(written from a Production point of view)
This page contains information regarding Star Trek: Picard, and thus may contain spoilers.
At the end of the 24th century, and fourteen years after his retirement from Starfleet, Jean-Luc Picard is living a quiet life on his vineyard, Château Picard. When he is sought out by a mysterious young woman, Dahj, in need of his help, he soon realizes she may have personal connections to his own past.
Data and Jean-Luc Picard are playing poker in Ten Forward aboard the USS Enterprise-D. They discuss Data's ability to bluff. Data raises the bet to "fifty," everything Picard has. Picard makes tea to stall; he doesn't want the game to end. Picard goes "all in." Data lays down five Queens of Hearts, and Picard looks outside the window to see Mars, which begins weathering an attack by rogue synthetics. (ST: "Children of Mars") He gasps, and wakes up from this dream at his family vineyard, Château Picard.
Meanwhile, in Greater Boston, Dahj and her Xahean boyfriend are sharing a romantic evening. She tells him that she has been accepted for a fellowship in Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Consciousness at the Daystrom Institute. He jokingly criticizes her replicator options. Just then, a squad of masked men transport into the room. One throws a knife, killing Dahj's boyfriend. The men speak an alien language before switching to English. Forcing the panicking Dahj down on her coffee table, one places a pair of devices on her temples with a holographic interface and quickly swipes through a few screens, reporting that she hasn't been "activated." Getting her to her feet and throwing aside the table, they briefly interrogate her, demanding about the location of "the others" and where she's from, but from her bewildered responses, they determine they can get what they need later. They place a bag over Dahj's head to render her unconscious, but she begins fighting back, alarming them that she is now "activating". Behaving like a highly trained and skilled fighter, she incapacitates the squad in moments and shoots them dead with one of their weapons, all while the bag is still on her head. Pulling it off, she regards the scene in confusion and regarding the weapon, lets it drop in her shock. She kneels over the body of her boyfriend to mourn as his blood continues to pool on the floor, and with a sudden gasp, has a vision of the face of Jean-Luc Picard.
At Château Picard, Jean-Luc and his dog, Number One walk through the fields, greeting his workers tending to the grapevines as he passes by. Picard talks to the dog in French. He returns to the house, where he speaks with Laris and Zhaban, two Romulan refugees who work as his housekeepers. Picard talks of his dreams and how he is feeling melancholy. As Zhaban makes breakfast, Picard laments his agreement to be interviewed live by the Federation News Network. He orders his trademark Earl Grey tea from a replicator, but decaf this time.
He dresses in a jacket and tie as the news crew sets up in his study. He's nervous, making sure from Zhaban that the interview will not address Picard's separation from Starfleet: Zhaban assures he did so no less than three times. Laris tells him not to forget who he is and what he did, saying "we have not." Zhaban tells him to "be the captain they remember."
The FNN interview begins with a capsule biography of Picard. The interviewer asks him about the supernova that destroyed Romulus in 2387. Richter grows combative, asking him the very question that Picard dreaded: why he left Starfleet. He says that he left the USS Enterprise to command a rescue armada of ten thousand warp-capable ferries to Romulus before the supernova to relocate nine hundred million Romulans. He compares it to the evacuation at Dunkirk during World War II. Picard says that the Federation abandoned its duty to save millions of lives, regardless of whether or not they were Romulan. The unimaginable happened – the rescue armada was wiped out by a group of rogue synthetics who destroyed the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards, killing 92,143 residents and igniting the stratosphere, which still burns. The intention of the attack remains unknown, and synthetic lifeforms were banned as a result of the attack. Picard believes this ban is a mistake.
Richter brings up Lieutenant Commander Data, and asks if Picard ever lost faith in him. "Never", replies Picard. She asks what he did lose faith in, why he resigned from Starfleet. Picard says, "Because it was no longer Starfleet! We withdrew. The galaxy was mourning, burying its dead, and Starfleet slunk from its duties. The decision to call off the rescue and to abandon those people we had sworn to save was not just dishonorable, it was downright criminal! And I was not prepared to stand by and be a spectator!" He accuses Richter of having no clue of what his reference to Dunkirk was, of being a stranger to history and to war, and ends the interview.
Dahj comes across and watches the interview on a viewscreen from a rainy street corner. She recognizes the man from her vision.
Back at Château Picard, Picard sits on a porch with his dog, drinking wine and quoting Shakespeare: "No legacy is so rich as honesty," from All's Well That Ends Well. Number One begins barking; Dahj has arrived. Picard stands to look at her, and asks what she wants. She says she saw the interview, and asks if he knows her. He's not sure. She tells him of the attack in her apartment and her killing of the assailants. She just knew how to fight them; "it was like lightning seeking the ground." Picard holds her hands and tries to calm her. She tells him she keeps seeing his face. "Everything inside of me says that I'm safe with you," she tells him.
That evening, Laris and Zhaban heal Dahj's wound from the fight and offer her a blanket. Picard offers her Earl Grey tea and sits with her on an outdoor deck, and he comments on her necklace. She takes it off and hands it to him when he asks to see it. She asks him if he'd ever been a stranger to himself, and he replies, "Many, many times." He returns her necklace and asks her name. She knows his name somehow, from an "older, deeper" place. He agrees, but doesn't know why. He tells her she isn't crazy and that she isn't dangerous (Number One would have let him know). He offers her a room, and Laris takes her there. Before Dahj goes, she thanks Picard. He touches her necklace, left on the table.
In the morning, he has another dream. In the dream, Picard awakens, opens his window, and sees Data painting a picture in the vineyard. Picard, now in an old, familiar uniform, walks up to Data, dressed in the same style. Data asks Picard to finish the painting, but Picard doesn't know how. It's a painting of a woman with the face not yet started in a hooded cloak standing on a rocky shore in front of a stormy sea. Data tells Picard that it is not true that Picard cannot finish the painting, and as Picard reaches for the proffered brush, he is awakened by a clock. He has been asleep at his desk in his study. He quickly stands up to look behind him at a similar painting on his wall, only with the woman turned away to the sea. Laris enters, announcing that Dahj is gone: Dahj was up at 5 am and when Laris passed by the occupied guestroom, the door was open and she only found Number One in the bed. Picard tells Laris that he has somewhere to go, and to contact him if Dahj returns.
He travels to San Francisco to the Starfleet Archive Museum. His belongings have been locked in stasis at the quantum archives, to which he double-checks that only he has access to. After bantering with a hologram, Index, he walks into a single room facility containing memorabilia from his Starfleet career, ranging from a model of the USS Stargazer to the Captain Picard Day banner. He searches for an item, which beams into the facility inside a protective case. He opens it; it is the painting from his dream, only finished and with Dahj's face on the woman at the shore. Summoning Index, she reconfirms that no one has entered his archive, even for servicing. On his request, she states that the painting is an oil on canvas and one of a paired set painted by Data in 2369 and given to Picard during their service on the Enterprise-D. The title of this one is Daughter.
In Paris, Dahj is on the run. She opens up a holographic communicator device to contact her mother and tells her about the attack. She had gone somewhere to be safe, but concerned that her presence would put the people there in danger, she fled. Her mother is concerned, and tells her to go back to Picard. Dahj realizes that she hadn't told her mother about Picard, and is confused by how her mother knows. The face of her mother glitches and then tells her to focus and to find Picard. Opening her eyes, Dahj conducts a rapid-fire search on her communicator through secured systems to find Picard at the archives, all within seconds.
Picard is walking out of the building when Dahj appears. He's stunned to see her, and glad she is safe. She tells him she can hear conversations a block away, and worries she has schizophrenia. Picard tells her she does not, nor is she a "freak" – she might be very special. He tells her about Data, but that Data was not like those who attacked Mars. He insinuates that this is a common prejudice; Data was a decorated Starfleet officer who sacrificed his life for Picard over two decades ago. He was an artist and painted a picture of her thirty years ago. She says that's impossible. Picard tells her the title of the painting, Daughter, and relates it to her situation; he suggests the attack on Dahj became a "wake-up call," a "positronic alarm bell" that activated her power as an android. He reminds her of how she stated that "it was like lightning seeking the ground": the sudden emergence of her fighting abilities, the super hearing, and being able to search through Starfleet tracking systems to find him, which she most certainly did not have the proper security clearances for, all point him to the same conclusion. She protests, telling of her childhood in Seattle, where her father, a xenobotanist, developed a new hybrid of orchid and named it after her. He assures her that it is a "beautiful memory", but it is still hers and no one can take that away from her. He tells her to look inside, deeply and honestly, and see that she might be something lovingly and deliberately created, like the flower, and not a "soulless killing machine" as she fears. If she is who he thinks she is, she is dear to him. He tells her that they will go to the Daystrom Institute in Okinawa, Japan to see if she is indeed related to Data. He marvels when she tells him of her received fellowship.
She flinches, and warning Picard begins running, pulling him behind her. Someone is after them. Picard, out of breath, follows her up the stairs to a rooftop, where men similar to the group of assassins that killed her boyfriend and attacked her appear. She begins fighting them, using advanced hand-to-hand combat skills, dodging disruptor blasts, and leaping long distances. She smashes the mask of one of the men, who is revealed to be Romulan. One spits an acid at her, damaging his gun that Dahj is holding and getting it on her lower face and clothes. Dropping the weapon, the acid eats away and burns her, and she screams in pain. As Picard shouts in horror, the compromised weapon causes an explosion that envelops Dahj and blows Picard back some distance.
Flashes of his dreams and events of the day appear as Picard awakens at home, tended by Laris and Zhaban. Picard tells them that Dahj is dead, and they are shocked. The police told them he was found alone on the roof, and according to the feeds, got there alone. They wonder if she has access to a cloaking device that interfered with the feeds. Picard muses she must have had an automatic system that triggered when she was in danger, and that she was a refugee, like Laris, like Zhaban, and like himself. He laments his life in hiding, "nursing [his] offended dignity, writing books of history people prefer to forget." He declares, "I haven't been living. I've been waiting to die." He stands up with purpose.
At the Daystrom Institute, he meets with Doctor Agnes Jurati. He asks her if it is possible to make a sentient android out of flesh and blood, and she laughs. She realizes he is serious and says it is impossible, a thousand years away. He tells her he had tea with one. They walk to the remains of the Division of Advanced Synthetic Research lab area, now a "ghost town" of unused work desks since the ban on synthetic lifeform research and production. The rogue synthetics came from their lab: now they do only theoretical research. The creation of new androids would be a violation of galactic treaty.
Jurati opens a drawer containing a dissembled B-4. B-4 turned out to be "not much like Data at all," and most of Data's positronic network was lost after it was transferred to B-4. (Star Trek Nemesis) Nobody had since been able to redevelop the science to create a Soong-type android. She tells Picard she was recruited by Bruce Maddox out of Starfleet to work on developing such technology, but after the ban, an emotionally crushed Maddox disappeared; she's been unable to find him.
Jurati tells him that any new android, even one of flesh and blood, would need to be created out of Data's neural net, now lost. He holds up Dahj's necklace, and she is stunned. She sits, and tells him the necklace holds a symbol for "fractal neuronic cloning," a radical idea of Maddox's that would have allowed a new android, created from Data's code and possibly including his memories, to be cloned to a degree, reconstituted from a single positronic neuron and thus contain an essence of him. Picard declares Dahj to be Data's daughter, created by Maddox and modeled after Daughter; he comments that Data "always wanted a daughter". Jurati says it would be possible to create a female android from Data's positronic neuron, using the plural "they." Picard asks, "twins?" Jurati concurs: they were created in pairs. "So there's another one..." Picard muses.
A Romulan transport flies into a dock at the Romulan Reclamation Site. Narek walks on a catwalk over to a "Doctor Asha." She looks exactly like Dahj. He introduces himself, and she introduces herself as Soji. He compliments her necklace, identical to the one in Picard's possession: she briefly explains it was made by her father, a match with the one her twin sister wears. Narek talks about his brother (not a twin), deceased unexpectedly as of last year. She offers to listen to Narek's "sad story".
It is revealed that the Romulan Reclamation Site is inside the wreckage of a Borg cube.
"See... and raise."
- - Picard and Data, first spoken lines of the series
"He won't take breakfast from me."
- - Zhaban and Picard
"Tea. Earl grey. Decaf."
- - Picard
"After so long, sometimes I worry you've forgotten what you did, who you are."
"We have not."
- - Laris and Picard
"The Federation understood there were millions of lives at stake."
- - Picard and the FNN Reporter
"You left the Enterprise to command the rescue armada. Ten thousand warp-capable ferries. A mission to relocate nine hundred million Romulan citizens to worlds outside the blast of the supernova, a logistical feat more ambitious than the pyramids."
"The pyramids were a symbol of colossal vanity. If you want to look for a historical analogy: Dunkirk."
- - FNN reporter and Picard
"We withdrew. The galaxy was mourning, burying its dead, and Starfleet had slunk from its duties! The decision to call off the rescue and to abandon those people we had sworn to save was not just dishonorable, it was downright criminal! And I was not prepared to stand by and be a spectator. And you, my dear, you have no idea what Dunkirk is, right? You're a stranger to history. You're a stranger to war. You just wave your hand and it all goes away. Well, it's not so easy for those who died, and it was not so easy for those who were left behind."
- - Picard, to the FNN reporter on why he left Starfleet
"And no one beside myself has access, correct?"
"Unless you prefer we sell tickets."
"Is that humor?"
"We're trying something new."
"Don't give up your day job."
- - Picard and Index
"I was born in Seattle. My dad was a xenobotanist, and our house was full of orchids. He spliced two genuses and he named the offspring after me: Orchidaceae Dahj oncidium. Yellow and pink."
"That's a beautiful memory, and it's yours. No one can touch it or take it away. But you must look inside deeply and honestly. Have you ever considered the possibility-"
"That I'm a soulless murder machine?"
"That you are something lovingly and deliberately created, like Dahj oncidium."
"You're telling me that I'm not real."
"No, I'm not. If you are who I think you are... You are dear to me in ways that you can't understand."
- - Dahj and Picard
"I haven't been living. I've been waiting to die."
- - Picard
"How can I help you?"
"You can tell me if it is possible to make a sentient android out of flesh and blood."
" No, really. How can I... Is that why you've come here?"
"Even before the ban, that was... Well... W-Well a flesh and blood android was in our sights, but a sentient one? Not for a thousand years."
"That makes it even more curious that recently, I had tea with one."
- - Agnes Jurati and Picard
Cast and characters
- Patrick Stewart reprises his role as Jean-Luc Picard. He last portrayed the role in Star Trek Nemesis, while an image of Picard prominently appeared in "Children of Mars".
- Brent Spiner reprises his role as Data, albeit only in dreams. Spiner previously voiced the role in a cameo for "These Are the Voyages..." and last portrayed Data in Star Trek Nemesis. Spiner also portrayed B-4 in that film, and his likeness is used to show the disassembled android in this episode.
- This episode marks the third series premiere of a Star Trek series in which Patrick Stewart portrays the role of Jean-Luc Picard. He previously appeared in "Encounter at Farpoint" and "Emissary". Notably, it is also the third time that Stewart delivers the first line of spoken dialog in a Star Trek series.
- "Children of Mars" is a prequel to this episode, showing the attack on Mars through the eyes of two school children. Dialog indicates that this episode takes place over ten years later.
- Various time references imply that this episode is set in or after 2399. Data is said to have painted Daughter in 2369, and the events of Star Trek Nemesis took place in 2379. Picard states that Data died "over two decades ago", and created the painting with Dahj's face "thirty years ago".
- Except for "Calypso", which is set in the far future, this series marks the first Star Trek production to take place in the prime universe after the destruction of Romulus in 2387. It confirms that the prime universe survived and continues to exist after Spock and Nero traveled back in time and created the alternate reality.
- Picard is haunted by dreams of Data, an officer and friend who served under him from 2364 to 2379. Picard was the last person to speak to Data before his death in Nemesis, when the android sacrificed his own life to save Picard's. In these dreams, Data performs actions that hearken back to his interests during the time of Star Trek: The Next Generation, including painting pictures, as seen in "Birthright, Part I" (among others), and playing poker, as seen in "Descent" and "All Good Things...". Data appears to Picard in two distinct Starfleet uniforms of the 2360s and 2370s.
- Data had another "daughter", Lal, in "The Offspring", which is referenced obliquely in Picard's conversation with Dr. Jurati.
- This episode confirms that Data's attempt to transfer his memories into B-4 failed, as B-4 was an inferior version of a Soong-type android.
- The FNN interviewer's dialogue suggests that the star which caused the Supernova of 2387 was the primary of Romulus and Remus.
- This episode confirms that Bruce Maddox continued his research on Soong-type androids since the 2360s. He was last seen in "The Measure Of A Man" and last mentioned in "Data's Day".
- Parallels can be drawn between this episode and the anti-time future shown in "All Good Things...". In both episodes, Picard spends his retirement as a winemaker and is then taking on an unofficial mission. However, Picard's retirement in the anti-time future, set in approximately 2395, was implied to be due to his impending illness, not a resignation in protest of Starfleet's actions.
- Château Picard was first established as the residence of the Picard family in "Family". Jean-Luc Picard's brother Robert lived there with his family until he and his son René died in a fire at the chateau in 2371 as referenced in Star Trek Generations, leaving Picard as the last living member of his family. It is never established what happened to Robert's wife Marie.
- This is the first on-screen appearance of the Daystrom Institute. It is established that the Institute is located in Okinawa, Japan.
- An advertisement for Kasidy Yates Interstellar Freights can be seen in Greater Boston.
- Identifiable artifacts from Jean-Luc Picard's life in his quantum archive include: models of USS Stargazer, USS Enterprise-D, USS Enterprise-E, and the Captain's yacht from the Enterprise-E; the Kurlan naiskos; a TNG-era bat'leth and d'k tahg; and the Captain Picard Day banner.
- The Enterprise-E model marks the first depiction of the exterior of a Sovereign-class starship outside of a Star Trek film.
- Another object seen in the quantum archive is Picard's edition of The Globe Illustrated Shakespeare: The Complete Works usually seen in his ready room aboard the Enterprise-D in the first season of TNG and in his quarters aboard the Enterprise-E in Star Trek: Insurrection. The book is opened to the first two pages of Act III of All's Well That Ends Well, the Shakespeare play Picard quotes earlier in the episode.
- This is the first time in Star Trek history that Romulans both with, Zhaban, and without, Laris, brow ridges are seen on screen together, even if Zhaban's ridges are less pronounced than those of TNG-era Romulans. Previous episodes and films showed only either one or the other variety of Romulan appearance.
- The episode marks the first on-screen appearance of a Tellarite in the 24th century outside of archive footage.
Reception and aftermath
Music and sound
- Composer Jeff Russo describes some of the composition of the main title theme in TRR: "14", mentioning that the piccolo sections both early and late in the theme are deliberate tie-backs to the Ressikan flute from "The Inner Light".
- The opening song, "Blue Skies," was also heard in Star Trek Nemesis. There, the song was sung by both Data at the beginning and B-4 at the end of the film. The version heard in this episode is sung by Bing Crosby, the grandfather of The Next Generation regular Denise Crosby.
- When Picard arrives at the Starfleet archive, which appears to be near Starfleet Headquarters in San Francisco, Jerry Goldsmith's theme from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which was also the theme for Star Trek: The Next Generation, is paraphrased, just as we see him enter the building and talking with Index. The first time this theme was heard as incidental music, as opposed to main title tune, was also the first time we ever saw Starfleet HQ in San Francisco in The Motion Picture.
- The motif that plays from the moment we first see the Romulan Reclamation Site is a musical paraphrase of the incidental music used throughout "Balance of Terror", the first episode involving Romulans.
Links and references
Special guest star
- Orla Brady as Laris
- David Carzell as Dahj's Boyfriend
- Merrin Dungey as Richter
- Jamie McShane as Zhaban
- Sumalee Montano as Dahj's Mother
admiral; aircar; Andorian; All's Well That Ends Well; armada; Attack on Mars; B-4; blood; bluebird; "Blue Skies"; Borg cube; California; Château Picard; Class C shuttlecraft; Orchidaceae Dahj oncidium; Daughter; Daystrom Institute; defense net; Division of Advanced Synthetic Research; doctor; dream; drone; Dunkirk; Duras, son of Ja'rod; Earl Grey tea; Earth; Enterprise-D, USS; Enterprise-E, USS; Federation News Network (FNN); female; Ferengi Alliance; fractal neuronic cloning; France; genus; Golden Gate Bridge; Greater Boston; hologram; hovercar; Human; Kasidy Yates Interstellar Freights; Kings; Klingon; La Barre; London Kings; Maddox, Bruce; Mars; military tactician; neural net; Okinawa; police; orchid; painting; Paris; planetary defense shield; poker; pupil; replicator; Romulan; Romulan Reclamation Site; Romulan sun; Romulan transport; Romulus; San Francisco; schizophrenia; Seattle; Shakespeare, William; Soong-type android; Starfleet archive; Starfleet Archive Museum; Starfleet Museum Quantum Archive; stratosphere; synth; synth ship; Tellarite; Trill; Utopia Planitia Ship Yard; vanilla; warp-capable ferry; wine; Worf; Xahean; xenobotanist
Starfleet Archive Museum references
2321; 2327; 2333; 2340; 2349; 2350; 2351; 2355; 2360; 2364; 2375; 2380; 2386; academy advisor; academy graduate plaque; Alpha Quadrant; Andoria; Andorian award; Andorian language; Bajoran award; Bajoran language; banner; bat'leth; Betazoid Loyalties award; cadet; captain (rank); Captain Picard Day; Class of 2327; Command and Control; Cousteau; Crystal Planet Award; degree; Dignified Person award; d'k tahg; Galaxy of Planets and Suns; The Globe Illustrated Shakespeare: The Complete Works; graduate; Grankite Order of Tactics; Hall of Honor; Honorary Olympian; Humanitarian Award of Federation Planets; kilometer per second; Klingon Planetary Humanitarian Award; Klingonese; Kurlan naiskos; Latin; Legion of Honor; Leondegrance, USS; Paris; Picard Maneuver; professor emeritus; Reliant, USS; USS Reliant Service Award; Rising Phoenix; Silver Medal in Diplomacy; Speed of Light Club, The; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet Academy Games; Starfleet Command; Stargazer, USS; Vulcan award; Vulcan language; work ethic
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