15 essential Captain Picard episodes to get you pumped for his return

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Double: “Who Watches the Watchers” (S3E4)

Picard perks: Annoyed Picard, Picard and friends, Picard in PJs.

What it’s about: As much as Picard respects other cultures, including their religions, he can’t seem to help himself when provided an opportunity to prove their beliefs false. Whether being mistaken for God or meeting the Devil, Picard won’t stand for falsehoods.

In “Who Watches the Watchers,” some proto-Vulcans are injured and treated in a sick bay. The plan was to return them to their settlement before they realized they had left the planet, as they are more primitive. They have not reached technological advances that allow them to travel through space or understand the existence of other sentient life.

However, things don’t go according to plan, and a citizen awakens to see the crew reporting to and following the orders of Captain Picard. When he is sent back home, he tells his daughter and they decide they are starting a new extremist religion immediately.

As the panicked villagers guess what would please or displease “The Picard,” Troi and Riker attempt to evacuate certain scientists and minimize the cultural contamination. One researcher suggests to Picard that to save Troi’s life (because, of course, this sudden religion demands bloodshed a day after believers are converted), it would be less interference to play along and issue them commands.

Picard finds the idea abhorrent and is forced to explain himself to the leader of the proto-Vulcans. She doesn’t really get that he isn’t God at first, but eventually, Vulcan reasoning wins out and she is able to go home and talk to her people.

Bonus recommendation: “The Devil’s Due” (S4E13) is the other side of the coin. A woman claiming to be a civilization’s devil,  Ardra, comes to claim the planet and its people as her slaves. In mythology, they signed a contract for 1,000 years of peace in exchange for their servitude. Picard throws his hands up and almost decides to leave the planet to their fate, but her mistake was claiming the Enterprise as her own.

The crew discovers a poorly cloaked ship and apprehends Ardra. In a courtroom (another thrilling court case), Picard recreates all of Ardra’s tricks as his crew is now aboard her vessel. Picard is gleeful at exposing the con.

Picard quotes:

  • “I cannot, I will not impose a set of commandments on these people!”
  • “I’ve encountered many who are more credibly to be called the devil than you.”