Star Trek Picard brings Picard’s greatest hidden pain to light in “Hide and Seek.”
In “Hide and Seek,” the penultimate episode of Star Trek Picard season two, Chateau Picard becomes a battleground at which our time traveling heroes and the proto-Borg, led by the Queen within Jurati’s body, meet. What is surely the most violent gun battle in any Star Trek adventure ensues. Even the fact that the shots are energy blasts rather than bullets barely mitigates its ferocity.
While justified by the plot, the violence seems out of place in a Star Trek story, even in this modern era where Picard and Discovery have been pushing the boundaries of what content is “acceptable” in the franchise. In this respect, “Hide and Seek” feels like Star Trek trying too hard to be something it fundamentally isn’t.
The episode’s central psychological drama is compelling but unsettling. As Tallinn and Picard flee from Adam Soong and his phalanx of proto-drones through the tunnels beneath the house, we witness more of Picard’s traumatic childhood memories, culminating in his grisly discovery of his mother having hanged herself in the solarium—and his recollection of the memory he’s always suppressed, that he let her out of the room where his father, Maurice, had locked her for her own safety. Young Jean-Luc thought he was saving his mother, when in fact, he made it possible for her to leave the room that night and die by suicide.
Yvette Picard’s death is raw and painful. Yes, as ScreenRant’s John Orquiola pointed out, the moment “retcons” Yvette’s appearance in a season one Next Generation episode (and pretty adroitly, at that). But its real significance is as a signal Star Trek can address suicide, and the guilt those who are left behind often feel, stripped of any sci-fi trappings.
As such, it’s unfortunate this revelation comes so close to the season’s end, when presumably precious little time is left for Picard to process this powerful memory. Tallinn delivers a moving speech about how love, despite its capacity to cause pain and grief, is “always a gift,” and embraces the admiral—but it feels too quick, too tidy a response to such a messy and tragic death. At best, the episode may help those struggling with suicidal thoughts and feelings to reach out for help.
In the U.S., the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800-273-8255, is always available.
“Hide and Seek” brings big changes for the Borg and for Seven
The Borg Queen and Agnes Jurati’s entanglement starts to unravel in “Hide and Seek,” thanks to Jurati’s strength of will and her human emotions. It turns out “what happens when you hurt my friends” produce the same brain chemicals the Queen used to take virtually full control of Jurati’s body at the astronaut gala. Now, Jurati uses them against the Queen to take control back—and to propose a new, even closer fusion of the two.
Arguing the Borg “long for what we all long for—connection, longevity, discovery,” Jurati proposes she and the Queen form a new Collective, one not destined for defeat “across infinite timelines.” This Collective will offer connection, not impose it. It will embrace uniqueness, not annihilate it. In theory, it sounds promising, but Star Trek fans have seen how new attempts to be the Borg end, and they don’t end well. One can only presume the cloaked Borg Queen who materialized on the Stargazer’s bridge back at the beginning of this season is “Queen Jurati,” come to offer the Federation its place in this new Collective. Surely we shall see next week.
Jurati’s proposal is motivated by her desire to save the life of Seven, who lies on La Sirena’s deck bleeding out after the Queen attacked her. Agreeing to the idea, the Queen saves Seven’s life, but at the “cost” of the return of her Borg implants.
Raffi tells Seven, “All your life, you’ve been running from these [implants], and I can’t help but wonder how much more you’d be capable of, how much more you could be, if you just stopped.” It’s a dramatic moment, and hopefully sets up the next stage of the character’s evolution. One of the gifts of this current era of Star Trek, and especially of Star Trek Picard, is the ability to follow established characters farther into their future, watching them grow and change. I hope we’ll see Seven fulfill Raffi’s prophecy-like words, and perhaps even gain the entrance to Starfleet she was (in a surprising revelation) denied after Voyager’s return to the Alpha Quadrant.
“Hide and Seek” isn’t a smooth episode. It jumps around its plotlines too quickly, not allowing sufficient time to process what’s unfolding. And its frenetic pace and violent content are jarring. But it does raise serious issues, encouraging viewers to contemplate how our own pasts have shaped us, and who we wish to be moving forward into our future.