Note: this article was written by a TrekMovie contributor who does not have access to advanced screeners and has only seen the first three episodes of Star Trek: Picard Season 3.
Last week’s action and emotionally packed episode, “Seventeen Seconds,” helped confirm and at the same time eliminate some of the suspects in our previous post exploring Picard season 3 villain fan theories. We learned that Changelings are back and Ensign Side-Eye was involved after all. This week, we’re going to run through some even more fan theories about the final season of Picard, with a focus on some of the latest arising from episode 3. From the most plausible to possible to probable to downright crazy, we’re going to break down what the Internet is saying this week. This analysis may contain potential spoilers.
The nebula is home to Space Jellyfish (or another space critter)
The first three episodes take place in and around a big nebula, which in episode 3 was identified as more of an “anomaly” with “both electrical and biological signatures.” That caught the ear of many fans who are now thinking the nebula itself is alive, or it is the home of some kind of space creature. There have been many space lifeforms in Star Trek, so if it is a familiar one, it could be any; take your pick from the Space amoeba to the JahSepp to Nagilum, and the list goes on. As of the most recent episode, there is no real evidence pointing to any given one of them, but it’s fun to get lost in a proverbial inter-spatial singularity while searching for an explanation. But maybe they aren’t inside a space lifeform after all, and something or someone familiar awaits them at the bottom of the gravity well, a place so dangerous the Shrike dared not to follow. Perhaps the way our heroes escape is by getting help from a friendly face (or tentacle). That adds up to the theory that they are about to reunite with TNG’s first creature, the Space Jellyfish (aka Space Vessel Lifeform) from “Encounter at Farpoint.” Who’s up for a little more joy and gratitude?
Getting Jack into the anomaly was Vadic’s plan all along
Another angle on the anomaly: It was clear from “Seventeen Seconds” that Vadic and the Shrike were sort of toying with the USS Titan, just as Vadic said she would do in episode 2. Even though she said she wants Jack, there was no attempt to capture him or board the Titan, and in fact Picard noted that Vadic was “corralling” the Titan, pushing it back into the anomaly via the portal weapon. So the fan theory goes that this was all part of a long plan by Vadic and that something at the heart of that anomaly will interact with Jack in some way—and the “red” vision he saw in episode 3 was the first hint of some kind of connection Jack has to it. There is a logic to this theory; however, how did Vadic know Jack would end up there, to begin with? It certainly isn’t clear how this would fit into her goals.
Lore was the real thing stolen from Daystrom
A big reveal in episode three was that the portal weapon stolen from Daystrom was just a distraction and there is something “more dangerous” that was stolen out there. Hopefully, we’ll find out what was stolen from Daystrom when Worf and “Raffaela” get there in episode four. As pointed out in our last analysis, we know from the official Star Trek Logs Instagram account that Lore’s body was being stored at Daystrom, and we know that Brent Spiner is returning as Lore. So this theory totally fits the facts: The bad guys could have Lore. Maybe he has been pulling the strings all along, somehow getting Vadic’s group to spring him from Daystrom. We also know that Moriarty the sentient hologram is coming back this season, so maybe they grabbed his program stored in the memory module on their Daystrom shopping spree too. Why stop there? May as well pick up AGIMUS, Peanut Hamper, and all the evil AIs they can carry.
Vadic is a new Vorta (and her soldiers are new Jem’Hadar)
Episode three confirmed the theory that Changelings are involved, but to what extent? Do these Changelings think of themselves as “Founders” and if they do, do they have their own versions of Vorta and Jem’Hadar? Worf indicated that the Changelings involved are part of a terrorist faction and not connected to the Great Link, home of the Founders. Could Vadic be, say, Vadic 6 serving the new Founders, and her clicking minions be some sort of offshoot of the genetically engineered, ketracel-white-dependent alien species? With the confirmation of the Changelings coming in episode three, there could be much more to the story, so it is quite plausible there is a bigger big bad behind Vadic. Maybe it’s Laas, one of our favorite rogue Changelings from our previous theory analysis.
Jack is an augment
One of the more talked about parts of episode 3 was Beverly’s reasoning for not revealing Jack’s existence to Jean-Luc Picard or any of her other Enterprise pals. But could there be more to this story behind keeping Jack a secret? One theory is that young Jack is actually an augment. Maybe in her concern to protect her son, Beverly did a little (highly illegal) genetic enhancement to give him an edge. This would certainly explain why she wants him off of the Federation and Starfleet’s radar (sensors?). This would fit the facts, except why would she then send her son to school in London, just a transporter hop from both the Federation and Starfleet HQs? From Khan to Bashir to most recently Una Chin-Riley and Dal, there are numerous examples of genetically enhanced characters in the Star Trek universe, and it is sort of a hot topic these days in Trek. Jack’s weird red vision could also factor into this, but we’re not sure secret augment is the answer.
Riker is a changeling
The revelation of a sleeper agent Changeling on the Titan has some fans wondering who else might be a bit (shape)shifty. One name that seems to be popping up a lot after episode 3 is Captain Riker himself. Much of this comes from the conflict with his former captain. Riker and Picard bickered more in one episode than they did in their entire history together. Was Riker deliberately making wrong decisions to purposely send the Titan into the gravity well? This could fit with the “Vadic wants Jack in the anomaly” theory as well. Plus, it may explain why we haven’t seen Riker interact with his wife Deanna (except in flashback), as she would figure it out in a second as his “Imzadi.” So if we are going down the paranoid route, there could be something here—but then again, maybe Picard and Riker just aren’t as in sync as they were back in the glory days.
Jack is a changeling (but doesn’t know it)
Once you open the door, then sure, let’s just start calling everyone a Changeling, but there is a twist with one Jack theory. Protagonists have been impersonated before, so it’s certainly plausible that Jack isn’t a “solid.” Jack and Beverly have come into contact with a number of Changelings, and any one of them could’ve captured or even killed Jack and taken his place on the Eleos. There really isn’t much to this theory except the fact that once you introduce Changelings, then everyone suddenly is suspect, but there is something intriguing to the notion that Jack could be a secret Changeling in a sort of Jason Bourne kind of way where neither he nor his mother are aware. Maybe Vadic wants to bring him back home? And maybe the real Jack is still alive somewhere. (Has anyone checked internment camp 371?) This theory may be kind of out there, but Beverly did say to trust no one, so it’s worth being a little paranoid.
Riker is actually Thomas Riker
Another fan theory suggests Riker has been acting out of character because we have not been seeing William Riker, but his transporter clone Thomas Riker. If Kirk and McCoy could escape Rura Penthe, it’s certainly possible Thomas Riker could escape the Lazon II labor camp where he was serving a life sentence. Perhaps Thomas has been working with Vadic. The same logic from the Riker=Changeling theory applies here regarding why he would want to get as far away from Deanna as he could to avoid exposure. The same caveat applies that this may be a theory looking to explain away how things have changed between the two over the decades.
Picard has been hacked
Wrapping up the paranoid fan theories is one for Picard himself. A couple of times this season, the show has reminded us that Jean-Luc Picard is actually a robot. Following his death in the season 1 finale, Picard’s consciousness was downloaded into an android synth. So returning to the subject of characters acting a bit off, maybe Picard fighting with Riker was due to him being manipulated. Maybe Lore is out there hacking in and causing trouble? Yeah, it’s a bit of a stretch, but this season has fans questioning all their assumptions.
Worf is Section 31
Section 31 was on the list of season villain suspects in the last fan theory article, and while that appears to have been disproven, the nefarious organization may not be done yet. Episode two revealed that Worf has been Raffi’s handler and we know that she is part of Starfleet Intelligence. However, in episode three, he was a bit vague when it came to his actual position, calling himself a “subcontractor” and saying his concerns aligned with Starfleet Intelligence. In episode two, Sneed name-dropped an apparently still active Section 31, the supposedly super secret rogue operation that works outside of Starfleet on behalf of the Federation. They were the ones who created the morphogenic virus that crippled the Founders during the Dominion War. So this theory has some merit and could explain why Worf cut Sneed’s head off before Raffi could question him; maybe he knew more about Section 31’s connection to the season plot. Another clue comes from Michael Dorn himself, who, when asked to clarify his “subcontractor” vagueness, declined, telling TrekMovie that would be a spoiler. Hmm.
Shaw lost someone to the Borg
From the first episode, Captain Liam Shaw has made it pretty clear he is no fan of the Borg, and by extension, he has had unkind words for both Picard (formerly Locutus of Borg) and Seven of Nine, who he has requested use her original Human name, Annika Hansen, instead of her preferred Borg designation. Previous seasons of the show made clear that many in Starfleet have a grudge against the Borg—and for good reason, as they have killed and assimilated an untold number of beings across the galaxy, including members of Starfleet. But could Shaw’s resentment be more personal? Could he have a direct connection to the moment when Jean-Luc was assimilated and led an attack on the Federation at the Battle of Wolf 359? Actor Todd Stashwick is 54 and that battle took place 35 years prior to season 3, so it’s plausible to think Shaw could have been there himself as a young officer, maybe even a cadet. And if he wasn’t there himself, maybe someone close to him was lost there. This is another theory that adds up, with the big caveat that this would be essentially the same conflict Picard had with Benjamin Sisko, so it’s a bit on the nose with all the other Deep Space Nine connections.
What say you?
Do you endorse any of the above theories? Have seen others or have some more of your own? Sound off in the comments below.
The third and final season of Picard premiered on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023, exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S., and Latin America, and on February 17 Paramount+ in Europe and elsewhere, with new episodes of the 10-episode-long season available to stream weekly. It also debuted on Friday, Feb. 17 internationally on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories. In Canada, it airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.
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