This Star Trek: Picard article contains spoilers.
Star Trek: Picard season 3 is now halfway through its daring new story. And like previous installments, “Imposters” does not shy away from the preexisting Star Trek universe. Connections to existing canon run very deep in an hour that not only brings back a surprise The Next Generation alum but also deepens lore from Deep Space Nine.
From a very familiar face from the past to some classic sound effects and more, “Imposters” keeps the easter eggs coming at warp speed. Here are the best callbacks and deep cuts we found in the episode:
Classic “Bridge Sounds”
The episode begins with what sounds like the 1960s classic Enterprise bridge beeps and boops. One might think this is out of place for the 25th century starships of Picard, but showrunner Terry Matalas has clarified that the Starfleet of this era is in a retro period when it comes to design. At the start of season 3, Matalas told Variety that the design of the Titan and other ships this season is intentionally a call back to the look and feel of the late 23rd-century starships from the era of the classic films: “I couldn’t help but notice how many cars have gone retro these days,” Matalas said. “And I remember, as I was driving around, I thought, ‘What if Starfleet did that?’”
So, this callback isn’t a mistake! These sound effects were brought back by Starfleet in 2402. Also, for those who had the cassette tape version of the Star Trek Generations soundtrack, you will recall that the sound effect-only track features the bridge sounds for the Enterprise-B, which also had this retro feeling! (Spotify has retained these tracks, too!)
RCS, ICS, ODN
Sidney La Forge lists off some starship functions out loud. RCS stands for “reaction control system” and ODN stands for “optical data network.” As of this writing, we can’t figure out what “ISC” stands for. Maybe “internal sensor control?”
Acting Captain’s Log
While Picard ended last week’s episode with an “Admiral’s log,” this week begins with an “Acting Captain’s Log,” which is the first time a voiceover log from Riker has opened any Star Trek episode since The Next Generation. Riker mentions that the ship has “limped to the edge of the Alpha Quadrant,” which should remind us that the Ryton System was not in Federation space.
Dominion War and Blood Tests
Seven talks about procedures that have been in place since the Dominion War to sniff out shapeshifters. This references Deep Space Nine, but the blood tests that become central to the narrative specifically reference the DS9 episodes “Homefront” and “Paradise Lost.” Though, Odo suggested the Federation use blood screenings in the episode “The Adversary.” Of note, blood screenings have rarely worked in Trek canon, which makes it all the more interesting that Crusher discovers in this episode that Changelings can now evade the blood tests.
Worf’s Knife and Music
When Worf and Raffi spar on La Sirena, we hear the Jerry Goldsmith “Klingon Theme” prominently. Later, when Worf and Raffi are arguing, Worf busts out his d’k tahg, a classic Klingon knife which we first saw in The Search For Spock.
Daystrom Station Is Guarded by a Sophisticated AI System
We’re told that this mysterious offsite “Daystrom station” is protected by an AI system. Later in the episode, Vulcan crime lord Krinn says the flaws in this system are “most illogical.”
The Daystrom Institute has played a big role in Picard since season 1, and the name Daystrom goes all the way back to the Original Series episode “The Ultimate Computer.” In Discovery season 2, a huge plot point was also about a sophisticated AI that ran amok. But the “illogical” flaws in this AI system could be a clue to an entirely different kind of story later in the season…
Space Criminals Galore
The intelligence read-out that Worf looks over to figure out who is behind these local crime developments, lists several deep-cut Star Trek criminals, including:
- Larell of Renhia: This is a DS9 criminal. She appeared only in the episode “Who Mourns for Morn?”
- Sneed of Ferenginar: We saw him earlier this season in Picard. Worf killed him in episode 2.
- T’Luco of Romulus: This guy died offscreen in Picard season 3, episode 2.
- Morn of Luria: The most regular customer of Quark’s bar in Deep Space Nine.
- Brunt of Ferenginar: A shady Ferengi operative from DS9, played by Jeffrey Combs.
- Thadiun Okona of Omega: the titular “Outrageous Okona” from the TNG episode. Played by Billy Campbell, he also just appeared in Prodigy.
When Worf and Raffi confront Krinn, Raffi uses a mobile emitter to create a hologram of herself. The mobile emitter tech originates from Star Trek: Voyager, specifically the episode “Future’s End Part II.”
Other than a digital retcon in the remastered version of the TOS episode “Court Martial,” we’ve rarely seen a Starfleet ship called USS Intrepid on screen, even though ships with this name are mentioned a lot. According to Picard production designer Dave Blass, this new Intrepid is a Duderstadt Class starship.
Shaw’s List of Hilarious TNG Antics
As Shaw, Riker, and Picard ride a turbo-lift to meet security guards from the Intrepid, Shaw jokes about all the times both Jean-Luc and Will did questionable things back in the day. This includes:
- “That time someone hot-dropped the saucer section of the Enterprise-D on a planet.” (Star Trek: Generations)
- “That time someone threw the prime directive out the window so they could snog a villager on Baku.” (Star Trek: Insurrection)
- “The time you boys nearly wiped out all of humanity by creating a time paradox in the Devron system.” (The TNG series finale, “All Good Things…”)
Ro Laren (Michelle Forbes): Her Background, Bajoran Earring, and the Maquis
Michelle Forbes returns as Ro Laren for the first time in any Star Trek since the TNG episode “Preemptive Strike.” In that episode, Ro defected to the Maquis, a group of freedom fighters who opposed the Federation’s decision to hand over certain planets to the Cardassians. This episode is heavily referenced here, right down to Jean-Luc noting that Ro “pulled a phaser” on Riker the last time he saw her.
Ro first appeared in the TNG episode “Ensign Ro,” and like Keiko, Guinan, and Miles O’Brien, became a recurring semi-regular on TNG, starting with season 5. Picard and Riker initially opposed her wearing her Bajorian earring, but at the end of “Ensign Ro,” Picard allowed it.
Krinn (Kirk Acevedo)
The Vulcan gangster, Krinn, is played by Kirk Acevedo, who previously starred in the Syfy version of 12 Monkeys as Ramse. He joins fellow 12 Monkeys alums in Picard season 3, including Todd Stashwick (Shaw), Aaron Stanford (Sneed), and showrunner Terry Matalas.
Krinn sports green-blood-stained scar and an IDIC medallion. The IDIC was first introduced in the TOS episode “Is There, in Truth, No Beauty?” But this is the first time we’ve seen a mobster wear one.
“You Do Remember Guinan, Don’t You?”
When Jean-Luc pulls a phaser on Ro, he references the idea that Guinan would stash phasers behind the bar. This references the TNG episode “Night Terrors,” in which Guinan busted out a huge phaser rifle from behind the bar in Ten Forward on the Enterprise-D. Jean-Luc asking Ro if she remembers Guinan is partially because he thinks she’s a shapeshifter, but also because Ro had a friendship with Guinan that began in “Ensign Ro” and continued in episodes like “Rascals,” when they were both turned into children by a transporter accident.
Picard wants Ro to take her findings to Admiral Janeway. This, of course, references Kathryn Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager, and more recently, Prodigy. Janeway was as an admiral as of 2379 during the events of Nemesis, and now seems to be a very high-ranking official within Starfleet. What her exact position is in 2402 remains unclear.
Worf references the Klingon messiah Kahless when he talks about a technique he used to fake death. Kahless was first mentioned in the TOS episode “The Savage Curtain,” but appeared more prominently as a clone in the TNG episode “Rightful Heir.”
Ro Laren’s Death
The biggest shock of this episode is the death of Ro Laren. Ironically or not, Ro dies trying to save Starfleet, an organization that sent her to prison twice. Ro also dies in a shuttlecraft, and in her last appearance in TNG, she and Riker were in a shuttle together before she left Starfleet. Ro’s death is the first time a major TNG character has been killed off on screen since Data in Nemesis. But unlike Data, it seems very unlikely that Ro will come back from the dead. This sacrifice is real, and grounded, and will likely go down as one of the most talked-about deaths in all of Trek history.