I just finished watching the first episode of season 2 of Star Trek: Picard and then the after show. I’m very intrigued.
The first episode of season 2 is called "The Star Gazer." And the title turns out to have multiple meanings.
Before I get into any spoilers I will say that the episode surprised me. The trailers had led me to expect a very different beginning. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. The pacing felt much more like an episode of one of the older Star Trek series than many of the episodes of season one. A mystery was introduced, the situation escalated, building to an unexpected climax. Which led to a bigger mystery.
I liked it. Full disclosure: I also really liked last season. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but most of the preview articles and fan casts that I’ve seen talking about the new series are critical of season one about completely different things than what I was unhappy with. So not sure what that says about me or the show.
I enjoyed it and am looking forward to next weeks’ episode.
Now, I want to talk some specifics, which means Spoilers!
Turn back now if you don’t want any spoilers!
If you haven’t seen the episode, if you can go watch it now!
This is your last chance before the spoilers!
The episode starts off with a bang. We’re on a federation ship clearly under attack and crew members are racing up the corridors. While the regular red alert alarm is sounding, the computer voice is saying "Intruder alert!" when it isn’t telling us which ship’s system just failed. The camera follows three crew members to the bridge where there is already a fire fight going on. People seem to be dying left and right. We finally see a couple of characters we know from season one: Picard, Dr Jurati, and Seven of Nine. The situation is very dire. Picard calls for the auto destruct sequence (which is confusing because neither Picard, Jurati, or Seven were dressed it anything that appeared to be a Star Fleet uniform)…
…and we fade to black…
Which fades to a view of planet Earth that zooms in on France and we are informed that this is 48 hours earlier.
I don’t intend to recap the entire episode as I often did last season, but I wanted to get all this in at this point so I could say that I almost always hate this kind of opening. It’s great to throw us into the pot already boiling at the beginning of the story, but I hate the reveal it’s a flash forward and we’re going to now watch how they get in that situation.
And I was really afraid that we would somehow have to wait until the last episode to find out how our heroes got into that predicament. Fortunately, that isn’t the case. We see the opening in context (with a some bits that were skipped over in the opening) before the episode ends.
Season one ended with our heroes flying into the cosmos aboard Rios’s ship La Sirena, but in season two we find it’s been about 2 years later and everyone is scattered. Picard is the new Chancellor of Star Fleet Academy, Rios and Raffi have both been re-instated in Star Fleet, Seven is back with the Fenris Rangers, and so on.
Thanks to transporter technology Picard can commute from the family vineyard in France to Star Fleet Academy in California. So we see Picard on the day grapes are being harvested and we get a couple of really touching scenes with Laris, the former Romulan spy who has been working for and looking after Picard for some years.
I haven’t decided if I like the direction the writers took with Laris, but I’m glad to see her.
It was also nice to watch Picard going to Guinan for advice. Whoopi Goldberg and Patrick Stewart have a warm chemistry that makes any scene enjoyable.
The showrunners went to all this trouble to scatter the characters to the four corners of the universe, but the plot rather far-fetchedly gets a whole bunch of them to the big strange anomaly in space awfully quickly. In the second version of the opening scene we are now aware that the ship where this is happening is Rios’ ship, and Picard was sent out to the ship by Star Fleet for reasons that should have made someone realize it was a trap.
But we got a lot of phaser fire and some ‘splosions in space, and it’s hard to go wrong with that.
By the end of the episode we know that the two main antagonists of the season are going to be a new Borg Queen and Q. But we don’t know what either of them have planned (well, except we all know that the Borg are out to assimilate everyone, but you know what I mean).
It ended with a very intriguing mystery.
I can’t wait to find out what happens next!
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