Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Ending Of Picard Season 2 Episode 2 Explained

Contains spoilers for "Star Trek: Picard" Season 2, Episode 2, "Penance."

"Star Trek: Picard" Season 2 kicked off with a whole new storyline that is already taking viewers on an exhilarating, edge-of-your-seat journey through space. Episode 1 left off with Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) in a seemingly new reality and face to face with Q (John de Lancie), who may have rescued Picard from certain death when he attempted to destroy his own fleet rather than allow it to fall under Borg control, but at what cost?

Episode 2, "Penance," picks up at Picard's home in France, only with much darker surroundings, including a room decorated with the severed heads of his alien adversaries. This gruesome display is something that Picard would have never done in his own timeline, giving audiences a better idea of just how high the stakes are for our favorite Starfleet captain to correct what has been changed. However, in this timeline, Picard is a ruthless leader in a totalitarian world and is expected to show up at the President's palace for Eradication Day. It's here that he learns the rest of his crew have fallen into the same terrifying change with each of them placed on a new life path but frightened as they are still very much their old selves.

It doesn't seem like it can get any weirder or any worse with all that's going on until Agnes (Alison Pill) and Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) reveal that there is another being on this timeline who shouldn't be there. This being may even have an idea of how to remedy the situation. The catch? She's the Borg Queen (Annie Wersching).

Q changed the course of time, but for what reason?

Picard's discussion with Q at the beginning of the episode explains that Q is responsible for this disruption of the timeline. His actions may have spared the lives of Picard and the rest of the crew on the Stargazer, but whether or not they're in a better situation than the one they were in before seems unlikely.

It's not lost on any fan of the "Star Trek" franchise that Picard has a deep-seated disdain and lack of trust in the Borg after they used him to essentially cause a massacre. Q mentions to him early on in the episode that he needs to learn a lesson of forgiveness and atonement. Could he be referring to the long-lasting hate Picard has for the Borg? Or something else? Nevertheless, when Picard comes face to face with the Borg Queen in the basement of the President's palace, he greets her with a level of scorn that seems pretty on par with his would-be persona of the Confederation of Earth timeline he's now in.

What change was made in the past to create this alternate timeline?

This new Earth that our main characters have been tossed into only looks similar to the Earth they once knew. A longer look reveals a planet whose environment is dangling by a thread and ruled by fascists looking to eradicate the galaxy of all that isn't human. The Borg Queen seems to know more than she's capable of saying and mentions a change taking place in the year 2024. Crucially, she does not specify what particular change occurred to make this new timeline a reality.

In the "Star Trek" universe, the year 2024 (not to mention the entire 21st century) is a dark time. The world is a place of civil unrest, and America is a place of poverty and wealth hoarding. The year 2024 is also a catalyst for the third World War that would take place just three short years later. For Q to alter something in 2024, he would have had to make a change that would alter every event that took place in the 21st century, thus allowing the Confederation to take control of everything.

Who is the Watcher and how can they help?

The Borg Queen tells Picard that she can see the change in timeline takes place in Los Angeles. When he presses her for more information, she speaks of someone she calls the Watcher, who can help them repair what has been done. While the Borg Queen isn't the most ideal person to get this essential intel, it is the only lead they have to use to their advantage, and their options at this point are looking bleak.

This begs the question: Who is the Watcher? Is the Watcher just Q waiting for them in Los Angeles? Not likely. That would be far too easy. But the Borg Queen names the Watcher as someone who can help, and this gives the idea that the Watcher is someone who is aware of the change to the timeline and may be able to fix it. Or that the Watcher themselves are what needs to be changed for Picard to restore the future and rid the Earth of the Confederation.

We're left on the brink of a showdown on the La Sirena

After security at the President's palace blocks the group's first attempt to beam up to La Sirena where Rios (Santiago Cabrera) is waiting for them, Picard and Seven of Nine are left with no options other than to attend the Eradication Day ceremony, where Picard is to kill the Borg Queen in front of thousands of mind-warped civilians. However, when Picard can't pull the trigger, and a battle begins to ensure, Agnes (Alison Pill) beats the system and beams them out just in time. Aboard the ship, the crew puts shields in place, but a few members of the Confederation beam up anyway via a presidential override. After shooting Elnor (Evan Evagora), they have the rest of the crew with their hands in the air, seemingly helpless.

It appears we can expect "Picard" Episode 3 to give us the details of how this stand-off will end, but with the highest-ranking members of the Confederation already wanting to take them out, it's clear that getting to Los Angeles and finding the Watcher won't be an easy feat. The entire crew of La Sirena is now a pariah in a corrupt, totalitarian world. Against all odds, they must locate somewhat of a needle in a haystack to bring any peace to the galaxy or their lives.