Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Picard’s TNG Finale Callback Backs Up Jean-Luc Death Theory

WARNING: SPOILERS ahead for Star Trek: Picard season 1, episode 2, "Maps and Legends"

Star Trek: Picard is making a dark reference to the final episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, with Jean-Luc's medical prognosis seeming to confirm this will indeed be the good captain's last adventure. In the show's second episode "Maps and Legends," Picard discovers that Soji Asha — the twin of the deceased android Dahj, who is somehow Data's daughter — is not on Earth. Picard resolves to return to space to find Soji, and has his old friend from the Stargazer, Dr. Benayoun, do a medical workup to deem him fit to return to Starfleet.

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However, Dr. Benayoun finds that Picard has a small defect in his parietal lobe, a diagnosis Picard had heard before from Dr. Crusher in the TNG finale "All Good Things," though that diagnosis came in an alternate timeline accelerated by Q. In that timeline, Picard's defect led to Irumodic Syndrome, a sort of advanced dementia, which resulted in mood swings and hallucinations.

Benayoun confirms a similar fate now awaits Picard in the new Star Trek series — noting his outburst in the televised interview and his vivid dreams of Data as symptoms — though it does nothing to dim the former Admiral's desire to return to space and find Soji. The newly amoral Starfleet, however, would go on to deny Jean-Luc's request for reinstatement, leaving the good captain to find other means of completing his mission.

When it was revealed that Star Trek: Picard was set in approximately the same future era as "All Good Things," fans immediately began to speculate about theStar Trek seres' timeline similarities. Indeed, "All Good Things" saw a retired Picard tending to the grapes on his family vineyard, and saw a version of Starfleet that had somewhat lost its way, though not in quite as profound a way as it has in Picard. And while it seems at least somewhat amicable, Picard has also lost contact with his Enterprise crew, just like in "All Good Things."

This also raises the unfortunate specter of Picard's impending doom. It was always a possibility that the series would see Picard's death — he is 94 years old in the series, after all. But the dire medical diagnosis adds a sense of urgency to Picard's mission that wasn't there before. If this is really the last thing he's ever going to do, he's going to be even more driven, certainly considering what this all means to Data's legacy.

It's also impossible to not wonder if Q has something to do with all this. The omnipotent being from the Q continuum who introduced the Federation to the Borg engineered the alternate future from "All Good Things" in an attempt to show Picard higher means of understanding. While their relationship started out antagonistic, Q eventually became a kind of smarmy tour guide to the universe by the end of TNG. It's nearly unthinkable that Q wouldn't pay Jean-Luc one more visit before his demise, either to save him or offer one last snide remark before the curtains close. Either way, Jean-Luc's mortality now serves as something of a ticking time bomb at the heart of Star Trek: Picard.


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