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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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