There’s a lot going on in episode 3×03 of Star Trek: Picard, “Seventeen Seconds.” We finally get some back story confirming last week’s big reveal. There are epic battles, sabotage, and lots of interpersonal clashing. It’s everything you want in an exciting space drama. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so let’s dive into my full review of Star Trek: Picard episode 3×03 “Seventeen Seconds.”
Jack, I am Your Father!
First of all, that conversation between Dr. Crusher and Picard is a heartbreaker. I kept feeling like I was intruding on a very private conversation! And honestly, I think they’re both right. Like Picard, I HATE when people assume things about me. Are they right? Not always. At least give me the chance to choose for myself. I understand Beverly’s concerns as well. If he were my kid, I don’t know that I could have chosen differently. It’s a hard call. Maybe it was better for Jack to grow up without his father’s legacy behind him. Maybe not. But it wasn’t a group decision. Beverly said it well, “I thought I could protect my son. I didn’t know if I could protect yours.” Also, I can’t get over how much Ed Speleers really looks like he could be Picard and Beverly’s son.
I think the biggest props here go to Gates McFadden. This is one of the best dramatic performances we’ve ever gotten to see her perform as Dr. Crusher. Her delivery of this fantastic dramatic speech is perfect. I hope we get more performances like this from her this season. Finally, the parallels between Riker’s story of the longest seventeen seconds of his life and Picard having that same experience were nicely done. So far, the writers have done well this season, introducing an idea at the beginning of the episode and wrapping it up by the episode’s end. I hope it stays that way.
Raffi and Worf: The Buddy Cop Duo You Didn’t Know You Needed
I am absolutely loving watching Raffi and Worf work together and play off of each other. Worf had all kinds of great lines here, and Michael Dorn’s signature deadpan delivery is as on-point as ever. I nearly put myself in the floor laughing at Worf giving his list of titles longer than Danaerys Targaryen’s and then saying, “I have made some chamomile tea. Do you take sugar?” I also love that while Worf’s perpetual surliness had its charm in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, he’s as the humans say, “been working on himself.” This new aura of calm about him definitely works and is a positive growth for his character. So does the idea that he’s working as a “sub-contractor” for Starfleet, using his connections and experience in ways that he could not as a Starfleet officer.
On this past week’s episode of Mission Log Live, host Holly Amos called Worf, “Zaddy Worf”, complimenting his aging like a fine Klingon Blood Wine. Grey looks good on Worf and Michael Dorn is just as charming as ever with his deep, sexy voice. “Zaddy Worf” has definitely made it into my vernacular. Thanks, Holly.
Who’s the Boss?
There is a lot of headbutting going on this week on Star Trek: Picard episode 3×03 “Seventeen Seconds” between Picard and Riker. It didn’t start out that way. “I think it’s time you called me Number One,” Picard says, as he takes the First Officer’s chair. Picard can sit in the chair, but man is it hard for Picard to turn off that Admiral energy. It was very disorienting to see these two men who historically have worked together without much conflict, even when they disagreed, to argue like that. Riker’s words to him at the end of the episode, “Congratulations, Jean-Luc. You’ve killed us all,” were like a knife to the heart. High stakes, high pressure for sure, but good grief, that hurt. I’m eager to see how they get out of this one.
Fun Things and Final Thoughts
Star Trek: Picard episode 3×03 “Seventeen Seconds” really put me through the emotional gamut this week. From drama with Picard and Beverly to laughing with Worf and Raffi to edge-of-my-seat stress with Picard and Riker, this is really one for the books. But there were also several fun character moments, and one big reveal I’ve not discussed yet.
First, if you want more Picard/Crusher canon, watch Star Trek: The Next Generation episode7x08 “Attached.” When I did my “Key Episodes to Watch” list during our Star Trek hiatus, Twitter user @Fangrlmoment pointed out that I should have included “Attached” on my list due to it being big in the Picard/Crusher shipper fandom. She was right on the money with that, so maybe consider it some extra credit homework this week to add to your watchlist.
Second, a few interesting things to note in “Seventeen Seconds.” Beverly notes that she and Jack have been serving forgotten worlds. Sounds like we’re dealing with more second contact issues, and some issues leftover from the conflict between Cardassia and Bajor. The Federation doesn’t get involved with non-Federation worlds, but it’s hard to hold the moral high ground when you effectively say, “Not my problem,” to the injustices being committed on your watch, just because the worlds in question aren’t in the Federation. This has been a recurring theme across modern Trek, particularly in Star Trek: Lower Decks and Star Trek: Prodigy. I hope it’s an idea that they explore further.
There are a few things that are just a bit of icing on the cake in episode 3×03 “Seventeen Seconds.” The banter when Raffi and Worf are tracking down Titus Rikka is *chef’s kiss.*
WORF: This is casual.
RAFFI: For what, a Tuesday beheading?
WORF: Beheadings are on Wednesdays.
Speaking of Titus Rikka, he’s played by Thomas Dekker, aka John Connor in the short-lived, but excellent Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. If you missed it, check out this episode of Sci-Fi 5 I wrote on it last year. And may I say, he looks practically the same as he did in 2008. It should have been obvious to me, with all the different sorts of people showing up to attack Jack and Beverly, that changelings are involved. And yet, when Rikka turned into a puddle of goo, I swore and it immediately set my nerves on edge.
The Dominion War was one of the most difficult challenges that the Federation faced in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Also, Worf’s contact in The Great Link that he mentions, a man of honor? That’s a sweet callback to Odo, played by the late, great Rene Auberjonois. By all accounts, Rene was a very sweet man, and I’m sorry that we won’t get to hear his signature “harumphs” in this season of callbacks, but even just this passing reference warmed my heart.
Finally, while I’m not as well-versed in my Star Trek film scores, there is something Trek-adjacent that I noticed in “Seventeen Seconds.” The musical cue in the scene where Shaw asks Jack, “How does she keep finding us?” sounds a bit like the main flute part in the “Main Title” theme from Alien, which aside from being my all-time favorite movie, was composed by Jerry Goldsmith, the music composer for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. If there’s a similar cue in one of the films, I want to hear about it. And frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were. Picard composer Jeff Russo definitely borrows heavily from previous Trek film scores, so that’s always something to listen for.
What did you think of Star Trek: Picard 3×03 “Seventeen Seconds”? Leave me a comment and let’s talk Trek.
The next episode of Star Trek: Picard will air on March 9, 2023, on Paramount+.