Working on it
As a nine year old kid in 1990, I actually had a television in my room. Back then, my family didn’t have cable, so I was left with seven TV channels. Cycling through the channels, I came across a show with space ships and people dressed as aliens. Intrigued, I put the remote down and started watching. Hey! I thought to myself. It’s the guy from Reading Rainbow! Next thing I knew, I was hooked.
I watched every episode of Star Trek: the Next Generation from that day on. When Deep Space 9 came out, I watched that too. Same thing with Voyager, although that show frustrated me to no end. When Generations came out in theaters, I watched it with my uncle, a fellow Trek fan. I even managed to rope my sister into Star Trek fandom.
The stories the shows told, and the lessons it tried to teach were nothing liked I had ever seen on television. They had me as a fan for life. It’s been twenty years since Next Generation was last on the air, but the show still resonates with me.
Here, in First Contact, the second of the Next Generation movies, they face off with the Borg. Before the scene starts, a crew member reports that the Borg are overwhelming them. Worf, the Klingon warrior and former senior officer on the Enterprise, suggests destroying the ship while they still can. Picard refuses, calling Worf a coward for wanting to run away. Using all of his strength to not kill Picard, Worf walks away, and Picard retreats to his ready room.
Lily confronts Captain Picard about the suicidal order he just gave to what remains of his crew. Their weapons are useless, and the right move is to evacuate the Enterprise and then destroy the ship before the Borg can kill Zefram Cochran. Killing the man who broke the warp barrier would prevent humanity from ever becoming a threat to the Borg. But Picard can’t think logically or sensibly at that point. He’s blinded by revenge.
Picard tries to mask his revenge, saying that he and he alone understands the Borg. He reveals to Lily that he was once one of them, and that he knows how to think like them. But Lily calls him out, seeing right through his lies. He’s doing it purely for revenge, and it’s going to get them all killed.
”This is not about revenge! This is about saving the future of humanity!” Picard yells as he continues to go with that bullshit.
”Jean Luc! Blow up the damn ship!”
”No! NOOOOOOO!!!!!” as Picard shatters the display.
With the veil gone, we get full view of Vengeful Picard. He is so blinded with rage. Every vein in his face is bulging. He knows of only one thing at that moment. Revenge. ”The line must be drawn here! This far, no further!”
It’s over. Lily can’t reason with him and she walks away, but not before lobbing a parting shot. ”Cya around, Ahab.”
Picard comes down from his emotional high and finally comes to his senses. The man we Star Trek fans watched for seven years, lead his crew with intelligence, distinction, elegance, and guile, has finally returned. He sees the parallels between himself and Ahab and heeds the warning moral of Moby Dick. Together, he and Lily return to the bridge where Picard finally issues the order to evacuate the Enterprise. Unlike Ahab, he has let go of his hate and his revenge.