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The Villainy of Vadic

The Shrike captain's mark may very well be felt on the final frontier for many more years to come!

Stylized and filtered repeating images of Star Trek: Picard's Vadic

The Federation took my family!

Vadic, "Dominion"

For more than a half century, Star Trek has introduced a plethora of iconic villains. From the cunning Khan Noonien Singh to the nihilistic Gabriel Lorca, these fiendish foes have left a lasting mark on the franchise by daring to stand directly in the path of Starfleet’s continuous quest to seek out new life and new civilizations. Ever ready to draw a line in the sand, many have even gone so far as to choose death itself in an effort to expose the deepest, darkest secrets of the Federation.

One such villain to bestow such an impact was Vadic. Magnificently portrayed by Amanda Plummer for the third and final season of Star Trek: Picard, this Changeling captain of the Shrike emerged from the shadows and quickly established herself as one of the strongest miscreants to ever terrorize the final frontier. More than some one-dimensional threat of the week, she is a complex and tortured soul of near Shakespearean proportions. And, while it can be argued that she was not the deadliest threat to ever materialize in the galaxy, there is no doubt she was one of the most dangerous.

Let us now delve into five key aspects that aid in supporting this character’s villainous excellence...

Star Trek: Picard | Season 3 Cast Photo - Amanda Plummer

Firstly, Vadic possesses a compelling backstory that aids in adding some much needed depth and dimension to her character. The traumatic experiences she was forced to undergo while serving as science experiment of sorts aboard Daystrom Station, which included having to watch as her loved ones were poked and prodded all in the name of peace, is something that would go on to really resonate with viewers upon its shocking revelation. Driven by a seething hatred that served as her driving force throughout the season, this tragic history allows her to rise above the episodic feel of most sci-fi foes and gives the character a catalyst for her villainous actions against our heroes.

Think of it. Vadic was captured, imprisoned and experimented on by an organization that many held as the greater good in the galaxy. They had hurt her and her loved ones, treating sentient life as little more than a child’s plaything. No wonder she was so determined to get even with them by any means necessary! This allows the motivations behind her vengeful nature, capped off by freely choosing to wear the face of her tormentor, to come across as both believable and relatable to those watching. After all, whom among us, if put in such a situation, can say we would not act the same way?

Vadic stands before Picard and Dr. Beverly Crusher


Secondly, Amanda Plummer’s exceptional acting skills breath life into Vadic. Following flawlessly in the footsteps of father and fellow Star Trek baddie Christopher Plummer, the actresses’ ability to convey the character’s many complex emotions, ranging from deep-seated anger to moments of vulnerability and icy calm, adds a wonderful layer of authenticity to Vadic’s portrayal on-screen — while also allowing her to fully command even the smallest scene requiring her presence.

This nuanced performance further allows viewers to really empathize with this ne'er-do-well, even as she looked to execute a plan to bring the Federation to its knees while carrying the psychological scars brought about by her time in captivity at Daystrom Station. Yes, she was bad. However, perhaps it wasn’t completely all her fault. Whatever the case may be, there is little doubt that Amanda Plummer did a fantastic job of embodying the frightened and vengeful persona of this character and made her come alive in a way that many of us may not have been expecting!

Vadic sits on the captain's chair as the captured Titan's crew stands in a line directly behind her in 'Surrender'


Next, Vadic’s level of intelligence and cunning make her a truly formidable adversary. Throughout the season, she is constantly able to outwit and outmaneuver her opponents — including the resourceful Jean-Luc Picard and a crew of Starfleet’s finest made up of such stalwarts as William Riker and Liam Shaw.

Additionally, her commitment to playing the long game is particularly frightening and shows the lengths to which she and her Changeling brothers and sisters are willing to go in an effort to get even with their captors. Honestly, if you thought Changelings were a vengeful bunch before, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Furthermore, Vadic’s time on Daystrom Station helped her to hone her survival instincts and cunning, thus affording her the ability to navigate complex situations and devise intricate schemes that constantly allowed her to stay one step ahead of her prey on multiple occasions.

Vadic sits at Titan's command smoking a cigarette in 'Surrender'


Perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects of Vadic’s villainy is that it actually dares to challenge the moral compass of the Star Trek universe. With over five decades worth of stories to tell, this franchise has introduced us to some of the most heroic men and women to grace the face of popular culture. However, it has also looked to lift the curtain on more than a few within the ranks of the Federation who may not be particularly clean. Think characters like Mark Jameson, Erik Pressman, and William Ross.

Vadic’s actions throughout the final season of Star Trek: Picard shed additional light on the shadowier side of Starfleet, forcing both characters and viewers alike to sit up and question the values of the Federation and the lengths at which some in the organization are willing to go in order to protect their interests. This moral ambiguity further adds depth to the series. At the same time, Vadic’s own experiences of torture and mistreatment at the hands of the men and women aboard Daystrom Station end up shaping her worldview and motivations, thus transforming her into a multi-dimensional character whom we can’t help but sympathies with on occasion given her horrific experience.

Vadic glares at Picard as she speaks


Lastly, Vadic’s impact on the overall story arc of Star Trek: Picard is a significant one. While I will admit that the overall payoff wasn’t exactly what I was expecting by the time the end credits rolled on the final episode, the character’s actions throughout and the consequences thereof do succeed in driving the plot forward at an appropriate pace.

Furthermore, her time as a prisoner on Daystrom Station serves as a critical aspect of Vadic’s development as it highlights the depths of her suffering and the trauma that fuels her vendetta against those within Starfleet that she sees as responsible.

Amanda Plummer as Vadic on Star Trek: Picard


What can I say? I love a good Star Trek villain and Vadic has quickly become one of my favorites. The range of her emotions, her drive, and determination to get even with those who hurt her — it all just comes together so seamlessly and results in one of the most interesting, believable baddies to go up against the heroes of Starfleet. I also really appreciate how her backstory looks to prove that the Federation isn’t wholly good, while also admitting that Vadic isn’t perhaps wholly bad. It is entirely possible that, had things gone differently, she could very well have found herself marching down the same path as Odo and serving as an ally to the organization. That said, I can’t help but wonder if a character like Vadic should in fact be classified as a villain, or more a villain by circumstance. Yes, like most of her people, she was angered about the outcome of the Dominion War. However, had she experienced the kinder side of the Federation, the one responsible for birthing heroes like James Kirk, Benjamin Sisko, and Kathryn Janeway, I must admit I feel Vadic could very well have ended up contributing to the greater good as so many had before her.

Ah well, I digress. Bottom line, I feel that Vadic has forever solidified herself as one of the best villains of the Star Trek franchise. Her compelling and emotional backstory, coupled with the expert acting of Amanda Plummer, intelligence, moral complexity, and the haunting memory of her torturous experience on Daystrom Station all contribute to her status as a memorable and formidable adversary. One whose mark may very well be felt on the final frontier for many more years to come! Yes, Vadic’s presence in the series not only enriches the ever-expanding lore of the Star Trek universe, but leaves an indelible mark on its legacy that will never be wiped away.