Star Trek: Picard has reached the end of season 1, and the finale episode was a major game-changer in a lot of ways. "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2" saw the final showdown between Jean-Luc Picard's rag-tag crew, the next generation of synthetics living in hiding, and the Romulan Zhat Vash cabal. It was an epic battle worthy of Star Trek's best, and even though Picard managed to squeeze out a decisive victory, it certainly came at a cost. However, as strange as it may seem, one of the biggest losses of Star Trek: Picard's season 1 ending was also one Star Trek fans have been waiting years for.
Warning: Major Star Trek: Picard SPOILERS Follow!
During Star Trek: Picard season 1 it was revealed that Jean-Luc Picard was dying of a brain malfunction. The mission to save Data's daughter Soji and return her to her people, was the final act Picard wanted for his life, in order to honor Data, who had given his own life to save Picard (in Star Trek: Nemesis). Well, Picard brings things full circle in the finale: He gives his life to save Soji and the entire community synthetics who are ostensibly Data's "children."
As was teased throughout the season, there was a way that Jean-Luc Picard could cheat death: by becoming an android himself. Dr. Altan Soong (Data's "brother") had developed a revolutionary new android body - one that could be filled with an actual organic beings mind, via mind transfer. Dr. Soong and Dr. Agnes Jurati managed to get Picard's consciousness uploaded into "The Golem," and Picard gets a new lease on life.
However, before Jean-Luc starts life as an android, his mind is held in a deep simulation, and he is not alone in that strange digital limbo. Data's mind was backed up into the mind of Noonian Soong's prototype android before he died saving Picard from his clone Shinzon, in Nemesis. Altan Soong had kept that composite of Data's mind in this simulation storehouse, which gives Picard and his surrogate android son a chance for a final conversation about life, death, the nature of the soul, and everything else fans used to love about Star Trek: The Next Generations. In the end, as Picard prepares to inhabit his new body, Data asks that his former captain finally give him the true peace of erasing this final piece of his soul from limbo, and allow him a true mortal death. Understanding that request, Picard obliges.
One of the biggest problems Star Trek fans had with Nemesis was how it took Data - one of the most profound characters in Star Trek lore - and gave him a sudden and ultimately unsatisfying end. Instead of the android who was somehow more humane than most organics, Data's death made him a prop, or plot device, used to give Nemesis a shock twist. This new scene between Patrick Stewart's Picard and Brent Spiner's Data finally rectifies that big misstep.
Star Trek: Picard is now streaming for free on CBS Access (for limited time).