Picard season 1 finale posted this past Thursday and with it, the first season comes to a close. Many things can be said about the show, but mundane cannot be one of them. Picard brought such a spin on old characters and points of view, it pioneered new ground much as the original Star Trek did back in the 60’s. I think Picard might be the most pure Star Trek anything since the Original and Next Generation. If you have not seen episode 10 yet, quit reading! As Will Wheaton said in the ‘Ready Room’, if you are reading things about episode 10 without having seen it yet, you are doing yourself a great disservice!
Spoilers Warning From Here On!!!
Picard Season 1 Finale: Oh So Star Trek
I think in a lot of ways Picard brought Star Trek back to its roots more than any show since the original series. It confronted issues in everyday life and presented them in manners that were neither heavy handed nor preachy. It changed context just enough that one could feel the message in a removed form and then apply it to today.
Sir Patrick Stewart and Allison Pill referenced to trust in structures being eroded while talking in the ‘Ready Room’. Entities the people long believed in such as government and media are no longer entities that can be blindly trusted as they were in the past. While you can see some of this, that is what I love about this series and others like it. I did not focus on that at all, even though I can see why they say that. Starfleet almost came across as bad guys, and even the mighty Jean Luc Picard walked broken in failure. To me, though, Picard highlighted a whole different message.
Picard Season 1 Finale: The Journey Within
To me season one spoke more about the journey within and finding one’s self. Every single character in the show started out broken, even Jean-Luc. The characters introduced all suffered from some past trauma that uprooted their lives and drove them down paths they never wanted, even if they were now embracing them. The show did an excellent job weaving all these broken threads together seamlessly, and it gave us something new.
Every Star Trek before started with a Starfleet crew. Everyone went through the same training and were on a starship because it is where they wanted to be. Voyager came closest to breaking this mold with the Maquis having to integrate into Voyager’s crew, but even then it boiled down to two crews with different ideas merging together. With Picard, for the first time, we have a motley, rag-tag group of misfits being pulled in the same direction through one man’s quest to fix the past. I really liked this feel to the show as it allows it to integrate different ideas and views and opinions much more seamlessly than before. No matter who they were, old crews had to conform to Starfleet regulations. Not in this show.
As the show progressed, every character faced down their personal flaws and demons. They grew into characters that while maybe not whole yet, could now move beyond their tragedies and forge a new life.
Picard Season 1 Finale: Not So Star Trek Look
The thing I loved about this show was how it took Star Trek mythos and stood it on its pointed Vulcan ears. As much as I like Star Trek, the different incarnations over the generations all tried to feel like the original despite being decades/centuries later than the timeline or actual production execution. Picard threw all this out the airlock.
The 60’s show had rudimentary levers and buttons for electronics. This held back every single show until now. Now the La Sirena looks and feels like a ship from that time should. Instead of static buttons and knobs it sports a 3D holographic HUD like Iron Man uses for everything. Even Jean-Luc feels dated by the new controls and this is a man who is an expert shuttle pilot.
Picard Season 1 Finale: Not So Star Trek Fighting
Back in the 60’s, that show’s fighting paled to today’s standards. You can also thank William Shatner for the for the over-acted, telegraphed punches and attacks. Every show since copied this fighting style, but while it looked expected in the 60s, in today’s world it looks pathetic. Sure, today’s actors moved faster and sold it slightly better, but in the end, you still have the same overacted, telegraphed style.
From the very first episode when Dahj takes on the Romulan assassins, Picard said we will be different. The fighting, the graphic nature off it all, stood out as modern martial arts brilliance. No more elbow to the diaphragm, palm to the chin, and I win, crap. It was fast and it was brutal. It was glorious to watch every fight to see how this fight would go down.
Star Trek also followed the 60s trope of ‘thou shalt see no blood’. In Picard, not only are we seeing wounds being inflicted, but heads are rolling from decapitated shoulders and poor Hugh has his eye graphically ripped from his socket. To me this was a breath of fresh air into the series. One did not know what would happen next.