In what may be the biggest pop culture infiltration since Hydra infested SHIELD, the latest episode of Star Trek: Picard reveals that Starfleet has been compromised. How long these spies have been there and their ultimate endgame remains a mystery, but it seems there exists a good reason for Jean-Luc Picard and his allies to be wary of Starfleet as they continue to investigate Bruce Maddox and the existence of Dahj and Soji Asha, two androids made from Data's neurons. More details follow, but first be warned that SPOILERS for the second episode of Star Trek: Picard, titled "Maps and Legends," follow.
In "Maps and Legends," Picard pays a visit to Starfleet headquarters in San Francisco, where he meets with Starfleet's commander-in-chief, Admiral Kirsten Clancy. Picard tells Clancy what he's discovered about these new androids and the Romulan deaths squads operating on Earth. She doesn't believe him and the conversation opens up old wounds.
Despite not believing what Picard has to say, Clancy contacts the head of Starfleet security, Commodore Oh, and fills her in on what Picard has to say. Oh seems unperturbed by Clancy's report, but summons a Lt. Rizzo to her office anyway.
It's during Oh's conversation with Rizzo that the truth becomes clear. Both are Romulan agents. Oh appears to be passing for a Vulcan while Rizzo has been surgically altered to appear human. Oh isn't happy that Rizzo's last operation attracted the attention of Picard and Clancy. They don't specify whether they're members of the Tal Shiar or the Zhat Vash, but their fascination with the androids and the fact that they're operating on Earth suggests they are Zhat Vash.
These are the only two agents we're aware of on Earth, and Rizzo soon leaves to rejoin her brother, Narek, at the artifact. But Oh remains in charge of Starfleet security on Earth with Clancy's trust. That's a key position to be in if she wants to continue staging covert Romulan operations on Earth without Starfleet becoming aware.
Ahead of Picard's premiere, ComicBook.com spoke to producer Alex Kurtzman about Starfleet's role in the story. “There’s obviously going to be a lot of debate about how we’ve portrayed the Federation,” he says. “What we’ll tell you is that the Federation is still the Federation. We’re not trying to cast aspersions on them. I think it's very difficult when you are the leader of a series of member planets when you’re in the middle of something like the Romulan supernova. And then what happens on Mars, as you’ll come to see, that is their 9/11 in a lot of ways. That is an incredibly divisive moment where it’s difficult to unify everybody and keep them together and keep Starfleet together in those horrible, horrible moments of decision. And in that way, we were looking to examine the world but also we were looking to look at the event through the eyes of Jean-Luc Picard because he ended up having his falling out with Starfleet over that.
“It does not mean Starfleet is dark now. We’re not telling that story. I think that would be a violation of what is essential to Star Trek. The Federation does its best. It doesn’t always make the right choice, but it always does its best and it’s trying its best to protect everybody and sometimes it’s impossible to protect everybody. Jean-Luc in many ways is, as he would tell you, kind of just as responsible for – he uses the words later in the season, ‘I made the perfect the enemy of the good.’ And in some ways, you hold onto an ideal and if it’s not perfect then I'm going to walk away from it, but actually when you walk away from it then no good gets done. And so what are the compromises you’re willing to live with in order to serve a greater good? You may not always get everything, but what do we need to do as people to make those choices? And in that sense, I think it’s a real exploration of the complicated world that we live in now.”
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