Star Trek: Picard theories – week 7

Spoiler Warning: There will be spoilers ahead for the first seven episodes of Star Trek: Picard. There may also be spoilers for other iterations of the Star Trek franchise, including the second season of Star Trek: Discovery.

Nepenthe was a quieter, more emotional story than last week’s The Impossible Box, but it nevertheless gave us an absolute ton of theory-crafting material to work with! Writing this series of articles has been great fun during Star Trek: Picard’s first season – much more so than I would have expected when I first wrote my original theory post after the premiere episode.

One of the best things about Star Trek: Picard is how unexpected much of it has been. Even now, as we gear up for the final three episodes, I still have no idea where the writers will take us. The end of this journey looks set to be amazing, though, so without further ado let’s see if we can predict it!

There was one confirmed theory from last time, and for the first time, no theories were outright debunked. A number of them remain unlikely, of course, but despite some major plot developments, I don’t believe there was anything sufficiently conclusive to rule any of them out. Let’s start with the confirmed theory, then launch into the full list.

Confirmed theory: Hugh died.

Hugh was killed by Rizzo in Nepenthe.

When I wrote this down after the end of The Impossible Box, I said that Hugh or Elnor – or possibly both – could die as a result of their aiding Picard and Soji. And sadly for poor Hugh, I was half-right.

Jonathan Del Arco returned to the role he had played twice in The Next Generation and did an outstanding job as the liberated ex-Borg. Seeing him killed off was brutal, by far the most impactful and emotional of the three legacy characters that the series has thus far done away with.

Rizzo initially spares Hugh’s life – she felt constrained by the treaty between the Romulans and the Federation, and Hugh’s status as a Federation citizen gave him protection. However, when Hugh made clear that he and Elnor planned to overthrow the Romulans who controlled the Artifact, Rizzo was no longer bound by the treaty and killed him while battling Elnor. It remains to be seen what Elnor will do now that he’s called in Seven of Nine and the Fenris Rangers. It would have been nice to see some on-screen interaction between Hugh and Seven – and we still might, in flashback form – but I’m confident that by the end of the season he will have been avenged!

So that was the only confirmed theory. Now let’s look at the full list, beginning with those theories that Nepenthe advanced, as well as brand-new ones inspired by that episode.

Number 1: Riker will return to active duty.

Admiral Riker in the finale of The Next Generation. Could we be on course to see him back in uniform?

While talking with Picard on the fishing dock shortly before he and Soji left Nepenthe, Riker made the comment that he’s still on “active reserve” in Starfleet. While his rank isn’t known – he could be a Captain as we saw in Nemesis, or an Admiral as we saw in the finale of The Next Generation – what is clear is that he hasn’t fully and formally retired or resigned in the way Picard had.

I’m not sure whether to consider this a theory for this season, or whether to officially name it as my first Star Trek: Picard Season 2 theory, but sooner or later I do feel that Riker is going to be back in uniform doing something to help Picard. The show’s creators have been meticulous in the way Star Trek: Picard has been planned out – not one line of dialogue or random flash of imagery on screen has been wasted. This line feels like another hint of something to come.

Number 2: There is a machine civilisation on Soji’s homeworld.

The moment in Nepenthe where Soji learned she has a homeworld.

When Picard finally manages to convince Soji to tell him what she told Narek, there’s some discussion around the table as to what the implications are. When Kestra found out what planet Soji is believed to be from, she refers to it as her “homeworld”. There is of course an individual nature to the term, as we’ve seen people throughout the Star Trek franchise discuss their planets of origin. But there’s also a second dimension to the concept of a “homeworld” in that a species or a civilisation can also be described as having one.

Riker and Troi also brought up the possibility that there may be other synthetic life forms living there in that same sequence, and in addition we know that Rizzo and Narek’s mission was to find Soji’s homeworld to go there and destroy the lab and “all” of the other synthetics living there. If Rizzo and Narek believe that there are more, I think we need to give credence to the possibility that there are hundreds, thousands, or perhaps even millions of synths living there.

It may have taken years for Bruce Maddox to make one android, but when he had created his first fully-operational synth, he could have used that synth to help him make more, and then those could have made even more – increasing the population of synths exponentially. While we may have expected to see a few more androids based on what Narek and Rizzo had said, I feel like now we need to consider the possibility that there could be an entire civilisation – and if they’re anything like Soji and Dahj they may not be aware of their true nature.

There has always been a genocidal element to Rizzo in particular, as she talks about wiping out all synths, but could the broader purpose of the Commodore Oh-Zhat Vash conspiracy be the genocide of this synthetic civilisation?

Number 3: The Control AI from Star Trek: Discovery is involved.

This shot, and at least one other, were taken directly from Star Trek: Discovery.

While I had felt ever since the announcement of Star Trek: Picard that the creators would want to tie the new show to the other Star Trek project currently in production, the Control AI being involved had, until Nepenthe, felt like a bit of an “out there” theory. I had mentioned it for the last few weeks, since Absolute Candor aired, as one possible solution to my broader theory of the Romulans’ fear of AI being tied to something that went wrong in their own past.

However, in Nepenthe we got our best evidence yet for the involvement of Control – and that’s why this theory finally warrants its own full ranking on this list.

When Dr Jurati is first recruited into the Commodore Oh-Zhat Vash conspiracy, she’s shown a vision of an apocalyptic future in a mind-meld with the Vulcan officer. At least two of the brief images shown on screen were lifted directly from Star Trek: Discovery’s second season – when Michael Burnham and Spock received a similar vision from the Red Angel.

In my review of Nepenthe, I conceded the point that there could be production reasons for this, and noted that previous iterations of Star Trek have reused, for example, the same sequence of a Klingon ship being destroyed on several occasions. However, the big difference is that reused models and effects in Star Trek’s past were all physical things that had to be built, painted, blown up, etc – and all of that costs a lot of money. By contrast, CGI is relatively inexpensive nowadays, and if the desire was to put together a jumble of incredibly short images showing this kind of apocalypse, they could have very easily and inexpensively made two new images to replace those lifted from Discovery – or simply not included them at all.

Thematically, Star Trek: Picard and Star Trek: Discovery’s second season have touched on very similar issues as it pertains to rogue/out-of-control AI. And that makes a lot of sense – it’s a timely and interesting topic as we in the modern day rely increasingly on technology. But I think there’s more to it than just similar themes. I don’t know exactly how Control will fit into Star Trek: Picard’s story yet, but it looks increasingly likely that it will.

Perhaps the Romulans were involved in AI research and development at the same time as Section 31 built Control; a kind of mid-23rd Century AI arms race. We know Control went rogue, so perhaps the Romulan AI did too. Perhaps it was hacked by Control, or it’s even possible that the Romulans were directly attacked by Control as it tried to locate the USS Discovery.

Number 4: The Romulans experimented with synthetic life in the past, with disastrous consequences.

We looked at one possibility for this above, as the Control storyline from Discovery’s second season may have just come into play. But there are other possibilities when it comes to the Romulans’ past that could have led them down the path of hatred and fear of synthetic life.

4 A: The Romulans are responsible for the creation of the Borg.

Several ex-Borg as seen in Nepenthe.

Even considering the Zhat Vash’s dislike of synthetic life, Rizzo treated the xBs with utter contempt in Nepenthe, and Hugh has said that they’re the “most hated people in the galaxy”. That’s despite the fact that they are not permitted to leave the Artifact – so most of that hatred must be coming from the Romulans, who control it.

The biggest indications that lead to this theory are that the Romulans seem to know a lot about the Borg – how to de-assimilate large numbers of people, how to capture a cube intact, and what to do with their components once they’re removed. There’s also the fact that the timeline can be made to fit with established Romulan and Borg histories, and the production-side fact that Discovery abandoned its own potential Borg origin story with the Control AI mentioned above.

4 B: There’s an inherent flaw in synthetic life – or a problem with the way organics treat synthetics – that will always lead to rebellion.

Dr Richard Daystrom with his M5 computer aboard the USS Enterprise in The Original Series. The machine would go rogue and try to kill Kirk and his crew – an early example of rogue AI in Star Trek!

If the answers to why the synths went rogue on Mars, why the Zhat Vash hate synths, and what happened to the Romulans in the past boils down to some version of “because that’s what AIs always do”, I think that could be quite a let-down and an unsatisfactory answer. However, it is clearly the belief of the Zhat Vash that the images shown in the mind-meld represent a genuine threat, and if they had experimented with synthetic life in the past, only to face a rebellion, they may have come to the conclusion that all synths eventually rebel.

Rizzo, when interrogating Hugh, said that letting Soji escape had doomed “a trillion souls” across the galaxy. It’s unclear why she believes this, but it seems that the answer may lie in the past. Ramdha, the Romulan xB who interacted with Soji, is an expert in history and folklore, and she claimed to recognise Soji as a figure from Romulan folklore. Rizzo and Narek picked up on that and seem to take Ramdha’s words as the truth. Star Trek has never really been interested in something as fantastical or magical as prophecy, but there could be a time travel element involved.

Number 5: Picard’s decision to tell everyone their enemy is the Tal Shiar, and not the Zhat Vash, will become a problem.

Elnor learned for the first time that he was fighting the Zhat Vash in Nepenthe.

Nepenthe saw the return of the name “Zhat Vash” for the first time since Picard left Earth. We talked last time about how, from a narrative point of view, the overlapping terms “Tal Shiar” and “Zhat Vash” could be confusing, especially for casual viewers, but from an in-universe point of view I have been wondering how this revelation could affect Picard and his new crew.

Elnor seemed to me the most likely person among La Sirena’s crew to be aware of the existence of the Zhat Vash. Rizzo confirmed in Nepenthe that the Zhat Vash and Elnor’s Qowat Milat are aware of each other, but Elnor didn’t react at all to learning who he was fighting. It’s possible, however, that he may be upset with Picard if and when he learns Picard knew about the Zhat Vash’s involvement and just didn’t tell him.

There is a key difference between the Tal Shiar and Zhat Vash which I think does reframe the fight somewhat. The Tal Shiar are a known quantity in the sense that most of the characters know they exist and some, like Raffi for example, may have techniques for handling them and their technology. The Zhat Vash are at the core of the conspiracy, however, and their goals are clearly different to those of the Tal Shiar. While the Tal Shiar, as a secret police and intelligence agency, have a fairly broad remit over Romulans and in their dealings with the Federation and others, the Zhat Vash are kind of like a Romulan Section 31 insofar as they’re a black ops/off-the-books operation. Being prepared for a fight with the Tal Shiar is one thing, but the Zhat Vash are a trickier and more devious opponent, and I fear that Picard’s decision not to share what he knows of them with his new crew could come back to bite them when they finally come up against them – perhaps as early as the next episode.

Number 6: Narek is going to go rogue.

Narek tracking La Sirena from his ship in Nepenthe.

After learning what he wanted to know from Soji, Narek tried to kill her. He alerted the Artifact’s guards to her, and were it not for Picard and Hugh’s intervention, they would have succeeded in cornering and probably killing her. And in Nepenthe, Narek jumps aboard a one-person starship to follow La Sirena to Soji’s location.

So why, despite all of this, do I still feel like he will turn on his allies?

It’s a cliché, but the answer comes down to this: love. Harming Soji broke Narek’s heart in The Impossible Box, and we spent several episodes watching him get closer and closer to her – at one point even confessing his love for her. He shared his true name with her in the meditation room, something Romulans only do for those they love.

Soji’s escape has given Narek a second chance, and crucially, it’s also given him time to process his feelings for her after his intense work on the Artifact. As Picard and his crew begin to unravel the Commodore Oh-Zhat Vash conspiracy, it’s possible that they will learn a way to prevent whatever apocalypse Narek believes Soji may trigger – and in that instant he will have no reason to fight them any more. He may even prove a valuable ally, helping Picard and Soji stop the Zhat Vash.

He will have to pick up La Sirena’s trail again first, though.

Number 7: Commodore Oh is a synth.

Commodore Oh in a flashback sequence in Nepenthe.

There would be a delicious irony in learning that one of the main instigators of the crusade against synthetic life is, in fact, a synth herself. But that’s just something that would be an interesting story point – there’s no evidence for it, right?

Well, one of the key things that we know about Soji and Dahj is that they not only believe themselves to be human, but they appear fully human on scans. There’s no reason why there couldn’t be an anatomically Vulcan synth too; if they can be made to seem human they can be made to seem Vulcan. Commodore Oh knows a lot about synths and is a key member of the conspiracy – but what if she’s there to undermine it from within, or worse, to trigger the apocalyptic event that the Zhat Vash prophecy/history has them so terrified of?

This kind of double-double-cross would be amazing if done right, and would be one explanation for how Star Trek: Picard can get from a place where synths are banned and Soji is in danger to repealing the ban – by exposing it all as a hoax and a conspiracy designed to trigger the very thing it was supposed to prevent.

Number 8: With Maddox’s lab having already been destroyed, could the other synths already be dead?

Bruce Maddox met with Bjayzl after his lab was destroyed.

At the beginning of Stardust City Rag, in a sequence taking place two weeks before the main story of the episode, Maddox travels to Bjayzl’s club on Freecloud. He’s a broken and desperate man, and he tells her that the “Tal Shiar” destroyed his lab. It certainly seems as though enough time had passed between the destruction of the lab and The Impossible Box and Nepenthe for Rizzo and Narek aboard the Artifact to have learnt about it – yet their desperate pursuing of Soji would suggest that, if they are aware of it, they still need to kill her.

I mentioned the prospect of a machine civilisation above, a result of Maddox’s synths essentially building more copies and new versions of themselves resulting in exponential growth on Soji’s homeworld. It’s possible, however, that all of those synths are dead as a result of the attack.

I really, really hope that somehow the attack on his lab is properly explained. Because if it isn’t, it does open a significant plot hole in Star Trek: Picard. With the show having been so well-constructed thus far, I’d hate to see its story sullied by something like this.

Number 9: The Romulans and/or the Borg have encountered another Soji-type android in the past.

Ramdha reacted with fear when she recognised Soji.

This stemmed from Ramdha recognising Soji. She referred to her as Seb-Cheneb, the name of a figure from Romulan folklore meaning “the destroyer”. This person was connected to a day called Ganmadan, which means “the annihilation”. But all of these events, if they are real and not mythical, have to have occurred in the past for Ramdha to know about them and connect Soji to them.

Dahj and Soji have been described as appearing so identical that they’re “more than twins”, and if their design were rolled out on a wider scale for other synthetics, it’s possible that the Romulans or the Borg may have encountered a Soji-type android in the past. However, given that the Artifact has been disabled for well over a decade, and that Ramdha seemed to be referencing events in the distant past as an historian or anthropologist, the only way to make this fit with the established timeline of the series would be some kind of time travel.

In Nepenthe, when Soji talks to Picard, Riker, Troi, and Kestra about her homeworld, Troi seems to indicate that there may well be other synths living there. Indeed, the main motivation for Picard and Soji to travel there from this point onward in the series is to save the lives of other synths who are now the target of the Zhat Vash. It’s at least plausible that some of the other synths on Soji’s homeworld share her appearance, even if none of them had ever met a Romulan or a Borg.

Number 10: Dr Jurati stuck around after killing Maddox because her mission was incomplete.

Dr Jurati, moments before attempting suicide.

We now know that part of Dr Jurati’s mission was to be a homing beacon, allowing the Zhat Vash – and presumably Commodore Oh as well – to track Picard’s whereabouts while he was off on his jaunt to find Maddox and Soji. And that part of her mission was not complete – when Soji escaped, it was only through Dr Jurati that the Commodore Oh-Zhat Vash conspiracy had any hope of tracking her down to kill her.

However, this may not have been her only objective. We didn’t see everything Commodore Oh told her, though that may be revealed in future episodes, but it’s possible, and I’d even wager that it’s likely that killing Soji was something she was supposed to do if necessary. Narek and Rizzo were supposed to have killed Soji, but Commodore Oh knew that Picard was hoping to track her down so it makes sense that she would have used Dr Jurati as a contingency plan. After dispensing with Maddox, she was to remain undercover and, if necessary, kill Soji.

Dr Jurati couldn’t cope with what she’d done to Maddox and that her presence was putting her new friends in danger. Overwhelmed by guilt, and in a moment of absolute desperation with what she felt were no other options, she tried to take her own life. There will be consequences for her, assuming she survives. One of which is surely that her crime will be exposed. It will be up to Picard and the others what to do with her, because despite her suicide attempt I’m not convinced that she has abandoned her beliefs about synthetic life.

Number 11: Starfleet and the Zhat Vash are working together.

Admiral Clancy may be the only Starfleet officer we can be certain isn’t involved with Commodore Oh and the Zhat Vash.

While we didn’t get absolute confirmation of this theory this week, there were some more hints at it. The biggest one for me was that we saw more of Commodore Oh in her conversation with Dr Jurati, and we now know she is capable of mind-melding, making her much more likely to be a Vulcan than a Romulan. The Romulans and Vulcans are essentially the same race, and thus in theory there’s no reason why a Romulan couldn’t perform a mind-meld, but we’ve never seen it happen before, so I feel this is a strong hint that Commodore Oh is a Vulcan and not a Romulan agent.

Assuming that she is a Vulcan, and is thus a career Starfleet officer who worked her way up to become head of Starfleet security on Earth, it seems unlikely that she’d be the only Starfleet officer involved in the conspiracy. All we know for sure is that Admiral Clancy, the commander-in-chief of Starfleet, is not involved. But almost anyone else could be, especially given that all Commodore Oh seems to need to do to recruit someone is mind-meld with them. She could have thousands of officers on her side by now.

Riker suggested Picard call Starfleet for help in Nepenthe, and while this seems on the surface like a good idea given that Picard is in well over his head, all it did for me was highlight that Picard cannot actually trust Starfleet – or rather that he doesn’t know who within Starfleet he could trust. Admiral Clancy, despite the angry way she turned down his request to be reenlisted, may be his best option, but even then, contacting her and sharing any information would almost certainly tip off Commodore Oh.

So those are all of the theories that were either new or saw movement in Nepenthe this week. As I’ve done for the past few weeks, I’ll include my remaining theories here as well – that way it keeps everything together. So let’s briefly recap the remaining theories that Nepenthe didn’t debunk or confirm.

Number 12: The Romulans are keeping the ex-Borg on the Artifact for a reason.

12 A: The Romulans are studying the xBs.

This is perhaps the most likely explanation. The Romulans have a powerful asset in the Artifact, and one reason it’s so valuable are the components harvested from xBs. By keeping all the xBs in one place the Romulans can better study them and learn about how they behave and, perhaps, how more of their valuable tech can be extracted.

12 B: The Romulans are trying to keep the xBs safe.

Based on what happened to Icheb in Stardust City Rag, the galaxy is not a safe place for xBs to roam around. It may simply be a kind of altruism on the Romulans’ part – keeping them locked up “for their own good”.

12 C: The Romulans want to keep their involvement with the Borg’s creation a secret.

If the Romulans, as mentioned above, created an AI in the past that eventually evolved into what we know of today as the Borg, they would naturally want to keep that little detail under wraps! By carefully controlling what Borg technology is released, and restricting who can study the xBs and for what reason, they can keep their dirty little secret – if indeed that is their secret.

12 D: The Romulans are trying to control the trade in Borg technology and components.

Ex-Borg are rare in Star Trek – with Hugh and Icheb dead, we only know of Seven of Nine and Picard as xBs not on board the Artifact. By keeping them all in one place, and extracting as many of their components and as much technology as possible over a long period of time, the Romulans absolutely dominate the trade in Borg parts. Whether this trade is a huge money-earner, or whether almost all of the parts are actually kept by the Zhat Vash for study, doesn’t really matter. As long as the Romulans control the supply of components, they’re in charge.

Number 13: Borg technology was used to create Soji and Dahj. The trade in Borg components may have one main buyer – and that buyer could be Maddox and his team.

There’s a huge jump between F8, the android seen in flashbacks in earlier episodes, who was much less lifelike than Data had been, and Soji and Dahj, despite the fact that Soji and Dahj were activated only seven years after we saw F8 and the other Mars androids. Such a massive technological leap seems implausible, but one way it could have happened would be if Borg technology were used.

If this is the case, it may be that the galactic trade in Borg parts that the Romulans dominate only had one major buyer – Maddox and his team. The other possibility is that the Zhat Vash were keeping most of the components for study and to research synthetic life.

Number 14: The “father” from Soji’s dream is someone other than Bruce Maddox.

Simply because of how the faceless figure appeared on screen, I suggested that it may not be Dr Maddox as would seem logical. Instead it may be someone else – another member of his team, perhaps, or even another synth that Maddox had built earlier than Soji and Dahj. There is shock value in the faceless man, and it’s possible that inclusion was primarily for that reason, but from an in-universe point of view it could be someone looking to conceal their identity and involvement in Soji’s creation.

Number 15: Picard is suffering from Irumodic Syndrome.

Despite several references and hints at Picard’s illness this week by both Troi and Riker, no one has yet come out and used the name “Irumodic Syndrome”, which was first mentioned in All Good Things – the finale of The Next Generation. However, it has been strongly hinted at that this is the terminal condition Picard is suffering from. This may be another theory that will have to wait until Season 2 (or possibly even Season 3 or beyond) for final confirmation.

Number 16: Soji and Dahj’s necklaces were a deliberate sign from Maddox (and/or other members of his team) to signal someone or to communicate with someone.

Subtle signals have been used for clandestine communication throughout history, and when considering Soji and Dahj’s necklaces, I have to say that this would make a certain kind of sense. By deliberately giving the girls necklaces that – to someone who had studied synthetic life – were a clear hint at their true nature, Maddox may have inadvertently painted a bulls-eye on them. It may even be how the Zhat Vash or Commodore Oh became aware of Soji and Dahj in the first place. Given the apparent danger, there must be a good reason for giving them this symbol – and it could be that the intention was to communicate with other synthetic researchers.

Number 17: The Trill doctor from Maps and Legends is going to get assimilated.

Now that Soji has left the Artifact, this one does seem less and less likely. There was just so much horror film-style foreshadowing in Maps and Legends that it felt a foregone conclusion that this character would meet an unpleasant end. However, with Elnor still aboard and trouble brewing for the xBs, it’s possible Picard and Soji may end up going back to the Artifact. It’s also possible that this character could be killed or assimilated as a result of Elnor calling in the Fenris Rangers to aid him and the xBs.

Number 18: There is some kind of Section 31 involvement.

If my theory about the Control AI pans out, this would mean that there is a Section 31 connection to Star Trek: Picard. With the new series based around the shadowy organisation having entered production, I really do feel that the creators of Star Trek would want to have some kind of reference to them in this show too.

18 A: Chris Rios worked for Section 31 aboard the USS Ibn Majid.

Part of Rios’ backstory involves his time as first officer of the USS Ibn Majid. Whatever went wrong there caused him to leave Starfleet, and as the ship was said to be “erased” from Starfleet’s records, we have to consider the possibility of Section 31 involvement.

18 B: Section 31 is responsible for the attack on Mars.

Section 31 and the Zhat Vash are not natural allies, but they may have found a common goal. The Zhat Vash wanted to stop Starfleet working on synthetic life, and Section 31 may have conceivably wanted to prevent the Federation fracturing over the decision to aid the Romulans. Hacking the synths and using them to attack Mars serves a double purpose, one which benefited Section 31. They are also the kind of ruthless organisation to happily sacrifice tens of thousands of lives in the name of their idea of the “greater good”.

Number 19: The synths who attacked Mars were hacked.

This theory has seemed increasingly likely as the series raced through its first few episodes and we got flashbacks to the attack on Mars. Raffi was convinced of this as far back as the immediate aftermath, and as Picard has told us, she has a unique talent for spotting hidden connections. F8’s eyes in the flashback sequences and his co-workers using the term “compromised” to describe him add to this. There’s also the attack itself – it was a coordinated strike which required all the synths to work together simultaneously. With their knowledge of the Federation’s defences and armed with powerful ships they could have continued their attack or chosen a different target, like Earth, if the aim was to harm the Federation or do more damage. Instead they destroyed a shipyard being used to build the Romulan rescue armada, then simply killed themselves. Could that be the hackers covering their tracks?

The Zhat Vash and Section 31 remain the most likely culprits.

Number 20: Rios’ former captain, who was killed while commanding the USS Ibn Majid, is a character from a previous iteration of Star Trek.

The death of Rios’ former captain is a major moment in his backstory. We know he respected that person as an “heroic” figure, and that his death contributed to Rios becoming the isolated and self-reliant figure that we know today. It’s at least possible that we’ll learn the identity of this captain – and it could be someone from a past Star Trek series. The only clues we have are that the person is: an officer who could have become a captain, heroic, male, and dead. We can rule out La Forge and Worf, as Zhaban mentioned their names and thus confirmed they’re still alive. We can rule out people like Bashir and Tom Paris, who both had no desire to become a captain, and O’Brien, who was not an officer and thus not eligible. When considering main characters, that leaves us with Chakotay and Harry Kim, both from Voyager, and I also suggested Edward Jellico from The Next Generation’s two-part episode Chain of Command.

Number 21: Bruce Maddox inadvertently caused the synths to attack Mars.

Unfortunately Maddox was killed before he could really say very much at all about his work or convey any information he may have had. He did suggest to Picard that there was a conspiracy behind the ban, and that finding out more about it was Soji and Dahj’s mission. However, as the head of the Federation’s synthetic research at the time of the attack on Mars, it’s possible that something Maddox did or didn’t do led to the synths either being more easily hacked or directly led to them going rogue.

So that’s it. There are now twenty-one theories kicking around as we approach the final three episodes of Season 1. I fully expect most to be debunked, and there are a couple that may not pay off until next season even if they are true. However, theory-crafting has been a lot of fun and even though these posts are getting a tad unwieldy at this point, there’s a lot to contemplate!

I’m looking forward, as always, to Friday!

The first seven episodes of Star Trek: Picard can be streamed now on CBS All Access in the United States, and on Amazon Prime Video in the United Kingdom and other countries and territories. The Star Trek franchise – including Star Trek: Picard and all other Star Trek properties mentioned above – is the copyright of ViacomCBS. This article contains the thoughts and opinions of one person only and is not intended to cause any offence.