Star Trek: Picard's second episode expands the scope of this new future setting of the Star Trek franchise, by revealing even more context about major events in the 20-year span between Star Trek: Nemesis and the current events of the Picard. This second episode of Star Trek: Picard (entitled "Maps and Legends") goes even further by using the past to make a major revelation, regarding a new Romulan threat that (ironically enough) has been lurking since Star Trek's beginning. That new Romulan threat is an ancient clandestine cabal of anti-tech fanatics, known as "Zhat Vash."
Warning: Star Trek: Picard Episode 2 SPOILERS Follow!
In this second episode, Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) officially gets back into the fight by starting his investigation into the assassination of Data's "daughter" Dahj Asha. That investigation leads back to Dahj's apartment in Boston, where she was first attacked. In the midst of that investigation, Picard's Romulan housekeeper Laris spills quite a bit of tea about big secrets within the Romulan Empire. The biggest one of all: Zhat Vash:
"Here in the Federation you refer to Tal Shiar as 'the Romulan Secret Police.' But it's a bit redundant: you could put the word "secret" in front of almost any aspect of Romulan culture. I have heard - and I have reason to believe - that the Tal Shiar is merely a mask worn by another far older cabal. That before the Tal Shiar there was the "Zhat Vash... It's said they operate without regard for treaty or jurisdiction, and not just in Romulan worlds. But the Klingon Empire, the Gorn Hegemony - even the Federation itself. And they have kept this secret for thousands upon thousands of years."
Lars further explains that Zhat Vash have 'hate, fear and loathing of all forms of synthetic life,' although the big looming question of why remains unknown.
So far, Star Trek: Picard has been sprinkling breadcrumbs that point to the Zhat Vash being one of the more unique and formidable threats that Star Trek has introduced. First, the fact that the organization has remained in the shadows for the entire run of Star Trek proves just dangerous it is (especially in conjunction with other Romulan retcons Picard has introduced). Secondly, the first two episodes show that Zhat Vash has incomparably advanced technology, and that their 'Romulan CIA' newtworks are so well-developed that they've already placed agents within both Starfleet command, and the Romulan Reclamation Site in an abandoned Borg Cube.
So, while Picard is just now learning that Zhat Vash exists, the Romulans are alradyh positioning to take him out, capture Data's other "daughter" Soji at the Reclamation Site, and kill the entire race of "Perfected" synthetics. Not too shabby.
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