The third episode of Star Trek: Picard, "The End is the Beginning," marks the conclusion of a more ruminative phase of the series, and the start of a new adventure. By the final scene, we are back in familiar territory, complete with some hardcore Next Generation catchphrases. Along the way, there are some deep-cut references to TNG lore, a Deep Space Nine shout-out and a hilarious Easter egg plucked straight from The Original Series.
From the return of Hugh the Borg, to a blink-and-you'll-miss-it classic Captain Kirk reference, here are the best Easter eggs and references from Star Trek: Picard, episode 3, "The End is the Beginning."
Spoilers ahead for "The End is the Beginning."
1. New and old Starfleet uniforms
The episode opens on a flashback to 2385. Raffi and Picard are rocking the Nemesis-era Starfleet combadges, but their uniforms are different from what officers wore in 2379, the year the movie takes place. This means in the two decades between 2379 and the "present" of Picard in 2399, Starfleet changed its uniforms twice. Granted, these aren't too different from what we see in 2399, but still.
This, of course, is a long tradition in Star Trek. During The Next Generation era alone, the uniforms changed at least three times. The uniforms Raffi and Picard wear in this scene also match what they wear in the prequel comic book, Star Trek: Picard: Countdown.
2. Hugh from TNG spearheads the Borg research
Though he's not named outright until much later in the episode, actor Johnathan Del Arco is back as Hugh from The Next Generation. Originally called "Thirds of Five," he was a former Borg Drone rescued by the Enterprise in the episode "I, Borg." He appeared again in the two-part episode "Descent," which concluded with Picard leaving him in charge of a group of renegade Borg who had been severed from the Collective.
3. Dr. Jurati's playlist references First Contact
When Commodore Oh (Tamlyn Tomita) sneaks up on Dr. Jurati (Alison Pill), the scene is pretty reminiscent of an early scene in First Contact, where Picard is listening to Berlioz and Riker walks up behind him.
4. EMH (Emergency Medical Hologram)
Captain Chris Rios (Santiago Cabrera) staffs his ship with several emergency holograms, including an EMH (Emergency Medical Hologram) and an ENH (Emergency Navigation Hologram). This references the EHM from Voyager, played by Robert Picardo. Back then, there were only a few versions of these kinds of holograms, but by 2399 it seems you can customize them to look exactly like yourself!
5. Tragic Sense of Life
The book Rios is reading is called The Tragic Sense of Life, and it's written by Miguel de Unamuno, a Spanish poet, and philosopher. The core philosophical argument of this book is that life is tragic because all humans know they will eventually die.
6. Ibn Majid
Rios says that he served on Starfleet ship called the Ibn Majid before Starfleet erased it from the records. This refers to a 13th-century Arabian navigator, and continues a very long Star Trek tradition for naming starships after famous explorers.
7. Gorn Egg
When Raffi is doing hardcore computer research to track down Bruce Maddox, she determines he is at a place called "Freecloud." Based on some holographic dice, perhaps Freecloud is a space casino, but we don't know yet. Just before Raffi finds this, another phrase briefly flashes on her screen: Cyrtpo Alogrhitm Identification: GORN EGG.
"Gorg Egg" can only refer to the egg of the lizard-alien species Captain Kirk famously fought on the planet Cestus III. (Remember how he laments the planet's "incredible fortune in stones" and builds a makeshift cannon?)
Will we actually see a Gorn egg in Star Trek: Picard? Will the plot veer into Jean-Luc tracking down a sentient baby lizard, in an attempt to capitalize on The Mandalorian's Baby Yoda craze? Probably not. Still, it's a fun, if very on-the-nose Star Trek Easter egg, complete with the word "egg" in the phrase.
8. Picard's resume
When Rios's ENH doppelgänger gives him a pep talk, he lists off Picard's various accomplishments which include:
- "Chief contact with the Q Continuum" — This references the first episode of TNG ever, "Encounter at Farpoint" in which "Q" puts Picard and all of humanity on trial.
- "Arbiter of Succession for the Klingon Empire" — This ties back to the events of the Klingon civil war, but mostly the episode "Reunion," where Picard helps figure out who should become the next High Chancellor.
- "Savior of Earth from Borg Invasion"— There's two parts to this entry. Though Picard was assimilated by the Borg in "The Best of Both Worlds," it was ultimately his resistance to the Collective that led to their downfall and repelled that invasion. Picard also defeated a second Borg invasion right at the start of First Contact.
- "Captain of the Enterprises D and E" — Picard captained more than one Enterprise; the NCC-1701-D from TNG, and the NCC-1701-E from First Contact, Insurrection, and Nemesis. This might be the only time in Trek canon where someone has pluralized the Enterprises.
- "The man even worked alongside the great Spock!" — This probably references Picard's team-up with Spock in the two-part TNG episode "Unification." It's also very possible Picard worked with Spock after that. Back in 2009, a non-canon comic depicted Picard helping Spock stop the Romulan supernova, before the events of J.J. Abrams' Star Trek.
9. Shoutout to Rene Picard in "Family"
Both Rios and Picard see a shooting star, seemingly at the same time. Picard is watching this shooting star from his vineyard. This subtly calls back to Picard's late nephew Rene Picard, who watched a shooting star from the family vineyard at the end of the TNG episode "Family."
10. Phasers versus disruptors
After Dr. Jurati shows up and blasts one of the Romulan agents, she hopes that the weapon was set to "stun." Laris reminds her that "Romulan disruptors don't have a stun setting." This is consistent with all Romulan and Klingon disruptors since The Original Series. However, the new weapons that Picard, Laris, and Zhaban unholster in the house seem to be modern, late 24th-century phasers. We know that because they clearly have a stun setting.
11. "Northerner" Romulans
Laris refers to the Zhat Vash agent as a "stubborn northerner" and points at his ridged forehead. Seemingly, this solves a stubborn Star Trek canon problem with one line of dialogue.
In the original series, Romulans did not have forehead ridges and looked pretty much identical to Vulcans. In The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, Romulans had more complicated foreheads. Since then, in both the 2009 reboot film and Picard, we've seen both kinds of Romulans. Now there's an explanation. Apparently, the Romulans with forehead ridges are from "the North." Presumably, this means the northern hemisphere of the planet Romulus, but that's not necessarily made clear.
12. Virtual controls on the La Sirena
Though it's not named in the dialogue, Rios's ship is called the La Sirena, and it seems he can fly it using a three-dimensional holographic control panel. Believe it or not, this honors a tiny bit of Deep Space Nine continuity.
In the beloved episode "The Visitor," an alternate 2422, an elderly version of Dr. Bashir says "I haven't operated a two-dimensional control panel in a long time." That vision was set roughly 50 years ahead of 2372. But now, it's 2399, meaning a future in which three-dimensional control panels are the norm is only about 23 years away. So, basically, Deep Space Nine predicted this kind of tech way back in the day.
You could argue that Picard saying "Engage" isn't an Easter egg, because it's really obvious. That said, saying "engage" to get a ship underway in Star Trek does not originate with Jean-Luc Picard.
Captain Pike says "engage" in "The Cage," the very first Star Trek ever. In the original series, Captain Kirk said it in "The Cormbite Maneuver." It's actually a pretty old Starfleet tradition, and because Rios is a former officer, it's actually not that weird for him to wait for Picard to say it.
New episodes of Star Trek: Picard drop on CBS All Access on Thursday mornings.