If the future is to be saved, then Picard and the others must foil Soong’s last ditch attempt to prevent Renee from boarding the Europa mission. But if they succeed, there’s still the small matter of returning to 2401 without La Sirena. Can Picard get his crew back to their own time?
It’s been a long and arduous ride, but here we are at the end of Picard season two? Was it worth the ride? Well, if you’ve been reading this blog at all, you’ll know that I’ve hardly been impressed.
Having opened several threads, this episode’s purpose is now to close up as many of them as it can. First up is Renee Picard, who must make it safely onto the Europa mission if humanity is to have a hopeful future and not degenerate into Space Nazis. A few episodes ago, I naively thought that all would be well with Renee since she made it into quarantine safely, but as a rich donor to the space program, Soong is able to blag his way into mission control and kill her.
However, no need to fear, because thanks to a clever switcheroo and some magic technology, the Renee who dies isn’t Renee at all, but Tallinn in disguise. So now we get another dramatic death, this time of a character who was never much more than a Laris stand-in and a convenient source of MacGuffins.
Meanwhile, Rios, Raffi and Seven are at Soong’s house, trying to deal with a quartet of drones programmed to destroy the Europa mission. Fortunately, Raffi is a computer genius whenever the plot calls for it, and so once the tension has been ratcheted up sufficiently, she manages to “hardwire subroutines” and save the day.
The future is safe, but now everyone is stranded in 2024 – or are they? Of course not, for Q shows up, promising to use the last of his power to get them home. Thanks to all their sparring over the years, Q considers Picard to be one of his favourites, and this entire season was about helping Picard overcome his past trauma. Now Picard will be a more fulfilled and less commitment-phobic person, and who knows, maybe he’ll even get a second chance to get up close and personal with Laris.
It does feel like this entire season was written to get to this one scene – Picard and Q having a heartfelt embrace on their last ever encounter. Yes, it is a touching moment, but I’m not sure it makes up for the mess of plot elements and poor characterisation that we’ve sat through up until now.
Our plucky crew are zapped back to 2401 – all, that is, except Rios, who decides to stay behind with Ramirez and her son. Conveniently, this means Q has enough energy left to resurrect Elnor, just in time for the confirmation that his character will not be returning in season three. So, at long last, we return to the bridge of the Stargazer and the Borg Queen’s attack, only to find that said Queen is indeed Jurati, and that she’s here to ask the Federation for help. A giant transwarp conduit is about to open, and it will take the combined power of Borg and Starfleet to form a giant deflector shield that will prevent disaster. The day is saved, and we’re left to wonder who even created the conduit in the first place. Is it going to be the big bad of Picard season three? Watch this space.
With season two complete, I’m left with the uncomfortable feeling that this set of episodes has just been one big love letter to fridging. Look at Picard, say the writers, a character you know and love, a man who is respected throughout the Federation for his fairness and unwavering adherence to the spirit of the Federation. Well, they continue, he wouldn’t have become that man at all if his mum hadn’t committed suicide! And even Picard knows that, because given the chance to change the future and potentially save her life, he chooses not to.
Where are they now? (and are they coming back?)
- Picard returns to Chateau Picard in 2401, where he manages to get Laris to give him a second chance. Picard’s getting some Romulan booty tonight!
- Raffi and Seven seem to officially be together now, although in all honesty I had assumed they were meant to be an item right from the start of the season. If the events of the season were meant to be about building sexual tension as the prelude to a relationship, then I completely misread it. Both characters will be returning next season.
Picard gives Seven captaincy of the Stargazer via a field commission, so it may well be that she’s finally managed to get into Starfleet after all.
- Rios stays behind in 2024, where he and Ramirez form a Medecins sans Frontières-style organisation, followed by Ramirez’s son using Renee Picard’s discoveries from Europa to basically clean up pollution and save the planet. He remains good friends with Guinan throughout his life, and ultimately dies in a bar fight over medical supplies.
I find this conclusion to be a little over-the-top and simplistic – hey, look, four people managed to fix climate change and pollution, and it wouldn’t have happened if super-genius Renee Picard hadn’t gone on the Europa mission. It would have been better to acknowledge that global problems like this need a lot of people working hard on them to even approach a decent solution – even if a single individual is credited for something, it’s rarely their work alone that made it a success.
Unsurprisingly, Rios will not be returning next season.
- Jurati is now the Borg Queen, and has been for the last four hundred years. What does this mean for the timeline? If Jurati made changes to how the Borg operate, does that mean that the 2401 that Picard and the others return to is somewhat different? Were the Federation’s encounters with the Borg changed? Or did Jurati stand idly by and let the events of First Contact etc go ahead as we saw on screen. It’s hard to say.
Queen Jurati will not be returning next season.
- Elnor has been resurrected, but after his minor role this season, it probably won’t come as any surprise that we won’t be seeing him in season three. Elnor was by no means my favourite character, but I do feel he got a raw deal – he had very little to do, and then got killed off so that Raffi could have something to be angry about.
- Kore gets her freedom and also deletes all of Adam Soong’s research – unfortunately for him, he seems to have forgotten to back it up anywhere. Instead, Soong unearths an old folder entitled “Project Khan”, linking in to his descendant’s work on The Augments in Enterprise. Some time later, she is approached by Wesley Crusher, now a Traveller in his own right, and is invited to join their organisation.
Isa Briones will not be returning in season three, so presumably we won’t see Kore or Soji again.
Summary – Farewell: Behind every great man there’s a really big fridge.