Previously on Star Trek Picard: Jean-Luc Picard’s (Patrick Stewart) brain abnormality has become terminal. But he’s on one last mission to find and save androids he believes to be Data’s children. Turns out that Romulans are looking for them, too – in order to destroy them. The Romulans infiltrated Starfleet, orchestrated a ban on synthetic life, and have now found the Synth homeworld. Picard and friends arrived at this world to find Dr. Altan Inigo Soong (Brent Spiner), a previously unknown organic son of Noonian Soon; and a plethora of synths. Picard, knowing the Romulans were on their way, called in a message to Starfleet, reporting a “first contact situation” – he still believes that the Federation will protect them. But a synth, Sutra (Isa Briones), mind-melded with Agnes Jurati (Allison Pill), and was able to explain the real meaning of the warning that created the Romulan Zhat Vash. Sutra designed a beacon to summon the advanced synthetic life to save her people and destroy all organics. Jurati took their side, vowing to die for her children, and the synths led Picard away.
In the crashed former Borg Cube, Elnor (Evan Evagora) and Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) are having a heart to heart about what lies ahead for the xBs. While they’re distracted, Narek (Harry Treadaway) is able to sneak back on board, where he finds his sister, Narissa (Peyton List), and they go off to hatch a plan.
Picard has been locked in his room, but Soji is able to enter with an eye scan (which Jurati takes note of). Soji attempts to explain her POV – the synths have never been able to make their own choices. Of course, Picard doesn’t see it that way. He’s afraid that, by taking this action, the synths will become “the monsters the Romulans fear.”
Narek is packing up his backpack with grenades, which he believes can defeat the Orchids when the Romulan fleet arrives. He tells Narissa to stay on the Cube and bring the weapons online, but she doesn’t trust him, He reminds her that he’s the one who got them here, and he’s the one who found The Destroyer. Admonished, she lets him go and gets to work.
On La Sirena, Rios (Santiago Cabrera) and Raffi (Michelle Hurd) are attempting to make repairs and figure out the magical device that Saga gave them, the one that makes you “use your imagination.” Rios closes his eyes and points the device at the fused intermix chamber, and … it’s repaired! And the ship’s power comes back on. But there’s another problem –
Soong takes Jurati to the lab, where she’ll be going over Maddox’s notes on downloading consciousness into a synthetic body – the “golem” that Soong has been working on. As he leaves her to get started, he remarks on the sacrifice she’ll be making: “I suppose that’s what mothers do, isn’t it?” Jurati psychs herself up a bit, and then mutters, “I’m not their mother, asshole.” So, maybe she’s not on their side.
– Narek is throwing rocks at the ship to get their attention. If he wanted to hurt them, he could have used one of his grenades. He proposes that they work together to stop the synths. The bring him side to hear him out. Raffi is unable to reach Picard; Narek says that the synths have jammed all comm signals. That’s when Elnor appears, and Narek very much chooses to live.
Jurati goes to ask Altan for some help with neural lace for the golem, since some of the files are encrypted. But really, she just wanted to get him out of the room where he was working on Saga, so she could rip out her eye.
Literally sitting around a campfire, Narek tells the story of Gambadan. Twin demons come at the end of time to release even more demons. The first, The Foreteller, strikes a drum made from the skin of children, so hard and so long that her heart bursts. The second, The Destroyer, blows a horn that will unleash all the demons that have been waiting since the beginning of time. The sky will crack, releasing those demons. Worlds will burn, there will be 1000 days of pain, and the demons will feast on the dead and pick their teeth with bones. But Narek doesn’t believe this is prophecy – he believes it’s history which is about to repeat itself.
Time for the plan: Rios, Elnor, and Raffi walk right up to the main gates, claiming to have caught Narek and wanting the turn him in for killing Saga. They hide a grenade, in a drone, in one of Rios’s soccer balls. Now they have to figure out a way to get up the tower/beacon without being seen.
Jurati has her own plan. She goes to Picard’s door, hold’s up Saga’s eye, and strolls right in. He honestly doesn’t know why she’s there, until he outright explains that she’s breaking him out. They’re got to get back to La Sirena, and fast.
In the lab, Soong finishes retrieving Saga’s memories (but somehow doesn’t notice her missing eye?). He watches her perspective on the last few minutes of her life, and sees that Sutra stabbed Saga. That’s when Soong walks out and sees Rios, Raffi, and Elnor plotting.
Jurati and Picard arrive at La Sirena and are surprised that they’re alone, but they’ll deal with that later. The Romulan fleet is only seven minutes away, and there’s been no word from Starfleet. So they need to stall. For all of her recent derring-do, Jurati is pretty pessimistic – she knows that the synths are centuries ahead in their technology. If that beacon is activated, organics won’t stand a chance. Picard says they’re just children, children who’ve only learned from fear and a couple of hermits. They need to learn from example: “To be alive is a responsibility and a right.” Picard takes the center seats and hopes that he was watching Rios closely enough and he activates the engines and launches.
Soong and the gang approach a gathering of synths, who are all listening to Sutra’s promises about the beacon. He steps away and when Sutra joins him he returns the glass bird that she stabbed Saga with. He understands that the other synths would need convincing to follow her plan, and she did what she had to do. She’s glad he understands her reasons. He does, but reason isn’t everything. She helped a Romulan kill her sister. So Soong deactivates (kills?) her. Then nods to Raffi… who signals Rios, who jumps over a railing, and Narek who falls from the sky. While Rios tries to find his shot to kick his soccer ball at the tower, Narek fights with the guards. As the guards pin him, Narek calls out to Soji that she’s making a mistake, and Rios activates the drone – which Soji catches. She stares at it for a moment before throwing it into the sky, where it explodes. And Soji goes back to working on the tower.
Picard is trying to fly a ship for the first time in a very long time, and hasn’t come up with a real plan yet, other than not crashing. But they’re out of time, as the Romulan fleet has arrived, and General Oh (Tamlyn Tomita) gives the order to “sterilize the entire planet.” Soji activates the Orchids, but they don’t do a ton of good.
Narissa is trying to activate the weapons on the Borg Cube when confronted by Seven. The two fight, hand to hand, trading insults. The fight culminates in Seven kicking Narissa in the chest, sending her over the edge from an upper deck, and yelling, “This is for Hugh!”
There are still 200 Romulan ships against La Sirena. If Picard can figure out a way to get them out of this, they’ll name it after him. But wait – The Picard Maneuver is already a thing (and if you’ve been watching BBC America all week, like I have, you’ve seen “The Battle” recently). But that won’t help them here, there are too many enemy ships. If only they had “some kind of wacky fundamental field replicator” – good thing Agnes said that while holding that magic synth tool.
With their plan finally in place, Picard calls Soji. He asks her again to power down the beacon, and hopes that he can convince her by giving something to her and her people: His life.
The Romulans are about to fire on the surface when La Sirena comes into view. Followed by hundreds of La Sirenas. The Romulans retarget their weapons, and that gives Soji enough time to complete the tower and activate the beacon. Picard is doing his best to pilot the ship, but the real La Sirena is getting tossed around, and it’s clear that Picard isn’t doing well, medically.
With the beacon activated, the portal opening, and the fake ships “destroyed,” the Romulans once again target the surface. And that’s when Starfleet arrives. And leading the fleet? Acting Captain Will Riker on the USS Zhang He. He’s there to inform Oh that the United Federation of Planets has designated this planet to be under the protection of Starfleet, according to the treaty of Algeron. And thanks to Picard’s message, there’s nothing the Romulans can do about it. Now, as much as Riker would like to kick her “treacherous Tal Shiar ass,” he gives Oh the opportunity to stand down. She doesn’t take it, and it looks like we’re about to have an epic space battle on our hands.
Picard isn’t doing well at all. He asks Jurati for a stimulant and decides to make one final appeal to Soji on an open channel, which can be seen by the synths, the Romulans, and Starfleet. He asks her again to power down the beacon, and show the Romulans how wrong they are. And if the Romulans fire anyway, they’ll have to deal with the Federation. The Federation that banned them, Soji reminds him. But of the Federation wanted to destroy them, they would have joined forces with the Romulans. Picard saved her life so she could save theirs. “That’s the whole point: To save each other.”
The portal is open and some mechanical tentacles (very reminiscent of the future probe from Disco) are reaching through… just as Soji decides to shut it all down. The Romulans stand down, and then warp away Before he leaves, Riker opens a channel to Picard – When he heard Picard’s SOS, he asked for temporary reassignment. He wasn’t about to let his friend go it alone. Riker gives a chipper, “I’ll see you around, my friend,” closes the channel, and heads home. Picard whispers a soft, “adieu.” He’s getting worse, hallucinating, and finally collapses.
The channel is still open to the planet, and Jurati tells Soji that he’s failing. There’s nothing they can do. Soji beams them both down, and everyone gathers around Picard. He tells Soji: “I gave you a choice: not being ‘The Destroyer’ was up to you. It always was.” He reaches out to Elnor, tells Raffi she was right, and and then Admiral Jean-Luc Picard (Retd.) dies.
Seven and Rios sit together, drinking and watching the sunset, talking over some of the choices they’ve made. Raffi sits, watching the city, and Elnor comes to her to cry.
And in a room that looks very much like his study, Jean-Luc Picard opens his eyes. He thinks he’s just had another dream. But it’s not. It’s a massively complex quantum simulation, according to Data. This is a simulation created by Data’s memory, which was downloaded into B4 – his memory engrams were extracted from that neuron salvaged by Maddox, and Altan Soong reconstruction his consciousness. And now Picard gets to tell him all those things he never got to say before, like “I love you.” But Data always knew. And that’s why he feels comfortable asking for a favor – when Picard leaves, Data wants him to shut down the simulation. Wait, leave? They might be in a simulation, but Picard is real. The Docs and Soji were able to create a complete neural image of Picard before his brain function ceased. Good thing they had that golem laying around, right? So why does Data want the simulation to end? Because that mortality is what gives meaning to life. Picard agrees, and walks out out the door.
Back in the lab, the stasis tube opens and the new Jean-Luc Picard begins to breath, much to the delight of his medical team. Picard asks, “Am I real?” Soji answers, “Of course you are.”
Later, sitting around the dinner table, Picard gets the lowdown on his new body. No augmentations, no super powers. Soong knew that Picard wouldn’t want to adjust to a new face after 94 years. But not to worry, everything works (you might say he’s… fully functional?), and there’s no pesky brain defect anymore. They also created a cellular homeostasis algorithm that will give him the same number of years he could have expected if not for that brain defect. And now, Picard as a promise to keep.
Picard, Jurati, Soong, and Soji hold a funeral of sorts while Picard shuts down the simulation. Inside, Data lays down on a couch, listening to “Blue Skies,” and Captain Picard (in his late TNG uniform) holds his hand. Then they both fade away, followed by the room around them.
On La Sirena, Rios and Jurati share a kiss, Seven and Raffi interlace their fingers and hold hands, and Picard says it’s time to go. Soji’s coming with them – for now. Even after looking so hard for her home, she’s think’s she’s more cut out for wandering. And now that the Federation has lifted the ban on synthetic life, it’s safe for her to travel. It’s safe for Picard, too. Everyone takes their place on the bridge and Picard gives the order one more time: “Engage.”