Star Trek: Picard (ST: PIC) has unfortunately finished, and now we are left with some of the best memories, the hardest goodbyes, and some of the most emotional moments we’ve seen from Star Trek: The Next Generation crew. And whatever you felt about the season as a whole, one thing is for certain. Amanda Plummer was an absolute diamond. However, we look at Why Vadic Isn’t The Best Star Trek Villain.
She gave an amazing performance, following beautifully in the footsteps of her father (Christopher Plummer), creating a character so rich and wondrous to watch. Yet, it does appear like series creatives may have overhyped the character of Captain Vadic in Star Trek: Picard. This article will take a good look at Star Trek Picard Season 3, so as always, spoilers ahead!
The Villain In The Mist
From the very first trailer appearance of Vadic, there was so much speculation, rumour and pondering as to who she may actually be. Was she someone from Jean-Luc Picard’s (Sir Patrick Stewart) past, or was she a new villain lurking in the shadows? It came as a nice surprise that she was a Changeling. The U.S.S. Enterprise-E and The Next Generation crew never got to combat the Changelings on screen. So finally, seeing the legendary Captain go head to head with one was shocking.
It was certainly unexpected, and the wonderful work of Amanda Plummer only heightened Vadic’s mysterious depth. In every scene, no matter the temperament or mood, you could not help but be drawn in by her. She stole every scene, gave it her all, and without a shadow of a doubt, became one of the most detailed villains we have seen in a long time.
Vadic worked best as a mystery, working in the shadows. She was the curse that followed Jack (Ed Speleers), eventually tagged onto the U.S.S. Titan’s crew. She was portrayed in trailers as the new, up-and-coming villain that would rival Khan (Ricardo Montalban), Dukat (Mark Alaimo), Q (John De Lancie) and, of course, General Chang (Christopher Plummer).
But unfortunately, as time went on, Vadic didn’t quite rise to the same levels. Don’t get me wrong. She is a very well-written and diverse character with a story arc and portrayal that is probably one of my favourites. But as a villain, Vadic really does fall short of the mark.
The Changeling Face Of Identity
In Star Trek: Picard Season 3 – Episode 8, “Dominion“, we learn that Vadic was one Changeling of ten. She was experimented on by Starfleet Intelligence in the hopes of creating the perfect undercover agents. She was tortured, scanned, twisted and brutalised by those experiments. You can see why she developed a deeper hatred than her species already had. We know from Star Trek Deep Space Nine (ST: DS9) that the Changeling were still in a split mind after the war ended. The Section 31 virus, the withholding of the cure and the eventual pushback defeat of their forces were already enough.
We’d seen in ST: DS9 – Season 7 – Episode 25/26 “What We Leave Behind” that the Changelings were willing to burn Cardassia in retaliation for their betrayal. We know they are ruthless to no end. Vadic escaped the torture, allowing her other nine prisoners freedom. The experiments became Starfleet’s underdoing, and Vadic built up a force behind her that felt the same. Odo warned Worf, but Starfleet kept it hush-hush. Vadic had time to plot, and after the Borg’s defeat by Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager (ST: VOY) – Season 7 -Episode 25/26 “Endgame”, the two almighty forces joined.
Vadic started a long game, infiltrating Starfleet at all levels, while the Borg played the long game with their virus. It all came to a head on Frontier Day, and Vadic began a hunt for Jack Crusher to complete the final piece of the puzzle. All very overly complicated and complex. Perfect villain story. So why doesn’t Vadic work?
Built Into The DNA Of All
Vadic is bundled into the same issue that most Changelings fall into. She’s blinded by hatred, underestimation and complete inability to admit failure. During the war, the Founders proved countless times they did not value those beneath them. They viewed Jem’Hadar, Vorta, and every member of the Dominion as pawns in their larger goal of conquest. Vadic holds the same values, now fuelled by the overwhelming embarrassment of losing to the solids she despises.
She starts smart, sending small task forces to do her dirty work before eventually confronting Jack herself. She plays with the crew of the Titan in the nebula, toying with them as if they were animals beneath her. When they attack, she defends and retaliates with a weapon, unlike anything Starfleet has witnessed. She uses surprise to catch them off guard and expects the crew to fail in the same way again and again. And they do, to a point. Before they learn. And Vadic doesn’t expect them to learn.
Her xenophobia and her prejudice become her undoing. She doesn’t expect anything bar failure. Take the Female Changeling (Salome Jens) who headed the Dominion War in the Alpha Quadrant in ST: DS9. She is composed and does not hide her distaste, but she learns. She adapts as required, taking a defeat as a lesson, while Vadic sees it as a personal attack. Even Dukat did not underestimate Captain Sisko (Avery Brooks) during the War. He knew his enemy, that they would continue to grow and learn and not commit the same mistakes twice.
The Puppet Playing The Lead
Vadic’s other downfall is her partnership. When the Changelings aligned with the Cardassians, they were in charge. The Dominion was the offer, and Cardassia accepted. They became part of the larger machine and a competent Star Trek Villain. Vadic was never in charge when dealing with the Borg. She became the very thing she detested, continually fuelling her distaste for the solids. While she may never have known that the Borg were in charge, Vadic most certainly became the puppet. Not the role she expected to play.
After breaking out of her confinement, freeing her brethren and creating a force to defy the Great Link and take out Starfleet, she joined forces with someone who had a better plan, a better option. However, Vadic became the expendable piece of the puzzle. What made her a Changeling, a Founder, was stripped away. Vadic becomes blinded by her goal, driven by her hate, and eventually, she gets consumed by it.
Vadic boards the Titan in what was an obvious trap without knowing that Lore would take control of the ship. She gets stuck, uses fear, and attempts to regain control of the situation she lost. However, had it not been for Lore, she would have failed. She threatened Jack and used her superior knowledge and intellect to twist the world to her hand, but she wasn’t holding any cards. She played on the mind in the same way hers was being played.
Vadic’s Changeling Legacy
Vadic was fated to be the unfortunate pawn in a war she never knew was being fought. She was a God-turned-prisoner, turned puppet, and died underestimating the ones she failed to see as her potential allies. She continued to hate to the end, and ultimately she was always going that way. Some are blinded by hatred and pain when comparing her to other Star Trek villains. Take Khan, Sela (Denise Crosby), Dukat, and even Soron (Malcolm McDowell). But they ultimately had something Vadic did not….
They had control of their destiny. And once again, Vadic became like those that failed before her. She lost to Starfleet again and answered the age-old question of whether a Changeling could be assimilated. Not entirely, but they can be manipulated, worked and warped to fit a specific goal they never intended to follow…
The Unfortunate Conclusion
And that concludes why Vadic isn’t the best Star Trek Villain. Because she isn’t supposed to be, she’s a tragic story. Vadic is a villain built on underlying complexity and muddled by several series worths of continuity. She becomes a causality of someone else’s war. Once again. And there’s a kind of beautiful torment to that. Vadic is featured as this dark, mysterious woman hell-bent on ruining Picard. But as the episodes go on, she’s just as in the dark as Picard.
As Star Trek: Picard Season 3 ends on Legacy, so does Vadic. Her legacy is one of xenophobia, hatred and blind fury that will always be the downfall of those who come against the universe’s good. And with Amanda Plummer giving one hell of a performance, Vadic doesn’t become the greatest Star Trek Villain but the greatest example of how sometimes, legacy can truly control your life.
Star Trek: Picard Season 3 streams via Paramount+ for those in the United States. Additionally, on Crave and the CTV Sci-Fi channel for viewers in Canada. However, new episodes air Fridays via Amazon Prime Video in international regions like the United Kingdom. Paramount+ also streams the episodes in select locations, such as Italy, Germany, and France.
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