Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers ahead for Star Trek: Picard Seasons 1-2. Spoilers are also present for the following Star Trek productions: Discovery, Voyager, First Contact, and The Next Generation.
In my review of Two of One, I said that the episode had some highlights, such as Picard’s speech to Renée and the continuing interplay between the Borg Queen and Dr Jurati, but that it wasn’t the best episode of the series overall. Season 2’s time travel to the modern-day chapter is really beginning to drag, and a story that was set up so perfectly by The Star Gazer at the beginning of the season has become bland and even, in parts, downright unenjoyable.
That being said, Two of One raised some interesting points from a theory-crafting point of view! We have one theory that has been outright debunked, one more that I’m choosing to retire, a couple of new additions, and movement on some of our other theories.
As always, we’ll start with the debunked and retired theories before we jump into the main list.
Dr Jurati hasn’t been assimilated.
I posited this one last time as a kind of twist on the expected direction of the story. Rather than being assimilated by the Borg Queen at the end of Fly Me To The Moon, I suggested that the extremely traumatic events that Dr Jurati has been through could be causing her to hallucinate or otherwise believe that the Borg Queen – whom she had just killed – was still alive and part of her.
What we saw this week seems to debunk that, as the Borg Queen demonstrated abilities that Dr Jurati simply doesn’t possess: extreme feats of strength, sending out an electronic-disrupting pulse, and so on. The end of the episode also saw the Borg Queen assume control of Dr Jurati’s body, potentially taking the story in a very different direction.
The Watcher will be aware of Sisko and the USS Defiant in this time period.
After we got several overt references to Sanctuary Districts, UHC cards, and the like after the crew arrived in the 21st Century, I wondered if we might get more of an explicit reference to the events of Past Tense – the two-part Deep Space Nine episode that saw Sisko and his crew also visit California in 2024. I didn’t expect to see Sisko or anyone make an appearance in person, of course, but there could’ve been a connection between the Watcher and Sisko.
As it is, the Watcher – a.k.a. Tallinn – hasn’t mentioned anything from Past Tense. Now that we know more about her mission and her focus on Renée, it seems as though we won’t get that kind of reference or connection. Hence I’m striking this one off the list!
So those theories are officially off the list!
Now let’s take a look at the theories currently in play, beginning with those that are new or that saw significant movement in Two of One.
Kore Soong will team up with Picard and the crew of La Sirena.
I wasn’t wild about Kore’s storyline in Two of One. It felt repetitive and derivative of the story we saw Isa Briones bring to screen so well as both Dahj and Soji in Season 1, as Kore learned that parts of her life may be a lie and that her “father” – Dr Adam Soong – is a mad scientist who seems to have somehow created her through artificial means.
However, this story could set the stage for Kore to team up with Admiral Picard. If she feels betrayed and realises the extreme lengths that Dr Soong has been going to by teaming up with Q and trying to sabotage the Europa mission, Kore may start to work against him and his interests. If she somehow became aware of Picard’s presence, she could join up with the crew for the remainder of the mission.
Q and Picard will have to work together to stop the Borg Queen.
At the end of the episode, it was revealed that the Borg Queen has been able to take control of Dr Jurati’s body. That means she’s now on the loose in 21st Century Los Angeles, and if she’s able to regenerate some or all of her abilities, there’s basically nothing to stand in her way. She could begin assimilating 21st Century humans in droves, not only radically altering the timeline but potentially wreaking havoc.
Whatever Q has been trying to do in the 21st Century and with the Confederation timeline, it wasn’t this. His plan wasn’t to unleash a rogue Borg Queen upon 21st Century Earth – the consequences that would have for humanity and the wider galaxy are unknowable. If both Q and Picard realise what has happened to Dr Jurati, they may need to make a truce.
Q’s powers seem to be failing him, leaving him in a weaker and more vulnerable state than usual. He may need to enlist Picard’s help to stop the Borg Queen – or Picard could be the one to reach out.
The masked, hooded figure from The Star Gazer is not the real 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?
The events of Two of One could be argued to be setting up Dr Jurati for this role – but there are other candidates that we could consider.
“Borg Queen” Candidate #1:
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:
Renée could be the Borg Queen if she’s assimilated. Perhaps she will be attacked and assimilated during the course of the Europa mission, or maybe the Queen will try to get to her to gain possession over the Europa mission’s spacecraft. If La Sirena is damaged and unusable, the Europa mission vehicle could be the best option for the Queen to get into space in this time period. 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.
“Borg Queen” Candidate #3:
The time-travelling Admiral Janeway from Endgame.
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 #4:
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.
Teresa will discover the truth about Rios (and the crew of La Sirena).
I’m glad that we got to spend a little more time with Teresa in Two of One. I’m not sure a romantic entanglement between her and Rios is something the season needs to have, but as a character I feel that she brings a lot to the story. As a 21st Century native, she could be a valuable ally to the crew as their mission enters its next phase.
Rios came closer to letting Teresa know the truth in Two of One than he had so far. As she tended to Picard at her clinic, his synthetic form caused a defibrillator to short-circuit, so she clearly knows that there’s something going on. There’s also the issue of Rios’ missing combadge – it was last seen at Teresa’s clinic and could be in her possession, or perhaps the possession of her son.
In order for Teresa to help Picard, or in order for her to be of assistance to Rios and the crew as they remain in the 21st Century, she may end up learning the truth about Rios – including where (and when) he is originally from.
The Confederation is run by augmented humans.
After an enjoyable presentation a week ago, Dr Adam Soong feels like he’s close to slipping into being a “mad scientist” archetype, someone who’s been messing around with forbidden science for years. I feel that’s not a great way for the story or the character to go, but his genetic experiments could be crucial to explaining how the Confederation was so different to the Federation of the prime timeline.
As we saw with augments like Khan, genetic engineering can lead to despotism and a sense of superiority. We saw that first-hand in the leadership of the Confederation, with its xenophobic anti-alien ideology. However, it wasn’t clear how the Confederation managed to conquer so much of the galaxy, defeating races like the Klingons, Cardassians, and even the Borg. Augmentation could be the answer and could explain how humanity in the Confederation timeline was so powerful.
This could be another part of the divergence in time: Q helps Dr Soong perfect augmentation, and augmented humans go on to conquer the galaxy. This would also explain why Dr Soong appears to be a revered figure in the Confederation – being celebrated presumably centuries after his death.
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 between Picard Season 2 and Strange New Worlds.
As things stand right now, Strange New Worlds Season 1 will premiere on the same day as the finale of Picard Season 2, at least in the United States. Could a crossover be on the cards?
The Borg Queen/Dr Jurati will steal La Sirena, stranding Picard in the past.
What is the Borg Queen’s next move? She’s successfully gained control of Dr Jurati’s body, but can she remain in control? If she can, what would be her best option for returning to her own time and restoring the Borg Collective? All of these questions are open right now!
One option that I think the Borg Queen has is to steal La Sirena. She alone possesses the ability to guide the ship through a slingshot manoeuvre back to the 25th Century, and that would seem to be the easiest and quickest way home for her. The ship is currently empty, as Picard and the rest of the crew are still in Los Angeles at the clinic, so if the Borg Queen were to act fast she could be back aboard the ship and on her way before anyone realised what she’d done.
This would leave Picard and the rest of the crew trapped in the 21st Century… how would they get home?
Who is Tallinn, a.k.a. the Watcher?
Tallinn works for the same mysterious organisation that Gary Seven did in The Original Series episode Assignment: Earth. But that doesn’t fully explain who she is or what the exact nature of her mission is. It will be disappointing if we get to the end of the story without learning more about her identity and the faction she works for. It feels like we may be getting closer, but Two of One didn’t really make a lot of progress in that regard.
I have several possible Watcher identities still in play, and we’ll look at each of them in turn.
Watcher Candidate #1:
A younger version of Laris.
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! But there was one moment in Two of One that could’ve been a hint that Tallinn and Laris are one and the same: Tallinn appeared to speak in the Romulan language at one point, and subtitles even identified what she was saying as being “Romulan.” Could that be an indication that Tallinn and Laris are the same person?
Watcher Candidate #2:
A member of the Q Continuum.
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 Temporal Agent from the Temporal Wars.
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 #4:
A Borg (or Borg ally).
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!
So those theories are new or saw movement this week.
Up next I’ll recap all of the other theories that I currently have in play. I find that it helps to keep everything in one place! The rest of these theories saw little or no movement in Two of One, but remain plausible as we head into the remainder of the season.
The Federation will use information from the Confederation timeline to defeat the Borg.
Depending on how the end of the season shapes up, this may be a theory we’ll need to 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.
Dr Adam Soong will create the Borg.
Dr Soong’s research seems to be primarily on the genetic side of things, and that could tee up a storyline about human augmentation – as we’ve already discussed. 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.
Q is dying.
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?
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 ill-timed announcement about the return of the main cast of The Next Generation in Season 3 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.
At least one character from The Next Generation will make an appearance.
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.
Q is not responsible for changing the timeline.
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.
Q shielded Picard and the crew of La Sirena from changes to the timeline.
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.
Who is responsible for damaging the timeline, then?
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.
- 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.
The Federation is responsible for creating the Borg.
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.
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.
The loose ends from Season 1 will be tied up.
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?
- 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?
Seven of Nine will choose to remain in 2024.
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.
Elnor will be restored to life when the crew returns to the 25th Century.
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.
The Borg Collective was badly damaged in the Voyager episode Endgame and has been unable to recover.
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.
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.
The USS Stargazer will make an appearance.
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!
Romulans are spying on Earth in the 21st Century… and could be time-travelling Zhat Vash.
In the third pre-season 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 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.
The Vulcans are on Earth in the early 21st Century… as stated 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 mentioned above from the Picard Season 2 pre-season trailers! If the character seen above is a Vulcan, perhaps there will be a connection of some kind between Discovery and Picard.
Picard and the crew will have to actively trigger World War III to save the future.
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.
The Q Continuum has been attacked.
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.
Q is angry with Picard for “giving up.”
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?
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.
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.
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.
The Borg ship from The Star Gazer crossed over from the Confederation timeline.
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.
The Borg are fighting a war – and they’re losing.
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!
The mission back in time won’t last all season.
There are still four episodes 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 after Picard and the crew accomplish their goal.
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.
The season already kept a lid on some pretty big surprises – could there be more to come?
So that’s it!
As we approach the seventh episode of the season – which will premiere in the United States in just a few hours’ time – there’s still a lot on the table! Despite my criticisms of the time travel aspect of the story, I’m hopeful that the season will continue to go in unexpected directions, and will bring more of those wonderful moments of characterisation to the table. We didn’t see much from Q or Seven of Nine this week – maybe Monsters will give one or both of them more to do!
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.