All Star Trek: Picard's Easter eggs and hidden references
Star Trek: Picard is the eighth TV show (yes, we included The Animated Series) in a franchise that also includes twelve movies and several Short Treks. It comes as no surprise then, that just the first episode of Picard makes allusions to dozens of plot points and characters we haven't seen in years.
While the main points are well explained, there are still plenty of gems to find if you dig a little deeper.
So let's plunge into the Starfleet Archives on Memory Alpha, and see what we can find…
Blue Skies, can't lose
The episode opens with a beautiful montage of the Enterprise-D soaring through space. And right off the bat, that’s two references in one, as this is no doubt an homage to the opening credits of The Next Generation, which also featured the Enterprise voyaging through the stars. The music this is set to is also a callback — in Star Trek: Nemesis, the last film to feature the Next Generation crew, Data sung 'Blue Skies' by Irving Berlin at Riker and Troi's wedding.
The sky's the limit…
We cut to Ten Forward, the bar inside the Enterprise-D, where Picard and Data are playing poker. The Enterprise crew's poker night was a running joke in Next Generation, with Data usually operating as the dealer. Picard didn't join these games until the last episode; now he says he "doesn’t want the game to end."
It's worth noting that in Picard's dream, Data is wearing the wrong uniform for the setting: his uniform was rolled out after the Enterprise-D was destroyed, but was worn by the crew in the films, including Nemesis. This, combined with the poker game, neatly establishes Picard as picking up where The Next Generation, and Nemesis, left off.
Dream a little dream
And just to throw in another reference, starting the episode off with a dream sequence is an homage to First Contact, which begins with Picard dreaming of his time as a Borg drone. Look out for another nod to First Contact at the end of the episode...
Watch out for those Ferengi
As we transition to "greater Boston", you can catch a glimpse of the Ferengi Alliance's logo on a skyscraper, implying that there is some kind of Ferengi trading post in this city.
Sleeper in Seattle
Before her defensive programming is activated, Daj tells her attackers that she's from Seattle — just like Discovery's Ash, who turned out to be a Klingon sleeper agent in disguise. Does Seattle even exist in this universe, or does it just exist in the fabricated memories of sleeper Klingons and secret androids?
Daj's quickly dispatched boyfriend is another nod to Discovery, as he is a Xahean, a new species that was introduced in the Short Trek 'Runaway'.
Opening Credits symbology
The Picard opening credits are of course filled with symbols, but let's break down the most notable. We can see a neuron breaking in two and spiraling out to form DNA strands — this references the creation of Daj and Soji from Data's surviving neurons. We zoom in on an eye, which transforms into Romulus, moments from destruction. This eye motif was used liberally in First Contact to flash back to Picard’s time as the Borg Locutus.
The gorgeous theme for Picard is reminiscent of the orchestral theme for The Next Generation episode 'The Inner Light', which concluded with Picard learning to play the flute from the episode’s lost civilisation — and the Picard opening credits conclude with the theme melting into the Next Generation theme, all played on the flute.
Old friends from Romulus
Picard’s housekeepers Laris and Zhaban first appeared in the tie-in comic Picard: Countdown, as former agents of the Tal Shiar, the Romulan secret service.
We particularly enjoyed the fact that while Zhaban has the forehead bumps typical of The Next Generation-era Romulans, Laris has a smooth forehead, like the Romulans that appeared in The Original Series, making her indistinguishable from Vulcans.
Shadows of past diplomacy
Introducing Picard in the broadcast interview are several photos of him from his heyday. Most are promo shots, but one is a still from The Next Generation episode 'Sins of the Father' — which is referenced again later when Picard gets to the archives.
The ban on synthetics
Along with a ton of (artfully done) exposition in this interview, the Federation's ban on synthetic lifeforms is mentioned. We've seen a few synthetics here and there in the history of Star Trek (ranging from Discovery's cybernetically enhanced Airiam, to the tiny Exocomps in The Next Generation), but Data represented a huge stride forward in creating truly intelligent androids.
After the synths attacked Mars (who's betting they were hacked?), the Federation made an outright ban. This echoes the ban on genetically enhanced individuals known as "augments" after the Eugenics Wars of the 1990s. Think Khan. You know. Khaaaaaaan!
Dream a little dream (2.0)
Throughout the episode, Picard's dreams of Data lead him to clues hidden in Data's paintings. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen dream sequences and painting symbols lead to revelations about Data’s lineage: in The Next Generation episode 'Phantasm' saw Data go on a similar dream quest. So it's no wonder that Daj also discovers secrets hidden in cryptic visions — it's a family tradition!
An archive of memories
And now we arrive at the Starfleet Archive, where Picard hides all of his nostalgia. As he enters his vault, we pan up from a model of the USS Stargazer, a ship that Picard served on before he captained the Enterprise. His time on the Stargazer was pivotal, as his decision to take command of the ship after the captain and first mate were killed contributed to his ascension up Starfleet's career ladder. (See The Next Generation episode 'Tapestry'.)
There are several other model ships — like the Enterprise-E and the Captain's yacht that detaches from it — which hearkens back to Picard's collection of model ships in the Enterprise's briefing room.
Mounted on the wall is also a Klingon Batleth and a D'k Tahg dagger, which Picard would have carried ceremonially in his role as the Klingon Arbiter of Succession (seen earlier in the still from the episode 'Sins of the Father'). There’s also the "Captain Picard Day" banner from The Next Generation episode 'The Pegasus', just in case our heartstrings hadn't been played with enough already.
And of course, no Picard collection would be complete without his copy of The Globe Illustrated Shakespeare, a tome which resided in his ready-room on the Enterprise. The big ol' nerd.
It is revealed that Daj is Data’s daughter, of sorts. Surprise! Although not mentioned in the episode, this isn’t the first of Data’s daughters we’ve seen — in The Next Generation episode ‘The Offspring’, Data creates a daughter for himself in Lal, but she cannot survive as her positronic net breaks down.
Daj has been created by Dr Maddox, a character who only appeared once in The Next Generation episode 'Measure of a Man'. Then, he was urging Starfleet to allow him to disassemble Data so he could study him and create a host of other synthetic lifeforms. He was argued down, in one of the best examples of a bottle episode ever, but he and Data kept in touch, as Data offered to help with Maddox's research.
The fact that the man who once wanted to destroy Data is now responsible for preserving his legacy is… really touching. Damn, this episode is poignant.
One last homage…
And finally, the episode concludes with us zooming out of the Romulans' repurposed Borg cube, in a shot that mirrors, you guessed it, the opening of First Contact.
And keep an ear out for the music playing over this sequence, as it echoes the Romulan theme from The Original Series episode 'Balance of Terror'. This show really knows what it's doing.
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