6:00am PT by Phil Pirrello
'Star Trek:' Burning Questions for 'Picard' Season 2
[This story contains spoilers for Star Trek: Picard's season one finale, "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2."]
Star Trek: Picard wrapped up its freshman season in epic fashion.
"Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2," written by showrunner Michael Chabon and directed by Akiva Goldsman, finds Picard (Patrick Stewart) sacrificing his life in an effort to save a race of advanced synthetics and then getting his consciousness uploaded into a new body. That's one of the biggest narrative swings in Star Trek history, and it primes Picard to embark on new missions into the Final Frontier — with a new crew and a clean slate to boldly go wherever the retired Admiral wants.
As audiences wait for season two, and unpack the events of season one, The Hollywood Reporter has some key questions for the next batch of episodes.
1. What's going to happen to that Borg cube?
Before dying and being resurrected on the synth homeworld of Coppelius, Picard paid a visit to Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) and Elnor (Evan Evagora) on the Artifact — their downed Borg cube. The last time we saw it in action, the formidable ship came out of a transwarp conduit with weapons ready on the eve of a potentially epic incursion with a fleet of 218 Romulan warbirds. Unfortunately, the vessel was dispatched and grounded on the planet's surface below before fans could see the iconic alien craft in action one more time.
With Seven and Elnor back with Picard aboard the La Sirena, the fate of the former Borg drones (or Ex-B's) remains unclear. As does this season's reveal that the Borg Queen may still be out there, thanks to the discovery of her never-before-seen Queen's Cell. This hidden area aboard the cube was revealed in the episode "The Impossible Box," and it contained a spatial trajector that fans first saw in Star Trek: Voyager. The device could transport a person up to 40,000 light years away, and the Borg assimilated the tech in case their queen needed to be spirited away in an emergency. Picard strongly implies that's what happened to the Borg Queen during her explosive encounter with Captain Janeway in Voyager's final episode, and the series never pursues or questions that further. That doesn't mean season two will address where the Borg Queen may be, but if she's still out there, you'd hope Picard, one of the galaxy's most staunch protectors, would investigate this potential threat.
2. Picard has a new body… so now what?
Picard's death is just as shocking an event for the character as his resurrection in his new "golem" body Dr. Altan Soong (Brent Spiner) was working on. The finale addresses this life change with a brief sit-down discussion between Picard, Soong, and Dr. Agnes Jurati (Allison Pill) but without diving too deeply into the ramifications and emotional consequences facing a 94-year-old man who suddenly awakens in an advanced biological-synthetic meat suit.
"Whatever the implications are going to be for Picard having this new body," Chabon told THR in a post-mortem interview published Thursday, "all of that is going to be part of [the character's] way of thinking going forward." While Picard will live as long as he would have in his original body, his fatal neurological condition is completely gone — which bodes well as he boldly goes into a new mission.
3. What is Seven and Rafi's relationship status?
In the final moments of the season one finale, fans get a squee-worthy moment when Seven and Rafi (Michelle Hurd) share a conversation while affectionately touching each others hands. A choice that, according to Chabon and Goldsman, was ad-libbed on the day by the actors.
4. Have we seen the last of Altan Soong or Brent Spiner?
The only thing Star Trek has more of than versions of Data are relatives of his creator, Dr. Noonien Soong (Spiner).
Star Trek: Picard introduced Dr. Altan Soong, the self-proclaimed "mad scientist" and Noonien's biological son. The android expert is noticeably absent from the last shot of the crew assembled on the La Sirena, but given the character's significant role in Picard not staying dead, it feels likely we will see him again.
5. What other TNG regulars might be back?
"It is my hope that whenever the series wraps, we will have encountered all the principal actors from Next Generation," Stewart said in January while promoting the series at TCAs.
So far, Picard has brought back former Enterprise bridge officers Data, Riker (Jonathan Frakes), and Troi (Marina Sirtis). While LeVar Burton and Michael Dorn, who played Chief Engineer LaForge and Lt. Cmdr. Worf, respectively, visited their fellow castmates on the set of season one, they did not appear on-screen. Also waiting to join her crew is Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden). Perhaps season two will the Enterprise crew back together.
6. What does Guinan's return mean for season two?
Guinan, the Enterprise's bartender in Ten-Forward, played by Oscar-winner Whoopi Goldberg, is set to reprise her role for the first time since 2002's Star Trek: Nemesis.
"It's amazing," Chabon tells THR about the prospect of writing scenes between Picard and Guinan. (He's currently in the early days of writing season two episodes now.) "I've gone back to rewatch some of the more key Guinan episodes from Next Gen, the major Picard and Guinan moments. She's such an amazing actor; I can't wait."
Guinan famously did not get along with Q (John de Lancie) on Next Generation, given the hell that he put her species, the El-Aurians, through years ago. With Picard and Guinan sharing scenes together, that could potentially bode well for Q's return — especially with the never-ending trial Q put Picard on in the pilot of Next Generation still being in session.
Given the long-living El-Aurians (a race of "listeners") loose relationship with a linear existence, her presence is a strong indicator that time travel could factor into Picard's future. (The last time Picard moved back and forth through time on the small screen was in TNG's series finale, "All Good Things…", with Q being responsible for Picard's time trip.)
7. Where's the Enterprise?
Before Picard aired, fans were vocal in their hope to see a new Enterprise in action. The closest they got was seeing a model of the Enterprise-D in Picard's storage room and holographic projections of both the Galaxy-class starship and a Constitution-class looking Enterprise at Starfleet HQ.
And when Riker showed up with a fleet of starships ready for battle in the final moments of the season one finale, fans were expecting to see him on the bridge of an Enterprise. Will they ever get their wish?
"I don't know for sure because we've gone back and forth," Chabon says about plans for season two. "But, I think you'll just have to wait and see." Chabon goes on to say that, in the season finale, the team didn't include or mention the Enterprise in the fleet lead by Riker because "it would have been such a throw away [moment] and it doesn't seem right to give the Enterprise a throw away. If you're going to do the Enterprise, you do the Enterprise."
While fans have warmed up to the idea of Picard saving the galaxy from the bridge of Rios' ship, it's hard to fathom a season two that doesn't have Picard at least once interacting with the newest iteration of his old ship. (The ship Riker commanded in the finale is, according to its captain, the most advanced in the fleet. Does that mean the Enterprise is no longer the traditional flagship or in service?)
CBS All Access has ordered two more seasons of Picard, so time will tell.
For more from the finale, check out THR's post-mortem with Stewart.