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Star Trek: Picard - Make It So Engage Earl Grey Hot

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
Two episodes in and this season is on fire. Love it. Love a good mirror universe style episode, love everyone improvising in their shocking new environment, not to mention Elon being hilariously bad at it and Jurati somehow acing the deception game.

I read in an interview prior to the season start where de Lancie talked a bit about Q's return, specifically he said there are 'stakes' for Q this time around as well, and while we don't know what they could be yet we do see a hint of something being wrong with him. Whatever it could be and how it connects to Picard is anyone's guess. Hopefully they stick the landing better with this potential larger plot than they did in season 1 with the AI threat.

One inexplicable absence in episode 2, though, is Soji. Did Q just not snap her into the alternate universe as well? Will she appear out of nowhere early in the next episode or will she just be not around in this part of the season? I have a bit of speculation: In one brief establishing shot we see a statue in the background, and while it's too far to make out who it is, I'm pretty sure it's a Soong. There was an audio recording seemingly coming from the statue and it sounded an awful lot like Brent Spiner, and some preview images of the season showed us a moment when Q was handing something to a character played by Spiner in a setting that looked more 2024 than 2400, so that's probably going to be part of it. And if so, then perhaps Soji's position in this distorted timeline is one of importance?
 
One inexplicable absence in episode 2, though, is Soji. Did Q just not snap her into the alternate universe as well? Will she appear out of nowhere early in the next episode or will she just be not around in this part of the season? I have a bit of speculation: In one brief establishing shot we see a statue in the background, and while it's too far to make out who it is, I'm pretty sure it's a Soong. There was an audio recording seemingly coming from the statue and it sounded an awful lot like Brent Spiner, and some preview images of the season showed us a moment when Q was handing something to a character played by Spiner in a setting that looked more 2024 than 2400, so that's probably going to be part of it. And if so, then perhaps Soji's position in this distorted timeline is one of importance?
That statue says "Adam Soong" below it, and we hear his Soong saying a bunch of fascist slogans. We know the Soongs were involved in genetic engineering, which was part of the fascist movement of the Eugenics Wars and later. There's also a bunch of Soong-type Android-slaves walking about in the early 25th Century. I'm guessing a Soong-ancestor was given the means and/or inspiration to take over and let fascism reign. And Data's dad probably made a bunch of murder robots instead of Data in order to help take over the galaxy with. That's my guess. Soji then, wouldn't even exist in this new timeline. At least not in this form. Since she was made to be a sentient individual by Bruce Maddox using Data as a template and not a mindless robot-servant. Unless Q manipulated things enough that she'd still somehow show up, I just don't think she's even alive here. Honestly, I'm not expecting this time travel plot to even be a majority of the season, so there's still time for her to show up after they 'fix' whatever was wrong in 2024. Or maybe they'll have some Brent Spiner inspired creative casting where the same actress shows up as Adam Soong's daughter or something in 2024. Ok, now that I think about it, that's the most likely scenario imo.
 

Sprite

(He/Him/His)
Picard’s casual disregard of Jurati continues to be my favorite thing. It’s not any malice on his part, he just has other things on his mind.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Good episode, enjoyed it a lot. This feels like a mirror universe that could work, maybe? That doesn't fall apart, if you look at it funny? Like, maybe your subordinates don't try to kill you all the time?

Anyway, looking forward to learn more, especially about Q's problems. I something about this Confederation threatening the Continuum, maybe? Can't really imagine that, but who knows? I mean, this is a quibble, but I did wonder how this even worked out, that Q wouldn't stop this fashist garbage Confederation from getting into the rest of Space. Maybe, instead of them just acting like it isn't a thing, he let them through due to neglect, and now he might get consequences from the Continuum? No, doesn't make sense, he created this Universe.

Whatever, surprise me, show.
 

Sprite

(He/Him/His)
Bringing back the bus punk was a stroke of genius.

I’m a bit disturbed at how cleanly real life 2022 slots into the dystopian 2024 that DS9 invented 27 years ago.
 

Sprite

(He/Him/His)
I’d enjoy it if every season featured Jurati turning double-agent halfway through. At least this time it’s a result of her own carelessness rather than a viral video giving her a mental illness and making her do a murder.
 
I’d enjoy it if every season featured Jurati turning double-agent halfway through. At least this time it’s a result of her own carelessness rather than a viral video giving her a mental illness and making her do a murder.
I do not necessarily blame anyone for having this take, given how polarizing S1 of PIC was. But I don't think it's correct. Here's my thought process:

So much of S2 of PIC seems very specifically engineered to directly address and appease common criticisms that fans had, that it feels undeniably like an ethos rather than a bunch of small happy accidents.

Agnes getting brainwashed into murdering someone and undermining the androids despite that being completely against her nature and beliefs was a poorly received aspect of S1, and one I actually kinda agree on despite not agreeing with most S1 criticisms.

So here we have a very similar scenario, of a malevolent alien entity attempting to brainwash her again, to undermine and subvert everything she cares about. And while the allure is undeniable, just about at every turn so far in the plot, she's managed to maintain her agency and do the right things. Borg Queen trying to assimilate her? Sorry, here's a shotgun to the head.

If I'm correct about my assessment of the writers intentions here, I don't think she'll succumb to being a double agent again, despite the show also clearly wanting to play on people's worries that it might be the case again. I pretty firmly believe she'll be subverting those expectations in order to kick butt. The preview for next week I feel also confirms that, since it shows Agnes still in control of her mind and body, she's just got a noisy new head-roommate bugging her the entire time which I think is delightful.
 

Sprite

(He/Him/His)
Best case scenario for me would be brokering the Borg’s entry into the Federation through the power of buddy comedy.
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
It's been my theory for a bit, and even moreso after this episode now, that Jurati is the Borg Queen from the first episode. I know it doesn't make any kind of sense, especially pre-timey wimey shenanigans, but Star Trek be like that sometimes. Hell the entire lesson Q was trying to teach Picard in the TNG finale wasn't a moral one but a mental one, he had to prove humanity could think beyond their known understanding of the universe and realize the paradox. Could be something similar here, but it's still way too early to tell.
 
You’re not the first person to think that. I will eat an actual cat turd if that ends up being the case. It makes no sense, not just from a logistical stand point, but from a narrative and thematic one as well. I’ll bet you real, cold, hard cash - however amount you want. That instead it’s gonna be Picard’s mom - not necessary actually her, but taking her form through scifi mumbo jumbo. I’ll dm you Venmo deets if you want.
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
I dunno, I'd really prefer that not to be the case, at least not his ACTUAL Mom. Some sort of facsimile, perhaps, but if that's the case then what's the point? The implication of Q's trial here seems too be that Picard, for some reason, SHOULDN'T have tried to explode the Stargazer along with the Borg Queen, but we still don't know the why or how. It being Picard's actual mother would be far too much of an asspull, especially since we do know she at least lived to an elderly age and there is no reason for the borg to have her body, but if it's a fake then I'm not sure how you could tie it into things in a satisfying way. But if it's not her and it's not Jurati then there are very few possibilities left and her identity has to be at least somewhat important because why the elaborate visual difference covering her head? I suppose it could also be Renee Picard? But I guess we still have to wait and see.

I was hoping that we wouldn't be spending so much time in the past, maybe they'd have to return to the alternate present and fix things a different way, but I guess we're in 2024 for another bit yet?
 
I'm enjoying this show, but much like s1, seems very much a muddled mess. The Jurati/Queen thing pretty cool, as it's based off of Jurati's isolation, much of it because of the events of s1.

Anyhoo - I'll keep on trucking. I love John Delancie
 
I dunno, I'd really prefer that not to be the case, at least not his ACTUAL Mom. Some sort of facsimile, perhaps, but if that's the case then what's the point? The implication of Q's trial here seems too be that Picard, for some reason, SHOULDN'T have tried to explode the Stargazer along with the Borg Queen, but we still don't know the why or how. It being Picard's actual mother would be far too much of an asspull, especially since we do know she at least lived to an elderly age and there is no reason for the borg to have her body, but if it's a fake then I'm not sure how you could tie it into things in a satisfying way. But if it's not her and it's not Jurati then there are very few possibilities left and her identity has to be at least somewhat important because why the elaborate visual difference covering her head? I suppose it could also be Renee Picard? But I guess we still have to wait and see.

I was hoping that we wouldn't be spending so much time in the past, maybe they'd have to return to the alternate present and fix things a different way, but I guess we're in 2024 for another bit yet?
Ok, so here's how I see things:

1) The Borg open a big rift in space and call out from it ominously in a thousand different languages that they want to join the Federation. And more than that, they are asking Picard specifically for help. This M.O. is so far beyond what the Borg usually attempt that something has to be going on here beyond typical Borg doing bad things. Especially when the Borg are characterized as broken and scattered - implying Janeway's victory over them during the events of "Endgame" was a veritable death-blow.

2) Knowing the Borg M.O., and that if you give them time and opportunity to adapt, they will, I think it's safe to assume that standard procedure when encountering active remnants of the collective here is to shoot on sight. Especially when the Voyager came home with Borg-defeating tech. If the Borg manage to ever assimilate that stuff, the UFP and the rest of the Galaxy are potentially screwed.

3) The Borg's entire motivation for what they do is to 'seek perfection' though assimilation, but they're also governed by logic and reason. After getting their asses whupped by the Federation over and over, and them not just hitting a wall in their evolution but getting dealt crippling setbacks, at what point do you finally 'adapt' by reassessing your methods? Wouldn't you begin to wonder, maybe the Federation's method of 'assimilation' to be superior at some point? And if that's the case, wouldn't the logical next step then to be to join them? Since they have a history of including once bitter rivals among their ranks, and you can ride their coattails to perfection?

I could be wrong, but all of this that I just laid out really feels like their request to join the Federation is likely in good faith/honest/earnest. But what's that got to do with Picard's mother? Well.

4) Consider the immense amount of ill will the Collective has earned itself over the centuries. Consider what I laid out previously about standard operating procedure for the Federation dealing with the Borg - shoot first, ask questions later. If you're the Borg, in order to get to the bargaining table, you have to figure out a way to get the Federation to sit down and listen instead of just blowing you up the second you arrive.

5) And that's where Picard comes into play. He was once the collective's point of communication for the Federation when it tried to assimilate it. They know his mind, history, and thought processes intimately. And while there are numerous former-Borg, he's the one in the highest position in Starfleet to affect change and has a legendary history as a diplomat. If you stand a chance at appealing to anyone, it's gotta be him, right? They don't know how Admiral Janeway's mind works, Seven is in no position of authority, etc, etc.

6) The Borg show up in a giant ship that's unlike any of the ships we've seen them employ previously. It only has bilateral symmetry, versus being a classic geometric shape. And it opens up like a giant space vagina. (sYmBoLiSm) The Queen shows up in regalia and clothes, affectations that are completely illogical to the Borg we know, and would be pointless for the sake of malevolent subterfuge. This is our first clue to the Borg Queen's identity. Go back to the first episode and examine the Borg Queen's cloak that she's wearing. It's a color and has patterns on the shoulders that visually evoke the exact same jacket that Picard's mother was wearing in the flashback of his childhood that he remembers. That doesn't feel coincidental.

7) The Borg Queen begins taking over the ship, but consider her actions while doing so. The last thing she says before she begins the takeover of the Stargazer, is she says - almost like an announcement - that she needs power first. So she begins draining the ship's power and taking over the ship's command systems. Which would feel nefarious in a vacuum, but upon examination feels much less so when you add the context of what else is going on. She puts up a shield that is almost passive in nature. It protects her and only stuns the security officers coming to subdue her, not kill or vaporize. If taking over the Stargazer and thus the fleet for nefarious purposes was really the Collective's intentions, then logically speaking she should have murdered everyone in that room so as to not give the command officers a chance to thwart her plans. But she doesn't and allows the auto-destruct sequence to play out. I've already stated that I believe the Borg's stated intentions were probably honest, and this is what does it for me. But there's even more clues here to explore.

8) The Queen is drawing power from the ship. She states it as a necessity. When we see the Confederation Timeline Queen, she too needs power to reenergize after guiding the ship back to the past or else she'll basically shut down. Taking over the ship might just be a security thing the same with the shield, but drawing power might be a legitimate need instead of just metaphorical power of taking the ships over. And I bet opening that rift in space took a lot out of her.

9) The Collective is asking for help, and is acting with abandon and urgency, in ways that feel utilitarian and Borg-like, but also betray legitimate attempts at diplomacy. Cryptically alluding to being "out of time." If we are to continue to take their request at face value, their urgency has meaning. Remember that Borg Queens are sensitive to parallel universes and shifts in the timeline. One of the ways changes in the timeline is characterized in Star Trek previously is that there's a certain delay that occurs when a shift happens. If the 25th Century Queen was perceptive of an impending change in the timeline due to Q's interference, wouldn't that suddenly make a lot of what's going on make even more sense? After all, this just went from "we want perfection" to "we want to survive". And Picard's intimate knowledge and personal relationship with Q would even further make him an ideal candidate for contact.

But here's the real kicker to me, that wraps everything back into my thesis:

10) When Picard is in the middle of giving the Self-Destruct commands, the Queen begins playing "Non, Je ne regrette rien" diegetically throughout the ship. The same song Picard's mother loved and would play to him as a child. It's almost like a final plea before he enters his command codes. Again, why not shoot the man instead of pleading to him like this in such an intimate way? Picard goes through with the command codes, and the ship is just moments from being destroyed, and nobody can stop it. The Borg Queen addresses Picard directly and calls him by his human name. Not Locutus like they've condescendingly dead-named him in the past, but in a way that recognizes and honors his identity. Their fate is sealed, and any actions taken during this moment are essentially meaningless. And yet she approaches him and tells him one last phrase. "Look up." Really go back and listen to how that's said. It's no longer in the synthetic, Borg voice, but done clearly in a regular intonation. And if you listen carefully and compare back to the beginning of the episode, it's being said by the actress who played his mother Yvette. Picard's face does all sorts of delightful contortions displaying confusion in his final moments. Because those words have meaning to him. He said as much at the beginning of the episode. They were the very words his mother would inspire him with that propelled him along his entire life trajectory.

So for such a utilitarian species that prides itself on efficiency and logic, why evoke such an intimate and personal memory to a man about to die? That's the thing I keep coming back to, and is something I both rarely see commented upon or even observed, and that I can't really reconcile with any other explanation.

The hood veiling her face is so that she doesn't immediately startle and raise the suspicions of Picard upon their first encounter. But I can 100% see the Borg invoking Picard's mother - his memories of her and her form - as the final key that makes the entirety of the opening scenario to make sense. Picard's mother was his inspiration for his entire life. She represents to him the best aspects of humanity. She informs all of the good in him and all of the optimism and faith that defines the limitless potential of humanity. And yet, at the same time, she is also implied to be the source of Picard's greatest trauma. Growing up in a broken home where his father beat his mother. A trauma that cut to the heart of his personage so deeply that it led to him joining Starfleet not just to go explore but to run away from his problems at home. That informs all of his intimacy issues that so relatably mare his desires to seek companionship and love -- what if I end up doing to my paramour what my father did to my mother? Coming to him personally, in that form, in that voice, saying those words. Are the actions of someone who wants to connect - to reassure that I understand you, that I am here not to harm but to love. I know you, you can know me, this is how I feel about you. We can have peace and coexistence. Let's help each other. Let's become better together, earnestly in ways that respect one another.

It's bombastic, it's corny, and likely to draw the ire of bad fans like the RLM assholes or anyone who lets cynicism dominate their worldview. But it plays deeply into the themes that the show wants to discuss this season and I think is kind of brilliant. It just makes sense given the scenario we're seeing unfold. That is, if I'm correctly reading everything here. I very well could not be! In this scenario, I would not expect it to be actually his mom, just using her face. We know the Borg have wicked medical tech; it wouldn't be much for them to surgically alter the Queen's face to make it look like anyone.
 
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Sprite

(He/Him/His)
I really hope the “look up” isn’t anything more than appealing to Picard’s better nature by referencing something important that would’ve been in Locutus’s memory banks.

I also sincerely hope that the twist is that he literally needed to look up and there’s something just off-frame that would explain everything.


I would love if the Borg joined the Federation and next season was just dealing with the logistical headache of who should and shouldn’t remain assimilated, and how to navigate consensual assimilation.
 
I really hope the “look up” isn’t anything more than appealing to Picard’s better nature by referencing something important that would’ve been in Locutus’s memory banks.
Like I said in my cloyingly long effort post though: What would be the point of doing that when they're just about to die? And in his mother's own voice no less? It's also worth noting that S2 has gone out of its way to show completely discrete, separate characters played by familiar faces - Adam Soong, his daughter, and now the Supervisor that looks just like his live-in platonic friend - it all feels like it's prepping the audience to accept the Borg Queen being played by a familiar face like oh say Picard's mom.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
I'm enjoying this show, but much like s1, seems very much a muddled mess. The Jurati/Queen thing pretty cool, as it's based off of Jurati's isolation, much of it because of the events of s1.

Anyhoo - I'll keep on trucking. I love John Delancie
Agreed on all counts. It's still a mess, and it's always been a mess, but now I know not to expect more, and I feel like it's kind of leaning into it, so I can just turn off my brain and enjoy the ride.
 
Weird.

This is both exhilirating and like - completely undermining of current jam?
I mean, assuming, as they want you to believe in trailer, that everyone just on a starship and Worf is head of security again.
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
Yeah. On the one hand it does feel like it goes against what Picard has been about thus far, and even rather explicitly against what Patrick Stewart wanted when he agreed to come back (ie: not just doing the same old thing again).

But honestly I expect there to be more to this than just business as usual. I just hope this doesn't mean the current main cast is pushed aside, but it would be hard for the old TNG crew NOT to overshadow Picard's current cast of characters. I guess we'll see how this season goes, I think they filmed S2 and S3 back to back (ish?) so however S2 ends up will likely give us an idea of what this teaser is suggesting.

Trepidation aside though GEORDI WORF CRUSHER DATA RIKER TROI EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
 
I mean, assuming, as they want you to believe in trailer, that everyone just on a starship and Worf is head of security again.
Eh, I think you're reading too much into it. Definitely "reunion episode" vibes, but until I see more I'm not ready to make any declarations because the teaser is super vague.

My prediction for the opening scenario in S3 is this: Jean-Luc is getting married to Laris. The letter we see him writing in the teaser is a wedding invitation. The whole gang show up to be guests at Chateau Picard. And then shit goes south almost immediately, or within a day or two when everyone is in proximity.

I don't think they'll shove aside the regular cast of PIC unless those actors wanted out, or they were prepared to transfer them over to a new show.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Yeah I’m with what Wist said. This show isn’t the type to have regular planned missions, nobody’s gonna be “security officer” or their old exact roles, everyone’s just gonna end up accidentally on some ship due to an emergency, doing their best to sort it out together before getting back to their lives.
 
Yeah I’m with what Wist said. This show isn’t the type to have regular planned missions, nobody’s gonna be “security officer” or their old exact roles, everyone’s just gonna end up accidentally on some ship due to an emergency, doing their best to sort it out together before getting back to their lives.
But I would want Worf to be a security officer despite higher role elsewhere in universe, it's the TNG movie tradition!
 
Latest ep:. -_____-
Little bit of a dud of an episode, but it had enough highlights that I was entertained. My big takeaways were:
- The Picard/Picard peptalk alone justified the episode. Just a really really good moment. If only we all had a Jean-Luc to help pick ourselves up when we needed it. It'll be one of those scenes that fans link to decades from now as an all-time Picard speech.
- The Jurati/Borg stuff is so dumb but it's so fun, and really kinda sets the tone for the show. We've got some serious bits in here but we're also looking to just have fun and not get too serious.
- The new flashback sequence we saw has me adjusting some of my predictions here, regarding Picard and his mom. I still think his dad was abusive, but his mom probably was a manic depressive, his dad didn't know how to handle it/handled it poorly, and lil kid Jean-Luc, being a kid, really didn't have a handle on what was actually going on and it traumatized him.
- Next week is gonna be a 'explore Picard's mind' episode so we can finally decompress what's been haunting him.
 
I will say - Pill is great this season after being wasted last season.
Rios, Raffi continue to be like very nothing characters. And somehow they've brought Seven down with them.
I'm not crazy about the watcher looking exactly like Laris. See how this goes.
John Delancie is great, obv. Spiner doing another sketchy Soong also great.
I guess I'd say - this show is not more than the sum of it's parts, and a lot of the parts are not great.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Picard's pep-talk was well-delivered and all, but I'm still not sure he knows what he's doing here. It's been established that historical records in the proper universe for this time period are super sketchy; we don't actually know that Ms Picard is *supposed* to go on this particular mission at this particular time - it's just the assumption that our heroes are making, given only the knowledge that *something* critical is about to diverge and she's almost certainly involved in some way. The only other info we have is that Q is going to great lengths to stop her, despite a still-mysterious decline in his usual powers, but we also really don't know anything about his ultimate motivations and goals in this scenario, other than the usual Being Q which means he wants to be an enigmatic dick and test everyone and watch Picard squirm.
 
I guess I'd say - this show is not more than the sum of it's parts, and a lot of the parts are not great.
I will more than admit to the show being uneven, but this is a serialized drama. There are a lot of concurrent storylines interweaving, with broad themes that are building up, and we're only 3/5ths the way through the season. I personally am going to abstain from assessing the show's value before it's had a chance to bring all those things together or not. For what it's worth, I thought PIC S1 had a very similar trajectory to this one - where all its ideas came together at the end. Not all of them came together successfully, but it ended up having a pretty satisfying conclusion IMO, save for a few loose threads. I'm still excited on a week-to-week basis to see where this is headed, so I consider that something rather than nothing.

we don't actually know that Ms Picard is *supposed* to go on this particular mission at this particular time - it's just the assumption that our heroes are making, given only the knowledge that *something* critical is about to diverge and she's almost certainly involved in some way.
I've seen it posited several times before that this is another "All Good Things..." scenario where Picard interfering is the problem all along. But while that might track regarding the previous M.O. of the show looking to humble and take Picard down a peg, I just don't buy it. Particularly from a meta-textual perspective. Because that would imply that exacerbating someone's mental illness and letting them flounder being a good thing for humanity/the future... and that's just antithetical to everything this season seems to be examining and discussing.
 
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Sprite

(He/Him/His)
I’m loving this Jurati storyline with the same intensity that I hated last season’s storyline.
 

John

(he/him)
This week's guest star was a great reveal. The voice was super familiar, but at first I thought it was Alexander Siddig bringing in Bashir to Picard, but then I saw it was James Callis/Gaius Baltar, which had to be super intentional, considering what they've done with Jurati/Borg Queen. And now Baltar's another in-head version of a character, but one that we've never met, so it's Picard's version of what his dad was like.

I like the additional layers of complexity that you can add if you want to. Sure, you can just see him as Père Picard, but he's not, he's an interpretation of a person that was created out of childhood trauma, just like the little boy in his story wasn't just Young Jean-Luc, and his mother was different in real life too. You can see Mom's character change throughout the flashbacks, as Picard works out getting Unstuck. He's just not ready for the full reveal, because there's still a few episodes left.

I noticed in Picard's Dungeon/Wine Cellar, the Monster was calling out Locutus of Borg. Jean-Luc hasn't fully processed being part of the collective, 32 years later.
 
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