Retired Admiral Picard has PTSD and has withdrawn from life, but a visit from a mysterious young woman awakens his old spirit.
My first Star Trek series that I ever watched was Next Generation. I was about twelve years old, and I fell in love with the Star Trek universe. Over the years, I have watched all the different iterations of the Trekverse, including the J.J Abrams films. But Star Trek: Next Generation has remained my favorite series. Jean Luc Picard will always be my Captain, so when CBS Full Access announced they were creating Star Trek: Picard, I was thrilled. On Monday, January 13, I went to the Star Trek: Picard Premiere in Los Angeles. I saw the first three episodes edited into a feature-length film. Though I promise in this review, I will only discuss events that happened in the pilot episode “Remembrance.”
As a big Star Trek nerd, I noticed all the Easter eggs in the pilot. Picard’s pit bull Number One is my favorite Easter egg. Number One is what Picard calls all his first officers. There was an awesome scene where Number One brings Picard a dead bird when they are walking around his vineyard. The retired Admiral speaks to his pit bull in French, something we didn’t see much of in Next Gen. Picard speaking French is Easter egg reminding us that even though Admiral Picard speaks with a British accent, he is a proper Frenchmen.
There were plenty of other Easter eggs featured in Picard, which we mostly see when the retired Admiral visits his archive at Starfleet headquarters in San Francisco. Some of these images we saw in the promo, but seeing these mementos in context was even cooler. His archive includes a bat’leth, models of shuttle crafts (including the captain’s yacht), the “Captain Picard Day” flyer, and terminals that look like an updated version of the Next Generation terminal keypads. Chateau Picard itself is an Easter egg since we saw the location when the Captain was recovering from Borg assimilation with his family.
As I mentioned earlier, I got to see Star Trek: Picard’s first few episodes on the big screen, which worked perfectly since the visuals are cinematic. One of the last scenes shows the camera zooming out to reveal the two of our new characters Soji Asher and the Romulan Narek, are on a large Borg cube. The Borg cube looked amazing and giant. The CGI team on Star Trek: Picard is on point. One of the other beautiful shots is when Jean Luc Picard wakes up from a dream about his lost comrade, Data. He opens his window blinds to reveal a long shot of a pastoral scene of Chateau Picard. Workers and machines tend to the grapes as melodic music plays. The cinematography does not disappoint.
Vulcans are my favorite Star Trek aliens, but the Romulans have always been up there for me because the two alien species are related. I believe the ancestors of the Romulan left the planet of Vulcan because the two groups disagreed on philosophy, such as how to deal with their strong emotions. Since the Romulans are a secretive race, we have only seen glimpses of their society. All us Trekkies have known are the aliens who are passionate people who prefer to keep isolated. Star Trek: Picard reveals the Romulans’ heart and mind.
The retired Picard’s companions on the vineyard are two Romulans Zhaban and Laris who take care of the old Starfleet officer. One of Admiral’s last acts in Starfleet was to attempt to help save the Romulan people after a supernova was about to explode and wipe out their planet. While the pilot did not outright and say it, I assume many Romulans lost their lives since Starfleet turned their back on them. Somehow Zhaban and Laris escaped their planet, and Picard took them into his ancestral home. What I see of Zhaban and Laris makes me adore Romulans even more than before. Laris is firm but sweet with the older man. She bosses Picard around, but only because she is worried about his health. Zhaban is funny and dependable, who tries to cheer Picard up before he does his first interview in years.
The Borg cube is operated by the Romulans, who have invited the most brilliant minds to work on the “broken” people (ex-Borg drones) will hopefully also be a vehicle where we learn more about Romulan society. I am happy that the writers of Picard have picked the Romulans to be featured heavily in their serialized storylines since they have always been in the background of other series.
The most notable aspect of “Remembrance” that fans need to know as they watch this serialized story is Dahj’s history. Dahj is a synthetic a.k.a. Android that appears completely human both in appearance (including having blood and inner organs) and her personality.
Doctor Bruce Maddox (character featured in TNG’s “Measure of a Man”) created her out of Data’s positronic neuro net. So Dahj is Data’s daughter and contains some of his memories. She was implanted with memories of a childhood where her father named a flower he spliced together after her. Throughout most of the pilot, Dahj is being chased by Romulan assassins who kill her boyfriend. The young woman escaped with her life when they first went after her because she has Data’s fighting skills and memories of Picard. She runs to Picard for help several times, but sadly the assassins kill her outside of Starfleet headquarters before he can do anything for her.
Picard visits Maddox’s colleague Doctor Agnes Jurati who has only been able to work theoretically on synths after they were banned. The synths were banned because a couple of rogue ones destroyed a Mars’ station and several Starfleet vessels. Doctor Maddox went into hiding many years ago because of the ban on synths. Together Jurati and Picard work out that Dahj indeed was created out of Data’s neuro net by Maddox. Agnes also reveals to the retired Admiral that Dahj has a twin since the hidden doctor’s method leads to two identical androids being created.
The pilot ends with us meeting her twin Soji Asher whose working in the decommissioned Borg cube. “Remembrance” left me with a couple of questions. First, Dahj talks to her mother on a communicator when she is running from the Romulans. Dahj’s mother helps trigger her program so she can find Picard a second time and seems to know about their meeting before her daughter says anything. Is Daji’s mother a computer program or a scientist trying to keep her safe? Also, what is Soji doing on the Borg cube? How will Picard find Soji Asher? I can’t wait to watch the second episode.