We have already recapped and reviewed “Veritas,” the eighth 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.
A Fatu-Krey in a Klingon Courtroom
“Veritas” was explicitly made to be an homage to Star Trek courtroom episodes and movie moments. The silo where most of the episode took place was fashioned after the setting for the Klingon trial of James T. Kirk and Dr. McCoy in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
Magistrate Clar of K’Tuevon Prime (voiced by veteran actor Kurtwood Smith in his fourth Star Trek role) also somewhat resembled General Chang, who prosecuted the case against Kirk and McCoy in Star Trek VI, but he also strongly resembled the Fatu-Krey General Roth’h’ar Sarris from the Star Trek homage Galaxy Quest.
Extending the courtroom theme, Brad Boimler literally name-drops the classic Star Trek: The Next Generation trial-focused episode “The Drumhead,” while he “mic drops” the Horn of Candor. And the episode’s references didn’t end there. When arguing that Khan Noonien Singh was one of the biggest badasses of all time, Mariner refers to him as a “Space Seed,” which was the name of the TOS episode where he made his debut. Tendi also mentioned Khan’s “thick, thick, chest” which has become talked about so much that Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan director Nicholas Meyer has requested that people stop asking about it. As for Boimler, he argued the bigger badass was Roga Danar, who had “amazing hair” and outsmarted Picard in the TNG episode “The Hunted.”
But there were many more episode references that were not as overt, including how the entire plot of ensigns participating in a covert mission without knowing what was really going on paralleled the TNG episode “Lower Decks,” which inspired the series Star Trek: Lower Decks.
As Commander Billups was running out of oxygen he began to hallucinate and babble., at one point saying, “Uh oh, Mark Twain’s got a gun!” recalling a moment in the Next Generation time-travel episode “Time’s Arrow, Part II.” He also said “Tasha no! there’s a garbage bag behind you,” referring to Armus, the amorphous black creature that killed Tasha Yar in “Skin of Evil.”
Brad brought up the “giant Spock on Phylos,” the large Spock clone in the Animated Series episode “The Infinite Vulcan,” as well as the TNG episode “Sub Rosa” by asking the question, “Did Dr. Crusher know about that ghost in the lamp thing from that Scottish planet that she hooked up with that one time?” As Brad was rattling off references in the form of questions like a lightning round on Jeopardy, he also asked “Did Picard know about the Borg?”—a reference to the TNG episode “Q Who.”
Q’s bulls–t games
“Q Who” was just yet another callback to the classic TNG era godlike adversary Q, who first appeared in the pilot of The Next Generation. But for this episode, they finally had an actual Q cameo, voiced by original Q actor John de Lancie. In fact, he popped in twice. The first time, he transported the bridge crew into some weird game to “prove humanity is worth saving,” which, along with his judge’s robe outfit, was a mashup of various Q episodes like “Encounter at Farpoint,” “Hide and Q,” and “Qpid.” The humans-as-chess-pieces is a trope, but this Q game felt like an homage to Mr. Burns backyard human chess set from The Simpsons episode “Tennis the Menace.” Q popped in again at the end of the episode, this time to challenge the four lower decker ensigns to a duel to “put humanity to the ultimate test.” But Mariner wasn’t in the mood, demanding Q to leave with, “We aren’t dealing with any of your Q bulls–t.”
Drinking on Earth
Mariner dismissively suggests Q go bother Picard, as he has done many times over seven seasons of TNG. But now Q seems done with Jean-Luc: “Oh Picard. He’s not fun. He’s always quoting Shakespeare. He’s always making wine.” While Lower Decks is set in 2380 while Picard is still in command of the USS Enterprise E, Q can travel through time, so he is clearly complaining about Picard’s later years in retirement when he takes over his family’s Chateau Picard vineyard first seen in “Family” and the place we find Jean-Luc at the beginning of Star Trek: Picard.
Wine got another mention earlier in the episode when Mariner laments about how boring it would be to live on Earth because “there’s nothing to do but drink wine and hang out at vineyards and soul food restaurants.” She is referring to both Picard’s vineyard and Sisko’s Creole Kitchen, the New Orleans restaurant owned by Benjamin Sisko’s father on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Earth got a visual shout-out in the opening shot of K’Tuevon Prime, featuring a light pattern based on a view of its southern Asian continent but rotated about 90 degrees.
Vulcans take back their phaser
Vulcans had a big role to play in this episode, beyond the TAS Spock reference. When complimenting Rutherford on his ability to do the Vulcan neck pinch, Shaxs refers to two unconscious Vulcans as “Spock and Spock.” This scene also featured a deep cut with the appearance of a particular weapon first used by Ferengi in the DS9 episode “The Magnificent Ferengi,” but identified in the book The Art of Star Trek as a Vulcan phaser. And now it is.
Fandancing for ships
Apparently, the whole point of nerve-pinching Vulcans was to steal a long-range Vulcan shuttle, like the one introduced in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, to help infiltrate a Vulcan ship museum.
And the visit to the ship museum was of course full of identifiable vessels from Star Trek history, including a 21st-century Vulcan starship, which may have been the T’Plana-Hath that made first contact with humans in Star Trek: First Contact. Also seen were a Klingon D7 battlecruiser, a Jem’Hadar fighter, a Tholian ship, and a Ferengi shuttle. There were also various Federation shuttles from both the TOS and TNG era, as well as a worker bee.
The mission to the museum required Rutherford to do a fan dance to distract the Vulcan guards, an homage to the distracting fan dance done by Uhura in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. And the guards were wearing TOS movie-era Starfleet Guard uniforms.
Romulans and Remans
The whole goal of the museum heist was to steal a 23rd-century Romulan Bird of Prey, a cloaking ship first introduced in the TOS episode “Balance of Terror.” One of these classic ships was more recently seen in the Star Trek: Picard episode “Absolute Candor,” used by the late 24th-century warlord Kar Kantar. Those events are set about 19 years after this episode, so perhaps Kantar had somehow acquired this specific stolen ship.
The infiltration team later used this cloaked ship to cross the Romulan Neutral Zone, although at one point they were surrounded by 24th century Romulan D’deridex Warbirds in a moment that was a visual homage to the TNG episodes that introduced these ships, “The Neutral Zone.” Warbirds like these also feature in the title sequence for Lower Decks.
“Veritas” takes a visit to the Romulan homeworld, where a covert team infiltrates a facility to rescue Clar (“The Package”). While there we see several Romulans, all dressed in the same uniform every Romulan officer seems to wear in the 24th century. They also had a fun quick exchange: “You know who I hate? Remans.” This refers to the race from the oppressed planet of Remus, introduced in the film Star Trek: Nemesis when they helped the Picard clone Shinzon take over the Romulan government. Lower Decks is set one year after that film.
Remembering a parallel ship
Speaking of ships, this episode introduced another California-class vessel, the USS Alhambra. Dr. T’Ana accidentally boarded thinking it was the Cerritos, only to get confused, proclaiming “Someone is replacing everyone on the ship with imposters who claim not to know me. We might be in a parallel dimension.” This is a bit of a mashup of the plots of TNG’s “Remember Me” and “Parallels.”
Gorn weddings are the worst
Some of the officers on the Alhambra were new aliens, but “Veritas” had some familiar ones as well; we saw a whole lot of Gorn, introduced in the classic TOS episode “Arena,” when Rutherford stumbled into a Gorn wedding. The groom was also wearing the same loincloth worn by the Gorn captain in that episode.
The wedding may have even been on the same planet as “Arena,” as it had the same Vasquez Rocks formations.
Dating a salt vampire
But “Veritas” isn’t done with its alien references. Shaxs and Billups have a conversation about scary-sounding “Denobulan flesh-eating bacteria.” Denobulans were introduced in Star Trek: Enterprise, with the main character of Dr. Phlox. And as Boimler was recalling how the senior officers make mistakes, he noted Ransom does not do enough due diligence on his alien dates, like the time he tried to pick up on a disguised salt vampire, like the M-113 creature introduced in the first aired Star Trek episode “The Man Trap.” Mary Ann, the salt vampire on the Cerritos even wore the same hairstyle and outfit as the creature wore at one point in “The Man Trap.”
UPDATE: Mike talks Roga Danar
In his Sunday update, Mike McMahan talks about his favorite reference in the episode.
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.
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