Picard Season 3’s Criminal Underworld Is Pretty Goofy, Huh?

On close inspection, there are lots of details from Raffi’s missions to District Six that stand out as both attention-grabbing and silly. It’s a “Blade Runner”-like world full of neon lights, skyscrapers, flying cars, and random, blinking green lights. The aesthetic of the always-open club Raffi finds herself in seems to be a mash-up of retro American styles – dancers wear their hair teased high and have big sleeves to match – and (very light) futuristic hedonism.

As Raffi makes her way through the crowd in the season premiere, undercover as a junkie, she bumps into a man who says roughly, “Watch it, freak, I’m not your dealer!” In the background of the scene, you can just barely catch several audible exchanges from nearby partiers, including what I could swear is someone calling someone else “daddy,” plus a man saying what sounds like (I’m not kidding), “I’ve got some various drugs, what do you want?”

Okay, sure, a drug dealer would never talk like that, but to be fair, this place does seem to have various drugs. Most people seem to be partying at a pretty mellow level, but there’s also a shot of a woman who’s passed out, and we see patrons spraying some substance in one another’s eyes. When we meet one of Raffi’s contacts, he’s inhaling from something that looks a bit like a hookah tube, and he makes the woman prove she’s not a narc by giving her a cartridge worth of the eye spray, which he calls Splinter. “I named it splinter because it feels like you’re being ripped apart and pulled back together again and again and again,” he says dramatically. So is it an upper or a downer then? Somebody get Raffi a glass of water, stat.

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