Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Picard Premiere's Surprising Final Scene, Explained

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for "Remembrance," the series premiere ofStar Trek: Picard, streaming now on CBS All Access.

One thing immediately clear throughout the premiere episode of Star Trek: Picard is that the future of the United Federation and Starfleet is no longer as warm, welcoming and idealistic as it had been the last time the U.S.S. Enterprise was seen exploring the cosmos. Following the destruction of Romulus and the dissolution of the Romulan Star Empire after a devastating supernova, the sudden influx of Romulan refugees led the Federation to become more isolationist and begin to deny promised aid.

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Some time after this, Mars experiences a violent attack by synthetics -- the Federation's term for androids -- with the planetary defenses turned against the planet resulting in the deaths of thousands. As a result, synthetics are summarily outlawed by Starfleet, research into developing new androids and forms of artificial intelligence is unofficially banned, and research programs have been severely defunded to the point of nonexistence. Both of these developments appear to converge in the premiere episode's final scene, with dark implications for the future.

Much of the series premiere had revolved around Jean-Luc Picard learning of the existence of Dahj, a young woman heavily implied to be an android whose positronic systems were coming online and the possible daughter of Picard's deceased android friend Data. While Dahj was seemingly destroyed in a surprise ambush by Romulan raiders on Earth, the final scene of the episode shifted to the Romulan Reclamation Project in deep space.

A Romulan man is seen conversing with a woman identical to Dahj named Soji Asher. Revealing herself to be Dahj's twin sister, the pair are seen to be on board a Borg Cube surrounded by an extensive armada resembling the reprogrammed ships that attacked Mars years earlier.

It's not clear if the Romulans' project to reclaim a new home is fully sanctioned and supported by the Federation, especially given the project's apparent headquarters on a repurposed Borg Cube. The Borg had been the sworn enemy of the Federation throughout Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager, nearly assimilating Earth after launching a devastating attack against Starfleet in the 1996 film Star Trek: First Contact. The closing sequence implies the Romulans are either partnered with the Borg in some capacity or have repurposed Borg technology for their own nefarious ends after being denied aid by the Federation.

The Borg had been presumably decimated in the series finale of Voyager, with Admiral Janeway from an alternate future timeline unleashing a virus upon the Borg Collective through its Queen. Despite this, liberated Borg -- drones who had rebelled against the Collective to regain their individuality -- remain, with promotional material confirming the return of Voyager main character Seven of Nine and The Next Generation character Hugh. While it is not clear what roles they'll both play over the coming season. the presence of a Borg Cube and Picard's own personal history with the Collective signal a larger role for the Borg moving forward.

If the weakened Borg have either been subverted or are in alliance with the Romulans, the final scene indicates that the Federation is about to pay a grave price for abandoning promised aid for the Romulans after the Hobus star's supernova. After Nero had lost his family on Romulus, he had destroyed Vulcan in the alternate Kelvin timeline in the 2009 Star Trek reboot in revenge and sought to do so to Earth before being stopped by the U.S.S. Enterprise.

With the Romulan Reclamation Project, the Romulans may not be looking to destroy Federation planets so much as subjugate them using Borg assimilation technology. And given the final shot of their fleet, they appear more than ready to rebuild themselves at the expense of the Federation.

Star Trek: Picard stars Patrick Stewart, Alison Pill, Michelle Hurd, Evan Evagora, Isa Briones, Santiago Cabrera and Harry Treadaway. The series is set to premiere on CBS All Access Jan. 23.