The Last Generation: Picard S310 Review
In a desperate last stand, Jean-Luc Picard and generations of crews, both old and new, fight together to save the galaxy from the greatest threat they’ve ever faced as Picard and the Next Generation era comes to an end.
More than twenty years ago the Next Generation got their big send off with Star Trek Nemesis; a film with massive flaws and despite it being looked on fondly in some regards, it was an unsatisfying ending that showrunner Terry Matalas had intended to fix. Wrapping up the history of the most influential show within the franchise and one that spawned a whole era of new fans and new directions is not an easy task. Wrapping up that legacy and history in an hour is a tall order for any writer.
And yet, here we are with an episode that does the impossible. Especially with so much going on leading into The Last Generation, but no time was wasted in bringing things around and getting to the point of the story.
Needless to say, ahead lies spoilers (though we’ll try and keep them light!).
Before we go into the main plot, the Titan’s story was exactly what I’d hoped for. The idea of an entirely assimilated fleet – albeit it organically assimilated thanks to the transporter tampering – was a fascinating story within itself. Especially as not everyone was assimilated, leading to internal warfare on each starship with the Titan the only one in focus. Kicking off with a message from the Federation President and a voice cameo by Walter Keonig that mirrored the Whale Probe message, it was nice to see Seven lead the Titan crew to retaking the ship and breaking from the collective with some Starfleet ingenuity from Raffi. And of course some comic relief as the only pilot left just happens to be the ships cook.
While Seven and the unassimilated members of the fleet show that resistance isn’t as futile as they’ve been told, it’s up to Picard and the Enterprise crew to get to the core of the action. Now that Jacks assimilated and the new voice of the collective, Locutus 2.0, the only ship left that hasn’t been linked to the new collective has to find the Cube thats transmitting the signal to turn the altered Starfleet into drones and find a way to destroy it.
One of the best things about this is the pacing. With only an hour left to wrap up, not just the season but an entire era of Star Trek, There was no time wasted and we we never left standing. Between the Titan and the Enterprise, the plot got to the point fast. Even the inevitable reality that as soon as they found the Cube and the transmitter hitting in the Eye of Jupiter, completing the mission would likely lead to Jack;s death was a sombre but swift point to keep the story going.
Of course, Picard couldn’t let that happen and the Enterprise was split between Geordie leading the ship while Picard and Riker opted to beam down to the Cube itself with Worf, because the Klingon Warrior suggested a threesome….
Going into every detail would be painful as there was a lot packed into the hour. But the execution was flawless. Every one of the original TNG cast had their moment to shine. From Crusher showing everyone she’s learned to fight to Data using instinct to fly the Enterprise into the Cube. Everyones used at their strengths while Picard comes face to face with Jack and the Borg Queen, facing his own fears to save his son. As a character arc, as subtle as it was in the moment, Picard plugging himself into the collective to bring Jack out of the Borg trance worked for them both; For Picard he faced his fears of rejoining, and for Jack he finally saw that possibility of family that he’d felt wasn’t there before.
Elsewhere we got some great action, from Troi using her powers to find Riker’s location in the Cube and Tokyo drifting the Enterprise over the away team to beam them home, some stunning work seeing the Enterprise racing through the cube and Worf slicing half-dead drones to pieces. And as always the humour helped break up the tension, mostly from Worf and Riker’s pair up. LeVar Burton was also a huge highlight as he got to lead in the Captains chair with no hesitation of not belonging and being the one to make the hard decisions, including finishing the mission without his old Captain.
It was a heavily fan service episode. Locutus 2.0. A dying Borg Queen revealing she’d had enough and just wanted to annihilate Earth over assimilation, seeing Data’s emotions come to the surface and character moments for all, including Seven who instantly went into empathy mode when the Borg lost their grip young crew and they felt what she and Picard had after becoming human again. Though through it all, the day was saved, everything wrapped up in a nice little bow and they still made time for not one, but two send offs.
For the Next Gen crew, they had one last night together. Sort of a mix between Deep Space Nine’s final moments with the crew together in Vic’s merged with the All Good Things finale where we saw Picard initiate a poker game in Ten Forward as the credits rolled. Near everyone had their place. Data in Counselling. Troi and Riker back on track for a happy marriage. LaForge and Worf comfortable in their new roles and Dr Bev now heading up Starfleet Medical. Everyones tales almost completely wrapped up in a bow before the infamous theme song played out over one last poker game together.
Overall, it was a fitting finale that wrapped up Picard’s finest season. It may have played some of the greatest hits, but it let the Next Generation leave on a high note.
Though the real excitement came from how the show opened up a new chapter while closing Picards…
Coming full circle herself, Seven’s arc of not quite fitting in to Shaw’s command was closed off with a recorded, given to Seven from a freed Tuvok where the former Captain conceded to Seven’s less by the books style maybe being the best way forward for her, recommending command. As much as fans wanted to see Shaw miraculously return and lead a new crew, there’s a lot of joy seeing Seven take the Captains chair with Raffi by her side, a LaForge at the helm and Jack coming aboard after being fast tracked by his Admiral parents and introducing Picard to his new ship.
Not the Titan, but in the spirit of offering hope to a fleet still suffering, Seven’s shiop was renamed the Enterprise. It’s a cheesy move and a bit weird seeing as the Titan had a legacy f it’s own. But the poignency of Starfleet surviving the worst iteration of the Borg only to have an Ex-Borg in Seven lead them to new frontiers, with Jack Crusher by her side as a special consultant, the show did more to just end one generation on a high; it gave us the same excitement and want for more that we felt seeing Spock and Kirk close of Discovery’s second season.
Whether that future and the travels of the Enterprise G will ever be seen is up to Paramount and Secret Hideout. But afdter an hour of some of the best Trek we’ve had in years, with a truly emotional roller-coaster filling the cracks of what should have been – but certainly didn’t feel – like a rushed conclusion while still setting up a happy and hopeful ending gives us all hope we’ll see those missions. But even if we don’t, for the end of a series it was one of the most satisfying to come from all of the Star Trek Universe.
Worf and Riker make a better pairing than Worf in Picard through these scenes. From Worf’s unaware one liners and Rikers reactions to “I shall make it a threesome!” and the realisation that Worf had a phaser hidden away the whole time, but still used a sword… wonderful moments.
Seeing the Queen’s face and how patched up she is nicely explained there being no front shots in Vox. Her change in tone, opting to destroy rather than absorb also makes good sense considering Starfleet has the nasty habit of defeating the Borg every single time.
Despite the clear nepotism of Jack being fast tracked to Ensign, seeing him on the bridge of the Enterprise worked. I didn’t want him there and thought he had no place, but somehow sitting with Seven and Raffi and his surprise at being welcomed worked way more than it should have. Even Seven’s promotion seemed to fit nicely, handed over with Tuvoks wry smile.
- And THAT end credits scene, showing Q may be dead, but he’s certainly not gone….
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