SPOILER WARNING: This article contains story details and plot points for Star Trek: Picard.
In the previous episode, Dr. Beverly Crusher discovers the Changelings have evolved in a way that allowed them to produce blood-like plasma and replicate internal human organs, while Commander Ro Laren alerts Admiral Picard that their infiltration goes far deeper than anyone knew, compromising Starfleet at the highest level. However, that investigation would cost Ro her life, but not before she gave Picard a fighting chance by slowing down the U.S.S. Intrepid.
In Episode 6 of Star Trek: Picard, “The Bounty,” now on the run, Picard and the skeleton crew of the U.S.S. Titan must break into Starfleet’s most top-secret facility to expose a plot that could destroy the Federation. Picard must turn to the only soul in the galaxy who can help – an old friend.
- Dr. Beverly Crusher
- Jean-Luc Picard
- Jack Crusher
- Seven of Nine (Annika Hansen)
- Raffi Musiker
- William Riker
- Liam Shaw
- Sidney La Forge
- Matthew Arliss Mura
- James Moriarty
- Geordi La Forge
- Alandra La Forge
- Daystrom Android M-5-10
- Deanna Troi
- Alpha Quadrant
- The Shrike
- U.S.S. Titan-A
- Daystrom Station
- Athan Prime
- Fleet Museum
In the Alpha Quadrant, the U.S.S. Titan’s transponder beacon, floating in space, is surrounded by the U.S.S. Intrepid along with two additional Federation starships. Elsewhere, the Shrike appears before another beacon. Aboard the massive vessel, a frustrated Vadic is informed that the Titan is shedding decoy transponders and jumping to warp at infrequent intervals. However, time is of the essence as Frontier Day is 72 hours away.
Rallying her crew, Vadic echoes their frustration of their brothers and sisters of having to wear the faces of the Federation each day. The Shrike captain promises a future of unity, rest, and silence as the lifeless bodies of their enemies burn across space; however, before that, they require vengeance. She orders her crew to provide the names and locations of every known associate and colleague of Jean-Luc Picard, past and present. Vadic promises to “scorch the earth under which he stands, and the night will brighten with the ashes of the Federation.” There, the Changelings will rise.
Aboard the Titan, Beverly Crusher shares with Jean-Luc Picard that their son Jack Crusher has been plagued with visions, waking nightmares, and erratic bursts of aggression. After she did a micro-neural scan on Jack, the results conclude a terminal diagnosis of Irumodic Syndrome, which he inherited from Jean-Luc.* She’s given him some medication and a neuro-inhibitor to temper the hallucinations. Following Beverly’s advice to not burden himself and unburden Jack instead, Jean-Luc heads to the holodeck to find his son.
In the 10 Forward holo-program, Jack has several drinks and invites his dad to “celebrate” that he’s not crazy, just broken, masking the anger and pain he feels. He asks Picard how he survived it, to which honestly remarks, he didn’t, hence the positronic body. Forcing himself to push their relationship away, Jack comments that his mother tried for so long to shield him from being collateral damage in the life of Jean-Luc Picard, but perhaps he was “doomed” before he was even born.
Commander Seven alerts Picard that their guests have arrived on the Titan — Worf and Raffi Musiker. A long overdue reunion, Worf notes how it’s been over 11 years since he last saw his former captain. Raffi informs Picard, as well as Beverly, Captain Riker, and Seven, that Worf has been meditating, to which the Klingon explains that the most advantageous battle stance is being one within oneself. Pivoting to serious matters, Worf urges they all must ensure that Commander Ro Laren’s death was not in vain, to protect both Starfleet and her kin.
In the Observation Lounge, Worf and Raffi state their old enemies, the Changelings, have re-emerged as a threat from the wake of the Dominion War. There were scars and shame on both sides, including the Federation’s retaliation with Starfleet-made virus.** Though, Starfleet did deliver the cure to the Great Link on the Changeling homeworld, they had weaponized a few zealots in the process. Raffi notes that Ro believed their plans involve Starfleet’s Frontier Day. With no leads, they must return to the scene of the crime — Daystrom Station, home to Starfleet’s most off-the-books tech. Vadic stole a handful of classified weapons from Daystrom including a portal device that was used to attack the Titan and a Starfleet recruitment center, which merely served as a distraction. To identify Vadic’s main stolen weapon is to get a hold of Daystrom’s project manifest, which has its own complications due to its heavily redacted nature. However, the raw data should be on a computer in Daystrom’s primary vault. Worf cautions that the vault is protected by an astonishingly lethal A.I. system, capable of thinking and adapting. They fortunately have acquired a key that should temporarily disable the system. This missing weapon is central to the entire Changeling conspiracy, and it’s the only way they can regain their freedom and save Starfleet.
Worf, Raffi, and Riker volunteer for the mission, with the Titan dropping out of warp to beam them inside Daystrom as they hide behind a small moon. Unfortunately, two starships arrive, having found them, confusing Shaw as they’ve dropped their transponders and didn’t trigger any alarms. Lt. Mura informs command that he’s unable to lock on Worf, Raffi, and Riker’s signal to beam them back; they’re blocked by the other ships’ transport inhibitors. Ensign La Forge notes those are vessels are Eschelon-class, mid-model starships with a traceable payload that will be able to track the residual ionic energy as they flee. Picard alerts Riker that they’ve been discovered and are unable to get to them. Hatching a new plan, Picard tells La Forge to set a course for Athan Prime while the crew at Daystrom has less than an hour before the arrival of manual Starfleet Security.
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On their own, Riker, Worf, and Raffi navigate Daystrom Station where they come across many nefarious tech pertaining to Section 31, including the Genesis II device, the body of U.S.S. Enterprise Captain James T. Kirk, and a genetically-modified Tribble. Daystrom’s A.I. system scans Riker, Worf, and Raffi as infrared images and pulls up the profile for Riker, as it glitches while generating a security response. Suddenly, a holographic crow flies overhead Raffi’s head and lands in the room. The A.I. system begins activating security measures. Worf locates the station’s mainframe when a musical note from a violin blares loudly. The station shakes and vibrates from the acoustic energy of the cacophony of tones. With the lights out, a voice declares, “I think, therefore, I am.” When the emergency lights come on, the trio is confronted by Professor James Moriarty*** and his antique pistol.
The Titan arrives at Athan Prime, which Picard states is the home of the Fleet Museum, which houses every legendary starship. Shaw orders Ensign La Forge to hide among the other ships, which she respectfully disagrees with, as the Fleet Museum hails them. On-screen, they’re met with the Fleet Museum’s director, a furious Commodore Geordi La Forge. With no pleasantries, he commands Picard to power down all non-essential systems, immediately. Taken aback, Picard pleads that they need his help.
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Commodore La Forge and his other daughter Ensign Alandra La Forge beam aboard the Titan, with Picard, Seven, Beverly and Jack Crusher, and Sidney present in the Transporter Room to greet them. Geordi admits he debated the virtues between a curt, professional handshake or a comfortable, but long overdue hug. He embraces Beverly, then acknowledges Picard and an apprehensive Sidney. Picard attempts to introduce his son to Geordi, who cuts him off, stating that he’s in the middle of a third memo to Starfleet objecting to the gathering of the entire fleet in one location for Frontier Day while voicing the displeasure that the hundreds and thousands that pass by will notice the one that doesn’t belong — the Titan. He demands a place to talk with Picard, exiting, with the admiral and Seven following. Alandra greets her sister and promises to do what she can with their “impossible” father. Jack lingers back to commiserate on the noticeable tension between their fathers with Sidney, who admits she has not been on the best of terms with hers lately.
In the Observation Lounge, Jean-Luc and Geordi discuss the situation at hand as Alandra stands nearby. Geordi chides his former captain for turning fatherhood into “an intergalactic incident” with Starfleet and the Changelings. The commodore is incensed that Picard managed to rope Worf and Riker into this and now would ask him to break them out of Starfleet’s most classified facility. Picard pleads with him to just clone their ship’s transponder signal, to which Geordi states he’s unable to do it without randomized security codes, plus, every ship in the fleet is now fully integrated. Even if they dropped a transponder signal, it would not matter as the Titan itself is a beacon and it would alert its fellow ships when it got near; that’s how they managed to find them.
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The two Starfleet ships continue to sweep Daystrom Station as our crew stand before Professor Moriarty. The 19th Century figure fires live rounds, which does damage, with Worf and Raffi retaliating with phaser fire. They are unable to harm his holographic nature with their shots going through him. In response, another violin tone blasts through the corridor as our crew seeks cover. Riker notes it’s not the same self-aware Moriarty they encountered from their time aboard the Enterprise-D. The professor notes he’s unable to get the maddening melody out of his head; realizing Riker begins to whistle the last refrain of “Pop Goes the Weasel,” recalling how he shared that tune decades ago with another dear friend who dreamt of crows,**** aspired to thwart Moriarty with the intellect of Holmes, and couldn’t whistle “worth a damn.” With that, Moriarty, uttering “marvelous,” finds relief and disappears while the Security Chamber opens. Upon entering, the crew discovers an aged but familiar tech — another Soong-type android.
On the Bridge of the Titan, Jack slides into the captain’s chair next to Seven as she scrolls through the ships stored at the museum. The young Crusher impresses Seven with his ability to identify the Defiant, the New Jersey, and his “personal favorite,” Kirk’s Constitution-class, Enterprise. Studying him, Seven notes that’s a lot of historical knowledge for someone who “doesn’t give a damn about Starfleet.” The commander then pulls up the U.S.S. Voyager, her home where she was reborn.***** Jack now sees that she misses her former family, longing for connection, but alone. She states that he is his father’s son, sharing his knack for annoying “poetic drive-by observations,” that helps a person feel seen. Jack is curious and flattered by the favorable comparison.
At Daystrom, Riker deduces the A.I. system wasn’t trying to harm them; it wasn’t trying to communicate with them. This android is not their Data; Raffi notes that this android is a hybrid — synthetic with android interface. Following the lift of the Starfleet ban on synths, it appears they co-opted Altan Soong’s unfinished research after his passing. Raffi uncovers a holographic recording of Soong’s project log. In the new golem, the synthetic android in their presence, he sought to leave behind the best Soong he could; combining bits of Lal, B-4, Lore, and Data, in the hopes that in its totality, someone will rise to be the best of them. However, Soong died before the projects completion, with the integration effort failing; all personalities within the vessel remain at odds.
Geordi wants to help his old friends, but he lays out the two scenarios he sees. Best case, he’ll be court-martialed. Worst case, a compromised Starfleet will come after his family. Jean-Luc appeals that they’re facing a life-or-death scenario, which Geordi counters it’s always life-or-death when it comes to Picard. It was fine back in the day when he himself chose to put his life on the line under his command, but he now rebukes his old captain for knowingly put Sidney’s life in grave danger aboard the Titan. Geordi reflects on the difficulty he had with his daughter Sidney, calling out her stubbornness. He questions if she got it from his wife or himself, regretful that he always wanted to impart the best parts of himself onto his kids. Thinking of Jack’s recent diagnosis, Picard shares that he’s been reminded that they are not in control of what they pass on. As much as he wants to, Geordi can’t help his old friend and protect his family.
Sidney steels herself in preparation of a tense conversation with her father. Geordi states that he and Picard have come to an agreement — Sidney will remain at the museum with him, and Jean-Luc will officially state that she was an unwilling participant — much to her incredulity. She pleads that the galaxy is at stake; recalling all of her dad and Picard’s adventures where they stood up for what’s right. Vulnerable and frustrated, Sidney sees their issues stemming from the two of them being different; that she’s not Alandra, who pursued an engineering path like him. He's built amazing things, and she just wanted to fly them. She believes he took that as a rejection of him, but she always thought it brought them closer together. He would believe in this cause if he believed in her. The commodore pleads with her to consider how he and Alandra felt when the Titan went missing and now as she jeopardizes her life and career. With tears, Sidney argues she’s on the run with her crew, calling them her family, something he had taught her. She’s not scared to step up and help them; he is.
On the Bridge, Sidney tells Alandra she’s staying with the Titan as Picard and Seven seek out Shaw to strategize their course of action as time is running out for their friends at Daystrom. Jack is delighted by the news, telling Alandra that her sister has wonderfully flown them out of the mess he’s created on more than one occasion. He then asks the sisters how well they know the museum and how they feel about minor larceny.
The Titan begins to rattles and phase. Readings detective massive bursts of EM radiation when the ship is suddenly fully cloaked. Furious, Geordi accuses Picard of stealing the tech from his Bird-of-Prey, the HMS Bounty, as Picard pleads, he would never deceive him, let alone steal from him. Both fathers suddenly realize this was the doing of their children. The commodore states that removing the cloaking device automatically tripped the alarm system; Starfleet is on its way. This act violates several Federation treaties, to which the admiral retorts, put it on his tab. In the nacelle control room, Jack and Sidney rush to install the ancient Klingon cloaking device to the ship as the Titan continues to phase in and out. As the device sparks, Geordi and Alandra arrive to help, but issues a strong demand for Jack to stay away from his daughter.
Worf, Riker, and Raffi realize that the experimental Soong android isn’t protecting Daystrom’s manifest; it is the manifest. As they attempt to access his files, alarms blare as Starfleet Security attempts to access the vault. The crew have officially run out of time. Picard sends a transmission to the crew at Daystrom that they’re on their way; however, they will only have 90 seconds to avoid Starfleet detection as the ship is cloaked. Riker states they’ll be taking “Data” with them. However, pulling the android offline will bring security systems down. To ensure they make it on the Titan, despite Worf’s protests, Riker rushes into the corridor with his phaser drawn in order to buy his friends an opportunity of escape. Geordi and Jack greet Worf and Raffi in the transporter room and learn that Riker was captured, saving them. Worf tells Geordi that while they lost one friend in battle, they gained another, before revealing the “Data” android they took from Daystrom.
As a pensive Picard sits in the lounge, Jack heads in to offer his apologies about Riker and for being a prick at the bar who says things he can’t take back. He remarks that he does have a few virtues, he believes he got from his mother, but there are other traits, such as bravery, loyalty, and wisdom beyond his years, which he never knew where he got them. Perhaps his father gave him more than just some disease, maybe he gave him those good traits as well, surprising and comforting Picard. Meanwhile, in Sickbay, as he analyzes the Soong-type golem, Geordi expresses that he's not angry at Sidney; he’s disappointed in himself for not doing what his younger self would have done. He’s proud of her.
Worf, Beverly, and Picard join Geordi, all gathering around “Data.” Picard remarks that this is difficult for him; he’s watched Data twice now. Geordi corrects him saying those were Data the android; this is Data… the something else. Beverly marvels at the almost human positronic body. Geordi cautions he can reboot him, but all the personalities have yet to be integrated, and he can’t completely isolate Data despite the personality partitions; he’s unsure of who will emerge. Flipping the switch, the golem awakens, processing, and slowly turns to the commodore, before questioning in a familiar voice, “Geordi? Captain?” Geordi and Picard are overcome with emotion, wondering if this is their Data. Confused, he expresses uncertainty as there are many voices within this Daystrom Android M-5-10. He cycles through the present personalities — Data, Lore, B-4, Altan Soong — before projecting an image of what the Changelings stole from Daystrom — a stasis chamber with the human remains of Jean-Luc Picard.
Aboard the Daystrom Station, three Starfleet officers flank a bloodied and beaten Riker, demanding the location of Picard and his son. The captain defiantly refuses. The main abuser powers up his phaser and holds it to Riker’s forehead before turning around and firing at the two other officers. The lieutenant stands facing Riker again, revealing itself a Changeling, as it morphs back into an amused Vadic. Taken aboard the Shrike, Riker discovers that Vadic has also taken his wife Deanna Troi prisoner to ensure his cooperation.
* “Maps and Legends” – While Picard is in excellent health, he’s alerted to an abnormality in the parietal lobe in his brain that could become a problem. He was already aware of this possibility in the alternate timeline of “All Good Things…,” where he’s diagnosed and suffers from Irumodic Syndrome.
** “Broken Link,” “When It Rains…,” and “Extreme Measures” – As the Dominion threat continues to grow, Section 31 secretly injected Constable Odo with a morphogenic virus, intended for genocide, that he inadvertently passed onto to the Founders when he temporarily joined with the Great Link before receiving judgement for his crimes of killing another Changeling. Dr. Julian Bashir is able to find the cure to the virus, curing Odo… and the Founders, ending the Dominion War.
*** “Elementary, Dear Data” – The sentient version of Professor James Moriarty was created after Data and Geordi attempt to create a challenging Holmes-style holoprogram and inadvertently create someone capable of defeating Data.
**** “Birthright, Part 1” – Data experiences a vision of his “father” and creator, Dr. Noonien Soong, and imagery including a crow.
***** “Scorpion, Part II” – Seven of Nine’s first appearance. The U.S.S. Voyager forms an alliance with the Borg Collective to defeat Species 8472. Aboard its starship, following a series of harrowing events, the crew severs Seven’s link to the Borg Collective.
- "Pop Goes the Weasel"
Christine Dinh (she/her) is the managing editor for StarTrek.com. She’s traded the Multiverse for helming this Federation starship.
In addition to streaming on Paramount+, Star Trek: Picard will also stream on Prime Video outside of the US and Canada, and in Canada can be seen on Bell Media's CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.
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