Star Trek: Picard: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2
March 26, 2020 4:41 AM - Season 1, Episode 10 - Subscribe

With the fate of countless civilizations hanging in the balance, Soji's faith in life and friendship needs to be renewed—and Picard decides to make it so. (Season finale.)

Background details from Memory Alpha; dialogue snippets from IMDb and TV Tropes:

- The "Picard Maneuver" was seen in TNG: "The Battle."

- Riker references the Treaty of Algeron, which was signed between the United Federation of Planets and the Romulan Star Empire in 2311, following the events of the Tomed Incident. The Treaty of Algeron was signed approximately 160 years after the conclusion of the Earth-Romulan War.

- The song "Blue Skies", which Data listens to in his final scene, played a significant part in Star Trek Nemesis. It was also heard in the Picard series premiere.


"Would the xBs be better off dead? Everyone hates them, they have no home. They don't belong anywhere."
"Am I better off dead? I'm an xB, I have no home, I don't belong anywhere. Why don't I just put a phaser to my head and get it over with?"
"Because I'd miss you."
- Elnor and Seven


"You really believe that this is a prophecy?"
"No. I believe it's history."
- Raffi and Narek


"This... is for Hugh!"
- Seven, sending Narissa to her death


"That's the whole point. That's why we're here. To save each other."
- Picard, to Soji


"The Soongs can be…I believe the phrase is 'an acquired taste'."
- Data


"Mortality gives meaning to human life, captain. Peace, love, friendship—these are precious, because we know they cannot endure."
- Data


Poster's Log:
Well, that was a little busy and rushed, but only a little—and by comparison with other post-Berman Trek, I'd have to call the pacing positively leisurely. Case in point: the space battle scenes lacked much differentiation or emphasis, but that's as it should be for this story—a lesser show would've insisted that the cube has to get back into orbit so Queen Annika can blast a bunch of Romulans into dust and generate a bunch of dramatic space-swooping footage for promotional purposes. Instead, this season finale kept its eye on the ball. (OTOH, did I miss it, or did Narek just sort of disappear?)

I'm a little fuzzy on why they kept calling Picard's condition a "brain abnormality," rather than call it by its medical name, which seems to be a more Trek-ish thing to do. It's as if they were hesitant to commit to it being, or not being, irumodic syndrome… or perhaps they wanted to leave it open for "expanded universe" novels or comics or whatever to develop. (Or maybe it was an issue of rights? They didn't want to pay whoever came up with the name "irumodic syndrome," maybe?)

It was also mildly confusing and weird that the "afterlife" scene was a "massively complex quantum simulation" that happened to be running in Soong's lab and that nobody mentioned before that: "hey guys, you wanna talk to Data? Just type into this terminal."

I had to laugh at Seven and Raffi suddenly holding hands. That has to be an in-joke referencing the relationship between Seven and Chakotay, which was almost as abrupt and apparently baseless, at the end of Voyager.

The miracle multitool is a bit of a corny deux ex machina—and didn't they have something like it in Hitchhiker's Guide?—but I'm positive that Trek has contained other even more implausible miracle-tech. This, too, could be a very subtle in-joke referencing the ability of Trek engineer characters to "turn rocks into replicators" (to quote the wonderful Keevan).

But enough fussing over details. As a season finale, this not only packs a punch—right down to the badass techno-Cthulhu cosmic horror—but resolves the conflict the way it should: with Picard appealing to higher human ideals. I loved the Elnor-Raffi moment on the hill. I loved the "afterlife" scene, though as soon as I saw the religious figures I really expected a surprise cameo by John de Lancie. What we got instead was better. (I thought they risked milking Picard's death a bit too much, given how obvious they made it that he'd come back somehow, but IMO they held back just enough.)

Looking back, I'd absolutely call this one of the finest first seasons of any Trek show, and arguably the finest.

Now then: since season 1 was in a sense really about Data, season 2 needs to be about the other Enterprise-D officer that Picard closely mentored: Worf. Bring back Dorn! Make it so! Bring back Dorn! Make it so!

Poster's Log, Supplemental:
Riker's ship, the Zhang He, looks to me to be very close in design to one of the Star Trek Online ships, though it's been too long since I played for me to be able to say which one. I suppose COVID-19 quarantine is as good a reason as any to get back into STO, especially now that we're in-between new Trek TV!
posted by CheesesOfBrazil (121 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
Great write-up! I loved it. Agree with the minor issues, and this is still a spectacular first season.

I'm curious if we'll get a multiseason arc around the AI overlords, and if Picard going into the golem is the first step in having him travel to their region of space.

I really hope we get some actual DS9 cameos next season rather than a small Quark easter egg. I want to see Garak and Raffi buddy-copping a conspiracy!
posted by bfranklin at 6:47 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]


I'm a little meh on the AI being giant shrieking robot space worms. That can be just...sent back by closing the portal? They can't get out? They don't know that it's there now and will find their own way back? I mean, it's very Star Trek, but I feel like the Big Bad reveal should be a little less Evil Space Centipedes and maybe more unfathomable, even beautiful, but still Gonna Kill Ya. The Borg were amazing villains because at first you didn't know what the heck they were.

Did the people on the ship tell anyone Picard got synth-resurrected? Does everyone think he's dead, or that he survived, or is "Famous Admiral Picard: Now a Synth!" a news story, and are people clamoring for their own golems?

Did Soong really give up his only chance at a golem? I mean...they have replicators..and tons of genius baby Datas...can they not replicate a thing they already made?

I like that booze on the Data Planet is awful.

I wanted to hear from Picard, who was eating, whether food tasted the same. Will he...poop? Does Soji?
posted by emjaybee at 12:40 PM on March 26 [7 favorites]


This was terrific, very emotionally satisfying and resolved the larger themes as set up, in a way that is truly Trek. Not sure what I think of synth-Picard, but it was the obvious solution there. (I assume that, like Soji, he eats when he’s hungry, poops sometime afterward, and that yes, AI Soong can grow/make another golem.) Riker in front of that bad-ass fleet was worth the ride in and of itself.

I’m assuming that the ancient AI is in fact still out there, and now that they know our civilization is here, are going to come calling—an obvious plot line for season 2, and also a pretty clear way to create a through-line from Discovery.

Looking back, I'd absolutely call this one of the finest first seasons of any Trek show, and arguably the finest.

Totally agree, and if the show gets better from here it’s gonna be wonderful.
posted by LooseFilter at 1:24 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]


I wanted to hear from Picard, who was eating, whether food tasted the same. Will he...poop? Does Soji?

I hope that the next season starts with Picard leaving the bathroom and someone saying "light a match for godsakes Picard!!"
posted by some loser at 1:25 PM on March 26 [5 favorites]


You're all cute, assuming Star Trek will ever acknowledge the fact people poop.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:59 PM on March 26 [14 favorites]


I admit to being a little grumpy about leaving Geordi LaForge out of the equation here; he was Data's primary emotional connection in ST:TNG, not Picard.

Overall, I thought this was a pretty effective episode, but it had a lot of strange blips (the synthetic whosits; uh, Jurati still murdered somebody, are we covering this up or is the famous ST Telepathic Manipulation Exemption?; Narek's weird disappearance, which reads like a scene got deleted somewhere). Also wondering about the time skip at the end of the episode, as it's hard to believe that the Federation literally went from Synths Bad to Synths Good in the space of five minutes.

The Picard Speech finally worked!
posted by thomas j wise at 2:52 PM on March 26 [7 favorites]


Welp, I had some misgivings about bits and pieces, but damn me if Chabon doesn’t know how to wrap up a story with an emotional punch - and a golem, to boot!

The strong through line with Data from the very start of the season really paid off here, and in a way felt satisfying. To be honest it eclipses all the annoyances I’ve had with earlier eps, which makes me wonder if they should’ve just cut a couple of eps out.
posted by adrianhon at 3:27 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


Also I like how the Romulans have at least four other planetary sterilisation patterns.
posted by adrianhon at 3:29 PM on March 26 [65 favorites]


First, I'll boldly go there and say that TOS had a better first season, although a substantial amount of that is credit for their having had to invent all this stuff in the first place. That having been said, PIC has had by far the best first season of any of the post-TOS shows, which is not an inconsiderable feat, given that, like all the other sequel series, it substantially reinvented the franchise. There are a few blips and rough spots to be ironed out, and lots of things to follow up on: is OhNedar going to be the new Romulan leader or something, given that she is maybe primarily responsible for making the Admonition a self-fulfilling prophecy? Does anyone think that Nerissa is really dead? What about Narek? Are they going to deal with any of the many possibilities inherent in going to the Gamma or Delta Quadrants? Are they going to move canon closer to Star Trek Online? What about Laris and Zhaban? What about Number One? What About Number One?!?!?

Well, anyway. Looking forward to S2 bunches.

You're all cute, assuming Star Trek will ever acknowledge the fact people poop.

DS9 referred to waste extraction (usually as a punishment detail) more than once.

WRT to the "miracle multitool": that's very much a Mass Effect thing, as the game's omni-tools are that sort of thing--they not only do standard smartphone stuff and energy projection for the tech classes' offensive and defensive powers, but also contain mini-replicators to actually create missing parts and patches to fix things. Nothing like making dozens of starships appear out of nowhere, of course--and, frankly, that was skating into Infinity Gauntlet territory, IMO--but the same general idea. I know that wrist-top replicators are maybe still a bit beyond Federation tech, but it's a thought.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:49 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


Also I like how the Romulans have at least four other planetary sterilisation patterns.

IKR? So extra. How many do you need?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:50 PM on March 26 [5 favorites]


I liked this episode, but I couldn't get past one point: When Starfleet showed up, why didn't the Romulans *tell* them what they were doing, and why? "Hey, listen - we're assholes, but do you see that weird beacon on the planet below us? That's a much, much bigger problem than we will ever be. Wanna help us blow it up?" Might work, might not, but it's a totally logical move.

Also: If the Romulans think *everyone* is dead, including themselves, if the beacon isn't destroyed Right Now, then why would they even bother targeting the Starfleet ships? Why not just ignore them, and start sterilizing the planet? "Sure, the round-ears will probably kill us - but we'll get the damned job done first, and we're dead if the beacon stays on anyway."

That said - oh, man, Jeri Ryan needs to be in more things. She's basically human bacon; she makes everything better.
posted by Mr. Excellent at 6:40 PM on March 26 [14 favorites]


I don't even know if this episode was good, but I basically silently sobbed for the last twenty minutes. I was so afraid Picard was going to wake up in a "new" model of himself - played by a younger actor or something, and I couldn't bear it.

Everything with Data was just everything.
posted by liquorice at 7:17 PM on March 26 [8 favorites]


The emotionally most resonant piece was Elinor & Rafi on the hill. I was super moved. And then he's not dead! Cheap.

I loved data's "gonna die, better be dressed in an uber-quantumpunk smoking jacket".

How much stanning was spawned with that shot of Anika and Rafi tho'?

Everything else was.....over-splenda'd space treacle with a wormhole full o' cheese.

Soooo many deus ex-machinas, so cheap.
posted by lalochezia at 7:57 PM on March 26 [5 favorites]


oh wow what a great episode. Patrick Stewart got to play the death of Picard, Picard being reborn, Picard says goodbye to an old friend, etc. I feel like this show has got to be the exact opposite of the story about Ian McKellen crying on set of Hobbit because of the way modern filming is done. What choice roles! What sombre yet heroic scenes!

Something odd I noticed was the self-fulfilling prophesy. The vision traveled from the monks to the doctor to the synths. The monks would have done better to have just forgotten about it.
posted by rebent at 8:01 PM on March 26 [6 favorites]


I had this thought that the Romulans/Vulcans might have started out synths, and they were given the pointed ears to differentiate them visually, then somehow they became real. Narek was talking about how the admonition was history, maybe they were saved once. Maybe the next season won't have anything to do with this one. I wonder if the crazy auntie will come out of her coma now. Anyway it is not a space soap opera. I think highly of this series, so wonderfully complicated with wonderful, watchable characters! Fabulous! It did get somewhat emotional at a point, but there has been a lot of negative emotion, battle scenes, murderous acts, so some sweetness and loss is OK.
posted by Oyéah at 8:35 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


Just a whistle stop to say, yes, I watched it. I enjoyed it, I can’t say I experienced any plotting surprises, and even though I understood the things were pretty surely going to happen, I cried. The show was partially written in response to Chabon’s father’s death.

A lot of us on this site, quite possibly the majority of us, will lose a parent this year. More of us than would otherwise have been demographically predictable eight weeks ago.

it’s simultaneously good marketing, welcome, and a tad ghoulish - not gol-ish, mind - about making the series free this week. Only a tad, and honestly, the arc here is about letting go, loss, and trust, and therefore the freebie is an act of genuine sympathy and loss, it’s only a tad ghoulish. But predicating your marketing move on a historic pandemic? You know? Imperfect.

My wife wants to know where Romusferato is.
posted by mwhybark at 8:52 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


With the technology to build synthetic bodies, Soong will become the more affluent/ resource rich individual in Federation space.

Immortality in completely renewable (augmented) synthetic bodies. Duplicated consciences.

After genetic replication, if so desired, everyone will want one.

Of course it'll be regulated to heck so the synthetics open the can of extradimensional tech worms and we're right back at square one.

I get why they gave Picard the Data's Mom treatment, but I'm wondering how much he'll be second guessing not asking for a sprightlier model without the built-in aging, if not extra-human abilities.

Also, the Data reconstruct - did he have contact with the outside world? Kind of a dick move if he experienced the passage of time but was completely cut off from outside communication, or the ability to interact with the outside.
posted by porpoise at 8:54 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


Data's Mom

I hold out hope for a deeply inappropriate s02 PIC episode in which Data’s Mom and Synth Picard meet cute and uncomfortably discuss reproduction metaphors for fifty minutes in Ten Forward and the conference room. And Data’s Mom has not aged a day.

We’ll all benefit from calisthenic squick wiggles!
posted by mwhybark at 9:04 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


I liked this episode, but I couldn't get past one point: When Starfleet showed up, why didn't the Romulans *tell* them what they were doing, and why?

Romulans gonna Romulan
posted by Automocar at 9:08 PM on March 26 [6 favorites]


I was not ready for this filking of "Stacy's Mom."
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:09 PM on March 26 [6 favorites]


I have so many questions.

But the biggest one is: why were the Romulan and Starfleet vessels all in exactly the same alignment (re: up and down) during the big face-off? I mean, they're in space! Where there are three dimensions! WTF.

Swear to god, they were lined up like two NFL teams at a kickoff.
posted by suelac at 9:27 PM on March 26 [8 favorites]


So, I've put up with a lot of stuff on this show that isn't the Star Trek I grew up with but this one is too far. DATA'S UNIFORM HAD A ZIPPER PULL! RODDENBERRY WOULD BE FURIOUS!
posted by ckape at 9:40 PM on March 26 [11 favorites]


So. Um. I loved this. And when the credits rolled I... uh... wept. A lot. Like full body shaking both my parents had to come over to hold me weeping while I cried very loudly for nearly 15 minutes. I am a little dehydrated. I think I've mentioned how much Data meant to me and this... was perfect. It was the perfect goodbye. And I can talk about a lot of little things that I liked about this- and how this hints at the pre-Vulcan history of the Vulcans... "Ever since our ancestors came to Vulcan" hinting at the grand pre-civilization that crashed on a very barren planet... running from the organic destroyers after they mistreated their synths? I can talk about that tomorrow- I have to cry over Data again. I... have not cried like this since Leonard Nimoy died which should tell you about my idols. I'm just gonna prop up my Data and Picard action figures on my computer stand and call it a night. This was the best first season of a Star Trek series ever. I needed this. We all needed this.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:10 PM on March 26 [19 favorites]


I wept at the end of this too. My father died last month and I haven’t really cried for him yet, but this ignited ALL the feelings that have been held back because next of kin duties and work and coronavirus.
posted by andraste at 2:32 AM on March 27 [6 favorites]


Pattern 1: ignite atmosphere and run
Pattern 2: target vegetation, burn to create dense ash cloud to block sunlight
Pattern 3: focus on areas of habitation with expectation of some defense
Pattern 4: have some fun with it, take your time and make it personal
Pattern 5: phaser everything until the entire surface is molten
posted by rikschell at 5:36 AM on March 27 [9 favorites]


pattern 6 romulan boogaloo
posted by lalochezia at 5:36 AM on March 27 [7 favorites]


Man, I feel guilty because I found the first season of this show to be merely good but not great. Like, rough pacing, half of the main characters being basically just costumes saying lines, unsubtle foreshadowing, etc.

There were parts of the ending that were good though.

Other thoughts:

• They’re just straight-up drinking shampoo, aren’t they

• Why does this series use so many TOS music cues? Especially because I feel there’s so little nostalgia overlap between the two series’ fanbases.

• Mrs. Fedora shouted WHAT (but in a delighted way) at Seven and Rafi holding hands at the end

• I don’t know if I want Q to show up in a later season of the show! It would run the risk of making the world seem small

• it sure was a good thing that they closed the portal before the Machines could break into Zion

• genuinely a little surprised that they didn’t use regeneration as an excuse to replace Patrick Stewart with a younger actor, but I’m sure not complaining

• cautiously optimistic about the second season

• so glad that Horny Incest Sister is gone so we don’t have to worry about the future of the Romulannisters at least
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:39 AM on March 27 [12 favorites]


So the opening credits were about the creation of synth!Picard all this time? I can't help but see them that way now. The piece falling out of the sky (where the beacon opened up the vortex), the creation of synth DNA, the eye basically having an artificial core... all of those things. And that little piece makes its way to this new creation. Pretty clever.

The episode itself was, I thought, rather satisfying! I've grown accustomed to having giant weird cliffhangers at the end of a TV season and I felt this was a solid chapter ending. The ship battle scenes looked a little... odd... since there were simply copies upon copies of the same ship. One could potentially interpret that (and the mirroring of the La Sirena) as reflections of what happens to Picard ultimately, I suppose, but for visual purposes it felt weird and not real.

It was also impressive that this show bid adieu properly to two major Trek characters. The Data death scene was not as powerful for me as Picard's, but it felt similar to the ending of A.I.. A simulation of death.

In any case this generation of Trek is, imho, doing a better job of telling long stories. I've appreciated that Discovery will dip into mildly stand-alone episodes more than Picard has thus far. But both are very good series in their own respects. This was probably the best Trek S1 ever. I'm optimistic for S2, but also worried.
posted by hijinx at 6:04 AM on March 27 [7 favorites]


Man, I feel guilty because I found the first season of this show to be merely good but not great. Like, rough pacing, half of the main characters being basically just costumes saying lines, unsubtle foreshadowing, etc.

For comparison, watch the first season of TNG sometime, or at least as much of it as you can stand.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:35 AM on March 27 [6 favorites]



For comparison, watch the first season of TNG sometime, or at least as much of it as you can stand.


Unlike TNG, This had a dream team of writers and huge resources, and while I wouldn't say they completely flubbed it, they could have done so. much. better. with the cheap, pat, outs they used. There was lots of good stuff....but it was uneven as hell.

It's no darmok. No inner light. Hell, it's no best of both worlds.
posted by lalochezia at 6:50 AM on March 27 [9 favorites]


So, like, how long did Soong and Jurati let the rest of the crew think Picard was dead before SURPRISE we gotchu a flesh husk?

Otherwise, I appreciated the emotional moments. The Romulans blowing up the orchids was nicely busy without being distracting from what was intended to be going on. When Narek was recounting the history of Ganmadan he said "An ancient myth. Some say it dates back from long before our ancestors first arrived on Vulcan." Did we know that Vulcan wasn't their original planet? I'll be honest, I'm sorta fuzzy on Romulan/Vulcan history without digging into Memory Alpha.
posted by Kyol at 6:58 AM on March 27 [3 favorites]


Well everyone here seemed to like this so I'll keep my disappointment brief. I thought it was predictable and smarmy. Predictable may be good; there were no last minute bizarre plot twists here just for the sake of surprising the audience. The story unfolded in the way that was set up. That's OK! I had a hard time believing Soji's about-face and then second about-face, much less Soong's, but that's just what happens when you only have an hour to tell an intricate story.

The smarm did not work for me at all. The discussion here is mostly positive about it, and I understand everyone wants their TNG nostalgia, so I'm glad the show was here for that. I was pleasantly surprised they didn't transfer Picard's mind into an unseen body for a to-be-contracted season 2 actor. I was pretty sure they were gonna do that. Maybe New Game+ Picard will be healthy enough that Patrick Stewart doesn't have to overact being a feeble old man next season.

Looking at the series as a whole what I liked best were the parts of the show that weren't Trek. I got in trouble early on here saying Trek doesn't do characters like Raffi; I stand by that, Raffi's an odd character for a Star Trek show. She's also a great character! So is Rios. I'd kind of love to see the show go a space hijinx / grey hat direction with the two of them having adventures with the Fenris Rangers. Seems unlikely, but it'll be fun.

The one I could never figure out was Elnor. What a bizarre and awkward character! Partly on screen; he's meant to be a clumsy adolescent lacking the experience to understand the people around him. But also in the scripting. They have these intensely emotional moments with him, like Picard's death or him crying with Raffi. And then other than that he's a goofy slicey boi. I kind of hope they focus on him in a second season and let him grow up.

So what did happen to Narek in the end? Did they just leave that hanging? Narissa is clearly meant to be ambiguous. We've seen her beam out of peril with a persona transporter before, no reason she would just keep falling to her death. I kinda hope they're totally not in the second season of the show at all, let them tell another story entirely. They leaned heavily on the saga of the ex-Borg towards the end here, but I don't see a direction they can pick that up in for a second season without a lot of new writing.
posted by Nelson at 7:36 AM on March 27 [6 favorites]


I firmly believe that 90% of the people that are complaining about this show, in 20 years, will think it's some of the best Trek ever made. It's just too off-center for a Star Trek show, in the same way DS9 was, and that got a lot of the same criticisms, and slowly got reevaluated over the years, and now everyone loves it.

I wonder how the people criticizing PIC for being "grimdark" (which it, like, obviously never was) are feeling about it now.
posted by Automocar at 7:46 AM on March 27 [4 favorites]


Pattern 1: ignite atmosphere and run
Pattern 2: target vegetation, burn to create dense ash cloud to block sunlight
Pattern 3: focus on areas of habitation with expectation of some defense
Pattern 4: have some fun with it, take your time and make it personal
Pattern 5: phaser everything until the entire surface is molten


Trying to remember which of these best fits Enabran Tain's approach to destroying the Founders' homeworld in DS9. Thinking it's pattern 5, as without Garak's input pattern 4 is less likely.

I dunno, I think I'm on Team Disappointment as well. Something about it all just felt ... unfocused, and a little sloppy. Granted, perhaps I'm not the target audience: I was never much of a TNG fan, tend to prefer character- over plot-development, and dislike loose ends and unearned moments so there was a fair bit of this series that didn't work for me. Most of my gripes have been mentioned already so I won't rehash them, with the exception of

-having Seven very reluctantly going Full Borg Queen and then just ... never mentioning it again, and
-Raffi burning another relationship to smooth the way for Picard, and then the entire crew applauding her 'success' as she staggers away in obvious pain. Their apparently ignoring the immense personal cost of her saving the mission felt shockingly dismissive and tone-deaf

Lastly, to put a slightly different spin on Picard's death/resurrection: I get where a lot of people are coming from wrt appreciating it, particularly in the context of personal loss, but it cut the total opposite way for me. I recently lost someone as well and rather than being comforting, watching this character get a do-over and everyone who cared about him getting to rejoice at the second chance just fucking stung.
posted by myotahapea at 8:55 AM on March 27 [7 favorites]


I was never much of a TNG fan, tend to prefer character- over plot-development

This is so weird to me! I am also a character-over-plot person (one of my favorite shows of all time is Treme, which famously basically had no plot) and I feel like PIC's character work is where it really shines and one of the (maybe the) reason(s) why I like and admire it so much. The show did a tremendous job in setting up and developing these characters over just 10 episodes, and the arc of the entire plot was deeply rooted in character.
posted by Automocar at 9:13 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]


Why does this series use so many TOS music cues?

It’s not nostalgic, the composer is using leitmotif technique, which has been generally underused in ST shows and movies. I found it to be extremely dramatically effective in the last few episodes of PIC.
posted by LooseFilter at 9:38 AM on March 27 [4 favorites]


Yea, Automocar, I think I explained that badly. I was referring more to what felt like character heel-turns within this series: Raffi being angry at Picard when he first arrives, then swinging round to saying she loves him; Seven being visibly disturbed by the idea of taking control of the Borg cube and then just ... shrugging it off after; Soji's flipping loyalties back and forth; Agnes murdering a guy and everyone being very sternface about it and then her contrition and decision to turn herself in morphing into a snog with Rios and an ensemble crew shot; Raffi and Seven linking hands in a very suggestive manner. It's possible all this is explainable, but the series didn't show its work, so it felt like they had an endpoint they wanted to get to but deviated a little too far along the way, and then just jettisoned a load of things to have the hero-shot S2 setup.
*shrug* Maybe it's just me, but it ended up feeling manipulative and unearned.
posted by myotahapea at 9:40 AM on March 27 [5 favorites]


I’m sure I’ll have more detailed thoughts when I’ve read the thread, but first I want to direct eyeballs at the Tatlin Tower that the synths built. I always figured the that Raoul Hausmann assigned him was a borg cube, but perhaps it was Soongville all along!
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 9:55 AM on March 27 [2 favorites]


With the technology to build synthetic bodies, Soong will become the more affluent/ resource rich individual in Federation space.

Immortality in completely renewable (augmented) synthetic bodies. Duplicated consciences.


Look, if I wanted to be murdered so an exact duplicate of me--that looks like me, sounds like me, and has all of my memories--can take over my life, I'll just jump into a transporter.

(Kidding, kinda.)
posted by Pryde at 9:55 AM on March 27 [16 favorites]


Many thoughts:

The Soongs can be…I believe the phrase is "an acquired taste".

No, the phrase is "fucking assholes".

Also I like how the Romulans have at least four other planetary sterilisation patterns.

IKR? So extra. How many do you need?

Look, it's a toolbox...

My wife and I were like, "Sterilization Pattern 5? Ooo, I hear that's a good one!"

Immortality in completely renewable (augmented) synthetic bodies. Duplicated consciences.

To be fair they already introduced and subsequently ignored transporter-based immortality via de-aging back in TNG.

I had this thought that the Romulans/Vulcans might have started out synths, and they were given the pointed ears to differentiate them visually, then somehow they became real.

My now-unworkable midseason idea for a big lore reveal (as opposed to a big Lore reveal) was a retcon of Vulcan/Romulan history: instead of the Romulans rejecting the logic-based teachings of Surak and breaking off from the Vulcan, the Romulans were the original species, who created an army of Romulanoid synthetic servants, cold and logical, who revolted and murdered their masters, then left the planet and edited their own memories to erase their crime. But a few Romulans survived, determined to remember...
posted by The Tensor at 10:43 AM on March 27 [5 favorites]


There were good and bad points, and I enjoyed it in a nice, popcorny TV way, but I literally yelled "BURN IN HELL, RICK BERMAN, YOU FUCKING FUCK!" when 7of9 and Raffi laced hands, because for every LGBT fan of Trek who was cynically left in the cold by the shitty, mercenary, gutless showrunners of TNG, VOY, DS9, and ENT, seeing something we'd hoped for back when it really would have mattered come into being decades later was oddly satisfying regardless of how tacked-on it might have been. Sometimes, you just want what you wanted.

Then, of course, the little morality cop in my household came up and said "Joe-B, you just said three bad words. And who's Rick Bernam?"

"A bad, bad man, honey."

"Can I have a sandwich?"

"I'll make it so."
posted by sonascope at 11:18 AM on March 27 [13 favorites]


•so glad that Horny Incest Sister is gone so we don’t have to worry about the future of the Romulannisters at least

Yeah, Seven was like "I feel bad that I keep killing assholes just because they should be killed," and I was like "Nah, she needed to go, that one's a gimme."

The fact that we don't know what happened to her bro/see her body disintegrate does make me worry about a reappearance, and I personally don't need to see more of either.

The "evil guy who keeps getting you to give him second chances" is a real cliche character type (only Loki really makes that work, but then he's having fun with it) and whatshisface isn't pulling it off. I'm tired of him and his equally cliched Evil Lady sister. Ugh. Go away.
posted by emjaybee at 1:09 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


I firmly believe that 90% of the people that are complaining about this show, in 20 years, will think it's some of the best Trek ever made. It's just too off-center for a Star Trek show, in the same way DS9 was, and that got a lot of the same criticisms, and slowly got reevaluated over the years, and now everyone loves it.

Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.

Fans have been disagreeing about what's the best version of Star Trek since...as long as there have been fans. We don't all like the same stuff for the same reasons! This doesn't mean anybody's bad, or isn't a True Fan, or any of that.

My best friend's mom would have really liked something more along the lines of a continuation of the original show, and, I don't totally disagree with her.
posted by StarkRoads at 1:32 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


Sometimes, you just want what you wanted.

Bashir and Garak could still happen in PIC S2, I am just saying
posted by hijinx at 3:52 PM on March 27 [17 favorites]


yessss give us Bashir and Garek hanging out together as an old couple
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:07 PM on March 27 [8 favorites]


To be fair they already introduced and subsequently ignored transporter-based immortality via de-aging back in TNG.

To be fairer, we all subsequently ignored Rascals, and it was for the best.
posted by sugar and confetti at 5:17 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


After the scene with Gandalf talking to the butterfly at the beginning of this episode, I kept waiting for the Eagles to show up and rescue the heroes.
posted by Syllepsis at 6:15 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


This doesn't mean anybody's bad, or isn't a True Fan, or any of that.

Did I say that?
posted by Automocar at 6:25 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


watch the first season of TNG sometime

we’re still on for a post-ENT watchthrough, yeah?
posted by mwhybark at 6:35 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]


... and like, Dr. Jurati straight-up murdered her ex. Oh, no, she was distraught and afflicted by a mind virus, tra la

I mean, come on. The Federation may be post-prison, but can we, I dunno, even get a handwave?
posted by mwhybark at 6:41 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]


Unlike TNG, This had a dream team of writers and huge resources

Please go back and review TNG at the very beginning; it had Gene Roddenberry, plus some other people from TOS (D.C Fontana, David Gerrold), plus its own dream team of visionaries who would create the 24th century over several hundred episodes to come (some of whom were working in the franchsie all the way up to the end of Enterprise, nearly twenty years later), plus the backing of a studio eager to springboard off the success of the movie franchise, plus the advantage of there not being an awful lot of competition in the TV space opera field at the time (which TNG's subsequent success would soon change). That much of this advantage would get rapidly pissed away by the mismanagement of Roddenberry and/or his lawyer Leonard Maizlish, the Richelieu to Roddenberry's ailing Louis XIV, has been the subject of a number of books (including the oral history The Fifty-Year Mission, which I highly recommend), and doesn't need to be rehashed here. But, in the very beginning, it had almost literally everything that it could possibly have going for it. PIC, on the other hand, had to bring back a lot of trad fans, many of whom were (and probably still are) upset over DSC, and some of whom really just wanted a full-blown, unabashed TNG reunion.

It's no darmok. No inner light. Hell, it's no best of both worlds.

That you're cherry-picking, and your earliest episode came at the end of S3, makes my point. PIC is doing much better much earlier.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:19 PM on March 27 [11 favorites]


Louis XIV

[checks Wikipedia] OK, I was off by one. Still, though.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:21 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


"... and like, Dr. Jurati straight-up murdered her ex. Oh, no, she was distraught and afflicted by a mind virus, tra la"

That sort of thing is about as Trek as Trek can get.

I thought this episode had problems and was overly emotionally manipulative, but I'm quite happy with the season overall. More so than DSC, which I also like (with reservations).

These first seasons of these two shows fared much better with me than did those of TNG, VOY, and ENT. None of those, at the time, did I keep watching after the first few episodes—and I've never seen much of ENT and never will.

So I'm content.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:48 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]


Yeah, for the most part I don't think this earned the weepy stuff at the end. Picard knew most of these people for what, a week? And treated the few he had a history with pretty terribly.

I also thought the "fleet vs fleet" was poorly staged. Amassing hundreds of starships a few metres apart like a legion of sword-wielding knights is just stupid, and didn't even have the defense of looking cool.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 8:48 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


Count me in as someone who was disappointed they didn’t actually kill Picard off in the end. My fanfic would have the team still assembling in the end, with them renaming the spaceship the Picard, and they roam around the galaxy as Grey Rangers or whatever trying to do right. I just feel like the resurrection was a cheap shot.
posted by corb at 8:52 PM on March 27 [12 favorites]


I also thought the "fleet vs fleet" was poorly staged. Amassing hundreds of starships a few metres apart like a legion of sword-wielding knights is just stupid, and didn't even have the defense of looking cool.

They used the same shot in the pilot of DISCO, but at least they bothered to have a variety of ships, and not just hit copy/paste 200 times.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:30 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


No inner light.

This point has been made elsewhere and with greater force. I mean, I’m not all het up about it, but in The Inner Light, Picard’s avatar raised a family. He had kids, was a father to them, and then learned that their entire culture was going to die in a supernova. That flute means something. But I guess it’s back in storage or something in Picardy and the awkward father beats in PIC would seem to indicate, hm, maybe not as much growth there as we had hoped, presumably despite some sort of longterm deal with Beverly and therefore having, what, some sort of transdimensional superhero stepson or something (I am pulling for a Wesley episode next season, puhleeeeze).

...

My word, so Ressikan Picard was a simulation, right, you know, a mind virus. Now, nuPicard, no, sorry, synthPicard, um... he is too, sorta? Except he’s more like a transporter instantiation, you know, a new embodiment after the initial, primary biologically-constituted entity has been rendered into subatomic raw materials for use as raw materials by the matter replicator.

You know, this is kinda heavy. Glad Guinan’s gonna drop in next season, someone has got to explain this to me.

RE s01 TNG, oh my god, it did not sell itself initially. I remember having intricate marijuana fueled discussions with my fellow collegiate housemates accurately identifying the mix-and-match character attribute redistribution from TOS and subsequent properties that went into creating the starter set of characters and plots. I vividly recall one of us leaping up after a given s01 TNG and with the ranting certainty of a twenty year old demonstrating how the episode was a mixmaster blend of N specific episodes of TOS, which we all loved and knew as well as, well, as well as we know TNG today.

The takeaway we got from it at the time was that as great as it was to see DC Fontana and David Gerrold and even Roddenberry associated with the series, they needed to get outside of their planning template.

And then, you know? They did!

So I’m happy to nitpick here, I mean I am DELIGHTED to do so. Nitpicking is part of what makes Trek what it is: we are constantly asking the creators to do better. Often, they do.

Anyway, I look forward to seeing you crewpersons in our yet to come Trek threads. OMG, TNG is just gonna be a beast.
posted by mwhybark at 12:59 AM on March 28 [6 favorites]


Very much liked the season overall. Had mixed feelings about this episode (ST shows just LOVE pouring on the bathos and then undercutting it anyway, don't they?)

One thing I thought was great in this episode was Narek's plan for blowing up the transmitter. It was a really good plan, and it almost worked. Without the show calling attention to what he was doing -- to the point that it was possible to wonder if he might be switching sides somehow -- he identified who might share mutual goals with him, formed a plan, presented a convincing argument, and got his weapons to the target in a clever way.

Unlike his sister, who *constantly* let her emotions get in the way of her goals, Narek identified his damn mission objectives and executed his damn plans, whether it be getting information out of Soji, following Rios' ship, or blowing up the transmitter -- even when he was personally conflicted by falling in love with his target, and even when he thought that staying on the planet to disable the transmitter would more than likely mean his own death, either at the hands of the synths or when the Romulans sterilized the world.

Narek, unlike his sister, is a very good secret agent.
posted by kyrademon at 4:13 AM on March 28 [13 favorites]


Was talking a bit further with Mrs. Fedora and she was also pretty concerned about how Dr. Jurati did in fact do one of the bigger crimes overall but they kind of handwaved it away in the finale

Also MAN it just really feels like Horny Incest Sister did not actually need to be Narek’s sister! A whole variety of other potential relationships were available to them, or maybe they could have just written her out and replaced her with Aunt Tarot and maybe a commanding officer or something
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:27 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


In fact, I kind of feel like the grimdark Romulan version of this show is about a shades-of-grey secret agent racing against time to save all nonsynthetic sentient life -- all the while fighting against the suspicions of his idiotically shoot-first-ask-questions-later superiors who nearly doom the whole operation, facing terrible choices which lead him to try to kill his girlfriend, and possibly overcoming gender prejudice.

Everyone would complain about the deus-ex-machina ending. "So the Federation just swoops in at the end and convinces the synths to dismantle the beacon? Lame."
posted by kyrademon at 4:45 AM on March 28 [12 favorites]


Yeah, this is one of those "But the romulans did nothing wrong" moments.

And also, if i'm a synth and I ever feel like building one of those beacons. BLAMMO. End of organic life.

The admonition: don't build this beacon to exterminate all organic life, or we will exterminate your race as a warning to others seems pretty reasonable on the utilitarian side of things...
posted by lalochezia at 6:02 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Also I like how the Romulans have at least four other planetary sterilisation patterns.

You don’t hear much about Mambos #1 through #4.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:14 AM on March 28 [18 favorites]


Picard's quantum other is present in the scene of dissolution with Data, and for me, it represented the death of the actual Picard, and Data reinforced with Picard, in that quantum reality, that he was indeed, dead. In my mind they left together, and somehow the new Picard, is just that, a template on which to build new experience with a nanosubstrate of old identity. Maybe that is how we all are, but anyway, I have a different feeling about what comes next, more removed. It is not that I am a long term Trekkie, but I have binge watched all visual Trek in the last 18 months. It is not exactly a fitting substitute for real life, but interesting to take in. The first series of Next Gen looked to be on a shoestring to me, with one episode filmed with house plants in poor condition and a fog machine...second series a whole lot more money to spend on sets.

I loved this first season, great stuff, with few holes in the visuals or plot lines, great characters even the baddies! I can't wait for the inevitable Narek rematch.
posted by Oyéah at 9:32 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: It is not exactly a fitting substitute for real life, but interesting to take in.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:32 AM on March 28 [5 favorites]


I am pretty disappointed with the synth Picard who has no extra abilities or longevity or well... anything. Why even kill him off? What was the point? They even did the mind transfer stuff offscreen.

If he had synth strength or intelligence or SOMETHING there would be a interesting angle to explore with his new body, but no, it's just Picard 2.0

I did enjoy the goodbye to Data, though.
posted by Fleebnork at 11:12 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


But the romulans did nothing wrong

except for the whole Mars thing, amirite? Also, uh, waitaminit, how did that work again? The Dot-Dash somehow engineered a synthvirus that led to an army of synths killing the population of an entire planet and zeroing out the Federations’s primary fleet yards? Who piloted the ships again?

I’m confused.
posted by mwhybark at 11:37 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


This doesn't mean anybody's bad, or isn't a True Fan, or any of that.

Did I say that?


I was trying to gently explain that it's okay that Star Trek fans like different stuff. Just for myself, this series is on the 'watch again if CBS starts paying me to' list.

Really looking forward to the animated series, rewatch here!
posted by StarkRoads at 11:44 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


In my mind they left together, and somehow the new Picard, is just that, a template on which to build new experience with a nanosubstrate of old identity.

What can change the nature of a man?
posted by curious nu at 2:40 PM on March 28 [4 favorites]


A Planescape Torment reference in my Star Trek thread? It's more likely than you think!
posted by Justinian at 6:43 PM on March 28 [5 favorites]


I really liked this, and I am astonished to say this, but the one thing I didn't like at all was Space Cthulhu. Like...this is Star Trek, right? I expected much more from some godlike AI than a kaiju! Oh, well.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:45 PM on March 28 [5 favorites]


Well, Chabon did a lot of the stuff that I didn't want him to do, like putting Picard's mind in the golem, and he threw in new twists I wouldn't have liked, like killing poor Data again. But even if I questioned the logic of a lot of stuff I thought it mostly worked dramatically.

I suspect they killed Data off again because Brent Spiner is so done with the character; it was Harrison Ford with Han Solo all over again. At least Ford had other big budget movies waiting for him, but what's Spiner so eager to do instead of playing his most iconic role? Are guest starring gigs on other TV shows really so much more rewarding? Maybe I'm wrong and he was actually fighting for Data to come back, but until I hear otherwise I'm pinning it on Spiner.

I really wanted Data to be the one in the golem, especially when they went to all that trouble to establish the magic brass knuckles thing that seemed like it could probably cure Picard's brain problems if you wished hard enough. It's pointlessly tragic that Data apparently spent a couple of decades alone in that chilly gray study. (Why didn't the androids make a new body for Data's mind instead of leaving him in a box on some table? Why?) But if Data had to die again I think it was nice that he finally got to have a proper goodbye with Picard. I felt like this death had some of the resonance that the death in Nemesis didn't.

I had Picard's death and resurrection spoiled by a goddamned Yahoo headline, which sapped a lot of the potential sadness/wonder out of it. Part of me wonders if this resurrected Picard is really our Picard or just a backup, but I guess you could argue that Picard has become a new person every time the transporter blows up his molecules here and puts him back together over there, so as long as these countless Picards have the same memories and consider themselves Picard, they're Picard.

every LGBT fan of Trek who was cynically left in the cold by the shitty, mercenary, gutless showrunners of TNG, VOY, DS9, and ENT

DS9 had an episode with an unabashed swoony lesbian romance, featuring a big ol' kiss that was controversial at the time. So I don't think it's fair to say Ira Steven Behr was gutless on the issue, but I don't know that any of the other showrunners were, either. A bunch of them, including Roddenberry, pushed for LGBT characters, but they were repeatedly shot down by Paramount. Trek has a pretty poor record of queer representation, but it's not from lack of trying.

Seven/Raffi really came out of nowhere. Had those characters even spoken before we saw them holding hands? I wouldn't be surprised if we never see them together again, but it was an intriguing moment. They seem like they could be good together, and Seven sure needs somebody in her life now that she's apparently not speaking to the old Voyager gang for some reason.

It was pretty great seeing Riker be smirky on a viewscreen again.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:13 PM on March 28 [4 favorites]


My understanding was that Spiner didn't want to play Data anymore because Data shouldn't age, and it wasn't going to be possible to maintain that. Both appearances of him here have an excuse for that (dream, simulation). "New body, now biological" would be a good one too, if he'd wanted it.

having Seven very reluctantly going Full Borg Queen and then just ... never mentioning it again

Part of her concern was about losing herself to it, but the mini-collective released her.

My wife and I reasoned that with a small(er) group of borg who have been isolated and lost, a single person used to having personal agency joining could dominate the mentality of the mini-collective that formed. And Seven didn't want to stay there before she went in, so the mini-collective decided that she shouldn't stay in it.

Seven was really my favorite part of all this.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:20 PM on March 28 [6 favorites]


Maybe I'm wrong and he was actually fighting for Data to come back, but until I hear otherwise I'm pinning it on Spiner.

I recall on some interview, maybe Howard Stern years ago, Fred Savage was criticized by a caller for being -- I'm paraphrasing here -- a has been who can't get a job or some such thing.

And Fred calmly replied to the effect that when he started acting, his father started buying real estate in trust for him and he never needs to work another day in his life. He specifically mentioned strip malls ( His father was in commercial real estate ). Googling around, it seems he listed and sold a $5 home in bel-air last year...

So, my point here is that Spiner may very well have "Fuck You" money and enjoys the occasional special guest star gig. Might be time for another Love Boat reboot.
posted by mikelieman at 1:06 AM on March 29 [7 favorites]


Yeah, I assume Spiner is doing just fine financially, between the Trek and Independence Day money. When I asked what roles he's looking at that are more rewarding than Data, I wasn't talking about the money. He does a lot of guest starring stuff now, playing random doctors and school principals on various shows, and I don't see why any of that would be more challenging or interesting than what he could do as Data. The fact that he keeps bringing up how he's "too old" to play Data seems like a total strawman, given that TNG took pains to explain that Data is programmed to age. He just does not want to play this character anymore, for whatever reason. I can't say he's wrong to feel that way, it's his gig, but if this was one of those deals where he only agreed to come back if he could finally kill off this character that everybody loves but him, that's kind of messed up. (I still haven't forgiven you, Harrison Ford.)

The more I think about it, the more I feel like this show did Data dirty. Like, he sat on a shelf alone for decades. That's a far worse fate than just blowing the hell up in Nemesis! We're given no reason to think he had anything else to do but sit in that study. No wonder he seemed like he was back to his old, emotionless self. He'd have to switch off his emotion chip or he'd lose his freaking mind! Even so, by the time we see him again he's literally pleading to die. (And again, the androids could have surely uploaded his mind into a new body but they didn't. Because..?)

In an earlier thread I compared the storytelling problems in this series to some of the same problems I see in the Star Wars sequels. I feel like this works much better, because at least it has an understanding of who these characters are and what they're capable of. I don't sit there sneering at the screen, thinking, "This character wouldn't do that in a million freaking years." But both franchises are being grimdarked like crazy, like the writers are looking at these characters from fun, optimistic franchises and saying, "What are the worst, most absurdly grim things that could have happened to them?" Again, the Star Wars sequels were much worse about this, partially because those were characters from a gee-whiz space fairytale and they couldn't handle the weight of tragedy like Jean-Luc THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS Picard. But just look at this parade of misery...

Picard: Disgraced and sad, out of Starfleet, hanging around in the family vineyard he never wanted to take over, and, in his words, "waiting to die."
Data: Alive but alone on a shelf for like 20 years, in a virtual study that's basically a cell. His death is a merciful release.
Seven of Nine: Seemingly no longer speaking with her friends from Voyager, tired and bitter as hell. Has to mercy kill Icheb, her surrogate son.
Hugh: After all the misery of his youth, he's finally doing OK! But then he dies.
Icheb: Gets his eye yanked out of his head while we watch. Mercy killed by Seven.
The Rikers: Married and happy, with a thriving daughter! Although they're still working through the grief of their son's tragic death... and now they kill and eat space bunnies?
Starfleet: Racist against robots, they regard Picard with disdain and inexplicably swear like space sailors.

All that being said, I did feel like the show came from a place of affection and respect for the characters. I didn't feel that Chabon was looking at Trek the way too much of NuTrek does, like it's this lame old thing they can reboot into something kickass. I do wish Chabon hadn't been quite so determined to make Trek more "contemporary" and "grown up" by having everybody drop F-bombs and die. But he obviously wanted to do right by Trek, and even if I don't feel like he totally succeeded I'm grateful for the attempt. I got to see Picard and the Prime universe again, in 2020! When all is said and done, that may be the best thing this year's got going for it.

I guess they could always just plug Data in again.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:02 AM on March 29 [11 favorites]


I assume that planetary sterilization patterns are versioned, so 5 is the latest and greatest.
posted by gryftir at 4:20 AM on March 29 [4 favorites]


Seven/Raffi really came out of nowhere. Had those characters even spoken before we saw them holding hands?

I've seen this criticism a lot, and I don't find it convincing. They were — gasp! shock! — holding hands. Which doesn't seem excessive for a first encounter.

I swear, some people seem to expect all romances to advance at the pace of a Victorian-era courtship, where they notice each other across a room and pretend not to, and then each makes inquires amongst their friends about the other, and eventually are properly introduced to each other, and they make very brief conversation about innocuous topics when they see each other, and then maybe in four or five years they share a single dance together.

Think of it as a first date, if you like (albeit not formally arranged). Nothing there seemed out of place for a first date, and I don't think you need any foreshadowing for one.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:17 AM on March 29 [4 favorites]


Yeah, but a tenuously implied Victorian courtship with fans shipping the hell out of them for several seasons is so much more fun.
posted by automatronic at 9:18 AM on March 29 [2 favorites]


....not actually sure if i'm being sarcastic or not.
posted by automatronic at 9:19 AM on March 29 [9 favorites]


I didn't think Agnes and Rios was really a thing the show earned, either, if we're being honest, and at least they spoke to each other. It may just be that the actors have no chemistry. Whereas Rios and Soji had like one scene together and I was like, whoa, why is it so hot in here all of a sudden? It may have been just me.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:02 AM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Bring back Dorn!

made so? "Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter... 'One great afternoon, we had three visitors on the set,' Stewart says, 'There was Jonathan, Marina and me — and Brent. And then, who else would turn up, but Michael Dorn and LaVar Burton. It was an extraordinary reunion'. Stewart does not say what Dorn and Burton were doing on set..."
posted by kliuless at 10:11 AM on March 29 [3 favorites]


Space Cthulhu is the Reapers, yes? And the signal Soji shut down is the Citadel transmitter? There's no chance that Chabon didn't play Mass Effect, right? I know we mentioned it in the Citadel Wards episode with the totally not a Krogan and totally not Aria T'Loak but come on?
posted by Justinian at 10:53 AM on March 29 [6 favorites]


Spiner can is set to play an acquired taste, Soong character. Spiner is not out of this, at all. This unless they relocate to the Delta quadrant, or some such thinking, or some time else. I noticed that Raffi was a hands on comfort type of person, sometimes holding a hand is just that, or all that, depending. I am glad the super galactic crabs were defeated.
posted by Oyéah at 1:49 PM on March 29


The campaign for Picard to robot dance in S2 starts here.
posted by biffa at 1:55 PM on March 29 [5 favorites]


The good news for the highly complex model of Data that wanted to know he was mortal, even if only for a moment, before his actual death was that Picard took so long between pulling the first and third red plugs that it would have been the equivalent of several eternities, on the basis that Data has previously viewed 0.68 seconds as nearly an eternity. The bad news is he must have been bored for fricking ages between Nemesis and Picard S1E10.
posted by biffa at 2:00 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


I prefer to think Data's mind was in a semi-conscious state, occasionally dreaming of electric sheep until Picard showed up
posted by some loser at 2:18 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


Yeah, but a tenuously implied Victorian courtship with fans shipping the hell out of them for several seasons is so much more fun.

Didn't Dr Who already do this? Sort of.

The new Seven relationship came as a surprise, I had already been thinking Seven's existence as a homeless, rootless drunk was a step up from being with Chakotay. Anything else is a bonus.
posted by biffa at 3:17 PM on March 29 [6 favorites]


Data's always felt like a bit of an Asimov lift to me, so it wasn't too unexpected that he got the Bicentennial Man must-die-to-become-fully-human ending.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 5:28 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


The season definitely felt more like an extended movie than a new season of TNG, and not just because of the overarching narrative structure and the focus on old age and death.
posted by ckape at 7:14 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


I had already been thinking Seven's existence as a homeless, rootless drunk was a step up from being with Chakotay.

Huh? What's so bad about Chakotay? I always thought the fan objection to Seven being with Chakotay was that it felt a little forced, and not that Chakotay himself was awful.

I wasn't expecting Raffi and Seven to have some Victorian courtship (Wha..?) but before they were depicted in a seemingly romantic relationship it might have been good if we'd at least seen them speaking to each other.

Apparently Chabon is stepping down as showrunner next season. A mixed blessing, there.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 8:29 PM on March 29


I thought it was disappointing how the show decided to go with the hackneyed "robots want to become/kill all humans" plotline. Like, despite the central role that synths and the borg played in this series, it really had very little to actually say about either, and simply fell into a kind of unconsidered human-chauvinism in which the human physical and mental form is the aspirational goal of all sentient beings.
posted by Pyry at 9:58 PM on March 29 [5 favorites]


Trek has a pretty poor record of queer representation, but it's not from lack of trying.

For real. Check out TNG episode The Outcast. It's extremely queer.
posted by rocketman at 6:47 AM on March 30


Check out TNG episode The Outcast. It's extremely queer.

Could have been. Wasn't (like virtually every chance Trek had to be bold, brave, or humane). Even Frakes was frustrated that they had his romantic interest played by an androgynous female actor instead of an androgynous male actor, because oh no gay on the part of the malignant Rick Berman and Leonard Maizlish and the other conservative creeps in the management. The Host is a similar gutless failure, stripped of any possibility of representation because oh no gay won't someone think of the merchandising rights. A brief read of David Gerrold's experience trying to get Blood & Fire makes it pretty clear that there wasn't going to be anything but hints and subtext on that show as long as the powers that be kept being...and people like me said "fuck off" to Trek, and rightly so. Accepting hints and subtext are accepting your place as a second-class citizen, so I noped out of the show until Picard. Fortunately, Picard doesn't suck like TNG, VOY, DS9, ENT, and the movies sucked in that regard, which is a big part of why I enjoyed PIC while the rest of them are just artifacts of a dead culture.
posted by sonascope at 7:20 AM on March 30


so I noped out of the show until Picard

But not DSC?
posted by rocketman at 7:49 AM on March 30


The Outcast was the boldly queer TNG episode that dared to ask the question "What if nonbinary people, but too much?" As such it is my strongest negative memory of the series.

Anyway, I wish Annika and Raffi much happiness in future Kal-toh dates.
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 8:02 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]


"What if nonbinary people, but too much?"

Yeah, the modern read of that episode can very much delve into the subject of how the nonbinary culture is regarded as a threatening, awful thing in the narrative, just like what the right-wing blowhards were telling us we were going to get with all this troublesome activity to get past thousands of years of patriarchal bullshit. I wouldn't have been sophisticated enough to grok that subtext when it first aired, but it seems pretty clear now. It's a little evocative of how, if you look back at Ghostbusters, for instance, the bad guy is the EPA. Even presumably liberal things were conservative back then. Yick.

I'm constantly reminded by how much the past sucked.
posted by sonascope at 10:19 AM on March 30 [5 favorites]


As a trans person, I see The Outcast differently. They may have set out to do a gay rights story and botched it, but in the process I think they (perhaps accidentally) produced a trans rights story ahead of its time. Non-binary people may see it differently, but it sure meant something to me as a confused trans kid. I think it's worth noting that in all of these stories, particularly DS9's Rejoined, the main characters are supportive of non-cishet romance. When Jadzia Dax and her former lover are reunited and want to be together, the problem has nothing to do with them both being women. The problem is a sci-fi thing about how people with a worm symbiont are forbidden from associating with people from their past lives. Jadzia is willing to defy the taboo and her Starfleet friends support her, but ultimately her lover opts out. Trek was admittedly too squeamish about LGBT rights, but DS9 did have an episode all about this queer romance.

Sonascope, I see the entire franchise so differently from you than I don't think there's much point in us discussing it. But I will ask, if you detest the Trek franchise so much, why are you watching this?
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:23 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


Here's a good video on the subject of Berman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeSz2gW8IsE&feature=youtu.be
On a forum someone posted the highlight's I've bolded a few:
If you can't watch the video:

Rick Berman took over showrunning partway through S1 of TNG when Gene Roddenberry's health declined. He only had one real producing credit to his name, and it was for a children's show. Some of the crappy things he did included:

Being awful to women actors, corroborated by Denise Crosby, Marina Sirtis, Terry Farrell, Jeri Ryan. He gave them zero respect during contract negotiations, increasingly wanted to sexualize their roles (catsuits, "decontamination" scenes, etc), and straight up fired Terry Farrell from DS9 after she just asked for an episode reduction for S7.
Screwing over Wil Wheaton by forcing him to turn down an opportunity to star in a big movie for no reason other than control/power
Denying Garrett Wang the opportunity to direct an episode of Voyager, even after a bunch of main Trek actors have directed episodes before
Attached his own name to the DS9 episode that introduced the Maquis, despite not having anything to do with the episode, because he was afraid Ira Behr would want royalties for VOY (since the Maquis were integral to VOY). Ira had no intention of this, it was Berman being paranoid and having a lack of trust.
Consciously and continuously steering away from any references to gay people, despite numerous good script pitches and actor pitches. Notably, had completely genuine, organic opportunities to turn Garak and Malcolm Reed gay with full support of the actors, but instead completely steered the other way and put them in situations to "confirm" their straightness.
A general attitude toward safeness and dialing back any bold actions. DS9 writers basically had to go behind his back to do certain things, and he hated the show as a result
Also hated the idea of serialized storytelling because he believed all the money was in syndication, where single episodes needed to stand on their own.
Told the human actors on VOY to *intentionally* be boring so that the alien actors would seem more realistic. Numerous scenes had to be reshot because the humans seemed too emotional.
Not in the video, but he fired TNG composer Ron Jones midway through the show's run because his music was "too noticeable" and he just wanted "wallpaper music". Pretty much all of the good early TNG music is from Ron Jones, he was excellent.
Increasingly stuck his nose in the writing credits for VOY and ENT (even though he wasn't a writer!) as the franchise began to spiral downward. Once he gave showrunning control over to Manny Coto for S4 of ENT, the show became good, although by then it was too late.


I was always under the impression that Braga was the true person at fault for Star Trek's decline, as his rise as a producer coincided with its fall pretty closely. I always thought Berman was the steady hand that just didn't do enough to stave off franchise fatigue. But now I'm thinking Berman was never a good producer, and that Star Trek always succeeded in spite of him. He seems like a moron that never really understood the spirit of Star Trek, always steered it toward safeness and episodic storytelling, and worst of all was paranoid, power-hungry, sexist, and homophobic. I know a lot of people want a return to Berman-era Trek, but man if they do I hope it's not run anything like how Rick Berman actually ran his era.

tl;dr

Rick Berman seems like a moron that never really understood the spirit of Star Trek, always steered it toward safeness and episodic storytelling, and worst of all was paranoid, power-hungry, sexist, and homophobic.
So yeah- the past sucked- but it didn't have to, and all the scraps of queer representation that were done poorly was despite the man at the top, not because of it. That fact that Chabon has left makes me very concerned about season 2.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 2:29 PM on March 30 [8 favorites]


I’ve seen the Soren-as-trans-woman reading of The Outcast before and while it’s more coherent than the sexuality allegory the writers intended and I’m glad some people can get something positive out of it, it didn’t do much to salvage the episode for me.
As a nonbinary trans person who wasn’t out to themself, seeing an episode pit a whole nonbinary society against a trans member of their community, and seeing her find support only from the (at Berman’s insistence) uniformly binary cishet Enterprise crew, was unhelpful and hurtful on so many levels.
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 3:10 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


... So I’m pleased that DSC and PIC can just show their gay and bi characters literally being gay and bi, and reduce the number of issues where they have to wade three levels deep into prickly metaphor and unintentionally stamp on marginalised groups’ faces.
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 3:17 PM on March 30 [5 favorites]


if you detest the Trek franchise so much, why are you watching this?

I enjoy Patrick Stewart and the old guard of mismanagement that made most of Trek so gutless and disappointing are all gone, and it shows in the product, which I enjoyed.

I'd also watched all of TNG as a youngish person who then still held out hope that people like me would not have been genetically engineered out of the population in the future right up to the point that Berman and Co. made it desperately clear that they were never, ever, ever going to allow any genuine diversity on screen. PIC upended that sad past, gave us more stories with characters I'd loved, and I was delighted.

So that's why.
posted by sonascope at 4:29 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


He just does not want to play this character anymore, for whatever reason.

Mr. Spiner is a very talented actor who happens to not like science fiction very much, which he has stated many times over the years. He may have always been ambivalent about being a sci fi icon. All power to him, though it's resulted in having that character killed off multiple times now.

All that being said, I wouldn't be surprised to see Data recast in the future.
posted by StarkRoads at 5:23 PM on March 30


Mr. Spiner may not be a fan of SF, but he clearly has a place in his heart for TNG. Here he is, along with all the other TNG leads, gathered on Zoom to wish Marina Sirtis a happy birthday.
posted by Frayed Knot at 5:39 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


I'd have things to say, but we're not going to change each other's minds and I've had enough comments deleted from Metafilter for this lifetime. So I'm removing this thread from my activity.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:43 PM on March 30


I was pissed that Picard wouldn't say anything to Riker re: "oh hey I might die really soon btw"

Our nicknames for characters:
* Narek was Fuckboi
* Elinor was Homeslice

---

> I assume that planetary sterilization patterns are versioned, so 5 is the latest and greatest

Some swear Planetary Sterilization 3.11 for Workgroups was the best ever, and it was downhill from there
posted by Pronoiac at 10:19 PM on March 30 [10 favorites]


ok, so I'm wondering if I'm missing something, or if the romulan conspirators are just phenomenally stupid. Like, they get the synths to attack mars so that the federation will ban synths. fine, mission accomplished. But why wouldn't they wait, like a month or whatever until after starfleet have helped get the population of romulus away from the supernova? Could they not have gotten the synth ban without millions of their own people dying?
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:47 AM on March 31 [14 favorites]


I've seen Picard die too many times to believe it. I've seen Data die too many times to care. I've loved the characters since I was eight. . . but, none of the emotional beats in this episode worked for me.

I really want to like this series. I'm glad there's more Trek in the world. The crew and cast are great. But, there's so much Star Wars in this Star Trek that it's hard not to laugh. I don't think I'd enjoy watching it without a companion willing to MST3K our way through all the cringe-worthy writing. I'm going to keep watching. And, I can't claim that the first season of TNG or DS9 were particularly good, so perhaps I'm being unfair. But, it makes it clear what a great feat Disco managed to pull off.

Also, Picard really got the short straw when it comes to being reincarnated as a synth. It seems like the natural response would be, "you could have made me a 20 year old who lives forever and can punch through Borg cube walls. . . and you didn't? What the fuck is wrong with you?" (My cynical, probably false assumption is that they're leaving an opening to replace Stewart when he gets fed up with the cheesy writing and quits.)
posted by eotvos at 6:54 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


I didn't think Agnes and Rios was really a thing the show earned, either, if we're being honest, and at least they spoke to each other.

I thought it was a pretty good depiction of a trauma-inspired relationship. "Hey you're here, I'm here, we're both really messed up by our pasts, let's forget about that for an hour by getting busy."

If the writing is good second season, they'll reach the limits of that and either find something more or split up.

Of course, the fact that Dr. J is still a murderer (mind-melded or not) means she should be going on trial, not just hanging out having space adventures. Again, I'm hoping Season 2 acknowledges that. I'm hopeful, because if there's anything Star Trek loves, it's a trial episode.
posted by emjaybee at 7:26 AM on March 31 [9 favorites]


Mr. Spiner may not be a fan of SF, but he clearly has a place in his heart for TNG.

From all accounts the TNG cast are generally fond of each other. You can see it on the screen, then and now, the way they work together.
posted by StarkRoads at 8:38 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


"you could have made me a 20 year old who lives forever and can punch through Borg cube walls. . . and you didn't? What the fuck is wrong with you?"

And they'd be "Wait till you find out about your disappointing robot cock."
posted by biffa at 9:24 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Tired: "Chekhov's gun"
Wired: "Chabon's golem"
posted by mikepop at 12:55 PM on March 31 [14 favorites]


WOULD FAVE AGAIN FAST SHIP FAIR PRICE A++
posted by mwhybark at 2:36 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


So poking about- it looks like the moment between Seven and Raffi was improvised by the actresses and was not part of the script which- I kinda like?
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:56 PM on March 31 [9 favorites]






Watched this a couple of days ago and after sobbing through the ends of The Good Place and Bojack Horseman, I'm a bit tired of my media being about death and the metaphor of passing through a door. Poor timing, not the show's fault. I will complain about the plot holes though. Mars/Romulan evacuation is a big one - also, the Romulan secret society was in fact totally right about the AIs being a galactic-level threat - some character notes range false - but others were amazing!

I'll give it an A- on the Star Trek grading scale (which is curved to Star Trek 5) and a solid B for general media.
posted by bq at 1:24 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


On a completely nerdy note, I didn't like how all of the spaceships looked exactly the same on each side, respectively. Trek has a long history of having varied ship classes, sizes and configurations.
posted by Fleebnork at 4:39 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


I was also disappointed by the homogeneous fleets. I think the only other time we've seen Starfleet have a fleet of all the same class of ship was in TOS's The Ultimate Computer, and I assume in both cases the reason was that they didn't have the budget to make more models. Romulan fleets have generally been all the same class, though with the state of the Romulan state after the supernova and incomplete evacuation it would make sense for a more ragged and varied looking fleet.
posted by ckape at 6:36 AM on April 7


Hey, Trek Fanfare! Let's rewatch Next Gen!
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 8:34 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


"The Romulans were right" only works because they made themselves right. If you have a genocidal mission, no kidding that a good portion of your targets are going to want to genocide you right back. And their chances of success are more of a threat when each one of them has super strength and intelligence.

Picard's speech was all about the fact that we are capable of annihilating each other, but that doesn't make it an inevitability just because some scary story says so. Look at the people in front of you, treat them like people, and go from there, no matter how deeply culturally ingrained your particular culture's stories of apocalypse are.
posted by pykrete jungle at 6:35 AM on April 12 [2 favorites]


I prefer to think Data's mind was in a semi-conscious state, occasionally dreaming of electric sheep until Picard showed up

I sort of assumed, for the sake of my own making sense of it, that the Data-in-a-box wasn't full Data, but bits of his personality and memory floating disjointedly on life support.
posted by pykrete jungle at 6:38 AM on April 12 [3 favorites]




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