Many fans were unhappy with Jonathan Frakes over one particular scene in Star Trek: Picard
Star Trek: Picard began its first season as a darker series than any we’d ever known in the Star Trek universe. But it was one particular scene in episode 5 “Stardust City Rag” that made fans unhappy. The death of Icheb (Casey King), one of the drones Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) rescued during her time on Star Trek: Voyager, was horrendously tortured before she found him. Unable to get him help and rather than see him suffer, Seven killed him with her phaser. And director Jonathan Frakes still stands by the scene.
At the Star Trek: Picard panel at the 56-Year Mission convention in Las Vegas [via Trekmovie], Frakes was asked about the controversial episode, and he defended the need for the goriness that many fans disliked.
"I think the objective was to disturb and to make it as painful and graphic and emotional as possible. It was challenging and yet exciting to do something that far out of our usual comfort zone. We tried to scare the shit out of you and I hope we did."
Jonathan Frakes set up the change in Seven of Nine’s character.
The Seven of Nine we knew aboard Voyager responded to situations logically with very little emotion. When introduced in this scene, she was a different character altogether. Her witnessing Icheb’s suffer and subsequent decision to end his life added to the evolution of her character. There was no way the logic would overtake her emotions here. And that made her a better character for this series.
Frakes knew Picard was not going to be Star Trek: The Next Generation or Voyager. It was going to take its characters down some hellacious paths, and this was a set-up for Seven to become willing to do whatever it took to protect the ones she cared about in the future. Yes, it’s a difficult scene to watch, but, for me, it served a purpose.