Star Trek: Picard, Trek’s answer to The Mandalorian (aka “the show for all the purists who spent all their time whining on the internet about the previous entry in the series”) premiered yesterday to great fanfare…
The show picks up 20-ish years after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis with Admiral Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart reprising the iconic role) retired to his vineyard in France. Time and grief may have altered him slightly (now he drinks “Tea. Earl Grey. Decaf.”), but he is very much the Picard we remember. This is driven home when he grants an interview and is asked about why he left Starfleet. He also gives an angry and impassioned speech about how Starfleet was no longer Starfleet and how ashamed he was that it abandoned a mission to save Romulans from a supernova (a reference to J.J. Abrams’ reboot).
Between that and “synthetics” being banned after some androids went rogue and attacked the rescue armada and set Mars on fire.. and you have a recipe for a man who prided himself on his morals wanting nothing to do with what the world has become.
A major focus of the show’s first episode is Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner) and the legacy he left behind. The show starts with a dream sequence: Picard playing poker with Data (who died in Nemesis) in Ten Forward with “Blue Skies” (sung by Data at the wedding Riker and Troi [Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis]) playing in the background, stalling because he doesn’t want the game to end.
Once Data reveals his hand (five Queens of Hearts), we see Mars burning through the window of the Enterprise-D as the android attack commences. During the interview, whether Picard ever lost faith in Data (“Never.”) is brought up. Later, a young woman named Dahj (Isa Briones), who bears a striking resemblance to a painting Data made entitled “Daughter”, shows up at Picard’s home. It’s Dahj’s story that makes Picard visit the Starfleet Archive, deduce that she is an android, and visit the Daystrom Institute to figure out her connection to his deceased friend.
Unlike Discovery, which took some time to find a groove, Picard feels like Trek from the outset. Episode one moves a bit slow, particularly in the big exposition dump that is Picard’s interview, but was still highly enjoyable.
Considering that until now, we thought The Next Generation’s story done, I’m interested to see where the show can go since it’s not another prequel and isn’t shackled by the problems Enterprise and Disco had of trying to work around an already established canon. Plus, Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) will be back! Show’s not perfect, but it’s a helluva start. 4/5 Mugs of Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.