We have already recapped and reviewed “Grounded” and discussed the season 3 premiere on the All Access Star Trek podcast; now we take a deep dive into all the Easter eggs and references that caught our eyes. As the episode was about the lower deckers being stuck on Earth, there are a number of references to Earth-based episodes and films from Star Trek.
[NOTE: In some cases, the Trek connections are clear, with others it may just be our Trek interpretations; art is in the eye of the beholder. And, obviously… SPOILERS ahead]
A First Contact with fun at Historic Bozeman
The highlight connection of the episode was the four lower deckers’ visit to “historic Bozeman,” as in Bozeman, Montana, the site of the first contact between Humans and Vulcans instigated by the first warp flight by Zefram Cochrane. This was all part of the film Star Trek: First Contact, which established that in the 24th century there was a large statue of Cochrane at the site. In Lower Decks this statue could be seen as part of a theme park, which included a number of other elements or references to the film, including a beverage stand called “Thirst Contact.”
Other nods to the film include the “Crash and Burn Bar,” which is apparently famous for the one-song jukebox, specifically the Roy Orbinson song “Ooby Dooby.” And the Vulcan survey ship which landed in Bozeman was turned into the “First Contact Fun Zone.”
The goal of the lower deckers was to hijack a replica version of Cochrane’s Phoenix. In the “Ride The Phoenix” theme park attraction, a hologram of Cochrane pilots the ship (voiced by James Cromwell), and he even plays the same Steppenwolf song “Magic Carpet Ride” with the same kind of memory device as the ship blasted off.
Bateson teams up with Tuvok
Another reference-rich moment was a montage seen as Captain Freeman describes how she was exonerated. Her exciting story featured an elite covert Starfleet team led by Captain Morgan Bateson, the same captain who came forward in time from the late 23rd century to the 24th in the USS Bozeman from the TNG episode “Cause and Effect.” Bateson and the USS Bozeman went on to serve in the 24th century Starfleet — the USS Bozeman was referenced in both Generations (it is mentioned in dialog, and seen in a graphic in stellar cartography that also confirmed Captain Bateson was still in command) and First Contact (in The Battle of Sector 001). While Bateson had no lines in Lower Decks, in TNG Bateson was one of the show’s most famous cameos, played by Kelsey Grammer.
The exciting story of Bateson’s mission included some “invasive questioning” from Commander Tuvok, a series regular on Star Trek: Voyager, but again the montage didn’t include character voices, so no Tim Russ on Lower Decks… yet.
Eat at Sisko’s
Tendi and Rutherford spent their Earth time doing some sightseeing, which included a dinner in the French Quarter of New Orleans at Sisko’s Creole Kitchen, a restaurant owned by Joseph Sisko, father of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s Benjamin Sisko. The restaurant was first seen in the DS9 episode “Homefront.”
Ketracel White Hot
The dinner featured some hot sauce called Ketracel White-Hot, named for Ketracel White, a chemical compound used to keep the Dominion’s Jem’Hadar soldiers addicted and in line. Ketracel White was featured in a number of episodes of Deep Space Nine.
FNN updates us on Jellico and Clemonds
The episode began with a news broadcast from FNN, the Federation News Network first established in the series premiere of Star Trek: Picard. As the news anchor reported on Captain Freeman’s case, the news crawl ticker at the bottom updated a number of other stories full of Trek references. This included news about Admiral Jellico (presumably a promotion for Captain Edward Jellico from the TNG episode “Chain of Command”). And his hardass ways have continued as he has banned the Zebulon Sisters (famous for their “Chu Chu” dance, and follow-up “Chu Chu Chu” dance) from Starfleet vessels. The sisters had previously performed on the USS Cerritos in the Lower Decks episode “Terminal Provocations.”
The scroll also provides game results for the London Kings, a future baseball team first mentioned in Deep Space Nine, and the crowning of a new Stratagema Grandmaster — a game introduced in the TNG episode “Peak Performance.” And finally, FNN reported a “Country Stampede” where dozens of teens were injured rushing the stage at a Sonny Clemonds concert, L.Q. “Sonny” Clemonds was a 20th-century country singer awoken from suspended animation in TNG’s “The Neutral Zone.”
Boimler’s vineyard outfit and more classic clothes
Mariner visited Boimler at his family’s vineyard—which turned out to produce raisins. Boimler’s outfit and hat were an homage to Jean-Luc Picard’s outfit he worse while tending to Chateau Picard in an alternate future in the TNG series finale “All Good Things.” The overalls are also reminiscent of the pair the well known Starfleet Academy groundskeeper Boothby wears.
Speaking of hats, Tendi and Rutherford picked up hats matching Zefram Cochrane’s at Historic Bozeman. There were even more nods with their civilian outfits: Rutherford’s shirt (which he felt could have been “more asymmetrical”) was like those worn by Jake Sisko on Deep Space Nine, and Boimler’s vest matches one worn by Wesley Crusher in the TNG episode “Journey’s End.”
Bonus video: Cromwell returns
Paramount+ has released a video all about the First Contact connections and the return of James Cromwell.
What did you see?
Spot any new Trek references we missed on Lower Decks? Have a favorite? Sound off in the comments below.
New episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks premiere on Thursdays on Paramount+ in the U.S. and Latin America, 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.
Keep up with all the news and reviews from the new Star Trek Universe on TV at TrekMovie.com.