Star Trek: Picard – A Season In Review

second picard poster

The first season of Star Trek: Picard has just concluded and it’s time to take a look at the season and the show itself. There will be many spoilers coming up, so if anyone has not seen the show streaming on CBS All Access or Amazon Prime then turn back. Otherwise, read on!

Star Trek: Picard naturally centers on the ongoing story of Admiral (retired) Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) as he left behind a tranquil existence at his French vineyard for one more grand adventure/mission which will reshape the galaxy.

The show takes place in 2399, twenty years after the film, Star Trek: Nemesis, and the death of the android Starfleet officer Data (Brent Spiner). Jean-Luc Picard angrily resigned from Starfleet fourteen years earlier and tends to his vineyard along with his Romulan employees, Zhaban (Jamie McShane) and Laris (Orla Brady). Picard meets Soji Asha (Isa Briones), a young woman who turned out to be a synthetic person and Data’s daughter. She is killed by Romulan secret agents but Picard learned that Soji had a twin sister, Dahj, and sets out to rescue her before the Romulans get to her. It turns out that Dahj is working in a deactivated Borg cube operated by Romulans and ex-Borg drones.

During his sojourn to find Dahj and protect her from the Romulan agents, a team forms around Picard who come in and out of his story. They include Dr. Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill), a cyberneticist; Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), a former Borg last seen nearly twenty years ago in Star Trek: Voyager, and is now a space vigilante; Picard’s former crewmate Raffi Musiker (Michelle Hurd) who has a bit of an addiction problem; Elnor (Evan Evagora), a noble Romulan warrior devoted to protecting Picard; and Chris Rios (Santiago Cabrera), a former Starfleet commander who pilots his own private spaceship La Sirena and is a roguish space pirate in the Han Solo/Malcolm Reynolds mode.

sirena and old romulan ship

The Romulans secret agents are after Dahj because they believe her to be the fulfillment of an ancient prophesy that spells doom for all organic life in the galaxy. They hope to learn from her the location of her homeworld in order to obliterate it and prevent the prophesy. Obviously it is up to the nonagenarian Picard to get back into the captain’s chair and save Dahj and the galaxy before time runs out.

Star Trek: PIcard is another welcome Star Trek spinoff that effortlessly picks up the story of Star Trek after the events in Star Trek: Nemesis and parts of the Star Trek reboot. Doing this gives weight and meaning to the Star Trek Prime universe by exploring the ramifications of the destruction of the Romulan homeworld shown in the Star Trek reboot and the subsequent refugee status of many Romulans though their overall status of their government was unclear.It also gives a well balanced exploration of the Romulans themselves; something most of the other shows and films failed to do. Not all of them are one-dimensional, sneering villains.

The show is undeniably a sincere tribute to fans of the Star Trek Prime universe and of course, Star Trek: The Next Generation. Some may complain that it’s too much of a tribute with its numerous references, Easter eggs and cameo appearances, but they’re all just background layering for the uninitiated while rewarding for fans.

The show is clearly a Star Trek show, yet it isn’t. How can that be? Well, the show is not focused on current Starfleet personnel but on civilians and former officers. Freed from regulations and decorum the characters give us a feel for how life is like in the Federation and nearby regions for non-Starfleet people. The vaunted Federation is not as revered or as noble as presented in other Star Trek shows. In fact, there is an underlying notion that the Federation may be entering a period of decay; that it’s best times are past. Hence, one of the reasons why Picard walked away from Starfleet. Star Trek: Picard is edgier than the typical Star Trek show; there is a lot of cursing including F bombs. Most of the characters are deeply flawed including the humans, which goes vehemently against the idealistic and ultimately unrealistic Roddenberry future utopia where humanity is completely without fault. This will make some fans uncomfortable but it helps make the show more real and relatable to most viewers.

What we’re left with is a show that feels a bit like Firefly in that it stars roguish types who disdain authority. These are some truly interesting characters with their own complex back stories. Standouts include Rios and Raffie, who are both broken souls with troubled pasts and unwittingly gain redemption by joining Picard’s quest. It doesn’t hurt that both characters are well performed. Other characters like Elnor seek a just cause or for something to believe in. And holding the group dynamic is Picard himself, the moral glue that holds them together.

It goes without saying that Patrick Stewart puts in a bravura performance in the role that made him famous. As always, he eloquently portrays the bitter and defeated old man who finds a real reason to go out and make a difference in the galaxy. Stewart is so comfortable and elegant playing Jean-Luc Picard, it truly is a shame he has not done the role in so long. But at least he is back to usher in a new era of the Star Trek Prime universe.

Unlike most Star Trek shows, Star Trek: Picard follows a serialized format that is essentially a mystery. The payoff in the final episodes (“Et in Arcadia Ego, Parts I and II”) felt a bit predictable but it had its fist-pumping moments with cinema-quality effects and cinematography; one of those standouts was when Admiral William Riker (Jonathan Frakes, who also turned up in the season’s best episode “Napenthe”) literally shows up with the cavalry. Still, the payoff wasn’t as invigorating or as intense as “Such Sweet Sorrow” the second season finale of Star Trek: Discovery. Coming way from the finale its realized that certain plot elements were unresolved, which was annoying. Mother bit of a copout was how the show resolved the personal journey of Jean-Luc Picard. Without giving anything away, it was an interesting twist but it robbed much of the emotional impact of the fate of the former Starfleet admiral. Let’s leave it at that.

picard takes charge

Star Trek: Picard is a welcome return to the classic heyday of the uplifting era of Star Trek: The Next Generation and its immediate spinoffs. In these times, the show provides a much-needed reminder of the wonderful potential of humankind and what we should aspire to.

José Soto

10 comments on “Star Trek: Picard – A Season In Review

  1. I really enjoyed Star Trek Picard, it was great to be reunited with so many STTNG characters again. The effects were stunning and the finale was epic and emotional. Great show! Looking forward to season 2

    • I’m really grateful that we got to see the return of Picard and the rest of the Trek universe that we love. The season had some issues but they were outweighed by what it got right.

      It would be terrific if the second season continued to bring back other characters or revisit other places and stories from the classic shows.

      • Agreed, they did a great job with Picard and brining back some of the other STTNG cast. Though Seven of Nine was really cool as well! The only issue I had with this series was all the swearing, it just doesn’t feel like Star Trek when they do that, and I felt it spoiled a couple of the episodes. That aside,, I’m very excited to see Season 2, I think Guinan is returning isn’t she? Hope we see other STTNG cast members return, maybe even some of 7’s friends from Voyager, or perhaps a stop over at DS9 perhaps? That’d be fun 🙂

      • Last I heard Guinan was slated to appear. Would love to see other characters from Voyager and DS9. They can even do spinoffs like that Captain Worf show that was pitched a few years ago.

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  3. Great review, I’m actually in the process of putting together my own which I’ll probably be posting in the coming week. Whilst I would say that the first season of Picard wasn’t perfect, it was never less than enjoyable (sometimes pretty darn great) overall.

    I’d say at this point I prefer Discovery and you’re right, the finale of Picard didn’t quite much up to the season 2 finale of Disco but it was still a solid and emotional conclusion and left me looking forward to the next season.

    • Looking forward to reading your review on the show. Pretty sure you’re opinion will be similar to mine!😉

      Despite it’s imperfections Star Trek: Picard was a real treat for us fans and left me eager for what happens next to Picard and the others.

  4. Felt cheated in the end because the Romulans were right all along and that made them the good guys. Picard instead was driven by emotion and his past relationship with Data and expected to win by talking? And the end face-off was simply a bad CGI without any real tactics that Captain Picard in the past would have deployed.

  5. I don’t know how I missed this review a few months ago! I agree about the ending Picard twist- it did rob viewers of an emotional investment as to what happened to him. However, I did enjoy the series very much and am looking forward to season two, as Discovery is losing its luster for me. And I was thrilled when a few weeks ago it was announced there will be a Pike series with Number One & young Spock!

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