Star Trek: Picard Season 3 Has Needed Adult Supervision, So Here's Geordi

This post contains spoilers for the sixth episode of season 3's "Star Trek: Picard."

"Star Trek: Picard" has all but reinvented itself in its ongoing third and final season, which has turned the spin-off series following the retired Admiral Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) into a "Next Generation" reunion special. Although opinions may vary regarding exactly how well-handled all the nostalgia continues to be (/Film's own Witney Seibold discussed this very aspect in his review of episode 6), it's difficult to deny the pleasures of seeing Picard and Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) joined by the aged Klingon warrior pacifist Worf (Michael Dorn), Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden), and especially Commodore Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton). The beloved engineer's long-awaited appearance in the latest episode, however, brings more than mere nostalgia — it provides a whole new dynamic to the show's main cast.

In short, Geordi comes back just in time to set our renegade heroes straight and take on the role of the lone adult in the room.

Seriously, let's recap. To this point, Picard and Riker have essentially hijacked a Starfleet exploration ship (twice!) that was simply minding its own business, are responsible for the casualties of several officers who never signed up for this galaxy-spanning mission, and recklessly broke pretty much every regulation in the book along the way. These older versions of our "Next Generation" bridge crew are a lot different in both temperament and technique than they used to be, but at least some things apparently never change.

Thankfully, Geordi remains a voice of reason in the middle of all the chaos. And that's exactly why we love him.

A rude welcome

Who knew that the "Next Generation" characters would evolve quite a bit in the decades since we last saw them? "Picard" has gone to great lengths to test its title character's innate sense of idealism and self-righteousness through the reveal of Jean-Luc and Beverly's son, Jack (Ed Speleers). In addition, the reappearance of the defected Bajoran, Ro Laren (Michelle Forbes), exposed how the conflict between her and Picard has festered over the years. Riker has also changed — he's built a family with his "imzadi," Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis), which has tempered his more impulsive instincts. Even Worf has undergone a dramatic transformation, becoming much less hotheaded and more prone to meditation than he used to be (to Riker's dismay, hilariously).

And when their adventure brings the USS Titan to Geordi's doorstep at the Fleet Museum space dock — home to the preserved relics of "every legendary starship" in Starfleet's service over the years — the desperate crew experiences a very different welcome than they expected.

Unlike Worf or Riker's tendency to follow Picard with no questions asked, a visibly angry Geordi promptly cuts the Starfleet fugitives down to size. No matter how genuinely urgent and desperate their plight (and being chased by Changelings who have infiltrated the highest levels of the Federation most definitely counts as that!), they still thoughtlessly endangered the well-being of those Geordi cares about most. It's no surprise that the engineer would eventually settle down, have kids, and that both his daughters Alandra (Mica Burton, LeVar's real-life daughter) and Sidney (Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut) would follow in his footsteps and join Starfleet. What shocks Picard, however, is his unwillingness to help in any way.

And, honestly, his reasoning is perfectly sound ... but, refreshingly, perhaps a little misguided.

Family first

With age comes wisdom ... and maybe a little bit of overcautiousness. The years have been kind to Geordi La Forge — he's graduated from the rank of Lt. Commander to Commodore and is the current station keeper of the Fleet Museum. But when Picard drops out of warp, unannounced and fully expecting his old engineer from the USS Enterprise to be genuinely happy to see him, well, Geordi is nothing short of peeved at his former captain's behavior. Unlike the good ol' days, when he chose to put himself at risk day in and day out, he had no say in this latest situation. And more importantly, neither did his daughters.

But even the most level-headed Starfleet commodore can still have room to grow. To his credit, showrunner Terry Matalas gives Geordi an interesting arc of having to come to terms with the fact that, like it or not, he himself taught his now grown-up children to follow their own convictions — much as he once did while serving under Picard. In this case, that means being willing to provide whatever aid he can to the beleaguered Titan. Importantly, Geordi's reversal doesn't automatically justify Picard's run-and-gun attitude. Instead, the Commodore realizes that respecting his daughters' agency and reaffirming his faith in them is his top priority. Helping his old friends comes as a secondary concern, even though they're important to him.

So when the going gets tough, Geordi once again gets going. Forced into jerry-rigging a Klingon cloaking device onto the Titan, the Commodore rises to the occasion, makes use of his legendary engineering skills, and gets right back to work.

Meeting your heroes

Of course, not everyone in "Star Trek: Picard" immediately capitulates to Jean-Luc's whims. Though they've since come to a much greater understanding of one another, his roguish and estranged son Jack never lets Picard off the hook for his past mistakes. Riker himself, in fact, had to dress down his former Captain in a previous episode, when his insistence on attacking the villainous ship commander Vadic (Amanda Plummer) nearly cost them everything. But nobody, not even Geordi with his initial misgivings, can even approach the amusing vehemence of Captain Liam Shaw (Todd Stashwick).

Shaw's entire demeanor changes, however, once the venerable Geordi La Forge steps foot on his starship. His icy exterior melts in the presence of such Starfleet royalty, completely changing the stone-faced captain into a total fanboy. The fact that both are former engineers gives them an immediate common ground to appreciate one another's skills. Shaw, of course, has nothing but admiration for all the feats that Geordi accomplished in his heyday. As for the good Commodore, even he takes a beat in the middle of their dire emergency to communicate how impressed he is with Shaw's maintenance of the Titan amid extremely trying circumstances. Two nerds from entirely different walks of life bonding over their shared nerdery? That's what "Trek" is all about, baby!

The arrival of LeVar Burton in "Picard" had to be perfect, and episode 6 delivered just about as well as anyone could've hoped. By giving us an older, wiser, but still relatable Geordi, his potentially distracting presence only adds more meaning to the ongoing action. By gracing us all once again with his cool, calm, and collected personality, Geordi proves that a parent was just what everyone on "Star Trek: Picard" truly needed.