BoLS logo Tabletop, RPGs & Pop Culture

‘Star Trek: Picard’ Succumbs to the Sweetest “Surrender”

8 Minute Read
Apr 6 2023

With Vadic in charge of the Titan and the crew captive, “Surrender” marks a definitive ending for Star Trek: Picard. The question is: for who?

Nostalgia has a tendency to come and go on Star Trek: Picard. Some weeks you get an episode full of holodeck references. Others characters you love die agonizing deaths. Last week’s episode “Dominion” posited a question: was Starfleet ever as good as Picard imagines it?

“Surrender” is a very different animal from “Dominion”. It’s the proverbial Return of the Jedi to last week’s Empire Strikes Back. We know what it means to lose friends, to lose a ship, and to lose hope. Now the question is – can (and I’m so sorry about this) Picard and co. find a new hope?

And the answer is YES! Of course they can! “Dominion” is an hour’s worth of at-times convenient victories. But sometimes a story is just like real life – sometimes the best thing to do is take the win.

So let’s recap quickly and then talk about how “Surrender” counterbalances “Dominion. And then let’s talk about what’s on the other side of that red door. Because it’s pretty clear at this point, isn’t it?

Courtesy of Paramount Plus

To Boldly Recap “Surrender”

Vadic has the bridge. Heck, she has the whole ship, more or less. The only thing she needs now is Jack. But Jack is in sickbay with Picard, Crusher, and Sidney while Geordi and Alandra remain in engineering with a sleeping Data/Lore. And more or less everyone else who isn’t dead is on the bridge.

In sickbay, Jack continues experimenting with his powers, moving his consciousness outside the room into another crewmember – just in time for said crewmember to bite it. Vadic announces that Jack must join her on the bridge. If he doesn’t she will kill one crew member on the bridge every ten minutes. Seven and Shaw are both on the bridge. Seven wants to fight back, but Shaw says there’s nothing they can do.

Vadic has not factored in Jack’s mind control powers. So Jack tells Mom and Dad that he’s Professor X Jr. now. They agree Jack should use his powers to possess a crewmember, use Picard’s countermand code, and take back the ship.

The good news is that the mind control works. The bad news is that Vadic catches on too soon. Also, Vadic knows Jack has mind control powers, which is even worse. And worst of all Vadic straight up murders a crewmember.


So things are not going great for our heroes.

Courtesy of Paramount Plus

The Shrike Ruler, the Old Schooler

On the Shrike, Riker and Troi are still alive – and they are having The Talk. After Thad’s death, Troi couldn’t handle the volume of Riker’s grief on top of her own. She tried to help by using her empathic powers to numb Riker’s pain. But Riker needs to go through that pain and her decision to block him off from it is part of why they aren’t as close.

Riker and Troi resolve things on the Shrike – at least a little. And as if on cue, Worf and Raffi sneak aboard and spring Riker and Troi. They all check out Picard’s old, dead body. It turns out, the changelings took the parts of Picard’s brain out that were part of his Irumodic Syndrome.

Meanwhile, back on the Titan, Jack heads to the bridge with a hand grenade to kill some time (but hopefully not himself) while Picard, Crusher, and Sidney join Geordi and Alandra in engineering. The plan is to get Data back in control of his body and use his mind to retake the ship.

Jack convinces Vadic to let everyone off the bridge but him. Seven sticks around anyway. And Picard convinces Geordi to lower the partition between Data and Lore’s memories in the android’s brain so the pair can duke it out for dominance.


Courtesy of Paramount Plus

The Best of Both Worlds

Vadic tells Jack she wants to tell him who he really is. She says she knows he hears the voices. Jack nearly weeps as she talks about his isolation and his guilt. But it’s when Vadic brings up the red door that Seven’s ears perk up. She seems like she almost knows something. And Vadic seems to think Seven is the right person to be here for this revelation.

Meanwhile, inside an android’s mind, Data seems to surrender to Lore. Data gives objects to Lore that represent his memories: a deerstalker hat, a stack of playing cards, and even his hologram of Tasha Yar.

Lore thinks he’s winning by taking these memories. After Data hands Lore his cat Spot, it seems that Data’s final memories are dead. Geordi mourns his friend. But then it turns out that, by Data giving Lore his memories, Data makes Lore and he one in the same. Data embraces his brother as they effectively become one with Data’s personality in charge.

Courtesy of Paramount Plus

(Almost) Everybody Lives

With Data in charge, the Titan is no longer under Vadic’s control. Data brings Riker, Troi, Worf, and Raffi aboard. Data also tells Jack to act. It turns out Jack’s “bomb” is actually a proximity shield. He activates it with he and Seven inside as Data opens the bridge to the vacuum of space. Vadic gets sucked out into space, freezes, and explodes as her body collides with the Shrike. Shaw takes back the bridge and Seven gives the order to blow up the Shrike.

With everyone on board, it seems like all is well. Data is happy to be alive and his friends are overjoyed to be with him again. But there’s one catch: Troi senses a darkness in Jack. She says there’s a voice inside Jack that’s ancient and weak but growing stronger by the moment.

Troi sits down with Jack and psychically links with him. Together they face the red door and open it.

And that’s the end of the episode oh no!


Courtesy of Paramount Plus

To Boldly Review “Surrender”

“Surrender” is aptly titled because there’s a kind of surrendering you have to do in order to truly enjoy it. A lot happens and not all of it makes a ton of sense. How does Jack know how to use his psychic powers so well when he’s only just gotten them? Why doesn’t Vadic kill the crew sooner and secure her victory? Does the battle inside Data’s mind really make sense? No, not particularly. And the personal shield keeping Seven and Jack from floating off is a little dodgy too.

But do you want to nitpick or do you want to have a good time? “Surrender” ain’t exactly big on logic, but it’s absolutely brimming with joy. In fact, it’s definitively the most joyful episode of Star Trek: Picard by far. And since there’s clearly some real darkness on the horizon, this feels like the right time to take the win.

When Worf weirdly flirts with Troi, that is funny and heartwarming. Take the win. Jeri Ryan gets to say “get off my bridge” just like Picard does in Star Trek: First Contact. Take the win. The entire TNG cast gets to sit around a table and figure out what to do next. It’s beautiful. Take the win.

The only really sad part is that Vadic is dead. If you’re sad to see a villain go, then, hey, that’s a pretty good villain! In the end, “Surrender” has one job and it is to make the people who have loved Star Trek: The Next Generation for decades feel good. It excels at that job.

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Hello, Spot

Okay, which Star Trek: Picard writer owns a cat? Because of all the touching scenes throughout “Surrender” nothing hits harder than the bit with Data and his cat Spot.

Okay, rewind. There’s a scene at the end of Star Trek: Generations where Data finds Spot alive among the wreckage of the Enterprise D. He weeps and wonders if his new emotion chip is broken. Troi tells him it’s working perfectly.

In “Surrender” Data refers to Spot as the best of himself, the one creature who taught him how to love. You don’t have to be an android to struggle with connecting, whether it’s with humanity or even with your own emotions. But cats have a strange power – they love us even when we feel we don’t deserve it when we can’t even feel love ourselves.


Data’s emotion chip has always been the weak link in Data’s journey toward humanity. You don’t turn emotions on and off at a whim. And not liking a drink isn’t exactly an emotion. “Surrender” succeeds where the TNG movies failed. Because it’s not so much that Data suddenly has emotions – it’s that he’s grown to understand that, in his way, like the Tin Man, he had the heart all along. He’s just lived a very long time and learned how to show it better.

Data, like all of us, is a sum of his memories, but his most profound expression of love is rooted in Spot. It’s founded in telling Spot she is a pretty cat, in having hundreds of food options to keep Spot happy, and in writing very long poetry as an ode to Spot.

And loving a cat is very human. What a beautiful way to express Data’s evolution after all this time. What a gift to fans.

Courtesy of Paramount Plus

Questions, Queries, Quibbles

Look there’s a lot we can talk about here, but let’s just cut to the chase, shall we? Vadic makes a big deal about Jack feeling alone and about the voices in his head. She also seems to think Seven of Nine is the perfect person to find out about Jack’s true identity. And Seven sure looks nervous at the mention of that red door.

If Picard’s Irumodic Syndrome isn’t actually Irumodic Syndrome. If Jack has the same illness that isn’t actually an illness. And if Jack can control the minds of others, make them a part of his collective if you will, then there aren’t a lot of possible explanations on the board.

So the question is: who, or what, is Locutus really? Because every season of Star Trek: Picard inevitably circles back to the Borg in general and Locutus in specific. This season Shaw goes so far as to refer to Locutus as “the only Borg so deadly they gave it a name”.

We know the Borg Queen isn’t the original Borg. What if some aspect of Locutus is even older than she is? What if Locutus is the true genesis point of the Borg? And what if Locutus is somehow inside Jack? Just something to ponder. As a treat.


All in all, “Surrender” is aces. It’s a reference-palooza, but who cares? Data tells a good joke. Levar Burton’s acting is off the charts. And we finally get the full cast reunion. Take the win.

4.5/5 stars

Lina Morgan
Author: Lina Morgan
  • 'John Wick: Chapter 4' is an Unrelenting & Brutal Action Masterpiece - Spoiler Free Review