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In the premiere of the final season of Star Trek: Picard, two old friends will be reunited for an ultimate trek among the stars. “The Next Generation” is written by Terry Matalas and directed by Doug Aarniokoski.

RELATED: Read all of our Star Trek: Picard recaps here!

In the 25th Century…

Over shots of a nebula, “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire” by The Ink Spots plays. An Earth-style vessel appears: the S.S. Eleos XII (Eleos is the Ancient Greek personification of compassion and clemency). An angular alien spacecraft approaches.

A montage reveals artifacts inside the first ship. They include crates, orchids, a string of pearls, and a pair of theatrical masks. A computer plays the Enterprise-D’s Captain’s log for Stardate 43996.2 (Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s season 3’s finale, “The Best of Both Worlds”). The voice of a younger Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) speaks of the Borg.

Additional items include a plaque recognizing medical achievement, a case belonging to Lt. Cmdr Jack R. Crusher, and a half-empty glass of Romulan ale. Turbulence causes Doctor Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) to awaken. The computer alert reports hull damage and an unauthorized docking. 

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A power outage frustrates Crusher’s order to activate the warp drive. The voice of another person (Ed Speleers) wonders how they were found. Crusher quickly locks this unseen individual in a room. Diverting all power to the warp core, she arms herself with a phaser rifle.

Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher in "The Next Generation" Episode 301, Star Trek: Picard on Paramount+.

Phaser rifles require two hands. Unless noted, photos: Trae Patton/Paramount+. ©2021 Viacom, International Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Intruder alert! Eleos is boarded by a pair of armed hooded figures. They appear to be wearing bird skull masks. Crusher exchanges fire with them in a corridor. She exhausts a power cell and the crossfire destroys several artifacts. She eventually succeeds in defeating them both.

However, more ships approach. The warp still isn’t charged. Crusher prepares to send an encoded subspace message to Admiral Picard. Eleos jumps to warp, pursued by the craft.

Part One: “The Next Generation”

At Chateau Picard on Earth, Picard and Laris (Orla Brady) take in the painting of the Enterprise-D that hangs in his office. Picard suggests giving the portrait to Commodore Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton). La Forge is running the Fleet Museum. Laris subverts this effort.

Picard is relocating to another planet with Laris. He’s ready for retirement. Discussing the artifacts in his office, he holds the Ressikan flute (TNG season 5, “The Inner Light”). Picard refers to the objects as “memories.” He says he doesn’t want to be defined by his past. 

“I am not a man who needs a legacy,” says Picard. “I want a new adventure.”

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Later, Picard sits at his desk writing letters. His attention is drawn by a sonic alert. The source is the comm badge packed away with his Enterprise-D uniform. According to the computer, the message requires a passcode to be decoded. Picard ponders before instructing it to use the codec “Myriad.” 

The recorded message is decoded. The transmission is of Crusher delivering coordinates and telling Picard not to trust Starfleet. She also includes the word “Helbird.”

Laris and Picard discuss the transmission in front of the fireplace. Picard explains that Crusher unceremoniously cut the Enterprise-D crew off two decades earlier. Laris suggests Picard might be the one person Crusher feels she can trust. She draws on her intelligence officer background to assess the situation. Conclusion: Picard must answer Crusher’s call.

The lovers must part. Laris reminds Picard that these are the lives they’ve chosen. She tells him she’ll save him a seat at the scenic bar on the planet where she’s heading. Laris kisses Picard and leaves the room.

Ten Forward

A model of the Enterprise-D sits behind the bar at Ten Forward in Los Angeles. Captain William T. Riker (Jonathan Frakes) sits on the other side of the bar. He sips whiskey. A banner on the wall behind him celebrates “Frontier Day.” The bartender explains the model ships are for the holiday. 

Riker asks why there are so many Enterprise-D models. The bartender says no one wants the “fat ones.” Riker tells her to leave the bottle. Picard approaches him and Riker expresses his offense at the remark. 

Riker further laments his upcoming speech at Frontier Day. However, he says Picard’s speech will be great. Picard thanks Riker for surrendering family time. But Riker says Dianna Troi (Marina Sirtis) and Kestra (LuLu Wilson) will appreciate the time away from him.

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At a table, Riker says he hasn’t considered a codec since an unseen event on Rigel 7. Picard expresses his confusion at the word “Helbird.” Riker easily explains. 

Patrick Stewart as Picard and Jonathan Frakes as Riker in "The Next Generation" Episode 301, Star Trek: Picard on Paramount+.

At Ten Forward.

When Picard was compromised by the Borg, a computer virus infected the Enterprise-D. Using the same “adding 3” strategy utilized by that virus, Riker reveals new coordinates. It’s the Ryton System, outside Federation Space. 

Riker and Picard agree they need to find a ship. However, chartering one is out of the question. Picard says he can’t put Riker in danger, and Riker asks, “since when?” Then he says they’re overdue for a road trip, anyway.

As the pair leaves, they are observed by an enigmatic figure at the bar. They drop an Enterprise-D model into a drink.

M’Talas Prime

In District Six on M’Talas Prime, Raffi (Michelle Hurd) wears a cloak. She passes between people using drugs. She arrives at a bar where she purchases drugs for the second day in a row.

Raffi almost leaves. But instead, she begins talking with the dealer. Raffi says he knows things. She acknowledges she’s “a bit strung out.” She says her girlfriend left her and she started using drugs again. Furthermore, she says she’s been kicked out of Starfleet. But she says that she’s heard things that could get her back in. 

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She brings up a weapon stolen from the Daystrom Institute’s off-site station. “Experimental quantum tunneling tech,” she says, which could be a weapon in the wrong hands. She says info about the incident could get her back into Starfleet. Raffi offers a large sum of money for the information. The dealer accepts the money and says he’s heard that something is going down with “the red lady.” 

She leaves. Then she pulls a communicator from her cloak. Her demeanor changes as she files a Starfleet Intelligence Officer report. She requests a debriefing and more funding.

Before dropping the drugs she purchased on the ground, she stares at them for several long moments.


Riker and Picard arrive by shuttlecraft at spacedock. Picard says he isn’t sure about the plan. Riker says it’s less of a plan and more of a ruse. They’re high-ranking Starfleet officers, and they’re claiming to be undertaking a routine inspection.

Jonathan Frakes as Riker in "The Next Generation" Episode 301, Star Trek: Picard on Paramount+.

Approaching spacedock.

Inside the station, the shuttle docks with the USS Titan-A: Riker’s former ship. But it’s the new refit: Neo-Constitution class. The fleet is dispersing for exercises to prepare for Frontier Day. Riker says that Captain Shaw (Todd Stashwick) will need some convincing. 

But while Shaw may not be a friendly face, the first officer is. It’s Commander Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan). However, Shaw prefers that Seven use “Commander Annika Hanson.” Seven welcomes them to the Titan. Picard and Riker play the part of the inspector as they walk past the assembled officers.

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Seven tells Riker and Picard that Shaw couldn’t greet them, but will join them for dinner. Riker says this is terrific. Seven advises him to lower his expectations.

Patrick Stewart as Picard, Jonathan Frakes as Riker and Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine in "The Next Generation" Episode 301, Star Trek: Picard on Paramount+.

Picard, Riker, Seven.

On the bridge, Picard and Riker meet Sydney La Forge (Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut). Riker brings up her nickname at Starfleet Academy: “Crash La Forge,” known for crashing two shuttlecraft.

Picard instructs Seven to take the Titan-A out of spacedock. Once out, the ship prepares for warp. Seven informs Picard that informing Engineering before jumping to Warp 9.99 is no longer protocol.

The Captain

Picard, Riker, and Seven arrive at dinner. However, Shaw has already begun eating. Shaw explains that Picard’s “reputation extended so far into the room” he started already. Picard offers him a bottle of wine. Shaw accepts it and then says he prefers another variety. Then he addresses Riker in order to insult the jazz music he purged from the Titan computer upon taking command.

Shaw explains that he’s not a fan of jazz because he likes “structure,” and “keeping tempo and time.” He further asserts that the Titan is in ship shape. Picard and Riker tell him that they know that. As such, the Titan will instead be going to a new location: the Ryton System. Shaw notes it is at the edge of Federation Space.

Picard says they’ll finish at Deep Space Four. But Shaw counters that DS4 has been shut down for a year. Seven “corrects” him, offering Deep Space Eleven. Picard cheerfully agrees. However, Shaw flatly states: “no.”

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Shaw says he’s commanded the Titan for five years and thirty-six missions. He didn’t get here by changing course at the last second. He points out Picard is a retired Admiral. And while Riker may be a captain, he has no chair.

Shaw says he loves reading about the exploits of the duo. However, he will be following his actual orders. Seven attempts to intervene. Shaw says her loyalty lies with the ship, not with “old friends, former ex-Borg.” 

Shaw leaves the room, putting the conn in Seven’s hands. Over his shoulder, he offers an insincere apology for the “short-notice” accommodations. As Riker and Picard leave, they wonder how they can rescue Crusher under these circumstances. Picard says short of mutiny, he isn’t sure. Seven eavesdrops on the conversation.

La Sirena

Aboard the La Sirena (docked on M’Talas Prime), Raffi watches holovids of her estranged grandchild. Her handler at Starfleet Intelligence contacts her via a secured channel. However, they appear only via text.

The handler denies Raffi’s request for a face-to-face. Raffi says she’s at the end of her rope. She further states the handler has no idea how hard it is to “be in this world.”

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Her handler states they do know. They illustrate this by using details from Raffi’s personnel file, including her psych eval. Several details, including “dishonorable discharge” and “substance abuse,” are highlighted.

“This stolen weapon is an act of war,” the handler summarizes. “You are a warrior.” The handler suspects an imminent attack. Raffi is ordered to find “the Red Lady.”

“They sleep in a hallway.”

The Titan is at warp. Picard and Riker lie in bunk beds. Riker says it reminds him of his cadet days, but with more getting up to pee.

Picard confides in Riker that he and Crusher didn’t leave it on the best of terms. He says he never dreamed it would be two decades until they’d meet again. Riker says none of them did. Picard asks, “What if it’s already too late, Will?” The duo is summoned to Observation.

There, Seven asks for permission to speak freely. She demands to know what they’re doing on the Titan. Picard admits the truth to Seven. They didn’t tell her so she wouldn’t compromise her career.

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Seven says Picard and Janeway convinced her to join Starfleet. She wanted to inspire others. But she questions how she can inspire when all she does is “take shit from someone like Shaw.”

Jeri Ryan as Seven, Patrick Stewart as Picard, and Jonathan Frakes as Riker of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: PICARD.

Photo Cr: Nicole Wilder/Paramount+ © 2022 CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The trio goes to the bridge. Seven has disobeyed orders and brought them to the Ryton System. Seven explains that the nebula’s properties are preventing them from scanning for lifeforms. In a low voice, Seven informs them that in four minutes, the ensign guarding shuttle three will be called away. Picard thanks her. They leave the bridge.

In his quarters, Shaw awakens. He sees the nebula outside his window and gets up. He arrives on the bridge. Seven admits they’re at the Ryton System. Shaw demands to know the location of Picard and Riker. La Forge informs him of an unauthorized launch from shuttle bay three.

Shaw threatens to end Seven’s career. He demands a full report.

The Red Lady

Aboard the La Sirena, Raffi searches for “The Red Lady.” She asks the computer to show upcoming celebrations. She rules out the Bajoran Gratitude Festival and the Klingon Empire Union Day. However, she selects Frontier Day.

This culminates in an image of a news report about the “Pre-Frontier Day Recruitment Drive.” It features an image of a red statue and the headline, “Rachel Garrett Statue Dedication Ceremony” (Garrett was the Captain of the Enterprise-C, as seen in TNG season 3’s “Yesterday’s Enterprise”). Additional images feature the Enterprise-F, heading for early decommission, and the Voyager-B.

Raffi orders the computer to chart a course to District Seven. When the La Sirena arrives, she attempts to open a channel to Starfleet Recruitment. She says that she believes they’re under imminent threat of a terrorist attack. Before any response is received, a portal weapon activates.

A portal appears beneath the Starfleet Recruitment building, and the entire structure falls down into it. A few moments later, a second portal opens high up in the sky, and a few blocks away from the building’s former location. The remains of the building fall through this portal (including the red statue), landing on top of other buildings. The destruction is immense, and Raffi can only look on in horror.

The Nebula

The shuttlecraft arrives at the Eleos. Riker and PIcard admire the breathtaking nebula. The sensors indicate that there are either one or two biosigns aboard the ship. One matches Crusher. She needs help.

The shuttle docks. Aboard the Eleos, music continues to play. Picard identifies it as “a compilation of classics” he created for Crusher. They find phaser fire and postulate the number of intruders. Riker asks if Picard has ever seen ashes like this from phaser fire.

Picard moves to the next room. A figure holding a phaser rifle appears behind Riker. Meanwhile, Picard locates Crusher. She’s in suspended animation.

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Riker enters at phaser point. He’s being held by an unidentified individual. Picard says they’re here to help. The stranger asks what makes them think he’d want the help. Picard says that Crusher needs medical attention.

However, Riker uses the distraction to disarm the stranger. Picard says he should have known Crusher wouldn’t cut outside the galaxy just to protect herself. Riker asks who this is. “Her son,” the stranger says. Picard is dumbfounded.

They’re interrupted by an attack on the ship. A proximity alert follows. Crusher’s son accuses them of leading their pursers straight to them. He says they keep finding them. And each time, they have different faces.

The menacing ship Shrike emerges from the nebula and approaches the Eleos.

New episodes of Picard stream on Paramount Plus each Thursday.

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