On the finish of Star Trek: Picard’s first season, a quickly deceased Jean-Luc Picard finds himself inside a pc simulation that enables him one closing go to together with his expensive good friend Information, who died twenty years prior. Picard’s grief over the lack of Information is without doubt one of the driving forces behind the ten-episode arc, and whereas the trail to their temporary reunion was rocky, the payoff was genuinely highly effective. I bear in mind watching the projection of Information’s consciousness lay himself all the way down to his closing relaxation, wiping tears from my eyes, and considering: “I wish the rest of the show had been nearly this good.” Now, as Season Two involves a detailed in remarkably comparable vogue—with Picard seeing off his previous frienemy Q to the nice past—I discover myself saying the identical factor, solely with way more frustration in my voice. “Farewell” is a jagged, underwhelming closing chapter that, even in its greatest moments, highlights all of Star Trek: Picard’s most damning flaws.
Let’s begin with what works: the scene by which Picard and Q lastly sit down to talk within the solarium of Chateau Picard is a touching coda to their decades-long relationship. Q is a multifaceted character who has served numerous functions throughout his appearances within the Star Trek universe, however he’s most fascinating when performing out of a private funding in Picard, nearly like a mother or father. (Information in all probability places it greatest in The Subsequent Era finale “All Good Things…” when he likens Q’s attachment for Picard to “that of a master and his beloved pet.”) In “Farewell,” when Picard asks Q “Why me?” it’s as if he expects Q to clarify that he has stored watch over Picard due to some nice future that Q has wanted to guard, and that he has organized for Picard to make peace together with his mom’s dying with a view to keep away from some form of large area calamity sooner or later. Q dismisses this concept in favor of a way more transferring reply: It’s love, easy as that. When Q discovers that he’s going to die alone, he decides to make use of the time he has left to make sure that the identical doesn’t occur to Picard. He cares what occurs to him and he desires to do one thing sort for him on his method out of this actuality.
“Must it always have galactic import?” asks Q. “Universal stakes? Celestial upheaval? Isn’t one life enough? You ask me why it matters: It matters to me. You matter to me.” It’s a strong trade, well-written in a voice that solely John de Lancie might instill with the correct steadiness of heat and gravitas. It ties into the teachings that Picard has wanted to be taught all through your complete season and closely underlined throughout the first act of this episode, that these private relationships are every little thing, that they’re value taking dangers for, and that his have to atone for the one life he couldn’t save has stored him from constructing one in all his personal. Not every little thing must be about saving the galaxy.
However, in addition to this scene lands, its emotional punch continues to be significantly depending on a viewer’s current funding within the relationship at its coronary heart, born out of years of improvement on a special tv stoked by a long time of fan nostalgia. Picard and Information’s farewell from the primary season might effectively press your emotional buttons even if you’re the uncommon viewer for whom this sequence is your first Star Trek; this one absolutely is not going to. And, for the remainder of the episode, it’s crystal clear simply how little funding or confidence the storytellers behind Star Trek: Picard have in any character or idea not imported from the franchise’s historical past.
Let’s soar again to the primary third of the episode and the underwhelming conclusion to the Europa Mission storyline. So as to forestall the darkish future that they witnessed earlier within the season, Picard and firm should be sure that his ancestor, astronaut Renée Picard, efficiently launches into area aboard NASA’s mission. Their adversary is Dr. Adam Soong, who makes use of his standing as a super-rich donor to get entry to the launch website and plans to assassinate Renée earlier than she boards the rocket. So as to cease him, Tallinn sneaks inside, disguises herself as Renée, and will get killed in her place, however not earlier than lastly revealing existence to the girl she’s shielded from afar since childhood. This flip of occasions has thematic resonance, as Picard should each settle for that Tallinn, like his mom, is accountable for her personal life, and that love is value all the dangers that include it. Sadly, it’s simply not terribly fascinating to look at. There’s no actual sense of hazard, the performances by no means rise above ample, and the dialogue appears written as if terribly afraid that the viewers won’t get the purpose. In the meantime, Raffi, Rios, and Seven are busy making an attempt to stop Soong’s drones from destroying Renée’s spacecraft, which seems to make for even much less thrilling tv.
With the hazard to the timeline eradicated, there’s a brief interlude wrapping up the storylines of Dr. Soong and his genetically-engineered daughter, Kore. And whereas the defeated Dr. Soong digging into his desk drawer to discover a file folder marked “Project: Khan” is definitely value a roll of the eyes, his ties to the approaching Eugenics Wars have been obvious for weeks, so it doesn’t come out of nowhere. It’s merely clumsy and apparent. However, Kore’s story, which ends together with her receiving a shock job supply from Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton). Absent from Trek since his ascension to the next aircraft on the finish of The Subsequent Era, Wesley now represents the Vacationers, guardians of area and time and employers of Supervisors just like the late Tallinn. This out-of-nowhere try to attain an inexpensive pop from TNG followers is awkward sufficient on paper, however the scene itself is a multitude, largely on account of Wil Wheaton’s efficiency. The dialogue written for Wesley signifies that he’s accomplished some rising up, nevertheless it nonetheless incorporates hints of his youthful pluck, which Wheaton appears intent on burying. He replaces it with a softer, tamped-down model of the misty-eyed dad power that he embodies because the host of the official weekly aftershow for the varied Star Trek permutations, The Prepared Room, and the result’s inadvertently creepy. If a stranger walked as much as you in a park and spoke to you on this tone of voice whereas sustaining this degree of intense eye contact, you’ll not comply with him to his spaceship.
After Picard and Q’s coronary heart to coronary heart, the dying area god gives to make use of the final of his remaining power to return Jean-Luc, Raffi, Seven, and Rios to the time limit from which they had been yanked again within the season premiere. Rios, having discovered love and a way of belonging with Teresa and Ricardo, elects to remain behind. Whereas this seems like a pure conclusion to this season’s romance, it additionally feels just like the storytellers waving a white flag and admitting that they don’t actually care very a lot about this character. When Rios says, “I never fit, you know? Nothing stuck,” it’s arduous to not learn this as metatext. Between his departure and the information that Alison Pill will not appear in the third and final season of Picard, it appears as if the producers are slicing as many new characters as they’ll to make room within the payroll for the entire Next Generation cast. Michelle Hurd and Jeri Ryan will certainly be returning, however with six of Picard’s previous Enterprise crew coming aboard, they’re prone to have even much less room to develop and develop than they’d this 12 months.
With Picard’s arms round him, Q sends the remainder of the social gathering house and himself to oblivion, a touching emotional second to which the rest of the episode doesn’t measure. Awakening aboard the USS Stargazer below assault by the mysterious hooded Borg Queen, Picard, Seven, and Raffi keep away from destruction by recognizing that their alien intruder is definitely Dr. Agnes Jurati after 400 years of Borg evolution. Moderately than destroy one another, the Borg and Starfleet staff as much as construct a defend wall and defend their complete quadrant of area from a sudden cosmic eruption. This menace is launched and dismissed so rapidly that neither hazard nor victory actually registers, and it comes mere minutes after Q mocks the thought of this story needing galactic-level stakes. The origins of this calamity, a mysterious transwarp hall, is outwardly one thing saved for exploration subsequent season.
The temporary closing scene by which Picard comes house to the chateau and asks Laris for a second probability at courtship doesn’t have a lot substance, however in equity, it doesn’t want a lot. This story hasn’t been about Laris, or her and Picard’s relationship specifically. The aim hasn’t been to see them get collectively, it’s been to see Picard develop snug sufficient with the thought to make an sincere effort. Had the remainder of the episode not been such a multitude, this might need made me really feel one thing, however by this level, I have to admit an entire exhaustion of my goodwill.
Weekly serialized tv is a high-risk, high-reward endeavor. When a storyteller invitations an viewers to take care of a long-term relationship with a narrative, they’re additionally asking for his or her endurance, for a bit of religion that the messy particulars of an hours-long story will come collectively right into a grand tapestry. Reward that religion with a significant, satisfying ending, and the viewers could be prepared to forgive the failings they seen alongside the best way; fail to take action, and the failings will probably be all they see. The second season of Star Trek: Picard has requested for lots of my endurance and at instances I’ve been completely happy to present it, however its closing chapter is such an underwhelming mess that it’s arduous to think about the season as a complete as something however simply that.