(This article contains spoilers up to TNG Season 7, DISCO Season 3 and PIC Season 2.)
The third (and probably final) season of Star Trek: Picard will premiere February 16, with Brent Spiner, Gates McFadden, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Marina Sirtis and Michael Dorn all returning to star alongside Sir Patrick Stewart.
I don’t know about all of you, but I’m excited. Seeing Jean-Luc at the beginning of Season 1, out of touch with all his old friends because of guilt and disillusionment, has made it all the more moving to see him reunite with Will, Deanna, Data and Guinan. I can’t wait to see that happen with the rest of the crew, to find out how the changing political landscape has affected them, to tie up loose ends from previous shows, and if possible, to see those old friendships restored.
The trailers have given us fans some hints about what’s to come, but until then, we can still speculate about the details. Here are five things I hope to see in the upcoming season, in no particular order:
TrekCulture has confirmed that the character Brent Spiner plays in Season 3 is Lore, Data’s estranged brother and a recurring antagonist from TNG. We don’t know what Lore wants or whose side he is on, but it’s only logical that his appearance will remind the other characters – and the audience – of Data’s death (PIC s01e10 “Et In Arcadia Ego, Part II”).
At the time, I was sorry that Geordi LaForge never got to say goodbye to his best friend, although it’s understandable because it all happened so quickly. I hope that, despite the non-stop galaxy-at-stake action that seems to characterize New Trek, Jean-Luc still has time to sit down with Geordi and the others and tell them how peaceful Data’s final moments were. It would be a fitting tribute to one of TNG’s most beloved crew members.
Picard and Dr. Crusher shared a close friendship and attraction to each other for decades, even though the memory of her late husband kept them apart (TNG s07e08 “Attached”). After they kissed in s07e25 “All Good Things … ”, an alternate future shows them divorced, but still caring deeply for each other. Beverly’s sudden transfer to Starfleet Medical in the movie Star Trek: Nemesis always seemed anticlimactic to me after so much history together. All through PIC, I was waiting for someone to at least mention her name.
Seeing her return as a formidable frontier doctor with secrets of her own was the best surprise Trek gave me since Kate Mulgrew’s return in Prodigy. Whether Beverly and Jean-Luc end up as a romantic or platonic pair – I’d be happy either way – it’s about time they settle the question.
Romulan spies Nedar and Narek from PIC Season 1 were last seen still alive in s01e10 “Et In Arcadia Ego Part II” and have not appeared since. Given their obsessions – Narek’s for Soji, Nedar’s for destroying synths – it’s unlikely they gave up.
Whether or not they were available to appear on screen, though, the Romulan storyline will need to be wrapped up somehow. Picard’s failure to help the Romulan people after the supernova is his greatest regret, and since this series is about legacies, what better legacy to leave than an understanding with one of the Federation’s oldest enemies?
After all, we know from Discovery Season 3 that Romulans and Vulcans will someday share a homeworld (DSC s03e07 “Unification III”). This could be where that unification begins … although, if Nedar and Narek are involved, probably not.
Speaking of old enemies, another TNG character returning for PIC Season 3 is Moriarty, the self-aware holographic criminal mastermind from TNG s02e03 “Elementary, Dear Data”. Picard promised Moriarty that, if they found a way for holograms to exist outside the holodeck, they would help him exist in the real world. This technology now exists – modern starships like La Sirena and the Protostar have holo-emitters everywhere – but as far as we know, Picard didn’t keep his promise.
I understand why he’d rather keep Moriarty contained – criminal mastermind, remember? – but I also understand why Moriarty would want his freedom and/or revenge. Voyager raised the topic of civil rights for self-aware holograms (s07e20 “Author, Author”), but since then, it hasn’t really come up. A Moriarty storyline would make an interesting opportunity.
Old and New
As great as it is to see familiar faces again, I neither want nor expect a copy of TNG. The last two seasons of Picard have introduced several new characters, like Raffi Musiker, Soji Asha, not to mention re-inventing Seven of Nine from Voyager, who play off the original crew in surprising and entertaining ways.
The new season is sure to continue this. In the final trailer, for example, we see Worf and Raffi fighting with knives, and hear him lecturing about how to control anger: “Once I, too, was irrational and violent … ”. Knowing Raffi, she’ll be ready with a comeback for that one.
I’d also love to see Geordi react to the news about an entire colony of Data-inspired androids (“Et In Arcadia Ego”). He might have missed the chance to say goodbye, but he should know that his friend’s legacy lives on.
Say what you like about the Picard series – all you need is to look at the comment section on YouTube to read how controversial it can be – but it’s never failed to surprise us. Not every point in this article will be addressed, or if they are, it won’t be in the way we expect. Given what we know so far – pacifist Worf; pistol-wielding Crusher – even the familiar characters will be different from how we remember them.
According to Den of Geek, “The characters of TNG will be boldly taken where they’ve never been taken before, even if it just means speaking their minds to each other (…) Terry [Matalas, the showrunner] has really stirred the pot.”
We’ll just have to wait and see how the stew in the stirred pot will taste. Until February 16: Bon appétit!