Star Trek’s Newest Captain Has Something Big In Common With A Legendary Past Captain
In the latest episode of Star Trek: Picard, we learn the reason the Titan's Captain Liam Shaw hates Picard is because he was at the Battle of Wolf 359, when a transformed Picard worked alongside the Borg.
In the latest episode of Picard, Star Trek reveals Captain Liam Shaw (Todd Stashwick) has the same reason to hate the titular hero as Ben Sisko does when he comes face-to-face with Picard in the 1993 premiere of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Like Sisko, Shaw was at the Battle of Wolf 359, when Locutus of Borg — the Borg-assimilated Picard — helped the villains destroy 39 Starfleet vessels and kill 11,000. The Titan captain appears to suffer from Survivor’s Guilt and PTSD, explaining why he’s been treating Picard like garbage since the Season 3 premiere.
About halfway through “No Win Scenario,” Picard is distracting his son Jack and the Titan crew with tales from his youth. His nostalgia for the Star Trek days of yore is interrupted by the arrival of Shaw, who reveals what he has in common with Sisko. Shaw asks Jack, “Did your old man ever tell you how he and I first met?”
Up to this point, fans had been led to believe Shaw had never had contact with Picard, but the Titan captain reveals he was part of the engineering crew on the doomed U.S.S. Constance at the Battle of Wolf 359. He was one of 10 seemingly random chosen crew members — out of 50 — given a spot on the only lifeboat remaining on the Constance. As he begins yelling and pointing at Picard, referring to him “setting the world on fire,” it’s clear the years have not lent Shaw any sense of forgiveness.
If there is one man in Star Trek who could empathize with Shaw, it’s Ben Sisko (Avery Brooks). Patrick Stewart guest stars in “Emissary,” the premiere episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but he and Sisko don’t become best buds. When he first meets face-to-face with Picard, as Shaw would do later, he surprises the captain with the knowledge that he was also at Wolf 359, and the look in his eyes makes it clear he harbors no more forgiveness for Picard than Shaw would later.
In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, we learn that, unlike Shaw, Sisko isn’t tortured over who survived but who didn’t. Sisko’s wife Jennifer dies aboard the U.S.S. Saratoga, where he was the First Officer, and he is forced to leave her body behind to escape with his son Jake. Later the Prophets — seemingly omnipotent aliens who live outside the stream of time — essentially diagnose Sisko with PTSD by bringing him back to the moment of Jennifer’s death and telling him “you exist here.”
By revealing this story, Picard lends a lot of depth to Shaw, who is initially set up as an irritating foil. It also makes you wonder why more Star Trek characters don’t react to Picard similarly to Shaw and Sisko. As Shaw said, 11,000 people died at Wolf 359 — that’s a lot of families and friends with a potential bone to pick with Picard.
To find out if there’s still more to learn about Captain Liam Shaw, you can check out Episode 5 of Star Trek: Picard which will stream next Thursday on Paramount+.