If the point of Star Trek: Picard was to make you nostalgic for The Next Generation, Episode 7, "Nepenthe," is everything you've been waiting for. It's no secret that Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis were reprising their roles as Will Riker and Deanna Troi, but now that we've finally caught up with them, fans everywhere will be crying tears of joy
"Nepenthe" is replete with loving allusions to The Next Generation. It also has one very obscure connection to Voyager and a huge tease for a major antagonist of Discovery. Here are 11 Easter Eggs from "Nepenthe" we can't stop thinking about. Spoilers ahead.
11. Personal Access Display Device (PADD)
Early in the episode, we finally learn what really happened with Dr. Jurati and Commodore Oh. The Vulcan mentions Jurati's "Personal Access Display Device." But back in TNG, these were what we now think of as tablet computers, and just called "PADDs." This fake tech pre-dated the iPad by several decades.
10. Mind-meld of doom
When Oh goes in for the mind-meld, she uses the classic lines: "My mind to your mind, my thoughts to your thoughts," which originate in the TOS episode, "Dagger of the Mind."
The images Jurati sees in Oh's mind are horrifying and familiar. Nearly all the people in the forward-flashes appear to be Romulans or Vulcans. (We see some green blood.) This could tie in with the Zhat Vash belief that all A.I. is bad, and eliminating it is the only way the galaxy can be "saved."
Second, this vision is similar to what Spock saw in his mind-meld with the Red Angel in Discovery Season 2. At that point (in the year 2257) Spock saw a vision of a rogue A.I. called Control, destroying all sentient life in the far future.
By taking Control into the future, the crew of Discovery supposedly prevented this from happening. But, maybe there's a connection? In other words, a huge plot point in Discovery Season 2 hinged on a mind-meld that demonstrated an A.I. apocalypse. Now the same is true for Picard. It doesn't seem like a coincidence.
9. Picard's artificial heart
When Picard and Soji meet young Kestra Troi-Riker, she points an arrow at Jean-Luc's heart. He tells her to aim for the head because: "My heart is solid duritanium." This references the fact that Picard has an artificial heart, as revealed in the TNG episode "Tapestry." (It's unrelated to his Borg-ifcation, by the way.)
8. Riker loves jazz and cooking
When we first see Riker in "Nepenthe," he's listening to jazz music and cooking. Riker's love of jazz music goes back to the TNG episode, "11001001," and his love of cooking pervades all of TNG.
The last time fans saw Jonathan Frakes onscreen as Riker was in the 2005 finale of Enterprise, "These Are the Voyages..." In that episode, Riker participated in a holographic simulation that happened on the NX-01 Enterprise. For several scenes, his role was the "chef" of that Enterprise. So, the last time we saw Riker, he was also cooking.
7. Data's greatest hits
Perhaps more than any episode of Picard so far, "Nepenthe" contains a ton of references to specific aspects of Data's life. When Soji sees Riker, she tilts her head exactly like Data did in numerous episodes, including Riker and Data's first meeting in "Encounter at Farpoint."
Kestra also alludes to several specific episodes when she asks Soji if she plays the violin or likes Sherlock Holmes. Data played the violin throughout TNG, and his Sherlock Holmes obsession begins in the episode "Lonely Among Us," though more famously in the episodes, "Elementary, My Dear Data," and "Ship in a Bottle."
Kestra also utters one sentence that references three episodes in particular. Here's the line, plus the three TNG episodes in which all of those things happened outright.
"All Data ever wanted to do was to have dreams ("Birthright, Part 1") and tell jokes ("The Outrageous Okuna") and learn how to ballroom dance ("Data's Day".)"
6. Troi's powers
When Picard first arrives at Will and Deanna's, she realizes he's in emotional pain. Troi is an empath because she is part Betazoid and part human. She references this fact later when she mentions her homeworld is "Betazed."
She later tells Picard that she can't sense any emotions from Soji. This was true of Data as well. However, when Data was given fake emotions by his evil brother Lore in "Descent Part 1," Troi could sense emotions from him.
5. Thaddeus Troi-Riker
Tragically, we learn that Deanna and Will had a son named Thad, who died young. In his old room, we see a trophy that reads "Thaddeus Troi-Riker." It appears he was named after a very distant ancestor of Will Riker. In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Death Wish," one member of the Q Continuum admitted to saving a Civil War soldier named Thaddeus Riker, who preceded Will by several centuries.
4. Discovery's space whale and a link to Homer
Back on the Le Sirena, Dr. Jurati blurts out, "I want to be the fun crew member that says 'Let’s hide in that comet and it turns out to be giant Gormagander.'" The Gormagander references the same kind of friendly space whale rescued by USS Discovery in the episode "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Good Mad."
This isn't the only odd link to that episode. Both are the seventh episode of their respective seasons, with titles taken from the works of Homer. The phrase "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Good Mad" comes from the Iliad, while "Nepenthe" references a drug that eases pain in suffering, found in Homer's Odyssey. Also, remember that Q I mentioned from Star Trek: Voyager? Yeah, he was hiding in a comet. WEIRD.
3. From Kronos to Tychen’s rift
Kestra mentions that the unseen Captain Crandell has been "everywhere from Kronos to Tychen's Rift." The former is the Klingon Homeworld, sometimes spelled "Qo'noS" which was first given a name in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
Tychen's Rift is very familiar to Riker, Troi, and Picard. The Enterprise was stuck there in the TNG episode "Night Terrors," causing everyone to have bad dreams for an hour.
2. "Easy there, Imzadi."
Riker refers to Troi as "Imzadi." This is Betazoid terms of endearment, first "spoken" in the very first episode of TNG, "Encounter at Farpoint." However, in that episode, the word was said telepathically. The last time Riker used the word was his previous chronological appearance, in Nemesis.
For old-school TNG fans, the moment when Troi tells Picard to think of their dinner table "like the Ready Room of the Enterprise" will likely bring down the house. Later, when all the information is presented over dinner, Picard immediately says, "Thoughts?" in a way that suggests he wants input from his "senior staff."
This was Picard's trademark as a captain. He wanted to get all the best input from everyone, before jumping into a crazy plan. Thematically, this scene seems to indicate that Jean-Luc has become more like his old self again. At the beginning of the episode, he tells Will that his plan was only "half a plan."
Now he's using his old methods to figure out his problems. Jean-Luc has a mission again, and no one can stop him.
Star Trek: Picard airs Thursdays on CBS All Access.