We have already recapped and reviewed Star Trek: Lower Decks season 3 “Mining The Mind’s Mines” and discussed it on the All Access Star Trek podcast; now we take a deep dive into all the Easter eggs and references that caught our eyes.
[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]
Leah Brahms wants to help you with your warp core
When the “psychic mines” of Jengus IV started bringing fantasies to life, Rutherford’s was an engineering classic as he manifested Leah Brahms, the famed warp field scientist and professor at the Daystrom Institute. In the TNG episode “Booby Trap,” engineer Geordi LaForge created a simulation of Brahms to consult with him to help the ship out of a tricky situation, although he got a little… let’s just say too attached to the simulation. On Lower Decks, Brahms (again voiced by Susan Gibney) and Rutherford kept it professional, although his fantasy Brahms did try to entice Rutherford to “increase gravimetric power limits all… night… long.”
When assigned the task of collecting fantasy rocks, Lt. Commander Stevens suggested the best way to deal with the fantasies was to “think about Parrises Squares,” a twist on the old “just think about baseball” cliché with the Star Trek game Parrises Squares, introduced in the TNG episode “11001001.” But later, this trick doesn’t work for Rutherford as he kept seeing Brahms even after closing his eyes and reciting “Parrises squares, ion mallet, shiny blue uniforms.”
Thinking about Parrises Squares definitely didn’t work for Stevens when the fantasies became nightmares and his was manifested by a Kukulkan which chased him down and turned him into a statue. The Kukulkan is a colorful winged serpent seen in the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode “How Sharper Than a Serpent’s Tooth.”
Spock needs an editor
Dr. Migleemo consulted the bridge officer training guide, noting it had a foreword by Ambassador Spock, as the Star Trek: The Orignal series character is certainly Starfleet’s most famed science officer and most famed Vuclan. At this point in the timeline, Spock is still alive and an ambassador, last seen on Romulus in the TNG episode “Unification.” As Migleemo went through the manual, he noted there was a lot of “Vulcan stuff,” quipping it would have been “logical” to have an editor cut down Spock’s foreword.
Handoff from the Hood
The mission on Jengus IV was to do cleanup duty after the dispute was settled (or so they thought) by the crew of the USS Hood, which left at the beginning of the episode. The USS Hood has appeared in a number of 24th-century episodes of Star Trek, starting with the series premiere of TNG, “Encounter at Farpoint.” It was the Hood that dropped Commander Riker off at Farpoint Station and took on Admiral McCoy from the Enterprise.
Scientists v Starfleet
All of the problems with Jengus IV started when some outpost scientists got themselves turned into statues by their own fantasies. Commander Ransom has no love for these “weirdos,” asking why outpost scientists “are always getting eaten, disappearing, or getting eggs laid in their chest?” which could include a reference to the Alien franchise but perhaps is more about the general issue of scientists needing the help of Starfleet after getting into trouble. Ransom notes that instead of joining Starfleet, scientists “just got to get their degrees in studying spores or whatever, then head off into the quadrant and get devoured by a plant!” Tensions between scientists and Starfleet can be seen often in the franchise, starting with the first episode “The Man Trap,” and Dr. Robert Crater. We also saw this tension in Star Trek II, especially with Dr. David Marcus. One could see his crack about “studying spores” being about Dr. Paul Stamets, but he actually did join Starfleet.
Getting trapped in a cave is a classic Star Trek setup seen throughout the franchise, starting with The Original Series. When the Lower Decks ensigns get trapped in a cold cave, they turn to a classic solutionwhen Rutherford phasers some rocks to become a makeshift space heater. Dr. McCoy did this in a cave in “A Private Little War,” but the technique was first seen done by Sulu (exposed on the surface of a cold planet) in the season 1 episode “The Enemy Within.” In 2018, ThinkGeek released a Star Trek mood light rock that simulated the phaser heater effect.
As the episode wrapped up and Stevens recovered from being a statue, he recounted his recuperation with a bit of skepticism, saying, “Okay, Doc, if I was brain-dead for ten minutes, then how come I saw a koala sitting on a black mount[ain]?” This actually is a reference to two different bits of Lower Decks lore. The episode “Moist Vessel” introduced the idea of a mystical koala that can be seen when one ascends to a higher level of consciousness, and Boimler claimed to have seen a koala when he nearly drowned in “First First Contact.” And in the episode “We’ll Always Have Tom Paris,” Shaxs recounts his time being dead by telling of a “Black Mountain,” a “spiritual battleground” where your soul goes after you die.
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.