9:00am PT by Phil Pirrello
13 'Star Trek: Picard' Easter Eggs from Episode 3
[This story contains spoilers for Star Trek: Picard, season one, episode three.]
"The End Is the Beginning" is a fitting title for the third episode of Star Trek: Picard.
The hour opens with Patrick Stewart’s Picard resigning from Starfleet and ends with the former Enterprise captain launching into deep space on a new mission — after giving the command to “engage,” of course. We also learn more about the Artifact — aka the Romulan’s Borg cube — and how the past experiences of the first Romulans assimilated into the collective may unlock the future whose key lies with Picard’s first mission in 14 years.
And in the middle of all this are a significant collection of references and callbacks to various key plots and iconography from Trek’s past — with particular attention paid to a classic Star Trek: The Next Generation two-parter, “Unification,” which united Leonard Nimoy’s Spock with Picard and Data on Romulus. Here are the Easter eggs all fans need to know:
– Raffi (Michelle Hurd) mentions the star system “Beta Antares” in the episode’s opening moments. Beta Antares IV was famously introduced to Trek canon in The Original Series episode “A Piece of the Action,” where Kirk and Spock find the planet home to Chicago gangster culture from the 1920s.
– In the first scene, Picard and Raffi stroll across the grounds of Starfleet Headquarters, near a garden spot that Picard’s old friend, the gardener Boothby (Ray Walston), likely once tended. Boothby had Picard’s ear as a cadet, so it’s with a bitter sense of irony that Jean-Luc’s career ends in the spot where it began.
– Not so much an Easter egg as a bit of trivia: The model of android that went rogue and all murder-y on Mars is revealed here to be A-500.
– Picard’s need for an unregistered starship and off-the-books pilot to go after Bruce Maddox — and answers regarding why the late Dahj has Data’s positronic compounds in her — is setting up Picard to go rogue and play space pirate essentially. Much like he did in The Next Generation’s infamous season six two-parter, “Gambit.”
– Raffi claims to have proof that a high-ranking Federation officer conspired with the Romulans to sabotage their own rescue efforts. This isn’t the first time the two enemies have worked together to ruin a peace-keeping errand; Romulans — along with Klingon and Federation operatives — tried to derail the Kitomher peace conference between Starfleet and the Klingon Empire in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
– When Picard first beams aboard Captain Rios’ ship, the iconic opening chords of the Next Generation theme can be heard.
– Rios has an Emergency Medical Hologram and Emergency Navigational Hologram (customized to look like him). The most famous EMH was the Doctor aboard Star Trek: Voyager.
– In a conversation with Rios, the ENH references the following Picard missions: Chief contact with the Q Continuum (“Encounter at Farpoint,” “Q Who?,” among others), the arbiter of succession for the Klingons (“Sins of the Father”), savior of Earth from Borg invasion (Star Trek: First Contact), and working with Spock in Unification, Parts I and II.
– Alone on his vineyard, Picard gazes up at the night sky’s stars — much like his late nephew did in the final moments of the episode, “Family”.
– “Romulan disruptors do not have a stun setting.” That line is likely a deep cut reference to the novelization of “Unification.” In that story, Spock has a disruptor drawn on the Romulan Sela (Denise Crosby), forcing her to lower her weapon when she realizes the one pointed at her only has one setting: Kill.
– Blink and you miss it, but, atop Raffi’s table, there’s a bottle of Saurian brandy identical to that we know from The Original Series.
– Freecloud, the destination for Picard and crew at the end of the episode, seems to be a reference to David Bowie’s “The Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud.”
– Soji appears to sleep with a stuffed Mugato, a reference to The Original Series’ “A Private Little War.”