The following article contains spoilers for Season 2 Episode 2 of Star Trek: Picard.
If the season 2 premiere of Star Trek: Picard was getting all the new pieces in place then the second episode was tossing them all out of an airlock and seeing who survives. Picard and the rest of the cast are transported to an alternate timeline that seems to be the work of Q. There they find a world that’s far more human centric, with Picard as an evil leader. The crew has to escape but not everyone may make it out alive.
Let’s dig into the twists and turns of the second episode of the season!
The character of Q has often been used for comedic effect but this is no game to the omnipotent being. He’s given Picard a new test but one that has far reaching implications, not all of which are clear at the moment. Q actor John de Lancie sees the dynamic between Picard and Q as being far more intense than it has been in the past because there’s more at stake.
“There’s a sense of frustration,” de Lance emphasizes, “A sense of I gotta get through. It’s fueled by my own needs because time is short.”
Why time is short is unclear but if Q is frustrated things can’t be good.
The Alternate Timeline
Star Trek fans would be forgiven for thinking that the new world that Picard found himself in at the end of the last episode was the popular Mirror Universe. In this episode it was conclusively proven to not be the case, the world and timeline instead being altered as the result of some change in the past. Executive producer Akiva Goldsman explains that they decided to use an alternate timeline instead of the Mirror Universe because they wanted a problem that Picard and the rest could solve. The Mirror Universe is what it is, it can’t be fixed in the same way this alternate timeline can.
Goldsman reveals that while they briefly considered using the Mirror Universe Picard from the comics, who utilizes tactics such as taking intel from the “Prime” universe and using it to launch a full-on assault against his enemies in the 2021 IDW mini-series ‘Mirror War’, “because he’s so cool” they ultimately decided against it.
Even still, distinguishing this timeline from the Mirror Universe was something Goldsman and the rest of the production team had in mind but believed the audience could handle it.
“If you don’t know Star Trek really well, you won’t think it’s Mirror,” says Goldsman. “If you know Star Trek really well, you’ll know it’s not.”
Eagle eyed fans will notice those clues right away, such as the designations for the ships not matching those from previous Mirror Universe excursions.
“We are always speaking two languages when we make the shows,” Goldsman continues. “What we try to do is we Easter egg so that (fans) will have more fun with it. Then the story will still play dramatically and emotionally the same for the person sitting next to you who doesn’t know Star Trek .”
The Return of the Borg Queen
Picard Season 2 is shaping up to be a season of returns for Jean-Luc, with this episode giving us the Borg Queen. Goldsman is tight lipped about her relation to the Borg we saw in the first episode but does reveal that she isn’t there just to face off with Picard.
“As you go through the season you’ll see there are a lot of pairings, almost like sets of couples,” he says. “The Borg Queen is not the Picard pairing. We’re not here to retell Seven’s story with the Borg or Picard’s story with the Borg. Not to say the Borg Queen and Picard don’t have interactions but we’re using the Borg Queen with Alison Pill’s character (Doctor Jurati.)”
Goldsman compares and contrasts the two characters, with the Borg Queen being binary. She’s connected or disconnected from the collective. Doctor Jurati is not far off from that at this point in her character arc, with Goldsman describing her as someone who’s “solitary and can’t connect.”
Goldsman also admits that having the Borg Queen around was narratively expeditious. They needed someone who could help the team travel into the past.
Is Elnor Dead?
The climax of the episode has Picard and the others at gunpoint, with Elnor fatally wounded. Actor Evan Evagora won’t say what happens next episode but says he was terrified as he read the scene.
“I freaked out and sat there in silence for a really, really long time.”
Thankfully the producers contacted him soon after and helped explain what was happening and how Elnor’s character would contribute to the rest of the series.
“I was left feeling a lot less stressed and a lot more reassured,” Evagora teases.
Stay tuned for more insights on Star Trek: Picard as the season continues.