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Desc:Picard's replacement in the TNG season 6 two-partner 'Chain of Command' gets a bum rap.
Category:Classic TV Clips, Educational
Tags:star trek, Picard, TNG, Steve Shives, Ronny Cox
Submitted:William Burns
Date:05/08/17
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Comment count is 33
The Mothership
Realpolitik.
SolRo
In the later seasons the enterprise ends up in/hangs around in federation space a hell of a lot for a extreme long range exploration vessel
William Burns
My personal theory about Picard and the Enterprise is that by the time of TNG, the Federation's priorities had shifted from exploration to competing with their galactic neighbors for resources. Their "discover new life ect..." credo is still an important part of their cultural identity, so they use their flagship primarily as a propaganda tool. Who do you get to run a propaganda operation with an incredibly expensive piece of hardware? You get a timid, by-the-books, milquetoast dork who will stay out of the way, spend most of his time in his office and never do anything too surprising. I also like to think that this is why Q loved fucking with Picard so much. He saw Picard and was all, "Why did the Federation give their flagship to THIS guy?" Picard would get frustrated and try to argue semantics with him, feeding into his bullying for seven seasons, whereas Sisko got rid of him in a single episode by simply punching his face.

Don't even get me started about the way Picard runs his crew.

Bisekrankas
Also, they are at risk of being completely destroyed every other episode. So being a crewmember on the enterprise is clearly a high risk assignment. So why do they have such a large crew with their families and daycare centers/schools etc etc on ship.

So that is fine and all I suppose, but what about the way Picard runs his crew?

Two Jar Slave
Picard's Enterprise isn't a long range exploration vessel; it's an everything vessel. Toughest, biggest, smartest, most comfortable, able to transform into two ships for some reason. It's something a kid would invent, complete with TVs you can walk inside and talk to.

Bisekrankas
Exactly, an exploration vessel would have heavy focus on mobility and scanning systems to be able to detect and avoid potential conflict rather than brute forcing it.

The Enterprise also has the heaviest armaments, so they are constantly being pulled in to be front and center at any potential military conflict.

Raggamuffin
Mission Creep. Prove you're good at something and before you know it every Admiral and their mother want you for their missions.

William Burns
@Bisekrankas - He brought on Riker because he wanted someone who would challenge his decisions. Then every time he and Riker disagreed about something, he immediately gets angry and dresses him down. This is the confused, inscrutable leadership style of Picard.

@Two Jar Slave - With a complement of hundreds of civilians, the enterprise could be a generation ship. It could also be a battle ship, but because of the image the Federation wants to project, its always used as either a science vessel or a galactic cop car.

@Raggamuffin - When the stakes are real, the Federation sends in Ronny Cox.

garcet71283
Well, remember that in the alternate universe where the enterprise C didn't get destroyed, all that extra space is for troop and supply transport instead of civilians.

I like to think that the civilian presence is just a case of an overfunded military with a very expensive showboat of a battleship having to justify its existence. Sure it has enough firepower to blow up a planet...but it's also really fast and has a mall and shit. It's like fleet week all day, every day in the Federation.

Also, this is where the Abramsverse (and to a lesser degree, portions of DS9) come into play. The moment the federation is under any actual threat, they immediately convert their entire fleet of "exploration" vessels into terrifying, continent annihilating dreadnaughts. Think of it as Japan's "Self Defense Force". All those cruise missles and bombers are for defense, yeah.

jfcaron_ca
Stop ruining my childhood vision of utopia, you cynical bastards.

Bisekrankas
Watched tng back to back for the first time in a long time recently. It does strike me how smug and kind of condescending most of the crew is. Especially Geordi -- to me he just comes across as a complete dick.
Dr. Lobotomy
"This is Star Trek: The Next Generation after all, it was made in the nineties before TV producers started killing major characters just to fuck with their audiences."

Poor Tasha Yar
Monkey Napoleon
It's true though.

They wrote her out by killing her because she quit the show. It's too bad, too. Judging by her stated reasons and what the other members of the cast have said about that time in the show's production, she lost the mental game of chicken they were all playing with themselves waiting for things to get to a quality level where they could actually enjoy their work.

It was probably for the best, though. It took them like 4 or 5 years before they gave Marina Sirtis something to work with character-wise. By that time, they'd already written Yar back to life via time paradox.

The lady who quit the show got better character development than the lady who stuck around.

garcet71283
Huh, I always thought Roddenberry gave her the boot for the playboy spread.

Two Jar Slave
What if Kirk ran Picard's Enterprise?

By this point in its history, Star Trek had transformed into full-blown socialist propaganda. Picard & pals never earn a salary; they contribute their abilities to the State and trust the State to take care of them (and it does). This is done in the name of "bettering themselves and humanity," a humanity which looks down on the silly Ferengi as capitalist barbarians.

Picard is captain of the pink navy because he's the most ideologically motivated (the Party loves guys who can talk in a way that makes them all look good), and because he values the combined skills of his people above his own skills. Like a Maoist commune official, Picard's leadership style is to identify problems and then mobilize his workers against them, usually with an impassioned speech. As evidenced by the infinite boardroom scenes, Picard believes that true understanding, like ditch-digging, is a matter of popular force.

(If you doubt Picard's communist leanings, trust the fans. In TNG's most highly-regarded episode, The Inner Light, Picard is granted unique wisdom when an alien probe allows him to live out a second lifetime among some alien farmers who, surprise surprise, coexist in a blissful socialist commune. The Communist fantasy of "going down to the country," gaining wisdom from the peasants, then returning home to serve the State, was roughly the cultural equivalent of opening a business, treating your workers fairly, and becoming a self-made millionaire. Picard was made more complete by humbling himself in the fields. Indeed, he is the perfect socialist: capable but idealistic, devoted to serving the Party while eschewing personal glory, zero interest in sex or family life.)

I opened with a question about Kirk, and that's because Jellico reminds me of him. Kirk was a military guy, a great bluffer, given to personal passions and vendettas, capable in his own right, and totally uninterested in hand-holding his troops. Sound familiar? Kirk was the gentleman hero, and the character of Jellico is a direct attack on his brand of heroics by a "next generation" of Californian pinko writers.

Jellico, like Kirk, is capable of solving the episode's problems all by himself. And like Kirk, he doesn't give a damn about his crew's feelings along the way. While Picard's top priorities are ideology and crew, Jellico's is the mission, plain and simple. And he's a family man. In a truly bizarre scene, we're asked to hate Jellico for displaying his kids' drawings in his office.

The writers went to great lengths to show Jellico singlehandedly prevent a war, humiliate a Federation rival, and rescue Picard from torture, and yet they treat him like a villain. Why? Because he's unashamedly an individualist, and in TNG's era "it is the nail that sticks out which gets hammered down."

When Picard was put on trial in The Drumhead, he quoted Party doctrine as a personal aegis. When Kirk was put on trial in Court Martial, he came out swinging with a radical attack against the system itself (its reliance on automation) and bent the Party to see things his way. TNG would have hated that, because TNG despises personal competence except where it's rendered safe by socialist ideology. That's the real story of Captain Jellico. Talk the talk, or no amount of success will get you so much as a "thanks" on your way out the door.

Don't even get me started on TNG's awful treatment of the ubermensch Data, a superior man, literally unique in the universe, and for those crimes given the ignoble task of limiting his personal potential in order to fit in at the office.
Mr. Purple Cat Esq.
Yeah! not having oligarchs ruling over starving masses sucks!!

William Burns
@Mr. Purple Cat
Who decides how resources are allocated in the Federation? The President? Section 31? A computer? Those genetically-enhanced nerds from DS9? As far as I can tell, trade seems to be dictated entirely by Starfleet officials and people with good connections within the Federation.

It's kind of a moot point, since Star Trek goes out of its way to show life in the Federation is post-scarcity. The Maquis tell Sisko that they colonized their worlds without any help from the Federation. If all the Federation does is administer Starfleet, and everyone has access to replicators, does it really matter to the average citizen what its internal politics are?

William Burns
@Two Jar Slave
You ought to start making pedantic Star Trek Youtube videos. I'd like & subscribe!

Two Jar Slave
@William Burns
The show's commitment to being ambiguous about the Federation's internal politics, economy, and treatment of public dissenters is the reason I can only call it "socialist" propaganda, when we all know it's probably a full-blown Red state.

Two Jar Slave
PS: I'm good, thanks. I already want to swirly myself for that post.

SolRo
What is there to dissent about in a post-scarcity society? (Other than the usual conservative shit like intentionally polluting because you hate recycling)

Two Jar Slave
People seem to argue more when things are going well, not less.

Anyway, there's like ten different eppies about colonists being told to leave their homes, and there are a few shady references in all series to "reorientation" or "rehabilitation" centres, so they've got some sort of dissenters and some sort of prison system. I'm pretty sure Tom Paris ended up in one for lying to the Academy about a a fatal accident, which, like, what exactly were they going to rehabilitate? Can he only leave after he's no longer capable of telling a lie, or what?

Raggamuffin
Near as I can tell, the Federation has prisons for violent offenders, but they like those really mushy Scandinavian jails with room service and stuff.

For sure there are people that don't want to live in the federation and just go make their own weirdo societies, but they just go join colonies.

SolRo
That's a cool solution.

Just set up a gun nut colony far far away and give anyone that -needs- a military grade phaser for "self defense" a free one-way ticket.

William Burns
Make it an Old West planet and I'm sold!

Ninehells
Nice breakdown and analysis. Now take these stars and run before the Beardo Police show up.

garcet71283
Well it is a post scarcity society, so the argument against just locking everyone up and throwing away the key becomes a moot point. If everything can be replicated, I would go out on a limb and say that it pretty much means that thievery is obsolete. Drugs aren't a problem (modern medicine, replicators etc.) So that leaves assault, rape and murder. The holodecks probably allow most of the compulsive ones to get their jollys out, so probably only a very small percentage actually commit crimes against real people.

I'm going with the dystopian "only sentence is a life sentence " angle

SixDigitDebt
I just watched the episode in question.

Picard had the Enterprise sailing 1 in 3.

Fuck Picard.
Bisekrankas
Remind me, what was the motivation for sending Picard, one of he most valuable captains who certainly has a lot of knowledge about the federation on a high risk covert op?

Two Jar Slave
He knew stuff about radiation, I think? The spoonheads, knowing of Picard's expertise in a certain flavor of radiation, set up a transmitter to lure him there so they could torture him. Classic cardie move; it's actually how they attract a mate.

SixDigitDebt
I suspect Starfleet Intelligence had a serious requirement for information on the indoor lighting arrangement of a Cardassian office.

Nominal
The real unaddressed Star Trek question: why does anyone ever bother doing anything that isn't getting whatever they want from a replicator or holodeck orgies?
godot
Good, as Admiral Viscount Jellicoe was an unimaginative, defeatist bore.
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