This post contains spoilers for Star Trek: Picard season 2, episode 9, “Hide and Seek.”
Admiral Jean-Luc Picard has been alone most of his life. He’s had romances but none that have lasted. In the first episode of this season of Star Trek: Picard, he and Laris have a brief moment where it seems they will connect romantically. But Picard pulls away, leaving Laris heartbroken and ready to leave the Chauteau.
In a conversation with Guinan, Picard admits that he has loved deeply, but Guinan counters with “but always with those who would be temporary.” He protests before she adds, “So that you never have to fear any of them taking root.” Then she asks him what happened in his heart that that the two of them had never talked about. It isn’t until the ninth episode of this season that the question gets answered.
Star Trek: Picard has been taking us backwards through Picard’s life.
Over the past nine episodes, we’ve seen a young Picard interacting with this mother. The love between the two of them was evident, but what wasn’t immediately evident is that his mother is suffering from a mental health illness. And when she is a danger to herself and to Jean-Luc, his father locks her in her bedroom for her own safety. But she begs to be released, and Jean-Luc, who absolutely adores his mother, can’t bear it any longer so he unlocks her bedroom door.
The chilling scene that follows is one that embedded itself in the young boy’s heart and has lasted through almost a century. Picard loved and lost, but it was more than that. He blames himself for his mother’s suicide. If he’d left the door locked, she might still be alive. The tragedy has kept him from pursuing a lasting, loving relationship on his own, perhaps because he doesn’t trust that he wouldn’t be responsible for someone else’s pain.
Now that Picard has relived the memory and opened up to Tallin, he can possibly forgive himself and move forward. But he’s dealing with eighty plus years of guilt so whether he will allow that to happen is probably something we won’t see until next season.