Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Life-Changers: Awaiting Picard...

The clock is ticking and we are months away from the next chapter in the seemingly ever-expanding Star Trek Universe; Picard.

Truly a first in name and also in revisiting a character from a previous Star Trek series, Picard may well break from a lot of the norms we come to expect from the franchise but what else...?

Now we could bash on about how much Nemesis and the events following (destruction of Romulus) will be the pivot and launch point from which Jean-Luc's life will have changed but what about the other years of Picard's life? What other events significantly changed the course of his life? Might these also have an influence on the coming seasons of Picard? Let's head right in with my selection from the annals of Star Trek.

1. Heart to Heart

Samaritan Snare introduced us to the fact that Jean-Luc's ticker wasn't the one he was born with. Tapestry expanded on this event even showing us what would have happened if he'd played it safe. Will the former captain have received a further replacement? Is his artificial heart working at its best? What risks will Picard be willing to take?

2. Command of the Stargazer

Picard wasn't even first officer of the ship when he was forced to take command following the death of the ship’s captain. One minute he's a senior officer and the next he's on the next step to becoming a legend and one of Starfleet's most revered commanders. Picard was in the chair of the Stargazer for 22 years and the new show could explore the repercussions of some of the events from that period or maybe from the intervening eight years until he stepped aboard the Enterprise-D. Stargazer was a huge part of his career and will have influenced the style of captain Jean-Luc became. Also the new show could give us some canon facts about what he was up to between abandoning the Stargazer and taking command of the D. 

3. I am Locutus of Borg

If there's a defining moment of Jean-Luc Picard's life that would be revisited again and again it would be this - the arrival of the Borg in the Alpha Quadrant. Without dragging its influence on the franchise into the matter, Picard's life was changed irrevocably by his rape by the Borg to the point where his single-mindedness nearly cost the lives of his crew in First Contact. While Janeway, Tuvok and Torres would be assimilated on purpose in Voyager, this was a brutal assault on his person that could not be simply pushed aside. For the first time in Star Trek there were long term consequences. Expect this to be mentioned at least a couple of times in the upcoming show.

4. Lights

An episode renowned for its incredible acting, Chain of Command, Part II left a scar on Picard that was only briefly touched on in the closing moments of the story as he revealed that he was almost at the point of saying there were five lights just to end the torture. He was almost broken and only saved mere seconds before finally giving in to David Warner's Gul Madred. In Picard will we see Jean-Luc pushed to this limit? Will we see him beyond this point and was the rescue of the Romulan people that limit? Just how has it affected him so profoundly that it causes Picard to walk away from Starfleet?

5. Deaths of Robert and Rene

Generations is a bit of a mess at worst with all the timeline here and there but it also has some chilling sequences too. None more so than the revelation that his brother and nephew were killed in a fire at the Picard vineyard. It made Jean-Luc realise more about his own mortality and also that the family line could end with himself. Might this be a jump-off point to see where Picard's relationships have ended up - did he indeed have any children? Did he marry Beverley as we saw in the possible All Good Things... future?

6. Death of Data

Follow on novels and comics have taken the death - and subsequent resurrection of Data in many different ways but will Picard provide an in-canon answer to whether or not he comes back? Data's death changed the Enterprise dynamic even more for the captain with both Troi and Riker also departing the ship at the end of Nemesis. Data was Picard's protegee who discovered and realised his mortality and that of others (theme here...) in the most final way possible. Could Spiner be bringing him back in B4? Might we see Data's consciousness extracted and placed in a new body allowing a torch passing? Is he the captain of the Enterprise-F?! It would allow Picard to retain something else from The Next Generation since Data was such a large part of the senior staff on the Enterprise....but then could it be another Star Trek alumni that might return...

7. Farpoint Station

Maybe not necessarily Farpoint itself but more the individual we meet on the way there. Q is an event in himself, turning up repeatedly during The Next Generation's run to offer something new to the crew or chastise Picard that little bit more. He started the trial that never ends - which could very well continue - and we never did find out what he was going to whisper in Jean-Luc's ear at the end of All Good Things... did we? Q’s arrival in Star Trek heralded a new kind of foe initially but their relationship wasn’t as cut and dry as that.

Thanks to Q we also encountered the Borg for the first time but more on that topic in a future post!

What other key moments would you include? 

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