We start out this latest episode of Star Trek: Picard, “Monsters,” inside Jean-Luc’s head, and he’s in some sort of therapy session. He’s analyzing himself (doing the therapist’s job for him) and discussing how he doesn’t like enclosed spaces. What does it mean about Jean-Luc that he chose a life on a starship? He’s delighting in analyzing himself, and it’s clear he’s using this nugget of information to avoid the real issue that he doesn’t want to confront — whatever it might be.

As the therapist (played by the amazing James Callis) starts probing, though, Jean-Luc begins to get agitated. To deflect (and because apparently, this is a psych evaluation and they’re required to have a full hour-long session) the therapist asks Picard to tell him a story. He starts to tell the tale of a queen with fiery red hair — his mother. 

We get another flashback scene, as older Jean-Luc narrates, and he starts hinting heavily about a tragic fate for her. He says that she was on borrowed time and that in her world, monsters were real.

Star Trek: Picard - "Monsters"
"Monsters"
StarTrek.com

And in this dream, monsters do become real. Young Jean-Luc and his mother are playing make believe. They see a menacing, shadowy figure and begin to run through the house into the tunnels that run underneath it. As Jean-Luc watches in horror, his mother is dragged off by the creature and the little boy is left alone.

Back in the outside world, Seven and Raffi are going after Jurati. They’re going to head to the La Sirena to see if they can track her combadge. The “happy” couple bickers as they beam over to the ship, and they finally start talking a bit about their relationship. It’s clear there’s a lot of unresolved tension and there are issues they have to face, but neither of them really wants to get into it.

They’re interrupted by a startling discovery: Seven is locked out of La Sirena’s systems. It’s due to Borg encryption. 

Back at the clinic, Tallinn dives into Picard’s mind, while Rios watches apprehensively. Inside his head, Jean-Luc’s psychology evaluation isn’t going well. The therapist recommends relieving Picard of duty, which is a tactic to get Jean-Luc to continue digging and telling his story. It works, but Picard realizes that Tallinn is now there and the boy is no longer alone. It changes the story.

Star Trek: Picard - "Monsters"
"Monsters"
StarTrek.com

Tallinn makes her way through the tunnels under the house and finds little Jean-Luc alone. He’s staying put because he knows that if he leaves, his mother won’t be able to find him. Tallinn realizes that to “unstick” Picard from his own mind, she needs to encourage the boy to leave the tunnels. To do that, they have to save his mother from the monster.

Just then, the therapist informs adult Picard that their session is over, and Jean-Luc becomes agitated as he realizes that there’s something very wrong. All of this? It isn’t real. Jean-Luc finally realizes that he’s stuck, and everyone there is actually trying to help him move on.

The therapist continues digging, asking why Jean-Luc never lets anyone in, why he holds everyone at arm’s length. He pinpoints that Jean-Luc hides a guilt that he defines himself by. The session gets intense, for sure, as Tallinn and young Jean-Luc find themselves captured and in dire straits. Tallinn manages to fight off their attackers.

Back in the clinic, Teresa returns with her son and Rios tries to keep her out of the room Jean-Luc and Tallinn are in. She (understandably) becomes very upset, and he knows he has some explaining to do. The admiral begins taking a turn for the worse, and Raffi beams in a neural oscillator. Teresa is still freaking out, but manages to make the connection between what the device is supposed to do and uses it on Picard to stabilize him. As Teresa stabilizes the admiral, she asks Rios, “Are you from outer space?” In a lovely nod to Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Rios responds, “No, I’m from Chile. I work in outer space.”

Star Trek: Picard - "Monsters"
"Monsters"
StarTrek.com

Inside Picard’s head, Tallinn asks the young boy why he’s coming up with all these obstacles to stop her. The boy admits he’s afraid of the ending being the same as it’s always been, but they have to confront whatever it is that’s keeping him stuck there.

Back on La Sirena, Seven is making headway with figuring out what’s going on. She finds footage of Agnes injecting Borg code into the ship’s systems. 

It’s all coming together in Picard’s mind as the elder Jean-Luc is now in the tunnel system with Tallinn, the boy, and the therapist.The therapist isn’t just the therapist; it’s Jean-Luc’s father, the monster he’s described so many times.

Or is he? As we’ve started to understand more and more about Picard’s early life, it’s becoming clear that nothing is as it seems. The hatred on Jean-Luc’s face is visceral, and his father admits that he was a monster — but not in the way he’s been portrayed in Jean-Luc’s mind all these years. He feels like he’s a monster because he couldn’t save her.

Finally, we see the truth: the monster is mental illness, manic highs and terrible lows. Not Jean-Luc’s father.His mother wouldn’t accept the help she needed. We don’t learn her fate, but where it’s leading to is clear. Young Jean-Luc was left behind in the tunnels under the house as she fled, his foot caught in a floorboard, and it saved him. His mother was a danger to herself and to the young Jean-Luc.

Jean-Luc finally begins to accept that he’s painted his father as the villain all these years, but maybe that’s not how things actually were. The young boy pulls a key out of his pocket and moves toward the door, behind which is his mother, and Tallinn realizes they’re not finished. There’s more to the story.

Star Trek: Picard - "Monsters"
"Monsters"
StarTrek.com

Just then, before she can truly understand what’s happening, Jean-Luc and Tallinn are back in the clinic, out of his head. In true Picard fashion, he confronted some of what’s been holding him back, but not all of it. 

Rios and Teresa are just waiting for the admiral to come out of his memory-induced coma, and they have some nice moments. It’s clear Teresa is just as interested in him as he is in her, and Rios beams all three of them over to La Sirena so they can see his ship. 

Seven and Raffi are in Los Angeles looking for Jurati/The Borg Queen, and they find a surveillance video of her entering a bar and breaking the window. They update Jean-Luc on what’s going on, and he has a moment with Tallinn. Because she saw so much of his inner self, she decides to share something with him: her true self. She’s actually Romulan, which means she’s likely an ancestor of Laris.

Tallinn then confronts Jean-Luc about the memory, pointing out that Q wanted him to relive all of this and that they aren’t done. Picard responds that this introspection is absolutely pointless (which clearly isn’t the case). But Picard also makes a good point — Q has been controlling the lessons. He wanted Picard to know himself, but Picard wants to turn it around and understand Q instead.

To do that, they need to figure out how to summon a Q — and Jean-Luc has a new old friend who stuck around, as he asked, and might be able to help. And Guinan does. We don’t know much about the long history between El Aurians and the Q (only that there is one). But Guinan tells Picard of a truce between the two people after a long cold war. That agreement was made over a bottle, and if Guinan drinks out of the bottle, a Q is required to appear. But she does — and nothing happens. 

Back outside, Seven recognizes that the Borg Queen is trying to speed up the process of taking over Jurati’s body — she needs endorphins to create more nanoprobes, which is why she broke the window. “We’re witnessing the birth of a new Borg Queen,” Seven says ominously, and it’s only a matter of time before the new Queen can start assimilating 21st century Earth, with nothing to stop her.

In the bar, a random man wanders in and requests a drink, despite the fact that Ten Forward is closed. He keeps interrupting Picard and Guinan’s conversation, and it becomes apparent that there’s more going on here than first appears. He starts talking about aliens and science fiction, before he pulls out his phone and shows them a video of Picard materializing from a transporter beam. Just then, federal agents burst in and arrest both Picard and Guinan.


Swapna (she/her) writes about space, technology, and pop culture at outlets such as Wired, NPR, Engadget, and more. You can find her on Twitter @skrishna.

Star Trek: Picard streams exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S. and is distributed concurrently by Paramount Global Distribution Group on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories. In Canada, it airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.

Tags
Star Trek: Picard