Star Trek: Picard theories – week 5

Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers ahead for Star Trek: Picard Seasons 1-2. Spoilers are also present for the following Star Trek productions: DiscoveryVoyagerFirst Contact, and The Next Generation.

Fly Me To The Moon was a solid mid-season episode that moved key storylines along – not always in predictable ways! There has been a fair amount of movement on the theory list, though. In addition to developments in the episode itself, a poorly-timed announcement about Picard’s third season – which most likely won’t be broadcast for at least a year – has given us new points to consider as well.

I know I’m a little late with this week’s theories. If you’re in the United States, the next episode is probably already available to stream! Here in the UK we’re 24-ish hours behind, so I haven’t yet seen episode 6. There’s no “cheating” on these theory lists!

This week we have two confirmations, three debunkings, and two more theories that I’m choosing to retire. As always, we’ll start with those before we dive into the main list!

Confirmed theory #1:
The Borg Queen attacked someone from the 21st Century.

The Borg Queen using her tentacle appendages on a French police officer.

Though we still haven’t seen the figure from a pre-season trailer who I said looked like they might be in the early stages of assimilation, I’m calling this one confirmed after the Borg Queen attacked a French police officer! I still think that one of the pre-season trailers showed us at least one other person undergoing Borg assimilation – so watch this space, I guess!

Confirmed theory #2:
Dr Jurati has been assimilated.

Dr Jurati has been assimilated by the Borg Queen.

Currently, Dr Jurati is displaying no outward signs of assimilation. She may not have even realised that the Queen, in her dying moments, managed to assimilate her; it wasn’t clear from what we saw on screen whether Dr Jurati was aware of the assimilation tubules penetrating her skin.

However, the Borg Queen – or at least some part of her – now exists within Dr Jurati. That’s the very essence of Borg assimilation, and while the Queen may be keeping at least part of Dr Jurati’s mind intact for now, the direction of travel seems locked in! Unless Picard and the crew realise what’s happened and are able to reverse the process, Dr Jurati will ultimately end up as one of the Borg.

Debunked theory #1:
Dr Jurati will unleash the Borg Queen.

Dr Jurati did not willingly unleash the Borg Queen, and even tried to prevent that from happening.

I had speculated prior to the season premiere that Dr Jurati’s love of all things synthetic might lead to her having a great deal of sympathy for the Borg Queen, particularly if the Queen were a captive. Surprisingly, however, that didn’t really pan out – Dr Jurati was quite content to leave the Borg Queen locked up, to lie to her, steal from her, and ultimately even kill her.

I think if Dr Jurati had willingly gone along with the Borg Queen, or had been far more easily manipulated thanks to her innate synthetic sympathies, the story would’ve been less enjoyable. A big part of the fun over the past three weeks in particular has been watching the evolving dynamic between Dr Jurati and the Queen as it unfolded.

Debunked theory #2:
Picard and the crew will have to prevent Donald Trump’s re-election.

The White House.

This was always a semi-serious “theory,” but I thought it was funny! In short, I wondered if the divergence in time – i.e. the event that ruins Star Trek’s optimistic future – could be the election of Donald Trump. The season is set in 2024 – the year of the next U.S. presidential election, an election in which Mr Trump is rumoured to be a candidate. And one part of the Confederation timeline played into this too: the fact that in that timeline, climate change was never fixed in the way it was in the prime timeline.

All in all, this one was a bit of fun! But it was debunked by the divergence in time seeming to centre on Renée Picard.

Debunked theory #3:
Rios’ missing combadge is the divergence in time.

Rios’ Confederation timeline combadge.

At this point in the season, it isn’t clear what’s happened to Rios’ combadge. When he was arrested we lost track of it, and it was last seen on a table at Teresa’s clinic. I speculated that the combadge falling into the wrong hands could be the beginnings of the divergence in time – but I also pointed out that this would effectively create a time-loop paradox.

I’m glad that the story didn’t go down this road, all things considered. There’s still scope for Rios to retrieve his badge from Teresa, and I hope that the story manages to tie up this loose end! Leaving the combadge behind in the 21st Century, even if it isn’t the point of divergence, would still be a mistake! Luckily it should be relatively easy to track down the combadge’s location!

Retired theory #1:
Soji exists in the Confederation timeline.

Sutra in Season 1.

I’ve been saying for a couple of weeks that this theory was on its last legs, and the introduction of Kore Soong, played by Soji actor Isa Briones, has now prompted me to remove it from the list. In short, I had speculated that Soji may exist in the Confederation timeline – and may even be aboard La Sirena. However, I theorised that, in line with other Confederation timeline synths, she may look very different to how she did in Season 1!

It doesn’t seem like the story of the season will return to the Confederation timeline, at least not based on where we are right now. And that means that it seems unlikely that we’ll learn anything more about Soji – she may have never even been constructed in the Confederation timeline. If the story of the season takes us back there, however, I may bring this theory back!

Retired theory #2:
By restoring the timeline, Picard – and everyone aboard the Stargazer – will die.

The USS Stargazer explodes.

As things stand, if Picard and the crew of La Sirena were able to successfully restore the timeline and undo everything that has happened, they’d be returned to the bridge of the USS Stargazer (and the USS Excelsior for Raffi and Elnor) with a couple of seconds to go before the ship self-destructs in the midst of a Borg attack. Surely that would mean they’d all be killed?

It seems logical to me, and if the story we’re currently watching were a two-season arc, the finale could well have ended this way. However, the recent announcement and teaser for Season 3 clearly showed Picard alive and back home, presumably in the aftermath of Season 2’s story. That seems to suggest to me that the main storylines in play right now – the mission back in time, the Borg, and the Confederation timeline – will be wrapped up in time for Season 3. There could still be a season-ending cliffhanger, but I think the main stories look set to be concluded. That would seem to rule out this theory – though I may bring it back in future depending on how the next few episodes unfold!

So those theories are off the list!

Now let’s look at the main theory list, beginning with theories that are new or which saw movement in Fly Me To The Moon.

Theory #1:
Who is the Watcher?

Tallinn and Picard.

We learned this week that the Watcher’s name is Tallinn, and that she works for the same mysterious organisation as Gary Seven from The Original Series episode Assignment: Earth. But that doesn’t fully explain who the Watcher is!

I can’t help but wonder if we’re on the verge of learning more about Tallinn, her mission, and the identity of the organisation she works for. Doing so could even provide interesting context to Assignment: Earth. Several of my original Watcher candidates – such as the Vulcans and Romulans – are now off the list, but others remain in play. We’ll briefly consider them in turn.

Watcher Candidate #1:
A younger version of Laris.

The Watcher at the end of this week’s episode.

Perhaps the obvious answer really is the right one: the Watcher is simply Laris as she appeared in the 21st Century. That doesn’t solve every question, nor does it rule out all of the other entries on this list. In fact, it arguably raises just as many questions as it answers! How could Laris live so long, was she able to travel through time, and what is her connection to Picard – and those are just three off the top of my head.

Regardless, one possibility is that the Watcher is simply Laris.

Watcher Candidate #2:
A member of the Q Continuum.

There’s more than one Q!

Given Q’s role in the story, one possibility has to be that the Watcher is a member of the Q Continuum. Perhaps they’re aware of the important role that Picard will play in the future and are watching over his family, or perhaps their objective is to meet Picard himself, knowing that he would journey to this moment in the past. If there’s some kind of internal conflict between different Q factions – as we saw in the Voyager episode The Q and the Grey – perhaps the Watcher is another Q who is trying to stop the Q we know from doing too much harm.

There are many different ways for this theory to pan out!

Watcher Candidate #3:
A Prophet.

The Bajoran Wormhole – home of the Prophets.

The Prophets – noncorporeal aliens who live inside the Bajoran Wormhole – exist outside of linear time. They’ve demonstrated an ability to travel through time, emerging centuries in the past. Given that Sisko also visited the year 2024, could a Prophet have followed him to keep an eye on him? Maybe the Watcher isn’t watching Earth or the timeline, but is instead keeping tabs on Sisko – the Emissary.

Watcher Candidate #4:
A Temporal Agent from the Temporal Wars.

Crewman Daniels was a Temporal Agent.

Is it possible that the Watcher is a Temporal Agent, someone whose intention is to prevent anyone meddling with the timeline? If so, this story could connect with the ban on time travel that was established in Discovery Season 3 but not elaborated on. It still wouldn’t explain why the Watcher looks like Laris – but again, perhaps she has taken a particular interest in Picard or the Picard family for some reason?

Watcher Candidate #5:
A Borg.

The Borg Queen.

Considering who it was that told Picard about the Watcher’s existence, some kind of Borg connection cannot be ruled out! Despite having spent a lot of time with the Borg over the past thirty years, there’s still a lot we don’t know about them – for example, do they send scouts to planets they hope to assimilate to watch over them? That could be the Watcher’s purpose, and considering we already know that the Borg are capable of time travel, it seems possible that the Watcher is one of theirs!

Theory #2:
The Federation will use information from the Confederation timeline to defeat the Borg.

A battle over the planet Vulcan in the Confederation timeline.

Depending on how the season shapes up, this may be a theory we come back to next year! But for now, suffice to say that the Confederation’s defeat of the Borg in their timeline is one of the most intriguing unexplained events in the entire series. How did the Confederation – an organisation with technology comparable to the 25th Century Federation – manage to defeat the Borg Collective?

If a Borg invasion is coming – as we seemed to see in The Star Gazer at the beginning of the season – the Federation will need every advantage at their disposal to fight back. Technology, tactics, and information from the Confederation’s own battle against the Borg could prove invaluable, and if Picard and the crew manage to take La Sirena back to their own time, maybe they’ll bring with them just what they need.

Theory #3:
Dr Adam Soong will create the Borg.

Dr Adam Soong.

Dr Soong’s research seems to be primarily on the genetic side of things, and that could tee up a storyline about human augmentation that we’ll look at in a moment. However, now that Q has become involved, we have to question what his motives are and what he might be pushing Dr Soong to do. Could Q give Dr Soong nanotechnology, perhaps, in an attempt to save or prolong his life?

If so, maybe Dr Soong’s experiments will somehow lead to the creation of the Borg Collective.

Theory #4:
Q is dying.

Q in Fly Me To The Moon.

What did Q mean when he said that he didn’t have a lot of time left? One interpretation is that he’s coming to the end of his life. Picard noticed that there was something wrong with Q as far back as Penance, and Q’s attitude in general seems to have shifted to something darker and more overtly antagonistic than we remember. One possible explanation for this is that Q is dying.

This could also explain the apparent loss of Q’s powers – or the decreasing control he has over them. If he wanted to prevent Renée Picard’s mission, for example, Q should simply be able to snap his fingers and turn her spaceship into a block of cheese, or make it so that Renée was never born, or change her desire to become an astronaut into a lifelong passion to become a pro YouTuber. Instead, he’s resorted to trying to talk her out of it. Why? Could it be that Q’s declining power is indicative of his declining health?

If one of the defining characteristics of the Q as a race is immortality, what might have caused Q to be approaching death? Is it a punishment inflicted on him by his own people, or the result of some other outside force? Is it natural or artificial in nature? And what does it have to do with Picard?

Theory #5:
The masked, hooded figure from The Star Gazer is not the real Borg Queen.

The Borg Queen?

The Borg Queen – the hooded figure who materialised on the bridge of the Stargazer – was absolutely terrifying, evoking feelings for me that the Star Trek franchise hasn’t hit in decades. The way this character was presented, with her shrouded face, flowing robes, monochromatic aesthetic, and blend of humanoid and decidedly non-humanoid mechanical features was simultaneously riveting and frightening!

This character was presented as the Borg Queen in the episode, and the Borg have no reason that we know of to lie about that. But at the same time, she was very different not only from how we’ve seen the Borg Queen in past iterations of Star Trek, but also from the Borg Queen that Picard and the crew met in the Confederation timeline. Could this character actually be someone else – perhaps someone that the Borg have assimilated?

“Borg Queen” Candidate #1:
Dr Jurati.

Dr Jurati.

With Dr Jurati having seemingly been assimilated, she would appear to be the top candidate for being the masked Borg Queen! The anomaly from which the Borg vessel emerged was said to be giving off temporal radiation, which could explain how an assimilated Dr Jurati is a Borg Queen while a younger Dr Jurati is present on the bridge of the Stargazer in the same moment.

“Borg Queen” Candidate #2:
The time-travelling Admiral Janeway from Endgame.

Admiral Janeway.

Admiral Janeway was assimilated by the Borg Queen as part of her plan to introduce a neurolytic pathogen into the Collective, and appeared to have been killed when the Borg Queen’s complex exploded. But is there a way she could have survived?

Her assimilation could have been a turning point for the Borg. She did untold damage to the Collective, but also potentially gifted them knowledge and information about future events and technologies that were decades ahead of their time. Just like the Borg once chose Captain Picard to become Locutus – their “spokesperson” or representative – perhaps they might have chosen Admiral Janeway to fill a similar role during this latest incursion. Admiral Janeway could even have been incorporated as part of the Borg Queen.

“Borg Queen” Candidate #3:

Soji in The Star Gazer.

The Borg seek “perfection” through the synthesis of organic and synthetic parts; if Coppelius synths like Soji have something that the Borg want, perhaps we’ll learn that they assimilated her to get it. The anomaly from which the Borg vessel emerged was not a standard transwarp corridor, and was specifically noted to emit some kind of temporal radiation. Thus the Borg vessel could be from a future date after Soji has already been assimilated. We could even learn that the super-synths from the Season 1 finale are actually the Borg; that could be how they first became aware of Soji and the Coppelius synths.

“Borg Queen” Candidate #4:
Renée Picard.

Renée in her therapy session.

Renée could be the Borg Queen if she’s assimilated. Perhaps that’s part of Q’s plan, or perhaps Renée will be captured by Dr Jurat/the Borg Queen at the gala (or afterwards). Renée being the masked, hooded Borg could explain why the Borg were asking for Picard by name, and why Non, je ne regrette rien played shortly before the Stargazer’s self-destruction.

Theory #6:
Dr Jurati hasn’t been assimilated.

Dr Jurati with the Borg Queen.

Maybe this is a silly idea, but something struck me about the way the Borg Queen’s death was handled in Fly Me To The Moon. Dr Jurati was clearly very traumatised by what had transpired, and this comes atop her prior trauma from the death of Dr Maddox and her brainwashing in Season 1. Could she be experiencing some kind of psychotic episode, merely hallucinating the presence of the Borg Queen?

Hallucinations can seem incredibly real, and while as the audience we might assume that Dr Jurati is seeing and feeling the Borg Queen’s presence because the Borg Queen did something to her, we also have to keep in mind that the Borg Queen seemed incapable of assimilating anyone; her nanites, according to the Confederation, had been destroyed or rendered unusable. So one possibility could be that Dr Jurati is experiencing a lot of trauma, leading her to believe she’s been assimilated and that she can see and hear the Borg Queen.

Theory #7:
The season will end on a cliffhanger.

Because Seasons 2 and 3 went into production back-to-back, that made me wonder if they might form one continuous story – or if the final act of Season 2 might set up the story for Season 3. That still seems plausible to me, but the announcement a couple of days ago about the return of the main cast of The Next Generation in Season 3, and the accompanying clip, may make it less likely.

However, it’s still possible that the two seasons will form one continuous story, or that the final act of Season 2 will lay the groundwork for the story of Season 3. There could also be a minor cliffhanger that is connected to just one character, or that is unrelated to the main story.

Theory #8:
At least one character from The Next Generation will make an appearance.

The main cast of The Next Generation.

As above, this theory has been knocked by the Season 3 announcement. It seems less likely now that we’ll see major roles for any of the characters announced for Season 3. However, the final act of Season 2 could bring back some or all of these characters if it’s going to set up the next phase of the story, and cameos and smaller appearances still feel possible.

Theory #9:
Q is not responsible for changing the timeline.

Q looking very young!

Q is clearly trying to affect some kind of change to the timeline by interfering with Renée Picard’s mission. But his declining powers could suggest that he isn’t as directly involved with the change and the creation of the Confederation timeline as he implied. Q may no longer be capable of doing something on this scale – and even if he was, we still have no idea what his motivation for doing so would be.

The Confederation timeline and the 21st Century don’t seem like typical Q puzzles. He described sending Picard to the Confederation timeline as a “penance,” but what exactly he’s punishing Picard for and why is still not clear. In short, we still don’t know why Q would want to do something like this, and as of Fly Me To The Moon, it’s no longer clear that Q has the ability to do so either.

I have a longer article that goes into more detail about this theory that I wrote before the season premiere, and you can find it by clicking or tapping here.

Theory #10:
Q shielded Picard and the crew of La Sirena from changes to the timeline.

Q and Picard in Penance.

Regardless of who changed the timeline and why, it seems more and more clear that Q is responsible for ensuring that Picard and the crew of La Sirena were the only ones unaffected by the change. If his goal was to change the timeline to punish Picard that makes sense – but it also leaves open the possibility that Picard will be able to figure out what happened and prevent it. That could be Q’s goal.

I’m not quite ready to call this one “confirmed,” though. I think we need to spend more time with Q to understand what he’s done, what he hopes to do next, and why.

Theory #11:
Who is responsible for damaging the timeline, then?

Did the Borg do it?

If Q isn’t the one who changed the timeline, the obvious question that raises is “who did it?”

In theory, it could be any one of a number of different Star Trek factions. We’ve seen the Klingons having access to time travel in the early 25th Century, for example, in the Voyager episode Endgame, and various time travel stories and stories depicting powerful alien races could all theoretically yield suspects. But considering what we know about Star Trek: Picard specifically, in my view the main suspects are as follows:

  • The Borg. The Borg could be one of the season’s main antagonists after their emergence in The Star Gazer, and we’ve seen in past iterations of Star Trek that they can travel through time.
  • The Zhat Vash. While the Zhat Vash may not have been shown to possess time travel tech, they were the primary antagonist last season, and arguably were not defeated in the Season 1 finale.
How about the Zhat Vash?
  • The super-synths. The super-synths from the Season 1 finale are a wildcard; we don’t know much about them except that they seem to be technologically powerful. Travelling back in time might be on their agenda – but erasing the prime timeline could result in the erasure of the Coppelius synths.
  • The Romulan government or the Tal Shiar. With or without the support of the Zhat Vash, the Romulan government could have taken action against the Federation in response to the events of Season 1.

There are undoubtedly other Star Trek factions who could be implicated, and if we had a free choice we could suggest the likes of the Dominion or the Sphere-Builders. But I think those are far less likely when considering the elements Picard has brought on board.

Theory #12:
The Borg Queen/Dr Jurati will steal La Sirena, stranding Picard in the past.

The crash site of La Sirena in France.

If the Borg Queen has infected Dr Jurati’s mind, she may be able to control her – either through manipulation or through good old-fashioned Borg assimilation! If so, the Queen’s next move could be to steal La Sirena.

The Borg Queen’s alliance with Picard was one of convenience and the realisation that shared interests exist. The divergence in time led to the Confederation destroying the Borg Collective, and the Queen needs to prevent that from happening for her own sake. But once she’s accomplished that goal, all bets are off. There’s no reason for the Queen to stick with Picard and help him get back to the 25th Century; stealing the ship and returning without him could be her next move.

Theory #13:
The Confederation is run by augmented humans.

A monument to Adam Soong in the Confederation timeline.

I enjoyed the presentation of Dr Adam Soong. Rather than an out-and-out villain, he comes across as someone willing to go to extreme lengths to save the life of someone he loves. He’s clearly willing to cross moral and ethical lines in the process – and it’s at least possible that something he does could lead to the creation of augmented humans: Khan-like “supermen” who will conquer the world.

The divergence in time caused by Renée Picard’s mission could play into this as well – Renée was said to have found evidence of life during the course of her mission to the outer solar system. Perhaps Dr Soong will use that to develop augmentation, or his alliance with Q will lead to the creation of augments. Maybe that’s the next part of Q’s plan.

If so, human augmentation could be widespread by the time of the Confederation. That could even explain how the Confederation was able to defeat the Borg!

Theory #14:
There will be a connection between the augments and Strange New Worlds.

One of the few things we know about Strange New Worlds at this early stage is that there will be a character named La’an Noonien-Singh. This new character seems to be related in some way to the iconic villain Khan, and if Khan or Khan-inspired augments play some kind of a role in the Confederation’s power structure, perhaps that will set up a connection – or even a crossover – between Picard Season 2 and Strange New Worlds.

Theory #15:
The Federation is responsible for creating the Borg.

A rather incredulous-looking Borg seen in The Next Generation.

This is a total wildcard, but I’m just throwing it out there!

The Borg Queen – and the Borg in general – appear to have a fascination with humanity and with Picard. Could it be that the explanation for that is that the Federation and/or humanity are somehow responsible for their creation? With time travel on the agenda, it’s not impossible to imagine a scenario in which the progenitor of the Borg – perhaps even the Queen herself – is able to travel back in time, founding the Collective.

Nanites used by the Control AI.

As suggested above, this could be what Q is manipulating Dr Soong into doing in the 21st Century. The Borg could therefore be a human creation, the offspring of one of Data’s ancestors. Could that link be the key to defeating them? Maybe that preserved knowledge and the veneration of Dr Soong is how the Confederation was able to defeat the Borg in their timeline!

Discovery Season 2 ran a story with the Control AI that could have also been a Borg origin story. Was it known as early as 2018-19 that Picard wanted to tell a story like this, and if so, could that explain why the Control storyline ended the way it did? I have a write-up of Discovery’s abandoned Borg origin story that you can find by clicking or tapping here.

So those theories are new or moved this week.

Up next, as always, I’ll recap the remaining theories that I have in play. These didn’t see any significant movement this week, but remain on the table for later in the season – or possibly even for Season 3!

Theory #16:
The loose ends from Season 1 will be tied up.

Will we learn more about the super-synths?

The Star Gazer already crossed off two things from the list of Season 1 leftovers! Dr Jurati’s legal status was clarified, as was her relationship with Captain Rios. There are still a number of points that I’d like to see addressed before the season ends, though, as Season 1 unfortunately left quite a lot of story on the table thanks to a rushed and underwhelming finale.

Here are the main ones:

  • What will become of the synths on Coppelius, and will they have to be relocated for safety?
  • Did Starfleet attempt to visit Aia and shut down the beacon at the centre of the Zhat Vash’s prophecy? Leaving it out in the open seems dangerous.
  • Will Starfleet contact the super-synths and attempt to make peace or convince them that they pose no threat?
A crowd of synths on Coppelius.
  • Why did Bruce Maddox go to Freecloud?
  • With the Zhat Vash plot exposed, what will become of their crusade against synthetic life?
  • Did Federation-Romulan relations suffer as a result of the Zhat Vash’s attack on Mars and attempted attack on Coppelius?
  • What happened to Narek after he was captured by the Coppelius synths?
  • Who controls the Artifact and what will happen to the surviving ex-Borg?

Theory #17:
Teresa will find out the truth about Rios.

Rios and Teresa in Watcher.

We didn’t spend a lot of time with Teresa in Watcher, but it’s possible she’ll come back later in the story. With Rios’ combadge still missing, at the very least I’d expect him to tie up that loose end – even if the lost combadge has no real bearing on the rest of the story. Teresa’s clinic is where it was last seen, and she may know where it is or may be willing to help.

During the course of such a storyline, it seems at least possible that Teresa will learn that Rios is from the future. This would see her stand alongside characters like Voyager’s Rain Robinson and Dr Gillian Taylor from Star Trek IV, and it could be a fun twist for the character. As a native of 21st Century Los Angeles, Teresa could be a valuable asset to the team as they try to stop the timeline from being shattered.

Theory #18:
The Watcher will be aware of Sisko and the USS Defiant in this time period.

Captain Sisko in Past Tense.

I’m not expecting to see Sisko or anyone else from Past Tense appear in person! But maybe when Picard and the crew inevitably meet the Watcher, they will make reference to or acknowledge that the USS Defiant has also passed this way. It would be a fun little connection to Past Tense, and just because we’ve seen references to things like UHC cards and Sanctuary Districts, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for another line or two of dialogue to tie Picard to Deep Space Nine!

Theory #19:
Seven of Nine will choose to remain in 2024.

Seven of Nine in Los Angeles.

For the first time in her life, Seven of Nine is feeling a sense of freedom. Not only is she free from her Borg implants, changing the way she looks, but she’s also unencumbered by her Borg past. No one she meets in 2024 will be aware of the Borg, and she’s clearly enjoying the way that makes her feel.

In The Star Gazer, Seven spoke to Picard about feeling judged by the ship’s crew – and in a broader sense, by practically everyone in the 25th Century. Her Borg past is a hurdle for her; she feels the weight of unspoken criticisms and judgements made against her. Her Borg implants are the biggest physical manifestation of this, but the fact that most people she meets in the 25th Century know who she is and where she came from is a burden – one she no longer feels in 2024.

With that in mind, could Seven choose to remain behind when Picard and the crew of La Sirena are ready to leave? Even if she’s ultimately talked out of it (or even forced out of it), I wonder if she’ll try to stay in the past.

Theory #20:
Elnor will be restored to life when the crew returns to the 25th Century.

Raffi believes that restoring the timeline could save Elnor.

The decision to kill off Elnor so early in the season certainly succeeded as a shocking story point… but I’m not so sure he’ll stay dead. Is Raffi’s belief that restoring the timeline will save his life something that the series has carefully set up so it can be paid off later? Or was it simply part of her reaction to his death; the bargaining stage of the grieving process? I’m not sure!

Elnor is a character who had potential – the first Romulan to be a main character on a Star Trek series (or the second, after Narek) and the first Romulan to enlist in Starfleet. If the Star Trek franchise were to stick around, I could happily follow his adventures as a Starfleet officer over the course of several years, giving him an arc somewhat comparable to someone like Tilly in Discovery, growing into his new role.

But Elnor is also a character who was underused in Season 1, and the decision to make him a Starfleet cadet at the beginning of Season 2 was only the beginning of a new arc for him. His death didn’t hit as hard as it could’ve because we don’t know Elnor very well – and I wonder if that could be a reason to bring him back later in the season.

Theory #21:

The Borg Collective was badly damaged in the Voyager episode Endgame and has been unable to recover.

Dr Jurati decoded the Borg message in The Star Gazer.

In The Star Gazer, it seemed as if the Borg Collective was reaching out, asking the Federation – and Picard specifically – for help. If so, the question is why? Was it just a shallow ploy to launch another attack on Starfleet? Or is there at least a degree of truth to the Borg’s request?

Endgame, the final episode of Voyager, depicted a time-travelling Admiral Janeway introducing a neurolytic pathogen – a type of virus – into the Borg Queen, seriously damaging her, her base of operations, and several Borg vessels in the vicinity. Because the Borg hadn’t been seen since – until The Star Gazer, that is – we never got to learn just how deadly Admiral Janeway’s actions were.

Admiral Janeway in Endgame.

I’ve always assumed that the Borg Collective is vast enough, powerful enough, clever enough, and most importantly adaptable enough that Admiral Janeway’s actions weren’t going to strike a fatal blow. Whatever damage she had done seemed like something the Borg could eventually fix – and their existence 25 years later during the events of The Star Gazer seems to prove that. The Borg’s technology and weapons are still streets ahead of anything Starfleet has at its disposal… but even so, it’s still possible that the Borg are on their last legs facing defeat.

If that’s the case, maybe we’ll discover that it was Admiral Janeway who’s responsible – that her actions in Endgame are either wholly or partly to blame for the Borg’s weakened state. Dr Jurati seemed to know that the Borg Collective isn’t as strong as it once was, so that could be another clue pointing to this theory.

Theory #22:
The USS Stargazer will make an appearance.

The original USS Stargazer.

Okay, technically the USS Stargazer has already appeared, but not in the way I expected! Captain Rios is (or was) in command of a new USS Stargazer, and not only that but he had a model of the original vessel in his conference room! So that’s it. Theory confirmed, everybody can move on to the next one!

Just kidding. The inclusion of a brand-new USS Stargazer brings the ship and its legacy back to the fore. Picard himself commented in The Star Gazer that the original vessel was his first command, and as far back as Season 1 we had a reference to his time in command through the character of Dr Benayoun. All of these things could be leading to some bigger role for the original USS Stargazer – and with a story that seems to include time travel and a strong focus on Picard’s own personal history, a flashback or even a visit to the ship could be on the agenda!

Theory #23:
Romulans are spying on Earth in the 21st Century… and could be time-travelling Zhat Vash.

A young boy encounters a Romulan or Vulcan.

In the third trailer, a young boy wearing what seemed to be 21st Century clothing was seen encountering a Romulan or Vulcan. If the Zhat Vash are involved in the new season’s story somehow, perhaps this individual is a Zhat Vash operative. This could confirm that the Zhat Vash were able to travel through time, or send a message back in time to their 21st Century counterparts. The Romulans had achieved interstellar flight centuries earlier, so travelling to Earth to spy or place operatives seems plausible for them.

Of all the scenes we’ve glimpsed so far from Season 2, the one with the young boy and the Romulan or Vulcan is the one that I’m least sure about! It doesn’t seem to fit naturally into a story about the Borg, Q, and time travel… but this is one theory that could make sense, and would connect to the theory above about Q not being to blame.

Theory #24:
The Vulcans are on Earth in the early 21st Century… as stated in Discovery Season 4.

A meeting of senior Federation and allied officials in Discovery Season 4.

Another theory about the unnamed Romulan or Vulcan is tied into the Discovery Season 4 episode The Galactic Barrier. This could easily be a complete overreaction to a throwaway line, but at the beginning of the episode, the enigmatic Federation leader Dr Kovich stated that Vulcans were on Earth for decades prior to official first contact taking place.

This one line could be a reference to Carbon Creek, an episode of Enterprise that saw Vulcans crash-land on Earth in the 1950s. But the timing seems odd given the scene glimpsed in the Picard Season 2 trailers! If the character seen above is a Vulcan, perhaps there will be a connection of some kind between Discovery and Picard.

Theory #25:
Picard and the crew will have to actively trigger World War III to save the future.

World War III soldiers as glimpsed in Discovery Season 2.

Although the Bell Riots are the main event of 2024 that we know about in Star Trek’s internal timeline, the 21st Century was arguably dominated by another event: World War III. The war may have kicked off as early as 2026 (as suggested in The Original Series) and concluded by the mid-2050s as seen in First Contact. The “post-atomic horror” that followed was the backdrop for Q’s trial in Encounter at Farpoint.

World War III is integral to Star Trek because without it, it’s hard to see how warp drive would’ve developed and how humanity would’ve made peaceful first contact with the Vulcans. Just like the end of the Second World War brought about major technological and societal changes that ultimately made the world a better place, Star Trek’s World War III is integral to the events that led to the founding of the Federation. If it were prevented, the timeline would change dramatically.

We now know that Renée Picard’s mission seems to be the divergence in time. But her mission could be connected, somehow, to the outbreak of hostilities. By sending her on her way and preserving the timeline, Picard and his crew may be committing to the outbreak of war. You can find a full write-up of this theory by clicking or tapping here.

Theory #26:
The Q Continuum has been attacked.

The Q Continuum, as seen in Voyager.

What’s wrong with Q? That was a question Picard asked that went unanswered in Penance, but there’s clearly something different about Q this time. Though at times he has the same impish charm that we remember from his earlier appearances in the franchise, at other moments he seemed incredibly angry – even hitting Picard at one point.

Perhaps there’s something going on in the Q Continuum – the Continuum could have come under attack, for example, and Q could be one of the few survivors. If something that Picard did or didn’t do is partly to blame, that could explain Q’s antagonistic behaviour.

Though the Q Continuum and the Q species seem god-like from our perspective, it’s not impossible to think that someone found a weakness to exploit. Could it be the Borg, perhaps? Q’s anger could stem from the fact that Picard didn’t do enough to stop them.

Theory #27:
Q is angry with Picard for “giving up.”

Grumpy Q.

Over the course of The Next Generation, Q took a particular interest in Picard. More so than anyone else, Q seemed to see potential in Picard as a representative of the human race, someone who potentially showed him what humanity could be… with a little prompting and guidance. Q seemed fascinated by that idea, so seeing Picard’s fall from grace may have shocked him and left him feeling disappointed and bitter.

Picard spent more than a decade away from galactic affairs, retiring to his vineyard and seemingly just waiting around to die. Someone like Q might take that personally; he might feel that Picard was not living up to the potential he had. Perhaps Picard’s absence had some kind of unknown consequence, something that harmed Q or the Q Continuum. In any case, Q’s animosity to Picard seems to be personal – could disappointment at Picard’s attitude in the years prior to Season 1 be the cause?

Theory #28:
The Borg are aware that Picard is now a synth – and his synthetic status is part of the reason why they waited until now to make contact.

Picard awakened in a new synthetic body in Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2.

As mentioned above with Soji, the timing of the new Borg incursion is interesting, especially considering that they asked for Picard by name. Are they aware of his newfound synthetic status? And if so, could Picard’s transition to a new synthetic body be the reason why the Borg chose to launch their attack?

The Borg seek “perfection” through a synthesis of organic and synthetic components, and while Picard’s new synthetic body is a far cry from the Borg drones we’ve seen, the idea of an organic mind in a synthetic body isn’t a million miles away from that same basic idea. Although Picard’s body was said to be comparable in practically every way to his original one, synthetics can have enhanced abilities that allow them to easily overpower humans – and, as we’ve seen with Data on more than one occasion, they can outmatch individual Borg drones as well.

A Borg drone losing a fight against Data.

Perhaps the Borg want to re-assimilate Picard now that he’s synthetic. If the Collective is still reeling from the damage inflicted upon it by Admiral Janeway or if they’re on the losing side of a war, perhaps they hope to use fully-synthetic bodies like Picard’s to replace damaged or destroyed drones, or as cannon fodder on the front lines. There are many reasons why the Borg might be interested in synthetic technology, and that could explain their re-emergence.

Even if the Borg don’t plan to assimilate Picard or the Coppelius synths, the timing of their appearance is certainly interesting and there could be a connection.

Theory #29:
The Borg ship from The Star Gazer crossed over from the Confederation timeline.

The Borg vessel identified as “Legion.”

As far as we know at this stage, the Confederation timeline replaced the prime timeline thanks to someone or something changing the past. But timelines and parallel universes often go hand-in-hand in Star Trek, and after we learned about the Borg’s defeat in the Confederation timeline, I wonder if their ship from the season premiere might have found a way to punch through or cross over into the prime timeline.

If the Borg were facing defeat, as their message seemed to suggest, perhaps that could explain why. Also, the anomaly that the ship emerged from was not a typical transwarp conduit; we’d seen transwarp corridors as recently as Season 1. Finally, the Borg Queen of the Confederation timeline was aware of Picard and the history of the prime timeline – perhaps the Confederation timeline Borg knew of the prime timeline and this was a last-ditch effort to survive.

Theory #30:
The Borg are fighting a war – and they’re losing.

The Borg vessel using its transporter-weapon on the USS Stargazer.

Possibly connected to the theory above, one explanation for the Borg’s message and appearance in The Star Gazer is that in the prime timeline the Collective has found itself on the losing side of a war. Penance told us that the Confederation had been able to defeat the Borg using technology that Dr Jurati believed was roughly equivalent to the Federation’s in the prime timeline – so clearly it’s possible to fight and beat the Borg.

Could mentions of Gul Dukat or Martok in Penance be hints at something to come later in the story? Both characters were major players during Deep Space Nine’s Dominion War arc; maybe the Cardassians and/or the Dominion have been aggressively attacking the Borg in the late 24th Century. The other big culprit is the Confederation – assuming that it’s possible for the two timelines to mix!

Theory #31:
The mission back in time won’t last all season.

Los Angeles, 2024.

There’s still a lot of the season remaining for Picard and the crew to figure out what happened and repair the damage to the timeline. Perhaps this is as much a wish as a theory – time travel stories that visit the modern day have never been my favourites in Star Trek – but I wonder if there could be something truly unexpected coming afterwards.

With Q involved in the story, he could send Picard and the crew to another alternate timeline or parallel universe, for example. Or after the timeline is repaired, we could see Picard and the crew engage in a battle against the Borg – we still don’t know what was going on with the new Borg Queen and the Legion ship from The Star Gazer. In short, there are many different ways that the season could go after a jaunt to the past.

I’d also point out that, aside from a few clips from the 21st Century, the first two episodes of the season seem to have included most of the clips from pre-season trailers and teasers, which could mean that the latter part of the season is hiding something big!

So that’s it!

Picard in the recently released Season 3 teaser.

Those are all of the theories I currently have in play as we head into Two of One – which I’ll be watching in just a few hours’ time! The season continues to find ways to surprise me, even though I have to confess that I’m about ready for Picard and the crew to leave the 21st Century behind and get back to the future. Star Trek, at least for me, is never at its best with these modern day time travel stories.

I always like to end these theory lists by saying that I do this just for fun. I enjoy writing, I enjoy Star Trek, and spending more time in this world is an escape and an enjoyable distraction. But for some folks, fan theories can be frustrating or unenjoyable, especially if they get very attached to a plausible-sounding theory that ultimately doesn’t pan out. I have no “insider information” and I’m not trying to claim that anything suggested above can, will, or must be part of Picard Season 2. I fully expect many of these theories to be debunked and for the season to go in wildly unpredictable directions!

Star Trek: Picard Season 2 is available to stream now on Paramount+ in the United States, Scandinavia, Latin America, and Australia, and on Amazon Prime Video in the United Kingdom and the rest of the world. The Star Trek franchise – including Picard and all other properties mentioned above – is the copyright of Paramount Global. This article contains the thoughts and opinions of one person only and is not intended to cause any offence.