The episode opens with Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) on the ground, bleeding from the mouth.
34 minutes earlier
Picard and Tallinn (Orla Brady) are waiting in the security line for the gala looking absolutely gorgeous. He clearly keeps seeing Laris in her, and she knows something’s up.
Rios (Santiago Cabrera) joins them and they check in with Agnes (Alison Pill), who is in position in the surveillance room with the noncorporeal Queen’s (Annie Wersching) arm around her shoulders. Agnes uses a device to knock out the security guards, but that leaves her handcuffed to a chair across the room from where she wants to be. They’re running out of time as the others near the front of the line. Agnes has to ask the Queen for help, who gives her…super strength? She snaps her cuffs and uploads the IDs to the system just in time. She’s not thrilled to be stuck with the Queen in her head, but takes her imaginary hand nonetheless.
Roll the opening credits, with Jonathan Frakes directing again! Picard is now at the clinic, unconscious and having flashbacks of his mother at the chateau…
26 minutes earlier
The band is playing, people are dancing, and most importantly Seven (Jeri Ryan) and Raffi (Michelle Hurd) look incredible. Renee (Penelope Mitchell) is doing shots at the bar while Picard and Tallinn keep an eye on her. Tallinn says she has been watching her for 24 years but is not allowed to talk to her or connect with her in any way. Ten hours to quarantine!
Agnes and The Queen hang out a table where the grooming continues. Raffi is at the bar, asking for a club soda (good for her!) and Rios is a little too happy. I mean, he has a real cigar and actual matches IN A BOX but Raffi knows it’s really his 21st century doctor that he’s so happy about. Seven is talking and laughing with complete strangers, enjoying life without her implants. Raffi thinks she sees Elnor (Evan Evagora, in a snazzy tux) across the room, for just a moment.
Renee keeps doing shots and doesn’t look so good. She’s texting Q (John de Lancie), who is encouraging her to quit. (No privacy if a Supervisor is supervising you, I guess.) Picard talks Tallinn into letting him approach her, but first they want to get her commander out of the way so she can’t go to him and quit. He tries to signal Agnes to talk tech with him, but the Queen is doing a very good job of distracting her.
Rios taps Agnes’s shoulder to let her know Picard is trying to call her. He asks if she’s all right and the Queen responds by making Agnes kiss him. Awkward!
Renee keeps reliving her failed simulation and taking more shots. She heads away from the bar in a determined manner and Picard follows, but is stopped by… Adam Soong (Brent Spiner)! Picard tries to warn him off Q but Soong just tells him to stay away from Renee. He has made a large donation to the Europa Mission and has been added to the board, whom he directs to sic security on Picard.
Back to the table, where Picard is in bad shape and we hear, “Jean-Luc, look up.”
14 minutes earlier
Picard tries to escape from the approaching security guards, while Rios keeps track of Renee. The Queen extinguishes the lights and Picard and Tallinn get away in the darkness. To buy them time, Agnes…has a musical number? And totally nails a jazz version of “Shadows of the Night” by Pat Benatar! Unfortunately, the endorphins from the performance are exactly what the Queen needs to completely assimilate her.
Picard approaches Renee, disguised as a security guard. They have a lovely Boothby-ish moment as he talks to her about her fears and convinces her to stay in the program. He tells her she reminds him of his mother (Madeline Wise), and for a moment he hears his mother’s voice saying “Jean-Luc, come find me.”
Soong is in his car looking desperate, and tries to run over Renee. Instead, Picard pushes her out of the way and takes the fall. Rios and Tallinn rush to his side.
We catch up to the present moment at Teresa’s (Sol Rodriguez) clinic, where Picard is still unconscious. Teresa’s doing her best but doesn’t know what to think when his seemingly human body blows up her defibrillator.
Soong comes home in a terrible mood, feeling awfully sorry for his murderous self. He lets just enough slip that Kore (Isa Briones) gets suspicious.
The good news: Renee made it to quarantine. The bad news: Picard is stable but Teresa doesn’t know why he’s not waking up. And Rios is clearly head over heels for Teresa but what could possibly go wrong there?
Kore gets on the computer and Googles her father, apparently for the first time in her life. She learns that he has a history of eugenics and other ethics violations. She also finds photos and videos of herself that she has no memory of, and learns that she is not his daughter but the last of a long line of failed genetic experiments. He hasn’t been trying to cure his dying daughter, he’s been trying to make his experiment succeed.
Picard sees his mother, who begs him to “get me out, please!” Tallinn offers to use her neuro-optic interceptor to enter his subconscious in a sort of “jury-rigged mind meld” to attempt to wake him up. Raffi seems to be the only one who thinks this is not the best idea ever, but the group decides to move forward.
Meanwhile, Queen Agnes walks toward downtown LA…