Picard Season 2 Premiere – A Perfect Star Trek Story Both Familiar & New
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Picard Season 2 Premiere – A Perfect Star Trek Story Blending Familiar With The New

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BY March 4, 2022

One of the key tenets of the philosophy running through Star Trek is that with the right values, we can build the perfect system. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the era of Jean-Luc Picard and the Next Generation era of stories, this was easier to do than now. When Patrick Stewart reprised his iconic role in the first season of the Paramount+ series, he came back at a time when there is a fundamental distrust of institutions. By the season 1 finale, things had been set right, yet many folks wondered where the show would go next. With the season 2 premiere of Star Trek: Picard, we get a story that feels more like the universe we know and are presented with the kind of classic moral question only this universe can handle. Also, we know Q is showing up to throw things really out of whack.

From the Star Trek: Picard trailer, we know that not only will John De Lancie return as the omnipotent antagonist Q, but also that there is some time-travel involved. Thankfully, it seems Paramount found the right showrunner to handle all of this. Terry Matalas, co-creator of the underrated gem 12 Monkeys, now on Hulu and Blu-ray, knows his way around timey-wimey conundrums. He’s also a veteran of the Star Trek franchise, having worked on both Star Trek: Voyager and Enterprise. (He even had a walk-on cameo in the finale of the latter.) He has Picard’s captain’s chair in his office. This guy knows Star Trek and Picard. The premiere episode is co-written by him and executive producer Akiva Goldsman.

What we get is a story that simultaneously feels new and familiar. This feels like Star Trek, but in a way that has me baffled as to what comes next.

Light spoilers to follow.

The Premiere Episode of Star Trek: Picard Season 2 Puts Jean-Luc Back in His Place

Picard Season 2 premiere episodes paramount star trek Image by Trae Patton via Paramount+

At the end of last season, Picard found himself no longer fully human. His body was injured to the point where death was a certainty. Yet, thanks to a stroke of luck, there was a fresh, synthetic body right there waiting for him. (Interestingly, the latest season of Star Trek: Discovery embraced this idea, too.) Yet, the allegory of intolerance that the synthetic storyline of last season focused on so heavily seems to be mostly absent. As per usual, once they get it right, the Federation gets it right.

Instead, we see Picard back where he belongs, in a position of respect and authority within the Federation. He gives a commencement speech to class of Starfleet cadets. This mostly serves to show us that Michelle Hurd’s Raffi, Santiago Carera’s Rios, and Evan Evagora’s Elnor are now all fully back in the Starfleet fold. In fact, things are going so well for the characters that any experienced sci-fi fan (especially those who know 12 Monkeys) know that something absolutely terrible must be about to happen. To quote another time-traveler: Oh Boy.

Cue the spatial anomaly! Much of the episode focuses on cracking the mystery of what this thing is. Without giving it away, let’s just say it’s an avenue to the kind of tough moral question that Star Trek was built for. To say things go poorly is an understatement. Yet, the unfortunate decisions made on the bridge of the USS Stargazer kick off the larger story in a big way.

What Does Q Have to Do with This, and What Are His Plans for Picard?

Picard Season 2 premiere episodes paramount star trek Image by Sarah Coulter via Paramount+

Unfortunately, we don’t get to actually see Q in the season 2 premiere episode of Star Trek: Picard. Though, I am certain we’ve seen his first bit of interference at the end of this first episode. Again, we know he’s coming because of the marketing. Beyond that we know very little about what Q wants to do or what the point of this exercise is specifically. On a broader scale, we know exactly what Q is doing here. “The trial never ends,” and all that.

On the surface the story feels a bit like a “mirror universe” story reskinned to include Q. (Also, Mirror Universe Q? I’d like to see that.) With how much time Star Trek: Discovery spent in the mirror universe, that might cause some Trek fans’ eyes to roll. I would urge anyone thinking this way to fear not and be patient. I’ve gone on-the-record a number of times to say that I think 12 Monkeys is one of the best shows ever, not just in the sci-fi genre. On this ride with Matalas is the series co-creator Travis Fickett and other writers from the show. Goldsman and University of Pittsburgh alum Michael Chabon are also still involved. The team is a powerhouse of storytelling, and they deserve fans’ trust.

From what I’ve seen of Star Trek: Picard season 2 beyond the premiere suggests that every one of the 10 episodes this year are going to be blockbusters. Personally, I am very excited for this season and the next one, currently filming, which also be the final one.

Star Trek: Picard debuts new season 2 episodes on Thursdays on Paramount+.

Did you see the premiere episode of season 2 of Star Trek: Picard? What do you think? Share your thoughts, reactions, and theories for what’s next in the comments below.

Featured image by Nicole Wilder via Paramount+.

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Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book of superhero short stories, Tales of Adventure & Fantasy: Book One is available as an ebook or paperback from Amazon.

          

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