Star Trek Picard Season 2.1 The Star Gazer Review

Star Trek: Picard S2.1 proves that season one was just the tip of the spatial anomaly for Jean Luc Picard and his colleagues

The inaugural season of Star Trek: Picard was a bold step forward for the franchise. For the first time in Star Trek history, the series primarily focussed on just one character. Albeit a much-beloved one. The result was a series that delivered a wealth of Star Trek iconography and a spectacle worthy of the ages. But with Jean Luc Picard’s old nemesis Q returning to cause chaos; can Star Trek: Picard Season 2 deliver the continuation we’re all hoping for? Or has the final frontier finally run out of steam for the former Captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise?

Star Trek Picard Season 2.1

Of course, it hasn’t. If you had any fears to the contrary, you can banish them to the Neutral Zone right now. The premiere episode of season two aptly titled ‘The Star Gazer’ is an exceptional return for the franchise. And a game-changer in every sense of the word. The result is a gripping debut episode that will have fans grasping the arms of their seats as they digest the gravitas of each revelation. And they are considerable. But as far as jumping-off points go, it doesn’t get much better than this. It’s pure unadulterated Star Trek at its finest, and that is no understatement.

A GALAXY AT PEACE

Lensed from the perspective of Patrick Stewart’s veteran Starfleet commander, season two kicks off with the galaxy at peace. Chateau Picard is producing wine at full steam, and the harvest is good. But the sudden appearance of a spatial anomaly changes everything and pretty soon, the entire cast from the first season all return to the fore. Each of the cast is following a renewed path following the events of season one, and their career choices may surprise you. But every one of them is where they need to be. Especially when the structure of the story unfolds. Which leads us nicely into the episodes’ title.

Star Trek Picard Season 2.1The Star Gazer

THE STAR GAZER

The significance of “The Star Gazer” title will not be lost on any Star Trek fan, and the episode embraces its importance with vigor. Not only do we get to explore Jean Luc’s attachment to the famous vessel in more detail, but we learn more about the origins of his passion for the stars. And it is here where the crux of the story awaits us. True to form, the events of the past are lensed through a series of brief flashbacks which push the plot along with a dose of impulse power. But they serve to hint at a bigger mystery that even Picard’s closest friends are yet to uncover.

CHARACTERS

Of course, the strength of any series rests on the back of its cast, and Star Trek: Picard season two sticks the landing effortlessly. Although the first season served as our introduction to the new cast, season two does not shy away from adding more depth where it’s needed. Seven Of Nine (Jeri Ryan) has a whole lease of life, Michelle Hurd’s Raffi Musiker has returned to her roots and reactivated her Starfleet commission. Alison Pill’s Dr. Agnes Jurati is still coming to terms with the ramifications of the events of last, Evan Evagora’s Elnor has become the first Romulan to be accepted into Starfleet Academy. Soji Asha (Isa Briones) is putting her newfound android abilities to good use, and Laris (Orla Brady) is seeking to develop her relationship with Picard.

And rounding out the cast is Santiago Cabrera’s, Captain Cristobal Rios. A character who was pushed into the background in the first season. But I’m delighted to report that those errors have been addressed, and Rios is well and truly front and center in season two.

Star Trek Picard Season 2

PATRICK STEWART

But as always, the primary focus shines on Patrick Stewart’s Picard. And in traditional fashion, the veteran actor does the impossible by adding even more depth to an already complex character. But his performance throughout episode one is often emotional, poignant, and tormented. A side of Jean Luc we haven’t seen since his return from the Borg collective in “The Best Of Both Worlds” Part II. I can’t explore this further until we can discuss spoilers, so I’ll leave you with the tease that the sins of the past directly affect his ability to embrace the future.

Now, although Picard is the primary focus here, there is another member of the cast that we dare not ignore. One that many of us have been yearning to be reunited with since his antics in Star Trek: Voyager. I am, of course, referring to John de Lancie’s lovable antagonist, Q. And his return is glorious. With renewed zeal, de Lancie picks up where he left off in “All Good Things” and effortlessly slips back into character. He takes pride in teasing Jean Luc at every turn. And although his screentime is extremely limited, he hits the ground running and makes up for lost time. Which only serves to encapsulate what is nothing short of a stellar opening salvo.

Star Trek Picard Season 2.1The Star Gazer

ICONOGRAPHY

Although the debut season boasted a wealth of easter eggs and iconography; season two takes the ball and runs with it. And in doing so delivers an absolute treat for Trek fans. Like me, you’ll be cheering with delight as old friends are namedropped, easter eggs from past series’ are refreshed, and blasts of Jerry Goldsmith’s masterwork interweave with Jeff Russo’s subtle and often beautiful score. I won’t ruin them for you, but I’d urge you to watch every frame and listen to every sentence. You won’t regret it!

VERDICT

It was always going to be an uphill battle to improve upon the stellar first season of Star Trek: Picard. But Season Two has stuck the landing. The gravity of the first episode alone effortlessly surpasses the strength of the story of the last season. And it promises to be one of the standout television events of the year. Every member of the cast delivers a solid and poignant performance which will only cement their status with Trek fans everywhere. And the treasure trove of easter eggs delivers a relative feast for the eyes.

Make no mistake, this is pure unadulterated Star Trek at its best. And the season feels more of a natural progression of The Next Generation than anything we have seen before.

In closing, the debut episode of season two proves that the events of season one are only the tip of the spatial anomaly for Jean Luc Picard and his diverse crew. And with Terry Matalas, Michael Chabon, and Akiva Goldsman on hand to bring the series home, the fate of the galaxy appears to be in very safe hands. And that is an enticing prospect! Engage!

 

Star Trek: Picard Season 2 gets underway on March 3 on Paramount+ in the United States, and on CTV Sci-Fi Channel and Crave in Canada. Outside of North America, the series is available on Amazon Prime Video.

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