Star Trek Guide

Picard's Tracker References Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country

Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Picard Season 1, Episode 8

In Star Trek: Picard, Dr. Agnes Jurati's (Alison Pill) reluctant turn as a Romulan spy has a subtle link to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. The eyebrows of many Trekkers were raised early in Star Trek: Picard season 1 when Jurati, the foremost cyberneticist at the Daystrom Institute, talked her way into Jean-Luc Picard's (Patrick Stewarts) mission to warp into space and rescue Soji (Isa Briones), the synthetic daughter of the late Commander Data (Brent Spiner). Fans' suspicions were proven correct when Jurati murdered Soji's creator, Dr. Bruce Maddox (John Ales), who was also Agnes' lover.

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For sharp-eared fans, Dr. Jurati's espionage had a low-key callback to the final film starring the cast of Star Trek: The Original Series. In Star Trek VI, Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and Dr. Leonard McCoy (DeForrest Kelley) were framed for the murder of the Klingon High Chancellor Gorkon (David Warner). As the Klingons pursued peace with the United Federation of Planets - a historic turning point feared by many accustomed to war - a conspiracy forged by agents within the Federation, Klingons, and Romulans assassinated Gorkon and staged it so that Kirk took the fall. The U.S.S. Enterprise's Captain and Chief Medical Officer were arrested and extradited to the Klingon homeworld, leaving Spock (Leonard Nimoy) to rescue them. Of course, the quick-thinking Vulcan calculated the possibilities, and before Kirk left the Enterprise, Spock placed a Viridium patch on Jim's shoulder. This allowed Spock to track Kirk's whereabouts so he was always aware where his best friends were. Even when Kirk and Bones were sent to the Klingon penal planet, Rura Penthe, Spock eventually found and rescued them before they saved the galaxy together one last time.

Star Trek: Picard episode 7, "Nepenthe", opened with a flashback to how Commodore Oh (Tamlyn Tomita), the Head of Starfleet Security who is secretly the leader of the Romulan death squad called the Zhat Vash, recruited Agnes Jurati. As half-Vulcan/half-Romulan, Oh mind-melded with the cyberneticist and showed her the Admonition, which is the warning left behind from the war fought against synthetic beings eons ago. Agnes was so shaken by the experience, she willingly joined Oh's cause out of dread of the apocalypse happening again. Oh then gave Jurati a Viridium isotope that Agnes had to chew and ingest; because Viridium can be traced from two space sectors away, this allowed Oh to track Agnes' movements when she was aboard the La Sirena.

Dr. Jurati eventually realized the Viridium in her body was the reason why La Sirena was unable to shake being followed by Narek (Harry Treadaway), the Tal Shiar agent who followed from the Borg Cube Artifact when they warped to rendezvous with Picard and Soji on the planet Nepenthe. Despite Captain Cristobal Rios (Santiago Cabrera) using every trick he knew to lose Narek's tail, he was confounded as to how the Romulan was able to maintain his pursuit. The repentant Agnes poisoned herself with a hydrogen compound to counteract the Viridium - it worked and La Sirena lost Narek, although it temporarily placed Jurati in a coma.

Oh's use of Viridium as the means to track Picard via Jurati was a fascinating inversion of Spock's ingenious move to save his best friend, Kirk, from "Klingon justice". It's also fascinating that Oh and Spock are both half-Vulcans who relied on the same tactic, although Oh used it for nefarious reasons. As Head of Starfleet Security with access to Starfleet records, it's likely that Oh even learned the Viridium gambit from the logs of how the crew of the Starship Enterprise saved the historic Khitomer peace conference. Of course, Picard and Spock met on Star Trek: The Next Generation; although odds are that no one knows the true fate of Ambassador Spock in Star Trek: Picard's era, it's gratifying that the brilliance of Star Trek's most beloved Vulcan still received a clever and subtle homage.

Star Trek: Picard streams Thursdays on CBS All-Access and Fridays internationally on Amazon Prime Video.