From Masks To Money, The ‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Easter Eggs In “Room For Growth”

We have already recapped and reviewed Star Trek: Lower Decks season 3 episode 4, “Room for Growth,” 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]

Stop touching Masks!

The episode begins with Captain Freeman wearing an ancient mask, floating around the ship and converting it into an ancient temple. This was not only an homage to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Masks,” but a follow-up, indicating that the “D’Arsay Archive situations” are actually common, thanks to Mariner’s comment that Starfleet needs to establish some new protocols to deal with them. It was also indicated that this wasn’t the first time that Captain Freeman had been possessed by a mask.

The way of the Dove

To give the engineering crew a break after they turned the Cerritos back into a ship, they were assigned a “mandatory vacation” to a  spa ship named “The Dove.” The ship’s name might be a reference to a couple of other rehabilitation centers from Star Trek: The Original Series. The symbols for both the Tantalus Penal Colony (“Dagger of the Mind”) and the Elba II Assylum (“Whom Gods Destroy”) prominently featured a dove.

Three handy

The Dove was run by Toz, who is only the second named Edosian in Star Trek history. The first of this three-armed tripod race was Arex from Star Trek: The Animated Series. Toz is also the first female seen of the species. Lower Decks previously featured an Edosian medical specialist who was responsible for taking officers impacted by science anomalies to “The Farm,” indicating health care could be common with the species.

Aye, mud

Among other relaxation therapies on the Dove, we see a communal mud bath room, which could be an homage to the mud bath seen in TNG “Cost of Living” where Alexander and Lwaxana Troi visit the Paralax 2 colony of “free spirts” on the holodeck.

Relaxing schematics

The biggest problem for the Dove specialists was getting the engineers to stop engineering and just to relax. Every step of the way, they turned various therapies into another way to work, like using the sand garden to redesign some schematics. All of this is reminiscent of the moment in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode “The Trouble with Tribbles” when Kirk finds Scotty reading a technical journal instead of taking shore leave and the engineer tells him that is how he relaxes.

What’s La Forge got to do with it?

When Captain Freeman cracked under her own pressure, frustrated by her own engineers she lashed out as Toz had her taken away. She cursed engineers in general calling them “goddamned Geordi La Forges,” invoking the name of Geordi La Forge, the chief engineer of the USS Enterprise on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Maybe there is some beef between Freeman and La Forge?

Old-school holos

With the engineers on the Dove, the Cerritos crew had some free time. Dr. T’Ana and her boyfriend Shaxs chose to spend theirs in the holodeck recreating a Bonnie and Clyde-style bank robbery as part of their kinky “crimeplay.” The classic gangster setting was reminiscent of the Dixon Hill shootout scene in Star Trek: First Contact, especially when T’Ana removed the safety protocols. And Shaxs and T’Ana go really old school by doing it in black and white, like Tom Paris did with his Captain Proton holo adventures on Star Trek: Voyager.

Mo’ money

As Captain Picard said in First Contact, “money doesn’t exist in the twenty-fourth century,” so the whole concept of the Shaxs/T’Ana holodeck program was a bit confusing to the ensigns who stumbled into it. Boimler thinks he knows what’s going on, calling it a “bonk,” and Mariner mocks “paper with no intrinsic value” before laughing at “money.” This money confusion is reminiscent of the famous conversation on Deep Space Nine (“In the Cards”) when Nog can’t get an answer out of Jake when he tries to get an explanation of how exactly humans function without money.

The last Doopler

As the ensigns worked their way through the swamp underneath the hydroponics bay, you could see some skeletal remains caught up in some of the roots. This appears to be a dead Doopler, one of the many copies of the Doopler Emmisary who came on board in the episode “An Embarrassment Of Dooplers.”

Finding the sweet spot

Another stop on the journey through the ship for the three ensigns was the deflector dish room, which they discovered had microgravity. While the series of different rooms with different challenges was reminiscent of the tour in the classic Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, this room could also be a bit of an homage to Star Trek: Enterprise. In the series premiere “Broken Bow, the “space boomer” Travis Mayweather explains that every ship has a “sweet spot” where the artificial gravity is negated.

Ransom’s “Genesis”

One of the gags in this episode was the story of a time when first officer Ransom was “turned into a caveman.” This is a storyline similar to what happened to the first officer of the USS Enterprise-D when Commander Riker de-evolved into a proto-human in the episode “Genesis.” We didn’t get to see Ransom as a caveman, but he apparently continues to keep his caveman wife “Churrolivia” alive with fresh churros from the cafeteria.

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.

Subscribe
Notify me of

19 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Since Toz mentioned that the mud was imported from Tellar Prime, I think it’s more of a reference to Babel One, when Trip mentioned that he built a mud bath for the Tellarite delegation.

What I’m loving about season 3 is that they’re referencing other Trek shows less and themselves more. That dead Doopler was incredible to see first time round.

I laughed hard when Boimler mispronounced the word bank and Mariner snickering at the idea of money. Oh to live in the world of Star Trek would be glorious. ;)

I never quite understood how money works in the 24th century. It’s obviously still around. Maybe not used by the Federation but Obviously from the ferengi, the Orion Syndicate, and others. I imagine the Federation would have to have some sort of bank to do interactions with other species.

Money definitely exists in the Federation and every show has shown Starfleet officers using credits. But I think they don’t use physical money anymore and it’s all digital (like it’s honestly becoming more and more today in our 21st century). And they probably don’t look at it the same as we do meaning you don’t use it for wealth or anything, it’s probably solely for transactions outside of Earth since they do encounter aliens and planets/societies where you have to use money. But on Earth, it no longer exists or at least in a more tangible way. So there are probably no banks on Earth anymore. Who is withdrawing physical paper and coins as currency in the 24th century even if they still relied on monetary transactions? It probably would all be digital anyway. That will probably be the case in the real world by the next century.

I mean, using paper and coins as money would be completely useless with a replicator. You need a way to control the total amount in order to assign value to it, so either something physical that can’t be replicated (like latinum) or some kind of digital currency.

Yeah definitely but I would also think if they were to use real money they would find a way to distinguish it from something that is replicated just like we have ways to figure out authentic currency from forgery today. What that would be, no idea lol.

But again, what is even the point of having physical money in that world when everything is digital. I mean I can’t even remember the last time I stepped in a bank or I had more than a few dollars in my wallet. Sometimes I literally forget I have real money on me because I rarely use it and it’s only 2022. And it’s crazy we now can bank or send money on our phones. The future is really here lol.

And by our own 2383 it may not be that different from Star Trek. Yes money will still be very important and used I have no doubt about that lol. Everyone will still be collecting paychecks and buying food. But we may not have anymore traditional banks either by then and paper money will be a thing of the past.

Credits were only ever mentioned in a handful of episodes, mostly in TOS. The DS9 crew obviously have access to money to spend at Quark’s and the shops on the Promenade, but otherwise Starfleet officers are rarely shown using money. On the rare occasions when we do see them using money (like Crusher in Encounter at Farpoint) its to trade outside of the Federation. Within the Federation, money no longer exists physically or digitally, and it is no longer a part of people’s everyday lives.

Well you didn’t contradict anything I said. As I said, we see Starfleet officers using money in places where they have to like Quarks or other bases like K-7 where Uhura bought the tribble. But since 90% of the time they are on Starships or situations where its not needed, obviously it’s not going to be used much. I don’t think it’s ever been said there is no money in the Federation anymore, mostly just Earth itself. But I’m certainly willing to be proven wrong. And I can’t think of any planets in the Federation they used money so you could be right.

But even on Earth there is a credit system since Sisko once said he used them to use the transporters to go home to New Orleans when he was at the Academy. So a monetary system of some kind IS used, it’s probably for basic things when needed and not the way we think of money today obviously.

The LaForge reference was great. I also enjoyed the Dax reference in the previous season.

Tendi: A science officer? Like Jadzia Dax?”
T’Ana: Who the [—] is that? I don’t know who that is. No, like Spock!

It may seem a little cruel to Dax but it also establishes how large Starfleet is and that even the most gifted officer on a ship can be drowned out…. and it was funny.

Toz! > TOS/TAS!?

Not an easter egg, but a nitpick. I get that they have to use Earth stories to keep it relevant to the audience, but I find it really unlikely that a Caitian and a Bajoran don’t have anything from their own cultures to use as a violent getaway together. It’s like Klingon Shakespeare.

Well, violent Bajoran stories might be a bit too close to home for Shaxs.

I’m guessing Human culture is at least in the Federation and allies (i.e. Bajor) like American culture on Earth: pretty dominant. Not necessarily popular, but so well-known that a Caitian and a Bajoran can agree on it being “their thing”, at least more than a specific Caitian or Bajoran story

The Battlestar Galactica floating in orbit near Dove!

That’s actually an Andorian ship, they’ve been seen around other Starbases in LDS as well.
https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Andorian_starship

Classic filler, but enjoyed it all the same. Love the visual aesthetics of this show, they seem to get this era the most right canonical wise. Wish the late 24th/early 25th century was the main focal point of the franchise again.

I mean, to me it pretty much is, with LDS, Picard and Prodigy so close to each other timeline wise. Now if we can just get a new DS9/VOY-follow up series and a new live action series with a new ship/crew. Star Trek: Stargazer would have been the perfect jumping off point with Rios, maybe with Annika?

Hell! How about canonizing Captain Va’Kel Shon (if Picard S3 does not) and have new adventures on the Enterprise-F. I enjoy SNW, but feel the resources on that show could have been used on a 25th century show. I’m not a fan of retreading back to the 23rd century again and meddling with pre-established history. Plus, relying on “Yay! Spock!” and “Yay! Uhura!” again. Especially after years of the Kelvin films and a prequel series even before that with ENT.

But, hey-ho, what is, is. Just glad we have LDS and other 25th century shows brewing. Bring on next week!

I think in all honesty the 24th/25th century will be the focal point going forward. We have 3 of the 5 shows focused on it now. Two are animated like LDS, but both canon. Terry Matalas basically said he considers the Picard show the ‘present day’ of Star Trek and because there so many more characters and actors in this period who can still portray their roles in this time, it makes sense for it to be the focus.

I love SNW and happy we have it but like you, for me I always prefer to go forward, not backwards. And I think they recognize most fans probably want that too. You don’t have four post-Nemesis shows (with one previously a prequel) currently running by accident.

I am eager to hear what will be the 25th show to replace Picard since we all know it’s coming. I’m crossing my fingers we’ll hear something about it when Picard is done next year.

Plus, relying on “Yay! Spock!” and “Yay! Uhura!” again.

Well, the 24th/25th century shows also rely quite heavily on bringing back previously established characters. Heck, season 3 of Picard will be like TNG season 8 by all accounts. When Lower Decks isn’t outright bringing back characters they are referencing events and characters from Trek’s past constantly.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Lower Decks very much. But they’re the champion of “Yay! ***!” ;-) At least for me, both Lower Decks and Strange New Worlds offer something to like beyond mere callbacks. I also have to admit that I’m less bothered by so-called canon violations that seem to distract some fans’ enjoyment.