The Borg Queen is loose in the 21st century. At the end of Star Trek: Picard Season 2, Episode 9, “Hide and Seek,” Jean-Luc and what’s left of his motley crew are still trapped in the past, but now with a new timeline-altering wrinkle. Although we saw an alternate future back in Episode 2, the change in this episode is a much bigger deal. Here’s why the ending of Episode 9 seems to permanently alter Star Trek history. Spoilers ahead.
Jurati creates a new kind of Borg
After merging with the Borg Queen (Annie Wersching) from an alternate 2401, Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill) is now a new kind of Borg Queen. But, pivotally, Jurati wins an internal debate with the Queen’s consciousness in her own mind. She convincingly proves that in every timeline the Borg are defeated, either by “a lone Borg slayer or a United Federation.” This references a couple Borg defeats in Trek canon: Their defeat and the Queen’s demise in First Contact, as well as Admiral Janeway’s defeat of the Borg — and another Queen’s destruction — in the Voyager episode “Endgame.”
Jurati convinces the Borg Queen that the only way forward for the Borg is to change and, essentially, become a nicer hivemind. As teased by Alison Pill, this reformed version of the Borg will become a voluntary collective. While there’s been rogue Borg before, there’s never been a Collective led by a Queen with the stated goal of optional assimilation. It’s new and exciting, and it’s a subtle change to Star Trek history.
Where are the Borg in 2024?
In the Star Trek canon, the Borg are not from the future. In First Contact, when the Borg traveled back from 2373 to 2063, they attempted to contact other contemporary Borg, who were at that time still only living in the Delta Quadrant. In Star Trek’s past there are Borg alive in 20th and 21st centuries, but they’re not anywhere near Earth.
Now the existence of Jurati’s new time-traveling Borg Queen seems to imply there are two Borg Queens alive in 2024. One is living somewhere in the Delta Quadrant running the old collective, and this new Queen is a fusion of two people from different versions of 2401. In theory, there were probably two Borg Queens around in First Contact’s 2063 too for the same reason: Time travel.
At the end of the episode, the Jurati Borg Queen leaves Earth with the La Sirena (a ship also from an alternate 2401) to go in search of the Borg of this time period. This is huge, and most likely won’t be retconned.
How Jurati’s Borg Queen changes Star Trek canon
Assuming the hooded Borg Queen we saw in “The Star Gazer” is also the Jurati Borg Queen, only several centuries later, it would seem like an entirely different version of the Borg rose up in some kind of alternate timeline created by Picard and the crew coming back to 2024. Ironically, Picard and the gang travelled to 2024 to prevent a different alternate timeline from getting created in the first place.
Confused? That’s understandable. In “The Star Gazer” we’re told a fancy new Borg ship punched a hole in spacetime. Whether that’s time travel or a bridge between parallel dimensions, there are potentially three timelines at play here:
- The regular Picard timeline we see at the beginning of “The Star Gazer.”
- The evil Confederation timeline from Episode 2, “Penance,” which is the departure point for the crew’s trip to Earth’s past.
- Possibly a new “friendly Borg” timeline, in which Jurati reforms the Borg in the 21st century.
This last possibility, which seems probable, means that in one version of Earth’s past the Borg become good.
If true, what will that mean for the “Prime” Star Trek canon? Will Picard Season 2 end with some kind of hybrid timeline in which people have memories of two types of Borg? And presumably Jean-Luc and the crew will need to get back to the 25th century, but Jurati just stole their ride. So however Jean-Luc returns to his present, history as we know it will have been altered.
Star Trek: Picard Season 2 airs its finale on May 5, 2022, on Paramount+.