Previously on Star Trek: Picard: A floating head ordered Vadic to “deliver the asset,” aka Jack Crusher, at all costs. Jack’s been having visions of the Upside Down, and single-handedly took down 4 crewman who fortunately turned out to be Changelings. BTW, these Changelings can replicate internal human physiology, and they’ve infiltrated the highest levels of Starfleet. There’s something else they took from Daystrom Station, beyond the portal tech, and the answers are on the station’s manifest. Thankfully, Worf and Raffi have secured a program to help them bypass the advanced AI security system. The Titan has been left on the run, with a skeleton crew.
With the Titan gone, two more Starfleet vessels – presumably compromised ones – warp in to rendezvous with the Intrepid. Meanwhile, Vadic (Amanda Plummer) is on the search for her asset, but the Titan has been jumping to warp at random and dropping decoy transponders. With Frontier Day only 72 hours away, she’s exhausted but determined. They will have their vengeance. So it’s time to expand her search to all known associates of Jean-Luc Picard.
In the Titan‘s sickbay, Crusher (Gates McFadden) gives Picard (Patrick Stewart) the bad news: Jack’s visions, nightmares, and aggression are all caused by Irumodic Syndrome. She can treat the symptoms, but the diagnosis is terminal – though possibly not for decades. (Honestly, knowing Picard’s medical history, you’d think Dr. Mom would have looked for this earlier, no?) Picard starts to apologize – for his genetics, I guess? – but she tells him not to “spend time burdening [him]self, when [he] could spend time unburdening” Jack.
So, we’re back in 10 Forward, and Picard walks in on Jack (Ed Speleers) drowning his sorrows in bourbon, suddenly faced with a new scary thing on the horizon. Sure, Picard didn’t technically survive Irumodic Syndrome, but he did live with it for decades. But Jack can’t help but see the irony in the fact that his mom’s main goal was to prevent him from being “collateral damage in the life of Jean-Luc Picard,” but couldn’t protect him from genetics.
Worf (Michael Dorn) and Raffi (Michelle Hurd) beam about the Titan, and are met in the transporter room by Picard, Crusher, Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan). Worf insults Picard’s wine, Riker can’t believe that Worf’s been meditating, Crusher hugs him without consent, and Raffi and Seven have a somewhat awkward reunion. But now that they’re all together, it’s time to get on with the plot.
The gang picked up Shaw (Todd Stashwick) in the conference room, where Worf reminds us that the Federation attacked the Changelings with an engineered virus during the Dominion War. Despite later providing the cure, it’s understandable that some among them would become radicalized. Whatever the Changelings are planning, Worf and Raffi believe it will happen on Frontier Day, now less than 48 hours away, and the clues are at Daystrom Station. But the project list at Daystrom was highly redacted, even for Ro. They’ll have to get the info from a computer in the vault on the station, and break in using the device procured from Krinn. If they succeed, they can clear their names and save Starfleet. If they fail, they’ll have even bigger targets on their backs.
The Titan‘s arrived at Daystom Station. Seven and Raffi share another awkward moment as they walk to the transporter room with Worf. He tries and fails to break the tension by speaking of the many times he’s gone into battle with lovers, finding it would strengthen the relationship. He’s relieved when Seven explains she’s won’t be joining them – because he was lying; Klingon breakups end in bloodshed. Instead, Riker will be joining Worf and Raffi, and he arrives just in time. They’ll need to get out before the next manual security patrol, so they have an hour at most – and they beam over. The station’s security system immediately notices its visitors and requests identification as Worf activates the override key.
Outside, the Titan hides on the other size of a planetoid, outside of sensor range. But two ships warp in and activate transport inhibitors – Echelon-class ships with traceable payloads. If the Titan is hit, they can give up on running and hiding. Picard calls over to let Riker and the team know they’ve got to run, but they’ll be back.
The away team starts to search the station, sifting through Section 31’s “most nefarious table scraps” – including the Genesis Device and Jim Kirk’s skeleton, and a genetically modified tribble. The security AI identifies Riker, and generates a tailored response – which starts with a holographic crow. Then music. Then Moriarty (Daniel Davis), who aims a pistol at them.
The Titan arrives at Athan Prime, location of the Fleet Museum, final resting place over so many legendary starships, and receives a hail from Commodore Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton). Geordi and his daughter Alandra (Mica Burton) beam aboard, and are greeted by Sidney (Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut), Jack, Picard, Seven, and Crusher. Geordi fully consents to – and even initiates – his “long-overdue” hug with Beverly, acknowledges his younger daughter, and gets down to business because the entire Fleet will be here soon. As the old gang files out, Alandra tells Sidney she’ll see what she can do, which leads Sidney to confess to Jack that she and her father aren’t on the best of terms.
Picard asks Geordi to clone the Titan‘s transponder, to draw those ships away from Daystrom Station. But it’s not possible without randomized security codes. Furthermore, all the ships in the Fleet are integrated now – there’s no way to hide the Titan, even with a fake transponder (reminiscent of Lower Decks Season 3 and the Texas-class…).
Moriarty fires, and misses. But they’re live rounds. The team fires back, and it has no effect. Riker notices that there’s something not quite right about this Moriarty – he’s not self-aware. The music continues to play, one note at a time. It’s a tune Moriarty can’t get out of his head. And then it clicks: Pop Goes the Weasel. Riker whistles the last line, just like he did all those years ago on the Holodeck. Moriarty disappears, and the door to the mainframe opens. They walk in and find a new, older Soong (Brent Spiner) – but which one?
Geordi wants to help, but he doesn’t want to be court-martialed, and he certainly doesn’t want to make his family into a target. Plus, he’s pissed. His former captain has put his daughter in danger. And the conversation turns to parenthood – Parents want to pass on their best qualities, but can’t help but pass on flaws as well. (And Sidney is so stubborn.) When he was serving on the Enterprises, Geordi never feared for his life the way he fears for daughters’ lives now. And helping his old friend is directly at odds with protecting his family. He chooses his family.
Jack and Seven kill some time on the bridge – with Jack testing the captain’s chair – by taking in the sights. On display are the Defiant, New Jersey, Kirk’s Enterprise, Voyager… Seven tells him she as reborn there, and found a family. Now she’s looking for another. Back to the ships: The next one up is the HMS Bounty, recovered from the bottom of San Francisco Bay – and it was particularly hard to find, since the cloaking device had reactivated.
The Soong in the mainframe room is a sort of hybrid, a “synthetic android interface.” After Altan Soong died, Starfleet appropriated his work, and he left a holographic recording to explain. The body before them is another golem, like Picard’s, but it contains aspects of all of the Soong-type androids: Lal, B-4, Lore, and a lot of Data. Unfortunately, Altan Soong died before the project was complete, and all of the personalities remain at odds. But we’ll just call him Data for now.
Picard decides to respect his friend’s choice. But before Geordi leaves, he wants to speak with Sidney. She’s a lot less respectful of his choice. Geordi explains they’ve reached an agreement – Sidney will stay at the museum, and Picard will say she was an unwilling participant in all of this. Sidney will have none of it. She grew up hearing all of his stories, of how they always stood up for what was right. Now it’s her turn, and it’s her choice. And this crew is her family. She learned that from her dad.
Seven and Picard go off to chat with Shaw, and Sidney rejoins her sister and Jack on the Bridge. Our lovable rogue has an idea…
Riker can’t stop thinking about how the Soong golem saw them, recognized them, and tried to communicate. That means he sees everything that comes and goes… which also means that he is the station’s manifest. Raffi’s able to access his database and see that the files are there, but the Security teams locate them before she can learn anything. It’s time to go, but the Titan‘s not back yet.
Shaw can’t let La Forge leave with meeting him, and for once, gives a legacy character some respect – he even fanboys a bit. Geordi would love to stay and talk shop, but there’s a lot going on right now. So Shaw orders his crew to make sure that the La Forges get home safe… and then there’s a massive spike in EM radiation, and the Titan cloaks. Picard and La Forge know right away what their kids have gotten up to. Unfortunately, removing that cloaking device from the Bounty tripped an alarm. If Starfleet wasn’t on their way before, they sure are now.
Down in Engineering, Jack and Sidney are having trouble with the install, and don’t know how to fix it. Geordi does, ofc, and shows up to take them through it. He has Alandra call home and tell her mother that they won’t be home for dinner.
Picard calls Riker – they’ll be there in 90 seconds. Riker wants to take Data with them, but that would disable the security system. But Worf is also convinced that Data holds the key to the Changelings’ plot. The Titan warps in and Worf calls for 4 to beam up. (Did the other ships drop the transport inhibitors when the Titan ran away?) But security officers are headed their way. Riker grabs a phaser and plans to holds them off.
The Titan decloaks and flies by the station to beam up their peeps, but there are only three signals – they complete transport and warp away. Worf, Raffi, and Data materialize onboard. Riker’s been captured. But Geordi’s still glad to see his bestie.
Jack stops by to chat with dad. He knows he’s a bit of a prick. He also knows that he’s caring, tenacious, principled, and sometimes clever – and he got all of those qualities from his mother. But he’s recently realized that his bravery, loyalty, and bit of wisdom came from his father. Not just Irumodic Syndrome.
Down in Engineering, there’s another dad-talk. Geordi’s not mad, he disappointed – disappointed in himself for not immediately doing what he would have done 25 years ago. He’s proud of Sidney. And how much Engineering knowledge she’s picked up. They’re working on Data together, and Picard, Crusher, and Worf enter to check on their progress. Even though the personalities haven’t integrated, and Geordi can’t completely isolate Data. So, anything could happen with a reboot.
Geordi activates Data, and there’s a spark of recognition for all of his old friends. It’s Data… kind of. He knows that there are many personalities (or maybe consciousnesses?) inside of the golem/android body, but for now, it’s Data. Picard doesn’t waste any time, and asks what else the Changelings took from Daystrom. With only slight interference from Lore, B-4, and Soong, data shows them: they took the human remains of Jean-Luc Picard.
Riker’s taking a beating from a security officer. Still, he won’t divulge his friend’s whereabouts. The officer suddenly turns and shoots the other two officers in the room, disintegrating them, then morphs into Vadic. Now on the Shrike, he assures her that she won’t unravel 35 years of loyalty so easily. So she shows him what might: They’ve captured Deanna (Marina Sirtis).
Bechdel-Wallace Pass: Seven and Raffi exchange pleasantries in the transporter room.