The ‘Star Trek: Picard’ Season 2 finale will leave you feeling somewhat shortchanged
The future of much more than just the Earth is at stake in the “Star Trek: Picard” Season 2 finale “Farewell” (Image credit: Paramount Plus)
Warning: Spoilers ahead for “Star Trek: Picard” season 2, episode 10
Here we are then. After nine weeks, this particular journey is at an end and the second season of “Star Trek: Picard” draws to a close. We spoke last week of how it had been confirmed that the third and final season of “Star Trek: Picard” on Paramount Plus was not a continuation of the events unfolding before us now and consequently that left quite a lot to be wrapped up.
Sadly, most of the story threads concluded in a manner that was exactly what we were expecting, with one small surprise however, that we can guarantee no one saw coming. All things considered though, it’s still so much better than the first season finale. You can check out our Star Trek streaming guide to catch up on “Star Trek: Picard” for the finale and be ready for season three. Now, on to the episode.
Following the somewhat lengthy recap that covers the events of the whole of the season, we’re right back where we left off last week, with our peppy band of timeline polluters at Château Picard pondering their next move after Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill), who is now more or less fully integrated with the Borg Queen, stole La Sirena and took off, leaving everyone else stranded in La Barre, eastern France, in 2024. But not for long.
After a super-speedy conference, they beam back to Tallinn’s (Orla Brady) apartment, grab some gear and she and Jean-Luc (Patrick Stewart) then beam to the launch site of the Europa mission to prevent the presumed attack on astronaut Renée Picard (Penelope Mitchell).
This sets up one of the plot threads that we fully anticipate to be tied up, that of the relationship between Jean-Luc and Tallinn-lookalike Laris (also Orla Brady). Since the two are identical in both appearance and attitude, Jean-Luc can resolve his issues with former and transfer his feelings over to the latter with relative ease, which he does. ✓
Sadly, Guinan doesn’t mention what happens to Mission Specialist Dr. Renée Picard in the epilogue (Image credit: Paramount Plus)
Meanwhile, the rest of the gang, Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), Raffi (Michelle Hurd) and Cristóbal Rios (Santiago Cabrera) are able to track Jurati’s movements from before she stole La Sirena and they beam to Dr. Adam Soong’s (Brent Spiner) home, expecting to find him there, except he’s at the Europa launch site. Uh oh. Instead however, they find his “plan B” for preventing the launch, which is basically a drone attack. And thus begins one of the weakest story elements in this season finale. It also conveniently provides a ticking clock for the Renée Picard sub-plot.
That’s handled by Tallinn and she enters the astronaut building in a stolen uniform and is forced to confront Renée directly. It also fulfills the cryptic prophecy that the Borg Queen (Annie Wersching) foretold when she said, “There must be two Renées.” And in all fairness, it’s not handled too badly. Soong is at the site and getting into a tantrum about not being allowed into the complex despite being a very generous donor to … the mission? Exactly what, or who, Soong has been making generous donations to, is glossed over. Nevertheless, he’s eventually able to catch up with Renée and poisons her by way of a rather nice, peel-away skin graft-of-sorts from his hand that contains a powerful neurotoxin, which he was able to transmit when he shook her hand.
Except of course it isn’t Renée, it’s Tallinn, who has expanded the operational area of her ear-camouflaging, holographic cloaking device to now encompass her whole face … and thus she’s able to deceive Soong. Oh, yeah, and the drones have been destroyed, so you know, phew.
Project Khan must already be on progress, but shouldn’t he have fled Earth by now on the Botany Bay? (Image credit: Paramount Plus)
The pacing is good throughout and the dialogue is actually very good, in particular between Renée and Tallinn, then between Jean-Luc and the dying Romulan. So far however, there have been no real surprises. The mission launches and, to all intents and purposes, is a success and the authoritarian future has been prevented. As a final gesture of general loathing, all of Soong’s work is deleted by Kore (Isa Briones) who hacks in remotely. Watching the launch on television and seething with anger, he gulps down a whiskey and reaches into a drawer, pulling out a file labeled “Project Khan” and dated 1996.
This is of course a direct reference to Khan Noonien Singh, played magnificently by Ricardo Montalbán, first in “The Original Series” episode “Space Seed” (S01, E24) and then again in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” — arguably the greatest movie ever made. (The less said about “Star Trek Into Darkness” the better.) Khan was genetically engineered “augment” and former ruler of more than one-quarter of Earth, from Asia to the Middle East.
In “Star Trek” history however, the augment tyrants began warring among themselves in the mid-1990s. Other nations joined in, to force them from power, in a series of struggles that became known as the Eugenics Wars. Much of this story was exceptionally well told in the vastly underrated “Enterprise” Season 4 three-part augments story arc.
Eventually, most of these “super humans” were defeated and their territory recaptured, but approximately 90 were never accounted for. Turns out they escaped and stole a DY-100-class interplanetary sleeper ship that Khan named the SS Botany Bay. Set on a course outbound from the solar system, but with no destination in mind, Khan and his people remained in suspended animation until they were discovered in deep space by Captain Kirk some 270 years later.
Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Scott begin to get an idea of who they’re dealing with in the episode “Space Seed” (Image credit: Paramount Plus)
And it becomes clear that this is less of a throwback to “Enterprise” and more of a set up for “Strange New Worlds,” since it’s been decided that one of the USS Enterprise bridge crewmembers is Khan’s daughter, La’an Noonien-Singh, played by Christina Chong. Quite how this will be incorporated into the fabric of space and time remains to be seen. Or perhaps it won’t be.
Then comes the biggest twist, by far. Kore has been sitting in a library while she hacks in and mercilessly deletes all of her father’s work. Having completed her task and exacted her revenge, she collects her stuff, packs it into her bag and casually makes her way outside into the late afternoon sunshine where she’s greeted by … of all peopl … Wesley Crusher.
And why not. It’s great to see Wil Wheaton capitalizing on some Paramount-paid “TNG” nostalgia, why should all everyone else have all the cash fun?
So, here’s what we know. In “The Next Generation” episode “Where No One Has Gone Before” (S01, E06) experimental engine modifications throw the Enterprise to the edge of the known universe. A mysterious alien, known as the Traveler from another plane of existence, is making his way through our galaxy, peacefully observing all lifeforms. By disguising himself as a human, he is able to get passage on different starships and in this instance, onboard the USS Enterprise. During this escapade, the Traveler and Wesley become good friends.
If you’ve ever watched Wil Wheaton on the Ready Room, you’ll know he more or less played himself here (Image credit: Paramount Plus)
Seven years later, cadet Crusher resigns from Starfleet Academy after the Traveler — this time posing as a villager on Dorvan V — accompanies him through a vision of his deceased father who tells him that his destiny lies somewhere other than with Starfleet and that he should not follow in his footsteps in “The Next Generation” episode “Journey’s End” (S07, E02). (By the way, here’s our take on the best Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes ever.)
The Traveler promises to mentor Wesley as he begins his journey to another plane of existence. That said, Wesley attends the marriage of William Riker and Deanna Troi in “Star Trek: Nemesis” in a lieutenant junior grade dress uniform in 2379, suggesting that he had in fact become a Starfleet officer at some point. Regardless of how “Star Trek” canon chooses to interpret all of this, Wesley approaches Kore and explains how he can guide her. Turns out, the Travelers are the ones behind the Supervisors. “My colleagues and I, we dispatch those we call supervisors to help ensure the proper flow of time,” says Wes.
“Two paths are before you. The first one leads to a perfectly normal life. The second … that path leads to everything else. And it offers a chance to give your life purpose and meaning,” he continues and it works because without any real hesitation, she joins him. And we won’t see Isa Briones in Season 3 because she posted on Instagram that her involvement with “Picard” at least, was at an end.
Back at Château Picard, Seven and Raffi finally get their act together, share their feelings for each other and kiss, so we can check that box now too. ✓ But then we get to the very best part of this episode, the final exchange between Q (John de Lancie) and Jean-Luc. It’s beautifully written, nicely explains the events of the last 10 episodes without spoonfuls of exposition and the performances, from de Lancie in particular, are outstanding.
As we eventually discover — and we’ll come to shortly — the Borg were facing an extinction level event and so called for Jean-Luc. But, as we saw in the very first episode of this second season “The Star Gazer,” Jean-Luc tried to activate the self destruct on the USS Stargazer, but the Borg Queen was already Agnes Jurati — because of time loops and stuff like that. Behind the scenes, Q does his Thanos thing and all key member of the cast are unwittingly transported to an alt-history timeline. This is crucial so they can pick up the actual Borg Queen who a) helps La Sirena Six navigate back to 2024 but also b) has to be present so Jurati can merge with her and fulfill that pesky time loop.
The importance placed on the Europa mission is, in essence, to prevent Dr. Soong from offering his solution to the world’s problems and thus creating the authoritarian state. We learn later that “they found a way to heal the ocean and clean the sky using an alien organism that Renée discovered during the Europa Mission.” What a very handy organism indeed.
Wesley with the Traveller, wearing this peach number in what can only be some form of punishment (Image credit: Paramount Plus)
A second chance at all of this was Q’s parting gift to Jean-Luc before he died. So it’s not quite like Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes “Tapestry” (S06, E15) or “All Good Things” (S07, E25 & 26) in that they were more like glimpses of alternative outcomes. This is a full on chance to change the future, by not destroying the USS Stargazer, saving the galaxy one more time and even establishing a line of communication to the Borg — in fact, changing the Borg forever. Perhaps this was all meant to happen and Q ensures it does. Perhaps he should’ve worked in cooperation with the Travelers.
The important thing is that this effectively delivered in the best way possible. Q doesn’t explain his roadmap — although it’s arguable if he’d done that, then he and Jean-Luc wouldn’t have had to exchange blows in the vineyard. But we’re given enough for both of us — the viewers and Jean-Luc to work out for ourselves. It’s even been speculated on social media that perhaps this All New & Improved Borg could be the ones who find and repair V’ger.
Nerd Note: According to Memory Alpha, La Sirena (a Kaplan F17 Speed Freighter) was “slower, but more maneuverable, than a 23rd century Romulan Bird-of-Prey.” We saw in “Star Trek IV” The Voyage Home” the captured Bird of Prey, referred to as HMS Bounty reach warp 9.3 before beginning to shake apart. So, would Queen Agnes have reached the Borg in the Delta Quadrant in under 377 years? Taking USS Voyager’s projected journey time back to the Alpha Quadrant of 23 years, give or take (at warp 9.975) then yes. The events of “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” take place in 2270, so that leaves, very roughly, 246 years for Voyager 6 to fall into a black hole and “emerge on the far side of the galaxy” and into the “machine planet’s gravitational field.” So, yeah…it’s entirely plausible.
The USS Stargazer will be without her captain now, so we can pretty much say goodbye to that spin-off (Image credit: Paramount Plus)
Still at Château Picard, Rios declares he’s staying ✓ and Q says his final farewell, which is all rather emotional, and as we’ve mentioned, is in considerable contrast to how he was behaving at the beginning of the season. Then we’re whisked away back to the bridge of the USS Stargazer just moments before the self destruct completed its countdown. Jean-Luc cancels the order and Queen Agnes reveals herself.
Only now do we discover what this was all about. Apparently, it’s a “galactic event” presumably like a gamma ray burst, or possibly a supernova. These things happen, we fully understand that. Or at least gamma ray bursts and supernovas happen, the jury’s still out on triquantum waves. And it would be OK, even a novelty, if this hadn’t been an integral part of the last two seasons of “Star Trek: Discovery.” But here’s the thing, Aaron J. Waltke, Executive Producer on “Star Trek” Prodigy” tweeted after the finale had aired, “Boy oh boy, there are things I wish I could show you about the upcoming seasons of #StarTrekProdigy today, of all days.”
And in fact, Seven says, “I believe we have just witnessed the creation of a transwarp conduit, but unlike any I’ve ever seen before.”
“But…created by who?” Asks a puzzled Jean-Luc.
“Even with our collective knowledge, that answer remains elusive,” Queen Agnes responds, with little sign of any emotion.
“But you know more…” Jean-Luc insists.
“What you see is a piece of the puzzle whose final image is unclear, but is tied to a threat. One which requires close observation. We request provisional membership in the Federation so that we may remain here, a guardian at the gates,” Queen Agnes replies, this time perhaps showing the smallest of signs of the former doctor’s personality.
Nerd Note: Jean-Luc can’t hear the Borg anymore (as he used to be able to following his assimilation) after getting his new synthetic body replacement at the end of last season, so instead he relies on Seven when he needs to.
Agnes Jurati hasn’t gone full nanobyte with her new look, but the Borg collective will be forever changed (Image credit: Paramount Plus)
Put all that together and what we have is an inadequate, unsatisfying ending to “Picard” Season 2, but one that now deliberately links to events in the animated “Star Trek” spin-off show that’s aimed primarily at children; perfect if you watch “Prodigy,” less so if you don’t.
Once this is all solved, the Borg harmonize the fleet’s shields with their own and massive spike in neutrino emissions focused on the center of the quadrant have been diverted, it’s basically a matter of closure. Queen Agnes, who seems to have taken some fashion advice from David Warner’s character in “Time Bandits,” goes back to the Borg fleet and the impressive gathering of Federation starships, complete with Elnor, makes it’s way back to Sector 001.
We learn from Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) that Teresa eventually died of old age and Rios slightly younger, in a Moroccan bar fight, over medical supplies. Thus the single best new character given to us from this spin-off show will no longer appear in any more. And the very last, very predictable event is that Jean-Luc tells Laris how he really feels about her. ✓
All in all, it’s a very mixed bag. Still, it’s better than the first season and perhaps this will fare better upon a more condensed rewatch. Without any doubt, Q’s dialogue and performance was the highlight, even if it was in stark contrast to his earlier behavior. Plus questions remain unanswered, as they tend to do when you muck about with the timeline. What happened to former FBI Agent Wells (Jay Karnes) for instance? Was he eradicated when Q did his Thanos thing?
Rating: A very generous 6/10
The entire second season of “Star Trek: Picard” is now available to watch on Paramount Plus as is the first episode of “Strange New Worlds.” Season 4 of “Star Trek: Discovery” is also available to watch now on Paramount Plus in the US and CTV Sci-Fi or Crave TV in Canada. Countries outside of North America can watch on the Pluto TV Sci-Fi channel.
Paramount has confirmed that its streaming platform will launch in the UK and Ireland on June 22, available both as a standalone service and as part of the Sky Cinema subscription for the UK cable provider.
Watch Star Trek: Picard on Paramount Plus