Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Picard Presents an Epilogue for Troi & Riker

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 1, Episode 7 of Star Trek: Picard, "Nepenthe," now streaming on CBS All Access.

2002's Star Trek: Nemesis serves as a farewell for the beloved characters of The Next Generation. Among them were the Enterprise-D's first officer Commander William Riker and Counselor Deanna Troi, as the crew celebrated their wedding vows and sent them off to serve on the Titan. Now, nearly 18 years later, this week's episode of Star Trek: Picard shows what happened to the Starfleet power couple afterward, which is, unfortunately, far from a happy ending.

Actors Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis return to their familiar roles, far away from where we last saw them. They've settled in a quaint cabin on the forested planet Nepenthe, where they reunite with Jean-Luc Picard, who brings with him a new face in Soji, the daughter of Data. And a visit from an old friend is the perfect opportunity to reminisce on the past, both the good and bad.

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Since TNG, Troi and Riker started a family, having two children. Their first was Thaddeus, or Thad for short. Spending his childhood growing up on starships, the boy yearned for a "home world." With his family traveling the stars, he found solace in creating the fictional land of Ardani, which served as a stationary point to which he could always return. He also invested himself in languages, creating a dozen tongues to fill out the culture of his land.

Related: Star Trek: Picard Episode 7 Recap – Old Friends, New Complications

Ardani served as Thad's escape from reality, which was suddenly growing darker. He was diagnosed with Mandaxic Neurosclerosis, a rare and fatal disease. His condition could be cured, if his cells were cultured in an active positronic matrix. However, his sickness came at an unfortunate time: With the Federation's ban on synthetics as a result of the attack on Mars, there were no active positrons to work with. The Troi-Riker family chose to settle down on Nepenthe, hoping its regenerative soil would help his recovery. But Thad never recovered, and he died prior to the events of Picard.

Riker and Troi's second child, Kestra, is alive and kicking, although the loss of her brother and best friend has left an ache in the precocious teenager's heart. Both kids have plastered sheets of paper across their respective bedrooms, expanding out on everything about Ardani; she occasionally speaks in Thad's invented languages to her parents. When we meet Kestra, she's wearing a dark hood and red war paint, drawing a bow threateningly. She dresses that way as a tribute to her late brother, a dedication to preserve Ardani past his death.

Although Kestra is not lacking for imagination, she is in company. Her family has camped out in the middle of the woods, and the danger that lurks keeps them always in a state of readiness. The only companionship she's found is that of the retired Captain Crandall, who regales her with stories of days gone by. So when Soji arrives at her doorstep, she shows immediate interest. Kestra spends the episode peppering her with questions about life as an android, and they eventually find a bond as Soji lets her walls down. She relates her own situation to Soji, encouraging her to reach out to Picard to help heal from the hurt of trauma. Besides sending her off with advice, she also gives her a broken compass, a reminder that it is people, not things, that help us to find our way.

The naming of Troi and Riker's children have meaning that connect back to Star Trek past. Kestra was the name of Troi's older sister, as revealed in the TNG episode "Dark Page." She died shortly after Deanna was born, drowning after running off during a family picnic when she was 6 years old. Given the family connection, it's heavily implied Kestra was named after her aunt.

While Thad does not have as direct of a connection, there was a character named Thaddius Riker introduced in the Voyager episode "Death Wish." A distant ancestor of William, he was a Union soldier in the Civil War. A member of the Q known as Quinn saved his life after he was wounded in battle, preserving the Riker family tree.

Star Trek: Picard stars Patrick Stewart, Alison Pill, Michelle Hurd, Evan Evagora, Isa Briones, Santiago Cabrera and Harry Treadaway. A new episode arrives each Thursday on CBS All Access.

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