‘Star Trek: Picard’ Premiere Review: Fan Service, Familiar Foes and Same Wonderful PicardJanuary 26, 2020
My immediate reaction when I heard about the new ‘Star Trek: Picard’ show was why are they doing this and how are they going to pull this off. The why is fairly obvious as Patrick Stewart’s Jean Luc Picard is one of the most beloved characters in the history of Star Trek. Who better to bring back to lead yet another series in Trek lore then Picard himself? The how, in terms of how they were going to do this, was not nearly as easy to answer. However, after watching the premiere episode “Remembrance” I have a better grasp of what they are after and they have already raised some interesting questions.
There is so much fan service in the opening scenes, I was a little nervous that this was going to go on far too long. Thankfully, they got the bulk of it out of the way quickly to move onto other things. We open with a memory, a remembrance if you will, in which Picard is playing cards with Data. Seeing Data, the card game, hell, even “Blue Skies” playing in the background, the song Data sang at Riker and Troi’s wedding in Nemesis…it all was like a big group hug with all the fans. To top it all off, Picard wakes up from his card game dream to be greeted by his dog, affectionately named Number One.
Picard has settled into the quiet, retired life at Chateaux Picard in France, speaking French to his dog, has two Romulan housekeepers, the life you thought he’d be happy to have. However, when he does an interview at his home and the journalist pushes too far, we are reminded that there is still fire left in his bones as the reason he left Starfleet is revealed. We are also treated to the wonderful acting talents of Patrick Stewart as he brings the fire, the passion and anger bubbling to the surface of Picard as only he can.
We learn he left the Enterprise to lead the massive rescue and relocation of the Romulans. However, a group of rogue synthetics destroys the rescue fleet as leaves Mars in flames, costing more than 90,000 people their lives. Because of these events, synthetic life forms are now illegal, Romulans have become refugees and are for the most part unwelcome and Picard is angry at his failure and distressed that Starfleet withdrew and did not help, making it an organization he no longer recognized or wanted to be part of.
The first new regular in the cast we meet is Dahj (Isa Briones) who seeks Picard out after her boyfriend was killed in front of her by teleporting assassins…who she then takes down with the activation of mysterious powers she didn’t know she had. When she shows up at Chateaux Picard and spins her story, you know Picard is going to investigate, but what he uncovers is a wonderful twist that allows yet more fan service to pop up in a very real and organic way.
This twist allows the premiere to go in a different direction and after a tragic event, something I wasn’t expecting, allows Picard some travel time to the Daystrom Institute where he learns even more about Dahj and the connection she has to Data. So many possibilities have now opened up, I figured that was it until the final scene which gave us the Romulans working on a Reclamation Site that just happens to be a Borg cube. Now Seven of Nine and Hugh’s part in the show make a little more sense and even more possibilities opened up for the show, something I didn’t think was possible in one episode.
Overall “Remembrance” was a very satisfying start to the new Picard series, but the writers have their work cut out for them, saddled with so many demands of fan service and story building, it won’t be easy. The key, of course, is Stewart, who reminds us all what a powerful actor he is and what a beloved character Picard has always been. If they manage to juggle the old with the new, I’m pretty sure Stewart can take care of the rest.
Four stars out of five