The commanding officer of the Enterprise-F, as revealed in the penultimate episode of Star Trek: Picard, is Admiral Elizabeth Shelby - a choice we predicted only a couple of weeks ago.
The penultimate episode of Star Trek: Picard streamed on Paramount+ this morning and it finally revealed the commanding officer of the Enterprise-F is Admiral Elizabeth Shelby (Elizabeth Dennehy).
Long-time Trek fans will remember Dennehy originated the role in the game-changing Star Trek: The Next Generation two-parter “The Best of Both Worlds.” And if you’ve read my Trek-related op-eds here at GIANT FREAKIN ROBOT, then you remember that I predicted Shelby as a frontrunner for the new Enterprise Captain‘s chair just a couple of weeks ago.
To be fair, I did put Garrett Wang’s Harry Kim in front of Shelby as Star Trek’s new Enterprise captain, but Voyager fans will probably be thankful I was wrong about that. Today’s episode, “Vox,” reveals that the concerted efforts of The Borg and the Changelings have led to the most youthful members of Starfleet being assimilated without anyone’s knowledge, and when we last see Shelby, she’s being executed by her Borg-ified subordinates. Tragically, the former TNG recurring character winds up undone by the same enemy she helped defeat.
Portrayed by Elizabeth Dennehy, daughter of the late Brian Dennehy (Cocoon, Silverado), Shelby first appears to be little more than an arrogant foil to Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) when she first shows up in TNG. But she soon proves to all the heroes aboard Star Trek’s Enterprise-D that while she’s unapologetically ambitious, she cares as much about the Federation and her crew mates as anyone else. It’s in large part Shelby’s dedication and innovation that leads to the defeat of the Borg in “The Best of Both Worlds.”
Shelby hasn’t been completely absent from the world of Star Trek since TNG, though the last time we saw her, it wasn’t on the Enterprise. She had a voiceless, animated appearance in Season 2 of Star Trek: Lower Decks. Set a few decades earlier in continuity, that episode confirmed Shelby had at that point attained the rank of Captain.
Shelby’s demise marks the second death of a beloved Trek recurring character in this final season of Picard. Ro Laren (Michelle Forbes), who once served aboard Star Trek’s Enterprise-D, dies heroically earlier in the season. Another TNG recurring character, Jonathan del Arco’s Hugh, gets abruptly snuffed by the Romulan villain Narissa (Peyton List) in Picard‘s first season.
I would sure hate to be a former TNG recurring character who gets tapped to be in Picard. Anyone else feeling a little grateful Dwight Schultz’s Reggie Barclay is a no-show so far?
Speaking of fallen “minor” characters, it isn’t just alum from Star Trek’s Enterprise who meet their end in the final season of Picard. A surprise favorite since the beginning of the final season, Todd Stashwick‘s Captain Liam Shaw is also killed off in “Vox.” He dies a hero’s death: holding off the assimilated Titan crew members to give the others a chance to escape.