Gaith said:Picard: "Remembrance" (1x1, 2020)
So... this is a weird pilot.
Yeah, but bring back the 7of9 catsuit (silver version)!!!Star Trek: Picard Season One (2020)
So... this was a weird season of TV. The overall story makes little to no sense - what was the point of the Borg Cube/Artifact, exactly? To introduce Soji, I guess, but why was she there? So Picard could confront his trauma with the Borg again? That said, when he admitted to Seven that he never felt he'd entirely regained his humanity post-assimilation, it was a shocking and powerful moment.
I definitely liked it more than RLM's Mike and Rich, because while many of their arguments and complaints were valid, there's also something to be said for going with the flow. I've seen a lot of griping about how Patrick Stewart doesn't necessarily doesn't respect the character of Picard or the Federation as we knew them on TNG, and maybe there's some truth to that, but then, Picard the fictional character has in many ways dominated Stewart's life. It'll be the first line of his obituary. At a 2014 convention, he said: “By the end of [TNG's] third season, I truly didn’t know where Jean-Luc Picard left off and Patrick Stewart began.” So, if Stewart wants to take the role in places he wants to explore, rather than what the TV writers who wrote the series' years of his character would have done, I'm fundamentally pretty okay with that. And, while Picard's cast is uniformly strong, Stewart himself does great work here.
That said, is it weird that the Federation is written as insular, and the breadth and power of Romulan Empire is basically forgotten about in order to service a Picard-centric story? Yes, it is. (Also weird: Beverly is the only main TNG character whose name isn't even mentioned.) Eight years ago to the day tomorrow, I suggested that exploring Star Trek's future post-Nemesis might be a creative dead end, and as much as I enjoy seeing Old Man Jean-Luc interact with Riker, Troi, and Seven, I'm still not sure I was wrong. (That damn Batmobile-mode Voyager upgrade from "Endgame" just might have been a shark that can't be un-jumped.) The paradox of a new Picard series is that, while it would doubtless be more fun and rewarding to see him and his new ragtag Protectors of the Galaxy crew go off on random small missions here and there, rather than desperate quests to avert a galactic calamity from a millennia-old Romulan prophecy, there's probably no good reason why a retired admiral of his prestige couldn't call in the Starfleet cavalry on any given problem, so the writers were probably pretty much forced to come up with some reason why Starfleet Sucks Now. (And even then, how does it inevitably end? With a Starfleet cavalry. Maybe the series should have started with him being irrevocably tossed into a parallel universe in which Starfleet collapsed decades ago, and nobody knows who he is because he died on the Stargazer, or something.)
In conclusion: a hacky story, some graceful dialogue flourishes courtesy of Chabon, charismatic performers all around (damn, Jeri Ryan still has it), and a world-class leading man in Stewart. It's... pretty okay, I guess. Ever since the end of Voyager and Nemesis, Trek has been mired in its own past, and even though this series moves us forward in time, making Picard its anchor still anchors it to Trek's past. Maybe the plot swerve of Discovery's third season will allow the franchise to boldly go someplace new. All that said, as long as Stewart's around, not to mention appearances from more of the old gang, I'll likely keep hailing frequencies open. For all the tragedy the show has put the Federation, Picard, and the Troi-Rikers through so far, seeing them together, especially that final goodbye in the last episode, was genuinely moving to a degree (to take one example) the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy never managed. Now, let's all set off on a course for... out there. Thataway.
S1 grade: B-