There's something really cheeky about opening with Picard in a poker game, and then showing him in his vineyard, as if we're just picking up directly from “All Good Things”. At the same time, of course, things have changed, and the show manages the seemingly impossible by almost justifying Nemesis's existence, by focusing so much on the tragedy of Data's untimely death, and his unfulfilled legacy. It's sad to see a Picard who's become beaten down by the losses of the past, but once the opportunity comes to once again make a difference and help a person in need, the old Jean-Luc returns – a little older, a little less energetic, but still the hero ready for another adventure.
I really appreciate how different this feels from Discovery. Not that I disliked Discovery, but its speed and use of flashy lights and camera effects would have been inappropriate for a series about an older man and a follow-up to the Next Generation, which always had a comfortable, sedate pace. Maybe things will speed up a bit once the plot gets into high gear, but right now, I'm happy to relax a bit as Picard slowly puts together the pieces of this new mystery. I'm honestly going to be a little disappointed once he puts together a crew and ship again – it's kind of fun to see more of 24th century Earth and the civilian world.
Dahj was a delight in her too-brief appearance, and it was wonderful seeing Picard trying to connect to her. Her sudden death was certainly a shock, and a great twist – I'm now wondering what her sister will be like. I wish we hadn't been spoiled for the Borg cube in the teaser trailer, that would have been another great reveal. The Romulan in that scene mentions that she 'fixes broken people' – de-assimilating drones, or something darker? I have to assume the Borg, the Romulan assassin teams, and the synth attack on Mars are all connected...
I loved Picard's Romulan staff, and hope we see more of them. We haven't really seen civilian Romulans before, outside of “Unification” - and they were basically cosplaying Vulcans. I'd note that the Romulans seem to have lost their forehead ridges again, in keeping with their appearance in the 2009 movie, which is an interesting choice, as it makes them once again visually indistinguishable from Vulcans.
On that note, this episode again does something I wouldn't have thought possible – given 2009's Nero a more coherent motivation! In the reboot film, his anger at the Federation seemed rather misplaced, given that it seemed that Spock had done everything in his power to try and save Romulus. Now, though, with the reveal that Starfleet had promised a full evacuation only to get cold feet and abandon the Romulans, his fury seems a lot more reasonable.
I'm very excited to see where this show is going, and I hope the payoffs can live up to the introduction.
- We get a shot of Picard and Worf from “Sins of the Father” in the intro to Picard's interview, implying that if Worf or other Klingons appear, they'll keep their TNG appearance.
- I am now retroactively disappointed that Picard never had a dog on the Next Generation.
- Data's hand in the opening scene is five queens – All Qs. Easter egg, or something more?