Picard Recap—Season 2 Episode 9 “Hide and Seek”

Jean-Luc Picard, in the dark, hides behind a pile of barrels and boxes, one hand leaning on the pile.

Who would have thought that the fate of the Federation would rest on an old man playing hide and seek with the Borg?
Picture: Primordial

Star Trek: PicardThe second season of had a ground to conclude in its last two episodes. As the threat of the Borg Queen and Q’s shenanigans in 2024 coalesced into an unholy marriage between the Borg and Dr. Soong, team Mermaid had to deal with a whole heap of mess this week – and paid top dollar to possibly change one of the star trektoughest villains for all time.

Image for article titled Star Trek: Picard's Battle of the Borg is a Battle for Everyone's Soul

“Hide and Seek” positioned itself as this big, action-packed thing – a battle between our heroes and the now-Borgified goons that Dr. Soong managed to pull out of nowhere for the Borg Queen to infect last week. Never ask about how a villain actually does things on this show, apparently, because pretty much only the stuff with the Borg Queen herself makes sense, and she was eating car batteries last week. But anyway, that was really only part of the picture. Riffing it unbelievably bad events from “Monsters” a few weeks ago, much of the episode is actually – out of necessity, as they’re being hunted by the Neo-Borg – Picard, Tallinn, Seven and Raffi making their way through the shadows of Château Picard to avoid being “assimilated” by automatic weapon fire. Look, roll with this, the Borg Queen is working with what she has in 2024.

Kidding aside, it’s a bit of a double-edged sword for picard, as we’re once again forced to see our titular hero come to terms with the trauma of his past. In “Monsters,” this was done to incredibly goofy effect, dampening the series’ momentum to create a near-mystery box whose answer most viewers could already guess after about five minutes. Although “Hide and Seek” has plenty of flashbacks similar to the traumatic night a young Picard saw his family split up, the awkwardness of those flashbacks is at least offset this time by the fact that they’re intercut with scenes of action rather than… scenes of Patrick Stewart lying on a medical stretcher in a coma. Yes, I would much rather see Seven and Raffi team up with a Neo-Borg with a knife than that, thank you very much.

Image for article titled Star Trek: Picard's Battle of the Borg is a Battle for Everyone's Soul

Picture: Primordial

But unlike “Monsters” and its half-hearted mystery character arc, “Hide and Seek” at least uses those flashbacks to Picard’s life as an important plot foundation, as Jean-Luc relives that night fateful. it’s what allows him to remember how to navigate the labyrinthine tunnels beneath the castle, evading capture by Soong and his henchmen. But it also becomes a crucial parallel between Picard and the villain he’s largely avoided for much of this season so far: the Borg Queen herself.

While the team Mermaid left to play hide and seek with live gun fire, aboard the ship itself the queen is slowly trying to work her way through her systems so she can fly away and get a head start 400 years on rebuilding the Collective into a more formidable force than ever before. After Jurati’s consciousness sufficiently controls the Queen’s overrun of her body, the Good Doctor reveals that she has hidden an unlock code for the ship inside a battle hologram with Elnor’s form. (kudos to Evan Evagora, who can actually do something for about 10 minutes again this season!), giving his friends plenty of time to get to the ship and try to defend it themselves. Or rather Seven and Raffi, because Jean-Luc is busy processing trauma and getting cornered by goons.

And by “defend him” I mean “immediately have Seven gored by the Borg Queen’s tentacles.” Whoops.

Image for article titled Star Trek: Picard's Battle of the Borg is a Battle for Everyone's Soul

Picture: Primordial

As Seven is dying Mermaid, however, Jurati is making her big play, tying this season’s queen arc with Picard’s own realization around the trauma of her mother’s death. As Picard finally confesses to Tallinn the doubts he always had about his involvement in his mother’s suicide – as a child, he couldn’t bear to hear his mother crying alone, so, against his father’s wishes, he opened her bedroom door to sleep with her, only to leave it unlocked long enough for her mother to leave and hang herself during a depressive episode – Jurati manages to wrest control of the Borg Queen from her body long enough to avoid she finishes Seven. But she’s also playing her big game, convincing the queen that part of the reason she’s doing all of this is a desperate act of loneliness. Much like Jurati, the Queen became aimless and despondent with the loss of the Collective, and as horrible as the Borg have been before, it was all driven by that desire for companionship. Why not, argues Jurati, work with the lonely woman with whom the Queen now inhabits a body to rebuild a collective based on a mutual desire for connection, instead of violent assimilation? How about a Borg Collective that is a support structure across the galaxy, instead of a conquering Empire?

The plot somehow works, and just as Picard acknowledges and embraces the pain of his own loneliness in Tallinn, the Borg Queen accepts that her own loneliness can be shaped into a Borg who is better for the entire galaxy. – and begins by healing Seven, giving Seven her implants in the process. The two most dominant characters in the entire series finally come to terms with the importance of being loved by those around them – and while for Picard it ends a lifelong trauma, for the Borg Queen it seems to present a realization and the chance that the Borg can be a kind of force for true good. It is not the first time star trek wondered if there was a kernel of something good in the idea of ​​the Borg – several episodes of Traveler played on the health of smaller-scale collectives independent of the larger hive mind, like the cooperative seen in “Unity” or “Survival Instinct” and its former, temporarily estranged Borg. But in a show that struggled with, and ultimately embraced, its relationship to nostalgia for star trek and The next generationsincerely positing that the Borg could be convinced to change and become something new on a large scale, is arguably the boldest piece of storytelling picard did for the wider star trek universe.

Image for article titled Star Trek: Picard's Battle of the Borg is a Battle for Everyone's Soul

Picture: Primordial

But time will tell if he actually stays as bold in the future as he does right now. Right now everything is potential and the prices have been paid for that potential. Jurati is, for the most part, gone, now fully on board with the Borg Queen and no longer herself as a first step into that happier hive mind. Seven must reconsider her own relationship with her Borg identity and the trauma that comes with it, metaphorically and literally with the return of her implants. The Mermaid is gone, seemingly dooming our friends to 2024 unless they restore the timeline. And, now, an out-of-control Soong runs with the promises of his own legacy driving him on.

That and… well, picard still has a season to go. For all the promise of a changed Borg now, very easily next season we could see that reversed, putting the Borg back into their traditionally villainous role, and now even worse thanks to all that extra foresight and preparation time that Jurati has offered to the queen. And what other kind of threat could bring back the classic GNT deck crew for one last huzzah than an all-powerful Borg collective, after all? There is also of course the nostalgia inherent in the series and star trek to the big one. Could the franchise really handle a future where the Borg aren’t a threat every time they show up? All we can do is wait and see how it goes.

Which, in all likelihood, will not be in picard season two finale. This episode has sufficient to deal with even with the Borg Queen in the rear view mirror now, and though the show has struggled to focus in this second half of the season, with a major threat stashed away at least this finale possesses to focus on Soong…and whatever else Q is still up to. Let’s see if he can at least wrap those comes together with as much potential as this one.


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