Star Trek: Picard Episode 7 - 22 Trek History Easter Eggs And References
Star Trek: Picard gets a trip down memory lane in Episode 7, "Nepenthe." After fleeing the Artifact, Jean-Luc and Soji greet some old friends, which brings up all kinds of callbacks and Easter Eggs from Picard's time aboard the Enterprise. Pulling storylines from Picard's history has been a big part of the show all the way through Season 1, and in Episode 7, we see what's happened to a few characters from The Next Generation fans might have been missing.
Here are all the references, Easter Eggs, and tidbits of Star Trek history hidden in "Nepenthe."
1. Oh's Mindmeld
Vulcans in Star Trek have a long history of making use of mindmelds for a variety of purposes, to share thoughts and information and to even heal maladies. Episode 7 starts by explaining why Agnes Jurati turned on Bruce Maddox at the end of Episode 5: When Oh visited her at the Daystrom Institute, she used a mindmeld to show Agnes that synthetics would lead to some serious horrors for the galaxy. It's not super clear exactly what Agnes saw (or why Oh believes synthetics are such bad news), but it fits with the Romulans' insistence that Soji is "The Destroyer." We might have also gotten a better sense of why Oh has betrayed the Federation: she really believes synthetics are such a big threat that fighting them is worth the treason.
2. Caught In A Borg Tractor Beam
Borg Cube tractor beams are pretty formidable. The Borg use their beams to lock up ships they can then attack for assimilation, and we saw a Borg Cube trap the Enterprise-D on more than one occasion. So when La Sirena is caught in a Borg tractor beam, it's potentially a pretty big problem, and they'd be unlikely to escape it without help.
3. The Romulan Peace Treaty
It's not clear exactly what treaty Narissa is referencing when she notes that she can't kill Hugh, but we do know that, despite the destruction of Romulus, there's still some strain between the remaining Romulan government and the Federation. It's very possible that the Treaty of Algeron, which set up the Neutral Zone between Federation and Romulan territory, could still be in effect--even though there's not a Neutral Zone anymore, apparently.
4. Picard's Metal Heart
When Picard and Soji meet Kestra on Nepenthe, the former admiral advises the girl that she aim her arrow at his head, since his heart is metal. It's true: Picard's heart is artificial. He was stabbed by a Nausicaan during a bar brawl when he was a young Starfleet officer and nearly died from the wound. As a result, he received a mechanical replacement. Picard regretted his hot-headed youth, until Q spent the episode "The Tapestry" in Season 6 of The Next Generation demonstrating to Picard that the experience that led to him receiving a new heart was an important part of what made him the captain he became.
5. Deanna Troi and Will Riker
Finally, we've hit the promised episode in which Picard visits his former Enterprise crew, Deanna Troi and Will Riker. We saw the two married back in Star Trek: Nemesis, and it seems that after retiring from Starfleet, they headed to Nepenthe with their family. We find out they have a daughter, Kestra, and also had a son, Thad, who died some years earlier. Kestra also mentions that Riker calls Picard "the greatest captain ever"--something that tracks with Riker's character over the years. Picard's first officer turned down more than one command of his own to serve aboard the Enterprise instead.
6. "I Can't Read Her"
Troi intuits that Soji is an android almost immediately without much information. That's because Troi is an empath: she has an ability similar to telepathy that allows her to read the emotions of other people. Soji is clearly an emotional person, but since she's not organic, Troi finds Soji is impossible to read. She had the same experience with Data, who lacked the capacity for emotions for most of his time serving aboard the Enterprise--until he installed a special emotions chip in Star Trek: Generations.
7. Kestra's Namesake
Troi and Riker's daughter is named Kestra, which is a touching callback to the Season 7, Episode 7 TNG episode "Dark Page." In that episode, Troi discovers that she has an older deceased sister named Kestra, who drowned when Deanna was still a baby. Her mother, Lwaxana, blames herself for the death, and as a matter of preserving her sanity, she buries the memory of Kestra deep in her psyche, where Deanna eventually discovers it. That Deanna would name her daughter Kestra suggests that she wants to honor her sister in lasting way, to ensure that she is never forgotten again.
8. "Do You Play The Violin? Do You Like Sherlock Holmes?"
Soji learns a lot about her origins while hanging out at Riker and Troi's house, especially when talking to Kestra. Riker and Troi's daughter asks Soji a bunch of questions meant to gauge whether she's much like Data, going off the stories her parents told her about the android. Aboard the Enterprise, Data played the violin in recitals with other crewmembers, and took on the role of Sherlock Holmes on the Holodeck, often with Geordi La Forge taking on the role of John Watson. Data could also run really fast, jump really high, and bend steel, as Kestra mentions, which are, in fact, things Soji can do.
9. Data Would Want Mucus
When the girl asks Soji whether she has human qualities (like mucus), she explains that if Data had created Soji, he would have given her whatever human qualities he could. We know that Data's ultimate ambition was to be as human as possible, and Soji and Dahj are both huge steps in that direction.
10. A Comet That Turns Out To Be A Gormagander
While Picard is hanging out with his old pals, La Sirena's crew is trying to ditch Narek, who chases the ship after it escapes the Artifact in hopes of finding Soji. Rios thinks he's given Narek the slip, which is when Agnes brings up some uncomfortable questions about the team's plan. She jokes about accidentally winding up inside a Gormagander, which is essentially a giant space whale that we've seen in Star Trek: Discovery. In the episode "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad," Harry Mudd hid out inside a Gormagander so that he could secretly get aboard the Discovery and try to take over the ship.
11. The Data Head Twitch
We caught Soji's slight head twitch back in Episode 5, when she and Narek took part in the "ancient Borg ritual." When Soji makes the move again in Episode 7, it's Riker who notices and instantly recognizes it as one of Data's idiosyncracies. That helps him deduce what Picard is up to with Soji and why he's so determined to protect her.
12. Chef Riker
Riker spends most of his time with Soji and Picard working on making pizza for dinner in a woodfire oven. Though he was once one of Starfleet's greatest officers, Riker had a lot of passions outside of exploration and Starship operations, including cooking. He used to make eggs for the other senior staff members and said he preferred food that was actually cooked, rather than instantly prepared by the ship's replicators. When they finally sit down for dinner, Soji mentions that replicator food is the only kind she's ever had, which makes this homecooked meal with new friends a meaningful experience.
13. Counselor Troi
We see both Riker and Troi slip back into their old Enterprise roles easily in this episode. Troi served as the ship's counselor, dispensing advice and helping people work through problems, whether personal or diplomatic. Troi offers Picard some needed insights and she quickly takes up that mantle again in talking with Soji, attempting to help her work through the trauma of all the new information Soji has just learned about herself.
14. Thinking About Homeworlds
Troi also tells Soji a story about her son, Thad, who she says was fascinated by the idea of homeworlds, having grown up for much of his childhood aboard starships. Thad didn't have a homeworld, unlike his parents. Troi mentions that she's from Betazed, a place we heard a whole lot about during the course of The Next Generation, largely because Troi's mother Lwaxana was a Betazoid ambassador and a recurring character on the show.
15. Thad's Disease
We find out that the Federation's ban on synthetics had some unforeseen consequences for Riker and Troi's family. Troi explains that Thad contracted mendaxic neurosclerosis, a silicone-based disease whose cure was known--it could easily be created in an active positronic matrix. That's essentially an android brain like the one Data had, but since synthetic life was banned in the Federation, it was impossible to create the cure that would have saved Thad's life.
Troi and Riker have had a long relationship; they were romantically involved before the start of The Next Generation, then spent years only as colleagues before they eventually married. Throughout all that time, though, Riker and Troi would often refer to each other as "imzadi," a Betazoid term meaning "beloved"--although they established that the word worked for both platonic and romantic relationships. Still, the name imzadi was a big reminder of the close relationship the two shared, and we hear Riker refer to Troi as "imzadi" when she calls out Picard for being kind of a jerk.
17. Be More Picard
Most of Jean-Luc Picard's arc in the first season of Star Trek: Picard has been about him recapturing the man he used to be, before the hardships and failures he's suffered since the destruction of Romulus. Troi lays out the situation for him: if he wants to reach Soji, he needs to be compassionate, patient, and curious--all the things that defined him during his time as the captain of the Enterprise.
18. Dinner In The Ready Room
Troi suggests that, in order to work out what to do next, Picard treat the family's dinner table as the captain's Ready Room on the Enterprise--a place where he routinely met with Troi and Riker to get their advice. Returning to his friends, Picard gets the benefit of their perspectives to help him lead once again.
19. Red Alert!
In his role as first officer on the Enterprise, Riker routinely would set the ship to red alert, calling out the command that sent everyone to their battle stations. Though he doesn't have to deal with battle situations on Nepenthe, Riker shouts out a different red alert when a tomato goes down.
20. Hugh The Hopeful Fool
After Picard's departure and the retaliation from Narissa, Hugh realizes the only way to help the ex-Borg drones on the Artifact is to get them out from under Romulan control. Hugh has a long history of selfless acts, especially in an attempt to help other Borg. When he first encountered the Enterprise, he willingly returned to the Borg to protect Picard and his crew. Later, he took on a leadership role among the Borg who gained individuality to try to help them get along without the Collective. Hugh dedicated his life to helping other Borg, and it's tragically fitting that his life ended doing the same.
21. Everywhere From Qo'noS to Tyken's Rift
Captain Crandall gets around, apparently. Kestra says he's been all over the galaxy and mentions a few key places. Qo'noS is the Klingon homeworld, while Tyken's Rift is a rare spacial anomaly that absorbs energy. Kestra mentions the Rift like it's a specific place, so she's likely talking about the first one discovered and named for Tyken--but the Enterprise was caught in another of the anomalies in Season 4 of The Next Generation, when it discovered the U.S.S. Brattain in the episode "Night Terrors."
22. Calling The Fenris Rangers
Elnor escapes the Romulans at the end of Episode 7, but he's still trapped on the Artifact with the Romulans searching for him. In his final moments, he discovers an SOS beacon left by the Fenris Rangers. That's the group that Seven of Nine works with, and which Picard referred to as "vigilantes." It all suggests we'll be seeing more of Seven next week.