Star Trek: Picard
It’s weird to think of Jean-Luc Picard as a synthetic being, but that’s what he is at this point. He’s still the same person we’ve known and loved over the years, but he’s also positronic. His consciousness was transferred into an artificial body at the end of Star Trek: Picard’s first season, and that little twist is coming back to haunt everyone in “The Bounty.”
Jean-Luc died of Irumodic syndrome (which was weirdly never named in the first season and called a “brain anomaly” instead), so he needed that synthetic body. Now, it turns out his son has inherited the condition. That’s why Jack has seen strange red visions and had hallucinations of killing everyone over the past couple of episodes. There’s no cure; eventually, Jack’s overclocked brain will catch up with him and he will die.
It’s a sobering diagnosis, to be sure, and Jean-Luc takes it personally. It’s hard to blame him. Sure, a lot of this season has rightfully focused on Picard’s arrogance, but it has also been a challenging time for him: He discovered he has a son, had his son put in direct danger because of him, and realized he passed on a terminal disease to his kid. That’s a bad week in anyone’s book!
But the team barely has time to process all this since it’s time to burgle the Daystrom Institute! This episode moves the show’s plot forward in a very welcome way after a couple of character- and conversation-heavy episodes. Raffi and Worf provide the way in but not before an awkward reunion between Seven and Raffi. It’s not clear if they’re fully broken up or just at “it’s complicated,” but do they have to redefine their relationship every season? Let our favorite couple have their happy ending!
Riker, Worf, and Raffi head to Daystrom while the rest of the team has to figure out how to make the Titan untraceable. To do that, they head to the Fleet Museum, where they find Geordi (YAY, LEVAR BURTON!!!!!), who is extremely mad at Picard.
One of the ongoing themes in this season of Star Trek: Picard is what it means to be a parent, especially in dangerous situations. We’ve seen it from Beverly, Will, and now Geordi, and it’s something Jean-Luc is grappling with as he gets a crash course in fatherhood.
Geordi is mad at Jean-Luc for many reasons, but they all boil down to putting his daughter, Sidney, in danger to satisfy whatever personal quest Jean-Luc is on. It’s more complicated than that, of course, but that’s what it looks like from the outside. He does let Picard explain himself, but it doesn’t change the fact that Geordi can’t help hide the Titan. It turns out all Starfleet ships are networked (which makes perfect sense and, honestly, is way overdue technologically, considering I can find approximately 8 million devices in my home from my phone, thanks to Apple).
But once again, Jack Crusher arrives to save the day! He stole the cloaking device from the HMS Bounty, the Klingon Bird-of-Prey that James Kirk and his crew used to travel back in time in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. It’s a beautiful piece of history and gives the Titan a fighting chance. Installation is a bit of a bear, but Geordi makes it work. It is a great re-introduction to Geordi and a nice appearance by Mica Burton (LeVar’s real-life daughter) as Alandra. All in all, I fully enjoyed this aside.
The action is really happening at Daystrom’s offsite station, though. Our beloved trio make their way through the top-secret station, passing all kinds of weird things. They discover that the AI running the entire place is Data … or something like him.
We’ve all been waiting for this big reveal. Data’s gone; who, then, would Brent Spiner be playing? Paramount+ told us it was Lore, but I always suspected it would be something more than that. It doesn’t seem right to bring back this entire crew except for Data, but in the first season of Star Trek: Picard, Data had such a beautiful, emotional send-off that I don’t want that undermined.
And the reality is a bit complicated but well-executed (like everything else in this season). Yes, Spiner is playing Lore, but he’s also playing Data, B-4, Altan Inigo Soong, and maybe even a little bit of Lal. All of these personalities have been downloaded into this artificial body — which still looks a bit androidlike but is properly aged so poor Spiner doesn’t have to slather himself in that gold makeup again and pretend he’s still 30.
Riker, Worf, and Raffi grab Data and manage to get him back to the Titan, but Will has to stay behind to fight off the guards. He’s captured and taken to Vadic’s ship as a prisoner, and … it turns out they’ve grabbed Deanna to force Will’s cooperation. I hope Kestra is all right.
Worf and Raffi return to the Titan, and the look on Geordi’s face when he sees who they’ve brought back with him — Burton expresses so much with just his eyes — caused me to almost burst into tears. I held my breath the entire time they worked on Data, knowing it couldn’t possibly mean the return of the character we loved because that would be too emotional and meaningful and I don’t think my heart could bear it. Geordi says this isn’t Data the android; it’s a Data that’s something else entirely. And because these disparate personalities haven’t been integrated, we have no idea what we’ll get. But when the synthetic is finally turned on, we get … DATA. It’s too overwhelming to put into words. It’s Data but also more than Data. And he finally shows us what was stolen from Daystrom.
This all leads back to synthetic Picard. His android status has been mentioned too often for it to be just a coincidence. Now that we know the Changelings took Picard’s original body, bigger questions have been raised. They have the father’s corpse; now the thing they want most is his son. There’s a bigger picture here with Jean-Luc’s body, his current synthetic form, these new Changelings who can pass for solids, and Jack Crusher’s visions. I just need to finish putting together the pieces.
• Legacy Character Count: RED ALERT, WE ARE AT SEVEN OUT OF SEVEN.
• Does everyone hate Chateau Picard wine? Shaw, Jack, and now Worf describe it as “sour mead” — and Worf is a guy who enjoys bloodwine.
• The ships at the Fleet Museum — the Defiant, the Enterprise-A, Voyager. It’s so meaningful!
• What I wouldn’t give to walk through the Daystrom offsite station — the Genesis II device? James Kirk’s body?? A TRIBBLE???
• I was sad that Worf didn’t allude to Jadzia when Riker asked why he doesn’t jab back anymore. I mean, the traumatic murder of the woman you love deeply would definitely alter your sense of humor.
• The scene where Jack tells Jean-Luc about the good things he inherited from his father is lovely.
• I loved seeing Moriarty, even for a brief second. He was basically the first being created for Data aboard the Enterprise, so his appearance makes a kind of weird sense. And the tie-in to “Encounter at Farpoint” made me cry.