For this Picard review, No Win Scenario, we have a nearly perfect episode marred by an “F”-bomb that was completely unnecessary. However, there is an “S” bomb that actually works perfectly.

Cursing has been a point of contention with Star Trek in the last few years but I have never had a problem with cursing in Star Trek if – and this is a big if – it works within the moment. Nowhere in NuTrek™ has it worked, it’s been there for the same reason all the nonsense changes are in NuTrek™, because they are making things for a “modern audience.”

But here is a beautiful way to contrast two places where cursing happens, one very well-placed and perfect and the other sticking out like a wart on your toe. Ugly and obtrusive.

To set up, the Titan is falling towards the gravity well and all is lost. They are dead in the water with no energy to break free. They have a changeling saboteur on-board and the Shrike is still out there.

“Sensors confirm we are effed, Captain.”

Riker had just kicked Picard off the bridge and after discussing options with the crew, realizing there’s not much time, he quickly makes amends with Picard. Admitting he should’ve fought earlier, he laments how he’s become distant and numb since his son’s death. He’s been trying to make sense of it all and hasn’t. He tells Picard to take what time is left and spend it with his son.

There is a nice nod to spirituality here. I’m not a religious or spiritual man by any means and have no use for it. But as I’ve gotten older, I see the pure vitriol exhibited by so many against religion has turned so mean spirited, I find myself much more sympathetic to the religious than in my youth. After all, if all these woke yahoos are godless atheists, maybe I better rethink?

Well I’ll never go that far but I can say that Trek was a big part of my distaste for it. Roddenberry was pretty hostile towards religion and it was never clearer than in the Episode “Who Watches The Watchers” where, thanks to an accident on a distant planet, the primitive native Mintakans mistake Picard for a god. The episode is great but the hostility towards religion is pretty one-sided.

However here these ideas are treated with a bit more nuance. Riker has never found anything in all his years to believe there’s anything beyond this universe but he NEEDS to now, thanks to the sorrow he feels. Frakes does a great job with this and sells it.

Picard in the meantime takes Jack to the Holodeck which made me immediately think “they have no power and they are using the Holodeck?” Picard explains that the Holodeck’s these days are on a separate power source just for situations like this. I don’t know if that’s the best explanation or not but it’s not bad. What I did appreciate is that assholes (such as myself) would be questioning this and they took the time out to try to explain it. It shows they are putting in the effort and really trying.

Anyhow on the holodeck Picard attempts to connect with Jack. In a few flashbacks from 5 years ago, Picard was approached by a bunch of starry eyed cadets begging him to tell stories about himself, including a time he was stranded. Here he tells the same story with a lot more honesty but this is where the unnecessary F-Bomb comes in. It’s forced and doesn’t add anything to the story. It does detract from Picard as a character.

But then…. Shaw enters the holodeck. Here we get his animosity towards Picard: he was at Wolf 359. If I have to explain that, then start watching the original show more. Shaw was an engineer back then. His ship was dead in the water and his commanding officer at the time picks him along with several other crewman at random to get on the escape pod. Several others didn’t get so lucky.

He never understood why he, a “dipshit from Chicago,” got so lucky while Locutus gets to be an Admiral after the murders tens of thousands that day. Picard takes it. It’s a hurt that he’s never truly gotten over.

Later on they figure out that the gravity well is actually a life form that’s giving birth. Energy waves emanating from it are like contractions. They realize they can use this energy to recharge the ship and get them out of there.

Picard asks Shaw for his help as in this case they need a good engineer, even if he’s a “dipshit from Chicago.” This is what I mean by a curse word used in a great way.

They are able to escape and give the Shrike a little love-tap on the way out. I won’t spoil it.

Gut punch moment. That’s all I’ll say.

Everyone gets a chance to shine here. Seven, LaForge’s daughter, Riker, Shaw, Jack, and Picard. Even Deanna at the end. Beverly saves the day. It’s all so well done. Yes of course I knew they were going to escape but the journey to get there was great fun.

This closes the first chapter of this season as there is a lot more to tackle. Worf and Rafi are absent, the changelings are involved in a much bigger plot, and how is Moriarty involved in all this?

The ending has several heartfelt resolutions and moments. Some still need to be worked through but they were all great.

I’m enjoying the hell out of it so far. It’s not perfect, and much of that is due to the Season 1 and 2 baggage it has. As I understand it, the F-Bomb was improvised by Stewart. While they could’ve used a different take, there is also the possibility Stewart threw a hissy fit about changing it. You’d be amazed at what petty hills actors will die on. So who knows?

All in all, I’m dinging it a half-point for that. Character growth, attention to detail, no message… this is NuTrek™?

Feels like OldTrek.

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