I hate that I’m liking this so much. Or I’m relieved? Lots of mixed emotions here.
I’ve also seen the comments section where people still don’t like it. Seventeen Seconds might change your mind.
Truly this is a course correction. There’s no doubt now. But is it among the best Star Trek stories? Too soon to tell. There’s so much baggage that can’t be ignored either. I think that’s the conflict going on with fans now. I see the accusations “How many times you going to keep pretending they care? How many times you going to get fooled?”
At the moment, I don’t believe I’m being fooled, I see what I see on the screen and react positively. If it turns out this is all leading to some sort allegory on Black Lives Matter/Gay Pride Month then I’ll take everything back. If it’s to destroy the characters, I’ll take everything back. But that’s not what I’m seeing currently.
Far be it from me to tell you what to enjoy. Trek fans, like Star Wars fans, Ghostbusters fans, Marvel fans, Disney classics fans, and so on… all these fans come by their animosity and suspicions honestly. Hell, Matt and I have at least 5 hours of grumpy complaining over all of Nutrek on video. Boba, Matt, Shawn, and I have dozens of hours griping about what’s been happening to all these various IP’s.
Your anger is justified and I would not even attempt to talk you out of it.
But I cannot be dishonest about my reactions either. I am very happy to report that Seventeen Seconds is the best episode of the season so far. I can even say that Stewart is his most “Picard” here since the end of the show. Yeah, I don’t include the movies as that’s when he became action star and starting mudding in off-roaders.
But the real revelation is Riker who gets the best characterizations, I think, ever. We finally get to see Captain Riker. He’s good and determined. The crew acts as they should. It’s all very Star Trek. Jonathan Frakes takes over directing duties for this and the next episode and it shows. For one, the lights are a bit brighter. Not enough in some areas but not so dim that it was overly distracting. For two, Frakes knows how to direct Star Trek and it shows.
I don’t want to get too much into spoilers this time around but suffice to say there’s a lot of good character building moments. Riker and Picard are at odds with the course of action, with one father having lost a son, and one just finding out he has one. The great thing is that both of them could be right. Or at least you understand where they are coming from.
Picard and Crusher have it out on her not telling Picard he had a son. She has some reasons that range from a bit weak to very understandable. He in turn is very justified in his reactions as well.
Speeler is getting better and better as Jack Crusher. He’s a good guy underneath it all and figures out from Captain Assface why the Shrike keeps getting the better of them. Speaking of Captain Shaw, that’s probably the last time I’ll call him that. He may be different but when it came to his ship, he made Riker the captain without hesitation when he became too injured to continue. He may not like Riker, but he put his ship first.
Seven gets some moments as well which really worked. The flashback set up was a bit hamfisted as of course the same thing ends up happening to Picard. I still was on-board nonetheless. The acting from all the main leads really sells it. The de-aging on the flashback could’ve used a few extra bucks.
Amanda Plummer as Vadic had very little to do though this time other than say “Fire” a few times. I suppose with everything going on, it’s understandable but I would’ve liked to have seen more.
Then there’s the Worf and Rafi pair up which is really working for me. Worf is damn funny in this but in a way that is absolutely in character for him. When he introduces himself, the line is obviously written by someone who knows the character, but still damn funny:
“I am Worf, son of Mogh. House of Martok, son of Sergey, House of Rozhenko. Bane to the Duras family, slayer of Gowron. I have made some chamomile tea. Do you take sugar?”
I can’t help it, I laughed out loud. I’m not made of stone. Dorn slips back into the role like a comfortable sweater.
All in all this moved briskly, answered a lot of questions which gets that out of the way so we aren’t constantly watching manufactured delays. An old enemy is revealed that make a lot of sense given what we’ve seen so far.
I know, I know. I’m practically gushing over some new Trek and it makes me feel a bit dirty. But I can’t help that I like what I saw. We can’t be cynical all the time. I got to enjoy something when it’s at least good.
There’s plenty of time to mess everything up, I may be setting myself up. But neither the 1st nor 2nd season was able to keep me from being royally pissed by the end of the first episode. I guess that’s something, right?
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