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‘Star Trek: Picard’ slows down, but we’re getting somewhere

‘Picard’ kicked off with a thrilling series premiere. Its second episode takes a breath

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“Picard” kicked off with a thrilling series premiere, but it’s second episode takes a breath.

“Picard” kicked off with a thrilling series premiere, but it’s second episode takes a breath.

CBS

“Star Trek: Picard” had a brilliant start with its series premiere. The second episode takes a bit of a breath — but that’s OK. That means the best of this show is still yet to come.

The second episode of the new CBS All Access show — titled “Maps and Legends” — showed Picard researching more about Data’s daughter Dahj (Isa Briones), and the potential search for her twin sister. Elsewhere, we meet her twin sister, Soji, who is involved romantically with a Romulan named Narek (Harry Treadaway) on the Borg Cube.

We learn more about the Romulan empire and the Borg Cube, which were hinted at in the series premiere. Apparently the Romulan Free State owns the Borg Cube — also called the “Artifact” — and the Romulans only allow a few people to visit it. We learn a little bit more about how Romulans have invaded the Starfleet Federation. We also meet Raffi Musiker (Michelle Hurd), who looks displeased to meet Picard. The character appears in a comic series as one of Picard’s shipmates.

“Maps and Legends” teaches us a little bit more about Picard’s state of mind. He is developing some sort of disease or tumor, which means his time on Earth may be limited. We also learn that Picard doesn’t want to involve his old shipmates in the quest to head to the stars, acknowledging that he wants to forge a new path and a new direction.

We also see a little bit into the psyche of Picard in this future. There’s a moment where he introduces himself to a young Starfleet staffer, who doesn’t recognize him. He must confirm his identity. His legacy has been taken from him. He’s upset that he isn’t remembered. Picard will clearly have to come to terms with his destiny as the series continues.

Like I wrote in my review last week, I am completely new to the “Star Trek” franchise. I’ve dabbled with “Deep Space Nine” and two of the newer movies, “Star Trek” and “Star Trek Into Darkness.” But I never watched “The Next Generation,” “Voyager” or the original series. So I decided to dig into a separate review of the show that understands past implications of the show — and I discovered something interesting, courtesy of SyFy Wire.

The episode hints at the alternative future that Picard experienced in the finale of “The Next Generation,” apparently.

In that episode, Picard learned of a future in 2395 where he lives on a vineyard and has a neurological disorder called “Irumodic Syndrome.”

In this new show, Picard learns in 2399 that he has a neurological disorder and he lives on a vineyard, which means the show could be “doubling-down on the idea that Picard is probably more than a little concerned that he’s on a path that would be too similar to the alternate future,” according to SyFy Wire.

I love the idea that this show is drawing a clear line between the alternate history seen in “Next Generation.” It hits on this idea I wrote about last week. “Star Trek” has such a rich franchise history. There are so many stories to tell, so much in-world history and canon to discover.

The second episode of “Picard” felt slower. It was table setting before Picard heads off to space. But it proved that the showrunners aren’t forgetting the past episodes of “Star Trek.” An Easter egg like that — seeing the events of an alternate future half play out in the new show — proves that there’s a rich history worth remembering. Like Picard, we shouldn’t forget the successes of the past. They mean the most to our future.

And for “Picard,” the future is bright. Everything in the past matters. Space battles and travel are coming next. I’m excited to see where this new series goes from here. It’s just a matter of time before we get there.