Star Trek: Picard EP Defends The Show’s Tragic Elements

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“Tragic” is definitely a word you could accurately use to describe Star Trek: PicardThe Patrick Stewart-starring sequel series has portrayed a much darker galaxy than the one the Enterprise occupied in The Next Generation. All of the recurring characters from Trek past have suffered some kind of tragedy, for example – Seven of Nine, Riker and Troi. You name it.

The plot centers on the Borg Reclamation Project that’s based in the Artifact, a deactivated Borg cube. Hugh, a former Borg drone, was a leader of the project, helping to de-assimilate others like himself and helping them adjust to being individuals again. However, this project has been rife with tragedy, with Romulan spies infecting it, ultimately resulting in Hugh’s murder in episode 7.

Given that Picard is so keen to comment on our own world, one fan questioned showrunner Michael Chabon on Instagram over why the story of the Ex-Borg had to be so tragic and what message this is trying to send. The writer, who frequently addresses fan concerns on social media, explained that he sees the XB storyline as a continuation of Star Trek‘s long history of tragic characters, and there’s not necessarily any greater message at play here.

“‘No message,” Chabon says. “Tragic’ is not a synonym for “sad” or “dark.” It’s a way of understanding life, of the gap between our intentions and our outcomes, between the limitlessness of our aspirations and the inevitability of our falling short over the long term — and therefore the corresponding sweetness of even the most short-lived and smallest victories. In Star Trek terms, Spock — forever seeking to reconcile his human and Vulcan heritage, his capacity for love and his abhorrence of its illogic — is a deeply tragic figure. Worf, Seven, Sisko in many ways, the Tasha Yar of ‘Yesterday’s Enterprise’, arguably Khan… Star Trek has always found room to reflect this ‘tragic sense of life.'”

Chabon raises a very good point that a big part of what has made Star Trek‘s best characters and stories so compelling over the years is that they’ve always had tragic aspects to them. However, that still doesn’t stop us wishing that Hugh hadn’t have met such a devastating fate last week. Or stop us from praying that the preview for episode 8 is not teasing what we think it’s teasing – that Seven’s about to become re-assimilated, maybe even becoming the new Borg Queen.

Star Trek: Picard 1×08 “Broken Pieces” – the third-from-last episode of the season – arrives tomorrow on CBS All Access.

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