4 min read

Reflections on Picard

Just last week Star Trek: Picard's second season ended, and I find myself reflecting upon its implications for the broader timeline within the Star Trek universe (something we geeks are prone to doing).
Star Trek: Picard, Trademark & Copyright 2021 Paramount+.
Star Trek: Picard, Trademark & Copyright 2021 Paramount+.

Oh, where to begin?

I am a devoted Star Trek fan. I may not go to expositions or dress up in cosplay, but Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future has always captured my imagination and lust for good stories.

Star Trek: Picard is the first-of-its-kind spin-off for Star Trek, titled and focused on the journey of a singular primary character. This character (Ret. Adm. Jean Luc Picard) has a misfit band of accomplices along for the ride for a great adventure of galactic import.

Just last week Star Trek: Picard's second season ended, and I find myself reflecting upon its implications for the broader timeline within the Star Trek universe (something we geeks are prone to doing).

I absolutely loved the first season of Picard. New and old characters alike, even some and hadn't met in their various timelines. It was a whole lot of fun to see everything come together from cloning processes to artificial life and the tension with the survivors of the Kelvin timeline (the new Star Trek movies) annihilation of the Romulan people. It really was a fantastic adventure start-to-finish.

The second season is also a wild adventure, but oh there's some controversy. Picard's second season focuses heavily on a trip back in time, and Star Trek fans know that the temporal butterflies flap their wings fiercely if you're not careful.

The build-up in season 2 takes us on a journey where Q, an old frienemy of Picard's days as Captain of the USS Enterprise, sends Picard and his rag-tag clan of misfits to Earth in an alternate and dystopian reality. This is not quite the usual Star Trek incarnation of the "mirror universe" as we've come to know it, but rather something of Q's own making.

The team discovers that something changes back in the early 21st century on Earth which has led to this terrible future where humans have conquered most of the galaxy and even defeated the Borg.

To correct for these redresses, the team absconds with a limbless Borg queen with the goal of using her processing power to handle the temporal calculations necessary to send them back in time just far enough to be able to prevent this alteration to the timeline and to preserve the future we've come to know and love with the United Federation of Planets.

Their success in traveling back in time is predictable. Some humorous moments hit during this transition though and I have to say, they made for some fun episodes as the team treks through downtown San Francisco and Picard's family vineyard in the south of France.

All of this is relatively fine, really. There's certainly the opportunity for some minor butterflies with all of this so far. But then we hit the larger implications, and they're doozies.

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Most of society today is familiar with Star Trek by name, even some of its various characters, including Sir Patrick Stewart's Jean Luc Picard. I would even venture to say that a preponderance of American society is at least exposed to the idea of "the Borg" and their "bad guy" persona.

As was predictable, and not-so-cleverly foreshadowed in Season 2 of Star Trek: Picard, the Borg queen finds a way to wrestle herself free and actually embeds herself into the mind of Dr. Jiradi, played by Allison Pill (whom I loved in her role on The Newsroom).

As the Borg queen (nee Jiradi) rampages around San Francisco causing a ruckus, there seems to be little concern for the longer-term impact of her actions (people she kills, harms, etc). Certainly, the misfit crew does their best to "stop" her, but there's no real consideration or discussion on the broader ramifications of her actions. Perhaps this is because the crew knows that the actions have been done, and the consequences must be faced. Perhaps it's due to the fact that the audience maybe would get lost in that discussion. Star Trek has never shied away from spending a few minutes on a complex technical subject when it calls for it, and this left me disappointed.

But that's even the smallest of the implications from the end of Season 2. In the finale we see Q (played as always by John de Lancie) reconcile with Picard and the crew despite having thrust them into this entire circumstance and sending them back to their "fixed" future at the moment the season began in order to allow the Jiradi Borg queen to take control of the Federation armada to stop an epic galactic event from occurring and killing billions.

I won't go into the event and its implications. I don't know that I've wrestled enough with those to articulate what thoughts I have, as yet. Perhaps I will do that when the time comes.

Instead, my thesis statement for this entire post is ... NOBODY IN THE FEDERATION QUESTIONED HANDING CONTROL TO THE BORG QUEEN!?!

They had decades of pent-up animosity and acrimony. Perhaps in this newfangled "fixed" future, they'd never encountered the Borg. Even if this is, in fact, the case, why would no one openly question the handing over of control of a galactic armada to someone who wasn't an alliance member?

I just can't quite come to grips with that. It seems asinine.