The sixth episode of Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 feels, in some ways, like a smaller story that eventually becomes huge. And although the story mostly focuses on Saru and the Kelpiens clashing with the Ba’ul, there are still several subtle references, not just to Star Trek, but to science fiction in general.
Here’s all the winks and Easter eggs for Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 6. From old school sci-fi stories, to Kelvin Universe nods, to a visual shout-out to Tasha Yar, here’s everything you might have missed.
“The Sound of Thunder” probably references a Ray Bradbury short story
The title of this episode is very close to a famous short story by Ray Bradbury called “A Sound of Thunder.” In that story, time traveling big game hunters accidentally alter history by stepping on a butterfly in the Mesozoic Era. Because this Discovery episode deals with ancient predators, and suggestion of time travel, the connection seems obvious. Plus, Bradbury was a friend and supporter of Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry.
The background character known as Airum has a complicated backstory, one that actually hasn’t been explained on screen. Here’s the scoop: Airum is not an alien, but instead, an enhanced human. Basically, she’s a cyborg who is super fast at processing things. Tilly mentions they would have “Spent months trying to sort through the sphere’s data” without Airum’s help. This makes Airum like a good version of a Borg drone.
Starfleet’s Wonky Knowledge of the Galaxy
Tilly also mentions that the Sphere from Episode 4 is like a “delicious slice of galaxy pie” in terms of how much history it contains. This actually makes a lot of sense. Frequently, in both The Original Series and The Next Generation, Starfleet has records or information about planets and cultures they’ve never actually seen face-to-face. The Sphere’s data now explains why: Starfleet was able to update a ton of its knowledge of the galaxy thanks to all the info Discovery downloaded.
Tyler mentions that Section 31 believes the Red Angel is capable of “time incursions.” In the history of Trek, the idea of enemies of Starfleet using time travel as a kind of war is common. In the prequel show Enterprise, a “temporal cold war” was happening behind the scenes with several time traveling factions from the far future.
In the Voyager two-part episode “Year of Hell,” time incursions are literally the entire plot of the story because one alien race figures out how to wipe out entire planets not just from space, but from history, too. But, perhaps the most famous time incursion in Trek history happens in the 2009 reboot movie when Nero travels back in time and destroys the USS Kelvin. That incident is commonly referred to “Nero’s temporal incursion.”
In this episode, we learn that Lt. Georgiou wasn’t serving on the USS Shenzhou in the Short Treks episode “The Brightest Star.” Instead, she was on the USS Archimedes, which has actually never been seen in Star Trek before. But, the name Archimedes, of course, refers to the ancient Greek inventor and astronomer.
When did the Ba’ul get warp drive?
Burnham mentions that the Ba’ul become capable of warp drive twenty years prior to this episode, which happens in the year 2257. This would mean all that happened in the year 2237, which, seems to be the exact same time Georgiou rescued Saru off of Kaminar.
In “The Brightest Star,” Georgiou says there are “complicated reasons” why Saru can’t return to Kaminar. Here, we learn he’s the one who pretty much initiated first contact, even though he wasn’t a representative of a warp-capable species.
Cliffs of Cabo Rojo
When Stamets tells the story of Culber’s old scar, he mentions the cliffs of Cabo Rojo. In real life, Cabo Rojo is in Puerto Rico. Although Culber actor Wilson Cruz was born in New York, he is of Puerto Rican descent.
The flowers on Kaminar are called “fredalia” which, it turns out are named after Frederick Kim, a friend of colleague of writer Bo Yeon Kim, who co-wrote this episode of Discovery with Erika Lippoldt.
In a moving Twitter post, Bo Yeon Kim said that “Fred passed away tragically due to a sudden brain aneurysm. Gone too soon, with so many stories left untold. He loved all things Star Trek, and wrote “Forgotten Light,” a short story that was published in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds VII.”
Michael and Saru’s robes
Though we’re meant to think that Michael and Saru’s robes are simply there to help them blend in with the Kelpien culture, the style of the robes is really similar to what Kirk and Bones wore in Star Trek Into Darkness. In that scenario, Bones and Kirk were trying not to make first contact, whereas here, Michael is.
Michael’s phaser on stun
In another nod to reboot movies, Michael’s phaser sports a little blue light on the side to indicate its set on “stun.” In the reboot movies, this was the subtle way you new a phaser was set to “stun” or “kill.”
By the end of the episode, we’re meant to understand that the Ba’ul are basically aquatic aliens. Strangely, aquatic aliens are somewhat rare in Star Trek. But, in the prequel series Enterprise, one offshoot of the Xindi species were totally aquatic, and, as such, had giant swimming tanks on their spaceships.
Armus From “Skin of Evil”
Fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation will also probably feel nostalgic about the creepy black goo look of the Ba’ul. In almost every single way, the tar-like alien will remind Trekkies of Armus, the alien that killed Tasha Yar in the TNG episode “Skin of Evil.”
Red Angel is a Person
In the last scene of the episode, we learn that the Red Angel isn’t really an angel, but in fact, a time traveling person. Tyler says the person is wearing a “Mechanized suit, exhibiting technology far beyond present Federation capability.” So, who could it be? The possibilities are literally endless. But, one thing is for certain, we’ll probably find out this season.