After an eventful second season that improved on the first, Picard finally reaches its endgame with “Farewell,” tying up loose ends and, in its final moments, preparing the way for season 3. But does it live up to what’s gone before?
“Farewell” is a quieter season finale than expected, with much of the action having already taken place last week. We open with our team making plans to defend Renée Picard and the Europa Mission, Tallinn preparing to sacrifice herself to save Renée, and Adam Soong moving in for the kill.
The drone sequence is irrelevant to the story and could easily have been left out. Sadly, that kind of thing happened a lot this season. With the entirety of the original Next Generation cast said to be returning in some way for season 3, it’s wise for Picard to trim that cast. This season has been hurt by having too many supporting characters and not enough for them to do. However, it’s unfortunate that Rios and Agnes have left, since they were the two most entertaining original characters from the series.
Rios ends up happy and doing good work, and if a series centered around Guinan’s Bar isn’t already in the works, it should be. Alongside Guinan, there’s another fan-pleasing cameo as Wil Wheaton makes his brief return as Wesley Crusher. In the TNG episode “Journey’s End,” the much younger Wesley left Starfleet and sought his destiny with the Traveler before inexplicably turning up in Nemesis like nothing had happened. “Farewell” ignores the Nemesis confusion and sticks with the TNG plotline.
The Kore and Dr. Soong storyline concludes, with Kore randomly leaving with Wesley and Soong turning his attention to the Khan project, a throwback to Enterprise where Arik Soong believed that humanity abandoning genetic engineering after the Eugenics Wars was a mistake. The revelation that Adam Soong may have been involved in the Khan project and Eugenics Wars adds a new dimension to that plotline. It also calls into question exactly when the Eugenics Wars actually happened.
It’s not only the bit of timeline confusion; there are also some head-scratchers concerning the Borg. With Queen Agnes returning to the collective 400 years ago, what role did she play in the Borg incidents we’ve seen over the course of the franchise? Did they still happen as we saw them, or has the entire timeline now changed? Questions over Rios’ future, the Eugenics Wars, Dr. Soong, what happens with Kore, etc., are all left open. It was also never explained precisely why Tallinn looks identical to Laris, though perhaps we are expected to presume it was Q’s doing.
Star Trek: Picard leaves too many questions unanswered
It always feels like Picard needs more episodes to get deeper into the questions it’s asking, both in terms of plot and theme. While Picard’s childhood trauma was well serviced, there should have been more on Renée Picard, more of what was going on with Q, and more from Dr. Soong and the morality of his experiments with Kore.
However, the biggest miss was failing to explain what it means to Agnes and her friends that she was now a Borg. After witnessing the long-lasting trauma suffered by Picard and Seven from being part of the collective, nobody seems terribly upset that their friend is now the center of the Borg universe. Last week, I wondered how wise it was to humanize the Borg and deprive Star Trek of one of its last genuinely frightening villains. While it’s certainly a new take with many interesting angles, it still seems like something that could end disastrously, with fans rejecting the concept much as they did Discovery‘s redesigned Klingons.
However, while there are plot holes and missed opportunities aplenty, the second season of Picard has told a fantastically entertaining story that has balanced classic Star Trek tropes alongside the need to update the series for modern audiences. There were always enough traditional Star Trek themes to make you think this was the genuine follow-up to The Next Generation. Yet there was enough new material, ideals, and styling that it never felt purely like an exercise in nostalgia.
However, one nostalgic element truly makes “Farewell” a worthy season finale, and that’s Q. If this really is goodbye to John de Lancie’s time on Star Trek, he saved his best performance for last. Close to death, he wished to do one last thing for Picard, his friend. His two scenes here with Patrick Stewart are the best of the series and put a seal on the relationship between the two. It’s a shame this didn’t take place next year, bringing Picard full circle from “Encounter at Farpoint.” Farewell, mon Capitaine!
Like much of modern Star Trek, “Farewell” is a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable piece of television. It looks stunning, with the scenes in space again being some of the best looking in the franchise. There are also plenty of great performances, and in some places there’s a lot of depth and emotion.
However, it’s lacking in other area, as 10 episodes isn’t enough for the show to do everything it wants. Yet anyone who dismissed Picard with season 1 is genuinely missing out, as season 2 is a worthy spiritual sequel to The Voyage Home and First Contact.