Movies & TVSpoiler Free Review: Star Trek Picard Season 3: Episode...

Spoiler Free Review: Star Trek Picard Season 3: Episode 1


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Although this is a spoiler-free review all images used have been taken from the episode.

It isn’t often when I sit down to watch a movie or television show that I’m left stunned into silence. Literally, I sat staring, just processing everything that took place. Most recently, it happened with Star Trek Picard Episode 1 – The Next Generation. This is my spoiler-free review.


Star Trek Picard was an interesting concept from when it was first announced. The first two seasons had issues, and it’s hard to ignore that many fans were left wanting. I will preface this by saying I enjoyed Seasons 1 and 2 of Picard. My only complaint is around a Season 2 character choice because, dammit, Jim, I wanted a Stargazer spinoff. But I digress.

Season 3 promised a final journey for the Next Generation, and so far, that’s been delivered in spades. From tiny set details showcasing props from TNG all the way through to plot points that hark back to Trek of old, it’s there. What is exceptionally brilliant is that you don’t need to have seen any Next Generation or Picard to enjoy this episode. If you have, you’ll get a lot more from it, but it isn’t necessary. In that way, Picard Season 3 feels like it’s for the old guard to bathe in nostalgia and new fans to jump on and enjoy some very well-written Sci-Fi.

I appreciate this accessibility. Now I can pester friends and family to watch it and geek out to them without them rolling their eyes because I spent twenty minutes talking about the significance of “that prop” on a show they haven’t seen. After all, ‘catching up’ is daunting. Ok, they’ll probably still roll their eyes, but it’s lovely to see.

The opening episode of Season 3 has plenty going on. We see the reunion of Picard and Riker, a glimpse at what some characters have been up to, and an introduction to the new hero ship, the beautifully designed USS Titan A and her … unique … Captain. We also got a subplot with Raffi that knocked me for six and then made me cheer when details were expanded on. I’m sure it will tie up later with the main story. Then, after all of that, it ended on a cliffhanger. It’s everything I wanted and more.


The acting in Star Trek Picard Season 3: Episode 1 is exceptional. The opening few minutes with the wonderful Gates McFadden gives us a new side of Beverly, one that has only been teased in a few tense moments but leaves us asking many questions about what has been happening in the past twenty years. The performance she gave was fantastic.

We then get treated to the buddy pairing of Jonathan Frakes (Riker) and Sir Patrick Stewart (Picard). It’s like they never stopped playing these characters. The quips, the little looks, the back-and-forth banter between the pair has only gotten stronger since those Next Generation days. It’s like visiting family after a long time away; seeing them together makes you smile.

Michelle Hurd (Raffi) is back, having appeared in both Seasons 1 and 2 of Picard, and I’m so thankful she is. As one of the more nuanced and interesting characters we’ve seen in Star Trek, the initial scenes made my heart sink. This is perhaps the only emotional reaction that needs you to have seen the prior two seasons to appreciate. When more details came to light, I vocally cheered. Michelle plays the role superbly and draws you into the character’s pain.

Jeri Ryan is also back from Seasons 1 and 2 of Picard as the fabulous Seven of Nine. Star Trek Voyager fans will enjoy the performance here as with the subtlest of looks or actions, we get the Seven we know and love. However, she’s evolved, matured, and assimilated as best she can into Starfleet, and it’s interesting to see how that plays out. There’s also a Janeway name drop which is exciting!  

While the cast did an outstanding job, the other main character to speak of here is Captain Liam Shaw of the USS Titan A. Played as precisely as the character insists by the incredible Todd Stashwick. Captain Shaw is no-nonsense, by the book, highly intelligent and exact. You’ll hate him. From the opening dining room scene, where we properly meet this character, Todd gives us a mesmerising performance. It’s subtle, but you immediately know this Captain isn’t to be trifled with, and to see him standing firm against Trek greats (both in the scene and the story) makes for uncomfortable viewing in the best way. Captain Shaw feels more profound than a no-nonsense, stubborn captain who doesn’t like the shenanigans of ‘heroes’. There’s more going on beneath the surface, and I can’t wait to see how Todd’s performance develops, revealing new layers of the latest Trek captain. Like Marmite, you’re going to love him or hate him… or perhaps hate to love him or love to hate him! Either way, I wonder if he’ll be the same at the end or if there’s more of an arc here.

Visuals and Music

As you would expect from modern Sci-Fi, the visuals are impeccable. You can see the excellent work that has gone into crafting every moment and detail. From the trinkets and memories in Picard’s chateaux to the ships’ exteriors. From the seedy world, Raffi finds herself on, to the design of the bridge and uniforms. It’s all sublime to soak up. You can definitely feel the synergy with Trek of old. But it all feels updated for today’s standard and the progression in the show’s universe.

I want to take a minute to indulge and feel free to skip this paragraph if you’re not a die-hard Trek fan, in the sublime updated LCARS. You get the best view during the end credits, and it’s a wonder. You can see the design progression from that of the original, and it feels like a believable updated UI instead of a whole new design for the sake of it. The crips lines and sweeping curves scream Star Trek, and I love the implementation of curved screens! Needless to say, I want it in my real life.

Then we get the ships. Oh, the ships. The Neo-Constitution class is the perfect hero ship, harking back to some of Roddenberry’s design ethos about where things should be on a ship; you can see those classic lines inspiring this fantastic design. It’s big and bold; it’s new and old. That perhaps is the best way to describe Star Trek Picard Season 3.

Where the music is concerned, you have the wonderful Picard theme blended perfectly with classic Next Generation scoring. What you end up with is a beautiful score that, like all this episode, feels both new and old. The choice of I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire by The Inks as the opening song to shots of beautiful space scenes was inspired. The song continues through the opening action sequence presenting a dichotomy of the song to the visuals, which only increases the scene’s tension. I don’t want to set the world on fire… Terry Matalas has set this Trek geek’s heart on fire with the perfect season opening.     

I have Questions

Star Trek Picard Episode 1 has left me with questions like any great mystery should. Unfortunately, to ask any of them here would result in inevitable spoilers! Though, I am hooked. It feels like I’ve grabbed hold of four strands (not lights), and I’m following each one waiting for the intersection that might blow my mind. While many of my questions are about the main plot, even more, are about the new and old characters. I want more; I want to delve deeper into their backstories, build on the existing canon knowledge… and work out just what Captain Shaw was eating (it was blue…).

Terry Matalas and the team have done something incredible with this season of Star Trek Picard, and I have complete confidence that all my questions (save for the blue food) will be answered by the end of the season.

Star Trek Picard Episode 1 Goes Boldly

Star Trek Picard Episode 1 (and I can only assume the remainder of the series) goes back to what makes Star Trek great. While watching, I was reminded of some of my favourite episodes (and movies) from Trek past and couldn’t help but smile the entire time. But Picard is more than a trip down memory lane. It feels matured; it feels new. The balance is spot on. From orchestral notes to characterisation, you feel the connection to Star Trek’s past, but also, at the same time, you see this fresh take. The evolution of characters we Star Trek fans grew up with.

It’s like drinking a cup of tea (Earl Grey, hot, obviously), it could be completely different from what you expect, but it also feels comforting. In Star Trek Picard, you have Next Generation nostalgia combined with a fresh, new direction in a perfect blend of television. This isn’t just good Star Trek; it’s good Sci-Fi and just downright great tv.

Star Trek Picard Episode 1 is available now on Paramount+ or Amazon Prime, with new episodes airing weekly.

James Refelian
James Refelian
When I was seven years old, I tried to write a spy novel. It was terrible; in case you wondered, but I’ve always loved stories. Then I got to play video games and suddenly here were stories that could be told in so many ways, coming to life in front of my eyes. I’ve been hooked ever since and enjoy games on pretty much every platform you can imagine! (Primarily PS5, Switch and PC (Steam Deck) with a lot of retro SEGA, Sony, and Nintendo). When I’m not gaming, I’m still writing that spy novel. If you love stories too, I hope my reviews and features help you discover something new! Find me on Twitter @Refelian66. Check out 60 Second Game Reviews on YouTube. Contact me with business inquiries at jamesrefelian(at)gmail(dot)com.

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