SMoST: Picard is Wimpy Scum

From the "Some Mistakes of Star Trek" series ...

We all know Picard was written as the weakest captain ever in Generations … to the point that the testosterone-free Kirk of "The Enemy Within" seems like a veritable strongman dictator by comparison.   The justification is supposed to be his grief over the loss of his brother and young nephew at the start of the film.

However, when given access soon after to a means that enables him to go "anywhere" and at "any time", mere moments after seeing his nephew in an anomaly-induced mind-trip, he seemingly doesn't even give a thought to his recently-departed family.   This remains the case even while he's hearing Captain Kirk discuss his own empty house, brought about by too much duty and not enough living.

Anyone who has suffered an untimely loss would know exactly where they are going if they were to ever get a time machine that no one would see them use, and I can guaran-damn-tee you that they won't be giving the first flying frak about some pre-warp fartsniffers living in some galactic back-alley.

Picard should've recruited Kirk to do Picard's job, while Picard himself went back to save his family.   Hell, vice versa would work, too, but for Kirk getting lost amongst the vineyards and chasing young French maidens.   Either way, it certainly would've made sense for Kirk to sign up to help on either mission if saving his family had been Picard's sales pitch, especially right after Kirk's empty house speech.

Instead, we are presented with Captain Puss, who later suddenly gets so single-minded about his mission that even when directly reminded of his loss, he just stays Captain Asshat.   What the hell, man?  This is Janeway-level stuff, people.

Don't give me any of that Temporal Prime Directive crap, either.   Even if we use it as an excuse for Picard only jumping back five minutes, what the hell is the difference between five minutes and five days?  Hell, if he'd gone five days back he wouldn't have needed Kirk at all.  He just could've sent himself the story of Soran and also prevented the Amargosa deaths, along with getting himself or another ship to go phasering the deserts of Veridian III until something blew up.

Put simply, the writers have Picard's family die in a fire for no reason at all.  Seriously, what purpose does it serve in the tale other than to weaken Picard?  He could dream of family all on his own, and perhaps even moreso had it been something sweet like his nephew having a crush or having some girl set her sights on him and talk about raising a family someday.

Instead, we get pathos for its own sake, plasma coil technobabble for its own sake, and a saucer crash for its own sake.

Generations was never my favorite, but the more I think about it the more fetid depths it exposes.


Anonymous said...

The family dying in a fire is absurd, to the point that you have to assume either gross incompetence or deliberate assassination. How can a family die in a fire on Earth of all places? Even if the Picard villa has only fire alarms and not an active suppression system like we see on the Enterprise, response time from emergency services should be in the thirty-second range. Someone in fire gear can beam in from anywhere else on the planet, and injured family members can be beamed to a hospital immediately after, assuming they aren't snatched away the moment the alarm sounds. Robert Picard's ludism can't be blamed because this is twentieth-century technology that would be completely invisible and he's clearly not against all technology.

One can only assume that their deaths are the final blow of Gul Madred or some other villain.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more. I've always had a very negative view of Generations. Malcolm McDowell's talent was wasted on a character that wasn't all that memorable and could've been written in a much better way. Kirk's death was meaningless. The loss of the Enterprise to the Duras sisters was so farfetched and contrived that I can hardly believe even B&B could come up with something so asinine, yet simultaneously Rube Goldberg-esque. It was as if B&B intentionally wanted to symbolically dismantle Gene's world and show that they were now in charge. Such jerks. :P

Guardian said...

Well, I actually consider the house fire to be a decent nod to reality. Even if the house had the latest 24th Century gizmo protecting the main area you'd have to do a lot of work to protect an old home's structure. It isn't like folks move in to old houses today and rip everything out to install the latest pressure-treated lumber and slather everything in fire caulk. They probably had a "basic" system of some kind, perhaps even an antique one, but a fire that started in the wall or roof could spell doom to even a well-planned antique system.

Still, it was a wholly unnecessary writer-murder of a charming character.