To be sure, Paramount+ and Star Trek have boldly gone where others have gone before — streaming. But, while Disney tends to wobble in understanding how to maintain viewer commitment (some would even say enjoyment) with its Star Wars offerings, something remarkable occurred with Star Trek over the last few years on Paramount+.
Star Trek: Discovery became a hit. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds turned into a groovy delight with a return to the episodic Trek we all love. Even the brand’s animated excursions (Lower Decks and Prodigy) have a stellar fan base and consistently deliver enjoyable material.
And, if the final season of Star Trek: Picard and its commanding and effective finale, streaming April 20, is any indication of what lies ahead then, well, to quote the last line our beloved Jean Luc Picard uttered from the final scene of Star Trek: The Next Generation so long ago: “The sky’s the limit.”
This article contains major spoilers for all of Star Trek: Picard.
WARNING: Spoilers Coming in at Warp Speed
Months and years from now, when we look back at the finale of Star Trek: Picard, we may just realize that, like TNG, before it, the writers, directors, actors, and, in this case, showrunner Terry Matalas, collectively delivered one of the most fitting send-offs of a television series and its characters. Sure, the Picard finale is not without some questionable choices, but it is nearly flawless in its execution and boldly sets up Matalas’ proposed Star Trek: Legacy series with the bevy of actors we’ve come to love over the last few years and especially in the final season of Picard.
We’re looking at you, Ed Speleers. Surely Speelers must be considered for Legacy. (More on the that later.) The actor has been a refreshing addition playing Jack Crusher, the son Picard (Patrick Stewart) never knew he had with Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden). Throughout these last episodes, we’ve wondered what the heck was tugging at Jack’s mental coil. Alas, it’s the Borg. The Borg Queen, in fact. And yes, that is the voice of Alice Krige who originated the role way back in Star Trek: First Contact. In this series finale, however, she’s not the Borg Queen viewers expect. Girl could use a spa day, in fact.
Why? And why do Picard, Riker (Jonathan Frakes), and Worf (Michael Dorn) encounter other dead or dying Borg within the monstrous Borg cube after the trio are transported into it to save an assimilated Jack?
Unless you’ve been paying attention closely or have tuned into the most recent season of Prodigy, you may not be aware that following the finale of Star Trek: Voyager, the Borg collective took a beating. It was noted during the first two seasons of Picard, but we’re never given a fitting “refresh our memory again, please” moment, unless you recall back in the fourth episode of this when Capt. Shaw (Todd Stashwick) explained that real Borg are still in the Delta Quadrant after Capt. Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) poisoned them. It makes sense then that Lady Borg would work with Changelings to assimilate Starfleet and have it all play out dramatically on Founder’s Day.
Hold that thought. What about Happy Borg Agnes from the second season of Picard? DIdn’t she venture forth and rewrite history? Nope. Showrunner Matalas explained that in a tweet: “That was an alternate faction of the Borg from an alt timeline. History was not rewritten. The Real Borg were still in the Delta Quadrant after poisoned by Janeway. Agnes Nice Borg are distracted guarding a trans warp conduit across the galaxy.”
Unless you’re an über fan following every little puzzle piece — and there are many of them out there — you may feel like there are gaps in some of the storytelling. You see, like the Borg, Star Trek wants to assimilate you into its ever-expanding universe. That’s the only hiccup in Picard this go around, but it’s relatively a forgivable one.
To Borg or Not to Borg
After the new and improved Enterprise-D transports Picard, Riker, and Worf into the Borg cube to locate and save Jack, Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) and Raffi (Michelle Hurd) desperately try to keep the Titan afloat. Having secured the quasi-assimilated cadets being mentally controlled by, well, Jack — remember, Borg fragments were deposited into people during the transporter process — they realize that all Starfleet ships gathered for Founder’s Day have targeted major cities on Earth. It’s pretty much doomsday. The clock is ticking. When the cadets free themselves from a lower deck and begin making their way to bridge, it sure looks like the end for Seven of Nine and Raffi.
Meanwhile, Geordi (Levar Burton) has taken over the Enterprise-D and with the help of Data (Brent Spiner) and Dr. Crusher configures a way to break the connection of the dastardly Borg cube. They’ll have to destroy it. Par for the course.
Troi (Marina Sirtis) frets. Riker is down there. Beverly isn’t sure. They’ll essentially kill Picard, Riker, Worf, and, of course, Jack in the process. Bev’s always been the ethic humanitarian of the bunch. Then Troi pulls the Starfleet card and reminds everybody that the entire population of Earth is in jeopardy. It’s either their loved ones. Or humanity. Beverly agrees. They communicate with Riker. Worf feels it’s a good day to die. That’s so Worf. But wait…
As Riker and Worf battle lingering Borg drones, Worf gets slightly injured in the process. Good thing his Klingon sword also stores a phaser. Always good in a pinch. Meanwhile, Picard is mocked by the Borg Queen. As if he thinks he can save Jack now. Desperate, Picard begins unplugging Jack from the queen’s coil-like tentacles, and in, a bold move — wait for it — he shoves one right into his neck. Smart Daddy.
Suddenly Picard is taken into the ethereal mental realm of the hive’s circuitry. It’s here he locates Jack. But Jack resists Picard’s pleas to return to him. That’s when Picard smiles and says, “Then I’ll stay here with you.” Jack fights back the tears. Picard leans in and — you guessed it — embraces his son. In a series of mental flashes, Jack recalls his humanity. The joys, the smiles, the triumphs — all of it. Take that, Borg Queen.
Best Epic Battle Yet
Severing Jack from collective is all Troi needs in order to sense where their comrades are within the Borg cube. That’s a good thing because the Enterprise-D has already blasted torpedos into the core of the cube and there’s less than a minute to save Picard, Jack, Riker, and Worf. (Isn’t that always the case?) Fun to watch all around. Troi takes a seat at one of the pilot outposts and immediately maneuvers the ship to the right spot and bam — Picard, Jack, Riker, and Worf are beamed up. Meanwhile, the Borg Queen screams with reckless abandon. Cube destroyed.
Jack’s dismantling and the cube’s destruction sever the link to the young cadets on the Titan, and all young Starfleet for that matter. And just in time. Ensign Sidney La Forge (Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut) and her infected posse “wake up” from the Borg’s mind control only to find themselves arriving on the Titan bridge and pointing phasers at Seven of Nine and Raffi. Relieved, Seven of Nine walks right up to Sidney and hugs her. Back on the Enterprise D, Beverly reunites with Picard and Jack, Troi with Riker, Worf with the others. All is well. To quote Picard’s favorite fella, Shakespeare, “all good things must come to an end.”
It’s best to leave how the series handles its last ten minutes. Sure enough though, all story arcs wrap up in a way fans will appreciate —from Picard and Crusher and Worf and Raffi’s bond to Seven of Nine being reunited with a beloved Voyager character. And… there are more surprises to savor. Relish them. Bottom line: This is some of the finest, well though-out, and most heartwarming Trek anybody can ask for, linking the TNG legacy to a fitting if not promising future. Where Seven of Nine and Jack wind up will surely delight fans and stoke the fires of that proposed Legacy series Matalas is pining for.
Jeri Ryan’s Thoughts & an End-Credits Scene
Speaking of Legacy, it’s fitting to note Jeri Ryan’s feelings about all that. In an interview with ScreenRant, the actor was asked if she would agree to be part of the proposed Legacy series: “Story-wise, absolutely. Would I love to continue working with these people and this character? Absolutely! 100% We could not be in better hands with Terry and this writing staff. They were phenomenal.” How all that plays out in terms of scheduling and balancing Ryan’s real-life family commitments remains to be seen.
In the meantime, it’s important to note that the final two scenes of Picard are bound to get the heart racing and maybe some tears flowing. Goosebumps anyone? It’s been a wildly fun and often deeply personal ride following Patrick Stewart and the gang this outing, and it was especially thrilling to see Gates McFadden get the material she so deserved this go around. This Trek send-off is not only fitting, but the best we’ve seen in decades. Star Trek: Picard goes out on full thrusters.
But, what’s this? Hang around folks. That end-credits scene will. Just. BLOW you away!
The series finale of Star Trek: Picard streams on Paramount+ April 20.