Star Trek: Picard Recap: Mom and Dad (and Daddy) Are Fighting!

Star Trek: Picard

Seventeen Seconds
Season 3 Episode 3
Editor’s Rating 4 stars

Star Trek: Picard

Seventeen Seconds
Season 3 Episode 3
Editor’s Rating 4 stars
Photo: Vulture; Photo: Paramount+/Trae Patton

RED ALERT: There is fighting between our beloved main characters in this episode. One of Gene Roddenberry’s tenets for Star Trek: The Next Generation was that conflict needed to be external. Crews shouldn’t fight with each other; any source of tension needed to be coming from outside the ship. Of course, this is wildly unrealistic, given human nature (these people lived together on a tin can of a starship — they’re bound to fight!). “Seventeen Seconds” balances those two ideas in a genuine way. The conflict and tension in this episode are sometimes difficult, but it’s also cathartic.

Beverly and Jean-Luc’s conversation in the sick bay is the honest, emotional display we’ve been waiting to see for decades. These two have been through a lot, mean so much to each other, and have hurt each other so profoundly. Beverly and Jean-Luc have rarely been honest with one another about their feelings, at least onscreen, so the palpable anger and frustration between them is a relief.

Bev’s past actions seem difficult to excuse at first glance. She found out she was pregnant and cut off all contact with Jean-Luc and the rest of the Enterprise crew, never telling Picard that he was a father. It seems unforgivable … but it’s understandable. There are two relevant things here. First, she did tell Jack who his father was when he became an adult, and he chose not to pursue a relationship with Jean-Luc, a fact that hits Jean-Luc hard. Second, Beverly was alone and felt that Jack was all she had — she did whatever she could to protect him. It doesn’t really excuse not telling Jean-Luc, but as a parent, I genuinely understand the instinctual need to protect one’s child. And it’s hard to blame her for feeling like being the son of Jean-Luc Picard would put Jack in danger. The acting from Gates McFadden and Patrick Stewart is incredible and devastating. Mom and Dad are fighting, and I DO NOT LIKE IT.

Moreover, our other parents, Jean-Luc and William Riker (or Dad and Daddy, to me), are also bickering. These two are having it out in a way we’ve never seen, and it all ties back to the death of Thad Riker, Will’s son. After Captain Shaw is incapacitated (that is a lot of blood), he hands over command of the Titan to Will, putting Riker in a position he hasn’t been in since before Thad’s death. According to the show’s first season, Will and Deanna left Starfleet and moved to Nepenthe before Thad died in a futile effort to save him. Will still hasn’t recovered from his child’s death.

It’s fitting that Thad’s death changed Will; I don’t think he’s entirely at fault here. I don’t know why I keep quoting Star Trek: Generations in these recaps, but here we go again: “Risk is part of the game if you want to sit in that chair,” Kirk once told Picard, and that applies here. To be an effective captain, you must be emotionally able to take risks, understand when you’re asking people to face death, and evaluate whether it’s worth it.

It doesn’t turn out well! Will is so mad that he orders Jean-Luc off the bridge. No Space Daddy, no! It’s hard to watch your parents fight, and they are ALL FIGHTING in this episode, which brings us to Deep Space Nine season eight.

Yep, the Changelings are back! This is entirely unexpected (I screamed during the the reveal), but it makes so much sense that I’m surprised I didn’t see it coming. Changelings are perfect villains, and given the way Deep Space Nine ended, it tracks that some of them wouldn’t happily accept surrender. In case you didn’t watch Deep Space Nine, Worf conveniently recaps everything you need to know about the Dominion War. There are rogue Changelings on the move who have infiltrated Starfleet; they stole something big from Daystrom Institute (in addition to the portal tech, though that’s aboard Vadic’s ship, clearly), and now Worf and Raffi have to stop them. I cannot describe how much I love this. These two characters were due for a team-up, and the pace of this B-story line picks up as we finally understand how everything connects. The puzzle pieces are starting to fit together seamlessly.

Jack Crusher and Seven of Nine aren’t too shabby of a duo, either. It’s nice to watch Jack evolve from a rogue with a heart of gold into someone who can be a leader. And it’s fascinating to see Jean-Luc as a dad, worrying over his son. After the heated conversation with Beverly, he seemed ready to go his separate way from Jack. But after those 17 seconds in a turbo-lift, waiting to see whether Jack pulled through after the Changeling attack, our little Jean-Luc is growing up, too.

But growing up comes with pains, and the end of “Seventeen Seconds” is certainly painful. The ship is heavily damaged and adrift after Changeling sabotage, and the rift between Will and Jean-Luc seems insurmountable. Please make up and be best friends again!

Captain’s Log

• Legacy character count: Still at four!

• LOL at the explanation for Jack’s British accent.

• I could not stop chuckling at our new Worf. “Beheadings are on Wednesdays,” the chamomile tea, I was cackling. But it’s also nice to see he’s still a member of the House of Martok.

• Worf isn’t Starfleet anymore! WHAT HAS HE BEEN UP TO?

• Every time I see Sydney LaForge onscreen, I like her more. Commander Seven, indeed. But I’m eager to see her father!

• When are we going to see Deanna? We saw about ten seconds of her in a flashback, but I hope this isn’t just Will’s ride. Deanna deserves her moment, too!

Star Trek: Picard Recap: Mom and Dad Are Fighting!