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Star Trek Picard: The Next Generation

“I am not a man who needs a legacy. I want a new adventure.”

Talk about a reset. This feels like a completely new show.

Starting with titles straight out of the original series era movies, we are treated to a very different approach to storytelling from what we’ve gotten previously. The pacing, cinematography and action are different. The lighting is darker, the makeup, hair and costuming obviously on a higher budget. This doesn’t feel like the third season of a show; this feels brand new.

Perhaps this is the right approach. The first two seasons of Picard gave us some nostalgia, but for the most part were determined to tell a story completely divorced from The Next Generation series tone and storytelling approach. Here we get shades of First Contact and The Wrath of Khan and it feels decidedly more like a movie than a tv show.

To be honest, I think I love this new approach.

First, and I think most importantly, Picard is smiling. He looks happy to be on this adventure, unlike in previous seasons where he looked tired and constantly worried and upset. Of course, that might change over the course of the season, but for now he seems to be delighted to have Riker as his wingman again. Their natural chemistry and quick, fun banter was the highlight of the episode for me. I didn’t realize quite how much the cast of the first two seasons was a rough fit until you see Riker and Picard just playing off each other like very old friends.

Seven looks amazing in that chair
I think they held back on familiar faces on purpose, with Riker and Beverly listed as special guest stars. I wonder if that means they won’t be throughout the entire season. I guess we’ll see. The only other cast members returning for the season (besides Picard) were Seven and Raffi, and they both had some decent screen time.

Raffi had a solo b-story devoted to what looks like a horrible terrorist plot that resulted in the most shocking moment of the episode. The visuals, while striking, were horrific as a giant Federation building pulled up into the sky and dropped back down on an unexpecting city. The visuals were just heart-wrenching, but it was Raffi’s reaction that really sold the moment. You could feel her rage and helplessness, having figured it out too late.

While Raffi had the biggest emotional moment, it was Beverly that had the big action scene. I wonder if Gates McFadden said, sure, I’ll come back, as long as I get to do something cool. She takes out a couple of invaders like a badass, which seems a bit unlike her, to be honest, but that is brought up so I’ll put that aside for now until we find out why. Her character is our first mystery. Twenty years ago, she cut off all contact with Picard and the rest of the crew after she and Jean-Luc attempted a relationship. Then when Picard and Riker find Beverly’s ship they are confronted with a possible reason for her self-imposed exile: a son. I believe we are supposed to intuit that he is Picard’s son as well, but who knows at this point. I am curious, and I hope they don’t draw out the answers for long.

Seven spent most of the episode with Picard and Riker, but she still gave us some great moments. Specifically when she called out Picard and called him a friend. The most obvious conflict going on forward, beyond the giant spaceship that showed up in the final seconds of the episode, is with Captain Shaw. Great casting with Todd Stashwick, who created pure passive/agressive antagonism with just a pointed look and a good line delivery. He's a Trek veteran, previously appearing under Romulan make-up in an episode of Enterprise.

Here, Captain Shaw was clearly manufactured to make Seven's life more difficult. Of course given the chance, she immediately disobeyed his orders. I wonder if we'll have a Michael Burnham situation here, or will Shaw die so she can become the captain? Not sure which would be better to be honest, both would create interesting drama. Either way, I doubt the Titan will stay out of the fight like Shaw seems to want.


The red lady turned out to be a statue for Rachel Garrett, the captain of the Enterprise C who died during the events of "Yesterday’s Enterprise."

The flute Jean Luc picks up during his conversation with Laris was the one left by the Kataan for Picard after he experienced a lifetime in the span of twenty-five minutes during the events of "The Inner Light," arguably the best Next Generation episode.

I don’t think it was mentioned, but the painting of the Enterprise looks an awful lot like Data's artistic style.

The USS Titan is a Neo-Constitution class, which is a retrofit of the same model of ship as the Enterprise and Enterprise A.

Beverly had a recording of Jean-Luc playing from his log shortly before he was kidnapped by the Borg. He was also called an ex-borg by Shaw, although technically he isn’t anymore since he was reborn fully synthetic.


Riker: "Terrific. Your hands are stiff. My knees are killing me. So long as we don’t have to move or shoot, we should be fine."

Riker: "Guinan’s hawking souvenirs now?"
Bartender: "It's for Frontier Day."
Riker: "How come you have so many Enterprise-Ds?"
Bartender: "Oh, the fat one? No one wants those."
Riker: "You better leave the bottle."

Picard: "I'm not sure about this plan."
Riker: "Because it’s not really a plan, it's a ruse."
Picard: "Yeah, that’s the part I don’t like."

Picard: "I apologize, Captain, are we late?"
Shaw: "Hardly. It’s just your reputation preceded you so far into the room that I started early."

This was a fabulous start the season. I'm not giving it full marks so there is room for something better down the line, but I was impressed.

3 out of 4 twenty-year-old communicators found in a box of nostalgia.

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.


  1. I definitely enjoyed the episode. I couldn't put my finger on why (though it may be the darkened lighting), but I felt a sense of dread watching it. Not the kind of dread where you think someone is going to die, but more like things are just off. But that just makes me want to see the next episode that much more.
    I did feel just a tinge of sympathy for Shaw. Yes, he was awful to Picard and Riker, which really angered me, the way it was intended to. But at the same time, he is the one person doing his job. He saw right through their (admittedly flimsy) excuse and was determined to do the job he was assigned to. I don't blame him for being angry at Picard for essentially attempting (and succeeding) in hijacking his ship, and I don't blame him for being angry at Seven. I know that we will, over the course of the season, find out that our heroes were justified in doing what they were doing, but I still can empathize with the people who they are pushing out of the way.
    Also, one minor quibble I have is the end theme. They just played the theme song from ST: First Contact. I loved the themes from the previous seasons, but I don't mind that they changed it, because as you said, this definitely felt like a completely different show. But I would have preferred a completely new theme, or, if they really wanted to pay homage to First Contact, I would have liked a new song that incorporated parts of the First Contact theme.

  2. And suddenly the end credits started. What? Wait! I want more. That's always the sign of a well paced, well directed show. I think we're in good hands this season. TNG is of course the show that made the Trek franchise happen, and it deserves to have all the stops pulled out as a final homage to the show and the characters.

    The only thing I wanted to see that I didn't see was when Laris and Picard said their goodbyes (again), she stayed behind (again). She should have gone with. Her background in Romulan intelligence could come in handy. Plus we'ed get to see more Orla Brady!

    The one thing for me that puts me back in the TNG groove is the sound of Riker's voice. When I hear him speak it's like I'm back on the bridge of the Enterprise. 3 1/2 out of four "Engage!" commands.

  3. As you said, Samantha, it feels like a different show. For me, the very best part was Picard and Riker bantering as equals, just like two people who have known each other forever.

  4. Well, tbf, it has been 20 or so years since we last saw Bev on the screen. She’s bound to have changed I guess.

  5. I also really liked this episode. Looking forward to what’s next. I was a bit intrigued by Captain Shaw. I duly hated him, but couldn’t help but think, with his self confidence, quick wit and snark, he would make a really funny good guy.

  6. So I got a total Wrath of Khan vibe watching this episode, what with the Admiral’s snap inspection, the boatload of new recruits, even Dr. Carol Marc—I
    mean Dr. Crusher hiding away a son that no one knew about.

    I’m finding myself running through the list of Picard adversaries to see if there’s a ‘Khan’ to be found…


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