We have already recapped and reviewed Star Trek: Lower Decks season 3 episode 5, “Reflections,” and discussed it on the All Access Star Trek podcast; now we take a deep dive into the Easter eggs and references that caught our eyes, but with so many this week we focus on our favorites.
[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]
The core story for “Reflections” was Rutherford was swapped with “bad” version of himself, which is a classic Star Trek storyline evoking episodes like Kirks being split in “The Enemy Within,” Picard being replaced in “Allegiance,” or pretty much any episode dealing with the Mirror Universe. When Rutherford first found himself not in control of his body he accused the interloper of being an anaphasic alien, like Ronin from the TNG episode “Sub Rosa.” Being able to speak to a different version of yourself in reflections was also seen in the DS9 episode “Field of Fire,” when Ezri Dax spoke to Joran Dax.
Eventually, it was revealed the interloper was a suppressed memory younger version of Rutherford that had taken control. After being rendered unconscious, the two different Rutherfords found themselves trapped in his subconscious, which was represented by a blank void, albeit with a ceiling textured like a brain. Rutherford noted, “Yep, now we are both stuck in a blank white void,” and it looked very much like the white void Picard found himself in “Tapestry” before Q gave him a second chance at some of the choices he made as his younger self.
When given a choice to build any ship for a space race inside this mindscape, real Rutherford chose a copy of the Delta Flyer, the warp-capable class of shuttles designed by Tom Paris on Star Trek: Voyager. Rutherford and his imagined crew of Tendi, Boimler, and Mariner also wore the same special uniforms Tom and Harry Kim wore when they raced the Delta Flyer in the episode “Drive.”
The Rutherford mindscape wrapped up with a nod to another classic Star Trek moment when young Rutherford gave his older self a memory. He touched the other Rutherford and said “remember” in the same way Spock did when he gave Dr. McCoy his katra in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
More Kirks and Spocks
But wait, there’s more. The Starfleet recruitment booth manned by Boimler and Mariner featured a standee of Kirk and Spock with a Horta from TOS “The Devil in the Dark.” And since this episode was packed with references, Tendi also asked Rutherford if his recurring dream was “the one where you are in a new timeline with Kirk and Spock where they have cinematic chemistry?” presumably referencing an alternate reality Kirk and Spock J.J. Abrams Star Trek movies. And for good measure, the Starfleet booth also featured a model of the USS Stargazer, Captain Picard’s first command, and an Antedian from the TNG episode “Manhunt” hanging around the booth.
Spock’s pod plant too
Another Spock-related moment came earlier on when Tendi was playing with a “pod plant from Omicron Ceti III,” fascinated with how it “blasts out mind-control pollen,” which is exactly what happened to Spock in the TOS episode “This Side of Paradise.”
The recruitment booth allowed for a lot of meta-commentary about Starfleet and Star Trek. Mariner’s pitch included “Prepare yourself for warp 10 excitement,” referring to the theoretical Warp Factor limit, which was achieved by Tom Paris in the Voyager episode “Threshold.” Mariner got more meta when she touted “discover the Undiscovered Country,” a nod to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country,” and said, “We got new worlds, they’re strange and they need seeking out, ” a riff on the iconic opening narration for TOS (and TNG).
Rival recruiter Petra Aberdeen warned one possible recruit signing up to work as a transporter operator would lead to “7 years in a windowless room,” with the 7 years a nod to the 7 season runs for TNG, DS9, and Voyager. Petra also mocked the Starfleeters for having to “go back in time to save Earth,” to which Mariner noted “that only happened like four times, five tops,” which may be an underestimation. Not counting accidents, Starfleet crewmembers have traveled back in time to save the Earth in TOS “City on the Edge of Forever,” Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, TNG “All Good Things,” VOY “Future’s End,” Star Trek: First Contact, and ENT “Carpenter Street”… and they will again in the second season of Picard. There was also some meta-discussion about if Starfleet is a military organization or not and if not, why they need uniforms, and also why do they keep changing uniforms all the time.
The truth is out there
One of the rival booths was marked “Truth” manned by a couple of conspiracy theorists. They also had some pointed questions for the Starfleeters including “When are we going to hear the truth about Sisko?” referring to the fate of Benjamin Sisko following the events of the Deep Space Nine finale. Mariner rightly pointed out he was “in the Celestial temple.” They were more on target when they asked about “when parasites crawled into Starfleet admiral’s butts and took over their brains?” While they were off about the butts, they were spot on about the events of TNG “Conspiracy,” which Mariner admitted. The Truth booth also had one of the “butt bugs” on display. There was also a classic conspiracy board with string connections including Shaxs, a Mugato, an alien from Molmol’s planet (the ones that worshipped AGIMUS), and Queen Paolana (Billups mom). Finally, one of the truthers was an Arcturian, from a background alien only seen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture before Lower Decks.
Move along, gamers
There was also a gaming booth manned by a couple of Wadi from the DS9 episode “Move Along Home,” when some Wadi trapped some of the crew in a game of Chula. There were also some Chula pieces on display. Boimler was not happy about that, yelling at them to “Stop trapping people inside of games!” Their booth also featured a 3D Chess board, Ktarian game devices from TNG “The Game,” and a Klingon Bat’leths & BiHnuchs game from the Lower Decks episode “The Least Dangerous Game.”
Toying with collectors
The booth with the most going on was for The Collectors Guild, which Lower Decks dealt with before in “Kayshon, His Eyes Open,” all of which is based on the classic TNG episode “The Most Toys.” The two aliens manning the booth also matched the races of collectors Kivas Fajo and Parlor Toff. And of course, the booth itself was full of Star Trek references including a Vulcan necklace (like one worn by Sarek), a Space Fun Helmet, VISOR, one of Data’s paintings of Spot, Data Bubblebath, a Bajoran tablet, the Stone of Gol, a replica of part of the Fesarius, a Kadis-kot game, a Klingon D’k’tagh knife, a little classic Gorn figure, and a Ferengi doll.
Petra Aberdeen the “independent archeologist” inspired by TNG character Vash with a bit of Indiana Jones, had a booth with replicas of a Preserver obelisk (TOS “The Paradise Syndrome”), and a D’Arsay pedestal (TNG “Masks”).
But the booth was a ruse to steal the staff of the Grand Nagus back from a nearby museum. According to Petra, the Ferengi were offering a reward for its return, although it isn’t known if Rom is still the Nagus five years after the final season of DS9.
Paramount+ put out a feature about “Reflections” featuring Eugene Cordero talking about playing two Rutherfords and looking at how the episode tied into Trek’s history of duplicate characters.
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.