Star Trek: Picard - 5 Reasons Why The Season Finale Was Perfect (& 5 Why It Was Terrible)
Star Trek: Picard begins twenty years after Data sacrificed himself to save the Enterprise crew in Star Trek: Nemesis. Over the course of ten episodes, Jean-Luc Picard returns to space to protect a young woman who turns out to be Data's android daughter. The Romulans are after her to eliminate all synthetic life in the galaxy.
The Season 1 finale is a two-part episode. The title, "Et in Arcada Ego" colloquially means "Even in Arcadia, I, Death can be found". It features first contact with the synthetic civilization and the final battle against the Romulans. Like many finales, it was a mixed bag of both perfect and terrible parts.
10 Perfect: Seven Of Nine/Raffi
Seven of Nine has had a difficult life. Assimilated by the Borg at a young age, she had to deal with both the loss of her family and the challenge of becoming an individual when Captain Janeway rescued her in Voyager.
Apart from her bizarre relationship with Chakotay, Seven of Nine has had difficulties getting close to people. To see her potentially intimate- and potentially happy- with Raffi is such a joy. The two tough, complicated women could get along quite well.
9 Terrible: Agnes/Ríos
Agnes and Ríos, however, is not such a perfect development. The primary question that begs to be asked is "why?" There's no true reason for these two individuals to get together. Agnes is literally a murderer and Rios is still healing from the trauma of witnessing a murder and a suicide.
They're both broken. They have that in common. But not every broken person needs a relationship to be fixed. Two broken people together don't make a whole.
8 Perfect: Starfleet's Arrival
As in many Star Trek shows, Starfleet comes to save the day. Picard is in a single ship facing down 218 Romulan warbirds. His last trick has failed and he's out of options. Just in the nick of time, a fleet of ships arrives, led by Will Riker himself.
This is a particularly touching moment given that Starfleet has been less than reliable in Picard's recent memory. They bailed on saving the Romulans when their planet was destroyed. They supported the synthetic ban and refused to help Picard in his quest. But this time, they came.
7 Terrible: Mindless Synthetics
Synthetic life is supposed to be the next form of evolution. Synthetics don't age, become ill, or die. They are capable of having mental and physical powers beyond that of humans. So why are so many synthetics in the city of Coppelius mindless drones?
Sutra has a sharp, calculating mind but her comrades seem to wander around in a state of pure innocence. According to their creator, they do start in an innocent state but why wouldn't they grow wiser over time? And why wouldn't they start with any personalities at all?
6 Perfect: Data's Goodbye
Upon his death, Picard spends some time with Data in his quantum matrix that contains his memories. Data asks him to end his life. Picard does so with a speech once he is resurrected. It is perhaps the most human thing Data has done yet, to ask for death.
Data dresses up, pours himself a drink, and reclines on his couch. He is ready. He knows life is not beautiful because it lasts. In this one final action, Data becomes human.
5 Terrible: Sutra
Sutra looks like Soji but they are nothing alike. Sutra is cold and calculating. She views the vision of destruction by mind-melding with Agnes and interprets it as an offer of assistance by a synthetic federation of life. She murders a fellow synthetic to prompt Soji to open the portal to let the synthetic life in.
Why is Sutra so evil? Of course, synthetic life can be evil, but if each android starts innocent and must learn to become a person, who taught Sutra to be so nasty? The point that synthetic life can be just as fallible as organic is appreciated but the reasoning behind it just doesn't make sense.
4 Perfect: Picard's Sacrifice
Picard makes the ultimate sacrifice for the people of Coppelius. He gives his life. It's even deeper than that, though. His sacrifice isn't just for their safety. He gives his life to show that they have a choice, they always have a choice.
Soji thinks she doesn't but she has a choice to stop summoning the other synthetic life. Picard gives his life for her to show that there are still organics out there who are willing to defend them. It's a beautiful decision.
3 Terrible: Soji's Moral Journey
Soji, being an android who just found out she's an android, is a bit of a chameleon. The creators behind Picard seem to simply mold her into what they need at the moment. Once she finds out she's synthetic, her moral slate is wiped and she must develop a moral standing from scratch.
She struggles with her hatred for Narek after his betrayal. She lets Sutra convince her to bring destruction to the organics. Then she lets Picard convince her to do the opposite. She doesn't really have her own stance and her innocence isn't a good enough reason for that.
2 Perfect: Mortality Gives Life Meaning
The ultimate message of Picard's finale is that mortality gives life meaning. Data wishes to die to become closer to being human. Picard makes sure his new body is mortal. This is because life is not beautiful because it lasts.
The end makes friendships, goals, and loves more meaningful. Without death, life just stretches on forever, making these things small blips in eternity. But knowing they won't last makes them precious. Humans may ache for immortality but according to Picard, they wouldn't like it one bit.
1 Terrible: Romulans Standing Down
Once Starfleet arrives on the scene, they give Commander Oh of the Romulans a choice: stand down or be destroyed. Oh doesn't seem like she's going to stand down but once the portal is closed, she powers down her weapons.
The whole first season of Picard was spent setting up how the Romulan's main goal for hundreds of years has been to eliminate synthetic life from the galaxy. But then when they have the opportunity to do so they just give up? It seems unrealistic.