We have already recapped and reviewed “No Small Parts,” the tenth and final episode of the first season 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.
“No Small Parts” began with a visit to Beta III from the Star Trek: The Original Series episode “Return of the Archons,” where the residents had returned to worshipping Landru, a computer that Kirk and Spock had exposed and seemingly destroyed. When Landru demanded the locals consume Capt. Freeman and Cmdr. Ransom, she warned him “Don’t make me paradox you into destroying yourself,” referring to how Kirk dispatched Landru. There were a few mentions of “Red Hour,” the “Festival” of anarchy that the residents had apparently given up. This included a mention of “purging people during the Red Hour.” The 2013 film The Purge was inspired by the Star Trek episode.
Speaking of TOS… and TAS
“No Small Parts” took these references to The Original Series to a new level when Ransom talked about Beta III as “visiting planets from the TOS era,” which he explained as “Those Old Scientists,” name-dropping Scotty and Spock. Freeman also got TOS-meta which she said “I just hate seeing a perfectly good society get destroyed by a Gamester of Triskelion or whatever,” referring to the Providers who conducted the games on the planet Triskelion from the TOS episode “The Gamesters of Triskelion.” Oh, and when Ransom pulls up an image of Kirk and Spock on his PADD, it was from Star Trek: The Animated Series.
Pakleds are no joke
The main villains for the episode were the Pakleds, introduced in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Samaritan Snare.” Like that episode, the Pakleds still used simplistic speech such as “We are strong.” And even though they had assembled powerful ships, they still weren’t very bright as they thought every Starfleet ship was the Enterprise, referring to the Enterprise-D they’d encountered in that TNG episode.
Boimler was able to identify that the core of Pakled ships seen in “No Small Parts” was the same kind of ship seen in “Samaritan Snare,” but their trick of trapping ships with fake distress calls to steal their technology has been working as their ships now showed components from Klingons, Ferengi, Romulans, Bajorans, and others.
Exocomps are still tools
The latest member of the Cerritos crew was also familiar. Peanut Hamper was an Exocomp, first scene in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Quality of Life,” where Data recognized these robotic tools had developed sentience.
“The Rikers in Space”
The biggest return in this episode was Star Trek: The Next Generation stars Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis reprising their roles as William Riker and Deanna Troi. In the 2002 film Star Trek: Nemesis, Riker and Troi were married and he was given command of the USS Titan. Frakes has joked at conventions that he has pitched a comedy called “The Rikers in Space,” featuring the pair on the USS Titan; in a way, he has gotten his wish on Lower Decks.
The episode referred to Riker’s love of jazz (first revealed in the TNG episode “11001001“) and indicated the couple had multiple horga’hns, the Risian fertility statues first mentioned by Riker in the TNG episode “Captain’s Holiday.”
First Titan Contact
While the Titan was mentioned in Nemesis, it was never shown. However, there were a series of novels featuring Riker and Troi set on the USS Titan, and those did feature artwork of the ship, based on a fan design contest. You can even buy a model of the Titan from Eaglemoss. Lower Decks was the first time the ship was seen in canon.
The ship’s entry (accompanied by the theme to Star Trek: The Next Generation) evoked the heroic entry of the USS Enterprise in the film Star Trek: First Contact, which was directed by Jonathan Frakes. Speaking of that film, when the Pakleds were attacking the Cerritos, Ransom says “They’re carving us up like a First Contact Day salmon.” First Contact Day celebrates the day Vulcans make first contact with humans, as depicted in the film. Riker, Troi, and the crew of the Titan also still wears the Starfleet uniforms introduced in First Contact.
Faith of the Beard
Sirtis and Frakes returned earlier this year to guest star in the live-action series Star Trek: Picard (“Nepenthe”) which was a fan favorite of the season. Their last Trek appearance together was in the controversial series finale of Star Trek: Enterprise “These Are The Voyages…” where they visited a holodeck program depicting the crew of the NX-01. “No Small Parts” referred to this along with Enterprise’s controversial theme song “Where Will My Heart Take Me,” when Lower Decks‘ Riker said “I was watching the first Enterprise on the holodeck. You know, Archer and those guys. What a story. Those guys had a long road getting from there to here.”
TNG is real
There were some more mentions of events and characters from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Cerritos crewmember Lt. Steven Levy was revealed to be a conspiracy theorist who believed that Wolf 359 was an inside job, referring to the Battle of Wolf 359 between the Borg and the Federation from the episode “The Best of Both Worlds.” Levy also claimed that “Changelings aren’t real and the Dominion War didn’t happen,” about the race that controls the Dominion and the war with them depicted in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
It was mentioned that the USS Cerritos celebrates Captain Freeman Day, just like the USS Enterprise-D celebrates Captain Picard Day. When arguing she could stay on the Cerritos with her mother, Mariner said, “Wesley Crusher worked with his mother,” referring to Wesley and Beverly Crusher of the USS Enterprise-D. Mariner later threatened Boimler (who was ignoring her messages) with “I’m going to feed you to an Armus,” referencing the creature that killed Tasha Yar in “Skin of Evil”—reminding us that both TNG and LDS had their security chief die in the first season. The last TNG era reference came when the USS Cerritos was being repaired and Captain Freeman wanted to ensure it remained the same, saying “I hate it when a ship gets repaired and comes out looking all Sovereign-class.” The USS Enterprise-D was replaced by the USS Enterprise-E, a Sovereign-class vessel. This is also likely a nod to the total overhaul the original USS Enterprise got that ended up looking quite different in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
Obligatory Star Trek II references
It’s not an episode of Lower Decks without some nod to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and “No Small Parts” had a couple. When the USS Cerritos was first damaged by the Pakleds and one of its nacelles was torn off, it limped away like the USS Reliant after it lost a nacelle in the Battle of the Mutara Nebula.
And Shaxs’ funeral with the flag-draped photon torpedo coffin evoked Spock’s funeral from Wrath of Khan.
The season finale made reference to moments from previous Lower Decks episodes including the season opener when Mariner was seen with a box full of contraband and weapons, including a bat’leth and glavin. Some of that same items were seen in the season finale, along with more she has been hiding on the ship. One noteworthy bit was a helmet reminiscent of the much-mocked 1970s Remco Star Trek Space Fun Helmet, more often referred to as the “Spock Helmet.” In addition to the weapons seen in episode one of Lower Decks, Mariner had stashed away some other classic items including a rapier like the one Sulu used in “The Naked Time,” a tribble, and bottles of Bloodwine and Saurian Brandy.
Lower Decks remembers Lower Decks
There were many more callbacks to earlier episodes of Lower Decks, including seeing Captain Dayton and the crew of the USS Rubidoux from “Much Ado About Boimler” return with a new ship. Rutherford reactivated his psychopathic holographic assistant Badgy from “Terminal Provocations.”
Shaxs refers to Rutherford as “Baby Bear,” a nickname he gave him in the episode “Envoys.” All season long the four ensigns have been seen in a repair bay working on a broken shuttle. In the finale, Rutherford was seen finishing work on it and it was finally operational and given the hand-drawn name “Sequoia” in the finale. As the shuttle fires it’s new (old?) phasers, the sounds just like the TOS Enterprise’s phasers.
After Rutherford loses his memory, Tendi catches him up on their adventures at the end of the episode, which inclues the time she made a dog (in “Much Ado About Boimler“) and when she and Rutherford stole T-88 scanners (“Cupid’s Errant Arrow“).
The episode ends with the crew of the Titan headed to Tulgana IV, which the Cerritos visited in “Envoys,” and Brad talks about the Andorian bar he and Mariner visited. Troi and Riker mention the Little Risa, also seen in that episode. Boimler proudly displays the “Boimler Effect” plaque he was awarded in “Temporal Edict.” His Titan quarters also includes a collectible plate featuring an image of Commander Ransom for some reason.
BONUS UPDATE: Mike talks finale references
In his latest Sunday update, Lower Decks creator Mike McMahan talks about the Easter eggs, references, and callbacks from the finale.
What did we miss?
Did you catch anything else? Let us know in the comments below.
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