This article contains Star Trek: Picard spoilers.
Not all Star Trek Easter eggs are created equal. Some are as obvious as a phaser set on vaporize, and others are as squirmy and pervasive as a Ceti eel and can wrap themselves around your cerebral cortex before you’ve had a chance to even identify them. Luckily, even when Easter eggs are coming at warp speed, there is a way to spot them. First, travel back in time and convince yourself to become an obsessive Star Trek fan, next, watch every episode and film of every Star Trek iteration multiple times and then commit it all to memory. Once you’ve done that, travel back to the present, and see if you can spot all the Easter eggs in Star Trek: Picard season 3, episode 1, “The Next Generation.”
We think we’ve caught everything in this jam-packed episode. But, be warned, Picard season 3 might have more Trek Easter eggs than all the previous seasons of the various new Trek shows combined. Let’s try to make it so. Engage Easter egg sensors!
Music Easter Eggs and The Wrath of Khan
Star Trek: Picard begins with blue text on the screen with the words “In the 25th Century…” which directly parallels the opening of The Wrath of Khan, which began with the text “In the 23rd Century…” in the exact same font. We briefly hear notes from Jerry Goldsmith’s First Contact score here, as the action transitions to a shot of the SS Eleos. The song that plays is the standard “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire” by The Inkspots. All three seasons of Picard have begun with an old standard: Season 1 with Bing Crosby’s “Blue Skies,” and season 2 with Irma Thomas’s “Time Is On My Side.”
Beverly Crusher’s mementos
The interior of the SS Eleos gives us a slew of deep-cut references, all about Beverly Crusher. In less than a few seconds, we see:
- Beverly’s pearls from “The Big Goodbye.”
- Her flowers from “Cause and Effect.”
- Drama and comedy masks: A reminder to us of Beverly’s love of the theater, which references, “The Nth Degree,” “Frame of Mind,” “Disaster,” and “A Fistful of Datas.”
- There’s also a very deep cut here with an award that says: “Cor Caroli V, Medical Away Team, Honorary Citizens.” This references a classified mission, which we never saw, that Jean-Luc spoke of in the episode “Allegiance.” Funnily enough, that episode featured a botched date between Beverly and an alien doppelganger posing as Picard.
- A closed container that seems to have belonged to Beverly’s late husband, Jack Crusher.
Picard’s log from “The Best of Both Worlds” and some Romulan Ale?
Just as Beverly wakes up to an impending attack, we hear Picard’s Captain’s Log from “The Best of Both Worlds,” specifically the references to hiding the Enterprise in a “dust cloud.” This foreshadows the fact that by the end of this episode, Riker and Picard will head into a nebula.
We also catch a glimpse of some blue liquid on a table, which can only be a glass of Romulan Ale. Bones first introduced us all to Romulan Ale in The Wrath of Khan, proving that Enterprise doctors have great taste in space booze, in any generation.
“The Next Generation”
The title of this episode of “The Next Generation,” is self-explanatory. But, this is the first time that a live-action Star Trek series, since Enterprise ended in 2005, has actually displayed its episode title on screen in quotes. The music, here again, borrows from Jerry Goldsmith’s First Contact score, with a bit of Jeff Russo’s title arrangement for the first two seasons of Picard.
Laris and Jean-Luc are doing some spring cleaning of Chateau Picard at the top of the episode. As has been the case in previous seasons, we see several Easter eggs, including:
- Picard’s painting of the Enterprise-D from his ready room. (Who retrieved this from the wrecked saucer section in Generations?)
- The Ressikan flute from “The Inner Light,”
- A Promellian battle cruiser in a bottle from “Booby Trap,”
- A golden Enterprise-D model
- A huge Bajorian symbol
- The Kurlan naiskos from “The Chase.” (Again, who went back and got this from the crashed D?)
It’s Been a Long Time…
Riker and Picard talk about the celebration of “Frontier Day,” which commemorates 250 years of “boldly going.” This is not the birthday of the Federation, which is actually a tiny bit younger than Starfleet. The Federation was founded in 2161, which we saw in the final moments of the Enterprise episode “These Are the Voyages…” But, Starfleet predates the Federation by several decades. Picard Season 3 takes place in roughly 2402 (in the 25th Century…) which means Starfleet is celebrating something that happened during the first year of the NX-01 Enteprirse, in either 2151 or 2152.
Picard and Riker quibble about whether or not they got their comms compromised on “Rigel VI” or “Rigel VII.” This doesn’t reference any TNG adventure we’ve seen. However, Rigel VII, is the planet that the Enterprise had just left in “The Cage,” and where Captain Pike (Jeffrey Hunter) had fought an alien giant in a ridiculous castle. It’s basically the first strange, new world in all of Trek canon.
M’Talas Prime and the Dockmaster
When we find Raffi undercover on a crime planet, it’s called “M’Talas Prime,” named for showrunner Terry Matalas. Later in the episode, the voice of the dockmaster, who welcomes Picard and Riker to the USS Titan, is the voice of Terry Matalas.
Raffi is obsessed with figuring out what was stolen from an “offsite” Daystrom station. This question will end up being one of the biggest MacGuffins in Picard season 3, and even when you think you know what it is, you might be wrong. Anyway. The word “Daystrom,” comes from Dr. Richard Daystrom (William Marshall) from the TOS episode “The Ultimate Computer.” In that episode, we learned that Daystrom designed most of the computers that Starfleet ships rely on. In Picard Season 1, the Daystrom Institute on Earth was central to that season-long story, and introduced the character of Dr. Jurati. At that time, B-4’s body (Data’s twin brother from Nemesis) was stored at the Daystrom Institute.
Raffi’s retro communicator
When Raffi gets in touch with Starfleet Intelligence, she busts out a classic flip-up communicator. The style feels closer to the Enterprise era than TOS, but it’s a great moment. Why would Raffi use an outdated communicator? Well, maybe this is the 25th-century equivalent of using a burner phone.
Spacedock and Starship Easter egg overload
When Riker and Picard head to the Titan, the episode goes into warp 9.99999 with Easter Eggs. Here’s everything:
- Picard and Riker’s journey over to the Titan references Kirk and Scotty taking a travel pod in The Motion Picture.
- The design of the spacedock itself references the famous Starfleet spacedock designed by Industrial Light and Magic, and first seen in The Search For Spock. Even the interior of the spacedock is similar, and the doors are identical.
- Picard and Riker are pretending to perform an inspection of the USS Titan, which references The Wrath of Khan when Kirk was doing a real inspection of the Enterprise.
- The music in this scene evokes James Horner’s score from The Wrath.
- “Neo Constitution-Class” references the Constitution-Class, the class of ship which included the original NCC-1701 Enterprise.
- The Boatswain whistle used to announce Riker and Picard’s arrival is the same exact design used in The Undiscovered Country.
- The Titan is a reference to Will Riker’s command of the ship of that name, first mentioned in Nemesis, and then seen in Lower Decks. This Titan is not the same ship as the Luna-Class ship from Lower Decks, but Starfleet did use many of its parts to build this new one. (The word “Titan” references many things, but it also, by coincidence references “Titan City,” a time-traveling city from the SyFy version of Terry Matalas’s 12 Monkeys.)
- Seven of Nine taking the Titan out of spacedock is reminiscent of Saavik “piloting” the Enterprise out of spacedock in The Wrath, but also of Valeris blasting the Enterprise out of the gate in The Undiscovered Country.
- Before leaving spacedock, Seven mentions that the “metaphasic shield” is ready. This references the TNG episode “Suspicions” in which Beverly Crusher cleared the name of Dr. Reyga, a Ferengi scientist who invented this type of shield.
Sidney La Forge
Played by Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut, Sidney is one of two daughters of Geordi La Forge. Her name comes from the TNG finale “All Good Things…” in which Geordi mentions he has three kids: Alandra, Bret, and Sidney. In “All Good Things…” Picard could not remember Sidney’s name. He can’t in this episode either!
Sidney’s presence could also reference the moment in Generations when Kirk learns that Sulu’s daughter, Demora, is the helmsman of the Enterprise-B.
Captain Shaw hates jazz…and Riker and Picard
Todd Stashwick plays Captain Liam Shaw, which is a bit of an Easter egg to 12 Monkeys since Stashwick played Deacon in that show. Don’t you forget about him! Anyway, Shaw mentions that he doesn’t like jazz, a dig at Riker who has loved playing jazz trombone since the TNG episode “11001001.”
Shaw also has an outward dislike for Picard and Riker, and references their “wildly exciting and equally irresponsible adventures,” which could reference any number of things. Though, his quip about “crashlanding,” probably is a direct reference to the Enterprise-D crashing on Veridian III in Generations.
Raffi’s research reveals…a new Enterprise and Voyager!
As Raffi frantically tries to figure out the meaning of “The Red Lady,” she calls up a screen of all upcoming holidays and events. This includes the “Gratitude Festival,” which references a Bajroian Gratitude Festival first introduced in the DS9 episode “Fasincation.”
But, if you pause the next screen Raffi looks at, you’ll see:
- A ship called the Voyager-B
- The Enterprise-F, with text that says “Slated for Early Decommissioning.”
The “Red Lady” turns out to be a statue of Captain Rachel Garrett. This references the TNG episode “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” in which we learn that Rachel Garrett (Trica O’Neil) was the captain of the Enterprise-C.
The final moments of the episode reveal that Beverly Crusher has another son. The moment this is revealed references a similar fight in The Wrath, in which Kirk is fighting with Carol Marcus’ son, David Marcus, and doesn’t know it.
The credits- watch out!
There are several Easter eggs in the credits of every episode of Picard season 3. However, breaking down all of them might lead to spoiler territory for the rest of the season. Let’s just say, it’s possible that many of the things you see on the screen here are more than Easter eggs, and perhaps are hints as to what is to come. That said, there are a few notable big Easter eggs that are simply fun, and probably not spoilers at all.
The Fleet Museum on Athan Prime
The planet “Athan Prime” is a reference to the character Athan Cole, from 12 Monkeys. In that series, Athan was played by Battlestar Galactica fan-favorite James Callis, who also appeared in Picard season 2 as Jean-Luc’s father.
Picard 47 Alpha Tango
Toward the end of the credits, we see the words “Picard 47 Alpha Tango.” This was Jean-Luc’s special command code for setting the auto-destruct to the Enterprise-E in First Contact.
Picard season 3 lists the cast names in the end credits, rather than in the beginning credits. This includes the name “Jonathan Frakes,” of course, whose name appears, appropriately next to the “Red Alert” graphic. Is “Red Alert!” Riker’s catchphrase? Does anybody say it is better than Riker?
The closing credits font
After the main closing credits, the text on the screen for the very end of the episode uses the same font from The Next Generation’s closing credits. This is the first time a live-action Trek series has used this font style since 1994.
And if you think the ‘90s nostalgia is over for now. Just wait until you see the rest of Picard season 3…
Picard airs new episodes on Thursdays, for the next 10 weeks, on Paramount+.