Star Trek: Picard's Prophecy Explained - Will Data's Daughter Destroy The Romulans?
Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Picard season 1, episode 4.
Star Trek: Picard has introduced a Romulan prophecy that points to Soji Asha (Isa Briones) as the Destroyer they fear - but is the synthetic daughter of Commander Data (Brent Spiner) really the enemy after all? In its four episodes so far, the CBS All-Access series centering on Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) has woven a complex web involving artificial beings, a heretofore unknown Romulan death squad called the Zhat Vash, and even the Borg. But everything seems to connect to Soji and her unrevealed true mission aboard the Romulans' Borg Cube Artifact.Click the button below to start this article in quick view. Start now
Soji Asha and her synthetic twin Dahj were created by the Daystrom Institute's former director, Dr. Bruce Maddox, through a miraculous process called neuronic fractal cloning. Maddox 'grew' the human-like android sisters from one of Data's neurons, which he likely acquired from the body of B-4, Data's android 'brother'. Maddox built Soji and Dahj in defiance of the United Federation of Planets' ban of artificial lifeforms that resulted from rogue androids attacking Mars in 2285, which ended the Federation's commitment to mount a rescue mission (led by Picard) to save the Romulans from their sun going supernova. After the ban, Maddox went into hiding (presumably on Freecloud) and built Dahj and Soji in secret sometime around 2396. The Zhat Vash also believe that Maddox built even more synthetics, and that Soji can point them to a "nest" of others like her. Learning the location of the nest from Soji is the job of Narek (Harry Treadaway), who is trying to seduce the synthetic woman.
With their histories and credentials faked, Dahj was sent to Earth and was accepted as a cybernetics research fellow at Daystrom before she was assassinated by the Zhat Vash, although she was able to make contact with Picard and alert him to the crisis involving her. Meanwhile, Soji's mission took her to the Romulans' Reclamation Project in the Beta Quadrant, which she joined as a therapist for the reclaimed XBs (ex-Borg). Soji's specialty was reaching out to the Nameless, the former Borg whose species are unknown. Soji's talents gained the attention of the project's director, Hugh (Jonathan Del Arco), the first reclaimed Borg whom fans met in Star Trek: The Next Generation. As Soji's request, Hugh introduced her to Ramdha, a Romulan mythology expert who was assimilated right before the Borg Cube suffered a submatrix collapse, which cut the vessel off from the Borg Collective and allowed the Romulans to capture it.
Although her mind was damaged from her assimilation, Ramdha reacted violently when she met Soji and the "disordered"Romulan accused the synthetic of being "the Destroyer" - a prophecized enemy who will cause the end of all life. Soji was shocked because, under her current programming, she hasn't been "activated" (i.e. she is unaware she is synthetic and she believes her cover identity as a human scientist from Seattle). But could Ramdha be right about Soji, and is she the true villain of Star Trek: Picard? Let's explore everything we know so far about whether Soji Asha could indeed be the Destroyer.
The Romulans' Prophecy About The Destroyer
After her disturbing encounter with Ramdha, Soji researched the Romulan mythology expert in Star Trek: Picard episode 4, "Absolute Candor". The synthetic girl watched a talk show interview with Ramdha conducted before her assimilation, wherein Ramdha offered details on the Romulan prophecy about the Destroyer. The dreaded event Ramdha fears most is called Ganmadan, which is The Day of Annihilation. Ganmadan is the moment "when the beasts break their shackles and answer the call of the Destroyer." In plain speak, the prophecy contends that on the designated Day of Annihilation, the Destroyer will raise an army made up of imprisoned "beasts" and wage war on all life.
The Zhat Vash refers to synthetics by several derogatory names, like "abominations," so "beasts" could just be another insult towards artificial lifeforms. Ramdha's beliefs are also echoed by Zhat Vash operatives Narek and his sister Narissa (Peyton List), who is a Romulan mole posing as a Starfleet Officer. This means Ramdha is likely also a member of the Zhat Vash, which bears an ancient and unassuageable hatred of all artificial life, and they know exactly what Soji is. Ramdha, Narek, and Narissa all believe that Soji is the Destroyer and they must also fear that the nest of synthetics she's part of will be her army.
Evidence Soji Is The Destroyer
Soji could indeed be the Destroyer. The synthetic scientist confessed to Narek that she felt "seen" by Ramdha, even though the crazed Romulan was accusing her of being a monster who was her enemy. Ramdha's Romulan fortune-telling (which they refer to as 'the news' that sees the past and future as happening as urgently as the present) was correct that Soji was one of "two sisters" and Soji is "the one who lives." Soji was confused by this, but it's possible she instinctively felt that what Ramdha was saying is true and that she is, in fact, the Destroyer. However, it could also mean that Soji is simply the enemy of the Zhat Vash, which is accurate since the Romulan death squad seeks to eradicate her and her entire synthetic race. But what if the Zhat Vash's hatred of Soji is because they're actually right and Soji does have a nefarious secret mission (that she's currently unaware of)?
Soji's cover story of being a therapist aboard the Borg Cube isn't her true mission. She told Hugh that what she really desires is to find "the therapeutic utility of a shared mythical framework". This could mean that she's trying to develop a form of spirituality for the ex-Borg as they return to consciousness and/or a religious belief system for herself and her synthetic race. However, developing a shared mythical framework could have a darker purpose: If Soji is meant to be a force for destruction, a shared mythical framework might be a means to allow Soji to take control of the dormant Borg and use them as her army.
Is Soji Star Trek: Picard's True Villain?
Soji's presence aboard the Borg Cube Artifact is no accident, but she may not be working with the most dangerous cyborg race in the galaxy just to give them therapy. Some fans have speculated that Soji has ties to the Borg Queen after Data's encounter with the Borg's ruler in Star Trek: First Contact. Could Soji actually be a newly evolved version of the Borg Queen? Is Soji secretly plotting to take control of the XBs aboard the Artifact and lead them against the Romulans? Soji has already romantically expressed how "mighty and omnipotent" the Borg Cube is and it's possible she could place the most powerful weapon in the galaxy under her control. If Soji is actually evil, she could be the main villain of Star Trek: Picard season 1 and destined to lead all synthetics, including the Borg, against the Federation as revenge for how their rights as artificial lifeforms were taken away. And, of course, if Soji is indeed the Destroyer, she would also eradicate the Zhat Vash, who want all synthetics wiped out - period.
Star Trek: Discovery season 2's macro story was about a sentient A.I. called Control that tried to wipe out all organic life in the galaxy in the 23rd century. It's possible Star Trek: Picard season 1 is doing its own spin on that story, since the fate of artificial lifeforms in the galaxy at the dawn of the 25th century is a major aspect of the plot. Both CBS All-Access Star Trek shows could be depicting both sides of the same coin with dual cautionary tales about the dangers of sentient A.I. in two different eras of Star Trek.
Thus far, however, Soji Asha (and Dahj before her) has been nothing but a compassionate and brilliant young woman doing beneficial work aboard the Borg Cube. But then again, Soji hasn't been "activated" yet, so what happens when she is? But for all of the Zhat Vash's fear-mongering about Soji being their fabled Destroyer, it's important to remember that when Dahj was activated, her programming ordered her to immediately find Jean-Luc Picard. It's possible that when Soji activates, she will also instinctively seek out the help of the Starfleet legend. So, if Soji is truly meant to be the Destroyer, perhaps Jean-Luc Picard's true purpose in Star Trek: Picard is to appeal to the good in her programming by reminding Soji that she is the daughter of Data, the best man he has ever known, and together, they can save the galaxy and set things right.
Star Trek: Picardstreams Thursdays on CBS All-Access and Fridays internationally on Amazon Prime Video.