This Star Trek: Picard contains spoilers.
In the third episode of Star Trek: Picard, things get serious about the origins of Jack Crusher, the nature of the conspiracy against Starfleet, and just how deep into a nebula you can go. Along the way, the show reconnects the canon of Picard to Deep Space Nine, while name-dropping some places you may not remember from other versions of the franchise.
Here are all the best easter eggs and references in “Seventeen Seconds.”
“They Knew Exactly Where to Hit Us”
Right away, we see a screen on the USS Titan, and if you pause and look, you’ll see that the damage to the ship tells us that Impulse Drive is broken and that the aft shield generator has “no charge.” But the distribution of these red areas feels similar to The Wrath of Khan, when Spock points to the spots the Enterprise was damaged and says, “they knew exactly where to hit us.” Does Vadic have intimate knowledge of Starfleet ships? Maybe?
Sensors Don’t Work in the Nebula
In another nod to The Wrath of Khan, the deeper the Titan goes into the nebula, the more the sensors malfunction. This concept was first codified in The Wrath when Spock and Kirk intentionally take the Enterprise into the Mutara Nebula because in there “the odds will be even.” The idea of hiding in a nebula is a big Trek tradition and was even foreshadowed in the opening scenes of Picard season 3 when Jean-Luc’s log from The Next Generation’s “The Best of Both Worlds” was playing, mentioning the moment when the Enterprise-D hid in “the dust cloud” to avoid the Borg.
Los Angeles, Circa 2381
When the episode flashes back to “before,” we see a future version of the LA skyline. Riker and Picard are toasting the birth of Thaddeus Riker-Troi, Will and Deanna’s son, first mentioned in the Picard season 1 episode “Nepenthe.” Although the onscreen text says “before,” the best bet for this moment is the year 2381, because according to series co-creator Michael Chabon — way back in 2020 — Thad died when he was about 15, in 2396.
Relative to the rest of the Trek timeline, this flashback happens roughly two years after Nemesis, and one year after the Titan saved the Cerritos in the Lower Decks season 1 finale. Interestingly, although neither Will nor Jean-Luc knows it, Jack Crusher was also born – or perhaps was even a year old at this exact point in time. This means that in the “present” of the show, Jack is about the same age as Thad Riker, had Thad lived. Within the context of this episode, this fact makes Riker’s conversations with Jack all the more poignant
Riker apologizes to Troi saying “sorry, Imzadi.” This is a Betazoid word meaning “beloved.” It was first heard telepathically, uttered by Troi in the TNG premiere, “Encounter at Farpoint.”
Seven Loves Voyager
Seven has a model of the USS Voyager in her quarters, which is a little like Jean-Luc having a model of the Stargazer in his ready-room throughout TNG. Clearly, Seven’s time on Voyager was part of the reason she was able to basically start in Starfleet with the rank of commander. She had better on-the-job training than almost anybody.
Beverly Name-drops a Ton of Obscure Star Trek Planets
While talking to Jean-Luc about the hows and the whys of Jack’s birth and her self-imposed isolation from the crew, Beverly Crusher mentions several planets, all of which are very deep cuts to Trek canon, including:
- Casperia Prime: This planet was first mentioned in the DS9 episode “Change of Heart,” and is where Jadzia wanted to have her honeymoon with Worf.
- Kolarin Five: This seems to be a reference to the Kolarin system, the spot where the Enterprise picked up B-4’s body in Nemesis.
- Donatra sector: Probably another Nemesis reference. In that film, Donatra was the name of the Romulan commander who assisted Picard and the Enterprise in defeating Shinzon.
- Sorna Prime: This one’s a Discovery reference. In Discovery season 1, in the Mirror Universe, Captain Tilly (aka “Captain Killy”) was known as the “Slayer of Sorna Prime.”
Worf Listens to Picard’s Favorite Opera from First Contact
When Raffi wakes up on La Sirena, Worf is doing his Klingon calisthenics while listening to opera, specifically, Les Troyens, composed by Berlioz. The selection itself is called “Vallon sonore,” and it’s the same piece of music that Jean-Luc is listening to in First Contact when Riker comes into his ready room toward the start of the film.
When Worf introduces himself to Raffi, he lists pretty much everything we know about him from both The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, including:
- “Son of Mogh” refers to Worf’s biological Klingon father, Mogh, who, oddly enough, we’ve never seen on screen. (Though a photoshop image of Mogh was created for the Star Trek Customizable Card Game back in 1997.)
- “House of Martok” refers to General Martok (J. G. Hertzler) from Deep Space Nine. Worf joined his house in DS9 when nobody else would accept him in Klingon society.
- “Son of Sergey” and “House of Rozhenko” both mean that Worf is the son of Sergey Rozhenko, his adoptive human father. We met Sergey in the TNG episode “Family.”
- “Bane to the Duras family” is a reference to Worf having killed the Klingon traitor Duras in the TNG episode “Reunion.”
- “Slayer of Gowron” is a reference to Worf having killed Gowron in the DS9 episode “Tacking Into the Wind.” Way back in “Reunion,” Duras and Gowron were both candidates to lead the Klingon Empire as Chancellor. Worf, eventually, kills them both.
On the Titan, Riker says “punch it,” which will remind many fans of Han Solo and Lando Calrissian both saying “punch it” in The Empire Strikes Back. Usually, in Star Wars, saying “punch it” tends to happen when speed is needed in times of crisis. This makes Riker’s use of it here very Star Wars-ish. However, this is not the first time Star Trek has borrowed “punch it!” from Star Wars. In the 2009 Star Trek reboot, Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood) says “punch it” to send the Enterprise into warp.
Seven and Jack figure out that Vadic is able to track the Titan because the ship is leaking Verterium. This substance was first introduced in the Voyager episode “Investigations,” where we learned it was used specifically to insulate the warp coils of Intrepid-class ships. Clearly, it’s more widely used in all kinds of Starfleet ships in the present tense of 2402.
Thomas Dekker and Thomas Picard
When Raffi and Worf track down the criminal Titus Rikka, he’s played by actor Thomas Dekker. Believe it or not, as a child actor, Dekker played Jean-Luc Picard’s imaginary son, Thomas Picard. This character only existed in the Nexus in Star Trek Generations. In Voyager, also while still a child, Dekker played a hologram named Henry Burleigh, who existed in Janeway’s holo-novel in the episodes “Cathexis,” “Learning Curve,” and “Persistence of Vision.” Now, Dekker is playing a secret changeling, which means, yet again, he’s playing a Star Trek character who appears human but is not.
Although it’s brief, when Worf fires his phaser, it’s not one of the new 25th-century Picard–era models. Instead, Worf’s phaser looks much closer to a TNG-style weapon, maybe even the last iteration of that phaser type from Nemesis.
Changelings, the Great Link, and Odo
The big revelation that Titus Rikka is really a changeling is easily the biggest game-changer of the episode, and perhaps, the entire season of Picard. Although other shapeshifters existed in Trek canon before the changelings, their appearance on Deep Space Nine made them the most important shapeshifters in all of Star Trek canon. Worf talking about the Great Link refers to the massive shared pool in which most changelings coalesce with each other.
But Worf also makes it clear that these changelings are not directly affiliated with most of the other changelings and have broken away from the Great Link. We’re told that Worf got this message from “a close friend” who is a “man of honor.” We know this can be the one and only Odo.
Odo and Worf obviously served with each other throughout Deep Space Nine, following Worf’s arrival in season 4 of that show. Interestingly, Michael Dorn and Odo actor René Auberjonois were also both in The Undiscovered Country, with Dorn playing Col. Worf and Auberjonois playing the Starfleet traitor Col. West. In our world, René Auberjonois sadly passed away in 2019. But Worf’s comments in this episode of Picard, indicate that Odo lives on in the 25th century, still looking out for his friends, even if he has passed into the Great Link, forever.