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Star Trek: Picard Season 2 continues the rollercoaster ride with episode eight, “Mercy”. This episode combines three main storylines – Picard and Guinan, Seven and Raffi, and Kore and Adam Soong.

Following their arrest at the Ten Forward bar, Picard and Guinan find themselves in the custody of FBI Agent Wells. He’s insistent that they are aliens intent on sabotaging the Europa Mission, and he’s determined to stop them.

Raffi and Seven, still searching for Jurati, question a worker at the bar she visited (Paramount)

The odd-coupling of Seven and Raffi is seemingly going off the rails, as Seven asks who she is in their relationship. It was funny when she dodged the question by saying, “Never mind,” and moved onto asking a bar worker about Jurati. Seven lies to him that Jurati is her sister. “How’s that for analog?” she asks Raffi, and this remark – with just the right amount of dry smugness – elicited a chuckle from me.

Questioning Picard and Guinan, Agent Wells reveals that he’s obtained photos of Picard’s crew at the gala. Guinan senses that Wells has a personal connection to the case, and Picard privately expresses concern that the Europa Mission could be canceled by their own doing, rather than due to Q.

The plot involving Adam Soong and his daughter Kore thickens as we learn more about Kore’s genesis. She uses a VR headset – a nice use of modern technology – to explore her father’s lab. Q appears in the augmented reality view, explaining that she’s genetically engineered. He leads her to a small vial of the blue substance that was tested on her a few episodes back, in “Fly Me to the Moon”.

Seven intuits how Jurati, possessed by the Borg Queen, is thinking, which impresses Raffi. However, this reaction annoys Seven, who accuses Raffi of manipulating the people she loves. Finding some batteries brings back memories of assimilation for Seven. She mentions that, when assimilating, the Borg inject stabilizing metals to prepare for nanoprobes. This was interesting new information about the Borg. Jurati arrives and attacks the couple. However, she manages to mentally overcome the Borg Queen enough to simply walk away.

Meanwhile, Rios and Teresa grow closer romantically, and Wells proceeds to interrogate Picard alone… but to no avail.

Picard being interrogated by FBI Agent Wells (Paramount)

It turns out Guinan did succeed in summoning Q, as he arrives to be her “questioner.” They chat, and she senses that he’s dying.

Kore confronts her “father,” Adam. She questions his love for her before demonstrating that she, having digested the blue liquid from the small vial, is now free to leave him. The hostility between them was wonderfully acted by Isa Briones and Brent Spiner. It appears to me that Adam Soong is now the true villain of the season, not Q. It feels like this reveal took too long, because I honestly thought Q was the true villain of the season, based on what he’s been doing.

Seven and Raffi realize that a part of Jurati’s mind must still exist, as evidenced by her showing them mercy. Raffi admits to Seven’s earlier assertion that she manipulates people. A flashback shows us a conversation between her and Elnor. He was considering stepping away from Starfleet Academy for a year so he could return to Vashti and help the Qowat Milat. This flashback was beautifully done, with excellent cinematography. Now, Raffi fights to hold back tears – obviously thinking about Elnor – and says he stayed at Starfleet Academy because of her. Jeri Ryan and Michelle Hurd superbly acted this tender moment.

After the possessed Jurati confronts Adam Soong, Guinan does something that no El-Aurian has ever done before in Star Trek – depicted with some very impressive visual effects, she sends Picard a telepathic projection, saying, “All humans are stuck in the past.

Afterwards, we finally get context for a scene from a trailer released before the Season 2 premiere – a boy undergoing a mind meld. This boy was Wells, who had discovered a Vulcan survey party and ran from them. One of the Vulcans attempted a mind meld to erase the child’s memory but was beamed away before he could finish.

Committing yet another violation of the Temporal Prime Directive, Picard reveals to Wells that he’s a human from the 25th century and has come back in time to save the galaxy. He admits that, to succeed, he’ll need Wells’ help.

Picard and Guinan in custody (Paramount)

Alone with Picard, Guinan explains what she meant about humans being stuck in the past. She reckons they have a unique capacity to live in the past until they’re able to reconcile emotional fractures inside themselves. Wells has been fired over his claims regarding extraterrestrials and allows Guinan and Picard a means to escape. The two express eagerness to meet each other again in their respective futures.

Adam Soong’s villainy ramps up when the Borg Queen, as Jurati, offers him relevancy in exchange for the resources she needs. Her proposal ties to a virtual statue of him in the Confederation of Earth timeline, which appeared in the second episode this season, “Penance”.

Raffi and Seven rendezvous with Picard. They determine that Jurati is en route to La Sirena, so they plan to head there themselves.

Adam Soong has meanwhile deployed an army of ex-special forces to commandeer the vessel. The Borg Queen assimilates the first of these troops.

Rating: 5/5

Overall, “Mercy” is a fantastic episode that serves to progress the story. The drama in this episode really works for me.

It’s looking increasingly likely that Jurati will become the Borg Queen. Although that development may not please many fans, her transformation is wonderfully acted by Alison Pill.

Wells actor Jay Karnes appeared in Star Trek once before: in the Voyager episode “Relativity”, as Lieutenant Ducane, the first officer of the timeship Relativity. The name “Wells” has also been used before, as the Relativity‘s class of timeship. These are interesting connections. Whether Wells is actually Ducane, sent from the future to stop Picard and his crew from meddling further with the timeline, is currently anyone’s guess.

Whatever happens, I can hardly wait to see episode nine. We’re nearing the end of this rollercoaster ride, and I’m looking forward to the end, feeling like this season will conclude nicely.

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