IR TV Review: PICARD – EPISODE 5 ("Stardust City Rag") [CBS All Access]

The ragtag crew mentality becomes more defined with the introduction of Seven Of Nine into the mix after she just happens to be above Freecloud helping defend Picard’s guerrilla ship. The progression of the character is an interesting one as seen in the opening minutes which include a very specific hark back to “Voyager” and the memories and heartache that lived there. While the reality of what happened to her since her return from the Delta Quadrant is unknown, it does throw an interesting diametric into the proceedings. It becomes how much clearer the darker path that the Trek Universe has gone down. It is almost disconcerting in a way since the notion of peace and harmony to a point that was key to Gene Roddenberry has been taken over by a darker version. It is a sign of the times but the question becomes, in all fairness, if it is inherently Star Trek if the Federation from these points has fallen this far in this timeline. Now granted this might just be this timeline which is an easy excuse in terms of storytelling of course.

Seven, like others on the crew, has secrets to bear including a crew member with a bigger one than most. The more bright spot in this episode is more some of the old jabbing between crew members, again more specifically here between Picard and Seven. Seven has evolved but Ryan plays it somewhere between. A seasoned viewer might be looking for those former tells which seem to be gone. The story of Seven’s ascent to humanity or descent if you will is an interesting one which is defined in the crucial moments of this episode. The psychology is sound but the reference as to the big essentials of “why” is missing. With this and other aspects the tone on this episode, although the most dynamic so far is a little off.

B-

By Tim Wassberg

IR Interview: Michelle Hurd & Isa Briones For "Star Trek – Picard" [CBS All Access]

IR TV Review: PICARD – EPISODE 3 ("The End Is The Beginning") [CBS All Access]

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.

B-

By Tim Wassberg

IR TV Review: PICARD – EPISODE 2 ("Maps & Legends") [CBS All Access]

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.

B

By Tim Wassberg

IR TV Review: PICARD – EPISODE 1 ("Remembrance") [CBS All Access]

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.

A-

By Tim Wassberg