Assimilate This

Picard episode 8's startling Dune-tinged speech and 16 more Easter eggs

From "Data's Day" to Spock, here are 17 hidden gems from "Broken Pieces."

With Season 1 of Star Trek: Picard heading towards its conclusion at warp speed, the show's rapid-fire references to the canon have only gotten more hardcore. In episode 8, "Broken Pieces," showrunner Michael Chabon manages to slip in some very nerdy references to obscure Trek aliens and impart a whole new meaning to a classic Next Generation episode.

Here are 17 Easter eggs and Trek references from Picard episode 8, "Broken Pieces."

Spoilers ahead! Engage!

17. An echo of Airium?

Although it seems to debunk our hopes for a complicated Discovery crossover, the scenes with the Romulan "Admonition" feature a robot that looks a little bit like the human-cyborg Airium from Star Trek: Discovery. She gave her life to stop an evil A.I. in the episode "Project Daedelus."

16. Deep Space 12

Picard intends to meet up with a Starfleet squadron at space station Deep Space 12. This clearly references Deep Space Nine's titular space station, and this is the highest-numbered "Deep Space" space station we've heard of in Trek canon so far.

15. "Viridium tracker"

The technology used to track Dr. Jurati across space is the same Spock used to track Captain Kirk in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. In a pivotal scene, Kirk reveals that Spock "slapped a viridium patch on my back." Undiscovered Country takes place nearly a century before Picard, so it seems like the big technological improvement here is that now, this tracking tech can be chewed.

Scotty getting lit.


14. A very Scottish engineer

Of all Rios's duplicate holograms, the new engineering hologram stands out for one reason: He has a strong Scottish accent. This an obvious reference to Montgomery "Scotty' Scott, the chief engineer in the original Star Trek. Just like Scotty, Rios's new engineering hologram tends to say "Lassie" at the wrong times.

In the TNG episode "Relics," Picard actually drank with Scotty on a holographic version of the classic USS Enterprise.

13. Yridian tea

The hospitality hologram mentions he doesn't know how to make Yirdian tea. In TNG, the Yridians were mostly information brokers. In the Season 6 episode "Birthright Part 1," a Yridian gave Worf coordinates to a planet where his father was rumored to still be alive. "Broken Pieces" also deals with a character — Soji — looking for a hidden planet, possibly containing family members.

12. Rio's rank pips, combadge, and stuff from the USS Ibn Majid

When Rios busts open his box of Starfleet memories, it contains a ton of tiny Easter eggs. Briefly, we see all of his rank pips, his old combadge, and the registry number of his old ship, the Ibn Majid; NCC- 76710.

11. Seven references her very first Voyager episode

Before Seven of Nine creates a mini-Borg collective on the Artifact, she tells Elnor she's afraid the drones won't want to be released, or that she might not want to release them.

In general terms, this refers to the power and comfort of the hivemind, but it also specifically references Seven's first episode ever, "Scorpion Part 2," in which she very much did not want to leave the Collective. At first.

Spock keeps his sanity.


10. Medusan astrogation techniques

The navigation hologram mentions he has lost all knowledge of "Medusan astrogation techniques." This references a TOS alien species called the Medusans, who appeared in the Season 3 episode "Is There in Truth No Beauty?" The Medusans were non-corporeal aliens whose appearance would drive a normal person insane, thus requiring Spock to bust-out some very special shades. This also calls back to the beginning of this episode, in which Romulans go insane.

9. Record player

Although Raffi calls it a "walkman," we all know Rios is using a real-deal record player to listen to some old vinyl. In the Prime Star Trek universe, Rios is actually the first character we've seen listening to records in a contemporary futuristic setting. (The holodeck and time travel don't count.) Though Captain Janeway and Captain Georgiou both had record players in their respective Ready Rooms, we never saw them drop a needle.

However, in the Kelvin Universe of the reboot films, James T. Kirk did listen to records in his apartment in Star Trek Into Darkness.

8. Noonien Soong

Dr. Jurati references Data's creator by saying, "Noonien Soong... thought of himself as an artist." In Data's dreams in "Birthright Part 1," Soong appeared as a blacksmith.

That old "I thought you were a Vulcan" trick!


7. "Data's Day" spy plot + Half Vulcan/Half Romulan precedents

In this episode, we learn Commodore Oh is half Vulcan and half Romulan. She's been secretly working for the Zhat Vash for several decades. This idea parallels the TNG episode "Data's Day," in which the Enterprise hosted a "Vulcan ambassador" named T'Pel, who was really a Romulan spy. In "Broken Pieces," this exact same plot device is used to reveal that Commodore Oh — a loyal Vulcan serving the Federation — is really a double-agent who is also half Vulcan/half Romulan.

We also learn the Zhat Vash has been trying to destroy synthetic life for a long time. It's a good bet that when T'Pel was quizzing Data back in "Data's Day," she was working for the Zhat Vash, too.

What's more, the backstory for Saavik in Wrath of Khan was that she was also of mixed Vulcan and Romulan health. Thankfully, Saavik was one of the good guys.

6. Zephram Cochrane and Arthur C.Clarke

As the crew discusses the "threshold" for A.I. tech, Rios mentions Zephram Cochrane crossing the warp barrier, causing "somebody to show up." What this means is that in First Contact, when humans demonstrated the ability to travel faster than the speed of light, other alien species reached to welcome them into the rest of the galaxy. (In Earth's case, this was the Vulcans.)

However, as Jurati implies, when a civilization crosses the threshold for this much artificial life, it could entice a higher power who isn't friendly. This seems to reference the Arthur C. Clarke novel, Childhood's End, in which an alien species called the Overlords rolls up on Earth with longterm plans for uploading everybody into something called "the Overmind," with less than charitable intentions.

5. Emissaries from a Strange New World

Rios refers to the Synths picked up by the Ibn Majid as "emissaries from a strange new world." Obviously, this references the Starfleet motto, which, in part says that the mission of starships is to "explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations..." You know the rest.

4. Borg transwarp conduit network

Soji plans to take the La Sirena through the Borg transwarp network to get to her homeworld faster. This secret network of transwarp tunnels was first introduced in the TNG episode "Descent."

Later, the Borg transwarp network was a big deal in the Voyager finale, "Endgame." The Borg transwarp conduit network has several hubs, and though a future version of Janeway managed to damage one in "Endgame," the network is clearly still active in 2399.

A Romulan commander and his centurions.


3. Romulan "Centurion"

Narissa refers to one of her Romulan underlings as "Centurion." This rank (a reference to real-life Roman soldiers) originates in the first Romulan story ever, the TOS episode "Balance of Terror."

2. The Bridge of the Reliant is a nod to KHAAAAAN!!

Jean-Luc references being a young ensign on the night watch of a starship called the Reliant. Longtime Trek fans know that in the 23rd century, the USS Reliant was the starship stolen by Khan in Star Trek II.

But, just as there have been multiple Enterprises, the Reliant Picard served on as an ensign was a different, later version. In fact, this Reliant was first referenced in the Data-centric TNG episode "The Measure of Man." However, the line about Picard serving on the Reliant was cut, then retroactively added to a longer version of the episode on the TNG Blu-ray a few years ago. We have no idea what kind of Federation starship this second Reliant was.

"Fear is the mind killer...Rios."

Universal Pictures

1. Picard references... Dune?

At the very end of the episode, Jean-Luc gives Rios a pretty stirring speech, saying, "The future is left for us to write. And we have powerful tools. Openness. Optimism. And the spirit of curiosity...fear is the great destroyer."

In Frank Herbert's famous science fiction novel, Dune, several characters repeat the phrase "Fear is the mind-killer." Before he was cast as Jean-Luc Picard, Patrick Stewart played Gurney Halleck in the 1984 David Lynch-directed film version of Dune. Josh Brolin is slated to play Gurney in the new version of Dune slated for release in December 2020.

Star Trek: Picard airs on CBS All Access on Thursdays.

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