Star Trek: Picard: Hide and Seek
April 28, 2022 6:31 AM - Season 2, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Agnes proposes a kinder, gentler machine collective. Meanwhile, fleeing Soong and the Borg, Picard is aided in his escape by the legacy of the Maquis. (The other Maquis.) [CW: suicide]

Seek and ye shall find Memory Alpha:

• Seven reveals in this episode why she did not enter Starfleet following the events of VOY: "Endgame" [FF previously —ed.].

"I know a future worth fighting for."
"So do I!"
- Adam Soong and Jean-Luc Picard

Poster's Log:
I think this is where I ran out of patience for this season. Mrs. Cheeses succinctly described things as "sloppy." Examples: failure to do anything especially interesting with Holo-Elnor (and "giving Raffi another opportunity to be anguished" is, for me, ground too well-trod to be interesting enough); hacky plot-convenient comings-and-goings (e.g. Rios, Adam at the end); and, oh yeah, wasn't Q in this season? (I wonder now if a big part of this season's sloppiness could be the Too Many Villains problem, which we know well from it having hurt or crippled almost every Batman film, including IMO the most recent one. Imagine how much more this season could have engaged those Real 21st Century Problems if we'd had only one future-villain.)

But maybe most gnawing to me is the Robert thing, which is kind of a big deal when judged on the season's own terms. A throwaway line is all I ask, but at this point I can't imagine we'll get one. It really is as if these writers straight-up forgot about him, but how is that even possible, given this season's intense focus on Picard's past? They MUST have gone back and watched TNG: "Family." And even if the writers decided "We'll let the fans headcanon something, like Robert was away at school through these events"—well, OK, but even a stone-cold jerk like Robert is gonna go home after this, and even if that has no bearing on JL's specific emotional journey here…how then did Mom not come up at all during their big breakthrough mud-fight in "Family"?! I almost feel like this is worse retro-dis-continuity than Terminator 3 rendering pointless the character motivations and plot of Terminator 2.

All that said, this episode did at least hold my interest thanks to some truly enjoyable bits: Jurati's well-argued plea to the Queen, more always-welcome time with James Callis, some pretty memorable shots (the array of green lasers seen from above, Sirena's takeoff, Jean-Luc's reverse-memory), and Seven employing the "In Theory" method against the mercenary-Borgs (Borgwater?). I noticed also some probably-intentional performance touches that Alison Pill seemed to have borrowed from Jeri Ryan's VOY years (most notably in the "Previously on" scene with Soong, though).

I am also intrigued by all this talk of "two Renees"; it gives me hope that the finale might be pretty batshit. How can it not be?, he asked hesitantly.

Poster's Log, Supplemental:
Next week is both the finale of PIC season 2 and the SERIES premiere of "The Pike Show," Strange New Worlds. I will be sharing posting duties with Halloween Jack, who will start us off with the premiere.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil (57 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I never thought I'd say this but I'm really tired of watching these characters stop and talk about their feelings. My god, there's a time and place for therapy and while running from the Borg isn't it!

This episode felt like Picard and not-Laris wandering pointlessly around the catacombs only to arrive with their enemies on their heels anyway (why couldn't they hear them coming?). Lots of needless wandering back and forth around various themes and they end up in the same place anyway.

Also, why could Seven beam the Borg into the walls but couldn't just beam everyone else back to the ship? Why did holo-Elnor not know he's immune to gunfire? How has so much happened and it feels like nothing at all has happened?

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'll put cash money on this being pitched as a two-parter or three episodes at the most and someone at Paramount said "okay, now make it a whole season".

The throwaway line about Janeway being willing to resign over Seven being denied a place in Starfleet was the only good part, but it's still undermined by the fact that it doesn't make sense. Starfleet allowed Icheb to join, so why did they balk at Seven, a much more experienced and useful asset? Sigh.
posted by fight or flight at 7:29 AM on April 28 [11 favorites]


I thought it odd that everyone was very blasé about seeing La Sirena take off given the emphasis on it being their only way home. I suppose this tells us that it will return next episode with a crew of newly enlightened Shiny Happy Borg to resolve this season’s arc.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:51 AM on April 28


How has so much happened and it feels like nothing at all has happened?

Great description. I don't mind hanging out with all these folks, they're fun and enjoyable to spend some time with but the actual narrative is pretty thin.

...sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread, as they say.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 10:54 AM on April 28 [7 favorites]


I gathered Seven wanted to get rid of the borg first before bringing everyone back. Maman's suicide was so telegraphed that I got annoyed at the drawing out. I agree that this new backstory messes up both in that Richard should be around in these flashbacks and the events revealed should have colored the scenes we saw of him in the original source material. It's also sad to see that mental health care in the 24th century isn't better.

I'm still enjoying the series largely because I like hanging out with these characters but there's a lot of idiot ball in this story. Does it never occur to Soong that Agnes of Borg is lying to him? Q at least offered him something tangible in return.

The kinder friendlier borg thing was actually interesting. Agnes makes a good point that the tactic of destroying everything in their path guaranteed the Borg would generate enemies faster than it could absorb them.
posted by Karmakaze at 11:18 AM on April 28 [2 favorites]


Card of the episode in the Star Trek CCG:

Hide and Seek. Okay, not FROM this episode, but as this 1998 card received (unofficial) errata in 2021, it's practically modern.
posted by StarkRoads at 12:08 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


I thought it odd that everyone was very blasé about seeing La Sirena take off given the emphasis on it being their only way home.

Maybe they figure that once they've passed Qs test he'll just snap his fingers and take them back to their time?
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:32 PM on April 28


Given the pacing and the fact that seasons 2 and 3 were filmed back-to-back, I’m starting to wonder if we’ll get a big cliffhanger next week rather than any real resolution of this arc.
posted by thejoshu at 1:45 PM on April 28 [8 favorites]


Does it never occur to Soong that Agnes of Borg is lying to him?

I think that he's strongly enough convinced of his Grand Destiny that, well, no. The Soongs have generally seemed to have a pretty piss-poor grasp of unintended consequences, very much including Noonian Soong, who gets murdered by one of his "sons." Part of this one's hubris is his inability to diagnose, let alone eliminate from his bloodline, a genetic predisposition toward Engineer's Disease.

Starfleet allowed Icheb to join, so why did they balk at Seven, a much more experienced and useful asset?

Because she'd been assimilated for far longer.

I'm also with COB about the thing with Robert; maybe he and Sybok can form a support group, Abandoned Family Plot Devices.

No matter what happens with La Sirena, they'd damn well not forget about Elnor in the freezer.

"Borgwater" sounds like Bongwater, one of the bands of Ann Magnuson, who played Fleet Admiral Kirsten Clancy last season, and who also had a band named... Vulcan Death Grip.

Welp. off to rewatch a bunch of stuff with Pike in it!
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:00 PM on April 28 [5 favorites]


I'd have to rewatch it to confirm, but somebody on Reddit claimed that Li'l Jean-Luc was playing with a model of the NX Refit, a long-conjectured ship that would now be canonical.

The Soongs have generally seemed to have a pretty piss-poor grasp of unintended consequences, very much including Noonian Soong, who gets murdered by one of his "sons." Part of this one's hubris is his inability to diagnose, let alone eliminate from his bloodline, a genetic predisposition toward Engineer's Disease.

Mrs. Cheeses made the unfortunately accurate observation that every time Brent Spiner plays anybody other than Data in Trek, you hate him. I hope season 3 gives him a likeable non-Data character somehow (maybe via timey-wimey means).

maybe he and Sybok can form a support group, Abandoned Family Plot Devices.

Lol, I'm betting that Robert being in the same support group with Sybok would go about as well as the time Mike was in a support group in Better Call Saul season 4.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 2:17 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


When the flash-bang went off and they used the screen going white as a transition for a flashback, I started laughing out loud because I was worried they might be so lacking in taste that they would consider doing exactly such a thing at this point.

As Agnes and the queen discuss the kinder, friendlier new social network of Borg, Mrs. Fedora excitedly shouts: “Is this the BUILD BORG BETTER plan?!” I’m not really sure how to feel about the smol beanification of the Borg, but, well, it’s at least a new direction for the storytelling. I’ve always felt like the Borg are at their most interesting when used sparingly and treated as an existential threat at minimum, so I remain kind of iffy on this idea, but if this actually means undoing the idea of a single Borg queen calling the shots and officially going back to the anarchic (in the literal sense) hive-mind interpretation, I think I am okay with that going forward! Not that I have any say in the matter.

Despite the writers’ decision to start cribbing from Discovery’s approach of “nothing but Important speeches,” Patrick Stewart knows how to deliver a touching monologue, particularly at the end of the episode. Even if I did laugh at basically every time child-Jean-Luc opened his mouth to deliver a stilted line like “father says it is forbidden!” in his best Victorian accent.

Everyone’s nonchalance at the ship flying away did feel pretty weird. Much less “oh god no now we’re completely screwed, forever,” and more “aw dang, aw beans, aw shucks.”

Hologram Elrond was dumb as hell and no part of it made any sense at all but at this point I’m willing to just go with it and enjoy the ride, because, hey, why not, right
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:19 PM on April 28 [5 favorites]


When the flash-bang went off and they used the screen going white as a transition for a flashback

As the Bald Move podcast called it, the flash-back grenade.

This was about as incompetent an episode of television as I've ever seen, especially as a penultimate episode of a season with too many villains and too many plot devices. This cannot be resolved satisfyingly next week. If Q does snap his fingers to resolve this season, I will rant about it forever. What an absolute waste of potential and the set-up of this season. And, frankly, as many problems as I had with S1, I never thought it incompetent.

I hate what they've done to Picard. I hate that his trauma is such a trope with no insight into his mother's mental health. I hate that they've retconned the vision of his elderly mother in Next Gen just to make this story work. I hate that this they used a bait-and-switch with this thread - he thought his father was abusive and then it turned out the real villain was his mother dying by suicide. It's just irresponsible to be telling this kind of story at all, especially when it's supposed to be set in an Utopian future.

Jurati's suggestion for the Borg to ask nicely to assimilate people who are happy to be assimilated? Sorry, what? Is this people who want to die? People who want an upgrade? Sorry, if this is what happens - a Happy Borg ship coming to the rescue, I will have to disavow this whole season of TV. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind it out of me.

I have no faith that season three will be good. I'm not sure I want to see the original Next Gen cast in a travesty of this magnitude.
posted by crossoverman at 5:02 PM on April 28 [13 favorites]


“They left behind their trivial, selfish lives, and they've been reborn with a greater purpose. We've delivered them from chaos into order."

"Comforting words. Use them next time instead of 'Resistance is futile.' You may elicit a few volunteers. - BORG QUEEN AND SEVEN OF NINE
posted by Servo5678 at 6:16 PM on April 28 [8 favorites]


Will Season Three see the Old Gang get the band back together to go back in time to save JLP and his rag-tag crew? Could be!
posted by briank at 6:44 PM on April 28


I get through these episodes by laughing and also by telling myself that this is all just like the Star Trek cover of Inception. So like it's all a dream, of course the plot doesn't make sense, of course people just pop into and out of existence without explanation. it all makes sense when you think of it that way COPIUM
posted by some loser at 7:03 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


So obviously the blueprint for each season of Picard is start out middling to fairly well to interesting and exciting and then plunge into utter garbage. This was nonsense, no respect for your audience television. Lower Decks remains the best of the new Trek.
posted by juiceCake at 7:29 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


I’m definitely not impressed with this storyline or the execution thereof. I thought Gene Roddenberry’s whole thing was that 24th century humans had evolved past all the psychological issues that plague us today. Like If they had pitched Picard’s backstory to him he would have veto’d it, saying complex depression or schizophrenia or whatever she’s supposed to be suffering from just doesn’t exist anymore. It’s like, now he’s long dead the writers feel they can get away with it.

I should note, I’ve always hated this about Roddenberry, and I welcome the creative team thumbing their noses at him. I just wish they were doing it competently.
posted by wabbittwax at 8:17 PM on April 28 [3 favorites]


The idea was to fix one thing, which maybe is the space flight peopled by Picard's ancestor. They ran the suicide backward. Elnor is with the borg Queen, whom people thought was the person who burst onto the first starship, out of some tear in time, asking for help. Elnor plays a part in the future, but has died in the past, and Q's magic finger snap is broken. Lots of loose ends. Rios's love has a tricorder in the past. Mmmmmm Rios! Installing some emotion here and there was good. I still like this, but they shouldn't have been so cheap with the time. I think a 13 episode season is better than 10, the capitalism of production pffft! The schizoid Jurati/ Borg Queen a BOA, body owner's association, horrific, more than married, not the more the merrier. This is the highlight of my video week.
posted by Oyéah at 9:38 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


Crossoverman: I dunno, Picard described the experience of full assimilation as something like “intense euphoria, but with no sense of self.” Sounds a lot like the Wikipedia-level description of Nirvana to me. I bet you’d find some takers.
posted by Mr. Excellent at 10:54 PM on April 28 [4 favorites]


I thought the episode was OK, but I also didn't think about it too much. Like most of my beloved TNG, in that way, what with all the consoles full of rocks and the constantly failing plasma discombobulators.

I agree that I don't really see a good path to resolving the overall dramatic storyline in only one more episode, but we'll see.
posted by wierdo at 10:57 PM on April 28


On the topic of Picard's mother, which I find I'm more angry about the more I think about it: it kind of blows my mind that any Trek writer, working (presumably) with sensitivity readers wrt mental health issues, thought it was a good idea to show a future where a clearly depressed and suicidal woman is locked in a room without her consent by her husband (!), apparently without consulting any other medical professionals, and apparently with access to materials she could use to kill herself. People seem to be taking this as absolving Picard's father of abuse, but I see it as a clear indication that the abuse was going on, given what we know about Starfleet-era medicine.

(My partner did point out that since we're being shown this through the memories of a young boy, they may be unreliable, but I would have assumed that would have been telegraphed somehow, were it intentionally the case.)

Fridging Picard's mother like this has really undermined my faith in this series to take up the progressive baton handed to it from Discovery and Lower Decks, no matter how many times they show Seven and Raffi holding hands or having poorly written conversations about their relationship.

The Happy Borg thing seems to me to be more fuel for the fire of the conservative fans who use memes of the Borg to talk about progressive politics. "Assimilate them with diversity"? Seriously? Ugh.

Will Season Three see the Old Gang get the band back together to go back in time to save JLP and his rag-tag crew? Could be!

Almost certainly. If the final episode doesn't end on a cliff-hanger and with the Enterprise swinging into view to a stately retooling of the TNG theme, I'll eat my hat.
posted by fight or flight at 5:28 AM on April 29 [5 favorites]


I've appreciated all the comments here about problems with the show, it's nice to not feel alone. I'll add another plot thread to the "nothing much happens" conceit; Rios and Teresa. It felt very clumsy, like the writers couldn't decide what to do with Rios so they sent him offstage for awhile and brought him back as the plot required. Fair enough, but then why all the screentime doing nothing with his forbidden time girlfriend? Perhaps it served to provide some emotional balanceto the pacing. Goodness knows Santiago Cabrera is a great presence as an actor. It also serves to remind us just how badly fucked the timeline is thanks to the gang's meddling, although I think the NuBorg is likely to present the larger existential threat.

Elron's writing is terrible too, I'm sure this is not Evan Evagora's idea of how to establish a career. Imagine shining such a bright light in the previous season and then being written out except for brief appearances to provide some Tender Moments for Raffi.

The "where is Robert" thing doesn't bug me until I think about it, then it bugs me very much. Screenrant wrote a whole article about it. It does say "Robert has only been fleetingly mentioned ... to establish that he exists" so I guess there was a throwaway line at some point?

Reading about Icheb reminds me there's also a Miss Q and Q Jr out there in Star Trek canon. I'm a little unclear about whether Q is really a character in this season or not but in theory he is and Memory Alpha says "Q vowed to stay with him and take responsibility for his son for all of eternity". Maybe the writers realized it'd be wiser to just ignore this bit of Voyager story. Or perhaps that's what happened to Robert, he's acting as the husband and father in the Q family now that Q has gone off pursuing his strange obsession with Jean-Luc.

R + 7 4evah
posted by Nelson at 7:47 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


This episode needed a content warning for Mom. My roommate just learned yesterday of a former friend's death, and having that suicide scene come up without warning was... unhelpful.
posted by hanov3r at 8:11 AM on April 29


I guess there was a throwaway line at some point?

In an earlier episode they mention that he's away at boarding school. Which is fine to explain why he's not there, but imo not enough of a reason not to have him show up at all, especially in the scenes (presumably) after his mother's death. Just one shot of an older boy embracing young Jean-Luc would have sufficed, for me.

This episode needed a content warning for Mom.

It really did. It also went against a whole ton of recommendations from suicide orgs when it comes to sensitively showing suicide and mental illness. The fact that they showed the actual body and the method of suicide in particular are not recommended.

I believe there isn't even a "viewer discretion advised" warning on the streaming services, which is surprising to me.
posted by fight or flight at 8:11 AM on April 29 [6 favorites]


There was a "Violence" discretion warning on P+.
posted by hanov3r at 8:36 AM on April 29


It seems like the writers really want the scenes with the mother to be set in Patrick Stewart’s youth and not JLP’s.
posted by jimw at 8:41 AM on April 29 [3 favorites]


To me, looks like they've prepped Rios to exit the show and stay in the past with his new family. Maybe he'll be the one change to a restored timeline, an early Starfleet pioneer (like, if Renee Picard must both live and die, are they going to do something with Rios needing to complete her mission or something).

Absolutely floored about Maman Picard's storyline and depiction, regressive and horrible and gross. And adds nothing to the story, really: Picard, as a near-centenarian, is emotionally complex? So? After almost 100 years of life, I'd assume so, but I'm still unclear how that relates to time travel and saving the future and stuff. Save the galaxy, then go to therapy.

Two other ham-fisted moments in the writing: Picard and not-Laris escape into the tunnels, and then [indeterminate amount of time later] we cut to Soong, having had his borg-lite troops search the entire mansion, conveniently standing in the exact room where the secret entrance to the tunnels is, and he happens to notice some disturbed dust and and a misaligned detail on the bookcase and pushes it open. Later, as Picard and not-Laris emerge from the tunnels, Soong is conveniently standing at the specific exit he didn't even know existed a few minutes prior. No explanation told or shown, just characters magically appearing where they need to be, when they need to be, and doing whatever the fully-obfuscated plot needs them to do.

How has so much happened and it feels like nothing at all has happened?

This is a great summary of the season, and it was egregiously bad this episode; I think it's because the characters stop to talk about their feelings all the time, while the actual narrative action is either perfunctory or background. Between Discovery and Picard lately, it's all Therapy Trek. I hope that Strange New Worlds is more stoic.
posted by LooseFilter at 9:41 AM on April 29 [5 favorites]


I really liked that DEPRESSION turned out to be the key to shutting down Borg control in the brain but I think the writers must not have enough experience with that to know how hilarious their idea actually could have been. I would have been like oh, this is how to get rid of you? I CAN DO THIS. LETS GO BITCH. Just TRY to get some endorphins going up in here. YOU SHALL NOT PASS.

It was PEAK white feminism that Jurati went with instead "More! Female! Prison guards!" instead.
posted by bleep at 1:34 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


Many different languages have words for common ideas like love, but the MOST common word is futility?!?!
posted by snofoam at 1:57 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


There was a "Violence" discretion warning on P+.

Yeah, but that's not a content warning for suicide. Violence is portrayed in this show a lot. I mean, Raffi and Seven worked together to stab a man/Borg to death. That is enough for a violence warning, I'd say.

I listen to a couple of Trek podcasts, both of which gave content warnings about the discussion of suicide in this episode. More than Paramount chose to do, it seems.

The more I think about this episode and Picard's mother's story, the worse it seems. It is really regressive. It doesn't tell us that much about Picard. It suggests that he never got help/therapy to deal with that trauma. So on top of everything - his father locking his sick mother in a room, Picard letting her out and blaming himself for her dying by suicide, the show is telling us he never had therapy? And somehow he's mentally and physically strong enough to be a Starfleet Captain?

Compare this to Renee's story, which is a definite parallel, where she needs to be mentally fit for the Europa mission. And somehow she got therapy in 2024 but four hundred years hence, Picard's mother got locked in a room? And JLP just had to push all that trauma down and get on with his life?

Roddenberry probably considered that mental illness was gone in his Utopian future but that's a really 60s idea of the Utopia. I think the 21st century version of that should be - the future treats mental illness and disability in a way where accessibility is key. It's not necessarily about eradicating it but an evolution in human understanding where people with disabilities are supported.

Anyway, I complained all season about Discovery's characters talking about their feelings all the time and sorting through their trauma - and in retrospect and comparison to PICARD, that show at least treats a diversity of experience as important. DISCO might put aside dramatic tension for mid-action character therapy, but it doesn't try to define characters by their trauma alone. This season has suggested from very early on that Picard being single - ALONE!!!! - is a failing. And it's pinpointed this one event in his childhood as causing this fatal flaw. Discounting everything else he's achieved in the meantime. What an awful message to send.
posted by crossoverman at 8:45 PM on April 29 [7 favorites]


Here's my beef: Seven is 100% human in this timeline.

Borgati stabs her in the abdomen.

And to save her, Borgrati reborgifies Seven...with the exact same implants she had in a different timeline. The iconic ocular implant (which was a full on artificial eye), spider thing on her cheek, exoskeleton on her hand... etc., which were installed for specific Borg purposes in that original timeline, then modified by Voyager's doctor, and which had absolutely nothing to do with her injury at all. Why? They couldn't be bothered to do a bit of minor revised character design?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:02 AM on April 30 [13 favorites]


I thought the episode was messier than the others, but I wasn't mad about it. Honestly, as long as I get to see PS and these characters with some TNG guest stars, I'm happy. I've found the overarching mystery compelling, though, like the rest of you, knowing the seasons were filmed back to back, I doubt they will wrap it all up in next week's finale.

I hope we get more Q next season than we got this season! (Afraid that it'll actually be less.)
posted by pelvicsorcery at 9:18 AM on April 30


Lower Decks remains the best of the new Trek.

I don't have much to say about this episode that hasn't already been said by others already, but I will say, a thought I had today about this show and Star Trek in general is that actually, Prodigy, although it's aimed at kids, is essentially the basic plotline I expected from Picard, way back in the days of Picard S1: experienced, legendary Starfleet captain (in Prodigy it's Janeway rather than Picard) takes a ragtag band of very non-Starfleet-material misfits and helps guide them into being a competent crew.

Hopefully Strange New Worlds will dial back on Therapy Trek as well and give us a bit more of the traditional Trek competence porn, but honestly Prodigy is currently the unexpected heir-to-the-soul-of-Star-Trek in my book. Lower Decks is fun enough ride, but can be kind of hit-or-miss about whether it wants to take the core concepts of Trek seriously, or to poke serious holes in them, or just go in for a laugh.
posted by mstokes650 at 8:03 PM on April 30


Wait how am I just now finding about Star Trek: Space Cases?????
posted by bleep at 8:35 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


Welp, good thing the bad guys are also dumb as shit or we'd be in real trouble.

Sorry in advance for this negativity. They'll never ask me to consult on a Trek show, so I'm dumping my feels here in this thread.

They lost me in this ep or the last one. I'm not sure, I watched them both today. It's been all over the damn place and there isn't enough time left to pull this chess game together. They could have done it but they keep taking steps backwards to retread the same plot points e.g. Maman. It's poor pacing to pick up that thread and drop it and then pick it up again a couple of episodes later. And the FBI agent's story was pure digression, the only thing that was resolved there was the conflict introduced in that episode by that guy in the first place. That whole thing could have been lifted out of the show entirely and it would have affected nothing.

So Soong was Q's stooge, right? Doing his dastardly bidding. Then, in a sinister development, the Borg Queen steps in and takes the reins, hijacking Q's plan. Looks like the baddies are aligning for the showdown! But then suddenly the Queen has left to be the galaxy's nurse in the past? In the penultimate episode? Because Jurati talked her into it? Where does that leave Soong and Kore? What about Renee? And Q! With one ep left I fear we're going to be in the past for the whole last season, returning to the Stargazer in the series finale.

So how can there be so many loose ends but there was still so much filler? It's like they couldn't decide if this was an episodic show or a serial.

You know how sometimes they pack a whole story into a 30 second Folgers commercial? This is the opposite of that. Back during TNG we would have had this story, with the entirety of its plot and every single one of its emotional beats in three episodes. When I watch those old eps I really admire their parsimony. They do whole stories in 45 minutes without feeling rushed, it's skillful.

They should have divided the season into acts that didn't overlap. Act 1: the first two eps just as they are, Act 2: Oh Noes, Agnes of Borg, Act 3: Adam Soong is a Dickweed, Act 4: Q's Puzzle Box. It could have all the same stuff, but not jumbled up together. You wouldn't have to split the party. You wouldn't go whole weeks without checking in with some characters. You could even still have Guinan and Dr. Romantic Interest and Special Agent Cameo as recurring characters throughout the season.

On second thought, swap acts 2 and 3. That way you get more regular Agnes, who is great, and Kore could join the gang for half a season.

And I'm still hung up on the technical problems. The camera is either weird or static. No one occupies the space they're in. We never linger, we just execute plot points, and for all that it STILL feels like nothing happens. This show doesn't trust it's audience. I'd trade 75% of the shots of green laser pointers advancing across the vineyard for a shot of Jean-Luc reading a book in the ready room.

Notes:
1) "Flashback grenade" is brilliant.
2) Holograms are always stupid, and is the ship reading everyone's brain all the time?
3) Jean-Luc Picard deserves a better coda than this Borg x Jane Eyre crossover fic.

Now, if you'll excuse... *suddenly in the kitchen with the fridge already open*
posted by Horkus at 9:06 PM on April 30 [6 favorites]


It's been all over the damn place and there isn't enough time left to pull this chess game together.

This sums up my feelings about the season, too. There is so much going on - Borg queen, Q, fascist alternative universe, time travel to the present, time loop-style intervention, childhood trauma, X-Files sub-plot, horror and action-style sequences, and lots more. But all of it is mashed together and treated so briefly. Pick one or two and do them properly!
posted by greycap at 11:38 PM on April 30


They should have divided the season into acts that didn't overlap. Act 1: the first two eps just as they are, Act 2: Oh Noes, Agnes of Borg, Act 3: Adam Soong is a Dickweed, Act 4: Q's Puzzle Box. It could have all the same stuff, but not jumbled up together. You wouldn't have to split the party.

I wonder if some of the excessive-party-splitting was due to COVID filming restrictions? Definitely part of the reason it feels like this season has spent a lot of time retreading the same ground over and over is that basically everyone has the same one or two scene partners (Raffi and Seven, Agnes and the Queen, Picard and Tallinn, Rios and the doc and her kid) and only minimally interacts with the rest of the cast. Earlier in the season the party was all split up geographically and plot-wise, but they stayed split up, in the exact same pairings, for a lot of the dinner-party episode, and again for 90% of this episode even when the entire cast was nominally in the same location dealing with the same plot. Having the entire season be made out of entirely separate 2-3 person casts that are crudely stitched together has really hurt the pacing of this season a lot, but it kind of makes sense as far as fitting with pandemic restrictions and casts and film crews being divided into pods.
posted by mstokes650 at 8:09 AM on May 1 [2 favorites]


Mixed feelings on this. Hopefully the dire childhood trauma subplot has clunked its way to its terrible conclusion now.

I really liked Jurati's story arc though. She actually had a more plausible trauma from the events of the first series, one that actually gave her problems like the drinking and the isolation. I like the idea that's she's found a way to move on to a new plane of existence as a Good Borg, in a Thunderbirds style Interstellar Rescue Organisation.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:13 AM on May 1


If they succeed, there won't be a big rift in the universe, and everything will reverse, Jurati will work on artificial life, the Borg will be put back on the shelf, maybe the undoing of the rope from Picard's mother's neck, leaves her to have another child who is part of the mission they are trying to save. Maybe the Q isn't allowed to mess with the past, and then future space germs from Rio's kiss ! The actor who plays Elnor, has lost a lot of weight, and almost doesn't look like the kid from the first series.

The line, "I am from Chile, I only work in space," is a total fave, as far as lines go.

I can't wait to see the resolve, and Jurati is brilliant to get the Borg Queen out of their faces long enough to summon the mission in the first place.
posted by Oyéah at 10:06 AM on May 1


The line, "I am from Chile, I only work in space," is a total fave, as far as lines go.

Yeah, I loved that line when it was first used in Star Trek IV.
posted by crossoverman at 6:49 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


Maybe this stuff is artistic license, I don't know. But it makes me cringe.
Rios: "I just need to rewire these subroutines." One is hardware, one is software.
Picard's mom: "The light from the stars has traveled billions of years, and now those stars are dead." If you see a light in the sky that has traveled for billions of years, that is probably a galaxy, not a star. And stars can live for billions of years. Some will live for more than a trillion years!
posted by jabah at 7:01 PM on May 1 [5 favorites]


I don't think they've used a science consultant on Picard this season.
posted by crossoverman at 10:56 PM on May 1 [6 favorites]


hell, I don't think they've used a scriptwriting consultant
posted by DoctorFedora at 11:49 PM on May 1 [10 favorites]


I'm starting to wish most of the season focused on Agnes and the Borg Queen. We should have had more time with them, showing Agnes exploring BQ's brain, delving into her feelings and that would have led up to the conversation they have about creating a new kind of collective. I thought that idea was great, but there wasn't enough set-up. There were hints of it all the way through--BQ in the early episodes showing how well she understood Agnes, BQ being impressed with how Agnes handled herself in the not-quite assimilation, Agnes fighting back to keep from killing Raffi. If we spent more time with them internally like we did in the last episode, then that discussion about how being in a collective voluntarily could be good for them and people like them would have been more emotionally satisfying.
posted by ceejaytee at 5:28 AM on May 2 [14 favorites]


If we spent more time with them internally like we did in the last episode, then that discussion about how being in a collective voluntarily could be good for them and people like them would have been more emotionally satisfying.

To paraphrase a podcast I was listening to discussing this ep, "This would have been a great ep of Next Gen and they still would have had time for a B-story with Geordi fucking a hologram."
posted by crossoverman at 4:02 PM on May 2 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I loved that line when it was first used in Star Trek IV.

If a franchise calls back to a line delivered once 36 years earlier and fans are pissy about it, we must be talking about Star Trek.

If the MCU keeps generating more and more movies and TV shows, I wonder if Marvel will get slammed for referring back to “What is grief if not love persevering?” in 2057.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:28 PM on May 2 [6 favorites]




I hadn't realised this was being released week by week, so thought this was the finale.

I really enjoyed the start of the series but the last few episodes have been frustrating.
posted by knapah at 1:31 AM on May 3


The line, "I am from Chile, I only work in space," is a total fave, as far as lines go.

I said the line before he did, because I saw it telegraphed. I would have been sad if they didn't go for it after that setup.
posted by Karmakaze at 6:23 AM on May 3 [2 favorites]


If a franchise calls back to a line delivered once 36 years earlier and fans are pissy about it, we must be talking about Star Trek.

Punk on bus is a call back. Reusing a line is just laziness.

If the MCU keeps generating more and more movies and TV shows, I wonder if Marvel will get slammed for referring back to “What is grief if not love persevering?” in 2057.

Honestly, it depends how it's used. Again, referring to a previous line of dialogue is a function of drama. But I'd feel much better if the MCU uses it in the context of Wanda and Vision's relationship - or even their children - than if it's lifted wholly and tossed off by the grandson of Starlord or something.

A lot of this season has been super lazy. Character-wise. Plot-wise. And the easiest way to see this is how many references they've used to patch together this season. Parts of the plot mechanics have been lifted from Star Trek IV. It's relying on Q and the Borg and time travel to drive the plot. Brent Spiner is playing another Soong. It's got too many villains.

In a season that was fresh, interesting and not reliant on a "greatest hits" approach to storytelling (Talinn is a reference to Assignment: Earth FFS!), I wouldn't mind the occasional reference to dialogue from 40 years ago or Ferengi or having Sarek's skull in Picard's office.

But let's not pretend lifting dialogue wholesale, trying to pretend it's perfectly suited to another character altogether, is some clever literary device.
posted by crossoverman at 6:19 PM on May 3


On the other hand, what else could he have said to answer the question. As someone who saw the movies but didn't memorize the scripts I didn't even know it was a reference. Would it have been an improvement if someone had said "Oh we can't say it that way, come up with a different way to say it, that's too much fan service"
posted by bleep at 1:50 PM on May 4


How dare Rios mine old Enterprise crewmembers' logs for quotable material.
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 5:32 PM on May 4


I am remembering, that in the future, Agnes Jurati is one of the world's foremost authorities on artificial life. So, if after returning to where they left off, Jurati's relationship with the Borg Queen informed her directly, and left her with some potential for evildoing. That Borg Queen has to be the penultimate narcicisst, just behind Q.
posted by Oyéah at 7:10 PM on May 4


Who said, "I am from Chile, I just work in space," the first time?
posted by Oyéah at 7:11 PM on May 4


James T. Kirk, but from Iowa.
posted by porpoise at 7:30 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


Definitely too many villains. It feels like they should have cut Q, or Soong, or the Borg Queen.

I don't think Agnes is going to go back to her old life. I think we've already seen her destiny.

Agree that the Agnes/Borg Queen arc would have made a good episode (or two-parter, at most) of TNG, and would have been handled better, even in late-era TNG when they were starting to get a bit formulaic.

There are plenty of ideas in this season that could have made for interesting stories. They've just been handled in such an incredibly clunky way. It's as if the writers are putting every scene, and almost every line of dialogue, together like Tinker Toys from a kit of prefab tropes.

I'm not against the idea of Picard's mother committing suicide. But like so many things, it's been handled in a completely tropey, hamfisted way. Neither parent (nor young JL) came across as real people in the flashbacks... they were the barest of sketched-in outlines from a 1980s network TV afterschool special.

Why do the Picards seemed to live an essentially 20th-century lifestyle in the 23rd century, anyway? Shouldn't Earth have incredibly advanced mental health care? Shouldn't a doctor be able to come to the house and help Picard's mother?
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 8:16 PM on May 4 [6 favorites]


Starfleet allowed Icheb to join, so why did they balk at Seven, a much more experienced and useful asset?

Wasn't there some other guy they deborged and put in charge of the flagship?

That aside, it seemed a funny time for Raffi to ask Seven that question about joining Starfleet.

Same section, it seemed like the four Federation people in the chateau had all suddenly lost all connection to their combined history of strategy & tactics. Shall we just sit here? Sit there. We could try the flanks? Oh yeah. Weak writing.

I don't think Agnes is going to go back to her old life. I think we've already seen her destiny.

Hope so. I'd hate to think her destiny was to get brainwashed by a different villain in every season of Picard.
posted by biffa at 7:25 AM on May 5 [2 favorites]


star trek: the next generation freudian epiphany


good will hunting riker : it’s not your fault (picard)
posted by lalochezia at 5:49 PM on May 10


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