“Hide and Seek”
Star Trek: Picard Season 2, Episode 9 – Debuted Thursday, April 28, 2022
Written by: Matt Okumura & Chris Derrick
Directed by Michael Weaver
An action-packed episode with emotional punch ties up a lot of the loose ends.
WARNING: Spoilers below!
“You will have to find us first.”
As Queen Agnes arrives with her new little collective, Rios, Teresa, and Ricardo escape from La Sirena to Chateau Picard to rendezvous with the rest of the gang. The mercs hunt for our heroes; their green laser finders may be on-brand for Borg, but make them easy to spot. Taking a bullet to the shoulder, Cristobal is sent back to Supervisor HQ along with Dr. Girlfriend. Picard and Tallin head into the chateau with Seven and Raffi splitting off on their own. Everyone agrees… the Queen cannot use that 25th-century ship to jump-start the Borg in the 21st century.
Picard faces Borg Team 6 led by Adam Soong, who’s now fully embracing his inner supervillain complete with monologuing. The opponents outline the stakes: It’s Federation v. Confederation. Remembering playing hide and seek (episode title alert!) with mom, Jean-Luc uses a secret door down to those dangerous tunnels. Picard follows his younger self through the memory of the worst day in his life as the fantasy is stripped away, revealing a very troubled “lost” young woman endangering her own child, only to be found by a father struggling to keep his family together. Pulled back to the now, Picard fends off Soong’s squad with some conveniently placed munitions from Nazi resistance days. Vive la France!
“Let’s play keep away.”
Queen Jurati’s first move is to assimilate corpse queen’s fetish style in lieu of that red dress. Feeling herself again, her majesty proceeds to take the ship, only to be stopped by her inner human who has been “poking around in that trash dump of a mind.” Hey, words hurt, Agnes. The struggle over control of the shared brain plays out nicely as Dr. Jurati reveals she has locked the ship up tight and left the key with this week’s reason to bring back Evan Evagora, now the Elnor-y Emergency Combat Hologram, who starts effortlessly dispensing Borg.
Meanwhile, Seven and Raffi are fighting their way toward the ship while keeping up their banter and showing they are back in sync. The couple that stabs Borg together, stays together, and they even have time for some backstory about Seven being rejected by Starfleet over the whole former drone thing. On La Sirena, Holo-Elnor gives Seven control so the former drone can turn the Borg on board into wall features at Chateau Picard. Raffi uses this time to work off some of her guilt, admitting to fake Elnor how she manipulated real Elnor, with the Combat Hologram—apparently also programmed for comforting—giving her absolution.
“This moment I am so powerless to reverse.”
Only the Queen remains on the ship, immune to the transporter trick, so Holo-Elnor takes her down with some fight scene fun. But the good guys forget the Queen’s sexy corset comes with a bite in the form of tentacles that dispatch the ECH, knock down Raffi, and put a big hole in Seven. Yet even after some villain talk about how much organics suck, the Queen isn’t able to finish Seven off as her inner Agnes again asserts herself with a tear. Crying? There’s no crying in the Collective! Agnes shows the Queen visions of her eventual fate, the Borg defeated. This ship won’t make a difference: “In this or any other universe, you always lose.” But she has a counterproposal. Maybe the Borg stop with the whole “resistance is futile” schtick and try instead to ask nicely before assimilating. An open hand instead of a nano-tubule, if you will. And she can start by healing the dying former drone at her feet. You had me at “Let’s build a universe of Sevens.”
Back at the Chateau, Jean-Luc is having less luck with the mad scientist who tracks him down to the atrium. Undeterred by warnings of the evil future he is setting in motion, Soong is set to kill Picard just in time for Rios to remember he is a Starfleet captain who must put smooching behind to save the day in a perfectly timed beam-in. With time to fire off one last bad guy cliché, Soong escapes, leaving Picard (literally) holding the key to unlocking his past, finally remembering how on that fateful day he opened the door, freeing his troubled mother, which later allowed her to hang herself in this very atrium. Seeing her like that is what has kept Picard stuck all his life. Tallinn, this agent in the form of his own Laris, breaks it down for him. Love can be a “curse,” but it is also a “gift.”
“We lost a friend, but we regained ourselves.”
The Queen makes her decision and plunges nanoprobes into Seven—not to kill, but to heal. She will live, “but there was a cost.” All of Seven’s Borg implants are back… amazingly, exactly the same as they were before the timeline was changed. But Jurati isn’t really in control of the Queen, revealing, “I think we are becoming something new, something better.” The deal was Seven’s life for the ship, so Queen 2.0 is ready to go try out this whole new way to Borg. She promises to be a good Queen, so no need to come after her. Harnessing her inner Riddler, Queen Agnes leaves them with this confusing nugget: “To succeed there must be two Renées. One who lives and another who dies.” As La Sirena flies away our heroes regroup, now ready to take the fight to Soong to keep ancestor Picard on her Prime destiny.
Finally coming together
In another improvement over the doldrums of Picard’s mid-season, things ramp up with an action-filled outing that also ties up (more or less) a lot of the loose character and plot threads from the season. In between all the running, shooting and Borging, “Hide and Seek,” leaned into the season’s main theme of how fear can hold you back. All of the main characters felt like they were part of the story, with their own agency, and growing along the way. However, to keep the pace going there are some questionable shortcuts and dubious bits of the puzzle thrown in to make it all fit together.
After a long wait, this episode finally revealed the full story of Picard’s past, which has been sprinkled in all season. Patrick Stewart deftly juggles the action of the escape, the verbal jousting with Brent Spiner’s over-the-top Soong, and the heartbreaking dark journey through his childhood. This was helped along with James Callis returning as papa and Madeline Wise as maman. It can be hard to watch as suicide is a difficult subject and likely quite rare in the 24th century, but this thought-provoking revelation is one way of exploring how Picard became Picard. And hidden inside all of that darkness holding Picard back, was also a spark of the light that so defined the captain we all know and love. Orla Brady does a good job as Picard’s guide through this journey, although Tallinn’s original identity and mission as the “Watcher” seems to have been subsumed to be defined by Jean-Luc Picard and not Renee.
The other big resolution was for the Agnes/Queen storyline, which has been the most fascinating element to watch all season long. Alison Pill and Annie Wersching flawlessly revealed the complicated battle over a single body. And “Hide and Seek” cleverly wove the arc of Seven’s character journey for this season to the Queen story. While Seven’s nano-cure recreating her original Borg implants is certainly dubious, it did hammer home the point of accepting and embracing who you are. But the cavalier way she dispatched so many Borg drones did fly in the face of how she, Picard, and Jurati were all given second chances after being assimilated. And Evan Evagora returning as a combat hologram actually made sense, however also using him to also give Raffi closure was a bit much, especially how he supposedly was programmed with Elnor’s dying thoughts. And if real Elnor comes back next week, this was a total waste of time.
As for Rios, it was good to see Santiago Cabrera return to his swashbuckling ways, jumping into action to save his friends, with a nice heartbreaking goodbye as he saw his old ship fly away. Here we finally saw his struggle with his possible futures, with the 25th century and Starfleet appearing to win out over his love for Teresa… for now. But her talk of how he may be meant to be with her feels like some foreshadowing for him to stay behind.
Running out of time
With only one episode left, we should probably not expect a lot more when it comes to tying everything together. It now seems even clearer that Q’s crazy scheme was all about getting Picard to this moment of clarity. The time travel and monkeying around with an ancestor from his past was just a means to this end, he can now, presumably, find his way past his fear to love. The only thing left is for Picard to face Q and maybe help him deal with the fear of his impending death.
Sending Queen Agnes off on La Sirena to create a whole new kind of Borg Collective also appears to not only resolve Jurati’s season (and possible series) arc, but it almost certainly resolves the mystery of episode one’s masked Borg Queen. The speed of how all this happens and why everyone trusts her so completely was a bit mind-boggling, another example of how recent Star Trek rushes things at the end of serialized seasons, not leaving as much time to explore how the Queen creating a new timeline of friendly Borg and later hopping over to the Prime timeline all fits together with the creation of the Confederation timeline.
It’s possible the ludicrous mystery box riddle of the two Renees is part of these multiple possible future pretzels. The final episode will have to make sense of all of this — which doesn’t seem like enough time, especially after so much time was wasted mid-season. But it does feel like we are headed for a big reset button, otherwise, there is no excuse for the number of butterflies stepped on, especially in the form of the body count which ran up quite high this week. We can only assume this is the case as Young Picard doesn’t remember the nightmare of dead Borg adorning the walls of those tunnels in the future.
This episode also established that the Borg way of life is doomed to failure, and the Queen has always known this due to her temporal awareness. This is a profound bit of new Star Trek canon that will likely have fans debating, especially with a mention the Borg in season four of Star Trek: Discovery, but if they exist in the 32nd century, maybe they are these kinder, gentler Borg? Yet the idea of resolving a conflict through logic, empathy, and discussion and helping an old foe find a new way was still very Star Trek.
Probably the hardest thing to reconcile here is the attempt to explain Seven’s backstory. While the mention of Admiral Janeway having her back was welcome, how does her being rejecting square with Icheb joining Starfleet, which was canon set by this series in season one? The one thing this could all be serving is some foreshadowing with all the talk of Seven making a good captain potentially setting her up to be the captain of the USS Stargazer for season three, with Rios presumably left behind in the 21st century with Dr. Teresa.
“Hide and Seek” is one of the better episodes of the season, but still feels rushed after spending so much time spinning wheels for so long. It was good to finally get some closure on a number of character arcs for the season, but maybe they should have been spread around more than one episode to let them each breathe. And with only the finale left, it’s a bit disappointing that we are still stuck in the past, setting up the final battle with Adam Soong, who has turned into a clichéd big bad, even with Brent Spiner doing his best to keep it interesting. This doesn’t leave a lot of time for the return home to the 25th century and resolving the big mysteries set up in the fantastic opening episode. Hopefully, they can pull all that off next week, maybe leaving the best for last? Let’s hold on to that spark of hope for now.
- This was the first Star Trek writing credit for Matt Okumara, who joined Picard for season two as a story editor. It is only his second script credit of his career, his first credit is an episode of Smallville.
- This was also the first-ever scriptwriting credit for Chris Derrick, who joined Picard as a staff writer for season two.
- This is the first Star Trek credit for director Michael Weaver who has worked as a television director regularly for the last decade after transitioning from over a decade as a cinematographer.
- Among Young Picard’s toys was a refit version of the NX-01 Enterprise and a Miranda Class ship.
- He also had a model of Promellian Battle Cruiser in a bottle. In the TNG episode “Booby Trap,” Picard revealed he used to build model ships in bottles, including one for a Promellian Battle Cruiser. This same ship in a bottle could be seen in Picard’s 25th-century study in the season opener “The Star Gazer.”
- To explain away the vision of Yvette Picard seen in the TNG episode “Where No One Has Gone Before,” Picard says he “used to imagine seeing her, older, offering me a cup of tea, and asking for a chat.”
- One of the weapons Tallinn brought to the fight was a Romulan Disruptor Rifle like those Laris confiscated from a Romulan hit squad in the season one episode “The End is the Beginning.”
- Picard fending off Borg with a traditional firearm was not unlike how he used a machine gun to take out some Borg in First Contact.
- In another reference to Greek mythology for the season, Agnes accuses the Queen of having “Icarus-worthy arrogance,” referring to the hubris of Icarus who flew too close to the sun with wings made of wax.
- Promising to behave, the Queen says Picard will not have to be a “Borg Slayer,” a title demanded by General Picard in the Confederation timeline.
- The holographic Elnor had a mobile emitter, much like the one used by The Doctor on Star Trek: Voyager.
More to come
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