Star Trek: Picard's Todd Stashwick Will Never Forget Captain Shaw's Monologue

"Star Trek: Picard" has been startling fans of the franchise during its farewell season, mostly through the bold decision on the part of fresh new showrunner Terry Matalas to make the show less bad. Among the most less-bad additions to the series: The achingly pragmatic Captain Liam Shaw, played by Todd Stashwick.

Beginning in "Picard's" Season 3 premiere, the Abbott-and-Costello-adjacently titled "The Next Generation," Shaw cemented himself as a foil to the heroes of "old Trek," preferring that things be done by the numbers — less out of a sense of uptight prudishness and more from a seeming appreciation for all of the ways that space can kill you. By the end of the fourth episode, viewers got an explanation for the character's cautious, decidedly un-Trek-y approach to galactic exploration: He was there at the Battle of Wolf-359, as seen in the "TNG" two-parter "The Best of Both Worlds." For fans of the series, it's a harrowing reveal, painting an iconic moment in the franchise's history from the perspective of someone that wasn't protected by plot armor.

If longtime viewers got a thrill from it, they've got nothing on Stashwick himself, who described shooting the scene as "just one of those moments you never forget as an actor" in a recent interview with Decider. The reasons why he loved it so much? Good writing, legendary source material, and being surrounded by "Star Trek" royalty.

Captain Shaw's speech on Star Trek: Picard is hard to forget

Listing the aspects that made Captain Shaw's monologue work, Todd Stashwick started at the top: "A, getting amazing material," he began. "B, I was fortunate to have a two-part episode called 'Best of Both Worlds' to be able to visualize the event, from at least externally what I would've seen out of a port window, to see what the sky was doing and what the Borg cube was doing to Starfleet."

The story that he's referring to — generally considered to be one of the best in "Star Trek" history — involves Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) being assimilated by the all-consuming Borg and turned into a weapon that's used to decimate 39 Starfleet ships. Meanwhile, his first officer William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) is forced to deal with the possibility of having to kill his commanding officer and mentor. It's heavy stuff.

Luckily for Stashwick, he was accompanied by two of the people who would best understand the gravity of the story being told: Scene partner Patrick Stewart and the episode's director, Jonathan Frakes. " ... to have Patrick walk over to you and give you that little arm squeeze of approval and say some kind words, it's just like ... You never know how it's going to go," he continued, going on to say "and then Jonathan behind the camera giving me all the room to play, and then also then letting me do it from beginning to end every time."

The farewell season of "Star Trek: Picard" is available to watch on Paramount+, with new episodes dropping every Thursday.