out.

Yet then we went on an exploration of his issues, starting from childhood where we meet his mother for the first time. She seems super interesting, and I hope we get more of her backstory flashbacks later on. Then we visited Guinan, and honestly this was the highlight of the episode for me. They quickly slipped back into their friendship as if no time had passed, and their conversation really illustrated that Picard is not a complete person, that he has always been missing a part of his life when it comes to romance, never fully letting anyone into his heart outside of platonic friendship.

Of course the cap of the episode was the thing we’ve been waiting for: Q finally returns. I thought the young effect on him was very well done. But I love his new look, it really suits him. I don’t know if he was directly involved in this new alternate reality Picard finds himself in, but I wouldn’t put it past him. More likely the Borg Queen did something and Q stepped in to give Picard a fighting chance. That's his kind of his thing. His tough love approach usually works out despite his trickster ways. There's a reason why Q is beloved.


The only real criticism I have of the episode is how stuffed it was. Not only did we get all the characters in new places and a reset of the status quo, we got a new potential enemy/mystery and Q. Any of these on their own would make for a solid episode; to have them all felt a little packed and chaotic. But that was kind of the point. We are thrust into this new situation along with Picard and I imagine we’ll figure things out along with him.

Bits:

The original designation for the USS Stargazer was NCC-2893. The new USS Stargazer is NCC-82893. The showrunner has said that this is actually a refit of the original Stargazer which is why the designation is simply revised instead of replaced with a new one. The new version is a different class of ship as well; the original was a Constellation Class, Rio’s ship is a Sagan Class.

On the bridge of the Stargazer there was a Bajorian communications officer (Lt. Sing). The security officer is a black woman named Utern. The helmsman is a Haliian woman named Kemi. The first officer is a Trill named Moshe. There was also a Vulcan front and center and a few unnamed aliens as well. Are we going to see more of these characters?

Zhaban (Laris’s husband) apparently died off screen somewhat soon after the events of season one. I have never liked this particular trope; I wish they had just had Laris alone if they were going to make her a love interest for Picard.

Picard giving Elnor a copy of Spock’s memoir was just lovely. The book is aptly titled The Many and the One and of course Picard replicated a physical copy of it.

I really loved the word play in the title of the episode, that Picard is the star gazer, and the Stargazer as the ship that was taken from him.

Quotes:

Guinan: “I’m going to need some tea. Earl Grey, piping hot.”
Picard: “Perhaps something stronger?”

Picard: (quoting Spock) “‘Exhilaration enhances the absorption of knowledge.’ In other words, live a little.”

Picard: “I can’t just miss a dear old friend?”
Guinan: “You can. But I’ve held your hand while you’ve navigated Federation diplomacy disasters. I’ve seen you face down some new galactic threat. We have jumped universes together. I’ve got to say, I don’t remember ever seeing you look quite like... Oh, oh. I’m going to take that back. I have seen you look like this. And it’s serious. So this, as lovely as it is, is not going to cut it. So, top shelf or hooch?”
Picard: “Hooch, I think.”

Picard: “No. No, no. No, no, no. No...”
Q: “Oh, dear. You’re a bit older than I imagined. Let me catch up."
(Snaps fingers, flash of light, Q is now older with white hair)
Q: “There. Now we’re even.”
Picard: “Q. Goddamn Q.”
Q: “You recall what I said to you when last we parted ways? The trial never ends.”

Guinan: “It’s not too late. The problem isn’t time, it’s you. You always talk about love as if you ever took it seriously. And you know the only things you’ve ever put out there to break were your bones. And the only thing you ever risked losing was your life.”
Picard: “That’s not an insignificant loss.”
Guinan: “There are worse things than being dead. You know that better than anybody.”

Guinan: “Jean-Luc, since I’ve known you, the only place you have ever been afraid to explore, be it flesh and blood or an artificial synthetic, is in here. (Pointing towards his heart) What happened in there? That you and I have never talked about?”

Guinan: “I think there’s one final frontier yet to come.”

While packed to the breaking point with ideas, this was a fantastic season opener and I cannot wait to find out what is going on and where this story will go.

4 out of 4 Shots of Saurian Brandy

Samantha M. Quinn spends most of her time in front of a computer typing away at one thing or another; when she has free time, she enjoys pretty much anything science fiction or fantasy-related.

5 comments:

  1. Yeah, it was a little busy. I loved seeing everyone again, though. I loved how Q aged himself to match Picard; it was perfect.

    Rios might need his own show. :) Everyone else is getting one.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I would love to see Picard make a go of it with Laris. She's a great character, and I love Orla Brady, plus they've had wonderful chemistry with each other since the show started. The actress they have playing this incarnation of the Borg Queen is another one of my favorites, so I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what her role in the story is. How does Jeri Ryan do it? She's in her mid-50's and is more of a badass than ever! Rios with the stogie on the Stargazer bridge was a bit corny, but he's still a fun character. Never would've guess he'd be a Starfleet captain, though. The highlight of the episode was of course the return of John de Lancie as Q. I love that they actually took that little bit of time and spent the money on FX to show him as he was and then choose to age himself up to match Picard. Much better than have him just explain it after the fact. And I agree that his new "older" look works extremely well. Mostly because he still looks AND sounds like the John de Lancie we remember. He still has that mischievousness in his voice and that gleam in his eyes.

    I do worry about some of what we got in the teaser for the rest of the season, but this episode was better than most of what we got last season, so I'm willing to give it a chance.

    ReplyDelete
  3. With this ep so stuffed, the fact that Jean-Luc is now not an organic human, which I thought was the biggest takeaway from S01, was not even mentioned. Maybe we're supposed to believe that the Federation's bias against sentient AI has vanished and let's move on. There's a lot of story potential there though and I would like to see more.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The AI thing was mentioned but understated, wasn't it? Jurati mentioned positronic something, and Guinan mentioned synthetic versus artificial intelligence. But I agree -- it wasn't a big thing in the episode and I also thought it would be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At first I thought Guinan's line about Picard's heart referred to the artificial heart he got way back in STNG. But no wait, he's all positronic now, so I'm confused. But hey! The Borg AND Q in one season? I'll happily take that. Maybe they will work the AI thing into the Borg/Q plot. How ironic it would be if Picard resolves his romantic failures after becoming an AI.

      Delete

We love comments! We actively monitor, and feed mean, nasty comments to our cats. It’s never too late to comment on an old show, but please don’t spoil future episodes for newbies.