Jean-Luc Picard and his dog standing on a vineyward.

Comic-Con 2020: Looking Back at Star Trek: Picard’s Heart-Wrenching Scene

No new information about Star Trek: Picard or any hints about season 2 happened during ComicCon@Home’s Star Trek Universe panel, but I couldn’t help but pick out some of my favorite quotes, particularly from Sir Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard) and Michelle Hurd (Raffi Musiker).

I know Stewart has been asked time and time again what it was like to be approached by the creators to reprise his role as Picard, but I like how in this particular instance, he describes what Picard is like before and during the events of the series.

“I made the right decision, and it was entirely due to the people I met at my first couple of meetings, who were a producer writing team. I sat for more than two hours listening to them talk about their plans and how they wanted not just to revive Next Generation, but to illustrate the years that have passed and that the world was changed, and that’s what excited me… But [Picard] was also not the same man. He was disappointed, sad, guilty, angry, possibly dangerous individual. So that was what absorbed me. As the season wore on, I began to feel as I had begun to feel with Next Generation that the character was actually inside me anyway.”

The way he summarizes his character, it acts as a reminder that certain things in our lives will set us back and make us bitter, angry, and possibly dangerous to ourselves and the world around us. It’s not until we’re in the thick of it, doing something good and productive, that we start to feel like our old selves again.

Stewart also talked about one of the most memorable and heart-wrenching scenes of the season, specifically when Picard terminated Data’s consciousness and allowed him to die. In those moments, Data achieved one of the major characteristics of the human condition — mortality.

“Working with someone I’ve known for 35 years, and whom I love, and discussing aspects of living that apply to both of us… and most importantly, learning from Data that his desire to be human had to include the knowledge and certainty that life was terminal. That it would end, and it is the fact that it will end that makes living so important. And living well, and properly, and appropriately, and for society as much as for yourself.”

Again, the way he summarizes those final moments for Data, I can’t help but see it as a reminder of what it means to be human. What makes life precious and important is knowing it has an expiration date.

It’s fascinating how the first season and its characters capture the various aspects and essential events that make up the human condition: birth and growth (through Soji, Dahj, and even Picard in his new body), emotion and conflict (through all of the main characters), aspiration (Picard finding himself again and holding onto that as he moves forward), and mortality (we see this play out with Picard, Data, and Rios — he was reading The Tragic Sense of Life, after all).

As the panel wrapped up, Michelle Hurd and Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine) were asked what from the Star Trek universe would they want to bring to reality. Instead of throwing the usual holodeck and replicator response, they suggested things this global society sorely needs: acceptance and inclusion.

Hurd continued with a deeper response, “Literally what Patrick just said… the understanding of how valuable life is. Like can we all look out for our brothers and sisters? Can we all just take the moment to understand that our differences are actually our strengths? It’s what makes us a strong species, that we have all these different thoughts, these different looks, these different opinions, these different ways of handling ourselves in the world, of walking down the street… We always talk about Star Trek holding a mirror up to society, perhaps society needs to look at us and start replicating what we’re doing.”

She’s not wrong! It’s something we should all take to heart. Needless to say, it was the perfect way to end the Star Trek Universe panel.

You can stream the first season of Star Trek: Picard on CBS All Access.


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Featured Image: CBS Television Studios

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