REd ALARm! This article contains a spoiler for the sixth episode of season 2 of Star Trek: Picard, “Two of One,” available for streaming on Paramount Plus now.
In the most recent episode of Star Trek: Picard, “Two of One,” written by Cindy Appel and Jane Maggs and directed by Jonathan Frakes, Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill) has been forced to allow the Borg Queen (Annie Wersching) into her brain to ensure the crew of La Sirena will have the ability to travel back through time and return to their present day.
In order to cause a distraction during the Europa mission gala, Jurati and the Borg Queen perform a scene-stealing rendition of “Shadows of the Night” by Pat Benatar (although it turns out the Borg Queen uses the ensuing endorphins to hijack Jurati’s body). But this is far from the first time that Trek has veered into the musical! Check out our non-exhaustive playlist of some of the previous musical moments from the franchise.
1. “A British Tar”
In the opening scenes of Star Trek: Insurrection, the penultimate movie featuring the crew from Star Trek: The Next Generation, which was also directed by Frakes, Data is malfunctioning. The android even attacks a shuttlecraft that carries Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Worf (Michael Dorn). In order to neutralize him, Picard begins to sing “A British Tar” from HMS Pinafore by Gilbert and Sullivan to distract the android while he is captured, a musical for which Data had been rehearsing before departing the Enterprise-E.
According to FADE IN: The Making of Star Trek: Insurrection by Michael Pillar, an earlier draft of the scene had Picard reciting lines from King Lear by William Shakespeare. However, that was changed when Stewart himself suggested lyrics written by some of Earth’s other greatest writers of all time.
2. “Oh, On the Starship Enterprise”
In this early episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, a scene set in the mess hall saw several members of Captain James T. Kirk’s bridge crew engaging in a sing-along. First, Spock (Leonard Nimoy) began to play his Vulcan lute, and then, communications officer Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) began to sing along as Nurse Chapel (Majel Barrett Roddenberry) listened.
Part of the song concerns the fact that Spock’s appearance resembles “the Devil,” a comparison that is made more than once over the course of TOS. While the song warns that “girls in space” should be wary, the lyrics at least recognized that when it came to romance on the Enterprise, everyone’s first thought is of Spock.
3. “That Old Black Magic”
In the Star Trek: Voyager season six episode “Virtuoso,” the Doctor (Robert Picardo), who has been steadily honing his singing abilities over the course of the series, finds that his musical acumen has made him a celebrity among an alien species, the Qomarian. The Qomarian people are very rude to the Doctor, at least until they catch him humming and then singing. At that point, their demeanor completely changes, given that they had never before heard singing.
However, the Qomarians are far less impressed with a performance by a band headed by Ensign Harry Kim (Garrett Wang), Harry Kim and the Kimtones. The Doctor steps in to sing “That Old Black Magic” by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, one of many songs the hologram performs in the episode. It’s no wonder that the character has a musical bent, considering Picardo is an accomplished singer who made his Broadway debut in Gemini in 1977.
4. “batlh vlpoQ!”
In the Star Trek: Lower Decks second season episode “We’ll Always Have Tom Paris,” Ensigns Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome) and D’Vana Tendi (Noël Wells) travel to Qualor II in order to accomplish a special mission for Doctor T’Ana (Gillian Vigman). Once there, they encounter a roadblock: the clerk who runs the storage facility where T’Ana’s packing is being held is on the surly side.
Fortunately, Tendi’s well-known affection for Klingon Acid Rock comes into play: she recognizes the song the clerk is listening to, “batlh vlpoQ!,” and the pair bond over their shared love of the artists in the genre. This common ground means that the clerk proves extremely helpful in Tendi’s mission. Behold, the power of music!
5. “Stormy Weather”
In the fourth season of Star Trek: Discovery, the computer of the U.S.S. Disco achieves sentience. This new entity is played by Annabelle Wallis and takes the name “Zora” for herself, learning much from the crew, including Gray Tal (Ian Alexander) and Captain Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green).
In the episode “Stormy Weather,” which was also directed by Frakes, a memorable musical moment occurs during the climactic scene. The crew of Disco must entrust their lives to Zora as all but the Captain are suspended in the pattern buffer while the ship traverses a plasma barrier. As Burnham struggles to maintain consciousness, Zora comforts her by singing the eponymous song, written by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler and first performed by Ethel Waters.
6. “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General”
In the Star Trek: Short Treks episode “Q&A,” written by Michael Chabon and directed by Mark Pellington, a young version of Spock (Ethan Peck) meets Number One (Rebecca Romijn) on board the U.S.S. Enterprise for the first time. The pair soon become trapped in an elevator on the way to the bridge. As they wait for repair and rescue, and at the behest of Number One, Spock asks First Officer Una a series of questions.
A few hours later (and after already asking about things like the Prime Directive’s possible immorality and the possibility that all of life is a simulation), Number One tells Spock that if he wants to reach a command position, he must learn to “keep [his] freaky to [himself].” In order to demonstrate that she understands how painful this can be, she spontaneously performs “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General” from Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance.
It isn’t just the Prime Trek timeline on which you can expect to find musical moments! In the early scenes of the J.J. Abrams-directed Star Trek (2008), which launched the ongoing Kelvin timeline, we see a young Kirk (Jimmy Bennett) who steals his stepfather’s convertible and drives it off a cliff. As he does so, he blares “Sabotage” by The Beastie Boys.
This is possibly a reference to an infamous William Shatner moment, in which the actor was asked to re-do a line he was recording and pronounce the word “sabotage” in a different way than he had in the first take. “Please don’t tell me how to do it,” replied Shatner. “It sickens me.”
8. “It’s Only a Paper Moon”
On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Vic Fontaine (James Darren) was a hologram created by the never-seen-on-screen Felix, a friend of Julian Bashir (Alexander Siddig). A 1960s Earth lounge singer based on Las Vegas-based acts like Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, Fontaine was aware of the fact that he was a hologram. After first being introduced in the sixth season episode “His Way,” Fontaine becomes an increasingly important person on the space station (even though he can’t leave his holosuite at Quark’s).
In the seventh season episode “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” Fontaine plays an integral role in helping Nog (Aron Eisenberg) recover from combat-induced PTSD. The episode takes its name from a song that was written by Arlen, Yip Harburg, and Billy Rose that has lyrics that allude to the thin line between real and unreal (especially applicable when it comes to ephemeral concepts like holograms and emotions). At the end of the episode, Nog ensures Fotaine’s holoprogram is allowed to run indefinitely moving forward.
9. “Where My Heart Will Take Me”
For Star Trek: Enterprise, every episode has a memorable musical moment: the theme song, “Where My Heart Will Take Me,” performed by Russell Watson and written by Diane Warren. This song was used to wake up astronauts on the International Space Station, and a special version was recorded by Watson to be played when the NASA New Horizons spacecraft was “woken up” on December 6th, 2014.
However, before Enterprise first premiered in September 2001, a different version of the song appeared on a different soundtrack: the soundtrack for the 1998 movie Patch Adams, starring Robin Williams. This non-reworked version of the song, which was entitled “Faith of the Heart,” was performed by Rod Stewart.
10. “Magic Carpet Ride”
In the 1996 movie Star Trek: First Contact, the crew of the Enterprise travels back to April 5th, 2063, the date on which Zefram Cochrane (James Cromwell) will make first contact with an extraterrestrial species. However, the Borg are working overtime to ensure the historic event never comes to pass and humanity remains isolated from the other people of the cosmos.
Fortunately, the crew of the Enterprise is able to restore history, with both William Riker (Frakes) and Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton) joining Cochrane as he breaks the warp barrier. However, just before they launch, Cochrane insists on playing a recording of “Magic Carpet Ride” by Steppenwolf.
According to Aaron J. Waltke, showrunner of Star Trek: Prodigy, Cochrane’s musical moment helped inspired the AC/DC sound-alike song that Dal R’El (Brett Gray) utilized as a distraction on the holodeck as he attempts to conquer the fabled Kobayashi Maru program.
11. “Night Bird”
In the TNG season six episode “Second Chances,” Riker is seen performing a jazz concert for his crewmates on his trombone. Knowing that he’s always had a hard part with the solo, Counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) requests “Night Bird.”
In his appearances on Lower Decks, Riker’s affection for jazz continues to be foregrounded. In the episode “Kayshon, His Eyes Open,” not only do we see that Captain Riker has chosen décor for his Captain’s Quarters that recalls the style of music, but in the first season finale, “No Small Parts,” we discover that his signature “jump to warp” phrase pays homage, as well.
“Give me warp in the factor of five, six, seven, eight,” Riker says, snapping his fingers as Troi sighs, “Ugh, the jazz.”
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