Episode 2 – “Maps and Legends”
14 years ago on a Mars construction outpost a bald synthetic is teased by his co-workers. A minute later we see him going all Data-like with super speedy hands on a computer screen.
The human workers try to stop him and he pulls out some sort of phaser-like device and kills all of them.
Onto the title screen.
We’re now 7+ minutes into 46 minute episode before we see Picard on screen. He’s already deep into the investigation of what happened to Dahj and it’s leading him to something called the Jaqblas (?spelling?), sort of a new world boogeyman with the help of his two caretakers discussing the background of the Jaqblas.
The investigation leads to a communication with Dahj but — insert dramatic beat — it is happening off world.
Cut to another scene with Dahj’s sister aboard a Borg cube known as The Artifact. Dahj’s sister has a co-worker and boyfriend, so they are in bed and it’s some kind of galactic pillow talk. Almost a complete throwaway scene.
Back to Picard who is getting a house call from his doctor. Picard wants to get approved for interstellar service, but the news isn’t good.
This would be a good time for Picard to consult Number One his pitbul, but the dog is nowhere to be seen in episode 2. Picard’s medscreens came back good except for an abnormality in his brain. Does he have some form of dementia? The prognosis isn’t good. Whatever Picard has in his brain is terminal.
Picard wants to be certified as fit for interstellar service. An old Stargazer doctor friend, will he help Picard?
Picard visits Starfleet as a visitor and sees Admiral Clancy to ask for permission for temporary reinstatement — one mission – so that he can try and track down where Dahj twin sister is located.
Picard’s legendary deductive powers have him believing that Maddox was out there using some of Data’s positronic components to create sythetics. Picard also believes Maddox used Data’s painting of Dahj as a starting reference for the synths.
A heated exchange ensues.
Picard’s request is quickly denied with Clancy rudely barking at Picard: “Do what you’re good at: go home!”
And thus from this moment, Picard must decide if he goes rogue. Does he? You’ll have to watch the rest of the episode to see what happens.
This episode feels more like an episode of a soap opera than Star Trek. The structure is such that there is a large amount of exposition fed into very little dramatic tension. No action, save for the opening scene on Mars that is a flashback.
We’re treated to a little bit of Picard in Sherlock Holmes mode, some synth revolt 14 years ago on Mars, some more on Picard’s tense relationship with Starfleet, a teaser on what Dahj’s sister is up to on the Borg cube and then the absolute most interesting part of the episode (as was the case last week): a trailer of what’s coming in future episodes!
This episode just comes off feeling like a bunch of backstory being crammed into viewer’s brains. Sure, we’ll need some of it later in the story, but do we need it all right now? Some of it is repeating material we got in the first episode.
We need to hurry up and get Picard on some kind of ship with a crew (teased in the trailer at the end of the first episode) and off earth. That is when maybe the “Star Trek” part of this show will become justified.
When Picard is on earth this show is, from a pacing perspective, going in reverse. It’s just … OK. Very slow moving, unfortunately. I liked the trailer at the end more than the episode. Felt too much like info dump, less about action, adventure and forward movement.
Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️½
Later this morning (7am PST), The Ready Room will be on YouTube with a behind the second season episode hosted by Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher!) and that might be as good or better than the actual episode. I’ll embed that below with additional thoughts on that.
SPOILER SECTION – The Ready Room
Episode #2 of The Ready Room is embedded below. Suggest you watch the episode first before streaming this episode.