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‘Star Trek: Picard’ fights the Borg (again), with an ending that’s easy to resist

<i>Trae Patton/Paramount+</i><br/>Jean-Luc Picard and his crew fought the Borg again in the finale of
Trae Patton/Paramount+
Trae Patton/Paramount+
Jean-Luc Picard and his crew fought the Borg again in the finale of "Star Trek: Picard

Review by Brian Lowry, CNN

Jean-Luc Picard and his crew fought the Borg again in the finale of “Star Trek: Picard,” but despite the oft-used phrase about the futility of fighting them, the highly sentimental ending to the Paramount+ series — including 15 minutes of character-driven material after the battle — likely gave many fans what they wanted, but still turned out to be pretty easy to resist.

Patrick Stewart has gamely anchored this latest offshoot of Gene Roddenberry’s creation into his 80s, in this third round flanked by most of the original “Star Trek: The Next Generation” lineup. The AARP generation more than held their own, saving the galaxy one last time in an episode appropriately subtitled “The Last Generation,” with the added bonus of Alice Krige reprising her “First Contact” role as the Borg queen.

Still, the extended curtain calls reinforced a sense that the nostalgia, while initially welcome, had essentially reached its limit. That included Picard embracing the son he didn’t even know he had, Jack Crusher (Ed Speleers), and committing to nobly sacrificing himself if necessary in order to save him.

That turned out not to happen, but the prospect gave the show an opportunity to present a series of emotional interactions, including Picard’s “If I don’t make it out of this” goodbyes to Riker (Jonathan Frakes), Worf (Michael Dorn) and Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden), his fellow “Next Generation” alumni.

While the old guard played poker at the end, Paramount appeared to set up a possible future built around the nucleus of a newly promoted Captain Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), Raffi Musiker (Michelle Hurd) and Jack Crusher (Ed Speleers). The writers even threw in a cameo featuring John de Lancie as Q during the closing credits teasing what might come next, but by then, that felt as much like a threat as a promise.

Series showrunner Terry Matalas (who wrote and directed the finale) provided some nifty character beats throughout the episode, including Data (Brent Spiner) navigating a very Death Star-like raid on the Borg cube, Riker and Deanna (Marina Sirtis) plotting what amounted to a second honeymoon, and Picard tearing up the site of the renamed Enterprise.

After the series’ long run and the movies featuring the cast, there was a sense of closure in turning the final season into one long reunion and farewell, three dozen years after they first took flight. There’s nothing wrong with serving that devoted audience, but the 10-episode sendoff still began to feel like too much of a good thing.

Nobody can accuse Paramount of under-utilizing the “Trek” shingle, with “Strange New Worlds,” “Lower Decks” and “Prodigy” set to return later this year, plus a just-announced movie featuring Michelle Yeoh. Perhaps that’s why when Riker said near the finish, “I think this is the end of the road,” strictly in terms of Picard and company, one hopes Paramount will make it so.

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