Season 2, Episode 1: ‘The Star Gazer’
Why can’t poor Jean-Luc Picard simply be left alone in retirement?
Actually, there should be another folks to save lots of the universe at this level. As Season 2 of “Picard” will get underway, the retired admiral seems so at peace at his winery. He’s choosing grapes. Petting his canine. He’s smiling and not using a care on the earth.
Picard handles retirement a lot better than Captain Kirk ever did. Picard may even be falling in love with Laris, who’s grieving after the demise of Zhaban. (This seems like a violation of pal code for Picard to be flirting like this, however we’ll enable it.)
The admiral has at all times been introduced as a duty-first skilled, viewing the Enterprise because the love of his life moderately than pursuing one thing, you already know, dwelling. Even in retirement, he’s nonetheless chancellor of Starfleet Academy. His romantic pursuits have hardly ever been explored within the a long time that he has appeared onscreen, aside from some transient interactions with Beverly Crusher and Anij, the Ba’ku girl from “Star Trek: Rebellion.” It’s good to see the “Picard” writers (Akiva Goldsman and Terry Matalas wrote this episode) discover that facet of our favourite Earl Gray-loving Starfleet legend.
Should you’re a Trekkie, Picard ending up with Crusher has lengthy felt inevitable: Two flirting pals who’ve a deep bond ensuing from years serving collectively. However that’s not how life works. Typically, you find yourself with the surprising. Even so, Picard appears leery of creating this official with Laris — he walks proper as much as the road and hesitates.
The present usually has been wonderful at fan service, and having Whoopi Goldberg reprise her function as Guinan to measurement up Picard like within the outdated days went down like a glass of kanar.
“It’s not as if I haven’t cherished earlier than,” Picard tells Guinan. “I’ve. Typically fairly deeply.”
Perhaps he, too, nonetheless thinks of his former chief medical officer. However Guinan can sense that there’s a trauma that retains Picard from changing into intimate with others, though he needs to. Such observations are a part of what makes “Picard” totally different from “Star Trek: The Subsequent Era”: It’s as a lot a personality research as it’s about explosions and exploration.
Picard’s pals appear to be doing nicely for the second. Elnor is a cadet in Starfleet. Raffi, who was fired from Starfleet, is in good standing once more and is sitting behind Picard as he offers a speech to Starfleet Academy.
“Could you all go boldly right into a future free from the shackles of the previous,” Picard says throughout his speech to Starfleet Academy, mainly a ruh-roh second of foreshadowing.
Seven of 9 is in her ingredient throwing punches at marauders on Rios’s outdated ship. Talking of which, Rios is now a captain — apparently promotions aren’t onerous to get in Starfleet these days, and one can simply come and go as they please. Soji is giving toasts to synthetics, whereas Jurati bought away with homicide. Issues are nice!
(A typical theme of “Picard”: Lots of the characters really feel that they don’t deserve love, or produce other hangups in the case of relationships. Jurati says she’s not courting materials. Picard received’t kiss Laris. Seven of 9 wants house from Raffa. In Season 1, Elnor felt deserted by Picard.)
However sufficient about love and happiness. There’s a spatial anomaly. There’s at all times a spatial anomaly.
In earlier iterations of “Trek,” Picard would have been pressured to cope with this inexperienced blob in house as a result of the Enterprise was the one ship within the neighborhood. Now the writers merely have the life-forms emerge from the anomaly and demand to talk to Picard, and solely Picard.
On this case, a Borg ship emerges and the decimated however nonetheless terrifying sociopathic robots want to be an ally to the Federation, one thing that troubles Picard’s confidantes. Although the Borg have successfully been destroyed, they nonetheless possess technological superiority to the Federation, in a position to simply transport via the Stargazer’s shields and take over your complete fleet. (It’s a bit tough to reconcile the Borg being a non-factor within the universe however nonetheless in a position to assimilate a whole fleet of Federation ships inside seconds, however we digress.)
Another good bits of fan service: Rios is captaining the Stargazer, Picard’s ship earlier than the Enterprise. And when cadets are given assignments, Hikaru Sulu, Kirk’s outdated crew mate, has a ship named after him. There’s additionally a reference to the Grissom, which was a Starfleet ship destroyed in “Star Trek III: The Search For Spock.”) Raffi is commanding the Excelsior, which was Sulu’s ship when he bought promoted to captain in “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Nation.”
And naturally, there’s the reappearance of John de Lancie’s Q on the finish of the episode. The final time we noticed Q, he basically induced an identical spatial anomaly within the collection finale of “The Subsequent Era,” making an attempt to provide Picard clues about tips on how to save the universe in his personal tortured means. That is likely to be the case once more right here. Or perhaps he simply needs to play with Picard as a result of he’s bored.
It may very well be each. Regardless of the case, in that transient scene Q clearly feels at house together with his outdated “capitaine.” And though Picard seems fearful within the new actuality he’s been transported into, one has to surprise if he feels extra snug taking up Q than he does falling in love.