The Ending Of Picard Season 2 Episode 5 Explained

Contains spoilers for "Star Trek: Picard" Season 2, Episode 5

The plot gears are finally turning in Season 2 of "Star Trek: Picard." After quite a bit of setup in the previous episodes, we are finally getting what seem to be answers regarding how Q (John de Lancie) has altered the timeline to create his hellish version of the 25th century, and what the crew of the La Sirena must do to stop his meddling.

Directed by Jonathan Frakes, Episode 5 finds our crew getting the hang of the 21st century and deciphering Q's plan. Admiral Picard (Patrick Stewart) has tracked down the Watcher (Orla Brady), who bears an uncanny resemblance to his Romulan assistant, Laris, minus the pointy ears and arched, alien eyebrows. He soon realizes that the space mission to Europa we've heard chatter about in the background of the past couple episodes is vastly important. Jean-Luc's ancestor, Renee Picard (Penelope Mitchell), is an astronaut aboard that flight, and Q has diverged the timeline by convincing her not to go. Unable to use his godlike powers to accomplish this, Q is posing as a therapist to talk her out of going.

But while Q schemes and wheedles his way into history's path, the crew of the La Sirena manages to reunite after various circumstances drew them apart in previous episodes — and now they've got The Watcher on their side. So, as the episode draws to a close, it seems they might have a plan, however daring, to set things right and save the future. 

Here's the ending of Episode 5 explained.

John de Lancie delivers a different kind of Q

Data may have died for good at the end of "Picard" Season 1, but Brent Spiner is now back as Doctor Adam Soongh, presumably the ancestor of Data's progenitor, Noonian Soongh. Also back is Isa Briones as his daughter, Corey, who is afflicted with a strange genetic disorder that causes sunlight to "turn her blood to poison."

It looks like talking Renee Picard out of going on the Europa mission isn't enough, because Q approaches Soongh with the cure for his daughter's condition, promising to ask something in return later. Desperate to save Corey, Soongh uses the cure on her and sure enough, she's able to step outdoors for the first time and can even fulfill her lifelong dream of taking a swim in the pool. But after a few minutes, Q's serum wears off, and she collapses as the disease takes hold once more. Soongh tells Q that if he has the real cure, he will pay any price, and Q says, "I want you to remove an obstacle." Clearly, Q is not here as a good Samaritan and will extract a hefty price for Corey's life.

It seems odd that Q, who is virtually omnipotent, doesn't simply snap his fingers to get things done, but it appears something is wrong with the old demigod. As he tells Soongh, "I have discovered of late that I have certain limitations." His power is waning, and at the end of Episode 4, he is unable to mind control Renee into doubting herself, something that should have been simple as pie for him. That's presumably the reason he resorted to posing as her analyst instead and is now manipulating Soongh. 

The great Q is now reduced to simple human trickery. When John de Lancie promised "a different kind of Q," he meant it.

Saving the future means crashing a fancy party

Q, stripped of his powers, has a plan to convince astronaut Renee Picard not to board her spaceship to Europa, thus ensuring that humanity never understands the hope for its future that lies among the stars, and setting the world on course for the dystopian future seen in Episode 2, "Penance." Picard convinces The Watcher, that they must get in close to Renee in order to stop him.

The Watcher identifies their window of opportunity to be a private, black-tie gala celebrating the mission, after which the astronauts will go into pre-launch quarantine. However, the event is tightly guarded with digital security. Each guest, The Watcher explains, is given a "radio frequency" invite that "corresponds to a database of their entire life," and on the inside, attendants will be monitored by cameras with facial recognition technology, meaning they can't transport in. Additionally, the system is self-contained, making it impossible to hack remotely. That kind of security seems like overkill if you're not expecting a bunch of people from the year 2401 to show up, but it gives the show an excuse to mimic the tropes of a classic heist movie. The Watcher can temporarily get one person through security, so Doctor Jurati (Alison Pill) dons a flattering red dress to attend the gala and hack the system from inside the building.

Once inside, Jurati is spotted by security and detained, but it's all part of the plan. She's cuffed and put in the security control room, exactly where she needs to be. That seems like precisely the room you wouldn't want to bring someone who's a threat to security into, but lest viewers dwell too much on that point, this episode has one last, massive twist to throw our way. Jurati is once again hiding a dark secret.

Jurati slays the Borg Queen and gains a frightening new companion ... the Borg Queen

While the other crew are busy busting Rios (Santiago Cabrera) out of an ICE deportation bus and tracking down The Watcher, Agnes Jurati is left aboard the La Sirena with the Borg Queen (Annie Wersching). After getting a taste of Jurati when the two melded, the Queen is determined to make her a Borg. While Jurati sleeps at the nearby ruins of Chateau Picard, the Queen fakes a call to the police, and when a cop arrives, she lures him into the ship and kidnaps him. Jurati arrives back on the ship to find the Queen's tendrils choking the officer to death, and shoots her dead.

It's not until the very last scene of the episode, when Jurati is detained in the security control room of the Europa gala, that the true sequence of events is revealed. After being shot, the Queen implanted herself in Jurati's mind, and the doctor didn't exactly resist. Now, the Queen is co-piloting the doctor. Her body may lie dead on the La Sirena, but her consciousness persists. Jurati's loneliness has been emphasized this season, and the Queen seduced her with the promise of becoming Borg and merging into the collective. Neither of them is alone anymore, but at what cost? Hiding inside Jurati, the Queen is sure to remain a wrench in the gears for Picard and his crew, and it's unlikely someone as anxious and impulsive as Jurati can contain such a powerful being for long.

Loneliness has been a major theme this season, with Jurati's fear of isolation mirroring Jean-Luc's refusal to form romantic attachment to Laris in Episode 1, "The Star Gazer." This shocking twist shows just how far these characters can be pushed by heartache. But at this critical juncture in the crew's adventure, they can't afford to make mistakes.

The story of Episode 5 calls back to an earlier film

As the end credits roll on this episode, it seems as if the events of the Europa gala will take center stage next week. The event is, for now, the last chance to stop Q's plan from succeeding, and any number of factors could veer things off course. Renee Picard must fulfill her destiny and travel to Europa, or else Q's dystopian future of a xenophobic human society ruled by tyranny will come to pass. He's already succeeded in destabilizing her. She's on edge at the gala, drinking heavily to calm her nerves. Meanwhile, Jurati, handcuffed in the gala's security control room, has the Borg Queen loose in her brain, and there's no telling what that might lead her to do. Last season she committed murder and double0crossed the crew — and that was without humanity's most fearsome foe jockeying for control of her mind.

Meanwhile, Q is manipulating events from behind the scenes. Even with his diminished powers, he remains the biggest threat on the board. Whatever he's planning to ask of Doctor Adam Soongh, we can assume it won't be good for Jean-Luc and the crew. Q's ominous question for Soongh was, "Does the name Picard mean anything to you?" Whether that means Jean-Luc or Renee is unclear, but keep a lookout for the disgraced geneticist in next week's episode.

This isn't the first time Picard has needed to convince someone to travel to space to save the future. The plot of the film "Star Trek: First Contact" revolves around the Enterprise traveling back in time to ensure that the inventor of the warp drive makes his first faster-than-light spaceflight. It's among the best "Star Trek" movies and also featured the Borg Queen, so "Picard" has a high bar to clear moving forward.