Star Trek: Picard: Maps and Legends
January 30, 2020 12:39 AM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Picard begins investigating the mystery of Dahj as well as what her very existence means to the Federation. Without Starfleet's support, Picard is left leaning on others for help, including Dr. Agnes Jurati and an estranged former colleague, Raffi Musiker. Meanwhile, hidden enemies are also interested in where Picard's search for the truth about Dahj will lead. (IMDB, Memory Alpha)

According to Memory Alpha, the production numbers for e02 and e03 are 102a and 102b, so these appear likely to be a two-part episode.

Michelle Hurd (Raffi Musiker) is best known for her lead role as New York Police Detective Monique Jeffries on the Law & Order spinoff Special Victims Unit, only starring in the first season from 1999-2000 and sporadically in the second (2000). (via CoB)

(This is an experimental approach to rapid-release posting. I have not yet watched the full episode. I am unlikely to get to it for about a day and a half. Based on prior DIS and the first PIC thread, all of you will post info in-thread with customary Starfleet precision and alacrity. I’ll add my thematic notes and so forth in-thread, as I have in the past. Also, I am a terrible tagger, please feel free to add.)
posted by mwhybark (67 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
I really liked the first episode, but this one felt a little stronger. Less awkward dialogue, less exposition - or, at least, the exposition was dramatised better. I'm thinking most of the investigation of Dahj's apartment and Picard's discussion with his two Romulan friends early in the episode.

I like how they are layering in references to Next Gen, without giving us any cameos yet. I am really feeling for Picard, because of my history with him, but also because of his current predicament. In some ways it feels like Trek and in other ways it feels like a 2020 reaction to the absolute utopia of Next Gen. So far, I'm okay with the balance.

Each episode feels like the chapter of a book - no massive cliffhangers, but enough to make me want to watch the next one. I almost wish this was available to binge, but I do always enjoy contemplating episodes and discussing them especially when they are as rich in subtext as this one.

More please.
posted by crossoverman at 2:38 AM on January 30 [3 favorites]


I was meh about the first episode but I actively disliked this one for a myriad of reasons.

- The way the federation is just doesn't feel right to me. Picard's conversation with that admiral made her look like cartoon villain
- I do feel like exposition continues to be heavy-handed and clumsy, precisely with the Dahj's apartment stuff
- Picard's not gonna get the old crew together because, uh, they care? And instead let's put strangers in harm's way because that hurts less? I mean I get it but it also sounds stupid
- Yes we get it Picard likes Earl Grey that joke gets really tired really fast
- Romulans schemeing within the federation was like the least surprising thing ever
- Everything feels just a bit over the top, but not in a good way, more like a weird uncanny way

The borg stuff does look promising though, but I have a hunch they'll only have Jery Ryan for 2-3 episode, tops? (Just a guess, I didn't check IMDB or anything).

I'm just mostly very frustrated. I expected better.
posted by KTamas at 5:43 AM on January 30 [4 favorites]


Still enjoying this story! It's no Inner Light but it's entertaining and I love Patrick Stewart's acting – the way he says "ominous" to the rumours of the Romulan secret(er) service, his chat with his doctor, every little bit. It's nice to see the worldbuilding elements as well, like the Hyperion-style transporter gates by the Starfleet HQ.

I was a little distracted by some of the editing choices, like the cross-cutting between the exposition and the CSI scenes; plus the constantly "rising" camerawork during the Commodore's dressing-down of the Romulan sister felt unnecessary. Then again, these are small niggles.

Yes, some of the exposition was a bit much. I didn't feel it was over the top for Star Trek (remember who invented "change the shield phase polarity"?) and it had its nice elements – like the computer mistaking Dahj's sister for her – but it went on a bit.

As for Picard not getting the old crew together, I felt he was being diplomatic here. Are Riker, Worf, and La Forge really the best crew for this mission? Better to get some active duty crewmembers who, frankly, are more expendable than his dear friends.
posted by adrianhon at 5:57 AM on January 30 [6 favorites]


Oh, and I thought the cold open was well done, in depicting just how rapidly an AI could take over computer systems and begin an attack. Those phasers were some brutal stuff.
posted by adrianhon at 6:12 AM on January 30 [7 favorites]


"This Facility Has Gone _5843_ Days Without An Assimilation."
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:17 AM on January 30 [39 favorites]


Also, the synth named F8 seemed to have a heavy handed name. "Fate" indeed.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:20 AM on January 30 [11 favorites]


The way the federation is just doesn't feel right to me. Picard's conversation with that admiral made her look like cartoon villain

It’s certainly true that Star Trek admirals have never been portrayed as cartoon villains

But seriously, I felt exactly the opposite. I was worried about the Federation abandoning the Romulans but when the admiral said 14 Federation members threatened to leave... she has a point?
posted by Automocar at 2:11 PM on January 30 [15 favorites]


I could nitpick--I require very little incentive to do so--but I'm still excited and interested in it. A few things, some in response to the above:

- It is absolutely in line with the way that the Romulans have been portrayed, particularly in TNG, for them to have a Tal'Shiar within the Tal'Shiar. And it makes perfect sense that they're strongly anti-AI, since the major Alpha/Beta quadrants' powers beside the Federation--not to mention the Romulans' cousins, the Vulcans--to never have had any significant AI research programs that we know of. (That the Federation has had not only the Soong project, but Richard Daystrom's M-5 and various Turing-test-passing holograms, may be due to Section 31 running interference... although they had their own issues with a renegade AI in the Discovery era. Is Commodore (a rank we haven't seen in a while) Oh in S31?)

- I think that the remarks about Picard not wanting to Put the Band Back Together [TVTropes, natch] are not only to avert a lot of fans' wishful thinking about this being a complete TNG reunion (I can 1701% identify with fans who want Data to come back, but IIRC Brent Spiner does not want him to be resurrected), but it also makes sense within the story, as these are all people who have more than done their bit for king and country, as Kirk would say. (Personally, I'd love to see Old Worf again, but he's already had more appearances than anyone else in the franchise.)

- Jokes about villainous admirals aside (and I wonder how much she knows about the commodore's stuff, from their brief conversation), I also wonder which fourteen Federation members threatened to leave, and whether they would have gone through with it if their bluff had been called. Picard is still right; "let them die" (to cite Star Trek VI again) is not really a Federation sentiment, the occasional high-ranking officer's statement notwithstanding.

- Ann Magnuson as the admiral! And David Paymer! And Vasquez Rocks!
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:33 PM on January 30 [8 favorites]


1701%

Lol. Starfleet maths!

I actually took a bunch of notes as I finished watching the episode last night at like 2a. Probably trying to post here at release without time to watch, digest, gather, and write is somewhat suboptimal. I am particularly regretful to have failed to meet the FF Trek standard of jocularity in the initial post.

The good news, from my perspective, is that I unexpectedly have time to do a rewatch tonight and expect, as previously projected, to be able to competently use the annotations I made in my sleepless state into a relatively thoughtful post. Without going into detail, Chabon’s signature interests are very well integrated into the fabric of the episode, much to my delight. Mostly. “F8” was, indeed, on the cartoony side, but keep in mind, the dude wrote what is likely to always be the greatest Golden Age of Comics novel ever written, and Gene was no eschewer of yuge over the top pulp nonsense. Cartoons, sure, he eschewed TAS, but I have incontrovertible evidence that this eschewal was due to Gene also being a damn fool. A holy fool, maybe. Our fool, for sure.
posted by mwhybark at 4:23 PM on January 30 [3 favorites]


Poster’s Log, supplemental:

When Adam delved, and Eve span, who then was the gentleman? - attr. John Ball, 1381

Which generative patriarch of persistent SF/F media properties was the greater fool? Not the greater artist, the greater fool?

You, dear crewmembers, know the two which I have in primary mind, but of late, there are contenders!
posted by mwhybark at 4:28 PM on January 30


This was much much better than the first episode, which sucked dog ass
posted by Greg Nog at 5:42 PM on January 30


I can 1701% identify with fans who want Data to come back, but IIRC Brent Spiner does not want him to be resurrected

I'm really glad that the upload to B4 didn't work. But all evidence points to Data being resurrected into a flesh body, given the stuff going on with the twins made from his positronic brain.
posted by crossoverman at 7:00 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


Anybody else hear "Tasha Yar" every time they said Tal'Shiar, especially the Irish Romulan lady? I actually thought that was what she was saying at first.

I had no expectations going into this except hoping it felt like TNG with a 2019 filter overlay, and so far that's what I'm getting, so I'm happy. It feels like comfort food.
posted by bleep at 7:43 PM on January 30 [6 favorites]


"I never really cared for science fiction.....I guess....I just didn't get it"
posted by lalochezia at 8:53 PM on January 30 [16 favorites]


Also, I felt like Picard deciding not to involve the old gang made me realize how vulnerable and on a precipice he's feeling, like really not knowing what's going to happen next but pretty sure it's nothing good. Picard being an idealized leader, he would not put them at that level of extreme risk knowing their consent would be implicitly coerced by loyalty. It was to me something that got across the idea of Picard being legitimately scared, which isn't something I've ever thought about before, to me Picard has always been something like Santa Claus. It's kind of amazing how they did that.
posted by bleep at 9:32 PM on January 30 [21 favorites]


I really like this. Anyone think the parietal lobe thing is a disorder he might have picked up from melding with Sarek? Also come on! Half the episodes in TNG (and DS9... and TOS) involved a “admirals are evil” subplot or main plot. This is... kinda on brand! I am dying to know if Oh is Vulcan or Romulan- I could see both but god knows I love a pragmatically evil Vulcan. Needs of the many is ominous when viewed sideways.

Also- on a personal note. When I’d come home from school and dad had been working from home we’d watch law and order together- including SVU and yes, I’m aware at the age I was that was probably inappropriate. Mom refused to watch (she’d known Belzer personally back in the day and could tell you some stories...) but seasons 1-2 are burned into my mind. Seeing Michelle Hurd again if only for a second made me so happy. As much as I liked Ice-T on SVU I really liked her. Of course me and mom were dissecting the opening scene. The greatest fear of Data and Picard was that if he was declared property they’d make android slaves... and look what they did the moment Data died. Seeing the android workers on Mars so dehumanized- makes me want to watch measure of a man again, its so chilling! And timely! I can’t wait for the next episode!
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:32 PM on January 30 [8 favorites]


I liked this, not as as much as the pilot, but I surely enjoyed the lack of action that this episode held.

Admiral being abrasive and rude felt right in line with basically every other Admiral we have seen in Star Trek, so that was good.

I love the new uniforms, even if it doesn't make much sense that the uniforms have barely changed from TNG times when the uniforms changed every couple of years when the various shows were airing - it feels like a great sleeker version of the TNG uniform, in the way we got with the JJ Star Trek versions of TOS uniforms.

I'm glad that a lot of the potential "oooh mystery?!" reveals didn't actually drag out. Yes the Vulcan Admiral is involved, yes the Romulan guy sleeping with Soji is actually dodgy...etc. A weaker show would make these "reveals" drag out for ages.

I really like Picard's romulan friends/caretakers and they have great chemistry with Patrick Stewart, I hope we continue to see them.

I agree the "earl grey" reference yet again was a bit much, but I'll live.

The removal of borg parts from the former borg was rough, and brought back how intense the work to get Picard back from Locutus of Borg would have actually been.

All in all, this has me continuing to be interested to see where this season is headed. Sure, I would have enjoyed more Data dreams, but I accept that maybe that's not the best for the show. I love that Picard wants to get back up into the stars.

Two episodes in and I'm starting to wonder if this will be more enjoyable as a show to binge, given the slow unravel of the plots and stories, but at the same time I'm loving having a Star Trek show that I can spend the week dissecting.
posted by liquorice at 12:06 AM on January 31 [6 favorites]


The way the federation is just doesn't feel right to me. Picard's conversation with that admiral made her look like cartoon villain

You’re right, it’s not like StarFleet admirals have ever:
- tried to kidnap and genocide some immortal
aliens (Dougherty - Insurrection)
- tried to enact a military coup during wartime using some unknowing and hapless teenagers (Leyton - DS9)
- hand the most advanced ship in StarFleet over to alternate dimension space Hitler so she can go do a genocide (Cornwall - Disco)
- be literally made of evil alien worms (that one guy, you know the one, in TNG).
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:35 AM on January 31 [19 favorites]


On a positive note, the mention of the old gang did reassure viewers that Geordi wasn't killed during the attack on Mars.

F8's eyes going on the fritz before the attack suggests a hack? It's not clear if we're to assume that the synths had full sentience (like Data), but the humans working with them surely thought not.

TNG had a storyline involving someone passing off their Romulan ancestry as Vulcan, so that's possibly the case with Commodore Oh...
posted by thomas j wise at 5:27 AM on January 31 [3 favorites]


hey this seems rather promising overall maybe !

I would kind of like if they just made a good old-fashioned episodic 26-episode-season Star Trek series again one of these days though

but I mean this is good too so far
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:27 AM on January 31 [1 favorite]


I am dying to know if Oh is Vulcan or Romulan

She is at least presenting in-universe as Vulcan, note the IDIC emblem on the box on her desk. Is she the first Vulcan female character to not use a T’Name? Perhaps the T is silent, and her name is T’Oh.

Also, this character picks up the Enterprise trope of sneaky Vulcans.
posted by mwhybark at 6:41 AM on January 31 [1 favorite]


I would kind of like if they just made a good old-fashioned episodic 26-episode-season Star Trek series again one of these days though

All but the very best seasons had a lot of filler, though. We just finished S3 of our Enterprise rewatch, and it was all supposed to be one big arc where they're racing against time to stop a doomsday weapon, but they still found plenty of space to wedge in episodes that had slim to nil to do with the season arc, like one that was basically just a repeat of a VOY episode plot, or another that was Beauty and the Beast with Hoshi as Belle and some random creep as the Beast. (S4 seems a lot tighter, which is good, because it's the last season.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:50 AM on January 31 [1 favorite]


Another vote for "first one was good, this one is better." I'm starting to wonder if PIC's pilot was the best Trek pilot yet, but OTOH I love "Emissary," and for that matter I'm not sure we can judge the PIC pilot accurately until the various arcs it sets up have been resolved or at least further developed. I for one certainly learned my lesson about presuming the likely future of a nu-Trek show after DISCO went all Sybil on us.

I couldn't help but wonder if Paymer's character was there because they couldn't get McFadden, but at the same time, it's cool to see Picard having a tight relationship with a former shipmate not from the Enterprise. And David Paymer's always a welcome sight!

Is she the first Vulcan female character to not use a T’Name?

No, Sakonna (from IIRC the DS9 season 2 opening three-episode arc) was a Vulcan woman.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 7:26 AM on January 31 [4 favorites]


Is she the first Vulcan female character to not use a T’Name? Perhaps the T is silent, and her name is T’Oh

Lt. Saavik, Lt. Valeris and Amb. V’Lar come to mind.
posted by nathan_teske at 7:29 AM on January 31 [4 favorites]


Sakonna (from IIRC the DS9 season 2 opening three-episode arc)

Yes, Sakonna and S2 of DS9, but she was in the Maquis two-parter. Also, Dr. Selar (played by Trek vet Suzie Plakson) was in TNG.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:58 AM on January 31 [2 favorites]


The tool F8 was using was straight out of Dead Space, wasn't it?
posted by entity447b at 10:07 AM on January 31 [3 favorites]


Anybody else hear "Tasha Yar" every time they said Tal'Shiar, especially the Irish Romulan lady? I actually thought that was what she was saying at first.
posted by bleep at 7:43 PM on January 30


No, but whenever they say Zhat Vash, all my brain registers is Picard's friendly archaeologist friend/love interest/rival/etc. Vash. Now, there's a character I'd like to see return for this show. Unlike Enterprise crew members, she has no automatic loyalty to Picard and might provide a bit of friction or spark (in more ways than one).
posted by sardonyx at 3:37 PM on January 31 [8 favorites]


Anyone think the parietal lobe thing is a disorder he might have picked up from melding with Sarek?

It's most likely Irumodic Syndrome, which Picard had in the future timeline of the final episode of TNG "All Good Things..." Seems like, even though that future has been substantially changed, he maybe can't avoid that fate.
posted by crossoverman at 6:13 PM on January 31 [13 favorites]


Oh my gosh, and in that one he's again called up from retirement to investigate something weird, but in that one he does go talk to the current crew first.
I went and read the Wikipedia article for that episode and man is that fucked up. The space anomaly didn't exist and Q was just fucking with him. It's kind of a wild place for the show to go, from day 1 to the end, that a really important thing they want to say about the future is that the captain could be the most stable person ever born but still be tormented by an obsessive space demon, anything can happen.
posted by bleep at 6:52 PM on January 31


All but the very best seasons had a lot of filler, though.

In TOS and TNG, the filler was the point, they were stand-alone episodic series, with only a couple of multi-part episodes as exceptions, which made them extra special.

I love and appreciate both episodic and serialized show formats for what they are, but do miss old Trek as a weekly hang-out SF show.
posted by Pryde at 7:47 PM on January 31 [4 favorites]


Counterintuitively, I have no problem with Starfleet being full of cartoon villian assholes, since my assumption has always been Starfleet is where you go if you don't like the Federation utopian lifestyle. I think it's a little weird how the Admiral seemed to take Picard's televised outburst personally, but Picard clearly left Starfleet on bad terms and the fact they have zero interest in helping him isn't surprising. Even before he left they were constantly hamstringing him and waylaying him whenever he was trying to do the right thing, which is pretty standard Star Trek circumstances, Kirk was the same way.

So was LaForge in charge of Utopia Planetia at the time of the attack? I wonder how he felt employing a slave race based on his best friend.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 8:52 PM on January 31 [2 favorites]


Public service announcement: as with episode 1, it's totally worth watching the Ready Room for episode 2. Wil Wheaton's enthusiasm is incredibly infectious and endearing.
posted by Syllepsis at 9:02 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


Well, that’s odd. I added two posts to this thread this afternoon, one quite long. I am rather puzzled and wonder if I misfired somewhere random!
posted by mwhybark at 9:32 PM on January 31


You posted to the thread for the first episode, there's a mod note there about the deletion.
posted by Strutter Cane - United Planets Stilt Patrol at 9:39 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


Phew! I was able to get most of the comment back from cache. Thanks! Mods will have the full comment copy, iirc.
posted by mwhybark at 9:42 PM on January 31


Forthwith, the misfired comments.
---
Some observations:
As noted, I am seeing quite a bit of Chabon in this episode, in glancing references, in character design, even in casting.

In a prior thread, I noted that one of the plot elements in Kavalier & Klay is the surreptitious export from Nazi-occupied Czechloslovakia to Manhattan of the Golem of Prague. The Golem can be regarded as the starting point for European narrative traditions concerning artificial life, that is, beings who live, yet were not created by the Divinity. In the novel, the Golem is tied to the imagining and execution of the first American comic book superhero. In the novel this is not Superman or Batman, but the eponymous characters of the title are modeled on Shuster & Siegel.

In Czech and European literary history, following but not necessarily inspired by the legend of the Golem, the next most well known literary work concerning artificial life is (say it with me) Frankenstein. Looking again at Czech literary history, I think I should note the play R.U.R., by Karel Capek, the vehicle whereby the word "robot" came into use.

From the wikipedia link on R.U.R.:

The play begins in a factory that makes artificial people, called roboti (robots), from synthetic organic matter. They are not exactly robots by the current definition of the term: they are living creatures of artificial flesh and blood rather than machinery and are closer to the modern idea of androids or replicants.

Looking a little further into the episode, when Soji and Narek encounter one another at the checkpoint, Narek gives a little speech.

NAREK: As far as the Collective are concerned, this is just a graveyard. And what does that make us? The same as you find in any graveyard. Some have come to feed on the dead, some are ghosts, and a few, like you, Dr. Asha, have pinned their hopes on resurrection.

The lines about feeding on the dead and resurrection seem a bit odd - how could Narek know that Soji is somehow a key to resurrecting Data? But as Narek utters the lines, I realized that his character design deliberately evokes the greatest cinematic vampire of all time: Nosferatu, as portrayed by Max Schreck in Murnau's 1922 silent film. Nosferatu's character design is inspired by the rats that accompany him to London. That this is deliberate to me became clearer when I considered that his apparent Zhat Vash colleague within Starfleet, his 'sister,' is named Rizzo, in what would appear to be a reference to the character of Ratso Rizzo in Midnight Cowboy, or possibly Rizzo the Rat, a Muppet.

Finally, it has to be noted that Harry Treadaway portrayed none other than Dr. Victor Frankenstein in the uneven but often compelling Penny Dreadful. And, oh yes... He is a twin. It seems somewhat unlikely that this fact can carry any dramatic weight within the show, but it seems like something to note.

Back to the speech, though. I see the use of the word resurrection as a reference to the nineteenth-century practice of grave robbing to provide anatomical parts and specimens for dissection and study. The criminals that engaged in this practice had various appellations, one being 'resurrectionists.' Dr. Frankenstein is a character who seems likely to have employed the services of a member of this underground fraternity. The activity depicted in the Borg 'harvesting' operation is appears to me to be intended to evoke dismemberment and dissection.

So, looking just at these themes, I see Chabon, following his muse into riffing on elements of mythic horror fiction, which in the texts of the Golem and of Frankenstein are pretty inarguably, if you'll pardon a terrible pun, a foundation of science fiction. So it's only natural that Dr. Jurati, underemployed android scientist, would be brushing up on her Asimov, despite his problematic behavior as a person.

After seeing this and noticing how Narek appears to be partially designed after Nosferatu I started looking for other visual homages to silents, and I think I found one. In the first thread (iirc), and again in here, a couple of people remarked about the flowing streams of flying traffic in the exterior establishing shot near Dahj's apartment. The low angle shot uses forced perspective in the background to establish the scale of the cityscape depicted.

In Metropolis - a movie concerned with the technomagical creation of a beautiful android - elaborate cityscape sets were shot with tiny vehicles moving along elevated roadways to suggest the city of the future. The vehicles don't exactly stream by, but I do think the visual inspiration for this element in Picard is likely from Metropolis, and would not be terribly surprised to see other visual, perhaps more obvious, borrowings in the episodes yet to come.

I have a few other thoughts that are not related to this series of riffs that I see in this episode and will post them separately.
posted by mwhybark at 10:16 PM on January 31 [12 favorites]


Misfire two:

In the opening sequence, the synths all have red jumpsuits (well, so do the humans, but still). If only they also wore energy domes! My synth band theory would then be fully canon.

When the synths are first greeted, they are referred to as "plastic people." Given all the Czech-Inspired references in the show, I think that has to be taken as a reference to the Plastic People of the Universe, an important Czech band.

Given that the show seems to be including references to and inspirations from early-period horror and SF, should we be on the lookout for a mummy or two? Maybe the stasis-held Borg qualify.

That procedural sequence in the apartment was lame. For someone from a culture with an irrational fear of computing devices, Laris sure is good with that holoscreen. I was highly amused to realize that the particular plot problems being set up in the scene were literally being handwaved away. I gotta guess that is some internal commentary on the sequence, maybe by the writer's room itself.

I think that's all I got.
posted by mwhybark at 10:19 PM on January 31 [6 favorites]


The lines about feeding on the dead and resurrection seem a bit odd - how could Narek know that Soji is somehow a key to resurrecting Data?

I think he was referring to her work with the Borg drones. As far as the Collective is concerned they're all dead, but she's removing their implants and giving them a new lease on individual life. It's also a stark difference to what most of the other people are doing, which is picking over Borg technology looking for useful components. To me, they're more akin to grave robbers than carrion eaters.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:34 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


I'm kind of surprised that Asimov's robot series made it to the future, and Picard's bookshelf in particular. Why have it if you're not into science fiction? It didn't have great writing and I don't know what the stories would offer to someone in the 24th century.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 6:05 AM on February 1 [3 favorites]


I am really enjoying this series. So far, it's a cool mix of futuristic everyday-ism (the Earth scenes), and showing us something new and mind-blowing (reclaiming / recycling the Borg cube), and relevance (the corruption of Star Fleet mirrors the current corruption of the US government, in my mind at least, and the xenophobia toward Romulans brings to mind Brexit, although there's plenty of that in the US too).

I'm particularly enchanted by Laris. The combination of the actor, the Irish accent, and the Romulan makeup is irresistible for some reason.
posted by jabah at 6:19 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


My interpretation of Picard’s comment on sci-fi is that he regards Asimov as classic literature, having been written some three centuries ago.
posted by adrianhon at 6:45 AM on February 1


Yeah, I sometimes feel like I can't understand contemporary sci-fi books, and I'm well shy of 90 years old.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:51 AM on February 1


"I never really cared for science fiction.....I guess....I just didn't get it"

"You live on a spaceship, dear."

posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 5:37 PM on February 1 [5 favorites]


Oh hai guise.

Whatever happened to Data's mom? Did Noonian program her to "die" when she was expected to? How has no-one ever medically examined her ever again?

Or is she in a max security Starfleet gulag somewhere?
posted by porpoise at 6:00 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


As noted, I am seeing quite a bit of Chabon in this episode, in glancing references, in character design, even in casting.

Ahem.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:11 PM on February 1 [5 favorites]


O.o

Great find! Dude’s just literally pointing at his shizz, and geez. Gotta keep reminding myself that Wonder Boys is his too, and it’s about Eng. Lit.

Also I want that TOS tee he’s been sporting.
posted by mwhybark at 6:20 PM on February 1


From the linked review:

“But for all his gleaming acuity as a critic, Chabon is at his strongest here as a memoirist, and the two standout pieces both concern his own development as a writer. The first, ‘Maps and Legends’’, records his boyhood in the partially built utopian city of Columbia, which was constructed according to ideals that it couldn't possibly live up to. The second, ‘Golems I Have Known,’ is a strange, circling essay that charts Chabon's own shifting sense of himself as a writer and a Jew by telling a linked set of stories about golems, those clay men of Jewish mythology.”

I say again, with equal ineloquence:

0.o
posted by mwhybark at 6:23 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


I'm kind of surprised that Asimov's robot series made it to the future, and Picard's bookshelf in particular. Why have it if you're not into science fiction? It didn't have great writing and I don't know what the stories would offer to someone in the 24th century.

If the friend you are mourning is the Federation’s first and only sentient positronic robot, I could see how you might be interested in reading the classic literature that defined how your society thinks about positronic robots.

If Asimov exists in Star Trek continuity, that means Soong literally named his android technology after Asimov’s stories about robots.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:38 PM on February 1 [8 favorites]


How do I watch the Ready Room? And it something one shoudl generally watch before or after the episode?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:03 PM on February 1


I've been watching The Ready Room on YouTube. I'd watch them after each episode as they discuss the show and may have spoilers.
posted by willnot at 8:53 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Yes, YT. I agree that watching Wil has been engaging. I kept sort of thinking, geez, they hired him, thinking unfairly that he would be our stalking horse, the character that a demographic would identify with, and here he is, nearing 50, actually doing the thing he was hired to do as a child.

Which does make me a bit frowny, but only a bit.
posted by mwhybark at 10:53 PM on February 1


here he is, nearing 50, actually doing the thing he was hired to do as a child.

Which does make me a bit frowny, but only a bit.


Wheaton isn't doing anything he doesn't really want to do. He's a massive, massive Star Trek fan and all-around geek boy, completely apart from his role in the franchise/genre.
posted by tzikeh at 11:07 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


I do wonder if there's an in-show explanation for Laris' accent or if we're mean to put it alongside Jean-Luc Picard speaking with impeccable British received pronunciation.

(The same explanation could apply to both of course: they have picked up the accent of whoever they learned English from.)
posted by Major Clanger at 6:30 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


Whatever happened to Data's mom? Did Noonian program her to "die" when she was expected to? How has no-one ever medically examined her ever again?

Or is she in a max security Starfleet gulag somewhere?


Good question! You think Picard would have thought of her first rather than ask questions about "flesh and blood" androids. She was Soong's magnum opus and they just let her wander off. Presumably Soong designed her to self-destruct after "dying?"

I still want to know what happened to Lore. He was deactivated and dismantled after Descent, what happened to his parts? Is he in another drawer somewhere like B-4? Or did Maddox take him out after Data's death? I feel like he's conspicuous in his absence.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:42 AM on February 2 [6 favorites]


I do wonder if there's an in-show explanation for Laris' accent or if we're mean to put it alongside Jean-Luc Picard speaking with impeccable British received pronunciation

This is pretty American-centric though. You could ask why most aliens speak with an American accent.
posted by Automocar at 8:25 AM on February 2 [8 favorites]


Data’s mother

From a readthrough of the above linked M-A page, Dr. Soong created her with what would appear to be a normal expected human lifespan for her as an individual, which raises questions about whether or not she was built also to age over time.

It would also appear that the episode goes onto the list of episodes that might be worthwhile to rewatch as background for Picard.

One last observation - over time in various Trek threads I have written about the experience of watching Trek as an adoptee and the ways that adoption and disrupted nurture are depicted in the franchise. Worf is obviously Exhibit A, and after him at the moment, Michael Burnham. Data and Odo also belong to this group of characters.

It’s interesting to me to note, then, that this episode essentially features the first instance in the franchise of what sure looks to me like maternal reunion. Michael has also unexpectedly encountered her mother, but her specific case does not include the common feature of mid-century American adoptions in which the relinquishing mother and relinquished child remain essentially anonymous to each other over the adoptee’s childhood.

When I entered into reunion, my birth mother was fascinated by aspects of my personality and behavior that she observed as being familial traits, and I, likewise, was amazed to notice similarities in both her and also extended relations’ behavior. Dr. Tainer and Data would appear to share this set of experiences as they observe one another in the referenced episode.
posted by mwhybark at 9:02 AM on February 2 [3 favorites]


I like to imagine that Data read Asimov and that Picard read it too so they could have spirited discussion on what was good or bad about it. And Picard naturally held on to it.

I did not find the Admiral hard to understand. Picard was an aging renegade who had just helped inflame an ongoing controversy that made the Federation look bad. And now he wanted a ship and crew to go haring off on what sounds like a crazy errand that would inflame things (no doubt) in a different way. And could end very very badly.

He kind of knows better too; the fact that he doesn't want to risk his old crew's lives and careers speaks to that. It's surprising that he ever thought the Federation would say yes. Probably he wouldn't and this was a plot contrivance to get us more intrigue with the Romulans.

Anyhoo, enjoying the heck outta the series so far.
posted by emjaybee at 9:52 AM on February 2 [5 favorites]


I just fanwanked Laris' accent as her being from an area of Romulus where the people had accents remarkably similar to the Irish. The majority of the Romulans we've seen on the shows have been military/government types with very similar accents so I assume that was the official Romulan accent that all career minded military/government officials are encouraged to adopt. There probably were thousands of regional accents that were lost when Romulus was destroyed and Laris speaking with her original accent is a way of keeping a small part of Romulus alive.
posted by Constance Mirabella at 10:28 AM on February 2 [5 favorites]


WRT Juliana Tainer, the MA summary for the episode "Inheritance" says that the Soong hologram that's buried in her skull says that "her body automatically shuts down after a long life"; that's unspecified, of course. (As is what will happen to her body after she "dies." Does it self-destruct, or...?)

As for Lore, here's his "death" scene in "Descent, Part II"; all we really know is that he was dismantled (per Data's wishes) after Data had retrieved the emotion chip that he eventually had installed inside himself. Nothing about Maddox in the episode, but who else would be qualified to do an autopsy?

As far as the accents go, I tend to have the same headcanon as Constance Mirabella. In Star Trek VI, Gorkon and Chang both have British accents when they're not speaking Klingon (they're portrayed by David Warner and Christopher Plummer, respectively), which is different from the more-or-less-standard Klingon accent used by the rest of the Klingons in the movie, including Gorkon's daughter, Azetbur. (The Rura Penthe warden does speak with a Russian accent.) My headcanon is that Azetbur is the product of a marriage between the House of Gorkon and another Klingon Great House, probably for political reasons, and that she was raised primarily by her mother's family.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:36 AM on February 2


My headcanon for accents includes space leprechauns.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:02 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]


It's surprising that he ever thought the Federation would say yes.

Well... I mean, he does walk into SFHQ to see his ship as a featured entryway lobby ornament. And not in any way altered in appearance. Take that, Kirk, he thinks, secretly.
posted by mwhybark at 5:17 PM on February 2 [6 favorites]




I was wondering why I heard no buzz about this second episode and now having watched it, I know why. It felt very flat to me, very slow, with no resolution to anything. Which fair enough; we're at the early stage of the heist movie trope, where Picard has to find a car and a crew. A little surprised they didn't just release this along with episode 3 on the same day, but maybe that'll make more sense after seeing episode 3.

It's annoying that the Romulans also have a Section 31. Do you suppose the Zhat Vash and 31 folks get together and share drinks, maybe Klingon blood wine? And reminisce about their days of genocide, whether it's shape shifters or artificial lifeforms? After finishing a DS9 rewatch recently I now understand why so many fans are very angry about Section 31 being even a vaguely tolerated part of the Federation. (Seriously: genocide.) I guess Zhat Vash gets style points for being extra-clandestine, and I'm sure it'll make for some fun TV, but it also seems a little silly.

Also weirded out by the trope of Narek having sexy times with his quarry, Soji. I'm a little confused too.. The teasers for the show depict Picard ultimately doing his mission on some weird spaceship with his new crew of misfits. (A sort of Blake's 7 setup.) Is the commander of that ship Narek? Or some other tall dark and handsome type?
posted by Nelson at 9:07 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


It's annoying that the Romulans also have a Section 31.

Hear hear! I kinda wonder if they started out as S31 in initial story planning.
posted by mwhybark at 11:26 AM on February 4


Continuing to love this show. But! To pick buck up with my old TNG-era-physics-undergrad habit of laughing at scientific stumbles, I feel like I need to observe that when the Irish Romulan says that the apartment is awash in antileptons, she's saying that it should have blown up violently from a series of matter/antimatter annihilations
posted by COBRA! at 9:40 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


Is the commander of that ship Narek? Or some other tall dark and handsome type?

Pretty darn sure BeardyCaptainyGuy in the trailers is not YoungBeardyRomulan.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 10:21 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]


I (Trek fan since TOS first syndicated in the early 70s) have been watching this with my girlfriend (born after the premiere of TNG, never much of a ST fan but watched some a little TNG and VOY). The fact that she's enjoying this show almost as much as I am says quite a lot about Chabon's world-building within the universe we already know.

Also, I am beside myself with joy to see Tamlyn Tomita playing what appears to be the big bad.
posted by hanov3r at 4:00 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


« Older Better Than Us: Season One...   |  Podcast: Reply All: #156 The C... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments