Thursday, January 23, 2020

REVIEW: 'Star Trek: Picard' - Jean-Luc Picard Understands That There Are Still People Who Need His Help in 'Remembrance'

CBS All Access' Star Trek: Picard - Episode 1.01 "Remembrance"

At the end of the 24th Century, and 14 years after his retirement from Starfleet, Jean-Luc Picard is living a quiet life on his vineyard, Chateau Picard. When he is sought out by a mysterious young woman, Dahj, in need of his help, he soon realizes she may have personal connections to his own past.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the series premiere of CBS All Access' Star Trek: Picard.

"Remembrance" was directed by Hanelle Culpepper with story by Akiva Goldsman, Michael Chabon, Alex Kurtzman & James Duff and teleplay by Akiva Goldsman & James Duff

Jean-Luc Picard doesn't want the game to end just yet. That is the first thought expressed in this series. Picard is having a dream about playing poker with his best friend Data until it turns into a nightmare detailing some of the destruction of Mars. It can be insanely unhealthy for a person to look at life as a game that needs to be played and won. At first, it's a sentimental thought because Picard enjoys this time together with Data. None of it is real though. Data sacrificed himself to save Picard. The universe doesn't have the technology to reconstruct him either. In fact, this is a dire reality that Picard is now a part of. He resigned in protest from Starfleet because it no longer resembled the institution he revered so much. He saw it as his noble duty to save as many Romulan lives as possible from the pending destruction of their planet. And yet, that was seen as the moment that seemingly destroyed the Federation as an entity of peace and exploration. It eventually led to the outlaw of all Synthetic technology because of the massive loss of lives on Mars during an attack. That planet is still suffering from the ramifications of that action as well. And now, Picard is just living a peaceful existence on his family vineyard alongside two Romulan refugees loyal to him. It seems like a quaint but peaceful life. One that doesn't immediately resemble the action and adventure that used to define his existence. He also openly admits that he isn't really living any more. He is simply waiting to die. He can't move as quickly as he used to. And yet, he still feels the calling of service to do more. That makes him feel reinvigorated when a young woman arrives at the vineyard looking for help. Dahj is confused as to why she is being hunted down by assassins. She also doesn't understand how she could have possibly killed them. She has been living a life entirely unaware that she is actually a Synthetic designed to look human. It's a miraculous breakthrough in the technology that would be seen as highly treasonous by whomever ran the experiment. Data was a marvelous design. He was so much more than the simple basics of what he was built to do. It's not so easy to bring him back together. People have tried. And yet, the research is limited because of the world's fear that exploration of such science will lead to even more danger and devastation. People are willing to fall along tribal lines in the hopes of surviving whatever threat comes from the scary outsiders to their world. Picard doesn't embrace that same mentality. He is nurturing and welcoming to Dahj immediately even though he has no idea who she is. She runs to him because she has the feeling that she will be safe with him no matter what. That isn't ultimately true in the end. She may have been nothing more than a plot device to propel Picard into the action once more. She dies because Picard is in the dark about what's going on. He eventually learns that she was born from Data's neurons. She is essentially his daughter. He finally got to achieve what he always wanted. But the twins that have been created are hunted by Romulan assassins. They succeed in targeting Dahj. However, her sister Soji appears to be a scientist for a Romulan mission aboard a Borg ship. That's an unusual visual that showcases just how powerful society can become when merging its ideals and ambitions. Starfleet may have limited its focus. However, Picard understands that he has a duty to protect those who don't know the truth about their creation. It's a somewhat slow and tedious start to the new season. But it's all in service of the idea that Picard can never stop saving lives even though he is no longer associated with Starfleet. He still has allies as well. Sure, he is still asked about his departure from Starfleet when he finally agrees to a live television interview. But he is still perfectly frank about everything that has happened in his life and his willingness to embrace the unknown. He may yearn for what he had in the past. However, the future can remain bright if one can look past the dire circumstances to find it. That is what Star Trek has always been and this show presents it in a unique way.