Star Trek: Picard Season 3 avoids a sophomore slump as the season’s second episode brings even bigger plot twists and action beats. After coming out the gate swinging with an intriguing season premiere that brought a much-needed sense of cinematic spectacle, Star Trek: Picard brings the big action beats and shocking plot twists with its second episode, titled “Disengage.” The season continues to patiently establish its footing before bringing its ensemble cast together but veers into an ambitious spacefaring adventure. Perhaps more telling, Picard Season 3 has presented its audience with a story that is more interesting and engaging than anything it had done in its preceding two seasons combined.
Reuniting with Beverly Crusher and her newly revealed son Jack, Jean-Luc Picard and Will Riker retreat to the USS Titan with their two companions. Before Picard and his group can face the full repercussions of deceiving the Titan’s Captain Liam Shaw, the Starfleet vessel finds itself confronted by Beverly and Jack’s pursuer, the sinister Vadic. As the starship contends with being outgunned by this formidable new threat, other familiar faces surface, falling into their own brand of peril as Picard Season 3’s overarching story comes into focus.
Two episodes in, some of the biggest problems that plagued the first two seasons of Picard stand painfully evident as Season 3 learns from them and corrects them with its story. The first two seasons lacked compelling primary antagonists and strong enough emotional hooks to get the audience fully invested in Picard and the challenges he faced each season. Season 2 attempted to fix this by trying to present Q as a menacing figure and delving into Picard’s unresolved childhood trauma, but its decision to present it as a mystery left the season’s story directionless and a bit bloated, mitigating any payoff.
Making her debut as the evil Vadic, Amanda Plummer is a major villain, the likes of which Picard hasn’t faced before, with Plummer’s character embracing her dark side and reveling in the chaos and violence she inflicts. With the antagonistic side of Season 3’s narrative equation sorted, Picard’s longstanding and complicated personal dynamic with Crusher gives the character more emotional mileage than Season 2’s trip down memory lane or Season 1’s confrontation with his mortality. That Vadic is hunting Crusher and Jack connects the dots more explicitly between the emotional stakes and this season’s adversary.
Beyond Plummer’s deliciously wicked performance, Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, and Jeri Ryan are all reliably good as their respective classic Star Trek characters, while new addition Todd Stashwick holds his own as Shaw. The action sequences in “Disengage” improve upon the season premiere, proving that Star Trek’s most thrilling set pieces are bombastic space battles rather than gunfights. After last week’s season premiere set the stage for Season 3’s story, “Disengage” takes full advantage of the space.
If the Picard Season 3 premiere didn’t grab viewers’ attention, the narrative quickly snaps into place as the season continues to build momentum. Fixing the flaws from seasons past, Season 3 has the deft pacing and strong balance on its large cast and plots to keep audiences invested as the story ups the stakes. Picard Season 2 saw the venerable Starfleet admiral reconcile with his past in an uneven season. By comparison, Season 3 has already laid out Picard’s future with plenty of room to explore the implications of its big reveals.