Captain Kirk Returns To Star Trek In The Worst Way

"Bounty," the latest episode of Star Trek: Picard, reveals that for some unknown reason Section 31 has been storing James T. Kirk's corpse for decades.

By Michileen Martin | Updated

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Captain Kirk’s death scene in Star Trek: Generations (1994)

Captain Kirk is back in “The Bounty,” the latest episode of Star Trek: Picard, but there was no need to give William Shatner a call. In order to get a better idea of what the villains are up to, Worf (Michael Dorn), Riker (Jonathan Frakes), and Raffi (Michelle Hurd) infiltrate the Daystrom Station where they learn Section 31 has been storing a number of relics from the franchise’s past. Among them, as you can see in the screenshot below, is the corpse of James T. Kirk, and it makes absolutely no sense.

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Raffi discovers Section 31 is storing Kirk’s corpse in “The Bounty” – Star Trek: Picard S3, E6

The Kirk reveal is one of the more bizarre things to be unveiled in Star Trek: Picard, and it’s questionable if the show’s creators were correctly reading the room. Fandom is already fairly universally agreed that the icon’s death was poorly handled in 1994’s Star Trek: Generations, and this does feel a bit like insult to injury. Yet the reveal is accompanied by the old Star Trek score as if the grim fate of Jim Kirk’s remains is supposed to trigger nostalgia.

Why — in the name of all things either holy, unholy, or somewhere in between — would Section 31 be storing the corpse of James T. Kirk? He wasn’t part Borg like Picard or part space god like DS9‘s Ben Sisko. There is nothing to learn from the corpse of Kirk beyond the fact that when it comes to getting off bridges quickly, he was not the all-time champion.

If the answer is that Starfleet, the Federation, and/or Section 31 wants to make sure no one knows that Kirk didn’t die in the opening scene of Star Trek: Generations but instead entered the timeless Nexus only to exit in the 24th century when he helped Picard defeat Soran… again… why?

What would be the problem with revealing to the public what happened to Kirk? This isn’t The X-Files. The people of the Federation wake up every day knowing there’s a dude whose name is just one letter long, and that the same dude can snap his fingers and turn them into Robin Hood and his Merry Men.

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Worf needs you to know he is not a merry man

In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Jean-Luc Picard is assimilated by a malevolent collective of cybernetic zombies, aids in the destruction of 39 Starfleet ships and the deaths of 11,000 Starfleet personnel, is rescued and helps his crew defeat the Borg, and then is surgically rendered human again. Just about everyone in the Federation and Starfleet is able to process all of these insane events in order to say, at the end of it all, “well, okay, that’s cool, he can go back to work.” But they can’t handle knowing Kirk died in a different Star Trek era than previously reported?

The people of Earth are well aware that they only exist because Kirk and his Star Trek buddies brought whales back from the 20th century who told the alien probe that was about to destroy the Earth, “Dude, go away.” And it did.

And you think they’re not going to be able to handle the idea of Captain Kirk winding up in the wrong Star Trek century? You think one of Will Riker’s old girlfriends — who worked very hard to process the revelation that her old boyfriend created a perfect replica of himself in a transporter accident and that replica may or may not have been murdered by the Dominion because he was serving time in a Cardassian labor camp for his work with the Maquis — is going to just be blown away by time travel? What the David Duchovny are you smoking?

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Picard buries Kirk on Veridian III in Star Trek: Generations (1994)

Let’s also not forget that Kirk was buried by Picard in Star Trek: Generations after his sacrifice. Meaning that presumably someone from Section 31 received the report of what happened in the events of the movie and turned to his buddy in the Section 31 break room with, “Hey T.J. Hooker’s all dead, want to go get him?”

To find out what new graves Section 31 will desecrate because they’re bored, make sure to stream the third and final season of Star Trek: Picard on Paramount+.

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