GVN Review: Paramount Plus – ‘Star Trek Picard’ Season 3 Episodes 1-3 – “Loyalty vs Duty”

SPOILER WARNING: This review contains spoilers


The Return of Dr. Crusher

In this final season of Paramount Plus’s Star Trek Picard, the show has started out with some familiar faces. Gates McFadden makes her return as Beverly Crusher and immediately finds herself in the heat of a battle. Although she handles herself admirably, holding off a ship invasion, she is wounded and makes a call to Jean-Luc Picard for assistance. (Doesn’t everyone it seems).

Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher Paramount Plus Star Trek: Picard, Season 3

A Surprise Inspection

Despite the fact that he had plans to travel with Laris, both she and he knew he would not be able to turn his back on Beverly’s call for help. But to “make it so,” Jean-Luc needed the help of his old friend, William Riker. He and Riker arranged for a surprise inspection on the Titan (Riker’s last ship), which is now commanded by Captain Liam Shaw along with his first officer Seven of Nine. They request that Shaw make a course correction toward Beverly’s last known location. He refuses.

Loyalty VS Duty

This makes for the first of many decisions balancing duty vs loyalty. In this case, Seven of Nine chooses loyalty and directs the Titan to Picard’s intended destination without informing Shaw. She then turns a blind eye to allowing them to commandeer a shuttle craft. Naturally there are repercussions for that decision.

The Shrike

Meanwhile, Picard and Riker dock their shuttle to Beverly’s ship the Eleos and find her in a medical pod. Along with her on the ship is a young man who claims to be her son, Jack Crusher. He, at first doesn’t trust them. Go figure. They’re not too sure about him either. But before they can figure out what the truth is, they are attacked by The Shrike. A huge ship with a massive arsenal and commanded by a bounty hunter named Vadic. The Shrike immediately locks a tractor beam on the ship. Without some assistance from the Titan, everyone aboard Beverly’s ship is likely doomed.

Titan to the Rescue

Once again, Seven of Nine intervenes, talking Shaw into rescuing Picard and crew when it was his first instinct to let them be sacrificed. Especially since their actions were against his direct orders. However, an opportunity to save some Federation heroes made him go against his gut and he interceded between the Shrike and the tractor beam connected to Beverly’s ship. Although the stolen shuttle craft (as far as Shaw was concerned) was destroyed by the Shrike. Picard, Riker and Jack are beamed to the Titan Bridge while Beverly is sent to sick bay.

M’talas Prime

Meanwhile, on M’talas Prime, Starfleet intelligence officer Raffi Musiker searches for a stolen portal device. It is the belief of her mysterious “handler” that a terrorist plot is underway. One that will use that portal device. Unfortunately, before Raffi can locate it, and despite her warnings of impending disaster, a Starfleet training facility is completely obliterated.

Raffi then tracks the device to a Ferengi arms dealer named Sneed. She hopes to trick Sneed into revealing who the device was sold to. Instead, she is attacked and almost killed except for the intervention of her handler, who showed up just in time. Her handler is revealed as Worf, who (after killing everyone in iconic Worf and Klingon style) scoops up the unconscious Raffi after reminding her that she was instructed NOT to engage the Ferengi.

Michael Dorn as Worf in Paramount Plus Star Trek: Picard, Season 3

Vadic’s Ultimatum

Back on the Titan, Vadic contacts Captain Shaw and explains that Jack Crusher is a wanted criminal and she had been charged with bringing him in. If he would surrender Jack to her, she would go on her way. If not, she would take him and destroy the Titan. (She LOOKS trustworthy…why not?) Shaw is pretty much ok with turning Jack over to her. It’s not like HE had any connection to the boy. However, once Beverly had healed enough to leave sickbay, she came to the bridge and the truth was made clear. Jack could not be turned over. He was Beverly and Picard’s son. (Picard, you fertile stud you).

Amanda Plummer as Vadic in Paramount Plus, Star Trek: Picard Season 3

Hide and Seek

Faced with that reality, Shaw made a choice to attempt to evade the Shrike by putting the ship into a nearby Nebula. It was the Wrath of Khan nebula chase all over again. But for some reason, the Shrike kept locating and firing upon them. How that was happening they were not sure. But during one of the attacks, Shaw is seriously injured, and he surrenders command to Riker. For Riker, his duty is clear. Protect the ship and the crew and escape as soon as possible. Picard felt like if they procured some kind of advantage, they should attack the Shrike. Riker was reluctant to follow that plan of action, butting heads with his old friend and former Captain.

William Frakes as Captain Will Riker in Paramount Plus Star Trek: Picard Season 3

Sabotage and the Changelings

Meanwhile, Jack had been locked up during the debate of whether to surrender him to Vadic or not. He escaped and went to Seven’s cabin who ALSO had been confined, due to her insubordination and not following Shaw’s orders. Together, they realized that the reason Vadic had kept finding the Titan was that it was leaking a gas that the Shrike could track. Not only that, but Jack found out that the damage was sabotage, done by a Changeling. They reported the results of their investigation and stopped the leak. Now, without the advantage of the gas giving their position away, the Titan could escape.

Bad Raffi, Good Worf

Back with Worf and Raffi, they track down who they believe is responsible for the terrorist attack on the Federation facility. Playing their version of Bad Raffi, Good Worf, they attempt to get the man to explain the plot and who he worked for. As the interrogation continues, Worf realizes that the man is a Changeling. He melts down to his primordial stage and Worf vaporizes him before he can escape. They realize that the previous attack was just a distraction. Something more serious is imminent.

The First Duty

On the Titan, Picard told Riker they should take advantage of the Shrike not being able to track them. Instead of using this development to escape, they should be aggressive. It would allow them to attack the Shrike without warning. Riker once again questioned this strategy. He now had an opportunity to save the crew and the ship and warn Starfleet. THAT was his first duty.

But while they were debating this, the Changeling saboteur had set an explosive. The bomb went off right before Riker had decided to go against his gut and attack per Picard’s advice. After the Titan had fired, the Shrike used a portal weapon that redirected the Titan’s torpedoes back upon the ship. Between the explosion and the photon hits, the Titan was out of commission and spiraling down into the nebula. Riker put the blame entirely on Picard, saying that he had killed them all, ordering him off the bridge.


These first three episodes set the stage for a fun and fitting final season for Star Trek: Picard. The return of Beverly and Worf are just the start of bringing back more familiar faces. But as fitting with the quality writing of the first two seasons, these reunions are intertwined in dramatic and exciting action.

The Return of Worf

It was great to see Michael Dorn once again portray my favorite Next Generation and DS9 character Worf. Right from the start they gave him a chance to display his bad ass combat skills and willingness to separate a few heads from shoulders. Not to mention his perchance for deadpan humor. “Beheadings are only on Wednesdays.” I’m glad Michael decided to change his mind about appearing. As the first season of Picard approached, he was asked at the 2019 Richmond GalaxyCon about making an appearance on Picard and he said that he hadn’t been asked, but he really didn’t want to do the makeup. They (the producers) would really have to “step up” to get him to agree to revisit the makeup and Worf. Apparently, mission accomplished. Either that or Ser Patrick asked him. Who says to no to Patrick Stewart?

Reoccurring Theme

The real theme in these first three episodes and possibly more, is the question of Loyalty vs Duty. It first is presented in Seven of Nine’s choice to disobey her Captain’s orders that he would NOT change the Titan’s course to accommodate Picard and Riker. Her decision was made purely out of loyalty to Picard (and perhaps a little based on the fact that she disliked Shaw and he didn’t accept her as she is). But regardless, it had, and no doubt WILL have repercussions on her Starfleet career. Although, for someone who was in trouble, she didn’t seem to have any problem going where she pleased.

Riker VS Picard

But its real manifestation was the conflict between Riker and Picard. Riker was given command of the Titan. As such, his duty was toward the ship and the crew. He knew this and stood his ground against Picard, as was his right and duty. However, when the critical moment came, he allowed himself to be swayed by loyalty to Picard and agreed to take on a highly superior enemy knowing they were taking a risk. It blew up (literally) in everyone’s faces.

The Buck Stops with the Captain

Would they have succeeded had they reacted more quickly, before the saboteur’s bomb went off? We will never know. But while Riker wants to blame Picard for the results, it doesn’t change the fact that HE was in command. Any results, whether good or bad, are his responsibility. So, while he may want to assuage his guilt by blaming Picard, (and his decision wasn’t very wise) in the end, the buck stops with Riker.

Understanding Picard’s Stance

One also might question, if Picard’s belief to be aggressive still stems with his Borg encounters. It brings to mind his quote in Star Trek First Contact about the Borg:

“We’ve made too many compromises already, too many retreats. They invade our space, and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds, and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn here! This far, no further! And I will make them pay for what they’ve done!”

In his mind, falling back, escaping, signifies weakness. This doesn’t make his decision right. But it might explain it.

Needless to say, Star Trek Picard, Season 3 has started with a literal BOOM! I can’t wait to see what the next 3 episodes reveal.

Star Trek Picard can be found streaming on Paramount Plus with new episodes on Thursdays.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments