So I hate that I have to get political here but you have to understand the mindset of these writers so you understand why these shows are failing so badly. This will get wordy. Hang in there with me.
Today’s remakes are part-contemporary political commentary and part-nostalgia. All wrapped up in shiny special F/X packaging.
I wasn’t as hard on Harley Quinn movie regarding the feminist stuff because the characters are all bad people. Not “strong amazing women” but damaged screw-ups. I always felt that feminists and leftists in general were exactly that. Mentally ill incompetents.
In Picard however, these people are supposed to be the pinnacle of humanity. They’ve moved past the silly politics. Sure they would run across some modern day issues on OTHER PLANETS but it wasn’t really a problem within the Federation.
To get into the Federation, you had to be a mature society. Achieving Warp capability was the technical requirement but if you ever watched the episode of TNG: First Contact. (Not the movie.) In the episode, a pre-warp civilization is on the verge of discovering warp drive and is making the final step for First Contact with the Federation. However, although the society may be technologically ready, it was determined they were a divided and xenophobic culture in many ways.
They weren’t ready, no matter how advanced they had become in technology. It was a great episode showing how difficult it was to get into the Federation.
Picard has thrown this idea into the dumpster by grafting present-day politics onto the Federation in the form of what the writers believe is Trump supporter’s attitudes. It’s an overly simplistic idea and not at all well thought out.
Picard is now like having your hand in a vice. Once a week someone comes along and turns the vice. Occasionally they loosen it, occasionally they tighten it. But the fundamental problem through all of this is your hand is still in the fricken’ vice.
The writers have regressed the Federation to what they believe is happening right now. They have taken the most surface-level interpretation of today’s events and pretend they are making something that will resonate. That they made something deep. They did not.
I won’t bore you with the minutia of where they are wrong and misguided. That’s not the point, arguing about today’s issues. The point is that after over 200 years of future history, so to speak, the Federation moved past whatever today’s issues are. They are what we aspire to.
So they did their little political message and everyone nodded their heads like clapping seals and then moved on with their story.
Here’s the set up: The Federation has become a bunch of racist xenophobes who won’t help Romulan refugees because of racism. That’s why the noble Picard resigned and why things have gone badly for him and those who supported him. We have our set up and we move on with the story.
We find out that Romulans have infiltrated Starfleet at high levels, Romulan commandos are attacking Picard, and there is some nefarious Romulan project reclaiming a Borg cube. So I guess Romulans ARE the bad guys.
Which is it, you silly writers?
I mean if they are the bad guys, then you have completely undermined your set up. Picard now looks hopelessly naive and foolish. You see what I mean by superficial thinking? No one thought this through. This is what becomes of not taking more than a cursory look at the issues other than from Twitter blue checkmark morons and a steady diet of MSNBC news bites.
So while an individual episode like this one may not be that bad in a vacuum, none of this series can escape the stupidity of the setup.
The vice can only loosen a bit, never go away.
The episode starts with a flashback so you can see Picard in uniform. It’s the day he resigns from Starfleet. We meet the woman we first saw in last week’s ending scene. She’s a commander is who is very loyal to “J.L.” as she calls him and I just threw up in my mouth a little.
Because he resigned, she gets fired. From Starfleet. A military organization. Is that how it works? The answer is no. No subordinate following orders (that aren’t completely outside standard Starfleet regulations) would get “fired.” They would get reassigned and that would be that. So silly.
But ok, she’s now bitter and damaged and living in a 24th-century version of a motor home. Cause strong women can’t function after one set back. See what I mean by undermining their whole message because they didn’t think anything through? Are they strong female characters or are they a mess?
Basically very little happens in this episode except that Picard gets a ship, assembles the people that we have met in the last three episodes to start on their mission. He ends the episode by saying “Engage.” Which makes zero sense within the universe as these people would not have any particular emotional tie to him since it was after his days on the Enterprise and never really knew him in that capacity.
Nostalgia and messaging, remember?
These writers work like they are on Twitter. Each scene has its own theme, usually some pet political message that’s really important to the writer. But then he gets to the next tweet, I mean scene and forgets what he just wrote about because he has to get the story going. So he completely undermines what just happened. To cover that up, they throw in some meaningless beloved musical cue, a cameo by some beloved character, or “Engage.”
It’s all incompetence by arrogant mental defectives combined with marketers shaking shiny keys so we won’t notice all these deficiencies. It’s why when you go to movies these days and kind of enjoy the movie but can’t remember a thing about it two days later. There’s nothing of substance there.
But they THINK there is. They read Twitter remember.
So as far as this episode goes, it was kinda ok. I liked the new captain of this private ship. I like the idea of other Emergency Holograms besides medical. Might’ve been really helpful in this moment:
But the vice has your hand. You can’t get around this fundamentally broken show. It only depends on whether or not they tighten or loosen it.