Star Trek: Picard Episode 6 - 17 Easter Eggs And References
The crew of the La Sirena has finally arrived at The Artifact in Star Trek: Picard's sixth episode, "The Impossible Box." Bringing Jean-Luc Picard back in close proximity to the Borg stirs up a lot of feelings about what happened to him back on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and we finally get to see Picard interact with Hugh, someone the former captain hasn't seen almost since liberating him from the Borg Collective.
There's a whole lot of history flying around in Episode 6, and not just from The Next Generation--we also get a few tidbits from Star Trek: Voyager and Deep Space Nine. Here are all the Easter eggs and Trek references you might have missed in "The Impossible Box."
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1. Romulans' Many Names
As Narek and Soji get closer, we get another dose of Romulan culture--the idea that Romulans have several names, some of which they share only with people they're closest to. We've never really gotten this look at Romulan society in the Star Trek series before, but the idea that Romulans use different names for outsiders, family, and their closest loved ones is something that has come up in Star Trek novels. Now it's canon!
2. Dahj And Soji's Reason For Being
It was only mentioned quickly and in passing, but now that we know Soji's approximate age, Bruce Maddox's reason for creating the android twins and sending them out into the galaxy makes a little more sense: He's trying to use them to discover the real reason behind the ban on synths. Star Trek: Picard seems to be building toward a deeper link between the Borg and the Romulans, and if we factor in the fact that people keep calling Soji "the Destroyer," it seems like Bruce had information about the whole situation that Picard and his crew have not yet uncovered.
3. Insidious Borg Nanoprobes
As Episode 6 establishes, nobody is ever really free of their Borg assimilation. Star Trek: Voyager went pretty deep on the inner workings of the Borg, and when Hugh mentions Borg nanoprobes, this is what he's referencing. A big part of Borg assimilation is done by microscopic nanomachines that live in the bodies of the assimilated, and they're still present even in former drones who have been freed from the Collective. In Voyager, we even see latent nanoprobes getting reactivated and restarting the process of trying to assimilate their hosts, as well as other technology and people.
4. Picard's History With The Romulans
Picard notes that he won't be able to sneak aboard The Artifact because he'll likely get recognized by the Romulans. He's got a deep history with the people and it goes beyond his role as their would-be savior during the rescue period 14 years ago. Before that, Picard was the captain of the Federation flagship on Star Trek: The Next Generation and had repeated run-ins with high-ranking Romulans. He even once had his appearance altered to appear Romulan so he could visit their homeworld in an attempt to find Ambassador Spock, who had seemingly defected from the Federation. And the plot of Star Trek: Nemesis is all predicated on a defunct Romulan plan to clone Picard and replace him on the Enterprise, in order to get a spy into the highest echelons of Starfleet.
5. A Member Of The Collective
A former drone's connection to the Collective can be severed, but as we've seen with Borg nanoprobes, it never totally goes away. Picard knows that other Borg will recognize him as Locutus, his drone name, and we've seen in other series that former drones retain some of their Borg information and memories--something that plays a major role in Episode 6.
6. How Hugh Got His Name
Hugh and Picard have an emotional meeting when the latter arrives on The Artifact, and Hugh mentions how important even having a simple name can be for the recovery of former drones. He's referencing his experiences on the Enterprise, when the crew discovered Hugh as an injured drone after a Borg ship crashed. Geordi La Forge and Dr. Beverly Crusher nursed him back to health, and he was first known as Third of Five. Geordi ended up giving Hugh a name so the pair would have something to call him, and that experience was the beginning of Hugh separating himself from the Borg Collective and establishing an individual identity.
7. False Memories
The idea that Soji's memories might not be real is a pretty well-established idea in Star Trek. When he created Data, Noonien Soong implanted the memories of all the colonists of Omicron Theta, where they lived, and Data later was able to recall those memories and share them with others on The Next Generation. We've also seen memories implanted in non-androids, like when Miles O'Brien experienced a lifetime in prison in a matter of hours on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
8. "Our New Queen Is Romulan"
In Star Trek: First Contact, we learned that while the Borg consists of a giant collective consciousness made up of all its components, it's not without a leader--the Borg Queen. Picard and Data defeated and seemingly killed the Borg Queen at the end of that movie, but she reappeared on Voyager, suggesting the Queen's consciousness could be transferred to other bodies. We don't know the current state of the Borg Collective or the Borg Queen's whereabouts post-Voyager. Meanwhile, even though Hugh and the other former drones have been liberated, they've traded a Borg queen for a Romulan one.
9. A Free Borg
We've seen a few former drones throughout Star Trek series, but Star Trek: Picard is expanding on the idea much more than we've seen in the past. Life for former Borg isn't great--they're exploited for their technology and despised throughout the galaxy, which is a far cry from how Picard, Seven of Nine, or Icheb were treated after they were saved from the Collective.
10. Two Strips Of Latinum
There are a few different currencies floating around the galaxy, but the one we've heard the most about is gold-pressed latinum, the preferred money of the Ferengi and used in Quark's bar on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Rios says Raffi owes him two strips of latinum for the bet they discuss while Picard is off the ship--not a ton of money, but decent winnings.
11. Squidgy The Doll
We're still puzzling over what that doll of Soji's is--whether it's the Salt Vampire from Star Trek: The Original Series or the Drakoulis ice creature from Star Trek (2009)--but at least now we know it has a name. During Soji's flashbacks of her dream with Narek, she states the name of the doll she remembers having in childhood: Squidgy. That doesn't really give us any new clues as to what the thing is, though.
12. The Dahj Orchids
Back in Episode 1, Dahj explains to Picard that she remembers her father splicing together two kinds of orchids, yellow and pink, to make a new hybrid flower. He named the new species for Dahj, and it's a pretty fair bet this is all a big metaphor for the android daughters that might hint more at their origins. In any event, Soji's dream finds her going into her father's lab, where you can see a bunch of pink and yellow orchids--suggesting Soji is accessing something from before the hybrid was created.
13. The Borg's Chronometric Particles
We know those pesky Borg have some time travel know-how--in Star Trek: First Contact, Data talks about detecting "chronometric particles" as the Borg ship opens a portal to the past. Those particles are still present on The Artifact, as we can hear over the loudspeaker as Hugh and Picard enter Soji's quarters. Seems like living on a decommissioned Borg cube has a lot of interesting hazards, like the possibility of spontaneous assimilation, or of spontaneous time travel.
14. Soji As Pinocchio
Soji's dream gives us a few tidbits about her character, but the most meaningful one is what she sees in her father's lab when she's finally able to push through to the end of the vision. What she sees is herself in pieces, rendered as a giant wooden puppet. The image conjures up the story of Pinnochio, the wooden puppet who wanted to be a real boy. In the first episode of The Next Generation, Will Riker refers to Data as "Pinocchio," since the android has the same ambition to be more human. Picard is deepening the metaphorical connection between Soji and Data, since the former is about to grapple with figuring out who she is in light of what she's learning about herself.
15. Sikarians And Their Spatial Trajector
On Star Trek: Voyager, Captain Janeway and her crew encountered a race of aliens called the Sikarians, who had a technology called a Spatial Trajector that could transport people and objects huge distances almost instantly--a total of about 40 lightyears. That would have helped knock a ton of time off of Voyager's trip home from the Delta Quadrant, but the technology proved incompatible with Starfleet's. According to Hugh, at least some Sikarians eventually ran across the Borg, who also originated in the Delta Quadrant and were assimilated. Along with the culture, the Borg got the Spatial Trajector technology, which the Borg Queen apparently planned to use for quick getaways during emergencies.
Picard tells Rios and Raffi to meet him on Nepenthe, a planet within the range of the Spatial Trajector. We've never seen Nepenthe in a Star Trek series before, but the system did get a mention in the video game Star Trek: Bridge Commander. It was there that Starfleet first took note of a race called the Kessok in that game. That story isn't technically Star Trek canon, but now Nepenthe itself is.
17. Forgetful Hologram
At the end of Episode 5, "Stardust City Rag," Agnes deactivates the Emergency Medical Hologram before killing Dr. Bruce Maddox. Still, the EMH saw enough of what was going on to know that something bad was about to happen. It's a not a plot hole, necessarily; one can assume that after killing Maddox, Agnes went back and erased part of the EMH's memory so that he wouldn't suspect a thing. This actually has precedent; on the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Latent Image," Captain Janeway makes the decision to erase The Doctor's memory after he blames himself for the death of a patient. He eventually figures out what happened, however, because he starts to notice inconsistencies with events on the ship.
And ultimately, something similar might prove to be Agnes' undoing. Even if the EMH doesn't have memories of the murder, it's possible that sometime in the next several episodes, Rios will notice that the EMH has gaps in his knowledge. And at that point, the crew might start asking Agnes some tough questions.