Hardcore fans of the seemingly ever-expanding Star Trek universe got some good news this year when it was announced that Star Trek Picard, which focuses on legendary Federation Captain turned Admiral Jean Luc Picard, would get a third season run. The wait for the series’ third and final season will not be too long for said audiences, either, as it is currently planned to stream on Paramount+ from Feb. 16 to April 20, 2023 over 10 episodes. While audiences wait for the series’ final season, they can take in the series’ second season on DVD and Blu-ray now in a new three-disc set released through CBS DVD. Of course, this latest installment in the series sadly has little to applaud, save for a couple of high points. The most notable of the high points is the fact that it relies far less on the foul language and blood and gore of the first season. This will be discussed shortly. On the other hand, though, there is a lot to dislike about the season’s story and the packaging for the season’s home release. This will be examined a little later. The only other positive to this season is the surprise season finale, which will be discussed but not given away here. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the season’s presentation. All things considered they make the second season of Picard an intriguing presentation that is worth watching at least once regardless of audiences’ devotion to the Star Trek universe.
Star Trek Picard: Season 2 is an intriguing continuation of the series, which focuses on the one and only Jean Luc Picard. That is because of its overall mixed presentation. One of the few positives to this season is that it relies so much less on the violence and foul language that was incorporated into the series’ debut season. The writers relied far too much on that content in Season One, almost as if they knew that otherwise Season One would not work. Yes, there are some moments of foul language peppered throughout the season, but its presence is so much less in this case than in Season One. The worst of the bloodshed comes late in the season’s run this time as Seven is run through by the Queen Borg/Agnes (not to give away too much for those who have yet to see this season). Rios gets injured by one of the borg drones that Dr. Soong uses, but even in that case, the writers kept the bloodshed to a minimum. It is a nice change of stylistic approach that while still could have been minimalized even more, was still a welcome change in comparison to the level of violence in Season 1.
While the clearly decreased level of violence and foul language incorporated into the second season of Picard makes it more worth watching, this season still fails in so many ways, not the least of which is its story. The story in question finds Q (John De Lancie) sending Jean Luc and his friends back in time to the 21st century, apparently out of his own bizarre sense of something. He admits in the end that he just wanted Jean Luc to learn a lesson about forgiving himself (once again, not to give away too much), but he does this at the risk of history being changed forever. Yes, there is even an alternate timeline bit tied into the season. What’s more, there is even an indirect reference to none other than Quantum Leap as part of the story. That really is what audiences get here. Picard and company go back in time and have to ensure history’s safety, this time all because Q has some quirky fascination with Jean Luc even as he (Q) is dying.
Complicating matters even more is that Picard and his rogue’s gallery of friends have to ensure that the borg queen, who essentially possesses Agnes, does not manage to take over 21st century Earth and turn it into a borg planet. Adding even more to the complication is Dr. Soong and his role in everything. He lets his selfish desire for fame and immortality (literal and figurative) blind him and makes things even more difficult for Jean Luc and company. Considering that Jean Luc already had to battle the Borg in Star Trek First Contact in order to preserve history, this whole story arc becomes all the less original. The only difference is that instead of making sure that first contact is made, he has to ensure that his ancestor precedes that moment and joins the flight to Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons.
As if all of this was not problematic enough, the writers incorporate a completely cheesy and unnecessary romance subplot between Rios and a young, single mother who runs her own clinic in Los Angeles. Obviously, Rios’ own future is set early on and audiences know what will happen here.
The fact that the writers drag out this season’s story as much as they do over 10 episodes, ensuring that Jean Luc keeps getting into so many tough spots, using so much exposition as he recalls his childhood that led him to become the stoic person her became known as during his life, makes for even more problem. It makes the season feel so much longer than it really is. To that end, if Season One failed to live up to expectations, then all of this together makes this season fail to live up to expectations even more so because of its overall
The writing is just one of the very problematic issues that Season Two faces. The season’s packaging proves problematic in its own way. The three discs over which the season’s 10 episodes are spread are poorly packaged for starters. Disc One sits on its own spot inside the Blu-ray case while Disc two sits atop Disc three with nothing to protect Disc two from getting marred by Disc 3. This greatly decreases the potential longevity of at least one of the discs if not both, depending on which one ends up sitting atop the other from one point to another.
Adding to the problems of the packaging is the fact that there is no hint of an episode guide anywhere in the packaging. The episode titles are printed on the discs, but that is the extent of what audiences get here. The result is that audiences who have not yet seen Season Two will just have to sit and wait to find out what happens from one episode to the next. What’s more, even those who are familiar with the series might forget each episode specifically, so even they might end up having to go through just to remember which episode has what aspect of the story. This greatly diminishes the general effect of Season Two along with the massive writing problems that plague this season.
Keeping all of this in mind, there is at least one aspect of the story that does work. That aspect is the season’s surprising finale, which actually ties (at least indirectly) back to the story element from Season One involving the Borg. Audiences who have seen Season One will recall that Jean Luc made the revelation that the Borg were more victims than the monsters that they were made out to be for so much time. That realization likely led to Picard to ultimately make the decision to give talks with the Borg the chance to talk in the first place in the season premiere (and finale). The revelation that is made at season’s end is sure to play into the coming third and final season. It makes all of the slow boil buildup to that point at least somewhat bearable. Keeping that in mind, this final aspect of the season works with the lessened violence and foul language to make the season worth watching at least once.
The second season of Star Trek Picard is hardly the presentation that it clearly could have been. It could have done so much right, but sadly did so much else. That is not to say that it is a total failure. It succeeds in that it uses far less foul language and overt violence (including bloodshed) than was used in Season One. The surprise finale to Season Two makes for its own interest, too. It is certain to shock plenty of longtime Star Trek fans. These two elements make up at least somewhat for all of the failures that are so prevalent throughout Season Two’s writing and packaging, which are so problematic in themselves and collectively. Each item examined is important in its own way to the second season of Picard. All things considered they make Star Trek Picard: Season 2 come up even shorter than the series’ first season.
Star Trek Picard: Season 2 is available now on DVD and Blu-ray. More information on Star Trek: Picard is available along with all of CBS All Access’ latest news at:
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