Star Trek: Picard theories – week 9

Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers ahead for Star Trek: Picard Seasons 1-2 and casting information for Season 3. Spoilers are also present for the following Star Trek productions: DiscoveryEnterprise, VoyagerFirst Contact, and The Next Generation.

After taking a rather meandering route to get there, Hide and Seek wrapped up one of Picard Season 2’s main storylines – that of Dr Jurati and the Borg Queen in the 21st Century. I’m still fully expecting an epilogue or coda to that story, though, so perhaps it wasn’t quite as conclusive as it appeared to be.

With that in mind, the season finale has a lot of heavy lifting to do if we’re to see all of the main narrative elements from Season 2 brought to a satisfactory conclusion. Even to conclude a simple majority of the remaining storylines and arcs feels like a pretty big ask, and while I’m sure we’ll be in for a feature-length extended episode to round out the season, I’m at least a little anxious as I look ahead. The possibility exists, though, that Season 3 will pick up any loose ends left behind – so there’s hope in that regard.

Pew! Pew!

This week the theory list has been trimmed quite significantly! In addition to one theory that’s been confirmed (or at least “close enough” to count as confirmed), we have one that’s been outright debunked. Then there are six theories that I’m choosing to retire! While not entirely “debunked” by anything that we saw on screen in Hide and Seek, with just one episode remaining the season’s story has clearly gone in a different direction making those theories feel impossible at this juncture.

So let’s get started, shall we? As always, we’ll take a look at the theories leaving the list first of all.

Debunked theory:
Q and Picard will team up to stop the Borg Queen.

Q with Picard in Penance.

I have to confess that I rather liked this idea! Though I always caveat all of my theories by warning “don’t get too attached,” I was quite taken by the idea that something Q had started as a test or trial ended up going so far off the rails that he’d have no choice but to work with Picard in order to resolve it. In this case, I wondered whether the Borg Queen being on the loose on Earth in the 21st Century might’ve been so far outside of Q’s plans that, somehow, he and Picard would end up working together.

This theory felt like it could’ve brought together the main story threads: the Borg Queen assimilating Dr Jurati, Picard and the crew needing allies to defend La Sirena, and Q’s declining powers meaning that he couldn’t just snap his fingers and undo it all. There was scope, perhaps, for a more weak and vulnerable presentation of Q; for Picard and Q to need one another’s help equally. There was also the potential to show off Q’s knowledge of the Borg – and maybe even tie in some kind of Borg attack on the Q Continuum into the story to explain what’s happened to Q.

La Sirena’s crash site.

As it turned out, Q was entirely absent from Hide and Seek. Though his influence looms large over the season’s story, we haven’t actually spent that much time with him so far. His biggest role to date came in Penance – and that’s also the last time he had a run-in with Picard. We’ve seen Q deal with Dr Soong and Guinan in subsequent episodes, but I can’t be the only one longing to get Q and Picard back together – even if it isn’t for a team-up!

Of all the theories I’ve concocted about Season 2, this is probably the one I liked best. It seemed to be a genuinely good fit based on what we knew about the story at the end of Mercy, and had the season’s endgame been planned out differently, I think it could’ve worked really well. There’s still time for Q and Picard to reunite, and spend time together in a less-adversarial way… and it’s even possible, I suppose, that we could see Q return in Season 3. I’ve always felt that there’d be something poetic about Q bookending Picard’s story – he appeared in Encounter at Farpoint, so maybe he’ll appear in whichever episode marks Picard’s final end as a Star Trek character.

So that theory was debunked.

Next, we have six theories that I’m choosing to retire from the list. They now seem impossible based on where Hide and Seek ended.

Retired theory #1:
The USS Stargazer will make an appearance.

Picard on the bridge of the USS Stargazer in The Next Generation Season 1 episode The Battle.

For a long time – too long, perhaps – I’d been hanging onto the idea that the mission to the 21st Century wouldn’t be all that Season 2 had to offer, and with time travel on the agenda I wondered if we might visit other eras or other moments from Picard’s past. When a brand-new USS Stargazer debuted at the start of the season, that felt like it could’ve been a hint; why bring it up otherwise, right? It also seemed possible, as Picard wrangled with past traumas, that something from his time in command of the Stargazer might’ve come up. As I mentioned in my review of Hide and Seek, the death of Jack Crusher (husband to Beverly and father to Wesley) was one significant event that was mentioned in The Next Generation but never expanded upon. I always inferred that Picard felt responsible for Jack’s death; there was scope, perhaps, to learn why.

With one episode remaining, this now seems impossible – at least in Season 2. If we get back to a ship named Stargazer before the credits roll, it’ll surely be the new vessel that Captain Rios commanded in the season premiere!

Retired theory #2:
Seven of Nine will choose to remain in 2024.

Seven of Nine has been re-Borgified.

When Seven of Nine found herself in the Confederation timeline, she caught a glimpse of a life she’d never known and saw what it might’ve been like had she never been assimilated by the Borg. After arriving in 2024, it was clear that she was thoroughly enjoying the sense of freedom that not having any Borg implants gave her. I had speculated that, when faced with the prospect of returning to the prime timeline and her old body, Seven might choose not to.

That concept was shot down by Hide and Seek, as Seven was saved by the Borg Queen in a way that restored her implants. The technobabble side of how this worked and why she ended up looking exactly the same as before is something that the episode could’ve dedicated an extra couple of minutes to, but overall this side of the story worked well enough. Although the metaphor was perhaps buried a little deep, the idea of learning to accept oneself and one’s appearance is a good one. It’s also a story well-suited to the franchise, and one that was told in a very “Star Trek” way.

Retired theory #3:
Picard and the crew will have to trigger World War III to save the future.

World War III saw the use of nuclear weapons.

This is one of the longest-running theories on the list! I came up with it months ago, when the concept of time travel to the 21st Century was first teased in one of the pre-season trailers. Even as the Europa Mission and other elements came into play I clung onto it – perhaps for a little too long, in retrospect. There’s been no mention of World War III all season, aside from a couple of very oblique references to the “years leading up to first contact,” so it had felt ever more like a long-shot.

With the Borg Queen having warped away to parts unknown, and World War III not being in any way part of Q’s plan, it now seems certain that triggering the conflict won’t be part of how Picard and the crew restore the timeline.

I stand by what I said when I first posited this theory, though: it would have been one heck of a moral dilemma.

Retired theory #4:
Picard and/or the Federation will use information from the Confederation timeline to defeat the Borg.

The Magistrate – a senior Confederation official.

It seems increasingly likely that we’ll never learn how the Confederation was able to beat the Borg, nor what technological tricks or weapons they may have developed during their conquest of the Collective. I feel a pang of disappointment about that; it was perhaps the one thing from the Confederation timeline that I could’ve happily spent an episode exploring.

Now that the Borg Queen has taken La Sirena – complete with all of its Confederation technology and databanks – there’s no way for Picard and the crew to use anything that the Confederation developed to fight the Borg. And if, as Dr Jurati hopes, the Borg will be convinced to take a different path, there may not be a need to go to war with them in the first place. For those reasons I’m retiring this theory – but with the caveat that if the Borg somehow return as major antagonists in Season 3, I may reprise it!

Retired theory #5:
Dr Adam Soong will create the Borg.

Dr Adam Soong.

I thought an interesting twist on the Borg side of the story could’ve come either from Q or the Borg Queen working with Dr Adam Soong to create the Borg. Although Dr Soong seems to have assisted the Borg Queen by giving her access to resources and a squad of soldiers, the story ultimately went in a very different direction.

Knowing that one of Data’s ancestors had a role in creating the Borg – one of the biggest threats that the Federation has ever faced – could’ve been a story worth exploring, and had it been handled well there was the potential to inform not only Borg stories, but also the characterisations of Data, Soji, and the whole Soong family.

Retired theory #6:
The Federation created the Borg.

The first Borg drone ever seen in Star Trek.

As above, there’d be a delicious irony to learning that the Federation – and perhaps even Picard, inadvertently – had created their own worst nightmare in the Borg Collective. I even wondered if the story taking this route might’ve explained why Discovery Season 2 abruptly abandoned a story with the Control AI that could likewise have been a Borg origin story. However, it didn’t come to pass on this occasion.

The early history of the Borg could absolutely be worth exploring, and despite the fact that the Borg definitely began to feel stale and overused by the latter part of Voyager’s run, the faction still has more to contribute to Star Trek in the future – I’m certain of that. In addition to a story that could explore the Borg’s origins (regardless of whether or not there’s a Federation connection), I’ve also proposed a “Borg Invasion” concept for a Star Trek series, and I think something like that could work exceptionally well as a sci-fi-action-horror hybrid.

On this occasion, though, despite input from Dr Jurati to this incarnation of the Borg Queen, and despite this story taking place in the past, we didn’t get that elusive Borg origin story!

So those theories have been retired.

There was one confirmation this week – or at least a theory that I got “close enough” with that I’m going to call it confirmed. I can do that – it’s my list!

Confirmed theory:
The Borg Queen departed aboard La Sirena, leaving Picard and the crew in the past.

The Borg Queen-Dr Jurati hybrid.

So the Borg Queen didn’t ultimately steal La Sirena as I’d proposed in my initial formulation of this theory! But I did correctly predict that the Borg Queen would successfully gain possession of the ship, and that she’d leave Picard and the rest of the crew stranded in 2024. We saw that play out in Hide and Seek thanks to the deal struck between Dr Jurati, the Borg Queen, Raffi, and Seven of Nine.

As I said in my review, I would’ve liked this sequence to have been expanded. I could’ve happily enjoyed an entire episode just on the negotiation, discussing and debating with the Borg Queen how changing her entire philosophy and guiding principles could be the solution she’s been missing. I would’ve also loved to see Picard himself included on this side of the story.

The Borg Queen took La Sirena and left Earth.

Despite those shortcomings, though, what we did get to see was outstanding, and everyone involved deserves a lot of credit for the way they handled this sequence. The concepts here are genuinely interesting, and the idea of a Borg Collective – or a Borg faction – that implements this new guiding principle could be worth exploring. If Picard picks up this story, I hope we get to see it for longer than just a single episode!

The way the Borg Queen departed raises a lot of questions, though. Setting aside the obvious ones like “will she actually keep her word,” we come to more immediate concerns for Picard and the crew. How will they make it home? Can they even make it home? Will someone need to rescue them? Read on, because I have a few ideas on that front…

So that theory was confirmed!

Now we’ll jump into the main theory list, beginning as always with theories that are either new or saw significant movement in Hide and Seek this week. Several of these theories are, I freely admit, looking less and less likely to pan out. But others feel quite plausible as we head into the season finale, and when the story is so unpredictable… who knows what could happen?

Theory #1:
There will be a Borg civil war between a faction inspired by the Borg Queen-Dr Jurati hybrid and the rest of the Collective.

Could the Borg be fighting amongst themselves?

How do we connect the events that have just unfolded back to what we saw at the beginning of the season? In The Star Gazer, the Borg sent a message asking for Picard and the Federation to help them. If their message was genuine it suggests that the Borg who sent the message are in danger or under threat. One possibility is that the Borg are fighting a losing war against an external power – and that’s something we’ll consider momentarily. But another possibility, in light of what transpired this week, is that there’s a Borg civil war.

Dr Jurati (and the others) appear to have convinced the Borg Queen to entirely change her philosophy and guiding principles, and this could lead to the creation of a radically different Borg Collective. If the Jurati-Queen hybrid contacts the Borg Collective and tries to get them to join her, there’s a distinct possibility that some or all of them won’t. It might be possible to create a new Borg Collective, but even in the 21st or 22nd Centuries the existing Collective would be difficult to sway. Furthermore, the Borg Collective that already exists may see the Jurati-Queen hybrid as a threat, or may simply want to conquer and assimilate the faction. There are several routes to the same end point: a war between different factions of Borg.

The anomaly encountered in The Star Gazer was said to have some kind of “temporal” signature – so this could be a conflict that took place in the 21st or 22nd Century, almost directly after the Jurati-Queen left Earth.

Theory #2:
Some or all of the main characters from The Next Generation will rescue Picard from 2024.

Acting Captain Riker to the rescue?

How will Picard and the crew make it home? That’s one of the biggest questions I have as we go into the season finale! One way to get Picard and the others home safely would be for someone from The Next Generation – or possibly everyone – to show up at the last minute to rescue Picard. Perhaps Picard was able to leave a message or clue hidden somewhere for them to find, so they’d know where and when to pick him up.

With Season 3 bringing back The Next Generation characters, I’m half-expecting to see some or all of them included toward the end of the Season 2 finale to set up the next chapter of the story. This could be a fun and exciting way to do it. It would also be quite a symmetrical ending to the season, as Acting Captain Riker (and his copy-paste fleet) saved the day in the Season 1 finale, too!

Theory #3:
The “two Renées” comment refers to Picard’s nephew.

Could the Borg Queen be talking about this chap?

The character above is René Picard – not to be confused with Renée Picard! René was Picard’s nephew, the son of his brother Robert. In Generations, Picard learned that his brother and nephew had died in a fire at the vineyard, leaving him the sole surviving member of his family. Family became more important to Picard thereafter, and it seems like it was Robert and René’s deaths that led Picard to choose his family home for his self-imposed exile after the events of Children of Mars.

My theory is that the cryptic comment that the Jurati-Queen made about there being “two Renées” in Picard’s life actually refers not to Renée the astronaut somehow being cloned or copied or sent to an alternate reality, but simply to the existence of young René, Picard’s nephew, and the influence he had on his life.

Theory #4:
Rios will choose to stay with Teresa and Ricardo in 2024.

Rios with Teresa in Hide and Seek.

As Teresa and Rios have progressed their romance, I think that now opens up the very real possibility that Rios might choose to remain behind in 2024 when Picard’s mission is complete. Some people are willing to make big sacrifices for the people that they love, and if Rios truly loves Teresa, maybe he’d be willing to abandon the 25th Century to stay with her – helping to build that future from his position in the past.

In Hide and Seek, Rios seemed to be seconds away from saying “I love you” to Teresa, and for her part she was pushing him to stay with her. I haven’t been enjoying Rios’ story this season for the most part, and the “love story” angle is a bit of a cliché, unfortunately. But in light of the decision to bring back the main cast of The Next Generation in Season 3, we’ve already seen Picard make efforts to slim down its cast and shuffle off main characters like Elnor and Dr Jurati. Rios could be next – and if he survives the season finale, he may choose not to head back to the 25th Century.

Theory #5:
An alternate reality is about to be created.

“An alternate reality?”

With the Borg Collective potentially being pacified and a cryptic message about “two Renées,” I wonder if we might be on the cusp of a permanent divergence in the timeline. One path may lead to the Confederation timeline, the other to the prime timeline – and both may be able to coexist in much the same way as the prime timeline coexists with the Kelvin timeline.

As far as we know based on what Q told Picard in Penance, the Confederation timeline replaced the prime timeline. That seems to have come about by the sabotage or failure of the Europa Mission combined with Dr Soong’s inventions that saved the Earth from an ecological collapse – but is it possible that things aren’t what they seem? Could Q have lied, for example, about the Confederation timeline? Or could something that Picard and the crew are about to do end up creating another alternate reality?

If so, I hope it’ll be possible to revisit the Confederation timeline in future. Though it was very similar in many respects to the Mirror Universe, there were some differences. Having only spent a single episode in that setting, and with tantalising details like the Confederation’s defeat of the Borg remaining unexplained, there’s scope to go back and learn more about this very different timeline.

Theory #6:
The loose ends from Season 1 will be tied up.

Initiates of the Zhat Vash on the planet Aia.

With only one episode left in which to conclude all of Season 2’s storylines, it feels less and less likely that we’ll get closure on all of the points that Season 1’s rushed finale left on the table. However, there’s still a glimmer of hope that we might get some inclusions, even if just by way of a line or two of dialogue.

Here are the main unresolved points as I see them:

  • 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?
The Artifact’s crash site on Coppelius.
  • 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 #7:
Elnor will be restored to life when the crew make it back to the 25th Century.

Holo-Elnor in Hide and Seek.

After Raffi got a cathartic goodbye with holo-Elnor in Hide and Seek, I’m no longer convinced that this theory will pan out. If Elnor is alive again in the 25th Century, it would actually rob that emotional moment of much of its power. As above, with The Next Generation’s main characters returning in Season 3, it may turn out that Elnor was just another casualty of the need to make room for them.

However, as I said in my review of Hide and Seek, a big part of me hopes to see Elnor saved. Elnor’s story feels incomplete, and he’s a character that we never really had the chance to get to know all that well. Even in Season 1, his impact on the story was limited compared with other characters, and having just been given a new arc as a Starfleet cadet at the beginning of this season, there’s so much potential for him to develop into a wonderful Star Trek character. If the franchise is to survive in the longer-term it’ll need characters like Elnor to stick around.

Theory #8:
The season will end on a cliffhanger.

I first propsed this theory before Season 2 had even premiered based in large part on the fact that Seasons 2 and 3 entered production back-to-back. However, as the season has worn on with many different story threads still in play, it’s seemed even more plausible to think that we won’t see everything neatly tied up by the time the credits roll. That feeling has been amplified by the events of Hide and Seek.

While Hide and Seek concluded the Dr Jurati-Borg Queen story – at least the parts set in the 21st Century – there’s still a heck of a lot left on the table. Even assuming that the season finale will be a feature-length outing, we still have to get through all of the stuff with Q, including finding out why he set Picard this puzzle and what may or may not be killing him, Teresa and Rios’ romance, Picard and Laris’ unresolved romance, the Europa Mission, stopping Dr Soong, explaining the whole “two Renées” thing, tying in recent events to Picard’s past and trauma, and connecting everything to the season premiere.

That might be too much to ask from a single episode – so some or all of it may be left open for Season 3 to pick up next year.

Theory #9:
The masked, hooded figure from The Star Gazer is not the real Borg Queen.

The Borg Queen from the season premiere.

We can’t call this one “confirmed” just yet, but the assumption I’m sure a lot of folks have after the events of Mercy and Hide and Seek is that the masked, hooded Borg from the season premiere is, in fact, the Borg Queen-Dr Jurati hybrid. Even if the season ends on a cliffhanger, I would expect that this point will be clarified; it could even be the final scene of the season!

I had previously proposed other “Borg Queen” candidates, but unless there’s going to be some colossal twist in the story’s final act I think we can probably rule them out. Earlier in the season I suggested Admiral Janeway (from the Voyager finale), Renée Picard, and Soji as possibilities for this role – along with Dr Jurati.

So we’ll have to see what comes next. If Picard finds himself back on the bridge of the Stargazer, will the Borg Queen remove her mask?

Theory #10:
Picard and the crew will “borrow” Renée’s Europa Mission spacecraft to get home.

Renée Picard.

Now that La Sirena is gone, Picard finds himself stranded – along with Seven, Raffi, and Rios – in 2024. It’s possible that Tallinn or Q could help them get home, but one way that they could do it independently would be to gain control of Renée Picard’s spacecraft. This could tie in with the “two Renées” comment that we’ve already discussed – perhaps with one version of Renée making it home and another being transported to the 25th Century.

Alternatively, this could tie into Picard’s comment earlier in the season that the details of Renée’s mission are lost to history. After making an important discovery, it seems that no one really knows what happened to Renée – so her disappearance from the 21st Century may not impact the history of the prime timeline at all.

If Picard and the crew could find a way to use Renée’s spacecraft to slingshot around the sun, just like they did with La Sirena earlier in the season, it could carry them home.

Theory #11:
The Borg’s request for help from the Federation is genuine.

The USS Stargazer’s communications officer first received the garbled transmission.

If the Borg Queen-Dr Jurati hybrid stuck to her commitment and was successful at establishing a new Borg Collective, one with a fundamentally different guiding principle, then maybe that version of the Queen and Collective were genuinely asking for help. Whatever their problem may be, turning to Picard would make sense if the Borg Queen-Dr Jurati hybrid was in control.

This could also explain things like the Borg Queen stunning the Stargazer’s crew rather than killing them; preventing them from interfering but doing so in a non-lethal way. It could also explain what she was trying to accomplish by hacking into the Stargazer’s systems.

The Borg Queen’s mechanical tentacles hacked into the USS Stargazer.

The Borg Queen also seemed to accept what was about to happen in her final moments, playing Non, je ne regrette rien and speaking with familiarity to Picard, telling him to “look up.” If the Borg Queen’s plan was to reach Picard at just the right moment – perhaps to set off this whole time travel saga in the first place – that could explain why.

It does raise the very alarming question of what could possibly have the Borg running scared, though! As mentioned above it could be another Borg faction – the original Collective versus the upstarts. But it could also be someone else… maybe the Season 1 super-synths?

Theory #12:
Q is not responsible for changing the timeline.

Q’s powers are failing.

Although Q was absent from Hide and Seek, we’ve seen enough from him earlier in the season to know that his powers are far more limited than we’ve ever seen before. That could mean that Q simply lacks the ability to make such a complete change to the timeline – even though he seems to have been scrambling around trying to do so.

This would certainly be a twist on the way we expect the remainder of the story to unfold! But with no explanation from Q so far as to why he might’ve wanted to change the entire timeline – save for an ambiguous comment to Guinan about “the escape” from traps being what matters – there’s definitely still scope to say that someone else intervened, and that Q was less involved that we’ve been led to believe all season long.

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 #13:
Q shielded Picard and the crew of La Sirena from changes to the timeline.

Q in Mercy.

Regardless of who changed the timeline and why, it seems 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 achieve by it, and why.

Theory #14:
Who is responsible for damaging the timeline, then?

The Borg Queen-Dr Jurati hybrid.

Though I had proposed a number of suspects earlier in the season who could’ve potentially been responsible for setting up this whole time travel saga, at this stage it feels like there’s only one remaining realistic candidate: the Dr Jurati-Borg Queen hybrid. This would set up a kind of temporal paradox, but it could be one that has an escape hatch.

If the timeline splits and an alternate reality is created, perhaps the Borg Queen from that reality could be responsible for the attack on the USS Stargazer and for setting into motion the events of the season. The only thing she’d have to rely on Q to do would be to ensure that Picard, Dr Jurati, and the others would be aware that things had changed.

Theory #15:
The Borg are fighting a war – and they’re losing.

Could the Borg be fighting a war against the super-synths?

As posited above, the creation of a Borg Queen-Dr Jurati hybrid, and the plans she had for establishing a new kind of Borg, could’ve led to a conflict with the rest of the Collective. That would be one potential explanation for why the Borg vessel in The Star Gazer was supposedly seeking help. Alternatively, however, the Borg could be fighting a war against someone else.

One way to connect the two seasons of the series would be for the Borg to be fighting against one of the antagonists from Season 1. The Zhat Vash could, perhaps, have taken the Romulans’ anti-synthetic crusade and targetted the Borg. Or the Borg could be facing off against the super-synths from the Season 1 finale. There are other options within Star Trek’s broader canon, of course, but it starts getting pretty speculative at that point!

Theory #16:
Seven of Nine will join Starfleet.

Seven of Nine wearing a Starfleet uniform in the Voyager Season 7 episode Human Error.

Hide and Seek gave us some additional information about what happened to Seven of Nine in between Voyager and Picard. Apparently she applied to join Starfleet, but even with the backing of Captain Janeway, her application was denied. Seven believes that her Borg background is why the Federation rejected her, and that could explain some of her remarks in The Star Gazer about feeling uncomfortable and unwanted aboard a Starfleet vessel.

However, Hide and Seek also saw Raffi telling Seven that she would make an excellent Starfleet captain – so could that kind of role be in her future? If Seven survives the season (which it seems like she will after her brush with death this week), then maybe she’ll be permitted to join Starfleet at the second time of asking. She could even be assigned to serve under Admiral Picard’s command – potentially setting her up for a role next season. Or she could be given a ship of her own, perhaps with Raffi as a member of her crew. That could tee up an exciting spin-off series!

Theory #17:
The Borg Collective was badly damaged in the Voyager episode Endgame and has been unable to recover.

Admiral Janeway and the Borg Queen.

This theory is certainly looking less and less likely. Aside from a single ambiguous reference to the Borg potentially being in a weakened state all the way back at the start of the season, there hasn’t been any mention of or reference to the events of Endgame all season long. Although Endgame was an important episode, the fact that it hasn’t been brought up could mean that it would feel like a bit of a bolt from the blue if a major revelation connected to this episode were to appear in the season finale. All that being said, this theory has been there in the background all season long and I’m not ready to drop it with just one episode remaining. There’s still time for a connection – even if the connection is smaller than I initially imagined it could be!

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 and Reg Barclay with a holographic Borg drone 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.

So those theories are new or saw movement this week.

There are still several other big theories in play that Hide and Seek didn’t debunk, confirm, or advance in any significant way. To keep the theory list intact and all in one place, we can take a look at those now.

Theory #18:
Kore Soong will team up with Picard and the crew of La Sirena.

Kore Soong.

I haven’t been thrilled with the depiction of Kore Soong so far. Her story feels like a bland repeat of Soji and Dahj’s from Season 1, and she appears to exist in Season 2 more for the purpose of informing us about Dr Adam Soong than to do anything meaningful in her own right. I’m hopeful that that will change, however!

Mercy saw Kore Soong take the antidote or cure for her genetic condition, granting her freedom from her father. She left Dr Soong’s house and struck out on her own for what seems to be the first time – and I wonder if she’ll either seek out Picard or if they’ll run into one another. Kore may know something about Dr Soong that could be useful to the crew of La Sirena… so watch this space. Her story may not be done yet.

Theory #19:
The Q Continuum has been attacked.

Captain Janeway, Tuvok, Quinn, and Q in the Q Continuum.

Following Guinan’s chat with Q in Mercy, this theory feels a little less plausible. However, as we still don’t know what’s going on with Q, I’m keeping it on the table for now. Earlier in the season I felt increasingly sure that whatever had caused Q to lose his powers was something that wasn’t just affecting him personally, and there’s definitely been evidence to that end across the season so far – and beyond.

In Mercy, Guinan reminded us that members of the Q Continuum can kill one another, and that seemed like a very deliberate line to include. Was it just there to avoid nitpicking Trekkies saying “but what about the Q civil war in Voyager?!” or is there a hint there about something else? I don’t believe that the El-Aurians would be to blame if the Q Continuum has been attacked, but with the Borg in the story, they could certainly be a suspect.

Guinan and Q in Mercy.

In earlier episodes we had talk of a “cold war” between the Q and El-Aurians, a conflict that you’d imagine would be fantastically one-sided unless the El-Aurians know of some kind of weakness that the Q have. Then we had Guinan’s failed attempt to summon a Q – not the Q, but any Q. Q suggested that he basically had to walk from wherever he was to the FBI office because Guinan summoned him – but why didn’t another Q respond to the summons? Picard also suggested, after awakening from his coma, that Q may be weaker and more vulnerable than he had previously considered. And going back to Discovery Season 4, the episode The Examples told us that the Federation hadn’t seen any members of the Q Continuum in over 600 years as of the 32nd Century.

All of the pieces of evidence above could suggest that something is happening to the Q Continuum as a whole rather than just to Q himself. If the El-Aurians discovered a weakness, and then were assimilated by the Borg, perhaps the Borg came into possession of a way to harm the Q – attacking them and wiping them out.

In any case, if something that Picard did or didn’t do is connected to those events, that could explain why Q is so angry and why he felt the need to punish Picard. It could even explain Q’s desire to radically alter the timeline.

Theory #20:
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 #21:
At least one character from The Next Generation will make an appearance.

Picard with Dr Crusher in The Next Generation.

In a way, this theory was knocked off-course by the announcement a few weeks ago that Season 3 will be featuring the main characters from The Next Generation in a big way. I had wondered if Season 2 might’ve returned to Nepenthe to see Riker and Troi, for example, but for weeks that has felt very unlikely!

However, there are still ways that one or even all of these characters could be included. Above I suggested that they could rescue Picard from 2024, and that’s one possibility. It’s also possible that the final act of the season finale will begin the process of setting up the story of Season 3, in which case the final moments of the episode could see some or all of these characters return. Although time is running out, I’m keeping this one on the list as we head into the finale!

Theory #22:
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.

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 #23:
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 the past being changed. 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. If the masked Borg Queen turns out to be the Dr Jurati hybrid, she would have known about the prime timeline and may have considered it her best chance for survival.

Theory #24:
Rios will bring Teresa and Ricardo to the 25th Century.

Teresa and Rios at the clinic.

This is an inversion of the theory above about Rios potentially remaining in 2024. Rios has clearly abandoned the idea of making as little impact on the timeline as possible! Just like Kirk did for Dr Gillian Taylor in The Voyage Home, perhaps Rios will seek to bring Teresa and Ricardo forwards in time. Teresa may have her clinic to attend to – although its status is in doubt after it was raided by ICE earlier in the season – but she may want to leave the world of the 21st Century behind to head into a more optimistic future.

If Teresa and Rios continue to pursue a romantic relationship, and Rios begins to offer himself as a father figure to Ricardo, maybe the stage will be set for Teresa heading to the 25th Century. It wouldn’t be the weirdest or wildest possibility, especially not now that Teresa and Ricardo are both aware of Rios’ true identity and the existence of La Sirena.

Theory #25:
Teresa and Ricardo are Rios’ ancestors.

Teresa with Rios in Mercy.

This could be a heartbreaking end to Rios and Teresa’s burgeoning romance! In true Back to the Future style, perhaps Rios will learn that Teresa and Ricardo are his distant ancestors, bringing their relationship to a screeching half and preventing either of them from taking things further.

We’ve seen Star Trek deal with time travel on many occasions, including fixed moments in time and people too important to be changed or killed. And in a story in which Picard has already met a distant ancestor of his own – Renée – there could be a kind of poetic symmetry if Rios were to discover a connection to Teresa and Ricardo. If this pans out, I hope Rios and Teresa discover the truth before they… y’know!

Theory #26:
Rios will be killed and Picard will assume command of the new USS Stargazer.

Rios in the captain’s chair of the USS Stargazer.

One thing I can’t figure out at the moment is what sort of role the new cast will have in Season 3. If you somehow missed the cack-handed announcement, it’s been revealed that the main cast of The Next Generation (sans Wil Wheaton and Denise Crosby) will be reuniting in Season 3, and that they will have major roles to play. If that’s the case it seems all but certain that the main cast of Picard will be sidelined. We’ve already seen that happen this season with Elnor killed, Dr Jurati assimilated, and Soji missing in action, so that really only leaves Raffi, Seven, and Rios.

If the teases and hints about Season 3 that we’ve heard so far prove to be true, it seems as though Picard and the crew will need a ship… so could that ship be the new USS Stargazer?

New sets were built from scratch for the Stargazer, including a conference room, bridge, turbolift, and corridors, yet those sets were only used in a single episode at the start of the season. Even if the crew make it back to the 25th Century next time, that’s still a massive investment for relatively little screen time! So my theory is that the new sets will be used more extensively in Season 3 when Admiral Picard assumes command of the USS Stargazer. Why would there be a vacancy in the captain’s chair? Because Captain Rios is going to be one of the characters shuffled out of the way to make room for the returning crew of The Next Generation.

So that’s it!

Dr Jurati and the Borg Queen.

As we head into the season finale, a lot of questions remain unanswered. I won’t be upset if none of these theories pan out – but I could find myself saying that the season ended in disappointing fashion if questions about Q, Renée, the Europa Mission, and the Borg aren’t resolved satisfactorily. The only exception to that might be if the season ends on a cliffhanger, clearly establishing that Picard’s next outing will continue these storylines.

So it really is all to play for in the final episode of the season. The more I think about the events leading up to this point, the more convinced I am that some of the extraneous fluff should have been cut from several mid-season episodes. That would’ve allowed us to spend more time on things like the negotiation with the Borg Queen-Dr Jurati hybrid, as well as potentially more time with Q and Picard to explain what Q did, why he did it, and how whatever’s happened to him is related to Picard. It’s possible that the season finale and/or Season 3 will do justice to all of the narrative threads that remain in play – but I’m certainly a little nervous as the season runs out of track.

Los Angeles at night, circa 2024.

Despite that, I’m trying to stay optimistic! The season finale will likely be a feature-length outing, and there are some potentially exciting and explosive storylines that remain in play. Stopping Dr Soong is one of the big ones, and that could certainly be a source of drama and conflict, but there’s more. Seeing Q and Picard back together and getting a proper explanation for what’s been going on with him would be one of my big requests – and I think we’ll get that, even if it means that other story points will have to wait.

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.