These are just some questions that came to me as I watched Star Trek Picard. They are not meant to be used as weapons to bludgeon the show and 'prove' that it is a terrible show. Rather I'm sharing them here with other fans with the intention of starting a dialogue to enrich our enjoyment.
You may not like or enjoy ST Picard or you may think it is the next best thing to sliced bread or somewhere in between those two. I'm ok with whatever position you take, as long as it is intelligent and elevates the discussion.
I'm here to enjoy, learn and share, not here to bash a show just to bash it nor to gloat to prove how smart I am or how much I know more than the showrunners. If my questions come across like that it is due to being frustrated at not 'getting' things. Finally, I did my best to not fall prey to 'nitpicking' - we each have a different standard for this or even if it is a thing. For me, nitpicking is focusing on just one thing that is 'wrong' and then using that as justification to throw out everything else - when everything else might be very worthwhile. For example, to define my personal standard of nitpicking, I would use the example of the earlier depiction of the holodeck where Wesley wallops Picard with a snowball. That shouldn't happen, it doesn't make sense since photons can't leave the holodeck and have a physical effect without the interface of forcefields which are inside the holodeck. Or to cite an example from ST Picard, "Why is the 'Romulans Only' sign written in English? shouldn't it be in Romulan?" Not even gonna balk at the super powerful Tal Shiar room reconstruction gadget...because you know what? this is sci-fi and we have holodecks, phasers, subspace telecommunication, warp drive, transporters, etc. I'm just gonna let that one go... sorta I'm trying to get at 'meaty' concepts or questions with real consequences for the story. Things that would enrich it, not point and jeer at insignificant elements. So if you feel I'm doing that, let me know and explain why in your view I'm falling into that trap.
With those caveats, here are some questions I thought of when I watched the show - please provide plausible answers or if you'd like add your own questions! Why is Picard sitting around a vineyard?
what about his other interests? I thought he was interested in archeology? would have been nice to show him as an intelligent man who did more than mope around his ancestral home. The Picard that I remember would never be defeated by a 'No'. He wasn't defeated by a brutal Cardassian interrogation. He wasn't defeated by the Borg even after being assimilated. How is a rejection by bureaucrats at Starfleet and his resignation going to crush such a man? What happened to the Romulan Star Empire?
why did they not have resources to rescue their own people? what about other non-Federation Romulan allies? for example, I'm sure the Ferengi would be down to make a deal and offer the Romulans a complete 'rescue' package in return for some gold pressed latinum. They not only have lots of resources and ships, they can act as middle-men across the Alpha quadrant to hire ships on behalf of the Romulans since they have so many 'business' contacts. Here I cite Rules of Acquisition 177 and 75.
As a corollary to 'what happened to the Romulan Star Empire'... if it is indeed so weakened and hobbled by the loss of Romulus wouldn't some of their age old enemies like the Klingons choose this as the best time to attack them? Wouldn't a weakened RSE create a host of galactic problems in that regard? Wouldn't the members of the Federation have their own resources that they could provide for an evacuation under the auspices of their own 'local' government?
Let me explain: in my understanding the Federation is like the EU/UN. While France is part of the EU and as such there are resources or governing structures that are EU resources or laws, there are also French resources and laws. It isn't a perfect analogy but what I'm trying to say is that once a world or country joins the Federation or the EU, they do not just give up complete 100% autonomy and decision making over their resources to the Federation.
I could be wrong but there are still Earth ships and Vulcan ships. Just as there is the Vulcan governing structure and the Vulcan's still have the V'Shar (their security agency) they did not cede all command and control to the Federation or to Starfleet Security.
So in this way wouldn't it be possible for someone like Picard who has decades and decades of experience and deep contacts up and down the Alpha quadrant to call in favors and put together a non-Federation 'fleet' of ships? Sure, there were reportedly 14 members that threatened to pull out of the Federation when the question of helping the Romulans came up but the Federation doesn't dictate every decision that each member world can make with their own resources. They only dictate what can be done with Federation/Starfleet resources. Hope that's clear! Why did Picard immediately and emphatically believe Soji?
The prototypical Picard I have in my mind would be very skeptical of a stranger showing up at home with zero context and making fantastical claims. Sure, Picard has seen some weird shit. He even pushed back when one of his closest friends and most trustworthy companions (Guinan) told him that the timeline was not right
without any concrete evidence, he angrily replied "Not good enough! Not good enough dammit!"
. He ultimately believed her but he needed more. Picard is a man of enlightenment, science, rationality. He is guided by science and the more extraordinary the claim, the more extraordinary the proof needed. The only exception is when he goes out on a limb for someone that he knows intimately like Riker, Troi, Data, etc. A painting is just not meet the standard of 'proof' required from a stranger with zero corroborating evidence. So Romulans are stranded on seemingly inhospitable planets without resources to rebuild and yet over there Romulans have an ongoing, extremely large and no doubt expensive Borg cube reclamation project?
How do we reconcile these two things? Why are Romulans suddenly wearing 18th century sabres and cutlasses?
are things that bad in terms of resources that they can't replicate or manufacture ranged modern weapons like disruptors? why is every Romulan seemingly carrying swords at their hips? How in the world can Picard, a man who we know for his moral rectitude, precipitate a chain of events that results in the death of a former Romulan senator?
... and then just let it go with a stern talking to? How did Picard not recognize his own responsibility in what happened? He needlessly instigated a confrontation, provoking the Romulans and putting his own life in danger. Did Picard expect to simply die?
in this case Picard is then written as idiotic with a death wish or did he orchestrate this in order to draw out Elnor to his side? in which case he is partially responsible for what happened. Irrespective of which it was, how is he ok to just leave after a Romulan has been murdered in cold blood? is the settlement so lawless that this is just ok? even if there is no judiciary or security, how is Picard ok with this morally? Everythign we know about him from his many experiences tells us Picard would not be ok with this. But maybe I'm missing something? What is the reason for the gruesome harvesting of Borg implants?
is there a black-market out there for Borg parts? why? have they been able to re-engineer them for some purpose? what is that purpose? we know that with the advanced technology organs are replaceable, so what is the utility of Borg implants? What about the risk of 'reactivation'? So wait, you're telling me that at the heart of Zhat Vash is a secret so diabolical so super secret that it just dribbles out of one of their operatives after a few drinks?
How does that in any way make sense? How was Laris able to find out that the Zhat Vash exist to oppose synthetic lifeforms when the whole point of the Zhat Vash is to be super duper secretive? How can two seasoned Tal Shiar operatives not instantly recognize the contrivance of someone arriving at the right time to pick up a dropped phaser rifle and kill the last intruders?
How can Picard not pick up on this? I'm not saying that the should
have automatically assumed that Jurati was sent by the 'other side' but wouldn't it be conceivable that a Tal Shiar operative would be at least a little bit suspicious at the coincidental arrival of her on the scene at exactly that moment? How can we reconcile their seemingly high degree of competence when it comes to other security aspects (beating the intruders, protecting Picard, interrogation, etc.) and not this? Oh and that reminds me, being Tal Shiar and having a sense or passing familiarity with the Zhat Vash, why didn't they prevent their captured prisoner from committing suicide via acid capsule? Why didn't Picard think of it, hadn't he just witnessed how that exact thing not only killed the operative but also resulted in the death of Soji? and I might add, the near death of Picard thrown clear at least 75 feet like a ragdoll? Why aren't they harvesting Borg programmable nanoprobes instead?
We know that they are EXTREMELY valuable and useful.
Apparently they were worth two billion times their weight in latinum! IOW six bars of latinum each!
Hey, you know how that latinum could come in handy? harvest the Borg nanoprobes, sell them to the Ferengi Alliance and use the money to hire private ships to transport Romulans and to finance the rebuilding of new communities. Or you know, just exchange all that valuable nanoprobes and have the Ferengi do all the heavy lifting of finding ships, setting up colonies, etc. You know, ones which are more congruent with a Type II civilization instead of Romulans sitting in dusty hovels, wearing rusty 18th century Earth swords. But hey, what do I know? You know what Romulus, you do you. You do you. Who/what is Dhaj/Shoji's mother? If Dhaj has been 'programmed' to believe that she is a human and hide her true synthetic nature... why is she so bad at blurting out things she should not know?
How can she blurt out things she should not know and then not realize that she is doing so and question it?
So Dhaj, like Soji, has two layers of consciousness, one in which she is human. In this state she has no idea she is anything else. She can't jump 40 feet, kill 3 trained Zhat Vash operatives, etc. All she can do is lead a normal life, get into Daystrom, giggle and cuddle with her boyfriend and other 'human' things. She also has another state in which she is aware of her true nature and she flips out and goes berserk but she can only become aware of this when ACTIVATED (as we saw with Soji). We're told that she holds some sort of information at this 'hidden' layer that Narek is attempting to access. But how in the world is Narek planning on surreptitiously accessing information held within her synth layer... without first activating her?
He is pressed by his lubricious sister but insists that his slow and steady approach is the right one because he's avoiding activating Dhaj and prevent the shitshow that went down with Sohi. If that isn't clear, think of Dhaj as a two story building with just a single entrance for each floor. The first floor is her human consciousness, memory, abilities. The second floor is her android, I mean, 'synth' consciousness, memories, abilities, etc. There is a phone on the second floor that you're told to go and get and from it make a call... but you're also told that if you in any way open the door to the second floor you will be instantly vaporized... so you gingerly seduce the building...?!? What am I missing?
In a convenient lampshading maneuver
, we're told that Picard won't call up his old crew because... they would answer his call and he doesn't want to put them in danger. OK umm... so that means that you're ok with putting others in danger? You know who would be really useful in this adventure? Two trained, experienced and proven former Tal Shiar operatives who just saved your bacon.
You know what else would be useful? all those Tal Shiar gadgets they have which can reconstruct a whole room in a matter of seconds.
I'd bet that would be really handy if you're looking for someone (Dhaj) and want to find them ASAP. What about all the other great tools they have? And their instincts and knowledge and contacts across the Alpha quadrant. Why didn't Picard ask them to help him? Everyone seems to have been so thrown off by the fact that Picard lampshaded asking Riker, LaForge, Worf, etc. that it seems no one bothered to ask this simple question! I mean he's literally telling Laris/Zhaban why he won't ask for his old crews help...?!?!
Speaking of Borg programmable nanoprobes... when Seven arrives to rescue Icheb why didn't she use her nanoprobes to help him?
at minimum her nanoprobes would have stabilized him until she was able to get him some seriously advanced and competent medical professional. We know that as of 2377 she was lugging around 3,600,000 of them inside her. She may have used some or most of them in the 22 years that have passed. Perhaps it would have been a poetic sacrifice to give all of her remaining nanoprobes to Icheb as a way of paying him back for his donation of his cortical node. This of course would mean that Seven would be much more fragile now, having no real way of 'healing' herself in the future.
I actually like the Qowat Milat (btw in my native Persian this means PoweMight of the People/Nation) they seem like a really cool addition but what I don't understand is they way they are presented as a foil of the Zhat Vash, this super powerful and ancient order with the vast resources of the Romulan state behind them. We know just how powerful and feared the Tal Shiar is, so they are basically Tal Shiar to the nth power... and you're telling me that they are just ok with another organization existing that stands against them? Why wouldn't the Tal ShiaZhat Vash annihilate the Qowat Milat almost instantly with extreme prejudice?
This just doesn't make sense. On the one hand we have a handful of well meaning nuns, with hand to hand combat who always tell the truth and on the other side we have the cunning, brutal and powerful Tal ShiaZhat Vash. To put it in other terms, this is like a chain of Karate clubs spread across Earth being the foil for Section 31. How does that make sense? How is adding this idea that they are the foil of the Zhat Vash in any way feasible?
Speaking of the Qowat Milat... how does it make sense to train with ranged weapons like swords or bows when we're living in an era of highly advanced technology?
I can understand hand to hand combat when you're right up next to someone because if they reach for a phaser you can engage them in physical combat but if they are 4 feet or more distance away from you how would a sword be in any way feasible when they very likely have a phaser? Why would you spend decades training to use a sword when any idiot with zero training can instantly stun or vaporize you from 4 feet? How is adding this 'cool' sword weilding skill in any way feasible within the Star Trek world?
La Sirena is an interesting ship, I don't really understand why it needs to be so cavernous. It literally looks like a warehouse with 28 ft ceilings. Maybe it was a cargo ship? Anyway, what I don't really understand is why a holographic pilot is needed? after all, a holographic pilot that is piloting the ship is basically the ship or a part of the ship piloting another part of the ship, right? So why would you even need a hologram?
why waste the resources to create one? Consider the nascent self-driving cars that we have today... we don't need to have an android or some other physical artificial 'thing' actually pressing the gas pedal or moving the steering wheel! The car just drives itself... I get that it looks 'cool' or interesting to have an anthropormophized auto or AI pilot but whaaaa? Or am I missing something?
That brings me to my final question, why are androids, I mean 'synths' anthropomorphized? We know that Data was built to as best as possible approximate a human because it was by design. Data was able to grow out his hair, he seemed to breathe, he had a pulse, he was ahem, fully functional, etc. Why? Because his creator wanted to build an android that would ultimately 'become' human. A goal that now seems to have been achieved or at least advanced by leaps and bounds beyond the imagination of Soong.
But when you're building androids, I mean 'synths' that are just glorified gophers, why make them the creepiest occupants of the uncanny valley? If A500's were built for 'manual' labor why did they make anthropomorphize them?
wouldn't it be more useful to have say 3 arms or appendages? 12 feet tall and massively powerful? hover instead of legs? whatever physical characteristic would be most efficient/useful for the job they are tasked with, etc. you get the idea. Why did the creators of A500 ascribe to Soon's personal goal of creating a 'real' human when that is clearly not the purpose of the andr... synths?
Oh boy that was looong, let me know your thoughts and please add your own questions or answer my questions and tell me how much of an idiot I am for missing some obvious thing! :)