One of the most highly anticipated new shows of the year, Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 1 is simultaneously exciting and calmly beautiful, tantalizing and satisfying.
I loved every moment.
Seeing Picard in his retirement context seems at first a kindness to someone with as long and traumatic a career as Jean-Luc.
But we soon realize that he isn't retired, he's hiding and this series promises to stir the contentment pot with all sorts of puzzles and perils.
I usually allow a new series three episodes to sell me on a the world-building and character but because this is Picard, we already know this world.
We already know Picard.
Tea. Earl Grey. Decaf.Picard
The visuals are everything we have come to expect from the CBS All Access Star Trek team.
Like its franchise sister, Star Trek: Discovery, this is big-screen cinematography come to our televisions.
From the sweeping shots of the vineyards of Chateau Picard to that final pan-out to reveal the Borg Cube, this is a camera that loves its subject.
And there's a number of tiny details to delight the eye.
The planters made of wine bottles on the chateau's patio.
The furling orchid in Dahj's apartment.
The crossfade from Dahj's necklace to the star system near the "Romulan Reclamation Site."
The tea and the poker. Dreams should always have that precise clarity.
Data: Why are you stalling, Captain?
Picard: I don't want the game to end.
There's a soul-stirring thrill to seeing Sir Patrick Stewart back in the role of Picard again.
Yes, he's older and seems weary with the shenanigans of the world.
He knows he's a recognizable figure and that his celebrity is both a boon and a bother.
So it's heartening to see that he has a faithful Number One at his side as always as well as his caretakers (? their capacity was never really spelled out), Zhaban and Laris, nearby.
And the spark he exhibits when bantering with them is loving in its humor, indicative of their role as more family than staff.
Picard: You know, sometimes you talk to me as if I were a benign old codger.
Zhaban: Somewhere between a coot and geezer, I believe
As the pacing pendulum swung between the calm solitude of dreams and vineyards to adrenaline-pumping fights in apartments and on rooftops, we were carried, quite deliberately, into a familiar yet foreign world where travel between Boston and France and Okinawa seems instantaneous and gotcha journalism is still an unfortunate reality.
The interview provides a huge helping of exposition while the host succeeded in irritating the heck out of me with her tabloid-level techniques, completely ignoring the agreed-to topics.
Picard's dressing-down of her is epic and restrained and everything I needed to see to know that Picard is still MY Picard.
You have no idea what Dunkirk is, right? You're a stranger to history. You're a stranger to war. You just wave your hand and it all goes away. Well, it's not so easy for those who died and it was not so easy for those who were left behind.Picard
And when Zhaban encourages him to "Be the captain they remember," it's very specific language and I'm pretty sure they is us, the viewers, because the FNN viewers would remember an admiral.
In so many ways, this was a love-letter to the fandom, complete with several shocking declarations of highly dramatic hijinks.
Dahj's sudden demise was definitely not on my radar. Mind you, the skills she manifested in that final fight were also more than I expected from her dormant abilities.
I was predicting more River Tam and less Supergirl.
I'm curious about her mother's role. Whether she directed Dahj to return to Picard for safety or because then the Romulan squad would be able to find her determines whether she's a white hat or a black hat.
Regarding Dr. Jurati's reveal about the synths being created in pairs, I'm not willing to jump straight into believing Dahj and Soji are each other's twins.
I feel like if that were true, it should've come out when Dahj was describing her father's orchid. The way she told it, that was totally an only child sort of anecdote.
My theory is that, much like Orphan Black, Bruce Maddox has been very productive since disappearing.
By the way, how awesome is it that Captain-Doctor-Bruce-"Measure-of-a-Man"-Maddox is the person to realize Data's dream of having a daughter? Many daughters? Potentially an army of daughters?
I'm also thoroughly intrigued by exactly what kind of doctor Soji Asher is. She's on board a Romulan Reclamation Site which is actually a Borg Cube and she "fixes broken people" all day, according to Narek.
Are they reclaiming the cube or are they reclaiming Borgs? What does she research? Dahj was a specialist in artificial intelligence and quantum consciousness. Are all of Data's daughters similarly talented?
In an ironic bit of background, I had to laugh when Narek disclosed to Soji that he had lost a brother he was close to but "not a twin," since actor Harry Treadaway is actually a twin whose brother, Luke, is an award-winning stage and screen actor in his own right.
While we're looking at that conversation, anyone else feel like they got personal awfully quickly? Either Narek is there to activate or neutralize Soji or he's the most heart-on-his-sleeve Romulan that's ever existed.
And speaking of Romulans, we still don't have all the details of the Romulan Supernova incident despite the FNN host's eagerness to summarize it all for her viewers.
Zhaban and Laris appear to be survivors of the supernova and obviously the squads of assassins are Romulan as well.
So did Picard succeed in evacuating Romulus or did he only save some before Starfleet pulled their support?
Finally, Data. For a series named for Picard, it is considerably focused on Data.
And that makes a lot of sense. In fact, it's pretty damned logical.
Data died to save Picard and the Enterprise's crew. If Data's daughters are out there being hunted, Picard owes them a debt of sanctuary.
Furthermore, there are a lot of mysteries introduced here:
- Who/what was Dahj?
- How is Soji involved?
- What do the Romulans know/want?
- What caused the synths to attack Mars all those years ago?
- Where is Bruce Maddox?
Data always admired the deductive reasoning of Sherlock Holmes.
That Picard is faced with solving a mystery that involves androids born of Data's essence seems so meta that it's perfect.
When you watch Star Trek: Picard online, keep your eyes peeled for the easter eggs included for Trekker eyes only.
Let me know what you find in the comments!
I haven't been living. I've been waiting to die.Picard
Was the premiere everything a Trekker heart could desire?
Who are you most excited to see next -- Riker or Seven?
How exactly does someone like Maddox just disappear in a world as surveilled as this one?
Also, who has a theory as to why Data's poker hand was five queens of hearts? Seems symbolic to me.
And we sure would appreciate a follow of our new Twitter account as we work to rebuild our audience!
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.