Before I even get into this discussion, I want to make the disclaimer that I really enjoyed the first episode of Star Trek: Picard. Any issues I had with the show did not detract from my enjoyment of it. I know to some people, that’s going to come across as if I was saying, “It’s Star Trek, so I’m going to like it no matter what,” and that is definitely not the case. I believe I’m objective enough to be able to separate my enjoyment of the thing from the quality of the thing.
The two are absolutely intertwined, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have criticism of something and still like it. Also, I’m hoping that if you’re reading this, it means that you’ve already watched Picard‘s series premiere. It’s been available for two days now, so there are undoubtedly spoilers below. With that being said, let’s move on to the show.
In an interview with Variety Patrick Stewart noted how his last X-Men film, Logan, influenced his decision to return to the Star Trek Universe. If you had been thinking the only similarities between Logan and Star Trek: Picard would be the time jump and the age of Patrick Stewart’s character, you’d be wrong. The two stories actually have much in common, both in terms of theme and the underlying plot.
While Jean-Luc Picard is quite a different guy than Wolverine, they are both in a very similar place in their personal lives. They are both years removed from being in the middle of the action and now are missing that certain something that once gave them a sense of accomplishment in their lives.
Familiar doesn’t mean bad; most of us like when things are familiar. Familiar is easy to relate to, we immediately feel a connection to it and can immediately draw us in. Sometimes though, it can also take us out of a moment. It can make us take a step back and say to ourselves “I’ve seen this before”. That’s what this first episode of Picard did for me. There are absolutely a lot of new things here, but the familiar aspects just broke my immersion in this new era of the Federation.
Picard Draws From The Same Old Well
While there are very obvious differences, the story between Dahj (Isa Briones) and Picard still feels like it was directly lifted from the plot of Logan. Dahj is more or less X-23 and Jean-Luc is an amalgamation of Xavier and Wolverine from Logan wearing a Picard suit. I’m sure as the season goes on, the similarities will become significantly less pronounced. But for this episode specifically, it just felt too close for me personally.
The premiere left me more curious about the current state of the universe than it did the characters. I feel like I know where the story is going, not necessarily how it’s going to play out. As of right now, though, I feel more like my reaction to any big surprises are going to more along the lines of “Oh yeah, that makes sense” than “HOLY SHIT I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING”.
I know it sounds like I’m ragging on the show, but I did actually enjoy it. Though I currently feel like I’m going to be underwhelmed by any of the plot points or reveals, I’m still incredibly invested in finding out what they are. Why did the Synthetics attack Mars? Where did Dahj and her twin sister actually come from? Is Data actually directly responsible for their creation? If so, how? Why were the Romulans after her? Does Picard know about the Borg ship? Are the Borg somehow responsible for the creation of Dahj and her twin?
As always, Patrick Stewart turned in an amazing performance, the cinematography and VFX were also spectacular. This episode did a good job of introducing us to the new state of the galaxy, reintroducing us to Picard, and laying down the threads we’ll be following over the next 9 episodes.
With Star Trek: Discovery, I felt like I was getting a show I didn’t want but eventually grew to really enjoy after a rocky start. With Star Trek: Picard, meanwhile, I feel more worried that a show I absolutely wanted won’t live up to my internal hype.