Star Trek: Picard Season 3 theories – finale

Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers ahead for Star Trek: Picard Seasons 1-3. Spoilers are also present for the following Star Trek productions: The Wrath of KhanThe Search for SpockThe Next GenerationDeep Space NineVoyagerDiscovery, and Prodigy.

So this is it, then! This is the last theory update for Season 3, the last ever theory update for Star Trek: Picard in general, and the final part of a series of theory-crafting articles that I began writing when Picard’s first season kicked off in January 2020. Are you as emotional as I am?

There were two pretty big theory culls earlier in the season, so we arrived at the finale with only eleven theories that remained on the list. Of these, one counts as confirmed, but the rest were debunked – or simply ignored entirely. With no more Picard on the schedule, we’ll have to retire all of these theories.

The Enterprise-G.

If Star Trek returns to the 25th Century in the next couple of years – perhaps with a Picard spin-off that fans have been asking for – it’s possible, I suppose, that such a series might revisit characters, locations, and factions from Season 3. But I wouldn’t bet on it… and some of the things we were hoping to see resolved from Season 2 (and even Season 1) are all but certain to be abandoned now.

One of the disappointing things about Picard as a whole series is the abandonment of certain characters and storylines, particularly main characters and story points that appeared to be major. Although the way Season 3 was structured always meant that it was a remote possibility that any of that could be addressed in the final episode, there are still things I’d wanted to see resolved!

Riker, Picard, and Geordi bid farewell to the Enterprise-D.

But all of that is for the birds now! Our task today is to wrap up the remaining theories so we can draw a line under this series of articles. Although we netted some big theory wins this season, we’re finishing up with a whole lot of theories that didn’t pan out. I wouldn’t say I was overly attached to any of them – but several would’ve been fun had they come to pass.

As I always say, this has just been a bit of fun! Serialised storytelling has its drawbacks, but one thing I’ve enjoyed across all three seasons of Picard has been that the show has lent itself to this kind of theory-crafting and speculation.

Without any further ado, let’s jump into the list for one final time!

Confirmed theory:
At least one more unannounced character will appear.

An emergency transmission from a familiar voice!

I’m claiming this one as a win for both Q’s appearance in the epilogue and for Walter Koenig’s audio-only role as Anton Chekov! The son of Pavel Chekov, Anton was the Federation President whose message was heard as the crew of the Enterprise-D raced to Jupiter to confront the Borg. It’s fantastic to think that, more than fifty-five years after his first Star Trek appearance, Walter Koenig was able to return and play a role in the finale of Picard.

However, I was disappointed that we didn’t get to see anyone else. There were multiple mentions of Admiral Janeway in earlier episodes, and a perfect opportunity presented itself in the epilogue for Guinan to appear at her bar. A returning character could’ve also joined the crew of the Enterprise-G under Seven’s command, or we could’ve seen a familiar face battling the assimilated fleet over Earth. Picard did well with cameos and returning characters across Season 3 as a whole, though.

Debunked theory #1:
The absences of characters from Seasons 1 and 2 will be explained.

Elnor in a promo photo for Season 2.

I held out hope all season long that someone, somehow, in some way, might’ve explained why Elnor, Soji, and the Borg Queen-Dr Jurati hybrid weren’t joining Picard’s mission or taking part in the story. However, none of these characters – who played major roles in Seasons 1 and 2 of the series – were so much as mentioned. The finale was the last chance for it to happen, but it didn’t.

In the future, when we dissect the troubled, disjointed production of Picard in more detail, I think we’ll have to talk about the waste of characters like Soji and Elnor – characters who absolutely could have been included here. Think how much more impactful it might’ve been to see Elnor as one of the assimilated youngsters, having spent three whole seasons with him, instead of the relative newcomers that we got in the story. There’s a lot more to say about this – but we’ll leave it for another time when we can discuss it in more detail.

Debunked theory #2:
The Borg and/or the rogue changelings are responsible for the mysterious anomaly seen in Season 2.

The anomaly at the end of Season 2.

Another abandoned idea that Season 3 didn’t revisit was the mysterious anomaly from Season 2. This storyline – like others from both Seasons 1 and 2 – is now orphaned, unlikely to be revisited. Though it was long past time for the mysterious anomaly to have been incorporated into the plot in a big way, I still felt there was a possibility that it might be mentioned. Someone might’ve explained that it was the Borg’s first attempt to attack the Federation, for example.

Getting more detail on the mysterious anomaly was one of my requests of Season 3, and it’s disappointing that this storyline was abandoned with no resolution. The anomaly kick-started the plot of Season 2, and it was one of the few potentially interesting narrative points from an otherwise disappointing season. Being left with no explanation for something so seismic is disappointing – and another piece of evidence for how poorly-managed Picard’s overall production has been.

Debunked theory #3:
Picard will donate his golem body to Jack.

Jack with Picard in the season finale.

I came up with this idea when Jack was first misdiagnosed with Irumodic Syndrome earlier in the season. Even though that diagnosis was later proven to be incorrect, the brain abnormality that Picard and Jack shared still had the potential to prove fatal – as it did for Picard in Season 1. With that in mind, I wondered if the only way Jack could be saved would be for him to be transferred into a golem body.

Picard could have made the ultimate sacrifice for his son, donating his golem to Jack as a final act of parental love. There had been speculation for years that the series would end with Picard’s death, but after the fake-out in Season 1 I felt it would have been hard to pull off killing Picard for a second time. This was one way it could have happened, though! However, the epilogue explained that Dr Crusher came up with a cure for the Borg modification, and that’s that.

Debunked theory #4:
At least one main character will be killed.

The main cast of The Next Generation Season 2.

As much as I’d been expecting this, in the end it turned out that the finale and Season 3 as a whole were a bit of a throwback! Television storytelling has gone through a significant evolution since The Next Generation premiered in 1987, and main characters should no longer be considered “safe” just because of their status. With a dangerous mission at hand – and the Borg involved – it seemed plausible to think that at least one of our heroes would be killed off.

Season 3 did find time to kill off Ro Laren and Captain Shaw, but none of the main characters from The Next Generation found themselves on the chopping block. In fact, the season actually resurrected the long-dead Data and even the Enterprise-D, meaning that by the time the credits rolled the death toll for main characters stood at -2!

Debunked theory #5:
The Jurati-Borg will ally with Picard and the Federation.

The Borg Queen-Dr Jurati hybrid.

At the end of Season 2, Dr Jurati’s Borg faction asked for provisional membership of the Federation and promised to watch over the unexplained anomaly. With the Federation seemingly staring defeat in the face as a huge assimilated fleet attacked Earth, I wondered whether Dr Jurati’s Borg might show up to render assistance. The anomaly seemed to be relatively close to Earth, based on its Season 2 depiction, so it seemed possible that she might’ve been able to help.

We knew going into Season 3 that Alison Pill wouldn’t be reprising her role – so that always meant that this theory was unlikely, I guess. But even so, it feels incredibly wasteful to have abandoned that Borg faction and the mysterious anomaly, especially when they could have been incorporated into the story in some way. Even if they showed up too late, after Picard had already saved the day, it would’ve been a fun addition.

Debunked theory #6:
Deanna Troi will use her “pain removal” skill on Jack.

Troi in The Last Generation on the bridge of the Enterprise-D.

Earlier in the season, it had been established that Troi had the ability to “enter” someone’s mind and remove pain – a skill superficially similar to Sybok’s, I suppose. With Season 3 dedicating time to this revelation, I wondered whether it might come into play at a crucial moment later on, with Troi using this skill to aid Jack in some way. She might’ve been able to sever his connection to the Borg or even cure him of his Borg-induced brain abnormality.

None of that came to pass, however. In fact, Troi’s role in The Last Generation was one of the episode’s least impressive and most clichéd moments, as seemingly from nowhere, as if by magic, she was able to use her empathic ability to pinpoint the location of Riker and the rest of the away team. I’m not disappointed that this “pain removal” angle wasn’t included… but I am a tad disappointed in the way Troi was used in the finale.

Debunked theory #7:
Floaty McFloatface will be back.


Because of the truly abrupt way in which Vadic’s story ended, I wondered if we might get to learn a little more about Floaty McFloatface – the nameless character who may have been some kind of envoy or go-between for Vadic and the Borg Queen. Although Vadic had died and the Shrike had been destroyed, we hadn’t seen Floaty McFloatface killed – nor was it even clear what Floaty McFloatface was – so it seemed possible, at least, that we might’ve got some kind of resolution to this partial character.

The Last Generation barely mentioned the changelings at all, with a very brief appearance of a rogue changeling being detained in the epilogue being all we got. There was definitely more to say about this faction, including how they came to work with the Borg and what will happen to the surviving members of the conspiracy.

Debunked theory #8:
Floaty McFloatface isn’t a changeling.

Floaty McFloatface in its goo form.

As above, I speculated that Floaty McFloatface may not be a changeling itself, but might’ve been a Borg or some kind of representative of the Borg sent to Vadic by the Queen to keep an eye on her. Floaty McFloatface clearly had power over Vadic – both in a figurative and literal sense – and I’d have liked to know at least a little more about how all of that worked.

We’ll have to discuss Vadic in more detail on another occasion now that the season has ended, because there are some pretty big issues with the way her involvement in the story ultimately landed. But for now, suffice to say that this theory is debunked and we can assume that Floaty McFloatface either died with Vadic or died when the Shrike was destroyed a few moments later.

Debunked theory #9:
Odo will make an appearance – somehow.

Odo in Deep Space Nine.

Odo had been mentioned by Worf – albeit rather obliquely – earlier in the season, and with the changelings playing a significant role in the story that, in spite of Vadic’s death, was yet to be wrapped up, I felt it was at least possible that the show’s writers might’ve included Odo in some kind of epilogue sequence. It didn’t happen, though – and I’m actually really glad about that!

Season 3 didn’t lean into Deep Space Nine as heavily as I’d expected after the first two or three episodes, and all of the returning characters were from The Next Generation or Voyager. There was scope to do more with the Deep Space Nine and Dominion War angles, but I’m glad that Odo wasn’t digitally recreated or recast on this occasion.

Debunked theory #10:
Other old/classic starships will join the Enterprise-D to face off against the Borg.

The Enterprise-A.

As cool as it was to see the Enterprise-D standing alone against the Borg… imagine how much fun it could’ve been if the ship had been joined by other older vessels. We could’ve seen some of the ships from Geordi’s fleet museum, for example, with the Enterprise-D and Enterprise-A fighting alongside one another for the first time ever. Now that would have been spectacular!

I’m a sucker for the “desperate last stand” story trope no matter how it’s written, and The Last Generation did its thing pretty well. But it would have been amazing if Picard and the Enterprise-D could have been joined by even just one or two other classic/retired starships for this final fight. There must be other ships in Starfleet that weren’t upgraded in addition to those at the museum. Oh well!

So that’s it!

The “Death Star trench run!”

We’ve wrapped up our remaining Picard theories now that the season has come to an end. Although there were a lot of debunkings, across the season I did manage to make a few successful predictions! And above all, I had fun speculating about where the story might go. That was the point of all of this, really, and I’m glad to have been able to follow along with Picard from beginning to end, sharing my theories and speculation with you.

So what’s next? Although my theory lists and episode reviews are over, there’s still a lot to say about Picard’s third season and the series as a whole. When the dust has settled I’d like to re-watch all three seasons of the show in one hit to see how well it works (or doesn’t work) in that format. And I already have a few articles and essays that I’m tentatively sketching out in my head, talking about the third season, some of its narrative decisions, potential spin-off ideas, and much more. So although Picard has come to an end, I hope you’ll check back to see some of that!

All together on the bridge, safe and sound.

And of course there’s more Star Trek to come! Strange New Worlds Season 2 will premiere in June, and we have Discovery’s fifth and final season in early 2024 – plus Prodigy, Lower Decks, Starfleet Academy, and Section 31 to look forward to as well!

For now, though, I’ll end by saying that I hope you had fun following along with my theories this season – and across Seasons 1 and 2, too. I had a great time keeping the theory list up-to-date, coming up with ideas, and speculating about the story that Picard was telling. And who knows… if a certain Legacy pitch gets picked up by Paramount, maybe some of my theories will return in the future! Watch this space, and live long and prosper!

Star Trek: Picard Seasons 1-3 are available to stream now on Paramount+ in the United States and other countries and territories where the service is available, and on Amazon Prime Video in the UK and around the world. The Star Trek franchise – including Picard and all other properties discussed 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.

Star Trek: Picard Season 3 theories – week 9

Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers ahead for Star Trek: Picard Seasons 1-3. Spoilers are also present for the following Star Trek productions: The Wrath of KhanThe Search for SpockThe Next GenerationDeep Space NineVoyagerDiscovery, and Prodigy.

I had a tough old time figuring out what to say about Võx this week. It was simultaneously an incredibly emotional episode that hit all of the right nostalgic notes… and a flawed, trope-laden outing that literally had me rolling my eyes and even laughing out loud. But as Picard and the crew boarded the Enterprise-D and the dust settled… it’s also an episode that has completely decimated our theory list!

You can find my review of Võx by clicking or tapping here – and I hope you’ll check it out if you have time. I’ve shared my thoughts as best as I can… but I’ll be genuinely curious to see how the episode holds up in a year’s time when we’ve had time to process everything that happened this season, and to move on. Will those deeply nostalgic moments still cover up the episode’s flaws?

Jack aboard a shuttle in Võx.

This week we have five debunked theories, three further theories that I’m choosing to retire, and five fully confirmed theories. We also have three theories that I’m calling “semi” confirmed – and the reason for that status is the same in every case: something I’d proposed might be a changeling idea was actually a Borg idea. I got the basic outline more or less right – but called it a changeling plan not a Borg plan. But it’s my list so I’m still calling those “semi” confirmed!

I had a lot of fun last week theorising about what the “ancient evil” surrounding Jack might be – as well as knocking over a couple of popular fan theories that I’d spotted on social media. There’s no such bonus theory to come this week… and as we strike so many theories off of the list, we’ll be going into the finale with only a few remaining on the table!

As always, we’ll start with theories that were confirmed or debunked this week.

Debunked theory #1:
Jack has changeling/Founder DNA.

Jack in this week’s episode.

Until we saw the Borg hiding inside Jack’s mind this week, which began the process of unravelling the Borg’s involvement in the story, the “big bad” that Picard and the crew were facing appeared to be a group of rogue changelings. With their focus on Jack, and Vadic appearing to have some kind of personal interest in him or connection to him, it seemed a reasonable guess that Jack might have somehow got changeling DNA mixed in with his human DNA.

Võx debunked this idea, though, explaining that Jack’s condition is in fact the result of Borg biotechnology – something that he inherited from Picard at the moment of his conception.

Debunked theory #2:
The rogue changelings are attempting to reach the Nexus.

The Nexus.

This was a total wildcard, and I freely admit that! When we saw James T. Kirk’s body at Daystrom Station in the episode The Bounty, I wondered if that might’ve been a hint at the Nexus – the powerful energy ribbon seen in Star Trek Generations. The Nexus was a gateway to a paradise-like realm… but it also offered the opportunity to travel through time, something that Picard and Kirk both took advantage of.

With no other references to the Nexus or the events of Generations, it always felt like a bit of a long-shot. And if it had come so late in the season, it might’ve felt like a bolt from the blue! But the idea of the rogue changelings looking to use time travel to avenge or prevent their defeat in the Dominion War is an interesting one. Perhaps a future Star Trek story will consider an idea like this one day… or find another reason to return to the Nexus.

Debunked theory #3:
Jack has Borg nanoprobes in his system.

Borg nanites as seen in Season 2.

This was completely debunked by Dr Crusher in Võx, as she stated outright that scans of Jack had confirmed that he has no Borg nanites or technology in his system. This revelation makes the Borg even more frightening, in my view, as their biotechnology is clearly light-years ahead of anything the Federation has… and proved to be completely undetectable, too!

Although I wasn’t certain that there was a Borg connection to Jack, it felt like a solid possibility – especially as we headed into Võx. With that in mind, Borg nanoprobes seemed like a reasonable explanation – but it didn’t pan out that way!

Debunked theory #4:
Irumodic Syndrome is important to the rogue changelings.

Picard was first told about his susceptibility to Irumodic Syndrome in All Good Things…

The rogue changelings – who we now know were being controlled and/or directed by the Borg – couldn’t care less about Irumodic Syndrome. Picard and Jack don’t actually have the condition after all, it would seem! They wanted Picard’s old corpse and Jack because the anomaly in their brains was latent Borg biotechnology.

The Borg needed Jack to broadcast and amplify their signal, which they did during the Frontier Day event. Irumodic Syndrome was never part of their plan – it was a misdiagnosis by Starfleet doctors who didn’t understand what they were dealing with.

Debunked theory #5:
The rogue changelings are planning to cripple Starfleet.

The assembled fleet in orbit of Earth.

Although being assimilated and controlled by the Borg is a crippling blow to Starfleet, that isn’t really what I meant by this theory! In short, I suggested that the rogue changelings’ scheme involved destroying either key front-line ships within Starfleet or blowing up large numbers of ships indiscriminately. When we saw that some rogue changeling operatives had powerful explosives with them, that possibility seemed likely!

We now know, of course, that the plan was for the Borg to assimilate younger Starfleet officers and hack into the connected Federation fleet. It doesn’t seem like the Borg plan to destroy any of the ships under their control – though they did destroy a vessel that managed to escape!

Retired theory #1:
Someone on the crew is a changeling imposter.

Picard and the crew aboard the Enterprise-D.

Even though there’s one episode remaining in which I fully expect twists and turns, I’m choosing to belatedly strike this theory from the list. After the deeply emotional reunion at the end of Surrender, and Picard and the crew taking their posts aboard the Enterprise-D this week, I no longer feel that this kind of storyline would work. With less than an hour left to wrap up all of the storylines in play, adding something like this into the mix would also complicate the story unnecessarily.

As Võx has moved away from the rogue changelings to re-orient the story around the Borg, I suspect we won’t hear much more about them at all. There really ought to be something to wrap up that side of the story… but with the Borg planning a conquest of Earth, this theory now feels beyond the realm of possibility.

Retired theories #2 and #3:
The rogue changelings are also planning attacks on the Klingons, Romulans, Bajorans, and Cardassians.

A joint Federation-Klingon task force during the Dominion War.
Image Credit: JTVFX on YouTube

These two theories are also being retired now that we know the Borg are the ones directing this conspiracy. In short, I’d suggested that if the changelings were on the march, they might be seeking revenge for their defeat in the Dominion War. If so, it seemed logical to think that they might also be targeting other factions beyond the Federation who fought alongside them.

The Klingons and Romulans were the main ones, as they’d been part of the anti-Dominion alliance. But the Cardassians turned on their Dominion allies near the close of the war, and while officially neutral, Bajor clearly sided with the Federation, too. But now that we’ve seen the truth behind the conspiracy, this idea seems to be busted!

Semi-confirmed theory #1:
The rogue changelings didn’t want Jean-Luc Picard, they wanted Locutus.

Locutus of Borg.

The conspiracy necessitated the use of Jean-Luc Picard’s corpse… but not for any reason to do with Picard himself! Borg biotechnology that had been installed or generated inside of Picard’s brain while he was assimilated was key to the conspiracy, meaning that the rogue changelings really needed the body of Locutus.

It seems as if this DNA/brain modification isn’t something that all Borg receive, otherwise the conspiracy could’ve targetted someone like Seven of Nine – or simply used any other Borg drone or ex-Borg. So it really was Locutus who was the key to the success of this scheme.

Semi-confirmed theory #2:
Jack is a “sleeper agent.”

Jack in Võx.

The Borg clearly knew of Jack and his potential long before this conspiracy got started. They didn’t necessarily “plan” his conception – and it remains unclear whether any other child of Picard’s would have been similarly useful to them. But when the Borg learned that Picard had a child, they realised they could take advantage of his abilities.

In that sense, Jack is a “sleeper agent;” an asset that the Borg had within humanity unbeknownst to anyone in Starfleet – or even to Jack himself. Jack would never have voluntarily participated in the plot – though his decision to seek out the Borg Queen had the unintended consequence of the scheme succeeding – but the Borg Queen planned to use him for that purpose.

Semi-confirmed theory #3:
The Borg hacked into the connected Federation fleet.

The USS Titan.

Having a connected fleet that could operate as a single entity always felt like a dangerous idea – and so it proved! The Borg were able to tap into Starfleet’s connected armada and turn the entire fleet against the Federation – even destroying ships that broke formation and tried to escape. This had been set up by comments about the connected nature of newer Starfleet vessels earlier in the season.

The Borg are a fascinating warning about the dangers of out-of-control technology, and if we extend that metaphor to their takeover of the fleet, there are some very interesting real-world parallels as we continue to work on artificial intelligence out here in the real world!

Confirmed theory #1:
The “ancient evil” was the Borg Queen.

Well, look who it is!

I tackled this question in last week’s theory update, and expanded it in a standalone piece in which I considered a few other ideas – and debunked a few theories that I felt certain weren’t correct! It never seemed plausible to me that Species 8472, the Romulans, or the Pah-Wraiths could have been introduced into the story at such a late stage – not without any kind of hint or suggestion that they were implicated in the conspiracy. The Borg – and the Borg Queen specifically – seemed the most likely “ancient evil” to me, and so it proved!

There had been hints and teases all season long; a trail of breadcrumbs to follow that led to this revelation. While we can (and will) criticise the decision to bring the Borg into play for the third season in a row, the timing of this revelation coming so late in the season, and myriad other issues with this storyline, I can’t really find fault in the setup.

Confirmed theory #2:
Jack’s hallucinations, red eyes, and superpowers came from the Borg.

Jack’s glowing red eyes.

There was a bit of a misdirect here, as the colour red isn’t one we’d really associate with the Borg. Nor are Jack’s other abilities, come to that! But given that I was always suspicious of some kind of Borg involvement or connection to the events of the season – going all the way back to before the season premiere – it seemed plausible that what was happening to Jack was caused by the Borg.

The biotechnology deployed by the Borg is unlike anything we’ve ever seen them use – but that’s a pretty cool idea, and it shows once again just how much more advanced the Borg are when compared with the Federation. In addition to tapping into combat prowess he didn’t know he had – which may have come from assimilation victims, if you think about it – Jack also heard the voice of the Borg Queen and possessed the ability to “assimilate” other humanoids, albeit only briefly. The glowing eyes were just a symptom.

Confirmed theory #3:
Captain Shaw died.

Captain Shaw meets his end.

Poor Captain Shaw! After surviving far longer than I’d expected, he was finally killed off in Võx, with his death buying time for Picard and the others (sans Seven and Raffi, for some reason) to escape the Titan. Captain Shaw had been an interesting character in the first three or four episodes of the season, but had felt superfluous for a long time. I’d been expecting his death from the very first episode, initially wondering if he might be killed off to allow Picard, Riker, or Seven to sit in the captain’s chair.

At this late stage in the story, Shaw feels like the easiest main character to have killed. And while his death had an impact and showed the danger faced by Picard and everyone else in Starfleet… it came a bit late in the game for me. As a character who hadn’t had much to say or do for several episodes, Shaw’s death was perhaps less significant than it could’ve been. But regardless – I got this prediction right!

Confirmed theory #4:
Another unannounced character returned!

Admiral Shelby!

After Ro Laren and Tuvok had appeared earlier in the season (and of course Lore and Professor Moriarty, who had been teased in pre-season trailers, appeared too), we got to see Admiral Shelby this week. Shelby appeared in the classic episode The Best of Both Worlds, where she was one of Starfleet’s biggest experts on the Borg. In an episode in which the Borg returned, there was something fitting about bringing her back – as indeed there was at having her (apparently) killed by the Borg.

There were also name-drops of a couple of other characters, including a starship seemingly named after Dr Pulaski – the doctor who joined the crew of the Enterprise-D for one year. This one is going to be recycled back into the main theory list, though… because there’s still time for another surprise or two before the season is over!

Confirmed theory #5:
The Borg are involved.

Called it!

After the season premiere, in which there were a handful of Borg references, this theory was added to the list. And it turns out that those hints and teases actually were intended to jump-start the process of setting up the Borg to be the season’s main antagonist. We can argue that this reveal came too late in the story, and with only one episode left it might not be the most satisfying conflict, but at the end of the day it’s still pretty cool to have Picard and the crew facing off against the Borg once again!

As above, this is something I feel was pretty well-established by earlier episodes in the season, even as the main story seemed to focus on Vadic and the changelings. There are issues with the way this was done, particularly in terms of timing and pacing, and we’ll have to unpack all of that in the future. But for now we can call this one confirmed!

So those theories were confirmed, debunked, or have been retired.

Phew, that was a lot! There are still a few theories that remain in play, though – and Võx threw up a couple of new ideas, too. So let’s jump into the main theory list!

Theory #1:
The Jurati-Borg will ally with Picard.

The Dr Jurati-Borg Queen hybrid.

The events of Season 2 were briefly mentioned earlier in the season, but it’s worth remembering that the Jurati-Borg are still out there, potentially as provisional Federation members in relatively close proximity to Earth. Maybe they will ride to Starfleet’s aid and help protect Earth against their Borg brethren.

We still need to get closure on Dr Jurati’s story, which ended with a kind of “see you later” as she promised to watch over the mysterious anomaly at the end of Season 2. Perhaps the final episode of the series could bring her back – along with her Borg offshoot faction.

Theory #2:
Other old/classic starships will join the Enterprise-D to face off against the Borg.

The Enterprise-D departing the Fleet Museum.

One starship against the entire Federation fleet? The Enterprise-D will be obliterated in a furious storm of quantum torpedoes the moment it arrives at Earth. Galaxy-class ships aren’t especially manoeuvrable, either… so if Picard is going to take a stand and defeat the Borg, he’s going to need allies.

Perhaps there are other ships in the fleet that weren’t upgraded, or other mothballed vessels that could join the Enterprise-D. Ships with primarily older crews, or vessels whose transporters hadn’t been meddled with could all – in theory – join in. We’ve already seen some beautiful CGI recreations of ships like the USS Voyager and Enterprise-A… maybe they could join the party?

Theory #3:
At least one more unannounced character will make an appearance.

I don’t think we can rule out Morn…

We’ve already seen characters from The Next Generation and Voyager this season – but aside from Worf, there hasn’t been anyone from Deep Space Nine. Could that change? Someone like Miles O’Brien, for example, could make for a great inclusion in the story. We could also get another cameo or two from guest stars from that era – older Starfleet officers who may rush to the Federation’s defence and take a stand against the Borg with Picard.

There are many possibilities for how this could play out – and after the shocking appearance of Wesley Crusher last year, I’m not ruling anyone out as we head into the final episode of the season!

Theory #4:
At least one main character will be killed.

Rest in peace…

The demise of Captain Shaw has proved one thing: this is a dangerous, life-threatening situation! As I said before the season began, television storytelling has changed a lot since The Next Generation first aired, and main characters should no longer be considered to be “safe” simply because of their status.

As we approach what seems to be a climactic battle, practically everyone could be in danger! I’d posit that most of the officers who had been “assimilated” are still salvageable, though.

Theory #5:
The Borg and/or the rogue changelings are responsible for the mysterious anomaly seen in Season 2.

The anomaly.

With their plot now exposed and out in the open, could we finally learn that the mysterious anomaly from Season 2 was also a Borg/rogue changeling attack? Perhaps it was intended to be a precursor to their scheme, or the thwarting of their attack is what led them to develop this more underhanded plan.

I hope that the series won’t just end without explaining this anomaly… even though I fear that will be the case! It was an important point in the story of Season 2, and is actually one of the few elements from last time that might’ve worked. I’d like to know more about it at any rate – even if the Borg and rogue changelings had nothing to do with it.

Theory #6:
Picard will donate his golem body to Jack.

Picard with Jack.

Even if the Borg can be stopped and Jack can be recovered safely from the Borg Queen’s clutches, he still has a brain anomaly that is likely to prove fatal. Although Picard and Jack are not afflicted by Irumodic Syndrome, the Borg biotechnology in their brains is still an issue – and it “killed” Picard back in Season 1.

With that in mind, perhaps Jack could be saved the way Picard was – by being transferred into a golem body. Picard could step up and donate his golem to Jack, saving the life of his son in one final act of parental love.

Theory #7:
Deanna Troi will use her “pain removal” skill on Jack.

Deanna with Jack.

A couple of weeks ago we learned that Troi was able to “enter” Riker’s mind and remove from him the pain he felt at the death of their son. This skill feels like it could come in handy for removing something malicious from someone’s brain – and Jack is just the person who might need that kind of help!

Even if Troi can’t physically remove the Borg’s biotechnology, perhaps she will be able to use this skill to prevent the Borg from using Jack in this way again, or at least cover up the symptoms so Jack can live a normal life.

Theory #8:
Floaty McFloatface will be back.

Floaty McFloatface.

We haven’t seen Vadic’s boss for a couple of episodes now, and it’s plausible to think that her death means this unnamed character won’t be back. But if the finale is to explain the alliance/relationship between the Borg and the rogue changelings in any degree of detail, it’s at least possible that Floaty McFloatface could be part of that – either by having survived or via a flashback sequence.

I’d quite like to know how the Borg were able to either assimilate or ally with Vadic and her group, and there’s only one episode left for this to be explained!

Theory #9:
Floaty McFloatface isn’t a changeling.

Vadic with Floaty McFloatface.

It seems plausible, if not downright likely, that Floaty McFloatface is a Borg, perhaps a representative sent by the Queen to keep Vadic in line. However, Floaty McFloatface always appeared to have changeling-like qualities, and the exact nature of who and what they are hasn’t been fully explored.

As above, it’s possible we’ll get none of this, and that the season will end without going into detail on this half-baked character. But I hope we’ll get to know something about how the Borg and changelings came to work together, at the very least.

Theory #10:
The absences of characters from Seasons 1 and 2 will be explained – or at least mentioned.

Soji in Season 1.

Was Elnor aboard the USS Excelsior when it was destroyed? Because that was the ship he was assigned to in Season 2. Where are Soji and her friends from Coppelius? And is the Dr Jurati-Borg Queen hybrid still watching over the mysterious anomaly? These characters were all important in earlier chapters of the story, and while Laris briefly appeared in the season premiere, the others have yet to be so much as mentioned.

It would be a shame if the series were to end without at least mentioning some of these characters – even if they don’t appear in person. They were all important in Seasons 1 and 2, and while Picard seems to have given up on the idea of introducing brand-new characters, developing them, and giving them a chance to take the franchise forward… I’d still like to know why some of these folks couldn’t have joined Picard’s mission on this occasion.

Theory #11:
Odo will make an appearance – somehow.

Odo in Deep Space Nine.

I don’t know how I feel about this one. It was sweet to see Worf make reference to Odo in Seventeen Seconds – though the connection could have been clearer, especially for more casual viewers – but I’m not convinced that we need to see Odo for ourselves. The reason for that is simple: the only way we could see Odo is either by re-casting the character or recreating him through some kind of CGI process.

Star Trek has successfully re-cast many characters over the years, so I don’t really take exception to that. But the death of actor René Auberjonois is still recent and fresh in our minds, so bringing Odo back without him just feels… uncomfortable. Although Odo is well-suited to a story in which the changelings are back, I think I’d rather he didn’t appear in person on this occasion. But I wanted to acknowledge that it’s at least a plausible development for the story.

So that’s it!

The Enterprise-D is en route to Earth…

As we head into the final episode of Star Trek: Picard, the theory list has been slimmed down! I’m sure that there will be twists, turns, and unpredictable moments as Picard and the crew of the Enterprise-D battle the Borg for one last time. I have absolutely no idea how they’ll pull it off or turn this dire situation around… so I guess the only way we’ll find out will be to watch The Last Generation when it airs!

I’ll be trying very hard to avoid spoilers before I watch the episode – and I hope you’ll manage to do the same. The finale of Picard is bittersweet, and to think that this is the last time I’ll be writing theories about an upcoming episode of this show… it’s an emotional moment!

As a final note: 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 for me. But for some folks, fan theories can become 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 3. I fully expect many of these theories to be debunked and for the season to go in wildly unpredictable directions!

Star Trek: Picard Seasons 1-3 are available to stream now on Paramount+ in the United States and other countries and territories where the service is available, and on Amazon Prime Video in the UK and around the world. The Star Trek franchise – including Picard and all other properties discussed 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.

Star Trek: Picard Episode Review – Season 3, Episode 6: The Bounty

Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers ahead for Star Trek: Picard Seasons 1-3. Spoilers are also present for the following Star Trek productions: The Wrath of KhanThe Search for Spock, The Next GenerationDeep Space NineVoyager, and Discovery.

The Bounty feels like an episode that was made for fans. More than any other episode of Picard – at least since Season 1’s Nepenthe – I felt that the writers were leaning as heavily as they could into the lore and history of the Star Trek franchise, plucking some of those nostalgic chords for no other reason than to harken back to classic episodes, films, and stories that Trekkies will remember with fondness. There were some incredibly powerful emotional moments as a result, and I will never tire of seeing close-up shots of some of the franchise’s most beautiful starships!

Despite that, however, The Bounty was an imperfect outing overall – an episode with a couple of story beats that felt incomplete or just abrupt, and that resurrected a character who I felt had been appropriately and perfectly laid to rest. Moments of nostalgia spread throughout The Bounty felt absolutely magical… for the most part. But I fear this side of things was overdone and may have tried to carry the episode just a little too far. There will be repercussions for the story as a whole as the second half of the season – and the final act of Picard – gets underway.

The USS Titan.

Let’s talk first about something that had been teased in pre-season trailers and had got a lot of Trekkies chattering excitedly: the “return” of Professor Moriarty. For me, the way this ultimately came across in The Bounty was a let-down; a textbook example of how not to over-hype a character. Moriarty, in my view, should never have appeared in trailers and marketing material for two reasons. Firstly, his cameo here was incredibly brief, with Moriarty getting only a couple of lines and one very short moment of action. Secondly, and perhaps most significantly, this isn’t actually Moriarty.

This version of Moriarty was revealed to be a projection; an illusion created from the decaying remnants of Data’s memories. And that’s totally fine in the context of the story. Had I gone into the episode not expecting to see Moriarty nor knowing he was going to be included in the season, I’d have almost certainly been surprised and impressed. But the build-up to Moriarty’s return had been a significant moment in pre-season trailers going back several months… and seen through that lens, I felt more than a little let down – as if the promised return was nothing more than a bait-and-switch.

Moriarty’s cameo in The Bounty was minor.

Ro Laren’s surprise return to Star Trek last week had been kept secret – and it worked phenomenally well as a result. I can’t help but feel that Daniel Davis’ return as Moriarty should have been treated the same way, as keeping Moriarty out of pre-season trailers would have made his return feel impactful rather than underwhelming. There was scope to do more with Moriarty – and having wondered for months why he might be involved and what kind of a role he could play… I just feel like this cameo was over-hyped. Partly that’s my own fault… but partly it’s Paramount’s marketing, which deliberately over-inflated Moriarty’s role in pre-season trailers.

Trying to assess this inclusion on its own merit, though, I think it would’ve been a lot of fun were it not for being basically spoiled ahead of time. Visiting a black site like Daystrom Station only to encounter a dangerous foe from the past, having to figure out what was going on and how to defeat him, while at the same time he’s unable to be harmed… it was a setup that should have been tense and exciting, while at the same time being a great deal of fun to welcome back a character that I don’t think anyone could’ve truly expected. But unfortunately it didn’t stick the landing – and that’s all because this surprise was spoiled by pre-season trailers.

Moriarty’s return had been spoiled by pre-season trailers.

Let’s get all of the disappointments out of the way up front and look at another let-down! I always like to caveat these particular kinds of criticisms by noting that Paramount doesn’t have unlimited financial resources, and that it isn’t fair to compare Star Trek to productions from the likes of Disney or HBO that have significantly more money to play with. But even with that caveat… I felt that there was a scene or sequence that was sorely missing from The Bounty.

Jack Crusher and Sidney La Forge teamed up to “borrow” a cloaking device from the titular Bounty – the Klingon Bird-of-Prey used by Captain Kirk and co. during the events of The Voyage Home. But this daring heist took place entirely off-screen… and I just feel disappointed by that.

The titular HMS Bounty.

Even with the caveat that Paramount doesn’t have unlimited money, let’s consider this story beat and see how it could’ve played out. First up, there are only two characters involved, which obviously makes it a lot more manageable from a practical point of view. Secondly, it wouldn’t necessarily have required the construction of multiple sets. Between the AR wall (which I know is in Toronto, not California where Picard is produced) and pre-existing sets, surely it must’ve been possible to recreate a small portion of a Bird-of-Prey – even if it wasn’t the bridge. Just a corridor or something where we could’ve seen Jack and Sidney beaming aboard. Alternatively, the episode could’ve seen Jack and Sidney take the USS Defiant’s cloaking device, and a small part of that ship could’ve been created.

Although some creative(ish) storytelling and writing tried to present this aspect of the story as a bit of a surprise, it was actually pretty clear what Jack hoped to do, and even though I know we don’t always need to see every moment unfold in order for a story to be entertaining… we absolutely could have in this instance. In an episode that was already leaning heavily on the crutch of nostalgia, think how much fun it could have been if we’d actually been able to visit one of the ships at the museum instead of just seeing their recreated CGI husks.

So I’m afraid to say that this aspect of The Bounty feels like it has a pretty glaring omission.

Jack formulated a plan… but his plan took place entirely off-screen.

I can’t wait any longer to talk about Data! This is a huge point, not just for Season 3 and potentially not only for Picard, either, but for Star Trek as a whole. The resurrection of seemingly-dead characters is something the franchise has done before – and done quite well, at least in some instances. Technobabble can be used to excuse and justify these things in a sci-fi setting, so from a technical standpoint there really isn’t much to say about the whole “Data, Lore, B4, and other androids are all stuck inside the same ‘golem’ body” idea that The Bounty introduced. I think it clears the bar from that point of view.

But I can’t forgive it as a narrative point.

One of the few highlights of the two-part Season 1 finale was how poignant and beautiful the scenes between Picard and Data were. Eighteen years after Data’s death in Nemesis hadn’t really been given a sufficiently emotional payoff, Et in Arcadia Ego righted that wrong, and Data was finally laid to rest as Picard entered the digital afterlife. Those scenes did so much to elevate what was an otherwise disappointing finale – but more than that, they felt final and conclusive; a definitive but also appropriate end for a character we first met way back in 1987.

Data’s resurrection is a difficult storyline to get behind.

By allowing Data to permanently die, Picard helped him achieve his lifelong goal of becoming more human – because what could possibly be more human, for an artificial life-form who doesn’t age, than dying? This was one of the most impactful moments in all of Season 1 for me, and seeing Data come to the definitive end of his life, even as Picard was being reborn in a new body, went a long way to making the journey feel worthwhile.

The Bounty has now undermined and even overwritten that powerful emotional moment – and I fear that it has no reason for doing so other than the selfish desire of some of the show’s producers to play with the character of Data once more. I feel like I’m watching children playing with action figures; sure, Data was “dead,” but that doesn’t matter now. Pretend it didn’t happen, pick up the doll, and start playing a new game.

He even kind of resembles an action figure in a box…

One of my biggest concerns going into Season 3 – and really going back a whole year to the announcement of these actors returning – is that the story would end up feeling not only tacked-on and unnecessary, but like a childish mess. Bringing back these characters has to serve a purpose, but it also has to make narrative sense within a long-established world. More than that, it has to feel like it’s being done for more than just nakedly commercialised nostalgia – and the resurrection of Data, who had been permanently killed off twice, has crossed that line for me.

As we saw in both Seasons 1 and 2, there are ways to include Brent Spiner – if that had been deemed necessary – without resurrecting the character of Data. Pre-season trailers seemed to indicate that Spiner would be playing Lore, and while I wasn’t wild about that as I’ve never been a huge Lore fan, it seemed like a passable compromise if the show’s producers wanted to get as close as possible to a TNG reunion.

Data the projector.

I have no doubt that there will be some kind of narrative payoff to Data being “back,” and I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that it will be something I find at least bearable. But based on what we got in The Bounty, I’m sceptical. This resurrection feels like it serves two purposes: the desire of the showrunner and writers to play with their favourite action figures, and the commercial wishes of Paramount as it hopes to offset some of its huge losses by nakedly playing the nostalgia card. Neither excuse, quite frankly, is good enough – and neither comes close to justifying a pretty clunky technobabble explanation for resurrecting this long-dead character.

I keep thinking back to The Wrath of Khan and The Search for Spock as a point of comparison, because I think that may be another factor in Data’s resurrection here; it’s intended to mirror Spock’s. But in that story, Spock’s resurrection had been teed up at the end of The Wrath of Khan in a scene that showed Spock’s coffin lying, undamaged, on the surface of the Genesis Planet. Not only that, but these two stories were told one after the other. Data’s death happened back in 2002 – and his supposedly final end came more than a full season ago. While there are echoes of the Spock story here… that one feels a lot stronger, and seems to have been written with more of a sense of purpose. Data’s story, in contrast, feels muddled and disjointed; the consequence of different writers and writing teams having fundamentally contradictory ideas for where to take the character – and how and even whether to end his life.

A glimpse behind-the-scenes during The Bounty’s production.

Star Trek can successfully pull off a death-and-rebirth narrative, so I don’t think that is a problem in and of itself. We got one such example involving Jean-Luc Picard in the Season 1 finale of Picard – and another even more recently with Book at the end of Discovery’s fourth season. But here, with Data, having seen him so beautifully and sensitively laid to rest in Season 1, and with his death in Nemesis having come more than twenty years ago… it doesn’t work, at least not for me.

Rather than feeling like Spock’s rebirth, or even Picard’s in Season 1, Data’s resurrection reminds me a lot more of Elnor’s, which came at the very end of Season 2. Elnor was, like Data, definitively dead. And like Data, his death had a significant emotional impact. Raffi’s entire Season 2 storyline saw her grieving and coming to terms with his death – and that storyline was, for much of the season, one of the few that seemed to be working. Elnor’s last-second resurrection undid all of that, damaged the overall narrative of the season, felt unearned, unnecessary, and just plain stupid. And many of those same points – particularly those about undermining an emotional storyline and feeling ultimately unnecessary – are present here as well.

As much fun as it could be to have Data back and to get reunions with Geordi, Picard, and the rest of the crew, I’m struggling with this storyline.

Though it may have been intended to echo Spock’s rebirth from The Search for Spock… Data’s resurrection didn’t work anywhere near as well.

Data did tell us something very interesting, though: the “real” theft from Daystrom Station that the rogue changelings wanted to cover up was that of Jean-Luc Picard’s corpse. Precisely why Section 31 wanted to keep Picard’s body, and what they might’ve done with it for the past couple of years, wasn’t made clear… and that’s already kind of odd, when you think about it. Could there be a reason why Picard’s and Kirk’s bodies were both kept at Daystrom Station? Perhaps something connected to the Nexus or the events of Generations?

One thing that we learned from The Bounty that Picard and Jack have in common is a diagnosis of Irumodic syndrome. Given that the rogue changelings are also chasing after him, perhaps that has something to do with it – but we’ll save the speculation for my next theory post. Suffice to say it was an interesting development, and one that brings the conspiracy several steps closer to Picard himself.

Apparently the rogue changelings have absconded with Picard’s corpse.

But all of that came at the end of the episode, and there were plenty of fun or at least interesting moments before we reached those revelations. As I said, The Bounty really feels like an episode that was made for fans – or at least that had moments of pure fan-service that I absolutely lapped up.

Visiting the Fleet Museum was an opportunity to show off some beautiful CGI recreations of some of Star Trek’s most well-known ships. The USS Defiant, the Enterprise-A, and of course the titular Bounty were all present. Seven of Nine and Jack taking a closer look at the USS Voyager was an especially sweet moment, and several familiar musical stings accompanied these ships as they were shown on screen. I adore much of the music of Star Trek – especially the films from the ’80s and the shows of the ’90s – so hearing these short clips was enough, as Scotty once said, to bring a tear to my eye.

The Fleet Museum.

This sequence was a perfect “made for the fans” moment. It was a total nostalgia overload, but one that made sense in the context of the story and that was just the right length. Given what we’ve just been talking about, there must’ve been a temptation to drag this out and perhaps go overboard with the nostalgia plays, talking about each ship in more detail. But here, less was more – and the sequence, which only lasted about three minutes, came across beautifully as a result.

Since reappearing as the Titan’s second-in-command, I hadn’t really been blown away by Seven of Nine’s inclusion in the story of Season 3 so far. She served a narrative function on a couple of occasions – by rerouting the Titan against Captain Shaw’s orders and by identifying the first changeling infiltrator by using her real name – but she hadn’t had that much to say, nor many scenes in which she took centre-stage. Pairing her up with Jack on this occasion was fun – and we got to see how two individuals who are very different from one another, yet have a connection as Starfleet “outsiders,” were able to find some common ground.

Seven became emotional when thinking back to her time aboard the USS Voyager.

Seven’s line to Jack about the USS Voyager having been her home was incredibly touching, and it’s great to see Picard embracing the legacy of Voyager in such an overt way. I’ve said this before going all the way back to Season 1, but Seven’s transformation has been wonderful to see and more than a little cathartic. Seeing her in uniform, geeking out about starship designs with Jack, was another example of this.

Sticking with Jack, I spoke last week about how his hallucinatory experiences were something that hit close to home for me, and I don’t really want to get into all of that again; it isn’t an easy thing to think about or talk too much about! But suffice to say that I’m convinced that there must be more to what’s going on with Jack than simply “Irumodic syndrome” – though the connection between Jack’s hallucinations and the genetic disease that affected Picard was handled well in the story.

Is there more going on with Jack?

Jack’s glowing red eyes from a couple of episodes ago would seem to serve as the best argument for there being more to this story than an illness, as would Jack’s out-of-nowhere combat prowess last week. And that’s before we account for the changelings’ desire to capture him… for some reason. We’ll go into specific ideas about where Jack’s story could go in my next theory update, but for now I think it’s enough to say that there’s more going on here than we’re aware of at this juncture.

I actually really liked Jack in The Bounty. His conversations with both Picard and Seven were great, but for me his standout scenes actually came with Sidney La Forge, who was also excellent in this episode. Like their parents before them, they make a great team – and who knows, maybe romance could be in their future!

Sidney and Jack make a great pair!

Sticking with the La Forge family, I think we’ll briefly talk about Geordi’s other daughter. And “briefly” is all we’ll need, because unfortunately Alandra La Forge didn’t get much to say or do in this episode. There’s potential in the “sibling rivalry” idea that Sidney and Alandra seemed, at first, to embody – but if that’s going to be basically dumped now that the girls are both firmly on the same team… without wanting to be unkind, I just don’t see where Alandra is going to fit.

Sidney La Forge got a genuinely great storyline this week as she confronted her father for both his unwillingness to help with the mission at hand and, by extension, for favouring her sister as she was more inclined toward engineering. Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut, who plays Sidney, absolutely excelled in the scene with the far more experienced LeVar Burton, and genuinely sold me on this family argument. Most of us can relate, in some way I daresay, to having this kind of conversation with a parent or relative, and I was beyond impressed with the performance that she gave.

For the first time in the season so far, Sidney got a lot to do.

As for Geordi himself, I can see some fans potentially taking umbrage with the idea that he’d be unwilling to help Picard, or that he’d be so fearful of repercussions that he’d put his family first. It isn’t necessarily a fun story for Geordi, nor is it one that presents him in the best or most heroic, selfless way. But what I’d say in defence of this story is that it’s very human, and is again something that feels incredibly relatable.

One of the themes of Season 3 that we’ve seen through Picard’s conversations with Dr Crusher and Captain Shaw in particular is the idea that Picard himself is a kind of maelstrom; a figure around whom danger, disaster, war, and even death have a tendency to swirl and coalesce. Geordi’s initial reluctance to throw himself and his family into another Picard adventure is a continuation of this theme – and it fits not only with what’s been established before, but with what we’ve seen of Picard over the course of some thirty-five years.

Geordi was initially reluctant to join Picard’s mission.

Because past iterations of Star Trek were primarily episodic affairs, the franchise hasn’t always been able to take a look at some of the longer-term consequences of the adventures and misadventures that some of its key characters have had. There have been attempts to do so: episodes like Family in The Next Generation, for example, or Worf’s scenes with Ezri Dax in Deep Space Nine’s seventh season. But until Discovery and Picard came along, these were limited to a few episodes or character arcs, and didn’t get to go into as much detail.

Parts of Picard haven’t gotten this quite right, particularly in the show’s lacklustre second season. But here, the idea that even some of Picard’s closest friends would struggle to rejoin his cause because of the danger they know it’ll put them in feels surprisingly natural. Having worked with Jean-Luc Picard for fifteen years or more, Geordi saw first-hand the danger many of Picard’s missions posed, and wanting to keep his children away from that is a perfectly valid and understandable reaction – even if we may not like or agree with it on the surface!

Geordi felt that teaming up with Picard would endanger his family.

There was a danger that this part of the story could’ve felt like an artificial speedbump; a delay to slow down the Titan’s progress so other storylines could unfold at Daystrom Station or with the heist at the Fleet Museum. And part of me wants to call it that – to say that Geordi’s rather abrupt turnaround after an entire episode of dragging his feet makes the whole thing redundant. But actually, having had some time to think about it, the positives outweigh the negatives and Geordi’s storyline not only made narrative sense, but played into key themes that have been running for the duration of the season so far.

It isn’t always fun to see an heroic character behaving in a more rational, self-preserving, and more human way. And I get that – Geordi doesn’t feel like the selfless hero for much of The Bounty. But if every main character was totally virtuous, selfless, and pure of heart… well, that would make for a pretty bland and one-dimensional story, wouldn’t it? Geordi has family considerations here, and the idea of wanting to keep one’s children safe – even if that means risking some big, nefarious scheme being able to unfold… it’s relatable and understandable.

Geordi was very relatable in The Bounty.

Although we’ve had some wonderful adventures and powerful emotional moments with all of these characters over the years, here in Picard is where we’re seeing them at the most human and relatable that they’ve ever been – and Geordi encapsulated that feeling for me in The Bounty. I’d defend his characterisation here as not straying from his presentation in The Next Generation – but rather being an evolution of it, showing how conflicted he feels between the fear he has for his family’s safety and his loyalty to Picard and desire to help.

It almost goes without saying that LeVar Burton nailed this complex presentation. It was always going to be wonderful to welcome him back to Star Trek after such a long absence – but to see such a masterful and nuanced performance from the veteran actor was truly astonishing. The character of Geordi La Forge was cast perfectly in 1987 – and as one of the stars of Roots, LeVar Burton was one of the best-known actors in the cast as The Next Generation entered production on its first season. Geordi got some great spotlight episodes across The Next Generation’s run – The Enemy, I Borg, The Next Phase, and Relics all being examples that jump to mind. But here, in The Bounty, we really got to see what LeVar Burton can do with this wonderful character. And it was riveting.

LeVar Burton gave an outstanding performance and was a joy to watch.

Geordi’s inclusion in the story was also an opportunity for the rather superfluous Captain Shaw to have a fun and light-hearted scene. Having set up Shaw as a former engineer a couple of episodes back, that backstory got a truly cute payoff in The Bounty as the Titan’s captain found himself tongue-tied and starstruck when coming face to face with one of his engineering heroes. I felt echoes of Lower Decks’ protagonist Boimler in the way Shaw reacted to Geordi – and it was a nice change of pace for a character who’s been standoffish.

However, I maintain that the story of Season 3 is not well-served by having so many senior officers concentrated aboard the Titan. Riker’s (surely temporary) absence may have alleviated that for now, but the Titan is still blessed with an Admiral, at least one Captain, and now a Commodore as well. Captain Shaw repeatedly draws the short straw – understandably, perhaps. But as we saw yet again this week, big decisions aboard his ship are taken without much input from him.

Captain Shaw with Geordi.

Here’s a question to ponder: are there too many changelings in the plot?

That might sound silly given that the rogue changelings are our main adversaries, but hear me out. Changelings are, if you think about it, kind of overpowered from a narrative standpoint – and their new ability to mimic humanoids in far more detail than ever before has only increased their relative power. We’re at a point in the story where it’s difficult to know who is and isn’t a changeling – and that could make for an exciting and tense mystery… or a frustrating experience!

Past stories involving changeling infiltrators were more cautious, and I mentioned last time that the Deep Space Nine duology Homefront and Paradise Lost made sure to include the detail that there were only four active changeling infiltrators. If, as Ro Laren told us, Starfleet is compromised and there may be multiple changelings aboard many ships in the fleet, it risks making the story hard to follow, and throwing an uncomfortable cloud of suspicion over practically every character arc and plot point. I don’t think we’re at a stage yet where it’s a huge problem… but it could make the story difficult to follow and needs to be handled with a degree of care.

We aren’t always going to be able to know who is and isn’t a changeling in a story like this one…

That only leaves us with the away mission to Daystrom Station. It was fantastic to see Riker and Worf teaming up for an away mission once again! Worf was often one of Riker’s go-to officers when putting together an away team during their adventures aboard the Enterprise-D, so it felt incredibly appropriate and fitting for them to work together again on this occasion.

Raffi was an interesting inclusion here, and after she and Worf had worked over the past few episodes to uncover the Daystrom connection, it made sense for her to join the mission along with them. But after they accessed the chamber where Data was being held, Raffi kind of felt like a bit of an unnecessary addition. She didn’t have the connection to Data, nor the history with him that Riker and Worf had, to give her much to say, and the few lines she got at this point felt more like exposition than anything else.

The away team at Daystrom Station.

Raffi’s reunion with Seven of Nine was also cut short, and I hope it’s something we’ll see more of before the season ends. As disappointing as Season 2 was, and in spite of the problems Raffi’s storyline ran into in the final episode, the developing relationship between Seven and Raffi was one of the season’s stronger storylines. It humanises both characters, gives each of them something to fight for and reach for, and if there is to be any kind of “Captain Seven” show in Star Trek’s future, this relationship, one way or another, will be part of it. With both characters aboard the Titan, I hope there’ll be time in the remaining episodes to reunite Seven and Raffi for a scene or two.

There are already breakdowns and lists of all of the miscellaneous objects and items that were being stored at Daystrom Station that fans have compiled, so I won’t just list all of them here! But some of these little easter eggs were great fun, and in an episode that was all about callbacks to past iterations of Star Trek, this kind of storage facility was a great way to include many smaller references. I doubt very much that any of the stored items at Daystrom Station will prove to be important to the plot, but it was a cute way for Picard to pay homage to characters and stories from across the franchise’s 850+ episodes and films.

Captain Kirk’s body is apparently stored at Daystrom Station too.

The away mission to Daystrom Station felt tense and exciting – but the sets used for the station were, once again, seriously under-lit and far too dark. This has been a problem that’s been running all season long, but the especially dark corridors of Daystrom Station were perhaps the worst example so far. It wasn’t easy to follow all of the action as Worf, Raffi, and Riker were sneaking around and battling their way into and out of the station’s central chamber.

The fight sequences themselves, despite the aforementioned lighting problem, were decent, though. I genuinely felt that Riker was in danger as he raced off to buy time for the others to escape – and that’s really the first time so far this season that Picard has managed to give me that feeling. After Ro’s death the stakes have been raised significantly, and as I said before the season aired, it’s possible that not all of our heroes will make it to the end in one piece! Riker escaped… this time. But it was touch-and-go for a minute there in an incredibly tense and well-performed fight sequence.

Riker genuinely seemed to be in danger.

I confess that Vadic being a changeling is still something I’m getting to grips with. I said last time that I interpreted her scene with Floaty McFloatface as Vadic being a humanoid who had some kind of symbiotic relationship with a changeling… but it seems, instead, that she’s somehow two changelings in one body? The mechanics of it bug me, at least from an in-universe perspective. We know that changelings can communicate by linking, and we’ve seen in Picard that they also seem to have developed a clicking language of their own – so why does Vadic physically cut Floaty McFloatface off of herself and have a chat with them in English? Obviously the answer is “to make it a more interesting story.” But that isn’t always a satisfying explanation!

But still, we got absolute, indisputable proof this week that Vadic is a changeling. I’m excited to see her finally being able to interact with someone other than her silent crew and Floaty McFloatface, and there’s definitely potential in her interrogations of Riker and Troi – assuming it is the real Troi! I’m a tad disappointed, however, that Vadic now doesn’t seem to have any personal connection to Picard. Something may yet be revealed in that regard, but if she’s a changeling it would seem to rule it out.

Vadic at the end of the episode.

Vadic is clearly based on characters like Khan, and that kind of villain can be truly delicious to watch. But so far, Vadic hasn’t managed to capture much of that feeling for me. Her over-the-top performance actually feels out of place right now, and while I still want to see her defeated and her plan stopped, on a personal level I think there’s a disconnect between Vadic and the audience. Six episodes in and we’ve only had a few short moments with her, we’ve already seen her defeated once, and her over-the-top characterisation feels more like it’s treading water than going anywhere.

But now that she’s captured and assaulted Riker, perhaps we’ll finally start to get some of that burning, passionate dislike that Vadic hasn’t managed to garner so far. I certainly hope so! A villain so maniacal should be able to drum up that sort of a reaction – and now that she’s captured not just one but perhaps two of our heroes… there’s the potential, at least, for an improvement on the villainous side of the season.

The Shrike leaves Daystrom Station.

So I think I’ve touched on all of the points I had in my notes for this outing. The Bounty was a beautiful, nostalgic romp through Star Trek’s past in more ways than one… but an episode that didn’t stick the landing on a couple of key points. It can be difficult to fairly judge these mid-season episodes, though, until we know how character arcs and storylines that have been set up will ultimately be paid off – something I’m especially aware of in Picard, given the way Seasons 1 and 2 both ended. So perhaps we’ll be able to look back at some elements of The Bounty a little more kindly in retrospect.

With Troi, Geordi, and the Data-Lore-Soong-B4 golem now in the picture, the cast is complete and the reunion has finally happened. Was the tail end of the sixth part of a ten-episode season the right moment… or should most of the rest of the characters have gotten back together sooner? I guess that’s another point where only time will tell!

There are four episodes left for this story to come to an explosive and exciting conclusion – and it feels as if most of the pieces are now in play. In spite of The Bounty’s shortcomings, I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

A few scattered final thoughts:

  • For such an important facility, it’s kind of silly that Daystrom Station isn’t fully staffed and well-guarded – especially considering it’s already been attacked and robbed once.
  • What could Section 31 possibly want with Kirk’s dead body? And what is “Project Phoenix?”
  • This is the first mention of Section 31 in Picard – could that be a hint at a resurrection of the Section 31 series that’s been languishing in development hell?
  • I’d have given anything to see Picard and the crew beam aboard the Enterprise-A…
  • Geordi was very concerned about his kids… but was perfectly fine with ditching his wife!
  • Including a sequence from Encounter at Farpoint – and finding a way to make it relevant to the story – was incredibly sweet.

Star Trek: Picard Seasons 1-3 are available to stream now on Paramount+ in the United States and other countries and territories where the service is available, and on Amazon Prime Video in the UK and around the world. The Star Trek franchise – including Picard and all other properties discussed 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.