The great mystery of Star Trek: Picard’s final season has been all about uncovering the secret of Jack Crusher, the son of Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden). Played by Ed Speleers, we’ve seen that Jack is not an ordinary young man. And Starfleet’s Changeling enemies are desperate to capture him and enact some kind of grand nefarious plan involving him since season three’s first chapter.
But after eight episodes, we still don’t know what’s up with Jack exactly. At the end of episode eight, “Surrender,” Jack connects telepathically to Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis), suggesting we are finally about to find out at last. But there have been a few hints already, and we think we know what Jack might really be, and just how the Changelings plan to use him.
The Strange Case of Jack Crusher
So far on Picard this season, we’ve seen Jack Crusher have visions and hear voices. Visions of dark tendrils branching out everywhere, leading towards a mysterious red door. In Picard episode six, Jack received news on what he believes is the reason why. In “The Bounty,” we learned Jack had inherited his father’s Irumodic Syndrome. This was a degenerative brain condition that Picard lived with for years, and which ultimately killed him. Picard’s mind is currently housed in a new synthetic body.
But Irumodic Syndrome doesn’t explain how Jack Crusher can do other things we’ve seen him do. He’s been able to suddenly defend himself on an instinctive level from Changeling attackers, killing four of them in seconds. He can telepathically communicate with others, see through their eyes and control their actions. All of these behaviors indicate the Borg hive mind. Only Jack can connect with other humanoids, and not members of the Borg Collective. But to explain how Jack could be a “human Borg,” we need to explain his father’s painful history with the cybernetic drones.
“Resistance is Futile.”
In the classic third season TNG episode “The Best of Both Worlds,” the Borg kidnapped Picard and turned him into one of them. They even gave him the rare honor of an individual name, Locutus. The Borg used the knowledge in his brain to wage war on the Federation. At the battle of Wolf 359, the Borg destroyed 40 starships and lost 11,000 officers. The crew of the Enterprise were able to take back Captain Picard, and Dr. Crusher was able to remove his Borg implants. Beverly even said “there is extensive infiltration of microcircuit fibers into the surrounding tissue. His DNA is being rewritten.”
While Beverly removed the majority of the Borg implants in Picard’s body, there’s evidence that they left something behind in his DNA. It’s entirely possible she missed something. In Picard episode seven, “Dominion,” Data suggested that the Irumodic Syndrome Picard was diagnosed with was a false diagnosis. What appeared to be Irumodic Syndrome was actually masking something else. Could that something else be related to what the Borg did to him decades earlier? Future encounters Picard had with the Collective seem to suggest that was the case.
First Contact Clues
In the Enterprise’s next encounter with a Borg cube, in the film First Contact, Captain Picard seemed able to sense the Borg, feeling them when they were near. This suggests they left something of themselves behind in him, even years after he was free of being Locutus. Perhaps like a Trojan Horse. Picard never became Locutus again, but perhaps something worse happened. Because he might have passed on his Borgified DNA to his natural-born offspring with Beverly Crusher.
Although other characters like Seven of Nine and a few others have been freed from the Borg collective, as far as we know, none have had any natural-born children after the fact. Only Jean-Luc Picard has. And Jack might have advanced Borg traits simply as part of his genetic makeup, as opposed to acquiring them through assimilation. This might make Jack Crusher a unique being in all the galaxy. But if he’s “born a Borg,” what does the Dominion want with him? And do the Borg and the Dominion even have a connection?
Is There a Dominion/Borg Connection?
So what exactly do the Borg Collective and the Dominion have to do with each other? In Star Trek history, pretty much nothing. These two powers were separated by huge chunks of space. To explain this, we have to explain how the Star Trek version of the Milky Way galaxy was broken up into four quarters. The United Federation of Planets was located in the Alpha Quadrant, and is its greatest power. The Beta Quadrant was home to t he Klingon and Romulan Empires. While the Alpha and Beta Quadrants are adjacent to each other, the Gamma and Delta Quadrants are very, very distant.
The Borg Collective originated in the Delta Quadrant, some 75 years away from Federation space at maximum warp. The Borg’s use of superior technology, specifically their transwarp conduits, meant they could send ships to places Starfleet would take decades to arrive in. Meanwhile, the Dominion were the overlords of much of the Gamma Quadrant. They didn’t have access to the Alpha Quadrant until the discovery of the Bajoran wormhole in Deep Space Nine, allowing them a shortcut into Federation space, which was an equally distant 75 years away. So as far as we know, the Borg and the Dominion have never had much interaction. So how and why would the Borg factor into a Changeling plot?
Jack Crusher: Genetic Template for a New Dominion Army?
The answer has to do with the Dominion’s standing army, the Jem’Hadar. These reptilian humanoids were the footsoldiers in the Dominion’s conquest of the Gamma Quadrant, as well as their soldiers during the Dominion war. They were genetically engineered beings, all hatched and not born. The Dominion bred the Jem’Hadar in a lab to have one purpose and one purpose only; to fight for the Founders, the Changelings they worshipped as gods. They had enhanced fighting capabilities, and could even go without food or sleep. They also had the ability to camouflage with their surroundings, similar to the Predator from that film franchise.
However, as we’ve seen from this rogue faction of Changelings in Picard, they are on their own, cut off from the Great Link. Which means they have no Jem’Hadar army to serve them. But who would make a great template for a new, similar army? None other than a Borg/human hybrid like Jack Crusher. So far, we’ve seen he has innate defense mechanisms when threatened, able to kill four Changeling attackers without even knowing how or why. He can telepathically connect with others, making him an incredible asset on the battlefield. Simply put, he’d be the perfect genetic template for a cloned military force for this faction of Changelings. Similar to how Jango Fett was the template for the Clone Army in Star Wars.
In the final two episodes of Picard’s final season, we’re sure to find out just what the Changelings have in store for the destruction of the Federation at the Frontier Day celebration. But even if their plan were to work, and Starfleet was destroyed, they’d still have to conquer the Klingon Empire, the Ferengi, what’s left of the Romulan and Cardassian Empires. For that, they’d need an army. And we bet Jack Crusher is key to creating that military force. We’ll find out for sure when Star Trek: Picard drops its final two episodes on April 14 and 21 on Paramount+.