Trekathon 850: Monsters (PIC)

April 30th, 2022

Guessing a monster of the week episode. Spoilers.

I’ve been dreading this episode for some time. There’s been a bunch of setup towards ‘Picard has childhood trauma around his father’. I have three main objections. First, it’s a very tired trope – and very reminiscent of the ’trauma porn’ that Discovery has been over using. Second, it’s not really justified by Picard’s history and past appearances of his mother. And third, it rather ‘fridges’ his mother by making her mainly a conduit for Picard’s trauma/grief, rather than an active agent in her own life. So this episode had a lot of heavy lifting to do if I was going to enjoy it.

It got off to a bad start, with the very confused layers of meta-story – Picard in a coma is dreaming of talking to a psychiatrist about a fairy tale rendering of his childhood traumas. It was about 30 minutes in that the reveal of the real trauma turned me around. It’s actually an answer that makes more sense (other than the previous mention/appearance of Picard’s mother). And also deals with my ‘fridge’ concerns mostly.

It’s still not a great episode, but it’s not the horrible train wreck I was fearing. There’s a confusion of points of view in the episode. The story is told from perspectives of Picard, young Picard and Talinn. The ‘present day present day’ stuff is OK, but fairly mechanical.

I was actually a bit surprised by the structure. It felt like the kind of story that normally gets a whole episode. Instead it gets about 2/3 (combined with some cut aways), and then we have 10-15 minutes of plot mechanics/moving things forward. I’m glad they didn’t stretch the Picard’s past stuff out too much, but it felt a bit off.

Quick hits:

  • I really thought that psychiatrist was Bashir for quite a while. Quite a resemblance to Alexander Siding, although the accent was wrong.

  • Dear me, the ‘Picard in a transparently simple analogy as a young prince’ was tiresome.

  • Seven/Raffi is a fun relationship.

  • The Romulan ears on the telepathy equipment is deeply on the nose. Does pay off later though.

  • Credited as a psychiatrist but described in dialog as a psychologist – someone doesn’t know that those are different jobs.

  • It feels like this has been set up as one of those ‘dialog duel’ episodes, where two great actors battle it out. But without the meat or the established stakes.

  • Oof, that is some bad monster effects in the fantasy flashback.

  • ‘I’m from Chile, I work in outer space’. Lovely call back to Star Trek IV.

  • I’m not sure ‘in order to pick up’ is a good excuse for bringing people from the past to your space ship.

  • I’m surprised Guinan could be snuck up on like that.

850 down.