Star Trek: Picard reached its first season finale today, fulfilling many fan theories in the process. In the run-up to the episode, we guessed there was a major death on the way, due to the meaning of the title “Et in Arcadia Ego,” and that Picard might get a new lease on life, given the way that an android form going spare was introduced last week. And sure enough, the finale confirmed that Jean-Luc has been reborn as a synthetic.
Picard makes a grand last stand in this episode when he pilots a lone ship against the Zhat Vash’s fleet as they arrive on Coppelius to destroy the Synths, just as the Synths are planning to wipe out all organic life. Using some hologram trickery, Picard is able to distract the Romulans long enough for Starfleet reinforcements – led by none other than Riker, jumping back in the fray, as he teased back in episode 7 – to show up. The situation is won, but the very ill Picard tragically at last succumbs to his terminal brain disease.
Patrick Stewart manages to leave us emotional wrecks with his heartbreaking farewells to his friends, before Picard wakes up in the next phase of his existence. No, not the afterlife, but a simulation where his mind is being stored. Here, he encounters old friend Data, saying goodbye to him in a way he didn’t get the chance to in Star Trek: Nemesis. Picard is then resurrected in his new android body, which has been aged up for “comfort and familiarity” and is fixed with a shutdown date matching a normal human lifespan.
In other words, Picard is not suddenly immortal or played by someone else – Stewart leaving was a concern prior to the finale – but he does have the benefit of no longer suffering from his illness, which allows Star Trek: Picard to address and get around the fate that The Next Generation finale set out for him. And with season 2 on the way, Jean-Luc’s adventures are set to continue on CBS All Access in 2021.