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34. My Good Friend, Jean-Luc Picard

We don’t want to minimise the issues around amateur archaeology, but this is neither the time nor the place.

In our last episode before the launch of Star Trek: Picard, we talk about the character of Jean-Luc Picard himself: an aristocrat who aspires to be a street hero, a man who seems to embody the Federation establishment, yet surrounds himself with outsiders.

We also consider: 

  • hobbies and ongoing education in the world of Star Trek
  • legacies
  • depictions of PTSD in Star Trek
  • the secret underground beer pong league on the Enterprise-D

And, just in case it sounded like we were very focused and on-topic, Liz also pitches the next Charlie’s Angels movie.

Further reading:

The Jean-Luc Fashion Project

Transcript

Anika:  Welcome to Antimatter Pod, a Star Trek podcast where we discuss fashion, feminism, subtext and subspace, hosted by Anika and Liz. Today we’re getting ready for Star Trek: Picard’s upcoming premiere with an exploration of the character of Jean-Luc Picard.

Liz:  Yay! But first, between recording our last episode and this one, we, uh, got news of the sad passings of DC Fontana and Rene Aubergenois. And I just wanted to acknowledge that, and also say that we’ll do deep dives into their work and their fairly remarkable contributions to Star Trek at a later date, because I don’t really want to half-ass it. 

Anika:  Yeah. But we definitely will. I mean, DC Fontana’s fingerprints are all over Star Trek

Liz:  Especially the bits that we particularly love. 

Anika:  [laughs]

Liz:  Sarek. 

Anika:  And Rene Aubergenois — I think that everyone would agree that his contributions to Star Trek, and acting in general, will live long past him. 

Liz:  Absolutely. 

Anika:  And are a true tribute to what an amazing talent he was. 

Liz:  And I would just to say that, although I am very much on the record as being someone who is not a big fan of Odo as a character, that is in no way a criticism of his acting. And, in fact, the aspects of Odo that I really enjoy often turn out to be the things that he contributed. And I think that’s a testament to his talent and his insight. And by all accounts, he was a very nice person. 

Anika:  Yes. He seems to have been an absolutely wonderful human being, who donated a lot of his proceeds from conventions and stuff to charities, and was always really wonderful and personable in person to fans. And, also, I love all of his voice acting work. 

Liz:  Absolutely.

Anika:  I grew up listening to–

Liz:  “Les poissons!”

Anika:  –to Rene Aubergonois. So that’s how I — that was the first thing that I thought of, before Odo. The Little Mermaid and The Last Unicorn, and all the rest. 

Liz:  He has a small — a very small recurring role in Avatar: The Last Airbender, playing a brilliant engineer and inventor who has started creating weapons for the Fire Nation to protect his disabled son and his community from them. And it’s just a wonderfully nuanced performance from him. It’s absolutely brilliant. So, yeah, I think — it’s really sad to think that he’s gone, and it’s a shame that I will never get to hear DC Fontana turn up on another podcast. 

I have to admit, because I was away from Star Trek for ten years, I assumed that she had passed away. And I was really shocked to learn that she was still alive, and even still working. So it’s a shame. She had a long life, and a very productive life, but it’s a shame to lose her, nonetheless. 

Anika:  Yes. Rest in peace.

Liz:  Yes.

Anika:  But! We are here to talk about Captain Picard. Admiral Picard. Mr Picard. 

Liz:  Sometimes Ambassador Picard, depending on the timeline. 

Anika:  Little Jean. 

Liz:  Aww! Secretly I have trouble believing that Picard was ever a child, even though there’s that whole episode where he’s turned into one. 

Anika:  He’s not a very good child in that episode, though. He’s [laughs] I mean, he is trapped — he’s a trapped adult. And I feel like that is true to history. 

Liz:  Uh, yeah. 

Anika:  I expect that when he was actually a young child, he was still a trapped adult. 

Liz:  [laughs] Yes. 

Anika:  But so was his brother. 

Liz:  Some people just seem to spring out fully middle-aged. But then we look back at his youth, and, in fact, Jean-Luc was this hard-drinking, womanising madman who got his heart stabbed out. So — let’s begin with his aristocratic roots. 

Anika:  Yes. He’s very European. Landed gentry. 

Liz:  Which I find a little — I assume there was an element of cliche at work here, and, you know, they’re like, “What kind of background does a French person have? He’s either a baguette baker or he makes wine.” 

Anika:  Or he owns a winery, yes. 

Liz:  Yeah.

Anika:  I’m curious about the economics of the future as presented in Star Trek

Liz:  There was a very interesting thread about that, recently, on Twitter, which I guess we can try and unearth for the show notes. It certainly had some assumptions that I didn’t agree with, but the stuff about, how do you own land in this society–

Anika:  Yeah, he has a sweeping vineyard. 

Liz:  Which only looks a little bit like California! 

Anika:  But it’s a big, beautiful hillside, and that house, and the little cobblestone and stone — the path to — the loooong path to the house, that I feel like is a part of it. I feel like that is his estate, that he has a Picard Estate. 

Liz:  It’s a little bit ridiculous, but…

Anika:  I mean, I can imagine that it has been in the family for generations and generations, and so it just sort of — oh, we got rid of money, but the Picards get to keep this as long as there are Picards? I guess? 

Liz:  I guess maybe families own property communally? Perhaps? I don’t know. I’m sure it would be very interesting to get, like, an estate lawyer, or something, to talk about it, and maybe it will turn out that Enterprising Individuals has already done so. 

Anika:  I just think it’s funny. So he has real — I mean, “aristocratic roots” is the only way I can describe it. He’s very–

Liz:  Patrician. 

Anika:  Yes. And it’s not in keeping with his personality, necessarily.

Liz:  No, and I think one of the great insights I saw in your fashion project was articulating that, for all that he is ostensibly Mr PoshyMcPosh, he has this fantasy of being a street hero, and a rebel, and a hard boiled detective. Yeah, he wants to be Indiana Jones. 

Anika:  Yes. In his imagination, the parts that he imagines himself into, are definitely very gritty, and gets their hands dirty, and — you know, his ridiculous V-necks. 

Liz:  Just loves to get his cleavage out. 

Anika:  Yeah. I mean, it’s so interesting to me, because he’s presented as very put together. 

Liz:  Yes, and I think — I’ve complained about this before, on this podcast and elsewhere — that people who either haven’t watched Next Gen, or haven’t watched it recently, tend to get this idea that Picard really is the stuffed shirt and the rule-follower, and the guy who hates to have his routine interrupted. 

And to some extent, that’s true, but he’s also literally the guy who fakes his death to investigate archaeology fraud. He hooks up with sexy criminal archaeologists on shore leave, and goes on quests for — honestly, give the man an historical question, and he’ll go on it. 

Anika:  Yes. And delights in that. 

Liz:  Yes. Yes. 

Anika:  He loves going on his adventures. He loves being Dixon Hill. And he loves both the mechanics of it and the storyline of it. Like, he’s invested in everything about that fantasy. 

Liz:  Yes! And, to some extent, you know, the Indiana Jones thing comes from Patrick Stewart and his request to have more action. But Dixon Hill was, you know, right there in the first season. And everything sort of builds on that. I just think it’s so fun and interesting, and Picard is a much more nuanced character than he necessarily gets credit for. 

Anika:  Yes. I think that that is very true. He’s portrayed as staid in relation to a Kirk or a Janeway. And that’s fair! But that doesn’t’ mean that he is this buttoned-up, repressed individual who only thinks with his head. 

Liz:  And you sort of see it — my flatmate remarked that you really see how much he dislikes the whole stuffiness of his rank when he’s dealing with the admiralty, and you see what he’s like as a subordinate. Which is basically a nightmare, from not following orders to the lengths he’ll go to to get out of the admirals’ dinner. 

Anika:  Yes, he doesn’t actually like protocol. 

Liz:  No, no. I think–

Anika:  Or, at least, he doesn’t like bending to other people’s protocol. He likes his — he wants there to be control in his realms, but he doesn’t want it to be stuck and stuffy and required. 

Liz:  I think it’s that, but also, he respects protocol if he understands the reason for it, and so he has a lot of time for, like, the rituals of other cultures. But when it’s his own culture, and he can sort of see through the facade, he’s like, “This is a waste of my time when I could be hanging out reading a book or playing the flute.” 

Anika:  Mm hmm. Yes. And those are other things — he has a lot of hobbies, he’s very well-rounded in them. He can quote Shakespeare at the drop of a hat, which, again, is because he’s Patrick Stewart, but you have to take that away and say, these are all things that create the character of Picard, and that’s what makes him a character worthy of Patrick Stewart. If that makes sense. 

Liz:  No, it does. And I think it’s really cool to see a character who is an adult with so many hobbies. Like, we’re in this weird space in fandom where people are like, “Oh, you’re over twenty and you’re still into fandom stuff? You should be knitting your taxes!” 

And that’s very gendered, of course, and men don’t seem to get it as much as women, but there’s the stereotype of the manchild who still plays video games. Well, here’s Captain Picard, playing on the holodeck! I think that’s really cool, and it shows him as a very well-balanced person. 

Anika:  He has the most authority on the entire ship. It’s the flagship, so he has the most authority in the entire fleet, below the admiralty, and he not just plays on the holodeck, he loves it! He gets super excited about it!

Liz:  And he invites people to join him. It’s not something he finds embarrassing. 

Anika:  Right! He’s thrilled. And then he also paints. And he also rides horseback. And he also fences. 

Liz:  Yeah! He is — I mean, he is the stereotypical renaissance man. He pursues sport, he pursues art, he pursues knowledge for its own sake! He is, in many respects, a scientist. And, you know, you can do these things when you have full luxury automated gay communism. 

Anika:  Exactly! This is the future we want. I also like that he doesn’t have to be the best at it. 

Liz:  No. Like, he’s–

Anika:  He just enjoys it.

Liz:  Yeah, he is canonically a terrible artist. But he keeps going! He is a competent musician, but he’s playing the pennywhistle. 

Anika:  Right. And he wants to honour it, because it’s important to him, but that doesn’t mean being the best. And it doesn’t even mean showing off to someone, you know? He invites people to join him in his various hobbies because of camaraderie, and to share it, because it’s even more fun with other people. But not because he’s trying to prove something.

Liz:  And often he is pursuing these things for himself. He is recording himself playing a Mozart concerto on his pennywhistle, and no one else is going to hear that. That is purely for his own enjoyment. And I think that’s — in an age where, if you do have hobbies, you’re expected to monetise them, I think it’s really cool! 

Anika:  Yes. Exactly. Oh my goodness. Again, the future we want! 

Liz:  [laughs]

Anika:  I just want to do the thing! And having done it — I mean, I say that even about my education! 

Liz:  Yes!

Anika:  I got my Masters, and everyone was like, “Well, what are you gonna do now?” And it’s like, have my Masters! I mean, look, I would love to have a career that used it. But the things that I study, and the things that I am interested in, and the things that I actually think I would contribute to the world, don’t pay well. 

Liz:  [laughs]

Anika:  I am — I finished my Masters, but I can still take classes at the university, and so I am seriously considering just taking more classes. Because I like them. I like going to school. I like learning new things. I like being in a classroom setting where everyone is talking about whatever the subject is, and sharing that. And doing the research, and then discussing that. I mean, I just really enjoy academic stimulation. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s just true! And I feel like that is the level of intellectual that Picard also is, that he just likes doing the thing, to do it, and–

Liz:  He is the enthusiastic amateur. He could have been a great archaeologist, but he chose to concentrate on other things, so he’s an amateur. 

Anika:  And that’s okay. That’s fine, still. 

Liz:  Yeah. And I think that, in the real world, there are a lot of ethical issues around the idea of amateur archaeology? But this is Star Trek, and we can pretend. And as much as we sort of joke about the idea that a party on the Enterprise D is a string quartet, you know, it’s cool that this is a space where everyone can go, “Hey, I’ve done a thing, do you want to join me in doing a thing, and we can share our experience and skills with the rest of our people.” I think that’s nice!

Anika:  Like Beverly’s theatre troupe.

Liz:  Yes!

Anika:  They’re not good! 

Anika and Liz: [laugh]

Anika:  That’s not the point!

Liz:  They try! 

Anika:  They enjoy putting on shows. And that’s — in high school, I had my own theatre group of other high schoolers, and middle schoolers, and my brothers. And anyone I could rope into being in my theatre troupe. And we practised in basements, and sometimes in the parking lot, and we put on a show that was … earnest. [laughs] But we were all very proud of ourselves, and I am still, now, whatever, twenty-something years later, very proud of that theatre troupe. 

Liz:  Yeah, because, you know, you did something. It’s silly and nerdy, but it’s an achievement. 

Anika:  Right. So go Beverly! And Barclay! 

Liz:  Do we have to say, “Go Barclay”? I mean…

Anika:  Well, he was in the theatre troupe.

Liz:  I knowwwwwwww. But he — anyway! Picard, that’s the subject of this.

Anika:  Right, sorry. We’re off — but I’m just saying, I think that Picard is, as you said, a renaissance man. And he also encourages it in other people. 

Liz:  Yeah, which is–

Anika:  All those things happen on the Enterprise because Picard is in charge of the Enterprise. 

Liz:  Right. Yes. I assume that there are other starships out there where — look, I’m sure that there is a beer pong tournament on the Enterprise D, it’s just that none of the senior officers are involved. 

Anika:  [laughs] I feel like Riker might be involved. 

Liz:  [laughs]

Anika:  Just saying!

Liz:  He’s, like, the legend who, every now and then, turns up, beats everyone, drinks a lot and leaves. 

Anika:  Exactly. 

Liz:  Yeah. Deanna is the only other person in the senior staff who knows. 

Anika:  Right, exactly. Because Riker actually really, really cares about his reputation. In a way that Picard does not. 

Liz:  And, in fact, Picard is not the stuffed shirt people think he is, because he has delegated that role to Riker. 

Anika:  Yes! I love this! And then — and yet, we are trained, I guess, to expect it the other way around. 

Liz:  Well, yeah, Riker is young, and American, and he is a man of action — and, you know he does have a sense of humour, he can be quite, uh, lighthearted. But he will also come down on you like a ton of bricks if he thinks you’re putting a foot out of line. Whereas Picard, with a few exceptions, is much more approachable to the children and junior officers of the ship. He doesn’t want to be approachable to the children, he just is.

Anika:  No, he absolutely is. In the episodes where Picard is required to interact with children, he’s actually very good at it. 

Liz:  Yes! Yes. 

Anika:  Sort of in spite of himself. 

Liz:  Unlike Picard, I don’t dislike children, but they’re people, and therefore I’m nervous around them. So I treat them the way Picard treats children. I’m sure that’s very weird for them, but one day they’ll understand. 

Anika:  Should we talk about his family? Because I feel like that’s related to not liking children. 

Liz:  His family are — at least his brother and his dad — are the WORST. 

Anika:  Yeah. [laughs] 

Liz:  We don’t even see–

Anika:  We don’t know his dad. 

Liz:  No! We never see him!

Anika:  We just know about–

Liz:  We just know he’s still one of the worst dads in Star Trek

Anika:  And we can sort of assume, to a certain extent, that Robert is a lot like their dad, and that’s why he was sort of the favoured son, and also why he has so — he’s so judgemental and dismissive–

Liz:  Of Picard, yeah.

Anika:  –of Picard. Although, in “Family”, at the end, he does accept that his own son wants to be more like his uncle. 

Liz:  Incrementally, generation by generation, they’re improving, except that then Robert and Rene die. 

Anika:  Yeah, we don’t — I can’t. 

Liz:  I’m sorry.

Anika:  Someday, we are going to talk about Generations, and my head is going to explode.

Liz:  It’s … frustrating. 

Anika:  But! Yes. And sometimes, I think that Picard — and I think that this is sort of in Generations, even though I hate it, that Picard sort of allocated family to his brother, and so he didn’t have to worry about it.

Liz:  Yeah, that was–

Anika:  He didn’t have to explore that, he could just live his life. And be focused on all of his ambitions and all of his interests, and not worry about creating any kind of–

Liz:  Legacy. 

Anika:  –familial — you know, making sure that someone gets the stupid vineyard when he dies. 

Liz:  Yeah, and that makes sense. But, at the same time, he’s very proud of the legacy that he’s inherited, and his stupid vineyard, and that’s why he’s so distraught when, you know, Robert and Rene die. It’s not just that he loved them, and, you know, Rene was a child, or a teenager, and that’s terrible. It’s that this responsibility that he never wanted has fallen on him. 

Anika:  Has fallen on him, and it’s sort of too late. Not because he’s too old or too — you know, just — he’s in the second half of his life, and he is happy and comfortable with his life. 

Liz:  Yeah, and it changes a lot to change at that stage. And does he really want to? Should he have to give it all up? 

Anika:  Right.

Liz:  But there are other ways of passing on your legacy, and in the previews for Picard, we’ve seen, like, he has Romulan refugees working on his vineyard. And I assume, because he’s Picard, that they’re not being exploited and they want to be there, and all of that stuff. So — you know, I think that’s a really — that’s another way of passing that on, not just genetically, but to a whole new culture. 

Anika:  Absolutely. I think we can safely say that Picard’s legacy is intact. He has a legacy. 

Liz:  And it’s people. 

Anika:  Right. He’s touched so many people. Even people he hasn’t met. You know, he will be taught in Starfleet Academy, or whatever. He’s established himself in a certain way. 

Liz:  Yeah. 

Anika:  And influences future generations. 

Liz:  And he also killed a whole lot of people at Wolf 359, which isn’t nothing. 

Anika:  That wasn’t him.

Liz:  He was there!

Anika:  His body was there.

Liz: [laughs] I just think, you know, it’s weird that no one ever expresses any issues about that. Except, you know, Satie and–

Anika:  Sisko.

Liz:  –Sisko. But yeah, Sisko is the only one who is coming at it from a position of trauma, and legitimate — a position of, “Even if I intellectually know this was not your fault, it’s kind of hard to work with you.” 

Anika:  Oh yes, and I think that’s one of the most interesting ways to look at it. I mean, thank goodness Sisko exists. 

Liz:  Yes.

Anika:  For a lot of reasons. But in regards to Picard, it’s good that that was ever voiced.

Liz:  Yeah. 

Anika:  And I would say — as much as I say he’s not at fault, I believe that Jean-Luc believes that he’s at fault, that he has some — that he should atone for it in some way.

Liz:  He feels responsible for not having stopped it. 

Anika:  Yes.

Liz:  Which is ridiculous! No one can stop the Borg. Not one individual who has been assimilated. But I think that adds a lot of nuance to his character, and it was a really wise decision to, you know, have that experience affect him in the long run. 

Anika:  Yes. And it was one of the things that really carried through the rest of his story. That was an event that kept coming back, because it really changed him. And it changed the Federation. And it’s not something you — I mean, I think we can call it post-traumatic stress. And that’s something that we see triggered in him a few times, and that’s — it’s one of the better representations of trauma in Star Trek

Liz:  Hey, that’s your thesis topic!

Anika:  It is my thesis topic! Because it keeps coming back, and it’s treated seriously. 

Liz:  Yeah, and my only complaint is that other people’s trauma, like Deanna from every time she’s mind-raped, isn’t treated as seriously.

Anika:  Oh yes, absolutely. Star Trek, in general, sorry, but my thesis result was, Star Trek in general isn’t consistent with presenting trauma in an appropriate light. 

Liz:  Yeah. 

Anika:  But, specific to Jean-Luc Picard–

Liz:  It’s very good.

Anika:  –they’re much — yeah. He is a very good representation. Moreso, even, than, say, like, Chief O’Brien, and Nog, and even Ash Tyler are — they are explicitly shown dealing with post-traumatic stress, and those episodes are good, or those scenes, those parts of their story are good. But then it never affects them the rest of the time? Whereas Picard — and B’Elanna, these are the two — where it keeps coming back. 

Liz:  I would also add Michael Burnham. 

Anika:  Yeah, I didn’t really — I didn’t study past the first season of Discovery

Liz:  It’s hard, because it’s ongoing, but I feel like season 2 made it pretty clear how badly damaged she is by the deaths of her parents. And I remember, when it was airing, people were saying, you know, “Michael suffers literally more than any other character in the entire franchise!” And I’m just, like, allow me to introduce you to my good friend, Jean-Luc Picard.

Anika:  Right. But it’s because–

Liz:  It’s not a competition.

Anika:  –it’s consistent. It’s consistent in Discovery, and she is always dealing with it. And that is more true to life. She’s capable of doing all of the things that she has to do in order to get through her season, and seem like a perfectly competent — you know, overly competent — officer and person. But she’s still hurting the whole time.

Liz:  Yeah, but we wouldn’t have that more realistic story without Picard to build upon. 

Anika:  Exactly. And Picard is — it’s also — Picard is a good representation, and B’Elanna. I just wanna say. I know this episode isn’t about B’Elanna, but. 

Liz:  One day, we’ll do a B’Elanna episode. 

Anika:  She’s also a good representation, because — Michael’s harder, because she’s the main character. And I know that Picard is the main character, but I would say that Next Generation is more ensembleish– 

Liz:  It certainly aspires to be an ensemble show. 

Anika:  –than Discovery is.

Liz:  Yes.

Anika:  And so, when Picard isn’t necessarily — when it’s not necessarily about him–

Liz:  He’s okay.

Anika:  –he’s okay. But even in small moments, it’ll come up again. Like, in “Lessons”, he brings up — when he’s explaining the flute, and why it matters. Like, that’s a small moment where we get to see how this affected Picard, and how it was a traumatic event as well as something that he really cherishes. 

Liz:  I remember, at one point, my flatmate, who is sort of in fandom, but not the fic part of fandom, she was like, “Is Picard a bit of a Gary Stu? Because he’s always suffering.”

Anika:  That’s amazing! Because it would never occur to me that Picard is a Gary Stu. I hate that word. But I see where she’s coming from. And certainly from within fan fiction circles, I see where she’s coming from. I mean, the fanfic that I read is, like, 90% suffering. 

Liz:  [laughs] Yeah, I don’t know that I would say she’s using the term correctly, but like I said, she’s not really in the fic part of fandom, so I assume she’s picked it up by osmosis. But I feel like she’s picked up something very key to people’s enjoyment of a character. And it’s that a lot of people are really into hurt/comfort, and that extends to The Next Generation writers, who love putting Picard through hell and then having to sit quietly with Beverly and Deanna and start to deal with it. 

Anika:  Yes! I mean, I also like hurt/comfort, so I’m down with it. 

Liz:  Oh, I am not complaining. 

Anika:  I also think that — I mean, I feel like I say this a lot — television is heightened reality. Even more than film. Even more than literature, maybe. Television is very soap operatic. And melodramatic. And so he suffers over and over and over again because that’s part of his character. Part of his character is being the type of person who stands up every time he’s knocked down. And in order for him to stand up, he has to be knocked down. So it happens over and over again, and the thing that television is more melodramatic and more heightened than film or a book, or something, is because it goes on for so much longer. 

Next Generation goes on for seven seasons, and those characters — they have to both go through growth and some kind of character arc, but they also have to remain the same, in order to be recognisable to who we want them to be. That’s just the way television works — or, at least, it was in the ’90s, and up until, like, maybe five years ago, they started doing shorter seasons and more — they’re more like limited series stories, as opposed to this ongoing stuff.

Liz:  Yes. Which, personally, I think is a step forward, because I like a story that has a clear beginning, middle and end. But, you know, certainly the–

Anika:  Yes, I’m not–

Liz:  –sheer quantity of story that we got, back in the days of the episodic 26-episode season — which, you know, lots of series still have! But it’s not the sort of–

Anika:  I’m on record as being pro shorter seasons, and pro series knowing when they’re going to end, and all of that kind of stuff, so, yes, they can have a beginning, middle and end. They can have a character arc that makes sense and doesn’t have to double back on itself just because we’re having another season. 

Liz:  Yeah. 

Anika:  I like that. But I also live in the world of television that is crazy, and they throw everything at the wall to see what sticks, and pretend that’s characterisation. 

Liz:  [laughs]

Anika:  That’s fun, too. Because it’s fun for me, because then I can look at the whole picture of Picard, and say, “Oh, well, these are the character traits that really matter, and all of these other decisions are related to that, and if it seems like he’s acting out of character, it’s really because blah, blah, blah was happening.” And it’s fun for me to figure all of that out.

Liz:  If they leave gaps, then that’s a place where we can come in and fill them. 

Anika:  Exactly. 

Liz:  I was thinking, you know, they called him — around season 3, they were like, “It is becoming a problem that Picard is never hurt by his experiences.” And so — like, the decision to make the Borg, his assimilation, to give that — I’m sorry, words are hard. The decision to depict the long-term effects of his assimilation was built up to for a while, and people were calling him the Teflon captain. Because even in season 2, he’s, like, having to kill his own future self in — is it “Time Squared”?

Anika:  Yes. 

Liz:  Yeah. And he’s, like, “Okay, another day at the office, doo de doo.” 

Anika:  Yes. So it was important for them to — I mean, everyone says that Star Trek: The Next Generation got good in season 3.

Liz:  Yeah, that’s the year Michael Pillar came in and said, “You’ve got these really great characters, and stories need to be about those people, and you need to find a way to integrate your high concept, abstract science fiction ideas with the people!”

Anika:  Right. And television, and certainly good television, but television as a medium, it has to be character-driven. Because that’s what is consistent. Plots are gonna change every season, or every five episodes — or every episode, if it’s really episodic. But the characters are what’s consistent. So you either have to be a complete procedural, like original Law & Order, where nothing happens outside of the formula, and it’s, like, 20 minutes in, there’s plot twist A, that kind of stuff. And Law & Order ran for 20 years, and I am still a die-hard fan of SVU. Which strays from that formula a little bit, in that they really do care about the characters, and they certainly love making them suffer. 

Liz:  Oh yeah. 

Anika:  But it still also have a formula. And then something like Riverdale, where literally every episode, you’re like, “What is even happening?”

Liz:  [laughs]

Anika:  “None of this makes sense.” But the characters–

Liz:  I really respect the formula, but if your formula is, basically, Riverdale — open TV Tropes to random and see where you end up — I lasted a season with that, and then I was like, this is too much. It’s not bad. It’s just too much! [laughs]

Anika:  It is definitely too much. 

Liz:  But Next Gen covered a whole era of television that moved from the situation where you were either a soap opera or you were an episodic procedural to the beginnings of the serialised procedural, and the early stuff like Homicide: Life on the Street, and Hill Street Blues, and — you know, the evolving procedurals. And Picard sort of grew with it. He was a character that evolved with them. 

Anika:  And that’s what makes him so great! 

Liz:  Well, I was gonna say that’s what makes him the perfect character to bring back as a protagonist in the 21st century. 

Anika:  In the new normal?

Liz:  Yeah! Because — I feel like Janeway, much as I love her, didn’t change so much with her era. And I’m sure there is room for her to appear in Star Trek: Picard, but I don’t know if she would make a protagonist, because her story is sort of done. Whereas his was open-ended, and the storytelling evolved. And, of course, part of the problem there is that Voyager was consciously prevented from evolving. 

Anika:  Right. Voyager was consciously prevented from evolving. Janeway was … mismanaged, I guess, is the best way to put it. 

Liz:  It’s a nice way to put it.

Anika:  And Voyager — I love Voyager. It’s always going to be my Star Trek. But they had a problem from the very beginning, from the pilot. Because the purpose of Voyager was to get home, right? That was their goal. Their goal was to get home. And so if you end the series with them getting home, you never have to revisit it again. 

Liz:  Exactly. 

Anika:  It’s over, it’s done. They succeeded. They got home. And so they cut off the ability to revisit those characters. You know, yes, they can appear in Picard, but Janeway: The Series wouldn’t have the same impact, because her series is based in something else. 

Liz:  Her series was finite. Whereas Next Gen opened with “Let’s see–“

Siri: [beep] I didn’t get that. 

Liz:  Excuse me?

Siri: Could you try again? 

Liz:  Siri has woken up. 

Anika:  Siri has strong opinions about Janeway. 

Liz:  Apparently she does! This is — yes, anyway. Next Gen opens with “Let’s see what’s out there,” and closes with, “We’re still seeing what’s out there!” Even Deep Space 9, I think, the characters have more room to feature in their own series. I feel like Sisko’s story is done, but Kira, or Dax, or Bashir, O’Brien, any of them could come back and lead, you know, a limited series, or something. Janeway–

Anika:  Right. Because their series ends very open-ended. We don’t know what — all of those people are going to something new, or they’re learning how to live without Sisko on the station. Those are the two different — and all of that is new and different, and has nothing to do with what came before, other than the obvious, that it came before and what it’s based on. So anything could happen in Deep Space 9. But Voyager — yes, anything could happen, now that they’re back home, but why would it? They succeeded!

Liz:  Even the reboot novels basically send them back to explore the Delta Quadrant eventually. And obviously Seven of Nine is going to be in the Picard series, but her story was very much ongoing. And I think there is room for the supporting characters to make appearances in things? I would love to see what B’Elanna and her family are up to these days. But I don’t know that there’s anything more to say about Janeway’s own story. 

Anika:  Yeah. They’re not gonna anchor a series. 

Liz:  No. Even if Voyager had been a runaway success and critically acclaimed. Which, bless, but it wasn’t. Anyway, we’ve strayed a bit off-topic–

Anika:  We strayed off. Sorry!

Liz:  No, no, you know I love talking about Voyager.

Anika:  I have a lot to say about television. All right, so on our list that we haven’t discussed is [how Picard is] drawn to outsiders. Which I think is going to be very important in the Picard series!

Liz:  Yes! This is what my flatmate said when we were watching the penultimate episode of Next Gen, “Pre-emptive Strike”, where Ro betrays Picard, and betrays the Federation. And she was like, “Picard is a person who loves outsiders, and loves to draw outsiders into his circle and help them succeed in his society on their own terms. But you can’t do that, and then be sad when it doesn’t always work out.” 

Anika:  Right. Right. Because he’s not — he wants them to stand on their own two feet. He wanted Ro to succeed–

Liz:  Yeah, he liked it that she thought Starfleet could learn a lot from her. But ultimately, what he really believes in is the Federation, and he’s not blind to its faults, but her betraying Starfleet to join the Maquis was a step too far. Which I understand, and I think it’s a really brave, brilliant decision to make him the antagonist in the penultimate episode of his own series. He’s not the good guy there. 

Anika:  I love that episode. 

Liz:  It’s honestly one of my favourite Next Gen episodes. 

Anika:  I love it, absolutely.

Liz:  But what Erin said about him being drawn to outsiders, I realised, that’s even true of most of his crew! He has Riker as the inside guy, and the Starfleet golden boy. And Beverly and Deanna are sort of on the borderline, because, you know, women, they’re just not that interesting to the writers of this era? But then you have Data, and Geordi, and Worf, the ultimate outsider. 

Anika:  Worf!

Liz:  And even Tasha. 

Anika:  Yeah. Absolutely.

Liz:  It made me reconsider almost everything in Next Gen in that light, and it was really rewarding. And I’m like, this series is so old, and I’ve just had this new insight, and that’s what you get from new people coming in and watching it! 

Anika:  That’s so great! This is why Star Trek is still so popular now, why we have eight series. Whatever? I don’t know. And because you can go back and, with new eyes, see something that you missed. 

Liz:  Yeah. Yeah. 

Anika:  And it can be you revisiting something that you saw twenty years ago, or it can be someone who’s never seen it before, and is just catching it on Netflix, and has a stray comment, and you’re like, whoa, that’s absolutely true, and I never thought of it — and you immediately want to go watch every episode that brings it up.

Liz:  yeah, like, even how he’s drawn — like, how Picard is drawn to Klingons rather than, like, Romulans, which you — no, not Romulans, Vulcan, which you would think is more in line with his personality and his interests. But Klingons are very much the outsiders of the alpha quadrant, even though they’ve been allies for eighty years, or whatever. 

Anika:  I mean, they’re still — we still don’t get along with the Klingons. 

Liz:  No!

Anika:  Maybe we do, now, in Star Trek: Picard, but as of Deep Space 9, we did not. 

Liz:  No, it’s still a very fraught relationship. 

Anika:  And, certainly, from everything we’ve seen of Picard so far, he is collecting all of his little outsiders into a group, and going off to have adventures and save other outsiders! 

Liz:  But starting with the fact that he has Romulan refugees employed on his vineyard, and — imagine being a Romulan, and your planet is destroyed, and you end up living on Earth, of all places. Even in the Federation–

Anika:  Making wine. It’s the best.

Liz:  I just feel like even Earth is not so evolved that not a single person is going to be — maybe not openly bigoted, but giving them a second look, making them — there has to be a certain amount of othering again.

Anika:  I’m going to bring up B’Elanna again–

Liz:  Please!

Anika:  –and say that her entire backstory, her childhood, is that she and her mother were the only Klingons in her Federation colony, and even though her father was a Starfleet officer, and a human, she was ostracised by all of the other children and their families. 

Liz:  And her mother is–

Anika:  It was really difficult for her.

Liz: –ultimately living on the Klingon homeworld. 

Anika:  Right, because she was tired of that. You know, I think that her mother lived there for her daughter. 

Liz:  Yeah, and as soon as B’Elanna was an adult, she was like, I’m going back to where I am not an outsider. 

Anika:  So, based on that, I think that the Romulans would have a tough time assimilating.

Liz:  So to speak.

Anika:  So to speak.

Liz:  Although I do suspect that assimilation, cultural and Borg-related, will be a theme. Just a theory! Just putting that out there! 

Anika:  Perhaps. I loved, already, the idea that Picard and Seven were, like, bros. 

Liz:  Yes!

Anika:  Because they have so much in common, and yet are so separated. And I really like that. 

Liz:  Yes, and they’re such different personalities.

Anika:  Yeah, they’re absolutely different. And there are so many different ways that that could go. So, you know, I can’t wait to watch the series so that I can fill in the gaps between when Voyager gets back and when Picard starts with building their relationship. Because I am all over it. That is gonna be great. 

Liz:  And Jeri Ryan said something about Seven of Nine’s costume in this series being protective colouring, because she doesn’t’ want to stand out. But Seven of Nine is, again, an outsider. You know, her–

Anika:  Right, she’s always gonna stand out. 

Liz:  Yeah. Voyager is her collective–

Anika:  She’s the most famous Borg. 

Liz:  Yeah. And then, you know, we have people like Raffi, who used to be Starfleet, and have left, and apparently, you know, she’s basically living in a trailer on some planet there? Going by the trailer. Oh, the trailer in the trailer. 

Anika:  [laughs]

Liz:  So she has deliberately excluded herself from mainstream society. And then, you know, the rest of this crew of rebels and outsiders and weirdos. 

Anika: And, you know, it seems that Picard has made himself an outsider. 

Liz:  Yes, if there comes a point–

Anika:  That he’s crossed over to, “Okay, I’m gonna go be with these people ‘cos they’re my people.”

Liz:  Yeah. 

Anika:  “I can’t pretend to be a part of this anymore.” 

Liz:  Yeah, and people like Riker are supporting him. Because — even Riker is pretty much an outsider by the end of the series. He may have been straight-edge Starfleet guy at the beginning, but, you know, there’s the annual Drive Riker Crazy episode? He has not come out the same person who went in. 

Anika:  I have said on this podcast, and I say all the time, oh, you know, Next Generation doesn’t like to mention what happened before. But that doesn’t mean that the characters don’t grow. The characters absolutely grow.

Liz:  It’s just–

Anika:  And the relationships grow. 

Liz:  It’s often very quiet, and if you’re not paying attention–

Anika:  Right.

Liz:  –you–

Anika:  It’s offscreen. Or off to the side. It’s in your peripheral vision.

Liz:  And so much of their growth and their key character scenes are small moments in episodes which, frankly, a lot of people are going to miss because they’re forgotten. And they’re forgettable. But that’s where the growth is happening. I’m not saying you need to watch every single episode of The Next Generation to be a real Trekkie, but even the lesser episodes are often a bit rewarding in their way. 

Anika:  I think that’s why some lesser episodes are still fan favourites.

Liz:  Yes. Yes. “Rascals” is not a great episode, but the whole scene where Picard considers basically having a different adulthood — I love that! It’s an amazing concept, and it’s amazing to see what a person would do if they had their time over. Like, imagine if we got that for all characters. Would Riker be so gung ho about making captain by 35, or whatever, or — oh wait, we did get his second chance, it’s literally called “Second Chances”, and it’s about his transporter clone. 

Anika:  [laughs] I love — not to go off on a Riker tangent, but I love “Second Chances” because I — so I like to sort all the characters into Harry Potter houses. 

Liz:  Yes, this sounds like something you would do. 

Anika:  And I love “Second Chances” because I like to say that Riker left his Slytherin side on that planet. 

Liz:  [giggles]

Anika:  That the Riker we know is, you know, the Gryffindor Riker, and Tom Riker is where all of his ambition went. And so he’s ambitious in a Gryffindor way instead of a Slytherin way, and that’s why he doesn’t make captain by 35. 

Liz:  Because he’s lost that drive, and he doesn’t even realise it. 

Anika:  Because he’s lost that part of himself.

Liz:  But he’s richer for it. 

Anika:  Oh, absolutely! He’s ready to be captain when he finally becomes captain. He’s ready to be a good captain right away, instead of–

Liz:  He doesn’t need the learning curve. 

Anika:  –you know, a flashy captain. Or whatever. Yeah, he doesn’t need the learning curve. He already knows what he’s doing. And he’s comfortable in his skin. 

Liz:  And I think there’s a lot to be said for waiting until you’re an older person before you take that step. And there’s a lot of prestige attached to being, you know, “the youngest captain in the fleet,” thank you, James T Kirk, but there’s no shame in waiting until you’re middle-aged, as Riker did, and being seasoned. Which, as he says, is a terrible adjective, but…

Anika:  Or as Picard did. 

Liz:  Oh yeah! 

Anika:  Picard is considered a wonderful captain!

Liz:  And he’s an older guy, and he had been a captain for 20 years already before he took the Enterprise. 

Anika:  Right. On a smaller ship that he lost. He failed at that ship! (I don’t mean that. Don’t get mad at me. Obviously, he’s not a failure because he lost his ship.) But my point is–

Liz:  But he did lose it to the Ferengi, which is embarrassing. 

Anika:  –that he went through a learning curve. 

Liz:  Yeah!

Anika:  He was not ready to take on the Enterprise when he was captain of the Stargazer.

Liz:  No. The episode “Tapestry” is very popular and highly acclaimed, but I actually really hate it. For a bunch of reasons, and one being that I don’t think the execution of Patrick Stewart playing young Picard is particularly great. 

But I don’t like the implication that, in the timeline where he plays it safe and is a greenshirt — I don’t like the implication that that is a lesser life. Like, yes, there is a potential that he’s not meeting, but who is to say that that Picard isn’t in some ways happier? Maybe he could have had a family, maybe he could have made some great scientific achievement that didn’t require great leadership skills. 

Anika:  Yeah, the only way I can really take that episode is the idea that it is entirely Q, and maybe Picard’s psyche, but it’s not what Starfleet would say, and it’s not what Riker would say. You know what I mean? The future that Picard experiences is his insecurities on parade, not a reflection of what it would actually be like. 

Liz:  No, that’s a really good way to put it. Because I feel like, if someone like Barclay came to Deanna and Riker and said, “I know I’m in this job, but do you think I have potential to be in another — you know, to take on more responsibility?” They would absolutely support him, and they would be like, “Well, okay, you’ve got a lot to learn, and your past is going to be a hindrance, but you are absolutely intelligent and capable, and we will help you go for it.” 

Anika:  Right. Exactly. That’s what I think Starfleet — at least idealistically — wants. It’s what they give lip service to, if it’s not what always happens. 

Liz:  Well, to be honest, we see quite a lot of, like, middle-aged ensigns and junior lieutenants, particularly older women, on the Enterprise D. And I don’t know if this was intentional, or anything, but I’ve always assumed it was someone in extras casting doing a little bit of worldbuilding to say, there is no stigma in the Federation to taking 20 years out and, you know, maybe raising your kids full-time, or doing something else, or just changing careers and coming to Starfleet later in life. And yes, you’re of a lower rank, but you are no less of value. 

Anika:  It absolutely makes sense, and it’s certainly something that I would want to believe of our future, that, again, the future we want. 

Liz:  Yes. And as much as I like that Discovery is a crew of fairly young people, who are very, very vulnerable to Lorca’s manipulations, aside from the addition of Tig Notaro, it’s still generally a pretty young crew in season 2. 

Anika:  It’s because we’re in the age of pretty people. Everybody has to be pretty.

Liz:  Middle-aged people can be pretty too. 

Anika:  What? Are you sure?! That’s not what I’ve been told by Hollywood! 

Liz:  [laughs]

Anika:  Anyway, I’m gonna put that aside. Things are getting better, it’s okay.

Liz:  Catch me later, and I’ll tell you about my pitch for the next Charlie’s Angels movie, where a bunch of retired Angels led by Christine Baranski have to save the current generation.

Anika:   I’m ready. I have not seen the new Charlie’s Angels, but I want to see that.

Liz:  Okay, I really enjoyed that movie? Not to get off-topic–

Anika:  I mean, Christine Baranski? Oof!

Liz:  Oh, it does have Patrick Stewart in it, and in fact, the whole success of Patrick Stewart’s Bosley is partly because the audience knows — you know, he’s Picard, he’s Professor Xavier, he’s that guy you trust. 

Anika:  It’s not that I don’t want to see it, or I have anything against the movie. It’s not the kind of movie that the people that I go to movies with are going to go with me to see.

Liz:  That is completely fair. Anyway–

Anika:  I have one more comment about “Tapestry”. 

Liz:  Yes?

Anika:  Just because I did bring up my Hogwarts houses. And “Tapestry” is the episode I point to in sorting Captain Picard. I would say that, on the surface, Jean-Luc Picard comes across as a Ravenclaw. He’s a super nerd. 

Liz:  He is a nerd, yes.

Anika:  He loves figuring things out. He likes riddles. He likes mysteries. He likes to, you know, really think about a problem for a long time, and figure out all of the angles. He likes to study just for fun. He has lots of hobbies, as we have discussed. He’s very Ravenclaw.

Liz:  Yes.

Anika:  However. When given the choice in “Tapestry” to become a blueshirt or a redshirt, he chooses to remain the redshirt, even though he might die. And that is a Gryffindor. 

Liz:  I totally agree.

Anika:  He chooses to be Gryffindor. 

Liz:  I agree. And I would love to know more about his early years in Starfleet, and, you know, did he go straight from, “Whoops, my heart’s been stabbed!” to serious nerd guy, or — you know, he must be so smart to do the amount of drinking he seems to have done at the Academy and still have graduated. 

Anika:  [laughs]

Liz:  So were his friends weirded out, or were they all a bit, like, “Aw, shit, Jean-Luc’s just had his heart stabbed out, maybe we need to rethink our lives”?

Anika:  We don’t know anything about those — we never hear about those friends. Like, it’s not like he has told stories about those people before that episode. 

Liz:  No, and I think that’s partly — like, “Tapestry” might have been a better episode if it had been Jack Crusher with him in those days.

Anika:  Yeah. But we can’t marr the memory of Jack Crusher.

Liz:  Oh, we absolutely can!

Anika:  That doesn’t exist, but whatever. Sorry, I have a lot of problems with Jack Crusher. I want him to be a character.

Liz:  There’s a real excellent Next Gen fic that I’ll link you to, and I’ll put it in the show notes [note from Future Liz: Nope! Couldn’t find it anywhere!] where Beverly meets a young girl who she thinks is Picard’s daughter, but it’s actually Jack’s daughter. And that’s a problem, because she’s about Wesley’s age. 

Anika:  Ooh! Oops! 

Liz:  Yeah. 

Anika:  I am intrigued. I’m into that! 

Liz:  It’s a wonderful blend of soap opera, and a bit of actual plot. 

Anika:  It sounds amazing. 

Liz:  I will link it.

Anika:  And I am all for giving Jack Crusher any characterisation whatsoever beyond Sad Dead Guy. You know, Heroic Dead Guy is, no. 

Liz:  That’s the thing, he was Picard’s best friend, and Picard doesn’t surround himself with boring or conventional people. So…

Anika:  Right!

Liz:  Again, the outsider thing. 

Anika:  Yeah! Oh man, Jack Crusher as an outsider who — okay. Anyway. I like these ideas. So, yes, absolutely, “Tapestry” would be better if it had any relation to anything we’d seen. You know, Philippa Louvois could be there. But no. 

Liz:  Okay, the adventures of Young Philippa Louvois, I would absolutely be there for that. 

Anika:  Random French lady — like, there’s so many people that could have been there. Because Picard actually talks about his Academy days and his early life, like, a lot. 

Liz:  Yeah! 

Anika:  It comes up a lot? You know, when his archaeology professor — like, there’s stuff that happens, but he has, like, random ex-love interests — at least three, I feel like — that were from that era. And yet they make up another one, and they cast, like, a 20 year old, and I just — no!

Liz:  That’s my beef! I enjoy a bit of an age gap, but that age gap, but that actress was SEVENTEEN when she played Patrick Stewart’s love interest.

Anika:  No. Ugh. 

Liz:  And I’m like — not to sound like a Tumblr anti, or whatever, but no! That–

Anika:  No. 

Liz:  They should have either cast a younger man as Picard, or an older woman as the love interest, or — I dunno, just done something different.

Anika:  Just done something different.

Liz:  Yeah. 

Anika:  Oh well. Anyway! 

Liz:  I’m glad that we both agree that “Tapestry” is not a great episode. Because it is such a popular one. I feel like I’m being very controversial. 

Anika:  I think it has a lot of positives that are — it has interesting ideas. 

Liz:  And it has Q waking up — or Picard waking up in bed with Q, which is always gonna be a winner.

Anika:  I like the ideas about Picard and Picard’s psyche. I don’t think the execution is at all good.

Liz:  Yeah.

Anika:  Do we want to, like, say our favourite moments or episodes, or something fun like that?

Liz:  This is just a moment in an episode that’s not really about Picard. But the whole Captain Picard Day set-up in “Parallels”? And the bit where he’s saying to the admiral, “It’s for the children, I’m a role model.” And he is so embarrassed, but he is also so into it! And this is a man who was really horrified at the idea of having children on his ship, and seven years later, he’s — well, watching Riker walk around with the Picard doll. And he has come so far, and it’s such a funny character moment that wouldn’t work with any other character.

Anika:  That is a great moment. I love it. I want to circle back to “Pre-Emptive Strike”, and just, the Ro Laren relationship in general. Because that is one of my favourites. I actually love their chemistry. However you want to see it is fine, but I think that they really bounce off of each other very well. 

Liz:  Yeah.

Anika:  From the beginning. I love when they go down to the planet together, to the camp, and she takes off her jacket, and you’re like, whoa! It’s a jacket! It comes apart!

Liz:  “But it didn’t have a front zip!”

Anika and Liz: [laugh]

Anika:  No, but I really like that he sees her as a person more than other people do. You know, it’s like, Guinan is the one who really brings out the person in Ro, but Picard listens to Guinan because he saw that on the planet. 

Liz:  I agree, I agree. 

Anika:  He saw her interact with the little girl, he saw what it meant to her, and he listens to her when she tells her tale about her dad. There’s just a lot there. And “Ensign Ro” — the episode — is my favourite episode of Next Generation. Then “Pre-Emptive Strike” is just such a beautiful send-off. Like, a tragic send-off to that relationship. I just love it so much. And I love how angry he is at her.

Liz:  He is!

Anika:  How disappointed. I related it to “The First Duty”, where he is also angry and disappointed at Wesley, but he’s just — with Wesley, he’s angry and disappointed, but he’s still, like, “It’s gonna be okay, Wes, you’re gonna get through this, and everything’s gonna be fine eventually. This is a lesson.” 

Liz:  Yeah, whereas, with Ro, there’s no coming back. 

Anika:  No, and it’s devastating. And I really love that. And that kind of — I’m sort of hoping that some of that is what we get in Picard, because he does seem kind of disenchanted with Starfleet in general? 

Liz:  I would love for that disenchantment to have begun with the Cardassian treaty, and the whole situation that gave rise to the Maquis. 

Anika:  Exactly. 

Liz:  Because it does trouble me that he goes along with it. And I understand why, but at the same time, that is a really bad treaty, and the Maquis — I’m kind of Team Maquis. I understand their position. 

Anika:  Right, their position makes sense. 

Liz:  Yeah! Yeah, and I think he also has a lot of empathy for it, he just is not in a position to express it. And so, yeah, to build on that franchise-changing treaty concept would be amazing. But also if they threw in the fact that Ro is maybe still alive, and wasn’t killed by the Dominion along with all the other Maquis? I’d be really happy to hear that. 

Anika:  I would be happy to hear that as well. That would make me happy.

Liz:  It would probably just be pure fan service, but I love Ro, and I hate to think that that’s how she ended. 

Anika:  Yeah. Also, Picard’s relationship with Guinan is a good one that I’d like — and I would love for Guinan to show up at any point.

Liz:  Oh yeah. 

Anika:  And I still think that Guinan — that Whoopi Goldberg should just have her own Short Treks series, that’s just Guinan inserting herself into wherever, whenever.

Liz:  Yeah, yeah!

Anika:  It would be amazing.

Liz:  We can CGI up a nice Deep Space 9. I’m sure that if we put Armin Shimmerman in his Quark make-up, he’d look pretty much the same as he did back in the day. You know, stick her in Discovery

Anika:  Make it happen.

Liz:  I think it’s interesting that so many of Picard’s really important platonic relationships are with women. 

Anika:  Yeah!

Liz:  It’s debatable how platonic his relationship with Ro is, but I think he wants it to be platonic. And then there’s Guinan, his bro for life, and Deanna.

Anika:  Yes, absolutely. He has good relationships with women.

Liz:  Even he and Beverly are platonic for many, many years. They love each other, but they’re not romantically involved. 

Anika:  Right, and even if there is that tension — which I can see in, like … not with Deanna, so much, but I know some people do. But I can see a tension with — certainly with Beverly. Certainly with Ro, sorry, I see it. 

Liz:  Oh, no, I ship it! I just don’t think Picard wants to ship it. 

Anika:  Yeah, I would agree that Picard doesn’t want to ship it. But even with Guinan, there’s a little bit of a flirtation there.

Liz:  Yes, yes. 

Anika:  There’s enough, you know? Just because they’re sort of flirty people, so it’s okay. But it never gets in the way. Like, the tension with any of those relationships doesn’t get in the way of the relationship itself.

Liz:  Yeah, yeah, he might be attracted to these women, he may have even slept with Guinan, I’m totally into that, but he is not — just because he’s in the friendzone doesn’t invalidate their affection and love and mutual respect. 

Anika:  Exactly. 

Liz:  I think Picard’s interactions with women, most of the time, are really good. 

Anika:  He treats them as people! 

Liz:  Oh, we have such a low bar.

Anika:  I know, it’s just so sad. But we brought up children briefly, and he said that he actually does well with children — but I think it’s the same thing. He treats them as people! 

Liz:  Yes! 

Anika:  And I think it’s because he doesn’t know how else to treat them. It’s sort of, like, “I don’t wanna deal with this, so I’m just going to treat it like any other interaction.”

Liz:  But we see that in his–

Anika:  “You’re just smaller.”

Liz:  –in first contact situations, too, like, his interactions with the captain in “Darmok”, he’s like, “Okay, we’re stuck on his planet, you’re trying to give me a knife,” and he just talks to the captain as if he was…

Anika:  As if they CAN communicate.

Liz:  Yeah!

Anika:  As if, if they keep trying, eventually it will happen. And eventually it does. He is rewarded in that. 

Liz:  Well, you know, you talk to children like they’re people long enough, and they turn into adults! 

Last week — or last time we recorded, you said something that your brother — your brother had some sort of insight that you were going to repeat. Have we heard it? 

Anika:  Uh…

Liz:  [laughs]

Anika:  I listened to that episode, and I was like, “Wait, what did I mean by that?”

Liz:  Oh no. 

Anika:  Let me think. Yeah, I have no idea. [laughs]

Liz:  It’ll come to you!

Anika:  Sorry, my brother. I will say that my youngest brother, I have the cutest picture that I found — he was, like, five when we watched Star Trek: The Next Generation together. At most. So I have adorable art of Captain “Bacard” that he made

Liz:  Oh my gosh!

Anika:  It is the cutest thing ever. So. I’ll post that and embarrass him.

Liz:  Do it! 

Anika:  But, yeah. Next Generation is the series that I watched with my brothers. I would say that Hendrick, the artist, he would definitely choose Deep Space 9 as his favourite, but we watched Next Generation together. 

Liz:  No, it’s the same in my family, we watched Voyager and Deep Space 9 together for a few years, but then I moved out of home. So Next Gen is the one where we did the full series as a family. 

Anika:  Right. Exactly. Oh man, and, you know, Patrick Stewart just recently redid his one-man Christmas Carol on Broadway for one night? 

Liz:  Yes!

Anika:  And that brought back so many memories, because — so, for my sixteenth birthday–

Liz:  Oh boy.

Anika:  –my father bought me and my friends tickets to see Patrick Stewart’s Christmas Carol, because my birthday is in December.

Liz:  Oh my God. Yes.

Anika:  And we live in Connecticut, so he got us a limousine. So it was one of those ridiculous sweet sixteen, you know, events, where we all got into the limousine, and he gave me $160 to spend on whatever I wanted in New York City. And we went to see Patrick Stewart’s A Christmas Carol. Which is, like, the nerdiest sweet sixteen ever.

Liz:  Oh no, I love it. It sounds amazing. 

Anika:  I am very proud of it.

Liz:  It is so on brand for you, but also, it sounds like a really wonderful experience. 

Anika:  It was! I mean, Patrick Stewart is amazing. And the theatre was huge, and he was the only person on stage for the entire, like, whatever, two hours. And it was mindblowing. 

Liz:  Sounds amazing! I was reading his interview with Vulture about reviving this and reviving Picard, and it just sounds like such an extraordinary piece of work. I would love — apparently people have tried for years to bring it to Australia, and he’s like, “Mmm, nah.” Which is fair! 

Anika:  [laughs] Aw, I’m sorry.

Liz:  No, no, no. Look, Patrick Stewart–

Anika:  There is an audio–

Liz:  Ooh!

Anika:  You can listen to it, you can look up — I know, because I had it on cassette. 

Liz:  Stewart filmed Moby Dick in Melbourne after Next Gen ended, and he injured his back filming it. And then my Great Uncle John, who was a MASSIVE Trekkie, wanted to meet him, so he sort of loitered outside the studio?

And I don’t want to say that he jumped out at Patrick Stewart from under a staircase at night? But certainly the way my mother tells it, that’s what’s implied. And Stewart was, uh, a bit rude to him, apparently? For which my mother has never forgiven him?

But honestly, I completely understand Stewart’s position, and I secretly suspect that’s why he doesn’t come back to Australia. It’s all my Uncle John’s fault. 

Anika:  Oops. 

Liz:  So don’t be creepy when pursuing your favourite actor. Uncle John passed away a few years ago, but he switched allegiance to Kate Mulgrew and never looked back. 

Anika:  [laughs] Fair. 

Liz:  Yeah. Are we done? 

Anika:  I think so! I feel like we have given a good rundown of who we see Jean-Luc Picard as, and what we’re looking forward to in this new chapter. 

Liz:  Yes! I wanted — we can work this out off-microphone, but we should probably work out if we’re coming back next year with an episode about our hopes for Star Trek: Picard, or just jumping in with, hey, it’s the first episode! 

Anika:  Uh. What do you think? 

Liz:  I kind of feel like our hopes are pretty clear at this point, and we can just go in and start the new–

Anika:  Jump in? 

Liz:  –year with the new series. 

Anika:  I think that’s fine, too.

Liz:  Okay!

Anika:  I think that’s good. 

Liz: Well, thank you for listening to Antimatter Pod. This is our last episode of 2019. It will drop a day or so early, on Christmas Eve in Australia, and, I guess, the day before in the northern hemisphere, give or take? 

If you celebrate Christmas, or if you don’t, have a really wonderful day. 

You can find our show notes at antimatterpod.tumblr.com, including links to our social media and credits for our theme music.

You can also follow us on Twitter at @antimatterpod. Sometimes we post cat pictures, and questions for our audience. Which includes a very nice person who supports my Kira/Lorca shipping, so that’s nice. 

If you like us, leave a review on iTunes or wherever you consume your podcasts — the more reviews, the easier it is for new listeners to find us.

We’re going on a hiatus for the holidays, I’m going overseas for two weeks, we’ll return in January 2020 with an episode on a little show called Star Trek: Picard. So to catch our new episode, or to find out when it will drop, follow us on social media, and subscribe in iTunes or wherever. Bye!

Anika:  Bye! Happy new year!

Liz:  Yay! 

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