Character introductions! Now we get to see the rubber meet the road. Or the…nacelles hit the spacetime fabric? Do cars even have rubber wheels or drive on roads in the 24th century? I don’t know, future metaphors are a problem.
In fact, I’m willing to argue that Darmok wasn’t actually an episode about communicating with a species with a fundamentally alien (and Universal Translator-defying) language but rather a cautionary tale about being four hundred years out of date on your internet memes.
Anyway, as character picks go I felt like this was sort of a gimme, right? Picard’s idea of branching out is “me but cooler”. The demotion stung a little but he decided to take one for the team so long as everyone else has the good sense not to outrank him. (Riker knows which way the wind blows and quietly scraps Admiral Beefstrong, goes back to the cartoon-penis-drawing board.)
I get the impression of Picard that, for all his merits as a Captain, he’s not one of those bosses who really digs on the whole inverted-power-dynamics Carnival sort of deal; he’d grit out a smile through the first couple of disrespectful jokes and then he’d lose his cool and people would start getting fired and that’s the end of that office party, etc. He’ll laugh with you, but he won’t laugh with you laughing at him.