Brent Spiner Returns To Picard – Star Trek Time-Travel Story Gets Clearer
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Brent Spiner Returns To Picard – Latest Star Trek Episode Reveals Who Needs Saved

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BY April 29, 2022

In the season 1 finale of Star Trek: Picard, fans said goodbye to Data as the character moved on to whatever afterlife awaits an artificial being. Yet, actor Brent Spiner returns to Star Trek: Picard in the latest episode, this time as another Doctor Soong ancestor. We also learn more about the mysterious Watcher introduced last week and the person Jean-Luc Picard is here to save. The time-travel mysteries abound in this season, yet it feels as though we’re about to get some answers about what the mission is for Picard and his friends.

Of course, there’s still a bit of a villain problem. There is no obvious Big Bad for the season. Yet, there is no shortage of potential candidates. We have John DeLancie back as a slightly de-powered Q. We have Annie Wersching as the Borg Queen, who are aiding our heroes but definitely has plans on top of plans. Now, we have Doctor Adam Soong (I think) who we saw briefly in holographic form in the nightmare future that Picard and the gang woke up in episode 2. He reportedly coined the Confederation’s motto “A safe galaxy is a Human galaxy.” While this does give us Mirror Universe vibes, this is certainly a different kind of fascistic, authoritarian regime.

Yet, as is a typical twist of time-travel fate, it may be that the “villains” in our story are actually our heroes. It’s not uncommon for time-travelers to create the very problems they were sent to fix. At least, if showrunner Terry Matalas’ 12 Monkeys is any kind of indicator.

Spoilers to follow.

Lea Thompson Star Trek Image by Nicole Wilder via Paramount+

Brent Spiner Returns to Star Trek: Picard as Yet Another Doctor Soong In Latest Episode

One of the most exciting parts of the first season of Star Trek: Picard was the chance to see Patrick Stewart reunited with his The Next Generation-era castmates. Last year we saw Jonathan Frakes (director of this week’s episode), Marina Sirtis, and Jonathan Del Arco. However it was the return of Brent Spiner as Data. The end of Data’s story was a little incomplete after Star Trek: Nemesis. When Data met a better end last season, we thought we might say goodbye to the actor as well. Not so.

Along with Data (and his brother Lore), Brent Spiner has probably played more characters than any other main cast member. Most of his other characters are members of the Soong family, a genetics and cybernetics powerhouse of people who all look suspiciously like Brent Spiner. He played Data’s creator Noonian Soong. Spiner also played that character’s descendent Altan Soong in Picard last year. He played their ancestor Arik Soong in Star Trek: Enterprise, and now Adam.

More interesting than the strong Soong face gene is that Adam’s daughter is played by Isa Briones, whose synthetic characters including Soji were at the center of last year’s story. She has an uncurable genetic condition that forces her to live in a bubble. Q shows up to offer to cure her in exchange for Soong’s help to “remove an obstacle.” And it has something to do with the person that the Sirenna crew is here to save, Renee Picard the ancestor of Jean-Luc.

Brent Spiner Returns to Picard Renee Picard Image by Trae Patton via Paramount+

Who Is the Villain and What Caused the Nightmare Future?

The story crafted for 12 Monkeys was very clever, complex, but also laid out plainly before the audience. The writers, many of whom are on Picard, loved to put little clues in the show that spell out the answers to the show’s mysteries. (There are also many Easter Eggs for that show in this one, such as the book cover for The Pallid Son, a Dixon Hill mystery, that I’ve taken to calling “Monkey Droppings.”) Still, with this in mind, things may not be exactly as they seem. It’s pretty clear that Q is as much a villain now as he always was. Annie Wersching’s Borg Queen also seems like a villain yet considering that in the Star Trek: Picard season 2 premiere they asked to join the Federation, I am not so sure about her place as an antagonist. The question becomes “is she bad or is she just Borg?”

However, I suspect that Q’s plan might be a little more complex than Picard and the gang think. I suspect they may actually end up causing the thing they went back in time to change. Renee Picard, played be Penelope Mitchell, was seen in the final moments of last week’s episode. In the first episode this year, Jean-Luc mentioned that she was “instrumental” in the early manned exploration of the Sol system. In this episode, we learn she feels she’s not ready. Perhaps she’s right, and in trying to get her on this mission, Picard and company end up getting her killed. (Or, at least, they are forced to save her at the last minute with the Sirenna.)

Brent Spiner Returns to Picard Image by Trae Patton via Paramount+

Sure, it may be just as simple as Q trying to erase her accomplishments. And her death could mean that Jean-Luc ceases to exist. (Hulk voice, “Time travel!”) Still, I suspect that the problem is more complicated than what the team thinks it is. In fact, Brent Spiner returns to Star Trek: Picard just in time to probably be the actual reason the future goes so haywire. They may be focused on Renee, when it’s really Doctor Soong they have to watch. And the key, just like last year, is probably Isa Briones’ character.

Star Trek: Picard debuts new episodes Thursdays on Paramount+.

What do you think? Did you expect Brent Spiner to return to Star Trek: Picard this season? Do you think that Picard and the Sirenna crew are going to cause the problem they went back to solve? Is the Borq Queen really the villain? Share your thoughts, reactions, and theories in the comments below.

Featured image via Paramount+

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Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book of superhero short stories, Tales of Adventure & Fantasy: Book One is available as an ebook or paperback from Amazon.

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