We don’t mention it in the episode, but I think the internal contradiction of xenophobia and taking alien babies is an internal contradiction that makes the Telarians a little more real. What it is that separates that from inconsistent characterization of an alien culture is something I can’t define.
This is definitely one of the weakest episodes of season four, but that conversation between Picard and Troi is a shining beacon of humor and characterization.
My one gripe is making Picard such a singular figure in Starfleet. Do you prefer Picard be a guy who’s ordinary but has worked hard to become a captain or do you want Picard to be someone who has dedicated himself singularly to becoming a Starfleet captain, to the exclusion of even having a normal childhood?
I guess I also skipped over saying explicitly that Jono was imagined by Tommy Westphall and that there’s a lot to unpack there. The Tommy Westphall Universe Hypothesis is detailed more under Tommy Westphall’s Wikipedia page. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Westphall
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