Now I Know What It Looks Like When You Lie

The cold open Star Trek: Picard – Two For One begins with Jean-Luc on the ground, unconscious. It’s clear that something is very, very wrong. We then jump back to “34 minutes earlier” to Picard in evening wear with Tallinn at the gala. 

He and Tallinn chat briefly about Laris, his Romulan companion who he brushes off as “someone of no importance.” But, Tallinn sees right through him. As Picard and the team snake their way through the security line, Jurrati is in the security office “with” the Borg Queen. She uses some technology to knock out the security officer and, unable to reach the keys to unlock herself, cedes some power to the Queen to allow her to break her handcuffs and hack the system. I suspect that Agnes giving power to the Borg Queen will cause her some trouble in the near(ish) future.

And Who Is Watching Over You?

Pictured: Patrick Stewart as Picard and Orla Brady as Laris

Inside the Gala, the crew spreads out to keep an eye on Renee Picard. We see her at the bar on her phone and downing shots. Picard and Tallinn discuss her role as a watcher, that she lives by a code and never interferes. Juratti and the Borg Queen continue their conversation from the control room. It’s clear that Agnes does not have as much control over the situation (and the Queen) as she believes. Raffi and Rios meet at the bar where Rios goes on about his love for the 21st century – the intensity, music, alcohol, cigars, food, and his run-in with the Doctor. Raffi warns him to keep his distance from her. The two of them also take notice of Seven and her ease of interacting with people (now that she doesn’t have her Borg implants).

Renee Picard has made her way back to the bar where she continues to down shots. Tallinn notes that she is fiddling with her ear – a tell that she is struggling mentally. Tallinn and Jean-Luc hack into Renee’s phone and find that she is texting with Q who is encouraging her to bow out of the mission. Picard decides that he is going to “break the code” and speak with Renee.

Agnes and the Borg Queen head over to the Bar where the Queen points out that she (Juratti) has been getting a lot of attention lately. Their partnership has given Agnes more confidence, which draws others in. Rios walks over and asks if her communicator is off because Picard has been trying to page her. He tells her he is worried about her. The Borg Queen takes control of Agnes for a moment and grabs Rios and kisses him. 

Not Anymore

Pictured: Penelope Mitchell as Renee Picard

Renee storms out of the Gala and Jean-Luc follows her. However, he is stopped by Adam Soong. It appears that Q asked Adam to target both Jean-Luc and Renee. Adam warns Jean-Luc to stay away and let Renee drop out of the mission. It turns out that Adam has made a sizable donation to the Europa Mission, landing him a VIP spot on the board. He directs the Chair to have Jean-Luc removed from the Gala.

Security starts to pursue Jean-Luc as he tries to follow Renee. He’s surrounded and the exits are covered. Juratti, with the help of the Borg Queen, initiatives an electromagnet pulse to drop the lights and she appears on the balcony singing a show-tune version of Pat Benatar’s “Shadows of the Night.” I won’t lie, this moment took me aback because it was a surreal moment in the episode. Agnes’s performance produced a flood of endorphins that empower the Borg Queen to fully take control of Juratti. 

During the distraction of Juratti’s performance and the power outage, Jean-Luc is able to find Renee. He approaches her disguised as a security guard and engages Renee in conversation; providing her with some sage advice to keep her on track to complete the mission. When Renee quotes Q to him, saying that “fear is a friendly reminder that you aren’t ready,” he corrects her and tells her that “fear is fear. It doesn’t speak in riddles.” His words resonate with Renee and it seems she is ready to return to the party (and the mission).

How Much Worse Could It Possibly Get?

Pictured: Orla Brady as Laris and Santiago Cabrera as Rios

As they walk back to the party, a car (driven by Adam Soong) comes barreling toward them. Jean-Luc pushes Renee to safety, but he is hit. This is the scene we opened at the beginning. With Picard badly wounded, the team debates where to take him, since he can’t go to a hospital and decides to go to Rios’s Doctor friend.

At the clinic, the doctor is able to stabilize Picard but he remains unconscious. Theresa knows there is something not quite right with Picard, but can’t identify it, and is livid with Rios for lying to her and bringing her into this situation. She leaves to go pick up her son saying she will return in about an hour. The team further examines Picard and determines that his synthetic body has somehow “trapped” him in his mind. Tallinn decides to go into his brain to help him to escape. 

Dr. Soong returns home to his daughter raving about how he has invested his life and money into his research and his daughter. He is both shocked by how far he will go for his research and devastated by his failure to take out Renee. Kore is confused by Soong’s ravings and goes searching for answers. She finds record after record of Adam Soong with his “daughter;” they all look like her at different ages, but with different names – and she doesn’t remember any of the events in the photos. Listening to Adam Soong’s notes, it becomes clear that these are all different “versions” of her, Kore. Her “father,” Adam, is a “mad scientist” and that Kore is his last and greatest genetic experiment. 

The episode ends with a Borg-possessed Juratti walking toward Downtown Los Angeles.

Star Trek: Picard – Two For One Episode Analysis

This episode furthers the plot quite a bit, as well as answers a number of driving questions around the show. I loved the evolution of Adam Soong’s character as well as his “daughter,” Kore. We have met many Soong’s in the Star Trek universe. With the name Adam, I wonder if this means that this Soong is the first in the line of “mad scientists?” In the last episode, Adam had an interesting reaction when Kore asked about her mother and now we know why.

The fact that Kore is identical to Dahj and Soji also makes sense in that the Soong’s (and subsequently Data) held on to her memory somehow. I love this tie back to Season 1. I also wonder if there is significance to her name. In Adam Soong’s notes, his other “daughters” had names from Greek Mythology (Persephone, Proserpina, etc.). Kore, however, is the name of a Greek statue of a young woman. Perhaps a testament to her permanence? Of course, the mystery remains–what is Adam Soong trying to do with Kore? 

We also finally get to see what exactly the Borg Queen did to Agnes Juratti. It seems that Agnes inadvertently brought the Borg to Earth centuries before we made contact with them. It also lends more credence to the theory that Agnes is the Borg Queen we saw in Episode One. But what will happen to Los Angeles with a Borg Queen running around? 

There are still some mysteries that the show has yet to answer. One of them is why does Tallinn look identical (except for the ears) to Laris? Is it possible that Tallinn is the watcher of all Picards (not just Renee)? Perhaps 300+ years has made her forgo her vow to never interfere? 

What is going on with Q? Why has he lost his powers? Why is he so driven to stop Renee from going to space? Is this just some Q gambit gone awry? Does he believe that Renee is somehow the reason his powers have disappeared? 

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! And Stay tuned to THS for more news and reviews!