13 Events That Should’ve Broken Jean Luc Picard


Jean Luc Picard is a man’s man. Career Starfleet, unafraid of even the most daunting challenges. He’s kind when he needs to be, but more than willing to fight when its called for. That being said, the writers of Star Trek seem to really enjoy torturing this man (sometimes literally). For a character that is known for being made of stone the writers of TNG and the movies seemed to gleefully enjoy trying to shatter him. Here are 13 things that would leave an average person a mess for years to come, but not Jean Luc … well, mostly anyway.

13. When Earth was taken over by parasites. (“Conspiracy” season 1 episode 24)


Jean Luc is given information about something rotten going on at Starfleet command. He tries to meet with an old friend only for his ship to get blown up. Traveling to Earth he finds out it has been infiltrated by parasites and is forced to put down all of his commanding officers who have become infected. Thankfully this is the last time Picard is forced to kill anyone from Starfleet.

Estimated time with Counselor Troi afterward: 2 months, but only because Troi keeps bringing it up

12. The time an alien kidnaps him and nearly gets him killed just so they can talk. (“Darmok” season 5 episode 2)

at Tanagra.
at Tanagra.

The Enterprise is sent to make contact with an alien race. This race has such a bizarre language that the universal translators have no idea what is being said. So the captain of this alien race kidnaps Jean Luc and throws himself and Jean Luc onto a hostile planet. This forces both men to learn their languages or else die from all the awful things living there. It then works! Picard is able to piece it together, but not before his crew tries to beam him away getting his new friend killed. He dies in his arms, just for the chance to learn from each other.

Estimated time with Counselor Troi afterward: whenever he watches a buddy cop movie

11. The time the Enterprise became a horror movie. ( “Genesis” Season 7 episode 19)

As if the Borg weren't enough nightmare fuel for a lifetime.
As if the Borg weren’t enough nightmare fuel for a lifetime.

Picard and Data leave the ship for just a few days, only to come back to a horror show. The crew has been turned into monsters and Worf is killing just about everyone. Barclay goes crazy and tries to blow the ship up — not a great day for anyone. A virus has spread through the ship and turned the crew into prehistoric monsters. So, of course Worf’s would be terrifying.

Just a touch of nightmare...
Just a touch of nightmare…

Picard is also transforming into a werelemur and is forced to keep Worf busy while Data saves the day.

Estimated time with Counselor Troi afterward: Every time Worf growls

10. The first time Q let him travel to different points in his life. Oh yeah, and then got himself stabbed. (“Tapestry” Season 6 Episode 15)


Compared to everything else this one just sounds worse than it is. Jean Luc’s fake heart is killing him and Q gives him a chance to change his past so he never needed it in the first place. It is actually a very sweet story about how your past, for better or worse, makes you who you are and it isn’t to be regretted, only learned from. Its a feel good episode, only made slightly disturbing by the fact that Picard laughs when being stabbed in the back.

Estimated time with Counselor Troi afterward: However long it took him to finish his Earl Grey.

9. The time he shot himself … to death. (“Time Squared” Season 2 episode 13)


This is one of the weirdest episodes of the entire series. The Enterprise is caught in a time loop and a shuttle with Picard is found in it. It turns out that Picard is accidentally keeping the entire thing going and they are able to escape it, but not before Picard kills a time travel duplicate of himself. With that the Enterprise is safe!

Estimated time with Counselor Troi afterward: None until he realizes the Enterprise might have been better off without him in the first place.

8. When he meet the woman of his dreams, and realized he could never have her. (“The Perfect Mate” Season 5 episode 21)


The Enterprise is overseeing a peace agreement. As part of it, a woman designed to be the perfect mate is being escorted. She bonds with the first man she meets and becomes their ideal woman. Everything is going well until she is woken up and meets Picard. She bonds and becomes his ideal woman. Picard falls in love with her, but because of duty and honor he is able to keep himself from trying to keep her. In the end, he finds out she bonded with him, and that she is thrilled it was with a man like him. That she will never truly love her future husband, but that she will be able to please him. Just looking at Picard’s face is painful. He looks like he wants to die. I am not doing this justice just how heartbreaking the episode is.

Estimated time with Counselor Troi afterward: Every time he tries to go on a date with Beverly Crusher

7. The time he thought he had a son who was going to die. (“Bloodlines” season 7 episode 22)


As I’ve mentioned before, Jean Luc is a career man through and through. His family is Starfleet. So it came as a surprise that he had a son. An old flame of his had a child many years ago. Damon Bok, an enemy of Picard’s who hates him for killing his own son, is coming to kill the young man. As it turns out, Damon Bok used genetic manipulation to make it look like Picard had a son. In the end, he is saved, Bok is stopped, and Picard is left with the crippling sense that he will die with nothing.

Estimated time with Counselor Troi afterward: whenever he sees a bald baby

6 and 5. Watching an entire race die for a lifetime, and then losing the only person he was able to connect with over it. (“The Inner Light” Season 5 episode 25 & “Lessons” Season 6 episode 19)

If you never thought a flute could make you cry ...
If you never thought a flute could make you cry …

It says a lot about this list that this is only numbers 6 and 7. In “The Inner Light” a probe forces Picard to live a different life. The memories of its creator were beamed into his mind. He temporarily forgot his own life and lived this one. He had a job, got married, had kids, and a grandchild. he had friends and family and then watched as their world slowly died. It was a bitter sweet episode since the probe was made just so their world wouldn’t be forgotten.


Something he learned in his second life was to play a flute. It was the only tangible thing he had from that life. Eventually he met a nice lady, the head of stellar sciences. The pair make a real connection over music and he plays the flute while she plays her piano. He falls with her, and it’s very sweet. Eventually, Picard is forced to end it with her. He is forced to send her on a dangerous mission and she nearly dies. For a time he thinks she did. After that, he knows he could never send her on a dangerous mission again. He ends things with her and tries to go back to his old life. The episode ends with him trying to play his flute, but he simply puts it down. The only tangible thing he had from his second life forever tainted with a lost love.

Estimated time with Counselor Troi afterward: Never, because to share this is pain.

4. The time Data died for him. (Star Trek Nemesis)


In the movie Star Trek Nemesis Picard faces off against a clone of himself. A flaw in the cloning process forces him to kill Picard for his DNA. A fierce battle rages in a nebula. In the end Clone Picard activates a super weapon to kill Picard since he can’t capture him. Picard goes to destroy the super weapon and sacrifice himself but Data stops him. Picard is teleported away and Data then sacrifices himself. It is bad enough that a member of his crew and an old friend dies to save him. What makes it worse is that Data was the closest thing to a son Picard will ever have. In case you haven’t noticed, Picard has a tough time hanging on to those closest to him. I’m sure some of you are saying “But wait! All of Data’s memories were downloaded into B4!” True, and maybe Data would come back, but the trauma of losing his friend would be with him for a very long time.

Estimated time with Counselor Troi afterward: None, he can only stare out the window and contemplate his pain.

3. The time he was broken from being tortured ( “Chain of Command” Season 6 episode 10)

Gul Madred is the devil.
Gul Madred is the devil.

The good Captain is sent on a mission to investigate a Cardassian research facility. It turns out it’s a trap. He is caught and brutally tortured both physically and psychologically. The episode is painful to watch, mainly because of how cold the person torturing him his (played by the magnificent David Warner). What is worse though, is that by the end of it, the torture is so bad it changes his perception of reality. Just look at Picard when the torture starts:


And Picard at the end:

What's worse, is that he really thought there were three.
What’s worse, is that he really thought there were three.

Estimated time with Counselor Troi afterward: Just once. He now looks back on it as a refreshing respite from the pain of his own heart.

2. The time is entire family was burned alive. (Star Trek Generations)

Don’t let this image fool you. There is only pain here.

Just writing that was painful. At the very beginning of  the movie Picard is informed his brother, sister-in law and nephew were burned alive. In Picard’s own words a huge source of solace for him was that “the family would go on.” Now the Picard name dies with him. This is made even worse by his time in the nexus. It is a pocket dimension that lets him live his heart’s desire. There he sees his dead nephew Rene.

Picard is not a pretty crier.

That desire was having a family and a lovely wife. He then leaves that to try and save a world. Picard knows in the end that Starfleet is his family and he would never hurt them. Oh god this is only number two…

1. The time he was forced to murder thousands. (“The Best of Both Worlds” Season 3 episode 26 and season 4 episode 1)

When Sisko and Picard first met...
When Sisko and Picard first met…

Was there any doubt about what number one would be? For those who don’t remember, Picard is captured by the Borg and his knowledge is used to destroy 40 federation ships. Some of those ships would’ve been pretty small, but more than a few would’ve had hundreds. There might have even been tens of thousands of people, and Picard was forced to help kill all of them. Thankfully his crew was able to save him. Data was a critical part of that so go back to number four on our list just so you can fully understand Picard’s pain. As we have talked about several times on this list, Picard doesn’t have a family. Starfleet is his family. His friends are all Starfleet, his life is Starfleet.


It is even worse, in the episode”Family” (the very next episode) Picard goes home and tells his brother what it was like. “I wasn’t strong enough, they took away everything that I was!” If you have ever talked to a rape survivor, then you will recognize that sentiment. That’s right, they didn’t just use him, they raped him. They turned him into a war criminal against the only family he had, and made him watch every moment of it. Honestly this alone should have broken him, but in the words of his jerk brother “this is going to be with you a long time, you can only chose where you live with it.” I am paraphrasing, but the point is that Picard then sucked it up and went back to his family, the only family he will ever really have.

Estimated time with Counselor Troi afterward:

Gunpowder Therapy Session #542
Gunpowder Therapy  Session #542

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