Mister Marquee Says: What a Mess
I was over the moon when Star Trek Picard was announced. As someone who grew up with the Next Generation, the prospect of a return to that period of Star Trek and its thought provoking sci-fi was irresistible. Season 1 was uneven, and fell very flat in the last couple episodes; but it was solid if a bit of a letdown.
Season 2 is a total and complete mess. It picks up following Admiral Picard as a request by the Borg to join the Federation is directly followed by a dystopian universe and a time travel caper. That’s the best I can give you for synopsis both for spoiler sake and because it’s so confusing and chaotic that making sense of the events of this season requires a chalk board and a bottle of Advil.
Season 1 suffered from filler episodes followed by a breakneck finale, and Season 2 takes that flaw to the extreme. There are at least 3-4 episodes set in our time that just meander around with nothing happening before a dozen random plot threads have to be paid off in minutes by the season finale.
The writing team for Picard take a wrecking ball to decades of Star Trek cannon. Look, I get not being shackled when trying to tell the story. I also get making a series accessible to casual viewers and not expecting a deep dive for hardcore nerds. Is it too much to ask that the writers at least read a couple wiki articles?
This season is full of JJ Abrams level “fan service” nostalgia baiting at its worst. Let’s litter the show with clumsy references and “Easter Eggs” for YouTubers to dig up. If we jam in cute references we don’t have to understand the characters or why people love this series in the first place. Fast food filmmaking and Star Trek are a match made in Gre’thor.
Picard himself has been a wasted character in both seasons and it’s so sad. The show is about Picard, maybe the most beloved character in the franchise, but the stoic, iron willed leader of men spends two seasons as that nice old gentleman sitting in the background while other people do stuff. He has very little agency and is a prop in his own show.
The only saving grace of Season 2 is the acting. Patrick Stewart and John De Lancie as Q have some amazing scenes together. Even if their story makes little sense, these actors and their history can almost carry the day. Jeri Ryan is great as Seven of Nine, even if given lame material.
Season 3 is the last shot for this show to get it right. Even the 90s Star Trek shows took a few years to get their footing so here’s hoping a more normal production gets better results.