This Was The 'North Star' Of Picard Season 3 For Showrunner Terry Matalas

When "Star Trek" first began as a franchise in the 1960s, it was extremely episodic, relying heavily on the characters and their interactions to help keep viewers engaged from week to week. As television became more serialized and the storylines more complicated, the importance of these character moments became even more vital, serving as connective tissue between the classic "Trek" and the new. Sure, a series might have a two or three-parter each season that's extremely plot driven and relegates character development to the backseat, but a big part of what makes "Star Trek" so endearing is the idea of hanging out with these crews as they go on their adventures and solve intergalactic dilemmas. People become incredibly attached to the characters and hold them to higher scrutiny, making character continuity both a treat and a challenge for "Trek" writers.

It was especially important for the writers of the third season of "Star Trek: Picard" to take character arcs into consideration, because the characters being brought back from "Star Trek: The Next Generation" are extremely beloved, and the fans will settle for nothing less than perfection. In a roundtable interview attended by /Film's Vanessa Armstrong, season 3 showrunner Terry Matalas explained his "North star" for balancing character moments with big plot-driven sequences, and it was surprisingly simple and true to the spirit of "Star Trek."

Giving everyone their due

A journalist at the roundtable asked Terry Matalas about balancing the story with character arcs, and he explained that there was a simple way for him to ensure that the fans didn't feel slighted with regards to their favorite "Next Gen" characters:

"The story always comes first, but we wanted to make sure every character had their due, and in the finale, you didn't want to come away, walking away from the finale, thinking that what one character didn't have a great singular moment or contributed to saving the day. That would feel terrible. So that was one of the North stars to how do we make sure each one of these characters has a goosebumps moment of save the day. So that was part of breaking the story for sure."

While the overall story in season 3 of "Picard" gets a little convoluted at times (but hey, it's "Star Trek" — that's kind of par for the course), the character moments hold the whole thing together and help the larger plot sing. I might not be able to relay the details of the Borg attack or the battle with Vadic (Amanda Plummer) with any certainty, but moments like Michael Dorn's momentous return as the Klingon warrior Worf and Geordi (LeVar Burton) and Data's (Brent Spiner) heartfelt moment in the engineering bay of the Titan will live on in my memory forever.

Some truly great character-driven moments

When it comes to every character getting their moment, Terry Matalas and the writing team did a pretty good job ensuring that was the case. Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) had not only great scenes with Picard (Patrick Stewart) and their son, Jack (Ed Speelers), but she also got to figure out that the "waves" they were experiencing out in space were actually giant alien contractions back in their first encounter with Vadic. Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) had lovely moments with her husband Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and used her Betazoid psychic powers to help Jack learn about the Borg and rescue our heroes at the last possible moment! Considering how often both women were given short shrift on "The Next Generation," this feels like real progress.

There's also the aforementioned scene with Geordi and Data, along with several other moments between the two of them that are downright heartwarming and tear-jerking in the best of ways. Everyone gets their chance to shine, Worf gets to be funny, and by the final scene, we've been given a proper goodbye to some of the most important characters in many of our lives. For many of us who have been watching since we were children, this crew feels like family, and thankfully this reunion was a satisfying one.

"Star Trek: Picard" is available to stream in its entirety on Paramount+.