WARNING- This post is NOT spoiler-free! I won’t give the whole thing away…go watch it!
As I mentioned in my previous post, I was lucky enough to see the first episode at the UK Premiere in London on January 15th even though it was a huge physical and mental battle for me. I loved it then and I love it even more now after my 3rd viewing this morning.
For me, this is the best first episode of any Trek series. My current ranking is as follows:-
- Remembrance (PIC)
- The Vulcan Hello (DIS)
- The Man Trap (TOS)
- Emissary (DS9)
- Broken Bow (ENT)
- Encounter At Farpoint (TNG)
- Beyond The Farthest Star (TAS)
- Caretaker (VOY)
Since the show was announced we were promised that it would not feel like TNG or be a sequel to it. There would be nods back to other things in the Trek universe.
I was not disappointed.
The episode opens with a beautiful shot of the Enterprise-D flying through space. The shot closes in on Ten-Forward where we see Jean-Luc Picard and Data playing poker.Its a fun exchange but something is definitely off. Data is not wearing the correct uniform- he is wearing the uniform he wore in Nemesis. It becomes obvious that it is all a dream and Picard is picturing Data as he last saw him and located him on the ship where he was happiest. This brought back many memories and feelings of the 1980’s and TNG for me.
Jean-Luc wakes up and is greeted by his dog, Number 1 and is visibly shaken by his dream. He is living back in La Barre, France at Chateau Picard, his family vineyard. He is preparing for an interview with the Federation News Network (FNN) regarding the events of the Romulan Supernova and why he left Starfleet. It nicely sets the scene as to what happened and links in well with the previous Short Trek ‘Children of Mars’ and the 2009 JJ Abrams movie which deals with the fallout of the same Supernova and creates an alternate timeline (PineLine?).
We then get a nice aerial shot of future Boston before meeting new character, Dahj, played by newcomer Isa Briones and her boyfriend who is Xahean, the same species we met in the Short Trek ‘Runaway’ where Ensign Tilly befriends Xahean Po.
Dahj and her boyfriend are attacked and she goes on the run. Dahj heads for the one person she knows can help her- Jean Luc Picard.
Picard decides to help Dahj but this involves going back into his past which includes a visit to his archive at the Starfleet Museum and a visit to the Daystrom Institute in Okinawa to meet with Dr Agnes Jurati, an expert in synthetic humans. Jurati was recruited to the institute from Starfleet by Bruce Maddox, a former Starfleet officer who tried to have Data dismantled in the TNG episode ‘Measure of a Man’. Jurati has B4, Data’s brother and prototype, dismantled and in a drawer.
There is a location jump to a Romulan Reclamation Outpost. Two new characters are introduced- A Romulan called Narek played by Harry Treadway and Dr Soji Asha.
I’m ending the recap there as there is a cliffhanger and I don’t want to spoil any more.
I thought the story itself was well-paced and had enough nods to prior series without rehashing everything. Its clear that Jean-Luc has aged and is not as fit as he used to be and for me this adds to the story. We see a different, almost vulnerable Picard. This is something we are not used to, He still has a commanding presence but you can tell that ageing is taking its toll. As yet there is no mention of Irumodic Syndrome.
There is plenty of world building taking place- updating everything that we previously knew. The same goes for tech. Its been updated but not over-the-top. The cinematography and CGI was very well done.
As with the Discovery theme, Jeff Russo has worked his magic again, creating a new theme that links back to the TNG theme in places but also manages to update the Romulan theme tune which was first heard in the original series episode ‘Balance of Terror’.
Most impressive performance must go to Trek newcomer Isa Briones who plays Dahj. The role is not only extremely physically demanding but has many emotional aspects to it as well and Isa does a tremendous job! Can’t wait to see more of her work as the series progresses.
There are plenty of easter eggs to be found. I’m not going to list them all when so many others already have. ScreenCrush have posted a great video on YouTube listing 61 eggs. You can find it here.
I did find a few things intriguing- all to do with the aerial view of Boston.
If you look carefully you will see the FNN globe as well as the Ferengi logo. Does this mean that the Ferengi have joined the Federation? Also, directly below the Ferengi image there is an advertising screen with rotating ads. One of the ads clearly says Kasidy Yates, freighter captain and founder of Kasidy Yates Interstellar Freights as well as being wife of Starfleet Captain Benjamin Sisko, former commander of Deep Space 9.
Is this just a nod to another show and character or will we find out what happened to Kasidy and the unborn baby she was carrying?
Jean-Luc’s choice of drink has upset a few folks on Twitter- asking why he has suddenly switched to Earl Grey decaf! My guess is that its probably on medical advice. Did a certain Dr Crusher prescribe it?
Finally, I loved all the nod-backs to his past and TNG history that could be seen in Picard’s archive at the Star Fleet museum. These included models of his past commands including the Stargazer and Enterprises D and E as well as the Calypso, the Captain’s Yacht. The ‘Captain Picard Day’ sign from the TNG episode ‘The Pegasus’ could be seen hanging, and tucked away was what looked like his copy of ‘The Complete Works of William Shakespeare’ which was sat next to his Bat’leth.
Overall the episode blew me away! It was more than I hoped for and made me quite emotional. I can’t wait to see where this all goes and to see faces both old and new.