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Star Trek Picard Theory: The Current Changelings Are Partnered With The OG Borg

"Star Trek: Picard" lifted at least one nugget from the J.J. Abrams era of the franchise: The mystery box, that tantalizing promise of answers that gets tied to a string and trailed down the sidewalk as viewers desperately try to catch up. Sometimes it pays off, and you get "Lovecraft Country" or the first season finale of "Westworld." Other times, you get the other "Westworld" season finales, or that time Picard found out that all Q ever really wanted was a hug.

The show's final season features a doozy of a mystery with the return of the Changelings, the Gamma quadrant hive mind of shapeshifting oatmeal people first introduced on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine." Following a "schism" in the aftermath of Odo's return at the end of the Dominion War, it seems like certain members of the species got some sand stuck in the sensitive nooks of their regeneration buckets. The hows and whys of their newly regained crankiness have yet to be explored on screen, but fans have a theory.

The thinking, posted to Reddit's r/StarTrek forum by user u/classycatman, goes more or less as follows: What if the Changelings — or at least the grouchy ones — teamed up with the Borg — or at least the grouchy ones — to form a more perfectly terrifying union? What if, through either teamwork or assimilation, these two horrific tastes started tasting great together, combining into the worst of both to avenge their respective defeats at the hands of the Federation?

Star Trek: Picard might have made the Changelings even worse

There's a bushel of thinking that went into the idea that war might have made the Changelings and the Borg into strange bucketfellows. The facts are these:

The Changelings that we've seen on "Star Trek: Picard" have undergone a remarkable upgrade since "DS9." Now, if one turns into, say, David Schwimmer, it will replicate David Schwimmer's organs, musculature, bone structure, and blood instead of just Play-Doh Fun Factory-ing itself into the same approximate shape as the star of the "Madagascar" franchise. More than that, if someone figures out that the David Schwimmer lookalike walking around the bridge of the Titan might be an imposter and decides to treat him to a hasty phaser blast, the infiltrator's body will just keep looking like David Schwimmer instead of turning into a pile of goo, the way that Changeling bodies have traditionally responded to death in the past.

That, along with a few other hints at the species' refined knowledge of anatomy — see Vadic (Amanda Plummer) and her amazing lava lamp hand — points to the Changelings teaming up with the sort of species that has a good feel for biology. Maybe the kind of species that has experience replacing humanoid body parts. Maybe the kind with whole memory banks dedicated to the inner workings of thousands of assimilated species.

But wait, that's not all. Just beware of spoilers moving forward.

Could the Changelings and the Borg bring back Picard's worst enemy?

If you caught Episode 6 of "Star Trek: Picard," you'll already know that the Changelings are hankering for a showdown with Starfleet, getting the whole dilithium-powered lot of them in one place in what seems like a daisy of a tactical whoopsie-doodle. You might even remember that the Changelings have pulled something suspiciously similar in the past, baiting the Cardassians and Romulans into an all-out assault on their homeworld, only to spring a fleet of Jem'Hadar on them when they least expected it.

In order to pull off a last-minute surprise like that here, the Changelings need something big up their sleeves. According to the theory, that's where stealing Picard's (Patrick Stewart) body comes into play. The Changelings need the dormant Borg nanoprobes still hibernating in his insides to bring back Locutus, Picard's very special assimilated boy form. With Locutus, rebuilt through Changeling biology and Borg technology, the two species would have a new leader with a foot in both camps and an aching desire to assimilate some solids. What's more, with all of those tasty Starfleet vessels in one place, they'd be in a spectacular position to do just that.

Will it pan out? We'll have to wait and see. "Star Trek: Picard" continues its final season with new episodes launching every Thursday on Paramount+.