At last! Star Trek Discovery season 2 finally warped onto our screens this week with one of its finest episodes to date. While Michael was fretting about where Spock was and Stamets was considering a (not unreasonable given everything he’s been through) career change, we were frantically freeze-framing every scene in Star Trek Discovery season 2, episode 1 to try and catch all of the many Star Trek Discovery Easter eggs snuck in to tease and amuse long-term fans.
Now, given that the season already includes the Enterprise, Captain Christopher Pike, young Spock, and some “very colourful” new uniforms, there’s an argument that this whole season is fan service. Still, the premiere did a great job of reintroducing the series, incorporating these Original Series elements, and telling an exciting story of its own. The fact that it also managed to include plenty of Star Trek Discovery Easter eggs as well is the icing on the cake - even if not all of them entirely made sense… I’ll get to that in a minute.
Every week we’ll continue our mission to uncover all the Star Trek Discovery Easter eggs during season 2 and if you carry onto Page 2 of this feature, you can find all the Star Trek Discovery Easter eggs from season 1. Read on to have Saru’s relationship with his sister explained, find out exactly what Connelly was on about before he exploded, and to solve the mystery of Captain Pike’s baffling service record...
The player of games
The episode starts and ends in different, but very similar, spaces - Spock’s room on Vulcan and his quarters on the Enterprise. Both contain a very recognisable piece of Original Series iconography - a three-dimensional chess set, first seen in Where No Man Has Gone Before, the second pilot of the Original Series after The Cage (more on that later) was rejected by the network.
Spock was often seen playing Kirk and McCoy and, with his logical brain, proved to be a formidable opponent. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the game in Discovery, mind - prime universe Captain Georgiou kept a set in her ready room on the Shenzhou.
Sending out an SOS...
The cliffhanger to Star Trek Discovery season 1 was the reveal of the Enterprise in distress via a Priority One distress call. There are far too many examples of P1’s in Trek history to list them all here, but suffice to say it’s Starfleet’s most pressing call for help - once you notice that they’re a thing, you’ll spot them everywhere in the series.
It certainly looks like one of the Discovery’s crew is wearing a VISOR, not unlike the one worn by The Next Generation’s Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton). Standing for Visual Instrument and Sensory Organ Replacement, these devices cover the eyes, detect electromagnetic signals, and transmit them to the wearer’s brain - allowing the blind to see infrared and ultraviolet signals.
It’s slightly incongruous to see one in a pre-Original Series context, but then again, we’ve been wearing glasses for centuries now, so perhaps Geordi’s is just a more advanced model.
Whatever happened to Saru’s sister?
“A sister. Siranna. I do not expect a reunion with her.” Wondering what the backstory is with Saru’s ambiguously lost sibling? That’s explored in the third Short Treks episode, The Brightest Star. Previously only available to watch on CBS All Access, Netflix has finally made them available in the UK too - though bafflingly, they’re hidden away in the trailers section!
If you don’t have 15 minutes free to watch the actual episode, the TL:DR version is this: the Kelpiens are a pre-warp civilisation, and Saru is the first member of their species to reach out into the stars. The Federation (specifically Georgiou) arrives and recruits him, but on the rather brutal proviso that he can never go home again...
Pike is REALLY good at everything
You can always rely on the Discovery’s art department to slip in a joke or reference onto the ship’s computer screens. Freeze-frame Pike’s bio and you’ll spot numerous references - some more plausible than others...
First off, it’s noted that Pike is the successor of Robert April - the very first Captain of the Enterprise (well, the 1701 version anyway) - introduced in an episode of the 1960s Trek animated series. It’s the second time Discovery has nodded towards the character, with another reference in season 1’s Choose Your Pain. Then we come to Pike’s awards. According to his records, Pike has won:
The Okuda Award: An engineering prize first mentioned in The Next Generation’s Eye of the Beholder. In a meta detail, the award was named after Michael Okuda, the scenic artist who designed the famous look of the Federation computer interfaces on the Next Generation, nicknamed “Okudagrams”.
The Rigel Cup: OK, so Pike’s good at engineering. But apparently he’s also great at racing, because there he is with the Rigel Cup on his resume. This is an award for skilled sublight pilots, first mentioned in the classic Next Generation episode, The First Duty.
The Campbell Award: With both those awards, it sort of makes sense that Pike would also sweep up the Campbell Award - an honour given to Starfleet personnel who make achievements in multiple fields. This is another Next Generation nod.
The Carrington Award and The Legate’s Crest of Valor: Where things get a bit weird is the fact that he also appears to have somehow won the Carrington Award which, according to Deep Space 9, is an award for lifelong excellence in medicine(!) and the Legate’s Crest of Valor - which isn’t even a Federation award - it’s Cardassian (and first introduced in Voyager). Has Pike been lying on his CV?
It’s a bit muffled because of Lt. Connelly’s panicked line delivery, but in the moments before his (richly deserved) death, he brags that his former roommate was a Catian. Those are a race of cat people first introduced in the animated series, and briefly seen in amusingly fur-faced form in Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home.
Jett Reno (a suspiciously Star Wars name if you ask us) refers to a dead Bolian when Pike and Burnham rescue her. A regular sight in many Trek series, Bolians are a bald, blue-skinned species, first seen in the season 1 Next Generation episode, Conspiracy. They were named after ace Trek director Cliff Bole, who helmed Borg-starring masterpiece The Best of Both Worlds.
“Not every cage is a prison, nor every loss eternal.” It’ll be interesting to see how the little paper proverb in Pike’s ready room plays into the rest of the season, but aside from the message, there’s a direct nod there to The Cage, the first ever episode of Star Trek, which introduced Pike. Loss comes to define the character later in his life when he is paralysed after saving the lives of several cadets.
We end where we began, sort of, with a scene in Spock’s room - this time on the Enterprise. As well as the previously-noted three-dimensional chess set, there’s a clear shot of some Vulcan bells, first seen in the original series’ episode Amok Time.