Warning: Spoilers ahead for "Star Trek: Picard" Season 3, episode 7
This seventh installment more or less marks the end of the second act of the season — if a season were to be considered in the same structural terms as an individual episode — and so begins the gradual ascent to what will be, ultimately, the end of show finale. Last week's installment was to be fair, mostly an Easter egg hunt, with throwbacks inserted willy-nilly to keep the most anal of fans frothing at the mouth.
Sure, some of it was fun, but the showrunners seem determined to saturate the show with throwbacks at every available opportunity. Unfortunately, this tired old Trekkie has gone back to having a wavering loyalty because not one person at Paramount has the chutzpah to try something totally new. While "The Madalorian" suffers from a similar problem, at least Lucasfilm attempted it with "Andor." And look at all the positive reviews that got. Mostly.
Continuing with the trend of having director's giving it their all for two episodes, this it's the turn of Deborah Kampmeier, who has an episode of "Star Trek; Discovery" under her belt ("The Galactic Barrier" S04, E10) along with a couple of episodes of "Clarice" and "Tales of the Walking Dead." (We still want to see Vince Gilligan given his own "Star Trek" show. In its entirety.)
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And we suspect Kampmeier might be a fan of the early 90s heist/hacker movie "Sneakers" since this episode features an improvised lie detector scene that's clearly had teeny-tiny bit of influence from Phil Alden Robinson's epic movie. And you know what, unlike other pinching of people's IP that's happened in the Trek writer's room in the past, this is 100 percent a nod, rather than an outright theft. Nicely played Kampmeier.
Another important takeaway is just how seriously the wardrobe department is taking Nu-Trek. With the exception of those hideous, asexual outfits poor Burnham et al have been forced to wear in the 32nd century, we've seen some phenomenal fashion in "Strange New Worlds" and this season of "Picard." And there's no better example than the leather-look jacket with the subtle, command-maroon epaulettes sported by both
Jason Bourne Jack Crusher (Ed Speleers) and Captain Shaw (Todd Stashwick). Oh, to live in a universe where hanging out in the criminal underworlds of different planets legitimately warranted wearing a low-slung blaster plus said superstylish jacket. Tragically, it doesn't have quite the same effect wearing it out on a trip to the pharmacy.
And then there's Data's return, or to put it another way, Brent Spiner's return. There's really only so many incarnations of Dr Soong the poor man can portray and we can't have a proper TNG reunion without Data. But therein lies the problem. OK, sure, who's gonna notice another shoehorned cameo amongst so many others and that's one of the things that makes this show good, but not great. And the only major Soong-related character we haven't anything of in "Picard" so far is Lore, which makes the whole thing a teeny-tiny bit predictable.
According to IMDB, one of Brent Spiner's requirements for returning to the role was that he didn't want to spend long hours wearing the silver android makeup. And at 74, who can blame him. So long as the whole Lore-impersonating-Data thing is kept to a bare minimum, we'll be OK. It also looks like "Deep Space Nine" will be proving popular on Paramount Plus in the next few weeks and again, there's nothing wrong with that at all. In fact, we encourage it. While you're there though, why not embark on series-long rewatch of "Enterprise" — it is still the best "Star Trek" television series after all.
All of this is not to say that that this week's episode is not entertaining, not at all. Included in the very TNG-styled installment are some very clever moments, like learning Vadic (Amanda Plummer) took on the appearance of her torturer-scientist. It's well-paced and some nice, natural-feeling placement of Section 31 plot strands. At 43 minutes in length though, it's not the lengthiest of episodes and you really do have to wonder when Picard et al will learn to never, ever let Lore on your ship.
Yes, there's bit too much lens flare this week, but let's see how Kampmeier handles her second allotted installment next week. Will every "non-networked" starship we saw at the Spacedock Fleet Museum form a rag-tag fleet to save all of lifekind? It's entirely possible.
"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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