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.
Keep up with all the news and analysis from the new Star Trek Universe on TV at TrekMovie.com.
When the Titan showed up on screen, I literally yelled out “YES!” This was such an awesome episode.
Did you also pump your fist with it, like Data in Generations? ;)
I did! Lol! 🤪🖖
Speaking of which, I think part of the reason why many here keep coming back, love or hate this or that show, is the common language spoken, as I can bring up an obscure reference from 25 years ago and you guys will understand it! That’s probably also the reason why LDS is popular here as McMahan has turned obscure referencing into an entire TV series!
VS (presuming that you still haven’t had the chance to see it in your region), the thing that’s amazing about LDs is that the show works/stands on its own without all the references.
Yes, fans with deep knowledge are geeking out, but from what reports we have younger adult viewers with little or no history of viewing Star Trek series are watching and enjoying.
Our kids who are fans, but who sometimes miss the humour and tend to watch it “straight” also enjoy it. They are also still not entirely sure that the callbacks and Easter eggs are deliberate.
One of them keeps coming to me after watching it and saying “So, do you think that was the same ___ as in ____?”
No, I still havent got the time to get my green-blooded hands on it yet indeed! But I will get to it eventually, especially if Discovery makes me too sour once again. I certainly like the short-form, standalone format, it will be a relief after 3 seasons of “10 hour movie” Trek straight. Not a fan of serialization (hardly news)!
LOL, I was humming along to the theme song as the Titan showed up out of nowhere and kicked Pakled ass to save the Cerritos! Best Star Trek moment of the year. The second best Star Trek moment was when Riker showed up out of nowhere to kick Romulan ass to save Picard!
LDS rocked! Best season of Star Trek in decades!
The Titans entry was awesome! The torpedo and phaser fire fly-bys were very similar to how the Enterprise-E (commanded by William T. Riker) flew in to save the day in Star Trek: Insurrection. “Another Entahprise.” Best episode of Star Trek since 2005.
Best episode of Star Trek since TOS lol
Drugs kill, man.
The Titan was a highlight of the episode.
Boimler picks up the rapier, fulfilling Mariner’s comment from “Second Contact” that he could be the new “sword guy.”
I absolutely loved this episode, as did my kids. My youngest asks to watch each episode repeatedly.
Great to hear, Keith, that there’s someone on the board other than me who watches it with their kids.
Do yours complain when you or other adults laugh at the jokes?
(I have to watch it separately with one of ours because they take great exception when anyone “interrupts” by laughing, whereas my spouse laughs so hard we need to pause sometimes.)
Now I feel in my head canon, that Geordi is responsible for this. He gave the pakled dudes antimatter torps.
Did he really? I thought it was a sham?
I thought so too, however, upon a rewatch I listened and Riker said nice job turning those off in the nick of time and laforge said heh that’s why you’re still here or something to that effect
I somehow thought that Geordi would ensure that the Pakleds wouldn’t be able to use the technology before he left the ship.
All that said, I did think that Riker would be the one Starfleet captain that wouldn’t treat the Pakleds as a joke or underestimate how much support might be needed in response to a distress call.
He’s not the kind of guy to be filled twice even if Starfleet didn’t adequately take the lesson from his experience.
“Easter eggs”? These references were primary plot points and jokes.
Easter eggs are random items in the background that reward very observing fans — something to look for on re-watches — but most viewers miss. Certainly not required to understand the story.
The Pakleds and the USS Titan are what this entire episode was about. If you missed them, or didn’t get the references, then you completely missed the whole episode.
These days the Enterprise-E in First Contact would be an Easter Egg.
I thought the “Baby Bear” line was actually a cross-the-streams moment with the movie “Event Horizon”, in which the youngest member of the crew is referred to as Baby Bear and has to be rescued after becoming possessed and walking out of an airlock…just thinking out loud.
“I thought the “Baby Bear” line was actually a cross-the-streams moment with the movie “Event Horizon”
What an underrated masterpiece of scifi horror from the late 90s! Despite being cut into oblivion, stands up with the greatest in the genre IMO. And unlike Picard the eyeballs in there actually had a point and were entirely expected. You don’t violate your audience’s trust like Colonel Kurtz, Frakes and Chabon did when they went through with this scene. We may be watching anything with the name Star Trek on it but that doesn’t justify abuse!
The beginning of the episode with the Solvang in front of the star was reminiscent of Opening scene of Star Trek 2009. Some of the camera shots and the way the claws approached the ship were staged as an homage to that.
I’m curious why the Titan crew wears the FC uniforms and not the uniforms worn by the Cerritos crew. Don’t get me wrong. I loved seeing Riker and Troi, and it worked better with their recognizable uniforms. I just wonder if McMahan has an in-universe rationale for it. (Yes, I know that the DS9 crew wore a later uniform than Picard’s crew did at the same time. I’ve never understood why.)
As I understand it, the DS9 uniforms were intended to be “space station” uniforms (I.e. not starship uniforms). The complicating factor is that they made VOY wear them, not the TNG uniforms. So my guess is that the Cerritos uniforms are for their specific “second contact” mission profile (just as we saw scientists and anthropologists in TNG wearing those silver uniforms)
Yeah, the uniforms were messy. Generations’ last-minute decision to mix the uniforms at least gives Voyager an out when it comes to why they had them and let us assume the uniforms ended up being considered interchangeable. But yeah, DS9 chose on multiple occasions before the switch to FC uniforms to have anyone serving on a starship or planetside be in the TNG-style costumes. Perhaps a starship captain is given the leeway to set dress code policy to include what types of uniforms are permitted on the ship, when there are options.
Based on prior uniform transitions I think some ships get them sooner than others. Presumably they will transition to the uniforms seen for the flashbacks in ST Picard sometime before 2385. The combadge though will transition back to the FC uniform style at that time too… I actually like the LDS version though… reminds me of the TNG S3 uniforms which have always been my favorite…
I think it was commentary on the poor way it was handled IRL (Generations AND especially Discovery IMO).
The in-universe explanation I have always had was that, in addition to admirals always wanting to change the uniforms, it was a way to prevent threat forces from impersonating Starfleet personnel. The problem is that the real Starfleet personnel could not always keep it straight which uniforms they were supposed to wear!(Generations)
The TNG theme music accompanying the arrival of the Titan was actually from one of the movie scores, maybe the First Contact or Insurrection end credits?
Watching the credits, I saw that Alexander Courage got a music credit. I wondered why Jerry Goldsmith didn’t also get one.
Yeah, it was definitely the from First Contact or Insurrection. I wondered why Jerry Goldsmith wasn’t credited too.
In terms of crediting, there may be a difference between incorporating themes/bits from other composers into the score composed and recorded for the show (i.e. Alexander Courage) and outright using an existing recording of a musical piece (i.e. Goldsmith’s music for this episode). The latter is almost comparable to licensing a pop song. Movies may list those songs at the end of the credits but whoever wrote them is not listed as score composer.
Definitely First Contact. Yet, it was a rework of Jerry Goldsmith’s motion picture theme tune.
When Shax uses the phasers on the Sequoia shuttle to blast a hole out of the ship, you hear the Enterprise phaser sound effect from TOS. So they’re really working with some outdated parts.
Great episode. This show is a big surprise! I was not expecting all this. When I see Titan captain chair, I think of Discovery. But animated, is a Klingon chair!
The Season Finale was a (full) Star Trek (short) movie. Great flow, amazed how they packed so much in half an hour. Can’t wait in few years, to see them in a real life movie. Will be as successful as The Orville and Galaxy Quest. =D
…meanwhile, the Uber Eats commercials are actually funny.
They aren’t intending that every one loves every new series Temarc.
It’s fine that this one isn’t your taste or type of humour.
Many of us love this show (and my spouse laughs loudly at every episode).
“They aren’t intending that every one loves every new series”
TG47, just nobody expected Picard to be the entry for the gore splatter fans, not after they announced it as “thoughtful” and “introspective”! :/
I thought the topic was humour in Lower Decks.
On the gore in Picard, I agree. We still have a teen in our household who won’t watch the rest of the season after Stardust City Rag.
meh… uber eats adds are not that funny.
When Shax launches the shuttlecraft, he fires its phasers which give a sound effect that distinctly sounds like a TOS era ship phaser.
Fine Episode. Looking forward to S2 which can’t come soon enough!
Another aspect of the “Looking all Sovereign” is the subtle changes between movies made to the Enterprise-E, she sounded like McCoy on the post-refit Enterprise grumbling “I know Engineers, they LOVE to change things”. Freeman would lose it if Paris put fins on the Cerritos
Oh great point :) Thanks to CGI the Ent-E got tweaked a bit in INS, and them pretty majorly tweaked in NEM.
When the Pakleds destroy the USS Solvang, the closing shot looks very much like the destruction of the Kelvin in the opening scene of the 2009 Star Trek movie.
90% of this show is easter eggs and references to past Trek. It’s getting ridiculous, and makes the Trek universe feel tiny.
I’m so glad other people are noticing that too! This whole show is just a parody of Star Trek set *within* the Star Trek universe, in which the characters seem to know everything the audience of previous shows does. It breaks the universe massively!
It’s getting really annoying, but we live in creatively bankrupt times, and this is just another example of that. Most people love it anyway, so they’ll continue to do it, instead of offering us anything new.
Doesn’t break the universe at all. Think of every episode of Star Trek as “required reading at the Academy”. The phrase has been used enough over the years. Maybe the chapters or subheads of the Starfleet History book are the episode titles. To a Starfleet historian, the term “Balance of Terror” may be similar to “Battle of the Bulge” would be to a contemporary military historian; relatively meaningless without context. Hell, in canon, Riker watches the show Enterprise on the holodeck.
Star Trek is all about meticulous captain’s logs, ship’s logs, personal logs… paints a picture for future cadets of what it’s really like out there. This is a hell of a lot more entertaining when instead of an expository scene explaining what Vulcans are in case people haven’t seen a previous episode, they assume the people in the show have the same base of knowledge as the audience. And they would.
I actually think it makes the Trek universe feel much bigger. A complaint I always had with ST is that each show always felt like they lived in a bubble outside of a few crossovers here and there. This show is the first to acknowledge the history of ST in a realistic (for a cartoon) way.
The production of this show is a bit of a mess at times. The latest sloppy inclusion is the location text in the bottom left corner. Why start it two thirds into the first season? Did they only think about doing it too late to include earlier? Why write Beta III when literally 4 seconds later Ransom says in his log they’re in orbit there. Same thing with them writing “USS Solvang” in the corner about 2 seconds after the close up of the hull tells us what the ship is.
Now we’re getting a bit nitpicky, no? ;) Every first season is a learning process as we well know, so after seeing the results of the first couple episodes they may well have implemented changes for later episodes of the season. The difference now compared to syndication is, it doesnt get aired before it’s all done!
Just feels strange to start the trend so late in the season, especially when both cases in the finale were completely pointless. It’s just another example of a sloppy production. The opening credits have an animation mistake too, just before the Ceritos warps out of the battle with the Borg there’s an errant lens flare flying away from the ship for a few frames at the bottom of the screen. Again it’s not a big deal, but why can’t Trek be better. You’d never see things like this with The Mandalorian for instance.
Errant? This is animation.
It’s also a comedy by design.
That’s almost surely deliberate, and intended to be ironic humour.
There are Canadians animating this, and one commonality among the great diversity of Canadians is that we love our ironic humour. At some point, academics who study these things identified 14 distinct types of Canadian ironic humour.
Not everyone in every country needs to “get” every joke.
I think you’re misunderstanding. There’s an animation mistake just before th Ceritos warps away from the Borg battle. A random blue lens flare flies away from the ship for a few frames. It shouldn’t be there.
They cut to a totally new crew on an identical starship. I had no issues with them deciding they needed some lower thirds to call out the location and setting changes.
It’s just weird when literally 3 seconds prior, they had a close up view of the hull with USS Solvang in big letters. Like I said, not a big deal, but it points to a sloppy production. Why the lower thirds text, but only in the last few episodes?
It involves following a totally new set of characters and again with an identical ship exterior and interior. That’s not been done before, hence the probably one-off lower thirds.
Doctor Who does this sometimes when it has a number of locations and characters to keep track of, but not always.
I’m I the only one who found that they named a California Class after Solvang hilarious? Or is that a Californian specific joke?
Are they going to have a Starfleet Corps of Engineers ship called ‘City of Industry’?
The USS Seal Beach will be crewed by aquatic species.
I don’t know if Mike McMahon mentions this but the line “ They’re carving us up like a First Contact Day salmon” by Ransom is more than just a reference to First Contact Day. No one ‘carves up’ salmon….But they do carve up roasts. This is an allusion to “Q Who”, while the Borg are using their cutting beam, Riker says “ They’re carving us up like a roast.”
Uh, people do carve up salmon (and turkeys and chickens and etc etc). But yes.
I took the salmon as another Vancouver reference.
Salmon is celebration food on the west coast.
god forbid they invent a new reference instead of relying so heavily on Trek’s past for pretty much everything.
Steve, I have to wonder why you’re devoting so much time and energy to commenting on a show you obviously don’t care for. Aren’t there better things in your life to be doing?
I enjoy Lower Decks a lot, I just wish it offered something new instead of constant, never-ending call-backs and references.
But that’s the show. It’s literally designed to be that way. Obviously I get your point you want something completely new and for the record I do too. Maybe Prodigy will be it. Yes Janeway will be there but maybe it will try and just focus on its own characters and stories.
But this is also why so many of us want Star Trek to go more forward in the future in the first place like Discovery is now doing, because it can’t obviously rely on those things as much and has to invent basically it’s own canon by scratch. That’s pretty exciting for a lot of fans.
I like the call backs and references. But don’t expect Discovery to get away from call-backs, only expect worse ones, like the Reno’s Prince reference.
“Cerritos crewmember Lt. Steven Levy was revealed to be a conspiracy theorist who believed that Wolf 359 was an inside job”
I’m NOT saying he’s right, OK, but take this for what you will:
I’m JUST saying, there is some evidence out there and you shouldn’t just take Starfleet’s word for everything. They been caught doing shifty things before.
Just how much Trek have you been bingeing this long weekend Tiger2?
LOL, actually not much, I was pretty busy. BUT I did watch some Discovery trying to watch both seasons before season three start. Watched a lot today. I am only 3 episodes away from finishing now.
Good to see the Rikers on Titan. Wish they had done this non animated years ago instead of wasting time and energy on the Kelvinverse.
I have been watching this show and it has been fairly amusing but when they were doing the engine noises, and correcting each other, that really got me. Reminded me of all of us!
The Random plate is probably in reference to Star Trek collectable plates that were made by The Franklin Mint around the mid 90s. I actually knew a guy who owned one, we both wondered if it would be worth anything in the future.
I think Shax says “Pagh t’em far, B’tanay.” during the corrider fight.