Sat. Apr 1st, 2023

Star Trek: Picard season 3 marks Patrick Stewart’s iconic captain’s third and ultimate voyage, and I am happy to log that it follows the prime directive for a Star Trek present: it is actually good. Make it so!

Picard season 3 streams on Paramount Plus within the US from Feb. 16, with new episodes following each Thursday (it is on Amazon Prime Video across the globe). Even in simply a few seasons, the present has fallen into one thing of a components. Captain — sorry, Admiral — Picard is making an attempt to take pleasure in his retirement on his winery when he is galvanised into motion by a mysterious message for his eyes solely. Alongside the best way, he shortly encounters a former Trek star now remodeled right into a badass killing machine, for some cause. And a well-known baddie emerges in a brand new and far scarier type.

Following a number of crowd-pleasing cameos in earlier instalments, season 3 completes the reunion of the basic solid of The Subsequent Technology. Patrick Stewart is joined by the remainder of the solid of the beloved Nineteen Nineties Trek collection during which we first met Picard and crew, and it is a pleasure to see them again in motion. Who would not benefit from the japes of Stewart’s Picard and Jonathan Frakes’ Will Riker bunking collectively on a rogue mission? And followers who had been on the fence about new Trek can bathe within the nostalgia of the distinctive Subsequent Technology font, or the TNG theme blaring over Easter egg-packed closing credit.

However, the present refuses to take the simple path imagining a future for the beloved characters. You may wince at Gates McFadden’s Beverley Crusher John Wick-ing aliens with a phaser rifle, and no person actually wants Jean-Luc Picard sporting leather-based jackets and saying “fuck”. However there is a real sense that life has occurred to those folks. They have not simply been preserved in a transporter buffer for thirty years ready to be beamed down the identical manner we used to know them. Seeing Will Riker’s cockiness tempered by tragedy, or Picard going through a mistake he by no means knew he made, is heartbreaking — however, y’know, in a enjoyable manner.

It is not excellent, in fact. Though she kicks off the collection, Beverley is shortly upstaged by the brand new character she brings along with her. And having watched the primary half of the 10-episode season, a number of the crew nonetheless have not turned up in any respect. However judging from the episodes I’ve seen, I’ve religion they’re going to be handled in fascinating and respectful methods. It is notably nice to see Worf kicking ass and being humorous with out ever being the butt of the joke. 

Acquainted faces do not simply present up for the sake of it, for a crowd-pleasing back-slapping lap of honor. There is a notably compelling cameo a number of seasons in that drives the story and challenges Picard to face an unpleasant facet of himself, Stewart sinking his tooth into his portrayal of a 30-year-old grudge. That exact cameo (no spoilers) additionally reminds us that old-school Trek did in actual fact develop its characters and their flaws. Traditional Trek was greater than able to complicating their lives, and did not all the time ship comfortable (or predictable) endings.

Picard presents a problem to old skool followers, however that is good. The present is not consolation viewing, or a nostalgic rehash. It genuinely justifies its existence, shifting ahead the characters and the Trek universe. 

The season begins with Beverley Crusher as much as no good, calling in Picard and Riker (and Jeri Ryan’s Seven of 9, getting back from earlier seasons) for a less-than-legit mission into deep area. Picard should face each his private demons and a horrifyingly highly effective new enemy (performed with guffawing depth by Amanda Plummer) as his crewmates outdated and new uncover one thing far larger than they ever imagined.

Star Trek: Picard is properly Worf your time.

Trae Patton/Paramount Plus

This storyline is probably essentially the most “Trek” the present has been thus far, unfolding on an precise Starfleet starship with characters sporting uniforms and every thing. It even options that fan-favorite TNG aspect: a dickhead rival officer (y’know, a Jellico kind) who’s lower than enamoured of the Enterprise fam’s adventurous spirit.

However it’s all introduced updated from classic Trek’s mission-of-the-week format with ongoing storylines, season-long character arcs and lashings of drama. It is nice to see that the actors and characters all have one thing happening somewhat than simply waving tricorders and pushing buttons every week. That stated, there is a component of manufactured drama, as in all the brand new era Trek reveals (Discovery and Unusual New Worlds). So much will rely in your tolerance for characters trapped in life-and-death conditions stopping for a heart-to-heart chat, or having a heated argument on the bridge when the crimson alert ought to be focusing their minds on the state of affairs.

And why is every thing so darkish? Engineering, divert some energy to the rattling lights!

Total, although, Picard has turned out to be a totally participating Star Trek revival. It is greater than an train in nostalgia, greater than a field of Playmates motion figures pulled out of the attic with plastic phaser equipment popped again of their hand. Season 3 does not simply reunite the much-loved crew, it truly offers the actors one thing to do — probably confronting extra character improvement and emotion than they ever did within the authentic. Picard might not observe the cosy components of classic Star Trek, however we have now Unusual New Worlds for that. As a substitute, for all its nostalgia, Picard retains boldly entering into crucial course of all: ahead. 

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