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Star Trek: Data's Death In Picard Failed Geordi La Forge


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Star Trek: Picard may have sent off Lieutenant Commander Data in style, but the android's death indirectly failed another Star Trek: The Next Generation character - Geordi La Forge. Set two decades after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis, the spin-off series finds the titular captain still grieving for Data, who sacrificed himself in Nemesis to save Picard and the crew of the Enterprise. The season 1 arc in many ways addressed fan complaints regarding the circumstances of Data's death — but by not including La Forge in the story, did a disservice to the two characters' TNG friendship.

In the Star Trek: Picard season 1 finale, Picard got to say a final goodbye to Data after all: when Picard himself died, his consciousness was uploaded into a "golem," essentially a synthetic body that is indistinguishable from an organic one. While his consciousness was being prepped for the transfer to the golem, Picard once again met Data in a digital simulation that cyberneticists Bruce Maddox and Altan Inigo Soong created from the memories Data uploaded into the prototype android B-4 in Nemesis.

Picard and Data's final conversation is one of the highlights of Star Trek: Picard's first season, a tender, beautiful reminder of what made the duo so palpable on TNG. Yet it seems something of a missed opportunity that Data never got to say farewell to Geordi La Forge. While Picard served as something of a paternal mentor to Data, Geordi was unquestionably his best friend. There's even an episode of TNG "The Most Toys," where Data is presumed dead and Geordi is, by far, the most affected member of the Enterprise crew, refusing to believe his friend was gone.

 

It's understandable why Star Trek: Picard chose to concentrate on the relationship between Picard and Data. The pair were the closest thing TNG had to a Kirk/Spock duo, though it wasn't quite the same relationship. And it even makes a certain amount of sense that Picard would be the one to be by Data's side in his final moments. Yet there didn't seem to be any particular time constraint on terminating Data's consciousness. Picard doesn't explicitly say where Geordi is in 2399, but viewers know he's still alive - he gets name dropped by Picard's delightful Romulan assistant Zhaban early on in the season as a potential ally - and was almost certainly affected by Data's death in the same way Picard was.

Star Trek: Picard is, of course, a show primarily about Jean-Luc Picard. Even the TNG guest appearances from Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis (who played Riker and Troi in TNG) were only conceived of when it became apparent the story required them; the idea that Picard would be in constant contact with his old crew is probably not realistic, and not the aim of the show overall. But granting Geordi one last conversation with his best friend seems like something the show could have indulged in, and with Brent Spiner claiming he's done playing Data, it will always feel like a missed opportunity.

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