Star Trek should never be event television.
Star Trek should also never be “peak television.”
There are going to be people that vehemently disagree with this or call my view of Trek to be narrow and that’s okay. As much as I had issues with Discovery only to give in that yes, it did get better, my main point was that Star Trek worked best when exploring the whole, not just hyper-focused on certain characters and narratives.
What worked best about the character Jean-Luc Picard was that we, the viewers, got to see him from many different angles. Not every episode was a Picard-centric episode, and sometimes he really didn’t matter to an episode at all. Some characters had more antagonistic relationships with him than others, and to some he was like a brother or a father.
Star Trek: Picard removes that for a multiple POV-format show that still sees Picard as the central character, as the title suggests. I enjoyed last week’s episode quite a bit and while this week’s episode wasn’t bad, it also felt like an exposition dump of sorts.
Oh yeah, the revolt on Mars? Let’s show it.
What the Romulans are doing on the Borg Cube? Let’s show it!
Is the Federation really Trumpian? Let’s show it!
Last week’s episode was focused on a lot of the action and setting up the main plot while this week’s episode was filling in a lot of the blanks that were left behind and sort of moving some stuff ahead a bit. There didn’t feel to be a lot going on. Trek works best when things are slowed down and we get to focus on some political squabbles and character-centric solutions. Focusing on one main character creates a new sort of problem for Trek in that Trek has never been about individualistic heroes saving the day or taking on the weight of the world on their own, instead it’s been about what people can do as a collective.
The absurdly clear politics of the show (note: I mostly agree with them!) pits Picard against the Federation and Starfleet in such a way where the whole have lost their way, and the one needs to bring light to the darkness. Yes, he’ll get a ship and a small crew at some point, we’ve seen that from the previews and yes, we’ll get cameos from former, beloved characters that helped to shape Picard into a universally loved character and yet I can’t help but feel like something is wrong here.
We got to see Picard’s Romulan aids/friends/workers/servants/who knows info dump about Romulan secret police, do some minor CSI work and then see that yes, the Romulans have infiltrated the Federation by this secret group embedding themselves into the rank and file of Starfleet.
On two separate occasions Picard calls upon the help of “old friends” and they are not really old friends. A doctor from the Stargazer which is a new character, and then another former Starfleet officer that seems to dislike Picard but he brings wine in hopes of her finding a ship for him. Neither of these characters are known entities (although I guess Raffi Musiker has a prequel comic about her?!) and while nostalgia alone is not a great thing, when exploring a character like Picard it would make a lot more sense for him to be relying on actual old friends, even if they write in a line about him not wanting to get them into trouble into the episode.
The scenes on the Borg Cube were perhaps the most interesting ones but remained brief.
I dunno, maybe I just wasn’t in the mood? I’ll perhaps give it another watch in a few days.
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