Warning: Spoilers ahead for "Star Trek: Picard" Season 3, episode 10
Hoo-boy. There's a lot to unpack with the series finale of "Star Trek: Picard."
First and foremost, wow, how hard are the executive producers pushing for a another legacy series?! Every single stop was pulled out for this one, including wheeling out still-not-dead Q (John de Lancie) fresh from ... well, dying in the second season finale. It's very much on par with conjuring up Wesley (Wil Wheaton) out of thin air for the "Gasp Factor" also at the end of Season 2. After all, it doesn't require much effort and that includes actually following it up.
This episode — much like the whole season and these days, like almost all of "Star Trek" — will probably polarize fans. As we talked about in our episode 9 review last week, in terms of story structure, it's more or less an identical to the previous two seasons, which is monumentally disappointing. Maybe that was the quickest, most effective way to bang out a new 10-episode season. Perhaps that's all you can do to produce a standalone, single-season story arc three times over. Even "Star Trek Discovery" has shown us evidence of that.
Had every single season not had to end like it was the last one, maybe this could've been avoided. But, like the second season, so many story threads were flashed before our eyes, never to be seen again. So many ideas introduced and never followed through. And also like the last two seasons, there were — buried deep down, hidden in the depths amongst all the nostalgia — some really good ideas and really clever, creative concepts. But guess what? Oh yes. This third season, just like the other two, didn't fully capitalize on them.
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The theme of using sound effects from vastly varying incarnations of Trek is fun, albeit just a tad inconsistent, although it just adds to the massive, magnificent mess that we have. It's a plot hole-filled, party favor of a finale, much like the previous seasons. Let's not even talk about the terrorist attack on whatever building that was on Earth. See? It's so unimportant now, I can't even remember the name of it. Or Raffi's underplayed role. Or even where was Agnes Jurati if the Borg were going to get involved? Oh yes, what began 35 years ago, ends tonight. Until it doesn't.
Adding the voice of Walter Koenig as President Anton Chekov, son of Pavel, was a nice touch, as was using the first name Anton as teeny-tiny tribute to Anton Yelchin and an equally nice nod to "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home." But then one executive producer — for there are many — said, "Hey, let's just rewrite the Battle of Sector 001." And rather than kill off any of the central characters, the people at Paramount chose instead to bring back some, who were in fact supposed to be already dead.
And luckily, like his father before him, Locutus Jr. (Ed Speleers) didn't have any limbs removed or an eye poked out, so he was hunky-dory after all the nasty nanobots had been removed. Also, very fortunately for the people onboard, it seems the Federation's Starbase is virtually indestructible. And what are the inertia dampeners on the NCC 1701-D set to? And when did the Enterprise suddenly start handling like the Millennium Falcon? I don't ask for much, just consistency — and that's not the same as repetition. But you know what, we could talk about all of these all day.
Once you've abandoned all sense of storytelling and any hope of a plot, hey, it was fun ol' roll around in the hay. The nod to "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" was also nice. And maybe had the hard push for a new legacy series not been quite so down-my-throat, I might have enjoyed it more. I was more surprised Terry Matalas didn't suddenly appear in the post-credits sequence, rather than Q, and officially endorse the message. Perhaps because it allegedly worked for "Strange New Worlds," the die hards at Paramount think it could work again.
After this, and no doubt the next few days on social media, half the "Star Trek" fan base will energized and ecstatic beyond belief, the other half are going to feel exhausted and exasperated. Honestly, I hope we don't get another legacy series, I would prefer to see "Star Trek" try some entirely new directions for a change. And there's no right or wrong, it all comes down to cash. And the "Star Trek" franchise is beginning to feel more like "Police Academy."
A looming writer's strike as reported by The Hollywood Reporter probably won't help, but I seem to recall an interview with Ron D. Moore somewhere where he said that the 1988 Writers Guild of America strike (22 weeks, the longest strike in the guild's history) basically helped him get his ideas in front of folk, because he wasn't a member of the Guild yet. So you know, get those Trek scripts in the mail.
This season of "Picard" has certainly been fun, but I suspect all the folks who were turned off from this third season because of the first two will feel justified. It's just disappointing that Alex Kurtzman and Paramount, with all of the wealth and talent at their disposal, still couldn't come up with something that wasn't a cookie-cutter copy of the last two seasons. Anyone looking for more cerebral sci-fi should probably skip "Star Trek" these days.
"Star Trek: Picard" and every episode of every "Star Trek" show currently streams exclusively on Paramount Plus in the US. Internationally, the shows are available on Paramount Plus in Australia, Latin America, the UK and South Korea, as well as on Pluto TV in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland on the Pluto TV Sci-Fi channel. They also stream exclusively on Paramount Plus in Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. In Canada, they air on Bell Media's CTV Sci-Fi Channel and stream on Crave.
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