At this point in Star Trek: Picard season 3, one thing is clear: This season isn’t just paying homage to the ‘90s era of Trek. This season is a direct sequel to those adventures. From details about Changelings to deep dives into the past of the old Stargazer, to new wrinkles about the Borg, the fourth episode of Picard season 3 had a lot to unpack. Here are the best easter eggs and Star Trek canon references in “No Win Scenario.”
We start in a flashback, with Jean-Luc hanging out in the Los Angeles version of Ten Forward. Five years prior to Picard season 3 would put this flashback in 2397, which is, interestingly enough, just two years before Picard season 1. At this point in the timeline, Jean-Luc would be fully retired from Starfleet, meaning the young Starfleet officers would be pretty excited to see him out in the wild. Notably, the uniforms of the officers in this scene match the style of Starfleet uniforms from season 1, which are slightly different from what we’ve seen in season 2 onward.
Ten Forward Has A Lot of Easter Eggs
Introduced in season 2, this version of Ten Forward is always brimming with easter eggs. In the flashback scenes in “No Win Scenario” — which occur at the beginning of the episode, and toward the end, we see the following:
A sign for “Frontier Day.” This could indicate this celebration might occur every five years. Maybe?
The younger officers quiz Jean-Luc about a few adventures, but we only really hear him talk about two throughout these flashbacks. One is something we’ve never heard of, while the other is a very famous TNG episode. At the start of this flashback, Picard is asked about the Hirogen. This is an alien species from the Delta Quadrant, first introduced in Star Trek: Voyager. Jean-Luc and Worf dealing with the Hirogen never happened in the TNG series or feature films. This is why somebody asks Jean-Luc if he asked Admiral Janeway for “advice,” and also why they wondered about how the Hirogen got “into the quadrant.” In Voyager, the Hirgoen were a hunter species from the Delta Quadrant. However, later in the episode, when Picard talks about the Tamarians basing their language on “metaphor,” that is something we’ve seen. There, he’s referencing the beloved TNG episode “Darmok.”
“No Win Scenario”
The title of this episode refers to the Kobayashi Maru scenario, a “no win scenario,” first introduced in The Wrath of Khan. Interestingly, this is the third episode of a new Star Trek series to reference this in an episode title in the past two years. The 2021 Discovery season 4 premiere was called “Kobayashi Maru,” while the sixth episode of Prodigy, in early 2022, was called “Kobayashi.”
While Seven searches the quarters of the suspected Changeling, we briefly see her favorite game: a Vulcan Kal-Toh. This game was referred to as “Vulcan chess,” but it’s way harder. This is at least the second time we’ve seen a Kal-Toh set in Picard — in the season 1 finale, we saw one near Raffi and Seven in the finale moments of “Et in Arcadia Ego Part 2.” But the game itself originated on Voyager, and Seven was very good at it.
Jack tells Jean-Luc a story about “Matalas 4,” which he says was a “real dump.” This is one of many references to showrunner Terry Matalas throughout the season. “M’Talas Prime” is the crime-ridden planet where Worf and Raffi have been hanging out throughout the first three episodes.