Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 13 Easter Eggs & References
Spoilers ahead for Star Trek: Discovery Season 2, Episode 13, “Such Sweet Sorrow.”
The penultimate episode of Star Trek: Discovery’s second season is jammed with perhaps more old-school references than any episode before. Because the USS Discovery hooks-up with the USS Enterprise, there are probably more Easter eggs than are reasonable. It will likely take several repeat viewings — and a lot of freeze frame — to catch everything in this thrilling episode.
And yet! We tried! From classic starship designations, to how you blow up a spaceship, to Sherlock Holmes, and Shakespeare, here are all the Easter eggs and references we caught in Star Trek: Discovery season 2, episode 13, “Such Sweet Sorrow.”
The episode title references Shakespeare and Future Klingons
The title of the episode comes from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet: “Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow,” which is spoken in the play by Romeo in the famous balcony scene.
In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, General Chang (Christopher Plummer) said to Kirk “Ah...parting is such sweet sorrow...have we not heard the chimes at midnight?” In that quote Chang conflated Romeo and Juliet with a “chimes at midnight” quote from Shakespeare’sHenry IV, Part 2.
In a sense, one could see Michael Burnham and Ash Tyler as a kind of Romeo and Juliet of the Star Trek universe. And if the Federation and the Klingons are the Montagues and the Capulets of Trek, then the events in The Undiscovered Country represent those two “houses” making peace.
“Last Time” Recap references the first Short Treks
If you missed any of the Short Treks last Fall, the recap at the top of this episode briefly explains how Tilly befriended Po in the mini-episode “Runaway.”
Subspace relays knocked out by Control
Twice in the episode, Burnham mentions that “ship-to-ship communication is all we’ve got,” because of the fact that Control has destroyed or disabled the subspace relays Starfleet relies on. This is interesting because it’s unclear how long this will take to get repaired.
In The Original Series — only eight years in Discovery’s future — it often took a long time for the Enterprise to send a message to Starfleet. Are the subspace relays only partially repaired in Kirk’s time?
Self Destruct of DISCO references Riker and Picard in The Next Generation
When Captain Pike and Commander Saru set the USS Discovery for auto-destruct, they both place their handprints on screens at the exact same time. This references the exact way Captain Picard and Commander Riker set the auto-destruct for the USS Enterprise-D in Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, “11001001.”
Classic Enterprise design and sound
When the crew boards USS Enterprise after evacuating the USS Discovery there are almost too many easter Eggs to count. Here are the obvious ones!
There’s random gold grill in the corridors, like in TOS.
Door sound effects match the original series.
The turbolift has handles, which seems to be slight jab to the voice-activated only turbolifts in “Obol for Charon.”
Pike’s chair looks exactly like the Kirk’s chair in TOS.
Turbolift doors are a red-orange color, like in TOS.
The sound effect for the Enterprise photon torpedo is on point. It also seems to fire the torpedo from the same spot as it does in the classic episode “Balance of Terror.”
The briefing room of the Enterprise is similar to how it looked in “The Cage.”
“Starship Class” versus “Constitution Class”
One very very small detail about the new/old Enterprise happens when Georgiou steps onto the bridge. Right behind her, you can see the dedication plaque for the ship which reads USS Enterprise, Starship Class. Now, hardcore Trekkies know that the original Enterprise is a Constitution Class ship, so what’s the deal? Is this a mistake? Nope!
Instead, this is a real-deal Easter egg, because in the original series, the Enterprise’s dedication plaque did say “Starship Class,” and the whole Constitution Class idea was a bit of a retcon. How does this work in current canon? Well, the Enterprise is actually a lot older than the Discovery, and had a Captain before Pike, Captain April. So, it’s possible that because the Enterprise is so old, back when it was first commissioned, it was just called “Starship Class.”
Georgiou (Kind of) references Star Trek Generations
When the crew discusses the need to create an artificial supernova, Georgiou suggests shooting an anti-matter missile into a red giant star, causing it to go nova. This is more or less the plan Dr. Soren uses in the film Star Trek Generations, only his missle is powered by “trilithium.”
When Sarek and Amanda come to wish Michael farwell, Sarek says he knew it was time to come because of “our Katras.” This references the idea that part of Sarek’s soul (his “katra”) is inside of Michael Burnham and vice versa. Katras were first discussed in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock. And, in Discovery, we found out Michael and Sarek shared a Katra connection in “The Battle of the Binary Stars.”
Sarek References Sherlock Holmes
When Amanda refers to Sarek as “impossible,” he says “I will accept improbable.” This references the famous Sherlock Holmes quote “...when you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
Spock quotes this Holmes axiom in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and attributes it to “an ancestor of mine.” This implies that Spock is related to either Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or Sherlock Holmes on his mother’s side. So, Sarek making this joke in the newest Discovery doubles-down on this idea. Is Sarek joking about Amanda’s famous human family?
Owosekun’s past is referenced
When Owosekun is recording her farewell to her family, she really hopes they can forgive her. What has she done you might ask? Well, in the second episode this season, “New Eden,” Burnham says that Owosekun was raised in a “luddite colony,” meaning her family rejected technology.
“Non-detonated photon torpedo”
Both Burnham and Reno have future-visions of a giant battle which features a “Non-detonated photon torpedo” sticking out of the Enterprise. Why would a photon torpedo be non-detonated? Well, in other Star Trek, that’s usually because a person was inside of the torpedo. In The Wrath of Khan, Spock’s body was placed in a photon torpedo. And in Star Trek Into Darkness, Khan put his entire crew inside of photon torpedos. Does this mean a person is in that thing? Maybe. Maybe not. But, it does some very...suggestive!
“What Mirror Universe?”
When Georgiou beams Pike and Tyler over to the Enterprise at the end of the episode, she reveals to Pike that she’s Terran, “from your Mirror Universe.” Pike winks and says “What Mirror Universe?” This implies that Pike knows about the Mirror Universe, even though Kirk, Spock, Scotty, Spock, Bones and Uhura totally didn’t in the episode “Mirror, Mirror.”
Ryan Britt is the author of the book Luke Skywalker Can’t Read and Other Geeky Truths (Plume/Penguin Random House). You can find more of his work here.