This article contains spoilers for Star Trek: Picard and the wider Trek universe.
Star Trek: Picard Season 2 Episode 1
As season premieres go, Star Trek: Picard’s Season 2 debut — “The Star Gazer” — is a banger. If anyone had any doubts if this new season was going to be exciting and different than what was expected, it feels like this episode will easily silence the haters. With an utterly familiar Star Trek-y feeling and a fantastic and complex new plot, Picard Season 2 feels like the Star Trek: The Next Generation sequel everyone was waiting for.
And, that means, there are a lot of Easter eggs and references to the entire Star Trek franchise. In some ways, “The Star Gazer” plays out like a short Trek feature film, which means that there is a lot packed into this episode that you might have missed. Here are all the Easter eggs and references we caught, including a few that have nothing to do with Star Trek!
The red alert graphic is an updated version of the Red Alert graphic first seen in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Since then, it’s been seen throughout the franchise, including the first two seasons of Star Trek: Discovery. Terry Matalas, the showrunner for Picard season 2, has noted on Twitter and interviews that he’s a big fan of the Kirk-era Trek feature films, and this is one of the many visual nods to that time period.
A young Vulcan security officer is present at the start of this scene and he’s clearly bleeding green blood. Yes, pointing out that Vulcans have green blood is not an Easter egg. However, in a 2014 Star Trek comic book called Star Trek: Hive, a similar attack results in an unnamed Vulcan officer getting punked. Hive was written by Brannon Braga and…Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett, both of whom are producers on Picard season 2!
New opening credits and theme music
- Picard Season 2 features a different set of images for its open title sequence, as well as an up-tempo rearrangement of the main theme composed by Jeff Russo.
- Also, at the end of the credits, we see Jean-Luc wearing a Starfleet combadge, a change from Season 1. This is the first time since new Star Trek shows began airing in 2017 that one of the series has significantly changed both its opening title sequence and its opening theme music.
- Finally, Orla Brady, who plays Laris, is billed as part of the main cast, another first.
“Time Is On My Side”
The song that Picard and Laris are blasting at the vineyard is the classic “Time Is On My Side,” written by Jerry Ragovoy. It was made famous by The Rolling Stones version in 1964, but the same year singer Irma Thomas released her (superior) version before the Stones. This is the version we hear in this scene. It’s also notable that this is diegetic music, which, as per Star Trek tradition, is pretty much the only way that pop, rock, jazz, or soul music occurs. It’s also a tradition in showrunner Terry Matalas’s previous series, 12 Monkeys, in which various pop, rock, and soul songs feature in the narrative but almost always in a diegetic fashion, meaning, the characters hear the music, too.
Picard’s new wine and Zhaban’s death
Both the vintage of Picard’s new wine and the revelation that Zhaban has died tell us how much time has passed between Season 1 and 2: A year and a half. The label on the new wine even says 2401. So, we’re now a full year into the 25th Century of the Star Trek timeline.
Laris mentions that she and Zhaban were “promised” to each other “at birth.” This echoes a Vulcan tradition of betrothal, first introduced in the TOS episode, “Amok Time.”
References to Picard’s family
In the flashbacks, in which we see a very young Jean-Luc Picard. His mother (Madeline Wise) makes a reference to his father and his brother. She mentions Jean-Luc’s brother “toils away at school,” which seems to imply that Robert is much older than Jean-Luc. We know almost nothing about Jean-Luc’s father, other than he was possibly an old-fashioned tyrant. With this episode, however, there’s now a suggestion of something darker.
Solar System pull-back
During one transition in this episode, we see the entire local solar system, which then pulls back even more. This visually recalls the opening of Star Trek: The Next Generation during the first two seasons.
The return of the Akira-class
The USS Avalon appears to be an Akira-class ship. This type of ship was first introduced in Star Trek: First Contact.
Enterprise-C and Enterprise-D
As glimpsed in a few promo photos, Picard’s study very clearly has a model of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-C, which appears to be one of the models from the conference room on the Enterprise-E, made famous for one scene in Star Trek: First Contact. In that film, Picard threw a hissy-fit in that room and smashed some glass protecting those models, which prompted Lily (Alfre Woodard) to say “you broke your little ships.” Whether or not this is the same model of the Enterprise-C isn’t clear.
On top of that, in a later scene, we see the famous painting from Picard’s Ready Room, this one of the Enterprise-D, which we saw throughout The Next Generation. How did Picard get this one? Did he retrieve it from the wreckage of the D after it crashed in Star Trek: Generations? We just don’t know!
Earl Grey, cold
Laris makes a joke about how Picard’s tea is now “Earl Grey, cold,” because she couldn’t find him for a while. This is the second time in a row that the season premiere of Star Trek: Picard has made a joke about Jean-Luc’s common order for “tea, Earl Grey, hot” which he said periodically, throughout The Next Generation. In Picard Season 1, Jean-Luc ordered “tea, Earl Grey, decaf!” Later in this episode, Guinan jokes about Earl Grey, “piping hot.”
Picard gives Elnor a hardcover copy of a book written by “Spock himself,” which is apparently a memoir only about his time at Starfleet Academy. The title The Many and the One, clearly references the Vulcan maxim “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.” However, it’s telling that Picard notes that this was a memoir and not Spock’s autobiography. In other words, Spock may have written several memoirs about all sorts of different parts of his life!
Picard announces that Elnor is the first fully Romulan cadet at Starfleet Academy. The reason he says fully is that there have been other Starfleet cadets who had Romulan heritage. Saavik was established as half-Romulan in The Wrath of Khan novelization, while Picard famously served with crewman Simon Tarses who was one-quarter Romulan. However, Tarses hid his true heritage in the TNG episode “The Drumhead.”
Let’s see what’s out there
Jean-Luc reveals that his mother was the person who gave him the phrase “let’s see what’s out there.” This references the last moment of the TNG debut “Encounter at Farpoint,” when Picard says, “Let’s see what’s out there…engage!”
The Rios holograms merged
Seven says she never should have “merged” Rios’s holograms. This references Picard Season 1, in which there were several different holograms of Rios, all serving different functions; engineer, tactical officer, hospitality, and so on. Now, it appears all those holos have been fused into one hologram, Emmet.
Tachyon fluctuations, a spike in Hawking radiation
The reference to tachyons as a way to foreshadow spacetime rips is old-hat for Star Trek. However, referencing “Hawking radiation,” is somewhat new for Trek canon. In Star Trek: Discovery Season 1, a “Hawking radiation firewall” was used on the USS Glenn as part of the Spore Drive. However, in the series 12 Monkeys, the concept of Hawking radiation, as a telltale sign of time travel, is mentioned frequently. The showrunner for Picard Season 2 is Terry Matalas, showrunner of the SyFy Channel 12 Monkeys reboot. (And that’s not the only 12 Monkeys Easter egg you’ll get this season on Picard!)
Yep. It’s another 12 Monkeys reference! The planet Jurati and Soji are visiting is called “Raritan IV.” This is a reference to the Raritan National Laboratory in SyFy’s 12 Monkeys. The Raritan Lab was the home of Project Splinter, which made time travel possible. In that universe.
All the nice bald people that Soji and Jurati are hanging out with are Deltans! This is Ilia’s species from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Deltans have famously strong pheromones, which humans found hard to resist. However, in this scene Jurati is drunk, so she’s maybe immune. Meanwhile, Soji is a Synth, and totally immune.
Jurati didn’t go to space jail!
Dr. Jurati mentions she was “cleared of murdering my previous boyfriend due to alien-induced temporary insanity.” This references Picard Season 1 in which we learned that Commodore Oh had brainwashed Jurati with a mind meld, which led to her killing Bruce Maddox.
USS Stargazer, NCC-82893
Captain Rios is now in command of a newly-commissioned USS Stargazer. Jurati’s joke about the “pressure of legacy” and command with “baggage,” is a reference to the fact that Jean-Luc Picard’s first captaincy before the Enterprise, was the USS Stargazer. The first and only onscreen appearance of Picard’s Stargazer was in the TNG episode “The Battle.” The image Picard looks at while at Starfleet Academy is of his ship, though, later in the episode, when Rios, Seven, Jurati, and Picard have a conference about the Borg threat, we see models of three versions of the Stargazer, which seems to establish one version of the ship existed in the TOS era, before Picard’s.
The registry of the Stargazer is NCC-82893, which essentially adds an extra digit to Picard’s Stargazer, which was NCC-2893.
The Grissom, the Hikaru Sulu, and the Excelsior
At Starfleet Academy, we hear various cadets being assigned to different ships. The Grissom is a reference to the astronaut Gus Grissom, but also the science ship of the same name from Star Trek III: The Search For Spock. A ship named the Hikaru Sulu is, pretty self-explanatory. There’s kind of a triple Sulu reference here though because Raffi and Elnor are going to be serving on the Excelsior, which was Sulu’s ship in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (we even see an image of the old Excelsior on a blue placard next to the old Stargazer).
Finally, when Raffi arrives at the temporal rift, she hails the Stargazer from the new Excelsior and says “Excelsior standing by, ready to assist.” This echoes Sulu’s line from The Undiscovered Country when he sends a message to the Enterprise saying “we stand ready to assist you.”
Picard’s new job and the Kobayashi Maru
Although it seems Jean-Luc is still retired, he is now the chancellor of Starfleet Academy. He mentions to Raffi he wants to update the Kobayashi Maru, which, of course, references Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, in which we learned that the Kobayashi Maru was an unbeatable test designed to make cadets face a “no-win scenario.” Is Picard planning on making the test even worse?
Guinan’s new 10 Forward
Although it’s not made explicitly clear, the address for Guinan’s new bar is 10 Forward Street. The bar appears to just be called 10 Forward, a reference to the bar aboard the Enterprise-D in The Next Generation. In TNG, the bar was called “10 Forward” because it was on deck 10 of the ship, facing “forward.”
How El-Aurians age
Picard mentions that “El-Aurians” age very slowly. But Guinan corrects him saying, “only if we choose to.” This means that Guinan can appear “older” if she wants. This echoes a similar moment with Q at the end of the episode, where he alters his appearance to be closer to Jean-Luc’s current age.
Guinan decides that she and Picard are going to drink Saurian Brandy. This is the OG Star Trek space booze, which goes all the way back to The Original Series, most notably, “The Enemy Within.”
There are worse things than being dead
Guinan tells Picard “There are worse things than being dead. You know that better than anybody.” This is a not-so-subtle reference to Picard having been assimilated by the Borg.
When Picard comes onto the bridge of the Stargazer, we hear the familiar nautical boatswain whistle. This has been a Trek tradition since The Original Series but is perhaps most prominent in The Wrath of Khan and The Undiscovered Country.
Agnes Jurati says to Jean-Luc, “Well, mister, I think you look positively positronic.” This is a very clear reference to Picard having been given a new Synth (android) body at the end of Picard Season 1. And, Jurati would know! She was the cyberneticist who helped make sure Jean-Luc got that Synth body.
The Borg We Know…
As the crew debate whether or not to take the Borg up on their offer to join the Federation, Jurati notes that “the Borg we know have been effectively decimated, functionally hobbled.” This references several things at once.
- First, that Picard defeated the Borg in First Contact. Which certainly slowed them down.
- Second, in The Next Generation, we were given the impression that Hugh’s individuality had severed various “Rogue Borg” from the collective.
- Third, Admiral Janeway’s time travel stunt destroyed the Borg transwarp hub in the Voyager finale, “Endgame.”
- Finally, Picard Season 1 certainly made it seem like certain cubes could be taken offline by a botched assimilation of a few individuals.
Basically, taken together, all of these pieces of information tell us the same thing: Each of these defeats has “functionally hobbled” the Borg.
The Queen sets for stun…
Seven realizes the new Borg Queen isn’t killing any of the Starfleet crew and is instead “stunning them.” Not exactly an Easter egg, but something fairly fascinating nonetheless. What does it mean?
000 destruct 0
When Picard orders the self-destruct of the Stargazer, the final command is ZERO, ZERO, ZERO, destruct, ZERO. This comes from both TOS and The Search For Spock, in which it was established that “000 destruct 0” is the final command to blow up the ship.
The French music playing as the Stargazer is destroyed is sung by Edith Piaf. She was one of the most famous singers on the planet in the ’40s and ’50s.
When Picard wakes up in what appears to be an alternate universe, the mysterious atrium has all of its glass intact. In the “present” of the normal timeline, we saw all that glass was broken. But we don’t know why…
Synths from season 1
Picard’s servant, Harvey, is the same Synth model we saw in Picard Season 1. As in Season 1, with the unit F8, Harvey is played by Alex Diehl.
Q and the trial
When Q (John de Lancie) first appears to Picard, he seems to look pretty much how Q looked in 1994. But then, Q decides to “catch up” and becomes the age that John de Lancie is now. Q’s reference to “the trial never ends” comes from the TNG finale “All Good Things…” in which Q said, “you just don’t get it, Jean-Luc, the trial never ends.”
Basically, Q still has humanity on trial for its basic savagery, making Picard Season 2, effectively, a direct sequel to both “Encounter at Farpoint,” and “All Good Things…”
Star Trek: Picard Season 2 airs new episodes on Thursdays on Paramount+.