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Star Trek Pic - Season 1 - Episode 0.1

Star Trek Pic - 1x0.1 - Children of Mars

Originally Aired: 2020-1-2

Synopsis:
12 year-old classmates Kima and Lil find themselves at odds with each other on a day that will change their lives forever.

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 4.58

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Problems
None

Factoids
- The song played during much of the episode is "Heroes" written by David Bowie. This is Peter Gabriel's cover of the song.

Remarkable Scenes
- The gorgeous shot of Utopia Planitia.
- The escalating conflict between Kima and Lil.
- The attack on Mars and the girls bonding over it.

My Review
This is an incredibly touching story that does much to rise above the regrettable Short Trek format. Despite how compacted the story is, there is both a lot of exposition and a lot of heart packed into here. With almost no dialog, we see the portrait of the lives of two girls, the daughters of workers at the Utopia Planitia shipyards, apparently set in the 24th century during events sometime after Star Trek X: Nemesis. At first we see two pretty typical schoolgirls getting into pretty typical petty conflicts which itself is compellingly portrayed as the inevitable consequence of problems at home manifesting themselves at school. But soon their lives are turned upside down when Utopia Planitia and all of Mars itself suffers a cataclysmic attack that presumably will be followed up on in more detail in future episodes.

Like the smattering of details we get in Star Trek XI (2009) about events in the 24th century in the prime universe, we get a tiny tantalizing continuation of post-Star Trek X: Nemesis events here, but it's mostly a tease. While technically this episode could be said to be the pilot for Star Trek: Picard since it is the first episode produced in that setting, it obviously isn't the actual pilot. This is a teaser prequel of sorts. So while this story is surprisingly touching and interesting, it clearly could've been worth even more points if it were, you know, an actual episode, and not confined to this terrible format.

It should also be noted that the aesthetics of ships, technology, and sets presented here are strikingly reminiscent of Star Trek: Discovery. One could be forgiven for not immediately realizing this is an episode of Star Trek: Picard, not Star Trek: Discovery given how the production aesthetics look nearly identical in spite of the setting being more than a century apart. This is indeed an unfortunate state of affairs, but we should place the blame for this on Star Trek: Discovery, not on Star Trek: Picard. The "updated" aesthetics we see here make much more sense in a sequel than a prequel. As such, we shouldn't consider it a continuity error for Picard to borrow heavily from Discovery's aesthetics. The error continues to be Discovery's for attempting the disastrous visual reboot to begin with. When a sequel updates appearance, that's not a reboot. It's just technological and aesthetic drift over in-universe time, so it isn't fair to hold Discovery's sins against Picard.

Overall this episode is a vital shot in the arm to the Star Trek franchise. It's a sequel, not a prequel. Finally! And the story was told in a way that is touching rather than overwrought or manic like Discovery or the Kelvinverse. If this tasteful, touching story is the prototype for what we can expect from Star Trek: Picard going forward, then perhaps all good things don't have to come to an end quite so soon.

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