The progression of a mission is related in the basis of where a trail leads. At this point in the Picard build of its series, the idea becomes one of mythology and the idea of what is being unfurled in terms of a focus. After forming the texture of a would-be conspiracy and keying Picard out of a self-imposed exile, the pieces seem to start fitting. The texture though leaves a slight hole in how Picard’s pride intensifies his removal. It also speaks as to why we don’t see more of The Next Generation crew. It is based in the essence of hubris. The people he does recruit either are in age of him or see a certain texture of his fans. The McGuffin that is swirling in the background within “The End Is The Beginning” points to something deeper and sinister which remains to be seen. It all leaps back in a sense to what Data might be planning from beyond. The essence of this also gives rise to a possibility of Lore is some way though that is never mentioned. The leaving of Earth is inevitable but in staying outside the lines, it becomes a guerrilla mission which we have not seen Picard undertake before. For a character known for regulations and yet an awareness of breaking the line, the path of resistance seems clear. Yet there is mystery, The series hasn’t reached its tipping point of intrigue yet. It is still finding that identity but in Episode 3, it is not quite clear yet what the true path is.
By Tim Wassberg
The essence of action is based on the motivation of the beholder. Within the continuing idea of “Picard”, the idea is what protest and the tenet of inaction as a form of progression become in the face of both genocide and politics. The series here integrates some of the more dynamic elements of The Next Generation including one of its episodes “Conspiracy”. While the progressive mythology of what is being shown here is much more dense, the tendency of ego is a very real presence. The way Stewart embodies this vision of Picard is not with regret but interestingly enough in a reflexive way one of self importance. While this was true in TNG, it came with the essence of him being the lead point on the flagship. The idea of the frustration is what propels him forward. And like the Shakespeare that Stewart loves so much, it is that ID that motivates him back into the realm that is most dangerous.
The second episode continues to progress out the idea of characters slowly, allowing the audience to become more comfortable with them. Yet on the periphery is some interesting cameos that hark back to certain times in Picard’s career. The parallel story with an aspect of Data’s past is being nicely contemplated without giving away too much. The action is not requiring the audience to dwell on it but it is the existential nature that has very interesting relevance. It won’t be a surprise but obviously an interesting irony when and if Q shows up. Because this texture along with the fact that the Borg relevance is already marked in the DNA here gives Picard a reason for being, even though the chorus around him, especially with his Romulan handlers in his house are warning him of the impending situation that he teeters on. The episode ends with a degree of human and lightness that shows that while the series is dealing with serious issues, there has to be the breath of humanity, that which Data always wanted.
By Tim Wassberg
The essence of continuation is always an interesting progression. The ideal with certain ideas is how do you make it different than what has come before. In the structure of the first episode of the new CBS All Access series “Picard” entitled “Remembrance”, it takes a well known persona within the Star Trek pantheon and gives him a different perception. In an age that is much different from The Next Generation where the vision of Trek is darker, finding the right balance while not offending the die hards is tricky considering the recent blowback in the Star Wars universe. This pilot harks back through a little bit of IDW’s recent Picard comics which paints what happened to Picard during a Romulan refugee crisis. The interesting structure is that this story takes place in the Prime timeline which is the one the Chris Pine-led Star Trek takes place in which gives it leeway but also an interesting netherworld of detail…what happened and what it ultimately affected. The story of Nemesis and Data’s death still stand but time has given an interesting impact. This is of course what likely drew Stewart back having see the interesting progression, as he has said, of Logan where he played the aging Professor X.
Without giving too much away, the pilot sets up a McGuffin without relying too much if at all of previous Next Generation lore. But that said, the possibilities are endless. It relies though on the theory for years that Picard has been hiding in a way from himself or what he believes to be right. That creates a question, which is shown in a way in the comics, of what could have so fundamentally changed what he believes in. As the first episode ends, there is a connective tissue but it speaks back to an incident that undeniably changed Picard halfway through the Next Generation run. Where it progresses depends on the story dexterity and how much Stewart fundamentally wants to push the character since he has a say this time in the direction of the story. Time shall show.
By Tim Wassberg
Sometimes the essence of the image and impact can be extremely telling within the construct of perception. Many of the “Short Treks” have their own identity or tell a small part of the “Star Trek” universe hopefully in a way that feels fairly true within the existence of the characters shown. In this bit it is done more with a sense of foreboding but through a series of perceptions. Mark Pellington, who directed at least one episode of “Discovery” last season brings his considerable music video experience to “Children Of Mars”. Known for slamming onto the screen with the highly regarded video “Jeremy” by Pearl Jam back in 1991 and later with the psychological terrorist feature “Arlington Road” starring Jeff Bridges, he has a very specific understanding of both short form and the aspect of alienation and paranoia. The key here is the music. Even though it is a play on a battle during the time of The Next Generation, Pellington sees it through the eyes of two girls at school whose parents get caught in the crossfire. The song is “Heroes” by David Bowie but it is performed by a different artist (likely Jeff Russo since there is no attribute in the credits). The events are periphery but have to do with size and scope and the brutality of acts even in a smaller space or sphere of impact. The essence of family is integral to “Star Trek” and sometimes the small stories get miss. Which is why “Short Treks” but this specifically because of the right music, the right director and the right narrative.
By Tim Wassberg
The aspect of animation has started to become an interesting progression in terms of mythology creation. While a certain other space franchise has been expanding its structure for years in this regard, “Star Trek” has not ventured into that realm since 1973 in the still infinitely watchable and relatable “Original Animated Series”. While a new fully animated series “Below Decks” is happening, there is the texture of where balance in tone will be. “Star Trek” has always been about relating life lessons. The two upcoming animated shorts “The Girl Who Made The Stars” & “Ephraim & Dot” couldn’t be more different.
“The Girl Who Made The Stars” is a metaphorical story that follows Michael Burnham before she came to be with her Vulcan family. She is still full of emotion and on the edge of star, afraid of the dark. Her father offers her calm while relaying what is more of a parable that is a mix say of “The Lion King” and “First Contact” where a young curious girl in Africa doesn’t take superstitions at face value but still wants to understand the world. She is pursued by a large snake which is more a perspective of fear in her mind than reality. When an alien craft crash lands on the planet (which might or might not be Earth), it changes her fear to strength. The animation gives a good corrolation to the scenario but we don’t sense the darkness of space versus the light that family brings. While it has a good core, it doesn’t bring the intensity or heart it could have.
“Ephraim & Dot” is a slightly different animal, specifically a tardigrade. This short has the frenetic energy of a Road Runner cartoon but using different gifts. It takes place over the life span of the first Enterprise 1701. Using only audio from the original series and a robot that never existed, it finds the said “heart” but in a blur of mania. While extremely musical in context which seems apt since the short was directed by composer extraordinaire Michael Giacchino, the sense of it even with the tradigrade moving through the micro network that fuels the original spore drive is weak at best. That doesn’t really abate any of the great nostagic elements including a different perspective from original series episodes “Space Seed,” Naked Time,” and “Doomsday Machine” as well as “Star Trek II & III”. Granted it doesn’t get into real detail, but just enough to give a sense, and the fluidity of the progression is never in doubt. Ultimately though, there is a sense of “Wall E” in that the universe rights itself just enough to show that everything is fine.
By Tim Wassberg