This week’s episode of Star Trek: Discovery was much lighter on canon connections than previous episodes. This was partly due to “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad” being a bottle episode with a tightly focused time loop story, but also as a sign of the show becoming confident in being itself and relying less on obvious call backs to the previous Star Trek canon.
Nevertheless, in addition to the return of Harry Mudd, there were some fun deep cut call outs to previous shows.
1. Yellow Alert
When Burnham and Tyler enter the bridge, they find the ship is at yellow alert as it approaches the gormagander that is being used by Mudd as a lure for Discovery.
This marks the first appearance of yellow alert in the show, a state of heightened readiness for the ship in which its shields are up but its weapons are not yet charged.
2. Andorian Helmet
When Mudd boards the ship through the mouth of the gormagander, he is seen wearing a life support helmet with space for two antennae. Though not confirmed explicitly in the show, it was revealed during After Trek that the helmet is made for an Andorian.
This marks at least the third reference to the Andorians on Discovery – here’s hoping we see them in person soon!
3. Anicium and Yurium
Mudd destroys the USS Discovery every 30 minutes using a combination of anicium and yurium.
In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Night Terrors,” they reference anicium and yurium as having been used by a Melthusian captain, Bela Tyken, to create an explosion in order to escape a spatial rift that later was named after him, a Tyken’s Rift.
4. Betazoid Bank
Tyler tells Burnham how Mudd described having robbed a Betazoid bank, and speculates he must have used the same time crystal technology he is using aboard the Discovery.
That seems plausible – you would need multiple time loops to break into a bank run by a race of telepaths!
5. Alpha Centauri
According to Stamets, he met his partner Dr. Culber on Alpha Centauri, a world near the Sol system that has been lightly referenced throughout the Star Trek canon. The system was one of the first colonized by the human race following their expansion to the stars, and Zefram Cochrane is known to have spent time there following his first warp flight in 2063.
Alpha Centauri is considered to have been the fifth founding member of the United Federation of Planets, but this has never been confirmed on screen.
6. Captain’s Log
While Burnham has narrated a log entry several times during the run of Discovery — a First Officer’s log in the pilot and a personal log in this episode — “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad” is the first appearance in Star Trek: Discovery of the captain’s log, a frequent narrative tool during previous Star Trek shows.
And who should have the honor of giving Discovery’s first on screen captain’s log? Harry Mudd.
Though she was referenced in “Choose Your Pain,” this episode marks the first appearance in the Star Trek canon of the real Stella Mudd, whose android copy featured in the Original Series episode “I, Mudd.”
Though initially warm with Harry, Stella’s attitude turns cold towards him quickly, foreshadowing the difficult marriage that Mudd described in “I, Mudd.”
* * *
It wouldn’t be an episode of Discovery without a close up shot of the border between Federation and Klingon space. This week, we got a number to see a number of new places, including:
- Briar Patch – Nebula home to the Baku seen in Star Trek: Insurrection, the Briar Patch is known to the Klingons as Klach D’Kel Bracht.
- Azure Nebula – During the events of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Captain Sulu and the USS Excelsior try to sneak into Klingon territory through the Azure Nebula but are stopped by Kang. These events are shown in the Star Trek: Voyager episode, “Flashback.”
- Beta Thoridar — The House of Duras gathered a fleet near this star in preparation to attack Gowron’s armada in “Redemption.”
- Jouret IV (New Providence colony) – Destroyed by the Borg in The Next Generation episode “Best of Both Worlds.”
- Paulsen Nebula – Later in The Next Generation episode “Best of Both Worlds, Part I,” the Enterprise-D hides from a Borg Cube in the Paulsen Nebula.
- Ramatis — The home of famed 24th Century deaf negotiator Rivas, who traveled aboard the Enterprise-D in “Loud as a Whisper.”
- Hromi Cluster – One of the places that the USS Enterprise-D explored in search for a Gatherer outpost in The Next Generation episode, “The Vengeance Factor.” The Acamar system is nearby, also seen on the map.
We can’t wait to see what else Star Trek: Discovery’s writers bring to the table in this weekend’s new episode, “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum.” Keep your eyes peeled for more canon connections in the future!