There are so many thing this episode does almost right. I mean, I love it. It’s the kind of ensemble show Star Trek: the Next Generation can be and that is when it’s at its best.
Maybe it’s just me, but as I get older I see a more paternalistic/authoritarian ideology behind the love of Picard. He’s the sort of morally pure authority figure that justifies his position as the Enterprise’s “ultimate decider.” Even his open leadership style is an example of him allowing others to speak.
I see the obvious advantages of having a single person making executive decisions in crises. I also get having someone decide what is and isn’t a fruitful avenue of solving a problem before it’s a crisis. It’s only when an episode feels so right because it gets out from under that that I feel something’s amiss with the status quo.
Am I on to something here? Is there a quieter message at play about the link between moral purity and power in Captain Picard? And to a lesser extent, Data?