Observations in PIC: "Et in Arcadia Ego I"

by Jörg Hillebrand and Bernd Schneider

Here are some observations about sets, props, make-ups and visual effects in PIC: "Et in Arcadia Ego I", with special attention to continuity with previous Star Trek series and movies.


Chronological List

Observation 01

Dr. Jurati's quarters aboard La Sirena in "Et in Arcadia Ego I" and previously in "Stardust City Rag".

Observation 02

Picard watches in amazement as La Sirena is traveling through a Borg transwarp conduit. This is not the first time he's traveled through one of the conduits as the USS Enterprise-D did so twice during "Descent I". In the first shot, sickbay can be seen through the open door.

Observation 03

A comparison with "Descent I" shows what travel through a transwarp conduit looked like as seen from the main viewscreen of the USS Enterprise-D.

Observation 04

La Sirena, the USS Enterprise-D ("Descent I") and USS Voyager ("Endgame") inside a Borg transwarp conduit.

Observation 05

La Sirena and the Borg cube emerge from the transwarp conduit. Comparison screenshots from "Descent I" and "Endgame" show a Borg renegade ship enter and a Borg sphere emerge from a transwarp conduit.

Observation 06

Soji's homeworld, Ghulion IV with its two red moons, as it appears in "Et in Arcadia Ego I". Comparison shots from "The Impossible Box" and the episode recap at the beginning of "Nepenthe" show the two moons from Soji's dream. The constant electrical storms Soji mentions in the earlier episode are also visible.

Observation 07

This shot and a later one show that the hatches closing the side windows are all open.

Observation 08

A close look at Picard's console. It displays a dorsal view of La Sirena. This is one of the few cases a graphic of the ship is actually seen on the show.

Observation 09

La Sirena's automatic seatbelts are seen strapping in. Similar automatic seatbelts were also seen in a deleted scenes from "Star Trek: Nemesis" and in "Star Trek Into Darkness".

Observation 10

A frontal view of Narek's Romulan snakehead scout ship.

Observation 11

Narek uses a holographic copy of his ship to fool the La Sirena crew into believing that his ship has been damaged. Similar strategies were used in TNG: "Peak Performance" and VOY: "Basics I".

Observation 11a

A 3D graphic of Narek's snakehead scout ship briefly appears in this scene. In contrast to "Nepenthe", where a graphic of Seven's ship from "Stardust City Rag" was erroneously used, here the correct model is seen. Narek's lifesigns are a reuse of the holographic animation of Seven's implants in PIC: "Stardust City Rag".

Observation 12

The words "Proximity alert" are displayed on Raffi's holographic console.

Observation 13

The footage of the emerging Borg cube shows the Borg sphere clearly still in place in its dock. A Borg sphere inside a Borg cube was last seen in "Star Trek: First Contact".

Observation 14

Giant orchid-like flowers envelop the three ships in orbit of Ghulion IV and pull them down to the surface.

Observation 15

Shots of Picard walking through his vineyard during his hallucination caused by the Irumodic Syndrome evokes similar scenes of Picard in his vineyard from TNG: "All Good Things".

Observation 16

Light shines through the sickbay skylights seen in earlier episodes.

Observation 17

Dr. Jurati uses an "old-school" medical tricorder to scan Picard. Even before the prop is comes into sight, the familiar sound can be heard when Picard wakes up. The prop later reappears on Dr. Maddox's desk. The Ready Room episode for "Et in Arcadia Ego I" gives a better idea of how this new tricorder design works. The last time a 24th century medical tricorder was seen was in "Star Trek: Nemesis". At that time, the tricorder design had already moved towards a flatter shape. In an alternate timeline in "Endgame", an early 25th century tricorder design is seen.

The Starfleet Medical logo is also seen on a label. The sign previously appeared on Picard on the medkit in "The End is the Beginning". Everything that needs to be known about the Starfleet Medical logo can be found in our article The Evolution of the Starfleet Medical Emblem. The logo will also appear on a still different medkit in the second part of the season finale.

Observation 18

A hypospray as it looks since the beginning of TNG is also part of the medkit. It looks different than the hyposprays in "Nepenthe", so this must also be an "old-school" device.

Observation 19

The starboard side hatch of La Sirena is opened in these shots. Screenshots from "Broken Pieces" show the set from similar angles during spaceflight with closed hatches.

We can also see on the first cap that (while the mess hall is a mess anyway) the replicator on the port side has been moved one section to the aft relative to its position in "Broken Pieces". Actually, the move was probably made for the "cake scene" in "Nepenthe" that may have been filmed after "Broken Pieces".

Observation 20

In the background, the sickbay biobed can be fully seen as nobody is lying on it as in past sickbay scenes.

Observation 21

The crashed La Sirena on the planet surface of Ghulion IV. After it was only barely recognizable in "Nepenthe", the La Sirena nose art is finally fully seen here.

Observation 22

Raffi hands a phaser to Soji. This is the same type of gun she was pointing at her in the previous episode.

Observation 23

A symbol for the emergency access can be seen in these two screenshots. It consists of a green, red and blue arrow. In the second screenshot, the red arrow appears black, however. This looks a lot like a present-day "recycling" logo.

Observation 24

The camera pans upwards, showing again the red twin moons of Ghulion IV, as the crew leaves the ship behind.

Observation 25

The surface shot of the planet shows again the electric storms and the two red moons mentioned by Soji in "The Impossible Box".

Observation 26

Crashed Borg ships have previously appeared in TNG: "I, Borg" (scout ship), VOY: "Survival Instinct" (sphere) and ENT: "Regeneration" (the sphere from "First Contact").

Observation 27

A beautiful shot that shows the interior of the destroyed Borg cube. Collapsed bridges and rows of regeneration alcoves can be seen in the background. The shots from "The Impossible Box" and "Broken Pieces" show what the interior of the cube looked like in better times.

Observation 28

In injured xB is treated using the same Romulan biobed seen in "Maps and Legends" during the de-Borgification operation scenes.

Observation 29

One of the xBs that survived the crash is the one Picard saw being treated in "The Impossible Box".

Observation 30

Romulan consoles like the one the xBs are working on are known from several earlier episodes.

Observation 31

The large Romulan console shows a graphic of the fleet of Romulan ships. This large console is similar to the one used by Narissa at the end of "The Impossible Box".

Observation 32

Several of the photos on the floor of Soji's room were also seen on her desk in "The Impossible Box", including the graduation photo of herself and Dahj.

Observation 33

A beautiful shot of Coppelius Station with synthetic butterflies and a futuristic holographic fountain. The color of several trees and plants has been changed in post production. Blue plants (some with red blossoms) and red plants, like the ones seen here, are nothing new on Star Trek. They were also seen in several early TNG episodes.

Observation 34

Just like in "The Impossible Box", Rios hones his soccer/futsal skills.

Observation 35

Two androids are seen playing 3D chess. This was also one of Data's favorite pastimes. A similar 2D chess board is later seen in Maddox's old room.

Observation 35a

Some of the androids are playing interesting musical instruments like a transparent flute and another futuristic wind instrument, which in real life is a Yamaha Venova.

Observation 36

Dr. Altan Inigo Soong bears a striking resemblance to his father Dr. Noonian Soong and another ancestor, Dr. Arik Soong, which may have to do with all of them being played by Brent Spiner.

Observation 37

Some beautiful and modern areas of Coppelius Station are seen in these screenshots.

Observation 38

Another establishing shot of a different section of Coppelius Station. Futuristic (holographic?) parasols protect the humans from the sunlight.

Observation 39

Like several androids on the planet, Sutra has yellow irises similar to Data and a similar golden skin complexion. These details were not visible in the black and white sketch of Rios and Sutra's twin sister Jana in "Broken Pieces". Jana's hair, however, was shorter in the drawing.

Observation 40

The twin red moons of Ghulion IV (Coppelius) and an electric storm can be seen in the distance.

Observation 41

When listing her Vulcan accomplishments, Dr. Soong states that Sutra plays the ka'athyra beautifully. Ka'athyra is a name for the well-known Vulcan lute played by Mister Spock in the original series. The name, which was never mentioned in any episode or film before, was introduced in the Star Trek novel Dwellers in the Crucible.

Observation 42

The mind meld between Dr. Jurati and Sutra tells a brief story of the development of life on a planet, the creation of artificial life, a war between artificial lifeforms and organic lifeforms, a message being sent to a far away place and then somebody or something returning through a wormhole-like structure and destroying three planets in sequence. The scene begins with lava flows and ends with the fiery destruction of the third planet. The footage, some of which is commercially available stock footage and/or has been seen before in "Nepenthe" and "Broken Pieces", is interrupted by shots of the Romulans on Aia and a brief shot of Sutra's eyes.

The first section consists of various shots of lava flow, mostly filmed in Hawaii (Kilauea) and the Democratic Republic of the Kongo (Nyiragongo).

This shows a primordial landscape. The second shot already appeared in the previous episode.

These shots all show cell division and the beginning of organic life.

Higher plants have evolved in the next pair of shorts.

The sequence continues with human evolution.

Footage of a robot being assembled and an artificial heart being put into a robot's ribcage.

Modified footage of an android face morphing into Data's, previously seen in "Broken Pieces". The footage of Data is similar to a shot of him from "Remembrance".

The sequence continues with robots working and interacting with humans.

The two following images feature the Starfleet arrowhead with a command star.

Growing older and decay is the topic of the following shots.

A war between humans and androids can be seen in the next images.

Various nebulae appear in the following shots.

A message is sent using an antenna. The footage of the antenna (without the crackling energy) was previously seen in "Broken Pieces". It is shown for real in the second part of the season finale).

Something travels through a green wormholes from one planet to another and destroys the planets with massive explosions.

A third planet explodes. This is a re-use of modified footage from "If Memory Serves", showing the destruction of Vulcan. The footage was flipped horizontally, the background was changed and the camera zooms closer to the planet.

Observation 43

Various butterflies in Dr. Soong's lab, including synthetic ones.

Observation 44

Several IKEA lamps of the model PS 2014 are seen in Dr. Soong's lab.

Observation 45

The black console in the background has been seen several times in previous Star Trek episodes. It was present during Picard's heart operation in "Samaritan Snare" and during Worf's spinal column replacement in "Ethics". It was used by the Ferengi to experiment on Lwaxana Troi in "Ménage à Troi" and in the creepy holographic simulation of the Solanogen-based aliens' lab in "Schisms". Finally it was also used by the "Thieves of the Delta Quadrant", the Mari, in "Random Thoughts". The prop was rented from now defunct company Modern Props.

Observation 46

Two interesting cupboards with porthole shaped windows come into sight behind Dr. Jurati. A similar silver one is later seen in Maddox's former room.

Observation 47

The symbol for fractal neuronic cloning (most prominently seen in Dahj's and Soji's necklaces) is seen on two cupboards behind Dr. Soong.

Observation 48

The reveal of the "golem" in its biobed brings to mind previous scenes showing clones in episodes such as TNG: "Up the Long Ladder" and DS9: "A Man Alone" (although Soong technically isn't building a biological clone).

Observation 49

This interesting establishing shot shows several details. In the background, more of the "orchids" that pulled the three starships down to the planet surface at the beginning of the episode can be seen. There's also a water basin with what looks with one of the orchids or some other plant or animal inside. In the room on the right, the previously mentioned black console is visible. The plant in the basin also appears a little later in the scene.

Observation 50

As Narek is taken to Sutra, one of the androids can be seen playing a futuristic e-cello. Similar futuristic e-basses are known from TNG: "Second Chances" and "Star Trek: Nemesis".

Observation 51

The artificially created Spot II certainly takes after the second version of Spot, first seen in TNG: "A Fistful of Datas" (an American short-hair orange tabby) and not the first version (a long-haired Somali cat) that only appeared in "Data's Day" and "In Theory". See also Spot the Difference.

Observation 52

Dr. Altan Inigo Soong may have created an artificial cat but his "grandfather" Dr. Ira Graves gave the world ROBODOG!

Observation 53

Rios' mermaid tattoo can be seen particularly well in this shot.

Observation 54

More colorful plants are seen in this shot showing a quiet area of Coppelius Station.

Observation 55

Saga gives an interesting glowing device that "fixes things" to Raffi.

Observation 56

A beautiful shot showing Ghulion IV (or Coppelius) and its twin moons.

Observation 57

A futuristic 2D chess board in Dr. Maddox's former room. A similar three-dimensional version of the game appeared earlier in the episode and another 2D chess board with very blocky gaming pieces (albeit in a more traditional black and white) were seen in Dahj's apartment in "Maps and Legends".

Observation 58

Romulan backpacks look very much like regular 21st century Earth ones.

Observation 59

The forcefield effect at Coppelius Station is identical (small triangles) to the Federation and Romulan force fields seen earlier in the series and in Discovery, just orange instead of green or blue.

Observation 60

There's a baseball glove with a baseball on the desk next to Maddox's bed and a trophy on the nightstand. Captain Benjamin Sisko shared Maddox's interest in baseball and two similar teardrop shaped trophies were seen in Picard's quantum archive in "Remembrance".

Observation 61

Maddox's desk is a veritable treasure trove of previously seen props. On the left, his name tag for the Daystrom Institute can be seen. It's similar to the one worn by Dr. Jurati in "Remembrance". Further to the right, there is holographic display used by Raffi in "The End is the Beginning", here in its docking station. The same device also appeared in Jurati's room earlier in the episode. There is a transparent rack with various medical tools to the right of it. The same rack was also seen in sickbay aboard La Sirena in "Broken Pieces". It contains from top to bottom:

In front of the rack, an "old-school" medical tricorder, like the one used by Dr. Jurati earlier in the episode, can be seen. The holographic photo, finally, displays footage from Dr. Jurati's holovid already known from "Stardust City Rag".

Observation 62

The forcefield around Narek's holding cell is lowered by Sutra.

Observation 63

A better look at the holovid also watched by Dr. Jurati in "Stardust City Rag".

Observation 64

Saga has been killed by her hummingbird brooch (introduced earlier in a conspicuously long close-up) having been plunged into her eye. Red blood is running from her eye. Notice how only her face seems to be painted golden while the rest of her body looks much more human in coloration.

Observation 65

Narek runs toward the crashed Borg cube.

Observation 65a

Five androids of one type and three of another type appear in this shot obviously put together in post production. This clearly shows that Soji/Dahj - Jana/Sutra is not the only android pair that is seen more than once.

Observation 66

Two android twins, one with human irises, one with yellow irises are seen. This makes it possible that Jana, unlike Sutra, also had normal irises and a human skin-color to make her look more like Soji. A few seconds later, slightly different footage of the same androids appears horizontally flipped. All those scenes of twin androids reminds us of TOS: "I, Mudd", of course.

Observation 67

Screenshots from TNG: "Face of the Enemy", DS9: "The Die Is Cast" and "Star Trek: Nemesis" show what the bridge of a Romulan Warbird looked like in the past. Like some other Romulans seen earlier in the season (including the Romulan centurion in "Nepenthe" and "Broken Pieces"), Oh is wearing a crest with the Romulan logo on her belt.

Observation 68

A new type of Romulan Warbird is seen in the fleet approaching Coppelius. The ship type seen prominently at the end of "Broken Pieces" also appears here in large numbers. Comparison screen caps from TNG and "Star Trek: Nemesis" show what Romulan capital ships looked like in the past.



Most screen caps from TrekCore and Trek Caps Thanks to TrekCore and Plaid Phantom for the hint about the musical instrument and to AJ Halliwell for spotting the reuse of the animation from "Stardust City Rag".


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