Release Date: January 30, 2020
Network: CBS All Access
Genre: Science Fiction
The second episode of Star Trek: Picard opens by tying up some questions that popped up in the series premiere. We come to learn just who went after Dahj and to at least some degree, exactly why they went after her as well.
The opening is a kind of dual setting, with Picard’s staff showing they are more than merely a maid and a butler. One setting has the pair at his home explaining who they believe were the Romulan attackers we saw go after Dahj more than once. The other setting has Laris and our favorite former Star Fleet captain going to the young woman’s home to try and piece together why she was attacked, why her boyfriend was killed, and where they went next.
While “Maps and Legends” is supposed to make the viewer think they are answering questions, it turns out there are far more questions popping up. Not only about Dahj but about several other characters we meet or learn more about along the way. In fact, the second episode of Star Trek: Picard seems to be more about laying the groundwork than the first episode was.
The questions that have since popped up include:
- Just how involved is Star Fleet in the assassination attempt of Dahj?
- What is Narek’s ultimate mission?
- Will Picard ever actually take to the helm of a ship?
That last question is tongue in cheek, but it is interesting that we’re now two episodes into the series, and Jean-Luc has yet to take on the role Star Trek: The Next Generation fans know him best. It actually feels like we’ve moved closer to that and should almost certainly see him on the bridge in episode three. Still, the show has done an excellent job of building up the expectation and anticipation to see him finally tell someone to “make it so.”
One Last Trip
One of the biggest plot points in Star Trek: Picard episode two is actually something that was brought forward from the final ever episode of Next Generation shows us more of exactly why he’s so hell-bent on solving the mystery of Dahj and her attackers. While age isn’t exactly the driving force for his final mission, it is some pretty good fuel for a short but genuinely funny exchange between Picard and the equivalent of a desk sergeant at Star Fleet headquarters.
The humor quickly fades when Picard goes to an old friend, asking for a new ship. We also get a glimpse into what is correctly referred to as his “sheer hubris” when he offers to be demoted from Admiral to Captain as what he clearly sees as a concession. Further, we start to see the politics that dominates Star Fleet, politics that don’t appear all that different from what we’re going through in real life.
That’s interesting only because the original Star Trek series tried hard to claim the world was near a utopia when Picard and the rest of our well-known captains were soaring through the stars. It appears that it was more wishful thinking than reality. Indeed, we aren’t seeing struggles like poverty and racism, though the latter idea is still prevalent in specific segments clearly. The racism is just geared more at “objects” than people. Bookmark that comment as the series goes forward.
Still Not A Lot in The Way of Nostalgia in Star Trek: Picard
When this show was first introduced, there are two factors excited fans were most interested in seeing. The first was seeing Jean-Luc Picard on the bridge of a ship, even if it’s not some future version of the Enterprise. The other was seeing some of the captain’s former shipmates.
While we know some characters we came to know and love are going to make some kind of return, Data is so far the only one we’ve seen, and you can’t really say he’s made a return. There’s even a mention of Riker, Worf, and LaForge. But that particular crew is quickly dismissed. It’s clear that Star Trek: Picard wants to walk a fine line between reminding people why they loved the old shows, without leaning on it.
That’s both good and bad. Fun and disappointing, but the show has so far walked the very fine line between the last generation and current generation of Star Trek, camera flares and all.
Mysteries, Mysteries everywhere
The underlying theme of Star Trek: Picard, episode 2, “Maps and Legends” is that there are more questions than answers in Picard’s world. He’s spent the last few years having no idea of just how dark the universe has become, even knowing what happened with “the synthetics” and why they have been outlawed. So far, even without the answers, it’s been a pretty fun ride.
The show appears to have been written knowing full well there is already a season 2. With the number of conspiracies, disguises, and questions being raised, it’s hard not to expect a cliffhanger whenever this season ends. It will be interesting to see if the writers can pull that off without frustrating their fans.
Verdict: It was nice to see Jean-Luc Picard look a bit more like Jean-Luc Picard in episode 2. He wasn’t telling people he just met how truly special and wonderful they were. He was pompously strolling into Star Fleet and expecting to walk out with whatever he wanted. And he was stubbornly going about his “mission” despite being told he couldn’t or shouldn’t. We’re still getting introduced to new characters and new questions. While that approach is working through two episodes, they’re going to need to start answering some of these questions sooner or later or Star Trek: Picard will take a turn towards frustrating rather than thrilling.