Last week on Star Trek: Picard’s “Penance,” the admiral along with Raffi, Seven, Rios, Elnor and Jurati find themselves in a different “polluted, totalitarian nightmare” timeline created by Q. Here, Picard is an evil, bloodthirsty xenophobe and Seven is the president. 

The group discovers Q went back in time and changed their reality. The imprisoned Borg Queen tells them  Q made the change in 2024 Los Angeles and there is a “Watcher” there that could help them. They’ll need to slingshot back in time with the Queen’s help so they escape to Rios’ ship only to be thwarted by Seven’s husband in this timeline, the First Magistrate, who shoots Elnor. 

This week’s episode, ‘Assimilation,’ finds the team, still sans Soji, in sunny Los Angeles as they try to figure out how to fix the timeline. Ready to travel the road not taken? Let’s engage. 

RELATED: Read our recap of Star Trek: Picard’s ‘Penance.’

Slingshot

Elnor (Evan Evagora) lies dying from the First Magistrate’s (Jon Jon Briones) phaser fire. The Magistrate’s security team have phasers drawn. Seven (Jeri Ryan) tries to pull rank on him, but he’s on to her. Meanwhile, a hidden Jurati (Alison Pill) is working on connecting the Borg Queen (Annie Wersching) to the ship. The First Magistrate smacks Seven which is enough of a distraction for the rest to grab the security details’ phasers and shoot them along with the First Magistrate. These phasers were set to kill and they explode into red and disintegrate. Gross.

A panicked Raffi (Michelle Hurd) takes Elnor to sickbay but there are no supplies. She begs him to hang on. On the bridge, they try to shake three starships firing on them. Q (John de Lancie) appears only to Picard (Patrick Stewart) and taunts him. “This is the only kind of life you understand. Shall we see what else has been lost in the wake of your fear?” then disappears. Rios (Santiago Cabrera) destroys one of the ships. 

Q appears only to Picard on the bridge of the la sirena as they try to go back in time and save the timeline on Star Trek: Picard's Assimilation

Pictured: Santiago Cabrera as Rios, Sir Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard and John de Lancie as Q of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: PICARD. Photo Cr: Trae Patton/Paramount+ ©2022 ViacomCBS. All Rights Reserved.

Under fire, the legless Borg Queen is knocked over and freed from her containment. She crawls and is a scary sight for Jurati to see. Instead of attacking Jurati, she plugs herself into the ship and takes over. She destroys the last two starships and has the ship head to the sun for the slingshot all the while speaking her commands. “Go backward to go forward. Shatter to mend. The past is now.”

This timeline’s La Sirena skims the surface of the sun and they go to warp and time travel. As they do this, they all seem to feel a sense of bliss. Jurati was shedding a tear except now the tear streaks up her cheek. Sparks flying in the background now retreat up. It’s beautiful. 

Now Is the Only Moment

They exit the wormhole near the sun and calculate that they’re “when” they are supposed to be but are immediately pulled into Earth’s gravity. The Queen controls the ship. They’re able to regain some control and crash outside Picard’s chateau. 

On the ground, power is draining. The Queen’s diverting it to save herself. Raffi screams she needs power in sickbay for Elnor, he’s not looking good.

Rios, Jurati, Picard and Seven pull cables to disconnect the Queen from the ship. It doesn’t work so Rios moves to shoot but Picard stops him. They need her alive. 

In sickbay, Elnor, with green blood coming out of his mouth, asks a panicked Raffi for his medallion that the Qowat Milat nuns gave him. He says, “It brings me comfort. Knowing I earned it even in the reality.” The medallion is in Romulan. Elnor reads it, “Now is the only moment.” He then dies. It’s heartbreaking. 

Raffi cries over Elnor's body after he was shot by the First Magistrate in Star Trek: Picard, Assimilation

Pictured: Michelle Hurd as Raffi and Evan Evagora as Elnor of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: PICARD. Photo Cr: Trae Patton/Paramount+ ©2022 ViacomCBS. All Rights Reserved.

Later, Raffi zips up Elnor’s body bag as the rest watch. Picard says if we fail here, we fail Elnor. But Seven and especially Raffi are in no mood. He tries to impress upon them that the Queen is the only link with the fissure and they’re helpless until she’s revived. 

As Picard tries to say he understands how she feels, Raffi barely holds in her anger. She says what she feels is an “intense, sharp, disappointment in leadership.” Ouch. She goes on to accuse him of playing games with Q. Picard goes on that the Watcher can help repair the timeline. Even though Jurati isn’t sure, Raffi hopes this will bring Elnor back. 

RELATED: Mike McMahan Dishes on Star Trek: Lower Decks

Raffi hypothesizes that the Watcher is probably an alien using tech which leaves a subspace signal. She, Rios and Seven will go to Los Angeles and run scans. Picard and Jurati will stay and revive the Borg Queen to get the Watcher’s location. 

Jurati brings up “butterflies” referring to the butterfly effect, where one small action can change the course of history. They can’t find out their tech. “Don’t draw attention to yourself. No hospitals. No authorities. No security checkpoints.” 

Jurati and Picard are with the Queen. Jurati notes her communication center is active. Picard notes Borg rarely speak audibly but a thought can be instantaneously shared. So, she’s talking but not connecting to anyone. 

Picard also says that as a Borg there was intense euphoria but no sense of existence. Jurati suggests he can fix her from the inside by connecting to her but Picard said if he tried the Queen would assimilate him in seconds. She knows him too well from his time as Locutus. Jurati suggests she do it since the Queen is only at 8%. Picard gives her a hard no. 

jurati tries to convince picard to let her connect with the borg queen on the la sirena on Star Trek: Picard, Assimilation

Pictured: Sir Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard and Alison Pill as Jurati of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: PICARD. Photo Cr: Trae Patton/Paramount+ ©2022 ViacomCBS. All Rights Reserved.

Seven and Rios find enough power to transport them to LA. They won’t land together but hopefully near each other. Raffi says they need to find Markridge Industrial Tower because it’s the highest point in LA and they can do scans there. 

They find passable 2024 clothes and get a communicator badge that can communicate locally. Jurati should be able to use them to beam them back. Seven catches a glimpse of herself in a mirror. She still can’t get over what she looks like without her Borg implants. 

Jurati finally convinces Picard to let her connect to the Borg Queen claiming it’s only a “partial simulation” and her conscious mind will be repairing the queen while her subconscious mind will be monitored by Picard. If she’s in danger, he just needs to pull the tubule connecting them. He relents. 

They all have their assignments. Raffi, Rios and Seven transport to LA while Picard and Jurati attend to the Queen. 

rios, raffi and seven stand ready to transport into 2024 los angeles on star trek: picard's 'assimilation' episode

Pictured: Santiago Cabrera as Rios, Michelle Hurd as Raffi and Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: PICARD. Photo Cr: Trae Patton/Paramount+ ©2022 ViacomCBS. All Rights Reserved.

RELATED: All the Picards on the Table: Jean-Luc’s Wild Card Appearances

Don’t Draw Attention

As soon as Picard puts the tubule into Jurati’s neck she’ goes eerily still. 

At the same time, Raffi beams into a homeless encampment. Seven transports into a park. A little girl sees her and asks if she’s a superhero. Seven is caught off guard because people are usually scared of her. Rios, unfortunately, beams into the air about two stories above a street. He hits the ground. Hard. It’s bloody. He’s taken to a clinic. So, that’s one thing on his ex Jurati’s list that he’s already failed: no hospitals. Also, his comm badge falls out of his pocket and a young boy picks it up. Now there are two things. 

Raffi sees a giant advertisement about “The Europa Mission. To boldly go,” showing that space exploration is ramping up in 2024. Then she’s robbed at gunpoint but easily takes out the guy. She’s pocketing his money as Seven finds her. She says the thief is a “wonderful ambassador up against a backdrop of hope,” and comments further about the contradiction of hope and hopelessness in 2024.  

Strangers

Meanwhile, on the ship, Picard talks to Jurati’s subconscious which says she wishes he were her dad. Picard says she can push back on the Queen as she tries to assimilate her mind. Jurati acts each emotion out as the Queen finds her humor, anger and finally, her deep sadness all the while her conscious mind is fixing the Borg Queen. Jurati gets weaker and it gets hairy, Picard pulls the plug. 

Raffi and Seven arrive at Markridge Industrial Tower. They go to the top and are stopped by a security guard. Seven works him like a puppet with her newfound charm, pretending she and Raffi just got engaged. He lets them stay which once again surprises Seven. Raffi tells her, “You and 2024 should get a room.”

raffi and seven walk the streets of downtown  2024 los angeles in star trek: Picard assimilation

Pictured: Michelle Hurd as Raffi and Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: PICARD. Photo Cr: Trae Patton/Paramount+ ©2022 ViacomCBS. All Rights Reserved.

At the clinic, Rios is woozy and tries to leave. A doctor, who most definitely will become his love interest and help the crew out (I mean, there’s always one in these situations, right?), says he has a concussion and a dislocated hand. She, Dr. Teresa Ramirez (Sol Rodriguez), thinks he’s undocumented and tells him not to worry, she won’t charge him or turn him in and it’s her clinic. He notices his comm badge is missing. 

Raffi and Seven run scans. Seven sees a wildfire and notes this is the beginning. “Fire poisons the sky. Trees gone. Water dry. So no food. No breathable air. I think the future we saw starts right here.” Not if Raffi can help it. 

RELATED: How Michael Chabon’s Maps and Legends Influenced Star Trek: Picard

They pick up Rios location but it’s inconsistent. That’s because the little boy that found the comm badge is playing with it. 

Trade

Rios asks the kid for the badge back. The kid gives him the ol’ “finders, keepers.” Rios sees some cookies and offers him a trade. It’s about to work when the boy’s mom shows up. It’s Dr. Ramirez. She sends her son, Ricardo (Steve Gutierrez) on his way, they do some flirting and she puts the badge upfront for when Rios leaves. 

Back on the ship, Jurati is out from when Picard pulled the tubule. The Queen is not and greets “Locutus.” She has all her clarity back since it’s before the divergence in the timeline. Picard asks about the Watcher. She wants something in return – the ship. 

At the clinic, Rios is dressed and just needs his badge. Homeland Security pulls up to do a raid on the clinic! Uh-oh, another thing on Jurati’s list that he will fail – the authorities. He and Teresa help patients escape out the back. 

The Borg Queen says countless will die in this future if he doesn’t give her the ship. Jurati wakes up and Picard tells her the Queen is back but, “Same leopard, same spots.” Jurati says there’s no need to keep her activated but the Queen continues to taunt. She knows she will win because humans “have a deeply flawed inability not to hope in the face of hopelessness.” She has what they need, and they “hope” she will relent. In the end, they will give her what she wants so cut to the chase. What the Borg Queen doesn’t realize is that hope is a superpower.

the borg queen, connected to the la sirena, threatens picard and jurati.

Pictured: Annie Wersching as the Borg Queen of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: PICARD. Photo Cr: Trae Patton/Paramount+ ©2022 ViacomCBS. All Rights Reserved.

The Queen says she has the location of the Watcher and when the temporal divergence happens. Jurati, uncharacteristically calm, asks, “Are you sure about that?” The Borg Queen’s face drops as she realizes she doesn’t have the information. Jurati smiles and erases the Borg Queen’s smug pontification with one brilliant sentence. “Computer, dictate the file logged ‘Shit I stole from the Borg Queen.'” The ship’s computer relays the coordinates of the Watcher. 

Jurati doesn’t remember when the divergence happens but knows it will come to her. Then the Borg Queen drops a not-so-veiled threat. “What you have done here is more difficult and vastly more dangerous than you realize… You’ve impressed me.” Picard quickly sweeps Jurati away from the Queen. 

As Rios escapes he realizes he doesn’t have his comm badge and remembers, “Butterflies.” He pretends he’s a doctor but his ruse fails and he and the doctor are arrested. As he’s taken out in cuffs he sees the comm badge sitting on the counter. We hear Picard trying to get through. 

Butterflies, indeed. 

Question for the remainder of the season. Where’s Soji? What does she have to do with what’s going on? Is Elnor really dead? I don’t think so. Either they repair the timeline and he comes back or some other sci-fi science magic happens. Finally, just what did the Borg Queen do inside Jurati’s head?

RELATED: Keep up with Star Trek: Picard with our recaps!

Star Trek: Picard Season 2 streams on Paramount Plus

Audrey Kearns