Where we left off: Queen Agnes (Alison Pill) is on the loose, Kore (Isa Briones) knows that she’s an experiment, Q (John de Lancie) is dangerously unbalanced and unsummonable, and Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Guinan (Ito Aghayere) have just been arrested by the FBI. So things are going great!
A boy runs through a dark forest, falls, and drops his flashlight. He picks it up and sees…Vulcans?
Picard and Guinan sit in a makeshift “interview room” where some bloody handcuffs have been conspicuously left on the table. Agent Wells (Jay Karnes) wants to know if they’re extraterrestrials, and if they’re there to sabotage the Europa Mission.
Seven (Jeri Ryan) and Raffi (Michelle Hurd) have tracked Queen Agnes as far as the dive bar, and Rios (Santiago Cabrera) wants to join them but Raffi tells him to stay on La Sirena and check the systems for more Borgification, and create a way to confine the Queen if they can capture her. Raffi challenges Seven, who doesn’t have her implants, to think like the Queen so they can find her. Seven talks to the bar owner, who says she left with the guy we saw checking her out in the last episode (Cyrus Zoghi).
Agent Wells reveals that in addition to the video of Picard beaming in, he has photos of the La Sirena gang at the Europa Mission gala. Guinan senses that this interrogation is personal for Wells. Wells notes the IV bruise on Picard’s hand, then leaves the room. Picard fears that the Europa Mission may be canceled if alien interference is suspected.
Kore watches Soong’s video log, and uses some nifty tech to enter the lab in the video virtually. Where she meets a virtual Q that he left in the system! He knew she was coming, and offers her a “key.” She flees the virtual lab just in time to receive a package containing a vial of blue liquid labeled “freedom.”
Seven is amazed how easy it is to manipulate people when she looks trustworthy. She and Raffi walk around the corner and find bearded guy dead behind a dumpster. Seven tries to feel what Agnes must be feeling, the need for the Borg connection. Raffi gets snarky and Seven gets mad at her, then notices the guy’s phone on the ground. The smell of the lithium ion batteries takes her back to her own assimilation when she was six years old. Raffi wonders if they’re going to have to kill Agnes.
They find Queen Agnes in a parking lot eating car batteries and try to subdue her, but it’s Agnes who makes her walk away (she’s found some combat boots somewhere to go with her fabulous gown.)
Agent Wells has figured out where Picard got his IV bruise, which has led him to Rios and his moment of absolute candor in the ICE cell, which was apparently recorded for posterity. He also had the clinic searched and found Rios’s comm badge. He then has Guinan moved to a separate room so he can have some quality time with Picard.
Back on La Sirena, Ricardo (Steve Gutierrez) is having the time of his life. Rios is letting him press all the buttons while the ship is in diagnostic mode, searching for stray Borg subroutines. And THEN he introduces them to the replicator, where Ricardo promptly orders four cakes. While the kid chows down, Rios gets to know Teresa (Sol Rodriguez) better, in Spanish. She tells him about her life with Ricardo and ask him to tell her his deepest truth. He starts to tell her about the moment he fell for her, when Ricardo interrupts with his inevitable stomachache. Before tending to the kid, Sol kisses Rios (he is SO bad at not disrupting the timeline!).
Agent Wells is trying to be a tough interrogator, and threatens Picard with torture if his higher-ups have to take over. Guinan, on the other hand, gets a visit from an FBI-jacketed Q, finally returning her call. He recognizes Guinan from a future meeting but she doesn’t recognize him. She can feel that Q is dying, and he says that he is searching for meaning before he dies. (Mortality does seem to be a major theme of this series!) Whatever he’s doing with Picard, it’s his attempt at a redemption arc. He says a few interesting things before he leaves: “The trap is immaterial! It’s the escape that counts!” and “Humans – they’re all trapped in the past.”
Kore confronts Soong (Brent Spiner) about his failed experiments, all named after daughters of Zeus (no ego there.) He tells her that she was the only clone to live past the age of four. He claims he loves her but she calls out that nonsense. He gets angry and tells her she exists because he willed it. She asks him who he would be afraid of losing if she walked out the door: Her, or his legacy? He is unable to answer, and she goes outside. Soong is horrified, but she’s taken the freedom vial and just walks away.
Raffi and Seven take a moment to recover, and realize it was Agnes who spared Raffi’s life. They also realize the Queen is going to use the metals in the car batteries to create nanoprobes and start assimilating others. They use their tricorder to jumpstart the dead guy’s phone to see if she Googled anything, and while Seven works Raffi has a flashback to a conversation with Elnor (Evan Evagora). He’s about to start at the Academy but the Qowat Milat has asked him to come back to help on Vashti. He’s considering delaying his enrollment for a year, but Raffi pressures him into staying. Now she blames herself for him staying, which led to his death.
The phone starts up and they see what Queen Agnes found before taking off: Soong’s address!
Agent Wells is still trying to get Picard to give him something, when the lights start to flicker. Guinan appears, but only to Picard, to give him Q’s message: “All humans are stuck in the past.” (It’s costing her a bloody nose in the other room.) Picard uses the message to deconstruct Wells, who reveals that he was the boy in the opening scene (Jackson Garner). He came across the Vulcans (Eduardo Roman and Chuti Tiu) doing some sort of tests in the woods, and when he ran they followed. One of them attempted a mind meld with him, but didn’t succeed before they beamed away. Picard explains what really happened, and then tells Wells the truth: That he is from the future, and that he is there to save Earth and the entire galaxy. And that it would seem that he needs Wells’s help.
La Sirena’s transporter is offline.
Guinan is back in the room with Picard, telling him about her meeting with Q. She realizes what she loves about humans: when something is broken in us, we do the work because we want to evolve. They try to crack what Q meant about escaping the trap, but Agent Wells comes in to let them know he’s been fired. He politely returns Rios’s comm badge. As a consolation prize Guinan tells him she’s actually an alien, and that his career wasn’t wasted because he’s saving them.
Queen Agnes is busy at work on Soong’s system. He’s despondent but she tempts him with a story of a great legacy that could be his. But if Renee Picard goes on the Europa Mission, she will make a discovery that renders his work obsolete. Soong, the weasel, offers to get them into Mission Control. The only obstacle left in their way is Picard. Queen Agnes offers to get Soong in place to kill him, in return for what she needs to take La Sirena.
Seven, Raffi, Picard, and Guinan meet up back at the bar and they figure out what the Queen is up to. Before they can use Tallinn’s transporter to get back to the ship, Guinan stops Picard to wish him luck. Seven warns them that the Queen will be assimilation-ready by now, and won’t be coming for the ship alone.
She’s right: Soong has assembled a team of mercenaries, and the Queen promptly adds their biological and technological distinctiveness to her own.
ONLY TWO EPISODES LEFT, FOLKS! Personally, I just can’t wait to see Teresa’s reaction when she meets the Rios holograms. What are you looking forward to?