Star Trek fan SOLVES the PICARD / GUINAN / PUNK ROCKER mystery…

Not since Khan recognized Chekov in Star Trek II, have Trekkers been so up-in-arms about an apparent Star Trek inconsistency! Back in 1982, fans demanded to know how Khan Noonien Singh knew who Chekov was because “Space Seed” aired during the first season of TOS and Chekov didn’t join the crew until the second season! It got so bad that WALTER KOENIG created a story that has been told to fans at conventions millions (thousands!) THOUSANDS of times…okay, maybe hundreds of times.

Anyway, that was 1982. It’s now 40(!!!) years later, and fans have a new controversy to passionately argue about—and it goes all the way back to 1893! Yes, I’m talking about the fourth episode of STAR TREK: PICARD‘s second season, “The Watcher.” In my editorial review from last week—where I identified all the easter eggs I could find—I mentioned the little “oopsie” where Guinan of 2024 doesn’t recognize Picard, even though she had a pretty significant interaction with him in San Francisco 131 years earlier in the TNG episode “Time’s Arrow, Part II.” I decided to forgive the little “oopsie” because the rest of the episode was so darned awesome and consistent with tons of Trek canon!

However, on Facebook, many fans chose not to forgive me! In comment after comment—some nice, some not so nice—I was informed about this article in which co-showrunner for Picard, TERRY MATALAS, explained that the “oopsie” wasn’t a mistake at all but done quite on purpose…

This Guinan wouldn’t remember Picard because in this alternate timeline, the TNG episode “Time’s Arrow” never happened. Because there was no Federation, those events did not play out the same. No previous relationship exists. However, she still was likely traveling to Earth and, as we know, she hung around a bit. So this Guinan is different. But she, of course, can sense something is off. She’s going through a kind of time-sickness thanks to Q’s meddling with the timeline.

Of course, Facebook is nothing if not immediate. No sooner had I been “schooled” by multiple Facebook fans than other fans began defending me (or simply attacking the original “schoolers” or the show itself) by pointing to the scene on the bus with the punk rocker. Explain that!

Explain what? Well, KIRK THATCHER reprised his brief role from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home with the following “sequel” scene…

At the end, the rocker humbly apologizes and turns down the music, rubbing his spiked collar as if remembering the last time this happened on a bus up north in San Francisco when he was given a Vulcan nerve pinch by Spock.

Of course, if the Picard of the Confederation never went back in time to 1893 to meet young Guinan, then it stands to reason that Kirk and Spock never went back to 1986 to find two whales to bring back to the future. And even if Kirk did go back, the xenophobic Federation would certainly not have allowed a Vulcan to accompany the team. Heck, Spock probably wouldn’t even exist in the altered timeline (a human mating with a non-human would be abhorrent!).

So why was the punk rocker rubbing his neck with worry, hmmm…?

In another article on the Trekmovie website, Terry Matalas admits that this was, indeed, a bit of unexplained discontinuity, and he tried to explain it…

Now technically, Star Trek IV wouldn’t have happened in this alternate timeline, but maybe SOME part of him remembers his encounter with Spock in the Prime Timeline.

Ummmm…yeah-but-no. Fans weren’t buying it. If Guinan with her timey-whimey sixth-senses didn’t get some “vibe” off of Picard, why would a random human on the bus feel anything?

Facebook fans faced off with a fury that made the Miller Lite “tastes great vs. less filling” wars of the 1970s-80s look like pre-school T-ball. (And right now, most of my non-U.S. readers don’t understand any of what I just said!)

And so the problem remained; lots of the people were mean, and most of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches. And then, one day after Thursday, nearly 24 hours after after my blog had been posted, one Facebooker, sitting on his own in front of a computer in his bedroom or office or a small cafe, suddenly realized what it was that had been going wrong all this time, and he finally knew how the Star Trek fan world could once again be made a good and happy place. This time it was right, it would work…at least for this temporary fan controversy.

I wish I could remember who it was who suggested this head-canon adjustment so I could credit him (not even sure if it was a him, her, or they). Unfortunately, I posted the blog link on so many Facebook groups and there were so many arguments that I can’t seem to find it. So if you’re the person who suggested it, please identify yourself in the comments of this blog.

So what’s the answer, you ask?

Well, Star Trek IV most likely DID happen in the alternate Confederation timeline…or at least a version of it. After all, the alien Probe would still have come to earth in the late 23rd century, since they put those humpback whales here hundreds of thousands or even millions of years ago to monitor things. And I doubt the Confederation would have had any technology to fight or disable the probe. Their only solution—like in the Prime Timeline—would have been going back in time to get some humpback whales to go tell this probe what to do with itself.

Let’s assume it was Kirk and the Enterprise that made the trip. Time travel was still risky (especially without a Vulcan), which is why the Confederation didn’t do it often. But Kirk and crew manage to successfully get back to San Francisco, and whether alone or with a anding party, General James Kirk finds himself on that same bus with that same Punk Rocker.

Now, we’ve established that the alternate Confederation versions of our heroes aren’t quite as—shall we say—kind and gentle as those we know and love. So what do you think happened when Confederation General Kirk encountered the Punk Rocker and he gave Kirk the middle finger? No, really, what do you think happened?

Y’see, this Facebook fan whose name I don’t remember figured it had to be something pretty violent (although not enough to get Kirk arrested for assault). Or maybe Kirk ordered Sulu or one of his security men to do it. My guess is that the move was some kind of choke hold, rendering the punk unconscious. This would explain him rubbing his neck from the memory of the encounter rather than simply grabbing his shoulder of something. Y’see, a Vulcan neck pinch isn’t that traumatic. Some guy (or gal) with pointed ears puts their hand on your shoulder and neck, then you wake up a few minutes later…maybe with a little headache.

A choke hold is a much slower and more painful (and probably scarier) way to lose consciousness. It would probably leave a bit of emotional trauma, even three decades later, and even for a tough-guy punk. And hey, maybe it was something even more painful and traumatizing…like pulling back on the rocker’s leather collar until, gasping for air, he passed out.

For me, this explanation makes MUCH more sense than Terry’s “…maybe SOME part of him remembers his encounter with Spock in the Prime Timeline.” Now granted, all of this conjecture is about as meaningful or as “official” as Walter Koenig’s “Chekov was in the bathroom” story. When all is said and ddone, it’s just us fans being fans…and trying to explain away the “oopsies” in Star Trek is what we do.

23 thoughts on “Star Trek fan SOLVES the PICARD / GUINAN / PUNK ROCKER mystery…”

  1. “even the ones with digital watches….”

    In SF history class, there will be a test on this material. Those of us of a certain age get it. The untutored youngsters (!) may not.

    By the way, I’m glad you got the site back up so quickly. Clearly it was time to remember those immortal two words: “Don’t Panic”.

  2. Well, while I’m confident that I’m not the fan you’re referring to (I didn’t post it on Facebook), I did Tweet the same theory a few days ago. Not saying this because I’m looking to take credit since I’m sure many had the same idea independently, but it’s worth noting it got a like from Matalas. That’s not necessarily an endorsement, but he doesn’t seem to be against it in any case.

    https://twitter.com/rogermccoy/status/1508522861241286665

      1. Greetings Johnathan of clan Lane!
        I believe your article’s offered conclusion comes as close as to what was the intended explanation for Kirk Thatcher’s character reaction, (The intended explanation that was actually included when The storyline for Picard seasons 1 and seasons 2 up to ep5 “Fly me to the moon” was laid out but kept fairly quiet to whip up conversation ) If prodded, we may find that Terry Matalas would endorse your articles conclusions reached for the “punk rocker” issue. Most excellent article good Sir.

        1. Thank you, my friend. As I’ve commented on Facebook to multiple people, this blog was more of a thought-exercise than anything else. We Trekkies have been trying to explain away things since TOS first mentioned there was a bowling alley somewhere on the Enterprise (and eight years later, the Franz Joseph blueprints included a bowling alley right under the hangar deck!). πŸ™‚

  3. Hi Jonathan.

    Isn’t the Guinan answer much simpler (albeit consistent with the explanation proffered)?

    If Guinan who met Picard in “Time’s Arrow” was Whoopi G, then this younger Guinan, is far younger than “Time’s Arrow Guinan since it is Not Whoopi G…. Ergo she has never met Picard. Now, if Whoopi G had been the Guinan in Ep 4, we really would need additional logic, but to me the ” Time’s Arrow” non occurance is not definitive, since there are a bunch of people with Picard for whom that time line is still their past. There is nothing definitive to tell us Young Guinan is not from another timeline… In fact, it can be ignored. She’s younger than when she would have met him period, even if Watcher Guinan has come from 2345, then 2963 followed by 1624. She is younger, so given Whoopi G’s Guinan is at least 600yrs old, young Guinan may already be 200 yrs old…different actress=”who are you”.

    I’d better stop before I create a causational loop paradox .

    Fran in UK

    1. My brain hurts from your comment, Fran.

      But Guinan is not a time-traveler. If she’d had that ability, she certainly would have gone back to before the Borg invaded and assimilated her people to warn them. So the Guinan of “Time’s Arrow” was a younger Guinan than the one played by a different actress in 2024, who is a younger version of the 24th and 25th century Guinan from TNG and Picard.

  4. “General” Kirk? Boy, I’ve missed a lot, or that Mandela Effect is cutting across all Star Trek Canon.

    1. The Confederation does not seem to have naval ranks. Admiral Picard is now General Picard and Captan Rios is now Colonel Rios, so one would think that Admiral Kirk would become Confederation General Kirk. Prove me wrong! πŸ™‚

  5. Well, I think it’s a darned shame that some people have to stoop so low as to berate YOU for what TPTB are doing with our beloved Trek canon! It’s surely not YOUR fault. I appreciate the hard work you put into your blogs! It lets me at least “kinda have an idea” of what is happening, and how badly they treat some aspects of canon. OK, so they tossed a whole bunch of Easter eggs in there, and some of them were pretty cool, based on your descriptions… but they still poop all over a LOT of canon. πŸ™

    The sad thing is that we have to “retcon” so much in our heads in the first place! Sheesh! They just want to throw canon out the window, and apparently DO NOT CARE how many LOYAL fans are seriously irritated by that! A personal soap box for me, is how Kirk PROVED that profanity was no longer used in the future… but here they sprinkle it ALL OVER NuTrek! >:( Yeah, they WANT TO curse… so they CAN’T show it on regular TV! Thus, they make people subscribe to get it. Sigh. Well, so far, Prodigy has been a good show. I hope it stays that way… AND that they DON’T flush canon down the dumper with Strange new Worlds!

    1. Picard, season 2, is VERY respectful of canon. If you haven’t been watching it, Willie, don’t judge. When you finally do watch it, you’ll see how wrong you were….trust me.

      1. I read your blogs, and a few other spoiler-rich reviews. I’ve also watched a few 4-minute clips here and there of various scenes. I see where they “pick up the story lines” here and there, and yeah, I do get the fact that it’s “ANOTHER ALTERNATE timeline”… groan. πŸ™ But when Kirk so clearly and definitely proved that profanity was no longer used… and here we go, they sprinkle it liberally through these shows, like … oh, forget it. “ALTERNATE TIMELINE”… they use it as an excuse. So anyway, those clips were intentional spoilers, giving away key plot lines. Canon issues aside, It just bugs me to see NuTrek being made NON family-friendly, now. πŸ™ Used to be OK to watch with the kids. Not anymore. πŸ™
        At least, there’s Prodigy… and hopefully, SNW…

        1. Actually, Jayden (11 years old) loves watching Lower Decks with me. I’d let him watch Picard, but I don’t want to spoil Voyager for him (we’ll be starting it in half a season of TNG and DS9). I don’t think I’d have him watch Discovery, though, not because of foul language or LGBTQIA+ stuff (one of his classmates is the daughter of two moms, and his best friend has a younger brother who identifies as a sister), but simply because I don’t want to have to watch those Disco episodes again! πŸ™‚

          As for not cursing in the 23rd century…perhaps. But swearing was certainly back by the 24th century. Just ask Data as the Enterprise-D was crashing into Veridian III.

  6. Let’s see this: the action of this episode of Picar occurs BEFORE the change in the timeline, the future has not been modified yet and if it has not been modified Kirk and Spock have traveled to the past and met with the punk, and the problem with Guinan remains, however, it may be that the wink of 1800 is a later version of 2024, that is to say that in the future he traveled to the past (so physically appears a few years more).
    Sorry for my English

    1. Re-read the quote from Terry M. in the article, Leonardo. He explains it pretty concisely. By traveling back from the altered future, none of the previous time travel adventures of Star Trek happened quite the same way. So even though the change is still three days away, Picard has come from a reality where it already happened.

      In other words, if the change does, in fact, happen (Picard and the team fail), Guinan won’t suddenly forget her encounter with Picard in 1893. It already hasn’t happened. But if Picard succeeds, Guinan’s whole reality will shift from 1893 to 2024 and beyond.

      Yeah, my brain hurts, too. πŸ™‚

  7. Multiple Universe’s in Star Trek Series and Movies, it’s not inconsistencies but unknown happenings unfolding in other Universe’s, new Treks new Universe’s and happenings, some we relate to others we can’t synch our minds to fully due the content, others we can just synch with but not completely then there’s Picard, dark mysteries, new visuals, most can synch and stay with it though it to isn’t our Universe or the Trek Universe we most love but character’s we care for and people we love pulling it off grandly as best they can

      1. I don’t hate Disco but the alternate Universe thing in mind kept me watching lol

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