Review: Picard (Series 2)

Spoilers ahead for the overall story arc of Picard S2. You have been warned.

First things first, this was a far better series, overall, than the first one.

In the first series, the characters were (mostly) unlikeable. Patrick Stewart (purposely?) played Picard as a tired older man, very much unlike the character that most people had grown to love, and were thus expecting to relive in this new incarnation. The other additions (and returning characters, like Seven of Nine) weren’t exactly ones to warm to. All in all, the series felt like a misfire.

So, Series 2 feels like a recalibration – the main ‘crew’ are far more engaging and likeable. I’m not really convinced that Seven of Nine is in any way the same character as Jeri Ryan originally portrayed in Voyager, but (with the exception of Elnor), I wanted to watch these characters work together.

As for the main plot – whilst I enjoyed the overall idea – Q, knowing he is ‘dying’, and that Picard still has life lessons to learn, sends Picard and his crew back in time after a crucial mistake is made – the details didn’t really make sense, especially in the way Q became such a moustache-twirling villain for seemingly no reason, during the middle of the series.

The finale did pull together the main threads in a rather nice way, wrapping up the theme of lessons learned, a farewell and nice moment between Picard and Q (which, again, would have landed far better if the latter hadn’t been seemingly so determined to kill the former during the series!).

There was a major development regarding the future of one of the other main Trek villains, the Borg, who again were more interesting than in the previous series, but Brent Spiner’s Soong arc just seemed redundant.

My (very) amateur screenwriter brain would have kept the main beats of the overall story, and its’ resolution, but changed one central thing, which was hinted at when Q first seemed to be losing his powers.

Instead of all the antagonism against Picard succeeding in his mission to save the future being spurred by an apparently scheming Q, I would have made it that Q, ever the master planner, is confronted by something happening that doesn’t go according to plan.

Yes, Q still sets the whole thing up, sends Picard spinning back into the past and the alternative future, in order to have him live the lesson of forgiveness, learning to love and correcting the mistake of not trusting a very significantly changed Borg Collective (thanks, mostly exactly to these same events), but imagine Q losing control of the plan, perhaps thanks to a scheming Soong with history going out of whack in a way Q didn’t expect.

This would have made Soong’s storyline more relevant, Q’s loss of powers and facing his own future, more significant, and would have helped maintain the jeopardy necessary to maintain an exciting 10 episode series, without it feeling forced or not making sense in terms of the characters and the purpose of their roles.

Regardless, this was certainly an improvement over the first series, and I hope things like the change to the Borg, and their new roles as ‘Guardians at the Gate’ plays into the third and final series, rather than being forgotten about.

There’s a chance here to bring together all three series in a significant, interesting way, and whilst I’m keen to see more of the TNG crew play active roles in the final series, a better balance between ‘adventure of the week’ and series arc would seal the deal. Let’s see what happens.

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