From Miranda To Mitchell, ‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Easter Eggs In “Strange Energies”

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.

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They need to do a time-travel episode and have Kirk make an appearance or ten. Failing that, Sulu.

Oh MY!!!!!! What an idea.

You missed the obelisk that shot out the energies is designed to look like a Preserver obelisk. Also, there’s a Gorn figure under a bell jar in the Captain’s ready room on the Cerritos🖖.

The whale painting on the wall also mirrors a real-life whale painting by the artist Wyland that is on one of the buildings on the Paramount lot.

https://www.wescover.com/p/murals-by-wyland-at-paramount-studios-gower-st-at-willoughby-ave-los-angeles-ca–PH1VxVMiVu-G

Cataecean Ops got a mention.

I love LDS for these references – although I missed the Delta Flyer – Ima have to watch it again now to spot that!

I also loved that the ships, species, and sets are instantly recognisable as TNG era. And I like the humour of the show too (which I know isn’t for everyone, but it makes me laugh).

I’d love for a transition to live action one day which explains that the events in the cartoon version of the show are being exaggerated in Mariner’s imagination.

Now, who do I talk to about a California class model kit?

They mentioned no interpersonal conflict among the crew which was a Roddenberry demand in the writers Bible for the original series.

Note that “the ancient ones” were referenced in multiple TOS episodes as being an ancestor race on different planets – this could go back to being the same one, of course…

Yes, that’s right. It was actually “The Old Ones” used in TOS which is a Lovecraft reference. But that’s clearly what LD was referring to. The TOS episodes that mention “The Old Ones” were written by a Lovecraftian horror author. One was the “Halloween” episode: “Catspaw”.

Also in the last picture of the Macduff, on the right under the light/lens flare there is a ship with square engines. I believe that ship was in the opening credits of DS9 when they redid the credits for season 4.

I really love this series! I have noticed an error. the Cardassian woman lacks the colored parts of the skin that characterized females. the Cardassian males are totally gray but the females had color in the spoon part of the forehead and in a couple of parts of the neck. maybe it was a sexual dimorphism or maybe just make-up.
Am I right?

likely that was just their version of eye shadow make up

Yah, I’ve always wondered if that was supposed to be make up or a natural color. This latest episode of LD could indicate that it’s makeup. However it is with a hologram so it could potentially be an oversight by Mariner or whomever designed the hologram.

I always assumed it was meant to be makeup.

I was watching to see if they added an extra light between cuts, was disappointed

Look at it again, there acutally are 5 lights, 1:21 (one is on the roof, aditional to the four globes hanging down ;) )

MacDuff is a Character from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”. The latter has been cited multiple time throughout the show by now. In fact, I think Mariner herself cited something from it in the movie episode Vindicta. So it makes sense that she names her ship after this character.

Macduff is a character from Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”. There are three characters called Macduff in that play: Macduff, Lady Macduffy and their son. Miranda is from “The Tempest”…
I only know that because we did a performance of “Macbeth” at university some 20 years ago. I don’t know if there is a character of the same name in “The Tempest” but I can’t find it anywhere online…

I am really loving this show. You see how much attention and love go into every scene and character. Yes its a very divisive show to say the least lol but for me it’s still Star Trek on a level I haven’t felt in decades even though so much of it kind of goes of how we think about Star Trek. It’s a very complicated relationship, but most things are that you love. ;)

Can’t wait to see how this season plays out!

Lower Decks is divisive? What Trekkie can possibly not be totally agog over LD? Well I guess if the humor is not one’s cup of Earl Grey but I don’t see how it should be divisive. (Not to question that it is divisive: after seeing some people’s reactions to any and every new trek show, I can certainly believe it.😛)

Well to be fair, as you pointed out pretty much every show starting with TNG has been divisive lol. So it’s not exactly a new concept with Star Trek fans. Every new show has taken awhile for the majority to accept and 20+ years later there are still shows some fans don’t think of as ‘real’ Star Trek like DS9 or still don’t like them as much as the others like Enterprise.

As far as the new shows, yeah they seem to all have their work cut out for them, let’s put it that way. ;)

In fact I would say LDS is the LEAST divisive show among it, Picard and Discovery. DIS is clearly the most today. I wouldn’t say as bad as TNG or anything, I don’t think its that bad but it clearly seems to be up there. And a lot of it for its own faults at that IMO (although they have done a lot to correct those issues including throwing it into the far future). Picard started out EASILY as the most welcoming show but they made some ‘choices’ that didn’t exactly flow well and we’ll just leave it at that.

As for LDS, a lot of people don’t like the humor, think the characters act beneath what a model Starfleet officers should be (I mean Mariner is trying her best NOT to act like a model Starfleet officer lol) and others just hate the fact that it’s an animated show in general. Or all of the above.

And I think most of those are valid (not the animation part, people just need to get over that). So I understand it, but the show is simply not for them. No one is telling them they have to like it just like no one is telling them they have to like ANY Star Trek show, but this is the show. The issue is some people have a very narrow definition of what Star Trek is, which has always been the problem. If you don’t do A, B or C then its NOT Star Trek to them, end of discussion.

But lastly I don’t think it’s the majority either. As said LDS seems to be the least divisive of the new shows because it at least, oddly, feels like a traditional Star Trek show. The stories themselves are quintessential Star Trek stories. The first episode this season was a direct rift on WNMHGB. But done in LDS more ‘out there’ style of course. For me, I love stuff like this but I get why other’s don’t either. I love that they can have fun with Star Trek without making fun of it (although many feel the latter is happening too).

Nothing is ever black and white, especially when it comes to entertainment. It’s highly subjective. Same time its still Star Trek so most will be watching it anyway lol. Hopefully it will turn around a lot of them and for those who doesn’t, just stop watching and move on. None of it matters at the end of the day and if you don’t enjoy it or ever think you will, then stop making yourself miserable.

Actually, there were 5 lights, the 4 round hanging from the roof, but another one on the roof itself, when you look from the bottom. ;)

LOL I didn’t notice that until you pointed it out. Again, just goes to show how clever this show can be.

Tendi was wearing the same blue doctors coat as Dr Crusher

I was wondering if the museum of popular music that got twisted was a reference to the Seattle MoPop with it famously twisted roof.