Today’s installment of Star Trek: Picard was another great episode for longtime fans as it finally brought back Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis as William Riker and Deanna Troi. Following the escape from the Artifact last week, Picard took Soji, Data’s daughter, to the planet Nepenthe – also the name of the episode – to seek refuge with his old friends, the Enterprise-D’s former first officer and counsellor, respectively. And it may have hinted that Riker, just like his old captain, could return to Starfleet as the series continues.
Shortly before he leaves their home once he’s back in contact with La Sirena, Picard shares a private conversation with Riker, where the pair discuss the possibility of the latter ever coming back to active service. Riker notes that he’s still on active reserve, but he has no wish to return and it would take something very big to get him back in the saddle again. Now that he’s said those words, though, surely that means something big is coming that’ll force Riker to follow Picard into the line of duty, right?
Picard himself admits that he may need to call in Starfleet for back-up as his mission is starting to spiral, what with the conflict with the Romulans escalating in the previous episode. What if Starfleet, who we know have tried to wash their hands of the whole Romulan affair, refuse to answer his call for help? If that happens, Riker wouldn’t be able to ignore his friend in need and would no doubt enter the fray again for Picard’s sake.
As with many of the returning characters in Star Trek: Picard, “Nepenthe” revealed that Riker and Troi have had a tragic time of it since we last saw them – in their case, getting hitched in 2002’s Nemesis. Their first born, Thaddius Troi-Riker, died some years prior, though they still have their daughter Kestra. It’s unclear exactly when they both retired, but it looks like Riker is now keen to remain at home in order to protect his remaining loved ones.