The third and final season of Star Trek: Picard brings back the entire Next Generation crew, making Trekkie hearts beat faster in just the first six episodes we’ve watched.
It was a small sensation when it was announced in 2018 that Patrick Stewart, 25 years after the end of the cult hit “Spaceship Enterprise: The Next Century” aka “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (and almost 20 years after the last accompanying film Star Trek: Nemesis) will once again take on the role of legendary Starfleet veteran Jean-Luc Picard for a new series. As much as the joy of the comeback was, many were also sober that the ex-enterprise captain in “Star Trek: Picard” plunged into further adventures with a completely new crew (which also never really grew into a team).
Picard’s old cronies only dropped in for brief cameo appearances for the first two seasons. But with season 3, everything (finally!) changes. For the grand finale of the series, all (!) big stars from back then return, which quickly shows that this is long overdue. In the end, it’s hard to believe that seasons 2 and 3 were produced right after each other (which is why they could seem relatively close to each other), since they couldn’t be more different. And not only in terms of story and character ensemble, but also quality – which certainly speaks for season 3…
An old friend needs help
Unexpectedly, Starfleet Admiral Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) receives a distress call through his old communicator from his ex-girlfriend Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden), whom he hasn’t had contact with in years. The former Enterprise Doctor is apparently in mortal danger at the edge of Federation space, so Picard doesn’t hesitate long. He enlists his former first officer, Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes), to use what little information he has to get to the bottom of the matter and come to Beverly’s aid.
In the depths of space, he not only encounters the unscrupulous Vadic (Amanda Plummer), whose mighty starship can’t seem to escape, but soon must realize that he can no longer trust anyone but his old Enterprise warriors, not even in space . the federation…
Like in the good old days…
In the premiere of Picard’s third season, Jean-Luc and Will don’t care much about venturing side-by-side into the vastness of space once again – and it soon proves to be the right thing to do. Without much preparatory chatter, the two find each other and simply take it for granted that together they will help an old friend in need.
Sure, this reunion (although it happened briefly in season 1) is pure fan service, but it doesn’t feel like an end in itself this way, it feels very organic. And that is exactly what can be said of all the other character comebacks, which, despite this calmness, always provide pleasant goose bump moments (as do the many Easter eggs and familiar melodies, especially those from the grandiose “Star Trek VIII: Der first contact” famous main theme , which sounds here in the credits of each episode).
Trae Patton / Paramount+ Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Riker (Jonathan Frakes) reunite, here with Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) seasons 1 and 2 you don’t need to know
Lead writer and self-proclaimed Next Generation fan Terry Matalas (who solos as showrunner for the first time in Season 3) meets always hitting the right note when it comes to bringing back these iconic characters and it makes sense to include it in its conspiracy story, which is not particularly original but is gripping from the start, which also ties in a bit with the popular “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”.
That doesn’t mean you have to have seen “DS9” to understand the plot – nor have you seen the first two “Picard” seasons, for that matter. Despite a few references and the return of Raffi (Michelle Hurd) and Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), the new season works on its own (although at least some “Next Generation” knowledge wouldn’t hurt).
Convince the newcomers too
In all this, it is also gratifying how large the roles of the ancient warriors actually turn out to be. While they don’t all play as big of a role as charmer Jonathan Frakes, who is basically co-starring with Patrick Stewart this season, they all get their important moments. Of course it also helps a lot that the former Enterprises D and E crew can recreate their wonderful dynamic with each other as easily as if they just finished the final season of “TNG.”
All the more risky was that showrunner Matalas and his team not only relied on this time-tested force, but also put the spotlight on some new characters. But here too we can (usually) give it all-clear. While Amanda Plummer remains mostly pale as the villain (but is at least half menacing) and Geordi LaForge’s (LeVar Burton) family troubles seem a bit forced, Edward Speleers (“You – You will love me”) as Beverly’s companion Jack very impressive and Todd Stashwick (“12 Monkeys”) as the wonderfully ass captain of the USS Titan is a real asset.
Not fully learned from seasons 1 and 2
While the new episodes are much more like an eighth Next Generation season than a third Picard season, it’s a little annoying that they ultimately suffer a bit from the legacy of the first two Picard seasons. Some character decisions remain difficult to understandin particular, an action by Picard himself at the end of episode 3 is completely out of character and only seems to serve to force an unnecessary conflict with Riker.
In addition, the appearance of the series takes some getting used to for die-hard Trekkiesespecially since in season 3 the comparison with “The Next Century” is now even more important and the wonderful “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” has only just shown that even modern “Star Trek” doesn’t have to sink into dark blue and black tones.
Of course, the future of the now 25th century may be bleaker than that of the Enterprise marriage 30 years earlier. However, if the nearly completely failed bridge of Beverly’s battered starship is as dimly lit as the USS Titan’s fully functional bridge, you may want to reconsider the Starfleet mission. In any case, it can’t be good for the eyes or the mood. Fortunately, Picard’s Season 3 perks shine bright enough to illuminate even the darkest corners of the Alpha Quadrant.
After the first six of its ten episodes, Season 3 of “Star Trek: Picard” undoubtedly has the potential to be the series’ best season and to give Picard’s crew a far more dignified farewell than “Star Trek: Nemesis.” (and it would have to go wrong in the rest of the episodes for that not to happen).
» “Star Trek: Picard” Season 3 on Amazon Prime Video* / Paramount+*
Finally offers us the quasi-successor of “Next Generation”. finally the real revival that many fans have longed for. Threatened at times with too much gloom, it’s still nowhere near as bright as the original series, but it still captures the spirit in a captivating way thanks to the unchanged chemistry in the former Enterprise crew.
Star Trek: Picard Season 3 premieres today, February 17, 2023 on Amazon Prime Video and Paramount+. A new episode will be released every Friday on both streaming services.
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