Sunday’s Star Trek: Discovery episode, “Context is for Kings” had a lot of impressive Easter eggs and connections to the broader Star Trek canon. From an extremely obscure reference from to The Animated Series to an Enterprise deep-cut, it’s clear the Discovery writers know their Trek!
1. Cold in All The Wrong Places
While we haven’t seen the blue-skinned aliens on-screen yet, Discovery continues to reference the Andorians in this episode from the first scene aboard the prisoner transport.
Later in the episode, when Burnham is experiencing the spore drive, Lorca makes a reference to “the moons of Andoria,” a place we visited in Star Trek: Enterprise episode “The Aenar.”
2. Lorca’s Menagerie
We end the episode in Captain Lorca’s private laboratory in the lower decks of Discovery, where he’s secretly keeping the giant tardigrade creature rescued from the USS Glenn.
On display in Lorca’s collection are several creatures seen in Trek’s future: a full-size Gorn skeleton, and on central examination table is a pair of deceased of Cardassian voles — plus a second Tribble, dissected for study.
3. Takes Years to Master
Landry comments on Michael Burnham’s impressive display of Vulcan martial arts, which Burnham confirms it’s the Suus Manha fighting style — first introduced to the ‘Star Trek’ universe in “Maurauders,” part of Star Trek: Enterprise’s second season.
T’Pol was also trained in Suus Manha, and taught the technique to a group of colonists being harassed by Klingon privateers in the episode.
The USS Discovery’s mess hall has food synthesizers, similar to the devices seen in The Original Series. When Saru and Burnham first converse on Discovery, Saru is eating blueberries from a bowl.
Burnham remarks that the blueberries taste better than the ones in prison, and Saru attributes that to the surrounding rather than the quality of the food synthesizer.
5. Captain Lorca’s Office
Captain Lorca’s office is sparsely decorated, with a standing desk and a pet tribble. In addition, the wall of the office features a map showing the borders of Federation and Klingon space.
The map, which includes visible references to Archanis and Mempha sectors, follows closely the maps in Star Trek: Star Charts and Star Trek: Stellar Cartography. Archanis is under Klingon control in this timeframe, but is part of Federation territory by the era of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
6. Data on Disk
During her first encounter with Lt. Stamets, the scientist provides Burnham with a square computer disk made of translucent yellow plastic; Lorca also has a disk rack on the desk in his ready room.
These are clearly an homage — nicely updated — to the Original Series’ solid plastic computer disks (also seen in Enterprise’s “In a Mirror, Darkly”) used for sharing information between Enterprise duty stations.
Lt. Stamets and his counterpart aboard the USS Glenn discuss winning the Zee-Magnees Prize, a Nobel-level scientific award in the Federation.
The first known Trek recipient of the prize was Dr. Richard Daystrom (above), featured in the Original Series episode “The Ultimate Computer,” as well as Dr. Ira Graves from TNG’s “The Schizoid Man.”
8. Down in the Tubes
It wouldn’t be a Federation starship without Jeffries tubes, and Burnham uses the intra-ship access tunnels to lead the monster aboard the USS Glenn on a chase, allowing the away team to get back to the shuttle with their scientific findings.
9. Amanda’s Influence
While being chased through the Jeffries tube on board the USS Glenn, Burnham recites a portion of Alice in Wonderland; later she shares with Tilly that her foster mother, Amanda Grayson, read the book to her and “[Amanda’s] son” as a child.
We have to give credit to Aaron Harvey for first recognizing the connection to the Animated Series’ “Once Upon a Planet” — where Spock shares that his mother was “particularly fond of Lewis Carroll’s work.”
10. The Preservers
One of the most surprising images from the final sequence this episode was the return of a structure not seen since 1968: a Preservers obelisk as seen on planet Amerind in “The Paradise Syndrome.”
While the one seen in the Original Series was constructed in a lush forested area of Amerind, the one in Burnham’s experience appears in a wide-open wetlands, clearly indicating a different location than the one seen in the classic Trek episode.
11. Around the Galaxy
As Lorca sends Burnham through her trip through the spore drive, he calls out a number of familiar destinations, including Romulus and “the moons of Andoria” — and we see familiar sights from around Federation space: Starbase 11 (from “Court Martial”) and what seems to be the mining colony on Janus VI (“The Devil in the Dark).”
We can’t wait to see what else Star Trek: Discovery‘s writers bring to the table in this weekend’s new episode, “The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry.” Keep your eyes peeled for more canon connections in the future!