Warning: Spoilers ahead for "Star Trek: Picard" Season 3, episode 8
After this one, there are just two more episodes of "Picard" left. How exactly will it all end for this particular collection of "Trek" characters? Oh, and for the record, it should absolutely positively end here. An additional legacy spin-off show, the idea of which has been bounded around on social media of late, is truly a terrible idea. For the love of Lazarus, move on and create new characters that we can all watch and enjoy.
Of course, the big "Star Trek" news of late is that the new spin-off show will be set at Starfleet Academy, so it looks like we are going to get new characters after all. As long as it doesn't turn out to be a younger, edgier version of Trek, akin to the parody of the same idea and shown in the magnificent "Stargate SG1" episode "200" (S10, E06), then everyone should be happy. So, fingers crossed.
So far in this third and final season, the primary plot isn't anything groundbreakingly new and it's still quite formulaic.
Jason Bourne Jack Crusher (Ed Speleers) is basically Dahj (Isa Briones), Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) is still Jean-Luc Picard, Brent Spiner is still Brent Spiner, the crew gets a bit of help from a few old friends, all of Starfleet is threatened, et cetera. So, if the foundational framework remains mostly the same, then the exterior decor, so to speak, becomes all the more important. And that is basically what's carrying this show. Thankfully, it's not terrible.
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The fun elements of the cast reunion continue with the focus on Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) and Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) — sci-fi's best husband and wife team since Maureen and John Robinson or even Ellen and Saul Tigh from "Battlestar Gallactica." Although, given what we saw and heard during the events of "Nepenthe" (S01, E07), it feels like many of their issues have been shoved into their lives by way of lazy writing. That said, the single best thing about this episode is that Marina Sirtis has finally begun to revert back to her native Tottenham accent. She's originally from N17 dontchaknow and in Norf London it's pronounced Bay-uh-zoid.
Lore wasn't kept around much either, and now with Vadic (Amanda Plummer) having met a demise worthy of inclusion in the "Final Destination" franchise, the old "Next Generation" crew is gathered altogether for the final two hours of this series. In essence, that makes the finale much like a two-part season conclusion now that we've spent eight weeks establishing some sort of background. It might have been nice if Lore had been given an Evil Twin Mustache™ or at the very least a Band-Aid to slap on his forehead, thus distinguishing the good from the bad ... but you can't have everything.
Rumors abound as to what exactly what's wrong with Jack, ranging from the fact that Beverley was made pregnant after Jean-Luc had joined the Collective so there could be an as-yet unknown Borg tech connection, to potential involvement by the Remans, and even to the fact that Jack doesn't know he's a changeling and that the real Jack is dead or a prisoner somewhere.
Either way, the third season story arc hasn't really progressed very far, all things considered, and we continue to be bombarded with throwbacks, fan service and Easter Eggs, although its certainly the right time of year for that.
At the time of writing, the press had not been given advance screeners of the final two episodes, but "Picard" writer Cindy Appel tweeted that "Eps 9&10 of #StarTrekPicard are so thrilling, emotional, EPIC, that the writers kindly request you clear the area around your couch so as not to accidentally punch your toddler or emotional support pet."
In that tweet, she also revealed that writer and showrunner Terry Matalas would be taking the helm of the penultimate episode entitled "Vox" and the series finale entitled "The Last Generation" is only the second show for which he's sat in the center seat. That said, he's been around "Star Trek" his entire professional career, so it's certainly going to be intriguing.
It also sets up Deanna nicely towards the end since she's probably Starfleet's most valuable single asset. There are changelings everywhere hellbent on causing chaos who can only be distinguished from humanoid lifeforms by an empath. Those, combined with Jack 'I've-got-an-alien-evil-consciousness-inside-me' Crusher, makes for a tailor-made crisis for Counselor Troi if ever there was one.
If there was a category at the MTV Awards for Most Easter Eggs in a Televised Drama, this show would win hands down. But there have been some nice touches, much like the holograms onboard La Sirena, which were genius. The running gag that no one likes Château Picard wine is also very nice, but we're a little surprised that Lore didn't make reference to torturing Georgi in "Descent, Part II" (S07, E01). The cloaking device was utilized again and since that's been sparingly used, it remains effective.
Vadic has been something of a deliberate misdirection, a little like the Renée Picard thing was last season and the threat to Frontier Day feels like the whole Seb-Cheneb thing from the first season, we certainly haven't seen as much of Raffi as we'd like, but hopefully the lose threads will get tied up in an effective manner. We've said it before and we'll probably say it again in the next two weeks, but it's just a damn shame that this wasn't the first season of the Jean-Luc Picard spin-off. That way, it might not feel quite so formulaic.
"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.