Star Trek: Picard takes place 20 years after Star Trek: Nemesis. The episode begins with Picard being advised to “be the captain they remember.” This raises questions about how the series will depict Picard, who has changed since his time in The Next Generation and Star Trek: Nemesis. I’m excited to see how Picard adjusts to these changes and what this new chapter in his story will bring.
The episode opens with Picard and Data playing a game of cards. Picard tells Data that his eyes dilate when he’s playing honestly, and that they remain neutral when he’s bluffing. Picard pours them tea, and Data asks why Picard is delaying. He replies, “Because I don’t want the game to end.” Picard risks all he has, only to lose to Data’s impossible hand of five queens. Baffled, Picard gazes out the window and ponders the reason for their journey to Mars. Data then vanishes, and an explosion jolts Picard awake. It was a dream. He finds himself in bed with his companion dog, Number One, at his side. Picard resides at Château Picard, a vineyard in France.
Meanwhile, a woman named Dahj is celebrating with her boyfriend her acceptance into the Okinawa’s Daystrom Institute to study artificial intelligence and quantum consciousness. As her boyfriend goes to get their drinks, three men barge into the apartment and stab her boyfriend with a dagger, killing him instantly. They attach a device to Dahj’s forehead, determining that she “hasn’t activated yet.” They are instructed to knock her out and place a bag over her head. This triggers her activation, giving her the power to kill all three men. Dahj has a vision of Picard, just his face. She’s traumatized by what she’s done and heartbroken that she couldn’t revive her boyfriend.
Back at the vineyard, Picard’s Romulan employees, Zhaban and Laris, inform Picard that he was talking in his sleep. Picard has a live TV interview, his first interview in a long time. He doesn’t want to discuss his departure from Starfleet, and he confirmed he would not be asked that question.
The first question was about the supernova that wiped out Romulus, leaving 900 million refugees in need of help. Picard, being the compassionate person he is, felt it was his duty to aid in relocating them. The female interviewer didn’t share his view. The next question was about the rogue synthetics that hacked Mars’ defense tech, causing explosions and making the planet uninhabitable. Synthetics were banned galaxy-wide as a result. Picard said he didn’t know why the synthetics acted that way, but his good friend Data was trustworthy and loyal. He still mourns Data’s loss. When asked why he left Starfleet, he said he disagreed with the decision to abandon the Romulans. He called it “downright criminal.” He then left the set, ending the interview.
The interview caught Dahj’s eye, and she saw Picard on TV. She now knew who the man in her vision was. She tracked him down to the vineyard and explained her story to him over Earl Grey tea. Picard was intrigued by her necklace, two entwined circles given to her by her father. Laris showed Dahj where she could rest for the night.
Picard dreamed of Data painting at the vineyard, and Data asked him if he wanted to finish the painting. Picard woke up to find Dahj had left the vineyard without saying goodbye. He saw a painting on his mantle. He went to the Starfleet Archives and, after confirming no one but him accessed the painting, he verified it matched the one at the vineyard, but you could see the female’s face. It was Dahj. The painting was made by Data, and titled “Daughter.”
Dahj called her mother, who somehow knew about her seeing Picard, and urged her to return to him. Dahj hacked security systems and bypass security clearances to find Picard. She met him at the Starfleet Archives. Picard told her about Data’s painting and tried to gently break the news that she was a synthetic related to Data. Understandably upset, Picard comforted her and told her they would go to the Daystrom Institute and that, “You’re dear to me in ways you can never understand. I will never leave you.”
As they depart, they encounter more assassins. Dahj successfully defends against them, but one of the attackers releases a burst of acid as he died that causes Dahj to explode. The blast propels Picard backwards, rendering him unconscious. Upon awakening at the vineyard, Picard realizes he has been “waiting to die.” Determined to avenge Dahj’s death and uncover the truth behind the events, Picard sets out to make a difference. He travels to the Daystrom Institute and meets with Dr. Agnes Jurati, a synthetics expert. She shares with Picard the impossible feat of creating sentient synthetics, and explains that Data tried to transfer his neural net into a replica of himself, B-4, before his death. However, most of the data was lost.
Jurati goes on to reveal that if Dr. Bruce Maddox, her mentor, did create synthetics, they would’ve been made from neurons from Data. Maddox had a theory that Data’s code could be remade using one of his positronic neurons, which would contain some essence of Data. This theory is represented by Dahj’s necklace of two intertwined circles, representing fractal neuronic cloning. Picard believes this to be the method by which Dahj was created, based on the model in Data’s painting.
The shocker comes when Jurati reveals that fractal neuronic clones are created in pairs, meaning Dahj has a twin! The scene shifts to a Romulan Reclamation Site in space, where we meet Narek, a Romulan, who greets Dr. Soji Asher, Dahj’s twin. He admires her intertwined circles necklace and praises her work. Soji mentions her twin sister, and Narek shares that he was just as close to his brother, who passed away unexpectedly the previous year.
As the two chat, the camera pulls back to reveal the site is an operational Borg Cube.