If you’re watching Star Trek: Picard Episode 2, you may need a refresher on what happened to Picard in The Next Generation. Did he get dementia in the future? If you remember something vaguely about Irumodic Syndrome and a parietal lobe anomaly, you’re not imagining things. This was discussed in the finale of TNG, All Good Things.
This article will have spoilers for Episode 2 of Picard along with spoilers from All Good Things.
Picard Had Irumodic Syndrome from a Parietal Lobe Anomaly in ‘The Next Generation’
In The Next Generation’s finale, All Good Things, we saw an “anti-present” and “anti-future” that never ended up actually happening. In that episode, in 2370, Dr. Beverly Crusher found a small defect in Picard’s parietal lobe. It required a special scan to find, it was so small, but it could lead to any number of serious disorders down the line when he was older. One of those was Irumodic syndrome.
After she told Picard about this, he said he refused to believe the future was set in stone, and they kissed. Here’s that scene.
(There was one other episode where Picard’s parietal lobe was mentioned, according to Memory Alpha. This was in 2367, when Crusher first discovered Locutus’ humanity (aka Picard) was asserting itself after he was assimilated. She determined this was happening because of detecting increased activity in his prefrontal and parietal lobes. There’s been no indication that Picard’s parietal lobe defect was caused by his Locutus assimilation, but it’s worth speculating about.
Others think that maybe the damage was caused when he had an entire lifetime downloaded into his brain in Inner Light.
Now, in Star Trek: Picard Episode 2, we learn that Picard does, indeed, have an issue with his parietal lobe after all. A doctor visits him and confirms the abnormality, telling him that it could result in any number of syndromes, but none of them have a positive ending. Picard mentions that someone told him about this abnormality in the past. Is he referring to the anti-present with Dr. Crusher, or did she diagnose it separately at a different time? Whatever the case, he already knew that it was possible he would develop an issue someday.
Picard responds: “I was told a long time ago that it might cause a problem eventually.” The doctor says the symptoms include loss of appetite, mood swings, and unsettling dreams — all of which he’s had, apparently.
The doctor seems to think the syndromes are so bad, it might be better if Picard died on the journey he’s about to undertake. That’s not comforting. :( He tells Picard: “”I don’t know what trouble you’re planning to get into. Maybe if you’re lucky, it will kill you first.”
As a refresher, Irumodic Syndrome, according to Memory Alpha, involves synaptic pathways in the brain degrading, leading to delusions, confusion, and ultimately death. There’s no cure, although some treatments can temporarily relieve symptoms. It makes me really sad to think that Picard might develop this after all. :( I was hoping they’d find some kind of cure. I think I’m going to ignore this revelation for the rest of the series, because it’s sad. Of course, he might not develop Irumodic Syndrome but something else. Whatever it is though, it won’t be good.
Here’s hoping that they do discover some kind of cure in the show or a way to fix his brain. Maybe the Borg research will open up some possibilities for him.