Star Trek: Picard returned this week with the first episode of its second season on Paramount+. The episode set in motion significant events and included plenty of Easter eggs and other references to Star Trek lore. However, the episode also reveals that one of the characters from Star Trek: Picard's first season died between that season's finale and this season's premiere. SPOILERS for Star Trek: Picard's Season Two premiere episode, "The Star Gazer," follow.
Star Trek: Picard's second season premiere confirms that Zhaban died one and a half years ago. Zhaban was one of the Romulans who tended to Jean-Luc Picard and helped run Château Picard. The other is Laris, Zhaban's wife. Some fans have wondered about Zhaban's fate since Laris appeared in some Star Trek: Picard footage released before the premiere's release date, but Zhaban did not.
The IDW Publishing comic book series Star Trek: Picard -- Countdown tells how Zhaban and Laris came to live with Picard. According to that comic, Zhaban and Laris were Tal Shiar agents who fell in love and then defected to aid Picard when local Romulan authorities began causing problems for Picard's evacuation attempts in Romulan space. Knowing that their treason would mark them for death, Picard offered them a home on Earth.
Patrick Stewart told ComicBook.com that Star Trek fans would see Picard getting romantic in Star Trek: Picard's second season ways he never did on Star Trek: The Next Generation (which, by the way, is leaving Netflix pretty soon). Zhaban's unexpected death opens the door to a romance between Picard and Laris, as Laris explains that Romulans waste no time finding new love when an old one has come to its natural end.
However, it isn't that simple. Though Laris intimates that she's interested in Picard, and Picard harbors feelings for her, something in Picard's past keeps him from entering that type of relationship. His conversation with Guinan suggests that whatever is holding him back is likely the same thing that sent him to the stars in the first place, possibly something involving his mother.
The second season of Star Trek: Picard will debut a new episode weekly on Thursdays on Paramount+. The entire first season and the season two premiere, "The Star Gazer," are streaming now on Paramount+. Star Trek: Picard's third season has nearly completed filming.