I said in my season 1 review that this show was too serialized to rate and review episode-by-episode, but while rewatching Discovery I found it’s actually not all that difficult to do, so surprise! You get a season 1 and season 2 review! Since I already wrote a review of season 1 as a whole I’ll try to keep the season 1 reviews short and mostly focus on season 2.
Picard’s interview might be part of the early episodes trying to show how he’s grown into a bitter old man, but the moment where the interviewer is dismissive of “Romulan lives” and he impassionately responds, “No, lives,” is a truly great moment for the character. I still hate the idea of Starfleet abdicating their principles and One Man having to Stand Up To Them, but at least it gets resolved by the end of the season.
1×02 “Maps and Legends”
Picard getting smacked in his face over and over early on in the season for being an arrogant bastard is a little cathartic in a way, but it starts to get a bit repetitive. You can at least buy the failings he’s confronted with. Also, the two main bad guy Romulans–Narissa and Narek–are hot as fuck.
1×03 “The End Is the Beginning”
I kind of hate the whole assembling a ragtag crew on a non-Starfleet ship thing? I’m sorry, it’s just super not what I come to Star Trek for, and it got harder to overcome that distaste as the show went on. I do at least like a lot of the characters involved.
1×04 “Absolute Candor”
I love Vashti and Qowat Milat. Also Elnor–the Romulan boy who was raised by a sect of exclusively women warrior-monks and became the only boy in their ranks–appeals to me for so very many reasons.
1×05 “Stardust City Rag”
I love Seven so much. I understand Picard’s objections to her killing Bjayzl in revenge, but I also really don’t blame Seven for doing it anyway. I know she later expresses regret for it, but I’m just not sure there was actually even another way in this specific situation. She was probably just going to keep torturing xBs to death with impunity otherwise.
1×06 “The Impossible Box”
Picard still struggling with his Borg trauma makes sense, and I loved his reunion with Hugh. Soji’s awakening is extremely relatable and hard not to empathize with.
I hate, hate, hate Hugh dying. I appreciate having some context for why Jurati did what she did. But let’s be real, I have to rate this one highly because Will Riker and Deanna Troi retired to a beautiful, secluded planet so Will could cook pizza in peace and raise a wonderful daughter. Also, Soji starting to heal and learn how to trust people and everyone being patient with her is brilliant.
1×08 “Broken Pieces”
Seven briefly becoming a Borg queen was chilling and impossibly badass at the same time. The title of this episode is interestingly appropriate, because it’s really just moving pieces around to set them up for the season finale.
1×09 “Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1”
The synth homeworld is cool as fuck, especially those flower things they send up to fight intruders. The Borg cube showing up still in Seven’s command was simultaneously hilarious and awesome. Things really start coming to a head in general.
1×10 “Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2”
Picard’s fakeout death made me ugly cry the first time, and Data’s final passing still does. It’s pretty incredible that they took the pieces left behind by Nemesis and made this out of it.
Average: 2.9 (C-Rank)
2×01 “The Star Gazer”
For a minute it seemed like everything that bothered me about season 1 was put to right. Admiral Picard is the Chancellor of Starfleet Academy, a position that has always suited him and has been suggested for him dating all the way back to TNG season 1. Rios and Raffi are back in Starfleet, with Jurati tagging along as a Federation scientist. Elnor is the first full Romulan ever accepted into Starfleet Academy and is such a good boy!!! Picard goes to Guinan for advice.
There’s an anomaly that turns out to be a Borg ship. We get a whole damn fleet of new ships instead of the copy/pasted fleet of identical ships from the end of season 1. Picard entertains the idea of negotiating with the Borg in spite of his long history with them… and then it all goes to hell thanks to Q, which I would have been fine with… but Picard wakes up in a fascist hellscape future that will be further plumbed in the following episode.
The first episode rules, don’t get me wrong. And the second episode isn’t even bad. But I really, really hope the third season that they’ve announced with the shocking return of most of the cast of TNG is a whole lot more straightforward and Trekky.
Oh, TRILL BOY!!!! Ahem. Sorry. I… like trills. Um. There’s a trill boy bridge officer on the Stargazer. He’s extremely cute.
Picard wakes up in a fascist future version of the Federation where earth dominates everything and has even defeated the Borg. Importantly this is not the Mirror Universe we’ve seen on a number of occasions, it’s a completely different Bad End. Seven was never assimilated and is president of earth. Everyone else is doing whatever they’re doing. It’s pretty clearly a response to Trumpism and capitalism in general, but it isn’t quite explicit enough I don’t think? But it’s something, at least.
I wouldn’t have minded spending a little more time dealing with this alternate future, and I wouldn’t have minded it as an episode or two mini-arc. It’s something new and different, at the very least. Anyway, the crew ends up figuring out that they need to go back to the past and stop something from changing in 2024, which really excited me at first because that’s when the Bell Riots happen in DS9 but this ends up having no connection to that and that’s really unfortunate.
I really appreciate that Seven and Raffi being in a relationship continues to be a going concern! And quickly becomes integral to both of their characters in this season.
Oh and fitting in with my habit of calling out hot background characters, one of the fascist Starfleet guards is, regrettably, extremely hot. And throws serious enby vibes. You’ll know the one.
Hi I’m gay and I ship Agnes and the Borg Queen in a dom/sub relationship thank you. It started back in the previous episode and continues throughout the season, but this is when it really started getting pretty explicit that Queenie was using her domme powers on Agnes and I am so, so here for it.
I appreciated all the callbacks to The Voyage Home (which will continue with an even more blatant one in the following episode) despite the joyless articles I’m not even going to read about how it “breaks continuity.” I get it when it’s something that breaks something having to do with the main plot, but it’s a guy sitting on a bus listening to music a little too loud. Who gives a fuck, guys?
Elnor’s death is sad but they’re just gonna undo it when they fix the future so all it does is push Raffi to a place I really don’t like for her character? And considering all the Star Trek IV callbacks we’ve been doing I don’t get why you wouldn’t want him around with a dumb headband to hide his ears. I guess because we’re not allowed to have fun in this version of Star Trek?
2×04 “The Watcher”
I really appreciate that the bad guys in this are just ICE and not some kind of unnecessary allegorical parallel to ICE. They’re just straightforwardly ICE.
I continue to love the Borg Queen’s slow seduction of Jurati. Seven trying to drive during a police chase was kinda awesome and adorable. And it’s nice to see Picard and Guinan… re-reunited? I’m not really sure Guinan needed to be recast but I do like the actress they got for her! I am a bit annoyed by the inconsistency of Guinan not remembering who Picard is, though, as well as her inability to sense the shift in timelines as demonstrated in “Yesterday’s Enterprise.”
Honestly at this point the show has settled into its serialized storytelling and my overall dissatisfaction with what the season as a whole is about has more to do with my reaction than anything else.
2×05 “Fly Me to the Moon”
I gotta admit, even though I saw a really nerdy YouTuber predict it, I was a bit surprised that the Watcher ended up being a Gary Seven-type supervisor. That was not a bit of Star Trek lore I ever expected to see resurrected, and if you had told me it was going to be I would have expected it to be in Lower Decks because it’s just so dang weird. So, some credit there. Where’s her shapeshifting cat, though?
I kinda hate, hate, hate all the Soong stuff. Like it’s cool that we want to keep Brent Spiner involved but I just really don’t like this way of going about it. I don’t feel like it adds much at all.
I do appreciate that we have to basically do a heist movie at a ritzy gala, and the reveal at the end of the episode that the Borg queen is still alive and well inside Agnes’ brain was terrific, so there is that.
2×06 “Two of One”
Agnes/Queenie doing a jazz number was freaking adorable. Picard’s pep talk to Renée was a high point of the season and just an absolutely vintage Picard pep talk. Really the most like himself he’s seemed all season. I know I’m sounding like a broken record at this point but I still really hate the larger story of that season and that makes it hard to get too invested in any individual episode, but this is definitely way better than a lot of the rest of the season. It just also feels like it’s kind of the ceiling of what kind of story this can be. I wouldn’t mind this story as a two or even three-episode mini-arc, but stretching it to 10 episodes and making everything so damn dramatic is just not what I come to Star Trek for.
Welcome to Star Trek, Gaius Baltar.
The bits inside Picard’s brain were definitely the strongest part of the episode, but the rest was pretty lackluster and transitiony just like… literally the rest of the season so far.
Extremely nerdy note: Vulcans were canonically observing earth as early as the 20th century according to Enterprise so that’s all good, but mind melding was not a common Vulcan practice until sometime between the 22nd and 23rd centuries, so that’s a bit of an “oops” there.
I didn’t hate the episode or anything, and I appreciated seeing Picard characteristically talk his way out of a situation. I’m also glad we are approaching something resembling a plot by having the Queen start assimilating some drones. I’m just… I’m sorry, I hate being negative about a Star Trek show, but by this point I was just extremely ready for this season to be over. Sorry.
2×09 “Hide and Seek”
The development of a new kind of Borg in the partnership of Agnes and Queenie was certainly one of the highlights of the season, it would’ve been nice to have spent more time on it considering we had 10 fucking episodes of serial storytelling to slog through.
Unfortunately the vast majority of the episode was just Skyfall but with Picard instead of Bond. And I somehow got even more bored of Adam Soong as the bad guy of the season.
I really, really hate being negative about Star Trek, but this season of Star Trek: Picard really isn’t giving me a lot of choices. You stretched a story that could have probably made a pretty good three-parter into a ten-episode season, and despite all the breathing room that should’ve afforded you to devote an entire episode to the story’s ending you did… this. This is as bad of an ending as the last two episodes of season 1 of Discovery, if not worse. And this was the season you bragged about having figured out the ending ahead of time.
This is just a bunch of unrelated crap happening in a span of time we agreed to call an episode. There is no structure to it whatsoever. Some of the things that happen are great. The scene where Picard hugs a dying Q nearly made me cry. The scene at Guinan’s bar would’ve been fantastic if it weren’t so unearned.
Then there’s… literally everything else.
I felt literally nothing about the Europa Mission stuff, and Tallinn sacrificing herself. Adam Soong continues to be the most boring big bad ever despite Brent Spiner’s best efforts, and having him literally pull out a folder labeled “Project Khan” made me laugh out loud. This is just the MCU. They fucking turned Star Trek into the MCU. I fucking quit.
This thing really took a nosedive for me when Wesley (or The Traveler II or whatever) showed up. Like, at first I was actually happy to see him? But then he started talking and I just… I couldn’t help it, I was literally holding up two middle fingers at the screen for the duration of the scene. The idea that the Traveler(s) and the Supervisors are part of the same organization is just a pretty colossal joke. Like, Star Wars prequels treatment of the Jedi level of poorly thought out. It makes the galaxy feel like an incredibly small place, and it just doesn’t make a lick of sense.
I thought things were actually kind of looking up when Q and Picard had that great scene and Q sent everyone back to the future. Picard canceled the self-destruct and engaged Queenie/Agnes in negotiations. THE TRILL BOY I HAVE A CRUSH ON CAME BACK okay sorry it’s important to me damn it. Yeah, the episode as a whole was a hot mess, and the whole first act totally fell flat, but peace with the Borg? The most intractable enemy the Federation has ever had? Heck, it would even tie back into a lot of what was going on in season 1. That would cover a lot of sins.
So of fucking course that isn’t what the show has in mind. No, see, the reason Queenie/Agnes is here to make peace with the Federation is because there’s suddenly an anomaly that’s going to wipe out the entire fucking galaxy, because why not. I just. You can’t even make this up. This show is a parody of itself at this point. And these stakes are introduced and then solved within the space of literally a few minutes. I actually laughed. Like peace with the fucking Borg isn’t enough? Really? And if you have to add some additional stakes it can’t just be that the Borg will die without the Federation’s help or something? It really just always has to be The Fate Of The Entire Galaxy?
… shit, Picard really is just Star Trek: MCU.
I don’t know, guys, I’m just… I’m just really happy this season is over. I really, really hope season 3 is better, especially considering basically the entire cast of TNG is returning. Even knowing that, I just don’t have a lot of hope for this show anymore considering how it’s gone so far. I really hope they manage to surprise me, but I’m frankly pretty relieved the third season will be the last.
Average: 2.2/5 (C-Rank)