Warp Factor Trek

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Star Trek: Picard races to its thrilling climax with an exceptional penultimate episode. It resolves a key plot point and sets up the show’s endgame.


Continuing from the previous episode, Deanna Troi successfully opens the “red door” within Jack Crusher’s mind. In shock, she races to inform Beverly Crusher and Jean-Luc Picard of her realisation that Jack is being influenced by… the Borg.

A Borg cube in Jack Crusher’s mind

Jack’s parents are devastated by this revelation. They realise that Picard never had Irumodic Syndrome and that the Borg have used his former link to the Collective to pass some kind of organic technology onto Jack. Picard plans to break this news to Jack, but Troi warns that he is potentially dangerous.

Picard nevertheless meets with his son and discusses his own assimilation, advising Jack that he will need to be kept under lock and key. The young Crusher doesn’t take kindly to this and exhorts his mind control over two security guards. Commandeering a shuttle, he hurriedly departs in search of the Borg Queen.

Jack warps away in his shuttle

Picard consults separately with Beverly and Data. While with Data, he is summoned to sickbay by La Forge.

Jack arrives in a nearby nebula. There, a Borg cube emerges from a transwarp conduit, appearing in front of Jack’s shuttle.

Riker, Dr. Crusher, Picard, Data, Worf and La Forge have a discussion about Borg biology

In the Titan’s sickbay, it’s revealed that the Borg have added extra genetic coding into Picard’s DNA. It also appears that Jack is able to transmit Borg signals to the unassimilated… but precisely how is another question. Worf reminds everyone that Frontier Day is now. The entire fleet has consequently been convened above Earth. Realising that they urgently must warn the fleet about the Borg-Changeling conspiracy, Picard orders Captain Shaw to set a course for the Sol system.

Frontier Day celebrations get under way. The Enterprise-F, commanded by Admiral Shelby, makes a dramatic appearance, majestically departing from Spacedock and engaging in flight manoeuvres with the other Starfleet ships.

Admiral Shelby, returning from TNG’s “The Best of Both Worlds” two-parter… and a back-of-head-only cameo by the Borg Queen

Jack beams onboard the Borg cube. Hearing the voice of the Borg Queen drawing him closer, he explores the vessel’s corridors, while the Queen names him “Võx” — “the voice” of the Borg. Eventually, he finds her. Unable to kill the Queen in cold blood, Jack is assimilated.

La Forge, Data and Beverly discover that the Changelings have modified the transporter system to accept Picard’s modified Borg DNA as part of its base system. They realise that this DNA has been passed to every crewmember who has used the transporter.

The Titan arrives during the Frontier Day festivities

The Titan arrives in orbit of Earth as Frontier Day celebrations are in full swing. However, the Borg start broadcasting a signal. The youngest crewmembers across the fleet are susceptible to this interference, including all human crewmembers under the age of twenty-five. The signal causes the youngsters to become drones. They, in turn, begin to eliminate all the unassimilated, taking over the various vessels. Onboard the Titan, Picard, Riker, Shaw and Seven come under attack from their former shipmates but manage to escape into a turbolift.

In sickbay, a distraught Geordi is comforted by Data and Beverly and attempt to devise a plan. Riker, Picard, Shaw and Seven head to the maintenance deck as it’s the only place where no crew will be assigned. Docked in the bay, there is a shuttle which they can use to escape. They request anyone who has not been assimilated to meet them there. When the turbolift doors open, they are met by Geordi, Data, Beverly, Raffi, Troi and Worf.

The team prepares for action

Before the crew can board the shuttle, multiple drones appear. While trying to coordinate the escape attempt, Captain Shaw is shot. He tells Seven that the Titan is hers now. The final moment Seven shares with Shaw is deeply moving as he finally accepts her for being herself. Raffi stays behind with Seven.

Fleeing the Titan, the TNG crew speed back to the Fleet Museum, where La Forge reveals to them that — over the past two decades — he has slowly been restoring the Enterprise-D. The crew enter the bridge. It’s an emotional moment. This is now the only starship that isn’t connected to the rest of the fleet. After a moment’s reflection, the crew take their familiar seats and launch the Enterprise from the Fleet Museum. Picard orders the ship back to Earth and the Enterprise leaps to warp.

The Enterprise-D launches from the Fleet Museum


Rating: 5 out of 5

Finally, we have the answer to who is controlling the Changelings and what has been impacting Jack Crusher: the Borg. It makes sense for the cybernetic foes to be the final adversaries for the TNG crew to face on both a thematic level and also, in Picard’s case, a deeply personal one. The new Borg cube looks imposing. Its interior includes nods to the “Best of Both Worlds” set design. It’s also wonderful to hear Alice Krige back as the Queen, in truly menacing form.

Sadly, we must say goodbye to Captain Shaw. Todd Stashwick will be sorely missed in the final episode. His character has been a true highlight of the season and will be remembered as a fan favourite.

The deceased Shaw

The episode is directed excellently by showrunner Terry Matalas, who shows a cinematic flair, especially with the visual effects. Stephen Barton’s score is suitably epic and weaves many familiar themes into the episode. But the most valuable contributor this week is Dave Blass, whose production design is exemplary. His recreation of the Enterprise-D is simply perfect.

The final ten minutes of the episode is truly a gift to all TNG fans. The return of the Enterprise-D and seeing the crew onboard will go down as one of the greatest moments in Star Trek history. It’s a scene many of us fans have imagined for years but seeing it in reality evoked so many overwhelming feelings. To quote another captain, “My friends, we have come home.

The Enterprise-D’s senior staff inspect their bridge

Next week’s two-hour series finale promises an epic final confrontation with the Borg. One hopes we have enough time to see all the story threads explored and resolved. After nine excellent episodes, I have full faith in Terry Matalas and his vision.

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