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PICARD S01E02 "Myths and Legends" Reveals Romulan Assassins and Dark Secrets

Read this review to find out if Star Trek: Picard episode Maps and Legends is worth watching "

About Star Trek: Picard

  • Season 1, Episode 2: Maps and Legends
  • Directed by Hanelle Culpepper
  • Written by Michael Chabon & Akiva Goldsman
  • Synopsis: 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 (Alison Pill) and an estranged former colleague, Raffi Musiker (Michelle Hurd). Meanwhile, hidden enemies are also interested in where Picard's search for the truth about Dahj will lead.
  • Airdate: January 30, 2020
  • Starring: Patrick Stewart, Orla Brady, Isa Briones, Santiago Cabrera, Penelope Grimaldi, Chelsea Harris, Michelle Hurd, Peyton List, Marti Matulis, Jamie McShane, Alison Pill, Graham Shiels, Harry Treadaway, McKenzie Westmore, Rebecca Wisocky
Previous: "Remembrance" | Next: "The End is the Beginning"
If you want to avoid spoilers for this episode then skip to the overall section at the end.

Warning: Spoilers for Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 2 "Maps and Legends"

Recap Star Trek: Picard: S1E02 - Maps and Legends

The episode opens with a flashback on Mars from 14 years before circa 2385. At the Utopia Planitia Shipyards, it's "First Contact Day". A group of bald, yellow-skinned "synthetics" head for work. One synth named F8 (Alex Diehl) meets a group of workers who mock him and imply he's creepy and "not human". Like Data the synthetics have trouble acting human. But unlike Data (Brent Spiner), they're far less capable of social interaction.

During the meals and jokes lights flash on F8's eyes and he starts working on the controls. One of the workers notices him and tells him to stop but not before alarms blare. A warning goes over the speakers that synths have been going rogue and dropping the planetary shields. F8 coldly kills the workers before shooting himself. It's a pretty crazy scene and well-written. The whole thing feels natural and normal tell everything goes pear-shaped.

Meanwhile back on Earth at Ch√Ęteau Picard the former Admiral (Patrick Stewart), Laris (Orla Brady), and Zhaban (Jamie McShane) are watching the archive footage of Dahj's (Isa Briones) death. The two Romulans tell Picard about a group of secret assassins known as the "Zhat Vash" inside the government's "Tal Shiar" secret police. The Zhat Vash are considered imaginary "boogymen" by some but Laris insists they're real and tasked with hiding a "secret so profound and terrible, just learning it would break a person's mind". There's an ominous feel to the whole story and begs so many questions.

Picard and Laris beam into Dahj's apartment and she uses an illegal forensic scanner to recreate the night she and her boyfriend were killed. Suddenly they realize whoever attacked the two had scrubbed the scene of evidence down to next to nothing. They also talk about how Romulans are the only race that doesn't have any form of artificial life. This is because the powerful Zhat Vash has a hatred for synthetic life and this must have motivated the attack. While a lot of information is missing Laris is able to deduce that Dahj was calling her twin sister, Soji but the calls are going to somewhere outside Earth.

Around the same time, Narek (Harry Treadaway) and Soji are in space enjoying pillow talk in bed. The two joke about Narek's reluctance to talk about himself and his love of secrecy. They get ready to head out to the abandoned Borg cube being studied by the Romulans known as the "Artifact" since it's considered dead after being disconnected from the hive mind.

Meantime Picard's former doctor from the Stargazer Dr. Moritz Benayoun (David Paymer) visits to tell him he has an unnamed neurological condition. Could this be the Irumodic Syndrome mentioned in the Next Generation series finale? We don't know but the doctor assures him this will kill him. Picard still asks the doctor to clear him for Starfleet despite the risks. He heads to headquarters to ask Admiral Kirsten Clancy (Ann Magnuson) to give him a small ship and a crew to hunt down the cyberneticist Bruce Maddox and uncover the Romulan plot. Picard says he'd even accept a demotion to captain. She rips into him for proposing to endanger cadets while criticizing Starfleet at the same time. Clancy tells him to do what he does best: "Go home".

Back on the Borg Artifact Research Institute, a new recruit named Dr. Naashala (Chelsea Harris) meets Soji and there's some ominous foreshadowing about a disk they all wear. If it's grey their safe but if it's green it means they're in danger. Naashala remarks that Narek is hot before he stops by and remarks that the cube is safe because the Borg doesn't care about it. Meanwhile, there's a team disassembling Borg drones for parts and Soji chastizes a worker for referring to the bodies as "Nameless".

Concurrently, at Picard's chateau Dr. Jurati meets with Picard over Earl Grey tea. Turns out all Dahj's records are fake and created around the same time three years before.

But it turns out Admiral Clancy is more concerned about Picard than she let on. She places a call to the Vulcan Starfleet Commodore Oh (Tamlyn Tomita). This, by the way, is the same Vulcan woman Dajh called for help in the last episode. Oh was the one telling her to contact Picard in the first place. Oh dismisses it as crazy talk but soon talks to Lieutenant Rizzo (Peyton List) and it's revealed that Oh is behind the attack on Dajh and working intel for Romulans. Oh is furious at Rizzo that Dahj was killed in the ambush but they plan to capture her sister instead.

Back at the french vineyard, he uses an old combadge to call Raffi Musiker (Michelle Hurd). Laris chastises Picard for his "stupid" plan to search for Maddox on his own. He insists he can't call his old crew from the Enterprise because he feels their loyalty would risk their lives. But when he meets Raffi she pulls a rifle on him. Only the Romulan secret assassins on Earth and a bottle of wine persuade her to listen to him.

Meanwhile, it's revealed that Rizzo is secretly a Romulan disguised as a human and Narek's sister. She's also frustrated with how the intel mission is going and says that if his approach doesn't bear fruit soon they'll have to use hers. It's obviously worse.

Overall: Watch Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 2 "Maps and Legends"

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
The acting in this series continues to be amazing. But the real star is the complex mystery being woven into the series. Although some of the mysteries are a little contrived the basic method of deduction is sound. Considering Picard is a fan of the 1940s fictional detective Dixon Hill this is right up his alley. 

This episode is also one of the most obvious indications that the series isn't bound by broadcast television standards since there are more F-bombs in this episode than all of the movies and network shows combined. Michael Chabon and Akiva Goldsman have written a tight and compelling story with great dialogue. Hanelle Culpepper continues to impress with her inventive and warm style.
There are lots of fun little moments and interesting plot twists making this a binge-worthy show. 


  1. This is the first appearance of a Starfleet commodore in the 24th Century
  2. Laris says that Romulans don't study artificial intelligence and cybernetics. This apparently wasn't always the case. In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Defector" Setal says "Romulan cyberneticists" are interested in studying Data. That means that whatever Laris is referencing happened after the episode's stardate 2366. That or the writers messed up.
  3. It was revealed in the comic Star Trek: Picard Countdown #2 both Laris and Zhaban are members of the Romulan Tal Shiar. So they're clearly not just servants. Why they started working for Picard hasn't been revealed.
  4. The Borg cube has a sign saying that "5, 843 days since assimilation" meaning whatever happened with the cube was 16 years ago.
  5. Laris, Zhaban, and Raffi Musiker first appear in the comic Star Trek: Picard Countdown #1.
  6. Raffi's home is filmed at the familiar California location at Vasquez Rocks. It's been used many times before from the Original Series to the movies.
  7. F-8's name is supposed to sound like "fate".
  8. The mysterious Zhat Vash was first mentioned in The Next Generation season six episode, "Face of the Enemy."
  9. At Starfleet HQ several holograms of the Enterprise are projected from the ceiling: Pike's Enterprise from Discovery and Picard's Enterprise-D. 
  10. The book Dr. Jurati is reading in Picard's study is The Complete Robot which is a nod to the "Three Laws of Robotics". Asimov wrote a whole series of stories about robots turning on humans and this story is clearly inspired by that.
  11. The episode title, "Maps and Legends," is the name of a non-fiction book by episode writer Michael Chabon and a song by R.E.M.
Star Trek: Picard is released Thursdays on the CBS All Access platform.

Click the link to read our review of the last episode "Remembrance". Read more television reviews by clicking on the link.

About the Author
Maurice Mitchell has been a passionate science-fiction fan of movies, television, books, and comics since age five. He and his twin brother Nigel created the site "The Geek Twins" to share that passion. Maurice has written and created infographics for sites like The Geek Twins and About.com. His work has been featured on sites like Business Insider, io9 Slashfilm and more.
Read more of his posts | Follow him on Twitter @Mauricem1972 

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