Warning: This Star Trek: Picard articles contains MAJOR spoilers for the Season 1 finale.
In the Star Trek: Picard Season 1 finale, a certain someone dies and then, using a nifty science fiction trick, is also brought back to life. So, did this beloved character “really” die? And what’s up with all this “Golem” business? Here’s everything we know about what the big twist in the finale really means.
“Tell me about this body, this golem…“
After Jean-Luc Picard dies of that super-annoying brain abnormality (Crusher warned him!), he is reborn in a Synth/android body, which Dr. Soong and Jurati called a “golem.” To be clear, nerds, this has nothing to do with Gollum, a certain ring-loving creature from Middle-Earth. Unless of course you consider the fact that Gollum certainly knows Ian McKellen, who is buddies with Patrick Stewart. Anyway…
The word “golem” is being used mostly euphemistically. The origin of the word refers to Jewish folklore about a being made out of clay (or other physical material) and brought to life. A golem isn’t always a doppelganger, but in this case, it is. (Kinda.) In any case, Picard’s new body isn’t made of clay, and wasn’t brought to life magically, the word “golem” is simply shorthand. From a canon standpoint, Picard is in a Synthetic body, which, we could assume is a variety of Soong-type android. (If we had to guess at Picard’s species now, we would probably classify him as Synthetic lifeform or Soong-type android.)
What happened to Picard’s old body?
We don’t know if Picard “saw” his old, dead, human body while in his new body, and when showrunner Michael Chabon was asked this direct question during his now-famous Instagram talkbacks, he replied, “No, but interesting!” And when another fan asked where Picard’s human body might be, Chabon replied (jokingly): “Check eBay.”
This is all to say, it seems very unlikely we’ll ever know what was done with Jean-Luc’s old bag of bones. Perhaps that artificial heart of his was donated to someone! (But, then again, Chabon told fans on the ‘gram that Picard’s artificial heart has been “taken home as a chew toy for [the dog] Number One.”)
How long will Picard live?
Though Patrick Stewart is 79, the character of Jean-Luc Picard was 94 when he ceased to be an organic lifeform and became synthetic. So, what does that mean? This android body is not immortal, and Jurati says that the new body will give Jean-Luc “about the same number of years that he would have expected.” Not to get morbid, but Picard is pretty old, how many years is that anyway? Well, as Chabon mentioned on Instagram when someone asked this exact question, Picard’s life expectancy could be “well north of 125.” That might seem kind of old in 21st century terms, but in the Star Trek canon, this is totally normal.
For example, in the very first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Data gives Admiral Leonard “Bones” McCoy a tour of the Enterprise. If we accept that Bones was born in 2227, that means he would have been 137-years-old in 2364, during the events of “Encounter at Farpoint.” Like Patrick Stewart in Picard, Deforest Kelley was also playing much older than he really was back in 1987. At the time, Kelley was only 67! (Though that make-up certainly fooled-us.)
Interestingly enough, Brent Spiner was given a very similar “aged” face in his death scene as Data in this Picard finale. This has a sense of poetic symmetry, too. Data was the only Enterprise crew member we saw interacting with Admiral McCoy back in the day.
So, is Picard a new person? Or the same person?
Right now, the intention of Star Trek: Picard is very clear to have us accept that this is still Jean-Luc Picard. In numerous interviews, and in the aftershow, The Ready Room, both Akiva Goldsman and Michael Chabon point out that, just because his mind now lives in a synthetic body, does not, in any way, mean this is not “really” Picard. This is the same man.
Now, does that mean other people out in the universe will accept that fact? We’ll just have to wait for Picard Season 2 to find out.
Star Trek: Picard is streaming all 10 episodes of Season 1 on CBS All-Access.