Hey! Hallie here!
Up until this point I’ve done reviews pretty frequently for ‘Picard’, but ‘Picard’ has given me so many major things to chew on, and so many mixed feelings about them, that I really needed time to think about them and dedicate an entire post to them. So this is going to have MAJOR SPOILERS for the last few episodes of ‘Picard’. If you haven’t stayed up to date with the season, don’t read this post. In any case, ‘Picard’ has been giving us some major plot twists in pretty much every episode, and I’m not sure whether they’re bold or too predictable. Between new character introductions and old characters returning we’ve seen a lot of interesting developments, but interesting doesn’t necessarily mean good. As you can probably tell I have a lot of strong and confused feelings about this season of ‘Picard’. So let’s get into the major plot points that seem to be effecting this show most at the moment, and the ways they both succeed and fail.
Jack is Picard’s Son: This reveal was the first big reveal of the series. This twist was good in that it brought Crusher and Picard together in a way fans had wanted to see for many, many years. It was the first time we got full confirmation of some sort of romantic relationship between the two, and the deep conversation they had regarding their son was one of the best moments of the series so far. Picard’s grief over not being able to raise his son and Beverly’s fear over how Picard’s reputation could have endangered Jack while he was growing up, made for a very interesting dynamic between the two. But there’s also various cons. One is that, though Jack has proven a fast talker and capable in a fight, he hasn’t really endeared himself to the audience yet. His immediate coldness to Picard and his tendency to act overly cocky don’t make him an instant favorite, and the plot focuses more on the mystery surrounding him than it does on his character development. And then there’s the problem with Picard and Beverly’s fight. While you can see where both characters are coming from when they’re discussing why Picard was left out of Jack’s life, it’s undeniable that Beverly was wrong to not even tell him he had a son. Every Starfleet officer risks endangering themself and the people close to them. Beverly know that better than anyone having lost her husband on a mission and having Westley serve on the same ship she served on. So why is she suddenly holding this against Picard, who has no control over it? Picard having a son is a plot point I feel needs extra care, and while I don’t dislike this reveal, I’m not seeing that care so far.
Changelings: The next big reveal was that our main villains of this season are Changelings. As a huge ‘Deep Space Nine’ fan, I was immediately on board for the return of the Changelings. Not only are the Changelings one of the most terrifying ‘Star Trek’ villains because of their ability to replace any character without anyone knowing, their return also means references to Odo! I love the idea of Changelings slowly taking over Starfleet. It isn’t the first time a hostile group of aliens has tried to take over Starfleet, but if anyone has the greatest chance at actually succeeding with this plan, it’s the Changelings. I also love the tense moments where the characters, particularly Seven, have had to hunt down disguised Changelings. The show does a really good job of making you feel like no one can be trusted. But then there’s the strange changes they’ve made from the ‘Deep Space Nine’ days. On the one hand, a major plot point has become that Changelings have adapted to be able to mimic not just the outer appearances of humans, but the inner appearances of humans. No X-Rays can catch them because they appear to have human organs, and no blood tests can catch them because they can make it look like they bleed just as easily as any human. But, for some reason, now Changelings are really bad at playing the part of the people they replace. They only know really basic information about the people they’re portraying, so one personal question can easily reveal them. Meanwhile, a main character in ‘Deep Space Nine’ was replaced by a Changeling for several episodes and no one, not even the audience, knew because of how much information the Changeling knew about said character. I personally think Changelings being able to quickly learn personal information like that is more frightening than Changelings being able to replicate human innards.
Ro Laren and Section 31: Worf was technically the first of the Section 31 reveals. Raffi began the series with not knowing who her Section 31 handler was, and only a few episodes in we learned that her handler was actually Worf. But Worf was answering to someone himself, and though he knew who that person was, we didn’t get to figure that out until last week. Turns out he was answering to Ro Laren. I was ecstatic to see Ro return. She’s definitely one of my favorite ‘Star Trek’ side characters, mostly because of her badassery and her refusal to let anyone walk all over her. The episode of her return did a good job of adding mystery to the character we know and love. For most of the episode we’re right there with Picard, understanding the betrayal he feels towards Ro because she joined the Marquis during the Dominion War, and feeling his suspicion towards her fueled both by the betrayal and the fact that she could be a Changeling. But when they finally come to an understanding about why Ro left Picard’s crew to join the Marquis, not only is it clear Ro couldn’t be a Changeling, but you feel the respect and love they have for each other almost better than any of the other character connections in the show so far. But then they kill Ro. And look, I understand that if there was any way for her to go, it would be sacrificing herself for Picard like the heroic badass she always was. But killing off such an influential female character after only one episode of screen time? Really? It felt like they put her in the show out of obligation to the fans but didn’t want to spend extra time writing a character arc for her. There was something so cheap about it.
Data: And here’s possibly the biggest and the craziest reveal we’ve gotten so far. During promotional content for season three of ‘Picard’ we learned Brent Spiner would be coming back as Lore. But then, when Worf, Raffi, and Riker all set out to get to the weapon they know the Changelings have been trying to get their hands on, it’s clear there’s more to Spiner’s role than meets the eye. First the trio see a raven, and anyone who’s familiar with Data knows that his visions of ravens were a major part of him unlocking his more human programming. Then they run into Moriarty, the hologram made to challenge Data. While I loved seeing the return of Moriarty, I do think it was kind of odd to advertise him so much if they were only going to use him as a clue to the true role Spiner is playing in the season. Then Riker puts together that the song they’re hearing play as they’re getting closer to the weapon is “Pop Goes the Weasel”, the song he attempted to help Data whistle when he first met him. I’m not going to lie, Riker’s slow discovery that Data is the weapon they’re searching for as the show flashes back to the first ever appearance of Data in ‘Next Generation’ actually made me cry. And then, of course, seeing Brent Spiner embody Data again made me emotional. But I still have problems with this. One is something all the characters couldn’t seem to stop bringing up. At this point, Data has died twice. Though you can argue that his return this time is different now that there’s a bit of Lore or a bit of Lal mixed in there, it still feels like the show doesn’t know how to let Data go. Then there’s the half-assed excuse for why Data now appears as an old man. I know they needed some excuse, but Soong wanting Data to appear wise is a bit too loose of an explanation for me. But considering Data just returned, it’s still a bit too early to completely judge this twist.
All of these plot twists are really fascinating things to pull into the third season of ‘Star Trek: Picard’, but I honestly don’t know how to feel about them. There are things I really like about all of them, and simultaneously major writing issues I see in all of them. And really, that’s my opinion of ‘Picard’ as a whole. Season three has been no different than any of the other seasons for me. While season three is tugging at my heartstrings more with its use of nostalgia, it still seems to balance every excellent moment with incredibly shaky writing. I really want to just have fun with this show, but at this point I’m kind of tired of loose explanations for why something in ‘Star Trek’ lore is suddenly different, or no explanations at all for why some of the character relationships have changed since last season. I want a more cohesive story from this series, not one that feels like the writers are throwing anything and everything they think fans will like at a wall and seeing what sticks. I can see that ‘Star Trek’ magic I know and love in this series, but so far, it hasn’t been enough to make ‘Picard’ rewatchable for me. We’ll have to see if the last few episodes of this series pull everything together or leave the series just as confused as it was when it began.
Don’t do anything fun until I get back!