Review of Star Trek: Picard Season Two
After a rocky first season, Star Trek: Picard is back for Season 2 today, and brings with it a renewed sense of purpose, character, and most importantly, fun. Picking up a year after the life-changing events of the Season 1 finale, we find Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) back on his vineyard, contemplating his past and where he may go now; but when a distress call requesting the Admiral’s personal help is received, the crew of the La Sirena reconvenes on a mission to save not just the galaxy, but time itself.
To preface this review, I got the chance to watch the first three episodes of Picard Season 2, and despite having some trepidation I was fully won over come the final minutes of “The Star Gazer”, the season premiere. While still a continuation of the events of Season 1, there’s been a refresh to every element of the show, from story down. New showrunner Terry Matalas has brought a clear love of all things Star Trek, but especially The Next Generation, to bear in this season. This is most visible in the return of familiar characters which could have quite easily come across as simple fan service, but instead, their scenes with Picard are all in service of further developing his character, pushing him to boldly go where he never has.
As for the man himself, we find him truly contemplating the one frontier he’s never passed. What that final frontier is would get too far into spoilers of where this season is taking Picard, but it’s one I can’t wait to see play out. And Patrick Stewart is quite simply incredible at playing Picard, we all know he can do the inspiring captain, and now we’re getting a completely new side to the iconic character for Stewart to dig into. But in the end, it can’t be overstated just what a joy it is to see Patrick Stewart standing on the bridge of a starship once more, so much so that any issues with the show (that I didn’t find) quickly fall by the wayside.
When it comes to the cast returning from Season One of Picard, I’d honestly not realized how fond I’d become of them all. Obviously, Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine is incredible, we’ve known that since the 90s. But when you’ve also got Michelle Hurd, Alison Pill, and Santiago Cabrera filling out our ragtag group of characters it’s hard to deny just how fun this show can get, even if it does come around to hit you in the feels when necessary. The most interesting characters so far this season though are the two Romulans on the main cast; Evan Evagora as the sweet, loveable Elnor, and Orla Brady as Laris, now bumped up to a series regular, gets some truly fascinating material to work with. She’s great at keeping pace with Patrick Stewart in their scenes together, which is not something many can do.
And then of course there are the two returning faces from Trek past who make appearances in Picard Season Two. Neither Whoopi Goldberg nor John de Lancie have missed a beat in their performances as Guinan and Q respectively, and getting to see them sharing the screen with Patrick Stewart after all these years brings a tear to my eye. Goldberg is great at playing the wise friend to Picard, who always knows the right thing to say, even when he doesn’t want to hear it. Meanwhile, de Lancie’s Q knows exactly what buttons to press to get under Picard’s skin. You can really see him relishing the opportunity to step back into the role of chaos incarnate, and it seems he’ll get to dig further into who Q is this season, something that could prove catastrophic, but I think will actually end up being one of the defining moments for the show.
You can probably see that I’ve avoided digging too much into the actual plot of these first few episodes, that’s because there are some pretty big changes right from the out, and should be experienced fresh. What I did focus on is the characters, which is where Picard excels as a show, and the main reason you should check this new season out, even if like me, you were not the biggest fan of Season One. But rest assured that the renewed purpose this season’s story is operating under is a genuine blast to watch. Now engage, and go watch Star Trek: Picard.