This post contains spoilers for “Farewell,” the Star Trek: Picard season 2 finale which was uneven but endearing.
Star Trek: Picard season 2 ends with “Farewell.” While it’s not a farewell to Jean-Luc Picard and his series as a whole, it marks the end for some of the show’s characters—and, for some of them, new beginnings.
To no viewer’s surprise, history in 2024 unfolds as it should. To fulfill the Borg Queen’s prophecy of “two Renées, one who lives, one who dies,” Tallinn disguises herself as Renée Picard so Adam Soong attacks her with a fatal neurotoxin instead of the real Renée. The real Renée, after finally meeting the “guardian angel” she’s glimpsed watching her throughout her life, launches on her Europa mission, where she will discover the microbe that—as we learn from Guinan in the 25th century—saves Earth from “ecological freefall.” (Would we had a Europa mission in the works in the real-world 21st century or the political and popular will to solve our own ecological freefall.)
It’s unclear exactly why Tallinn, who is one of the same super-advanced Supervisors who had Gary Seven among their ranks, had to actually die to save the Europa mission. The Supervisors’ tech is advanced enough to do all we’ve seen it do, but not to defeat a 21st-century mad scientist’s poison? But Orla Brady plays a beautiful death scene in Patrick Stewart’s arms. It underscores the lessons about love Tallinn teaches Jean-Luc in the episode’s first act: “We can’t control who we lose. And we can’t spare ourselves the pain of it. But people’s choices are their own to make, and this one is mine.”
Cristobal Rios makes a choice, as well. Rios elects to stay in 2024 with Teresa and her son, Ricardo. Santiago Cabrera’s performances have been among the high points of both seasons, and while I am glad his character has found happiness and a home here in our own era, I will miss the actor in season 3.
Star Trek: Picard season 2 also is goodbye to Allison Pill and John de Lancie
“Farewell” also marks Allison Pill’s exit from Star Trek Picard. Last week’s episode established Agnes Jurati as the new face of the Borg and their new, individuality-valuing, freely associating Collective. To all appearances, Jurati’s proposal to the Queen has held—although we quickly encounter a temporal paradox, since Jurati proposed it long before we saw the Borg relentlessly assimilating whole civilizations in The Next Generation and beyond. Canonical conundrums aside, the Borg’s interest in joining the Federation back in this season’s premiere episode appears to have been genuine. “We needed a friend,” Queen Jurati tells Jean-Luc. The Borg will now be the “guardians” at the mouth of a newly and mysteriously opened transwarp conduit—presumably next season’s main plot driver—but Allison Pill has confirmed she won’t be returning.
The most delightful surprise in “Farewell” was the chance to say hello again, at the end of the second act, to Wil Wheaton, playing Wesley Crusher for the first time since 2002’s Star Trek Nemesis. Wesley is a Traveler, and he’s shown up to recruit Kore, after she remotely wipes all of Adam Soong’s research, to join the Travelers, now established as the advanced alien race of whom Gary Seven spoke all those years ago in “Assignment: Earth.” Wesley’s “recruitment speech” to Kore is glorious. It’s more than a little evocative of the Doctor’s invitations to would-be companions in Doctor Who, but the Travelers are upfront that safety is not guaranteed. Kore accepts, leaving us to wonder if Isa Briones will not be seen in this series after Star Trek Picard season 2.
The episode is also a farewell to John de Lancie’s Q. His machinations all season long must now be viewed through a different lens, given his professed interest only in helping Jean-Luc learn to forgive and love himself so Jean-Luc might love others. De Lancie plays his last scenes as Q beautifully—what a fine actor he has always been in this role—but his assertion that “even gods have favorites, Jean-Luc, and you’ve always been one of mine” doesn’t track with how Q has been presented most of this season.
For all the confusion, Jean-Luc Picard himself does end up in a better emotional place than we’ve ever seen him. Longtime viewers may question whether we should accept the premise this series asserts, time and again, that Picard has never really been able to let himself love or be loved. But he not only gets a second chance with Laris by the episode’s end, but also is able to absolve himself and let go of his misguided guilt over his mother’s death.
Star Trek: Picard season 2 can’t be faulted for setting out to tell an ambitious story. Overall, the season delivered on its promise of exciting action and rich characterizations. It used its 21st-century setting to name and take strong stands on several pressing social issues. Its final few episodes sounded an important plea for mental health. And though “Farewell” is a far from a perfect season finale, it caps a season far stronger than the series’ first season and is an ultimately endearing story about the importance of loving while we have time in which to love.