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IR TV Review: PICARD – EPISODE 2 ("Maps & Legends") [CBS All Access]

The essence of action is based on the motivation of the beholder. Within the continuing idea of “Picard”, the idea is what protest and the tenet of inaction as a form of progression become in the face of both genocide and politics. The series here integrates some of the more dynamic elements of The Next Generation including one of its episodes “Conspiracy”. While the progressive mythology of what is being shown here is much more dense, the tendency of ego is a very real presence. The way Stewart embodies this vision of Picard is not with regret but interestingly enough in a reflexive way one of self importance. While this was true in TNG, it came with the essence of him being the lead point on the flagship. The idea of the frustration is what propels him forward. And like the Shakespeare that Stewart loves so much, it is that ID that motivates him back into the realm that is most dangerous.

The second episode continues to progress out the idea of characters slowly, allowing the audience to become more comfortable with them. Yet on the periphery is some interesting cameos that hark back to certain times in Picard’s career. The parallel story with an aspect of Data’s past is being nicely contemplated without giving away too much. The action is not requiring the audience to dwell on it but it is the existential nature that has very interesting relevance. It won’t be a surprise but obviously an interesting irony when and if Q shows up. Because this texture along with the fact that the Borg relevance is already marked in the DNA here gives Picard a reason for being, even though the chorus around him, especially with his Romulan handlers in his house are warning him of the impending situation that he teeters on. The episode ends with a degree of human and lightness that shows that while the series is dealing with serious issues, there has to be the breath of humanity, that which Data always wanted.

B

By Tim Wassberg

IR TV Review: STAR TREK – SHORT TREKS (“The Trouble With Edward”) [CBS All Access]

The texture of “Short Treks” in the Star Trek Universe allows for those short vignettes that allow us to see perceptions into more of the lives of perhaps those that have continued on in the night. The first of this new season: “Q&A” examined Spock’s first day as an ensign on Captain Pike’s Enterprise. With the second entry: “The Trouble With Edward” we are treated to the genesis of what caused the Tribbles to become what they did. In its treatment of this lore, it is half human error and half problem solving gone wrong. Pike’s head science officer (played in a nice homage by Alita’s Rosa Salazar) is given the captain’s spot on her own science ship which has to deal with a famine/starvation situation on a planet on the edge of Klingon space.

Everything seems to go wrong mostly because of the crewman who creates the Tribble trouble in the first place because of his stubbornness, ego and slight lack of talent. Archer voice H. Jon Benjamin is a perfect foil in this way since he doesn’t mind playing the depreciation because it works as a form of satire. Salazar is good but she can be much more fluid an actress in a different situation than this small journey allows but it is great to see her being given the opportunity overall. Ultimately, “The Trouble With Edward” is a nice little tome within the pantheon and definitely brings to bear the reproducing situation of these animals, especially when it is a funneled as a food source. As usual, the human condition creates the problem against its best wishes. Plus it is good to see flaws since not every crewman is perfect. The added bonus after the credits also shows the humor that sometimes is not allowed to shine through in such a specific way on an episodic show per se.

B

By Tim Wassberg

IR TV Review: MURDER IN THE BAYOU (Episodes 1 & 2) [Showtime]

The notion of documentaries continues to evolve. In making true life a cinematic experience without losing the weight of what is being examined by real people talking to real people, the complication of human behavior becomes more and more defined, especially when the full truth is not know. In the first two chapters of the limited docu series “Murder In The Bayou”, the deaths so far of 7 women are revealed in various structures. They are all connected, had connections to the wrong side of town, many had drug problems. Their murders, which have been the basis of a New York Times article, have been poured over but no set arrests have been made. What the docu-series does is not lay blame but through interviews with all the accused and the victims paints the idea of a town with a secret to keep but oddly enough why it is doing so.

The story inevitably leads to a local criminal/strip club owner Frankie who provided drugs to some of the girls in exchange for tricks. His interview footage is interesting because more is obviously happening below the surface but he is not reacting. In many interviews with known criminals, there is either remorse or egotism. Here there is neither. The approach of moving with each of the victims’ families is wrenching but also deeply raw. There is pain, anger but also reflection and selfishness in a certain way.

The reflection on the local law enforcement also provides an interesting perception. In many parishes in Louisiana, the law enforcement on the area is the end all/be all as the documentary states. The essence of what happens in small towns in Cajun country is an interesting sociological experiment. Everyone knows everyone and yet everyone seems to be point fingers either way. Like a Deep South version of Twin Peaks, many of victims confessed to family members (as related to interviewers) that they had an idea what was coming. When the media starts looking closer, the response becomes more stilted because of the microscope but the blend of class consciousness but also such a mystery in a small town makes the beginning chords of this docu-series both intense, deeply sad but also intriguing.

B+

By Tim Wassberg

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