Thursday, January 30, 2020

REVIEW: 'Star Trek: Picard' - Picard Learns More About the Demands of His New Mission in 'Maps and Legends'

CBS All Access' Star Trek: Picard - Episode 1.02 "Maps and Legends"

Picard begins investigating the mystery of Dahj as well as what her very existence means to the Federation. Without Starfleet's support, Picard is left leaning on others for help, including Dr. Agnes Jurati and an estranged former colleague, Raffi Musiker. Meanwhile, hidden enemies are also interested in where Picard's search for the truth about Dahj will lead.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of CBS All Access' Star Trek: Picard.

"Maps and Legends" was written by Michael Chabon & Akiva Goldsman and directed by Hanelle Culpepper

Is Jean-Luc Picard willing and able to embark on a new mission? He has a personal connection to this latest quest because of a sense of honor to his fallen friend, Data. He knows that Data's essence has been manipulated in order to create two new Synthetic hosts. Dahj was killed. As such, Picard has to ensure that the same fate doesn't befall Soji. He realizes that she lives off world. She works in secret on the mysterious Borg cube. Her research is still shrouded in secrecy. It's a program that operates in such a perilous space even though the subjects have been removed from the Borg collective. The science and research can once again create a looming threat. That's what Narek is hoping to better understand. He wants to form a close and personal relationship with Soji. He doesn't share anything personal about himself or his past. And yet, he's also expecting the full truth from Soji. It's complicated but he also recognizes that playing the long game is more effective than sending assassins in to kill these new Synthetics. Picard is just trying to understand how it all happened to Dahj with no trances of the attack whatsoever. Her apartment has been scrubbed clean. He sees just how dangerous all of this can be. That's why he doesn't want to recruit any of his old friends for this mission. He knows that they would agree and risk their lives once more under his leadership. He doesn't view himself as a stable figure capable of commanding a crew though. He still has an idealistic view of the world and fights for balance throughout the Federation. However, he is woefully naive if he thought that Starfleet would welcome him back and provide him a ship for this secret mission. The argument that he and Admiral Clancy has is well-defined too. He left Starfleet because its leadership was willing to decide which races lived and died in the universe. He believes that the officers have a duty to protect life no matter what. People may blame him for the threats that still exist in the world as a result of the Romulans and Synthetics. He was exiled to his family vineyard hoping to never be seen or heard from again. That could be a quiet and peaceful life for him. He feels the call to get back in on the action though. He failed to protect Dahj. He can't let Soji be defenseless as well. He is walking into the unknown fully aware that this mission could actually kill him. That may be the central conflict of the series. Picard feels the need to lead by moral example once more even though his body may no longer be able to put up with the demands of space. He has allies more than willing to help him along this journey. He also has estranged friendships that are intrigued by the news that he brings in search of their help. It's a complicated personal journey for him. One that wants to deconstruct just how his leadership can fail the world around him. He speaks with a sense of moral authority and clarity. And yet, he is just as capable of making mistakes as anyone else in this world. He yearns for the past and is trying to find a way to honor the sacrifices made for him. That may be the only reason he is invested in what happens next. That can't be the only basis for his character journey though. This has to be the start of something new for Picard. Moreover, the supporting ensemble around him needs to have their own sense of identity in deciding whether or not to aide him in this journey. Right now, the show is fortunately being upfront about the various shocking twists that can occur. Admiral Clancy trusts Commodore Oh with Picard's information when she is the one actually leading this covert program for the Romulans. Narek feels the pressure by his sister to show results quickly. And yet, the show isn't in a rush to move the plot along. It moves at a slow but methodical pace that highlights how the journey can't be as easy for Picard as it once was. That just runs the risk of the show taking too long getting started when this is a franchise known for boldly going into the unknown.