We’re in the latter half of the first season of Star Trek: Picard, and it feels like all the pieces are starting to fall into place. We’re understanding more of what’s happening, why it is happening, and what our intrepid team can do to fix things the past. This episode, “Two of One,” starts out with a shocker: Admiral Picard, on the ground, not moving, with Rios and Tallinn asking if he’s okay. It’s clear Jean-Luc is not; he’s bleeding.
We flash back to 34 minutes earlier, with Jean-Luc and Tallinn still waiting in line to get into the party. They talk about Laris, and Tallinn’s resemblance to her. Jean-Luc tries to tell Tallinn that Laris isn’t important, but she recognizes he’s lying.
They’re quickly approaching the security check, ready to get into the party, but there’s a problem: Agnes, who’s supposed to upload their IDs to the database from the security room, is still handcuffed to a chair. She manages to incapacitate the guards, thanks to a device in her pocket, but she still has to find a way out of the chair. Time’s running out, and she’s forced to once again rely on the Borg Queen’s help. To do that though, Agnes has to relinquish some control to the Queen, which feels like it may have serious consequences. However, that’s a problem for later; for now she manages to get her team into the party.
We see a quick peek of Jean-Luc again, clearly injured and on some sort of hospital bed, haunted by flashbacks to his childhood and his mother, before returning to the party. The team are all watching Renée Picard, who seems at ease when she needs to be, but Tallinn points out the young woman has become very good at pretending to be okay.
Meanwhile, Agnes is arguing with the Borg Queen (who’s all in her head, so it must be quite a sight for anyone else at the party), and it becomes clear that Agnes has allowed the Borg Queen to take up residence in her body. This wasn’t an assimilation; Agnes was a willing host. She didn’t want to let the Borg Queen, who’s their only shot at getting home, die, but she also doesn’t want to tell any of her team about her current predicament. It’s unclear what ramifications this will have.
Raffi and Rios have a quiet moment to chat, and Raffi notices how happy Rios is. She correctly guesses that the doctor, Teresa, has gotten to him and that maybe he has a little crush. (She also reminds him that falling for someone in the past is a terrible idea). They also discuss Seven, and Raffi comments on how much lighter she is without her Borg implants. Raffi herself is still struggling though; it seems like everywhere she looks, she sees Elnor.
Meanwhile, Renée isn’t doing well. She texts her therapist (Q) that she wants out of the mission. Of course, he encourages her to quit. Tallinn wonders if Renée is ready, but Jean-Luc reminds her that this mission is the young woman’s destiny. It’s time to let her go. The admiral tries to raise Jurati on comms so she can distract Renée’s boss while Jean-Luc intervenes, but Agnes isn’t responding.
Rios manages to track Agnes down and expresses concern for her. They’re having a nice conversation when the Borg Queen takes over, grabs Rios, and kisses him (in Agnes’s body). They’re both taken aback, and Rios tries to make clear he’s not interested in a romantic relationship. Agnes apologizes and leaves, and it’s clear that she’s shaken by the experience — it’s not what she wanted either.
Renée leaves in a hurry, and Jean-Luc makes moves to follow, but he’s intercepted — by none other than Adam Soong. Jean-Luc is understandably shocked. He recognizes this face and is just as surprised by Adam’s words. He tells Jean-Luc he’s friends with Q and warns the admiral to walk away from all of this. Soong is going to stop Renée from going on the mission as well as get Jean-Luc kicked out of the party.
The admiral moves away quickly and calls his team for help. The Borg Queen steps in, kills the lights, and Agnes picks up the microphone and sings a killer song to draw attention! It provides Jean-Luc with the opening he needs to go after Renée. Rios passes him a nameplate and earpiece, so it looks like Jean-Luc is one of the security guards.
Jean-Luc approaches Renée, and the care he shows for her is absolutely wonderful. He asks her about the ship she’ll travel to Europa on, and we can see Renée light up as she talks about it. He beautifully segues into talking to her about her capacity for greatness — as well as melancholy and depression. She reminds him of his mother in that way, he tells her. She also struggled with depression.
When Renée tells him that fear is a reminder that you’re not ready for something, he firmly contradicts her: Fear is just fear. We don’t need to ascribe any importance to it beyond that. He reminds her that there’s always light, if you look for it.
Renée responds that his mother was very lucky to have him, and Jean-Luc demurs in a way that feels significant. Perhaps this is where the key to one of this season’s mysteries lies: Jean-Luc has guilt over something to do with his mother (perhaps he wasn’t there for her the way he wishes he had been), and until he confronts that, he can’t move on.
Jean-Luc offers to escort Renée back to the party, and she agrees. It seems as though the danger is past and she’s going to go through with the mission. At least, until a car with Adam Soong behind the wheel starts screeching towards them. He’s aiming for Renée but Jean-Luc jumps in front of her and is hit by the oncoming car.
The team takes Jean-Luc to the only doctor they know in this time period — Teresa. She tries to save him, even using the defibrillator (which shorts out), but there’s something going on with his artificial body that medicine can’t bring him out of. Teresa said he should be awake, but for some reason he’s not.
Jurati is the only one who isn’t there. It turns out the endorphins from performing were just what the Borg Queen was waiting for. Agnes’s stress levels had been so high that it was impairing the Borg Queen from taking control of her body. Unfortunately, now, Agnes is no longer in charge.
Meanwhile, Adam Soong arrives home and is in quite the mood. He failed in his mission — to take Renée Picard out of commission — and he knows Kore will pay the price for it. His words don’t make sense to Kore, though, and she finally decides it’s time to learn her father’s secrets.
Kore learns that her father is in disgrace after advocating for eugenics, which is shocking enough. But then she finds pictures and videos of herself that she doesn’t remember. What’s more, they’re clearly taken over the span of years or decades, considering her father’s visible age progression.
Finally, Kore learns the biggest secret: Her father created her as a genetic experiment. She is just the latest iteration; he’s failed many, many times before her.
Back at the clinic, the team is trying to figure out why Jean-Luc isn’t responding. They find that his brain activity is very high, which doesn’t make sense. Tallinn theorizes that his issue is mental, not physical. He’s stuck in a memory, and Tallinn’s only option is to go into his mind and get him out through her neuro-optic interceptor.
Raffi isn’t a big fan of the plan, but also recognizes that their options are limited. “How much worse could it possibly get?” she asks ominously, as Jurati/the Borg Queen walks down the street. (The answer seems to be much, much worse, but we’ll have to wait until the next episode for that.)
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.