If you look at my reviews for this season of Star Trek: Picard, I have not been kind to the series over the last few episodes. My last review of “Hide and Seek” (found here) was one of the most scathing reviews I’ve posted on this site (although not the most negative review I’ve ever written). Thankfully, the season finale “Farewell” went a long way in my eyes to redeem the faults of the last few episodes. While I am not a fan of the entire season, there are excellent storytelling moments throughout that I enjoyed immensely.
Spoilers ahead for the season finale of Star Trek: Picard.
The remaining crew of the La Sirena make it back to Los Angeles thanks to Tallinn’s teleportation technology. Raffi, Seven of Nine, and Rios go to Adam Soong’s home in the hopes of catching him there to prevent Soong from interfering with the launch. Jean-Luc tags along with Tallinn who teleports to the launch site. Tallinn’s realization of the Jurati Queen’s final words “Two Renee Picards, one who lives and one who dies” leads her to make a tragically heroic decision, one Picard surmises quickly and attempts to prevent. Tallinn’s monologue to Picard is spot-on and one of the best representations I’ve seen of calling someone out for their Hero Complex.
Picard is a hero, someone who seeks to save others, sometimes from their own decisions. Tallinn’s observation is that Picard’s attempts to heroically save other people refuses to accept the agency of the other person, the ability for that person to make a decision that affects them, positively or negatively. Tallinn has watched over Renee Picard all of her life and she wants to be there for her in this desperate moment. This leads to a wonderfully understated scene between Renee and Tallinn, where Tallinn reveals who she is and what she’s done in watching over and protecting Renee. While this is going on, Rios, Raffi, and Seven manage to thwart Soong’s backup plan of sending drones to attack the shuttle craft and destroy it before it can take off.
Everything goes according to plan, with the actual Renee boarding the Shango to venture to Europa and Tallinn impersonating Renee, which inevitably puts her in the path of Adam Soong. Soong uses a neurotoxin on a piece of synthetic skin over his palm to poison who he thinks is Renee Picard. Tallinn dies in Jean-Luc’s arms and Soong soon learns that he failed when he sees a news report showing Renee Picard speaking from the Shango. The hits just keep on coming for the despicable eugenicist as his “daughter” Kore hacks in and destroys all of Soong’s genetics research, robbing him of the legacy he had hoped to build. It’s a fitting end for one of the truly vile characters that have been introduced in Star Trek over the decades. But there’s a stinger to that scene: Soong pulls out a file from his desk labeled Project Khan from the 1990s (a nod to the original timeline of Star Trek).
I can only surmise that this means Adam Soong will play a role in the creation of the Eugenics Wars, an event in the past of the Star Trek universe where genetically-enhanced supermen dominated the world. Khan Noonian Singh (played brilliantly by Ricardo Montalban and Benedict Cumberbatch in the Star Trek series and films) is the most notorious of these genetic tyrants. Given that a later descendent, Arik Soong, appears in Star Trek: Enterprise as a proponent of the genetic alterations that made Khan possible, this feels like a loop being started that will tie in to the established canon of the Star Trek universe.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one bit of fanservice that touched my heart more than the others in the finale. After Kore obliterates her “father’s” research, she receives a mysterious message to meet at a park. Instead of Q, though, she is met by none other than Wesley Crusher, a returning Wil Wheaton (who also hosts the after show The Ready Room for the Paramount + Star Trek shows). Wesley reveals that he is a member of the Travellers, the group who send out Watchers and Supervisors like Tallinn to protect the timeline. He offers Kore the chance to join the Travelers, giving the young woman her chance at a freedom she could only dream about before. Having Wesley return in such a fashion felt right to me, particularly given the amount of hate Wil Wheaton (to some extent, justifiably because of how Wesley was written in the early episodes) received. For Kore, it’s a good ending and a chance for this character to return in the third season or in another Star Trek series.
The group, including Teresa and Ricardo, return to Chateau Picard. It is here that we find the end-cap of the Q arc of this season. When Picard decides to hide the skeleton key that his younger self will use to free his mother from her locked room (an act that leads to his mother’s suicide), it is an acceptance that he cannot change his past or save his mother, something that has driven him so greatly over the course of his life. It is this moment that Q was hoping for, a chance for his old adversary/friend to overcome the shackles of his past and live free for what remains of his life. Q admits that he is dying alone and does not want that same fate for Jean-Luc. It is the most human moment from the character and John De Lancie played the scene exquisitely well.
In a turn of events no one could predict (except for those who have paid attention to the show since Teresa and Rios started making goo-goo eyes at each other in Episode Three of the season), Rios decides to stay behind in the 21st century with Teresa and Ricardo. This decision allows Q one last surprise as he sends everyone back to 2401 and the bridge of the Stargazer, right back to the moments before the self-destruct sequence was completed in the first episode of the season.
The masked Borg Queen is on the bridge still, but we know (as does Jean-Luc and the rest of the cast) that this is Jurati Queen. Picard cancels the red alert and the auto-destruct sequence, instead choosing to trust his friend and her intentions. Jurati reached out to Picard because another spacial anomaly is about to occur, one that threatens to destroy millions of lives. Using the ships of the assembled fleet (now under the command of Seven of Nine, who receives a field commission from Admiral Jean-Luc Picard), Jurati Queen is able to form the shields of the ships into a blockade that stops the energy discharge from occurring. Q’s surprise appears during the lead up to this moment as we see Elnor alive and well on another ship, something that Raffi is clearly overjoyed to see.
Once the explosion subsides and the fleet saves the day, Jurati Queen reveals that a new transwarp hub has appeared in its wake but there is no telling who or what is on the other side. The Queen requests provisional membership in the Federation to stand guard over this new gateway through the universe, something that Picard will no doubt push for. It goes without saying that this new development occurring so late in the finale is the set up for the final season of Star Trek: Picard, which already wrapped filming and is set to go into post-production.
The finale comes to a close in Ten Forward, where Picard and Guinan share a drink while Raffi, Elnor, and Seven enjoy themselves. It’s at this point Guinan points to a picture that was hanging behind the bar of Teresa and Rios. They, along with Renee, were regular patrons of Ten Forward in the 21st century, creating a small family unit in a way. Teresa and Rios formed a medical relief organization together before Rios died in a bar fight over hoarded medical supplies. Teresa would outlive her husband and die of old age but not before seeing Ricardo grow up to be a scientist like Auntie Renee. Using the microbes Renee found on Europa during her mission, Ricardo was able to reverse the environmental damage of the 20th century, leading to the idyllic version of Earth the Federation enjoys. The closing moments of the episode, though, are reserved for Laris and Jean-Luc. Now no longer tethered by his guilt over not saving his mother, Jean-Luc is able to be honest with Laris and start a relationship with her.
As I said at the beginning of this review, I have not been a fan of all the episodes in the second season of Star Trek: Picard. The episodes that I felt were subpar detracted from the overall experience for me. As much as I enjoyed the season finale, that doesn’t make up for the middle section of the season which I felt dragged on far too long and made storytelling choices that were, in my opinion, not the right ones. With all of that being said, there are some excellent moments throughout this season that make it worthwhile to watch and enjoy, which I would encourage anyone who reads these reviews to do.
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