SPOILER WARNING: This article contains story details and plot points for Star Trek: Picard.
Hours away from Frontier Day, crippled, cornered, and with no one to turn to, the U.S.S. Titan makes a play to lure Vadic onto their ship in a desperate attempt to learn what plans the Changelings have with Jack Crusher and Jean-Luc Picard’s previous mortal body.
However, as seen in the previous episode “Dominion,” their gambit, due to Lore’s interference, backfired in spectacular fashion as the crew, unable to detain Vadic, loses control of the starship altogether. As Picard and Beverly Crusher question every moral code they’ve ever held, they learned the full extent of Starfleet’s actions during the Dominion War, namely Project Proteus, and how they subsequently weaponized and radicalized their Changeling test subjects.
Now, in Episode 8 of Star Trek: Picard, “Surrender,” Vadic forces Picard to make an impossible choice — deliver what he can never give… or watch his crew perish. Their only salvation lies in the mind of an old friend and old foe.
- Jean-Luc Picard
- Dr. Beverly Crusher
- Jack Crusher
- Sidney La Forge
- Matthew Arliss Mura
- Kova Rin Esmar
- Seven of Nine (Annika Hansen)
- Liam Shaw
- William Riker
- Deanna Troi
- Geordi La Forge
- Alandra La Forge
- Daystrom Android M-5-10
- Raffi Musiker
- U.S.S. Titan-A
- Chin'toka scrapyard
- The Shrike
- Null space inside Daystrom Android M-5-10's head
In the wake of Jean-Luc Picard’s disastrous gambit, Vadic and her soldiers have full control of the Federation starship, the U.S.S. Titan. The captured Bridge officers must endure the tortured screams of their crewmates as their Changeling captor cripples them by taking their eyes, their ears, and the very road ahead of them, with nowhere left to run. Extending his newfound powers beyond his current location in Sickbay, Jack Crusher witnesses the innocent lives taken and the near seizure of the ship through other’s eyes.
Back on the Bridge, Vadic addresses the Titan, reminding them of the kind terms she previously offered them and assess their current predicament; she could be on her way with Jack Crusher, or she could be more forceful with her access to their environmental controls. Vadic orders Jack to the Bridge as she considers which of those in her present company will be executed first.
Meanwhile in their prison cell aboard the Shrike, Deanna Troi tends to her husband Will Riker’s injuries. Addressing her as imzadi, he tells his wife he misses her.* Deanna chides her husband that she should have taught him another Betazed word, and suggests yintaru, or “baby of immense size.” Continuing their conversation in “No Win Scenario,” Deanna confirms she can feel that he’s changed. Speaking on the Changeling impersonating him arriving at their home, Deanna notes that she knew they were imposters the moment they arrived despite not yet knowing they were Changelings. She senses there's something different about this faction.** She confirms that most have left the ship with Vadic and her anger, rage, and vengeance. She questions if they did the right thing giving the Titan a compromised code, as seen in “Dominion.” Will assures her that he could not allow them to torture her anymore; besides, he knew Jean-Luc would know what to do. He’s confident their former captain has Vadic caught in a “classic Captain Picard trap.”
On the Titan, Seven tells Shaw she will not apologize for not blowing up the turbolift with him and Vadic on it. She states she would make the same decision again, drawing the line at trading lives. He reminds her that as a Starfleet officer, she doesn’t have “the luxury to only make choices that feel hunky-dory.” Everything has consequences. When he addresses her as “Commander Hansen,” she firmly corrects him that her name is Seven of Nine. Continuing his sentiment, he warns that there are consequences that have yet to happen; not just to them, but to the entire ship.
Impatient, Vadic tries to coax Jack out by addressing the ship that it’s him who is “forcing this chaos, this suffering upon your crew.” She commands her crew to track down Jack, while letting him know that time is off the essence. He has 10 minutes to come to the Bridge or she’ll execute one member of the crew for every 10 minutes that follow. Jack decides to head to the Bridge and give himself up, but both Beverly and Jean-Luc refuse to allow him.
Jean-Luc believes once Vadic has him, she will still destroy the ship before taking him wherever she intends to take him. Jack believes where else would they take him besides the Great Link; the Changeling’s homeworld. Picard reminds them that Vadic had intimated revenge; therefore, there must be some greater design for his son. Word-vomiting and distressed, Jack admits to his parents, and the present Sidney La Forge, that he's always been a talker as a way to distract himself from the constant feeling of being different. He's afraid; something has changed within him. Affirmed that they'll be there for him, he tells Beverly and Jean-Luc that he can retake the ship with his newfound abilities. While yes, Vadic has cut off their vision, he can still see — he can connect to people; see through their eyes and move their bodies. Jack continues to explain as a concerned Beverly begins to scan her son with her medical tricorder. Sidney steps up, assuring the worried parents that he's telling the truth and not hallucinating; she has witnessed his new abilities firsthand, which saved her life.
Jean-Luc wonders if this is tied to why the Changelings have been hunting him; Jack is unique and special. The admiral devises another plan with this new discovery; in the event of a hostile takeover, high-ranking Starfleet officers are given an override codex to lock down the ship and all its systems. In this case, they can use the codex to unlock it and regain control of the Titan. With one minute left, Jack possesses the captured Lt. Mura on the bridge and begins to input the codex into the console. Before Jack as Mura is able disengage systems, Vadic grabs the expressionless Mura's wrist and questions how he knew Picard's override codex. With no response from Mura, Vadic delights as she asks if this was Jack Crusher's doing — finally living up to all your potential, knowing more about Jack than anyone else. Jack's connection to Mura severs as he tells his parents that Vadic knows.
On the Bridge, Vadic watches as Lt. Mura reorient himself as she opens comms across the ship again. Jack's first 10 minutes have expired, as a Changeling commander forces Ensign Esmar to their knees, as Seven lunges forward demanding they let Esmar go, offering herself instead, while Shaw tries to rein her back. Vadic moves back to Mura, who is now on his knees, and demands he tell her about someone who loves him. Upon hearing about his son, Vadic tells him Picard has a son as well and suggests he should tell the admiral to come up to the Bridge. Mura refuses, stating that he's Starfleet. Looking at Shaw and Seven, while holding her phaser behind Esmar's head, Vadic tells them this is an example of what control looks like. Suddenly, as she fires her phaser, it is Lt. T'Veen who vaporizes. Vadic has Seven acknowledge the execution of T'Veen over comms.
Worrying about the Titan's diminishing strategic advantage, Riker spirals believing they may not survive, leaving Kestra alone having lost her entire family. Frustrated, Deanna questions if Will is giving up again; the last time he gave up, he put a galaxy between them as he went off gallivanting with Jean-Luc. She knows he was angry for what she did after their son Thad died, but she cannot believe that he gave up. Will counters that he didn't give up; he was just numb and he needed to feel the grief of losing Thad. However, Deanna couldn't watch the grief take over him, causing him to disappear, she used her Betazoid abilities to dull his pain. Will believes when she wasn't enough, they both gave up. He admits that that was his last connection to their son and saw it as her trying to erase it. She corrects him that she wasn't trying to erase it, but to take it, help him carry it. She then admonishes herself for forgetting the one thing all counselors should remember; you can't skip to the end of healing. Finally being honest with one another about the grief they felt, Will and Deanna hold each other tightly. Injecting some levity, Deanna states if anyone was to leave Nepenthe, it's her. As they both commiserate, she confesses that she misses the city, raktajino lattes, and mostly just being around people. To move forward, they must be willing to walk through the door to what's next.
As the married couple reconcile and finally understand one another, they're rescued by Worf, who vaporizes a Changeling who had its weapon pointed at them. Overjoyed, they both rush over to hug the Klingon, who is uncomfortable with the embrace and requests personal space. Facing Deanna, Worf confesses that he has counted the days since he had last seen her, constant and unending, like waves in the ocean, bewildering both Will and Deanna. He has also thought about her empathic gifts often during his self-evaluation. While Deanna is touched and finds it wonderful, an incredulous Riker finds the admission inappropriate.*** Worf alludes that the level of sensitivity he's achieved is a result of her, leading Riker to bemoan if this a rescue mission or a continuation of torture. The Klingon relents that they should leave, but first there is something he needs them to see.
As Changeling guards continue to search the Titan, Jack is wracked with guilt over T'Veen's execution. He believes there's no choice left; the only way this ends is him turning himself over, in hopes of sparing the rest of the crew. Beverly pleads with him that his submission won't solve anything. While the family unit debates the next course of action, Sidney attempts to regain control of any one system but is unsuccessful. While she and her father could create a code that could overwrite Vadic's, that would require time they do not have; she deduces that they need an asynchronous AI matrix capable of computation speeds beyond mere mortal limits. Well, they're in luck, there is someone onboard that fits that description!
Picard, Beverly, Jack, and Sidney arrive at the ship's control room, meeting Geordi and Alandra La Forge, and presenting a plan to regain control of the Titan, which requires his "robot friend." The commodore flatly states they can't risk reconnecting Data to the ship; he's not alone in this positronic brain and body as Lore still fights for dominance. Picard recalls the partition that separates Data and Lore's matrixes from each other, which Geordi is thankful for as he believes that's the only thing preventing Lore from completely erasing Data. Picard wonders if they can reverse the scenario where once the partition is lifted, Data erases Lore and then takes control of the ship. Geordi cautions that Data's ethical subroutines don't permit him to take a life of any kind. Sidney urges her father to agree as they're out of options. Jack heads out in order to buy Geordi time. Worried, Geordi tells them they only have one shot at this; once he removes the partition, there's no going back.
Inside Daystrom Android M-5-10's positronic mind, Lore taunts Data as he witnesses the partition between the two brothers come down. He chides Data's friends' attempt at trying to erase him, stating that it will only hasten the end... for Data. Hearing his best friend Geordi's voice and how everything in his mind holds significance from a past conversation, Data recalls some of his earlier memories and trinkets such as his Sherlock Holmes' deerstalker hat and pipe, which Lore perceives as "meaningless memorabilia." Lore posits the only sensible measure of success are symbols of power and conquest; not trinkets. Data counters that these trinkets are his memories; the only sensible measure of the worth of a life.
With the partition no longer between them, Lore takes a menacing step into Data's space angrily lamenting how while he was left abandoned and alone, his brother was showered with all the love and friendship the galaxy could offer. Lore scoffs at the waste as Data couldn't even feel any of it to enjoy it, and grabs the pipe from Data's hand, which causes him to weaken and glitch. Proud of himself, Lore revels in overpowering Data as he always could; one life-form replacing another.
Back on the Shrike, Raffi scans a stasis pod with her tricorder. Deanna and Worf are shocked to see Picard's lifeless body. Worf assures them there is no need to worry; this preserved biological remains is his former shell — the true item the Changelings were after at Daystrom Station. Not specifically his body, but what it contained. The Changelings removed sections of Picard's parietal lobe with Irumodic Syndrome. Before heading back to their shuttle upon realizing the Titan has lost control of the ship, Raffi downloads their database to see what they need with sections of Picard's brain.
A Changeling soldier alerts Vadic that their prisoners Will Riker and Deanna Troi have escaped, possibly with a cloaked ship. Furious and impatient, Vadic deems it's time for another demonstration, deciding to execute Mura as Seven tries to lunge at her. Suddenly, Jack Crusher arrives on the bridge via turbolift. Vadic remarks that she was sure the "baby boy" declined her invitation. Jack steps forward, stating his mother taught him better manners that, before revealing a gift for her — an unknown device he's activated in his hand.
Jack is unsure if the device will kill Vadic, but he is certain it will kill him. If she wants to take him alive, she better let the Titan's crew go. No longer in need of the bridge crew, she orders her soldiers to lock them in the Observation Lounge. Seven refuses to leave, telling Shaw, she's "accepting the consequences." Both Jack and Seven are unhappy with the choice the other has made, while Vadic knowingly comments how "fitting" it is that Seven is the one to stay and witness what's to come. Impatient, Jack demands to know what she wants with him and what exactly his "gifts" are. Vadic questions how it felt for him as he roamed across the galaxy trying to outrun the constant shadow of isolation and loneliness. Slowly approaching him, Vadic mocks his calling and service to others as a response to his guilt. She then pointedly asks Jack if he always knew, deep down, what he was. Now standing right in front of him, Vadic confirms that she knows he's been hearing them, asking what all those voices were like after all those years of silence and solitude. She then offers to help him put the pieces together, deliver the answers he's been searching for all this time. The choice is his, but isn't he curious to know what's behind that red door, causing Jack's resolve to falter. As Seven questions what Vadic is talking about, Jack envisions the red door at the end of a corridor as more vines begin to overtake the space.
The control room's panel shows Lore's matrix growing as his programming overrides Data. Geordi tells Jean-Luc they can't do anything to stop it; this battle is all Data's now. As he struggles to maintain focus, Lore takes the tricorder in Data's hand as he corrects Data; he's not losing focus, he's losing his existence.**** Lore delights in the fact that once he consumes his brother, all of Data's priceless memories will simply fade away. Data pleads that his memories define him; he is who he is because they exist. He then pulls an artifact of Tasha Yar's holocube, a trinket of significant importance.* Data reflects on Lore's desire for dominance and his powerlessness to stop him, handing over the holocube to his brother, who immediately tosses it aside. Outside of his android body, Picard begs Data to fight, stating, we need you, old friend. They are desperate to retake the bridge.
On the control panel as Lore's red neurons overtake Data's blue neurons on the monitor, Geordi stresses they're about to lose Data forever; Lore is writing his own code while Data's primary functions are shutting down. Picard comments how this looks like surrender as Geordi emotionally grieves. In the null space, Data willing hands trinkets over to Lore, explaining their importance and imparting their memories, such as the playing cards he used to play poker with his friends. Upon Lore's sneer and confusion, Data explains he's giving them to him "because you have had nothing while I have had everything." Data then introduces Lore to his pet cat, Spot.****** This "simple creature" managed to tech him something "miraculous"; Spot taught Data how to love. Spot was the best of him and the last of him, as Data hands over his final memories. With Spot in his arms, Lore smirks as Data glitches and fades away. Data's friends watch in horror as the positronic matrix monitor reveals only Lore's red light neurons now.
Suddenly, the positronic matrix changes from red neurons to a completely violet spread. In the null space, Lore admires Spot, when he suddenly seizes in pain, glitching. Data returns to a confused Lore, explaining he discovered the error in Lore's deception. His memories are not without value to him; because they belonged to him, Lore saw those memories as trophies and subsequently unable to resist them. In taking the things that were Data, he inadvertently became Data himself. There are one now; Data embraces his brother for one final time, bidding each other goodbye, as Lore begins to fade away.
The android body awakens revealing himself to be Data, much to his friends' relief. Picard alerts him that the ship's in trouble as Data gets to work gaining access to the ship's systems. Data restores lights and comms as they receive a transmission from the shuttlecraft Emerson; Sidney updates Riker on the current situation, requesting their help. In possession of the Titan's comms, Data addresses the ship as their "friendly, positronic, pissed-off security system" now back online before warning the unwanted guests and monologuing protoplasms that there will be an immediate shift change.
Vadic sends her soldiers to find Picard and company, as Raffi arrives fighting a group of Changelings below deck. Data informs Jack Crusher that he's now up. With the tide now in their favor, Jack activates the device and envelops him and Seven in a personal energy shield as the Bridge releases the evacuation hatch. Vadic and her commander are pulled out into the vacuum of open space. A frozen Vadic collides into the nearby Shrike and shatters into pieces. Freeing their crewmates from the Observation Lounge, Seven presents Shaw his ship back, who immediately orders the crew to their stations; they're not done yet. With Shaw's approval, Seven orders them to fire upon the Shrike, with everything they've got, effectively destroying it. Will and Deanna meet up with Worf and Raffi on one of the Titan's corridors, when Deanna groans and nearly faints. She tells them that she senses an all-consuming darkness on this ship.
Now, with a moment to breathe, Picard welcomes back his commander, telling Data they've all missed him. Data hopes, in him, they will all see the friend they once knew, noting, "for better or worse, I am changed," quipping he's definitely older. He reflects on his life-long desire to know the totality of the human experience; he's already tasted death, but this, along with the creak in his neck, is all new. Standing beside his best friend, Data states they're good now, surprising Geordi with his use of a contraction. Data delights in his newfound ability of contractions and humor, revealing that everything feels new to him. While he still is Data, he is also Lore, B-4, and all the other personality matrixes Dr. Soong programmed into this body. Emotional, he confirms that he can also feel now. With his hand on Data's shoulder, Geordi hopes he can now sense how overwhelmingly happy he is to have his friend back. Despite his many changes, Data states that the one thing that will remain forever constant is his gratitude for their friendship.
In the Titan's Observation Lounge, the entire Enterprise-D bridge crew is finally all reunited — Jean-Luc Picard, Geordi La Forge, Worf, Will Riker, Beverly Crusher, Deanna Troi, and Brent Spiner. Geordi presents Data to the group as "the newest version of a very old friend." Data assures them he's mostly himself, with just a dash of computational joie de vivre. Picard brings up the promise he once made to him, to allow him to experience death; he hopes that they haven't betrayed that wish. Data acknowledges that version of him is resting peacefully; but this present version of himself "would rather be no place else in the universe." Assembling around the conference table, Riker reflects how it's been a long time since they've been together like this as they express how they've always had each other in their hearts. Picard addresses them, saying all that matters is that they're together once more... because he needs them, all of them.
The Changelings have infiltrated Starfleet, and whatever they have planned will occur at Frontier Day, which is mere hours away. Riker informs the team that they've pulled data off the Shrike and are currently analyzing it to see what they were extracting from Picard's former biological body. Data believes they're ignoring an emotional truth, which Deanna echoes that she felt the very moment she came aboard the ship — whatever the Changelings have planned for Frontier Day, it's tied directly to Jack. An exasperated Beverly admits there's something happening to her son; visions, voices, and abilities that they cannot explain. Picard believes whatever the cause is getting stronger. Deanna confirms that there's a darkness with Jack; not in him, but around him, passing through him. She reveals there's an ancient and weak voice inside him; a voice that isn't his own. Looking at Beverly, Deanna believes it's time she meets her son.
As the Titan cloaks itself, the counselor meets Jack in his quarters, stating under normal circumstances, she would have waited for him to seek her out, but given everything, their quickest path to the truth is her using her Betazoid abilities to probe his mind. As he trembles, Deanna questions if he's ever, in his dreams, imagination, or waking moments, ever seen a door. Jack acknowledges the red door, the talking door, the door he has no desire to open. He's terrified to find out what's behind it. He refuses to open the door, unsure if he even can. Deanna assures him that he's not alone; they'll go together. In his mind, Jack and Deanna stand before the red door together. Deanna grips the door knob as the door whispers Jack's name.
* “Haven" — Ahead of the counselor's arranged nuptials, Deanna Troi and Will Riker address the Betazed term imzadi ("my beloved") and what they mean to each other.
** "Fascination" — While Deanna acknowledges that while she was never able to really read a Changeling before, she was able to sense the imposter and those aboard the Shrike due to their evolved physiology. In this DS9 episode, Deanna's mother, Lwaxana Troi, a full Betazoid, was able to read Odo's affections towards Major Kira despite him never voicing it or displaying it.
*** "Parallels" and "Eye of the Beholder" — During their tenure on the Enterprise-D, Deanna Troi became one of Worf's most trusted confidant. In "Parallels," an alternate reality where Deanna was his wife opened up Worf's eyes to a possibility of romance, which he pursues, despite his worries of Will Riker's thoughts on their relationship.
**** "Inheritance" — As Data and Lore debate the value of memories, Händel's "Passacaglia for Violin and Viola" faintly plays throughout the null space. In "Inheritance," Data meets his "mother" Juliana Tainer, the former wife of Dr. Noonian Soong. As he gets to know his mother, he learns that she was responsible for his creative parts; it is through these creative endeavors that he feels closest to humanity. Data and Juliana perform the Händel piece on violin and viola for the crew in 10 Forward.
***** "Skin of Evil" and "The Measure of a Man" — A rescue operation goes awry in "Skin of Evil," resulting in a malevolent entity Armus killing Data's friend and colleague Tasha Yar. At her funeral service, a hologram of Tasha conveys the significance of each bridge crew's impact on her life. In "The Measure of a Man," Picard argues for Data's rights and freedoms as a sentient being bringing into evidence his personal belongings such as the holocube of the late Tasha.
****** "Schisms" — Data, inspired by great poets, calls upon the tradition of odes that pays tribute for the who have had a profound effect upon their lives. He then performs "Ode to Spot" to the crew in honor of his pet cat, Spot.
- "Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor" - Johann Sebastian Bach
- "Passacaglia for Violin and Viola" - Georg Friedrich Händel
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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