So episode 2 happened. We’re now 1/5th into “the best Star Trek since the 90s” and I’m still searching for answers as to why a very prominent sector of the Nerdsphere spent months telling us in no uncertain terms how much we’re all going to love it and how “TNG is finally back!”
To be fair, they all had the consideration to use the exact same phrasing and talking points while doing it, so I appreciate that.
Anyway, episode 1 was ok, but it plagiarized from Wrath of Khan too much and it was the exact same set up as Season 1. “Wait until you get to episode 2!” they said. Now we’re at episode 2 and thankfully they’ve moved away from the Wrath of Khan plagiarism. In this episode, our aging hero finds out he has a secret son and a hammy villain gives a monologue, then the Not-Constitution enters the Orange Mutara Nebula and they play the sound. You know the one — the V’Ger sound.
This is Star Trek: Paint By Numbers. Take a blank outline of Star Trek. Fill in this part with some First Contact. Fill in this one over here with some Wrath of Khan. Oh, for this small sliver over in the corner be sure to use a real obscure color like Sisko’s baseball. Isn’t this fun? Isn’t it fun to smash together Star Trek references over and over and over again? It’s almost like creating something new, but it has the advantage of not requiring intelligent creativity! It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
I’m being serious when I ask about the motivations behind the pre-release hype. Obviously the people making the show want people to watch, and even CBS couldn’t ignore the massive audience backlash to the first two seasons. I get their motivation to talk about how great Season 3 was going to be.
What I don’t get were the nerds on the internet who somehow got to see the first six episodes and all unanimously, in unison, delivered the exact same praise. See, this is what happens, though. When my head goes to that place, the webs, conspiracies… that’s when it all starts up, the tweets, the dark rabbit holes…
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly!
- They’re getting better at using the universe for story, not just props. The Fenris Rangers — an awful concept, altogether — is used here to advance the plot, not just sound cool. The various aliens on the Death Stick Cantina planet aren’t called out to the audience, they’re just there. These are all good things and major improvements.
- Picard and Riker are actually Picard and Riker again, or damn-near close. Seasons 1 & 2 didn’t work for a whole variety of reasons, but fundamental was that Picard was not the same character. He’s finally back to being Picard. All it took was dying and becoming a robot, I guess. Wait, maybe that explains it — ChatJLPicard is more like Human Picard because it’s just regurgitating known information… this is getting too meta for me. I’m just glad he suggested negotiating first.
- They’re doing a much better job with Raffi this year. As everyone knows I strenuously disliked the characterization of Raffi in Seasons 1 & 2. But here she’s actually given a storyline that helps inform the audience about her character, as opposed to the patented nuTrek story structure of “crying, followed by exposition, followed by more crying, followed by dropping the entire subplot the next episode.” And I liked the interaction with her ex-husband, although it sure seems coincidental that he’s in the same hive of scum and villainy that she happens to be working for intel. But hey, what do I know?
- “Jack Luke Crusher berates Jean-Luc Picard for being an absentee partner to Beverly, all while living it up on his vineyard with his Romulan servants,” is a much, much better version of this speech than the season 1 “Raffi berates JL because she’s a drug addict” version.
- Is Amanda Plummer hamming it up? Yep. Is she stealing the show? Yep. Everyone take note: action needs to inform the scene. Mindless action is boring. Amanda Plummer throwing a ship into another ship with a tractor beam — right after she made fun of Picard’s android body? Sure, I’ll buy that crazy.
- Everyone does understand that accents aren’t genetic, right? Did Beverly intentionally teach Jack Luke to speak in an English accent? Also, she taught him French, I guess? It’s weird.
- The Ferengi knows about Section 31? Can we officially, finally, forever agree that the concept of Section 31 has jumped the shark? Please?
- “Belay that, Admiral’s orders.” Sorry Jean-Luc, you have no rank and no authority. Shaw is right, you’re wrong. Should have brought Rios back to the 25th century, shouldn’t’ya?
- The Titan cutting the tractor beam with its saucer was a cool visual effect, but it really goes against everything I know about deflector shields and warp bubbles. BUT HEY WHAT DO I KNOW?
- I won’t complain about the ship every review, I promise. But. Shaw calls the Titan an “exploratory vessel.” Where have I heard that phrasing before?
- Also, the Titan’s chairs have the dumb STD split arrowhead logo, which is… wait for it… ugly. And the shuttle’s name was “Saavik.” lol
- Calling the attack on the Red Rachel Recruitment Center an “unprecedented attack” that killed 117 people? Really? Unprecedented? Remember the time the Xindi cut a giant chasm into Florida? Or the Borg attacked? Or the Breen attacked? Or the giant whale cigar thing showed up and sucked up all the planet’s water? Yeah, Earth’s been through some shit. No offense to the families of the 117 #neverforget, but you’re not even Top Five in attacks on Earth facilities.
- “I’m with Starfleet Intelligence” said no covert operative, ever.
Oh, and I told you it was Worf. C’mon.