‘Star Trek: Picard’ Season 3, Episode 4 Recap: A Sinking Ship

In this week’s “Picard,” the crew of the Titan is powerless in more ways than one.

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By Sopan Deb

Season 3, Episode 4: ‘No Win Scenario’

All the world’s a stage, and all the cadets are merely players.

Jean-Luc Picard, on some level, has been playing a part. That much is clear in this week’s “Picard.” When he sits down with his haddock and regales the eager cadets with stories of his biggest professional successes, he is putting up a front. The purposeful blocking makes this clear: The lunch table is the stage. The cadets are the audience. And in a brilliant bit of acting by Patrick Stewart, you can see that he’s hamming it up for the cadets. Underneath it, there’s a loneliness.

It’s an interesting window into Jean-Luc: He likes the attention, but especially because he doesn’t get it from other places. It’s not ego. It’s insecurity.

In that same bit of theatrics, Jean-Luc blithely discusses the accident that killed Beverly’s husband, Jack Crusher’s namesake, and smiles as he describes himself as being “a little bit reckless” in those days.

So later in the episode, when the cadets part to reveal a younger Jack at the bar asking Jean-Luc about a life outside of Starfleet and “a real family,” it’s a visual “Let’s cut through the garbage” moment. Jean-Luc’s answer: “Young man, Starfleet has been the only family I have ever needed,” followed by applause from Starfleet cadets. But that’s not as revealing as the visual: They are applauding him, but Jean-Luc is eating alone.

One can understand why Jack didn’t feel the need to have Jean-Luc be a part of his life. Jack is established to be a teenager when he shows up to this bar. He learns that Picard never cared about having a family and views the death of the man Jack is named after as an amusing story to be used to charm cadets. It surely rings hollow to Jack on the holodeck in the present day story line when Jean-Luc remarks to Jack, “I think we all need connection, don’t we?”

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