'Star Trek: Picard' Episode 10: Was Picard's friend Data living in hell for all these years?
Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) might be the lead protagonist of 'Star Trek: Picard', but in reality, the show is all about Data (Brent Spiner). From the first episode, it's Data's friendship with Picard that had been pushing the show forward. Through Picard's dreams, he gently makes him realize that the captain feels lost and hollow in the French vineyards and that he still has some miles to go before he sleeps. With the help of an unfinished painting, Data helps Picard put together the missing pieces about Data's 'daughters' Dahj and Soji (both played by Isa Briones). And whenever Picard has had the chance, he has spoken about 'his dear friend' Data with a sense of wistful fondness. This close friendship has formed the heartbeat of the show and is behind Picard's motivations to find Soji and rescue her from rogue Romulans. The two respected and loved each other and even though they didn't use the words for it, they showed it in every action. Data loved Picard till the very end, and in fact, sacrificed his life for him 'for which he has no regrets', he says.
And in the last episode, we say a final bittersweet goodbye to Data. It's a closure. We had lost the naive and honest synth in 'Star Trek: Nemesis', but we didn't have time to say a proper goodbye. In the finale of 'Star Trek: Picard', the captain finally pulls the plug on his close friend, just moments after being resurrected as a synth himself. He fulfills Data's final wish, to give him the ultimate human ending so that he can die peacefully, rather than just exist in a simulation. Data lies on his death bed and passes away. Closure, at long last.
So was Data really alive, all these years? Well, yes and no. When Picard's brain is scanned and put into a VR simulation, he is reunited with Data, who has been put into the simulation from the memories he implanted into the android B-4 (also Brent Spiner) in 'Star Trek: Nemesis'. Yet, as Data had always wished to be more like a human and understand their complexities, this was not what he wanted. In a way, he was trapped in a simulation, far from the people that he loved and was alone. He was alive, in a way, without actually being so. It's his version of hell. But now, he's at peace. He got the ultimate human ending.
And so, with bated breath, we wait for the next season of 'Star Trek: Picard'.