Star Trek: Picard, the most recent Trek franchise series streaming on CBS All Gain access to, simply struck its season 1 middle with episode 5 of 10, “Stardust City Rag.” The midpoint of this launch story appears like a great location to examine how far the show has actually come and where it’s going, so film/TV editor Tasha Robinson and comics editor Susana Polo took a seat to consider their Trek fandom, and whether Picard is feeding it or starving it.
Tasha: Straight-talk time, Susana: I was totally on board for Star Trek: Discovery at first, when we were still in the discovery stage about the characters. Then around the middle of the first season, the characters and the story both began heading in instructions that appeared to waste a lot of the show’s capacity. And with “Stardust City Rag,” I’m anxious about Picard entering the very same instructions, for the first time this season.
I’m truly taking pleasure in Picard’s relatively little scale and character focus– the story discuss galaxywide issues and big Federation-spanning concerns, however at the end of the day, it has to do with an old male who does not have lots of buddies left, out attempting to fix a problem just he can see. It appeared like we were following a quite straight-line plot, someplace in between Trek’s normal utopian science fiction, and a noir investigator story, with one man browsing a harmful course towards conserving a possible victim.
However “Stardust City Rag” took us off in a random instructions, and it begins overdoing the Trek clichés: a lady-villain we understand is wicked due to the fact that she’s sexually aggressive, a big ethical argument performed in a very awkward method, and a “Whoops, we do not understand this character at all!” expose for a character we currently understood we didn’t understand at all. And for the first time, I’m anxious about this show.
However prior to we get too far into the weeds on “Stardust City Rag,” how were you liking Picard up previously?
Susana: I’m enjoying it extremely. After every episode, me and my Star Trek friends get on Discord to scream about Borg origins and Romulan Sincerity Nuns. The show is truly striking a unexpected sweet area of feeding our fond memories for Next Generation and reframing Picard’s character to fit modern-day issues.
Our preliminary review of the show mentioned that Star Trek has actually just just recently been required to get out of its initial Cold War allegories, and I believe the show’s expedition of brand-new metaphor-fodder is truly striking me hard, in addition to my buddies of a specific “just ’90 s kids will remember this” age. We were raised on “woman power,” Captain World, and space- camp commercials, matured with War on Fear brinksmanship, and struck the adult years in the nick of time for the kings of commercialism to weasel out of any effects for damaging theeconomy Now we’re seeing widespread misogyny and bigotry grab the cultural and political sphere, while billionaires take control of the space race, and the first palpable results of unaddressed environment change are felt.
So when Picard’s foundation ended up being a refugee crisis, brought on by environment change (well, space environment, anyhow), and stopped by a ravaging “terrorist” attack that drove the Federation to xenophobia-laced isolationist politics and a blanket restriction on a specific type of “individual,” well. When our Space Daddy pressed back, I believe we all shot out of our chairs and cheered.
As the season strikes its middle, I believe it’s ended up being less laser-focused on those styles, however I’m not embarrassed to state it’s kept my attention with its world-building discoveries and deeply unpopular callbacks. “Stardust City Rag” is certainly the most mid-season-Netflix-padding-episode yet, as it handled 7 and Raffi and Agnes’ betrayal. A lot of plots! I liked it all the very same, for being unutterably Star Trek: Really tacky, a little awkward, and full of characters pretending to be something they’re not, in the dumbest clothes you can possibly imagine.
Tasha: I do believe your Space Daddy’s outraaaaaageous French ak-sont and large slaver character in “Stardust City Rag” are a hoot, and it’s enjoyable to see Patrick Stewart truly accepting his inner ham. As you state, Picard’s styles appeared weighty and prompt, and there’s currently so much going on in this story that we truly didn’t need a filler story to thwart the momentum. I’m irritated that we invested a whole episode on the Romulan Sincerity Nuns and Picard getting his own family pet Romulaninja, totally so the show might then totally sideline him for the next episode. Developing Elnor as the galaxy’s greatest badass, just to right away turn his naïveté and incompetence into a running gag, feels like a truly bad case of authors not interacting about a character’s location or function in the story.
Susana: You indicate type of like how this episode offered the A plot to 7 of 9 and her history with a femme fatale, just for her to ripcord out of the team at the end? “Stardust City Rag” has big bottle-episode energy for something that includes almost each and every single cast member, and I believe it experiences beginning the heels of another side- mission (to get Romulan Honesty-Nun Kid).
Dressing up in amusing outfits to place on ridiculous accents and break-in a man to safety with the aid of a fan-favorite visitor star may be much better fit to a late season break to balance out the Main Drama. If the show does not return to the main plot in its next episode, then even I may start to fret.
Tasha: Apart from sidelining Elnor simply after presenting him, “Stardust City Rag” likewise feels like it sidelined Picard himself. He gets to play that goofy character, however he truly isn’t in charge of this objective. He’s doing a ride-along. And offered just how much of Picard feels like it has to do with the stress he’s dealing with as he attempts to do the best thing when it would be simpler to stand down and not do anything, I believe taking the focus off of him is a big error.
You’re totally best about Picard’s big styles (refugees, migration, isolationism, xenophobia, environment change) all appearing extremely pertinent to the particular minute. the other thing that appears crucial and instant is the show’s psychological bent. Jean-Luc Picard in this series feels like a direct channel for everybody online who’s fighting with sensations of not being heard in this political environment, and everybody making a stand for compassion and obligation for others in an “I got mine” environment. The first 4 episodes are so moving due to the fact that they highlight the desperation of a male who’s seeing his organizations stop working ethically, fairly, and mentally. It feels like the show is setting us up for some type of catharsis around that style, and moving the focus far from it feels like a error.
Susana: Star Trek has actually constantly rotated conveniently in between major styles and deeply ridiculous diversions, however the franchise precedes the season-long story arc. Star Trek: Picard is the first time even Picard himself has actually sustained a single narrative arc longer than 3 episodes or a film. I think I question if Star Trek’s silliness– which I personally believe and enjoy is a essential part of the franchise in general– has a location in our modern-day tv formats without sensation like a variation.
Discovery appears to have actually fixed for this by farming out a few of its stand-alone and sillier material to the Trek Shorts program, however that does not much assist with mid-seasonshows I enjoy Q, and I ‘d be over the moon to see John De Lancie in Picard season 2, however you make a asset. I question how you would fit him into a season-long arc without insanity.
Tasha: It’s likewise a franchise that has actually boldly tried to take on present concerns, from racial combination and global stress in the initial 1960 s Trek to ill-considered Next Generation episodes dealing with whatever from rape to abortion to gender identity. And it’s frequently managed these topical episodes quite awkwardly. That’s my other big objection to “Stardust City Rag”– the big main problem here is whether 7 of 9 is warranted in killing her old associate Bjayzl, who actually vivisected 7’s “child” in order to take his Borg implants. The concern of whether deadly violence is reasonable, and whether vengeance salves the soul, is simply as pertinent to present politics as anything else in Picard. the method it plays out here, with Picard’s simplified lectures and a lot of long, uncomfortable stops briefly and then ultimately a “Meh, to hell with whatever we simply chose” strike me as a especially required method to address the problem. You liked this episode, however, so … change my mind?
Susana: Star Trek might have never ever been as envelope-pushing as it remained in the initial series, however much of the clumsiness of the ’90 s Trek shows is at least rather a modern-day viewpoint. The most interesting feature of Star Trek is that it’s a franchise with a difficult required– illustrate a paradise that still enables for story dispute. That paradise has actually constantly been, and constantly will be, restricted by whatever modern myopia its authors have. Star Trek is constantly going to date itself within about a years, and audiences are constantly going to need to suspend belief to cover the methods the show fudges the precise nature of Regular-ass Non-Starfleet Officer Life in the Federation.
Which brings me to why I enjoy this episode: Whenever Star Trek attempts to illustrate the “seedy underbelly” of Federation Space– that is, when Star Trek attempts to be Star Wars– it ends up totally absurd. As soon as I understood this was the Bad Part of Town World episode, I hung up my “big science- fiction allegory” hat and place on my “laser swords” hat. It truthfully didn’t strike me to see 7’s ethical option in this episode through the timeless Star Trek morality lens: She’s the noir vigilante here, from a world of more difficult options than Picard’s ever needed to make. Of course she’s going to perform the female (ex-lover????) who betrayed her in order to abuse and murder her child (and, you understand, great deals of other individuals coming from her specific sci-fi-ethnicity). It definitely made more psychological sense to me than Agnes offing Maddox.
Tasha: However that’s simply it! This was so plainly a Laser Swords episode, where everybody gowns up in their silliest attire (Rios is unexpectedly a 1970 s pimp!) and goes Full Doof Cosplay … of course 7 is going to perform the predatory killer who tortured her child to death, instead of gently scolding her and leaving her to do it once again! Why did we invest so much time with Space Daddy scolding her for doing what we understood she was going to do, and what the narrative set us all up to desire her to do? I’m simply not keen on stories where a character we otherwise like is established to be a narrative drag versus enjoyable. If they entrusted Dwayne Johnson in the Fast & Furious motion pictures to stand around lecturing everybody at length about appreciating the speed limitation, it’s as!
All that aside, we have not even spoke about the episode’s B-plot, which has Raffi attempting to fix fences with her separated child Gabriel, and getting slapped down hard. There’s a lot capacity because setup, and I disliked the method it played out– Raffi challenges him at a fertility center, without any warning, and disposes all her luggage in his lap, and anticipates him to react well? Misstep. (Send Out a letter ahead of time! Reduce him into it gradually! Do not assail him!) And after that he reacts like she’s a dangerous snake due to the fact that she invested excessive of his youth attempting to conserve the population of a whole world, rather of reading him bedtime stories? Boo-frickin’- hoo. And after that he trots his quiet pregnant Vulcan better half out in front of him and holds her there like a prop, and she does not make any effort whatsoever to add a little reasoning to the crazily psychological scene playing out in front of her? What was that about? Did you get anything out of that subplot?
Susana: Nope, it was bad, and was it the first time we even understood Raffi had a kid? Send Out the audience a letter ahead of time! Do not assail us!
Likewise, Dwayne Johnson appeared in the Star Trek: Voyager episode “Tsunkatse” as an alien professional wrestler who combats 7 of 9, so he ‘d really be a excellent callback here if not for the truth that his character is most likely still in the Delta Quadrant.
Tasha: Let’s wait for Fast & Furious 27: The Space Years, the ultimate big crossover with Trek. Anyhow! I have actually invested excessive of this discussion griping about Star Trek: Picard, a show I have actually been mainly satisfied with and in the bagfor And I understand precisely why: We simply reached the midway mark where the developers get to choose whether they’re moving on with the plot at the speed they ‘d developed, or striking the brakes so regarding leave as much as possible to lure individuals into requiring season 2.
” Stardust City Rag” feels like a sharp brakes-tap (as Theoretical Scoldy Dwayne Johnson may require) and it has me unduly stressed over next actions for what had the possible to be the Rogue Among Trek stories: a brief, tight, fairly self-contained, propulsive story with real stakes. (I do not desire it to end the very same method as Rogue One, however you can’t inform me Rios does not advise you of Cassian Andor a minimum of a bit.) You liked this episode much better than I did– are your hopes for Picard as a entire undiminished? Are you great with more diversions like this one as we head into season 1’s second half?
Susana: We got Sincerity Nuns. We got 7 of 9 shooting 2 phasers at the very same time in sluggish movement. I’m made with diversions. Did we even get to see Soji and her Romulan boytoy this episode? You have a great plot, Star Trek: Picard. Return to it!