I think RLM put it best, saying that the writer here is very clearly just pulling the best bits and bobs from all the movies, like literally of them, some scenes and plot threads beat for beat. So to enjoy the show at all you have to forget Star Trek the series and just enjoy this season as a sequel movie split into 8-10 episodes or whatever it's gonna be.
Sadly Episode 5 dips into the "They've infiltrated Star Fleet" trope we've already seen a few times, essentially stating the Changlings have evolved their biology to now be much more different to detect. There's no "Blood test" that really works anymore. To the shows credit it's tempted me to go back and watch a few episodes of the old shows because I'm little rusty on some of the characters and concepts that were introduced here. I think however, the show is doing its job if it manages to spark enough interest in me to go back and watch Star Trek to better understand this series. Regardless of the plot not quite feeling all that original I like the ideas and how they are being plotted. Even if I was on board with the plot of the first season, it was told in such a mindnumbing mystery box fashion that I could not bring myself to sit through more than a couple episodes before I just wanted to go do literally anything else. It's also worth noting as the episodes go on were seeing less and less sappy picard. A former villain turned good guy is introduced into this episode and he's absolute **** about it. So much so it gave me a tiny joy seeing the old dickhead Picard back, shouting posh insults.
It's sort of fascinating that this season is essentially a soft reboot. There's also no mention of anything from the past two seasons. With minor trimming or additions this season works completely in a vacuum. Even the returning characters are in a complete vacuum, for instance 7/9 is just suddenly a Star Trek Commander. Like they vaguely acknowledge she was a "ranger" or whatever the fuck that was and they just move on as if she's been serving in Star Fleet for the last 5-10 years.
I'll this, Picard Season 3 is better than the last two movies and a good deal of Enterprise. It's a solid 7/10 for me at this point. Nothing I'd jump out of bed to watch but fun. Just wished they'd had this show runner from the beginning.
I have been enjoying the building up of factions and then having legitimate turns when new info comes out. In fact, they're doing it better and more naturally than DS9. Which is a feat, for Star Trek.
For once, over 10 seasons and 4 movies, Picard feels like a real character. Also, he principled stance actually mean something in this story and he is being challenged. (No breaking of the Time Prime Directive, as seen on the last episode of season 2.) It is so weird that the conversation actually feel real, considering the first two season was trying to do the same.... but were completely off the mark. I just watched Season 2 this week and at least it's better than the conversation in TNG. Because, generally they were non-existent
It is also wierd, after not seeing Picard in DS9 fighting the Dominion that he somehow knows the Dominion exist. You couldn't do a zoom call during an important war Picard? Anyway, gripes from 30 years ago
Also, much of this is a rehash of Discovery season 2, replacing AI with Changelings. But then, much of TOS is based on books, comics or old movies. Rehashing is standard practice. But I understand if you are tired of it.
I'll note, as I always do, the TNG is the worst series. Now that I have watched Enterprise, I can definitively place it on the bottom. I understand that this makes me not a real Star Trek fan