This Star Trek: Picard article contains spoilers.
At this point in Star Trek: Picard season 3, one thing is clear: This season isn’t just paying homage to the ‘90s era of Trek. This season is a direct sequel to those adventures. From details about Changelings to deep dives into the past of the old Stargazer, to new wrinkles about the Borg, the fourth episode of Picard season 3 had a lot to unpack.
Here are the best easter eggs and Star Trek canon references in “No Win Scenario.”
Five Years Ago…
We start in a flashback, with Jean-Luc hanging out in the Los Angeles version of Ten Forward. Five years prior to Picard season 3 would put this flashback in 2397, which is, interestingly enough, just two years before Picard season 1. At this point in the timeline, Jean-Luc would be fully retired from Starfleet, meaning the young Starfleet officers would be pretty excited to see him out in the wild. Notably, the uniforms of the officers in this scene match the style of Starfleet uniforms from season 1, which are slightly different from what we’ve seen in season 2 onward.
Ten Forward Has A Lot of Easter Eggs
Introduced in season 2, this version of Ten Forward is always brimming with easter eggs. In the flashback scenes in “No Win Scenario” — which occur at the beginning of the episode, and toward the end, we see the following:
- A model of the Enterprise-C
- A photo of Picard and Guinan from Generations
- A photo of an Andorian in a TOS uniform
- A publicity still of Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan from The Next Generation
- A sign for “Frontier Day.” This could indicate this celebration might occur every five years. Maybe?
The Hirogen, Tamarians, and “Darmok”
The younger officers quiz Jean-Luc about a few adventures, but we only really hear him talk about two throughout these flashbacks. One is something we’ve never heard of, while the other is a very famous TNG episode.
At the start of this flashback, Picard is asked about the Hirogen. This is an alien species from the Delta Quadrant, first introduced in Star Trek: Voyager. Jean-Luc and Worf dealing with the Hirogen never happened in the TNG series or feature films. This is why somebody asks Jean-Luc if he asked Admiral Janeway for “advice,” and also why they wondered about how the Hirogen got “into the quadrant.” In Voyager, the Hirgoen were a hunter species from the Delta Quadrant.
However, later in the episode, when Picard talks about the Tamarians basing their language on “metaphor,” that is something we’ve seen. There, he’s referencing the beloved TNG episode “Darmok.”
“No Win Scenario”
The title of this episode refers to the Kobayashi Maru scenario, a “no win scenario,” first introduced in The Wrath of Khan. Interestingly, this is the third episode of a new Star Trek series to reference this in an episode title in the past two years. The 2021 Discovery season 4 premiere was called “Kobayashi Maru,” while the sixth episode of Prodigy, in early 2022, was called “Kobayashi.”
While Seven searches the quarters of the suspected Changeling, we briefly see her favorite game: a Vulcan Kal-Toh. This game was referred to as “Vulcan chess,” but it’s way harder. This is at least the second time we’ve seen a Kal-Toh set in Picard — in the season 1 finale, we saw one near Raffi and Seven in the finale moments of “Et in Arcadia Ego Part 2.” But the game itself originated on Voyager, and Seven was very good at it.
Jack tells Jean-Luc a story about “Matalas 4,” which he says was a “real dump.” This is one of many references to showrunner Terry Matalas throughout the season. “M’Talas Prime” is the crime-ridden planet where Worf and Raffi have been hanging out throughout the first three episodes.
Changeling Bucket and Odo!
Shaw gives Seven the low-down on the limits of shapeshifters, specifically, the fact that they need to regenerate somewhere. On the PADD Shaw hands Seven, we see a “Changeling Report,” which also shows a picture of Odo (René Auberjonois) from Deep Space Nine. When Seven locates the bucket on the Titan, it looks very similar to the one Odo had on DS9.
Jack Crusher (Senior) and the Stargazer
Picard tells young Jack about his time with Beverly’s first husband, Jack Crusher Sr. This story about them getting stuck in a shuttle, stranded away from the Stargazer, is not something we’ve heard before. It also seems to predate Jack meeting Beverly, since Jean-Luc and Jack were single and ready to mingle. It also seems possible that Jean-Luc was not yet the captain of the Stargazer when this happened.
USS Constance, Wolf 359, and Locutus of Borg
We learn that Captain Shaw was previously an engineer on the USS Constance during the Battle of Wolf 359. This, of course, references the legendary TNG two-parter “The Best of Both Worlds,” in which Picard was assimilated by the Borg and turned into Locutus. We now know that Shaw served on the USS Constance during that battle, which was destroyed at Wolf 359, along with all the other Starfleet ships.
Previously, we’ve seen a schematic of the Constance in the end credits for every episode of Picard season 3, though, up until now, we haven’t known why. The Constance itself takes its name from a painting in the 12 Monkeys episode “Causality.” That series was helmed by Terry Matalas.
Shaw’s dislike of Picard because of Wolf 359 parallels Sisko’s experience in the DS9 pilot episode “Emissary.” Like Shaw, Sisko also kinda blamed Picard for the destruction of his ship, the Saratoga.
“Weird Shit on the Stargazer”
When Shaw says “forget about that weird shit on the Stargazer,” he’s not talking about Jean-Luc’s Stargazer from back in the day, but rather, the newer Sagan-class version of the USS Stargazer from Picard season 2. When Shaw says “the real Borg are still out there,” what he means is that the nicer version of the Borg seen in the finale of Picard season 2 are not the only version of the Borg that exist in this timeline. This means the original version of the Borg Collective is intact in the Picard season 3 timeline.
Space Babies at Farpoint
Dr. Crusher determines the nebula is full of space-dwelling alien lifeforms. She points out this is not the first time they’ve encountered creatures like this and Picard says “Farpoint.” This references the giant space jellyfish in the very first episode of The Next Generation ever, “Encounter at Farpoint.”
“To seek out new life”
Both Crusher and Riker get to say parts of the famous Star Trek opening monologue when Beverly says “to seek out new life” in response to seeing the space jellyfish all over the place. Riker responds by saying “I think we should boldly get the hell out of here.” Neither character has ever been able to say parts of this — or modifications of it — ever before.
Riker and his wife, Deanna Troi, catch up via subspace communication at the end of the episode. This is the first time we’ve seen Troi in the present in this season of Picard. She only appeared in a flashback in the previous episode. Troi is likely on the planet Nepenthe, which first appeared in Picard season 1.
Jean-Luc closes the episode with a voice-over “Admiral’s log.” This is the first time he’s done this in the entirety of the series of Picard. This is the first time we’ve heard a log-style voiceover from Patrick Stewart since 2002 in Star Trek Nemesis. The episode concludes with a tease about deeper mysteries concerning Jack Crusher, but for now, the first four episodes of the season feel very much like the conclusion of one, very long and action-packed episode of The Next Generation.