6 comments on “Suddenly Human

  1. Mechanically, I would think that characterization is inconsistent when it clashes from one production piece to the next, and contradictory when the clash is present within each piece.

    I wonder if the underdeveloped culture clash here is partly responsible for the creation of the Cardassians.

    Is Picard a singular figure in Starfleet? Is hard work enough to become captain of the flagship, without an equal measure of drive? He knew as a child that he wanted to join Starfleet (he doesn’t specify in what capacity), and that this drive “eventually” crowded out other concerns. I wouldn’t have thought that uncommon among Earth children (they start Calculus in second grade after all), but maybe his experience with the Borg has given him a new perspective on what a “normal” childhood is (if not what cultural assimilation is like).

    Speaking of the Tommy Westphall Universe, have you seen Twin Peaks: The Return?

    • I don’t have anything against David Lynch, but my impression is that he’s a style over substance guy. Like an M. Night Shyamalan that hasn’t made his The Lady in the Water yet. I watched a few episodes of the first Twin Peaks and I wasn’t hooked.

      The Talarians feel a lot like the Cardassians. We meet the Cardassians later this season and you could easily swap the Talarians out for them.

      I believe we’ve seen them mention that Picard didn’t play with puppies as a kid and didn’t have many friends as a kid. Now, “puppies” isn’t a universal childhood experience, but friendship usually is. We later learn that in his 20’s he’s on the verge of becoming a directionless prick, which I suddenly realize is believable, but inconsistent.

      Maybe that experience is universal, but it would say some strange things about Federation/Earth culture.

  2. Haven’t seen Lady in the Water, but that’s probably a fair assessment.

    …I should’ve just looked at Memory Alpha’s production notes for the ep. They do make the Talarians sound like a false start for the Cardassians.

    Picard’s childhood was already unusual by virtue of growing up in a luddite vineyard. I expect that diminished his access to friends and other interests, so I’m inclined to read his childhood focus on Starfleet as a reaction to that paucity of engagement, rather than vice versa. He would’ve met like-minded friends in the years leading up to the entrance exams, but we’ve seen how hard those exams are – the level of dedication Picard describes doesn’t seem like it’d be extraordinary among those who pass, and is focused specifically on entering the academy, not anything beyond; and his brother, at least, thinks he was already a prick.

    • Picard directly attributes the rarity of his friends to his drive to become a Starfleet officer. That could be the human mind rationalizing in hindsight, but I don’t see much to the contrary in text.

      Robert did mention Picard breaking a lot of rules, which again seems inconsistent with a guy who’s always wanted to be a Starfleet officer…unless that’s the mold that’s been set or Picard’s overselling his drive or if Picard was just the maniac Magee of future-France; a high-functioning loner.

      Now that you mention testing, it is super-weird that Picard would have failed on his first Academy application when Riker and Troi apparently got into Starfleet somehow. It’s humanizing, but in a completely inconsistent way.

      • That’s fair. However the writers wanted this to be received, they weren’t prioritizing continuity of character.

        • Mos’ def. I get sad a little bit every time I think of Picard getting double-characterized and Riker and Geordi getting half-characterized.

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