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The Ending Of Picard Season 2 Episode 8 Explained

Contains spoilers for "Star Trek: Picard" Season 2, Episode 8, "Mercy."

Season 2 of "Star Trek: Picard" is well underway, and by this point, our team of space (and now, time) travelers have each found themselves in a deep well of trouble within the comparatively primitive setting of 2024 Los Angeles. While Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) is coming out of a vehicle-induced medical crisis and journeying deep inside his mind, the issues are mounting and tensions are ramping up with the other crew members. Jurati (Alison Pill) has officially assimilated with the Borg Queen (Annie Wersching) and is wreaking havoc across the entire city, while Captain Rios (Santiago Cabrera) is falling for Teresa Ramirez (Sol Rodrigues), the clinic owner that has now treated both Rios and Picard in secret.

While the "Star Trek" characters are continuing their pattern of definitely not keeping a low profile and trying to remain a somewhat organized team, the La Serena crew also faces the matter of the Europa space mission, which just so happens to be the make or break moment for the future they can hopefully return to when this is all over. With Q (John de Lancie) actively trying to remove Picard's ancestor Renée (Penelope Mitchell) from the mission and an FBI agent believing that Picard himself is an alien set on sabotage, saving the timeline seems far from possible at this point — unless a massive stoke of luck comes to the crew very quickly.

The Borg Queen is taking Los Angeles and then ... the world?

As the Borg Queen continues to terrorize Los Angeles while disguised as Jurati in a red ball gown, Raffi (Michelle Hurd) and Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) are hot on her trail — hot enough that they eventually catch up to her. Raffi is almost strangled to death by the Queen before Jurati gains enough control of her body to prevent it. The Borg Queen is terrorizing L.A. for a specific reason: to use lithium-ion batteries for power and eventually track down the very man who Q targeted earlier, Dr. Adam Soong (Brent Spiner), to get his help.

It would seem the Borg Queen is attempting to gain a significant headstart on her own future by assimilating as much of 2024 as she can. If she's successful at this, she'll have no need to help Picard and the La Serena crew save the future from crisis because she'll have rebuilt her own empire, only much larger and more powerful than before. While this is all deeply concerning, she's also doing all of this inside the body of Jurati, who is very aware of everything going on. The destruction the Borg Queen causes — and plans to cause — makes her dangerous, and while Raffi and Seven of Nine want to stop her and save Jurati, they may have to kill this alien foe, which would also kill their good friend and crewmate Jurati.

Picard has even more unfinished business in his own past

Picard and Guinan (Ito Aghayere) are taken in by an extraterrestrial-obsessed FBI agent who swears they must be aliens sent to sabotage the Europa mission. As it turns out, the agent is carrying trauma from when he ran into a few Vulcans who failed to erase his memory while in his youth. Q visits Guinan and reveals he is dying, and he constructed this whole elaborate mess in order to give his life meaning. However, he does give Guinan some good advice that she relays to Picard: "All humans are stuck in the past."

Picard uses this information to bring the FBI agent over to their side by discussing his childhood Vulcan run-in. Crucially, Picard is also human, and this entire season has shown a lot of his past, from his own perspective, through flashbacks. This includes whether it's his relationship with his father that turns out to be a fabricated scenario made up by his struggling mother or his own fear pushing him to accomplish greatness in his adulthood. Why is Picard still lingering in his own past so deeply? 

Guinan and Q agree that humans have to reconcile the past before they can move on from it, so it would seem while he can help people like the FBI agent move on from their past, Picard is far from finished reconciling his own.

Soong is just the ticking time bomb the Borg Queen needs

Corey (Isa Briones) is questioning her very existence as Dr. Soong begins to buckle under the pressure of trying to eliminate Renée and obtain the cure for Corey's ailments. After hacking into Soong's computer, Corey comes across Q, who seems to have planned this all along. He's left a gift for Corey labeled "Freedom." The gift is the cure for all of her various health problems. After confronting Soong with the truth, she shows him her gift before ultimately walking away and leaving him behind with a new form of failure that he wasn't expecting.

After Q's betrayal and Corey walking out of his life, the already on-edge Soong is approached by the Borg Queen, who takes advantage of his vulnerability and wants to use him to further her own agenda. Soong is spread thin and, at this point, is suffering from the devastation of his own shortcomings and appears to be willing to destroy a multitude of lives in order to gain revenge and take out his anger. 

But is he ready to ruin his own present and everyone else's future because Corey found out he'd been lying to her for years, and she didn't want to be an experiment anymore? Q may have pushed Soong way over the edge by dangling the cure in front of him and then ruining his life's work, and the consequences aren't going to be good.