Star Trek: Picard sees the Starfleet veteran travel back in time to 2024 in order to prevent a divergence in the timeline and save the future.
Season 2 of Picard pulls out all the stops with no shortages of actors reprising their roles. The first season brought back a few of the Enterprise crew as we saw what Picard was up to. This time around, he’s the chancellor of the Starfleet Academy as the season begins. Whoopi Goldberg and John de Lancie return as Guinan and Q, respectively. Annie Wersching replaces Alice Krige and Susanna Thompson as the Borg Queen. In a nice way of paying fan service, Kirk Thatcher reprises his role as the punk on the bus. What’s more important is that Wil Wheaton’s cameo was one of the biggest surprises of the season.
Time travel plays a big role this season. It’s all Q’s (John de Lancie) fault since he loves to play games with Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). This time around, the game starts just before the U.S.S. Stargazer is set to auto-destruct. We’ll have a callback to this at the end of the season but with a different perspective. Naturally, everyone finds each other in the alternate timeline and figure out where and when they need to go in the past. There’s hesitation when they realize it involves bringing the Borg Queen (Annie Wersching) with them. When one knows what the Borg are capable of, this certainly isn’t surprising.
While everyone has their own arcs this season, Picard has to do a lot of finding himself. It isn’t just reliving memories but it’s coming to terms with his childhood, especially his mother’s (Madeline Wise) suicide. The mental health impact is never more key than when he is comatose and Tallinn (Orla Brady) guides him through the process. Interestingly enough, all of this comes as they are trying to put the future in motion and ensure that Renée Picard (Penelope Mitchell) travels on the Europa Mission. Between Q, the Borg, and Dr. Adam Soong (Brent Spiner), all sorts of characters will do everything they can to prevent this from happening.
Mental health is an important conversation. There’s a stigma surrounding suicide and depression. We have no way of knowing just how someone’s own depression or suicidal feelings will impact someone else. That we are learning much of this about the character now also changes how we view Picard during his years commanding the Enterprise. like that the series is able to explore this stuff now but just think of the impact had they done so when the series first aired. I can understand why they chose not to explore this during the series–least we forget that discussing mental health can be seen as a stigma.
There’s some beautiful design work this season, both on the ground and in outer space. In terms of uniforms, they do a solid bridge between The Original Series and The Next Generation era. Musically speaking, composer Jeff Russo incorporates the classic themes quite a few times in the season. This season features more action so the score plays to more of an action-oriented score.
It’s not lost on me for a moment that Lea Thompson directed the episode where they travel back in time. I mean, if you’re going to travel back in time during an episode, why not bring in a veteran of Back to the Future to direct? The crew puts its own spin on the time travel while also managing to stay true to previous occurrences of time travel in the franchise.
Star Trek is at its best when it is delivering episodic content. Much like Discovery, this season offers a serialized arc. Nothing wrong with this method but it means that it’s best to watch in binge format. This is exactly what I did, of course, as I waited until all episodes were available. I started my binge on a late Sunday night. Due to the season being ten episodes, I was done watching by dinner time on Monday. You can either break up the day or watch straight through.
I’ll be curious to see how they tie things up during the show’s third and final season. We know that much of the core cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation is returning for next season. Now that Jean-Luc Picard has embraced his future, the sky is the limit in what we’ll see next season.
Season 2 of Star Trek: Picard ups the action and delivers a solid Star Trek storyline.
CREATORS: Akiva Goldsman & Michael Chabon & Kirsten Beyer & and Alex Kurtzman
SHOWRUNNERS: Akiva Goldsman and Terry Matalas
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Alex Kurtzman, Akiva Goldsman, Terry Matalas, Patrick Stewart, Heather Kadin, Aaron Baiers, Rod Roddenberry, Trevor Roth, Doug Aarniokoski, and Dylan Massin
CAST: Patrick Stewart, Alison Pill, Jeri Ryan, Michelle Hurd, Evan Evagora, Orla Brady, Isa Briones, with Santiago Cabrera and Brent Spiner
GUEST STAR: Annie Wersching
SPECIAL GUEST STARS: Whoopi Goldberg, John de Lancie
All episodes of Star Trek: Picard are streaming on Paramount+. Grade: 4/5
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