By Nick Schager
March 26, 2020 at 10:49 PM EDT

After an epic intergalactic odyssey, Jean-Luc Picard makes one final attempt to stop the synthetics from annihilating all organic life in this week’s season finale, “Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2.” Given that he’s also coping with a fatal health condition, it could be the Starfleet hero’s final mission — thus raising the monumental stakes for the conclusion of Star Trek: Picard’s maiden voyage.

Having been freed by Sutra, Narek returns to the Artifact, where he reunites with his sister Rizzo. He collects grenades that will let him destroy Coppelius’ orchid defense system, and leaves Rizzo to get the Artifact’s defense systems back online.

Soji explains to the imprisoned Picard that she’s carrying out Sutra’s plan because it affords synthetics their first opportunity to determine their own fate. “To say you have no choice is a failure of imagination,” Picard responds, telling her not to let the Romulans turn her into the monster they believe her to be. He implores her to shut down the beacon before it contacts the apocalyptic higher synthetics.

Onboard La Sirena, Rios learns to use his imagination when Raffi suggests that the ship-fixing device given to them by Arcana can be activated by mentally envisioning what one needs to be fixed. That magically does the trick, and La Sirena regains full operational power. The duo is then visited by Narek, who wants to join forces to stop the beacon from opening the portal. Elnor materializes and is prevented from killing Narek; instead, after failing to contact Picard, they all sit around a campfire and Narek recounts the ancient Romulan legend of “the end.”

Credit: Trae Patton/CBS

Apparently, Romulans believe that, at the end of time, two sisters appear to unleash demons upon the galaxy. One of them is known as the “fortune teller,” and plays a drum made from the skin of children. The other is Seb-Cheneb, who carries a horn from a great pale hell-beast called Ganmadan. Blowing that horn will summon a horde of demons intent on bringing about 1,000 days of nightmarish pain and suffering. “I believe it’s history. And the fascinating thing about history is, it always repeats itself,” says Narek.

Construction of the beacon tower continues. Soong tells Jurati that her decision to help the synthetics end all organic life is “a remarkable act of self-sacrifice on your part. Well, I supposed that’s what mothers do, isn’t it?” Once he’s gone, Jurati exclaims, “I’m not their mother, a--hole.” Soong is working on transferring Saga’s memory to a VR module for safekeeping, and when he momentarily leaves the room, Jurati steals Saga’s eyeball and uses it to gain access to Picard’s chamber. “I’m busting you out,” she informs the stunned Picard, and they flee for La Sirena.

Rios, Raffi, and Elnor gain entry to the synthetics’ compound by pretending that Narek is their prisoner. Via a soccer ball, they sneak in a bomb that they plan to use to destroy the beacon. Once inside, they’re immediately aided in their cause by Soong, who’s switched allegiances after seeing – via Saga’s VR memories – that the android was murdered by Sutra.

At the base of the beacon, Soong confronts Sutra, telling her, “I thought I taught you better than this. Turns out, you’re no better than we are.” With a handheld device, he easily deactivates her. Elnor and Narek fly into action, and Rios launches the bomb at the tower. Alas, Soji catches it mid-flight with her bare hands and throws it into the sky, where it detonates harmlessly. Meanwhile, on the Artifact, Rizzo is thwarted from activating the defense systems by Seven. They fight, and with a swift kick (“This is for Hugh”), Seven sends Rizzo plummeting to her death.

Commodore Oh’s fleet finally shows up and prepares to stop the synthetics by incinerating the entire planet. The orchids engage her ships, leading to an enormous space battle. Thanks to a suggestion by Jurati about “the Picard maneuver,” Picard devices a plan: using Arcana’s magic device, he creates hundreds of holographic duplications of La Sirena, thereby tricking Oh into thinking she’s under siege and diverting her attention away from Coppelius below. This works until the real La Sirena takes a serious hit.

The beacon is fully activated, and Oh once again orders her fleet to destroy Coppelius. At that moment, Starfleet arrives, led by a ship piloted by Riker. Rather than stand down, Oh gets set to fight the Federation’s forces. At this crucial moment, Picard suffers an attack from his “brain abnormality” and demands that Jurati give him medicine that’ll speed up his eventual demise. Temporarily lucid, he opens a communication channel with Soji and begs her to power down the beacon, saying, “Show them how profoundly wrong they are about you.” He argues that the Federation isn’t a danger to the synthetics like the Romulans are, because “we trust you to make the right choice. I trust you, Soji. I know you. I believe in you.”

Convinced, Soji destroys the beacon, thus closing the portal before giant tentacle-like creatures can emerge from it.

Having saved the day, Picard thanks Riker for “always having my back.” Riker replies, “I learned that from the best.” Following their farewell, Picard collapses, and Soji beams him and Jurati back down to Coppelius.

Surrounded by everyone, Picard informs Soji, “I gave you a choice. Not being the Destroyer was up to you. It always was.” Then, Picard dies!

Later that evening, Seven and Rios both admit that they wound up doing just what they’d always promised themselves they wouldn’t do again – for Seven, that means killing someone just because they deserved it, and for Rios, it entails allowing a no-nonsense ship captain back into his heart and then watching that man die. Elsewhere, Raffi consoles a weeping Elnor.

Such grieving, however, is short-lived. Star Trek: Picard subsequently cuts to Picard opening his eyes in a darkened living room opposite Data, who informs him that yes, he’s dead. Picard remembers dying, but Data does not – he only possesses the knowledge that he sacrificed himself to save Picard. Data says his memory was extracted from a single neuron by Bruce Maddox, and his consciousness was reconstructed by his brother Soong.

Together, they’re in a complex quantum simulation. Yet Picard, it turns out, is real. Before he expired, Soong, Jurati, and Soji transferred his entire memory into this simulation, and he can’t stay. Behind an opening door, blinding white light beckons. Data confesses that he remembers that Picard loves him. Before Picard departs, Data asks him a favor: to terminate his consciousness once Picard returns to the land of the living. This isn’t because Data wants to die, but because, “I want to live, however briefly, knowing that my life is finite. Mortality gives meaning to human life, Captain. Peace, love, friendship – these are precious because we know they cannot endure.”

Picard awakens in a chamber, and it’s clear his mind has been transferred into Soong’s synthetic golem. Picard’s new body is an exact replica of his prior one, and he learns that it features no superpowered augmentations, and will last just as long as his original mortal shell would have, had his (now erased) brain abnormality never existed. Basically, he’s his old self.

Picard fulfills his promise to Data and erases his consciousness. As he does so, we see Data in the simulation, drinking wine while wearing a robe and listening to Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies.” Picard “appears” in the simulation and hold Data’s hand as his life comes to an end. Quoting Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the reborn Picard intones, “We are such stuff as dreams are made on. And our little life is rounded with a sleep.”

Back on La Sirena, Jurati kisses Rios, Seven and Raffi romantically intertwine their hands, and everyone – including Elnor and Soji – join Picard on the bridge. Soji says that she’s cut out for wandering, and now that the synthetics ban has been lifted, she’s free to travel. “Me too,” Picard smiles.

At the sound of Picard’s trademark “Engage,” La Sirena blasts off.

Captain’s Log:

  • This season finale hinges on more than a few oh-so-convenient developments, but perhaps the most frustrating is Sutra’s deactivation, which is severely abrupt and anti-climactic.
  • The last scene’s suggestion that romance is in the cards for Seven and Raffi feels similarly random, especially as a closing note.
  • A former Borg who’s now a synthetic, Picard seems to be downright unkillable – which suggests that a second season is all but inevitable.

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