Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Picard‘s Season 1 Finale
The ending of Star Trek: Picard season 1 literally gave Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) a new lease on life as the Starfleet legend helped save the galaxy. In addition, Star Trek: Picard‘s season 1 finale, “Et in Arcadia Ego, Part II” gave Commander Data (Brent Spiner) the fitting final bow that his death in Star Trek: Nemesis denied him. Finally, after leading Soji (Isa Briones) by a positive example, Picard secured a future for her synthetic family on the planet Coppelius, which sets up Jean-Luc’s next adventure with his ragtag crew in Star Trek: Picard season 2.
Star Trek: Picard‘s final conflagration against the invading Romulans was literally a life-or-death struggle for the retired Starfleet Admiral. Piloting his conscripted starship La Sirena, Picard and Dr. Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill) managed to stall the Romulan fleet led by Commodore Oh (Tamlyn Tomita) until Starfleet reinforcements led by Captain Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) arrived to even the odds. And though Picard was dying from a fatal brain abnormality, Jean-Luc showed Soji the true meaning of heroism, which led her to shut down the beacon that would summon an ancient group of alien synthetics that would have killed every organic life in the galaxy.
For fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the final moments of Star Trek: Picard‘s season 1 finale reunited Jean-Luc and Data, letting them enjoy the heartwarming conversation that they were unable to have when Data sacrificed his life to save the U.S.S. Enterprise-E in Star Trek: Nemesis. Star Trek: Picard‘s ending also changed the very nature of Jean-Luc Picard in what some Trekkers may find to be a controversial fashion. Here’s everything Star Trek: Picard season 1’s ending means for Jean-Luc and for his future Star Trek journey.
Jean-Luc Picard did indeed die from his fatal brain disease at the end of Star Trek: Picard season 1. This was something Patrick Stewart alluded to whenever he compared Jean-Luc’s journey in Star Trek: Picard to Professor X’s demise in Logan. Star Trek: Picard picked up the notion of Jean-Luc suffering from fatal irumodic syndrome in TNG’s series finale “All Good Things” and carried it out to its logical conclusion – Picard dying but still heroically helping to save the galaxy with his last gasps.
However, Picard was reborn in a new synthetic body – the Golem, which was a blank android body introduced in Star Trek: Picard episode 9. Before Jean-Luc’s brain stopped functioning, Agnes mapped out his entire consciousness and transferred Picard’s mind intact into the Golem’s synthetic body. As Agnes, Soji, and Dr. Altan Soong explained to Picard, they built his new form to be how he would have aged without the brain disease, and his new synthetic frame is identical to Picard’s organic 94-year-old body – meaning no super strength or other enhancements (citing that Picard wouldn’t want to get used to anything new at his age). This is a sly cheat to explain why they didn’t make Picard younger so that 79-year-old Patrick Stewart can continue to play him as age-appropriate.
It’s understandable if some Trekkers feel uncomfortable with this controversial change to make Picard synthetic. However, Picard has long flirted with the artificial; Jean-Luc’s heart was replaced with a duritanium organ after an injury in his youth and, of course, Picard was assimilated by the Borg in TNG. Star Trek: Picard fudges the issue of a synthetic Picard by having Soji, who is as human as an android can get, assure Jean-Luc that he is indeed still real. After all, one of Star Trek: Picard‘s theme is that your decisions, actions, and choosing to be your noblest self are what make you human, even if your body is synthetic so Jean-Luc’s new body doesn’t change the character in the slightest.
Another massive surprise was the discovery that Data’s consciousness was alive in the single positronic neuron that was taken from B-4 (the same neuron Soji and the synthetics on Coppelius were created from). Data’s mind and memories existed in a virtual construct (resembling Sherlock Holmes’ study that Data enjoyed on TNG‘s holodeck). However, Data was aware that his body died saving the Enterprise-E in 2379 and that 20 years has passed. Further, Data came to the final conclusion in his lifelong quest to be human that his story can only truly be over if he died. Data felt that it is only by dying once and for all can his life ultimately have meaning.
Picard delivered on his final promise to Data that he would give the android the rest he deserved and he literally pulled the plug on Data’s virtual existence. Curiously, Data’s limbo was like a digital version of the Nexus, the intergalactic space ribbon that briefly captured Picard and Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) in Star Trek Generations. However, Picard and Data’s heartwarming conversation finally allowed Jean-Luc (and Star Trek fans) to say goodbye to Data in a way that wasn’t possible in Star Trek: Nemesis. But even if this really is the last appearance of Data, Brent Spiner can still return (sans golden makeup) as Dr. Altan Soong and the best aspects of Data’s kind and curious nature lives on within Soji.
Data choosing to die while Picard keeps living in a synthetic body is a remarkable but fitting switch of both lead TNG characters. Picard has always been an advocate for the rights of artificial lifeforms, going back to his role in defining Data’s individual rights in the TNG episode “Measure of a Man”. In Star Trek: Picard, his entire motivation for returning to space was to save Soji (after failing to save her twin sister Dahj) and then promising to fight for the rights of the synthetics on Coppelius.
Meanwhile, Data’s quest to be more human always had physical limitations because Data could never shed his golden skin and eyes to pass for a human, like Soji. Therefore, Data had to find his true humanity in the metaphysical sense and he embraced his own death as the culmination of his life’s grand story. Jean-Luc doesn’t become immortal by becoming a synthetic, but he gets to become an even greater example as a fusion of both the best of the human and artificial, something Data himself already achieved by living a noble life.
Jean-Luc Picard’s motley crew came together almost randomly throughout Star Trek: Picard season 1 but after saving the galaxy, they decided to stay together. At the end of Star Trek: Picard‘s season 1 finale, Soji, Raffi Musiker (Michelle Hurd), Elnor (Evan Evagora), Agnes, and, surprisingly, Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), all came aboard Cristobal Rios’ starship La Sirena and they warped into the final frontier as a united, ragtag crew.
This is an interesting turn of events considering Rios and his ship were initially hired by Picard (and fans wonder if Rios ever got paid). But despite Rios’ vow after his tragic Starfleet past, Picard earned his loyalty and respect so it makes sense he would stay with this crew, which is his new, found family. However, Seven and Elnor joining La Sirena is a curious development because Star Trek: Picard hinted that she would be the Queen of her own Borg Cube, the Artifact. What becomes of the Artifact and the XBs who live within it is now an unanswered question. Still, Seven of Nine being part of Star Trek: Picard season 2 will draw no complaints.
An unexpected shocker in the closing moments of Star Trek: Picard‘s season 1 finale is the confirmation that Seven of Nine is gay. Seven was romantically holding hands, fingers clasped, with Raffi before La Sirena blasted off from Coppelius. Seven’s sexuality was teased in Star Trek: Picard episode 5, “Stardust City Rag”; there were strong hints that Seven and the crime lord Bjayzl (Necar Zedaygan), who killed Seven’s ‘son’ Icheb (Casey King), were a romantic item in the past. It was also subtly hinted at that Raffi was gay, despite her prior marriage and her estranged son. Still, Raffi and Seven ending Star Trek: Picard together as an item came out of nowhere, unlike Rios’ budding romance with Agnes.
Thankfully, Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of La Sirena are now warping into a galaxy that’s better off because of them. Star Trek: Picard‘s season 1 finale resolved the dark political issues that hung over the United Federation of Planets for the past 14 years: Commodore Oh duplicitous nature as the leader of the Romulan death squad, the Zhat Vash, was finally revealed to Starfleet. This ends her clandestine reign of terror, which includes how she engineered the attack on Mars by rogue androids in 2285 that led to synthetics being banned across the galaxy. Thanks to Picard’s heroic efforts that exposed Oh’s villainy, the synthetics ban was finally lifted – which allows Soji (and the now synthetic Picard) to freely travel the galaxy.
Picard saving the galaxy once more also set a glowing example to Starfleet, which once more rose to meet its highest ideals in defense of the Soji and her synthetic family. Coppelius has now officially opened diplomatic relations and became a protectorate of the Federation, which will keep the Romulans away. Further, reuniting with Picard brought Captain Riker back to Starfleet with a new starship, even if it was only to help his old commanding officer. But perhaps the most exciting possibilities involve Star Trek: Picard season 2 picking up the next phase of Jean-Luc’s story at the dawn of the 25th century, boldly taking Star Trek to a new era it hasn’t gone to before.
Star Trek: Picard season 1 is available to stream on CBS All-Access and internationally on Amazon Prime Video.