In this episode, we finally get to the root of Picard's trauma, a trauma that has been teased and hinted at all season long. It's mixed in with the crew's desperate flight from the Borgi-fied Agnes and her newly assimilated minions, with help from Brent Spiner's Dr. Adam Soong (who tips all the way into unhinged villainy in this episode, in search of his "legacy," and as a result becomes a lot less interesting). I will say this: the reveal does make some actual plot sense, as Jean-Luc's burgeoning memories does show the way to the tunnels hidden underneath Chateau Picard, the same tunnels he roamed with his mother on that fateful night. And the final scene that reveals exactly what happened to her doesn't take place until the very end of the episode, so at least Picard isn't having distracting personal flashbacks in the middle of a crisis (well, much).
This does make the episode a little better than the past several senseless slogs, but I'm tempted to classify it as too little too late. Especially since it only deals with Agnes/the Borg Queen, and not the other problem of Dr. Soong stopping the Europa Mission (which will obviously happen in the finale). Also, at the end the newly unified Queen Agnes takes off in Rios' ship--Rios' Confederation ship--to where? the alternate timeline, or many alternate timelines across multiple universes? That question still remains to be answered, but it also leaves Picard's group seemingly stranded in the 20th century.
Acting-wise, Alison Pill again shines, with her dual (and dueling) identities as Agnes Jurati and the Borg Queen. But she's given a big climactic speech where she talks the Queen into cooperation instead of assimilation--a nicer, more wholesome assimilation, perhaps?--which sounds more like a plot coupon to me instead of a viable solution. (Oh, yeah, and Queen Agnes is totally going to be the Queen from the first episode, like I previously stated. Probably to set up this time loop so she can become the Queen who asks to join the Federation.) Patrick Stewart is also put through a bit of a wringer as Picard remembers what happens to his mother: Yvette Picard ended up committing suicide in Chateau Picard's solarium, hanging from the rafters in a very Gothic-looking and cliched white dress, a memory Picard apparently suppressed for decades. (This plot twist also sparked a somewhat heated discussion in the comments for this episode's review at Tor.com, with many people saying a) wouldn't the Federation have eliminated mental illness by the 24th century, or nearly so? and b) what was Picard's father doing locking Yvette in her room for the night in the first place? Had the chateau's transporter blown its gasket, so Maurice couldn't bring someone in to help Yvette, or take her somewhere to get treatment?)
The episode moved along fast enough where I didn't consider any of these issues as I was watching, but it fell apart as soon as I started thinking about it. Which, unfortunately, has been pretty much true for the entire season.
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