It’s a Jonathan Frakes-directed episode! Only 41 minutes though, boo.
The pre-credits scene bounces back and forth between an astronaut in distress, and Picard (Patrick Stewart) getting to know not-Laris (Orla Brady), AKA The Supervisor AKA Tallinn. While the astronaut tries to deal with an onboard crisis, Tallinn tells Picard that she has dedicated her life to protecting one person.
The astronaut fails what turns out to be a simulation and removes her helmet. She’s the woman whom Q (John de Lancie) was trying to tamper with at the end of the last episode. (Guess the Europa Mission is an actual mission, not a TV show like I thought!) She’s also who Tallinn is sworn to protect: Renee Picard (Penelope Mitchell).
After the opening credits we see the Borg Queen (Annie Wersching) babbling again, but lucid enough to call the cops to Chateau Picard.
Raffi (Michelle Hurd) and Seven (Jeri Ryan) disagree on how to break Rios (Santiago Cabrera) out, but Seven wins the argument and EMP’s the bus. They and the prisoners knock out the guards and everyone escapes. Raffi stops a boy she thinks is Elnor (Evan Evagora) but quickly realizes her mistake.
Picard and Tallinn continue their conversation. She tells Picard a bit about Supervisors, and Picard makes the connection to GARY SEVEN!!! She also tells Picard about Renee’s extraordinary capabilities, but that she also has depression and anxiety. Picard says that the Europa mission was a pioneering spaceflight in his history, and Tallinn opens a window to eavesdrop on her pre-flight psych assessment. Oddly, the therapist seems to be trying to talk her out of going, and Picard realizes it’s Q.
Aaaaaaand it’s yet another Soong (Brent Spiner)! The scene bounces back and forth between a review panel and a scene at his home. He’s trying to convince the panel (which includes Dr. Diane Werner played by Lea Thompson, and a Dr. Vasiliy Rozhenko) that his shady genetic research is justified. At home, we see why he’s so desperate: his daughter Kore (played by Isa Briones!) has a rare and debilitating genetic condition. The panel revokes his license and funding. But just in time, he receives a mysterious card with a phone number and a great big Q…
A cop (Ivo Nandi) searches the chateau with a flashlight yet completely misses Agnes (Alison Pill) sleeping on a sofa. He does, however, find the flickering cloaked ship. You gotta feel sorry for the guy, who couldn’t possibly imagine what’s waiting for him on board.
Dr. Soong meets a melodramatic Q for lunch (“I am the evolution of stardust. I am the gentle flutter of a butterfly. I am death, destroyer of worlds.” Sheesh.) Q gives him a vial of blue liquid and tells him to analyze it and give him a call if he likes what he sees.
Tallinn and Picard discuss how to get Renee onto the Europa flight as planned. She goes into pre-launch quarantine tomorrow and there’s no backing out then, so they just have to keep her in the program for the next 15 hours. However, there’s a big gala that night that may pose a problem.
Agnes wakes to the Borg Queen calling for her. She grabs an antique gun off the wall and heads to the ship, where the Queen has the cop in her grasp. The queen tells her that she’s getting out of there with the cop if she has to, but that she’d prefer Agnes, who is alone in every permutation of every universe. The screen goes black as a shot fires.
Soong tests the blue vial, which his simulation says will be 100% effective for Kore. So under a protective drone field, they give it a go. It works and she enjoys a few hours of swimming in the sun! She has questions, though, but before Soong can answer her face gets veiny and she collapses.
Rios and Raffi beam in to find Agnes covered in blood and the Borg Queen dead. The cop will survive, and Agnes has ensured that he won’t remember what happened, but they need to get him out of the ship. Picard and Tallinn arrive just in time to see the crew dragging the cop out.
While Kore sleeps on the sofa, Soong asks Q if he has a cure, not a stopgap. Q, still being extra dramatic, tells Soong that he wants him to remove an obstacle for him – an obstacle named Picard.
Picard speeds right past the fact that his new friend looks exactly like Laris and updates the gang on Q’s apparent plan. Somehow Renee is the change they’re there to stop, and he mentions that she will discover a sentient microorganism on Io.
They need to guard Renee at the gala without revealing themselves or making contact. And this is where this season’s caper really starts: It’s a maximum security function with all sorts of measures in place to keep the non-invited out. Tallinn says they can get one person in unnoticed for a short while, so it’s decided that Agnes will be the advance team and hack the airgapped system from the inside to get the rest of them in.
With the party in full swing, Agnes gets in with a multipass fake license. She looks fabulous in a red dress, by the way. Renee is by the bar looking nervous, reliving her simulation failure. Agnes tries to jam the party’s signals but security notices her and escorts her away. They think she’s a party crasher and take her to the surveillance room, which it turns out is exactly where she wants to be.
Then things get really weird: We see a flashback to the death of the Queen, just before which she injects Agnes with nanoprobes. And in the surveillance room she’s suddenly sitting next to Agnes!
SO we have a somewhat assimilated Agnes and a Picard ancestor in the middle of a caper. Still no explanation for not-Laris. And an unbalanced and unpredictable omnipotent being meddling in everything along with his mad scientist sidekick, what could go wrong there? Tune in next week, kids!