Season 2 of Star Trek: Picard premiered on Paramount+ a couple of weeks ago with “The Star Gazer,” and it turns out an emotional reference was hiding in plain sight. Showrunner Terry Matalas gave fans a closer look at something that was merely a prop in the season premiere, and in a scene that served mainly to explain what the characters had been doing since the season 1 finale, “Et in Arcadia Ego: Part 2.” But like so many of the best details in Trek, once you get a peek below the surface, it reveals volumes.
Matalas took to Twitter last week to give fans a better look at a gift that Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) gives to his Romulan friend Elnor (Evan Evagora) to celebrate the latter’s graduation from Starfleet Academy. Anyone who saw the Star Trek: Picard season 2 premiere already knew it was Spock’s autobiography, but Matalas’ tweet reveals so much more. You can see his post below.
The most heartbreaking — but absolutely essential — detail is the book’s dedication: “For Jim.” The copyright lists the year as 2320. While James T. Kirk (William Shatner) would actually die over 50 years later (in Trek time) toward the end of 1994’s Star Trek: Generations, in 2320 Spock would’ve believed — like everyone else in the Federation and beyond — that Kirk had died during the inaugural launch of the Enterprise-B 27 years earlier. In spite of Spock enjoying a much longer life and probably meeting countless others in his time, the memory of James Kirk is still a towering landmark in the Vulcan’s mind.
The Star Trek: Picard prop actually includes a number of wonderful references. It’s titled “The Many and the One” — an allusion to the line repeated various times throughout the films: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.” It’s a philosophy Kirk thoroughly ignores when he decides to save his old friend in 1984’s Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
Reading the first page of the autobiography reveals some more great references. Spock writes about suffering L’tak Terai — a form of dyslexia. It wasn’t revealed Spock had the condition until Ethan Peck assumed the role in season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery. But the deepest-diving reference in the Star Trek: Picard prop comes toward the end of the first page with the mention of I-Chaya, Spock’s childhood pet. The heroic beast is first mentioned by Spock’s human mother Amanda (Jane Wyatt) in the season 2 Star Trek: The Original Series episode “Journey to Babel.” We actually get to meet I-Chaya in “Yesteryear,” the second episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series, when the Vulcan travels back in time and witnesses his childhood counterpart.
The Star Trek: Picard prop is not only a small treasure trove of references, but a timely tribute to the late Spock actor Leonard Nimoy. Four days before the episode aired marked the seven year anniversary of Nimoy’s passing. In spite of Shatner and Nimoy apparently not speaking in the last few year’s of the latter’s life, Shatner posted a tribute to his old friend to mark the sad date, which you can see below.