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First Impressions: Star Trek: Picard Season Three

In his first appearance on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Lt. Commander Worf remarked to Chief O’Brien that he regarded his days on the Enterprise were akin to the old gods of Klingon lore. There was nothing they could not do. If that were indeed the case, *Star Trek: Picard’*s third and final season is the story of those gods twenty-five years later. They’re older, gone their separate ways and the days of the Enterprises D and E are distant glory days. In the first two seasons, we see Jean-Luc Picard, at odds with Starfleet, resigned to his family vineyard. While he goes on adventures with a new crew, we are still mesmerized by the all-too brief appearances of Will Riker, Deanna Troi, Data and Q. We saw the somewhat tragic life of Will and Deanna and the death, if you can call it that, of both Data and Q. But that only left us wondering—where was Dr. Crusher? When Picard himself was about to meet his maker (before getting an all-new identical synth body), why didn’t he reach out to his oldest friend? Now, we know. After a brief romance, Dr. Crusher disconnected from her former Enterprise friends and then Starfleet itself. Picard hadn’t spoken to her in over two decades.

But like an old cowboy, Jean-Luc Picard is eager and determined to help his old flame and Chief Medical Officer when she sends a coded distress call and tells him to not contact Starfleet and to trust no one. Well, no one except his right hand for more than a decade, Captain William T. Riker. The two pull a few strings and get passage on Riker’s old ship, the now-refitted U.S.S. Titan. But their adventures cross paths with Seven of Nine, now the Titan’s XO, a distrusting Captain Shaw and an enigmatic woman commanding a super-powered starship hunting Dr. Crusher and her son—no, not Wesley Crusher, a young son named Jack.

Without spoiling anything further, rest assured hijinks ensue, and this season feels like TNG-era Star Trek we’d hoped to be getting in the first season. Third time is definitely the charm. A few notes:

Captain Liam Shaw is a no-nonsense captain. He clearly has a backstory (Wolf 359 perhaps?) that we haven’t delved into yet. When asked to change his course, Shaw outright tells Picard and Riker “no”. He has no love for the Starfleet legends. Nor does he care much for Seven of Nine, who he insists go by her human name “Annika Hansen”. He’s not unlikable and even plays as a good captain, but he’s a foil to “our guys” (Picard, Riker and Seven).

Seven of Nine is as far from her Voyager days as she can get, the ex-Borg is now a Starfleet Commander at the urging of Picard and Janeway.

Raffi Musiker, Picard’s ex-first officer and now a Starfleet Intelligence agent, is tracking down who stole a weapon capable of sucking an entire building through a portal and depositing it elsewhere. In the final moments, we see her cross paths with another familiar face, Captain Worf.

The brash Jack Crusher is being hunted by bounty hunters but claims to not know why. That includes the strange woman called Captain Vadic. Played by Amanda Plummer, she is both humorous and outright terrifying. With her powerful starship that far outguns the Titan, her motives are not clear, and she seems to know Shaw, Picard and the other backgrounds on their first appearance. She delights in the pending confrontation with the Titan in what portends to be a Star Trek II-like nebula chase.

This season, the theme from the first two outings of Picard is limited and replaced by Jerry Goldsmith’s Star Trek: First Contact score and the traditional TNG intro theme. The music throughout the first two episodes mirrors the acting, the writing and the special effects—it’s all top notch. It’s by every measurable way, the best Star Trek of this new modern era. Discovery and Strange New Worlds, along with the animated Lower Decks and Prodigy each have their moments and form a great new tapestry, but Picard season three is the real successor (Prodigy a close second) to the Rick Berman era that was at the height of its popularity through the 90’s.

The best, literally jaw-dropping moment comes in the final minutes of the second episode as Vadic’s warship, the Shrike towers over the Titan and Picard himself comes to a life-altering realization as he sees Beverly Crusher for the first time in decades. For the first time for us, the audience, the Jean-Luc Picard of old returns in a flash—taking command of the Titan and with a single word, hurdles the starship into battle and what promises to be a tour de force final eight episodes. Engage!

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