Amazon UK TV review: Star Trek: Picard: Season 1, Episode 2
Chris Bryant | On 04, Feb 2020
“You really want to go back out into the cold?” “More than ever.” Having been brought back into the world of adventures and plots by his debt to Data, Picard’s gripping episode sees Jean-Luc (Patrick Steward) set about uncovering as much as he can of this mystery before approaching Starfleet – unaware that secrets are dictating every decision.
Confiding in the only people close to him – Romulan refugees Zhaban (Jamie McShane) and Laris (Orla Brady) – Picard tracks his discoveries so far and, in doing so, establishes a rare dynamic in modern television: the majority of mysteries are solved by the protagonist with the audience a few steps behind, or a few steps ahead, but Star Trek: Picard appears to have given all parties the same information. The thrill lies in seeing how it’s all connected.
While the show’s high-energy, conflict-based style is far more akin to Netflix’s Discovery than Next Generation’s original outings, Jean-Luc’s talents as the galaxy’s most formidable private detective are clearly unchanged. Collecting the scattered clues, he presents his findings to Starfleet command in one of the subtler scenes of the show thus far. Admiral Picard is, in short, no longer welcome – as he saw Starfleet turn their backs on Romulus, he turned his back on them, and the grudge remains. It’s an emotive scene, cleverly setting up the decorated Captain as an underdog and cementing Starfleet as out-of-bounds for the perils to come.
Elsewhere in the galaxy, the terrifying “former” Borg Cube is plundered carefully by its inhabitants, who, even after being assured of its dormancy, are warned to be careful. Narek (an ever-malicious Harry Treadaway) spends his time quietly whispering riddles into the ear of Dahj as she explores the horrors within the Cube, unaware of her true identity. Alison Pill’s Dr Jurati, meanwhile, is keeping close quarters with Picard; her knowledge of the elusive Dr Maddox may just lead us back to Data’s daughter and some answers. This second episode is a delightfully woven forty-five minutes of secrets, clues, and warnings.
Star Trek: Picard is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription. Episodes arrive every Friday, within 24 hours of their US debut.
Captain’s Log (Spoilers)
– A very exciting entry for Peyton List (Mad Men) as a well-disguised Romulan spy among Starfleet ranks, who reveals herself to be Narek’s sister and significantly more important than her rank suggests.
– Narek himself is a continuum of double-dealings, quiet threats, and silent malice – Treadaway’s delivish performance is already a highlight.
– The Romulan mysteries of anti-AI death squads and well-hidden tech advances ensure that the often-secretive race are the ideal focus in a world where surveillance, forensics, and Android experimentation are at the centre of conspiracies.
– Dormant or not, we’ve got a long way to go before than Borg Cube isn’t haunting…
– Whatever comes next, audiences everywhere are locked and loaded for Picard to put together a misfit crew of old friends, old enemies, and rogues of all kinds to help solve his case.