The final episode of Star Trek: Discovery’s first season had a lot of surprises, twists, and thankfully, many resolutions, too. But, because there won’t be any new Trek on the air for awhile, the finale was also stuffed with a fair amount of geeky Easter eggs.
But not all the references were the size of a Constitution-class starship. Instead, the finale was strewn with a bunch of small nods to the rest of Trek, some of which were brief enough to have been missed by even the most cunning fans. From very snappy references to the original series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and even Khan himself, this episode was packed.
Here’s a guide to every Trek deep-cut you might have missed in the Discovery Season 1 finale, “Will You Take My Hand?”
Spoilers ahead for Star Trek: Discovery’s finale. Including, one very, very big reveal.
Most of the action in the finale takes place on an Orion outpost, situated on the Klingon homeworld Qo’nos (Kronos.) The green-skinned Orions go all the way back to the very first Star Trek pilot episode ever, “The Cage,” where the human Vina appears as an Orion in a telepathic illusion projected into Captain Pike’s mind. This footage was later reworked as a flashback into the two-part episode “The Menagerie.” And, although the shot of Vina dancing was often used over the closing credits of the original series, the Orions appeared sporadically in the original series and the animated series. None appeared in The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, or Voyager. But, the Orions made a comeback in the prequel series Enterprise, and then, in all three of the reboot films. Uhura’s roommate in the 2009 Star Trek was an Orion named Gaila.
Mintaka III and Betazoids
The evil Terran version of Philippa Georgiou mentions that she and the Mirror Tilly subjugated the Betazoids and destroyed the planet Mintaka III in her universe. This references two aliens races from The Next Generation. Mintaka III was a planet of proto-Vulcans which Riker infiltrated in an anthropological fact-finding mission in the episode “Who Watches the Watchers.” The irony of saying that the Terrans destroyed Mintaka III in the Mirror Universe is that in the Next Generation episode, they feared Picard would blow up their planet, but he hand to convince them that humans were nice.
And the Betazoids, of course, reference a race of telepaths and empaths. The most famous Betazoids are Lwaxana Troi, and her half-human daughter, Counselor Deanna Troi, both from The Next Generation. Weirdly enough, Counselor Trio went undercover with Riker on Mintaka III, too.
Khan’s Ceti Eels
When the crew is walking through the Orion marketplace, there are a few Ceti eels being cooked by someone in a frying pan. These are the same kind of eels Khan stuck in Chekov and Captain Terrel ears in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Khan knew these eels had mind-control powers. Apparently, the people cooking them in this Discovery episode have no idea that using these things for mind control is probably way smarter than eating them.
Nausicaan Disruptor Pistols
When Terran Georgiou decides the crew needs some black market items to trade at the Orion outpost, she says, “Gabriel must have found something interesting lying around in this universe.” Later, Tilly and Georgiou bust out some “Nausicaan disruptor pistols” to sell in exchange for hard currency. The Nausicaans are a race of aliens first seen in The Next Generation episode “Tapestry.” In that one, we learned that Captain Picard was stabbed by a gang of Nausicaans in a bar fight as a young cadet, which resulted in him needing an artificial heart for the rest of his life.
“Bread and Circuses”
At one point in the Orion marketplace, Terran Georgiou gets annoyed with the general shenanigans and says, “We didn’t come here for bread and circuses.” The phrase itself comes from a Roman poet named Juvenal, and it usually means “a diet of entertainment or political policies on which the masses are fed to keep them happy and docile.” And, it’s also the title of an original series Star Trek episode!
In the episode Bread and Circuses, the Enterprise encounters a duplicate version of Earth ruled by a contemporary version of the Roman Empire, complete the televised gladiatorial contests. This quip is perfect for Terran Georgiou since it’s heavily implied that the Mirror Universe had a Roman Empire that lasted longer than it did in our universe.
In what looks like a tattoo parlor on Kronos, Burnham sees someone who looks like they have spots on their neck exactly like those of a Trill. In Deep Space Nine, the Trill were a species of aliens consisting of a humanoid host, and a worm-like symbiot that lived inside them. This allowed someone several lifetimes, personalities, and genders. The most famous Trill was Jadzia Dax.
Old School Distress Call
When the Discovery gets a distress call from the USS Enterprise at the very end of the episode, the sound-effect heard on the bridge is a duplicate of the same distress call Spock got in the episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before.” Also, the registry number of the Enterprise (NCC-1701) is teased out on a display screen just before the ship appears.
Clint Howard as an Orion
Veteran character actor Clint Howard appears as a shady Orion who gets Tilly way too high on some volcanic ash on Kronos. The brother of actor/director Ron Howard, Clint Howard is perhaps most famous for starring in the original series episode “The Corbomite Maneuver” where he played a super-intelligent child-like alien, who pretended to be evil and scary. Discovery showrunner Aaron Harberts tells Inverse that his spouse considers Clint Howard to be “his favorite actor.” Howard has actually appeared in two other Trek series as a guest star at one point or another.
“Isik For Your Thoughts?”
In an alteration of the idiom “penny for your thoughts,” both Tyler and Amanda Grayson say “Isik for your thoughts?” Burnham asks her adoptive mother, “What is an isik anyway?” Amanda says she doesn’t know. Think it might be a future form of cryptocurrency that has gone away by the time of the 23rd century? Nope. It’s a just a type of faux-gold that was mentioned once in an episode of Deep Space Nine called “Rivals.”
The USS Enterprise
Actually, nobody missed this one.
Star Trek: Discovery has been renewed for a second season. No air date is scheduled at this time.