Season 3 Review of i>Star Trek: Picard/i>: A Mix of Old Friends and New Blood Makes the Final Season the Best Yet

Season 3 Review of i>Star Trek: Picard/i>: A Mix of Old Friends and New Blood Makes the Final Season ...

If you have already abandoned your ship on Star Trek: Picard, it's time to get back on board: a smashing, crowd-pleasing return to form that has finally given us what we've always wanted: a beautiful and beautiful reunion... with the greatest new Star Trek villain in years.

Jean-Luc gets a call from his old friend — and favorite — Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden). He returns to the same team as his former Enterprise shipmates, including first officer Riker (Jonathan Frakes, who made a comeback in Season 1) and engineer Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton). Oh, and there's a deadly villain tracking Jean-Luc through space as well.

Season 3 of Picard is almost a complete reboot of previous seasons — and that's not a bad thing. Too often, they got bogged down in convoluted narratives and characters that didn't grab us like the originals did.

Terry Matalas, the showrunner, steers the Season 3 ship with great respect and admiration for Star Trek history; there's a giddy energy to the actors as they get back on the bridge once more; the performances are packed with nods, references, and deep-cut comeos that will please TNG super fans.

The last season of Picard includes a host of new characters, including brash do-gooder Jack, played by Ed Speleers of Downton Abbey, and, most importantly, Amanda Plummer as Vadic, the dangerous captain of a warship overloaded with advanced weaponry who is determined to destroy Jean-Luc. Plummer has an absolute ball with the role, putting her right there with Khan and Q in the history of great Star Trek villains.

Season 3 moves along a lot more smoothly than the previous two, with clear spoken narrative that doesn't get lost in overly complicated twists. However, it still finds time for quiet character moments along the way. It's kind of what Star Trek: Picard should've been from the beginning.

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE: Picard's final season brings back Next Generation favorites and introduces new wrinkles in what is easily the finest season yet.