Star Trek: Discovery aired a new episode this weekend that was chock full of new Trek connections. Michael Burnham (Sonqua Martin-Green) was brought about the U.S.S. Discovery after she was rescued from a prison transfer. The episode picked up six months after the engagement with the Klingons.
Burnham was still dealing with the emotional loss of her captain, Philippa Georgiou, and the repercussions of her own mutiny. While on board the Discovery, Burnham uncovered a great many things, including Captain Lorca’s affection for Tribbles. She also traveled to distant lands in the blink of an eye, to some places which may be familiar to Trek fans. Let’s dive into the Easter Eggs and Trek nods in Episode 3, “Context is for Kings.”
The Trouble with Tribbles
Tribbles are a true fan-favorite in the Star Trek community. First seen in Star Trek: The Original Series, Tribbles are furry, asexual life forms that coo like doves. They are not harmful, but their reproductive cycle is so intense that they can fill a starship with their offspring in no time.
This was the case in the Original Series episode, “The Trouble with Tribbles.” The Enterprise picked up a Tribble while on leave at Deep Space Station K-7. Seemingly harmless, the creature was brought on board. Within days the entire ship was full of Tribbles!
The crew of Deep Space Nice actually traveled back in time to this Tribble event, in the Deep Space Nine episode, “Trials and Tribble-ations.” In the episode, Worf claimed that Tribbles were the mortal enemies of the Klingons and that they will be extinct by the 23rd century. Funny that Lorca is keeping one as a pet on his desk.
Don’t Morn for Gorn
The Gorn are a reptilian warrior race, first encountered by Captain Kirk in The Original Series episode “Arena.” Captain Kirk was sentenced to fight another Gorn captain to the death, after offending the Gorn over ownership of a planet.
On Star Trek: Discovery, the skeleton of a Gorn can be seen in Captain Lorca’s science room. First mentioned by Heavy, this Easter Egg is a small but clear nod to Captain Kirk’s Gorn enemy. The skeleton Gorn is being kept inside a “menagerie.” That’s an Easter Egg or callback (if you will) to a TOS episode of the same name.
We knew from early reporting that Burnham was adopted by Spock’s parents, so this isn’t news. It is, however, confirmation, that Burnham was indeed raised by both Sarek — Spock’s Vulcan father — and Amanda Grayson — Spock’s human mother. Amanda’s name was mentioned during this week’s episode when Burnham was talking about her Alice in Wonderland book with her new roomie, Cadet Silvia Tilly. “My foster mother used to read it to me and her son,” Burnham said. “She and I were the only humans in the house.”
Amanda’s son is, of course, Spock. This is our first indirect mention of the character. Last week, TrekMovie confirmed that Amanda would be appearing later on the series. She will be played by Defiance actress Mia Kirshner. Grayson was originally played by actress Jane Wyatt and first appeared on Star Trek: The Original Series. In the J.J. Abrams films, Amanda was played by Winona Ryder.
To Starbase 11 & Beyond
When Lorca put Burnham in the glass chamber at the conclusion of the episode, she began to see all the places the “space fungus” has visited. A series of images flashed across the screen in quick succession. The fans over at TrekCore noticed a few different familiar locations.
First, was Starbase 11. The starbase can be seen in the TOS episodes “Court Marshall” and “The Menagerie.” Next, Burnham saw a Preserver Obelisk on the Moon of Andoria. The crew of the Enterprise came across one of these Preserver Stones in the TOS episode “The Paradise Syndrome.” She also saw Romulus, the home world of the Romulan empire, the sworn enemies of the Vulcans.
While this vision was accomplished by the fungus, it reminded me of the Iconian doors, from the TNG episode “Contagion.” In that episode, Picard, Data, and Worf discovered a gateway, built by the Iconians, that allowed them to travel anywhere in the galaxy instantly. It will be interesting to see where else this fungus will allow them to travel.
As with Discovery‘s first two episodes, there are almost too many Easter Eggs this episode to count. These Easter Eggs are not so much inclusions for the sake of inclusion, but significant story beats. Especially the mentions of Burnham’s and Spock’s family. Whether a Tribble or a Gorn, based on the last shot of the episode, with Lorca looking at his newly captured alien, he is definitely collecting space creatures. Perhaps this will play into later storylines.