Terry Matalas and all of the creatives, crew, and talent behind the Trek iterations have delivered on their promise to fans. The third and final season of Star Trek: Picard is a masterpiece of tension, character development, storytelling, and fun adventure that you won’t regret watching. Picard season 3 is the shining crown jewel in the entirety of the series.
[Warning: light spoilers and impressions from Star Trek: Picard the final season]
Picard season 3 unites his new crew with the old
The newest cast members for the final season received a splashy reveal during the trailer for the season that aired during the AFC Championship game. Ed Speelers oozes a roguish yet vulnerable charm every time he’s on the screen. His character is important to the story and will surely leave the fan theory writers busy between episodes. Todd Stashwick, as Captain Shaw of the USS Titan, perfectly embodies grumpy captain energy.
While the third season focuses on Picard, there are standout and nuanced performances by the other original cast members. Again wearing the mantle of Riker, Jonathan Frakes brings new depth to the character. The friendship with Patrick Stewart easily translates to the relationship on screen with Picard and Riker. And Beverly Crusher, portrayed by Gates McFadden, exposes previously unexplored and complicated layers to the good doctor.
Michelle Hurd and Jeri Ryan, who starred in seasons 1 and 2 of Picard as Raffi and Seven, respectively, are back and are central figures of the adventure. There are new pressures for them personally and professionally. Michelle Hurd expertly telegraphs the struggles Raffi faces.
I love a good villain, and Star Trek has some iconic and memorable ones. As for the villains of this season, Captain Vadic of the Shrike played by Amanda Plummer is a formidable bad guy. She and her team are as terrifying in action as we see in the trailer. Plummer’s performance is magnetic, and in some ways, creepy, much as Gul Dukat’s was on Star Trek: Deep Space 9.
This Paramount+ series delivers a cinematic experience
It’s become cliché to liken a series on streaming to a movie these days, and in fact, it’s a complaint that’s frequently lobbed at some shows with shorter episode counts. Picard gets none of these complaints from me. The show is elevated – if there were prestige Trek like there’s prestige TV, Picard would be it. The third and final season is the perfect blend of everything that makes an enjoyable viewing experience.
Star Trek: Picard season 3 is beautiful storytelling made so much better and immersive by teams that create the magic. Along with the writers, the cinematography, the score, the sound, production design, costumes, makeup, sets, and more deliver an otherworldly experience. I would believe it if you told me that wizards were among them. Because of their care and talent in the most minor things, it is easy to slip into the 25th century and become immersed in the world.
It all felt real and was a true joy. There wasn’t a moment during my watch-through that I was tempted to look at a second screen – my attention was firmly on the fictional world created by these artists. And that’s a true feat when everything else in the world is competing for viewers’ attention.
There’s been lots of chatter about the seeming death of the Star Trek movie universe – we were supposed to get a Kelvin timeline film this year, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I am not sad, however, because we have the handcrafted cinematic experience from Picard. (But, if someone reading this has the power to give us a Picard movie on the big screen, that would be pretty amazing, too.)
A love letter to Star Trek fans of new, old, as well as The Next Generation
It’s a well-established fact by now that the newer Treks are a love letter to fans of old while still being accessible and entertaining to those new to the franchise. But because of the talented writers behind the show, you won’t be lost if you haven’t seen the previous two seasons of Picard.
You can walk in entirely fresh for Picard’s season premiere and understand the emotional and physical stakes. And the writing and acting are so good that viewers can empathize with the characters without knowing the backstory.
The stories told in Picard season 3 are serialized and have staying power. There are classic moral and ethical dilemmas – some of which fans who have seen The Original Series movies will recognize – presented in an updated way. If you had mixed feelings about the first two seasons of Picard, give the third a chance. It’s an adventure and worth your time. The way the writers build tension this season is masterful and should be studied in classes.
This season features familiar cast members, yet I audibly gasped from the surprise and delight at the reveals and character developments happening on the screen. I’m a grizzled “old” Trek fan, a veteran of the days when fans couldn’t agree on whether to call themselves Trekker or Trekkie and when the internet was set ablaze when Enterprise dared to have a theme song with lyrics.
These episodes surprised me, and I didn’t think that was possible. I was excited about the stories but wasn’t prepared for the jaw-dropping moments. Days later, I’m still sitting with the reveals.
Adventures and stories left to tell for these Star Trek characters
From what I’ve seen of Picard season 3, The Next Generation crew is getting their well-deserved cinematic day in the sun. But it would be remiss to consider this final season as the final chapter for these characters. It is clear from these first six episodes that there are more stories to tell with the crew of The Next Generation and the previous seasons of Picard.
There are more corners of the galaxy and our humanity to explore, and I hope the team behind the show has the chance. Give Terry Matalas and his team more Star Trek, please!
You can watch the season premiere Star Trek: Picard the final season in the United States on Thursday, February 16th on Paramount+. International fans will have to wait until February 17th to watch. Are you excited to watch Star Trek: Picard’s final season? Please share your thoughts and join the conversation on Twitter @MyCosmicCircus or The Cosmic Circus Discord.