TL;DR – They stuck the landing.
Disclosure – I paid for the Paramount+ service that viewed this episode.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene
Star Trek: Picard Review –
The third and final season of Star Trek: Picard has come to an end, and more like any season so far, this felt almost like Star Trek: The Next Generation season 8. There was a little concern coming into the start of the season as to whether they could make it more than just a nostalgia fest. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of nostalgia on offer here. But there is also a lot of heart. In today’s review, we will first look at whether they stuck the landing with the final episode and then at the season and maybe the series as a whole.
So to set the scene, in Võx, we discovered the terrible secret that Jack Crusher (Ed Speleers) had been holding so tight that even he did not know, he is The Borg. Or at least he had inherited some of the DNA changes The Borg made to Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). This made him reach out to the voice in his head … The Borg Queen (Alice Krige/Jane Edwina Seymour) herself. Which sets in motion The Borg’s final plan to trigger the Borg DNA inserted in all the young officers and remotely assimilate them using Jack’s ability, and it works. The fleet is taken over, most of those not assimilated are killed, and only Spacedock stands between The Borg and the extermination of Earth. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode, and season, as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
More than a bit of trepidation came into this final episode because this season had moved from strength to strength, and it would have been an absolute shame if it had come so far only to fall at the final hurdle. However, after I finally moved back from the edge of my seat, I felt reassured that they had indeed stuck the landing. They did this without needing to fall on killing one of the cast to up the tension. There was no need to because the story was there. That is not to say they didn’t hang more than a couple of characters over the edge of the abyss sometimes.
Everyone got to have their moment this week, Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) got to be the one to give a rousing speech to save the day, and you better believe that I was openly weeping when she was promoted to captain. Those tears started right from the start when I heard Walter Koenig’s cameo as Pavel’s son Anton, probably named after the late Anton Yelchin. William T. Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) have a wordless moment between two partners that have lived together for decades. A moment that said I love you for now and ever in case this is the last time I get to say it. Also, once again, we get to see the joy of Michael Dorn’s comedic timing, providing these brief moments of respite in a sea of tension.
At the core of this episode was a father coming to rescue his son. He might have only been a father for a week, but that would not stop him. Jack had been lured to the collective and then harnessed using their lies, and it took the ultimate sacrifice, being assimilated, to save him. Also that Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) was the one who had to choose between saving her son and saving the galaxy and chose the impossible choice of maybe sacrificing her son. I liked that this Borg structure was likely all that The Queen could salvage from Unicomplex after their defeat in Endgame. The Queen has been slowly cannibalizing every last drone to keep her going so she can enact her revenge. Also, this maybe* might finally** be the end*** of The Borg.
Another thing this season finale gets right is the balance between finishing the task (The Borg Invasion) and letting us sit in the aftermath with the characters unpacking what just happened. Not to pick too hard on some Star Trek series out there, but they have a habit of failing on this front [cough] Enterprise and Voyager [cough]. However, here not only do we get the general tie-up of, oh, that we removed The Borg DNA from everyone, we got rid of any more changelings, and oh, the USS Titan-A is now the USS Enterprise-G. More than that, we got thematic moments like Jack’s first day, the USS Enterprise-D taking its final rest, Raffaela (Michelle Hurd) re-connecting with her family, and oh, just one more game of poker amongst friends.
While they did stick the landing on the final episode, it is a case of leaving the strongest moments till the end. Season 1 of Star Trek: Picard was a bit of a mixed bag, being both a good recontextualization of Nemesis and having a weird Romulan subplot that went nowhere fast. While Season 2 of Star Trek: Picard started and ended strong but lost its way in the middle. However, when I think back to this season, sure, some episodes were better than others, but at no time did I feel that any one episode was the weak link.
This was a season that both honoured what came before it while also charting something new. I loved that we got to see Amanda Plummer own every moment she was on screen. I loved that everyone got character progression, so you felt not only the deaths of Liam Shaw (Todd Stashwick) and T’Veen (Stephanie Czajkowski) but the horror when Kova Esmar (Jin Maley), Sidney La Forge (Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut), Alandra La Forge (Mica Burton), and Matthew Mura (Joseph Lee) became assimilated. It was a season full of joy and sadness, more than ever, you felt things drawing to an end like you were watching something special.
It also is a high watermark for production in this space. Every moment of this series looked fantastic. This is a show that had almost a hundred ships on screen, and you could make out the details of most of them ever from afar. There were nice touches, like how they changed up the title sequence for this episode or included the refit-version of the Enterprise NX-01. Every episode is littered with gorgeous orchestral scores combining the best of the past with the music of a new generation. Also, the details on the USS Enterpise-D were just phenomenal. Those touches bring you more into this world and make you want to see every part of it.
If I nitpicked, would I find things that I would have liked to have seen done better? Absolutely. There is a hard cut between the threat of The Changelings and The Borg that could have been navigated better. It is a shame that for all the name drops that they gave Janeway this season, they could not work a way to get a Kate Mulgrew cameo. Now we have gotten The Borg as antagonists for all three seasons, and I think this was the only one where it worked. Finally, not a nitpick but more of an observation that it was interesting to see some homages to other Science Fiction in the final episode. With the attack on the Death Star from Star Wars and the hidden base from Jupiter Ascending, to name but two. But these are but nitpicks in what was a fantastic season overall, though a little more Orla Brady would have been nice.
In the end, do we recommend The Last Generation and Star Trek: Picard Season 3? Absolutely. This was a season of emotions, of joy, sadness, nostalgia, growth, and fear to name a few. If this was the last time we got to see these characters, then I am happy we got to spend the time we did with them. However, if, say, they wanted to do more and let us know what Seven’s engage phrase is … well … who am I to say no to that.
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 – Terry Matalas, Doug Aarniokoski, Jonathan Frakes, Dan Liu & Deborah Kampmeier
Written by – Terry Matalas, Chris Derrick, Cindy Appel, Christopher Monfette, Jane Maggs, Matt Okumura, Sean Tretta & Kiley Rossetter
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, Michelle Hurd, Ed Speleers, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Jonathan Frakes, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, Michelle Forbes & Alice Krige with Todd Stashwick, Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut, Amanda Plummer, Orla Brady, Tim Russ, Walter Koenig, Elizabeth Dennehy, Daniel Davis, John de Lancie, Anthony Azizi, Aaron Stanford, Randy J. Goodwin, Robert G. Morgan, Thomas Dekker & Kirk Acevedo and Mica Burton, Joseph Lee, Jin Maley, Stephanie Czajkowski, Tiffany Shepis, Randy J. Goodwin, Amy Earhart, Majel Barrett, Nolan North, James MacKinnon, Allison Acosta, Chad Lindberg, Garth Kemp, Grace Lee, Jenson Cheng & Jane Edwina Seymour
Episodes Covered – The Next Generation, Disengage, Seventeen Seconds, No Win Scenario, Imposters, The Bounty, Dominion, Surrender, Võx & The Last Generation
*, **, *** – probably not.