Following Data’s cameo in the pilot and recurring roles for Seven of Nine and Hugh, the seventh episode of Star Trek: Picard, “Nepenthe,” brought a couple more classic characters back into the mix in the forms of Commander William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis). As the Enterprise-D’s first officer and counsellor, and Picard’s closest friends from his Starfleet days, a reunion in their twilight years was always going to be emotional. And sure enough it was, as we learned about the ups and downs of the couple’s life since we last saw them.
Fans will know that Riker and Troi tied the knot in 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis, with the pair moving over to the U.S.S. Titan so Riker could serve as captain. By the time of Picard, however, the duo have settled on the planet Nepenthe with their daughter Kestra (named after Deanna’s late sister). We discover over the course of the episode that Kestra is their youngest child. Their eldest, son Thaddeus (named after Riker’s Civil War era ancestor), tragically passed away.
Thaddeus suffered from a neurological condition which would have been easily curable with the aid of positronics. However, with synthetic lifeforms banned after the terrorist attack on the Romulan refugee fleet on Mars, there was no way to save him. So, the family swapped a life out in space for Nepenthe, known for its regenerative qualities, where Thaddeus got to enjoy some time in his new home before he died.
The Rikers have remained on the planet following Thad’s death to honor their son’s fondness for the place as well as to ensure Kestra grows up safe and happy. The subject of Riker potentially returning to Starfleet comes up with Picard during the episode, too, but the former Number One maintains that something big would have to happen to get him to enter the fray again. As we’ve pointed out before, that sounds a lot like a moment of foreshadowing to us.