They totally could have. The only thing that would have to change so far is Shaw (I think?) teasing Picard about actually being an android. And honestly, I didn’t appreciate that reminder. I’d rather pretend the first two seasons didn’t happen.
Edit: Oh, and I guess they couldn’t have Rafi. Or would at least have to first introduce her somehow.
Probably the likely outcome that he’ll die, but I’d actually really love to see him as the captain in a Titan show after whatever character growth he goes through the rest of this season. Not that Seven wouldn’t be a good captain, Shaw would just be unique compared to the primary captains we’ve had in the past.
He has grown on me but the way they presented him early on was complete shite. I’ll get to the Picard situation in a minute but how he treated Riker, a legacy captain of his very ship was crap. Now I understand his issues with the Borg but his problem with Picard when he was Locutus is also crap. As a starfleet captain, he has to understand that Picard was a victim as much as anyone involved. If he doesn’t understand that he should not be captaining a ship. His treatment of Seven falls under the same thing. She was even more of a victim than Picard. His disrespect was a real issue for me. Now I have no problem with him calling Picard and Riker out for their individual and collective shenanigans and I fully understand him wanting to protect his ship and crew. They should have just gone with that as his motivation and left the other stuff behind. It was bad writing placed so the viewer would develop enough hate for him that his redemption arc would have real impact. I just felt it was poorly done and felt manufactured. His attitude since though has been spot on.
It clearly wasn’t a rational anger, but anger often isn’t. Isn’t his issue with Picard identical to Sisko’s? Granted, that was much more recent for Sisko, but maybe that whole issue bubbling unresolved for 20+ years really messed with him. But then how did he rise to captain a ship?
A pretty strong episode, but maybe my least favorite so far? It’s very fan-servicey. Two different fan service museums in a single episode, each packed to the gills with Star Trek callbacks? It defines narrative credibility. (And don’t get me started on the fact that The Titan whips over to get help from Geordi LaForge in another star system, steals and installs a Klingon cloaking device, and flies back to save the day… all in an in-universe hour).
But I think what I like least is the return of Data/Lore/B4. If there’s one thing that the last three Picard seasons have ruined for me, it’s Brent Spiner. And if Picard has proven anything, it’s that what he said twenty odd years ago when he first tried to leave the franchise is right. No one wants to watch a fat old man play an android forever.