Because Star Trek: Discovery is a prequel to the original series, it also serves as a prequel to pretty much all of Star Trek, excluding the earlier prequel series, Enterprise. Because of that fact, it makes sense to expect an Easter egg or two in every single episode of Discovery.
But the Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 premiere episode, “Brother,” has more than just one or two shout-outs to the sprawling canon of Trek. It has enough references and nods to fill a starship!
Here are all the Easter eggs from the Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 premiere that even hardcore Trekkies might have missed. And, for those who are spoiler-adverse, or still watching the episode, these are presented in the order in which they appear in the episode.
Spoilers ahead! You’ve been warned!
Cassini Footage Predicts the United Federation of Planets
The newest episode begins with Michael Burnham saying “Space…the final frontier,” while images from the real-world Cassini probe show photographs of Saturn.
Launched in 1997, Cassini was an international collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency. In a sense, three organizations collaborating on one space probe is a lot like the unity of the United Federation of Planets in Star Trek. Plus, Cassini’s very last orbit was on September 15, 2017, which was one week before Star Trek: Discovery’s first season debuted.
USS Enterprise Crew Complement Matches “The Cage”
When the USS Discovery encounters the USS Enterprise at the start of the episode, Burnham says that “scans show 203 crew members aboard, the vessel’s entire complement is alive.”
In most of the original Star Trek, the Enterprise had over 400 people aboard. (For example, in the classic episode “A Piece of the Action” Kirk tells a space mobster “there were over 400 guys there!”) But, nearly a decade earlier, the Enterprise had about half that number of people aboard: In “The Cage” (later reused as flashbacks in “The Menagerie”) Captain Pike complains that he’s tired of “being responsible for 203 lives.”
Now, this is where it gets interesting. “The Cage” takes place in 2254, and the latest episode of Discovery takes place in 2257. This means, that seemingly, Pike didn’t lose a single crew member in the three years after “The Cage.” Or, at the very least, during the year the Klingon War was raging, and the Enterprise was far away, they somehow managed to replace anyone who may have died, or, you know, taken a vacation.
Tilly’s Morse Code Suggestion
Tilly suggesting Morse Code to communicate with Enterprise is a classic Scotty move. In Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Scotty uses Morse Code to communicate to Kirk, Spock and Bones while they’re locked in a jail cell.
Stamets Knows an Ethnobotanist on the Enterprise
When the crew is trying to figure out what’s up with the Enterprise, Stamets mentions he knows an “ethnobotanist” who serves on the famous starship. In The Next Generation, one of Dr. Crusher’s hobbies was ethnobotany. And, in the original series, one of Sulu’s biggest hobbies was botany. Sulu probably isn’t serving on the Enterprise at this point in time yet, but still, pretty cool!
Saru Talks About His Sister
When Saru and Burnham chat about family, Saru mentions his sister. He says “there is terrain between us that we cannot navigate.” This directly references the recent Short Treks episode “The Brightest Star,” in which we learned that Saru can never see his family again.
Because his culture’s tech was so far behind the Federation, Georgiou rescuing him was a big deal, and nearly violated the Prime Directive. So, Saru is literally the only Keplien in space.
A Next Generation Visor
In the same transporter room scene, one of the guys operating the transporter is straight-up wearing what looks like Geordi La Forge’s Visor from The Next Generation. Unlike Geordi’s version though, this guy’s Visor seems to connect to the back of his head, which, could imply that this is an early version of the technology. Maybe this crewmember is blind, but being aided by an earlier version of the same tech LaForge will use a century later.
Captain Pike’s Hometown
When Pike beams aboard the Discovery, Pike tells Saru that “back in Mojave, I learned that the best way get into a cold stream is to jump right in.” In “The Cage,” we learned Pike was from Mojave, and in one of the illusions the Talosians created in his mind, he was back in Mojave, with his favorite horse: Tango.
Pike’s Special Orders
The reason Pike says he can take command of the Discovery so quickly is connected to what he calls “Regulation 19, Section C.” This exact regulation hasn’t been mentioned in Trek before, but, in the classic episode “The Galileo Seven,” a Federation official mentions “Book 19” of Starfleet’s regulations, and it’s all about who can tell Starfleet officers what to do in emergency situations.
The giant Starfleet uniform controversy which began in the first season of Discovery is casually dismissed when Pike mentions that he and the crew of the Enterprise got the “new uniforms.” Burnham mentions that the uniforms are “very colorful.”
Previous to this, the only explanation for the differences in uniforms was offered in David Mack’s novel Desperate Hours, which features a team-up between the Enterprise and the Shenzhou a year before the Battle at the Binary Stars in the first season of Discovery. In that book, the explanation is simply this: the big ships like the Enterprise got different, more casual, uniforms.
Keep Your Expectations Low
This one was meta! When Burnham tells Pike she was expecting to see Spock, he tells her that “sometimes it’s wise to keep our expectations low.” This feels like a giant reference to hardcore Trekkies who freaked-out about the first season of Discovery. It also foreshadows the idea that an adult Spock does not appear in this episode.
We Actually See a Turbolift
The elevators of Star Trek — the Turbolifts — are a cornerstone of the whole franchise, and yet, we’ve almost never seen how they operate from the outside. But this time, we do!
Tilly Puts Pike’s File on the Viewscreen
Not only is this moment great, it vaguely echoes the scene in the first season of Discovery when everyone suddenly learned that in the Mirror Universe, Tilly was the Captain of the USS Discovery. Just like in this episode, the file of Tilly’s doppelganger was put up on the viewscreen for everyone to see.
Captain Robert April
If you squint really hard at Pike’s file during this scene, you’ll see the name Captain Robert April. In Star Trek: The Animated Series, it was revealed that April was the Captain of the Enterprise before Pike, which makes the Enterprise much older than the Discovery. This is actually the second time Discovery has put Captain April’s name on a viewscreen. In the Season 1 episode “Choose Your Pain,” Saru looked up a bunch of famous Starfleet captains, and Captain April was on that list, too.
Stamets Got Promoted!
As Paul Stamets is watching a recording of his (supposedly) deceased boyfriend, Dr. Hugh Culber, Tilly interrupts him by saying “Commander? Commander Stamets…?” In season 1, Paul Stamets was Lt. Stamets. Clearly, after all of his freaking sacrifices during the Klingon War in season 1, Starfleet gave Stamets a promotion. This is ironic and tragic, because we learn about his promotion in the same scene in which he tells Tilly he’s leaving Discovery forever.
“DISCO Up and Jumping”
In the exact same scene, Tilly mentions that the Spore Drive is basically being put into storage until “DISCO is up and jumping again.” This is interesting for a few reasons. First, Tilly calling the ship “DISCO” of course references the casual crew shirts she and Burnham wore in the episode “Lethe.”
We also heard a intercom chatter refer to a shuttlecraft as “DISCO 1” in the episode “Context is For Kings.” But, the other interesting thing about this reference is simply the fact that it completely establishes that the Spore Drive is not a thing at the start of this season. Will it stay that way?
Alice in Wonderland & Alice Through the Looking Glass
Like in Season 1, Burnham reads passages to Alice in Wonderland. Part of this scene segues into a flashback where Amanda (Spock’s mom) reads the book to a younger Burnham, seemingly at bedtime. Young Spock appears in this scene, too.
Now, most fans will tell you this is a Discovery reference only, but it’s not. The idea that Spock’s mom read Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass as a bedtime comes from an episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series called “Once Upon a Planet.” When Spock reveals himself to be an expert on the differences between the two books, Kirk is suprised. To which Spock replies “My mother was particularly fond of Lewis Carroll’s work.”
Boo-ya!!! There’s a retro Michael Burnham reference hiding in a 1973 animated Trek episode!
Sarek Hasn’t Seen Spock in Years
When Sarek and Burnham talk about Spock, they both admit they haven’t spoken to him in “years.” This checks with the original series episode “Journey to Babel,” which was the very first appearance of Sarek in canon. At that point, Spock and Sarek hadn’t seen each other for a long ass time. Basically, the episode is written in a such a way that Sarek can’t possibly see Spock, because if he did, it would contradict canon hugely.
Baby Tribble in the Killzone
Tilly tells Burnham that she might start crying like a “baby Tribble in the killzone,” but how does Tilly know what a Tribble is in the first place? In the original series, Starfleet didn’t seem to know about Tribbles at all. So, what’s the deal?
Well, we know Lorca had a Tribble on his desk, and Lorca was from the Mirror Universe, so Tilly’s knowledge of Tribbles might come from Lorca. And, everything about Lorca and the Mirror Universe is super-classified, so it makes sense Tilly wouldn’t have shared her Tribble knowledge with the rest of Starfleet.
Also, in the Season 1 finale, “Will You Take My Hand,” Tilly was part of the undercover mission to the Klingon homeworld of Q’onoS (Kronos). In the Deep Space Nine episode “Trials and Tribble-ations” Worf says that the Tribbles were considered an enemy of the Klingon Empire since way back. So, it’s possible that while on the Klingon Homeworld, Tilly say a Tribble get killed by a Klingon. And, you know, she’s probably not allowed to talk about that mission either, since it was also top secret as hell.
The Asteroid Chase
When Connelly bites the asteroid dust, fans of the 2009 Star Trek reboot will probably be reminded of the moment when Engineer Olsen got vaporized. This subtly references the idea of “red shirts” in Star Trek; crewmembers who are destined to die no matter what. Also, the 2009 Star Trek film was co-written by Alex Kurtzman, who, is one of the current showrunners of Discovery.
Bat’leths and Bloodwine
When Pike and Burnham find Reno (Tig Notaro) she mentions both bat’leths and bloodwine. The bat’leths are, of course, a curved blade favored by Klingons, while bloodwine is a famous alcoholic beverage Klingons drink. In 100 years, Starfleet officers will drink bloodwine with Klingons, as allies. Captain Sisko drank bloodwine all the time with Martok and Worf on Deep Space Nine.
In the same scene, Reno mentions a “dead Bolian.” The Bolians are an alien race with blue skin, and, usually, no hair. Captain Picard’s barber in The Next Generation — Mr. Mot — was a Bolian.
Beaming on the Pads
As Burnham hatches a complicated rescue mission, Reno asks an interesting question: “Why are we moving them if you’re creating an enhancement filed big enough to beam from anywhere on the ship?”
Star Trek has played fast-and-loose with this idea for decades. Sometimes beaming can happen anywhere and sometimes you have to get beamed up to the transporter room. After 50+ years, Burnham provides a credible answer to this long-standing contraction: turns out ship-to-ship transporter pad action is just more reliable.
Pike’s Fortune Cookie
Toward the end of the episode, Pike finds a fortune from one of Lorca’s fortune cookies in Season 1. It reads: “Not every cage is a prison, not every loss is eternal.”
This obviously references “The Cage,” but could also foreshadow what happens to Pike in the original series. In “The Menagerie,” we learn that after an accident, Pike is totally cut off from his body, though his brain is 100 percent active. Could this be the the “prison” and “loss” this fortune refers to?
Five Year Mission
Pike mentions the Enterprise being away on a five-year-mission during the Klingon War. In fact, in existing Star Trek canon, Pike was in command of the USS Enterprise for 11 years, starting sometime in 2251. Right now, Star Trek: Discovery is happening in 2257, which means this five-year mission for the Enterprise either ended in 2256, or didn’t start until later. The point is, this not the same five year mission Kirk went on in the original series, and it seems possible that Pike might end up on the Enterprise again before the end of this season.
Logic is the Beginning of Wisdom
Pike tells Burnham that Spock presented “Logic as the beginning of the picture and not the end.” This directly references Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country when Spock says to Lt. Valeris (Kim Cattrall) “Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end.”
The Undiscovered Country was co-written by Nicholas Meyer, who was a creative consultant for season 1 of Star Trek: Discovery.
The biggest Easter egg in the entire episode, is something fans already spotted in early trailers: Spock’s quarters on the USS Enterprise. Not only does “3F” match his room assignment from the original series, several objects in the room are connected to classic Spock.
There’s a Vulcan Vulcan lyre, which is a harp-like instrument Spock played in several classic episodes, and in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Plus, the bells Burnham touches are reminiscent of the Vulcan ceremonial bells from the classic and beloved original series episode “Amok Time.”
Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 premieres on January 17th at 8:30 pm ET on CBS All-Access.