Star Trek: Picard Season 3 TV Review

The final season of Picard reunites the cast of The Next Generation for the best season of any Star Trek series.

Last Updated on February 15, 2023

Plot: After receiving a cryptic, urgent distress call from Dr. Beverly Crusher, Admiral Jean-Luc Picard enlists help from generations old and new to embark on one final adventure: a daring mission that will change Starfleet, and his old crew forever. 

Review: When the first season of Star Trek: Picard debuted, I gave it a glowing review. I had only seen the first episodes of the season, and while I liked the entirety of it, I was underwhelmed by the uneven ending. The same thing happened for season two: I loved the return of more Next Generation characters, and the early episodes I was given were great, but the season did not stick the landing. I went into the third and final season of Star Trek: Picard cautiously optimistic but prepared to be underwhelmed as I was twice before. Thankfully, this season pivots entirely away from the two that came before it for an action-packed and thrilling ending for this character that also works as a satisfying conclusion to the Next Generation series and films. Packed with characters from Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and more, Picard‘s final season is the single best season of Star Trek ever.

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Drawing heavy inspiration from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, the final season of Picard takes place just one year after the second season and wastes no time in jumping into the action. When Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) sends a distress signal to Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), the Admiral enlists old friend William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) to rescue her. Aboard the U.S.S. Titan, retrofitted similarly to the classic Enterprise, they encounter Captain Liam Shaw (Todd Stashwick) and his first officer, Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan). Heading to the border of Federation space to find Dr. Crusher, the Titan encounters Vadic (Amanda Plummer) and her superpowered ship, the Shrike. Over the next several episodes, what follows is a cat-and-mouse thriller reminiscent of Kirk evading Khan (Ricardo Montalban) and an opportunity for Picard to reflect on what has led his life to this point. It is a powerful arc of episodes that pulls together significant plot threads from the Next Generation television series, the prior seasons of Picard, and the feature films featuring this crew.

At the same time, Raffi Musker (Michelle Hurd), the lone returning character from prior seasons of Picard, is investigating a threat to the Federation that connects to Vadic’s attack on Picard and the Titan. It also directly connects to the new character played by Ed Speleers, whose identity is vital to this season’s story and Picard’s overall character development. You may have theories about who he is, or spoilers may have revealed it by the time you read this, but know that it is handled very well within this season’s plot. While the prior seasons of the series presented threats centered on conspiracies within Starfleet, attacks from Romulan insurgents, and Q (John De Lancie) himself, this season presents an amalgam of all of those concepts but delivered in a way that makes this season feel like a natural continuation of The Next Generation blended with the scale of a feature film. All of the cast are game to return to their iconic characters while new cast members, including Speleers, Stashwick, and Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut as Sidney La Forge (Levar Burton’s daughter also cameos as Geordi La Forge’s elder daughter, Alandra), fit into the story perfectly.

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So much of this season of Star Trek: Picard is different from the first two, and all the changes are improvements. The opening credit sequence is gone, replaced with a title graphic followed by each episode’s title. The increased use of violence and profanity is consistent with the current batch of Paramount+ Star Trek series, but it works within the tone. There is a lot of fun this season, but there is a more serious feel to the storytelling with stakes that feel tangible for these characters. Bringing the original cast together also feels earned and never smacks of false nostalgia. Each legacy character returns in a way that is organic to this season’s plot, and they almost all get a solid amount of screen time in the six episodes made available for this review. Amanda Plummer is also quite good as the villainous Vadic, echoing some of her father’s performance in The Undiscovered Country. There are also quite a few surprises that are not spoiled in the trailer that will make hardcore Star Trek fans very excited.

With showrunner Terry Matalas leading the writing staff this season, Star Trek: Picard has the most consistent structure of any of the three seasons. The ten-episode season boasts five directors, each helming a pair of chapters. The six I saw were directed by Doug Aarniokoski, Jonathan Frakes, and Dan Liu, with Deborah Kampmeier and Terry Matalas in charge of the final four. The season is set predominantly aboard the Titan, which gives this season the feel of classic Trek series but with higher production values. The callbacks and easter eggs are plentiful, and the story connects well to what came before it. Like many revivals in recent years, revisiting these characters decades after we last saw them is like reconnecting with old friends. Still, Matalas and the other writers never milk this season purely for nostalgia. Everyone is older and wiser but these are still the familiar characters we came to love and admire in Gene Roddenberry’s The Next Generation series.

In hindsight, the first two seasons of Star Trek: Picard pale compared to this final run of episodes. Both offer solid developments for Patrick Stewart’s iconic character and show how much there was still left to tell about the crew of the Enterprise-D. This final season combines all of the series from The Next Generation era for a blockbuster season that feels like the Star Trek equivalent of Avengers: Infinity War. I have never been as happy as a Star Trek fan after seeing the first six episodes of this season, and I am both drooling with anticipation to finish this season and dreading saying goodbye to these characters for the last time. Star Trek: Picard delivers one of the best final seasons of television storytelling and my favorite Star Trek season ever. This is fan service at its finest and all-around great science fiction.

The final season of Star Trek: Picard premieres on February 16th on Paramount+.

Star Trek: Picard




About the Author

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Alex Maidy has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. A Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic and a member of Chicago Indie Critics, Alex has been's primary TV critic and ran columns including Top Ten and The UnPopular Opinion. When not riling up fans with his hot takes, Alex is an avid reader and aspiring novelist.