With over four months to go before Paramount+ subscribers can once again see Patrick Stewart reprise one of his signature roles in the second season of Star Trek: Picard, we’re starting to learn more about the series’ sophomore entry. In particular, thanks to an interview this week with Isa Briones, we’re getting a clearer idea of what to expect from the upcoming season thematically.
Briones — who played three characters in the show’s first season though only one of them, Soji, survives — spoke to TrekMovie in an interview posted earlier this week. Among other things, she said fans can expect to start seeing the regular characters of Star Trek: Picard “in a new light,” and that mental health will feature prominently in the story. While Briones didn’t get into specifics, she talked about the characters undergoing extreme hardships and being forced to lean on one another.
Anyone who’s seen the inaugural season of Star Trek: Picard probably won’t have much trouble believing that mental health could be something all the show’s characters struggle with. Under the influence of the Zhat Vash, Dr. Jurati (Alison Pill) murders her former lover Bruce Maddox (John Ales) in the first season. Rios (Santiago Cabrera) left Starfleet after witnessing a horrific murder-suicide, Raffi (Michelle Hurd) isn’t shy about the vices she uses to medicate her trauma, and Elnor was orphaned as a child and raised into a sect of Romulan nuns in which he was the only male. Not to mention that not one but two of the main characters — Picard and Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) — were once servants of the hive-minded Borg. So sure. Plenty of issues to work through with this crew.
While any fans aware of the title character’s past might understandably assume Picard’s mental health journey would be tied to his Borg assimilation during the events of Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s two-parter The Best of Both Worlds which bridged the series’ third and fourth seasons, there’s reason to believe that won’t be the case. The trailer for Star Trek: Picard Season 2 released on Star Trek Day includes some clues that Picard’s trauma is found much earlier. We see shots of Picard searching through an old greenhouse, and flashbacks of a young boy — presumably the young Picard — with his mother. Early in the trailer you can hear the voice of Picard’s Romulan housekeeper Laris (Orla Brady) saying “I first saw you as a man who chose the stars, but after all this time I’ve come to wonder — have you been seeking, or running?” The suggestion being that it was some kind of trauma that drove Picard to become an explorer in the first place, long before he encountered the Borg.
While we don’t know a lot about Picard’s childhood, there is plenty there to suggest his upbringing was less than ideal. From the TNG Season 4 episode Family in which the late Jeremy Kemp guest starred as Jean-Luc‘s bitter older brother Robert, we know that the future Starfleet captain was driven as if by demons to excel in every arena, to the point where Robert held a horrible grudge against him. We also learn Jean-Luc’s father wasn’t happy with his choice to join Starfleet. Any of that could be built upon to tell a new story in the upcoming season of Star Trek: Picard. We’ll have a better idea when the new episodes premiere in February 2022.