Picard's Captain's Calls: The touch decisions Jean-Luc had to make in Star Trek

13 May 2023

Captain Jean-Luc Picard, the iconic leader of the USS Enterprise in Star Trek: The Next Generation, was known for his unwavering moral compass and ability to make tough decisions in the face of adversity. Throughout the series and films, Picard found himself confronted with numerous situations that required him to weigh the consequences of his choices carefully. Whether it was navigating delicate diplomatic relations, facing personal vendettas, or making ethical judgments, Picard's decisions often had far-reaching impacts on his crew, the Federation, and even the galaxy itself.

From his engagement in battles clouded by personal emotions to his brave pursuit of justice and protection of individual rights, Picard's choices revealed the depths of his character and the complex nature of leadership. In some instances, his boldness and willingness to take risks led to positive outcomes, altering the course of history or challenging societal norms. However, there were also occasions where his decisions proved reckless, putting the lives of his crew at stake or leading to unintended consequences that he had to grapple with.

Some calls were great, some bad, some ugly but ultimately, it's the Captain's Call!

jean luc picard TNG star trek

In the following sections, we delve into some of the notable captain's calls made by Picard in Star Trek, exploring their context, the reasons behind his choices, and the outcomes they yielded. These examples serve as a testament to the immense pressure and responsibility placed upon Picard's shoulders as he navigated uncharted territories, making him one of the most respected and iconic captains in the Star Trek universe.

1. "The Battle" (Season 1, Episode 9)

Captain Picard finds himself in a precarious situation when Ferengi Captain DaiMon Bok manipulates him by presenting him with the Stargazer, Picard's previous command. Despite his usual composed demeanor, Picard allows personal emotions and a desire for revenge against Bok to cloud his judgment. In a brave, yet reckless move, he chooses to engage in a battle with the Ferengi, jeopardizing the lives of his crew and the safety of the Enterprise. The outcome of this decision is a heightened level of risk and potential harm to his crew, as Picard's personal vendetta undermines his duty as a captain.

2. Star Trek: TNG - "Chain of Command" (Season 6, Episodes 10-11)

Picard and Dr. Crusher embark on a covert mission, leaving Captain Jellico in command of the Enterprise-D. Jellico implements more aggressive tactics in preparation for a looming war with the Cardassians. While Picard's absence is necessary for the mission, his disapproval of Jellico's leadership approach leads to tension and resistance among the crew.

However, Jellico's decisive actions ultimately secure the release of Picard and prevent a devastating attack on the Federation. Despite the validity of Picard's disagreement with Jellico's methods, his refusal to adapt to the new command structure during this critical mission hampers the Enterprise's success and puts the crew's lives at risk.

This story is actually more infamous for the attempted breaking of Picard's will.

3. "I, Borg" (Season 5, Episode 23)

The Enterprise encounters an injured Borg drone, later named Hugh, and the crew decides to exploit him as a weapon against the Borg Collective. Captain Picard makes the brave choice to introduce an invasive program into Hugh, intending to use him to destroy the Borg from within. However, as Hugh develops a sense of individuality and compassion, his return to the Collective has a significant impact. The outcome of Picard's choice is a fundamental shift in Borg behavior, raising ethical questions about the use of Hugh as a weapon and highlighting the potential for individuality within the Borg Collective.

4. Star Trek: Generations (Film)

In the film "Star Trek: Generations," Captain Picard faces a pivotal decision when he chooses to leave the Nexus, a dimension of pure joy, to help Captain Kirk prevent Dr. Soran from destroying a star system. Motivated by a sense of responsibility and believing that Kirk's experience and guidance are crucial, Picard makes a brave decision. However, the outcome is tragic, as Picard's departure from the Nexus leads to the death of Captain Kirk and the loss of a revered and experienced figure within the Star Trek universe.

5. "The Game" (Season 5, Episode 6)

Captain Picard unwittingly falls victim to addiction when he becomes addicted to an immersive virtual reality game that affects judgment and cognitive functions. Initially unaware of the game's addictive nature, Picard's addiction puts the entire Enterprise crew at risk. The game, revealed to be a mind control device used by an alien race to take over starships, becomes a significant threat due to Picard's compromised judgment. The outcome of his reckless choice is the endangerment of the crew and the potential loss of control over the Enterprise.

6. "Preemptive Strike" (Season 7, Episode 24)

Captain Picard assigns Ensign Ro Laren on an undercover mission with the Maquis, a group of Federation citizens turned rebels. Believing that Ro's prior experience with the Maquis makes her the best choice, Picard makes a calculated decision. However, the outcome is unforeseen and dire. Ro sympathizes with the Maquis cause and ultimately betrays the Enterprise, leading to the loss of innocent lives and posing a potential threat to Federation security. Picard's choice, though made with good intentions, has severe consequences.

7. "Et in Arcadia Ego" (Season 1, Episode 9)

In this episode of Star Trek: Picard, Captain Picard leads a mission to the planet where Soji and Dahj, rogue androids, originated from. His objective is to prevent Sutra, another synthetic being, from summoning an ancient civilization of advanced synthetics that could bring about a catastrophic event. Picard's motivation is to protect organic life and maintain the balance of power.

Despite his noble intentions, Picard's plan to reason with Sutra fails, leading to dire consequences. Sutra activates a beacon that attracts the advanced synthetic beings, resulting in a devastating attack on the planet and the loss of numerous inhabitants. This outcome highlights the high stakes involved in Picard's decision and the risks associated with engaging with dangerous synthetic entities.

8. "Journey's End" (Season 7, Episode 20)

In "Journey's End," Captain Picard supports the relocation of a Native American colony from a planet claimed by the Cardassians, despite the objections of the colonists. His reasoning is rooted in following Starfleet orders and maintaining diplomatic relations with the Cardassians, prioritizing the bigger picture over the concerns of the colonists.

However, Picard's decision has a profound impact on the Native American colonists. They feel betrayed and displaced from their ancestral land, causing tension and resentment within their community. This outcome demonstrates the difficulty of balancing diplomatic obligations with the well-being and cultural rights of affected individuals, emphasizing the complexities of leadership and the consequences of Picard's choice.

9. "The Outcast" (Season 5, Episode 17)

In "The Outcast," Captain Picard engages in a romantic relationship with Soren, a member of the gender-neutral species known as the J'naii. Despite their society's strict prohibition of gender identities, Picard develops genuine feelings for Soren and advocates for personal freedom and individuality.

However, their forbidden relationship is discovered, leading to Soren's arrest and subsequent forced conformity through "psychotectic therapy." The outcome showcases the oppressive nature of the J'naii society and the consequences of challenging its norms. Picard's choice to pursue a relationship with Soren exposes the harsh realities faced by individuals who strive for personal freedom in restrictive societies.

10. "The Measure of a Man" (Season 2, Episode 9)

In "The Measure of a Man," Captain Picard allows a Starfleet JAG officer to hold a hearing to determine Lieutenant Commander Data's status as either Starfleet property or a sentient being. Picard's motivation is to defend Data's rights and prove his sentience, recognizing the far-reaching implications this case holds for the rights of all artificial lifeforms.

While Picard successfully argues for Data's sentience, the decision also risks exposing Data to dangerous experimentation and exploitation by Starfleet. This outcome underscores the complexity of protecting the rights and dignity of sentient beings while navigating legal and ethical challenges. Picard's choice in this episode lays the groundwork for future conflicts surrounding the treatment of artificial intelligence and sets a precedent for the recognition of their rights.


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My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

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