I just finished the first episode of Star Trek Picard season 3 and I keep coming back to the same thought:
The best way to watch season 3 is to fully and wholly forget the first two seasons happened. Just start here. Picard is an old, dottering retired Admiral who forgets things. Riker is an old, aching Captain trying too hard to recapture the fun of his Wild Hogs years. Seven is stuck in Starfleet middle-management hell as XO to a by-the-book wet blanket — Captain Shaw, who is also lowkey racist against ex-Borgs. Also, Raffi has a subplot… we’ll come back to that. But to the point, nothing in this first episode relies on you knowing anything from Seasons 1 and 2. This is a good thing. No, scratch that — this is the best part of the entire episode.
Badass Bev! I enjoyed the slo-mo pass over Crusher’s props. That was fun. Then the Dancin’ Doc whipped out a Phaser Shotgun™ and started blasting guys right in their face. From behind a locked bulkhead someone was causing a commotion. “Who is that, her kid?” I asked out loud. (It was — and he’s British for “some reason”…) Crusher’s ship is also very cool looking — kind of a better version of a Steamrunner. These are all good things. (Get it? That’s a TNG reference.)
I take no pleasure in always including Raffi in the bad column, I really don’t. I like Michelle Hurd and I like characters with drug-addict backstories. But it just doesn’t work in Star Trek Picard. That said, I like the soft reboot they’re doing with her character — despite the painfully obvious setup:
* Ok, she’s an undercover intelligence agent.
* Ok, she’s playing a junkie (which also serves to “mislead” members of the audience who care enough to remember her backstory).
* Ok, she has the USS Van Halen on planet M’Talas. (Did you know the showrunner’s last name is Matalas? Weird coincidence!)
* Ok, she’s speaking with a secret handler with a female voice but conspicuously calls her a warrior for some reason. “Oh, it’s Worf,” I said.
…AND THEN THEY SHOW AN UNNECESSARILY ALL-RED STATUE OF RACHEL GARRETT AND A STARFLEET BUILDING GETS SUCKED INTO THE SANCTUM SANCTORUM AND POPS OUT MID-AIR CRASHING DOWN INTO THE EARTH. JFC.
This episode is non-stop references for references’ sake — the damn thing is actually called “The Next Generation” — and Raffi’s subplot is the worst culprit. At least Riker’s quip about how no one wants the “fat” Eaglemoss Galaxy Class model was funny.
I like the normal uniforms — they’re a Kurtzmanverse version of the Voyager uniforms and that’s ok. The terrible insignia is still terrible (although Picard’s is still awesome). Riker’s uniform is bad, but I assume that’s… intentional? I dunno. The Titan is fugly. I’m sorry, Bill Krause, I love your work and respect you forever, but I hate what they made you do to the Shangri-La. I also hate what they did to the Type XI shuttle. And I also hate the Big Bad Pointy Ship because it’s booooooring.
Alright, gang, I’m easing into it. I understand why people say it “feels like Star Trek” because the references — which are EVERYWHERE — are mostly organic; this is a brand new feature of nuTrek. All of the previous shows so far treat Star Trek references as *wink wink*. This is a good change. I like Riker’s midlife crisis banter and I like Picard’s appropriately dimwitted obliviousness. This is all definitely an improvement. I’m not sure it warrants the absurdly comical level of online hype, but here we are. Saddle up. Lock and load.