Wow! What a way to open up the season for Star Trek: Picard! We’ve got excitement, a sassy new Captain, and the start of a slow reassembling of the old guard. I’m going to take a deep breath and get started because I’ve got a lot to scream about with this season opener. Here are a few thoughts on Star Trek: Picard episode 3×01 “The Next Generation.”
The Next Generation…Literally
We’re setting up a lot of dominos in episode 3×01 “The Next Generation.” First up, I’m very surprised to learn that Beverly would just ghost the whole crew like that for 20+ years, though the reveal that she had a son in that time explains it…somewhat. One question we don’t get answered in this episode is who her son’s father is. But right now, we have more pressing questions to attend to. Why is she out beyond Federation space? Why is she listening to old logs from the days when The Borg attacked the Enterprise in Star Trek: The Next Generation episode 3×26, “The Best of Both Worlds”? This is a nice setup with Beverly and a great way to introduce her son. We’ll have to hold on until next week to see if Picard and Riker can get them out of there in time.
The Boys are Back in…Space
The highlight of episode 3×01 “The Next Generation” for me is definitely Picard and Riker. They’re just guys, being bros…or however that saying goes. I’ve always admired their relationship, and to be honest, they’re probably my favorite Captain and Number One pair. It was so lovely to see them back at 10 Forward. Riker drops a bit of a bomb into his conversation with Picard, though he doesn’t elaborate and Picard doesn’t press it. What did he mean by “Deanna and Kestra will be glad for the time away from me”? Trouble in paradise? I mean literally. Nepenthe, from what we saw in season one, is just dang gorgeous. Troi and Riker have always been my TNG OTP, so it’s difficult for me to imagine them having such a hard time. We better get some more exposition on this, STAT!
I love that Picard and Riker resorted to hijinks to try to get the Titan to Beverly’s coordinates. I also kind of love that they would have failed miserably without Seven’s help. Or should I say, without the help of Commander Annika Hansen? More on that in a bit.
Captain on the Bridge
Well, seeing as this is the first episode, and it’s only my first impression, I reserve the right to change my mind later. But let me say this first about Captain Shaw. Captain Shaw sucks. He’s kind of funny, but mostly, he’s a dick. Sure, I get not being swayed by all the hype around Picard and Riker, but still. He’s rude and unnecessarily passive-aggressive. And he’s got a whiff of bigotry about him. Refusing to call Seven by the name she prefers because it’s her “Borg” name. Come on, dude. I hope we get to see him get his comeuppance.
Now, all that being said, this isn’t Todd Stashwick’s first turn on Star Trek. He had a guest role in Star Trek: Enterprise episode 4×09, “Kir’Shara.” He played Talok, a Romulan covert operative. Obviously, Talok and Shaw are two completely different people, but he’s already played one shady character on a Star Trek show. Is Shaw going to be shady too? Possibly not, but he’s sus in my book.
The B-plot of this episode, though I think this will eventually lead to the main plot, particularly interested me. I LOVE the setup with Raffi. You think she’s down but she’s not out. Her working for Starfleet Intelligence is a good move. Also, we see her face her demons with addiction. I think playing the role of an addict while also fighting for your own sobriety has to be one of the most challenging things a person can do. Big props to Michelle Hurd on an outstanding physical performance here. You see her physically fighting off the addiction, and it’s a dang emotional gut punch. Also, did she and Seven really break up or is that part of her cover story? We’re going to have to watch and find out.
Also, it’s got to be said. Did you notice the name of the planet, M’Talas Prime? COME ON TERRY. You gotta name the planet after yourself? That’s really something. But anyway, props on the looks of the planet. It’s clearly Blade Runner-inspired, and that’s definitely an aesthetic I can get behind.
There’s a lot going on in Star Trek: Picard 3×01 “The Next Generation.” We’ve got some good set-up, a mystery to uncover, and we’re just waiting to get the band back together. And now for a few little things that I appreciate in this opener. First, how did I not know that Riker liked whiskey? I mean, it seems right. Also that line from Captain Shaw about Riker being a “bourbonista” coinciding with his love for jazz? That makes perfect sense, at least to me, being a sax player, lover of jazz, and enjoyer of bourbon. Also, I didn’t recognize the brand of whiskey Picard and Riker were sipping on–that’s Swaford. Apparently, it’s a made-up distillery that Terry Matalas drops into various shows he’s worked on. Too bad, as I’d have tried to hunt down a bottle.
Anyway, enough whiskey business. *rim shot*
Second, it’s nice to see Laris again, but I wasn’t sure if we would. Is she going to have a larger role this season? Hard to say. Third, I’ve got my suspicions, but Picard’s look of, “OH HECC!” when he realizes that he’s talking to Beverly’s son is pretty dang loaded. My first thought was, “Is he Picard’s kid?” My second thought is, “If he ain’t, Picard is sure concerned that he might be!” Fourth, Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut as Sidney La Forge is a ding dang delight. I absolutely can’t wait to see more of Sidney.
Finally, Raffi was right on the money with her suspicions but was just a bit too late. What a heartbreaker. That teleportation device is downright devastating. Also, the statue of the red lady? That’s Rachel Garrett. You can learn more about her by watching the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” which is arguably one of the best episodes of the series.
What did you think about Star Trek: Picard 3×01 “The Next Generation”? Leave me a comment and let’s talk Trek.
The next episode of Star Trek: Picard will air on February 23, 2023, on Paramount+.