“Hear All, Trust Nothing”
Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3, Episode 6 – Debuted Thursday, September 29, 2022
Written by Grace Parra Janney
Directed by Fill Marc Sagadraca
A visit to an iconic Star Trek location provides a fun backdrop to catch up on some old friends and learn more about our characters, especially Tendi.
WARNING: Spoilers below!
“Just keep circling”
The Cerritos is en route to rendezvous with the Vancouver with a load of space booze gifts to help reopen trade with the Gamma Quadrant when Captain Freeman gets the unwelcome news she is going to do the negotiations on her own. Without having prepped for this mission, Carol needs some time to stew, leaving time for the Cerritos to fly around the majestic pylons of… wait for it… station Deep Space 9. Everyone else (sans jaded Mariner) is excited to be at the famed station, and Freeman quickly connects with Col. Kira—yeah that Kira—and it turns out she is old war buddies with Shaxs, so the pair of Bajorans immediately start arguing over which one saved the other the most, which gets a little awkward as these old rebels take their war bonding seriously. A tour ends at Quark’s—not just any Quarks’ but the first Quark’s—where the legendary Ferengi himself (oh yeah) basks in his celebrity… and the accompanying profit from the popular gift shop. He attributes the successful franchising of Quark’s to his unique “Quark 2000” replicator which gives his multi-colored cocktails an “extra zing.” Of course Boimler is loving all of it, especially playing Dabo, where he begins to win big.
Tendi and Rutherford meet an Orion named Mesk who is super pumped to meet another Orion in Starfleet. But unlike Tendi, this guy revels in the nefarious reputation of Orion pirate culture, even showing off the pirating multi-tool he scammed Starfleet into letting him keep as a religious exemption. Inviting himself along as station tour guide, this guy really starts grinding Tendi’s gears as she makes it clear she isn’t into the “pirate criminal thing.” Soon enough the cantankerous Karemma show up, unhappy about the change of diplomacy plans. They agree to stay when Freeman talks up her gifts, which Tendi and Rutherford are tasked with transferring to their ship. Things with the skeptical Karemma and their leader Korzak get real frosty at Quark’s when the proprietor starts making cracks about the Dominion War. Freeman hopes that Quark’s lobes for profit would impress the Gamma Quadrant merchants, but when she highlights the Quark 2000 the aliens turn hostile, destroying the machine and setting off a device that shuts down power across the station (and on the Cerritos), then follow up by grabbing Quark and beaming away. But at least Boimler (sorry, “The Dabo King”) is still winning.
“These candles aren’t going to dip themselves”
With the other ensigns on the station, Mariner agrees to attend a “salon” (seriously? a salon?) held by Jennifer’s friends. This is a big step for the couple and Beckett is nervous about making a bad impression, which isn’t helped when she shows up as the only person not dressed in “Betazoid casual.” And there was nothing casual about this minefield of passive aggressiveness mixed with candles and performative art about “personal battlefields,” complete with beat poetry and interpretive dance. Oh, and one of them thinks Boimler’s purple hair is sexy. So yeah, Beckett is going to need a lot of booze to get through this.
Mariner’s struggle to not be herself through all of the pretension gets noticed, with Castro detecting disrespect in her intentions. Luckily, the total power outage offers a good distraction. When everyone starts to panic over running out of air, Jennifer wonders why Mariner is still holding back, letting her know she brought her to this event to spread a bit of Beckett’s brutal honesty on this crowd—exactly what Mariner, phaser in hand, needed to finally speak her truth (aka telling everyone to “shut the f—k up”). After stunning everyone else (to save oxygen, of course) Mariner and Jen have a cute moment and a quick kiss before stunning themselves to finish out the look. Aww.
“Shh, I’m pirating”
On the Karemma ship, Tendi and Mesk’s cultural dispute is disrupted by the sight of Quark being dragged off as the vessel heads for the wormhole. Good thing they have a genuine pirate around to take over the ship… but now comes Mesk’s moment of truth: He is actually a total poser from Cincinnati, Ohio, who learned all his Orion stuff from bad holonovels (“the ones with the boobs on the cover”). Tendi sympathizes with the cultural pressure, and it turns out they don’t need him to go all Orion Pirate; she has that covered as that’s actually her family’s business (which we first learned about in season 2’s “We’ll Always Have Tom Paris”). With a little help from his Orion multi-tool, badass D’Vana quickly breaks out of the hold, takes down some guards, and yanks a latinum tooth out of one of them and uses it to hack the bridge security failsafe and stop the ship from going through the wormhole. Drink up, me hearties, yo ho!
After the ship is tractored back and the Karemma are put in detention, like many stories on this station, this one gets nuanced. It turns out Quark wasn’t kidnapped, rather, he was arrested for stealing (he would say “borrowing”) Karemma tech for the Quark 2000. Freeman sorts out a compromise where the Karemma get 76% of the profits from Quark’s franchises. Needless to say, the Ferengi is not happy, but at least he isn’t in a Gamma Quadrant prison. Everyone else is having a good time as things wrap up nicely at the Ferengi’s famed bar on the Promenade with Mariner finally coming over to spar with Quark a bit as she and Jen enjoy the salon girls’ new respectful fear of her. Boimler’s Dabo winning streak ends with him trading it all in for some Quark’s Bucks to geek out at the gift shop… because Starfleeters don’t need money anyway. The Kira/Shaxs battle over who owes whom ends in a drink détente, with Kira getting the upper hand. And Tendi is happy Rutherford thinks no less of her for being from a family of pirates, so she decides to embrace her true teeth-pulling self, then Quark gets the last laugh as he confiscates that latinum tooth, citing Rule of Acquisition #9. Perfect.
A pirate’s life
From start to finish, “Hear All, Trust Nothing” was built to delight any fan of Star Trek and it certainly delivered when it came to the promised visit to station Deep Space 9. But Lower Decks showed admirable restraint when it came to indulging in nostalgia, staying true to this season’s focus on character with the comedy and development that offers. Noël Wells shines as Tendi gets more of a focus as her Orion heritage once again comes into conflict with her personal ambition to be the best she can be in Starfleet. Adam Pally is a perfect foil to draw out Tendi’s family history as Mesk, the wannabe Orion pirate from Cincinnati.
The backdrop of this station, which has been home to so many stories in the gray areas, was the perfect place to tell this story of how people are complicated and can’t fit into the stereotypes that the franchise sometimes indulges in. The subplot with Mariner and Jennifer also revealed more about both characters and showed that Lower Decks can do romantic comedy too. Tendi’s delightful story, along with Mariner’s and even Captain Freeman’s, were all nicely tied together with the Star Trek theme of acceptance and being true to yourself.
The return of Nana Visitor as Kira and Armin Shimerman as Quark was certainly welcome as both fell into back into their roles easily, even with the heightened versions we get on Lower Decks. The show has always impressed with the way they can bring in legacy characters to fit into the show while still remaining true to what we know about them, although it is a bit hard to imagine Quark not negotiating a better deal with the Karemma and Captain Freeman. And neither was a cameo just for fun, as each played key parts in the development of the diplomacy plot that drove the episode. While DS9 fans may have wanted even more familiar faces, limiting the episode to two was the right call as it kept the perfect pacing of the episode going, and the same is true for the various nods and references to the show itself. While there was the opportunity to squeeze every jumja stick and singing Klingon chef into the episode, the Lower Decks team restrained themselves, so when they did throw out something like Boimler saying “Fortune favors the bold!” it had time to land.
- Circle around and pretend we are in awe of the pylons.
- Without me, they would probably get lost and end up in a Mirror Universe with Smiley.
- I’m already not liking that they call their hangouts “salons.” Like, what are you, Hemingway?
- I know what you’re gonna ask, and, no, he’s actually not reverse-aging.
- I get to dangle my legs off the second story like in the holovids.
- I call this piece “The Kobayashi Maroon.” There’s no right way to dance it.
- Surprising for a man with a coin purse. / It’s a clutch and it’s feeling a little light.
- It was a dark and stormy Stardate 57162.3. A Stardate just like this.
- Wow, someone got all “human’ed up” at the Academy.
- Everything I know about Orions I learned from the holonovels. Bad ones, too. The ones with the boobs on the cover.
- I wasn’t in the Enterprise, the Enterprise was in me all along.
- Oh yeah, it’s always something with the wormhole.
- Thanks for having my back when the klisht the fan.
- The Karemma were first introduced in the DS9 episode “Rules of Acquisition.” The Ferengi negotiated to import tulaberry wine from the Karemma, eventually expanding their trade to a variety of goods with the Alpha Quadrant via the Ferengi before the Dominion War.
- “Hear All, Trust Nothing” is Ferengi Rule of Acquisition Rule 190.
- Tawny Newsome got Mike McMahan to rewrite the episode so Mariner could spend some time on DS9.
- Stardate 58456.2
- The Cerritos previously worked with the USS Vancouver in the episode “Cupid’s Errant Arrow.” The captain at the time was unnamed but is now known to be Captain Nguyen.
- This is the second appearance of Carlos Alazraqui as Admiral Buenamigo.
- Captain Freeman says that a brown hole is “not even a thing,” which is true based on current astronomy, but there is such a thing as a brown dwarf (and of course a black hole).
- Using snapping instead of clapping (also called snapplause) traces its roots to beatnik poetry readings.
- The Alpha Quadrant alcohol gifts included Vulcan Port, Aldebaran Whiskey, Romulan Ale, Galardonian Milk, and Risan Cabernet, along with a mention of “Andorian kegs.”
- Shaxs shows his Bajoran resistance roots by calling DS9 a “tacky Cardassian fascist eyesore.”
- Franchises of Quark’s have been seen before on Picard and Lower Decks, with this episode revealing there are currently 21 (although it isn’t clear if that also includes Quark’s Express outlets).
More to come
Every Friday, the TrekMovie.com All Access Star Trek Podcast covers the latest news in the Star Trek Universe. The podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Stitcher and is part of the TrekMovie Podcast Network. On Saturday, we’ll post our weekly analysis of Easter eggs and references for this episode.
New episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks premiere on Thursdays on Paramount+ in the U.S. 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. It debuted in Latin America on Paramount+ in September.
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