It’s been a long road getting from there (last April’s cast announcement) to here (the premiere), but the third season of Star Trek: Picard has arrived. The first episode dropped on Thursday, and it had more fan service than I could’ve anticipated. So without further ado, let’s delve into each `The Next Generation` Easter Egg from the premiere and even some theories about what lies ahead.
Beverly, the Eleos, and a Secret Son
From the opening font’s “In the 25th Century”, and the episode title card, it’s clear that The Wrath of Khan was a massive inspiration for the season. Beverly (Gates McFadden) seems to be filling Carol Marcus’ (Bibi Besch) role in the season, that of the lead’s ex-love interest with a son. Even their jackets are similar to make sure we understand the connection. Using a well-established character like Beverly in this position makes the emotional weight likely much heavier.
The opening scene features a slew of callbacks to Beverly Crushers’ time on Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG), including her necklace from “The Big Goodbye”, her husband’s message to Wesley from “Family“, and some flowers very reminiscent of “Cause and Effect”. It’s nice to remember where she’s been before seeing where she is now. Interestingly, however, she’s playing Picard’s log from “The Best of Both Worlds, Part I”. What this log and episode have to do with season 3 of Star Trek: Picard is very intriguing.
But outside of all the fun visual nods, including an LCARS display that looks as perfect as ever, we finally saw Ed Speleers reveal himself as Beverly’s son at the end of the episode. With all the cues from The Wrath of Khan here, there’s a good chance we’ll see a reveal that he’s also Picard’s son soon enough. It would go some way to explaining Beverly cutting everyone off. I’m looking forward to her explanation (presumably) in next week’s episode.
Geordi, Laris, and Chateau Picard
After a shortened opening credit sequence, we cut to the very familiar Chateau Picard to meet back up with Picard and Laris. She says she will meet him again in a bar on Chaltok IV, a Romulan planet first mentioned in Star Trek: Voyager’s “Time and Again”. Geordi LaForge (LeVar Burton) is also mentioned at the Chateau. The chateau gives us a fair few in terms of a `The Next Generation‘ Easter Egg. Although he’s absent in this episode, he’ll appear later in the season.
Also, given the names of his daughters matching the future of “All Good Things”, it would be fun if they shared the same mother. Leah Brahms (Susan Gibney) making an appearance would be a lot of fun and would provide closure to a relationship left unable to develop. Brahms’ connection to the Daystrom Institute (which was mentioned by Raffi in her investigation) and her cameo on Star Trek: Lower Decks last year means her return is not off the cards. Leah also appears in the IDW Publishing comic Star Trek: Resurgence.
Back to things we see in the episode, we can spot a few objects of interest around his study, some of which we’ve seen in previous seasons. These include large Bajoran insignias, a ship in a bottle, a golden Enterprise-D, a Kurlan naiskos from “The Chase”, and most impactfully, the Ressikan flute from “The Inner Light”. While it won’t play a role in the series, having a callback to one of TNG’s greatest episodes is nice.
‘Hellbird’ and Ten Forward
Beverly using the word “hellbird” in her distress call, sends Picard to ask for help from Riker (Jonathan Frakes). In an interesting retcon, we learn of a virus that attacked the Enterprise-D systems while Picard was Locutus in “The Best of Both Worlds, Part II”. This is now the second reference to that particular episode, which means it will likely be very important to the season, even though the Borg themselves don’t look to be making an appearance.
They mention another offscreen adventure on Rigel VI or Rigel VII, neither of which appeared in TNG. The number confusion may be a homage to the Ceti Alpha V/VI incident in The Wrath of Khan. Interestingly, Rigel VII is a planet in the original Star Trek pilot, “The Cage”, arguably the first ‘strange new world’ ever featured in the franchise.
They also discuss Frontier Day – the 250th anniversary of space travel, which perfectly aligns with the start of Star Trek: Enterprise in 2151. We’ve seen Frontier Day celebrations referenced in the logs, and they look to involve Enterprise-F before its decommissioning. While the exact celebrations are a little mysterious, it would be fitting for Admiral Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula) or another NX-01 team to appear through a hologram, even though that is incredibly unlikely.
We then cut to Raffi (Michelle Hurd) on M’talas Prime, a planet named for showrunner Terry Matalas. However, this planet originates from a mention in Star Trek: Enterprise, where Matalas worked as a production associate. Raffi meets with an Orion, a species first featured in “The Cage”. Although, unlike Rigel VII, the Orion species has been seen in Star Trek since. Raffi also has a flip communicator in a similar vein to those in Star Trek: The Original Series.
Back aboard her ship, the La Sirena, she’s dissecting clues for Operation Daybreak. The handler she’s talking to is almost certainly Worf (Michael Dorn). The Logs released before the premiere had both statuses as classified, shrouding them in mystery. The mystery handler’s use of the word “warrior” has me waiting for Worf to leave the shadows and reveal himself.
The “red lady” she’s trying to find is a statue of Rachel Garrett (Tricia O’Neil). She was the captain of the Enterprise-C and was seen in “Yesterday’s Enterprise”. As well as this, we can also spot the USS Voyager-B and USS Enterprise-F with more references to Frontier Day as well. We’ll get a proper look at them by the end of the series, and I cannot wait!
The Titan-A and Spacedock
Not long after, we finally meet the primary ship for the season – the Titan-A. This new Neo-Constitution class blends elements of the 23rd and 24th-century ship designs into this thing of beauty. It also borrows heavily from the music department here (the whole episode does, but especially here). Most of it is lifted from the James Horner and Jerry Goldsmith compositions for the Star Trek films. In an interesting `The Next Generation’ Easter Egg, you can also hear a vocal cameo from showrunner Terry Matalas, welcoming Picard and Riker to the Titan.
The spacedock is also the best possible Next Generation version of the spacedock from the feature films, being torn out of Search for Spock and updated for the new century. The inside is also nearly identical, with the music and shuttle approach reminiscent of Kirk’s (William Shatner) and Scotty’s (James Doohan) approach to The Motion Picture, only this one’s way shorter (and equally, if not more, majestic).
The inside of the Titan itself looks like the starship interiors we’ve seen in previous seasons, which they compensated for with a plethora of callbacks, such as the boatswain’s whistle from The Undiscovered Country, Picard meeting Sidney LaForge (Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut) in a way eerily similar to Kirk and Demora Sulu (Jacqueline Kim) in Generations, and a dinner scene with Captain Shaw (Todd Stashwick) which was a callback to Kirk’s dinner with the Klingon delegation in The Undiscovered Country.
The end credits theme is also from First Contact, so thankfully, we soundtrack fans can stream the series’ main theme before the soundtrack release. However, the visuals are most appealing, being more what you’d expect from the openings of other seasons of Picard. Most of the precise meanings will hopefully become apparent as the season progresses. Still, I spotted Vadic’s (Amanda Plummer) Shrike ship on an LCARS display, a ship we got a first look at the cliffhanger ending for the episode.
There are also schematics for what could be the weapon Raffi is investigating. The DNA strand might relate to Speleers’ character, but it confuses me. There’s a holodeck console loading the LA Ten Forward bar we visited earlier with safety protocols offline, which means there could be more than meets the eye with what’s objective this season. After this, we glimpse what looks to be the Eleos and Titan with serious mechanical failures.
We also glimpse a mostly redacted report from the USS Constance, a brand-new ship we’ve never seen or heard of. It’s dated at Stardate 44002.3, shortly after the Battle of Wolf-359. Someone who survived or lost someone at Wolf-359 would be hesitant around “former ex-Borg”. If connected to Captain Shaw’s (Todd Stashwick) character, it would explain his animosity toward Picard and his deadnaming of Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan).
The Fleet Museum
An interesting ‘The Next Generation‘ Easter Egg is that The Fleet Museum is shown in the Star Trek: Picard Season 3 Episode One credits. If you watch closely, you can spot it on-screen. This lines up with La Forge’s starbase, which the Star Trek: Picard trailer teased. Additionally, legendary Star Trek Universe ships are mentioned as being docked here. These include the USS Voyager, USS Enterprise-A and even the USS Excelsior. Therefore, might we be going for a trip down memory lane?
But the fleet museum isn’t just full of legacy ships and where we’ll meet Geordi (LeVar Burton) and Alandra (Mica Burton) later on. It’s also located on Athan Prime, named for a character on Matalas’ other series, 12 Monkeys. Athan, a ‘primary’ in the series, was portrayed by James Callis, who appeared in season 2 of Picard as Picard’s father, Maurice Picard. We must keep our eyes peeled for references to and cast members from both 12 Monkeys and Star Trek.
Did you spot a `The Next Generation’ Easter Egg that we missed? Star Trek: Picard Season 3 airs on Paramount+ in the United States and on CTV Sci-Fi Channel and Crave in Canada. However, the series will be available on Amazon’s Prime Video service for most international locations in the following days. For coverage of Star Trek: Picard Season 3, make sure to follow Trek Central!
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