I wrote about this before, but The Orville 3×05 is an even better example for the stark contrast between original and most current Trek shows. 3×05 is like 75 minutes long and has a single issue to deal with. There is a very minor B plot, if one insists, but it really only serves as a reason for them to be there or show what the other characters are up to, that’s really it. The other 99% of this episode are entirely dedicated to this one single thing. And that’s just enough. No other random stuff is thrown in and no one and nothing explodes and the like.

The audience can just lean back and think about this stuff, that’s it. It’s like the difference between playing a turn based game like XCOM or a fast paced shooter. It’s so awesome to see that someone is still doing this. I think this is the only show of this specific type still around. This alone is more than enough reason for me, to watch every single episode of it. I’ll enjoy it as long as it lasts. Which is for only 5 more eps, unless they renew it after all (as far as I know this is still supposed to be the final Season).

I was wondering if Strange New Worlds would continue to embrace the silliness, or if it would be more serious again soon and boy did it come back serious with 1×09. The episode itself is essentially just Alien/Aliens all over again (right down to the little girl surviving), the Gorn (who have essentially Predator vision) are born almost exactly like the Xenomorphs, but it’s still just really well done. Last time I wondered why Hemmer was the only one except for M’Benga, who wasn’t changed by this entity, but now I think the only reason for that was to show him once more (in character) before his final episode.

It surprised me to see Hemmer die, he seemed like a relatively well established character despite really only playing a bigger role in maybe 3 episodes. So they obviously did a good job with that character. They had some fitting things to say about the character and all the expressed emotions felt way more earned than anything that was shown on Picard.

Maybe they will use this death to move forward on introducing more legacy characters like Scotty. Eventually they will have to get rid of all characters that don’t also happen to be on Kirk’s Enterprise. Another thing they wouldn’t have to do if this wasn’t a prequel show. This crew works so well, I’d really just like them to have their own adventures, that aren’t bogged down by such concerns, but they just had to limit themselves this way. But whatever, this was still another solid Star Trek adventure. So glad they returned to this episodic format, apparently such adventures wouldn’t be possible otherwise. Another strong suit of this show is, how the episodic format doesn’t delete character growth. They still learn their lessons, no one has amnesia and acts like nothing ever happened before. That’s really the best way to do this. I’m genuinely looking forward to the Season finale! Crazy!

For All Mankind 3×04 was absolutely flawless again. :P Just saying. What an awesome show! Tons of people are talking about this show and I just miss it, right? They must be! And it’s not just good, but consistently good. Every Season was top notch so far.

The Orville 3×04 further cements to me, that they (with S3) have gone full TNG essentially. There’s like 1 scene in the episode that’s meant as comedy, when Isaac wears a cowboy hat, but that’s really it. The rest is a straight up “serious” TNG ethical dilemma episode. This podcast with SM made it sound, as if that’s what they wanted all along, but the network sold it as comedy in the beginning. Whatever detour they might have taken, they clearly succeeded in the end.

The episode depicts a current (or even evergreen) problem and gives it the sci-fi treatment. Their hopes of better relations with another society are crushed, when their government is taken over by an amoral, unscrupulous leader, just before they could sign a new treaty of peaceful cooperation. This issue seems to be much more relevant right now than it might have been in the previous 2 or 3 decades and they prove why there is still a demand for this kind of show and storytelling.

They leave some story threads unresolved in the end, so I hope they can get back to it. But the beauty of it is, they don’t have to. They managed to say a lot in this episode regardless, so they sort of covered all bases. A good call, given that they might not have the time, with only ~10 eps in the Season.

btw: It’s also so crazy how many well-known TV actors are in this. These people are still around and somehow they got them to all appear on this show. :D There’s some guy in a blue mask and that just happens to be Bruce Boxleitner (other people like Ted Danson are much easier to spot). :D

Strange New Worlds 1×08 on the other hand, really stresses that they emulate TOS, which makes sense, given that’s the era the show takes place in. Thankfully they care much more about such details here than they did on Picard, a show in which they just threw everything in randomly from all timelines. I guess this is yet another difference between SNW and Orville, with one emulating TOS and the other TNG. It’s all back baby!

Anyway, this episode is like one of these TOS episodes in which they encounter a Greek god on some planet and everyone ends up in bizarre costumes (think togas or some such). They also did what seems like quite extensive modifications to their Enterprise set, with plants everywhere and whatnot. Didn’t look like CGI either. I wonder if a more serious episode is going to follow soon, or if they are going to keep their focus on the sillier aspects of TOS. They pretty much nail that in any case. They all get to play some crazy character and they all fully commit to that. Uhura is an evil queen all of a sudden and Pike is this cowardly traitor.

This episode seems to wrap the subplot of the doctor’s daughter, which felt really soon to me, but then again, this is 1×08 already. Maybe it was in part because they had to get rid of the child, before they had to explain why someone who’s in stasis is growing regardless, but who knows. Maybe that was always their plan.

In fact it doesn’t feel like the whole Season is already almost over. Which must mean that it’s not boring. When Rebecca Romijn jumps into the frame and plays the huntress in this episode (loved her casual remark how she’s actually good friends with Ortegas’ character), she still always seems to be in a good, upbeat mood. Which is such a pleasant departure from the dour, depressing and broken people on Picard. Dr. M’Benga and Hemmer are the only crew members who remain their usual selves.

Makes sense, because otherwise the doctor couldn’t have dealt with what’s happening with his daughter. What I didn’t understand, is how Hemmer also didn’t change and yet had his memory wiped in the end regardless. I feel like I either didn’t understand something in the episode, or they are laying some groundwork for something that’s going to happen with Hemmer later in the show.

For anyone who wants a more mature/serious drama in the realm of sci-fi, I can only keep recommending For All Mankind. All the story and character moments are spot on. I really don’t think there has ever been a show just like this. There are obviously several really good political shows or whatnot, but not in the context of such contemporary sci-fi. Even The Expanse doesn’t compare, because it takes place in the far future and its tech is already very advanced. Almost everything in FAM seems to at least resemble tech that is very comparable to things that exist today.

Their character work is also really solid, in 3×03 one of the engineers stops working at NASA and it’s genuinely sad when he says his goodbyes. They pay off something they have build up over 2 Seasons. It’s just such a little thing and that’s what makes this great. Out of these 3 shows, this is clearly the one I like the most. I’m always looking forward to the next episode and can’t wait to watch it. I have absolutely no idea where this is going, but I really want to know. If this wasn’t weekly, I’d binge this in 3-4 days.

I’d thought about adding The Boys as well, given that I watch this back to back with FAM, but out of all of these shows, it might literally be the most complex one and this would result in way too much text. :D It’s easily one of the best shows I have seen in my life and the way it incorporates contemporary issues and the smart ways in which it deals with them, it easily surpasses especially current Trek shows. Seriously, holy shit. They can’t even dream of coming anywhere close to this. The tiniest stuff on TB can have meaning and will lead to something. It all resolves somehow and it all changes the characters accordingly. The only negative thing I could ever conjure up about this show, is that I’m “afraid” that it might ever get bad somehow. Every single time the show comes back and is still brilliant I feel so relieved.

Damn The Orville 3×03 was really great! Classic Trek feels really alive and well right now. :P In some ways it’s even better than TNG, since current tech allows them to do so much more. On TNG they would have been allowed to do one, maybe two of the scenarios from this episode. Nothing more. Those budgets were tight. I was really invested in the mystery of this episode and was really engaged with it, I didn’t want to stop watching. They totally captured that feeling I always got, when they encountered such a mystery on some obscure planet. It was almost as if it stoked a spark, I thought was gone. :P

It reminded me a bit of the Hotel Royale episode, but they really tried something with the concept here. The many extras alone set this apart from classic shows. It’s really cool that they can pull something like this off now. It’s of course too early to tell with only 3 episodes, but so far it looks like this might be the strongest season of The Orville yet. It’s great they are going out on a high note, with this supposedly being the final season of the show.

Strange New Worlds was super okay again. They are sticking to their guns of splitting up the characters into several teams, with each having to confront their own woes. It’s working. This is the second episode in a row without the Aenar engineer being in it. It’s not a problem, just noticing when major characters are absent.

Pirates capture the Enterprise and gain control over the ship rather quickly. The only thing that was odd about it all, was that there didn’t seem to be much of a crew besides the major characters on the ship. Nurse Chapel for example is completely alone in the corridors on the ship in an instant. In any case, the pirates aren’t the only ones employing some finesse, the Captain and Number One don’t even try to fight the pirates and instead trick them into a mutiny – something they clearly have done before and are now quite good at.

I’d really like to know if this scene with Pike talking like a pirate was even in the script, or if the actor just did that and they kept it because it was funny. I honestly have no idea.

It’s interesting how the show usually has a positive vibe to it, given that it could easily be named Star Trek: Doom instead. Pike is doomed to land in the chair, Spock is doomed to loose T’Pring, almost everyone else is doomed to be replaced soon. Even Uhura is doomed to do the same dead end job forever – okay maybe she’s found her calling and just loves it? I wonder if they have considered that. But it probably doesn’t matter.

As okay as these shows are, I noticed that this itch I had for Star Trek, is now (mostly) being scratched by shows like The Boys or For All Mankind. They are of the same moral fiber as Trek once was and they are told really well (not just in general but also by todays standards). They have clear messages and it’s incredible, how well The Boys manages to deliver those. This show knows exactly what it is and what it wants to do. That’s as good as it gets.

Especially For All Mankind feels like a successor (or replacement?) to Star Trek. It takes place in a much more complex world with well defined characters. It especially serves as an example on how to do a season long arc right. The individual episodes manage to offer satisfying stories themselves (I can actually immerse myself into this), but on top of that each season has a sort of goal it works towards, which has worked out really well in all seasons so far. So this can work, if such a show is run by people who know what they are doing.

So I guess my big takeaway here is, go watch For All Mankind, because it’s awesome. :P

Severance also has a lot of ST DNA, doesn’t it? People waking up in a weird scenario, having to figure out what’s going on and maybe escape from it? That’s really a classic/typical ST theme. In any case, so many shows have inherited good qualities of what once was Trek, so it doesn’t even really matter all that much, if it were to go away entirely. Strange New Worlds is pretty okay so far, but even in that state it’s no match for a show of the caliber of The Boys or For All Mankind. I watch Strange New Worlds on Thursdays, but what I’m really looking forward to each week, is The Boys and For All Mankind on Fridays. That really says it all.

For All Mankind also doesn’t have an uncritical mob attacking everyone who dislikes an episode and doesn’t clap like an automaton for literally everything that has the brand name on it. I guess there are further perks for something not being a well-known brand, that’s been around for decades.

This week gave us another solid episode. A civilization, that is not part of the Federation and is, in some ways, more advanced, is about to carry out some important ritual. The crew has to figure out what’s what and who’s in the right here, if anyone. And in the end it doesn’t exactly work out the way they would have preferred. That’s really cool – from a storytelling perspective – can’t win every time.

Pike says and does some cool stuff again, it stuck in my mind, how he says Starfleet regulations compel him to help this ship, but also his conscience does. It’s also interesting when Pike wants to tell Starfleet about what happened on the planet, but they only shrug it off, because they are not in the Federation, so Starfleet has no jurisdiction there.

The episode is a little bit too vague for my taste on what this machine actually does and I didn’t understand what makes these kids the chosen ones, but I guess they wanted this to take a backseat and focus on the central issue instead. No big deal, but I would have liked a few more sentences here and there to make this more comprehensible.

Oh and when they can’t use the transporter in at the end, because of the dampening field (I think), couldn’t they still have taken a shuttle then? Or would that have taken too long? Unclear. I think only the transporter and communications were disrupted, the planet didn’t have outright shields around it.

Of course I also watched The Orville 3×02 and it’s still really interesting to watch these back to back. I think it’s not just the runtime (Orville is longer), that makes me think the main difference is really attention span. Current Trek is made for people without an attention span, or at least the producers think their audience doesn’t have one. And the pacing, the tone, really everything has to be subordinate to this premise. Orville doesn’t really do that, it doesn’t really succumb to that and that’s why there are these relaxed scenes with 2 people sitting around a table talking and whatnot. It’s really cool that someone preserved that. It bodes well, especially for a science-fiction show I think. It shouldn’t be indistinguishable from the average action or drama show.

At the same time The Orville is doing TNG with better effects and way more elaborate stunts. It’s just nice/pleasant to see that. Fun fact, one of the writers of this episode also worked on the TNG episode Genesis, in which Barclay morphs into a spider and the “aliens” in this episode look very similar to that.

TNG Genesis
Orville 3×02

In any case, I’m looking forward to finding out if The Orville keeps exploring this new expanse they discovered. But then again, why wouldn’t they, after introducing it in this episode. Oh and John Fleck is in this episode. In full mask of course, but the voice is unmistakable.

The Orville started again and it’s pretty good – actually it felt better than previous Seasons, maybe they just managed to refine their formula after 2 Seasons and are really coming into their own. I’ve read that this is supposedly the final Season, so that part’s sad, but all the more reason to enjoy it then. They got a worthy problem to deal with in their Season opener and it’s so great to experience this. I read Season 3 has fewer episodes, but the individual episodes are longer, which would result in the same runtime. If that’s true they clearly made the most out of it, this episode seemed to benefit from its length.

Story beats didn’t have to be rushed and some more important scenes could be allowed to breathe a little bit. Maybe that’s really why The Orville feels more like original Trek, because there isn’t this mandate that stuff has to explode every 5 seconds. The funny part about this is, that without all these forced emotional moments, the emotions in this felt much more earned and sincere. I understood what everyone was going through and it made sense. On top of all this, they had to introduce a new character (who is clearly motivated to put in some good work), which worked out really well. She was involved in the main story of the episode, in a way that felt completely natural.

It’s interesting how they almost completely dropped their comedic bits and the show didn’t suffer at all from it, the opposite. There is this fluid CGI character and even he is just a normal member of the crew now, not just the comic relief. Really glad this show is back and still running!

And oh yeah, it released the same day as Strange New Worlds 1×05 so I watched these 2 shows back to back (almost like I was once watching TNG and DS9 back to back). Giving each episode to 2 fresh new writers keeps being a winning formula, let’s hope nothing will break their streak. It’s another solid episode. I don’t think I have anything to bitch and moan about here. :P

This episode is more on the side of being an outright comedy episode (weird that The Orville, which started as more of a comedy, was serious today – equilibrium?) and as we all know, Star Trek didn’t historically have the best track record of jokes landing right. Here it mostly works, on account of the cast being this charming. They manage to sell the silly parts. But despite that, they still got some solid Star Trek themes in there. I really liked everything Pike had to say at the conference table, to the potentially new Federation members. See? Star Trek fans are not that complicated. That’s all that needs to be in there to please them. Pike is seriously great in this.

But so is Nurse Chapel. Seriously great casting. She can make every scene she’s in better. This cast doesn’t seem to have a weak link. I just hope they won’t start relying on that fact too much. Their stories should stand up without having to be saved by the charm of these actors. If they were to go down that road, I don’t think that would end well. In any case, I like that show now. After 4 good episodes, I really want to watch this now. Just remembered the Aenar character wasn’t in this episode. Makes sense though, the episode was “full” the way it was, better to leave a character out, than to stuff them in needlessly. With them focusing on different characters each episode, they can do everyone justice anyway (hopefully).

The aliens they encounter this time fly away in the end with what really looks like a Bajoran lightship. Don’t know if that was intentional. There have been so many ship types over the years, that this might be a coincidence. The aliens are definitely not Bajoran in any case.

So yeah, running into appropriately weird/interesting aliens, Vulcan mysticism, adventures on the ship, cool crew… All of this could have been on another ST show, it just has better effects. It’s also not stupid or insulting, which is so refreshing. :D

This one came across like the best episode of STSNW by far, out of the small number of 4 eps released to date. It’s also a super good example, how things can be similar in tone to other stuff, without being an outright, mere copy of it. This episode is obviously similar to the TOS episode Balance of Terror and yet it doesn’t just copy it in an ignorant, much worse way, like other current Trek shows are usually doing it.

I enjoyed it so much, I can actually imagine watching this episode again. Great job all around. Feels like a short movie.

Crisis strikes the Enterprise and all the crew members we have met so far, are spread throughout the ship and they all have to deal with their respective problems. I like how this makes everything feel more palpable, it’s like they also showed the people on the planet in the comet episode. It’s again the opposite of what Picard was doing, where so many plot threads were isolated from each other. Doing it like this is so much better storytelling.

PS: One of the screens on the bridge reminds me just a little bit of Star Trek: Judgement Rites, this game too had such a screen, that would always show you if the shields were up and so on. It’s nice to see these screens, that actually display something and they are not all mindless blinking lights and the like.

PPS: I really liked this little speech the chief engineer gave, how pacifism is not passivity and I couldn’t agree more. But then again, his entire exchange with Uhura was pretty strong. For once it was appropriate to play the Star Trek theme.

I’m sorry, but couldn’t they have given her a more convincing doll to carry? It undermines an otherwise cool scene.

From a certain angle, it’s really hard to watch this, without being (also) super cynical about this. Episodes 2 and 3 of this show have been perfectly okay Star Trek adventures, hiring writers who don’t suck were clearly all it took to make this happen – just as I’ve always thought. On the other hand, this inevitably has to mean, that they deliberately decided to make other shows like Picard this bad (and that the company behind them is cool with this).

It’s like they have their own version of “Revenge of the Jocks” going, where they go out of their way to stick it to the nerds they always hated so much and they missed bullying them ever since leaving high school. It’s all just so bizarre. For example, so far each SNW ep had different writers and yet they managed to keep it consistent. Characters will remember what was said the episode before. On Picard however, a show that was supposedly planned out by the same people, Soong will go to a committee to beg for money, because he’s broke, in one episode and in the next he’ll become a big time donor to an expensive space program. WITH WHAT MONEY? It’s like everyone working on that show had dementia or something.

But not on Strange New Worlds, apparently they have rediscovered the strange, futuristic technique of talking to each other and exchanging information.

The actual episode is, again, fine. So far they have cultivated this style of narration, in which an episode’s story is also somehow tied to specific characters and the audience learns more about those specific characters at the same time. It might be simple or whatnot, but so far it’s effective and it just works. I think I like all the characters, I only have problems with seeing this new guy as Spock. But it is what it is. I mean this is really as far as they are able to go. Clearly.

Still looking forward to the next episode.

Several characters that don’t suck?!? What is happening?!?

Lately I saw those popular jocks strutting around again, trying to spread silly ideas like people who don’t applaud current Trek are against change and loving this unconditionally is being pro change. So if this is indeed this big change, then why are they usually so reliant on major classic character names such as Kirk, Spock, Picard, Pike […] and why is next to every episode essentially them saying look here, communicators, phasers, Enterprise, tribbles, Pike, Dixon Hill, Spock, Kirk, Uhura, ten forward, Nurse Chapel, warp, transporter, Borg, Gary Seven, Soong, Data, Khan, […] – you get the idea. It’s literally just throwing every buzz word someone might have heard of in there. Usually at random, of course. It’s like an algorithm randomly throws out those words and this is the next episode then.

On ~178 episodes of TNG they mentioned the name Kirk maybe in 2 episodes. It was just a nod to the audience, that this indeed happened, that this is canon and then they just went on with their own, NEW adventures. Clearly it’s not about change at all, otherwise they wouldn’t rely constantly on throwing in references to older shows. Change was, when TNG (which featured new characters, not just new actors in the same roles) added the holodeck, a technology that made complete sense in the context of Star Trek and didn’t exist before on TOS. What new ideas did, for example Star Trek: Picard, add to the Trek canon/lore, that didn’t exist before? Exactly. It mostly just revealed that they themselves had no idea of Trek, because they only threw in those words, without knowing their proper context. Oh, they invented that weird sex-toy thingie in Season 1. Remember that? What do people think was the better and smarter addition to Star Trek – TNG’s holodeck, or Picard’s sex-toy? Exactly… How pathetic is it, to applaud that “change”?

In any case, while I wasn’t all that impressed with the first episode last week (given their talks about ringing phones and seeing lights in the sky enabling people to skip hundreds of years of technology…), this week it took quite the turn for me. You could really tell instantly, that this episode wasn’t written by the Batman & Robin dudebro. This entire episode had like 1 big miss for me and that was their continued insistence on non-Trek nonsense like “fate”. Obviously actual Star Trek is always committed to reason and science and sees and judges everything through those lenses. So even if they don’t have their shittiest writers on the job, this seems to be some sort of mandate almost, to ignore those tenets of Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek in any case.

I’m shocked to say that almost the entire rest of the episode was closer to Star Trek, than anything that had that brand name on it, since Enterprise went off the air 20 years ago.

A comet threatens to hit a planet and thus will kill all the people on it. They even show those people, which was really neat, so they are not just some abstract idea. Obviously Enterprise has to stop it and naturally there are some obstacles in the way. That’s the core of this episode. That’s a total Star Trek premise. Was that really so hard? And they are also not resorting to horrible violence and beheading people, nor are they ripping peoples eyes out. That’s a first for current Trek. No one could have foreseen, that you would have to say this one day about Star Trek of all things. Usually Team Kurtzman can’t control their bloodthirst and just give in to their deepest, darkest desires.

Pretty much everything else I haven’t mentioned yet was pretty okay. If they can actually hold this level (meaning all of the Kurtzman bros would have to permanently hand this off to other writers), I will definitely keep watching this.

The crew interactions were mostly upbeat and people who got some more screentime already, such as Uhura, are likeable and make sense. I had almost forgotten how it feels to see normal people on current Trek, who aren’t on drugs and suffer from all kinds of mental illnesses and are – of course – also incompetent. They seem to be selling the blind guy from the Andorian homeworld (the people who were first introduced on Enterprise) as some sort of Marvel’s Daredevil, which these people weren’t before (duh), but otherwise he seems well played. He made a good first impression in any case. Pike is a little bit too informal for my taste, but it is what it is. Those are really only very minor things.

I really wanna see the next episode now, to find out if they can hold this level or if it was just a fluke.

Without looking it up, I can immediately tell that the Batman & Robin bro has his fingerprints all over this. When something claims to be a Star Trek science fiction show, which was supposed to be all reason and science, but instead they are talking about “vision” and “fate”, it’s clear this can only go down one path. But what else could the same group of people ever deliver? There is no will/capability to improve/change anything.

Right at the start Pike’s communicator™ beeps and the other Captain says “the phone rings”. Being entirely unwilling to do science-fiction, on a show that’s in the future on a spaceship can only lead to disaster. Every. Single. Time.

Both Pike and Spock are introduced with a woman in bed, so the message is that even pussy can’t keep them off the Enterprise. Even in the Kirk era they handled this more delicately. :D This is literally a message in this episode. :P

So the thing in this episode is, that a society built a warp-weapon. The explanation is, that this planet saw the lights of the Discovery Season 2 Finale fight in the sky and “reverse-engineered” (!) this technology from… seeing lights… WTF. Okay. This is what happens if people who hate science-fiction and have no imagination write such a show. It would have been so easy to say instead, that debris from one of the ships crashed on that planet and they used that to build this weapon. Self-inflicted wounds.

During the entire episode Pike points out several times, how super classified the STD S2 Finale is, but then at some point he just openly blabs about it, unconcerned who hears it. There is this certain recklessness that seems to be in most characters. I don’t know if they think this is cool or something. But it’s normal now, that hardly any of these people behave like professionals.

Pike does get the 2 groups to use diplomacy in the end, but he does so by presenting the Enterprise and telling everyone he has much more firepower, so ultimately he uses force – which is probably the closest these people are able to get to the Star Trek idea. Use some diplomacy, fine, but there has to be at least some violence somewhere in the mix.

This went about as well as one could expect it to. The same ingredients make the same taste, no matter which direction one stirs.

To top things off, naturally Pike regularly has visions of his impending doom. btw: When they start the mission, Pike speaks about nobody dying and so on – why would you talk like that on some routine mission? This should freak the crew out more, than not mentioning crazy stuff like this.

Right at the start the watcher gives the group equipment which is supposed to work “like their tricorders” which would have been unnecessary, if those people were professional Starfleet Officers, who wouldn’t just leave their ship before taking the equipment they desperately need to complete their mission. It’s just the fate of all of humanity that’s at stake here after all…

Then Picard leaves with the watcher and they are like “What the hell is he doing?!?”. This must have been the first time I was feeling what the characters on this show were feeling. I’m asking myself this question most of the time watching this. Especially for a show called Picard, he isn’t usually doing all that much, most people come up with their own ideas and he’s not really leading them for the most part.

Rios, Raffi and Seven go to Brent Spiner’s lab and sabotage drones, which doesn’t tie into anything else and is a completely isolated plot thread. It’s not like anyone sees the drones and they never get close to the mission site. It feels like a throwaway idea, just to keep those characters busy, because they didn’t know what else to do with them. And they also needed the screentime. CBS is paying for ~45 min eps, so that’s what they have to deliver.

Brent Spiner just treats the figurehead of this whole endeavor like trash. Instead of standing up for herself, she let’s him do whatever he wants. He mentions his donations again, that he made with money he didn’t have (because all his funding was cut). She should have just thrown him out. Instead she let’s him walk around unsupervised during such a critical stage of their launch. Did they ever say which organization created this mission? I have no idea.

The watcher didn’t have to die (like Q and the story insists). The watcher wouldn’t have died, if they had just stopped Brent Spiner, who was unarmed, from leaving. I told them right away that this mistake would came back to haunt them. :P Why didn’t they listen? Spiner’s entire master plan is to accidentally run into Renée Picard and poison her with a handshake. His only backup plan were the drones, which they already destroyed. Nothing would have stopped the watcher from just punching him in the face instead, or use her weapon, whatever.

Picard and the watcher are completely alone on an empty set, a huge ground crew should be there. Especially during a launch. There is no security, no nothing. Apparently anyone can just show up there and go anywhere. What did Picard do with the alien body?

They never explained why the watcher just happens to look like Laris. Did they? Did I miss it? I’m not watching that twice. I really think they skipped this, which is pathetic. One random mystery without resolution follows the next.

We don’t even get to see what Renée Picard discovers, because the writers don’t know themselves, how that would have looked like. Just imagine First Contact would have ended without showing the Vulcans. That would have sucked so hard. But that’s how they handle it here, the whole thing the entire Season supposedly builds up to, happens off-camera. We get 2-3 sentences of dialog what she finds and that’s it.

Wil Wheaton (over-acting with the intensity of 10 combined William Shatners) shows up to recruit Soji to never appear on this show again (presumably) and claims that the travelers are behind the watchers, which really doesn’t seem to match the (admittedly vague) description of the group behind them. When John Byrne wrote and drew his comic Assignment: Earth, I’m almost certain that’s not what he had in mind. And not just because those watchers were an invention of TNG and didn’t exist yet during the creation of TOS. But how many times can you say, that they don’t care about the Trek lore. To hammer the ignorance home, they beam away at the end, when a traveler’s one defining quality was, to be able to travel without such technology (The Traveler had certain abilities, like the ability to act like “a lens which focuses thought”, which allowed him to alter space, time, and warp fields with the power of his mind.).

At the end, Q all of a sudden acts super nice and whatnot (and claims he just wanted to do Picard a favor), but he is literally the one who’s responsible for the death of the Laris lookalike (he claims she dies in every timeline, but what would even kill her, since without Q no one is even trying to stop the mission she protects). He is the one who hired Brent Spiner to mess with the Europa mission. Without Q’s interference, BS would have just been in his lab, working on a cure for Soji. But everyone on the show completely forgot about that. Whoever wrote this script, didn’t read the script for the other episode, or forgot all about it. It’s all so terrible.

Picard thankfully and finally asks Q WHY (he did all of this), but instead of answering this central and important question, he just lists some random nonsense, because the writers couldn’t think of a reason outside them having contracts for 3 Seasons of this. And they couldn’t have him say that. I would have enjoyed that bit of honesty though, if they would have dared to do it. Q goes on to add some more random nonsense like he’s going to die alone, but why would he necessarily, since he’s part of the Q continuum etc… Q says “you matter to me”, but again, no why in sight. Honestly, he raises more questions than he answers. That’s just not something I want from Season finales. But then again, who would have expected anything profound at this point.

Outside, Q addresses all of them for one last time and Raffi takes this opportunity to once more demonstrate behavior unbecoming of a Starfleet Officer. John de Lancie shows that he’s a good actor and deserved better before sending them back.

Rios leaves to be on The Flight Attendant. Good for him, he deserves some happiness, after everything he had to suffer through. :P I mean, Picard raises some questions about the timeline and all, the thing they came back to fix, but the doctor is just too hot to leave. So he stays.

Overall, this Season seems to “wrap” most characters (once more Seven and Raffi, characters with 0 chemistry, seem to be in a relationship by getting 1 scene to that effect, like their 1 scene in Season 1), so whatever we haven’t learned about them yet, we most likely never will. So they are like the space tentacles from S1, which just as well might have never happened. With the exception, that these were the so-called “family members” and main protagonists for all 2 Seasons of this show.

Agnes (as the new Borg Queen) requested Starfleet just to prevent a disaster, but when Seven takes command, she just orders the fleet to submit to the Borg, which never would have worked, because it sounded 100% as if they had just been assimilated. The entire rest of the fleet could have opened fire on them at that point. But of course that doesn’t happen, because they blindly accept the word of Seven of Nine (who got field promoted only seconds earlier), another “Borg” and they resolve the entire problem/galactic event in 30 seconds. It also might set up the threat of Season 3, but who knows, they actually might introduce this here and then just forget about it.

In the next scene Vin Diesel and the rest of The Fast and the Furious are back in a bar drinking with Guinan, because nothing is stronger than family™. If only there was any chemistry between them and all this emotional talk about family felt earned. It’s really weird. On an individual level these people (except maybe Raffi) aren’t even unlikable or anything, it’s just that especially those relationships between Raffi and Elnor (or Raffi and Seven) feel so extremely forced. The show just declared the existence of all these relationships without showing them develop in a more believable way. And even in 2 Seasons they could have done it, since lots of screentime went to them just standing around at parties or in bars.

I also have a strong dislike of them just playing the Star Trek music, when something supposedly in accordance with Star Trek values just happened, without them also delivering it through the writing. It just leaves a bad taste behind. They do it several times this episode. On TNG they didn’t have to play the Star Trek jingle each time Picard gave an order, out of fear the audience otherwise would have missed the crew saving the day or something. The stories and acting managed to do all of that on their own merits, the way it should be.

Parts of Season 2 could have made a nice two-parter, if 90% “trash” would have been cut out. So much was just random filler content. But nothing but a 90 minute movie about Picard, making peace with the Borg? Supported by Q? That could have been at least watchable. There are some scenes in this Season, if you would cut them out and show them to someone completely without context, they might actually like them. Ultimately there is just too much content in this that contradicts the lore or even shows open disdain for it. That doesn’t even cover all the elements which are stupid in their own right. All those plot threads that lead nowhere and are forgotten again. It’s so hard to like this. Even someone who knows nothing about Star Trek and therefore can’t be offended by all the lore violations, is still not given a solid sci-fi show.

PS: Did they ever “clean up” all those corpses, that got beamed into the walls inside the Château? :D

Last time this fed guy had this flashback about Vulcans trying to mind-meld with him. Problem is, during this time period, mind-melding was still outlawed on Vulcan and therefore no Vulcan expedition would have done/tried this. There is a whole arc about this on Enterprise. T’Pol’s mother T’Les is one of the “rebels”/Syrrannites, who start using mind-melds despite the Vulcan High Command prosecuting people who do this. People who watch Star Trek know this stuff. True story. Worse than fanfic.

The whole story with the mother having mental health issues and killing herself made no sense in the context of this setting. Sadly it makes sense in our day and age, but not in the Star Trek future, in which medical sciences are so advanced, that people could and would help someone like that successfully. So none of this could possibly be Picard’s actual backstory. But I already talked about it, how none of that stuff has anything to do with Picard anyway.

The soldiers that were introduced at the end of the last ep, show up with Brent Spiner this time. BS himself isn’t armed and yet he storms in with them. Why would he do that? During a shootout. And when he talks to PS, he just stands out in the open with all his men. THIS IS THE MOMENT TO SHOOT ALL OF THEM YOU GUYS!!! :P

After Stewart’s group is done killing all the soldiers, BS alone remains and they just let him get away, they don’t even try to stop him. I’m sure this won’t get them into any trouble later, he’s only trying to sabotage the timeline they are trying to fix after all.

The Borg Queen heals Seven and as a result Seven gets the exact Borg implants back, she had in the original timeline. They don’t just look similar, they are the same. From a wound the Borg Queen healed in Seven’s stomach, she got a Borg implant around her eye. Okay.

As thanks for Seven’s life, they agree to give their sole space ship to the new Borg Queen. They couldn’t wait with that until after the mission or anything. Stewart isn’t asked and after all of them meet up again, no one even talks much about what the hell just happened. It’s apparently no big deal to them, that they are stranded now and their whole equipment is gone too. Raffi and Seven don’t even grab anything, before they leave the ship. It’s like they aren’t even trying anymore and no one who truly cared about this mission, would handle it this way. And if they won’t take this serious on any level, why should the audience?

In a vacuum, completely ignoring the rest of the episodes, I dare say this one wasn’t even that bad. At least it had some themes in it that could be appropriate for an actual Star Trek show. The Borg Queen merging her different personas into a new personality and thus changing her opinion, the protagonists making peace with a former enemy, those are Star Trek ideas. If those would have been the only themes of this Season, this might have worked out. But they really aren’t. There is no coherence to be found. It’s all just random stuff they threw in there, without thinking too much about any of it.

They regularly forget about seemingly big pieces of their story like Q, who wasn’t in this episode at all and at some point he’s going to show up again anyway, as if the writers suddenly remembered they had this character on the show as well. A lot of it could be rearranged and it wouldn’t matter. It would still be as random and pointless. It’s a huge red flag if one could just cut out entire scenes out of something, without that making a difference. But that’s what this show is.

Maybe they bring Soji back next time to die or something, because the Borg Queen played cryptic oracle and said 1 Renée astronaut has to die/1 lives. They probably won’t kill off Renée Picard and have Soji be Picard’s ancestor. :D But then again, the father and mother shown had black hair like Soji, while Renée Picard is blonde (discovering this got Ned Stark killed). Nothing is too insane for this show. Having a story be unpredictable, solely because it’s all just random stuff mixed together, isn’t something writers should congratulate themselves for.

Oh wow, once again, I called it. Incredible. They only brought Q back to kill him. They essentially confirmed it this time (that he’s going to die). If it really goes down this route, this show is like a tomb, a massive grave, in which they are burying everything Star Trek. By now I wonder, if they made Picard an undead android, so they can kill him twice on this show. I wouldn’t be surprised if season 3 ended with Picard dying AGAIN.

It seems as if Q is just popping up everywhere. He can just be an FBI guy in federal buildings or create complex genetic cures. Or be astronaut Picard’s therapist. All that, without having any powers or anyone noticing that it’s always the same guy doing all these things. How would some ordinary guy just gain access to all these places? How would he create the cure? He would need access to a lab somewhere and invest (at the very least) quite the amount of time into that. He doesn’t even have any help, he is completely alone. This is why he had to approach BS in the first place.

He should be worse off than Picard, because his team at least has tricorders, phasers and access to a ship with a transporter. Q on the other hand has to use the bus or go on foot, I presume. He should be at a massive disadvantage. How would he even know where Picard is?

As predicted last time, escaping from the arrest wasn’t very hard to do and I found it quite laughable, how Picard immediately pops up in numerous reports this agent has full access to (including info about Picard’s entire crew), but Agnes, who literally runs around in a red dress and murders people in broad daylight, is next to invisible to everyone and draws zero attention. Apparently at this point it’s so normal that Agnes murders people, that even people in the past, who don’t know her, are like “nothing to see here”.

There’s a flashback with Raffi and Elnor in this episode and he all of a sudden has an Australian accent. Obviously I can’t be bothered to go back and check for it, but I could swear this is the first time he had one. If so, they are really openly just phoning it in at this point. 0 effort made.

The first few eps this season felt like they were dumping all kinds of different ideas into each episode, without offering a satisfying conclusion to any of them. The last 3 eps however, all felt like filler. It’s as if they’ve run out of steam. In one of the scenes they literally have a kid eat some cake. That’s something they have time for on this show. There is no meaning and point to it.

In this episode, Soji is still trying to figure out what she is and confronts BS about it, although she has already seen the videologs explaining everything last time. I understand that this must be shocking to her, but she’s smart, right? With access to all the proof, she should be able to piece this together within seconds. The audience did. When she walks away in the end, I seriously asked myself if this was a wrap for her. Her whole arc only seemed to serve as justification for why BS would work for the likes of Q and the Borg Queen.

BS organizes soldiers for Agnes and she can just assimilate them. Of course, elite soldiers would just stand there, do nothing and let it happen with zero reaction towards this threat. It’s also sad that Agnes seems to have replaced the other Borg Queen actress, who was so much better than Agnes.

PS: Once more the writers reveal they never saw TNG (and couldn’t be bothered to look anything up), by claiming Guinan never met Picard, which obviously isn’t the case. She knew all about Picard for over 100 years at this point. Picard and Guinan first met in 1893 – 131 years before the events of Star Trek: Picard. It’s kinda sad that even the actors didn’t point this out, but apparently they just forgot or don’t care or both.

PPS: Laris/The Watcher isn’t in this ep at all – after her reveal in the last one. So we are supposed to believe she would just sit this one out.

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