Star Trek: Picard Season 2 Episode 9 Review: Hide and SeekDiana Keng at .
Like many of this season's offerings, Star Trek: Picard Season 2 Episode 9 treads new ground in terms of look and feel for a franchise that has traversed the galaxy but has typically retained a uniformity of style.
Furthermore, it continues the trend of Star Trek: Picard in that it invests in characters' introspection and reflection of self and the past.
Rather than contrasting humanity with other species and cultures, it reframes the humanity we think we know and allows -- even encourages -- growth in our perspective on how we shape the future.
The most prominent piece to fall into place here is the (literal) key to Picard's childhood trauma.
With Tallinn's support and, ironically, Adam Soong's intervention, Picard's relationship with his father became clear on Star Trek: Picard Season 2 Episode 7 when the truth of his mother's mental illness was revealed.
Maurice Picard: Play anything you want. Just don't break anything.
Yvette Picard: Maurice, must you be such a curmudgeon? It's a lovely day.
Maurice: Wars have been fought on lovely days. Industry and discovery don't reserve themselves for a slight chance of rain. So I've been told.
Young Picard: Curmudgeon.
However, at the time, Tallinn recognizes that there's more to the trauma that Picard's still hiding from his own conscious knowledge.
As his memories lead them into the tunnels under Château Picard to evade Adam Soong, they begin to blend with the present adventure.
Once Soong has fled, the key appears, and Picard finally opens the door on his greatest regret.
While the child he was could never have understood how his actions would facilitate his mother's suicide, the man he became carries the guilt.
It's the failure that has driven his successes, the tragedy that informed his triumphs.
There are moments in time we wish we could travel back to. Memories. Pieces of life better lived in reverse. In those moments, tragic endings might rewind into joyful beginnings. Moments of loss into those of gains.Picard
While he repressed the memory, Picard's need to save others spawned from his feeling of being unable to save her.
Accepting that memory as part of himself forces Picard to recognize the vulnerabilities in himself as well as those he'd put on a pedestal.
My mother was ill, I'm told, but I only ever thought she was inspired.Picard
And that vulnerability is echoed among his entire crew here as they, respectively, battle love, a Borg queen, and Death.
Rios and Dr. Ramirez's relationship continues to frustrate me on some level in that there is no satisfactory outcome to their love for each other.
You have no idea what this is like for me, do you? A miracle cure surrounded by miracles knowing, win or lose, I'll have to let them go.Dr. Ramirez
Assuming they find a way back to the future, does Rios take her and Ricardo with them? It seems unlikely that she would abandon the people who have come to depend on her and her clinic. Her work is far more integral to society that Star Trek: IV's Dr. Taylor.
Does Rios stay in 2024? Documentation can probably be found if Tallinn's willing to lend a hand. But what does a 24th Century starship captain do in 2024? And what sorts of immunities is he missing for all the diseases running around now that are probably eradicated by the time he was born?
Rios: This isn't my timeline. The future's yours. It's his. I'm just trying to protect it.
Teresa: What if your future is here, and it was always supposed to be?
Of course, the dilemma is solved if one or the other dies in the finale. It'll be a cheap emotional string to pull, but there's a non-zero chance that Jurati's still petty enough to want to ruin his happily-ever-after.
Setting aside that aspect of Jurati's personality for the moment, her showdown with the Borg queen is a powerful marriage of emotion and intellect.
It's fascinating to note that every turning point in the struggle between Jurati and the queen for dominance has been driven by the chemistry of emotion.
Borg queen: What is this?
Jurati: The history of the Borg. Or the only history that matters, the ending. How it always ends for you. A lone Borg-slayer, a united Federation, and they come for you. For your top-shelf, over-reaching, Icarus-worthy arrogance.
Borg queen: Prattling on is your choice of weapon. I can wait. You can't be sad forever.
Jurati: Do the Math. In this or any other universe, you always lose. It's why you fight so hard. You live with the death knell of your species across infinite timelines. You fear loss just like we do. You long for what we all long for. Connection. Longevity. Discovery. Only you offer it without choice.
And despite the trappings of logical extrapolation Jurati presents, it's emotion -- fear, loneliness, desperation -- that wins over the queen.
There's also the carrot of connection she dangles—a collective with vested emotional interest.
Imagine. Members who would fight harder for what they chose. Who would lose no battles because they made no enemies. Who would not be discarded and replaced. Attachments could grow and deepen.Jurati
The scope of Jurati's personal isolation must be vast for a Borg queen to see herself reflected accurately in it.
If you squint at it sideways, Jurati teaming up with the Borg queen is the ultimate assimilation.
In this case, her distinctiveness is not biological or technological. Instead, it is emotional and intellectual.
Jurati: Think about it. A Borg collective that embraces the uniqueness of its members.
Borg queen: You ask us to embrace weakness.
Jurati: I'm positing that what you've written off as weakness is actually strength.
It challenges the collective knowledge and experience that the queen has accumulated. It flips the script on the mission of the species.
It's a helluva coup for our not-always-so-good doctor.
Of course, learning mercy doesn't mean the queen is any less efficient in putting a plan into action. If saving Seven's life means Jurati will stop fighting her on taking La Sirena, sure, she'll do it. One would assume if Seven didn't want to be saved, she would've spoken up.
The return of Seven's Borg-ness has the feel of the inevitable about it. The fact that it results from an act of mercy versus assimilation is nuanced messaging when seen from her perspective in the moment.
I'll admit to being worried initially as she and Raffi made their break for the ship. It was all very Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid/Thelma and Louise-ish.
Raffi: You really would make a great captain. When we get out of this...
Seven: We're not getting out of this.
Raffi: No, probably not.
However, once Jurati engages the queen in debate over Seven's writhing body, I was pretty sure we wouldn't be mourning her this week.
After all, losing her just after receiving the holo-Elron's absolution would've been gratuitous Raffi beating, to be sure.
(Not exactly sure how the holo-Elron gets to have Elron's memories, but, as with the gun Picard was able to fire successfully after lying in the dank of the tunnels since World War 2, I'm not sweating the small stuff.)
So, with La Sirena in the proverbial wind, our heroes' last hope to save the future is to ensure the success of the Europa mission and preserve Renée Picard's contribution to extraterrestrial exploration.
Adam Soong looks like he'll be the villain of the piece. The big question is whether Kore can redeem her father's desire for legacy.
Adam Soong: I'm not... Well, I wasn't the violent man, Picard. This is all very new to me.
Picard: Oh, the promise of legacy reveals the rot that is hidden underneath it.
Will the finale return our crew to the 24th century, or will that be the crux of Star Trek: Picard Season 3?
Since they've seemed to have answered the question of the masked Borg queen from Star Trek: Picard Season 2 Episode 1, will they also answer where and when she goes between leaving 2024 and contacting Starfleet in the 24th century?
Finally, WHAT ABOUT Q?
Hit our comments with your thoughts and feelings. Are you connecting to this season? Where do you want to see them go for the finale?
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is a lifelong fan of smart sci-fi and fantasy media, an upstanding citizen of the United Federation of Planets, and a supporter of AFC Richmond 'til she dies. Her guilty pleasures include female-led procedurals, old-school sitcoms, and Bluey. She teaches, knits, and dreams big. Follow her on Twitter.