Star Trek: Lower Decks is back, and it brought back its embrace of franchise lore. We have already recapped and reviewed the season two debut “Strange Energies,” 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.
There are still four lights
The cold open for the season featured Mariner being interrogated by a Cardassian, in a setting taken right out of classic two-part Next Generation episode “Chain of Command,” where Jean-Luc Picard was tortured and interrogated by the Cardassians. A touchstone of that experience for Picard was the interrogator’s attempt to break by getting him to accept the reality that there were five lights in the room, not four. We can see the same four lights behind Mariner’s Cardassian interrogator. And to drive home the point, Mariner finds Brad Boimler in the same facility, and he tells her, “They keep showing me lights!”
Mariner is such a Miranda
Mariner was able to escape the Cardassian prison by commandeering a familiar Starfleet ship in the hangar bay. She beamed onboard the bridge of the USS MacDuff, which was a Miranda-class ship, introduced in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan as the ship Khan Noonian Singh commandeers, the USS Reliant. We know from season two that Mariner is familiar with Khan and the events of Star Trek II, so it makes sense for her to include this ship in her simulation. There is another deep cut here with the name of the ship. In the TNG episode “Conundrum” an alien disguised himself as Starfleet Commander Kieran MacDuff, a hint that everything seen during this adventure of Mariner’s is a fake, revealed during the cold-open to be a holodeck program.
Ships, ships, ships
The Miranda was the star of the show, but the Cardassian prison hangar bay was full of familiar ships, with too many to name. Some ship highlights (including multiple versions of the same types) include: Jem’Hadar fighter, Klingon Raptor-class, Starfleet Danube-class, Starfleet Delta Flyer-type, Romulan Snipe-class, Bajoran interceptor, and Cardassian Hideki-class.
There be whale here
When Mariner starts power-washing an Apergos building, she reveals a mural from the “ancient ones” featuring a whale-like creature. The alien whale has an appendage that is showing radiating something, possibly a light, or possibly indicating the whale communicating? All of this could be a subtle nod to Earth’s humpback whales who had communicated in the past with the civilization behind the Whale Probe in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
A little LDS?
There is another possible Star Trek IV reference when Rutherford makes a reference to LSD when he is running away from Tendi, confusing it with SMD. In The Voyage Home, Admiral Kirk explains Spock’s oddness by telling Dr. Taylor, “I think he did a little too much LDS,” confusing the name for the hallucinogen LSD. And of course, the official three-letter code used for lower decks by CBS is “LDS.”
You’ll enjoy being a god
The episode’s titular “Strange Energies” were released due to Mariner’s power-washing revealing some ancient device. This kind of radiation seems common enough for Dr. T’Ana to be fully briefed on their effect, turning Ransom into a god-like being, and she even cited the case of Gary Mitchell, the helmsman of the USS Enterprise from the second pilot of the series who became Star Trek’s first god-like being.
Ransom wasn’t impressed with the comparison, at one point declaring, “Gary Mitchell was an ant, and I am a lion.” T’Ana even knew how Captain Kirk resolved the situation, telling Captain Freeman that Kirk dropped a boulder on Mitchell. And so she did the same to Ransom. And to really drive home the connection, later in sickbay Lt. Commander Stevens reads Nightingale Woman to the recuperating Ransom, which is a love sonnet Gary Mitchell recited in “Where No Man Has Gone Before.”
Give him a big hand
While Ransom matched Mitchell with glowing eyes, he did go beyond it in terms of scale, even detaching his own head to fly into orbit and eventually growing a new set of giant hands as well. All of this was reminiscent of Apollo, the Greek god encountered on the planet Pollux IV by Kirk and the crew of USS Enterprise in the episode “Who Mourns for Adonais?” In that episode, Apollo also grew in size and was able to project a hand into space to grab on to the Enterprise.
What did we miss?
There were other references of course, such as Ransom’s Kirk-like tendency for shirt ripping and of course the appearance of William T. Riker and the USS Titan, but those were featured in our Lower Decks season one eggs analysis articles. But did you catch anything else? Let us know in the comments below.
New episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks premiere on Thursdays on Paramount+ in the U.S. and on CTV Sci-Fi Channel in Canada, where it’s also available to stream on Crave. It is available on Amazon Prime Video internationally on Fridays. It will debut in Latin America on Paramount+ in September.
Keep up with all the news and reviews from the new Star Trek Universe on TV at TrekMovie.com.