Star Trek: Picard‘s season 1 finale had fans in tears for multiple reasons, but one of the most notable was Data’s surprise return in the episode, with the beloved android given a more fitting farewell than the one he got last time. The Next Generation crew’s adventures originally wrapped up with 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis, which culminated with Data sacrificing his own life to save the day. Though it was a heroic death, fans were heartbroken that he didn’t get to say goodbye to his friends first.
In the Picard finale, “Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2,” this was finally put right. Jean-Luc himself perished, with his body giving into his terminal brain disease, but his consciousness was able to be saved by Dr. Soong’s mind transfer process allowing him to live on in a cutting-edge synthetic form that was reprogrammed to look like his human self. Before that happened, though, he temporarily found himself in a kind of digital limbo. Where he encountered the “ghost” of Data.
It turns out that Data’s mind was able to be saved from the neuron that Soong had pulled from B-4, with which he and Bruce Maddox had created their race of synths. However, Data did not want immortality, feeling that to die was to truly be human. When he was reborn, Picard acquiesced to his old friend’s request and let him pass away. The moving scene saw Data, in his virtual study, listening to a rendition of “Blue Skies.”
As well as being a great cover of the song from Picard star Isa Briones, this calls back to Data’s original death in Nemesis. He memorably performed the song at Riker and Troi’s wedding, before B-4 was heard to sing a few notes of it by the end, hinting that Data’s memories had survived. Though B-4 was not sophisticated enough to be a new body for Data, Star Trek: Picard‘s finale revealed that his mind had indeed lived on, until he was granted his final wish. It’s only fitting then that “Blue Skies” ties together both of Data’s deaths.