Star Trek: Picard’s second episode goes nowhere, does nothing

Pictured (l-r): Patrick Stewart as Picard; Michelle Hurd as Raffi of the the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: PICARD. Photo Cr: Trae Patton/CBS ©2019 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Pictured (l-r): Patrick Stewart as Picard; Michelle Hurd as Raffi of the the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: PICARD. Photo Cr: Trae Patton/CBS ©2019 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

Although the premiere laid the groundwork for a strong start, episode two of Star Trek: Picard is a bafflingly slow and uninteresting entry for a show that only has 10 episodes per season.

If there’s one word we didn’t expect to use while describing Star Trek: Picard, it would be slow. The show is jam-packed with espionage, android conspiracies, and enough fanservice to power a starship. So, heading into episode two, “Maps and Legends”, we expected the pace to pick up after the premiere introduced the key players. Oddly, however, where most shows would attempt to heighten the stakes or draw viewers in, episode two of Picard is a sluggish 44 minutes that don’t seem to advance the plot or engage the audience.

The episode begins promisingly – with a flashback detailing the events of the previously unseen synthetic malfunction which destroyed Mars and shattered Romulan relations with the Federation. It was an interesting and unexpected way to start the episode, as flashbacks were fairly uncommon in The Next Generation –  but still in line with the show’s current trajectory, which seems to be more geared towards emulating the tone of Discovery, also helmed by Alex Kurtzman.

After the flashback, which provided an indication that no, synthetics weren’t treated any better in the 2380s than they were during TNG the episode returned to where the premiere left off- with Dahj’s identical twin sister Soji working at the Borg cube/Romulan reclamation facility. Soji meets a new employee, a Trill, while heading to work, and their exchange provides some exposition-which is all that this episode, on the whole, seems to do.

We get a deeper look into Soji’s life, as the premiere was mostly dedicated to fleshing out her sister (who was then promptly killed), and we learn that she seems to be some kind of scientist working with a team of Romulans to dissect and harvest dead Borg drones. We also learn that Soji is in an intimate relationship with Narek, a Romulan also working at the facility. Between clips of Soji and Narek going about their day, we also check back in with Picard, who is brutally rejected when appealing for reinstatement with Starfleet.

Though we’re more than accepting of a critical or even antagonistic portrayal of Starfleet, it felt unnecessarily shocking when Picard’s imploring for help is met with an f-bomb and what basically amounted to him being told to “get the hell out”. To make matters worse for Starfleet, it’s later revealed that the same woman who rejects Picard’s request is also in league with a Romulan who seems to be posing as a Starfleet officer with sinister intentions.

It’s currently unclear just how deep the Romulan conspiracy goes (we know it includes Narek, and at least two Romulans posing as Starfleet officers), but it seems likely that there could be a more deep-seated reason that Picard’s request for reinstatement was denied- the Federation may not want him investigating the Romulan facility.

However, all of this information was delivered in such a contrived yet boring way that the episode felt much too slow to maintain the levels of intrigue in suspense it’s aiming for, and it doesn’t help that even after two hours, Picard has yet to assemble his crew and take to the sky, which is where we assume the meat of the story will take place.

Although it gives us no pleasure to stay this, episode two of Picard is just like the fondly-nicknamed power relays from The Original Series– it goes nowhere and does nothing.

dark. Next. Star Trek: Picard season 1 premiere review: Old friends and new faces

Did you enjoy episode two of Picard? What do you think the Romulans are up to? Sound off in the comments below.