When Discovery debuted on Paramount Plus or CBS Access or whatever it was, we were perfectly content to wait until it came out on DVD. But Tracy insisted that we watch Picard first run. I do remember there was some discussion on this board at the time, most of it positive. But I had my misgivings (although admittedly not nearly as many as I had had with Discovery). I now intend to watch season one a second time in order to determine both its strengths as well as its weaknesses. Here is what lies ahead...

The Last Best Hope - (prequel) - p4


1. Remenbrance - p1

2. Maps and Legends - p1

3. The End is the Beginning - p1

4. Absolute Candor - p1

5. Stardust City Rag - p1

6. The Impossible Box - p2

7. Nepenthe - p2

8. Broken Pieces - p2

9. Et In Arcadia Ego, Part 1 - p2

10. Et In Arcadia Ego, Part 2 - p3

Second Self - (between seasons)


1. The Star Gazer - p4

2. Penance - p4

3. Assimilation - p4

4. Watcher - p5

5. Fly Me to the Moon - p5

6. Two of One - p5

7. Monsters - p5

8. Mercy - p5

9. Hide and Seek - p5

10. Farewell - p5

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WATCHER: With no heat onboard La Serena, Picard and Juarati make their way to chateau Picard seeking warmth. the house has been abandoned by the family since WWII. (There are supposed to be caretakers living there, but there are not.) After her link with the borg, Jurati's subconscious seems to be indicating something about the number 15. Because the current date is April 12, 2024, they conclude the timeline will diverge in three days. Following coordinates Jurati got from the Borg queen's mind, Picard beams to Los Angeles in search of the Watcher.*

He materializes on Forward Ave. and spots a bar at #10 (which is just too cutesy for words**) and meets Guinan for the first*** time. (She is played by a young actress who looks nothing like Whoopi Goldberg.) Guinan has been living on Earth  for some time, over a century, presumably, and is thoroughly disgusted by humanity and is planning to leave Earth. she is not the "Watcher" but agrees to lead Picard to him/her.

Rios has been moved to a detention center and is about to be "disappeared" by ICE. Seven and Raffi are tracking Rios (who has regained his communicator by this point), but they have to steal a police vehicle to do it. At this point, I correctly guessed what would happen next: after leading police on a car chase through LA, Jurati would get the transporters working just in time to beam them out without being captured.(Predictable.) Jurati beams Seven and Raffi to the highway on which a bus is carrying Rios to the border.

Meanwhile, in a park, the Watcher appears to Picard in various "host" bodies (think "Deadman"). Eventually, the Watcher stands revealed as a dead ringer for Laris, but with human ears. 

Q is in LA, too. He snaps his fingers but whatever he expected to happen doesn't. 

There is also a call-back to the "punk on the bus" scene from Star Trek IV, but instead of Kirk and Spock, he meets Seven and Raffi. It might have even been the same actor, still dressed in the same style and listening to the same music. There is also a call-back to Jackson Roykirk of the TOS episode "The Changeling." there are call-backs to other series/episodes as well.

Despite some welcome surprises, I have some real problems with this episode, not the least of which is lack of continuity. The message is as equally pessimistic as it is optimistic. Star Trek has predicted the future before (notably the Genetics Wars of the 1990s) and it's usually come back to bite them on the arse. Never before, though, has it predicted events for near in the future. Picard delivers a "pep talk" to Guinan about how things will improve, but even in the "proper" timeline, WW III looms in the near future. Also, this is fiction. There's no guarantee the actual 2024 will be any better than the one depicted here. So far, it's been pretty spot-on.

*They make a big deal of how communications are not working properly due to there being no relay stations, but I would think this would be an even bigger problem for La Serena's transporters. It would not be a big deal in the 24th century to beam from Paris to California but, without satellite relays in orbit, they would have to beam through the crust of the Earth.

**The crew lounge on the Enterprise-D was not named for Guinan's 21st century bar; it was on deck 10 in the front of the ship.

*** Why don't they remember each other from "Time's Arrow" (1893)? That question bugged me enough I had to look up the answer online. It seems the official explanation is that, because Picard et al came from a divergent timeline, the events depicted in "Time's Arrow" never took place. But that doesn't explain why Picard himself doesn't seem to remember (or doesn't seem to have forgotten anything else from the true timeline). [There was a similar discrepancy in the Obi-Wan Kenobi TV show, but it was accounted for, after a fashion, provided one willingly suspends his or her sense of disbelief.] Perhaps 21st century Guinan later time travels to the 19th century...? Or maybe the entire timeline is not "real" but just a construct of Q's devising.

FLY ME TO THE MOON: This episode begins with a huge surprise: the Watcher is Tallin, a Supervisor of the same kind as Gary Seven (TOS: "Assignment: Earth"). [I consider a bit of a cheat that, up until this point, she was referred to as a "Watcher" rather than a "Supervisor." If they'd've said Supervisor all along, I (and a million other fans) would have guessed her identity right away.] Gary Seven has been used many times over the years in comic books and novels, but all of those stories I have read are contradictory to each other. This is the first time the concept has been revisited on the big or small screen, so we must accept this version as canon (if, indeed, we accept Picard as "canon" in the first place). Me, I've got lots of questions regarding the original "Assignment: Earth" set-up I'm eager to see answered.

Tallin's assignment for the past 24 years has been Renée Picard, a great aunt of Jean Luc's destined to pilot the Europa Mission to the moons of Jupiter in a few days. Not doing so will be the catalyst for the dystopian future of the Confederation Q has revealed. Renée suffers from anxiety, her psychiatrist is trying to talk her out of the mission, and her psychiatrist is Q. 

In France, while Jurati is in the château, the Borg Queen calls the police and reports an assault. 

In California, Seven and Raffi stop the bus transporting Rios and free the deportees.

Dr. Adam Soong (a renowned geneticist played by guess who) is trying to cure his daughter, Kore (played by the same actress who played Soji in season one) of a rare genetic disease. Q approaches him with a cure, but its effects are only temporary. In order to obtain the permanent version, Soong must remove an "obstacle" named Picard. 

A French policeman responding to the Borg Queen's call discovers La Serena and is attacked by her. Jurati shoots the Queen with a shotgun taken from the château. Seven, Raffi and Rios return to the ship and assist Jurati in saving the cop's life, wiping him memory and returning him to his vehicle. In the midst of this, Picard and Tallin return. They decide the next step to assure that Renée Picard makes her historic flight is to shadow her at a gala party. Jurati goes in first to reprogram the security system. She is quickly discovered and taken to the security room (which is according to plan), but then it is revealed that the Borg Queen has transferred her consciousness into Jurati after being shot. 

TWO OF ONE: Jurati (with an assist from the Borg Queen) succeeds in reprogramming the security system to let Picard et al into the party. Tallin forbids Picard from direct contact with Renée but, after intercepting a message to her from her "psychiatrist" that convinces her to drop out of the mission, Picard decides to risk it anyhow. On his way across the floor, he is intercepted by Adam Soong, whose mission it is to stop Renée from flying the Europa mission. Soong threatens Picard, then reports him to security. Jurati, under the Borg Queen's influence, causes an electronic pulse which disables the lights. then she sings a song with the band which provides Picard enough of a distraction to contact his ancestor (great aunt, actually) and give her a pep talk. Unfortunately, the rush of endorphins was all the Borg Queen needed to take full control of Juarti's body. (That's the "Two of One" of the title.) Tallin prepares to enter Picard's mind.

The two Picards take a walk outside where Soong tries to run Renée down but hits Jean Luc instead. Rios and the others (except Jurati) take Picard to Teresa's clinic for emergency treatment. she saves his life but, even though his body and brain functions read normal, he remains comatose. Soong returns home obviously distraught. His daughter Kore discovers files of multiple failed attempts to procreate and pictures of earlier versions of herself. 

Meanwhile, the Borg queen (in Jurati's body) is strolling the streets. 

It has long since become obvious that the past history of the Star Trek universe differs significantly from our reality (the Genetics wars of the 1990s, for example) despite certain efforts to smooth them over, but there is no question that even the non-divergent reality is complete different from ours (unless you believe we'll be prepared for a manned flight to Europa in two short years). I do hope the remaining episodes account for this discrepancy (maybe we'll be able to avoid WWIII as well) and also how/why Tallin and Laris are virtually identical. 

MONSTERS: While Tallin is in Picard's mind, Raffi and Seven return to La Serena to find themselves locked out of the systems by the Borg Queen. Seven is able to break the encryption, however, and they trace Jurati/Borg to a bar in LA when she caused a ruckus after leaving the party. Seven determines that elevated endorphin levels speed up the assimilation process. If she is able to take over Jurati completely, she will be able start an entirely new Borg empire. They follow her to LA and begin trailing her.

Meanwhile, Teresa finds Rios in her clinic and Picard and Tallin in some kind of trance. Rios sees no other choice but to come clean and beam Rios (and her son) back to La Serena. By this time, Tallin has brought Picard out of his coma. she reveals to him that she is, in fact, Romulan. She had been disguising her ears via mechanical means, but now that she has turned the illusion off, it will be eight hours before she can turn it back on. This development smacks of writer's fiat to me, and I'll bet her decision is going to come back to bite next episode. 

Picard determines the only way forward is to contact Q directly, but Tallin can't do that, so he goes to Guinan's bar where she tries but fails to contact him. A boorish man comes into the bar despite the fact it is closed and talks Guinan into serving him a drink. Then he shows surveillance footage of Picard materializing in an alley, and reveals himself to be a cop of some kind who is leading a raid. 

MERCY: The "cop of some kind" who arrested Picard and Guinan is an FBI agent who suspects them of being aliens intent of sabotaging the Europa mission. Guinan is separated from Picard, and her interrogator is Q, whom she recognizes (as a Q; they never met previously). She also realizes that he is dying. He tells her "it's the escape that counts" and that humans "are all trapped in the past." She later has the opportunity to telepathically pass these messages on to Picard. Cryptic as they are, it is enough for him to deduce that the FBI agent is driven by an event in his past. 

Picard learns that, when he was a boy, the FBI agent had an encounter with Vulcans. In the midst of a mind meld to wipe the boy's memory, the Vulcans are beamed up and the mindwipe didn't take. [I thought the first Vulcans on Earth were met at the time of First Contact, but Tracy says Enterprise revealed they were there earlier. I don't recall that specifically, but the FBI guy is in his mid-forties, the episode is set in 2024 and he's about ten in the flashback, so... circa 1990?) Picard comes clean at that point and the agent believes him. He reports to his superiors that he faked the evidence to have them  arrested and is fired, they are at least released. 

Using Holmesian deduction, Raffi and Seven track down the Jurati/Queen. She beats them up but doesn't kill them, indicating that Juarti is till inside and providing this episode's title (because "Borgs don't show mercy"). Jurati/Queen gets away, but Raffi and Seven further deduce that she is on her way to Soong.

Q contacts Kore (pronounced the same as "Corey" BTW) and gives her the permanent cure for her condition. This, plus the revelation that she is nothing more than an experiment to the man she considered to be her father, causes Kore to leave him (taking with her no money, no ID and no shoes). Jurati arrives and tells Soong that successful completion of the Europa mission will render his work obsolete and he will fade into obscurity. If, however, it fails, the government will contact him to deal with a future crisis and his legacy will be assured. I don't know how much of what Jurati/Queen told him is true, but in any case he chooses his own fortune over his daughter's (individually) and humanity's (collectively). He then assembles a group of mercenaries and, as the episode ends, Jurati/Queen begins to assimilate them. 

HIDE & SEEK: Jurati/Queen remotely activates La Serena's transporter and beams herself and her mercenaries aboard. Rios, Teresa and Ricardo (Teresa's young son I failed to mention earlier) retreat to Château Picard. Picard, Tallinn, Raffi and Seven return at this point. Jurati/Queen is unable to launch the ship because of a lock Jurati programmed before she was assimilated. she did not memorize the code herself, but planted it in an emergency combat hologram in the form of Elnor. Rios is hit by a bullet. Teresa and Ricardo are in danger, so Rios agrees to take them to safety with the intention of returning to the fray. Picard uses Tallin's technology to beam him back to her place in LA, but then locks him out of the system so he cannot return. 

Seven and Raffi have become separated from Picard and Tallin. Soong arrives and offers Picard the chance to surrender. Picard recalls, in flashback, playing "hide and seek" in the catacombs beneath the château. [Actually, this series is peppered with flashbacks to Picard's childhood which I haven't mentioned because I feel they get in the way of the plot.] Soong and his men discover the secret entrance to the catacombs and follow.

Aboard La Serena, Sevan and Raffi and the Elnor hologram fight a losing battle. Elnor unlocks the ship's command functions, allowing Seven to beam the mercenaries off the ship (into the walls of Château Picard). The Queen disables Raffi and pierces Seven abdomen with a tentacle. When she moves in for the kill with a knife, Jurati (from inside) stops her. Juartia suggests a new kind of Borg race which would honor the individuality of the collective and show mercy. If the Queen will agree to Jurati's terms and save Seven's life, Jurati agrees to give the Queen the ship. 

The Queen saves Seven's life, but has to reinstall Borg implants to do so. By this time, Soong has tracked Picard and Tallin out of the catacombs into the solarium. Back in LA, Rios has regained access to the transporter and beams himself into the solarium. the tide of battle turns and the mercenaries are defeated, but Soong escapes. After the battle, the new Jurati/Queen human/borg hybrid takes the ship in payment for saving Seven's life and returns to the 25th century, standing Picard and the rest in 2024. She assures them that humanity is in no danger from her, and leaves them with the following cryptic comment: "There must be two Renées, one who lives and another one who dies."

One episode left to wrap this up.

[There are lots of SPOILERS in this one.]

FAREWELL: After the Jurati/Queen has has left, Tallin transports to the launch site of the Europa mission to fulfill her lifelong obligation of keeping Renée safe. Picard joins her. Tallin thinks she has figured out the meaning of Q's cryptic comment. Picard tries to talk her out of becoming the "one who dies" but Tallin tells him it's not his decision to make and makes her way to the quarantine section to speak to Renée face-to-face.

Soong is on site to personally sabotage the mission. Renée comes running up to him saying that she's being stalked by a strange woman. Soong touches her and infects her with a lethal neurotoxin. But it's really Tallin and she dies in Picard's arms, but not before she witnesses the successful launch of the mission.

Meanwhile, Seven, Raffi and Rios have transported to Soong's lab, looking for him but they find his "Plan B" (four drones aimed at the Europa mission) instead. They cannot prevent their launch, but Raffi is able to gain control of them and Rios pilots them into each other. Soong watches Renée report to Earth that the launch was successful, then he witnesses all of his computer files being wiped remotely by Kore. He open a drawer and pulls out a folder labeled "Project: Khan." 

Then Kore receives a message a message from someone asking for a meeting in the park. She keeps the meeting and is met by a bearded man who introduces himself saying, "A long time ago I was called Wesley Crusher." He is a "Traveler" now, and it is his people who are behind the "Supervisors" (or "Watchers") such as Gary 7 and Tallin. He invites her to join his group and she accepts.

Back at the château, Q tells Picard that he will die alone, but he doesn't want Picard to die alone. He announces his intention to send them all back to their own time, but the effort will kill him. Rios chooses to stay behind with Teresa and Ricardo, and Q says not having to send him back to the future will leave him with enough energy for a little surprise. Picard says his final farewells and they all suddenly find themselves aboard the Stargazer seconds before it self destructs.

We have yet to see the face of the "new" Borg Queen, and Picard deduces it's Jurati. she has taken control of the fleet in order to protect the sector from a space anomaly threatening to destroy it, but only she could have linked the fleets shields to the proper harmonics. She sent the message (in episode one) specifically to Picard in hope that she could convince him to trust her. Jurati's Borg are accepted for provisional membership and she is left to guard the anomaly. Rios is gone, and Picard gives Seven a field promotion to captain. (Actually, Seven is not even in Starfleet, presumably because she was a Borg. Janeway threatened to resign over the issue, but Seven became a Fenris Ranger instead.) Also, Q's final gift is that Elnor is alive in this century. Later, at Guinan's bar, she reveals the fates of Rios, Teresa and Ricardo. Later still, back at the château, Laris is preparing to leave and he asks her to stay.

I'm pretty happy with most of the revelations in this episode. Although I anticipated many of the plot points (Rios staying behind, Elnor survives, Jurati if the "new" 25th century Borg Queen, etc.), they are mostly what I wanted to see happen anyway (although I must admit the Wesley/Traveler thing caught me totally off guard!). It's still not explained how/why Tallin and Laris are identical. 

PICARD: SECOND SELF: This book, by Una McCormack, ostensibly takes place between seasons one and two of the television show, but I suspect it serves as something of a prequel to season three. Its "story-within-a-story" structure tells 60 years of Federation history, from the Cardassian Occupation of Bajor through the Dominion War to the "present day" in five parts. It starts in 2399, then flashes back to 2376 (just after the Dominion War), then flashes back again to 2340 (during the Occupation), then it works its way forward again. It is primarily Raffi Musiker's story, but it eventually becomes that of Elim Garek (the Cardassian "tailor" from Deep Space 9), too. I appreciate the structure but honestly I had a hard time getting into it. It's just so 24th century. 

The third and final season of Picard has begun, but they're dropping at the rate of one per week and I prefer to "binge" (one per day, as I define the term). The tenth and final episode is slated to drop April 20, so I will resume this discussion at or around that time (if anyone here wants to plan ahead). 

Garak was always one of my favorite DS9 characters.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

PICARD: SECOND SELF: This book, by Una McCormack, ostensibly takes place between seasons one and two of the television show, but I suspect it serves as something of a prequel to season three. Its "story-within-a-story" structure tells 60 years of Federation history, from the Cardassian Occupation of Bajor through the Dominion War to the "present day" in five parts. It starts in 2399, then flashes back to 2376 (just after the Dominion War), then flashes back again to 2340 (during the Occupation), then it works its way forward again. It is primarily Raffi Musiker's story, but it eventually becomes that of Elim Garek (the Cardassian "tailor" from Deep Space 9), too. I appreciate the structure but honestly I had a hard time getting into it. It's just so 24th century. 

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