Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Picard Reveals [SPOILER'S] Tragic Fate

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

One of the biggest surprises in the promotional campaign leading up to the premiere of Star Trek: Picard was the inclusion of Lieutenant Commander Data, the U.S.S. Enterprise's android officer and one of Jean-Luc Picard's closest friends. Star Trek: Nemesis, the last cinematic adventure of The Next Generation crew, ended with Data heroically sacrificing his life to transport his captain back to the Enterprise. Data's death would weigh heavily on his friends -- especially Picard -- however, hints of Data's possible resurrection were included as early as Nemesis' ending.

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Earlier in the 2002 film, the crew had encountered a positronic android that appeared identical to Data named B-4. Before sacrificing himself, Data uploaded his memory engrams into B-4's neural network, not unlike Spock transferring his consciousness into Doctor McCoy's mind before his own death at the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. By the end of the film, Picard overheard B-4 softly singing "Blue Skies," a song Data had sang at Will Riker and Deanna Troi's wedding earlier in the film, implying the memory transfer had been successful.

Picard opens with Jean-Luc and Data engaged in a friendly game of cards -- complete with the scene set to "Blue Skies" -- the last activity the crew did together in the final scene of The Next Generation. However, this is ultimately revealed to be a dream, with Picard having retired from Starfleet years ago to run his family vineyard in France. Picard regularly has dreams of being reunited with Data, with the android officer engaged in innocuous activities including painting. With Data's death still hanging heavily over Jean-Luc, it becomes clear what exactly became of Data's attempted resurrection through B4 since Nemesis.

After a visit from an apparent android woman named Dahj, Picard investigates her resemblance to an old painting of Data's that featured his imagined daughter by visiting the Daystrom Institute, the Federation's leading research facility for synthetic life. However, the Daystrom Institute's fortunes have fallen considerably since rogue synthetics launched a devastating attack on Mars that resulting in the deaths of thousands. Following the assault, synthetic life was outlawed by the Federation, while the Institute's research was severely defunded to the point of complete abandonment.

As for B-4, Daystrom researcher Doctor Agnes Jurati reveals to Picard that due to B4 being an older, inferior android model than Data, the memory transfer was ultimately unsuccessful. As a result, the majority of Data's memories were evidently lost for good and, in keeping with the Federation's ban on synthetic life, B4 was deactivated and disassembled; unceremoniously stored in pieces in a storage unit within the Institute.

Ever since the ending of Star Trek: Nemesis, fans had held out hope that Data had successfully set the stage for his own resurrection through B-4 -- several non-canon ancillary materials, including the comic book miniseries Star Trek: Countdown even featured Data alive and well within B-4's body. However, the inclusion of Data in the new television series' marketing has been proven to be a feint, and Data is truly dead, for the moment at least.

While there's a possibility that the Daystrom Institute may be able to salvage what's left of Data's memories through B-4 or Dahj's sister, it's unlikely to happen anytime soon with the synthetic ban and lack of support from the Federation. Still, Star Trek has long proven that death is not the final end and perhaps Data can still boldly go where no android has gone before: Back to the land of the living.

Star Trek: Picard stars Patrick Stewart, Alison Pill, Michelle Hurd, Evan Evagora, Isa Briones, Santiago Cabrera and Harry Treadaway. New episodes of the series premiere every Thursday on CBS All Access.


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