We have already recapped and reviewed “Much Ado About Boimler,” the seventh 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.
Much of “Much Ado About Boimler” was a riff on the sixth season two-part Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Chain of Command,” starting with the captain and two senior officers being recruited for a special Starfleet ops mission. Freeman, Ransom, and Shaxs wore the same stealth outfits as Picard, Crusher, and Worf in that episode. Mariner also made a reference to a “Jellico coming in here,” namedropping Captain Edward Jellico who took command of the Enterprise-D while Picard and his team were on their mission. Like Picard’s, Freeman’s mission was also related to Cardassia as the vital Rulot seeds are from a Cardassian planet mentioned on Deep Space Nine.
Due to a failed experiment with the transporters, Brad Boimler spent most of the episode “out of phase.” Star Trek characters as phased specters have been a recurring theme across the franchise, starting with Captain Kirk in “The Tholian Web.” Ensign Ro and Geordi LaForge were also out of phase in the TNG Episode “The Next Phase.” And in Enterprise’s “Vanishing Point,” Hoshi Sato believed she was slowly fading away due to a transporter malfunction. That episode also told the transporter ghost story of a “Cyrus Ramsey” who may have inspired the name of the Captain Ramsey in Lower Decks, who came aboard to take command while Freeman was on her mission.
Bad ship for good bedside manner
Dr. T’Ana summoned Starfleet’s Divison 14 to take care of Brad’s special condition, and they arrived in a unique ship named The “Osler.” This ship was likely named for Canadian physician Dr. William Osler, who was one of the founders of Johns Hopkins Hospital and is described as the “Father of Modern Medicine.” Osler pioneered training students in bedside manner, so naming this dark and foreboding ship after him was a bit ironic.
Starfleet Freak Show
The Osler housed a number of victims of accidents that looked a bit familiar. Anthony the salamander-like creature was clearly inspired by the de-evolved creatures Tom Paris and Captain Janeway transformed into in the infamous Star Trek: Voyager episode “Threshold.”
Ensign Jenna and an unnamed officer were confined to motorized chairs and only able to talk via beeps due to Delta radiation, just like Captain Pike in the TOS episode “The Menagerie.” Both were later joined by a third chaired officer when they got to “The Farm.”
Two officers (Ellis and Sanderson) had been fused together due to a neutrino transporter accident, which was a twist on the eponymous character created from a transporter accident in the Voyager episode “Tuvix.”
The leader of the freaks was a half boy/old man who was suffering from both rapid aging and de-aging, like the dying Daniels from Enterprise’s “Storm Front.” Some of the other freaks could have been references to other franchises, including the floating head (Cromulons from Rick and Morty) and the spiked guy with his head removed (Zabrak, like Darth Maul from Star Wars).
And Lt. Pratchett was Rigelian.
Encounter at Jellyfish
The episode ended with the USS Rubidoux being consumed from the inside by an alien creature, transforming into a “space jellyfish,” like the space vessel lifeforms seen in the TNG pilot “Encounter at Farpoint.”
“Much Ado About Boimler” didn’t include any of the famous Star Trek character name drops that have been common in the series, but there was one that was a bit of a deep cut. Mariner talked about stealing the “old special car” from a Professor Saul Rubichek of Starfleet Academy. This seems to be a nod to character actor Saul Rubinek, who played Kivas Fajo, the collector of unique old things in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Most Toys.” The USS Rubidoux’s Captain Dayton may also have been named in honor of veteran Trek novelist Dayton Ward.
BONUS VIDEO UPDATE: Mike talks TAS canon
In his Sunday video update, Mike McMahan talked about the Division 14 Specialist and the show’s goal to treat Star Trek: The Animated Series as canon.
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.