TV SERIES Review: Harley Quinn S1E13 – The Final Joke ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

At the end of S1:E12 “Devil’s Snare” the Joker was laughing after his heinous, cowardly act

Season 1
DC Universe exclusive
February 21, 2020
Season finale

Episode 13 – “The Final Joke”

Revenge is on Harley’s mind after what Joker did at the end of the last episode to Poison Ivy. Has Harley finally realized here former boyfriend doesn’t really give two craps about her? This is what viewers are hoping to find out? Or (gasp) will she fall under Joker’s twisted spell again?

Opens with a repeat of the last couple dramatic moments of episode 12, then title montage and then a small burial ceremony. Now Harley wants Batman’s help in revenge against Joker. This plan using Clayface to setup a diversion fails and Batman is gassed.

Joker takes over Gotham and puts out a bounty on Harley.

Joker tortures Harley’s crew, including some cool pop references. He’s going to throw an 80s party and invites Harley to join to watch Joker executing her crew. This is why he wants her alive to see it.

Tune into the final episode to see what is Harley’s plan to save her crew and avenge her friend. Will Joker prevail and take Harley out? What happens to Poison Ivy? Find out these answers and more. This episode has a real ending, it’s not a cliffhanger.

Summary

I kind of hoped they would end this episode leaving some things not wrapped up, so taking a little away. There is still the issue of what’s happened to Gotham and did I miss what happened to the menacing trees? Where did they go? So, some loose ends were left unresolved.

The good news is we get 13 more episodes in the future to explore what happens next. I’ll save pontificating on where that might go for another day.

When I think back to my experience with the first review of this series until now 13 weeks later, I’m reminded of all the good that’s happened. I joined DC Universe which is a full-fledged, vibrant community, not just a streaming service. I’ve been subscribed to Amazon Prime Video and spend the most time streaming movies there and at Netflix, but those are places to visit with zero social component. Disney+? Same thing. These are places with a bunch of movies and TV content. They are like online warehouses, and with all the friendliness of a gigantic warehouse with just you and rows and rows of stuff to sift and sort through.

DC Universe has a thriving, active messageboard community with chat on all things DC as well as other topics. It is lovingly moderated and their are community guidelines to keep conversations from becoming too trollish, which is nice. I’ve been through communities over the year where fandom on any given subject/topic is toxic and instead of binding me to it, I’m driven away. Not the case at DCU. This might not matter for others reading, maybe you just want to binge watch a good TV show or watch movies and leave without wanting or feeling compelled to discuss what was just watched. Just saying here you have a place to do that which truly is dedicated and special.

Also, Harley Quinn animated TV got me re-interested and continued my excitement from The Mandalorian in looking forward to weekly releases of new episode. This is very reminiscent of traditional TV series and reminded me of new episodes of series I enjoyed growing up coming out each week. I don’t think the binge it and be done model has that same appeal. Yes, I realize we can control ourselves and enjoy a series by only watching one episode every week, but it just doesn’t feel the same as not having the ability to just dig in and binge it. Minor benefit to some, perhaps major to others, but important to me.

This episode was a bit too perfect a wrap-up and didn’t leave as much suspense for next season as it could have. For that reason I’m taking away a star. It’s a good ending to season one, but a bit predictable.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The first season has been amazing overall, with really only a couple misfires, a couple perfect episodes, a few above average, and several hit it out of the park ones.

Overall, season one is a solid 4 star show, very close to 4.5 / 5, if only they had finished with just a little stronger juice. I don’t think people will be disappointed with the season one finale, but it kind of lost a little dramatic punch and steam.

Season 1 All Episodes Ranking ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  1. S1:E12 – Devil’s Snare ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  2. S1:E1 – Til Death Do Us Part ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  3. S1:E7 – The Line ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  4. S1:E11 – Harley Quinn Highway ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  5. S1:E2 – A High Bar ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  6. S1:E4 – Being Harley Quinn ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  7. S1:E13 – The Final Joke ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (season 1 finale episode)
  8. S1:E8 – L.O.D.R.S.V.P ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  9. S1:E5 – Finding Mr. Right ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  10. S1:E3 – So You Need a Crew ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  11. S1:E9 – A Seat At The Table ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  12. S1:E6 – You’re a Damn Good Cop, Jim Gordon ⭐️⭐️½
  13. S1:E10 – Bensonhurst ⭐️⭐️

TV SERIES Review – Star Trek: Picard S1E5 – Stardust City Rag ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
Episode 5 – “Stardust City Rag”
February 20, 2020
Directed by: Jonathon Frakes

Starts 13 years ago with flashback on planet where a Starfleet officer is having his eye removed by a doctor of some sort. Quickly, we realize this is a Borg operation.

About to have a Borg implant in place of his left eyeball, ouch!

Seven of Nine bursts in and kills the medical personnel in the midst of a Borg transplant operation. She lifts the officer off the gurney, the man with the missing eye, and says dramatically, “My child!”

Cut to two weeks ago at Freecloud in a bar. An alien bodyguard that looks a bit like the Ben Grimm The Thing from Fantastic Four asking for “Bruce Maddox.”

Since when is Ben The Thing Grimm in Star Trek: Picard? Wait, no, that’s not him

Speaking of people who look like other people … a woman who looks strikingly like Deanna Troi (not her, though) is running the show at this bar.

She’s got the Troi bun hairdo

The Deanna Troi doppelganger says no but then takes the man to a backroom where we finally get to see a current day (ok, two weeks ago in the story) Bruce Maddox.

Bruce Maddox “2 weeks ago” at the beginning of S1:E5 “Stardust City Rag”

Maddox is burying his sorrows at the bottom of a drink, but … his drink has been spiked and he drops the glass and passes out.

Cut to the title montage.

Now, present day, we are aboard the ship with Captain Rios, Picard, Dr. Jurati, Raffi and Elnor and Seven of Nine. Jurati is recalling a memory (another flashback) of Maddox and her together, presumably they were once romantically involved.

Now the crew are discussing how they can get to Maddox on Freecloud. Raffi hatches some elaborate scheme with costumes for the team to go in disguise to free Maddox from her captors on Freecloud. I was a little confused how they just knew Maddox had been captured, but maybe missed it from Raffi who rattled off an info dump on Maddox’s predicament. It might also have been mined from her computer system as very clearly there is a black market of Borg transplant parts and somehow Maddox is a hot property to use in trade on this market, even though he has no Borg parts.

(or maybe we’ll find out he does later?)

Raffi then leaves the ship to visit her son, Gabriel, that she currently has an estranged relationship. Gabriel and daughter in law, a pregnant Romulan, pretty much whisk her out of their midst. So, we get a little more backstory on Raffi’s character, long enough to delay the plan to rescue Bruce Maddox. It’s like one obstacle after another in this series delaying us from the important happenings.

Picard as a pirate is one of the funniest disguises ever. He has an eye patch and — seriously, not kidding, as soon as the eye patch is removed he is “recognized “as Picard! Who is that stupid not to realize Picard is Picard with one pirate eye patch?!?! I laughed out loud when I saw this.

Also, just watching Picard say, “Maddox!” with the eye patch is the best part of the episode. Pure comedic gold! I know it was intended to be serious, however, which makes it sad, but hey, I still loved it. Watch for the pirate Picard meme. Just know it’s coming!

You’ll need to tune in to see if Maddox is rescued by the motley crue from Rios’ ship and check out the AR-wsome Picard disguise.

Summary

This episode has the most action of any in the series, so if that is your favorite type of Star Trek, you’ll feel good here.

A moment on guns. Why are they so freaking big in the future? We go from sleek, small phaser weapons to these gigantic, bulky lasers? Are we going backwards technology-wise?

We’re still in flashback mode, which remains a questionable way to unfold the story dramatically, but at least here we get some action with the flashbacks. This series should be called, Flashbacks: Picard. Or maybe Pirate Picard. Until this episode, it just hasn’t been very Star Trek.

This episode feels the most Star Trekish, but the writing is at times very cringey. Tons of obvious info dumps. The execution is more skilled, at the hands of director and seasoned trekkie Jonathan Frakes. There is some good Seven of Nine action, Picard actually takes a backseat to the story, except for his pirate shenanigans and a brief encounter with Bruce Maddox.

So much happens and fast that it almost felt like a different show than the first four episodes. Despite the flurry of activity, I found this episode more enjoyable than the last three. It’s about on par with the first episode and my rating will reflect that. Recommended? Yes. Hope they stay with the action, and it appears that’s where this is headed as the next mission could be finally at the Borg Artifact cube.

This might have been a better pilot episode than the pilot. We start out with some horrific Borg implant stuff then progress to a mission to free a captive Bruce Maddox and then there’s some vengeful backstory for Seven of Nine.

I think Trek fans will like this episode the most of any so far. As for those who aren’t diehard Trek fans watching Picard as a series? This series is still trying to establish what it is going to be and we’re half-way through the first season of 10 episodes.

I liked this episode, it certainly wasn’t boring, which was a problem with most of the last three episodes. It was like the story was stuck in mud until this episode. Now we’re off and running.

Not super stoked with the ending of this episode. I don’t want to spoil it, but was hoping with all this build-up to Bruce Maddox that it would go differently. It’s like we spend five episodes trying to get to this guy and when we finally do, his screen time is minimal. Will find out in future episodes if we get more of him. Likely through flashback, because that seems to be the way they want to tell the story here.

If you haven’t seen this series yet, this might actually be the best episode to start with. Then go back and watch episode 1. You really don’t need to watch episodes 2-4 to understand where we’re at in the story. Not sure what that says, but it doesn’t seem like a ringing endorsement.

On a positive note, I am looking forward to next week’s episode. This is a bit like slowing down to watch an accident scene.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

SPOILER SECTION – The Ready Room

Wil Wheaton said at the end of last week’s episode of The Ready Room that this was a good episode.

Elnor is interviewed on The Ready Room

Worth mentioning again that The Ready Room is a nice compliment to the series. Good interviews, nice excitement by the host, Wil Wheaton.

TV SERIES Review: Harley Quinn S1E12 – Devil's Snare⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
DC Universe exclusive
February 14, 2020

Episode 12 – “Devil’s Snare”

Harley and her crew, Clayface, Dr. Psycho, King Shark, Sy and Poison Ivy try to stop the maniacal tree army from killing all of Gotham at the Jazz festival. That’s right, Ivy can’t control these twisted trees.

The Justice League shows up and assumes that it is Harley and her crew’s diabolical doing. Wonder Woman and Superman threaten to entrap them in The Phantom Zone.

Just as they are about to be sucked into the zone, Ivy grabs Wonder Woman’s golden lasso and wraps it around her, forcing her to tell the truth. Ivy admits that they had nothing to do with the tree army. It is Scarecrow and the Legion of Doom. Superman and Wonder Woman let them go just as another villain appears to claim responsibility:

Queen of Fables. She traps the Justice League in the book.

Then she “beanstalks” Harley & crew leaving them prey for the giant in the clouds. Ivy calls the one man who can save them in the skies: Kite Man. Harley finally learns that Kite Man and Ivy are dating.

You’ll have to watch the rest of this action-packed adventure to learn if Harley & company escape the one-eyed Giant and cloud city. Learn the shocking answer behind Kite Man’s on one knee request. Find out what happens when something else emerges from the Legion of Doom and see just what the Joker has to say as the ultimate criminal mastermind behind it all.

Queen of Fables wanted to join joker because he was the most evil of the evil

Summary

This episode has it all: cameos of the famous superheroes: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, a powerful menacing threat, nonstop action for the entire 22 minute episode, drama, reveals, shocks and surprises. It’s the perfect episode of the season so far.

Why wasn’t this the live action movie made instead of Birds of Prey? This is fantastic TV. I can’t compliment it enough. Awesome writing, animation, voice acting, it’s the perfect package. Best episode of the series so far!

Next week is the season finale.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1 Episode Ranking (through 12 episodes)

  1. S1:E12 – Devil’s Snare ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (current episode)
  2. S1:E1 – Til Death Do Us Part ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  3. S1:E7 – The Line ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  4. S1:E11 – Harley Quinn Highway ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  5. S1:E2 – A High Bar ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  6. S1:E4 – Being Harley Quinn ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  7. S1:E8 – L.O.D.R.S.V.P ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  8. S1:E5 – Finding Mr. Right ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  9. S1:E3 – So You Need a Crew ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  10. S1:E9 – A Seat At The Table ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  11. S1:E6 – You’re a Damn Good Cop, Jim Gordon ⭐️⭐️½
  12. S1:E10 – Bensonhurst ⭐️⭐️

Future season one episode anticipated release dates (subject to change):

  • S1E13 – 2/21/2020 — the season one finale

TV SERIES Review – Star Trek: Picard S1E4 – Absolute Candor⭐️½

Season 1
Episode 4 – “Absolute Candor”
February 13, 2020

Here we go again starting 14 years ago in flashback mode. This time a Romulan refugee camp titled as a Romulan Relocation Hub — that Picard stopped off at to let the refugees know the Federations would be helping them with relocation.

Picard, a company man, promises the great Federation will not disappoint. Of course, we know this is a promise the Federation doesn’t keep. And then — unsurprisingly — Picard receives notification that the synths have attacked Mars. Yep, it’s that same synths going rogue moment again.

Save for meeting a young Romulan boy named Elnor, nothing really new happens here … cut to title scene.

After the title screen, we’re aboard the ship finally traveling among the stars. Captain Rios and synth expert Dr. Jurati chatting it up. Raffi busts in all fired up that the nav logs show a detour requested by Picard.

Picard is with the Hospitality Hologram checking out his crib aboard the ship when Raffi complains why aren’t they traveling directly to Free Cloud (all viewers thinking the same thing) where that scoundrel Bruce Maddox is at, they are detouring to the planet Vashdi.

He tells Jurati and Raffi not to worry, they are going to learn about Absolute Candor, a way that is absolutely counter to all the Romulans do. They must detour because he may never get this way again. They are skeptical, but reluctantly agree. After all, this final great mission of the retired Admiral Picard, it’s really him in the lead.

Picard beams onto Vashdi and we see a sign that says “Romulans Only” a reminder that Romulans prefer to chill only with Romulans.

Picard is predictably met with suspicion. We’ve also seen this in the series so far. Picard is here to ask for help from an older Elnar, who is a fierce warrior. Elnar scoffs at the request and Picard calls for a beam out.

But there is a 10 minute delay. Apparently, beam outs aboard this new ship require delays. This gives us time to see a scene where Picard pulls down the “ROMULANS ONLY” sign, and steps on it. You can only imagine where this is going.

You’ll have to watch the episode to see what follows, but I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that it is extremely predictable.

Here we are more than halfway into episode four before we see the first scintilla of action and true dramatic tension. There is one cool fight scene that is over in literally a blink of an eye and a slash of a sword. Sigh.

Summary

So far four episodes, four episodes that begin with a flashback. Three of them are exactly 14 years ago dealing in/around the synths revolting on Mars. My goodness, how many more times do viewers need this drilled into our heads?!? We get it, the synths went rogue.

There is a tiny amount of forgettable progression of story around the Borg Cube Artifact and the new crew aboard Captain Rios ship? Almost zero screen time. They might as well be control panel props.

We did — finally — get something happening on another planet off earth. This is about the closest to an actual Star Trek that we’ve come so far, points deserved there. One star is awarded for this alone.

This episode is the first directed by STNG alumni Jonathon Frakes (Ryker!). We don’t actually get to see Ryker in this episode, but he’s pretty much completely hampered by a slow, terrible, ineffective script written by Michael Chabon (he’s responsible for the writing of 3 of the first 4 episodes). I mean, this is easily the worst written episode of the four so far. The writing is just miserable. Even some of Picard’s lines — one of the great actors, Patrick Stewart — are just cringe-worthy at times. Let Picard start ad libbing. Or maybe he is and that’s the problem(?).

Yay, we’re going to pick up another crew member (who may or may not get any sort of real action), we’re going to see one briefly cool fighting scene and finally, yes, finally something happening in space — it is Star Trek, after all — just above the atmosphere on the planet and the new ship. There is another surprise at the end of the episode, but it’s like 40 minutes of yawn and 5 minutes of interesting, semi-dramatic material.

If this series is to start being good, we need to invert the numbers and add more dramatic tension, stop the character building (no more new “regular” characters, please!), lose the 14 years ago flashbacks (or at least place them somewhere besides the beginning of the episodes), do more with this new crew as an ensemble acting team and make what happens aboard the Borg Artifact more than a few fleeting cutaway scenes (I liked Dahj better than her sister, so far). Maybe with a male fighter being added to the crew that means we’re going to see … more conflict?

I get that the series is called Picard, so why are we spending so much time character building crew members, unless they are going to be proxies like red shirts in STOS that die somewhere down the line. We never really got to know the red shirts, so that might be the setup here. Let’s get to know people so they can be killed off later in the episode?

I’m glad we’re off Earth and aboard a ship traveling the stars to new planets — this is the most Star Trek that Picard has offered us so far — but the first planet detour was boring and relatively pointless, except to bring yet another crew member onto the team, this one a Romulan fighter.

Is the first season mostly/primarily about adding new crew members to the ship? Viewers can only tolerate so much character building. The story didn’t really move at all in this episode. They could have stitched together episodes 1-4 into a tight, two-part debut episode and bam, we’ve got the crew, we’ve got the synths went rogue, and we’re headed to Free Cloud with Bruce Maddox.

At least two full episodes of the four have been wasted on story we’ve essentially already been told.

Can this get better? I’m not completely losing faith yet, but it’s beginning to fade. Just start running into some conflicts — not crew building (unless it’s prior STNG as crew) — along the way to Free Cloud — or, hey, how about we just hit hyperspace and get to Free Cloud and confront Bruce Maddox already!

New aliens, old aliens, a Borg cube, something, anything … let’s mix this badboy up. No more 14 years ago flashbacks and Picard telling somebody that Data made twins and he must figure out what Bruce Maddox is up to on Free Cloud. We got it, yes we do. Give us NEW DRAMATIC TENSION AND STORY.

The ending reveals one familiar character from past Star Trek, but that is hardly worth the 45 other minutes endured. We should have gotten that in the opening five minutes instead of another 14 years ago flashback opening. Worst openings in a TV series I’ve seen now multiple times and we’re only 4 episodes in so far.

It’s official, I strongly disliked this episode. Sorry Frakes, I actually like several episodes he has directed of Star Trek in the past. Not this one. As for the way of “Absolute Candor”? I wouldn’t be using that if I rated this episode as anything except “bad” and not recommended.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️½

SPOILER SECTION – The Ready Room

“What’s up, nerds?!” – Wil Wheaton’s introduction on The Ready Room.

Wil Wheaton interviews Captain Rios (Santiago Cabrera)

Mad Props to Joe Hill for Paving His Own Career Path

The problem with Joe Hill is he resembles a younger Stephen King

If Stephen King was your dad and you wanted to prove you could make it without riding on his coat tails what would you do? Just ask Joe Hill. He’s done exactly that.

“I lacked a lot of self-confidence as a teenager,” Hill told The Telegraph in 2016. “When I went into writing, I had to know that if someone bought one of my stories they’d bought it for the right reasons–that it is a good story–and not because of who my dad is.”

Who is Joe Hill? ‘Locke and Key’ Creator is Stephen King’s Son

Mad respect to Hill, the author of some truly awesome horror novels. Horns is great. Now, he has a Netflix series, Locke & Key. Haven’t seen that one yet, but will probably check it out. If it’s really good, I might even review it here. It’s based on the graphic novel by Hill about an ancestral home with magical keys hidden inside.

The problem with Joe Hill is his physical appearance is very similar to a younger Stephen King. Beard and all! So, even if you didn’t know he was Stephen King’s son somehow, you can see the resemblance and would guess.

There is something to sharing a last name though. I worked with one of my sons for awhile and we didn’t advertise we were related. People saw we had the same name and made the connection pretty quickly. So, the best think Hill could do is not use his last name.

I totally get why Hill didn’t want to go by the byline of Joe King. It’s very honorable and respectful to want to have your talent measured by your work, not because you’re the son of one of the most famous living authors ever. Hill doesn’t have to worry about that any more. He’s earned his writing street cred. If you doubt that, just buy and read some of his work.

Locke & Key the entire first season of 10 episodes is now bingeable on Netflix.

TV SERIES Review: Harley Quinn S1E11 – Harley Quinn Highway⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Prepare to laugh out loud with S1:E11 Harley Quinn Highway now streaming on DC Universe

Season 1
DC Universe exclusive
February 7, 2020

Episode 11 – “Harley Quinn Highway”

The title graphic gives away the outcome of the obvious resolution to the cliffhanger last episode.

We don’t know how it happens, though, which tunes us in to find out how and why. That is the basis of this episode: Harley patching it up with the crew and working together to break Ivy out.

Oh, and Frank the Plant! He’s seriously one of the greatest animated supporting characters ever.

Pretzel wrap wieners! “It’s like eating my childhood.”

But Scarecrow is on the prowl, making a vicious fear toxin based on Ivy’s DNA that he wants to unleash on the world. Watch this and find out whether or not the plot is foiled and how/if Ivy is rescued.

Summary

This series is strongest when Harley is leading her crew of Clayface, Dr. Psycho, King Shark, Ivy (even though she doesn’t feel like she’s in the team) on missions as well as the relationship with Ivy. Stories involving uniting the team against the worst of the worst DC villains. In particular, I’d like to see more of them spending foiling the most heinous Legion of Doom plans. Looks like that might be the direction this is headed. Sure, they can and should do side stories here and there — just to mix it up — profiling specific characters as long as Harley is involved.

This episode is in the top three for me so far. Sy’s Transformer-transformation is his best moment. An amazing 22 minutes of fun and entertainment.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Season 1 Episode Ranking (through 11 episodes)

  1. S1:E1 – Til Death Do Us Part ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  2. S1:E7 – The Line ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  3. S1:E11 – Harley Quinn Highway ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ (current episode)
  4. S1:E2 – A High Bar ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  5. S1:E4 – Being Harley Quinn ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  6. S1:E8 – L.O.D.R.S.V.P ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  7. S1:E5 – Finding Mr. Right ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  8. S1:E3 – So You Need a Crew ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  9. S1:E9 – A Seat At The Table ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  10. S1:E6 – You’re a Damn Good Cop, Jim Gordon ⭐️⭐️½
  11. S1:E10 – Bensonhurst ⭐️⭐️

Future season one episode anticipated release dates (subject to change):

  • S1E12 – 2/14/2020
  • S1E13 – 2/21/2020 — the season one finale

TV SERIES Review – Star Trek: Picard S1E3 – The End is the Beginning ⭐️⭐️

Season 1
Episode 3 – “The End is the Beginning”

As in episode 2, it’s a flashback to 14 years ago, this time the pivotal moment when Picard meets with Starfleet to try and receive support to evacuate the Romulans along with his friend and associate Raffi. Unfortunately, we already know how this situation ended — in episode one.

In a puzzling move, we don’t see the interesting heated exchange where Picard tells Starfleet senior officials, “it’s my way or the highway”, instead we get a softball scene outside the building with him telling Raffi what he told them (what?!). Of course, all the dramatic tension is already gone because we found out in the first episode that they accepted his resignation instead of going with his plan. The only thing new is we learn is the next shoe dropping is Raffi getting called afterwards to be fired.

Show, don’t tell. The opening scene largely comes off as preachy and not even about the plot or storyline, but to be making some social statement. Even if that’s not what it was about. Disappointing start to episode 3.

However, this does explain the end of episode 2 where Raffi is bitter with Picard. About the only thing of interest, is Raffi affectionately calling Picard “J.L”

And then it’s onto the title graphic. I guess we’re supposed to be believe this episode will be about the strained relationship between Raffi and Picard over what happened 14 years ago?

Nope, that’s only a footnote. A mcguffin to get us to her helping him get a pilot, which we learn in the next scene with present day Raffi. Bitter, broke, despondent Raffi who doesn’t have the luxury of Picard’s Chateau. J.L never contacted or checked in with Raffi over the last 14 years.

Cut to the Borg Cube Artifact with that long, sweeping pan inside the cube.

A repeat shot that we’ve seen before. What are the Romulans up to with Dahj twin sister, Dr. Soji who is questioned by the executive director of the research division.

(there sure are a lot of sequences involving subordinates and superiors in this series)

Some back and forth discussion and then back to Picard and Raffi and she tells him to leave, but not before saying an unnamed pilot from the underground will contact him. So more than 1/3rd of the episode in, she agrees to help Picard anyway, despite her anger, frustration and disappointment. Picard apologize and feel badly for his transgressions, I guess this shows, but wouldn’t this whole exchange have been a lot more fun and cool if it was a TNG member like Worf, Geordie, Beverly Crusher or Number One (Jonathan Frakes) instead of somebody new and unknown? Just saying.

From here, another Starfleet security character named O (Vulcan, she has the ears!) stops by to talk with the scientist Dr. Agnes Jurati who told Picard about the twin daughters of Data. Sounds like they are sniffing around already into what Picard is doing.

Cut to Borg Cube Artifact. Very brief scene with another character introduction. Will this be somebody important?

Cut back to Picard having brief Skype-like conversation with Raffi.

Now a new scene with Picard meeting Captain Rios, another new character, who commands an underground ship. He’s got a hunk of dagger in his shoulder and a holographic doctor is assessing the safe removal.

Picard and Captain Rios discuss a plan of when they are leaving on the ship. This is the second best scene in the episode (the other comes in the final act, which I won’t spoil here). Caption Rios has a very Han Solo like demeanor. He wants to know where they are going and Picard says he is “working on it.”

Will leave it here with the episode synopsis, but you’ve heard enough to assess what this episode is about: more character introductions, some limited drama with characters we’ve already seen and Picard trying to figure out what is going on.

Picard is a senior citizen and he is very much acting like a senior citizen in this story. Almost everything so far is plodding and painstaking. It’s like watching an elderly person cross the road and wondering when s/he will get to the other side. Throughout most of the first three episodes we’re worried it is going to take half of season one (5 episodes) to actually get in a spaceship and into space with the name “Star Trek” in the title.

Stay with it, though, everything is not completely what it seems. This is all character progression. At least some of these characters are more important than they seem.

Yes, there is some action before the 44 minutes fully elapses. You’ll need to watch the episode to see how it concludes, but some logic is behind the excessive build-up. I was losing interest fast until the final act.

Summary

Flashbacks are in storytelling are often boring and lack dramatic punch, because often we already know what happened. Somehow, two of three episodes start with flashbacks. Yikes, somebody send the screenwriters back to school. Start out with something exciting and/or fresh and inventive, not with a freaking flashback.

Am starting to grow tired — and a bit confused by — all these different Starfleet administrators as character obstacles to prevent us from getting to the exciting story (the story in space! Picard on a spaceship racing toward the Borg cube).

A lot of characters being introduced with similar relationships (to refute something from the subordinate character has done or is doing). Now, we’re getting some Starfleet security checking into Picard’s activity? I guess that’s logical, because clearly a very principled man going rogue is the story we should have gotten in episode #1.

This episode seemed largely unnecessary until the third act. It redeems some viewer faith in the final act and re-ignites the viewer’s interest.

Am not sure the split narratives which we can only presume as viewers will intersect at some point soon are working so far, but I feel like by the end of this episode we’re finally going to have a chance to see a Star Trek episode .. maybe, hopefully starting with episode 4. The previews make it seem that way.

Until the last 15 minutes, I was thinking this is a one star terrible episode, but then had an “aha!” moment when it unfolds in the final act. It’s still the worst episode of the three so far because, while it seems we’re getting to where we want to go, it’s taking too much time. They need to tighten it up moving forward and tell more complete stories in each episode. Hopefully, most of the pertinent setup is now over and next week and beyond will be more exciting.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️

SPOILER SECTION – The Ready Room

Episode 3 of The Ready Room goes all Motley Crue on us (seriously, there is a Vince Neil reference!) These after the episode shows feature major spoilers, so definitely want to watch the episode first before watching.

Wil Wheaton interviews Michelle Hurd, the actress who plays Raffi

Honestly, I’ve found The Ready Room behind the scenes interviews and information a little more interesting than the Picard TV series so far (good work, young Wesley Crusher!), but I have a suspicion that starting next week the TV series will improve.