From DS9 To M-113, ‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Easter Eggs In “Cupid’s Errant Arrow”

We have already recapped and reviewed “Cupid’s Errant Arrow,” the fifth episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks, and discussed it on the All Access Star Trek podcast. Now we take a deeper dive into the fun details, references, Easter eggs, and more. In some cases the references are clear, with others it may just be our Trek interpretations; art is in the eye of the beholder.

Obviously… SPOILERS ahead.

Body problems: from Ceti Alpha to Praxis

The sci-fi plot for “Cupid’s Errant Arrow” involved Starfleet imploding an unstable moon around the planet Mixtus III. The moon in question looked a lot like Praxis, a moon of the Klingon homeworld, after a devastating accident seen in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. When Captain Freeman is coming up with solutions to help various factions in the system, she tells those who are currently living on the moon that their ancestral homes will be relocated to the sixth moon, “which will now technically be the fifth, anyway.” In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Ceti Alpha V was mistaken for Ceti Alpha VI, which had been destroyed, unbeknownst to Starfleet. Freeman’s final diplomatic challenge was presented to her when she learned that destroying the moon would save Mixtus III, but doom Mixtus II. This conundrum of how to deal with these three celestial bodies was presented to her as an “impossible problem,” which is possibly a nod to the “three-body problem” of celestial mechanics.

Speaking of planets, when Freeman decided to implode the moon, to the detriment to the couple of aliens who lived on Mixtus II, one of them fell to his knees and decried, “You maniacs! We just put in new floors!” This was an homage to the iconic end of the classic 1968 sci-fi film Planet of the Apes.

Oh, Vancouver Canada

This episode introduced a new ship, the USS Vancouver, which is a Parliament-class ship. The Vancouver was presented as a cooler and higher-tech version of the USS Cerritos, a California-class vessel. Vancouver is named in honor of Vancouver, BC, Canada, which happens to be the home to the Titmouse Animation studio which does work on Lower Decks. The shuttles on board the Vancouver were also named for neighborhoods in Vancouver, BC, including Marpole, Fairview, and Kitsilano. You could also see some quintessential Canadian food being served in the mess, including poutine, and California rolls, which one Vancouver sushi chef claims he invented.

Reversing the Super Hitler

The USS Vancouver was said to be designed to take on Starfleet’s most challenging engineering tasks. This included a mention of recalibrating a Dyson Sphere. The only time one of these star system-sized objects was ever seen was in the TNG episode “Relics,” featuring Star Trek’s legendary engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott. Doing “epic” feats of engineering appears to be everyday events on the Vancouver, which includes Lt. Barbara Brinson’s offhand mention of deploying the ultimate engineering trope to “reverse the polarity” in order to “reboot the timestream” when the Vancouver had traveled back in time to 1920s Chicago—which could also be a reference to the gangster-themed TOS episode “A Piece of the Action.” To drive home the point of routine time travel, Vancouver engineer Lt. Cmdr. Docent mentioned a twist on a classic time travel trope, saying the ship once went back in time to “kill the guy worse than Hitler.”

That 2370s show

A flashback in this episode showed us Mariner back when she served on the USS Quito, which was revealed to be an Olympic-class ship, like the USS Pasteur commanded by Beverly Crusher in an alternate future in the TNG series finale. The Quito was docked at Station Deep Space 9, from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It’s not clear when the flashback was set, but the crew of the Quito was seen wearing the uniforms introduced in Star Trek: First Contact (set in 2373, or seven years before Lower Decks). Mariner and her crewmates gossip about how Data’s brother Lore was working with the Borg, which is a reference to the TNG episode “Descent,” set in 2369. As they were in First Contact uniforms, this flashback discussion was at least four years later, so perhaps news travels slowly to the crew of the Quito. The flashback also included a meta-joke about the weekly episodic adventures of Star Trek: The Next Generation and the crew of USS Enterprise-D: “Man, it’s like a new thing every week with those guys.”

How many shapeshifters and infiltrators does Star Trek have?

Having someone as cool as Barb head over heels for Brad Boimler has Mariner convinced Barb isn’t who she seems to be. This leads her to create a conspiracy board that would impress Homeland’s Carrie Mathison. In addition to some obvious suspects like a Romulan spy, a secret android, a changeling, and a Sulliban, Mariner goes deeper, suggesting a “salt succubus” (like the M-113 creature also known as the Salt Vampire from the TOS episode “The Man Trap”), “sexy people in rompers who murders just for going on the grass” (like the Edo from TNG “Justice”), a surgically altered Cardassian (like Voyager’s Seksa), and a transporter clone (like TNG’s Thomas Riker). Her conspiracy board also included images of whales, like the ones in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Bynars, Data’s child Lal, the Klingon Duras sisters, and a Vendorian. And to drive home the conspiracy theme, the board also included the classic Bigfoot shot.

NITPICK ALERT: Mariner also mentioned that she ruled Barb out for being a “Dauphin,” which is actually a bit of a goof. She is referring to the shapeshifting Allasomorphs featured in the episode titled “The Dauphin,” and the board included an image of one of the forms of the Allasomorph Anya. However “Dauphin” is a title description of the Allasomorph Salia, meaning the crown princess, which was never actually used in the episode.

For her part, Barb had some her own theories about Mariner, suspecting she was a rogue holodeck character (like TNG’s Minuet), and a Breen infiltrator. In the end, it turns out it was Brad who had the problem, having being infected by a parasite that gave off irresistible pheromones. This is a bit friendlier than the parasites that took over members of Starfleet in the TNG episode “Conspiracy“, and perhaps was a nod the brain slugs in Futurama.

Finally, in a shout-out to the TAS episode “The Infinite Vulcan,” Mariner also mentioned the USS Cerritos has a Phylosian on board, who she described as “a nice plant person.”

Starfleet’s coolest, from Kirk (again) to Riker

Brad describes Jet—whom Mariner thinks is the second coolest person on the USS Cerritos—as a “Kirk sundae with Trip Tucker sprinkles.” This brings us yet another Lower Decks reference to Captain James T. Kirk from TOS, and the first reference to Charles “Trip” Tucker III from Star Trek: Enterprise. A couple of cool TNG characters also got name-dropped: Boimler said that his girlfriend was as real as “a hopped-up Q on Captain Picard Day” referencing the famed obsession the god-like being Q has with Captain Jean-Luc Picard. (Captain Picard Day was featured in the TNG episode “Pegasus.”) Also, Docent’s PADD password was revealed to be “Riker,” presumably for William T. Riker, who at this point in history is the captain of the USS Titan, so that is a bit creepy.

…and Geordi too

“Cupid’s Errant Arrow” also had a visual gag that referenced a TNG character who is also pretty cool, but notoriously less lucky when it came to his success with dating. When Brad meets up with Barb he brings a teddy bear wearing a VISOR and uniform like Geordi La Forge.

Bonus video update: Mike talks episode 5 eggs

On Sunday CBS released a video with Mike McMahan talking about some of the Easter eggs outlined above.

What did we miss?

Did you catch anything else? Let us know in the comments below.


New episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks premiere on Thursdays on CBS All Access in the U.S. and on CTV Sci-Fi Channel in Canada, where it’s also available to stream on Crave. It has not yet been announced where and when Lower Decks will be available outside of the USA and Canada.

Keep up with all the news and reviews from the new Star Trek Universe on TV at TrekMovie.com.

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The the USS Vancouver is the most Canadian of ships. I love poutine by the way.

“kill the guy worse than Hitler” LOL

I love the Vancouver too. A gorgeous ship for a gorgeous city.

Poutine however is a relatively recent addition to the cuisine in that part of Canada, even if the chip trucks have been making it forever in central Canada. It doesn’t take long to catch on.

I’d like to see down the line though if Boimler was able to get replicator specs for Nanaimo Bars from the Vancouver.

I belive the Canadian themed ship is also a nod to “The Breakfast Club” and Brian’s “Canadian Girlfriend”.

It’s just nice to have Vancouver celebrated for itself since it is such a distinctive city but mostly is used to pretend to be somewhere else on-screen. (Continuum was a great exception.)

Since most of Trek is produced in the Greater Toronto area now, it would be great to have a shout-out to Toronto or Mississauga. Toronto city hall appeared in the images of Iconian gate-sites in TNG, so maybe the Lower Decks team can work it in again.

Vancouver and British Columbia are nice places. I’m closer to Toronto than Vancouver from the US side. Americans and Canadians can make a great team.

Is “The Breakfast Club” a movie?

Poutine has been in Vancouver for at least thirty years. Not sure what your definition of recent is…

Poutine is as Canadian as it gets.

That’s coming from a proud American here.

Showing my age indeed. (I’m one of the old ones here that saw TOS in first run as a school child.)

Well, KFC added it to its Canadian menu in the 90s and spread it, but it gravy on fries was viewed an unhealthy central Canadian oddity in BC and the rest of the West well through the 80s. “Easterners” asking for gravy got about the same reaction Canadians asking for vinegar get in the US.

I remember to this day the first time a Franco-Ontarian took me to an authentic chip in Ontario truck in summer and ordered for me. I was educated about how French fries had to be hand made in summer with the last of the previous year’s potato harvest. I just had to choose chicken or beef gravy, and then I understood.

By the way, the poutine got a happy “Poutine!!” reaction when they noticed it on the table when they watch the episode.

My family visits Canada once in a while. We don’t have poutine here in the United States. Every time we go north of the border, we eat poutine and other Canadian food.

I want to go to the French speaking part of Canada like Montreal and Quebec. I’m leaning some French on duolingo.

You know what duolingo is right?

Yes, one of our kids had Duolingo assigned for extra French homework at one point in middle school. French is mandatory in English schools from Junior kindergarten through elementary in Ontario.

A couple of other free ways to learn:
– if your parents have cable and you get Canadian channels try some of the preschool shows in French;
– if it’s not geoblocked try minitfo at tfo.org/enfants

Kids shows use simple language structures and hyperpronouce so they’re a good place to start. News shows can be good too.

(tfo is the French-language version of the government of Ontario’s free learning television channel -TVO is the English; ICI Radio Canada is the French version of the federal CBC.)

By the way, if you haven’t tried butter tarts yet, you should the next time you can come to Canada. They’re definitely a Canadian specialty.

Last edited 2 months ago by TG47

Thanks, I studied Spanish in high school. I’m interested in trying Japanese too. Japan I want to go there.

French is not mandatory in the US. Spanish is more commonplace in America than French.

I used Duolingo for Spanish lessons.

Reversing the polarity for time travel reasons is very Doctor Who.

Yes, could not have said it any better.

Makes sense seeing as how they used the sonic screwdriver sound this episode.

So Mariner beats Harry Kim being an Ensign for the longest time.

Well, she was promoted and demoted a couple of times, unlike Harry.

Didn’t they mention the Suliban?

yes, it is noted in that section. We don’t hyperlink every single reference, but it is in the article copy.

During the conspiracy board scene Mariner rules out Barb being a “Dauphin” and an image of Anya from the TNG episode “The Dauphin” can be seen on the board on the far left. Calling it a “dauphin” makes no sense since the alien was called an elasomorph in that episode. Dauphin referred to Wesley’s girlfriend specifically — its a real world term used to describe the heir to the throne.

Last edited 2 months ago by izbot

Man, I really want to know who is the guy they killed that is worse than Hitler lol. Of course we don’t know since he’s been erased from our memory. ;)

I’m really loving all the fun references and callbacks. I think every show pre-Discovery got at least one call back either visually or orally (sometimes both) with maybe the exception of Voyager. Even TAS got a shout out! It really makes the Star Trek universe feels whole. Just seeing DS9 again was a fanboy dream! It’s a great reminder ALL of this is still very relevant in both the actual universe of Star Trek and as a fanbase.(And I’m sure it helps CBS drives more views to all the old Trek shows too ;)).

But while I and I imagine most fans love the callbacks, honestly it just the stories themselves that really makes the show. The references are great icing but the plot lines are the actual cake because they feel so true to what we seen on TNG and the other shows before. The moon plot line is just classic Star Trek in all its form. Yes, its approached very humorously but it would fit into any episode of TNG/TOS/VOY etc. But in those shows the aliens would be more serious and there probably would be a long lasting consequence if the moon is destroyed. they have to somehow resolve.

I just miss these types of story lines. Not everything has to be end of the world stakes (or big wars) which the overwhelming majority of classic Star Trek did very little of in reality. Until the Dominion war came, there was very little long lasting galaxy wide threats on the shows. Most of the stories is just trying to help one planet or a group of people overcome an obstacle in some way be it scientific or societal and why this episode works so well for me.

Last edited 2 months ago by Tiger2

Not everything has to be end of the world stakes

Ironically, this story does have end of the world stakes. They need to safely destroy the moon to save the planet. But I guess it’s not end of the universe or end of all biological life stakes ;-)

Yeah but that’s what I mean though. It’s about these ONE group of people and their problems. It doesn’t affect the thousands of other world’s in the galaxy. It’s both a little and big problem at the same time. I just miss these types of stories.

It’s why I’m very excited for SNW because it sounds like we will get stories like this again even if there is a bigger threat in the overall story.

Or Strange New Worlds just saves the universe every week

Lol! It’s definitely possible with these writers.

That is so cool

So the show is just non-stop easter eggs and callbacks and no appreciable plot or character development?

No. It has both.

Apparently this show has fans. I’m not quite sure how. I find the characters annoying and it’s really not that funny. I’d rather watch Discovery or Picard.

“Apparently” people can like something that you don’t. Imagine that…

This episode seems to have been polarizing among a subset of fans.

Despite many “best episode yet” reviews, there were a few that found it mean-spirited that Mariner couldn’t accept that Barb was genuinely interested in Boimler and was proved correct.

My spouse just got to the episode today and I gave them a heads up that there was a subset of super offended reviews before watching. As it turned out, they laughed out loud so much that 1) the kids complained, and 2) they had to stop to get a glass of water. So, not offended, and in fact, they paused the show at a commercial to ask me what on earth could offend.

Basically, with the recurrent references (and Easter eggs) calling back the long history of failed relationships across the classic 5 series, my spouse felt that the show was grounded in a history where someone who cared about a friend should be looking out for an alien/android/parasite etc.

You must be fun at parties. I’m not inviting you to my party.

No, that’s just a fun part of it. If you were to actually watch an episode, you’d be able to figure it out for yourself.

The easter egg article is about the easter eggs.

It’s not a serial Herb Jerb, but we can expect development over time based on the showrunner’s comments.

the sound of the gizmo Rutherford used & kill hitler thing: I thought them as Doctor Who references.

it wasnt a kill Hitler thing it was kill a guy worse than Hitler.

and also…. no… going back in time and kill Hitler is no way any how an invention of doctor Who…

yeah Rutherford’s device used the same sound effect as the Sonic Screwdriver. The Hitler reference *might* have been a reference to the Who ep “Let’s Kill Hitler” (Hitler ends up in a closet), but I doubt it – would seem a bit of a stretch.

“Lower Refs”

When Rutherford does the repair at the start of the episode, his device uses the same sound effect as the Sonic Screwdriver in Doctor Who.

In the Quito flashback, Mariner is modeling a classic Deanna Troi hair style.

There is a shuttle named Yosemite, likely a reference to the Star Trek V opening when Kirk is rock climbing.

I love the show. I find it funny and the characters are fun and have distinct personalities and the references to the Trek universe are priceless. I think poking a little fun at Star Trek makes the whole universe more real and whole. A brilliant idea.

Regarding the shuttle, Mike McMahan has pointed out that the shuttles of the “California” class starship are named after national parks in California.

Interesting tidbit

The scale of the USS Quito is off (or the scale of Deep Space Nine is wrong if you prefer).

An Olympic-Class starship is supposed to be a smaller medical support ship. It shouldn’t be that big docked at one of DS9’s upper pylons. A Galaxy-Class starship kinda barely fit.

Then that’s classic DS9. I felt that the ships docking at DS9 were often at a wrong scale. They usually chose a size that looked good at relation to the station, not something that was necessarily correct.

Okay so that ship is an improper scale?

This in itself is an easter egg, as it was common problem on DS9.

Those ships are too big.

Brad’s jacket is half black half white down the middle of the back.

The Vancouver engineer with the 88’s reminded me of Barclay from TNG

The music when Barb and Mariner are fighting on the platform is the same as during the Borg fight from Best of Both Worlds!!!! Nice little nod

In my mind this is canon, deal with it! :)

Well it is canon. CBS and McMahan made that clear long ago. I’m so happy its canon too, because it just makes you feel more invested and not just a ‘what if’ (although I am having trouble knowing the universe is being balanced on the back of a giant Koala but I’m guessing that’s really Q just messing around ;)).

It deserves to be canon.

It is canon. What about it don’t you understand.

Cerritos is a real city in Southern California (cerritos is Spanish for little hills) They have one of the largest car dealerships; Los cerritos auto square that has a catchy tv ad theme song that I hear in my head EVERY TIME the name of this starship is mentioned. BEST free advertising EVER! Wonder if any of the writers is from Cerritos – or at least bought their car there!

The car dealership thing is why I think Mississauga deserves to have a California class ship even if it isn’t in California.

Mississauga has hundreds of dealerships, but the dealers are worried that they are being excluded from new industrial zoning for things like the new CBS Studios Mississauga that opened in 2019.

I live twenty minutes away from Cerritos and my mother bought her last car from that dealership two years ago. And yes that jingle is VERY catchy lol.

Does Cerritos have a lot of used car dealers too?

I’m convinced that Mississauga is the used car dealer capital of Canada…

I will say though that Mississauga has come along way, and has some stunning architecture downtown now. Probably, one of the reasons the car dealers are worried they won’t be a priority in the future.

No, not really. Most of them deal with primarily new cars. I mean they may have a few refurbished cars here and there that are a few years old but not used cars in the way you’re talking about.

I just looked up Mississauga. Looks really nice!

Last edited 2 months ago by Tiger2

The other geeking out reason to use Mississauga for a ship name is that you can translate it as “Big Delta” .

“Missi” means big or great (as in Mississippi means big river).

“Sauga” means river of many mouths, or a river delta in this case.

I’m no expert on Indigenous languages, but this seems to be the accepted translation.

So, despite the dreary location near Pearson International Airport, the new CBS Studios has been located in the city called “Great Delta”.

And we’ve already had hints that space has been reserved there for one of the new live-action Trek series.

There you go, a double Easter egg.

Last edited 2 months ago by TG47

Mariner’s shipmates on the Quito were Ed Mercer and Kelly Grayson from The Orville?