“You also had some kind of smoked meat for breakfast, didn’t you?”
This whole “fourteen years ago thing” every episode is starting to wear on me, a little. I understand having to narratively fill in the backstory without speaking directly to Basil Exposition, but if there are going to be two scenes every episode with this sort of data-dump they should run it like Lost or Defying Gravity and just let the audience fill in the context of the narrative for themselves. If somebody has short hair in the present and long in the past, that’s a visual cue for the storytelling. If somebody is alive in the past and dead in the present, you know where you are in the story if Commander Rando is alive or not. Did Raffi have a shower recently? THE PAST! Picard is haunted by bad decisions. THE PRESENT! Can Picard look back on a life of achievement, on challenges met, competitors bested, obstacles overcome? What? What makes a man, Mr. Lebowski? That, and a pair of testicles, man.
These Kurtzman guys need to have some faith in themselves and in the property they’re trying to advance. They’ll do some cool, confident bit of business for the storytelling, and then immediately backfill it like they don’t have confidence in themselves or their fans to understand the point and bring it home. I don’t get it. Pick a pitch, and swing.
A leather jacket-clad, whiskey-swilling Seven of Nine Wolverine-ing all over explored space as a badass vigilante trying to put right what once went wrong as a member of Nordic Crazy Space World punishers? Yes, please. This is the show I didn’t know I wanted. Last we see of her is mopping up the mess, seventeen blaster shots from each hand, at a time? I guess if you’re going to do a show that obviates literally every philosophical tenet of Star Trek, that’s a good way to go about it. Half-human robot death-dealer dispenses justice! Jeri Ryan is fantastic, though, digging her teeth into a role that kinda doesn’t make any sense but imbuing it with all the in-the-moment honesty she can. You can kind of imagine her reading the script in the trailer, brushing up on her lines before she goes to shoot her scenes: “This doesn’t make a goddamn lick of sense, but I’m going to sell the shit out of this thing.” And she does. I wish they gave Emmys for SF shows, but there’s so much borrowed interest and repetition of plot and themes, it’s hard to stand out. If the Emmys cared, Sir Pat would have gotten three for that “Sarek” episode alone. But, still.
Speaking of repetition, did we really need another space casino/pleasure planet setting? Did they watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi and take the one thing out of that flick that doesn’t make a goddamn lick of sense (to retain Kurtzman ST themes) because they thought it worked so well for Rian Johnson? Why not just rip that right off and go them one better and make Rios a space pimp? Come on, Kurtzman. This show is called Star Trek, not “Faithful Modern Remake of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.” The only thing missing from this episode was straight-up, unapologetic disco music. The writers should be embarrassed of and for themselves.
Allison Pill killing Maddox like a person who kills somebody better be dealt with immediately, next episode. The ship knows she did it, the EMH knows she did it; my refrigerator in my house beeps if I leave the door open. There’s no way in the future you can OD a patient in your care on purpose and have no computer record of it. How’s that going to work when Raffi or Picard or Rios finds out?
I want to like this show; they do so many things right. But they do so many other things wrong. I haven’t calculated the ratio, but it’s easily a million times better than Star Trek: Discovery. There are just so many unforced errors, I’m not sure this thing is going to cross the finish line.