Is Star Trek: Picard Ruining Its Own Redemption Story?

The following contains spoilers for Star Trek: Picard Season 2, Episode 8, "Mercy" streaming now on Paramount+.

Of all the alien civilizations in the Star Trek Universe, the most feared of them all is the Borg Collective, led by the sinister Borg Queen. For Jean-Luc Picard and Seven of Nine, the threat of the Borg was an especially personal one as they had both been traumatically assimilated into the Collective for a time. However, while the start of Star Trek: Picard Season 2 featured the return of the Queen as a tenuous ally to Picard and the crew of La Sirena, this potential redemption story appears to be something of a misdirect as the Queen takes on a new, villainous agenda.

The Borg Queen was presumed dead after the events of Star Trek: Voyager, with an alternate timeline’s Admiral Kathryn Janeway infecting the Queen with a deadly virus that spread throughout the Collective. Years later, the Queen resurfaced and contacted Picard and Starfleet with a message that she wanted to join the United Federation of Planets, prompting the armada to meet her in case this was all an elaborate ruse. When the Queen forcibly accessed Starfleet’s ship systems, the security officers responded with violence and were easily incapacitated, though the Queen did not employ lethal force to protect herself.

This meeting was cut short when Picard and his friends found themselves in a divergent timeline seemingly orchestrated by Q where humanity was the dominant, totalitarian force in the galaxy. Rescuing the Queen from the authorities, the Borg leader used her keen analytical mind and cosmic awareness to help La Sirena travel back to the point of the divergence in the 21st century. However, despite saving her life and receiving valuable help, Picard and his crew kept the Queen under restraint, with only limited access to La Sirena’s systems.

These precautions were a wise measure if, ultimately, futile. The Queen managed to escape from La Sirena by implanting her consciousness into Agnes Jurati’s body, sensing a kindred spirit with the synthetic life specialist. Since then, the Queen has been ingesting metals that allow her to assimilate Jurati further while gaining the ability to assimilate others into this new Collective. And with her support growing, the Queen has allied herself with the twisted Doctor Adam Soong to face a mutual threat in Picard.

It was presumed that Q would be Picard Season 2’s primary antagonist, but as the season has continued, it’s becoming clear that the Borg Queen and Adam Soong fill that role instead. In a conversation with Guinan, Q was surprised at the insinuation that he created such widespread changes to the timeline, hinting that the Queen and Soong’s alliance is responsible for the divergent timeline instead. With Soong something of a revered figure in the alternate future, he could betray the Queen to seize power and steer the course of galactic history himself.

Picard Season 2 set up the possibility of Picard and Seven working with and potentially even forgiving their greatest, most personal enemy. Instead, the Borg Queen has quickly reverted to her villainous ways, betraying the time-traveling crew to reach her own selfish ends. The Queen’s initial motives to approach the Federation are still unknown, but given her breaking bad once again, these questions have been tabled as she becomes a nightmarish threat to the timeline.

To see the Borg Queen revert to her villainous ways, Star Trek: Picard releases new episodes Thursdays on Paramount+.

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