No, Jean-Luc Picard was never presented as infallible

Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard on the set of Star Trek
Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard on the set of Star Trek /

Thanks to the wonderful folks at SyFy, we have our first opportunity to discuss the claims that Picard was portrayed as infallible in Star Trek: Next Generation

I’m not one to criticize opinions, we all have our own. They’re wonderful to use in conversation, and hopefully, when two different-minded people have a conversation from different viewpoints, each can learn something different about the other’s mindset. In a very well done article, Ani Bundel makes a quizzical claim that doesn’t hold up to the load barring test. That Picard is infallible. She states a certainty in the form of opinion. Another way of saying what she did, and sorry to anyone for crossing streams so to speak, is she spoke an absolute. We all know the only people who speak in absolutes.

People who put pineapple on pizza but I digress. Here’s what Bundel claimed;

"Star Trek has always presented Jean-Luc as infallible. But fans would be better served to remember that — for all we love him — Picard is a man with blind spots and flaws."

Technically she isn’t wrong, Picard is flawed. That’s part of the charm, but to claim he was infallible? That’s simply not how he was ever presented. In fact, the biggest scene in Picard’s movie-arc is the one from First Contact where Lily is outright telling Picard that he is wrong for how he wants to handle the Borg. Remember, the Borg were on the ship while it was in the 21st century. Instead of isolating the ship, self-destructing it and saving as many of his crew as he could, he instead orders them into a suicide mission to engage the Borg on all lower decks. Lily, by calling Picard Captain Ahab, convinces Picard to see he’s simply wrong about how to handle the situation. Picard handles this very well, and not immature at all; by smashing his “toy ships” with a phaser rifle. Picard makes amends with a few of those he wronged and off they go. Mostly.

Essentially he was wrong most of the film. The way he handled the Borg from the get-go was doom to fail. He let Data get captured. He killed several of his own men, even though there are ways to cure….fix (?) people who were assimilated and of course the aforementioned refusal to blow up the ship. In fact, most of this movie was simply him being wrong. Hell, he even attempts to chastize Beverly Crusher about following the Prime Directive with an unconscious Lily;

"CRUSHER: We’re all gonna have to be inoculated, …and I have to get her to sickbay.PICARD: Doctor…CRUSHER: Please, no lectures about the Prime Directive. I will keep her unconscious."

And who told Lily about all the future stuff?


He isn’t shown to be infallible, nor does he treat himself to be. He simply has an assertive view on justice, and what he feels is right. The rest of the article is really well done, but that simple premise, that he was somehow never shown to be wrong, just needed to be debunked.

What do you think, was he infallible? Can you name some more instances where he was contrite in his actions? Let me know in the comment section below or on social media!

Next. Star Trek: Picard may just introduce everyone’s new favorite, Elnor. dark