The third season is over with the finale of Star Trek: Picard ‘The Last Generation’. It’s a shame, but we’re all relieved that the series went out with a bang rather than a whimper. Saying goodbye is always sad. Never have I seen a finale so full of nods, easter eggs, and fan service. So for one final time, I’m only too happy to sit and dissect an episode of Star Trek: Picard. Let’s take a deep dive into the episode with every callback and reference that I noticed in the final episode. And cap it off with some final thoughts about where this part of the timeline may be headed.
Back in Action
The first nod of Star Trek: Picard ‘The Last Generation’ – maybe one of my favorites – is actually before the episode even begins. Gone are the Titan and Shrike in the background from the opening card of previous episodes. In its place is the USS Enterprise-D with a Borg Cube, back in action for presumably the final time. If you think about this episode less as the finale of Star Trek: Picard and more so as the final Star Trek: The Next Generation movie, it makes it even more fitting.
Speaking of the ship being back in action, the epic CGI shots of it maneuvering through the Borg Cube are eerily similar to the Death Star sequence from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Given their shared finality for the casts, this comparison is hardly a criticism at all. In fact, seeing the Enterprise-D flying around and firing as we’ve never seen it before was the best part of the episode. There’s also a solid comparison between the reactions of Data (Brent Spiner) and Lando (Billy Dee Williams) in successfully piloting their respective ship around their respective antagonistic geometric shape.
Saving the day…
Also, speaking of flying. Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) is a character widely blamed for the crashing of the Enterprise-D in Star Trek: Generations. Having her singlehandedly parallel park the ship to save her friends at the last moment was more than redemption enough. Especially since this is one of the few things the episode explicitly spells out, it makes it so much more satisfying to see. It may not have been intentional, but it was the single coolest thing Deanna did this season, which was already a high bar.
The Federation’s Final Stand
Star Trek: Picard ‘The Last Generation’ opens in earnest with a shot of the TNG intro, which feels awkwardly inserted. However, the surprise vocal appearance of President Chekov (Walter Koenig) more than made up for any complaints. I genuinely don’t think anybody saw that one coming. I also loved that his character’s first name is Anton, a loving tribute to Anton Yelchin who passed away back in 2016. This has got to tie in with George Takei’s brief return in Star Trek: Lower Decks last year for my favorite, original Trek stars are always welcome!
Fortunately, I was kind of wrong last week. Spacedock was not actually destroyed then. Sadly, it was destroyed this week. Although seeing that it took the entire fleet, it’s safe to say that Earth is reasonably well-defended. I was beyond happy to see it built up even bigger and better, beyond what we saw earlier in the season. It’d be the perfect Earth hub for a new series, and something I really hope we see in Trek again. The design team has done a really good job of updating familiar designs for the 25th century.
You may also have noticed that Enterprise D was not in fact de-commissioned and finally shut down until a year after the final battle. Realistically, it was probably not doing much of interest, just acting in the interim while the fleet is rebuilt. However, this presents us with a similar position to Star Trek: The Motion Picture, with a whole series of unseen adventures. If there’s an era I’d love to see comics and novels explore in the future, it’s this. Seriously. I need it now.
That’s No Nebula!
Showrunner Terry Matalas confirmed that the Borg Cube was not located in a nebula. This prompted what can conservatively be described as wild speculation on my part. I remember throwing out ideas like the Badlands and crazy ideas about transwarp corridors and parallels to the nebula from Star Trek: Voyager‘s “Endgame“. It turns out I massively overcompensated. It’s just Jupiter. However, in an attempt to come to my own defense, the locations did look similar and I’d be surprised if they didn’t take any inspiration.
In Star Trek: Picard ‘The Last Generation’ we also get a better and likely final look at the interior of a Borg Cube. We’ve not really seen a proper Borg set since the end of Voyager. This is easily the best it has ever looked, with distribution nodes and Borg drones lining all the hallways, almost too similar to the glimpse of the interior we got back in ‘The Best of Both Worlds‘. Having this cast walk around what is, in effect, such a familiar set made for a brilliant final fight for the series. Even the Queen, if a bit late to the series, is suspended just enough to evoke Star Trek: First Contact.
We do, however, get a glimpse into the Borg collective that we haven’t before. We’ve seen the horrors of assimilation, but something we’ve not had a great look at is the perspective of the assimilated drones. That green landscape is simultaneously alluring and haunting, and Picard sending himself there, calling upon his experience, to save Jack (Ed Speleers) is heartwarming. I also guess Picard’s synth body can be assimilated. Borg synths feels like a new angle I’d like to see more of.
Sins of the Past (Just Not Picard’s)
I think one of the real strengths of this season has been its villains. Vadic (Amanda Plummer), was born out of rage against the Federation for the war crimes committed by Section 31. She wants to make them pay for genocide. Despite Plummer’s best efforts, the character was under-utilized, but her motive remains understandable. The main point is that the Changeling Virus was a plot line from the end of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It’s something that Picard and the rest of the crew at best have an understanding of.
The Borg Queens
The same thing, to a lesser extent, extends to the Borg Queen (Alice Krige). At the end of Voyager, the Borg were also crippled with a virus by Janeway (Kate Mulgrew). This was also a genocidal act not perpetuated by Picard. It’s really quite fascinating that both of the big villains of the series have their motives ripped out of the ends of DS9 and VOY. While this season, and this episode in particular, is a farewell to TNG, that really helps to ground it as a farewell to the larger 24th-century continuity.
It was, however, nice to see Picard re-assimilate himself willingly to save Jack. Star Trek: Picard as a series has loved exploring the lingering trauma that Picard has as a result of the events of “The Best of Both Worlds” and becoming Locutus. It’s a touching scene where Picard the character and Picard the series simultaneously come full circle as he properly addresses his past. However, instead of being assimilated and decimating the Federation, he willingly assimilates himself and saves his family. Touching stuff.
Star Trek: Picard ‘The Last Generation’s final 20 minutes or so, is just saying goodbye to the TNG characters. I couldn’t have walked away happier. Data’s finally human and is finally getting a meaningful if extended therapy experience. Riker and Deanna are planning a holiday, and I presume Disney World still exists in Orlando about 400 years from now. Beverly has been accepted back into Starfleet, taking up her old post at Starfleet Medical (and engineering solutions to the Changeling problem). Geordi appears to go back to the Fleet Museum and his family, and Worf resumes his duties at Starfleet Intelligence.
Still Boldly Going…
What’s left more ambiguous is the fate of Picard. He’s definitely happy and is seen seeing Jack to his new posting in Starfleet. However, we don’t know if his relationship with Beverly is finally a happy romantic one. We didn’t even mention Laris (Orla Brady), so exactly what Picard’s doing is left up to the viewer’s imagination. I personally like to picture him finally being in a happy relationship with Beverly. Although Patrick is unlikely to do another Star Trek again, I’d love to see a canonical confirmation of their relationship.
It’s only fitting that the final scene of Star Trek: Picard ‘The Last Generation’ mirrors the final scene of TNG. Back at Ten Forward (sadly the LA one again, would love for them to have used the old one at all), playing poker and reminiscing. Genuinely, if none of them ever do Star Trek ever again, I will honestly die satisfied. That being said, we can do another 7 seasons and 4 movies, right? I mean, we’ve gotta see the end of Data’s limerick about that lady from Venus (can I say a direct callback to “The Naked Now” caught me off guard?).
A Promotion to Star Trek: Legacy
Star Trek: Picard ‘The Last Generation’ ends with a tease of what could be in store for the 25th Century. The USS Titan-A has been renamed to the USS Enterprise-G (likely a morale move, similar to the renaming of the Sao Paulo to Defiant in DS9). Seven (Jeri Ryan) has finally been promoted to Captain, by the real Tuvok (Tim Russ) and a recorded message from Captain Shaw (Todd Stashwick). The message is the final reference, one to the personnel report from the end credits. Raffi (Michelle Hurd) is her first officer, setting up a potential Spirk situation too.
The bridge is decked out with characters we’ve seen across this season. I hope that if it becomes a series, they aren’t tossed aside and are fleshed out more. They really didn’t get much to do that made them feel unique. The La Forge sisters are both sticking around though, their mother remaining unknown (I am grateful they didn’t bring back Leah). In the interest of the season’s obsession with legacy, we don’t actually know what Seven’s catchphrase is, nor do I know what it will end up being. I do want to find out, though.
Post credits scene
There was also have noticed a post-credits scene. Jack’s quarters feature a picture of Picard and Crusher. The photo in question is an old photo of Stewart and McFadden at a premiere in 1988. The return of Q (John DeLancie) may have undone the emotion of season 2’s finale for me. However, his obsession with mocking human perception of time made up for it. As did the trial robe color scheme on his costume. Beyond a generic Captain Seven spinoff we were expecting, a 25th Century series now looks so much more exciting.
This has probably been the greatest season of Trek I’ve watched on broadcast. Getting to go through these episodes again and again and pull them apart was a joy. Theorizing and looking for references was a lot of fun. Now all I need is an announcement for a Legacy series. It’s definitely set up really nicely. As cool as it would be though, it may not. And that’s okay, there’s loads of good Trek out there right now. The next show on is SNW and I couldn’t be more excited about that either. Such a cool time to be a Trekkie. Hit it!
More images from ‘The Last Generation’
Where to watch
Star Trek: Picard Season 3 is now available to stream in full from Paramount+ (where available), CTV Scifi / Crave in Canada, and Amazon’s Prime Video (outside the US & Canada). New episodes of Star Trek take a short hiatus before returning on June 15 with the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2 premiere. And of course, Trek Central will be here with all the latest news, releases, and reviews, and keeping the Trek conversation going via social media.
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