Now that the trailer for the second season of Star Trek: Picard is upon us, I feel the time is right to unleash a rant about my one big gripe with season one, which I enjoyed overall.
Yes, more than a year after its release is when I decided to write this post. This is about as current as I am with media these days. I just watched The Mandalorian a couple of months ago.
To be fair, this post’s premise has been simmering in my head this whole time. It boils down to this: the storyline about Picard’s degenerative disease and the golem was pointless and unnecessary. Why? I’ll walk you through it.
At the end of season one, Picard succumbs to a degenerative disease with which he was diagnosed at the beginning of the season. He dies, only to live on in an artificial body, a “golem,” that the son of Data’s creator, Dr. Soong, was conveniently working on for himself. It’s a little weird in that it doesn’t extend his life beyond its natural lifespan or enhance his natural abilities, but it’s a way to save him from the disease by transferring his consciousness into a healthy body. That’s all the golem is for, narratively speaking.
Here’s the thing: the disease didn’t need to be in the script at all. It serves as an impetus for Picard to embark on one last adventure. Except that he already had plenty of motivation to do so. Secret Romulan operatives on Earth hunting down Data’s secret daughters? That’s all the reason he would have needed to fly again. Hell, simply finding and saving Data’s surviving daughter would have been enough. What would have been unbelievable is if he had been faced with this problem and had decided to stay put. He didn’t need to be dying to heed the call to adventure.
By removing the disease, we can also get rid of the golem. Maybe it can be used in later seasons to explore themes like Picard’s assimilation by the Borg (it is a synthetic body) or Dahj’s condition and how it relates to his, but as it stands, the golem is an end-of-season plot twist and little else. By removing this storyline, we end up with a stronger show, though I don’t know how to fix the whole saving-the-galaxy thing. I suppose that Romulan sect could have been wrong about the killer robots from another dimension, and then we would have been left with a stand-off between (much smaller) Romulan and Federation fleets. In other words, a diplomatic conflict. You know, like Star Trek does?
As I mentioned, I did enjoy the show. I look forward to seeing Q and Guinan again and to have Seven of Nine/Annika be a series regular. That being said, I do hope the stakes will be less cosmic, thank you very much.