The season one finale of Star Trek: Picard (“Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2”) is now part of Star Trek lore, but it also evoked a fair amount of previous lore as well as other real world references. Some may not have been intentional, but like with all art, connections can be in the eye of the beholder. Here are some that caught our eye.
Star Trek Connections
The final line of dialog for the episode – and therefore the season – was the classic Captain Picard line “engage” as he issued the order for Rios to warp away from the synth homeworld. This marks the first time that the “new” Picard in the synth body has issued the “engage” line. The finale also contained the first use of Picard’s other famous Star Trek: The Next Generation order “make it so,” although there was a twist: It was Dr. Jurati who said the line to Picard while they prepared their plan to delay the Romulan fleet.
While attempting a Hail Mary in their fight against the Romulans, Jurati wondered if they could employ the famous “Picard Maneuver.” This battle technique involved a brief in-system warp that fooled enemy sensors to see a ship in two places at once. The technique was first referred in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Battle,” which told the story about how Picard used the maneuver during the Battle of Maxia when he was in command of the USS Stargazer. In “Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2” Picard corrects Jurati on this point, noting it was the Stargazer and not the Enterprise, showing how parts of Picard’s history can be mythologized decades later. The new “Jurati Maneuver” had some similarities to the Picard Maneuver except it involved using a bit of advanced synth tech to create dozens of duplicate versions of the La Sirena, fooling the Romulans into attacking this “fleet” of fake ships.
Riker’s Treaty of Algeron
The cameo from William Riker as acting captain of the Federation fleet flagship USS Zheng He in the finale was evocative of the way the future version of Riker showed up in a super-powerful version of the USS Enterprise D the series finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation, “All Good Things.” And in Picard, as he faced off against the Romulan fleet headed by General Oh (or whatever her real name is), Riker brought up the Treaty of Algeron. This is a Federation/Romulan treaty first referenced in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Pegasus,” a very Riker-centric episode. In “The Pegasus” Riker worked with his old captain – then an admiral – in an attempt to revive a project that violated the treaty, and at one point Riker was even put into custody for his part in the plot.
Data’s Blue Skies
Perhaps the biggest connection to Trek history in the finale as picking up on the story of Data’s death from the 2002 film Star Trek: Nemesis. In that film we saw Data copy his database to his (less capable) “brother,” android B-4. It was unclear what effect this would have on B-4, but a scene towards the end of the film showed hope when B-4 started singing the song “Blue Skies.” This is significant as the film started off with the wedding of Troi and Riker, where the original Data sang the song “Blue Skies”. The season finale finally revealed the fate of this copy of Data, ending up on the synth homeworld where Bruce Maddox had stored it in a “quantum realm” where this Data continued to live. After Picard died and was scanned for his own download, this Data had a moment to visit with his old captain in the quantum realm and request that the simulation be shut down. Picard complied, and in Data’s final moments he listened to a vinyl recording of “Blue Skies.” And to add yet another layer, the version from the finale was sung by Isa Briones, who plays Data’s daughter Soji on Star Trek: Picard.
As Picard is falling ill, Dr. Jurati uses a Star Trek: The Next Generation style of medical hypospray to inject him with some drugs.
In the final moments of the episode, Seven and Raffi can be seen playing the Vulcan game kal-toh which was introduced in Star Trek: Voyager. In the Voyager episode “The Omega Directive,” Seven inserts herself into a game between Ensign Kim and Tuvok, helping Kim win and noting it is merely “elementary spatial harmonics.”
As Seven and Rios are mourning Picard, they drink what is she describes as “what passes for alcohol” on the synth homeworld, and she doesn’t recommend it. While it may just be a coincidence, the android’s booze is green like Scotty’s famous “it’s green” booze from the TOS episode “By Any Other Name”, and the first callback to this classic TOS moment, in the TNG episode “Relics”. The bottle is also shaped like a traditional bottle of Saurian Brandy, which can also be seen in the scene when Scotty and the Kelvan Tovar get drunk together.
Other references and connections
There were some other interesting non-Star Trek connections in the season finale.
Et in Arcadia ego – the painting
The title of the Picard two-part finale is taken from a painting by 17th-century French painter Nicolas Poussin, and translates directly to “Even in Arcadia, there am I,” with the “I” referencing death and Arcadia as a utopian land. This is a “memento mori” or symbolic reminder of the inevitability of death, which ties into the themes for the episode. The painting – which currently hangs in the Louvre in Paris – has been referenced often in other media, including a Tom Stoppard play, an Umberto Eco novel and the title of the 1997 tour by the metal band Tool.
Zhen He – OG explorer
Riker’s flagship in the finale is the USS Zheng He, which is named for the 15th century Chinese admiral and explorer. Zheng He lead a fleet of “treasure ships” in seven expeditions, vastly increasing the geographic knowledge and influence of China.
Picard and the Bard
In a grand Star Trek tradition, especially one carried by Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation, William Shakespeare makes an appearance in the Picard finale. During the memorial held for Data, Picard says: “We are such stuff. As dreams are made on. And our little life is rounded with a sleep.” These lines are from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, a play Patrick Stewart has starred in for the Royal Shakespeare Company as well as on Broadway.
2399: A Data Odyssey
The way Picard deactivated the Data we met in the quantum realm was reminiscent of how the HAL 9000 artificial intelligence was deactivated in the 1968 classic sci-fi film 2001: A Space Odyssey. In both cases, a series of translucent glowing chips are removed to deactivate. Although in the sequel 2010, HAL was reactivated, so he wasn’t entirely dead.
In the finale, Narek tells the Romulan armageddon myth of Ganmadan. It is the mythologized version of “admonition” telling of the annihilation of all organic life by synthetic life – a story that appears to be coming true as Soji prepares to summon intergalactic super-powerful synths to protect them from all the organics, by wiping them out. Narek says he does not see it as prophecy, but as “history,” adding “the fascinating thing about history is it always repeats itself.” This idea of a history of synthetic life wiping out organic life in an eons-long cycle is – as has been noted by many fans online – reminiscent of the core story of the Mass Effect videogame franchise with the cycle of the Reapers. And Narek’s line about history repeating itself is also reminiscent of the mantra from Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica that “All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again,” telling the story about how synthetics warring with organics in a cycle of history.
EPs talk easter eggs
Wired got executive producers Akiva Goldsman and Michael Chabon to chat about some easter eggs from the whole season of Star Trek: Picard.
What else is there?
Did you see any other easter eggs or references? Share them in the comments below.
The season finale of Star Trek: Picard arrived this week on CBS All Access. If you haven’t yet subscribed, you can get a free month: CLICK HERE to try CBS All Access FREE for 1 month. Use code ALL to redeem.
New episodes of Star Trek: Picard are released on CBS All Access in the USA Thursdays at 12:01 AM PT/3:01 AM ET. In Canada it airs Thursdays on CTV Sci-Fi Channel at 6PM PT /9PM ET and streams on Crave. For the rest of the world it streams Fridays on Amazon Prime Video. Episodes are released weekly.
Keep up with all the Star Trek: Picard news at TrekMovie.