The Star Trek: Picard Season 3 Finale Opens And Closes With Two Of Its Best Easter Eggs

This post contains spoilers for the series finale of "Star Trek: Picard."

The beginning of the final episode of "Star Trek: Picard," called "The Last Generation," begins with a shot of deep space, presumably a point-of-view shot from the Enterprise-D on its way to rescue a Federation under attack. The soundtrack plays a distress call from the president of the Federation, Anton Chekov, the son of Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig) from the original "Star Trek." He warns all approaching ships to stay away from Earth as the Borg are infiltrating and any rescue attempt would be to risk assimilation. It will be up to the old Enterprise, reconstructed over the course of the last few decades, to mount a rescue. 

The Chekov cameo was a fun Easter egg, of course, but that's not one of the episode's best. 

The opening shot involved the camera appearing to sail through a small star cluster. The shot drifts directly into one of the stars, and the screen briefly fills with light. It fades and the cluster has passed. 

This, of course, will be instantly recognizable to any fan of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," as it is the first shot used in the show's opening credits sequence as it was seen in its third through seventh seasons. Seeing as the Enterprise-D had just entered the action — it was only revealed to exist at the end of the previous episode — the showrunners felt it was appropriate to give the ship its own miniature title sequence, albeit without the credits or Jean-Luc Picard narration. "The Last Generation" may be the final episode of "Picard," but in the context of the show, it's a new start. 

The beginning, the end

Indeed, seeing the "Next Generation" star cluster looked a little wrong when the white flash of light didn't immediately fade to a high shot of a distant galaxy as it did in the original title sequence. It's one of those "Star Trek" visuals that are so deeply ingrained in Trekkies' blood that it's not even something many might consciously think about. Another example: I have personally spent so many hours looking at the Enterprise-D that I couldn't tell you if it's an appealing or unappealing design. To my eye, it's merely how the ship looks. 

The other excellent Easter egg is the perfect close-out for "Picard, as it mirrors the final shot of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." 

In the last episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "All Good Things..." (May 23, 1994), Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) was taken on a strange time odyssey by the impish mischief god Q (John de Lancie), who forced the captain to experience his past from seven years ago, his present, and his future a few decades hence, all out-of-order. At the end of his journey, after he solved Q's riddle, Picard was deposited back in the present, unsure if what he experienced was an illusion or not. What he did know was that he was grateful to be back, and found that he was content being a captain in the here and now. 

Although Picard's senior staff regularly played games of poker during their off hours, the captain himself was generally an aloof captain and didn't ever join in. At the end of "All Good Things...," Picard finally decided to sit and play. He looked around the table and smiled. As he dealt the cards, the camera cut to an overhead shot, rotating as it zoomed out. "The sky's the limit," Picard said. 

The poker game

The final shot of "The Last Generation" is a visual quotation from "All Good Things..." After the crisis had been solved, the Borg vanquished, and the heroes rescued, the "Next Generation" cast members all gathered in Guinan's bar to have a drink and a long conversation before returning to their respective lives. It's the best scene in the episode, as it allows the characters to merely converse and be themselves outside the purview of a crisis. 

They end their night with a round of poker. They chatter good-naturedly, perhaps a little drunk on the futuristic spirits Guinan stocks, dealing cards and generally having a good time. As the credits roll, the camera cuts to an overhead shot of the poker game, rotating slowly, looking down on the action. Trekkies will spot the shot immediately. 

How fitting that the final season we'll ever have with the "Next Generation" cast together will take us from the literal beginning to the literal end. Picard and his crew more or less lived out an entire episode in real-time. All good things must come to an end. In the case of "Picard," they must come to an end twice.

Of course, thereafter, the "Picard" showrunners inserted a teaser trailer for a future "Star Trek" project that may or may not get made. It seems that Q, previously thought to be dead, remains very much alive and is ready to make life miserable for Picard's son Jack (Ed Speleers). All good things might come to an end, but with "Star Trek," it won't be anytime soon.