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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Star Trek: Picard – Season 3 (contains spoilers)

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Star Trek: Picard’s third and final season beamed down to Amazon Prime last week and it would be fair to say that this season has been markedly different from the previous seasons.

This article will be reviewing all of Star Trek: Picard Season 3 up to the final episode, so readers who have not yet watched it all may wish to stop reading now.

With Terry Matalas as the new showrunner, this season felt like a soft-reboot of the entire series.  Certain storylines were maintained, such as Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) dying and now being in a synthetic body, whilst others, like the Data (Brent Spiner) storyline, have been rewritten.  In many cases, this selective retconning has been for the better.

This season, like every other season of Picard, starts off incredibly well; this time with the revelation that the Federation is being infiltrated by an insidious organisation.  This is spearheaded by the compelling villain Vadic (Amanda Plummer), who is hunting Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) and her son Jack (Ed Speelers).  Vadic’s background as a changeling who was experimented upon by Federation scientists is excellently portrayed and gives a genuinely sympathetic reason for wanting to destroy the Federation.

However, the subsequent reveal that Vadic is actually working for the Borg undermines the plot.  The Borg are Picard’s nemesis. They have been in every season of Picard: in the previous season Jurati (Alison Pill) became the Borg Queen and resolved the Borg’s desire for assimilation, and in the first season the Borg were being rehabilitated.  The Borg have also appeared in Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Voyager.

Having the Borg return yet again lessens their overall impact, making them akin to just another species in the Star Trek universe, rather than being the enemy at the gates that can destroy all civilisation.  The Borg are always presented as a significant threat, but when they have been defeated so many times, viewers begin to question the threat they pose.

This season is also highly derivative of other science-fiction shows.  Having the Enterprise-D return because it is the only Federation starship not network-connected is similar to how the Battlestar Galactica survived, whilst the Enterprise flying through the Borg Cube looks like the Millennium Falcon flying through the second Death Star in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

There were fist-pumping moments, such as the Enterprise flying in at the last minute to save Picard and Riker (Jonathan Frakes), whilst the final shot of the crew of the Enterprise all playing cards together was quite sweet.  However, the more compelling storyline, of Raffaela Musiker (Michelle Hurd) and Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) facing off against a Borg-controlled fleet onboard the Titan, was massively underused.

That said, all of the cast were on top form and it was amazing to see the crew of the Enterprise-D together again.  Likewise, the visual effects were truly stunning, although the cast swaying to high-speed manoeuvres remains hilarious (and reminiscent of Red Dwarf…)

Star Trek: Picard was a series that never took risks with the writing and ultimately there were some missed opportunities.  For example, when Picard died in the first season, rather than resurrecting him in a synthetic body, what if they had used the opportunity to explore the ramifications of his death?

Overall, whilst this season of Picard was an improvement compared with the last one, and featured some incredible acting by the original cast, it was ultimately let down by writing that relied far too often on established tropes and never dared to take any chances or try anything new.

Peter Ray Allison
Peter Ray Allisonhttp://www.peterallison.net
Science Fiction: the final frontier. These are the articles of the freelance journalist Peter Ray Allison. His continuing mission: to explore strange new realms of fiction, to seek out new genres and new visions of the future, to boldly geek where no one has geeked before.

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Star Trek: Picard’s third and final season beamed down to Amazon Prime last week and it would be fair to say that this season has been markedly different from the previous seasons. This article will be reviewing all of Star Trek: Picard Season 3 up...Star Trek: Picard – Season 3 (contains spoilers)