Star Trek’s Best Captain Had A Secret Death Wish

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

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What if Star Trek’s most beloved captain had a major weakness that has been hiding in plain sight for decades? Captain Picard is such a fan-favorite character that Paramount brought him back to headline his own series. However, from The Next Generation to Picard, it’s clear that this captain has been harboring a secret death wish.

Captain Picard Has A Death Wish

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At this point, Star Trek fans are getting ready to sick a Klingon security officer on us. Picard has managed to survive countless interstellar scrapes while upholding Starfleet values and generally serving as the moral compass of the entire galaxy. What would cause us, then, to declare that this iconic sci-fi hero has a death wish?

In this case, all we had to do was watch a few episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Perhaps the most prominent example of Captain Picard’s secret death wish occurs in the episode “Sins Of the Father:” 

Sins Of The Father

In his attempt to exonerate Worf’s father and restore his family’s honor, Picard embarks on a secret mission to the Klingon homeworld to track down a key witness. We say “secret,” but Picard is simply wandering around a planet where assassins are likely to attack him while still wearing his Starfleet officer. 

This Star Trek episode previously made it clear that the dishonorable Duras family would use lethal force when assassins attacked Worf’s brother Kurn. However, Picard makes no attempt to hide his Starfleet outfit even though First Contact makes it clear that it only takes a moment to ask the computer to replicate disguises before beaming down.

That means Picard went out of his way to wander around enemy territory in the most recognizable possible outfit; in retrospect, there is little explanation for this except that he has a death wish.

Who Watches The Watchers

Of course, Star Trek fans might rightfully claim that a single incident doesn’t definitively indicate that Picard has a death wish. But there are other incidents: in “Who Watches the Watchers.” A primitive culture learns about the Enterprise-D and begins to worship Picard as a god, causing the captain to encourage a native to fire an arrow at him to prove his mortality.

Picard would have died from this shot if the man’s daughter hadn’t thrown off the aim. Keep in mind that the Federation had already contaminated the planet’s development, so Picard was seemingly willing to die for arguably negligible benefit.

First Contact

Finally, the finale of Star Trek: First Contact has Picard going back to ostensibly rescue Data from the Borg Queen after the Enterprise-E has its self-destruct activated. He claims that he feels an obligation to rescue the kidnapped android officer Data, but Picard has no easy way to get both of them off the ship and no way of knowing Data would shut down the self-destruct. The only conclusion is that Picard was really hoping that either the Borg Queen or the self-destruct would kill him and fulfill his death wish.

Picard Gets What He Wished For… Sort Of

As Star Trek fans, we don’t really hold this against Picard. You can only deal with things like precocious child geniuses and petty Starfleet bureaucracy before the cold void of eternity seems like a good idea. Interestingly, the first season of Picard fulfilled the titular character’s death wish by killing him and replacing his body with a robot duplicate that hilariously didn’t increase his lifespan in any way.

Great news for Picard: after decades of waiting and finally getting his wish, he can look forward to trying to get himself killed all over again.