TL;DR – ‘To boldly go’ is a good motto as anything else, but it is rare to see it captured in an episode quite like this.
Disclosure – I paid for the Paramount+ service that viewed this episode.
Star Trek: Picard Review –
What do you do when your back is against the wall, and there is no easy way out? Star Trek has a term for that, the Kobayashi Maru, a term they may have put on repeat recently. However, only when all the chips are down can you honestly tell the mantle of a crew and their captain.
So to set the scene, the crew is on edge after hours of The Shrike coming from nowhere and attacking the USS Titan-A, which is not helped by the fact that there is a Changeling on board who is sabotaging. A moment of incredible frustration boiled over when Captain Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Admiral Picard (Patrick Stewart) disagreed over the course of action, which is when The Shrike’s new portal weapons were used devastatingly. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead for the show.
Some criticisms I have seen about the sort of new-Star Trek have come from bad-faith positions. I am not in any way positioning them as perfect, but there are many unfair assertions that don’t align with reality. However, if there has been one criticism of the new-Star Trek that has some foundation, it is that they tend to skew too much to the dark side of the emotional spectrum … okay maybe not Lower Decks, but you get my meaning. After last week’s Seventeen Seconds, I started to fear that we might see the same thing this season, but I am glad those feelings were wrong.
If there is one word that permeates this episode, it is that of hope. The ship is dead, and the crew are looking at equally worse options as they progress towards the gravity anomaly at the centre of this nebula. However, when people reach rock bottom, they never stay there. I am glad they didn’t prolong the disagreement between Picard and Riker because once we move away from the inflection point, it would have felt disingenuous to keep it continuing. The lesson of this episode is that those around us measure our strength, and working together resonates within Star Trek and my personal life.
No Win Scenario felt like Star Trek in a more intangible way that is not just nacelles, phasers, and adding your biological and cultural distinctiveness to our own. It is working together with someone you dislike to save the ship and learning lessons of acceptance along the way. It is a doctor realising that we are in the womb of an alien species because of electric contractions that they can jury-rig to save the ship. It is trying to find common ground with your long-lost son, but maybe we don’t lean too hard into the Star Trek of that one … please.
This is also an episode of stunning moments that captivated me. You have Seven (Jeri Ryan) hunting through the ship for a missing Changeling, where it could be any of the crew she is walking by. You have Shaw (Todd Stashwick) eviscerating Picard about his role in Worf 359, an anger that comes from a genuine place but one that Picard has felt before. But we also see Shaw have a moment of revelation about who he is and how he works and damned if Todd Stashwick didn’t nail it this week. It also took what looked like a fun flashback to the past and used it as an emotional 2-by-4 by the end.
In the end, do we recommend No Win Scenario? Yes, we do. I was captivated from start to finish, from getting to know your son before we all die in an hour to the cut-off hand to send a message and everything in between.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Star Trek: Picard
Directed by – Jonathan Frakes
Written by – Terry Matalas & Sean Tretta
Created by – Akiva Goldsman, Michael Chabon, Kirsten Beyer & Alex Kurtzman
Showrunner – Terry Matalas
Based on – Star Trek: The Next Generation created by Gene Roddenberry
Production/Distribution Companies – CBS Studios, Amazon Prime & Paramount+
Starring – Patrick Stewart, Jeri Ryan, Ed Speleers, Jonathan Frakes, Gates McFadden & Marina Sirtis with Todd Stashwick, Amanda Plummer, Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut, and Stephanie Czajkowski, Joseph Lee, Chad Lindberg, Jin Maley, Tiffany Shepis, Amy Earhart & Garth Kemp
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