The Picard Season 2 Finale Sprints Over The Finish Line

Note: This article will contain spoilers for the final episode of "Star Trek: Picard's" second season.

The final episode of the second season of "Star Trek: Picard" has a lot of ground to cover, and with the clumsy agility of a gazelle on NyQuil, it barely leaps from conclusion to conclusion, hastily wrapping up all the season's loose ends and finally answering questions. The ultimate denouement is not entirely impactful, the themes are not entirely interesting, and a lot of the final ideas are overall pretty dumb, but one might admire the show for remembering everything. 

At the end of episode 9, the following mysteries still remained: Would Renée Picard (Penelope Mitchell) still go on the ever-important Europa mission? Would the evil Adam Soong (Brent Spiner) still manage to become the ever-more-evil perpetrator of a fascistic eugenics program? Will the Borg Queen (Annie Wersching), now sharing a consciousness with Dr. Jurati (Alison Pill), stick to their mission of peace and benevolence? What was the nature of the faceless Borg monster seen in the season's first episode? What was the true nature of Tallinn (Orla Brady), the mysterious Watcher who was tasked with controlling Renée Picard's life? Will Seven (Jeri Ryan) and Raffi (Michelle Hurd) finally admit their feelings for one another? What was Q (John De Lancie) getting at with all this? And just how the heck is everyone supposed to get back to the early 2400s from 2024? 

All of these questions will be answered, even if the answers feel tacked on, rushed, and, in some cases, poorly thought out. Let us walk through the tenth episode of "Picard's" second season, "Farewell," and address each plot threat individually.

The Adam Soong thread

Adam Soong had previously been convinced by Q that his future as a geneticist was secure, as he was the one to kick off an overwhelming wave of self-satisfied superiority among humanity, and instigate a future of Earth-led, galaxy-wide fascism and genocide. In order for this to happen, however, Renée Picard had to be prevented from going on her Europa mission. Although Renée Picard's crippling doubts were wrapped up when Jean-Luc (Patrick Stewart) gave her a 30-second pep talk back in episode 6, her mission is now in danger again when Soong decides he needs to assassinate her. Thanks to an eerie prophecy from the Jurati Borg, Renée Picard must simultaneously live and die. Picard doesn't strike me as the kind of man who would alter his course of action based on an eerie prophecy, but that's what he and Tallinn do. Tallinn reveals herself to Renée Picard — after a life of being a Watcher, this is their first meeting — and gets to say something weirdly sentimental. She will then make a sacrifice to save Renée. The sacrifice she makes is less than satisfying, as the audience has not yet been clued in as to what a Watcher is, what they do, or whom they serve.

Soong will be doubly foiled when his cloned daughter Kore (Isa Briones) will delete all his evil eugenics files, essentially guaranteeing that he will not be able to instigate a fascist future. Or will he? In a pretty silly twist, we see Soong extract a very old, paper file from the bottom of a drawer with the name of a well-known genetically altered "Star Trek" character printed on it. The name is one you might recognize, and it implies that Adam Soong will be the one responsible for The Eugenics Wars, an important event in "Star Trek" canon. 

It won't be until Kore gives Adam the slip that — oddly — the Tallinn character will be explained. Kore has agreed to meet a stranger in a park, and the stranger is none other than Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton), last seen in "Star Trek: Nemesis," but who, in an earlier episode of "Next Generation" had agreed to leave humanity behind to become a super-powered Traveler; an organization of enlightened cosmic beings who traverse the galaxy sans starships. Wheaton had effectively retired from acting, and has been conducting interviews and press for "Picard," so his return is a surprise. Wesley explains that the Watchers are, in fact, Travelers, and that time is fragile and requires constant supervision to ensure it stays on the straight and narrow. Kore, without reason, is asked to join the Travelers. Previously, Wes had to pass a test of philosophy and intellect to become a Traveler. Here, Kore is merely asked. I guess standards are pretty loose when it comes to being an enlightened cosmic being. 

The Seven/Raffi romance

Raffi and Seven spent the first portion of the "Picard" second season tooling around the year 2024 recusing Capt. Rios from ICE, stealing police cars, and trying to solve the show's central mysteries. Throughout it all, there has been a will-they-or-won't-they tension. Their attraction to one another is on record, but there has been little time for them to bond. Indeed, there has been a lot of bickering between then, and not in a clever "Moonlighting" sort of way. It wouldn't be until episode nine that they would bond. As they appear to be mutually violent, they seemed closest when they murdered a man together. With blood on their hands (and visible on their shirts), Raffi and Seven will finally have a moment when they can admit their love for one another. There is a kiss. It would be sweet if I weren't afraid their romance will lead to a "Natural Born Killers"-style spree. 

Also granted a romance is Capt. Rios (Santiago Cabrera), who has been falling in love with a 2024 doctor (Sol Rodriguez) over the course of the season. When finally presented with an opportunity to return to his present, Rios elects to stay in the past with the Rodriguez character, determined to cure the ills of the 21st century. Early in the season, lip service was paid to the fragility of causality; our ensemble could not engage in anything too dramatic as to upset the timeline and rewrite the future. When Rios is confronted with this notion, the show hand-waves, stating that "maybe it was meant to be this way," — uh, uh-huh — and that he never felt at home in the 25th century. While "never feeling at home" might have been true of Capt. Rios in "Picard's" first season — he was an alcoholic living alone on his own ship with only holograms of himself as company — by the second season, he had shaken the drink and was given his own command of the U.S.S. Stargazer. His alienation seems to have been manufactured for this scene. Indeed, his disgust with the 21st century and his capture by ICE only seemed to cement how awful 2024 was. 

Hasty motivations added for cheap conclusions. 

Picard and Q

Q, it was recently revealed, was dying. It seems even omnipotent space deities can fade. Given the eternal length of Q's life, the last 30 years with him would be, one might think, all part of his final breath. Q reveals in "Farewell" that the reason he instigated the actions of "Picard," season 2, was to let Picard get to know himself a little bit better. How Q's plot to deliberately instigate a fascist future by posing as a shrink or helping Adam Soong plays into this is rather unclear, but it does explain why Q brought Picard to places where he could relive a dark trauma from his childhood. Picard's mother was bipolar, we learn, and would eventually take her own life. Q wanted Picard to face that and overcome his personal suffering. 

Why does Q want to do that for Picard? Somehow Q's and Picard's relationship — formerly antagonistic, if sometimes playful — has been repurposed as a deep and abiding friendship. Not merely mutually respectful, but actually affectionate. Their closeness is also manufactured for this show, and is not based on their past together. In the new version of things, Q wants to do a favor for a friend as a last gesture before he ceases to exist. The notion of Q dying should be fine — Q's, Trekkies know, can indeed die — but many may resent that he has become as personal as he has. 

Q, with a final shred of strength, transports the cast (sans Rios) back to the 25th century at the moment of their departure. He also, as a favor, resurrects Elnor (Evan Evagora), who died earlier in the season. 

The Borg plot

The second season kicked off with a Borg attack, led by a new, faceless Borg queen that was in the midst of mentally taking over an entire fleet of starships when the show's central ensemble was whisked into an alternate dimension. The mystery of that Queen's identity was not revealed at the time, and viewers have likely been speculating as to who she really was. Given the arc of the show, the faceless Borg could only have been either Picard's mother resurrected (a bad idea), or Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill) as a Borg, now over 400 years old, and turned into a supervillain (perhaps obvious, but a better idea). In no surprise at all, it was the latter thing. 

Jurati, now with a mechanical head and the leather fetish robe of a "Hellraiser" Cenobite, reveals her face and calmly explains that she wasn't trying to assimilate the Starfleet vessels, but merely coordinate them. As it turns out (and this is a rather annoying "as it turns out"), there was a destructive natural space hole nearby — a black hole that was going to explode and destroy the entire sector —that Jurati needed a fleet of ships to stop. She links the fleet's shields into a massive wall and the phenomenon is stopped. This crisis takes up maybe three minutes. Not only will Trekkies be asking questions (Did Starfleet not detect this destructive space hole at all?), but it's a very quick wrapping-thing-up moment that irritates the skin. 

The season ends with Picard returning to his château to confront Laris (also Orla Brady) about lingering romantic feelings he had for her. At least it went out on a sweet moment. 

The second season of "Picard" began strong with a clear mission, a goal for the characters, and some mysteries that one wanted to follow. The experience of watching season two slowly putter along, obviously running out of gas, before coming to a stop was immensely frustrating. "Picard," like in its first season, became too reliant on mayhem, eschewed thought and discussion, and leaned into big dramatic "moments" that, when taken in context, are illogical. 

"Picard" will return for a third season in the early months of 2023. It will be the show's last. One can hope it will finally tell a better story.