Star Trek: Picard wrapped up its first season on Thursday with the second part of "Et in Arcadia Ego." The episode brought the Romulan prophecy storyline to a close and gave Jean-Luc Picard a new lease on life. But none of that could have happened without one of Picard's old friends returning to Starfleet duty. Be warned that SPOILERS for Star Trek: Picard's first season finale follow. The episode finds Picard piloting the La Sirena and trying to single-handedly hold off the fleet of 218 Romulans warbirds ready to sterilize the synthetics' homeworld. A new twist on the Picard maneuver buys some time, but the situation is still looking grim.
That's when Starfleet arrives. Picard's call for help made it and the fleet arrives in time to block the Romulans. And who is at the lead but Picard's old Number One himself, Captain William Riker.
Riker is in command of the Curiosity-class USS Zheng He, a top of the line Starfleet vessel. He has an entire squadron of ships just like it behind him. The presence of Riker and the other Starfleet ships gives the Romulan fleet enough pause that Picard has time to convince Soji to shut down the beacon used to contact that synthetics who will wipe out all biological life.
Riker's return was foreshadowed in the Picard episode "Nepenthe." In “Nepenthe,” Picard traveled to the title planet with Soji seeking shelter while trying to figure out what his next move would be. That's where Riker is living with Deanna Troi and their daughter. During a final conversation before Picard returned to the La Sirena, Picard asked Riker if he would ever consider returning to Starfleet. Riker responds by saying that he is still on active reserve, but it would take a very good reason to get him back into action. Apparently coming to Picard's aid to help save the galaxy fits the description.
The last time fans saw Riker in action(aside from the flashback in the Star Trek: Enterprise finale) was in Star Trek: Nemesis. The events of that film took place in 2379. They included Riker marrying Troi and the two making preparations to leave the Enterprise so that Riker could take command of the USS Titan. Based on “Nepenthe,” they would have had their first child, Thadius, about two years later, in 2381. Sometime after the synth ban went into effect in 2385, Thad came down with the mendaxic neurosclerosis, a condition that ultimately killed him because the ban outlawed the kind of treatment he needed. This would have led to his leaving active duty and moving to Nepenthe with his family.
Star Trek: Picard will return for its second season on CBS All Access.
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