I would agree with this if not for the episode "I, Borg." Picard had his chance at revenge, at lashing out at the enemy that ravaged him and chose not to. He showed that he was a better man than that. I don't expect him to be a super hero but one of the defining characteristics of Picard is that he never betrays his core principles. The movies pushed that aside, so I suppose the novels are forced to follow suit, but I found it disappointing.
In "I, Borg," Picard was faced with only one
Borg drone. The thing he feared was present, but to a limited, manageable degree that posed no immediate threat to himself, his crew, or his civilization. So he was able to damp down his initial, visceral fear response and keep it in check -- but just barely, and only because Guinan helped talk him out of it. In First Contact
, he was faced with an ongoing invasion of his ship, his home, by his personal demons, so naturally that was more overwhelming, and his fear and rage toward the Borg reasserted themselves. Again, his initial impulse was to give into it, but again, he was talked out of it with help from Lily and his crew. In Destiny
, he was faced with his greatest horror brought to life, a wholesale, unstoppable Borg onslaught against his entire civilization. Naturally that brought out his fears worse than ever, and once more, his initial impulse was to lash out and seek vengeance. And again, he was talked out of it by a member of his crew, Geordi this time.
So I don't see any inconsistency. His behavior in all three cases fits the same pattern: an initial fear/vengeance response eventually giving way to the decision to do the right thing once his friends remind him of what he stands for. The only difference is the magnitude of the threat, which would naturally affect the intensity of his response.
I wanted to see him contribute to the solution somehow and instead he actively worked against it. Had anyone listened to him, the Borg would have won. That was my problem. He's not the kind of person to let events swirl around him and he do nothing and he shouldn't be the type of person who would let a race die just because they harmed him. He is better than that.
Yes, he is better than that, almost always
. But he's not a one-dimensional character. We all have our complexities and weaknesses, and the Borg are his greatest weakness, because they broke
him. They're the one enemy that ever beat him, that ever broke his spirit -- except Gul Madred, and that was just for a moment. The Borg broke him effortlessly, left him totally helpless, made him murder thousands. That's not something he can get over completely. It's a weak spot that never fully healed, because you can't fully heal from such a horrific violation. The Borg are his Kryptonite, the one thing that can make him less
than the man he usually is. And because of that, he wasn't himself here.
No, it's not a very flattering portrayal of the man. But it's human and it's believable. Even Jean-Luc Picard can't be heroic all the time. We all have lapses and failures. But Picard did come through at the end by retracting
his misguided order. No, he didn't find the key to saving the day, but he did choose not to make it worse -- and, more importantly to his character arc here, he saved his soul.