It’s a testament to the unpredictable quality of “Picard’s” final season that the Changelings’ resurfacing isn’t the season’s biggest villain reveal. Throughout the season, Picard’s son Jack Crusher (Ed Speleers) is hunted by Changelings while receiving recurring visions of an ominous red door. Realizing the source of his visions lurks on Jupiter, Jack faces the threat alone, with the mysterious antagonist revealed to be the Borg Queen. To make matters worse, the Queen allies herself with the Changelings, with the Changelings helping her secretly assimilate Starfleet personnel as unwitting sleeper agents.

The Borg Queen has managed to endure death onscreen twice, but her return to “Picard” doesn’t feel cheap or derivative. Allied with the Changelings, the Queen’s plan is already largely complete by the time Jack and Picard find out what they’re up against, effectively stacking the game against the heroes. To pour extra salt on the wound, Jack is among the Queen’s sleeper agents, assimilated as the Borg launch their endgame to destroy the Federation. The final season of “Picard” ends its first half by bringing back a major foe, only to turn around and top it off with twists in the penultimate episode.