Show Reviews

Star Trek: Picard, S1, Ep. 1 (“Remembrance”) and Ep. 2 (“Maps and Legends”)

Image Credit: CBS Interactive, Inc.

Greetings, fellow nerds. I trust you’ve all been inescapably immersed within the new Picard series just as I’ve been. I’m still trying to untangle the web of information that we’ve been given over the past two episodes, but truth be told, it’s been harder to breach than a Tholian web. So, forgive me for offering nothing more than queries and suppositions, but that is all this geek has to unpack from his messenger bag of nerd-bits at the moment (a Manhattan Portage messenger bag, that is). *raises pinky*

I had to reacquaint myself with a few plot points that hearkened back to Next Generation, because it’s been a hot-minute since I’ve watched some of those episodes; particularly in the case of Bruce Maddox. Now, you’ll remember him as the Starfleet cyberneticist in “The Measure of a Man” who wanted to disassemble Data in the hopes of learning how to reverse-engineer his positronic brain, and create an armada of slaves for the Federation.

Bruce Maddox played by Brian Brophy in “The Measure of a Man” (CBS Interactive, Inc.)

Played beautifully by Brian Brophy, he was just the right amount of “jerk” that made you want to punch him in the face, or subdue him with one of the many classic “Kirk” moves that have birthed so many wonderful GIFs to be shared over the Interwebs.

So far, the mystery remains as to the reason behind Maddox’s creation of Dahj and Soji. Was it merely to prove that he could do it? Or was it to advance our understanding of what it truly means to be a sentient life-form? This last question would certainly make sense if Maddox eventually came to the realization that Data truly was “human,” and that synthetic-beings, with time and learned experiences, would eventually evolve to a species closely resembling humans, sharing all of our complex emotions, intricacies and foibles, for better or for worse. However, why create a synthetic-being as perfect as Dahj and Soji with the programmed ability to fight as well as we’ve seen Dahj demonstrate? And why also program them to flee to Jean-Luc in the case of absolute necessity? I suppose all will be revealed in due course.

Although, I think the biggest “Holy crap!” moment was seeing where Dahj’s sister, Soji, was working at the end of the first episode. What’s the Romulans’ endgame? Why rebuild the Borg cube? I mean, it certainly looks like they’re reconstructing it. And what’s the purpose of studying and dissecting the Borg corpses on board? Surely they know the Borg represent a threat to all life-forms, and any attempt to use them for nefarious purposes will ultimately backfire, right? Well, I’ll presume their common ancestry with Vulcans doesn’t include the shared ability to reason with logic.

What Kurtzman and the whole Star Trek production team have been so gloriously adept at is finding these small, but effective nuggets within the whole of Star Trek lore, and weaving a gorgeously intricate tapestry of storytelling from which to build a series around. They’ve already proven that they have the wherewithal to do this with Discovery, which has been some of the best Trek in years, and now they’re further showcasing their acumen for creating great television with Picard. The Bruce Maddox nugget is a deep-cut for us Trek fans because it hails from an episode that is considered, by even the harshest of critics, to be one of the best examples of what Star Trek has to offer; and they didn’t stop there. They took this episode and further expanded the story-line by also connecting Picard to yet another classic episode, one which is probably my favorite TNG episode of all time, “The Offspring”. It’s a stroke of genius because both stories work so seamlessly together. With just these two episodes, and the Borg, you have a multitude of ideas with which to play. I’m really excited to see how it’ll all come together in the end.

I’m definitely all in with Picard. Like Kurtzman and crew did with Discovery, they’ve pumped a lot of love and resources into giving us something special for Patrick Stewart’s return, and I can only guess at the exciting revelations they have in store for us longtime fans to salivate and touch ourselves over. I mean, if you are a longtime fan and haven’t been inappropriately fondling yourself over the first two episodes, you obviously aren’t operating within normal parameters, and somebody should take a gander at your innards to confirm all systems are running at maximum capacity (nyuk, nyuk).

Oh, and here’s a bit of trivia for you. Recognize the location where Starfleet is filmed? If you’re as big of a geek as me, and have been to as many Cons as I have, you instantly recognized it. Give up? It’s the Anaheim Convention Center, kids.

The Anaheim Convention Center, home to WonderCon, Star Wars Celebration, and now Starfleet (CBS Interactive, Inc.)

So, the next time you trek on over to the area, make sure to take a selfie on the top level where the battle at the end of episode one took place, or by the concrete bench where Picard and Dahj were conversing right before. You won’t find either there; or, who knows, maybe you quite possibly will. Or maybe you’ll find some DNA from which a clone can be synthesized. Imagine that! Your own living, breathing Admiral Jean-Luc Picard!

Actually, no, don’t imagine. That’s just creepy. But, a life-size “Hot Toys” version? Now we’re talkin’!

Sideshow, make it so….

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