Of course, by now, everyone knows that Ethan Peck’s Spock finally appears in this episode, but that’s just the beginning of the retro stuff. From shuttlecraft tricks, to advanced probes from the future, to famous planets and sectors of space, this Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 episode was packed with all sorts of moments to make Trekkies everywhere smile.
Here’s all Easter eggs and Trek references and shout-outs in Star Trek: Discovery Season 2, Episode 7, “Light and Shadows.”
Right at the start of the episode, Burnham mentions that Spock’s shuttle went missing in the “mutara sector.” In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, this is the location of the Mutara nebula, and the eventual location of the Genesis Planet in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock. In the prequel series, Star Trek: Enterprise, the Mutura sector is also where the very last remnants of humanity live after the Xindi destroy the Earth. This, not shockingly, happens in a parallel universe.
Opening credits have changed
The opening credits of Star Trek: Discovery no longer have a fuzzy version of the Red Angel. Instead, the Red Angel is no depicted wearing a mechanized suit, which references the previous episode, “The Sound of Thunder.” A black Section 31 badge is also now prominently part of the opening credits.
3D chess set
During the flashback to Michael and Spock as children, we see a three-dimensional chess set in both the past and the present. In The Original Series, Spock plays 3D chess, a lot, mostly with Captain Kirk. In the episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” Spock and Kirk are actually introduced in their very first scene together, playing this exact same kind of chess.
Tilly’s joke about “time” references “The Cage”
After the Discovery encounters the time rift, Tilly jokes that putting the word “time” in front of other words makes things sound cooler. This is kind of a joke about the canon inconsistency within the first Star Trek ever, “The Cage.” In that episode Captain Pike doesn’t say “warp speed,” but instead, references a “time warp factor.” The real life reason is simple: Star Trek hadn’t worked out what warp drive was in “The Cage.”
Amanda references The Wrath of Khan
When Michael Burnham finds Spock hidden in a cave on Vulcan, Amanda says “I couldn’t go to Sarek, he would weigh the needs of the many against the needs of the few.” This references the frequently repeated Vulcan axiom that “The needs of the many outweigh, the needs of the few, or the one.” This idea was prominent to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, but Burnham did say almost the exact same thing to Ash Tyler in the Season 1 Discovery episode, “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum.”
When Sareks finds Amada, Spock and Burnham, he’s pissed that the couldn’t sense them, and mentions that “Katra stones” were blocking his telepathic mojo. In Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, we learned that the “Katra” is a Vulcan’s soul, implying that these Katra stones are possible receptacles where the souls of Vulcans are stored.
This would check with the Enterprise episode “The Forge” in which Captain Archer actually is saddled with the katra of Surak, who is basically the Vulcan version of Jesus. Also, in “The Battle at the Binary Stars,” we learned that part of Sarek’s Katra is inside of Michael Burnham, too.
Stamets vaguely references Captain Kirk
When Stamets is talking to Tilly about trying to track down the missing shuttle, he says it’s like “trying to catch a grain of sand in a hurricane with a pair of tweezers” In The Original Series episode “The Galileo Seven,” Kirk is similarly frustrated about looking for a lost shuttlecraft, and says that in compassion, “finding a needle in a haystack would be child’s play.”
The idea that Tyler and Pike are attacked by their own probe, but upgraded with future-technology is actually a super-old school reference. Tyler says “It’s our probe, but somehow it got an upgrade,” and the adds that the probe’s core has been aged by 500 years. In The Original Series episode “The Changeling,” the Enterprise encounters a murderous robot called Nomad, who later turns out to be an old Earth probe that accidentally merged with an alien. In Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the destructive energy cloud known as V’Ger is revealed to be the (fictional) NASA probe Voyager 6, but with massive AI upgrade.
Pike vents plasma
Pike venting the plasma of the shuttlecraft to send up a flare to Discovery is another reference to the classic episode “The Galileo Seven.” In the climax of that episode, in an act of emotional desperation, Spock also vents all the fuel of his shuttlecraft with the hope that Kirk and the Enterprise will see it. McCoy gives him a little of grief about it, because it was an emotional decision, but now, it seems like we have proof that Spock originally learned the trick from Captain Pike.
Tyler speaks Klingon when he’s in danger
When the crazy probe attacks, Tyler briefly speaks Klingon. But why? Is Voq still in there?
At the last minute, Georgiou tells Burnham she has to get Spock off of the Section 31 ship because Leland will use a “memory extractor” on Spock. This could reference a similar device called “the mind sifter,” which the Klingons used to extract information from brains in the original episode “Errand of Mercy.” Interestingly, when the Klingons try to use the mind sifter on Spock in that episode, it doesn’t work.
In perhaps the biggest twist in the episode, Georgiou says that Leland had something to do with Burnham’s parents being killed by Klingons when she was a little girl. “You’re responsible for the death of her parents,” Georgiou says flatly. This is a huge twist, only because in Season 1, we are led to believe that the Klingons who killed Burnham’s parents were acting randomly, and weren’t specifically hired by anyone.
Computer says “working” for a long time
When Burnham feeds the coordinates into the shuttle’s computer, it says “working…working…” for a long time. You might think this was for dramatic effect, but, in the original series, the old computers really did say “working” for a long time before spitting out data!
This is the big one. Burnham finds out that Spock’s coordinates will take them to the planet Talos IV. Technically, Talos IV is the very first alien planet in all of Star Trek, because it’s the planet Captain Pike and the crew visit in “The Cage.” By the time of The Original Series, Talos IV is off-limits, presumably because the Talosians (who live there) have crazy powerful mind-powers.
In classic episode “The Menagerie,” Spock hijacks the Enterprise to take Pike back to Talos IV so he can live a more peaceful life, surrounded by comforting illusions. But now, Discovery is revealing that Spock’s trip to Talos IV in the original series wasn’t his second trip to the planet. Now, as he and Michael warp towards the planet, it looks like Spock has actually been there three times.