Picard Season 2 Episode 8: The Biggest Star Trek Easter Eggs
From deep-cuts to Star Trek: Enterprise, to some sly DS9 shout-outs, to some more 12 Monkeys shenanigans, this episode of Picard is full of easter eggs.
This Star Trek: Picard article contains spoilers.
Star Trek: Picard Season 2 Episode 8
Being trapped in the year 2024 hasn’t prevented Star Trek: Picard from connecting to all corners of the Trek franchise. In some ways, this part of Earth’s history is the most pivotal for the formation of the rest of the timeline. And so, it makes sense that as the series warps towards its impending finale, the rest of the canon is honored and somehow referenced.
Here’s every major easter egg and reference in Star Trek: Picard season 2, episode 8, “Mercy.”
Vulcans on Earth
One of the central plot points in this episode of Picard is the idea that Vulcans were surreptitiously hanging around on Earth. Prior to the Vulcan-human meeting in First Contact, one stand-out episode of the prequel series Enterprise, “Carbon Creek,” retroactively established that some Vulcans were surveying Earth in 1957. Now, with the flashback to FBI agent Wells (Jay Karnes) as a young child, in Picard, it turns out the Vulcans didn’t limit their Earth visits just to the 1950s and the year 2063. Instead, it seems like they were hanging out on Earth, even in the ‘70s and ‘80s! Of note, Picard season 2 and season 3 showrunner Terry Matalas was a production assistant on all four seasons of Enterprise.
Picard’s Mind-meld Expertise
Jean-Luc demonstrates to Wells exactly how a Vulcan mind-meld works, relative to the placement of fingers on the face. He would know! Jean-Luc Picard not only carries memories of Sarek from their mind-meld in the The Next Generation episode “Sarek,” but also, mind-melded with Spock in “Unification.” Later, in “Starship Mine,” Picard was capable of doing the Vulcan nerve pinch.
For the first time, Jay Karnes’ new FBI character’s name is spoken out loud, when Picard says “Wells, isn’t it?” This means the character’s name is not “Ducane,” meaning that he’s probably not an ancestor of the character Jay Karnes played in the Voyager episode “Relativity.” But, naming this character Wells is a double reference to H.G. Wells, the writer of the famous novel The Time Machine, but also to the fact that Jay Karnes played an FBI agent in 12 Monkeys named Gale, who was obsessed with H.G. Wells, so much so, that the actual time-traveling characters in that show teased him about it.
Q’s Timeline and His Impending…Death?
Q admits to Guinan that in the 21st Century “our paths haven’t crossed yet.” This implies that in the “regular” timeline of The Next Generation, Guinan and Q don’t meet until perhaps the 22nd Century. In the TNG episode “Q Who,” Q implies that “Guinan” is an assumed name, which is why he only refers to her as “you!” in this episode.
Q also reveals to Guinan what we’ve kind of known since episode 2, that Q is dying. However, this isn’t the first time he’s faced the concept of mortality. In the TNG episode “Deja Q,” the Continuum makes Q into an actual human, causing him to seek asylum on the Enterprise with Picard. Finally, the notion that Q might die in this season of Picard may have been foreshadowed in Discovery season 4. In episode 5 of that season, Admiral Vance says that there hasn’t been contact with the Q in “600 years.” Is Picard about to explain why?
Humans…They’re All Trapped in the Past
A running theme of this episode focuses on the idea that humans are often shaped by their traumatic experiences. Q says that humans are “all trapped in the past,” which could refer to Jean-Luc both literally and metaphorically but also applies to Wells.
But longtime fans will also find this discussion very reminiscent of the first episode of Deep Space Nine, “Emissary,” in which the Prophets — different God-like aliens — point out that Commander Sisko (Avery Brooks) is trapped in the moment his wife was killed by the Borg.
Borg Queen Theme Music
As Seven and Raffi try to track down Jurati, composer Jeff Russo liberally sprinkles in musical cues that reference Jerry Goldsmith’s score for Star Trek: First Contact. This isn’t the first time this has happened this season, but this episode easily features the most prominent uses of the Borg Queen motifs from that Star Trek score.
The Borg Are Addictive…Just Like Smartphones!
Although cell phones existed IRL in 1988 when the Borg were introduced in the TNG episode “Q Who,” the widespread use of cell phones wasn’t common. Therefore, the idea that someone might equate cell phone addiction and a constant drive toward connectivity with cellphones didn’t exist back then. And yet, as smartphone addiction grew in the 21st century, and the concept of FOMO emerged thanks to social media, Trek fans everywhere couldn’t help but think of the Borg; the idea that when members were cut off from the Collective that they went into withdrawal.
Here, Picard makes that analogous relationship between cell phones and the Borg a little more on-the-nose. Seven points out that just like cell phones have “stabilizing metals” that Borg nanoprobes — injected into the body upon assimilation — have a similar function. In other words, yes, cell phones are a rudimentary version of being assimilated by the Borg.
Raffi and Elnor Flashback
For the first time this season, we get a glimpse of events that happened in between the end of season 1 and the beginning of season 2. When Raffi reveals to Seven how she pressured Elnor into joining Starfleet, we see a moment on La Sirena where it all happens. Raffi is still wearing a combadge pin in the style La Sirena but Elnor mentions that the ship belongs to Seven. This seems to put this scene sometime in late 2399 or early 2400. Elnor also mentions Vashti, the planet he’s from, first introduced in Picard season 1, “Absolute Candor.”
“Mercy” ends with Jurati (the new Borg Queen) teaming up with Adam Soong to find Jean-Luc Picard and capture La Sirena. To do this, she needs an army that can be genetically manipulated to accept her rudimentary Borg nano-probes. In “Fly Me to the Moon,” it was established that Adam Soong was performing several experiments on ex-military mercenaries connected to something called “Spearhead operations.”
But what is Spearhead operations? Within the Trek canon, all we know is that this is a shady group of soldiers for hire. However, within Terry Matalas’ 12 Monkeys universe, “Spearhead” was a military organization that also funded scientific research to try and end a huge plague ravaging Earth. However, in 12 Monkeys, Spearhead is also super corrupt and led by an unethical military commander. So, do Picard and 12 Monkeys share the same Spearhead? Because James Cole reset the timeline in the 12 Monkeys series finale back in 2018, the answer is…maybe?