Star Trek: Picard: The Star Gazer
March 3, 2022 4:27 AM - Season 2, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Captain Rios, in phase two of his Starfleet career, encounters a powerful and mysterious emissary—who will only talk to Jean-Luc Picard.

What seest thou else / In the dark backward and abysm of Memory Alpha?:

• The first ship to encounter the anomaly is an Akira-class, first seen in Star Trek: First Contact.

• Spock's book is entitled The Many and the One (a reference to the line "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one").

• Season 2 was filmed back-to-back with season 3 in order to control costs and accommodate production schedules. This became viable when season 3 was confirmed in September 2021.

• The production crew for the filming in Los Angeles numbered around 450 staffers, reportedly one of the largest television crews by 2021.

• In January 2022, production was halted for four days after more than fifty production crew members tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The production disruption only affected the production of season 3, as the principal photography for season 2 had already wrapped on 29 August 2021.

Poster's Log:
Two years is a long wait, huh? But it did allow me to rewatch season 1, and I still find it to have consisted of many more successes than failures. When each new DISCO ep drops, it's around 50% obligation at this point that gets me to tune in. For PIC season 2, it's 100% genuine anticipation.

I'm loving how much more Starfleety this season already is. Of course, given the temporal shenanigans afoot, they may have crammed all the Starfleetiness into this one because we won't get much for the rest of the season! But the new Stargazer is boss and Rios makes a great Starfleet captain.

Dunno how I feel yet about this kind of facile notion that Jean-Luc was attracted to space because his parents yelled at each other, but I'm willing to hear the show out. (I guess back in the 2330s, Starfleet handed out ship assignments based on cadets' childhood traumas? Everybody dreaded assignment to the U.S.S. Farm Upstate…)

Among the banners behind Jean-Luc during his Academy speech were Bajoran and Klingon insignia, suggesting either full Federation membership or just really sizable representation in Starfleet. Either or both make plenty of sense.

Can anybody rock a fedora like Patrick Stewart? Nobody living, I'm sure.

I hope we finally get to see Guinan beat Q's ass. Or at minimum, I hope that one scene was not the only Guinan we're gonna get, because it wasn't quite enough of a scene. (And I kind of rolled my eyes at the whole "El-Aurians control their own aging" thing; why not just say that Guinan is crossing into the El-Aurian El-derly stage?)

De-aged Q looked great but they were wise to keep it brief, if recent Star Wars shows have taught us anything.

Poster's Log, Supplemental:
Wikipedia indicates Lea Thompson (yes, that one) directs 2 episodes this season.

Patrick Stewart has announced that this show will be exactly three seasons long.

"Picard season 2 is taking the Q-Picard love seriously: Paramount Plus’ new season is all about relationships"

"Star Trek: Picard Season 2 Is About Jean-Luc's Interior Trauma – And Also Patrick Stewart's"

Here's a pretty cool Guardian interview with Sir Pat about his career.

Sir Pat on what Trek means to people

Jeri Ryan on Seven and Raffi's relationship

Tales of the Federation?!: "[A]ccording to Akiva Goldsman, co-showrunner of both Picard and Strange New Worlds, he’s figured out a way to bring back Captain Archer (Scott Bakula) and Captain Sulu (George Takei)". Includes interesting tidbits about the past and future of Short Treks.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil (36 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Two of the ship designers for Star Trek Online are credited for Picard, leading many to believe that some of the Picard ships are from STO. (I can't access Twitter right now, but apparently it's the Gagarin, Reliant, Ross, and Sutherland class ships.)
posted by Spike Glee at 5:58 AM on March 3 [1 favorite]

I'm just here to say that the USS farm upstate joke was excellent.
posted by Acari at 8:18 AM on March 3 [6 favorites]

Great season opener! There certainly is a lot to chew on here. I wouldn't have expected so many people to re-up with Starfleet (or join in the first place, in the case of Elnor) and get back in that groove. Also, I think that this is the first time that we've seen RomuLegolas without his sword, which made me wonder about official Starfleet policy about carrying ceremonial weapons, which kinda makes sense since they're officially a peaceful bunch. (AFAIK, Sikh soldiers in the US military are allowed to bear their kirpans, a ceremonial dagger.) At least Seven is out there, keepin' it real with the space pirates and the Emergency Does-It-All Hologram, and Jurati gets to hang out with Soji and a whole lot of Deltans. And then the anomaly gets the band back together. It's a nice mix of the familiar and the familiar-but-given-a-twist; the new Borg ship seems awfully janky and the Queen has some kind of suit on, which made me wonder if it was Narissa somehow having survived and subsequently assimilated. Agree that Whoopi's aging didn't need explaining (Soren in Generations was getting up there); also that Q's bit was just about right. (Interesting to compare De Lancie's look here to his character in Breaking Bad.)

Overall, aside from the time travel stuff, which we already knew from the teasers and trailers, there's a very strong thread of some of the regrets that we'd seen in Generations WRT his family (or lack thereof of one of his own); even the mentioning of the Kobayashi Maru test and Spock's autobiography, while hearkening back to The Wrath of Khan, also connect back to the prologue part of Generations, since that was basically Kirk finally taking the test, for real. That movie also had Picard consulting with Guinan, and although not seen, the vineyard, where his brother and nephew died in the accident. Presumably, things will be worked through a bit better without the distraction of Jim Kirk's Last Hurrah.

My first assignment after the academy? Probably the USS Where Do I Even Start. (And doesn't that sound like a Culture ship? Hmm... since AIs are back on the table...)
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:18 AM on March 3 [3 favorites]

Why are we deconstructing and reconstructing this terroir-based boutique product at the molecular level just to avoid pulling it off the vine by hand?! ARGH
posted by sixswitch at 12:01 PM on March 3 [19 favorites]

What, this came out already? It explains the really good Patrick Stewart interview in the Guardian, which seeing how it talked about the coming season should have been a big hint to me but I guess not. I know what I'm doing tonight.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:27 PM on March 3

Approaching with caution, because this was a lot. I always get nervous when a show introduces backstory trauma that could have always been there (parents with troubling relationship) to interrogate something like Picard's devotion to duty. Couldn't he just be passionate about his job without it being a flaw in his character? Yes, he was always prickly. Yes, the finale of the original series had him joining the Enterprise family for poker. Yes, he and Beverley should have gotten together years ago. BUT - are we really saying his stellar career is a flaw? It depends what threads the season pulls on to "make it so" but would be interesting to me if the show didn't fall into "Picard being the last of his line is a huge mistake".

Lots of fan service. Feels like a missed opportunity if that's the one and only Guinan scene, especially if we have Q all year. I know Borg are the defining trauma of Picard's life on the Enterprise but running that in parallel to his mummy issues feels like a shot of El-Aurian brandy too far. "You look positronic" is a nice nod to last season's weird final twist but the rest of the episode doesn't really acknowledge that Picard is a robot now and I'm wondering if that is going to play into this season at all. It's got to, right? He's more machine than the Borg are now.

New showrunner is playing with all the toys. I just hope the story is as compelling as season one, which really dug into Picard's character without trying to redefine him.
posted by crossoverman at 2:54 PM on March 3 [8 favorites]

Sooooo many characters explaining things to each other that they already know.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 6:04 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]

Oh my word, this was something. I'm in. I'm stoked. Give me the rest of this season on a silver platter. This first episode felt so much like the Star Trek I want, and that's absolutely awesome.

Also the goddamned 112 year old Excelsior NCC-2000 is still in service. I mean, dang. They don't make 'em like they used to, huh?
posted by SansPoint at 6:41 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]

“When each new DISCO ep drops, it's around 50% obligation at this point that gets me to tune in.”

I gave up early in this season. I'm a bit sad about it. But it annoyed me too much.

“This first episode felt so much like the Star Trek I want, and that's absolutely awesome.”

I feel the same way. I hope the rest of the season isn't a disappointment.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:57 PM on March 3 [4 favorites]

The Sagan-class Stargazer looks badass!

Jurati's (civilian?) shipboard tunic is lovely.

I simply can't believe that "adopted Borg tech" would make a Starship that vulnerable to Borg intrusion. But maybe that's the point; it's all about Picard's inner fears and trauma. A mirror of his nightmare the episode opened up with - or was that merely a flash forward?

I kind of appreciate the backhand in-joke of Picard initiating self-destruct at the drop of a pin.

Cautiously optimistic.
posted by porpoise at 8:28 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]

Among the banners behind Jean-Luc during his Academy speech were Bajoran and Klingon insignia, suggesting either full Federation membership or just really sizable representation in Starfleet. Either or both make plenty of sense.

OK, I went back and had a look, and although I can't clearly see all the flags on stage, some of them are familiar, or at least the insignia on them is. The zoom-out to the whole auditorium shows fourteen in total, although that view isn't quite good enough (unless there's some 4K version or something that I'm not dialed into) to make out all the detail. What I was able to get was, from left to right (facing stage):

1-2: can't tell
3: Romulan Free State
4: Klingon
5: Unknown, possibly Tellar
6: Federation
7: Starfleet
8: Starfleet Academy
9: Bajor
10: Ferenginar
11-14: Can't tell

There's an /r/startrekpicard thread that identified the RFS and Tellar flags. Speculation there is that they're simply worlds that have sent cadets past and present.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:24 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]

Lea Thompson (yes, that one)

Holy crap, she's also directing some episodes of 'Resident Alien' - s02e06 is fantastic.
posted by porpoise at 9:28 PM on March 3

Having two scenes - the one with Laris and the one with Guinan - to clobber us over the head with Our Season Two Theme was maybe a little too much. And what if Picard *had* kissed Laris?

I thought the "tell" about the Borg was when JLP tells Raffi that he wants to revise the Kobayashi Maru, and then was literally in a Kobayashi Maru scenario. And we already know from the trailers that Our Noble Crew are going to wrestle with an alternate timeline. It's all a grest big Q trick.

I would 100% watch an entire series about Captain Rios and the Stargazer. Same for a Seven-and-Rios's Hologram series. But Jurati and Soji need to go.
posted by briank at 5:06 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]

Men will literally become legendary Starfleet captains instead of going to therapy.

Seems like this is “Tapestry”+ “All Good Things” spread over a season? I’m not complaining.

ANYWHO I enjoyed it a lot; agree that Seven+Emmet, and the Stargazer bits were standouts.

In the trailer there was a glimpse of a business-card-looking thing that some Soong ancestor was holding. Happens to look a lot like a logo for my former employer (acquired by my current employer) and I definitely did a double-take.
posted by supercres at 8:44 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]

Also the goddamned 112 year old Excelsior NCC-2000 is still in service. I mean, dang. They don't make 'em like they used to they're going to, huh?
posted by fairmettle at 9:15 PM on March 4

A mirror of his nightmare the episode opened up with - or was that merely a flash forward?

We got a '48 hours earlier' subtitle (or whatever those things are called) when we switched back to Chateau Picard vineyard.

I was a little bit surprised to see Rios return to Starfleet. Guess his black flag operation stress got better, but it still seems a little like tacit approval.
posted by Sparx at 9:49 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]

I really enjoyed this up until the last couple of minutes, when Q appeared. Now this just looks like a season-long version of an alternate history/time travel episode (to our near-present, 2024, no less; how solipsistically convenient). I hope it's a really good version of that kind of episode, we're gonna be watching it all season.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:32 AM on March 5

the episode doesn't really acknowledge that Picard is a robot now and I'm wondering if that is going to play into this season at all. It's got to, right? He's more machine than the Borg are now.

Makes me wonder whether Picard is closer to the supposed perfection that the Borg seek.
posted by biffa at 3:27 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]

The synthetic version of Picard couldn’t confirm for sure that the ship coming out of the anomaly was Borg until asking Seven! His new body doesn’t have the residual Borg implants.
posted by wallawallasweet at 8:10 PM on March 5 [5 favorites]

His new body doesn’t have the residual Borg implants.

And I wouldn't be shocked at all if his new new body—his Black-Clad Mirror-Q-Timeline-WhateverVerse self—is 100% organic.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 4:47 AM on March 6 [6 favorites]

I enjoyed this! Also it was kind of a hot mess; as crossoverman said "New showrunner is playing with all the toys." It was A Lot. I also think Q is the absolute worst thing about the Star Trek Universe so I'm not thrilled with that setup. But despite all that I think this could go somewhere good. The cast and writing had a nice snap and sparkle. And if Captain Picard finally gets to sleep with the same person twice, why, it will all be worth it.
posted by Nelson at 6:56 AM on March 6 [3 favorites]

I'm not sure if people are aware, but it's been confirmed that PICARD is a three season and done show. The showrunner tweeted about the final day of filming for S3, which was made immediately after S2 was completed.

I don't know what that means for this season - I suspect the Q/Borg/time travel shenanigans will be a one season thing, but I imagine character arcs might be planned for both seasons. I'm sure they know where they are heading with Picard himself, knowing where they want to leave him at the end will help inform this season.

I like the idea that there's a fixed end point. And the showrunner has said the tones of each of the three seasons are quite different.
posted by crossoverman at 2:46 PM on March 6 [1 favorite]

Borg king?

Obviously its early days but it seemed odd they would bring in the Borg and then disappear JL back to the distant fascist past the spoilers all seem to indicate will be the key theme. How will they be using them for season 2? Or are they for season 3? Difficult to know how quick they will move given how rapidly Disco has burned through plot at some points.
posted by biffa at 3:42 PM on March 6

While I enjoy slash as much as anyone, Q is actually Picard's omnipotent stalker and so I don't enjoy the whole weird intimacy Q has with him.

The only time Picard will settle down is when he's trapped in a fake life/alternate timeline, this has been established, people. And that's ok? People don't have to pair up! It's fine! I don't really care about his parents that much.

I literally said out loud, "Oh God not the fucking Borg." They are just the worst. UGH. Nobody wants to be assimilated, you are all gross, go away.

There has been a severe lack of Klingons in this series IMO.

Despite all this bitching, there was much pretty tech and prettier people and I will watch Jeri Ryan in anything, so it's all fine!

Any episode of Trek that goes to the "present day" is never going to be as fun as the movie where they kidnapped a goddamn whale with a mind-zapped Spock and Scotty yelling into a computer mouse and Bones curing someone's kidney disease with a pill while muttering angrily. I mean, you just can't really top that.
posted by emjaybee at 9:58 PM on March 6 [3 favorites]

Why you see, Jean-Luc, we all get one shot… twice.
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:06 AM on March 7 [3 favorites]

I mentioned to Mrs. Fedora, about fifteen or twenty minutes in, that the show actually felt like a Star Trek — exposition aside, the characters actually talked like they were having a conversation with one another, rather than exclusively hushed, Important speeches, or the writers speaking directly to the audience — and that I didn’t really know how to feel about it. I too am hoping that they didn’t get all the Star Trekness out of the way this week so they could spend the rest of the season on some new time travel novelty action movie thing.
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:13 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]

There has been a severe lack of Klingons in this series IMO.

They've been very close-mouthed about what's been going on with the Klingons since the TNG/DS9/VOY/LD era; except for the banner at the Academy and mentioning Worf once in S1, not in this series. and likewise slim to nil in 32C DIS. I suspect that, when they do bring them in, it'll be something big.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:51 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]

They'll be back to looking like they did in the original series.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:20 PM on March 7 [4 favorites]

I was really enjoying this episode until Q turned up. Really liked the new Stargazer, Seven in action, could overlook the daft childhood trauma.

But Q makes it seem like the plot is going to be "oh noes how can we deal with both Q and the Borg... Q takes out the Borg, job done". Hopefully it will be more creative than that.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:27 PM on March 7

U.S.S. Farm Upstate

The farm cures all!
posted by hanov3r at 7:48 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]

I really liked it. It's fun and modern and watchable. I loved Picard's happy gentleman farmer look. I thought it was hilarious when he was like "Guinan, women troubles :(" one second and then "Oh good, a mission! Peace out!" one second later. Jurati is growing on me. I'm here for a big loud crazy space story ok!

Also who else was like THE BEAST WITH A BILLION BACKS! as soon as they saw that anomaly lol.
posted by bleep at 7:45 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]

hmmmm. Jury is out for me.

I like Q, as John deLancie chews scenery like no-one else in the multiverse.

I've always said the whole borg queen thing sucks. It's a fucking decentralized organism!
But the new queen's black mechano-outfit rocks.
posted by lalochezia at 7:41 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]

are we really saying his stellar career is a flaw?

I’ve generally found that people’s strengths tend to be their flaws as well, and vice versa.
posted by bq at 7:46 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]

I squeeed in in-joke delight that Guinan's establishment was revealed to be located at Number 10 Forward Avenue. Ten Forward!?!?! I yelled, but no one at my viewing connected it. Sigh.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 4:36 AM on May 4 [6 favorites]

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