Valkrist wrote: Tue May 17, 2022 5:58 am
Don't even get me started on the logic of placing Picard in an android body that is just as frail and limited as his old, organic one. He really doesn't seem to have any of the advantages that Data did, does he?
OK, I will risk getting you started by posting my thoughts on that. There was no way they were going to show Picard around the turn of the 25th century without addressing his Irumodic Syndrome, which he suffered with in Q's anti-time future. Would he actually have it? What did it mean? So, they established that he did indeed develop a brain issue that was going to kill him, though they never called it Irumodic. Remember, in All Good Things Beverly told him he had a defect, of which Irumodic Syndrome was one of the possible consequences. So they left it vague in an apparent tip of the hat to that uncertainty.
I thought that Picard's struggles with this condition would be an arc that would stretch across all three seasons of the show. The writers probably decided, wisely, I think, that fans were not going to want to watch their hero slowly losing to Space Alzheimer's across the entire course of the series, so they wrapped that arc at the end of Season 1. The way this played out took me totally by surprise. I was sure that the new android body would end up housing Data's consciousness, the Data download that had been living in the simulator. That Data instead wanted to experience death was a surprise to me. And that Picard actually succumbed to his illness also surprised me. But there awaits the android body, and they had already established in the show that a person's actual consciousness, not just a copy of it, could be put into the body. I suppose I should have realized then that this was meant as a mechanism to give Picard a new body without accusations of him no longer being the "real" Picard (though some of those occurred anyway).
Of course, they also realized that the Picard everyone has known for so many years would not be very happy about being installed in an immortal body, and thus his first question is, tell him that they didn't make him immortal. I don't think it is much of a leap from there to "tuning" the synthetic body's capabilities to be essentially the same as a human body. Picard would probably not have liked being super-powered, and would we really want to see 80-year-old Patrick Stewart, or rather his stunt double, throwing people around like ragdolls? It would have looked unintentionally hilarious. Thus, while part of me was disappointed that Data was not resurrected in the body, I understood and accepted the decision to give it to Picard. The Data that was living in the simulation was the download of him that was unsuccessfully installed in B4 and therefore wasn't the "real" Data that we had known for decades, and would not have had Data's final memories aboard the Enterprise or the Scimitar. And of course, recreating Data would have gone totally against Brent Spiner's oft-stated aversion to continue playing him.
Valkrist wrote: Tue May 17, 2022 5:58 am
S2 started out great, with an interesting premise, a good mystery, and teasing a couple of characters that we had longed to see return to the screen. It didn't take long to devolve into a mess, replete with convolution, confusion, and unevenness that only got worse as it progressed. They took a five-episode story and stretched it out into ten hours, much of it filled with young Picard wandering around a basement looking for his mom.
I also got very tired of the flashbacks to young Picard, and was not pleased with the underlying premise. First, have we made so little progress in treating mental illness by the 24th century? And Picard's father was such a monster that his solution was to lock his wife in her room when she was having an episode, instead of turning over every stone to get her the help she needed? Did we need to darken Picard's character so much by giving him such unhappy childhood memories? And lastly, would those experiences be the reason why he couldn't hold onto romantic relationships? I wasn't convinced.
I don't know how I feel about the revelation of Q's mortality. I don't recall that it was ever stated that his race were immortal, but that was certainly my impression. And do I understand correctly that he created this entire dark timeline simply to set Picard a challenge that would lead him to understand and forgive himself? That's a bit outlandish. Why not just snap his fingers and remove Picard's guilt? And if he holds Picard so dear that he would do this, give him a hug, etc., then why did he give him a bloody nose in the second episode? Does he also have Space Alzheimer's?
An aside on Q. Earlier on, John De Lancie had spoken about how many scenes he had filmed and more or less stated they'd be spread out across Seasons 2 and 3. Was that misdirection or did he misunderstand? Or is he coming back in Season 3? The Season 2 finale certainly had finality as regards Q. Are we going to undo that?
Although on the whole I have liked the series and will say I prefer having received what they have given us vs never having gotten the series, it has its share of missed opportunities. They introduce a new cast and can't figure out what to do with most of them. Elnor and Cris were seldom more than eye-candy. Elnor's story was paper-thin and Cris' only slightly meatier. And Jurati...can we ever have someone who is brilliant without being a neurotic mess? Soji had a good arc in Season 1 and all but vanished in Season 2, though of course Isa Briones continued in a new role. Yet was her character so noteworthy that she deserved an invitation to the Travelers? I think the only characters, other than Picard himself, that they did much with were Seven and Rafi. I'm guessing that's the prevailing sentiment and that is why they will both be back.
And let's talk about the elephant in the room, the gray-skinned cybernetic dominatrix that we call the Borg Queen. When the first trailer for Season 2 aired and it showed the scene of her reaching out to caress Jurati, I said this isn't going to end well. And as the season begins and we see that they are going to take her along on the mission, I said this really isn't going to end well. And I will stand by that. Here are some specific nitpicks. When was a Borg Queen ever persuaded by an individual not take complete control and instead let them retain some control? One could argue that this is a different Borg Queen, once who has seen the Collective completely destroyed and is so desperate to establish some sort of new Collective that she is willing to make compromises, but I don't know that I buy that. And once she arrives back in the Delta Quadrant to join the existing collective in this timeline, how does she persuade the existing Queen to do things her way? Does she kill her and take over? I would think that the existing Queen, as soon as she realized the extent of Jurati's aberration, would destroy her. And what of the assimilated mercenaries who were killed in France? Were they not destined to play any significant part in history, such that killing them does not alter the timeline?
And leaving a 25th century starship captain in the past, and his sharing of his knowledge of the future with his new family, does that not affect the timeline?
And Guinan...I was expecting so much more from Whoopi Goldberg's return. Instead we got two glorified cameos, from a rather different Guinan. I suppose we can rationalize that "she's in a different place" in her life at this point and that's why she seems so different, but at her age and with all she's lived through, how many new places in her life does she have? I will say that I really liked the actress who played young Guinan, even though she was completely different from the younger-still, yet exactly as we were used to, Guinan in 19th Century San Francisco (who was written out of existence in the altered timeline). And after all our expectations that we would finally get an explanation of what happened between Guinan and Q, we get what, a drink and a scream?
So, what did I like about this season? Lots more Orla Brady, for starters. I've really liked her since she was in Fringe in 2008-2013. Some complained that Laris' husband was given an off-screen death just to free her up for an involvement with Picard, but it's not clear if we ever really got, or will get, that involvement. And how convenient that the person who helps Picard in the past just happens to be an ancestor of Laris. Oh wait, I'm starting to nitpick again. But I did like they connected back to Assignment: Earth. And I was amazed that they were able to bring back Wil Wheaton and keep it a total secret. And yes, I enjoyed seeing Wesley again, because they have tied off a Next Gen plot point that was left hanging for so many years. So, that was cool.