Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Picard, season 2 – episode guide

Star Trek Picard season 2On the whole, one may describe Star Trek: Picard season two as either an avant-garde experiment in scriptwriting or a subpar space opera anime. Either way, STP’s second go-around may have its moments, but generally this 10-episode run is one massive mishmash of red herrings.

About two years after the events of STP season 1, Adm. Jean-Luc Picard has become chancellor of Starfleet Academy, Elnor studies there, Cristobal Rios has become captain of the titular starship, Raffi Musiker has likewise been reinstated and serves aboard the USS Excelsior, and Kore Soong has taken on a diplomatic role. Seven of Nine remains a maverick space vigilante type. (Nice.)

Got all that? Great. Unfortunately very little of it matters because our heroes are soon sent into an alternate universe (though not the classic Mirror Universe to which the TNG crew never boldly went) as well as back in time to the good ol’ 21st century.

Season 2 also features the returns to the Star Trek universe of Q (probably this season’s MVP), Guinan and – briefly – Wesley Crusher, as well as the introduction of yet another member of the Soong family (the original Dr. Soong, no less, and played by who else but Brent Spiner). As for Picard himself, we get entire subpots played out in Jean-Luc’s emotional landscape, including encounters with a distant ancestor, a dark tale from his boyhood, and his own interpersonal relationships. Finally, the Borg arrive to torment our hero – or is that the intention after all…?

Star Trek: Picard episode guide – Season 2

  1. The Star Gazer – After a bang-crash intro in which Picard, amid an attack gives the auto-destruct command (again!) and a dump of exposition on this season’s major players comes the setup for the upcoming madness: From a major space anomaly emerge some Borg, the Stargazer goes ka-blooey, and Picard wakes up to find himself back at the vineyards in France – except Q’s also around to tell him that it ain't necessarily so… ***
  2. Penance – "This isn't a trial, it’s a penance," an earnest and angry Q warns Picard early on, as the admiral and his former shipmates must suddenly adjust to their roles in the very dark mirror-y universe they now inhabit. Picard learns that his alternate-universe version has killed off quite a few non-human luminaries and/or foes, and the lone Borg queen left in existence is set to become victim of public execution at Picard’s hands until Seven, Dr. Jurati and the gang figure she might find a way back to the 24th century. ***
  3. Assimilation – The only thing that keeps this episode from utter predictability is this series’ tendency to have a zillion subplots going simultaneously. After escaping their alternate-Earth pursuers, the Borg queen guides the ship through the classic Star Trek IV slingshot-to-time travel maneuver to year 2024 and explains that “the Watcher,” a figure who somehow understands Q’s machinations, must be found. **
  4. Watcher is a bit of a misnomer, as as the identity of this sudden key figure/plot device/red herring isn’t revealed until episode’s end. Instead, Picard hangs out with a very un-Guinan young Guinan, who’s about as big an angry and downcast as the 24th-century version is positively buoyant, whole Seven and Rafi pursue the incarcerated Rios. Some nice comedic fish-out-of-water moments from the duo cannot save this slog. *
  5. Two of One – Two ridiculous cases of doppelganger-ism shape the plot here. First is Talinn (not to be confused with T’Lyn of Vulcan), an agent in the mold of Gary Seven, the gratuitously namedropped The Original Series season 2 guest star of “Assignment: Earth.” Talinn is around mostly to engage (so to speak) alternately in exposition and the probing of Jean-Luc’s love life. We also get the introduction of Kore, who in this universe is the outcome of an early pre-Khan experiment by Dr. Soong.
    Q’s interplay with Soong is a particular highlight here, but one simply can’t overcome the idea that somehow Jen-Luc Picard didn’t know that his ancestor Renée Picard was the pilot on the apparently world-changing Europa space mission. By the time Jurati, infiltrated internally by the Borg queen, performs a choreographed Pat Benatar song, we’re ready to get out like Rios from the ICE bus. *
  6. Monsters – At this point in season 2, audiences have got to be mystified as to whether the aside dealing with Picard’s childhood trauma and his mother’s chronic depression is ultimately the point of season or just another macguffin. Snapping out of Flashback Island, Picard awakens to larn that Talinn is (surprise! Not.) actually Romulan. Then he goes to ask Guinan to contact Q, only to get busted by snarling FBI agents. *
  7. Mercy – FBI agent Wells has troubles of his own, it seems. When he was a lad, he accidentally discovered Vulcans on Earth – who may or may not be connected to those involved in the Star Trek: Enterprise season 2 episode “Carbon Creek” – and, fearing their return, has arrested Picard and Guian on suspicion of being aliens (not the deportable sort). As the interrogation continues, Jurati/Borg Queen is going around the city eating batteries to become a proper Borg. Oh, and she (They? Shes?) somehow convince Soong that he has to steal La Sirena. You’re not alone in thinking WTF…*
  8. Hide and Seek – Although we’ve got the Borg Queen assimilating including (until herring culling time) Seven, the major plot point is all about Picard talking to Talinn about his childhood. Also, Jurati convinces the Queen that she should drop the whole assimilation thing and become a sort of cyberdoctor back in the Delat Quadrant, for which they leave, taking La Sirena with them. *
  9. For all the nonsense ST fans dealt with in this season of Picard, Farewell just about redeems the whole mess. Renée successfully lifts off on the Europa mission (thereby preserving the proper timeline), all our major players find (or re-find) their niche in time and space, Q breaks everyone’s hearts with (maybe) his dying words and it all comes back to the first near-disastrous contact of the first episode. Star Trek Guide isn’t sure if it was worth it, but Farewell is a keeper. ****