A running motif throughout this season of “Picard” has been the fate of the title character’s mother, seen periodically in flashbacks, and the center of the plot in the seventh episode “Monsters.” throughout the series, Picard has experienced flashbacks to his childhood wherein he recalled a dark game of Hide and Seek, wherein his mother was locked in a basement room by his father. In “Monsters,” it was made explicit that Picard’s mother Yvette (Madeline Wise) was bipolar and that his father Maurice (James Callis) had to sternly aid her mental illness. Picard’s dark childhood memories are something Trekkies previously did not know about the character, I suppose, but the introduction of all this material has little to do with the plot or the (hardly extant) themes of the season. Picard had mixed feelings about his stern father and would — as learned in this episode — have to reveal that his mother died by suicide, found hanging in the very greenhouse where she and young Jean-Luc used to gaze up at the stars.
This is certainly tragic and dramatic, but — aggravatingly — does not reveal anything new about Picard’s character. It did nothing to explain who he was today, his relationships with others, his decisions to become a Starfleet officer, anything of significance. All we know is that he had a traumatic experience as a child. At nearly 100 years of age, it seems Picard might have previously processed his grief, come to terms with it, and might be able to talk about it more frankly. Recall that Picard served aboard a starship wherein he always had a professional psychiatrist sitting to his left, and who would call him into his ready room whenever things seemed difficult for him. “Next Generation” offered mental health services 24/7 for whoever needed them. The trauma story that “Picard” limply tries to communicate seems cheap, given the franchise’s former depiction of mental health care.